Sunday, August 31, 2008

Can I call the fire dept. to get my cat down?

OK. Last night I watched in amazement as our new cat scaled the side of a french door that opens into our family room, sat on top of the door and then leapt onto a pine beam near the top of our ceiling. See for yourself:

I was not only amazed by her feat, but more importantly disgusted at the amount of dust that fell as she walked back and forth across the beam. I always forget to clean up there. After almost 1/2 hour of wondering how to get her down last night, I managed to climb a ladder in my family room, could barely reach her, grabbed her by a paw, scooped her up as she was slipping off the side of the beam...claws out and all. Hubby was working so I had the pleasure of being the hero.

Guess what? She did it again tonight. She's meowing right now. Hubby is working again. Tonight, I'm going to just leave the ladder in there and let her figure out how to do this herself. I can't call the tallest neighbor we know to come help me because if he touches a cat he breaks out in hives. And I don't think the fire dept. would appreciate my call,

"I know it's not a tree, but can you save my cat from atop a pine beam inside my house?"

After yesterday, all the cat experts in my life said,

"I bet she won't do it again now that she knows she can get stuck."

Well, they were wrong!

...She's down. That's right. As I was typing she managed to leap from the pine beam back on top of the french door (yeah, it's only about 2 inches thick). When I heard the rattle I ran in expecting to find her in the middle of our rug in a ball but instead she was slowly scaling down the back side off the door, walked past me with her tail swishing back and forth as if to say,

"I don't need no stinking ladder!"

I just shut the door so there are no repeat performances at 1 a.m. If she can still manage to get up there somehow, then more power to her. Tomorrow, that door gets loaded with sticky tape - I hear they don't like the way that feels on their paws. Watch...mine won't care! Stay tuned.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Dry eyes

When we drove up to the school playground at 5:00 I was preparing myself for the worst. I thought she'd run away in tears telling me she didn't want to leave and then it would turn into a tear-fest for both of us in front of all the teachers and children.

But that didn't happen. Not even close. She ran over to me with a big hug, then turned to hug her best friend, gave her Pre-K teacher a hug goodbye and headed for the gate. That was it. That was the last day at her daycare/pre-K school. We went up to her classroom, collected the items from her cubby, took a few arts & crafts projects off the wall that were hers and headed for the car.

I am so proud of her. She is ready to move on and can't wait to start full-time Kindergarten next week. She is eager to learn new things and meet new friends. Not a tear. Not even one.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

I wanna be a rock star

I have a slight obsession with a certain rock star and I think I may be pushing that obsession on my children.

As a kid, growing up in my house meant being surrounded by a variety of Top 40 music from disco to rock n' roll. It was my Dad's job to sell 45's, cassettes and albums (and eventually those funny little shiny discs) so we would always sample the next potential hit on his souped up stereo system and then wait for it to make it on the radio station. "It pays the bills", as Dad would say. We'd sample the latest Donna Summer hit, or the next supposed smash by some band that called themselves Bon Jovi. "Just wait...they're going to be huge." Dad was always right.

And every time the band KISS would release a new album, my brother would rock out. And every time Barry Manillow would croon on the radio my Mom would dance around the kitchen. And every time Andy Gibb came on...well, we can save that for another blog.

But now that I am on the borderline of being a stalker of Matchbox Twenty and their lead singer Rob Thomas, I have inadvertently passed my Top 40 obsession on to my kids. And in particular my son. He has recently exclaimed he wants to grow up to be a rock star like Rob Thomas and is even putting on Rob Thomas concerts in our living room...only he insists on playing the drums and I keep reminding him Rob sings and plays piano or guitar. His response,

"I'm the new Rob Thomas."

Go for it, kid. I'll go to ALL your concerts for sure!!! My daughter has taken a liking to the new Katy Perry song "I kissed a girl." And while I am a HUGE equal opportunity person, I'm afraid that she's going to start kindergarten reciting the lyrics that go,

"I kissed a girl and I liked it. The taste of her cherry chapstick."

Did I mention she's heading to Catholic School?

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Repeat after me...

Pewn. Pee-yooning. Pee-yoon. Pewn.

I had NO idea what he was saying so I had to do it phonetically.

Me: "Say it slower."

Alex: "Peee-yooon."

Me: "Again."

Alex: "Pewn. Pewn. Pewner. Pewn."

Me: "What are you calling it?"

