Friday, December 29, 2006

2006 in Review

A Really Long Photo Post



The bed arrived on Wednesday. It has a nick in the footboard, so they're bringing us a new one next week. G is very good at demanding perfection in the furniture he buys. I'd say he's sent back or returned 60% of the home and office furniture he's bought because of imperfections. At first I thought, "Wow, he's anal," but now I appreciate it. If you're going to pay money for a decent piece of furniture, it should be as nick- and scratch-free as possible.

Christmas in AZ, as my sister says, was kind of non-Christmas-like. To avoid having to haul more crap back and forth to California and Oregon, we all left Santa's big presents for the kids at home and just brought stuff for the stockings. And we went to a large church that was pretty but unknown to us. And we didn't go anywhere but Target and Safeway. Which was fine because I was sick, and if I had to be stuck in someone else's house watching my kids to make sure they don't break anything, including their necks falling down the stairs, I'm glad it was with my family. That's the good thing - my family is fun to be around.

I had a plan to take pictures of things that were Christmas-in-the-desert-like, but didn't see any cacti draped in lights and since I was sick, I wasn't all that motivated anyway. Here's one from someone's web page.

A. played Poor Little Boy and told my sister that he had no sweatshirt or shoes because I hadn't packed them. Now, I admit I forgot to pack pajamas for him. But since he wore sweats most of the time, big deal - it's not like he had to sleep in a three-piece suit. I made sure he wore a sweatshirt and shoes on the airplane, so I know I didn't forget them.

And, we did not force him to sell all his videos, as he plaintively claimed to Big Niece. Although the plane tickets for the four of us were so expensive, as long as he's offering, it's not a bad idea.

Except for the tall tales of woe and deprivation, both boys were pretty much charming as usual. Ben cemented his rep as Family Floozy by crawling indiscriminately into any lap that would have him.

On the way home from the airport, both boys cooperated nicely by falling asleep in the car so G and I had plenty of time to go into the house and get Santa's stuff out to the tree. A. pulled his big wishes: a trumpet and a Tow Mater alarm clock. He's also thoroughly enjoying his guitar and his digital camera. We've now got lots of pictures of the bottom half of the tree:

And, toothpaste.







Ben got one of those bead/wire things they have in doctor's offices and he loves it. A. also got the real model train, which ended up being a bit fragile for 4-year-old hands.

I'll have to get some video of A's version of "Hark the Angels Herald Sing," otherwise known as The Charlie Brown Christmas Song. He mixes it up a bit by singing it to the tune of "Deck the Halls":

Hark the angels herald sing
Fa la la la la, la la la la
Glory to the newborn king
Fa la la la la, la la la la.

Try it. It works.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

We're Baaaaack

So the bad cold/laryngitis turned into sinus infection/bronchitis and I finally broke down and got me some antibiotics yesterday. I am so sick of being sick. I'm tempted to quarantine the whole family for at least a week so we can stop picking up these viruses. I guess that's one good thing about A. being out of school until next week.

Friday, December 22, 2006

So we're here in Arizona, where it's freezing and rainy. Blegh. Family's fine and it's great to see them, but I can't talk to them because I have completely and totally lost my voice. I had a cold before this, but I thought I was on the upswing. Absolutely no sound is coming out of my throat. And here I sit with my goofy family, full of witty comments. It's infuriating. A. and Ben whisper back to me when I try to talk to them, which is funny.

I need to find that story about the guy who stopped talking for a little while and ended up remaining silent for years. I forgot what his point was, but there's probably a lesson to be learned here. Like, maybe I should keep my mouth shut every once in a while. Nah. That's not it.

Monday, December 18, 2006

'Tis the Season


...for brave little children. When it was our turn, Ben went running up to Santa waving and hollering "Hi Santa! Hi Santa!", but balked a little when the big guy held out his hands to pick Ben up. Still, they did pretty well considering the 45 minute wait and the late hour (we decided to go after dinner, thinking everyone else would be home eating. We were wrong).

Saturday, December 16, 2006

The Story of the Bed

So today’s the 20th anniversary of my mother’s death. In 1986 I was 21, and at the time I thought I was much older than I actually was.

I decided that what I wanted to do today was go to mass in my childhood church, about 30 miles away. My mother was very involved with the church and its elementary school which I went to for eight long years. It’s probably the place I most associate with my mother, besides Macy’s, so we made plans to bring the boys to 4:00 mass today.

Last night, G. said we had a detour to make before we headed out to my hometown. He said he had a surprise. So he got behind the wheel and headed towards the mall.

“Olive Garden? Are going to play Olive Garden Roulette and see if we get sick?”

“Are we applying for jobs at the Elephant Bar?”

We finally pulled up to Levitz. G made us stay in the car, took a small gift bag out of the trunk and ran inside. A few minutes later he came back and told us we could go inside. He told me my present was inside the store somewhere and I had to find it.

Long story short, I walked through the bedroom section and found a big sleigh bed with a red ribbon and the gift bag on top. Inside the gift bag was a card G had made with a picture of my mom on the front and the following inside:

My Dear Lovely Lunasea:

It’s been 21 years (sic. It’s been 20, but who’s counting?). A long time to be without someone so important.

Your Mom would be very proud of you – UC Berkeley graduate and the first doctor in the family.

She would have wanted to be in the front row on our wedding day. And yes, she would love A’s red hair, and Ben’s infectious smile.

Keep remembering her with this sleigh bed. It replaces the one that got broken. I’m sure she is sending love to us from distant shores.

Love, G.


So. He bought me a sleigh bed.

Backstory: My mother received an antique bedroom set when she was a young woman. It included a double sleigh bed that always made me think of her. G and I have never had a bedroom set, and I figured we could use the sleigh bed at some point, but it’s been so well-used and loved over the years that it has completely fallen apart and is in shards in our garage.

So. He bought me a new sleigh bed. He'd hoped to have it delivered and set up today, but that was impossible, so I got to burst into tears in a furniture store.

Afterwards I felt lighter than I have all month.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A. likes to compose his own songs and teach them to Ben. This composition is one of my favorites, titled "Snow is Slippery." Pay special attention to Ben's backup vocals, which, although I might be biased, are simply brilliant. Also, songs can only be sung in our house if you're walking around in circles.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Shrinky Dink Success

I've not had too much luck with Shrinky Dinks in the past few years. But we've been Christmas crafting and they worked great this time. Guess I wasn't making them big enough to begin with.

We made these window charms for the aunts (shut your eyes, aunts):




Ben scribbled all over the circles, while A. did some stick figures and Christmas trees.




Here's how they started out. I used the grated cheese top as the template for the circles :










And here's how they looked after baking:











We got an assortment of beads at Michael's and strung them up on elastic line. If you try this, take my advice and DON'T FORGET to punch TWO holes in each disk. You're going to be bummed if you just did one and will end up gluing the elastic line to the disks so they hang straight, which will be a big pain in the ass.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

I've been thinking a lot about the division that happens between friends when one has children and the other doesn't. Having had my kids in my later-30's, I've been on both sides of the dividing line and I'm not sure there's any way around it when two friends who used to have a lot in common suddenly seem to have so little in common.

So I was very interested in this article in our Sunday paper. Interested enough, in fact, to write a letter to the editor about it. Nothing says "Blog Entry" like a letter to the editor.

Dear Editors:

I know the article “Losing best friend to the trappings of motherhood” wasn’t written to me, but it could have been. Here’s my response.

Dear E,

You are trying to confirm that I'm the same girl who jumped into the mosh pit, made out with bad boys till the wee hours, and flirted with Johnny Depp. Here's what I've been trying to tell you:

I'm not the same girl.

Motherhood has changed who I am in a profound way. It has altered the fibers of my heart. I talk about my kids because I want to share this profound change with you. You were my best friend, and it hurts that you don’t understand how my heart and soul have been taken over by this amazing little being. I talk about potty-training because that IS my life right now and believe it or not, I wouldn’t change it for a thing.

Of course, sometimes I miss my old life. Sometimes I envy your freedom. But that is exactly why I now gravitate to other parents – they are the only ones who can understand that while I may say I’d like to sell my kids on e-Bay after a vomit-filled night, I would still throw myself in front of a train for them.

You’re absolutely right that choosing not to have kids doesn’t make you shallow or immature. But it's also true that my identity and sense of purpose being inextricably altered by motherhood doesn’t mean I’ve made a mistake.

Here’s a news flash: I don’t want to go to Hawaii for a week without my kids. I love that I connect with my husband over T-Ball. Maybe I will wear that miniskirt again, but it’s kind of impractical for playing with blocks on the floor.

I hope we do get that lunch together. And maybe you can come over to play sometime.


