August 27, 2008

What the hell is going on here?

As said by Arun the other evening. At Blockbuster. At the checkout counter. I was fairly impressed with his delivery, the checkout clerk was not. I was a bit confused. Should I sternly admonish Arun? Smother my laughter? Look embarrassed? Say a quick Hail Mary?

In the end, I just simply blamed his father. That worked for everyone involved and X was none the wiser.

So, my experiment with going off-line has been working out quite well. Except, now my Bloglines account is bellowing huge clouds of black smoke. My inbox is over-run. I am behind on my usability testing for FoodieBytes. The Rancid Raves sheep are looking a little thin and in desperate need of a fresh shearing. And good gravy, I even made a quick phone call to Goofy Girl today because it was faster than sending an email.

I am not much of a phone person these days. I prefer my conversations to not be interrupted by children or spouses. So, for my working friends, I am always at a loss when to call them. And I used to be the type to spend hours on the phone with my gal pals. Of course, I also used to be the type to finish off half a pack of cigarettes while on the phone. Some things have improved, at least.

Anyway, time off-line has meant more time spent on-line with the kids. Arun is nearly finished with his dissertation, The ABCs of the Phoenicians. And we have been working on Anjali's walking skillz. All we need to do is doctor up her passport real good and she will be ready for the 2016 Olympics.

Time off-line has also given me time to think..... In particular, Scribbit posted a link to a great article titled "Remember 'Go outside and play'?" It includes such wonderful quotes as:
All in all, "going out to play" worked out well for kids. As the American Academy of Pediatrics' Dr. Kenneth Ginsburg testified to Congress in 2006, "Play allows children to create and explore a world they can master, conquering their fears while practicing adult roles. ... Play helps children develop new competencies ... and the resiliency they will need to face future challenges." But here's the catch: Those benefits aren't realized when some helpful adult is hovering over kids the whole time.

Thirty years ago, the "going out to play" culture coexisted with other culturally sanctioned forms of independence for even very young children: Kids as young as 6 used to walk to school on their own, for instance, or take public buses or -- gulp -- subways. And if they lived on a school bus route, their mommies did not consider it necessary to escort them to the bus stop every morning and wait there with them.
........We parents have sold ourselves a bill of goods when it comes to child safety. Forget the television fear-mongering: Your child stands about the same chance of being struck by lightning as of being the victim of what the Department of Justice calls a "stereotypical kidnapping." And unless you live in Baghdad, your child stands a much, much greater chance of being killed in a car accident than of being seriously harmed while wandering unsupervised around your neighborhood.

One of the things that I really like about our house is the neighborhood. In particular, the kids across the street are outside all the time - if it is not too hot, too cold or too wet, they are outside. No joke - these kids do the following in their driveway and front yard: basketball, golf, football, soccer, rollerblades, kickball, baseball, skateboard, biking, scootering, hockey and some odd contraption that is like a skateboard except that it can "twist around" in the middle. Arun totally looks up to these boys and they are so patient with him, coming over to show him their various sports equipment. When they upgraded their basketball hoop, the older boy wanted to give Arun the old basketball hoop, which thrilled Arun to no end. I love that Arun looks up to these kids. As such, we spend a lot of time outside in our front yard.

At this point, we send Arun to the backyard quite a bit unsupervised. And I do see him going out in the front yard alone maybe as early as next summer. The saddest thing is that I am more afraid of something calling DCFS than of Arun getting hurt.

I hate that we live in this kind of world.

August 21, 2008

Who is Jake?

