Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Omniscient Vision

There's a lot of criticism of mommy bloggers violating their children's privacy.  I keep my kids' names untyped, & thus hopefully un-Googleable, and haven't posted any nekkid hiney shots so should they eventually make their way here, I hope they won't have too much to protest about.  [Also, as the New Year approaches and I'm reflexively forced to reflect, I'm left with the disturbing feeling that what I've mostly done here lately is whine, writing very little about the little creatures that keep mommy so busy, but that's a different post.]  But if the #1 rule is no skin shots, then what's the consensus on internal organs?  Honey bear, if you're mad at me in 20 years for sharing with the world what your ribs look like then, I will totally pay for your therapy.  'Cause mommy finds these jpegs to be a thing of wonder and joy.

My girl had her AAI xrays done about 2 months ago (oh jeez, has it really been 2 months?!).  The one radiologist said that bit was fine but wasn't sure about something else, so my pediatrician arranged for a second read at the Children's Hospital.  Except no one wanted to just mail it over or, god forbid, use Al Gore's nifty new technology and send it out into the vast unending blackness of cyberspace.  To be fair, I still get old school film Xrays at work all the time so it's entirely possible no one realized that Hospital#1 has gone digital but there were nonetheless shenanigans in getting the aptly named anti-climatically compact disc from Hospital#1 to Hospital#2.  Mission FINALLY accomplished today. 

But not before burning myself a copy. 
In the shot above you can see the wires used after her heart surgery to close her chest.  You can see the plates of her skull and I think the outlines of her cerebellum and some molars lurking under her gumline.  You can also see the hand bones of the tech who was holding her still and in the shot below there is clearly silent screaming at the indignity of it all.

And if I were a believer, I'd look at that burst of white in the middle of my girl's chest and see God himself.  God, science, and Gore-tex. They cut open her heart, fashioned a working pump out of what was in effect a water balloon, and then held the whole business together with those little wires.  Amazing.


[Note to my new BIL:  If you have perchance made friends with anyone in the neuroradiology department and all that scientific curiosity makes you wonder what the first radiologist saw, say, at C1, then it would supremely easy for me to email you the jpegs.  In the name of science, of course.  Not because I'm paranoid enough to want a THIRD opinion.]

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Yorkshire Pudding 12, Me 0

Oh, Popovers. Scourge
of Christmas dinner.  Thou hast
bested me again. 
They look pretty here but I had to cut them out with a knife.  Two or three hundred years ago they didn't have non-stick pans and, until now, I have refused to admit the necessity thereof.  They also didn't have Dawn dishsoap though - maybe I should try letting my muffin tins "season"?  (Who wants to come over for blueberry muffins now?)  Making these well is on my bucket list.  Ambitious gal, am I. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Good Tidings

So.  Christmas!  Yup.
Can I get an Amen?

Scar from the Great Hearth Battle of Twenty-Eleven above her right eye.

Mardi Gras beads from Target dollar bins for the stocking:  $1
Toddler joy:  Priceless

Disney PJs. 

Oh, that face!  

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

No Good, Very Bad Weeks

Twenty years from now when I have a savings account and a 10 minute commute, when I'm a regular at the yoga class around the corner and am a magic size 6, when I read 5 books a week and run 4 marathons a year, and when I know both the librarian and the ticket guy at the art house theater by first name, I will think upon these times fondly, with not a little wistfulness, and I will miss my cuddly, sticky-kiss-giving little people.

This very long post exists for sole purpose of reminding my future self to shove all that wistfulness into the diaper genie.

Monday: Got to to work late, go immediately into a 2 hour meeting, return to my desk to find my phone lit up like a Vegas slot machine.  Have to leave to pick up the girl for Pink Eye, Round II.

But not to worry.  Following the Weekend of 400 Cookies my house is trashed.  You couldn't take more than a step in any direction without jumping over or sliding around something.  Often a sticky something.  Or a toe-stubbing something, hidden under the clean (?) dirty(?) laundry (hard to tell as it swirled together). This is an excellent opportunity to clean.

Also, I chatted with my new boss about my schedule & flex time and she waved me off with an eye roll.  Let her know if I don't plan on showing up so she knows I'm not dead in a ditch but otherwise we're good.  *phew!*

Except my girl & I walk in and eeewwww.  One of the dogs had gotten sick. Naturally on the one tiny bit of carpet downstairs, not the other 90% of floor with easily cleaned wood floors.  I put the girl down for a nap, clean up, and... well, I then clearly deserved a break.

