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Saturday, December 29, 2007

Confession: we have not sent out a Christmas picture/letter. I have some guilt about it, but mostly I try to shove the guilt away. I push it down to the guilt about not getting to the dentist enough or that time when I decided to rebel as a child and the worst thing that I came up with was sticking a piece of gum in a library book. Actually no, the gum incident’s guilt is a lot stronger; that’s pretty bad. I LOVE the library. I love books. I love reading. Why would I do that?!!! Anyway, the no-Martin Christmas picture/letter guilt is still there but I’m trying to ignore it. It’s not that we don’t plan on sending one…eventually…we just decided after our big Christmas party to a.) sit back and enjoy the holidays and b.) care for our very sick children (who, thankfully, are now all better) and c.) we didn’t take a good family picture, so we’ll need to either take one or just find a good one from the last few months. We’ll do it. Eventually.

I could work on the Christmas picture/letter now, but the keyword there is COULD. And I am SO not going to. I have the house completely and thoroughly to myself. I don’t remember the last time that I got to be home alone. I came up with the marvelous and ingenious idea that after I got back from my run, Mike should go to the gym and that he should take the boys with him to play in the Kids’ Club. This is a marvelous and ingenious idea and a win-win situation for everyone involved. Mike needs to go the gym because, well, it’s good for him, and he hasn’t been in quite a while (probably three weeks, maybe even a month). The boys now love the Kids’ Club, have been asking to go, and haven’t been in a long while due to sickness and then Christmas. And it is SO a win-win situation for me because I get to be home…by myself! Sure, I could spend the time doing the dishes in the sink or the laundry that’s piled up, but why? I could even start taking Christmas stuff down or clean this post-Holidays messy house. But why, pray-tell, would I do that?! I’m sipping coffee and spending time on my laptop – planning for music class, researching hotels for our trip to San Fran in August (for Mo’s wedding), catching up on News (, reading emails, oh, and currently writing this. I might even sit on the couch and read in a bit. I don’t remember the last time that I did that. What’s a little bit sad is how easily Matthew picked up on my excitement for this morning. I got the boys all ready to go – they were practically in coats waiting for Mike. “Are you ready yet, Honey? The boys are ready and rarin’ to go! Yea Kids’ Club! Yea Gym! Are you ready? Mike?” I kept calling. I practically shoved them out the door. As they headed down the stairs Matthew called, “Have fun being home by yourself, Mommy!” Ahhh, I will. I am.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas has come and gone and therefore I am thoroughly and totally devastated. The post-Christmas season is just so lame. But what’s most lame is the fact that Santa doesn’t come for another 362 days now or something.

Santa treated the Martin family very well. He brought me some very nice coffee, the movie Hairspray, mascara that I was in need of, and gift cards delight for post-holiday retail therapy. Santa loves me. Matthew was thrilled with his small, monster truck John Deeres and his Lego City fire truck pickup truck. Zach got a little steering wheel toy that makes all sorts of loud, obnoxious educational, genius-inducing noises. Matthew got a fantastic John Deere blanket from Nana and Uncle Harry, a fireman Mr. Potato Head from Aunt Jamie and Uncle Dan and an amazing construction crane Lego from my parental units…just to name a few highlights. Zachary’s favorite part of the day was “opo! Opo!” – opening presents. But perhaps most magically magical of all was that it snowed! On Christmas Day. In Seattle! It snowed! Not enough to stick but definite flurries for most of the day. That’s as White Christmas as it gets here, and I’ll take it!

Friday, December 21, 2007

READER DISCRETION ADVISED: Do not read the following on a full stomach, an empty stomach and/or a particularly squeamish, squirmy, or churny stomach.

The Martin boys (the younger ones) were feeling much improved yesterday. We were even able to leave the house for an outing that did not include the doctor! (Hooray for Staples and Target.) The boys even bickered over toys and more than once (MANY times more than once), Matthew screamed and cried because Zach had knocked over his Lego “crane truck.” (Meanwhile Zach ran away with a big grin on his face). Yes, they were definitely feeling a bit better.