Still your friend,

L

Saturday, December 09, 2006

So I've started a tradition of making calendars for the Grandpas. I do 12 8.5x11" layouts, upload them to Shutterfly and order some calendars. Inexpensive, and they seem to like them.

This year, you can even personlize the dates on the calendar, which is great because my dad can't remember his grandkids' birthdays. I collected the dates on my side of the family (which was great because I can't remember them either), and G collected the dates on his side of the family and gave me the list.

I noticed he included all the grandparents, although all of them have passed and presumably don't need cards sent anymore. Then I noticed another name.

"Mrs. Davis? Who's Mrs. Davis?"

"Aw, Mrs. Davis. Our long-time next-door neighbor."

"She's, um, dead, right?"

"Oh yeah, she's been gone a long time."

OK, so I can understand including the dead grandparents' birthdays - they're Catholic, maybe they'll want to have a mass said or something. But the dead next-door neighbor?

He asked, "Do you think that's weird?"

I answered, "Yeah, a little, but it's your call." And that's how Mrs. Davis' birthday came to be included on Grandpa G's calendar.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Sleep and Other Mysteries

So the Crazy Toddler is trying to give up his nap. He's 21 months old and everything I've read says he still needs a nap. You know, it would be one thing if he didn't nap but slept in until 8am. He still gets up between 5am and 6am. Enough already, kid. You need to sleep. We need to sleep.

---------------------------------------------

Last night A. came out after I'd put him to bed. "I need you to tuck me in."

"I already did, though - why do you need it to be done again?"

"Because the blanket keeps tucking me out!"

---------------------------------------------

Had a weird encounter at Michael's. The lines were typically long and the cashiers typically slow. The old lady in front of me had divided her purchase into a million smaller purchases and wanted to write a separate check for each one. (Who writes checks anymore?)

So a clerk finallys shows up and says she can take me, since I'm next in line, at the next register. I grab A., swing the cart around and book it over there. A tall skinny woman tries to jump in. I hate line jumpers. Hate them. The lady looks pleadingly at me and says, "It's just one item, please, would you mind?" I'm a zen kinda chick, so I shrugged and said, "I've waited this long, I guess a few more minutes won't matter."

Meanwhile, the old lady finally finished and the customer who had been behind me was already getting her purchase rung up. Of course. Whatever. I felt worse for the people behind me who had been waiting patiently and then had this lady just squeeze on in. But Ben was entertained by the snowmen all over and A. was being cooperative, so whatever.

Here was the weird part: Line Jumper leans over to me and says, "We're on our way to meet my mother at the hospital, to find out...." here she pauses and holds her hand up to her mouth so she can whisper behind it, presumably so her little girl doesn't hear her, "if she has lung cancer," in a big stage whisper.

Lady, why are you telling me this? I told you you could go in front of me. I nodded at her, but thought, "Oh, yeah, my mom had lung cancer. She died. Right before Christmas, too." But when someone tells you their mom might have or has lung cancer, the last thing they want to hear is that my mom had it too - unless she survived, which she didn't. It was weird. When she was done, she actually stepped toward me, put her hand on my arm and said, "Thank you." Um, you're welcome?

This whole December has been weird. I can't figure out if I'm just annoyed with the holiday overload, if I'm pressured, getting sick, grieving my mother, or WHAT. I've been in a bad mood and the news about James Kim didn't help. It made me very, very sad. I had a bit of time before my 6-clients-in-a-row, put The Flaming Lips on my iPod, went out for a walk and wondered WTF everyone was praying was for. I mean, God's gonna do what he's gonna do (or not do) no matter what, anyway, right? I've rarely prayed for anying specific, rather, I pray for strength. Strength and peace for me and/or for others. But today I was just pissed off. God's gonna give that family strength if he wants to. Or he won't. Whatever. My praying isn't going to make a difference.

I'm not always this jaded or angry. 99% of the time I believe that prayer is mostly just being aware of God's presence in our lives. But today - I'm not so aware and I'm pretty pissed off. Stop taking little kid's parents away. Stop giving kids to people who abuse and/or kill them. Just cut it the fuck out.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Look at all that snow. This was taken out of the car window when we went to Mt. Hood right after it snowed. I'm not used to seeing all that snow on trees.


You've probably heard about it, but there's a SF man still missing in Oregon. They found his wife and small children yesterday. I really hope they find him alive.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

G's uncle gave us a generous donation towards a real model train set for A. So we trekked off to the hobby store this morning to be educated on the basics of model train-ology.

Wow. There are people in those stores who haven't seen the light of day for years. Their necks are permanently crooked, and they have no idea how to deal with someone who is over 1 1/4'' tall and not plastic.

We found a girl who made eye contact, and were advised to go with the HO scale stuff. We were also advised to buy a set that was already packaged together, instead of trying to cobble our own from single pieces. That was a good idea because we have no idea what we're doing. There's a lot of precision and work that goes into making a small train go 'round and 'round over and over and over.

I wanted to get the box labeled "PROFESSIONAL HO SET" just 'cause I thought it was funny, but I knew the joke would be lost on a 4-year-old, so we settled on one with a big black old fashioned engine and a couple of freight cars. They also had a HO scale Gordon (of TTFTE fame) which A. said he wanted, but we're trying to get away from Thomas. (Hah! Like you can ever get away from Thomas!!)

I leafed through some of the model railroading magazines and got scared. I even looked at the very basic one and it scared me. I pictured myself trying to bond with my pre-teen son by forcing plaster of paris into a rock mold, deciding whether to go with brown or gray rock paint, and debating the design of trestles. I am glad to be avoiding Barbie, but I'm not sure this is much better.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Blogger's getting pushier about switching to Beta. I don't like the fact that I can't switch back to the original version if I don't like it. Tell me that once I make a decision there's no going back, well, I'll usually just stay where I am, thankyouverymuch. It's hard to make a commitment. Look how long it took me to become a mother. And Blogger, you're not even as cute as the babies, so get off my back.

Thanks for the thoughts on the cards. It was a tie between #1 and #4. I really liked #4, but I also really liked the Merry&Bright word art and it describes the boys so well, so I wanted to keep that. (Personally, Carrie, I liked #3 too. I always knew you had good taste).

G. really liked #1, although I thought it was too busy. So since #1 was one of the finalists, we went with that one. I'm gonna keep the designs, though, and maybe recycle them next year.

We don't have an Advent Calendar. I'm looking half-heartedly for one that doesn't involve chocolate because we'd have to get two. Ben would have a fit if A. got chocolate and he didn't. And while my standards are fairly low, I'm not so crazy about chocolate at 7am. I remember last year A. would have a huge sugar rush before my coffee was done and it wasn't good.

I'm not finding any that don't have chocolate and I don't have the time to make one, although this one is quite cute.

We've got a calendar on the fridge. That's gonna have to do for now. "Make an X in the square, kid, that's as much of an advent calendar as you're gonna get this year."

We did do a gingerbread house tonight. It went quite well. They give you options for a "Sled and Breakfast," and two other designs. Please. I'm lucky to pipe a door and windows on. I ain't doing curtains or gargoyles or whatever. Ben called the finished product "Santa Claus!"

Still having the weird pressured feeling. Don't know why - I did our December calendar tonight and it's not that packed. My shopping for A. & G is done, I've got a few more things to get at Target for Ben and I've just got two family kids to buy Xmas presents for and that will be done. Ordered the cards. No parties to plan for. I don't know what the deal is - maybe I just need to crank up the Paul Anka Xmas Tunes and chill.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Lunasea Family's Holiday Newsletter

I've always written (well, since we've been married) a holiday newsletter. I like to receive them from other people, and I like to write, so it's a natural match.

But this year I'm having some trouble with it. Usually I write a first draft that is totally honest, then a second, censored, more upbeat version. I can't do the upbeat version until I purge the "real" version. But if I censor this one, there won't be anything left.

Here's what I have so far:

Hello to our family and friends!

I know it's a cliche to say the years are going by so fast, but seriously, doesn't it seem sort of freaky as you get older just how much faster time passes?

January's drama was that our pediatrician thought Ben might have cerebral palsy. He doesn't, he was just uncoordinated.

The apple doesn't fall too far from the tree. In February, Ben's uncoordinated mother (me) fell while playing soccer with A. and hit my head on the asphalt. Wouldn't have been a big deal except that I had a fractured skull and a blood clot in my head. Spent 3 days in the hospital but fortunately avoided surgery and am just fine now, except for the occassional forgetfu

The drama quieted down until April, when G applied for and really expected to get a transfer to Portland, OR. We started planning our move, but he didn't get the job, so that was that.

I got my first mammogram in May. Everything's clear.

