Sunday, October 24, 2010

Why There's Always Just One Shoe on the Road

Mark is out of town right now, has been since last Wednesday and won't be back until this Wednesday.  You can imagine what it means being alone with two rambunctious boys; but we're fine over all.  The big luxury with Mark out of town is access to a car all day long.  Today I drove the boys out to a diner in Silver Spring, MD.  It's an old school diner that's small, dirty (clean dirt though - you understand) and just full of character. You could smell the grease when we walked in.

Peter, of course, wanted a Coke.  If you tell Peter we're going to a restaurant he immediately wants a Coke - the two things are 100% related in his mind.  As soon as we parked the car and before we got out he starts chanting "I want a Coke, I get a Coke.  Coke Coke Coke!"   So, when the waitress walks up to take our order Peter says, where's my Coke?!  He still doesn’t understand he has to ask for it first then it comes.

The meal was quite a circus act.  I asked for a booth so I didn't have to worry about chairs being knocked over and I feel I can pin them in if we're sitting in a booth.  The table top juke box provided some entertainment much more than the computer print out drawing of Sponge Bob Square pants and crayons provided.  The food came quickly and was nothing to write home about, but the kids were excited - Paul for the ketchup which is pretty much all he ate, and Peter for the Coke and pancakes (we were there for lunch but he wanted pancakes and...whatever...).   I ordered a sandwich because anything I have to cut to eat with these two kids is impossible.   Paul constantly jumped up and down in the bench while he ate, I think the guy behind me left with some ketchup on the back of shirt - totally unbeknown to him (I didn't see it until they were walking away).  Paul managed to get his little hands on the pepper shaker which was glass and was broken on the tile floor within seconds.  Peter, who is obsessed with street names right now, was chattering away about what route we are going to take home:

Peter:  Yes, that's it mom
ME: what?
Peter: Mom, we can take Colesville rd to Connecticut Rd and then turn on Tilden
ME: a bit impressed because it's almost right except that Colesville doesn't really run across Connecticut... that's good peter (I'm wrangling Paul off the back of the seat again and wishing I had asked for a high chair even though they now make Paul scream and cry)
Peter:  what street is this diner on?
ME: Cameron i think
Peter: oh yes, then we can take Cameron to Coleseville.... I stop listening to take a bite of cold steak sandwich

The adventure doesn't end with the diner though.  I'm happily driving us all home (down Georgia Avenue by the way, not Colesville Rd) with the windows open on this gorgeous day, answering Peter at every cross street with the street names and dreaming of nap time that's just 30 mins away when I hear all this honking behind me.  The guy behind me is frantically waving.  I roll my eyes - I've gotten in the habit of driving a bit slow and people around here just don't like it and i just don't care...I'm in the right hand lane.  He goes past screaming something out his window.  Now really, I'm not going that damn slow - I am 5 miles over the speed limit even.  The next light up, I hear more honking and look to see yet another person waiving their hands.  I'm totally baffled why these people are going so nuts!  The woman pulls up next to me and says your kids are throwing things out the windows! Oh Christ! I yell.  The woman and man in the car start laughing and I started laughing too as I rolled up the windows and said thank you.

We lost two rubber balls, a shoe, a sock (if you're ever wondering why there is always just one shoe on the road - now you know), a stick the kids had gotten from the playground this morning, some food that was in the console between the kids, and a sippy cup.  I'm sure we lost some other stuff that I'm not aware of and will go nuts looking for a week from now.


Friday, October 1, 2010

Why I'm School-Girl Excited (and Nervous)

Peter at 18 months, Excited at  4am!
I don't get out much...no it's true!  I know I didn't have to add that last phrase, but I like to humor myself that the rest of the world thinks I'm out there movin' & shakin' and having a blast doing all sorts of creative fun things like hang gliding, mountain climbing, snowboarding, rowing the Potomac, lunching (if only I actually did use that word as a verb!) with fun people...but no.  On any given day you can find me either at the park, the coffee shop (momentarily at the counter on my way to the park), the grocery store (on my way home from the park) and at home. That's my day, week day and weekend.  I'm not complaining, well, maybe a little bit but I know I've got it good. Being a stay at home mom has it's complaints but the rewards far outweigh the complaints.

But back to getting out....I don't do it much.  The recent outtings I have had were to the gym and I got to go the grocery store by myself (such a treat to not have kids screaming at the top of their lungs that they want whatever Sponge-Bob Square Pants crackers or cookies they just saw on the shelf).  So when I get invited to an actual party that I have managed to convince the husband I need to go to, several things happen:

  1. I get school-girl silly excited.
  2. I get school-girl silly nervous.
  3. I start obsessing on what I should wear.
  4. I start imagining who else will be there, how much swankier than me they are.
  5. I decide I need a whole new outfit so I too can be swanky (do people say swanky?)
  6. I run out of time to go shopping and go back to obsessing with the now deemed "crappy" clothes I have in my closet.
  7. My bedroom floor is covered in clothes, shoes, scarves, hats (I keep buying them but never wear them), tights, earrings, etc...that I've dug out of the closet to try and piece together some ensemble that resembles some kind of fashion-forward look.
  8. Decide I have nothing to wear and consider cancelling.
  9. Eat some chocolate cake and go back upstairs with a glass of wine to stare into my closet for something new (the way one stares into the open fridge thinking something will miraculously appear since the last time you looked).
  10. Decide on some outfit that looks OK however certainly not fashion forward, but at least not too I-just-got-off-from-work-and-came-straight-here. Because all I have in my closet is business attire, jogging pants and shorts.
There's more but the list is already long and embarrassing enough and I think gives an accurate picture of what's going on in my house today (yes, I'm drinking wine at 1:00 in the afternoon by myself - don't judge me).

