Monday, March 31, 2008

Disney Angst!

To preface this, my parents are great. When it was just Mister Man and I worked full time, my parents watched him 2 days a week, meeting my husband at his school and taking him to their house, then returning him at the end of the day. Even now, my parents watch both of them one day a week when I’m working (the other two days – like today – they’re in daycare), and they babysit all the time for us.

A couple years ago, they asked to take Mister Man to Tampa for a long weekend. I was fine with that. They had a great time, and it all worked out for everyone. Since then, we’ve gone back to the same hotel – my dad doesn’t like change – several times with both kids, sometimes with hubby and me along and sometimes with my sister to help wrangle the wee ones.

I’m in a wedding in Houston next month, and I have the option of bringing my children to the nighttime wedding. Uhhh, no. I chose to pass on that option for a number of reasons, the first being that their bedtime is before the ceremony even begins!

Luckily, my parents were ok watching the wee ones, since I’m going down on Thursday, and hubby has classes to teach and isn’t exactly around to get them to preschool and the like. After all arrangements had been made, my parents asked if they could just take the kids to Florida while we were both gone anyway – since it’d been all the way since October since they’d gone last. That was fine with me, too.

Then I got the phone call from my mom. “Well, the hotel in Tampa had no rooms for the time we wanted to go, so we decided to go to Orlando instead. We’re flying down on Thursday morning and will be back the day before Mother’s Day.” Uhhh, what? Wait a second, that is NOT what I’d agreed to. Ten days gone from me? Missing over a week of school (granted, it’s preschool)? And Orlando? Land of Disney?

My parents have an issue with overstepping their bounds. Their argument is that they’re grandparents, so they’re allowed to spoil the kids. I understand that logic, but the problem is that they see the kids easily two or three times a week and spend a lot of time with them. My kids have actually asked if they can go live with Grandma and Grandpa. The difference lies in frequency, in my mind.

As I gritted my teeth, I asked why they were going for so long. Apparently the flights were somewhat expensive, so they wanted to amortize the cost of the flights over more days. And had already booked the flights. And the hotel. Fortunately, it’s a hotel that’s not a Disney property, but not much is far from Disney in Orlando. I politely requested that they not go to Disney for the first time without me. My mom’s reaction? “They’re young; they won’t even remember it.” Uhhh, sure. Mister Man with the mind like a steel trap who remembers everything won’t remember this. Oh, and that isn’t the point!

Finally, she responded that they’d likely spend most days hanging out at the pool, but that probably one or two days they’d end up at Disney. “You know your dad. You can’t tell him what to do.” URG!

I’ve since had a few more conversations with my mom. I think she finally gets it, but she’s falling back on her argument that my dad will do what he wants to do and I have to clear it by him. Yesterday would have been the perfect time to talk to him. I even got to his house early before the movie (see yesterday’s post) so that we could chat about it. Of course, that just meant that he had more time to get to the theater early. And the theater wasn’t exactly conducive to that conversation. Afterwards, Mister Man was so exhausted and whiny, we fed him yogurt and brought him home.

I still have a month before they leave to impress upon them the severe disagreement I have about them taking my kids to Disney first without asking me, but I need to get moving. Any suggestions on how to handle? I can’t and don’t want to tell my parents that they just can’t see my kids or do stuff with them for a number of reasons, but they do not get boundaries.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

So What Happened Next? What Happened Next?

My dad has been asking for the last two weeks if he could take Mister Man to go see Horton Hears a Who. I hadn’t been able to give him an answer definitively one way or the other. Yes, Mister Man is just about 4 ½, but he’s never been to the movie theater. In fact, he’s only seen a few movies (thanks to my parents, a few more than I would have shown him, but still…). I’m one of the rare parents that really doesn’t let my kids watch tv or movies or anything. I wanted to wait to see what the parental review websites had to say specifically about the movies since I know from personal experience that “G” doesn’t always mean G.

The reviews were finally up at the end of this week, and they actually came back ok. No sex or profanity (ok, other than some words like “moron” and “idiot” and “boob” that I could have done without), and the violence was “mostly cartoon-like” including a character getting stapled in the head and the speck being held over a vat of boiling water. Again, I suppose I could deal with that. So when my dad called yesterday to ask if we could go to the movies, I said no. But only because Mister Man really needed a nap (and took one). Today was the big day.

By the time I got to my parents’ house, Mister Man was bouncing off the walls he was so excited. My dad asked if he was excited to go to the theater for the first time. He corrected my dad, saying that he’d been twice before. I had to stop and think about that one. When my dad was confused (because I wouldn’t put it past him to take Mister Man to a movie without telling me), I realized he was referring when I took him to the Hemmens Cultural Center last fall twice to see plays (Max and Ruby and Winnie the Pooh). The boy has a mind like a steel trap!

When we got to the theater, I let him know that it would be dark and loud. My dad had to get popcorn, of course. Mister Man told my dad that he wasn’t hungry and so didn’t want any. Gotta love a kid who knows not to eat when he’s hungry.

I was interested to see whether or not he liked it better than my popcorn though. If he takes a good nap on a weekend day, we’ll do “Movie Night with Mommy” where I’ll make real popcorn on the stove. I asked him to try it, but he repeated that he wasn’t hungry and didn’t want any. I asked if he’d just try one piece to let me know if he liked it better than mine or not. He picked up a piece, realized it was two, and put the second piece back. He tried it and decided that he doesn’t like movie theater popcorn. I’ve just saved an absolute fortune over the next 14 year. Whoo hoo!

When we arrived at the theater, we were the first ones to sit down. My dad was worried that the theater would be sold out since it is still spring break, so we got there a little early. Mister Man wanted to know why the movie wasn’t starting yet. I checked my handy dandy cell phone, and we figured out that we had twenty-one minutes to wait patiently for the previews to start. Oops.

As the previews finally started, Mister Man told me that it was really loud. Smart me, I had brought along ear plugs. Ok, they were really for me. I’m a wimp about sound, too, so I have a pair of ear plugs in my purse at all times for the rare occasion when I see a movie (No Reservations was my last movie). Needless to say, I shared with him. Very cute.

Fortunately, he loved the movie, although he didn’t like it when the bad guys were on the screen. Me? I liked it, too. And yes, I cried, but I cry in almost every movie. As soon as the movie was over, Mister Man started his request to have the movie retold to him. And heaven forbid we forget a part! After having it retold two kazillion times in the last two hours (although granted, he’s been asleep since 6:11), he’s pretty much got it down cold.

His next comment? Mommy, watching this movie weared me out. That was so cute and sweet that the people in front of us even did an “awwwww.” Any guesses why he went to bed so early?

As we started to leave the theater, he asked if he could come again. And mentioned that he was hungry. Mommy, I’m ready to eat now. Can we get dinner at this restaurant? Fortunately, I was able to convince him that this was not actually a restaurant and that maybe Little Miss might want to eat dinner with us, too, where he could gasp tell her about the movie! Playing to the pride… it almost always works (on the hubby, too!).

The good news summary:
Mister Man can sit still and quiet long enough to watch a movie in a theater
He won’t ever bug me to buy movie theater popcorn
He really enjoyed the movie
In his opinion, Little Miss has to wait until she’s four to watch a movie – and she usually is amenable to his theories

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Not That I'm Stubborn Or Anything...

At least I know where Little Miss gets her stubbornness from.

The jeans I had been wearing were … wearing out, plus they were too big (I know, everyone should have such a problem!).

I hate buying jeans because I get comfortable in mine and like the way they fit and can never find jeans like them again. When my second to last pair wore out in the knee, I finally broke down though. I went to Target (because I also am … frugal and can’t justify spending much on jeans) and collected armloads of jeans to try on in various sizes. That’s when I discovered the six item limit in their dressing rooms.

In the end, I found a style of jeans that fit and were comfortable. Bonus, they were also on clearance – how often does that happen? The cool thing is that they were juniors jeans and still fit. Oh yeah, and when I was a junior, I think the jeans I wore were larger. Somehow, I found a second pair in the same size and style. I now have two pairs of comfy jeans again (that are once again starting to get a bit too big and I’m so ok with that! I love Spark People!).

The third or fourth time I wore jeans pair one, the rivet on the button popped off as I was buttoning them. Ok, now I’m starting to get why they were on clearance. I wasn’t about to let this deter me, so I Gorilla Glued the rivet back on. In case you’re wondering, metal doesn’t glue well.

My next step was:

(Ok, anyone who can tell me how to rotate the picture... much appreciated!)

This is when I realized that I really am stubborn. Ok, and probably cheap, too. One way or the other, I’m determined to ensure that the jeans are not smarter than me! The pliers repair lasted for another wearing, but the button popped off again the next time I wore them. This time, my magic pliers didn’t work so well.

My Saturday yoga studio is kitty corner from a cleaners, so I asked if they could fix it. Anyone who's amazed that I remembered to bring them with me knows me well. It actually took me three weeks to remember to bring them. Lucky me, they were honest and suggested I go to a shoe repair place, which I never would have thought of on my own. Fortunately, there was one not too far away.

The shoe repair place was empty except for me and lots and lots of shoes in various states of disrepair. I still haven’t figured out how he stays in business, but I suppose it is a walk in and walk out kind of business vs a browsing one. Anyway, he was able to re-rivet the button. Only $3, so I can’t complain.

Ok, except that after washing the jeans, the rivet popped off again. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get the pliers to work their magic anymore. Off to the shoe repair again this morning. This time, he used a new rivet for an extra dollar. I’m wearing them now, and so far so good.

Wish me luck. At some point, my $11.98 jeans aren’t worth another $15 of repairs… so far I’ve only invested another $7. If it doesn’t work this time, I may have to learn how to sew well enough to find a different solution. Please, don’t all laugh at once.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Proof That I Need To Take Care Of Myself More Often...

I had my massage today. It was lovely. Especially after I went running this morning in 26 degree weather. Thank God it was sunny. And my friend made me go.

