Thursday, July 31, 2008

mama needs a new phone...

All right. So I don't really need one, but I want one very, very badly.

I've been phone shopping because I just hate my Blackberry Pearl. Hate it. I hate it so much I keep waiting for it to die, or for one of the kids to kill it "accidentally" like they did with my last phone. Everytime I look at it wrong, it screams SIMCARD ERROR at me and I have to shut it down and start it up again, which is about three times a day. And sometimes I don't receive any email for long periods of time (and it isn't because I'm not really not getting any--really).

And while other than those issues, it works, I haven't quite handed it over to Naomi to take it's little crackberry life forever because that seems sort of wasteful (and I'm trying hard to earn back my super nature girl status). But mostly because I had such high hopes for it, and cannot believe it's such a drag. Because it really is so petite and almost cute.

So I've just been looking--not full-on cheating on my Pearl.

And I can't find ANYTHING that is just so irresistible I wouldn't be able to pass it up. And really, I'm so up for irresistible. But I have requirements and while they don't seem to hard to fulfill, I haven't found the dream phone to fulfill my wildest cell phone dreams. Sigh...

Here is what I'm looking for:
1. I want to be able to have two Exchange accounts on the phone so that I can differentiate between home and work email. I've read that the new iPhone won't let me do this, so I'll check that one off my list even though it sounds so amazing, I'd give up my #3 requirement.

2. I want faster internet service than my Blackberry provides. (...and I'm not looking to surf on this service--I just want it to not take a short eternity to click on an emailed link. But okay, it would be fun to have the sort of connectivity B gets on his iPhone)

3. I'd like something not huge. In fact, because I refuse to ever clip my phone to a holder on my beltloop and don't often wear shirts with chest pockets like B does, if I want to have my phone on me during meetings, I need to place it on the conference table where it buzzes or vibrates when it rings. It's an annoying occurrence that happens all the time at meetings and it's distracting when you're presenting something and someone's phone begins to unapologetically and unabashedly vibrate. And to be honest, more often than not, it's a guy's phone that is buzzing around on the table. Which got me thinking...

What I love about my Pearl (and why does it have to have such an adult toy name?), it that it fits neatly and discretely in my back pocket. Nobody has to know when I vibrate.

I don't care about large number keys because my fingers aren't huge and quite honestly, I don't need too many features, though I'd love to have my phone be my main email form factor since I spend so much time running around.

So my question here is, why is this dream phone so hard to find? I'm seriously not looking for the George Clooney of phones here. But it seems to me that most of the phones I've seen are made for men. Seriously. Why else are they so incredibly big? Do the tech companies out there think that women don't like toys, too? Or am I being unreasonable?

If you have any recommendations, I'm definitely up for them..

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

i wanna dance with you...

I apologize in advance about the fact that you'll have to rotate your head sideways in order to watch this, since I wasn't able to rotate the clip. It's so cute, though, it's worth it.

Monday, July 28, 2008

super nature girl strikes again...

So when I said life got back to normal amazingly quickly, did I mention that twelve hours after getting home from my trip to California, I packed up my car with equipment and kids and headed to Whidbey Island to camp with our good friends Josh and Kim, their kids, and their two pugs? Did I mention that I packed up the car with all our camping equipment and our stuff all by myself in about an hour? Did I mention that because he'd spent the first half of the week playing single dad, that Boaz wasn't going to join us until Friday?

I figured that since three adults+six kids+two pugs=2 kids and .666 pugs per adult we'd be fine.

I was feeling all smug and nature girl with myself as we drove behind our friends and the tent trailer they'd borrowed for the trip. We'd sleep in our tent and watch the stars as we lay in our sleeping bags. It'd be a relaxing re-bonding experience with the kids, who were happily sucking on the Sees suckers I'd picked up from the airport.

"Mommy," Tali nudges me from my nature-girl daydream with her mouth covered with butterscotch lollipop. "How come you packed the sukkah?"

I knew that brown nylon bag didn't look right when I packed it. And after I pulled over to double check, I can't believe I missed the big white label, in Hebrew, plainly stating that what I'd packed was in fact our sukkah.

No tent.

I call B from the freeway, who is laughing so hard, I can barely make out the fact that he's asking if we'd brought the bamboo roof. Which, of course we didn't. Because who brings a sukkah with them to camp?

