Friday, January 30, 2009

Spin Cycle: Tunes

Growing up, my mom and dad listened to pretty much every type of music (save rap - not their generation).

I used to love spending my winter evenings and long summer days flipping through their record / 8 track collection which rivaled most libraries. I listened to:

jazz (of course, my favorite now, my favorite then)
rock (back then there was only one kind of rock)
western (old western - even old for my parents old)
blue grass
blues (i just deleted a weird tangent that was here about the history of white and black blues in america - i never cease to amaze even myself with my abilities to be a super-dork)
classical / symphony
show tunes (and yes, rock operas too)
irish folk
scottish folk
welsh folk
(Eastern) Indian Traditional
Chinese Traditional
Japanese Traditional
African Drum Recordings
native american recordings (little known tidbit: my mom and i used to dance and sing at the local pow wows)
Swiss Yodeling
... oh my the list goes on! ...

You might be wondering,
will she ever stop talking about herself? Or maybe you wonder, how has this affected her life as an adult?

I will tell you the answers to all that you wonder, grasshopper.

The answer to the first question is, no.

The answer to the next question is in three parts.

1. High Fidelity quickly became one of my top five favorite movies of all time, thanks to my mom and dad endowing upon me with their diverse music taste.

2. That first one easily gave away the second part of the answer: I am the weird lady who makes music compilations for everyone. Well, maybe not everyone - but I have made several for my sister-in-law's sister-in-law. I make one for almost every event: road trips, first day of summer, St. Paddy's Day, my-period-came-ten-days-late-giving-me-a-good-scare day. I made five for my own wedding reception that were played on repeat.

3. My kids are already carrying on the legacy of a potpourri music collection. In their room they have: Gypsy Kings, Phish, Beatles, Jack Johnson, soundtrack to Joesph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and many other "mom approved" cd's. When Gabriel was 2 he would make requests at bedtime like, "chips kings" or "k-tar" (John Williams, classical guitar).

One of these days, if you and I meet - don't be surprised if I throw down a cd for you to take home and enjoy. Depending on who "you" are - I already have!

UPDATE: I can't leave you without a song. I just simply can't do it!!! So sit back, drink some coffee and take a break.

more spins on this...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

too much tv

On Tuesday I woke Gabriel up early to get ready for our bible classes at "the big church". He rubbed his eyes, looked at me and in that adorble morning voice of his he said, "I had a dream about Yo Gabba Gabba and Joe [Blues Clues] was was there and they were handing out robots." My child watches too much tv.

Last night I had a dream that I was at the Cracker Barrel with Michael and Dwight from The Office. We were eating pancakes and reading maps as if we were on a road trip. I watch too much tv.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

First Sunday

In the summer of 2007, my MIL and FIL moved to San Antonio to plant a home church. The home church emulates the early Christian churches described in the book of Acts. Its a very intimate setting, more like family than most churches. We sing together, pray together, study scriptures together and take communion. That's only on Sunday! The rest of the week we try to at least touch base with one another if not spend time together.

Two Sundays ago there were 40 people packed in Patti and Bob's living room. This was the same Sunday that we announced we would start having Sunday services in our living room. God's timing is amazing. If you aren't familiar, the idea of the home church is that if it grows too big that someone's living room cannot accommodate it, other home churches sprout from it - not to grow so big that they need a building like traditional church plants.

After a lot of prayer about this decision we finally struck out on our own today. Well, not really on our own - because we have a lot of support from the Crossing (Bob and Patti's church plant). This is a really exciting time!

Here are some pictures from our first Sunday. I took all of these after we wrapped up our service and brought the kids down to "fellowship" with us (I feel like such a goofball using that word).

Our core group

in our natural state of silliness


Beth and Ezra

Brandon and The Bedhead Family

Rohan feeding Jason

Jason sleeping

Jason awake
(its blurry but i don't care! looks at those lips!)

the latest musical trends

my child thinks he is Sri Lankan

the cutest baby! i can't stop taking pictures of him!

making fun of me.

Quiet moments

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Spin Cycle: Poem

(for Zelda and Rhiannon)

There once was a cat from Belleville
Who strutted around with no ill will
Her life ended way too soon
You will cry on for many moons
She's chillin' in cat heaven for real.

