Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Monday, December 28, 2009

things i've learned (or confirmed) in 2009...

                And the end of the year lists have begun...

                1. Whisky is a very good thing for a parent--Evan is your friend.
                2. Moderation is actually a good thing, too.
                3. Reverse psychology works on tweens AND preschoolers. Not so much on six year olds.
                4. Kids can actually get sick of mac and cheese.
                5. They can get sick of noodles, too.
                6. No matter how far you're running, the last mile is painful.
                7. Even though self-brow waxing seems like an amazing time and money saving deal, um, it's not worth it. Same goes for any other kind of waxing.
                8. Same goes for haircuts.
                9. Costco is not a money saving venture for this family of five, especially since I spend as much on impulse buys as I do on groceries there.
                10. AmazonFresh is my new best friend. When the delivery person comes to the door, it's all I can do to keep from squealing in delight that I got out of going to the grocery store. (Did you know they can do same day delivery, or if you order at 10pm they'll have your groceries on the doorstep by the time you wake up??? Oh, and that they will deliver Nobilo AND kosher chicken? Seriously...)

                Wednesday, December 23, 2009

                Monday, December 21, 2009

                what's in a name?

                Last week, Naomi decided to change her name. I thought it was cute, as it is everytime she says something that surprises me a little.

                "What are you going to change your name to?" I asked.

                "Gabrielle. Or Gabriella," she says seriously. "I will answer to both of them."

                "Oh," I say. I think of all the Gabrielles and Gabriellas I know and try to wonder who might have recently made an impact on Naomi. I'd really thought that we'd have until at least six years old before she protested her name. "Gabrielle is a nice name," I tell her, "but I really love Naomi. That's why I chose it for you."

                "I don't like Naomi or Noemi. There's already another Naomi in my class. I want to be Gabrielle."

                "Okay, Noems..."

                "No! Mommy! My name is Gabrielle," she says adamantly.

                "Okay, okay..."

                So this afternoon when I pick her up from daycare, she runs up to hug me and I say, "Hi Baby, how're you doing, Noemi?"

                "Mommy! That's not my name!"

                At this point her teacher chimes in, "She changed her name to Gabrielle. She's been calling herself that all week."

                I can't help but feel a little rejected since I'd spent so much time pouring over the name books and thinking about her name. I love her name. And Gabrielle is a really nice name. But it's not the one I chose. I thought she'd forget about it by now.

                Any bets on how long this will last while I take consolation in the fact that at least my three year old is persistent?

                Wednesday, December 16, 2009

                Thursday, December 10, 2009

                three year olds are incredibly responsible...

                Last night Naomi stealthily snuck into our bed in the middle of the night, sneaking in between us and snuggling in quietly. I didn't even notice her until I woke up early (to make the lunches I'd put off making the night before) and punched down the snooze button.

                "Momma, don't get up," she whispered when I started crawling out of bed.

                "It's okay, Noems," I told her. "I'm just going to start the coffee and I'll be right back. Save my spot."

                "Okay, I'll do that," she said. Naomi loves a good job.

                So I ran downstairs to start the coffee and then hurried back up to our warm bed where Naomi was splayed out snow angel style and taking up as much room as possible.

                "Noems, scoot over. You've got the entire bed," I tell her. I think I was probably whining.

                "Mommy," she says as she moved over, "I was saving your spot and I think I did a pretty good job. You could say thank you."

                It's good to have a stickler for details in our family. We need one.

                Wednesday, December 09, 2009

                Friday, December 04, 2009

                lego forgets half of their marketing audience...

                My office is in an amazing location.

                Not only are there spectacular views of the Puget Sound and Mt. Ranier from the 28th floor where I work, but it’s a fairly close commute and BlueC Sushi is across the street and half a block away.
                Sam and Tali have never been to my work, but they also think it is the perfect location. Not because of the views, or even because of the sushi, but because the Lego Store is a stone’s throw from my desk. And that makes my little vendor desk some truly prime real estate for the grade school set.

                So the other day after work, I ventured over to Lego central to shop for some Chanuka presents. The kids are all in love with Lego and though we have a massive tub of them that they dig through practically everyday, what they really love are the people.

                But these Lego people pose a serious problem in our household. There are very few girl Lego mini figures, and those that we have are not heroines, but sidekicks or enemies to Indiana Jones, Spiderman, Batman, or Anakin. Sure, there’s Princess Leia, but she’s wearing her Jabba the Hutt slave girl outfit which is not acceptable to my daughters. (“Why does she always wear her bading suit, Momma?”) And true, Padme must be around somewhere, but I think she’s hiding in an $80 set somewhere. And who are we kidding? Ahem... sidekick.

