Friday, November 30, 2007

Holiday Cheer

This time of year reminds me of when I worked retail. Way back when, I was a buyer for a department store chain in New York City. It was tons of fun- and I would spend oodles of money in short spans of time (I once wrote orders for $4,000,000 in 2 days) but I had to work so much that the rats in the New York subway had a better quality of life than I did.

Anywhoo....when the hours got long, we tried to amuse ourselves with practical jokes. One of my favorites was around Christmas time. It was the height of Teletubby fever- and these scary stuffed animals were flying out the door. We had classic management back then--- a real mahogany row of executive offices, flanked by steely eyed secretaries, and a chairman who smoked cigars and was famous for his temper tantrums. You never spoke to management directly. They called a Senior VP, who called your Divisional, and then you were called into an office and chewed out for not reordering/ordering too much/ being a moron. It was a very uplifting experience.

One December afternoon, I got bored- and grew tired of listening to my officemate beg her vendor for a reorder of Teletubbies. I scooted over to the men's buying office, and cooerced one of my friends into this prank:

Pretending to be the chairman's secretary, I called my officemate. When she answered the phone, I said in my best Mary Poppins voice: "Please hold for Mr. XXXX (grumpy, cigar smoking, chair throwing chairman).

I then threw the phone to my buddy, and listened as my officemate nervously said hello. He returned, in his best, cigar smoking, belittling fashion:

"Annabelle? My kid's having a birthday this weekend, and I want to get him one of those f#@king' Teletubbies. Bring me a Tinky Winky to my office Immediately!" and with that, he slammed down the phone.

As she quickly tried to locate her tinky winky and make her way to the elevator, we smothered our laughter into samples of men's scarves. This was almost as good as the time my boss convinced me one of my vendor's was the mafia. Almost., but not quite.

Dear Diary

Note to Self:

Why, oh why did you burn a CD of Christmas music and put it in the car? Annie and Lucy are now obsessed with the Big Bad Voodoo Daddy's rendition of "Heat Miser" and run around the house singing "Toooo Much." If I hear Jinglebell Rock one more time, I may take a jingle ball and....well... I'll save that one for when I'm in better company.

How, how on earth do we have ANOTHER birthday party to go to tomorrow? And why does it start at 9:45 am? And please, let the newly divorced, freaky dad be absent from tomorrow's festivities. He's making all the moms feel creepy. Do you think the jumpee place will serve vanilla lattes with the pizza? Because at 9:45 am, I like a little espresso with my pepperoni. I'm just saying.

Have fun at the party!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Romance, Redefined

My husband can be quite the romantic. For those that know him, this news may be as startling as finding out that Britney Spears reads Parenting magazine, but it's really true. When we were dating in college, he sent me so many flowers, that I used to overhear my roommate on the phone with her boyfriend hissing "She got them again! Get over here pronto, and pick up some flowers on the way." He even surprised me one morning, pre-kids, by compromising his masculinity and buying me a Celine Dion album. He left it on my seat in my car, so I found it when I went to work the next morning. Alas, eleven years and 2 kids later, traditional romance has taken a backseat to poopie diapers (he HAS left these in my car, only to be found AFTER I promised to give a Vice-President with no kids a ride to his hotel, but that's a story for another time). But, it does not mean romance is dead.

Instead of jewelry, my hubby cleaned up Thanksgiving dinner completely by himself. This is the post-kid equivalent to receiving 2 dozen red roses. He also extended the duration of an out of state interview so we could spend an upcoming holiday with my family. When I couldn't believe this was HIS idea, he said "I just want to make you happy." This, ladies and gentlemen, is the post-kids equivalent of receiving a four carat pave' diamond ring. Now, if only he would learn that if he took the kids out for breakfast completely on his own, and then to the park one early Sunday morning, this would equate to the post-kid equivalent of reliving our honeymoon.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Doctor's Office

My kid is a champ. She braved her way through five whole shots, with barely a whimper. She hugged our doctor, drew her a picture of Pooh bear (what else?), read from a book and checked my reflexes. On our way out, she stopped by the waiting room and asked everyone waiting (it was quite full) if they would like to see her owies. She got her pants about halfway down before I was able to stop her. She then walked around the waiting room, pronounced each baby "pretty" and gave a 12 year old boy a kiss. After this visit, Mommy needed Tylenol.

Christmas Time... Is Here...

