Tuesday, February 23, 2010

RTT: Dude, I Don't Even Know

How does the song go? Tuesday, Wednesday; stay in bed? Well, since that's not an option:

*After more than two weeks we finally have our Internet and land line restored. They sent a tech last Wednesday and she call to tell me the snow banks were too big and she couldn't access the telephone pole; I rescheduled for Friday. Well, Friday came and what was intermittent phone and Internet access turned into NO phone and Internet access. So, I called again on Sunday. And they claimed a tech came on Friday and "fixed a dropped line." They also claimed that we weren't home when he came (LIE) so he could not check the inside line. Another tech came yesterday and check the inside line and it turned out that the tech on Friday fixed the dropped line with a wire that was incompatible with the wiring going into our house. So, he replaced the wire and the DSL synced up and the phone was working. But we couldn't connect because I had to reset the connection. I called tech support and talked to someone clearly in India and that's all well and good and normally I understand accented English really well, but when a two-and-a-half-year-old is screaming and playing with loud toys and climbing on me and yelling in my ear? Not so much. After 20 minutes we had the connection restored. My Internet is back! I feel human again.

*I want the sun. Please, someone send the sun. Also, sleep.

*A conversation with Oscar yesterday over his poop -

Oscar: Is it a big one, Mommy?
Jenni: Yeah, it's a big one, Buddy.
Oscar: It's a lion poop Mommy, a big lion poop!
Jenni: What?!
Oscar: It's a big lion poop. Lions are big. They have big poops.
Jenni: Yeah, that's right. A lion poop it is.

*Nelson is in California this week (what up, OC?!) and my mom is in town helping me wrangle the boys. Praise be.

*So, yesterday, Oscar and I were upstairs looking for is blanket and we couldn't find it, so I told him that it must be downstairs. His response: "No, Mommy, my blanket disappeared." He pronounced and used "disappeared" correctly. That's crazy, right? It's like he's becoming a grown person.

*Miles new words this week: sock, shoe, water (wa-dar), tickle (as in tickle, tickle!).

*I sliced the hell out of my finger last night while making dinner. A dinner neither of my children touched. Possibly because it was tainted by human flesh. Or not tainted with enough human flesh.

*Have you heard that XBox and ET finally had their baby? A little girl (as I predicted, though Monica pointed out I ALWAYS predict girls.) I've been following his blog for two years as they tried to conceive and it totally warms my heart to see a photo of little Sanne on his blog. Congrats, guys. She's gorgeous, and she picked a great family.

*You know how we all have things that we don't/won't/can't blog about? But sometimes these things are huge parts of our lives and it's really difficult not to write about them because they just take up so much space in our minds and hearts? Yeah, well I have one right now.

*You know what I think is ridiculous? That how every time Facebook changes it's homepage layout people are always all up in arms and posting polls and groups about how much they hate it. But six months later, when they change it again, they are now in love with the layout that they were so recently protesting. I just feel like that's a lot of wasted time. Kind of like blogging about Facebook.

Okay, that's all I got. Check out Keely for more Random Tuesday Thoughts.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Social Graces and How I Have None

Here's a news flash for you: Sometimes I'm a bit socially awkward. Not incredibly socially awkward and not all the time; just a little bit and on occasion. I've gotten pretty good at covering up for my social awkwardness with self deprecating humor and gratuitous use of swear words. It's kind of a smoke and mirrors trick.

Okay, so I have the neighbor. Nelson used to refer to her as the Mean Lady because she has a stern look about her. But I've gotten to know her and she and I are friends of a sort and I've come to know that she's not at all mean; she actually very nice and her kids are nice and she's a good neighbor. I mean, she has two teenagers that are respectful and not obnoxious. That's some good parenting right there. So, I asked him to stop calling her the Mean Lady. Then Nelson started calling her the No Eyebrow Lady, and while this IS true, it seems kind of mean to me so I nixed that name too (I never let him have any fun.) Now we just call her Neighbor Lady.

You may be wondering why we don't just call Neighbor Lady by her name. That would be because we don't know her name. It's not like I've just forgotten her name. No, I never knew it. We just started chatting one day when I was walking Nora to school and she was walking her youngest son (she has three) to school and we never really formally introduced ourselves. This was two falls ago, when I was very pregnant with Miles. Her two older boys are in high school and are 18 months apart like my boys, so we were kindred spirits.

After Miles was born, she delivered two gigantic bunches of bananas, which are really good for breastfeeding moms (everyone, really) and then came by to meet the baby. She is so, so nice. When all the neighbors were digging each other over the past two weeks, she came over and gave me a big hug. Then, she told her older sons to help her dig out the vehicles of the older people on our block. It was on this occasion that Nelson heard our other neighbor address her as Miss Jeanie or Miss Jill, but he wasn't sure which because his particular neighbor has a very, very thick Jamaican accent, and even after living next door for nearly five years we still have trouble understanding him sometimes. (It's SUPER DUPER thick; his U.S. born children told me that even they can't understand him half the time either, and they've lived with him for 20+ years.)

