Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Midnight found me routing around in my closet trying to decide which of my many, many, many pairs of black pumps to pack.  The patent leather were obviously inappropriate, as were the four-inch peep toes.  So of course  the patent leather four-inch peep toes would not do either.

The Anne Kline sling backs are so lovely and timeless, but just a smidge too tight after having two kids and while too tight are okay on occasion, on this particular occasion too tight would not work.  Too much standing and milling.

That left me with the sensible two inch heels which are always comfortable but make me feel like a grandma; and the three inch snake skin textured pair, which I love because the texture makes them statement shoes, and they are not so high as to be inappropriate, but high enough to make me almost six feet (also a statement.)

Sensible shoes or statement shoes.  Who really cares?  No one is going to be looking at my feet.  This is just the kind of crap you focus on when you don't want to focus on leaving your kids for two days to go somewhere you don't really want to go because it's so cold there; to do something you don't really want to do because who wants to do these things;  to say goodbye to someone you don't want to say goodbye too because you are nowhere near ready; to face a reality that you do not want to face that has been patiently waiting for you some three hundred miles to your north and easily ignored with the holiday bustle.

And so tomorrow Nelson and I head to New England to say goodbye to my very beloved uncle and my heart is broken in so many piece and I'm wearing the fucking statement shoes because they make me feel good when all I really feel is terribly, terribly sad.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Snow Kiss Red Christmas
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View the entire collection of cards.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

RTT: Confessions of a shopaholic

Time to get  your random on, kids.


*My sister-in-law is coming up tonight and she and I are going to go to dinner and go shopping for stocking stuffers for the kids. I have to buy a couple for more toys (a couple of new monster trucks; a bucket of toy soliders for Oscar; a couple of hockey sticks for the boys); a gift for my brother-in-law (we know what we are getting, we just have to buy it); and gifts for my in-laws.  Yeah, I saved the easiest for last, right?  My father-in-law claims he wants nothing, just having us all home for Christmas is enough.  My husband will want to get him something, but I'm actually leaning towards having the boys make him something.  I think that people reach a certain age or point in their lives where "gifts" are not as important as gestures.  Becky mentioned this around her birthday a few weeks ago and I've long thought that was true.  We'll give them a handmade ornament from Oscar, a photo of the boys (in their dorky sweaters, which you'll see later this week), and I'm not sure what else.  Ideas are welcome.

*Apparently I let Oscar watch to much Canadian-made children's television, because between Dino Dan and Little Bear my three-and-a-half year old has develop quite the classic Canadian accent.  He's all rounded o's and flattened a's.  He might even be turning into a Canadian.  He's been talking about getting hockey sticks from Santa all week.  Oscar is already unfailingly polite.  The next thing you know, he'll be tacking "eh?" onto the ends of his sentences.

*Even though I'm basically done Christmas shopping, I can't seem to finish Christmas shopping.  Amazon keeps sending me these amazing deals and I feel the urge, no the NEED to buy more things.  Like, look at this deal on Mega Bloks:

Those Mega Bloks are 52% off!!  That is a major deal.  My kids already have a huge bag, but they love them so much, maybe I should get them another bag?  Or, is there a kid I can buy these for?  Will someone buy these blocks, PLEASE?  I feel like this deal is going to waste and it is killing me.

And, look at this Shake-and-Go Thomas for 33% off: 

Miles loves Thomas.  LOVES HIM.  He may need this Thomas right?  For get the fact that he just got this  Thomas Flashlight, or this quarry or this station for his birthday this weekend.  Forget all that.  This deal is just too good, right?  He NEEDS MORE TRAINS.

*Yes, we had Miles's birthday party this weekend and it was a fraking trainaplaooza.  The child was in seventh heaven and has been playing with his new trains non-stop.  When he got this Melissa & Doug Wooden Farm Train he nearly jumped out of his chair and I'm not even kidding.  He went airborne.  If I had uploaded the photos yet I'd show you.  I also made him a kick-ass train cake.  It was amazing.  It was a pretty great party.  Well, except for the part where Miles showed complete disinterest-boarding-on-hostility to any non-train related gift.  My sister-in-law got him this really cute rocket (and my kids LOVE rockets) and Miles looked at it was scorn and shoved it across the table.  He didn't even want to be near that thing (though he did play with it for a while yesterday.)

That's all my randomosity for today.  More RTT over at Keely's.  Canadian beer, too.

Disclaimer: All links provided got directly to my Amazon Associates account and should you choose to click through or purchase any of these items, I will receive financial compensation.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


Happy second birthday to the best surprise I was ever lucky enough to receive.  You continue to surprise me and fill every day with joys large and small.

Were it not for you, I wonder what I kind of mother I would have become because you have taught me so much. You taught me to slow down; to laugh more often and more loudly; to take time to appreciate life's small wonders and small boys.

On one hand, I want to freeze time, or bottle you, Miles at Two, to save forever and ever.  You love trains and your brother and being tickled and laughing and snuggling and eat almost anything I put in front of you.  Yogurt is your favorite though, followed by pineapple chunks and your brother's leftover peanut butter sandwiches.  Your favorite movie is Toy Story and your favorite TV show is Thomas the Tank Engine.  You love to wear hats; the sillier the better.  If you are going somewhere, you are running.  Always running.  I want to tell you to "Slow down!" and "Not so fast!" but the truth is I love how eager you are to catch up to your brother and do and learn new things. It is something I hope you carry with you throughout your life.

And, that's the other hand.  As much as I want to hold on to the sweetness that is 1Miles at Two, I can't wait to see what you are going to do next. You are exceptional.  I cherish each day I watch you grow and change and I anticipate tomorrow's little boy, and, eventually, the man you will become. 

I love you, sweet Miles.  It is one of the great honors of my life to be your mom.  Carry on.

Four days old

Six months old

One year old

Eighteen months old


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Kitchen cosmetology

When I polled Facebook last week about whether or not I should cut Miles William's hair myself, the response was an overwhelming "What the hell are you thinking that is a terrible idea."

Unless you count shaving my best friends' heads and/or dying their hair in high school (and really you shouldn't), I have no experience doing hair.  And, if you know me, you know that I have immense respect for the profession of hair styling.  I think hair is important.  You wear your hair every day.  It is one of the first things people notice about you.  It's worth time and money to have it look it's best.

Knowing this, it may shock you that I considered cutting my kid's hair by myself.  Here was my thinking, though: If you have a toddler, particularly a toddler boy, you know that when you take them to the salon/barber you pay $25 for a hair cut that is going to be crooked and uneven.  Not because the stylist does a poor job, but because kids wiggle when they get their hair cut.  Crooked bangs and uneven hair cuts are par for the course.  You can't really expect more than that.  So I decided that if I was going to pay $25 for someone to give Miles a crooked hair cut, I could do that myself.

So, against the advice of the internet, I gave Mile's his very first jacked-up mom hair cut.  Now, I know that just last month I was proclaiming I would never cut it, but I promised Captain Dumbass that if he started looking like Celine Dion's kid, I'd cut it.  Well.  I forgot to take a before photo, but suffice it to say with all this dry weather, Miles' curls were not holding up and it was falling about two inches below his shoulders and well below his earlobes.  It was bad.