                So I went to the Lego store. It’s an amazing place. Cool brick buildings everywhere, a huge Lego carousel that my kids would ADORE if it didn’t cost so much and was for ages 16+. They have a whole wall of spare bricks for those pieces you’ve lost over the years (does anyone actually rebuild according to directions after they’ve accomplished them once?), and bricks in different colors in case you prefer to build in pinks and turquoises.

                They have Knights and Kingdom sets, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Agents, some Miner things and a whole flux of underwater beasts and robots and battle things, as well as firetrucks, garbage trucks, police stations and cranes for their city sets.

                “Where are the girl Legos?” I asked the sales guy.

                “Girl Legos?” He paused. “Well, we have the Belville sets,” and he directed me over to the pink section filled with tiny Polly Pocket type dolls and horses. The sets are not made of bricks, or at least not very many, and the sets are in large pieces that can be put together quickly.
                A few years ago, we bought a set for Tali. We were thrilled to have some girl Legos FINALLY. And you know what? She hated them. The dolls were sort of strange looking and it wasn’t fun to build when the pieces were so big and easy. Total disappointment. They now live at the bottom of the toybox in toy purgatory--not quite dolls and not quite Lego. And even now, there aren’t any new sets. Just the same horse stable stuff.

                “What else?” I asked.

                “Um…This little camper set has a girl in it?” It was cute, but tiny. And the girl was an obvious sidekick. I think she was holding the picnic basket while the guy minifigure got the surfboard.

                “That’s it?”

                “Well, there’s that pink box of bricks over there. And girls can play with the other stuff. They have some girls in the Indiana Jones sets. His girlfriends and stuff.”

                I was getting nowhere. Even the minifigure bin had only male figures.

                So I walked out of there with a set for Sam and nothing for the girls. Lego is missing a huge consumer sector out there. Their homepage, newsletters, and online clubs are all geared toward boys.

                Hey Lego, I've got some news for you. Girls like online clubs and newsletters! In fact, I can see that you know that pre-tween demographic is a huge consumer marketing base since you've done an amazing job engaging my son in newsletters, online games and clubs, and catalogues that double as magazines. They play Wii and DS games, too, and they don't even require pink accessories for them.

                Did you know that 50% of that age range are girls?

                Oh, and girls like bricks and can handle a lot of them, too. Also, sometimes, they like to be the star and not the sidekick.

                And I thought for sure by now you’d understand that boys aren’t the only kids who like to build things.

                Wednesday, December 02, 2009

                let the festivities begin...

                With only 9 more days until Chanuka, I've finally started my holiday shopping. I know, I know... Chanuka isn't supposed to be a big commercial retail fest. But try telling that to my kids who, despite going to a Jewish school, are fully and completely immersed in American culture. At least Sam and Tali are. Tonight, Naomi noticed all of the xmas lights for the first time and I forget that at her age, she's sort of like an amnesiac.

                "Mommy!" She squeals as we were driving home tonight. "That house put up all those lights outside. Why did they put those up?"

                "Those are xmas lights, Noems. That family celebrates xmas, " I tell her.

                "Oh," she says, and then points to another house with lights. "Mommy! They have lights, too! And so does that house! When are we going to put up lights?"

                "Sweetie, we don't put up lights. We're Jewish. We celebrate Chanuka."

                "So we're not having xmas this year?" she asks.

                "We don't celebrate xmas. But it's fun to look at the lights, don't you think?"

                "I like the lights," she says, then pauses. "Are you sure we don't have a little xmas in our blood?"

                "Yep," I say. "I'm sure."

                "That's too bad," she says. "I really wanted some new scissors."

                "Guess what?" I tell her. "I have good news for you. You don't need xmas to get new scissors!"

                "REALLY?!!" If she weren't locked into her carseat, she'd be out of her seat. "Wow," she says. "I'm going to get new scissors!"

                I hope it's always this easy, but I've got a pretty good feeling it's as easy now as it'll ever get...

                asher has the one-up on his parents...

                wordless wednesday

                Wednesday, November 25, 2009

                Monday, November 23, 2009

                it's been a long time...

                Princess Mikkimoto: Remember when you used to blog?

                Amy: I did that?

                PM: Yeah, you did. That was fun.

                Amy: Yeah, those were the days... Working is really ruining my schedule.

