Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Todlesworth Tuesday: The Terrifying Tribute to Toddlesworth Turning Two

 
 By Both of Us, Switch offs notated by (Lord) and (Lady)

(Lord) Little Lord Toddlesworth was led to a broken old wooden latticed door covered in caution tape.  "Zombies": read the caution tape, " Keep out":  It was just as he suspected.  "Sarey Som-bies" were indeed present.  The Intrepid Toddler knew his lead was correct.  Gingerly he pushed the cracking door open.  Inside, hanging plastic obscured his entryway.   Tables and chairs were scattered across his pathway, making for only one narrow entrance.  A thick fog pushed its way toward him. "Indoor Fog? What the deuce?', he wondered.  Somewhere beyond the fog, he could hear children weeping...    His first instinct was that he wanted none of this: that he should return from whence he came immediately.  Steeling his courage, and as if guided by an invisible hand, he pressed on into the darkness...

This, more or less, is the experience I hope that Toddlesworth had upon entering the room for his 2nd birthday party.  As he has been obsessed with zombies over the last few months, we thought it best to have this theme for the party.

The party food was elaborate and lovely.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Vegan Celebrations, Thanksgiving and Christmas

I had planned to do this post for Thanksgiving, but between  Thanksgiving and Toddleworths' birthday party, my camera was stolen. It was crushing to me not only because I'm a generally overly trusting individual, but because I had not downloaded any pictures I had taken in October and November, including some Thanksgiving pictures, but more importantly some cute pictures of Toddles.
In any case, I gave the universe the finger by spending a bunch of 'fun money' and buying an even better camera. Some pictures below are the Thanksgiving pictures we had on various phones, and some are Christmas with my new camera.


Here is our stuffing, bread piles ready for toasting and the finished product. In times past we have gone so far as to make bread from scratch that we immediately process into stuffing.  Eventually, Lord Covington decided he would rather have cornbread stuffing. Since I don't like cornbread stuffing, it works out fine that we make two versions and his cornbread stuffing is gluten free. We haven't used a recipe in years, but the ingredients usually involve tons of mushroom, veggie broth, celery, onions (omitted from his), and sometimes extras are thrown in like almonds.  This year, I was lazy and used store bought bread.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Toddlesworth Tuesday: The End of Toddlesworth?

By Lord Covington

We have been super busy with work lately. (So busy that we haven't done that Thanksgiving update yet (sorry!) and we are almost through December already! We should be able to get it done shortly). In the intervening weeks, Toddlesworth has done a ton of things, including learn that as well as ice being cold and delicious, it is also "Slipea'ey"

All of these things have led us to consider how quickly Toddlesworth is growing. In fact, he doesn't toddle anywhere anymore. He runs, hops, walks backwards, kicks, and storms his way around nowadays.

We've been trying to cherish all of the aspects of baby and toddlerhood that we have experienced with him. As such, it is with misty eyes that we must begin to mark their passing. Some he abandons on his own, some we feel our duty to usher him out of.

Recently we have been working on getting him to outgrow his bottle. Almost since he learned to talk he has been able to sleepily ask 'bottle?'  It was one of the earliest things we used to calm him down quickly, but as he approaches age two, it is time for him to leave it behind. We have switched to sippy cup type cups. When he calls out at night for "bottle" he receives this instead. While he has more or less stopped pouring it on his own eyes, he still does not enjoy the replacement.

As a result, he is calling out for a bottle less and less at night. I feel a wistful remembrance of a time when he needed a thing that I could get. Other things he is moving away from on his own. Toddlesworth has been carried everywhere since he was a newborn. As a result he is used to being held. One of his earliest phrases was "hol'you?" A reply to "Do you want me to hold you?" More and more recently 'hol you?' has become "run?"  He occasionally pushes away when I pick him up.

He has always been independent, but at times independence becomes defiance. He tells us to "go 'way" sometimes when he doesn't need the offered help. A couple of days ago he held out a palm to one of us and then the other and demanded "Stay.  Stay! I walk." He then grabbed a set of keys off of the table and walked over to the door, attempting to leave.  He is often angry at being told no.

Since birth I have been able to comfort and sooth him with a lower back pat or setting my palm on his chest.  This would take him from fussing or even screaming to sleeping in under a minute.  Alas, this simple parenting spell is only meant to work on the really little ones, it seems.  These days, more often than not, he takes my hand and pushes it away.  For now I take some small solace in the fact that he general pulls my hand up to his face, usually dumping it over his eyes.  Of course there will be a last day for this as well.

Certainly not all of the changes fill me with wistful mourning for a bygone baby.  Some just remind me that he is on his way to something so much better: the person he is going to be.  He has gone from requesting a certain song, to demanding that song, and singing along with it, as well as adding in his own verses. (One of his current favorites is They Might Be Giants "Triops Has Three Eyes", he will say "Triops? Eyes?" then sing "eagles ha eyes, zombies 'as eyes..." He also adds zombies to Queen's "Another One Bites the Dust" "Hey, there gonna get you too!" results in him saying "get you! zombies!"

What it all of this stopping of the old and starting with the new ultimately means is that I will one day look eye to eye with a man I have guided to full size.  I don't know a lot about this man yet, but I'm sure my eyes will be wet with pride.  All of his behaviors are like falling stars.  Beautiful, seen only for a moment and then existing only in memory.  I am working on appreciating these fleeting, precious stars, and catching them as best I can.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Giving Thanks for Small Things

This Thanksgiving I am finding I am thankful for the small things in life:

Finding creativity in small places,
Our son, teaching us that huge things come in small packages,
Small furry family members, for sharing our lives,
Our small living space so that we can grow closer as a family,
The small bits of time we have gotten to spend with friends and family this year,
And the small bit of sanity we get to reclaim when Toddlesworth is being nannied.

We promised we weren't planning on putting tons of food posts on this blog, but I think Thanksgiving will be one of the exceptions... we made some good food and we will get some pictures uploaded as soon as possible to talk about what we generally do for Thanksgiving and how this one differed from some we have had in the past.

I hope all of you readers had a wonderful time with friends and family, and remembered that we should try to be thankful every day of the year for what we have, not just one or thirty.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Toddlesworth Tuesday: Terrible Toddlesworth

It is becoming the usual to do Toddlesworth Tuesday posts on Wednesday. This is not how I'd like it, and for the last three weeks it has been a product of Toddlesworth himself. It is easiest to type when he is asleep and sometimes that is far later than we would like it. We are trying to create more structure in his, and all of our lives effective immediately. 
I am so thankful for the nights where he goes to bed easily (he even asked to be put to bed before nine one night this week-what did we do right on that day?!), but some nights he just isn't having it. He will say he is sleepy and ask to be put in bed and be cuddled, then proceed to toss and turn and slap us in the eyes and cry for an hour before he actually goes to sleep.
 