Here is is about a month ago, eating a cupcake:
Look at how disheveled it is.  You can see how long the front is, and how wily and out of control the back is. And this is when his curls were still holding.  This was an entire month ago, so things have only gotten worse.

So, yesterday, while he was slow and feverish, I sat him down in his booster seat, armed with scissors, a bottle of water, a lolly pop, and a hairbrush, and I cut his hair.

The results:
What's on his face? That would be yellow marker, lolly pop and HAIR BLISS.

The back:

Pretty good, right?  I'm pretty much Vidal Sassoon, people.

I'm not going to lie.  It's not perfect.  The left side is a little longer than the right.  But, he is little and his hair is curly, so it works.

So take that, haters.  Home mom haircut WIN!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

RTT: Christmas, Christmas, Christmas (and also, you annoy me. Not you. You.)

It's beginning to look a lot like Random Tuesday....


Okay, so, Christmas!  It is upon us!  We've finished most of our shopping.  We still have to buy gifts for our brothers and my in-laws; stocking stuffer; Santa wrapping paper and tags; and that's it chumps.  Well, Nelson hasn't bought me anything but he prides himself on waiting until the last second, even though I provide him with suggestions and he has the internet at his disposal.  But, hey, why do now what you can put off until the last second, right?

Miles turns two on Thursday.  If I never blog again after that day, it is safe to assume that I have died over the heartbreak of running clean out of babies.  Oh, and after declaring that I'm not cutting his hair?  He's been waking up with baby dreadlocks every morning so it looks like a hair cut is in the near future.

Do you belong to any group or community listservs?  If you do, let me advise you on a little listserv etiquette.  Should someone on the list post some news of a personal nature (announcing a pregnancy, birth, new job, other good/bad news) and you would like to respond to this news, you don't need to his reply all.  The rest of the list members don't need or want your congratulations crowding their inbox.  Just reply to sender.  This is really the only person who cares about your good or sympathetic tidings.  Hitting "Reply All" in these situations is like only doing good deeds when other people can see you.  It cheapens the sentiment.  Reply all should be reserved for general announcements and situations that require group participation.  The whole list does not need to hear you telling someone how awesome they are.  That's annoying.  I mean, it's not annoying when YOU do it, just when everyone else does.

My cat is tearing the hell out of my tree.  She's leaving needles and branches all over the floor every freaking night.  I'd be totally over it if I didn't love Christmas so much.

You know what else I love? Christmas music.  I can't get enough of it.  I like nearly all Christmas songs and all variations of Christmas songs without exception.  Well, there are some exceptions. Maybe I'll tell you about them later.

It snowed last night!  Like an inch, but still SNOW!  When Oscar saw it this morning he was certain that Santa had come as well.  He really closely associates Santa with snow due to last year's Snowpocolypse (part one. Part two is here.)  The truth is, last year was probably the first white Christmas we've had in DC in a decade.  I hope he's not terribly disappointed when he realizes that there is no Santa/snow connection.

Enough for today.  Go check out the other Random Tuesday players over at Keely's place.  It'll get you on Santa's good list.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

So, how do we feel about this sweater?

You may have heard the East coast/mid-Atlantic/southeast is experiencing a wee bit of a cold snap, as in "SNAP!  Bitches, it's cold out here!"

So, you know, BRRR.

Now, DC gets cold.  Not freeze-your-eyelashes-Canada cold (admittedly Keely is way colder than I am right now), but respectably cold.  It's not uncommon for temperatures to be in the 20s or the high teens around here, but not until January or February.  Our Decembers are usually closer to the mid 40s.  We're dealing with 20s and 30s and lots of icy wind, so again, BRRR.

I somehow forgot to buy Oscar any appropriate cold weather clothing this year.  I mean, he has jackets and hats, but no sweaters or fleeces.  Stuff that you wear indoors.  We live in a old, drafty house, and I keep the thermostat on 67 (yes, BRR) so sweaters and fleeces are a must.  Miles has plenty since he's in Oscar's hand-me-downs from last year, but little Oscar is freezing his patootie off.

He has a couple of things; a dinosaur sweatshirt I bought him for $3 at Tar.get; a hand-me-down fleece; his dorky moose sweater; a red sweater from last Christmas that's only a smidge too short. He certainly needs more though and while my mother-in-law and my sister usually get the boys some clothes for Christmas, we can't wait.  It's cold NOW and it's supposed to be a cold winter.  

This has lead to sweater shopping.  I had seen some sweaters in Tar.get but they were thin and not that cute and acrylic.  Acrylic pills and these sweaters need to get through two kids, so the sweaters need to be 100% cotton or a wool/cotton blend (wool is too itchy for them on it's own.)  I went to ON online and they are having a BOGO on sweaters right now, so I got him four.  They are those thin French-style sweaters but I'll put them on him over a T-shirt and a long sleeved shirt, so he should be fine.

I also found another sweater.  I can't decide if I love it or hate it. Here it is: 
So, on the one hand, I like the idea of a zippered cardigan.  It makes layering even easier.  I can put this on him over a long-sleeved tee, and if he gets hot he can take it off himself.  The mock turtleneck style of the collar looks good on Oscar because he has a long neck.  I like the look of the bottom of the sweater; it looks like it will hang just right and not blouse up at his waist (Oscar is a skinny kid so that blousing look makes him look like he has stick legs.) I like that it is black because black goes.  I like the red stripe. I like that it's on sale.

So, it's a cotton/acrylic blend and I'm pretty against that for previously stated reasons, but all of the positives listed above may rule that out.  It is on sale, but not on clearance.  But I'm really not sure about the skulls.  Do I love them or hate them?  Now, if you have a little boy, you know that little boy clothing is overrun with skulls and crossbones these days.  It's a pirate thing.  Normally, I think that it's pretty cute.  I just don't know if I can get behind skulls and and crossbones on a kitted sweater.  It just does't seem to "go." Then, on the other hand, what I kind of LIKE about the skulls is that they don't seem to really "go."   It's like taking scary looking skulls and putting them on a sweater and putting that sweater on my cute little boy makes that sweater kind of hip.

So, how do we feel about this sweater? 

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Tuesday, December 7, 2010


Every year when we get our Christmas tree, our cat Audrey goes bananas. Like totally bonkers, running up the walls, sliding across the floor, hiding beneath chairs and diving out to scare our dog.

Right now?  She's eating the tree.

Yesterday?  She CLIMBED the tree.  The decorated tree.  It was like a tree earthquake, shaking and jingling.

I remember last year, or the year before, we couldn't find her all afternoon and then as I was walking by the tree I saw these glowing eyes.  It was Audrey.  She'd climbed the tree and was lounging on one of the branches like some kind of mountain lion or puma or something.

