Friday, February 29, 2008

Bubble Lovers

A few weeks ago Tyler saw a commercial on TV that really made him jump up and take notice. Now, this is really saying something because about 90% of the ads he sees between his favorite shows he will just totally ignore. (Of course that still leaves 10% that hit us right in the wallet. Why the hell does he want freakin Fruity Pebbles so gosh darn much???)

He saw the ad for The Gazillion Bubble Show. I was really surprised when he started begging me to go see it. A bubble show? REALLY?! I've been trying to talk him into going to see a show of some kind for YEARS now. Ringling Bros.? Nope. Sesame Street Live? No interest. Disney on Ice (a fav from my own childhood)? No way. Not even Dora and Diego live on stage (when he was still into those shows) would sway his interest. But now he wanted to see a bubble show. Hmm.

So I paid attention the next time the commercial came on and visited the website. It actually did look really cool. I've always loved blowing bubbles and this show took my bubble inside a bubble trick to a whole new level. I decided to see if Tyler's interest would persist and told him his Dad and I would talk about it. Usually he will just forget about things as time goes on and that's that. Not this time.

Every flippin time the ad came on, he was right up in my face asking when we were going to go. OK. John and I talked about it and John ran with the plan. He did the research on the venue and ticket prices, we discussed (at length) the optimal viewing vantage point in the theater, the logistics of taking a 6 year old who has selective hearing into New York City, and John's fears of Tyler falling down into that big gap between the subway platform and the train car.

But wait...what about Max? Yikes. He's a good baby, but there was NO WAY a show like this would hold his attention for more than 20 minutes, tops. I had horror visions of John and I playing pass the baby and taking walks into the lobby trying to keep Max in check. *sigh* It was hopeless. One of us would have to stay home with Max.

Then I had my fall on Valentine's Day and I haven't been walking right since then. That pretty well cinched it. John would take Tyler into the city to see the show and Max and I would stay home.

Well...this is the big weekend. The show is tomorrow afternoon...and what do we get in the forecast? A snow storm overnight tonight. The tickets were pretty darn pricey, so John decided he and Ty would drive into the city tonight, stay in a downtown hotel, go to the big Toys R Us store at some point and then to the show tomorrow.

They just left a little bit ago. I'm so jealous right now I could spit. LOL At the same time I am also terrified. This will be Tyler's first trip into the city. I just pray he is careful and listens to his Dad. I'm having visions of him stepping off the curb and getting flattened by a checkered cab.

Don't mind me. I'm just going to quietly panic until I hear the front door open some time tomorrow evening when they get home safe and sound. Then I will pout because I didn't get to go. ;-) John brought my old Canon digital camera with him, so hopefully he will get some good shots of Tyler in the big bad city. If so, I'll post them here on Sunday-ish.


Tyler and his Uncle Mike playing with a Gazillion brand giant bubble wand.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Brotherly Love

Ahhh boys. Sometimes Max & Tyler are so sweet together.


And sometimes, not so much...

Hair pulling. This was taken just before Tyler yelled "Ow!" LOL

Happily, they seem to like each other most of the time. I know this is just a lull before the storm. Already I am hearing, "Mom! Max is touching my stuff!" "Mom! Max is touching my food!" "Mom! Max is touching ME!" "No Max! Go away and leave me alone!" *sigh*

Max's response to Tyler's yelling? He shrieks like a howler monkey and throws things at Tyler. It gets his point across. Heh.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Hair Envy

What do you think? Can I just bring Max to a local salon and tell them, "Make my hair look like his!" Could they do it? I want that color and loads of curls. *sigh*

Goldie Locks

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Snow Day!

Did I mention that we had a huge snow storm on Friday? No? Well, we did. They cancelled school too. That makes 2 long weekends for Tyler in a row. He's a pretty happy camper. What makes no sense to me is why they gave him just Monday and Tuesday off this week (and called it "Winter Break")...why not give them the whole week off? His entire school vacation schedule leaves me scratching my head. It makes it almost impossible to schedule a vacation during the school year.

