Wednesday, December 31, 2008

skipping ahead to new year's day the tinkerbell way...

I hate New Year's Eve.

I do. Just thinking about it makes me crabby. Hell, knowing that it's tonight is making me crabby. The number of good New Year's Eves I've had can be counted on one hand, and really, I remember only two or three of them. And the best have been fairly recent and involving mellow evenings watching the ball drop on TV with the kids snoozing next to us on the couch.

The thing about New Year's is that it feels like a set up.
I know I sound like the world's biggest downer right now. But it's true. And I'm not even talking about the parties and having a good time, looking like you're having a good time, and making sure you have plans that involve a good time--or in fact, the best time of the year. And there's the pressure to make everything seem perfect and sparkly and somehow symbolic of where you are at this point in your life and of what you've achieved.

I really like having a good time, but I'm not so good with that pressure.

And really, it's the next day that truly works for me.
The first day of the year feels like a fresh start. I love the morning after because the resolutions have been set and you get that clean slate to start things over. You'll lose weight, exercise more, be nicer to those you love, write that novel, learn to cook better, do your laundry, get more organized, yadda yadda yadda.

And I know, I know... I have never yet had a year where I've been able to say that I've fulfilled all of my New Year's resolutions. I've lost weight, gained it back, joined gyms and never went, bought parenting books that have never been cracked, passed off pre-made food as my own (you'll never know which dishes, either!), and have about twelve first chapters to as many different novel starts.

But on the first day of the year, I have hope. I'm not behind in fulfilling any resolutions and the year holds the promise of unknown achievements and accomplishments. I feel almost like a kid again in the fact that I truly feel like anything might be possible.

And with that kind of hope, maybe anything is possible.

Don't gag... I haven't quite lost my mind. And while I'm writing this, the girls and a friend are watching the TinkerBell movie and maybe the Disney creepiness has creeped into my brain.

But still, to start fresh once a year... There is something magic in that.

Happy 2009!

not exactly what i meant when i said, "go play with your sister..."

wordless wednesday...

Friday, December 26, 2008

pacific northwest winter IMs midwest winter...

Pacific NW: BTW, we're getting four more inches today
Midwest: WOW, that's crazy for you guys right?
PNW: ...and i saw my very first snowplow!
MW: We are getting more today too. LMAO! that is so funny to me
PNW: We never get more than 2 or 3 inches... we don't need many snowplows.
MW: there are almost more snow plows here then cars.
PNW: and now there's about a foot of snow outside our houses.
MW: for sure more snowplows than buses and taxis.
PNW: Yeah... the streets are horrible.
MW: OMG, I bet...
PNW: Only some streets are plowed and Seattle has decided that salt is too unPC so nobody is salting the streets for fear of endangering the salmon.
PNW: Yeah, more than two inches shuts down the whole city, and all the schools, too. You never know when you're going to encounter a bad street. Oh yeah...
MW: But you could all die in car accidents... OMG Seattle, LOL
PNW: Yes, but our salmon pies will be safe. We're known for our salmon
PNW: They are so precious. They are our reason for living.
MW: Thank goodness... Forget human life
PNW: Humans can be evil
MW: true
PNW: salmon = goodness
MW: Happy Holidays, you people!
PNW: And then we eat them...
MW: Because you are evil... Duh
PNW: Yes, duh...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

we'll miss emilie...

I just found out that Emilie Lemmons, the writer of the blog, Lemmondrops, died yesterday and even though I never met Emilie in person, her passing is a huge loss to this world.

I found Emilie's blog by combing through blogrolls and was hooked from the start. Her courageous story about her battle with cancer was terrifying, but Emilie's approach was courageous, strong and hopeful. Her blog was beautifully written and through her writing, I feel like everyone who read it was given the chance to get to know her. I've never even heard her voice, and the communications I've had with her were just over a few emails and through reading her blog, but I learned a lot from Emilie about strength, priorities, and perspective. Even through the most challenging of trials, Emilie was optimistic, warm, and never without her sense of humor.

She leaves behind her husband Steve and their two very young boys. My heart breaks for them as I listen to the loud fullness of our house. My kids are cranky after another exciting night of Chanuka and as they cuddle their new dolls, my girls are oddly singing round after round of Dayenu, the traditional Passover song that translates to "It should've been enough." It seems fitting, though, for this moment when I'm thinking about Emilie and her battle--what she's gone through.

May her memory be a blessing to those who loved her.


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

no winter break is complete without a trip to the ER...

After a rough and terrifying early morning spill down the stairs, Naomi and I took a trip to Children's Hospital this morning to patch up her chin. It was all pretty minor in the scheme of things, and I think the sight of blood on her little sister upset Tali more than anyone. But Naomi wasn't all together convinced that her first trip to the ER would be a good thing.
But with a little topical anesthetic, some cheese and crackers, and a cup of apple juice, our girl was as good as gold. She even came home with a little sparkly stuffed bear.
I think we'll abstain from sledding today, though, so that our extreme story climber will have some time to heal.

Monday, December 22, 2008

having ourselves a happy white chanuka...

So I know you midwesterners/east coasters are having a nice little chuckle about how much we puget sounders are rattling on about the snow and all, but people...

There are 9 and a half inches of snow outside our house where two is historically a Seattle blizzard.

And because we live in a city where there are maybe twenty snowplows (and that does include SeaTac airport) and I've yet to see a street that has been plowed or salted or whatever people do to snowy streets, and I still have no idea really even what a snowplow looks like, we had a merry little Chanuka at home last night instead of the rocking party we'd planned.

So we cooked our huge 8lb brisket, made enough latkes for five, sang lots of silly songs and then opened some presents. The first night of Chanuka is usually pretty magical because the kids are so into the holiday and they're so gracious with the gifts. If I were really smart about it, I'd give them the boring gifts on the first night, like pajamas and bathrobes, but knowing we'd be stuck in the house, they each got a Lego set that made them insanely happy. (Though today, each one of them is frustrated and unable to put it together on their own and I'm chock done with Legos by this morning.)

