Mar 28, 2009

Enough Already

Do you ever wish that your brain had a big "in case of insomnia, push this" button? Instead I'm resorting to frantically spewing thoughts into my keyboard in hopes of switching that internal switch to off so I can get some sleep already (!). Not that I'm any stranger to insomnia-- in fact, you'd think I would be pretty resigned to it by now. Since Mark got laid off it's been noticeably worse, though tonight I'm not awake out of worry or anxiety, at least not superficially. I've got plans, ideas, inspiration over flowing and bubbling out of my mind like crazy. Plans for my best life ever, though I promise I haven't even been watching Oprah lately. I tell myself, these things are the real me, the me that I would be if I didn't have diapers to change, laundry to get done, meals to plan and groceries to shop for, checkbooks to balance, projects to finish, noses and hands to clean, fights to referee, things to pick up, drop off, put away, throw away, recycle, store, fix, or find-- you get the picture. But really, why am I wide awake dreaming of transforming the family room into a playroom to accommodate my grandiose plans for days filled with non-stop fun and creativity, when those plans have so little to do with the reality of my current time and monetary constraints? (Not to mention taste-- I mean really, bean bags for furniture? Am I drunk?!).


In the true spirit of blog self-psychoanalysis, I wonder if it is in fact anxiety based after all. I wonder if I have a tendency when things feel uncertain and out of my control, to hyper-focus on things immediately in front of me that I can control, and therefore obsessively fantasize about rearranging furniture. Or maybe I just tell myself this so I can feel better about being more concerned about redecorating than I am about actually serious issues such as the economic crisis, global warming, and horrific conditions in Zimbabwe. Or maybe I just shouldn't have eaten so much cookie dough tonight. Whatever the case, I wish it would all just stop so I can get some sleep. I've got plans for tomorrow and sleeping until noon doesn't help.

Good night everyone. Sleep well. Me too, hopefully.

Mar 23, 2009

Nate

Nate (aka "Smalls") doesn't seem to get nearly as much face time on this blog, so in an effort to prove that I love him just as much as the other kids, here is a post devoted just to him. And in case you are looking at the picture above and thinking wow that is a great picture and not at all like the usual poor lighting/bad angle/lame composition shots she usually takes, well you're right. I happened to run into a photographer friend at the park who snapped this picture and emailed it to me, causing me to vow, once again, to someday hire a full-time, live-in photographer.


So here you are Nate, this is you:
I LOVE the cheerio phase. It is a gift from God to be able to stick them in a high chair, slap some cheerios on the tray, and leave them to eat happily for hours. I also love the accidental finger-up-the-nose while shoving your face with said cheerios.
More cheerio fun. I'm telling you, this kid eats his weight in cheerios on a daily basis.
And while we're on an eating theme, here is a video of what happens when we try to feed him actual food.
video


At Nate's last check-up, we found out that he is in the 4th % for height, the 6th % for weight, and the 65th % for head circumference. Seriously. I think this picture does a pretty good job of demonstrating the disproportion.
Nate is now almost 10 months old and officially crawling. This has resulted in a campaign at our house called, "Keep the Baby Alive 2009." I cannot even tell you how many choking hazards I have pulled out of his mouth, how many close calls with electrical outlets we've had, how many times his brother has sat on him... and that's just today. If this kid makes it to his 1st birthday, it will be nothing short of a miracle.

Nate has 2 teeth, which, true to 3rd child protocol, get brushed approximately 1.4 times per week.

Nate's current favorite toy is the broom. That's right, the dirt-covered, germ-encrusted, practically a weapon broom. We have high hopes for his future as either a janitor or a performer in STOMP.

Mia's current nickname for Nate is Goo-goo.

It seems as if Nate fits perfectly on my hip, like he was made to perch there. He has started "hugging" me by resting his head on my shoulder and nestling in the crook of my neck. I'm not exaggerating that it sometimes makes me almost die of happiness.