For more poetry spins click here

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I Love You

Last night, I sent Ethan to his daddy to say Good night and give hugs. I overheard him also say, "I love you." I freaked out! I have been trying to teach this child to say I love you for months (see this post and this one) and the first time he says it is to his dad? I mean, I love his dad and am glad Ethan loves his dad but I'm the one home with him all day, everyday teaching him how to talk, to eat, to walk, run, jump, manners, colors, shapes, etc.

Today, he said "I love you." to me. I was so giddy!

Then he tried to flush a baseball down the toilet.

I had to plunge that thing over and over, without knowing what I would find, in order to be able to reach down there and dislodge that ball. Thankfully it was clean looking (and smelling) water. Water was everywhere - even saturating my 5'x8' shag area rug in the living room - which is presently outside drying. Boy, was it heavy!

You just can't take your eyes off these kids.

yummy yummy fish heads

Brandon took Gabriel fishing with him, a co-worker, and said co-worker's four year old son. They came home with three fish. G even got to reel one in!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


While I LOVE LOVE LOVE Pioneer Woman, I'm not really impressed with the latest set. Her first set of actions were amazing and I use them all the time.

(The pic at the very bottom was my control picture.)

What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Tech geek in training

Monday, January 19, 2009

Patti's Bday

Last Saturday my sister in law, Stephanie, and her crew drove in for a wedding and while they were here, we celebrated my mother in law, Patti's, bday.

Stephanie bringing the cake while sang.

mmmm.... cake!

Opening presents.

Stephanie's mother in law, father in law and sister in law drove in as well and are well known for giving prank gifts...

such as this giant t-shirt.

size 10X

The boy that lives next door to Bob and Patti came over and entertained the kids for a while. Here he is, The Toddler Whisperer.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Taco Wednesday

Taco Wednesday


Breakfast for dinner


Breakfast tacos for dinner!

Every Wednesday my life is made simpler by a standing tradition of serving tacos but last Wednesday I was bored with the same old same-old and changed it up a bit! Hooray for spontaneity!

Next Wednesday: Chicken tacos.

In fact, I just finished my shopping for next week and next week is chicken week. All of my recipes for the week will start with chicken and end with deliciousness.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Spin Cycle: What if ... ?

Click for more info about the Spin Cycle

My husband was born and raised in France by American parents. What does this mean? This means that he has a french attitude and an American accent. This means that his favorite midnight snack is brie and baguette. This also means that I tease him endlessly. My favorite one liner is when my husband, brilliant as he is, thinks he has all the answers to any impossible topic and I retort, "oh, i guess you know that for a fact because you grew up in France!"

With this week's Spin Cycle topic, "What if...?" I wondered...

What if the French won the French and Indian War?

(click here if you've forgotten about it in all the years since sixth grade history class)

First and foremost, Mesdames et Messieurs, we would all be parlaying Francais.

The pilgrims would have been overwhelmed by catholic-hedonists or worse yet, catholic-atheists (how in the world do they reconcile that?).

Soccer would be Football

Applebee's would serve cheese fondue instead of cheeseburgers.

Instead of grocery stores, we would have open air markets and boulangeries.

We would have 6 political parties battling it out at election time instead of 2 (yes, we have two - this is painfully obvious to anyone who prefers candidates of a party outside of Democrats or Republicans).

It would be necessary to learn foreign languages in our school system.

The date would be written differently: 15/01/2009

All of our beaches would be topless.

Journalists won't bother to write about infidelity in the marriages of politicians, and if they do - clearly, the politician's career will not be affected.

James Taylor may not have been popular at all, especially up against the likes of Francis Cabrel.

The VW Bug would considered be a mid-size sedan.

There would be a LOT more nudity in advertising.

When approached with bad news of any kind, the first response you might have is either, "bien sur" (as in, of course I expected my house to burn down today) or "et alors" (as in, so what my husband bought his secretary a $500 purse?) prior to reality setting in.

Health care would be a non-issue; it would be socialist and it would suck but no one would care - unless they were sick.

We would invest millions of dollars in art museums rather than futile wars.

