Sunday, December 30, 2007

100 Energy

Apologies for the drought in posting recently.

We’ve been busy preparing for a big birthday party for Brad’s mother. In the many years that I’ve known her, she has barely let us acknowledge that she even *has* a birthday, much less have a party. But this year she is letting us throw a New Year’s Eve / Birthday Bash in her honor.

I had hoped to tie up some loose ends this evening, but my friggin’ child is still awake. Seems while I was out shopping for a dress for tomorrow night’s festivities, Z went down for a nap a little late (about 2:00pm) and slept until 5:00pm. We knew he wouldn’t be tired enough to go to bed at 8:00pm, so we pushed it a later and here he is – still awake at 10:45pm! Never again I tell you. Never again.

Much like this post, but slightly more sophisticated, here are the myriad of reasons that Zander “can’t” go to sleep:

“I have 100 energy.”

“I’m scared.”

“It’s too dark.”

“My clock is waking me up. It’s too light.”

“I have to go poo-poo and the poo-poo might take a long time to come out.”

“I need you mama.”

“If I sleep now, I’ll have to stay awake all tomorrow because I’ll have so much energy.”

“Bedrooms aren’t good places for me to sleep. I have to sleep in playrooms.”

Thursday, December 27, 2007

What were we thinking?

These photos were also found when I started the project that I will probably never finish, mentioned here.

I must have been 12 years old (or just turning 13) because I remember that my super-cool cousin from Los Angeles was coming to Florida for my Bat Mitzvah and there she is in the photo being super-cool talking to her friends back in L.A. (Today, that very same super-cool cousin lives in San Francisco, has a six-month old, and hair that is only one color. She and I talk almost every day.) And yes, that's me and my hair is naturally that curly.

I'm not sure what's worse in this first photo -- what I'm wearing or what I was making (presumably to wear)! Anyone else remember "puffy paint?"

For some reason, in these next photos, we put my hamster (named Aliwishes) down my shirt and THAT is what we are looking at. Not quite sure why we would put a rodent down my shirt, but that's another matter. In the years that followed, my cousin and I did a lot of things that are questionable.

Good photo

Taken by Brad on December 24, 2007.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

I'm no movie critic

As a childless couple, Brad and I were moviegoers -- a lot. However, since Z was born I could probably count on one hand -- maybe two -- the number of movies that we have seen in actual theatres. We use Neflix, but are even falling behind on those.

It's taken me, oh, maybe three-and-a-half years to be 100% comfortable leaving Zander -- okay, maybe 95% comfortable. The night before last, Z was in good hands with Grandma Paula and Pap-Pap, so Brad and I went to see a movie. On a last minute decision, we chose I am Legend starring Will Smith (and a beautiful German Shepherd).

Now, I'm no movie critic. But this was a darn good movie. Maybe it's because I had no expectations going in. Hadn't read a review, seen a preview, etc. Either way, I was on the edge of my seat the entire time and that's saying a lot considering how my mind can wander these days.

The movie definitely had shades of 28 Days Later, Outbreak, and maybe even a tad I, Robot, what with Will Smith being all moral and everything. Either way, it was gripping. I even involuntarily shouted the "f-word" a few times.

When the movie was over and the lights came up, Brad looked at me and said, "It was a little slow." Guess you had to be there.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Thanks Mom and Dad

Better late than never, right?

My parents took us on a lot of cool trips while we were growing up. At the time, I had no real idea of the value of these trips -- either from a family-bonding perspective or a material perspective. Saying "thank you" now seems silly, but it's that time of year and I'm feeling both grateful and nostalgic. (Also, we are currently in the throes of a short trip to Rehoboth Beach, Delaware and I keep thinking, "How did my parents do this with THREE children?!")

Here are some photos of one of the whitewater rafting trips we took. Pretty sure the river is the Nantahala in North Carolina. No idea how old I was and not sure why my sister isn't in these, but you get the point.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Good Day

Z's school was closed yesterday so he went over to Champe's house to play (under the supervision of their beyond-amazing Au Pair, Tine.) Apparently, it was a good day.

Friday, December 21, 2007


I'm going through some photos for a project I will probably never finish and came across these of Brad when he was just a wee lad. ;) Pretty darn cute if you ask me. Although, I don't see much resemblance to Z, despite the fact that many people say Z is a "Mini-Me" of Brad.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Three years old or 13 years old?

A week or so ago before Z went to bed and before "book" time, he said something about wanting to be in his room alone and went in there and closed the door! Brad and I were suspicious. Brad peeked in and he was sitting by his closet with a mischievous look on his face. Still not sure what he was doing. Three or 13?

Earlier that same day Brad and I were in our bedroom and called to Z who was in his room. He responded, "What guys?" Three or 13?

And here's my personal favorite -- this exchange occurred at dinner the other night, after Z intentionally dropped a piece of food on the floor. (Seems that if he doesn't want a particular food, he feels strongly that said food should NOT be on his plate at all.)

Zander: "Pick it up mom."

Me: "You dropped it. Your job is to pick it up."

Zander: "My job is to look at it [pause]...with a magnifying glass. Your job is to pick it up for me."

Three, 13, or maybe just a wise ass? (He did eventually pick it up himself. I'm not a total pushover).

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Faster You Foot

At first glance, he's your average (if a bit buff) firefighter...

At second glance he is your average (if a bit buff), grammatically-challenged firefighter.

Come to think of it, I'm not even sure what "Faster You Foot" is intended to mean. But it makes me laugh imagining someone running, looking down, and yelling at their foot, "Faster, you foot!"

Monday, December 17, 2007

In Other News OR Be Careful What You Wish For

While I was busy getting my eyes lasik-ed, Brad took Zander to the Pediatric ENT for an evaluation of the ear tube that is still in his ear. (The ENT just so happened to be in the same building as the Lasik, so they were able to come see the procedure in progress when they were done.)

As I've mentioned before, Z had the tubes put in when he was 11 months old. They were supposed to fall out by themselves somewhere between six months and two years after insertion. Shortly after the surgery (like minutes), I remember thinking to myself, "Please, please don't let them fall out after only six months," since this would mean he would likely need another set.

Well, as the old saying goes, be careful what you wish for. Indeed, one of the tubes has *not* fallen out on its own and Z is now scheduled for surgery (with general anesthesia!) in mid January.


In most cases, surgery to remove a tympanostomy tube is not necessary. The tube usually falls out on its own, pushed out as the eardrum heals....If the tube remains in the eardrum beyond 2 to 3 years, however, it will likely be removed surgically to prevent a perforation in the eardrum or accumulation of debris around the tube. [The bolding is my emphasis.]

When he was 11 months old and had the surgery to put the tubes in, I kept thinking that I wished he was older because at least then I could better explain the scary circumstances. Now, I keep thinking that I wish he were 11 months old so I don't have to explain the scary circumstances!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Found a Peanut

When Grandma Susan and Grandpa were up visiting for Thanksgiving, Grandma Susan introduced Zander to the song, "Found a Peanut" (sung to the turn of "Oh My Darling, Clementine." But, thinking ahead, Grandma Susan changed the lyrics from where it was supposed to say "died anyway" to "got all better."

One night Brad, Z, and my folks were all singing "Found a Peanut." Here's how it was going:

Found a peanut. Found a peanut. Found a peanut last night.
Last night I found a peanut...
It was rotten. It was rotten. It was rotten last night...
Ate it anyway. Ate it anyway. Ate it anyway last night...
Got a tummy ache. Got a tummy ache. Got a tummy ache last night...
Called the doctor. Called the doctor. Called the doctor last night...