After several hundred attempts I finally realized that he is calling the little army tank that his aunt sent from Florida (not my first choice as a gift for a 3.5 year old) a "Pewn" because to him, that is the sound that guns and various exposure to cartoon weapons - that I have tried desperately to avoid - has formed in his head.

So if you say it fast, "pewn, pewn, pewn" he's kind of right. And I'd rather he call them that than walk around screaming "Bang. Bang. Boom. I got you with the gun." so I'm going with it...being hit by a "pewn" is much easier for me to swallow...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Time for change

Over 4 years ago I dropped my daughter off at her first day of daycare and cried the whole way to work. How could I leave her with strangers? Will they know when she wants to be hugged, cuddled or held? What will she do all day with her new friends? Will they know which blanket is hers and that she loves to sleep with her little stuffed dog? The heart ache was enough to have me second guessing my decision to go back to work for weeks.

But within days I saw how happy she was when she entered her classroom and would run to the play kitchen area or over to the book area and was blossoming into a wonderful little toddler. She had great new friends and teachers who always welcomed her with an enthusiastic "Good Morning!" and big hug.

I played out that same heart breaking scenario again when I dropped my son off 2 years later - tears on the way to work and all.

Now I have another round of tears to endure - we are leaving that daycare to move onto new adventures. Abby is getting ready to start kindergarten and her brother will start at a preschool program closer to home. I'm already second guessing our decision to move him and all of those "first day" jitters are re-emerging like they did 4 years ago! I really like this new place, but as a Mother I'm always cautious of change.

So as I dropped Abby off this morning I had to hold back my tears knowing I only have a few opportunities left to chat with the wonderful teachers, joke with the Director and wander through their classrooms looking at their artwork displayed on the walls. We were so fortunate to have had such a great childcare option and I am so grateful for all they have done - I have a feeling there will be many more tears saying goodbye than when we first entered the building all those years ago.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Come out, come out, wherever you are...

I have house guests this week. Well, house guests for 11 days to be exact. Growing up we never had house guests because everyone lived so close by that they just went home at the end of the day. This is very new for me.

Since it is my in-laws that are visiting I will resist the incredible urges to blog that have consumed me for days, other than to say the kids are thrilled to have Grandma and Papa for a visit (it's been over 2 years) and hubby and I are enjoying the homemade Puerto Rican dinners AND the built in babysitters so we can go out and celebrate our anniversary tonight :)

However, one phenomenon that has taken place since their arrival is that my kitchen items are playing hide and seek. Just like any other homemaker, there is a method to my madness in keeping all the mixing bowls together, the cups together and plates organized by size.

And while I truly appreciate not having to worry about a dinner menu every night, it is turning into quite an experience trying to find my housewares at the start of each day. My husband never uses our dishwasher and now I know why - neither do his parents. At the end of each meal they quickly gather up the dirty items and begin washing and drying with precision. If I serve more than 4 plates of food, it all gets dropped in the trusty Maytag. I'm not trying to sound ungrateful, really!!

It's just that my mother in-law puts things away in places that I never imagined they would fit. A random cup on one shelf when the rest are stored some place else. Bowls mixed with saucepans. Hmmmm...that big bowl really fits in that little drawer?

Hubby and I have been laughing about it as we discover things placed all over the kitchen. She is a very proud woman and would rather find a home for something than to ask where it goes. I'm sure my favorite serving spoon will show up soon. Five more days...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fast Forward 10 Years

She's sitting on her back on the oversized chair in the living room. Her head is on the ottoman and her legs are arched up on the chair - it actually looks pretty comfortable. She's clicking away on her sidekick, or blackberry, or iPhone - I can't tell the difference - and Coach is spread across her (in heaven) because I haven't kicked him off the furniture yet. He keeps looking over waiting for me to send him to his doggie bed, but I'll let him hang for now.

Within a few minutes she's on the floor on her back doing stretches to prepare for cheerleading practice next week when she starts 10th grade. The sidekick, blackberry, iPhone is buzzing away in her hands, and as she does leg lifts she doesn't miss a beat with her texting skills.

Her: "You know what would be really awesome right now?"

Us: "What?"

Her: "Pancakes."

It's 9:45 p.m. be able to eat pancakes right before bed and not morph into a stack of pancakes myself would be a dream.