The first step in that direction is nixing the bottles. As I have mentioned before, he has been pretty much exclusively co-sleeping with us for a while now, and he has recently been sick. He has always had an upswing in bottle drinking when he gets sick, but this one stuck around longer than usual. Until a couple days ago he was still waking up and asking for a bottle several times a night, and might go through two whole bottles in the night. For the last 48 hours or so we have cut out bottles cold turkey. He has one bottle with a sippy cup type nipple, and several sippy cups. I expected a meltdown type reaction, but he has been only slightly disgruntled about it. When he wakes up and asks for a bottle, I'll give him some variety of sippy cup. He will do mental gymnastics trying to figure out how to get it in his mouth without spilling it on his eyes and ends up drinking far less than he had been recently. 

I did end up breaking the crib down as I had mentioned I might be doing. This has given us  a little bit more space and made the bookshelf/toy shelf more accessible to Toddles. We kept the mattress shoved behind the changing table as shown, to be used if needed.
I never explained the upside down lamp, and I wonder if anyone even noticed. Sometimes, you've just go to go with whatever works.
We have had very cold weather recently, but this has not slowed Toddlesworth's desire for walks.  We will stick him in a jacket and off he will go. When it gets too cold for him he will shiver very dramatically and ask to be carried back.
His nose and cheeks are so red from the cold here!
 We even went on a late night excursion to the state park. Lord Covington shined his phone flash light around and Toddlesworth tried to slyly sneak into puddles.


 
We spent a chunk of today prepping for Thanksgiving, but Toddles wanted to go on a quick exploratory walk after his nap.
 



 
 
 Here are some bonus pictures of the furry family members enjoying the family walk. Morpheus will endanger all of our lives for his ball, but a stick will do in a pinch.



That is this week in Toddlesville.   As a quick aside, some of my artwork was featured in a blog:  http://totusmelswunderkammer.blogspot.com/2013/11/octopus.html
It is pretty exciting for me, since I don't know the blogger; it is the first time a stranger has found my work likable. : )

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Deep Fried White Trash Vegan Evolutions

By Lord Covington, [additions by Lady Covington as so

For the better part of my veganness, I have proudly waved the white trash vegan banner.  What nonsense is that, you ask?  Well, the best example I've got is: "I am vegan, so therefore I eat tofu, but I am Southern, so the tofu is deep fried."  As far as I have been concerned in the past, vegan as a health choice was secondary or even tertiary to the ethical considerations.  So after being sure something was vegan my next concern was flavor.  I wanted to eat all the southern-fried-heart-attack foods I ate before, just with vegan substitutions.   It's surprisingly easy to eat less than optimally nutritious, fantastic tasting food as a vegan.  Know what's vegan? Oreos, Texas toast, almost all pasta noodles, baked potatoes, [mashed potatoes, fried potatoes, hash browns, tater tots]  and a great many cobblers.  White trash vegan paradise, my friends, is what it is.

      Combine our love of Fatty Mcgreasealot foods and the fact that we were poor college students when we met, AND that I've never particularly cared for salads; and it made for a whole lot of Ramen noodle or (GOD) butter noodle breakfast lunch and dinners for lady Covington and I in the beginning. [At our poorest and most desperate,] we even made some sort of "vegan fish patty" that was mostly just white flour and oil.  I have no idea why I just didn't burst open into a torrent of butter in those days.
   
      I've had a sneaking  suspicion that I was gluten intolerant for a number of years.  My younger sister has the same intolerance.  I've always felt a bit of bloated pain with my breads.  The problem, as you may have guessed, is that bread is so damned awesome.  And already being vegan, I had terrifying visions of me just eating moss, sticks and leaves ( or I guess you could call it salad or whatever) , with a somber resigned expression on my face.  This kept me eating things that my body didn't need in the name of my taste buds.  In the 1st year of Toddlesworth's life I began to notice a stiffness in muscles and joints that wasn't there before.  Then one morning I woke up with swollen hands such that my wedding ring was causing me pain.  No way was I going to be Captain Slug Body in my middle 30s.  Some little guy was counting on me to run around with him and carry him and generally be an awesome playmate.  I drew a line in the sand and stopped, cold turkey, on the gluten. I was surprised to discover that I don't miss it.  Sandwiches are a little more complicated now, but  it is completely worth it to not feel as though I have swallowed a brick after a meal.

So here's a snapshot of where my diet is/ is going circa the end of 2013.  I snack on snap peas, and Snapea Crisps ( by Calbee : PRODUCT ENDORSEMENT!).  I eat as much fruit as I do noodles of any kind.  I haven't eliminated corn chips yet, but most every other kind.   I still sometimes struggle with energy drinks, but I drink water as a normal occurrence now.  Lady Covington even occasionally gets me to eat a salad, because she understands the sacred mysteries of avocado.

[We are still a far cry from where I'd like to be. I want to move further away from processed foods, I want to buy healthful junk food when we do buy it, (rather than the Oreos I do still occasionally eat) and I want to make more of our food from scratch and in bulk.  I think part of my new years resolutions will be to take on a cooking project once or twice a month and learn how to make something (vegan margarine from scratch, gluten free breads from scratch, etc) as well as to begin trying to make some of our favorite foods up in bulk and freeze them. One thing is for certain, our son is being raised with much better eating habits than we ever had when we were growing up!]

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Redefining yourself: Words and Image.

By Lady Covington

I am a big proponent of redefining yourself.

Sometimes it is about what is in a name: Choosing our own last name was one major way Lord Covington defined each other by our own expectations rather than those of society.  For the past several years I have gone by a unique shortening of my first name (like Topher instead of Christopher). Instead of Kimberly, I go by Imber. People tend to remember it, which is useful for meet and greets for work, and I hope eventually in the art world, if my work ever gets off of the ground.  There are tons of people who still use my full name, and I don't reject it, I just don't feel like it is 'me' as much as Imber is, in the same way 12 year old me is still me, just not the most current and accurate incarnation.

