Saturday, December 15, 2012

December 14, 2012

This is my knee-jerk response to yesterday's tragedy. I just wanted to write some thoughts down...and decided to share them. I want to forget the Connecticut shooting ever happened, but I probably won't. I think that holds true for most. At the very least I can remember how raw I felt that day.

I wasn't going to talk about this yesterday. I couldn't talk about it. Like most parents feel, my children are worth more to me than anything. The idea of sending my child to school, only to have them murdered and never to be seen again, causes a feeling that can only be described as sickening, and as I lay here this morning listening to my two kids arguing over Legos, I cannot be angry, I cannot be annoyed...all I can feel is lucky.

I was sitting in a meeting yesterday. It wasn't the most interesting topic, so I turned to my iPad. When I saw this almost fictional sounding Connecticut tragedy unfolding, I stood up and walked out. I went straight to the women's bathroom, locked myself in a stall, and sobbed. I thought about the days that I would go to work and worry about my very young children left in the hands of my very loving and capable nanny. Although she was a Rock Star at her job, I still had day terrors over horrible things that I imagined could happen. Car accidents, kidnappings, etc. topped the list. It's not that I didn't trust her, it's that I didn't trust the world. The bottom line was that my kids were out of my sight, and if anything happened, it was out of my control.

A few weeks ago, the community I work in experienced a very tragic loss. A young, vibrant, smart, and beautiful 14 year old girl was riding her bike on a very foggy morning, and lost her life instantly to a freak accident while making her way to school. The poor man than was driving his truck to work, who I heard sat on the on the curb sobbing inconsolably, was a father of two who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Now, what is left, are two families lives, forever changed for the worse, and forever linked by tragedy. My take away that day was simple and sounds silly. I don't want my kids riding their bikes to school. Ever. At least not for plenty of years after they are deemed old enough. A common ritual for most kids as I grew up, now risky business.

From a biking accident to a school shooting of innocent Kindergarteners, to a movie theater shooting, to a mall shooting, leaving the front door to the places where we should not feel unsafe, now feels like a risk. I went to Target yesterday after leaving my meeting early, and I remember looking at people differently. I was sizing everyone up, thinking that even one young man I had seen, looked suspicious. Our world has changed. I'm pissed. These things didn't happen like this before, they just didn't. Selfishly, as a parent, I feel I have plenty to worry about. These things to most people would appear to be neurotic, overkill, and to many ridiculous. But honestly, in light of the past few weeks, my list of worries has grown, and this latest horrific incident is something I cannot process.

All I could think about yesterday was wanting to get to my children, for no other reason than just to squeeze them. I thought of my first grader in a class of 18 children. I thought that what happened yesterday would be like my son's entire class being brutally taken away from us. I thought of all of the parents in our class, the grandparents, the teachers, the people that just "know" these kids and love them. It is unimaginable to think of the effect this would have, or what it feels like to get that phone call, or to drop your child off at school and not even think twice that anything remotely close to this could happen...and yet, it happened. My heart hurts just as much today. It really hurts. But, it didn't happen to me. But in some way, a very minuscule way, as a parent, it did.

I flipped on the radio yesterday, and I searched for some commentary on this topic. Mirroring some of the insanity of our past presidential election, there are people in this country that are already making asinine remarks about what they think should come as a result of this disgusting event. Yes, people are entitled to their own opinion, but having teachers equipped with guns at school is not a solution and nor is the "removal of God" in public school the catalyst for troubled teens. And yes, it was a Fox News affiliate. The only clear-headed caller was one who was actually in support of gun ownership, but not of semi-automatic weapons and accessibility to these products, which is the common thread throughout these shooting tragedies. The only reason to own a gun like this, it's sole purpose, is to kill people. If you use it for sport, then keep it locked up at your gun club. They do this in Australia. It works. When the second amendment was written, it was the right to load your musket and pack it with gun powder. These are not the guns of today. Haven't we seen enough? This has to stop.