This is when Brad interjected:

Paid the co-pay. Paid the co-pay. Paid the co-pay last night...
Everyone laughed. That was enough to hook Zander on those particular lyrics. Now, there is no more "Found a Peanut." Just "Paid the co-pay. Paid the co-pay. Paid the co-pay last night."

In looking for a link to the song, I found a few other versions. All start off pretty much the same (about finding a peanut and it being rotten), but it goes downhill from there. Who knew? And what I found on YouTube was just plain disturbing. Kids today.
Had surgery -> Died anyway -> Went to Heaven -> Didn’t want me -> Went to hell -> Didn’t want me -> Came to Life Again
Had surgery -> Died anyway -> Went to Heaven -> Forgot my teddy bear -> Went after it -> Back in Heaven -> Kicked an angel -> Went the other way

Saturday, December 15, 2007

What's Inside Oscar's Trash Can?

It might seem like our weekends are filled up by kid's shows and other child-focused activities and, well, that would probably be right. More often than not our theory is this: the more 'activities' we do -> the more tired Zander gets -> the better Zander sleeps -> the more sleep WE get.

That being said, just got back from a Sesame Street Live show called, "When Elmo Grows Up." Who knew that Oscar had a woman-friend? And while I'm at it, am I the only one who wonders what's inside Oscar's trash can? Don't answer that.

Friday, December 14, 2007

We have a critter of some sort...

...and he likes English Muffins.

P.S. This reminds me of something funny that Zander's good friend Champe said. Or, rather, sang. You can read about it here.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Of Computers and Calculators

On most days, when we arrive home from picking Zander up at school, I literally have to run to the chair in front of the computer to get there before Z. The child knows how to insert CDs, start and close programs, print, and buy things from Woot. (Obviously, kidding about that last one.)

He pretty much figured all of the basics out on his own by clicking around. [Note to self: Time to remove nefarious bookmarks.] One day a few months ago, Brad and I were in the kitchen talking and we heard Z giggling. Went in to see what was going on. Let's just say we now have a "one-page-a-day" printing rule so we don't have to replace the toner cartridges every week.

And more recently, Brad was having some trouble finding the CD that contained a particular game that Z likes to play. Z pointed out that it was in the bottom drive. Um, right. And next thing I know he'll be asking for an Xbox, just like his dad.

And tangentially related...

The other night night while checking my work e-mail, Z was waiting patiently (that's a lie) for his turn on the computer. He was actually opening and closing all the desk drawers, playing with paper clips, highlighters, post-it notes, and a calculator, when this came out:

Zander: "Calculators you have to use later, so I'm going to put this away."

And he did.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Big Business of Lasik (OR More Kvetching)

I knew going into the Lasik thing that Laser surgery is big business. In fact, I had a recommendation from a close friend for a perfectly respectable single practitioner instead of a larger, more business-like "eye center" that I probably should have taken. But, I chose the more convenient route and went with one of those places whose ads you can almost recite from memory because you've heard them on the radio so many times.

The biggest issue for me came after I went through all of the pre-op procedures (except for taking the Valium they provide) but before the surgery. I'm sitting there holding the little blue surgical cap that I'm supposed to use to cover my hair and they called me up to "finish the paperwork." This means pay the remainder of the fee. (We had put down a deposit.) So far so good. But then, the woman said something cheery about their current special promotion of $1,000 off if I donate $100 to a local charity.

Now, I'm all for donating to charities, but the deal I *thought* we were getting was $1,200 off. I reminded her of this. She said that the deal had expired. I told her that the person I spoke with said as long as I was scheduling it in the month of November, the rate would still be applicable. She frowned and "looked it up" on the computer. She agreed that I had made the appointment within the allotted time period. But, oh, what do you know?! Their rates have gone up exactly $100 an eye since then. How convenient!

I bitched complained a bit about how it would have been nice to know about the price increase before the day of the surgery, but by that time I *really* wanted the Valium. KIDDING. By that time, I had already gone so far down the road I wasn't about to turn back and I'm sure that's exactly what they wanted.

The good karma news is that a man sitting nearby overheard and offered me his extra $1,200 off coupon. I tried to use it and the woman did her best not to laugh in my face. She said I couldn't use two offers at once (expected and reasonable), but that the coupon had expired anyway and she grabbed it from me faster than she grabbed my American Express.

Don't get me wrong. So far the outcome is fantastic. I can see without contacts or glasses -- something I haven't been able to do since high school. The ten minutes (maximum) that I overlapped with the surgeon went really well. He seemed like a great guy. Did a heck of a job with the laser too.

It's just that the whole thing felt more like buying a car than than a medical procedure.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


On Sunday, Brad brought in our daily Washington Post and out fell a card from the delivery person. It’s not the card that bothered me. It had a cute penguin on the front (so it was somewhat non-denominational). But it was ‘signed’ with a generic stamp and included a self-addressed envelope (without postage). Might as well have said, “Give me money FOR DOING MY JOB.”

I’m all for rewarding a job well-done, but for some reason this feels both a little tacky and like a trap to me. If we don’t give him (or her) a holiday gift, is our newspaper going to be farther down the driveway each day? Or maybe if we *are* particularly generous, I won’t have to run barefoot as fast as I can while pulling down my ratty t-shirt so as to not offend the neighbors.

Since we are new to the neighborhood, I really do feel compelled to give something. (On a related note, we recently bought a $17.00 (!) box of kettle corn from a neighborhood boy doing a fundraiser for his school. Anyone want any kettle corn?)

Hmmm. That gives me an idea. Wonder if we could give the Washington Post delivery person the kettle corn? If not, think he or she would be offended by Hanukkah gelt? We’ve got a lot left over…

P.S. I realize that these folks are probably underpaid and that delivering newspapers is not the most glamorous job in the universe. But, it’s my blog and I’ll kvetch if I want to.

Monday, December 10, 2007

"I want my mommy!"

As mentioned in an earlier post, my mom was in town visiting for Hanukkah. (Mom came up from Florida; Dad stayed home .) Anyway, she just left. I *always* get sad when she leaves. It's so predictable that Brad said to me this morning as we pulled out of the garage, "Don't be sad" and then called early in the day to say the same thing.

It feels like it did when I was growing up and my parents would visit me at camp and then leave - a combination of something missing and some missed opportunity. I miss her and wish she lived closer and could see every little Zander meltdown (see here and here) for herself (although I'm pretty sure that's not what she would want to witness).

I realize that, in reality, I am lucky that my folks visit as much as they do and that we visit them, as well as go on trips with them. But there's a part of me that still wants to say "I WANT MY MOMMY!"

(And you thought this would be a post about Zander, didn't you?)

Sunday, December 9, 2007

I can see!

All went well with the Lasik surgery I mentioned in this post. I can now see 20/30 in my right eye and 20/25 in my left. The optometrist who saw me at the follow-up visit said the results were great, considering I was around a 20/1200 before. One eye still feels a little scratchy and has a small, rather gross (but temporary) red spot. I'm putting in various drops around the clock. But other than that -- I can see!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Two Stories: The Refrigerator and The Globe

The Refrigerator:

My mom is visiting for Hanukkah. Prior to her arrival, she asked that we make some room in the refrigerator so there is a place to put things that she cooks when she is here.

Me [opening the fridge]: "Mom, we made room for you in the refrigerator, see?"

Zander: "Grandma is going in the refrigerator?!!"

