Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Birthday Moni!

Happy Birthday Lady! You're the sister I never had (which is probably good since we never had to fight over clothes and boyfriends...) I hope you have a wonderful day!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Other People's Kids

So one of the hot-topic debates amongst mommies today is how to deal with other people's children. Should you ever yell at a child who is not your own? Criticize? Redirect? There are some who argue that it is NEVER ok to do any of the above to a child who is not your own or under your direct care, and there are some who argue that it's fine.

I thought that I had a very solid idea of where I stood on this.

To me, if another child is in danger, or putting your child in danger (throwing, hitting etc), and their parent isn't speaking up, you are obligated to. Danger was the key word there.

Then I found myself getting involved with strange children who took my children's toys away - our neighborhood park seems to be a mecca for lazy moms who think that they can just drop off their 3 year-olds and sit on a bench NOT EVEN LOOKING while they talk on their cell phones. I mean seriously, what is THAT about?!?

Then I found myself chastising my child's playmates for acting out. In my defense, it was mostly because said child is a follower and I wanted to keep him in line. And it's wicked hard to yell at your kid for doing something when his friends are all doing it and not being yelled at.

But there's something about the holidays...

Apparently not only do the holidays turn people into awful nasty drivers, steamroller mall shoppers, restaurant rudies and grocery store grumps...me?...They turn me into Miss Manners, child behavioral expert.

Please, stifle your giggles that I, the mother of two often-less-than-stellarly-behaved boys, would be dispensing lessons.

Because that's EXACTLY what has happened!

I actually "mommed" a friends child into saying thank you to another mother today. As soon as I realized what I had done, I apologized to the mom (who thankfully didn't turn on me to point out how my son was stealing her daughters toys a few minutes earlier). Then I thought about it and realized I'd been doing it to everyone! I actually told a little girl at the mall who wasn't behaving while her mother was waiting in line at the Gap that Santa was watching her. WTF? I must be out of my mind. I mean, they could be Jewish!

I'm going to hope that it's just a weird holiday twitch that will pass along with 2008.

But in the meantime, if you're up in Valencia at Heritage Park and you see a crazy lady yelling at your kids, do say hello or I might out you for manners infractions too.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Lights

Oh, and we went to see some Christmas lights...



Hard to believe that people in this sunny clime go THAT crazy over Christmas...

Sunday, December 14, 2008

And Yeah, It's Pink...

So things have been pretty uninteresting around here lately, but I was finally able to get away and get my hair done this weekend (It was BAD, like live in a hat BAD). I went to a new hairdresser who has done a friends hair for a long time and loves color and having fun with it. Worked out PERFECTLY since she's almost 75% less than my last hairdresser who apparently had a major auditory processing disorder. It didn't matter what I asked that chick, I'd leave with the same level of conservative mommy-highlights every time. And sometimes you just want something a little different. Like, say, pink highlights...

Yeah, That's Pink Alright.


Ok, I do have to go home for Christmas, so you know I couldn't do my WHOLE head that color. Instead we just did a little piece. There's that whole new trend where you wear a clip-in piece of hair that's a totally crazy color. Which makes me think that today's "Punk" kids are total sissies for not actually dying their hair. Plus I'm wayyy too lazy to clip something like that in (yes, I did even buy one in blue, used it once, wayyy too lazy). The result...I'm working on my self-portraiture - this is actually much darker than it should be (the pink and my hair are both lighter than they appear here). But I kindof like it. And I told her maybe next time we'd go for Blue. Fin wants to come with me...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A Sunrise

I know, I've been gone a few days. But Christmas planning has me tied up, I promise, I'll have something more interesting to say soon!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Twinkle, Twinkle, My Little Star

Last week Fin came home with the words to the song that his class will be performing in the Christmas Pageant in two weeks. It's basically a Christmas version of "Twinkle, Twinkle", which is smart because EVERY kid knows how that one goes. Unfortunately for me, Fin was more than a little irked that they had changed the words on him.

After putting the boys down for a nap, I stood in the kitchen staring at the lyrics weighing my options. I could pretend I'd never seen them and let the teacher teach the song. Or, I could help my kid learn it and be that parent who makes her kid sing it three times a day. Ultimately, I love the sound of my child singing way too much to pass up an opportunity to hear it more often.

It's been a week and Fin's mastered it. Last night I decided he should hold a concert for us. So I popped him up on his stage (our bed) and we found seats in the audience (on the floor) and Fin began. He got through the first verse and stopped.

"Hey, there are NO BABIES ALLOWED at MY SHOW!"

This was very clearly directed at Dash who was on my lap.

"But Fin, Dash would be sad if he missed your show."

Child looks at parents thoughtfully and continues on his song. Then again stops.

"Ok, get ready, this is the END!"

Parents try to control laughter through the last verse.

Then later, while in the tub, Fin looks at me, squints, and says:

"Ok, babies CAN come to my show, but only if they have clean diapers. I don't want any stinky wees or poopies at my show" (turns to Dash) "You hear me Dash, you can't have any poopies at my show so make sure mommy puts clean pants on you."

We can't wait.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Preschool Christmas

After much thought and polling, I decided to do Starbucks gift cards for Fin's Preschool teachers. To make them just a tad more personalized, I bought the photo tumblers and used Digital Scrapbooking supplies to do the fillers - a teacher friend told me that everyone enjoys a picture of their students so here's hoping that's true! In case anyone is interested, here are my favorite finds for digital scrapbooking supplies:
A Work in Progress: http://vicki20.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Does Size Matter?

As we arrived home from our walk today, I was super excited to find a package waiting for us. I had won an awesome Ebay auction that was a 12 piece lot of new-with-tags Zutano duds for Dash. When I opened the box, the stuff looked big - it was supposed to be 18-24 mo, but most of it was straight up 24 month. And because Dash HATES being dressed, much less "trying things on", I decided to see if they fit Fin. And they did. The WHOLE lot of it.


My three year old can wear all 24 month stuff.


Now before anyone chimes in with a "it must run big", he's also still wearing pants from the Gap and Children's Place that are 24 month. And his friends TOWER over him. People look at me incredulously when he tells them how old he is. I actually had someone ask me last week if he was a preemie. (FYI, no he wasn't, he was born 7lbs and plenty long) And why do people think it's acceptable to say crap like that anyway. Even today some dude told me that his one-year-old was bigger. Is that supposed to be funny? I'm seriously considering redirecting him to tell people he's one.

And before you tell me that he'll have a growth spurt and I should quit worrying (and last time I checked, worrying was in the job description), know that I was once the same height as my classmates. I just stopped growing somewhere around 8. My brother was once taller than most of his classmates too, I think he stopped growing by 10. And in case you needed an exact figure, I'm 4"11...and a half. When Woob and I decided to get married, I joked with him that part of my husband selection process was adding some height to my gene pool. He's tall-ish. And it's not like my parents are particularly short, but there are a fair number of people in my fam that don't achieve 5'5.

Yes, I hope that I'm rereading this in ten years and laughing about how Fin's now a giant manchild, but for now I have to plan for other futures. I was reading a heated online debate recently on growth hormones. I was amazed at how many people felt like taking growth enhancers was messing with mother nature. And more so that the vast majority of those people were a)not short b)not the parents of short children and/or c)not the parents of short boys. And if taking hormones is messing with mother nature, then what about hearing aids? Glasses? Fertility treatments?

And yes, I made a distinction between boys and girls. I know what the suck factors are about being a short girl. Woob even integrated "cute" into our wedding vows just to irritate me (I HATE CUTE!). But, as my mother was always quick to point out, at least I could wear high heels and never have to worry about being taller than my date. For a man? Not so much. And when I worry about my boys being short, it's not like I'm worrying that they won't get to six foot. As a friend put it, I just want them to "blend."

Then there's the argument of "it builds character". To which I recall any other "aid" that might thwart mother nature - I can't imagine telling a deaf person that to restore their hearing would impede their character. Then again, my father's father was short but you never really noticed it - his personality was huge. When he spoke to you, you felt like the only person in the room and he could make you feel like the most beautiful woman on the planet with one complement. He was a great man. Would he have been different if he had been taller? Who knows?