We are already in the ferry line so it's too late to turn back and after handing me a large diet Coke and trying to contain her own hysterical laughter, Kim says that of course there is room for four extra people in their tent trailer. But we'll have to sleep with these guys:

Which is obviously not a great option to offer the kids since

1.) Samuel is allergic to dogs

2.) All three kids are terrified of these cute, but ferocious pugs

3.) Have I mentioned that my kids are terrified of these dogs?

But because our only other option is to sleep in the roofless sukkah, and because Kim promises to keep the puggles in her car, we continue on.

The tent trailer turns out to be the world's best camping invention, despite the fact that it is impossible to steer and it has to be disconnected from the truck and pushed into the camp site. It's spacious and comfortable and it even has it's own cookstove attached to it. And by the time B arrived the next day, it took everything I had not to let him sleep in that tent all by himself while we slumbered on in the almost luxury suite.

But the surprise of the weekend (well, besides the theiving chipmunks who stole Sam I's candle holders in broad daylight!) was that somehow, the kids decided they loved the pugs. Kim offered Tali a dollar a day to walk them and from that moment on, the kids decided they were in love. Even Naomi snuggled up to Izzy. And Samuel experienced nothing even remotely resembling an allergic reaction.

Why do I feel like there's a dog in our near future?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Traveling the So Cal freeways...

I'm finally back.

California was intense. It was so incredibly and amazingly good to see my family, and to spend time with my parents, siblings, cousins, nieces, aunts, and uncles, and especially, to spend a little time with my cousin Ellen and my Uncle Fred. And I'm determined to never again have to have that horrible pit in the belly guilty feeling about not spending enough time with people I love. (Talk to me in three months and we'll see where I am with that one... Hopefully it won't be piled on top of my seriously neglected New Year's Resolutions.) I pretty much spent most of my trip in tears of some sort. There has already been talk about a big reunion that is not the result of sad news.

That said, the roadtrip with my brother Dan was truly fun. I'm not sure there is anyone else on this planet I'd rather hang out with for about 20 hours of California freeway driving because as annoyed as Dan got with the traffic, he never gets very grumpy whilst behind the wheel. It's really an amazing thing.

And somehow travelling sans kids was a big hurdle to get over. I left the house with less baggage than I usually bring to work and did not even check any baggage. Nope. I didn't even have to bring a carseat of any kind.

Here's a photo of Dan at the airport with all of our baggage. Note that Dan is talking on the phone and nobody is tugging at him.
Also, you should note that he brought two bags and my only bag was my shiny new from Target carryon. It was small. And the drink was his, too.

Despite the fact that we both wanted cocktails on the plane, the fact that it was 10am sort of ruined those plans for us. Also, somehow we ended up on the smallest jet ever and I was a bit worried about consuming alcoholic beverages lest the pilot got in trouble and needed my help. Did I mention it was the smallest plane ever and only my stupid pride kept me from having a total fit about getting on the plane.

It was a good thing we didn't drink anything on the plane, though, because we needed to save our bellies for the best. Mexican. food. ever. EVER.

I even took a photo of the meal because I can't even describe how happy it made me.

Sensing our ridiculous over-enthusiasm ("There is Mexican food in Seattle, isn't there?" he asked in disbelief) the owner of La Taquieza even sent us over a massively large order of guacamole and chips. In addition to that, we had fish mulitas, which they describe as quesadillas on hormones and asada tacos, and everything was made with homemade corn tortillas. I think I would just fly back to LA for dinner if I could. If you're ever by the USC campus, you should definitely check out La Taquieza on Figuroa.

And then after that meal, we got into our kick-ass Mustang rental (which had such a high dash, I could've used one of those booster seats I left at home) and listened to 80s music for the four hours it took us to drive to the desert. Where we of course ate again. But not before in order to stave off a headache Dan drank the bottle of infant Tylenol I keep in my purse for emergencies. Funny that they didn't include his weight limit on the back of the bottle.

The trip involved a ton more driving on huge freeways I can barely remember. All I can say is that anyone who complains about Seattle traffic has never traveled recently on Southern California highways. The weather and beaches almost made up for the fact that everytime we got into the car, we'd spend at least an hour in it.

