Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Waffle Boy

So I've mentioned that Ben likes waffles. I haven't said that it's a rather unhealthy relationship. I will not admit to how many waffles this child has eaten in a day, because it would reflect poorly on my parenting...

The other day, Ben decided to sit on Josh's chair with him for breakfast. Josh made himself a very syrupy, sugary waffle (oh, my children and their sugar intake...) and turned away for a minute. When he looked back at his waffle, he found Ben sticking his fingers into the little waffle holes filled with syrup, licking off his fingers, and going back for more.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Tales from the Junior High Lunchroom, Take Two

I have nothing super fun to report today. There were no almost-fights, no throwing up in the hall, no nerds getting kicked off of their table, complete with irate Kerri getting in the bullies' faces. Pretty much a quiet day...

But observing junior high schoolers is never boring. It's a little microcosm of society...the loners, the goths, the sports kids, the troublemakers, the emo kids, the popular girls. Wow. I just dug it.

Apparently, this look is hot (although it shouldn't be):

And some girls love long nails (although they shouldn't):

And boys have long crazy hair (and I have no problem with that):

Also, some kids look ten, and others, no lie, look 18.

Oh, and boys with black nail polish? Never a good look.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Songs for Slideshows, Part Two

My last songs for slideshows post has continued to get lots of hits. There must be plenty of people needing something less cheesy for the slideshows they're putting together than Butterfly Kisses and Forever Young. So here is a new list.

And just a request...if you've found songs you've liked that are on neither of my lists, would you mind commenting? I'd love to keep the list growing. (You can comment anonymously if you'd like...)

Love songs

At My Most Beautiful--R.E.M.
Angel--Jack Johnson
So Much Love--Rocket Summer
With Me--Sum 41
The Way I Am--Ingrid Michaelson
The Luckiest--Ben Folds
Come What May--Moulin Rouge Soundtrack


Perfect Day--Hoku
I Just Love You--Five for Fighting (kids)
Beautiful Day--U2
Oh Very Young--Cat Stevens (kids)

And break up songs...wouldn't a Break Up Slideshow be funny? (Or is that just my warped sense of humor? When I was 17, I would have been all OVER a break up slideshow...)

Stay or Leave--Dave Matthews Band
When Did Your Heart Go Missing--Rooney
Shut Up and Let Me Go--The Ting Tings
Sad Song--September

Or equally Unrequited Love/Stalking Slideshow...

I'll be Waiting--Lenny Kravitz
Why Do You Want Him--Green Day
Every Breath You Take--The Police
I Just Don't Think I'll Ever Get Over You--Colin Hay (I love this song)
Willing to Wait--Sebadoh
Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want--The Smiths
Mr. Brightside--Killers

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Orchestra Feeding America National Food Drive

David asked me to pass this on. If any of you are interested in participating, you can drop food off at our house before March 27, and David will take it to Abravanel Hall. And if you don't live near us, you can contact an orchestra in your neck of the woods.

1 in 8? Is that for real? How terrible are those numbers?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

My Funny Valentines

My Ben:
Ben loves books, his doggie, his sissies and bro-bro, chocolate and waffles. He gives lovely hugs, huge smiles, and dances like a mad man.

My Kate:
Kate loves piano, reading, puzzles, TV (aargh), friends, and food. She loves to learn, play, dance, and smile.

My Sophie:
Sophie loves art, reading, friends, baked potatoes, and her teacher. She loves to hang out with her friends, cook, and she is incredible with baby Ben.

My Josh:
Josh loves soccer, cello, his friends, and reading. He loves to stay up late, to do art projects, and his smile is as big as the sky.

My David:
David loves his car, skiing, biking, Cummings chocolates, his kids, and me. He loves to be outdoors, to snuggle with a baby, and to relax with the family.

Could I be more blessed?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

My New Favorite Blog

This is it.

I've been laughing my way through it the last couple of days.

Putting the "RAD" in Traditional Values.

Biblical Pranks.

Stake Conference.

Oh, Mom, I'm not sure you'll like it. Light-hearted vs. light-minded?

But so funny.

P.S. This one's great, too.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

What I Wished I'd Known

With Baby Celia's arrival, and the impending arrival of Kurt & Ash's baby, I've been remembering those joy-filled, exhausted, worried, awe-struck, painful months as a first-time mother. It would be nice (OK, and a little weird) to be able to go back in time to give myself some advice. (Would I take advice from myself? I don't generally take it well from anyone else...)

So here are some of the things I'd tell my nervous, thrilled, overwhelmed self:

In pregnancy:

Regardless of what you read in "What to Expect When You're Expecting" and "What to Expect the First Year," the baby will not be damaged beyond repair if you eat things made from white flour. And's OK, too. Really.

Stretch marks don't really fade and they don't really go away. They're there forever. Accept them as a badge of honor. Plus, are you honestly going to be wearing a bikini anytime soon with that scar on your back? (Another story.)

