Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!

After initial worries that Santa was going to seem "cheap" this year, we actually had a very nice Christmas. Once all the gifts were under the tree, all was well. I was grateful to extended family who sent gifts to the boys. Plus Daddy did an excellent job of last minute shoppery so that Santa could stuff the stockings to the bursting point.

Because of my MIL's boycott on Christmas cookie baking last year (oh it was TRAGIC!), I got ambitious and made cookies myself this year. The plan was for the boys and Nana (my mom) to help me decorate the cookies with icing and sprinkles. Sadly, we were too busy and the cookies were forgotten until after my parents left today.

Tyler was a little frustrated that he couldn't control the icing bag to his perfectionist satisfaction and gave up after three cookies (they looked terrific, by the way). Max was handed cookies that were pre-iced (yeah, I'm not crazy) and he proceeded to take each of his variety of sprinkle cups and dump them ALL onto his first batch of cookies. That was pretty funny. Then he was done. That left me to finish the remainder of the 3 dozen sugar cookies myself. It was tedious work, but fun! When I brought the tray full of cookie art back into the kitchen, I made a comment to John about bringing some of them plus the 2 dozen oatmeal/peanut butter/chocolate chip cookies I'd made on Christmas eve over to my MIL's for Christmas Part Deux.

He paused with a funny look on his face and said, "OK...but you know my mom made cookies this year, right?"

*sigh*

So much for me being the cookie savior this year. LOL! Back later with photos. It's time now for a Mario Kart showdown between Tyler and I. He's going to eat my Wii dust!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Regift Rules

When John and I got married, an old high school buddy of his gifted us with an electric can opener. When I opened the box, I found an appliance in a color that was popular about two decades earlier and there was a wedding gift card inside with a note for "Sam and Elena" to enjoy it in good health.* We giggled over that regift for a long time and were thrilled that the retro opener actually looked great in our seriously outdated rental kitchen.

*names changed to protect the guilty

AOL had a feature on regifting horror stories on their homepage today and it inspired me to start a list of regifting rules, just in time for this gift-giving season:

1. Check the box carefully to be sure there are no gift cards thoughtfully enclosed.
2. Be sure there are no incriminating shipping labels affixed to the outside of the box.
3. Check the item to make sure it's not a collectible with a date on the bottom (unless the recipient collects that sort of thing). Nothing like getting a nice Christmas ornament as a gift then finding out is says "1993" on the back.
4. In addition to dates, check for personalization. Don't regift that nice coffeetable book that didn't fit on your coffeetable without checking inside the covers for a note.
5. Confer with household members to be certain you don't re-gift an item to the person who gave it to you/them in the first place.
6. If the item has been in the attic for a number of years, ask for a second opinion on if the item is "retro" and "back in style" or just OLD and DATED.
7. When you check inside the box for that thoughtfully enclosed gift card, also check to be sure all the parts of the gift are still in the box and that the item doesn't look "used" in some way.

Can you think of anything to add to this list?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Rigging up the lights...

Happy Holidays everyone! Is everyone in the holiday spirit yet? Hello? *tap tap* Is this thing on?

I know, I know. I hear ya. Poor John spent most of the afternoon going through 500 white twinkle lights on our pre-strung tree trying to find out why most of the strands are no longer lighting up. I spent a good chunk of that time trying to keep Max out of his way. Not easy when you have a 2 year old who has no memory of a tree in his living room. It's fascinating stuff!

The rest of the late afternoon and into this evening, I've been gathering addresses from the remote corners of the house and my computer to update the file that contains my Christmas card address labels. I have mixed emotions going through each name. Some make me smile as I think about the card I've already received from them, if they are happy in their new home, or just general happiness that I'll soon reconnect in some small way with that person or family. Some make me sad as I alter the labels to reflect the losses that happened over the past year (two family members lost husbands).

Once the address labels are in place, it's time to stuff the cards. As I look at the smiling faces of my two boys, I recall the pains I took (and they endured) to get the perfect holiday card photo. My poor kids! I bought special matching outfits (a now annual tradition), dressed them up during our recent mini-vacation to celebrate their birthdays, posed them in various arrangements in front of the pretty fireplace at the lodge, and struggled to get them both to look at me AND smile at the same time. No easy feat! They fought me every step of the way...but it doesn't show in the end result.

Will this discourage me from making a similar effort for next year's holiday card? Nope. I put up with the same pains when I was a kid - the itchy wool, mall Santas with the smell of booze on their breath, my brother kicking me in the shins, mom licking a tissue to wipe a smudge off my face or licking her hand and smoothing down my fine flyaway hair, being posed again and again, forced to act affectionate to my pesky little brother when all I REALLY wanted to do was kick him back (love ya Mike!) Ah memories.

If you are lucky enough to receive a card from me this year, please take an extra moment or two to admire the artistry and effort that went into making it. Ha Ha! No seriously. And I apologize for not doing a newsletter this year (the first year in a 10+ year streak of newsletter writing.) I went back through my blog and photos from the past 12 months and realized that nothing really interesting happened to us this year. That's not a bad thing! I'll take a news free year over one full of health woes, job loss/stress, major life changes or lots of travel for a nice change of pace. Boring is good!

OK. Enough stalling. Back to stuffing envelopes full of holiday love and cheer sealed with a generous helping of Tyler's spit.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Tyler turns 7 today (at 11:03pm PST). Tyler requested Red Lobster for dinner (he ate 5 cheddar bay biscuits by himself), we sang to him while he blew out a candle on his cupcake, then I watched him open gifts from his grandma, birth-grandma, and his parents. He was over-joyed with everything and spent an hour on the playroom PC setting up one of his gifts (thanks Karen!) Then he and Max studied the box that contained the gift from John and I and they discussed which Pokemon they would cook up tomorrow after school. I love watching the boys commiserate. It's charming to observe and makes me feel warm and fuzzy. I wish they got along that well all the time!

I am soooo far behind in my photo sharing. Hundreds of photos sit on my camera waiting to be offloaded to my PC. My monitor died and I had to wait for the new one to arrive. Then we went out of town for several days, I got sick... yadda yadda. I need a vacation. But Christmas is at our house this year, Tyler's big birthday party is this Sunday, the house is a wreck and I'm still sick. So yes. I am stressing a bit. I wish I had a disintegrator device of some kind so I could just make half the clutter in this house simply vanish without a trace.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I agree so much I think I strained something vital...



Thanks to Connie for featuring this in her blog.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Happy Halloween!


I'd like to say that Max enjoyed his first real experience doing the trick-or-treating thing, but I'm not so sure. He looked a little shell-shocked as I took photos of the boys as they got ready to roll. Then there was this photo:

I said, "Bye Max, have fun!" and he looked back at me with that expression. Seconds later he was running into my arms in tears. I know he was eager to go with his Dad and brother today; I could barely get him to take his nap. Maybe when the time came he just got nervous. Fear of the unknown? Separation anxiety because I wasn't going with them? Nap wasn't long enough? No clue. But I gave him a hug and told him everything was going to be OK and that they were going to have lots of fun. He stopped crying almost immediately and didn't hesitate to take his Dad's hand and head out.


I snapped this shot shortly after they got back home.

Still no smile. He seemed to enjoying sorting through his candy and then eating a bunch. No brainer there. And he really enjoyed going to the door to see the kids when the bell rang. All in all, I guess he liked Halloween. But I'm left feeling vaguely disappointed this year. We didn't even get around to putting our giant blow-up pumpkin in the yard. I didn't carve anything. I didn't roast pumpkin seeds. I did put on my goth cape that makes me look vaguely sinister and elegant. That was fun. But... next year I'm going to get a much earlier start with the planning and get the boys more involved with decorating. I think that will make things much better.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Thunder Snow

Woo hoo! First snow storm of the year today...and it was a thunder snow storm. How cool is that?! The boys are outside playing in the snow with their Dad as I type this. I just wish I knew where the heck I stashed Tyler's size 2T snow pants. I found the coat (and it looks totally adorable on Max too) but the snow pants are no where to be found. The toddler sized snow boots are MIA too. *sigh*

It's a miracle we were able to find gloves and hats for everyone. That's a plus, I guess.

