Monday, November 30, 2009

Three Little Wisemen

Derrick is so funny. He said, "I read your blog post earlier, the joke about someone being murdered every time a piece disappears from the nativity. That would make a great book. You should write that!"

No doubt it would be an international best seller.

He's so cute. He was all excited!

Thanksgiving Freak Show

Ooooh! Mommy! Our Song is on! Come Sing!

Thanksgiving with Grandma and Grandpa

The Empty Manger

Baby Jesus is missing. I guess that's fitting since it's Advent and not Christmas yet, but it is kind of weird. What's weird is that Mary is now missing, too. And what's even weirder is that every time one of the little figures from Penelope's nativity scene disappears, somebody ends up getting murdered! (Okay, I'm kidding about that last part.)

Penelope's being kind of a toodlesquink today. I think getting held so much over Thanksgiving has convinced her that she needs to be held every second of the day, all the time. Now that we just had her bath, though, she's finally agreed to spend a little time in the saucer. She loves taking baths so much--apparently, she likes hot baths like her Mommy. I think I'm making them so cool for her, but when Derrick tested her bath Saturday night, he was like, "Wow! That's hot! I'm surprised she's not complaining."

Another thing she likes is to get her face wet. It's weird, because she hates it when I wash off her face or wipe it with a bib, but she loves it when I dump water over her head and it runs down into her face. When I dab her off afterwards, she's always smiling. Today, I rinsed her hair ten thousand times, and she laughed and laughed and squealed. She's going to be a little mermaid like her brother--well, I mean, he's not a mermaid. Maybe he's Aquaman, but there can be only one Aquaman (as I learned from that Batman episode featuring Aquaman's scheming brother), so Penelope's a mermaid.

She's very happy right now. Earlier, she refused to eat her oatmeal. I tried to feed it to her on my lap, and she whacked the spoon away and splattered oatmeal all over us. I was so exasperated. "Penelope!" I said sternly. Apparently, she found my tone sobering. With an unhappy expression of worry on her face, she obediently opened her mouth and took a bite of oatmeal. "Mmmmm," she lied in the most pathetic little voice, still watching my face. I felt like such a jerk, so then I made her some milk. As I started to make it, she slumped over my shoulder listlessly, and I thought she might have already been asleep, but then when I started singing and giving her little cheek kisses, she perked right up and started trying to get Bubby and the peacock, so clearly she'd thought she was in trouble.

She pretended to take a nap at 11:00, but woke up after being in her swing for five minutes. Then we went upstairs and played with her nativity on her animal blanket. Penelope is so acrobatic, but she doesn't seem very interested in crawling. Her goal seems to be to remain sitting for as long as possible while leaning to attempt to get stuff, and then returning to a sitting position (even if this means doing bizarre contortionist tricks with her legs) as soon as she's gotten said stuff.

We were playing happily (lately, she does that little scrunchy nosed smile whenever she's happy), until I heard a terrible noise that had clearly come from the general vicinity of Penelope's diaper. I smiled down at her apprehensively, and she smiled back at me casually. When I checked, however, not only did I have to change her, but we had to change out the blanket, as well. She got really mad when we came back upstairs and sat down again and the happy animals were gone. Instead we were sitting on Nanny's PJ quilt, face down. When Penelope peeled back one corner and found the letters, she was very intrigued and nearly did her trick of lifting the blanket until she pulled herself to the floor again.

After we played for a while, we had some turkey and tatoes (and more bread), and then some milk and took a real nap.

I guess I should upload some pictures from Thanksgiving. I will in a minute.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


Oh yeah! During Thanksgiving breakfast, Penelope yelled out, "Gooh gooh gull!" in front of everyone (because she was done eating and wanted to be picked up). Moments later, while we were playing pattycake, she abruptly screamed, "Pattycake!" Everybody was pretty astonished, but she didn't say it again.


As usual, Thanksgiving was awesome. (Well, at least, in my mind it's always awesome.) We found out one very important thing--Penelope LOVES bread. Thursday morning, we all got up and watched the parade as we got ready to go to Grandma and Grandpa's house. Once there, we all enjoyed a breakfast of dough cakes made by Grandpa (a family tradition)--well, all except Grayson who decided the only thing he wanted for breakfast was a bowl of plain Cheerios with sugar and marshmellows. He also had bacon while he worked on a word search that Grandma made for him.

Grandma gave Penelope a piece of doughcake before I realized what was happening, but Penelope loved it. She kept opening her mouth for more. Daddy fed her doughcake all through breakfast. Later on, when she got hungry before lunch, I fed her some squash to tide her over. As soon as I put her in her high chair, she started feeling around the tray looking for more pieces of dough cake. Every time she found a Cheerio, she'd get really excited then incredibly disappointed.

