Saturday, January 29, 2011

It's a Lifestyle

My kids caught the end of iCarly the other day and apparently there was some exchange of dialogue where one character says, "It's just a stupid game" and the next character says, "It's not a game, it's a lifestyle." Well, our 3 year old son has now applied that phrase to EVERYTHING. Anything he is playing is now "not a game, it's a lifestyle."

He was playing with his superheroes the other day and I asked him what game he was playing with them. He looks at me very seriously and says, "Mom, it's not a game. It's a lifestyle."


Sunday, January 23, 2011

In a Split Second

Fear can be crippling. The what if game a paralyzer. It can cause normally sane, rational people to become illogical, irrational, and paranoid. In the wake of what has happened here in Tucson I find myself to be fighting against these slivers of fear that seep into my life. There's that feeling of, "It could have been us." Or, "You never know when or where something like that could happen again."

I don't like it.

I'm generally pretty cautious. I think I have a healthy sense of fear without being paralyzed by it or allowing it to influence my daily life. So, I really don't like that something like this has shattered my illusion of safety. I realize the chances of something like this happening aren't great, but I'm sure no one in that parking lot that morning ever envisioned it either. I guess you really just never know. But lately I find myself struggling with that.

I think twice about taking all the kids with me to the store, opting instead to go myself when my husband can stay with them or sending my husband out himself. I realize as the "freshness" of this incident fades a bit so too will my "fear" but I don't like that in the meantime it is turning me into someone that really isn't me, or that I am allowing it affect me in such a way that makes me feel powerless and not in control. The fact that life can change so drastically in literally seconds is probably the part that really causes me to struggle.

Has something ever hit so close to home and affected you in such a way that you felt yourself altering your usual behavior out of fear of the unlikely?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


We have been a den of sickness 'round these parts since Thanksgiving. It's been one illness after the other, all relatively minor but lasting. Then our older daughter, who is regularly pretty healthy, became really sick a couple of weeks ago. She seemed to get better for a day or two but then got slammed with a really high fever, congestion, sore throat, chills, cough, the whole nine yards! We ended up in Urgent Care today where she tested positive for the flu (Yes, we got a flu shot months ago). So, Tamiflu has been prescribed to the whole family, except that I can't take it because I am breastfeeding and there is nothing safe for our 4 month old so we are just crossing our fingers and praying she gets through this unscathed. It is scary how sick our older daughter has become and how quickly it has happened!

The thing is....I realize people get sick. People can catch germs anywhere: grocery store, library, school, out in public anywhere really. However, I volunteer relatively regularly at my daughter's school and the number of children sent to school sick is high. The school policy is such that a child should stay home if he/she has a fever or any other visible signs of illness outside of minor sniffles. Apparently, I am one of the few parents who actually follows this rule. Each time I have been on that campus and in my daughter's classroom in particular there have been kids with green snot literally dripping out their nose. Last Thursday there was a child sooo sick in her class that when I came home I told my husband that I knew, KNEW, our daughter would be sick within days. (This child sits next to my daughter and was picking his green snot and then reaching into the community supplies that my daughter then used as well). She was sick by Saturday.

My frustration with this is two-fold. First, parents! What the hell are you doing sending your sick kids to school? Second, school officials! Why the hell don't/won't you send them home? I resent the fact that I go to great lengths to make sure I don't send a contagious kid to school and yet I feel like every time I send my healthy child to school I am sending her into a petri dish.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Play dates, Strangers, and other Such Things

I would consider myself a cautious parent, perhaps a tad overprotective. I obviously want my kids to experience things on their own but I also want to ensure that my children are safe and I am not doing anything that could put them into harm's way. An issue that has come up a lot since our daughter has started school is 'after school play dates.'

Prior to this year "play dates" meant either going over to my sister's house so she could play with her cousins, her cousins coming here or getting together with friends I have known for years. She has made some great friends at school and I have little reason to believe any of their parents would wish any harm to befall my child. However, I don't know them. I know that different parents have different philosophies and what might be allowed in their home might not be allowed in ours and vice versa. Our general rule has been, since quite a few of her school friends live in our particular neighborhood, that they can play outside in front of houses, but not in each other's homes. This has worked out well as the few girls she plays with have parents with similar philosophies.