Again, with the bulletry....... Bang. Bang.
  • Be sure to comment on this post if you would like to be entered for the Sleep is for the Weak giveaway. The deadline is Midnight, CDT.
  • One of the secrets to my sanity is having a few hours, even if on a weekly basis, to myself. Last week, our babysitter came for the last time - she is moving away to go to college. I have had a babysitter since Arun was 5 weeks old and this is the first time we are attempting to go without one. I am going to work around the system by going to my mom's, but that is a bit of a drive, so we may be on the hunt for another babysitter after awhile. For now, though, it works. I drop the kids off at my mom's and then head to a tea shop in downtown Lawrence. I really do like having just 2 hours a week to sit alone and knit while listening to my iPod. It totally recharges my spirit.
  • I was nervous about "admitting" we do not have permanent gates on our stairs. Folks are really, really weird about that sort of thing. We get the old Squinty Eye ALL THE TIME about it. We do have a jury-rigged gate at the bottom, on the 4th step. This really works well because Anju can learn how to go up and down quite safely - even if she falls, she does not get hurt. You see, my version of baby safety is on a Injury vs. Death scale. If something could result in a broken arm or other minor injury, then I generally allow it. If it is an activity that could result in death (say, cliff diving, playing with black widow spiders or eating raw chicken) then that activity is strictly forbidden. Would I be thrilled to bits if Arun broke an arm? Of course not! But I also want to raise children who are not afraid to explore their world and to try new things.
  • I discovered this the other night - give your kid colored construction paper and a pair of scissors. Let him Go To Town cutting that paper into confetti. Entertainment Mileage = 1 hour, minimum. Then, give him a freshly charged Dust Buster and let him Go To Town vacuuming. Entertainment Mileage = 15 minutes or until the battery needs recharging. The other night, we got about 2 hours of Entertainment Mileage out of cutting up paper. He spent a good 30 minutes flying paper rockets to the moon that I cut out for him. Anyway, surely, I am not the first parent to have thought of the Confetti/Dustbuster Hack! Otherwise, I would be tempted to actually submit it to Parent Hacks.
  • Quick Story: When one of my friend's daughter says "drink", it sounds like she is saying "Jake". So, one evening, my friend's husband inquires rather suspiciously "Who is JAKE? " My friend and I had a good laugh over that. Like my friend would even have time to take on another lover. What? Between the hours of 2pm-4pm? And only then, if all the stars align just so and her children go to sleep at the same time. What sort of guy would take sloppy seconds with that sort of timing involved?

August 20, 2008

Why does McDonald's not sell hotdogs?

I have always wondered. Why? Would it truly be that difficult to steam up some buns and dogs? I think not.

So, I suspect overall this little slice in my life will be remembered as one of the best periods in my life ever. It is all pretty good right now. Maybe it is the meds? The gin and tonic recipe that I have perfected? Or just the fact that I am one incredibly blessed beyotch who has it really, really good? Nah. Surely, it could not be that.

However, it could be this:
  • The weather has been fabulous lately - I was too sick to enjoy it last week, but this week, I am making up for that. We went to the Deanna Rose Farm yesterday, today we are doing a park. I am thinking we will do the zoo tomorrow. Since this is Kansas, we probably have at least one more heat wave before fall hits, so I want to enjoy this nice weather while it is still here.
  • I cannot express enough how much I am enjoying these kids right now. Yesterday, I was downstairs doing something and noticed Anjali taking off up the stairs to follow Arun. Later, when I went upstairs, they were both at the train table, pushing trains around and "choo-choo-chooing" to their little hearts' content. And yes, you read that correctly - we let Anjali go up the stairs (but not down, she does not know how to do that yet.). I am a firm believer in teaching our kids how to do something, instead of preventing them from doing something. And I do not think everyone needs to feel this way, but I hope folks respect my wishes for my own children and lay off on the trollish comments.
  • Someone asked how many words Anjali has right now. She only has about 13 and then a variety of animal noises. She attempts to repeat just about everything we try to get her to say, but I do not count those as words until she actually uses them - I think my favorite Pete Repeat Word is "Polly Pocket" - she says something along the lines of "papa-cut".
  • I am reading two great books right now - Eclipse, #3 of the Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer (downstairs book) and Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood (upstairs book). And yes, I do have an Upstairs Book and a Downstairs Book because I am far too lazy to be toting books all over the house. So, I just read whatever book happens to be on whatever floor I happen to be on. The Twilight series is a total Gimme read - easy and entertaining (even sans Hot Vampire Sex.) Alias Grace has been a little more difficult - I did not hit The Hook until about page 100, but Atwood is one of my favorite authors, so I stick with her no matter what because a life goal of mine is to read every single thing she has ever written. And Atwood rarely disappoints as a reward for perseverance. (John Irving is another author who I intend to read everything he has written.)
  • I finished an adorable pumpkin hat and am now working on another twisted rib hat. I love, love this pattern and I love, love Berocco Comfort yarn.
  • Mad Men is very awesome this season. That show is a such visual feast for the eyes. And, furthermore, I have worked in so many state and quasi-governmental agencies that our furniture was always outdated, even for the 90s and beyond. Therefore, our furniture was all 60s era, but was rather beat-up and tired. To see all that same furniture and office setups so very brand new and shiny, is such a treat for me. I cannot help but snicker and giggle as I point out to X which pieces I had that were similar. Speaking of Mad Men, I need to point out that some of the best commentary is happening over at Alan Sepinwall's coverage of Mad Men, Season 2 - be sure to read the comments as well - he has a thoughtful core of folks going there to put their 2 pennies in on every episode.
  • Anjali just walked across the living room. Sigh. Life does not get much better than that - watching a child accomplish an important goal (to them) and witnessing their unadulterated glee as they do so.
It seems that just yesterday I was a mother to a baby and a toddler. Now? I have a toddler and a preschooler.

