Saturday, November 29, 2008

Some Thanksgiving Projects

My favorite kind of projects . . . messy and hosted by Dad.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

First 10K

I. Totally. Rocked.

I ran faster and longer than I ever have before! What a curious thrill, since running hasn't ever been "fun" for me before. I dragged the whole family out of bed to come and cheer me on and I totally did it!! There is a lot of moral support running with a bunch of people, even if you don't know them. I had a terrible side cramp after only a couple of minutes that worried me, but then it went away; nerves, I guess. And, against all odds, it rained on us. Hard. In fact, in the interest of modesty, I probably should have brought a backup for the white race t-shirt. I was so chilled and shivering when I got home, so Gigi and I took a long bath. What a great day. I don't have any pictures of the event, since we forgot the camera, but this is almost how I looked.

Run, run as fast as you can . . .

Today is the big race! The 10K I've been training for. I'm excited and so are the kids. We were grocery shopping for Thanksgiving a few days ago and I was also buying snacks for today so they wouldn't be starving. Ox asked me, "Are you going to get a trophy if you win?" I told him there were lots of really fast people racing, and I probably wouldn't win, but that I was excited to just run. As he was going to sleep that night he said, "I don't think they're gonna give you a trophy because if they did, all the other moms would get their feelings hurt because they didn't get one."

Monday, November 24, 2008

Missed it by that much!

We found out Friday that Dirk did not pass the CA bar by only a few points. Definitely disappointing, to say the least. He has a very good attitude, though. He told me that he rather enjoyed the study the first time around, and this time he'll do it without trying to also start up a business, write a review course, move across country, etc. So, come January, he will once again be eating, drinking and sleeping the Bar/Bri prep course. He'll take five weeks off of work for the February retake, and then it will be another three months plus of waiting to see how he did. Everyone at his firm has been very supportive, and assures him this is the hardest bar in the country. Go Dirk!

As an aside, I am so impressed with his stamina with the whole work thing. He has been working incredibly hard, filing patents left and right, and generally knocking everybody's socks off. In our family, we celebrate a "Comfort Day" -- it's our own homemade holiday whenever we embark on something new. It is usually at the two-month mark of the new adventure. We did celebrate it in October, but our efforts were paltry, and I think another Comfort Day is due . . . maybe Friday. I am usually the weak link in Comfort Day celebrations, because I am in charge of procuring a babysitter, which task I dislike, I guess because I have to clean up the whole house (wouldn't want a fifteen-year-old to notice dirty light fixtures!?) and then pick the girl up and then take her home and it all just seems like a lot of trouble for a dinner out. Anyway, I love you Baby (this is a joke, we never use nicknames, so it cracks us both up when I try) and think you're the greatest!

Confessions of an Early Decorator

I hear and read many complaints and irritations about the early decorating of department stores and malls for Christmas. I have been somewhat sheepish about the fact that my own Christmas decorating seems to get earlier and earlier every year. I come from a family where this is considered an assault on something sacred; that is, that great American holiday of Thanksgiving. I do enjoy Thanksgiving. I really get into cooking beautiful dishes and turning out a moist turkey. However, I think the spirit of Thanksgiving is a fantastic introduction to a season of holidays and the true spirit of Christmas. After all, one of the things I am most thankful for is Christs' birth. Even though I know the motivation for the stores is to get more sales, I do not at all mind the early decorating, as it gives me a reminder to get my shopping and shipping done, and to enjoy a more leisurely Christmas season. I don't shop of Black Friday (why is it called that, anyway?), and I don't watch TV commercials, so I don't get fed up with the commercialization of Christmas. Finally, I just don't have that many decorations for holidays or even non-holidays . . . but I have a really great Christmas tree. Honestly, I have only ever seen two or three I like as well as my own. So, why not make the most of it? My preferred time of decorating is the Sunday before Thanksgiving. And I am not ashamed.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Technical Difficulties

I changed my blog template, you may have noticed, but lost my blog list in the process. So, if you are reading this, can you please leave a comment so that I can recreate my blog list and keep up with all you lovlies?? Dirk thinks it might be in here somewhere, but he hasn't found time to look for it yet, and I am never hopeful where these things are concerned.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

So in love with this little girl

There is so much to love! Her personality is as big as Lady Liberty. She has a style all her own. And she is just so expressive! Here, she's telling us all about the little bunny rabbits we found jumping around a grassy area at Sea World.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Best Day EVER!

