Saturday, August 30, 2008

What do you think of Sarah Palin???

What an interesting race! While I am passionate about our country, I admit I am not as
knowledgeable about the issues and the candidates as I'd like to be - I am working on this. Quoting Obama, I find this woman compelling. I think she was probably a smart choice for McCain (although I hear he has only met her once? Seems kind of bizarre.) Like many women (and people in general), I am looking for someone to relate to. Someone new, energetic, passionate, dynamic. Why must all the the power go to an older, white gentlemen year after year after year? Thank goodness this election the race has included some variety in gender and race.

One thing I am mulling over is how one balances being an effective parent to five children, including a special needs infant, and running for v.p. Parenting one special needs child is a full-time job in my eyes. Parenting a small brood of children is a full-time job in my eyes.
Not saying it can't be balanced, there are different ways to do things. But just
curious about it. Again, I know if it were a man with five children, including a special needs
infant, that would likely not be a consideration. Perhaps Mr. Palin is going to step up and
be full-time dad?

Anyway, congratulations to Sarah Palin on getting the nod. I'm really curious to hear others' thoughts on her and the race in general.

Friday, August 29, 2008

You watch what?

OK, raise your hand if you have a daughter and have seen a Barbie movie. I'm telling you, these movies are good. I've always been neutral on Barbie. However, when my daughter first received a doll at age 3 or 3 1/2 from a friend, I felt she was a bit young...however, being fairly relaxed about things like this, I shrugged and moved on. A friend's little girl who is a year older then got into Barbie big time and we were introduced to the movies. People, these are quality productions. Unlike the website (which I'm not a fan of), Barbie isn't portrayed as a simpering fashionista. Instead, in each film she is a brave, strong woman who makes good choices as she navigates through the plot. There are 2 categories of movies: musicals and action/adventure which are often based on familiar stories, such as Rapunzel. The musicals (Princess and the Pauper and Island Princess) are my favorite. The songs, particularly in Princess and Pauper, are amazing and the choreography is impresive too. I also recommend The Nutcracker and Swan Lake. No singing in these movies, but the music, of course is also beautiful. Need a little down time for your small fry....give these a try!

Monday, August 25, 2008

We've come a long way, baby!

Today, P turned 4. She's had a spectacular birthday. Yesterday, we had a pajama party for her, at a local kids play place that we were able to reserve. All the kids came in their jammies, there was free-play on the slide and tunnels, and in the play kitchen and amongst all the toys. Face painting and a craft - moon and star wands - were also an option. I did a shared reading (little teacher talk here) of an excellent book 10 Minutes til Bedtime by Peggy Rathmann. I digress a bit, but it is an great choice for preschoolers and kinders. The illustrations are so amazing (especially if you compare it with her other books, like Goodnight Gorilla - there are some secrets and surprises in the pages!) Anyway! We also played musical sleeping bags. Pictured above is (obviously) the cake. The little bunnies on top are supposed to be slippers. I think a really fun time was had by all. I'm a dork, but I really love birthday parties...

Today, the actual birthday, E and I had to work, but a lovely friend of mine took P for the day and made it a nice time for her while I zigged and zagged about the classroom. Isn't this strange. My co-teacher's daughter has the same birthday - she turned 5 today. And, my brother and sister-in-law gave birth to their daughter this morning. She wasn't due until Sept. 2nd (first baby), hadn't dropped - total surprise. How crazy that out of all the days, she and P would land on the same birthday. I remember when SIL was talking about when (roughly) she had conceived and I joked that maybe her and her big cousin would share a birthday. Little did I know that it would happen! It's kind of crazy that another cousin is here. E and I have been together for about 12 years now and it is so bizarre to me that almost all the sibs are married with kids. E being the second oldest, we have really watched the younger ones 'come of age.' There have been five babies born in the last three years. It's so interesting to watch people grow up. Anyway. I picked up P and went home to meet E and the three of us played for awhile and then went to Red Robin for din-din, came home, opened some presents, played some more and then lights out. All in all, a good day.