Yes, he's only 3, but if the next three years go by as quickly as the first three, then we, our family and my child, will have some choices to make. Is it wrong to just want to make life as easy as possible for your kids? To want to smooth this one wrinkle (for which I feel more than a little responsible)? What do you think?

Monday, December 01, 2008

For Fin At Three...

My Dearest Fin,

I can't belive I'm already writing you a note for your third birthday. Where has the time gone?

We had a family celebration the night before your birthday. We had Jamie stay with Dash and Daddy and I took you to dinner at Kisho - you loved watching the "Ninja's" cook our dinner and they sang to you too. Afterwards we took you to Fin's Glowzone where they have blacklight miniature golf. When the nice lady manager found out that your name was Fin AND it was your Birthday she even gave you a free t-shirt!

Then today, on your actual birthday, we were supposed to have lunch at Johnny Rockets with all of your friends, but there's a terrible cold going around, so we're going to try again later in the week. Daddy has promised to come home early tonight so we can do something fun as a family. Tomorrow will be your birthday celebration at school and Monika is going to watch Dash so I can volunteer to help. I ordered mini cupcakes from Babe's Bakery and I hope everyone enjoys them!

School has changed our routines a bit. We still walk often with Monika and James, but on Tuesdays and Thursdays you spend your mornings at school! You've done great with the adjustment and you love your teachers. You're a tad of a discipline challenge, but I'd be a total liar if I said I didn't see that one coming. You love learning and you've made some great new friends. I'm very glad we started you when we did. Despite your behavior issues, your teachers say that you are extremely advanced verbally - which I think is code for you never shut up! You're working on writing your letters and recognizing all your numbers 1-20 (you've had 1-10 down for a while now). You're in big boy pants full time now - and you have been for a while - and you're totally accident free. I'm so proud of how well you've handled that transition!

You're incredibly inqusitive and you seem to mature more every day. Yesterday, when your father and I told you we were mad at you for misbehaving, you kept asking us every hour if we were still mad at you. It was almost funny (if you hadn't been so BAD I guess.) You're also working on cutting with scissors and you've become a pro at pedaling a bike. Dash watches you as you learn things every day and you're a wonderful big brother to him. You're extremely patient and loving and we all joke that he thinks that you two are the same age. You still love Star Wars in all it's forms. You have almost every set of the Galactic Heroes people and it's by far your favorite thing of all your toys.

Well, that's all I can think of now my darling. I love you so very much and I am so very proud of the little man you are growing into.

All my love,

Mom

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What the Wii???

I loooove my Wii, loooove it. And when my mama bought me the Wii Fit for my birthday I was totally enthused. Woob was too. We Wii-Fitted until we went to bed complaining that our hips were still hula-hooping. Seriously, I had no idea how much of a workout that was! And I think I threw my shoulder out in the free-punch round of rhythmic boxing...

But the the enthusiasm waned a bit...that and it's kinda hard to move around the Wii Fit with a kid hanging on each leg.

(Note to mama friends who are thinking of investing - know that this is a naptime activity!)

I still try and Wii-Fit at least twice a week. This usually consists of me doing a few things and then supervising Fin ski jumping, soccer ball heading or penguin fishing. But when I fired up my Wii Fit yesterday I was met with an interesting exchange.

For those of you who have yet to be initiated into the world of Wii Fitting, let me enlighten you on some of the finer points...before you do anything it asks you to weigh in, tell your height etc. You're Mii is sized according to your BMI - which means Fin's Mii is a string bean compared to the rest of us. You are also asked to set goals on weight loss and fitness. Each time you fire it up, it wants you to re-weigh in so it can tell you how largely you're failing at reaching close you are to your goal. After completing the sign-in process, you can then chose your Wii Fitting activities.

Except that it didn't go like that today.

Today, instead of taking me to my activities menu, it asked me if I've seen Woobiiiii lately...

(Yes, the hubs is Woobiiiii, I'm Maggiiiii and Fin is Fiiiiin, we're THAT funny!)

So I clicked yes. The next screen sent me scrambling for my camera. I mean, I wouldn't believe you if you told me that this happened...

I was with Woobiiiii when he Wii-Fitted this weekend. So I know what the Wii Fit is getting at. I know when I'm being baited to out my husband for his Wii Fit failures. Love says click on "the same."
WHAT?!? I refuse to sell the hubs down the dietless river and you accuse me of not paying attention to him! Who was paying attention to him when I made the french onion dip? Or the homemade hot fudge sauce? I'm probably paying TOO much attention to him. At the same time, the dude does work with video game programming so I'm looking for the hidden camera he's set up. Then I get this...

First, now I know he's definitely not behind this one. Second, DID YOU JUST COMPARE MY HUSBAND TO A DOG?!?!

Note to self: Don't let the hubs on the Wii Fit this weekend. I don't want to know what it asks about me!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Insanity of Holiday Travel

My luggage is out and ready, the "what to pack" list has been printed, and visions of wintry outfits are dancing in my head...

That's right, we're getting ready to travel again.

I'd be lying if I said that I missed flying on our whoooole month off that was October. It was nice to have a few weekends where I wasn't running to the airport and back. But all good things must come to an end, and there is no getting out of Thanksgiving travel this year (although I urge everyone considering having children to birth around the holidays as it can get you out of ANYTHING from travel to awful office parties...)

So this weekend we will be on our way to Nashville to see the hubs' fam. It's Dash's first visit there and probably the first time Fin will really remember the trip, so that's good. My fabuloso MIL has promised to make her famous sausage balls. Mmmmm... Time with family is always good and it will be nice to see all the hubs' high school friends - whom I love as much as my very own high school friends. (Seriously, I looooove you guys! Have the booze ready!)

But then there's the getting there.

With the insane cost of air travel, we're going to have to milk the lap-baby for all it's worth (I mean, if someone offered you $500 to hold a baby for five hours, you'd do it, right?) On the surface, that doesn't sound so bad. I mean, Fin will have his own seat, so that means we three will have our own row. And the two boys don't take up a whole seat even together. But see, if you thought that, you must have only one child. Or no children. Because that would sign us up for a whole flights-worth of "MOM, DASH IS IN MYYYY SEAT! MOOOOOOOMMMM!"

That's once we're on the plane.

Before we get that far, I have to pack for four people and make sure we don't exceed our baggage limit or the weight limit of each bag. Also it means reeling in the hubs who has been known to try and pack every pair of shoes he owns while neglecting, oh I don't know, UNDERWEAR. Speaking of underwear, there is also deciding whether or not Fin should go in a pull-up or undies. (I'd be more comfortable with him in a pull-up but he'd probably throw a fit. He's been totally accident free for a few months, but I KNOW he will tell he that he has to go EMERGENCY as soon as the fasten seat belt sign comes on.) Then there's the fact that our flight leaves at 7am, which means I will get up just won't go to sleep the night before...

And did I mention that half of our family is on the do-not-fly list? Yeah. And yes, I did all of the things you're supposed to do to get them removed and that doesn't so much help. Which is why the boys have passports.

I know, I know. It's wonderful that we're able to make the trek East and spend our Thankful holiday with family.

But if you're on our flight, I apologize. Did I mention that Dash has just found his inner volume button. Seriously, I'm sorry...

Monday, November 17, 2008

And Here Is Your Visual...


...Too bad the slippers hide the orange toenails...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Sunday Morning Image...

Fin is running around the house in a Star Wars tee, with a Superman Cape on, wearing his furry giraffe slippers (which are hiding his orange toenails - when I took the orange off mine, he demanded I paint his).

Just picture that and you should start the day off smiling. I asked Brooks to take a picture ;)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Why Did I Sign Up For This?