A few weeks ago I decided it was time for Ox to take off the training wheels. One of the training wheels was breaking and I needed the bike to work for riding to school in the morning. We are quite an exhibition . . . Baby in the stroller, Gigi alternately pushing her mini-stroller and riding on the back of my stroller while insisting I carry hers, Ox on his bike, and Pippin on the leash. We command the sidewalk. We are a whole parade. I love it. Anyway, he has been interested in doing this on his own before, but always wanted to quit because it was too hard. I didn't want to push him, so I never worried about it. But it was time.

Predictably, he wanted to give up about at day #2. I was determined, though, and I told him I knew he could do it and that he just needed to get used to balance. Nevertheless, I told him that if we practiced every day for 14 days (give or take, I'm not a drill sergeant) and he still wanted to stop, he could and I would take him out for ice cream for his efforts. By day #3, I was ready to throw in the towel. It was just so frustrating! I tried not to let this show, and told him to just take his bike on his own and see what he could do while I played with Gigi out front. It was magical. After he played around for a bit, it was like he decided that this was his thing and not mine. I asked him to tell me when he was ready for some help and he did and I gave him a push and he did it! Before this day, I had been so frustrated with his lack of confidence in the principle of balancing while pedaling. In my desperation, I'm afraid I got sort of weird on him and told him to think really hard about just going straight, or just imagine himself riding and balancing. That third day, as he was riding up and down our street, he said, "I do it better when I'm NOT thinking about it! Like right now, I'm just thinkin' 'bout spiders, now I'm thinkin' 'bout cars and when I can drive a car someday; now I'm thinkin' 'bout pumpkins and why some people put pumpkins on their roofs."

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Plea for Help

I need to buy a pair of jeans for Dirk. A couple, actually. Trouble is, it has literally been years since we have bought him jeans (starving students and all that). And Costco never carries his size in any of the brands they sell (38 X 34), so there goes my one-stop shopping! I want to order them online, and I want him to look current and with-it, but in a subtle way so he won't notice. Any suggestions?

In exchange for your help, I am giving you all a little gem of an idea for everyone on your Christmas list. Who knew that something like this even existed??

Jane Austen Action Figure

Soap Box

Are they kidding me, or what?! I am having some frustration about our country's fiscal issues. I know that nobody wants a repeat of the Great Depression. I get it. But I just heard on NPR (yes. I listen to NPR. Every chance I get. It doesn't mean I am a liberal. It means I got fed up with network news a long, long time ago.) that the AIG bailout is being revamped and going to cost us even more and we have no say in the matter. Meanwhile, the car manufacturers want a bailout, too. Honestly, their request seems more legitimate to me than AIG. Do we all know how AIG got into the mess they did in the first place? By gambling, basically, on the mortgage industry. Go HERE for the fascinating breakdown. Anyway, my cynical theory is that the insurance lobby is so strong and rich that they can buy off Washington to give them what they want, like bailouts and tort reform laws and the like. I personally think it would not be the end of the world if a humongous insurance company went down in flames. Seriously, these guys took risks with mortgages, and they should know better, but we expect Joe Homebuyer to take more responsibility for his action than the corporation? I totally get the argument that these companies failing would be economic disaster for the rest of us. In fact, I have a good friend doing her PhD on financial markets stuff whom I would describe as a fiscal conservative who says the bailout is necessary. I am probably being simplistic, maybe plain ignorant here. But still. Doesn't it just seem wrong on principle?

Which brings me to the fundamental issue I have with this whole thing: our lack of pain tolerance. I have had three babies without using pain meds. I don't say this to put myself out as a superstar or anything, truly. In fact, the reason I prepared to labor with no meds is because I saw my sister get an epidural when I was at an impressionable age and I thought it looked so horrible I promised myself I would try to never do it. What I discovered having babies this way and observing others do it countless other ways was priceless. Recovering from an epidural or c-section (which epidurals sometimes cause because they can slow labor down too much) can be worse than going through the labor naturally and having done with it. Obviously each situation is unique, but there is evidence that your body can work much more efficiently without deadening pain meds. It's hard work and seriously uncomfortable, but no one is expecting a spa vacation when they go to have a baby, right?

Back to the economy. Maybe if we just let ourselves work through it without expecting a painfree recovery from this whole mess, it would be more efficient? Can't get credit to buy a car? Buy used, ride a bike, make your old one last a bit longer. And we would certainly never forget the experience, and we would probably work hard to see that it didn't happen again by not building up excessive debt and keeping a savings cushion for times such as these. Ditto with the big companies. Maybe they wouldn't get stupid with their money so much either. I hear all kinds of tragic projections about the dreary Christmas shopping season. Hellllooooo! Our overspending is part of what got us here! A dreary shopping season sounds like really good news to me! And when big, old, comfy companies like AIG find themselves broke, smarter, more conservative companies can rise to take over. A shake-up might not be the end of the world.