I also heard a lot about chastising folks for praying after something happens as opposed to having ongoing blind faith embedded into your daily existence, or in our schools. Days like December 14,2012, push me more towards Atheism than to organized religion. How the hell can this happen? What God could let this happen and what lesson is worth the senseless killing of children? My religion is my family, my children. They are what drive me, what provoke me, and the reasons that I work hard and want to strive to be the best parent I can be. Prayer in school would not have prevented this troubled boy from doing this heinous crime. I am sure we will continue to hear more about what his motives were as the weeks unfold, but I will not jump to conclusions. Yes, I do find it extremely disturbing that the guns were registered to his mother, but I will not speculate that she didn't love her son, or that she ignored the signs of mental illness. I as a mother am not perfect and plenty of things happen at school with my children that are not always a direct effect of my parenting....at least I hope that's the case.

This is not a political post nor a platform for gun control - although i do believe our country is being completely mismanaged in this area- but just my thoughts as a Mom of two boys whom I want to grow up in a world shielded from unthinkable tragedies such as these. I want them to be able to play outside, ride their bikes, go shopping with mommy, see a movie and exercise their right to go to school in a safe environment without a thought in their minds that something so awful could occur. That's all. So, today I will continue to hug them tightly, tell them I love them and maybe not get as angry at the little things. I know there are 20 families this morning that would give the world to yell at their kids again, to put someone on timeout, or to have a teaching moment. The idea of never seeing their smiling faces again or feeling the warmth of their hugs is an unbearable and painful thought, and I feel a little bit guilty today that I am so fortunate.

I am so thankful for my family today, now more than ever. I am also extremely thankful that I do not have to educate my kids about this horrible event. My 7 and 3 1/2 year old have absolutely NO REASON to know about this, and I hope and pray (yes pray) that other parents will follow suit. Let's keep the innocence. Please. School is not a place to be feared.

There are no words for this, no "everything happens for a reason," no peace of mind. All we can do is hope that people can be supportive of one another and do whatever it takes to make the lives of these families in turmoil a little bit easier. I know there is pain and suffering all over the world, but this happened here, and it is one of the worst occurrences in history. This event just hit too close to home.

Connecticut, I am so sorry for your tragic and abrupt loss, your pain and your unimaginable journey forward. Stay strong for your surviving families and for yourselves. We will keep you in our thoughts.



Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Sorted...Maybe?

Hey, we just bought these, this is crazy, trying to organize, sorted maybe.

We have a 7th birthday creeping up, and with that, means an influx of MORE LEGO! We love Legos in our house. We love them everyday. I personally love the idea of Lego, the creativity, the applied dexterity, and the hours and hours of time that it consumes of my children. But...I realized early on that I am too OCD for Legos.

Whether it's Harry Potter, Star Wars, Monster Fighter, Ninjago and so on, these sets are coveted...especially the big expensive ones...and once they are purchased and built, they go into the abyss. The abyss is comprised of several hundreds thousands millions of dollars worth of Lego. I cringe at the fact that these sets that came packaged neatly in numbered bags, with very specific instructions, are now scattered in a sea of Lego wreckage, to possibly never be built again.

I tried tirelessly to, at the very least, sort by theme. We had a good run, but now we are back to this. I have dreams of seeing Hogwarts again, Garmadon's Dark Fortress, etc. Dreams...


But! I will not give up. Ryder also raised an eyebrow at the idea of being able to find the pieces to rebuild his sets...so, before his birthday, this coming Monday, we are going to try and sort this crap out...so we can add more to the pile.

After trolling Pinterest for ideas, I came up short. Sorting by color was not enough. These pieces range from microscopic (if you're over 40) to huge. One photo seemed to peak my in-ter-est on Pin-ter-est, that of a bolt and screw organizer. So, it was off to the hardware store we went!


Both kids were extremely instrumental and a huge help at the store...clearly. I took a break from yelling and took some pictures. I thought I would try to embrace the moment. I felt better for a minute.

We then came home ready to play sort. This task can only be done without pants. It's true, look it up.

In theory, these boxes seem like a good idea, but I get the shakes just looking at the road ahead. I can't wait to post a "I We did it!" entry, but don't hold your breath. It seems that Ryder prefers playing with the current sorted variety as opposed to the abyss. One Lego in, 10 Legos out.

