Blogging Blahs

Hmmm...it appears to have been one month and seven days since I have blogged on this particular blog. I am debating about whether I should keep going on this one, or whether my other blogs fill my needs appropriately. We just started a private family blog, since quite frankly, it's been tripping me out lately when I meet people in town and they assume things about me and think they know me so well just by reading this blog. It's been bugging me. And creeping me out a little. So I haven't written.

But today, here I am, hunkered down during the crazy wind and rain storm we are having tonight. It started where we live in the mid-afternoon. The lights have been flickering on and off for several hours - not a lot, just every once in a while. I'm worried about some of the stuff we have in our yard that might go flying. The winds are wicked strong. I was in the garage and it sounded like the garage door was going to be whisked away.

I'm pretty tired right now, not necessarily because of the pregnancy, but because the last month has been a little crazy busy. Isn't this time of year always this way? I'm feeling great overall, and feeling like it's time I get into some organized exercise of some sort after the start of the new year. Hubby and I want to do marathon training after the baby is born and I doubt my cleaning the house and lugging Boo to and fro counts as hearty exercise.

We're all psyched for the baby. She's growing strong and moving around a lot. Boo loves her already. Today he said he wanted to see her, and he kept saying it while I kept explaining he wouldn't meet her for a few more months. I really love being pregnant, and I am a little sad thinking that this is likely the last time I will be (we've talked about being a two-kid family).

Maybe I will keep this blog after all and just write here and there. There are things I can't write on the family blog that I'd feel more comfortable writing about here, and vice versa. Same goes for my other blogs. Each serves a different purpose, I guess. To blog, to blog...


It's a...

Sorry to keep you all in suspense! Work is nuts, it's election time, Boo's got more energy than me right now...aaah! :)

So, it's a... GIRL!! Or so they say. Two different technicians (one a 4th year med student, the other an experienced ultrasound technician) said they saw "no boy parts." BUT neither said that they saw the girl parts either...others have said you are supposed to see three white lines or dots, which I am pretty sure I saw in that area, but what do I know?

We are SO excited, but I'm still cautious that it might be a boy. I've always felt it was going to be a girl, but with hormones raging the way they do during pregnancy, what if we're all wrong? I hear too many stories about parents who are told they are going to have a girl at the ultrasound and then come birth time it's hello penis! Of course, we'd love to have another boy too, but the massive planner/organizer in me wants to know FOR SURE, you know?

At least, if it does turn out to be a boy we have all of Boo's old clothes and things. I started buying girl clothes a couple of months ago... is that bad? :)

IT'S A GIRL!! I will come and visit you all soon once the madness of the next few days dies down.


Boy or Girl?

We find out in a week, or so we hope. I'm anxious/excited/nervous. Everyone of course asks if we're hoping for one or the other sex. We honestly would be delighted with either, but we have both been feeling it's a girl from the get go. We shall see! I'm a little more nervous about the thought of having a girl. Boys are fun and crazy and wacky and wild and pretty predictable - very straightforward. A little chaotic and tiring to raise one in the beginning (the physical versus emotional differences between girls and boys Boo's age always astound me) but then there's later... when I'm a little more scared of raising a girl through her pre-teen, teenage and college years. It really does seem like the old addage that boys are harder to raise now, easier to raise later, and girls are easier to raise now, but harder to raise later, seems true about 80% of the time.

I've admittedly never been one of those women who has always dreamed of having a daughter, although I know I would absolutely love to raise a daughter as much as I would a son. I'm just a little more apprehensive about my own abilities as well as the other pressures and issues involved with raising a girl to be a strong, independent, confident woman. And then there's the shopping issue: I don't think my wallet or my impulses can withstand the amount of super adorable girl schtuff out there - not the frilly cutesy bows and crap mind you, but all the other soft, sweet, adorable designs for girls. I find we are bad with impulse buying for our son as it is!

All that said, my husband and I still think it's a girl, and we'd be overjoyed if it is. I'm giddy with excitement and am just itching to see this baby inside of me, whether a he or a she.


random ramblings

We find out the sex of the baby next week! Can't wait. Hopefully baby will cooperate and we'll really get to find out. No fun filling up the bladder to be poked and prodded only to not have the baby cooperate. Boo was very cooperative during his ultrasound. He was all: here are my boy parts! Check them out! We also have a photo of him giving us a "rock on" gesture.

Boo is going to be an awesome big brother. He's really taking responsibility with his toys and his stuffed animals lately. He tucks them in, reads to them, gives them kisses, feeds them, has entire conversations with Bear, Giraffe, Elmo and Nemo. He was all excited about hearing the baby's heartbeat "on the radio" again when we went in this week for our monthly appointment.

Work is busy. Very busy. A good, great, happy but a little chaotic busy. I have too many ideas and not enough time (or personnel) to make things happen as quickly as I want them too.

Lots of pregnant mamas around these parts these days! There is a small group of us, some first time and some second and third time mamas-to-be, that is going to be meeting on a regular basis. It's so fun to be talking preggo talk with mamas again. So many of my friends tell me stories of how their second pregnancies went by so fast that they hardly had time to think about the baby. I am the opposite and am a bit giddily obssessed about this new baby that is about to enter our family. Since this will likely be our last child, and my last pregnancy, I want to embrace every minute of it. I love being pregnant, love it love it love it. Even with its aches and pains and weird side effects.

One of the sweetest PDX mamas I have met recently blogged about other people's brats. The other night we were out and one mama got upset at a girl who took a toy away from her son, and she commented on what do you do when you don't know the kid's parents. She was pretty appalled, and I think I nodded sympathetically, but I neglected to tell her that earlier I had seen her own son steal toys twice from my son while my son was playing with them. I also watched as another boy took trains away from my son, watched my son have a little scream, but then proceed to find other toys to play with. I was pretty proud of him for moving on.

Kids don't know how to play - they learn through trial and error, and while we can help guide them through consistent and firm warnings, explanations and such, ultimately it is they who decide their actions and adjust accordingly. While I will intervene if there's a kid who just bullies my kid and others incessantly (or if my kid keeps taking toys from others), I am now learning the fine art of allowing my son to learn how to share and play nicely and how to stick up for himself...by himself. The latter part I don't worry about - if he's pushed, you bet he will push back (he's my kid, after all). If the bully's mom isn't paying attention, usually one loud "I know that he hit (pushed) you honey, but hitting (pushing) back isn't right just because he did it to you first" - usually brings about the embarassed mom out of her state of obliviousness. I would hope that if my son was the bully and I missed it, someone would say something to me. Usually if he's in full tantrum mode, we just leave.

But we've all been there. We don't have a million eyes all around our head, and we're human. So when my friend was going on about this girl who took the toy away from her son, I just had to sit quietly, knowing that she had no clue that her own son had been the toy-stealer for quite some time at the train table that night.


Big Brother

This weekend, Boo brought us to tears. Out of nowhere, he walked up to my belly, looked at it and said very clearly and confidently:

"Hi baby! I'm your big brother. I love you, baby!"

Then he kissed my belly.

Papa A and I just looked at each other with pure shock/love/joy/amazement/happiness. Boo is so ready to be a big brother. He's going to be a great one.


Two is a fun age

I love this age that Boo is at. He just says and does things all day long that crack me up or just amuse me.

"Come on people, let's go!" - when waiting in traffic.

"All right! Come on peeps! Let's go home" - when either in the store or in the car going home

"Oh no...Be careful, mommy/daddy!" - anytime we brake anything short of very slowly.

"Oh no...Oh boy..." - when he drops something or something goes wrong

"Oh my goodness"... similar to oh boy, but this one is usually followed by him shaking his head in dismay.

"CATS! They're funny. Cats are funny" - this comes out of nowhere, really, and is followed by a throwback of his head and a giggle fit. Side note: he also thinks every small dog he sees is a kitty cat. The other day at the park a man was walking a small dog by us and Boo looks up and squeals excitedly "oooh look, mama! A kitty cat! Small kitty cat..." The man did not look amused. That's what you get for not getting a real dog, sir :)

"How YOU doin?" - he says that to women mainly, in the same tone that Joey said it on Friends. We're in trouble.

Whenever we leave a store, or anywhere for that matter, he is big on telling everyone "Bye bye! See you soon! Have a good day!" What a polite boy.

Boo is REALLY big on hugs and kisses right now. He'll just look at us and say "I want to kiss mommy/daddy" and he'll plant a big one on us. He gives kisses all day long. It's very cute. He kisses his Bear and he also gives our dog kisses. Bear is his best pal, next to our dog. He talks to Bear like he's real, and bosses him around a little, telling him what to do and what not to do. Oh yes, he's ready to be Big Brother :)

He is also really big on telling us that he loves us. It will come out of nowhere, like the kisses: "I love you mommy/daddy!" Aww... we love this age.


What a Wonderful World...?

When I was younger, just hearing the words to John Lennon's "Imagine" made me pause, reflect and cry inside. Thinking about the lyrics today has the same effect, and everytime something horrible happens in the world, his voice and those words, those perfect imperfect words, echo in the record player in my head (yes, I said record player).

North Korea just performed a nuclear test (reports still unconfirmed as I write this). Lettuce was just linked today to cases of E-coli, in addition to spinach links. Last week three disturbing deadly school schootings across America. Dubya is still in office. Each day we lose more and more Americans and innocent Iraqi civilians in a war that is sparking more terror in the world. Corporations have all gone to shit, and so has our beloved Earth. It's a mad, mad world, and since having children, I realize that I no longer think of how these crises affect me but how it will alter their lives in the future. What can we do today to make sure they have a future?