So I’ve apparently not been there in awhile. You’d think that I’d know this because I couldn’t tell you for the life of me the last time I was there. Or maybe because my knots had knots. Or maybe because I forgot how to get there and had to Mapquest it.

But nope, none of those is why I knew I hadn’t been there in awhile. The place I go to is a massage school, which means they’re students who need hours and therefore, it’s cheap(er). In fact, it’s $35 for an hour long massage, quite a deal. Errrr, it was $35. When I got my credit card receipt, I saw that it was $40. Now, keep in mind that I’m not complaining. A $40 massage is a wonderful and rare thing. But wow, it’s been awhile.

And when I went to go get my mani/pedi yesterday, I realized that it had been awhile since I’d had a mani/pedi. Again, I could possibly know this because there were people working that who I didn’t recognize – as a family business, the staff has been remarkably stable since its opening. Or maybe because I can’t remember what color polish I last had on my toes. Dark purple maybe?

But nope, once again, it’s because the prices have gone up. When I first started going there at least seven years ago, it was $25 for a manicure and pedicure. Considering I knew about – but didn’t frequent – places that charged $17 for the manicure alone, good deal. Plus, they give the greatest foot, leg, hand and arm massages as part of your treatment. That alone is practically worth the $25. But for the last few years, it was $30 for the mani/pedi. Yesterday? $35. The only good news is that there were two girls in there on spring break with me who I could overhear being shocked that it was no longer $25. At least my shock wasn’t as great.

Again, $35 for a mani/pedi is not something to sneeze at, but it still makes me sad that everything is getting more expensive because I’m turning into one of those old fogies who remembers when gas cost $0.98.

And quickly back to my massage: The therapist told me that I have perfect skin for a massage. Totally did a double take on that one and finally had to ask what exactly that meant. Apparently, that means that the knots in my back don’t adhere to my skin and make it so tight that the therapist can’t work with it. That or she was totally bs’ing me. Still a totally weird comment.


And I know I promised the story regarding my in-laws. I will preface this by saying that they’re really nice people. Really sweet and caring people. They just aren’t always the most couth.

For Easter, they took us out to brunch (no comments on how this occurs only because the parents, two sets of aunts and uncles and the sister can’t agree as to whose “turn” it is to host a holiday so now all of them refuse to host anyone for any holiday). It was (to quote my husband) the nicest restaurant in Edwardsville, which really isn’t the strongest compliment. It was fine though.

They had a salad bar that consisted of iceberg lettuce, two kinds of shredded cheese, no veggies or other toppings, and three kinds of salad dressing. My in-laws were in front of me getting their salads, so I waited patiently while they made them. Since the dressing was on the wrong side of the lettuce, I had to watch what they were doing before I could even start to get my lettuce.

FIL lifted up the dressing scooper with some sort of dressing on it, brought it near his nose and sniffed. He then shrugged and held it out to MIL. She said she had no idea, so he urged her to taste it. This is when internally I began screaming no, but my physical body could only drop its jaw and stare. She dipped her finger into the dressing and tasted it. “Yep, thousand island.” At that point, he didn’t pour it on his salad, which would have been bad enough. Nope, he returned the scooper to the dressing, stirred it around and scooped up a full dipper full of dressing before pouring it over his salad.

Yuck yuck yuck yuck yuck! Any guesses as to what kind of dressing I most certainly did not put on my salad? Seriously, in what world is it acceptable to put your finger in food that you’re sharing with multiple people? It’s a buffet. Put the dressing on your salad. If you don’t like it, go back, get a clean plate and try a different one.

Ok, done venting. Almost. We went to Max & Erma’s for dinner tonight after getting pics of the kids (awwww) and happened to sit right near the ice cream sundae bar. Three different families sent their kids back with their dirty ice cream bowls and no parental supervision to get more ice cream. One kid couldn’t get the sprinkles to come out so tried picking them out of the puncture holes. And my husband wondered why I wasn’t in the mood for any dessert tonight (although after eating an entire hamburger, there was no way I could have eaten anything else anyway)! Yep, now I’m done venting!

Have any of you run into situations like the above that just gross you out, or am I being way to picky?

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I Feel So Decadent...

Back in January, my parents added an item to our calendar at home. “Aquarium” it said. 8am. When I asked my mom about it, she told me that she was going to take the wee ones to the aquarium on Thursday of spring break. Auntie Megan volunteers there, and she wanted to show them the museum.

If they were going to leave at 8am, my mom decided they needed to spend the night so they could really get going in the morning. I’m ok with that….

Last night, after the wee ones left, I went running with Denise, who’s now going to join me in my C25K journey. Since I was sick all last week and fairly comatose the majority of the time, I ended up starting over at week one, so it worked out perfectly. We even get to go again tomorrow morning before I take the wee ones to their playdate. The only bummer is that it was harder after sitting on my rear for a week and being sick. It’ll come back though.

Then… I took a bath. With bubbles and everything. I think it’s only the third time I’ve used the tub since we moved in a year and a half ago. Not surprisingly, the kitties came to see what I was doing.

And not surprisingly, Meow (the fat one) demonstrated his agility by sliding into the tub. Fortunately, his front paws stayed on the ledge, so only his back half got wet, but he was awfully confused. He isn’t strong enough to pull his bulk out of the tub, so I had to lift him out. Lucky for me, he was too confused to freak out, so I didn’t have to worry about being scratched. Watching the poor, half-drowned rat try to clean himself and dry himself off was quite entertaining. His brother Roar tried to help him, and it was awfully sweet watching the two of them try to fix things.

This morning, I had no children in the house. A day all to ME; what a concept!

I got my hair cut this morning, which was a two hour process somehow. I was able to go shopping at my favorite grocery store – I know, how sad to have a favorite grocery store. I was able to spend some time soliciting for more donations for Mister Man’s preschool fundraiser, although most of the “right people” weren’t there, so I didn’t get any donation in hand. But I did get a yummy bubble tea for lunch!

Then, I got a mani/pedi. After all, I have a wedding to stand up in. I have to look good for it, right? I love my mani/pedi place. They give great hand and foot – including the arm and leg – massages as part of the process. Ahhhh, total relaxation. I even read a little bit of a gossip rag while they did the pedicure.

Really, the only bummer is that I wasn’t able to get a massage appointment for today. I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised when I called at 4:30 to ask for an appointment during spring break for the next day. So of course I made an appointment for Friday afternoon. I really can’t wait!

Ok, there’s one other bummer. It’s snowing. It’s been snowing the entire day. Ok, I exaggerate; for a few short periods, it rained instead. Some of it has been giant puffy flakes that came down so fast that it was hard to see. It’s even starting to accumulate, although I don’t think I’ll have to shovel. Needless to say, there was no dinner on the deck, and the chicken I marinated was cooked on my stovetop grill pan instead of the “real” grill.

Fingers crossed for tomorrow… one, simply because I’d like to grill and eat outside – it is spring break after all! – and two because running in 33 degree snowy weather is not my idea of pleasant!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

My Little Boy Is Growing Up...

So yesterday Mister Man learned how to use the brakes on his bike. Today, he did a playdate by himself.

As you may or may not know, my son is slightly special needs. He was very delayed in his speech and started speech therapy when he was 17 months old and still made no sounds. We found that part of the reason he didn’t talk was his low muscle tone, which prevented him from supporting himself enough to control his breath to babble and talk.

Today, he still doesn’t have the full strength that most kids his age do, but he’s made leaps and bounds improvements. His speech has no issues at this point, and he no longer gets speech therapy, but his fine motor is somewhat delayed, so he gets OT and PT once a week at his preschool. He’s been making leaps and bounds improvements over the last month and a half though,

One effect of his delayed speech – or potentially something that’s part of his personality that may be an issue his whole life – is that socially he doesn’t quite “get” it. When the two year olds were negotiating and learning how to interact, he was figuring out how to start talking. From that point, he was always a little delayed socially and frequently just had no interest in interacting with other kids.

His preschool has made a world of difference. He started November 1, 2006, and over winter break that year, he asked a friend’s 7 year old daughter if she wanted to play Candyland. He’d never asked someone a question like that before. Over the last year and a half, he’s continued to make progress, but I can still see differences between him and other kids. Mister Man will get too close when talking, he bounces when he’s excited, he walks away while he’s talking to people, and so forth.

We saw a pediatric neurologist in February to help try to rule in or rule out Aspergers for him. At this point, she had no interest in putting any labels on him which relieved my mind. Her point is that many kids who are gifted academically are frequently socially behind and are weak with fine motor skills at this age. Many outgrow it by age 8 or 9, and that’s her hope for him. One of her recommendations is that he should have more playdates to help him socially. (She’s also who suggested looking into kindergarten for him next year, ironically – more to come on that at some point, I promise!)

I know, I know…. Playdates for my kids should be high on my list, but I haven’t been nearly as good at putting them together as I should. Weekends are family time. Monday through Friday, he’s in preschool; the bus picks him up at 8:20 and drops him off at 12:15. Mondays he’s at daycare, and some weeks I have a playgroup with friends (four girls though). Tuesdays, he does Language Stars in the afternoons. Thursdays he has swimming lessons. Wednesdays I’m in the office at work and he’s in daycare. Since he still naps, and so does Little Miss, after naptime, we usually eat dinner and the kids then start getting ready for bed. But I know it needs to be a priority.

Spring break has been perfect though. Monday we had a friend over and then had our playgroup. Tuesday was the Children’s Museum. Today, we had a friend come over in the morning, and he went to a friend’s house after naptime.

It really warmed my heart to watch him today. He played with the boy who came over this morning. They chased each other. They got little cars and drove them all over the floor. They went into the basement together and played. They played trains up in his room. There were no arguments, and I never had to remind him to play with his friend. For all those of you with “normal” kids, you have no idea what this feels like. My boy is making progress!