Your weight will come off just fine. Don't stress about eating yet another shake. But after this pregnancy, honey, all bets are off, and you should have cottage cheese, not ice cream.

After the baby comes:

Don't leave the baby near the edge of the bed, because he'll become suddenly mobile and fall off, sending you to the doctor's office where you'll have to let the doctor fill out forms which say you really didn't drop him on purpose.

It's OK to call Nurseline three times the first week of his life. They won't laugh at you when you ask if it's normal that his heart rate is so high or whether or not it's bad that you can't wake him up to eat. Well, they might laugh at the waking him up call, but it will be a kind, gentle, reassuring laugh. Call the experts whenever you want if it makes you worry less.

Breastfeeding will be horrible for at least 5-7 weeks. Ignore people who tell you it's because your latch is wrong. It's because you have red hair and the whitest skin known to man. You lost that genetic lottery. (Do talk to a lactation specialist, though, just to be sure...a bad latch is a bad thing.) Eventually everything will work out great. Stay up on your pain meds until then.

Pacifiers? Yeah, another time to ignore "What to Expect the First Year." They will save your life.

Don't go back to work after three weeks. Just don't do it. Please. It will save you so much stress.

And in general:

Relax. You're all going to make it through.

Don't judge other people. You can try to judge based on how their parenting works (by their fruits ye shall know them), but a lot of the time, you'll be wrong anyway. Remember, all kids are different. Just because you swore you'd never have a picky eater doesn't mean that he won't come hardwired to eat only four things. Oh, and it's going to be YOUR second child who kicks, hits, and bites, so don't judge the other kids in nursery (or their parents).

Don't judge, and relax, but BE CONSISTENT!!!!!!!!!!! Set rules and follow through. Every time. (And then again, pick your battles. You can't win everything.)

Turn off the TV.

Except, you're going to have bad days. Some days will last an eternity, and you'll be sure you're doing everything wrong. This too shall pass. On these days, turn ON the TV and just plan to get through the day the best way you can.

Get enough sleep. Even if the house doesn't get clean, even if you don't make a hot dinner for three days. Get enough sleep. Everyone around you will thank you, and you'll thank yourself.

Find great, dear, amazing, supportive, non-judging friends.

Love your husband and take care of him. Let him know what you need, too. And remind him that eventually baby days end and you'll be normal again.

Don't worry about giving up some of your individuality, the things you do best. (This is controversial, I know.) It's OK for a while to let go of some things to make sure that you don't miss the important things. You'll have time to be that person again. (I PROMISE you will.) But if you find yourself sinking, don't forget who you are at the core. Play some music. Read your old journals. Remind yourself that you're a mother, but you're also who you were before you had a baby, only deeper, more tuned in to life's truths. Oh, and more tired.

That would be a good beginning to a conversation, I'm sure...too bad I had to muddle through without the help.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

My Best Valentine's Present Ever

David and I had agreed not to give each other gifts on Valentine's Day a couple of years ago, but we went out to dinner, then to dessert. While we were sitting at the table, David said, "Are you ready for your gift?" I grumbled at him, since of course I looked like a dork without a gift and said, "We weren't supposed to give gifts." He said, "Well, I couldn't resist."

He then handed me a card, which I read, with increasing confusion. It was a very sweet card, don't get me wrong, but it wasn't a normal David card. It was ridiculously over the top. Really high school. It, honestly, was ultra-cheese. David knows I don't like ultra-cheese. Love, yes. Devotion, sure. Cheese? No way.

Then he handed me ANOTHER card. It was worse. "This present will show you my love in its purest form," blah blah blah.

And then ANOTHER card. Unbelievably ridiculous. I don't know where I put these cards. I would love to quote them. They would win bad love letter awards.

Finally, he handed me a rumpled-up Kmart bag. I opened it, not sure what was going on...

Inside was a deliciously horrible teddy bear, wearing a diamond heart pendant.

I nearly fell off my chair. It was so truly tasteless, so bad, so amazing, that I couldn't stop laughing.

The best part? He says that it took longer to find THAT present than to buy most of the presents he's purchased for me for real over the years. It had to have just the right amount of ridiculousness. And it had to be returnable, of course, and he even returned it FOR me. Best. Valentine's. Present. Ever.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Matt & Ananda's Engagement Pics

Less than three weeks before my darling brother Matt marries exciting! I love Ananda, and am so happy to be gaining another sister. I love my sister-in-laws (my sisters, too, of course). I had only brothers for so long (until the last day of my junior year in high school) that it's a treat to get all these fantastic girls to hang with.

Here's a link to their engagement pictures. Aren't they fantastic?

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Reading in Bed

Reading in bed has got to be one of life's great pleasures. It may not be as restful when shared with four other people, but it's lots of fun.

(Seriously, aren't they so cute?)

