My online journal.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Parents make the difference... again

Went to a really cool presentation last night given by a local organization called Doing Good Together, through ECFE. It was called Raising Compassionate Children and talked about the why, how, and obstacles of raising children who have empathy and who care for other people.

One statistic she quoted was that volunteering is just as good for your overall well-being as quitting smoking. That was amazing to me... and THEN she added that volunteering is actually BETTER for you, physically and mentally, than exercising 4 times per week. That really blew me away.

Just somethin' to think about. Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Thank the Lord for the WiFi

... to paraphrase Neil Diamond.

I'm totally obsessed with the Olympics -- I get SO EXCITED every 2 years, and last night during Apolo Ohno's silver-medal win Joel thought I was being attacked by bears or something -- evidently I was making very strange, urgent-sounding noises. Anyway, except I have a hard time focusing because I've got sisters getting married (wheeee!) and trips to the Dells and Amsterdam (WHEEEE!!) on the horizon. All of which involve silly amounts of time on the computer. Also Joel and I keep on trying to squeeze in viewings of Flight of the Conchords Season 2 and The Tudors Season 2 from Netflix. Basically we all stay up very late and my computer is about to catch on fire.

Had a really lovely Valentine's Day weekend -- I just have to say, having kids makes holidays WAY SO MUCH FUN. The kids and I toured Lucy's school on Friday (mostly because Ed is going there next year too, and PreK and K share a classroom, so we have to make a decision on whether the kids will be in the same class, only I hadn't met the other PreK/K teacher yet, nor seen her in action, so I kinda wanted to kill all those birds, plus I hadn't spent too much time getting to know the principal, so I got to do that, too) and the Entire Student Body was crazy-keyed-up for the V-Day celebrations. Every teacher apologized for the wildness of the students, but it was very cute. The other tidbit I got out of the visit is that 6th-graders are GINORMOUS.

Oh, so Valentine's Day! Right, so Lucy was BEYOND excited to give and get Valentines at school. Plus she had 2.5 playdates with friends on Friday, and Eddie got pizza and playdates too... plus the Dalys came over for dinner, and Jean too... and the Olympics started... it's a wonder we didn't all start crying. Oh, wait, we did -- that Morgan Freeman Visa commercial about the Moms would have been the last straw, if it hadn't already been for that video of the luger who was killed. I'm glad NBC isn't showing the video anymore, and yet I am glad I got to see it. Don't get me wrong, it was totally horrible -- but in some respect I feel like I understand more about how quick and terrible it actually was, because I saw it. I don't want to be a gawker -- I can't stand the braking and rubbernecking when there's an accident on the highway, for example -- but seeing the video made me understand the weight of it, more. It made me FEEL more. Well anyway, I think feeling things is good for me.

OK so Valentine's Day. On Saturday Joel took the kids to Menards and then sledding, so I could have some non-child-time. Also good for me. I seriously just need to recharge my batteries -- unglue the kids from my legs, demagnetize their hands from my arms -- by the time the weekend comes around. I got to do that Saturday -- got caught up on BSF, got to go grocery shopping, got to make dinner and an AMAZING blackberry/lime cheesecake (if I do say so, myself). Sunday I was treated to breakfast in bed by my darling husband and sweet, adorable children (who took turns sneaking upstairs to see whether I was awake yet, then padding back down declaring "She's stirring!" -- So. Cute.). We had french toast, nummy coffee, the newspaper, and a grand opening of Valentine cards and gifts from the Bookses. It was glorious. We actually went to church (at St. Pascal's up the street), then hit the mall where I got my makeup done (by MAC -- then I spent an icky amount of money on cosmetics, I think much of it's going back, though I did look good. *shrug* Kids and I rode the Maplewood Mall carousel, then the four of us got linner (late lunch/counts as dinner) at Red Lobster. It was quite affordable; we had a coupon -- and the kids got their crab-leg fix (Lucy has been asking for crab legs every three days since her birthday IN SEPTEMBER). We were able to give our extra coupon to an adorable, ancient couple at the next table, who then complimented us on how well our kids were behaved during the meal. Yessss!! The firstborn in me CRAVES pleasing the elderly.