The other thing that bugs me is how different Tyler's schedule is from his pal Maddie in Alabama. Top on our list of places to visit when it's NOT summer is Alabama and my friend Kim. When does the kids' schedules match up? Christmas and Thanksgiving Day. You all know what my family would do if I announced we were going on vacation over one of those two holidays. No? Use your imagination. Be sure to add in loads of guilt and mental torture.

So, here it is, Saturday morning and the house is QUIET. The cats are in heavenly bliss at my feet. I'm the only one home! The boys decided to go out to McDonald's for breakfast and let Mommy sleep in. Aww! But shhhh...Mommy isn't sleeping. Silly Mommy! Nope. She is at her computer uploading videos to YouTube. Like this one from yesterday (the snow):




I know. What was I thinking? I should just go back to bed now. After I email another video to the grandparents. My mom has been itching to see Max's reaction to the Valentine's gift she sent him. My mom loves these stuffed animals that talk/sing/do weird stuff. She is always sending them to the boys. I have to admit, I've captured some pretty hilarious reactions to these critters over the years. Most of them are in my video collection on YouTube.

Friday, February 22, 2008

WeAss #204: My Favorite Year

My favorite year??? Wow. Maybe some people have a year that pops instantly to mind, but most years where the greatest events of my life happen; the worst events have also happened. For example:

  • The year I met John was also the year I dropped out of school and had some of the worst fights with my parents that I can recall.
  • The year we got married was also the year we lost John's sister to brain cancer and I'd lost my best friend not that long before.
  • The day we found out our portfolio had been selected and we were "expecting" our first child was also 9/11. Yes, THAT 9/11.
  • The fantastic year we spent traveling around the country as a family was also the year John was unemployed and we were eating away at our life's savings, trying not to panic.

I could keep going... The challenge was trying to find a year where the good stuff far outweighed the bad. So, I sat and tried to think. I went back through my blog to jog my memory. I walked away from this entry no less that 38 times because the boys needed something or I had to go do something.

So there is the REAL challenge. Finishing this entry/finding enough uninterrupted time to give my life some serious thought. Now, hours after starting this entry, I find I am too tired to find the answer. My brain, instead, offers this conclusion: Any year in which I continue to breath and my immediate family does the same is a good year. A favorite among those years would be the ones where we are also in good health, have enough money and manage to make memories some place fun with our boys. That'll do.

Bye Bye Babas!

With little fan fare, I decided yesterday would be the last day Max would get milk in a bottle. For a few months now, he has been down to one bottle when he woke up and one at night on his way to bed. During the day, he was using sippy cups. I knew he was ready, but that wasn't my worry. *I* wasn't ready to give up the bottles. It's nice sitting in my glider at night, feeding Max and rocking him into a more sleepy state. He's our last baby and I wasn't quite ready to let go of this "baby" phase.

First thing this morning I handed him a sippy full of milk. He looked at it for a moment, puzzled. Then he shrugged and started to drink. That was it.

*sniff* My baby!

I guess potty training comes next. But I won't have the same reluctance to give up diapers! No sir!

Monday, February 18, 2008

Monday Photo Shoot: Relax!

A photo of something relaxing...hmm. I know just the one.


Taken seven years ago, today...I wish I was sitting by this pool at Whaler's Cove on the island of Kauai. That's my idea of ultimate relaxation.

Informal Survey - Cell Phones

So the husband comes home from Houston (not Dallas, as previously reported...apparently I *DID* hit my head when I fell) and tells me that I am being kicked off our family cell plan because he is being moved to a corporate plan. So now I need new cell services. The plus side is, for the first time in over 8 years I'll get a new cell phone.

So. I haven't looked at cell phones (except the iPhone) at ALL in many years. Nor have I researched plans/companies. So. Here are my questions:

  • What cell phone, plan and company do YOU have?
  • Do you like them?
  • Who would you vehemently say I need to stay away from?
  • Any thoughts of a cell phoney nature are greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Late Night Conversations

It's funny the stuff that pops into your head when you are on drugs and dreaming. I woke at midnight after dreaming about those cardboard records you used to get on the back of cereal boxes. Anyone remember those? You cut them out of the back of the box and popped them onto your turntable, and if the box wasn't too warped, you got a nifty Archies tune or something. I haven't thought about those in decades. I found John, still awake, out here in the family room and we had a nice conversation about those records. Then we talked about the B-52's new song...and the fact that they mention a Russ Meyer film from 1965; Faster Pussycat! Kill! Kill! John had no idea who Russ Meyer was. I only knew because of the tie in to an 80s heavy metal band called Faster Pussycat.