So, as I said before, I signed up to help with the giving tree for Fin's preschool/Church. Initially I agreed to do the label-printing at home (help I can do while in my undies at home = GOOD). Then my friend M said she was going to do the circle die-cutting. The only problem was that M never actually signed up. And I did. Thanks M! (Just kidding, you know I love you)

Also, as I've said before, I'm not really so "into" socializing with the other mom's. There are one or two I like, but I just have trouble relating to conversations that go "so I got the best deal on jeans at that store, I mean, I got 8 pairs of designer jeans for like $500!". Because first of all, who needs 8 pairs of jeans?!? I mean, I probably have 8 pairs, but I guarantee that no more than two are the same size. And I only keep the bigger sizes around until I can say for certain that there will be no more inhabitants who will cause my body to need said larger sizes.

So die-cutting was this morning. And it turns out that someone was sick, so it was only three mamas to cut, hole-punch, and cut and tie ribbon to 250 circles. Yeah. Mama #1 said only a few words, having an only-child daughter in one of the morning classes. Her presence is only worth noting because Mama #2 decided that she was going to yap yap yap at her the whole time.

Mama #2 strolled in with the most ADORABLE little boy. As it turns out, he was adopted from Guatemala. Mama #2 had wanted another child, and her then 8 year old son really wanted a brother so it was off to Guatemala they went. I was really task-oriented, so I added little to the conversation - actually I think I only said that I had two kids and that I thought little Guatemala was adorable.

Then Mama #1 asked how everyone made the adjustment etc. At this point Mama #2 said that while she loved little Guatemala, she regretted adopting him. WHAT?? I should also add that little Guatemala has been with her since he was a few months old and is now 4, so it's not like this is all so fresh and new. She elaborated that if she had been privy to a crystal ball, she would have decided that one was enough and that she never should have adopted....

OH MY GOD PEOPLE, WHO SAYS THAT ABOUT THEIR CHILD?!?!

Even on my WORST days when I'm calling Brooks begging him to come home, I have NEVER thought about not having either of my boys. Get that? I've never even THOUGHT about not having EITHER of them. Much less spewed it to other mothers I don't know. I wonder if she thought the fact that the child was adopted somehow made it more ok for her to feel that way and share it? Maybe it's my own family experience but, yeah, that made me even more irritated with the whole conversation.

Between Mamas #1 and #2 chatting it up and me trying to keep my jaw from dragging on my circles, we didn't even get them half done by our room-related cut off time. So I grabbed my share, tossed them in a bag and brought them home to finish before Mama #2 could finish her "shall we move the party..." question.

I'll just stick to the at home in underpants volunteering from now on thanks.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Why Yes, I Am Wearing Green Eyeshadow

As I sat down to blog, I ran through several options...
I could blog on that everymommy moment you have while at a childs' birthday party where another parent is telling you how many times their children have thrown up in the past 48 hours. I could blog about how the ninjanizer thought it was funny to copy Dash and crawl while dragging his head along the carpet - only to give himself a wicked case of carpet burn across his nose and forehead. I could blog about how I swear the ninjanizer is going through puberty and I'm thinking of employing my grandmothers' methods and telling him that his junk will fall off if he doesn't stop playing with it. Or was it that he would go blind? I forget. I may use both.

But instead, I think I'll blog about what I consider to be one of the top three things I totally dig about being a woman. Makeup. Now I have to think of the other two... I'll go with having babies and (EARMUFFS TO FAMILY) multiple orgasms.

Anyway, it all started with a conversation between me and the ninjanizer the other day...

(While watching Katy Perry's "Hot and Cold" during morning music time)

Fin: Mommy, I like her makeup. It's green. I think she's a Ninjanizer.
Mommy: Maybe mommy should try that...

Now, I should know, between the black fingernail polish and the horrid orange toenail polish that I've been rocking lately, allowing the ninjanizer to make my fashion decisions isn't necessarily a sound plan. I mean, this is a kid who wants to put on his furry giraffe print uggs as soon as he gets home and then won't allow them to be pried off of his sweaty little feet until he's passed out cold. But still I needed to get out of the all-browns-and-beiges-with-a-hint-of-black rut I've been in, so green seemed as good a color as any I guess.

We had a costume-themed birthday party today and I figured that this was a good time to try some experimental makeup...

Self-portrait. Ignore the wrinkles.

So what do you think? I think it turned out pretty neat. I think I might try all blues tomorrow. Of course, that is if the kids will give me more than two seconds of peace in the morning!

Friday, November 07, 2008

The Ninjanizer's TV Viewing Habits

I have to start by saying that my kids don't watch a lot of TV. When the TV upstairs broke, that pretty much weaned us off of our biggest viewing times, in the early AM and before naps and bed. I enjoyed our few months without a bedroom TV and the kids and I started our day with music instead. I'm happy to say that the behemoth didn't change that much. Now we start our days with music videos instead.

(The only downside to that is that Fin is overly fond (read: obsessed) with the Britney Spears "Womanizer" video. Only he INSISTS that they're saying "Ninjanizer". So all day I hear "Ninjanizer, Ninjanizer, oh you're a Ninjanizer..." And no, he cannot explain to me what a Ninjanizer is although he seems to think he is one.)

Anyway, we don't watch a ton of TV. But with Brooks out of town this past week, I started putting movies on for them as a way to unwind before bed. I'm not big with censoring things for them. Fin loves Star Wars and will watch pretty much anything. He's never had a nightmare or really repeated any foul language.

(Although I would like to thank "It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown" for introducing the term "blockhead" and I could do without the attempts at "force choking" me when he's mad.)

One day a few weeks ago when we were watching "Oswald", there came an episode where his best friend, Henry, almost moved away. Fin was beside himself. I was almost unable to get him to calm down enough to watch the end of the show. He's a pretty sensitive kid.

Which should have been my first clue that he shouldn't watch Bambi.

In a fit of guilt over some of the more colorful things I have let him watch lately (I did distract him from watching when the alien jumped out of the dude's chest), I decided that we'd try and stick to some Disney movies. I gave him some options and he, of course, chose Bambi.

So I'd like to thank Disney for my son's panic over hunters and where Bambi's mother went.

I scanned my kids shelf. Nemo, Dumbo, Fox and Hound, Land before Time, Aristocats...I could go on and on. All these movies involve sinister plots (usually by people) to kill/eat/wear the animals. There is parental danger/death/abandonment left and right. And I should be worried about my kid watching Star Wars? Seriously WTF?? The only movies I have on the "safe side" side of the shelf are The New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking and Labyrinth.

And a Pippi viewing results in a week of "running away" threats.

Thankfully Brooks is back at home. He's got some magic mojo going on that enables him to get the kids to sleep in the blink of an eye (Ninjanizer, Ninjanizer, yeah he's a Ninjanizer).

But we're going to watch Iron Man tonight anyway.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Um, Can I Get Some Family Time Please?

So I'm sitting in bed, letting Peter Pan babysit the kids (hey, it's better than Alien, which I let Fin watch last week) and having a little pity party for myself over being a single parent for a few days. Woob is again in Seattle, working hard, and majorly pissing me off for not being here when 1)Dash ate it outside and scraped up his face and hand 2)Dash peed before getting in the tub. All over the bathmat. and 3)Dash threw UP in the tub. While still in it. With Fin. And did I mention that Dash woke up at 2:30 and didn't go back to sleep. Like, yet. And then Fin was up at 6:30.

(EAT ME DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME!)

Needless to say, things just don't run smoothly around here with Woob out of town.

I was thinking about how my father never went on business trips and was always home for dinner - even if that meant that during tax season he had to go back to work afterwards. And it made me wonder, WTF has happened to family time?

I can't think of one guy I know who doesn't work late most nights - that 'late' may vary from not being home for dinner to not being home to kiss his lady goodnight. But I don't know anyone who makes it home for a 'family dinner'. And most of the working folks I know do have some travel.

Speaking of travel, WTF is up with business travel. Airfares are through the roof and buying them at last minute makes it that much worse. Why isn't everyone doing teleconferencing? I mean seriously that is SUCH a waste of money! But I digress...