Still... Despite the fact that the kids are going nutty, driving me nutty, and our house looks like a tornado has sucked up every one of our belongings and the spewed it out randomly and unevenly throughout every room, I'm enjoying the snow. Really. Not sure if I'd welcome four more months of this without the technology of snowplows, but as soon as I get in a few hours of work, we're putting on our skis and heading down to the Rite Aid for some more milk.

Good times...

Friday, December 19, 2008

i need one like a hole in my head...

My kids want a pet. Badly.

I know this because not only do they never ever ever never stop talking about it, but pretty much every object they can get their hands on becomes their pet. In the summer, I have to keep rescuing worms that have smuggled into our house under the guise of them being "saved" to become a pet, and when worse comes to worse, one of them just leashes up Naomi with one of Boaz's ties and calls "Here girl!" to her. (She comes, too... I probably should worry about that.)

Even just a few days ago (when it really did snow, not just on a day when it didn't snow but we called it a "snow day") we went for a family walk in the snow and while they walked, Sam and Tali each held in their gloved hands a snowball that they fed, cuddled and named (respectively called Spike and Snowy). And of course, yesterday was devastating when Spikey and Snowy melted in the warm winter sun that was our unsnow day.

So in order to cheer them up, and because there was no school on account of it being closed because of the impending storm that never came and ironically, the roads were safer than they'd been for days, we took a trip to Target where we planned to pick out birthday presents for their four friends having birthdays next week. And on the way to the toy section, we passed the pet section.

"Momma! I know what I want for Chanuka! I want a leash!" squealed Tali as we wheel by the endcap.

"Um, Tali, Sweetie... We don't have a dog."

"Yeah, but wouldn't Naomi look so cute in that pink sparkly one?"

"Not really, since Naomi is a person, not a dog."

"I like that, Momma," piped in Naomi. "I want it."

"Um, no."

"OOOOH LOOK!" Tali couldn't leave the display. "Izzy would look so great in that little dog sweater!" she practically screamed, referring to our friend Kim and Josh's pug that she's totally and utterly in love with. Tali pointed to a dog sweater with a Star of David pattern on the back. They were placed next to the Santa Dog costumes. "Or," she said slyly, "we could get her the Santa Dog costume. Izzy would look good with a beard."

"We're not buying dog clothes or leashes," I told the kids and then ended up buying presents for their friends--of which 3 of 4 were battery operated toys that barked or did something pet-like. (Sorry, Friends!)
But we do have a definite pet issue. Mainly because Samuel is allergic to dogs and cats, and also because I have three kids, one still in diapers, and I can't manage on more living being to care for. Fish are out because they die too easily and in our house, one must be fairly hardy. Birds are loud, lizards and rats are too gross, and well, so are any other kind of small rodents, too.
And the truth is, I am really not an animal person.
I'd like to be... It seems like a nice thing to be--very caring and um, compassionate or something. And they're cute, too. But I just know that I'll be the one to take care of an extra living being under our roof, and my care and compassion is spent on kids. And well, I don't want fur all over my house.
Oh, and Samuel is allergic to them, too. Have I mentioned that?
So here's the other problem... The only dog that Samuel has never had a reaction to was Ozzie, the dog we spent time with in Italy with our friends. Samuel was five, but has never gotten over Ozzie, the cute little old poodle with the skin problems. And lately, he has been reminding me about how maybe he wouldn't be allergic to a poodle, or a labradoodle, or even better yet, a golden doodle. And they are cute... And cuddly... And I won't be having anymore little babies, which is absolutely not a reason to get a dog, but I thought I'd throw that in there.
So next month, because I can't hold out any longer, we're getting Samuel tested again. And then at least I'll know whether or not to invest in a pink sparkly leash for Naomi.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

snow day #2--this time with feeling (and snow)...

Yesterday the Seattle School District called a snow day, even though there wasn't any new snow yet. Mostly, it was the anticipation of a snow storm that kept the schools closed. And all day long we watched the windows, looking for some action. Nothing.

The weather report predicted snow for last night and jaded, the kids did their homework and got ready for school the next day only to wake up to a bright white world. It's been snowing all day, which is a lot of Western Washington and we've all been pretty excited about playing in all this white stuff.

We're all pretty sure the schools will be closed again tomorrow so I guess winter break has come early for the kids this year... No more school until 2009!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

the zen of parenting a two year old...

See this bag that Naomi is holding?

Just three seconds before this shot was taken, it was filled with outgrown snow clothes that don't and won't fit anyone in our family. In a frenzy of OCD mixed with a healthy dose of procrastination, I'd spent a little time yesterday afternoon organizing our winter gear so that I could take the stuff we didn't need to the consignment shop.

However, the minute Naomi saw the bag stuffed filled with something that could've been potentially very exciting, she quickly began unpacking.

She then made it a point to clearly ask me where were the toys were in the bag.

"There weren't any toys, Bunny. Just old clothes."

"Oh," she says. "I thought there were toys."

"Now that you've pulled them all out, let's see how fast you can stuff them back into the bag," I try.

"No thanks, Mama. I'm going to go look for some toys."

At least she's polite?

Monday, December 15, 2008


Dear Winter,
You've done me proud. The kids were thrilled to wake up to a winter wonderland on Sunday morning, and I think that Boaz and I were just as excited.
And I know that it usually snows here only once or twice a year, but Winter honey, snow is something you do really well and please feel free to drop some of that white stuff around whenever you please. Seriously, after all that dark, gloomy rain that keeps the kids inside where they get all antsy and hyper and spastic, it is pure heaven to send them outside in the yard to bounce around in all that fluff.
And also, your snow is just so bright. The way it sparkles in the sun is magical and the way my house is just lit from the reflection of all that white just makes my SAD syndrome just melt away.
And since our city doesn't really know how to deal with snow well (no salted/sanded roads and only a few plows for the whole city), we left the car in the
driveway, cancelled plans, and just took a long family walk around the neighborhood.
I'm even happy to accept the freezing temps that are along for the ride. The kids loved bundling up in their snowboots, hats, and mittens for school today and they can't wait for Wednesday and Thursday when the weather report predicts you'll be bringing us a new batch of the white stuff. Yay!
Thanks again for the treat, Winter! I'm going to accept this as your apology for raining on us through July last year. Feel free to keep the bright weather coming.
P.S. You might want to tell my parents who are coming here for a visit this weekend to bring their jackets. Seattle ain't no Palm Desert this week!

