Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Five Green and Speckled Frogs

This was my favorite nursery school song. And the micro dude loves it too!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Mixed Messages at 65 Miles an Hour

Driving to work, I saw a big electronic bill board, the type where the Highway Patrol posts announcements of traffic closures or abducted child alerts. This time, it said:


My immediate reaction was that I should take my hands off the steering wheel - Look Ma, no hands! But I don't think that was the response I was supposed to have. At least I knew it was referring to only using your mobile phone if you have a hands-free kit.

Once I saw the sign say:


And I spent the rest of the day wondering what it meant, until someone kindly explained that you're supposed to "click" your seatbelt on. Oh.

I think I need a remedial class in clever CHP slogans.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Carrots are Coming!

Yesterday, the boys turned down a chance to visit the animals at the local mini-zoo in favor of accompanying me to Costco. They made out like bandits among all the free snack samples, so I guess they made the right choice.

But today, we did actually make it to the zoo, where Buster claimed his favorite animals were the "carrots."

One of the "carrots" escaped from the enclosure and was taking a leisurely stroll around the park.

After we went home, the micro dude enjoyed a "jeely sandwich" and successfully dodged a nap. A pretty good day, all in all.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Observations of the Useless Kind

* I iTunes-ed "Outta Your Mind," the song Napoleon and Tabitha used for the awesome Twitch/Alex Dance Doctor number on SYTYCD and decided on the "clean" version, since I have the boys in the car with me too often to want to have to remember to skip ahead on an "explicit" version. I totally should have gotten half-price on the song, because more than half of the words are bleeped out.

* The ultra-cool oversized sunglasses that I bought (for a great price at Forever 21!) prior to BlogHer are fun in California, but acted like a domed moisture trap in the humid New York weather. Fortunately, the sun didn't feel as bright there, so sunglasses weren't a necessity.

* The micro dude is insisting that it's "Winnie Love Pooh" and ABSOLUTELY NOT "Winnie the Pooh." And you know what, Winnie THE Pooh makes no sense at all, so I'm going with his story.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Mucho Lego

The little dude and his pirate ship.

We're now on a Pirates of the Caribbean craze which is killing me, because both boys are definitely too young to be watching the movies, and there's no age-appropriate Lego tie-in to play. I can't even remember how they got interested. Maybe a movie tie-in easy reader book that Q-ster borrowed from the library? Maybe because I have the soundtrack on my iPod?

We're endlessly answering Q-ster's questions about the characters and plot - and they're really complicated plots! Even saying who is a bad guy and who is a good guy is tough. In reality, pirates were pretty awful. In movie fantasy, they're fun, romantic, and sometimes the good guys. Although many characters sort of switch back and forth, which give us the entertaining opportunity to explain "protagonist" rather than good guy to a five year old. Fortunately, Buster is not so demanding yet, and is happy to sing "Yo Ho, Yo Ho, A Pirate's Life for Me" without questioning character motivation.

Walking on a sandy median becomes crossing a pirate island. Driving between bollards is avoiding the arms of the kraken. Everyday life has a more colorful edge when you're living with little pirates.

The little dude even made his first movie! He built two Lego pirate ships and a sea monster, and we staged a little stop motion movie. It's a bit light on plot, but hey, the sea monster gets totally disassembled by the final frame, so there's plenty of action.

His other Lego project of the week is this doctor's kit, which as far as I can tell is unrelated to the pirate saga. It's pretty good though - can you recognize the stethoscope, syringe, tongue depressor and ophthalmoscope (eye/ear checker thing)? The loose pieces are band-aids. The Legos have been worth their weight in gold.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Paralyzed by the Kindergarten Volunteer Form

On the first day of school, we received piles and piles of forms to fill out, some of it redundant, but mostly critical stuff like emergency contact information. Now, we’re getting to the secondary material – school lunch signups, library card permission slips, that kind of thing.

Today, I faced down the parent volunteer form. It shouldn’t be that hard, but I feel like I need to evaluate whether I’m qualified for each task.

Make copies – sure, I can run a copier
Classroom helpers (clerical) – that sounds ok too
Weekly envelopes – can’t make the time slot they need
Take home projects (cutting, tracing) – oh god, no. Do you remember the felt Christmas ornament debacle?

