Thursday, December 21, 2006

Don't F... with my boys!

Respect is an important part of our household, and we often get compliments on the kids' good manners. Any aggression by either boy is grounds for Time Out and Big Trouble. However, we aren't exactly the most wholesome parents at the preschool. Yesterday, when the Director mentioned on the phone that her computer was tied up because she was taking her Sexual Harrassment training, my response was "Does that mean I'm not supposed to grab your ass when I come in?" Fortunately, she does get our humor, and seems to have similar parenting attitudes to ours. Meaning- She thinks it's funny when kids do all those things we are supposed to tell them not to do. She has no problem being stern and keeping the kids in line, but definitely sees the humor in kids being kids. We do believe in being strict with the boys and not letting them "get away" with bad behavior. We also think they are freakin' hilarious, and do our best not to let them see us laughing. Yesterday was one of those days.

When we went to pick up the boys, the Director said she needed to talk to us about something that happened that day. I was thinking Logan fell down or got bit again, or Hayden didn't take a nap or wasn't listening well. Nope. Logan got in a fight! Not only did he get in a fight, our 15 month old son picked the fight and took on two of his classmates. Apparently, he toddled by another kid and slapped him in the head, completely unprovoked. When the other kid responded in kind, Logan threw down, swinging with both arms, giving a screeching a battle cry that would have unnerved Rebel troops. When the teacher stepped in to break it up, he turned on her, pinching and grabbing her hair. Now, we've seen this side of our sweet baby boy at home, but the school had never seen the likes of this. They had only seen our blue eyed cherub and didn't believe us when we mentioned it in the past. So, as the Director describes this scenario, we are trying not to laugh. Fortunately, she finally looked at us and said "Now, I know I'm supposed to talk to you very seriously, but that is just plain funny!" His rather sensitive teacher didn't seem to feel the same and had to go home to shower and relax before coming back to pick up her two year old.

We left her office to go get our boys and the teacher that was watching Hayden at the time stopped us. Uh oh. What now? She said she needed to talk to us about his language. Here's where we flash back to our newly talking two year old shouting out "F-ing moron drivers!" and wondering what he came out with now. He had been shouting at one of his friends so his teacher asked why he was shouting instead of using an inside voice. His response was that he was "pissed off" at his friend. Since this wasn't nearly as bad as we had anticipated at the beginning of the conversation, we had a hard time keeping a straight face and had to really put on a good act when Hayden came over to sternly tell him that those aren't nice words!

Sometimes, it is either laugh or cry. We choose the first one.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Maybe this I'm just bitter that Santa ignored me all these years

Entering this holiday season, I did not consider that the time had come to address our religious practices with Hayden. I feel completely unprepared for this, yet the issue is loud and clear, and had to be addressed immediately. In general, I don't feel that I am militant about my Jewish identity, and find it immensely interesting to learn about other faiths and customs. As a child, we only celebrated Jewish holidays at home, but I was allowed to enjoy other festitivities as well. I would always go decorate my friends' Christmas trees, understanding that Christmas was their holiday and Chanukah was mine. Friends were welcome to join us as well as we would light the candles for eight nights. There are always plenty of latkes and jelly donuts to go around. I never felt like I was missing out on anything because I knew we had our own special traditions. Each week we celebrate Shabbat and my boys are familiar with the rituals. Hayden even recites most of the Hebrew prayers on his own. My feeling is that children will learn what we live rather than something that is just presented once a week at religious school and not practiced at home. However, our boys are still so young that I imagine it would be hard to distinguish the differences in holidays and that we only celebrate certain ones.

Recently, I had a discussion with a friend of mine about where to draw the line on these celebrations. We had a difference of opinion on this. I would like my children to experience Judaism and the traditions, building their own Jewish identity. I would also like them to have an appreciation for the beauty of other traditions and faiths, yet understand that those traditions are not our own. My friend was less comfortable with this. He was concerned that by letting our two year olds participate in Christmas and Easter festitivities, it might be confusing to them, or give them the wrong message. It was a great discussion with both of us acknowledging that the other had some really good points. I got off the phone from that conversation feeling like a very liberal parent who is open minded, ready to "someday" teach my boys about acceptance of everyone along with the value of our faith.

Fast forward to yesterday, when my approach to all this was accelerated before I had considered how timely this would be. When I went to pick up the boys from preschool, I read a letter on the classroom door explaining that the children would be writing letters to Santa, as the post office said they may receive a response back. Santa. As in Claus. As in asking and expecting to receive requested toys from a fictional character associated with a holiday we don't celebrate. Ughh. Well, I was knee deep in it now. I spoke with the school assistant director and explained that I had a real problem with this activity. She acknowledged that it is a sensitive topic and initially was concerned because they were going to be learning about Chanukah, Christmas and Kwanza at school. I quickly clarified that I am happy they are doing this and that Hayden should learn about all the holidays. However, writing a letter to Santa would give him the unreasonable expectation that Santa would bring him presents, which is not going to happen. I didn't want him singled out either by being told he had to be in another classroom during the activity. I suggested he write a letter to Mommy and Daddy or Grandma and Grandpa saying what he would like for Chanukah. She agreed that this was a good compromise, and mentioned again that this week the children are learning about Chanukah in the classroom with related activities and art. Great. Situation under control. I am Super Parent!

Bedtime last night-
Hayden and I are settling down for his bedtime story when he says "Santa isn't going to bring me anything." This was surprising. We haven't spoken about Santa, so I asked him to tell me why he said that. "Miss M said if I didn't take a nap, Santa wouldn't bring me anything and I didn't take a nap." Long pause as I absorb the implications of this. Miss M is not even his regular teacher. Due to staffing shortages he spent time in another classroom today. Every now and then, my little man discloses something very innocently that shakes my very soul. How dare she presume that we are giving our son expectations for a religious holiday? How dare any teacher use Santa as a weapon? How dare she make a threat that would make little kids feel like they are bad kids simply because they didn't receive something from Santa? How dare she usurp a parent's right to teach their child as they wish? Even if I were Christian and teaching Hayden about Santa, I would not use one nap as the benchmark by which he gets his Christmas presents. Being that we don't even celebrate Christmas, I was angry on so many levels.

Hayden and I spent a great deal of time last night talking about this. We talked about how we will be lighting candles, spending time with family and friends and opening presents. We were already going to read a Chanukah book, but it was preceded by rehearsing his response should he be threatened about Santa any more. He very clearly states "Santa is a story. I celebrate Chanukah." Now I do realize the risk here of messing it up for the other kids. I have no desire for Hayden to tip them off that Santa isn't real. It is a magical time for children filled with wonder and excitement and I would not want to rob a child of that experience. However, I feel so strongly that he needs to understand that his not receiving gifts from Santa is in no way a reflection of his behavior. Fillip was concerned about the words I gave Hayden, so we have revised his response to say "Santa is for Christmas. I celebrate Chanukah." I also spoke directly to his regular teacher this morning and she understood my concerns. I later spoke with the school Director, who first the very first time got an angry phone call from me. She seemed very upset when I told her what Hayden had said. When I asked her how the day was upon pickup she said "The kids had a great day. Some of the teachers, well, not so much."

Although I am satisfied with the school's response to my concerns, it opens my eyes to all we will face in the years to come. Our society is saturated with Christianity. While it is widely acknowledged that other faiths have equal importance, it is an uphill battle. We need to be constantly vigilant in forging a solid Jewish identity in our impressionable little boys, without them feeling like they are missing out on the other things.

Parenting is hard.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

San Antonio

Howdy y'all. We are back from San Antonio, Texas. Logan and I had a great visit with my friends. I hadn't seen them in over four years, and it was so wonderful to finally exchange hugs and show off the kids. Logan did not sleep on the way there making the 2 1/2 hour flight seem much longer. He was so tired, but fought the nap all the way. Fortunately, once we arrived he was in good spirits, excited to see a new place. Mostly, I think he was just happy to have regained the freedom to run around. A very nice porter offered his help at the gate, as I must have been quite the sight with my baby, stroller, diaper bag and full-size carseat, on my way to get my suitcase. He was a very nice welcome to San Antonio.

The second my girlfriend and I saw each other, we both burst into tears, greeting each other for the first time as moms, each holding a toddler. Her house is beautiful, and she and her husband are so laid back that I immediately felt at home. Logan and I had some leftover pasta for dinner, he got to play with 19 month Brenna, and went to bed gratefully without a peep, just happy to have found his familiar blankie and ball in the pack n play. The next couple nights I would scoop him into bed with me, feeling that sweet little baby against me, with little smiles and giggles throughout the night when he realized I was right nearby.

On Friday, Gina and I stayed in our pajamas ALL DAY. Jim was in and out with meetings, but we were content to sit around the house with the kids, gabbing as if we see each other several times a week, without the need to formally "catch up." We took the kids outside in the afternoon, but only for about 10 minutes. It started sleeting and I told Logan that if ice is falling from the sky he must wear a hat or go inside. He "chose" to go inside. After dinner Friday night, Jim let us girls go out on our own, staying with the kids. Logan was fast asleep, but Jim was happy to watch Brenna and 5 month old Korbin. Gina and I spent a very short time cleaning up, then posed for a pre-revelry pic. This was a bit of a tradition of ours. We used to go out dancing almost weekly, and would take a picture before we left for our girl's nights. Things have changed a bit. Our clothing is ridiculously more conservative, each of us trying to mask the parts the scream out our history of recent pregnancies. There was no consulting on who is wearing what or if we can borrow a lipgloss. We both seem resigned to mediocrity for the moment until we each scare up the motivation to retrieve our former hot bods. Of course, we each look at the other in admiration for her attractive traits, downplaying our own. Such are the lives of thirty-something us. Hardly the caliber of our last bash- Gina's thirtieth birthday where we spent the evening yelling "Sake bomb!" and singing in public. Anyway, Gina and I headed out to a local martini bar and enjoyed a mellow evening of more conversation over a couple of drinks. While there, I finally reached Fillip. He asked Hayden if he wanted to talk to Mommy, and in the background I hear "No thank you!" Um, what? Put that little bugger on the phone! He told me he was having fun with Daddy and being a good boy.