In high school, I met a couple who decided not to have children because they couldn't bear the thought of bringing a child into such a horror wrought world. When people talk of easier yesteryears, I think they have their blinders on and are slipping into amnesia mode. There were no easy yesteryears. Every generation has its crises, its wars, its seemingly incurable illnesses, its flawed and failed leaders. I do not believe the times in which we live are any more difficult than when I was a child, or when my mother was a child, or when my great-grandmother was a child. The issues merely morph into other, more modern issues, and humanity once again must decide how to handle, how to cope, how to persevere and move forward for the good of humanity.

I admit that sometimes I lay awake at night and cry just thinking about the world events of the day. I've been called a hard ass and a tough cookie, but I am pretty much a sissy when it comes to these things. Sometimes the amount of pain and suffering I see happening all around us hurts so very god damn fucking much and sometimes what hurts more is knowing that it will not take one person, but millions, and it will not take one year, but lifetimes, before thorough effective change can happen. And by then, there will be other crises for the world to face.

On a daily basis I have come to make peace with the fact that our world, our leaders, and we - ourselves - are permanently flawed. I face each day knowing I have no idea what the day will hold, knowing that I can't protect my son and my husband and my friends and family as I wish I could. I live each day just trying to do good, to bring good into the lives of others, and appreciating all of the good that others have done for me and my family. I have shitty days, but no matter what, my problems in life in general aren't as big as the problems of the world, so I live each day taking time to regret, be sad for, and be pissed off about the little things that happen in my own life...but then at the end of each day, I just let go. Who gives a shit if I was late on a car payment or totally made an ass of myself at a conference or fed my child too many Goldfish that day when somewhere in the world a mother lost a child, and somewhere else in the world a family lost their home and all of their belongings, and somewhere else in the world a family is praying for a drop of rain so they will have water again. Perspective.

Still, deep inside I ridiculously wish for a day when all is right in the world. When every single living breathing human on earth can co-exist peacefully with the environment and other creatures. For one day, when there are no murders, no natural disasters, no accidents, no lies, no malice, no evil entities in power, no bruised knees, no prejudices, no judgments, and no frowns. Just one day. I pray that my children are alive to see that day. I dream that they are stewards of the hope and positive action that will steer the world toward that day. That they will be one of the millions who decide to band together and make that day happen. I hope that they grow up understanding that the world is flawed, but that each day holds value, truth and happiness, and most of all, purpose.


Belly's Out of the Closet

Now that the belly's out of the closet (and into maternity clothes already, mind you), I think it's okay for me to go ahead and blog about my pregnancy. Everything about it is different from my first, and when people ask me how, the one-two-punch combo of mama/preggo brain kicks in and I can't form the words.

First, I was never nauseaus with Boo. I felt great and LOVED every minute of being preggers with him. I ran into my fifth month of pregnancy with him (okay, it was really a jog every couple of weeks or so by the fourth month) and still did a little weight training. I was ravenous from the moment that stick gave me the positive sign and ate cake and ice cream EVERY SINGLE DAY of my pregnancy. I worked like a maniac and got tired once in a while (I still remember the first nap I took back then... felt very guilty). I still had my former ass, the absence of love handles and my feet were still the same size.

Fast forward to two and a half years later and here I sit, haven't worked out in quite some time and find the need to take a break after simply walking a lap around the park. I just woke up from my two- to three-times-a-week short nap when Boo is napping. Weeks 7 through 10 of my pregnancy were exhausting: I was wiped out all the time, had bouts of nausea that took over (never actually got sick, thank goodness) from time to time, and I am just now starting to dive into my love of food again after finding that nothing at all sounded good to eat for a few weeks (that was rough - I love food! And yet I didn't want to eat any of it. It pissed me off). I'm wearing maternity clothes already because my ass never really went back to the way it was and there's the lovely new layer of - well, let's just call it skin and not fat for now - all over that I never really got rid of after giving birth to Boo. I'm not even working as hard as I used to and suddenly the days whiz by me.

I suppose having a two year old home all the time to take care of does take up my days, and cause exhaustion on its own. But I am glad I am finally starting to get my energy back AND my love of food, because I was really worried there for a while.

The baby has a fast heartbeat. Hubby thinks it is a girl. I thought so, but now I am not so sure. I don't know why but I also have this unrealistic fear of twins. Neither of us have twins in our families but for some reason, the fear is there. We've only caught one heartbeat... but you never know... ack. I'm very petite. Twins would knock me on my ass I am sure for the last three months of pregnancy. Ok, must stop writing about it.

I have the nesting bug BAD, but mainly because we have lived in this house now for a year and a half and I think it's time to actually truly get the rooms all together. It looks fine, but it's nowhere near where I would call it being completely decorated.

Crap. Boo is waking up. How will life be like with two little ones in the house? I'm eager and excited to find out!


Girls' Weekend Dish

I love weddings. I love everything about them: the families gathering together, drawing in friends who haven't seen each other for years, the cake, the flowers, the vows, the dancing, the invitations (surprise), the love sweet love... My pal J got married last Saturday in NYC on a roofdeck overlooking the city and it was pure magic. She and her new groom are perfect for each other, and their families couldn't have been happier. The groom's brother gave a speech that had everyone in tears. It was evident how close the two are, and right then I think it really truly hit me just how special it would be to have another boy and for Ethan to have a brother to grow up with. We would honestly be elated with either a girl or a boy, but for some reason that night, I just felt the connection between those brothers and thought "that's it, I'm having another boy!" Of course, I bought a onesie while I was there that is a little more feminine than masculine, but whatever.

So while there was no drinking on my part this past weekend, there was plenty of drinking by others, mainly my drinking proxy, Lee (names have been substituted to protect the drunk). Lee is one of my best gal pals from high school, although we only became friends while we were in college. She is one in a million, and I'm very lucky to have her in my life...and thankful that she took me up on the trip in lieu of A who stayed home with Boo and the dog. A and Boo were going to go, but we're taking three big trips this year, and it's too much to ask folks to watch our dog for that long. Plus, we only have enough energy to fly and travel around with Boo twice this year.

It was a grand long weekend. We spent one day flying and then had dinner with my brother-in-law and his wife; then we spent a whole day shopping in SoHo and went to a cocktail party later that night where we met up with some college folks I haven't seen since graduation; then we spent the next day walking all over Brooklyn (I've already mentioned my love of the place, right?), and then went to the wedding that night. We stayed at the wedding until around midnight, hailed a cab (the driver totally didn't want to take us to Brooklyn but he did - thanks cabbie!), went to bed around 2am and then got up at 4am in order to catch a ride to the airport for our 6am flight back. It was a quick trip but a relaxing one. Much needed.

A and Boo had a great time at home. It was my first time away from him since he was a baby, and this time the transition when I got back was a little tougher for poor Boo. A was tired, understandably so, but I think Boo was confused. He kept saying "My mommy!" and clinging to me the first two days I was back. I kept reassuring him I wasn't going away again, but I was cherishing the clingy hugs since I missed them so while I was gone.

For me, the first day there wasn't so hard. The other two days weren't terribly difficult, but I felt the pull of missing Boo much more. The flight home was hard. There were kids all over the airport and a ton of them on our flights home, and I just wanted to hug my little Boo and hear his sweet little voice rattling off all the things he did that day with Daddy. There were so many times while Lee and I were walking around where I would think "Boo would love this" or "A would love this" and I wished they were there. I had a fabulous time and spending gal pal time with Lee was so much fun, but I still missed my family. I missed my dog. I'm such a sucker and can't stand to be away from them. We're all really super close, like super glue close.

I think the next girls' weekend will be nearby, like the coast or the mountains. And maybe not for a while. I can live off of girls' night outs instead for the next few months just fine but it'll be a while before I can work up to being gone for a weekend, much less three nights away like this past trip. It's fun to be away and get a full night's sleep, but really, I just love being home.

Dear Anonymous Blogger: How I wish I could be so perfect just like you...

Dear Anonymous Blogger who just left a random comment on the first of my two-part parks post from over a month ago without a name, an email address or blog link:

First, thank you very much for your comment, but really, I am a firm believer that you should only leave a comment on a blog if you are willing to leave your name to it, even if it is your fun blog name or a fancy name you just made up for yourself for the day. For instance, let's call you TRIXIE in this post!

Second, Trixie my dear, based on your comment, you obviously did not read the FULL post, nor my The Park, Part Deux: Eating My Words post, which is odd, since that one comes up first. In it, I recant my initial post about park politics, or at least, some of it. I'm a big girl: I can eat my words when I know I was wrong, or as you say, "harsh." I also acknowledge my own playground faults, something you don't seem to do in your comments...

Third, our playset in the backyard in no way replaces the park. Did you read the bottom of the post? Didn't think so. We go to the park - indoors or outdoors - every week. You seem to be concerned that I've forced my son to be a shut-in, but rest assured, Mama Trix, that my son undoubtedly gets waaaay more interaction with other kids on a daily basis than many kids do, which is good and bad. I'm just saying a playset is a nice convenient thing to have right in our backyard, and it is.

Fourth, I find your judgment of me to be quite ironic, given that you have just read one random post. Whereas the rest of us (me and other commenters) are willing to poke fun at ourselves and point out which Mom-type we tend to be at the parks (I'm still the loud one by the way but not always so much the terrified one), you seem to be passive aggressively taking the I'm-better-than-all-of-you route with your comments -- IMHO in blogspeak is really a passive aggressive way of saying "My opinion is way more important in my mind but I'm too chicken shit to stand behind it"-- but who am I to psychoanalyze an anonymous commenter, eh? ;) I like how you use an example in your comment that still makes the other mom in the example come out as a terrible mom who was "acting very thoughtlessly" only to make you shine in the story as the mom who lives each moment for her son. Newsflash for you Trix: We ALL live each moment for our sons and daughters. What the hell was that holier-than-thou little ditty about in your comment?

