Monday, March 31, 2008

"Event"-full weekend

So this was a CRAZY weekend for us! Friday night we had a sitter and went to a movie - yay! Saturday we had an arts festival at K's school where she was singing. Then we ran from there home to go to the first Nationals game at the new stadium - an exhibition with the Orioles. We left Big Man at home, and we took the girls and Nana. It was a cool night - but we had gloves, mittens, and blankets so we weren't too cold. The girls did GREAT! B was more interested than I have ever seen her in the game. They both prefer the President's race to the actual baseball game, but this time B really got into it. 2 funny moments - on the shuttle bus to the park, B was talking about how she was so excited to see the game. She said she couldn't wait to see Teddy win (Roosevelt that is). The guy across the aisle was so impressed that she was that into the game. Then in the park they do lots of things to get the fans clapping. After the popular "thump-thump-clap, thump-thump-clap" B asked (in her outside voice) "mommy, how come they stopped before 'we will we will rock you'" - the people behind us totally cracked up. B wanted to clap to every thing and dance in her chair whenever the played music. I think this was our best baseball game ever. Both girls had a blast, and we lasted til the 8th inning!

On Sunday we had the circus in the morning. We went early so we could go down on the floor. The girls LOVED that. Big Man stayed in the box with Daddy (we had my company's tix) and had fun running around. All the kids were enthralled by the circus. Big Man did a lot of shouting and pointing. The girls loved the acrobats and the clowns. And Bello (the clown the the hair sticking straight up) didn't annoy me the way he did last year.

Then, last night DH and I went to opening day at the new park. It was really a GREAT time. You certainly couldn't have asked for a better game (walk off home run when score is tied at the bottom of the ninth with 2 outs!!!). It was VERY cold, but with long underwear, winter coats, gloves and a blanket we were ok. The new park is gorgeous with amazing vendors. They need to work out some kinks with transportation. We took a free shuttle bus after parking (for free) at the old stadium. Getting on was quick and easy, as was the short trip to the park. But they let you off about 5 blocks away (not great when you have little kids and Nana didn't appreciate it either); and the pickup was a mess. On Sat it wasn't bad, because we left in the 8th inning. But last night we stayed til the end, along with another 25,000 people. It was basically a just a mass of people all trying to get on the buses, with little order. There wasn't chaos or pushing or shoving or anything - but it was very disorganized. We were lucky that after 25 minutes or so a bus just stopped right in front of us and we were able to get on. But that was just sheer luck. Hopefully, they will work out all the kinks soon.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

So this weekend is opening day for the Nationals. Nevermind opening "day" will be at night and it will likely be around 40 degrees. And I am trying to get over my frustration about tickets. We have been season ticket holders since the team came to DC a few years ago. We have a 20-game package, and we have 5 seats. Since the start, opening day is not included in our 20-games, but we have always been able to buy the same number of seats we have (4-5) before they went on sale to the public. Not this year. This year all 20-game season ticket holders could buy 2 tickets. End of story, period. I was so annoyed. If they didn't have enough tickets that is one thing, but they gave ALL season ticket holders free tickets to the exhibition game the night before, and there were enough.

Anyway, I am letting it all go and just getting excited about seeing baseball in our awesome new park. Go NATS!

(ps the Red Sox won their season opener in Japan earlier this week!)

Friday, March 28, 2008

In Salute of the Freezer

So March is (was) Frozen Food month. I LOVE using my freezer. I have 2 - the regular top of the refrigerator kind and a stand alone upright freezer in the basement. It can make mealtimes do-able in my crazy household. I use it for a few things. 1) stocking up when frozen veggies or staples are on sale. I always have chicken breasts, chicken tenders, steaks, and hamburger in there. 2) meal-prep meals. I am a HUGE fan of meal preparation places. My favorite is dinnerdone. It is such a relief to have complete dinners ready to go - I just look at the list and pick one out! 3) leftovers. When I make sauce I always freeze half the batch (quick tip - mini muffin tins are great for this - pour the sauce in, flash freeze, then transfer to freezer baggies!). I also have a few recipes I will make double of (chicken in white sauce, taco meat, BBQ beef in the crock pot) and freeze half.

I think the freezer (combined with judicial use of the microwave) are a great way to get dinner on the table. Now if I could just get my kids to eat it!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

And soon I'll be wondering if he'll ever shut up!

