Friday, November 30, 2007

goodbye November!

The last day of November is the unofficial last day of Fall for me. Time to move on autumn, Eco-Cycle will no longer take leaves in their organic matter recycling. One could assume we would have taken care of the leaves months ago, but the leaf duty around here is cyclical. We have a ginormous Cottonwood in our backyard. I think back to our love for the old thing when we bought the house. Now, if I had the extra $2,500 hundred bucks laying around, to kill a tree , it would be fueling the neighborhood fireplaces for years to come. But, that seems like a silly waste of money, so instead we spend many man-hours and exert tons of energy to bag the discarded leaves. I would approximate about 50 bags a year. That's not an exaggeration. And, to top it off, there are still leaves on the ground, even a bit wet from the recent snow, makes raking oh just so much more fun.

As December approaches, my nesting urges want to pull out the holiday decor. Last year, in a bit of a hormonal-about-to-give-birth impulse trip to Target, I purchased a lovely 10ft tall inflatable snowman. I really do adore the big guy, but he's still in the garage, hibernating until we deem it time for his arrival. Or more honestly, until I get out the ladder, climb up to the menacing shelf he's resting on, pull him out, stake him down, get out the extension cord, plug him in, and hope he still works. Even better yet, we can just appreciate all of our wonderful neighbors hard work with their holiday lawn and light displays. See how easy that was?

I haven't even made mention of the Christmas Tree. I have such hesitations with little Miss GL toddling all over the place. The type of toddling that requires holding onto whatever large object is in her reach. Which leads to an instant light bulb moment, we better anchor that puppy this year to the wall, just for peace of mind. And, I guess no ornaments under 3 feet. It's a plan. Now we just need the tree. Rumor has it trees are drier this year, so they'll drop more needles. Welcome to Colorado. I can't imagine a tree shedding more needles than our past few trees have. Oh, the fun my one year old is going to have. Oh, the hair I am going to lose over the next couple of weeks. Happy Holidays!

Time to find that cheer! I am ready for you December. It's going to be a whirlwind trip to the New Year. I'll be kissing my man at the drop of a ball before we know it.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Thursday Thirteen: 1st Edition

Thirteen Things That Make Me Smile:
  1. I've made it 360 days as a mother of two girls.

  2. This little blog.

  3. Seeing my husband's name on the big screen.

  4. Staying in bed an extra hour most mornings, while J plays and feeds the girls, and even brings me breakfast in bed.

  5. A clean sink.

  6. Buying gifts to bring someone else joy.

  7. Chatting with a girlfriend.

  8. Imagining my naked feet tickled by sand, my eyes gazing upon an endless horizon, and the roar of the Pacific Ocean gracing my ears in less than one week.

  9. Outdoor light displays.

  10. Two girls tucked gently in their beds asleep at 7:30.

  11. The arrival of my organic vegetables and fruit on Wednesdays from Door To Door Organics.

  12. A pair of jeans that slide easy over my hips.

  13. My mother's voice.

Thursday Thirteen is a blogosphere thing. I am not sure if it will be here every Thursday, but it will definitely be back.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Budget Now or Throw the Budget Out the Window?

Maybe I'm preparing myself for the expenditures in my near future. It's time for holiday cheer which means, buy, buy, buy. Well, that's a bit dramatic, for I am a devoted bargain hunter. I search around numerous websites, making note of the best deals on shipping and price. I even get a rush at the very last screen, your card will be charged , click now, hoping I won't later have buyer's remorse and find a better deal elsewhere. I drive to Costco to load up on our necessities, even though I will make impulse purchases that will totally negate the money I saved by buying in bulk. It's the holidays! Happy Holidays!

The reality of my holiday cheer adds up in subtle ways. It sorta goes more like, pick up a few extra bottles of wine, to have on hand. Grab a pumpkin pie to have with the chicken dinner. We really should buy new lights to string on the tree out front. And then there's the baking, pounds of butter, special ingredients which I won't use again after my baking frenzy is behind me. It's all part of the spending. I won't even go into stocking stuffers, they get me every darn year. Oh, those little cute things, oh that damn $50 bucks later.

For some odd reason budgeting keeps coming up in my thoughts. I don't see us evolving into the "that isn't in the budget" family, but I am enamored by the notion of controlling our spending. Which brings me to November 28th and the gut feeling that starting a budget now would lead to my demise. I am not afraid of having some wild spending spree in Los Angeles next week which would blow the budget. I am more afraid of consciously spending my holiday cheer. So for now, I will take the moderate approach to my spending in the weeks to come.

January sounds like a perfect time to re-think our finances and maybe introduce some consciousness to our spending in the form of a budget.
To Be Continued...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Work With What You Have

Destiny is my inability to avoid my current circumstance. Although that may sound ill-fated, it really isn't. Being the mother of a four year old, has opened my eyes to what I can and ultimately can not control. Sj loves engaging in Princess play, everything from role-playing in dress-up to drawing.

I on the other hand am not so devoted to Princess play. All I see is the mass marketing success on my impressionable daughter, the toys, the dress ups, the make-up, the mounds of plastic. Eventually flashing to my future, I envision a grandiose wedding with a white horse drawn carriage. Then I take a deep breath and a step back. And I wish to the powers that be, that this is all just a developmental phase. It's just a phase.