It is obvious, Trixmeister, that you and I do not know each other. I am usually the one who can see both sides of every situation and give everyone the benefit of the doubt, which aggravates my friends and colleagues a lot when they vent and just want me to tell them they are right in a situation. But I am human, and I do get annoyed by others, and I have a right to vent about them from time to time. Especially on my blog, which contains a million sunny, happy, hot-damn-i-love-being-a-mama, every moment is pure bliss, saccharine sweet posts and (gasp! god forbid!) a ranting post every now and then.

Everybody has a bad day, we all suck at parenting from time to time, we all make colossal mistakes in public and private, yada yada yada... we all know that shit, so is that really something that needs to be stated in a blog post after every single rant? Doesn't everybody know that already, or do you think you are the only person who realizes this?

Anywhoo, just wanted to say love ya, Trixie McDixie, so much so that I had to devote an entire post to you. I know you are thrilled that I had some time while waiting for a print job to finish up to pen this Ode to Trixie (your timing was impeccable!).

I am SO glad that you are the uber perfect mom. Someday I hope to be just like you (sigh). Kisses!

Mama M

PS - was that too "harsh," in your humble opinion? that's what ya get when you irritate a preggo woman who is normally outspoken anyway, and who spends her days and nights running after a two year old ;)


The Itch

Do you ever get the itch to move? I get it often, and my husband does as well. We've lived in the same city now for seven consecutive years, and in the same state for the past 10 years. That's a long time for us. Granted, we've lived in two different houses and four different apartments/townhouses within the past decade, but still we've been rooted in the same general region. We are restless people.

I love Portland. I really do. But as someone who grew up here, moved far far away, and then came back, I've got that typical love/hate relationship with this city. It's small - the 25th largest city in the US, sometimes the 26th - and it's slow, which given my mood can be beautiful or uber aggravating. It's clean and environmentally hip, but it can also at times be annoyingly self-righteous, contradictory and downright passive aggresively mean. The burbs are diverse, the city is not; I live in the burbs but spend 50-60% of my time in the city. It's a city full of amazing modern designers yet it's almost impossible to find awesome modern design in retail shops that's affordable AND of high quality. It's kid-friendly, mama-friendly, and has the best and most diverse selection of microbrews and wines around, which is why we're still here; nothing kills The Itch to Move more than asking the bartendar in another city what's on tap and finding out there are only 10 beers, five of which consist of crappy Corona, Coors, or Miller and the like. Oh yeah, and the majority of our friends and family are here - saved the most important for last.

The Itch has come around again, and it's no coincidence that it arrives just after I take a trip to NYC, that beloved city that never sleeps. I had never spent a lot of time in Brooklyn until this trip, and I absolutely fell in love. Kids everywhere, dogs everywhere, super cute tree-lined streets and large(r) apartments. Amazing shops and restaurants around every corner, and Manhattan is just a couple of subway stops away. Cute neighborhoods, warm and fuzzies all around, close communities...you can just feel the buzz of happy family activities in the air. Sigh. My brother in law and sister in law live in (what I think is a large space for NY) a gorgeous turn of the century building with beautiful details and great storage space. I can see my family happy there, in that neighborhood.

Alas, I must quel The Itch. Someday, hubby and I plan to take a year or so to live in Europe somewhere with the kids. That's a Must for us. That'll be the Big Itch to scratch and until then, I don't know if we've got enough room emotionally or financially to scratch the itch in a bigger American city beforehand.

For now, I'll just continue to visit my fave places with the family when we can. Girls' weekend and wedding stories to come soon... tonight I just wanted to scratch The Itch via blogging in hopes of being cured of it...for now, anyway.


Big Boys, Babies, Monkeys and Jet Planes

I have felt like writing a lot lately but haven't had time to do so, so I'll try to condense everything into this one big rambling horribly written post. You have been forewarned.

It is AMAZING being home with Boo all the time. He's so much fun and every day is one crazy fun ride. He's such a BOY too. We were driving the other day when all of a sudden I hear him say "WHOA....! Look at that mama! What''s THAT?!" I look over and see a concrete pump truck that is huge, painted bright blue and silver, with big red and orange flames on the side. Boo was totally impressed by this vehicle. I told him what it was and he nodded his head with big wide eyes and said "Wow...that's cool. That's so cool mama!"

He's very huggy and snuggly lately, which of course I just love. He's such a kid now too, talking up conversations all day long with me and anyone else who will listen. He points to things all day long and asks "what's that mommy?" and tells me all of the things he thinks are "so cool." He still sings all day long but now he really knows the words to dozens of kids songs and the other day serenaded everybody on our floor of a local kid-friendly brewpub with a very very loud rendition of Jingle Bells. He loves Thomas the Train, Elmo & Cookie Monster, Bob the Builder and Nemo. He knows all of the characters associated with those cartoons and loves reading the associated books in the car. I'll look back and just see this big book covering his face. He loves his books.

Boo looooves his grandma and grandpa too. He gets SO excited when he knows he is going to see them and I think he almost forgets about mommy and daddy when they're over at our house. It's super cute and my husband and I are so happy that he is able to grow up really knowing my parents and spending a lot of time with them. We used to see them maybe once a month but it's been more frequent lately, and as much as they can drive me crazy, it's been wonderful seeing their relationship blossom.

His memory is amazing and he'll talk about experiences we've had with specific people months after they happen. Boo also loves babies and will sometimes ask to watch the baby shows that come on the mid-afternoon on TLC. This is a good thing since he's going to be a big brother! I would have loved to have broken the news on my blog in some eloquent fashion but alas, I don't have time for eloquence and this is a blog and not a piece of literature or anything so there it is: I'm pregnant! Eleven weeks right now. It's been a weird ride so far, very different from when I was pregnant with Boo, but I am feeling good now that I am starting to take it "easy" and not running full speed ahead every second of every day.

The pregnancy is another reason we decided to keep Boo home with me now. I want him to have "his" time, and to be able to enjoy him without having my attention divided just yet. He's been so great and we've just been having the best time. It was a wonderful decision to have made and I am glad we did.

We got Boo's Halloween costume - a monkey, which is quite fitting. The face looks very much like the monkey cake I baked for his birthday this year. He loves the costume and wants to wear it all the time. Trick or treating should be fun this year!

So early tomorrow morning I leave on a jet plane for NYC for a long weekend trip. I am excited and nervous and already missing Boo. My husband is taking time off from work so he and Boo will have a boys' weekend. I am sure they will have a great time. I will be soaking up the city as much as I can with my gal pal A (magnolia bakery cupcakes, here we come!), watching my pal J get married, and visiting with my brother and sister in law. I'm looking forward to it but I also know I will be calling in to hear my little guy's voice over the phone every once in a while.

So there's my rambling post. Hopefully I will have some great stories from the trip to write about when I get back!


day of goodbyes

this morning as i drove boo to school, he was totally great, reading in the backseat, singing to his favorite cd. then we pulled into school. then he started crying. bawling. tears totally streamed down his cute little face and he kept saying "no school, mommy! no school!"

hmm. we had thought that talking to him about it would make the transition easier on him, so he was prepared for it. it is his last day today. but of course, he is just over two, and how the hell does he know what "last day" means? i think he thought he was no longer going at all. he was so excited when i would say he was going to be home with mommy all the time now. except that "now" actually starts, um, a few hours from now. oops.

so he clung to me tightly with his little hands and wrapped his legs around my waist and kept bawling as i was saying goodbye and handing him to one of his teachers.i am sure he will be fine, but it just tore my heart out to see him cry like that.

we're having a party there later for his goodbye, and i have to say, it's a little bittersweet for me too. i really like the teachers and the director there. they're great, and it's been such a great experience for him to be around not only the kids in his class, but to be surrounded by the older kids in the space next to his class. his speech is incredible since he moved to the big kids room. they help reinforce things we teach him at home. they've even offered to watch him every once in a while if i ever have a meeting or appointment or something and need someone to watch him for a couple of hours. how great is that?

i'm having a hard time today. am i crazy? is this going to work? i am so excited but also for the first time, nervous. i know it will all work out, it always does. but once again, i think the transition will be more difficult for me than for him in the long run.

UPDATE: we had ice cream sandwiches for his last day there when i arrived to pick him up and i gave the other kids some bubbles that they could take home. the teachers were great and kept saying to bring him back whenever i needed some time to myself or to run errands or if he just wanted to see his friends at school. we definitely may bring him back there when he's ready for preschool. it's so nice to feel confident about a school that's close to home!


coming home

back to school time is just around the corner, and as many mamas and papas prepare their kids for the classroom, we are preparing to bring ours back home. little boo will be home with me full-time starting the end of the month. there are many reasons behind our decision, all of them good ones. we love his little school and he likes it too, but this time is so short. school is expensive and since my businesses are moving forward i no longer feel it is a necessity to have him in regular care outside of the home. my businesses are in a place now where i can do them at nights, weekends and naptimes. boo is at a place right now where i can take him to most of my meetings during the day and he's great playing by himself or hanging out on my lap. most of my meetings are with other mamas and papas who also have their kids with them. i miss him when he is gone. this week especially, i miss him terribly. he still cries a little sometimes when i drop him off, which is normal, he only goes for a few hours a week anyway, but i don't think it's normal that i still want to cry at drop off sometimes as well. he's a big kid and he's only going to get bigger. i am selfish and want to be with him for this magical time - for ALL of it. i have big plans for our time together. projects. outings. adventures. lots more snuggle time. at first i didn't want to pull him out since it will be a big transition again to get him back into school when he needs to go. but then i realized: it's really more of a transition for me. he's fine. he's really great with transitions these days - his big kid bed, traveling overseas, stopping the use of his binky for sleep (we let him use it in switzerland but then he dropped it completely - forgot to write about that), being schlepped all over town by his crazy parents who have crazy schedules. he's great with transitions now. so i think he'll be fine with this one. i'm very at peace with our decision. i actually feel a little more free, oddly enough. not at all stressed. the businesses will be fine, and we'll all be happier and healthier. i am very excited. this is a huge decision and i know it's the right one. i can't wait!



