Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween

Happy Halloween!!

As this picture pretty much sums up how Claire feels about her costume... 

I've decided that we're forgoing trick-or-treating (we went to a party on Saturday where she got plenty of candy).  We also have pumpkin soup on the menu for tonight which the hubbs doesn't like anyway and it's 80 degrees outside.  So maybe we'll go to taco bell and go swimming,  

Happy Halloween Indeed!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Happy Weekend

Remember in junior high how you made lists of what you and your future spouse would have in common?  You may have listed things like music, taste in movies, hobbies.

In my case, none of that worked out.  The hubbs and are pretty much exact opposites.   

The hubbs grew up in small-town America.  He grew up in a very conservative house where they didn't have TV until he was 16.  He loves sports and techno music, studied engineering, has an MBA and his favorite pastime is networking.

I grew up in a medium-size city and we were the most liberal family in the neighborhood.  Television was one of my best friends.  I only watch sports when I am forced, I have an degree in literature and if I could I would spend every evening reading in bed.

This difference manifest itself last night as we were getting ready for the weekend.  The hubbs said, "so what should we do tomorrow?  We could start out by going for a bike ride then we could head to Balboa park and play on the playground and take the trolly and head home before nap time.  Then after nap we can head to the neighborhood party and we have been wanting to try a new beach so maybe we could fit that in there."  

I said, "yeah.  Maybe something like that." But in my head I was thinking, "we could sit around the house, have a lazy breakfast, sit around the house some more, finish Moby Dick, put the finishing touches on our costumes and then go to the neighborhood party but only because I signed up to bring a salad." My favorite way to spend a Saturday is what is known as a Futon Marathon.  One of my roommates invented the term when she lived in Japan.  A futon marathon is not for the faint-hearted.  It's a complex day that consists of spending as much time as is humanly possible on the couch or in bed.  I have only talked the hubbs into having a futon marathon once and it was awesome.  We squeezed in two movies before lunchtime.

In my days before being a mom I used to do international sensitivity training for students who were going to spend time abroad.  In the training I told the students that their new mantra should be, "it's not wrong: it's just different." That phrase has helped me in all kinds of international settings but also helps in my everyday life.

That's the way the hubbs and I make it work--this morning he took Claire running and I vegged out in bed, made bread and did the dishes. When they got back we ate breakfast, snuggled on the couch, read stories and then headed out for a bike ride. It's nap time and I'm putting the finishing touches on our costumes and he is running errands. 

So whatever kind of weekend you're having--packed to the brim or futon marathon, I hope it's a good one. 

Yes, that's a fly swatter.  You know us and biking--just the necessities.

*There is one little thing that I can not accept as not-wrong-just-different about the hubbs' past.  He is still trying to convince me that Bobby Brown was, at one point, actually cool.  To which I say, NO. WAY.

**Something to know and love about the hubbs is that he still loves Bobby Brown and sings his songs all the time.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dad, how can you hate the Colonel?

Lucky for me when I was in Junior High I committed about 100 movies to memory so I generally have a very dated, hilarious quote to go with any kind of situation.  Today's is maybe my best.  The year is 1993.....

Stuart Mackenzie: Oh, I hated the Colonel with is wee *beady* eyes, and that smug look on his face. "Oh, you're gonna buy my chicken! Ohhhhh!" 
Charlie Mackenzie: Dad, how can you hate "The Colonel"? 
Stuart Mackenzie: Because he puts an addictive chemical in his chicken to make ya crave it fortnightly, smartass! 

Around our house there is a similar love-hate situation.  And you know who I hate?  Elmo.  You may be thinking, how can you hate Elmo? And the answer is because the makers of Sesame Street must be spreading some kind of hypnotic, mind-altering, brainwashing propaganda.  I don't know what their aim is yet but I'm working on it.

A couple of months ago we received a second-hand Elmo counting book.  Okay, the truth is that we stole said book from my mother because it has a magna-doodle on the top of it. Claire loves it.  Within a week she was pointing at all of the characters and calling them by name.  We saw a board book at Target for a dollar and carried it around our whole trip.  She loves those little puppets.