Everyday I draw upon the beauty within my daughter. Her love for role playing is amazing. We sometimes play Cinderella and I allow her to help me scrub the dishes or wash the hard wood floors on our hands and knees. Or I am the witch offering "my dearie" a nice shiny red apple. My ability to improv has increased tremendously as of lately. That's a good thing, right?

J is the ultimate partner for role-playing, daily he takes Sj into the world unknown, always kindly accommodating her character requests. One minute, it's the Prince and the next it's Ursula. Every night in the bath, I can hear singing and laughing pouring from the upstairs. It's wonderful.

As our trip to California gets closer, my anticipation grows. Honestly, I can't wait to experience Disney. I've never been to a Disney Park. I believe a part of my childhood will return with the magic that Sj will experience there, a part of me will become more whole. A smile returns to my face and my cheeks have a glow, knowing some passion has returned to me, a gift from Sj.

Today we took the Princesses to a new level. Sj and I crafted a ship for Prince Eric, so Ariel could rescue him, in the comfort of our home. All I needed was a card board box, scissors, some toothpicks, and a hot glue gun. Sj added all the colorful details. We make a good team and we definitely know how to work with what we have.

click on our ship for closer detail!!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Back To The Grind iComic Relief

We all have to sort through the links that coming flying into our inboxes daily. Most of the time, I can't open them, because I don't have the appropriate Microsoft Player. I use Safari and a Mac, so I feel blessed I am kept out of the loop on most of that randomness.

Anyway, I did find this YouTube link hilarious because it is so true. This is in honor of my hubby, who has just gotten a new iPod Nano and a Crackberry in the last week. Yes, you are correct, I've been reduced to the bottom of the list. Conversations have turned into, "what honey- were you talking to me?" Nevermind.
Enjoy and listen closely! Friday will be here before we know it.



BTW, the real Feist song, from the commercial, is one of the first songs that made me go out and slap down my buck for it on iTunes!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

What Makes Me Different

If you've been around here in the past, that title may sound familiar. I re-visited my previous post W.M.M.D.-October and well, wouldn't you know, it was the 25th of October that post was created. So, I from here on out deem the 25th of every month, the What Makes Me Different post day. Hopefully, by revisiting the topic with me each month, you'll join in, take a moment to celebrate yourself and being one of a kind! Maybe even gather up the courage to make your very first comment, right here on Eat Play Love. I dare you!
  • I believe the universe will bring good into your life, if you first take the step to do good.

  • I have a difficult time throwing things away, if I know it can be re-used or re-purposed by someone else.

  • I love staying snuggled under my covers in the morning when snow is blanketing the view from my window.

  • I enjoy watching my daughter's play with trucks and balls just as much as their dolls.

  • I long to re-paint the walls in my bedroom, but seriously lack the motivation.

  • I haven't read a novel in months (shame on me).

  • I had a dream I won the lottery, woke up, wrote down the numbers, and play them occasionally.

  • I can put my feet behind my head!

  • I am always in search of learning something new.

  • I think it's fabulous when I am exhausted from a hard day's work.

  • I am more sensitive than I allow others to believe.

  • I've spent 16 years with the man of my dreams.

  • I wouldn't spend my days any other way, than raising my two beautiful girls.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Watch Out Closets

Believe it or not, yesterday I really did spend the entire day at home. I didn't venture out into one retail marketplace. Although, I did have an urgent dilemma, I needed some personal hygiene products. So what is a hormonal woman to do in the face of a retail boycott? Yes, as you can guess, I sent the hubby. We needed some things at the grocery store anyway.

It shouldn't come as a surprise that my hubby called me while out on his excursion. I answered the phone, " Just Buy The Damn Pads!" I had a flashback to one of my favorite movies from the 80's, Mr. Mom, when Michael Keaton was embarrassed beyond belief with the loudspeaker price check on the pads he was purchasing for his wife. What a fabulous hubby, to call me, to confirm he was indeed purchasing the correct product, thickness, length, and wingspan! Mission completed.

Taking advantage of my opportunity to be home with out the girls, I started my clothes project. I was smart enough over the years to pack away Sj's old clothes in plastic bins that were organized by size. My job yesterday was to unload the 12-18 months sized clothes and pack up/sort out the 6-12 months older things GL is no longer in. Sounds easy, right? Well, it turned into a project of rampage proportions. I've been a bit lazy in the organization of clothes that Sj and GL have grown out of the last 5 months or so, which means they also had to be organized. They were on the top shelf of the closet, in a bin downstairs, in a closet downstairs, and also in their dressers. So, while just pulling out some clothes from the girls' closet, I managed to organize the guest room closet, the 2 hall closets, and pack up tons of crap for the ARC Thrift Store.