I'm so glad John is home. It's nice having a lively conversation with an actual adult for a change.

Speaking of John - he called the doctor's office yesterday and made me an appointment. I guess he got tired of listening to me groan in pain. I didn't see my regular doc and wasn't too thrilled with the one who saw me. No one gave me a gown. I sat in the exam room on a plastic chair while the doctor told me to lift my shirt. While she poked at the sore areas on my chest, she took a phone call in the exam room from lord knows who.

As she is talking on the phone, she tells me take down my pants so she can exam my injured knees. I was crying from the pain and she was only half paying attention to what I was telling her. She finally hung up the call and said, "You should have gone to the hospital right after your fall and had xrays done. Now I'm just going to have to send you there now." And that was it. I was dismissed. I had to stop her from walking out and asked her if the hospital would give me something for pain (since it was obvious she wasn't going to - even after commenting several times on how much pain I seemed to be in.)

Her reaction? "Oh? You want something for the pain?" DUH! Why would I drag my battered body all the way to Denville, screaming in pain every time we hit a pothole, just to be poked and told "go get xrays"?! She gave me a script for Tylenol with Codeine and that was it. I told John to skip the hospital. Xrays would be a waste of time. I know I didn't break anything.

The meds are helping a bit. Better than what I was taking before - regular Tylenol and Aleve. At least I was able to lay down and actually fall asleep. That was a big improvement.

As a side note... HEY BLOGGER! When are you going to fix spell check?! My spell check button hasn't worked in over a week! So, sorry for any spelling errors, folks.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Interesting Adoptee Story

John found an interesting article in USA Today about a Maine Senator who fought successfully to have a bill passed to unseal birth records in her home state. Once the bill passed, she was one of the first in line to request her original birth certificate (she was adopted). Armed with the names of her birth parents, she asked the Senator from their home area if he was familiar with the names. Turns out...they were his grand parents! The story takes an even more interesting twist after that. Check it out:

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-02-12-adoption_N.htm?loc=interstitialskip

It's interesting to me how polarized the debate is on whether or not to grant access to previously sealed birth records. Many lawmakers claim they want to protect the privacy of the birth parents, while others state these "privacy" laws were originally enacted to protect the adoptive parents/child from unwanted contact (which is true - birth mothers in the 40s, 50s and 60s were never given any guarantee of privacy, only the adoptive families were.)

I just wish there was a more accurate representation in the media of how most reunions go down. You mostly hear the horror stories, when actually the statistics show most reunions have a positive outcome. Maybe then the lawmakers who are so entrenched in their belief that they are protecting the privacy of birth parents would wise up and see that most of us, adoptees and first parents, have the ability to act like adults. We can act like adults and accept the situation, how ever it plays out. Not everyone wants contact, on BOTH sides of the equation. We can all wear our big girl panties and accept life as it comes.

I'm lucky and happy that things worked out how I always wanted them to. I'm getting to know Liz and I finally have answers to all those little questions that plagued me my whole life. I'm sure she would say the same...she has answers now too. Where things go from here really doesn't matter. The end result remains the same. We had a successful reunion.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Ow ow owie ow ow!

I have an intense fear of falling. This stems from a trauma in my teens where I had a nasty fall on ice while walking the family dog. I was trapped outside in the bitter cold for over an hour and no one came looking for me. I shouted as best I could, but I'd had all the wind knocked out of me and eventually I had to crawl back to my house.

Tyler's school was closed yesterday...we had a snow storm followed rapidly by a freezing rain storm. The end result was ice, and lots of it. The driveway was like glass. I carefully maneuvered the boys to the van, got Tyler in and then picked my way around to Max's side to strap him into his car seat. I'm not sure how, but suddenly my feet just went out from under me. My chest slammed into the ledge/step of the minivan and my knees took the rest of the impact on the ice. I continued to slide away from the van while desperately trying to hold on, wrenching my upper back and neck with the effort.

