My online journal.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Looking for sub in all the wrong places...

Hi there! I need a female volleyball sub (or maybe 2) for Thursday, 12/6 at 6:30 PM in Apple Valley. If interested, please call/email me ASAP. I will not be there to play -- we're missing like 4 of our regulars, which is a stinker.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Come see my Christmas show!

But first, here are the kids one year ago, and four days ago.

Now, the shameless plug:


Enjoy Holiday Entertainment for the entire family!

Please join Ashland Productions for a musical journey into a little girl's search for the true meaning of Christmas. "Once Upon a Christmas" will be performed at the Maplewood Community Center Theatre, 2100 White Bear Ave N in Maplewood.

Showtimes: Friday, December 14 at 7:30 pm; Saturday, December, 15 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, December 16 at 2:00. Tickets are $14.00 for adults and $13.00 for Seniors and Children.

Call now to reserve your tickets! 651-274-8020. (and I'm in it!!)

And God bless us, every one

Joy, joy, joy.

That's what I was going to post before that I forgot about. I am so full of joy right now.

I didn't really do a Thanksgiving post, but I adore Thanksgiving and how its only point is to express gratitude for family and all the blessings in our lives. And to eat wonderful food, prepared with love.

Joel's p's hosted the whole gang again this year, including Jean and my folks (did I say this already?). Their generosity and willingness to open their home to us all was so much appreciated. I felt like I got to spend time with my parents -- always in such short supply. We even got to have a family game night on Friday after the kids went to bed -- we missed Ellen but she did get to dine with her boyfriend's family. As my parents left, I was just overcome with a feeling of warmth, knowing that my own children were tucked safely and snugly into their warm beds -- and I know having kids isn't for everyone, but at that moment I felt like I knew that this was exactly where I needed to be in this life. I am so glad, so lucky, so blessed to have these little people to pass along traditions to, to share the family games with, to share holidays with, even when my own parents are hundreds of miles away.

We had rehearsal for the Christmas show last night and of course I got all misty during "God Bless Us Everyone" -- I'm not the first to say I loooove the Christmas season, but sometimes I do loooove the Christmas season. I think I do a good job of distancing myself from the commercialism of the holiday. The kids are only getting $75-worth of used Craigslist toys from us -- I'm sure Joel will cave in but I'm really personally trying not to spend a dime on brand-new stuff for them, since this is most likely the last Christmas I'll be able to get away with it. And Joel and I have been going to Bible study and even made it to church last Sunday(!) so I'm kind of really feeling in the true-spirit-of-Christmas mood. And I've always hated Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" song, but three separate, very reliable sources were all raving about it recently, so I'm even rethinking that long-held Scroogeishness.

PS -- We're not doing Christmas cards this year. I'm sorry. It costs around $100 to do them, not to mention hours of time to do them the way I would insist upon doing them, and it's just not going to happen this year. Please accept my sincerest apologies, and proceed with your holiday season.

I could while away my entire life waiting for Blogger to load...

Golly, where to start?

Well, OK, Wednesdays remain my favorite day of the week. Loooove ECFE, looooove the fact that I don't have to tear off somewhere at 3 in the afternoon.

Speaking of which, a Regular Babysitter has been secured for those other days -- hooray! Kudos to N-Wats for loaning me her nanny. That loud whooshing noise you hear would be me, exhaling.

So let's see, where we at? I have, of course, forgotten everything I was going to tell you about. Oh yes!

I have signed on to teach several classes for St Paul Parks & Rec in the new year. I'll be teaching Beginning Swing and Latin dance, plus a beginning "dance for fun and fitness" class (kind of a jazz-dance class with a big focus on stretching and just getting your body moving for an hour) on Wednesdays. On Mondays I'll be teaching a Hip-Hop dance class for kids age 7-13 (YIKES!!) as well as a "Baby Ballroom" class (I'm actually calling it "Dancing with the Diapers" because "Baby Ballroom" was taken) where a parent can bring his or her babe-in-arms and learn to do basic dance steps, ostensibly to soothe and/or entertain the baby.

Eddie got over his cold-thing and is really making up for lost time by being extra-goofy and extra-rambunctious. Over the weekend, watching Ed laughing like a maniac as he flung himself around the living room, Joel and I turned to each other and said, Oh, yes, there's our son Edward; we really missed him!

Lucy is running hot and cold with us -- she so astutely turns my own phrases right back on me, it's more than a little disconcerting.

Lucy, put your hat back on.

Mommy, I took it off for a reason!

Lucy, can you go potty by yourself this time?

Mommy, I can't do that because I can't really handle it.

Lucy, why did you drop your cup of milk on the floor?

Mommy, I just can't know. (Okay, so her syntax needs some work.)