Despite enduring daily torment at the hands of his older siblings in the form of poking, prodding, jostling, squeezing, hefting, and man-handling, Nate absolutely adores Mia and Sam. And I have to record that for posterity out of the fear that someday he will never believe me if it's not written down.


Nate, thank you for being my only child currently sleeping through the night. I love you even more dearly just for that.




And now for something a little less depressing

Let's lighten things up a bit shall we?

I promise it's not all doom and gloom around here. In fact just yesterday Mia got her first phone call from a BOY, asking her for a playdate. It happened right in the middle of one of Nate's massive blowouts, which she described very excitedly and in full detail to the young boy. I'm sure he was very impressed by this and thought it was pretty cool, since poop is about the #1 favorite subject of most 6 year olds. The conversation then ended like this:
Mia: What are you doing?
Boy: I don't know.
Mia: OK, bye.

He then had to call back to actually set up the playdate (which is scheduled for tomorrow). When she got off the phone I said, "So are you guys pretty good friends?" and she informed me that they were not only friends, they were going to get married. I guess this is something to be relieved about because up until now she had plans to marry Sam (who she has also taken to calling "Uncle Chut"). In fact, we've had many conversations that involved her wondering
"when they are going to change that law so that you can just marry your brother if you want to."

It's so sweet and yet so disturbing at the same time.

Here is a picture of them playing "camping" yesterday, which like most of Mia's play schemes, involves a very elaborate and involved set-up, and then a lot of sitting around and looking at it while sucking her thumb. I should also point out that these pictures were taken after they had decided that 48 degrees and partly cloudy meant it was practically Summer and played "beach" in the front yard-- complete with bathing suits, towels, beach chairs, and of course, lots of water.


Those kids... when they're not driving me crazy, they're usually making me laugh my head off.


And on a completely unrelated note, I feel like I have to even the score after my little "jab" at Republicans, lest any of you get any ideas about my political ideologies. I've been trying to think of something to zing those Democrats with, but it's got me thinking: maybe I should actually join the Democrat Party . I didn't realize until recently that being a Democrat meant that you could vote to increase everyone else's taxes, but not actually pay those taxes yourself. Sweet! Oh you kooky politicians, will you never tire of providing so much good material for Saturday Night Live? Here's one of my favs from this season.

Mar 20, 2009

Signs


As I've been driving around the last couple of days (very slowly I might add), a couple of signs on various buildings and billboards have caught my attention:

Breathe

Be less concerned about what to live on, than what to live for.

It's time to smile.



Thank you sign-gods. I needed those.

Mar 17, 2009

"Why you not go to work today?"

Courtesy of beawesomeinstead.com


Apparently 3 year olds don't understand the concept of getting laid off, since Sam asked Mark why he wasn't at work a minimum of 15 times today. That's right folks, as of last Thursday, we officially joined the ranks of the unemployed. Upon hearing the news, I immediately buried myself in a 500 page book about Communist China for about 36 hours straight. Because whenever you think your own situation is bleak, there's nothing like reading about life during Mao's Cultural Revolution to make you think. "gee, I guess I don't have it too bad." So far, it's been kind of nice-- I can go running in the middle of the day without any kids even, which I call heaven.

Really, we're doing OK. On a scale of 1 to 10, my freak-out level is about a 3 (where 10 would be an all-out crap your pants kind of panic). We don't need to beg for handouts yet, we're just cutting out frivolous expenses such as newspaper subscriptions (I mean, newspapers are doing just fine right?), and health care insurance (because according to the Republican party, poor people NEVER get sick). And we're very hopeful. If it comes down to it, I'm just sure that our back-up plan to flip houses in Detroit and Las Vegas will bring in BIG bucks. But for now, I will shamelessly put forth this small plea:

Anyone need an Information Architect?

Mar 10, 2009

#*#%&@#$!!!!

You are not going to believe this. I'm not making this up.

I JUST got another speeding ticket. 11 mph over this time. Wasn't even paying attention.

