Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Mission: Playlist

I've been known to write a post or two about my running (or lack thereof). Between the heat, my job, 2 kids and a travelling husband, running has been almost non-existent in my life lately. My biggest excuse this time around has been that I need a good playlist to motivate me to get out of bed early enough to beat the heat and be done in time to get a shower in, get 2 kids ready, and make it to work. The music that had been on my ipod was downloaded a couple of years ago as I was getting ready for Sadie to be born. At least it was all uplifting, but a little too mellow to really get my feet moving and blood pumping. Being the technical wizard that I am, I never remember how to load and unload my shuffle, and when I finally sat down to try to see if I could figure it out, the cable malfunctioned.

In spite of a lack of music, I've made it out of bed and out the door before 5:00 for a run the last two mornings. And the entire time I run, I have this imaginary playlist going through my head. But since I only remember parts of songs, and those are way out of tune as I render them, it hasn't exactly been the ideal substitute. So I got a new cable today and was able to sit down and load some stuff on my ipod that I think will get me up tomorrow (and hopefully beyond!) morning. The mix is eclectic, to say the least. Here's a sample of what it includes: The Cure, David Cook, The Go Go's, Journey, Modern English, Jason Mraz, Ryan Adams, Foo Fighters, Fountains of Wayne, Nirvana, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by that Hawaiian guy, the Beatles, some Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yokum, the Police, and a vast assortment of my favorites from various TV and movie soundtracks along with some Spoon, Cake, and Nirvana. Oh yeah, and as a tribute to all of the fallen pop culture icons of my youth over the past week, I had to include some Michael Jackson.

What do you think? What's on your get-your-feet-moving-and-heart-pumping playlist?

*In light of the fact that it is nearing 11:00pm as I hit the publish button on this post and put the finishing touches on my perfect-for-running playlist, it's safe to say that my new shuffle mix will not be road-tested any time soon, as in Running Tomorrow Morning = Mission: Impossible!*

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Bedtime with my 2 1/2 year old is challenging, to say the least. We moved Dylan to a big boy bed just before Sadie was born when he was about 22 months, because we didn't want to get another crib. And he was just ready. He never got up after being tucked in for the night. We moved Sadie to a bed at about the same age because she was beginning to try to climb out of her crib and we feared for her safety. This didn't bode well for her readiness to stay in bed for the night, and she's been pushing the limits ever since.

Not that we are perfect parents by any stretch of the imagination, but I think we've done a pretty good job through trial and error of making the boundaries very consistent so that once it is bedtime, she has no excuses to get back up. We have a story before bed. We brush teeth before bed. Potty time happens before bed and there's no getting up for the potty after bed. (For the record, before reporting me to CPS for abuse and neglect in not allowing my daughter to urinate after she's tucked in and possibly causing her to have multiple and severe UTI's, she still wears a Pull-up to bed and she has NEVER. ONCE. ACTUALLY. PEED. when we have let her get up to use the toilet after bed.) We are very clear with her about that after this and this and this happen, then it's time for bed. No room for ifs, ands, or buts, and for the most part, she adheres to the confines of her bed when it is time, but not without her fair share of whining.

I am all about giving her choices at bedtime so that she feels she has some control over the situation. "Do you want to brush teeth before or after you have your story?" "Do you want to get a drink of water now or after you go potty?" "Do you want to turn off the light or do you want Mommy to?" "Should I stay for 1 song or 2 (on her CD of lullaby music that she likes to listen to as she falls asleep)?" Of course she always says "2" which usually morphs into 3 or 4 by the time all is said and done. Because of everything that she can sneak into the equation in spite of all of the boundaries and consistency and choices. Like, wait, I need to give you another hug and a kiss; I want a kiss on this cheek, too; I need some dreams; more dreams; more dreams; scratch my back; kiss me again; I want some water. But especially the whine. "STAAAAAAAAAY," she will moan with her pathetically tired little voice that takes nerves of steel to resist.

I resist it for many reasons. I resist it because I am selfish about MY time after my kids have gone to bed and I simply want to leave her room and get on with it. I have books to read, TiVo to catch up on, blog posts to write, projects to finish, and sleep to get to. I resist because I believe that being firm with her boundaries will help her become more confident and independent, and somehow I have failed as a mother that she needs me too much and can't fall asleep without me next to her. I resist because I don't like to hear the whining and I'm afraid that giving in to it is teaching her that that's how to get what she wants. But sometimes she just needs me. And so I stay.