The Globe:

After dinner we proceed to light the menorah for the 3rd night of Hanukkah (which Zander had been begging to do all evening). Actually, let me back up....

Some months ago my mom expressed interest in getting Z a globe. She found one online that seemed appropriate and ordered it. It arrived here a few weeks ago. I unboxed and and wrapped it so it was ready to go for Hanukkah.

As I was saying, after dinner tonight, we light the menorah. I bring down the biggest gift (the globe) and Grandma Susan presents it. Zander quickly tears off the paper, takes one look and starts to cry. And I mean a full-blown, full-scale meltdown. "That's not the present that I want!" "I just want a toy!" "I don't want that globe!" "I already have one." (This is true, but the one he has happens to be a mini-globe that I got at the Target "Dollar Spot." The one my folks gave him is a standard-size, very nice globe.) It continued, "I want another present!" He even kind of pushed the globe away and back at my mom!

To Grandma Susan's credit, she said something about having a feeling this might happen and said we should go ahead and give him another gift. Both Brad and I felt strongly that giving him another present was not something we were going to do at that point in time.


I'm scheduled for Laser Vision Correction (LVC) tomorrow morning. I didn't *think* I was nervous about it. After all, a few of my close friends have had the procedure done and they rave about it. In fact, I don't know anyone personally who has had a negative experience.

But when The Eye Center called to me today to remind me (as if I would forget) and asked that I make sure to bring my signed "informed consent form," I started thinking of last-minute reasons why maybe this whole laser-in-the-eye thing is not such a great idea. At this point, I expect to be contact lens and glasses free this time tomorrow afternoon.

So, If anyone needs any AcuVue, daily, disposable contact lenses (-6.50 both eyes), let me know and I'll send 'em to you (assuming everything goes well, of course).

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Happy Hanukkah 2007

Happy Hanukkah or Chanukah (or however you spell it).

I'm not sure who liked the toy that Zander got on this first night better -- Brad or Zander.

Again, must give credit where credit is due: We saw a similar toy (a plane instead of a truck) at our friends house a few months back. A quick Google search proved that, at that time, the toy was available mostly in Great Britain. But, wouldn't you know -- this weekend, they were giving it away at Marshalls! Not really giving it away, but pretty close.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Another weekend, another concert

Don't watch the first video unless you are a blood relative. Seriously, it is a rather long mix of Z dancing at a Sippy Cups concert yesterday. Let's just say I was going to title this post, "White boys can dance...sort of."

Now, do feel free to watch this short clip. The Sippy Cups were about to sing a song about bicycles and had asked for volunteers to say something about his or her own bike. Brilliant, I tell you. He's brilliant! (Kidding.)

P.S. I need to give credit to cousins Lisa and Laura out in California, who introduced us to the Sippy Cups (a San Francisco-based band) a few years ago.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

More from the archives

This earlier 'archive' post got me thinking about how we didn't have a blog to chronicle the events leading up to Z's birth. So, I'm posting this photo here as proof that I was indeed pregnant. Ironic that I 'allowed' very few photos to be taken of me during that time yet here I post one of my bare belly for all the world to see. Granted I'm not including my face, feet, arms, butt, or thighs. This was in month eight. Yes, I got bigger.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I'm 37!

It's my birthday today and I feel old, but not because I'm 37.

I feel old because over Thanksgiving weekend a 16-year-old had to show me around Facebook. (I recently signed up out of both personal curiosity and for professional reasons to see what all the fuss is about .) I feel old because she demonstrated how to do all these cool things with Facebook but I was still thinking, "What's all the fuss about?"

I feel old because I don't know how to receive a text message on my phone and because I don't own an Ipod. If I heard music was burning on something, I'd call the fire department. (Kidding on that one.) I feel old because I just figured out that Hannah Montana is a person not a state.

Don't get me wrong....It's not a bad feeling, just an adult one. For years and years I didn't see myself as a "real" adult and then all of a sudden I turned around and I am just that -- an adult taking my kid to the dentist and reminding him to floss.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Proud Moment

Zander had his first-ever dentist appointment earlier this week. I know, I know, 3.5 years old is late for a first visit. But really, I've read all sorts of conflicting things on the right age to take children to a dentist.

Anyway, it couldn't have gone much better. There was no wait in the office (a pet peeve of mine). The staff was warm and professional. The pediatric dentist (who was referred by Zander's teacher) was fantastic. She had Z believing that the chair was actually a ride, his teeth were getting tickled and then having a bubble bath, etc. Most of my questions were answered before I could even ask them. (This is quite rare. My husband often says that I "pepper" people with questions. This experience with the dentist just shows that I wouldn't have to bombard people with questions if they offered up the right information in the first place.) But, I digress.

Z is a big-time thumb sucker. This was great when he was an infant since we never had to reinsert a pacifier late at night or panic if we didn't have one with us. However, not so great at 3.5 years old. The dentist said not to worry...yet. There is no change in his jaw structure or mouth due to the thumb sucking and it really doesn't become an issue unless it continues when permanent teeth come in.

The dentist said that his teeth had excellent "spacing." I was especially proud at that moment because I know he got the spacing from me.

"Let's Go Fly A Kite"

Another video from Thanksgiving weekend in Rehoboth...

Scene 1: The first kite is one that I hung onto for years and moved from home to home (much to Jill's chagrin). The sticks were long since lost and had been replaced using tape and some clever whittling. In any case, a strong wind and some Zander magic got it up and away.

Scene 2: Zander playing with the tail after I pulled the downed kite from the ocean. (Homemade sticks and gusty wind are NOT the right recipe). Determined to actually fly for awhile, I switched over to a more modern and healthy kite which...

Scene 3: you can see, flew remarkably well.

What this video doesn't show you is Scene 4, which was the 1/2 hour that it took for us to reel the kite back in. Who knew how hard it is to pull on kite string that has that much tension on it?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Glad I don't take things personally

From last night...

Zander [while in Brad's bathroom]: You can't come in here Mommy. This is the boys room. That's why I love daddy sooooooo much -- because he's a boy and I'm a boy.

And from Sunday...

[to Zander]: Want anything from the grocery store?

Zander: Um, cat food.

Me: But we don't have a cat.

Zander: We could get one.

Me: Mommy is allergic to cats. They make me sneeze and itch.

Zander: You could go away and the cats could come.

(I said that I wasn't going to go away so he asked for grapes instead.)

Monday, November 26, 2007

From the archives...

This photo is from when Zander was three days old. We kept asking ourselves, "Where in the world did he get such beautiful olive skin?" Turns out he was jaundice.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Running on the Beach

Thanksgiving day (before others* arrived and the big meal) on the beach in Rehoboth, Delaware (near the home of Grandma Paula and "Pap-Pap".)

* Not referring to the others as in mysterious bad guys from the TV show Lost. I meant other family and friends. But that reminds me, when oh when will Lost start again?!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Musical Chairs: Why?!

As I mentioned in yesterday's post, Brad and I went to a Washington Wizards Basketball game on Saturday night. Turns out it was "Family Fun Night." So, as entertainment between one of the quarters there was a game of musical chairs with four children and the Wizards bizarre mascot G-whiz.

Watching it brought back memories of how much I really, really didn't care for musical chairs. What is the point? To encourage kids to push each other out of the way? To be sure all but one feels like an idiot for a least a few seconds? And even better -- let's do it in front of a large crowd at an arena!? Seriously, I just don't get it. Someone tell me why this game is fun and/or good for children. I'm happy to listen.

