Happy Birthday, Boo!

Dear Boo,

Today you are FOUR years old. Holy cow, how time flies! Remember when you were this little?

No? Well, I do. And so does your dad. We remember it well. I remember the first moments a little bit better than your dad did, since you came kicking out of me. Knew then that you were going to be a lively one, and you have not disappointed! You've made every day since that first day four years ago so much richer, much livelier, much more meaningful.

Now look at you. Four. A big kid who loves music, dinosaurs, spelling out random words throughout the day, and making people laugh. Above all, your mission in life is to make people laugh and we are most definitely enjoying this part of you. Your silly faces, funny voices, and crazy antics keep us entertained for hours. Your singing and playing songs on the play piano bring lots of beautiful sunshine to our days and nights. Your sweet hugs bring us so much joy each day.

We wrote more on our private "letters to the kids" blog, but we wanted to give you a public happy birthday note here too. Happy birthday, dear Boo. We hope you have a lot of fun during birthday week!

Mama M & Papa A


Birthday Week

Behold: It is the eve of Birthday Week in our household. The week in which hubby and Boo turn one year older. The week in which I transform magically into Super Wife & Mom and perform all domestic and Social Activities Director duties with grace, poise, and execute birthday celebrations with absolute perfection.

Snicker. I'm SO not that this year.

I have always loved entertaining. This, naturally, I blame on my mother. Along with my annoying habit of laughing at everything, a little too much sometimes. Along with a million other quirks I don't care to take responsibility for. My childhood was a blur of parties, always at our house, always with tons of 100% homemade food, always with tons of people whom I grew up thinking were all related to me but in fact some were just random people my parents happened to meet that week because they are THOSE kind of people. They'll invite strangers over for breakfast in pajamas if it meant another excuse to cook for other people. It's what makes them happy.

Fast forward to 30-some (ahem) years later, and here I am. The Mom. I plan all of our family activities and coordinate every last detail of our family celebrations. And this year, while friends and family may foolishly believe I have everything all wrapped up, it is just my masterful art of smoke and mirrors. Hubby's bday is pretty much taken care of. His much-too-expensive gift is not only purchased but also already opened and being enjoyed (begins with "i" and ends with "phone" -- get your Father's Day gift from an AT & T store near you since stupid Apple is all sold out because of the self-created hype surrounding rumors of a soon-to-be-release iPhone 2). Plans are made, and babysitters secured.

Boo's birthday, on the other hand, is the reason I am taking next week semi-off of work. We're going to the beach (his idea) for a dinosaur beach birthday (odd combo but he's brilliant because it works), and we have our time and our rooms reserved. That's it. What kind of cake to make? What about food? Games? Who's coming for sure? Who will show up completely as a surprise and throw my entire planning off?

The one piece my son won't let me skimp out on? The cake. I made the mistake of making cakes in cool shapes and decorating them somewhat elaborately (for me anyway) each year, and this year he's banking on something cool. I'm thinking a dinosaur egg, that should be easy enough, right? Oval shape, make it look cracked, put a dinosaur in the middle like it just hatched. Hmmm...think I just solved that problem by blogging. See? Blogging does help!

Here are past cakes. I am sure you, dear reader and likely fellow Mama, create much better concoctions than my amateur attempts pictured here. Just humor me and say "oh yes! these ARE lovely! You ARE a fun mama!"

CARS cake for 3rd Birthday:

Monkey cake for 2nd Birthday:

Animal Cookies to go with Jungle Theme:

Tractor Cake for 1st Birthday:

Yeah, I can say "F#*! it" and pretend to not worry, but I think I will always have this cloud of expectation hanging over me, that I'm The Mom and my kids' birthdays should always be up to a certain level of cool. Who makes up these levels? Society? Other moms? If we all banded together and said "Enough! Let's just forego the birthday party madness all together! Who's with me?" then maybe I could say "F#*! it" and really mean it. But then, part of me WANTS to be The Mom who does all this cool stuff. And then another secret part of me sort of (gulp) LIKES doing this kind of crazy Mom thing.

Oh, the ridiculous things that keep me up at night. I'll post pics of whatever cake I end up making. Or pics of the pizza that we end up ordering in because I forgot to bring the cake to the beach, which is always a possibility with me!


All I Want For Mother's Day....

