September 28, 2006

What's your Poison of choice?

I've been Cranky this week and I suspect it is due to Los Hormones. It pisses me off because this has actually been a nice week except for the low-hanging Cloud of Funk. I mean logically I know everything is Hunky Dory. Try telling that to my Mood. Also, I never understood the PMS/Chocolate connection. I like to eat chocolate when I am happy. When I am sad? Bring on the Carbs! Fried? EVEN BETTER. So, yesterday, I chowed down on a cheeseburger/potatoes extravaganza at Red Robin with my friend A and her neighbor M. Then, later for dinner, I chowed down on super yummy Mexican food with Bethiclaus. I was sick to my stomach by the time I got home from all that food. Literally. The "hanging over the toilet" kind. I am not a health nut by any means, but even that day of greasy carbs was too much for my system. Bleh..

To add to all this Crankiness, I am still a little bummed that I couldn't invite all MY friends to Arun's little Halloween shindig. Yeah, maybe I am overthinking this, but I had really hope to get a bigger space so that I wouldn't have to leave anyone out. I HATE leaving people out so I will try to do a better job of planning next year. I mean, I did try - I have been calling for a space for several weeks now, but the guy never called back and NOW, it's too late. Bah. Or Boo. Whatever.

So, we went to the gym this morning and it went pretty well. I got through some weights and some cardio before I went to get Arun who, as usual, was crying. But at least it wasn't so bad that they had to come and get me, per usual. And yeah, I felt better, so SEE? I AM trying. Feel sorry for me now? No? What if I told you that I totally boo-hoo'd my way through Terri Irwin's interview with Barbra Walters last night? And I didn't even really LIKE the Crocodile Hunter. Feel sorry for me NOW? No?

Anyway, enough Moping........Here's your public service announcement for the week: Ugly Betty is airing AGAIN on Saturday, at 11:00am on the Soap Network. If your DVR, like mine, has been smoking in the firestorm that is currently Thursday's Trifecta of Inconvenient TV Programming, you know that Survivor vs. The Office/My Name is Earl vs. Ugly Betty was getting seriously Out Of Control. Thanks goes to Throwing Things for pointing this out. This is probably a good time to point out that Throwing Things, hands down, has some of the best commentary going each morning after the episodes of Survivor and The Amazing Race air.

Shaggy Do

The Heir and his Hair. We are going to Lawrence today for a haircut. Will update later with the new coiffure.


Haircut #7 - Prince of Wails

Don't mock. I know another Prince who has big ears. Ahem.

What's the big idea?

We were having issues getting the Heir to sit still so we could get a photographic gander at the Hair. My mom had a "great" idea that she would cover herself with a sheet as a backdrop and would hold Arun simultaneously. As you can see, it wasn't quite the snap she expected, but I was more than happy with the results. It was hard to hold the camara straight because I was laughing so hard.

September 26, 2006

Isn't Halloween the Best Holiday EVER??

Seriously! No commitment to Festive Decor, unless you really WANT it AND no Familial Responsiblities AND no gifts AND no Church AND no Mall Trolling AND no Dry, Bland Turkey AND best? NO GUILT. In the realm of Holidays That Are American, it doesn't get much better than that, folks. Take it or leave it. Which, um, I'll TAKE, thankyouverymuch ..... Ahem.

When I first found out that I was having a baby "on or around" October 15th, I could barely contain my excitement about having a HALLOWEEN baby. I anxiously picked out his first costume, wondering if he would arrive in time that we could attend Boo at the Zoo (which he didn't and then was way too "Newbornesque" to face the zoo. Little Stinker). However, he arrived in time that at least I was comfortable enough even HAVING a baby, so that I could dress him up and hand out candy all evening while holding him. Sweet.

I love Halloween and it has a long history. Such a long history, that I don't even remember it. I have pictures of faithful costumes put together by either my parents or my grandmother. I have memories of my dad dressing up with us to take us Trick 'r Treating - and my favorite was the Three Ghosts. Literally, my dad threw sheets over my baby sister, myself and himself. Sometimes, having a Hippie Parent is totally, completely, and utterly under-rated because that is still one of my most precious Halloween Memories EVER. Also, I have DISTINCT memories of him dressing up for my younger sister to the point it frightened her and he was banned from wearing the gorilla mask for several years. Furthermore, when I was a kid, we lived in the small Kansan town of Oskaloosa and folks, in the 70s, you Trick 'r Treated the WHOLE FUCKING TOWN. Seriously. Of course, even back then we heard the old Razor Blade in the Apple/Popcorn Ball story, but hello! That wasn't happening in Oskaloosa. Anyway, it makes me feel Warm n' Fuzzy to know that if we still live here when Arun is old enough, we can definitely Trick 'r Treat in our own neighborhood at least.

So, where am I going with this? I just sent out the Evite for Arun's 1st Halloween Party. I had decided WAY last year while Arun was still in utero that I probably would take advantage of the October birthday. My goal for this, is that it will always be a Halloween party and never, ever a Blow-Out Birthday party. Meaning, because it IS his birthday, Arun GETS to throw a party FOR his friends. My hope is that he will see this as a PRIVILEGE, this whole opportunity to do something nice for his friends. And of course, as he grows older, he will help in the planning and such. If he doesn't appreciate this? Then, obviously X and I went wrong somewhere and it probably started with that little red fuck, TMX Elmo. As you KNOW, Toys with Batteries? SPOIL the child, nevermind the rod.

Anyway, the only sad part of this whole Halloween Party is that it made me face the Stark Divide between MY friends and ARUN'S friends. My normal inclination would be to invite every single friend of MINE who has procreated in the past few years. However, we are having this Halloween party at our house and we have limited space, so I have to keep it to the actual people that Arun AND I hang out with. A very weird realization for me, but in a good way. It's always nice to have friends, isn't it? Even TOO many, if the case may be.

Oh, and The Official Halloween Costume for Arun? I've had it planned since MAY. I wish I was kidding.

No Bones About It

Hopefully, he holds up better THIS Halloween.

September 25, 2006

Puts new meaning to X marks the Spot, eh?

There has been a lot of Negativity going around lately and frankly, it has dragged me down. The World, Blogosphere, and damn, even the books I have been reading (My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Piccoult, Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer, and an anthology called the Mommy Wars). After this spate of reading, I will need some sort of chick lit, straight up. With an olive.