Friday, December 12, 2008

top 10 reasons to continue to buy baby wipes after your baby is potty trained...

10. When you've agreed months ago to host a parent meeting at your house, but didn't have time between work, picking up the kids from school/daycare, making dinner, and putting out refreshments, baby wipes clean the bathroom awfully fast (and they leave a clean, fresh scent, too!)

9. And if you hand one to your two year old, they automatically start wiping everything. This is a helpful cleaning situation.

8. Baby wipes clean up those pesky snot trails your kids leave on your shoulders, and if you don't notice them until just before you walk into a meeting, you probably still have a little baggy of wipes in your purse and you can just do a quick swipe.

7. If you don't have time to really wash your car, you can pull out the babywipes while you're in the drive-thru part of the carwash and quickly wipe up the dash. Again, baby fresh scent!

6. They're also pretty good for tire rims...

5. three words--dog poo on shoe

4. Eight year olds are much less mortified (and less likely to talk about you in therapy later on) if you take a wipe out of your purse to clean off their mouth before running into school than if you lick your finger and wipe it off.

3. In a pinch, one could hypothetically substitute a wipe wash for a real bath.

2. And in that same hypothetical situation, baby wipe shampoos take the greasy edge off dirty kid hair.

1. And continuing on with the hypothetical thread, in a desperate pinch, one could use a babywipe to wipe off sweat from a hypothetical run, as well as hypothetically wipe down one's head to take off the greasy sheen. Ta da! Momma Shower!

Hypothetically, it might be a good idea to not get too close to me this morning...

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

the home office needs to get a little more dignified...

This has been a hard week for me to work from home. I'm distracted by the upcoming holidays and vacations and visitors, I'm restless without a race to be training for, and I'm exhausted from being too busy.

But I have plenty of work to do and am realizing that working from home requires a certain set of requirements. Namely, you need to have a good place to work.

My desk is in the basement, but because the basement is also the family room and the playroom, I find it hard to work there, even when the kids are at school. There isn't enough space to spread out and I know that despite my constant insistance to the kids that my desk is out of bounds for them, they still mess around in the drawers looking for scotch tape (what is it with kids and scotch tape?) and stealing pens.

So I moved upstairs, but with the view of the kitchen, I'm distracted by the dishes that need to be done. Or by the fact that the kids have allowed their backpacks to spew art, homework, and school assignments all over the table and living room. Or by the fact that it hasn't stopped raining for days and the darkness is becoming totally oppressive.

We have a little cottage in our backyard that we use for guests, but I'm thinking that the big project for the year is to turn it into an office that can also be used for a guestroom. I won't have the watercooler, but I also won't have the dishes.

Anybody have coping mechanisms for working from home?

In the meantime, check out our cute little gingerbread house made last night between dinner and homework. The kids took it very seriously, with Samuel proclaiming the annual raising of the house to be "one of his favorite parts of Chanuka-time." Hey, who says there aren't any Jewish gingerbread people? And hey, our house even has a mezuzah!

Monday, December 08, 2008

birds and bees, act 2, scene 1...

It seems we've moved on to the second kid as far as the birds and the bees discussions go, but this one isn't all that interested in the bees part.

The other day while she was taking a shower, she pulled the B&B question on me. And apparently, my kids like talking about difficult things when they can't see my face. Samuel always is more open while I'm driving, looking at the road, and he's in the back seat. And Tali has obviously found the shower to be her hot spot. So there I was, drying my hair, thinking about how we'd make it to brunch on time, and Tali wanted to know how babies were made, or more specifically, how babies weren't made.

Tali: Are you going to have anymore babies?
Me: Nope, I don't think so. Don't you think three kids is the perfect number for our family?
Tali: Well, how do you know you won't have any more babies?
Me: Well, um, hmmm... Daddy and I can decide that, though sometimes you never know.
Tali: Huh?
Me: I'm pretty sure there won't be anymore babies for us. You guys are exactly what we wanted.
Tali: Sure, but what do you do to not have babies? Do you take medicine that keeps the babies away?
Me: Yeah, it's like a medicine.
Tali: Oh... (She smiles) So if you're having babies, you're really not taking your medicine, right?
Me: Um, right. Mostly.
Tali (with her face lit up): Don't you think that's a lot to know about everyone you know? Wow, I get it now...

I'm seriously frightened to think about how much she gets at age five...

Friday, December 05, 2008

faith in books is not a bad thing to have...

Me: Oooh, Noemi! Look at the moon!
Naomi: Oooh, pretty! Mama, who made the moon?
Me: Um, (I pause trying to figure out the best and easiest answer for a two year old) I think that G-d made the moon.
Naomi: No, Erica made the moon.
Me: Erica? Who's Erica?
Naomi: Erica is the Liberry Teacher. She made the moon.
Me: Are you sure about that?
Naomi: Yeah, it's pretty...

Thursday, December 04, 2008

facebook is my coworker...

Since I joined Facebook, I've had this nagging feeling about it that has been driving me a little batty. It's like that feeling when you know that you know someone, but don't know how. And last night, I realized what it was.

I was working late and found myself getting distracted and I was ready for that trip down the hall to the kitchen where you meet up with your coworkers to grab a cup of coffee or a soda and you chat for a few minutes about what you're up to, and then you head back to your desk, newly refreshed and ready to dig back in. I was ready for some watercooler time.

