Saturday, April 26, 2008

Resell. Reuse. Recycle.

I loved being pregnant. I ate with abandon and loved not having to suck in my stomach for a good seven months. And I admit, the elastic waistband was my best friend. God, I miss that. My slight frame of 100 pounds did flourish to 145 when Bird was growing in me. That's almost HALF my body weight for those readers who never aced a math class. And to think I lost and gained it all back with Deal. For the record, I did lose it a second time too. Nonetheless, pregnancy was a piece of cake...and a bowl of ice cream, a handful of cheese fries, a decaf vanilla latte, and mango lassis. Maternity clothes were even cute and getting cuter every season!

Birth was easy too. Please don't smack me next time you see me. Granted, I had the modern medicine benefit of an epidural (This girl had nothing to prove. Clearly millions of women before me gave birth without drugs. I know it can be done. Not for me. I figure we don't get a root canal without Novocaine these days so why shirk the comforts of medicine? I'm not preaching epidurals for all, just stating my experience.) Plus, I swear by prenatal yoga to open things up. Anyway, three hours from start to finish (labor pain to baby in arms), three pushes, done. Mac Daddy jokes that he didn't even get to crack into the snacks we packed. Bunion surgery was way worse than childbirth.

So pregnancy was a dream, childbirth an ease, motherhood...a different story that you'll glimpse through the annals of this blog. After two healthy pregnancies and two healthy boys, this girl is done. I sold or donated all my maternity clothes, though I was tempted to hang on to a few discrete pieces for those days I needed some fat pants.

If your closets are still bulging with maternity wear you'll wear no more, check out Belly Bundles. You can consign your maternity clothes, make some cash, and be green! Yes, recycling clothing is an easy way to treat our planet gingerly. If you're in the market for new chic maternity fashions, Belly Bundles will be a dream. You can buy twice as many hot outfits for the price of one new one at Motherhood. Maternity clothes get such little wear and tear so all the pieces are in top shape. And with designers like Michael Stars and Japanese Weekend, you're sure to find some awesome additions to your growing addition. I spent waaaayyy too much time window shopping and I'm never going to be pregnant again. Hmmmm...that almost makes me shed a tear.
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Thursday, April 24, 2008

On My Mind

Today while I was playing tennis I noticed two guys on the court next to mine. They were your typical somewhat mushy 40-somethings. Socks pulled up a tad too high. Shorts a bit too short. Hanging on to every last receding hair. Tummies a bit paunchy. I was admiring the ease with which they hit a slice, one after another barely grazing the net with such grace. Then I about lost it. After warming up and before playing for points, they met at the net, joined hands, and prayed. Prayed! Before a lousy tennis game between friends! Aloud! Overhearing the prayer session made me hit three balls over the fence in succession. I left with an empty can and a head ablaze. Is this normal? Suck as I might, even I don't pray before tennis. Dear God, please let me actually hit a proper topspin tonight. Don't let me play worse than the 10-year old girl in my class. Let me earn at least two points based on my sheer skill rather than opponent error. I hate to think what these guys are praying for before business meetings, meals, and their annual physicals.

Is it just me or does Henry on Ugly Betty remind you of a geeky version of Jake Ryan from Sixteen Candles? Oh, how my heart throbbed for Jake! Whatever became of him?

Woof Woof Howl

Do folks not hear their own pooches barking at all hours of the night? Must they think that no one outside the property lines hear? I assume the same when tantrum time hits, but that's just to save face as much as possible.

Forget Tantra, this is Tantrum.

Bird had the meltdown of the century this afternoon after karate class. We were playing perfectly happily at the playground with some friends. Then the killing began. Bird was squishing fuzzy caterpillar after fuzzy caterpillar. Each mini fur ball an innocent victim because someone told him that those creatures killed trees. When I told him to sit down and chill out for a bit, he lost his shit. I'm talkin' diarrhea proportions. He wailed to the car. He wailed in the car. He threw punches. He became the limp protester. He kicked my seat. He unbuckled his seatbelt. All without stopping to breathe amid the wailing. I had to pull over on a side street, stop the car, and yank him out. Don't think for a second that I handled it with the aplomb of Obama at the last debate. I told Bird to calm down and buckle up lest I leave him in the mulch of some neighborhood boulevard somewhere miles from home. Out of sheer fear (hey, whatever works), he acquiesced. Then he promptly fell asleep. Head tilted. Drool puddling in the folds of his neck.