I HATE business travel. But Woob, like most I'm sure, has to compete with co-workers who don't have significant others, or families, or kids. So he doesn't have the luxury of saying, no, I'm not going on that business trip. There's always another worker who will be happy to go and take the job. I totally get that. But man do I HATE business travel.

So when are we supposed to get in any family time? You have to just mark off one weekend day for chores and around-the-house stuff. So one weekend day is all that's left? And that's presuming that your children don't have any activities that eat that day too.

That's just not enough.

(Now imagine me jumping up and down and stomping my feet)

So how do you do it? How do you get in your family time? And how can we fix our culture to value that more and come up with a way for people to work condusive hours?

Off to put the kiddies to bed by myself (and again wonder why Woob can do it in minutes and I get sucked in to hours of snuggles, drinks, potty breaks and more snuggles...)

Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Helper

The hubs is notorious for his craftiness - especially when it comes to All Hallows Eve. He's always bugging me to let him make costumes for us and the kiddos and so this year I thought of a way to pick out my own costumes for the boys and still give him the freedom to design his own. I found the worlds cutest bee costumes at Pottery Barn Kids (thanks mama for buying them for us!) and told the hubs to get crackin on a bee keeper get-up.

There were some brief shopping foray's for supplies, but last night the boys went to bed and the hubs turned to me - defeated - and lamented that he hadn't had time to do anything about his costume. Reminding him that at least it was only his own hiney that needed costuming and that the boys were covered, I told him not to worry about it. When I got up this morning he showed me a bee keeper hat that he had made and...well, it was clearly a midnight, last-minute adventure.

While I knew he would have been fine in his half-hearted garb, it made me so sad that he hadn't had the chance to devote the time to make it as great as he wanted. So, once he left for work, I set out to make some improvements. One trip to Osh, one to Beverly's and a whole lotta sewin' on bees while Dash slept in my lap...





















Bees and their Keeper...

Mmmm Tasty Honey....

Bees...




















Bee Hat...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Have Pig, Will Travel


Dash pushes his "car" around all day, so I guess it was natural that this be where he put his piggie!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Oh How Fortunate We Are

It seems like everywhere I go, there is some reminder, some person, tv show, article or else reminding me that our country is in a terrible place right now. Stocks are terrible, people are losing their retirements and their homes and everyone is worried - on both sides - about the coming election and whose vision of "change" will win out. And of course if it will pay out.

It's easy to get caught up in all of it and to worry about the state of our savings and our pending lack of home equity and how to afford all the gifts we want to purchase for Christmas. I did. I was caught up in it. I just blogged about my lust for a $300 dinosaur. Sheesh.

And then I got a gentile reminder of how very fortunate we are from Jen at
one plus two. I "found" Jen's blog through Redneck Mommy a few months ago and was fascinated with the journey she is about to embark on. I'd detail it here, but she does a much better job of it on her own site, so hop over if you care to learn more. The quick and dirty is that she is planning on moving with her family to the Belizean jungle to live a life free of commercialism and modern luxuries. But currently, her little village and all the folks who are already becoming her new extended family is under water. Really makes me see how that $300 could be more than a little better spent. So I donated. Not much by our standards, but what I could, and I've been assured that in that part of the world the money will go much farther than it would here.

I'm not asking everyone I know to run to her site and donate your little hearts out (although it would be nice if you are so inclined), nor do I want or need a reminder that there are plenty facing hardships in our own backyards (yes, I'm also working my tookas off for Fin's school's Christmas-family-adoptapalooza). But I just thought it would be nice for everyone to remember someone else in this holiday season fast approaching. Donate in someone's name instead of giving a gift. Pick a name, or two or three, off that tree at church - and if you don't have a church, find someone who does and ask them to grab you one. Drop a toy off in one of the boxes that are already popping up all over town. Just do something nice for someone you don't know.

And, although it kills me to say this, please return the Kota dinosaurs you bought for Fin and Dash and send the money to someone who really needs it...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

All I Want for Christmas...

Its the kind of present that makes you squeal with delight when you come down the stairs on Christmas morning.

It's the kind of present that makes you believe that Santa DOES exist.

It's a baby dinosaur you can RIDE ON! (Ok, maybe not you, the weight limit is under 100lbs, but at least your kids can live the dream) Check it out...



So I first saw this marvel on the web last week and immediately informed the hubs that we NEEDED to have it. He looked at the pricetag and offered that for that price, it better also be able to clean, cook, do laundry and babysit. I hated to, but I agreed. Then I saw it - in the box - in Target. Again, I called the hubs and asked him to talk me off of the cliff of immediate purchase. He asked if it could learn to do all of the aforementioned chores. And again, I agreed and left the store.

Then today we went to Toys R Us and they had one TO PLAY WITH! Fin nearly wet himself with delight and the little one started trying to fling himself out of the cart and onto it's back. The happy twosome spent the next twenty minutes feeding Kota his prehistoric leaves and petting his chin - alternating between giving him 100% of their attention and looking at me with their "Is he REAL?" expressions. And they weren't the only one's impressed - and I'm not just talking about the kids being dragged quickly by as their parents did their best to stifle their desire for a dino of their own - no, I mean the hubs. He finally looked at me, seeing the wonder in our boys, and finally admitted that he got it. That thing is wicked cool. If it came bigger, I'd buy it for myself!

Finally we retired to the back of the store where Fin and I chased eachother around on Razor scooters (which was my turn to say that, many years late, I totally get the whole Razor thing, they're fun!) before heading home.

So Santa if you're reading this, Fin and Dash want Kota and Mommy would like a Razor scooter. Because they shouldn't have all the fun, right?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Supernanny HELP!

It was bound to happen at some point, but I really thought it would take longer. Today, I got called in to talk to the teacher.

It seems that Fin decided to throw a bunch of blocks. Which wasn't so much the issue as he then REFUSED to pick them up. Even with the threat of not being allowed to participate in show and tell. And he had a GOOD show and tell. But still, there would be no picking up the blocks. So I was called in so that the teacher could explain to me why Fin wasn't allowed to do show and tell. And as I sat there, shell shocked and embarrassed (did I mention the two other mothers waiting behind me to talk to the teacher and also the mother I know who volunteered today and I'm sure saw the whole thing), I listened to his teacher telling him - in a voice that can only exist in a woman who is a preschool teacher - that we don't throw toys on the floor because then they'll break and no one will be able to play with them. And then we left.

So the whole way to the car I'm telling Fin how much trouble he's in while in my head congratulating myself that he didn't throw them AT anyone, and also wondering if "they could have broken" is really a good argument for not throwing blocks. I mean, I haven't ever seen the blocks, but I'm pretty sure they're not made of glass...

Being that I don't have Supernanny on speed dial (yet), I got in the car and called my mom.

"Did you ask the teacher what you should do?"

Uh, no, I got the hell out of there so I could beat my kid in the privacy of my own car!

"No, I was too thrown to do anything other than nod."

She gave me several suggestions when we got home I gave Fin a long lecture incorporating all of them:
1) School is a privilege, not a right
2) School is your Job right now (which seemed a little bit contradictory per #1, but I'm all about covering my bases)
3) If you're bad, you won't be able to go back to school, won't you be sad/miss your friends/miss learning etc.
4) Your father is going to be disappointed in you when he gets home
5) No play date this afternoon (there wasn't one anyway, but man did I ham up how fantastic that imaginary play date would have been!)
Then I told him he had to stay in his room to think about his behavior.

When I came to check on him ten minutes later, he was asleep. Not that it matters much though since I swear that kid could stay in his room for days and not care. He has no toys in his room, but is totally content to play and have a conversation with HIS BEDDING.

Post - nap things went pretty smoothly, but I'm still at a total loss on how to discipline this child. The only thing that I know really really works is taking him out of the situation. When we leave a play date early, man he knows he was bad. I even thought about creating an afternoon play date just so I could take him to it, let him see it, and then leave. That seemed a little too mean.

As my mom pointed out - it something with every kid. They're not learning like they should, they have socialization issues, they're a bully or being bullied...they throw blocks and then refuse to pick them up. I'd be a total liar if I said I didn't know that the latter would be our challenge with Fin. I'd also be a liar if said I'd take a different issue over the one we have.