Tonight was one of those nights. As I was feeling frustrated at myself for giving in and not just a little manipulated into staying, I laid next to her gently rubbing her back. I watched her eyes drift shut and her face settle into a sleepy, contented smile, and my eyes drank in the perfection of her features with awe and wonder. She turned her face from me and I stroked her silky soft hair and inhaled its little-girl-sweet-mixed-with-outdoors-and-sunshine scent. And I stayed and breathed it all in, and stayed and breathed. And wondered why I'd ever considered it a chore to stay.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

If the road to hell is paved with good intentions...

...then the floors there are covered with well meaning, cream colored, low pile carpeting.

We moved into our house in 2002. The carpeting we still have now was here then. The owners previous to us had lived here a couple of years and hadn't replaced the carpet either. So we figure it's at least 10 years old. Two previous owner's dogs, our 2 dogs, a cat, 2 spit-uppy babies and potty-trained kids, many glasses of wine and apple juice later, the flooring has seen better days. It has gotten to the point that not only are we embarrassed to invite new people who've never seen the place over, we no longer entertain previous guests. We were reluctant to host a birthday party of four-year-olds because of the state of our flooring. (Go ahead and double click that photo for the full effect of the grossness that is our carpet.)

In the midst of a small remodeling project a couple of years ago, I realized that under our unsightly carpet, we had this pretty decent brown polished concrete floor. I have been thinking about it ever since. When I finally got Scott to admit that he too was embarrassed for the four- year-olds to play on our floor and that concrete might just be more desirable in the interim until we can afford to do what we really want to do, I saw an opportunity. While he tentatively admitted that might prefer the concrete to the carpet, he was unwilling to commit to a project involving removing the carpet and restoring the concrete. He was out of town last week, so I tore up all of the carpet in our living room and hallway. I hauled it to the dump and removed all of the tack strips around the rooms. I had every intention of getting those floors looking as pristine as possible before his return, but it just didn't happen. I didn't tell Scott I was doing it and I didn't want him to have to come home to this:

The floor is a little covered with glue and paint right now and I have been using this pretty fumy solvent to get it cleaned up. I can only take it in small doses and I really shouldn't be using it around my kids, so this project could drag on for a while. Also, the perimeter of the floor has holes from where the tack strips were nailed down. Here's the gist of the note I left him outside the door to read when he got back in town before he came in and saw the mess:

Hey Baby,
I really missed you, but could you be gone longer so that I could get my project done? I meant well when I started it, so please don't be mad. The kids were well taken care of and they are happy and healthy. That makes up for a lot, doesn't it? Just remember that tomorrow is our anniversary! And now at least you don't have to be embarrassed about the carpet anymore!
Love you,

So the floor isn't much to look at now, but he wasn't mad and we're both looking forward to continuing the project and getting on with our carpet-free life. See how pretty my floors will be when they're all cleaned up?

By the way, I really wanted to do my family room as well, but as I was removing the hallway carpet, I discovered that the floor in that room is covered with old school linoleum. I'm gonna need a lot more solvent!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Not exactly what I thought I was committing to at the time.

Yesterday was Scott's and my 5th wedding anniversary. We have been through some stuff since we've been together: a few surgeries, selling a house, buying a house, moving, waiting and waiting for him to finally propose, planning a wedding, getting married, a couple more surgeries and two kids. Having kids. There's something that absolutely nothing that has happened to you in your life before can prepare you for how much it will change everything. Yet here we are; together, happy, and healthy.

Maybe you thought from reading the title of this post that it would be about how marriage just isn't living up to all that I thought it would be. You'd be wrong. It's about my dinner last night.

We went to Quiessence, a rustic yet elegant restaurant located on a farm in the foothills of South Mountain. It specializes in unique flavors prepared from local, organically grown ingredients and you know you are going to drop some bones when you make a reservation for dinner. But what the hay... we were celebrating! We prepared to have our palates wowed to soften the blow to the bank account.

Our meal started with a complimentary champagne toast. So far, so good. They were out of our first choice of wine, but we were pleasantly surprised by the local Arizona wine they brought us instead. From Cochise County, no less. Who knew?

So we're into the bottle of wine, down the starter fruit and cheese platter, and then came the salads. I had ordered the calamari salad. (I know. The emphasis on "local" fare kinda goes out the window when calamari in Arizona enters the picture.) I've never raved about calamari, but the menu description of the salad had my mouth watering. I had only ever had it prepared one way: breaded and deep fried. A little a la T.G.I. Friday's for our location, but it was described on the menu as fried. So I guess I was expecting something pretty close to what is pictured below. A salad with a few deep fried calamari rings tossed in and classed up a little to match the sophistication of the evening.