I also managed to take some photos of the boys right when Tyler got home from school today. I wanted to get a snap of them in their Halloween costumes and then, just for fun, a photo of them in their new PJs. This might become a backup Christmas card photo, if the other ones I have planned don't turn out well. Max is a Top Gun pilot and Tyler wanted to be a football player - well, really he wanted a helmet to go with his Jr. Patriots uniform (he is already a football player.)

Now to figure out what to make for dinner...


Monday, October 27, 2008

Followers, Pumpkins and Apples

I kept seeing this new-fangled thingy on some of the newer Blogger blogs the displaced AOL folks were creating - so I went into my template and sure enough, there it was. Followers. Mkay! I added it, just to go with the trend. I'm not totally sure what it does...but I assume it adds blogger blogs to your dashboard. I don't use my dashboard to follow the blogs I read. I use Bloglines (you can see all the blogs I follow on my list in the right side-bar. If you don't see yours there, please comment and leave me a link!) But I sure don't want to discourage others who use Blogger to keep track of their blogs. So there ya go.

We've had a few tragic events in the house recently. The unintentional squishing of Tyler's pet woolybear caterpillar (he dropped the fuzzy fella and couldn't see him on the oriental rug - he blended right in) and the accidental squishing of Tyler's hand-picked pumpkin from our jaunt to the farm the weekend before last (Max tried to carry the prized pumpkin from one room to another and dropped it in the hall with a sad splat.)

After the crowds we encountered in our first trip to the farm for the fall season (see the photo to the left), John was not eager to repeat the effort.

Tyler, however, can be very persuasive. So...lather, rinse, repeat.


THIS weekend's trip was much less traumatic! No 50-person deep lines just for tickets to take the hayride out to the pumpkin patches. Plus the boys had the added fun of apple picking!








This time the pumpkins have been safely placed on the back deck. Now I just need to figure out what I'm going to do with the 30 lbs of apples the boys lugged home. Too bad I can't make caramel apples for the hordes of trick-or-treaters we get each year. I used to love getting those and popcorn balls in my bag when I was small. Then the whole razorblade urban myth destroyed that tradition.
Now I have a 50% off photo calendars deal as incentive to get moving on that annual project. Time to play dress-up with the boys. I hope they cooperate! First step...Halloween costumes! Stay tuned...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pumpkin Pickers
















We did manage to tear Tyler away from the giant haystack long enough to pick out two pumpkins. He announced that we would NOT carve them this year. He would rather just paint a face on his. (I think he's afraid the carving process would be painful to his adorable little pumpkin. It's just too cute!)
Both boys are currently fighting head colds. I think Tyler is mostly over his, but poor Max is a mega-snot-factory. It's scary what comes out of that little nose of his.
I am usually in full Halloween mania by now, but I find myself feeling just plain tired.
I also recently realized that Tyler's birthday is swiftly approaching and other than our annual family trip to celebrate both boys' birthdays at the Lodge...I have no other party venue booked. I'd better get on that!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Guess who just turned 2?




Photos are up on my Shutterfly page.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Still alive!

Sick, but alive. Just to give a clue...here is Tyler's day yesterday:

1. Up at dawn...time to get ready for soccer team photos and game.
2. Off to game! Go right from soccer to...
3. Football game. Grab some...
4. Lunch! Fast food! But hurry, almost time for...
5. Birthday party #1 - fly home to pick up rest of family to run to...
6. Birthday party #2!
7. Get something quick for dinner and...
8. Home just in time for bed.

The soccer and football and long work hours for poor John and Max officially in the terrible 2 stage...we're so very tired. I've not been able to read any blogs in probably 2 weeks. I am sooo behind!

Ugh. Damn this cold.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Hi-5, Shhhh!

Sitting and watching Hi-5 with Max this morning (his favorite show). I started clapping along with the music, like I often do. Usually he starts clapping with me.

Today, he turned and said, "Momma! Shhhh!" I was so startled, I didn't know how to react at first. Then I started laughing and couldn't stop...which prompted more frustration and disgusted exclamations of, "Momma! Momma!!! Shhhhh!"

I had to get this on video, so I started a recording then started clapping. It's difficult to get video of Max in action because as soon as he sees the camera, he wants to grab it. Well...see for yourself:


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Overheard...

In the background, a TV commercial plays... "Erase blackheads with the new Blackhead Eraser! It really works!"

Tyler: "Mark should get that."

Dad: "Mark doesn't have blackheads, he has freckles!"

Tyler: "Oh."

Long pause.

Tyler: "What's a blackhead then?"

Mommy laughs hysterically until she can't breath.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Oh boy...here we go again

So...yeah. Second Life kinda stole me away from blogging and the internet at large for a while there. Then I got kinda sick of SL. I have a new time sucking addiction now.

YouTube.

Yeah, I know. I've been uploading videos there for ages and have watched the occasional clip or 12. But then a couple of bloggy pals starting doing this whole VLOG'in thing there and I got sucked in. Mostly thanks to FreeePeace. I've been enjoying her videos for a while now and then she started recommending all these OTHER people's vids on the Tube and...bam. I was hooked.

So let's run down a list of my favs (just in case you have time to kill at night once your kids are in bed...or something):

FreeePeace - It's all her fault. (Love you Freee!)
ShayCarl - Like they said in the Howard Stern movie...the fans love him or hate him, but most of all they keep watching "because they want to see what he'll do next." But seriously, I just want to hug him and squeeze him and fluff him up and prop him against my headboard with all my other pretty pillows. Heh.
Journey2betrhealth - My pal Donna. She recently had WLS and is on the road to better health. I am following her progress avidly. Go Donna!
BrettTheIntern - Poor Brett. Once upon a time he was an intern for the Jerry Springer Show and OMG his behind the scenes videos were hilarious! Then NBC found out about his little YouTube channel and sic'd the corporate dogs on him. He was given the sack and had to take down a lot of his videos. I was just ill when I found out. But he's still funny as hell and I will keep watching to see how he bounces back.
JoshSource - Watch the response video he did about cereal in Australia. I about pee'd my pants! He is fierce, gay, Asian, does hair, and should totally be adopted by the QueerEye guys as a new correspondent. Wait...is that show even on anymore? I don't watch live TV these days.
ItalianStallionette - I think she lives, like, down the street from me. Seriously! I am waiting for her to notice that I'm in her neighborhood so we can have a diet coke together. She's very outspoken about gay rights (and rightly so) and I think she's awesome.
SxePhil - Throw out your newspaper and turn off the 11 o'clock news...Phil will fill you in on current events from his very not-politically-correct viewpoint. Good stuff.

Enough shout-outs for now. There are a few others I follow but they haven't been very active of late (nyah nyah you guys need to make more videos if you want me to pimp you here. Ha!)

See? So much to watch...so little free time. I need to make more videos myself, since I have a nice new webcam and not many excuses (other than the fact that I'm boring). If you have a YouTube channel, let me know in comments and I'll come check you out. Or if you have a must-see channel to recommend, let me know that too.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

State Fair and Haircuts


The boys visited the fair two days in a row, opening day and the day after. Opening day the weather was nice - hot but with a breeze. Day 2 was an airless oven. But that won't stop two eager young boys from having a good time. They came home covered in mud (dust settled on their sweaty bodies and turned to mud); their hair matted to their scalps with sweat and heaven knows what else. It was a relief to plop them both into the tub.

Tyler has announced that he wants a pet sheep and a pet cow. He plans to keep them both in his bedroom. He would not be dissuaded, even after explaining that cow pies often exceed the size of his head.

In other news, you may notice Tyler sporting a new buzz cut (click the photo above for more from the fair). If I'd been smart, I would have done Max too this past weekend, before the hot and sweaty dirt fest (aka the fair). Instead, Max went to bed last night with his hair still damp and uncombed. Poor kid just passed out from sheer exhaustion - after crying and flailing hysterically for 20 minutes (he didn't want to get out of the tub, or get dried off, or get his PJs on.)