On Saturday, me and my hosts drove to Austin for lunch with my online friend J. It was so wonderful to meet her and her handsome boys in person. Along with being beautiful, her sweetness is so obvious, and I was lucky enough to meet her family as well. They were a gracious bunch, and I am so glad we could get together. It did turn out to be a lot of time in the car that day, but Logan was a champ, napping both ways and being his cheery little self. We spent the afternoon at The Alamo, then a bit of time at the San Antonio Riverwalk. I absolutely love historic sites and I tried to picture what it must have been like to be holed up in that building during a fierce battle. I took a pic to show Logan one day that he had been there. The Riverwalk was beautiful with multicolored lights shimmering on the water and boats going by. I would love to go back and spend some more time there one day, enjoying a meal by the water. As it was, the kids were exhausted and hungry, so we quickly made our way back to the car and went home for some authentic Texas BBQ from their favorite place.

Sunday was a bit more rushed in order for me to catch my flight. Jim and Gina made a delicious breakfast for our send off. Logan insisted on ketchup on his blueberry pancakes, but who am I to judge? The flight home was much easier since Logan slept for two hours and was placated with goldfish crackers and water until landing. Throughout the entire trip Logan was auditioning for Toddler of the Year Award. He was wonderful all weekend, quickly adjusting to being with new people, rarely cranky and oh so friendly. When Jim's dad popped by, Logan immediately snuggled up in his arms and spent a great deal of time petting and kissing baby Korbin. Although he and Brenna had a couple conflicts over toys, mostly they seemed content to play nearby with little intervention necessary. It was so much easier only watching one kid of my own!

When we arrived back in Los Angeles, Hayden and Logan were so glad to see each other. They stood at the baggage carousel just hugging and kissing each other while we waiting for my suitcase. Such little sweethearts. It had been a wonderful trip, but I was happy to get home.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

In my day we would have just said Ox.

Hayden seems to be pretty articulate. He picks up various words and phrases and uses them in context when we least expect it. Last night he chattered on and on about which cars need to be fixed, what about them needs to be fixed and who will do it. "Daddy needs to fix the motor in the brown car, but the green car has a broken wheel and needs to be taken to the shopping." Ok, so sometimes it gets a little mixed up, but you get the idea. Last night he started a sentence with "The fact of the matter is..." and he was right.

My favorite time of the day is bedtime stories with Hayden. He picks which book he wants to hear, then snuggles up on his bed with me and his stuffed froggy. He is pretty consistent in picking the same five books or so and is very familiar with each one. Last night he totally floored me by reciting nearly the entire book on his own. It was an alphabet book that has a verse for each letter. Even better is the fact that he can look at a page with the entire alphabet on it and identify most of the letters by sight. I then quiz him on what starts with that particular letter. It's fun to see what he comes up with and how he identifies things.

Me- "Hayden, what starts with H?"
Hayden- "I do!"
Me- "That's right! Hayden, what starts with D?"
Hayden- "Daddy starts with D!"
Me- "Very good! Hayden, what starts with O?"
Me- stunned silence

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Oh for Pete's sake

Today just sucks.

My car runs a little rough in the morning, but I chalked it up to being cold. Well, this morning the Check Engine light went on. The online Owner's Manual was very reassuring that the light doesn't necessarily indicate anything serious, but I was quite frustrated by the presence of that light as I wound my way through the canyons. As I was contemplating my bad car karma I was shocked when all of a sudden- BAM! It is trash day on that road. As I came around a bend, a trash barrel was sticking out and my side mirror tagged it, shattering, mockingly bouncing in the wind the rest of the way to work. I nearly started bawling, not for my usual sentimental reasons, but for the sheer frustration of finally having a nice car that now needs to have the engine checked and a mirror replaced after just a few days. Fuck!

By the time I got to the office I had worked myself up pretty good, felt really stupid for the mirror (even though a couple people thought the homeowner or city should be responsible), and wanted to just go crawl back in bed. Then Fillip called. Logan woke having thrown up in his crib during the night. Fantastic. Given some details I will have the consideration to not describe here, Fillip determined it had happened several hours earlier. Our theory was that something he ate either didn't agree with him, or he gagged a bit in his sleep. We've seen it happen when he was awake, plus he had a late, heavy dinner, trying clam chowder for the first time. He was happy as can be this morning, so off to school he went. I was a bit concerned about this knowing a stomach bug is going around, but being already at my desk, had to defer to Fillip. Well, lo and behold, the school called me at lunchtime. I figured I knew what was coming. Well, almost. Hayden was throwing up.

My MIL was available to get Hayden, but doesn't have any carseats. For a variety of reasons, Fillip decided to pick up Hayden, and I would get Logan when I left work. Ok, all settled. Then Fillip called me a little while later to say my MIL would get Hayden after all. She now had Filllip's carseat. Why? Because Fillip had gotten a flat tire on the way there, so his mom had to come get him anyway. She would go get Hayden while Fillip went to get his tire fixed.

Indulge my little Pity Party here- Why are we so subject to random (albeit minor) misfortune?

As much as I'd like to think this is the end of it, I suspect it's only the beginning. These bugs tend to spread like wildfire, so I fully expect that neither boy is done with it. We still have the "2nd stage" to deal with which isn't much fun either, and either Fillip and/or myself I will likely get it. It should make for quite the weekend. On the way to pick up Logan I will be stopping at the store to get vomit provisions. If a random sinkhole doesn’t open up and swallow me on the way there.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Cosmic irony

My office building held it's annual fire drill yesterday. I was not chosen as the floor Fire Warden.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Over the weekend I had a blast...literally

Saturday night my girlfriend came over to gab. It was darn cold for L.A. (hey you Minnesotans- stop laughing! I was shivering!) so I decided to light a fire in the fireplace. Well, maybe these things are best left to my husband. I swear, I only turned the gas on a little way and I have no idea why the flue was closed, but did you know that a combo like that will actually create a fireball in the livingroom? No, I'm not exaggerating. (Mom, catch your breathe, I'm fine.) As I heard the thundering whoosh and felt a hot blast shoot past me, I was kind of stunned. I turned to my girlfriend, who looked equally stunned and said "Um, is my hair on fire?" According to her, a little plume of smoke drifted from my head and she said "Well, not anymore."( Mom, put down the phone- I'm really fine.) I turned down the gas some more and went to run my hand under cold water then assess the damage to my hair. It looked really weird, like I had been collecting cobwebs on the left side of my head only. After a good wash the smell and charred bits are almost gone. It doesn't even look very uneven. Fillip was at his friend's house and got a phone call requesting "air freshener and burn cream." His response was to have me get on the phone and asked me "Are you serious?" Yup. Dead serious. So, my hand is a bit red and sore, but after sleeping with ice on it all night, it is ok.

Consider that a PSA. You're welcome.

Thanksgiving and stuff

When I say we had a Big Family Thanksgiving, I'm not kidding. We alternate years between families, and this year we were with Fillip's family. My MIL hosted 58 people Thursday. Twenty five people declined. The holiday actually started on Wednesday for us. I took the liberty of getting a mani/pedi before hitting the road. That was a mistake as traffic was terrible, making my drive nearly 2 hours- for only 20 miles! Nonetheless, with polished toes I faced a weekend of Thanksgiving festivities. On Wednesday night we moved furniture, set up tables, and set the tables- with assigned seats. The kids had a great time playing with their cousins, wondering what was happening at Grandma's house. The traditional bean/barley/ meat soup went over well "preparing our digestive systems for the next day" as one cousin commented.

Thanksgiving dinner was delicious and it was nice to visit with people. It seemed more relaxed than past years for some reason, but I don't know why. Maybe it's my new drinking habit, I really don't know. Just watching the "system" of getting dinner out of the kitchen was amazing. Hayden had a great time running after the "big kids," although I did notice him playing by himself for awhile. He gets a bit overwhelmed and seems to need some time away from other people. Fair enough. Logan was friendly, but became rather clingy as it got crowded. Can't blame him really. The house he is so familiar with had different furniture and a sea of legs, many of which had unfamiliar faces at the top. I liked him all snuggled up to me, so no complaints there. He did spend some time playing with the others. The spread of desserts was amazing as always from guava jelly cheesecake to white chocolate pumpkin cheesecake to chocolate kahlua bundt cake. That morning Hayden and I had baked a double chocolate/cream cheese swirled bundt cake (mmmm!!) which ended up being my favorite dessert. We tried putting Logan to bed at one point, well, at four points, but he screamed his head off and I finally decided it wasn't worth upsetting him that much when we would be leaving soon. The little monkey was thrilled to be taken back out of bed and seemed rather smug the rest of the night, but that could just be me. Despite being up nearly 3 hours past their routine bedtime two nights in a row, the kids were phenomenal. Of course, we paid the price for that the rest of the weekend, but overall, they were really great.

Recently, Hayden has been such a good boy. We tell him constantly and it is a joy to watch him include his little brother, share with him, "read" to him, and just be a sweetheart. He has decided that in return for his overall good behavior, he should get some leeway in naptime and bedtime. It takes him hours to go to sleep! This too shall pass. The weekend naptimes and betimes were such a challenge, until he finally crashed out of sheer exhaustion. Then he would get up and tell me how well he slept and what a good boy he is. Hard to argue with that groggy tousled face. Logan has developed some separation anxiety and clings to me quite a bit, gets really cranky and seriously objects to me leaving the room at bedtime. Over the weekend I would pat his back until his became too heavy to keep open, then just stand next to the crib. Now and then he would turn his head to make sure I was still there, then lie there quietly, alertly, content as long as I was nearby. The second I would leave the room, no matter how deeply he seemed to be sleeping, he would scream bloody murder for me to come back. Last night was a bit better, so hopefully he is feeling a bit more secure. The pending teeth aren't helping.