Since I've been working at home these days with only maybe a trip to the office once or twice a week, I'm finding that I am really missing the company of colleagues and coworkers. I've complained mightily about the waste of time "drive-by" meetings can be (though, of course they can be very constructive, too) and I've truly relished the fact that without social lunches or coffee runs, I can get so much more accomplished in a much shorter amount of time. And because my schedule is so crazy and I've got so much going on, working from home helps me get a little further in my quest for work/life balance.

But I miss my colleagues and coworkers. It's so great to get excited about a project and brainstorm together in person over coffee. In my last role, I had "production" sessions with one friend in particular where we'd make amazing progress in projects when we sat together and worked. Though I even miss the simple things, like hearing about everyone's weekend, and yes, talking about the last episode of Lost. I don't even watch Lost anymore.
With Facebook, I've got that back a little. I can take a few minutes, grab my coffee from my own kitchen, and check up on what everyone is doing, maybe write a comment or two, or share some photos from my weekend. It's not the same, and nothing should or can substitute for real human interaction. But it's something, and it helps with the sometimes overwhelming quiet of working alone.

Facebook is so interesting because it really hasn't reached it's potential yet. It's a cool social network, but there's a definite opportunity for it to morph into something that has more workplace potential. If I see an interesting status from one of my friends on FB that deserves more than a "Wow, sounds interesting..." type comment, there should be a way to start up a conversation. There is the chat, but that depends on getting two people available at the same time, something that is harder than it should be. But what if you could have a bulletin board conversation, totally basic technology, that took the commenting a little further than it is now. And then you could also have an option to not show it to the world?
I'm ready for my new coworker to gain a little more workplace experience...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

the problem with thanksgiving...

Tday+5 days = this fridge...

See that casserole dish? It holds what's left of 15lbs. of mashed potatoes. Basically, it's almost full. What? You think 15lbs. is overkill? Do you want to be the host that runs out of roasted garlic mashed potatoes on Thanksgiving? Right.

So far, we've grilled them up as potato pancakes and have eaten them pretty much everyday in some form or another.

See the white roasting dish covered with tinfoil? That's where Boaz lifted it up a bit to check out whether there were still sweet potatoes left in there. There are.

I hate the waste, but now it's time for my annual post tday cleaning out of the fridge. Next year I'll plan better. I'll still make too much, but I'm going to have enough tupperware on hand to send food home with everyone who comes over. ("Oh, hello Mr. Postman! Some mashed potatoes for you?")

And who put those tomatoes away with only four left in the package? Kids these days...

Monday, December 01, 2008

who ever thought that running would feel so good???

Sunday was the big run--the Seattle Half Marathon and though I was nervous about the incredible amounts of carbs I'd consumed on Turkey day (and the day after), and about the fact that I'd missed two training days that week, and the fact that I'd never yet run a centimeter over the 10 mile mark, we all raced swimmingly. Mitch, Kim, and I ran together for the whole race as we trained together these past months, but we ran into our good friend, Lani before, during, and after the run.
Truly, it was an exciting, though bizarre experience. I've never been much of an athlete, and the fact that I dropped out of sports after running the bases in little league the wrong way at age eight pretty much says it all. But this running stuff is addictive. The past year or so of training has been amazing. Not only does runnning allow you to eat more and feel happier (I've practically become canine in my total need to get out of the house and run circles around lakes), but you get to feel healthier, too. Plus, you get to wear cool runner clothes and the shoes... Well, you already know how I feel about the shoes. It all seems like a really good deal...
Also, the run itself was this weird two hour and eight minute escape from my life. Usually when we all run together, we talk and get into long discussions about life. But during this half, and maybe it was because we were running faster than usual (thank you, adrenaline), we didn't talk all that much. I mostly just thought about how incredibly cool it was to be running like this with all of these people, most of them strangers (but feeling a little less like strangers after running with them awhile) and feeling like a part of something bigger. I don't know what bigger, but something.
It was such an in the moment period... I didn't think about all the work I had to do for my Monday meeting, or piles of laundry, or the mount of dishes hanging out in my sink, or the fact that I had a bazillion phonecalls to return for about a gazillion different reasons. I just thought about running. And oddly, it was relaxing. Very, very relaxing.
And there were weird moments. At mile 11 when I thought that my feet might just crack themselves up into a million pieces, a woman behind me gasped "That wasn't Gu--I think that was first aid cream!" and though I felt bad for her, my feet miraculously felt better.
Toward the end of the race I heard my mom calling my name from the crowds and then I saw her with Paul, waving and yelling and she had tears in her eyes. And well, there's nothing like seeing your mom cry with pride to make you feel like you've done good. (Or that you've done something that only a mother could love, but I'm going with good.)
And at the end, as the three of us ran through the finish line holding hands, our families were there to greet us and it felt so good to have them there, cheering and congratulating. But mostly, it felt so good to finally have accomplished this goal.
And then we signed up for the RocknRoll Seattle Half Marathon, but that's a story to be continued...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

cute posts will only get you so far...*

Yesterday when I came downstairs in the morning, I found Samuel on the couch with my iPhone and when I looked over his shoulder to see what he was doing, I saw that he'd gotten past my password ("I watched when you punched it in, Mom. Wasn't that sneaky?") and was reading my blog.

This scenario presented me with two situations that needed attention:

One. The fact that my eight year old son watched me punch in my password on a phone, figured it out, and then I didn't even notice is a little scary. Last night I had nightmares of his future as a hacker. This morning we talked about why it isn't okay to sneak up on people in order to obtain confidential information. I then changed my password in order to know where my phone is at all times. (Afterall, this is my third phone in three years...)

Two. My eight year old son knows how to type in the URL to this blog and regularly tunes in to read about his life and mine.

"You write about me a lot," he said when he looked up.

"Yeah, I do. How do you feel about that?"

"The funny things are funny, but I don't like when you write about things you think are cute," he said. "It's not nice."

"I get that," I told him. "From now on, I'll run it by you first, okay?"