Instead, I took the shears to his wooly and matted mane today.

Haircut!
The new Max!



Aftermath

Curly Hair - Lessons Learned Part 36

Don't let your curly haired child fall asleep right after his bath, but before you have a chance to fully dry and comb out his (excessively long) hair. Oh My GOSH!

I am armed with scissors and I'm not afraid to use them. Pictures of Max's new haircut and shot from this year's NJ State Fair to be posted later.

*snip snip*

Friday, August 01, 2008

Dum A Day

When Tyler was 2, he had very specific taste in music. He was a big fan of old time cartoon theme songs. (Yes, I have an adorable video of him getting down to the theme from Speed Racer.) When he was older (3-4ish), he had a brief infatuation with the music of Lazy Town; particularly the theme song (again, cute video of him dancing.) Then one day he declared that he "hated music" and was adamant about it...to this day. I can't even turn on the radio in the car without getting an earful if he is with me.


Max is entirely different. From the earliest moments after we brought him home he has shown a strong interest in music and it hasn't wavered. I used to play music with Windows Media Player and he would listen raptly while watching the cool kaleidoscope of colors on my monitor. His dad would put the wireless headphones for our stereo on his head and he would bop to 70s and 80s music. Christmas music would send him spinning in joyful circles. Classical music he would pick up from his Baby Einstein videos and he would hum along...making up his own clever lyrics that consisted of "Dada" and "Mama" in tune with the music.


Now Max has taken his adoration of music to another level. He has discovered the joys of Jack's Big Music Show. He was already familiar (and obsessed) with Laurie Berkner - we've nearly worn out her music video DVD, but with Jack, he has been introduced to a whole bunch of new musical artists and music types. But what I find particularly adorable is how he asks for his favorite show. His vocabulary is still limited, but he can say Jack (or "woof" for Mel the dog)...however, he doesn't say that. Instead he took a phrase from the intro song and sings his request. Jack's friend Mary sings "dum ditty dum de dum de dum day" in the intro and Max has decided that the show should be called "Dum A Day". Yes, it took me a while to figure out what he was asking for. Stupid mommy.


Having "Dum A Day" playing in the background all day long, thanks to Free On Demand and the Noggin channel, has been the norm for a couple months now, until one morning I went into the cable menu and discovered, to my horror, that the show wasn't among the selections. Those with kids in that terrible two stage will understand my desperation to restore the peace. Max didn't understand my lame explanations why his show couldn't be played and I couldn't locate the one Jack DVD we have.


I frantically cruised the On Demand menu trying to find something else that would appease Max and stumbled across the Discovery Kids offerings. One of the shows sounded vaguely familiar from when Tyler was four-ish so I gave it a shot. Tyler had hated the show because it was basically all music and singing. Heh. It should be perfect for Max. So I selected Hi-5 and hoped for the best.


Oh my heck. Max is IN LOVE with this show! Now we've been alternating between Jack and Hi-5 for the last couple weeks or so. And I really appreciate the variety (I love Jack, but I've seen every episode from both seasons at least 10 times each.) For several days Max has raced into the family room first thing in the morning, pointed at the TV and started yelling "Woo!" Woo? I thought he meant "woof" at first and automatically put Jack on, only to get a completely disgusted reaction. He would stomp his foot, make a loud whiny "UhhHHHhhh!" sound and start shouting "Mama!" in a short, gravelly, loud voice. Oh boy. What the hell was "Woo"???


Finally today, Max explained himself. He was watching the one episode of Hi-5 that has been available in the On Demand menu for the last 3 days (why do they do that? Have 6 or 7 then suddenly remove all or almost all for weeks at a time???) and the talented teens (or 20-somethings) in the Hi-5 band were singing about making wishes and suddenly all of them were harmonizing and singing "Woo woo woo wooooo oooooo ooooo ooooo ooooooooooo." Max started singing along. Ohhhhhhh! Duh. Woo. Got it!!


It cracks me up that he won't call these shows by their name but instead picks out phrasing from the music in the show and that becomes the name, to him. It's all about the music, man.


And speaking of his love for music, has anyone been watching this season of America's Got Talent? Max was entranced by this little contestant, Kaitlyn Maher. I had to replay the segment to make the video. He was just as cute the second time through, but he tried to sing along more the first time. I am imagining Max at age 4 and wondering if he might have this kind of talent. It wouldn't surprise me. He certainly sings and hums more than he speaks.





Official Website Video

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Post Vacation Thoughts

  • Eating sand and then sneezing will make sandy snot come out of your nose.

  • $25 in tokens at the arcade converts into 164 tickets which redeems for two small sacks of penny candy. Tyler's response to my comment on how much candy $25 would buy us at the supermarket? "Yeah, but Mom, the supermarket isn't FUN." Point taken.

  • Mango scented bubble bath poured generously into an oversized Jacuzzi (jets on) will create a scene very close to that one in the Brady Bunch with Bobby pouring too much laundry soap into the washing machine.

  • You can't tell a 21 month old that he is "too small" to go down the slides at the water park. He will prove you WRONG every time. What a dare devil Max is!

  • A good dad WILL go into the water park 7 times in a row just to make his boys happy. You are a trooper babe.

  • Never say, "Don't give him that! He won't eat it!" Because you know what? He will. (Note to self - Max likes asparagus, cottage cheese, creamed spinach, broccoli, and miso soup)

  • Remember to put sun screen on the back of your neck and shoulders, unless you think that whole "red neck" look is sexy on a woman.

  • Don't bring the wicked expensive digital camera to a water park because you damn well know you won't dare use it and now you have no photos from part of your vacation. *sigh*

  • Trying to shimmy your toddler into a cold clammy wet swimsuit will cause him to say several new words - "Yuck! Ick! Wet! and No!"

  • A bath towel makes a great blanky sub when Mommy forgets to pack the bedding for your pack n play...according to Max.

  • Sofa beds are like magic to a small child who has never seen Daddy turn the couch into a bed before. That same child will lift the sofa cushions repeatedly when you return home trying to find the magic bed.

  • Leaving your sweet fluffy kitty alone for several days will turn him into this:

Back to reality. But first, a vacation video:



Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Beach Adventure

We took the boys to the shore today - Max's first visit. Unfortunately the conditions weren't ideal for photo taking because of the fog and heavy surf, but it made things interesting. Max was thrilled with the sand. After his reaction to bare feet on grass, I was worried. No need! He was kicking his shoes off as we were walking toward the water! Tyler set right to work on a sand castle and Max took off exploring. Yes, I know. We ran after him a LOT today. Heh. He would get 50 yards away or so and then look for us. With all the people and the fog, most of the time he wouldn't see me flapping my arms wildly and yelling his name, so he would start to cry. Aww!

Max also cried as we were leaving the beach. He did NOT want to go. It was so cute! A very different reaction from Tyler's first time. Ty was petrified of the waves and couldn't stand the way sand felt on his feet. I swear these boys seem to be almost exact opposites of each other.

Photos from our adventures are in my Flickr album.




www.flickr.com



Monday, July 07, 2008

Perfect Timing

For several months now, Max has been objecting strongly to having his diaper changed. It's not that he hates being clean...more that he hates having to lie down and be still for a few minutes. So I've developed a rapid standing diaper change method. (Obviously only works for pee and not poopie diapers.) I can yank down his shorts, whip off the dirty dipe, brace the clean one against his butt with one hand and fasten the tabs with the other, adjust leg openings, pull up shorts and voila! Done in about 30 seconds flat.

Well today, as I reached for the clean diaper, Max started to pee like gang busters all over me and everything else in firing range. He hasn't done that since he was a newborn. Heh. I guess this means I need to move even faster in the future. I'll be very happy when we start potty training. Maybe in a couple months. He's not quite ready yet.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

What I Did On My Summer Vacation

We made plans to go to Wild West City. It started raining. Hard. So we went to Burger King instead.

