Monday, March 30, 2009


This morning I realized that I have officially reached a new height of super uncoolness and should probably break out the mom jeans for good. And while I'm at it, I may as well start drinking pink wine and wearing support underwear. It's truly a slippery slope from here, I know...

I look forward to Monday mornings.

It's true, it's true. I've admitted it and now it's all out in the open. I look forward to the work week.

Granted, we had a four day weekend with the kids because there wasn't any school on Thursday and Friday for parent/teacher conferences. And, we had two extra kids for a few days because we had my nephews for the super duper double sleepover.

But as we made our way through this morning with first Boaz leaving with Naomi, and then the big kids getting picked up for school, I felt myself feeling lighter and lighter until the house was empty and I was alone.



I put in two hours of work this morning and it was straight work with no stopping. Nobody needing help with the potty or tattling or fighting. And now... Now I'm going to keep working (except for a lunch break) until 5pm when I pick up the kids. Can you even believe that??? I get to work and think about things and create stuff and only have to be responsible for myself.

I am so lucky... Monday is so totally the new Friday.

(you can now just let me fester in my newfound lameness...)

Thursday, March 26, 2009

happy birthday, eva!

My newest niece, Eva, was born this morning!
She weighed in at 7 lbs., 13 oz. and is 19.5 inches long. Apparently she looks exactly like her brothers, but a girlier version and according to her grandparents, she is totally beautiful and exquisite. I'm on my way to go meet her myself, but so far I'm thinking she looks pretty much perfect!
Meanwhile, we're having the big brothers sleepover tonight for a fun-filled eve of movies, popcorn and wii. What could be a better way to celebrate a new sister and cousin? Though, I suppose her parents wouldn't mind if we did a few sibling training seminars and taught them how to change itty bitty diapers...

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

done in...

After spending most of the week in denial about the fact that I was sick with this wretched bug that has pretty much gotten a hold of everyone I know, I ran the Mercer Island Half Marathon on Sunday. I figured that since I could still breathe through my mouth, I could run and well, my time wasn't great, but I did it.

And now I am so paying the price. I'm going through tissue like there's no tomorrow and my head feels like it weighs about two billion tons or so.

So in the meantime, I have nothing clever or interesting to say. I'm just going back to bed and then try to wake up later with more energy to get some work done. Oh, and to pick up kids and do the whole parenting thing.

Must go blow nose...

Friday, March 20, 2009

how could i possibly have another mouth to feed?

There was a point in my life when a cute baby would bring me to my knees. My insides would gnaw up and my heart would swell up and my biological clock would start ticking so loudly I could swear people could hear it.

And then I had my third baby and whenever I passed a cute baby, I'd force myself to remember childbirth sans drugs (powerful) or the hugeness of pregnancy (lovely?) or the sleepless nights of life with a new infant (but that new infant...).

And then my sister-in-law got pregnant with her third baby and something odd happened. I felt jealous for a bit, the way I've felt more often than not upon seeing a pregnant woman. And then I felt truly happy for her. Her huge belly is just gorgeous (even though right now she swears she'll be pregnant forever), the whole family is excited about having a new little one around, and now... Now I'm so ridiculously excited about this new baby arriving in less than a week. And I'm truly grateful that she and my brother are getting the chance to enjoy three kids. And I'm also truly grateful that my kids are over the baby hump. At least mostly.

So where's the catch?

Well, today on my run around the lake, I saw this puppy. She (or he?) was fluffy and playful and cute and well, my heart filled... Of course! A puppy!

And then I took Tali to the drugstore to pick up some stuff (drugs, of course) and there was a pet adoption mobile across the street. T didn't even need to drag me the way she usually does when the pet mobile is there. We looked in the kennels and cooed at the cats and kittens. But inside the mobile was an 8-week old schnauzer puppy (or rather, a sneezer puppy, as Tali called it). And this sneezer was fluffy and brown and white...

"She's looking for a good home," the volunteer told us.

"Oh, really?" I asked. "She's looking to be adopted?" I felt swoony.
The woman looked at me like I was an idiot. Then Tali looked at me like I was an idiot.

"My brother is allergic to dogs," Tali told the volunteer who immediately hmmmphed and then turned our sneezer away from us to another pair of cooey onlookers.

"Maybe I'll call the allergist," I said to Tali, as we drove away. "You never know, right?" It's something the kids have been begging me to do for almost a year.

"Really? You will?" She asked excitedly, jumping up and down in her booster.

