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.