I had the wind knocked out of me but good and I was in agony from the pain in my chest and knees. I was yelling with the pain and gasping for air, all the while thinking karma is a bitch. You see, just last night I watched a YouTube video that another blogger had posted. It was called "the grape lady" or something to that effect...a news clip from some morning show where the reporter takes a NASTY fall when she tries to climb out of a vat of grapes she was stomping.

Many people find the video funny (it's a phenom on YouTube with many edited versions and music videos). I didn't laugh. I watched it and felt really badly for the poor woman. I probably shouldn't have watched it at all.

So there I was, writhing in pain on the ice, both boys still in the van in the frigid cold. I couldn't stand up. No matter how I tried, the pain in my knees was agony and the driveway so slick, I couldn't get any leverage. It took 20 minutes before I was able to pull an old fleece shirt of John's from the floor of the van out onto the ice and used it to stand up, all the while crying "God help me!" It took a while to struggle back into the van, watch Tyler move some items out of the way in the garage and then move the van inside. Since the basement remodel there is very little room to get in and out of the van with all the crap being stored. It was a major struggle to get back out of the van and get Max out of his car seat and into the house. In the end, we were all outside for over an hour.

Our road is very busy with people driving their kids to school, this route being a sort of scenic shortcut. Honestly, I'm surprised that none of the cars driving by saw me struggling in my driveway (if they did, they didn't bother to stop to help.)

John is in Dallas and was, naturally, completely freaked out when I called him from my cell phone, once I managed to get into the van. He called Tyler's school to let them know what happened and then he called his mother. She lives about 40 minutes away from us. Once we finally got back into the house, I called John again to tell him not to send his mother over. Even in my extreme pain, I couldn't take the thought of having company over. The house is a wreck! I'm insane, I know.

Meanwhile, the school nurse called to check on us. I could hear Tyler talking to her first and recounting the events in his typical dramatic fashion..."Mom fell in the driveway and almost DIED! She's hurt really really bad!" That poor woman. Ty finally brought me the phone and I could hear the concern in her voice. Yes, I was struggling a bit to breath. No, I didn't think I broke any ribs...just badly bruised. Hospital? No no...I'll be ok, I think. My breathing? Oh. Well yes, it hurts to breath...but I am also getting over an upper respiratory infection and I've been coughing for days. Sitting out in the cold all that time panting for air probably didn't do my lungs much good. I finally convinced her that I would be ok. I think she said she would call again later. She wants to bring over some salt for our driveway. What a nice woman, honestly.

Also meanwhile, John is trying to get an earlier flight home. Poor guy. He's never gonna want to take another business trip. Disaster always seems to strike when he is away.

Thank God for Aleve. Once that kicked in, I was able to breath a little easier. Tyler is being a huge help today too. I'm glad I reigned in some of my insanity and didn't try to bring him to school anyway. I just wish I could lie down...it hurts less when I'm sitting up. I envy Max right now, napping peacefully.

Ow ow owie!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Valentines

I've always loved Valentine's Day. I have fond memories of my early years in elementary school - bringing in a shoe box to decorate, complete with a slot on top. The big day would arrive and we would leave our boxes on top of our desks all day and cross our fingers. Hopefully, by the end of the day, your box would be crammed full. It was also fun to sneak around the class room and drop off my Peanuts, Holly Hobby or Barbie valentines in other kids' boxes.

Thank goodness for those Moms would would make their kids give everyone in the class a valentine. I used to feel horrible for the ones who didn't get very many.

I found a little widget on another blog that just tickled me. Wanna send me a Valentine? I won't see them until Valentine's Day. Go ahead. Click the box below. I love you too.

My Valentinr - yanagi
Get your own valentinr

Oh, and if you decide to put this in your blog, be sure and let me know. :-)

Friday, February 08, 2008

Pop Unders and Proud Mama

I despise those little pop up ads that appear and then vanish under all your other open windows (aka pop-under). The biggest culprit seems to be Netflix...which is particularly annoying since I've been a customer of theirs for years. There should be a cookie or plugin that tells a company I am the WRONG TARGET AUDIENCE for a particular popup. I mean...duh! Go pop up on someone who doesn't already have your service or product.