The End

*sigh* The entire blog is going to sound like the essays of a first grader if I don't get some inspiration soon.

How about some holiday peek-a-boo instead?


Tuesday, July 01, 2008

How does that happen?

July 4th has snuck up on me! John suddenly announced on Friday that the carnival and fireworks show we take Tyler (and now Max) to was the next day. WHAT? Good thing he checked or the boys would have missed it this year! I was a little nervous about Max, fireworks and being out so late; but he did great!

Next hurdle is a visit to Grandma and Grampie's house this weekend. Two years in a row my mom has promised to get the boys some kind of inflatable water play gizmo, and thus far the boys have been disappointed (she waits too long then the item she goes to get is sold out).

My poor blog has really suffered since I got a new computer. I have videos to unload off my Flip, but I can't get it working right. I can't find the disk to install the software to unload pictures from my camera either. And without photos and video, I think things get kinda dull here. Heh.

Ah well. Back to the struggle.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Tyler Politics and Anniversary

After watching a TV segment that featured a song listing all the U.S. Presidents...Tyler says to me: "Mom? Are girls allowed to be President?"

I was a bit taken aback that he'd noticed all our former presidents (and the current one) were men. "Well Ty, in theory, yes - a woman can become President. It just hasn't happened yet."

"Why?"

"Um...because for a long time women weren't even allowed to vote and none of them ever ran for President until recently. There was a lady running for President for this next election, but it looks like she is out of the race."

"Oh. Mom? I wish you could be President. I would vote for you. Maybe you can do that when you get old?"

"Ha! Aww...thanks Ty. Maybe someday."

Chances of a college drop-out and full time Mom getting to be President one day? Unlikely. The fact that my son wants to vote for me? Priceless.


And in other news: Today is our 16th wedding anniversary. I was so exhausted and stressed this week, I completely forgot what day/date it was and I don't even have a card for my sweetie. So I just want to say to my husband...thank God you're home and I love you, baby! If you have to go away again for any time longer than overnight, I'm going with you. The boys can stay with Grandma! Ha!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Da Bears!

I got an automated phone call from my son's school the other day. They have this system that phones every emergency contact number you list on a form at the beginning of the school year and plays a recording to whomever answers.

The auto-phone message went something like this: "Attention parents of students at Blah Blah School...do not be alarmed. A large black bear has been spotted near the high school. Authorities have been alerted, but we ask that no child be allowed to walk home today. Every effort to pick your child up at school should be made. Thank you."

Yeah! Good times. LOL

I asked Tyler about "the bear" when I picked him up...he stared at me blankly. I guess they didn't tell the students about the danger. Probably a good thing since the first thing out of Tyler's mouth when I explained the situation was, "A real bear?!?! Can we go see him??? Pleeeeeeease Mom!"

Oh boy.

Monday, June 16, 2008

No good very bad day...

Baby up at 6am. Sucks when you fell asleep at 4:30am. Husband took Ty to school and went back to bed until after 11am. I may hate him. Then he packed and left for a week in Las Vegas. I'm pretty sure I hate him. As he was leaving, he says, "I really don't want to go. I don't even know who the entertainment is at the last conference event...some band called Matchbox 20..."

It's official. I almost certainly hate him.

Then I made dinner alone. Kids dying from hunger, screaming, coloring on the windows, crayons spilled everywhere, Tyler insisting on making his own peanut butter sandwich (no, he won't eat what I cooked)...and the chicken came out half cooked and half raw. Why do they put HUGE chicken thighs in the same package with little tiny ones??? How hard is it to sort them by size?

It's way past their bed time. Peas and rice spilled into my sofa. Kids are wired and bouncing off the walls. Tyler lied about brushing his teeth. No hair left to pull out. John has 4 nights of a bed to himself in a city built for fun and loaded with great places to eat...yeah, it's a work function and he has to mingle and go to meetings. But I know those sales guys. Someone is going to suggest a strip club and it's all down hill from there.

Yeah. I hate him.

[If hubby reads this... Just kidding honey! I love you! Travel safe and bring me home a present, mkay?]

Friday, June 13, 2008

Binki Experiment - Day 2 (Thanks Lotus!)

One of my fav bloggers (who else could get all their readers to send photos of their boobs?) is currently in the process of weaning her boy off the binky. Since our boys are very close in age, I thought I would give it a shot. I'd much rather say bye bye to the bink NOW than have a repeat of the extreme pacifier addiction that Tyler had. (He refused to give it up until he turned 4 - then gave it up cold turkey that very day.) For several months now, we've already limited Max's paci use to nap and bedtime only (or when we were desperate on a long car trip.)

Day 1 - No bink given at naptime. You know what? He went to sleep without complaint! No bink at bedtime. He woke several times during the night, but didn't cry. Just rocked in his bed to sooth himself. Success!

Day 2 - Again, no binky at naptime. He fell asleep on the sofa and was carried to his bed, so no problem there. Bed time is now. He has been talking, rocking and calling for me for a half hour now. *sigh* Crossing fingers.

Update at 11PM - he fell asleep after a second sippy full of milk. This might not be the best time to take his comfort items away. Max has started to settle in to full blow separation anxiety. I hope it doesn't get as bad as it was with Tyler. I couldn't even leave the house without him breaking down into a hysterical mess. Poor kid.

The other issue I have in parallel with Lotus (see link) is our excessive need to control all writing implements and keep them away from little hands except under the strictest supervision. Yeah. It worked great when it was just baby Tyler in the house. There was only ONE instance where he got his mitts on a pen and drew on my dinning room table and chairs. Now? Tyler is much older and very careless with his things. Max finds crayons in the sofa, pens under the bookcase, markers on the floor near the whiteboard, and a multitude of other writing implements anywhere and everywhere. Ugh!

So I've been cleaning up Max's "art work" on a daily basis and it's driving me a bit batty. He loves to use markers on the dining room window. That's not so bad. The ink comes right off the glass easily. He'll also follow big brother's example and draw on the white board I mounted on the back-side of the breakfast bar in the kitchen (where the bar stools would normally be parked). Also easy to clean. BUT, then he write on the carpet and the furniture. Ugh. He has some major special radar. If there is a loose pen anywhere in his reach, he WILL find it and use it. LOL


Meanwhile, in Second Life, I am attending a Kiss tribute concert. Wow, this takes me back.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Dragon Flys, Boys, and Making Babies

I had an interesting discussion with Tyler the other day. He was watching "Miss Spider" on Noggin with Max and said, "I love this show."

I asked him if it was because he had something in common with Miss Spiders' kids. He looked at me blankly. "Think about it Ty. She is a spider and her kids are spiders, bed bugs and dragonflies. Didn't you ever wonder about that?"

That triggered a lively discussion on adoption and the differences between being born into a family and being adopted into one.

Tyler wisely said to me, "You know what Mom? You are lucky your belly was broken. Getting a baby out of there really hurts!"

"How did you know that childbirth was really painful, Ty?! Did they talk about it at school?"

He shook his head at me and said, "Think about it. It takes a DOCTOR and a HOSPITAL to get a baby out of there. That HAS to hurt! Plus those holes down there are so SMALL!"

I burst out laughing and when I composed myself, I said, "You know what Ty? You are right. I am very lucky."

Friday, June 06, 2008

WeAss #219 Transportation

Weekend Assignment #219: What is your favorite form of transportation, and why? You can choose any means of traveling by land, sea or air, with just one catch: it has to currently exist in the real world, or have existed in the past. No TARDIS, no Star Trek transporter, no flying DeLoreans, all right?

Extra Credit: What's the most unusual form of transportation you've ever taken?



While I love the comfort and convenience of my mini-van, I confess I crave some very different modes of transport.

Firstly, I would LOVE to have one of these:

We rode these in Bermuda and I've wanted to get back on one ever since. I think it would be GREAT to tool around town on one. I'd get Tyler a nice helmet too. What a fun way to get to school in the morning. (Of course I have no clue what the laws are when it comes to passengers on these...but I would check, of course.)