This afternoon, I took Timothy to another friend’s house, and the mom expected that I was going to leave him there. So I did. (All the kids in Mister Man’s preschool class this year are either already 5 or turning 5 and headed to kindergarten next year, so the moms are more used to this, I guess!) In fact, before I even got out the door, Mister Man and his friend had run upstairs and were off playing.

I felt a little guilty, but I got my car washed and the inside cleaned. I stopped at a couple local businesses to solicit for Mister Man’s preschool fundraiser (if anyone’s near Barrington, I’ll be posting a thank you to all the businesses who donated – please patronize them! And if anyone wants to enter the raffle, tickets will be $1 each, I believe and we have some rocking prizes!). I felt guilty just leaving him there, but when I went to pick him up at 5, he was having a great time! He had colored and cut and played and interacted and the other boy liked him. The other little boy even wanted Mister Man to stay overnight! And they all – including the mom – wanted him to come back again!

Mister Man has started saying things like (names changed) Victor likes me now. Erik wants to play with me. Roger wants to be my friend now. Two months ago, he would be sad because those boys didn’t want to be his friends. I don’t know what it is, but something is finally clicking with him. He gets it! He’s making friends.

And I have a feeling that we have a lot more playdates in our future!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Some Things Take Awhile To Sink In...

... but when they do, they're in for good!

We actually had a decent day in terms of weather today. I was so shocked. In fact, we went to the Children’s Museum this morning, and I dressed the kids in their winter coats and hats. I didn’t exactly make them zipper up when we left at one.

In fact, when they woke up from their naps (yep, we still nap) it was nice enough to go outside. We decided – we meaning “me” of course – to go on a bike ride around the neighborhood.

Little Miss put on her “spring coat” and headed outside. Mister Man went outside while I was putting on my shoes, so I didn’t notice until I was outside that he didn’t have on a coat and just his cotton sweater. Daddy insisted it was warm in the sun and that he was fine.

That was when I saw Mister Man trying to pedal out of the garage on his old tricycle. Nuh-uh. Dude is old enough to ride his bike.

Once he got his helmet on – see, I’m not that bad a mom – he started pedaling down the driveway, straight for the street. The boy is freaked out about the street and absolutely will NOT go in it without holding my hand and looking both ways. As he gets near the end of the driveway, he bails and tries to jump off backwards. Fortunately, I was close enough to catch him, as him landing on the ground and the bike going into the street would be enough to end our little jaunt.

That’s when I realized that I really ought to explain how brakes work on a bike. I show how he can pedal backwards or squeeze the handbrake. And reinforce pedaling backwards as I think on it further.

We go around the corner right by the end of our driveway, and he goes to fast and turns too sharply and tries to bail again. Fortunately, I catch him before his bottom actually leaves the seat and explain that he needs to go more slowly around corners and again mention the brakes.

Now he seems to get it a bit and heads off, pedaling furiously. We’ve left Daddy and Little Miss in our dust, and I mention this to him. I ask if he wants to see how far behind us they are. He immediately turns around while pedaling as I start shouting “Brake! Brake! Stop first!” to no avail. Predictably, he runs into the grass, falls down, and overturns the bike. *sigh*

Mister Man: Mommy, I fell down and I hurt myself. And I landed in the grass and now I have mud. It didn’t hurt too badly though. But now I have to go home. I have germs on my hands from the mud.

So many places I could address, and I scroll through them all in my head as fast as I can before responding. Immediate issues first:

Sweetie, you didn’t get any more germs on your hands than you had already. We don’t need to stop. Let’s get back on your bike. And next time you want to look at Sophia, brake first.

Phew, it worked! He climbed back aboard and started pedaling again. Then he wanted to look at Sophia, so he tried to brake. While his pedals were at the top and bottom. And couldn’t figure out how to go backwards from that point. And freaks out that his brakes are broken (ha ha). And tried to bail again. I am so not teaching him to drive when he’s 15.

I explain that he really needs to try to brake when the pedals are on the midpoints not when they’re at the top and bottom. He tries again, and it works. He starts pedaling again and five feet later brakes. Great, you’ve got it!

The pedaling five feet and braking continues until Little Miss catches up to us and predictably bangs into the back of his bike. We discuss the etiquette of not bumping into people. She passes us. We continue with the braking every five feet. Yep, he’s definitely got the braking thing under control now.

We have now made it about one quarter of the way around our neighborhood, and he hops off his bike after braking. I ask what he’s doing, and he explains that he needs to get off his bike right now. I’m groaning, thinking that I am going to have to push the bike all the way back home. Nope, he simply saw an unclaimed newspaper in the driveway and had to go run it up to the front door to deliver it. All together now: awwww.

The longest bike ride of my life finally ends with Mister Man deciding that the wind is yucky and makes him go to slow and that it’s COLD out. Oh yeah, and then he wants to know why Daddy wouldn’t put a coat on him. But at least he knows how to use his brakes now. Do brakes on kids’ bikes like that wear out?

Monday, March 24, 2008

Out Of The Mouths Of Babes...

I know I need to do a better job tracking what cracks me up about my kids. Just this weekend, they put on quite a show…

Little Miss (the girl after my own heart): Look! I got MONEY!

This after taking inventory of the basket the Easter Bunny (grandma) had left her. She of course opened the egg that contained the $1 bill first. That was definitely the most excited she was over any item in the basket. And she’s 2. Gotta love it!

Mister Man: Does T-O-T-O spell toilet?

Yep, it took me awhile to figure this one out, too. I finally figured out why he thought T-O-T-O was how you spelled toilet about 5 minutes after explaining how toilet was spelled. He couldn’t explain to me why he thought it was T-O-T-O, of course. I eventually realized that we put in new toilets last year after he potty trained and we realized the original low flow toilets weren’t meant to handle the toilet paper a newly trained kid tosses in there. The new toilets? The Toto Drake. On the back of the toilet is the manufacturer name, so the kid spends how many minutes every day standing there staring at “Toto” while doing his business. Smart boy, no?

Me: Do you trust me?

Little Miss: No, I do not trust you.

Little Miss was playing in her seat and dawdling eating her food, so I said I’d eat it for her. She didn’t approve of that and decided she was going to eat it after all. I was still holding the fork with a bit of her food on it, and she preferred that I give her the fork back, so the above question was asked. Again, smart girl, no? I wouldn’t trust me either!

Mister Man: (after looking around with a worried and quite perplexed look on his face) Where’d Grandpa go? Did he die?

This is a logical question when you’ve been just eating breakfast with someone and they disappear, right? I, of course, was horrified, as he asked this question to my MIL with me the only other adult nearby. Grandpa, in fact, had gone back to take a nap after breakfast (really, don’t ask about their eating or sleeping habits… it’s a little depressing) and was just fine. He isn’t fascinated by death, so this was quite the unusual question, but fortunately Grandma thought it was hilarious and cracked up.

Little Miss: (with a quite officious tone of voice) This is a nice park. I can play here.

On Friday, the nice 70 degree day in St Louis, the kids got to walk over to the park near my in-laws’ house and play for awhile. Apparently Little Miss is the arbiter of parks and it wasn’t until she announced this that Mister Man was able to run off and have fun. Any guess who is the boss in this household?

Mister Man: Go back! Go backwards, Mommy! Go back!

On the car ride home last night, I was scrolling through the radio stations to find some music that the kids could listen to, as it was too dark to read their CD books anymore. Some songs I’d heard of and others I hadn’t, but nothing really struck my fancy. Mister Man, on the other hand, apparently had heard a song he had to listen to. What so captivated him? The Beastie Boys’ No Sleep ‘Til Brooklyn. And nope, to my knowledge, he’d never heard that song before. Apparently his taste in music comes from his dad.

Little Miss: (this to my mom who lives near us) Grandma, I don’t want you to be sad. Why don’t you come to St Louis with us? It’s ok if you come, too.

Awwww. What a sweetheart! ‘Nuf said!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Party Recap

For all of you who have been waiting to hear how the Easter egg hunt went – with bated breath, I assume – I finally have the update. My apologies for the delay. We went to spend Easter with the in-laws (lots ‘o stories to come yet on this trip, trust me), and I didn’t have access to a computer from Thursday until tonight.

So without further ado:

Yep, I really had 36 kids in my house. At one time. With their moms. Voluntarily. With the idea that they were going to hunt eggs. And silly me, I decided to add more to the festivities because hunting eggs would be done so quickly.

Apparently, my logical mind failed me when I set this up. Every year, my babysitting co-op does an Easter egg hunt. Last year was the first year I was in the co-op, so it’s my only comparison. It was supposed to be at one of the social chair’s houses, but it snowed last Easter. She didn’t want to do it inside (wimp!) so called the park district in a panic and they let us use their gym.

When I went, there were 20 kids or so, and it didn’t seem that bad. They all brought their own baskets, they hunted for eggs their parents had dropped off with no squabbles over some kids getting too many eggs and others not getting any. We then had the Easter Bunny come, and kids got their pictures taken and got a basket of cr@p from him, and they went home after around an hour.

The only issue was that this cost $12 per kid, and this year it was going to be at least $13 or $14. I only have two kids, and I objected to that. Since I’m one of the social chairs this year, I get a little sway. We decided to skip the bunny and just do it at my house. And since we weren’t getting the basket from the bunny, I decided to have the kids decorate cookies (hey, if I did it for Mister Man’s third birthday party, I can certainly do it for older kids!) and we’d order pizza since the hunt wasn’t going to start until 4:30.

Brilliant! Lots of fun! And I could put it on for only $3 (anyone else love the $5.99 huge pizzas from Dominick’s?).

What I didn’t count on was everyone else thinking it was brilliant. And cheap. Needless to say, 36 kids signed up. Literally, three families didn’t participate, all because of other conflicts. Whoops.

