Monday, December 20, 2010

At Least I Can Cross This Off My To-Do List (Once I Add It)

We leave shortly for our trip up to Massachusetts - less than 36 hours, in fact. I should not be blogging, I should be packing. And also picking up, since the house is due to be cleaned tomorrow. Thank goodness, as the amount of salt in our entryway (which I could have cleaned, but did not, for unknown reasons) is astonishing. Two inches of snow, and I believe the state of Maryland has probably emptied an entire salt mine in response.

I digress. I am online for two purposes: 1) to upload some new pictures of the kids (though I hope that they will be far surpassed in quality by pictures to come from the actual holiday, a hope that I know will be dashed); and 2) to buy some new songs on iTunes and update my iPod before THE BIG CAR TRIP. So, let me commence with #1, so that we may get on with #2.

Lucy rocking a high ponytail and a sweater dress, although you'll have to take my word on the whole "dress" aspect of the outfit

Finn has latched on to this little fellow, a likely free Snoopy doll (origin unknown), and carries him everywhere. Snoopy has become his baby and patient in all manner of parenting and injury/hospital-type imaginary games

Lucy caught on to baby fever, and both kids had me swaddle their "babies" for most of Saturday

Finn learned that one must get used to carrying one's baby EVERYWHERE. Or else they CRY.

Lucy and M. hanging out with a swaddled Mickey Mouse. You should know that I kindly cropped M.'s belly out of this photo before posting - the man is in desperate need of a sweater or two that is not too short.

This child absolutely refuses... look at me...

...when I try to take her picture. So frustrating!

My three favorite people (and a piece of rice cake)

They will one day kill me for this, but LOOK AT THOSE ADORABLE BUMS!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

And The Answer Is...

I will do my best to take some presentable photos of my kids this weekend, and post them for my deprived family. I had high hopes for the daycare Christmas party, at which Santa made an appearance. Last year I got pictures of each child sitting with Santa, and while Lucy WAS crying, it was only a little bit, and still made for a cute picture. This year, she can't stop shouting "Sa-ta" (Santa, obvs.) excitedly everytime she sees a likeness of the Man in Red, so I thought her clear enjoyment of the season would make for an even better picture. Alas, our track record with posed photos held, and though I dressed both kids up in adorable Christmas-colored ensembles, Lucy apparently refused to get near Old Saint Nick. And by "refused," I mean "screamed in horror." Apparently she likes her Santas to be of the non-living variety. Finn apparently did great, per usual, but I haven't seen a picture yet.

In the meantime, I shall follow up on my quiz from yesterday:

1) My relatives were part of the Underground Railroad - TRUE. And I think I'm NOT misrepresenting anything here, but please keep in mind that this is information I learned prior to college/grad school drinking, two pregnancies and motherhood, thus all memories from that time are susceptible to fuzziness. The Jenkins family of Andover, MA was known to be part of the Underground Railroad, helping escaped slaves hide on their way to Canada. Harriet Beecher Stowe even stayed at the Jenkins house not long after writing Uncle Tom's Cabin. All this is true, I just couldn't find a family tree online to verify that the William Jenkins that did all of this is actually an antecedent of my grandfather. But I am about 87% sure that is true. Andover was not that big a town at the time, so the likelihood of many Jenkinses is low. Also, William's house was on 89 Jenkins Road, and I know my family had a homestead on Jenkins Road (which we no longer have), so it all SEEMS to match up, despite my doubt in my synaptic connections.

2) I hitchhiked in the Pyrenees mountains - also TRUE. I was thirteen, and the story also involves a mountain-side fire, lots of blisters, getting picked up by what I hope was an entomologist who was wearing a belt of vials with bugs in them, and cramming way more people than I thought possible into a small white VW Bug(ha! a bug - never saw the joke in that before). I was with my sisters and our host family daughter Paloma, and we were supposed to be taking "a shortcut" to get back to her parents' car once our mountain picnic had ended. Oh, and I spoke very little actual Spanish. I won't go into more detail, but it was a very, very interesting experience.