It wasn't the first time I had changed an aspect of myself. Growing up, I never felt very feminine. Not in the 'I'm a tomboy and don't care about that stuff' sort of way, (though I'm sure I was a bit of a tomboy), but more in the "I'd like to be pretty and wear dresses and makeup but that's just not me, I'm not one of the pretty girls" type of way.  I don't think I ever wore a skirt before leaving home to UNT. I fell in love with the gypsy/hippie long skirt look, and began wearing long skirts and peasant blouses. I even occasionally threw in a short skirt, if it was for a costume event.

Somewhere along the way, I decided pants were for suckers and avoided wearing them whenever possible. When given the opportunity to wear a uniform skirt for work, I did so, even though the tannish color was terrible. I wore knee length socks with them, which, thinking back on it, was probably not the best look, but heaven forbid I actually show my pasty flesh.  In those days I still spent a lot of time in pajama pants out of work, and several hours a day for each of us was spent in a Taekwondo gi.  When Lord Covington took the position in Corpus Christi, I checked outlets and thrift stores and upgraded my wardrobe to a couple cute skirt suits, a few miscellaneous skirts, and some pantyhose. Adding to my normal body image issues was the fact that the major wreck we had had happened about a year before our move, and I had a massive scar on one knee. So yep, I would still not be showing off leg skin. 103 degree, humid bay weather, and I was in black hose.

This would continue until I was pregnant with Toddlesworth. Amongst all of the scare inducing pregnancy horror reading was a line about varicose veins. I suddenly realized that my scar wasn't that bad. I decided I would take advantage of this time during my pregnancy to wear cute maternity dresses and avoid the pantyhose and restricting clothing.  I have a much expanded work wardrobe now. It is a good thing I found some more comfortable things to wear, since work and home life are so intertwined, I have to wear work clothes every day. It turns out that I really enjoyed wearing dresses and feeling cute. The only thing stopping me from doing so before were my body issues and self doubt.

I would not say I love my body. It could definitely be improved. However, I now feel that that should not keep me from feeling good in it. If I want to wear pretty dresses, I shall! I finally bought one of he adorable dresses I'd been eyeing off of ModCloth, and wore it to an art event.  Now I just have to figure out more excuses to wear it.  My next step is to learn to style my hair. I want to learn how to put it up in victory rolls, but beyond never doing anything more complicated than pony tails or buns, I'm facing the challenges of fine and flat hair. I'm attempting it every few days, and making a bit of progress.
 


Who knows, maybe I'll even start wearing makeup before I'm forty.

Have you ever redefined yourself, in small or large ways?

As an addendum: A friend recently gathered some resources for plus sized ladies to find pretty clothes. I'd like to share them here for anyone who might find them useful.
www.igigi.com
Torrid
Ashley Stewart
Lane Bryant
S.W.A.K. Designs
Pinup Girl Clothing
forever21
www.zulily.com (You will have to make an account)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Toddlesworth Tuesday: The Travels of Toddlesworth

By Lord Covington, [additions by Lady Covington as so]     

It may have all started with the stairs in the lobby.  Yes, our Toddlesworth has been as many places as his legs could toddle to, even before he could technically toddle.  He climbed said stairs before he could walk.  He followed it up with many a stair afterwards on the outside of the hotel, much to our initial terror.  These days, one of his most favorite phrases is "a walkin'?" .  Once we have begun to walk he will usually say " Wun?" before taking off, as if to demonstrate how one runs.

       One day we decided to take him to the state park.  It was really all down, or maybe up, hill from there.  It was just before dark in the spring.  I wasn't sure how he'd react when he got the  more steep trails that are basically stone stairs cut into a hill side.  His reaction was- "go! go ! go!"   He proceeded out ahead of us and immediately trod down to the dusk into the forest. Again, I found myself playing catch up with a one and a half year old.  His interest was in 360 marvelous degrees around him: sticks, rocks, bugs; EVERYTHING was a wonder to behold.  Incidentally, we soon discovered that the State Park was one place he could roam about and we didn't have to tell him not to touch everything, for the most part.  I have since come to the conclusion that this is something babies probably need. 
This is one of our favorite pictures of Toddlesworth, taken at the state park. That stick is bigger than he is!

       As much as he would run wild at the park, Toddlesworth loved the lake itself just as much.  As of this writing, he still cannot swim alone, but that has not once stopped him from doing what one might call a dive.  If we are at the park, he is moving inevitably towards the lake at the center.  He will stand in the water or on the shore, or in the wake of a boat engine if we'd let him get away with it!  the fact the waves of water would drag him into an enormous  lake without our vigilance doesn't bother him in the least.  He's basically fearless in the wild.

 [While I agree that he is *basically* fearless, running around in the wild has helped him find the limitations he does have, and reinforced that we will be there to help him surmount them. After he stumbles over a rock or on a step that is too steep, he will reach up and ask for a hand. After he has reached his limit of walking, he will turn to us with a pleading "hol'you?"  "Yes, I will hold you." and we will do the rest of the trail with him on our shoulders or in a baby backpack. (In  fact, when he was smaller and not as good at walking, he would bring us this baby-carrying hiking backpack that was as tall as he was and ask us for a walk.)

Since I worry constantly about him getting too much screen time, (I always envisioned being the crunchy no-tv type mom) I think it is fantastic that he will actively seek out active outside time, and we will continue to do our best to encourage it!]






Saturday, November 16, 2013

An Introduction to Our Atypical Home and Work, Part One: Home

By now you're aware that Lord Covington and I are pretty atypical individuals. Our living situation is also quite unusual.

Couples have various degrees of how long they can stand each other before needing a break. New couples will often be given the advice to be sure to cultivate separate hobbies. Lord Covington and I have always been on the pretty extreme end of spend-every-waking-moment-together. We also work pretty well together, as our various projects will attest. As a result, we have worked for the same companies since we first got together. We both worked at the cafeteria and the book store at college, and since about 2006, we have more or less been working for the same hotel management company. (We started off as desk clerks at one hotel and moved into lower and then middle management)

At the end of 2008, Lord Covington accepted a position to be General Manager at a hotel they had just purchased in Corpus Christi. This was about 9 hours away from where we were then living, and four hours away from our closest friends and relatives. We'd never been to Corpus Christi before, and jumped at the opportunity to try it out.  Our most recent move landed us in Brownwood, TX. We moved from Bayside to Lakeside, and were given the task of getting this hotel up and running, and eventually profitable. To that effect, we work many of the shifts and take care of anything that happens during the overnight shift ourselves instead of having a desk clerk during that time. The only way to do that and keep a good guest response time and a bit of sanity, is to live on property.
 This is one of the rooms at our hotel. We have a lovely place, and it is great to get away in for a weekend or week, but it is an interesting challenge to figure out life in a room this size for going on 2.5 years.