Boaz did amazingly with the kids on his own. And it was good to come home to all my little peops. And though Naomi refused to talk to me at first when I got back (wow, talk about heart break!), she got over it fairly quickly and life was back to normal fairly quickly. Amazingly quickly. Because that's the way it seems to go.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sunday, July 20, 2008

more of what it takes...

Tomorrow morning I'm off to California for my Aunt Liz's funeral. As I said less than two weeks ago, it just plainly sucks that it takes a funeral for family to get together. I will be seeing relatives I haven't seen for five years or more, family that I love but don't call enough, people that I enjoy spending time with, but don't make enough time to see them. The fact that we're all busy is now clearly a lame excuse. I just feel sad.

And on top of sadness, I definitely feel anxious about getting on a plane and leaving my three kids at home with their busy dad. I realized after making the reservations that I have never left for more than a night and it feels odd to pack up my own stuff without including diapers and extra kid clothes and drive to my brother's house so that we can take this trip together. But it is probably a good thing for all not to drag three kids to a funeral.

So that's where I am tonight--sad and anxious. On the bright side, a road trip to the desert with my brother once we land in LA involving some good music and conversation sounds like a good time (we really do enjoy road trips) and I've definitely had some very vivid daydreams featuring me devouring some true Mexican food.

And even though I wish I were going for another reason, it'll be good to get back to Southern California for a few days, where oddly, I feel grounded.

Friday, July 18, 2008

self-help is sometimes not so helpful...

Last night I went out and met some friends for drinks and we began talking about what we always end up talking about--our kids. And namely, our daughters.

Before I had kids, when I thought of having daughters, I always thought of slumber parties and shopping, and cute dresses and dolls... Somehow, I blocked out the torture I endured and doled out to my "friends" during my school years. I'd forgotten that whole social cruelty thing that appears to be a common experience for girls. Maybe because it was so horrible, or maybe because I thought it was just me.

But talking to other parents last night about some of the social and behavior issues our daughters are having scared the bejeezus out of me. These girls are five and just entering school, yet they're already experiencing the drama of cliques. They gang up on each other, call each other names, intentionally leave each other out, and in one instance, a group of them (including my daughter) drew an ugly picture, wrote "U AR A MEEEEEENY" and left it on a friend's cubby. Luckily, she didn't know how to read.

Granted, many of them have been together through preschool for years, but as they get ready to enter kindergarten with many of the same friends, I felt driven to do something.

I put down my beer and headed toward the Barnes and Noble parenting section (which, thank goodness, is probably the only business in Seattle besides a bar that is open past 10pm).

I didn't have to look for more than two seconds (seriously) before seeing all of the books written about raising girls. Books about creating strong girls, books about dealing with everything girl, books about dealing with girl bullies, twelve billion books about adolescent girls, books about creating positive self-images in girls and so on and so on and so on.

I actually had to sit down for a second. What could've gone so wrong that we have so many books written about raising our daughters? It made it feel like raising a strong girl without serious emotional issues would be a next to impossible feat.

And then I looked further.

There were almost just as many books about boys. And also about potty training, sleep training, gifted children, children with special needs, single parenting, and even a book called "Are You a Normal Parent?" which I restrained myself from opening lest I develop yet another complex. What role does gut instinct play in a realm of parenting information this in-depth?

Overwhelmed, I quickly chose two books about raising girls, neither of which ended up having much to do with complex social issues of the five year old, but will probably be interesting (because I have so much time to just read for interest).

But I will definitely rethink my next trip to the self-help sections of the bookstore--I have never felt so inadequate.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

I'm not going to Blogher and this is why...

There about a million bad reasons why I'm not going to Blogher, and I'd thought I'd come to terms with the big ones:

  1. 1. It was logistically too hard to hand off the kids to B while he's against a deadline.

  2. 2. The tix and airfare are too expensive.

  3. 3. San Francisco is such a boring city to be in.

  4. 4. I didn't really want to go, anyway.

Actually, #s 3 & 4 are blatant lies (unless, of course, you happen to have an extra ticket for me since San Francisco is too boring for you), so really only #s 1 & 2 are true. Still, if I'd planned better, I could've gotten it together. I am lame that way.