So, what to do? I really want to know her name, but it has been way, way too long for me to ask. It's been like a year and a half. What's the protocol here folks? Is there anyway for me to get out of this situation without looking like a total moron? I'm really hoping someone can help me out with this social dilemma. (Becky? Anyone?)

(If you get to meet me at BlogHer this year? Get ready for all kinds of social gaffs and inappropriate jokes on my part. It's gonna be awesome. They shouldn't let me out of the house. I apologize to my roommate in advance.)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

RTT: Sleepless Nights, Face Plants, and Zombie Babies

It's Tuesday, I'm tired, so lets get Random.
*If you haven't already, click through today and check out my new header. I changed it up in celebration of my 500th post. And also due to the fact that the old header was nearly two years old and I now have twice as many children.

*Miles was up four times last night. Four. 9PM, 11:30PM, 2:00AM, 5:00AM. He's teething, but after all that? Miles woke up with same four teeth he's been sporting for the last six months. I'm pretty sure he's torturing me.

*Oscar refused to go to bed last night. Just refused. He was up until 9, when he woke up Miles. I'm certain the two of them are colluding.

*Nelson is out of town in Nebraska until Thursday. I'm pretty sure he's in on the torture plan as well. Okay, I'm sure he's not in on it at all. In fact he feels really, really bad because the kids always do this to me; they always act out and refuse to sleep and are on their worst behaviors when Nelson is out of town. But, I find it really hard to accept his sympathy when he's a thousand miles away, sleeping in a big bed all by himself, all night long, completely uninterrupted.

*Never before have I even so much as entertained the most fleeting of thoughts that I might like to visit Nebraska but holy crap do I wish I was there right now.

*In all fairness, I should mention that the boys have been mostly good during the daylight hours. They've been playing together really well and we've had a great time. In fact, we all got to take a nap yesterday. Even me! They only show their fangs at night.

*I had a great Valentine's day complete with a sleep in, handmade valentines, and hand made photo magnets (by Oscar, with minimal help from Nelson.) Best Valentine's Day EVER.

*In the area of wins, Oscar's potty training is going really well. He is down to minimal accidents, one every two or three days. I'd say he's making it to the potty about 95% of the time for number one and 80% of the time for number two. Unfortunately he's constipated this week which is a potty training momma's worst nightmare. Regardless, I'm still really proud of his progress and every time he says, "I have to go poop! Hurry! I have to go now!" I'm very proud.

*When we were at the pediatrician's office for Miles the other week, the doctor told me that Oscar (who was with us) speaks as well as a 3 to 3.5 year old. I was shocked. I mean, I know he speaks very clearly but what the hecks do I know about toddler language development? All I really know is Oscar. I'm going to go ahead and credit my excellent parenting for his advance verbal skills.

*Why were we at the doctor for Miles? Well, while I was in the bathroom and he was sleeping (I thought) in bed with Nelson, Miles took a face dive off the bed. Just crawled right off and landed on his FACE. He was bleeding from his mouth and clearly had a fat lower lip. Now, if you have a toddler it's likely they've had a fat lip, so you know they bleed quite a bit, but stop bleeding pretty quickly. Well, Miles did not stop bleeding quickly. He bled, and bled a lot, for an hour and a half. I was starting to freak out when it stopped. I had actually called Nelson twice on his way to work to tell him I though he was going to have to come home so we could take Miles to the ER. Miles seemed fine - he was eating, drinking, laughing, playing - that's why I didn't freak out more quickly. A couple of hours later when we were at Danny's house, Susanne and I noticed some blood spots on Miles's left eye, so we decided to bring him in. He was fine, just banged up. He had a bruised eye, a busted lower lip, and all that bleeding? Well, he'd torn that flap of skin that connects your upper lip to your top gum line. OUCH. The doctor said that it is not an uncommon injury and it heals itself, but it does bleed a lot. No kidding. A week and a half later our little guy is no worse for the wear and we've managed to keep him from launching himself off the bed again.

*Not one to be outdone, Oscar and I were dancing in the kitchen two nights ago and he slipped and caught his cheekbone on his wooden step stool. He's got quite the nasty bruise on his face.

*Miles is talking more and more. His verbal repertoire includes the words: no, hi, bye, uh-oh, ah done (all done), dog, Dada, Mama (only when he's crying), and Ah-ca (Oscar.) Miles will lumber around, arms outstretched, calling, "Ah-ca! Ahhhh-ca!" It's kind of zombie like, but way cuter and I'm pretty sure he doesn't eat brains. He's also finally started walking for real, though he still crawls more than he walks.

