Monday, June 29, 2009


So, if I hadn't dawdled around and had uploaded a post about our freaking awesome zoo trip last night I could have talked about some other stuff tonight. Like how Elizabeth helped me make cupcakes and how I taught both girls to hang spoons on their noses and how I cut Lilli's hair for the first time. And it actually looks decent!

Instead, I give you- The Zoo Trip Recap!

This was the Tampa Zoo. It was rated number 1 in the US by Parenting Magazine. Or Parents. One of the two. I not only read the original article (it still could have been either magazine, I get them both), but it was proudly displayed multiple places in the zoo. I can see it though. It was definitely family friendly. Especially for size- big enough to have a lot of great experiences and sights for kids, but not so big to be overwhelming. We had intended to go just on Saturday, but we had purchased a summer pass (ended up being cheaper with everything that was included than the regular admission) and we liked it so much we went back for a few hours yesterday. We packed a lot in, but here are some of our favorite things at the zoo:

This is Elizabeth feeding a cracker to somebody who looks a little odd:
Of course when did you ever meet a giraffe who didn't look a little odd?

Here I am feeding a sting ray. It freaked me out a little, since as you all know I am not a fan of anything in the sea unless its a mammal. And letting something swim over my hand munch a fish head is a little bit more than I can handle. Especially since it involves having to handle a fish...head....and I am permanently scarred from one summer working at a grocery store seafood counter. Nevertheless, these guys were pretty cool, and they are amazingly soft. And weirdly friendly.

Here's Elizabeth petting something that both she and Lilli assure me is "soft":

That's not really the impression I get from sight, but obviously you can't trust observation alone!

This mama was our second favorite animal in the park (the first being the Meerkats) that you couldn't feed. And if they had allowed it, the girls would have totally been up for it. This poor mama tiger. Two younger tigers (who I assume were her children, although I neglected to read any of the signs so I don't know for sure) were playing in the water with a ball, and took great delight into running over to her and shaking themselves all over her. She finally retreated to the back of her area, as far away from the youngsters as she could get. We could have watched them for hours.

The goats were also very popular with the girls. Although seconds after I took this picture Elizabeth realized that the goat was snacking on her dress, and I am still crushed that I had turned off the camera since I didn't get to capture the look of horror on her face. She thought he was going to eat her. Which in retrospect was not as funny as I thought it was at the time.
The girls were also huge fans of the penguins, the flamingos, the manatees and the alligators, but I'm being kind and sparing you from some of the pictures. And I was very proud of Elizabeth for braving the "Tasmanian Tiger Coaster", a tiny little roller coaster (amazingly bumpy and violent for its size), and not crying even though it was nothing like she was expecting (a Tiger Train, i.e. a gentle ride in a circle) and she got scared.
We really had a great time, and like all good things it was over too fast. But at least we have a pass that's good for all summer!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Spin Cycle: It's funny how envy and money are the same some other stuff

So, I wrote the following spin much earlier today, and I'm still posting it, but in light of what a weird day, not to mention week, it has been, I (like the rest of the blogospheriverse) need to briefly pause for another topic:

Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett in one day?

I was saddened earlier today to hear about Farrah (no matter how expected that was), and then had to sit down when I heard about Michael Jackson. And that was after shouting "NOT ANOTHER ONE!" in the car listening to NPR announce that he'd been taken to the hospital. I'm a little sensitive to death at the moment since 4 of my co-workers have lost 2 brothers, a husband, and a grandma since Sunday. What the heck?

I fully and completely realize that all this has nothing to do with me, its a horrible coincidence. I know that I am not the axis the world revolves around, and yet.... I keep whining about how turning 30 on Tuesday is the end of the worrrrrrld (I don't know how to write that word in a whine so you'll have to use your imagination), since I will be so olllllllllllld, and therefore close to death. So when all these random people keep dying, so close together, how can I help feeling a tiny bit responsible because of all my idiotic yapping? No matter how ridiculous that is? So, regardless if I'm some Karmic unlucky charm or not, I hear by resolve to shut up. You will now only hear from me the awesome things about turning 30. Like how everyone keeps telling me that its the new 20. No more complaining, I promise. 30 is young, with luck I have many, many, awesome years ahead of me and I will go back to celebrating them. Cross my heart.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming, i.e, The Spin Cycle, brought to you by Sprite's Keeper. Our topic today is Jealousy...