Because now I'm sort of feeling like that girl who didn't get a date to Homecoming, but plays it off like she's too cool to even want to go, anyway. But really, you know she totally and seriously wants to go. She's pining to go. And not just because everyone she knows is going and she's going to sit home alone in her old sweats and watch reruns of 90210 all night while digging into a couple of different flavored pints of Ben and Jerry's. No, she wants to go because it's HOMECOMING! It's a milestone. You've got to do it. It could be one of the highlights of your life!

Um, no, this totally did not happen to me at homecoming. And I didn't end up going with my brother, either (fingers crossed).

So since I've decided that all my excuses were lame, I've been futilely looking for tickets to go. Next year, no more excuses. I'll see you there with my corsage on! (I'll leave the poufy Gunne Sax dress at home, though.)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

nibbles and bits--wisdom from the third row...

We are driving home from art camp when Talia points out the window and shrieks.

"Mommy, don't look! That guy is running with his shirt off! That is sooooo inappropriate!" My kids are obviously from a place where people rarely have an opportunity to take their shirts off.

"That's not really inappropriate." I say, getting ready to introduce my daughter to the world of numerous male/female inequalities. "Why do you think that's inappropriate?"

"You can see his man boobs," she says, disgusted.

"Guys don't have boobs, Silly," Samuel says from the third row. "They just have nibbles."

Monday, July 14, 2008

how much home delivery is enough?

One of my first learnings of the summer, besides not forcing your child to eat foods he despises, is that taking three unwilling children to the grocery store is pretty much a form of torture that should not be inflicted on even your most heinous enemies. (Okay, maybe them...)

While working, I'd usually stop by the store to pick up stuff for dinner either at lunch or on my way home before picking up kids. I knew this was easier and faster, but I had no idea how much easier.
Samuel: Can I ride in the back of the cart?
Tali: No, can I ride in the back of the cart?
Naomi: I ride in back cart?
Me: Naomi, you get in the front, Tali in the back. Samuel, you walk because you weigh more than the cart.
Samuel: That's not fair! My legs get tired, too. Can I stand on the back?
(He gets on and the cart starts tipping and perilously close to falling over. I catch it in time.)
Samuel: Okay, can I get on the side?
Me: NO! Why don't you go to the cereal aisle and pick out a cereal with less than 6 grams of sugar and then bring it back to me. (He runs off)
Tali: Can I go?
Naomi: I go?

I pull a bag of Veggie Booty off the shelves and open it and hand it to them. They are quiet for exactly 30 seconds, which is how long it takes me to get to the produce aisle.

Naomi: Booopberries!!! (She stands up in her cart having unbuckled her belt and as I catch her from tipping, she grabs onto some oranges on a display that falls down.)
Tali: Can we get some oranges?
Samuel: I got Cinnamon Toast Crunch. It's only got 20 grams of sugar. Is that okay?
I don't really need to go on... You get the picture.
And in order to get everything I need to accomodate our various food allergies and diet restrictions, I have to go to three stores. So picture this scene at least three times a week. Also, once they've finished the first bag of booty, picture me opening other unnecessary snack items to keep the kids occupied.

So recently I signed up with spud! organic grocery delivery. We got our first order of fresh produce and it was really good, but when I visited their website, I realized that I could order fresh baked goods, dairy, and prepared meals, as well. (Seriously, this is not a paid ad--I'm just a satisfied customer. Really.) So this week I ordered all my groceries on spud! and I get them on Tuesday. I'm so excited. My goal is to appear in person at any grocery market at all this week.

But then that got me thinking... I wonder what else you could have delivered at home.

I mean, there's online shopping, which for some things is just not worth it. I like clothes shopping in stores for the most part. And shoe shopping, too. But I started thinking about all of the places I hate taking my kids on errands. And then I searched.

There are a ton of food and meal delivery services. That makes sense.

Some libraries will deliver books to you if you can't get there--even if the reason you can't get there is not because of a disability, but also because you don't have transportation. That's pretty cool, though I like going to the library.

There are a lot of pharmacies doing home deliveries.

In some cities, you can have your dry cleaning picked up and dropped off. (I want that, Seattle!)

And how come the range for restaurants that deliver in smaller cities don't vary from pizza and Chinese food?

Over dinner tonight, I told Boaz that I was going to experiment with how much I could have home delivered and ordered in and see if it would save me money and time.