*In outrageously cute news the other day, Miles was sitting on the ground playing with monster truck ("Vrroom! Vrroom!") and Oscar sat down beside him and said, "Can I play monster trucks with you Miles?" AND THEN HE DID. Heart, melting.

Okay, off you! Get thee to Keely's and check out the other Random players. Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


So, GREAT questions, folks and I've been thinking all weekend about answering them.

Here goes!

Sprite's Keeper asks: Why's a raven like a writer's desk?

Well, SK, to assume there's a logical answer to this riddle would be to assume that Wonderland is a logical place. In fact, there's no answer at all.

Mrs. Bear asks: What's the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow?

Would that be African or European?

Captain Dumbass asks: What does big hands say about a woman?

That she wears big gloves, smartass.

Jenn asks: How did you build a blogging readership (other than great posts)?

I don't have too terribly large of a readership and I've never put any real work into it either. It's happened really gradually and over a looooong period of time, and I think it's happened for a couple of reasons. One is that I read and comment on a ton of blogs. If you can write a funny/witty/smart/insane comment on a blog, that blog's writer and other readers will check you out and I think that is how lots of folks that read Oscarelli now found the blog. I also try to reply to all my commenters via email if possible because I really do love and appreciate every comment I get and I like establishing a personal connection with readers. I think that helps to keep people coming back. I'm also really lucky that a lot of awesome blogs have Oscarelli in their public blogroll that drives traffic to the site and gives Oscarelli credibility. So if you link to me, thanks!

Aliceson asks: How have you changed since you started writing your blog and how has your writing changed?

Well, my writing has changed A LOT. Please don't EVER go back in my archives and read my earliest posts. They were awful. It took me several months to develop my writing style and comfort zone on Oscarelli. It started out as more of a documentation of Oscar's milestones and is now much more personal about my feelings and struggles and victories as a parent and wife and human being. I think I've changed, too. I'm a bit more cynical now, a more seasoned parent, and I'm much more honest about my mistakes.

Big Mama Cass wants to know: What are your plans for V-Day?

Oh, Cass, they were so unglamorous. My husband let me sleep in until 9AM and made breakfast; I got handmade valentines and photo magnets from Oscar and a very sweet card from my husband; played Buzz Lightyear with Oscar for hours; baked black-bottom cupcakes with Oscar. Actually, it was a pretty amazing day.

Stimey asks: What are your favorite things about blogging? Why do you blog?

My favorite thing about blogging hands down is the community. I love all of the friends I've made with bloggers all over the country and world. I feel really lucky to have connected with so many wonderful writers and exceptional people. And I blog because it makes my life feel more full. I've always loved to write (I was a journalism major, after all) and it is great to have Oscarelli as an outlet.

Barbara wants to know: How did you meet your husband?

Ah, have I never written about this? I met my husband my sophomore year in high school. His locker was beside my best friend Juile's and he had lunch with my other best friend Christie. We traveled in the same circle of friends and hung out for several months before we started dating. He was the first guy I ever dated who didn't dye his hair and/or have multiple piercings. I didn't think it would last more than a month. We've been together the better part of 16 years, married for five.

Becky says: I'd love to hear about the work you did before you became a stay-at-home mom!

Before having kids, I was a non-profit fundraiser. I did all kinds of fundraising: phone-a-thons, direct mail, major donors, membership, special events (my favorite), foundation grants. A little bit of everything. I worked for mostly women's advocacy groups until my last job, where I worked for a labor union advocacy group. I did some union activism in college so this last job was my favorite. The organization was brand new and I played a central role in building the fundraising program from the ground up. I got to work with some really amazing people, including one of my own personal political heroes (I'm not going to write his name here, but I'll email you if you really want to know.) I also got to meet Tom Morello, Danny Glover, and tons of cool politicians (here in DC politicians are like celebrities). But, it was mostly very unglamorous. I did a lot of calling people and asking them for large sums of money, and lots and lots of strategic planning and budgeting and meetings and meeting planning and tons and tons of pressure. I don't miss it, but I do feel very proud of the work I did while I was there.

Thank you all so much for indulging me. I think I feel my mojo stirring.

Friday, February 12, 2010


I popped into blogger this morning to finish up a post and I realized that this is my 500th post! Wow, right? Okay, so a few of those have been guest posts but, WHATEVER. I'm counting it.

So, I was thinking I could so one of those posts where I tell you 100 things about myself but seemed so self indulgent. Also, the thought of coming up with 100 funny/witty/interesting things about myself put me to sleep so I can only imagine what reading such a list would do to you folks.