Back to title of this post, so much has changed in the last four years. Not just the extended family baby boom, but in our small family. When P was first born, we took our time connecting. Motherhood felt foreign to me, like an ill-fitting pair of pants. I was fond of my small daughter, and wanted to care for and protect her. But I didn't feel that bliss, that amazement, I so wanted to experience. My mom remarked, 'I can see it is difficult - but, don't you feel like you just can't imagine life without her?' Me - 'ummm, no?' It didn't help that we had to return to the hospital a few days later because she caught a bug and spent a few days hooked up to machines, we had breastfeeing issues, our insurance was a mess, she cried a lot, and slept, little, etc, etc. I did OK for awhile, then started having insomnia because I felt just so out of sorts. It was a terrible time. What did I do? Pulled myself up by my bootstraps, started taking some meds to help me sleep, reached out for support, joined a moms group, and went back to work part-time (huge help). I look at pictures of that chapter. I looked pretty good. I remember having some nice moments. But struggling. And then, around five months, the clouds parted and the sun came out. I clearly remember, feeling 'Oh my goodness, I like being a mom! This is for me! This is fun! This kid rocks!' I continued to need meds to sleep for awhile longer, but I began to experience vividly the pleasure of motherhood. I composed songs for her, pushed her in the swing, stared to feed her solids, read stories, and flushed with pride as she sat up solidly on her own. Things continued to blossom and really soared again probably around age 2 1/2. I remember thinking - 'wow, she can run, talk, sing, play games. If I thought I enjoyed her before, well, this is really the &%$#.' By then, I was very active in my mom's group, participating with P in mommy and me type classes and just loving the new things we could share. I was able to finagle a reduce in work to three days a week. Now, at age 4, I really cannot imagine life without her. Along with my husband, she is definitely the most important person in my life. From our made-up games, sing-alongs, similar personalities and shared interests in so many things, I am awed by the gift of her and our relationship. Happy birthday, baby. We sure have come along way.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Run, don't walk...

to your local JCrew store for their taffetta belle skirt! I just got it in the pink 'rhubarb' color and LOVE it! It also comes in buttercup (above), navy, and a cool grey. This skirt is so comfy (has pockets, can be dressed up or down, and hides a multitude of sins, let me tell you! Does anyone have it?


My goodness, how much can we pack in? Seems to be our current theme. It's like we are on some kind of game show. Or, reality TV show, 'in this episode, the family will attend a shower, a birthday party, and complete several home projects within 24 hours.' Seriously.

I guess the whole craziness started last Saturday. We packed up and headed for a beach camping trip with 3 other families. Fun! I'm basically a 'cabin camping' gal, but was up for the challenge. Fortunately, our more rustic friends lent us the tent and trappings and after some research and planning we were set to go. We all had a blast! It was just an overnighter, and so on Sunday we left and drove, no, not home but about an hour and a half up to Lafayette where my brother and sister-in-law live, to a party for E's visiting maternal grandma - here from Texas. Yes, we were fresh from camping, unshowered and all. Lovely. But it was the one chance to visit her, so we had to make the haul. I always am happy to see the fam - it was a good time.

We finally headed home that night and the next day we all headed off back to school. P went to the summer program at preschool, while E and I worked in our classrooms. My teaching partner and I have a student teacher - sweetheart - and we met her, and got rolling. Both Mon and Tues, I took P over to daddy's classroom after she stuck her big toe in at preschool and I got a smidge done in my room. We helped fancy up E's high school English room, which was a bit bland. It is so cool that P is old enough now to help out, and actually allow us to get something done. She was wiping tables, while I papered his walls. E was so thankful; I think he has thanked me every day. Wednesday through Friday were mandatory full work days filled with long meetings and hours in the classroom for all of us. Meanwhile, we still had not unpacked camping or done laundry and pretty much did take-out and/or quickie dinners each night. Friday night we ran errands. This morning, I was so disgusted with the house that I finally lit a fire under our collective a##%@, and began cleaning. Couple of rooms down. Then, P and I had more errands, then attended a wedding shower (she'll be the flower girl), while E went to work. From there we went to a friend's 4th bday party - construction theme - painting houses, pretend wrecking ball knocking over cardboard blocks - total blast. Now tomorrow morning is P's own 4th birthday, which will be a pajama party. Thank God, not at home, but at the local kids place. Whew! Tonight I'm hoping for a little downtime chitchat with E.....if he's still awake!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Evening Entertainment

I spent the summer watching So You Think You Can Dance (yes, I was pleased Joshua won), and not much else. In desperation we did add one new shoe to our queue, Torri Spelling's Home Sweet Hollywood. Anyway, now we've got the Olympics (which I'm missing half of the big moments, due to a little thing called SLEEP - not into the midnight broadcasts, here on the westcoast). And The Hills is Back. Did ya see it? Spencer is up to his old tricks. E and I were laying on the bed jeering him. He sure didn't wait long after his dramatic effort to win Heidi back in Vegas. And what is up with homeboy not even having a job? I can't wait to see how Audrina and Lo's confrontation plays out....