So my Big Man is a late talker. At almost 20 months, he has about 6 words - Mama, Dada, done, ball, thank you, and dinner (only said at about 50 decimals, the way Mama yells it to the girls). This week we started the process to try and get him early intervention services through our county health dept. He seems to be developing in all the other ways - cognitive, small motor, gross motor, etc. He understands plenty, just doesn't speak English much. He points and grunts constantly. He talks all the time. Its just incoherent stuff to our ears. And he is getting to the point where is REALLY frustrated. He will stand in front of you shouting a sentence over and over and get so pissed off when you don't understand. I had talked to our Pediatrician at his 18-month checkup and she said she thought he was fine, but if we were interested, she'd be happy to refer us to early intervention. She suggested we give it a few months.

After talking to DH, we decided they call it early intervention for a reason, and why wait? We had the preliminary meeting with them this week. It went well - it was the part where we fill out lots of forms, sign lots of stuff, and get informed about our rights and the process. I'm actually excited for the evaluation, which is in about a month. Hopefully he starts talking more before it happens, but if not I feel like we may be able to get him some help.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Spring Cleaning

So, with the advent of Spring, I've decided my house is just too disgusting for me to bear. So I have started trying to get it cleaned up. Once I do I am hoping I can finally find a replacement house cleaner! Anyway, on Saturday I tackled the playroom - the worst room in the house. I spent about 3 hours, 4 trash bags and a box, and 3 goodwill bags, but I got it mostly done. Work still needs to happen on the shelves and the like, but you can see the floor and it is vacuumed. Yay! The kids could barely believe it. Even after having 8 kids play in there on Sunday night, it is still pretty clean.

Next up - our old bedroom (currently the waiting room for the attic and general dumping ground).

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Pet Peeve

I do not color my hair. I'm not saying I never will, but I don't for now. Mostly cuz I can't handle the upkeep or defend the cost. Most of my hair is still brown. I certainly have some white patches (yes, white. I have no gray just pure white!), but mostly on the underneath sections of my hair.

Anyway, I have a pet peeve about those who completely dye their hair. Why is it so many of these women dye their brown hair blonde and leave their eyebrows brown??!! Really, I don't get it. I think it looks awful and don't understand why they don't just tint their eyebrows as well.

Is there an actual reason? Can you not dye eyebrows? I really need to know, cuz it completely drives me nuts. Just my pet peeve of the day.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Signs of Spring?

Last weekend I decided we would do some decorating for Easter. Not being a big fan of eggs, I don't do the whole colored hard-boiled egg thing. Hard-boiled eggs are gross (as are soft-boiled, poached, scrambled, etc). The only things eggs are good for are making non-egg things like cakes, cookies, pasta, etc. But I digress. My parents apparently weren't big egg fans either, so we always blew out the eggs before coloring them. For the uninitiated, blowing out eggs is where you make a tiny pin prick in both ends of an egg, hold it up to your mouth and attempt to blow the entire inside of the egg out the little hole (without holding the egg to tightly and breaking it). Its really a crazy idea when you think about it, and should only be tried by an expert. Anyway, a good friend gave me a box of 18 eggs, so DH and I went to work. We got all the eggs blown open (I think only 1-2 broke but we can use those too!) and the girls loved coloring them (we did it while Big Man was napping). We had never done it with them before, so it was quite a treat. Here are the fruits of our labor:

We also decorated a tree out front with plastic eggs:

I have to say I do NOT like Easter being this early!! It makes you think it is Spring, when we could still have some COOOOLLLLDDD days. And the girls can't wear cute Easter dresses (unless they put a turtleneck under it!). Oh well, maybe Spring will come soon this year? There have to be some benefits of global warming.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Lazy days of summer....maybe not!

With K in Kindergarten, we needed to figure out what to do with her all summer. You would think there would be some simple solution - but really, there isn't. We are lucky that our county offers a number of summer camps - but you have to sign up by the week. There is a basic camp offered right down the street. It is available most weeks - but not all. So you pretty much need a spreadsheet and matrix to figure out what to do. There are 11 weeks of summer (after school ends and before it starts again), and we are going on vacation for 2 weeks. That leaves 9 weeks.
Last week was the sign up day, and thank goodness, that part was not hard. They had suggested we have at least 2 choices for each week, in case certain ones were full. We got into all our first choices. The hardest part was figuring out what to sign her up for. She is going to the basic camp for 6 weeks, another "regular" camp for 1 week, a softball camp for 1 week (that should be interesting!) and a general sports camp for one week. I fear I will need a rigid list to remember where to drive her each week (and the different hours for each one). I can't imagine what it will be like when I have more than one kid in camp!

oh yeah, and by the way, you had to pay for all the summer camps NOW! At one time. nice.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Mercury - Its Not Just a Planet

So we were bored last night and decided a visit from the local fire station and hazmat teams from two counties would spice things up.