A. started preschool this summer. He goes to a local Montessori school and loves it. He's made lots of new friends and says his favorite thing at school is the paperwork. The director told us "he has some trouble, um, moving." Another shout-out to the uncoordinated among us!

We took a trip to Portland, where we're not moving yet, this summer for the baptism of our great-nephew and godson, L. He's really cute and got a free blessed bib from the church.

In September, we welcomed visits from my dad, sister, niece, and great-nephew, L. They all travelled to see Middle Sister and Husband in the musical, Footloose. The show was great, and no family members were injured in the dance numbers. Since A. has finally graduated to a double bed, we had a place for our guests to sleep.

Our fall was filled with so many Halloween crafts it looked like a haunted house threw up all over everything. A. was a cow, and Ben was a frog. They continue to be as cute as all get-out.

We went to Portland again for Thanksgiving, where we all suffered from the flu and spread it to our extended family.

So. Here's to more good things happening in 2007.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Pick A Card, Any Card

I'm working on our holiday cards and am putting the current choices up for a vote. Decide quickly, because I have to order them, OK?

#1














#2 The next two are the same size as the others, but you can't tell because I forgot to put a black outline around them to enhance visibility.














#3














#4 I might replace the gold flourish with a christmas tree doodle or something more holiday-ish.

















In other news, it might get below freezing tonight, and on the news they're actually interviewing people to get their reactions to our super-cold snap. People, quite rightly, are looking at them oddly and saying, "This isn't that cold."

I'm still recovering. My health (and appetite, unfortunately) are back, but I feel this knot of anxiety in the pit of my stomach that I can't get rid of. I don't know if it's because we're going to travel again in four weeks and I'm nervous about it, if I'm feeling holiday pressure..or what.

I also just realized that on the 16th, my mother will have been dead 20 years. Next year, I will cross that line where she will have been dead for more of my life than she was alive. It's fine - I've gotten past feeling like Christmas is associated with her death. Now that I have kids, Christmas is fun again, and I believe in enough of an afterlife to think she has some awareness of the grandchildren she never met. I don't think that's the knot in my stomach, but I did just realize it.

OK, so which card do you like best? (And yes, I realize our names are on there. Our last names aren't on them and I didn't feel like going through and smudging all the copies just to keep up the charade of anonymity).

Monday, November 27, 2006

So last night we made it home.

Because we are travelling at peak times, and we are paying for four tickets, we try to get the lowest fares. This means staying an extra day or two, and, flying out on a late flight on Sunday. Big mistake. Note to selves: next time, cough up the extra bucks and fly out early in the day.

I'd rather get up at 5am than take another 5pm Sunday flight. And that's saying a lot.

For one thing, you sit around all day with your bags packed and nothing to do. For another thing, flights are more likely to be late. Ours was delayed about half an hour. And then, because it's late, we had to sit on the tarmac when we arrived for another half an hour waiting for our gate to be available. Not the worst thing in the world, unless you're trying to calm a cranky, tired, and very loud 20-month-old who is causing the collective blood pressure of the passengers to rise exponentially. I'm used to people smiling at us when they see Ben. That didn't happen so much on this flight.

And, because flights are delayed, the baggage handlers are too busy. We got to the baggage claim area to hear an announcement that there was a minimum 45 minute wait for baggage.

The announcer got progressively more and more defensive: "Step away from the carousels! No bags are coming! You will be alerted when luggage is arriving! Please be patient! I only have one baggage handler per carousel!"

And we got a lesson in baggage handling logistics: "There are only so many baggage handlers and they have to take your luggage off your flight and then get the departing flight's luggage on the plane so it can depart! Then they can load to your luggage!"

"There are 17,000 people travelling through this airport and all of them have luggage!" OK, lady, geez. It seemed to me that people were actually being quite patient. I mean, what are you gonna do? Besides, I was feeling like da bomb because I had single handedly gotten all our luggage (we were lucky - our flight was one of the first to arrive) off the carousel and onto our cart while G went to get the car.

A. serenaded the passengers with a medley of holiday tunes, going from "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" to "Jingle Bells" and ending with some original tunes, including "Snow is Slippery, Just Like You." That last one is a particular favorite of mine, and he knows it, so he sings it often.

So no one threw up, no one had diarrhea on the plane (although A. had to go potty right before take-off, despite our continued explanations that he should go in the airport - nothing will make that kid go before his bladder is about to pop- and the attendant let him use the airplane potty really really fast), and I don't think our holiday will go down as one of the best Thanksgivings ever, but hey, it could have been worse. I think.

Did I mention that it stormed the entire time we were up there? I suppose our flight could have been cancelled. That would have been worse.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Tomorrow we go home. Tomorrow we go home. Tomorrow we go home. Repeat as necessary.

We've managed to spread this flu to FIL and BIL and his whole family, who were here on Thanksgiving. It seems to be a particularly contagious bug. I'm doing better and managed to eat some soup. Ben's been 24 hours without barfing. I have high hopes for tomorrow.

We took the boys about 40 minutes away to the snow on Mt. Hood today. I'll post pics when we get home. First snow is so much fun. G and I weren't much fun because we didn't have gloves, although G risked frostbite to try to build a snowman with A. They ended up making one big ball and giving up. We threw it into the back of the big red pickup truck and brought it back to Portland.

A. said, "All these people are seeing a big red truck and are wishing they had a big red truck like ours!" I think that's his highlight.

Tomorrow we go home.

Friday, November 24, 2006

I didn't blog yesterday because right after Thanksgiving dinner, I got vewy vewy sick. Let's just say I was losing what felt like gallons of liquids out of both ends of my body at the same time. I thought I was dying. Today's a bit better, and I'm at least keeping down water.

And now we've gotten my MIL sick. Poor lady was lying down in the hallway outside the bathroom so she could get to it quickly. And SIL got sick too - she slept in her bathroom in a sleeping bag all night. I would've done that too if this house had more than one bathroom (there's only one bathroom - which is why MIL was camped out in the hallway instead of the bathroom itself).

I have nothing else to write about except all the vomit and other bodily fluids, and a short prayer that we've all stopped vomiting, etc. by our flight on Sunday, so I'll just stop here and go to bed.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

I wrote and lost a whole post on last night, and I'm too cranky to write it again, so I'll summarize it herewith:

1. A. wakes p around midnight crying and snuffling because he can't breathe through his nose. He wakes up Ben, who starts fussing.

2. Take A. into other bedroom, calm him down, take him back into kid's room, lie down with him because he wants Mama instead of Papa.

3. A few hours later, hear Ben harfing in the Pack 'n Play. Try drowsily to clean him up with kleenex before realizing kleenex wasn't made for tasks such as this. Take jammies off, try to wipe vomit out of his hair, walk him around, realize there's no way he's going down without waking up A. Collapse Pack 'n Play and move it into other bedroom. Rock him for hours until he falls asleep.

4. Repeat harfing several times throughout night and through the next day. Wash most every towel and pillow in house. Try to clean harfed-upon carpets.

5. Husband says he's having chills. Take husband's temperature. He doesn't have a fever.

6. Husband's mom takes his temperature with different thermometer. He has a fever. She wins. Happily turn over care of husband to his mom.

So that's been our day. In a way, it's not the worst thing in the world to have this happen here because if I were at home, I'd feel the pressure of housework and other stuff waiting to get done. Here, apart from cancelling plans to see other family members, there's no pressure and I just try to take care of everyone (and do lots of laundry). The bummer is that I don't know where anything is in this house, I feel bad for all the vomit on their towels and linens and I feel I have to apologize for the kids sitting in front of the TV all day. But, there was nothing else to do and they were wiped. I got a nap myself, too, which was nice. I also made myself a little bit useful and hooked up my IL's DVD player (which they got for Christmas last year and which was still in the box).

A. was feeling better today and hasn't thrown up for since the first night, so we're hoping this is a very short-lived virus and everyone will be better by the weekend. Ben hasn't harfed for about three hours now, and has had diarrhea only once (please, God, let that not be tonight's drama).

In the middle of the night last night, I tell you, I was re-thinking this whole motherhood deal. Three nights without sleep and a whole lot of vomit will do that to you. And I thought, what if we had a third child now? I imagined trying to nurse and get an infant back to sleep while rocking Vomit Boy and listening to A. whistle through his nose and decided that A. and Ben will not be getting that little sister, after all.

Edited to add: Ben just harfed all over the crib again. Well, maybe now it's gonna get better.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Last night, we got to bed around 10:30pm - pretty good, eh? Except for the 4-year-old who felt sick and wanted to sleep with us at 12:00am, then wanted to go out to the family room at 1am, then was still out there at 3am, so I sent G to check on him. He was snoozing while hanging off the ottoman, so he got moved to the couch. Then we all got up at 5am.