But how do I get him to behave better - at least while he's at school?

On the bright side, at least I don't have to think of something new for show and tell next week.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Pukeocalypse (Revisited)

So earlier this week, Her Bad Mother issued something of a challenge. After narrating the story of baby poo gone awry, Hold The Mustard, she asked readers to relay their own tales of children's embarassing and public bodily functions. Sure she wanted comments, but I had a story that was too good not to record for future embarassment posterity...

Fin has a senstive stomach, always has poor kid. And that's awful for me - I HATE puke. Give me the stinkiest, leakiest diapers on the planet and I'll take them any day over puke. Chalk it up to the fact that one's a normally occuring bodily function and one is sooo not. But Anyway, Fin's what I call a puker - one of those kids who can get sick at the drop of a hat. As such I have far more than a mama's share of stories where he's decorated various strollers, locals, and people with his talent. But there's one occassion that just stands out.

When Fin was little (and of course, there was no Dash of yet to speak) we used to go on long walks with the other mamas. In our zeal to work off those last of the baby lbs, we made our walks longer and longer. One of the favorite routes was to Whole Foods. It's almost 7 miles roundtrip and mostly street-side. I was always mindful to feed Fin before setting out on these journeys since not only did he have a sensitive stomach, he was (is) also very selective about what goes in it. So picture us at Whole foods, three mamas and three babies in strollers and since we had been walking, we were some hungry mamas. I was so surprised that Fin actually liked my sandwhich, that I didn't think about the fact that his tummy might have already been a tad on the full side.

I'm sure you get where this is going.

I should have also mentioned that Fin is also an amazingly quiet puker. Which explains why I didn't notice anything amiss until I heard the gasps of my friends and everyone else in viewing distance. It was like one of those gross out movies where you can totally tell there is a hose behind the puker's head. Only there was no hose. And seemingly no end in sight. I watched in horror for a few seconds, then worried, then wondered when the hell he was going to stop! When he finally seemed "done" I wheeled him (oh yeah, did I mention, he was IN THE STROLLER this whole time?!?!) into the ladies room. Triage. I grabbed him out of the stroller and stripped him, throwing the dirty clothes on the floor. Then I washed him thoroughly in the sink and changed a diaper midair (I know, mommies are the true Ninjas). Then I looked from my clean (and now very happy) baby to the stroller. It was a horror scene. I started throwing handfuls of water from the sink at the stroller. NOT HELPING. At this point, we've been in the bathroom damn near half an hour so one of the other mamas came in to check on us and had the good sense to take the happy baby away from his near hysterical mama. Now it was just me and the stroller. And the bathroom was already beginning to STINK.

Don't forget, I'm at BEST three very long miles from home. With a naked baby. And a DISGUSTING stroller.

So I started abusing their whole supply of paper towels along with some sink-soap and doing my best to at least get the dang thing wiped down...and I the whole time I can HEAR people talking outside the door about how there's this crazy lady in the bathroom trying to hose vomit off of her stroller.

Knowing that I'm beat, I wheel out the vomit-mobile which is now soaking wet and still reeking (why oh WHY does kids puke smell so much worse than adult puke?). And just when I'm ready to live the nightmare of carrying naked Fin while pushing the sopping stroller the long way home, my friend Monika comes to the rescue. Her hubs is home and can come pick us up and drive us to our home. Touched by another mamma's consideration (not to mention the fact that she was willing to let that STINK anywhere NEAR her car), I made it home. Where it took me three rounds with the hose and carpet cleaner and lysol to get the stroller to "passable".

And that is my worst story of public embarassement (at least involving bodily functions)... at least so far.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Do I REALLY Have to Play Nice?

So I have to be honest about something, and I'm just going to come right out and say it so I can immediately stifle any ridiculous idea your imagination can conjure. I have a wicked fear of being left out. Or left behind. Or left. Wicked. So, there's that.

When I got to school to pick Fin up on Thursday there was some weird mommy dynamic going on. One of the mama's I usually chat with a little had run into a friend and the other one was giving me the brush-off (or so I have decided in my paranoia). All of a sudden I felt like there had been a "make friends" social that I had missed. Seriously, I had to rack my brain to try and figure out if there WAS something I had missed. So I picked Fin up and fretted the rest of the day.

After the kids were asleep, and it was just me and Woob in our quiet room, I pelted him with questions: Should I be worried about this? Does it matter if the other mommies are friends? Does it matter if I have no mommy friends in his class? Do you think I could have done something to irritate them already? And then again, does this really matter?

Like any good husband, he stared at me for a few minutes, hoping that I would answer at least some of those myself and take the heat off of him. And like any good wife, I started over-explaining my fears. I know that at some point it does matter. At some point his social standing may indeed be decided by his mama's buds even more so than his own. And I get that. I lived that myself. And I'm sure we'd see alot less of James if I didn't like Monika so much. On the flip side, as I laughingly told Moni the next day, even if the boys decided they didn't like eachother, we'd say tough tatas. But does it matter now?

(Its amazing when you have children how closely you have to examine every teeny decision that could have any impact on their future and who they might become...)

The consensus was that, no it doesn't really matter yet. A relief, I don't have to play nice just yet. And then Woob injected that it "wouldn't hurt to start being sweeter." After a long argument on the difference between "sweet" and "nice", it was still suggested that I try being a little nicer and perhaps a little more approachable. So I asked Woob a question I'm sure no husband wants to hear...

No, I did not ask him if I was "her" size.

I asked him to give three adjectives to describe me, and they didn't have to be nice one's. Brave, I know. He tossed out: Honest, Loyal and Bossy. I guess that last one caught a look because he ammended it to Organized. Ok, I agree. Even with the bossy. I know who I am, and mostly I'm pretty proud of all of it. Sure I still have days where I feel like my body is the enemy (as I'm sure anyone who has had two kids close understands), but my personality? Not so much. I have some sharp edges and I choose to embrace them rather than file them down. I am, probably above all things, honest. And often, that comes as incompatible with nice. And I am loyal, fiercely so, which can also butt up against nice. And Bossy? Yeah. Even if I'd asked him for 10, I don't think Nice would have been one. Possibly kind, or empathetic, considerate maybe, but not nice. And I'm ok with that. And I'm glad that at least for now I can just rest happy with my friends who are ok with that too. Maybe next year I'll try being the Nice mom. At least until the boys out me. Heh.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Divine Hammer

The summer before my sophomore year of high school, my friend Julie went away on a working church retreat and came back with a boyfriend. Over the remainder of the summer our friend groups merged and he and Julie became the center of our social world.

Jamie was funny and he was kind. Julie and I were still too young to drive, and he became our willing chauffeur in his white Blazer. He never complained about having to drive all the way from Vienna to Rockville to pick me up and then diving me all the way back when the fun was done. It's still odd looking back that I never felt like a third wheel, even when it was just he and Julie and I. At the time, most of us had experienced puppy-love, but this was the first time one of my friends had a REAL relationship. More profoundly, it was the first time I'd ever seen one of my friends be loved. He loved Julie in a way that was almost contagious and readily visible every time he looked at her. I was hopelessly jealous and I'm sure I wasn't the only one.

But we were only 15 - an age where nothing stays the same for long. I don't remember how or why or when they broke up, but I remembered wondering who was more heartsick over it - Jamie or myself. We spoke a few times after our worlds parted, and I'd be lying if I said that I didn't consider at least briefly what might happen if his interests turned on me. But I knew that I would have always been a distant second to what was likely his first real love. So the friendship faded away.

Julie called me two weeks ago to rehash her wedding and tell me all about her honeymoon. In the middle of the conversation, she told me that Jamie had just added her as a friend on Facebook. Still on the phone, I shot a friend add message to him chiding him for adding her and not me. Over the ensuing e-mail discussion we caught up on our relationships and careers and how kids did not mean you had to grow up. Trading barbs with him made me feel 15 all over again. We made plans to get together for drinks while I was in town over Christmas - with me promising to drag Julie and her new husband along. It was something I was really looking forward to.