After the boys had finished dinner we let them down to play so that we could finish our meal in relative peace. Matthew and Zach started chasing each other around the loop – dining room, kitchen, living room. They were having a ball and laughing. And then t the same time they both started coughing, and coughing. And then t the same time Mike and I both started saying, “OK, OK. Settle down. You boys aren’t ready for that much running around.” And then at the same time they both started vomiting.

Mike got to them first, realizing there wasn’t time to get down the hall to the Puke Bucket in Matthew’s room, he grabbed the next best thing – dumped the remaining toys out of a plastic toy box and stuck that under Matthew’s face. Matthew shook his head and started to protest. He would not puke into the Lego box, he would only puke into the Pu— oh whatever. I just need to puke. I had jumped up to hold the impromptu Puke Receptacle under Matthew, while Mike (and I) realized that Zach was about to lose it. Mike stuck his hand under Zach’s mouth and started running him down the hall towards the bathroom. Blecgh! Zach threw up by the top of the stairs where his vomit hit the floor and splashed all the way – even splattering the lower level of carpeted stairs. Mike got to the bathroom and realized that the door was closed. Crap! He couldn’t open it because one hand was full of Zachary and the other was full of Vomir de Zachary. So, I yelled for him to take Zach to the kitchen sink where Zach immediately got sick all over the sink-full of dirty dishes.

I’m not quite sure at what point in all of this I realized what I was doing. Yes, I was holding the Puke Bucket – Receptacle and generally cheering Matthew on offering all sorts of support and Motherly concern. However, I was also eating a cookie. Just the day before we had received the INFAMOUS box from Mike’s sister Jamie and husband Dan. Every year at Christmas I loath-slash-love when that box arrives. It’s full of our wrapped Christmas presents and also a box brimming full of Jamie’s Christmas Cookies. They make thousands of cookies every year (literally, thousands), adding a new kind nearly every baking season too. I counted 16 different varieties this year. Mike and I are very systematic about the cookies. We eat them slowly (well, try to) and enjoy discussing each kind, rating them, deciding which is our favorite each year, etc. Now, Matthew has become a part of our Christmas cookie consumption fun. He had just finished one before the running and then the coughing and then the vomiting commenced, and I had been in mid-bite when we got to the vomiting part of the evening. Apparently through all the drama I hadn’t thought to put the cookie down and even in the midst of it – holding a puke bucket, comforting Matthew, instructing Mike – I still managed to eat a delicious cookie. Now that, my friends, is multitasking.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Doctor Benda reassured me that I was not being a totally and completely paranoid Mommy. (Although I did mumble that she was the fourth doctor we’d seen in a week). Basically, Zach came down with the same Bronchitis virus that Matthew had, however, Zach’s version went deeper into the lungs where it manifested in the form of “Reactive Airway Disease” – the symptoms are basically the same as Asthma (and treated similarly). So, Dr. Benda did give Zach one more dose of steroids to get his airways open sooner (as he was still breathing rapidly and wheezing a bit at our appointment). She also gave me a clearer plan on when/how often/how many/how long to use the inhaler. I did feel like my concerns were validated and the visit worthwhile; even if it did mean that Zachary had to get more nasty medicine. Dr. Benda said that if I hadn’t brought him in, his fever probably would have come back eventually and we would have had to get the steroids. It was good to get them sooner rather than later. The poor child has still been miserable. At least he’s feverless, but he spent all day yesterday just lying around, sucking his thumb, holding Blankie and wanting to be held. I, of course, am now showing cold-like symptoms (I still won’t outright admit that I’m sick), so a day of rest was fine with me…thought that’s all we’ve done for about TEN DAYS now! I just pray that all this sickness will have dissipated by Christmas next week.