Aside from her wee kittenhood and one brief 45 minute incident when I was 8 months pregnant with Oscar, Audrey has lived the entirety of her life indoors.  She definitely wants to go out, and kind of half heartedly tries to escape.  We can't let her out though because out house backs up to a busy, four lane road and our actual street, while not busy, is on a public transportation bus route and our house is situated one block from the police station and two blocks from the fire station, so there's a good bit of fast driving.

Also, Audry is a small cat.  An itty, bitty kitty.  I know that's not typical for indoor cats, but our girl tops the scales at a whopping 7 pounds, so she's much tinier than the strays that wander our neighborhood.  We have a neighbor two houses down that catches strays, gets them fixed, and regularly feeds them, so there are LOTS of strays.  They'd tear her limb from limb.

And so, little Audry is stuck indoors all the time, year round.  She sits on the back of our living room couch or the basement couch, gazing out the window.  She becomes transfixed by birds and squirrels and other cats.  But she will never breath the sweet scent of freedom.  At least not if we can help it.

So when our fresh tree arrives, it's as close to outdoors as she gets.  The smell of the pine awakens her senses and she becomes a Wild Cat for a few weeks, a cat possessed, knocking things off tables, racing in and out of rooms, flying up and down the stairs.  For 11 months out of the year I barely know she exists.  She doesn't even meow.  But come Christmas time, it's like she's everywhere.

Now she's curled herself up in my living room curtains for a snooze (speaking of curtains, are we over them?  I'm thinking of doing Roman shades in the whole house.  That's what I've got in my bedroom already, and I love them.), although I suspect she's really secretly awake, watching me.

Monday, December 6, 2010

The halls? They be decked.

Don't you just love it when a day goes great?  Better than expected even?  Me too.

I'm a planner.  In fact, I tend to be an over planner (does such thing exist?) particularly when it comes to family fun.  I want to maximize the fun, people!  Let's have fun!  FUN!  HAVE SOME!  NOW!  WITH FAMILY!

Here's the truth though: Fun need not be planned.  This may be shocking to some of you.  Those of you who are not shocked are probably super glad that you are not my spouse/children right now.

Yesterday was Nelson's birthday.  He slept in and I stumbled downstairs at 7AM with two very perky little boys.  I puttered around for a few minutes, then made coffee.  Then I played Buzz Lightyear with Oscar for a bit while my coffee brewed and then I sat down with a hot cuppa and went through my favorite baking cookbook (King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking)* to find some muffins or bread to bake for breakfast.

I decided to make Morning Glory muffins.  If you've never had them, Morning Glory muffins contain carrots, apples, nuts, seeds, coconut, raisins, cinnamon, ginger, and are perfectly most and really filling.  The version I made had sliced almonds and sunflower seeds.  It was a magical combination.  I don't love to make them because unlike a lot of muffins, Morning Glory muffins take a lot of time because you have to shred an apple and two cups of carrots. I have a food processor, though, so it was pretty fast.

Nelson woke up just as the muffins came out of the oven.  He loved the muffins. I loved the muffins.  The kids loved the muffins.  It was great.

Nelson and I were both able to shower and get the boys dressed with no hassles; we made it out the door by 11AM to being our tree quest.  I even remembered snacks and water.  We went to Homegoods first so I could get a new tree skirt and by the time we got there the boys were sleeping so Nelson stayed in the car with them and I got to shop in Homegoods BY MYSELF.

When I finished, both boys were still asleep.  We hadn't decided where to get out tree, but Nelson and I hashed it over for a few minutes and decided to try the little farm market where Oscar and his class went on their pumpkin field trip in October.  We knew it was locally owned, we knew where it was, and we knew that there was another tree lot close by if the farm market was not selling trees.

As luck would have it, they had a tree lot.  Unfortunately, yesterday was a cold and windy day and the farm market seemed to be located at the very peak of some kind of cold/wind apex.  We were bundled up, but man was it cold.  We ended up carrying both boys around the lot as we scouted for trees.

We decided early that we wanted a scotch pine.  It's a taller, long needled tree that has a very traditional Christmas tree look and I think they are the perfect combination of tall and fat.  The way the lot was set up, the shorter, cheaper trees were nearest the parking lot.  We are cheap tree people, but I always like to look and see what the most expensive trees look like and imagine who is buying them and where they will go, etc.  In truth, it was a little too cold for this, but the kids weren't complaining and Nelson wasn't complaining, so we looked.

And that's when we found The Tree.  We were in the 8-foot tree section at the scotch pines and they were lovely and tall and full and majestic and only $36?!  We were deciding between two (one was a dark green and one was a bright green), so, we let Oscar choose (he chose the darker one).  We got it.  An 8-foot Christmas tree.  I paid while Nelson loaded the boys and the farm stand people loaded our tree.

In the car on the way to Target to get some lights for our windows (we scored the last two boxes of colored lights, holla!), Oscar said, "It's the perfect tree!  It's not too tall and it's not too fat! It's perfect, I love it!"

He's right.  It's perfect.

*This link is to my Amazon Associates account.  Should you click and/or buy this item, I will receive financial compensation.

Friday, December 3, 2010


Oscar knows exactly how to push my buttons and exactly when to push them.  He is a very sweet, smart, affectionate little boy and he really knows how to grate my very last nerve.  I try, I really, really try, to maintain my patience with him, but I'm not always successful and that's just the truth.

Nelson was out of town earlier this week and the boys are always particular squirrely when he is away.  It's like they can tell that I'm exhausted a little twitchy and they just hammer on me.  I was getting them ready for bed the other night while Nelson was gone.  They were hanging on the bed while I was trying to pick their dirty clothes up, and Oscar says to me to get my attention, "HEY!  HEY!"

It was like nails on a chalkboard.  I really, really hate when Oscar is rude or displays poor manners, even to me, because I can just imagine him shouting "HEY! HEY!" at his teachers. Just the though of my kid being so rude mortifies me.  I said very calmly, "Hay is for horses.  Little boys say excuse me when they want someone's attention. Please say "excuse me."


He just wouldn't stop.  I was so tired and so cranky and wet from giving them their bath and still had a night of dishes and picking up toys and just GETTING THEM TO SLEEP ahead of me.

So, I did something mean. It was really mean.  I didn't give it a lot of though before I did it, but as soon as the words started leaving my mouth, I knew I was being awful but I couldn't seem to stop myself.



"Oscar, please stop."


"Oscar!  That. Is. Enough."


"Oscar.  Do you know your friend Santa."

BAM! I had his attention.


"Well, did you know he has a list?  It's a list of little boys and little girls.  He keeps track of who is naughty and who is nice and the kids who are naughty don't get any presents."

And do you know what he said?

First, he burst into tears.  Then he sobbed, "I want to be the nice!  I want to be nice!  I'm nice!"

Wow, did I ever feel like a colossal asshole.  What on earth was I thinking saying that to my sweet boy, implying that Santa would not be visiting because of his poor behavior?  I started backpedaling immediately.

"You are nice!  You are! I'm sorry, I'm sorry, you are so nice.  You could NEVER be on the naughty list.  You are a good, good boy, okay?  You are good, you are getting lots of presents, okay?"

He calmed down and then we all read books and both boys went down pretty easily.  I felt terribly guilty and I promised myself that I'd never use Santa as leverage against my kids ever, ever again.

