Sunday, October 31, 2010

LaDanian and Pirate Crew

We had fantastic weather today, perfect for a Halloween outing the the local zoo and park.

Q-ster was excited to wear his pirate costume. I surprised him with new boots. He'd been claiming that his old boots fit just fine, but I knew that he was fibbing because he's grown two shoe sizes. When I brought out the new ones (tall ones! Like Will Turner's!), he admitted that the old ones were really tight. The boots were about $20 at Target and fit many an adventuring profile, if you have interested kids. Just hide the pink box if your boys are sensitive to that kind of thing.

Buster had claimed he wanted to be a pirate too, but I was pretty sure he'd be unwilling to wear a costume, since he's suspicious of unfamiliar clothes. Sure enough, he wouldn't wear the piratey stuff, but he agreed to put on his football jersey. Plus, he caught on to the whole "hey, I can get candy" thing really fast.

The boy has no fear. At the Trick or Treat event, he wended his way between far larger children and adults, approached the treat baskets, waited his turn, and accepted his prize with great seriousness. He led the way a couple of times when his big brother was a little nervous.

On the way back to the car, we passed by another Halloween event where several Clone Troopers were in attendance. The boys refused to pose for pictures with them (not that I blame them - the armored, masked fellows are quite intimidating), but Buster waved back after one made some welcoming gestures.

The post-event reveling was quite entertaining for SwingDaddy and me. Mmmm, treats!

In the evening, we visited a few houses nearby for traditional-style trick or treating, but not very many in our neighborhood participate. SwingDaddy told Q-ster to go ring the doorbell at one of the houses, but he demurred, feeling shy. His little brother marched right by and reached for the bell. Nothing stands in the way, when there's candy to be had!

Hope you had a great Halloween!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Perils of Sitting Near Me

One of the results of being responsible for keeping many pairs of small ears clean is that I obsessively examine the ears next to me. In this afternoon's meeting, I had to fold my hands in my lap to keep from attending to my neighboring colleague's ear. I think that would not have fallen into HR-acceptable conduct.

In other news, we are seeing the direct results of behavior modeling. Every time Q-ster finishes a piano practice pieces, Buster calls out, "Good job!"

More non sequitur theater:
The boys are enjoying Lego Rock Band with SwingDaddy, and Q-ster has become quite proficient at the Easy setting on drums. Buster contributes by singing. It sometimes takes some extensive interpretation to identify the songs he hums afterwards during dinner. Tonight, I figured out he was wailing, "Shot through the heart, and you're to blame, you give love . . . a bad name!"

No more perfect song for a two year old.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Books and Bananas

Buster made a break for it at the airport last weekend and made it to the snack bar, where he passed up all the chips (at his eye level!) and snagged a banana. Dude, you're a cool kid. I followed him over to pay for the fruit, and fortunately, the cashier was looking fondly at her knee-height customer.

In a totally unrelated topic, check out J.K. Rowling's handwritten outline to Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix. (Thanks to the Happiness Project for the link.)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Rest in Peace, Paul the Octopus

Paul, the World Cup Oracle Octopus, has passed away. We take a moment to think of his many tentacled talents. Note the conclusion of this article:

"Paul will live on meanwhile in the form of a range of commercial enterprises ranging from special clothing lines to mobile phone applications."

Special clothing lines! I can't wait to see them.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Hey, That's One Way To Solve the Sleep Problem

We just got back from a terrific weekend with SwingDaddy's folks, where we enjoyed the autumn weather.

We shared a bedroom with the boys, so the night we arrived, we ended up going to sleep at the same time as them, instead of staying up to work an extra six hours, like we usually do. Result? The longest continuous period of sleep I've gotten since April. Mmmmmm.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Up, Up, Away

We got together with our "dance friends with offspring" crowd last weekend at a local park and shared stories of life after baby. It made me really happy to know how many pals are lurking on the blog and keeping up with our stories. If they would start blogs too . . . (hint, hint!)

Q-ster climbed a tall arch structure, and Buster, not to be outdone, followed him up. It was really high up there.

The micro dude required some assistance to get down, so SwingDaddy went up to retrieve him.

Meanwhile, his brother decided to climb down head first.

It's a different life from dancing until dawn, but still full of entertainment.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Still No Home Decor

We had a friend over for dinner last night while she was in town, and since she's expecting her first baby shortly, it was convenient that our guys were behaving like poster children for having little boys. "More tomatoes, please!" and so forth.