Add to that mix two large dogs and a toddler (we were expecting when we took the position and made the move here, so we've dealt with a newborn on up) and you have to come up with some space saving solutions. We didn't initially know how long we'd be living here, but it might have been as little as six months. It turned out to be longer, so some things have changed organically in the way the room is organized. An emphasis is on changing the room structurally as little as possible, and using the least damaging techniques (few screw holes, removable strips to hang artwork, etc.)
Below are pictures of how the room looked two years ago when we moved in and prepared for the arrival of baby Toddlesworth, compared with current pictures to show off some of the changes we've made in the last two years.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Toddlesworth Tuesday: Talkative Toddlesworth

by Lady Covington

First, I know we're a day late, but better that than a day late AND a post short!

In the past week, Toddlesworth has begun being super talkative. He has gone from a couple two and three word 'sentences' ("I sit.") to four and five word ones. ("I pour the water out." "I got a sucker!") A couple days ago my mother was visiting and we tried our hand at a crane game. I won Toddlesworth a stuffed zombie, and for the next hour he happily declared "I got it! I got a zombie!" He also spent much of that weekend chasing his second cousin around being a zombie. (growling, reaching his hands out after her).

Toddlesworth has always been pretty good at communicating; we did baby sign language early on and the occasional sign still pops up. I feel like we're on the dawn of a new age though being able to process more complicated thoughts with him. Instead of just pointing to his bed when he gets tired, he will walk up to us, put his arm over his eyes and say "I sleepy. Bed. Sleep." Or if something appeals to him he will say "I like it! I want it!" While that last part is really cute when it is about

It might be boring to hear about someone else's kids developing vocabulary, but I promise it is awesome when it is occurring to you.


A few other things have been happening in the last couple of weeks, that aren't directly related to Toddleworths development.. We bought a new (used) vehicle, and we are dealing with fallout from one of the two automobile accidents that happened to us back to back last month. The weather here has gotten very cold very quickly, so our at least weekly trips to the state park have been put on hold for now. We may continue them once I have dug some winter wardrobe items out of storage.

I am working on a couple of posts to show of our living and working situations, and plan to include current living space pictures, so I'm also working on getting it picture worthy! I should be able to get the first part up tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Toddlesworth Tuesday: Toddlesworth the Conciliator!

by Lord Covington

This week my son taught me to shut up and dance.   

                To set this up , realize that Lady Covington and I have were often been self described "White Trash Vegans" for many years.  Think: deep fried breaded tofu!  Its easy to be vegan without being healthy: french fries, Oreos, and Skittles are vegan.  This, and our previous upbringings, have lead to an all too typical struggle with calories in this atypical vegan family.  While I wasn't aware of it at the time, Lady C had had enough.  I volunteered to make dinner that night, one of my both magnificent and humble curries.  I make the sauce first, using curry powders, coconut, or rarely soy, milks etc, and olive oil.  This particular time I was urged not to use any oil.  I didn't understand why I shouldn't do something I had always done.  She seemed angry with me.  I didn't, I'm not proud to say, react well.  I have a bit of a chip on my shoulder when it comes to cooking. Maybe because it is a skill I learned well into adult hood, or maybe it's because Lady Covington has always been better than me with an effortless grace, but I didn't react well.  Her concerns were definitely coming from the right place, but it became a larger argument before we got to that.  Living in a one room space means that Toddlesworth is always present for every argument, much to my inevitable dismay.  This time, however, he had not only the last word, but the solution.
            At what I would describe as the peak of tension, he climbed from the bed where he had been silently watching us.  He dragged his music player we described here into the middle of the floor.  He turned it on to the Rockin' Robin song he dances to.  He then proceeded to pull me to the center of the rug by the hand, urging "come'n!" followed by Lady Covington.  He then began to dance.  What could we do? We danced.  Tension defused.
            After a few minutes of badly shuffling about my floor, I realized some things.  One: crap: dancing is hard!  Lady C was clearly correct, I need to be in better shape! Two, my son's personality is developing in ways that astound and make me proud.  Maybe we weren't really having all that scary of an argument, but he didn't react in the "normal" kid way of shame/guilt/fear.  I think he may just have been damn well tired of hearing it, and proposed a solution.  A solution that the two adults responsible for teaching him how to be were, at that point, no where near reaching on their own.

I desperately hope that he never uses these powers for evil.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Rememberance

By Lady Covington

The 21st marked my second anniversary with Lord Covington. It also marked one year since the last time I saw my paternal grandmother alive. She passed a year ago on Halloween.

My father's mother, Billie Jean, was always one of my favorite people. Her oldest grandchild pronounced her name Bibi, and she was Bibi for the rest of us forever. She was always generous, loving, and kind to all of us children. When I got older I realized how much spark she had, how full of life she was.
At the time of her death, she had 10 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great-grandchild. Each one of us got a Christmas card and a Birthday card with a bit of money in it every year. She crocheted each new baby a blanket, and also bought each new baby born into the family a silver cup engraved with their name. In fact, a few days after Toddlesworth was born, she called me to get the spelling for his cup. It wasn't until she called for the spelling of Toddlesworth's name for his cup that she realized I'd named him after her. "His middle name is J-E-A-N" "Oh! Did you name him after me!?" "Yes, I did!"