I thought it was over.  But, Oscar, being three and all, has not let it go.  He asks me five times a day, "Does Santa think it's nice for me to jump on this couch?" "Does Santa think it's nice for me to share with Miles?" "Does Santa think I'm naughty for crushing my Goldfish with my feet?"  I tread carefully around these questions, telling him, "MOMMY doesn't think it's nice to jump on the couch," and "MOMMY thinks it is very nice when you share with Miles."

And so I'm reminded daily of my poor, in the moment, under pressure parenting decision.  I wonder if this is one of the things he'll remember, one of the hallmark's of his childhood, when his mom (kind of) told him if he was naughty there would be no Christmas.  Maybe he will, maybe he won't.  Either way it's pretty certain that I'm going to keep stumbling through parenthood, making mistakes that may or may not  hurt my children; that may or may not create lasting memories, good or bad.  I worry that I'll damage them, that something I say or do will break their enormous spirits or their tiny hearts.

It's been kind of a rough week.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

RTT: Doings


I'm in a weird space.  I'm trying to decide what to tell you about today.

I could tell you about how the Thanksgiving leftovers are in my fridge and I don't even want to eat them anymore.  I just want them to go away.

I could tell you about the runny nose Miles had had for the past six weeks with no signs of abating.

I could tell you about all the housework and laundry I've been doing.

I could tell you about the relentless telling of knock-knock jokes going on in my house, by both of my children, that all have the same punchline (a chomping noise.)

I could tell you how we decided to bump our thermostat back to 67 degrees.

I could tell you how I left the door open on my van the other day for four hours.  In the rain.  And I didn't remember it was open; my neighbor came over and advised me to shut it because of the rain.

I could tell you how I've finished most of my Christmas shopping.

I could tell you how Miles is wearing Oscar's hand-me-downs from last year (LAST YEAR!) and sometimes when I see my littlest boy round a corner his older brother's grey corduroys and dinosaur hoodie the sense of deja vu is so strong I have to take a minute to compose myself.

I could tell you how Oscar wrote his own name in school two weeks ago, complete with backwards letter "s" and I teared up right there in front of his teacher, when he proudly showed me his work in the nursery school playground.

I could tell you how Miles will be two in just two short weeks and how I've never felt less prepared for one of my children to grow a year older.

I could tell you about this dinner party I'm going to with my girlfriends tomorrow night.

I could tell you how a friend of our sat for the boys a few weeks ago and how much they loved her and how Oscar keeps asking when she's coming back.

I could tell you how Nelson is traveling right now, and how he has two trips in December.

I could tell you how our holiday plans are in place.

I could tell you how I still have not ordered our holiday cards.

I could tell you how annoyed I am that I still have not gotten proofs from the dorky sweater photo shoot.

I could tell you how much Miles loves pumpkin pie.

I could tell you I'm planning on revamping my blog.

I could tell you about any or all of these things in more detail, but meh.  It's all just normal doings here.  Comings. Goings.  Boring.  Mundane.  Fantastic.

Monday, November 29, 2010


It's over.  My fridge is still full of leftovers, but Thanksgiving has come and gone. My pants are tight.  Really. Well, maybe uncomfortably snug is more accurate.  Either way they don't fit properly.

My mom's birthday yesterday rounded out the week's festivities.  We had spaghetti (not even whole wheat), meatballs, salad, and The Worlds Greatest Chocolate Cake.  It was amazing.  I sent the cake leftovers off into the world and so begins (re-begins, continues, whatever) eating like a normal person.

This is going to be a week of major T-Day atonement.  I just ate a banana covered with half a cup of plain Greek yogurt and a little bit of honey for breakfast.  It was delicious, don't get me wrong, but I'll tell you what it wasn't: pumpkin pie.

Thanksgiving is just the beginning, particularly for my family.  My mom, Nelson, and Miles all have birthdays between Turkey Day and Christmas, and my brother-in-law's birthday is between Christmas and New Year's Eve.  That's a lot of celebrating. A lot of cake.

So, here's where I try to come up with strategies to not gain weight over the holidays.  I already blew Thanksgiving, but I'm determined to be on top of things!  The main thing I'll be trying to keep in mind is all things in moderation.  Yes, I can have a piece of pumpkin pike.  One piece.  Mashed potatoes are fine, but not a whole plateful, covered in gravy.   Wine is a great addition to a holiday meal.  A glass or two.  Not an entire bottle.  Just say no to egg nog.

What are your tricks to keep it lean (or at least lean-ish) during the holidays?  I'd hate to have to ask Santa for bigger pants.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Gobble, gobble

Turkey Day!  It's almost here!  My very favorite holiday EVER!  Well, not including my birthday, which while not a national holiday, is certainly a day worth noting.

So!  We! Are! Hosting!  I've hosted three or four times, but not for a few years now.  We're having 10 adults and three children, including Nelson and our boys.  About half family and half friends.  A good crowd, but not huge.

There are Things to Do to prepare for Thanksgiving and associated company.  The first thing to do is prepare the menu.  Done.  We are traditionalists in the Oscarelli household, and I also don't believe in overcooking.  I try to take it easy on myself, so I also always say "yes" if a guest offers to bring something along.  Here's what we are having:

Veggies, cheese, and crackers (provided by a guest)
Glazed ham
These mashed potatoes, though I don't bake them (I've made them before and they are delish.)
Stuffing (or dressing if you prefer), my mom's recipe
Candied sweet potatoes (I don't do marshmallows on top of mine.)
Fresh green bean casserole
Rolls (provided by a guest)
Corn pudding
Homemade cranberry sauce (and some canned for my Mom)
Green salad (provided by a guest)
Apple pie (provided by a guest)
Pecan pie (provided by a guest)
Pumpkin pie

We like also like our Thanksgiving startchy.

I'll put together the corn pudding and the green bean casserole on Wednesday, and I'll do the cranberry sauce then as well.  Wednesday will also be the day I make the candied sweet potatoes pumpkin pie.  I'll also prepare the stuffing, because I stuff the bird (I know, I know.  I keep some out for the kids and those not willing to take a culinary gamble.) and it has to be cool before you cram it into the turkey's behind.

On Turkey Day, I'll get up early, stuff the bird, and toss her in the oven.  I got a 16 and 1/2 pound bird so it should take around 4-ish hours to cook, so I'll put it in around 9:00AM.  I cook the turkey with a digital thermometer inserted in it, so I can monitor the the internal temp and I baste every 45 minutes or so.  I don't do anything fancy to the bird; I butter it, salt it, stuff it, roast it.

When the turkey is done, I'll put the ham in for about an hour to heat through an I'll start the mashed potatoes.  When the ham is heated through, I'll put the corn pudding, green beans, and extra stuffing in to cook and at the very end I'll nuke the sweet potatoes so I can serve them warm, and my sister will make the gravy while Nelson carves the turkey.  We should eat by three, if all goes according to plan.