In other news, I dropped my cell phone into a bowl of chili. Well, a mostly empty, dirty-in-the-sink, bowl of chili, but still. I was in the process of calling Rachel when the phone slipped from my shoulder into said-bowl. I could see that it was still ringing and calling her. “Ahhh!” I screamed. Rachel? Rachel! You’re in the chili! Hold tight. I’ll get you out. I’m coming in! Unfortunately, my phone was sufficiently chilified and did not work for the rest of the evening. Just like my laptop Kara after her coffee bath, my [nameless] cell phone apparently needed to make me feel guilty and concerned for a bit before working again. Yesterday morning it worked again and I managed to speak with Mike’s stepmom, Oma Annalice. I couldn’t hear her all that well and thought that perhaps the bean residue was causing interference. At least the phone still functions. Maybe 2008 can be the year of not soaking appliances in random food/beverages.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I can’t believe it’s already Tuesday! The last few days have been a blur of fevers, medicine, puke buckets and doctors. We ended up taking both boys to the Urgent Care Clinic on Saturday. They both had high fevers through the day. Zach was so miserable – he was practically comatose. All he could do was lie around and even when he was awake he couldn’t open his eyes all the way. It was scary. Matthew complained that his ears hurt and we saw Zach tugging on his ear. We figured that at the least they had ear infections and we needed to get them in to see the doctor.

Matthew has double ear infections and Bronchitis. Zachary has one ear infection and was having difficulty breathing. His poor little tummy and ribs are constantly working hard and he just can’t seem to get a deep breath. On Saturday, the doctor had us give him an inhaler and told us that if his fever wasn’t down and he wasn’t drastically better on Sunday morning, then we’d need to bring him in right away. Thankfully, Zach woke up feverless and was actually playing a little bit. He’d have a burst of energy, rip around and then collapse in exhaustion. He was definitely a heck of a lot better though.

We brought the kiddos to stay with my dad and brother Chris while Mike, my mom and I went Christmas Caroling at a nursing home in Seattle with some friends from Engaged Encounter. Yeah, try getting through O Holy Night, knowing your kids are sick at home and there’s a little old lady holding your hand, looking at you with tears in her eyes. Right after that heapy-weepy moment, we started walking down the hall but stopped when the door to a room opened; the family was literally gathered around the person in the bed – as in saying goodbye. We’re singing Silent Night and I’m trying to not even look in the room. Yeah, just a little emotional. I felt terrible about abandoning the boys (all the while knowing they were fine and in perfectly capable hands), but it was great to get to go Caroling.

By the time we got the boys home, however, Zachary did not seem quite so fine. His temperature was back up to 101 and he was breathing pretty hard. We called the nurse and she had us count how many breaths he took in a minute. 44. She informed us, “Well, OK. He should be fine through the night, but if it gets up to 50-60 a minute and he looks anxious, then you’ll need to get him to Emergency at Children’s Hospital.” Very reassuring (actually, not really). Monday morning, Zach’s temperature was back down but he was still breathing pretty quickly. I took him back to the doctor (a different one at our office). The nurse counted his breaths and came up with 52. Right, so that was in that “get him to the hospital” range. But all they did (maybe it’s all they could do) was give him an extra couple of pumps of the inhaler. They also gave him a dose of steroids to bring down the potential fever and help with the whole breathing situation. The steroids have made him miserable – no fever miserableness now, just a different kind – he’s really irritable, shaky and jittery.

I left the doctor feeling frustrated. I still don’t understand what exactly the problem is because all we’ve done is treat the symptoms (which I know is important, but still…). I feel like I’ve gotten mixed messages. The nurse says if he gets that high, he needs to go to the hospital. So, he is that high at the doctor’s office and they ask if we have a history of Asthma in the family. Does that mean he has Asthma (or they’re just checking)? They tell me to give him more pumps of the inhaler, and if that doesn’t seem to work then bring him back for more steroids because it’s obviously not working. But, I’m confused. What is the problem?! Why are we going to keep pumping the same miserable drug into him if it didn’t work the first time? The doc told me that once I think the inhaler is working we can start tapering off, but, “Oh,” she says, “you probably won’t know if it’s working or ready to be tapered down…” Huh?!