It's official- Christmas has finally entered the building. We polished off the finishing touches on the tree last night, and then kicked off the season with our annual "Charlie Brown Christmas" DVD last night. Now my kids are running around, pretending to be Charlie Brown and sing Vince Guiraldi- pretty brutal rendition before morning coffee, but who am I to judge?

We've got a fun filled day ahead of us- Annie's 4 year old checkup. Since I chickened out on her shot last year, that means she'll get a measly FIVE shots this morning. She asked me last night if there would be any, and I didn't have the heart to lie to her. She's a little brave soldier, but after the third one, she may turn into Linda Blair.

At yet another birthday party on Sunday, my little Lucy told a very funny joke--- for a 2 year old. The kids had just finished gorging on pizza and cake, when Lucy toddles over to where all of the grown ups are huddling.

"Mommy? Me hungwy." Lucy says.
"Really Lucy? What are you hungry for?" says Mommy.
"Me hungwy for cake."
Crowd roars. (I guess you needed to see Lucy's face, already covered in chocolate cake, to drive home the funny-ness).

Now, Lucy has learned the power of working a crowd, and telling a joke. At random times, she'll come wandering up and say "Cake" and expect the masses to dissolve into giggles. Oh boy- just what this family needs: more bad comedians.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Real Holiday

I must, affectionately called "Black Friday" is one of my all time favorite days of the year. Not because I get up at the crack of dawn to go shopping (no way!)... but because for me, this is the real holiday. In years past, Matt and I hosted both of our families for Thanksgiving. We've never had a large house, so having 20+ people over was always kind of a big deal. It involved days of cooking, rearranging furniture (one year we took everything out of our living room and set up one huge banquet table) and oodles of logistics and last minute prep. By the end of it- I was creaking around like an 80 year old woman and wondering why I ever did this.

Then Friday would come. Most of the family have gone to their respective homes, and the much smaller group spends the day in our jammies, eating leftovers, watching movies, drinking wine and playing board games. H-E-A-V-E-N.

This year, my parents drove out from California with their cocker spaniel, Goldilocks. We've had four nonstop days of giggles, good eats and fun. My parents haven't seen my girls since June, and they couldn't believe how much hair Lucy has. My girls reveled in Granny and Grandad's attention- and nothing makes a mommier happier than enjoying the free babysitting grandparents offer to go and get other things done. (Christmas presents wrapped!)

My Mom spent the last two days cooking with me- one of my favorite things to do with her. We work well in the kitchen. Someone always has your back- your pot gets stirred at the right time, your dishwasher emptied and I never got that last minute Thanksgiving heartburn that has plagued me in years past. Plus, to make the holiday even better- my husband single handedly cleaned up the entire dinner. He has definitely made up for last year's faux pas of cleaning closets, paying bills and ignoring the food. I Heart him.

So, to all you Moms out there that are not at the 4am Jc Penney doorbuster sale, Happy Real Holiday to you. Enjoy your Leftovers, hug your loved ones, and take comfort that there 364 more days until we have to do this all over again.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Revisited

In honor of Thanksgiving, I thought I would re-post my blog from last year's turkey day. This year promises to be different-- I've got the chief Turkey maker with me this year- thank God for Moms. (and we're not letting Matt inject the wine this year).

Thanksgiving 2006...

For me, cooking Thanksgiving dinner is like giving birth. Supposedly, women have a chemical in their brain that makes them forget the pain of childbirth- otherwise, we'd all be like China, and only have one kid.

Thanksgiving is like that for me. Somehow, in the beginning of November, I actually get excited to cook this monstrous dinner, and I somehow forget all of the pain and suffering that it usually brings. Then, on the actual day of turkiness, with the Macy's Day parade blaring in the background, and I'm dressed in my stinky jammies and haven't brushed my teeth yet or had a cup of coffee, but oh by the way, I've already made 2 pies and diced 12lbs of onions, I suddenly remember: this stinks.

I used to take the 2 days leading up to this hell-i-day off from work, so I could "prepare." That doesn't happen anymore. One of my bosses is teething, and is so grumpy that the only way she'll stop crying is to be bounced on my hip. My other boss must continually be reminded to take potty breaks (see earlier blog post) and that involves me reading the Fisher Price Little People book to her ad nauseum. Add to this party of frivolity a rather festive husband, who never takes a day off- and thought this would now be a good time to clean out his closet (NO JOKE) and pay some bills until he was "gently" reminded that his services were needed in the hip bouncing and potty break department. Said babysitter was then enlisted to help me inject the turkey with wine, and he took it upon himself to sample the marinade. I'm not sure who was more sauced- it's still up for debate.