Second choice would be a Segway. Currently I have an issue with the maximum allowed weight on these (which sucks) but maybe one day I can address that. Maybe that can be my incentive. Hey honey? If I get under the max allowed on a Segway, will you get me one? Or better yet, get me that cool Vespa?

Third choice would be one of these:



But seriously, I might be forced into one of those at the rate I'm going.
EDITED 6/8 1:49PM to add:
I forgot to do the extra credit part! Most unusual form of transport I've ever taken...hmm. There was the sky tram in the New Mexico mountains, cable cars in San Francisco, scooters in Bermuda...probably the most unusual was catching a ride on a C-130 (at least I think that's what it was called) military transport plane. Can't recall if it was to or from Okinawa where my Dad was stationed when I was a kid. I only remember that is was VERY LOUD.
And a note to Trish - that Vespa up above? It is FAST. It can do freeways with no problem. :-)

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Opening Pandora's ... er ... Website!

A big THANK YOU to my bloggy pal, Donna, for pointing me to Pandora. What is Pandora, you ask?

So glad you asked! It's an internet radio station...sorta. The big difference is you are in control of the station programming. You start by picking a band or song you really like. They will play that song/group right off the bat, but in the background the site is putting together a playlist of other artists and songs that they feel have a similar style and sound as the band you like. Then they play one of their suggestions as the next song. If you like it, you can click Guide Us and say so. Ditto if you DON'T like it. What you end up with is a radio station full of songs and artists you LOVE and nothing you don't. How cool is that?

So far I am on song number 8 and they haven't thrown anything at me that I don't like...and all I did was pick Rush as my starting band. And the sound quality over my cable broadband connection is friggin awesome! Now I wish I had a cigarette lighter so I could light it and wave it over my head. Heh.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Friends in the News

One of my bloggy pals (Bridgette of ...And Then There Were Four, a private journal) was interviewed recently. She has a son on the autistic spectrum and has been a tireless advocate of autism awareness and the need for major reform in how our children are vaccinated.

Just wanted to drop a pointer to the article (complete with video). There has been a great deal of debate over whether vaccinations are a cause or contributing factor to the onset of autism. Her story is quite compelling.

At the very least, I agree with the argument that we need to "Green our Vaccines!" Go Bridgette!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"Can you feel the soft cool grass...feel it with your toes..." L. Berkner

While visiting Grandma on Memorial Day, Max lost a sock. It was a nice day, so we decided to skip shoes and just go outside in bare feet. I quickly realized this was only the second time Max had been in grass without shoes on. This was his reaction:



Heh. Max may love Laurie Berkner's song Under a Shady Tree, but he does NOT like how grass feels on his toes.

And now it's time for Max's word of the day:




Hope you all have a great week.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Photos from the Show

As I mentioned before, while I was taking video with one hand, I was shooting photos with the other. Here they are.

I decided to just do a one time share rather than post them on my Shutterfly site/album because there are photos of some of Tyler's classmates in there. Shutterfly photos don't show up in search engines and the only way to view them is through that link. Just trying to be mindful of showing other people's kids on the net (something I never used to give much thought to in the past since I never had any hesitation to share photos of my own kids.)

The photos turned out much better than the video did (sorry about that!) LOL! I used my new (birthday) Sigma telephoto lens and quickly realized we were sitting too close to the stage. Wow can that thing zoom in. A good lesson for next time. Plus maybe if we sit further back, I won't freak Tyler out with all that A/V equipment trained on his every move. Heh.

As I said in the note included with the photo link, Tyler and I had a long talk when he got home from school that day about why is Mommy is so camera crazy. He remembered the previous conversation where I explained about childhood memories and looking back one day when he is older. He can't imagine being older at this stage of life, so obviously that argument didn't hold much water with him. Then I went on to talk about all the people in his life who love him and can't always be around to see him growing up and doing cool stuff. It was light-bulb moment for him. "Oh yeah! Grandma and Grampy and Grandma Lois didn't get to see my show! It's too far to drive to get there on time in the morning..." Then he was thrilled I had made the video of the whole show so his grandparents and aunts and uncles and all those nice internet friends could all see him in his play. He wants you all to know that he "worked real hard" and he's sorry he didn't sing the bad wolf song (he thought it was too silly.) Then he wanted to make a video of his brother's butt to share on the internet. Funny, kid. Very funny.

I'll have to remember this argument for the future. "Tyler, smile nice please. Remember, all those people who love you want to see how big you are getting. Photos are important!" Heh. Maybe it will work. We'll see.

Oh! And just an aside... I've mentioned her before, but, Tyler has a classmate who looks just like Dora (from Dora The Explorer). She happens to be a HUGE Dora fan and deliberately tries to maintain her "Dora" look...right down to the hair cut. There's a photo of her at the link above. She's so adorable and a really sweet kid (who likes Tyler a lot.)

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The wolf said WHAT!??

Today, Tyler had his very first school play. He starred in a kindergarten production of The Three Little Pigs (he was the 3rd pig who made his house out of bricks). This isn't Broadway, but it was cute (and the kids are reading the scripts all by themselves). I was filming with my left hand and taking photos with my right, so the video goes a bit wonky at times. Hope you don't get too sea sick. Also, the audio goes on the fritz half way through Part 3 - I'm not sure why. Either I had my fingers covering the mic or the battery was running low. Needless to say, I'm not too happy about trying to hear Tyler over a buttload of static. I'm not going to embed all these, I'll just link them.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rkK-050ZzmI Very short vid - I just wanted to capture the stage.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwfWB281P7Y Tyler's class arrives - also a short video. Not too exciting, but Tyler looks very cute at the end.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GnVrzBEn7pk The play begins. Tyler's best pal Robert was supposed to be either Pig #2 or the Big Bad Wolf (can't remember which) but he's been out sick the last couple days. Ty was feeling sad that his friend missed his opportunity to be in the spotlight.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3rLwBf5UWsU The thrilling conclusion - if you can hear through the static. Sorry about that. I'm sorry, but, excuse me? The pigs didn't make FRIENDS with the wolf at the end of the 3 Little Pigs story *I* heard as a kid. Heh. I like it better when the wolf gets his buns toasted in the fireplace after he attempts to climb down pig #3's chimney. Still, the kids did a nice job for their first production.

Max was VERY good during the play. I was really pleased. We came armed with his sippy full of milk and a snack container full of cheerios. He was transfixed! He sat very quietly and watched the story, only making a couple of excited noises when he saw his brother. I think he might be ok to bring to the circus or to go see his favorite kid's singing star (Laurie Berkner) in concert. Speaking of Laurie...here is one last video of Max enjoying her music.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wt3jh-Cpx1E
The ringing phone at the end...? That was Grandma calling to chat. She has great timing...she always calls when I'm on the toilet, changing a diaper, or napping with Max. Heh.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Bring it back!

Monica has a great topic in her journal today...stuff we miss that we wish would make a comeback - like the old fried apple pie at McDonalds or ice cold Coke in those signature glass bottles.

I could spend a whole entry just on McDonalds alone. I want the original chicken nuggets back (before they were "all white meat" and dry as hell), I want the old french fries back - who cares if they spray them with a beef flavored coating?!, the amazing cheddar burger (quarter pounder sized patty on a whole wheat bun with cheddar cheese sauce and grilled onions...omg they are heaven), the ORIGINAL shakes before they made them lower in fat and took out the industrial plastics that made them so thick...and so on. LOL

But let's move beyond the superficial (and food)... what else would I like to see make a comeback? My waist would be a good one. I miss that. My stamina and upper body strength. Those would be good too.

How about a genuine sense of community? Where are the block parties? The concerts on the green? Folks having open house parties with the grills fired up in the driveway and kegs of beer on ice in the garage? We're all too busy in our own lives and have lost that connection with each other in this town.