We would see the Québécois as totally justified in their constant efforts to become a soveriegn nation.

And, my favorite, meals would be considered art: gastronomie.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Gone Fishing

Brandon was invited on a weekend fishing trip with some of the guys from his new job.

"Oh, that sounds like a great idea!" I said. "You will get to know some of the guys and relax. You work so hard, you deserve a respite. When do you leave?"

As the days came and went (that sounds like it was winter turning to spring turning to summer, but it was really six days or so) the children and their antics got me a little anxious about his fishing trip. I am the mother of two psychos under the age of five (well, they are sometimes). For every angelic moment there is a mischievous one waiting in the wings. Perhaps I have just spied on Gabriel saying to Ethan, "I love you, little brother." They hug. I feel all warm and cozy inside, tear up a little. I feel proud to have raised two such adorable boys. Not even minute later, Ethan has bitten Gabriel for no apparent reason and in a fit Gabriel chucks Ethan's tippy cup and pegs him square in the forehead. I feel a twinge of guilt, "what have I done to produce two such evil little beings?" Then there is the voice of reason trying to chime in, "kids will be kids - if they weren't like this they wouldn't be normal." At which point the voices in my head start screaming in an effort to drown out the voice of reason because you can't tell a mother about nature vs. nurture.

If one of my sons grows up to be a Dr. just so he can participate in Dr.s Without Borders, I'm sure its because I did something right. Conversely, if one of my sons grows up to run a chop shop and keep a part time gig in a restaurant for "tax purposes", well, it's definitely a result of something I did wrong whilst rearing that child.

What was I talking about again? Oh, yeah - the fishing trip. So Brandon originally planned on leaving Friday after work. He didn't see the kids at all on Thursday so he decided to take Friday off, spend some time with them, then head out to the cabin. Friday rolls around, he sleeps in a bit. Then around noon the kids start screaming at each other and wrestling in the middle of the kitchen. Brandon's eyes dart around the room. He's looking for an escape. I can tell, and really - at that moment, I can't blame him. Then he announced that it might be a good idea to get to the cabin a little earlier than everyone else to set up camp and blah blah blah.

I'm not going to lie. I was a touch jealous. Not a lot, just a touch. My turn will come one of these days ...

Within moments of his departure, Gabriel slammed the back door - it just needs to be slammed to close all the way, he wasn't being a punk or anything. We have these mini blinds on the back doors. How do I describe them, they are installed between the panels of glass - if that you gives you a visual. When Gabriel slammed the door, it was one slam too many. It was the slam that broke the miniblind camel's back. The whole piece of door came crashing down to the floor. At this point I decided that the next time Brandon says he was invited on a fishing trip, I should find a sitter and come along! I was convinced this fallen door panel was going to be a metaphor for the way the entire weekend was going to turn out.

It wasn't. I must have done something right, because my little punks have been little angels. They went to bed without a fuss and when I went to check on them, they were sleeping together, on the bottom bunk - so cute! After blog stalking I went to bed. I really missed Brandon. I didn't think I would. We have taken separate vacations before and I missed him a little but not like I did last night. I laid in the bed and watched a House rerun, then an Iron Chef rerun, then another rerun - I don't even remember what show. I thought about how if Brandon were there, we would be watching three shows at once and I would be so annoyed with that - but for whatever reason I wished he were next to me, flipping through the channels and driving me nuts. C'est l'amour. Before I knew it, Ethan came into my room and crawled up next to me, he laid as close to me as he possibly could without laying on top of me. Then, a few minutes later, Gabriel crawled up next to him. It was so sweet!

Today they were good boys with a dash of rowdy. My mil and fil took them to the movies to see Bedtime Stories (aren't they wonderful? they did this just so I can have alone time)- and at the same time I went to see Marley and Me. Then we all came back to my house and I fed everyone some homemade potato soup. We sat by the fire and played farkel and drank coffee. The boys were exhausted and in bed, asleep by 8:30!

Here are some scenes from our day...

Ethan napped, I worked out, and Gabriel "worked" on the Leap Pad. I work out in my office and he sat in there with me- we were still together, just doing our own thing, quietly. A mother's dream come true!