Damn me for reacting, rather overreacting, to the moment instead of stopping to figure out what triggered such a crazed response, especially considering what an otherwise stellar day he had. I lost my shit. Yes, I admit it. When we got home we all recovered nicely and ended up having a grand time at Dance Party USA with some neighbors. We rocked out to Sweet Home Alabama, Suffragette City, and A Little Less Conversation. When Bird shimmied up to me to take my hand and dance, I knew all was OK.

I have abstained from writing about Deal's potty training ordeal because the mere thought has worn me out. He was fully trained for two weeks in January and decided that urinating and defecating in his pants was a better idea. Yup, I guess he missed diaper rash and the overall filth in his pants. Since then he has been vehemently opposed to all things potty, unlike Bird who couldn't wait to rid himself of the nastiness that is excrement. We tried every tactic with Deal - being his Suzy Cheesecake cheerleader, being a hard ass, being Super Nanny. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. We tossed out multiple pairs of Spiderman, Sponge Bob, Scooby Doo, and Thomas adorned underwear. Soiled beyond salvation. Suddenly, last Friday, he decided that peeing and pooping on the potty wasn't so bad afterall. That light clicked on, and Deal has been one potty machine. Accident free for seven days. OSHA should hang up a placard.
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Wednesday, April 23, 2008

What? You too?

Friends. We all have em. We all need em. Some of us want more of em. Some of us don't. Mac Daddy and I have moved around a lot, so the whole concept of being friends with the same people from kindergarten into adulthood is foreign to us. Friends tend to fall into different categories. There are those you call for a good party when just one dirty martini won't do. For an earnest shoulder to cry on. For help moving a piano up a flight of stairs. For emergency babysitting. For coffee during school hours. For playdates. For family time. For handyman help. For knee slapping, gut wrenching laughs. For deep philosophical conversations that will save the world. For fantasy football.

Mac Daddy and I have been fortunate enough to meet some pretty special people along the way who have helped shape us, pick us up when we were puddles, take us out when we were pills, and laugh heartily when we were partyers. A shout to some of those faraway folks, in no particular order:

Shan and Chris: We love them dearly and want nothing more than for them to move into the house across the street. Our 4 boys adore each other. Bird and Deal talk about those guys almost everyday. What could be more Mayberry than to raise our children together in a climate much, much warmer than where they currently live?! Shan and Chris were the only people at our wedding. We love them and miss them. And I have Shan to thank for the awesome Dirt & Noise logo she created for me lickety-split. She's the one friend I have with whom I can gossip til the cows come home and never fear that she's gossiping about me when I leave. Shan and Mac Daddy share a birthday, as do Chris and Deal. Kismet, no?

Tommy and Sophia: Their kitchen and our bedroom windows faced each other across the alley from our condo buildings. We used to feel quite neighborly just hanging out (literally) chatting across the way. They became like family to us in a short time. Sophia is a mean cook, and no one grills chicken wings like Tommy. I still have the recipe for Tommy's gooey butter cake, and if the opportunity arises, I just might lick the batter off his body. Take that as a testament to the cake.

My prenatal yoga gal pals: It is rare that I bond easily with women. Not so with my yoga buddies who were in the same class with me both times we all were pregnant. Quelle coincidence! Our husbands actually get along and often go off playing poker or inhaling second hand smoke at a smarmy sports bar together. Our kids get along and even go to school together (also a coincidence). Our families have vacationed together. We girls have vacationed together. These women make me laugh, tell me when an outfit makes me look fat, or when it's time get my brows waxed. They keep it real for me, enabling me to show my warts and all. A first for me in my relationships with women. The best part...we can spend countless hours together and talk about anything under the sun but our children.