Ah jealousy….how I have experienced thee….let me count the ways…

I’m jealous of people who win the lottery, because I sure could use a giant influx of cash. Except this is unreasonable since I don’t play the lottery.

I’m jealous of naturally skinny people who eat whatever they want and don’t exercise and are pin thin. Isn't everybody?

I’m jealous of SAHMs. Not because I think they have it easy, it’s because I miss my girls during the day. A lot. Correspondingly I’m jealous when people tell me all the fun places they have taken their kids during the week. We try to make the weekends packed full of fun and excitement, but my children lead a very quiet week. Don’t get me wrong, they have more than their fair share of toys, bikes, a sandbox, a playhouse, 3 cats, and more DVDs than Blockbuster, as well as each other, so it’s not like there isn’t fun stuff to do at my house. It’s just that my dad (their nanny) is not into crafts and play dates and park trips and errand running and the stuff I consider typical for a SAHM. So I’m jealous on my girls’ behalf.

Right now I’m jealous of a lot of people’s houses. I do realize that quite a few people no longer have a house, and the fact that I have one should be enough for me and should soothe the green-eyed monster, but I am in a very tiny and very over priced little house, and I get really cranky when I see the prices that houses twice the size of mine are going for at the moment. I would like some storage space, laundry facilities that aren’t in the (hot) garage, and some space to contemplate using to house a third baby some day. Is that so much to ask? It’s not going to happen unless I start playing the lottery I guess. Or unless my hubby or I lose our jobs, which I guess would solve the problem of my lack of satisfaction in a very unfortunate way.

Otherwise though? That’s it. I’m content with my husband and children and extended family, I’m content with my friends and my job. If I feel a twinge of envy for someone or something I remind myself that I have it pretty dang good. Would I like those things I mentioned? You bet I would! But sitting around moaning over the lack of them would be pretty silly.

And I’m too busy for it anyway. I have a full schedule of pajama and tea parties in my future.

Now aren't you jealous of me?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

RTT: One week until the End of the World...

Naturally I exaggerate. But next Tuesday I do have my 30th birthday. I’m getting a wee bit paranoid about it. Kind of like I really do expect the world to end. I’m sort of wondering if I need to stock up on canned food and batteries in anticipation.

So for this week’s post, in conjunction with Keely’s (at The UnMom) Random Tuesday Thoughts, how about we talk about things that have nothing at all to do with my aging-related freak out?

Sound good? Yes, I know it does.

Let’s talk about John and Kate. Why? Because it’s the huge deal right now, and since bloggers (big and small) are the recorders of social history on the micro level, we pretty much have to. Raise your hand if you saw their split coming... Looking around the room, I see that I have plenty of company. I talked about this during RTT before, but I still maintain that any time two people hate each other as much as these two appeared to, it’s better if they aren’t together. Much better for the kids to not have to see it. And I can only imagine how tough the last several months have been for two people, who are just people, and not actors, to pretend that things aren’t so bad. So it must be a huge relief to them. Even though it’s terribly sad.

Is it possible that the show prevented them from moving past normal annoyances with each other, since it encouraged them to air them repeatedly for dramatic purposes, and anyone knows that the more you talk about something you don’t like about someone the more annoying it is? I’d say so. (To this day the phrase “Just out of curiosity…” can raise the hair up on the back of my neck. Although that’s a story for another day.) If they were not on TV, would they have maybe gotten some marriage counseling and learned not to belittle (Kate) and disrespect (John) each other? Quite possibly. But who knows. This being television there could still be all sorts of behind the scenes discussions that we know nothing about and there could still be a big reconciliation for the season finale. So now that I’ve discussed the big D decision that’s the last you’ll hear about them from me. Unless of course there’s a reconciliation, and then I’ll need to air my two cents again.