And of course, someone found the bunny costume for $75 that the co-op decided to buy for use every year (cheaper than the $95 one company wanted for a rental of a near-identical costume). Dear hubby agreed to wear it and be the bunny for us, so everything was going to be perfect! No, I didn’t say that with a straight face.

Since I was still feeling a little off from the flu earlier in the week and hadn’t yet baked the cookies, I decided to take Wednesday off work. Good idea, me! That meant I was able to get the house straightened up, make all the cookies, restraighten the house, and call the moms who had yet to drop off their eggs to remind them that I needed the eggs the previous Saturday – although I was far nicer in my reminders.

Somehow, I still ended up hiding the eggs as people were arriving, but since no one can be on time, it worked out fine. Some of the moms helped me, while I did two areas – one upstairs for the truly little kids and downstairs for the kids 4 and up. Gotta love the moms who help.

When I realized I needed a stronger voice than mine to get the instructions across to such a large mass of people, two moms volunteered. One gave instructions, and the other was the gatekeeper to the basement so I didn’t have any lawsuits from kids falling down the stairs and being stampeded by the mass behind them. As expected the egg hunt lasted all of 2.4 seconds. I’m amazed by how quickly kids can pick up eggs hidden everywhere but yet pick up toys at the speed of molasses that are in plain sight on the floor. Kid magic, I suppose.

The bunny arrived right on time, and the wee ones flew to the bunny to give him hugs. Seeing the bunny in person, I realized the costume was a bit creepy looking, but my kids loved him at least. Most of the others did, too, and there was quite the conga line to sit on the bunny’s lap. A few kids had the good sense to not want to go near the creepy bunny, and they stayed away. Mister Man, on the other hand, kept getting candy from his now filled bucket and trying to share it with the Easter Bunny who had no pockets. Too cute, but he was so disappointed when he found the Easter Bunny had dropped some on the his way out.

After the bunny came the cookie decorating. I somehow managed to make enough eggs and bunnies for each kid to decorate 3, plus extras for breakage and other issues. I’m still not sure how that happened, since I started off with the goal of one. Fortunately, everyone enjoyed making them and several enjoyed eating them, too. Mister Man didn’t want to make his around everyone else for whatever reason though, and his was decorated after everyone left and he realized he’d missed out on something.

Then the wait for the pizzas started. I had ordered them to be ready at 5 and sent my dad to pick them up – Dominick’s is 3 minutes away – at 4:55. Cookies were all decorated, and the kids had started to tear into the toys and do the usual destruction of the house that occurs when children walk through the door. No pizza. I started to hear questions from the moms. No pizza. Finally, I called my dad to see what was up. Apparently Dominck’s had messed up and had to remake pizzas so he was waiting but would be home shortly.

Five minutes later, he arrived home with nine pizzas. I found out that the problem had been that Dominick’s had burned one pizza, which they gave us anyway. Trust me, I would never have guessed which one it was had I not known one was supposed to be burnt. If it had been me, I would have just left with the other pizzas and gone back later if we still needed the last one, but my dad is too good a guy.

You’d think that 9 pizzas, 36 kids and 14 adults would be a pretty good ratio. Suprisingly, it wasn’t. We had almost 4 pizzas leftover. I tried sending them home with anyone I could, and we gave one to a next door neighbor, but we still had over a whole pizza left at the end. Better too many than too few though!

And the best part – by 7:30, the house was back to normal. Even my husband said it wasn’t too bad to clean up. Little does he know I’ve already been volunteered to host this again next year…. Now, if I can just track down the last two parents who haven’t yet paid for the party….

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

I Broke A Cardinal Mommy Rule...

Yes, I survived the Easter egg hunt and party at my house … with 36 kids (one added just today). However, I’m too exhausted to post about that, so you’ll have to be patient. I do have a couple of pics to share from it though!

What’s the one thing a mom isn’t allowed to do?

If you answered “get sick” then you have children. Yep, that’s the answer of course.

So what happens to me on Monday afternoon? I feel the flu creeping up. My body aches, I can feel the fever coming on, and all of a sudden, I feel yucky (as Little Miss puts it). I decide to make chicken noodle soup for dinner (chicken and noodles only for the wee ones, veggies for me and hubby) and start ingesting oranges as quickly as I can.

Hubby decided to do something nice for me on Monday, and he came home in time to put the kids to bed (not the way I would have put them to bed, but can I really complain when I’m lying on the couch?) and he brought me some medicine to knock me out.

Has anyone ever had Zicam? The outside of the box states that it’s virtually tasteless and suggests adding it to any liquid. Sounds good to me, although I was fine with the taste of the old Theraflu.

Silly me, I suggest adding it to the hot cocoa I was making before I went to bed early. Mmmm warm milk with good cocoa powder. I even used my special tiramisu flavor that Santa put in my stocking this year. Hubby added the medicine and brought it upstairs for me, while I lay shivering in bed.

I took a sip. Ewwww. Virtually tasteless? Apparently the marketing person who wrote that claim had all their tastebuds scraped off before sampling the medicine. Honestly, it isn’t a bad taste for medicine, but there is a taste. And the taste doesn’t really go with milk. But I braved it and gulped it down. What a waste of good cocoa. Fortunately, when you’re sick, you don’t dwell on such sadnesses.

Yesterday I woke up feeling slightly better but still pretty rotten. I got the kids off to school and sat on the couch until it was time to go pick up Little Miss. By dinnertime, I was done and couldn’t even deal with the smell of turkey bacon that Daddy cooked in the microwave for them.

This time, I decided to just take the Zicam straight. Why, you might ask? Well that’s simple. I have a bottle that holds 23 ounces of water and I had just filled it. I knew I wouldn’t drink all the water before falling asleep, and I didn’t have enough energy to go get a new cup and fill it just a little.

First I stuck my tongue into it, thinking I’d just sort of slurp it up. It’s thick and gooey, kind of like honey but more solidified. That started to induce a gag reflex, so I reassessed. I tried scooping it into my mouth like I would if it were a spoonful of anything else. Yep, texture wasn’t working, although I got some down. I then turned it sideways to let some drip off in the hopes of it dripping straight down my throat. That sort of worked. It didn’t go straight down my throat, but it seemed to be the best way to do it, followed of course, by a giant swig of water! Five minutes later, I finally finished my dose of medicine – including finally giving in and licking the last of it off the spoon, and I was ready for bed, sure that I would be healthy today for my egg hunt!

I woke up this morning and felt ok. But something felt odd, and I couldn’t figure out what it was. I got ready and went to go wake up the wee ones, still puzzling over what it might be. As I went in to get Little Miss to change her diaper, I finally figured out what it was. I had no voice. Just a tiny whisper.

Have any of you tried to parent two boisterous children with only a whisper for a voice? I sat them near me and explained my issue and asked them to be extra good because Mommy could only whisper.

Mister Man: Why can you only whisper?

Me: Well, when I was sick, the sickness went to my throat and took my voice.

Mister Man: But what does your voice sound like when it’s gone?

Me: Li-crack-kuh-wheeze the-crack-iss-crack

Mister Man: peals of laughter

Me: Nice (whispering again). Why are you laughing?

Mister Man: Do it again! Do it again!

Me: Doo-crack-ooo whu-wheeze-tuh?

Mister Man: (peals of laughter) Again! Again!

Me: It hurts, Sweetie (whispering, of course). Can you be extra good today so I can whisper and you can hear me?

Both of them: Yes, Mommy (and very solemnly, too)

That lasted all over about 30 seconds before the usual whining over not me not choosing the right socks for Little Miss and Mister Man not being able to get his (too small now) pj top off. Wheee, today was fun! The only good news is that it’s Wednesday, which means it’s a daycare day, as I work on Wednesdays, so I only had to get through breakfast and them off to school and daycare before I could give my voice a rest.

Now, pictures 36 children entering my home, all wanting to know when they could start hunting for the eggs. And me with still a not good voice (slightly stronger thanks to some hot tea I’d drunk). And rules to get across: 12 eggs per kid; if a door is closed, there are no eggs hidden there; and big kids go downstairs first while little kids hunt upstairs, then little kids head downstairs to finish off. Thank God for sympathetic moms with loud voices!

And now? I’m exhausted, but my voice is slowly returning, so tomorrow can return (I’m hoping!) to the usual chaos, with me managing more than a whisper. But tonight? I’m having some more cocoa in a bit… and I’m not ruining it with the taste of Zicam. That definitely gets stirred into a cup of water tonight!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

At Least Something's Sinking In....

I try to teach the wee ones right from wrong and about how they should behave and the like. Actually, what parent doesn’t try to do that? Of course, some parents have different definitions of right and wrong, but everyone tries at least.

Minor rant: Parking at Little Miss’s preschool is somewhat scarce. You can park along the main entrance, the 8 or 10 parking spots behind the school or on the street, which is actually closer to the entrance than many of the 8 or 10 parking spots. So where do moms choose to park? In the handicap spots and between the handicap spots where the yellow lines are. And they don’t do this just when all other parking spots are full; there are parents who are sometimes one of the first there and still choose to park illegally in the handicap spots. Granted, the likelihood of someone truly needing a handicap spot during dropoff and pickup is slight, but it’s the wrong thing to teach your kids, and it drives me nuts! I won’t even go into the fiasco that was polling day …

Back to teaching my kids….

Every once in awhile, I get an unsolicited please or thank you, and it really makes my day. The wee ones know “the look” when they’re forgetting a please or thank you, and usually I don’t have to ahem to get it.

Sometimes, they even put their dishes in the dishwasher unsolicited. That’s one of their jobs, but generally I have to remind them to do it. And I always have to remind them to hold it level. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cleaned up crumbs from the floor that they spilled on the way to the dishwasher. BUT they won’t learn unless they actually do it, so I just take a deep breath and get out the broom.