Friday my mom and her husband were in town. The kids were so excited to see them! Hayden had to show them all his favorite things and was so excited to go out to lunch with them. He just kept saying "Grandma Roz and Papa Arnie are coming to see me!" Yesterday, he got all excited again for my brother and sil to come for dinner. He "read" my bro Curious George and showed his Auntie Joycie all his best tricks. "Watch this! (crashing into the couch, flinging his feet up behind him) Did you see that? Wasn't that cool!" He was happy all through dinner, asking for more of this and that, then put on a great display after bathtime running naked through the house screaming "Nature Boy!!!!" Of course, he had a naked little shadow running after him, giggling all the way. Despite getting all riled up, he went to bed nicely after his story. Logan on the other hand was in fine form this weekend, especially at mealtime. He is so cute with those sweet blue eyes, his funny chatter and big grin. Then something changes. Just picture Jack Jack from the Incredibles, including the funny tuft of hair. That's my boy.

So, I have to say it-
I'm thankful for my wonderful husband, my beautiful boys, my family, my friends and my health. Happy holidays everyone.

Monday, November 20, 2006

My New Wheels!!

After nine years in the same car, I have finally gotten a new one! I am the proud owner of a new-to-me black 2003 Volvo C70 Wagon. Welcome to Mommyland in the fast lane! My previous car was a 1998 Chevy Malibu. For the last 8 years I have hated it with a passion that stemmed from a Difference of Opinion. I thought my ex-husband (rat bastard!) should pay it off as stated in our divorce settlement certified by the court, and he thought it more prudent to let it nearly get repo'd without informing me that he wasn't paying it. So, I spent years bitterly paying for that car until I paid it off, only to have it die dramatically a few months later. That is where the other Difference of Opinion comes in. I thought it should run, and it, clearly felt otherwise! Every six months the brakes would start squealing, then grinding, needing to be replaced with new pads as well as turned/new rotors. We replaced the engine at about 60,000 miles, only to have it die again last week. It had a cracked windshield (ok, that was kinda my fault, forgot to take the garage door remote from baby Hayden), the A/C didn't work and the driver's side window wouldn't open. It was so humiliating driving into my office parking garage each morning, peering through that windshield, having to open the door to scan my key card, then rattle to my parking space. At the end of the day, I would have to open the hood to put water in each day, always hoping nobody I know would be coming or going at the same time as me.

Last Friday was the last straw. I put water in before leaving work, but after just a couple miles the temperature started rising. I drive windy canyon roads with no convenient place to pull over and no cell phone reception. As the temperature gauge slowly climbed, steam began coming out of the hood first as little tendrils, and eventually billowing out with the distinctive pungent odor of antifreeze. As I neared the top of the hill (Mulholland for those of you playing at home), the red light on the temp gauge went on with a "Ding!" and the rattle became a roar. My thought- "Well, if I can get to the top, I can cruise on down." Sure enough. I coasted on down, making the quick hairpin that would bring me to Fillip's Grandparents' house, where my car was kind enough to shut itself off as I got to the curb.

So… after a very harried week with only one car, I was able to purchase my new sleek auto this weekend. Well, let me clarify. My Mom is a lifesaver and made it possible to buy this car this weekend, with no pressure for an early payoff, and not even the hint of guilt.


I was determined to get a stationwagon. We need the extra seating if we want to go anywhere as a family, with even one more person. There are several reasons I wanted neither an SUV nor a minivan, and it was a surprise to me that a used, quality, economical, 7+ passenger station wagon was so difficult to find. At each car lot we would state very clearly what I was looking for, saying I was not interested in an SUV or minivan, hoping to leave quickly if they didn't have it. Multiple sales people tried using the argument that "Nobody drives station wagons anymore, so you shouldn't either. Take a look at these SUV's and minivans." Compelling, huh? So, after inquiring at multiple lots, reading through likely 50 online ads, and an encounter with an extremely shady private internet dealer at the Tommy's Hamburger parking lot, we found The One.

This car is really great. It is black inside and out, a welcome change to the oh so exciting champagne/oatmeal combo (read: beige on beige) of the Malibu. The sound system sounds great. The leather seats are cushy. It has great power, and most importantly it handles those canyon roads like no other car I've had! Believe me, I pushed it and am not exaggerating when I say that I was giving a mental "whoo hoo!!" around many of those turns with a big grin on my face. I proudly pulled into the parking garage this morning, rolled down my window to scan my key card, then took my time parking in one spot, backing into another, then spending another 5 minutes primping in the vanity mirror, hoping someone, anyone would see me in my new ride!!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Our Fairy Tale

(This may be cheating. When we got engaged, I attempted to write a fairy tale describing how we met. I failed miserably, and this version is the wonderful version my Mom wrote. I just thought I'd like to have it on here.)

Long ago, in a land far far away (known as Northridge) lived a Jewish prince called Lord Fillip. At the same time, in a distant land known as Simi, a beautiful Jewish princess was growing up. She was called Lady Marlo (also known as Mop). Although the prince and the princess had not met, the both were a part of a royal assembly called USY.

During the 14th year of the prince and princess, they both were summoned to attend a meeting of the royal assembly. The princess and her family made great preparation as this was her first royal synagogue ball and many young people from other lands would be in attendance. During the ball, a local prince invited Lady Marlo to dance and while they were dancing, he introduced her to Lord Fillip. Princess Marlo thought he was very handsome in his toga although she did not understand his native garment. She wished to dance with him but, alas, he danced away and her fairy godmother was not there to help. Some months later, the prince and princess were summoned to an even larger royal assembly. This time the fairy godmother spelled them into the same discussion forum. The princess was enchanted with the prince. His eyes twinkled, his braces sparkled, his charm was abundant and Lady Marlo was dazzled. She tried to remember her royal bearing but the prince was also smitten. They attended the royal ball together and shared much time during the assembly. When it was time to return to their lands, the prince sent a message asking the princess to become his royal interest.

Although the promise did not last, Lord Fillip and Lady Marlo became mighty friends, a union that lasted for many years. He knew every jester she dated and she knew every frog that he kissed. Alas, during those years, the princess met an evil sorcerer who took her away to his land. After 5 years, the princess escaped and returned to her royal home of Simi Valley. The news of her return travelled throughout the kingdom and reached the prince. He travelled home on vacation, called the princess and they arranged to meet that very day. She arrived at his castle, crossed the moat to his door and, forsooth, their eyes met in the same old enchantment. This time they would stand together and face the dragons and fantasies of life. Over the next 3 years, they would travel together and protect each other. The road was long and sometimes dangerous but together they passed safely. One fine day, Lord Fillip asked Lady Marlo for her hand in marriage and they vowed to share all that was in their kingdom and allow no other to interfere. In a royal wedding, amid all the members of the kingdom and with great celebration and reveling, they were married and lived happily ever after.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Young at heart

Some days I just need a little pick-me-up. I've recently learned that I am a much better mom if I have a cocktail with dinner. Yes, that sounds really bad. I'm not a big drinker, so half a drink will do it. I'm averaging either a glass of wine or part of a cocktail once or twice a week these days, and thoroughly enjoying my new drinking habit. A funny thing happened though.

We went for dinner at a local family-friendly burger chain. Hayden needed to go to the bathroom when we arrived (since it isn't possible to order a meal unless he knows what the bathroom looks like) and he wanted Fillip to take him. I told him Daddy wasn't available because he was ordering Mommy a drink. Fillip said that was true, very agreeable to the option of selecting my cocktail over managing a toddler at a urinal. Well, when we returned to the table, the prepubescent waitress came over apologetically requesting to see my i.d. My i.d! Hah! That's a good one! No, seriously, she needed to see my i.d. or couldn't serve me a drink. Maybe she didn't realize that the happiness of my family depends on it. Maybe she didn't realize that the shaky balance of my very sanity rests on this cocktail. Whether she realized it or not, I had not brought my purse. My driver's license, that precious document that not only verifies that I am old enough to order a drink, but to also serve in the U.S. Senate, was at home. So, no drink for me. Did I want a blended virgin cocktail, came the very chipper suggestion. No thanks. That would just be wasted calories.

All of her repeated apologies were met with a gracious "That's ok, you're just doing your job." She doesn't know that she managed to counteract numerous strangers greeting me as ma'am, the demise of my ability to shop at Forever 21, or the dubious honor of being a Matron of Honor at my niece's wedding.

She got a rockin' good tip!!

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Trick or Treat!

Halloween was a fun-filled day for the boys. Hayden dressed up as muscle bound Spider Man and Logan was a Ninja. They were so cute and both loved wearing their costmes, head gear and all. They got to wear or bring their costumes to school for a Costume Parade and Carnival. Hayden insisted on wearing his pajamas under his outfit, and was probably the most comfortable kid there. Logan brought his outfit to be put on later in the day. When I arrived at the school, Logan was all dressed up, with his hood, snacking away. He was covered in something that looked like a combination of cookies and candy. Probably was. He was the stickiest, happiest Ninja you ever saw. Hayden was inside when I got there, but came out with a giant sucker and a big grin. There were treats set out so the kids could just help themselves. I joked with the Director that they were going to get the kids all sugared up, then send them home to us. She said absolutely! Hayden kindly shared his sucker with Logan, but drew the line at sharing with his friends. Good call. We played for a few minutes then headed home.