I have 4 more days... and a full time job...and heaps of laundry...and an incontinent dog...and wet, sandy rainboots daily...and dinner to make...and the reality is, I would rather be playing in my yarn abyss. Peace out.



 

Friday, November 16, 2012

Dear Hostess, I Took You For Granted


I'm sad. Sooooo sad. Today Hostess Cakes Announced they were closing their doors. This is a travesty. Hostess is an Institution. Millions of children in middle America will now be without their Oscar Meyer Bologna sandwiches on Wonder Bread, slathered in Miracle Whip. Seriously though, we need a Twinkie Bail-Out!

Okay. I am very well aware that Hostess products are not the healthiest snack. And I know...I know...where have I been as a customer? Hostess, I apologize, I took you for granted. I thought you would be here forever. *sniff*

But I'm not giving up hope. The future has yet to be determined. If the company liquidates, they would also sell their intellectual property, which includes the recipes for such American delicacies as the beloved, Twinkie. Therefore, it could happen that this sugary "institution" could continue... as long as, God forbid, the buyer wouldn't try to healthy it up, I mean, that wouldn't be right.

Until then, my first thought was, "I can go buy-out the shelves of our local Targets and Safeways and keep them for decades! It would be like Hostess never left...at least for MY lifetime." Of course my lifetime would be cut short due to the increased ingestion of Hostess Cakes, but heck...who's counting. My dreams were shattered when I unfortunately discovered that the 30 year-old Twinkie shelf-life rumor had been debunked by Party Poopers such as these. Better you know this now. You're welcome.

Anyhow, here is my homage to Hostess. These are my favorite memories of the soon-to-be Trivia Pursuit question. And for the record, the BEST Hostess product, is the corner of the Fruit Pie. The Best.

Sorry Snoopy - the Zinger Zapper is here...




I guess there's always Lil Suzie Cakes... IT'S NOT THE SAME


And... I will oh-so-miss these...(yes, I know you hate them).



And of course, the corners of these...



And this crew.




And of course, Breakfast.


#SAVEHOSTESS



Saturday, October 20, 2012

New Babies, New projects!

So many babies this year! I find that my newish obsession with yarn has become my therapy. Check out some of my recent babe-a-licious crochet projects from the last couple of months. Want one? Get pregnant!


Hello Kitty Hat - Pattern Here



Join as you go Granny Squares How To

Sock Monkey Hat. Pattern


Baby Ripple Blanket. Inspiration and pattern here.


Spring Fling Beanies


Pumpkin inspired beanie for a newbie




Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Food For Thought

Here is what our family dinners, sans Daddy, were looking like during Toothgate. Yes, 3 different meals for 3 people. Of course, I had an excuse to enable...one was on soft food, but really, it's a pretty accurate representation of what dinner can look like around here. Also, I *pick* while I am cooking for the kids, so really, I typically eat two meals worth of food at dinner. That's got to stop. But how do you keep from eating Mac and Cheese?



Also, I thought you should know that this ice cream from Trader Joe's is DAMN GOOD. I had to buy it for Hayden because he was on a soft food diet prior to getting his tooth pulled. Had to. It was cold and soft. Two very important reasons.






Oh, and check these out. Thy taste like apple pie. Addictive. Yummy. Sorry, you will eat the whole bag.



Oh, and did you know how to do this?


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Breaking Three (and a half)

Longest post ever...Hang in there...there are more pictures toward the bottom...for those that need that sort of thing.

As I mentioned yesterday, the first day of school was awesome. It was perfect in many ways. What you didn't know about was our little "accident" while on vacation last week in Los Angeles. Now, you may remember this little incident. Same kid, different day. Hayden is what we commonly refer to as a "flight risk." Blink, and he's off and running. To him...it's hilarious. To us, it is growing increasingly more dangerous and it's breaking us...and well...him.

"Where should I bolt to next?"
Rewind to last week. We were frolicking on the beach adjacent to the Santa Monica Pier. We settled in amidst a sea of smoking foreigners. I dug myself into the sand as I was on crutches last week, nursing a calf muscle injury and could barely limp. It was crowded, and Hayden thankfully had decided that the ocean was even a little too daunting for him. Usually, I encourage my guys to face their fears - but in the case of my magic Haydini, I was happy to have him sit still with me. But that quickly changed... and he fled.