And while I know this is just my 15 year old niece hanging out for the night with me and her grandparents, I can't help but realize this is also a glimpse into my future in 10 years with my own daughter. The texting, the cell phone calls, the fixing and refixing of the hair and makeup, and the look that reminds you that watching the Olympics with your Aunt and Grandparents probably doesn't rate as the *best* time of her summer vacation, all serve as a reminder that you can't keep them from growing up and need to grow with them through every year.

Reality: kindergarten starts in 2 weeks so I better just focus on that for now!!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Our healthcare system

A primary care physician once said to me it is a good idea to call you doctor on your birthday to schedule a routine check up every year to be sure the parts are all beating correctly and things are working fine. I take my kids every year, without fail, so I thought it to be a good piece of advice.

Until our PPO got involved. Apparently, on our plan, between the ages of 30 - 39 you are only allowed to check your moving parts and blood work once every 3 years (so, basically 3 times over 10 years). You can check the female plumbing every year, but other pieces of the female body have to wait 36 months. When I hit 40, my body will only have to make it 24 months without any issues (I hope) because that is apparently another magic moment in my life. Kind of like when I got pregnant after age 35 and spent every Tuesday of my last trimester at the OB, just to be safe.

So, from now on, I guess I will have to wait until something breaks or clogs up before I can go see a Dr. Kind of like knowing you should change the oil in your car every 5,000 miles but figuring once every 3 years *might* be good enough, if you are lucky.

Am I the only one that thinks something is wrong with this picture? "Congratulations, you are wise enough to take care of yourslef to avoid issues down the road that are much more costly to everyone, but we won't help to cover the costs of your intelligence. Good luck, and let's hope that cholesterol hasn't skyrocketed."


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Good luck, Santa

So I know it's hard to believe, but I have begun Christmas shopping!


I can hear you screaming it now. But with two kids born in early December, I need to get as much finished as early as possible so I can divide up the goods to spread throughout the month without tail spinning into a panic at Thanksgiving that I have nothing for gifts!!

As some of you know, we went to Santa's Village this summer where my kids met Santa and put in their early requests.

My son told me he was going to ask Santa for a real excavator. You know, the kind that dig up the earth at construction sites. We managed to get him down to a toy fire truck by the time he sat in Santa's lap. My daughter wouldn't share her request, which panicked me.

Santa: "Can you think of anything you'd like for Christmas?"

Abby: "Yup. I'd like Bambi's Dad and Bambi's Mom. But not the soft kind. The toy kind. You know which ones I mean?"

Santa: "OK. Bambi's Mom and Dad, huh?"

Abby: "Yup" (huge grin)

WTF??? I had forgotten that odd request and stupidly asked her this morning if she remembered what she asked Santa for - and as if she was sitting on his lap at that moment she whipped out the same request and it all came flooding back to me.

What is she talking about? And searching "Bambi toys" on eBay and other places is not turning up anything remotely similar to Bambi's dead mother and distant father (for those that have seen the movie!).

At least I can blame it on Santa when he doesn't deliver...I'll be the bad guy when she's 16 and asks for a car and I don't deliver on that one, either!

Have chips; Will eat

My secret to healthier eating is not buying foods that I like, thereby eating less (ok, at least less junk food). Since I do the grocery shopping, I get to decide what goes in the cart. Genius, isn't it? On top of that, I've been blessed with a distaste for chocolate so that has never been a downfall for me.

Potato Chips? Well, that's another story!!

I hosted 3 different BBQ's over the course of the last week and out of courtesy to my guests I picked up 2 of those big BJ-sized bags of reduced fat Cape Cod chips. Oh yea, baby. The crunchy kind. All curled up so you can pop them one after the other in your mouth - for hours - in front of the TV - and suddenly the whole bag is gone. And reduced fat means's just a justification to make it into the shopping cart!

On top of that, my girlfriend brought a bag of Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper Cape Cod chips - crunchier than the reduced fat and loaded with yummy salt - AND SHE LEFT THEM BEHIND WHEN SHE LEFT!!!

Add some dip to mix - any kind of dip - and I have just blown 8 months of careful, calculated eating in just 7 days. I guess I'll just have to finish off the bags this weekend so they aren't sitting in my pantry screaming my name around 8:15 every night. Amazing what some carbs, grease and salt can do to my stamina.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Feel the pain

A few weeks ago, literally out of the blue, my daughter curled up in my arms sobbing because she realized that when she starts her new school in Sept she won't see her best friend from her current school - she lives in a different town and is headed to a different school. She said she didn't want to cry and wanted the sad things to leave her head. I could see her mentally pushing the thoughts away as she frantically wiped her tears.

