Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas with 2 Kings

Adele and Lea King joined us today for some co-op childcare and some: constant snacking, cookie making, constant correction of one another's pronunciation (big girls), babbling (little girls), and dancing (everyone [not me]).

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Great Gift Idea

I'm so proud of my brilliant sister in law - Beth (AKA Elizabeth) Lareau - who is working at a fabulous little ebook publishing company in NOLA. They're doing some great things - publishing great ebooks, producing clever accompanying video clips (think the "extras" on your DVDs) and selling ebooks on flash drives - so you still have something to wrap. Or to drop in the stocking, as the case may be.

Check out one of their promotional videos below - just a little Christmas story about a virgin birth - in current day Midwest America. Go to and see all the fun stuff. Support New Orleans. Support small publishers. Support clever.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Christmas, Santa and Water

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Memphis. I love that the Advance Memphis Christmas party is always early in December - it's a great way to start the season (oh, and also it's where I work, so then I get to check that off my list). Anyhoo, above is a pic of Meredith and Walt with Santa at the Advance party.

And speaking of Santa, we're not speaking of Santa too much this year. It's not that we're avoiding the topic - at all. But Meredith is much more interested in - and obsessed with - a project going on at Neighborhood Church. We're trying to raise $5,000 to build a well in Peru for a village that doesn't have access to clean water.

PLEASE hear me when I say that Meredith is not some perfect angel child who cares more about those who need water than about her own Christmas list. Because I could tell you some stories about her behavior the last few days that would probably cause you to ask me if I've been parenting AT ALL, or just letting her do as she wished for the last 5 years. That said, I think she does grasp that we're working together to help something good happen for people who have less than we do. It's about having a goal, and wanting to be part of working toward that goal. She insisted on having a yard sale last week. She even rang a bell the ENTIRE time (thank you, Salvation Army). But it was cold, and she didn't have much to offer. As you might imagine, it didn't go so well. So now she's doing chores to earn money.

There is no shortage of worthy causes, and this is not meant to pressure you into giving. But if you haven't gotten around to doing any research this year, and if you're overwhelmed by the mailers you're getting, you can consider giving to Charity Water, and as a bonus, making Meredith super happy. Watch the video below. Click here to give, so that it will go to NC's fund for Peru (click "Create Account;" it's quick). And let us know you did, so Mer can experience all of the joy.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Casual Cool

Oh, who me? I'm just casually hanging out with my hand in my pocket. NBD. I'm cool like that.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


Spot the sprite throwing rocks from the hill.

It's been too long since I posted, so I thought I'd share pics from a camping trip we took a couple weeks ago. Shelby Forest State Park is about 20 minutes away from our house. It's gorgeous. We were also lucky enough to get the site right next to the playground. Not that the playground position allowed for any relaxing, since Madeline never met a playground obstacle that gave her even a moment's pause. Even after it was completely dark, she kept heading off blindly into the woods in the general direction of the playground.

It looks innocuous, but this slide hurled children toward the ground at speeds approaching 30mph.

But still, there was a campfire. If the day ends in a campfire, it was a good one.

Saturday, November 06, 2010

Punkin' Up

Hair sprayed pink, check.
Big girl helping us apply tattoo, check.
Let's rock.
Harlan T. Bobo rambling and singing about a third of every song is better than a lot of folks at their best. And, anyway, look at that river!

Spin, baby, spin.
Meredith isn't crazy about meat. Unless it's Central BBQ. Good to the last drop.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween, Kindergarten Style

Peabody Elementary let the kids dress up for Halloween - if they came as their favorite book character. Meredith is Belinda the Ballerina, a character featured in a series of books covering the exploits of a prima ballerina with incredibly large feet. She took toe shoes to school (handed down by a real ballerina) and having toe shoes is so exciting, I think everything else has just been icing.

As you can see, some students backed into the whole book character thing, but at least now they know that Spiderman didn't start with Tobey McGuire and Kirsten Dunst.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sweet and Also Strange

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Thursday, October 21, 2010

But why can't I go into the ballet class?

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Working Breakfast

In order to accomplish all her goals today, Madeline had to have a working breakfast. Very serious stuff.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


The pic above is from the LuvMud 5k this past weekend, where Meredith once again impressed me with her ability to roll with the punches. The day was much longer and hotter than we anticipated, and you and I both know that Meredith did not PLAN to be a part of the mud experience. But she rolled with it.