...is two hours of silence, by myself. Is that a horrible thing to want? Not very motherly of me, I know. But really, there's constant chatter, noise, ongoing in my world and I can never seem to stop it. Blackberry's buzzing, kids' wanting something, husband complaining about my bitching at him, kids yelling at each other, dog barking, emails with senders' voices yelling in my head & demanding something from me, neighbor's kids' slamming car doors incessantly...

Peace on earth. At least in my little selfish world. For two hours. Is that so much?

Oh, and Happy Mother's Day to all you mamas out there. May you get your two hours of peace as well!


Boo the Barber

On Monday, I was typing a quick email out to a client when I see Boo out of the corner of my eye next to baby Tickle at their kids' desk in the office. He has a pair of his kiddie scissors in his hands. He's putting them away. But I see no paper in his hands. He loves to cut and paste shapes that he makes with his crayons and markers and give them to us as presents. He did not do that this time. I look at baby, she seems fine. A few minutes later, email is sent, I kneel down to play with baby Tickle and notice a lock of hair on the floor. It's not a lot, but it definitely did not fall off someone's head: no, this hair was cut off of someone's head. Boo, meanwhile, is now chatting about being the "Hair Cutter."

Me: Boo, did you cut your hair?
Boo: (smiles) No, I did not.
Me: Did you cut your sister's hair?
Boo: (smile gets bigger and eyes are beaming with pride) No, I didn't...
Me: (holding up lock of hair) Boo, whose hair is this?
Boo: It's Tickle's...
Boo: But her hair is getting long! She needs a haircut!

I couldn't help but smile. It was the first real big brother/little sister form of torture/rivalry/pranks, whatever you want to call it, that he had exhibited. The first of thousands to come, I am sure.


FOS: That's Me

FOS=Full of shit. My last post, where I swore I wouldn't go out and buy a whole set of new SIGG bottles for the fam? Yeah. Guess what I did this weekend? Bought one new SIGG for baby Tickle, two new SIGGs for Boo, one for hubby and one beautiful blue one for moi. Also: bought two new BPA-free Born Free brand baby bottles. Thank you, rebate. At least I am saving the environment & perhaps our bodies from poison with the ridiculous stimulus check.
Yes, I am a hypocrite. I am annoyed with myself.

New kiddie SIGGS:


It's Official: Everything Will Kill Us

Because I am a former journalist and because I've delved into stories in the past where both sides had amazingly credible research to back up their polar opposite findings, I usually tend to hold back with caution about media-hyped stories that ignite fear in the general public, particularly fear in parents and the elderly - the media and government's two favorite fear targets. Global warming? I totally back that up: it's serious, and if we don't do something about it soon, our grandkids won't be able to enjoy this beautiful earth of ours. BPA in sippy cups, food containers and other materials around our homes will kill us? Not likely, and in this recession (and it IS a recession you moron dufus Dubya. Just call it that already and go back to your catnap on the couch with your Coors Light), I'm not apt to throw out -and thus add to landfills with more harmful chemicals!- and then buy a ton of brand new $20 SIGG bottles for my family of 4. I'm sorry, but I'm not.

Am I concerned? Hell yes! But I'm also tired. Aren't you? I'm tired of the recalls, tired of the stream of studies that shows everything we've been using, breathing, eating, smelling or even thinking about is somehow bad, bad, bad for us. If I got totally wrapped up in every single fear-inducing study that shows something I am using or eating is bad for me, I'd be one neurotic, f'd up mother. Ok, maybe I am already that, so see? I don't need the studies to add to the neurotic already within me.

I do love the SIGG bottles. Who doesn't? And I am going to actually go get a couple more. They're adorable, and from hubby's homeland. That they're safer for us and better for the enviroment? Total awesome bonus. I'm just saying that I am tired of getting whiplash from the back and forth in the medical community and the retail world. It's good for you, now it's bad for you. It was bad for you, but now it's good for you. This study says only trace amounts of BPA actually are digested by infants on a daily basis and there is no evidence to believe those amounts cause any long-term harm; then this other study begs to differ. Yes, it's good that more studies are done, and that the news is reporting these things more than they did when our moms were raising us. But I also want to go one day without being told that everything I have, eat, use, look at is somehow, in some way, going to poison me or my children. Is that so much to ask? One day, please.

In the meantime, this is the article that I personally found the most helpful in finding alternatives to BPA baby and toddler bottles.