Sunday, September 28, 2008

pulling out from under the twos...

There's a lot going on in my life right now and I feel like I'm juggling a precarious amount of responsibilities, obligations, and emotions.

But truly one of the most difficult of all is getting through Naomi's twos.

She is an adorable toddler, if I do say so myself. Her fluffiness is delicious and her curls and eyes stop people in the street. She is never more than two steps behind her older siblings and not much gets past her.

And, over the past few months, her transition into self-independence has been incredible. She can express her feelings, desires, and dislikes and she makes her needs known.

Her needs are very well known.

Naomi has developed and refined the little sister shriek.

As well as it's less potent cousin, the whine.

Witness Exhibit A:

She has also developed this knack of getting. into. EVERYTHING.

Somehow, this wasn't an issue with Tali and Samuel.

With this third child, we suddenly have scribbles on our walls and pen marks on our furniture.

(I think it's also appropriate to mention that as I write this post, Naomi is stamping my belly with a flower stamp, ooops, and now my cheek and neck, but she is occupied for a mere moment, so I'm choosing to ignore this.)

Last evening, things were a little too quiet for a moment, so I went upstairs and found she'd done some exploring in my work case.

A little while ago, I went to a meeting, and opened up my notebook (in front of a client) to this (granted, it looks like she had some help):

Though I've repeatedly tried to keep my desk off limits to the kids, sometimes I get visitors.

This is the Sunday paper, only about five minutes after bringing it in the house this morning. Oh well, who really needed that other half of the front page section describing the financial crisis in painful detail?

I have more patience with this all consuming toddlerhoodness this time around, and it certainly helps that not only does she not have a younger sibling, but also I truly know that she will outgrow it (the fact that I can say that Talia is now easy is proof!).

So in the meantime, I'm trying to lower my cleanliness standards, I may get a lock for my desk, and am reminding myself daily that allowing her to skip her nap is never, ever, ever a good idea even if it seems so at the time. Oh, and silence may seem golden for a moment, but really it means that there will be an unpleasant surprise of some sort awaiting me in the next room.

But if the next time you see me, I have flower stamps all over my neck, I'd really appreciate it if you could just discreetly let me know. You know, so that I can save face.

Monday, September 22, 2008

SkyGuy meets Baby Luke...

On Saturday night, which is usually movie night in our house, Boaz and I finally saw Star Wars Episode III, Revenge of the Sith. The fact that it has taken us so long to see it is pretty much an embarrassment to Samuel, who lives and breathes everything Star Wars these days. And I have to say that not only did I totally get into the movie, but I also truly appreciated Sam's constant running commentary throughout the film. I mean, how can you argue with a story line that makes the delineation between good and evil so clear?

On Sunday, Samuel's Star Wars obsession met his cartooning obsession (as well as cousin obsessions, laptop and scanning things) and along with Boaz and Tali, they spent the day making these movies. (I, of course, spent most of the day removing Sharpies from Naomi's fists at various points of the day and then repeatedly lifting her from the stool she'd placed at the sink so that she could "do dishes" (or use dirty coffee mugs to dump water all over the floor).

Here is their first movie...

Here's SkyGuy Episode II...

Infinitely cooler than the way my brothers Danny, James, and I played with our Star Wars figures in James' Death Star Station (which I looked up and instantly found one on eBay for a mere "BuyItNow" sum of $2,795.00) where Trashy the Trash Compactor monster would always threaten to escape his foam trash pieces, but then ultimately become Luke and Leia's favorite pet.

And can you believe the Death Star Station, seriously the coolest Star Wars toy you could have besides the Millenium Falcon (which we always managed to call the Millenium Falcom) only originally retailed at $17.95? How could that be? It seemed priceless!

So here's one thing I don't understand about the first three episodes of Star Wars and all the marketing of Anakin Skywalker. Even though he's obviously strong and good looking, why do all the kids still love him and want his Lego figure first when they just know he's going to turn evil?

P.S. That sort of looks like Danny in that ad photo above, but it's not. We can pretend it is, though...

Friday, September 19, 2008

happy international talk like a pirate day, ye milksops!!! pirate your free Boden offer...

So apparently today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, so Happy ITLAPD to you!

I don't really have much of a connection to pirates except for the fact that whenever my kids sing the ABCs, they sing "Q, ARRRR, S..." Even that is pretty much stretching it.