When you actually break down the staples for this dinner, you realize you're screwed. Especially if you only have one oven, which in my current kitchen- is the case. (I hope, dear renter of my beloved kitchen in San Diego, that you thoroughly enjoyed my professional range. I miss that double oven more than Coronado Beach). Somehow, you have to get the following things WARM to the table with only one oven: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, gravy, green beans and cook a pie or two in the interim. It sounds like some lame-o David Blaine stunt.

Plus, to complicate matters, I happen to love to cook. And Thanksgiving is just not that much fun to tinker with. Turkey is pretty boring, there's only so much you can do with stuffing- and no matter how much of a sophisticated palate I think I am developing, I still feel compelled (and am not ashamed to admit) that I LOVE a good sweet potato casserole and jello salad. (Yeehaw y'all!)

But Every stinkin' year, I make this day as hard to deal with as possible--- cranberries from a can? A pox on you. They must be home-made, and gently tossed with orange rind, lemon rind and green apple. Turkey in a roasting bag? For shame! It must be injected with wine, then basted with melted butter and more wine every 20 minutes! (Potty breaks only last 15, so we're good there). Pre-seasoned bread crumbs? How pedestrian! One must suffer by cubing and drying their own bread.

So, for all of this turkey snootiness, you think it would garner some good praise at the big showdown, yes? NO. Not if your husband invited a couple of fellow medical folk that didn't know, or care what the difference is between pepperidge farm and my loony bin of home-made craziness. Immediately after sitting down to dinner, they all launched into their routine of tossing around big Latin words and something called "crit numbers" that did nothing more than remind me of how kind it was of Mr. Cruikshank to let me pass his chemistry class. After 30 minutes into the meal, someone finally made an off-hand remark about the food, and I realized 2 things:

1. I'm serving hungry man tv dinners w/ stovetop next year. As long as we serve plenty of wine, no one will know the difference.

2. I needed some humble pie w/ ice cream to bring me back to reality. No more green beans with cognac or inebriated, injected turkies. But I will have seconds of the jello salad.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"Houston... We Have a Field Trip"

Today we went to NASA. It's been on my to-do list for awhile, and since my parents are in town for the holiday, we thought we'd knock it out. We took the kids, and it was pretty impressive. There is a real space shuttle you can board (with fake tiles, because each one costs one million dollars), a piece of moon rock you can touch, and a space lab you can walk through and see where astronauts sleep, go to the bathroom and hang out. We missed the tour of the real training facility, because we were dangerously past nap time.

The film summarizing our history of space exploration was remarkably moving. I don't know if I'm just overly emotional because it's Thanksiving, or by some miracle of all miracles, I am pregnant- but this film made me cry. The Challenger footage brought me back to Hawaii, where I was living for the time- and moments before the Challenger exploded, I was looking for my shoe before school. My Dad offered to help me, but wanted to watch the take off first, on live news. So there we both stood, me with one shoe on, on our lanai overlooking Pearl Harbor. Funny how you remember what you were doing during historic moments.

Random trivia- did you know tempurpedic mattresses were first created for astronauts seats? It cushions their bodies during the g-forces.

More random trivia- Lucy charmed the entire NASA crowd today by announcing in the space lab "Astronauts, they are cool, huh!"

Monday, November 19, 2007

Happy Birthday Pooh Bear

Four years ago tomorrow, you made me a mother. And your Daddy became a Daddy. That was the best gift we have ever received- so remember that when you are 24, flat broke, and not sure what to get us for Christmas.

Happy Birthday my Pooh Bear- my Peter Pan- my little firecracker of energy that burns so bright. You take a whole room over with your energy, and feel so deeply- it astounds me. Your teachers are not only impressed with your brilliance, but touched by your compassion for your little friends (after you hit them over the head, of course).

Currently, you insist on everyone calling you Pooh Bear. You hate spaghetti sauce, refuse to eat off a plate (yeah bowls!), love to set the table, pretend to host your own Food Network show, and are obsessed with my general well being. To call you a Mommy's girl would be putting it mildly. Like an infant, you think you are an extension of my right arm. And I must confess... most of the time? Most of the time I adore this adoration you give me. It makes me laugh when you knowingly misbehave, and then ask me "Are you happy Mommy? Let me give you kisses and make it all better." Yourr manipulation skills are maturing at a fast pace.

You defiantly see the world the way you want to, and are not shy to speak your mind. (Where, oh where did this come from?) You are not easily intimidated. Occasionally, I get glimpses of the woman I think you will become, and it pleases me, and surprises me with the strength I see in your eyes.

You are obsessed with baseball. You play a mean tee-ball in the backyard, and would sleep in your Red Sox cap if you could. You only tolerate your weekly ballet lessons because you know it ends in a recital, and you can't wait to get back on stage. You don't want to be just a princess- you have to be a princess Magician. You don't want to just be Pooh bear, you have to put on your strawberry hat and turn into "Super Pooh." (Daddy has good times making fun of this one).

Happy Birthday, my girl. Four years ago, you were born on your due date. Contractions started at midnight, and your Daddy and I have not been the same since. It's like you were sayin "Hey! Let's get this show on the road!" And the game is so very on, my dear- and I'm so happy to be playing it with you.

Help A Brother Out...

My brother is feeling glum. It's hard to be off fighting a war, but even lamer around the holidays. He is desperate for mail, so if anyone in the Republic of Moldova or anywhere has a spare drawing from one of their kids or a funny joke to tell- please send it to:
William Duerbig
SGT Engineer Battalion, HSC
APO AE 09322


p.s.- If anyone is making pumpkin pies this week, I just learned the coolest trick. This works with any old pumpkin pie recipe- but the trick is, before you pour the pumpkin filling over your pie crust, crumble up some gingersnap cookies and press them down in the crust. Voila! It's magic baby, serious caloric magic.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I Know What Santa is NOT bringing you....

Yesterday, after attending another Matrix birthday party at Pump it Up, Annie and I headed over to Costco to load up for Turkey day. She loves Costco more than I do, because their toy aisle is adjacent to their musical instrument aisle, and a couple of weeks ago, they set up a full sized drum set for display- right next to their electric guitars.

Playing the Fender, is a balding, middle aged goateed guy in his mid- thirties. His eyes are closed, and he's strumming out the bars to some Metallica song that faintly reminds me of my older brother in high school. He's clearly in his element, and not aware of the Veggie -matic demo going on, or the shoppers fighting over pecan pies, or the pint-sized little Van Halen next to him whaling away on the drums. Then, he stops playing.

Annie stops too- drumsticks in mid-air and says, "Keep it going! Keep it going!"

And the goateed, middle-aged jukebox hero yells, "ROCK AND ROLL DUDE!" and they jam for a few more minutes.

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Little Bit Scared

So, out of the blue, hubby got a call with his dream job. It's in a place Matt has ALWAYS wanted to live--- one he used to joke about as paradise. The job....well, it's EXACTLY what he wants to do with his life, and the people? So far, the people seem like the kind of people that will laugh at his poop jokes and wear t-shirts with "Beer Ambassador" on them. (Did I tell you guys Matt wore this out to dinner recently? After our meal, I took the girls to the ladies room, and when we came out- we couldn't find him. The hostess said "Are you looking for your Beer Ambassador? He's waiting for you in the parking lot).

Why am I freaking out? Yes, it's far from family. But, hey, that's what JetBlue was created for. Yes, it snows quite a bit- but I think four seasons would be fun. (ask me again in March, after the umpteenth blizzard of the year). Why does this make me nervous?

It's a 2 hour drive to the closest Target.

Most people own pick up trucks and chain their own snow plows to them.

It's a 2.5 hour drive to the closest Costco.

There are less than 11.000 people in the largest town.

It's a bit rural. That's cool- I can be down with the rural folk. But, I'm not outdoorsy. I like a good walk now and then- but I can't ice skate, I don't ski, and hockey and me? Well that's like waiting to see if Rosie O'Donnell and Donald Trump ever get married. Snow pants would only accentuate my faults, and a down jacket would only intensify my Stay Puff Marshmallow Woman impersonation.

But.... I've never seen my husband more excited. He wants this badly--- and I'm not supposed to be talking about this, so shhhhh! This is our little secret. God help me. Hopefully Honolulu will call soon.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Old Men

I need to tell you guys about "The List." Matt's got a group of friends from college- they were all in the same fraternity, and they email back and forth every day. They call this mass of emails "The List." When all of us starting having kids, they named the kids "Listkinder" and Annie and Lucy both have a onesie with Listkinder printed on it. (Each kid gets a Listkinder number, so I think my offspring are respectively, Listkinder III, and Listkinder VI). The List has been a continual source of entertainment over the years- Matt has shared numerous emails (usually involving poop, or trying to pick up women) that have left us doubled over in List laughter. Until now.

Yesterday, on our way to dinner, Matt was chuckling hysterically, literally drowning his i-phone with happy tears. Expecting to hear a great story, I asked him what was going on with the List. Apparently, someone recommended a certain kind of oatmeal- Coach's oatmeal, to be exact. Numerous other list members then went to the website and ordered some. Matt received his free sample of Coach's oats yesterday, and couldn't wait to try them for breakfast. The reason for the laughter? Another list member did not order a free sample, he ordered FOUR bags- four huge, gigantic bags of steel cut oats that will carry him through the next nuclear war.

Now, this is amusing, but also sad. This is a group of guys--- some of the funniest, most hilarious guys you would ever come across. (Remind me to tell you the story of Doogles, and the drunken Junior League party in NYC). That they have now been reduced to not only talking about oatmeal, but becoming OBSESSED witih oatmeal, makes me kind of sad. Matt is so excited about his oatmeal, he wants to eat oatmeal for breakfast every day. I think I'm going to get him a gift certificate for a prostate exam and put it in his Christmas Stocking.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Nothing On My List

My parents have a video of me, circa 1980, with my buckteeth and Miss Piggy nightgown, banging on a pot and pan on Christmas Eve, chanting "Let's Open Presents! Let's Open Presents!" I adore presents. Birthday, Christmas, Arbor day- you name it, I'll open it. Except for this year. As I'm scrambling to get my holiday shopping done (boxes to Iraq have to be mailed by December 4th, and half of my family celebrates Hannukah and it falls early this year) I realized yesterday, that there is nothing I need for Christmas.

Would I love diamonds, pearls? Sure! But if Matt spent that kind of money right now, I'd have to kill him. The smartest thing he ever did was put me in charge of paying the bills- because it has now made me paranoid about spending any money. Ironically, my frugal husband is now blissful with his ignorance, and has now asked for an expensive camera lens.

Maybe it has something to do with our upcoming move. We're renting a smallish sized house- and our closets are bursting at the seams. I have 2 boxes in the garage that were never unpacked from the last move, and knowing that I will soon have to pack up each and every one of my belongings may have put a damper on my Christmas greed.

Or, I'm getting older. I'm going to be 35 (gasp!) in a couple of weeks. Have I finally grown up? Nah. I was laughing at poopie jokes last night.

I think it mostly has to do with my excitement in seeing my 2 little ones open their loot- I can't wait to see Lucy's face when she opens her Pat Pat Rocket. There's nothing cuter than kids in footie pajamas, opening presents... as long as they don't wear Miss Piggy nightgowns and bang on pots and pans.

Oh Poop.

Lucy definitely takes after her father. If her shyness wasn't a clue, tonight's behavior at the dinner table certainly made it official. Lucy, just now 2, made her first poop joke tonight. I asked Annie what she would like to drink with dinner- (milk? water?) and her little sister piped up with a loud "Poopie?" We dissolved into tears of laughter, which I am now thinking was not such a good idea, since she keeps saying "drink poopie?" over and over again. Matt celebrated her milestone by saying, "Lucy, you will learn that there aren't many things greater in life than a good poop joke." We are now a family with a combined IQ of a fourth grade bunk at sleep away camp.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Tumble Down the Birthday Party Rabbit Hole

We're done. Finito. No more birthday parties for another 11.5 months. Maybe, by that point, my year of campaigning will convince the girls to forgo all parties in favor of a joint family vacation to Hawaii. Somehow, I doubt it. I'm so over frosting, cakes, goodie bags, wrapping paper- the works.

Today, we celebrated Annie's birthday early with her friends, because her birthday is so close to Thanksgiving this year, I thought it would be best to try when most folks are in town. We went to a local gymnastics academy, one that is famous for training Olympians. There were REAL gymnasts doing amazing things while they segregated my kid and her pals into one section of the gym. The irony was amazing. There was a guy, probably 17- swinging himself around the pummel horse, and then right next to him, was my daughter rolling around in chalk on the ground and picking her nose.

