Saturday, November 5, 2011

Remember Me?

Whew. Where to begin? I'm going to do this in sections, since it's been so long. I'll have a section for each aspect of this blog that I wish existed, if only I had the drive to post regularly. Here's the first section:


Josephine is a talking machine. She says two- to four-word sentences, like "Lila, look!" and "Me do it," and "Go upstairs, please?" She just turned two, which of course is mind-boggling.

Lila is four and a half, is in preschool, and will go to Kindergarten next year. She is very sweet, and imaginative, but also highly emotional - her moods change fast and we're working on taking things in stride. Lila loves to dance and sing, and to dress up in fancy clothes at any opportunity. She takes long, hot baths and sleeps late whenever possible. She loves to eat spaghetti and she is still, as she always has been, my snuggliest child.

Gage is six and a quarter, and in first grade. He is learning to read and is very excited about it. Reading is starting to make sense to him now - it's easier for him to sound things out, it's not just memorization of key words like it was last year. It's awesome to watch him grow in this way. He loves all things boy, and is beginning to be very funny, like to incorporate timing and tone into his joking.

Funny Stories

Lila says the word 'pattern' like this: 'patterin.' I don't correct her. I will have to, one of these days.

We went camping last weekend (to be fair, I use the term 'camping' loosely - we rented a cabin in a state park. There's electricity but no water and only a fireplace for heat - and it was COLD). At the end of the trip I asked Jo what her favorite part was. She thought for a minute, and then said "Chips." I said "We just had a super fun weekend camping and your favorite part was potato chips?" She nodded thoughtfully and added "Chips yummy." She does have a point.

This past spring Mike and I took Gage to NYC for his first time and when I asked him what his favorite part was (after the long-anticipated bus ride, a dinosaur exhibit at the museum, playing at Central park, etc.) he answered "When I got the Reese's at the candy store." Huh - his favorite part was grabbing a candy bar from a newsstand on our way through Port Authority. This definitely runs in the mom saved a story I wrote in first grade wherein I named 'the chocolate covered peanuts' as the highlight of my trip to Disney World. The apple does not fall far, my friends.

Current Philosophical Crisis

About once a week I am whirled into, and then stuck in, a cyclical frenzy of how to answer this question: Which is stronger, wood or metal? I think that, like once a week, that simple sentence. "Which is stronger, wood or metal?" By the time I'm on the third word... "Which is stronger..." I'm already thinking "No, no, stop now! It will only be frustrating!" But the question keeps coming, in a snarky whisper: "...wood or metal?" Sigh. Then I am committed to a ten-minute-long argument with myself. It goes something like this:

Brain: Picture of tin foil, wooden dowel easily punching through said metal.
Me: "Well, wood."
Brain: Picture of ax chopping at a tree, wood chips flying, cuts deep into tree trunk, ax suffering no ill effects.
Me: "Well, metal."
Brain: Picture of a car crashing into a tree, car mangled and crushed, hood wrinkled and bent. Tree remaining upright after only a shudder.
Me: "Well, wood."

And on it goes. And the answer, of course, is "Well, it depends." Of course it does. Of course it depends. On what kind of metal, what kind of wood, what shape, what density. What force. What angle. But I cannot answer that simple question, and I can answer barely any questions without major disclaimers. "Well, it depends."

Nothing is yes or no, nothing is black or white. Everything is gray and everything is in between and there are very few obvious answers. To anything. Ever. What there is a whole lot of, is uncertainty.

The Ways I Am Messing Up My Kids

What am I doing wrong right now? Josephine told her first knock-knock joke while we were camping. And I accidentally laughed. A lot.

Jo: "Knock, knock."
Me: "Who's there?"
Jo: "Poo poo."
Me: "Poo poo who?"
Jo, pointing: "Poo poo in da diaper."

And she was right! There was, indeed, a major reason for her to call that to my attention. But because it was so well-received she has started telling this joke all the time now:

Jo: "Knock, knock."
Me: "Who's there?"
Jo: "Poo poo."
Me: "Poo poo who?"
Jo" "Poo poo you."

Of course, I couldn't let that go on. Despite the comical nature of a just-turned-two-year-old making potty jokes I can't let my kid call me poop. But she still tries, and sometimes she tells other jokes, so I can't just say no to knock-knock jokes.

Jo: "Knock, knock."
Me: "Who's there?"
Jo: "Poo poo."
Me: "I don't like poo poo jokes."
Jo: Grinning
Me: "Tell me a different joke."
Jo, whispering: "Poo poo you."
Lila, defensively: "Don't listen to her, Mommy! Just ignore her!"


Hmm...what do you want a recipe for? Here are some of our current favorites:

Salty Oat Cookies

Caramel Corn

Vanilla Bean Yogurt

Teriyaki Chicken

Pad Thai


Must upload. Sigh...and I was doing so well.

Monday, April 25, 2011

I Need a Doctor

I know this blog is supposed to be about my kids, but today I want to talk about me. ME! Me, me, me! MEEE!!!

