Tag Archives: alvie bean

Surviving Five

Alvie Bean turned five on Saturday. Because I have clearly lost my mind, I agreed that he could have a birthday party. And invite a bunch of friends. And they could come to our house.

Due to a frosting fuck-up, Alvie and I had to make a run to the store for *gasp!* store-bought frosting. I know–I am deeply ashamed. (I should’ve made the frosting the day before and thrown it in the fridge, but nooooo….)

Even with the inferior frosting, the cake turned out pretty okay, I think.

There were approximately 100 (or roughly a dozen) kids between the ages of 2-7 at our place for two hours. They shrieked and yelled and ran and ate and played and fought and had a delightful time.

There was a piñata!

And a “pin the pokeball on the charizard” game (I got zero pictures of that). And, of course, cake.

And presents. And rooms full of feral monkeys. (One parent, after peeking into L’s room, said “It’s like Lord of the Flies in the there.”)

Overall, I think a good time was had by all. Even me, once I finally got to drink that glass of wine I poured.

After the excitement wound down and the birthday boy was released from his room for a post-party cat-kicking attempt, the Beer Guy and I took Alvie out to dinner. (The Bean is enamored of the Beer Guy. “I’ll have water to drink, because that’s what C is having.” or “I used to like Ninjago, but now C & I prefer Pokemon.” or “We’re going to build the Burj Khalifa together and we will not need your help, Mommy.”)

It was a lovely weekend (the Burj Khalifa did, indeed, get built by my two favorite guys with zero assistance from me). Alvie got so many lego sets and drawing kits and spent Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning working on his first still life.

Still Life with Beer Bottle

“Mommy – please put this picture on the internet so I can be a famous still life artist.”

My boy has grown up so very much, but, as he told me this morning on the way to preschool, “Mommy, you can still call me ‘baby’ sometimes. Just not in front of my friends.”

Okay, baby…I’ll try to remember.

Freshly hatched (April 2012)

First Birthday – just getting into that whole “walking” thing

2nd birthday – he’s always liked drawing…

My Alvie-saurus in the Dinosaur Train birthday shirt for his 3rd birthday

4th Birthday boy prepping for his train party…

And now, so very big. He’s grown up so much in the last year.

This kid…my heart.

Five Years with Alvie Bean

Dear Alvie,

Tomorrow, you’ll turn five years old. You love your birthday and have been looking forward to this milestone for quite some time. I’m pretty sure your excitement over both mine and the Beer Guy’s birthdays was because that was two less birthday barriers before you turned five.

You are such a wonderful boy. It’s been a hard year, and we’ve had some rough times, but through it all, you’ve stayed affectionate, kind, and oh-so-curious.

April 2016

You’ve grown so much this year–both physically and intellectually. You dress yourself everyday (even socks, which were challenging for a long while). Your style isn’t necessarily my style, but you definitely have one. Thanks be to Thor, though, you’ve moved passed that “all shirts must be blue and all pants must be black or grey.”

May 2016

You are, as always, both the most infuriating and most delightful person I’ve ever known. You’ve figured out that one of the quickest ways to get out of trouble is to give me a hug and tell me you love me. It doesn’t always work, but it melts my heart.

June 2016

We had so much fun this summer. Between the backyard sprinkler and the water  park at the park two blocks away and time spent with your BFFs at the park and the pool, it was some good times.

July 2016

I spent as much time as possible outside with you this summer–complicated by the ridiculous heat Portland experienced. We gardened, we swam, and we got ice cream from the creepy, off-key ice cream van (a first for both of us!).

When it was too hot for outside, we built legos, and you started showing an interest in drawing. You’ve gone from barely drawing in September, to drawing childish square/triangle window-less houses in October, to completely recognizable Tower Bridges (complete with Elizabeth Tower, which houses Big Ben).

This was December – his skills are even more mad now.

In August, we took a trip! We flew on an airplane all the way to South Dakota to visit Grandma and Aunt Liz. You did so well on 3/4 of the airplanes. You were polite, charming, and well-behaved.

August 2016
On the plane!

It was a fantastic trip. You met your great-grandma, several great-aunts and uncles, my good friend Marcy and her family, got to see trains, waterfalls, and swim in the largest natural lake in South Dakota. There was the small incident of air-sickness on the first leg of our return trip, but even barfing on a plane, you managed to maintain your equanimity and charm…those flight attendants were so nice to you.

September 2016

You developed an unholy affection for all things Pokemon. I don’t understand it–although I don’t particularly mind it as a tv show (it’s better than Daniel Tiger, that’s for sure), I don’t get the attraction. But I’m sure it won’t be the last time I don’t understand your interests. Fortunately, I don’t need to understand–I only need to support.