At home we hung out for awhile waiting for Marlena and Aaron. The kids were bouncing off the walls! They were so excited, and on such a sugar high. Once Marlena and Aaron arrived, the kids showed off their costumes, and Marlena outfitted them with a ghost bucket and a Frankenstein bag. They each had something to collect candy in. Logan loves carrying a bag on his shoulder so this was perfect! Marlena and I hit the streets with the kids. Fillip and Aaron took responsibility for ordering dinner, having a few beers, and greeting trick-or-treaters. We got exactly ZERO trick-or-treaters.

This was our first year trick-or-treating, and although I explained it to Hayden, there is a learning curve. It didn't take long though before he was handling it like a seasoned 10 year old with years of begging under his superhero belt. At the first house, we coached him to knock and call "Trick or Treat!" when the lady opened the door. Logan only had to be told to follow his brother and stood there expectantly while Hayden took care of things. The lady was appropriately delighted by our little munchkins, generously handed out candy, then spent a moment trying to keep them out of her house. We scooped them up and explained we don't go in and to say thank you, then moved on to the next house. Well, Logan was not happy about leaving that nice old lady who had just given him candy! It only took a couple houses though before he would toddle after Hayden, bag on his shoulder, wait patiently for the door to open, then hold out his hand for the candy. He would say "tat da" which means thank you, put the candy in his bag, then go right back to the stroller, ready to hit the next house. The two of them were so cute. Hayden would often ask if he could ask more. Despite us telling him we would get plenty and save some for the next people, the neighbors always indulged his request, which meant he asked for more many times! At one house, nobody answered his knock. He knocked louder yelling "knock!knock!" Finally, he just started yelling "Answer the door!" We had to convince him that they were out trick-or-treating, so we should move on.

There were surprisingly few people out, but the neighbors were all so happy to see the kids. It occurred to me that another purpose is served here. The kids love getting out and getting a big stash of candy, but we had the opportunity to meet our neighbors. I think in a way it brings the community together. We had such a great time with the boys. As we were at our last house, our next door neighbor, Fillip called to say dinner had arrived. We brought our sugar babies home and got some "real" food into them- pizza and pasta. They ate tons, got crazy hyper on a couple pieces of candy, then crashed and burned in a blaze of Halloween glory. I've never had more fun on Halloween.

Monday, October 30, 2006

The Punkin Patch- Where kids go to be a punk?

As a kid, every Halloween included a trip to the pumpkin patch. We would head out to a local farm, take a hayride, and pick the most perfect pumpkin from the field where it had grown. I've long looked forward to bringing my kids there, and building the same type of wonderful memories I have of that tradition.

Sunday was the day. After an early morning call from my Father in Law asking when we were going to come pick up our early risers, we headed out. Hayden had been talking all morning about going to the Punkin Patch. We went to breakfast first, then headed out to the boonies. Being that we live in a very urban area, we really don't spend much, time on farmland. Well, it wasn't quite as I remembered.

It seems that visiting families have become big business for Underwood Family Farm. There were signs directing us to a back lot where there were literally hundreds of cars parked. We were concerned that it would be complete chaos, but there was so much there to do that we never waited long for anything or felt overwhelmed by people. Logan had fallen asleep so Fillip and my FIL stayed in the car while I took Hayden to see what there was to see. The first thing my City Boy said as we got out of the car was "Mommy, is this dirt?"

We started with looking at different animals, then moved on to the wooden truck and train. After a short time Logan woke and my MIL arrived. While Hayden and Fillip purchased tickets, Logan and I admired the chickens. He really seemed to like them, which was cute. Once we regrouped, we headed to the choo-choo train ride. Little did I know how much fun that would be! Hayden was just delighted the whole time. He kept waving and yelling "Bye bye Daddy! I'm going on the choo choo! All aboard!" Logan seemed surprisingly blase about the whole thing. He slumped down a bit, slung his arm over the back and sat there looking like a seasoned rail commuter, ready to whip out his iPod and morning paper any second. Because I was concerned about Logan staying put, I got on the train too. It turns out I didn't need to, but it was cute to watch them anyway.

Next up was a pony ride. Now, I'm big on "firsts" so was very excited about Logan's First Pony Ride. He was apparently less entusiastic. When the first guy tried to put him on the pony he started to fuss and I called out that if he didn't want to ride, he didn't have to. However, another girl working there took him, showed him the pony's face, let him pet the animal and play with its mane, then put him in the saddle. I was so impressed that she took those extra couple minutes to make him comfortable. Once the few kids were in the saddles, the ponies plod around in a circle a few times. Hayden was excited again and obviously enjoying himself. Logan decided to be a stunt rider- "Look Ma no hands!" He kept his arms out by his sides the entire ride, as if he thought he wasn't really supposed to touch anything. Funny, because that never stops him from touching everything at home!

After the pony rides we headed over for what I thought would be a hayride out to the pumpkin field. This was what I was waiting for and had already framed the pictures in my mind. Well, it was a tractor pulling a very large wagon on a track around various small fields. It was about 10 minutes, with the final destination being right across from where we started, in an area where pumpkins were set out for sale, arranged by size. Hmm. I guess you really can't go home. No worries. We were having fun anyway. After a brief toddler meltdown, we headed over to pick out pumpkins. I have two very decisive boys. The both walked over, each picked up a little pumpkin and declared those to be The Ones. No looking over different ones, trying to find bigger ones, making sure they didn't overlook anything. Once they had chosen, they couldn't be swayed, which was fine. Total time spent fantasizing about taking my kids to the pumpkin patch- all my adult years. Total time spent in the pumpkin "patch" spent choosing said pumpkins- under 2 minutes. Since they were clearly tired at that point, we headed out.

Although the Pumpkin Patch wasn't quite how I remembered it, it was so much fun. The kids had an absolute blast, and we will surely go back next year. The memories my boys will have of the Punkin Patch may be different than my own, but no less valuable to them.

Halloween Bash

Saturday night the husband and I ditched the kids with the grandparents and headed out on the town. It was actually a very last minute operation. I think Fillip realized we were pitiful for not accepting invitations to two different parties the Saturday before Halloween. Getting out just the two of us is an extremely rare event. Having the kids spend the night is maybe an annual treat! Well, maybe trick not treat, as the little traitors woke at 5:30am and 6am, making it unlikely Grandma and Grandpa will volunteer again any time soon. So much for Daylight Savings and an extra hour of sleep.

The Knife Thrower and His Lovely Assistant
We must have hit half a dozen costume shops, some more than once as we scrambled to find the clever, cool, couple's costume. I had seen The Big Bad Wolf, but couldn't find Little Red Riding Hood. I thought it was hilarious to have Fillip in a nightgown, bonnet and wolf mask and gloves. He found those costumes, but not a hooded cape. Really, it would have just looked like the Big Bad Wolf had dressed up in drag, and scored himself a Beer Wench. We weren't feelin' that.

Well, we came across a winner. The (not so talented) blindfolded knife thrower, and his unfortunate assistant, aptly named Tina the Target. We were so jazzed about our costumes, found around 8:30pm on Saturday night. We ran home so I could throw on appropriate undergarments, got directions and hit the road. Since we were planning on going for fine dining at the Carl's Jr. drive-thru on the way (after all, it had become Date Night. Only the best...), I didn't want to eat in my white costume. Fillip was cracking up to see me in a long-line strapless bra, fishnet stockings, red pumps, and plaid Dodger boxer shorts. Whoo-ey! I think the guys in the drive-thru didn't know what to make of that.

We dressed in the street when we arrived at the party, and finally met our friends around 10pm. Despite all my doubts, it was well worth the effort. The party was great! The hosts are in the movie business and had gone all out on the decorating. They had bought discount coffins at a failing mortuary to make a funeral parlor (a gruesome one) in the front of their house. Upstairs was a haunted nursery. Outside was a fully working electric chair! One of their neighbors owns a hearse, so that was appropriately decked out as well. Following the haunted maze to the backyard, we found the band and a pumpkin full of jungle punch. The costumes were all great, ranging from gruesome to whimsical, to downright sexy. The weather was cool, but not freezing and we were having a great time.

Oh Jen, you Devil!
On the way there, Fillip had joked that with our luck, the cops would break up the one party a year we had gone to. Well, around 11:30pm, that is exactly what happened. I told him he jinxed it. There had been complaints about the noise. First they made the band stop, then about 30 minutes later made everyone go home. We were disappointed for sure. I especially felt bad for our hosts who had put so much effort into the evening. Nonetheless, we had a great time.

I am so glad Jen included us. She and her boyfriend looked spectacular as a red devil and Dracula. We had a blast with them, and hope we can spend Halloween with them next year as well!

Monday, October 23, 2006

TTP- You should try it.

It seems that our weekends are often filled with so much busy-ness, that we are too busy to enjoy our time together, nevermind actually get a decent amount of rest. We take turns running errands all day long. Tag Team Productivity (TTP). If both kids are napping (we can only wish!) then one of us stays home while the other gets cat food, light bulbs, and sweetens the other up with a latte. If only one boy is napping, one of us takes the other boy to the grocery store and the pharmacy. We take turns sleeping in. This is kind of a joke as far as I'm concerned.

My day to sleep in would be better described as an extra nap. Theoretically, I should be able to go to bed in the evening then not really wake up, definitely not get up until 9am or 10am the next day. Theoretically. However, usually, around 6:30am Hayden gets up to go to the bathroom, precocious guy that he is. It's not uncommon for the pitter patter of little feet and the sudden repercussion of porcelain to wake me from my sweet dreams of being able to sleep longer. If I lose the potty lottery, I will then hear the pitter patter approaching with a suspicious scuffle, followed by "Mommy, I need you to wipe my butt." There will stand a tousled Hayden, with his pants around his ankles. Amazingly, Fillip doesn't even stir.

