Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Two Big Events

Yup, two of 'em.

First, today is the Hubster's birthday.  It's not a milestone; he turned forty last year.  And since I'm just oh, so mature, I must share that not only had I started planning a surprise birthday party for Hubs that I abandoned when he told me he didn't want one (a surprise party), but his freaking parents attempted to throw a surprise party for him, upon which he also put the kibosh.  Oh, and did I mention that his parents did not tell me about their plans for the aforementioned party?  I found out about it when Hubster called me from work and attemped to "out" me.  When he realized that I had no freaking clue what he was talking about, he believed me when I said I wasn't involved.  Pissed me off to no end, one, that his parents tried to pull that kind of shit, and two, that Hubster didn't think it was such a big deal.

But, ahem, I digress.  Hubster's birthday.  Right.  He wanted birthday burritos, so he picked them up on the ride home.  I also made a cake - chocolate with vanilla frosting - because the kids wanted a birthday cake.  The cake turned out pretty well, but those darn gel-mate tubes are a pain to write with.

The second big event was J's first day of first grade.  As the day progressed, I realized what a big transition this is for kids.  I'm really fortunate in that J takes to school like a duck to water, but I also expect some challenges as he acclimates to a new year.  First, he's in school all day, where kindergarten was only a half day.  Second, he gets to eat lunch in the cafeteria, which is quite the highlight for these little guys.  Third, when he's in school all day, he's there to learn, not to play for half the day, as he did last year.  Fourth, he will learn how to eat enough to get him through each part of his day.  That one didn't occur to me until I was doing the breakfast dishes.  My train of thought went something like this:
J had oatmeal and chocolate milk for breakfast.  I hope that's enough food to keep him.  I wonder if he has one snack a day or two.  I only packed one snack; I hope the teacher has one of those huge milk carton containers of goldfish for the kids who forgot their snack.  What else should J eat for breakfast?  Probably fruit, you know, like the old commercials for breakfast cereal:  "Part of a complete, balanced breakfast."
But again, I digress.

I didn't get too many details about today, other than who he sat next to at lunch, but J seemed to have a good day.  I'm glad.  I hope he has 179 more.

Monday, August 30, 2010

It All Comes Down to This...

Tomorrow is J's first day of first grade. 

It's rather bittersweet for me.  I'm really excited about his class - it's such a great group of kids, and the teacher seems very nice.  He's looking forward to being with his friends all day, and especially eating lunch in school.  It's yet another huge milestone for both of us - J is going to be away at school all day, every day this year.  I worry that I did enough for him during the past six years.  Or, that I did enough things "right." 

I'm sure every mother goes through this.  God, I hope they do.  I mean, I know I'm an overanalyzer, and more than a bit anal retentive, but I can't possibly be the only mother in the world who worries that she's done her job, at the very least, adequately.

Good luck tomorrow, J.  I love you and I am very proud of you.  Go get 'em!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Say Goodbye to Summer

Hubster goes back to work tomorrow morning.

J starts first grade on Tuesday.

I am very much looking forward to getting on a regular, rhythmic schedule.  But I will also very much miss the time spent with friends at the lake, especially since some of them are teachers and will be back at work.  I will also miss having the Hubster home.  Although he can sometimes make me crazy, it was nice having him home, especially at dinner time.

And now for something completely different...

Can I just say, once again, how freakin' awesome that opening number was for the Emmys?  I have been harboring a secret crush on Jimmy Fallon and ... wow.  Just, wow.

Friday, August 27, 2010


I know you missed me terribly, but I'm baaaaaaack!

The Hubster and I went into the city yesterday for a little overnight getaway.  My parents offered to watch the kids for us as a Christmas present; eight months later, we finally took them up on their generous offer.

What a busy twenty-four hours we had!  We checked into the hotel, then began our adventure. 

First, we walked around Times Square while we decided what to do.  Both Hubs and I used to work in the city, so it was fun to play tourist and take in all of the sights - the gigantic video screens on the buildings (I'm old enough to remember when they were billboards with neon lights), an F-16 fighter and monster truck courtesy of the Air Force and, of course, the Naked Cowboy.  It's a much nicer, albeit more crowded, place today than it was when I was little.