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Toddlesworth Tuesday: The meaning of fear

Toddlesworth has reached in important and unexpected milestone just in time for Halloween. We are a pretty macabre family: we watch The Walking Dead, design Murder Mysteries, and craft creepy specimen jars containing dead fairies. I even gave all of my friends and family zombie penguins for Christmas one year. It is not surprising then, that Toddlesworth has seen his share of scary things. But only in the past week did he begin to name them as such. Last week he started saying 'sombie!' and now he will specify "sdarry sombie!" "oooh, sdarry!" Saturday we went to a Halloween themed art show. Toddlesworth would be sure to point out all of the creepy costumes and d├ęcor an tell me they were scary. He would do this while carrying around one of the Styrofoam skull decorations, proclaiming it to be scary too.
When zombies were on the tv screen recently, he clung to his father and begged not to be put down. He has watched Paranorman a half-dozen times. While it is definitely not a movie for babies, he has always enjoyed it and watched it the entire way through. On this most recent viewing, however, he used the sheet blanketing him to cover his face and quake in fear and tell me it was scary. Repeatedly. And not during the scenes with the zombies/supernatural things. See, the other thing is, he isn't actually afraid of the movie. He is just learning what *should* be scary, and how to respond to it, by playing pretend. We play zombie chase now, too. "Uh, oh, mommy is a zombie! You'd better run!" I will say, chasing after him with a pronounced zombie gait and pose. He will gasp, and say "Sdarry sombie! ooh no!" and run away, checking back every few seconds with exaggerated fright to make sure I am still chasing him. If he gets tired or if the game does actually begin to bother him, he will turn to me, reach out to be picked up and say "Mommy?" and as quickly as that, all his fears, real or pretend, evaporate.
If not universal, the love of horror is widespread. As long as humans are able to feel safe, they can enjoy being afraid. I am happy to introduce Toddlesworth to the world of horror enjoyment, and Lord Covington and I will be his safe place from which to enjoy the fear for as long as necessary.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Wedding Details, As Promised!

By Lady Covington, {additions by Lord Covington as so}

We recently shared that the 21st was our second Wedding Anniversary. We wanted to share a little more about our wedding.  I absolutely loved all of our vendors and would highly recommend them. None of the below endorsements are paid in any way. : )

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Lullaby

 By Lady C.

We introduced Toddlesworth to a wide range of music from his earliest days, and he loves so much of it. He dances, headbangs, claps his hands and stomps his feet to the various beats he comes across. Sometimes he will be particular, and not be in the mood for a certain song or style.  There is one type, however, that he never grows tired of or wants us to stop: a live performance by either of us.

And I mean singing anything. Both of us break into song at the drop of a hat, silly little things, and we've done so since we were first together, possibly before.  Obviously these songs are spontaneous and terrible, but Toddlesworth is incredibly encouraging! I will sing him a silly song explaining the differences in dinosaurs, and he will ask for a second verse!

We have put him to sleep with music nearly every night since his birth. Lord C. has always been more into singing him metal anthems, whereas I go the more traditional route of lullabies or toddler suitable songs. 




Since Toddlesworth is so into rhyme and meter, it was easy to turn his nightly books into another lullaby, especially when I'd read them dozens of times and had them memorized. One book in particular became our go-to lullaby; Sylvia Long's version of Hush Little Baby.  In this version of the song, instead of buying your baby tons of things like horses and dogs and songbirds and diamonds, you are showing them bits of nature and partaking in the natural world with them. (Hush Little Baby, don't say a word, Mama's going to show you a hummingbird, if that humming bird should fly, Mama's going to show you the evening sky. As the nighttime shadows fall, Mama's going to  hear the crickets call. etc.)

There is just one problem: I am tone deaf in general, but I am especially comically bad at singing this particular song. For some reason I always have trouble getting the tune right, and it is easily overwritten by anything I've heard recently, including other songs I've sung to him that night. ABC's? The little one said roll over? Itsy bitsy spider? Yep, it has been all of these, as well as, according to C, some things that sound much more sinister. ("One, Two, Freddy's coming for you" is what he said it brought to mind.)

I suppose in my day I've liked artists who were subjectively (and possibly objectively) terrible on purpose. If my audience is receptive and even requests an encore, who am I to judge? I'll keep singing whatever songs he wants, as many times as he wants, and I'll make up verses and iterations, and I'll continue to engender my child's love of music.

I'll just hope he ends up with more musical talent than I have.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Midland Mayhem

So, several things were going on during my recent trip to the homeland.
I got to spend some time with Lindsey, a friend who is also Toddleworths' babysitter. It made the car ride(s) so much better to have company- we spend over 14 hours in the car over three days!
I got pictures of and belongings out of our wrecked Aveo.
I went to the Texas Sized Garage Sale.
I visited a house that I once lived in, that has since been home to a now-evicted hoarder.
I did some research for the upcoming Mystery Project Lord Covington and I are getting ready to tackle, and got very inspired!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Toddlesworth Tuesday: Toddlesworth Levels Up

By Lord Covington

A dear friend of mine, we'll call him Miggy, and I have had a long running discussion about how realistic the level system of Dungeons and Dragons is.  Miggy has always said that learning is a more gradual thing, and you don't suddenly know how to do things you didn't before.  I have always been of the opinion that epiphanies are real things, and that you can have moments where new abilities manifest.
      Toddlesworth seems to share my point of view.  Lady Covington has expressed concern that he lags behind in language.  Then, seemingly out of nowhere, he demonstrates new abilities.  When we thought at 18 months he wasn't stringing more than one word together as he should have been, he began saying things like "what that?" "i sit" etc., several times a day.  It was as though he knew how, and just hadn't felt like  Maybe he just does it to prove us wrong.  It's not like being obstinate runs on both sides of his family or anything.
          Last week, Toddlesworth added "Happy" to his vocabulary.  This week, he began stringing 3 word phrases together!  He fell, and said " I fall down".  Since he wasn't injured, I think laughter is perfectly acceptable.
          His musical appreciation has leveled up to off Toddler Broadway now.  He has begun to request, well, demand, specific lullabys instead of taking what we sing.  I attempted to sing him to sleep with 'Stars' from Les Miserables.  He, with his eyes closed , shook his head and said " No! Bay-BEE?"  I asked him, do you want to hear Hush Little Baby?" "Yeah", he replied sleepily.  And so it went.  But he still appreciates the musical, though.  We were watching the opening scene to the 2012 Les Miserables. After 'Look Down played, he walked around for 5 minutes singing " Dooooown" , like baby Jean Valjean.
        He needs specific music to get his groove on as well, and is suddenly better able to indicate his preferences.  He has had  a toy called " Brainy Baby" that lights up and plays music for months, and has always enjoyed it. Latley he has began a fast caper/ shuffle across the rug. Its almost like an extra floppy, swaying tap dance. ( I solemnly promise to catch hm on video soon)  However, out of all the songs and beats, he will only dance to "Rockin' Robin.
        I remain swelled with pride that he loves music and words so. It's interesting to me how he suddenly is more capable in so many directions, seemingly without precedent.  I look forward to a new and exciting adventure next week.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Anniversary: What's In a name.