But those drinks won't happen now. Jamie died in a single car accident near his home this weekend. I'm heartbroken for his fiancee. What a loss for all those lucky enough to know him.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Riding to the Dentist in Style

So I had to go to the dentist this morning. I'm there far too often. I feel like they just want to steal all my money by with threats that if I don't pursue the recommended "treatment", then I will lose all my teeth. So of course, I sign forms and give them my credit card and try to get excited about having antibiotic powder shot into my pockets so that it can calcify to my teeth and make my mouth healthier...

Anyway, the point is that my appointment was at 9:15, so Brooks took Fin to school (with Dash in tow) and I had to take his car. It's probably been a year since I got to drive his car and I had forgotten how much I LOOOOVE that car.

Don't get me wrong, I love my van. It's nice to think that I could fit tons of stuff in it if I had to - especially during fire evacuation season. And it's awesome on trips to be able to walk to the back and smack the kids for fighting see to the childrens needs. There's a good deal of comfort in knowing that I could fit a bunch of friends in it for a night out. You know, if I wanted to do that. But it's the opposites that make driving Brooks' car so much fun. It's a two seater. If you're sitting next to me, I must REALLY like you. There's fun in that. I'm sure in the future this will start wars between the boys - who get's to ride with Daddy? And it's fast. Really fast. It takes some time to get used to the sensitivity of the gas pedal that is capable of such speed. (Which means yes, I probably did look like an ass when I peeled out of our neighborhood this morning, but it totally wasn't on purpose!) I admit, I drove around a little extra and took my time getting to my appointment. And yes, I was a little sad that I had to trade keys when it was all over. But I'm trying to make this the silver lining as my babies grow up.

Only about 14 years until I can get my own.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

For Dash at ONE!

My Dearest Baby Dash,

You're not so much a baby anymore I suppose! I am absolutely incapable of wrapping my mind around the fact that you are a year old. A YEAR?! It doesn't seem possible that this time last year I was staring at a ginormous belly and wondering if you were ever coming out...

For your birthday we had your little friends, Leila and Zach, James, Mommy's friends Mark and Joanna and their son James, Katie, Monika, Kindra, Elise, our neighbor Gladys and Dorothy and her sister Val (who are Mommy's friends from Highschool). We had all kinds of munchies and you had a blast playing with eveyone there. You even got some really neat presents :) We ordered cupcakes from a local bakery and they were wonderfully tasty! You weren't too sure about the "mess" factor and preferred to have everyone feed you bites. The party lasted into the evening and by the time the last guest left you were fast asleep in my lap (and Fin was asleep on Daddy's lap!)

We are getting ready to celebrate your second Halloween, but of course this will be the first one where you're more than a lump (you were an ADORABLE lump, but a lump none the less.) You and Fin are both going to be dressed as bumble bees and Daddy will be the bee keeper. Yes, Mommy is that cheesy. You and Fin love to sneak the costumes out and wear your antenna around the house. Next month we'll take you to Nashville for the first time for Thanksgiving and in December we'll be in DC for Christmas. It's amazing how often you've flown for such a little man!

Speaking of travelling, you are quite the crawling ninja. You move so fast that mommy sometimes loses you in the house. Lucky for me, you always answer when I call you so I can hunt you down fast. You're taking your first few tentative steps and standing well on your own. I know you could just take off walking but you have to build your confidence and believe it yourself. I have no doubt that one day soon you will do just that and there will be no stoping you. You talk constantly and I can tell you are desparate to communicate with Fin. You say Mama, Dada, GO, Up and a few other words appropriately and refer to Fin as "BAAA!" (said VERY loud). You can wave and your new favorite thing to do is to point to what you want or where you want to go. You have eight teeth (four top and four bottom) and you use them to eat ANYTHING IN SIGHT! You're still only a hair over 16lbs so I have no idea where you put it all. You're a whiz at feeding yourself anything you want - which is pretty much anything that isn't green. You've just ended your breastfeeding days and are now totally on whole milk. I'm a little proud to say that you never in your life had a bottle, but of course that didn't make things very easy on me :)

Our days are pretty busy with Fin going to school. Mondays and Wednesdays we walk in the mornings - usually with James and Monika - and play at home in the afternoons. Tuesdays and Thursdays Fin is in school till noon and we get a little time alone together. It's nice to have a little time to play with you and snuggle you a little. Fridays we usually have lunch with Katie and go on some kind of fun adventure. This past Monday I took you to My Gym for the first time. The Monday evening class is small and the children all around your age. You loved it just as much as Fin did the first time I took him. I think we're going to have to work that into our regular routine too - it's good for you to have your own friends as well as that mommy time.

Well, that's all for now my dear. I love you more than you can know and I hope you had a wonderful birthday!

Mom

I designed these invites and got them printed, but forgot to mail them, oops :)

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Confessions of a Target Shopper

So honestly, I can be something of a label whore. I know, you're shocked. Yes, I like to shop a lot and attain said labels at bargain prices, but still I do like my labels. And even more than I enjoy having fancy duds myself, I enjoy them even more on my boys.

And then Fin went to school.

The first few days I had him all dressed to impress. Another mother even noted how handsome and well dressed he was. Then she snickered something about how he clearly must not have gone near the paint yet...PAH! I never met a stain I couldn't handle.

Until Fin went to school.

On his fourth day of school, Fin came home with his shirt COVERED in black paint. It's ok, I like a challenge. Did I mention it was one of my favorite little Le Top outfits (see, label whore). So home we went so I could treat the stain immediately. I SWEAR they use some kind of industrial strength paint there! I feel like I should look into it to paint my house! Needless to say, my stain removal attempts were totally fruitless. So I downgraded to some cute Gap outfits. When I saw that mother again, I asked her about the staining. She told me that the teachers found that washable paints weren't "vibrant" enough and that these indestructible paints were better for them to laugh at stupid parents who dress their kids nicely the children's creativity. More staining, downgraded to Old Navy. Then I went to Target... How do you beat the $2 tee? With the $3 matching track pants of course! I didn't even know that they made stuff that cheap!

I felt a tad guilty as I dressed him this morning, but he's so cute I think he could rock a paper bag. And the best part? When he came home COVERED in orange paint I didn't even flinch :)
























Fin on Target - If you see Fin and wonder where all his nice clothes are, it must be a school day!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I Caught A Moment


I got this shot at today's pre-Halloween playdate and dressed it up a little. Such a nice moment of two friends having fun...

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

2 going on 12

We had our first parent teacher conference for Fin this morning. It went as expected...He's extremely advanced verbally (read: never shuts up) and can be a challenge when he doesn't want to do something. His teacher remarked that we must all sit together at the table at home to eat as he does that extremely well while most of the other kids can't stand to sit still for snack time. I had to stifle my giggles - yeah, we eat at the table together alright, RESTAURANT TABLES. Oh yeah, and he has impeccable manners. Yay! We asked about when to start him in Kindergarten, I know some years off but still on a mama's mind. She said she personally feels that all cusp children should "be given the gift of a year". I was already leaning that way, but I think I'll definitely keep him out of the school system an extra year. He can do a Jr. K class at St. Stephens as a warm up. Now I just have to figure out how to curb his 'tude a little. Oh, and I signed up to be a helping parent for the Halloween parade day. Which means I get to help all the kids get into their costumes and ready for the parade. Yah, like I'd miss my kids first school Halloween or let anyone else get him ready for it!

And just to leave you with a laugh...You have to get through two latched metal gates to get onto school grounds (then they go into their rooms and the playground is on the other side, only accessible through the buildings - very safe!). As we were entering the first gate last Thursday, Fin informed me that I could drop him off there. Um, no way! I reminded Fin that I had to sign him in and he sighed and told me that it would be ok if I took him to the door. I thought this wasn't supposed to happen till at LEAST gradeschool! He's 2!! Am I really that embarassing?? Wait, don't answer that. I guess his assistant teacher heard this whole exchange and it came up at the parent teacher conference. Fin's teacher told us that everyone there just loves him and that he keeps them all in stitches. Honestly, behavioral issues aside, that's probably one of the nicest things a parent can hear.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Behemoth

...Is what I call a TV larger than the downstairs Monstrosity.