Now, I am dirty from digging around all our closets today, tired, and oddly content. The girls' closet looks amazing. I don't think it's been as organized since Sj was a baby. All the clothes in the house are clean and PUT AWAY (that's the battle around here)! Even J, decided to sort out some of his clothing. He joked with me while putting his things away, "damn, I just wore these socks yesterday". I call that good. I am next, my half of the closet, where I keep my sweaters folded resembles a church rummage sale. Yikes. Watch out closets, I am on the prowl, and making progress. Who needs spring cleaning, just give me 20 degree weather and a tummy full of Thanksgiving leftovers. I am on it!

Here's a peek at some of those tasty leftovers:

Friday, November 23, 2007

Buy Nothing Day!

Yes, I said it. Buy Nothing Day! The folks over at Adbusters really do a fine job of encouraging us to take a spending break today. All the media buzz is pointing to the success of retailers on this holy morning-black friday, a prediction of the holiday season that is to come. Am I worried that the Walton Family is going to go without their caviar this Christmas? Or that Sam Jr. may have to put the fuel for his environmentally disastrous personal jumbo jet on his Black American Express Card, if I don't spend $100 bucks on bargains today? Umm..no, not really!

I know it's tradition for lots of folks out there. I carefully flipped through the ads today and couldn't find one single bargain that would make me push over an old lady and run in a frenzy through the store. Silly me, I am content with my older electronics, our antiquated 500lb free television, and all the battery powered lead laden toys I can handle.

So instead, I am going to pull out Sj's stockpile of 12 month old clothes for her darling little sister GL, now that the weather, I think has officially turned COLD! We will celebrate them and talk about the memories from 3 years ago and chuckle about what is yet to come in them. I am also going to do a quick sort through our toys, as the new ones will be arriving with a Jolly Ol' Soul in just a month. I'll be passing things along to friends, doing some donating. Feasting on left overs. And, quite honestly not feel like I am missing out on one big Retail farce.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

GRAZIE

Growing up Italian American in New York is an experience. Well, I shall clarify, I grew up in "Upstate New York" which to the city dwellers is farm country. In reality it's not farm country and it's not an urban mass-transit culture either. It's smack dab right in the middle of those two extremes, a typical surburban township, with a heavy dose of ethnic pride.

On occasion, I long for that dose of ethnic pride. A Coloradan experience is much more watered down. I could go as far to say it's a bit more WASPy. If I really went to great lengths I am sure I could find an Italian Market, but I can almost guarantee it would pale in comparison to the one that was blocks from my parent's house. There is no possibly way to recreate the sensory euphoria that comes over me when I enter Roma Food Imports. When I was a little girl, I would linger in front of the glass cases, staring at the 20 or so varities of decorated Italian Cookies. I would snicker at the white buckets of sundried fish and curl my nose, when I would take a daring closer whiff. All the while, my mom would catch up with our family friends that have run the business for decades, while our deli meats were sliced to our liking. Only a week had gone by since our last visit, but we relished in conversation like long passages of time had passed.

On Sunday mornings, on our way home from the local Roman Catholic Church, we would always stop at Bella Napoli. As you can infer, it's the local Italian Bakery. Hard rolls, soft and warm, would be placed in a paper bag, buttered when we got home, and my father would dip his in coffee. Their pastry cases are chock-full of sweet fond memories. Cookies, bread, eclairs, cannoli, cookies, doughnuts, all decorated in their own special way. It was a beautiful moment the first time I took Sj there, I felt like a child myself. Maybe that's what makes our trip back to NY special. If we had those experiences in Colorado, it would be just another everyday thing, but it really isn't. It's ethnic pride.

Of course my reminiscing is about food, but my childhood was defined by relationships as well. The vast majority of my girlfriends in school had last names that ended in vowels and yes indeed they shared that Italian American existence. And now I fast forward to that one girlfriend that has stuck around for quite sometime.The two of us, bonded over a combination lock in 7th grade (she tells the story much better than I do). We both know what it's like to have Italian fathers & Italian mothers, a reality like no other. She knows the places I am all too fond of. We live only miles apart today, but 1800 miles from the memories of our past.

And today, I will raise my glass in honor of her, in honor of a shared history, and a warm feeling of Grazie in my heart!

Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends and family around this lovely globe.







Here's a true family tradition, the unspoken kind. Bell's Poultry Seasoning, store brand won't do. Thanksgiving just isn't the same with out it, trust me!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

China Free Christmas -The Ongoing Saga

After our trip to the mall, I realized this Christmas may go down in history. Sj was bouncing from rack to rack in the Disney Store, making mental notes of all the junk she wanted to ask Mr. Santa Claus to bring her Christmas morning.

Here's a snippet of my experience:

Sj exclaiming with excitement, "WOW! Look at that, a Polly-Pocket-esque grand plastic castle, with a prince and princess. WOW, This is amazing, a talking plastic dressing table. Did you see this Ariel, I don't have one of these?! Wait until I see Santa!!!!"

My mumbling reply, "Sj, you already have the Princess Story Book Castle and almost all the princesses in that size! Yes, that's nice darling, but you don't have any room for it in your bedroom. Gosh, that Ariel has a creepy distorted face (they have a weird line of barbie like dolls & a line of more normal ones).We probably should wait until we get back from California to start making Christmas toy decisions, they have so many new and exciting toys there!"