Hold me, Internet. HOLD ME.

August 18, 2008

Can I brush my teeth?

A Giveway!
First and very foremost - I am giving away a copy of Sleep is for the Weak. I bought it at the book signing at BlogHer, but unfortunately, due to a variety of distractions, was only able to get autographs from Amalah, Motherhood Uncensored, Not Calm (dot com). Oh sure, I suppose I could sign it, too. However, I fear that may devalue the poor thing. Anyway - this giveaway is open to residents of the US and the rules are simple:
Comment on this post by Thursday, August 21st, Midnight (CDT) and I will draw someone at random.

I have not been doing much mommyblogging lately, I realize. I think I was just worn out from so much of the negativity that has been directed towards those of us who dare to pimp our children's eternal souls, not to mention privacy, in lieu of having nothing better to talk about. So here you go - a post about my kids.

I Am MommyBlogger, Hear Me Brag
Okay.... So the question for today?? I hear this about 4-5 times a day. No kidding, joking, or joshing. Arun has always loved to brush his teeth. At first, I wrote it off to teething. Then, I wrote it off to that he liked the toothpaste. Now? I have to accept that my child is simply odd. He does not even want the Sparkly Fun toothpaste any longer. Hell, no. He wants the Minty Fresh tartar control stuff. One must have dental standards. Is my kid the only kid in the universe who likes to brush his teeth? Come on - 'fess up. You only hear about the kids who hate brushing their teeth.

Now. New Topic. What I am about to write, I have not really written about this before. I was fearful of coming across as an unrealistic braggart. Even more so, I was afraid of jinxing myself. So, here goes......Arun is an easy kid. Really, really easy. *gulp* You know those public tantrums that you always hear about where kids flail and kick and create general mayhem and the parents are mortified? We rarely get those. No, make that "never get those". Once in awhile, if he wakes up from a nap too early, he will cry uncontrollably and stomp his feet a bit. But rarely do we ever get full on, Category 5 tantrums. Yes, I do get embarrassing episodes at Target from his screaming, but those are happy screams. Which is almost worse. What the hell do you do about Happy Screams to make them stop? Make the kid UNhappy? And no, he is not perfect, he does push my buttons All the Damned Time. But overall? He is easily mollified when he does not get his way.

Why do I mention this now? Well, the only reason I am comfortable admitting that my kid has been easy thus far is because in the past month or so, he has increasingly become UNeasier. I am beginning to experience Defiance and Attitude from him. Which is quite shocking to us. Who is this kid and who the hell does he think is with all these Instructions, Directions and Demands? So yes. The Twos were not so Terrible for us, but I am bracing for the Threes, which seem to barreling at us like a freight train.

And to add to all this, Anjali is already shaping up to be a stronger personality than Arun ever was. So, she will be hitting the 18 month mark (when the Terrible Twos actually begin) just as Arun is in the throes of the exerting his plan for world domination. Sadly, his current regime is monocratic and does not appear to need a running partner, so I expect lots of fun times to be had as Anjali attempts to get in the mix. The most difficult part about Arun right now is that his language skills have exploded lately, which is really cool except that these new skills also include some twisted, bizarre logic that only a pre-schooler could dream up. Arun is getting really good with pitching out "reasons" for a variety of situations that range from "reasons" for why he cannot help me pick up toys to "reasons" why he needs a milkshake today. Fortunately, most of this activity from him is still firmly camped in Too Cute for Words territory, so X and I are having quite a few laughs over Arun's antics. I do not look forward to when these antics turn more serious.