Lately though I have had repeated offers from one of the girl's family members (not her mother, but another member who watches this little girl after school) to have our daughter come over and play. Truthfully I am not comfortable with this at all. They live close to us, but not in our neighborhood and the little interaction I have had with the mother and her husband was uncomfortable enough to give me pause. This family member asked me a week or so ago if my daughter could come over. I explained to her that our general rule was to not allow play dates unless either myself or my husband went as well. She seemed okay with this, however this would also require that I take my son and other daughter over as well, which I don't want to presume is okay with them and frankly, and this sounds bad, but it's more hassle than it's probably worth.

So, any advice on how to handle this? I don't mind going over a couple of times and truthfully if I had a better feeling about the girl's mother and step-father I would not be as nervous about this but we have very different ideas about what is appropriate, etc.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Favorite Gins

I'm not really a drinker......anymore. Primarily because the majority of the past six years I have either been pregnant or breastfeeding. However, my drink of preference is a gin and tonic with a twist of lime. Easy, simple, refreshing!

Over the years I have tried quite a few different brands. With Christmas and my birthday falling within a week of the other I decided to ask for a few bottles of gin: some new brands I have not tasted before and a few other tried and true favorites.

So, here are my preferences:

1. Plymouth Gin: Supposedly the drink of choice for Winston Churchill. It's my favorite! Retails for $25.
2. Tanqueray Ten: London Dry; makes a wonderful gin and tonic. Retails for $23.
3. Hendricks: Infused with cucumber. Often said to be the gin to convert vodka drinkers. Delicious. Retails for $27.
4. Citadelle: Described as the Grey Goose of gin. A solid gin. Retails for $23.
5. Hayman's Old Tom: Much sweeter than traditional dry gin. Nice to have something different every once in a while. Retails for around $20.
6. Beefeater Summer Edition I"m not a fan of Beefeater. However, this is pretty good. Supposedly more botanicals were added for a lighter flavor. It makes a good gin and tonic but the actual recommended mixer is cranberry juice. I'm a fan of cranberry and vodka and was a little leery when I thought of mixing gin with cranberry juice. However, it was surprisingly good. Retails for $25.
7. Tanqueray and Tanqueray Rangpur are both pretty decent gins as is Bombay Sapphire. I know many consider Sapphire to be "The Gin" and while I think it is good I think Plymouth and Ten are better.

On my list to try are Magellan which is a naturally blue gin, Quintessential, G'Vine, Junipero, Bull Dog, Right, and Martin Miller.

So, what is your drink of choice? For those of you who drink gin what do you think of my assessments? Have you tried any of those on my "desired" list?

** All prices are based on current prices at Total Wine.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

MLK, Jr. Goes to South Park

Our daughter, who is in Kindergarten, came home from School on Friday with this picture. She made it in class and was incredibly proud as she explained, "Martin Luther King Jr. is a Jr. because his dad was named Martin Luther King. He's important because he said that people look different on the outside but we're all the same on the inside. And he had a wish (I think she meant a dream). So, I made this picture. He's really considered black but he looks kinda brownish so I used brown paper. Plus if I used black, his suit is black too, and you wouldn't be able to really see him."

My husband says it looks like a South Park character. Since he has said that neither one of us can stop laughing (only when aforementioned daughter is well out of ear shot).

So what do you think? South Park?

Monday, January 10, 2011

Giffords Shooting In Tucson

I am sad. So sad. I live in Tucson. I live just a few miles away from where the horrific shooting of Congresswoman Giffords, members of her staff, and my fellow citizens occurred. We frequent other establishments in that parking lot weekly. People use words like "safe" and "upscale" which just goes to show you that these things can happen anywhere, safe and upscale or not. Like most in the nation right now, we cannot wrap our brains around the senselessness of this tragedy.

This morning I took my daughter to the dentist and then out for a milk shake. As we were pulling out of the parking lot I was overcome with unbelievable sadness. Sadness that literally made my heart ache. I thought that there is a mother in this city right now that will never again get to do something as mundane as taking her daughter to the dentist and out for milk shakes. That's the thing about parenting. It is those little things that we take for granted that I imagine those who have lost children miss the most. Tucking them into bed, making them breakfast, cuddling with them while watching a movie. Things that we never imagine will be our last time doing with/for our children. Heartbreaking is the only word that comes to mind, although I feel that word grossly understates the tragedy of it all. How someone loses a child and is then able to get up the next day and put one foot in front of the other is nothing short of miraculous. I don't know that I could do it.

