Thursday, September 30, 2010

Frozen Dead Guy Days


Nederland, Colorado is what I tend to claim as a home town, since a chunk of my childhood was spent there and my folks decided to move back as soon as I finished high school.

It's a quaint little mountain town, located just west of Boulder, with an altitude around 8,200 feet above sea level.

Wait, did I say quaint? I meant quirky. Really, really quirky.

And by some fairly objective standards, no less.

There are lots of little towns in Iowa, nothing more than a few clusters of houses and a gas station really, but each has it's own "town" status.

And with town status in the midwest, along comes it's own little quirky town festival.

I spent a summer living in Lisbon, and got to witness both Sauerkraut Days and Firemen Days being celebrated on my doorstep since they close down the two blocks of Main street for using the road to put all the venders, rides, and entertainment.

(Never live on the Main Street of a small town in the midwest.)

Mount Vernon (the town that holds Cornell College) has Heritage Days. And there's the always exciting Beef Days, Watermelon Days, Corn days, Apple Festival, Pie Days, Mud Days (no, I did not make that one up, it's in Palo), and even the Tulip Festival.

But Iowa's quirkiness ain't got nothing on Nederland's.

We celebrate Frozen Dead Guy Days.

Yep, there's an actual dead grandpa in a woodshed on ice blocks (his wishes, to be preserved until science could bring him back....) which town people use an excuse to throw a three day festival in early spring.

And like any good festival celebrating death it has coffin races, a parade of hearses, snowball sporting events, the polar bear plunge (hypothermia, a good way to end up next to grandpa in the woodshed), grandpa and alien ice queen look-a-like costume contest, and concerts with plenty of local beers being served.

(You know, to help you warm up after spending the morning running around in a skimpy costume while playing with snowballs and the afternoon of jumping into a frozen pond.)

And they're expanding it each year.

The newest, most disturbing addition: tours to SEE the frozen dead guy with Bo, the iceman.

(Who is Bo the iceman? I have no idea, probably the guy whose been bringing ice cubes to keep grandpa cold and cozy, who then decided it was an excellent marketing opportunity since people really will actually pay money to go see a dead person, apparently.)

Nederland also celebrates with a 4th of July parade (it almost never snows for this!), High Peaks Art Festival, and Oktoberfest.

But Frozen Dead Guy Days is just off the charts for true small town quirkiness.


Please note, the Nederland Oktoberfest is going on this Saturday, October 2nd, with all proceeds going to those displaced by the recent 4 Mile Canyon fire. An excellent excuse to drink beer, enjoy the quirky town, and help people all at the same time.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The BrewSki

Nederland, a unique community to be discussed more in depth tomorrow, has a few very awesome things going for it.

(Unless I get bored writing about the town before finishing that post, at which point the more in depth part will appear at some future date, and there will be some other random exciting blog for tomorrow.)

(Or a lame probably-copyright-infringing comic cop-out, since I'm totally a lazy blogger these days.)

My personal favorite, the Wild Mountain Smokehouse and Brewery.

It's one of those places that, although fairly new, seems like it's been there forever.

(They even managed to build a new building at the end of the existing half block of the closest thing to a 'mainstreet' that looks like it's been there for the last 50 years!)

The beers are all excellent, they usually have three or four of their own home microbrews on tap (proudly displayed on a classy chalk board, with their tap dates and alcohol content), along with a wide selection of other local varieties.

And the best way to sample the selection?

The BrewSki.

The house beers and a guest microbrew of your choice, all presented in cute little miniature beer glasses riding on half of a ski.

Microglasses of microbrew beer microskiing.

Coolest gimmick for beer presentation EVER!

(Yes, it was a real ski.)

(Most probably washed exceedingly well before being recommissioned for it's second life of restaurant use.)

The food is also delicious, with another fabulous sampling option for their house-made barbecue sauces.


But sadly, they were only presented on a little plate, and not on a little ski.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Life Happens

Life is one of those funny things, where as soon as you think you have it figured out it changes again.

What's the famous quote? The only constant thing in life is change, or something to that effect....

Well, life is changing here again at the Heller household.

(No, I am not pregnant.)

Peter and I have decided to split up.

I guess that's usually covered by that nasty D word, but that's more for the legal aspect, and I think it has inaccurate and overly negative connotations with it.

Our marriage has seen indescribable levels of stress, with more life crammed into 3 years than most people have in 10.

And we've been growing up.

The adults I see us turning into (oh god, I just used that term in reference to myself...) are good people.

Just not overly compatible ones.

The things we want from our lives, and where we want them to go, are good things and good places.

Just not overly compatible either.

And our cute little family.... it breaks my heart to break it up, but it's not making anyone happy.

We've spent almost as much of our marriage apart as together, and as a result keep witnessing ourselves doing better long distance than living in the same house.

Nobody did anything wrong, nor do we suddenly despise each other.

But we're just not working.

(Interestingly enough, we actually are getting along much more amicably now that we've decided things.)

Maybe it could work, if there wasn't always another deployment, another cross country move, another year of being completely at the mercy of things we can't control.

But Peter needs to be in the military. This is the job he has always wanted, this is the job he excels at, and this is the job that makes him happy.

And I have learned things about myself and what I want and need as time has passed, which I didn't know until now.

I want to have "old friends" that live in the same state as I do, that I might be able to see in person more often than once a year for lunch.

I don't want to have everybody I know be moving away in the next 3 months.

I don't want to have everybody Kristina knows to be moving away in the next 3 months

I want to have neighbors that remember Adrianna as a baby being astounded that she could be heading off to school so soon.

I want to submit pictures of Kristina and her best friends having tutued tea parties to their senior yearbook.

I want to live by family, for a hundred little reasons, but most importantly for the girls to have those relationships growing up.

I want to feel like I can control my life.

(Just to be clear, Peter has only ever been completely supportive of me doing whatever it was I wanted regarding jobs and hobbies. But that isn't the same as being able to chose where I want to live, or even consider moving for a job. Nor is there the pressure to run out and do stuff when it's going along moderately comfortable as is.)

And part of that control means deciding where I go next.

I am 25 years old. I have my whole life ahead of me and the two cutest side kicks imaginable with me.

And I do not want to move into my parents' basement.

(Although it's really nice to know it's there just in case....)

I want a job.

Fuck, I want a career, with a paycheck that might make my college education almost worthwhile and that makes me as happy and fulfilled with my job as Peter is with his.

So I've been looking online at places in the Denver Metro/Front Range area (basically draw a three hour drive time radius around my parents house), and sending in resumes to the postings that sound promising.

And am frustrated at the lack of response in a week. These things should work faster! I'm job searching on weekends, they should totally be job hiring then too!

But Peter and I are content living together until A) I find a job, or B) he gets moved to Oklahoma by the Army.

(It's when B arrives before A that I end up in my parents' basement.)

All the legal stuff, although certainly not equivalent to rainbow shitting unicorns, should still go relatively painlessly as nothing is contested in the slightest.

And we have high hopes of maintaining amicable relations for a very long time to come.

After all, we still are a family.