Don't even get me started on how I ended up in years of intensive therapy because of "Duck-Duck-Goose."

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

A few too many lattes?

Back when I first met Brad and we were both young, single (or dating), and childless, he had season tickets to the Washington Wizards (and the Redskins and the Orioles but that's a story for another day). We would go to Wizards games all the time – sometimes even once or twice a week. I had never been to a professional basketball game before I met Brad and came to really concentrate on and enjoy the games, especially during the Michael Jordan years. Alas, some point after we moved out to the suburbs but before Zander was born, Brad gave up his season tickets.

So, for our recent five-year wedding anniversary, I thought it would be nice to surprise him with a set of tickets to a Wizards game. We went to that game on Saturday night.

Grandma Susan, who is visiting for Thanksgiving from Florida, babysat Zander. Brad and I went out for a yummy sushi dinner at a restaurant right near the Verizon Center (where the Wizards play). At the start of the game, we were a bit disappointed because Gilbert Arenas, the Wizards star player, was surprisingly not playing. Turns out he had a last-minute knee injury or something. Then they announced that it was "Family Fun Night," which explained why there were children everywhere. (I had thought I was just noticing them more because I was missing Zander already.)

Anyway, every now and then Brad would say something in basketball-ease like, “he really blocked that pick” or “they're going offense/defense" or something about being “in the paint." And although I enjoyed the game very much, my mind kept wandering...

Wonder if that couple sitting next to us is married or just dating? [Turns out they were father and daughter!] and...why isn’t the couple to our right saying anything about the game or even talking to each other and...if all of the seats in the section cost $150 then why does everyone knock each other down to get a free t-shirt, that’s quite a rock on the woman in the row in front of us and... Boy do I have to pee and ...should I go now because there might be too long of a line if I wait until halftime and...oh, look, the folks at the end of the aisle are eating pizza and that would be tough if they had to stand up and let me out was my mom doing at home with Zander anyway and...I wonder if he pooped and... it’s just amazing how everything is commercialized these days and...why do they allow you the entire bottle of water AND the cap at the Verizon center, but they insist on taking away the cap at Nationals games and...did I really just pay $4.00 for a bottle of water that I could have gotten at Costco for less than a quarter?

Not sure if the difference is due to parenthood, getting old, both, or just a few too many lattes yesterday.

P.S. One of the funniest/most interesting things to me was that when a member of the opposing team (the Portland Trailblazers) was shooting a free-throw and the announcers wanted to get the crowd to boo loudly, a large Dallas Cowboys logo would flash on the big screen. (For the non-beltway types out there, this is because the Dallas Cowboys are the big Redskins rival.)

Sunday, November 18, 2007


That's three hours, fifty minutes, and thirty seven seconds.

My sister ran in the Philadelphia Marathon today. I know what you might be thinking: "Didn't she just run a marathon a few weeks ago?" Yes and I wrote about it here and here. So what's another 26.2 miles, right? The good news is that the November weather was more conducive to running to Timbuktu and back and her time (3:50:37) qualified her to run in the Boston Marathon (again) in 2008.

There's not a lot of things that I would do for almost four hours straight (other than sleep). Congratulations Janet.

Friday, November 16, 2007

I'm Not Telling

Not much time to post -- between the never-ending Woot Off and this, there just isn't time! (Oh ya, work and the kid keep me busy too).

What's a Woot-Off? If you don't know, I'm not telling. If you DO know, it just ended so don't bother going to check it out. ;)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

How do trees stand up?

Brad was the lucky recipient of these recent Zander questions:

How do trees stand up?

Does anything eat clouds?

The former apparently had Brad launch into a discussion of gravity and the latter into a discussion of liquids, solids, and gases. I'm better at answering the questions about poop, so I'm going to let Brad handle the scientific responses from now on.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Go Wild-er or My "Ha Ha Ha" Girl

What Jill failed to mention in this post was that she was looking foward to the Milkshake show just as much -- if not more -- than Zander was. She was so excited in fact, that when they asked for volunteers she was on the stage first. See video clip below of JCB holding the "Ha Ha Ha" card.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Those Raisins Lose Again

Brad and Zander went to another Baltimore Ravens football game this past Sunday. When they got home, Zander came running in the house and said, "Mommy, the Raisins lost." He quickly corrected himself, but it was too cute not to post.

Here's a photo from the game:

Monday, November 12, 2007

Go Wild!

Despite the continuing ear saga, we were able to go to a long-awaited Milkshake concert this weekend with Zander's friend Elizabeth. It was our 2nd Milkshake concert and Elizabeth's 6th. You can see a photo of them holding hands at an earlier concert in this post (scroll down toward the end).

My still photos from the event really stunk mostly because it was so dark. This short video is equally dark, but hopefully it will give you a flavor of the concert. The song that is starting is called, "Go Wild." Zander is on the left. Elizabeth is on the right and they are both wearing Milkshake t-shirts.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

How could I have forgotten about ear infections?!

I knew I was forgetting something when I posted "Things I didn't think much about before becoming parent." Ear infections, of course.

As I referenced briefly in this post, Zander currently has an ear infection. This is his first one in a looooooong time. (He had typmpanostomy tubes put it when he was about 11 months old due to successive ear infections. I realize that the insertion of "ear tubes" is controversial. Some of the pros and cons are listed here if you are interested.)

Anyway, last week his teacher called me give me a heads-up that he had woken up from his nap a few times complaining that his ear hurt. She also said he was holding Lamby up to his ear to make it feel better. I rushed to his school to make an assessment. When I arrived, I noticed disgusting smelling fluid oozing from his ear. Sorry about the TMI, but it is what happened.

That night, we trekked to the doctor's office (our first "sick" visit at a new pediatrician due to the move) and waited there about an hour to see the doctor. This would normally have been torture, but they had a TV in the waiting room and the movie Cars just happened to be playing, so Z was happy as a clam.

The doctor could barely see in the ear in question, but she said it looked like a small rupture in the ear drum, also known as a perforated eardrum. Although that sounds major, she quickly assured me that it is nothing to be alarmed about and should heal without any lasting damage to his hearing. I really liked this doctor. She was warm, patient, and personable with both me and Zander -- no small feat for a pediatrician at 7:00pm in the evening.

All this time Z was pretty much a trooper. He's a bit clingier when he is sick, which is rather nice since he's not super-clingy in the first place. As you can see from the photos below, he was hamming it up in the waiting room even before they gave him some Motrin.

But wait! You thought that would be the end, right? We did too. Fast forward to Friday morning when, after a week of antibiotics, more fluid was draining from his ear. We ended up back at the doctor's office and found out that one of the tubes is still in his ear. Who knew? Certainly not his former pediatrician who told us they were both out! Anyway, the tube is in, but the ear is still infected.

We left the doctor's office armed with stronger prescriptions and headed down to my office for an hour or two until Brad could come pick Z up, get the new prescriptions filled, and take him home to nap. And here, just to round out the story and for your viewing pleasure, is a photo of the ear:

Friday, November 9, 2007

Some things I didn’t think about before becoming a parent

Or rather, I thought about them differently.

  • Recalls. I just never noticed them in any real sense. Now it seems that they are everywhere all the time. Seriously, I get an e-alert from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission about recalls of children's products and since November 1st, 14 items have been recalled. We didn't own any of those fourteen, but we have dealt with recalls on a Graco stroller, an Evenflo carseat, a Radio Flyer wagon, and a few Thomas the Tank Engine items. Jeez! Wrekehavoc says it best in her open letter to Mattel here.