The main side benefit in this recent turn in Arun's personality is that his imagination is going gangbusters. Giving him some construction paper and scissors is just as much fun for me, as it is for him. Playing pretend makes me giggle just as much as he does. My favorite is when he lists a whole string of activities that we are going to do today "We going to eat breakfast, go to the beach, go to the zoo, go see trains. Yay! That's what we going to do today! Yay!" Within reason, I sometimes go along with his plans, if we can. One day, he wanted to go to the moon and obviously, that one did not really work for me. And while he always retains a firm affection for all things Spider and Trains, he has recently been particularly obsessed with rockets, robots and monsters and the PBS show WordWorld.

He has been off from school for the month of August. While I know he is excited to go back to school (he keeps talking about his friends and how he is changing classrooms and how excited he is to have Miss J as his new teacher), it has been nice having him every day. However, pre-school has been so wonderful for him - it is just 2 days a week, but he loves it . He has definitely been getting more antsy this past week, so I know he will be ready when September rolls around.

And Anjali? She is an utter delight these days. Walking and talking, she is all over the house, commenting on everything as she toddles by. The talking is the part that amazes us. Of course, it is perfectly normal for a 13 month old to have so many words already, but Arun was such a late talker, this is new stuff for us. I am grateful that she is taking to The Talking so readily - she is already showing such a strong personality and gets so easily frustrated when she wants something that I am hoping her being able to communicate will help her.

Music is still her Thing and that stupid ABC song is shaping out to be her favorite song. Argh. I guess it is worth watching her try to sing it, but still, that song is not very fun to sing........ I will be taking her to our library's rhyme time next month. It seems just last year I was taking Arun to that. Oh wait - I was taking Arun to that last year. Anyway, I really love this particular library's rhyme time - the songs are better and the group is smaller than another rhyme time I had gone to.

I was telling my doctor yesterday that I wish I could bottle up this time right now to save for later (well, except for this damned chest cold I am fighting.) We are in a nice little lull with both kids - they are both still relatively easy-going and are so much damned fun. The past few weeks have been so sweet - I just feel that I cannot soak up enough of them. I love doing things with them, lounging on the floor reading books, playing with toys, rolling around on the bed under the blanket playing hide n' seek. The time with them seems so fleeting and I am afraid of missing something or not appreciating it enough.

Speaking of which, I need to turn off the television and get these little creeps to the Deanna Rose farm.

August 15, 2008

If it's not snot, then what is it?

Way back when, during my heady days of Armchair Parenting, a friend came to visit with her kids. One of them had a runny nose, and I uttered the dreaded word...... S**T! A look of disgust came across her face and she coolly informed me that "I don't like that word "snot". We call them "crusties", instead." While I could have argued that her word was far grosser, I kept my mouth shut. Now that I am safely encamped on the actual playing field of parenting? It is SNOT, folks. Nothing else around here. Snot, snot, snot, snot. There, I said it. Sue me.

Anyway, at BlogHer, I came across a free sample of BoogieWipes (In short, these things feature moisturizers and saline, which go a long way in helping with the mucus and preventing irritated snouts after multiple swipes. ) Normally, I would think this sort of thing is silly and a waste of money. And I really do not care for cutesy words like "boogie" unless it is used as a verb and involves someone's ass, preferably my own. But hey - a free sample is just that - free. However, I was wrong. These things rock. And they rock hard. Seriously -Anju leans in for a nose wipe and hell's bells - Arun wipes his own nose. And And that? Is worth the price of admission to purchase these things. I know some folks use actual baby wipes for that purpose, but I never cared for that. Baby wipes are meant for my kid's butt, not their nose. However, I cannot find them in Kansas City and had to buy them online instead. Hurry now, shipping is currently free! And note, I have bought these myself. I paid money for them. Because they are worth it.

So......Thus far, I have not had to cut as many blogs as I thought. I am going to keep the current number of feeds and give it a go next week. I think I just need to be more organized with my time, that is all. I will say this - Tweetersville? Has been a sanity saver. I stay offline via the computer, but still am able to text message my Tweets, which helps me get my ramblings out of my system, without having to actually crack open the laptop.

Our Mac situation is downright frightful. Oh sure, everything looks so pretty now, but when I re-imported all my photos? I ended up nearly 19,000 photos in my library. That is it - no albums, no tags, titles, nothing. Just 19,000 photos just sitting there and desperately pleading to be organized. I have not even began rebuilding iTunes.