We'd gone to my niece's birthday dinner right after the cookie party and I was too exhausted to talk to anyone so started flipping thru her sister's copy of The Hunger Games and I was hooked.  For the record, I don't usually read Young Adult fiction, but this was sort of Handmaid's Tale + The Lottery + Gladiator.  The lead girl kicked butt and I don't get to read much anymore so... not sure what happened to the rest of Monday.

Though I did put the turkey in.  We had Thanksgiving at Matt's mom's house and while she did send us home with some leftovers, we missed the whole baking-a-turkey/holiday smells/turkey sandwiches, turkey casserole, omg STILL more turkey/gluttony factor.  I think I could totally do this SAHM thing - I read a book AND I made a healthy dinner.  I rock!

Tuesday: The girl's still banned from daycare & Matt's CEO was in town and asked my rockstar husband to fly around Missouri with him.  Matt's CEO trumps my voicemail.  So Day 2, at home.  Not a problem, I still have the second Hunger Games book and I really haven't done much with the house yet...

Except when feeding the girl lunch (turkey! why do you ask?) I turned for a second - IT WAS JUST A SECOND - and the sneaky mutt who I trustingly took into my loving home from the outside-in-the-middle-of-winter shelter grabbed the gallon sized bag of carefully sliced turkey, all 14#, less bones, less one dinner of it, and then that damn dog had the good sense to take it into a different room where I wouldn't notice him eating himself into a night outside in the backyard alone.

Then Tuesday afternoon the fireplace mantel... (is the mantel only the thing above the fireplace?  The ER staff looked confused.  We have brick seat-thingy at shin & toddler-forehead banging height too.)  Oops!  Guess I gave away THAT plot twist already?  Hmm.

Anyway, the brick seat-thingy and my daughter's forehead had an altercation and my daughter lost.  Massive hole in her forehead gushing pints & pints of blood*.  Tuesday was supposed to be PJ today so no shower, no grown up clothes.  I briefly consider it but decide a good mother would NOT stop to take a shower before going to the ER for stitches.  Though I did change into jeans.
*[Pints might be overstating it a tad. It's about a 2cm gash.]

In the car I shift from a zen-like "It's unfortunate my daughter needs stitches but such is childhood", to a high pitched, red-light running (really!), weaving through traffic at 80mph PANIC because she falls asleep in the car, I can't wake her up, and all I can see is her brain swelling up and... well... yeah.

Later I realize I had the heat in the car cranked to full max and she was wearing a winter coat.  If anything, she was at risk for heat stroke.  Nevermind mommy's crazy driving.  That would be diagnosable PTSD right there folks.  Come on up & get a good look.

The ER staff is great, except the insipid med student who is annoying, but I ignore him because I'm busy discussing sedation methods with the ER doctor (Yay, special needs moms rock!... except for the whole 'letting my daughter climb on the fireplace' thing. I suck).  My girl wasn't letting anyone look at her forehead, much less neatly apply tiny, tiny stitches.  I told them she had enough going on, she didn't need a third eye scarred into her face.  They said they weren't comfortable intubating her (WTF?!?!)... I clarify I didn't think she needed to be put UNDER, I was thinking Versed.  I didn't want her remembering scary doctors holding her down since this is neither her first nor last rodeo.  Also to avoid the whole 'panicky thrashing because people are trying to smother you while waving a big needle above your eye' issue.  The ER doctor believes this to be a brilliant and insightful solution and asks why I didn't go to medical school.

I might be exaggerating again.

Naturally, there's another bigger emergency that comes in so the Versed is wearing off by the time they come back around so she ends up panicking and thrashing ANYWAY.  Then, on the last stitch, the ER doctor goes, "Oops".


Doctors are not supposed to say "Oops".  It's a rule.  Like gravity.  By way of explanation she said they nicked a vein and there would be a worse bruise there than otherwise so in the grand scheme of things not a big "oops" but dammit I'm her mother and you are NOT inspiring confidence in me.  I resolve to find a better ER next time.

Because, oh yes, there will assuredly be a next time.