According to Lord Covington:

   Today marks two years of being officially married.  When reflecting on the times past, it sometime is difficult to establish the significance.  We originally were waiting until our country stood behind marriage equality; which, while improvements have certainly been made, we do not yet recognize love and commitment of all citizens.  So you can imagine my dumbfounded shock when Lady Covington proposed to me at a restaurant one day.
           We were eating at a Greek/ Middle eastern restaurant in Corpus Christi.  We were talking about any number of revolving topics that filtered past us every day. She was talking and I felt a weird tension in the air, and wondered if I had done something wrong.  The next part takes on a dream like quality.  I feel like she moved aside from where she was sitting, and there, in the setting sun, was her proposal, just outside the window of the restaurant.  Lights seemingly written in the air said simply "Will you marry me ?".  I was flabbergasted and more than a bit confused.  I had plans of my own to try to convince her that our union was a good idea, and here she was out ahead of me.  I'm quite sure I blushed, as my face seemed roughly 30 degrees warmer than the rest of my body. Obviously I said yes.
          When we used to argue about getting married officially or not, her idea was that marriage would be a celebration of our life together, rather than the institution itself somehow raising the status of our love and commitment. We have been living together since 2003, and were basically married in all but legality.

           I used to criticize weddings and marriages in that they were simply declaring your union before the eyes of humans, and that God had nothing to do with it.  However, in declaring your love before people, for a moment, they get to share in the unique joy that is before and after yours and yours alone.  That in and of itself is pretty significant.  That might just be enough for me.

According to Lady Covington:

What Mr. Covington doesn't know is that the transition from being absurdly anti-matrimony to pro-proposing was not as sudden as it would seem from his point of view.

A large part of me still thinks that marriage is a patriarchal scam, while also believing everyone ought to have the legal right and support of their country to partake in the same, and this part was extremely outspoken in my teenage years. However, there was always another part that was a closet romantic. C. would try to convince me in the early years of being together that we could get married and if I didn't like it we could always get divorced. I told him that that was not an option; if I did get married it would be the " 'til death do us part" type. I would consider marriage in general, but my disdain for the institution of it (and lack of federal marriage equality) would make me quickly suppress any interest as fluffy princess crap I didn't need to care about.

But I did occasionally partake in caring. In the beginning I thought "If we got married before I finish my degree, he might finish at the same time and we could have the same name and walk across the stage together" "We're coming up on five years together, that's the minimum I told Bibi I'd have to be with someone before I considered marrying them." (During a busy wedding time at the hotel we worked at then, I realized it was because there was a rush of 07.07.07 weddings.) "Oh, that's cute. I'd prefer 08.08.08, it's like triple infinity!"  I think I was going to bring this up on the vacation where we got into the major wreck, I lost some of my memories of the time just before the wreck, but I do remember that in the first 24 hours after waking up I did have the thought "Well we couldn't possibly get married on 8/8/8 now, I probably wouldn't even be able to walk down the aisle then!"

I continued pushing these thoughts away, until I tried doing some research for my niece for her upcoming wedding. She wanted to do things a bit differently, and she wanted to wear a green dress.  I started doing a quick Google search for 'green dress' and stumbled across Offbeat Bride.  Little epiphany light bulbs danced over my head.

I could do things Differently?! The scope of ways to challenge the normal mode of weddings was immense an appealing. 
So you think you'd like to be married, but you can't stomach the idea of your guy asking for your hand in marriage? You do the proposing. (I can do that!)
You want to get married but also want to show your support for marriage equality? Here are some ways to do that! (I can do that!)
So you don't like alcohol or drunk people? Don't serve alcohol!  (Done and Done!)
You don't like the standard theme and colors of a wedding? Make up your own! (OMG, the possibilities!)
Pick your own songs! Write your own vows! Do whatever the heck you want because it is about you guys!

We watched my niece get married in  January 2010. She was young and it was an ill-fated match, but it was beautiful and their love could be seen shining from across the room. I cried. I'm crying now thinking about it, and I'm yelling at the little voice in my head that is currently telling me not to like this stupid lovey dove crap. 

This cemented it for me. I would be doing this.  I had already been looking at rings. "Well, if I were to propose, I'd want to find this exact ring for him."  (Found and purchased!)  I planned several different proposal techniques, some ended up being undo-able. I made a giant light up 'Will you marry me?' sign. I carried the ring around for months afraid he'd find it. I knew that it would be a surprise, coming from someone who had been telling him for 7 years that I didn't want to get married. My proposal ended up explaining myself along those lines, and I'll admit it wasn't that romantic. It did get the desired response, however!

We planned and crafted for two years before the wedding date, and we have reminisced about it for two years since. It was a celebration of ourselves, our craftiness, our creativity, our love, our tribe and community, and most of all, our future. We will leave you with a slideshow of the wedding, and tell you a bit more about it later this week!






The Highs and Lows of Parenting

By Lady I. Covington.


Toddlesworth and I are visiting my mother in Midland Tx. This is due to being jerked around a bit by the insurance company after the recent wreck(s) we had. I'll go into more detail on that and the rest of my trip to Miland soon. For now, I want to talk about some of the highs and lows of parenting I recently experienced

Yesterday was the best example of the highs and lows of parenting I've had in a long while. The day started a bit before 5:30, when Toddlesworth woke up screaming. He had lost his pacifier off of the bed we were in. I don't know how I can go to sleep with my glasses and phone right beside me and a peacefully sleeping pacified baby, and wake up with a screaming baby and none of those other things, but this was one of the days where that happened. I have terrible vision. I'm not legally blind but I've got to be pretty close. My glasses go on as soon as I open my eyes, and stay on until I go to sleep. I take them off to shower, but keep them on to swim.  So I was blind, with no light source, trying to search for a missing pacifier and comfort a screaming baby.  I did eventually find it with some help but it took him an hour to go back to sleep. By then I was up for the day.
So that was a low. 

The first major high point came as soon as he woke up. He toddled out of the room and to me, I asked if he needed to pee and he agreed he did. (He will sometimes deny it when I know he does need to.) I put him on the toilet and he peed, and he pointed to the pacifier and said "Gggrreeen!"  That is the first time he has matched up a color correctly with me. He loves colors, and can say many of them, but up until now when he liked the color on something he would just point to it and say "Color!"

We had a busy and fun day, and Toddlesworth was pretty well behaved the entire time. He was mostly cooperative when he needed to be held (My, I wish I'd brought a baby carrier!), and when he wanted down he'd point to the ground and say "Walk?"  When he was walking and wanted to run, he'd ask "Run?" and wait for me to say it was ok before he started running. My goodness, parking lots are much easier to navigate when your child asks you before he takes off running! I hope he keeps that up. We also tested out 'put your hand on the car' I think it will work in the future but this time he just decided that meant he had to touch every surface of the rental car.