Monday, August 11, 2008

The untimely demise of Cutie Pie

Recently P won a fish at a friend's carnival. P l-o-v-e-s small animals, and we had been mulling over getting her something for awhile. My nurturing daughter dubbed her fish 'Cutie Pie' and she dwelled happily in a vase for about a week, while we got a small tank. Although we managed to buy the tank, we did not manage to set it up before our Santa Barbara trip. Instead we drove her over, sloshing about in the vase to a friend's house to be fish-sat. She survived her visit. However, once home things took a turn for the worse. First, as E tried to remove her from the vase without a net and transfer her into the tank, (hoping to not bring too much dirty water along), somehow Cutie Pie landed dangerously at the top of the garbage dispsosal. Our hearts stopped! Fortuately E remained cool headed and was able to fish her out and plop her safely in her new clean tank. I couldn't believe how relieved I felt! Alas, not for long. Today, after two days of swimming along happily and quite vigorously in her tank, P noticed Cutie Pie belly up. E thinks it may be something to do with the filter. She was quite small. Anyway, he handled the explanation of fish lifespan, and the subsequent burial wondefully.

Death has come up a lot in the past six months, beginning with the death of E's great uncle. We've had several chats about it, as it has come up in books and movies (as you know, most of the princesses are opharned or at least motherless). I don't think it has occurred to her yet, that something could happen to E, or I, or even her. I'm not looking forward to that realization!

We hope to get a new fish on Wednesday!

Thursday, August 7, 2008


1. We're back! We had a good time in Santa Barbara. It was a quick trip, but we covered the bases, I think. The zoo, beach, and State Street. We tried a few restaurants and also hung out at the pool. I didn't really know our hosts well at the beginning of the trip (the husband is a retired colleague of E's), but I felt I did at the end. They were really easy to talk to, and had a bunch in common with us, despite the differences in our ages (they are in their sixties). Basically, most of the goals I have for our family are things they have achieved. I first noticed this when they mentioned in a story that their children had attended a preschool I was dying to get P into last year. We finally got in, and then I had to dis-enroll her, as our circumstances changed and I need her in an all day class three days in a row. I really admire the level of involvment this family had and continue to have with their children, from those days at the co-op preschool, to the game room they added onto their house so they could lure the neighborhood kids over to play, the summertime trips across country, to the fact that they are now dedicated to spending one week a month with each of their grown sons and families, helping to take care of the grandkids. It inspired me to re-apply myself to my goals. The first step to realizing your goals is to visualize them.

2) Last night was part 1 of the So You Think You Can Dance finale. I didn't love the choreography and the camerawork left something to be desired (although I'm sure its tough to capture everything when the dancers are spread out on the stage and our TV is about 27 inches!) We are very excited to find out who the winner is tonight. We've already picked out a bottle of wine for the occasion. Are considering trying to go to the tour, although seats left aren't so hot, but are p-r-i-c-e-y! Would love for Katee to win, but adore them all.

3) Currently agonizing over what extracurricular activities to enroll P in this Fall. Riduculous problem, I know. We've been doing swim lessons once a week forever, and have observed
s-l-o-w progress. She's only just turning four in two weeks, but has been in the same swim group the whole time she's been in her YMCA lessons. Thought about taking a break in favor of trying dance, which we added this summer and she loves. However, hate to lose what little we have gained with swimming, so thinking of going the other direction instead and increasing the swim lessons to twice a week. And doing dance.

Will post later about plans for P's birthday party - we are doing a 'Pajama Party' this year.

Are you signing up your kids for activities right now?

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Off to Santa Barbara

We are taking a short family vacation. State Street here we come! :)
Hopefully will post photos when we return...