Where am I going?  My friend Christy and I are headed out for the first time since this trip.  We're meeting up in Baltimore, sharing a hotel room (which will be super fun - Christy makes everything fun) and then we're off to Momz Share - some brave woman is opening up her home to a bunch of people she's only met through the blog world.

There will be photos and apparently the event will be streaming live starting 7:00pm tomorrow night; read about it here.  I'll have to be sure not to consume too many alcoholic beverages so as not to make too much a fool of myself!



Thursday, September 30, 2010

Why my Kids Will Love Me the Most!

Oh there is  no doubt my kids are going to love me the most!  When I permit them to run around in their PJs (glow in the dark by the way) all morning, eat molten lava chocolate cake at 9:30 a.m., play in the rain and bring wet toys in and out of the house...there's just no doubt they'll love me the most!

More after the video:

But seriously, we're stuck in the house all day today because of the rain, rain, rain. The forcast shows a 100% possibility of rain through 8:00pm tonight. So, with no lightening and thunder why not just accept a bit of a wet mess and let Paul run in and out of the house! :)

Oh and the molten lava chocolate cake? Well, it was supposed to be my birthday cake that we never got around to making and since I never did really get to have my special me day or celebrate my birthday (boo!) I decided today was a good day to have the cake!

I hope you all are Enoying the fall!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The "Event" of Tea

It's not that I'm some tea connoisseur or begin to know the "proper way" to brew or even serve tea.  I can't tell you what tea is black or green (well OK, the green is easy to tell).  I have no clue what tea is the best; I just buy what I like.  Currently my favorite is Twinings Lady Grey tea purchased at the grocery store.  I ventured out once and ordered tea from a catalog, I purchased their variety pkg so I could try new flavors...YUK!  Flavored tea (orange, mint, etc.) is not for me...and I hate the perfumy flavored teas.  So yeah, I'm no tea snob.  So why is it I like tea?

I just like the event of tea.

I don't mean high tea with sweet little dresses, sandwiches, hats and gloves; although that does sound fun.  What I mean is waiting for the water to boil, the little tea bag sitting in your cup, steeping it and slowly sipping the hot concoction.  The whole event just forces me to slow down and relax.  Who doesn't like to relax?

So on this cool rainy day, while fighting off a pretty bad cold I am preparing my tea and will relax and enjoy it while my one year old boy takes his nap.

aaaahhhhh...


Update:
I stumbled upon this article that covers happiness and among happy factors is sipping tea!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I Can't go to the Gym Because I ate Cheese

I've had many, many excuses in my lifetime of why I can't make it to the gym.  But today's excuse likely falls into the realm of TMI!

My body hates cheese.  It's like poison that must be ejected quickly and violently (Think Meg Ryan in French Kiss....totally me).  However, my taste buds revolt against my body by often demanding cheese....LOTS of cheese....which is what I had this morning.  Irresistible, soft, delectable cheese with raspberry jam and brioche...oh my ...  despite my already cramping stomach I could go for more.

I do this to myself more often than I really care to admit.  I can't help it...it's good stuff.  Can you imagine life with out ice cream or chocolate?!  Yes, I'm afraid chocolate does it too.

So,  basically all this means is the gym this evening will be immensely embarrassing.  I was thinking I'd go for power yoga again but um...yeah....I would be disrupting the peaceful yoga class in a whole new way and worse than I did Monday evening.  Think I'll stay home.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I Have Bruises

There is nothing more humiliating than being the sole beginner in a "Power" Yoga class.  Tonight I continued my pursuit for fitness by attending such a class.  These classes are supposed to be for all levels but it was apparent very quickly that I was the only one in the class who hasn't been practicing Yoga since birth! The class moves quickly between poses...and not knowing what all the poses were I was constantly at a loss and looking at my neighbor for what I should be doing.  For instance, when the instructor said pigeon pose
 (pictured to the right) I had a mental picture of the Karate Kid doing the Crane move.  It turns out I do the pigeon pose very, very well I was totally flat with my head on the mat.  Other moves included back bends,shoulder stands, head stands....I can't remember all the names for all the poses that he spurted out.  If you're curious we were doing Vinyasa yoga you can Google for the poses.  Folks were doing crazy stuff in this class!  But if you know me...I have no problem making a fool of myself trying something if challenged.   I saw this as a challenge.  I went for it..headstands...hand stands...all of it.

I have bruises.

There was the peaceful quiet of the room, the very soothing voice of the instructor as well as the soothingly soft music and then there was the constant thud and inevitable giggle of me attempting EVERYTHING.  I'm positive everyone wishes I had not been there.

The last time I made this much of an ass of myself was several years ago and my first time ever on a ski hill.  We were at Le Massif in Quebec and I was surrounded by my then boyfriend (now husband, he married me anyway) his sister and brother law..all black diamond skiers.  My husband is a skier, my sis-in-law and her husband are snowboarders.  I announce to everyone my first time on a ski hill would be on a snow board...because what the hell, right?  If I'm going to get battered up and make a fool of myself it might as well be while attempting to do something cool.  Luckily all my ass-making was NOT in front of my husband and his family but in front of a French speaking instructor who I managed to make laugh along with me almost the entire lesson with my antics (think going backwards down the hill and not being able to stop).  Oh and to top off the experience the hill was total ice that day.  So every fall was like landing on a friggin rock!

At any rate.  I made it through tonight's Power Yoga class quite well and I had a good workout and heehee...I go again in two days!!  Poor Steve, the instructor, will likely cringe when he sees me happily bounce into the room.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

End of Summer

The end of Summer is here and I see many sad Facebook and Twitter statuses mourning the end.  I am rejoicing!  I'm not a fan of Summer, I walk everywhere with the kids (I'm without a car during the day); in the summer those walks become horrible sweat-fests.  I also happen to hate sweating.