But this morning I woke up to an email from Boden, one of my fave online shopping spots, that said they would be plucking eight orders throughout the day to give away for free. Nice... Now you can't yo ho ho with free (too bad there's not a noggin of rum to go with it!)

It ain't slurpees, but avast, there! Shiver me timbers, ye yellow-bellied sapsuckers, it's not nothing... You could get lucky!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

getting through a tough day...

There are days when...
the alarm clocks get ignored
and nobody listens to the breakfast choices
or the clothing choices
and the girls are fighting over the barrettes
and sneaking into their brother's room
and there is no time for either a run or a shower
and barely enough time for the requisite amount of coffee
and the kids are screaming in the car during early morning carpool
and unbuckling their seatbelts before you stop the car
and poking and ruffling the hair of whoever is in front of them
and sticking their hands outside the windows to wave to their friends as you're rolling them up and almost squishing a hand or two as you try to get them to their classrooms before the bell rings,
and you hate yourself for screaming at excited kids
and for blaming your bad mood on them
and you know that you've left yet another burnt pot soaking in the sink
because you hurried to make the lunches you left until the morning,
until the last minute,
and then realized there was no bread so you had to make noodles
but you forgot them on the stove,
and you know the kids will complain about those lunches after school during their ravenous, emotional, pre-homework release sessions,
and they'll lament about what a terrible cook you are
and you will wonder why you aren't as together as the other parents seem to be
even as you think the kids are being a tad ridiculous,
and your inbox is waiting for you, practically empty,
and you're trying to not to be impatient with job hunting
or with spending the extra quality time with the kids
and your sister just left town
and you know it'll be another year before you see her again
and you forget that every single time she leaves, you feel a new sort of lonely,
and sometimes it feels like it would be easier to just numb yourself and not feel anything.

And then you think about your friend, your dear friend, lying in the hospital,
recovering from surgery, asking about what's up,
what he's missing while he's in bed and working on getting stronger,
what's happening outside that sterile, unworldly place,
and then the silence of numbness becomes a somewhat painful prospect
and that noisy life around you seems bright and familiar and precious,
even if a bit nubby in that overloved way.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

H&M has cured me of the terrible and expensive curse of Target...

Today my sister and I went to Target because she needed to get a few things and I needed to pick up a yoga mat for my Kindergartner's after school program (yup, yoga for kinders).

We started out in the dollar section where I picked up some Elmo barrettes for... you got it, a dollar, as well as some 2lb. weights that were oddly 1.50 each, but still qualified for the dollar section. Close enough, I guess.

And then we got to the clothes section, which is usually my downfall. It's not that I love the clothes at Target so much, because I am sufficiently snobby in that area, but there are sometimes some really great finds that inevitably make it into my cart and then somehow find themselves placed in the front of my closet where my fave clothes hang out. And then along with whatever new doodads I find in the kitchen section (another weakness), and the very cute $5.99 pieces from the little girls' section, and of course, the jumbo pack of size 5 diapers that I hope we're on the verge of not needing, we usually get to the checkout with a bill hardly ever less than $50-100. It's a very expensive way to save money.

But you know what happened today?

I looked that cute speckly grey sweater dress right in its tunic and walked away.

And then I walked away from the almost cute $12 watch, the weighted jumprope, and the running pants that were really cute except for the fact that they had lime green trim.

I then quickly walked past the kitchen section, put back a photo album and a pair of pajama bottoms and a large bag of gummy fish.

And when I got to the checkout, my bill was $34 which included the $24 yoga mat for Tali, which is at least $50 less expensive than my usual Target bill.

You might be wondering how this happened... How could I have been so strong as to withstand all Target shopping urges?

The answer, my friends, is H&M.

The new store opened last week and Mari, Kim, and I all made it to the grand opening. Supposedly, the first 200 shoppers were supposed to get gift certificates and cool bags filled with branded swag, but after the first hundred, it seemed that they started giving them out randomly. But somehow, Kim managed to sweet talk a bag from some guy ahead of us in line and then after divvying up some of her loot with the rest of us, she went back to work (how mature of her) and left us slackers to wait in line until the doors opened.
Which we did. Mari managed to dig up a lollipop from the bottom of her purse to bribe Naomi into her stroller because it store was too chaotic to let her out. And then we joined the hoards of people grabbing for hip and inexpensive clothes. We saw the greatest wool coat for $34.90 and seriously, while I was hemming and hawing for the 30 second decision between grey and black, they were all gone. It was a frantic frenzy as we all grabbed things close to our sizes with prices much lower than Target's and for clothes that were so cute.