Wednesday:  Good thing I'd already planned to take this day off.  The girl needs some snuggle time and the xxxx dog still has to go out every 5 minutes post-turkey-theft.  I think evil thoughts about leaving chocolate & raisins out for his next foray onto my countertops.  Also, you know what's not fun?  Putting eye drops for the aforementioned Pink Eye, on a girl whose eyes are... extra specially hard to open AND whose forehead is held together by string.

My girl & I later visit her new fancy specialty dentist which is a full hour drive away.  But the staff there was A.M.A.Z.I.N.G.  The girl had a cotillion of hygienists trying to make her giggle and say, "Aaahhh".  They were charming and doting and I felt not an iota of pity or weirdness from them.  The dentist confirmed she is trying to grind her teeth down to nubs but doesn't think she needs caps yet and, best of all, finds her teeth to be sparkly clean (Because I am an awesome mom!) so no need to coordinate ENT-DDS sedation.  The best-est part was that he determines all this with the fastest exam in the history of dentistry THEN gives her a stuffed frog and a polaroid of the two of us, "My first visit to the dentist with Mom".  This guy would be well worth a TWO hour drive.  I marvel at our good fortune.  I also congratulate myself for going with Versed last night since she is not overly freaked out by MORE people in white coats poking at her.

We then go to our new SLP whose evaluation states my daughter has Downs' Syndrome.  I am slightly horrified.  But I sit quietly in the lobby for an hour reading trashy gossip magazines while listening to the liveliest most effective speech therapy session in 3 years and am mollified.  Then I'm completely charmed when she says that the girl's attention had started to flag at the end and how would I like to do half hour sessions?  At half the price.  Yes please sir, and I will deliver your halved check with wine and roses and cheesecake.  I again marvel at our good fortune.

Matt left on a trip in the middle of the day and I later remember it's going to freeze that night and Matt hasn't turned off the water for the hose yet.  Despite several requests.  This has nothing to do with traditional gender roles. This has everything to do with the night my parents left me alone with a babysitter who fell asleep on the couch leaving me awake to watch a movie about swarms of tarantulas eating people.  There are some BIG spiders in Missouri, people, and the water pipe lever is in the spider infested, web-festooned rafters in our basement.  I make him stay on the phone with me after he tells me where the levers are just so I can yell at him as the webs wrap around my wrist...

This is, by far, the WORST part of my week.

Thursday: This day may have been worse or completely ordinary but I have no recollection of it.

Friday:  I realize no one has checked with the day care or the school bus to make sure my daughter has someplace to go and some method to arrive there.  (And by "no one" I mean Matt, who is usually off on Fridays but who is still off enjoying seafood & solitude in Boston).  Many frantic phone calls to people who haven't had their morning coffee yet.  They are surprisingly flexible.  I am horrified this didn't occur to me earlier and feel, once again, we are holding this life of ours together with scotch tape and spit.

Saturday: Matt returns. He brings me a cookie. All is forgiven.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

In Which I Insult Everyone I Know - But Offer Cookies in Apology

Sooo.... Yesterday's post about the minivan was supposed to be tongue-in-cheek but I kinda left off the funny and since I know almost no one, online or in real life, who DOESN'T own a minivan I should probably explain that although I've mocked and railed against them as an unpleasant side effect of the otherwise joyful life of suburban parent-hood (see also:  chucky cheese, barney), it only takes one soccer season to be convinced of their necessity, and of the evil genius that is Detroit's lure of spacious 7-passenger seating.  We would totally buy a minivan if we could but our cars (*knock on wood*) are running fine right now and replacing running vehicles isn't exactly in the budget.  Though I stand strong against the built in back seat DVR. 

[At least until they offer to throw in the headsets for free]

Anywhoodle, we held our annual cookie party last Sunday.  The first year, it was just the cousins, the year after I included the neighbors, and in 2010 I invited the soccer team (with absolutely no notice).  This year I finally took the plunge and invited the boy's class.  His ENTIRE class. So we rented the sub-division's clubhouse because a dozen kids + bright green frosting + a metric ton of sprinkles?  My house is never really really clean, but I draw the line at frosting on the ceiling.  This year I also sent real invitations with more than 48 hours notice.  Yay, me!