My favorite seasons are the in between seasons: Spring and Fall. If I had to choose one over the other it would have to be Fall.  Mostly because it starts the beginning the holiday season.  It starts with September 21st (my birthday - hint hint) and yes...that IS a holiday!  Then  it just rolls into Halloween, one of my favorite holidays and  from there we have T-giving and Christmas and New Years and then we are in the oh so  wonderful Winter months!  Happy times!

So, this weekend I'll be saying farewell Summer, don't let the door hit you on your way out!  Which, is not to say  we didn't have fun...Some photos from this past Summer:
*some of  these  are actually videos...you'll have  to click out  to Picasa to see the videos.

Monday, August 30, 2010

To Bravely Go Where I've Never Gone Before

I think that destination "where I've never gone before" was achieved with my second pregnancy and I reached a  size....well....I won't say exactly -  but I'll  share that at  my  peak (can you  say peak for something negative?) ... at my  peak I  had  to  shop in the plus size section.

I'm  no longer shopping in the plus size section, but I'm  also nowhere near the size I was when I met my  husband (that's my  goal).

So...where is it I'm going so bravely that I've never been before...you may laugh at me but it's to an exercise class.  I've always avoided them... they were always intimidating.  Everyone in there always seemed to already know the moves, further it seemed those veterans were showing off a bit whenever a new person was fumbling their way through the routine.  I'm not joining just any ol' exercise class, I’ve joined this class that practices a form of Strength Yoga. If you're curious, check out their website here:  http://www.stroga.com/

My first class is tonight. I was crazy nervous about it yesterday and today...ah...I shrug my shoulders and say...I don't give a damn what anyone thinks of me in there - I have a goal to meet and I will meet it!!!

PS.   let me apologize now for any annoying extra spaces or typos in this post.  My 1 year old has removed roughly 12 keys from my laptop!   I think I caught all the typos…but I might have missed a few.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

A Conscious Decision to Deprive Myself of Sleep!

That's it!  I've made a decision, a well thought out decision, to deprive myself of sleep.  After the last kid goes to bed at 9pm and after a good hour of quality time with the husband I will not go to bed as I usually do, I will stay up.  I will stay up, I will play some inspirational music (not religious silly - artistically moving), I might even open a bottle of wine, but most importantly I will be locking myself away in the basement EVERY.  SINGLE. NIGHT. to PAINT PAINT PAINT !!

My creative needs have gotten to the point that the images in my head are keeping me up anyway - I might as well get them out on canvas before I go truly bizerk!  The dreams I'm having as a result of a lack of creativity are nothing less than frightening.  I won't get into that now, but I have a plan:

I will clear out our office area that's just off the kids' play area in the basement - who needs an office at home anyway?!  - Mark can work in the dining room   **GRIN**  I will just splatter paint everywhere have a ball and be (tired) happy, happy happy!

Done.

Finished.

The debate is over.

Look for a post in about six months about my next showing - hopefully the owner at MOCA-DC still remembers me and I can get back to a showing...like this one years and years ago:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Friggin Women in Giant SUVs!!!

"If you can't drive that stupid SUV - why the heck did you buy it?!"
"Lady, if you can't see over the steering wheel, you have no business being in that driver's seat!"

These are among the more pleasant comments I've made about women who can't driver their SUVs - don't know why I never focused on the men who can't drive their SUVs but that's a topic for another post.  I live in the city where parking is scarce and tight...and if you can't parallel park - forget it, you need to leave.  I have had many occasions for extreme laughter watching some idiot in their huge vehicle completely perpendicular to the sidewalk while trying to parallel park in a spot that will only fit half their land barge.

I am definitely not that bad with my parallel parking but I have to shamefully turn that finger back around and include myself in the league of women who own SUVs and can't drive them.  My excuse...what else?  Kids.  My husband and I don't buy vehicles very often; in fact this mid-sized SUV (a Toyota Highlander to be precise) was procured just this past October.  The vehicle it replaced was a 1998 Camry.  We obviously plan to own this car for at least the next 10 years.  Years where our two boys will be starting school, participating in sports; we foresaw hauling a great deal of sh*t.  We also pack up the family car at least twice a year and drive 15 hours up to Montreal to visit the family - the last trip up the car was LOADED.  So we have a need but I think (I wish) we could have gotten by without the SUV.  The Camry was too big for me.  Until I met my husband I drove small two-door cars.  In fact I was eyeing the Mini Cooper when we decided to get pregnant and if it weren't for kids I'd be eyeing that Smartcar right now too (totally me).

Back to our land barge.  We've owned the stupid thing almost a year and I continue to be the woman who's back tire is up on the curb while parking (shameful), takes 4 or 5 attempts to parallel park (although NEVER perpendicular to the sidewalk), I have yet to clip the side view mirror with anything but that's only because I so painfully have no feel for the width of our car that I'm the jackass driving down the middle of the street or dramatically pulling over to let other cars pass.  Today I had the rare opportunity to drive to the grocery store instead of walk.  I parked so close to the wall I couldn't open the door to get the baby out of his car seat and had to get back in and move the car to a different spot just to get him.  When I was finished shopping and backing out to leave I scraped the back driver's side quarter panel along the concrete column.

Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!