Changing gears - I have been soooooo sick this week. On top of the sinus infection, I also caught Tyler's stomach virus. Ever cough so hard and then throw up simultaneously so that barf comes out your nose while you pee yourself and get a little anal leakage to boot? I can't recommend it.

I am starting to feel a tad better. I am sitting at my computer desk, so that's a good sign. In other news, John bought Tyler a new set of colored pencils today at the supermarket and, tonight, Tyler asked for some paper so he could draw us each a picture. When I saw his special picture to me, my heart hurt and I started to cry.

He has come so far this year in school. His drawings LOOK like what he means them to and his writing is amazing. I can read everything he writes! I think I'll scan in his picture and post it here:


This is Tyler and I under a poison apple tree (at night). Our cat is under the tree nibbling on apples which will, according to Tyler, permanently turn him a rainbow of colors. His picture for John shows the same tree (during the day) with Tyler, his dad and Leonardo (the ninja turtle) under the tree. On his dad's picture, he took the time to write out "poison apple" and "leonardo" so Dad could figure it out (Dad isn't as smart as Mommy, apparently). Heh.
To be fair, Max gave me a proud Mama moment today too. He let out a loud belch, adopted a look on his face that is a mirror of mine when I say excuse me, and patted himself on the chest (just like I do when I am less than ladylike.) Aww! It was like looking in a mirror! Too cute!!
I'll have to feed him some soda tomorrow and see if I can catch it in a movie. LOL!

Monday, February 04, 2008

Virtual Reunion

I think Liz and I might have an internet first - the first ever adoption reunion in Second Life. She saw my blog entry about SL and sent me an email asking if I wanted to "meet in person" in world. So we did. And it was fun! We found a couple scenic locales and took some snapshots of this historic moment and we spent the rest of the time chatting, shopping and showing each other some favorite spots.


We eventually ended up in her virtual living room to chat and John popped in with his avatar, so she got to meet him as well.


Honestly, with all the horror stories you read about reunions, this has to be one of the most mellow situations ever. I enjoyed her company...added her to my friends list...and look forward to hanging out again soon.


There was also some talk about meeting up in person. Stay tuned for that.



Liz and I "meet" for the first time.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Puke Fest 2008: Update

Tyler seems to be doing much better today after throwing up through most of the night. Max only tossed his cookies twice, thank goodness, and his virus appears to have migrated to lower in his gut. He has the poopies like his Dad. It's an improvement. Anything is better than throw-up.

I was up all night coughing and I've managed to strain my ab muscles. Coughing is hella painful now. I got no sleep last night, but did manage to sneak in a brief nap this afternoon, between coughing fits.

John also seems much improved, so with any luck we are all turning a corner and will be well soon.

Change of topic - just to clarify my Racketeer post, Tyler does NOT get $5 a day. He get $5 a week, i.e. $1 a day. John just checks his wallet each night to see how much he spent. We monitor his funds carefully, not because we worry about people stealing from him, but because he is such a picky eater and it makes us happy when he buys a healthy snack at lunch time.

One thing that NJ has done right is to pass a law governing nutritional guidelines in public schools. They are very strict about the types of foods that are served/sold in the schools. We were all handed a copy of the guidelines at the start of school and told what kinds of foods we could and could not send in Tyler's lunch box. Things like: no soda, no candy, 100% juice, no tree nut products (there are kids in his school with life threatening allergies), yadda. The hot lunch served at school is nutritionally balanced (as is the cold lunch) and no junk food is sold anywhere in the school, at any school functions or served at classroom parties. Heck, we just got a notice sent home reminding us not to attach candy treats to valentines.

I must admit, I was a little annoyed at first with all the nutritional rules. But now I'm pleased. It sends a positive message to the kids and teaches them the RIGHT way to eat.

OK, I have potato soup on the stove waiting for my attention. I've been living on soup the last few days, I think the steam helps clear my head a bit.

Go PATRIOTS!

