August 27, 2009

Christmas in August

Some of you may remember how I posted back in December that there was a Christmas miracle upon us.  Baby Girl was showing signs of an interest in being potty trained at about 23 months.  No such miracle.  But I have to say (and I hope it's not too early) that in the last 48 hours my miracle has arrived.  About 3 weeks ago when there was nothing happening on our calendar I broke out the training pants and the butterscotch chips and let Baby Girl soil herself repeatedly.  After a few days of this nonsense she asked to be put back in a diaper and I gladly consented remembering how much I hate potty training.  Then we went to NYC and forgot about the whole messy business.  

Can I just say that my biggest piece of advise when potty training is to forget about the whole thing and let the horse lead itself to water so to speak?  You can bang your head against the wall in frustration if you want to but that kinda hurts.  Two weeks ago I was looking for a new motivator because butterscotch chips had run their coarse.  I printed out a chart and searched for stickers to put on it.  When I presented the idea to Baby Girl she screamed at me and said she hated it!  Clearly not wanting to be told when she would do this thingy.  So I wisely backed off.  Then a few days later I found some shiny star stickers.  I knew better than to push still.  When she saw them I could see the wheels turning in her head.  Still I waited a day.  Pretending not to care.  It reminds me of long ago with another child, how I would get my breast-fed baby to be interested in a bottle.  Try as I might to get him to take it from me he would boldly refuse!  Lay it on the ground for him to play with and walk away and before I knew it he would have it in his mouth for himself.  Kids are tricky little buggers!  

So about three days ago when she woke up she seemed to have a scathingly brilliant idea.  Her face lit up and she said "sticker chart!"  Well we've been all over it for 3 days with no accidents.  Day two when I went to put on a pull up for an outing (the pediatricians) she flatly refused and said she wanted to stay in her underwear.  I feared the worst and prepared thusly.  Not one accident!  And the other miracle that day was that she awoke dry as the Sahara!  Fluke- thought I.  This morning- same deal!  That is what I am on my knees thanking my lucky stars for today.  God does love me!  Then to make matters more miraculous is that when I left her in her diaper to take a morning walk with the dog I came back to put her on the toilet and she said she had already gone.... hmmm.... seriously!?  Evidence proved she was not lying.  She even solicited a 10 year old to re-diaper her before I got back.  I'd say its a done deal.  Maybe not, but it would appear so.  Kids grow up so fast these days!

August 25, 2009

Scrambled Violin

Our son has the opportunity this fall to pursue his violin training with a top-notch teacher.  Her standards are high and her 'tuition' is too.  Knowing my son as I do I was on the fence about what to do here.  Clearly he needs a teacher, but does it need to be the one that requires group, individual, and chamber lessons?  Solo recitals and something called a 'movement class' are also involved.  And did I mention there is no parking on her grass?  Well-there isn't.... It's a rule I can understand as I hate it when strangers park on my grass.  This just sets a standard of excellence though don't you think? Not sure I really want to know what the movement class is.  Maybe we could enroll the two year old in that class.  Although she did get a couple red stars on her potty chart for her movements as of late.  Perhaps a class isn't in order for her after all.

The policy on her website clearly states that if the student isn't practicing enough that she may have the option to drop said student.  Without refund! Ouch.  Big Boy is an excellent musician who has been at the violin for 6 years.  He has unfortunately been the victim of moving around and having various teachers.  Some suited him.  Some not so much.  This one appears to be a match.  After a week of scales camp he was still coming out smiling.  And I gotta say I never knew one could play that high on one's violin.  Lot's of difficulty.  Still smiling.  Sorta a miracle. I fear that after we sign him up that the honeymoon will end and he will not commit as much as we'd hoped.  But then there's the other side to that egg.  The sunny side!  That hopes against all odds that he will reach and exceed expectations.  And what to do with Little Boy who is just one year in?  Do we go for the good teacher right from the start with him and kick all the bad habits early?  (Those habits that Big Boy still clings to).  Or do we wait and see if he is a violinist after all before shelling out the big bucks?  It seems that the decisions made now will make the ones in the future as well.

T and I discussed it in bed the other night.  He told me the story of the day he went to a friend's house and was shown for the first time in his life how to scramble an egg.  Step one: Warm up the pan.  Step two: Spray the pan.  Step three: Crack egg directly onto the pan and scramble away while cooking.  Over a decade later he would learn the real way to cook scrambled eggs.  From me.  With actual pre-scrambling in a bowl, grated cheddar, constant spatula use, and dill.  (Yes dill- try it!).  So his point was that there is a right way and a getting by way of doing just   about all things in life.  Which way do you think we should go?