I asked John this question too and we brain-stormed. Marathon bars! Remember those? It was like a braid of caramel dipped in chocolate. Mmm! He says "good music on the radio" and I chimed in with "The REAL MTV!" not this reality TV craptastic channel it's turned into.

Wetson's hamburgers (from John). He says it was a burger place in the 60s. I have no clue. LOL! It's funny how many food related things we are thinking of. "New Coke!" He loved New Coke apparently.

Palisades Amusement Park (again from John). Long gone, but not forgotten.

Fanny Farmer chocolate stores. They had the BEST jelly beans ever (yes, even better than Jelly Belly).

There are a TON of TV shows we came up with, but I won't list them all. Honestly, if TV execs and writers have run out of ideas, then why not remake some TV classics? They do it enough in the movies. Look at Battlestar Galactica! That show is kick-ass!

Yeah, all this stuff is pretty superficial. I could list big things like strong and honest government, lower taxes, bringing back the peace (and our soldiers), and freakin' SCHOOL BUSES in this dang town... but superficial is better for my blood pressure.

What would YOU like to see make a come back?

EDITED to add:

For Andi -

Well...I can bring you 3, because they actually DID come back (or never left).

http://www.spencersonline.com/

http://www.babysnazz.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=2&gclid=CPr2pd_NsZMCFRIkxwod9C7gnQ OK, so the legwarmers are for the diapers and spitup set, but hey...they are BACK!

Xanadu - on broadway... http://xanaduonbroadway.com/

For Lori -

I give you http://www.driveintheater.com/index.htm where you can find the closest open drive-in to you. Maybe there is still one that is within a reasonable drive distance! We've been talking about a field trip to one in CT for a while. I think the boys would get a kick out of it. California is your best bet to find a woody. They are a cult classic with the aging surfers out there. ;-)

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Max's First Words

For the past couple months, we've had some concerns about Max and his speech. Worried about a delay, we spoke to his doctor. She reassured us that speaking "later" is common in boys; particularly boys with older siblings. Suddenly, a couple weeks ago, Max started saying more words! His list now includes Mama, Dada, TyTy or Tyler (said like "Tywer" so cute!), good, more, bye bye, all done, that, shoes, and the words featured in the following cute videos (please ignore Max's chocolate covered puss and jammies - he was chowing on chocolate chip cookies right before I shot this footage. LOL):




And one more word!




Needless to say, we are tickled! I've been spending more time trying to engage Max in trying to say new words. I also spend all day talking about everything I'm doing and asking Max questions. The conversation is very one-sided and anyone eavesdropping on the baby monitor frequency probably thinks I'm nuts. LOL

Friday, May 16, 2008

Milestone: Tyler's First Movie (non-animated)

We just got finished watching E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial with Tyler. This marks the first time he's sat through an entire feature-length, live-action film (AND paid attention AND liked it!) The only other movie I know of that he's watched, in it's entirety before, is Finding Nemo.

It's interesting to watch this movie again, after so many years...and to see it from the perspective of a very naive and inexperienced 6 year old. He knows nothing of mans search for alien life, or the paranoia of government against any unknown and potential threat, or the effects of exposure to exotic life-forms and the precautions needed to prevent the spread of disease (wow, the questions we got when the faceless men in space-suits showed up at Elliot's house.)

We talked about radiation again (remember the microwave incident?) and it's effects on the human body. That sparked a whole side track on "cancer" and how it forms and why. Whew! Who knew E.T. would be such a catalyst for conversation on so many divergent subjects. We spent a great deal of time talking about the potential of life on other planets (and Tyler's certainty that alien life DOES exist and has already visited us.)

In the end, it's interesting to note that this movie still makes me cry. I cry at the part where it appears that E.T. has died (even tho I know he isn't really dead) and I cry at the farewell scene. Like a baby. Tyler was so engrossed in the chase scene and the space ship landing, I don't think he even noticed Mommy blubbering right next to him on the sofa.

He got so much out of this movie night experience, that I only feel slightly guilty for letting him stay up until 10:30pm to finish watching. Heh. At least it's a Friday night and there's no school tomorrow.

Oh! And he won't look at me funny any more when I point at him and say "Be good!" while doing my best E.T. impression. Yay for updating Tyler's pop-culture references!

For Liz

I found this video on a new blog I started reading today (hi Becky!) I wanted to share it with my birth-mom, Liz.



Thank you.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Little League 2008 & Stuff

We got Tyler's team photos today...

Tyler's Player Photo

I was instantly struck by how similar this photo is to last year's...

Tyler's Player Photo

He does look a tad younger and less experienced. This year's I think he looks more confident (less squinty too - LOL darn that sun). I have to laugh at the photographer a bit. He finds one good pose and really sticks with it, doesn't he. Props for consistency. Ha! I used a new (to me) photo editing program on the latest picture. Did a bit of color correction. The original shot looks just like the old photo...kinda pale and washed out. Not a true reflection of reality. Anywho, I'm proud of my little slugger. :-)

Changing subjects. We went up north to visit my parents this past weekend. I spent Mother's Day trying to keep Max out of trouble in their very un-child-proof home while John slept in. Wha? Yeah. I feel a little ripped off there. ;-) Tyler made me a, er, decoupage (I guess that's what you'd call it) flower vase and a hand-colored Mother's Day card. I love it when Tyler makes me things. And he loves it when I display them proudly on my desk. Plus John filled the card with my favorite lottery scratch tickets (thanks Hun)...then we all went out to eat at mine and my Mother's favorite local restaurant. Max was acting up a fair amount (the lethal tired + bored + hungry combo) so it was hard to taste and enjoy my meal. Oh well. John told me NEXT year he will make sure the day is all about me and won't let my mom hijack it in her normal modus operandi.

I've been so tired lately. No energy to be online. Lacking concentration. Nothing creative to write about here. I feel very disconnected from my online circle of friends. One even called me to complain that she never gets to chat with me anymore (sorry Kimmy!) I owe her a phone call. Ever since she and a couple other online pals started working full time, it's getting harder and harder to stay connected with them. I know earning a living is important, but I'm sorry...it sucks that these ladies aren't stay-at-homes any more. I'm at my most energetic in the early afternoon (right after my nap with Max). LOL And now I don't have anyone to IM with. Since I know there isn't anyone to chat with, there's no reason to even go online so I just do other stuff.

I keep forgetting to even sign in on AIM or Yahoo or Messenger. Tsk. That doesn't help either.

I thought once the winter was over and I finally got my health back (yay for not needing to blow my nose every 3 seconds and not wetting myself from coughing so hard!) that I would get some of my seasonal motivation back. Have a desire to get out of the house more. Use my new camera. But I still feel so so wiped out. I was sick pretty much non-stop for over 3 months. I have no stamina. No energy. It sucks! I fear it's all just a steady down-hill slide if I don't DO something soon. I think I need to start with a visit to my doctor. I honestly feel like I need physical therapy after all these months of illness and inactivity.

I'm all out of whack and all out of words. Happy Belated Mother's Day to all my Mommy pals.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Gerber NUK learner sippy cup

Gerber NUK learner cup

This is currently Max's favorite sippy. He was weaned off bottles and onto this sippy with NO problem whatsoever. He took to it immediately. There are no valves, it's leak proof and the spout is soft (made of latex). The cup comes apart easily and all parts are top rack dishwasher safe. Why do I sound like a commercial?? LOL Honestly, these cups top my list of useful items for weaning babies and toddlers.

But the MAIN reason I am posting this info is to test the power of Google. These NUK learner cups are not easy to find in stores or online. Currently the only place that carries them that I can find is Drugstore.com. And NO PLACE has replacement spouts. The cup, handles and top ring on all Max's sippies are in perfect shape after months of use, but the spouts have seen better days.

SO, after months of looking, and as a public service to all the other Moms out there who love these learner cups, here is where to get replacement spouts! You need to call Gerber directly. Call 1-800-4-Gerber and ask for the NUK Learner Cup replacement spouts. They cost $1 each (with a min order of 5).