So I called right then and there. (Yes, Dad... I was using my headset and not holding my phone and driving. :) And though I couldn't get him in for an appointment until May, it's probably for the best.

I need some time to get my head on straighter...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

ski adventure to scottish lakes...

We survived our back-country ski adventure to Scottish Lakes, and I have to say, it was really fun. That said, I think that the managed expectations helped a bit, since how I pictured this trip was really me huddling in a lean-to with my three shivering kids and then every few hours hiking through the snow to a smelly outhouse.

So, it was much, much better than that.
Friday was a beautiful day to cross-country ski and it was warm enough to ski in our t-shirts. The kids managed wonderfully for the first two miles up the trail. Samuel scooted on ahead with his friend, Micah, and Tali trudged on up in her skiis, despite the fact that she's never cross-country skiied in her life. And Naomi promptly just fell asleep the moment she got zipped up in the pulk.

But then the kids remembered that we didn't have time to stop for lunch before getting to the trailhead, that I'd somehow neglected to realize that we needed a packed lunch, and we quickly ate through the snacks I'd bought at the last gas station stop. The hike got long and after a couple of hours, Tali was finished. Boaz added her to the pulk and pulled her along for a little longer and then we were rescued when more friends on snowmobiles took her up the rest of the way with them.

Much to my surprise, the cabins were very, very warm with the wood burning stoves and we even had to open our windows at night when the ten of us went to bed in our lofts. (Yes, ten.) Our hosts were lovely and we all ate dinner in a shared lodge.
But skiing the next day, I realized what it was that makes people ski uphill for miles to a place where you get no privacy, tromp in snow to your knees to pee in an outhouse, and hot tub in the snow. With a lot of kids. Oh right, and hang out in unseasonally blizzardy conditions.

It was amazing to ski in a place where even though there were trail markers, there were no tracks. The kids called the woods, "The Spooky Forest" but really only because they'd hardly experienced anyplace that was so untouched by marketing and consumerism. You could tell they were thrilled and terrified at the same time. And free. They could run outside and sled for hours, or go from cabin to cabin by themselves and we knew they were safe. And they loved the independence.

Plus, we saw real nature animals--not just the racoons and squirrels you see digging in the garbage in Seattle. Our friend Shai spotted a bird he named the Fatso 3000. You can see why.

I do have to note that the item that saved my sanity on this trip, aside from discovering a new love for Evan Walker, was the accidental discovery of the Travel John Jr. disposable urinal. For reals. I'd found it at the Right Start while shopping for a baby shower gift and when I saw it, I thought it'd be great for Naomi because it'd be so hard to drag a small child out in the middle of the night to an outhouse to pee when it's ten degrees and snowing and I'd save her the trauma.

The women in our cabin divvied up those pee bags (ironically, Naomi was the only one who refused to pee in them). I know I sound like an unrelenting advertisement, but I can seriously say that I stand behind (or on top of?) this product. And they didn't spill or smell. They just gelled up immediately!

Okay, enough potty talk.

The biggest bummer of the weekend is that a good handful of us came down with the flu and it's still dragging on. But that won't keep me from going back next year--with pee bags for everyone!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

right before a meltdown... (thank goodness she's so cute!)*

wordless wednesday
* Copyright All Rights Reserved 2009 and officially wiped with hummus so as not to mess with the Zohan. (Don't ask...)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

home alone...

Yesterday I left Samuel home alone for the very first time while I went 2 miles down the road to pick Naomi up from preschool. I don't really know when you're supposed to let your kid stay home alone, but when he asked if he could stay home and finish his homework, I realized that when I was his age, my brother and I left for school by ourselves and came home to an empty house and we were fine. Oh, also we hiked ten miles each way to school in the freezing Southern California snow, but it built character and we're better people for it.

And do you know why?

Because we were Latchkey Kids.
Does anyone ever call kids that anymore?

"Okay," I told him. "You can, but here are the rules..."

"I can??? Really? Do you think I can start babysitting for money, too?"

"Um, not quite yet. Let's try this first."

So I gave him the rundown--"don't answer the door, don't use the microwave, oven, or toaster, don't touch my computer, and if someone calls, don't tell them you're alone in the house--tell them your mom can't come to the phone right now."

"Okay, okay," he said, trying to hide his excitement. "I can't believe you're going to let me do this! I'm going to get all my homework done!"