Once Hayden is finished and washed up, I will give him a hug and kiss and ask him to play quietly in his room for awhile. Translated- "Please don't bother me until your brother wakes and I have no option but to get up." He usually complies really well, delighted that he wasn't told to stay in bed longer. If I close his door, keep Logan's monitor on loud enough to hear the classical music in there, keep my fan on and try really hard, I almost don't hear him banging things and rearranging the furniture. Still, Fillip doesn't stir. I climb back into bed for awhile, until Logan wakes and needs attention around 7:30am. Sometimes, I get Logan changed and back to sleep in his swing. If it doesn't take, then I nudge Fillip. Usually, by 7:45am Fillip is up and presumably I can go back to sleep. Unless he decides to take a shower. Or the boys are misbehaving. Or they decide to go for a walk so he comes to tell me that they are leaving. Or the baby is sleeping and they go for a walk, but wakes while they are gone. (This especially sucks since Fillip gets crappy coffee from 7-Eleven, but I'm not keen on their drinks. I get woken, and Fillip comes back with a tasty treat. Then we rush to breakfast, no time for my caramel frap, but I digress...) Since theoretically, I don't finally get out of bed until 9am, it was my day to sleep in. This means that the next day, I get up early with the kids without going back to bed. Fillip doesn't stir.

Well, Saturday I "slept in." At 9am, I was woken for the day and our weekend morning drill began. We like to go out for breakfast as a family, but are often playing Beat the Clock because we have other obligations. Within 15 minutes we were in the car, kids still in jammies, racing to our favorite coffee shop where we hardly have to order because they know what we want. The day consisted of the usual TTP, friends over for dinner, then me attending an engagement party alone, while Fillip stayed home with the kids. Surprisingly, I stayed at the party until nearly 2am chatting with people I don't see often enough. I fully expected to be dragging my ass all the next day, considering that morning, I had been granted an extra 35 minutes of sleep, thereby requiring me to be bright eyed and bushy tailed the next morning. Got all that?

My little munchkins surprised me. They slept in! Well, actually Hayden was up at 6am (bathroom), 7am (had somehow gotten the control stick off the mini blinds and gave it to me), 7:30am (wanted a snack, bathroom), 8am (just checking in) and 8:45am (Logan was crying.) He was good about playing in his room until I got up with Logan. Since Logan is the benchmark by which I decide to finally get up, his sleeping until nearly 9 o'clock was a big boon! At that point I was able to cheerfully get them changed, give them a snack and play until Fillip got up at 10am. We were all in a good mood and having fun together. I even got a wasabi and watercress potato salad made for a bbq later in the day.

Now, if only I could figure out how to get them to do that every weekend, I would be a new woman!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Unveiling of emotions

On Sunday, we held an unveiling ceremony for my Grandmother. Traditionally, the unveiling ceremony is given an uplifting tone. Mourners can be expected to reflect on their loved one with fondness, cherishing happy memories, and feeling like the grief has faded. As we gathered at Grandma's grave, I felt anything but uplifted. The pages in the booklet we read felt meaningless and irrelevant to me. I'm not ok with this. I'm not ok with losing her. As we wrapped up, I found myself too choked up to even express all the thoughts that were running through my head. Nearly a year later, I was unable to convey the depth of my grief.

I miss her more now than I did several months ago. Each day I think of something I would like to tell her or share with her. Each day I feel like we are all missing out on having her here with us. Her last couple years were sad and feeble. She was in a state of steady decline and it was frustrating and disheartening to watch her lose one ability after another, physical and mental. When she did pass away, it was almost a relief to know that she no longer existed in a state of limbo, living, yet not participating in life. I am still so glad I took 5 week old Logan to meet her(against medical advice due to her infection), to see the smile on her face and recognition in her eyes. She clearly knew that she was holding her newest great-grandson. As I put him in her arms, she tenderly kissed his soft little head, savoring this new life that was part of her. By that point, she hardly spoke at all. As I left I told her I love her and she said it right back, clear as day. Those were the last words she spoke to me, if anyone. Over the next few weeks she became gravely ill, fighting a battle against an unseen organism that ultimately won. Maybe she didn't fight. Maybe that was just us fighting on her behalf. I can still feel her soft skin under my fingers that last night as I held her hand and rubbed her arm, putting on lotion as Marlena had suggested to make sure she was as comfortable as she could be. It was hard to walk away that night and not a surprise to get the call during the night.

Now, although I do clearly remember all of this and the emotions that went with her enfeeblement, more often I think of her more upbeat qualities. I can vividly picture her dancing in the living room in her moomoo and dearfoams, rocking out to Donna Summers, Hot Stuff. I can hear her gleeful laugh as I bumped her marble in Aggravation as she taught me strategy, good sportsmanship, and the value of time spent together. Grandma and Grandpa's house was a haven for me. I loved being there. In high school, frequently made the 2 hour trip to their "new" place in the desert. Aged 3 or aged 20, there were donuts aplenty, and marathon Aggravation tournaments. I think of Grandma and Grandpa as a unit. As I said Sunday by her grave, she always stood quietly in his shadow and when he died, she was a shadow of her former self. After 60 years of marriage, her light had gone out. Those four years without him were sad for her, even has she took pleasure in her family.

Although she didn't have quite the same glow about her without Grandpa, her pleasure in my pregnancies was endless. She had tons of questions and I had the opportunity to get to know her now as a mother. She shared stories of her pregnancies and asked endless questions about our choice for names, how I was feeling and eventually, every detail of Hayden's daily routine and changes. He loved to sit on her lap, usually grabbing her glasses, and no amount of squirming and tugging on his part was too uncomfortable for her. Now that both boys are getting older, I wish she could see their daily schtick. She always took such joy in being with children, and I would love to see her get that joy from my own sons. She would kvell to see Hayden recite the Kiddush, and be a little mensch in temple, wanting to know when they would open the "cabinet," or ark to see the Torahs in there. She would have had so much fun as I clapped Logan's hands to Shabbat Shalom and made him giggle with joy at the festive song. She fostered our traditions and the love of family that is ingrained in me today. I am not ok with losing her.

I believe that the reason I miss her so much more now, is that I am able to focus on the good memories, rather than worrying about her decline. There is no longer any guilt for not visiting enough, for not doing enough, for not being able to make it better. There is only fondness and a deep love that she planted within me. As we pass on our religious traditions, she is there. As I take delight in teaching Hayden the Candy Land game, she is there. The value we place on family is influenced by her. Everything I do is in part shaped by her influence on me. Maybe the fact that I still grieve so deeply for her is her legacy at work.

I am ok with that.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Who say's men never ask for directions?

Hayden just cracks me up. He is very friendly and social. These days, whenever he has to go potty, he holds himself. Either his crotch or his butt, depending on the situation.

In the grocery store last week, he stopped a man to ask where the bathroom is. The man just chuckled and moved on. I took him to the bathroom.

In synagogue, just as Mayor Villaraigosa got up to speak (which I thought was really cool!), Hayden told me he had to go pee pee. Of course, we hindered the mayor's progress to the podium as we got up, and headed toward the bathroom. We sit near the front and it is a long way to the back. Hayden made his way with his hand firmly grabbing his pants, stopping to put his hand on other people's arms and loudly, urgently say "I have to go pee pee! Do YOU know where the bathroom is?" I kept assuring him that I in fact do know where it is. Then he stopped asking, but solemnly informed each row we passed, as if they needed an explanation for his departure, that "I have to go pee pee." It was so funny to see people cheering this little boy on, giving him knuckles and high fives to get there on time.

I missed the mayor's speech, but it couldn't have been nearly as entertaining.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Stop your blubbering already!

I have reached a new level of sappiness. Anyone who really knows me, knows that I will cry at the drop of a hat. Not because I stubbed my toe or got stuck in traffic; because when a little boy says "I love you back" or paints me a picture, there is so much emotion that it has to come out somehow. When I bought a "bake sale" cookbook, I told Fillip that I would probably be all choked up the first time I brought blondie brownies to Hayden's First Bake Sale. He responded "you're all teared up now, just thinking about it, aren't you?" Yes, I was. I think though, that I have to get a handle on this. It's just plain silly at this point.

We went out for dinner the other night to a local sushi place. The food is good and the sushi half price. Hayden loves the little koi pond and the fact that the bathroom is way in back, giving him a glimpse of the kitchen and storeroom on our way there. The other thing I love about this place is the music. They play some satellite station that seems to have tapped into my childhood memories of tunes that could be belted out anywhere, at anytime. When I recently went there with my niece, the two of us quietly (well, not so quietly) serenaded each other and the sushi chefs with golden hits like Through the Years (Kenny Rogers) and some classic Neil Diamond song, that you would all know also. Admit it, you would. Fillip and I did the same thing, and through the happy haze of part of a long island iced tea (half a drink knocks me on my ass!), I found that I distinctly recall every lyric and nuance to Look Away, from the Chicago 19 album, the second album sans Peter Cetera. Yes, I knew that off the top of my head.

Fillip had gone to the bathroom, fortunately, when Mariah Carey's I'll Be There came on. First off, I'm generally not a Mariah Carey fan, but absolutely love this song. Always have. Well, as we sat there I couldn't help but sing to my sweet little boys sitting there with me. By the end of the song, I was practically in tears for the poignancy as it would apply to mother and sons. Fillip would have laughed so hard to see me all choked up singing this to them. Thank goodness I've got years to get this under control before my teenage sons roll their eyes and say "Mooooommm, stop!" Even then, I probably won't. Hopefully, one day they will get over their embarrassment of their emotional mom and realize that those tears are the extra love for them that I simply can't contain.