Will and Molly: Suffice it to say that both Bird and Deal have peed on their floor. My boys adore their kids. In fact, two share a birthday. I take that as a sign that they will never, ever divorce us. We might as well adopt each other into our families. Will and Molly are our friends, fellow business partners, and professional colleagues. Plus, they know the coolest people in town and allow us to tag along. Will is like a big brother to me, only more sardonic than the one I already have.

Tony and Cathy: No, they're not married. At least not to each other. You could say they were our bosom buddies when we lived in the tundra. The four of us were inseparable, lifting up each other from difficult periods in our lives and occasionally from the dance floor at Lyons Pub. We worked together, played together, and at times lived together. I still keep a framed photo of us in my office that marks days that were footlooser, fancier, and freer. And more importantly, the photo documents the time before my thighs touched. I can't hear Andy Kim or Jimmy Buffett without thinking of them. Damn, some of the most fun I ever had was with those two crazy kids.

A whole host of colleagues whom I now count among my friends: Dom is totally bailing me out of a crunch situation that left me in the lurch. I owe him big. He is witty and funny and manages to be a normal guy even though he's one of those creative types that tend to be divas. We normally jab at each other so writing anything nice about him in a public forum actually causes physical pain. Of course I think he rocks, it's another thing to tell him out loud.

C.S. Lewis said, "Friendship is born at that moment when one person says to another: "What! You, too? Thought I was the only one." Cheers to all my You, too? encounters!
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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

A matter of words.

Um, excuse me? Did I just hear that correctly? Give me a sec to clear the wax out of my ears. Did Hillary Clinton just end her PA victory speech with an enthusiastic chant of "Yes, we will!"? Really?

Last I heard, Obama had dibs on that one. Isn't "Yes, we can!" his battle cry (OK, his and Bob the Builder's)?

Does this seem a tad like plagiarism? And to think the Deval Patrick issue was newsworthy. Can Hillary not come up with her own mantra? Hmmm...one more reason Hillary makes my stomach churn...and my blood boil.

Yes, she does.
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Room to Play.

We used to live in a house a tish smaller than the one we are in now. Once a friend's daughter came over, looked around befuddled, and asked, "Where is Bird's playroom?" We were aghast that a three year old expected all kids to have a playroom. Mac Daddy, without missing a beat, grandly gestured, waving both arms a la Vanna White, and declared, "This whole place is his playroom." Gotta love that sarcastic sense of humor. We've never had off-limits rooms for our kids. As neat as I am, I still allow toys anywhere...as long as they're picked up, natch.

Well, now we actually have a playroom, albeit small. There's plenty of room to play race cars, Spider Man, chef, knights,and camping adventure. There's plenty of room for all four of us to lie on the rug and have tickling, laughing fits. There's plenty of room to build with Legos, Kapla blocks, and Lincoln Logs all at once. It is a room that would make GE proud: Imagination at work.

I recently went to an acquaintance's house with Deal for a playdate (a word that I cannot believe is really, truly in my vernacular now!). The playroom was so Pottery Barn perfect that I could hardly function. The giant letters spelling the kids' names adorned one wall. The requisite train table had a track so intricate that even Deal didn't feel the urge to wreck it in one fell swoop. There was a mini bouncy house (a bouncy house, I tell you!), a slide (yes, inside!), a couple upholstered armchairs, a desk, a table with four tiny little chairs, and a giant hooked rug with the alphabet coming to life in the form of bugs and flowers. And by the all the furniture was hand painted. I can only imagine how nauseatingly perfect the master bathroom was.

Talk about making a girl feel inadequate. I was never at ease the whole morning, and could never let loose enough to engage in real conversation and even try to make a new friend. I'm pretty sure we won't be invited back. Was it shame? Jealousy? Envy? Was I internally tsk tsking at the garishness of it all (for a 1 and 3 year old, mind you)? Was I simply astounded that people actually catch Pottery Barn fever? A little of it all, I suppose.