But when I get in the car, I think, oh my gosh, this is totally crazy. I just left my eight year old home alone and I'm driving away from him. While he is alone. In our house. With no parents. Or anyone.
So when I get to the end of our block, I call him up.

"Hi, is your mom home?" I ask, trying to disguise my voice.
"Um, she can't come to the phone right now," he says. "Who is this?"
"One of her friends," I say. "Can you tell her that Shelly called?"
"MOM! I know it's you," he says trying not to laugh. "Why did you do that?"
"Just testing you," I said. "Are you scared?"
"Nope, because you've only been gone for about two minutes."
"Okay," I say. "Call me if you get scared."

Two minutes later, the phone rings...

"Hey, Mom," Samuel says on the other end.
"Hey, Buddy, did you get scared?"
"NO!" He sounds disgusted. "But I was wondering, can I make a sandwich?"
"Oh. Sure. Just don't use the toaster."
"Okay, thanks," he says and hangs up.

Two minutes later, the phone rings again...

"Hi, can I play Wii?"
"No, do your homework."

On my way back home with Naomi, the phone rings again.

"How do you spell 'radioactive?'"

"Hold on," I tell him, "I'm pulling in the driveway. I'll help you when I'm inside." Of the twenty minutes I was gone, we were on the phone for at least ten of them.

Samuel is waiting for us at the door and he looks elated and completely proud of himself.

"Isn't that great that you can leave me home alone now?" he asks.

We're off for a big back country cross-country ski adventure, or something like that, for the weekend. I actually have very little idea what we're doing except that we're cross country skiing uphill for at least four or so miles and then staying in a place with no electricity or running water. And the bathrooms burned down last month. As well as the fire-heated sauna. And I'm not sure how the kids are going to deal with the ski adventure, but I'm sure we'll get some cute pics of them in the pulk or on their skiis, even if they don't manage to do either for very long.
But the good thing is we're going with friends. And a lot of liquor.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

seriously, this laundry thing is out of control...

Okay, really now people... What do I do with this crap?

In the photo you can see one hamper, but what you don't see is that there are three more like it. Also, that coffee is in a bad place and is just waiting to get kicked over, thus creating more laundry.

Yesterday, Tali went through at least three different outfits and we had spaghetti for dinner, which naturally creates more laundry.

HOW. DO. I. KEEP. UP?????

I am now taking suggestions. Every morning there's a hunt for clean socks, clean underwear, a shirt or two or three... I try to make it a game.

"Hey kids, dig in! You never know what you'll find at the bottom of the pile!"

They're no longer amused.

I wonder if there's a service out there where someone will come in once a month and take care of this problem for me. Oh yeah, and I have to be able to afford it.

I think it's time to teach the kids how to work the washer and dryer...

Sunday, March 08, 2009

in response to the current financial climate, naomi is doing her part...

Now that we've been out of diapers literally for more than a month, I can officially say that Naomi is potty trained. And as a result, we actually do not have a single diaper or pullup in the house. I know this because Naomi had a friend over today who probably could've used a fresh diaper. Alas...

And unlike her older siblings, Naomi seriously went cold turkey on the whole pullups at night deal. I tried to talk her into it because changing a whole set of sheets on a bottom bunk covered with stuffed animals in the middle of the night after an untimely accident is not a reality I'd like to take part in, especially considering the amount of sleep I've lost over the past eight and a half years of parenthood (hey, another post idea!). But the girl would have nothing to do with them, even if they did have pretty princesses on the front and disappearing hearts and flowers to show that yes, she really did need that pullup on.

But Naomi is a considerate girl and anxious to grow up as quickly as possible. So in light of the current economic situation, and in my latest effort to be as recessionista chic as possible, I added up how much we spent on diapers.

During Naomi's 2 years and 8 months in diapers, we've gone through approximately 6,790 diapers (factoring in at about 7 changes a day, though who are we kidding? As she got older, she probably got changed a little less often and quite frankly, this is a third child we're talking about. But for estimation purposes, we'll go with 7.)

  • 6,790--approx. number of diaper changes for Naomi

  • 251--packages of diapers bought for Naomi

  • $3,266.00*--approximate amount spent on diapers for Naomi

  • 20,370--approximate number of diapers Boaz and I have collectively changed in our lifetime.

  • $9,781.00--approximate amount spent on diapers for all three kids if we estimate that they were potty trained at about the same time, though since they relied on pullups for a considerable amount of time after training, I'd probably call that number $10k even.