A long time ago in a land without children, Woob and I were on an uninteresting Best Buy run when he suddenly SNAPPED! If you know Woob, you know he's not so much the "snapper", that's my job. But snap he did, and launched into a seemingly unprovoked tirade against our bedroom TV which was apparently far too small and poor in quality. So we bought a new 50-inch rear projection TV. And remembered we were in Brooks' Z, then it didn't fit in the Jeep, and finally my old X-Terra came to the rescue. A mere six or so hours later we arrived home with a giant rear projection TV for the bedroom. Being forever practical and untrusting of modern electronics, Woob insisted on the pricey protection plan.

Whew!

The TV started having "issues" almost a year ago and we started on the treadmill that is Best Buy's repair system. Somewhere around June, the technician came out to repair the whirring and occassional pixelation and something poped. The dern thing never did turn back on. Of course, that didn't stop them from sending a technician out so many times that Fin knew him by name. And did I mention that he was only ever available right at naptime? Somewhere in there our warranty ran out...Sigh.

After all these months of dancing, Woob finally persuaded them to give us a replacement. And compensate us for our trouble. So today we brought home our shiny new Samsung 52 inch LCD TV. Oof. Did I mention it was 52 inches? FIFTY TWO EFFIN INCHES!!! I would take a picture of it, but I like to keep our bedroom out of my blogging. Ok, so that's a total lie, I'm just way too lazy to get up and do it, so you'll have to bear with my description. Being a flat panel, it takes up almost no space on the dresser that once held the gigantic rear projection TV. But it's HUGE! It has a pretty red tinge to the frame, makes a pleasing noise when turned on, and I have no doubt that my friends on the Young & the Restless will look fabulous come tomorrow. But did I mention that it's FIFTY TWO INCHES?!? In a way I feel like our bedroom has been invaded, almost by another person. I used to love having a giant TV in the boudoir, so what gives that I'm now all bummed out about our new addition? I suppose I feel a little like my calm, quiet space has been reclaimed by it's previous owner. I'll let you know how it goes...

Friday, October 03, 2008

Diamond Superstar

I just burned a CD of half Neil Diamond and half Andrew Lloyd Webber. Yes, really. My apologies to anyone who has to share the car with me in the near future. Or I guess be near Fin since I'm sure he'll learn all the songs in no time. Think he'll be singing Superstar in chapel next week?

Oh, and I owe you $20 Woob since I used your iTunes account :)

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Cracklin' Rosie

Last night I got to check one more thing off of my "things to do before I die list" as Woob took me to see Neil Diamond at the Hollywood Bowl. Actually, I guess it was technically two things since I had yet to see a show at the Bowl. It was a beautiful night and beyond nice to have some time away with adult conversation (you know, all about the boys of course but not with them listening in).

After being "that mom" and briefing the babysitter with 101 things they don't really need to know, we headed to Dakota at the Roosevelt Hotel for dinner. We got there early (I know, you're shocked that I would be early anywhere) and had drinks by the pool which had some fantastic people watching. Our drinks were a little too good and we decided before even getting to dinner that we'd definitely be leaving the car at the hotel. When our table wasn't yet ready, we decided on one more drink at the bar. Let me warn you, the bar at Dakota may be the most comfortable bar ever - which made us decide to just dine right there. In an interesting twist, our extremely nice bartender grew up down the road from my parents and after much nostalgic Rockville chit-chat, revealed that he had just found out hours before that his father had inoperable cancer and he was resolved to move back East at weeks end. I'm sure you can guess what turn our conversations took...

After one of the best steaks I've ever had, we shared a cab with two boisterous women on the way to their ump-teenth Diamond show. Their praise of the Diamond and his performance got us all revved up and ready. And we were far from disappointed. The show was fantastic, the man hilarious and the music every bit as wonderful as ever.

My only regret was that my mom wasn't with us as I owe all my love of the Diamond to her. I have very vivid memories of riding in the car with her and belting out Cherry Cherry or Cracklin' Rosie (which is by far my favorite). Truthfully, he always reminded me a little of my dad. Maybe it was the full eyebrows, or the thought that my dad would look just like that with a little more hair, or the fact that my mother adored them both. Last night the reminder held as I saw in him the same grown-up-man-but-still-a-boy I see in my dad. It seems like Neil Diamond was a fixture in our travels until gradually he was replaced by Andrew Lloyd Webber (and admittedly, it was more fun to have your mom drop you off to elementary school while belting out Jesus Christ Superstar). It's memories like that which make me feel bad for indulging Fin's love of kids music when I should be "educating" him. Then again, his favorite song is still Cheeseburger in Paradise, so maybe he'll be blogging like this someday about going to see a Buffet show. If he's got the same legs as Neil, he should still be touring then, right?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

The Story of a Ring

As I was getting ready for a night out on the town with Woob, I stopped for a minute to admire my engagement ring and decided that I needed to record the story for posterity. And since I type much faster than I write, I thought this was as good a place as any...

The summer I was 18, I worked two jobs to have money for college expenses etc. During the week I was an intern at NIH and some evenings and weekends I worked at Ann Taylor. The mall that housed said Ann Taylor wasn't a great one at the time and there wasn't much to do during my many fifteen minute breaks other than prowl nearby stores. A few doors down from us was a jewelry store that had a case of antique and consignment pieces. They also had one of the nicest salesmen I have ever met. His name was Murray. On my first pass through the store, I noticed an antique diamond ring with sapphires around it. Murray encouraged me to try it on, but I knew it wasn't in my budget so I declined. Over the next few months I would try the ring on and chat quite a bit with Murray. Eventually I took my mom in to see it. I was thinking that maybe I could make the most out of the dining hall and forgo all pizzas for the entire year just to make it mine. My mother informed me that it was an engagement ring and that I would be a tad loony to spend that kind of money and buy it for myself. Wait for the right man, she said. While my newly discovered inner feminist raged at the notion that I should not buy something like that for myself, my inner economist won out.

I met Woob on my 21st Birthday. A year later, in the fall of my first year living on my own, he told me that he wanted me to move out to California to live with him. And to be his wife. But he didn't want to presume to choose the ring I would wear for the rest of my life. I immediately took him to that little store. He wasn't as entranced as I was and so we looked other places. But that was the ring I wanted and soon he agreed that he hadn't seen anything he liked as much. When we went back to look, there was another ring we both liked too. Much larger and also antique. But it wasn't the ring I had been looking after for those past few years. I couldn't get over the slight odds that this same ring, with all of it's uniqueness, would still be sitting there in the same case all that time. It had to be meant for me. Plus, at the time we were both gradschool drop-outs with no real jobs.

On February 2, 2001, two of my dreams came true - I promised my heart and my life to the man of my dreams and finally got to wear the ring I wanted for so many years. Turns out that my mother liked that other ring for herself, so just maybe it too will find it's way to me someday. But I will be forever grateful to that nice salesman who was kind enough to take an 18 year old girl outside into the sun to see how much a ring could sparkle, and of course to my Woob who took a 22 year old woman out to California to show her how much she could sparkle.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mountains


I just thought the mountains looked nice today. We don't usually get clouds like this...

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Me & Woob



Thanks to Erika for sending me this pic from Julies Reh Dinner...

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Just Fin


Little paleontologist after the Walking With Dinosaurs show

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Julie's Wedding

Just a few pictures of Julie's Wedding. I took a bunch - and when I got home I realized that I didn't have any of me! Oops!




Saturday, September 13, 2008

A Birthday Shot...


Me and the Girls out for my 30th Birthday
(Monika, Kindra, Me, Katie and Elise)

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Cactus


Just a cactus we passed on a walk...

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A Mom's First Day of Preschool...