August 23, 2009

Looking Back at the Big Apple

So I am finally getting around to going through our photos of my trip to New York. So much to choose from. I will start of with two photos of T and I where we try to take the picture ourselves at arms length. I know this is just what you want to see when it comes to our trip... Well maybe not but I find them kinda funny/interesting. The first one is while we are seated in the theatre at Wicked. I think I am giving the camera my wicked look. Nice shot of the nose that a clumsy plastic surgeon (or was he an ENT?) told me he could fix for cheap if I was interested. Before that point I had no idea it needed fixing. It's followed me through life anyways. At least T looks pleasant enough.
Next you see us in the bright sunlight of central Park on our last day. I am looking pretty refreshed and T looks, well, concerned about something. Really he is much more handsome than this photo depicts. I may be in trouble for posting this, so don't be surprised if it's down later...

So enough of us, let's take a look at some shots of the city. There were sky scrapers....

There were constructions workers who called out "Welcome to New York!"

There were school children on field trips...

There was architecture and artwork.... (not sure what my mouth is doing).

There was a ferry ride...

And a beautiful lady of liberty....

A tired statue of Cleopatra and a tired Kelly at the museum...

As tiring as it was to be on the go for 4 days sight seeing, it was such a thrill to take it all in. I hope we get to do it again some time. We didn't even scratch the surface. The last time we got away just the two of us was when we went to Monticello about 7 years ago. Over brunch in NYC on the last day there, we discussed a future trip to Europe one day. We were eating at a place called Eruopa which seemed to start us on the topic of travel. T scrolled ahead on his iphone calendar to the year when Baby Girl will be 15 (I say we could go when she's 12 but whatever), and he put it down for springtime 2022. Trip to Europe... I hope it won't be that long before we escape as a couple again.

August 20, 2009

Ta' Mater

Well after months of patiently waiting our tomatoes are finally coming on.  Yeah!  It's the best part of summer for me.  So far I have made the following delicacies with our red beauties.  (And how sad is it that it took me 3 tries to spell beauties correctly- thank heavens for spell check and my porky pig spelling advantage).  I made Tortellini soup even though it was too hot for soup.  My husband came home very late and very hungry and told me it hit the spot.  It scored me some points- big time!  Then today I made tortilla wraps with spinach, basil from the garden and more tomatoes.  Dinner was grilled cheese with tomato.  Always better with tomato!  

I sent Middle Boy out to pick more this afternoon and lookie lookie what we had growing in our back yard.
Oh why is it that the fair entries are over for the year?  I could have won me some sweet moula with this mutant tomato!  It's like conjoined twins!  (Wow who knew I could spell conjoined on the first try?).  It reminds me of that movie Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.  I love the scene where the guy is sitting at a table in a quiet library and he looks up from his book with an evil grin and says out loud the word "tomatoes!"  and everyone runs and screams in horror.  I actually rented this movie thinking it would be great to expose my kids to this awesomely stupid cult classic.  Turns out it wasn't so good and even I couldn't sit all the way through it.  We've some a long ways in film making since 1978.  

Now I just know that tonight this tomato will haunt me in my dreams.  I better chop it up soon.  I'm thinking omlets with tomato for breakfast.  

August 19, 2009

Girl Time

Whenever there is an overnight scout thing and it's just us girls hanging out this is what we tend to do.  How do you like our color choices?  Bold no?  And yes I need to see someone about that bulging infected big toe.  But, like, I got better things to do.  For sure!  Girl Power!!

Big Girl is all glam

Have you ever seen cuter piggie toes than these?

August 18, 2009

Ode to TP

No not to toilet paper.  Although that is nice too.  Especially the Charmin.  Good stuff.  But this is an ode to my angel friend who has the initials TP.  We've been friends for over 10 years.  I have been blessed to have made friends that have lasted through multiple moves.  Some go back as far as kindergarten and we are still in touch.  TP used to babysit my kids and they always called her by both first and last names each time.  It was pretty funny.  She is truly talented with children.  Seemingly endless in the patience department.  Supportive when T was gone like crazy.  And she continued to support by suggesting that I leave my kids with her while T and I get a way to NY for a longish weekend to celebrate making it through the deployment.  

She not only watched my kids she entertained.  With swimming and outings and moon sand.  Moon sand people!
 She's like Mary fricken Poppins!  Practically perfect in every way.  And all I could manage to do in return in bring her garden tomatoes she didn't need, and a replica of an ancient magnetic cow from the art museum gift shop.  I'm pretty sure the ancient one was not magnetic.  Just being honest.