3) I had my first car accident the day I got my driver's license - FALSE. It was the day AFTER I got my driver's license. And all I have to say about that is that parking lots are scary. In particular, the parking lot behind the CVS in Andover is far too small for the number of spaces and rows they have crammed in there. Also, I was clearly lacking in the part of my driving education that involved teaching me to check the front corner of the car when backing out of a space, rather than just staring fixedly out the back window of the car as I was doing. Also, lucky for me, there was an actual person inside the car that I hit, as he was apparently just waiting for his wife to pick up a few things in the store. So I got to do the "exchange of information" in my nervous, fumbly, 16-year-old way, except that I didn't even know if I HAD any car insurance, and certainly didn't have an insurance card. I had to call my mom (my memory tells me I did this on the way home, but that can't be possible because I didn't have a cell phone then, you know, BACK IN THE DAY) and ask if she had put me on the car insurance yet. Luckily, she had, though nothing ever came of the accident (seriously, it was a TINY dent. And the car was not nice to begin with).

4) I've met two justices of the Supreme Court - TRUE. On separate occasions. I met Justice Kennedy when I was in grad school - I'd won a scholarship, and the foundation that gave it out held a reception for us IN the Supreme Court, and Justice Kennedy shook my hand and gave me a medal. I met Justice Souter when I was a tween or young teen, I can't remember exactly how old I was. My sisters and I had traveled down to D.C. for some sight seeing with my grandparents, and while there, my great-aunt, who has lots of GOP connections and is involved in New Hampshire state politics, arranged for us to meet her friend Justice Souter in his chambers. My super-shy self imagined asking him his opinion on abortion (knowing that he was a conservative jugdge) but didn't actually say anything. I just let my sisters do the talking, per usual. I'd like to kick that girl, the girl I was then (and still sometimes - often? - feel like). OK, maybe flaunting dubious Democratic stances (and by dubious I mean that there is no way I was informed enough to really decide if I was a Democrat or not at the age of 12 or so, and yet I had decided I WAS. I still am one, though I am hopefully a little better informed, and so I am not calling Democratic stances THEMSELVES dubious) was not a good plan anyway, and thus better off left unexecuted. But think of the questions I COULD have asked! Like "Have you ever changed your mind on a decision after the fact?" or "What is your favorite part of your job?" or "What case stands out most in your memory?" Had I been enterprising, I could have turned this into a seriously good project for History class, or Social Studies, or whatever the hell I was taking then. I was not enterprising, though.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Show Me The Mommy

My sister sent me a few photos from my visit with her last weekend, so I thought I'd play along with LauraC's Show Me The Mommy Friday theme.

Here I am with my adorable 6 month old neice, Josephine. In the background you can see my nephew Ned in his spica cast:

This was before I drank nearly a bottle of wine (nearly?) - I won't show you the "after" picture! In my defense, three kids are exhausting, even when they aren't your own :-).

And to update you on my holiday party dilemma, the statements I sent in for our "team building event" were:

1) My relatives were part of the Underground Railroad.
2) I hitchhiked in the Pyrenees mountains.
3) I had my first car accident the day I got my driver's license.
4) I've met two justices of the Supreme Court.

Can you tell which is the lie? Family members (especially sisters!) are not allowed to answer.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Fact or Fiction or Just Plain Boring?

My work holiday party, ahem "Team Building Event" is this Friday. Is it strange that it is sending me into a "woe is me" spiral?

No, this is not a Bah Humbug moment, my hesitation has nothing to do with a reluctance to celebrate the holidays. Rather, the source of my angst is the "Team Building" portion of the event. As was done last year, we are all supposed to participate in a game whereby we e-mail three true statements and one lie about ourselves to the game coordinator. Then, during the party, handouts of all the compiled statements are given out without associated names, and we are supposed to ask our fellow guests questions in order to determine who belongs to each group of statements, and which statement is the lie.

Last year I didn't hesitate much, just picked three true statements and a lie and sent them away. I believe they were: "I am the oldest of four children" (I thought this might throw some people off because they might know I am a triplet, but may not know that I have a younger brother), "I was born in Vermont", "My favorite beverage is tea" (the lie - it's either coffee or wine, but definitely NOT tea), and one other similarly veined statement that I can't remember because, like the other three, it was BORING.

And then I got to the party, and everyone else's statements were like "I'm a certified scuba instructor" and "I sat in Ricky Martin's lap" and "I speak four languages" and "I did some awesome thing that you didn't do." OK, so the last one isn't a direct quote, but basically, everyone else seemed really interesting and/or accomplished. While I... did not.