...Side note about RSVP-ing.  I am sometimes guilty of the Last Minute RSVP.  I was even guilty once (twice?) of the unintentional(!) but ignoble Ignoring of the Invite.  Matt also gently reminded me that tonight was Uncle Mike's party for which I also didn't formally send my regrets though it was 1500 miles away and I kinda assumed it was a courtesy invite only.  I will state, formally & for the record, that Karma is a bitch and I had it coming.  Because less than half the class responded, leaving me to fret over how many cookies were needed.  Leaving me to jump down into a rabbit warren of funky math:   how many cookies per child? (3? 5? 15?)  How many will they eat versus want to bring home, decorated?  How many siblings will show up?  How many cookies will the parents eat?  How many families will RSVP with less than 12 hours to go? (answer:  2)  How many appearances will be a complete surprise? (maybe 2?  4?  I never got a final kid-count).  How many cookies will the dogs eat when I have my back turned?  (See tomorrow's post about the turkey.  If you adopt one of my dogs, I will also send you a gross of complimentary gingerbread men!).  And, most important, how many cookies do those recipes really make?  Because when the sugar cookie recipe and the gingerbread cookie recipe both start with the same 2.5 cups of flour, there is no logical explanation as to why one makes 74 cookies and the other only 25.  And whatever else goes wrong (because something assuredly will), for the love of all that is Good and Sacred, we CANNOT run out of cookies. 

I was determined to have everything done early, like a responsible adult, and planned to make all the dough Friday night, so it could be nice & chilled for rolling & cutting on Saturday.  Sadly, these were the only photos I took.  I was, at the time, highly amused by the 25 pound bag of flour we bought -

It's better if you have a little perspective -  

Oh, HELLO, much better.
If I told you my Thanksgiving Day cranberry mojito story, I relay the following at risk of sounding like a total boozer, but I swear I only had one glass of wine.  Turns out the cookbook's typeface is really small and/or my eyes are getting really bad, because it wasn't till the 4th batch that I noticed it was 1.5 cups of sugar, not butter.  Which you'd think I would have caught, but nooo.... I had actually even said something to Matt about the egregious amounts of butter the (expletive) cookies took and best have a glass of red wine eat some oatmeal to counteract all that potential cholesterol.  He laughed.  I made 3 more batches. Awesome. 

Anyway, even after dumping my first attempts, I was still in the zone, had a production line set up, and my mother in law's fancy new mixmaster running.  I think I ended up making 7-8 batches each, of sugar AND gingerbread? Craziness.  I spent Saturday (after a yummy breakfast with RK) listening to old This American Life episodes and cutting out stars and trees and little people.  I did this ALL DAY but it was weirdly relaxing - roll, cut, 8 minutes in the oven, repeat.  Apparently there's a little bit of Martha Stewart in me somewhere - *shush* don't tell anyone.  Tragically, I took no more photos, though by the time I was finished I was surrounded by feet of cookies.  We ended up with about 10 kids from the boy's class, plus a bunch of other friends, and still sent gallon-sized plastic bags of extra cookies home with people so methinks I might've over-baked a tad, but all in all, a success.  The end.

(Except not.) 
PS:  I had joked that I would've been insulted by the lack of RSVPs but I've never even met most of the parents so they couldn't possibly not like me (yet).  That pendulum then swung to the other extreme when a good half of the parents dropped their kids off at the party and ran.  Nice to meet you!  Sure, I'll watch your child even though you've never met me and I could be a screaming harridan (and never mind there are 15 other kids here and chances of me noticing your one kid slipping out the door and into the street are minimal).  Glad you trust me.  I realize we'll get to that point eventually, and there are lots of parents I know with whom I'd leave my kid at a party but the key concept there is that I KNOW them.  I might be over-protective and crazy, but it seems 6 is too young for Random People to watch?  I'll also acknowledge I used to watch Law & Order: SVU which left me a leetle bit paranoid.  Also, we had grown-up drinks which not enough people stayed to make a dent in, leaving me with a case of... oh wait, that's not a problem.  Carry on. 

Friday, December 9, 2011

Sparkly lights for Gigi

Our Gigi lost her brother this last Sunday. Less than a month after losing her sister. Lest we all forget how very short and fragile our time on this planet it. We love you Gigi.

And since there's no way to transition from that to kvetching about my week, or extolling the joys of making 400 cookies last weekend, I'll just toss out a snippet, so maybe Gigi will smile.

The boy, yesterday morning:  Maybe when we have more money we can get one of those big cars that play movies?
Me:  You mean a minivan with a DVD player?  (me, silently gagging)
Him:  Yes!  So I can watch Home Alone when we drive.  Or maybe just Spongebob on shorter trips.
Me:  Probably not, honey (It is critical for your emotional and social development to stare out the window and be bored out of your mind daydream, just like I did as a child.  Besides, listening to Spongebob while driving will drive your mommy completely insane.) 

The boy, last night:  You know what would be cool?
Me:  What?
Him:  If our house had one of those giant balls with lights that sparkle and it could spin around on our roof.
Me:  You mean a giant disco ball?  On our roof? 
Him:  Yes, that!
Me:  That is an excellent idea, buddy (And WAY more likely to happen than the minivan with DVD).

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Disney, III

My mother in law asked us to take a family picture while we were at Disney so she could use it in her Christmas cards this year.  This is why that was a terrible idea.  (Sorry, D.)

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Disney, II

These were taken in the ice cream parlor.  If there is a happiest place, in the happiest place on earth, then this surely is the spot.  I have a hard time getting shots in focus of this girl's grin, because she's usually moving at 110mph and I have a terrible camera, but I think these turned out ok (if you ignore the lighting and the girl in the background on the phone waiting impatiently for our table). 

Aunt Mary!!

When I was little, Gigi put together a photo album for me of my first trip to Disneyland.  I remember there was a picture of me out by the front gate, one of me riding Dumbo, and one in the teacups.  I wish I knew where that album was now!
Did I mention how much my girl dug the rides?  She was scared on the first 2-3, but by Dumbo and the Teacups (maybe #5-6?) she was whheeee-ing and laughing at everything.

My son apparently inherited my picture taking face too.  Sorry, kid.

...and then his dad's genes kick in:

Temporary (I promise!) break from Disney

Last night Matt had to work late so I picked up the kids and then went to the post office where my daughter sprawled on the floor while I tried to figure out the automatic stamp dispenser.  You'd think with all the recent germs & sick days around here, I would have been more freaked out but Mommy just need five minutes to get this done and her brother's attempts to entertain her by listlessly singing the ABCs were even more grating.  So do we then head home to decontaminate?  Noooo....we go to IHOP!  Since moving to the midwest the Waffle House has actually grown on me but IHOP has a more effective advertising campaign and my son has been lusting after pancakes.  Not that we don't make pancakes every weekend but these?  Have colored sprinkles.  So as it got later, as the kids got hungrier & more tired, and as my patience and ability to warm something up in the microwave evaporated, I was easily swayed by the boy's "let's make tonight magic."  That his definition of "magic" meant IHOP is irrelevant.  That might even be their actual commercial.  I don't know.  If it is, I'm embarassed, but coming from a 6 year old it's damn charming. 

Anyway, this extended rambling by way of long explanation as to why there are no Disney photos.  Because after his pancake, the boy tried to lie down in the booth & my girl was trying to crawl in my lap so we limped home and went straight to bed.  Me too.  I got NINE hours of sleep last night and it was glorious

Instead I'm posting a picture of my daughter, taken by my SIL.  Obviously, there's always a lot of talk about genes, genetics, & what that extra chromosome means for our kids, but not as much about the influence of OUR genes on them.  This is my *exact* same picture taking face.  Which is (one of) the many reasons I don't post many of myself.  Outing my child, on the other hand, is totally fair game.

Monday, November 28, 2011

All right, already! Disney, Part I of XXVI

Aunt Mary's 300+ Disney pictures are a little intimidating, but at Gigi's request, I'll get to it.  These are still mine - There aren't nearly as many.

Along the way I'll probably chat about completely unrelated bits of randomness.  Because my tummy is still full, 4 days after Thanksgiving, and it's hard to concentrate.

We were going to Disney on Thursday but did the character dinner the night before at the hotel.  My son?  Surprisingly into it.  Autograph book and everything.  My daughter?  NOT.AT.ALL.  The mere sight of 6' tall furry beasts had her hiding her face in one hand and shooing them off with the other.  Except for the princesses - she luvvved the princesses.  Except I was off stuffing my face at the (surprisingly good) buffet so wasn't manning the camera.  Girl/princess shots are pretty blurry.  Just swap kids in your imagination. 
This girl's freakishly smooth skin creeps me out.  I always assumed they wore an inch of pancake make up but not so much.  Huh. 

Side story:  I worked one summer at EuroDisney, right when they opened.  I was the sub-junior hostess so had NO responsibility other than to lead people to their tables.  I was not allowed to decide where to seat them, nor count out the necessary number of menus, nor take their drink orders... yet I was paid (for me, at 20) a BUNCH of cash.  Extrapolate that into the European debt crisis.  Anyway, Cinderella would take breaks in our back room - her 3' high wig off & in the chair next to her, feet up, and a cigarette dangling out of her mouth. Kind of tarnished the magic. 

I LOVE topiary.  Having a garden with massive whimsical animals is on my bucket list.  Just to foster the childrens' imagination, of course.  Having a garden that didn't look like it was reverting to prairie would be a small first step.  Maybe in time for my grandkids? 

 Love this picture of her.

More large furry animals.  My daughter was safely ensconced in her stroller.  

She thought Autotopia was the coolest thing ever.  My back still hasn't recovered.  

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The smell of toast

Do y'all read Dave Hingsburger's blog? 
He posted this a while back but I'm a leeettlee bit behind in my reader.
I love-love-love this video -  
Dogs.  Awkward kids.  Redemption.
And my daughter watched it with me last night and clapped at the end.  Every time.

I had a rough day at work yesterday.  Bad news from afar and I snapped at someone unnecessarily.  REALLY SNAPPED.  It's a rough business and there is quite a bit of calculated bluster, and occasionally a little real irritation behind it, but *I* am supposed to be, and until yesterday was, the  cool, collected party on the phone.  Nothing epic, just a break in the armor.  Let's hope it's not a sign of impending collapse.  Even on the rough days though, there is always the smell of toast.  And last night, there was my daughter clapping at the puppies.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Date Night!

...sorry about last night, I was grumpy.  My girl had her special DDS visit scheduled for 8am this morning and I'd realized late last night I'd forgotten to call for her prophylactic antibiotic (needed because of her heart surgery) so I was highly annoyed with myself.  The third anniversary of her heart surgery was on Friday, the 18th (which I also was going to write about), so you'd think it would have crossed my mind.  The dentist's fancy website said their first visit was to be just a meet and greet &, even if he managed to look in her mouth, there was no way my girl was going to let anyone clean her teeth but, just in case miracles do happen, I was going to call the cardiologist on our drive in & swing by a drug store so it wasn't entirely hopeless but still.... of all the things to let slip. 

[Turns out Matt had something come up at work & had to leave super early, so I ended up calling at 7:50, when they opened, to cancel our 8am appointment.  Groveling doesn't even begin to cover it - this is The Guy with hospital privileges who can take care of her teeth while she's sedated when/if we get her ears tubed, so I don't want to alienate the staff.  Also, he won't schedule a sedated cleaning till we try the old fashioned way and their next available isn't till December, which means now IF we do get tubes put in and shoot for the fabled double ENT-DDS booking, it won't be till January, which ...(deep breath)... is a Brand New Deductible Year.  Awesome.]

But onto happier stories - DATE NIGHT!  Matt had a gift certificate for PF Changs, I have been clutching my $4 Groupon movie tickets for months, and Matt's parents were free to watch the kids...  could it really be?

Turns out PF Changs had an almost 2 hour wait so we drove around and found a cute little Mexican place with live music (well, a guy & a guitar. But he was good!).  While waiting to get in, we were smirking at the middle age suburban moms wearing their Twilight T-shirts who had clearly gathered for the opening night of episode XVI (or whatever).  They had a LIFE SIZED EDWARD CUT OUT with them at their table.  Oh my....

Sorry, I know some of y'all like it but I just don't get it.  She's EIGHTEEN.  All that staring longingly into each others' eyes...  Honey, you may want to jump him join him for all of eternity, but I guarantee you will not still think he's as charming when he pretends not to know where the laundry hamper is after your 213th anniversary.  Also, why do they keep repeating high school?  Very few people I know actually enjoyed high school (lord knows I didn't).  And it's the same course material, repeated ad nauseum.  For eternity.  How many times can one person take Algebra II?  You'd think after the 7th or 8th time he'd ace it and, in a nice suburban school like that, the teachers would notice and pull him aside to encourage him to take Trig, instead.  Why don't they attend college and get a triple major?  Revolutionary French literature, Central American botany, and, say, enology (vocab word!)?  Then the following decade they can study Shakespeare and modern dance.  That would at least be interesting.  And ol' Ed wouldn't have to hit on underage girls  (Seriously.  He's a 90 year old man hanging out with 16 year olds. Creepy.)

