Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Well Your Nobody Called Tonight...

I was laying in bed listening to the deep breath sounds of my husband sleeping, feeling a little resentful at how he falls asleep almost as soon as the lights go out.  Thoughts of tomorrow's activities, chores and errands were running through my head.  Finally I drifted off to sleep...only to have the frigging phone ring at 11:34pm.  Husband answered but no one was there. 

I snuggled back into the covers, but that late-night-unexpected-phone-call adrenaline rush was too much for me - plus, I was listening once again to the deep breath sounds of my husband sleeping, feeling totally annoyed.

Usually I keep the ringer turned off on the phone in our room, but we learned our lesson about that a month or so ago.  Lorelei was spending the night with a friend and got sick at 2:30am - they called and called us, but the ringer was off and the cell phones were downstairs.  We didn't wake up until they were beating down the door. 

And now it is 12:48am.  I already played my Scrabble words on five of the six games I have going on Facebook.  Yes, I know, it's an affliction.  I am totally going to regret being up this late tomorrow - or later today, I guess. Should I go back to bed and see if sleep will find me?  Or should I just watch Parenthood on the DVR?  Decisions decisions.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Eat a Cookie, Save a Seal

A friend's ten-year-old daughter, Ellie, loves seals.  On a Smithsonian trip years ago she got a stuffed seal in the gift shop and has loved them ever since.  Because she was interested, she and her mom were doing some research online and stumbled across The Marine Mammal Center's website.  Ellie decided to do a local fundraiser in their "Dollar a Pound" program and ended up raising $500!  TMMC invited her out to California for a tour and she even got to help cut the ribbon for the grand opening of their new hospital.  That was 2009 - she's done a local fundraiser every March since through the Young School (where she and her sisters went/go to preschool) and with the bakery Touche Touchet.

I am completely amazed by this kid - she does a seal awareness week at the Young School where she teaches the kids about seals, plays games with them and even does a little fun run similar to the one that TMMC has in California each year.  And now she has been chosen by Dawn to be a youth ambassador for their Junior Wildlife Champions program.  The campaign aims to teach a million elementary-aged kids to be responsible for their environment and to get involved.  I'd say she is a perfect candidate for that!!

So - if you're anywhere near Touche Touchet this weekend you should stop in for a cookie and save a seal - and encourage a wonderful little girl to continue to be awesome!  And if you're anything like me, you won't be able to resist getting a Strawberry Spa Cupcake, too.  Of course, if you want to avoid the calories you can always just give directly to the campaign here.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

A mother at home

I'm reading I Don't Know How She Does It by Allison Pearson right now.  It's about a working mother juggling all the things a career woman has to juggle, along with all the things a mother of two has to do.  It's a funny read and I am entertained.  One of the things the main character, Kate Reddy, finds her self doing is distressing a store bought pie for a school party to make it look homemade because of the "tsks" she knows she'd get from the non-working mothers if the knew it was store bought.

I was thinking about this in the context of my own life - non-working mother who generally brings things that are homemade to school functions.  I would never never "tsk" anyone or speak badly of them for bringing store bought goodies (actually, my daughter's preschool requires that all treats be store bought so that labels can be read for possible allergy-triggering ingredients).  I also don't know anyone who looks down their nose in this way (at least, I don't think I do - they haven't been talking to me about it).  But I guess it happens.

I was making some muffins for a PTA meeting recently and was a little stressed about getting it done along with the other things I had going on.  My husband said, "Why can't you just bring pretzels or something?"  I told him I just had to; I feel compelled to make things homemade for a variety of reasons - that particular case, I had to find a use for the giant tub of blueberries I bought at Costco that my kids suddenly decided they would not eat, also because in general I enjoy baking - it's relaxing.  And to some extent I also think - hey, you're a stay-at-home mom - this is your job; if you don't do it your not succeeding at your job.  But none of the reasons have anything to do with what other people expect of me. 

I think it's interesting the way working mothers interact with non-working mothers - I think each side looks at the other with some longing as well as incredulity.  How does she do it?  Once when I brought some homemade thing to a PTA meeting a working mom asked me how I had time to make it with three small kids.  But honestly, I look at her and think, wow! she is totally involved in PTA and her kids educations AND she's got an awesome career.  How does she do it?

The answer is pretty simple - we all just do what we have to get it done and ignore the stuff that can be put off - like pretending I don't notice my socks sticking to the floor when I walk through the dining room.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

They're coming to take me away he he ha ha ho ho

Sometimes living in my house feels like living in an insane asylum. 

No nap for Zoey today - put her down twice, the second time I really thought it would take - until she walked in on me showering.  She wanted me to open the giant chocolate bunny pop that a neighbor had brought over for her.  Violet must have given it to her - you know, to be kind and helpful - because Zoey didn't know it existed and wouldn't have been able to reach it on the counter if she had known.  I took it away from her and it got to finish off my shower with me in the shower caddy.  Of course, before I was able to get out of the shower Violet had to come in and inform me she was done with her soccer ball marshmallow pop.  Is it so wrong to want to shower alone?