"Seriously? You're going to pretty much test how long you can stay in the house with three kids and not lose your mind?"

Um, yeah. I didn't think about that. I guess it's good to get out sometimes. Maybe we'll take a trip to the dry cleaners and the post office tomorrow...

Friday, July 11, 2008

slurp your free slurpee--it's national slurpee day!

Okay, I don't really know if it's officially National Slurpee Day today, but every year on July 11th, the chain market 7/11 gives out free slurpees (because it's 7/11! Get it? It's very, very clever...)

I love slurpees, but usually need a very good excuse to stop at a 7/11 to buy one because, um, that's a lot of sugar even for me! So it's been awhile. But I'd say being able to have a free slurpee on 7/11 is as good an excuse as I'll ever need.

And do you know that there are a great number of sites dedicated to the ohso chilly concoction that is the Slurpee? Who would've thought... There are people out there who truly love them their Slurpees.

Happy Slurping!

what it takes...

Last night I went to memorial service for my great aunt Bernice who died this week. It was a small affair held at her daughter Deb's house and it was really quite lovely. I have such wonderful memories of Bernice and her late husband, Willy, including my brother and me in their adventures with their grandchildren to Disneyland, numerous pizza parlors (does anyone ever call them that anymore?), and parks, and though I didn't see much of her in recent years, I'll miss her.

But the thing about memorials that is really nice, and it feels sort of shitty to say this, but it is true, is that we get to see family we haven't seen for a long time. I saw relatives I haven't seen since I was about Samuel's age, and it makes me so terribly sad that we all get so busy, so caught up in our lives, that it's too hard to get together. And it's true about being busy... We are all so legitimately overwhelmed. And there are a significant numbers of miles between us. But somehow it feels important, and somewhat grounding, to be around people you grew up with--to be around family in whatever configuration that looks like.

I'm determined to make the effort and not wait for bad news to bring about a reunion.

Hey, I'm going to visit Princess Mikkimoto! (Does it count toward the resolution if I made the reservations before the goal?) Wow, I'm good.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

unruly kids get family booted off flight...

Okay, this is pretty much my worst nightmare ever. You're travelling with the kids and by the time you meet your connection, the airline basically says, 'There is no way you're bringing those crazy monsters back onto one of our flights.'

I have really no idea what happened except for what I saw on the Kiro news clip, but aside from the fact that getting kicked off would be a major drag (No! not 24 more hours of travel with the kids!) and expensive (especially if you really can't afford it), how embarrassing would it be to have your children's bad behavior publicized to the world?! Shudder...

Seriously, though... One of my first instincts is to maim my fellow passengers on a flight when they:

a.) take one look at me and my three children embarking on a plane with all of our crap and either roll their eyes in disgust or immediately try to get the flight attendant to change their seats.


b.) overreact to one of the kids' restless, but accidental, kicks to the back of the seat.

But at the same time, I am also very careful to make sure that my kids are as well-behaved as possible. I know that kids get a bad rap on airplanes and mine have been responsible for a few not so pleasant flights for people.
For example, the time that Samuel as a baby knocked over a very grumpy man's G&T onto his laptop because he was a lapbaby (Samuel, not the man), and we were squeezed into the middle seat. I'll bet that guy regretted not giving us his aisle seat for more room.

Or there were the flights when the kids as young babies cried for long periods of time because they couldn't get to sleep or get comfortable.

Or there were the flights when they've had to get up numerous times, squeezing past the unfortunate person in the aisle seat, to go back to the cute little bathroom with all the buttons that you can reach from the potty.

And when I travel without kids, I do seriously appreciate parents who help their kids understand how to behave in public. And I know it's not all that easy.

Next month I'm flying solo with the kids to go visit my cousin sister, Becky, and while it seemed like an effortless feat in April when I made my reservation, now I'm a little concerned (read terrified) about being publicly called out for possessing unruly child passengers. I know the case in the news must have been an extreme case, and my kids are generally good, but they do love those little lavatories.

So if you have any good ideas for keeping three kids between the ages of two and eight occupied for about four hours (aside from drugging them), let me know. Right now I'm planning on cheapy new little toys to parcel out, the Nintendo DS, and a video for Tali, but my toddler is my challenge.