The truth is, I've been a little blocked lately. I keep starting these posts and I don't know if they're going to be funny or serious or a little bit of both and they end up being a whole lot of nothing. So I got to thinking: Maybe for this, my 500th post, you folks could help me out.

So, I'm going to open the floor for questions (because THAT'S not self indulgent.) Any burning question you may have for me, maybe about posts that I never resolved or life in general, post them in the comments and I'll respond next week. I'm hoping that this little exercise will help me get my blogging mojo back. I miss it.

So, ask away! Help a blogger out.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snow. My. God.

Our porch, around 12 hours in:

Nelson, shoveling, hour 12 (around 24 inches):

Icicles handing from our eaves, the day after:

Snow, icicles on our porch roof:

Our wagon, snow half removed. There's another car in our drive way behind it:

A cute baby:

The only photo of me and the kids in the snow I deemed acceptable for the internet:

Oscar, what's he doing?:

Making a snowball!:

Coming after his dad:

All told, we got around 30 inches, with drifts as high as four feet. We're supposed to get 10-20 more inches this afternoon and tomorrow. Ridiculous.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

He Doesn't Need Instructions

Scene: My living room a day or so ago.

Jenni: Oscar, come here. Mommy needs a hug.

Oscar: No, Mommy, I can't. I just want to rock. I JUST WANT TO ROCK!

Jenni: Well, okay then. ROCK OUT!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Good Day

I was sitting here this morning laboring over a post about Miles; about how freeing I've found parenting him and about how different my worries are the second time around.

It started out as a happy, relaxed post that spiraled into worry so I've put it aside for now because I'm not in the mood to worry. I've spent the morning building train tracks that were later destroyed by dinosaurs and lining up cars to be crushed by monster trucks and racing loaders and playing catch. The joy in these games, the games of little boys, is overwhelming and much preferred over worry of things I don't know and cannot control.

I'm more well rested today than I've been in a week. I went to bed at a reasonable hour. Oscar stayed in his own bed. Nelson got up with Miles. I had time to shower this morning. I'm making a new dish for dinner (Cuban-style beef and rice) and there are two cupcakes left for the boys for snack time this afternoon. We had about five inches of wet, fluffy snow last night and today the sun is shining.

The boys are playing together well. I'm hopeful about naps today. I feel...serene.

It is going to be a good day. I can feel it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

RTT: Updates! Read All About It!


*Miles William is still sleeping like crap. He's back to waking around 1AM he's screaming so loudly that if I don't bring him into our bed he wakes Oscar. Then, I have two children in my bed. So, Miles wins. He gets to come to the bed. He's absolutely cutting molars right now and is miserable for it. Even once he's in our bed he spends the night tossing and turning. His signature move is throwing his head back and slamming it into my nose. Once last night; twice the night before. It's pretty awesome. I am sleeping horribly. But I would sleep even more horribly with two children in my bed. So, win? Partially?

*Oscar is officially sleeping in his big boy bed most nights. Not last night, or anything, when he was up until 10:30PM and I finally brought him into our bed so he'd go to sleep. Then, when Nelson moved him, he had to stay in Oscar room with him for an hour. Oh, yeah, and that little maneuver work up Miles, who tossed and turned in our bed from 1AM on. Not that I'm tired. At this point, I'm pretty sure my body has evolved into a state of hyper performance where I no longer need sleep. Kind of like Jason Bourne, without all the killing.

*Oscar is killing potty training. He is in underwear every day. We're averaging once accident a day, but he did have his first accident free day on Friday. His main problem is that he doesn't always tell us in time that he has to go to the potty, and he does not make it. Sometimes he'll be really busy playing and realize too late that he's got to go, and he'll have an accident. He is also more likely to have them when he's tired. He's also successfully peed in public, but only in his potty. (Yes, I bring his potty with us. No, I don't have any shame.) I'm not quite sure what else to do because he's afraid of the big toilet. So, with us the potty goes. Thank god I gave up what was left of my dignity years ago.

*It's settled. I'm going to BlogHer this year. And I'm likely rooming with this lady. And, possibly this lady. And, if we can convince her to trek her ass across country, this lady. I know, I know, it's like blog royalty. Dooce was totally begging to room with me, but I was like, "No way, Heather Armstrong! I'm only rooming with people named Jennifer and/or Pamela. You're out!" I'm slightly concerned that I'm going to drink way too much in an effort to Relax! and Be Social! and end up making a total ass of myself. Okay, that's pretty likely to happen. I'm also wondering what people wear to the BlogHer conference. Business attire? Jeans? Somewhere in the middle? I'm not worried about being cute, I'm worried about being appropriate. What I'm asking is should I leave the stripper shoes at home?

Check out my girl Keely for more RTT!