Joel bought me a generic-brand snuggie as a gift, which I always thought was stupid until I got one and realized how terribly cozy it is. The kids and I like to all cuddle up under it and read books. I'm not completely ready to believe it's anything more than a larger, less-flattering robe, but I sure do like it. He also had the kids buy me some Peeps. I always feel guilty because I'm not so good at buying gifts. I wrote Lucy, Ed and Joel each a lovely long love note, and I told Joel to get another month's membership at the Y... and there was the cheesecake... but I still feel a little like I didn't quite do my part.

I'm pretty sure it's almost midnight, and I've got an early playdate in the AM. Plus it's going to take me a week to wash off all this eye makeup. Good night... go USA!

Monday, February 08, 2010

Violating copyrights for fun and... well, just for fun I guess.

I just joined the FB group "Growing up in Rolling Meadows" and found this awesome ad for homes. I'm SURE "the Whites" was an actual name of an actual family... I sure hope.
Click to enlarge (again... I hope)

I gotta get video of Lucy singing "Don't Stop Believin'"

Convos with the kids:

SCENE 1
Joel (after dinner): "Eddie, wow, you must be full! Your belly is so big!"

Eddie: "DON'T CRITICIZE ME!!"

Also, along with the rest of the free world, we went to a Superbowl Party on Sunday. We actually had Lucy convinced it was a "Soup or Bowl" party, to which she replied, "Well then I'll take the bowl." Smart girl.

SCENE 2
Joel (to the kids, on the way home from the party): "Wasn't that fun? Lots of kids, good food, and Eddie got to hold the baby!"

Lucy (and I wish I could fully convey her sincerity in delivering these lines): "WWAAAAAAA!  Sad -- SO SAD!  IT AIN'T FAIR!!"

And just this morning, over breakfast:

SCENE 3
Lucy: Mommy I want an egg in a hole.
Me (in a quite relaxed and casual way): Hon, I just made you the smoothie you asked for, and you haven't even started eating it yet. If you're still hungry when it's gone, then I will make you an egg.
Lucy: Mommy CALM DOWN.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Perfect gift

It's funny, because I often disparage the time I spent working in a cubicle -- I say how it sucked the life out of me... I say how wrong I was for that kind of life.

But sometimes magic comes from there.

When I was last full-time-employed, I worked with a gal named Renie Howard. She died last month of cancer. She was a proofreader in our office... but her title really ought to have been Beautiful Soul; Gentle Presence. Renie was what Joel would affectionately refer to as "fruity" -- linen-wearin', peace-talkin', natural eatin', makeup-eschewin'. My friend (and former coworker) Michelle sent me this poem Renie wrote, and I share it with you, because it is magic.



Perfect Gift

Go naked
before God.
Stop looking in the mirror
and messing with your hair.
Don't worry
what everyone else
is wearing
or whether you look fat.

Go naked
to the Beloved
in full daylight.
Make a love-offering
of your
entire
roly-poly
self.
It's the only thing you have
to give
so give it joyfully.

Hold nothing back.
Place the whole absurd
and precious package
in the palm of the
Divine
where Love will receive it
with infinite
tenderness
and delight.
Sweetheart
don't you know?

You are the perfect gift.
 
-Renie Rae Howard

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

BNL and TTT

Anybody know the Barenaked Ladies' song "Grade 9"? There's a chunk of it that goes:

They called me fatso, they called me chicken-legs
They called me 4-eyes, they called me Buckwheat
They called me Eddie.
And it sounds just like The Ting Tings' song "That's Not My Name." Did one of these come from the other -- or just a coinkidink? Help me out; it's really bugging me.