It was relatively painless, though. We are a well-oiled machine going through security. Both G. and I strip ourselves of shoes, wallets and cell phones and throw everything into a bin. Then we throw everyone's jackets together into another bin. Then we get the kids out of the strollers, throw the backpacks on the belt; then one of us takes the kids through the detector while the other folds up the stroller and gets it onto the belt. On the other side, we unfold the stroller, throw the kids in, get the backpacks onto the stroller and/or cart, put our shoes and everything else on and we're good to go. Really, we should get it on video. We're that good.

And here we are. The rental car company gave away our car, so we have a huge 4-door bright red pickup outside that I'm afraid to drive. A. is still feverish, but the Jimmy Neutron and Little Einsteins on the iPod during the flight were a godsend. I just wish we had something comparable for Ben. The kid in front of us screamed like a banshee as soon as they put her seat belt on, which I didn't mind at all because then our kids looked like angels in comparison even if Ben loudly and enthusiastically squealed (which is really more like a scream) every now and again. At least he was gleeful about it.

A. got the window seat, of course, and before take-off looked out at all the construction and torn-up tarmac at the Oakland Airport, and said, "What a beautiful view!" Boys.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The Child Who Never Throws Up (i.e. not Ben) has thrown up exactly four times in the last three years. And half of those occured last night. The first time was in his bed around 1am. OK, so we (i.e. G) strip the bed and bring him into our bed and hope he's done.

A few hours later he starts making a gagging sound. G sits up and stares at him. I say, "You might want to get him to the bathroom." (G is closer to the door and stronger. He's in charge of rushing 4-year-olds to the bathroom in the middle of the night), where he barfs again.

So far, it seems we have a reprieve from the barfing. But he's still sick. He's prone on the sofa right now, and I know he's sick because he just said to me, "Mama, that's enough TV."

I stared at him. "Seriously? You want me to turn it off?"

"Yeah."

Now that's sick. The boy's first words were "TV." He lives for the TV. When he was about 2, he asked to watch the news when he realized no cartoons were on. And he's asking to turn Sesame Street off?

Did I mention we're flying to Portland tomorrow?

I had a whole list of errands I needed to run this morning after I dropped A. off at school. A's not going to school, obviously, and as soon as G. gets home, I need to jet to work and see clients all in a row until 8pm when I'll come home, fall into bed and get up a few hours later so we can be at the airport at 6am.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

On Tuesday, we're traveling to Portland. Just checked to see the what the weather forecast looks like.

Here's Ben and I at Baby Loves Disco:



You can see the whole gallery here.


Not the greatest pic of me, but Ben was having a great time with the hula hoop, and he just gets so filled with glee. It's the funnest thing. The photographer took a bunch of him, and showed me one really cute one where I'm kissing him, and it's not up at his website. I'd e-mail him, but I don't want to be annoying. And this is what you get on Day 17 of NaBloPoMo.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Baby Loves Disco

Today we went dancing at a hot nightclub. With the kids. It's called Baby Loves Disco and it was so much fun. I forgot to take the SD card out of my computer and put it back in my camera (grrrr), so I only got a few photos, but I'll upload them as soon as I find the USB cable. It was fun to be back in a club and reminded me of going dancing every weekend in college. My friends weren't big drinkers, but they were big dancers, and we went to The City as often as we could.

Ben loved the bubble machines, the chocolate kisses and the hula hoops. Not sure what A. liked, since he was feeling a little peaked from the decongestant I'd given him. But when we were driving home, he asked what day we leave for Portland. We told him Tuesday, and he said, "But I wanted to go disco dancing on Tuesday!"

They have a big snack table full of snacks from Trader Joe's and free juice boxes for the kids. Adults have to buy their drinks, but we can get vodka tonics, unlike the short people who get juice. They have a lounge area to chill on pillows and play with toys (lotsa breastfeeding going on there). Yeah, we may do this again.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Isn't it incredible how much we can be affected by those we only know through the computer screen?

I am heartbroken. Godspeed to the newest star in the sky, and peace to those she leaves behind.

If you haven't read the full story (since about October 30) - you should, but be prepared to grab a Kleenex or two - her husband is a truly gifted writer and has managed to attract a huge group of new friends.

More Math News: Correlation Does Not Prove Causation

Ben was resisting going down for his nap, and A. was going potty in the bathroom nearby. I escaped to eat my sandwich, having faith that Ben would fall asleep eventually and A. would wash his hands. A. did come out with wet sleeves, which reassured me.

A: Mama, Ben finally fell asleep.

Me: Oh, that's good.

A: And I burped in the bathroom.

Me: OK.

A: Yeah. I burped in the bathroom.

Me: Um, yeah?

A: And my burp just popped Ben to sleep!

So now, when Ben wakes up at 5am, we just need to get A. up, force soda down his throat, make him burp and all will be well.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Bits and Pieces

For those not addicted to "Lost," ABC decided to ratchet the story up to a cliffhanger, and then take the stupid show off the air for 13 straight weeks. They've got a new show (which, as far as I can tell, is "Groundhog Day" with blood) they'll show in its place for the 13 weeks.

I refuse to watch it, no matter how luscious Taye Diggs is. I am not a toy to be played with, ABC! I'm offended by the idea that because I'm a faithful "Lost" viewer, you can treat me like a trained rat who will turn on the TV at 9pm every Wednesday and watch whatever's there. I turned off the TV Wednesday night, on principle. Take that, ABC!

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

A: Mama, what's the last number?

Me: There is no last number.

A: My teacher says that zero is the last number.

Me: Well, OK, on the small end. But what about the other end? Where the numbers get bigger and bigger?

A: 100?

Me: Nope. Because then there's 101, 102, 103....

A: Well, my teacher says that zero is the last number.

Me: Maybe on one end, but on the other end there is no last number. They keep going forever and ever. (thinking: What the hell am I doing? Trying to explain infinity to a 4-year-old?)

A: No. Zero is the last number.

Me: Ask your teacher tomorrow. I'll bet she says there is no last number.

skip to the next day

A: Mama, I asked my teacher and she said zero is the last number.


Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I hate going to the dentist. Hate it, hate it, hate it. I don't have a phobia, exactly. It's not like I have an anxiety attack. I just find it terribly unpleasant to have my mouth pulled open wide and many sharp metal things stuck into sensitive tissue. I call that a normal reaction to an abnormal situation.

So G's been bugging me to go to his new dentist to get my teeth cleaned. I hate getting my teeth cleaned, so I avoid it. I do realize that if I didn't avoid it so much, I'd probably have fewer of the longer, more painful visits. I just seem to forget about it. But A's going for the first time tomorrow and I figure I have to set a good example.

Anyway, I go to our new dentist. He's just around the corner, so he couldn't be more convenient. I wished I had a camera phone while I was there because you wouldn't believe this office. I could tell you it hadn't been updated since the 70's, but you wouldn't really get it unless I could show you a picture of the completely wood-paneled X-ray room.

They always ask, "When was the last time you got your teeth cleaned?" and I always answer, "I have no idea." They give me a little of the evil eye, and we go from there. I finally realized I get a bit more sympathy if I tell them, "I'm a little afraid of going to the dentist."

So I go to this new one, and he tells me, "I know you're the nervous type, so we'll walk you through everything." I considered explaining that I wasn't the nervous type, but it was going to sound defensive, and he would just nod knowingly and say, "Oh, suuuure." so I figured if it made him gentler to think I was the nervous type, so much the better. I asked if I could listen to my iPod while he worked, and he said, "Of course."

Quick segue: I love my iPod more than I thought I would. I love listening to it. I love that I can download all these cool podcasts for free. I have djsteveboy's podcasts for runners (the slower versions) and I stick Ben in the jogging stroller and take off. I love it.

OK, so I queued up an episode of This American Life and settled in for a pleasant hour. I had been looking forward to listening to the Halloween edition, you know, being that I love Halloween and all. I put in my earbuds, leaned back and gazed up at him and the assistant/receptionist/billing clerk (who gives out candy corn after appointments, which I found a little odd). "OK, now, ooooppeeeen," he suggested. Oh yeah.

I had made a bad choice of material. I knew this episode had spooky stories, so I was thinking ghost stories or alien phenomena or something. No, it was true scary stuff. The first story was a first-person account of a woman who was attacked in her driveway by a rabid raccoon. The raccoon dug its teeth into her and wouldn't let go. She lived in a rural area, so the only way she could summon help was by managing to get her cell phone out of her pocket, press a speed dial and scream into it. Then there was all the trouble getting the rabies shots in time.