OH I was freaking out.  My husband keeps a scratch repair kit in the glove box, I got it out and stood with a tiny tube of gel in my hands gawking at the 2 feet of scratches and paint on the car.  I got to work!  That stuff's great, all that was left were a few remaining very deep scratches.  Most of the scratches that had me freaking out turned out to be paint from the concrete column.  Still..I had to go home and admit what I'd done.  Something that wasn't going to be easy as the only reason I have the car today is because my husband is home from working waiting on roofers to come by and give estimates on what it will cost to replace or leaking roof.  This wasn't going to be easy because we just two weeks ago got the car back from the repair shop.  A giant storm swept through the city and dropped this tree on our car:



So, the car with the brand new bumper to bumper paint job just two weeks later has deep scratches and  DAMN IT I WAS THE ONE WHO DID IT!  Why oh why couldn't he have been the one?!


*sigh*


I got home.  Admitted the mistake, a small volcanic eruption of expletives spewed forth and then...he was fine.  Fine?  I was braced for a tidal wave.  I think he was disarmed by the fact that I didn't even remotely try to argue or defend myself.  What could I say or do?  I did it.

So, this once prideful "good driver" - and believe me I was!!!  No, I am damn it all!  Just not in an SUV... is resigned to being the woman making a total ass of herself by always having to open the door to use the drive-up ATM, the one who nips the curb with the back tire when turning, who always misjudges her car's size and will embarrassingly have to re-park the thing for the next ten years.

TEN YEARS?!  NO!

Please someone save me and send over that cute little smart car!  The silver convertible will do just fine!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

I Cried at the Gym

Weeping Woman By: Picasso
It's true.  I cried at the gym yesterday.  Not for reasons you might think.  I've signed up with a local family-owned gym that has a whole different attitude and approach to things...they ask you personal questions, they forewarn you that they will harass you when you don't show up for your work out and they give much needed hand-holding and explaining of the equipment for free...I don't have to pay for a trainer (woohoo).  AND once I'm comfortable with the equipment, I get a key and passcode (the gym is 24 hours a day!). Part of the signing up process required me to give them an honest-to-the-corp reason for signing on...why am I there...not "to get in shape"...but WHY do I want to get in shape?

Well, you know me... (maybe you don't) but I've never been one to hold back on personal stuff - so when someone asks a personal question they tend to get a damn honest answer.  My answer to why am I getting in shape?  Why now?  Was this:  "Well, I'll be 40 next year.  My youngest son is just 1 year old.  Well, 2 years old in March.  If you do the math ... if I don't start taking care of myself I may not be around to see him get married and at even greater risk of not being around when those grand-babies arrive."  That unexpectedly choked me up when I started talking about my own mortality out loud.  Choked me up big time.  The tears sprung out of my eyes so fast that it was like an unplugged damn.  I was mortified.  Luckily, Joy, the product of hippie parents and frankly a bit of a hippy herself was not bothered at all.  She took it in stride, offered a tissue and said - I think I've got my ammo for making you get yourself back in the gym the day you disappear on us.

I think this could be the beginning of something good.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Still Can't Strike a Balance

Ever since my first child was born I've been struggling to strike a balance.  I realize I'm not alone in this struggle and on some level that helps but it's still my struggle.  My oldest will be four years old in January and my youngest will be 2 in March and I've still not been able to quite find that balance.  I have a pretty good reputation as an incredible assistant and I'd like to continue in that world supporting very high level people.  I don't know any other way to work than to give it my all - however, my last run at working I've discovered "my all" does not meet my standard of acceptable work.  I will be the first to tell you that I really HAD NO LIFE pre-kids; so my standard of acceptable was pretty high.  If you had told me I had no life back then I would have argued with you and adamantly disagreed.  However, now that I DO have a life - I can admit I wasn't living my life to its fullest potential.  There was a lot of wasted and valuable time that I sure wish I could get back now.

Back to getting that balance.  I've looked to dozens of people for some frank commentary and advice (and not just working moms) and I've come to one conclusion - this is MY STRUGGLE.  No one can answer this one for me.  I have to do what feels right for me and how it affects my family.  I know, I'm a bit slow - or maybe hard-headed.  It just doesn't compute for me that I can't be the assistant I was before...things outside my control and things that mean much more to me than my job will pull me away.  Sometimes pulling me away mid-day and for several days at a time.  Being pulled away unexpected for several days at a time is just really something I have a hard time accepting in my work life.  I was always the one who was at work at 6:30/7:00a.m. and didn't leave until long after the boss had gone home.  Some of that can still happen - and I think most of what made me a good assistant is more important - just the basic that I care seems to unfortunately be unusual.

What brings all this to the frontal lobes again...I'm at home again with my 1 year old and have been since the beginning of June.  However, two things have occurred that's bringing me back to the job market - an extremely high profile philanthropist and business person in the DC area is interested in me as their personal assistant (never done the personal assistant thing before).  The headhunter contacted me yesterday, I have to decide if I want to interview for this job.  It's high profile, extremely well paying and since it's supporting this person on a personal level I assume the hours will definitely affect my home-life.  But this is going to be life going forward, I've risen about as high up as I can go as an Exec. Assistant (excluding supporting some insanely wealthy person - like, owns a whole country wealthy) and at this level the hours are most definitely NOT 9-5.

The second thing that has happened, or rather WILL happen, is when my youngest turns two he will start the day school with his older brother and there will be no need for me to stay at home.  So .. in a few short months (7 to be exact) I will be on the job market again.  Since finding a job that pays at my level is slow going I've already contacted my headhunters to let them know I'm available.  I'm affectively looking for a job seven months before I want to start.  If something comes up before March ... it'll have to be a damn near perfect fit and I'll have to hire a nanny I guess or figure something out...that part actually is easier than deciding on the right fit job.

