Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Worth the Wait

Did you know that you can watch Season 2 of Downton Abbey on PBS.org?  (I was worried I'd have to wait to see it on Netflix)

I only found out last night.

And I've been busy ever since.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

You gotta know when to fold 'em

We've reached the tantrum phase--like the full-fledged, horrifying, run-to-the-library-and-check-out-every parenting-book-about-toddlers-they-have kind of tantrum phase.  It's left me a little....well...shocked I guess.  I't's like there's a new person living in our house and I don't always know how to handle her.  The books have given me good advice and I no longer feel like I'm walking on egg shells around her.

One of the things that I have started to do is evaluate just how important things really are and if I'm just making her do something arbitrary that isn't really important.  I have to make sure things are really worth it if we're going to risk a tantrum.  For instance: today we went to the zoo and 20 min into our trip I found myself tugging and pulling her as she cried and fussed.  She wanted to sit on the bars outside the cheetah enclosure (facing the wrong way) and watch the buses pass on road. Was it really important that we see animals?  Is there anything wrong with using a trip to the zoo as a chance to get outside and watch the buses pass?  No.  There isn't.  So I chilled.  I did insist that we move to a shadier spot but we sat and watched gorillas and the alligator and I just let her do her thing.  We didn't hurry.  And even when the gorillas all left the viewing area we stayed there.

That kind of things happens all the time.  Is there any reason we can't spend all of our park time on the swing? No.  Does it matter if she takes her Elmo and a cup and spoon and a blanket and a sippy cup to the gym?  No.  Does it matter if she wants to take 3 glasses of water, 4 blankets and 10 books to bed with her?  No.  Does it matter if she wants to take a crayon to bed?

Oh wait.  Turns out that one does matter.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Book Club: A visit from the goon squad

This month we read A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan which won the 2011 Pulitzer Prize.

 When I first picked up the book I was nervous that it was going to be another gritty novel with lots of drugs 
and sex (yawn). I was pleasantly surprised when I started the second chapter that it wasn't like that at all.  It was one of the fastest Pulitzer reads we've had so far.  I finished it in less than a week because every day I was so excited to keep reading. 

That being said, I'
m not actually sure I liked the book.  I know I liked reading the book. I like the sense of not knowing what was coming next and who would be taking next (I will say that some of the jumps between characters were hard for me.  I'm a smart person and there were lots of times when I couldn't remember who was who.)  There were chapters that I just loved (oh, the darling 12 year-old and her powerpoint presentation which actually contained very good parenting advice.) but when I finished the book I sort of forgot about it. 

I did some reading of reviews online and the reading world seems to be pretty divided--readers either love the book or they hate it.  I feel like I don't know where I fit in.  I guess I don't really feel anything about the book.  Time is the goon that the "goon squad" title refers to and you would therefore think that time was an important theme in the book.  I guess it was.  That and aging.  And how time and age affect relationships and other people.  But as I'm sitting here typing I'm having to stretch to think about the the conclusions that were drawn about that.  Okay.  So time changes relationships.  Now what? 

Am I just not being smart enough?  What did the rest of you think?

And for next month we're reading the 2011 Booker Prize winner (the Booker Prize is like the Pulitzer but in the UK) which is The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barns.  my friend Dana suggested that we try out some of the Booker Prize winners and I thought it was a great idea so we're trying it out.  Let's see how the Brits compare.

*If any of you need a reminder about the "plot" of A Visit from the Goon Squad here is the 
best description I've found (stolen from here)
The stories circle magnetically around a few characters who recur a bit more frequently than others, and broadly around the American music scene: Lou, a coke-snorting, teenage-girl-seducing music producer in the 1970s, becomes the mentor of an untalented young bass player, Bennie, who becomes a music producer himself, who hires a young woman, Sasha, who has a problem with kleptomania, who sleeps with a young man, Alex, who much later ends up hired by Bennie to engineer the comeback of Bennie's high-school friend Scott, who went off the rails as an adult and ended up one day in Bennie's office with a fish he'd caught in the East River, where Sasha's best friend and boyfriend in college had once gone for an early morning swim with tragic consequences. Bennie's wife works for a publicist named Dolly whose daughter, Lulu, will end up working with Alex; Bennie's wife's brother is a journalist who is arrested for the attempted rape of an actress named Kitty Jackson who has her own fall from grace and is later hired by Dolly to enable the public rehabilitation of a genocidal Latin American dictator.

And now those of you who have not yet read it are dying to.  It was the kleptomania that got you.  Wasn't it?

Friday, January 20, 2012

Did you see this?