Then I made one little mistake and suddenly my life is like a Thomas Hardy Novel and every day I pay for it.  I showed Claire a youtube video of Elmo singing with Big Bird and Snuffy.  Suddenly all day, every day Claire walks around crying "Melmo, melmo, melmo."

I give in all the time.
I know every nuance of this video.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mommy blogger requirement

Yesterday I finished Claire's Halloween costume.  At one point I, after trying to sew one section of it 3 times having to unpick it each time I did what any red-blooded American would do and pulled out the glue gun.  

It looks awesome.  

Last night we went to the pumpkin patch with some neighbors.  The wife is an incredible seamstress and we  laughed about my glue-gunned costume and I mentioned that her kids will never have to deal with that.  

Of course, the resulting pumpkins should have provided an indicator.  One of these was made by a family that glue-guns Halloween costumes and the other was made by a family who makes their own incredibly stylish clothes......

Monday, October 24, 2011

Life moves pretty fast.....

This weekend we went on our neighborhood campout.  We had a wonderful time.  Claire fell down the cement stairs and bit a glow bracelet hard enough to break it in her mouth.  Turns out the glowy stuff doesn't taste very good.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Killing the Blues

Do you ever have one of those days?  Maybe you're bloated or maybe you ate 1 (or 5) too many candy bars yesterday but all of the sudden you just kind of hate your body?  And maybe there's nothing in particular that sets it off.  Maybe you didn't feel great about your body yesterday but it's more than that today--the critic in you seems just seems to be extra ruthless today.

Ok, for me it was the candy bars.

Even though you may think that staying in bed and eating your own weight in jellybeans is going to be the best fix, it's not.  That's only going to make it worse.  Trust me.  Really.

The good news is after 32 years on this earth I have come up with a couple of no-fail fixes.

Take Care of Your Eyebrows--I'm not really an organized enough person to have a regular eyebrow maintenance schedule.  But it  makes such a difference. There is nothing that opens up your face and makes you look polished like waxing your eyebrows.  If you're not a waxer, that's fine.  Use a pencil, define those bad boys. Take five minutes--you won't be sorry.  Don't know how to do eyebrows?  This site is a must. And here are some printable stencils.

Floss--There is noting like that super clean feeling you get from flossing to help cure the blues.  It also helps me feel like I'm doing my part--the dentist asks me to floss and I may not do it every day but when I do it I feel like I've done my part.

Wear cute shoes--I don't do 4-inch heels and pointy toes very often and I certainly don't do them when I'm depressed.  Ballet flats.  Something shiny and frilly (with a wide-leg jean).

Count your blessing--I mean, Monday could have started out with this being the view out your window (have we ever talked about my fear of bed bugs?  Lets just say it's on a heightened state of alert)

and Thursday the view to your window could have been this little nudist practicing her gymnastics after a shower.

**Today Claire and I went to Walmart to fill a prescription.  Half-way through our trip Claire had a poopy eruption which prompted a crying eruption.  A loud one.  And there's something about the design of Walmart--it echos.  Lots.  As we were running to the bathroom (garnering stares) we passed one of our neighbors who is several months pregnant.  I waved (of course, she looked our way because we were being so noisy everyone did) and remembered that even though pregnancy is yucky going to the store with a baby inside is 100x better than going with one outside.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Daddy's Girl

I've mentioned a couple of times that Claire likes her dad better than she likes me.  Some of you are skeptical.  Some of you try to make me feel better by saying that she is only that way because she feels SO confident in my love (thank you.  Keep saying it...that thought helps banish the one that says that staying home with someone who merely tolerates my presence is a waste of everybody's time).

I finally have proof.  Last week the hubbs came home, had dinner and left right before bedtime so he could go get a haircut.  This was Claire's reaction.

And don't think this is just a one-time thing. I hear that same cry at least once a day.