I also have a series of books called Help Me Be Good that teach basic concepts like interrupting, lying, overdoing it, cheating, etc. Well ok, to be fair, they teach about them and that those behaviors are wrong. The wee ones love the books, and we read them frequently. Both of them can tell me what each kid in the book is doing that’s wrong and how it makes others feel. Translating that to their own activity though is a bit more of a challenge.

Tattling is Mister Man’s biggest downfall. I get that he’s the big brother and he knows the rules, but he gets a real thrill out of pointing out what she’s doing wrong.

Mister Man: Moooooom, Little Miss is singing at the table again.

Me: I’ll take care of you. You worry about eating your dinner, please.

At that point, we discuss with Little Miss appropriate dinner conversation. It generally doesn’t sink in, but she usually stops singing, probably to laugh at me for trying to explain the whys behind the rules. And what happens thirty seconds later? Mister Man breaks into song. And never gets the irony.

The same thing will happen with popping out of the chairs. Little Miss has a hard time sitting still, but for her own safety, we try to keep her seated in her booster – we generally no longer “get” to buckle her in. As soon as I start hearing the reports that Little Miss is popping up or out or turning around in her chair, I can start the countdown until Mister Man has only half a cheek on the chair or had to go run check something in the other room.

My other favorite is:

Mister Man: Moooom, Little Miss is stepping on the books again.

Me: I don’t need to hear it from you, Sweet Pea. Tattle only when she’s in danger, remember?

Mister Man: But Mooooooom, she’s getting in trouble.

Me: I’ll take care of it. It isn’t your job.

Mister Man: Little! Miss! (with his face all scrunched up in his best imitation of authority) Do not step on the books. That’s a no-no. You’re being naughty.

I try as hard as I can not to laugh, of course. And stepping on books is something we don’t allow, although half the time Little Miss is just oblivious and not trying to do the wrong thing. The other half, well…. And two minutes later, I’ll catch him walking across books to get to something he wants to play with. Needless to say, that’s usually about the time I realize that Daddy hasn’t had them picking up toys after playing with them and it’s time to crack that whip. Fortunately, singing is allowed while cleaning, but if I hear “Everybody clean up, clean up, clean up. Everybody, everywhere. Clean up, clean up. Everybody do your share” I think I have a cleaning switch that automatically turns on now. It’s supposed to work on the wee ones, I know, but I thought I’d be exempt.

As odd as their interpretation of rules is, at least I know something is sinking in, right? And hypocrisy is completely unintentional at this age, isn’t it? Please, please tell me that this changes….

Monday, March 17, 2008

It Never Crossed My Mind

I'm certifiably insane, for those of you who haven't picked up on that yet. I also have a problem with the word "no."

My babysitting co-op has an Easter Egg hunt every year, which in the past has involved hunting for one dozen eggs per child and having the Easter Bunny come to give each child a basket of cr#p. Last year, it was supposed to be at the social chair's house, but since it was snowing that day, we moved it to the park district.

This year, I'm a social co-chair, and I knew that Easter was even earlier this year than last, so I didn't even pretend it might be held outside, and renting the park district's facilities was going to be too expensive. I volunteered the inside of my house, which is fine. Every year, we have big birthday parties for the kids, so it isn't a big deal to do this, right?

However, at a meeting, some of the parents objected to the cost, especially those who had multiple children, as it was going to cost around $15 per child because of the cost of bringing in the bunny and basket. We decided to go a different route and instead decorate cookies after the Easter egg hunt, as well as ordering some pizza to keep the kids under control. That ended up coming down to $3 per child, which was far more reasonable to the parents.

So, with the event being fun and reasonable in cost, what do you think happens? Of course, just about every mom signs up. I now have 35 kids coming to my house (two more added this morning). Oops.

Next, one of the moms finds an Easter Bunny costume at Party City for $75, which was less than what it was going to cost us to rent it for one day. Needless to say, I was at Party City on Sunday to buy the costume for years of future use.

The next trick was to find someone to wear it. When we had talked about renting a costume, one of the women had thought her next door neighbor would be willing to be the Easter Bunny for us, as we need moms to supervise and dads wouldn't be home from work yet. Unfortunately, he isn't able to. I leaned on my dad, as my parents were going to come help with the Easter egg hunt anyway. He wasn't enthusiastic, but I talked him into it.

Then I saw a post last night ( where pretty much every mom finds the Easter Bunny to be creepy. My kids love the Easter Bunny, and most of the kids in the co-op do, too, so it didn't concern me until I saw the reactions from some of the moms there.

This morning, I called my parents to confirm that my dad was still game (think about it...). Nope, he's now out. Knowing that my dad isn't the most social person, I was guessing that he didn't want to be center of attention. My logic was the he didn't have to say anything since the Easter Bunny doesn't speak and that he'd be covered up in the costume.

I was completely wrong as to why he didn't want to do it. He's afraid of what the moms and others will think. As in, "what kind of creepy old man dresses up as the Easter Bunny and has little girls on his lap?" The thought never dawned on me. Never even crossed my mind. It's really sad to me that the world is coming to this now, and it shows me how sheltered my life really is. Needless to say, I respect his decision, and the search is on to find another bunny.

Lucky for me, my husband is a school teacher. He can be home by 4:45 on Wednesday, so phew! However, given that the kids will all be in the house decorating cookies and looking for eggs, he somehow has to enter the house as the Bunny. We made jokes about how Santa comes down the chimmney and the Easter Bunny comes up the toilet (and out of the bathroom), but I finally decided -- after the tears of laughter stopped streaming down my face -- that the other parents wouldn't appreciate that urban legend being introduced to their kids.

The new solution is that my husband will change into the costume at school. That means that he has to walk out of the school with the head off, since driving with the head on is probably illegal, not to mention dangerous. I can't wait to hear about the reaction of people who see him in the costume. Fortunately, he's a good sport, so he'll do it for me. And the Easter Bunny will ring the doorbell, to the delight of all the children. All the children. All 35 of them.

And right now? I'm making chicken noodle soup because I'm afraid I'm coming down with the flu. The sugar cookie dough I made last night is not being baked tonight, of course. Here's hoping I feel better tomorrow after loading my body with as many get well ingredients as I can!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

I Need A Bath!

As I've mentioned a few times now, I'll be the maid of honor for a friend's wedding on May 3, and we're wearing *gasp* satin. And my friend is a size 4. Needless to say, I've been trying to flatten my tummy since so wonderfully inspired by Dawn Meehand of Because I Said So!

Thinking about the activities I could do that would melt off pounds (HA!), running immediately came to mind. Mostly because I'm insane. I've never been a runner. I've never run. I remember when I was in grade school and had to do the Presidential Physical Fitness challenges and passed the situp portion only, if I remember correctly.

For the running part of the test, we had to run around the school three times. I had no chance of running even halfway around it, as I just couldn't or didn't run even as a kid. I remember my goal was always to finish ahead of certain kids just to save a miniscule amount of pride while Ben Nelson and Lizzie Lebens were done before I finished my first lap. Gee, I wonder why I never thought running was fun.

So let's fast forward a couple years.... One of my first posts discussed how winter just wasn't ending, and I couldn't start running until it did because my only option is to run outside, and I'm a wimp. As a brief update, after the crystalline snow last Saturday, it truly snowed on Sunday. Monday just a fake snow, but snow nonetheless. Later in the week, it slowly started to warm up AND the sun came out, too!

On Friday, my parents took the kids for an overnight visit (which turned into two nights, but that's another post) around 4pm, so I decided to start my running right then, as it was still sunny and relatively warm. By warm, I mean 42 degrees. My sense of heat and cool is truly warped after this winter.

In preparation for running, I had discovered a website that had podcasts for each week of the Couch Potato to 5K program. Being the lazy person I am -- ironic, no? -- I asked my husband to kindly download the podcasts from iTunes (free, yay!) and put them on my iPod. Sexist, maybe, but making my iPod work is his job.

I grabbed my iPod and started searching for the podcast, as I figured I'd better do it then, as I didn't want to look like a geek standing outside my house trying to figure it out. I found one podcast, but not all nine weeks. As I started playing it to get a sense of what I was going to be listening to while running, I realized that this was the podcast for week nine. Definitely not going to happen. Went through every part of my iPod and that was the only podcast on it. Patient me, I turned on the desktop (it's over 5 years old and slower than me jogging) to see if it was on the computer but somehow magically didn't make it to my iPod. I spent about 10 minutes searching for the podcasts but could find only week 9.

Now I'm starting to get discouraged, and I'm wondering if someone out there is trying to tell me that I'm just not supposed to run. Ever. But I'm stubborn as all get out, so I persist and open up my browser to find the podcasts again. Except that the Internet connection isn't working on that computer. I go through all the options I can think of to try to reconnect, but no dice. I don't even have the option of viewing my wireless networks to disconnect and connect again. After 20 minutes, I call hubby to ask him but he's no help over the phone and can't figure out anything beyond what I did. To be honest, I still don't know if that computer finally submitted or is still refusing to acknowledge the Internet.

I do have a laptop, but it's my work laptop, and downloading things is somewhat frowned upon. However, I figured that I could at least download a file. That's when I discovered that to download anything from iTunes, you have to install a program, which won't happen on the laptop. But knowing how everything is available somewhere on the net, I don't give up. Did I mention that I'm stubborn? I finally found an mp3 file that I can download. Except that I can't connect my iPod to my laptop. Fortunately, I have a jump drive, so I load the file to my jump drive and transfer it to the desktop. From that point, it only took me 15 minutes to figure out how to get that file onto my iPod.

By now, it's 5:30, and it's definitely gotten cooler, but I'm not giving up! I refuse! So I go outside, turn on the iPod and start my brisk walk. I actually survived all 8 one minute runs and the intervening brisk walks. I did the whole thing, and I was really proud of myself. My chest of course felt like there were iron bands being wrapped around it and squeezed, but I still did it.