In conclusion, I’m listening to my Mommy-Gut (or maybe just being a paranoid Mom), and I’m bringing him back in today to see our actual pediatrician, Dr. Benda who we know and love. I just want a doctor – one that we really trust and who knows us – to explain what is going on and what exactly the plan is and how long we’ll likely stick with this plan. I don’t even mind if all I get is, “well, we don’t actually know what is going on, why he’s having difficulty breathing or what the plan is.” As long as I get some more communication and that they aren’t just jumping to temporarily treat the symptom without knowing what the problem is.

When I called yesterday to schedule to see Dr. Benda today and had to explain to the Appointment desk chica why I wanted to be seen AGAIN, after going through my shpeal, she says, “Oh. So, you’re not hearing the answers that you want?” Yeah, OK, so maybe she does think that I’m one of THOSE or maybe I AM one of THOSE paranoid parental units. But I’d like some answers and not just what sounds like a temporary fix. Am I just being defensive or does this make sense?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Our poor, little miserable and suffering offspring. Man! We just can’t seem to catch a break from the bugs this Fall/Winter. Matthew has had a fever off and on for five days now – he’s finally on the mend and sleeping through the night again; thank goodness. He gets a pretty nasty cough when he first lies down, but our Mr. Pukey Pants (who always throws up when he’s sick – even if it is just a cold) refuses to lose the fight. If you even go near to grabbing the Puke Bucket (that sits next to Matthew’s bed when he’s sick), he flips out. Mid-hack, he’ll gasp, “No…Puke…Bucket…I’m….not…going….to…puke.” Gag. Gag. So far, he’s won the battle. Zachary, on the other hand, has not.

He is SO miserable our little Zachy. He had a temperature of 102 this afternoon. All the sick kidlet can do is lie around and moan and cry and ask for “Beebee” – Blankie. We have had some tough nights this week with both boys sick. I can’t remember if it was Tuesday or Wednesday night now (they’re all smooshing together in my fatigued brain into one LONG, BAD night), but Mike and I were BOTH up with BOTH boys LOTS of times. At one point, I thought that we should at least be high-fiving each other as we passed in the halls. It was like tag-team sleeping, snot-wiping, rocking, and soothing ALL night long. It definitely made the Top Five Worst Nights. Neither of us could remember in the morning how many times we’d been up. We just knew it was a lot and that it was probably more than the other parental unit. (In the sleep-deprived state you get to this very negative place where you start to each think that your sleep is WAY more important than the other’s. It becomes a test to see who has the most endurance. Whoever can lie there the longest pretending to not hear the whining from the other room wins. They win the right to stay in bed but not be able to go back to sleep due to guilt – both parental and spousal).

So, tonight, Zachary is the epitome of misery. He has a fever and a serious snot situation. He also has a nasty cough that not too long ago turned ugly – into the Puke Bucket. Zachary, I’d like you to meet Puke Bucket. Puke Bucket, this is Zachary. Zach, hopefully you will not get to know Puke Bucket as well as your older brother Matthew has. Matthew and P.B. go WAY back. Anyway, Zach’s puke-bucketing was minimal, we wiped him up and he went back to sleep with only a slight aroma of Eau de Vomir remaining. (An aside: Why is it that even saying something as nasty as Stink of Vomit, [or technically “vomit water”] in French, sounds all flowy and pretty?)