And if you do end up hearing about me in the news, take pity. You know I tried.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

sometimes a bluff is just not a bluff...

Today's learnings:
Sometimes when your kid says he doesn't like your taboule salad, even after he has taken two adventure bites, he might really enjoy the third.

And sometimes when your kid says he really doesn't like your taboule salad after his two adventure bites, you should just absolutely believe him. Especially after he retches and then vomits (albeit neatly--I've gotta hand it to him for that) his entire dinner directly onto his plate, and then looks up and says, "Whoa, I really didn't like that."

That sort of mealtime event pretty much slaughters any desire I might have had left to find more creative things to eat for summer dinners.

Tomorrow's dinner:
Mac and cheese

Monday, July 07, 2008

i heart indiana jones...

Because things have been crazy in our household this summer so far (okay, it's only been a week, but it already feels like months), I thought that maybe taking the kids out each Sunday for some alone time would be something special and maybe help them feel like things weren't so totally chaotic. Samuel would go first and next week would be Tali's week. Then Boaz would take the next two weeks with them. Naomi, that crafty toddler, manages to get her 1:1 time no matter what.

So when I told Samuel that we were going to go off for an afternoon by ourselves, he was excited. And then I told him we were going to the Seattle Art Museum. And he was much less excited. I've been down this road before when we were in Rome, but obviously, I haven't caught on that even though the kid loves art, he needs to be dragged and taken by force to an indoor art museum. (For some reason, outdoor sculpture gardens are much different.)

So in order to keep this a positive event, I gave in this time. We really never get time alone together and I wanted it to be fun. And after putting my foot down to going to see The Incredible Hulk (come on, could someone other than Lou Ferrigno really do the Hulk?!) we went to see the new Indiana Jones movie.

Here's my official spoiler warning. Don't read if you care about knowing what happens in the movie.

I've had a crush on Harrison Ford since I was ten and the first Indiana Jones movie came out and because I absolutely reverted to my ten year old self while watching this movie, this one was no disappointment. Indy and Marian were reuinited, it was action-packed, the KGB were scary, Cate Blanchet was scary and beautiful, the ants were disgusting and Indy was lovely, lovely, lovely. Sigh... (Am I officially old if I still think Harrison Ford is hot?)

But every so often, I would look over at Samuel and wonder if this was too scary a movie for him. There were times when I was curled up in my seat with my hands over my eyes, and then I'd look over at him and he would be munching his buttered popcorn happily and totally engaged in the movie. Every once in a while he'd absentmindedly wipe popcorn grease on his pants, or the seat, or my arm.

"Are you sure this isn't too scary?" I asked. "Just a little?"
"Mom! Shhhhhh! It's not!"
"Kind of sort of scary? Just the tiniest? Not even at all?"

So when the movie ended, we both left the theatre feeling totally satisfied and excited. And then Samuel turned to me and said, "There's something I just didn't believe in that movie."

"What?" I asked, ready to tell him that in real life, or at least not in Seattle, red ants don't devour entire KGB agents.

"How could Mutt be Indiana Jones' son? He and Marian weren't even married." Samuel shook his head, obviously irritated. "That's not even possible."

I looked at him, freaked that I would have to delve back into our birds and bees coversation. And then I took a breath and said, "Yeah, wow. How could they mess up that fact so badly?"

Next time, we are so going to the art museum.

Friday, July 04, 2008

let freedom ring... (and let's eat, too)

Happy July 4th!
I loved this holiday as a kid in Southern California. It was all about spending the day at the beach, eating sandwiches and watermelon sprinkled with sand, drinking warm lemonade, catching waves until you're completely exhausted from both water and sun, and then finally coming home for a shower and BBQ. Then back to the beach for fireworks. And one of the coolest things about it was that even though we really didn't know our neighbors very well, this was the one day where people poured out of their houses and paraded down to the beaches together. Everyone felt a part of something bigger.

The holiday feels different as an adult.
Since it doesn't get dark until about 10pm in the summer in Seattle, my kids have yet to experience a real fireworks display since they're usually in bed long before the show begins on top of the Space Needle. Also, since it's illegal to light your own fireworks (probably a very good thing), they have never experienced the thrill of holding a sparkler and dancing with it in the street. (I suppose it goes without saying that they've also missed all of the horror stories about kids getting burned or blowing their fingers off, but I digress...). And as much as we tried to pull it together to get to the lake today, we just couldn't do it because after our week of heat, it is now overcast and in the 60s again and nobody really feels like sitting in cold sand. (The photo is from last week's heat.)