I was home with Big Man yesterday as he has some kind of stomach bug. Late afternoon I tried to take his temperature. When I pulled the thermometer from its sleeve, the entire tip was broken off. I threw it out and didn't think more about it. That evening, after everyone was home, I was playing Mancala with K. When I stood up to get a fallen piece, I saw silver beads all over the chair I was sitting on. Immediately I realized - MERCURY!! $(%*&#(* We got the kids out of the room and worked at trying to clean it up. We were having a hard time - it kept spilling off the chair and onto the carpet. So we got a vacuum to suck it up. BIG MISTAKE.

Once we had it cleaned I went online to see how bad it was. Apparently vacuuming heats up the mercury and puts in into the air. Oh joy. So I called poison control. They said I needed to call the local fire station and have them come check it out. About 3 minutes later, lights and sirens blaring, 1 fire truck, an emergency vehicle and a hazmat truck barrel down the street and stop in front of our house. They come in, look around, and say it is very unlikely it was actually mercury. We are relieved. But I am still a bit concerned, so I offer to go trash barrel diving and find the thermometer I had put out with the trash earlier. I manage to find it at the bottom of our trash barrel, and they say "oh yeah, that's mercury alright". Then decide they need to call in a specialist who has a wand thingy to read mercury levels in our house.

After another 40 minutes or so, they show up. Meantime all the trucks with lights are sitting in front of our house and the neighbors houses. They conclude it was mercury but not in dangerous levels. They confiscate our vacuum and rug and call it a night.

Lesson learned? No more mercury thermometers (they tell me you can't buy them anymore anyway) and just scoop it up with paper or such and DO NOT VACUUM.

Ahh...we needed some excitement in our life anyway. (and the kids loved seeing the trucks!)

Monday, March 10, 2008

Sometimes Life Sucks

So a few days ago I took the girls to the Dentist for their regular checkup. (Stay tuned for a hilarious post in August 2008 when Big Man is now scheduled to go for the first time - I seriously cannot imagine). K has lost a few of her baby teeth, and the adult teeth are coming in. Their dentist has been a big obsessed with the fact that K sucks her thumb. She has sucked her thumb since day 1 - actually I have a picture of her in utero sucking her thumb! Since starting Kindergarten she has WAY cut down. She pretty much only sucks at bedtime and when she is really scared or tired. But the Dentist told her she had to stop, as she was starting to hurt her permanent teeth. He then showed her this apparatus that they would recommend using if she didn't stop - it basically looked like a retainer that they would CEMENT into her mouth, and prevents her from sucking. There is no WAY that medieval torture device is going in my baby's mouth. But, for now, I didn't tell her that, I just looked at the pictures with her. She seemed OK, so I figured she was just ignoring him.

As soon as we got to the car she became HYSTERICAL. She was so scared. She said she didn't think she could go to sleep without her thumb, and what was she going to do. I felt so bad. I told her not to worry, we would work it out. But it was fascinating to me that she just decided she couldn't suck it anymore. She wasn't fighting it or anything - just worried about how she would operate without being able to suck her thumb.

When she got home from school, she was still worried. I told her Daddy and I would help her figure it out. So for bedtime last night, we put a glove on her. just a regular princess winter glove. It seemed to work. She didn't take the glove off, and she didn't suck her thumb. Any other suggestions will be appreciated - things to help her with it - not punish her or anything.

It just amazes me how grown-up she is being about this! My little girl is growing up. Good news is - i will have to go through this 2 more times - B sucks her finger and Big Man sucks his thumb.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Is This What We Need to Be Watching?

So the TLC network is now airing a show called "The Secret Life of a Soccer Mom". The premise is that stay-at-home moms would have the chance to try the career they left behind. The whole thing seems demeaning to me. Like that these women obviously made the wrong choice and are now being given the opportunity to right their wrongs by joining the workforce. I have to admit I haven't seen the show - so maybe its more of an opportunity for the moms - I sure hope so. But something about it stinks to me. Anyone seen it? Thoughts?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Feminist Bull*&$%

An article in the Washington Post yesterday made me really mad. It talks about the NOW (Natl Org of Women) effort to elect Hillary Clinton. This regional director of NOW said that Hillary isn't winning because of sexism. She said that people are voting for Barack over Hillary because they don't want a woman President. Her quote was "Would they like a white man instead of a black man? Of course. But they'll take a black man over a woman." This just SO pisses me off.

Do I believe there are people who will not vote for a woman President? Absolutely. But please, Obama is black. Racism is, in my opinion, a much bigger problem in this country. I have certainly experienced sexism. My first job on the Hill, I was in an admin job trying to get into a legislative job. The chief of staff, my colleagues, were all trying to help me get one. They all said I'd be great at it. Then there was an opening in our office - I figured I was a shoe in. And they didn't even interview me. I stormed into the COS office fuming. He quietly explained that they all thought I knew - the aged white man who was our boss wouldn't accept legislative advice from a woman. While that was the most blatant experience I had, there have certainly been more. But to suggest that not voting for Hillary is sexist is just nuts. The NOW director even suggests that Barack pulling out Hillary's chair before the debates is somehow sexist. "You can bet that's a calculated move," Wagner said, "and it's absolutely demeaning." Demeaning?? Where I come from its called manners. And very nice ones at that.