Let’s talk about the show “Ni Hao, Kai-lan!”, which I believe is a Nick Jr. production, although we only get to see it on video. It is surprisingly delightful. I carefully vet the DVDs that I let my girls watch, not for educational content, but for scary stuff and values. As I have mentioned, I am not a SpongeBob fan. At least not for children. I think he’s pretty funny, but we don’t watch him because he is Not Nice to the other characters. I turn off shows that talk about more mature topics, not because I think the girls don't need to know about people being selfish, and making fun of others, and death, and divorce, and people losing their jobs, and other realities of life, but because they are only 1 and 3 (no matter how close to 2 and 4 they might be), and I think they should have a few years of oblivion where they think the world is always a happy place. Just my opinion, of course, as is everything I ever post (unless I’m talking about the fabulosity of my children, in which case everything I write is the gospel truth).

So, at first I was not too pleased that the characters on "Ni Hao, Kai-Lan!" seem to get unreasonably upset whenever anything doesn’t go their way. Lose a race? Stomp off and kick your dragon boat onto the top of a pagoda. The waves keep washing away part of your sandcastle? Don’t move it, throw a royal hissy and kick over the whole thing. It seemed like it was just showing my children that they should massively freak out over everything, and they already have no problems expressing their disappointment or displeasure. But it turns out that it has a really good message. "When you feel too mad, what's the first thing that you do? Calm...calm...down!" It's accompanied by hand motions. Now if one of my girls starts to get all cranky, all I have to do is sing "Calm....calm....DOWN!" It's like magic. Therefore I recommend this show to EVERYONE.

And may I also recommend you head here for more Random Tuesday Thoughts? You'll take me up on that recommendation? Awesome.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Good Hair Day

Apparently I've been too busy playing with the new camera to post anything. Well, it's just another way I've been documenting the girls I guess. That being said, I give you:

It's totally not about the quality of the picture because I had the camera on the wrong setting when I took this, it's about the CURLS. Florida humidity and this child's hair are a beautiful combination.

David had completely brushed out her hair that morning, since Doing Hair is not one of his many skills, and when we left the house it was merely wavy. By the time we got to the playground, she had ringlets, by lunch time she was Kinky Curls central.

I love it.

I know and accept that she will hate her hair when she's older, and will spend all her time straightening it, but I will enjoy it while its mine. MINE!! MIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE!!!


This has been brought to you by a disgruntled mama with the straightest hair on the planet.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

"O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!" She chortled in her joy...

I have no idea why I say that when I'm happy, but I frequently do. (yes, you can say it, I don't mind, I already know I'm on the weird side of normal)

Why am I so happy?

I'm just getting acquainted with it, but so far I'm madly in love with it. It does this strange thing called "taking pictures that are actually in focus when the flash is used."
Crazy, right?
Here's Lilli! She looks totally disgruntled at the brightness of my flash while she's trying to take a bath, but look! She's totally clear!
Look at Elizabeth! Look at the individual strands of partially wet hair!

And look! You can totally see what she had for dinner tonight, almost to the detail of each tiny leaf on the broccoli trees! I realize in retrospect that in this picture she looks like she's about to throw up if we make her eat her broccoli, but she really does love it, and these pieces went right down the hatch 30 seconds later. I picked this picture to post tonight simply to demonstrate that this camera has the red eye removal built in. All three ladies of the house have demon eyes when a flash is involved and this will save me quite a bit of time on Snapfish!

I know, that for those of you who have been blessed with cameras that capture your little darlings the way you want them captured for years, this is no big deal. But I'm sure if you went back through my archives you could see just how long I've been complaining about mine. Too many moments lost to blur or a cruddy flash or slow shutter speed or lack of clarity. But not any more!

I promise that I didn't kill my camera on purpose, but is it wrong of me to be kind of glad it's dead?

Monday, June 15, 2009



I hate being without a camera! My children keep doing cute things and I have no camera to capture them with. Yes, I suppose I could grab the video camera, but I prefer to click at them.

This past weekend the girls looked very cute dressed up as Super Why (Lilli) and Princess Presto (Elizabeth, although she actually likes Wonder Red the best) at a "Super Why?" event at Toys R Us. I could have easily taken 30 pictures just of them having fun during that. They also looked adorable riding together in the little Toys R Us truck (the one you put a quarter into and listen to it play the theme song three or 4 times while you get good and nauseated just watching the thing move). I could have taken two or three pictures just of that.