But what I'm really here to tell you about is a conversation. On the way home from school yesterday, Meredith started asking a lot of questions about war. I don't know where that came from, though I could guess their names rhyme with Balt and Badam. Anyhoo, the conversation stopped when we got home and unloaded the car, and I forgot about it. This morning we drove to school together. We were sitting silently at a red light when she said, "Now, Mom, let's get back to this war thing."

And we did. Cause I know I enjoy starting the day with a little Vietnam and Civil War education. Oy.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Madeline: 18 Months

Madeline. 18 months and 3 days.

I promised a post and I'm delivering. 'Cause she deserves recognition for the major developmental milestone we've reached. Drumroll please. Ladies and gentlemen, Madeline Jane Lareau has slept through the night 4 out of the last 7 days!

Now before you start paging up screen and getting confused, yes, Madeline is A YEAR AND A HALF OLD. Some kids start sleeping through the night just a teensy bit earlier. Like, say, 16 months earlier. But that's cool. We have arrived and we are happy to be here. Just imagine the changes you may start to see in the Lareaus! The adult Lareau average bedtime may move from 8:30 to 9. Anything seems possible. And in all seriousness, everything they say about tubes/adenoid removal changing your life? True.

Front porch peek a boo.

Remember awhile ago when I posted about the boundless possibilities for the personalities of babies? How they're just a bundle of mysteriousness? Well, the mysteriousness is fading here and it is being replaced by big hugs, significant ornerinous, a huge sense of humor, lightning speed and lots of courage. She's at least as social as Meredith: she threw the doctor a fist bump today, unprompted. She also took 3 shots without a tear. She only runs, which means when she falls, she falls hard. We're working on learning to walk, if you know what I mean. She scales playground equipment that other children (we will not name names, but will whistle in Meredith's general direction) did not attempt until they were solidly 3.

The run. It is a serious run. If her shoulders are hitched up, she means business.

And did I mention that she snuggles? And puts her head on your shoulder, just like you used to imagine a baby would?

She likes to read often and repetitively and gets pretty mad if you don't acquiesce. She's an incredibly ornery eater and I spend far more time guessing what she might eat than actually feeding her.

The sense of humor.

Oh, and she loves her sister, especially delighting in picking her up after school. We walk around the corner of the building and our walking-training ends as she sprints to find Meredith and hug her.

There, a proper update. For posterity. For when she's president. Of a rock climbing club, or something to that effect.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Idlewild Strikers-W, Arsenal-L

*bonus points if you can spot Mayor Wharton in this picture

Well, Arsenal had another heartbreaking loss, but the Idlewild Strikers were able to balance out the weekend with a definitive win in their first game of the season (or first game of most of their lives, whichever you prefer). Luckily, Aunt Harriet (she's Dutch, and it's a long story) was there to take pictures, because we showed up with a dead camera.

Someday when they're in the Olympics, we'll note that Lea passed to Mer for a goal in their first game. And that they've been hanging out since they were 3 months old. You know how Bob Costas loves the emotional angle.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Dear Meredith -

The night before you were born, I laid awake thinking about how I couldn't wait to hold you. But I was also scared. As I'm sure you'll understand someday, childbirth is a little intimidating. But my point is this, the night before your fifth birthday was considerably more fun and less anxiety ridden. We stayed up late getting ready for your day. Late for us is 8:45, since your new Kindergarten requires your presence at 7:30. But still, we stayed up late. Your daddy wrapped your presents. He's incredibly good at that. I made cupcakes. Lemon, because that's what you requested.

You woke up early on your birthday. But because you're getting older and wiser, you didn't beg to go downstairs or dramatically proclaim your state of near starvation. At least not for 5 minutes. Nope, you crawled into bed with us (your sister was already there, because she doesn't really like to stay in her crib past 5) and we had a few more minutes of peace and quiet. Finally you and I got antsy and we snuck out of bed. I got you some of my socks, because it's cool in the mornings now, and you've always gotten a kick out of wearing my socks. We went downstairs and I started the coffee while you put toppers on your cupcakes. Rings with huge jewels for the girls, and giant plastic bugs for the boys (or vice versa, to each their own). You put the toppers on in a certain pattern, because you and all your classmates are obsessed with patterns right now.