My husband, my hubby, my Mikey – ahh, bless him – the man does NOT handle the illness of our children well. Obviously no one likes to see their child sick and suffering. Just having kids with fevers this week has made me so thankful for their health. It’s also made me say a lot more prayers for the children spending this Christmas – and much of their lives – in the hospital and for their parents too. I just can’t imagine…Well, anyway, one night earlier this week – the night of Matthew’s mega-huge swollen lip (which is much improved, I might add) – Mike proved that he really, REALLY does not handle the sick kid thing well. Matthew had a fever and the nasty lip thing going on and was in bed. I found Mike with his head on Matthew’s chest.

“What are you doing?” I ask him.

“His heart is racing,” Mike replies in a very worried voice.

“Honey, he’s a kid – their hearts beat faster,” I reply.

“Yeah, but it’s really pounding, I – ” Mike is cut off by Matthew whining, “Daddy, get your head off me.”

I left the medical examination to call the nurse to inquire about the bizarre lip and to do the dishes – I would leave the bedside vigil to Mike. The next time I walked into the room, Mike is checking Matthew’s pulse.

“I don’t know what his heart rate usually is, but this just seems really fast,” Dr. Daddy informs me.

“OK, right. Well, when you’re done checking his blood pressure next or before you start drawing blood to run some tests, maybe you could do something productive like take off his extra thick pajama top to help cool him down…” I think but actually say, “Right. Could you take off his extra pajama shirt please?”

So, it’s currently 10:30pm, I’m exhausted and ready to go to bed. I have had to stop typing about five times to rush in to Zach as he started coughing. What are the chances that we’ll sleep well tonight? Yeah, slim. Outlook not so good.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Illness has once again reared its ugly head in our home. It’s Matthew – poor kiddo. “I think for Christmas,” he informed me earlier today, “Santa will bring me new Lego City Legos, new John Deeres and fire trucks, and new Kleenex. Santa’s going to bring me lots and lots of new Kleenex.”

We survived the flood last week – no floating away, just a lot of fans, heaters and drying out – and we managed to have the family room downstairs put back together before the 7th Annual Martin Christmas Party Extravaganza on Saturday night. It was an enormous, bumpin’ fun time this year – we had 30 people upstairs and five kids downstairs with a babysitter. It was a blast! As always, our friends left wined, dined and spoiled with gift card prizes for the games – this a year a Christmas Crossword, Christmas Pictionary, a violent wrapped gift game (you have to try to open it with big ‘ol gloves and mittens on, etc.), and the annual and much anticipated Martin Christmas Party Bingo. Yes, we bribe our friends at Christmas time to be our friends for the upcoming year. They’re worth it.

So, we were up late Saturday night and attempted to sleep in a bit on Sunday. The boys both took three hour long naps, from which Matthew woke up with a fever and a cough. We spent Sunday night taking turns getting up with both boys. Monday night was the same drill. Then yesterday afternoon, Matthew said his high lip hurt. (“My high lip, Mom, not my low lip. The high one hurts.”) By the end of the evening, Matthew’s “high lip” had swollen up to a huge, nasty situation. We called the nurse line and they recommended giving him Benadryl in case it was an allergic reaction to something. It definitely looked better today – way less swollen – but since he still had it and a bit of a fever, the nurse recommended we go in to see the doctor. She thinks it could be a viral infection, so we’ll just need to wait it out…but in the meantime, no shared drinking cups (Zachary – stop using Matthew’s toothbrush!), and an entire week of missed preschool!

Zachary woke up from nap this afternoon coughing and hacking away. He’s now totally hoarse and speaks with a raspy little smoker’s toddler voice. Here we go again…

Monday, December 03, 2007

Literally overnight, we went from a beautiful Winter Wonderland to a land of yuck, muck and mud. The snow here was completely melted in a matter of hours as the temperatures warmed and the rain started falling early yesterday morning. I’m not one to spend a lot of time chatting about weather – but this is just madness!