We decided to go to the Discovery Exposition Center to see the Tutankhamun exhibit.  I've been to the Metropolitan Museum of Art many times, spending many hours among the Egyptian artifacts, but this exhibit was amazing.  It showed how religion took center stage in ancient Egyptian culture, and how thoroughly their royals were prepared for death and the afterlife.  I highly recommend the exhibit.  Oh, and the quote of the day:  "Look, there's a chartreuse on that."  Um, hon, I think you mean cartouche.  Chartreuse is a color.

Since we bought a combination ticket for the exhibit and a ride to the Top of the Rock, we left Times Square and headed to Rockefeller Center.  We spent some time walking around the area before heading inside to the observation deck.  The walk to the elevators and the elevator ride itself were, as expected, NBC-centric.  Lots of "Yay, us!" music and images, but the glass-topped elevators were pretty cool, as were the blue lights at each floor.  And seeing the city from seventy stories up is always worthwhile. 

Back on the ground, we headed to Bryant Park to people watch while we decided where to go for dinner.  Hubs wanted to grab a beer, but the bar was packed with businesspeople enjoying an after-work drink, so we found some chairs and watched an enormous yoga class take place on the lawn.  We kicked around a few ideas before deciding on Plataforma.  Plataforma can be summed up with one word:  meat.  We ate so much that it hurt. 

We walked back to the hotel and relaxed.  We had hoped to go out again later, but we were so stuffed and tired that we called it a night.

This morning, we checked out, left our bag at the hotel, and walked through Central Park.  Neither of us had walked through the park before.  We'd both been there for various reasons - concerts, races, other events - but this was a first for both of us.  It's a gorgeous park, and the weather was perfect for our stroll up to our destination.

Although we've both been there before, it had been years since either of us has been to the Metropolitan Museum of Art.  I really wanted to start with the Egyptian antiquities, but since we had spent yesterday at the Tut exhibit, I let Hubs lead the way.  We began with Greek and Roman antiquities (phenomenal) and worked our way around, ending at the Temple of Dendur (my favorite).  Headed upstairs to take in the late 19th and early 20th century European artists (Van Gogh, Manet, Monet, Cezanne, Gaughin, Renoir), and then called it a day.

We ate lunch at an Irish pub (an Irish pub in the city?  Get out!) near our hotel, then took a train home. 

We were only gone for twenty-four hours, but it was a wonderful adventure.  Hubs and I got some precious alone time during both day- and nighttime.  We enjoyed a city as tourists instead of as commuters, and had no time restrictions whatsoever.  This getaway was especially helpful for me, as I spend every day taking care of the kids.  I hadn't been away from them for twenty-four hours since I was pregnant with S.  As good as it was for the kids for me to be away for them (and to come back), it was equally if not more beneficial to me.  I missed them, and was happy to see their smiling faces when we got home.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Excellent Customer Service

I went to get my hair cut and colored today.  The last time I got it cut, I tried a new salon and really liked how KM cut my hair.  I knew it was a really good cut when it grew in and still looked good.  So when it was time for a trim, I decided to go back to KM and have her do my color as well.

The cut looks great, again, but what I was really impressed by how KM handled the color.  After blowdrying my hair, she told me that she wasn't thrilled with how the color turned out - she didn't pull it through to the ends - so she wasn't going to charge me for it.  I admitted that I was wondering why she didn't do that, but didn't say anything because I figured she knew what she was doing.  She told me to call her in a few days to let her know if I wanted to come back to have it fixed.  That is good customer service.

I will definitely call KM to go back and have my color done - if only to thank her for her honesty and her time. 

Sadly, my experience with KM today was an exception and not the rule.  More often than not, I find that people just do not give a crap whether or not their customers are happy.  I don't know if it's because the economy stinks, because employees in general are apathetic because employers are forcing them as individuals to do the same amount of work that was formerly done by three people, or if the workforce is the product of parents who both worked full time, or divorced and, out of guilt, overcompensated by giving their kids material possessions instead of time.

Regardless, until KM starts giving me crappy cuts, I'm gonna stick with her.  She's more concerned that I look good than with lining her pockets.  She earned my loyalty today.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

One More Week

That's it. 

One more week until school starts. 

Part of me is excited and ready for J to start first grade, but another part of me would like just a few more perfect, sunny days at the lake with the boys.  Maybe it's because today and yesterday felt more like late September than mid-August.  Probably.