We shuffled our way out of the Disney Store only to walk right into Santa's path. We were above him, so we waved. Sj could not get over her direct interaction with Santa even if we were a balcony apart from him! I played into it, I can't believe Santa remembered you, I think he even said your name. We didn't do pictures, because I forgot my digital camera. It's like $20 bucks to get your picture taken with Santa these days. I promise, next time. Although after this experience, visiting the mall with children doesn't seem to be too smart.

Unfortunately, Santa isn't bringing any Disney-Potentially Toxic-Overly Marketed-Break In a Week-Toys to our house Christmas morning, for Santa is shopping online this year. Santa already dropped a bunch of loot at Nova Natural of Vermont.

Here are a few things Santa is delighted to deliver to our door:
I saw these wooden walking blocks and was mentally transported back to my pre-school years. Can anyone say, Romper Room!! I can't wait to see my 4 year old on these! We even bought the sling, mommy loves her sling, Sj needs to wear her babies as well.

These are playsilks. Sj has a few of them already. We are expanding our color selection. Sj is so creative with them, we use them for dress up, for imaginary play with dolls, even for her wig on Halloween! We even bought our little munchkin a baby peek-a-boo silk in orange, so she can delight us with her fun tricks.

Sj has given GL one of her dolls, but GL needs some things of her own. Little Pink friend. She loves babies right now, she just points at them, smiles, and always wants closer interaction.

Hopefully the mass marketing that oozes into Sj's reality will be fleeting. I know my heart will be more content with toys that I believe have some magic in them.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

FATBURGER

On our excursion to the other side of Denver this past weekend, we indulged in a little Fatburger love. I believe there is only one Colorado location and boy is it a TWO THUMBS up in my book! I am not much of a burger girl, well, I like my sundried tomato-feta cheese-spinach homemade turkey burgers. So when it comes to beef burgers, I am picky. I thoroughly enjoyed my experience. The burger was seasoned to perfection, a hint of pink inside ( I loathe bloody burgers), and it was so juicy, maybe too juicy! I indulged in the Fat Fries and J was delighted with his onion rings. My one suggestion is to bring along baby wipes, or plenty of napkins. We all had t-shirt stains to remember our experience. I guess we were too into the food to notice we were being slobs!I highly recommend giving it a try, if you are in their neck of the woods.

Ummm, we were so excited to get our burgers, we don't have a "freshly arrived" photo, only the aftermath photo!I guess that's a sign of a damn good burger!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Mommy Got New Toys

I have just purchased a ultra-hip new keyboard and mouse for my computer. So the old ones, will probably turn into a distraction for the girls, but I have a feeling there are a gazillion creepy microscopic beings living in it. I am tempted to send off my old toys to a lab for testing. Although the findings may be scary. The older technology has a layer of plastic that traps all sorts of things that fall in between the keys. For example, my fingers are gracing the dust, dog hair (whom we lost, oh 2 years ago), a safety pin I couldn't retrieve, glitter, and craft sequins, for the last time. I considered for a fleeting moment, leaving the plastic wrap on my nifty new keyboard, like the old ladies do with their parlor couches.

I know for a fact my new mouse will be a bit of a learning curve. Using an older Mac mouse (circa 02'-I believe), I don't have all that fandangled right/left click options. I have click or press & hold and click, whichever you prefer. The "Mighty Mouse" has a little nubby roller, right and left click options, and two side click options. Not sure what their exact purposes are yet. Control & Hold Down clicking have been my best friend for years now. If you are a Mac person, one of my All Time Favorite shortcut combinations is a "screen shot" which you get to by apple-shift-3. So cute.

Upsides of the new devices before actually using them are, quick shortcuts to dashboard, via mouse and keyboard. I can also customize some shortcuts when using my keyboard, I have no idea what shortcuts to create, but it sounds good. A function button also allows you to spread out all the windows you have open at once. Nifty. Will I need it, probably not. A downside, I see right off the bat, white keys..W H I T E keys..eeewww, maybe I should take a picture of them now, while they are, white. While I am on the subject of boring stuff, why does my keyboard have an escape key? I don't think I have ever in my 14 years of using a Macintosh Computer used ESC. So if you have a nifty escape trick, please enlighten me.

BTW..I wasn't the only one having fun at the Apple store, the hubby purchased a cute new Nano, I mean a masculine,burly, blue Nano. We have first generation iPods, or mini-boom boxes as I like to call them. One new feature I just adore in the Nano are the games. We haven't dowloaded any videos yet, I am surprised it didn't come loaded with atleast one video & podcast.Klondike and the trivia game have already stolen about 30 minutes of my free time. Shucks. I think the big purchases for the week are out of our system. I am trying to win an iPhone in a Real Simple contest, so we steered clear of those. Yes, I know I have delusional sweepstakes hopes. Oh, well. Time to play.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Keeping a SECRET

I think I've taken on a personal challenge, maybe even of New Year's Resolution proportions. We are going to Los Angeles in early December for a long weekend. I haven't been on an airplane since September 06, before I had GL. I am amazed when I think about it, that's quite the hiatus. I don't miss the airplane travel, but I do miss the getaways! I miss overpacking my suitcase, getting all anxious the night before, hoping I didn't forget a thing. I always do some online research and get my foodie resturaunt picks all squared away. Being a mom, I have to make sure, I know where the local Whole Foods is, for I can't stand eating out every meal. We need good, balanced snacks to keep Sj on her toes for all of our excursions.