T and I did have a lovely time together without the kids.  Each time we saw a family with kids along we'd feel one of three emotions.  1-Wow this vacation really sucks for them. 2-Oh look at the cute curly headed girl.  I miss my baby.  Or 3- TP is basically going straight to heaven.  And it's so true!  She is always doing stuff for others.  We totally owe her.  Thanks TP!!!  We love you! 

*Update*  I forgot to mention one final act of kindness and love on her part.  She actually sent my kids bags home with clean laundry inside!  A girl who will do laundry for her friend is a true friend indeed!

August 15, 2009

New York: Day Two

My last conversation with Grandpa V before he passed was a bit strange. He has lost all of his senses at that point and kept repeating this line to me.

"A spoon and a fork and a bottle and a cork, and that's the way you spell New York."

"Really Grandpa? 'Cause I kinda thought New York was spelled N-E-W..." You get the idea.

He must have said it no less than 30 times in the two hour visit.

So I am still looking for the evidence of a spoon, fork, bottle, cork, or any alternate spellings of New York while T and I are on our get away. No dice so far. But perhaps on tomorrow's down town tour something will turn up.

Today's events included
1-Sleeping in!
2-A walk to the parking lot to get into the van and retrieve my sunglasses, book, and sunscreen. That was quite interesting as it involved a ride in a car elevator with a parking attendant and another car. Wacky!
3-Getting a on a bus touring up town with a spirited somewhat toothless guide named Pam. Pam told of the time when they drove past Yoko Ono getting into her car. We saw no celebs today unless you count the guy she called 'hot latin bald man' who periodically sticks his shirtless top outside the window with a bouquet of flowers and a pillow that says he loves us. His gestures of throwing kisses and gathering back our love into his chest were impressive. Too bad my camera wasn't at the ready there. I have been taking many photos but can't seem to download from our hotel room. So they will have to wait.
4- We ate a hot dog on the street
5-Went to the Guggenheim and Metropolitan Museum of Art which were both great and my bucket is indeed full!!!
6-Waited for 30 minutes in the hot sun for our red tour bus which was supposed to come around every 10 to 15 minutes.
7-Watched 4 blue tour busses go by while waiting in the hot sun. Not cool!
8-Went to dinner and a movie. I highly recommend Julie and Julia!
9-Tomorrow more touring and then West Side Story!

I am deliciously tired (something T's Granny used to say). So off to bed in the city that never sleeps.

August 14, 2009

Feeling Wicked

When I was a young mother I worked part time as a Dental Hygienist. One day when I came to pick up my young boy at the babysitters after work he and my friend's boy had been playing a newly invented game called 'wicked.' This game consisted of 2 four year olds running around with forks singing loudly "Time for wicked WICKED!" Fun times! Wicked has been mentioned over the years. The wicked chant has been sung on occasion. So you can understand how I could not resist sending my now 15 year old boy a text this evening at curtain time... "Time for Wicked WICKED!!" I sent. There was no reply. He doesn't find me as hilarious as I find myself I guess.

The show was just as fantastic as we had been told. No exaggerations here folks. I was moved to tears over their talents. I leapt to my feet at the end and clapped until my hands hurt. If you ever get a chance. Please go! We have tickets to West Side Story and I hope to get some to Billy Elliot but the chances are slim there according to the guy in times square today.

T and I had a most pleasurable day today. We walked and talked without interruption. That is if you don't count the 32 people on the street who tried to sell us tickets to a comedy show with the ever popular line of "Do you like comedy?" Psst...if you answer yes the next line is "want to buy tickets to a comedy show?" It made me laugh each time! We also ate great food and took a nap. All in a good days vacation friends!

Then big news (and I probably should have led with this-sorry) but we came THIS CLOSE to Glen Close. I over heard her say she had a 9:30 am meeting. T thinks she said 8:30. It's an ongoing debate. And now I am stuck trying to remember the movie she was in with Michael Douglas.... Where she played the crazy girlfriend! Argh! Oh well- Glen, if you read this could you call the Belvedere Hotel and leave word for me? Thanks!

August 11, 2009

Tuesday Ramble

And a special hello to all my new local readers who I see have been dropping by frequently.  I hope to impress from here on out, but if I don't I am sure you can move on.

Today I am excited to be getting ready for a visit to the Big Apple with my sweetheart.  Sans les enfants!  For you non- Frenchies that means without the children.  I am practically giddy!  I hope the humidity dies down for us.  Yesterday was a big hot mess.  Ending in a thunderstorm that was threatening.  This morning when I got up, worked out (yes I did it today), and showered I was disheartened to find that even though I had dried off thoroughly (thanks for the tips Chaka), I still felt drops of sweat running down my back while making fried eggs for breakfast.  Not cool.  So I turned up the AC even though the most recent Pepco bill was through the roof.  I am no pioneer woman.  I gots ta get me some coolness!