A note to our caring and concerned family members and friends: Although this is happening under some of the best possible terms (for separating), it's still emotionally heavy and hard to talk about at times. It's particularly hard to have the same conversation with 8 different people in two days. I have just done an awful lot of talking about all of it in writing this blog post, and Peter would prefer to live amongst cave men where the only communication needed was an occasional grunt. Thus we are reserving the right to not answer the phone for the next week. We have an answering machine, and will listen to your condolences. We also have emails which we check regularly. Some of us even have blogs which you can post comments to expressing your sympathies and support. This is not a choice we have made lightly. Please be understanding of how hard this is for us, and that defending our decision is not what we need to be doing right now. We know you are out there, and that your loving selves are available should we ever need you. Thank you.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Parenting Really Sucks


Thought we needed a little Zits comic break from long rambling posts (cause there's totally another one written and ready to go for tomorrow).

It'd be almost funny if it weren't so painfully true....

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Mudtastic

Remember that post a few days ago about balls being so economical and great play things for all ages?

(And not to be image searched for under any circumstances.)

Psssh, balls don't got nothing on dirt.

Throw in a shovel (or a few sticks) and some water, and you have indefinite entertainment.

Granted your children will soon resemble PigPen from Peanuts, those clothes will never make a recovery, and the baby will be pooping sand for a week. But those are all small prices to pay for such childhood happiness.

(And 45 minuets for you to do whatever you want to do in the yard.)

(Like attempt to remove all of their naturally found water sources so they won't look like this every single time you go out to play.)

Kristina set right about showing Adrianna how to concoct the perfect mixture of dirt, sand, and water to get the ultimate mud consistency.


And Adrianna set right about eating it.


Being the good big sister she is, Kristina was more than happy to help Adrianna by actually feeding her mud.


Mm Mmmm good.


Yay mud!


(And I totally wasn't kidding about clothes and the pooping sand for a week parts.)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Mommy Blogger

CNN ran this piece about a mommy blogger (thanks for the link, Dad), which raises some good ponderings.

So you should go read all about them, because what I'm going to write about isn't at all related to the morals of child exploitation today.

(Although I'm totally willing to seriously considering doing so if it'd bring in $40,000 a month.)

(And I'll just buy them a pony or twelve to make up for it.)

(AND put a McDonalds in instead of a kitchen.)

(You know, one of the really fancy ones they have in Europe that actually serve good stuff along with a never ending supply of french fries.)

(And then maybe build a wing on the back to house the doctor who would be needed for constant cardiac monitoring as a result of eating nothing but french fries for years.)

((But we're getting off subject here. And a little parenthesizes happy again.))

(((Sorry)))

First off, I would like to boldly declare that I am NOT a Mommy Blogger.

(Go with here a moment before pointing out the glaring contradictions to that statement in regards to blog keeping, blog content, and mommy status.)

I am Marty, writing about my thoughts and adventures. You know, that "life" stuff.

It just so happens that my life right now contains two small children, and I spend most of my time cleaning up their poopies.

(Incidentally, dear children, if you do not want me publicly writing about your poopies, pukies, and pootsies, you get to be the ones cleaning up said poopsies and pukies and pootsies.)

And what is a blogger anyways?

Is it really any different from Live Journal or expanded Facebook writing access?

(Or like, a REALLY expanded Twitter feed.)

I do keep a blog, mostly because it is simpler than emailing to a mass conglomerate of family and friends. And it does allow for the slight indulgence of "well maybe someday I will be famous" ponderings. Does that automatically make me a blogger? The world may never know.

Plus all the cool kids are totally doing it five years ago.

I would also like to point out the slightly-related-but-not-really fact that I am NOT a stay-at-home mom.

(Oh how I hate that label being applied to me....)

I am a recent college graduate who just hasn't figured out what I want to do with my life yet, and in the mean time am bumming off my husband, I mean, exchanging my super awesome early childhood education expertise for room and board.

(And full access to checking account for spending money).

And I am writing blog posts.

Totally bloggy, eh?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Got Paci?


Pacifiers disappear around here like socks in a dryer.

Regardless of the numerous ones that I know have been purchased and have entered this house, there is never one to be found at a critical pacifier needing moment.

Like at 2 am, when Adrianna is making her "I need my precious paci to go back to sleep" squeaky noise that will turn into her "I said I NEED my paci NOW" high decibel level scream in about 6 seconds if the demanded pacifier isn't inserted into her mouth.

Which is why there should always be a minimum of three pacifiers floating around in her crib at all times.

I also try to keep a stash on my nightstand, for when she dropped hers while in bed with me and I of course cannot find it in the dark floating amongst all the limbs and covers and such (although they do sometimes show up in the washing machine after the sheets are washed).

This also means I often end up sleeping on pacifiers for half the night. And am so blissfully happy just to be laying down and able to sleep that I don't even notice until getting up the next morning and I have pacifier-shaped imprints on my back.

(They're almost as good as when you end up sleeping on your hand and having a horrible looking hand print across your cheek in the morning.)

We also have chronic paci shortage when driving down the interstate. I will have stuck three pacifiers into that mouth during the first ten minuets of driving, none of which will be in any way locatable during the remaining hour of car time, and I still won't be able to find two of them even after stopping, taking the baby out of her bucket, carefully searching around the backseat, and even checking under the car to see if it fell out when I opened the door.

One of those will magically appear sitting oh so nicely on the floorboards in the backseat a week later (you know, in the exact spot I checked four times during my initial search), and the other will spend the rest of it's happy life living with the traveling gnome who hordes all of my missing socks.

Or so I'm assuming.

And our current paci stash levels are dangerously low after the month of travel.

(I suspect our trip is nicely mapped out by dropped pacifiers along the way, much like bread crumbs or pebbles.)

But I hesitated to run out and buy another 6 or 10 of them. Because of the size. See, Adrianna is 8 months old, but is still using the baby 0-6 month size nuks.

Now I did pick up a few (which instantaneously turned into 1 as soon as brought them home... the gnome was working double duty that day, me thinks....) of the 6-12 month size a while back (you know, when she turned 6 months old or there abouts), but she doesn't like them.

At all.

Apparently their millimeter or two larger nipple size can bring absolutely no sucky bliss to her.

So being the totally exhausted beyond caring, I mean practical, parent that I am, I am more or less willing to accept that she will continue to use the baby sized pacifiers for the immediate future.

But will their be some horrible ill effects on my precious princess?!? Not that it would necessarily change my acceptance of it, but if I'm going to put child at grave risk for some horrible affliction that might happen 0.3 % of the time, I should be well informed about it.

After all, they make them in sizes for a reason, right? Like, beyond a marketing tactic aimed at suckering parents into buying more of them? Oh wait, we may be onto soemthing here....

And come to think of it, it's not like the nipple attached to me that she drinks milk out of gets any bigger as she gets older.

Nor do bottle nipples come in different sizes (merely different flow rates).

Yep, total marketing conspiracy. As long as she's not still using them when she's 7 and getting adult teeth, the baby pacifiers are just fine.

Now I just need to go buy another dozen or so....

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Harlot

This post is a little darker than most, and contains language more mature than most. But it's still pretty classy, in that English major sort of way.