Today was a nice day - if I can avoid the World and sorry, even Blogs, life is pretty damned good when viewed through the hazel-ish eyes of an 11 month old. We went to the library for Rhyme Time at 10:15am. I arrived 30 minutes early to do some research on something, but the library didn't open until 10am. So, I was there at 9:45am and I swear on the Heir and his Hair, Mommies with Progeny in tow were WAITING IN LINE for the doors to open. Good God. Anyway, we did get in and it was worth it. Arun LOVED all the other kids, the rhyming crapola and even the librarian lady doing it. He crawled right up to her and watched, mesmerized. So, I will probably fight the Masses next week. Although, they do offer an 11am session as well, so I don't see myself lining up at the door. After the library, we went home and played for awhile, the newest thing is his shapes puzzle. Sometimes, I feel really clueless as a mother. I didn't know he was ready for puzzles now, I just happened to get it out to make room for something else and he started playing with it. It makes me wonder what else I am missing. sigh. After Afternoon Nap (actually, these days it is THE Nap), we went to visit Great-Aunt P, which he always enjoys. Great-Aunt P has lots of fun toys - oxygen tank, walker, wheelchair, LL Bean catalogs, actual NEWSPAPERS (remember those, folks?). Then, we went to Target, then we went to the Park, then we came home and played some more. The End. A nice day, overall. I will say one thing - there has been much Toy Hate going on lately - like people posting about Hating Toys THIS or Hating Toys THAT. As a SAHM, I am dependent on the toys. Does Arun have too many? Yeah, probably. I have many, many kind friends who have lent me toys and I probably should give them back or store them away. BUT, he doesn't really watch TV, other than 5 minutes of Sesame Street if Elmo or Big Bird happen to have some screen time. The boy must be entertained someWAY, right? So what's wrong with toys? As today suggested, we do get out and about - plenty. And he plays with all the Basics - Blocks, Balls, and Books. But it still leaves a good 6 hours daily that we are home and Arun needs something to play with. End of Rant.

Anyway, Crazy Aunt Purl has asked people to email her their "knitting spots". I have been knitting a storm lately - still working on Arun's baby blanket. ahem Also, a hat for him that is actually halfway finished. I finished seaming my backpack and lo! I have seamed an entire ARM on The Sweater. No lie! I have Witnesses. Yeah, I knit the Sweater Pieces over a YEAR ago. Shut up. I was pregnant, fighting carpal tunnel AND couldn't wear a sweater last winter while breastefeeding anyway. Those are my excuses and I am sticking to them. So, here is my Knitting Spot. Puts new meaning to Happy Hour.

Although, an olive would still be nice.

I love sitting here, working on a piece, maybe watching TV or discussing things with X. I also like READING here, so this chair serves double duty.

What's your brain on TV?

Probably something fried. Potatoes, perhaps?

Hmmm... Not feeling the need to post about the kid today - not unless you want to hear about the Smackdown going on in the Shape Sorter: Circle vs. Square (Bring it ON!) or listen to an introspective discourse of the subtleties surrounding transportion: Walking vs. Crawling (Advantage: Crawling, for speed) or Alternative Solutions for Shape Puzzles (Answer: not many). No?

I will say this, when we are playing, I still snicker internally every time I say to Arun, “Look! BLUE ball!”. Also, I am ashamed to admit that I had NO clue as to the actual lyrics for the diddy “Do your ears hang low?”. Seriously, this is a REAL song? And a clean one, no less? I was shocked when I first heard the strains of that song come from one of Arun’s toys because I’d always heard the naughty version. Next, I’ll probably discover that the Diarrhea Song also has clean lyrics. Egads.

So, I finally caught up with my DVR over the weekend. The lovely thing about a dual-tuner DVR is that you can record everything but the downside is obvious. However, even with a dual-tuner I am still having a 7:00pm Thursday Dilemma - Survivor vs. Ugly Betty vs. The Office/My Name is Earl. I think Ugly Betty is probably going to get watched live on our bedroom TV, which YES, wil be hard to do because then I will have to PAY ATTENTION since dialogue spoken is Lost Forever when going DVR Commando..... sniff...... Spoiled much?

Okay, here is my recap of the first few weeks of 2006-2007 Fall Season TV. I am ashamed to admit I watched all of these shows and even more ashamed to admit that this list doesn’t even include other shows I watch such as the likes of the Daily Show, the Colbert Report, Bill Maher and various HGTV shows I am addicted to such as Househunter’s International or What You Get for the Money. Although, am I the only who can't just sit and WATCH? I have to be doing something - knitting, flipping through a magazine, something. Anyway........

The Wire: Why are people not watching what is repeatedly referred to as “the Best Show on TV. Period”. Because IT IS the best show on TV. This season has blown me away so far. Amazing stuff. Which leads me to...........

The Amazing Race: I really like this season! There are lots of interesting teams this time around and last night, I was a little stressed because the stragglers were all ones that I was rooting for. The team that got eliminated wasn’t one of them, so whew! I have been in the mood for a good season of TAR, because DAMN, the last few were such collassal disappointments. And I’ll say it right now - I really like the Beauty Queens.

Brothers and Sisters: This is a show that was a no-brainer for me to decide on recording because they had me at “Rachel Griffiths”. She could be in an infomercial and I would be spellbound. Ron Rifkin, Sally Field, and Calista Flockhart? Double bonus. The basic premise of the show is that Calista Flockhart is a conservative talk show host thingie and is coming back home to LA. Sally Field is the mother and there is some tension between them. There are several other siblings (including Rachel Griffiths) and the interplay between them feels pretty real, not cheesy, nor contrived. Another storyline is that something fishy is going on in the family company that involves Ron Rifkin. All of this is coming to a head because apparently the father, Tom Skeritt is going to die/did die after a heart attack in last night’s pilot episode. Bonus Question: In which movie did Sally Field and Tom Skeritt also play a couple?

The Class : I really want to like this show but holy CRAP, they made it hard - the characters seemed forced, the jokes obvious and the romantic pairings contrived. I love Jason Ritter and think he has some potential, but perhaps he needs to rethink his agency for this choice. I will give it the usual 4 Episode Minimum, but a lot is going to have to happen for it to not get axed from the DVR.

How I Met Your Mother : Yeehaw! The gang is back! I like how things are going and it should be entertaining to watch Single Marshall pal around with Barney.

Old Christine : I laughed so hard that I was afraid of waking Arun. And there might have been some snorting. Maybe. Anyway, Julia Louis-Dreyfuss was made for this part - if you aren't watching one of the funniest sitcoms in years, WHY NOT? Oh, and her son’s HOT teacher? Great casting. And the 2 snotty mothers? More great casting. I just hope that New Christine isn’t out of the picture for good, because she was a great foil for both Old Christine and Richard.

Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip : This show is so delicious I want to eat it for dinner. I am new to the genius that is Aaron Sorkin so I was totally blown away by how awesome, compelling and interesting this show is. Rapid fire, witty dialogue? I’m there, baby! This may even qualify for Live Viewing Whilst Recording, the greatest honor that can be bestowed upon a show in this DVR Era that we live in now.

Smith : I had a hard time getting into this and stopped/started the episode several times. However, the payoff was worth it. I thought it was going to be a formulaic series with a One Caper per Episode format but I was wrong (shocking, but true!) It appears this one caper is going to have reverberating effects over at least the next few episodes if not the entire season, so um, yeah - now I am HOOKED.

Jericho: I liked this show, although it is a bit depressing due to its realistic touch. I am definitely hooked, though and need to know "how, why and where" to all the mysteries presented.

My Name is Earl: This show is so awesome that even a weak episode like last week’s is STILL worth watching.

The Office: Jim must come back. That’s all I have to say about that.

Survivor: I am half-way through my 4 episode minimum and things better pick up quickly. I haven’t really found anyone to root for, although I do like Yul and I do hate Ozzy. Can they provide enough reason to keep watching?

CSI: Original Recipe: Not really caring for the Grissom/Sarah romance. It just seems wrong. Perhaps, because it IS. Also, Catherine getting attacked last week really bothered me. To the extent that I couldn’t even concentrate on the new case that Grissom was investigating. A new case which is super-creepy.

Men In Trees: This show hits an odd spot for me. Like, I am hoping it actually gets canceled because then I won’t have to watch it anymore. It’s not a great show, but now I care about the characters and can’t stop watching because I will wonder what I am missing.

September 21, 2006

Can I confess?

That when I knit something, I have a hard time giving it away if it was something meant for me and similarly, I can’t keep something that was meant for someone else? It’s as if the memories and thoughts and experiences that happened while creating the piece are part of it. For example, one of my very first projects was a backpack, it wasn’t complicated, but it was a very difficult project for a beginner and very frustrating at the time. I finally finished the backpack (3.5 years later. ahem.) and was going to give it to my younger sister because she is also a knitter and will really appreciate it. However. That backpack evokes many, many memories (and tears) for me. And excitement. I was thrilled to finally be KNITTING. Something I had wanted to learn for years and had tried to teach myself without much success. So, I realized that I can’t give the backpack away. Similarly, if I knit something for someone, I can’t keep it or give it somone else. When I knit an object for someone, I think a lot about that person while doing so - it’s not purposeful, it just happens. So to NOT give the piece to that person would almost seem sacriligious.

That I totally got sucked into the Bridezilla marathon a few weeks back AND picked up quite a few episodes of Platinum Weddings as well? Very odd for someone who didn’t really care that much for planning her own wedding. I finally finished the last episode on the DVR last week, then as part of the Weaning Process let myself watch a few others that came up. I finally deleted both shows from the Recording List earlier this week. Whew! That was a close one, folks. Also, I’d like to point out that in Bridezilla, you usually sort of question why the FUCK are these people getting married as the bride is screeching for everyone to get licking on those goddamed envelopes now, now, NOW.......whereas in Platinum Weddings you find yourself sighing “Ahhh, how sweet.” as the bride presents her MOTHER with a necklace from Tiffany as a “thank you” for her over-top, overpriced wedding. The message apparently is that money WILL buy you Love and Everlasting Happiness. Bah.

That I like to listen to Dr. Laura? Yes, she is a raging homophobe and a bit (much??) of a Bitch, but her central message is right on track. Families SHOULD be first. We’d have far less problems in this country if more people would consider their CHILDREN first.

That I am glad that Arun doesn’t watch TV? Yeah, it would be convenient to sit him in front of the Boob Tube (actually, plasma. what's that? Jackass Juice?), but the fact that he only pays attention when Elmo, Big Bird, Barney (kill me NOW!), the CNN Newscrawl and Football are gracing our household with their presence means that I can hunker down with MY shows. While I somewhat pay attention to MY show, he sits in front of me, facing ME and we play with toys or read books. Or, he will be so busy pushing around cars, my shoe, zucchini that he won’t notice. Score for me, right? Bring it ON, Pretty Boy Probst.

That I am becoming more and more anti-Organized Religion? I signed up for the Catholic Church in my late 20s, well before I met X. And yes, it was convenient that we were both Catholic. But it’s not even the Catholic Church - ALL churches are starting to draw my ire. The latest? My sister’s MoPs group was going to do a little lecture on YOGA and the Baptist Church where they hold the meetings refused to let them do so. WHAT THE FUCK? If anyone could use a little stress relief, it would be the MOTHER of a PRE-SCHOOLER, don’t you think? Bonus Confession: Can I also confess that I was disappointed in my sister when she DEFENDED the church by saying that “yeah, yoga can get a little iffy with that meditation stuff.” SOB. It frightens me when I see people closing windows to their World.

That I feel guilty for the fact that we won’t be doing the CSA again. Every Wednesday when I pick up our veggies, I feel guilty. I just LOVE Rebecca and Tom, the farmers. They are SO cool. However, the CSA just doesn’t work for us right now and I don’t think we will be able to wedge it into our Financial Situation next year, anyway. To make things worse, I am beginning to suspect that Arun and I are going to appear in the Kansas City Star article coming up about the CSA. The reporter has been emailing me A LOT of questions the past few days. Furthermore, I had already noticed that the photographer seemed pretty enamoured of Arun when she was out snapping photos a few weeks back.

That I am completely and utterly flummoxed by the sizing of baby clothes? 9 month pants are too short for Arun. 12 months are the right length, but he literally CRAWLS OUT OF THEM. Or worse, only PARTIALLY crawls out of them, then pulls up, starts to walk and of course, immediately takes a Header. Why don’t they sell baby suspenders?

That I bought the TMX Elmo? Yes, recently I'd seen the Light and it was Red. Actually, it was odd how it happened. I saw it on Scamazon and pre-ordered it thinking “Oh, that’ll be a nice Christmas present for Arun.” I didn’t realize it would show up on my doorstep on TUESDAY. Of course, X and I are like “We HAVE to see what this is all about.” so we opened it. We could barely even HEAR the Little Red Fuck over Arun’s screams of delight. The toy is actually very cute, my only complaint would be that I think it was a $30 Toy, NOT a $40 Toy. I guess I paid an extra 10 bucks in the name of Pop Culture (this would be an apt time for ya’ll to refer to the Tagline for this blog. Ahem.) Bonus Confession: Can I confess that I HID the TMX Elmo when the Parents as Teachers lady came this morning because I didn't want her to think that we were Those Parents who rush out to buy their kids the newest toys, even though apparently we are Those Parents? Gulp.

That I realize NOW that I was starting to get a little depressed because of the Nap Situation? Now that I am waving Bye-Bye to the Morning Nap in the rear view mirror, I can see that. I was starting to feel very restless and agitated that I never had a Moment’s Peace. 2-3 naps per day at 45 minutes a pop wasn’t cutting it, folks. We have a nice schedule now and my Mental Health is better for it. I get a few hours in the morning BEFORE he wakes up. I get a few hours after lunch during the Afternoon Nap (Hi, Afternoon Nap! Nice to meet ya! WELCOME TO MY HOME! Get comfortable. Stay awhile. Mi casa es su casa, Amigo Mejor.) and then....DRUMROLL....... I put Arun in his crib at 8:00pm ish and he sleeps there for several hours. I think I just fell in Love all over again. Sweet Surrender!

Funky Monkey, No Longer Chunky

He was able to also wear this outfit LAST SPRING.

Escape Artist

New fashion trend, no?

September 20, 2006

If the Sky is the limit, then what is Outer Space? OVER the limit?

The camara? Is out of control. Or rather, I guess that would be ME, out of control with the camara, poor thing. Anyway, I am just going to throw out a bunch of snaps and links today. No rhyme or reason - just me being lazy.

First, I owe a few gals some shoutouts..............
I would like to give a shout-out to Breast of Canada. I met Sue at BlogHer and was very impressed with her mission. What struck me the most is that her mission is to promote HEALTHY breasts. Meaning - let's all take care of our melons BEFORE there is a problem, 'kay? Check her out, because she provides loads of useful information there. Also, I have her calendar which was artfully done and is chockfull of healthy tidbits.

I would also like to give a shout-out to Baby Brewing - I purchased this shirt from her at BlogHer:

By mistake, she left an extra one with me, so if you would like a FREE medium sized shirt, I will perform a random act of kindness to the 1st person who emails me with their particulars.

Take Me to Your Leader

To get proper snaps in his "monthly" photo, I have to bribe him with toys. It works for about all of 30 seconds. I have some great snaps of him attempting to crawl OFF the chair, though.

Fine Motor Skills, THIS, Beyotch!
I knew having a baby would be fun. Good grief, I had NO IDEA how MUCH. Even with the stressful nap situation that has been such a struggle for all these months, he is still pretty damned entertaining. And now that we have a nap schedule sorta worked out, life is SO much easier. Lately, he has been obsessed with "putting things in" - corkscrew in wine bottle? No problem. Shape pieces in puzzle? No problem. Balls in rolling tracks? No problem. Daddy's keys in bucket? No problem. Not 'til the next morning, at least, when Daddy needs to LEAVE. However, as these pics indicate, there were some problems:

Daddy lets Arun sit on the counter so he can play with the fruits and vegetables. Ahem.

While seeing Arun attempt to shove his astronaut puppet into the rolling track was cute, I realized with horror that the bass speaker is probably, most assuredly, NEXT IN LINE.

I came out of the shower to THIS.

September 19, 2006

Couldn't we ALL use a Three Martini Playdate?

Back in May, I posted about attending an outing with a playgroup organized through a local Mom's Club to which I belong. I haven't done much with this organization because many of the meetings are in the morning and at the time I did NOT mess with the Morning Nap (sadly, as of late, the Morning Nap has been taking a big ole Dirt Nap of its own. sob). Anyway, I didn't attend any more playgroup sessions with that particular group but will start attending the organizational meetings because they are pretty educational ( RIP, Morning Nap. I hardly knew ye.) Anyway, getting back to the playgroup, it was the anti-homosexual comments that put me over the edge - Arun is going to be exposed to that sort of thing soon enough, why hasten it? So, instead I decided that I would focus on the playgroup I had already sorta put together. I met a few gals when we were meeting at the breastfeeding support group at the hospital - Arun and I began attending when he was 3 weeks old. Eventually, I suggested we start getting together to go walking on the alternative Wednesdays since we were still in the throes of Losing the Baby Weight. As our babies got older, it seemed we needed to release them from their strollers so that they could actually play and exchange pathogens. Then, I met Amanda and asked her to join. Then, I met Bethiclaus and she's been bringing Alliclaus (who is quite delicious, I might add!) AND, if my friend R can get her schedule arranged, I am hoping she can come. My hope for this group has always been to just gather a gang of moms together who have the same goal in mind - to have fun hanging out while their babies play and maybe enjoy some adult company as a bonus. I like that we live in different parts of the metro and that our babies are all different ages (the downside of Mom's Club is that it is based on zip code). Also, it's fun to see Alliclaus do things that Arun doesn't do anymore and it's cool to see A. do things that Arun will be doing soon. For the most part, the playgroup has been going fine. Yeah, we had Nervous Nellie attend once, but I think my lack of childproofing and my homemade toys scared her away because I haven't heard from her since. I know she was part of another group and honestly? She is probably happier with them than us anyway, so I suspect that no one was really "put out" in the grand scheme of thing.