(Note: Yesterday was the first time I've heard Buster carefully say "To-matoes," as his favorite vegetable has been "MAY-toes" until now. I'm going to have to remember to adjust my speech to match. Nothing quite as goofy as a mother who uses baby talk for words her baby can already say correctly.)

Anyhow, almost three years after moving in, our house is still in its state of un-decor, so I'm glad that we decided long ago it wasn't going to be something that would keep us from having friends over. "Welcome to our lab," we say. "Someday, we'll buy furniture, but until then, the boys have a home gym."

Susan Wagner, over at Friday Playdate, shows a picture of how she's planning to decorate the remaining blank wall in her home, by hanging an arrangement of pictures. I love that idea. However, I'm seized with paralysis - if we start with these pictures here, what if we get it WRONG? Every room is an opportunity to create a look, but while nothing is started, anything is possible.

Then I talk myself down and think, ok, we'll just get started on one wall. And by that point, it's time to continue what seems like my 20 hour workday and I'm back on the computer. Someday, we'll get to it, I swear.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Puzzle Pro

The micro dude has become a total jigsaw puzzle fanatic. We got a whole bunch of the giant Melissa & Doug floor puzzles for Q-ster a few years ago, and Buster is going to town. He can pretty much put together a 48-piece puzzle by himself, and boy is he happy to tell you that he can “DO IT!”

It’s very restful to have an activity we can share that doesn’t involve shooting, ducking, or swordplay.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Well That Was Easily Averted

Last weekend, I was putting all the the size 24 month clothes away in boxes to bring to friends with younger children.

Q-ster: What are you doing?
Me: Putting away the too-small clothes.

Q: Too small for me or too small for Buster?
Me: Buster. These are too small for anyone in the house now.

Q, thoughtfully: We need to have another baby.

Me, panicking! Wondering if this will become a complicated discussion on reproduction, family planning, or wanting a little sister: Um, where would the baby sleep?

Q: Good point. You can give the clothes away.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Capn Jack

A couple of weekends ago, I took the boys to a local fair while SwingDaddy was at a bike race. We were intrigued by the flyer, which said "featuring entertainment by Captain Jack Spareribs and his Pirate Band."

A clever name for a clever fellow, who did magic tricks, a little juggling, and had the patter down perfectly. The Pirate Band turned out to be the "merry band of pranksters" type, rather than musicians, but they didn't disappoint.

Besides, we're still at the age where the only really important thing on an outing is the food.

And the after-party.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


It kind of feels like work is becoming my hobby and I'm not thrilled about it.

On the plus side: I got to do a cool video shoot yesterday (just corporate material, not a music video, sadly), complete with director, cameraman, audio expert, makeup artist, teleprompter operator, script/content manager, and someone to guard the door to make sure no one made noise while the camera was rolling.

It was pretty fun, and I now wish I had a makeup artist for everyday. I'm perfectly happy not to have cameras following me around on a regular basis though.

On the minus side: Missing out on evening time with the boys. And sleep.

On that note, it's time for bed.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

More on New Clothes

Thanks, y’all, for all the pajama ideas yesterday! I’m going to check out a couple of those stores over the weekend.

For myself, I’m looking for sweats or yoga pants with a pocket big enough for an iPhone. I’ve been wearing these Gap capri-length exercise pants around the house, but it’s getting too cold for them. Any suggestions, brilliant people?

I’ve resolved another of my clothing issues. I only had 6 pairs of nice black socks, which meant that if I didn’t do laundry every week, I’d be stuck wearing the not-nice black socks that cling too tightly to my ankles and make me feel trapped. Tough life, I know.

Anyhow, after the insanity of the last half year at work, I got a bonus, and you what I did? I bought another half dozen pair of nice black socks. I know how to live it up, don’t I!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pajamas - Chemicals or No Chemicals?

As the seasons change, I find myself sorting through piles of boys clothes that seemed so big last spring and have somehow gotten so so small. I did some careful on-sale shopping earlier this year, so now it's just filling in the gaps. Buster needs a few more pairs of SOFT pants. He's very specific about this. Q-ster needs more pajamas.

Ah, pajamas. It's gotten really difficult to find good ones. They all seem to be covered in flame retardant these days. I'm sure they are less carcinogenic than the kind my parents avoided in the 70's by traveling to Canada to find untreated nighties for my sister and me (hello, Canadian friends!) Still, my sons spend 10-12 hours each day in pajamas, and I'm not crazy about them wearing chemical-laden fabrics.