  • Time changes. Sure I considered whether or not I would get an extra hour of sleep or lose an hour, but big deal. Then Zander came along. I recall the first time change about five months after he was born. I couldn't believe that after all the trouble trying to figure out when he should eat, sleep, and poop, the universe was throwing me another curve ball and changing the time. It felt like a cruel joke. Certainly things are easier now that Z is three, but we've still had a few painfully early mornings this week at our house.

  • Federal holidays. Pre-Zander, they were just days off. And actually, Zander’s first “school” (really a daycare) was open rain or shine. This meant that if my office was closed for a federal holiday, it was a total bonus. Now when my office is closed on holidays so is Zander’s school. Hmmm. Changes things a bit, especially since Brad doesn't necessarily get all the federal holidays off. It's not that I don't enjoy the extra time with Z, just that I really enjoyed the extra time to myself [to sleep]. This Monday (Veteran's Day) I'll probably be at a playground freezing my you-know-what off.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A delicious and refreshing treat for...dogs?

After re-reading last night's post (and fixing the typos), I realize that I confused "Frosty Paws" (which are frozen treats for dogs) with "Frosty Bears" which are hot and cold boo boo packs. Freudian? I'm not sure. But, next time I'll try a Frosty Paw and see if it does the trick.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Please, please let him be sleeping now

The nineteen thousand reasons that my three-and-a-half-year-old called for us between about 8:15pm and 10:05pm tonight:

- Said his ear hurt. (Possibly legit due to ear infection and possible ear drum rupture last week.) Not as bad as it sounds -- more on that soon. I gave him some Motrin, per doctor's suggestion.

- Said the medicine went to his eyes instead of his ear and he needed more. Huh?

- Said the medicine was the wrong kind and he needed the other kind (probably referring the the antibiotics).

- Said the pictures in his room were waking him up.

- Said he needed ice or the "frosty paw" for a bonk. After some discussion, it was concluded that there was no said bonk.

- Said he needed the "frosty paw" for his ailing ear.

- Said he wanted the sound machine on.

- Said he needed a different room because he was scared in his room.

- Said he lost the "frosty paw" and could I help him find it?

- Found the "frosty paw" but it was no longer cold and it needed to go back and get colder.

- Said there were bees in his room so he needed to go into a different room.

As I e-mailed to Brad (who just so happens to be away for the night), I'm going to have a nervous breakdown. Not really. Just need to kvetch.

A GlosFroJi or "A Glossary from Jill"

I'M KIDDING! Well, at least I'm kidding about "GlosFroJi."

In light of Brad's recent posts and this post, I think we need some kind of glossary. And since it seems that blogspot cannot handle static pages, I am making this post our official "Glossary" page and will add to it as needed. Feel free to send me suggestions.


B: Brad (father of Zander, husband of Jill).

Blog: A website where entries are written in chronological order and commonly displayed in reverse chronological order. "Blog" can also be used as a verb, meaning to maintain or add content to a blog. Many blogs provide commentary or news on a particular subject; others function as more personal online diaries (as this one does). A typical blog combines text, images, and links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its topic. The ability for readers to leave comments in an interactive format is an important part of many blogs. (Thanks Wikipedia.)

IGNoB: It Gets No Better.

Flickr: A photo sharing website, widely used by bloggers as a photo repository. Thanks Wikipedia.

JCB: Jill (mother of Zander, wife of Brad).

meme: (rhymes either with dream or with the letter "m," depending on who you ask):
An idea that is shared and passed from blog to blog, such as a question posted in one blog and answered in many other blogs.

NaBloPoMo: National Blog Posting Month.

NASI: National Academy of Social Insurance; non-profit that supports this blog; non-profit that employs JCB.

O.P.T. (pronounced oh-pee-tee): "Other People's Toys.

TMI: Too Much Information.

TMTOMH: Too Much Time On My Hands.

Z: Zander (son of BCK and JCB).

Another IGNoB from Brad

After Zander had asked about the rest of the lyrics to a song that he had heard part of via satellite radio in my car, I decided to teach him about doing "research." So, we set off on an Internet quest to find a song that we only knew from the lyrics, "It's hot. Don't touch it." His job was to hit the "enter" key.

Several Google refinements later we had found the song, learned about doing research, and were listening to Uncle Rock sing. What followed was Zander restarting the song each time it ended and the two of us dancing around the office (only one of us wondered what any neighbors might have seen if out on an evening walk).

Somehow, we started trading dance moves like some pre-teens who were not quite ready to really talk to the opposite sex. He would spin, jump squat, and then cheer delightedly when I matched his steps. I would give him parts of the “Cabbage Patch” or the “pony” or the “lawn sprinkler” and he would try to follow along.

Monday, November 5, 2007

It Gets No Better (IGNoB)

It’s my turn to start up a recurring theme that has its own catchy acronym. This one is IGNoB for It Gets No Better.

The other night the three of us were sitting on our bed with Zander in the middle for the nightly pre-bedtime reading. One of us reads a couple books first, then the other, and we usually end with his latest self-reader. While Jill was reading, she paused and looked over at me with the all-too-familiar wrinkled nose and the what could possibly smell so horrible look also known as the did-that-come-out-of-you look. Only, this time, I had a genuine “What?” expression instead of the guilty look I usually have. This lead to a momentary pause in the reading, which Zander noticed. He filled the silence by stating, “I farted.”

Therefore, we each had our momentary confusion, mine while being falsely accused, Jill’s while trying to figure out why I looked genuinely innocent, and Zander’s while getting a high five from his Dad in the middle of a book. Ever since Samson (our miniature long-haired dachshund) died, I have had no one with whom to share the blame for any odd I do!

Just Say No!

In case any of our loyal readers were concerned about Lamby as a result of this post, we're happy to report that she is back from 'rehab,' aka the washing machine. So, there will (hopefully) be less of this going 0n:

Granted she doesn't look brand-spankin' new either:

P.S. If you or anyone you know actually has a Lamby (a TY Pluffy also known as Shearly the Lamb), we will purchase it for a small fee. See, somewhere between Florida, Delaware, and Pennsylvania we lost Zander's back-up Lamby. The company that makes Lamby has "retired" her. Note that this is not an emergency because he still has original Lamby, I am just super-neurotic about having back-ups.

P.P.S. Brad says to Zander, "Lamby wants a bath. Is it okay if I wash her?" It's no wonder Zander thinks his poo poo talks.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Who builds the sky?

Last week, while driving to Elizabeth's house for the big event...

Zander: "Who builds the sky?"

Me: (a few seconds of silence while I wished I had a different understanding of my personal beliefs and could unequivocally answer, "God.")

Zander: "Who builds the trees?"

Me: (a few more seconds of silence while I formulate an answer involving seeds.)

Zander: "Who builds planes?"

Me: (as quickly as I can answer): "Well, a team of people build planes. Engineers and mechanics all work together to..."

Friday, November 2, 2007

90% of Parents

As I sorted through Z's Halloween candy for my cut of the loot any health and safety issues, I was surprised to see so many new variations on old favorites. Butterfinger Crisp? Huh? Did Butterfingers need to be any more crisp? Don't they just fall apart when you bite into them? MilkyWay Caramels Minis? Wasn't there always caramel in a MilkyWay? Did they add more (or take out the nougat -- god forbid)? Tootsie Roll Pops, short fat Tootsie Rolls, long skinny Tootsie Rolls, midget Tootsie Rolls, and Tootsie Fruit Rolls?!