So there should probably come a point where I just plug Joanna Goddard's feed directly to this blog but seriously...did you see this?

How creepy are these?  I guess traditionally when you took formal portraits of your children you covered up the mom (probably so the glowing, beautiful mother's didn't steal the children's glory).

Does anyone else kind of want one of these?  How creepy would this be to have for your Halloween decorations?

And we're discussing A Visit from The Goon Squad on Monday so get ready.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Thirty, Flirty and Thriving

Yesterday I read a blog post written by someone who is turning 30 this year.  She is worried about aging and suddenly being old and not in touch anymore.  I have a hard time connecting with the sentiment.  Maybe you should ask me when I'm 40 and the sun spots on my hands, which are just now starting to appear, are dark and  hard to disguise but I have loved getting older.  When I turned 30 I was still working and I remember thinking that I had made a huge step professionally and finally people would start to take me more seriously.  That suddenly I wasn't just a recent college graduate but someone with work experience and a little bit of time under my belt.

The blog writer lamenting turning 30 asked if she could wear clothes from Forever 21 and H&M (don't be ridiculous--of course) and if she could still wear big flowery head bands (really?  That is a ridiculous question because of course you should NEVER do this no matter your age).

In order to prove that being 30 is even better than being 20 I have spent the last 30 minutes compiling picture evidence.  Here you go.

20 is cute and fun.

But 30.  30 is something even better.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

After all, it is the new year

It's the new year. And you know what that means--my maxed out dental plan restarts so I can go back to long disgusting appointments in the dentist's chair.

Here are a couple of things you could hear from the dentist chair that might be an indication that you are in for a long (as in more than 4 hours), painful and very expensive ride.

  • "Looks like we're doing teeth 2,3,4,5 and 30.  Can you remember that.  Don't worry.  I can."
  • [turning to the assistant] "I have not seen water come out of a tooth in a very long time"
  • "This is deep.  Really deep."
  • "There is a lot of blood here.  I mean a lot. We would have been done a while ago but I just can't get this to stop bleeding."

I am assuaging my pain with jamba juice and cheese toast and maybe I will make the hubbs take me to Taco Bell for dinner.

**Remember that Usher video from yesterday?  I've watched it a couple of times in the last day and I have come to one conclusion.  If, when I was very upset, my first reaction was to take of my shirt and strut around half-naked I don't think I'd have as much trouble with wanting to binge eat candy when I'm upset.

I'm taking that into consideration--there may be more half-naked strutting happening around my house.

Monday, January 16, 2012


My friend Rory is doing a blog project this month. After being egged on by her readers she committed to write a confession on her blog every day for the next 27 days.

I am a little in love with the project. There is something so...so...voyeuristic about it.  I love getting a glimps into her life.  And, to be honest, I also love the fact that after reading her blog entry every morning this song is in my head all day long.

I'm not sure I could tackle the project that she's taking on.  I've thought about it over the last 3 days and the confessions that I can think of are either 1. So mundane and idiotic that they could hardly even be classified under the category of confessions (Oh really? You are suddenly terrified at the prospect of living with an almost 2-year old who has discovered the power of the tantrum?  You have to keep all candy out of the house because if you didn't you would sometimes hide in the closet during a tantrum and eat it all?  Shocking).  Or 2. So personal and terrifying that I haven't even admitted them fully to myself.

And the tricky part is that no one wants to read about the confessions that fall into the first category. I myself am anxiously waiting for Rory to divulge the confessions that fit into the second category.  The idea of revealing that to the interwide web is terrible and horrifying to me but the trick is that the kind of writing that I'm drawn to and my favorite blogs to read are the ones where people explore those kinds of confessions.  And it's not just in a celebrity gossip, voyeur kind of way.  Reading that kind of thing helps me understand my own confessions a little better.

So here's to Rory.  And her 27 days of confessions--may we all learn a great deal.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

There are two types of people in this world...

Dr. Leo Marvin: Are you married? 
Bob Wiley: I'm divorced. 
Dr. Leo Marvin: Would you like to talk about that? 
Bob Wiley: There are two types of people in this world: Those who like Neil Diamond, and those who don't. My ex-wife loves him. 
Dr. Leo Marvin: [pause] I see. So, what you're saying is that even though you are an almost-paralyzed, multiphobic personality who is in a constant state of panic, your wife did not leave you, you left her because she... liked Neil Diamond?


So it turns out that there is another way to segment society.  There are two types of people in this world: Those who like cruises, and those who don't.  Turns out that the hubbs and I belong to the latter category.  

Oh the rocking.