So far, I've been able to find cotton, "snug fitting" jammies that are not legally required to have the flame-retardant, but the selection seems to get smaller each season. I'm think I'm going to hold the line and keep trying for cotton, even if that makes giving up some of the new Clone Wars and Cars designs that the boys would like. The best article I've found so far on avoiding flame retardants is here.

What do you do? No big deal compared to all the other chemical risks in the world? Is the risk of fire higher? Or do you also look for snug-fit cottons?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Wuv, True Wuv

This morning, I was hiding under the covers, trying to catch a few more moments of sleep when the micro dude plopped his (cleanly) diapered bottom onto my head and started singing. His older brother stood next to the bed asking an extended sequence of questions about pirates. There was definitely no more peace to be had. Then they paused.

Q: I love you, Mommy!
Buster: I wuv you, Mommy!

They hugged me through the duvet. And the world was perfect.

Our iPhone self portrait in bed.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Kindy Volunteer Graduates to the Next Job

Kindergarten teachers are a creative bunch. Last week, my volunteer task was to stuff two pieces of newspaper into a small brown lunch sack and tie off the top with a rubber band. The idea is that the children will paint the sack orange and wrap the stem with green ribbon, making a "pumpkin."

Can't wait to see what Q-ster brings home. I'm sure he'll feel just as accomplished as his mama, who prepped 50 little pumpkins with the help of another volunteer.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

1000 Octopuses

Famously fabulous bloggers Maggie of Mighty Girl and Karen of Chookooloonks have published their life lists, including goals like "taste 1000 fruits" and "photograph 1000 faces."

I was intrigued the photography goal, but at this point in my life, I'm more interested in photographing my boys than 1000 different people, and I've certainly taken more than 1000 pictures of each of them. So, I thought I needed a different kind of goal, one that would be ludicrously silly.

Photograph 1000 octopi!

(That term seems to have gone out of style, in favor of octopuses. Not sure why.)

Here are a few:

This little orange fellow is actually two pieces (front and back) that stick together with magnets, holding a card or photo in between. My sister and I saw him at Kinokuniya in NYC.

Pirate Octopus wastebasket at Target. I think it gets bonus points for being both sealife and piratey.

Sealife link of the day: Mila meets the octopus. Have you seen Mila's Daydreams? She's a baby with a mom who is artfully obsessed with taking a portrait of her sleeping daughter each day in a different fabric story background.

Subversive link of the day: Lindsay of Suburban Turmoil turns the life list concept backwards with the "Reverse Bucket List," where she accumulates the marvelous things she's already done. That way, there's no looming to-do list.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

The iPhone Manicure

If I could remember clearly enough, I could probably count the number of manicures I've had on two hands. My wedding. My sister's wedding. Prom? An anniversary dinner or two. Anyhow, my fingernail strategy is benign neglect, and the above shows what my nails look like when I've been too busy to keep them short and safe.

And this is what they look like after I've had a moment to cut just the two nails most important to maintain for modern life - the ones that allow you to use to shrink and expand the iPhone touch screen interface. Geek.

Monday, October 04, 2010

One Year Later - At the Temple for Costume Conspirator

It's hard to believe it's been an entire year since Costume Conspirator passed away after a long battle with cancer. I think about her often. How much she would have enjoyed new crazy schemes, how we would have figured out together how to fix my shorter hair into a Victorian hairstyle, how she would decorate her little dog, how good it would be to have her career advice again.

Our dear friend Madame A made these beautiful memorials out of her collection of photographs, a letter she wrote, a few of my blog posts, and fabric scraps from the costumes we made. She and D took them to the Temple of Flux at Burning Man, an amazing structure created in the desert each year where people leave memorials, write messages of grief, peace, and forgiveness, and then is burned to the ground.

Rest in Peace, CC.

Photo credits: CC's memorial by Madame A, Temple photos by John DeVenezia and Joe Dacanay.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

And So the Pirating Begins

We're starting to assemble pieces for the little dude's Halloween costume, now that he's established he wants to be Will Turner (Orland Bloom's character from Pirates of the Caribbean. When we play together, Buster is Captain Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp) and I'm Elizabeth Swann (Keira Knightly.))

It's convenient that military-like jackets are back in fashion, because I found this great vest on sale last weekend in a women's size large, and it makes a very piratey sort of frock coat. Next, a tricorn. As far as I can remember, Will seldom wears a hat, but the costume seems incomplete without one.