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...