I am still totally sucked into the Twilight series. Now, do not get me wrong. This stuff is certainly not high literature. Hardly. But it is fun, easy and intriguing. And, I have always loved me a good vampire story (as evidenced by my own small attempt at one in my high school freshman English class. Sure, I got an A on the story, but oddly enough, Little, Brown Book Group did not approach me and instead gunned for Stephenie Meyer. ) Besides, as someone who rabidly followed the adventures of Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield, who am I to judge? I would certainly rather that Anjali read the Twilight series than the Sweet Valley High series. The one disappointment about the Twilight series is that I have yet to encounter any hot vampire sex. I have heard I need to turn to Anne Rice for that sort of action. Is that true? If so, sign me up! Where do I start her stuff?

Anyway, I can report (with the rest of the world, it seems) that the Twilight series is highly satisfying. As an added bonus, it is so very easy to pick it up, read 20 or so pages, put it down, wipe a nose or a butt, then pick it back up, read another 20 pages or so, put it down, break up a fist fight, then pick it back up, read another another 20 pages or so, put it down, throw some raw meat in the kids' directions, then pick it back up, read another 20 pages or so, put it down, restart the "robot" episode of WordWorld for the 20th time, then pick it back up.

You get the idea.

How the hell did the Prairie People get any reading done with out television?

August 13, 2008

If your kid refuses to take a nap, are they guilty of resisting a rest?

I am pounding out this post while Arun sleeps and Elmo entertains Anjali. These days, rarely do I ever get two kids sleeping at the same time. I remember a time when the lack of congruent nap times used to frustrate me to no end. Now, I have merely accepted it as my lot in life. Anyway, I have mostly been sick this week- some weird cold that is going around.

The most exciting thing to happen this week is that this morning I caught a house centipede and a giant house spider, then stuck them in Arun's bug bucket. Arthropod vs. Arachnid, ultimate fighting machines. Let the cage match begin. Hmmmm. That was fairly quick. RIP, house centipede.

In other news, our Mac is possessed. Originally, I was going to do a cheater post of just pictures but when I went to download them, I immediately noticed the Mac was sporting a totally New Look. Granted, it was a far prettier Look that the Old Look , but it was also one that did not include any of my old photos or music. Obviously, some sort of update has happened, which is eerie because I did not do the update and X never uses the Mac. Bah. Anyway, I located the old files buried and am working on rebuilding everything.

So. Um.

It seems that I spend way too much time online. I have been trying as of late to decrease my online time. Yes, it has been much harder than I thought it would be. However, it is apparent to me what a huge black hole of Time Suck being online can be. Lately, I have been knitting a storm (finished a twisted-rib hat, started another one), reading the Twilight series (on New Moon right now), watching television (the Olympics, Mad Men, Project Runway) and teaching the kids the elementary fundamentals of quantum physics.

Truthfully, the state of my sanity has appreciated the lack of online time. There has been so much negativity and infighting these last few months, it has been good for me to back away from it. And, I need to step it a bit further with the backing away. I would like to keep up with my current 3-4 posts per week because that is fairly cathartic for me. But the reading? I will need to decrease the amount that I am reading currently. If it seems that I am not reading your site much, please do not take it personally. Please. I am just trying to figure out another sort of scheduling that works best for us right now.

It is crazy how addictive this blogging thing can get. It is a damned shame there is no sort of rehab or methadone.

August 10, 2008

Who's counting?

Four years ago, I published my very first post on this wee blog. The most accurate way to re-cap the past four years?

It has been fun.

That's all. Although, to indulge my Inner Maudlin, I will say this: I had no idea that writing would become such a creative, cathartic outlet for me - I was merely jumping on a bandwagon that looked entertaining (hence, the subtitle "The Outdated Drivel of a Pop Culture Sheep".) I also love, love play on words and the oft-scorned writing technique of alliteration, which led to the blog title "Rancid Raves" (aka Rants and Raves.) A special thanks goes to Average Jane and Surrender, Dorothy. Your forays into the Blogosphere inspired me to begin my own and I am forever grateful that I began blogging.

To this day, my favorite posts are the ones celebrating my children's milestone birthdays (Arun's six month and one year posts. Then, just last month, Anjali's first year post.) I hope they appreciate my humor someday and end up with that important ability to laugh at themselves. For truly, if they cannot laugh at themselves, they cannot laugh at others. That is the Golden Rule, is it not?

To celebrate, I am taking a page from Caro's book and requesting that you leave me a gift. What is a favorite post of yours from your own site? I have been the recipient of some thoughtful Linky Love this past week, now it is your turn.