Friday, February 6, 2009

This American Life...Ruining It for the Rest of Us

I'm secretly addicted to This American Life. (Why is it a secret? I guess it's not. I'm not ashamed. It's not like the secret that I really wish I...oh wait, I can't share that. That's a real secret.)

I think Ira Glass is funny. I love all the quirky personalities, the comedy, the serious segments. Sometimes there's a dud or two, but most of the time it's excellent company while I run.

So I was listening to an episode last week. This is the episode in question. The prologue was fascinating. Basically, a researcher wanted to see what happened when a bad apple joined a small would the group respond? He hired an actor to act one of three personality types: a jerk, a lazy guy, or someone who was depressed. This actor would join a group of three other students who were asked to do a task of some sort together. The results were amazing. The guy took down every group he was in except for one. The productivity dropped. The group dynamic suffered.

But in one group, there was a student who took charge. The researcher says that he was just a natural leader who wouldn't let the mood in the group be dictated by negativity. He kept the spirits up, he asked questions of the other students to redirect them from the actor's snide comments. Their group actually performed better than the control groups, despite the actor's efforts.

It may be the optimist in me, but I'm glad there was a positive spin on the research after all. Someone around us might be a jerk, might be dragging down the group, but it is possible to change that. Hooray for optimism.

Oh, and you have to listen to Act Two. Hilarious.

And since I'm on the This American Life bandwagon, here's another of my favorites: Music Lessons. Oh my goodness. David Sedaris is always funny, and his story is great. Sarah Vowell is also super funny. And then Anne Lamott's segment made me cry. In the middle of my run. I love Anne Lamott.

My Dog is in the Doghouse

I came home from a run to find Natalia's tail between her legs, acting ultra-guilty. I didn't see anything upstairs, so I just figured she had stolen a pancake off the table.

Then I went downstairs.

Stupid dog.

Yes, those are shredded diapers all over the carpet. Yes, I scrubbed the carpet clean. After I stuck Natalia in her kennel. She'll be there for a while.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

25 Random Things

You know that 25 Random Things about Me list that's going around Facebook? Yeah, I did it, and I sounded really boring. So I started thinking about the 25 Random Things about Me that I wouldn't want anyone to know. That made me laugh. But I'm sorry, I can't list any of them, because I don't want anyone to know them.

Here's another 25 Random Things about Me list, though. This one lacks secrets, but maybe there's something on it you didn't know.

1. As a child, I was sure I'd be a veterinarian. I think it was all those James Herriot "All Creatures Great and Small" books I devoured.

2. When I got to high school and realized I didn't appear to have a science brain, I decided I'd go into international business, law, or be a French teacher. Music was not on the list until the summer before I started college, when I realized I didn't want to do anything else.

3. I tried out for high school drill team. And cheerleading. I didn't make either. (This verges on the secret list, but it's not quite embarrassing enough. I mean, it's embarrassing, don't get me wrong. But it's not humiliatingly so.)

4. My first kiss was terrible. A terrible memory. (Another one that could be on the secret list, but I'll leave it at that.)

5. I loved French in high school (see #2) and took 2 years of French in college. I've helped translate for French refugees and taught Sunday School in French. This makes me sound like I can actually communicate in another language. I promise you that is not the case. I have helped translate only when no one else is available, and the translations involve a lot of laughter, blushing in embarrassment, and "Je ne sais pas!" And let's not talk about the Sunday School class...

6. When I was a freshman in high school, I was sure I'd have no kids, one kid, or POSSIBLY two kids. It was a little stressful to be the oldest of seven (then eight, then nine.) Now I love my huge family. (But four kids are plenty for us.)

7. I threw toast at my mom in high school. On more than one occasion.

8. I daydream a lot. About all kinds of crazy things.

9. I have nightmares about being in the audience at the symphony when I realize I'm the concerto soloist for a concerto I've never practiced. I rush backstage, trying desperately to learn the concerto in the 30 minutes I have before I'm supposed to be onstage. I hate this dream.

10. In high school, I layered open button-down shirts over t-shirts that were sometimes pilfered from my dad's drawer (ahh, the 80's.) Once I came home from school, sat down to have my afternoon snack, and my mom said, horrified, "Where did you get that shirt?" I looked down and realized it was one of my dad's garment shirts. I had grabbed a shirt from the wrong drawer...

OK, 25 things aren't happening. Ten are enough. I'm boring myself.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


Watching Ben explore the snowy backyard helps me remember one of the gifts of motherhood: Discovery. Keeping company with this charming guy who loves to wear Kate's too-big hot pink snow boots, watching him stomp around in the crusty snow, it all reminds me that the world is full of wonder, that even days-old snow has draw for some of us. I should unlock my doors, fling open the windows, and let adventure happen every day. I'm not good at this. I tend to get bogged down in daily expectations. But discovery keeps me alive, keeps me excited for the next day and the next. I'm grateful that Ben is here to keep me aware of the joys of newness or of simply seeing old things with new eyes.