I did it. Booked tix to NYC for a gal pal's wedding and my date will not be my hubby but my girlfriend whom I've been friends with since graduating from high school. This is a trip that both of us need (ah, the dramas of 30-something women, eh?) and I am sure we shall enjoy every minute of it. It will be my first time away from the boys in a very very long time... but you know what? They will be just fine. They'll have a grand ol' time ... and so will I! It's just for a couple of days. Short and sweet. But enough to maybe do just a little bit of damage. :)



Conversations with Boo

Dear Boo,

Looking at you today, it is hard to believe you were once so small and helpless. Today, at 26 months, you are a big kid: learning to do new things, speaking longer sentences, doing big kid things every single day. You boggle our mind, and we love you SO much!

Fun things right now:

-Our drilling in of manners is beginning to show. You know that when you want something, you say "mama (of daddy), may I please have some ____?" or "mama, may I please watch Thomas?" And you are so proud whenever you say this! It's the cutest sentence we've ever heard.

-In the same vein, you also now say "no thank you" instead of just "no!" when you don't want something that we've asked you.

-You loooove puzzles. When you are trying to figure out which piece goes where, you scrunch up your face in deep thought and say very seriously "Hmmm..."

-You totally love your swimming classes, and you are starting to warm up in your music class. If we could live in water like the fish, whales and sea turtles you so love, I think you would be in absolute bliss. You love the instruments in music class and the parachute.

-You know all of the main colors and your favorites are still blue, yellow and orange.

-You are still singing all the time, but now you're starting to sing more in front of other people too. Yesterday you serenaded our friends J and S in the car with several continuous renditions of Jingle Bells followed seamlessly by the ABC song, Lullaby and Twinkle Twinkle.

-You think you are funny. You'll do something that really is funny and you'll say "(insert Boo's real name here) is funny!" You are also catching on to humor in every day life and like to stop to say emphatically, "____ is funny!!"

-You can take off your shoes and put them away properly, take off your pants and your diaper (potty training close? we hope so but aren't going to push it), can put on some shoes and some shirts and pants.

-You are drinking super well out of a regular cup now. Very little spillage! And your use of a fork is greatly improved. Tonight you ate spaghetti with a fork and never once used your hands (and only got a tiny amount on your shirt!).

-You like to point out things you really like by saying something like "See my Nemo chair? It's cool."

-Your speech is the most amazing thing recently. You really are talking in sentences. "Daddy, are you sleepy? Are you sleepy Daddy?" "I had fun at school!" "Daddy is going to work" "Mama come play with me please" "Thor, you're not supposed to eat!" (that is in reference to his food, not Thor's) "Uh-oh, Percy fell down! Percy is in the water! Percy fell in the water! Oh no, Percy, don't fall in the water!" Things like that. Our favorite is of course, the one mentioned above (the "mama, may I please have some milk?" phrase).

We love this time. You are an incredible kid, who finds such joy in everything, and who also overthinks things sometimes like your mama and papa do. I'm sure we'll pass on worse habits to you, so cherish that one. You also whine a lot right now, but we're noticing it is decreasing as your sentences get longer, and we are certain that some kid in your class taught you how to say "My___" because every now and then you like to remind people that it's your train or book or whatever. You love to sing and dance and run all day and all night long, and you make us so very happy.

Mama M and Papa A


Big Kid

My son tonight has moved into his toddler bed. We were having no luck with him sleeping in his crib transitioned into a toddler bed (he's very set in his routine: he freaked without the side railing), so we went ahead and bought a little toddler bed with cars on it. He loved playing in it today, but it was a little more difficult at bedtime, which is usually a peice of cake. He protested just a tiny bit, but then I climbed in with him for a minute, then got out and recited his bedtime story. I sat beside his bed for a little while and then he fell asleep. I am not sure what it will be like when he wakes up and finds himself in the new bed and not his crib, but for now he is sleeping soundly, in his big kid bed.

As he gets older, I see more and more of myself and my husband in him. His actions, his expressions, his likes and dislikes. It's really quite an odd realization in the moment it happens.


Papa & Son

This week provided me with one of those cheeky smile, "ahhhh" moments in life. The moments when you realize that right then, right there, all is right in the world - you f eel safe, secure, at peace.

The moment came to me during Boo's weekly swim class. It was decided (mainly by me) that the swim class would be my husband's time with Boo. I've got music class and oh, about 25 extra hours of alone time with our son each week, and my husband doesn't really have solid Papa & Son time. I was going to stay home, but was convinced (by my husband) to at least go and sit in the stands during this session.

So there I sat for forty minutes, watching the loves of my life splash and play in the water. About ten minutes into the session it hit me: my husband really is an amazing father, and my son is safe and loved and secure when in his care. They are fine on their own, just the two of them, without me. I've known this of course, but right at that moment, I felt it. An amazing wave of joy and peace surged through me, beaming as I watched them enjoy each other's company.

I'm the typical "mother knows best" freak. I spend the most time with my son, so whenever I see my husband doing something that isn't exactly the way I would do it, I freak out a little. Whenever my husband breaks my son's and my routine a bit, I'm annoyed. When he calls watching tv while his son plays in the background Papa & Son time, I'm miffed and feel like I have to step in to actually be the one to play with my son even though I just spent hours alone with him toting all over town doing a million activities and dealing with his tantrums on my own. Ok, now I'm digressing a little from my point of this post... I'm a little more cautious with him, I hover a little more, and I have faster reflexes to respond to those "oh crap" moments. But my husband takes great care of Boo in his own way. He would never let anything bad happen to him, and I know that if I am not there, he places all of his energy and focus on Boo.

Watching the two of them from a distance, I knew they would be ok without me. My husband loves my son more than the moon, and would protect him from harm and love him fiercely just as much as I would. I don't need to be with the one with my son every waking moment for him to be safe and secure; if my husband is with him, I can be confident that all is well. And that, I think, helps me feel more at peace than I have ever been. I am blessed to have these two beautiful boys in my life and even more blessed that they are so in love with each other as I am with them. Plus, I am learning to shed my protective mama bear skin, just a little, and that, I think, is a very good thing.



It is 1 am and I was going to update this blog but am too tired now. Big day of lots of work ahead tomorrow, or rather, today... topped off by a night out with the girls. Looking forward to that very much. If you would like to read a recent post by me, please visit my post about our trip to Zurich at www.urbanmamas.com. It was FAB and I will write more about the actual trip on this blog another time... just not now, at 1:00 in the morning.



Raising Boys

As Boo gets older, I'm definitely realizing the full responsibilities of raising a son in today's society. There is pretend play and there is what some people perceive to be violent play; there is teaching sensitivity to the world and its inhabitants while also teaching caution, strength and self-protection; there is teaching safety and kindness and also learning to let go and allow for self-teachings of these principles.

If you haven't figured this out already from any of my previous posts, I am immensely in love with my son. Mothers of sons get this - it is such an intense feeling of love, protection and responsibility as a woman to raise a "good" son. My son, I know, is also in love with me. I definitely get more of the hugs, the snuggles, the kisses, and the kinder, gentler play than daddy does.

As I see his personality emerging, I am questioning every other value that I have as a person because I know more than ever, it will affect his view on the world and help him shape his own values. I fear I am giving in to societal conditioning if we buy him too many trucks and trains, and I am already dreading the later years - "which sport does your son play?" Well, what if my son doesn't want to play a sport? "Why is your son wearing pink?" Well then, what if pink is his favorite color? His father and I have no problem letting him be who he is and letting him discover himself in safe ways, but we realize not all of this society is so accepting. He's just a boy, and I don't think boys can become men until they are truly comfortable with themselves.

Right now, he's just all kid, with a nice mix of soft and rough in him. The hitting, the throwing, the banging and the loud play are also tempered so nicely by long afternoons appreciating nature; he loves trees (hooray!) and flowers, appreciates the beauty of individual rocks and blades of grass. Yesterday he was mesmorized by a sea of small purple flowers and he picked one, and wanted to give it to his daddy. So we placed it in a glass with water ("flower drink!" as Boo says), and set it on the table for his papa to find when he got home while we were at his music class.

Music...Boo is still completely in love with all things musical - dancing, singing, rythm of any kind, clapping, making instruments. We spend about 90% of our time at home singing and dancing. He orders us around like a little drill sargeant "Dance, mommy!" or "Clap, daddy!" I hope he never loses this connection with the beauty of music. I am also realizing that some of the banging he does really is music to him (although sometimes it is just "I'm so mad at you train, I'm going to hit you hard on the table!"...ugh)

Poetry...Boo is in love with words, the rythm of certain verses, the music he hears them make in his ears as we read them out loud together. We spend at least a full hour every day reading books, poetry, anything (he likes me to read from the grammar book in my office sometimes!). I can see the stories spark imagination in his head, and I hope he will always have an imaginative spark in him.