August 6, 2008

Why the hell would someone go jogging in a black hoodie in the middle of August in Kansas?

Seriously, folks. This afternoon, I was at a park with the kids enjoying lunch. In the car, with the A/C on because it is so flippin' hot. I look at the window and see a guy get out of his car, do a couple of stretches, then put on a black, long-sleeved hoodie. Then, he takes off jogging. Suspicious? Maybe. Maybe not. Regardless, I took down his license plate info.

I have some linkage today......

First, Goofy Girl has the most hilarious footage of her new son. You would never guess that just a few short weeks ago, he was in Russia and now, he's already here in the States, totally stylin' and profilin'. Word out, yo. Anyway...... if you need a bit of laughter to jumpstart your afternoon, then I highly suggest heading over there to check it out (watch very closely for his prowess with the eyebrow action). This is definitely safe for work, that is, if it is acceptable behaviour in your place of employment for you to roll out of your chair with maniacal laughter.

Second, Suburban Turmoil has a great post on the general public's perception of what bad parenting may or may not be. Bah. In short, she turned her back on her 4 year old for an instant in an ice cream shop and an little old biddy totally dressed her down for it. I do let Arun get out of eyeshot and arm's reach quite often. And yep, I know folks are judging. I have to hold firm that I am doing the best to raise my children to not be afraid of their world. In general, folks who are easily frightened accomplish very little in their lives. I want more than that for my children. I want them to embrace their world for all that it holds - the good and the bad. Yes, people suck. But I would rather my kids not grow cynical quite yet. That is what college is for, no?

Third, as I am now a part of the BlogHer ad network, I did set up a review site called The Queen of the Free Bees. I have reviewed a book in the post titled The Buzz on "The Pregnancy Instruction Manual" by Sarah Jordan. In short, if I review something here on Rancid Raves you can be assured that I either received the item as a personal gift or that I paid for it myself. If I review it on the Free Bees site, then you know that it is something that I received for free specifically for my reviewing pleasure.

August 5, 2008

Can I confess?

That some days, I want to hop in my car and escape far, far away to a coffee shop and spend the whole day knitting something very, very complicated that requires counting stitches and absolute concentration?

That, conversely, I am looking forward to August with Arun being out of school for the month? Besides, it will be nice to have him all to myself and not have to schedule around his school days.

That I am a wee bit obsessed with the whole Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt thing? Yes, I totally feed the paparazzi and I am duly ashamed of my behaviour.

That I am jealous of those naked bloggers who totally lay bare their souls on their sites? I wish I could write those sorts of things and get them out of my system, but I feel restricted by my family's privacy.

That I listen to Dr. Laura nearly every day? While I disagree wholeheartedly with her stance on gays and lesbians, I do agree with her general principles regarding family and marriage.

That my very favorite cheeseburger of all is a simple McDonald's cheeseburger? However, hold the ketchup! Sugaring up a bunch of pureed tomatoes ruins a perfectly good burger. Bleh.

That I love, love buying my kids toys? This one really sucks because obviously, I am going to have reign myself in. Otherwise, I will end up with two very spoiled brats.

That I like Spongebob Squarepants? I feel as if I should turn in my Mom Card on this one. *gulp*

That I have trouble getting Anjali to sleep? X puts her to bed each night, so they have a routine down that I cannot, for the life of me, replicate. And yes, naptime is hell. Is this where I mention that X has to work really late tonight, so I am on my own with her bedtime routine?

That I have fallen off the wagon in regard to my Coke habit? I am managing to keep myself to about one can a day, but I really feel I should do another soda fast.

Okay, lay it on me, people of the Blue Nowhere. What is darkening your soul these days?

August 4, 2008

What if one good turn does not deserve another?

Over the years on this wee speck of a blog, I have expressed my undying love for boardgames and card games. To that end, I recently purchased some games for Arun. These past few days have found us embroiled in the seamy politics of Candyland *, establishing a sympathetic stance for the migrant worker's plight in Hi Ho! Cherry-O**, and simulating the corporate environment with hearty rounds of Chutes and Ladders ***. All these games followed the very same path. The 1st round of each game found me getting misty-eyed. Look at us, playing games! Together! My baby is all growed up! The 20th round? I put my Master's degree-worthy multi-tasking skillz to task by checking Twitter and email as I simultaneously pushed multi-colored pawns around. I am totally rocking this parenting gig, believe you me.