The second story was the story of a guy who was kidnapped while hitchiking as a teen with his brother. The silent driver of the car drove them to a cemetery, where they escaped.

Oh yeah, great stories to listen to while your teeth are getting drilled. Especially if you're "the nervous type."

Then came the segment where David Sedaris reads about his experience shadowing the medical examiner's office. Not just gross, but funny too. I kept trying not to laugh, but it was impossible and the dentist had to keep withdrawing his hands until I calmed down.

"I'b sorry, dis iz fuddy," I pointed to my iPod, because half of my face was numb.

It was timed almost perfectly, though, and the dentist finished up just about the same time as podcast. I think next time I'll stick to meditation or music or something.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Clarification

Apparently I didn't make something clear in my previous post - my post wasn't about the website or the designer. It was about my over-the-top reaction (those were, in fact, my exact words) to thinking I'd been shut out...hence the little trip down memory lane. I tried to be very clear that I thought the designer was talented and that I loved her stuff and I also tried very hard to avoid saying that she should operate her site differently, because who the hell am I to judge that? I also didn't name or link her, because it wasn't about her.

One of the things that was difficult was that I couldn't post my question ("hey, is something up with Mo? I've been shut out and I don't know why") on any of the scrapping message boards I frequent because, as I've said before, I'm only a little bit of an idiot, and I knew it would turn into a Mo-bashing thread* and I really didn't want to be responsible for that. I couldn't figure out how to ask because I couldn't get into the forums on the website to e-mail anyone. And any hints I could find indicated that she (or cousin Jo) didn't respond when they didn't want you in; and otherwise, they were very good at responding. So when there was no response, I assumed the worst.

So, as I tried to make clear in the post below, I overreacted. I got all hurt and annoyed and I tried to figure out why.....ta da! Blog Post! (Especially on NaBloWriMo!) See what I mean about overreacting? Apparently it wasn't about me at all, and I shouldn't have taken it personally. One of my favorite parts of the "Four Agreements" is the one that says, "Don't Take Anything Personally," precisely because it's so hard for me. I'm A LOT better at it than I used to be, though, I swear.

As far as I know, this blog has absolutely no following in the digital scrapping community. I'm really surprised that she found me, but I knew there was that chance because I probably put my website on my application or in an e-mail.

It's her website - she can do what she wants, of course. I guess people have hacked into her website and screwed it up royally before, and that's one reason she's so protective.

And, it's my blog, and I can write what I want to write about - my hang-ups and neuroses are prime fodder. I am sorry if she felt hurt that I wrote about her triggering them. Obviously, she's been ill, that's why I didn't hear anything, and now that I know that, I won't bother her anymore. Mo, thanks for replying, I do hope you feel better soon.

*Lots of precedence for this - apparently lots of people have very heated feelings about the way she runs her site. I didn't understand it until now.

Monday, November 13, 2006

And I Am Telling You, I'm Not Going

There are a lot of digital scrapbook designers. Most sell their stuff on a personal website or an on-line store, and most do some marketing to bring people their website.

There's one, who shall remain nameless and linkless, who doesn't market. In fact, you have to apply for membership even to see her stuff. If you do get in, you have to comment or somehow participate (or buy) every time you visit in order to keep being admitted.

Her stuff is really well done and very unique. So I bought some kits, shared a few layouts, contributed to a few threads on the message board, and praised some layouts. In fact, I tried to only visit the site when I knew I'd have time to comment. People in general were very nice. I really liked her kits, but they were on the pricey side (for a ton of stuff, though, and well done - not overpriced), so I was looking forward to buying some more Christmas stuff when I had a little extra cash.

It now appears I've been thrown out. I can't log in and no one is responding to my e-mails. I think the owner (or her cousin) only respond if they're going to let you back in. If you're out, you're just thrown out into the ether. And it's bugging me no end.

For one thing, I uploaded layouts of my kids on the website. I know, I made that choice, but now I don't even know if they're still there. It annoys me that I can't get to them. In my last e-mail, I asked that if I wasn't allowed back in, that they at least take the layouts down. But I'll never know if they even received my request, BECAUSE NO ONE RESPONDS!!

I think that's what bugs me the most. No response. Nada. That makes me crazy. I admit my reaction is a little over-the-top. I mean, her stuff is good but there are other good designers and I certainly can find other kits I like. It's not like I went there every day, and I was just beginning to know some of the regulars, so I wasn't a fixture or a vital part of the community or anything.

Being shut out, however, of course makes me desperate to get back in. It feels like I'm back in the 4th grade and new student Lori came in and out of the blue told my two best friends, Debbie and Lynn, not to play with me anymore and to play with her instead. They listened to her for a while and then their backbones returned, but that was the longest month of my life. In fact, it seems in my memory to have gone on a lot longer than a month. It may have only been a week, for all I know.

It also reminds me of college, when I went to Hawaii with a friend. Being all co-dependent and stuff back then, I paid for her ticket with the understanding that she would pay me back when we returned. You know where this is going. A few years later, still making promises of repayment, she'd dropped out of our circle of friends, and I was newly laid-off. So I wrote to her at her parents' house and asked her to contact me regarding the money she owed me.

Nothing.

I wrote again. I even said, "Hey, if you can't pay me back right now, just TELL ME." Nothing.

I was incensed. Not so much that she wasn't paying me back, because I knew she probably didn't have an extra $750 laying around to give me. It was being ignored, like I wasn't even worth acknowledging, that drove me crazy. I wrote her a couple more letters, each one a bit more serious, and finally sued her in small claims court. I remember the feeling behind it - it wasn't "You owe me money, babe," it was, "I will NOT be ignored, damnit." (Her mother ended up writing me a check the day before the court date, which made me feel a little bad, but not too much).

So now it appears I've been shut out of this exclusive little club, and I'm mad. They have every right to make their decisions, of course, but am I not worth even an acknowledgment? Not even a, "Sorry, but you didn't come often enough. We've taken down your layouts."

It pushes my buttons. And I know I have to let it go, because really, what's the point? It's a website, for goodness sake. There are bigger, far more important things in my life. So why does it bug me so much?

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Grrrrr

See? I forgot yesterday. I didn't mean to, I wrote my last post so late that yesterday it felt like I'd just posted. And then today, I thought, "Well, geez, I missed yesterday, I had to miss a day when we were on our trip, I might as well give this up."

It's a slippery slope. But here's today's post. Not much to say. The boys continue to be cute, I continue to worry about how to raise boys to be peaceful and kind without emasculating them; I continue to want them to stay little at the same time that I look forward to the day they're able to come out at 5 am, turn on the TV, pour themselves a bowl of cereal and leave us to sleep. I love Ben's current age (20 months), but I also can't wait until he can clearly tell us what the hell he wants.

I read today (sorry, can't remember where) about someone who was trying to figure out the word for feeling sadness and happiness at the same time. "Melancholy" is too sad, but "bittersweet" isn't exactly right, either. It's exactly what I feel as I see the boys getting older.

OK. I won't give up. I'll keep trying to post daily. I have forgotten, though, why this was a good idea, when I feel like I have no insights at all.

Friday, November 10, 2006

A. has been heavily into the existential issues lately. He's got lots of questions. Everytime he's been quiet for a while and then says, "Mama.....?" I know something hard to answer is coming.

"Mama.....why do we not eat worms?"

"Mama.....why are there killers in this world?"

"Mama....what's bigger than us?"

"Mama....why are seat belts sometimes not enough?"

We had a long discussion about monsters, too. It all started when I made an offhand comment that monsters weren't real.

"But Elmo is a monster and he's real."

"Well.....actually, hon, he's a puppet."

"No, he's not."

Not wanting to hammer him over the head at four with reality, but also not wanting to lie, I said, "Mmmm," and tried to drop it.

After a moment of thought, he repeated, "Elmo's not a puppet, Mama, because Elmo does his own voice," he stated with absolute certainty.

"Well....actually, hon, there is a puppeteer who does Elmo's voice. You just don't see him on TV."

"Elmo is real."

"OK, babe. But we only see monsters on TV, right? We don't see them walking down the street, do we? We don't run into them at the grocery store, right?" (hoping he doesn't remember the time Cookie Monster gave us cookies at Albertson's...)

He finally let it go, which was good because I didn't see that conversation going anywhere satisfying for either of us.

-----------------------------------------
This one worried me, though:

"Mama, why are seatbelts sometimes not enough?"

I had no idea what he was talking about - had he seen something on TV about a bad crash were seatbelts didn't save people? I didn't think so, and to say something's "sometimes not enough" sounded like he was quoting someone.

"Did you hear someone say that?"

"Yeah. W. said that." Ahh - W is A's 5-year-old friend who considers himself A's mentor.