So, when I read the post about playgroups at Mom's Daily Dose, I was disappointed to see in the comments some negativity expressed towards playgroups in general. For example, several commenters said that "playgroups are for moms anyway". Um, yeah - but what's wrong with that? Isn't it supposed to be a social interaction for both moms and their children? Why would I purposefully hang out with people I don't like? I've also heard the comment that the "babies don't play with each other, anyway". Um, yeah - babies primarily do what's called "parallel play" at this point, but they are still interacting and beginning the process of learning how to share. Furthermore, changing the location every week allows the babies to experience new toys and new environments which goes many, many Miles in the form of Entertainment. However, what made me really sad was the commenter who said "I have no evidence to back this up with but nothing good can come of playgroups. I think they were invented by communists. And Hitler." Wow. I am guessing that gal had one helluva playgroup experience for a comment like that.

Overall, trying out playgroups has been an interesting experience for me. Yeah, I spent an afternoon with a couple of Homophobic Vegetable Haters, but it was an entertaining afternoon, at least. And yes, I've come across some moms who Compare and Compete, but those moms dwell outside of playgroups as well and can never, ever be entirely avoided. Regardless, I have made some nice friends because of the playgroup thing. Last week, I got to see A. walk for the first time and it was so exciting for me to see her impression of Michael Jackson in The Thriller - after all, I've been watching her grow up since she was 9 weeks old! And for Bethiclaus, I know it was comforting to her when Alliclaus was going through her CT Scan Scare knowing that Amanda had gone through the same thing. And for me, its a relief that they don't think I am a terrible mother because my kid has a predilection for eating dirt, leaves, sticks, and cat food. They laugh just as much as I do (because watching a kid eat dirt IS funny.)

So, in the end, just like any other social group, there can be some bad apples, good apples or just apples for which you don't care for the taste. However, belonging to a playgroup is more than just about "playing". It's about making new friends and supporting each other through all the trials and tribulations of motherhood. And maybe discussing diaper brands and the last episode of The Amazing Race. It's just another social group - nothing more, nothing less.

Well, less alcohol. And that? Is a downside.

Fuzzy Head

A. is pontificating upon the Miracles of Mobility to a dutiful audience.

Melon Head

Alliclaus looks like she can't wait to join The Movement, too.

Mushroom Head

Don't let the innocent demeanor fool you. This was shortly before he attempted to shove a cigarette butt into his gaping maw.

September 17, 2006

Need some motivation?

Motherhood Uncensored is challenging all her readers to come up with their own "motivational" posters. Thanks, Midwestern Mommy for pointing it out.....

In Grand Successories fashion, here are mine:

September 14, 2006

Is it me? Or is it you? It's probably you.

I am having my grandma, my great-aunts, and my great-uncles over for lunch today. Which means, I need to hide all the booze and crack pipes*, quick. ahem. It's not THAT bad around here, but I do need to tidy up and get cooking. I am making Rachel Ray's muy fabuloso** carbonara pasta. I saw this recipe while thumbing through a Good Housekeeping on one of our trips this summer and knew I had to try and make it. YUM-O, folks. Why I am cooking pasta? One, X can't eat it, so I have to cook it for others these days. Two, Olathe Grandma is the Seinfeld of Restaurants. Over the years, acceptable restaurants have been nixed left and right for various unforgiveable indiscretions such as loud music, slow service, inconvenient handicapped parking, etc. The only ones left on the list are places like the Crappy Chinese Buffet, Perkins, IHoP, and the spot she calls "that fish place", known to the rest of the world as The Red Lobster. Even, then, she will only deign to go to the Red Lobster if my sister lies to her and says Older Nephew is asking to go so he can see the lobster tank.*** So, in the grand scheme of things, it is much better for me to just cook, but Indian is out because curry "upsets" my grandma's stomach and since she can't exactly "run" anymore, I need to be kind to her, ya know? ahem. Anyway, this way everyone can hang out, watch the babies play, and just relax. And no one will be fighting over the check. I love having people over to cook for, so I am looking forward to it. I hope they don't mind when I shove my new camara in their faces.

In other news, I did watch Survivor last night and you know what? I LIKED it. Did I enjoy the cheesy gimmick of playing the Race Card? NO.. But, I do appreciate having such a diverse set of folks to watch for a CHANGE. It's been the first "premiere" episode of Survivor that I have watched with such interest in a long, long, LONG time. Again, not because of the gimmick but rather, since the players are all so different from each other, it was easier to keep track of who was who. Apparently, all white people DO look alike.

* Speaking of crack, I had resisted buying Goldfish crackers because I LOVE me some Goldfish crackers and I knew it might be a "problem", if you will...... I totally caved the other day and I can report that yes, YES, it is a problem.

** I don't think that is really a word, but if pronounced veddy, veddy slowly with a totally Gringo accent, it could perhaps fool someone into thinking that you are somewhat witty. Maybe. Maybe not.

*** Damn straight, "Melting" and "Pot" will be part of Arun's vernacular.

Bittersweet Symphony

It's true. Practice makes perfect. To that end, more practice is definitely in order.

Temperamental Artist

Big baby.

Green Eyed Monster


September 13, 2006

Who could ask for anything more?

Internet, I have an announcement. The end of Crap Snaps is coming soon to a blog near you. Since the Tivo Series 3 is being released at the Ridiculous price of $799 (not including subscription fees. OUCH), we are going to wait until January or so, when the prices get more reasonable. Therefore, I took our Gadget Budget and purchased a new digital camara today. I want to EAT this camara, it's so delicious - it's a cute little Canon Powershot SD550 and I am in love. Smooch, smooch. All this time, I thought it was MY fault my Snaps were Crap. Last night, my mom brought her new camara, also a Canon Powershot, and I realized that it was NOT me, it was the camara. I am ever so weary of my kid appearing as if he was sired by Nearly Headless Nick. Hopefully, this camara will take care of that. The battery is charging as we speak.....

Anyway, the weekend recap. Again, nothing super special but it was a nice one.

Friday: Arun capped off a week's worth of napping in the crib by actually going to bed in the crib at 8:00 pm sharp. I spend a delicious evening putzing around the house, reading, knitting, surfing, watching TV. Bliss! I realize now that I was starting to go a little insane with the incremental napping of yore. 45 minute naps just weren't cutting it and I was even beginning to get a little depressed because of things that were piling up around the house. In the past week, I have gotten SO MUCH DONE.

Saturday Morning: Arun and I woke up bright and early to meet my dad at Great Aunt P's house so that we could walk to the parade in downtown Olathe. It is so nice to just have my dad to myself - I don't often get to spend time with ONLY him and the parade has become "our time". It also served to show me just how alike we are in personality because we are particular in where we sit (the corner of Park and Chestnut, right where the parade turns), what we get to eat (Grange Pup, onion blossom, and cinnamon covered pecans) and the timing of it all (arrive at 9:30 and under no circumstances can we leave before the parade ends. No matter how boring. Rules are rules.). In short, it's nice to spend a morning with someone equally anal retentive. To boot, I got my cynical sense of humor from him so we spend the parade making fun of various floats and in particular, the announcer. It's the same gal every year and dear God, she puts the "cheese" in "cheese". Bleh. After the parade, we happily snarfed down our grange pups, onion blossom and pecans. And of course, this year was special because Arun had his first taste of the hallowed grange pup. After we ate, we meandered through the car show before heading out. It was so special to share this day with Arun, the 6th generation of our family to attend Old Settler's. Someday, I hope it comes to mean as much to him as it does to my dad and I.

Saturday Evening: X had come back from Virginia earlier in the day, so we decided to do something nice in the evening. We ended up eating at Lillies on 17th in Kansas City and it turned out to be a delightful meal. Since the weather was cool, we ate on the outside patio and set Arun up in his booster highchair. He sat there the ENTIRE meal, just eating his crackers and whatever food we flung his way (avocado creme toasts, grilled potatoes with garlic aioli, and olive tapenade). After dinner, we drove by the park and hung out there for awhile, swinging Arun, keeping an eye out for airplanes and catching up on our respective weeks. The weather was beautiful and the breeze was refreshing.

Sunday: FOOTBALL. I am not a big football fan, actually. BUT, in my single days, I remember thinking how nice it would be to have a family and stay home on Sundays snuggled up on the couch watching football. So, that's what we did on Sunday. I finished up a knitting project, X watched some games, and Arun happily played with his bazillion toys.

So, all in all, this weekend was certainly one of Life's Sweet Moments and I want to always remember it.

The best part? He actually has a RED NECK. Bonus? Look closely for the smudges of mustard lending a realistic touch.

Look closely at these outfits - because of the stupid camara, I didn't get the snap in time to show the bandeau top, slip of a skirt and the bared bellybuttons. All that was missing was the glitter and a pole. DAMN, ya'll. Girls these days just don't have a CHANCE. The parade always reminds of this stark fact as I see girl after girl AFTER GIRL march by in Hoochie Mama outfits that look good on NO ONE with hips, boobs or even a remote glimmer of a FIGURE.

This was the BEST float in the parade. It was very cool to see them slowly "float" by.

New!Snaps! From the New!Camara!

Last night, even with my mom's camara, he started doing this cheesy grinning every time he noticed the red eye flash. And he is STILL doing it. EVERY TIME.

Okay, perhaps not THIS time:

This is the Shirt of Impending Doom. Notice the lurking volcano, upper left. Then the hapless village, lower right. Question for ya'll. Why the HELL is the jeep heading BACK to the volcano? Talk amongst yourselves.

September 12, 2006

Ain't Life Grand?

I ended up not having any time last night to do much other than cook dinner, walk to the park and then hang out with Arun and X watching football. And I am not complaining One Single Bit. However, I didn't get my weekend post written yet and I really do want to write it - for myself. Because five years from now? I want to remember last weekend. Nah, nothing overly exciting, but it was a nice one. I found it interesting that someone commented that Chookooloonks tends to write only positive stuff and because of that, she couldn't relate to her as much. It's precisely because of Chookooloonks' sunny attitude that I look forward to reading her blog. The pictures she snaps are just icing on the cake. Check her out - The Blog That's Always Smiling. It's not a bad thing, folks.

So, yesterday while I was in the grocery store excitedly picking out a pie pumpkin for some pumpkin erisheri (recipe here), I had to wonder what Arun's Food Memories of fall will be when HE is a grown up. Mine are definitely pumpkins, caramel apples and apple cider. While I am sure those will be part of Arun's, I wonder if someday when he is an adult, he will also think of erisheri and a nice fish with red sauce made from fresh marlin (it's in season now)? I was SO eager about the marlin that I started pestering the fish dude at our grocery store about 3 weeks ago for it.

Also, I did start reading Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer. Whew. It's depressing, but very interesting. Actually, fascinating (one example? I can appreciate how Elizabeth Smart easily fell under the spell of the people who kidnapped her. It makes perfect sense now). I don't think I will regret slogging through all of the sadness and somewhat dry history. Since I do have some Mormons in my family, I do have some sort of perspective, at least. Also, I think it will be a great book club selection because there is much to discuss about faith, and freedom of religion. I may write more about it when I actually done with the book. Oh, and I finished The Other Woman by Jane Green. It was a good little piece of Brain Candy. Short story? The protaganist in the book has an out of control mother-n-law. The book quickly turned soap opera-esque, but it was fun to read nonetheless. Again, nothing nutritious, but it was entertaining and fulfilled my requirement of being a Quick n' Dirty.

Oddest thing to happen this week? At Costco someone actually said that Arun looks like Suri Cruise. I resisted the temptation to point out that my kid was conceived with good, old-fashioned sex and alcohol, but seriously WTF? He doesn't look like Suri Cruise. sigh

Anyway, we had a lovely evening and here is some Snappage............

Actually, what's great about this picture is what's NOT THERE. I was attempting to get a snap of Arun standing, with a big grin while proudly brandishing a block in each fist. Apparently, there IS a reason why I majored in Accounting. Ahem.

He has been doing the knee stand for quite awhile now and it is adorable when he gets excited and starts bouncing up and down. Also, notice all the Craptastic Plastic in the background. The only good thing is that most of it was BORROWED or purchased from a garage sale for all of 5 bucks.

Tonight, whenever the red eye flash came on he would start acting silly like this if he noticed it in time. It actually made taking pictures MORE difficult! Most of the shots last night came out looking like Nearly Headless Nick and I had been gettin' it on and this was the Result.

He became obsessed with this game I've been teaching him where he puts his blocks into the plastic bottle. Watching his little eyebrows furrow in concentration was just as entertaining FOR ME. I am hoping to parlay this new skill into putting actual toys away, too. Ha.