Anyway, while we were busy feeling culturally superior, one of the Twilight moms detached herself and came over - "Aren't you [the kid]'s dad?  I'm [his classroom aide]....  Are you his mom?"  [We thought later it would've been pretty funny if I had not been his mom.  Awkward!]  We chatted for a bit and she asked what he'd had earlier in the week, when he missed Monday & Tuesday.  And my famed social graces kicked in because I suddenly could not remember.  Which child?  Which pathogen?  Which week?  Given my look of confusion, I'm sure she wondered if I really was his mom.  Way to charm the teachers! I hadn't even had a margarita yet.

A pound of guacamole later I was happy and we waddled back to the car to go to the flicks.  But we were in the dark period between all the 7:30 and 10pm shows (the latter of which I'm too old to stay awake for).  Our two options?  The cartoon about the cat... or... yes, that's right... Twilight. 

Also, neither started at the theatre for which I had the Groupon, so full Friday night fare.

I'm sure the rest of the internet has already deconstructed the movie so I'll skip the Edward Bashing.  I was happy with my movie popcorn and icee, sitting next to my aging human spouse, ignoring the Worst Dialogue Ever Written. My darling, mushy husband, raised on John Hughes movies, thought it was kind of sweet.  I have elected to ignore this fatal character flaw.  Because THAT's what grown ups in a real marriage do, Bella.  We don't mock. 

(let's all give Matt a big cheer for being a good sport).

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday Nite

I have a hundred little stories and yet still haven't posted Disney pictures... argh!

You know who employers LOVE?  They love employees who take a bunch of random half days, purportedly to care for their sporadically ill child, then leave on vacation for a week with two conveniently happy healthy children, who then come back sporting NEW contagions.  My girl's GI troubles seemed* to have ended, just in time for air travel and Mickey, but last Friday I got a call to pick her up from day care for for pink eye (Yeah! New and different infections!).  Over the weekend her brother developed croup so then HE stayed home for a couple days.  Matt managed to switch his schedule around to stay home with him Monday, but I took the Tuesday pm shift... but had already planned to take my girl to her new private speech therapy Wednesday afternoon, so that was twice this past week I slunk out at lunchtime.  I worked this weekend but still.... the Friday afternoon call was particularly well timed to raise eyebrows (not that anyone did - no one was around to notice it being Friday afternoon 'n all). 

Worse, my incredibly amazingly tolerant boss is moving up & out so there is Drama at the office.  My calm rational side knows that I usually get my time in and not one in a long string of managers has ever said boo about the patchwork manner in which it gets done and, legally speaking, I have eons of vacation time and then, worst case, I can always hide behind FMLA, but... BUT there is comfort in the familiar.  Especially the familiar who does not care to hear about my various afternoon appointments and catch-up Sundays.  The not-so rational side of me is chewing my fingernails, listening intently to office gossip, and fretting about unemployment numbers and the stagnant economy.

But on a happier note, our first private speech evaluation went pretty well.  My girl seemed to like the SLP, it's not grotesquely far away and it's only going to require we sell the unnecessary body parts to cover (I think I should be more excited about this?).  Even better - the SLP is tall, thin, & blond so Matt's griping about the costs should be minimized.

Hmmm... I seem to be in a mood.  We actually had a great weekend (date night! friends!) so I should just shut up, go to bed, and try this again later.  Sweet dreams?

For Tima

Happy Birthday Mom!
My sense of timing, is yours.
Thanks for ...everything.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Hallowed ground

....Los Angeles, that is.  It was odd being back - such beautiful weather, such yummy Chinese food (delivered!), and yet such an oppressive mass of people.  Funny how you adapt.  Never thought I'd get used to driving by lonely cornfields either but here we are.

We spent Halloween with Matt's oldest friend & his partner, but one little girl was Not.Having.It.  There were tears and Rolling About on the Floor.  We ended up putting her in the stroller where she seemed perfectly content to let her brother collect all the goodies, never dreaming that he had no intention of sharing.  Oh, the inhumanity of it all!

We trick or treated in a lovely neighborhood that took its festive duties Very Seriously - huge outdoor movie screens playing Thriller and Ghostbusters, fog machines, bubble machines... and hundreds and hundreds of kids.  There were lines 30 kids deep just to get to the front door of some homes.  Craziness.  Also?  Next year at home is going to be a crushing disappointment. 