I explained to her (as my own tears were running down my face out of empathy) that it's okay to cry and in fact it's good to cry. I just read Fairly Odd Mother's post about shedding a tear or two and realized that in my busy schedule I tend to take my emotions and push them aside to control other matters that need my attention. But when I held my little girl in my arms and realized she thought this sadness was insurmountable, I wanted to let her know she could and should cry and to never, ever hold it inside. I wanted her to feel all the emotions stored in her little heart and I believe she will be a better person if she can feel the pain inside herself to understand the pain in others.

I've always cried - and at times cried long and hard - and I am grateful that I don't have an indifference towards life and it's ever-changing moments between joy and pain. I will remind myself that some day soon I may just need a moment to have a good cry - and I'm going to be sure I do it in front of my little girl. Kids learn by example, for this I am sure!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Sleepover #2

5:45 p.m

Me: "OK. Have fun and I'll be back to pick up Alex in a little while."

The neighbors hosting the big sleepover last night graciously allowed my son to stay for dinner and play for a little while so I could have some time to myself - my daughter was going to attempt to sleepover at their house.

7:15 p.m.

Me: "Hello. I'm here. How was dinner?"

Abby: "Alex has to go now. Take him. He's going home."

Me: "Yes. I will take him home. You be good tonight and have fun. I'll see you in the morning...Abby...Abby...(she continues to play in the other room)...Abby can I have a hug good-bye?"

I think she came in, dress head to toe in princess gear, leaned in towards me and ALMOST made contact before she was running back into the play room. Wow. That was embarrassing. Last week K was full of love for her family when she was at our house. Ouch.

So I left. Alex and I hung out together and then I set up his room with a sleeping bag like he was having a sleepover and we stayed up together until almost 9:00 reading books and just hanging.

I finally got to the couch around 9:15 to watch the Olympics and within 30 seconds I was asleep. SOUND ASLEEP.

RRRRRiiinnnnnggggggg (how do you describe a phone ringing these days?)

10:00 p.m.

K's Mom: "She's coming home."

Me: "No way!!...I mean, okay."

10:04 p.m.

Truck pulls up in the driveway in the rain - out hops my exhausted little girl.

Me: "How come you wanted to come home?"

Abby, hesitantly: "Because I missed you?"

I think she was asking if that was a good excuse, but I think deep down she's very much like me and NOTHING compares to sleeping in your own bed...not even a princess sleeping bag at your best friend's house.

We've decided this little experiment will be known as "movie night", since neither of the girl's actually fell asleep at the others house and basically they just wanted to have dinner and watch a movie before returning home. Works for me...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sitting in the hallway

As a kid I can remember sneaking in and out of my brother's bedroom after we'd been put to bed, as if I was on a secret mission to stay up just a little bit longer. Our rooms were in the attic of a Cape so it wasn't far to get from room to room. Sometimes we'd hide under the sheet on his bed like it was a tent and pretend we were camping. Or, we'd just whisper about what we did that day, or planned to do the next day...but I also remember that shout up from the bottom of the stairs "Get back to your room" and if I pushed it too far on any given night, Dad would be sitting at the top of the stairs waiting for me to cross over from my brother's room back into mine...and getting caught was never good!

Payback is a bitch. My son is incapable of staying in his room after our nightly routine of pajamas, teeth brushing, glass of water, pee and hugs and kisses. He insists on sneaking out to the bathroom to lather himself in lotion, or cover himself in baby powder. He'll move swiftly into his sister's room to open her purple nail polish on her rug or steal her toys or her jewelry. He scared the crap out of me last night as I was plucking my eyebrows in the bathroom to declare, "I had a bad dream", when I know for a fact he wasn't asleep long enough to have even a good dream.

So, there I sit. At the top of the stairs. Listening to him cluck like a chicken, run his feet up and down the wall, flip from one end of the bed to other, mumble a word or two, before finally drifting off to sleep. It's true what comes around goes around - sorry Dad. I should have stayed in my room. Sitting in the hallway in the dark is boring!

Friday, August 8, 2008

It's not about whether you win or lose...

It's how many gold medals you bring home!!! According to ABC News,

President George W. Bush took a break from diplomacy to rally the American team.