I have since found out that a neighbor saw me and wanted to know why his wife wasn't running with me. She's not a runner either -- or at least not since college. To me, she's a runner. For God's sake, she plays soccer! Voluntarily! But I explained the program and what I was doing, and now I have a running buddy on Fridays and Sundays (during the week, we'll be running on different days). Way cool.

Except for the part about how I have to run again on Sunday. Hmm, that's today. For some reason, when I woke up this morning, my quads were really sore. Like the tops of them were being smashed with a spiked iron bar every time I took a step. Apparently running on Friday and then doing yoga on Saturday were not what my quads had in mind and they were on strike. Plus, today was again one of the days where winter tried to make one last push, so we didn't get out of the 30s today. And my friend has an uncle in the hospital with massive blood clots, so she wasn't going to be able to join me.

So what did I do? I ran errands this morning, went to my parents in the afternoon and had dinner there, then came home with the kids around 6. So of course, that's the time to go running. Not that it's gotten even colder, the wind has picked up, and the sun is over the houses. But I still went. And I survived again. Other than my quads squealing with every step, it actually went a bit better today. The iron bands squeezing my chest were now at least just made out of aluminum.

Until, of course, I sat down. Now I really hurt. And it's getting worse. I'm actually limping. And as my title suggests, I need a bath! Any guesses where I'm headed in about thirty seconds?

Oh, and for anyone who's thinking they can't run but has some sense of insanity and thinks they may want to try, it's totally doable. Find the podcasts at for each week and go for it. It's so much better than trying to find mile markers or looking at your watch every third second to see if your sixty seconds are up yet.

I will say that I don't have the courage yet to figure out when my nine weeks of getting up to speed (ba dump bump) are up and I could possibly see how well I'm really doing by entering a 5K. A friend of mine sent me links for the cool 5Ks in Chicago that she wants me to enter with her, but I'm not quite ready to figure that out yet. I'll get there eventually though.

Oh yeah... and somehow I gained two pounds between Friday and today. I think my quads bribed other parts of my body to sabotage my efforts!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

How Can I Support Her?

I did have a different topic to blog about tonight, but that one will be saved for another, happier day.

As I've mentioned before, I think, I'm the matron of honor (ok, maid of honor -- I'm not old enough to be a matron!) for a friend's wedding in May. I called her earlier today to see how things were going, and she mentioned that the other bridesmaid was supposed to help her write out invitations today but had called and told her that she had a family emergency and wouldn't be able to be there.

I finally got off the phone with the bride as hubby and I were about to walk into the restaurant for dinner, so I resolved to call the bridesmaid when we finished dinner. (My parents wanted to take the wee ones on a sleepover, so we used the gift certificate hubby gave me for Mothers Day last year.)

My cell rang as we were finishing dinner, so I muted it. I happened to glance at who was calling as I was silencing it and realized it was the bridesmaid calling me unsolicited. Needless to say, this broke my usual rule about talking on cell phones while with others.

She didn't sound upbeat, and it wasn't good news. Her brother has passed away, and she's in Connecticut right now emptying out his apartment (he lived alone) and making all the practical arrangements. Since it's the weekend, they can't even get to the medical examiner's office to see the body. They aren't certain what happened, but it was likely an accidental overdose.

I feel really helpless right now. I don't like not being able to do anything to help. Her daughter is with her ex-husband, so she's taken care of. She's in Connecticut, so I can't help there. I'll obviously be at the wake and funeral, once those are scheduled (fortunately for me, in Illinois). I want to offer to take her to dinner or something to take away some of her pain, but ... how?

This is the first time that someone I've been close to has lost someone important to them, especially in circumstances like this. I did volunteer to talk to the bride to break the news to her, so she had one less call to make (in fact, I just got off the phone with her), but what else is there? Other than "being there" for her, which is so nebulous, what helps?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Thank God Moms Don't Have a License Requirement...

I’ve joked in the past about how there should be a parenting test to try to weed out those who really shouldn’t have children. I realized this afternoon that I hadn’t considered one portion of the test that really would need to be included in this day and age. Needless to say, I failed it.

Lucky me, today is a day off school for both my kids, so of course I booked us up with activities, just like every other sane mom. We did a Language Stars makeup session at 9 and moved a couple towns north to visit our local fire department with my babysitting co-op group.

(Yes, my neighborhood has a co-op, yes, I’m a member and yes, I’m the social chair and organize all our activities – including a Ladies Tea tomorrow – simply because I don’t know how to say now.)

After visiting the fire department with a group of children, what is the logical next step? A stop at the local McDonalds with a playland, of course! So we all trooped over there to have lunch.

It started out well for me, actually. At noon on a Friday when schools are closed, the parking lot was shockingly full. So we parked nearby and walked, which gave me an extra chance to explain to my children the need to actually leave when I said it was time to go rather than throwing a fit.

Once we got inside, I let go of their hands for a moment to put my car keys and sunglasses away. There was mistake number one. Mister Man had already disappeared, and my hope was that he’d run into the playland and was playing nicely. Little Miss started to dart into the other room, but I saw her in time and called her back to me while I ordered.

Two cheeseburgers, an order of apple dippers, two chocolate milks (Little Miss only drinks chocolate milk at McDonalds, I’ve learned), and a yogurt parfait. Fridays in Lent are a killer at McDonalds if you don’t like fish. Order came, as I ensured that Little Miss was not licking the counter. Ok that she stopped licking it. Each time I caught her doing it.

I then stepped over to get straws for the milks, as I know my wee ones well enough to not give them the option of drinking out of the wide mouth of the milk jug. Spilling milk occurs on a daily basis – particularly by Little Miss goofing off because she can’t sit still – at home, and I try to avoid incidents where I can. Of course, Little Miss also took the opportunity of me being distracted looking for straws to dart off.

I hoped she, too, had headed into the playland and moved into that area as quickly as I could. Before anyone gets too concerned and lectures me about children running off, keep in mind that I was there with 11 other moms from my babysitting co-op who know my children well and were throughout the restaurant keeping an eye on exits and everyone’s kids.

I didn’t see Little Miss, but I did spy her coat tossed on one of the tables, so I assumed that she’d been through there. As I hoped she had at least taken off her shoes, I checked the cubby and yep, her shoes were there. As were her socks. YUCK! Bare feet on McDonalds floor and playland?

I put the tray down and waited to catch each of them as they came down a slide to head them over to the table. Both were quite willing to stop playing to eat, fortunately. I opened the milks, put the straws in and handed over the cheeseburgers. As Mister Man started picking off white things from the bun, I realized I had a problem. I’m supposed to order plain cheeseburgers for them. Mister Man doesn’t like any spices or odd textures or anything out of what he considers kid-ordinary. His biggest concern was that the white things were celery, as he recently had a bad experience with celery when I made pot roast earlier this week.

I reassured him that it wasn’t celery and that they were so little he wouldn’t be able to taste them. Silly, innocent boy, he believed me and took a big bite. And bit into pickle. Oops. I promised to take off the pickle, and opened the bun. He saw the ketchup and mustard that I tried unsuccessfully to hide from him. Fortunately, I had ordered a yogurt parfait for myself that came with a spoon, so I scraped off the offending ingredients. Crisis averted.

That’s when Little Miss announced she wanted her pickle removed, too. I was actually surprised by this, as she tends to be my adventuresome eater, but it’s not worth the battle obviously. As I remove her pickle, she insists I remove her ketchup et al. By poking her fingers in it and shouting “This, too! This, too!” As I started to scrape the cheese part of her burger, she picked up … and dropped her top bun. Fortunately it landed goop side up on her chair, and I made the executive decision that it was more sane to retain the top bun than to have her try to eat the cheeseburger sans bun. So her goop was surgically removed from the top bun, as well. Finally, I can start eating.

Except that I can’t yet. Little Miss knows that she has to pick up her milk and put it down near her lap to drink from the straw to avoid spilling it. She even remembered this. The part she forgot was that you can’t tip the milk or it will spill. She finally remembered this as the milk soaked through her shirt and onto her tummy. As I darted across the table to assess the damage, I discovered that the milk also spilled on the chair, her jeans and the floor. As I looked at the tray to grab a napkin, I realized that I hadn’t picked up any napkins when I got the straws. So I ran halfway across the crowded restaurant and back to get some napkins.

Fortunately, she’s pretty good about having slightly damp clothes. Unfortunately, she can’t stand puddles. So I had to clean up the puddle on the floor which showed me just how gross and dirty the floors actually are.

Would you believe me if I told you that Mister Man then tipped over his milk jug? My catlike reflexes came into play as I managed to get the milk upright with only about a quarter of it lost and pick up his cheeseburger from the milk before any soaked in. So I trek back to get more napkins to clean up the second, larger spill. In case anyone was wondering, the napkins at McDonalds are not very absorbent. Someone upstairs felt sorry for me though, and the milk all stayed on his cheeseburger wrapper which made disposal a bit easier at least.

As the wee ones finished eating, I put Little Miss’s socks back on her and let her go play. By the end of the first trip down the slide, I saw her socks were once again tucked very neatly into her shoes in the cubby. She was too quick for me to catch her to put them back on that go-round, but I did catch her as she got off the slide the next time. This time I explained that the socks had to stay on or we had to go. Yep, they stayed on after that.

Finally, I was able to talk to a couple of the other moms who were there. At which point another friend pointed out that Little Miss was at the top, crying. Assuming she didn’t realize that I’d moved, I walked under her and waved. When she continued crying, I realized she must have gotten hurt somehow. Not that the playlands are built so that adults can get in there and rescue children when needed.

As I gestured to her to come down via the slides, she figured it out (bright girl!) and moved that way. That’s when I saw Mister Man come down the slide with tears on his face. He ran over to tell me that bigger kids were walking all over Little Miss and she was hurt. Great! The only reason I wasn’t panicking more is that she is my Teflon child who never gets truly hurt, no matter what happens. I asked why he was crying, figuring that something had happened to him, too. Nope, he just felt bad for her. Everyone together: awwwww.