Later that day, Mari returned a pair of shoes and saw that the clerks had completely restocked the shelves and we realized our frenzy had been for naught. But frenzy or not, compared to H&M, Target was a breeze. I have a feeling that H&M is going to be a problem for me.

Monday, September 15, 2008

happy 70th birthday, mom...

On Saturday night, we threw a party for my mom's 70th birthday.

To be honest, it was really her idea. We'd figured we would do something for her birthday and mentioned a party.

But then she kept bringing it up, as in "Here's a good date for my party." Or, "Here's who we should invite to my party," and "How big do you think this party should be?"

You could even say she was a bit persistent.

And so we sent out invitations, got the decorations, figured out the food and drink menu and ordered the cake.

We fussed over how much to make and whether the party should be in the evening or afternoon, and prayed for warm weather so that people could be outside in the yard.

We spent the day of the party doing prep--cooking food, preparing a slideshow, and Dan, Mari, and I rolled more sushi than forty people could ever hope to eat.

At 7pm, we were ready to go.

Dan even had to squeeze in the requisite little brother move of pretending to take a photo of someone else with the camera phone, but instead taking his own picture.

But what I didn't realize until the moment in the picture below, was how much this party really reflected who my mom is.

It was a great party because she loved it. My mom loves her friends and her community and she is very involved with them. Pretty much everyone we invited showed up because they love her and as she made her way around the room, I could see that everyone there was incredibly important to her.
A few people made some short speeches about how amazing her community involvement is, or how dynamic she is, and if I were a different kind of person, I would've made a speech, too. Or, perhaps if my drinks had been stronger, I might have also made a speech.

But since I'm not and they were not (lesson learned--stronger drinks next time), I'll say what I wanted to here.


I think that if I had to sum up some of the most important gifts you've blessed me with as your daughter, I would choose these three that have most impacted my life.

Thank you for teaching me what unconditional love looks like. You have always been my safe place, and even when we don't agree, I know that neither one of us will ever go to sleep angry.

Thank you for expecting so much from me. Even though your expectations have always been high, your expectations have enabled me to expect so much from myself, and to believe that I'm capable of doing what I feel I need to. You have taught me how to be strong.

And, thank you for sharing your love of literature with me. Besides opening up entire new worlds for me as a child, in what is probably the simplest explanation possible, your high school English teacher instructions that a paper (or a poem, or a story, or even a fraction of one's life) needs to be, and can be, revised until it is where you want it, has taught me that nothing is finished until you decide it is.

I love you and we are so lucky to have you in our lives...

And Happy Birthday, to Natalie, my mom's twin sister! We love you!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

cake wrecks, mmmm...

So I was wasting time again online late last night instead of sleeping (which is making me a bit miserable this morning, but really, it always seems worth it at the time), and I found this site that I almost didn't click on because I like to eat cake, but am not truly all that interested in cakes.

But cakewrecks is seriously worth clicking on... I mean, I never imagined that Tom Selleck's hairy chest could be so, um, deliciously? immortalized in frosting. It's scary, but you should totally experience this.

I could easily become obsessed with this...

my left hand @ NW Film Forum...

I just got back from the NW Film Forum where I saw my friend, Josh Isaac's, documentary about his journey with cancer, My Left Hand. It truly is an amazing film in all its honesty, beauty, and pain. And it's inspiring that through all of the trials and struggles that cancer has brought to his life, the film truly celebrates hope, joy, and life. The original soundtrack by Kevin Thornton is also really good and worth hearing.

If you missed the screening, you can buy the DVD on the My Left Hand site.

Monday, September 08, 2008

david is a camper, too...

So I was going to post again about Sarah Palin and how my obsession is driving me (and everyone around me) insane, but I just got back from a really good run and I reread my post and was annoyed by the fact that I can't get her off my mind so I'm totally ignoring that whole post I already wrote. (I hope that I can control myself from posting it tomorrow, though...)

So in an effort to remember the PSP (pre-Sarah Palin) days, I'll share a video taken from our good old Camp Runamucka days.