WeAss #201: TV Dinners

Weekend Assignment #201: To promote a new cooking show, a TV station is going to pay you $500 to eat the same basic meal every day for a week, prepared with only minor variations by their on-screen host. What's on the menu?

Extra credit: Do you tend to eat the same thing all the time anyway?

TV show dinners for a week? Hmm! I'm split on this one. I am always up for a good steak dinner, and there are certainly many ways to prepare beef. Right now a nice filet mignon wrapped in bacon and doused in a sherry mushroom cream sauce sounds heavenly. With some nice whipped potatoes with a touch of cheese in them, sprinkled lightly with bacon bits and a side of sauteed spinach with a hint of garlic. Maybe on another night a nice BBQ brisket with home style potato salad and a green salad on the side with loads of cucumber and ranch dressing. How about a t-bone marinated in Italian dressing and cooked on the grill, with grilled veggies like onion, bell pepper, asparagus and zucchini and twice baked potato on the side.

Are these variations too big? It's all a basic beef, potato, veggie variant, right? LOL

Second choice would be fresh fish all week (like salmon) with some kind of garden fresh veggie and some kind of flavored rice. I could have loads of fun with that one too.

As for the extra credit, yes. Yes we are indeed in a food rut. I tend to make the same handful of dishes again and again. Marinated chicken (I do have 3 favorite marinades that I rotate), baked fish, pork chops (sauteed or shake n bake), steak cooked under the broiler, hamburger helper (we go between cheese burger mac and stroganoff), franks n beans, and pasta. Add in an occasional supermarket rotisserie chicken or those Tyson sirloin beef tips in gravy over some egg noodles, and that about covers it.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Lord Help Me!

I really really hate days like this. It didn't start off too badly. John is fighting a stomach bug. Max and I have been fighting headcolds (him for a week or more and me for the last 2 days). Tyler seemed fine as he headed off to soccer this morning. By 1pm, it was a puke fest. Poor Ty has the stomach virus (which for him always means barf, but for John has meant a mean case of the poopies.) Ty has been barfing every 15 minutes, all afternoon and well into the evening here. Then, about 20 minutes ago, Max threw up.

Oh man, it stinks in here...of Lysol and barf. I'm coughing up a lung and feel like my head is going to explode. I'm a zombie at my desk. John finally took Tyler into the bedroom because I feared Max would grab for his barf bowl. That wouldn't be pretty.

Please let this just be a 24 hour thing! I don't do very well with puke when I'm sick too.

Kindergarten Racketeers

Every day Tyler carries a small amount of cash to school with him (usually about five dollars.) He has been in the habit of buying a hot pretzel or extra drink from the cafeteria snack bar. The company that provides the school's food does an excellent job of keeping costs down for the kids. All items in the snack bar are under $1 and fit healthy nutritional guidelines. Not a bad deal. Every morning John checks Tyler's wallet to make sure he has enough money and fixes his lunch box too.

But John picked up on something this week and mentioned it to me. Tyler's spending habits suddenly changed and the .75 cents he was spending each day suddenly jumped to $4 or more. Say what???

We asked Tyler what he was spending his money on at school, and Ty got that look on his face. The look that tells us he knows he did something wrong and is afraid to tell us.

We finally got the truth out of him. Turns out there is a couple of boys at school that have been extorting money from him. Pay for play, so to speak. If he agrees to buy these boys something from the snack bar, they agree to hang out with him at play time on the playground.

I can't tell you how much this pained me. Tyler wants friends so badly and is a people pleaser. He is also a bit of a class clown. He likes making his friends laugh. Something like this could get out of hand so quickly and undermine his already fragile self esteem.

We explained to him that real friends don't CHARGE YOU MONEY to play with them. He should try talking to the boys, tell them he won't buy food for them anymore (he can't afford it) but be nice about it. I told him those aren't the kinds of friends he really wants to have. Friendship is free and if a kid really likes you, he'll want to play with you all the time regardless.

We're going to continue to monitor his wallet. If we see this trend continue, I'll notify his teacher and hopefully she will address it in class.

What the heck are these boys' parents teaching them? Do they let them watch reruns of the Sopranos or something?!