He ran towards the lifeguard stand and proceeded to climb up the rail. These were your run-of-the-mill Baywatchesque towers, and quite honestly, a fall from the stand to the sand would have been more startling than overly dangerous. I felt paralyzed (which has since morphed into guilt) because I physically could not run to grab him. Andy was in the ocean with Ry and I was surrounded by Borat meets Studio 54...these beach goers would render themselves useless.

In any case, I began to yell my usual chant...

"Hayden GET DOWN... Hayden, NO...ANDY!...Hayden STOP!"

Finally, my cries were answered and Andy ran to the scene to grab HasselHay from the stand. As he was coming down, BONK. For the second time this year, those two Tic-Tac front baby teeth made contact with an inanimate object. The first time the teeth took a beating was from a failed dresser-to-bed dive. We have small teeth marks in the bed frame to this day to prove it. That time, we were able to save the teeth, even though they had been knocked slightly loose. This time? The lip gushed with blood like before, but those teeth were way more mobile.

Well, since we were well versed in what-to-do-when-you-have-a-baby-tooth-trauma, I made the quick decision that we would bypass the lip and work to save the teeth! It was clear that we needed to find a pediatric dentist, STAT. Important to note...it was almost 5pm in Los Angeles.

If you know anyone who has yet to jump on the smartphone bandwagon, this scenario could not make me advocate for this convenience more. We had NO referrals for a dentist in the area, and so the search began. I called my dental office back home for my insurance information and hopefully a referral. They had none. Meanwhile, the crying was thankfully silenced by Hayden falling asleep after his traumatic experience. Oh, did I mention it was now 5pm?

Where to turn now? YELP! Armed with my insurance info and my smart phone of course, I searched "Pediatric Dentists West Hollywood." I barely read any reviews, but chose the closest mapped dentist with the most stars. We found a place called Toothbuds in West LA. After some back and forth calling, finding out that my youngest was uninsured *WHAT HUH WHAT* and a quick call to Delta Dental and my employer's HR department to straighten this sh!t out, I had what I needed. Thankfully Dr. Tali and her team could fit us in...at 5:45pm. Read more about them here. So we drove 4 miles in 30 minutes. I love LA.

Here was the waiting room scene...One. Hot. Mess.

Diagnosis? The bottom line was, he'd been through enough that day, so better to just let his lip heal and the swelling go down. Anything she would do that day could be done days later with no repercussions. Dr. Tali = Awesome. I even received a follow up call on Monday, her knowing fully well, we might never set foot in her office again. I Yelped her awesomeness immediately... my second entry ever. I'm not a chronic Yelper, but I may start.

So here we are...finally. Six days later, back home, and geared up for our post-first-day-of-school dental appointment, with awesome Dr. Quo in Palo Alto, the local go-to Peds guy. Hayden was feeling good about the idea of getting some help with this painful and loose tooth that had kept him on a soft food diet and without his beloved pacifier. Note - Dr. Tali recommended taking advantage of this paci-less window to ween him. So far so good. No Paci for almost a week and he had done well with the excuse "Doctors Orders!"

Hayden saddled up to the dental chair or table-bed... whatever that thing is called. He was in good spirits because where else can you lay on a table and watch TV on the ceiling? Tom and Jerry. He was psyched.

He needed some X-rays. I had never seen this kind of medical cooperation from him. I was relieved when he followed the instructions to open his mouth, hold still and bite down. Ah-mah-zing!

All was hunkydory until....

Here is where we took a turn for the worse. Hayden's tooth was indeed fractured. We could have left it in to run its course, however, the discomfort and inability to eat normal foods lead us to the decision to pull the tooth. Now, Hay has never really had a dental visit before, except for my wonderful Dr. explaining the perils of sugar bugs and counting his teeth. So basically, after this fiasco, we are totally screwed for all future visits. Dr. Quo agreed that there really was no fabulous other way to do this. Here we go.