Someone needs to stop me from shooting video sideways...

Friday, September 05, 2008

piper palin spit shines trig's hair...

This was definitely the highlight of Sarah Palin's speech at the RNC on Wednesday...

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Thursday, September 04, 2008

on the verge...

The first week of school is more than halfway finished and things are more or less back to the regular school-year swing of things (except that Tali constantly has this wild, thrilled look in her eyes because she's about to tell you AGAIN that she has school tomorrow). Samuel is already complaining about homework, the dinner, bath, bedtime hours are rushed, and I've already ruined another pot boiling eggs.
The thing that is different is that I'm not working at all.
I'd expected to go back to work in September and then never found the right project. And while trying to keep up with the kids, and especially with Naomi, who has suddenly undergone an extreme makeover from easiest child ever to Super High Pitch Screamer Two Year Old (complete with cape), I haven't had time to really search for anything. Or pretty much do anything, but keep her from falling into fountains, drawing on the floors and walls (okay, there's proof on my walls that she got away from me, but the pen really came right up off the floor), or applying lotion to her hair.
"Do you really want to go back to work?" Boaz asked me the other day.
I didn't even need a moment to think about it. YES YES YES YES YES!!!
I think I can safely say that while I have totally and absolutely adored having extra time with my munchies, I love working. I love being engaged in a project, I love the challenges and education, I love hearing Samuel's opinions on work problems (he's surprisingly insightful about work politics)...
But mostly, I love the rhythm of the week. I love looking forward to the weekends, I love looking forward to the end of the day when we all get to see each other again, I love talking about our days.
And though I know I might be exhausted from all of the travelling over the past few weeks, but lately, I feel like all the days, then weeks, are just blending in to each other and I just cannot get enough energy to get much done. Usually I stay up until 1am and then with a good run in (and a lot of caffeine), I'm good to go.
But I've definitely been dragging over the past few weeks. It could be that with a two year old and a crazy carpooling schedule, it's just hard to get much done. And while I'm always mourning how fast the kids speed through their phases and years, it would do my soul some serious good to get some outside the home productivity going.
Tomorrow is my first child-free day (at least until 3:30) for longer than I can remember and I'm going to get my act together. Wish me luck.

Monday, September 01, 2008

my confession of double standards...

It's been a few days since McCain announced Sarah Palin as his choice for VP and my opinion of whether this is good for the Dems has flipped and flopped and then flipped again. But regardless of what McCain's reasons were for choosing Palin, as we discover more about her, I've found myself more and more uncomfortable in discussions about her.

And it has less to do with her politics than her status as a mother.

Politically, she is as polar opposite from me as possible on almost every front, and that's pretty much what I'd expect from McCain's running-mate.

So why on earth do I find myself judging her parenting?

My first gut reaction upon hearing that she has five children, with the youngest under one, is to wonder what kind of super powers this woman must have to be able to run a vice-presidential election with so many kids?

And then I remember, "Oh yeah, I work." (At least usually...)

"But Self," I think, "you're not running for vice president of the United States. If you did that, you'd never see your kids. Who would make sure they do their homework? Who'd make sure they didn't have too much screen time? Who'd kiss them goodnight?"

"But she's serving as a strong example to her children about what women can do, whether they're mothers or not. That's a powerful message."

And who knows? Maybe their father is the one who is more hands-on.

Soon after Samuel was born and I'd just returned to work full-time, a friend who stayed home with her kids said to me, "Wow, I don't know how you do it. I don't think I could hand my kids over to someone else to raise them."

It took years for me to truly get over that comment. Even though I didn't believe that having my kids in daycare meant I wasn't raising them, her words triggered the guilt lever and I wondered whether or not I was doing my kids a disservice by working on my career--something that makes me happy and is also quite helpful in paying the mortgage.

And I certainly don't mean to start a battle between working moms and stay home moms--I feel very comfortable with my decision, with the fact that this is a very personal choice people have to make for themselves, and that every family's situation is different.

But even though I pray Sarah Palin is never elected as Vice President, and that I feel that her nomination was a desperate move by McCain for PR (a move that is truly insulting to women in general no matter what Palins' accomplishments include), I feel genuinely guilty that my gut reaction is to question her parenting choices, when what I believe I should feel is an acknowlegement of her success.