Ethan helped me do laundry.
Even though it is in the dryer this picture reminds me of the Spin Cycle.

So I think the next time Brandon wants to go fishing I'll just say, "Have a good time! I hope you come home refreshed, you deserve a break!"

Thursday, January 8, 2009

little yogi

Gabriel announced that he needed to relax and commenced doing so...
Then he relaxed too much and let out a little poot!
We were both surprised.

green marker

Me: Ethan, did you just eat that marker?

Ethan: No.

I have no idea where he gets it from.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

the truth is, no!

Today was great - v. productive. I did all of the following:

worked out, a lot

played excessively with the kids in an attempt to limit their tv watching to 30 minutes for the entire day

prepared three complete meals and two snacks (hot ones - not just crackers and cheese)

cleaned the down stairs as if i were going to put the house on the market! man, it is CLEAN!

washed, folded and put away several loads of laundry

What I did not do today:

talk on the phone - or talk at all - to an adult (until B got home from work around 6:30, then i talked to him for a few minutes)

leave the house


put on makeup (this, alone, is a travesty)

I told all of this to B in a sort of sad tone and in an effort to cheer me up, he said, "but isn't nice sometimes to be isolated for just one day?" I mumbled some sort of agreement.

But the truth is, no! I want to interact with people. Everyday. Every single day.

So after the kids went down for bed I text'd my running mate to verfiy that we were on for the a.m. - I imagined she would reply then we would start exchanging texts with The Office quotes and a few other inside jokes that would make no sense at all to other people, but it doesn't matter because we are so funny to each other and after that five minutes of texting I could go to bed feeling as if I had interacted with someone that wasn't feeling the stress from his own difficult / relatively new job in a sucky economy where he is the only "bread winner" and we are still trying to bounce back from his lay off and I really have it so good rearing the children and staying home that if I have ONE lonely day I don't want it to sound like I am whining bc I really have the better end of the deal.

Only, she didn't text me back. This is pretty typical of people with no home phone to speak of (like myself). We put our phones in our jacket pockets, the kitchen counter or on silent and forget about them, rendering ourselves impossible to get ahold of.

So I blogged about it and you know what? I feel a little bit better. Because even though you didn't respond, and this was a completely one sided conversation, at least I got to tell you about my day. For that, I love blogging!

I just reread this post and you know something? I could probably use counseling. Or go back to working part time. This is very strange to post something so ... whatever you call this post ... but most of my friends in the blogosphere are equally neurotic so here goes...

Saturday, January 3, 2009

pictures of the week

Pictures from my week...

Gabriel and I chilling at home:

Our friend Luckson came into town for a few hours this week. It is always a treat visiting with him. The boys love kicking the soccer ball around with him.

He has an amazing story that began in Haiti and has ended up in optometry school - the last I heard, he was thinking of becoming an optometrist and going back to Haiti to help others with their vision - but he is young and single and he has the whole world before him, he can do whatever he wants. So, who knows where he will end up.
Another picture of Kasha. One day I will tell you about her ear.

Our house. We are so proud of the fireplace bc we tiled that ourselves (it was soooooo ugly before). Although we are thinking of changing the wall color. The only thing that holds us back is the hassle of painting with two young children under our feet.

I came into the loft and caught Ethan playing basketball with Snoopy.

Then Bee got in the game.

My bud, Gabe.
My next door neighbor has two little boys the same ages as my two little boys- what luck! Today, The four year old rang our doorbell, I answered and he said, "Can Gabriel come out and ride bikes with me?" Awwww..... that was the first time I encountered that situation. So of course I said yes and took lots of pictures. The mom and I have asked a few times if our kids could play together so we could get something done but that was the first time one of the kids initiated it.

The neighbor boys...

And I got a new 'do. Out with the old blonde highlights, in with the new blue-black and red-violet low lights on top of hair dyed back to my natural-ish color...

I was telling my friend Beth (who took the hair pictures) that I felt like my new hair is very rock n roll - but its weird bc I'm really into jazz. Oh well, I've always wanted to be a rock n roll, punk, harley chic. Basically I'm a big rebel waiting for my chance to do something dangerous - but not too dangerous bc I'm also a mom and we can't have anyone getting hurt or poking an eye out.