(Huge self-loathing sigh)

The terms of the deferment of my last ticket involved being "infraction free" for a year, or pay the original fine. This means I now have to pay $150 (nonrefundable) to defer the first ticket, $154 to pay the now reinstated first ticket, and $124 for the second ticket.

For a grand total of $428.

Oh yeah, not to mention 2 speeding tickets on my record in less than 6 months.

So does anyone know a good joke? I could really use a good laugh right now because I'm about to cry. I guess this is what I get for complaining. And speeding.

Can't wait until my insurance policy is up for renewal next month.

Edit: OK, since I posted this I've already been laughing at myself. I mean what kind of idiot gets a speeding ticket, contests it, gets it deferred, whines about getting it deferred on her blog, and then gets another speeding ticket just 14 hours later? Yeah... All I can say is if you thought you were having a bad day, I hope you're feeling much better now. You can't get much more pathetic than this even if you tried.

Irony


Right before Thanksgiving I got a speeding ticket, my first in almost 10 years. I was going 12 mph over the limit and got slammed with a $154 fine. Seriously, one hundred fifty four bucks! I decided to contest the fine, not the ticket, just the fine. I sent in my letter stating what a good driver I am, the conditions were safe, blah, blah, blah.

So I just heard back. The court graciously decided to defer my ticket and dismiss the fine.


For a fee of $150.


Seriously.

Mar 6, 2009

The Reason the Living Room is not a playroom



Because hard furniture really hurts when you slam your head into it.
*I can't seem to get a good picture of it, but the kid has a pretty good shiner. But did he learn his lesson? No, within 2 hours he was jumping off the couch again.

Mar 2, 2009

Mia turned six and all she got was a lame photo collage on her mom's blog


Mia turned 6 a while back.
Other than being a little disappointed that she hasn't been to Disneyland yet,
I think she's mostly enjoyed the last 6 years.
I know I have.

Mar 1, 2009

2008 Wrap Up

OK, so I'm a little behind. But only according to the Western calendar. If you're going by the Chinese Calendar, it's still practically the New Year (and it's also 4707, but whatever).

Tell me I'm not the only person like this- every year around oh, December 10th or so, everything completely falls apart and I don't fully recover until at least mid-February. And sure enough here it's March 1st, and at last I feel like 2009 can begin.

Well almost.

I have a little notebook where I jot down notes for my blog , and I've got a few leftover musings and miscellany from 2008 that might actually be worth posting.
(Some not so much: an open letter to Oprah, thoughts on the election, and something about journaling Doogie Howser style (?)). It's all pretty random and might not make sense in this format, but anyway, in an effort to tie up loose ends from last year, here's the final, semi-unedited, straight from The Notebook, 2008 Posts that never were (until now) . Oh, and I'm throwing in some pictures and a slide show, but that's strictly for the grandparents, and the creepy Internet stalkers.

First a few forgotten pics:



I could never think of a good caption for this picture. Some ideas:
Future Mensa Members or
"Hey dorks, stop playing chess and watch some TV will ya?"
I don't know-- nothing ever felt right. But I sure love this picture.


This is neither interesting nor funny, but I have to make a record of this moment or I know I will never believe it happened. This is a picture of the kids cleaning up WITHOUT being asked. I am not making this up.




Is this not the cutest tortilla you've ever see?