So...woe-is-me...right? [that's sarcasm there - i do realize people have way tougher problems]  I can get a really well-paying job and help sock away for retirement and college funds or I can go for a lesser job that is 9-5 (and let's be frank...not very interesting compared to the high level ones) and see my kids more and save less towards retirement/college.  The other thing to consider is longevity...supporting someone higher profile will give me the stability to work with them for a very long time and possibly follow them wherever they may go.  Getting a gig lower in the ranks with finite hours doesn't really guarantee me well...anything.

Well, I'm off to decide whether to be a personal assistant or not....  just unloading a stream of consciousness for the whole world to read...  why do I do that?!

-----------------------

Since I haven't posted in a while...here's some cuteness (ie.  my kids):



Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Re-posting a blog that just cracked me up!!!

This is an old blog-post but it's new to me and cracked me up so much I had to share it:

Hyperbole and a Half: I AM THE CHAMPION!!!

RAW


Self image.

If you're honest with yourself about yourself (did you follow that) - to put it plainly when you think of you as a person are you honest with yourself?  I don't mean critical but honest?  

Did you immediately think of your physical attributes?  I know I did.  I'm critical too and lately I've been very, very (bordering unhealthily) concerned with my over-all physique; but I haven't really been all that active in doing anything about it.  I've been taking a relaxed approach to getting back in shape.

Until recently.  

My husband wants to go visit some of his long-time friends in Montreal.  I love these people, I've never met a larger group of affable people in all my life.  They are easy going, relaxed, easy-come, easy-go and really quite fun.  My kind of people.  

They are also, to me, very ...  ... well, ... ... very chic I guess - stylish.  I. AM. NOT. never have been.  They are all also quite fit and very active.  These days I'm not so fit, actually haven't been in quite a while.  I blame my husband for making me fat and happy :)

I digress.

My point is I suddenly find myself intimidated by these people that I once found to be so fun.  I find, suddenly, a huge hesitation in wanting to go on this trip.

But ditching a fun-filled trip to a chalet that sits on a lake in the woods outside Montreal (nice, huh?) because I suddenly have self-image issues is really quite stupid.  I know I will (eventually) get fit again.  I know that they are all super nice people and aren't likely (I hope) to judge me based on my current...eh-hem...slovenly appearance.  So,
I will go on this trip.
I will be very self-conscious.
I will get through this and
I will learn from the general discomfort of the whole situation and NEVER let myself get so damned out of shape again!  
Now, everyone, give me three cheers!  GO JENN!!  GO JENN!! GO JENN, GOOOO!!

Didn't work.

I still don't want to go...but I will.

But I WON'T wear a swimsuit!  :)

Sunday, June 6, 2010

This is Paul:


Paul is my 15 month old go getter! It's amazing to see and hard to ignore the differences between my oldest, Peter and my youngest, Paul.  When Peter was 15 months old ...well, he wasn't even walking yet!  He is my very cautious young man.  He never went bolstering down the sidewalk away from me...never giggled running off as I frantically chased him down.  Paul...well...Paul is the opposite.  If I don't watch him and become one of those "helicopter moms" at the playground the kid will toddle over to the big kids' jungle gym, toddle up the stairs and walk, no run right off the edge plummetting to the bottom to certain death or a broken neck and permanent paralysis.  Yes, these things do run through my mind.

Case in point today I finished changing his diaper (one that required a clothing change - we won't get into that) in the time it took for me to walk to the next room, dispose of said diaper and walk back to the room he had gotten up from the floor where I had changed him and was doing this:


I happened to have had the camera sitting right next to where I was standing and quickly snapped two shots, the one above and one of him climbing onto the stereo speaker to get to the above position:


I really wanted the shot of him claiming his summit standing on the table but my hover-mom mode kicked in and I dumped the camera and ran over in time to catch him as he was toddling toward the edge of the table with a big silly grin on his face.  It would have made for a great photo and would have made for quite an explanation at the invetible trip to the hospital.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Best Summer Time Tip

I hate heat.  I've never been a proper Southern gal, having been raised in Memphis, TN I should be able to handle hot and humid temperatures far better than I do.  Regardless, I do love Summer time!  Beaches (the views anyway), camping, the general change in attitude by the masses...fun fun!

Now that I have kids, summer time is all that much more fun.  I've long NOT been a beach person but since my kids have come along I find I want to give them the beach experience complete with sand castles with moats!

Enter the best summer time tip I have received since notification that you really can swim after eating!  This may not be a revelation to you but it was to me... are you ready....drum roll... here it comes....best summer time advice:

To quickly and easily remove sand stuck all over your body, use baby powder.


It's true!  It works like magic, been using it post sand-pit for a while now.  Place a bit of baby powder on your hand before wiping away the sand and voila, the sand is gone!

What's the best Summer time tip you've got?  I would love to hear it!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I Sold My Soul to the Devil and Now I Want Pie!

You've all read how I lament over not having painted in a while and how I feel there is just no time in the day/week/month to get a single painting done.  I have to admit, part of that is laziness, part of it is the complete inability to be creative on demand in the minuscule amount of free time I do have, and part if is actually true there is so very little time in my day that I can't get any work done.

The winds of change are blowing through my household, however.  Back in October I sold my soul and went back to work.  Sounds dramatic I know, but it really felt that way at the time as my friend over at A Lil Welsh Rarebit can attest.  The weekend before I was due to start working she and I took a trip out to NYC for girl talk, R&R, and shopping.  We had a little R&R, a bit of shopping, a good amount of girl talk (although we're capable of far more talk than we did on that trip) and I came home knowing I had made the wrong choice to return to work.  I wanted to stay home, eat pie and bonbons, take care of my kids, watch Oprah and meet girlfriends at coffee shops and talk about our kids.  Most of that is NOT what happens when you are a stay at home mom, but people seem to think it is so I'm going with it...it's a goal.  ha!