Um, the calamari in my salad may or may not have been fried. It certainly wasn't breaded and it was most definitely not lacking tentacles. Long, curled up, covered with suction-thingy tentacles. I didn't eat a bit of it. The rest of the salad, as promised, was mouth watering. I ate every bit of it. And was left with a pile of squid limbs on my plate. Feeling a little embarrassed by having ordered the calamari salad and not eating any calamari, I considered wrapping it in a napkin and stuffing it in my purse. Purse not big enough. Scott had only eaten half of his (not calamari) salad, so we hid my pile of limbs under his untouched greens. Like they weren't gonna discover them and laugh their butts off at me in the kitchen anyway. Whatever. It was a nice place. It's not like they were going to spit in my grilled radicchio or something.

The rest of our dinner was fabulous. The evening ended up being a fitting tribute to five years of marriage with two kids to boot. Nice surprises, laughter and silliness, some tentativeness at not really being sure what we'd gotten ourselves into, taking things in stride, and just plain enjoying where we're at, even with a few unexpected limbs thrown into the mix.

Happy Anniversary, Baby! I would cala-"marry" you all over again!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Take Me Out to a Ballgame

It is probably safe to say that baseball will always be a part of our family life.

Scott grew up playing Little League and then through High School, played in college and has spent most of his adult life playing in some sort of baseball league. He now eagerly awaits his chance to coach Little League, should Dylan show an interest in playing when he's old enough.

I have learned things about baseball since we started dating that I hadn't even known existed before. Like, what's a Slugging Average? Who knew that could matter so much?!

Waiting for opening day of spring training is like going to sleep the night before Christmas around here (for some members of this household, anyway).

Did you just feel that gust of air? That was Scott letting out a sigh of relief that his son seems to have taken an early liking to his favorite sport.

Dylan wants to go to baseball games and watch them on TV. He wants to stop by the park on a Saturday morning to watch the big kids playing. His knowledge of what is going on during a game already surpasses mine. He prefers baseballs, bats, and gloves to other sporting equipment and typical toys that most boys choose to play with. He dresses himself and Sadie up in Scott's old jerseys. He is right-handed, yet naturally takes a left-handed batting stance, thanks to persistent coaching from dad. (Don't ask me why. I guess it will be important later. See? He does know more already than I ever will.) He talks about getting to play on a team when he turns 5. (Did I mention how fuh-reaking adorable, not to mention more American-than-apple-pie he looks in a baseball cap? See? I can teach him important stuff about baseball, too!)

In the meantime, we all get to play baseball with him in the backyard. We take turns being the pitcher, catcher, and batter. Lately, after attending a few spring training and regular season games so far this year, the staging of backyard baseball games has some new additions.

First, before the game starts, one of us gets a turn to sing the "Nationally Adams." Later, after we've been playing a while, we take a break to sing every one's favorite baseball tune. You may have heard it before; it goes like this: "Take me out to the ballgame. Take me out with the crowd. Buy me some peanuts and crack me up!" Because baseball is just that funny!

Hope you are spending the season enjoying your favorite pastime with your favorite people!

Monday, June 8, 2009

What Really Matters

Well, it seems I've decided to end blogging hiatus #39 with a little post. I've missed you, internet!

The other day as I was completing some mundane task or other, my 4 year old made a comment to me that made me laugh out loud. And all of a sudden, I began thinking in blog posts again for the first time in a really long time. You bloggers out there know what I am talking about... you start to turn little every day occurrences into funny stories that would read well if you put such and such spin on them. And thus, you blog. So here I am contemplating the blog that I have been neglecting because my son made me laugh and I turned it into a funny story, which I will tell you later this week. Right now, I am blogging about blogging.

I know, boring. But it is better than not blogging.

So I started thinking about how long it had been since I had even thought about my blog, let alone tried to blog about anything. And so then I started thinking about why and what has gotten in the way. And I realized that I have made so many things matter too much that really don't matter at all because all of a sudden I have a real job and I go to work every day OUTSIDE OF MY OWN HOME and all of a sudden I am relevant beyond my own household. And I made that matter more than anything else because I was relevant. Outside of my own household. But I became irrelevant in my household which meant that I really had nothing to blog about because I wasn't focusing on what was happening here. So I'm still at the J-O-B but realizing it's just not that important, and I'm getting back to thinking about and doing the things that matter the most. Because when I neglect my family and household, I really have nothing to say that matters. And that made me think that what I am putting most of my energy into isn't really that important after all. No matter how relevant it might make me outside of my own household.

So whether you've missed me or not, I am back to blogging. I might not have anything that interesting to say, but what I do have to say matters to me, so I'll put it out there anyway. Happy reading!