When I was writing the post about selling breast milk yesterday I did try to find the original articles online (you know, the ones that had a cute accompanying picture of me and baby Kristina, and not some photoshoped 4 boobed lady on hands and knees hooked up to a milking machine), but sadly could not.

I did however come across a few particularly bothersome re-postings of it.

Yeah, be careful what you search for....

The Iowa Harlot Selling Homer Milk caught my eye in particular when skimming through the google search results.

A harlot?!

Gee, here and I thought that meant whore, lets go consult Webster... why, it is a whore! Or more precisely, a prostitute. Maybe I'm just mistaken thinking that means a person paid for sex, lets go consult Webster some more... Oh my, a prostitute IS a person who has sex for money. You know, I'm pretty sure that breast milk and sex are not, in fact, the same thing... but lets just double check that. Yep, not the same thing. See, breast milk is this stuff that comes from the breasts, usually associated with feeding babies. Sex happens at a totally different end of the body, although the two are linked by the sex often being what brings about the milk's appearance 9-10 months later (since the determining of pregnancy length is a convulsive and imprecise process).

Look, dear crazy conservative bible thumping morons, you can disagree with the selling of breast milk. You can think it's immoral. You can even disagree with the practice of breastfeeding itself (while conveniently forgetting that without it you would not have come about, since breasts WERE the original can of formula back in the Garden of Eden).

However, unless I am turning out tricks by the dumpster in the Denny's parking lot for $40 a pop, you DO NOT get to call me a harlot.

And not just because I find it horribly offensive and degrading!

It's incorrect. See, it's not just a biblical term to label all of the female gender you don't like or disagree with. It's an actual word. In the English language. Which means it has an actual definition and proper context for use.

And it's not me.

And what about the "homer" part of that sentence?

I'll admit, the first thing that came to mind was The Simpsons, quickly followed by The Odyssey (see, I have some amount of culture).

Webster agrees with me, at least on the 9th c. B.C. Greek poet part.

Knowing what I do of pop culture and this group from the replies to the discussion thread, I'd wager it's a slang about homosexuality (because there's nothing that screams homosexual like a woman who just had a baby), probably thrown in just because of the legalizing gay marriage in Iowa. You know, because some technicalities on government forms automatically means the whole state must be gay. Or some illogical premise like that.

But it gets better.

If you can actually stomach clicking the link, the original discussion forum post has this nice little gem: "babies must be saved from a life of sodomy due to drinking 'milk' pumped from the bosom of a harlot."

We've already discussed the 'calling me a harlot' part, so we'll skip right on to the babies having a life of sodomy.

Ummm... what??

Gee, isn't sodomy a nice term for anal sex? Why Webster, you seem to think so too. And apparently it can also cover relations with animals, it's always good to know the technical definitions of these things.

But what does any of that have to do with breast milk??

I have no flipping clue.

And the milk in quotation marks? Seriously, it's just milk. It might be unappealing to you, but that doesn't change what it is. Just because I don't like the fabric of the couch (hypothetically speaking, of course, since I really like our couch) doesn't mean that I get to refer to it as a "couch" (or simply call it the amour, cause it sounds fancy and most people probably don't even know what it means anyways) and think that Kristina's sitting on it to watch Sesame Street will cause her to go to hell.

Or run out and start rectally screwing some sheep.

Exciting times, those whores selling their Greek demon juice in the sodomizing midwest. It's such a shame they have a reading level greater than a 5th grader and a dictionary and like to point out glaring inaccuracies in poorly done, needlessly offensive name calling.

What a bunch of callous, imprudent, malicious narcissistic, stupid-heads.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Almost Almost Famous

Nothing like blogging about something to make it all go and change around.

Remember that Stat post last week?

Well, thanks to a little tweet linking to Lactation Libation *cough thankyousuperawesomerachelat graspingforobjectivity whichyoushouldallgocheckout becausesheisawesome AND whyIstartedblogging cough* I have had the post count on that one sore far beyond the two military ones.

All in like 1 day.

Which has led me to a couple of ponderings....

First, twitter gets a much higher response rate than facebook.

(Or all my facebook friends just suck.)

(Do you have lots of link clicking facebook friends? You should send them here to play. We sometimes even have cookies. With milk.... ;-)

And second, I just might be predestined in life to only gain recognition and fame from association with breastfeeding.

You see, it all started a little over three years ago, when this adorably opinionated little blond bundle showed up on the doorstep.

And refused to nurse on the left breast.

Lactationists couldn't really figure out why, and after spending the first week of crash course parenting attempting to get to nurse on both sides, I decided it just wasn't worth it.

Righty made plenty of milk, she had excellent nursing habits on that side, it was all good.

Except that it was huge.

And without that second baby going to down on Lefty I became horribly lopsided real fast.

  1. (To a degree that I'm sure would have been comical on anyone else, but I just found a little horrifying and requiring of stuffing tactics used by middle school girls.)

So the pumping campaign began.

(The picture is of me trying to figure out how a breast pump worked.)

(Hey, it's harder than it looks.)

I was pumping on a schedule of 6 times a day (and probably should have been getting up during the night to pump as well) in a futile attempt to keep up with the Kristina induced milk production on the other side.

Needless to say we had a lot of milk accumulating in the freezer real fast.

I donated as much as could (several hundred ounces) to the local milk bank, but they are extremely picky about what milk is acceptable.

Like, it couldn't have been pumped within 12 hours of drinking half a beer.

Or within 16 hours of taking Tylenol.

And a week of antibiotics for a sinus infection meant no milk to the bank for an additional 24-36 hours after the last dose, despite nursing Kristina through all of it without issue.

So twice as much milk as was donated couldn't be, and we quickly got to the point where the freezer was nothing but breast milk and a pint of Ben & Jerry's.

I kept hearing from everywhere that breast milk was liquid gold, which is all fine and well, but still doesn't address the issue of "what on earth am I supposed to do with it?!"

So I stepped out on the entrepreneur path, and decided to sell it.

The milk bank processed milk cost $4 an ounce if insurance wouldn't cover it for babies in the NICU. Me selling the stuff at a discounted rate seemed like a reasonable thing to do, after all a lot of my time and energy was going into it, and there's all this demand, right? Fellow college students "donated" plasma for money all the time back in Iowa, it's not like this was that different.

Right???

Ok, so the demand was theoretical since there's not a nice buyers hookup website (yet....), which still meant I had to find someone who not only wanted it in the first place, but was willing to pay for it.

So I took out a classifieds add.

Originally I wanted to put it on Ebay, but they have a very strict policy forbidding ALL bodily fluids.

So I hit up the local newspaper.

(In retrospect, totally should have used Craigslist.)

And got some response. In fact, quite a lot of it.

From reporters. And morning show hosts. And really creepy people.

I did make the front page of the local newspaper twice in one week about the whole affair, and was on the local news one evening (at 4, 6, and 10pm!), apparently a classifieds add is quite the news in Iowa.

And every where else in the U.S. after it got picked up by the AP.

And like, New Zealand.

(Nothing like being sensational to international morning radio talk shows in regards to your breasts to make you feel famous in that almost but not quite way....)