                Dear More...,

                I haven't totally forgotten you and abandoned you. It just feels like that. I think of you often, though. And then, well, I am having trouble really getting down to writing anything.

                I've started working again on a project I'm really enjoying, and am now working full-time, which feels amazing while I'm actually working. But when I get home to the dishes and after-school activities and the homework and the laundry (oh lord, the laundry), and the lunches (and you know how successful I am with those--just ask Tali's teacher), well, something's gotta give and lately it's been you. Hey, don't feel too bad... My Bejewelled score is suffering terribly, too. And you know, I've got this half marathon next Sunday, and um, it's been awhile since I've run 13.1 miles. Like, since last summer.

                But after a month, I feel like I'm getting the hang of things. I love being back on a project and how productive it makes me feel. I love the challenges and the opportunities to find creative new ways to do things, and I'm really enjoying thinking about marketing and how people use, love, and hate it.

                It's good to be back at work and it's so good to know it.

                Apparently Tali was so excited when I started back that she shared me for sharing at school Nevermind that when asked what I did, she had to pause and then say "She answers phones or something..." She was excited for me and to see her understand how much working means to me absolves a lot of that working mom guilt. Not all, but a lot of it.

                So I haven't forgotten you, Blog... Now that we're all getting used to my schedule, I'm recommitting to the things that I've had to drop in the last month. Be patient. And though I can't promise that the laundry mountains are getting smaller, I think I saw the icecaps at the top melting just a bit.

                Talk to you soon,


                Sunday, November 01, 2009

                scary, not cute...

                Contrary to their grim faces in this pic (can't you tell they're looking scary?), Sam and Tali had a great Halloween. Because Naomi was sick, we had to cancel dinner at our house, but the bigs trick or treated with neighbors and friends they met up with in the street, went over and trick or treated with friends, and just as we were about to call it an evening, more friends came over and Sam and Boaz went with them to go check out a haunted house down the street. Even the rain didn't put a damper on the festivities.

                And even Naomi had a great time. She dressed up in her costume, and we took her outside for a few minutes to greet our neighbors (from distance! :) And when one of Tali's friends knew exactly what she was dressed up as (a Cheetah Ballerina Kitty), Naomi beamed.

                And the thing about Halloween is that it really is an awesome community evening. There are very few other times when you can walk outside and greet your neighbors and all walk around together, without even planning it. I loved seeing all the kids dressed up and excited to see each other's costumes and giving visiting neighborhood kids tips about which houses give the best candy. We all belong to a lot of different "communities" but it's so nice to feel apart of our actual neighborhood, too.

                It was also really interesting to see the evolution of costumes over the years. Sam insisted on being as scary looking as possible, and I think Naomi's screaming until she realized it was him confirmed his success. And while Tali wasn't quite ready to give up the princessy thing, she conceded with her own creation of Vampire Fairy. And by the end of the evening, she was just a plain vampire. It worked for her.

                Though, I'm not sure any holiday is really a good excuse for culinary experiment of Veggie Jacko Burgers. Hmmm...

                I also wanted to share with you a great promotion from Motionbox and Shutterfuly to help you share your Halloween pics and videos.

                From now until November 8th, you can get up to 60 free 4x6 prints just for posting and sharing a video on their site. Motionbox seems like an easy way to share videos online and their editing features look like a fun and easy way to play around with your videos. Let me know how it goes if you try them out!

                Wednesday, October 28, 2009

                it's official...

                I no longer know more than my kid. I can no longer help him with his Hebrew homework.
                Hebrew math in Rashi script???
                Um, good thing I have Google to answer questions like why the sky is blue...

                Monday, October 12, 2009

                kids these days, or how i prove how old and out of it i am...

                After school today I took the kids to our friendly neighborhood Target to peruse the Halloween stock. We checked out the costumes, the candy (did you know that Hershey Kisses now come in Pumpkin Spice? Is that truly necessary?), and of course, the Halloween makeup where you can make disgusting scars and disfigurations that my kids are totally obsessed with. No longer fascinated with Star Wars or fairies, the kids like the scary and disgusting. And nobody could be bothered to check out the cute animal costumes.

                "Not even Noemi would like those," Tali sighed, rolling her eyes and giving her shoulders a little pre-tween shake.

                After we'd looked at everything, we headed to the groceries (OMG, Target now has groceries??? Do I need another excuse to head over there?) because once again we are out of milk.
                "Hey, Mom! I'll bet they have stickers!" Sam suddenly yells.

                "Um, sure," I say, heading toward the coolers. "Why do you want stickers?" I ask. "For your locker?"