He looked doubtful. "Okay, he said. But if I don't like it, you can't post it."


So there you have it. My kid is apparently too big to be written about in a cute way, even though he's still incredibly cute and funny and I'm ridiculously crazy about him.

What a crazy thing it is to have a kid who is old enough to desire privacy...

*This message has been approved by Samuel.

Monday, November 24, 2008

tali writes a poem...

Leave floating
Red, black, yellow, purple green
Falling in the air
Jump, crunch, crack, smack
(The first word must be a typo, but I think it makes the tone of her first serious Kindergarten piece even stronger...)

Friday, November 21, 2008

conversation over breakfast...

Talia: I wish I had recess with Samuel...
Sam: We'll never have recess together, Tali. I'm too old for that.
Talia: What about when I'm in third grade like you?
Sam: Nope, that won't work, either. I won't be at your school anymore. I'll be in middle school.
Talia: Oh... (looks like she's about to cry)
Sam: But you could come to the Husky Stadium College with me when we grow up.
Talia: Really?
Sam: Yeah, and it'll be good because we won't have to fly home for holidays. We can just drive.
Me (interrupting): Hey you guys, I have a good idea. You could just live at home for college and then you'd already be here for holidays!
Sam: (looking at me as if I've lost my mind) You can't be serious, Mommy. That is just not what you do in college.

It was worth a try...

Thursday, November 20, 2008

a two year old takes things literally...

Me: Naomi, where are you supposed to be drawing?

Naomi: On the table. See?

Study: BlackBerry has twice the failure rate of iPhone...

Guess I'm not the only one with this problem...

Apparently the iPhone's failure rate is most due to accidental falls as a result of a slippery form factor. Hmmm, that seems easily remedied, but it might make me think twice about using the Fitnio running app without an arm band. Sweaty hands can't be good for my accidental damage rate.

But have I mentioned how much I love that phone? I wonder if it's normal for me to race to grab it in the morning so that I can get it before Samuel starts in on his Star Wars light saber app.

Monday, November 17, 2008

lessons from the country bunny...

Last summer while browsing the sale books at Powell's Books on a family trip to Portland, I came across the children's book called Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes, by Dubose Heyward and illustrated by Marjorie Flack and Marjorie Hack (wow, what are the chances the book's two illustrators would have those names--is that for real?). The cover of the book has such a pretty illustration of a mother bunny flanked by her twenty-one children, that I slapped down my 1.99 (gotta love those remainder piles) without even opening up the book.
When I sat down to read it, I realized quickly that it was an Easter story and probably not one my kids, who don't celebrate Easter, or don't even have any sense of the Easter bunny or what eggs are, could relate to. However, Tali and Naomi especially liked the pretty descriptions of the colorful eggs and the homelife of the bunny family, and the whole story was so pretty and calming and charming that the book became our fave bedtime story. Also, it didn't hurt that despite it being quite a long tale (almost 50 pages), both girls usually drifted off before it ever ended, making it a very nice book to have on hand.

But after reading it for the umpteenth time, it started to seem incredibly clear to me that the story of the Country Bunny--the story of a bunny who gave up her lifelong dreams of becoming the Easter bunny because she needed to take care of her children--was the ultimate legend of the struggle of work/life balance. She was perfectly capable of becoming the Easter Bunny--she was quick and courageous and clever and good--but on top of having all of these bunnies to care for, she was also a female bunny and apparently Easter Bunnying was a buck's job and the Country Bunny took a lot of heat for even considering such a lofty goal. It seems amazing to me that this feminist story was written in 1939.

And here's the other thing... One of the reasons why the Old Grandfather Bunny considers Country Bunny to be so clever is that she teaches her bunnies to basically do everything around the house. They made dinner, did the dishes, created art for the home, learned dancing in order to entertain their bunny siblings while they did chores around the house and so on. Those little bunnies did everything. One of them even pulled the chair out for his mother when it was time for dinner. Country Bunny set herself up well.
The little bunnies did their jobs nicely and they did not complain. Personally, it seemed like a little much, but I chalked it up to the fact that if I had twenty one bunnies, I'd sure as hell need to teach them to be useful, too.

I can only imagine what that would look like in my house.

But the other day when we were with friends, I asked Samuel to watch Naomi while I paid a bill, and then I asked Tali to take her to the bathroom with her (I could see the door), a stranger standing nearby mentioned that I asked the older kids to take care of her a lot.

"Really?" I said. "I don't think it's so much. Plus, they like to do it."

"I just think it might be a bit much for their ages."

I didn't say anything, but thought about it awhile. And then decided that nope, it wasn't too much at all. Tali has started doing the dishes everyonce in awhile, and she loves to separate the dirty clothes into piles and load the wash machine, and I think it's not a bad idea (for many reasons) to foster her desire to help out and take on some household chores. And when Samuel spent three hours last Sunday raking up the leaves in our yard instead of playing with his Legos, he was rewarded with kudos and obvious relief on our part that we had one less job on our To-Do list.

When my workload started piling up this Fall, I worried about having to slack off on some things, like having clean clothes put away or boxes of Mac and Cheese for dinner more nights than anyone would like. But what I'm finding is that the kids really like taking on the responsibility. They are not only so much more capable than I'd ever imagined, but they actually like helping out. And I feel so much less harried when they're hanging out and helping.

Talk to me in a few years when we've hit tweens and teens and I'm sure the story might seem a bit different. But every once in a while a parental epiphany happens upon me and this one was incredibly welcomed. In a society that is so geared toward children, my family's days of serving the children is coming to an end as they grow up, and the glimpse of a future where we as a family work together for a common good is close at hand. Change is coming.
(Wow, maybe the Obama election is effecting all fronts of life...)
And of course it's not that I don't love being a mom and not moving too quickly up the rungs of my career ladder for awhile seems to be what I need to do at this point in my life. But it's starting to seem real to me that there will be a day in the near future where I don't have to pull out a diaper from my purse in order to find my cellphone. Of all role models I could choose, Country Bunny seems like one of the least likely. But truly for the first time ever, instead of being incredibly torn about moving on to a stage of life that doesn't involve babies, I'm very excited about my future, as well as my children's.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

i drunk me some iphone kool-aid and now i'm in love...