Speaking of excursions, here enters my secret. We are taking Sj to Disneyland, but she doesn't know it. Thank goodness, her reading capabilities are at about 3 letters, for I'd be outted with this post! I have a few reasons behind my sneaky ways. Sj is a child that gets very excited about traveling or visitors. The type of excitement that leads to multiple questions through out the day. It's the usual,is today the day, are we going today, are we leaving the day after, can I pack my suitcase, on and on? Throw Disney into the mix and I think the questions would be endless. The wait would be all too painful for all of us.

So, it's a secret. California, the beach, The American Girl Doll Store, an airplane trip, all not secrets, fair conversational topics. I've been doing some research, because apparently, you can't be blind-sided heading into an adventure like Disney. Secretly, I am getting very excited. The pay off is going to be Sj's expression when she sees the sign the morning we roll into the wonderland. And the "ultimate I can not wait moment" is when we walk into Ariel's Grotto and Sj has lunch with the Princesses. Holy Crap! Yes, we will bring the video camera, we need that moment on record. So for now, I am trying my hardest to keep the best secret ever.

Friday, November 16, 2007

My Mood:Indifferent

Not sure what put me in the funk. "My friend" is not visiting, a typical tale tell sign of a funk coming on. Maybe it's the darkness that descends upon us earlier now. It's creeping into my mood. J was returning home from work in daylight, now it's dark when his key clinks into the lock, a sound which sets both girls off in an ear-covering screech. Perhaps the earlier sunset makes that very vulnerable hour of the day (often referred to as the "witching hour" in my mom-friend circles) longer than 60 minutes. I may be onto something here.

And, if I was brave, I'd post a few pictures of the house. It's a mess. J and a dear friend went out to, none other than the Warren Miller Movie last night, and our friend commented,"Wow, your place is a mess..looks like you have kids!"
We quickly quipped,"You should have been here yesterday, this actually looks great!"
In that moment, I realized he's not a drop on by kinda guy, he's always a call first kinda guy. Maybe he should drop by more often, honestly my messy house is always an open door. I truly in my heart of hearts want to have that freshly tidied up look, day in and day out. But when the funk comes, the dishes pile up, the toys scatter, and my laundry mounds. All of which I am sure contributes to the funk. What a vicious circle to be in!

To release myself of my inner-moody demons, I will end with a joyous note. My dear hubby has taken the week off, next week. Can anyone say, honey-do list? I can't start writing it fast enough, off I go.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Serendipity

Karma is believed to be informal destiny or fate. One may also refer to a similar circumstance as coincidence. Call it what you like, but I believe in karma more than coincidence and serendipity is just the icing on the cake.

More times than not, when I turn on the radio,Ben Harper will always come on during my drive. When I left the Warren Miller movie on Saturday, he was playing on the radio that was broadcasting from the theater. Sj and I took a moment to dance on the sidewalk, both happily singing along to the lyrics. She knows the lyrics from Lifeline, it's too cute, sometimes she'll just bust out a line, and I can't help but grin!That's my girl.

Songs on the radio, simple enough. Songs at the mall, a bit funnier. Background music at the grocery store, always a hoot between J and I. I can't recall the most obscure place I heard a Ben tune blaring, but I know it always makes me smile. I'm just tuned into the Ben universe and it whispers to me around so many corners.

Which can lead to by-chance meetings. After a show we saw in Steamboat Springs a few years back, we left after Ben's set. About 30 minutes out of town, J had to go to the bathroom desperately, so we stopped at a gas station. I was literally cleaning the dead bugs off my windshield, when a white van pulled up. Guess who jumped out? AAh, yes, Ben and Laura Dern. We've met a few times over the years and I have even gotten a little nod of familiarness. I'll leave out the goofy things that seem to blurt out of my mouth in those moments and just relish in the- Aaah, serendipity.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Betty Crocker Can Shove It!

I am not fortunate enough to have a TiVo system in my home. Which means I am subjected to the commercial horrors of modern day television. With the exception of VW and Kaiser Permanente, commercials have really gone down the tube. We all know that the holiday commercials are in full force, rearing their ugly heads. I suppose it's not a coincidence that Mattel has the biggest advertisting budget, so my four year old can convince herself that Christmas would not be the same without the latest and greatest piece of plastic Chinese junk. Well, it's not happening at our place. I try so hard to minimize the commercial exposure. Maybe I should invest in that darn TiVo, it would save me tons of reasoning time.

Beyond the mass-marketing to children, there is a whole subculture of bizarre commercials playing right now. The latest Betty Crocker Warm Delight's commercial, is literally one insy-weensy step before X-rated. That's not even what pisses me off the most about this commercial. I get the most aggravated, mid-commercial, when they exploit the pregnant woman, who they portray as up in the middle of the night, refrigerator open, a huge dollop of ice-cream gracing her warm bowl of corn syrup laden crap. Insanity! When I was pregnant with GL, Taco Bell, had a commercial exploiting pregnant women as well. I guess when you're pregnant you can't control your desire to pig out on a bunch of nutritionally void junk food. Shame on these commercial writers. Isn't there an intellectual in commercial writing these days? Is witty humor faux pas?