But I was too far down the process of background checks and security clearances for the job to back out...so on I trudged to the job I no longer wanted and just months before was so excited about.  I was feeling fully I had sold my soul for a good paycheck, sold my soul and my dreams for a 9-5 job (OK it's more like a 9-8 job)...sold my kids off into daycare-slavery to be cared for by some well-meaning stranger who I just knew couldn't do anywhere near as good a job as me taking care of my kids.

Those winds of change I mentioned...through circumstances I won't get into - if all works out with my contract with the government I will be reducing my hours at work.  I will be working 10a.m.-4:00 p.m. Allowing me at the very least to be able to drop my kids at daycare as well as picking them up.  If the government isn't able to adjust my contract to accommodate these shortened hours I will be out of a job and at home full time with my youngest kid (trying to break the habit of calling him my baby) and I think we have found a way to pay for my oldest to stay in daycare even if I don't work.

Honestly, I have my fingers crossed that the second scenario is what takes place.  Then I can eat that pie, sup on bonbons while watching Oprah, chat with girlfriends at coffee shops and maybe, just maybe find time for some painting!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Work/Life Balance

Work Life Balance.

What does that phrase mean to you?  I can't speak for everyone else but for me, pre-kids, that phrase meant making sure I took out time from work to have a life.  Life, meaning a bit of travel, some vacation, meeting up with friends for happy hour, getting some of my paintings finished...LIFE.

Now that I have kids, that phrase means, making sure I don't feel overwhelmingly guilty every single time I have to take time off from work because the kids are sick, have a school event, need to pick them up from school because the husband is travelling.  It means, trying not to feel guilty because (and my eyes are welling up with tears as I type this one) I only see my baby, my youngest son, a maximum of 30 minutes each day because he's in bed by the time I get home and the morning routine is roughly 30 mins of eating, getting dressed and getting to daycare.

With my whole being I wish I could have stayed home with Paul during these youngest years the way I did with Peter.  I've missed so, so very many of Paul's milestone-moments.  Peter, however would have suffered as he was ready to go to school, ready to be around other kids and daycare was not an affordable option unless I returned to work.

*SIGH*  If only we were independently wealthy.

There's added guilt there too...I was sick...sooo sooo sick of being at home all the time.  I was snapping at Peter for things my husband would find adorable.  He found these things adorable because he wasn't at home all day with him, everyday with no break... ever... these things that were so cute to my husband I had seen and heard 800 times a day, 7 days a week and was sick, sick sick of it.  I needed adult conversation that didn't revolve around babies (apologies to my mom-friends - nothing personal).

So, here I am on the flip-side of the decision to return to work...wishing for what?  That I wasn't working!  How very human.

Thus...my yearning for "balance".

Now I think more realistically what I'm wanting is a part time job.  Yes, what I need is (ready for this pipe-dream list?):

  • To be home when the kids are home
  • Have a part-time job that still pays me my full-time wage
  • be able to guilt-free do the things for myself that make me happy which include:
    • Being with the kids when it suits me
    • Being alone (painting, spa, walks) when it suits me
    • TIME ALONE WITH MY HUSBAND!!!!
Maybe that last sub-bullet should be a bullet unto itself.

All of this dreaming is fine and good, but back to reality what I really have to do is focus on the realities of my life and realize that A) I could have far worse problems (like no job, homeless, starving, not able to choose to send my kids to daycare); B) I have a fantastic family that works together to ensure we're all chugging along as smoothly as possible; C) I have really fantastically understanding bosses who don't bat an eye when I say for the 800th time "my son is sick and I have to go get him from school" - and really that last item is so very important!!! D) things will change - the kids will grow up, there will be other milestones to witness and E) as they say, I've got my health!

###

I can't believe it's been since February of this year that I've posted.  Now that my parents have moved away from DC to California, I will definitely have to get better at posting on here.  Some photos of the boys who are getting so big!


Paul is now 14 1/2 months old and Peter is 3 1/2 years old.




Monday, February 8, 2010

Cabin Fever

OK, I'm officially pissed off at YouTube that seems to be refusing to post my entire playlist linked together here.  So... I"m having to add each of them.  If you only look at one, look at the titled "Snow days - snow craze - the cabin fever sets in V".  


Snow days - snow craze - the cabin fever sets in I


Snow days - snow craze - the cabin fever sets in II


Snow days - snow craze - the cabin fever sets in III


Snow days - snow craze - the cabin fever sets in IV


Snow days - snow craze - the cabin fever sets in V


Snow days - snow craze - the cabin fever sets in VI

Paul Can Stand on his Own!

I should be blogging about the more than 2 feet of snow we've gotten here in Washington, DC but I'm totally focused on the fact that my 11 month old son has spent the past few days working on standing with out holding on to anything.  That little guys is soooo very close to walking - boy are we ever in trouble!

Some shots of Paul mastering his new skill:



OK, a couple of shots of the snow too:

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Giving up The Dream?

I’m an artist…a painter.   At least I use to be.  I painted abstract paintings back in the day.

…oi!

That HURTS to say in the past tense.  I do mean it HURTS both physically and emotionally.  Can it really be over?  The dream?  It can’t be!  Is this really how it happens?  The seemingly small choices I’ve made during my life to date have made major impacts on my art “career” (in quotes because I’m not sure it ever could have been considered a career).