This morning we were late departing for preschool, so I was being a Manic Mom trying to get the boys out the door. Once underway, it was just a couple of blocks before the detours began – roads were flooded and closed every which way. We spent 45 minutes slowly inching in descent along a hill that would take us to another hill that we would need to ascend to head back to our house. Matthew sat in the back saying that he was so sad that he couldn’t go to preschool. “This is bad, Mommy. Very, VERY bad,” he informed me.

When we finally reached the bottom of hill #1, we turned right to head up hill #2. The bottom of hill #2 had turned into a lake about five feet deep. There were at least three cars sitting in the water (I couldn’t tell if the drivers were still inside or not), with the water reaching quite high up on their doors. I watched in dismay as Mr. Because I’ve Got a Pickup Truck I Can Handle This Little Puddle proceeded to plow through the flood waters, realized that it was way too deep, turned right into the Denny’s parking lot only to find it deeper than the previous lake and get totally stuck. The water was high enough that he would have gotten water in the truck when he opened up the door. Yeah, best of luck with that. (the tag says Totem Lake of Kirkland but that’s totally wrong. It’s the Denny’s in Renton/Newcastle. We made the news! (Well, not us personally, because we weren’t foolish enough to attempt the water route home).

When we finally made it home we discovered a nasty business happening here: we now have waterfront property. Our backyard is a swamp and oh! By the way, the downstairs carpet pretty much is too. I spent about an hour trying to clear the drain outside the slider. Then I moved furniture and toys away from the door as best I could. Matthew said, “Mom! You missed some toys; they’re going to wash away!” I reassured him that this wasn’t a wait-in-the-attic-for-the-helicopter flood – thank God – that it was just a squishy-carpet kind of flood. I suggested he could be a helper and pick up toys. “No, Mom. I’ll get all floody. That’s your job.”

When Mike got home to help save the day (or at least the carpet), Matthew immediately picked Mike’s lunch up off of the kitchen counter and said, “Daddy, here – let me put that in the fridge for you – to keep it safe from the flood.” We’ve had fans and heaters blowing on the pulled up, wet part of the carpet for most of the afternoon. Good ‘ol Ma and Pa Buckley built an ark to come and visit and help out a bit. (Mike has a big deadline for work tomorrow, so he’s been trying to get stuff done for that, so Dad helped with the carpet fiasco and mom helped with the children fiasco – not that there was a real fiasco with them, just the usual stuff).

Tonight, Matthew is nervous that the flood is going to come up the stairs and get him and Green Bear in his bed. The wind is supposed to pick up later too, so if those trees start swaying too much in the back, we might all be slumber partying downstairs in the music room. (The lowest and driest place in the Martin House of Weather Insanity).

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Sing it with me now: Joy to the world! My laptop works…Mikey fixed it up!! I don’t know what he did (it had something to do with plugging it in, charging it up and sweet talking it – all things that I, too, had tried) but apparently Kara is just very temperamental and will occasionally not start up. When we last attempted to start ‘er up, it was plugged in then but wouldn’t work. Maybe – I know! – just maybe she’s having serious caffeine withdrawals. She enjoyed the taste of coffee and could use a little hit every now and then. I’ll look into it, but all I can say is joy to the world! that my laptop is back and my someday-award-winning-works-of-literary-genius have not been lost forever. I definitely learned my lesson and will, from hence forward, be a saving and syncing up crazy woman.

It is also with great enthusiasm and happiness that I report the first day of December here in Seattle, WA dawned in a splendor of winter wonderland…iness. There was a dusting of snow when we awoke in the morn (for some reason discussing snow makes me get all English-fancy). We hosted our Engaged Encounter friends for a lunch meeting. Around 1:15, Cathi looked out and commented on how dark it was for midday. About five minutes later, we were all amazed to look out the window at a nonstop snow blizzard. It lasted all afternoon. We got about three inches all together. Mike and Matthew were out there in no time building snow peoples in the front yard – a “snow monster” and “snow baby.”