Actually, you don’t, because I think I quietly buried that project. SwingDaddy laughed at me when I read the “cutting and tracing” request to him and told me that I should refuse that assignment, for the sake of the children. What if they couldn’t identify the shapes I cut? Thanks a lot.

I think I’ll probably be running the copier a lot this year.

In other news, Buster was playing with little wooden puzzle shapes today and I sat down with him. He handed me a red piece. “Pizza!”

Next, he gave me a green oval. “Lettuce!”
A yellow triangle. “Cheese!”

I picked up a blue square. “What’s this one, honey?”
“It’s a square!”

Duh. Silly mommy.

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Fearsomely Hip Hair Stylist Returns

I got my hair cut last week, and complimented my fearsomely hip hair stylist on how much I liked the previous cut. It had lasted well over three months, looking pretty good (especially with my indifferent styling technique) until the final few days. I passed along the praise from the makeup artist who had worked on me for the corporate video shoot a few weeks back, and Hip Stylist was very pleased.

As he worked, he explained that my cut, the graduated bob, was one of the most difficult to perform well. In addition, where Caucasian hair typically has a little wave that softens irregularities, Asian hair is so straight that it's unforgiving to an imprecise cut. It has to be perfect. I am unaccustomed to anyone talking about precision in the same sentence as my hair, given the two second prep time I give it in the morning, so it was highly interesting.

At the end of the cut, Hip Stylist was so pleased with his work that he took photographs. I agree, he did a great job.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Thank God The Micro Dude Grew Too

Last night was a bit stressful when I searched for the Captain Rex shoes on the Stride Rite website and discovered that Buster's feet would have needed to grow two sizes also, in order to fit in to the smallest pair at size 8.5. I called the store first thing in the morning, and they one remaining pair of 8.5s in stock.

We drove in. The micro dude was surprisingly compliant in stepping on the foot-measuring device. Everyone held their breath.

The store associate looked carefully at his foot. "Looks like he's an 8. You'll need an 8.5."

"Hooray!" SwingDaddy and I cheered. "Do you want Clone Trooper shoes?" I asked Buster.

He smiled shyly and said, "Yes."

Saturday, August 21, 2010

First Day, Plus Shoemaker to Clones

Here's our big boy, ready for his first day of kindergarten.

We walked up to his classroom, he gave me a hug, and stepped through the door, pausing to turn around and wave at me. When Nanny J, Buster, and I came to pick him up, he came bounding out in high spirits. The first two days of school have gone great, and I hope they're a sign of the year to come.

I thought I was so clever last month when I checked each boy's shoe size, and picked up a pair of sneakers for each of them, one size bigger than before, at the outlet mall. Essentially half price for Stride Rite shoes. What a well-prepared mama!

Anyway, then I saw these at the BlogHer sponsor Expo. Yep, Stride Rite has a new line of Star Wars shoes. Darn it! I bought shoes too early!

The General Grievous shoe is just too perfect, matching the shape of his face. The Clone Trooper shoe is especially well executed, but they're all nice designs, better than what Adidas created for adult Star Wars fans a few months back.

The day before school started, I had Q-ster put on his new shoes. And he complained they were too tight. Hmmm. I had him wear his now-really-really-too-small old shoes to school, and we went to the mall in the afternoon. He was not excited to go shoe shopping.

Dude, you have to try on the shoes this time. And you're really going to want them, I promise.

Here are his Captain Rex shoes, TWO sizes larger than his old pair. Blue lights flash whenever he stomps his feet, which is pretty much constantly, now that he has such entertaining footwear. I can't express how much he loves his new shoes.

And now his little brother is refusing to put on the new simple pair I bought him, so I think I'm going to be stuck returning both pairs of those nicely priced shoes I bought. I'm crossing my fingers that the micro dude has also grown two shoe sizes, because if he hasn't, his feet are too small for Clone Trooper shoes. And then what are we going to do?