End of public service announcement. LOL

UPDATE 7/13/09: Spouts are now $2 each with a minimum required order of $5 (so you have to buy at least 3) and a shipping charge of $5. You may also be charged tax depending on where you live. At $2 each plus shipping I think it still beats the cost of replacing the entire cup when the spout wears out.

UPDATE II 8/3/09: The round hard plastic disk that comes with this sippy is NOT a valve. It is a leak-proof seal used along with the clear dome lid to prevent the sippy from leaking inside a diaper bag or during transport. REMOVE the plastic disk before your child attempts to drink from the sippy. All you need for normal use is the o-ring and nipple-like spout. The spout has a built-in valve to regulate flow and prevent most leaks. If you still have trouble with slow flow, just press on the inside of the spout on the little bump with the X cut through it to flex it outward and give it a bit of a stretching.

Update 4/4/2011:  After several reports that Gerber no longer sells these through their 800 number, I did want to mention that they are still available from Amazon (see above) and Walmart. The entire cup is also sold at Drugstore.com.  The trick is finding them in-stock. Complaints to the Gerber 800 number will score you a free replacement spout to tide you over. Be sure to request a restock at your local Walmart!

Friday, May 09, 2008

Student of the Month

I got a letter from Tyler's school Principal today. For many parents, seeing an official school envelope like that might make them cringe. Not us! But I wasn't expecting THIS:

Letter from the Principal

And Tyler came home with a certificate and award ribbon.

Student of the Month - Smug

Ty has a very "aw shucks" attitude toward our gushing praise, he's very humble. I honestly don't think he realizes that he is student of the month for his entire school! Maybe I should explain that he beat out 8th graders for this. That will probably impress him. LOL I think it's nice that the school is having a special lunch for all this year's Students of the Month. Makes me wonder if they pick someone for June (and that kid is just screwed out of free lunch) or if they just skip June because it's the last month of the school year (and a short month too with school being out long before the month is over).

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

On being adopted in the 60s...

With all the complaining I do about my parents, there are a few things they did right by me. They never kept it a secret that I was adopted. They kept other things secret such as my birth mother's age when I was born, the fact that they had a court document with her last name on it hidden in their safety deposit box that I didn't get my hands on until I was in my 30s, the name of my adoption agency...yadda. But the fact that I wasn't their biological child? They were open about that; at least to us kids. They did NOT want us blabbing about it to our friends, the neighbors or our school teachers.

That could get rather tricky at times. There were those school science projects... I remember one assignment where we were studying genetic characteristics and I was told to go home and study my parents' ear lobes and then report back to school with who had ear lobes the same as mine. Apparently lobes are one of those traits you get from one parent or the other. Ah. Yeah. I have large, detached lobes (great for earrings). My parents both have attached ones that are close to their heads. I announced this in class and my teacher was going to flunk me for not really doing the assignment. *sigh* Naturally I had to come clean as to why it was possible for my lobes not to match. And yikes, the can of worms! You feel like an act in a side-show. Other than my brother, as far as I knew I was the only adopted kid in my entire school.

That incident, at least, didn't happen until high school. I was able to nip another potential disaster in the bud when, in elementary school, we were assigned to fill in our family tree. I had recently shared with my best friends that I was adopted (and they swore to keep it quiet). They flooded me with questions like, "Where is your REAL mother and father? Why did they give you away?" etc. etc. Questions I didn't have the answer to. But I got stuck on that question of "real". Real? If my mom and dad weren't my REAL parents, did that make them fakes? With how secretive they were all the time and how they always insisted on privacy...maybe I wasn't really adopted. Maybe I'd been kidnapped and my REAL parents were out there, somewhere, looking for me.

Naturally, my friends let the cat out of the bag by telling their parents my secret. Then one of their parents (a real busybody) called my mom to ask if it was true and to grill her for all the dirt. I got into some serious trouble for blabbing. My mom was embarrassed to answer all those questions. She wanted to just pretend I was her natural child so she could nod and smile at people when they said, "Oh, she looks just like you!" Then I found myself wishing they weren't my "real" parents. They were mean!

Oh, back to the assignment. Like I said, I was stuck on the question of "real" and my ability to complete the assignment honestly. So I approached my teacher in private and told her I was adopted. She just shook her head and said, "Your current family is your REAL family, like it or not. You don't call anyone else 'Mom' or 'Dad' do you?" She said some other stuff that made total sense that I can't recall now, but I was grateful that she set me straight on that point. Plus it was a challenge to get info about ancestors out of my Dad. He wasn't the easiest person to talk to.

Other than those two instances and my own perpetual curiosity about my biological family and the circumstances of my birth, my childhood wasn't really all that deeply affected by the fact that I was adopted. Their insistence on privacy may have been another thing my parents did right. My mother used to talk about her infertility woes to me (something we both share) and the fact that they didn't hide things from their close friends at the time. Their friends all knew they registered with an agency and one friend threw them a shower once I arrived. Mom says they got some strange looks at church where, obviously, the weekend before she was NOT pregnant and then voila there was Mom carrying ME into a pew. But no uncomfortable questions. Maybe it was the mid-west decorum (we were in Kansas at the time). She would not have escaped unscathed in Massachusetts, of that I am pretty certain. Talk about nosy neighbors!

Mom says not all agencies did things the same way. Theirs was rather progressive. Others still advocated NOT telling the child about their origins so they wouldn't feel out of place in the family. I mean, seriously... I know there are times where adopted kids do look like their adoptive parents (just look at us; people tell us all the time how much our boys look like us). But what about the kids who look nothing like their parents. What if there are biological siblings who DO look like the parents. Kids aren't stupid. Plus they just might end up getting those annoying school assignments that call attention to the fact that you have no genetic relation to your parents.

Oh! That reminds me of another incident where I got into an argument with a teacher. Advanced Bio...we were learning to type our own blood. Again, we were told that one of our parents would share our same blood type. Ahem. Wrong! I told my teacher that I was A and my Dad was O+ and my Mom was AB-. LOL She started an argument with me. Being a wiseass teen, I was insistent that I was right (and totally messing with her head) and had her good and riled up before I told her, finally, that I was adopted. *snort* Sometimes being adopted came in handy, if you wanted to mess with people. Like how I told my little friends in elementary school. "My mom can't have babies. She's allergic to my dad." Heh. They were all superior in their comments, "You liar! Then how did they have you and your brother!" "Oh, they found us abandoned at an amusement park and just took us home." "No way!" I was such a fibber when I was a kid. ;-)

Friday, May 02, 2008

WeAss #214 - ChaChaChaChanges

Karen speaks of the power of change in this week's Weekend Assignment. She says, "Tell us of one change you voluntarily made in your life at some point, that worked out really well."

Several things pop instantly to mind and are pretty obvious like adopting our boys or building this house, but the more I think about it I realize the single most significant change I made in my life that improved things and altered my outlook in an earth shattering way was my decision to quit my job/old life and move to New Jersey.

See, I was in a soul sucking, dead-end of a job working for a really nice guy but working WITH a bunch of evil shrew women from hell and a few sexist, ex-military, sexually harassing men that gave me nightmares. While working with Satan's minions, I also lost my best friend to suicide and the love of my life decided he couldn't stand living in Massachusetts for one minute longer and he up and moved back home with his mommy. [insert wink] And who could blame him. I didn't like the state either and had moved to New Hampshire myself and was enduring one hell of a long commute each day. I loved my little condo and my boyfriend, but they were very tiny bright spots in an otherwise fairly dark and hellish daily routine.

Add to that some extreme tension between me and my parents over the above mentioned boyfriend, and you have the icing on an extremely rotten cake. What the hell was I doing with my life???

John (the boyfriend) and I had gotten engaged and were planning a wedding in all this mess. Yet another reason I was staying put - most of my family and friends were in New England. When I had a massive falling out with my mother (who called off my wedding), that was the proverbial straw. I got out of my lease (my landlord was very understanding), gleefully quit my job, packed up all my crap into a U-Haul truck with the help of John and a buddy of his from work and made a run for NJ.