Tenderness...Boo exhibits extreme tenderness with those he loves, in both human form, animal form and character form. He feeds his stuffed animals and plastic toy animals, tucks them gently into bed, dances with them, and shows them great things he's found ("see the pretty flower, zebra?").

Yes, he loves trucks and trains and cars. He loves to bang things and make loud noises. I love seeing this mix of soft and rough with him. I know as he gets older, he'll find out all too well what this society sees as masculine and feminine, but I hope that we as his parents can help instill values of self-worth, strength and confidence in himself to be who he is and to ignore those labels. I realize now that we are really just his guide, showing him things along the way, but the path he takes in the end is all his own - we want him to walk it with pride and happiness.



Some days I think I rock at being able to catch Boo before a tantrum starts, talk him down from one, stop him from throwing his trucks and getting him to understand why he shouldn't hit me when he's mad because I tell him he can't do something. Those days are few and far between. Most of the time, I'm just guessing and choosing how to react to his strong and stubborn toddler ways. A lot of the time, I have the distinct feeling that I've lost the battle, and my wiser-than-his-years son has once again outwitted this novice mama.

But something has happened the past two days that has amused and bewildered my husband and I. Now when Boo gets ready to throw something, he tells himself in a stern voice: "No throwing!" Granted, he will usually say this as the object is being hurled from his hand, but increasingly he seems to be doing this to remind him that throwing is not ok, and when I wait for the hurled object to hit me in the head, none arrives. He also says "no banging" when he wants to bang his trucks or trains, and "no kicking" when he wants to kick the seat. Hmm. Maybe he is self-disciplining after all. Maybe he does listen to what his dad and I tell him, and maybe, just maybe, the meaning behind the words are starting to sink in.

Or maybe he's just mocking us, which he tends to do from time to time, and doesn't really get it yet. He is, after all, two, and is just fascinated to find out what happens when he does throw or bang his trucks over and over and over. He's learning, and I get that - I just wish it were a little softer way of learning sometimes. (Gender note: how come none of the girls his age seem to be in the throwing/hitting/banging phase but all of the boys are?). Either way, he's starting to get better about throwing, hitting, banging in general. He's still super sweet and cuddly - this past weekend was all about the hugs and kisses to mama and papa - but he's also 100% physical when he plays, something that can be both endearing and also mind-numbing.


10 years ago...

...my husband and I graduated from the same college. We had an awesome time in college. Many of our college friends have moved out here, and are some of the people that I cherish the most in the whole world. Our college reunion was earlier this month, and I just got sent a batch of online photos. Some of the photos take me back, mainly the photos of Boston, which make me miss the city so very much. Some of the photos make me wonder if I actually graduated in a different year...who the hell are those people in the photos? Some of them, sadly, make me feel better (as in, "phew! I'm not the only one who gained some weight since college!" - terrible thought, isn't it? but there it is, in my head). But all of them bring back the feelings, the scents, the memories of college. It is where my husband and I met, where I faced a lot of my own insecurities and my undeniable faults - my demons, so to speak - and where I believe I truly learned to love, live and laugh the way I had always wanted to. College is where I learned to become the person I wanted to be, and where I met the people that would accept the parts of me that I maybe didn't like so much.

I can't believe 10 years have gone by. Look at how much can happen and how much one can both stay the same and change. It went by so fast. I am truly fearful and saddened at the fact that I know the next 10 years will fly by even faster now with Boo in our lives. The last two alone have whizzed by super crazy fast!

The photos also made me stop and think about where my fellow grads are now in their lives, and where I am in mine. Am I where I should be at this point? I know that I am happy where I am at this point. Have I accomplished all that I wanted to by now? Well, no, since I don't have my MBA and I don't speak five languages fluently (what the hell was I thinking when I added that to my list?). But plans change and I no longer want an MBA. Are my fellow grads happy where they are in life? It's too much pressure, this whole one life thing - how are we supposed to pack in everything we want to do in one life? Sucky ducky. I guess I'll just keep plugging along and just doing what makes me and my family happy.

On a completely superficial note, the photos also made me (selfishly) wonder: good god, have I aged that much too? I know that the answer is yes, because 10 years did pass, I did have a child, and I have been working like a crazy women with little sleep for the past 10 years - can't expect all of that to keep me looking 22, can I? I never really think about aging, but suddenly these photos... ay carumba, I feel like an old married woman, because I know that's just what I look like in photos. Ack.

I'm not too sad that we missed the reunion. Their new tv studios look awesome, but I miss the brownstones that housed our old dorms and classrooms. Henry Winkler (graduated from the same college, along with a bunch of other funny famous men like Jay Leno and Dennis Leary, but not too many super famous women...hmmm) was there and some of my fellow grads got their picture taken with him. Not sure that would have made the trip worth it for us. But it's nice to see the photos and remember that time. 10 years. Damn, it goes by too fast.


Freakin' hilarious

I am totally in love with my son. He is the funniest person on the face of the earth and I wish someone would just pay me to watch his silly antics all day long. There's a fun job I could live with forever.

This week, he's all about responding to our "thank you"s with an emphatic, wide-eyed, head bobbing "NO! Thank YOOOOUUU!!!" Sometimes, he will say thank you to us for something we did for him and respond to himself with an immediate "No! Thank you!"

When I tell him I love him, he says without skipping a beat: "I know."

When he let out an adorable and quite audible little fart while he was playing behind the couch, he popped his little head up, looked at us, smiled with big eyes and said "Ethan toooot!" Then immediately popped his head back down and commenced playing.


Emotional attachments

Boo misses his old classroom and his former teachers. I think he's adjusting pretty well to his new classroom, and some of his friends from his old one are there now that they are older too, but it's still difficult. We've learned that he tends to act out more during these transitional times, and that behavior only lasted a couple of days this time. He's also eating and napping in his new classroom, which was a challenge when he first started at the school. He's playing and chatting it up already. So, there is progress, but still... watching him stop in front of his old classroom door on our way home is just super sad. My heart goes out to him as he peeks in - perhaps to catch a glimpse of his friends that are still in there, perhaps to see his old teachers, perhaps just to see the classroom itself and the familiar posters and pictures on the wall. He knows that is no longer that classroom, but he remembers how much he loved it. He still feels the emotional attachments to the place and the people there. He leans against the door and looks into window briefly in silence before taking my hand and walking out.

It makes me sad to think that he feels sadness and a sense of loss at such a young age, but I also know that this is the first of just many times in his life that he will have to say goodbye and transition to a new place with new people. Wouldn't it be lovely if we could all just have everyone we love around us all the time? No long distance phone calls, no once a year visits... no saying goodbye. Ever. My heart goes out to him in part because it makes me sad too. I hate that we have to say goodbye to the teachers we love so much and get to know the new ones, whom we will just have to say goodbye to eventually as well. I am easily emotionally attached to the people that enter my life - the ones who stay for decades or even the ones who just flitter in for ten minutes- and I really do wish we could keep the people in our lives actually in our lives forever.

Alas, that's not the way the world turns, and my little Boo is being very brave and so very awesome during this transition. He's stronger than me already, and I'm so proud of him.


A Woman President?

We're heading into campaign season for the 2008 elections, and as a woman and a mother, I am deeply distraught. In 2004, I bought the domain names www.momsforhillary.com and www.momsforhillary.org. I thought that she was going to be the best candidate to get the family agenda out there, and as much as her campaign may have protested, of course she is running. Now it's obvious: the Friends for Hillary campaign has contacted me wanting to purchase both domain names. Over the past year, I've watched her, and I've been disappointed almost to the point of disgust. I no longer think she has a chance, and more than that, I no longer believe she will bring anything to the table to help moms, esp. working moms, families in need, healthcare, education, addressing the deficit - or any other hot topics that I believe will shape this next election. Forget race, forget economics - I believe the group that will have the greatest affect on this election is the mom-vote. We're the ones who want a better future for our families. Is Hillary the one who is going to lead us to a better future? I no longer think so.

Yesterday the Friends for Hillary campaign's first offer was absolutely ridiculous, and their second offer not much better. I know what the domain names are worth, and the campaign is nowhere even close to being near the ballpark. But you know what? I'll take it, because now I really am disgusted with the Hillary Clinton campaign. They think that just because I'm some little mom in Oregon that I can be taken for granted and it just emphasizes how she doesn't care about the little folks like you and me out here.

So what is your take on Hillary? Would you vote for her? Do you think we'll ever see a woman president in our lifetime? Can't Oprah just run already? :)

UPDATE: Instead of writing a new post on this, I'll just keep adding to the comments in the comments section.


Out for the Summer, Be Back Next Fall

Boo's birthday party was a blast - complete with monkey cake, jungle animal cookies, tiger pinata, and the best part: lots of warm and fun friends and family. We did a book exchange instead of gifts and I am so grateful. He had another party at school today. This boy has had quite a bit of sugar in him the past few days!

Boo's birthday also officially marks the beginning of summer in our household. Straight ahead are birthday parties, summer vacations, many day trips to the beach, and if I have my way, general relaxation. That's right: you read correctly. I used a form of the word relax in relation to myself in the same sentence. I've decided that this summer is about re-energizing: my family, my soul, my business focus. It's about taking time out to sit back and re-evaluate the plans, big and small. Figuring out the future. And I can't do that while sprinting a million miles a minute doing fifty things at once. Ten things, maybe, fifty, not so much. Yeah, yeah, there's work, but I've made a conscious effort not to schedule too many jobs and overbook myself as I normally do, and I am going to make a conscious effort to schedule re-grouping time in between projects. Chillin' in the backyard with a marguerita watching Boo chase bubbles while I finish my business plans, redo our family budget and figure out how in the hell we can make it work and move to Italy for a year. Did I say that last part out loud?