Quips and Quotes (I'm not sure where I was going with some of these, but here they are):
  • The book I wish I thought of first (and the most entertaining thing I read in 2008): The Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life, by Amy Rosenthal. Memorable excerpt under the heading Brother:
    My brother, who grew up with three sisters, was I won't say how old when he finally realized that he didn't have to wrap the towel around his chest when he got out of the shower.
    If you like memoirs, read it and tell me what you think.
  • How am I going to keep myself from making a big chocolate cake and eating the whole thing myself? (Yes, that's an actual thought I wrote down one day).
  • Pet peeve of the month: Interviewing yourself. Do I like it when people ask themselves questions? No. Is it beyond annoying? Yes. Should everyone agree to stop doing it? YES.
  • Why my hubby is way better than yours: When I apologized one night for burning our dinner he said, "That's the way I like it."
  • Mia: "You know that song about 'Girls Just Want to Have Fun' blah blah blah whatever? I mean, what do they want to have fun doing? Eating cake or something?"
  • My favorite conversation with Mia so far occurred one day after I mentioned to Mark that the car smelled because Sam had just had a stinky diaper in it. To which Mia replied: Are you sure it was Sam mom? Because I just went poop in the potty and it really stunk. I assured her it was most definitely Sam. No really, are you sure? Because I'm telling you I really stunk it up in there. (It still makes me laugh just typing this).


Here is an excerpt from a post from sometime in September about adjusting to life with a baby. It's called Checking Out of Loserville.
I've been in a kind of funk lately. Perhaps it's something to do with 4 bus stops a day and a baby that suddenly isn't cool with being left on the floor, or maybe it's hormonal, PPD, SAD, OCD...(I personally blame the media pundits, the Bush administration, and predatory lenders), but whatever the case, there's been a dark storm cloud hovering over Bardsleyland lately. But that all changed today. Why? I got dinner on the table. I'm not talking about the frozen chicken nuggets with mandarin oranges straight from the can kind of a dinner. I mean a steaming, homemade dinner with actual vegetables, on the table by 5:45. Never mind that my kids didn't even touch it and instead helped themselves to slices of bread. And so what if the feminist in me wanted to slam her head on the table because my self-esteem is seemingly directly proportional to my ability to put a meal on the table. I didn't care while my kids yelled and threw bread crusts at each other. I just sat there beaming and staring at that pot pie, feeling something strange-- oh yeah: accomplishment. I did something, and it was good. I didn't abandon it halfway through, it didn't dissolve into chaos, and I didn't end up in tears. Booyah- I'm back in the game.
I meant to post this in November on Black Friday:
Black Friday came a little early this year for two reasons. The first being traditional in the sense that I finally gave up on trying to find winter hats, gloves, jackets, etc for my kids at rock-bottom bargain prices by pouring over every ad and driving around to store after store after store. As I left Target I tried not to think about the total on my receipt and instead just told myself I was doing my part for the economy by paying full-price for things that my kids will promptly lose and/or grow out of. I hope Target thanks me.

The second reason is that our house was the scene of one of the ugliest, terrorizing mommy- tantrums of all time because my kids committed an unthinkable, heinous act: they woke up the baby. Now some of you are scratching your heads and thinking "wha?", but some of you are shaking your head and saying, "oh no they didn't!" Seriously, can I get a witness? Yes, they woke up the baby that I had just spent 45 minutes putting to sleep, so I could take a shower for the first time in 3 days. It got worse from there on out. It was BAD. Once I finished my shower, they were both forced to sit and listen to the screaming baby while I got ready. I then grabbed 2 conveniently empty storage bins from the garage and filled them with ALL the toys from each of their rooms. They were told that when I saw them behaving well, they would get back 1 toy at a time, and maybe by Christmas they would have all their toys back.

This was not well-received. In fact, here are some direct quotes from Mia that day:
I hate you. I just might kill you.
I still hate you and I probably will until you buy me a cheeseburger.

She never got that cheeseburger. It was a very black Friday indeed.
(They did eventually earn all their toys back, getting the very last ones on Christmas Eve).


And finally...The Christmas post I never got around to:
December 2008 can pretty much be summed up by travel, snow, illness, snow again, and more travel. Then there was a Stovall Reunion in Northern California that was not for the faint of heart, and neither is this ridiculously long slide show that you will probably not want to watch unless you are either directly related to us, or obsessed with us (and if so you might want to get help for that). It also includes pictures of our New Year's celebrations which involved bowling game where I scored a record 5 STRIKES IN A ROW. Not a bad way to end the year, if you ask me.
video
And with that I put 2008 to rest.

Finally.