When he sits like this while playing, I can see my Baby is becoming a Boy. I know I am supposed to be all sad and weepy over this, but frankly? I am enjoying this too much for tears and furthermore, am way too excited about his future to have regrets for his moving on. Such is life, eh?

September 11, 2006

Where Were You?

I was late to work that day. I was in my car driving, clueless - absolutely CLUELESS - as to what was going on. The Friday prior, my car had been broken into and my stereo was stolen. Ironic, because I am a chronic News Junkie and would have been listening to NPR or talk radio normally. I will never forget walking into work, passing by a co-worker at the front entrance and she stopped me and said "Did you hear what I said? The US has been attacked!"

The rest of my day was spent furiously trying to glean any news I could from the pokey little Internet, furiously calling my friend S because she stayed home from work and waiting to hear from my cousin, who worked in DC for the NEA. I was on the phone with S when the towers fell.

I was tempted to not post today. It is such a solemn day and my post was going to consist of light, "I Love My Life" kind of stuff from my lovely, wonderful weekend. Then, it occurred to me, "Isn't that one of the major lessons from 9/11? That we should grab every minute we can of Life and not waste it?" Yes, it is.

So, I will post about my weekend tomorrow because I had such a nice one, I want to always remember it. I even commented to X on Saturday evening what a lovely day it had been and how fortunate we are. Ă…nyway, in the meantime, give all of your loved ones an extra hug today.

September 8, 2006

Who are you and what have you done with my baby?

First, you have been taking naps in the crib. All week. One day, you even took a 4.5 hour nap. The last 2 hours I thought maybe you were dead, but I was too afraid to check in on you because what if you WERE alive, and then I woke you up? Needless to say, the last few hours were spent with me just skittering around the house nervously, not accomplishing much. I couldn't really start anything, because surely, definitely, positively, you would wake up the minute I got to work on a time-intensive task. You are sneaky like that, whoever you are.

Second, you have been going to bed at night in your crib. Without a fuss. Which leaves me with hours to spend doing whatever I want to do. Which means I have been up until past midnight every day this week frolicking around the house verily drunk in a sweet splendor of Free Time.

Third, in a thrust of momentum as you attempted to grasp frantically at the US Weekly that I was desperately trying to get out of your reach, you took a few steps. Of course, I tried to replicate the moment with the camcorder, so now I have loads of cheesy footage with me waving a cheap tabloid at you in my lame attempts to lure you into performing your trick again. Do these steps even count? They didn't seem very purposeful.

Fourth, in my Frenzy of Filming you crawled over to the Ridiculous TV and turned it on - very much purposefully, in this case, I might add. Much to your delight. And, truthfully, much to my own delight. Well, at least for now, since I suspect the tide will soon turn on that cute little trick after the umpteenth time you have "performed" that particular Feat of Bravery (wanna really test your mettle? I Triple Dog Dare you to try it during Monday Night Football).

Whoever you are, beware - my baby's daddy is coming home on Saturday and then I shall have WITNESSES.

September 7, 2006

What's that about the early bird?

This morning, I woke up to the sound of the marching band - DAMN! Too late. A few days before the Johnson County parade, the junior high marching band near us gets in a little bit of practice. I was so bummed that Arun didn't get to see them walk by the house. While we will be going to the parade this Saturday, I still wish he could have seen them walk by our house on our street. The marching band was one of the first things I discovered when we moved into this house. We had just moved in and I was getting ready for work and heard the distant boom boom da boom boom of the bass drum that still, to this day, hits me hard in the chest with lovely memories of my own band days.

Come to think of it, it's been TWO years since we moved into this house. I'll never forget that freaky feeling of sitting in my living room and realizing it was ours. You see, the Previous Owner was a former manager of mine. When I worked at Ernst and Young with him, I would frequently whip by to drop off workpapers for signing. Often, we were traveling or at different client sites, but yet we both lived in Olathe so it was more convenient than meeting in the office. Later, I worked with him at the Federal Reserve Bank and that is when he flippantly said, "Hey, wanna buy a house?" While the working and personal relationship with him eventually turned sour, getting this house was worth it. However, for the first 6 months or so, I did NOT feel comfortable in this house. It had been HIS house, the house was TOO big, and for sure, the nicest house I had ever lived in. It took me awhile to reconcile myself to all of that. But now? I love it here. While it's not my dream house, it is my dream home and in the end, that's what really matters.

Last night, when we went to pick up our veggies from the CSA, the Kansas City Star was there to take pictures for a story that has been in process for a few months now. We happened to be actually working at the farm when the reporter had come to do the story part of the piece, so it will be interesting to see if they make the connection. I feel bad when they asked all the questions, because we already know we won't be doing it again next year. Is it a great idea? YES. Is it cool to support two very cool, dedicated, honest, hardworking, LOCAL farmers? YES. Were the fresh veggies better tasting than the mass-produced ones at the grocery store? YES. Omigod, YES. Very few cherry tomatoes even made it back to the house because I would eat them the whole way home. So why won't we be signing up again? In short, for our situation, it just didn't really work out that well. It was very inconvenient when we were traveling a lot. Also, there were some weeks that I wasn't going into Kansas City, then I would remember I needed to do the veggie pickup. It didn't help that we primarily cook Indian at home - there were quite a few things we received that I just had NO idea how to convert it into something Indianesque. Something else that was a downer is that since we were already getting veggies from the CSA, there was no compelling incentive to go to any other farmer's markets and I miss that. And finally, we LIKE to eat out. It's not a matter of convenience for us, we don't do fast food, but rather, we like trying new restaurants, new foods, etc. For example, Sunday evening, we drove around Kansas City for awhile just finding someplace to eat, but that was part of the fun. So, it will be hard when I tell the farmers we won't be signing up again this year - they are very cool people. The only thing that helps me feel better is that I know they have a long ass waiting list.

Anyway, the big thing happening this week is that we had some major lawn work done, so my big nemesis this week has been keeping that fucker WATERED. What a pain in the ass - I have mentioned we are not The Yardleys, but I did convince X that we needed to pony up the $$$$ to get the lawn in shape. It's an investement, right? He's out of town this week, so I have been doing all the watering. Because of the weird shape of our lawn, I have to set the damned sprinklers in EIGHT different positions, but of course, we only have TWO sprinklers. Also, it's pretty muddy doing all the watering, I keep forgetting where I have left shoes, so there are shoes everywhere around the house now - back door, front door, and a few in the garage. So, that's what I have been up to - running around, adjusting sprinklers. At first, Arun cried whenever we got wet but now, I am getting better at getting in there and moving them without too much sprayage AND now he is laughing when we do get wet. It's all good, I suppose. I have to admit that I still giggle when I get sprayed.