It's much needed. I feel like I haven't taken time out - real time off, emotionally, mentally and physically - for a couple of years now. All of our "vacations" have had agendas, whether business or family-driven. There is literally not a minute in any day that is my own, that is quiet, that is without a million To Do lists popping in and out of my head. This is how I love to live my life, but I also know that I can only live at this speed if I take time to recharge. While I've been having the time of my life working on overdrive the past two years, with all of the changes and new developments and crazy happy moments, I also know when it's time to just disappear from the masses for a while to regroup in quiet solitude so that I can return fully ready to charge full speed later on. It's time once again.


Happy Birthday Boo!

Dearest Boo,

This week you turn TWO years old! How did that happen? Where did those months, days, hours, minutes all go? The last year seems to have been in complete fast forward. You are continuing to grow into an amazing, beautiful, funny, strong and smart boy. You are definitely no longer a baby, although you will always be my baby.

Your favorite things: Finding Nemo, animals of all kinds, reading, to slide and swing, kicking soccer balls, singing, being tickled, taking baths, pointing out different colors and letters, being loud.

Your favorite foods: blueberries, peanut butter & jelly, peas and rice, Puffins cereal, Annie's cheddar bunnies, fake chicken patties, any type of dessert product that mommy and daddy are eating

Your Monday playpals: Lea, Cole and Ella. Together you are the Fantastic Four.

Your least favorite things: strangers (which is a good thing in my mind), getting dressed after a bath, having your nose wiped, being told that you can't ___________(insert anything here), being rushed, transitions.

What you are doing now:
  • Reading to us. You seem to memorize parts of books just after the second or third time we read them to you, and now as we begin reading a book to you, if we pause you will fill in the rest of the sentence. You will read One Fish, Two Fish by Dr. Seuss to us in its entirety. Favorite other books to read to us: Five Little Ducks, Big Red Barn, Bear Snores On.
  • Helping us clean up. You will help pick up your toys, books, crayons and stuffed animals when we tell you it's "pick up" time. You also like to help bring in the recycling and the trash and throw things away when we ask you to.
  • Testing us. You are definitely working on figuring out what is acceptable and what is not, and you're doing a great job of figuring that out by testing things on us. Your favorite test right now is slowly dumping out the contents of your big boy cup, which is thankfully usually just water.
  • Talking like there's no tomorrow. You repeat every sentence we say and are saying your own little sentences. You talk nonstop all day long, in between singing, and we love to hear your voice.
  • You love Starbucks and Target. Whenever we get anywhere near a drive-thru Starbucks, you get all excited and squeal "Yaaaay! Starbucks! All right! Mommy Coffee! Blueberry muffin?!?"
  • Transitioning to your new classroom for the older kids at school. It is not as difficult as your first transition there, but it is still hard. We understand - it's hard for us too to say goodbye to the teachers that took care of you the past few months.
  • Back and forth on the potty training. A few months ago we thought we were close, and then you stopped telling us when you were going. Now you are starting to tell us again, and we think we're making progress.
  • Using the word "yucky" to describe anything that is out of place. You are an orderly child. You like to line up all of your toys and animals either in neat rows or in beautiful wavy rows. You like to be clean. Now whenever you see a speck of something on your toys or when the spaghetti sauce lands on your bib, you say "yucky!"
  • Showering mommy and daddy with tons of affection. Your hugs are the best in the world, and you give us tons of hugs everyday. We wish we could just sit with you all day long in one big bear hug.
  • Getting attached to people you know and love. You love seeing your grandma, grandpa, uncle Dave, Traci and Kaden. You also love seeing your playmates. You love to see pictures and you get so excited to name everyone.
What is happening in the country when you turned two:
  • buzzwords: iPod, organic, Netflix, frappaccino, gelato
  • brand names that have become verbs: Google, Tivo
  • global warming
  • hybrid cars are everywhere and your mommy really wants one
  • organic food is mainstream and abundant in every grocery store (at least in Portland), meaning hopefully less toxins are going into your body than went into mine as a child
  • the US is no longer a financial superpower but rather owes more money to other countries than they owe us
  • we're still in Iraq, there is a contrived smokescreen controversy over immigration, the administration is spying on innocent Americans and is full of more corruption, lies and deceipt than the White House has ever seen... even with your tantrums you are still smarter and more levelheaded than our current president
  • for some reason, the country keeps watching American Idol
  • big tv shows that are better than American Idol: Lost, 24, The Office
  • satellite radio is big
  • women still make less money on average than their male counterparts
  • our schools are in crisis and we're watching anxiously to see what happens in the next few years
Our parents said it back then and we'll say it now: the world is crazy and we hope it gets better as you get older. Everything we do now, we do with you and your future in mind. We hope that as you get older, we can help instill strong values in you, that you grow up knowing the true value of family and friends as the most important aspects of your life, that you will treat others as you wish to be treated, that you will seek adventure and find laughter in every day, and that you make decisions that will not just help you, but those around you. For now we're happy with the fact that you say please and thank you, and make us laugh every day. We're elated that you are here, with us, singing, dancing, playing, snuggling. You are becoming your own person, and we are so thrilled and honored to watch your personality unfold. We know you will be an amazing man; you are an incredible two-year-old going on 20.

Happy Birthday, Boo. We love you more than we can ever put into words.

Mama M and Papa A


I am anti-competition

Ha ha. At least, I really wish I could say I wasn't into competing. But there's something about it that draws me in every time. Hence, please feel free to click on this link and vote/rate/leave a comment about the Event Bliss site.

Click Here to Visit Top Birth Announcement Sites and vote for Event Bliss TODAY!

This is stupid and means nothing but for some reason I decided it would be fun. Hmm. I don't even know if it will work coming from this blog but whatever. Just another silly thing to do to help me procrastinate from doing the things I really should be doing. Like work. Back to work I go...

Happy weekend everyone!


Mother's Day: Feel the Love

My mother's day was lovely and makes me smile and realize how much I love life. This is one of those sappy happy posts so if you are looking for a bitch sesssion, please come back later when I can be more accommodating. I just don't expect much of Mother's Day for me; I still think of it as a day to honor and celebrate my own mom, whom I owe so much to. But this year, I really felt like it was a special day for me too, which was surprisingly a nice feeling.

In the morning we had breakfast with my mom and my brother, his fiance and their 6 month old baby. My poor dad had to work yesterday, and we missed him at breakfast but it was a nice morning. Family time is great, and although they drive me crazy a lot, I feel lucky to be near them. Boo entertained us during the meal and did his usual Long and Loud Goodbye when we left, saying goodbye to each person in the restaurant and then to each of my family members individually on our way to the car - five times each.

After Boo's nap, my husband and I strapped Boo into the jogging stroller and went on the longest walk/jog I think we've done in years. A full hour and a half (we walked/jogged for miles on end) of mostly hills, in the hot sun, finished off with going up the steepest hill I have ever seen in our city. I feel a little freaked just driving up this hill when I do and there I was suddenly walking up the damn mountain. It is my husband's fault, I blame him. I would have been happy going back the way we came, but nooooo he had to be challenged. It was a bit of a dare, and I'm the idiot that fell for it.

Anyway, I felt great after that and it was a good reminder that we need to go back to doing that more often. My husband and I used to run together all the time, and since Boo was born (ok, since I found out I was pregnant with him), he has continued to go running but I keep making excuses as to why I can't or don't have time. My body is telling me I need to get back into it. I hate exercise, but I love and crave that time with my husband, and now with Boo too. He loves the jogging stroller (except as soon as any bit of sun hits his face, he squints away in fake pain and says "too hot! too hot!" He's full of drama, my kid).

I often think that my husband and I are lucky to be able to spend the time together that we do, but yesterday was a good reminder that there is always more time that we can spend as a family. There is always more we can do together, just us three - more we can do to appreciate each other. I didn't realize how much I missed the super long, uninterrupted conversations we'd have together on our jogs, or just how great it felt to explore new places together. So no matter what, I'm going to make time for all three of us to go on long walking/jogging journeys together more often.

Oh, and for my Mother's Day present: a printed photo album of photos of me and Boo from his birth. It is a beautiful book chronicling his growth to now, with the sweetest photos we've taken (and believe me, we've taken at least a couple thousand photos).

I love my husband, and I love being a mom. I really, really do :)


Happy Day!

It is past midnight. I am sitting here, having finally figured out path problems and officially launched the Portland Mamas Inc. site, chugging the remainders of a no-longer-so-cold microbrew, smiling like a mad woman.

Happy Mother's Day to all of the women that have shaped the woman I have become and am becoming: mom, grandma, great-grandma, aunts, cousins, friends near and far, friends online and friends I will meet in the future. I hope you all have a glorious, fabulous-o mamas day. Celebrate you. Live it up. Then let me know what you did on your big day. I always love to hear how people celebrate this day.

As I toast you all tonight with this final drop of fatty beer goodness, I know tomorrow I will be toasting my own mother. A mom who seriously is #1 Mom, even though she drives me crazy sometimes (read: a lot). She put up with a lot of crap from me and sometimes still does. She supports us all through thick and thin. She is always smiling, and is the most generous person in the entire world. She will help anyone for any reason at any time, without question. I hope to someday be as good of a person as she is.

Thanks, Mom. Cheers to you! And to all of you moms out there!


The Park, Part Deux: Eating my words

I am a complete beeatch. Or at the very least, a major schmuck. After writing the previous post about my anti-park stance, where did I go today? The Park. And worse? I had FUN.