I heard on the radio that 90% of parents steal from their kid's Halloween candy. What a relief. I was feeling so alone.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Decorations of our very own (Part II) OR Mr. Potato Head for Pumpkins!

In addition to the lovely deccorations that I posted about here, I found some cool doo-dads at the grocery store (while marveling over the many deoderant choices), that are just like Mr. Potato Head pieces but for pumpkins!

They were/are just my kind of thing -- easy to do, no mess, just run 'em through the dishwasher when you're done, and pack 'em up in a bin labeled "Halloween" for next year. I'm almost sad to see them go...

Halloween 2007

"Halloween is such a strange tradition." That's what I was thinking as we were walking around in the dark and going to strangers houses who were giving my three-year-old candy. Under normal circumstances, we would be doing none of those things. Maybe that is what makes it fun.

As I mentioned in this post, I can, um, try to control, meddle a bit too much now and then. We had planned to go trick-or-treating with the family of Zander's good friend Elizabeth. Elizabeth wanted to be Blue of Blues Clues. So, I told this to Zander and suggested that he could be Magenta (also of Blues Clues). Keep in mind that the show also has characters named Slippery (a soap), Tickety (a clock), and Sidetable (a side table).

Shortly thereafter I did some research and found out that Magenta is actually a girl dog and is pink. So I suggested Zander be Periwinkle (another Blues Clues character), who is a male cat. And that is how we ended up here:

I got the costume from e-bay and let me tell you, things don't get much cheaper feeling than this costume. If the photo above didn't scare you, here's another of Z attempting a smile:

(He's in that awkward phase where he tries to smile but instead ends up looking a little constipated.)

The good news is that both Zander and Elizabeth had a great time and that's what really matters. After every single house Zander would say, "Are we going to go to another house and get more CANDY?"

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

In case you're wondering why I smell

Warning: This post fits under two new categories: TMI (Too Much Information) and TMTOMH (Too Much Time On My Hands).

At the grocery store, I tried to purchase some deodorant. Sounds simple enough. But, I kid you not, there were that at least 27 different types of the same brand:

Secret Platinum (in Unscented, Glacier Ridge, and Ocean Breeze). Total=3.
Secret Platinum with Conditioners (in Botanical Silk, Velvet Powder, Shower Fresh, Mystic Rain, and Ocean Breeze). Total=5

Secrete Platinum Expressions (in Tropical Tango, Vanilla Chai (wtf?), Afrikan Violet, Southern Peach, Asian Pear, Spanish Rose, Jasmine Orient, Arctic Apple, Eastern Lily, Passion Flower, Brazilian Cherry, Kuku Cocoa Butter, and English Bloom). Total=13

Then there were the basics:
Secret Roll-On, Secret Solid, Secret Invisible Solid, Secret Clinical (comes in a box looking very serious), and Secret Clear Gel . Total= 5.

And, my very favorite:
Secret Ultra Clear (just in case the regular clear is not clear enough).

Grand Total=27.

Alas, there was no Secret Regular, which was really all I wanted. So that's why I smell.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Yummy Frosted Cars and Shoo Flies

On this morning's drive to school:

Me: "It was so cold last night that there is frost on some of the cars."
After a few minutes of silence:

Zander: "I don't see any frosting on the cars."


This reminded me of a few other misunderstandings. This one is from last week, also while driving to school:

Zander: "Alaska is in the sky, isn't it?"

Me: "Um, no honey, it's not in the sky."

Zander: "But Grandma Paula said Alaska is UP, not down."
It then dawns on me that on Zander's puzzle of the states, Alaska is at the bottom. So, I try to explain how most states are attached to another, except for Hawaii and Alaska. (I knew I shouldn't have skipped Geography class and went to the mall. I'm kidding Mom. I never skipped any classes.)

And finally, this one from pre-blog times:

Often when we would see a fly, we would say, "Shoo fly don't bother me." I think it's from a song or book or something. I don't recall how old Z was at the time, but one day we were sitting outside and he said, "Look mommy! A shoo fly!"

Sunday, October 28, 2007


All jobs have their perks. Brad works at Marriott and he gets discounted hotel rooms for us, family, and friends, on-site flu shots (and other special health events, such as skin cancer screenings), discounted on-site shipping services, an on-site gas station (!), and more.

And then there is the Annual Marriott Headquarters Family Picnic. We drove out to the Marriott Ranch yesterday to attend our first. It was a day of free food, rides (hayride, etc.), moon bounces, a rock-climbing wall, a petting zoo, pony rides for kids and horseback riding for adults, a laser tag tent, carnival-type amusement games, live music, face painting, clowns making balloons for kids, at least eight caricature artists, and a pumpkin-painting hut. It was pretty incredible. Here are some photos:

Me, I get THE most up-to-date and accurate social insurance news possible. No one can compete with that.

Friday, October 26, 2007

And I thought I was the one who made most of the rules around here

It's raining when we arrive at Zander's preschool this morning. I gather up his stuff from the car (rain boots, some back-up clothing, journal bag, etc) and this happens:

Zander: "Mom, you have to carry me."

Me (annoyed that he says I have to carry him and a tiny bit sad that he's starting to call me "mom" instead of "mama" or "mommy"): "No I don't. My hands are full."

Zander (whining): "But, I have a rule that my sneakers can't get wet!"

What I'm thinking: [Oh ya, buddy? Who made that rule? I'm not aware of it and I make most of the rules around here.]

What I say (thinking he'll never go for this): "Well, if I carry you, YOU will have to carry all of this stuff."

Zander: "Okay. Pick me up mom."

So, I end up carrying him and all of the stuff wedged between us. I'm definitely losing this battle.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Nationals got a shame

On Tuesday, while away on business travel I had the pure joy of catching Jill and Zander by phone around dinner-time. This means I actually got quality time on speaker phone, and in this case I was graced with a duet rendition of "Take Me Out To The Ball Game". It was music to my ears when away missing my crew I heard (over a speakerphone) "If they don't win it's a shame. For its 1, 2, 3 strikes you're out at the old ball game." Here's what happened next:

Zander: The Nationals got a shame.
Jill: What do you mean "shame?"
Zander: The Phillies won so that means the Nationals got a shame.

Hmmm, "If they don't win it's a shame." He's right (in a way).

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

How do we make sand?

Some of the latest Zander questions...

"What is poo poo?"

"What makes poo poo yucky?"

"What makes poo poo brown?"

[Are you noticing a theme?]

There was also this one:

"How do we make sand?" For this one, since Brad did not know the answer, he instead started to explain how glass is made from sand. I'm thinking, "It is? Who knew?!"

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Another Busy Fall Weekend

Now that I'm done kvetching (for the time being at least) about yesterday's drive to the office, I can post about the busy Fall weekend we had. Saturday included a trip to Claude Moore Colonial Farm (an 18th Century Living History Farm) with some other families from Zander's preschool. Sunday morning Zander and I took a trip to the old neighborhood for the annual Burke Nursery Pumpkin Playground and Brad went to Annapolis to get in some wakeboarding before the water gets too cold. Yes, yes, I thought this September trip would be his last for the season, but I was wrong. (It's rare, but it happens.)

Here's a short video clip from before we entered the Pumpkin Playground. They have some motion-activated animated things at the entrance. (I'm sure there is a technical term other than "things" but I can't come up with it.) Initially, Z was scared to get near any of them, but as you can see from the the clip, he warmed up to the skeleton in just a few minutes and started to boogie.