"We want you to win as many golds as you possibly can. Go forth, give it all you got," the pumped-up president told the athletes before having his picture taken with them.

Good job Mr. President. Instill those competitive values about good sportsmanship and counting up the bling.


Sleepover #1



(Giggles, Laughs and Screeches as they run through the house)

9:00 p.m.

Me: "OK girls. Bed time."

Them: "Let's brush our teeth."

"Can I sleep on the floor, too?"

"Abby, those are very nice Princess cups you have."

"Your nightgown is pretty."

(Tears, Whines and Tantrum)


Complete exhaustion takes over at 9:30 p.m. as little brother falls asleep on the floor in his own room. We tried to have all three of them in one room, but he's the entertainer and was on overdrive tonight. Mom had to make the hard decision to send him to his own room.

10:30 p.m.

Finally, it's quiet. I think the girls have settled down. I'm going to bed...I'll just peek in on them.

Abby: "K misses her Mom."

(Sobbing by K)

Me: "It's okay. You can stay here if you'd like or you can go home. What do you want to do, honey?"

K: "Go...sniff, sniff....home." (as she's already packing up her things)

10:35 p.m.

Hubby calls K's Mom: "She didn't make it, huh?"

Hubby: "Nope. I'll bring her home now."

Luckily, she's only 3 houses down. Abby heads to her house on Monday. Should we just rewind the tape now?

Book update: Sat down the other night and read Chasing Harry Winston. It was light, funny and totally unrealistic and even left the details of the "adult" parts to your imagination. If you want to read something without thinking, I'd recommend it. Not sure what is next on the list. In-laws visit next week so I may not get a chance to pick up a book again before late August.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

How do I compete with that?

For months my daughter has wanted to do a sleepover with her friend down the street. It seems near impossible to get them together for weekly play dates for 2 hours each Wed, let alone coordinate a sleepover.

I was finally able to secure some dates with her friend's Mom and we are aiming for this Thursday for her friend to sleep here and then next Monday for Abby to sleep there.

I was hesitant to share the news because I thought I would hear about it every hour, but last night I let her in on the plan:

Me: "Hey Ab. Guess what? I talked to K's Mom and we planned for her to sleepover on Thursday night and you'll go to their house next week to sleepover."

Her: "Really? Did you just see what the kitty did? It was so cute. She rubbed her head against my leg."

Kitty: 230 Mom: 0

I'm losing the excitement factor to a cat.

Monday, August 4, 2008

I want to chop their heads off

I know that seems like a harsh title, but I am ready to take every squirrel I see and either bill them for their free meals, or rid the world of them!


We have taped the top of this feeder a million times (even though it's the No No feeder and is supposed to be squirrel-proof). We've lubed the hook up with grease so they slide as they try to reach the top. I even stopped filling it - but then guilt set in as my feathery friends would fly by looking for their seeds.

I'm ready to get violent and that is *so* not my nature!!!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Worlds apart

Returned from my trip to London last night. For some reason, this visit was much more pleasurable than the trips I'd made in the past to London. But, then again, I was pregnant with my son the last time I jetted over the pond so nausea and not being able to enjoy a glass of wine with dinner could have contributed to my lack of enthusiasm for England.

Our company merged with a UK company and I had a chance to meet my new colleagues. They all seem very nice. The company is located in Guilford which is a quaint town south of London which emitted all the characteristics of a London town that you'd read about in a novel - cobblestone roads with small shops and restaurants, mixed in with windy roads and homes hidden behind beautiful gardens. It was very green and very pretty.

I'm not sure how often I'll have to visit but there were several times I realized I was a world away from the US - from the triangle sandwiches at lunch slathered with mayo, meat and cucumbers to the toilets where the handle is always located on the right (that threw me every time!!)

But more than the "things" were the conversation and lifestyle differences. There didn't seem to be a rush to get things done. I ran out with a colleague to get Charlie and Lola books for my children at the local bookstore and we spent 1/2 hour looking at books by British authors without a care for the time. When getting gas, you don't pay at the pump - you pay inside and stand in the "queue" for however long it takes. Lunches and dinners were enjoyed at leisure and every meal ended with an espresso (well, not for me since I don't enjoy the java). It was very obvious that there was less stress and more time spent listening and engaging people in conversations and discussions - and not always about work but about life and learning.

I know that will leave me quickly, but today I tried to worry less on how quickly I got things done and focused on stopping a few times to just savor a moment. How very English of me...