It all started yesterday when I saw a woman jogging while pushing a toddler and a baby in a double jogging stroller AND holding onto a big huge golden retriever while running. She puts me to SHAME. I only have one tot, and one dog. Now, I'm not going to attempt to take both running at the same time (if you can do this, kudos to you, but I don't think my back would survive my dog's pulling). But I figure if that woman can do what she did, then I can certainly haul my lazy ever-expanding ass back into the running circuit. My husband and I used to go running together all the time. It had been months. Maybe even a year, I can't remember. It was time.

So this morning after running some errands, Boo and I went for a "jog" in a nearby park. I can do walks in my neighborhood, but it's all massive back-breaking hills, so the park was our closest alternative. I didn't want to go to the park, but felt I had to. I vowed not to stop at the playground but to just keep jogging. So we went. And I learned that I need to get back into shape because I am so LAME that I can't jog for half a block much less five miles! So it was more of an intense walk/jog jaunt. Then on our third lap around the trail, there it was: an empty playground. No one in sight. Could it be?

I had to take advantage of it, so I popped Boo out of the jogging stroller and off he ran to the slides. Then a car pulled up. Then another. Then some came by foot. My anxiety level was super high and I was about ready to pull the "oh we were just leaving" act. Then they started talking to me. The Moms.

And they were NICE. Not just pleasant, but SUPER NICE. Nicer than I ever could be. They watched their kids. They engaged me in interesting conversation. We shared real laughs and watched out kids play together. When one of the kids pushed Boo (who just sat there looking surprised), the kid's mom was right there talking to her son about not pushing and made him apologize. What alternate universe had I landed upon? Where were these nice, responsible moms before during my bad experiences at the park? They were so warm and friendly that I wanted to give them all hugs when we left and invite them over for coffee and a playdate at my house.

Alas, we had to leave, and as Boo exclaimed "BYE!!!!! BYE BYE!!!" as he waved to each one of the kids and the moms, I realized that I would be back to that particular park again. At least, until I have a few more bad experiences to make me hate it again. For now, this experience has made me eat my words and feel like the biggest bitch in the world for dissing the park. Damn. I kind of liked not liking the park. Guess I'll have to funnel that hate to my hatred of the mall. Now that dislike, I don't think any group of nice moms can change.


Park politics

Here it is: I hate going to the park.

Ok, that's a pretty strong statement, because truthfully I enjoy the park. I like taking long walks or, on a miraculous and rare day these days, a nice run. I enjoy watching the ducks, geese and the freaky beaver/otter/large cat that swims thing in the creek. I enjoy pushing my son on the swings and hearing him say "weeeeeeeeeeeee!" ever so seriously. I enjoy watching him go up and down the slide over and over and over.

I do not enjoy having to deal with park etiquette at the park. I am not good at it, and I don't think I want to be.

I have had many conversations with many different friends about this lately. The park is the perfect place to take your kids, but I get an ulcer just thinking about the parental politics of a park outing. Inevitably, there's the Bully, the Biter, the Swing Hog, the Screamer, the Pusher, two Invisible Moms whom you discover are the moms of the Bully and the Swing Hog but only an hour after you've watched said children turn the playground into their lair of mean-spirited domination, the Loud mom who talks incessantly to her child very loudly (sometimes I fear that is me), the Hot Dad (ok, I don't mind this one as much), the Trying to Be Funny Dad, the Nodding Mom who will only nod with averted eyes at your attempts at conversation, the My Kid Doesn't Do Anything Wrong parents, and the dozen or so Holier Than Thou Moms (HTTM) with their backhanded "compliments" and saccharine sweet smiles.

Me? When I'm not the Loud mom, I'm the Terrified Mom with the look of "I don't want to step on your toes but could you please stop your son from pushing all of the other kids as he's been doing for the past 20 minutes while you've been gabbing with your HTTM pal?" on her face. Do I say something to the kid? To the mom? One time when I did say something gently to another kid about taking turns after he pushed his way in front of three kids (mine included) waiting for the slide, I got an icy glare from his HTTM (who hadn't gotten up from her bench the previous ten times her kid pushed his way in front of the other kids in line). I try to make conversation but I'm just not good at it. I try to watch my son and make sure he doesn't hog one type of equipment and and make sure he lets other kids have a turn. Sometimes he throws a fit, and you know what? That's when we move away from the playgroud for a while to cool off or we just leave. I just have park anxiety, and I am not sure why it hits me hard sometimes.

Which is why we bought Boo his own little playset. Free of playground politics. Where we can swing and slide in our jammies if we want. Where his pals can come over and play and I know the mamas won't glare at me or judge me. We'll still go to the park, I'm sure - just not as often.


Blah Blah Blogging and other baffling failures of late

I have nothing interesting nor of interest to write about. I have lost my blogging skills and am not sure where they went, but they are not with me these days, so I apologize profusely for my uninteresting meanderings. I am very selfish lately and rather wrapped up in, well, myself. Work, baby's birthday (no it's not for like three or so more weeks but have I talked about it enough? No, so expect more talk of it and just turn away should you be tired of it), trying to figure out why my house isn't clean even after spending an entire morning scrubbing and sweeping and organizing, trying to fiure out why my front and backyard look like complete shit even though we just moved in a year ago (so sorry, beautiful grass of days gone by...we know not how to love you properly), and wondering when I'll get around to booking that hair appointment for snazzy summer highlights I've been thinking about for months.

I am mucho behind in much of my life - little things that baffle me as to how I let them get so horribly neglected - but I am not sure if that is because I just don't care about those things or because I'm just plain falling behind.

UPDATE: OK, I got a couple of angry emails from friends about this post. Friends who, mind you, have never bothered to actually comment on this site (hint, hint, you rude slackers), but feel the need to berate me in the privacy of email. So to make them happy (because it's all about you, darlings), let me put this post into context: I am falling way behind for me. You may think my house is clean but I know about the mess in our closet and the dust behind the toilet in the second bathroom and for some reason it's really bothering me (and ever since City Slicker Mom posted about the grime she found underneath her refrigerator I've been obsessed about cleaning under ours too!) . My lawn looks fine...until you stand on it and look down. See those patches of soil sadness where no grass will grow? That's where I slacked off. It's not that I give a rat's butt about what other people might think of these things, but I do care about how these things make me feel when I see them, and when something is off it bugs me to no end. I'm a little OCD about somethings.


Nod to Mr. Colbert

Yesterday we caught the full C-Span coverage of the White House Correspondents dinner. It was awesome. And I'm not talking about the silly yet pretty funny Dubya impersonator. I'm talking about Stephen Colbert. He hit home, he hit hard, he hit the bullseye, and damn if you couldn't hear a pin drop in that room, what with the Suits and Diamonds realizing that he's exposing the truth about them - all of them - in one long sarcastic trainride to Truthville. His target was not just Dubya and his utter embarassment of a complete corrupt and damaging administration, but the press themselves. It was uncomfortable and long and uneasy and just pure balls.

I'm not a huge Colbert fan. I think he's funny, but only to a point. Seeing the coverage made me uncomfortable for him at times, and that is how I know he was a success at that dinner. Kudos to you, sir.

If you didn't catch the whole thing and only caught clips of the annual event on CNN or your local news, you really missed out.


Birthday, straight ahead! Where's the teaching manual?

My little Boo is turning two years old soon. Not that soon, but soon enough. I am petrified and sad and excited all at once.

Last weekend Hubby and I (well, hubby and my dad, really) put together Boo's birthday present: a playset for the backyard. We got it super early, just in case it would take us a while to put together. It took a day. It rocks. It's not one of those huge gigantic bigger-than-the-school-playground's-equipment type of playsets, but it has everything we think Boo and his little buddies will need for at least the next six to eight years: two swings, monkey bars, gymnastic rings, rock climbing wall, chalk walls, a slide, and space for a sandbox if we ever feel the need to go out and buy 200 lbs of sand (uh, no thanks). It was super cheap too! I researched these things for the past month and I'm pretty happy with our purchase. Boo loves it. He loves being outside and thank goodness the weather has been cooperating.

I'm a little scared of this birthday. One was such a cool milestone, like "hey, you made it to one year without your parents dropping you! Congratulations!" But two... it really does mean the end of all things baby. He's speaking in these little three to five word sentences and actually having conversations with us. He has opinions about what he wants to eat and what he wants to wear (especially shoes - we've created a monster shoe snob!). He's doing everything that we do and is so excited to show us all the things he's learning. And in the end, I'm responsible for this kid. Holy crap! I'm responsible for this kid!!! See, that's the part that's freaking me out just a little right now. Not that I'm irresponsible or have unhealthy habits (does an addition to email and chocolate count?), but everything we really do now is going to shape how he acts and reacts, how he views the world and how he makes decisions. I am still amazed that these responsibilities just happen. Forget stupid MBAs and PhDs - there should be degrees in parenting before we're all given these life-altering tasks!

This is truly the part for which there is no prep. It's all on the fly, making it up as we go along. In theory, we know how we'd like to raise our son overall; it's the little tiny details of the day to day that have the most lasting effects though.

Brace yourself, son. We're all in this ride together. May it be wildly fun and somewhat educational for all of us.

PS-Boo is also now addicted to Finding Nemo. That's Nemo in his lap on the swing in the photo. He loves Nemo and always shares his milk, water and snacks with him.


THAT child

My son is now THAT child that you talk about in restaurants, and I am now THAT mom, the horrible one who seems to have no control over THAT child. I am mortified and yet humbled all at the same time.