But despite the differences, there's a feeling of excitement around. Everyone is getting BBQs together and wearing their shorts (with sweatshirts) in anticipation of the warm weather that always arrives just after July 4th. We're getting together with friends tonight and we're letting the kids stay up (if they can) to watch fireworks over the water.

And the kids are as excited for tonight as we ever were when we were kids. They're on vacation and beginning to relax (as am I, thank goodness!), they're thrilled about stayng up late for the show, and all of our neighbors are out in their yards chatting about plans for tonight, their gardens, their vacations. There is a genuine holiday feel to the day.

So I think the key to this holiday is to spend it like a kid. Eat good food, play in whatever sun you can find, and spend time with friends and family. And despite all of our country's problems, and there are many, we've got it pretty good and it's good to have a day to remember that.

Happy 4th!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

summertime living is not easy... yet.

Okay, so day two of my summer vacation and things are not mellow in vacation land. I think there are few reasons for this:

1. I've mentioned before that I'm not great with change, and well, it's true. For as long as I can remember, the first few days of vacation is spent with me thinking, "This is great, I'm going to be so relaxed, I'm going to relax, I'm going to relax, why don't I feel relaxed, DAMNIT, WHY AM I NOT RELAXED YET? (Oh right... I'm also quite impatient.) So I knew I wouldn't feel too relaxed just yet, but...

2. Too much going on. Yesterday I took Naomi to her two year well-baby visit where her doctor proclaimed her incredibly healthy and she did not cry when she received her vaccination in her well-endowed chubby.

Then I picked up my two lovely nephews, and then picked up Samuel from the camp bus where he actually expressed excitment over seeing us, then we went to lunch where I promptly lost my nephew, Asher (Naomi noticed first), found him quickly, then as a group, we managed to spill two large drinks twice and fall out of our chairs (not me, the kids) at least three times. I ate my lunch in the car on the way home where my children proceeded to fight with each other, with their cousins, and with me.

3. I'm crabby. I think it's because I'm on vacation. And because I haven't run all week. Because I'm on vacation. I'm not doing this right.

So today I sat down with Tali and Samuel and we made a list of all the things we should do this summer. Included were things like:

  1. Teach Tali to swim.
  2. Read ten books
  3. Redecorate the kids' bedrooms
  4. Clean out garage
  5. Rebuild and paint the front porch
  6. Paint the hallway
  7. Paint the girls' room (have the kids do it)
  8. End world hunger, too, if we have time.

Obviously, most of these things won't happen. I think the kids' really knew it when we were writing the list. But it made me feel more productive and organized. And really, who doesn't want their vacation to be productive and organized?

Sigh... I will try again tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

goodbye circles make us all happy...

Yesterday was my last day on my project and the beginning of the first real summer vacation I've had since I was in school. Having just experienced her last day of preschool, Tali was super excited for me.

"Mommy, are you so excited that it's your last day of work today?" she asks, practically jumping up and down. "The last day is the best."

"I am excited," I tell her. "Why do you think the last day is the best?"

"Because you get treats and then everyone does a goodbye circle for you. Remember we had cupcakes for my goodbye circle?" She looks at me expectantly. "So, are your friends going to have a goodbye circle for you?"

"Um," I smile. "I don't think so."

Talia is shocked. "What? How can you leave without a goodbye circle?"

"Grown-ups don't really have goodbye circles at work."

"Even for their friends?" she practically whispers. And then, "So that means they probably won't sing the goodbye song for you either, right?"

"Probably not, Sweetie. It's okay, though. I'm not sad about it." I tell her. She doesn't look satisfied.

"I'm going to sing the goodbye song for you then. You can't have a last day without a goodbye song." And then she belts out, very proudly:

Goodbye Mommy
Goodbye Mommy
Goodbye Mommy, we hope to see you again.

She has made my day. Maybe everyone should have a goodbye song. Because my full day of meetings went much, much better when every once in a while I pictured my colleagues seated criss-cross-applesauce in a circle and singing me the Goodbye Song.