It feels like I have so much more to do before I feel completely ready.  I need to take the boys for shoes; all they have that fit are their sandals.  I also need to pick up last minute supplies for J's and T's classrooms - paper towels, baby wipes, Purell.

Even though I'm no longer in school, back to school time always feels like a new beginning to me.  This year, I plan to stay on top of my housework, get T and S into playgroups, sign T up for an activity (soccer?), finish at least two written pieces and prepare them for submission (haven't yet figured out where).

It is bittersweet to say farewell to summer, but I look forward to the new adventures that autumn brings.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Redshirting Kindergarten

Today I read two articles about redshirting kindergarten:
This is (yet another) subject that affects me personally.  My middle child, T, is eligible to enter kindergarten at the age of four, but I have decided to hold him for a year (I'll get into that later).  Interestingly, talk about this practice seems to be coming to a crescendo in my neighborhood; I've had at least three different conversations whether or not to hold a child during the past two months.

We live in Connecticut, where a child entering kindergarten must turn five by January 1 (which also makes S eligible to start when he is four, but he would be the absolute youngest child in his grade).  The only other states that have such late cutoff dates are:
  • California - December 3
  • Hawaii - December 31
  • Maryland - December 31
  • Michigan - December 1
  • Montana - December 2
I would presume that the practice of "redshirting" four-year-olds is more common in these six states than in others, but I have no data to back up that presumption.

I decided that T would wait until he turned five before starting kindergarten when he was still in utero.  I had three reasons for this:
  1. If we lived in any other nearby state (New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Massachusetts), he would not be eligible to start school at age four.
  2. When I was in kindergarten, I could read (my teacher used to have me read stories to the class), so my teacher suggested that I move into first grade.  Thinking it was for the best, my mother agreed.  While I thrived academically, emotionally and socially I always felt insecure and "less than."  In hindsight, staying in kindergarten would have been a better decision. 
  3. As the youngest person in my grade, it was not easy to be one of the last girls to get her period, one of the last to get a driver's license, or to sit home on a Thursday night when all of her friends were barhopping.
I am not holding T to give him an advantage in sports.  Both articles above mention Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point as a reason for "redshirting" children (the first chapter explains that athletes who are among the oldest of their cohort excel), but that is not my reason for keeping T back.  I am also not holding him to give him an edge academically.  I am holding him because I don't think a four-and-a-half year old boy is emotionally ready for the rigors of school.

When T was in Mother's Day Out, I had many conversations with the director about whether to hold T or send him to school on time per Connecticut's cutoff.  P (the director) gave me some sage advice:  If I put T in kindergarten at age four and he hits "bumps in the road,"  I will always wonder if it's because he's one of the youngest in the class.  If I wait until T turns five to have him start, I will figure that any "bumps" are just part of the process.

I'll admit, it would be convenient for T to start kindergarten at age four.  It would be easier for me to have him in school sooner rather than later.  But what's easier for me is not what's important.  What is best for T is what's important.  And as his mother, I strongly feel that giving T the time to mature emotionally and socially is what is best for him.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

At Last - Success!

I ran to the health food store this afternoon to get some supplements.  On the way home, I decided to stop at Kohl's to try on some bras, since that's where I had luck last time.  The stars were lined up again today.

I had a rather short list of requirements as far as the bra's construction is concerned:
  • It must have underwire
  • It must be padded and a push-up
  • It has to look good on me, whether or not I am wearing a top (this is where things get tricky)
While the bra department is rather small, I took my time looking around, inspecting the wares to determine which styles to try on.  I found fourteen candidates, and went to the fitting room.

As expected, there were more misses than hits.  Among the styles that didn't fit for various reasons:
  • Lily of France - very cute on the hanger, but on me it puckered at the top
  • Wonderbra - looked promising, but it was too loose at the top
  • So - fit well and looked cute, but there just wasn't enough padding (it's a junior's bra)
  • Candie's - cute, worked in the past, but the push-up style was too loose at the top
  • Barely There - I didn't even bother trying it on because of the minimal padding
  • Maidenform - purported to add a cup, but it was too lose at the top
On the upside, I found three different styles that fit well, looked good on (with and without a T-shirt) and hit all of the important points.  They are:
  • Daisy Fuentes Extreme Lace Push Up
  • Apt. 9 Add a Cup Satin Push Up
  • Simply Vera Bliss Mesh Push Up 
I know, it's kind of silly to get this worked up over bra shopping, but after my Victoria's Secret debacle, this was a delicious victory. 