Game ON.
In addition to this closet full of board games, I also happen to own 21 decks of cards.  This is not including specialty decks such as Skip-Bo, Rook and Canasta Caliente.  The reason I own so many decks is for a variety of canastas and to be able to play such gems as Nerts.  My most prized board game is the Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice boardgame.  One of the things I miss most about my heady Kid Free days is Game Night, an evening spent hanging out with my girlfriends, drinking wine and playing games with a ruthless, relentless fervor to WIN.  Damn straight, my kids better like to play games or they may have to find new homes.

In other news, it appears that I in possession of two children and henceforth, must begin purchasing two of everything lest these kids be required to learn how to the take turns. The horrors! I know. Oh sure, I expected that eventually they would begin fighting over things, but I certainly did not expect it to happen so very soon. So, yes, we are now a Two Laser Gun household. Woe is me.

Also, I am feeling sort of sheepish this morning. You see, I gripe and I groan and I grouse and I grumble about my lack of Free Time and how these children are sucking every last ounce of it. But then, I somehow manage to finish the 1st of the Twilight Saga over this past weekend. All 500 pages of it. So, apparently, I am a lying liar who lies. This, however, is not a lie. I will be subjecting my local Borders to the sight of my lily white ass in a SWIMSUIT today because I must, MUST, have the 2nd book to begin during naptime today. And the only time to get it is to swing by on our way to the wading pool. Priorities, people.

*As a cautionary tale against centuries of inbreeding, King Kandy, Princess Frostine and Lord Licorice most definitely all serve as appropriate, stellar examples.

** César Chávez action figure not included.

** * Thankfully, without requirements documents, status reports and glass ceilings.

Since I have not sacrificed my children's privacy for awhile, I present some Simian Snappage for your ogling pleasure. Enjoy.

1st Haircut
She smiled the entire time. I am not holding my breath that this will happen again the next time we cut her hair.

New Haircut
After straying dangerously close to the border of Rat's Nest, she is firmly camped back into Mop-Headed Territory.

An Inkling of the Girl to Become
This photo sorta creeped me out because I felt like I was seeing the future.

Eating Macaroons

Temperamental Artist

August 1, 2008

What the hell are you supposed to do if you see an endangered animal eating an endangered plant?

Note: Cloth Diaper Mamas is hosting a Baby RingSling giveaway which ends Sunday at midnight - check it out!

Sadly, my carbon footprint is worthy of a sasquatch. Furthermore, I am fairly certain that cloth diapers are against my religion (that is my story and I am so stickin' to it.) However, I realize there are those who dwell among us that love the earth more than I do. My hats off to you. Feel free to pelt me with bales of hemp. I deserve it.

That said, the movie Wall-E did affect me in profound ways. Have you ever been to a landfill? I have - many, many times. As a child, we lived in the country where there was no trash pickup. We burned all paper products, saved all food scraps for the chickens, and everything else was collected in trash bags and stored in an outbuilding. About once a year, my dad would load the pickup truck and we would go to our county's landfill. Those profound experiences have never, ever left me and I will ensure that my own children visit a landfill every now and then. Because of those experiences, I am a faithful recycler - my community has recycling centers that are free. We even have a curbside recycling service that only costs a mere 2 bucks a month, yet hardly anyone on my block uses it! I love, love recycling - if I pick up something recyclable while I am out and about, I will even take it home to recycle. Arun is already in on the action and knows that cans and certain bottles go in the garage, not the trash, which thrills me.

However, I still have a long ways to go in my recycling and efforts at reducing trash - I attempt to use as few bags as possible for my produce (I throw it directly in the cart) and I am trying to use cloth bags. I suck at remembering to take them into the store, though. Must work on that. I am also making the effort to NOT get a bag when I leave a store. Yesterday, when I bought my copy of Twilight, I carried it out of the store sans bag. Considering that I immediately cracked open the book while still in the car, the bag would have been superfluous anyway.

Okay....okay.......Truthfully? If I could do it all over again, I would have done a hybrid cloth diapering system (cloth at home, disposable while out and about.) I could never justify cloth via costs, though. We belong to Costco and even with two adorable Poop Machines, I do not spend more than $50 a month diapers.

So those are my teeny, tiny, minuscule efforts at being a responsible world citizen.

What are yours?