It has happened all so quickly. Within the span of one week, my sweet, soft-spoken Boo has come out of his shell. Big Time. He's yelling HI! to everyone he sees, no matter where we are. He yells BYE! repeatedly to everyone as we leave places. He's laughing big belly laughs at waiters and doing everything he can to get their attention, stomping happily all over benches and booths at cafes and restaurants, slamming his toys on the table, randomly letting out loud little screeches for fun, pounding on glass, and in one lovely instance, pulling down a large potted plant located next to our booth (he really loves plants and flowers). Lovely indeed.

I try to be calm. I try to be stern and let him know that certain actions are not appropriate for when we are out in public. I try not to lose my cool. But I can't help but feel out of control. I don't threaten to leave because quite frankly I am one selfish mama and if he's having a good time and I am having a good time, why leave? He has yet to harm any other kids or adults. He has yet to throw an actual tantrum in a crowded public place. He has yet to steal another kid's toy or shove a kid down (which has happened to him more times than I can count). He's just a happy and hyper little monkey, and I'm his baffled novice mama trying to make sense of it all and trying to figure out my role in this whole phase.

So I apologize now for anyone who may be embarassed by my son's behavior, or by mine. I also apologize for my lack of attention - you see, whereas once I used to be able to chat it up and let my son play nicely beside me, I am now suddenly focused on THAT child who is suddenly not someone else's but mine. I am waiting for the tantrums to hit. Those are next, aren't they? Oh dear.

Good thing we love the little bugger to death. As frustrating as this phase has been this week in public, it's been super fun at home. Now if only we can teach him the difference between how we act at home and how we act in public... might be difficult, considering I am still learning that fine art.


Shout out to Hubby's blog

The day has come. Hubby has actually updated his own blog, Paper Knapkin! His thoughts in his most recent post pretty much emulate my own so please go visit him and say hello. I am sure he would appreciate the visitors, and also please leave any advice you may have for our impending 14-hour journey/hellish trip to the inlaws (the trip being the hellish part, not the inlaws, thank goodness!).


The Meme of the Moment

Well, crap. I've been tagged by Bridgermama. It's the weird thing meme again, where I must confess six weird facts/habits and I don't know if I have any more weirdness in me that I haven't already owned up to on this blog. So while my list may be a tad dull, I am still nonetheless always game for these things. Here ya go...

1. I have never eaten a peanut butter & jelly sandwich. That's right. My mom always made turkey and cheese or some other type of sandwich, but never PB & J. Now I hold onto this odd fact like a badge of honor and I think maybe on my 40th birthday I'll have a birthday cake made out of PB & J sandwiches to commemorate the occasion.

2. I did, however, often feast on a lunch of spam, fried eggs and rice almost every day during summers as a young child. My great-grandmother lived with us and made my lunches during summers. Don't knock it - she lived until she was 102!

3. Like Bridgermama, I too am phone-phobic. Astonishing, considering the jobs I have had in the past have been all about chatting it up with people in person and on the phone. But really, I HATE talking on the phone, so thank God for e-mail. I love e-mail. I would rather chat with you via e-mail than on the phone, even if you are working right next to me. So basically, don't call me - I'll e-mail you.

4. Not a single day goes by that I don't have a chocolate product. Not one. I must eat something with chocolate in it at least once a day.

5. Wayne Newton once gave me a little peck on the cheek after a brief interview at some stupid country fair I was covering. I count this as weird because I think he's kind of creepy and weird. One of my old co-workers had this massive crush on him, which I found to be even more creepy and weird and quite disturbing.

6. I have a photographic memory. I used to be able to look at a page of text and almost immediately memorize every word on that page, but now it's more like half a page. Damn mommy brain.

OK. There is my ultra boring six weird facts/things/habits. Now who to tag? It is REALLY difficult to find someone who hasn't been tagged by this yet! Hmmm...I am pretty sure some of you may not bite on this meme, but seeing as how the blogosphere would explode if I didn't follow through on my end of the bargain, you're tagged!

Cathy with a C
Ready or Not
Beanhead Babbles
Deputy's Wife
Watching Me Grow
O Mama

Rules and Regulations:
1. Reveal six weird facts/things/habits about yourself and then tag six people.2. Leave a "You're Tagged!" comment to let the people you have tagged know they have to reveal six things (or the entire blogosphere will explode and it will be their fault).3. Leave me a comment letting me know that you have completed your mission (if you have chosen to accept it!)


Almost Two

Dear Boo,

I haven't written you a letter in a long time, bad mama that I am, and since you will soon be 23 months, I figured it was about time. I keep hoping to capture the wonder of this age through our monthly 100+ photos and sporadic videos of you, but it's not nearly enough to capture the pure joy you bring us and the beauty of this age. Plus, everytime we turn on the video camera, you stop whatever momentous thing you are doing and just want to see yourself in the screen.

Right now, you are growing into your own independent self. Your vocabulary is astonishing to us, and your level of comprehension is quite frightening. With this newfound maturity comes the inevitable urge to test it out, and test us you do. You are stubborn and smart and cunning, and we love you for it because it probably makes us better parents. Let us know if we pass the test. I think sometimes we fail, but we know you will test us again to see if we can make up for it.

You can recognize letters and numbers, and we love it when you tell us what letters you see. And yes, sometimes i's really do look like t's depending on how they are written. And yes, b's sometimes look like d's. Mama mixes them up too, depending on the person's handwriting.

You are learning your colors, and know blue, yellow, green, pink, and purple. Sometimes you can point out red and orange, but those are harder since they look so similar. Sometimes you mix up yellow and blue, but I realized today that sometimes you just like to say one color over the other, and that's ok.

I love how you are starting to mix it up Boo-style when you are singing. You can still sing songs in great pitch but now you are adding some extra little somethin'-somethin' to the songs here and there to make them your own. It's adorable. Maybe I'll get you a turntable for when you turn two so you can be the ultimate mix master.

I love how when you sing Old MacDonald, 9 times out of 10, when we sing "and on that farm he had a..." you excitedly burst out "Pig!" Apparently, Old McD has more pigs than cows, sheep, or chickens.

Your love of animals has gone nutso. Your favorites are zebras, lions, hippos and giraffes...hmm...all the main characters of Madagascar. You like to line them all up to read or to watch tv, and then you lay them down on their sides and tell them "night night, zebra...night night, lion..." and so on. You love to share your food and your drinks with the animals, and I'll catch you offering "milk, lion?" and then holding your milk up to lion to drink. It's nice that you share with your animals. Remember that sharing applies to other humans too.

You love saying hello and goodbye to everyone we pass by in public. It's an endearing trait that might scare people when you are, say, 25 years old, but right now it's lovely and sweet. Sometimes you shout "bye bye" to everyone very loudly in the store, and it's really very kind of you. Just disregard the shocked look on the old lady's face as we walk by her.

Foodwise, you are an eating machine. At home, that is. In public, not so much. Your favorite foods are blueberries, mandarin oranges, strawberries, waffles, PB & J, peas, rice, fake chicken patties, and Annie's organic ranch bunnie crackers ("hop hop"s, as you call them).

You are starting to pick out what clothes you want to wear and what shoes you want to wear. Sometimes you don't really match, but that's ok. You are still adorable.

You try to trick us into thinking something is our idea when you are the one who suggested it. You'll say "cookie? cookie?" and when we ask "do you want a cookie?" you'll light up as if that's a great idea, and say "ok! Cookie! thanks!" as if it were us offering you a cookie and not you asking for it. You do this with a lot of things you know we won't normally give you, and it's very cute.

You are also starting to whine, and we're trying to get you to use your words instead. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes you suddenly break down into tears at the drop of a hat, and then you are suddenly smiling and dancing around again just as quickly. We love to just watch you because you are a mystery to us. A lovely little riddle.

Your papa and I are absolutely in love with you, more and more each day. We love how you are becoming your own person. We're scared when we see bits of ourselves in you, and we hope you continue to test out things so you can become who you want to be. You will soon be two, little Boo. We're very proud of you, and thank you for putting up with us and our amateur parenting ways.

Mama M


Boy's birthday in Vegas denied...by him!

And by Boy, I mean Hubby. You see, buying presents for my sweet husband after 13 years of being together is starting to get tough. There are really cool things I want to get him - like a week at racing school or one of those vacations where you get to learn how to be a vitner for a week - but they all tend to be quite a bit out of my price range. There are lots of cool little gadgets and gizmos that he'd probably think were cool, but wouldn't get much uses out of, and we're at that point where we just hate spending money on somewhat useless objects. And honestly, I think we're both at that point where we have pretty much everything we need or want.

So this year, I thought I would offer to get him and a bunch of his buddies a couple of rooms in Vegas for a weekend. A guys weekend. Isn't that nice of me? I thought so. I was so excited to run the idea by him. His reaction was less than stellar. "Eh," he said and shrugged his shoulders. "None of the guys will go."

What? No guy will go to Vegas for a guys' weekend? Away from us hounding, nagging women? Away from the screeching, needy, whiny kids? Where the $5.95 buffet is open 24 hours a day, and so is the craps table? Where beer is cheaper than water and you can drink it all you want without someone reminding you that you have to drive The Family home so stop drinking already?

Then I ran it by a couple of girlfriends of mine and they agreed with him: the guys probably won't go. Why? Because of the money but also because of the wives. Well, that's just crap, I think. The money part, I get, but ladies, if the guys are all gone, then WE can have a girls' weekend too! HELLO!

Ah well. I guess it's a new CD and an iPod giftcard for you again, dear hubby. Kidding. I'll come up with a new brilliant plan, although my original brilliant plan was squashed (sigh).

Boys. They're so difficult.