Mom used the leftover dough to make rolls for dinner. Penelope liked those, too. In fact, Friday, when we had a leftover lunch, Penelope attempted to eat all the little crumbs off her tray at once. Frantically, she scooped them up as best she could, trying to cram them all into her mouth simultaneously. Every once and a while, I'd hear a "cough, cough, cough," and I'd turn to see a big open mouth staring back at me. It wanted more bread. The coughing, I guess, was the bread alarm.

Meanwhile, Grayson spent most of the day by Merry's side. At one point, he described to her the leather jacket he's going to have when he gets older. Apparently, it's going to say, "I'm Awesome," on the back in flames. She found that very cute. After breakfast, Grayson helped Mom and me make pie. Then he made some pies of his own out of Playdough. After that, he enjoyed playing Uno with Grandma and Grandpa. After dinner, Merry and I joined in on the game as well, and much hilarity ensued since we were all exhausted (and--as Grayson later informed me and Daddy--"We were all drunk--on sugar. We ate so much pie and jello and marshmellows, and some of us might have eaten those little candy pumpkins on the table while we were waiting for dinner.")

Dad told Grayson to knock on the table when he needed another card, so he did that for the rest of the game. It was a pretty slow moving game because he seemed to like to hoard his cards. He had several stacks in his chair. Towards the end--after we'd all made werewolf faces--everyone got so tired that game play slowed. Craftily, Merry kept putting more of her cards on the pile during the pauses as she made a charming little face. It was pretty funny. Mom didn't even notice. Grayson told us all, "I wish I was in Vegas. Then I'd get all the women and be rich."

During this delightful card game, Daddy and Penelope were watching the U.T. game in the other room. After we finished, we all had pie, and then Grandma, Penelope, and Grayson went upstairs to play while Merry and I chatted downstairs.

We noticed that Penelope is pretty wary of Aunt Merry--possibly because Aunt Merry is so chummy with Mommy and Bubby, two of Penelope's favorite people.

I think lots of other things happened, but I'm getting very tired. On Friday before Grayson went home, we all went to the movies in shifts. First Daddy and Grayson went to see Planet 51, and then after we all had a leftover lunch, Mommy, Merry, Grandma, and Grandpa went to see Precious. Aunt Merry's birthday is tomorrow, and that's the one she wanted to see. We all really liked it and were astonished by the transformation of the dressed down Mariah Carey. ("She looks so different," Grandma whispered to me in the theater. "It's hard to believe that's Marissa Tomei.")

Oh, one other thing that happened is that during the first Uno game, Penelope whacked me in the mouth with a some jingle bells shaped like a monkey. After changing her diaper, I was playing with her on the floor, about three feet from where everyone but Derrick was playing Uno. Penelope had pinned me to the carpet with her legs around my neck, and I was just about to get up and go into the other room. To get her to stop pulling my hair, I gave her the monkey, and she promptly whacked me in the mouth with it. I called for help like 85 times, but nobody realized I was talking to them (and plus I had my hand over my mouth). Finally Merry heard me and helped me get up by taking Penelope who promptly burst into tears.

I was worried she'd split my lip, but it was just bruised and red looking in splotches and very swollen, mostly on the inside since the monkey had smushed it into my front teeth. Merry had to hand the howling Penelope over to Daddy, but she could not be consoled until I took her back and let her play with my bag of ice. Much later on, I shook the jingle bells at her and offered them to her but she made a horrible face at them and turned away from them. She hates them now, those rotten jingle bells that made Mommy cry and give Penelope to someone else!

I can't remember what else happened. I feel like it was something...

The Sneaky Toodle Charms Mommy

Mommy: Oh Penelope! You look so happy!
Penelope: That's right, Mommy. Hey, come a little closer.
Mommy: Aww, you're so sweet!
Daddy: She's trying to steal your camera!

Mommy: Penelope! You little sneaky. I'm going to kiss your tummy!
Penelope: Hahahahahaha!
Daddy: Every time you kiss her, she goes for your camera.

Daddy: Look, she's got it now!
Mommy: Penelope!

Mommy: Penelope! You sneaky toodle!
Penelope: Heeheeheeheeee! Yeah!

Return of the Other Penelope

I found this picture at Mom's. On the back, she's written that the date is February, 1980, so I'm about ten months old, just like Penelope is now. The photo quality is not great since I just took a picture of it with my camera instead of scanning it in, but I think there is a strong resemblance, and--interestingly--we have the same two teeth!

Part Six: Filling

Part Five: Crusty Ol' Daddy

Part Four: Preparing the Apples, Grayson Style

Part Three: Making the Crust With a Fork (and Hitting Daddy)

Making the Pie: Part II Fine Slicing

Rayburn Family Tradition: Making the Apple Pie (Part I: Paring and Quartering)

I'd like to make an apple pie every year on the night before Thanksgiving. We've enjoyed it so far.

The Other Penelope

I asked Mom to find and scan in this picture for me because Penelope's behavior at her baptism made me think of it. Now that I see it, there's not such a resemblance as I imagined--though, interestingly, Penelope thinks this is a picture of Penelope.