So that's dinner.  There's also house prep, which we've already begun.  I've already washed all our curtains and re-hung most of them.  I also went through and de-toyed our living room a bit in preparation for Christmas, and so we have a little more space in our living room.  I need to do more of that, maybe tonight.  Tonight, I'll also wash our chair covers, Nelson will finish up some touch up painting , and hopefully we will hang some photos that have been sitting in frames begging to be put on the wall for over a year now.

I've been a cleaning fool.  I scoured the kitchen this morning; will do the dusting tomorrow; Nelson will clean the bathroom and wash the walls (crayon/markers) on Wednesday (he took off) while I cook; we'll do a final vacuum of the floors on Thursday morning.  Oh, and I really need to get a white curtain for downstairs hallway, but I don't know when that's going to happen.  Wednesday morning?

On top of all this, I've promised Oscar we'll do a special craft tomorrow, and I've set up a playgroup for 10AM. And then there's regular housework, dishes, laundry, three meals a day M-W.

Phew, right?

I am dangerously tempted, DANGEROUSLY TEMPTED, to get a few newer photos printed out, put into frames, and hung on the walls before Thursday.  Our most recent printed and framed photos are from Mother's Day a year ago.  Abysmal, I know.  And, we have some really good photos from this spring and fall that I really want to have done.  But, I'm trying to rein it in because there is a lot to do and I don't want to make things difficult for myself.  I mean, of course I really DO want to make things difficult for myself because that's just who I am, but I am resisting!  Encourage me to resist!

Alright, chickens, what's cooking?  Tell me, tell me, tell me!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Christmas Gifts: The Miles Edition

I've decided to do Christmas list posts again this year, since they were recieved relatively well last year, and it helps me think things though.  I haven't actually purchased anything for the boys yet this year, and I'm having some trouble.  One of the reason is that Oscar and Miles are so close in age that I'm having trouble deciding who to get what.  The gifts are pretty similar this year.

My boys are into all the same things; building, dinosaurs, cars/trucks/trains, pretend play, arts and crafts, sports.  I think this is pretty standard for little boys in the 2-5 age range.  Like I said earlier, all their gifts are pretty similar this year, and I think this will be great because the toys we buy will get more use.  FYI, you are going to have to click on the text links and NOT on the pictures because I couldn't make that work.  Am awesome at technology.

So the stuff below is a compilation of the more interesting and unique things I found for Miles that I'm considering.  None of this is under the tree just yet.  And Miles is a total train fanatic, so there will certainly be choo-choos and monster trucks under the tree, but you don't really need to see those, do you?

Okay, here goes.

Check out these Magneatos:

Magnets!  In blocks! Holy coolness, Batman!  I like these because they are big and because of the magnets, the kids should be able to get really tall towers.  Miles is really into building tall towers right now, and our wooden blocks tend to tip over on him pretty easily.  I think he'll love these.  Also, MAGNETS!  So cool!

Miles has been super into drawing and painting these days (he will spend like an HOUR at the table making pictures), and I found this Do-A-Dot Rainbow Art Set (Set of 6) on Amazon and I think it will be perfect for him: 
It seems like all the fun of painting with significantly less mess.  I'm slightly concerned about their washable-ness, but I'm going to go with them anyways.   

Miles loves balls and sports, so I thought this Little Tikes TotSports Basketball Set would be right up his ally: 

The boys can play with it together AND it goes outside, which I love.  

My Miles has a lot of patience and the ability to focus on a singular task for significant (30 minutes or more) periods of time.  This seems pretty out of the ordinary to me, but that might just be because Oscar couldn't focus on one task for more than two minutes until he was almost three.  Anyways, he's really good at entertaining himself and likes doing things that are intricate and work his fine motor skills, so I found a few gifts  I though could really hold his attention.

First, this Quercetti Fantacolor Junior Pegboard Set:

I can really see Miles making pushing the pegs into this peg board for hours.

You know how they just love to open and close things at this age?  Well I found this Melissa & Doug Deluxe Latches Board that I think Miles will be really into:

Melissa & Doug Deluxe Latches Board
Open and close, open and close.  Oscar will love it too.

Okay, so I feel like this next one is a little expensive for what it is but I LOVE it.  Isn't this P'Kolino Puzzle Stacker just the neatest thing? It's a puzzle!  It's a stacker!  It teaches colors and matching and fine motor skills!
P'Kolino P'Kolino Puzzle Stacker

Really cool. Really cool.  But, it's like $30 and if I bought it and no one played with it I'd be really irritated and spend years looking at it and thinking it was a waste of money.  I have this problem of buying them toys that I WANT them to like and then they end up not really liking them.  So, I don't know.  

Speaking of puzzles, look at this Infantino Where's My Tail Puzzle:
Dead cute right?  Perfect, I think, for a two-year-old.

Also perfect for a two-year-old are these Melissa & Doug Beginner Pattern Blocks:

Miles is just beginning to recognize his shapes and colors, and so I think these will be a fun learning toy.  Is that and oxymoron?  Fun learning toy?  Whatever, I think they will be fun and he will love them.  So he's going to hate them.

Both boys love robots.  And they love building.  Robot was one of Miles William's first words.  So these Wood Stacking Robots?  Perfect.
Wood Stacking Robots
My mother-in-law actually bought the boys a set of these a few months ago and the love them so much, I'm getting another set for Christmas.  That is how good these are. We need more. Very, very fun, for kids and parents.

Have you heard of this thing?

It's called a Bilibo. What is a Bilbo?  It's a seat!  It's a helmet!  It's anything your kid wants it to be!  My guess is this thing is either awesome or a total dud.  

Okay, so those are some of my ideas for Miles.  What do you guys think?

In accordance with FTC guidelines, I am disclosing that all of the links included in this post go to my Amazon Associate's account, and should you choose to purchase any of these items via my links, I will receive monetary compensation. 

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

FML, really? REALLY?

Warning: Gratuitous use of the "F" word below.

There is something going on in the world of texting and Facebook updating that I feel the need to address.  The over use of the acronyms FML (Fuck my Life) and  FTW (Fuck the World) in texting and status updates has got to stop.  For those not in the know, FML and FTW are exclamations placed at the end of a status update or text message to express a person's frustration and/or anger at a specific occurrence or situation. The exclamations are often meant to be sarcastic but my argument is that these exclamations are ridiculous, over the top, and irritating and as this is my blog, I am correct in this argument.  Let me convince you.

I mean, fuck your life because you have a lot of laundry?  Really?  Or because your kids are being jerks or you have  flat tire?  Your whole entire life?  Just fuck it?  The whole thing?  Fuck the world because there is a lot of traffic?  Because you received poor customer service?  The entire planet should just go fuck itself because of your individual lousy circumstances?  Isn't that just a little bit selfish?  I just feel like fucking your whole life or the entire world is pretty drastic and people often say them for pretty, basic, regular everyday situations.