Just trying to kill some time before my dryer buzzes -- it's 11:12pm (wait you can tell that from the time stamp) and I'm still a little wired after dance class (we're dancing to Dianne Reeves' "Endangered Species" and it's SWEET!). I have to get up eaaaarrrrlllyy (5:45, I know, it's criminal!) to go work out and then bust into my busy Thursday (Bible study - Lucy to school - entertain Ed - make dinner - volleyball - drinks - rehearse with Jean). Hmmm, it doesn't really sound that busy when I write it all down. Making dinner -- it's making dinner that's the killer. I've gotten so unbelievably lazy, I know, but for some reason I always wind up with gobs of leftovers and, well, they DO need to be eaten... it just means I haven't cooked much at all in the last couple weeks. This cold weather really slows me down and kills my motivation. Example: I was supposed to make white chicken chili today, and instead it was ham/bean leftover soup from the freezer. It's REALLY GOOD but everybody hates it except me. How did I wind up in a family of soup-haters?!

I feel like my metabolism is sllloowwwing down too. As I am sitting here I gaze down at what could easily pass for a four-months-pregnant belly. It's just super-hard to lay off the white-chocolate/macadamia cookies... and the Cheez-Its... and the chocolate-chip/orange cake.

BUZZZZ! OK gots to run.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Do I drive you CRAAAAAA-ZY!?

I know, I know, I'm like eight years behind the times -- I realize that was a hit song, oh, four years ago. Please remember I have been raising babies for the last 5.5 years and my brain is absolute mush. Delicious, white-chocolate/macadamia mush. Next thing I know you'll be telling me I can purchase music online. Horrors!

So I was talking to my mom today and I realized I've seen an obscene number of movies lately, and so I review them for you.

Avatar
Revolutionary Road
4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days
Inglorious Basterds
Gone Baby Gone
District 9
Le Danse
Duplicity

Wait, I just remembered that the only ones who read this are my parents, and I just reviewed all these for my mom on the phone. OK, so I can still review 'em for you, but let me know which one you want to hear about, OK?

Also I am excited to tell you about this life coach I've been working with. She's a friend-of-a-friend and she's in training, so she is Free To Me which (and this should come as no surprise to you) is the only way I could afford such a luxury. And I assure you that having someone, a completely objective, out-of-the-loop someone, come over once a week and chat for 45 minutes about ME and MY DREAMS and MY IDEAS is a fabulous luxury. Anyway she's a doll and she's helping me figure out what I want to be when I grow up, oh wait I'm 33. I do know that once the kids are both in school, I really want to continue teaching dance/choreographing. I'd also eventually like to be paid to write something. I'm exploring, I guess. I'm the kinda gal who sort of just likes to be told what to do -- I'm the first-born, the people-pleaser -- so having to start up something on my own is extremely daunting.

Lucy decided today that she wants to make a movie, so she and I developed a script (I use "we" loosely -- she talked and I wrote it down) and now we just need to organize ourselves (meaning I need to charge the video camera) and we can start shooting. I think it might be a cult classic; just wait 'til you hear her rousing rendition of "kleenex on the ground." She has several scenes where we "all go together" someplace (like, to the swimming pool in the living room, or driving to Monticello in the love seat) and she's really concerned about who's going to press Record if we ALL need to be in the scene. I'm going to bust out my tripod and blow her mind.

Lucy is also very distressed about Eddie's upcoming birthday: "Why can't MY birthday be in March!?? What if our birthdays were BOTH in March?!? What if Eddie doesn't want to invite ANYBODY?!?!" She's also starting the guest list for her own birthday, which -- need I remind you? --  is still 8 months away. She wants to invite One Boy. From Her Class. I'm hoping none of you know who it is: Nolan. Except she says it "NOHHH-lan." I wanna know the deal; guess I'd better volunteer in class more.

Ed's a riot too -- last night Joel and I were at his Annual Work Party and Jean was babysitting and she says Ed sprinted into the kitchen hollering: "I'M GOING TO HOLLYWOOD!!!!" Stinker.