Earlier today Violet called to me to help her in the bathroom.  When I walked in she said, "Hey Mom, wanna see my poop?!"  I said, "Yeah, sure, I'm dying to see your poop."  Not quite the right thing to say to a 3-year-old.  "WHAT?  Are you dying?!"

Since Zoey wasn't taking a nap, it's only natural that Violet, who doesn't take naps anymore (at least not on purpose) fell asleep on the couch at 3:30.  Zoey left her alone for a while, but eventually started in on her puppy act, barking at Violet and jumping on her until she cried.  This is something new in the last few days - she barks for things instead of using words.  She's finally talking really well, so it seems appropriate that she'd now turn to barking and whimpering instead.  Yesterday at the Korean market she was yapping and whining, so I was cooing at her that she's a good puppy.  When she tried to climb out of the cart (none of the carts there have belts - ach!) I had to sternly say, "Bad dog - sit" so she would sit back down.  I know everyone I walked past in there thought I was crazy. 

But that's okay, because I live in an insane asylum.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Ending Homelessness in Howard County

Last month while I was visiting my family in NC I drove quite a bit between my mom's house (where we were staying) and my sister's house (where the kids were playing).  I went through the same intersection near the mall a lot and noticed a group of homeless men who were rotating between medians with their "Please Help" signs.  In general I don't give money to people at stoplights and I didn't this time, but the weirdest thing happened at one of my stops.  I'm not really superstitious and I'm not a true believer in signs - although I also don't dismiss those things, especially if they are really in my face (like how UNC seems to lose every time my husband wears a UNC shirt, so he isn't allowed to do that anymore on game days). 

I was easing up to the light and a man I'd seen several times already that day was turning away from me with his sign to walk back up to the top of the median.  Just as I was passing him, a bird flew by us and was struck by a pick-up truck going the other direction.  It seemed to happen in slow motion and was really disturbing, I think to me and the homeless man.  My light changed just then and I didn't even come to a complete stop before moving on, but I've thought of the incident off and on for the last few weeks.  It felt ominous.  It felt like a sign to do something, but I haven't been sure of what until today.

HoCo Rising is celebrating his second anniversary as a blogger by starting an effort to eliminate homelessness in Howard County.  You can read about his effort here but basically he has found that "it takes approximately $1,500 to subsidize the rent for one individual who is looking to get off the street and into a "Sober House."  These Sober Houses are a proven vehicle for taking people out of the cycle of homelessness and into recovery and a new productive life.  Said otherwise, for every $1,500 raised, we can effectively end homelessness for one person."  In that vein, HCR is asking for $15 donations through Crowdrise to raise the first $1,500 by June 24, 2011.

There are many people in need in our world.  With all the things happening in Japan, Libya, Egypt, Bahrain - the list goes on and on - it can be completely overwhelming.  I'm going to use this opportunity to "think globally and act locally".  You can change a life with your $15, too. 


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Can Bailey's save the day?

Today is one of those days when I all I want to do is be alone in the quiet.  My sleep was dodgy last night and the morning routine was riddled with drama.  All that equals a mom who has already had enough before 10am.

I'm trying to rally - looked up the today's guest for the Mall storytime.  It had to do with reptiles.  Mall storytime is fairly stressful, though - Zoey won't sit still, Violet wants to go to the play area almost as soon as we get there.  Then I have to either fight off requests for a carousel ride or I have to endure the nausea and dizziness of a carousel ride.  So, no, reptiles aren't enough of a draw to make it worthwhile.

Next, checked library activities for today.  Central Library has a St. Patrick's Day theme going on.  Sounds much better.  Maybe we can make it to the 11:15.  I probably won't be showered and my children won't be wearing green (because according to Violet, she wears BLUE on St. Patrick's Day; Zoey will make a token effort at green - but there just isn't much of it in her wardrobe), but maybe this is just the thing to turn the day around.

And maybe I'll hit Touche Touchet for a little Bailey's Irish Cream cupcake.  I highly recommend it - chocolate cupcake filled with Bailey's infused pastry cream topped with a Bailey's butter cream frosting, sprinkled with cocoa powder and topped with a chocolate covered coffee bean.  Yes, I think that's just the thing to make the grouchies go away. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Why didn't we just get takeout?

I was reading Marguerite Kelly's Family Almanac column the other day and there was a question from a woman contemplating having a third child and she wondered if she was crazy.  My initial reaction was YES CRAZY!  Especially since her first two kids are only 2.5 and 1 year old!!!!  Of course the answer was "Go for it" - Ms. Kelly reasoned that when you have two kids you're able to be razor-focused on them and they don't always get the benign neglect they need (she's a big fan of benign neglect and so am I).  She also said that you're more organized with three kids because you have to be (ba-lo-ney). 

So anyway, I was telling Greg about this and his response was pretty funny.  "You know, when Lorelei was little every time I took her out in public I felt like I was presenting a gift to the world.  Now that we have three, every time I go out in public with them I just hope we can get in and out without breaking anything."  I know exactly what he means.  Lorelei was an awesome kid in public.  She always behaved in restaurants - it was amazing really, she was quiet and didn't throw food (which was not the case at home, of course).  And now, with the three restaurants are exhausting, although the experience seems to fall into the category of "not so terrible that I remember it was terrible until we're out there again."