Lucy, you need to put your shoes on now.

Mommy, are we running very very late?

Monday she emerged from her room after her nap and I knelt and gave her a giant hug. It must have been extra-enthusiastic, because Lucy said "Wow, Mommy... that hug was really really... (and I could tell she was searching for the most superlative word she could find)... the most beautifulest hug. You did that because you really really love me."

I just got an email from my sis El with the coolest story which I will now share with you. Background: as a bday present, El's boyfriend got her tickets to a Glen Hansard/Marketa Irglova concert in Chicago. If you haven't seen Once you have no idea what I'm talking about and I'm not going to explain it because you should just see Once.

Oh boy. It seriously was the best concert I've ever seen for the
following reasons...

-It was at the Vic which is, oh about 2 blocks from my apt.

-We were 15 ft from the stage.

-So Glen walks out by himself and starts the show playing "Say It To Me Now" on the same guitar with the hole in it from the movie. Then Marketa comes out the piano and there's also a guy on cello, bass and violin. They played just about everything from the movie, and well as some new songs, some of the Frames songs and two covers. A Van Morrison and a Bob Dylan. I've just never seen anyone sing/play with so much passion. He was literally beet red after each song. And he's so engaging with the audience, talking between all the songs. At one point, he's telling this story..."I was in N.Y. last week and I met this guy from Chicago who gave me the best compliment ever. He had just seen Once and was inspired to learn the guitar and just put out an album of his own. I don't know if he's here." (cheering from the guy standing directly behind me) "Hey Anthony! Why don't you come up here and play with us. The chords are really easy on this one."And this dude, who had been breathing down my neck all night was like, "holy crap!" And everyone made a path to the stage and he went and played with them. It was just so friggin cool! The whole thing!

Hmm, I can't figure out how to make this block quotation go away. Blast it.
Well I'll write more later maybe.

PS Auditions for High School Musical tonight!! I'm so excited!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Lucy Survives First Dentist Visit

In other news, pigs have been seen circling O'Hare, and Hell is reporting snowfall.

No, really, she did it! Just don't tell her, okay?
So I had all kinds of awesome advice from several experts on how to prep Lucy for her first dentist visit. Get the "Dora goes to the dentist" book. Have Lucy go with me to my dentist. Take a field trip to Jamie's office to let Lu look at the tools, chair, etc. Did I follow any of them? Well, I think you can probably guess the answer to that. Last night I did a mad Google search and decided to make as big a deal about it as possible, given the three hours I'd allowed myself to whip a routine dentist visit into a princess birthday party.

So when Lucy woke up this morning, it was "Guess what day it is today? HAPPY DENTIST DAY!" I sang "Happy Dentist Day to you..." about 25 times; I rewrote (on the fly) the oldie "Happy Holidays - Happy HOLidays - Happy Holidays - Happy HOLidays ..." to make it about a dancing dentist ... I had Lucy pick out her Most Beautiful Princess Dress to wear... it was exhausting. Mostly because I had also scheduled a Craigslist umbrella-stroller pickup followed by a Watson playdate for the morning.

Well anyway, short story long, Lucy was An Angel. Though it helped that the hygienist is an absolute miracle-worker. She explained everything to Lucy, from the mask, glasses, and gloves she wore, to the light overhead, to the chair, to the rotating toothbrush. Everything. I'd be lying if I said Lucy wasn't uneasy about the whole thing, but the biggest resistance we got was in actually laying her head back on the chair. And that only took a couple gentle words, followed by me gently-but-firmly nudging Lucy back onto the chair. Lucy was wonderful during the x-rays and they got some beautiful photos of her teeth. Lu was a total champ, but really so much of the credit goes to that hygienist. It was, truly, *almost* a pleasure -- and I think for a dentist visit, that's saying a lot!

Ed is still seriously under the weather. Sad, sad man. He just needs some rest and I'm hoping he'll get it with all the grandparent-time this weekend. Ohhhh golly did I really just say that?

THANK YOU to everyone for all the awesome travel tips and ideas!! You guys rock -- what a treasure of knowledge you all have among you. I should post the ones people emailed to me as well -- just in case anybody wants to reference it all later. I am so grateful and blessed to have you all reading this. Know that you are appreciated.

And so we head into Thanksgiving! Have a great one, everyone -- find a moment in all the holiday craziness to pause and recognize all the good people and things in your life. Remember that you are loved. And that's all I have to say about that.

Monday, November 19, 2007

The Unbearable Sadness of Panda

Okay, there seems to be some confusion as to whether or not I was aware that books exist on the subject of travel. Just to clarify: I was. :) Thank you for checking. What I was really looking for, though, was some real-life helpful hints from people I know, trust, and love (if you're reading this, you probably qualify). For example: I know some of you have been to San Diego. I know some of you have traveled with young children. That's why I'm asking.