I'm not kidding you when I tell you that my brother and I played with Tupperware when we were kids. And guess what? So do Bird and Deal. It's amazing the music we can make with some fridge stackers and wooden spoons. Bird and Deal's favorite thing in the whole world is the Costco box we bring the goods home in. I am blown away at what their vivid, colorful, magical imaginations can do with that box. Trash to most of us. It becomes a fishing ship, a rocket, a fighter jet, a puppet stage, a puppy kennel. No fancy pants playroom would have any bearing on my boys and their precious Costco box. If anything, the over decorated space would thwart their energy and creativity, hampering their imagination.

Afterall, Bird and Deal would be waaaaayyy happier in a real barn than in a catalog still life.
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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Venting. Ranting. Blubbering.

Brawny Man
Has anyone else noticed the new Brawny man? He is less Paul Bunyan than the guy from yore. He's still wearing the flannel shirt and thermal shirt, but now he looks more doofy than well, brawny. He reminds me of the cute guy casually sipping the foamy head off his draft Bud (no imports for this fella) at a local joint somewhere in Wisconsin. He seems approachable, affable, and earnest. He's the kind of guy women have fantasies about and secretly wish their husbands smelled just a tish like the rugged earth too. The flannel shirt is a nice change of pace from her husband's oxford cloth button down that he sports in various shades of blue. Upon closer inspection, the hot rugged guy at the bar doesn't own a single book and only watches FX or the strong man competition on ESPN 2. Then the eye candy dissolves into nothing but doofus. That's what the new Brawny man is to this girl. Couldn't the fine folks at Georgia Pacific channel my friend Erik instead? He looks fine in a flannel shirt and even has a brain.

It is pretty apparent to my faithful readers that I am an Obamaholic. I have refrained from bashing Hillary but I cannot hold out any longer. I abhor her. She was my candidate of choice at first. I was really pumped about a woman in the Oval Office. She is smart, driven, strong. I'm not actually sure when the tides turned for me. I was on board with her policies and plans and thought she was getting an unfair shake in DC all these years. Now I can't stand her. Hillary is a brand, not unlike Tide, Cheerios, or Rachael Ray. The public buys more than what's on the inside. In fact, Kraft mac and cheese continues to fare poorly in blind taste tests, but consumers pay a premium for the brand. We often don't even know when we feel an emotional connection to a brand. The noodles in the box are a commodity. Let's face it, so are politics. We vote for the whole package, inside and out. We vote for a BRAND in the same way we pay top dollar for one. I think brand Hillary is killing the democratic party, making the fissure as deep as the one our overall country faces. How can any brand preach unity when that brand itself represents anything but?

You wanna know what I really hate? Fruit stickers. Must every piece of produce I buy be decorated with a sticker or two or five? I know I'm buying an organic Gala apple. I don't need separate stickers that tell me so. Organic! reads one. Gala! barks another. Local! reads one. How much waste could we reduce if we banished all fruit stickers? Cleaning off the gummy stuff is not as easy as you think, not to mention it's maddening. Have you ever bitten into an apple only to realize the little piece that you can't manage to chew up is actually a damn sticker that you forgot to remove?

Sounds bytes
A random list of what's making me crazy:

The mom who is busy on her cell phone being snarky about someone else while her kid is kicking sand in my son's face at the park.

Older kids who think it's OK, cool even, to teach Bird and Deal about guns. Older as in 9; old enough to know that a 4 and 2-year old should stick to T-ball and digging up earthworms.

Parents, committee members, people in general who don't contribute in any way, shape, or form. Would it kill you to bring in some store bought bagels to school?

Gas prices. Have I mentioned how much I loathe the Bush administration?

Shedding. My Persian cat leaves a bit of her wherever she wanders.

Fuel surcharges that double the cost of an airline ticket. Just when you think kayak.com spits out a good fare, you realize that the extra charges kill you.

Mosquitoes. Both Bird and I are suffering from the welts that the little buggers inflict. Poor kid has scratched clear through to the stratum licidum on his leg.

What's eating you these days?
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