In case you want to know what in the world I am fussing over or "how to lick your bowl until your tongue is tired":

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

the GIFT that Keeps on Giving

I have a penchant for magazines. I prefer most of the house/lifestyle magazines such as Real Simple, Everyday Food, Domino, Wonder Time, and Cottage Living. I have been lucky enough to secure a position with my wonderful girlfriends to get their downstreamed junky magazines such as People or US weekly (which I don't buy). Magazines are always a refreshing departure from the usual pile of bills or mortgage re-financing offers which cram our mailbox weekly.

For Christmas, last year, Sj was given Highlights' High Five, which is the new magazine targeted for age 2 to 6 year olds, by the forevered cherished Highlights. I call it the gift that keeps on giving because it always seems to show up on one of those, "we need a distraction" kind of days. It contains, stories, poetry, some spanish vocabulary, a younger version of my favorite-hidden picture, and activities. This month's High Five had a super fun activity in back, which we already completed. It was cut outs to make a little village on brown lunch bags. We didn't have any brown lunch bags, so we made do with the bags we had here. Take a peek at our finished product.

Just in case you have a little one in your life that you need a gift for, check out Highlights, and give them a little gift each month!

Monday, November 12, 2007

My Superpower....

Casually browsing the Cafepress website for a gift,I came upon an entire line of pro-breastfeeding clothing. Well, it made me laugh. I never thought of my lactating capabilities as a superpower, but I'm going with it! I can just hear the tagline now, "able to feed on a moment's notice, no microwave needed!". But seriously, a t-shirt? Which boasts how you feed your child, that I am not so sure about. And, I am a little disappointed in the design. I would think a v-neck t-shirt would be the best design for the easiest boob access. Well, enough of the silliness. Personally, I just feel lucky enough to be able to provide what I consider to be the most nutritious form of nourishment to my little GL and also formerly to Sj. I don't think I need a t-shirt, you can just find a little twinkle in my smile.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

I'm Going To Puke!

With all due respect to a potential 1/3 of the way through life crisis here, I think my only response to this Hollywood Gossip, is I am going to puke. Lance, I think this is rock bottom. We won't even mention EPO's.

My Musical Tangent

It always starts with a casual click of my mouse. My mind tells me i'll just check it out. Then sometimes the unexpected happens, that casual click turns into the start of a tangent. Before I know it, I am headed down memory lane.

The link that started this ball rolling, was to a Radiohead Webcast . It seems harmless enough, listen to some music, pass it along to J, let him relish it, more than I would, or so I thought. Turns out Radiohead covered two songs from my impressionable late teens, by The Smiths and New Order (btw-fabulous job Thom). Both bands were hot in my yellow Sony Sportsman portable tape cassette player (remember those??). They truly were the good old days, full of new wave or post-punk however you want to categorize it. I couldn't listen to it enough. The fit was so perfect for my melancholy teenage years.

So then I start my search on Amazon, trying to recall my favorite album titles. My late 80's musical wishlist is born. It contains the following, New Order-Substance, The Smiths-Strange Ways Here We Come & Louder Than Bombs, Dead Milkmen-Big Lizard In My Backyard, The Cure-Disintegration, Love & Rockets-Earth, Sun, and Moon, Gorilla Biscuits-Start Today, and Fugazi-13 Songs. And, I just realized I must also put Descendents-Milo Goes To College on that list.

Which leads me to, Live Music. J and I have been to some kick ass concerts. So, I dig out our ticket stub pile and start taking a look at all the history. Amazing, I am going to create a live show post sometime soon, it really does need a post of it's own. Maybe this post is more important than I am giving it credit. Someday, I might cherish the memories this post conjures up. Now, I end one musical journey, my tangent supreme, all from one little damn click.

From the Radiohead Webcast, advice taken:

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Let's Go Out To Dinner and See A Movie

Do..do...do...doo..do...Well, not exactly as Trey sings it in the Phish classic. We switched it up a bit. First we watched the movie, WM's Playground and then we topped it off with the good ol' tradition of dinner at the Corner Bar . I feel so steeped in tradition, whenever this weekend is upon us. From the days long ago, when we would casually roll up to the movie, catch up with new WME friends, and put back a few drinks. Now it's a bit different, I look forward to seeing those, same faces year after year, but now I just juggle a few children in the process. It's not really an option to leave them at home, realistically speaking it is their daddy's other baby. Plus, Sj is now at the age where she can sit through the majority of the movie, of course the snacks and cranberry juice make the watching much easier to handle. GL on the other hand, was a monkey, from our arms to the Bjorn, to moving around, nursing in the sling, and walking some more. I think I sat with her for maybe, 5 minutes. Not to mention the carpet J pounded with her. Hey, it's all part of it. The theatre was packed, as usual. We don't take Warren Miller Films lightly in this neck of the Rockies.
*Sj telling the audience her name with help from Chris Anthony!*