October 2016
Ash Ketchum caught all the candy

Autumn was hard for us. Mama was stressed, you were stressed, no one was sleeping, and our routine was all messed up with the various holidays. You really enjoyed participating in all the pre-election excitement. You helped me drop off our ballots, we painted our finger and toenails in patriotic colors, and we made election party cupcakes. (We’ll not talk about the rest of that.)

November 2016

It was hard on all of us, but your excitement about the winter holidays almost made up for it. It was so fun taking you gift shopping and seeing what crazy things you came up for. (The best? Stopping you from buying grandma a pair of socks that said “I’m a delicate fucking flower.” You liked them because flowers. I almost let you get them. Almost. You really need to learn to read, kiddo.)

December 2016

Post Christmas was also an exciting time. First Grandma came to visit and then it started snowing. And snowing. And snowing.

January 2017

Oh – and we moved again! This time, as I’ve reassured you more than once, for good. Not, however, forever. You may not live with us forever. You’ve got 13 more years, and then you’re out of here, buddy! It’s been fun getting your room set up (you have your own desk for all your drawing!) and getting to know new cats. One of the best parts (for me, anyway) is that we’re two blocks from a huge park with a pool!

February 2017
Rainy walk to the pool

The last month has been a countdown to your birthday. Every day we ask Siri how many days it is until April 8. You’ve planned your cake, addressed all your party invitations, and asked every day if any presents have arrived.

I am so excited to pick you up tonight! I didn’t get to see you on your birthday last year, and I’m delighted that I’m getting you for this one.

You have become such a delightful child and I am so pleased that you’re my kid. You are smart, funny, talented, challenging, and kind. The last five years are beyond anything I could’ve anticipated and I know the next five will continue to surprise and challenge and delight me. Most of the time.

March 2017

You’re my favorite, kid. I will love you to the sun and the moon and all the planets and back.



Our super serious “Mom’s taking me away from Pokemon” faces


Monday Miscellany

So much stuff stirring around in my brain right now. SO MUCH. That means bullet points for you!

  • Every time I start to exercise regularly–and I mean every fucking time–I get sick. I have head congestion and a runny nose, which makes it impossible to run because I like to breathe. Breathing while running is hard enough when I feel great. JFC, universe!! Do you want me to be fat and lazy? Because that would be easier for me, and if that’s what my destiny is, I can go ahead and give in.
  • I’m going to do some gentle, non-inversiony yoga today. The purpose is to remind my muscles that we do like to move a bit and keep the habit of carving time out of my day to exercise.
  • BUT SERIOUSLY! WTF‽‽‽ This is monumentally unfair.
  • Other important things: I desperately need a job. If you want to pay me money, let me know. I’ll do anything! (Although, I’d prefer to edit or write or proofread. I’ve done a little bit of those things freelance, and would enjoy doing more.) However, if you need someone to do the weird stuff, I can do that, too.

  • After finishing up the edits (and cutting 25,000 words) on The Waning Moon, I decided to reward myself with a little gaming. I’m not much of a gamer (anymore), but there are a few things I like. It’d been a while since I’d played on my PC (I don’t even use the PC for anything–it just sits around getting dusty and storing old photos of the Bean), and it was a PITA to get everything set up. BUT, finally Saturday evening post Bean bedtime, I was in and playing Dragon Age: Inquisition. I’ve killed some stuff, which is a nice break from writing all day where I also have been killing.

  • The Bean and I have been making bread every weekend he’s here. He’s becoming such a great helper (and I’m almost sincere about that now!) and really enjoys kitchen stuff.


  • He’ll be five in less than two weeks, and I’m not sure I’m ready. It’s fun watching him grow up and become his own person, but he’s almost too big for me to pick up (I need him to ‘jump’ when I pick him up), and carry, and hold–although we do our best. He’s been extra cuddly lately, and I’m taking advantage of that as much as possible. I know there will come a day when he doesn’t want me to hold him anymore.

  • This week’s focus is getting the crap stuff having to do with The Waning Moon done–synopsis and blurb. It took 130,000 words to tell the story originally–how am I expected to break that down to a couple pages, much less a couple paragraphs? Once I talk about coffee and tacos, I’m out of space!
  • The first newsletter went out last week with an exclusive peek at one of my favorite amusing bits from The Waning Moon, as well as the first chapter of Raj’s story. Sign up now to learn more about our favorite vampire!
  • If you’ve read The Cardinal Gate and are so inclined, I’d be delighted and grateful if you’d review on Amazon and/or Goodreads.
  • Of course, if you haven’t read The Cardinal Gate, I’d be even more delighted and grateful if you did! (It’s available on Amazon in paperback, ebook, and Kindle Unlimited.)