My long-time Opthamologist retired recently and I was due for a check-up. So last week I looked for a new one online, and found one in a building I'm fairly familiar with - and it's close to my house. Win! My old Opthamologist was kind of far (and uber-trafficky) away, so this was ideal. Especially since they always give you those eye drops to dilate your pupils, and then driving home is a real...challenge.

So anyway, I made an appointment with the new eye doctor, and arranged a sitter, and even arrived ten minutes early so I could fill out whatever paperwork they needed before the appointment. I love when I'm all responsible and grown-up. It's very satisfying.

When I walked into the ten-story building the first thing I saw was a polite but no-nonsense note taped to an office door: "We don't have a building directory. Please don't ask. Look near the elevator." Right-O. That's fine. Why would I need to ask, when there's a comprehensive building directory right outside the elevator? I think I may have even snorted in contempt at this point. Snorting in contempt is easy to do when you're ten minutes early.

I get to the elevator, and, strangely, the directory is in no kind of order that makes sense to me. Like, it's not alphabetical, which would have been nice. It's ordered by floor, then by suite - you have to look at every listing until you find the one you need. So I did just that - I looked at every listing. No Dr. Weber. I looked again, scanning for Optometrists, Opthamologists. Nothing.


I start to feel self-conscious, because I've been staring at this directory for at least three minutes already. Scanning. Scanning. Now I have only seven extra minutes to complete my paperwork. Okay, this will still work. I must have missed it. I scan again. And again. Now I look like a total fool - I've been standing here for literally five full minutes, staring blankly at the wall. I could ask one of the offices, but no! 'Please dont ask!'

I'm temporarily rescued by two women who approach the elevator, push the button to go up. Great, I figure, it's time to explore the building. Maybe the doctor's not listed on the directory (maybe I'm NOT insane) and I'll find him by stopping at a couple of floors and looking around. Great. Problem solved.

One of the ladies pushes the button for Floor Three. Okay, I think, that's as good a place to start as any. Maybe Dr. Weber is on the third floor. The ladies walk off, and I am left to stare blankly at the third floor doors and hallways, none of which involve Optometry, at least not in the traditional sense.

I get back in the elevator and look at the panel of buttons. This is the point where, I think, I may have made an error in judgment. I wonder at the buttons for a moment before slowly reaching a finger out and pushing 'Six.' That, my friends, was the beginning of the end.

My brain was telling me, "No luck on three. How about six?"

So I tried that.

I got off on the sixth floor and looked around - no Dr. Weber. When I got back into the elevator (with three minutes left to do my paperwork) I realized that I can't go randomly up or down, I need a SYSTEM. I need a PROCESS. I went to three, I went to six, but I didn't go to four or five. So four or five it was. I went to four. I went to five. Then seven. Then I realized I missed Floor Two, so I went there.

What was I thinking, you ask? I kind of remember my brain telling me that every floor is as good of a chance as any, and if I just remember which ones I've tried I'll be golden. But it involved, certainly, a lot of ups and downs.

Floor two, as it turns out, has an Optometry Office! Yays! Wow! It's ah-maze-ing! And I'm right on time - it's exactly 9:00. And I don't even think too much about how Floor Two follows Floor One in, you know, the literal sense. So I had a little adventure. Big deal! We're here now, and that's all that matters.

I approach the desk, smile at the administrative assistant. Can she help me?

She sure can!

"I have an appointment with Dr. Weber."

"Oh, honey," she says, looking confused, "He hasn't been in this building for years!"

True story.

And, I know, the KIDS. The kids are why you're here.

Gage, who is five (and three quarters!) is very eager for our summer to start. We have a camping trip planned in early June (actually, in the spirit of honesty, we'll be staying in a cabin. But with no running water! That's roughing it enough for me). Then the beach later in June. A four-day "Camp" planned with friends in the Poconos, where he can spend all the time he wants getting muddy, tired, and strong.

Lila is almost four and she's excited for her birthday. She has chosen the theme "Fairies Riding on Unicorns" for her party, despite our attempts at steering her toward, you know, one or the other. So, Fairies Riding on Unicorns it will be. And I know I've said it before, but WHERE did this girly-girl come from!?

Josephine is 17 months now and talking like a champ. She will repeat anything you coax her to attempt, and she is brave as all get-out. I have to (literally) pull her off the dining room table multiple times a day, she's such a monkey. She looked in the mirror last week and said "Me." Ever since she has been referring to herself that way, and it blows my mind. I don't remember the other two having that self-awareness at this age. Yesterday she said "Me. Ate." I looked at her, confused, and repeated "Ate?" She kind of sighed, then opened her mouth wide and pointed inside. "Oh, you're hungry!" Bingo.

The highlight of our month, sadly, has been a major Spring Cleaning, but it feels good to be starting fresh.

Pics to follow - must upload.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Some Random

- Gage smacked his mouth and chin on the ice today and has a heck of a scrape. I feel awful every time I look at him. The poor kid is taking it like a champ, though, and not complaining at all. (When did he get so big?)

- Josephine fed herself from a spoon today, for the first time (the first time that she did it well, anyway). What was she eating? Chocolate ice cream. Apparently that's the trick, for getting a tiny little kid to use a spoon.