Post-show, almost all of us, were able to head over for some din-dinny! We had the absolute pleasure of taking over the entire loft/balcony of the place. It was perfect. The kids even had their own table (even more perfect in my mind)! My one disappointment was that my favorite, bbq shrimp noodle salad was no longer on the menu , boohoo. We toasted J, to another movie well done. We were wrapped up in conversation from one end of the table to the other. Thanks everyone that made it to the show, it just makes the memories even sweeter.**************Here's the crew, post-dinner!**************

Friday, November 9, 2007

Girl With A Magical Flower

Sj has loved to doodle and draw since she could hold a crayon in her hand, probably before age 1. I've always nutured her love of drawing. Maybe I should have been more balanced in my nuturing and pushed her a little more to climb to the top of the jungle gym, but I didn't. Now, I sit back and watch her in action, curiously glancing as to what she may create next. The picture above she created this morning, while grazing through her breakfast.

If you could hear her excitement when she talked about the completed drawing above, it would just be the icing on the cake. She thoroughly described all the elements of the picture, from the berries on the tree to the girl with a magical flower. I love children's art, and here I go again, it just has a funny way of making me smile.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Warren Miller's Playground: Gratuitous Plug!



Just so happens, I know this guy. This same guy, sleeps in my bed most nights and on those other nights he's sleeping in a hotel room, somewhere around the world. That location is typically dependent on what kind of terrain and snow are just outside his door. Yes, he's a part of the magic that gets skiers into movie theaters every fall. So, here's to another year, another movie done, and the new one already in the works. You'll find me Saturday watching Warren Miller's Playground(tour dates), with a smile on my face, my girls on my lap, and one awesome guy next to me, that was an integral part of making it happen. Congrats, darling!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Blogging: My Weight Loss Secret!

The whole premise of my blog is to make people smile. And hopefully that title, made you chuckle or even laugh out loud. There's just strange things happening with my body and I think blogging is partially responsible. Being conscious of weight loss is a no win situation for me. I thought when I began running that I would drop the pounds like magic. But it should come as no surprise, with running came an increased appetite. I don't own a scale, so honestly I judge my weight by how my jeans fit or how a t-shirt fits. Weight is just a number, but fitting into a particular pair of jeans, now that's the evidence I need.

Here enters blogging. I don't eat when I am at my computer. I just can't handle the crumbs or grease, or potential sticky fingers around my keyboard. Being a firm believer in the calories in vs. calories burned theory, blogging must be a connection to the calories not eaten. Maybe expressing myself in my blog has helped me deal with some emotional issues I would have previously snacked my way to escape. Interesting theory. I think I like it. Maybe I should start a few more blogs..

Now let's be realistic here. Gosh, I am not a size 4. But, I am happy to share that I am back in my Seven Jeans, my one pair of jeans that I could actually call "long" on me, fancy that. They have been sitting in the back of my closet for quite sometime now. They symbolize a different place for me, a place where I feel more content in my body. Let me be the first to say they are by no means the "skinny jeans" I wore when I was a skeleton the first year after having Sj. So I guess you could call them my big-skinny jeans. Yeah, that's about right.

I am going to go out on a limb and share some advice, in my moment of clarity. If you find you are an emotional eater, maybe the secret to fight that old habit is to start journaling, start blogging, or dive into something new, without looking back or worrying if it will go smoothly. It could just unlock the door to the world you've been waiting for.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Election Tuesday, VOTE!

I grew up going to the polls with my parents. I recall passing through the curtain, staring up at my mom manually click her votes in the big metal machine, and then pull the big handle, right to left, to cast her votes in one big woosh! Then, we'd go home have dinner and watch the election coverage on television. Those moments obviously left an impression on me. I've missed one election since I began voting at 18 and it just happened to be an off election year, the November following Sj's birth. She was my free pass. I still wish I went to this day.

This year's election is a small one, but an important one. We will be electing a new mayor in our town. I believe there are 6 circles for me to punch out or fill in, whatever the protocol will be. I opted out of a mail in ballot, I want the girls to share in the experience, going with us to participate in our little piece of government. Every year Sj gets an "I Voted" sticker to wear on her coat, a proud badge, just like mom.

No matter where your live, I hope the polls are still open. Visit your city's webpage or newspaper, find out what the issues on the ballot are. Take a moment out of your day and VOTE!

Here's a timeline of Legal History Of Women in USA , you might just learn something new, print it out and read it when you're waiting in line to vote!

Monday, November 5, 2007

Chronobiology- An Extra Hour?

What the heck am I talking about? Biological clocks..yes, everyone thinks tick, tick, a woman who is desperate to get pregnant. I on the other hand, am referring to our bodies natural rhythms. Which draws me to ONE hour. We embraced the time change on Sunday, with a "Woohoo" an extra hour, to sleep. Although, it never really works out that way. I am not sure how you handle the time change in your household, but we stand strong with the change the clocks in the morning method. I don't know why, it just works better for us.