And the huge quantity of mediocre food that is constantly surrounding you.  I'm getting heart burn just thinking about it

And the having a toddler in a confined space.

And the boat that smelled like raw sewage.

Not.  Good. 

Don't get me wrong, Catalina was awesome, Ensenada was great and we loved spending time with family but the large boat is where the whole equation went south.  I think next time we'll just stick with a hotel.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


Today we leave for our Cruise.

Wish us luck. Both the hubbs and I get really sea sick. 

In honor of a week's hiatus here's one my favorite Cruisin' songs of all tim


Friday, January 6, 2012

Know Thyself

Every Tuesday night our family heads to Baskin Robins for $1 scoop night.  I'm not the kind of person who can keep treats in the house (or I just eat them all up in one fail swoop) so even though we know that the ice cream in more expensive it works best for us--we get ice cream once a week, on Tuesday and everybody gets a kid sized scoop.

Coming home from ice cream this week Claire was angry and fussy in the car.  In an attempt to distract her he started playing a game of I-Spy.  

"If you can see a bus, raise your hand," he called. 

"If you can see a driver talking on their cell phone, raise your hand"

He got nothing.  She just kept fussing and crying.  So the hubbs called, "If you're a little girl crying in the back seat raise your hand."  Claire's little hand shot up and even though we erupted in laughter she just kept crying with her little hand straight in the air.

And after weeks of carefully consideration we decided to remodel our kitchen.  The amazing thing is we actually doubled the amount of counter space we have.

Ah So Cal and your tiny apartments and high high rent.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Public Apology

Several months ago we had Claire nearly weaned from her pacifier.  She knew that she only got to have it in bed and when she woke up in the morning she would had it over to us to put away in the cupboard until we needed it at nap time again.  I was proud.  And maybe a little self-righteous when I dropped her off at the babysitter and said, "there's a pass in her bag if there's an emergency but we're really trying to wean her from it."

So.  A couple of teeth, a Christmas holiday, 3 trips to Utah later and would you like to know how we're doing with "weaning" her from the pass?

Great.  Thanks for asking.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

It's a good thing

The day we arrived in Utah my mom came home from getting her hair done and stated that she had bought me the most wonderful present and that if I didn't like it she was never going to buy me another present again.

Luckily we don't have to go that route because it is one of the most perfect gifts I have ever received.

It's called a gurgle pot and every time it pours it makes a gurgling noise. It's been on our table every night this week and everybody giggles every time it pours.  You can listen to it here and order one for your kitchen here.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

How I use my brain cells these days

Today during a morning phone call my mom asked "so when are you going to start blogging again?"

I guess today.

When I first started being a stay-at-home mom I was at a party where I didn't really know anyone and someone asked me what I did.  I stammered around for a few minutes and said, "well....well...I guess I'm a mom?"  She laughed and said, "you must be new to this.  It get's easier."

The hard part wasn't staying with Claire.  I loved being with her (I still do) but there was something that was hard about redefining who I was.  Before I was a mom I had a really cool job.  I worked with a non-profit organization.  We did work with poor communities in Africa and South America.  My job was working with the staff we had in country to come up with the programs that they would use in the communities.  I helped them plan out what they were doing, helped them manage the funds as they were going along and helped with the follow up and analysis of the project.  My job was, by in large, a desk job but it did provide me with a chance to travel.  Several times a year I would go to South America or Africa to work with the communities and staff.  It provided me with many incredible experiences.  I have held a small boy in my arms who was dying of AIDS while we tried to feed him a special meal powder designed by students at BYU to provide maximum nutrition. He would be dead within 24 hours and when we woke up the next morning we would hear the whole town performing their traditional wailing for him.  I have cooked traditional bread in a hut on the savanna over a fire while the black smoke spewed and spewed and the baby who was in the hut with us just coughed and coughed.  I have seen the sun rise at Macchu Pichu and I have spent and entire New Year's eve celebration dancing to terrible polka music at fourteen-thousand feet.

Now that I'm 21 months into my parenting experiment one of the things that I am learning is that the job that I left and the job that I have now are actually very similar.  Both are packed with adventure, both have good days and bad days, both are changing the lives of other people.  

And both require a great deal of ingenuity.  

Case study: this morning.  Homemade yogurt is a little runnier than the store bought kind.  The last couple of days breakfast at our house has deteriorated into a yogurt finger-painting free for all.  Combine that with the fact that when Claire doesn't eat she gets really cross and things have been....tense to say the least.

Enter a trimmed bendy straw.

Ta-Da.  A whole breakfast consumed, a happy girl and a happy mom.