Today was Fin's first day of preschool and I woke up this morning with my stomach in a thousand knots. I know, I know, Fin is the most social and well adjusted child you know, but he's MY BABY and the thought of leaving him in a strange place with all new people made me want to cry.

We carried out our morning as usual, the chief difference being that I ironed Fin's clothes for the day (which I never do and probably will not do again for quite some time - especially considering the note they sent home about how they do NOT use washable paints, but I digress...) and we had some bacon biscuits and a banana for breakfast. Brooks stayed home late so that he could watch Dash while I took Fin to school. We arrived in true Maggie style - a half hour early. It was nice not to rush and we had a little time to sit and talk about the day ahead (mind your manners, be nice to the other children, respect your teacher...) With 9am approaching, we hung up Fin's backpack on his hook and waited for the doors to open. At 9am sharp, Miss Annette opened her door and Fin was the first child in - with a hug and some help placing his snack in his cubby. And he was off! I actually had to yell for one last kiss and a promise to pick him up later. After which I promptly raced to the car in hopes that I would get out of the schoolyard before my tears escaped the range of my sunglasses. Poor Brooks had to deal with the "OUR BABY IS AT SCH(sniffle)OOOOOL" phone call.
Snack!

I came home, did some laundry and snapped up Dash. Then I did what every new preschool mama does. I went to Target. What makes me think that this is the chosen activity for those scant three one-less-child hours? Because I ran into two other moms from Fin's new class and spoke to a third who confessed to being there as well (Did you see their big back-to-school clearance? I mean really, does my preschooler need 5 notebooks for 50 cents? YES). I had been avoiding the Target trip for weeks just so everything would be "new" for this occassion when I needed the distraction. So Dash and I trudged around, list in hand (or mouth, depending on which one of us was holding it), and we talked about what Fin might be doing. Apparently Fin talks SO much I had sort of forgotten that, well, Dash doesnt. And people look at you like some kind of crazy person for having a deep discussion with your baby. (Huggies Baby Wash or Johnson & Johnson, Dash what do you think? Smell these for me...) I think I realized how much I missed Fin when I asked Dash if he needed to go potty when we left the store. Sigh.

Once Dash and I had loaded up the car with all of our exciting (diapers, wipes and notebooks) Target purchases, I realized it was still barely 11am. Did I mention that I had been feverishly checking my watch every few minutes to make sure I wasn't loosing track of time? One of my many nightmares last night involved me doing just that and arriving at the school to find Fin the last child there crying over a mother who had forgotten him. If that's not enought to get you to be on time, I don't know what is. With that fear in mind, I decided to just head straight to school. At that point Monika called me and reminded me that it was only a ten-minute drive. If you hit every red light. But I HAD to be the first Mommy there, so off we went. And then we waited...and waited...and waited. It should be noted that I had Dash in the Bjorn because in my post-first-day-of-preschool fantasy I would need both arms free to lift and hug the little boy who came running out so excited to see me...

At exactly noon, the doors opened and children started streaming out single file. Some burst right into tears upon being reunited with their lost parents. And Dash and I waited. Fin was the LAST child out of his classroom and only then at the prodding of his teacher letting him know I was waiting. But my dissappointment was shortlived, as he immediately launched into showing me his artwork (a crayon drawing and a dot painting) and explaining it (there was a traced hand, a circle, an attempted "F"), thanking me for his treats in his lunchbox (which made me feel like I had really done something right), and then detailing the misdoings of a certain Sophie (who apparently pushed down Owen - Miss Annette told her that wasn't nice - and stole a drumstick from Fin - Miss Annette told her not to steal - and tried to take said lunchbox treats - Fin told her SHE wasn't nice!) Then he grabbed his baby brother by his little head, told him how much he missed him and gave him a big smooch. Ahhh, here's that verbose child I missed so much...


Fin's artwork


I asked Miss Annette how he did, which I felt bad doing as clearly he was fine and I'm sure that was a question she had to answer a zillion times a day, and she said he was great. Great! So I, proud mama, took her preschooler to his favorite place - Johnny Rockets - as a reward. While we listened to Cheeseburger in Paradise on repeat (I KNOW they TOTALLY hate us there!), Fin informed me that he couldn't wait to go back to preschool. Only on Thursday he wants to take Dash with him. Now I have two days to figure out how to get Dash to sit still shoved in a cubby waiting for Show and Tell time. A mama can dream!


Happy Student at Johnny Rockets

A Project...

So Aunt Jan asked me to clean up an old photo for her - and since I couldn't sleep anyway with the big first-day-of-school looming ahead of us, I decided to play around with it last night. I think it turned out pretty well!



Sunday, August 31, 2008

To Fin on his First Day of School!

My Dearest Fin,

I can't believe you will go to school this week! SCHOOL! MY BABY! Where has the time gone!

We had our orientation this week and you were able to see your classroom, your cubby and coat hook, and meet your teachers and some of the other children who will be in your class. You'll be in the 3 year old class at St. Stephens from 9-12 on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Your teacher is Miss Annette and her assistant is Miss Shannon. They seem to be extremely kind as I suppose all preschool teachers must be. Your classroom is the blue room and it's so cute! They actually have a large space divided into three classrooms and after instruction time, they open it up so that you can play with the children in all three classes, not just your own. Speaking of your class, there are 13 children in it - 7 girls and 6 boys - and as I read over the list I wondered who you would choose to be your friends...I can't wait to see.

The school has a huge playground too with tons of stuff to do. As we looked around it, the teachers told us that they bring toys out too when you're having outside time. I'm worried that you're going to have so much fun that you may never want to come home! Our tour even included a peek at the bathroom facilities with their very special little potties. You were too excited to get out onto the playground, but I think you'll get a kick out of using a potty that is just your size. They have full time bathroom monitors too which made mommy feel better to know that there will always be someone nice nearby to help you if your pants get stuck. I'm so proud of your potty training efforts!

Mommy and Daddy got you a new backpack and lunchbox to take to school - since you so love construction equipment we went with that. You have the cutest brightly colored Crocodile Creek set with a dump truck on the front and all kinds of equipment dancing around the edges.

Well, I suppose I'll amend this note to let you know if you liked your first day! I was initially excited at the thought of getting a small break and perhaps a little alone time with Dash, but I hadn't realized how hard it would be to let you go or how much this forces me to face the fact that you're growing up so fast. I guess I'm trying to tell you not to be too surprised if my eyes get a little misty when I have to kiss you goodbye. I just love you that much.

All My Love,

Mom

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Life Without TV

Anyone who knows us knows that we have a ridiculously large TV in our bedroom - and that we did so LONG before buying a nicer TV for our family room. We'd all much prefer to sit in bed and watch a movie or a show. We're just those people.

So it was kind of a big deal when said large TV began to go kablooie. Through the past three months, Supreme Purchase* has strung us along, misdiagnosing the problem, ordering the wrong part, only being available to service the TV at naptime, etc. Just long enough for the dang thing to whurr out a final death knell right after the warranty expired. Since the problem started long before the warranty ran out, one would assume that the replacement clause would be honored. Or not. We're currently at war with them.

The point is that our main source of entertainment is gone.

It took me a few days to realize that I never even turn ON the downstairs TV. I'd rather the boys just play when we're down there. Our key viewing periods were when the boys first woke up, at nap time and at bath and bedtime. Now we talk in the morning. I won't lie, naptimes are tough, but that is also probably because Fin is starting to resist the whole process. And a few days ago I got out my binder of old CD's (does anyone buy those anymore?) and we started listening to music. I had no idea dancing to the Cure and Bon Jovi with my kids would be so much fun! Today we went down for a nap listening to Sarah McLachlan. It was fantastic. Fin gets to choose our listening pleasure (this afternoon was an old Concrete Blonde CD because it was a pretty color orange).

Woob looked at me funny when I suggested turning off the cable and suggested I wait to make that decision AFTER the new fall shows start. He's probably right. But for now I'll just enjoy dancing with my kids. You should try it sometime.



*Pseudonym used