Finally by dinner time I was fed up with my "extra hour". The day had constantly been overshadowed by, let's have lunch now, at 1045 am, for it's really 1145. We had to put GL down for her 130 nap at 1230, for that's what time her body thought it was. By 6pm, I was ready for the girls to go to bed, because, yep 7pm is the time we start our bedtime ritual. See what I mean? Annoying! It's just one big vicious cycle that snowballs into a nightmare with children. Well, that is until their Ultradian Rhythms, the shorter cycles throughout a 24 hour period, re-adjust. I am amazed at a child's ability to cue into time, just through natural rhythms.

Putting aside the havoc wreaked on our girls with one little hour, I really did feel better in the morning. I am now waking up in the 6 o'clock hour, rather than the 7:45 we were pushing literally days ago. It was so hard to get up in the morning when it was dark and cozy, throwing our natural rhythms out the window! This morning I made muffins and was out of the house in the 9 o'clock hour. Shazam! Although I am longing for week's end, so we can be back into the swing of things, back in harmony with our biological clocks.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Colorado Girl Sox

I think it's hilarious that socks can make me reminiscent of my childhood. In the 70's my brothers wore white knee high tube socks with stripes in all the colors of the NFL teams. My favorite color way was the Viking purple and yellow, even though we were hardcore NY Giants fans in our house. Not to mention, the 70's was that lovely era when the NBA sported knee high socks and those short, shorts. Those were the days. I can hear Queen's "We Are The Champions", blaring on the boombox right in this very moment.

When I spotted some Juicy knee high socks in a mini-me version for the girls, I could not pass them up. So here we are. Take me back to 1978, put me in some American Apparel gym shorts, and set me free. Too darn cute.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Because We Live In Colorado

We take casual bike rides to the library in November and have a leisurely picnic lunch in the green grass. We enjoy the sun shining down on us, one mile closer to the sun. We don't pass on the opportunity that mother nature provides us. We also know, that at any given moment, big fluffy white flakes can descend upon us. That's the beauty and charm of Colorado. We don't pack away seasonal clothes, because we may just find ourselves searching for a pair of shorts in February or a long sleeve fleece in June. We don't have to take long car rides to walk among nature, it's in our backyard. Our playground is endless. Life is sweeter just because we live in Colorado.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Christmas Wish List-Toys Not Made In China

2007 has to be one of the worst years in mainstream toy history. Lead paint, choking hazards, recalls galore. The subject is not new to this blog or my life for that matter. I could talk about it all day. Heck, I could dedicate an entire blog to crappy plastic junk fast-tracked on the big boat from China straight to the shelves of the local Super Center, all those items that are over advertised and pushed down our impressionable children's throats. Screw it all.

Families are already fretting about, what to buy, toy shortages, all a result of media frenzy. I think there are some reasonable solutions. It's early November and there is plenty of time to get some quality shopping done. Honestly, I have never been thrilled with the idea of buying a boat load of crap, wrapping it, and presenting it as if some jolly old man left it behind for Sj to enjoy, until the thrill wears off, oh by about January 2nd. We've always taken the less is more approach to Christmas. We purchase a large item and a few small items.

I read a wonderful article on Junk Toys on the Mothering webpage. Give it a read. The comparison of buying junk toys to junk food is fabulous. Many of us don't give our children anything they desire to eat, we try to help them make appropriate food decisions. It should be the same for toys.

I urge you to look around your home, look through the piles of toys in the corner, in the closet, under your feet, and ask Is This Toy Beautiful? Think about the question before you start making your holiday purchases. It might just make a difference to your child's imagination and unfortunately now, in 2007, their health.

Here are a couple of toys that I think are beautiful. Sadly, the gorgeous Snow White set is very expensive, maybe too expensive for us. But I have to admit, it's one princess I would love my daughter to engage in imaginative play with. The doll is so soft and cuddly, I could see it becoming GL's new favorite.

The web is a crucial resource for purchasing quality toys and it saves a ton of leg work. I have shopped with every retailer I list below and love what they stand for. I believe the majority of them list the country of origin in the details of their toys. European toys don't guarantee European production. Some toys are "desgined" in France and produced in China. Although European standards are much higher and you will find these toys are much safer than US designed, Chinese produced toys. Think heirloom toys, not toys with the biggest advertising budget.

Blueberry Forest
Nova Natural
Magic Cabin
Rosie Hippo
Moolka - Very Unique Toys, although not all European made, here is their link to country of origin of their toys-see here:
Brand/Designed/Made Chart


Happy Shopping! If you are in the area, Ginger and Pickles in Boulder and Grandrabbits in Superior & Boulder are our local toy shop favorites!

Thursday, November 1, 2007

World Series Game 3 Snap Shot

2007 World Series Game 3- Colorado Rockies vs. Boston Red Sox- Coors Field, Denver. Excitement levels were off the hook. Although the zeal of the fans, wasn't enough to help the Rox win this night. J attended the game by luck and had a fabulous time, taking part in history. I was happy being home on the 40 degree night, comfy on my couch, watching the Rox take a horrible beating. There were moments of hope, but boy were they fleeting. Their night to shine, faded fast. I'm not much of a sports writer (except for the Tour), so enjoy the view from inside!