Last night Greg was working late and I didn't feel like cooking, so I had the brilliant idea to take the girls to "Red Robinsons" (as Violet calls it).  Bad idea so on many levels - Red Robin at 6pm on a Friday VERY crowded, going alone and really just going at all.  The waiting area was packed, but I'm sure the people around us didn't mind being smacked in the face with balloons as Zoey yelled "BOP!"  The older two were actually pretty easy to manage - Zoey was the handful.  She kept escaping from me so she could go sit on the TV embedded in the floor.  I don't know why she took so much joy in sitting there stomping on the TV.  Our wait was so long that Greg was able to join us - so that was nice, except that it made me relax my vigilance in keeping track of Zoey since there were two of us to do it. 

Suddenly Greg yells "Stop her!"  I look over and Zoey is climbing inside the prize shoot for one of those claw games!!  I grabbed her after she was all the way in but before the little door was able to slam shut.  Greg said, "Thank goodness - I really did not want to end up on You Tube tonight."

So, no more restaurants.  At least until the next time.

Friday, March 11, 2011

March Madness is Awesome!

Tyler Zeller with the winning shot!  UNC 61 Miami 59
I seriously love basketball.  I seriously love UNC basketball.  Today's game was a heart attack kind of game, but I LOVED it. Too bad I was home with just the little girls who could care less and one was napping so I even had to be quiet.

I'm sure anybody from North Carolina can attest to the fact that as a kid they watched the ACC tournament at school.  In high school I remember rushing from one class to the next so I wouldn't miss something great happening in the game.  Basketball is serious business in NC. 

For the next few weeks I'll be buried in basketball.  Greg and I usually do a little home pool - sometimes we have a prize for the winner or something the loser is forced to do (unsavory chores or something like that) but more often it's just bragging rights. 

As a former SDSU employee, I'd love to see the Aztecs do well.  Greg is a Boilermaker, so we'll be cheering for Purdue, too.  But in the end, I don't want any of them to win more than UNC.  I try to be practical with my brackets, but emotion creeps in.  It's hard to choose against the Tarheels and it's even harder to choose Dook to win anything.  

Go Heels!

Bucket List Blogfest

Happy Birthday, Mo!  Here's my Bucket List...

Own a house - paint all the rooms whatever color I want.

Have a gourmet-ish kitchen with enough cabinet space for all my dishes and equipment.

Have a den with no toys in it (at least some of the time). 

[there seems to be a home theme here...]

Graduate school in Library Science, I think, maybe?

Attend NCAA Final Four games, preferably when UNC is dominating!

Go back to the Grand Canyon and spend more than one day there.

Travel abroad - Greece, Italy, India, Africa, so many places.

Live closer to my sister. (This is a hard one because I like the life we've developed in Maryland, but I would love to live close enough to see my family at the drop of a hat, too.)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Blogger's block

I've been suffering from blogger's block.  All the normal crazy things have been going on.  You know, Violet barfing at Costco, Zoey leaving a trail of runny poop through the house, Lorelei waiting till the last minute to do a large school project.  Not getting enough sleep because Zoey woke up crying at 10:30 one night last week and not going back to sleep until 2:15am. 

I've been thinking a lot about the Same Sex Marriage bill and Allen Dyer's ethics violation investigation and that Wells Fargo is hiring 1000 people in the Mid-Atlantic while Bank of America is probably going to lay off people to increase their profit margin while their profits are already running in the billions.  But I just can't be coherent about any of that.  My mind is tired, I'm feeling burned out.  I'm really really looking forward to my haircut that's scheduled for next Tuesday - an hour to myself (as long as I find a babysitter) and a little pampering, mmmm.

I will post on Friday - another blog (Swim - Write - Run) that I follow is having a Bucket List Blogfest, so I'm going participate in that.  Hopefully I can think of few things to put on the list.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The dog ate my kid's homework

If you're thinking about having children or you already have one and are thinking about adding on, I want you to think about something first.

Remember way back when you were in school?  You had homework, right?  When you were young enough it was fun and your parents often helped you.  As you got older, it got harder and increased in volume.  You didn't like it quite as much and you complained about it.  Your parents helped sometimes, but they were sort of a pain about it - always making you think for yourself and such.

Now, think about that in a different way.  You're going to be the one collecting stuff to make that first grader's collage or trying to figure out that math problem that you can solve easily, but in no way can you describe how to solve it to a second grader.  And later when they're a teenager you'll have to deal with attitude (however, an elementary school age girl also provides plenty of attitude and drama).  Not to mention the math is going to be even harder to remember.

I did not think about this before having kids.  I've only made it up to having one kid in the third grade, but the GT projects are already killer.  And I had this terrible terrible epiphany last night...the other two kids are going to be in school in a few years.  Then there will be THREE kids who will have homework.  I don't think I'll be lucky enough for the other two to be as self-motivated as the first one is, so that's even more work in my future.

Sigh.  I hate homework.