Thursday, August 19, 2010


LJC posted about The Hero Factory the other day, and I had to go try it out! I know that Edna Mode dictates "no capes!" but I couldn't resist. Perhaps this one is strictly for photographs. After all, it's a well established tradition that the Jedi doff their long cloaks before doing battle.

On second thought, maybe they're bat wings, not a cape. Well, it's my superhero and I declare it a cape.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Countdown D-1

We attended kindergarten orientation today, met Q-ster's teacher and visited the classroom. Kindergarten begins tomorrow morning. Deep breath. Look at my baby!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Tragedy Strikes at IKEA

Buster and I went to IKEA over the weekend to find the adorable play food.

Here's the fruit basket, including a watermelon slice, banana, two orange halves, two green apple halves, a bunch of grapes, and one kiwi half. Not sure why there's only half a kiwi, but perhaps budget crunches have hit our plush CSA.

The breakfast set. Notice the fabric cutting board and delicate plush knife. I don't even eat fried eggs, but the sunny side up makes me hungry.

I didn't bring home the desserts because they weren't as cute in person as they were in the photograph. But tragedy of tragedies - they were already sold out of the veggie basket! The autumn catalog arrived just last week, and they're already sold out. Sigh. Maybe they'll restock.

I consoled myself by making a little plush BLT. Isn't the curly cloth bacon the cutest?

Ok, back to regular life. By the way, I'm letting the boys play with the food too.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

A Dazzling Dozen

Traditional twelfth anniversary gifts: silk or linen

Modern: exchange of iPhone 4s

I love you, SwingDaddy!

Saturday, August 14, 2010

So, So, So Proud

What is this, you ask? It is a SWIMMING BOY!

A lot of friends have kids that swim like fishes, but we haven't been as good about getting to the pools. At the beginning of the summer, Q-ster was pretty leery of getting his face wet, but knowing that this was the year he really needed to get comfortable in the water, we signed him up for swim classes. Four weeks, every day.

Friday was his last day of class. Check this out.

He jumps right in the water! (The arms belong to his teacher, one of a passel of high school students patiently guiding the preschoolers class.)

Here he is, with his Red Cross water safety certificate. He was starting to shake from being cold, so I chose being a better mother than being a better blogger and didn't make him pose for a better picture.

All the recent parenting literature says that you're not supposed to train your kids to be dependent on outside approval, but we're old school, so we told him we were really proud of him and how much effort he put into learning his new skills.

(Yeah, I do understand the idea how poor phrasing in praise can be harmful. We made sure to talk about how he must be feeling really proud of himself, how he overcame his fears, and so on to balance it out.)

Way to go, little dude!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Unexpected Mashups

We love Lego. We love Star Wars. So of course, Lego Star Wars is the best thing ever to Q-ster, and to a lesser extent, Buster. The little dude knows Lego Indiana Jones and that there is also Lego Harry Potter and Lego Batman, so naturally, he assumes that there are Lego versions of everything.

Q-ster: Can we see Lego Riverdance?
Um, no.

The other night, he asked to see Lego High School Musical, and I told him that sadly, there was no such thing. He told me just to look, and I thought, why not? There's no product, but that doesn't mean that some crazed fan hasn't . . . sure enough. Lego High School Musical.

In other news, Buster grew from a plump bellied baby into a toddler during the week I was gone. He has great interest in singing into the microphone that Agu built for Q-ster years ago.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cooking on the Edge

The wise speakers in the "How to Take Great Pictures" session at BlogHer 10 pointed out that one shouldn't complain about "not having the good camera with you." The BEST camera is the one you have WITH you. I like that thought, and it certainly makes me more inclined to take slightly blurry photos with the iPhone.

So, you're now going to be subjected to odd commentary on life that I wouldn't have photographed before.

We had Bagel Bites and cherry tomatoes for dinner last night (a whole meal of mini food! Only some of which is unhealthy!) and I was looking at the heating instructions. 400 degrees for 11 minutes, if you toast 3 Bites. 14 minutes, if you toast 9 Bites. And for 20 Bites . . . Not recommended!

20 would have been a good number for the four of us, but I was too worried. Would the toaster oven explode? Would it bring down Armageddon? End the world as we know it?