Yes lots of laundry and misbehaving children suck, but your life is really not so terrible because these situations exist.  I mean you have children who you love and clothing to wear, right?  Score!  Or bad drivers and jerky customer service reps - yeah, they suck, but they really aren't worthy of fucking the WHOLE WORLD are they?  You have means to travel and money to buy things.  That doesn't sound so bad to me.  Like, maybe if you lost all your limbs or something, then you could say "I have no arms and legs.  FML!"  Or even, "My wife just left me, FML!" But even then you are still ALIVE and could maybe get prosthetics or something, and if your wife left you maybe you will find a better wife next time because this sea, it has lots of fish.

And if you are going to say "Fuck the world" the circumstances should be pretty extreme, like "Nuclear proliferation is eventually going to kill everyone.  FTW!" or "This AIDS pandemic is really killing a lot of people.  FTW!"  or "One day the sun is going to go all supernova on our asses and then it's 'Bye-bye planet Earth!' FTW!"  These are truly serious situations in which the world may indeed be fucked.

I just think we should stop being so dramatic with our texting/status updating, okay America?   So, instead of typing FML when you get a flat tire in the rain or you get stuck in traffic, maybe type, MLSRN (My Luck Sucks Right Now) or, TCRBGBFM (Things Could Really Be Going Better For Me), or even the more optimistic MDCOGB (My Day Can Only Get Better.)

Now, if the situation is a little more extreme, like you have been diagnosed with a serious disease, or a tree falls on your house, you can use stronger language.  I suggest, TUIRSWMT (The Universe is Really Screwing with Me Today) or perhaps DWCIGAB (Dear World Can I Get a Break) or WAYKMWTC (World, Are You Kidding Me With This Crap.)

I think we should all try to incorporate my new acronyms into popular texting vernacular.  Together we can make a difference and end the use of overly dramatic acronyms in texts and status updates.  

Monday, November 15, 2010

Hair today, hair tomorrow

I'm getting my hair cut Thursday.  Long, long overdue, friends.  Long.  I've practically got a mom mullet going on over here and it ain't pretty.

Nelson and Oscar are getting their hair cut this weekend.

Do you know who's NOT getting his hair cut?

Miles William.

We've decided that there will be no hair cut for Miles anytime in the near future.  He's going to be a long-haired kid, until he objects. It mostly stays out of his eyes, but it's terribly messy.  He always looks wind blown, like he just got off a boat or a motorcycle or a black ops mission.  He's like the baby version of Michael Westen but with messy hair.  Miles does love yogurt...

Right now, the back is borderline matted.  He ALMOST has baby dreads. I am not about the baby dreads.  In fact, I told Nelson just the other night that he should take Miles in for a hair cut when he and Oscar went this weekend.  Nelson objected.  "Lets leave it long." 

I might clean it up a little bit.  I'm okay with long hair, but not neglected-looking long hair, you know?

This guy does not need a hair cut.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A pivotal parenting moment

There comes a time in every parent's life when he or she must decide weather or not to put their children in dorky, matching sweaters for professional photos.

For me, tomorrow will be that time.

Who will I be?  The dorky sweater-matching parent, or the free-spirited parent who choses clothing that lets her children's individual personalities shine?

Alright, alright, who am I kidding?  It's dorky sweaters all the way.  Mostly because it is CUTE (even if dorky) but, if I'm being entirely honest, it is a LITTLE BIT for future comedy.

And that's the parent I am, folks.  I am the parent who dresses her kids in dorky matching sweaters because 20 year from now these photos will be comedic gold.


I'm already laughing.

Monday, November 8, 2010


This weekend I had the occasion to go to Target, just Oscar and I,which almost never happens.  It was as straight up and down errand run - toilet paper, paper towels, the like.  Not a very exciting trip for Oscar, nor for me since I couldn't really browse the clearance because he is three and has no patience for deals, but it was fun because he and I were having a good time, just the two of us.

We had many, many moments during this trip.  I was filled with patience and Oscar was filled with good humor.  One moment Oscar declared himself a police officer and I declared myself his captain and we referred to each other quite ridiculously has Officer Gibson and Captain Mommy throughout the trip.

There was another moment when I helped him pick out two choice Hot Wheels cars, one for him and one for Miles.  I also let him choose a candy bar in the check out line because he was just so stellar and because we had another stop to make.  He chose a Kit Kat and then came the moment when informed me he had no plans to share.

It was a Saturday afternoon to Target was packed.  We had to park in what I consider the axillary parking lot, which is a smallish lot to the right of the store, as opposed to the main lot in front of the store.  For several moments Oscar and I were walking to the auxiliary lot and chatting.  He was in the kid seat part of the cart and the back of the cart was filled with gigantic packages of paper products.

We navigated around to the side of the store, over to the crosswalk, where I paused for a moment, looking both ways.  No car coming on my left; a gray taxi cab coming on my right.

"Look, mom!  A gray taxi cab! Why is it gray?  Why is it at the store?  Why is it stopping?"

The cab slowed as it approached the crosswalk and waved me on.

"Some people don't own cars so they take taxis to the store.  It is stopping so we can cross the street.  This is a crosswalk.  The cars have to wait for us while we cross," I explained in the moment when we started across the street.

And then, I guess the car coming up behind the taxi cab decided he did not want to wait the 30 seconds for us to cross the street and he went around the taxi cab and came within about two inches from hitting my shopping cart.  The shopping cart carrying my child.

I think my heart may have jumped clear out of my throat in that moment as I imagined what nearly happened, what was inches away from happening.  My shopping cart getting clipped by a car easily going 25 miles per hour; the cart being ripped from my hands and flipping over and over; Oscar being thrown from the cart, under the cart, under the car; Oscar screams or lack of screams (which would be worse?); the blood; his pain; my helplessness.

Of course Oscar was untouched and absolutely fine, and so was I if you don't include the years that incident scared of my life.  It was just a moment in my life, a moment that I've had a million times, that all parents have had a million times.  A moment of what ifs that makes you realize how much of life is up to chance and that sometimes bad things happen and parents are powerless to stop them.  A moment that fills you with terror.  A moment that you push through so you can get back to the real moments where bad things are not happening and you are calmly pushing your shopping cart through a crosswalk and answering your three-year-olds questions about why some people don't have cars and the difference between taking a taxi and a bus.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


Yesterday was a big day here in the Oscarelli household.  Yesterday marked the very first time in the history of his entire life that Miles William responded to me in the affirmative.  I asked him if he wanted a snack, and he said, "Yeah." And then I said, "Did you just say 'Yeah?'" and Miles slapped on his devilish grin and said, "Yeah!" and then I kissed his cute little face about a thousand times and tickled his belly until he was red with laughter.

And then I got him a snack.


I realize you may be thinking, "Isn't six-weeks shy of two-years-old a bit late to be saying 'yes' or a variation of 'yes?'"

The answer is no, or I don't know, or I don't care.  I have no concerns about the speed of Miles William's speech and language development.  He's been totally on par developmentally.  At just under two, has 50 to 75 words; can follow directions; identify shapes and animals in pictures; makes multiple animal sounds; has been using two word phrases for a couple of months; and just last week started saying full three and four word phrases.  Miles does not/has never talked as much or as articulately as Oscar, but Oscar is a little above the curve as far as verbal skills and I think Miles is firmly in the middle.