I'll Be There
-Mariah Carey
You and I must make a pact

We must bring salvation back
Where there is love I'll be there

I'll reach out my hand to you
I'll have faith in all you do
Just call my name And I'll be there

I'll be there to comfort you
Build my world of dreams around you
I'm so glad that I found you
I'll be there with a love that's strong
I'll be your strength
I'll keep holding on

Let me fill your heart with joy and laughter
Togetherness is all I'm after
Whenever you need me I'll be there

I'll be there to protect you
With an unselfish love I'll respect you
Just call my name And I'll be there

I'll be there to comfort you
Build my world of dreams around you
I'm so glad that I found you
I'll be there with a love that's strong
I'll be your strength
I'll keep holding on

If you should ever find someone new
I know she'd better be good to you
'Cause if she doesn't I'll be there

I'll be there
I'll be there
Just call my name I'll be there
I'll be there I'll be there
Whenever you need me I'll be there

Thursday, September 21, 2006

True friendship

18 years ago-
My best friend and I met on a bus, on our way up the coast. We were on a two week bus trip for our youth group, and have been inseparable ever since. We were 13 and 14 years old, comparing notes on our "experience" which was a really long conversation about nothing really. We both had big hair, lots of makeup, and had perfected our methods of getting the boys to carry our luggage.

12 years ago-
My best friend and I learned to support each other as we lost family members, holding each other through tears, without the need to speak. When the ground shook at 4:31am one January morning, we frantically tried to reach each other to make sure we were ok. The house could tumble around us, but as long as we could talk to each other, it was ok. (The only two friends I spoke with that awful morning was Tami and Fillip. Still, my foundation today.)

9 years ago-
My best friend and I were in serious relationships, finishing school and starting careers. It was a pretty moderate party lifestyle, but one we took for granted at the time. Sometimes we would see each other more often than others, but were more focused on all the other things in our lives. When someone was crying, it was imperative that we be there within 15 minutes, but barring that, weeks might go by where we just talk on the phone. We were excited for all the things happening in our lives, learning how to live on our own. Eventually, I moved out of state, and that phone became the lifeline of our friendship, with occasional visits every couple months.

7 years ago-
I was getting divorced and she was getting married. We were both at new beginnings in different ways. It was great to be back home. Adulthood was seeping in, but we could still party like it was 1999- because it was!!

3 years ago-
I got married and she was in my wedding.....again. We found out I was pregnant the day before. Six months later she was pregnant too! We supported each other through months of sickness, exhaustion and hormonal ups and downs. When she faced the scary possibility that her baby had Down's Syndrome, I assured her we would get through it. When she had to be on bedrest after the amnio, I came to baby sit her and keep her company. Her beautiful daughter is perfectly healthy, by the way. We would call each other to say "He is being completely Unreasonable, will not concede that I was absolutely right, and why would anyone argue with a pregnant woman anyway?!" The other would say "Come on over. You're right, he's an ass. I was just opening a new carton of icecream." It didn't matter if we really were right or not. The icecream was unconditional.

Together we worried over every early contraction, commiserated over the belief that this baby would never come, laughed at each other's labor stories, held each other and cried over the births of our first born children. We held each other's precious babies as we held our own.

Dinner times became a regular event for us, as we were no longer living the party lifestyle. Babies were always welcome and accomodated, even when that meant getting a very yummy steak, to go. Evenings usually meant at least one of us nursing, while the other got dinner together. There was often a baby sleeping nearby in the living room, while we chatted about our latest adventures- how was the pregnancy weight coming off, how often does the baby eat, still using a pacifier?, remember when we were just kids…. The husbands don't question the presence of the other one for dinner. Of course she is welcome! Having the babies there goes without question as well. They each toss each other's kids in the air like a favorite uncle, making them squeal and giggle, then going back to their manly pursuits- namely video games or tv.

2 years ago-
She reassured me that it would be ok when I found out I was already pregnant again. She brought the joy into my perspective of a very scary time. When I went on bedrest, she came to baby sit me so I would have everything I needed during the day. She treated my son as her own, and he knows to listen to her better than he does to me.

1 year ago-
Again, she held my newborn son in her arms, loving him as her own son. When I was overwhelmed by a newborn and an 18 month old, and the prospect of moving, she not only brought dinner and took charge of the toddler, but rallied our friends to come help pack.

Last night-
We had dinner together at her house. There are now three kids running around, chasing each other, giggling, giving spontaneous hugs, spontaneous pushes, some crying, and lots more giggling. My son knows when I say we are going to Tami's house, he will see Samantha, get dinner, and take a bath. It isn't questioned. Samantha lights up at the prospect of coming over to play with my boys, and is happy to stay with me if Tami needs to run errands. We are each other's "non-family" babysitting backup, and I owe her so many more evenings than she owes me, except who keeps track. Instead of getting together and having a few wine coolers, we crack open the cheese ravioli, a few sippy cups, and teddy grahams. She offers my son juice, and I offer her daughter chocolate milk, each one scowling and relenting to the other's mishegaas. The kids feel at home at either of our houses.

Today and always-
I know as the years go by, our living room will still be filled with each other's families. The kids will grow, and hopefully there will be more of them. Sometimes there will be other family or friends there too. Sometimes we will be too busy to get together as often as we would like. We will hold each other in grief again someday, as that is part of life. Throughout all the ups and downs, we are part of each other. Watching our children play together, I was so happy to see that we are passing on that love and friendship, even as we continue to build it ourselves.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Ray of Sunshine aT the Unhappiest Place on Earth

I can't express strongly enough how much I hate going to the DMV. It is the Unhappiest Place on Earth. Just watch the people waiting in line as well as the people doomed to eternal government posts, slogging through senseless bureaucracy, with the sole purpose of making things as Difficult as Possible.

Now, I do recognize, that the process of renewing a driver's license, or registering a vehicle, does not have to be that difficult. After all, they send renewal notices by mail, and even have a conveniently located drop box in the DMV office, which, by the way, I have never, ever seen anyone put anything into. For some reason, we never quite meet the criteria for renewal by mail, requiring us to make the arduous journey through the lines of no progress. In addition to registering our cars, I am also in the process of getting the title for a car, a neverending process that will put me in a mental state for which the term "going postal" will not even come close.

My car is the byproduct of a marriage gone bad. We (me and the liar I formerly called a husband) bought this four door beige sedan with the idea of starting our family in the suburban utopia of Gilbert, Arizona. This is now the fastest growing community in the United States, in case you are interested, which most people are not. Well, like the scarecrow, I finally got a brain and left with the beige sedan packed to the gills with all I would need for my new fast track single lifestyle. This car has had endless problems such as needing new brakes every 6 months, an air conditioner that only works in the winter, when I am not pregnant, and blowing a headgasket, requiring a new engine at 50, 000 miles. Part of the divorce judgement, officially endorsed by the court, was that my ex was to pay off our dream car. I bet you will all fall over in shock to learn that he did not make even ONE payment, nor did I know this until the finance company called me threatening repo. I tried explaining to the finance company that I had a legal judgement stating it was the responsibility of that other guy to pay for the car, and although some of the reps were even sympathetic, they hounded me month after month, threatening all sorts of unpleasant action, until I started selling my limbs off one by one to raise the money for my car payment. Over the next few years I paid off this albatross so that I could officially call it mine. Now, I want the title so I can sell the piece of crap to someone who will appreciate the racy shade of beige more than I. I called the finance company to request the title and was told they had already sent it to the jerk who did NOT pay for the car, who I don't have info for, who even if I did, would not bother to send me what is rightfully mine. The rep told me I would need to request a copy from the DMV. Bad news indeed.

In April I went to the DMV, naively believing despite the odds, that it would be a simple process. I stood in the line that says Start Here for 20 minutes, to be handed a number by a surly employee who acted as if I had interrupted her birthday party with my request rather than someone put in a paid position of service to the community. The people there were literally walking slowly, stamping papers slowly, and making sure that nothing was going to happen in any timely manner. When I looked at my number, there were literally 75 numbers ahead of me, and it felt like the waiting room in the movie Beetlegeuse. An hour and 40 minutes later, I made my dazed way to the appropriate window, to be told that I needed a specific document from the finance company. Several months later, I have now acquired said document, and returned Friday to the DMV thinking naively, that this was the Golden Ticket to getting my title. I also thought I could get my registration taken care of while I was there.

Lo and behold I accomplished neither of those things. Again, shocking. Because my car is from out of state, I need to first acquire the title from Arizona, before they can convert the title to California. Could that have not been mentioned in April?! So I can't get the title. Let's just take care of the registration. Oh wait… I could pay for it, but needed some obscure documentation that would need to be dug up from the middle of the Negev Desert, so will need to come back another day to get that precious little sticker. Every little bit of bad news is delivered by a person who may as well be informing me that they have Pepsi instead of Coke, but doesn’t give a rat's ass that it will change the rest of my day.

Today was different. Today I was prepared. Today I had apparantly done something right in the world and been granted a special dispensation from having to wait forever in order to not accomplish what I took time off work to do. I was at the DMV literally less than 30 minutes, and….AND! left with not one, but two stickers for two cars!!! Not only that, but the man who helped me actually smiled at me and told me to have a nice day. And I think he meant it.

Monday, September 18, 2006

This took me all day.

Our weekend was jam packed with family fun.