**On an unrelated note you should all follow my friend Susan's tumblr account.  I love it and I think you will too.  It will leave you missing the West (even if you've never lived there) and loving the outdoors and gardens and people.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Utah Revisited

Our trip to Utah was wonderful and so fun.  The bad news is that I didn't really take any pictures--at all.  We got to eat at Crown Burger, go on a fall leaf drive up Cottonwood Canyon, eat lots of chocolate from France, sign up Aunt Abbey for internet dating and generally have a great time.

Thank you family for having us.  We'll see you at Christmas.

Monday, October 17, 2011

What's a decade?

This past weekend was my ten-year college reunion.  I was very sad to not make it.  I loved college.  I loved the people I met, the things I learned, the person I became.  I credit Knox College with making me the person that I am today.

But this weekend, instead of visiting the glory that is Galesburg IL (Uncle Billy's Bakery--you were missed) I was in Salt Lake visiting my family.  I have a brother who lives abroad and he was in town so we headed to Salt Lake to see him (which was so fun and so worth it).

The 10 years out of college marker seems like a big one and even though I didn't attend the reunion I spent  lots of time this weekend thinking about how my life is different than it was 10 years ago.  And it's funny, in lots of ways it's better but there are some very specific ways that it is not.

Ways that being 32 is 100x better than being 22 
(some of these are hard to explain so bear with me)

  • I am in an amazing, grown-up, committed relationship with someone I love.
  • I have the most adorable baby on the whole planet.
  • I am financially secure.
  • I have retirement savings.
  • I have learned to take care of my body.
  • I am more patient.
  • I am so much smarter, well-read and informed.
  • I don't get riled up about things.  I remember road-rage being a real problem when I was young (as was driving too quickly) and these days I don't get too frustrated if people cut me off and I'm not normally in a big enough hurry to speed
  • I make better, more thought-out decisions.
  • I have lost some of what I am calling "the arrogance of youth." I used to be a little...overly confident.  It made me less aware of other people and what they were thinking.  It made it so that when I looked at situations I only looked at what was in it for me.  Losing that has made me more aware of other people.  It has made me kinder, less selfish and more able to connect with other people.
  • I don't sweat as much of the small stuff

Ways that being 32 is harder than being 22

  • Knees. I don't know if it's carrying a 25 lb baby up a flight of stairs multiple times every day or just age but my knees are not what they once were.  Being able to run on pavement seems like a dream of years past.
  • Even though my body is 1/2 the size it was in college I am more self-conscious of my body.  I remember knowing that I was chubby and disliking that, and thinking life would be easier if I was thin but I don't remember being able to make a list a mile long of individual body-faults
  • I have lost some of what I am calling "the arrogance of youth." This is on both lists. It's true that the loss of arrogance has made me a kinder and better person but it also has had a few bad side effects.  Sometimes when I am talking to other people I find myself thinking, "do I sound like a complete idiot?  Do I even make sense?"  That didn't used to happen.  
So what about you?  How is your life better than it was 10 years ago?  Or at 22? and how is it worse?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Mr Anderson Cooper

The other day, while reading OK Weekly (yes, we subscribe--the greatest birthday present a girl could ask for.  It's also my favorite gift to give to newly weds.  I like to say that if there's a celebrity gossip magazine in the house the newly weds will never lack for conversation) I passed by an ad for the new Anderson Cooper talk show.  I turned to the hubbs and said, "Did you know he's a Vanderbilt?" (I should enter here and say that the hubbs had no idea who Anderson Cooper is).  The hubbs said, "This generation of Vanderbilts are all self-made.  We used it as a case-study once.  They dispersed their money to the point that none of them were worth anything." 

I looked straight at the hubbs and said, "with a name like Vanderbilt you can never be self-made.  Gloria may have been born penniless (which she was not) and she is a gifted person in her own right but having the last name Vanderbilt paved the way for her to get the things that she wanted."

The hubbs could see where I was coming from but still thought that we could use the Vanderbilts as people who didn't invest well.

The whole conversation reminded me of this quote.

Vanderbilt or no, I say we're all pretty lucky to have the opportunities that we do.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Claire's Bookclub: British Invasion

A couple of weeks ago we went to the library and Claire came home with a gaggle of books which all happened to be written by British authors.  Each book was a little more odd than the next but they all were major hits with Claire.