How it happened:
  • Art school, then...
  • Diversionary Choice #1: Didn’t finish school to follow ex-husband to DC
  • Diversionary Choice #2: slowed creativity to concentrate on making more money to...well, live
  • Diversionary Choice #3: Divorced ex-husband and left with extremely burdenous debt, thus more concentration on work/money and less on painting
  • Glimmer of light (insert choir of angels here): noticed downturn in creativity and general malaise in my attitude..worked toward painting more and started showing in galleries in DC...things were looking good!
  • Diversionary Choice #4: FELL.  IN. LOVE.
  • Diversionary Choice #5 (and they really start coming fast now): move in with new love
  • Diversionary Choice #6: have babies with new love
  • Diversionary Choice #7: which actually looked like a good move towards painting more: QUIT WORKING, to stay home with new baby...that new baby required more time and attention than I thought...no painting occurred.
  • Diversionary Choice #8: Baby #2
  • Diversionary Choice #9: go back to work to gain good education for little cherubs
And little by little I gave up my “free time” to the ones I love and to say I wouldn’t have it any other way is an out right lie!  The other way I’d like to have it is to have my loved ones, my husband, my two insanely grand boys, and my parents about me all the time ~AND~ still have time to paint in the manner I used to approach painting.

My method of painting back pre-boyfriend, pre-kids, pre----any-kind-of-responsibility, beyond sustenance for myself was… work all day, paint all night with wine and music (and after a couple of glasses of wine it was dancing and painting) and sleep 3 or 4 hours, repeat.  Come the weekend it was play all day, play all night, paint all morning, sleep 3 or 4 hours, repeat.

What a life.  I look back on it in fondness and miss the inspiration gained from consorting with strangers, sitting on the sidelines watching life go by, people watching (which I think takes a certain skill - people don't look at one another anymore!), spur-of-the-moment jaunts to the National Gallery of Art, etc… etc… etc…

I can totally see how the infamous bad-boys of the art world, shirked all relationships to live the bohemian life of art, sex, drugs and fun!  What a life!   And here’s the thing… to be great at something, anything not just art…to be truly great...  you really do have to make those big choices.  There are so, so few out there who accomplish the big achievements without some sort of huge personal or emotional sacrifice.

That’s it.  That’s where I sit.  Could I have been a great artist, heck I don’t know.  In all reality, probably not.  To be a house-hold name in art/painting is even harder than becoming a household name in movies.  How many RECENT artists do you know off the top of your head?  If you know more than 5 then your disqualified because you’re one of my artist friends who is steeped in the current art world.  If you’re a common person, not following the art game, Joe-schmoe who has happened upon my blog, chances are the first artist you think of is Warhol or Pollock..then…your stuck listing off Renoir or Degas or Picasso.

So, the question remains.  Is the dream gone?  Have I given up the dream?  Where in my daily routine can I fit in painting?!  Here’s the daily agenda:

6:00a.m. – 7:30 a.m. wake with kids, get them up dressed, fed, cleaned from feeding, diaper changes, bags packed for school and ready to leave…most of the time I don’t get to eat breakfast…

8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m. – get kids to school, catch bus to work

9:00 am. – arrive at work

6:30 – 8:30 p.m. somewhere in there I get to leave work – depends on the day

7:00 p.m. – 9:00 pm.  depending on when I leave work I get home, if home by 7pm I put the oldest to bed, the youngest is already in bed, eat dinner and go to bed by 9 or 10pm (I’m up late tonight at 10:15 p.m.).

And that’s my day.  No exercise.  No art. Barely time to say hello to my husband.  I am soooo sooooo ready for this routine to change!

HOW IN THE HELL DO WORKING PARENTS KEEP THIS PACE?!  

Have I been spoiled up until now?  I used to luxuriate in idle debates of world-issues with my husband over a glass of wine and whatever exotic meal we decided to create that evening with some random favorite music of ours playing in the background.

GONE.

Those days are so long gone, that it’s simply sad to even think about now.

But there is hope.  There is light at the end of the tunnel.  There is the progression of time where the kids get older, slightly more independent … able to dress themselves... able to go to bed without a major hour long battle…able to “put pee pee in the potty” by themselves, for Christ’s sake!  When those days get here perhaps I can gain a minute here and minute there and suddenly a full hour to …  in all reality probably not paint, but SLEEP!

This all probably gives new meaning to the phrase "a tortured artist"!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Paul is 10 months old!


God, where does the time go?!  Paul will be a year old in just two months!!  I just love him to pieces!  He's all over the place crawling and cruising between furniture.  He loves "walking around" pushing his older brother's toy car around.  We went for his wellness exam and got his shots and some blood work done, we also got his stats:

Weight 21lbs 5 oz (down to the 25%)
Height: 39.5 inches (75% for that one)
Head Circumference: 18.5 inches

So he's growing and I"m shocked to find he has dropped so low in percentiles for weight, because all this kid does is eat!  Almost anything we put in front of him he devours.  He has two little teeth in the bottom front and he uses those suckers to nosh on apple wedges, bagels, orange slices, he eats like he has a head full of teeth!  He loves making noise and grunts and says mamamamama and dadadadadda a lot.  He'll clap on cue and wave and recently we got him to blow kisses but we can't get him to do it on cue every time.

One of his favorite pass times is chasing the cat and squeezing her.  Our cat either likes it a lot or is just incredibly stupid.  She will saunter past Paul with her tail in the air as slow as possible until she has his attention and then pretend to try and get away - but never actually runs off, she just kind of saunters a little faster.  It's like she's waiting for him to do this (see the photo to the right).

Paul has been at the home-based daycare that we started Peter at (well both boys started together) back around Thanksgiving last year.  Paul is quite happy there and now that all the issues with getting him to sleep at the school seem to have been sorted out I'm happy with him there too.  The staff there just loves Paul so much and I have so much confidence leaving him in the care of women who are clearly so very anxious just to hold him when we arrive each morning to drop him off.