That batch milk did get sold at it's asking price, to a research and development company. And I ended up giving away a whole bunch more to another baby who was kinda sickly and her mom couldn't make milk even though she really wanted to, since I still really just wanted to get it out of our freezer.

And then we moved and stopped getting freaky phone calls from 40 year old men who just like the taste and bored stupid teenagers asking for some fresh squeezed.

I'm really hoping the next time I make the news it's for something other than lactation.

Continuing thoughts to be posted tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Ball Pit


I am a big fan of toys.

Toys are awesome.

They just are.

And quality toys are even more awesome.

(Although their price tags are considerably less awesome.....)

But there have been a few exceptionally simple, economical (read: cheap), and surprising favorites of the girls.
'
The most long lasting through all age levels has been balls.

Because balls are the most wonderful things ever.

Big balls, small balls, soft balls, hard balls, squishy balls, pokey balls, glitter balls, light up balls, choking hazard balls, footballs, soccer balls, inflatable beach balls, ball pit balls, squeaky balls, child fitting inside balls, any balls!!

Walmart and Target sell a very basic 18inch circumference one in a multitude of colors at a price point between $0.50 and $1.00, and if you're feeling particularly fancy you can spring for the licensed character (princesses, winnie-the-pooh, etc) one for a whooping $2.50. You can also find bigger and smaller versions of the basic ball, all for under $5.00 a pop (which is important for when the beloved big ball makes a break for it from your back yard one windy night it's not too horrifying to cheer up your heartbroken ball lover).

(Not that we've had to do that.)

(Twice.)

Another variety that has been quite popular at our house is the rattle ball. Or as it's technically called (since searching for 'rattle ball' was completely useless for me), the Oball rattle. Kristina got one when she was about 10 months, and she greatly enjoyed it and all, but then little new baby Adrianna came along, and she thought it was just the most awesome thing ever! It's extremely easy for little hands to grab onto, soft and squishy (although the rattle part's a little hard if smacked in the head), and makes just the right amount of interesting-to-baby-while-not-driving-mommy-crazy noise.

And the absolutely BEST part of playing with balls: teaching your child to catch.

You get to sit there and throw balls at them under the guise of being an involved parent and teaching them something!

Except that they learn how to throw much earlier than catch, and are surprisingly good shots at pegging you in the head when you're not looking (which just might be the real reason behind why we only use soft bouncy balls to play catch with in this house).

Ah well, it'll be worth it when she's winning state medals for softball pitching in a few years.

(Just don't expect her to be the outfielder.)

On a mostly unrelated note, wanna know what the FIRST image result was for the google search of 'balls'? A squirrel. With some photoshoped enhancements. Wanna know what the second was? A novelty stress squeeze toy. It's a sick world, people.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Restoring Sanity

I am a few days behind the rest of the world on picking up on this, but we were on vacation and I'm not getting through all my saved TV particularly fast. I do apologize for it being so untimely.

Jon Stewart is hosting the Rally to Restore Sanity on October 30th, along side Stephen Colbert's March to Keep Fear Alive.

In Washing D.C.

Which just might be the greatest idea of all time, and so unbelievably appealing to my middle-ground, moderation loving, most-of-you-are-all-bloody-crazy self.

Why, didn't we just come from bumming off, I mean visiting, relatives living in D.C.?

And aren't these the same relatives who were already trying to get me to come back down in October for a pig roast?

(Yes, I do mean the type of event where an entire pig is put on a stake over a fire pit out in the front yard and people then eat it.)

And have been known to provide childcare for free when politely asked?

AND happen to be fairly adept at navigating D.C. special events and metro system??

SCORE!

So it's looking like I most definitely will be getting back down to D.C. in October. and looking for people to go a-rallying with.

Now the one problem is that the pig roast is set to be almost three weeks before said rally. And although I'm pretty sure I could manage to convince some of them to put us up for a month, it seems like a lot having just come from a month of vacationing.

More planning is certainly needed.

Also, watching of the Daily Show clip where it's announced is recommended.

Because I am not afraid of Muslims/Tea Partiers/Socialists/Immigrants/Gun Owners/Gays.... but I am kinda scared of spiders!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Vacation Pictures

The camera had 813 pictures on it when I plugged in to upload last night, after our month of vacation.

It might be a while before they all get properly sorted and properly edited and properly dispensed to the proper people.

Let alone properly blogged about.

If I forget about some part which involved you or you want to see or you have a sneaking suspicion that there should be pictures from but have yet to see any evidence of such, remind me.

I have the brain functionality of one of those damn fruit flies as a result of some serious long term sleep deprivation.

Buzz buzz.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Pirate Ship

Pirate ship truck for sale on Ebay.

So totally awesome it gets it's own random little extra double post.

Getting to drive a pirate ship to work every day might just be the most wickedly awesome thing EVER.

Invasion of the Fruit Flies


We came home from our month of journeys to find these little gnatty fruit flies had taken over our kitchen.

And I was not happy about this.

(Eeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwww!!)

Initially I assumed that the stupid little things only live for like 36 hours, so once we cleared out their mother ship, aka our trashcan that had accidentally been left containing food remains, that they would quickly die off.

But it sadly proved to be much harder than that.

See, because of where they liked to congregate in the kitchen thanks to previous trashcanocity levels, I was swarmed every time I tried to cook food and any dishes placed in the sink became an instant buggie feast.

So Operation Bug Killer went into effect.

Absoluetly NO food left out in the kitchen, no dirty dishes left in the sink for any amount of time, sink cleaned after every use, trash taken out every night.

And immediate smushing of as many of the wretched pests as possible.

And there was some moderate success with noticeably lower numbers flying around for the next half a day.

And then they bred again.

It was at this point that I realized we needed to look much more in depth into their life cycles to properly determine how to end their occupation of my kitchen.

(And preferably their little buggie lives while we were at it.)

So after a quick google search and a little reading, had the horrifying realization that they could be coming from the drains!

The DRAINS!!

Oh.

My.

God.

Cheesy horror film soundtracks started playing in my head as I envisioned a cat sized fruit fly climbing out of the kitchen sink.

So then being the rational and composed people we are, we frantically started pouring Clorox down all the drains.

And I do mean we, as my husband was at the forefront of this attack.

(After I vetoed his idea of lighting a bunch of citronella candles in the kitchen.)

And wiping down all visible surfaces with Clorox disinfecting wipes.

And spraying Clorox disinfecting air neutralizing stuff in large quantities.

(You know, making our house nearly as toxic as it would have been with that citronella candle.)

And THEN I got around to finishing reading that article which mentioned they sometimes live in drains, and noticed the part about pouring bleach down the drains as being ineffective.

Crap.

Looks like we may need to go get some bio killing drain goo after all.

For the moment, however, the nasty little flies seem to be fairly dormant from all the sanitation efforts, it is possible that the battle may be won.

But did we win the war??

Friday, September 17, 2010

Gymnastics, Day 1

With Kristina's 3rd birthday a magical world of possible extra curricular activities (or like, something for my child to do besides actually trying to climb up the walls) opened up.

And we chose gymnastics!

(Because soccer is only 4 and up and swimming has some crazy schedules.)

(And because it will totally help her be an awesome dancer in 10 years.)