Coffee was brewed and so I made your breakfast. Cinnamon Life, because nothing else will do. And grapes, because that makes me feel better. Then I put a ridiculously big magenta bow in your hair, so that no one would forget it was your birthday. I took it off a flower arrangement I got last week, because your mommy is the queen of reduce/reuse/recycle. By the time you read this you may be a little weary of my re-using skills, but trust me girl, you looked fabulous.

And then you were off. I have no doubt that your daddy lingered in your classroom for 20 minutes, at least, as seems to be his routine now. I have no doubt that he reinforced your status as the Queen of Birthday Land. I'll be there in half an hour with your jeweled and buggy cupcakes. Can't wait.

I love you, Mer.


Thursday, September 23, 2010


There's a picture of me in this dress somewhere, too. Strangely, it's not digital.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Morrissey and Soccer

There are few things that Chris loves more than Morrissey and soccer. Hopefully, Meredith will see her way clear to an appreciation of one or both of those things. Soccer got off to a great start on Saturday morning, and by the time she's maudlin and 14, the Morrissey will probably be just what the doctor ordered.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Tubes In, Adenoids Out

We thank God that Madeline's surgery was a breeze. We had to be there at 6:15 am. Not surprisingly, of the 12 or so kids that gathered in the surgery center over the next hour, Madeline was the loudest. All the rest of the parents and kids were acting like NORMAL people act when it's way too early to be up. Madeline was running around the center like a maniac and talking/yelling the whole time. She HATED her hospital gown (who can blame her?) and spent several minutes shrieking and trying to pull it off.

She didn't cry too much as she came up from the anesthesia and she has now been asleep for about 3 hours. We left the center, ran errands, came home, and still she slept. I'm not complaining, since she slept very little last night. One of the ears was infected again, so we're glad that we went ahead with the surgery.

All's well that ends well. We're grateful to LeBonheur East Surgery Center - every nurse and doctor was amazing.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Biker Family

So, a few months ago we got all kitted out to be a biking family, thanks to Craig's List and the generosity of friends whose kids have grown (it happens). We have a seat for Madeline on the back of Chris's bike - or we have the option to put both girls in a trailer that Chris pulls on his bike. I'm not allowed to have anyone on my bike but me, because I fall over sometimes. Whatevs.

Yesterday we took a ride to Overton Park. Madi chilled on the back of Chris's bike and Meredith rode her bike there and back on her own. Not surprisingly (thanks, Mr. Murphy and your dang law), she did it all without incident... until she hit the tiny bump that leads into our driveway. Awesome to end the huge ride with skinned knees.

Overall, though, it was a great ride. And there will be many more.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Verbal Volley

An after-school conversation:

Me: What did you do today that was interesting?
Mer: Oh! We had Russian!
Me: Wonderful! Did you learn how to say anything in Russian?
Mer: Oh, of course. We learned how to say hello!
Me: Really? do you say it?


Mer: Mommy, do you know any Russian?
Me: Nope. None at all.
Mer: Well, in Russian, you say hello "mini bien hello."

I'm just sure you do.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Neither Here Nor There

I don't have much to say, but needed a therapeutic blog post. The truth is, I'm not doing so well with this whole kindergarten thing. I missed Mer too much today. So I took pictures of Madi. That's all.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What a Guy

I just have some great pictures of Chris that I feel need to be shared with the world. Maybe if I embarrass him enough, he'll do a blog post again some day. One picture of him being a Sherpa at the beach, where he carried more than one would have thought possible. Every day. Sometimes twice a day.

One picture of him being glamorous. Because Chris is nothing, if not glamorous. And one pic of him in his first triathlon last weekend. Because we're proud. Love you dear.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

How to Be a Good Person

When Meredith gets an idea - or a plan, really - she cannot be dissuaded from that plan. Even if it takes weeks for us to give in and help her accomplish her goal. The most recent example of this has been her desire to sell something in the front yard, which she has been voicing since, oh, about March. She wasn't picky about the details - it could be her toys, it could be lemonade - or it could be fans, as was the case today. As it turned out, she wasn't even picky about the "selling" part.

Today, we decided it was time to let her set up her stand and do her thing. She made fans out of pink paper, so that people who were exercising could cool off, and she and her dad made Tang, so people could stay hydrated. When we asked her what the prices would be for these items, she declared that it would all be free, "because people don't usually have money in their pockets when they're exercising." Can't argue with that.