There are so many things I could write about since I've been offline for a few days. I could fill you in on our second trip to the Great Wolf Lodge and how I'm a little nervous about what a professional watersliding mom I'm becoming.

Or, I could tell you about how Boaz was home when we got back from watersliding, and how incredibly delicious it is to be a two parent household once again.

Or, I could even tell you about my Korean Full-Body Scrub at the Olympus Spa this weekend after my 8-mile run and brag to you that after being massaged with what I think was sandpaper for 3/4 of an hour, my skin may now be even softer than Naomi's.

Or, I could even do some complaining about how my blasted Blackberry failed me yet again, and how AT&T cheerfully gave me the news that I was one month past the phone's warranty date, but I'll hold that for yet another day.

Because my friends, I am now the proud, proud owner of a iPhone 3G. How did I wait so incredibly long for this?

I'm pretty cheap and willing to wait for a deal, so I'd decided to wait until March when I could renew my phone contract and get a discount on the phone. But the charging function in my little Blackberry Pearl somehow broke and it left me with little choice. I did check out all of the cheaper alternatives and read more reviews than I needed to. And then I bought my new phone.

Let me tell you how many seconds it took me to set up my two email accounts: 30

It took 30 seconds, people! Apple definitely has intuitive user interface down to a science. And I'll bet you've been wondering where I've been. Well, I've been to the PC side and while I'm still a PC girl, I am definitely am converting in the way of mobile phones.

The apps... I'm speechless. I can use this phone for everything. The RunKeeper app tracks my runs with GPS so I don't need to buy Nike shoes just for the Nike+ system. The Facebook app keeps me up to date with my Facebook crack all day long. Urban Spoon recommends restaurants in my area and in case I ever get a babysitter, I'll be ready with dinner plans. And these I've just found during the thirty minutes I allowed myself to go all gaga over the phone before getting some work done.

I'm off to go synch all four of my online calendars... Is it even possible that one device could do everything? It seems too good to be true, but I'll let you know. For now, I just heart my iPhone.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

when good parenting goes bad...

For the past two year, I've made it a habit on Halloween to let the kids eat their trick or treat candy to their hearts delight and their bellies dismay for that one day only. I'd read that this is better on their teeth than letting them eat just a little bit a day for the rest of their lives (which is how long it would take to get through our, I mean their, loot).

And the way they look at me when I tell them to go ahead, have another Kit-Kat and after that, eat the Twix, just save me the Twizzlers... They look at me with such appreciation and adoration, it's almost worth nursing them through their bellyaches at night.

Then, the next day, when they begin asking for their candy again, I take them to a toy store where I "buy" their candy with a little toy of their choice, and that's that.

Except that's not that for me.

Today, while working from home on a project that I'm not totally immersed in yet, I visited the orange plastic jacko, which is snugly hidden away out of reach of smallish childrens, approximately seven times. Okay, exactly seven times. On the 6th visit, I tried to stop myself.

"Self," I said. "Just because you ran 10 miles yesterday doesn't mean you get to eat what you want for the rest of your life."

"It doesn't?"

"Nope. What's the point of running and working so hard to stay in shape if you keep visiting Jack?"

"Come on! Laffy Taffy doesn't have any fat in it!"

"It doesn't if you only have one piece..."

"Oh, Self... Don't be such a party pooper," I said, snatching the banana flavored Laffy Taffy, as well as a Twix bar and a cute little red box of Hot Tamales, my personal fave.

And now, well, I am one sick mama with a big bellyache. Wonder if I could get anyone to buy me out of my candy with a new pair of shoes...

Or maybe I could just pull it together, think about bad dentist bills, and then throw it all away.

Or maybe I could just have one more little box of Hot Tamales...

Monday, November 10, 2008

the single (parenting) life...

Boaz has been out of town since last Tuesday (can you believe that guy missed the greatest election day we've experienced in our lifetime?) and I've been living the single life since he's been gone.

The single parent life, that is.

Basically, it has left me with little time to do anything remotely leisurely, like blog, work, or shower (I apologize in advance to any of you who must interact with me in person). And pretty much the planets have just not been aligned in my favor because everyday brings on a new "adventure."

Thursday: Stop by the grocery store on the way home from an appointment, lock car with remote clicker key thingy, trip over the curb and drop keys in a huge puddle. Since said remote clicker key thingy is electronic, it shorts so remote doesn't work. I test anyway, then use the actual metal key in the door to make sure everything is okay, since I'm totally OCD and wouldn't be able to relax with my grocery shopping not knowing that I could get back into the car.

Doesn't work.

Call the Volvo place and they tell me that the very delicate laser cut key must have chipped when it fell and since I can't get back into the car, and since the spare set of keys are in B's pocket in China, I must have it towed to the dealership where they will make me a very expensive new set of keys.

Huh? But I wait in the pouring rain for about three and a half hours, two different crabby tow truck drivers who must try out the defunct keys themselves and finally the second one breaks into the car with some tricked out hanger. The key works in the ignition, and when I drive it to the dealership, they look at the keys, clean them off, put in a new battery and sticks it in the door where it works perfectly... And it's only FIVE HOURS LATER.

Friday: Five minutes before we're supposed to leave to go to a friend's house for Shabbat, I step on a shard of glass in my bedroom (who knows where it came from), start bleeding profusely, it breaks off in my foot as I try to pull it out, and because I can't get it out with the tweezers, the kids are climbing all over me, and we're supposed to be somewhere, I slap a bandaid on it and hope it doesn't bleed on my friend's rug. The evening is so fun, though, and the food, wine, and company is so good that I forget about it.