Saturday, August 21, 2010

Up Next: A Crazy Week

Hubster's on vacation this week.  Part of me is really happy to have him home, but part of me doesn't like the upheaval that comes with him being here.  It really messes with my mojo.

So far, here's what is on the schedule:
  • Monday - a visit to the in-laws.  I suppose it's an annual ritual, that we go visit them when Hubs is on vacay, so off we go.  As long as we're home in time for yoga, it's all good.  Hee...
  • Tuesday - doctor's appointment for me.  Yippee.
  • Wednesday - hair cut and color for me.  Yay!  Like, for realz.
  • Thursday - Hubs and I head into the city for - wait for it - an overnight WITHOUT THE KIDS.  Nah, I'm not too excited.  Okay, I'll be honest.  I am really looking forward to it.
  • Friday - still in the city, head home.  Eternally grateful to my parents for so generously offering to watch the kids so we can have some alone time.
  • Saturday and Sunday - still open.  Hmm... what to do?
Stay tuned for updates on mojo mayhem.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Tomato Therapy

I have found a great new therapy tool.  Behold, the tomato.

I know what you're thinking:  Technically, tomatoes are ... well, a word that's no longer politically correct, so I won't use it here.  But yes, they are fruits.  How are they therapy tools?  Please allow me to explain.

I have a CSA share at a local farm.  CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  I paid $550 to a local farmer for one share of her crops for one season.  My money, along with everyone else's, gives her the capital to purchase seeds, compost, soil, whatever else is required to plant one season's worth of crops.  In exchange, once a week during the harvest season (which runs from late May until late September), we shareholders go to the farm to bring home our share of whatever is in season.  And right now, it's tomato season.

Since tomatoes are so abundant at our farm, we are allowed to bring home as many as we can use.  Like last week, this week I brought home well over two dozen full sized tomatoes (red and green zebra), along with two or three pints of yellow and red cherry tomatoes and a pint of plum tomatoes.

What do you do with more tomatoes than you can eat?  Why, you prep and freeze them for the winter, of course.

I spent an hour boiling, peeling, cleaning, and bagging tomatoes.  It sounds boring, I know, but music always makes seemingly boring chores almost meditative. 

Once again, I listened to Pandora Radio.  I created a channel based around the band Muse and, ironically, I like pretty much all of the music offered except the songs by Muse.  Not sure what that means, but as long as I'm getting some good music, I'm happy squishing tomatoes.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

What's Good for the Goose?

Last night was Sangria Night.  Six of us got together at K's house to have some delicious homemade sangria (the white was especially tasty!), yummy munchies, and about four hours of kid- and husband-free girl talk.  It was a great night.  So great that I didn't get home until midnight!

The hubster's reaction to my leaving was... expected, I guess.  He pointed out that I just went out Monday night (to yoga, mind you) and now I'm going out again?  What am I, eighteen?  I asked how my going out two nights in a row is different from when he went golfing on Friday night and then again on Saturday night.  No response.  I kissed him goodbye and went to pick up my friend S for our fun evening.

I don't know if it will ever not bother me that there are two standards in our marriage.  When Hubster does something - and it can be pretty much anything - it's fine, and I'm the one who has to "deal with it."  But when I do something that is okay for Hubs to do, suddenly the rules change and it's not okay.  I suspect that this drama plays out in countless homes around the world, but (a) can you make your husband see the light? and (b) if/when he does, does it really matter?

Monday, August 16, 2010


Today definitely felt like the beginning of the end.  Of summer, that is.

K is back from camp, so she joined us at the lake today (Yeah!  I'm not sure who missed her more - me or the kids).  When we got there around 11am, we were the only non-employees there.  Since it was overcast, none of the tables had umbrellas on them, so the kids had a blast climbing up then jumping off the tables.  A and I came about ten minutes later, so I had someone to talk to and the boys had a friend to play with.