- Lila sat in the bathtub today, looked at me guiltily and said, very slowly and succinctly, "I did NOT just pee in the tub." Great! Well, then, let's carry on with your bath. Because there's NO PEE in the tub. Right.

- I had a dream last night that I went to a fancy restaurant and ordered "Deconstucted Mac and Cheese." I got a plate full of cooked, plain noodles, little cubes of cheddar cheese, and a shot glass full of milk. What does it MEEEEAN?

- Mike and I had a fight about who should park the car in the snow (we both wanted to) and now, hours later, he's all up in my grill whenever I breathe big (I'm sick! I have asthma! When I'm sick I need to breathe big!) he thinks I'm still mad. Dude. For the record, a fight over parallel-parking in the snow is only worth, like, ten minutes of rage. I promise. If two hours have passed, my sighing is only because of the cold.

- Tomorrow is Monday already. Whaaaaat!?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Whether to Laugh or Cry

When Mike works a lot the mood in my house changes quite a bit. Normally we're pretty happy-go-lucky, and we all get along pretty well. Mike and I are careful to give each other a bit of private time when we're both home, like to take a twenty-minute nap in the middle of the day, or to disappear to check our favorites online. The kids are wonderful, don't get me wrong. But there are three of them. The oldest is five. And none of them requires very much sleep.

Mike is often on call for work...he works in HVAC and in the middle of a bad PA winter, emergency heater repairs are in high demand. Sometimes he is on call and doesn't get called at all. Other times, like this weekend, he is working more hours than a normal - or an overtime - weekday. The thing is, after a few days it gets really hard to stay sane and be with the kids full-time.

It's like camping.

You know.

Intense. (I'll be here all week)

The kids (and I) get kind of cabin-fevery after a day inside and taking them out is challenging with all their winter gear. We have to go out, though, so we don't go insane, and often when we do they're (and I'm) already a little wild around the eyes from the aloneness of having just one adult in the house. I admire single parents, for sure. I have no idea how I would do it all on my own.

This past Saturday I packed up the kids and we went to my parents’ house for dinner. In the car on the way there the older two started arguing and I shushed them, told them to be quiet until we got to Grandma and Pop-Pop’s. The car was calm for nearly a minute before the baby (Jo is 14 months now) grumbled, “Mommy” in this gravelly kind of caveman voice. It sounded like “Mah-MEH.” Two seconds later she said it again. “Mah-MEH.” It was only after the fourth or fifth time that a pattern became evident. She wasn’t babbling so much as she was chanting.

“Mah-MEH (pause) (pause) Mah-MEH (pause) (pause) Mah-MEH….”

Gage caught onto the rhythm and joined her.

“Mah-MEH” Two kids, in perfect rhythm.

Lila was not to be left behind.

“Mah-MEH (pause) (pause) Mah-MEH.”

Three kids, showing more rhythm together than any one of them has shown individually in their short little lives.

“Mah-MEH (pause) (pause) Mah-MEH (pause) (pause) Mah-MEH….”

Me? My eye was twitching. My chest was starting to get a little tight.

“Mah-MEH (pause) (pause) Mah-MEH (pause) (pause) Mah-MEH….”

“WE’RE HERE!” My voice was shrill with obvious relief. “We’re here! We’re at Grandma’s! GET OUT OF THE CAR!”

I thought that was a close enough risk to my sanity for the night – I thought I was in the clear. Certainly they’d gotten their crazies out. That’s why I said “Sure” when my mom asked if I wanted to go to Target after dinner. (Where, I might add, I was pushing the cart and reciting my ongoing monologue of ‘Jo, sit in the seat. Gage, don’t walk in front of the cart – you’re going to get bumped. Lila, I said hold onto the cart. Jo, SIT!’ when an older gentleman thoughtfully – not rudely, but interestedly – observed: ‘It’s like herding cats.’)

They did it to me again on the way there, except this time about Cornland.

What, you’ve never heard of Cornland? Before Saturday, neither had I.

We were driving past a big park surrounded by fields, and, admittedly, in the fall these fields grow row after row of corn. But it’s the dead of winter and there’s not a cob to be had.

Lila randomly yells from the backseat: “Gage! We’re in Cornland!”

Gage, the self-imagined ever-cooler big brother, glances disinterestedly out the window before quietly answering: “I can’t hear you, Lila.”

Lila: “Gage! Gage, I said, we’re in Cornland!”

Gage: “What?”

Lila: “Gage!”

Gage: “Yeah?”

Lila: “We’re in Cornland!”

Gage: “What?”

Lila: “Gage! We’re in CORNland.”

Gage: “What?”

Me: “Lila! Lila, he can hear you!” Next to me my mom is laughing.

Lila: “No, he says he can’t! He says he can’t hear me! Gage! We’re in CORNLAND!”

Gage: “What?”


Me: “Lila, I promise he can hear you. I can hear you VERY well and he’s even closer.”

Gage: “I can’t hear Lila.”

Lila: “CORN! LAND!”

Me: “WE’RE HERE! We’re at Target! GET OUT OF THE CAR!”

However much I need a vacation, I love these kids. Man, do I love these kids. And man, do they love their Mah-MEH.