Inopportune loo-ing and gumbo

You know what really irritates me? When I've just settled in somewhere -let's say on a couch, wrapped in a blanket, a fire going- and I realize, with urgency, that I need to pee. It gets my goad (some say that's goat) every single time. I understand that my body is telling me something, but tarnation, I just got comfortable. Anyway, we had a day that felt busy, but I'm not actually sure what we did. Oliver had a playdate, Jack had Tae Kwon Do, I went to the same stores two times each -wha??- and we all watched Spaceballs. Tom made a gumbo because although I had every intention of doing so, I just couldn't rally. It's one of the dishes he feels he's mastered, so why would I stand in his way? To be honest with you, he needs to thin his just a tad. It's not a smoothie, man! But I'll take it.

Ol and I walked Percy, and O climbed every tree in sight as Percy peed on them. Ol is a darling bozo of epic proportion. Observe what we did to his hair and how he chose to pose just before we headed out.

Clasped in his arm is his newest friend, Penguy. Oliver is a very funny child, and Tom and I have absolutely zero idea about just what will become of him. We're pretty laissez-faire and feel he'll land on his feet, but it's kinda funny to consider that your offspring could really run the gamut in terms of outcome.

I'm super-happy that T felt inspired to cook, because it was a perfect evening for bowls of steaming gumbo and fluffy rice. Today was cold as get-out, y'all; I just couldn't get warm, no matter how much I put on or how close I sat to the fireplace. And although I make gumbo throughout the year, something about it also feels festive, as if it's a seasonal imperative to be eating it just now, as Christmas approaches. We popped sparkling apple cider for the boys, and T made bourbon-blood orange & cardamom shrub cocktails for us, and the four of us sat on the floor, round our fluidly triangular coffee table, eating and drinking and warming ourselves in front of the glowing hearth.

Because I am forever on a mission to dispel the Facebook-perfection image so many of us have about others' lives, please know that while our dinner was lovely enough, it was in no way perfect or overly relaxing as it involved marshmallows lit afire like small torches (s'more fail) and then thrust into all the logs, the chimney and the glass doors that front our fireplace; extreme butt talk by two boys lolling about on the floor, as rice and crumbs and so forth spread like ashes in wind; futile requests to please use silverware rather than hands because really, soup!; and so forth.

I told the kids they could skip baths, a decision I half-regretted when Oliver undressed and I got a whiff of areas south of his navel. I handed him his PJs and scurried out of the room with some excuse about peeing again. Probably true. And then the boys asked if they could try once more to sleep in the same room even though we always have to separate them because so many reasons including the Mose the Fireman book-on-CD being played at 9000 decibels.

The separation just commenced, in case you're wondering if this time worked. It did not.

I've put away the leftover gumbo and am sitting in front of a tired, flameless fire. The Nut is asleep on my abdomen; one of my arms is over his, my other alongside his ear, and I desperately hope I don't realize that the loo calls because the purrfect, quiet, sweet peace that I feel right now is deserved and fleeting and a wonderful combination of all that came before.