I also found out that this is the last week of swimming lessons.  T had no problem passing his Level 1 exit skills test, but K suggested that J repeat Level 2 next summer.  That means that the boys will be in swimming lessons together next year.  Should be interesting, a second grader sharing a class with his younger, preschooler brother.  Maybe that will be the motivation to get J to pass Level 2.

As much as I will miss my time at the lake, I am just about ready for a new school year to start.  I know that I'll miss the kids (J especially, since he'll be gone all day), but I am much more productive when I have a firm schedule.  The loosey-goosey schedule that we follow during summer is fine for a month, but then the house starts to look like a disaster area, and so goes my focus.  It will be better for everyone when I'm more in control of my days.

Besides, football season is starting soon!  Bring on the pepperoni bread!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Rough Day

I didn't post last night.  After putting the kids to bed, I got busy.  First I went grocery shopping.  Then I got busy processing about twenty tomatoes - boiled, peeled, squished out the mushy goop, then put into a ziplock freezer bag.  Had a glass of wine, read some more Breaking Dawn, then went to bed.

Today was rough.  I was woken up by the boys telling me that S was poopy.  Poopy doesn't even describe the half of it.  I don't know if he caught a stomach bug, ate something that didn't agree with him, or is just getting his eye teeth, but the poor kid was covered with poop, as was his crib, and it stunk!  I immediately stuck him in the tub, wiped him down with baby wipes, then gave him a bath.  After that, I stripped his crib, rinsed out the sheet and his pajamas, and threw them in the laundry.  Then I got to work on the crib itself.  More baby wipes, then disinfecting wipes.  All told, it took me about forty-five minutes to get everything cleaned up.  I didn't make it to mass this morning.

I took a ride to the mall this afternoon once S went down for his nap.  I have been wanting to go bra shopping for a long time.  I haven't been measured since I've stopped nursing, and I really wanted to find a really nice style that would make me look like I did before I had kids (with a little extra, perhaps, but not so much that I look like I had something done). 

My first stop was the lingerie department in a department store.  The ladies working there looked like they were easily in their late sixties.  I wasn't particularly comfortable asking them to measure me, so I grabbed a bunch of styles that I thought might look good.  Zero for zero.  I tried different sizes - started with my initial size, 34B, then tried 34A, 36B, 36A, all with no luck.  So I left.

I headed straight for Victoria's Secret.  Honestly, I'm not the biggest fan, but I figured who knows bras better?  I was approached by Colleen, who helped me with a bra fitting.  She was absolutely wonderful - very friendly, helpful, and most importantly, patient.  The biggest bummer of the day, worst than not finding anything that fits?  Discovering my real bra size - 34AA.  Yes, you read that right.  I am a 34AA.  Just call me Madame President of the Itty Bitty Titty Committee.  That tiny size (plus the fact that I seem to be the only woman whose breasts are so far apart from one another) made finding a bra for me impossible.  On the upside, Colleen was wonderful (did I say that already?  too bad... she deserves a gold star for helping me, the breast impaired), and she suggested Frederick's of Hollywood (yep, that one) since they have a wide range of specialty sizes.  So the search continues.

Hoping to be cheered up, I went to Ann Taylor.  I tried on a really cute skirt and some tops, but nothing fit correctly.  The skirt puckered in a weird way, and the tops didn't hang right.  I also tried on a gorgeous grey dress, but I wasn't crazy about how it fit below my arms.  Oh well.  Maybe next time...

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Long Day

I wondered if there was a full moon today, or a freak impending snowstorm, or some other explanation for my kids' behavior today.  Turns out it was just Friday the 13th.

I love my kids.  Really, I do.  But today was one of those rare days where I just wanted to crawl under a rock for a few hours, curl into a ball, and not deal with them.

I've already blocked out as much of today as I possibly could, so trying to remember enough to write about now is actually quite difficult.  I will do my best.

J woke up in a rather grouchy mood.  He didn't want to go to the lake; he said it was boring.  He wanted to go to Bounce U instead.  The three boys were all kinds of wound up midmorning.  There was the usual disagreeing over which DVD to watch (Fraggle Rock!  Wiggles!  No, Blue's Clues!), the usual chasing one another around the house, the usual T pushing S off the trampoline and, of course, the usual J tattling on T pushing S off the trampoline.