And now we are doing it again. I clearly feel the pressure to put some really awesome facts out there, things no one would ever guess about me, things that show how crazy or daring or smart or accomplished or awesome I am. But I'm drawing a blank here, folks. The most remarkable things about me are not really my doing, or they are way too embarrassing or work inappropriate to admit. Yeah, so I once bonged a beer in just a few seconds and then chased it with a flaming shot of 151 rum (and in the process kind of set the table on fire), but do I really want my co-workers to know that? Pretty sure that belongs firmly in the "no" category. Plus it's lame to clame college drinking experiences as something remarkable when in your mid-thirties. I can't really use the fact that I'm a triplet - thought it's usually a crowd pleaser, it would too easily identify me, and I had no part in making that happen. I wasn't valedictorian, I haven't met anyone particularly famous, I'm not particularly accomplished, I don't even play any musical instruments.

What would you say, if you were in this situation? What are three truths and a lie that people might not expect from you? Maybe they'll give me inspiration.

I'm probably the only staff member who's blogged about the party, maybe I can use that...

Nah, don't want them all headed to this site :-).

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I can't write a real post because I forgot my camera this weekend

so I have no new pictures of my adorable nieces and nephew whom I visited on Friday and Saturday. Plus my sister plied me with too much wine, so I think I lost some brain cells. Instead I give you these questionable musings:

Why do stores place items for sale in displays that you don't come upon until after checking out? Grocery stores are prime offenders, but a few other retailers also employ similarly strange tactics (ahem, Old Navy). Are you expected to spy an item after paying, realize that it is something you can't live without, and then re-enter a checkout line in order to purchase it? Ooh, sparkly lip gloss and a huge bag of popcorn with butter flavoring, damn it, back in line for me!

I feel similarly bewildered regarding protocol for any non-traditional items that can be purchased at the grocery store, particularly those that are placed outside at the front of the store. Propane gas tanks, bags of mulch, large plants, bundles of firewood, even sets of patio furniture complete with umbrella. As far as I am aware, people don't contemplate buying a garden bench and then think, "Ah, yes, let me just head over to the grocery store for that." So I can only assume that the grocery stores are just hoping you will come in for the usual food-type things they are KNOWN for, and then succumb to impulse purchases for all those random other things you can find there. So, please, educate me - are you supposed to grab those things on the way IN, and then make your way around the grocery store for the food items you likely came to buy in the first place? You can't really wait until the end to go outside and grab the Adirondack chairs, because by then you have a cart of food items that can't legally be removed from the store if they haven't been paid for yet. But lugging large items around in the store will take up most or all of the room in your cart, making grocery shopping less than easy. Are you supposed to just check out twice, once for the strange/large stuff, and once for the food?

I advocate for separation of shopping, which will solve this confusion and maybe bring world peace. Food in the food stores, plants and patio furniture at Home Depot. And never the 'twain shall meet.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I Swear I Don't Always Complain

1. I am coming to the realization that I'm going to have to say an early goodbye to a pair of my work shoes. They are Aerosoles' Envy shoes in black croco leather. Style- and comfort-wise, these shoes may indeed invoke Envy in others (OK, not the highly fashionable, perhaps, but some?). What won't, though, is the aroma that is currently wafting up from inside of them. Any tips on how to rescue stinky, stinky shoes? I have tried baby powder, but that just makes for a nauseating and confusing combination of baby powder and stink that is not the slightest bit masked. I am quite sad, because I've only had the shoes for several months, and even for my admittedly stink-prone feet, this seems like a rapid demise. Likely hastened by my predilection for wearing nice shoes without stockings in the summer because really, who wants to wear knee-highs in August?

2. I am currently sitting in a hotel room in Virginia, quite close to Dulles Airport, for a brief overnight work meeting. I have been looking forward to this for the last several days, as sleep has been hard to come by and oft interrupted lately. Tired does not begin to describe how I feel. However, I have been blessed with a neighbor who relishes in TV watching and phone conversations, and a room with little to no sound proofing between the "adjoining doors" feature of the room. Lest there be any confusion, I do not know my neighbor, and have no love for the standard hotel feature of room adjoinment. In addition to paranoia that someone will be able to break in to my hotel room through the door, I can now add "sound so unfiltered it provides one with the virtual experience of having a roommate" to my reasons for dislike of the room adjoinment set up.

3. I tried taking a bath to get a respite from neighbor noise, a treat I pretty much never, ever get at home. I was also hoping that it would keep me warm while I waited for the room to adjust to the thermostat temperature I set. Unfortunately, the tub is not a deep one, and rather than being warmed by it, I just became super conscious of each part of my body that was sticking up out of the warm water - my knees, my shoulders, my wrists and hands - I tried fitting as much of my body underwater as possible, but even for this shorty it was not possible to actually get warm. The bath was a short one.