One friend started to send her older son up to help Little Miss come down from the top. That’s one of the benefits of traveling in packs of families. Fortunately, she came down the slide right as he started at the beginning of the climb. She just wanted a hug but wasn’t actually hurt or bothered at that point. Like I said, she’s my Teflon girl.

At that point, I decided the could have one more go-round, then we were headed home because my sanity was stretching to the breaking point. Everyone said they understood the directive. Down the slide comes Little Miss. Across the mat and back to the beginning she darts, as I grab the back of her shirt to remind her she had her last turn already. Out comes the lip, the look of pure evil is shot my way, and the flop is on.

My method of discipline with my kids for the last several months is to ask nicely once. The second time, I explain that this is the second request and that said child is in danger of losing X (a favored toy). Said child then has the choice of obeying or losing X. Generally, the child makes the “right” choice and follows the initial instructions. I’ve found that for my kids, this method seems to create the least stress and anxiety for all involved.

I give Little Miss the choice of Losing Baby Coco or walking over to find her shoes. She continues the flop, so Baby Coco is lost when we get home. I ask if she’s going to lose Baby Giggles, too, or go get her shoes. Baby Giggles is also gone. As I ask if she wants to lose Baby Maria, she finally drags herself towards the shoe cubby. A friend’s daughter hands us her shoes before Little Miss reaches the cubby, so Baby Maria gets a reprieve.

By some miracle, Mister Man actually listened completely and is putting on his shoes by himself with no reminders. As I finish putting on Little Miss’s shoes, she starts trying to grab the laces to untie them. Luckily, Mommy knows how to tie quadruple knots. At that point I give up on independence from her and carry her back to our stuff to put on her coat.

As we’re finally walking out the door, Little Miss insists she can walk herself. I put her down and open the door to walk outside. Mister Man obediently holds one hand, but Little Miss hides her hands in her arms and turns sideways. Apparently she’s upset at me and doesn’t want to hold hands. I won’t walk through parking lots or across streets without holding hands, and this is not a rule I’m willing to bend. I give her the choice of being carried, holding my hand or holding Mister Man’s hand. I don’t think I finished all the choices before she darted to his side and grabbed his hand. Yep, she was definitely mad at me. The good news is that all was forgotten by the time we reached my car, and she was back to her usual sunny self.

Isn’t there a requirement that all parents are able to “do” McDonalds with their kids? It seems to be a rite of passage and somewhere that people go frequently enough to have the rhythm down. Thank God this wasn’t a test on whether or not I was ready to have kids, or I wouldn’t have my beautiful angels! I failed the McDonalds exam miserably.

And on a total side note, what is it about McDonalds that makes it one of the “what a small world” kinds of places? Today, on top of the babysitting co-op folks, I ran into my parents’ next door neighbor with her two kids there for a birthday party (2 McDonalds closer to their house than this one) and a boy from Little Miss’s preschool class. Last time I was there, I ran into one of the co-op families and a guy who used to work at my company until he left last November.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Grace, That's Me!

As I was getting up to go to bed last night, I somehow tripped over the Swiss ball that was next to the coffee table. You mght ask why I have a Swiss ball next to my coffee table. Well, I'm in a wedding May 3 for one of my best friends, and we're wearing satin dresses. I think that's all the explanation anyone needs. And yes, I'm currently bouncing on the ball as I type this.

Anyway, the Swiss ball started rolling as I bumped into it. I, saavy being that I am, just continued my forward momentum, with my knee and leg kind of rolling across the top of the ball. That worked great until the ball was stopped by the air blower upper thing I'd used earlier that night to blow up my Swiss ball. I suppose it's time to buy a new ball when I have to blow it back up every second or third day, but that would involve the money and effort of buying a new one. Instead, I repeatedly blow it up. The worst part about this is that the whole incident is now truly my fault, since I was too lazy to put away the blower upper. Ironic isn't it, that I can exercise with the ball and yet not walk the 10 feet to put something away. Shhh, don't tell my husband I said that!

Needless to say, I stopped being able to move as the ball got caught, tried to put my leg back down to catch my balance, instead landed on the computer cord stretched across the space and managed to pull my laptop off the coffee table (including unplugging it from the computer AND middle "ends" and knocking the battery out), my phone onto the floor, the flipper (tv remote control for those not in my family) crashed to the floor and batteries scattered everywhere, and the lamp on the end table crashed to the floor and broke a CFL all over the floor (and I do mean all over -- those things fly in an explosion).


You'd think that yoga would make me a little more graceful. Obviously, there's no hope for me! The good news is that with practice, you do learn how to fall in such situations, and I ended up with no injuries -- not even a bruise.

The last time I did this (ahem, yes, I've done almost exactly the same once before down to unplugging the laptop in two places), I also caught my hip on the coffee table and had a nasty bruise for a couple weeks.

And my big dilemma after all this? What do you do with a CFL that’s already broken and released it’s mercury? Is it still toxic then, or is it ok to throw in the garbage? If I knew where to recycle them – we haven’t had our first one burn out yet – would they take a broken one or refuse it? Would I end up with a broken toxic mercury laden CFL in my house forever simply because no one would be willing to dispose of it for me?

Can someone please reassure me that I'm not the only one with these types of issues?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

What time is it?

Am I the only one who can’t manage to adjust to daylight savings time? I feel like a mole. It’s been so long since I’ve really seen daylight (I won’t even start to talk about sun!) that I feel as though I don’t know what to do with it anymore.

Case #1:
On Monday, I decided to stop in Deer Park (shopping area) on my way home from work to solicit donations from one or two businesses for Mister Man’s preschool fundraiser. I’d left early at 3:45, so I had plenty of time to still pick up the wee ones from daycare before 5pm. Since it was light outside, I went to a third business. When DH called at 4:45, I asked if he’d mind picking up the wee ones since I was still in Deer Park but was almost done, and it’s on his way home anyway. As I got into the car to really head home, I realized it was starting to get dark. I turned the car on and realized that it was somehow 7:20 already and that I was going to just have time to get home and change before I had to leave for yoga.

Case #2:
Tuesday, we ate dinner at our usual time, which is easy to do as we eat as soon as we get home from Mister Man’s Tuesday activity. As we talked and ate, we had quite the nice dinner. Then we read a book. And another one. And suddenly, it was 7:30. While this doesn’t sound at all momentous to many, it’s about an hour and a half past my kids’ bedtime. I know they go to bed early, but they need it and it works for us. The good news with this one is that Mister Man also had a really hard time understanding that it was bedtime. His logical little mind kept trying to understand it.

Mister Man: Mommy, I can’t go to bed now.

Me: Oh, yes. You can. It’s late.

Mister Man: No, it’s not late. It’s still light outside.

Me: Yes, it’s light out. Remember how we talked about how the time changed and you’re going to start going to bed now when it’s still light.

Mister Man: I know that’s what you said, but my body isn’t ready to go to sleep until the sun goes to bed, too. We’re friends you know.

Me: You’re friends with the sun?

Mister Man: Uh-huh.

Me: Do you play games with the sun?

Mister Man: Yes. Of course I do. I play with all my friends.

Me: What kind of … hey, wait a minute. Get in bed, you!

Case #3:
My watch broke back in October, and I haven’t yet replaced it. I’d like to, but somehow it just never makes it to the top of the to-do list. Instead, I just “know” what time it is. Last night after the wee ones were finally in bed, I started my usual nightly routine. You know, a little straightening, a little reading, a minute or two on the computer. Then I noticed DH was turning off his computer. I looked at the clock on my computer, and it was 11pm. I’m still not sure how that happened; it was light out just a little bit ago!

Case #4:
I work from home frequently, and lately, I know it’s time to stop working when it gets too dark to work without the light on. Today, I had the pleasure of working from home. I have quite the productive day, surprisingly. I got a ton done, way more than I thought I would. In fact, I … worked an extra 45 minutes before I finally realized what time it was. Actually, that’s not a bad trick!

Here’s hoping that tonight I get to bed earlier than 11. I’m a wimp and need a lot of sleep. Can’t you already tell that my mind is slipping from this post alone?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

It's Time to Redecorate

What's a mom to do when your children bring home artwork? It's cute, and you love it, especially when they're in preschool. For the first month. Then you start to realize that they bring home at least one new piece of artwork every single time they go to preschool.

If you're really lucky, your kids head to daycare after school and make more art there. Add in additional children, stir, let sit for five months and you have:

Actually, there's more than this even, but I can't figure out how to upload any more pics than this. I know I've seen picture slideshows before, but I have no clue how to do them ... yet (hint hint if anyone knows and can share insights!).

Every bit of art that comes home is hung up somewhere in the kitchen. Last year, I made it all the way through the school year before I had to take things down and keep just five in Mister Man's memory box. This year, well, two kids in preschool and daycare means that I've already gone through the clearance once. You can see on the stools that I'm a little desperate for space. And I don't remember what my cabinets look like without all that artwork.

So tonight. Or tomorrow. Or maybe the next day... it's time to redecorate. Out with the Nouveau Preschool look and back in with Standard American Kitchen. At least for a few weeks until the fingerpaint and chalk and markers start crawling up the walls of their own volition to again take over the cabinets. As best I can tell, they feed on wood and multiply rapidly.

And now that I look at those pictures again, I can see that it's time for me to also reclaim my island, otherwise known of the Land Of Things With Homes That They've Run Away From. This is a very invasive species, as well. Much like mold in the attic, you may think you've gotten rid of it, but then you turn around and it's back in full force.

Of course, neither issue has anything to do with Mister Man learning how to use tape or either Mister Man or Little Miss getting tall enough to reach the countertops themselves, right?

Monday, March 10, 2008

Ewwwww! You like *what*?

Sometimes, as moms, we know what we do is going to backfire. The fun is figuring out how exactly it's going to backfire.

I've been pretty strict with my kids in making them try new things. Our rule is that if Mommy makes it, you have to try it. It's ok if you don't like it, but you have to put a bite in your mouth, chew and swallow. You won't get anything else until you do. From that, my kids have eventually discovered that they love things like salmon and edamame and carrots.

As a corollary, when I bake with them, I encourage them to smell all the ingredients we use. It's become a fun little ritual, especially when I break out the good vanilla. Sometimes they want to taste the ingredients, too. In keeping with the above rule, I won't discourage the tasting, unless it's something that isn't meant to be eaten (e.g., chewing a nutmeg nut).

Last night, I had some baking soda out. My son wanted to know what it was, so I explained that it helped make my cakes and pancakes and other goodies go from flat to high and bouncy. Then he asked to taste it.

Side story: I should know better. I really should. When driving back from St Louis after Christmas, DH had stopped to get gas and gotten me (unsolicited even!) a Starbucks Frappachino thingie. Of course, DS wanted to taste it, and I was sure he wouldn't like it, so I let him have a sip. Of course, he loved it and wanted to drink the whole thing. That's when I broke out the "Caffeine Is For Adults" speech. Fortunately, he's a logical little rascal and was amenable to instead just drinking some water. Silly me for thinking he wouldn't like a sugary sweet drink that doesn't even taste like coffee!

I had no issue with him tasting the baking soda. I explained that he probably wouldn't like it and that it's an ingredient, not something we usually eat by itself. Then I let him lick his finger and dip it into a tiny pile I'd made on the counter. Immediately the face wrinkled up in disgust and he tried to get it off his tongue. Smart Mommy had a glass of water just waiting for this reaction, and all was well.

Of course Little Miss I-Can-Do-Everyhing-Anyone-Else-Can-But-I-Can-Do-It-Better also wanted to try. So I let her try, as well, although I did the licking and dipping for her. Some things I just don't quite trust a two year old to do. The result? "Mmmmm, Mommy! Can I have some more?"

At that point, I was sure that I hadn't actually gotten any of the baking soda on my finger, so I tried again. This time, I made sure that I could see white powder quite clearly on my finger before wiping it on her tongue. And she asked for more. This went on a few more times before she decided she was done.

Really, I'm always happy when my children show evidence of not being the most picky eaters on the planet. I'm grateful that they'll try new things and sometimes even like them. But baking soda? Ewwww!

I don't know where she gets it from, but I can almost guarantee that tomorrow morning, Little Miss will ask if she can have some more baking soda. Honest and truly!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

New Neighbor? Then you must want a scone!

First off, I'll admit to using any excuse to bake. I love to bake, but I don't like eating the finished product, especially not day after day. Granted, DH and the two wee ones definitely help out, but they don't need the extra calories as often as I enjoy baking. But there are times when I can finagle ways to ahem have my cake and eat it, too.

I live in a neighborhood that's a true neighborhood. When we were looking for a house, we discovered our neighborhood fairly on in our search and decided we liked it. In fact, we liked it enough to wait a year and a half until a house we liked came on the market. Needless to say, yes, that necessitated a move back in with my parents after our previous house sold, but that's a different story.

Part of why we loved it is that it had sidewalks (unusual in this area) and whenever we drove through it, people were outside. Not only were they outside, but they were outside talking to each other, hanging out, blocking traffic to catch someone's attention, and the like. That's where I wanted to raise my kids. Heck, I even found out after moving in that we have a babysitting co-op in my neighborhood (score!).

It took us a year and a half to find our house simply because not that many go on the market. We have 119 houses in our neighborhood (yep, I'm a geek; I counted once), but on average only two to three sell annually. We've been here for a year and a half now, and I know of two houses that had sold since then, with the exception of two that just sold, ironically both on my street.

When we were moving in, we had a fairly steady stream of neighbors welcoming us, including some offering to watch our kids while we unpacked and others bearing gifts of brownies. This seemed like the normal thing to me, and I baked for the two new neighbors who had moved in since we did, as well as bringing over a list of handy phone numbers, like the doctor and dentist and vet.

I saw a week ago Friday that lights were on in the house across the street, but that the cars were not the ones of the people who used to live there. I immediately made a mental note to bake something and go introduce myself. I then promptly had a horrible week last week that included a nasty cold. It was Friday before I was healthy and sane enough to try baking. A whole week had gone by, and I was feeling pretty guilty.

I also noticed that the house at the end of the street also was now having some new cars in the driveway, but I have yet to see lights at night. Regardless, I made a double batch of my chocolate chip scones to take to each of the new families.

Friday afternoon, I trundled over with the wee ones to meet the neighbors across the street, as it was obvious they were home. DS proudly held the plate of scones, while DD rang the bell (thank GOD only once, as Grandma has taught them a fun ringing the doorbell game). As the door opened, DS greeted them with "Welcome to the neighborhood. Here are some scones for your breakstick (sic)." They kindly invited us in, and we chatted while the wee ones ran up and down the hallway. So much for the angelic first impression.

As we were talking, she thanked me profusely and said that I was the first neighbor to stop by. Now I felt really horrible. I hadn't been able to make it over for an entire week, and I was still the first one? I'm still stunned by this. I'm going through the reasons in my head.

It's been a really cold, long, yucky winter. No one wants to be outside if they don't have to, so walking over to meet new people is really more of a summer thing than a winter one. But then I think back to the last time I was shoveling snow. Three neighbors stopped while in their cars to talk about the horrible winter. Hmmm.

The previous neighbors really kept to themselves, so maybe no one noticed that there were new people there. I'll admit to having never met the people across the street, which is particularly sad after reading the first part of this post. In all actuality, I rarely saw them coming or going or working outside. I never saw a moving truck when they left, just noticed that the real estate sign was no longer in the yard. But even with the previous owners having been private people, it has been pretty hard to miss the multiple vehicles and constant lights on in the house since the new neighbors moved in.

The answer I came back to is that maybe greeting new neighbors isn't all that common. Maybe when we moved in, we were blessed by a confluence of circumstances. DH is a teacher, so people recognized him. It was the beginning of summer, and everyone was outside. We have two small children, so we were visible outside playing, particularly to other families with children. The previous owners of our house had been very social and well-known in the neighborhood, so people wanted to see who was taking their place.

I think we were lucky. But that thought alone depresses me. Why is it so unusual to welcome people new to your universe, be it work or school or neighborhood? My intention that I at least welcome all new neighbors has only strengthened after reflecting on this. The new neighbor was so grateful that someone thought of her and that someone was welcoming her. We ended up chatting probably 20 or 30 minutes.

What do you do when you have people who move into your area? Do you have any traditions in your neighborhood or anything you do yourself?

With that thought, I'm packing up the rest of the scones to go knock on the door of the neighbors at the end of the block, and hopefully they'll be there. Honest and truly!

Saturday, March 8, 2008

I Jinxed It!

So around the new year, I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Because I Said So ( where Dawn was talking about new years resolutions and how she wanted to lose weight this year. Well, duh. Do you know a woman who doesn't want to lose weight? So I kept thinking about it. And yep, I decided I wanted to lose weight, too. And yes, me being me, I couldn't just leave it at that. I have to do something about it. I set myself an actual goal. I want to run 5Ks. Not just a 5K or a specific one, but apparently I decided that running is something I want to do on a regular basis. I don't always understand my thought processes either.

So I found something called Couch Potato to 5K. It sounded easy. It just takes nine weeks of gradually increasing the amount of time and distance you run, and suddenly, you're running 5K. That sounds like something I can do.

I have just a couple very small problems:
#1 I don't belong to a gym. I won't belong to a gym until my kids are in first grade, probably. During the day, I'm either working or doing something with the kids or volunteering. At night, I know me. I'm not going to go to a gym often enough to make it cost effective. That means I need to run outside, which is fine until it leads to problem...
#2 I live in the northwest suburbs of Chicago. It gets cold here in the winter, and I decided I wanted to learn to run in the middle of January. This year, not only has it been cold, but we've had enough snow to freeze over a certain netherworld. With a neighborhood where people don't always shovel their sidewalks (a topic for another post, I assure you) or build giant snowmen or igloos in the middle of the sidewalk, running outside is not just silly but dangerous.

In my head, I'm ok with that. I'm still going to learn to run 5Ks. In fact, I had DH download a nine part podcast that talks you through each week's workouts. Yep, I'm ready. I even bought a cool neoprene thing that goes around my arm to hold my iPod. I'm so ready. As soon as it gets warm enough to start running outside.

Now I won't lie to you. We've had some decent days in the past month or so. I think one day we even got up to 50 degrees. But really, what's the point of running (ok, walking with a few bursts of jogging) when the next day we go back to the deep freeze? I keep telling myself that we're almost to spring, so I'm almost going to start running. Really. Almost. I swear!

Then I saw the forecast this past Tuesday. On Saturday, it was going to be 49 degrees and sunny. On Sunday, 51. Monday was in the mid-40s. I was going to be able to start running this weekend! I was so excited! This morning, it was 12 degrees when I woke up. And windy. And it had snowed a little last night.

Now seriously, the snow was just a dusting, but it was the perfect amount of dusting to show me that someone, somewhere is making a joke at my expense. How can a day that's supposed to be 49 degrees instead be 12 with a dusting of snow? As I'm fuming internally about this, I look more closely outside. There wasn't just a dusting of snow. It was still snowing! And it wasn't a snowstorm kind of snow. For those of you who live where it snows, you know what I'm talking about. It's the tiny, crystalline, almost invisible bits of snow that are almost invisible unless you're looking at them in just the right light.

I went to yoga this morning, and it was still doing the laughing snow in my face thing. I ran errands, and still the remnants of winter reminded me who's in charge. What can you do? I'm obviously not running this weekend.

I got home and DH asked if I'd seen the forecast for next week. Innocently, I asked what it was. Mid-40s starting on Wednesday. Maybe next weekend is my weekend to start running?

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