Now don't get me wrong - I think there are many legitimate reasons to support Hillary Clinton. But her being a woman is NOT one of them. In the same way, there many legitimate reasons to oppose Hillary. Being a woman is not one of them. I am not supporting Barack Obama because he is a man, just like I am not opposing Hillary because she is a woman.

We all need to vote for the candidate we think we do the best job for the country. I guess this really bothers me because I consider myself a pretty liberal feminist. But this is just crap.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Such a Gorgeous Day/Night

It was in the high 60s here today. It was so beautiful. I didn't want to waste it, so tonight we threw away any plans we had and decided to do something outside. We let the girls ride their bikes and we pushed Big Man in the stroller up for dinner at the local McDonalds. Then we hopped across the street for an ice cream treat. The kids loved the change in our normal routine, we all got some exercise, and got to enjoy the fresh air. Sometimes you really do need to just stop and smell the roses. I can't wait for Spring!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Our Weekend

So this was a pretty good weekend. We got through lessons on Saturday morning (ballet and swimming), and hit the stores. I took K and Big Man to "the cookie store" - ie Harris Teeter. It is known in our house as the cookie store because they give you free cookies. My children will do anything for a cookie, and behaving in the store is how they get one. DH took B to Target to get some other stuff. We met back home in time for lunch and quick naps. I started cleaning the house for company that night. At 2:30 DH woke up the girls and took them to see Emma and the Lost Unicorn at the local children's theater. I love this place. We got 3 season tickets for like $90 and the girls have loved seeing the shows - which are put on by kids. The acting is sometimes iffy, but the girls LOVE it. One of my girlfriends says its fine as long as she treats it like person nap time. During the show, Big Man was still sleeping so I was able to start the awesome vodka tomato sauce for dinner. YUMMMM. Its a Rachel Ray recipe and it is FANTASTIC! I love it. I also got some playing time with Big Man before the girls returned.

When DH and the girls came home, on their heels were are friends who were coming for dinner. 3 women and 5 more kids. We also got an additional 2 kids we were watching overnight for our friends. We managed to get the kids eating their pasta and gigantic cupcakes (as big as their heads!) my friend brought from Costco. Seriously these were some massive cupcakes - we split them in half for the kids, and still it was a LOT! We then banished all the children to the basement to play/watch a movie, while the women had dinner (I delivered a plate to DH, who was already immersed in his online video game) and we played canasta! yay! I love card games (actually, board games too!). By 8:30 everyone had left, and our 3 kids, plus their 2 friends were in bed. The kids were loud til about 9pm, but then got quiet. When I went up at 10:30 to head to bed - the 3 year olds were still awake! The 5 and 6 year old had crashed, but those little girls were playing dress up on B's bed! I told them to go to sleep NOW or they were in big trouble.

The next morning was a little nuts. Per our rules, nobody came in our bedroom before 8am, but they were up around 7. As we were trying to shower/get dressed without exposing ourselves to a room full of kids watching cartoons on our bed, Big Man took the opportunity to wreak havoc. He managed to get into my makeup bag, pull out my favorite lipstick (a Clinque color that was a free sample and not replaceable!!!) and shove it in his ears. Yes, his ears..likely filling his lovely ear tubes with lipstick. I can barely think about it. One can only imagine why he would do this - and more importantly, after doing it in one ear - why do the other? It could not have felt good. He was covered in lipstick as was my carpet. Yay. It was the start of a banner day for him.

We got him changed, all the kids fed, and safely delivered to Sunday school. Oh yeah - not before Big Man picked up a large candle jar and smashed in on the ground. After Sunday school and out of town friend came by and we went out for brunch. Sam was a screaming meemie for most of it, but the girls were good, and we survived. The friend fled. Thankfully, it was naptime. I woke up K early to go to a mother-daughter yoga workshop. It was fun and nice to have some time with just the two of us.

When we got back, B was up and they happily played on the computer for a while. DH was fixing our car's tire and when Big Man woke up we decided to have a family dip in the hottub. So relaxing. We all enjoyed. Dinner was quesadillas in front of the tv (backyardigans), baths and bedtime. DH and I watched the end of a confusing movie, and time to hit the sack.

Actually, a somewhat typical weekend. It actually felt relaxing, but typing all that made it sound exhausting!