I couldn't take it any more, staying in the house.  I packed a lunch and brought the kids to the lake.  This week at the lake has been a bit of a challenge; my babysitter has been at sleepaway camp all week.  Putting suntan lotion on the kids took forever; S kept making a break for the dock as soon as my hands were covered.

The rest of the time at the lake was definitely better.  I was still in a foul mood (I didn't sleep well last night; Hubster decided to stay up until 1am blasting YouTube videos on his laptop), but spending time chatting with friends and neighbors was the perfect remedy for it.

Well, I made it through the day.  It wasn't one of my best, but it's over.  Tomorrow will be better.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Can't Do It All

Today I had an experience that beautifully illustrated how it's impossible for me to meet all of my children's needs myself.

We were at my parents' house, and it was time to go home because S needed to take a nap.  J asked if he could stay for a while, and T asked if he could stay, too.  I said that it was okay with me if it was okay with Grandma and Grandpa, which it was.  When J realized that T was going to stay, too, he got very upset.  He wanted to stay by himself, without T.  He cried, complaining that they (T and S) were always getting in his way, messing up the things that he wanted to do.  I immediately understood how he felt.  During the week, it's pretty much impossible for J to have any one-on-one time with me; unless S is napping, he and T are always around.  J desperately needed to be the complete center of attention, and while I couldn't arrange that for him at our house, Grandma and Grandpa could.

I pulled T aside and explained that J was going to stay at Grandma and Grandpa's by himself today, and when J was in school, T would have his turn to stay by himself.  Thankfully T didn't have a problem with this change of plans.  He just wanted to be able to visit his favorite website when we got home.

It's hard, raising three boys so close in age.  This - when one of the boys really needs some "special" time, J in particular, since he is in school five days a week now - is probably most challenging.  I am incredibly fortunate and grateful that my parents live in town and are happy to give the boys the "special" time that I might not be able to give them.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Looking Out for Number One

As I have mentioned before, I have spent most of the last seven years either pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to get pregnant.  I have also spent all of the last six years as a full-time, stay-at-home mom.  I do not regret these choices that I have made.

That does mean, however, that I have spent the past seven years focusing on things and people other than myself.  My absolute, utmost, and foremost priorities have had very little to do with me.  Sure, I made sure to eat well while pregnant, but it wasn't for my own benefit; it was for the boys.  I did the same while nursing, for the same reason.  Just about every decision I made during this period was to ensure that someone other than me would get the highest benefit possible.

I don't begrudge my children anything.  I would gladly give of myself again, for their benefit.  But now, the time for me to give of myself physically (through pregnancy or breastfeeding) is over.  I will continue to give of myself emotionally, and spiritually, to shepherd them on the path to adulthood.  However, I now need to move myself and my own well being - physically, emotionally, spiritually - higher up on my priority list.

It's now time for me to be a priority.  I need to do things that make me happy, for my own benefit.  I need to do things that make my body feel strong and healthy, spend time with my friends, figure out how I want to give back to the world.  I need to show my boys that I am a vibrant woman with many, many interests, who is capable of many, many things.

The men in my life will benefit, but that won't be the reason why I'm doing it.  No, I need to start nurturing *me* for my own sake.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Out of Focus

Yeah, I kind of dropped off the face of the earth for a few days.  I don't know why, but I felt very unfocus, unmotivated, and very lazy.  Bad me.

Nothing really exciting has been going on here.  Just the chaos that is the usual daily routine of life with three small kids. 

I feel like I should have more to say, but I also feel the need to stay inside my head for a while.  Like I need to sit back and observe, and maybe rewire some pathways.  Heaven knows it will only help...

Friday, August 6, 2010

Old School, Preschool Style

A while back, I'd say at least two years ago, J really got into Nick Jr's The Upside Down Show.  His level of adoration for the show could probably be described as bordering on obsession.  At first the show drove me completely insane, but in time, it grew on me.  It eventually became one of my favorite kids' shows, not because I liked to watch it (I would much rather watch The Backyardigans or Blue's Clues), but because of what J got out of it. 

And now, for your reading pleasure, here is my expert review and opinion on The Upside Down Show:

The Upside Down Show
The Upside Down Show made its debut on Nickelodeon's Noggin (now Nick Jr.) in October of 2006.  The live-action show features Australian comedians Shane Dundas and David Collins, who also perform comedy for adults as the Umbilical Brothers.  Shane and David explore the world by visiting various rooms within their house.  Each room has its own crazy theme - the no-room room, the no-fun room, the echo room, etc.  Joining their adventures are Mrs. Foil (their human neighbor), Puppet (you guessed it, a puppet), and the Shmuzzies (fuzzy little creatures with a language of their own - "Shmello, Shmuzzies!").