So I have a doctor's appointment today, an overdue visit to the vet for the dog, and a primary music program to complete.  I am half way finished with that monkey on my back.  I have to finish before NYC or it will haunt me and prevent me from fully loving my husband like he deserves to be loved.  

By the way do you know that the key for me to having a good day is if I get the chance to make my bed in the morning or not.  Many things may interrupt, but if I can squeeze that one thing in, then the rest of the day is just brighter.  Counters being wiped down is a close second.  I know it's probably something I should seek therapy for, but for now I am just going to have my thyroid checked out.  Tootles!

August 09, 2009

Workin' Out

So if you have been reading my blog then you know that lately I have been working out.  Or at least trying to.  I get up and do my core fitness with Karen V about 3 times a week.  Sometimes I opt for a long walk with Abby (real name used!) the dog, or a family bike ride.  Believe me when I tell you that pulling a 6 year old and a 2 year old behind you in a go-bug, is in itself a work out.  We live in a neighborhood with hills and the other day I required assistance from Big Boy to get the the elementary school playground without dying.  

I try to get my work out in before the kids awaken.  Most times I make it the full 45 minutes before hearing Baby Girls cries of "MOM!  I awake!"  When I scoop her up from her crib trying not to wake up sleeping Big Girl across the room,  she pats my sweaty chest and says in the cutest way "you workin' out mom?"  "Yes, I workin' out"  I reply through heavy breathing.

The other day at bedtime I read to the girls from the rocking chair while they both lay in their beds.  Baby Girl was doing some interesting maneuvers with her bottom in the air.  "What are you doing?"  I asked.  "I workin' out!"  was her proud reply.  Maybe I should add a stink bug move into my routine.  It looked pretty fun. 

Today I stand exposed before you bloggers after trying to do some workin' out of a different sort.  Having said I was sorry both publicly and privately I now have to face the local readers at church today.  I will walk the plank from 1:00 to 4:00.  (Thank goodness I work with the children and I know they will still love me).  I thought about making myself a scarlet letter to wear but what letter?  B for blogger?  M for mean-spirited?  Perhaps H for human....  Maybe I should just go for a 'Kick Me' sign for all to see on my way up to lead the children in a song about reverence before the entire congregation.  Whatever it takes to make it to the higher road my friends.  

T says I should hold my head high.  None of us is perfect and I have said I am sorry.  I am not as sure of myself as he seems to be.  But I am sure as my emotional muscles rebuild themselves (will eating a banana help?)  I will find a way to work it out.

August 07, 2009

Time to lighten things up around here....

Sometimes you are your own worst enemy...

But we can beat the evil with love.

(sorry about the alien swears at the end but I couldn't resist!)

August 05, 2009

An Apology

Recently I had my feelings hurt and made the poor choice to blog about it here.  I was venting in a place that I thought would hurt no one else.  I was wrong.  My husband has warned me about being too cavalier on the blog.  I should have listened.  

I never should have been so caddy in the attempt to be funny.  I have hurt someone now and I regret it.  

Here's how it all unfolded today...

I woke up this morning and checked my comments and was surprised to see that someone left an anonymous comment saying that my entry came across as mean spirited and that I should be more careful what I say.  The thought entered my head that it could have been a local person who knew the lady who had offended me (or was possibly her-yikes!).  I had to agree though that looking at it through her eyes, it was offensive.  I posted a comment back and said something along the lines of "I was hurt at the time and therefore lashed out in an unflattering way- perhaps I should be more careful."  Then I should have followed my next instinct, which was to delete it before it did more damage.  I found out tonight, that I was already too late.  

At the hospital today when I chatted with my husband he said he had seen some of the comments on my blog and gave me a bit of 'I told you so.'  I had thought he was referring to the one comment I had seen already, but the plural mentioning made me check email from my phone in the parking lot on the way home.  Another comment warned me to remove it before more people from the area saw it.  Who could that be? I wondered.... Then I found myself racing home to delete.  The other thing that I thought on that long traffic ridden ride was that I felt sorry.  I felt guilty.  I felt remorse.  I needed to repent.  The steps of repentance came to mind.  The one I didn't want to face was looming large in my mind.  'Make amends.'   Making amends would mean going to that person and asking forgiveness.  That is a big hard thing to do.  Something I don't know if I have the guts to do.  Something that would mean hurting the person I offended because at this point I didn't know she was already in the know.  I thought about posting a retraction of sorts here on the blog.  Then I came home, deleted, and was a busy Mom the rest of the day.  