Paul seems to have the same love of music Peter has and we even managed to catch him on video playing the piano with his little fingers all proper-like (that's the first video below).  The big-deal gift of Peter's birthday which we played down a bit, was this giant authentic African drum that was made by a man in Africa that is friends with a friend (did you follow that)...basically it's quite unique and damn nice!  Anyway, you'll see Paul banging on it in the series of videos below (the drum is taller than him).
:

Here's a series of 4 videos of him ...well, being him :)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Finally! My Mom's Photos of Peter's Birthday Party!!!

So, a little harassment in my previous post got my Mom moving on the photos from Peter's 3rd Birthday Party.  I was anxious to get them because she took so many more than me as well as some videos!  She claims her computer at  home isn't working and she wasn't able to upload them....I guess I believe her!  ;)  Below is a link to her pictures she took and a link to videos.

I've picked a couple of favorite pics and videos below:





And my favorite videos:

The kids helping Peter open Gifts:


and, a general video of the party:


All of the videos can be found here:


All of my mother's photos have been incorporated with the previous photos, they're intermingled and start with photos from before the party with the kids eating breakfast to the aftermath when everyone was gone...


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Playing Catch-up!

I have desperately needed to put a new post up...sorry for my absence...been working and playing with kids, and nursing sick kids back to health and and and... In all honesty I do have a hard time complaining about work when so many people out there need jobs and so many others have REAL problems.  So...movin' on...

First, I promised photos of my 3 year old's birthday party and I know you have all just been breathless waiting! I blame my mother for this one not getting posted quickly (you reading mom?) - she took tons of photos that day and hasn't posted them yet!

The party was great!  It was my first Non-family-only birthday party for Peter and it was chaos.  Good chaos, but chaos non-the-less.  There were 10 kids and 18 adults. I served mimosas to the parents and discovered all the parents at Peter's school are friggin' awesome!  Not one of them shook their heads in disapproval of serving alcohol at 10:30 a.m. at a 3 year old birthday party instead they all immediately said yes when asked if they wanted one.  Love that group of parents!  We brought up all of Peter's musical instruments from the toy room in the basement (enough to fill a big storage bin) and brought up all of his mega sized rubber leggos - seems the instruments and legos were enough of a hit to keep the kids busy.  We then had cake/icecream and Peter opened gifts with the help of most of the other kids.  A couple of parents tried to stop their kids from tearing into the paper with Peter but since Peter didn't seem to mind I told them it was OK - let them have fun.

So catch-up #1, Peter's 3rd Birthday Party:


First, is Peter's pink cake.  He asked for this pink cake with sprinkles on top at least a thousand times.  He also requested the Spider Man on top.  So pink cake w/sprinkles and a Spider man on top it was!


Food was served.


There were decorations.


There were giant soft leggos....


Peter eating a chocolate doughnut.


Peter (with his best bud, Joe) - that's the chocolate icing from the doughnut on P's face.


There were parents and kids...


There were adorable babies...


There were Grandmas blowing up balloons...


There were adorable little girls...


More adorable little girls...


Of course there were adorable little boys too...


Oh yeah and adorable little birthday boys!!!


....with lots of balloons!


Oh yeah and there were little brothers too.

Finally.... there was....


...the polishing off of the cake!  :)

Catch-up #2 will be in the next post, this one was long enough ;)  the rest of the birthday photos are here:
http://kushnirgoldenfamilyphotos.shutterfly.com/1673

Friday, January 15, 2010

Streamers! Balloons! Party Hats!.... ho-hum

My son turned 3 years old on the 13th. Tomorrow, Saturday, will be his (and my) very first non-family-only birthday party thrown for him. I've been excited for months and dreaming up party theme ideas. I swear, if had no budget...what a party I could throw. I know.. I know... we all feel that way, but when my son decided he wanted a Spiderman theme I thought WOW!

How cool it would be to drape a giant spider web over the front of our row house! Cool huh? I even figured out how I could go about it and decided it really wouldn't be that hard! Black nylon roping, some tall ladders and willing workers...would be so damned cool. I could mirror that idea inside the house with a web on the largest wall in the house constructed for the kids to climb. Then I realized I wasn't She-ra and that the 3 hours of free time I have each day probably wasn't enough to organize it...but man I tell you I had it all figured out. Even had the neighbors picked out that I knew would be willing to help.

So, back to reality, I compensated for my dashed creative dreams by buying entirely too many Spiderman table cloths, streamers and dangling thingies. I'm sitting here tonight in the midst of figuring out where to put them (bec. you know I HAVE to use them all) and I'm stumped. I'm in spider man overload! I'm starting to think it might...just might... be a bit scary to a 3 year old. I mean look at him:

Spiderman can be scary to a 3 year old. Look at those eyes just staring at you, now imagine those eyes all over the room. Every where you look those eyes are there...looking at you. I think I better take a few down!

You know you can expect some birthday photos in the next few days!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Mom, Can I see your Nibbles?!

About two months ago during bath time my son stopped and gasped: "What that is dadda?!" My husband: "those are your nipples". We don't believe in making up cute names for our kids' private parts.

So fast forward to this morning, Peter is running around playing with his new toys from Christmas and I'm on the floor changing Paul's diapers (our 9 month old). I have Paul's footed one piece unzipped and my son says I see Paul's nibbles! Mom, you have nibbles? Yes, Peter I have nipples. Peter: Mom, see your nibbles? Me: I can't show you my nipples I'm busy changing Paul's diapers. An hour later I'm changing Peter's diapers, Mom, see your nibbles now?!

I can just see my son asking this out in public. :|

Because all posts must have photos...some cuteness from our DC Christmas (which was held yesterday on New Years Day)...