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.