I think about the people who were out going about their business only to be violently gunned down. I think about the judge who has left 5 poor children without a grandfather and how deep that absence will be felt. I think about the adult children who lost parents and how painful that would be if I were to lose mine. I also just can't fathom how miraculous it is that Giffords is alive, let alone responding to commands and can't help but get my hopes up for a recovery and "normal" life again for her, however unlikely that may seem at the time. I also think constantly about the heroes who stopped the gunman from causing further bloodshed. I can't predict how I would react in a situation such as that. I would like to think I would do something to stop the shooting, but honestly I don't know if I would have the guts, strength, bravery, or resolve.

There is political rhetoric on both sides, finger pointing and blame. Frankly, I don't think political rhetoric and asinine accusations have any place in this terrible tragedy. Lives were lost, people in this community and across the nation are shocked and devastated and really all we should be doing is praying for these families. Or if you are not the praying kind, wishing them well, sending good thoughts/vibes, hoping for recovery and healing. Tucson is still "small town" in many ways (admittedly not all those ways are good) and that fact never becomes more evident than in times of tragedy and strife. People come together. I just hope that the politics that people are infusing don't tear us apart.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Greasy Center Mom

I volunteered in my daughter's Kindergarten class today. Those kids are a crack-up. When I got there they were about to say the Pledge of Allegiance. The "Pledge Leader" takes his (a boy was this week's pledge leader) job very seriously and you can tell all the other kids do too as they give him his proper respect as he begins.
Last night as we were driving home I told my husband I needed to shower so I wouldn't have to do it in the morning. Our daughter says, "Yeah, you don't want to be a greasy 'Center Mom'." True dat! So I took my non-greasy self to her school this morning to help out and hang out with the kiddies.

One little girl tells me that she is going to go to Disneyland once her mom graduates from college. Then quickly says, "But that'll never happen. She has HUNDREDS of days left." Another kid was trying to say "I know who your daughter is" but kept tripping up on her words so she finally said, "I know who your sweetheart is."

A little boy had to hold my hand the entire time I read to him and then patted my hand when I was finished. Like I'd done an adequate job for him. :)

I'm trying to get in the classroom once a week. It's hard with an infant who is breastfed because I can't be gone for too long and having someone to care for her is inconsistent. But I am glad I got to go today and the look on my daughter's face and the million hugs and kisses I got when I arrived and left was sooooo worth it.

Monday, January 3, 2011

In Which I Make the Tooth Fairy a Pimp

Our daughter lost her first tooth a couple of days ago. She put it in a special container on her dresser and the next morning woke up to find a whopping $1.75 which she promptly spent on a bag of Starburst at the Dollar Store.

In September during her routine dental visit the dentist noticed that her two bottom permanent teeth were growing in behind her "baby" teeth. He wanted to give them around 3-4 months to fall out on their own; if they didn't, he'd have to pull them. Well, it's been three months and the one tooth isn't even loose and her permanent tooth is almost completely in.

Anyway, I was telling her today that we may have to have it pulled. The conversation that ensued left me feeling total unqualified. Also, my daughter is going to figure out pretty soon that I'm full of it.

Daughter: "Mom, where does the tooth fairy get all money?"
Me: "Um, I guess she just has it."
Daughter: "Mom, she can't just have it. It has to come from somewhere." (man, she's been paying too close attention to my conversations with my husband).
Me: "Well, I guess she gets it from her boss." (at this point I can tell the conversation is not going to just drop off with simple answers).
Daughter: "Okay, so what does she do with all the teeth she takes?"
Me: "I suppose she keeps them."
Daughter: "That doesn't make sense. Why would she want teeth?"
Me: (beginning to panic a little bit now....racking my brain trying to think of something, anything to say) "Actually she sells them to a man who collects teeth and then he gives her money."
Daughter: "Then she gives us the money?"
Me: "Exactly!"

Yeah, I'm going to hell for lying. It's all fun and games until she goes to school and tells her friends that the tooth fairy sold her teeth to the man who collects them and then she got paid. It's like the tooth fairy has become some sort of pimp.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


2010 has come to an end. It's bittersweet. In many regards 2010 was a fantastic year (the birth of our third child comes to mind) and in others it has been incredibly difficult and disappointing. Overall, I am glad to be "starting fresh" in a sense. New Years Eve was my birthday. I turned thirty, ahem, THREE! Yikes. I pretty much quit celebrating my birthday once I passed 30. It just got depressing to keep recognizing the fact that I was getting OLD. So, we stayed around the house, went out for frozen yogurt and called it a night. I barely made it to midnight and really only did so because I was up with the baby. Yeah me!

So, how was your New Years? What did you do?