Tonight I got word that the person I'd posted about had indeed read the blog.  I never intended to hurt.  But I take responsibility for my actions.  Hopefully I have learned a valuable lesson in filtering myself both on the blog and elsewhere in my daily life.  When I think about all the interactions I have had with this woman, she has never said a bad word about anybody.  And indeed she has shown me kindness.  She sometimes says things that hurt, but it isn't intentional.  That I do know.  So I hope she reads this and that we can make amends.  I want her to know I forgive the comment from the park.  And I hope she will forgive me, for my sin was much more scarlet.  

August 04, 2009

Potty All the Time

So this morning when I got up and looked at my calendar I noticed an amazing thing. There was only one thing that had to get done today and I didn't have to leave my home to do it. It read, "Last day to call the cable company and cancel the free HBO." Had it done just after the girls finished watching Horton Hears a Who. It was really time to cut the strings on that HBO. I mean I was mindlessly watching the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 the other night. Traveling Pants 1 wasn't that great... Just because it's free doesn't mean one should watch.

So even though the refrigerator needed replenishing I ignored it and decided it was a good day to start potty training Little Girl.  Truth be told she has been ready for a while but I wasn't really in the mood to do it.  It's a messy business that requires a lot of time commitment.  I haven't had time to do anything lately (except watch mindless HBO-hey maybe these two things are related!), let alone add potty training to the load.  But she turns three in December, and I ran out of swim diapers last week.  

As I begin this endeavor I recall one of the moments I had back when I first found out I was expecting Little Girl.  We'd been trying for our last child for 18 months or so.  So you can imagine how pleased I was with the good pregnancy news.  I confided in an acquaintance from Big Girl's preschool.  Her first response was classic.  "Congratulations.... You know this means you will have to potty train again don't you?"  I thought that was the weirdest thing.  Like the last thing on my mind was pull-ups and teaching a 2 year old to wipe, but thanks for bringing me back down to earth honey.  To be fair she had a 3 year old boy and I know from experience how difficult it can be to train strong-willed boys.  Did it 3 times.  Not fun!  She was obviously still raw.  

So today we got out big girl panties that have been in my closet for 4 months, dusted off the potty chair and set the timer for 30-45 minutes all day long.  We are about 4 for 4 at this point. Four times on the potty, four times in her pants.  The darndest thing kept happening.  She'd pee just before our timer went off.  Like if we'd just shaved off 2 minutes we'd a been golden!  Oh well.  

The funniest part was when she'd come and tell me of her accidents.  She'd walk in with a certain look on her face and a squatty type walk and say proudly: 

"I did it!" 

"What did you do?!"  

"I peed my pants! : )"

"Okay- that's not what your supposed to do, but thanks for telling me, let's change you again"

Oh to be young and innocent again.  To think that peeing in your pants is like winning the lottery.  

In our household the prizes were thus: one butterscotch chip for sitting on the potty, 2 for actually producing pee, and 3 for producing poop.  I better go grocery shopping tomorrow, cause we're running low!  

lets see, here's my list: butterscotch chips, swim diapers...

August 03, 2009

Rather Stupid

Sister Suffragette from Mary Poppins has always been a childhood favorite of mine. In my youth, I never knew what they were singing about really. It wasn't until I watched as an adult that I fully caught on. Pretty edgy Disney! Then I found myself randomly singing this song tonight as I loaded the dishes at 10:00pm. The line about adoring men individually but agreeing that as a whole... well... you know, seemed to come to me without any trouble.

Perhaps it's because the line, to me as a child was shocking and left a deep mark on my brain. But then things like obscure lyrics from my past sticking forever and being recalled with ease has always been one of my secret talents. Not to brag, but I can shock people sometimes with my memory for such things. But I digress.

I think it was because I had just mentioned to my husband that no one had asked the kids to do their dishes. I had been sleeping off an afternoon headache. When I am away from the scene, sometimes things don't get done. So maybe it was my sub conscious mind complaining a bit. T pointed out to me just now that it was a bit ironic that I was blogging about male stupidity yet I needed his help to try and post sister suffragette as a video onto blogger (we didn't succeed as you can see- all I can do with reliability is link. Sorry). I agreed! Then I agreed to be sure and mention that in my post.

I now realize that perhaps the reason the song kept repeating itself in my mind was that my 15 year old came home from a scout camping weekend with 2nd degree burns over half his bodyPublish Post from sun exposure. Yes, seven hours in the sun by/in the ocean with only one morning application of sunscreen will turn a fair haired, freckled red head into a blistery, heat radiating, cranky tomato-son. Yep- rather stupid.