The next low point came after dinner as we were watching "The Walking Dead." This next part is gross in a way that doesn't involve walking corpses, so if you've got  a weak stomach skip to the next paragraph! Toddlesworth got a tiny bit of candy stuck on the roof of his mouth and gagged it out. I thought he was ok, but a few seconds later it made him keep gagging and he vomited while standing on the couch facing me--basically directly onto my chest. I gasped in shock but out of instinct I was able to cup my hand and catch this disgusting torrent of potato bits  while I asked my mom to grab him. (Ok, I'm pretty sure I screamed "Don't get the camera! Get the baby!!" After grabbing a trash can it was much too late for, (He had already released another torrent of partially digested potato matter into my arms by then) my mom grabbed him. I stood up, cradling my armful of vomit like a baby, dumped it into the offered trash can, and headed directly to the shower. After I was cleaned up and he was wiped down, we headed to bed.

 Once we got settled into bed, Toddlesworth asked for Hush Little Baby, then 5 or 6 verses of "Ten in the Bed" He seemed like he was pretty thoroughly asleep, but before I could make my escape he turned over and threw his arm over my neck and nestled into me. That was pretty wonderful from a kid who's standard mode of affection includes repeatedly poking me in the eyes. I know it is a normal thing for kids to like their parents, but it is still a wonderful feeling.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Overcoming

By Lord C. Covington

"Remember what they taught you:
How Much of it was Fear:
Refuse to hand it down:
Your Legacy: stops here.
  -"Melissa Etheridge"
          Fear was as constant a companion growing up as my shadow.  I was raised amidst the Satanic Panic of the 80's, and in a Pentecostal household.  This was a world inhabited by word of Angels, Demons, and anonymous white van riding kidnappers. I was indoctrinated to know that demons were always ready to attack or possess me.  My father, a marine who served 3 tours of duty in Vietnam, made sure we swept our house for I never-knew-what before my mother and sister were allowed to enter our home.  My grandmother, a formative influence on my life, taught me never to trust any adult, because they would likely molest me.  Every night I sang myself to sleep with hymns to keep the demons that I knew were there at bay.  My box fan sounded enough like running water in the bathroom that I could convince myself my mother was nearby, and I could fall asleep.
         This fear has been mitigated by a life that has given me few empirical reasons to be fearful.  However, it informs the core of many aspects of my thinking.  I have always had, and will always have difficulty trusting people.  In tense interpersonal situations I tend to shut down emotionally.
         Toddlesworth is already a braver man than I, even to his own detriment.  He approaches the world with an exited curiosity, rather than a reserved suspicion.  There was a pit bull a chain roar-barking at him, and he merely pointed at it with a joyous expression and repeated " dog? dog! dog?".  The dark makes him sleepy, but never fearful.  He has been in a car collision, and most of his crying was over being woken up, and was over quickly.  I am determined to foster his curiosity over his anxiety.  I am determined to raise him to the light rather than teaching him to cower at the darkness.  As his father, I can do no less.  I think he will be a better person for it.

         
      

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Throwback Thursday: Introducing Furry Family Members


We currently have three pets (and aren't looking for any more!): A large brown lab/shepherd mutt, a slightly smaller shorthair theoretically purebred border collie, and a black and white (tuxedo) cat.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Toddlesworth Tuesday: Toddlesworth's Evolving Ritual

Toddlesworth has had a waking and bedtime ritual since he has been able to talk.  Upon getting sleepy, and usually while sitting on one of our laps, he will begin to lean repeatedly back and forth, hugging each of us.  He will point at me and say " DAH-ee", with an enormous grin. He will continue pointing and insisting "DAH-ee, DAH-ee. Dah." until we confirm that I am, indeed, his dad.  He will then cuddle Lady Covington, and say " mah- MAH". with the same grin. If we don't acknowledge his naming of us soon enough, it will turn into poking and insistent questioning. "mah-MAH?! MAH?"  Sometimes I think he's just bubbling over with pride at his words and wants us to know. Occasionally, he will do this with pictures of us on our driver's licenses or something similar. His ritual fills me with a warm serene glow.
        This week, he added a new action to his ritual.  He was laying on our bed, gazing sleepily at us.  "DAH-ee", he beamed, pointing at me.  "I'm your dad", I reassured him. "Mah-MAH", he repeated, pointing at Lady C. "Yes, that's your mom."  Then , for the first time, he pointed at his own chest and said " Meeee".  I was awestruck.  Lady C. and I exchanged stunned glances before assuring him "Yes! Yes, you ARE you!" How often does anyone get to witness the 1st symptoms of self awareness in another being?  I am blessed and lucky.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Stranger than Fiction

We have bypassed strange and moved into the land of the completely absurd.

Just earlier today, we discussed our history of our ridiculous history with cars.

Today we made a short trip to a family reunion about 45 minutes away from home. We stayed there from 4 to 8 ish, walked around with my nieces and nephews, saw lots of tiny hopping frogs, then decided to head home.

We got onto the road that would spit us out two minutes away from home, discussing all sorts of things, including the ridiculous amount of car issues we've had. We were travelling peacefully, Toddlesworth was sleeping in the back seat, in a new carseat which had been given to us by a co worker.

No less than 15 minutes later, about 10 minutes away from home, from a side road to the main dark road, a dark truck booked it past a stop sign. I saw the speed he was heading at, realized he could not be planning to stop, and had only time to shout a warning before impact.

C managed to swerve left and avoid being completely T-boned, but the (dark truck?) still clipped the back passenger tire area. We spun 90 degrees and ended up on the wrong shoulder, facing the road. The guy didn't stick around, but continued on his way, leaving us with a confusedly awake toddler, a scraped elbow, and a bashed up rental car.

Great.

So our insurance is going to be taking a hit this week in any case. We'll have to deal with all that fun stuff in the morning.

For tonight, I'd like to stop and make an important point about car seats. The car seat we received was set for a smaller child, it would have been easy to strap Toddlesworth in as it was and say it was good enough, that I would fix it after the short trip.   I'm grateful I took the extra minute to adjust the straps. Even though it was a minor impact, it could easily have been worse. Without proper car seat use, even this minor impact may have been enough to seriously harm our baby.  My adrenaline after the wreck was due in a very large part to knowing how close my son may have come to serious injury.
Please, be sure your car seat is in usable condition. This includes being new or being sure it has not been in any accidents (depending on brand, some minor impacts are ok).  Be sure the straps are fitted properly to your child, snug, and untwisted. Be sure the latch system or seatbelt is as tight as possible (put your knee in the seat and your whole weight into it to get it as tight as possible!)  Rear face as long as possible. And of course, never rear face in the front seat of a car with airbags!