First came the laughing gas. This was supposed to comfort him enough to be able to get a couple of shots of Novocain in his gum line. He wasn't having it. We tried tirelessly to liken it to an elephant trunk, a batman mask, crap...just drugs to make his face feel better. He was fighting. Soon, the cool shades came out and it helped to somehow blind him from the gas mask enough to go for it. Step one. Completed.

Here is where things got super sucky. The needle. I don't think the gas disguised that needle one bit for Hay. At the first poke, the wailing started. Seeing your child in pain is the worst, and knowing that I made the call to yank the tooth just added to the devastation. We were also in a situation where the dentist, the assistant and I had to pin him down so that we could get the injections finished while he screamed and was shaking with fear. The actual extraction process takes only seconds, but the lead-up was excruciating.

When all was said and done, the crying persisted out the door and into the lobby where the parents in the waiting room just looked at me with empathetic expressions. The wailing was soon replaced by crying over the "prizes" in the prize machine. Hayden wanted a red ninja out of the ninja gumball-like dispenser. Six try's later, we were good-to-go...and we then hit up the Creamery for some ice cream.

And so... we close the book on another unwanted and unwelcomed first. I now have a 3 1/2 year old with one less tooth, a bounty from the Tooth Fairy, serious bragging rights at Nursery School, and no recollection that this entire situation could have been avoided by not running off, coupled with listening to his parents.

Congratulations. You made it to the end. Thanks for listening.



First Day of School and Then Some...

Remember, when you read this...today is yesterday.



Today marked a monumental day of firsts. It was the first day of school for BOTH of our kids - translation- Hayden is no longer a baby. This made today sting a little bit more. To add insult to injury, today was Ry's first day of 1st grade. There is something about a grade level with a number in front of it that brings a reality to light that your child is "growing up."


"Kindergarten" is a cute word in itself. I mean, what is more adorable than a German garden full of kids? Today, I needed a Biergarten (this doesn't need translation...and if it does... Sound. It. Out.). I know many parents who are weepy at the first Preschool and Kinder drop offs. I get it. The baby stage is over. It's overwhelming. This little human is now a person. I know this to be true because my little guy now has a cubby, snack sign-up responsibilities, and a pick up time punctuated by a lot of forms that regulate who can remove my child from the premises. This is the real deal.

We had not been great parents this summer when it came to bed time. We planned accordingly for today though, by getting the kids to bed earlier the night before school started...that's enough time to regulate them, right? Thankfully, the first day excitement trumped (I use that word a lot...I know...it's good) any amount of tiredness that could have ensued. I awoke the mini-humans with my best rendition of the acclaimed Imagination Movers diddy, First Day of School. Our kids think it's the "jam."



The excitement in our house came in two forms. One, Hayden was finally going to get to join his brother at the same school. He had a new Spiderman lunchbox, Spidey thermos, shiny blue Kleen Kanteen and a new Spiderman shirt. He was supercharged and his enormous grin said it all. Today rocked. Today, "I'm BIG." Ry's excitement came from a place of feeling like he was "BIG" too. A lot of bragging commenced about things he gets to do that Nursery Students don't get to. All in all, the love for their school was apparent and seeing how it is September 11th and many kids in the area have been back now for a month, they were ready to get out of the house.



Our summer break is incredibly long compared to others, it almost feels purposeful on our school's part, to make sure that kids are extremely ready and willing to jump back into the classroom. The negative is that there is not a whole lot for kids to do at the end of August and early September, but the plus is, that it gives families a nice week to travel to any popular kid-friendly attraction, as there is no one around. Like when we went here.

Anyhow, today was a great day...until 3pm. But I'll write about that one tomorrow... Right now, I just want to relish in the fact that my kids sprung out of bed excited about the next chapter of their lives. Ry even got to spend his first after-school day slurping down rootbeer floats with a good friend.


Meanwhile... Hayden lay waiting...



To be continued...



Monday, September 10, 2012

Mermaid


"Mom, I designed this just to please you."
I'm pleased.
"By the way, it can also be a Christmas Tree."


Still pleased.


Sunday, September 9, 2012

LAGram

Ugh. I lost my original post. Stupid iPad Blog App.... And human error of course. Here were some of the pics from our LA trip.