Saturday: Kids are so tired from late night that Tali's sassy talk is out of control and when I tell her she doesn't get a playdate because of her behavior, Naomi comes up to me and says, "Tali hates you." Sigh... Parenthood... However the day is saved when our babysitter comes that evening and Kim, Julie, and I meet up at Olympus Spa for pedis, korean food, and these amazingly cool sweat rooms. More on that later...

Sunday: Make it through my 10 mile run with my glass foot all bandaged up, but the second I get out of my three minute shower, I see my stairs decorated by Naomi, who looks very, very proud:
There are four stairs covered with big blue felt tip marker (not the washable kind).
The kids and I run around the house for the next few hours trying to figure out what we can do to clean it. The big brown blotch is oven cleaner because in a moment of panic when nothing else worked, I sprayed that on it. Not so good.
Finally, after buying about five different products and spending much time on hands and knees scrubbing, SOS pads came to the rescue. And sand paper, which left light patches all over the newly refinished stairs. Oh well, dirt will darken them soon enough.

The calm parts of my weekend looked like this:

The couscous is still on the ground as I type because I haven't quite been able to deal yet with its large and expansive coverage of the kitchen. However, I did get that glass out of my foot late last night after more soaking, and I'm taking that as a sign that this week will be much easier.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

still kvelling...

I've been walking around happy and satisfied since the results came out. I know that everyone and their mother is talking about how great Obama's win is for our country and despite the fact that tacking on to the subject isn't original, for once I am sure originality isn't necessary.

This video depicts exactly why I am so proud of our country for electing such an intelligent and articulate person to lead us. The story goes on a bit long (where is our good man's editor?), but it shows his dedication to honoring a promise, no matter how big or small, his ability to truly listen to new perspectives and his genuine understanding that everyone's voice is deserving of respect.

And as a proud new aunt, I have to take the opportunity to show off my newest nephew, Amos, who was born on election day. He has to have the best karma ever to be born on the day that Obama was elected president... This kid is totally going places. And also, he's amazingly cute. (His parents aren't too bad, either!)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

what are you waiting for??? vote already!!!

I've been holding off on expressing my extreme anxiety and excitement for this day, but having finally, finally gotten here, I'm ready to barack my vote. I'm planning to take the big kids with me to my polling station before I drop them off at school because they've been so involved in this race and at least for Samuel, it'll be really the first election he'll probably remember.

But before we do that, they have a message for you...

Go on, get voting!

Monday, November 03, 2008

decision '08 in real time...

we have entered the sticking things up your nose phase...

Naomi has officially entered the sticking-things-up-her-nose phase (toddler style y'all, not britney or amy winehouse style, of course). I know this is a phase because having been through it before with her older sister, I wasn't completely caught off guard when I heard her giggling from the backseat as we drove home from the Children's Museum.

"What's going on back there?" I asked her, trying to get a glimpse from the rearview mirror.

"Tortilla thinks I'm funny," Naomi answered back. Tortilla is the name of her babydoll that has begun accompanying us everywhere.

"She does? What are you doing that is so funny?" I asked.

"I'm showing her how to put things in my nose." Naomi answered giggling. And sure enough, when I looked back, I saw half of one of the yogurt covered raisins she was eating sticking out of her nose.

"Oh, Noemi!" I squealed. "You need to take that out!" Of course, this only made her laugh harder and stick it further in. The next time I peeked in the mirror, you could only see the tip.

Damn. Did something up a nose count as a good reason for the ER? I hate that feeling of impending ERdom... "Naomi," I said quietly, "Don't touch the raisin, okay?"

More laughing.

I pulled off the freeway and when I got to her, she wasn't really laughing anymore.

"It's stuck," she said.

I squeezed it out from the top like toothpaste and it slid right out. But since my poor girl was sneezing up yogurt residue for the rest of the day, I know it'll be a long time before that girl eats yogurt covered raisins again.

What comes after the sticking things up the nose phase? I'm trying to get prepared.

Friday, October 31, 2008

just a phase... scary...

Today I dropped Tali off at school and for the third day in a row, I left her crying, clinging to my leg and with the most tortured and miserable expression her face--a look that might seem reasonable if I'd just said, "Bye bye, Baby! I left you a plate of soggy brussel sprouts for lunch and have fun cleaning up your brother's legos all day long!" but not for leaving her with the world's yummiest Kindergarten teacher ever--Morah Mary Grace.

Outside the classroom, after Morah Mary Grace intercepted, gently closed the door and made the international hand signal for please get the hell out of here fast, the other parents were standing around talking about their kids. Of course.

"She's just going through something," my friend says. We could still hear Tali's wails from inside the classroom. "She'll be okay in a sec."
"It could be the change of seasons," someone else says.
"Or the fact that it's the end of the week," someone says.
"Or that she's the middle child."
"Kindergartners are always like this," says a parent with an older child. "They don't know if they're big or little anymore."

Maybe her planets are no longer in alignment?
Or maybe it's another phase...

Except, if they're always in one phase or another, does that even make any part of it a phase at all?

Last year, in preschool, T went through this phase where she didn't want to go to school, hated being away from me, and cried miserably when I dropped her off. Sounds just like now, except that I know she likes school.

I listened on as the parents continued talking about stuff their kids were going through--you know, phase stuff. Apparently, these kids never stop with their phases. They're in a phase, going through a phase, just getting out of a phase...

It's beginning to sound like an excuse to explain the unexplainable. In the meantime, though, I'm hoping that Tali's dropoff troubles are short term and that they'll fall away once she's used to the colder weather, darker mornings, and unaligned planets, and that she gets through quickly whatever she's going through now.

And let's please hope that she doesn't blame me for the rest of her life for being a middle child...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

how facebook has turned my life into a serial novella...

The social app Facebook seriously brings out the worst in me. Since I joined Facebook, I've had a totally conflicted and bipolar relationship with the site, and I've been obsessed from the start.

Which is the result the developers were probably hoping for.