4. Then I realized that I had forgotten to pack any pajamas. And I'm just not comfortable sleeping in the altogether, home, hotel room, or other. So, I'll be sleeping in the workout clothes that I've been lugging around with me to and from work for the last week and a half, but FORTUNATELY (though not for my health and physique) have not actually used yet.

The potential for a good night of rest is still unknown, but it's not looking good. Between stinky shoe smells (I may need to lock them up in my suitcase because I swear that I can smell them right now and they are like 15 feet away from me), noisy neighbors, adjusting room temperatures (I'm sure I will wake up - if I sleep - to find myself in an 80 degree room and a sweaty mess, though I shiver now), and the rustling that will happen every time I roll over in my high performance material workout clothes, I may have been better off staying at home and taking my chances with two kids, a cat, and an occasionally-snoring husband to interrupt my sleep.

By the way, did you know that there is apparently a key that you can press on a keyboard that will instantly publish your Blogger post when you are no where near done with it, forcing you to scramble to complete and edit the post that you meant to spend much more time perfecting? I should know, I've done it at least twice now. Sadly, I have no idea which key it is that performs this magic trick, I just know that it is somewhere on the righthand side of the keyboard. Bloggers, beware! Or at least, be better typers than I am!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Jingle Bells, Batman Smells

Ever feel like Christmas shopping is less about the people on your list, and more about the obligation of gift-giving? I know this makes me sound scrooge-ish, so I'd like to assure you that I really do like giving people gifts, especially gifts they actually like. But Christmas shopping - I don't know, I just find it harder and harder to enjoy it each year. I think part of it is the idea of having a list of people to buy for. And I should note that I don't actually have a written list, this is more of a mental/metaphorical list. There are so many people to shop for, and I'm terrified of forgetting someone (Note to self: You really should have an actual, literal list). The list of people I buy gifts for has grown exponentially in the last 6-7 years, and I just cannot keep track. Nor can I make up my mind about what to buy anyone.

So instead of enjoying the shopping process, I race from aisle to aisle, website to website. Is this the right gift? Well, *I* like it, but what does that mean? Would anyone else? Is it too much? Not enough? Should I get one more thing?

Christmas shopping is a nightmare for the indecisive.

And it really seems as though everywhere I turn, I truly am being asked to add to my shopping list. For example, kids bring daycare, and daycares have teachers that deserve to be gifted at the holidays. All 4 of them (since each kid has two), and then there's the support staff and director that shouldn't be left out. Not to mention the charity drive at work, and the charity drive at daycare, and the secret santa toy Finn and Lucy will each have to bring to the daycare Christmas party, and the check for the cleaning lady, and the bonus for the cat sitter, and the gift card for the babysitter...

So, hey, Merry Christmas!

Sorry, maybe I am a little Scrooge-y after all.

I have decided that if reincarnation is a real thing, I'm going to be reincarnated into a profession where people are obligated to buy me gifts at Christmas. Target gift cards, here I come.

Eh, I'm kind of in a bad mood lately, which is likely coloring this post and my Christmas attitude (it really is my favorite holiday, swearsies). I am completely lacking in all motivation - dieting, exercise, work, being a good wife, being a good mom - I am not having success or enjoyment in any of those areas of my life.

But I got my hair cut today, and that made me feel better. And it is not entirely the result of the hairdresser's comment that I have a head completely free of gray hair (yes, it is true, and yes, I am knocking on wood. And yes, I did let her know that as the mom of two young children, I felt as though the gray was certainly on its way), but that didn't hurt. So maybe things are looking up.

Hey, pictures!

Trying on big bro's Halloween costume

Getting ready to gab on the play phone

Posing with Optimus Prime, a new toy obsession courtesy of McDonald's

Guitar lessons from Dad

Lucy demonstrates questionable babysitting skills with Curious George


Friday was Pajama Day and Bring Your Teddy Bear to School Day - aren't they cute?!

And, lest you think that Lucy is a complete angel who never gives us any cause for irritation, a little clip of a Lucy tantrum. Brought on by we can't remember what, but good god, it is hilarious. Also note that before M. got the camera out, she was actually kicking the floor.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

It's All Worth It

Proof that having two kids is better than one, even when one of those kids is four: