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....


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!


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.


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.