Birthday parties at this age remind me of the movie, The Matrix. Once you get on this birthday party circuit, there are only 3 or so different places where you go for all of the parties. An inflatable jumpee place, a gymnastics place or one of our museums. The cake flavors and themed paper plates change, but basically, it's the same party, with the same people, over and over again. Sorry to digress- swallow your red or blue pill, and follow Neo to the pizza and cake part of our shindig.

For the pizza and cake part, our paper plates featured Winnie the Pooh. We had 24 kids today, plus their parents- so the little shaped Winnie the Pooh cake pan I bought at Michaels was so not going to fit the bill for today- it was simply too small. Throwing caution to the wind, I baked an old Barefoot Contessa recipe for lemon sheet cake, and then using the Magnolia Bakery buttercream frosting, I free styled a big head of Winnie the Pooh on the cake. We baked them yesterday afternoon, and then I took the kids to playgroup to tucker them out. It only took me until 2am to finish frosting the cake. I was so tired, that by the time I was done, I wasn't sure if it was Pooh on the cake, or a big golden mouse, but it worked.

Honestly though-- despite all of my grumbling (and knowing that I have a real weakness for any holiday- meaning I completely overdo it until I'm so sick of that particularly event that I can't wait for it to go away for another 364 days) it was all worth it when I watched Annie's face when everyone sang Happy Birthday. I stood in the back, and watched my little girl stand in front of her golden rodent cake, with her face beaming from ear to ear, as she waved at everyone as they sang. She blew each of her four candles out individually, and then immediately ran into the crowd to jump in my arms and give me, as she has now named them, a "birthday hug." I'm going to try and keep those birthday hugs around all year round.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

On A Mission

Operation Costco, it was so on this morning. Do you guys remember me telling you how much my girls love to go visit Pottery Barn Kids whenever we go to the mall? They call it the "Kitchen" store, because they spend their whole time playing with the retro 1950's pink kitchen set. Lo and behold- Costco got in similar version for Christmas, at a fraction of the price. My Mom really wanted to get them one, and I was going to pick them up- but they've been sold out! So, yours truly has had to call them EVERY frickin' day, until they finally came in today. I left my Mom a message on her cell phone, telling her that "Operation Costco is a go. I repeat, Operation Costco is a go!" and headed off.

Costco was aweosme. After speaking with them quietly, they let me pay for the item, and then took the girls outside and loaded them up in the car. I popped in a Winnie the Pooh movie, and then a couple of guys graciously loaded them in the back of the van and we covered it with a blanket. They have no idea!

Here's the irony. I was so proud we finally got this, especially after Costco told me they anticipated selling out of these silly things by tonight. Then, I realized what my kids had been playing with all day. We had a leftover cardboard box hanging out in the living room from a recently opened package. The girls got their markers out, decorated it as a "castle" and spent all afternoon role playing and sitting in it. It figures. Luckily, after we open their kitchen, it comes with a wonderful gift with a purchase... a very, very big box.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Thank You Fors...

I'm really boring lately. Just thought I should add that in case anyone out there is actually still reading this, and if you aren't, I just want to take a moment to say that I completely understand, and I think I'm dreadfully boring too.

There's just not a lot going on. The kids are doing great, my hubby is doing great- and even though we don't have a CLUE as to where we'll hang our hats next year, we're trying not to freak out about it, and just let it all shake out. It's kind of weird though- to be trick or treating, and then think ahead to next year, and not be able to forumulate a picture in your brain because.... will it be hot? Will there be snow? Who the hell knows?

Without giving away too many details, we got word yesterday that a couple that we love, is on the rocks. This sent us reeling, and also makes you take an inventory of your own situation. So much of who I am is based on being a wife, and a mother. Good, bad or indifferent, that's what it is. Matt has been in my life longer than he has not, and sometimes, I take that for granted.

Which reminds me: at night, when we say prayers with the girls, we do what we call "The Thank You Fors". This is our time of day to say thank you to God for anything and everything... We always say thank you for keeping Uncle Billy safe for another day, and for our new little niece Aden (she's over 2lbs now, hooray!) and Lucy always wants to say thank you for "brushing teeth." This is my favorite time of day- because as we all take turns for our "Thank You Fors," I catch my breath and say my own thank you... for being right where I am.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Truffles and Picnics?