But the reasons I'm addicted to FB are similar to the reasons why I comb through the front photo section of People magazine while waiting in line at the supermarket. Or why I read those juicy Phillipa Gregory novels in one or two sittings, eschewing sleep or reason.

FB is incredibly entertaining. I used to rationalize that is was a useful networking tool and that my time spent on it would be somewhat valuable.

When I joined, I added everyone I knew and then wasted countless hours combing networks for not only people in my life who I wish I had more time to keep in touch with, but also those people I'd lost touch with over the years. It was so exciting to meet up with people I never expected to talk to again, like my first best friend from Huntington Beach who lived a few doors down from us, but then I moved away when we were eight and you know how those things go. And how great to catch up with friends from high school, college, or various other periods of my past who I'd completely lost over time. And then how completely odd to see their profile albums filled with kids and spouses and completely new lives. It's like finding a forgotten chapter to your favorite serial novel.

But then there were the odd events. At first when I got the email apology from a college boyfriend who'd dropped me like a hot potato for seemingly no reason, I felt totally redeemed. What a completely civilized world this was to receive an apology from a guy who'd hurt me more than fifteen years ago, and then could apologize rather articulately about it once he'd grown up. We became "friends" again.

Here is a relationship that in our modern world rarely exists, and probably would not naturally exist without a social network like Facebook. It's absolutely exciting to to be able to find anyone again so easily.

But what do I do with this? I'm a mother of three, married, barely balancing work and life and the purgatory that is my laundry pile. How the hell am I supposed to balance 203 friends on Facebook?

Now granted, FB gives me a chance to keep up with friends that I don't have time to see. I know when Kim needs a run, when Ben has shot too many Nerf arrows at his mom, and I get to see all the political musings of my friends in their status reports. I check all of these WAY TOO OFTEN. And with cool little mobile apps, I can post photos and my own status reports to my own profile whenever I want. In fact, there have been days when I've had FB in the back of my mind all day long. I find myself thinking about how I can turn funny things that happen throughout the day into FB status statements. I wonder who has updated their own profiles.

In fact, I'm wondering right now if anyone has posted any new photos...

I've been a proud abstainer of Twitter because with the blog, I feel like I spend too much time thinking about my status, but FB seriously has stepped in where Twitter has been pushed out. And I gave up Second Life (yeah, I really don't want to talk about how lame I am so hush up now) because it seriously sucked up hours of my life and spit them out into the ethers.

So now I have to figure out how to control Facebook, especially since it's got too tight a hold on me now to give up completely. I need to control my Facebook Addiction. My name is Amy and I'm addicted to Facebook.

Facebook has also introduced new social dilemmas into our life networks (one of which includes using the term "life networks"). For example, I found an old college friend through search during a massive procrastination session. There were a few people in the results with his exact name, but while looking through his friend list, I recognized a mutual friend so I added him as my friend.

A couple of days later, he accepted my friend request. Woohoo! But when I looked at his profile photo, I saw that he looked very different. He'd gained weight and his hair color had lightened and his eyes had gone blue. He was now single and living in another country. He had glasses now and his childrens' names had changed. Oh wait... Hmmm...

So what do I do now? How do I break up with this friend who really isn't my friend?

I even find myself following his status reports. He enjoyed his vacation, his kids are doing well, enjoying school. But um, I don't know this guy from Adam. Is it completely rude to delete his friend status? Will he be offended?

I foresee future studies and seminars about managing your Facebook accounts in the same way they exist for managing your Outlook boxes. Set aside a certain time of day, only allow yourself an allotted amount of time, schedule some Facebook time on your calendar, etc.

Not a bad idea... But I wonder what Dan and Becky are doing right now...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

who would you invite to your election party?

Samuel and I were talking about who we'd invite over to watch the election results with us since Boaz is leaving for China on business that day (and it is really probably best for him not to follow every single announced result) and Sam came up with the following list.

  1. His friend Max. Because he's his friend.
  2. Anakin Skywalker. Because he's cool.
  3. R2D2. Because he's cool, too, and wouldn't it be cool to have a droid at our house on election day?
  4. Barak Obama.

"I think maybe Barak Obama might be a little busy on election day," I tell him. "I'm not sure he'd be able to make it. But why do you think he should come over?"

"Because he makes peace and that's a good thing to have around," he tells me. "Plus, I think he'll be in a good mood that night."

Let's just hope...

another day, another milestone... naomi gets a haircut!

Finally, at almost two and a half, Naomi has gotten her first haircut. I think I was scared to take the plunge and take a scissors to her curls because I was terrified they wouldn't come back. And everyone knows that the minute you cut your baby's hair, they no longer look so much like a baby anymore.

And she's my baby...

But things were getting bad. The girl REFUSES to keep barrettes or piggytails in her hair and is always frustrated with getting her hair in her eyes. (You would think that logic would work here, but apparently that comes later...) And then incredibly, after her haircut today, Naomi still has her curls! And she's got herself a lot of 'em.

Here's the before pic... Note that her pigtails that she kept in all day (of course) at preschool were just taken out.
Cute girl, lots of baby hair...

The difference with taking a two year old for their first haircut instead of a ten month old is that they actually WANT the haircut. I'd told her this morning that she was going to have one after school and when I went to pick her up a little early, her teacher knew that today was the big haircut day. (Um, is she my girl, or what?)

"Mama, I want 'parkleys," Naomi said when we sat her down in her yellow taxi cab chair. She'd witnessed enough haircuts to know that at the end, her big sister's hair was always sprayed with gold sparkles.
"That's not until the end," I told her.

"Mama, make sure I get 'parkleys."
At the end, she got her sparkles...
Her hair doesn't look really look any shorter, just neater (and sparklier, too). In the spirit of saving money, I wonder if I could've done that myself... But I got to take home a photo commemorating the first haircut, along with a little baggy of curls to seal the deal.
And I also had a very happy, sparkly girl who discovered a ginormous stuffed and apparently napping Elmo (talk about freaky) in the adjoining toy store. We seriously had to bribe her to get her to walk away from it.