This is the first time we have been in any car incident with our baby. We are glad the car seat did its job. Remember, a car seat is the safest place in a car wreck-but only if it is used correctly!

Through the Flames and Out of the Wreckage


I started writing this two days ago, only a few minutes after I got the news that my husband was in a car wreck. Luckily he is fine. An SUV ran a red light and hit him. The car was totaled and rolled onto its side. I don't know all the details, I have yet to even see pictures. We are of course very fortunate that he was not injured. We are also very lucky that the car that hit him had insurance. This is only a very minor setback in our lives, and it's not the first time we've had a car incidents. I hope there is never a more relevant time to mention our unfortunate history with automobiles.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Introducing Lord Toddlesworth



                Lord Toddlesworth is a product of weirdness, soy, and love.  His birth was going to be at home, which in our case is a hotel.  While ultimately it didn’t work out that way, our entire birth plan set the tone for his life to come.  
                His experiences are unusual on a daily basis due to his setting, and sometimes his wardrobe.  He has often served as an ambassador to the hotel.  People walk in, see me and give me a look that says: "Uh Oh, a long haired scruffy guy, this seems dubious."  Then Toddlesworth comes around the corner in his 3 piece Alpha Baby attire complete with pacifier chain, and their face seems to say "Oh well, he's got a baby, this place is probably ok."  He has also attended events such as after hours and grand openings, and one Bridal Fair where he handed out paper roses to brides-to-be.
                These experiences have lead to some unusual bits of know how that I just didn't expect from a toddler.  We have baby locks on all of the cabinets at the hotel front desk.  He has been caught, at less than a year of age, using a spoon to try and wiggle the lock loose.  I saw him just a few months back demonstrate knowledge of  using hotel key cards.  Maybe he's just training as a future master thief, who knows?
               Aside from Baby Larceny, Toddlesworth has an advanced and hilarious vocabulary, particularly when it comes to songs or anything that rhymes.  He had the (gift?) of metal music since he was but an embryo.  It is what he responds to the quickest, with very solemn head banging.  When he says the word "Rock!" there is always a grrrrowl to the word.  He also says " Yay-yah!" with the same growl.  Imagine Metallica's James Hetfied, only with a tiny toddler voice.  Go on, do it, it will make you smile.
              He receives thrice weekly excursions to the state park, since we live 5 minutes away from one.  We weren't sure how he would react to all the stone stair climbing and hiking the first time we went.  As it turned out, we were sort of playing catch up to a happily hike/stomping toddler.  He seems to enjoy nothing so much as finding a stick ,and marching off down the hiking trials swinging it. He also enjoys swimming in the lake, any time he is allowed.  If not allowed at any particular time, he is perfectly content to sling rocks while laughing hysterically at the places they end up.  
               Our son is unusual, or as we think of him, atypically awesome!

Pacifier chain!


Sunday, October 6, 2013

Lord and Lady? Why so Snooty? Or, The Origins of the Covingtons

We aren't really, I promise!
It is a bit of an inside joke, or fond reference. We wanted a more egalitarian form of name changing than the usual 'she takes his' mode, and we decided to both change our last name to a third option. There were a couple options on the table, but Covington was a clear outlier because it had already held significance to us both for the greater part of a decade.

The irony is I don't remember why we decided on that name in the first place. I'm sure it was because it sounded properly snooty and English.

You see, once upon a time, in 2003, after having only known each other a few weeks, Lord Covington and I decided to take on the massive project of writing (casting, directing, making props for, etc.) an interactive murder mystery dinner theatre.

We were in college, living in the dorms, and near broke.  Our target date was spring break, where a small group of dorm weirdoes, obviously including us and our friends, would get the place 'to ourselves.'  Our cast consisted of equally broke college students, as did our audience/participants. We spent weeks writing and rewriting clues, characters, and designing 'sets' and making props.  We scraped up what we could of our monies and bought refreshments. Dinner consisted of spaghetti and garlic bread which featured in the plot. Because there was a vampire. 

Did I forget to mention that part? Covington was the name we gave to the owners of our haunted, zombie ridden, Victorian mansion. Long ago they were cursed to have a monster born into the family with each generation. The distant family members had been gathered together under pretext, the organizer of the event was to find the monster and kill it.

Usually, at a Murder Mystery Dinner Theater, the guests sit down and eat, and watch the play. Ours was different in that there was no static audience. Everyone was an active participant. They all had a character name, a title/descriptor/job, and a special ability they could use three times in the evening. It was basically a simplified LARP without calling it that and scaring people away. The murder mystery was a complete disaster and a roaring success. Nothing went according to our plans.  People moved props that "should" have been too heavy to move, they ignored trap doors. They pretended to mix the potion ingredients instead of actually mixing them. They ignored very important clues but somehow kept meddling through. People who weren't involved at all walked around the corner into our ghost bride and ran away terrified. However, none of the participants knew our plans, and they all had a wonderful time, never noticing when things went slightly wrong. From 8 pm until midnight, they ran around trying to discover clues, escape a mob of zombies, find out who the vampire amongst them was, escape the crazy haunted mansion. It was glorious.

We ran a slightly better version with better props two years later (and again better two or three years after that) but we kept some props from that first murder mystery, even now.  Our favorite, the one that truly embodies the attitude and state of affairs of that first attempt is a crowbar. It was cut out of cardboard, colored with a sharpie borrowed from the front desk of the dorm, and bent to resemble the 's' shape of a crowbar.

We kept that crowbar prominently displayed on our wall throughout many moves, as in inspiration, as proof of what we could do together, and a reminder that even though things don't always go perfectly, it doesn't mean you can't have fun!

I believe that our baby was the first to be called Lord Covington. Since he spent a large chunk of our day with us at work, even when very young, I took every opportunity to dress him in onesies with ties, or in fancy vested suits, jackets, even name tags. Once he started walking "Little Lord Covington' gave way to "Little Lord Toddlesworth."   We plan to introduce you to Toddlesworth on Tuesday, and have Tuesdays be a weekly update of what he has done or how he has developed that week as well as a possible reflection into his short past.