I can't sleep. It's 4:30 in the morning, and I'm sitting here, wasting time, while my house slumbers. Lucy's been waking up again, and after a certain point, it's impossible for me to get back to sleep. My mind starts racing, and I think of stupid things- today it's all of the Christmas shopping I need to get done. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

Matt's got a week of vacation coming up. We were trying to hightail it to Florida, but Disneyworld wanted $10,000 for a 3 day park stay, and then was sold out of everything we wanted to do unless we paid them another $2,000, so we scrapped that plan. Airfare to Cali was just too darn expensive, so we're saving our pennies for another rainy day. I asked Matt what he wanted to do on his week off, and he said:
"I don't know, take the girls to school, hang out at Cafe XYZ and just relax. Pretty much live your life for a week."
He then laughed hysterically, and I joined him for a minute before adding:
"You do know that it's not all truffles and picnics. Well, absolutely no truffles, because they are too fatty, and ok, we do tend to have a lot of picnics- but you get what I'm saying."

In other news, I'm thoroughly enjoying the book "Eat, Pray, Love." It's been on my radar screen for awhile, and after getting past the point that the author completely tears her life apart because she wants to avoid any semblance of what my own personal life looks like, it's actually a great story of how one finds personal growth. Lots of good nuggets of Cliff Clavin trivia too-- like where the Italian languange originated from (great story!) to what kind of person Bali describes you as if you are born on a Thursday. (When reading this part, it sounded so much like myself that I had to pull a calendar from 1972 and figure out that, yes, I was born on a Thursday). If I had a year to spend traveling solo to find myself, I'd spend 4 months in the Italian and French countryside- learning to cook and eat local favorites, then hightail it to an Indian Ashram (preferably the same one where the Beatles wrote Dear Prudence) and then cap off my stay on the big island of Hawaii. Of course, I'd want to bring my anklebiters with me and Matt to eat truffles and picnic with, which any self respecting Guru would frown upon.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Dinner Music

Date night was last night. A much needed, highly anticipated excursion. We missed our October night out, because Matt was off in Aptos, California, drinking his yearly wine and brandy with his fraternity brothers. Matt put on a sweater vest, I put on a dress and lipstick and we hit the town. Only problem? We had 8:00 reservations at this cool place called Cafe Annie's (we really love the name) and it's supposed to be one of the finer places to dine in town. But.... it's spicy tex-Mex stuff, and Matt' s stomach is still trembly and wobbly, at best. So, we cancelled our reservations, and went to an Italian place that reminds me of Carmines in New York City.

Many bellinis, glasses of wine, veal picatta and eggplant parm dishes later.... we sat at our table, licking up our tiramisu and laughing.... at the music. There seems to be a consistent theme to our date nights--- no matter where we go, there is always the lamest, and cheesiest dinner music you could ever imagine. In September, it was the minimalist sushi place, that somehow placed a piano smack dab in the middle of the joint and had an old fogie tinkling out Charlie Brown Peanuts tunes all night. Last night, instead of playing Frank, or any other suitable Rat Pack tune- this place hired some dork who sat at a table with his Mac laptop, and accompanied himself to Spandau Ballet.

Babysitter was a little freaked out when we got home. Lucy refused to go to sleep, and in protest, took her pants off and pooped in her crib. Nothing like hazing your babysitter to make them want to come back for more.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Weekend Visitor

Trick or treating was a blast. The girls headed out at 6:30, and even my shy little Tinkerbell was rapping on doors and demanding candy. She insisted on carrying her bag herself, even when it got overwhelmingly heavy. She then dragged it on the ground behind her, still in disbelief that she was actually getting all of this candy.

This week, we are entertaining Curious George in our house. Annie's class has this little project- where every weekend, George goes home with another kid to spend the weekend. You have to take pictures and write a story about what you do. We have absolutely nothing planned this weekend, so I have to come up with something better than Noggin and pancakes. We did get some contraband photos of George breaking into the Halloween candy. This made Annie roar with belly laughs. I'm sure we can find some other trouble for George to get into today.

In other news, parent teacher conferences were yesterday. They went great! Annie's teachers are trying to convince me to enroll her in kindergarten next year. I'm still thinking we'll wait a year, since 95% of the states we'll move to have a later kindergarten cutoff date.