So, right, we're flying into LAX, getting a hotel for a couple of nights to kind of get the kids acclimated to the new time zone and maybe enjoy some January sunshine, and then we're going to be spending about 4 days down in La Jolla. We're mostly going to go hang out with my friend Alison and her family (since I haven't even met her husband and daughter yet!) but also just to escape from Winter in Minnesota for a few days.

I think I'd like to acquire/borrow 2 umbrella strollers for the trip. The double stroller, I think, is too bulky to lug about, and the kids are so little that neither one can really walk long distances without getting whiny and adirectional. So if you have any leads for me, let me know. Also I think we might be purchasing a portable DVD player in the near future (for car rides and especially for the plane ride) so if you own one, send your review my way. Thanks!

Also! Sad Panda update -- Eddie has a cold or something. So we had a really rough weekend of basically cheesing out in the living room for two straight days. No, seriously, it was rough. The weather has been especially Novembery the last couple days (here's what I mean: it's 2:30 PM and the sky is exactly the same color as the street, and there isn't even enough ambient light to wash dishes by) and yesterday I never took off my pajamas all day. This works OK with me but not so much with Eddie, who does occasionally require a diaper change -- which he did not get yesterday. Oops.

Lucy's going in for her first big-girl dentist visit tomorrow, and I do not anticipate at all that it will go well. In unrelated news, the other day Lucy and Ed were playing very nicely and quietly together in Lucy's room, and all of a sudden I hear her, with supreme confidence and volume, yet apropos of nothing, say: "I am the HERO of this land!!!"

Friday, November 16, 2007

Three random thinghys

There is nothing more disgusting than my kitchen floor. Seriously, how can one batch of blueberry pancake syrup make an entire 11x15 space so unbelievably sticky??

It really bothers me when people store their cups upside-down in the cupboard. If you're doing it to avoid dust, then you simply need to drink more.

Joel and the kids and I are going to southern California on vacation in January! Need your travel tips/recommendations/must-sees. Help!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

You are not lost!

Hey, don't leave! This is still my blog. Please stay. Thanks!

You said it was snowing, Mom, so WHY CAN'T I GO SLEDDING!??!

One good thing about this new electronic age we live in is that it's so easy to go back and look up when things happened (assuming they were recorded in a cell phone or email or somesuch). One of the oddities of my personal brand of perfectionism, in addition to having perfectly-folded t-shirts but a sinkful of dirty dishes, is that for some reason it Really Matters to me exactly when things happened. Like, did that summer camp I taught at start in June or July? Did Lucy cut her first teeth at 8 or 9 months?

It also REALLY irritates me that Ed couldn't have been born 5 days earlier, so he and Lucy could be precisely 18 months apart. It throws off my math and my estimations of things. I know, I know, seriously, do I have time to be bothered by such things?

So let's see, what's new with the kids. Ed's dentist appointment was uneventful -- x-rays show no root damage, nor other larger cracks. His 4 canines have all poked their little heads out and his mouth seems to be giving him less trouble overall. He's such a sweet little baby man. He's so cuddly and loves hugs and snuggling. And he, too, has started singing along with all the music in the house. He can't keep up with Lucy's tempo so he just chimes in the last word of every phrase. He can get all the way through "Baby Mine" with me like that:

Me: Baby mine, don't you...

Ed: Kyyy

ME: Baby mine, dry your...

Ed: Eye!

On and on like that. The whole song, bridge and all. He does get tripped up on the very end, where we do the last line three times, changing "you are so precious to me, cute as can be" to "you are so precious to me, and your daddy" and then back again. The other day I handed him a ball, and he said (I swear): "Thank you, I really like it." I even have another mom as a witness. She witnessed the Baby Mine responsorial, too, so you can ask her about that as well.

Speaking of moms, I'm going to plug ECFE (Early Childhood Family Education) for a bit. Their advertising (well, what I'd seen) was really crummy (like, I got a handout in the hospital) and I only tried it out because I heard good things from some very reputable sources. Now, I'm really lucky to have my own personal network of moms-who-were-my-friends-first, and we do get to talk a lot about raising our respective kids, but I had no idea how valuable I'd find ECFE's 90-minute conversations strictly about raising kids. Most of the moms in my group have school-age kids, which is so great because they have a bit of perspective on living with kids Lucy and Ed's ages. But they also have kids under age 5, so it's not like they're done with toddlers -- they're still working on their younger ones. The group is led by Mary Ann Cogelow, who has an incredible depth and breadth of knowledge and education, plus a self-effacing style that makes her really accessible and human. Anyway, I sooooo look forward to Wednesday mornings. Plus we moms take turns bringing snacks. And I think you know just how I feel about snacks.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Clever Title Here.