Monday, October 22, 2007


Kvetch is a Yiddish word meaning "to complain habitually." For example, “All Jill does is kvetch about traffic.” What’s the difference between a kvetch and a rant you ask? I’ve decided that a kvetch is short and a rant is long. But I reserve the right to post a ranting kvetch if it applies to the situation. Here’s today’s:

I left my house at about 7:35am. I did not get to my office until 10:00am. That’s almost two and half hours. (For the record, this also included dropping Z off at preschool.)

Traffic is always worse in September and October apparently. It has something to do with both Congress and school being back in session. However, another semi-annual event that screws up traffic around here is the IMF/World Bank Annual Meetings. Streets are closed and protesters are lying down in the middle of intersections. Unfortunately, the only person I can take it out on is Brad. Poor husband got back to his desk to two separate and very grumpy messages complete with foul language and new things that he needs to do to fix my traffic. Sorry honey.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

A Challenging Phase

Our child is definitely in an annoying a challenging phase right now. I mean, he's still cute and all, but sometimes, jeez.

He is trying hard to learn the art of manipulation. Last night I told him that it wasn't time to play with X, it was time for Y. Without hesitating, he said, "Mama, my poo-poo says I have to play with that right now!" Oh, right! How could I have forgotten about the talking poo-poo?! I said, "What Mama says overrides what the poo-poo says," and he instantly broke into tears. Real tears. If it wasn't so funny, I might have cried some real tears too.

P.S. Earlier in the evening, Brad said to me, "My poo-poo says..." I'm kidding. What he really said was (as Zander was running around like a chicken-with-his-head-cut-off and interrupting any and every conversation we were tyring to have),"Has he always been like this and we just didn't notice it or has it gotten worse?"

Friday, October 19, 2007

Our Gangster Boy

This photo was taken earlier in the week at Z's (not a gang name) preschool while "splatter painting" (not a early form of graffiti). Lest anyone think that we're actually encouraging the 'Gangsta' look a little early, do not be alarmed. His pants are below his hips because he is a tallish, skinny kid and sometimes we forget to tighten the "adjustable" waistband, Beeotch.

Please don't take me off your e-mail list all together, but...

...FOR THE LAST TIME, cell phone numbers are NOT going public. It's a hoax. They weren't in 2004 and they are not in 2007. I realize that I post this at the risk of someone deciding not to forward me a truly important e-mail, such as an announcement of a one-time extra 50% off sale at Costco, or something else life-and-death related.

The place I go to check these things out is, but I'm sure there are other sites as well. Here's the link at Snopes related to the cell-phone-do-not-call-registry, fyi:

Thursday, October 18, 2007

You don't work full time...

This bumper sticker is on our refrigerator. A colleague gave it to me while I was on maternity leave in 2004 and I still nod my head in agreement every time I read it. (Note: This is not meant as insult to non-moms, or to moms who who don't work outside the home, or to moms who don't nod their head at inanimate objects like refrigerators.) I just like it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A Blast from the Past

Let me start by saying that if you weren't born sometime between 1962 and 1975, this post might not make sense to you. Also, I post at the risk of being disowned by my husband (who has boxes and boxes of actual vinyl records, one thousand or so CD's, and goes to numerous concerts all by respectable musicians).

Lately I’ve been surfing radio stations while driving alone in the car (instead of listening to our growing collection of children’s music mentioned in this post). The first 'flashback' happened on Sunday when I thought I heard Casey Kasem doing a top ten of sorts. I didn't think he could still be alive. But, indeed, it WAS Casey Kasem! Turns out he wasn’t so old back then, I just thought that all adults were old. His voice took me back, remembering how I would listen impatiently to see which song was #1 that particular week.

Then, as I’m driving to work early this morning, I hear a few chords of “Family Man,” by Daryll Hall and John Oats. I instantly (and maybe embarrassingly?) knew what song it was and could remember running to my boombox (which was even less high tech than this one and full of D batteries) to simultaneously press two buttons so the song would record to a cassette tape. And how I would play, rewind, play, rewind, and play those songs. Oh to be young again.

P.S. Who knew that Hall and Oats have their own website and a new CD?! And what was “Family Man” really about anyway? You can see it on YouTube here.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Magical Land of Chocolate Cows

Tonight post-dinner as he puts his spoon into a small tub of chocolate pudding...

Zander: Chocolate comes from chocolate cows, doesn't it?

Brad launched into a detailed explanation of how chocolate comes from nuts and then it becomes powder and eventually becomes the chocolate we can eat. All I heard was "chocolate yada yada yada yada yada chocolate we can eat."

Sunday Football with Dad

The two photos above are from a Baltimore Ravens football game that Brad and Zander attended this past Sunday. We billed it as Zander's first football game, but it was really the first one that he can remember. According to our photo archive, we took him to a game in late August of 2004, before he was three months old. (I find this interesting, since I don't much recall leaving the house the first three months after he was born.) Regardless, here is the photo I took to prove it:

Monday, October 15, 2007

Decorations of Our Very Own

Before Zander was born, I was somewhat of a curmudgeon about Halloween. I always thought Halloween decorations were, well, a bit tacky. And ever since my cousin Lisa, who was my partner in dressing up slutty silly (for Halloween), had moved to California and I had gotten married, I wasn't much into costumes. Then Z came along and I got into a bit (see this post for proof).

Last year, our neighbors in Burke (hi Mary & Marcia if you're out there), put out a few decorations including a tame looking witch. Zander named her Mabel and quickly became attached. At that point, I went out and bought some fake cobwebs and put them in our bushes. (No jokes please.)

Fast forward to this year. Zander has been noticing all things Halloween-related, especially decorations. When we left the house on Saturday, we saw that our neighbors had put this up:

Zander asked for the 3rd time if we could put up some decorations at our house. That night, after a celebratory anniversary sushi dinner, Brad and I went to Walmart and bought some really expensive, really classy Halloween decorations all our own. On Sunday morning, Brad and an ecstatic Zander deposited them in our front yard. We've already noticed a steady series of onlookers driving by just to see them.

Friday, October 12, 2007

'Shout Out' #3: Jill / Wife / Mom / Blogger

Jillie (pictured the day after our wedding on the balcony of The Watergate), my wife of five wonderful years, may be too young to remember the Enjoli woman but the rest of us probably can. You know the jingle-based perfume commercial that set the bar so high that all women felt at least a bit inadequate. Well, I realized today that I actually married her – a successful, sexy, spirited, bright, beautiful woman who is a terrific companion and a co-parent without compare.

Ok, so Jews are not really touted for bringing home bacon (kinda rubs against the kosher thing) and Jill is not one for frying much up in the pan, she still possesses a wonderful balance between work and home and she “…never lets me forget I’m a man…” even though sometimes this means me taking out the trash or lifting heavy items.

All said, I would not exchange these past five years or my wife for anything no matter what it smells like….


When do numbers end?

We are in the middle of the "questions" phase with Z. Although, come to think of it, some months ago, Zander would call for one of us at night and say, "I have a question" and then not say anything else. We would ask what the question was and he would kind of stare at us thinking, "I got you here. Who needs a question?" Well, we're past that and now there are lots of good questions. Here are a few recent ones:

"How does hair get on eyebrows?"

"Why is 'apple' at the end of pineapple?"

"When do numbers end?" (This one was asked in the bath after singing the ABC's and then counting for awhile...)