I would have liked to have taken several pictures of the massive pile of pizza crusts on Elizabeth's plate after she finished chowing down her lunch at Stevie Tomato's on Saturday. She was also making awesome faces over her chocolate ice cream during our visit to Coldstone. Her sister was making greedy delighted faces after having stolen her daddy's smoothie. I don't get to keep them anywhere other than my head.

Elizabeth was having a Very Good Hair Day yesterday, all dressed up for church. Believe me, that is rare and worth capturing. And I like the dress Lilli wore very much and have yet to take a picture of her in it. It didn't happen yesterday either.

Tonight we had a rockin' pajama party, complete with new Wonder Pets nightgowns, a viewing of The Wonder Pets Save the Bengal Tiger, apple juice, popcorn and a big huggy pile on the living room floor. Plenty of memories to capture and I couldn't.

It stinks.

Where is my camera, you ask? Well, I may have mentioned it, but I killed it on my trip to Wisconsin by not closing the water bottle I stored in my backpack with the camera bag. Plenty of days to dry it out have not improved the situation, which has led me to the (perhaps) desperate step of buying a new one. And for some reason I decided to order it online. Leading to The Great UPS Truck Watch of 2009.

I don't remember the last time I anticipated a package arriving so much, and the last time they days went by so slowly!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Spin Cycle: Sum Sum Sum Sum Sum Sum Summertime, yeah....

Summer doesn't mean what it used to.

The journals from my youth (you know, the ones that I'm always talking about) are full of summertime adventures. Camping trips and getaways, and Wyandot Lake (a very small amusement park in Columbus, Ohio) and the pool, and this musical I was in for several summers in a row. Very few vacations are mentioned, since when I was growing up we were not a Family That Vacations. But still, I had good times with friends and boys, that were only mixed in with work (part-time) after the summer before my senior year of high school. Pretty idyllic times I have to say.

Those same journals include at least one exceptionally whiny entry every August bemoaning the fact that I had to go back to school the next day or the next week and that I would never have any fun agaaaaain, and that school would be so awwwwwful. Never mind that a week later I would be writing about all the fun I was having in school, summer seemed especially golden. I remember beautiful days in which I would wake up at 2:30 in the afternoon, stumble into the shower and then head off to a rehearsal of that musical, or a date, or a movie with friends, come home on the late side, and then stay up until 3 in the morning reading or listening to the radio in the dark. Perfect bliss.

You know what summer is like now?

Exactly like the rest of the year.

Down here in the south end of Florida, it has felt like Summer since the end of March. Since the girls are obviously not in school yet, the only thing that marks the advent of Summer for me is the change in the seasonal displays at Target. I saw some great beach and outdoor stuff there today, it must be Summer!

Now that I am part of a Family That Vacations (Or At Least Would Not Be Against It), we still don't vacation in the Summer as a rule, because we seem to need to save all our personal days for things that happen at other times of year. Christmas travel, or visiting family, or short getaways. When do I start getting to take 2 weeks or a month off in the middle of summer to go lay in a hammock by a cabin up on a mountain somewhere? Not a beach, as you are all aware, I am not a beach person, but I would really enjoy a mountain hammock.

Maybe some day when I start playing the Lottery, and win it, and become forever independently wealthy, I will get to lay in a hammock and flash back to the restful summers of several years ago.

Until then I'd better spend more time at Target.


Posted for the Spin Cycle in conjunction with the rest of the Summertime spins over at Sprite's Keeper. Get yourself a glass of lemonade, and start reading!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

I've almost been kissed to death, but I'm cool with it...

I know I've mentioned Miss Lillian's very fresh ways.

I will be locking her up once she decides she might start liking to kiss boys due to her tendency to kiss everyone with her mouth wide open. Well, in the last month or so she has decided that I'm extra fun to kiss, and will kiss and kiss me until I almost can't breathe. She's incorrigible.

It's pretty fantastic.

It's funny how two little girls can be so different. Elizabeth is very sweet. Both tender hearted and gentle and almost overly sensitive in her loving ways. She will lay her little cheek on yours and just close her eyes in utter bliss. She is also very independent and is pretty cat-like in that she will approach you for cuddling when she wants it, but will probably shy away if you initiate the snuggles.

Lilli is very boisterously loving. She will throw her arms around your neck or leg or whatever she can reach, squeeze as tight as she can and plant a big wet smack on the nearest part of you. She wants to be hugged a lot and if she could be a baby monkey attached to my back all the time she would do it in a second. And I would love that too, except that she's giant for her age and she weighs a ton.

I have a weird theory about their personalities.

When Elizabeth was born I recognized her. I know that doesn't make sense to a lot of people, but when they handed her to me, all slimy and kind of blue-ish, I saw her little face and immediately thought "Oh there you are! Where have you been?" I immediately felt like her mama and like we'd always been together, she'd just been away for a while. When Lilli was born I didn't have the same sense of deja vu. In fact I remember being kind of startled when I saw her because her face wasn't already in my head. And (quite possibly due to the EXCRUCIATING PAIN I experienced giving birth to her) it took a good couple of hours before I started to feel the same bond with her that I felt immediately with Elizabeth.

It sounds weird, but its almost like she was gifted with a major willingness to display her affection as sort of compensation for (or least a balm to soothe my guilt for) my not immediately bonding with her when they put her on my chest. With such a loving and open personality like hers, who couldn't love her back with the same intensity that she displays in every kiss and hug and joyful shriek of "Mama! Yuv (love) You!"

I know I couldn't resist if I wanted to.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

RTT: All about the Frozen North


This is not just any Random Tuesday Thoughts post, you're catching me fresh off my first trip to Wisconsin. I don't have much to say this week, but I'm giving you my three favorite things about a certain state. I'm even providing you links. Aren't I helpful?


Lucille's- I experienced this as part of a Bachelorette party extravaganza. There was no cover charge the night we were there, but I believe people usually fork over some cash for the privilege of singing loudly along to at least two pianos and if they're really lucky (say if its your birthday. Or if you're a bachelorette!) to be personally serenaded and insulted by at least one of the entertainers. It was utterly fantastic. Even if I did learn some new songs I will not be singing to the girls at bedtime.


Comedy Sportz- I've seen improv comedy before. I was a fan of "Who's Line is it Anyway?", enjoyed it a lot at college, have been to Second City in Chicago and even played improv games back in my high school drama club days. I'm sure I've laughed as hard in the past. But its hard to remember. I laughed so hard I almost threw up and then wheezed whenever I tried to breathe deep the rest of the night. These guys were great. I am super impressed that they almost successfully acted out the word "necrotizing", and just imagining one of the performers, Alex, in a trench coat almost has me on the floor busting my insides instead of sitting here in my computer chair in a lady-like fashion.


Cheese Curds! Made of awesome! Those Wisconsin-ites who told me (a girl madly in love with all things dairy) that I would adore them were not wrong. They're oddly-shaped salty cheesy hunks of deliciousness, super fresh tasting, and, when slightly warmed up, they squeak. What's not to love about them? Well, maybe their nutritional content. I was going to buy a bag at the airport to bring home with me, and made the mistake of reading the back of the package. I'm going to need a little amnesia before I can eat them again, but they were amazing.


So, I love Wisconsin, but you'll love reading the rest of this week's RTT posts. Head on over to Keely's site, The Un Mom, for more!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Milwaukee Monday

It seems to me that the major center of hospitality is not in the South like I've always been told, it's in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

We were up there over the weekend so David could be a groomsman for the wedding of one of our longtime friends. Considering I had previously met only very few of the people I spent the weekend with, I can't remember the last time I was made to feel so welcome. I had only met the Bride virtually, the Maid of Honor twice in real life, and had never met the other two bridesmaids, but they took me under their collective wing, included me in everything and gave a very convincing impression of enjoying my presence.

They were completely awesome.

Considering that I was expecting to spend the weekend in my hotel room watching cable (if you are a regular reader you know that is a rare phenomenon for me) as the odd duck from Florida, while my hubby performed his bridal party duties, and wouldn't have resented that in the slightest, I can't even describe how different an experience I had. And I don't think they even realized just how generous they were to let, and even invite, me to tag along. I seriously had almost more fun than I knew what to do with. They were the kind of girls (women? whatever, I resent the whole "grownup" thing) that you feel like you've known all your life in 20 minutes.