Saturday we went to a community event hosted by the Boys and Girls Club. Two other families went, and it is so cute to see our little ones, ages 5 months to 2 1/2 years. It was a great event and best of all, everything was FREE!! There was inflatable play equipment, various activity booths and even lunch! The lines were a bit long, but it was nice to get out. Last year Hayden had a blast on the giant inflated slide so we stood in line for that. When it was his turn, he slowly, but steadily climbed all the way up, then sat down at the top to survey his kingdom. The other kids had to go around him to slide down. They each got to go a couple times, but he took so long to finally slide down, that he only got to go once. He didn't ask to go again. He loved playing on the fire engine and ambulance. He snuggled right up to the cute EMT, and gave her a sweet smile when she said he could go sit up front to "drive." He also loved the fire engine, and was adorable in the huge boots, jacket and helmet. Our friend had time to snap a quick pic before the uniform got too heavy and Hayden simply fell over from the weight of it. He was a little less amused than us, but good natured about it.

Coincidentally, our niece had a soccer game across the street, so we wanted to go watch. Fillip and Logan went over first, and I met them a little later. Logan spent the afternoon in his stroller as we had the misguided impression that our exhausted little guy would fall asleep. Silly parents. He didn't complain about being in there, but didn't go to sleep either. He enjoyed visiting with Grandma Mickey and Grandpa Herman, and his cousins. Once I arrived, he was happy to scarf down an infinite number of grapes, nicely bit into small pieces, as I sat in the sun doing my Mamma Bird impression. Hayden kicked a soccer ball around with his cousin while Fillip helped his brother at Sideline Coaching the game.

At the start of the day, I was so happy to feel the change in weather. It was almost cool, with a strong breeze and the smell of brush fire in the air. Fall! Well, it was just a tease, as by the end of the afternoon, I was sweating and parched from the summer sun. At least I know cooler weather is on the way. I just won't tell my sweaters yet. By the end of the day we were all exhausted and hungry. The kids slept on the way home. We all devoured our delivered pizza, and most of us were in bed by 8:15pm.

Sunday we met some friends bright and early at the zoo. There was an event for zoo members, which apparently is not such an exclusive club. It was nice to see the animals more active. Usually, we see them in the afternoon when it is blazing hot and they are just laying there like big furry lumps. Well, except for the giraffes, but they are apparently "hot" all the time, if you catch my drift, wink wink. Every 20 minutes there was to be a presentation at various habitats, and we started the day, dutifully following the crowds to each one, catching a glimpse, then making the kids wait some more until the next one. Just as the elephants were about to come out, Hayden told me he had to go pee pee. This announcement in public results in us making a mad dash to the nearest restroom, carrying a tensed up toddler, out of breath and sweating profusely from the exertion and stress of making it in time. Sunday was no exception, but he did not disappoint. Despite going through the same routine with Fillip 10 minutes earlier, I was rewarded with that tiny trickle and his proud announcement that he was all done. We got a fleeting glimpse of those frisky giraffes on our way up, but headed right back down in time to see the elephant devouring a sapling. Aww, how cute. After a little while, Hayden's fever started rising back up from the night before and he was asking to go home. Considerate parents that we are, we took him out to breakfast where he sat slumped over in his high chair until Logan finished eating and we got our meals to go. Hayden didn't eat his sausage, and we didn't even call 911.

I had an afternoon on my own since my book club had a Sunday meeting. The book we read this month was written by a member's great aunt. It was her first hand account of escaping Russia after the Bolshevik Revolution. She was 5 years old when the pogroms began, saw unspeakable atrocities and came across the world with just her mother. The author was kind enough to let our book club come to her retirement home to talk about her book with her. She is a delightful lady who was so happy we were there, and especially happy with the icecream cake we served. It is truly an amazing account of a horrible time in history. To meet her now and hear of her life in the United States, you would never guess what she has been through. She has seen the best and worst of humanity, and somehow remained intact through it all. It was such a unique opportunity for all of us, and through our discussion, an inspiration to write down family history as we know it.

Returning home brought back the routine craziness that is our house. Hayden wasn't feeling great, but well enough to bounce off the walls. The boys are having a great time with Logan's birthday gifts, which we have been slowly rationing to them. Fillip's parents gave Logan a Tow Mater Riding truck (from the movie Cars) which is just adorable. It is low enough to the ground so Logan can push it along. We didn't even have to show him what to do. It makes all kinds of noises, lights up, and parts move around. It even has a cell phone that rings when you put it in its holder. Even Logan picks it up, puts it to his ear and says "hiya!" They were having such a great time exploring all the new stuff. It won't be long before they are racing up and down the halls on their trucks.

Logan went to bed early and I took Hayden to the store. He still wasn't feeling better and his stomach got upset. He is fully potty trained during the day, by his own efforts. On the very rare occasion he doesn't make it to the bathroom, he tells us he had an "assident." Well, that's what happened last night in the store, right there in the baby food aisle. He literally had an ass-ident, requiring us to go out the to car to get fresh clothes. It happened again when we got home, so I gave him a quick bath before bed. I feel so bad for him when this happens because he gets so upset. He tells me it makes him mad or sad, then apologizes or even cries. We aren't sure where this pressure is coming from. We have never scolded him for this and always tell him he is doing a great job. We don't make too big a fuss over the success, just so he won't feel like everything is riding on it. He was still talking about it this morning, and I tried to reassure him that it isn't a big deal. Since his tummy has been betraying him, he is in pull-ups today. He doesn't get upset about going in those. He seemed to understand he is only wearing them because he is sick, and will be back in "underwears" when he feels better.

Well, it's Monday and we are back to the grind. I woke up late. Traffic was bad, so I was feeling a bit surly by 8am. My day quickly turned around though. This morning two of my bosses (#1 and #4) headed down to the coffee cart and offered to grab me a cup. I gladly accepted and enjoyed 10 minutes of knowing my boss was getting me coffee. Happy Monday!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Last Call Has Come and Gone

Logan is weaned. He doesn't seem to mind and doesn't ask to nurse. I'm not as content about this.

For the last couple weeks, Logan was only nursing in the morning. I would wake him at 5:30am so we could spend a few minutes together before work. On Sunday I had Fillip get up with him, then haven't woken Logan all week. He isn't wild about cow's milk, but drinks it when he realizes that is his only option. Once he is used to this new routine, I may wake him to spend time together and give him cow's milk before work. Right now, I don't want to upset him, then have to leave, so I have been letting him sleep in.

Despite the fact that he was only nursing once a day, this has been quite uncomfortable for me. Last night I manually expressed some milk into the sink to alleviate some of the pressure in the two rocks on my chest. It was so hard for me to waste that milk, instead of getting Logan to take care of it. After years of making sure I kept my production up, drank Mother's Milk Tea when it was low, pumped morning and night, and watched everything I ate because it would get passed on, it was a mental leap to just pour that milk down the sink. However, I just felt that we would have to go through this process all over again if I gave in and nursed him to alleviate the pressure. When Hayden weaned, it was because I had lost my milk due to pregnancy, so never had to deal with the discomfort. Since I haven't been producing much recently, I am surprised that I am still so full after several days, and look forward to my body adjusting.

Although it is a relief to have my body back to myself, I am also very sad. I love the closeness and bonding of nursing a baby, and am so grateful to have been able to share this with Logan for his first year. Since we don't know if we will be having any more children, it is possible that I will never nurse a baby again. That is hard to digest. Despite my sentimentality and difficulty in letting him grow up, I know I will always fondly look back on this time and feel good about having the wonderful opportunity and ability to have a successful nursing relationship with my sweet boy.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Hayden at 2 1/2

At two and a half, I think Hayden now embodies all that is wonderful and terrible about two year olds. He is such a precocious little guy, drawing conclusions that surprise us, using new phrases all the time, being endlessly sweet and difficult and emotional.

Hayden has such a sweet heart. He is very affectionate with everyone around him, often giving hugs and kisses out of nowhere. He is very aware of who his immediate circle is, asking for people we haven't seen in a few days. He knows what they do, such as going to work or the store, and remembers seemingly trivial things, like the name of a little girl we met in the checkout line a couple weeks back. We are seeing the affects of his peers as he tries to use different expressions or pronunciations. He has told me "You say ok. I say K. K? K." As if that settles it. Although he uses words I consider pretty advanced like obnoxious and disgusting, he is also experimenting with baby talk like calling his stuffed frog Baby Rawa instead of Baby Robby. He crawls sometimes when playing, but makes it a point to tell me he is being a baby, asking for a baby cup or a baby spoon.The other sign of regression is his spontaneous bawling. It is exactly like Logan's when we tell him no, and there is absolutely no reasoning or talking with him when he melts down this way. So, he has to go to his room until he calms down. This is really obnoxious! This weekend the phrase of choice seemed to be "Should I…?" As in "Should I come out now?" "Should I eat my breakfast now?" "Should I hit my brother?" All said in the same impish voice, with a little smile and twinkle in his eye, like if he says it cute enough, we will always say yes, no matter what he is asking.

Hayden adores Logan, playing with him, bowling him over with hugs and kisses, bowling him over because he can, taking his toys, waking him up, and as of this weekend, getting him out of the swing! "I woke Logan. I got him out." What?! And, here comes Logan down the hall, still looking like he isn't quite awake. We are often telling Hayden to get off his brother, leave him alone, stop touching him, give that toy back, mind his own business, etc…. He reports everything Logan is doing, and mimics our encouragement and discipline of Logan, whether it is in walking or not touching the cat's water. Logan is his best audience and Hayden loves to get his brother giggling. In the car, we are already hearing "Stop! Logan's touching me!" We will look back to see that Logan barely has one tiny fingertip on Hayden's arm, or just the carseat, looking at him like "What? I'm not doing anything." And so it begins.

The question Why? is apparantly punctuation, as it is asked after EVERYTHING we say. He now sometimes answers himself. "Why? Because that is the way it is." "Why? Because I asked for that." I've started teaching him the game Candyland, and although he doesn't quite understand the progression around the board, he does like drawing the cards and finding the picture spots. Double yellow! Candy cane! We play after Logan goes to bed so there isn't interference and Hayden gets some one on one time. He went to bed one night and told me "Mommy, I schooled you in Candyland." Sure did.