September 6, 2006

Who needs a vacuum when you have a baby?

Seriously. Our carpet has never been cleaner. I figure it’s all Montessori-like to let him practice his fine motor skills, anyway. I'm doing him a favor, right? And of course, everytime he picks something up, I’m all, “Babycakes, you did it! Good job! Thank you!” It’s only polite, after all.

The past weekend was a nice, relaxing one wrapped up in a lovely gossamer of Nothingness. The best kind, frankly. We spent most of the weekend reading, hanging out, getting good food, awesome coffee and playing with Arun.
The weather has been SO gorgeous lately, we went to the park nearly every day the past week. Early on in the spring, we discovered via our GPS a great park near our subdivision. Although it's mere blocks away from us, we would have never found it had it not been for the GPS as it's not near any major crossroads. However, that is precisely what makes it so awesome - it's a fairly large park, but is primarily used by just the neighborhood kids (when the sun goes down, it's so awesome to hear all the mothers yelling for their kids to come home. Ahhhh, the memories!) Anyway, as a bonus, it's a great convergence of all of Arun's current favorite things - dogs, swings, other kids, planes, cars, bikes. Lately, Arun's newest thing is when we are at home and he hears a plane go by, he looks out the BACK door - not sure why he's looking out the back door, but he knows now what a plane is and he is completely in awe of them. All because of the park. You'd think he would have caught on to the whole concept of "air travel" by now, considering the six plane trips we took this year, but um, no. This is a fairly recent "discovery". Too cute. Also, his problem solving skills are kicking into high gear and honestly? I LOVE just watching him play with his bazillion Craptastic Plastic toys, trying to figure out HOW THEY WORK and what the FUCK those buttons are for. Throw in a glass of wine? Who needs television?? ahem

Anyway, I used the weekend to finish up some books AND got through a big ole stack of magazines. I am pretty caught up now on my reading and that sly, slip of a thing Kate Hudson and her Butterscotch Stallion, Owen Wilson (at least you can see HIS FACE, eh?). I haven't done a Rancid Read for awhile because other than Shopgirl by Steve Martin, I hadn't read anything worth mentioning (although, I guess I should mention that the MOVIE really, REALLY sucked. Book? Beautiful, poetic, haunting. Movie? SUCKED!!). Anyway, I hesitate to post negative reviews anymore because what if I turn someone off of a book that they might have liked? Example, I really, really did NOT enjoy Snowflower and the Secret Fan, but I know that Goofy Girl liked the book, so who am I to declare something unreadable, right? Anyway, this is why in the future, I will only be posting about things that I like. Also, I am now in between books! Usually, I am flitting from book to book because of the two book clubs that I am in. So, being between books rarely happens and when it does, it's so very cool. I love the anticipation of just thinking about what I can read next - I am perusing my "UnRead" collection carefully, - since I don't have another book club meeting for two weeks (that one is Under the Banner of Heaven: A Story of Violent Faith by Jon Krakauer), I think I will read some FUN things for a change..... I am thinking something by Jane Green since I haven't had any Brit Lit for awhile.

Rancid Reads: In a week's time, I finished off THREE books that had been hanging around, half-read, complaining pitifully that they were incomplete. I read America's Women by Gail Collins (a non-fiction piece that chronicles the history of women in America since colonial times. A book that had a lot of sluggish parts, but it was worth slogging through them. She covers the big names in history, but includes many little names, too. After reading this, you will have a really good feel for what it was like to be an American woman throughout our history. One downside? Heavily slanted towards white women, although she gives great historical due to immigrant women.) I read Assassination Vacation by Sarah Vowell (This is a difficult book to explain, but since Average Jane practically shoved in my hands and commanded that I read it, I knew it must be worth the effort. It WAS. Basically, this author takes many, wacky vacations surrounding all the particulars of the first three presidential assassinations. Her acute political and cultural observations (both historical AND pop) are interesting and at times, HILARIOUS.) Also, I finally, FINALLY finished The Cider House Rules by John Irving (a fiction piece that is too complicated to get into here - in a nutshell, it is an epic saga of an orphan who struggles with the topics of adoption and abortion AND ultimately, Love itself, on so many very, very different levels. Suffice it to say, Irving is such a stunning, masterful storyteller that he had me at page 40. It was a book that made me think ALL THE WAY through and more than once, I was grabbing tissues or thinking to myself "Damn. That's powerful." I had a hard time reading this book because the whole topic of abortion and orphans and adoption and BABIES NOT BEING WANTED just cracks my heart. Sigh.)

Anyway, not much else has been going on. As I reported last Monday, I am anxiously waiting for the Tivo Series 3 launch, so the Tivo Tension is pretty high right. When I know exactly what the price is going to be, then Serious Negotiations can begin - X won't even discuss it until we know a price. A PRICE. Regardless, we are going back to Tivo, but we are waiting for the Series 3 because it has HD. Anyway, to recap - I've already ponied up Christmas 2006 and Birthday 2007, but X doesn't know that Mother's Day 2007 is UP MY SLEEVE. I still think it is funny that we are going BACK to Tivo, but when I was at my mom's on Monday playing with our old Tivo that we had passed on to her, I couldn't help but get excited. Let the games begin..............

Anyway, here is some Simian Snappage.............

I'm Sorry, Babycakes. So very, very sorry.

The Hair. Yo! It taketh OVER........ SO, I thought I would try out a beauty school. Um, yeah. ME. The same sucker who falls for the name brands of Gymboree and Robeez went to a BEAUTY SCHOOL for a haircut to save a total of FOUR bucks. People, I'm an idiot. As evidenced by the next picture.

Haircut #6

This picture does NOT even BEGIN to do this Bad Haircut justice. I will try to get a better angle on the Horror that is now his Hair so that I may fully demonstrate my Stupidity. Because truly, I am Stupid. Hopefully, there will be enough time for it to grow out before his birthday, pleaseohpleaseohPLEASE.