"Oh. Well, seatbelts are usually enough to keep you safe."

"Actually, he said seatbelts weren't good."

"Well, then, W is wrong. Seatbelts are good because they keep you safe."

"No, he's not wrong. He's right."

Oh, terrific. He's four years old and already succumbing to peer pressure. Peachy. Next thing you know he'll be accepting smokes when they're hiding in the bushes.

"Why do you think he's right?"

"Because seatbelts aren't very fun."

"That's true - they're more serious than fun. But they're still good because they keep you safe."

At least he asks. I fear the time is coming, sooner than I had hoped, where he tunes me out and hears, "Blah blah blah blah blah..." How do you keep them listening?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

I can't remember where I got this link, but the idea is you look at a series of photos side by side, and you click on the one you like better. Eventually the brain at the bottom pulses pink, and you click on it and it tells you something about yourself that no website could ever know.

I was surprised that the first thing it told me was: "You'd prefer having a girlfriend." Well, that would rather complicate my life, wouldn't it? It does give you an option to correct the brain, so I clicked, "No, I'd prefer having a boyfriend," because "I'd prefer having a housekeeper," wasn't given as an option.

It also told me: "You don't work in an office/school." I'm not sure what I'd call my therapy office if I didn't call it an office, so I clicked, "No, I work in an office/school."

The brain didn't think anything else about me, but invited me to continue choosing photos. It's kind of an interesting to see the photos they ask you to choose between, even if the pink brain is 0 for 2 so far.

It's Come to This

I'm stealing ideas from other bloggers. Not that I didn't before, though.

Evidence that our children are not our children:

1. They're too attractive. Both A. and Ben are remarkably attractive, and I don't think I'm just saying that. I could bring in witnesses who are not related to them. I hope G. won't mind me saying this, but they're both really more attractive than either he or I.

2. They are early birds. Both kids regularly get up before 6am. When we stayed in Stinson Beach, A. slept in until 7, and when he woke, yelled out, panicking: "Papa! Papa! There's light coming through my window!"

G: "Yes, that would be the sun."

A: "But Papa, there's a lot of light! It's all over my room!"

I told him later, "That's the way it's supposed to be when you wake up. If you wake up and it's still dark, you're supposed to roll over and go back to sleep."

He gave me a look that clearly said, "Well, maybe that works for some people, but I have no interest in such things."

G. can get up early, but left to his own devices, usually sleeps in until at least 8am. If I could make my own schedule, I would go to bed between midnight and 1am and get up at 9am. That would be absolutely perfect, and is one of the reasons I kept a job where I didn't start until 10:30am for so many years.

3. They're extroverts.

Both G. and I were painfully shy as children, G. probably more than me. He can't believe A. raises his hand at soccer practice of his own accord, and seems so brazen and confident. Both boys are very social and make friends easily. It amazes us.

Both boys are not-quite-coordinated in a way that seems very familiar. And Aidan has my red hair. But I did have ceseareans and both kids were whisked away to the NICU right after birth, so it's possible that somewhere, some couple is dealing with shy, average-looking late sleepers and trying to figure out where they came from.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Cars the Merchandising Wonder

So yesterday was election day, or, as it was known around our house, The Day Cars The Movie Came Out on DVD.

Ben won a Best Buy gift card (see? My 20-month-old wins raffles easier than I do) last month so the boys went to buy it today while I was at work. I came home to find A. asleep in bed, his arms wrapped around the DVD case and the insert stuck in his little fingers. I'm guessing they already watched it.

Before I had kids, I thought movie tie-in merchandising was the crassest form of consumerism. Now that I'm a parent, I think, "Cool. Christmas is covered. Just buy the kid a 'Cars the Movie' plate and cup and he'll be happy."

Or, while out shopping, "Hey, there's a 'Cars the Movie' display. I can park the cart in front of it and probably have a whole five minutes to browse the magazines. Awesome."

Now, the kid in question is only four, so we haven't been through much more than Thomas and Cars the Movie. I'm sure that when he's on his fourth or fifth group of licensed characters it will be far less appealing.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Reasons October 27 is a Great Day to Have a Birthday

I know you're sick of hearing about my birthday, but this blogging daily thing means every little blog idea that comes into my little head gets its due.

1. Here in Northern California, the weather is still really nice. Not too hot, not too cold. Usually sunny.

2. It's close to Halloween, which is a Fun Holiday (as opposed to the religious and/or patriotic ones - the other one, according to me, is New Year's).

3. Whatever I didn't get for my birthday goes right onto the Christmas list.

4. It's in the autumn, which everyone knows is the best season.

God, we're only on Day 7. I'd better see if this book is in the library. It's doubtful, since we're lucky if our library has gotten in the tax forms for 2004 yet.

BTW, I had an Odwalla juice and a Luna Bar for lunch. Tomorrow....gosh, who knows?

Monday, November 06, 2006

In Search of a Happy Ending

A fellow blogger is blogging through the most difficult time: His 29-year-old wife got sick on Halloween with what they thought was the flu and is now critically ill with a mysterious infection. His writing about the roller coaster they've been on for the past few days is compelling and although I hadn't read his blog until today (thanks for the link, Busy Mom)....I'm praying for a happy ending. Please, please, please be OK, GAC. They've got two little boys, like us. C'mon, God, let her see her boys grow up.

I'm listening to "100 Years" as I read it, and I'm also praying a little bit that I have at least 99 years until I have to face anthing like that.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Here I Am!

I'm back!

Before I write about the trip, I just found out that my dad has had the hiccups for 10 DAYS. Can you imagine anything sucking more? He finally went to the ER because it's just not normal to hiccup for 10 days, and they found he has pneumonia, which apparently can cause hiccups. Who knew?

So after scaring Sarah about the hooligans and house prices in Northern California, we remembered some awesome things about the area here. Here's where we stayed:














And we had really good, really pretty crab cakes here. And I didn't wear any makeup, BTW.




















It was a gorgeous morning at the beach today.








And we had a great time here. The fence isn't the most photogenic, but trust me, it's a really great place in the shadow of the Golden Gate.
















We took a wrong turn coming back and ended up on the top of Mt. Tamalpais. Not a bad detour.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Day Three

I don't know what's up, but Blogger's not letting me save drafts, which means I can't write anything and make it post on Saturday.

So I'll write a post for tomorrow but won't be able to post it until Sunday, which probably takes me out of the running for all the prizes offered by NaBloWriMo, but that's OK, I wouldn't have won anyway. I'm not being pessimistic, I just know my record - the only thing I've ever won in a raffle has been a salame.

Even at some golf tournament dinner I went to with a date once, where I was incensed because the women winners had to pick a plant and the guys got to pick liquor (I would've probably picked a plant anyway if I'd had a choice, but it was the chauvinism of the thing that bugged me)....everyone won something except for one other lady and me. They thought they had gotten enough for everyone by having 100 raffle gifts. Just goes to show you - I don't win even when the odds are heavily in my favor.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Pretend We're on Eastern Time

So this post counts as my November 3rd post.

Check this out: Don't Eat It, Steve! Blegh. Wish I'd found this before Halloween. I love StumbleUpon.

Edited to add: You might as well check out all the disgusting stuff he's tried: All the Disgusting Stuff He's Tried

Compartmentalized Minds

We're going away this weekend to continue the b-day celebrating. I've known about this trip for quite a while, and yet completely forgot to cancel my Sunday clients and that I wouldn't have internet access. Hmmm. How to blog daily when I'll be gone?

I could write a few blog posts early, but that seems beside the point. I could write them there, but I won't be able to post them until I get back, which will also miss the point. Don't suggest I could blog by phone. I assume it operates something like text messaging which I don't know how to do and don't want to learn.

Hmmm. Completely fascinating dilemna, huh? I'm thinking this blogging daily thing is a bad idea.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Happy All Soul's Day!

I love Halloween. It's my favorite holiday. I've always loved the dark spooky stuff like vampires and the occult. When I was a kid, my favorite stories were witch stories. I guess it's the Scorpio in me.

But even so, I was so ready for yesterday to be over. We began the Halloween crafting in the beginning of October, took countless trips to the pumpkin patch, and snapped many, many photos. We've never had a build-up for a holiday like we have for this one, and I'm pretty much done. We had a costume parade at A.'s school, then a party with our playgroup which was a potluck and turned out to pretty much be a dessert party with cookies, cupcakes and Krispy Kremes for everyone.

The way A. decides what he's going to be for Halloween is I take him to either Old Navy or BabiesRUs, show him the costumes and ask him which one he wants. He has to pick something on the rack and I'm hoping I can keep that up for a few more years. I like being crafty, but I draw the line at sewing. Ben wore A.'s old frog costume from a few years ago. I expected him to fight the hood, but actually both boys refused to take off their costumes all day. At the end of the night, I had to trick Ben into his jammies. I just let A. sleep in his cow costume. He wants to sleep on a tail and horns, fine.