In The UDS, Shane and David encourage their viewers to help them with their exploration by asking them to press various buttons on an invisible remote control; it's a clever way to "get meta" with the viewers.  The "remote" can move the action forward; it can give kids an instant replay of an action (complete with Shane and David's commentary); and it sometimes turns things - literally - upside down.  Often, the "incorrect" button is pressed ("Whatever you do, don't press the ... button!"), leading to rather silly situations - such buttons include the "Wiggle" button, the Irish Dancing button, and the celebration button (which causes balloons and streamers to fall from the sky and disco music to blare). 

The Upside Down Show was not well received by Noggin viewers (despite its affiliation with Sesame Workshop), and thus only twelve episodes were produced.  It currently runs late at night on Nick Jr. 

(Reference cited:  Wikipedia)

It's been almost four years since The Upside Down Show debuted on Noggin, but all three boys are currently enjoying it, thanks to DVR.  What first made me appreciate the show was watching J use pretend play as a direct result of watching.  What makes me continue to appreciate it is that all three boys - ages six, three and a half, and nineteen months - love to watch it together, and they love to reenact it. 

The Upside Down Show is silly, creative, fun, and developmentally appropriate for a wide range of ages.  It's really a shame that (a) this show never took off in the United States, and (b) there aren't more children's shows that have such broad appeal.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Paralysis by Analysis

Yeah, that's a Dadism.

I'm doing exhaustive research to find a hotel in the city for our romantic getaway.  I've never stayed overnight in a hotel there; I commuted there for years to work instead.

Sigh...  my head just might explode.  So if I don't come back, that'll be why...

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Grownup Time

The hubster has scheduled a weeklong vacation at the end of the month.  I want to spend two days of that week on a romantic getaway, just the two of us.  My parents have even agreed to watch the kids for us.  Do you know what his reaction was when I asked him how he felt about an overnight in the city?  He said he'd rather just stay at home.  Seriously.  What the hell is wrong with him?

I realize that work is stressful.  I don't have many friends whose husbands are honestly happy with their jobs right now.  The economy is tough, and most companies now want to get as much work done with the smallest staff.  Can't have our CEOs not get a bonus, right? 

But what really pisses me off is his seemingly complete disinterest in spending time with me alone, without our kids.  In some posh hotel.  Sleeping as late as we want.  Eating at a swanky restaurant, drinking wine, and not having to worry about little people's table manners.

Well, screw him.  I'm booking a romantic little getaway.  And if I have to drag him kicking and screaming, so be it.  He'll thank me later.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Catching Up

I haven't been here in a few days.  I've missed it, having an outlet for my thoughts.  It's been a busy few days.

Saturday was J's sixth birthday.  It was also the day of his party.  We had about thirty five kids (yes, you did read that correctly.  THIRTY-FIVE kids), along with a bounce house, three gigantic pizzas, ice cream cake, and a pinata stuffed with Silly Bandz.  A good time was had by all, I hope, with the exception of pinata drama.  My mistake was not shaking the pinata so that the booty was sprayed throughout the crowd.  Some kids (ahem, the birthday boy included) walked off with a dozen Silly Bandz while others were in tears because they got none.  But I am pretty sure that everyone had a good time.

Saturday night there was a carnival at the lake.  A woman wanted to hold a carnival for her 50th birthday party but had nowhere to put the rides.  The lake was planning a members event, and thus the members' carnival came to be.  The boys were still wound up after the party, so the carnival was icing on the cake.  They had a blast.

Sunday was the family party.  My parents, the in-laws, my aunt and uncle, and my youngest brother came to celebrate.  We still had the bounce house, and incredible sausage and peppers and cavatelli from a local Italian restaurant.  I was still exhausted from Saturday (I didn't eat much at all), so I probably wasn't the best company. 

I'm still recovering today.  I took a nap this afternoon and woke still drained.  I even stayed home from yoga that's how tired I am. 

I'm hoping to be back to normal by tomorrow.