If you want to take a stab at answers to any of these, feel free.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Death, Havoc, and Heat

If anyone was wondering the result of my sister’s run in the Chicago Marathon mentioned in this post, the good news is that she is alive. That’s not funny, I know. I'm not meaning it to be. In case you didn’t see it in the news, some runners did die. Hundreds were picked up by ambulances. They stopped the race due to excessive heat. You can read all about it in this New York Times article, the headline of which is “Death, Havoc and Heat Mar Chicago Race.

Her “chip time” was 4:06:39, with which she was very pleased. Her next run, the Philadelphia Marathon, is in six weeks.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Great State of Soda

Most parents of young children (as opposed to old children?) have a slew of funny stories about things their child has said or has mis-said. I assume that's what "Kids Say the Darndest Things" is all about. I don't think that Z is any more or less funny than the rest of 'em, but his wonderful grandmothers DO think so. On the heels of yesterday's monster truck post, I'm going to start noting these funny stories for the record here. Lucky you! Below are a few that I've been meaning to write down.

After we moved (about five months ago) we kept Zander at his old school for a few weeks to help ease the transition. But it was a loooong drive for me from McLean to Burke to Dupont Circle to Burke to McLean and for Brad to go from McLean to Burke to Gaithersburg (passing McLean on the way) and back to Burke. We would kill the time with Zander by listening to music and talking about different vehicles. For example, if we saw a big truck with photos of produce on it, we'd talk about what was probably in the truck, where it was going, where it came from, etc. One day, we saw truck with a large 24/7 on both sides. Z says: "That truck has numbers in it!"

Another truck story:
Zander: "What does it say on that truck?"
Me: "FedEx"
Zander: "That truck feeds X!"

Zander talking out loud to himself:
"Eighty-nine. Eighty-nine. Eight-TEE-Nine. That number has a letter in it!"

During pre-bedtime reading of a book with jellyfish in it:
Zander (pointing to the jellyfish): They're sticky.
Me (thinking whatever works for you, kid): Uh huh.
Zander: They eat jelly.
Me (finally realizing that he thinks they are sticky because they eat jelly, but blanking on how to respond since I have no idea what jellyfish DO eat.): [silence]

After telling him that we were going to drive to Delaware to visit Grandma Paula and Pap-Pap, we started talking about other states.
Zander: "Minnesota. Maybe that is where soda is from."

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Scaredy Cars

We're in the car on the way to school, listening to a Choo Choo Soul / Genevieve song about a train in Japan called the Shinkansen, aka The Bullet Train. Part of the song goes like this:

If I was a car, I'd be a RACING car.
If I was a plane, I'd be a JET plane.
And if I was a truck, I'd be a MONSTER truck.
But, if I was a train, I'd be a BULLET train.

The song ends and Zander says: "Monster trucks are NOT allowed on the road with other cars."

I ask: "Why not?"

He says (quite assuredly): "Because the other cars will get scared."

Makes perfect sense to me. I get scared whenever I see a monster truck.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Rant: Not Prominent Enough!

I have the day off for Columbus day and Zander’s school is closed. After checking online to be sure all of these options were open, I gave him some choices of things to do today (National Zoo, Reston Zoo, Air and Space Museum, National Building Museum, train bookstore). He asked a few questions and then decided on the National Building Museum.

A Bummer
Next, I call my friend Laura to see if Champe would be interested in joining too. So, Zander and I go to pick up Champe and Tine (the Mitchell's Au Pair) and head down to the museum. I’m using our new GPS thingamabob mentioned in this post and I am still making wrong turns. Regardless, after what seemed like a long ride, we arrive at our destination and get a parking spot right in front of the building. We head in, go over to the “Building Zone” for kids and there is a sign saying the room has reached it’s capacity and we needed to wait on line. Fine. But, there were two guys standing at the entrance who said it’s actually closed for renovation so they can build a new playhut and it would be open at 12:00pm. Fine. I tell Tine and the boys and then the guy corrects me – apparently I misheard and it will be open again on the 12th of October. Bummer. I bitch and moan about that information not being on the website and the young guy is somewhat apologetic but not really. Here’s how it goes from there:

Me: “Who can I complain to?” [Tine occupies the boys with toys from the diaper bag in the big room and they are fine.]

Guy: “I guess someone at the Information Desk.” [I walk over the information desk.]

Me: "It’s really a bummer that we headed all the way here and the kid’s room is closed."

Nice Information Desk Lady: "It’s closed???!! I’ve been sending people over there all morning!"[Nice Information Desk Lady walks over to confirm that it is, indeed, closed. She returns.]

Nice Information Desk Lady: "You’re right. It’s closed." [At this point, I notice a little sign on the information desk about being able to rent some kind of family activity kit.]

Me: "Where can I get the family activity kit?"

Nice Information Desk Lady: "Back at the entrance to the Building Zone."

‘I was Flustered’
At this point, I walk back over to the entrance of the Building Zone and ask about renting the kit, ready to push for a free one. But, then I think, hey, this is a museum and it's only $5.00. I do say to the guy, “Were you going to tell me about the activity kits?” He says, “I was flustered.” Now I just feel bad. But wait. It gets better.

They are out of kits for the younger crowd, so I leave with one for seven year olds and up, complete with a hammer, nails, safety goggles, measuring tape, compass, etc. I know that both boys have worked with hammers and nails at school, so I figure we’ll try it out.

The boys are busy with the kit so I take the opportunity to scout out options for the rest of the museum. I pass the museum store and was pulled in by a force greater than myself (probably the immensely powerful shopping gene that runs on the maternal side of my family). Anyway, I found something I thought would be a good toy for the boys to kill some time. I talk to the man who works there, telling him my sad story. He says, “The Building Zone is closed?” And then tells his associate that it is closed and not to send anyone else there. Sheesh. But, he’s a nice guy and also tells his associate to give me 20% off anything for my trouble.

Fast Food and the Football-Jersey-Stick-Up Thing
The boys play quite happily and then run around the huge hall having a blast. The Nice Information Desk Lady gave some suggestions for lunch places. We soon head out to one and cannot find the place she directed us to. After carrying two whining three year olds (okay, just Zander was whining), we cut our losses and go to Burger King. The boys both wanted kid’s meals with a cheeseburger, french fries, and chocolate milk. (Sorry Laura.) I notice there is a Little Tykes logo on the menu and it says that alternative toddler toys are available for the younger crowd. I request those since I didn’t think the boys would be that interested in the football- jersey-car-stick-up thing that comes with the regular kids I notice

I look in the bags and what’s there but a football-jersey-stick-up thing. I ask about the toddler toys and the manager looks at me and says, “I have no idea what you are talking about.” I point to the Little Tykes logo. “There! Up on your menu.” He disappears into the back and we all sit and have lunch. About half way through, he comes over with some type of mini plastic piƱata thing that has a flip book inside. Both boys promptly forget about their lunches and become engrossed with the toys. (Regardless, it was nice of him to dig something up for them. And, bonus, we left with both toys. Ha, ha, Burger King, we got two toys.

On the way home, the boys discover the second toy in their respective bags. Tine puts them together and both boys looooooove the silly football-jersey-stick-up thing. Who knew? We zip down I395 making good time (which is usually impossible) trying to get the boys home for their naps. Oops, traffic is crawling on I495 in the MIDDLE OF THE DAY ON A MONDAY. Finally, we drop Champe and Tine off and head home. Zander is asleep before we get to our exit. He wakes up as I carry him up to his room and has not been asleep a wink since.

I decide to check the National Building Museum website and there is, in fact, a message about the “Building Zone” being closed. I could insist that it wasn’t there this morning, but I’m just not sure about that. So, instead I will just say that it’s not prominent enough. It's all their fault, of course.