John had rented a cute little house from another buddy of his and was busy feathering this new love nest for his future wife when I moved up the time table. We had every intention of waiting until after our wedding to move in together, but life just wasn't working out that way. Instead, I moved in and we re-planned our wedding, in NJ, together. Once we got home from our honeymoon, it was like a huge weight was lifted. I was able to breath again and really start over. I'd found a new job that turned into a successful career and, other than a few bumps, life has been pretty darn good ever since.

If your life totally blows, I heartily recommend bagging it and moving to NJ. Worked for me.

:-)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Where do these people COME from?!

I use SiteMeter.com to track my blog's statistics (how many visitors and junk like that). One feature they have that is kinda cool is the ability to see where visitors are coming from - know as a referral. My typical visitor is someone who has clicked a link to me from another blog (side bar or comment). I also receive a good deal of traffic from search engines. Periodically I get curious to see what kinds of searches have brought visitors to my blog. Here are the top 5:

1. topless water park pictures (or some variant thereof)
2. Almighty Isis (or some variant thereof, it's a kid's show from the 70s that I've posted about twice)
3. Stouffers Dinner Club
4. prom dress
5. A tie between "Shopaholic" and "Honda 600" (one being an entry I did years ago about my shopping addiction and the other being my first car)

Over all, not too bad. The first one is a tad disturbing. No, I don't have any photos of topless people in a water park. All I have is an old entry where I mentioned man boobs. In hindsight, I should probably have worded that entry more carefully. Then again, I should probably word THIS entry more carefully because since I've mentioned these search terms AGAIN, this will bring in even more pervs to my blog. But you know what? I'm all about disappointing the pervs. Sorry pervs. No photos for you!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Monday Photo Shoot #18: Unreal!

Karen says show us something that isn't real. Hmm. OK! The first thing that came to mind is a photo from my archives.


Tyler - Age 3
Ty went through a phase where he didn't like his swimsuit. We just rolled with it. This shot, taken with my now ancient Kodak, just begged for the addition of wings. I thought he looked so much like a little garden pixie sneaking a dip in our pool. :-) And yes, the water was very cold. LOL

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Packages

I've been emailing with Tyler's birth grandmother (his birth father's mom) over the last few days. K is very sweet and it breaks my heart to think about what she is going through. Like most Moms whose kids move away from home, she was storing a ton of stuff for J in her garage. Intense emotions are being stirred up as she sorts through some of these boxes. If there can be a plus side to her tragic loss, she has found some joy in discovering some of J's toys from his childhood. K decided she wanted to share some of them with Tyler and Max, so she promptly boxed them up and sent them to the boys as a surprise.

I decided to film the boys as they opened their boxes so K could share in the excitement. Tyler is funny. I don't think he really likes surprises. He pestered me all afternoon for hints as to what was in his box. I wanted to finish a couple of things before I got out the camera and let the kids do the opening. I should have known that prolonging the suspense (and having John throw out mock guesses as to what might be in the boxes...including items Tyler really wants...grrr Daddy!), the actual moment of unveiling was less that what I was hoping for. But as he took the time to check out each toy, his excitement grew. I should probably invest in the DVD box set of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons from the 80s so Ty will know who all these characters are. The new TMNT cartoon is different from the original with all new villains.

Max had his own box to open too and he was pleased with his action figures (GI Joe and Transformers), but he was even more pleased with the box and the bubble wrap. *sigh* Kids are so funny.







Sorry for the audio bad spots. This isn't the first time the audio has cut out on a video like that. I think it happens when the battery level gets low on my Flip, or there are some bad sectors on the Flip memory. I hope it's the first, because the second would be a pain.

The surprises didn't end there. K sent one final surprise to John and I think the boys got a huge "kick" out of this one.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Um...

I've been in a rather intense email exchange for the last couple days and I'm all out of text...so how about some photos?


Tyler (on Grandma Lois' porch)


Max discovers the joys of I-Spy

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Attn: Tooth Fairy

Tyler just came home from school with big news:

Gone!

Gap Toothed Grin

*sniff* Bye bye, baby teeth. I guess I'll have to get used to Tyler's grin being even goofier for the next few years. ;-)

RIP Ollie

Farewell to the last of Disney's "nine old men" - Ollie Johnston.



They don't make animators like him any more. Really, he was responsible for the "cute" fairies in Sleeping Beauty (Flora, Fauna & Merryweather) but I can't resist showing a clip of my personal favorite character, Maleficent. I named my Second Life avatar after her. LOL

I was raised on Disney classics like Bambi, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty and Cinderella. There are those who say that Disney warped generations of females into believing that, somewhere out there, was a handsome prince who would ride in on a white steed and sweep a girl off her feet; and nothing less would do. I say what's wrong with that?

How does the saying go - You have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Teen Hijinx

For the last few nights we've been the victims of a serial ding-dong-ditcher, with a twist. This kid(s?) waits until just after we shut the lights off at the boys' bedtime before he (they) strikes. Not only does the door bell ring about 10 times in rapid succession, but he also hammers on the screen door for good measure.

John has taken the bait a couple times, going to the door to see if anyone was there. Tonight, after the DDDer hit for the second time in an hour, John ran out onto the front lawn, shook his fist in the air and yelled, "You damn hooligans! If you do it again, I'm calling the cops!" Or something like that. Jeeze, what are we, 80?

While I am a tad angry that these teens strike when we're trying to get our kids to sleep, I can't help but grin a little too. If this is all the trouble our neighborhood kids are going to get into, I'll sleep better at night. Hey, it's better than them smashing our car windows to steal our stereos to fund their crack habit or something, right?

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Name That Tune!

Now it's time for a fun round of Name That Tune with Max! Watch the following video and see if you can guess Max's favorite classical music piece...




And now for something completely different... Spring Training with Tyler:

'

Spring Training

Looks like the season is off to a great start.

Friday, April 04, 2008

TAG: I'm it.

Trish tagged me to do this:

Here are the rules

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules on your blog
2. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog - some random, some weird.
3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs.
4. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

So here are my 7 random and/or weird things:

  1. This week, every time I stick a Q-tip in my right ear, I cough uncontrollably.
  2. When Max goes from a darkened room into light, he sneezes. Oh wait, I guess that's a Max weird thing. Um...ok, I keep all the windows in my bedroom covered with multiple things - Roman shades, blankets, etc. anything that will block the light. I like sleeping in total darkness.
  3. I don't like food from Burger King (John just brought that home for dinner), but it's Tyler's favorite.
  4. I got all kinds of cool new furniture for the new playroom back in November, but I have yet to complete construction on even 1 thing. Non-stop illness and exhaustion are the major reason why, but not the only reason.
  5. I will never again buy pre-fab furniture from HomeDecorators.com - not that I don't love it. I do! It's just in too many fricken pieces and takes to G-D long to put together. Not to mention that I need extra hands to help. This shit is HEAVY. I can barely lift one door on my new desk. So much for saving some bucks.
  6. I've come to the sad realization that I need a new PC. I'm constantly having to kill processes on this POS just to be able to function (one being my DVR). I can't edit my movies...not enough memory or resources. It's frustrating as all get out.
  7. I killed the DVR process the other day and forgot to turn it back on...I missed American Idol and Biggest Loser. Grrr!

So now I am supposed to tag seven more people to do this. But I don't like to tag. So, I'll take volunteers instead. You got seven items of random weirdness or brain dumpage to share?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

April Fools!

So, yes, my previous post was a joke. Thanks to ThinkGeek for the gag. Tyler didn't see this "game" until after I posted it on my blog. Funny thing, he really DOES want it. He was laughing so hard at the "cat" parts of the video, I thought he was going to strain something vital. Boys. They have such sophisticated senses of humor.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Tyler wants...

I'll be the first to admit that we spoil Tyler a bit. We have as much fun playing video games as he does, so we don't usually hesitate when he asks for a new game for his Wii. Then he asked me for THIS game:



Is it just me, or does this game cross some line somewhere???