Yep, they were that awesome.

We're going back to Wisconsin in September so that David can be a groomsman in the Maid of Honor's wedding and so our young ladies can be the Cutest Flower Girls in the World. I'm looking forward to seeing them all again.

If only Milwaukee wasn't so freaking cold...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Spin Cycle: I Love You, You Love Me

I leave for a wedding in Milwaukee in the morning, so I'm spinning quickly and a day earlier than usual. Our topic this week is the three best words in the English language-"I love you."

We say "I love you" in my family the way some families say hello or thank you. Frequently, in all tones of voice, and in all contexts. There's the "I love you" that is said in a somewhat tolerant tone, as if to say "I think you're crazy with what you're doing right now, but I love you anyway". There's the "I love you" that is said in frustration, as if you were saying "It's a good thing I love you, because you're making me absolutely crazy right now!". There's the truly tender "I love you" said in the tone that conveys "I have no idea how I got so lucky to have you in my life and I really, really love you." And there's lots more. And we say them all.

Some people feel that if you say those words a lot they'll lose their significance. I think if you mean what you say, no matter how frequently you say it, it doesn't lose a thing. Instead the other person will never doubt that you love them. They may take it for granted and not appreciate the security they have, but they'll never wonder if they're loved.


For other spins to love on the topic of love, head on over to Sprite's Keeper and give her some love!

Monday, June 1, 2009

200 Posts, 30 days until I'm 30, and any other milestones I can think of...

I first had an age related crisis at age 9.

I had just finished reading everything by E. Nesbit that I could get my hands on, and I came away from her books with a strong impression that turning 10, and going into double digits was not only strongly significant, but almost magically so. I had a mental crisis of a surprising strength for a 9 year old, feeling that I was somehow saying goodbye to my childhood. By turning 10. I survived though. The Barbie dolls didn't vanish, I just added in a healthy dose of boy crazy. Really, life just got more entertaining after I turned 10.

Turning 13 was a big deal for me too. Mentally at least. Apparently some people take becoming a teenager very seriously. Once again, I thought I was saying goodbye to childhood forever. As it turned out I had great friends that were either still into being childish in harmless and wholesome ways themselves or were very tolerant of anything I felt like doing. I can honestly say that being a teenager was pretty great.

My next big crisis was at 19. It was My Last Year of Being a Teenager. And therefore I was now ancient and decrepit and would soon shrivel up and die and all the fun of being in my teens was gone and could never be recovered. But then I went through the rest of college, and then did crazy things like getting married right after I graduated. And it was pretty awesome too.

At 25 I had a crisis of looking around and realizing (or thinking this was the case anyway), that everyone around me had buckets of children and all I had was cats and hamsters and I wanted to be a mommeeeeeee and my life was going by, and in like one more month I would be too old to even HAVE children, and then where would I be? But then I turned 26 and had a baby and was so busy that I barely noticed turning 27 and 28 and another baby coming along, and turning 29 and....

Suddenly I'm almost 30.

Each time I've had a little freakout over what age I'm turning, it's pretty much consisted of high drama, pouting, foot stomping and a healthy dose of hysteria, all over the course of a day or two. So far I don't have a good list of things to be upset over because I'm turning 30, but I'm sure I'll work up something in the next 30 days (maybe impending wrinkles and gray hair?). I'm sure everything will go well in my 30s, just like has always happened before, and I'll be having the same pangs of regret over that decade in another 10 years. I do feel like it's a big wall or marker of some sort. Either an ending point, although why that would be I don't know, or a marker that no one will acknowledge but me and I'll be both glad and really cranky about that at the same time. I've always thought that birthdays should really be about celebrating the birthday person. There should be one day out of the year when everything goes YOUR way because its YOUR day, and I like to think that should happen on your birthday. So I kind of want fireworks and hoopla because I'M TURNING 30! On the 30th! It's my Golden Birthday and therefore worth all kinds of excitement! Not gifts, acknowledgment!

But then on the other hand, I'm turning 30. And am therefore old and decrepit and my life is passing before my eyes and...