It was all fun and good. And hopefully she's got it out of her system.

And now I will preach: I remember reading one of those cheesy gift books sometime when I was in a doctor's office. It was a list of 50 things that make a good person, or something to that effect. One of them was "Always, always, always buy lemonade from children with lemonade stands." And let me say, this is a reliable axiom. What kind of a lame-o turns down free Tang from a four year old when she's desperate to have a "customer"? Thankfully, we met lots of good people, too! Now, go forth and be good people!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Growing Up in Memphis

Today I could not face the world for another minute until I had eaten a cheeseburger. And so we went where we always go, the Deli. The Young Avenue Deli, that is. On the way, we picked up Lea B. King, because kindergarten is only making Meredith want to see her friends more. Cause an additional 20 hours a week is, apparently, not enough.

A little back story: Lea B. King was born 2 days after Meredith, and they've known one another since they were about 3 months old. True love. We call her 'Lea B.' Whether she likes it or not. Cause that's how it is with nicknames that start when you're 3 months old.

Anyway, so we went to the Deli. While there, Meredith and Lea had a fab time thinking that they were playing all the video games on offer. They were not. It didn't matter. Now, one of the games is an Elvis pin ball game (we live in Memphis). The following discussion arose:

Lea: Elvis died from drugs. My daddy told me.
Meredith: What are jugs?
Lea: Chemicals.
Meredith: But what happened to Elvis?
Lea: He died from the drugs. He knew what they were, but he didn't know what they were doing to him.

Another sad story from Memphis. God bless Memphis, Meredith, and Lea B.

Requisite Spaghetti Face Picture

Every kid's gotta have this pic, right?

And poor Madi has been neglected, so she deserves her spaghetti face pic. I'm not sure when I last did a monthly birthday post. But we won't miss 18 months, I promise.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Meredith Conquers Kindergarten

Okay, maybe 'conquers' is a little strong. But it IS fun to watch her take it all in stride. Last week they went for one day - it was a staggered entry, so there were only 5 or so kids in class each day. This Monday was the first real day. She's doing a great job, despite rising about 1-2 hours earlier than had previously been her custom.

The locker was a surprise, and a really big deal. I can't blame her. Pretty cool.

Tyler was at her table the first day. He wasn't too sure about me flashing the camera in his face, but was kind enough to throw a peace sign anyway.

Sweet little fake smile. That one up top with the locker is the real deal. This one is more "mom, for the love, enough pictures already."

Mer with her bros, Walt and Adam, on the steps of Peabody Elementary. Ready or not, here they come.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Goodbye, Symbolic Summer


The summer is ending. And a little bit of Mer's childhood is ending. But it's not the end. At all. And what is a school year if not a chance to have a new start?

So here's a toast to the end of summer. The last two weeks have been crazy and have cured a few parents I know of most of the melancholy associated with Kindergarten.

Welcome to our driveway artists colony/sauna. Today it's 120% humidity and a heat index of 135.

It's not that the kids have been bad during this time of in-between-child-care and endless playdates. But the moms are positively worn out with the coordination of childcare in the midst of changing schedules, new routines, and sick kids. So we toast you summer. You were great. And we recognize that it'll still be hot for about 12 weeks. But we also salute you, symbolic fall. Routine, schedule, and some day...cooler weather. Here's to you.

Extra water for the tomatoes, since the head index is 172 today.

Meet Adam the human water balloon target. Luckily, one rule of the game was that you lost all of your points if you actually hit the person.

Poor Mer would actually have won this athletic event, except she did hit Adam in the leg with the balloon near the end. And I'm pretty sure she meant to. SHE was the one who wanted to have an all out war?! Poor Mer, my foot.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Go Fish

Seems that Mer shares my love of card games. Before you know it, I'll be teaching her how to shoot the moon and avoid drowning in the river. For now, we'll settle for differentiating between 6's and 9's.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Thursday, July 22, 2010

So You Think You Can Swim

When life gives you a 15 month old who thinks she can swim, you put water wings on her and you throw her in the pool. And if she seems slightly distressed, don't worry, because it's nothing compared the distress she feels when you're trying to, heaven forbid, hold her or keep her from drowning.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Road Trip Bling

Every good road trip includes a dollar store prize bag for entertainment. If we're lucky, they last till Tupelo.
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