That’s about enough miscellany for today. Have a great week!


Three Things Thursday: Alvie Bean Edition

  1. Today I got to spend a couple extra hours with my delightful kid. His ankles are poking out of his pants and his arms and belly are hanging out of his shirt. I don’t even know how time passes so quickly sometimes, but, as he informed me this morning, he will be five years old in 22 days. FIVE.
  2. Speaking of that kid–he’s almost five, so it’s a given that he’s a handful from time to time. But he’s also really at that age where he loves to help. He’s not always the best at helping, but he loves it so I let him help as much as is safe. He helps me make bread, and set the table, and empty the dishwasher…and the other day he addressed his own birthday party invitations. And they’re completely legible.
  3. I’ve pointed out my book to him (I got my stack o’ author copies). The Beer Guy also purchased a book. Alvie Bean was mildly confused about how that book could be the Beer Guy’s because my name was on it. I’m amused by the thought that you can only own books you’ve written yourself. (I’d need a lot less shelf space if that were the case.)

TWENTY-TWO DAYS! (I don’t even know what’s going on here…it looks like he’s about to backhand me. I don’t think that’s the case.)


Manic Monday

My entire Monday routine is off today. Between the time change (which I’m hoping was responsible for my small child’s sudden, but hopefully not permanent, transformation into a feral velociraptor) and the fact that instead of having my groceries brought to me, I went to the grocery store like a commoner, everything is off.

It’s almost 11 am, I didn’t breakfast (I usually eat after dropping the child off at daycare), and I haven’t done anything work-like yet.

Except grocery-shopped. And we legit menu planned last night! I wrote down plans for a whole week, made a grocery list, bought all the things on said list, and am really excited that a good 1/3 of the plans include recipes from my #bebetterbookchallenge cookbook.

There is a section on “marine mammals” and a recipe for reindeer blood pancakes. Since The Beer Guy refuses to let me start a reindeer herd in our back yard, and I couldn’t find reindeer blood at New Seasons, we’re stuck with pork and banana curry, abelskivers (finally get to use my new abelskiver making pan!), and Icelandic meat soup. I’ll let you know how it goes.

The weekend was pleasantly busy. It was the first weekend I had the Bean since before my birthday, and we did a lot of lego-ing. He’s also turning into quite the helper. We made bread yesterday, and he helped me mix all the ingredients and shape the loaves. He also made waffles Saturday morning, and helped us do more work in our office space (the last hold out for organization). (You guys, cohabitation is amazing, but getting two adults’ worth of stuff into one house that already contained an adult is challenging.)

Here he is helping by wearing every single one of my race medals – back when I used to actually fucking run.

The best part of the whole weekend may have been Friday night, though. When we got home, Alvie Bean told me he needed to write a letter to Frank the Leprechaun. We don’t do Santa, nor the Easter Bunny, and although the Toothy Fairy hasn’t come up, that’s likely no. We also don’t do religion, and when he asked me who Jesus was, I may have explained Jesus by referring to our book on Thor (and other mythology).

So Frank the Leprechaun kinda threw me for a loop. But I went ahead and helped him with that letter.

He can’t read, but he knows all his letters, so he’d tell me what he wanted to say and I spelled every word for him.

Fun fact: the Bean writes from bottom to top.

Funner fact: when he asked me how to spell “goodies” and I spelled it for him, he said, “Oh, wonderful! I am so good at writing seven-letter words.”

It reads (from bottom-to-top):

“I didn’t know you had a chimney. Your house is a mess. Thank you for making goodies with me.”

After I snapped the picture, he added “To Frank. From Alvie.”

(Turns out Frank is a leprechaun who lives in a tiny house at Alvie’s daycare and the kids write him letters, and if they’re good listeners, Frank gives them goodies. This Santa-model of behavior modification isn’t the way I’d go, but whatever. He wrote a letter to a leprechaun. There’s only so much I can rail against.)

At least we’re not here. Yet.


So, here we are, now at 11:30 on Monday. I’ve gotten groceries, removed all trail running obstacles from my car. Done a little more office organization. Taken out the compost, recycling, and garbage. Had more coffee than usual. And written a blog post. (Also, applied for two jobs and filed my unemployment claim for the week.)

I have seven days to finish my reader-ready draft of The Waning Moon. I am on chapter four. There are twenty-three chapters and an epilogue. Send wine. And an internet outage.


PS – If you’re interested in what’s going through my head while I’m working on The Waning Moon, you can follow my Pinterest board.

PPS – The first issue of the Amy Cissell newsletter will be coming out next week! Sign up now!