So I don't have a lot of time to write these days. Who does? You say. I know. It's just... kinda crazy around here. I feel like I'm just barely hanging on to order in the household, despite having an entire 24 hours to myself over the weekend. Like, I did all that catching up, and now there's MORE laundry to do?? WHAT!?! It seems so unfair.

The two adult social-dance classes I'm teaching, at least, are winding down. One class left for each one. I'm choreographing Ashland's Christmas show, though, and that's picking up. (The show will be the weekend of Dec. 14 -- please come!) I went to my first rehearsal for that last night. My Tuesday/Thursday afternoon classes continue to be a source of grief, as far as finding people to watch the kids. I hate abusing friends and relatives; but I also hate taking the kids to Dee's, which is a logistical nightmare, incredibly inconvenient, and also a little expensive. Argh. I'm so sorry to keep whining about that.

I'm really enjoying my Wednesday morning ECFE classes. It's a great group of moms in class -- and even though we're all white (well, this week anyway), there's a really interesting range of backgrounds and cultures. I feel like we have some really good talks about important childrearing issues, and we delve into some uncomfortable topics as well. Last week we talked about shaming your children (and how we do it unintentionally). This week we brought up some behavioral issues with all our kids, and there was also a lively discussion about St Paul Public Schools' language immersion schools (there is a Chinese Immersion and a Spanish Immersion school, and maybe more). It's fascinating and wonderful to spend time with educated, informed, thoughtful women who live in my city and send their kids to the public schools here.

Now, I love the suburbs -- I grew up in the suburbs and I imagine living there again someday. But right now I'm so glad to be a city dweller. St Paul has so much to offer, and I feel like I'm only beginning to scratch its surface. And since I'm pretty sure we're not moving anytime soon, I feel compelled to really commit myself, somehow, to St Paul. I want to patronize her markets, restaurants, stores, and libraries. I (oh blast it, I just realized I didn't stop at Rainbow after ECFE and now I'll NEVER get out to get my groceries!! Gaaaah!) feel like I have been living in a shell, or a bubble, until I had kids. I felt like I was just biding my time in St Paul until I could move on to a "better" life somewhere else. But that was my mistake. There is a richness of culture and experiences here in the city of which I want to fully be a part and take full advantage. Criminy, and we've only been living here six years. Yeesh.

So we're starting to hunker down for the winter -- I tore out the Great Tomato Experiment over the weekend (but not before harvesting, with great hopefulness in my heart that they will ever ripen, 40 more green tomatoes). Joel cleaned out the gutters and did some cursory raking (one good thing about the un-fenced-in yard is that the detritus from the nearby trees does, eventually, take its leave ... pun acknowledged). I've been wearing my wool socks around the house, treading with vigilant lightness so as not to slip on the floor. As long as I remember to keep piling on the layers, I stay pretty cozy, even with the thermostat at 61 during the day.

The kids are their same wonderful selves, as always -- Lucy came home (with Joel and Ed) on Sunday, walked in her room, and gasped: "Mommy, you organized!" She's been talking for weeks about going to some wedding (sometimes she's the one getting married, but usually it's Faje. Lucy is always the one responsible for the catering, and she's always running late in getting the food in "the car" -- which is Aunt Jan's old leather chair that we keep in the living room). Yup, Faje keeps her invisible little head in on the action at all times. Lucy seems to be doing pretty well in her away-from-mom activities; though I'm thinking maybe I won't send her to preschool at all next year. Well, that's what I'm thinking this week. The SPPS have 4-year-old programs but not one for threes. And I could pay to send her to a private Three program but A) where exactly am I going to come up with an extra $130-$500 per month? and B) I can't imagine what they're learning in there that she won't get from staying in ECFE and dance class and maybe I can even sign her up for a couple other classes, for the price. Oh, I don't know, I'm actually totally conflicted about it.

Ed's a little terror -- his 4 little canine teeth have poked their way through his gums, and the chip in his front tooth has gotten a little bigger. I'm still at a loss as to what to do -- Jamie (my wonderful dental-assistant sister-in-law) says I could take him in, but there's really nothing they could do. She said if I did take him in, to just take him to his regular doctor. All the other moms I talk to say to take him in to a dentist. I even got some great pediatric dental recommendations, but ... argh. I don't know. OK OK I'll make an appointment. Argh.
Well honestly, I could go on forever, but there is dinner to be prepped, dishes to wash, laundry to tackle, and dances to be choreographed. Where the devil did my Lily Allen CD go!?!?