As an aside, G. got a little radio transmitter as an appreciation gift from work yesterday. A. walked around with the earbuds in all afternoon, yelling, "TRAFFIC! THEY'RE TELLING ME ABOUT THE TRAFFIC! THERE'S A STOLLED CAR ON THE 80 95! (pause) NOW THEY'RE TELLING ME ABOUT A RESTAURANT!" God, it was funny.

Ben wasn't too into the trick-or-treating. G. carried him and he didn't want to go up to the doors. He kept begging, "Dat way! Dat way!" pointing back to our house. So he and I made it a short trip and went back to our house to hand out candy while G. and A. prowled the neighborhood for more treats.

We visited a neighbor, an older woman who thinks the boys are adorable, and when she saw it was us, she went into her kitchen, grabbed 2 GALLON size ziplock bags full of candy and gave it to us. I thought she wanted me to open the bags and take two pieces out. No. BOTH GALLON size bags were for the boys. It was remarkable. An entire night's take at one house. We tried to talk A. into taking the ziplocs home and calling it a night, but he was not swayed.

Ben may have been afraid of trick-or-treating, but he LOVED handing out candy. He'd throw the candy in the kid's bags, yell, "THANK YOU!" and "HAAAH HAAHWEEN (Happy Halloween)!!" Then, after the kids left, he'd stare out the door calling, "Come! Come!" He'd point out into the darkness, look at me and plead, "Come! Come!" I promised there'd be more coming soon. I thought I might have to go get our neighbors and have them come over a few more times to appease him. Even the scary ghouls didn't phase him, which surprised me.

We had A. pick out his favorite seven pieces of candy, give or take a few lollipops, and told him to leave the rest for the Great Pumpkin, who comes in the middle of the night and swaps presents for the candy. He was most worried that GP would take his cute trick-or-treat bag, and no assurances from me would convince him, so we hid it on top of the refrigerator, where GP wouldn't be able to reach. He was thrilled with the coloring books that were left for him this morning, so that was a good idea and now we won't have to ration candy until February.

Halloween candy isn't what it used to be. There was hardly any chocolate or Hershey's miniatures. Lots of Laffy Taffy, which I just don't understand but A. seems to like. It's OK, though, because it means I'm not dipping into the Great Pumpkin's all the time.

Let the Thanksgiving crafting begin!

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Unbearable Joy of Being Slippery

A: Hey, Mama, do you want to hear the song I just made up?

Me: Sure.

A: (singing a tune similar but not exactly like "What's the Name of That Song?" from Sesame Street)
Snow is slippery, Snow is slippery, Just like you. (repeat 4x)

Me: Absolutely one of your best, A.!


--------------------------------------------------------

Trying to figure out how to get Auntie R's attention to tell her there's a carnival set up near our house:
Hey, Auntie R! Do you wanna know what's going on in the world?

And there's more where those came from! Because I think I'm going to try this:




I'm on the official list of participants and everything. You might notice the non-committal language I've used. There are days when I'm lucky to brush my teeth, so I'm not sure this is going to work and I don't like to set myself up for disappointment, especially with blogging. There are enough things to fail at in life, why make more? But I'll give it a shot.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

In Love With the 21st Century

G. and the boys drove me to get a spa pedicure this morning, complete with a pretty pink color that A. picked out himself (after I vetoed his first choice - metallic blue. Nothing wrong with that - just not my current mood). Several spa workers came back to tell me how unbelievably cute my boys and husband were. Look, ladies, I finally have a chance to read Oprah for the first time in two years, OK? I know they're cute. Thanks. Let me read my magazine. (No, just kidding - I enjoyed it).

Went to Marie Callender's for dinner and realized I'd never had dinner there before. Whenever we eat out, it becomes startlingly apparent that we have failed to teach Ben to use a normal speaking voice. Every diner in the restaurant was aware that there was an "A" on the sign near us, and fans on the ceiling, too, because Ben announced their presence really loudly many times. The waiter brought a slice of cherry pie with a candle in it. Then, as we left, we apologized to the nearby diners for our extremely loud son.

Then we went across the bridge to the super-white Apple store and exchanged my brand new iPod Nano (from my rockin' sisters) for this baby. I was going to keep the Nano because, geez, 500 songs seems like more than enough to get me through an hour workout, and I liked that it was a flash drive so it could be jostled a bit. But G. offered to make up the difference between the cute little Baby Nano and the 30GB Daddy iPod for a Christmas present. I took him up on it.
I didn't realize it automatically transferred all the songs on my computer to the iPod as soon as I hooked it up. So now I've got all the songs from "Veggie Tales" and "TTFTE" on my iPod should I ever want them piped right into my ear. Like they're not permanently etched on my brain already.

On the other hand, I also have 8 free podcasts waiting for me that will turn me into the best-read, most interesting person you've ever met. And a tiny little playlist from about 12 grownup songs I've bought off iTunes, beginning with "Out of My Head" by Fastball and ending with "Word Up!" by Cameo. Turns out "Word Up!" actually sounds much better from a small boom box in a large gym. In the 80's.

You'd think I'd never listened a mix tape on a Walkman. Songs! Through headphones! Any order I want!

Still, I don't think I'm ever taking it off. The sound quality is fantastic. And it's so COOL-looking. I may go to bed with it.

Oh, and did I mention that G. bought me the warm coat that I've needed for years? Finally, I don't have to borrow a coat when we go to Portland in the winter.

Oh yeah. It's been a good birthday.

Friday, October 27, 2006

How to Turn 41

1. Sleep in a little bit while your husband gets up with the kids.

2. Don't sleep in too much because he still has to go to work.

3. Stumble out of the bedroom in your robe and sit down in the family room so your 19-month-old can sing "Haaaaa Bird-ay a Ooooo." Despite the yearning of every cell in your body, don't leave to make coffee. Let your 4-year-old bring presents and oooh and ahhhh over the butterfly soaps and the cool commuter mug that he picked out himself because it had raised rubber bumps all over it.

4. Be impressed that the 4-year-old wrote "MAMA YOU'RE THE BEST AIDAN" in shaky 4-year-old letters all by himself on the birthday card.

5. Hugs and kisses all around.

6. Make coffee, drink out of new commuter mug.

7. Keep 4-year-old out of school so you can take both kids to the best pumpkin patch in Northern California.

8. Put kids in a little red wagon, give them pumpkins to hold and take some cute pictures.

9. Pull kids in wagon to the nursery where there is a dusty, forgotten shelf with 5 old Lionel train cars. Leave wagon outside, with pumpkins and bag in it. Assume no one will take wagon because it has pumpkins and bag in it. Take wallet, camera and cell phone out of bag because you're not a complete idiot. Leave keys in it because you are a little bit of an idiot.

10. Wait around for 15 minutes while 4-year-old ignores the pumpkins, the choo-choo train, the jumpy house and all the halloween decorations and plays with the 5 old Lionel train cars. Feed pumpkin muffin to 19-month-old.

11. Pull 4-year-old away from dusty shelf and return to the sunlight. Discover that wagon with pumpkins and bag is gone. Wonder who would take a bag full of diapers and wipes (and keys).

12. Ask every worker at patch if they've seen your bag. Continue to feed pumpkin muffin to 19-month-old to get his cooperation. Finally find wagon, with pumpkins and bag still in it, about 20 feet away from where you left it and in the opposite direction of the way you went to search for it. Give into oldest son's demands and buy him his own pumpkin muffin.

13. Get kids into car; call sister to tell her you'll be a little late for lunch. Hear oldest son give entire muffin to youngest son after eating off just the top of it.

14. Look into back seat, see youngest child with about 3 inches of orange pumpkin muffin crumbs on his lap, and the rest on his chest, the seat and the floor.

15. Meet sister for lunch, wrestle youngest son off table, educate oldest son once again on the physics of using a straw and why it's a mistake to tip the cup while you're drinking from a straw.
16. Eat really good chicken Cobb Salad.

17. Open present from sisters - get very excited about new iPod (YES!).

18. Assure 4-year-old that the iPod is nice, but still not as cool as the commuter mug he gave you that morning.

19. Return to car, find $50 parking ticket for parking at a WHITE curb. Let very nice sister grab it and say she's going to fight it.

21. Drive home, realize you've continued to listen to "Martha Stewart's Playtime" on the CD player half an hour longer than you needed to because both boys were fast asleep as soon as you pulled away from the curb.