Mr. Gumpy's Outing by John Burningham

We loved this.  We are right in a phase where Claire is working on making animal sounds and this book provided ample opportunity.  I also loved that in this book animals and children act like animal and children and still get to go to tea and eat cakes at the end.

Shoe Baby by Joyce Dunbar

I really didn't like this book but Claire loved it.  It's very odd, though the rhythm and rhyme are good.  Claire loved looking at shoes (shoe was one of her first words) and saying "shoe!" She also liked the elephants and giraffes--anything with animals these days.

Beware of the Frog by William Bee

 WEIRD ALERT! This book is so odd and does not end very  happily but Claire loved it.  She loved the pictures, she loved the silly songs that all of the creatures sing, she loved the little old lady hiding in the house peeking her head out of the windows.

So, in conclusion, all of the British books were huge hits even though they were certainly on the weird side.

**Adults.  Don't forget that we are reading Moby Dick for book club.  I'll be writing about it on Nov 4th.  I'm about half way though and it's fascinating (even if it's a little slow).  So start it if you haven't already.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Welcome Fall

So remember when I used child labor to make a Valentine's Chandelier for my kitchen/dining room?

Just 2 days ago that chandelier came down and it has now been replaced.

Pay no attention to the bats that have eyes all over their bodies and on their wings.  Claire was in charge of gluing on the eyes and I think we have a budding Picasso on our hands.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Red Tide

For the last couple of weeks it's been the Red Tide in San Diego (which despite sounding like some awful video game or a reenactment of Normandy Beach is really just an algae bloom).   The algae in San Diego happens to also be bioluminscent which is pretty much Mother Nature's way of proving that she is, in fact, totally magic.

We planned to head to the beach on Monday for Family night.  There is a park there and we thought that we would be able to distract Claire with swings and slides long enough to be able to see the glowing and not have her soaking wet by the time we left.

We, of course, underestimated her ability to instantly become soaked and covered in sand and despite our best efforts she drove home without any pants on (hers being totally wet and covered in sand even though we were only on the beach for 5 min and it was pitch black).  I tried to get a picture or video of the glowing waves but the camera on my phone and my skills as a photographer just weren't up to snuff so I had to steal this picture from the interwebs.

That people, is not enhanced.  It really does look like that. It's amazing.  And if you haven't see it yet you should.  Last night (after $1 baskin-robins scoop night) we drove up the coast because we wanted to see it again.  It was magical--the glowing waves crashing all around.  A friend told me that if you collect a bottle full of ocean water you can recreate the glowing waves at home.  She was right and it was perhaps the best part of the whole deal.  We placed ocean water in glasses when we got home and poured a little bit of vinegar into each one.  They lit up with their greeny-blue glow.  If you live close you should certainly try it out.

Monday, October 3, 2011

You Gotta Know When to Fold 'em

We've talked before about how much Claire loves her dad.  And I mean LOVES her dad.  One of my friends who is a social worker assured me that Claire loves me and her feeling so confident in my love is what allows her to feel comfortable enough to prefer her dad.  And she does--prefer her dad that is. 

Let's be thankful that the hubbs and I are not in a custody battle for Claire which would be decided by us standing on opposite sides of the room, placing her in between us and calling for her to come to see who should have her a la Henry and Ribsy (all you people between the ages of 30 and 40 don't act like you don't know what I'm talking about). I would lose.  She would walk right over to her dad and sit down in his lap.

On Saturday night Claire woke up crying at 3:30 am.  Usually this is just because she has lost her pass or she is startled but after one experience where it was actually a poopy diaper and we left her crying until morning (with a serious diaper rash consequence) we always go in and check on her.  I slowly opened the door to her room and right when she saw me she yelled, "No. Daddy." 

I  turned around and called out, "Honey, Claire is calling."  The hubbs then got up and comforted her and put her back down and I went right back to sleep.  Should I be offended that my staying home with her has caused her to believe that her dad is the superior parent or should I just be thankful that I don't even remember the hubbs coming back to bed because I was already fast asleep?