Thanks Mike & Nick!
Do I win last place for the latest Halloween photos to be posted?  Yeah!  The grand prize would probably be the single lifesaver some random guy on the street gave my son.  We were polite and thanked him but, needless to say, threw away all the lifesavers the next morning.  I also pulled out all the Whoppers, but for selfish reasons.  Cannot resist the Whoppers.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

12 Pictures. No Profundity. 3 Jokes, abandoned.

We actually flew into San Diego first to see my sister and her new husband - she's been busy (*cough*!!) writing her thesis and he's in med school, but they nonetheless whipped up a yummy dinner & took us to the Wild Animal Park.  I want to make a crack about how busy they are vs how busy we seem but in truth I'm just really really glad I'm not in school anymore.  I was a terrible student.  Much easier to just tease my little sis' and whine about my long commute in the real world. 

Though their grad student housing does have a playground just outside the door - perfect for early morning PJ swinging.  The up side of not commuting. 

I was lamenting my camera yesterday (or not, depending on how you feel about wrinkles), but for some reason, these were actually in focus.

Awesome napping skills

[Funny joke about cobwebs and facial wrinkles, since I'm apparently feeling vain these days]

The happy couple


So many jokes.  So little time.  
(near the gorilla display)

So, so, SO very wrong.

(sadly, NOT in focus)

Unfamiliar 6 yr old male in an unpleasant mood during heretofore
identified FUN trip to the Wild Animal Park.
Despite or because of massive blue slurpy?
You decide.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

31 for what?

We're back!  I briefly thought about stretching my 31 for 21 posts into November with the argument that as our kids will eventually get there in their own time, so too, will I.  But that was too nauseatingly sweet so I'll just acknowledge defeat and shuffle on.

SOOOO so so much to share.  To make this readable, I'll break it up but here are the highlights:  my three long time readers will recall previous trips back to Cali were disasters - 12+ hours in the airport terminal disasters [painfully chronicled here, here, & here].  This time Matt flew with us both ways and did we have to wait?  Did we have to share a row with random strangers?  Did ANYTHING go wrong?  No, no, and no.  Both flights in & out were half empty and my daughter even slept on the way home.  Shocking luck.  Matt takes full credit for the universe's goodwill and out of gratitude I'm stifling the little bit of hate I feel toward him because of it.

Also, we did go to Disney and the special access pass was well, well worth it.  It was a little weird sometimes, stepping in front of everyone else waiting with their impatient children, but I managed to stifle the guilt because wheee! Rides!  My girl did AWESOME.  The first two (very kiddie-level) rides terrified her & I steeled myself for a long day but she then decided the stars in Peter Pan might be a leettle bit pretty, so she let go of my neck and looked around.  We went on Dumbo next and she smiled at the elephants and the breeze.  She loved every single ride to follow - giggling and "whee-ing" thru even the Haunted House and Autopia. 

In requesting the special access pass, the gal ("cast member"?) asked "What my concerns were."  That stumped me for a minute.  My concerns?  Are endless.  I assume you're asking about my concerns for today?  You mean apart from having to wait in line holding a wiggly 35# child who hasn't yet grasped the finer points of delayed gratification?  In fairness, I've thought about it since and couldn't come up with a better way of asking - "What's wrong with your kid" might rub a few the wrong way. 

Fabulous Aunt Mary came to Disney with us and took over 300 pictures with her fancy camera - steel yourself, will start working them in shortly.  Related:  her photos and the photos my SIL sent today from our anniversary night out, both taken with very very nice SLRs, make me look about 20 years older than necessary.  I believe the maximum megapixel count has now been reached and they will soon start marketing "fuzzier" cameras for the over 35 crowd.  Isn't there a tech-y/economic term for exceeding human tolerances?  I'll concede my "normal" might consist solely of sleep-deprived, not-yet-caffeinated, pre-dawn lipstick applications in my rear view mirror but there will nonetheless be Picture Culling prior to posting.  The underwater blue light in the Finding Nemo Submarine was particularly horrific.

To tide you over in the meantime, here are a couple from my softer, gentler, not as fancy camera: 
ye olde Ice Cream Buzz
Kiddie crack

The e'er Fabulous, Auntie M.