He is getting mostly good school reports, telling us he is nice to his friends. As the older Two's class transitioned last week Hayden was more aggressive again, but seemed to stop much quicker this time, maybe realizing life is better when he is nice. He talks about things he does at school and will often remember what he had for lunch and what songs or art they did that day. He seems to really enjoy the art projects and I am interested to see if that develops as he does.

Hayden is still a good eater, but doesn't eat big dinners. He tends to play until we are mostly done, and just when we are ready to wrap it up, he will start to eat. We now tell him he has just a few minutes left, or set a timer. When that beeps, the meal is over. When he is eating the whole time, he can take as long as he wants. Often on weekends, breakfast takes a really long time because he eats so much. This is fine, and we wait patiently until he is full. Eggs are no longer on the menu for him, but he does love French Toast. Sausage remains the favorite, along with fruit.

He seems to be daytime potty trained. He wore "underwears" all weekend and stayed completely clean and dry. When we went out, I would have him go before we left and there was never a problem. He is comfortable using public restrooms, so being at a restaurant is fine. He always asks to go and I think it is as much to see more of the restaurant and alleviate boredom, as a strong need to use the bathroom. He is such a chatterbox, having complete conversations all on his own, especially in the bathroom.
"I go pee pee? No, I don’t. I go poopy? Yeah, I did. I sit on the potty, go poopy. I wear underwears. I no go pee pee in my underwears. I no wear pullups. K? K."

On Friday, his 2 1/2 year birthday, he had a low fever and threw up all afternoon. At Shabbat dinner, he lay in the towel covered couch with a cool cloth on his head so he could be near us, got to say the prayer over the wine, but was asleep by the time we had dessert. So sweet and pitiful, poor little guy. By Saturday night he had the same rash as Logan, which would be Roseola. Weird that they both threw up, but it was consistent.

He will tell anyone who asks, and many people who don't "I'm two and a half!" I don't know who taught him that, but it is cute. He is so independent, needing to do everything himself in a certain order. There is absolutely no trying to rush him or it just takes longer. Getting in and out of the car is a whole process, as is getting dressed or undressed, washing hands, etc… If we even try to help we hear an ear splitting "NOOOO!!! I DOOOO IIITTTTT!!!" Ok. Geez. We have taught him to sneak down the hall as he usually stomps everywhere he goes and those floors really reverberate, waking Logan all the time. He likes wearing shoes, but we did catch him barefoot last week, sneaking on his tip toes. It was so cute.

He remains obsessed with opening and closing the garage. Pushing the button ourselves for any reason, causes him to immediately meltdown. We are well aware of the indulgence of this, yet figure it's a battle we aren't willing to tackle. He enjoys getting to push the button, and we enjoy the peace. My car has a button built into the rearview mirror, not a remote. When Fillip drives my car, he lets Hayden come to the front seat to push that button and "drive" into the garage. It is so cute to see his delighted smile at getting to do this, proud and happy on Daddy's lap.

He is still so absolutely gorgeous with big green eyes and an easy, friendly smile and quick giggle. He loves to be tickled and wrestled, but also loves to sit and listen to a story. He is such a sweetheart, and I can't believe how lucky I am to have him.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Spot Takes a Dive

Our evening routine during the week is usually a fairly rapid succession of dinner, bath, bed. Logan crashes early and can easily be ready to sleep the night by 6:30pm-7:00pm. Once we finish dinner, I get the bath going and gather towels, diapers and jammies.

A couple nights ago, despite being so tired, Logan was fussy and I thought a bath might soothe his rash and settle him for bed. I started the bath, and as always, both boys had to be right at the tub to supervise, checking the water, making sure all appropriate toys were accounted for and that there was nothing out of the ordinary to set off a screaming fit. I was about to go get the towels, but hesitated, thinking that Logan has been more than capable of getting himself out of the tub for awhile, and is therefore very capable of getting himself in. He stands there and lifts his little leg to the rim, then puts it down, then puts his foot up, then puts it down. It is really cute to see.

That night I turned around for a second, and heard the splash as he dove in head first, fully dressed. I immediately fished that sputtering baby out of the water so he could catch his breath. Once he realized he was fine, he just sat there with a self satisfied grin to find himself fully clothed in the bath tub. Although he looked really cute sitting there, I feel like it was a barely averted disaster. Had he waited just 30 seconds, I would have been out of the room getting towels. I am so glad I listened to my gut and hesitated a moment. Going forward, they will need to stay in their seats at the dinner table until I am ready for them.

I often consider myself paranoid about certain safety issues, but now consider it so much more justified. Part of our routine is that Hayden lets the water out of the tub before getting out, since I am so worried that I will be getting one boy dressed and the other will jump back in. Another concern involves Hayden's love of the garage. He often plays that he is leaving, grabs a bag, tells us where he is going, and heads down the hall.
"Bye bye!"
"Where are you going?"
"On macation."
"Where are you going on vacation?"
"To the castle in my car." or "To UncleStevieAuntieJoycie" or "To Papa Ahnie garage, ride cart."
Yeah, he has a lot going on. As we were getting ready to leave one day, we found him already in the car in the garage. Since that day, I always lock the deadbolt to the door, and often have the flat lock set on the bathroom door (which strangely leads to the garage.) The garage is often over one hundred degrees and I have visions of the worst. Although I can be diligent in preventing so much, what really concerns me are the things I don't foresee.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

See Spot Go!

Logan's birthday party was Sunday, and we were very happy with how it turned out. We called it for 10am, keeping in mind afternoon naptimes for all the little ones. It had a sort of beach theme as the invitation was a pic of Logan on a boogie board. We had a few decorations and hanging fish. The fruit bowl had a pineapple top in the middle with little drink umbrellas stuck all around by my 9 year old niece who had a blast doing it. We served bagels and fixin's, blintz souffle, french toast casserole, green chili and cheese egg casserole, fresh fruit and cake. The only appetizers were a sort of kid buffet with Goldfish crackers, Danimals yogurts and string cheese. I made a punch of pineapple juice, orange juice, ginger ale with frozen strawberries and pineapple as ice cubes. Everything was delicious! The casseroles were made by the grandmas and a girlfriend, so I didn't even have to worry about those!

Logan napped through the first hour of his party, but I woke him at 11am so he could enjoy. My mom stuffed him to the gills, then stuffed him some more. That kid can eat, and my friend's french toast casserole was a big hit with him and the rest of the guests. He played for a few minutes then we stripped him down and served the cake. It was a beach scene with water, sand, a beach lounger, surf boards, beach balls, and gummi fishes. It turned out really cute and was fun to put together. Unlike his big brother at the same age, Logan dug in with gusto. He was covered head to toe with blue frosting. He had so much fun with his cake. Just when I thought he had fallen into a nice food coma and tried to take his plate, he stuffed another handful of cake into his mouth, and one in his ear. Fillip said he looked like Mel Gibson at the end of Braveheart when we took him out of the high chair.

Shortly after serving cake the guests started leaving as kids needed naps. We had about 45 adults and 20 kids and it was really a fun group. My MIL's bedrooms, filled with toys anyway, looked like Hurricane Kid had hit as instead of toys being neatly stowed they were everywhere! The front bedroom was a sea of toys with little heads bobbing around in there. I just love to see that and all the kids get along really well.

After cake he played for awhile and we went to open presents. He was so exhausted that it just seemed mean to try and keep him awake for gifts he didn't care about. He went down for his afternoon nap and Hayden had a good time opening Logan's presents. Well, at least the first couple until we opened a toy. Then Hayden just played with that. Logan got beautiful clothes, some fun toys and even Hayden got some presents. As party favors, each kid got a plastic bucket and shovel with their name on it in puffy paint. I got the buckets at a dollar store and wrote the names, and was so pleased with how they turned out!

When Logan woke from his nap he was pretty warm and fussy. His fever was about 102.5 and in a few minutes he threw up. It wasn't bad and only once so we figure he just ate waaay too much. Thank you Grandma Roz! ;) Poor little guy just wasn't himself and likely overwhelmed by the day. I think he was grateful when bedtime rolled around as he didn't make a peep before going to sleep.

Yesterday Logan had his one year checkup. His stats were good-
weight- 20 lbs, 4 oz (including his toy phone) 10th percentile
length- 29 inches 25th percentile
head- 17 1/4 inches

His growth curve has been consistent so no worries about him being a tiny little guy. When I undressed him, I noticed a spotty rash over his entire body. Since my girlfriend mentioned her daughter had a heat rash from the party, I mentioned this to the ped. He said that it wasn't a heat rash since that usually doesn't appear over the entire body. Given the couple days of fever, it was roseola. Fantastic. I will be calling him Spot for the next couple days. The doc also asked about the other little girl's rash and said that one sounds like Fifth Disease because of the red cheeks (it turns out it's not, just another virus). Neither of these illnesses are harmful, but they are both contagious. Those kiddos may have taken home more than a personalized plastic bucket from the party! Logan is meeting all the milestones for his age and hammed it up a bit for Dr. J. He walked a bit, gave Dr. J high five, and waved. The only concern I had was that he doesn't want to drink much. He recommended flavoring the milk a bit, as that tiny bit of sugar is not harmful, and the benefits of having his milk are so important. He also suggested that the very occasional nursing is interfering with Logan wanting to drink from a cup. Logan does like drinking icewater through a straw, but still needs his milk. It looks like I will be completely weaning in the next few days. Logan is more ready than me. As always, I was happy with our appointment, as I truly think we have such a great doctor for the kids. He comes off as a medical professional, as well as a friend and fellow parent.

At one year old, Logan is doing great. I am looking forward to another fun year.