                "Noooooo!" he says totally insulted. "Why would I want stickers?!"

                "I don't know," I say. "That's why I'm asking?"

                "No, Mom," he says slowly and carefully, as if he's talking to someone who needs some special help (like his mom?). "Stickerz! You eat them, but you can also use them as stickers! For your face!"

                "Those are so cool!," Tali chimes in. "I love those! They stick!"

                "Wait," I say, "You eat them and then put the fruit snacks on your face? Why would you do that?"

                "No, really," he says. "They're cool."

                "Don't you usually try to avoid food on your face?" I ask.

                But nobody answers me because they've found the Stickerz and hallelujah, they're on sale for .87 a box (um, that somehow did NOT surprise me that the store seems to be trying to close them out), but I score major points by splurging on two boxes.

                In the car, they squeal as they each rip open a package and promptly lick their fruitsnacks and apply them to their faces like large, juicy star-shaped pimples.

                "We are so cool..." Tali sighs.

                Wednesday, October 07, 2009

                sukkahs are for sukkot, not camping...

                (Disclaimer: So I know it's Wordless Wednesday, but because this whole week has been wordless, I felt like I needed to actually put some words down.)

                That said, we've been celebrating Sukkot this week and since this is the first year for as long as I can remember where it actually did not rain during the holiday, we've actually been eating in our Sukkah. And not only that, but we've been hanging out in it and even reading bedtime stories in it, though nobody is willing to really sleep in it.

                "Wow," I found myself saying last night. "This is so nice. We've never gotten to enjoy it so much."

                "Not true, Mama," said Tali with a smirk on her face. "Sometimes we use our sukkah twice a year. And it didn't even rain when we took it camping!"

                Apparently, I will never, ever, ever live that down. The giggling (or cackling) started Naomi in on a spontaneous improv song and dance she called "Luckiest Sukkah."
                "Do you even remember that I accidentally took the sukkah camping?" I asked her.

                "Nope," she said happily. "But don't you like my song?"

                Wednesday, September 30, 2009

                Tuesday, September 22, 2009

                just call me the meanest mom in the world...

                We've been working on structure and organization in our house.
                It's part of getting into the rhythm of the school year, but also to get the kids into taking responsibility for getting ready in the mornings and getting their things together.

                And for B and me, too, this has been an undertaking. Making sure keys, wallets, and communication is in the right spot, grocery lists are filled out, and that lunches are made.

                In my unemployed state, I've gone completely OCD.

                I've put a significant amount of time into this project. I talked with Sam's teacher and that unlike last year, this year I would not be driving forgotten schoolwork or books to school. I sat with the kids and made checklists for the mornings and evenings, and together we even decorated them with their fave characters.

                We go over the reasons why it's important for them to take charge of their own things, and to take care of their schoolwork and belongings.

                But week three of school has been our undoing.

                Yesterday, Sam forgot his glasses at home and called me from the office at school.

                "Mom, can you bring me my glasses?" He asks nonchalantly.

                "Seriously, Samuel," I start. "Haven't we gone over and over you getting your stuff together?"

                "Mom, I can't see."

                Fine. I bring him his glasses. The kid can't see. And when I get to his school, his teacher confirms the fact that yes, he really needs his glasses.

                This morning, I double efforts.
                "Everybody sure their backpacks are ready?" I ask. Tali nods seriously. Sam hmmms and continues drawing pictures of baseball players.

                And then not five minutes after their carpool takes off, I get the phonecall.

                "Mom, I left my book on the table."

                I see it, sitting right next to his drawing of Ichiro.

                "That's not so good," I tell him.

                "But the good thing is school hasn't started yet," he tells me. "You could bring it over now."

                And I tell him no. He gets upset and angry with me. He tells me he's going to be in trouble. And when I repeat that I cannot bring it to him, he gets quiet. I know there will be consequences for forgetting his book again.

                I know I'm doing the right thing. I know I'm teaching him something. I know I'm not supposed to be his best friend.

                Too bad the right thing feels completely crappy...

                Friday, September 18, 2009

                manamana shana tova...

                Wishing you all a healthy, happy, and sweet New Year!!!

                (and as our house is once again infected with strep, I'll add a little emphasis on the healthy part...)

                Thursday, September 17, 2009

                he's been around the block...

                Last Sunday, after much needling and nagging about how I never let him do anything, I gave Sam permission to skateboard around the block. Alone.

                "Just around the block and nowhere else," I told him.

                "Okay," He said. "Can I go now?"

                "And stay on the sidewalk on the busy street."

                "Why would I ride my skateboard on the street? I'm not stupid, Mom." And he rolled his eyes in that pre-tween way he's working to perfect.

                And he's right. He's not stupid. He's actually a pretty conscientious kid. And at his age I was walking a mile on a busy street to the bus stop with my younger brother (and through sleet and snowstorms without shoes, blah, blah, blah). I remember once when my brother was younger than Sam, he got so angry at another kid after school (Or was it me? Selective memory serves me well) that he refused to get on the school bus and then walked the three plus miles home alone.

                Nobody stopped him. Not the bus driver, the yard teacher, or any of the parents standing around.

                As a parent, I shudder to think about that little kid walking home all that way by himself. Who knows what could've happened to him.

                But the thing is, nothing happened. He'd felt confident enough to do it and he did. The biggest issue here was that it was a long walk for a small kid, but he wanted to do it, and that was really his own problem.

                Last weekend, the New York Times posted an article about the anxieties parents these days have about letting their kids do things they did as children, like play outside the gated yard, walking to school on their own, or staying home alone. And while I was relieved to see that my paranoia and skittishness as a parent is the trendy thing these days (natch--we even get a lame term--helicoptor parents) it makes me sad that each small step toward independence is such a struggle for our kids. What's the point of having a skateboard if you have to ride it up and down the driveway and wait for your parents to take you to the playground? But events like the Jaycee Dugard case hit us all in our most tender nerves.

                The article talks about a ten year old who, during his walk to school alone, was picked up by police who were called by a concerned neighbor. His mother had made an informed decision to let the boy walk alone because she wanted him to be able to develop the confidence and self-sufficiency to somehow grow into a full-functioning adult someday. And surely, a fourth or fifth grader, a kid only a year or so away from middle school, should be able to handle this task. But the deluge of media content about horrific events involving kids come at us all day long--news, radio, television, newspapers, blogs, tweets, and so on...

                It's a struggle to let them get older and need us less. Sam's delight at making his way around the block alone seemed pathetic to me--for both of us. He has so little of that carefree ownership of his neighborhood that I did, and we have to think too hard to allow him small freedoms we took for granted.

                After he left, I thought to myself that if he asked, I'd let him go around the block again. And when he came back, dawdling down the street as if he would take all day, I asked him how it went. He smiled and said it was nice to be alone.

                But he didn't ask to go around again.

                Wednesday, September 16, 2009

                Monday, August 31, 2009

                class of '89 is still mighty fine...

                Last Saturday was my 20th (gasp!) high school reunion. And I went. Which says a lot about where I am in my life. I think. Or else it should say a lot.

                I didn't go to my 10th because I was four months pregnant with Sam and to be perfectly frank, I didn't think I could go to that event simply looking fat, not yet totally showing, and also totally unable to drink (because remember, with your first pregnancy, you're completely convinced that smelling alcohol causes birth defects).

                Ten years and three kids later, I finally felt mature enough to go (though not mature enough to go without being able to have a drink). And though I freaked out about what I'd wear and put Boaz through the horror of being emailed a multitude of photos of me in dressing rooms wearing a variety of potential reunion-wear options, and though I had a little panic about what I would even talk to people about since um, we haven't talked in a very, very long time because as many of you know, I'm pretty crappy at keeping in touch (though keep remembering that it's nothing personal and I really love you), reunion night was incredible.

                First of all, I was thrilled to see that my high school friends (all as bad at keeping in touch as I am, though really we had more in common than that) are all really cool, interesting people that I still really enjoyed talking to. And so even if we made some crappy behavior choices back then (think 4x4 Honda Hills in pitch dark after parties at Dom's house), we all turned out relatively well. And sociologically, how interesting that the people I loved back then are the same people I'd still want to be friends with today (if location and schedules weren't an issue, of course?) I'm choosing to go with the fact that sociologically, this isn't pathetic.

                And not only was it amazing to see that we pretty much picked up where we left off as far as conversation goes (please tell me that's amazing, not pathetic), but also, we all looked pretty damn good if I do say so myself. Nice.

                Monday, August 24, 2009

                california, here i am...

                We're pretty much trying to get as much out of the summer as possible so we took the opportunity to make my 2oth High School Reunion into a chance to visit family in California. And as usual, I've packed as much as humanely possible into this trip. Luckily, Boaz is a good sport and in return for him not totally freaking out when we go to visit twelve of my closest old friends and family in one afternoon, he's been scoping out golf courses everywhere we go.

                At this point in the trip, we're drying out in the desert. The kids have rediscovered their cousins, Dallas and Jacob, and Dallas and Tali have taken to calling each other "Sista." And they're all having a great time splashing around the pool at their Saba and Grandma's. We're here till Wednesday and then heading to LA to see more friends and family and then to gasp... Disneyland. I'm really not so sure there are enough golf courses in this state to get Boaz through that.

                Saturday, August 15, 2009

                sick nunchuck skills...

                My latest move in this whole jobsearch endeavor has been to expand my online search and subscribe to TheLadders jobsite. It's actually been an interesting experience, though not completely unlike what I think dating sites might be like (I can't believe I'm too old to have ever experienced the joy of online dating). I get access to apply for choice jobs and can even see how many recruiters are looking at my resume.

                Which got me looking at my resume. Again.

                I'm a total resume updater. Everytime I do something new, I add it to my resume. But it's been a long time since I've really thought about the theory or resume building. Which is apparent from the comments from my Resume Expert in the critique he wrote about my resume (another perk of And the fact that he started out this way, sort of sets the stage:

                "Before you read the critique, I’d like to give you a fair warning that my comments at times can seem blunt. "

                However, to be fair, he did offer some very sound advice that resulted in my adding a new summary and highlights section to my resume, since those are fairly important because recruiters rarely spend more than 45 seconds perusing a resume.

                But after many hours of working on said resume, and maybe one too many glasses of Nobilo, I wondered if if were true that recruiters only have 45 seconds, and if so, would they notice if I slipped in some interesting factoids into my resume?

                Results-oriented marketing and content professional with experience in managing campaigns and projects that continuously exceed their goals. Strategic thinker known for innovation, creativity, and on-time delivery. Recognized for excellent communication, killer Bejeweled scores, and people skills, client satisfaction, and strategic marketing development.

                AREAS OF EXPERTISE:
                · Digital/Online Marketing
                · B2B and Relationship Marketing
                · Campaign Management

                · Sick Nunchuck Skills
                · Client Relations and Development
                · Copywriting and Editing

                Hmm... It takes all kinds of well-rounded multi-taskers...

                Sunday, August 09, 2009

                campsick, but home...

                We're home and while it's really, really nice to be sleeping in my own bed with just one other person who actually belongs there (instead of two very incredibly kicky little girls), I'm a little campsick for the late night wine and Weeds sessions we counselors indulged in most nights of camp.

                Tomorrow begins another week where the kids are at home without camp to go to. I'm not sure how I came up with the brilliant notion that because I wasn't working, the kids would love to hang out with me day in and out and not be totally bored or tempted to chew each other's feet off. Or even, I'm not sure why after so many years of parenthood, it didn't occur to me that I'd begin losing tiny fragments of my mind trying to diffuse ridiculous and constant arguments between said bored kids while also trying to find myself a job.

                But as my mentor Scarlett O. says, "There's always tomorrow," and I will come up with a grand old gameplan of activities for camp that will involve some rest-time for resume sending.

                Maybe I'll even make them wear their Camp Runamucka shirts--just to get into the spirit of things.

                Tuesday, August 04, 2009

                camp mail from sam...

                Hey everyone,

                Camp is fun. We get to do a lot of sports. There have been a few injuries, but Aunt Natalie made us some casts. Naomi and Tali got one, too, though they didn't really get hurt.

                We tried to make friendship bracelets, but nobody could finish them because they were too hard. We did go sailing twice, and my dad made us call him Captain and salute him for days.

                There are a lot of cousins here. We're having fun hanging out with each other.

                And did you know that in Madison, the zoo is free? Except that I had to be the turtle.

                The only thing lacking is a bathtime. I don't mind it, but Naomi sure has some dirty legs.

                And at the end of the day, just before Taps, we all relax with a big glass of milk--Wisconsin style.
                Wish you were here, but there's really not a lot of room.

                Friday, July 31, 2009

                camp runamucka, we love you...

                We're in Madison attending Camp Runamucka, 2009 and we're having a great time, wish you were here, and aren't homesick at all yet, even though really we're pretty much the first campers here and camp hasn't quite runamuck yet.

                Madison really is a great little city. The kids and I spent the day with Becky and Ben at Goodman Pool while Boaz and Dick took the architectural tour of the city. Then as a larger group we had brats, beer, and brownies and played chess with Playmobile figures. Tonight Becky and I may sneak out of our cabin to the local bar which is apparently only 32 feet away from her front door (location, location, location).

                Unfortunately my camera seems to be broken so you'll have to make do with this stock photo of Camp Runamuck, though our camp admits girls as well, obviously. (Did you know that there was a tv show in the 60s called "Camp Runamuck?" Isn't it amazing what you can learn from Google?) But I'll hijack some photos from the Princess as soon as we remember to take some.

                Wish you were here...

                Wednesday, July 22, 2009

                bye bye cable...

                We've been looking to cut back a bit because recessionista chic is the thing to do these days and well, the not having a job thing is also quite a compelling reason. So the other night, I started going through our budget and redlining certain items.

                First to go... The gym. It's true that just having the gym membership in my very own name makes me healthier, but I haven't stepped foot in the place for over a year, and would much rather run in the sleet or pouring rain than get on one of those tediously boring eliptical trainers. I put cancelling membership on my list of to-dos and feel good. I am a budgeting wiz.

                It's easy enough to not renew my subsciptions to American Girl and Nickelodeon magazines since I'm not exactly sure why we receive them in the first place. But I'm not so willing to get rid of my pedicure of the month membership since, um, nice toes help me run so much faster. And so the budgeting gets harder.

                And then I notice that the kids are watching television again. They've snuck upstairs to my room and have closed the bedroom door so that I don't hear them (because they are sooooo sneaky) and when I surprise them (booo!), they turn it off quickly (embarrassingly, I was guilty of the exact same thing at their age, but we don't need to get into that), but not before I see that they've been watching Hannah Montana, which is probably one of the lamer shows I've ever seen. I mean, how come Miley's friends at school don't REALIZE that she looks exactly like Hannah M. because she IS Hannah M.? Come on, tv execs, do you think our kids are stooopid?

                "Why are you guys watching this?" I practically whine. And then it hits me. I can barely remember the last time I watched cable. Last night I tried to and couldn't find anything I wanted. This is the perfect thing to redline.

                I let the kids watch the rest of the show and I watch it with them. It is slapstick, superficial, and totally age inappropriate for a six year old girl, though Miley is pretty and has cute clothes. Tali smiles when she watches her sing. It's sweet, but there are many, many years for her to watch inane tv shows and not only will nixing cable save some money, but also a lot of arguments.

                "You guys, next month we're getting rid of cable. We don't really need it and school will start and then we'll be too busy to watch TV," I tell them. "Plus there is a ton of stuff we can do besides watching these shows."

                "Like what?" Tali screams dramatically. She might have just seen Miley do that on her show.

                "You are the worst mother EVER," Samuel says to me. He storms out of his room, flops loudly on his bed, and opens up a book.

                Suddenly I have the very strong feeling that I'm doing the right thing.

                viva las vegas... the pic is a little fuzzy, but then so was the trip

                wordless wednesday

                Tuesday, July 14, 2009

                a day at the museum...

                As part of my crusade to pull Sam and Tali from their respective screens and to insert a hiatus to their incessant digs at each other, I dragged them to the museum yesterday. They were pained at the thought of quiet halls of ancient artifacts, even though I told them over and over that where we were actually going was to the Experience Music Project, a museum designed by Frank Gehry that houses incredible rock and roll and science fiction exhibits.

                "Ewwww, exhibits," Tali whined from the backseat.

                "Ugh, rock and roll," said Sam. "Let's at least go to the science museum, if we have to go to one."

                "You guys," I told them cheerfully. "We're going to see the Jim Henson exhibit about the Muppets. How is that boring?"

                "Ugh, Muppets," said Sam. "Old, ancient muppet exhibits."

                Basically, I think the kids suffered from brief amnesia because the EMP is this huge, shiny, colorful metallic building inspired by Jimi Hendrix's guitars. It's been around for years now, but my kids are only just now old enough to potentially be interested in the place.

                To get to the Muppets, we had to go through the Science Fiction exhibits exploring how images of space has evolved through popular culture. We passed by glass enclosed exhibits of all my old Star Wars figures, Alf, characters from Lost in Space, and Planet of the Apes.

                The kids were mesmorized.

                "This is a museum?" Sam asked incredulously. "Cool."

                They had the model of the Death Star Station used in the fourth episode and we talked about how they could've used such a small piece in a film, but still have it look real. Sam stood and squinted at it from all angles, checking it out as if it were a piece of fine art.

                And then we donned guided tours loaded on iPods and started the Muppet exhibit. They had napkin drawings of Jim Henson's early sketches, films, and best of all, a theater where the kids were taught how to manage muppets behind a stage using a televised screen and then they performed the muppets to a song.

                Sam's fave was the Jimi muppet.
                "I can't believe they put that stuff in a museum," Tali said afterwards. "How could they just put his drawings in a frame and call it famous?" She asked, referring to his framed scribbles on lined paper.
                "Wasn't it cool to see how Jim Henson worked on the Muppet designs?"
                She thought for a sec. "I'm going to frame my drawings, too, so that it's easier to put them up in a museum."
                It was a good parenting afternoon. Maybe when they start bickering again this afternoon, I'll have them draw more Muppets.

                Wednesday, July 08, 2009

                Tuesday, July 07, 2009

                and i thought we were over the sleep issues...

                Today while in the pediatrician's office waiting for Sam and Naomi to have their annual well-child visits, I browsed through a tired and dog-eared issue of Good Housekeeping from last year. Though I was hoping for some truly miraculous good housekeeping secret, I found an article by a mother who was talking about how she let her eight year old daughter sleep with her.

                "She's only little once," she was quoted as saying and my first reaction was that this was very sweet. I looked up at my brood waiting not-so-patiently in the waiting room, fighting over the toys, and rolling around on the floor like small possessed animals. But it was a nice idea and I thought at that moment that the next time they tried to climb in bed with us in the middle of the night, I'd totally let them stay, instead of escorting them back to their beds, exhausted and muttering the mantra, "We all sleep in our own beds."

                And then I read on to see that she only had one child and a king-sized bed.

                And so I changed my mind.

                Because even though I love cuddling with my kids more than most other activities, I'm rotten company in the middle of the night. And now that these kids are continuing to grow bigger and bigger and bigger, there just isn't enough room in our queen-sized bed for five people, and that's what usually happens when one kid ends up joining us in bed. And a Brangelina-sized bed isn't in our cards.

                But hours later after reading that article, I'm wondering if I'll regret not letting them sleep with us once they're too old to want to. I mean, we have the occasional slumber party where we know nobody is going to get any sleep. And we cuddle in the morning, though that usually ends up in a wrestling match between Tali and Sam.

                But I know that the time is coming quickly when they'll be embarrassed by our public affection toward them. And soon they'll be sleeping in longer than us (one can really hope, right?), and we'll have all the room in our bed that we want.

                So maybe if one of them sneaks into bed tonight, I'll just pretend I don't notice. I think I may be the one with the biggest sleep issue.

                Tuesday, June 30, 2009

                off to camp and rock and roll...

                Oh my gosh, if I don't finally post this post, I'll be writing an essay about what I did on my summer vacation.

                It's just that this unemployed nothing to do summer has gotten itself very busy.

                Sam is off to camp. Though, because he's pretty much the easiest kid in the family, life is just quieter, not less hectic. But even Tali says that she's totally bored without someone to pinch and fight with. Nice.

                We spent the day last Thursday packing and gathering his stuff and while it was admirable that Sam wanted to pack his own bags, when I did my minor last minute check, I discovered he'd paid no attention to the numbers of items the camp suggested he bring. As in, instead of ten shirts, he packed five.

                "You only have five shirts and it says ten," I say. "What are you going to do for the second half of camp?"

                "You don't need to change your shirt everyday at camp," Sam tells me. "You're supposed to be dirty at camp."

                "You don't know how dirty you're going to get. What if run you out of shirts?"

                "Mom, last year I wore the same shirt practically everyday. I don't need so many of them. It just wastes water in washing them," he says, though I threw in five more shirts. And, oddly, when I look at the camp photos online, he seems to be wearing pretty much the same shirt everyday. What a sweet guy to be saving his mom the laundry and mother earth her water? Hmmm...

                Also, last weekend I ran the Seattle Rock and Roll marathon and hit my goal time of under two hours at 1:57. I was pretty psyched and it was great to run with the group I'd been training with. There were 25,000 people running this race, but I think it was fairly well planned because it didn't feel like that many people.

                This is us at 4am catching the shuttle to Tukwila, which for you out of towners is absolutely NOT Seattle.

                Then, while the shuttles worked their way back to Seattle, we ran back. But it really was a nice route.

                Here we are after the race. Note the team shirt not sponsored by Nike--just printed on their shirts. On the back we printed "Run like a Mutha..." which spurred a lot of conversation behind our backs while we ran.

                "What's a Moota?" one woman asked. We didn't tell her that we'd used the spelling "Mutha" because Mitch didn't want to run with a shirt that said he ran like a mother.

                Off to go send a care package like a good mother... Though at this point I'm sending it next day so that he at least gets it before he gets on the bus to come home.