(Not that we have crazy plans for her to have a perfect skill set to be on Broadway or anything like that.)

(Ahem.)

Now, gymnastics classes are pretty readily available in a mommy-and-me format for the under 3 crowd, and we actually did one for 6 months when we were in Oklahoma when Kristina was 18 months or so.....

And I was substantially more tired after each class than she was.

Also, I have serious doubts about my ability to take her through the equipment while holding onto and caring for a littler baby, so Kristina has been deprived of gymnastics for the last year and a half.

But now she is 3!

3 year olds do gymnastics all on their own! Parents watch through nice little windows while sitting on chairs! This was was going to be great!

So I was probably just as excited about yesterday being her first day of big girl gymnastics as she was.

However, yesterday started at 1:02 am, which is when we pulled into our driveway after a month long, U.S. spanning vacation.

And as my brain totally loses all rational thinking ability after 11 pm, all I could think was "we WILL get up and go to gymnastics tomorrow. WE WILL!!"

Lets just say the night didn't improve much for sleep materializing, and that we were up in plenty of time to get out the door.

With only a few little glitches.

Like the girls having outgrown everything in their dressers while we were gone.

And the clothes we'd been traveling with all being loaded in the back of the truck still.

And it being 30 degrees colder from anywhere else we'd been.

And raining.

BUT, we did make it out the door fully clothed in mostly fitting and mostly weather appropriate apparel mostly on time with only forgetting minor unimportant things like cell phone and camera.

(Because I have some seriously rocking super mom powers.)

(And a husband who rivals Speedy Gonzalas at car seat vehicle transfers.)

((Thank you honey!))

And then I went to pull Adrianna out of her car seat at the YMCA, only to discover a huge, horrifying blowout diaper incident had occurred.

(Def: blowout diaper- a horrible catastrophic diapering device failure resulting in fecal matter coating a substantial portion of the baby and clothing and any immediately surrounding surfaces)

Oh boy.

We DID (thank you sweet wonderful powers that be) happen to have a diaper bag in the car, which contained a few diapers and (seriously, THANK YOU!) a package of wipes!

But no extra clothes.

Oops............

"Well, her pants are kinda tan-ish in the first place and you can't really see most of where it's all over the onesie with them on so I guess it doesn't show too badly.... and I suppose if I just kinda hold the blanket around her bottom people probably wouldn't notice too much........ damn I wish I'd grab those stupid tree scented air fresheners from the Subie.............."

But it was ok! We were here for gymnastics! Gymnastics are awesome! And Kristina is still totally stoked and ready to go, so all will be well!

(If a little undesirably fragrant...)

So we headed on in with out freshly diapered and blanket wrapped baby Adrianna, totally ready for gymnastics.

Kristina was thrilled to be there! So excited! So ready to go! So incapable of waiting the 5 minuets until her class was to start!!

And then she got on the floor.

And ended up wandering around in the far corner completely oblivious to the fact that the other 9 children in her class were sitting in a circle in the middle stretching while somehow also managing to escape notice of her teachers.

*Sigh*

So I got to go tromping through the gym (holding my poo-scented blanketed drool bucket, of course, and blatantly ignoring the signs about no shoes on the floor as I was wearing cowboy boots (on account of the rain) which are surprisingly hard to lace while holding a squirming baby) to point out to Kristina where her class is.

Now, Kristina was very enthusiastic about doing everything.

Except when she got distracted or wanted to do something other than what the class was doing.

(Which led to all the teachers knowing her name real quick. That's a plus, right?)

Or had to go up high.

And by "high" I mean lifted four inches off the ground to hold onto a bar.

And her reaction to the much higher balance beam was... um.... priceless? Yes, that sounds like a good adjective, totally priceless!

See, Kristina seems to have this slight fear of heights. Which means her response to being set up on the big beam was to cling monkey style to the teacher's head. Which also means that the whole row of parents watching through the window were finding it hysterical, while I was contemplating whether I had to actually claim her as mine.

(On a side note, her balance and coordination for walking the beam is excellent on the low-to-floor ones, which comes as no surprise to the one that's been holding her hand as she walks on every curb, flower bed edge, and painted parking lot line we've ever encountered for the last two years of her life.)

*Sigh*

*Sigh*

*Sigh*

I keep telling myself that she's probably one of the youngest there, having just turned 3 and it being a 3 and 4 year old class, and that she was way outta whack from the month of travel and late night and all...

And really hoping things will be better next week.

(Perhaps I'll even manage to bring extra clothes!)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Stat!


Blogger introduced this neat little stat function a little while back (or at least I noticed this neat little stat function a little while back), and I've become a bit obsessed with it.

It follows all the "hits" your blog gets, including breaking the raw data down into exciting categories like which country the browser was in and google searches that brought them this-a-way.

That's right, I'm in the google search results AND being read by people in China.

But I've been surprised by what my most read posts of all time are.

Molly Pitcher is right at the top, with the Fallen Soldier Table just behind.

And they're nearly doubling any other post.

I was re-reading them while doing this post, trying to judge whether their of much quality at all, whether them showing up in search results is worth much of anything.

The Fallen Soldier Table is pretty good, although it mostly just contains the basic information which seems like should be available fairly widely on the web through other sources.

But then again, my positive reinforcement needing brain will take whatever it can get for blogging famocity and general 'being read'.

(Oh how I long to see that 'blog followers' number rise.......)

(And comments, they're almost as good as chocolate for my cracked little head....)

But the Molly Pitcher one being so infamous worries me a little, since I'm not sure of what objective quality it really is. It's mostly just about the fact that I got the award, with only the briefest touching of the whole story.

And talks a lot about the hard liquor initiation and cleavage.

But then I guess it comes back to the reason and purpose behind my blog, which at this point is to pretty much write about whatever I want on a daily basis.

But I've also been pondering about whether that is a good focus for blogging, as it is hard to generate interest in random people when 3/4 of the posts are merely exploiting my children in their adorable states.

Or like, poop.

See, if it was a cooking blog where I found (or made up) recipes and photodocumented the process and comically wrote about how absolutely horrible it is to accidentally cover the ceiling with red food coloring, I could pitch it as something general that would appeal to a general mass of cooking interested people.

But I'm not nearly that focused nor filled with excess time right now.

So I photodocument whatever is going on in life, and blog about whatever horrible mishap happened with the chocolate milk and the car seat and the permanent feature of a bunny shaped spill.

And then I realize I've done multiple posts talking in depth about Adrianna eating things that rate my nutritional parenting skills sketchy at best, and attempt to stretch myself by attempting to write about something more generally minded.

But that just makes the blog posts even more random and chaotic and less focused on anything in particular.

(Not that obsessing with my children is the focused way I really want to go with this, but it is a type of blog that I'm sure some random stranger could potentially want to follow.)

But THEN there's the aspect of my blogging specifically for the few people who really read it (hi Mom, hi Dad), and they're quite happy with whatever randomness comes their way.

(Especially when it involves their adorable granddaughters.)

*Sigh*

Hi people in China and the Netherlands, please continue to read my blog. And if you'd like to follow and/or leave a comment about why you are reading this, that would be awesome!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Lactation Libation

I frequently find myself in a similar position with parenting philosophies as with politics.

It seems like there should be some nice middle ground out there, and yet the oak trees of extremism just keep gaining nuts.

The most frustrating point, or at least the one I seem to come across most often, is breastfeeding.

(Well, I'd actually say circumcision has been a much bigger focal point in recent parenting 50000-ways-to-screw-up-your-child-before-they're-3 venues, but as we have been blessed with two sweet little girls I don't have to touch that topic with a ten foot pole.)

And the people who really confuse me are those who often like to label themselves 'lactivists'.

(Which is a really stupid name, only topped by intactivists, but that's a ranting ramble for another time.)

Now, I find the "I make milk, what's your superpower" shirt quite amusing (right along with huge tracks of land and boobquake), and am all for breastfeeding as a general way to go.

(Mostly because it facilitates really lazy and economical parenting, but I'm sure it being good for the little sprog is important too.)

But I also don't think that formula is the arch nemesis of all things mammal.

I'd still recommend that people having babies give breastfeeding a shot, but also am perfectly willing to accept that there just might be a list of very valid personal reasons for them which make using formula better.

And I'd still wager that it won't mess up their child.

(To much.)

(Come now, I'm letting mine eat ice cream sandwiches and oreos.)

(Which I'm totally sure the breastfeeding-past-a-year cancels out to neutral parenting levels.)

(Right??)

And the families boycotting all Old Navy and Gap franchises forever because of this onesie, are just a little bit off the deep end.

In my very humble, unoffensive, what-does-she-know-anyways opinion.

If it's a woman's right to be well educated about lactation, it's also her right to be well educated about formula.

And it's her right to decide what works best for her and her family, without horrific criticism from every front.

(Also, other care givers may want to be given slight input as well.)

I guess to me it really comes down to a sense of fairness in the world.

If the granola crunchy parents can put their kids in shirts declaring their proudly breastfed state, formula families should be able to do the same.

And we won't even go into their proudly uncircumcised state being declared on clothing...

If the lactivists flaunt their breastfeeding for all the world (or dare we say, cram down our throats...), why can't the formula fed?

Seriously people, you're all bloody crazy to care so much about something that really shouldn't be a political issue in the first place.

Kristina does not have a toddler shirt proclaiming her only eating smooth peanut butter on white bread, no more than I have a shirt proclaiming my bad Mommy tendency of letting my children eat french fries.

(Or like, a good Mommy tendency regarding food which I totally can't think of right now.)

Babies need to be fed.

Their parents should feed them.

Multiple options and approaches to feeding said babies exist in our modern world.

Please inform yourself of them and chose wisely.

And then leave the rest of the bloody world. alone.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Adrianna's Diet


I think we're making some real progress in the baby-eating-food department.

Except that in addition to trying to skip over crawling entirely and sprint right on into running, Adrianna is also trying to skip right on over the baby food and go right for the steak and potatoes off of my plate.

(No, I haven't let her try to eat steak.)

(Yet......)

Now in the past week she's sprouted through two, still invisible to the naked eye but very much noticeable to the nursing bosom or stray finger, little front teeth.

Finally.

And she has been quite thrilled with her new found chomping ability.

(Or at least the lack of constant gum pain from attempting to chomp that I suspect she was previously experiencing.)

Like on Saturday I let her try my ice cream sandwich, and was quite surprised by her adeptness at taking off huge bits of my ice cream.

Then on Sunday she had a delightful eating day of (in addition to breastmilk) half a container of baby oatmeal, half a string cheese stick, half a roll, and the entirety of a football shaped Oreo.

And I'm fairly confident that the sum total of that almost counts as reasonably nutritious.

(Especially when compared to Kristina's dinner consisting entirely of football shaped Oreo's that night.)

So great strides have been made towards eating normal food, by simply bypassing the normal "mush" stage.

(And perhaps the "healthy food" stage as well....)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Seed Bombs



Peter's Uncle Luther came across a newspaper article about seed bombs yesterday.

And I have to admit, they sounded kinda fun.

In that devious, anti-sidewalk, plant revolution rebel way.

I am a bit perturbed by the icon of the plant inside of the grenade, from my husband actually carrying around grenades of a much more explosive nature. However, some such artistic details are probably necessary from a marketing standpoint.

And the image certainly fits the name and it's explosiveness.

I also thought that somebody ought to give some scrap of credit to Tamora Pierce, who described exceedingly similar devices 10 years ago in her Circle of Magic series, which were used as a weaponry defense against invading pirates.

(With the plant mage's power to make them grow quickly aiding, of course.)

Now all we need is a vampire protecting version, filled with garlic and hawthorn plants.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Felicity


I had every intention of getting a decent blog post done... you know, one that might contain some spark of actual thought and be done mostly in complete sentences.

But then I spent the whole evening talking to Peter's dear (daughter and grand daughter deprived) Aunt Leslie about.....

*Drum roll*

.... American Girl dolls.

You see, they had sent her a promotional mailer saying they were discontinuing Felicity, and she was very aghast by this because she apparently had had this vision of us taking Adrianna and Kristina to Williamsburg (in a few years) with their colonially inspired dolls.

I have to admit, I thought it was a pretty adorable vision myself.

And it was very complimentary to the one I already had of taking the girls and renting those adorable period costumes for them to wear for the day.

(Not that I'm living vicariously through my children or anything like that.)

(Ahem.)

So Aunt Leslie's big question to me was if she were to get the Felicity doll, what should she get with her.

And a big discussion of the finer nuances of doll clothes and historical fiction book accuracy ensued.

I will spare you most of it, other than stating I'm rather disappointed by their current production line and it's total lack of play accessories and minimal matching of the books.

So that is what I spent last night doing instead of writing a blog post. And indeed to get this written now I have left Kristina in front of Spanish cartoons (as I could not for the life of me locate the Disney channel on our relative's cable) and am up before the rest of the household.

But I tell myself that Felicity almost makes a half way decent post in of herself, for those who don't mind the doll and toy prattling that occasionally consumes my world.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Lobsters


Saw lobsters almost as big as Kristina at the aquarium, then went and played on the beach all afternoon instead of writing blog posts. Ahhhh, vacation......

Friday, September 10, 2010

Cow Snake

We went to the Cape Fear Serpentarium the other day.

And for those of you who are wondering what a Serpentarium is, think of a zoo composed almost entirely of snacks.

(Yes, snakes....)

Now, there were lots of pictures taken with the camera, which cannot not be uploaded until we get home on account of me leaving the connecting cords there.

But I did take the one here with my cell phone of the oh so adorable cow snake, with the whole entent of making a blog post about said snake.

Except that none of us can remember what snake it actually is, beyond me calling it a cow snake.

(Which is not it's technical name, believe it or not....)

And without knowing the name it's awfully hard to double check things, like just how poisonous it was.

The serpentarium indicated venom toxicity by numbers skull and crossbones, your average American rattlesnakes were only 2 and a half, while some of the thank-god-they're-not-on-my-continent ones went up to 7 plus white eyes.

I think the cow snake was somewhere around 5 skulls.

But what was really cool about it (at least I think it was this one, there were a LOT of snakes there....) was it's ability to spite said venom accurately into the eyes of it's chosen at distances up to 12 feet.

Snake spite that causes internal hemorrhaging and death delivered through the eyes from 12 feet away.

*AAAAAAGH*

Bad cow snake! Bad!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Vacation Time


Beach vacations are hard to write blog posts during.

Sorry.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Traveling Toddlers

So after spending a few weeks in Colorado with my folks, we jetted on down to North Carolina to spend a week at the beach with Peter's family.

And by we I mean me and the girls, as Peter had departed several days prior to go back to New York to get his truck to drive down.

Because he really likes his truck.

But we had a few exciting parts during air travel.

Like my breast pump confusing TSA officials on the xray, and then freaking out the extra screening guy when I told him what it was.

Or the one where Adrianna did an amazing leap-upwards-and-grab motion on the hair of the poor lady sitting in the seat in front of us on the airplane.

(And to the poor lady on the airplane, I am still so, so, SO sorry about that.......)

Then during the layover Kristina met her twin, instantly became best buds, and everyone started assuming I had three small children with me instead of just two.

Getting onto the second plane at the layover was also interesting, since we had to go down stairs to get to the plane (no gang plank) and I had the mega stroller which does not do stairs. So we got to hike half way down the concourse to get to the elevator to get down to the tarmac to then hike half the concourse way back, but with lots of child threatening machinery and planes about.

And Kristina's lookalike bff got to go with us on that trek because the gate people assumed her and her caretaker were a part of our posse, and the girls had a ball getting to hold hands and run through the airport.

Other highlights of the journey included Kristina's 20 minuet "I want my daddy!" in flight tantrum, Adrianna eating her first airplane cookie (the actual ingestion of a significant portion of biscuit), our sneaked-through-security-extra-bag shopping bag of stuffed animals and blankets falling apart from Kristina's standing on it, and the airline only almost loosing Adrianna's car seat.

All in all, a pretty normal trip for us.

Oh, and I was complimented for being brave several times.

I have yet to figure out how to explain to people that it really isn't much different from going to the grocery store other than the pain lasting longer.

The girls fly great.

Or rather, they act exactly the same as any other time during flying.

Which means Adrianna likes to grab onto anything she can (good, bad, or ugly) and Kristina will throw at least two tantrums (her daily quota).

And these things will happen on the plane instead of at our house or the store or in the car.

So we have braved another leg of our grand trip, and get to spend the rest of the week enjoying more family and the gloriously warm East coast beaches of the outer banks.

Ahhhhh.....

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Classically Awesome

I totally love the mixing of 'the classics' (art, music, literature) into the modern world.

Like the seriously rockin' Carol of the Bells by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra which uses electric guitar.

And this xkcd from last Friday is a pretty sweet literary example of that blend as well.



Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And immortality

We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labour, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school where children play
Their lessons scarcely done;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

We paused before a house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then 'tis centuries; but each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses' heads
Were toward eternity.

~Emily Dickinson

Monday, September 6, 2010

Baby Progress


It's been a little while since I've done much of an 'Adrianna progress report' sort of post.

Because she hasn't been making much progress on the baby milestones page.

She looked like she was about to pop teeth through a month (or two....) ago, and yet has only managed to be cranky, drooly, and chewy.

She also looked like she was on the cusp of crawling a month (or two.....) ago, and has yet to manage to do much more than lunge forward in a brilliant face-plant move, or the less occasional butt scoot across the floor.

(Although she has provided me with multiple videos of "Adrianna, not crawling")

She can, if properly motivated (read: electronic gizmo that is usually of limits to baby is placed on the floor and Mama's not in the room), manage to pull herself on her belly, painfully, againizingly slowly across a short distance with her hands, provided it's on a wood floor and she's in a full body sleeper.

But she sure doesn't want to, and avoids doing so whenever possible by pitifully squawking at me to lament how she just can't possibly heave that heavy butt of hers around off of the floor and that I need to go pick her up.

And what is she doing besides not crawling? Trying to walk.

Except that, scarily enough, she's actually making some real progress on that front.

The other night she circled the coffee table in cruise mode twice, at a pretty good speed.

And the next day she was taking off across the house at a baby trot while only holding onto one hand.

(We are soooo doomed.)

Now, the skipping the crawling to go straight to walking thing is ok... except that it makes it very hard to compare her to other babies!

(And really now, does anyone do anything except size up their offspring against others?)

Because she's not crawling as well as the band-mate from highschool's baby whose a month younger.

And she's way behind her cousin on learning to eat baby food.

And she's certainly not keeping up on that getting teeth thing compared to her baby friends.

And she's really not sleeping as well as the co-worker of Peter's baby who started sleeping through the night at 6 weeks.

And she's really really not growing hair nearly as well as any other baby I've seen pictures of in the last year.

But she's almost walking..... that really should count for something, right?

RIGHT??!?

*sigh*

I think she needs more bowbands to wear on her not-really-crawling-yet bald head.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Taxes


Ok, I'll say it, I think taxes are good.

(No wait, come back!! Really! I have some good reasoning for this!!!)

(Or at least something that might be loosely considered rational used in a somewhat logical form, I think......)

((And at least it's a post about something other than halloween costumes and french fries!!))

The thing about taxes is what they enable.

Taxes create and maintain roads (including those super nice interstates we regularly use, thank you Mr. Eisenhower), provide snow removal (big important production when it snows, just ask Oklahoma who was shut down for three days on account of less than two inches of the icy version of the stuff since they had absolutely no way to remove it), public parks, libraries, swimming pools, schools, museums (DC has some of the biggest and best in the country, and they are all free!), municipal buildings, public records and archives, and the census bureau, just to name a few off the top of my head.

And I think these are all really good things to have.

Actually, I suspect most people (especially those reading this from library computers) also think these are good things to have.

But as discussed before, politicians are stupid, and say things wrong.

They rant and rave about taxes, emotionalizing it to make it feel personal and as something generally bad.

When they're really, really not.

They should stand up there and say: "How was that road you drove in on tonight? Did you notice the plows running around the clock to keep it clear? They did a really great job during the blizzard last week. And don't worry about those pot holes forming, we'll get them filled in as soon as the tulips start blooming in the city square. We're also hoping to have found a new high school principal by then as well, as we conclude our national search for an exceptional individual to help boost graduation rates and teacher retention while overseeing the remodeling of the auditorium. Oh, did you know we got the library a dozen Kindles to loan out? We just want to make sure you know about all the great things YOU are helping to create and maintain in your community, and to say thank you!"

But no, why on earth would they say that? After all, it's my money, how dare they take it from me?! I don't see something instantaneously tangible in return, and might even have to contribute to a greater good when I personally don't see any benefit at all!

(Like school taxes for those without children, never minding the detail that without children being educated now there would be no nice young doctors to provide medical care for your aging ailing self in a few years.)

Maybe it's not politicians who are stupid, maybe it's just Americans who are stupid.

Or perhaps more precisely, self centered egomaniacs and can't possibly conceive of slightly inconveniencing themselves for some sense of a greater good.

Or maybe they're just uneducated about how things, like the basic economics of tax money, work.

(And watching too much Fox news.....)

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Fast Food Funalysis

There are many a fast food choice in today's world, which means sometimes there are real dietary choices available for those with small children.

(Ok, it's still just which burger joint you want, and we'll temporarily forget about details like the fact that I would actually prefer to see something like Panera's (or even Subway) with a playplace to change out the fry scene, so we'll just pretend like the usual places are actually different and unique for this post.)

And when there are choices, one must weigh different factors in the choosing of the best possible choice.

Now, I know there are many other Hardee's, Wendy's and Chick-Fil-A options out there for most, but upstate New York isn't nearly that classy and we've been eating almost entirely at Burger Kings and McDonalds for the last year and a half.

So analysis will be limited to them, since I don't actually know what the kids meals are like for Braums or Good Times, or for that matter even Taco Bell.....

McDonalds by far has the best happy meal toys 99% of the time.

But Burger King has better french fries.

(And french fries really are one of the most important parts of the fast food meal!)

Although I personally prefer BK chicken tenders to McDonald's nuggets, Kristina disagrees and REALLY likes having the honey to dip in at McDonalds.

(Burger King, why do you not offer a simple honey dipping option?)

Burgers (I think, as I don't actually like hamburgers and avoid eating them at all costs) have traditionally been better at Burger King, but McDonalds has been coming out with some new 'Angus' ones that put up some decent competition on that front.

And they both now offer standard burger varieties with bacon. I'm pretty sure everything is better with bacon.

(Except the KFC double down chicken monstrosity, that horrific creation is most certainly not better with bacon.)

I've been totally digging that McDonald's introduced Diet Dr. Pepper as one of their regular sodas, since it gets really boring only drinking Diet Coke all the time.

(Although really now, would it kill one of you to have something like Diet Sprite for the pregnant and nursing ladies who actually believed the limited caffeine myth and don't like regular sodas??)

(And big props to the very occasional random McDonald's that carries caffeine free Diet Coke!)

Ketchup, I'll admit, seems pretty much the same for both places, although the Burger King mini ketchup cups are usually a little sturdier and easier to fill. However, the individual resturantes that set out the to-go ketchup packages conveniently for the over-loaded parent to grab instead of trying to fill those stupid little cups one handedly are so totally awesome.

(And why is there not a ketchup dispenser that is easy to use one handed?!?)

The McDonald's happy meal boxes are definitely the classic, although that's purely an aesthetic feature, and I actually liked the ability to tear the top off the paper bag happy meals so Kristina's food would be easier for her to access while still staying fairly contained when we went through the drive through. And some lame McDonalds give out paper bags too for happy meals, so it's hard to be chain critical on this point.

Customer service, along with drive through speed, varies greatly restaurant to restaurant. I think ultimately though I'd have to say I get more offers of assistance from the staff at Burger Kings than at McDonalds.

And Burger King comes with stylish free crowns (which have some crazy 'king game' directions on the insides of them now, for those eating at BK with other reading-abled adults in need of some entertainment).

But we get more free toys at McDonalds.

Ultimately it's probably a toss up between the two.... and we'd just go to the one with the better playplace anyways!

(But seriously sandwich joints and actual restaurants, put in some indoor playgrounds!! I fear the years I can survive on only being able to read the newspaper and talk with other adults while ingesting the same old chicken sandwiches and fries may be less than the number of years of having hyper active small children with me.)

Friday, September 3, 2010

Strawberry Surprise


The quest for perfect Halloween costumes continues, and I recently came across this adorable little strawberry costume.

Adrianna would be such a CUTE little strawberry!

But then, what would Kristina be??

Peter's suggestion was she could be shortcake.

Admittedly, I wasn't quite sure whether to laugh or groan right at first, and while trying decide whether it was brilliant or horrible, I remembered that Pottery barn HAD a cupcake costume.

Kristina's pretty short still, and a short cupcake is ALMOST the same as a true shortcake... plus as she LOVES all things relating to cake (she is my child, after all), she'd actually probably really like it.

Maybe.....

Then we were in Barnes & Nobles, and I came across "The little mouse, the ripe red strawberry, and the big hungry bear".

(Don't ask me what amazon is thinking on that price, B&N had it for $7.99)

Of course, Kristina could be a MOUSE with an Adrianna strawberry!

But then the ultimate question, is there a tutued mouse costume?

(There was that tutued turkey, so anything really is possible....)

But sadly, the only tutued mice I can find are of the Minnie variety, and the few non-tutued ones just aren't worth mentioning at all for their total lack of adorableness.

And I did have the thought that the strawberry (well, actually any costume...) would require a lot of under-layering to get it warm enough for upstate NY trick-or-treating, and that that particular costume design might not be the best for going over three or four sweatshirts.

So the search continues.....

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Peter Pan Dinner Theater

I mentioned in a post marveling about doing date like activities with my husband that we had been to see Peter Pan, and that it was indescribable.

Well, actually it was quite describable, we just hadn't been to it yet when I wrote the blog post.

There were also parts that were quite photographable, but as the performance itself wasn't I didn't think to bring the camera for things like candid shots of Peter and me together in front of a theater sign.

Or of the really awesome bread they serve there.

(Yeah yeah, I'm totally lame as a blogger, but I got 2 little kids and am on vacation, the fact that I'm still managing daily blog posts period is pretty remarkable in my humble opinion.)

The performance was at the Boulder Dinner Theater, a very cute little place that I'd highly recommend a visit to for any who ever find themselves in Colorado.

You sit at tables, like at a restaurant, for the whole food and entertainment event.

(Which has the really neat side effect of being able to sip drinks and leisurely snack on bread during a live musical.)

When you sit down, you get to start in right away with the most delicious bread ever, which they will totally just keep bringing you more of as long as you want!

Delicious, wonderful, unending bread.....

And one of the coolest parts of the whole experience: your waiters are the support actors of the show!

So they take your dinner order, and bring drinks and salad, then dinner, all like at a nice restaurant.

And then they run off to go finish getting into costumes and makeup and go preform on the stage!

And THEN during intermission they bring you desserts (nearly as delicious as the bread) and coffee, before jumping right back up on stage where they're singing and dancing for the second half.

And they do all this work essentially only for tips.

Because the show we saw was Peter Pan, they had some fairly impressive flying rigs in place, as well as half the cast being children.

It also meant there were kids in the audience, some of which didn't look much older than Kristina, which made me think either they had very brave parents or my princess is of a very special I-can't-imagine-taking-her-to-something-like-that-until-she's-at-least-ten variety of small child.

Overall it was a great performance, a delicious dinner (did I mention the delectable unending bread?), and a very nice date out with my husband.

And in only another 10 or 12 years we can take the girls to stuff like that too!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

French Fry Smile

I remember looking at other parents back in my youthful non-sleep-deprived-from-nursing-all-night-long pre-parenting life, and scorning all of the horrible things they were letting their children do that I would never, ever let happen with mine.

And then I became a parent, stopped sleeping, and am generally willing to consider most anything for my children that makes them happy and wouldn't cause DHS to remove them.

Like yesterday, when I let the still-almost-entirely-nursed-because-she-hates-babyfood baby eat french fries.

Yep, total horrible parenting moment right there.

Ah well, she sure was cute.....