So why no "yes?"  I don't know.  Prior to yesterday, to convey the idea of "yes," Miles would say "No!" emphatically while smiling.  He's been doing this consistently for like three or four months.  I don't think he was being contrary, I think he just thought "no" was the standard response to question, "Do you want X?" and by smiling, he'd indicate when the "x" was correct.  Almost like he thought that attitude was the key component to his response.  This smiling no worked has worked so well for so long, I think he just didn't feel the need to say "yes." Why would he?  He was getting what he wanted.

Watching kids acquire language is by far one of my favorite parts of parenting, especially after having a second child and seeing how differently language acquisition has been for each boy.  Oscar was always very precise.  Often when he learned a new word, he'd repeat it back and forth with me until he had the pronunciation correct.  As a result, he's had almost none of the jargon you normally see in a toddler/preschooler.  He's also been interested in things like, when to use could, would, or should; and sentence structure.  It is also really common for Oscar ask what words mean, and to keep asking until he figures out how to use the word correctly.

Miles has been different.  His speech acquisition has been more sudden, and he has lots of jargon.  People who are around him a lot can understand him, but to strangers his speech sounds like nonsense.  Oscar actually understands Miles the best and often translates for his little brother.  I've recently noticed his words.taking more form; "pah-see-toe" (Popsicle) is becoming "pah-sit-al" and "skee-ee" (scary) is becoming "sca-dee."

While the process of acquiring speech has felt longer with Miles, it all seems to happen at once.  Like he went from five words to 20 in a day, or something, but not until he was 20 months.  I almost think he has a lot more words than he says out loud and he's holding them in so that when he finally does say them they have maximum impact.  For example, last week, he said, "I sit in wagon with Xaiver." Up until that point, he'd only been using two or three word phrases and then BAM!  Six!  Describing an action!  And yesterday he said to me, "I see a monster truck.  It's big." A two sentence mini conversation.  Where'd that come from?  And as soon as he started doing these things he does them all the time.

My boys are still young so I still have several more year to watch them learn language.  I love it.  You can almost see the gears in their little heads turning as they figure things out, put things together.  And language is just the beginning.  Nelson and I are both big science nerds, so I was thinking how cool it's going to be when they start learning about physics and chemistry and biology.  They are just going to keep learning and learning and learning.  It makes you realize that the human brain is really amazing.

What do you love watching your kids learn and/or do?  What are you looking forward to wasting them learn as they get older?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Wait your turn, loser

My kids have been sick.  Probably your kids have been sick, too.  Miles is on week three of green crap coming out of his nose and has developed a really wretched cough, so I brought him in to the doctor yesterday.

The first available appointment they had for him was at 3:45 yesterday.  Now, if live in/have ever lived in/visited the DC metro area, you know that our afternoon rush hour begins at 3PM and ends at 7PM.  These are four hours you do not want to be on the road unless you absolutely have to.   Clearly, as my child was oozing puss, I absolutely had to.

When we get to the doctor's office (only two minutes late!) I was told that the doctor we were seeing was running 30 minutes behind schedule.  That's a lot, especially when you have a toddler who, despite his illness, is a runner.  (For those non-parents reading, a runner is a kid that will, well RUN AWAY from parents at top speed at every opportunity, especially into streets, parking lots, open elevators, what ever is most dangerous.  Also, runners tend to be especially fast.)

After about five minutes, the shine had worn off the trains and matchbox cars and books I had brought to keep Miles entertained, and he proceeded to bolt down the hallways and towards the elevators for the next 25 minutes.

They finally took us back and we waited another 15 minutes to see the doctor.  She felt that because he'd been so sick for so long and was showing no signs of improvement, it was antibiotic time.  She wrote a script and we were back on the road towards home by 5PM, AKA the height of rush hour.

About 45 minutes later, we were unloading in the Target parking lot so I could get his prescription and some paper towels.   We dropped off the script with the pharmacist and he told me to come back at 6:15, which was 25 minutes later.  I got a bag of Goldfish for Miles and my paper towels, a plug in menthol thingy for the boys' room, a couple of dinosaur sweatshirts for the boys for $3.99 each, and an R2D2 T-shirt for Oscar on clearance for $3.48.

So, 25 minutes and $35 later, I was back at the pharmacy and I hopped in line to pick up the prescription.  Everyone was busy so I just stood in the designated Pick-Up line and waited.  I wasn't waiting for more than a minute or so, no biggie (the cleak was helping someone at Drop Off), and two other people got in the pick up line behind me.

The clerk finished with the customer and Drop Off and walked over to me.  He made eye contact with me and said, "May I help you?"  Very polite and courteous.  I responded, "Yes, I'm pi-"

And then, some woman comes up and STEPS IN FRONT OF ME and says, "Can you tell me where your eyebrow wax is? Which aisle it is on? I can't find it."

The clerk looked disarmed and looked over to her and then back to me.  And then she looked at me and said, "Oh, sorry."

Like she didn't notice me and the THREE OTHER PEOPLE waiting in line?  Like her need for eyebrow wax was so urgent she couldn't wait her GD turn?  There is no line rule that states if you just have a question you can butt in front of several people.  Oh, no, that is not how it works, my hairy eyebrowed friend, particularly when it is busy.  You and your eyebrows have to wait their turn.

So, she said, "Oh, sorry," and I said, "Sure you are," and then to the clerk, "Go ahead," and he answered her question re: eyebrow wax.

Then, the clerk apologized to me and checked me out and then I waited for a few more minutes because my prescription was not actually ready.

I'm still annoyed.  The whole day was annoying, and Miles has not been magically cured after one dose of antibiotics.  I just want people to be courteous and my kids to stop being sick, okay?  OKAY?

How was your Monday?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

What up, Tuesday?

Ugh.  U.G.H.

I made mistake last night of staying up late watching DVDs.  Both kids were in bed by 7:30, and Nelson is on travel, so I had the whole evening to myself.  I've been watching How I Met Your Mother.  My friend Kate lent me seasons one through three.  I love this show.  Do you watch it?  You should.  It's pretty much one of the funniest things on TV right now.

It was maybe 11PM and I was watching the last episode of Season One, Disc Two and who should wander down the stairs but Oscar.  The show was almost over so I set him up on the couch while I finished up.

I had been planning on going to bed at 11:30.  Now, let me just say that 11:30 is way to late for me to be going to bed.  I'm up by 5:30AM.  I need to be in bed by 10 at the latest.  However, I sleep terribly when Nelson is gone, so I stay up as late as possible, and then I read until the book physically falls on my face and then I go to bed.  I'm generally exhausted by the time he gets back, but if I don't max myself out, I'll stay up all night analyzing every creak and crack in my house (and there are a lot of them; our house is 92 years old and we have radiators) waiting for our alarm to go off.

So, around 11:30, I bring Oscar upstairs with me and he wants me to lie with him in his bed.  And I do, for about a half an hour.  Then, I get up to go to my bed, because I cannot sleep in his bed.  I don't have my alarm clock and he has all these animals and blankets and it just wasn't working for me.