22. Get home, lay boys down, relax for a little bit.

22. Get boys up, let little one play in the driver's seat of the car while you vacuum the pumpkin muffin carnage from the backseat. Note that it's unusual, given your fairly low standards, that a mess is bad enough to make you pull the vacuum from the house and clean it the same day it was made.

23. Pull out box of old Halloween decorations. As you hang a skeleton from a plant, listen to oldest son tell an original Halloween tale: "Once upon a time, there was a skeleton hanging from a plant. But then the wind blew so hard it blew him off the plant. But then the werewolf came and ate the skeleton up. But then the bats came and ate the whole world. Hahaha! That's scary, isn't it Mama!"

24. Let oldest son put all the decorations on the bottom 2 feet of the sliding glass door.

25. Let youngest son transfer all the mummy heads from one ghost bowl to another ghost bowl.

26. Wait for husband to get home.

27. Decide to eat sandwiches, instead of going out to dinner, because we're all still full from lunch. Go to the small carnival in local mall parking lot.

28. Console oldest son after he learns that he is too short for the giant slide. Be silently grateful because you know as soon as he climbed the steps he'd chicken out and have to be rescued.

29. Let oldest son take husband into the fun house. Watch as the worker has to go rescue them from the hall of mirrors when they can't find their way through. Hope they make it out alive.

30. Stand at bottom of twisty slide at fun house to catch oldest son who is scared to go down. Reach arms out and get ready to catch oldest son. Withdraw arms with a little yelp when it turns out husband and son let another child go down first, and so the child you almost grabbed is not your child, but a 12-year-old boy perfectly capable of managing the slide by himself, thank you very much.

31. Figure out that youngest son is loudly identifying the children's roller coaster as an "Aaay-dee-bug! Aaay-dee-bug!" Try to tell him it's a caterpiller, but give up quickly.

32. Run into man with leg brace in parking lot who starts telling you about the wooden ferris wheels in Afghanistan that are hand-cranked. Get a little worried when he starts walking with your family. Feel guilty when he says he's an Iraq vet injured in the war, but still be suspicious.

33. Go to Coldstone Creamery and order coffee ice cream with hot fudge and brownies. Try to convince oldest son that Coldstone ice cream is better than the cones they were serving at the carnival. Fail.

34. Enjoy ice cream immensely. Dissuade youngest son from eating the styrofoam bowl.

35. Come home, blow out candles on cupcake that you can't eat after all that ice cream.

36. Open present of nice warm coat you've been needing for years (YES!). Note that coat has no pockets except chest-level ones. Note that you don't care if you look funny walking around with hands in chest-level pockets because you're 41 now, damnit, and it doesn't matter.

37. Pop open a Pumpkin Ale.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

This is what I woke up to this morning:




All the stuffed animals were sitting in a circle. Apparently A. was concerned because my friends wouldn't be around to sing "Happy Birthday" to me like his were at his party, so he substituted his stuffed animals.

"Mama, Grover's your friend, and so is the Snowman."

They sang "Happy Birthday" (yes, it's not till Friday, but the festivities started today) and put on party hats. The stuffed animals were singing on the inside. Ben, in true Ben fashion, yelled the last word of each line. It was pretty freakin' cute. Another thing blogs are good for: because G. read my last entry, they gave me the Pumpkin Ale today.

Then we had A.'s first field trip. His WHOLE CLASS went to the pumpkin patch. They had a hay ride, picked out their pumpkins and ran through the hay maze. The hay pyramid is no longer a challenge, and he and his girlfriend played "Ring Around the Rosie" over and over on the top of it, knocking down as many kids as possible with them each time. He has truly found his soul mate.

We are also seriously pumpkin-patched out. Although the real one, the one that's like an amusement park in Half Moon Bay, home of the Pumpkin Festival and the World's Biggest Pumpkin, still hasn't been visited, so we're going to have to bite the bullet for more photo opportunities.

While A. was on the hay ride (there was no more room for Ben and I to be squished beyond breathing on a very bumpy road, so sad) Ben and I toured the Island of Misfit Pumpkins.























By the way, and this is going to sound terribly comment-whoreish, but I just really appreciate those of you who take the time to comment. One of my psychology professors told us that silence is usually interpreted as disapproval rather than approval. Which means I need to remember what I wasted a ton of money on learned and not project all over the blogosphere.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

2 Shopping Days Left

...Until my birthday, in case you're not keeping track. I'm told the birthday celebrating will begin tomorrow. There has been much crafting and secrecy going on behind closed doors. A. is old enough to understand what's going on and to be involved, but not yet very good at keeping secrets. As I was coming into the kitchen , he told G., "But Papa! You said we had lots of presents for Mama, but we only have three! That's not a lot! We have to get more!" I swear I had nothing to do with that.

A. also told me that we're going to play "Red Light, Green Light" for my birthday, and that it was his idea. G. says that he's comparing the preparations for my birthday with his 4th birthday party last month, and is finding mine lacking. So he's doing his best to liven up the festivities with a rousing game of "RL, GL." He also saw some spider cupcakes somewhere and tells me that we should have those for my birthday because "spider cupcakes are really yummy."

Today while I drove the boys to A's soccer lesson I thought, and apparently said out loud, "I need to get some Pumpkin Ale." Pumpkin Ale is great, and was invented by a microbrewery right here in our fair town although it's now brewed in Oregon. But it can be hard to find, so I was thinking I would take a little trip over to that microbrewery some time this week and pick up a case for the season. A. heard me, and told me, "But we already got you some. We got you a whole box. And chocolate cake mix, too." I looked at him in the backseat and he had a shocked, "Ooops," look on his face. Hey, thanks in advance, guys. I hope you don't wait until Friday to break it out.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Saw this billboard today while driving:

















In my fantasy, this is the billboard just opposite:

















(courtesy of custom sign generator)

Friday, October 20, 2006

A Photo a Day Keeps the Gloomies Away

So I'm considering doing the "Project 365" challenge. I've started just to see how difficult it would be, and the last week or so is on Flickr. It started out as a new blog on Wordpress, but it's too much trouble to resize all the photos. Blogger would be easier. Not sure I'm staying with Flickr because I'll probably have to pay to upload 30-31 photos a month, and you can't rearrange the photos once you've uploaded them, which explains the odd order you'll see.

I got a little intimidated by the idea that this project would cause me to see my life in a whole different way, and I found myself trying to figure out what photo would best explain this day in its totality, which of course was ridiculous. So I gave myself a break and just decided to take a damn photo a day. Doesn't matter what it's of.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Other Night....

We were both sleeping peacefully when G. jumped, full-force, on top of me.

Me: What the - !!

G: What?

Me: You jumped on me! You scared the crap out of me!

G: Who did? (accusingly, like he's going to go beat the crap out of whoever jumped on me)

Me: YOU DID!

G: Oh. Well. Don't go over there. (points toward the edge of my side of the bed)

Me: Where?

G: Over there.

Me: Why not?

G: Because I don't want you to fall off the bed.

Me: (expletive)

Yum


For Halloween dessert: a thoracic cavity cake.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Papa Lunasea Tries His Hand...


...at Halloween crafting.

A. has been saying we need to do more Halloween crafts. Actually, he says that last year we did 11 crafts and this year we only did 8 so we need to do lots more, but I'm suspicious of his data.

So on G's child care shift, he took out the Halloween crafting supplies and helped A. make some cards.

Those who frequent craft stores may recognize the spider and the web on the gray foam as stamps. That's right, instead of rubbing the stamp on an ink pad and transferring the image to the paper, he actually glued the stamps themselves onto the card.

But check out the ribbon spider web and the black spider on the corner - pretty artsy, huh? And that's a little black foam ball in the lower right corner...for balance, I guess.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Memorandum

To: Ben
From: Mama and Papa

When we requested no more 5 am wake-up calls, we erroneously assumed that it was understood that wake-up calls were to be later than 5 am. Substituting a 4:30 am wake-up call for a 5 am wake-up call is unacceptable.

If a situation arises involving vomit and/or diarrhea, you may wake us up but are then to go back to sleep after intervention. Under no circumstances are you to stay up and play. Requests to "see ghost" will be denied.

We appreciate your cooperation in this matter.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Oh My!

It's only 13 days until my birthday! I'd better post my wish list!

More Spookiness


More craftiness at Chez Lunasea:

Mummy heads. A. can't get the "u" sound right so he tells everyone we made mommy heads for halloween.







And here's the banner A. and I made from some left-over paper scrap supplies. Personally, I had planned on having all the triangles point down, but A., who glued the letters on, had other ideas.











Ben says all the halloween stuff is "pooky." And he loves saying, "Boo!" and having us freak out and scream. So you can imagine how many times we have to do it.

 
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