I'm figuring that we're saving about a thousand dollars a year having this girl sit on the potty! But better yet, after changing more than twenty thousand diapers during our parenting years, it's incredibly freeing to leave the house without a diaper and baggie filled with wipes stuffed at the bottom of my purse. But I can't say that I don't feel a slight bit nostalgic that the baby days are speeding away from us at such an incredible clip.

Though, I suppose I still have that spare pair of princess panties in my coat pocket. Just in case.

*Not meant to depress those of you about to begin this sort of moving adventure...

Thursday, March 05, 2009

seattle jewish film festival to screen my left hand...

Another chance to go see My Left Hand!

Josh Isaac's documentary, My Left Hand, will be presented again in Seattle Jewish Film Festival's 2009 lineup. The documentary film will show as part of the closing day festivities on May 3, 2009, at 5pm at the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI). It is a free screening co-sponsored by the NW Sarcoma Foundation, with any contributions raised going to support the foundation.

Josh made My Left Hand during his battle with epithelioid sarcoma in 2004/5. It follows two years of chemos, radiations, and surgery. But as I've written before, even more emotional than all of the difficult treatments it documents, Josh's portrayal of how his cancer affected and still affects his family, community, and himself is truly moving.

The film first premiered at the Seattle True Independent Film Festival (STIFF) in 2007 where it won the Survivor Spirit Award. It also screened that year at the Tacoma Film Festival winning the Audience Choice Award. And as part of Seattle Jewish Family Services' healing program there were two screenings in 2008. The DVD is available for purchase through paypal.

Take a moment to see the trailer for the film... And then if you're in the area, come support Josh on May 3rd!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

gidget's revenge...

Okay, so the surfing...

This truly was the highlight of the trip, not only because it was generally just fun, but because learning to surf is something I've always wanted to do, but have always been too chicken to really get out and do it. Plus, it's nice to have fulfilled a New Year's resolution so early in the year, don't you think?
Samuel and I took our lesson together in a private lesson from Chris, this 50ish Hawaiian guy who runs a little surf school from this little thatched hut on the beach. Of course, it's in front of the Sheraton, so basically it's where all the haole tourists go to get their lessons so that they can feel like super cool surfers.
Hey, like me.
The lesson didn't start out that well.
Chris made us go feed the heron in the lagoon before even starting the lesson. He said it relaxed him before going out in the water and we sat on the bank for about ten minutes watching as he threw little pieces of bread to the fish so that the heron could quickly snap them up as they enjoyed what they thought were their treats. The whole thing made Samuel antsy.
"Can we go now?" he asked.
"Sssshhhhhhhhh," Chris shushed. "You have to be quiet or the heron won't eat."
Then, when we went out to scout out our spot, we had to wait another fifteen minutes for Chris while he talked with everyone on the beach.
It was very obvious to me that Sam and I were functioning at a different pace than this surfer.
But finally we were out there in the water, watching the waves and Chris began pushing us into them. I was shocked that I could catch them and stand up on my very first wave, which
felt humongous, but as you can see from the video below, was pretty much glorified whitewash. Still, I got up. And wave after wave gave me more confidence. It felt amazing.
After the first day, we went out twice again and while I noticed that it is so much harder to catch your own waves, it was tremendously fun and satisfying. I'm absolutely hooked.
But the thing that really struck me with that first day, was something that Chris said at the beginning of our lesson. He told me he usually didn't like taking moms and their kids together in a lesson because the moms have trouble paying attention to anything other than what their kid is doing. And he made me promise that I would let him take care of Samuel and I'd work on my own lesson.
"Sure, sure," I said, at the time anxious to get started.
But it was really harder than it looked. Having surfed before, Samuel was bored with the lesson and Chris started sending him out doing little surf tricks.
"You're sending him backwards?!" I squealed at one point.
"What's it to you?" he asked me, laughing. "I promise he won't drown. And you don't know this kid, anyway."
So I put my faith in this complete stranger and enjoyed my kid's crazy surf tricks from afar. And because of this, it let me absolutely enjoy myself. As a kid growing up in Southern California, I spent entire summers in the waves, body surfing and swimming and just playing, and because I was on my own that day, I felt that free again as I tried to catch waves and worked on my balance. I absolutely felt like myself. For those few hours, I wasn't a mom or wife or a daughter, friend, or consultant... I was just concentrating on the task at hand and it was incredibly freeing.

So, the video... Be kind. The wave is considerably smaller than it felt this first time in.