When I got up to leave, Oscar started crying.  He wanted me to stay.  I told him he could come with me to my bed, and then he said no, because my room was too scary.  He said Mr. Skull was in there and we had to leave the light on (WTF, Mr. Skull?  Thanks, Oscar.)  We negotiated that I would bring his night light in and that would be good enough.

Well, surprise, surprise it was NOT good enough and when we got in there he melted down because my room was so scary.  I mean, it is pretty dark in there, I'm not going to lie, but I was right there with him.  Then, I melted down because I was exhausted and begged him to please, please, please just go to sleep.  He quieted down and I think I fell asleep like two seconds later.

I was woken what I though was five seconds later by Miles crying.  In reality it was an hour later.  So I fetched Miles and all of his blankets and bunnies and brought them to my room, where he proceeded to toss and turn for a flipping HOUR.

He was awake and crying again at around 4:30.  Oscar woke up and told me I needed to bring Miles back to his crib.  I knew that wasn't going to work because I was going to be up for the day in just a few minutes.  Both boys settled down just as my alarm went off.

Then, Valentine started nudging my hand because she wanted to go out.  And Oscar started making elephant trumpets.  And Miles started blowing raspberries on my stomach and yelling "El fan!" every time Oscar trumpeted.  Okay, that part was pretty cute.

The good part of all of this, is that the boys were in a great mood and played well while I showered and got dressed, and both got dressed without a fight.  The bad part is that I got no laundry or dishes done this morning and it's 9AM and I still haven't had my breakfast and am totally exhausted.  But, I have played monster trucks, been a pretend customer at Oscar's store, and attended a tea party with Miles William.  I also got two extra hours of nose-wiping in today.

Anyway, so that's my Tuesday.  What's new with you?

Friday, October 22, 2010

Actually, the line is over HERE

Warning!  Gratuitous use of all caps below. I was feeling a bit yelly.

I had a couple of books on hold at the library, so I decided that Miles and I would leave a few minutes early for preschool pick up and stop by the library to get my books.  Oscar's preschool is about 10 minutes, and the library is just about halfway between the house and the preschool.  I absolutely love when I can squeeze in errands while Oscar is at preschool, and I had already hit Trader Joe's and Safeway, so dropping by the library prior to pick up had me feeling very efficient and angelic.

Anyways, we arrived at the library right on schedule (12:45!) AND got the closest non-handicap parking space.  This was shaping up to be a banner errand running mission.  

Miles and I walk into the library and I let him put my book into the return slot.  Then we go around the counter to get in line. 

So, our library is set up as I imagine most libraries are set up: A long counter with three or four computers and librarians stationed behind it, as well as shelves and book carts and the like.  I don't know how standard this is, but our library has two check out lines; one where you can use a hand scanner and check out books all by yourself (self check out) and one where you actually go up and get checked out by the librarian. The self-check out line is actually at the side of the counter, as opposed to the librarian check-out line, which is at the front of the counter.

For the librarian line, there are those black nylon retractable ropes on either side of the line, to separate it from the self-check out line (to the left) and the entrance way (to the right.) There is also a bookshelf with updated monthly with seasonal selections that is kind of in between the librarian line and the self check line.  Because of this book shelf, the retractable rope separating the two lines is pretty short, because the bookshelf also kind of separates the lines.  

Since I'm picking up books, I go and stand in the librarian line. I notice that there was a woman standing sort of off to the side, kind of in the self check-out line, talking on her phone.  She didn't have any books, though, so I thought she was just an asshole talking on her phone in the library.  At this time, there is one librarian working on scanning returns in and another librarian helping a patron apply for a new card. No one else is standing in the librarian line, so I am first.

"Hey.  HEY." says phone lady.

I turn to look at her (the self-check out is slightly behind the librarian check out line.)


"The LINE starts HERE.  Behind ME." 

And she says it all snotty like, as though I am trying to cut in line, WHICH I WAS NOT, but I was just totally shocked by how completely rude she was, because number one, get off your damn phone when you are in the library; and number two, she was standing IN THE WRONG LINE and I know it was the wrong line because there are SIGNS hanging from the ceiling dictating which line is which, Self-Check Out and Assisted Check-Out; and number three, just be polite, okay?  Just say, "Excuse me, but I think the line starts back here." 

Because if she had said that and BEEN POLITE I would have said, "No, actually the line to see the librarian starts here.  Go ahead, you are in front of me," because if you know anything about me, you know that I am a slave to line rules.  I believe in lines and standing in them and standing in them properly.  I believe in waiting your turn and no cutting or butting or complaining because our ability to stand in an orderly line and wait our turn is the only thing that separates us from the animals and the very foundation upon which our society was built and continues to thrive.  That and our ability to wear scarves.  And and also opposable thumbs.  Those are important, too.

Anyways, if I HAD been in the wrong line (which I was NOT) I would have been more than happy to get in the proper line.  Like I said above, I BELIEVE IN LINES.  But, let me just say again, SHE WAS IN THE WRONG LINE. 

But, I was so disarmed by her blatant rudeness and her vocal implication that I had broken the rules of the line (because I don't have anything better to do than cut in line at the library?), that I just moved and got in line behind her even though I was absolutely certain that she was in the wrong line.  Wrong, wrong, wrong.

About 30 seconds later a third librarian materializes and says to the rude, wrong line, phone lady, "Can I help you?  Are you self-checking out?"  You know, because she was in the SELF-CHECK OUT line and NOT the LIBRARIAN LINE.  And she's all, "Oh, no, I have a book on hold," and he was like, "Okay, that line is right over here," you know, WHERE I WAS ORIGINALLY STANDING, in the front of the counter as opposed to the side of the counter.

And then, THEN, get this, she was trying to get a book that she had put on hold like 30 minutes prior.  Really, rude, wrong line, phone lady?  Really?  That's just not how it works.  Yes, the system immediately flags the book so no one else can check it out, but you have to actually give the librarians a chance to get the mother flipping book off the shelf, flag it with your name, and put it on the hold shelf.  And, also?  Putting your specific book on the hold shelf is not priority one. They have some other things going on. 

So, lets just lay out now all the reasons rude, wrong line, phone lady is a tool: 

1) She was standing in the wrong line; 
2) She was really rude when she told me I was in the wrong line and implied that I was cutting in front of her; 
3) She was talking on the phone in the library;
4) She does not pay attention to signs;
5) She clearly does not understand the Rules of Standing in/on (depending on where in the country you hail from) Line;
6) She has ridiculous expectations of library staff;
7) She was standing in the wrong line (worth repeating.)

Then she went off to the adult circulation desk to bother them about her book and I got my books (which had been placed on hold several days prior, and then waited until I was notified that the books were ready for pick up) and went to pick up Oscar. 

In closing, I just want to urge you all to stand in line proudly and properly, and should you expect a line violation, do not jump to conclusions.  Instead, calmly inquire and be polite.  If there is a violation, any right-minded person will apologize for and quickly correct said violation and if they do not?  They are most likely the type of uncivilized individual you really don't want to tangle with and in this instance you should just let it go.

Lets keep it civilized out there folks.