I toasted 18, just to be safe.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The Winning Swag

Hands down, we've gotten the most entertainment minutes out of the newly re-released Weebles.

Weebles wobble, but they don't fall down! Remember them? I loved my Weebles and the now the boys do too. Mine got so battered that the faces and decoration started peeling off. The new versions look more sturdy and a little bigger than the classic Weebles.

Q-ster identified the soccer player as German, due to his clothing colors. I guess someone was paying attention during the World Cup.

Thanks, Hasbro. I was given two free Weebles at BlogHer, but my opinions are my own.

Monday, August 09, 2010

Must Go To IKEA Now!

Back home and happy to be reunited with my boys. While I’m sleeping and putting together BlogHer stories, check out the cutest play food ever!

Friday, August 06, 2010

And Now He's Pouring Orange Juice

Me: Bruce Jenner is supposed to be at the conference breakfast today, courtesy of sponsor Tropicana.
Younger Friend: Who's Bruce Jenner?

Me: He was an Olympic Champion decathlete. A real hero in sports, Wheaties Box, that kind of thing.
Friend: Huh.

Me: You would know him as the stepdad to the Kardashians.
Friend: Oh, HIM!

Ah yes, times have changed.

P.S. I met the Baby Name Wizard today at that same breakfast! She's very cool and loves all the statistics combined with the creative side of names. (Thanks to TB for seeing that she name-checked me in her post today.)

Thursday, August 05, 2010

If MTV Had a Reality Show About Pianos

This would be called "Pimp My Piano."

We visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art today, just long enough to linger over a fabulous costume exhibit ("The American Woman, 1890-1940) and admire a section of the musical instrument gallery. No photos were permitted in the costume gallery, so here are a few more keyboards.

This is the oldest piano in the world, by Cristofori in 1720. It took many years before composers started taking advantage of the greater dynamic capabilities of the pianoforte (as compared to the harpsichord), so true piano music appeared decades later.

I find this harpsichord rather alarming. The support sculpture looks like it's ready to attack.

In other news, bloggy festivities have started. Here's me (on the left) with Jenny and my sister at the Martha Stewart Omnimedia party.

Of course, all the food was beautiful and cute. Mmmm, cupcakes.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010


Mary Poppins on Broadway was highly entertaining. We had some quibbles about plot changes (Mrs. Banks' character was much weaker than in the movie), and insufficient costume changes, but the stage set was astounding. It must be nice to have the financial might of Disney to fund the enormous moving pieces of the Banks family house. Plus the final flight of Mary Poppins was terrific.

Strawberry Fields in Central Park.

Yep, we saw two shows today. The evening performance was Lend Me a Tenor, featuring Anthony LaPaglia (Jack from Without a Trace!), Tony Shalhoub (Monk!) and some young guy we'd never heard of (Justin Bartha from The Hangover) who was making his Broadway debut and more than held his own with the rest of the cast. Silly, sillier, and even more silly.

It's been many years since I've had an opportunity to enjoy a theater week, but like previous trips, an inadvertent pattern is developing between the shows. This week, it's been silly plots and simpering women, which is at least more lighthearted than the trip where it seemed like the entire cast of shows was dying of AIDs somewhere during the second act (Rent, The Boy from Oz, etc).

And finally, this is a photo of our hotel door with the peephole carefully covered with tissue paper. My dad has done this for years (thanks, dad!), and it seems prudent in these days of Erin Andrews.

We can tell that the bloggers are starting to arrive in the hotel. BlogHer '0 festivities begin tomorrow night - hope to see many of you soon!

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Meet Ya at the TKTS Booth

My sister and I are in New York, and if you wanted to meet me somewhere in this vast city without setting something up in advance, the TKTS booth is a pretty good place to start.

We saw Promises, Promises tonight, starring Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth. Very funny and great voices.

While we were getting our half-price tickets, this fellow was distributing flyers from La Cage Aux Folles, and was only too happy to pose glamorously.

The cupcakery next to the theatre featured special pink cupcakes titled "Promises, Promises" in honor of the show, so we may have to try them tomorrow.

Singing, dancing, cute food. It's a great city!

Sunday, August 01, 2010