The snow did not deter Larissa and me from our hot night out on the town. We drove into downtown Seattle – all lit up, decked out and snowed on (us and downtown). We had an amazing dinner at Il Fornaio – a fancy-shmancy Italian establishment in Pacific Place. The Antipastas included: smoked salmon with goat cream cheese, bruschetta, fresh tomatoes with basil and cheese, pitted olives, salami and fresh parmesan. The Chianti was a-flowing (and delicious). The appetizers were followed by salad and then a choice of entrée: braised lamb chop, grilled salmon, some beefy-meaty dish (I don’t recall what), and Lobster Ravioli. I went for the ravioli which was rich and deliche – though I probably should have opted for the salmon for a lighter fare and it did look really good. The “main course” (if you ask me) was the dessert – a chocolate mousse with fresh raspberries with a cakey bottom soaked in triple sec and served with an orange crème. Mm-mmmm. Bon appétit, indeed!

After dinner, we hopped in the “party bus” – it was a small shuttle bus, but Larissa insisted on calling it the party bus which did disappoint some of her coworkers as they were hoping it would be a bus with drinks served on-board. (As if the Chianti at dinner just wasn’t enough)! The bus dropped us at the Key Arena with plenty of time before the Trans-Siberian Orchestra show.

The TSO performance is hard to describe. It was VERY cool though the first bit took some getting used to. I have a hard time taking seriously the old rocker-dudes with long hair and/or mullets rocking out on electric guitar to Carol of the Bells. Also there was a quartet of women in skanky black dresses whose job it was to occasionally sing back up but mostly shake their thangs and toss their long hair frequently and passionately. The concert was VERY LOUD and accompanied by SUPER bright lights, fake snow, choreographed lasers, fireworks and colored fire that heated up the entire arena.

The second half of the show was fantastic. The musicians really showed genuine talent. They would highlight one musician – electric violin or piano, even electric guitar – playing a classical piece (par example: Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, Rimsky Korsakov’s Flight of the Bumblebee or a recognizable Mozart melody) and then the music and instruments would build on that theme until it climaxed in a rockin’, hair tossing, booty-shakin, lights flashing frenzy. The Trans-Siberian Orchestra was definitely a ROCKin’ orchestra.

On a completely different topic, we were just watching a little cartoon video called The Littlest Angel – it’s Christmas-y and cute. In the story, the Littlest Angel (a four-year-old boy, I might add) that, despite being in Heaven, is sad because he misses home and his mom and dad and puppy dog. In a very touching moment, the Littlest Angel starts sobbing because he misses home so much and he doesn’t have a good gift for baby Jesus, etc., etc. I looked over and saw tears yelling up in Matthew’s eyes. Matthew shakily said, “I don’t like it when the Littlest Angel cries so hard, Mommy. It makes me too sad.” And then tears started splashing down Matthew’s cheeks. Mike and I looked at each other and immediately welled up too. What a sad group! Poor Matthew has inherited our sappy, sympathy-crying tendencies. Oh well, the ladies are always suckers for a sensitive man. I should know! I married one!

Friday, November 30, 2007

I’m still without my Kara – my laptop, my love – and I’m devastated about it. Still. Mike has had no time to take it somewhere to see about getting the hard drive (with hello! 30 pages of my book and all of my blog) and whole dealy fixed. (It’s a good thing he’ll be the one to take care of it since I don’t exactly speak the Computer Nerd Lingo…known as Nerdese).

We’ve had some interesting and fun festivities lately. Here goes:

Thanksgiving was great though, as always, the Martins got sick. Matthew greeted his Aunt Jamie (Mike’s big sis) and Uncle Dan with a fever. Welcome to the Martin Sick House! So, our neighbors who were also to join us for Turkey Dinner decided to stay far, far away. They told us to just keep our “flu food” to ourselves. Zachary came down with the fever on Friday, but even when he was feeling well, he still wasn’t overly pleasant to his Aunt Jamie. He adored Dan, but poor Jamie, was lucky to get a half-smile from him.

We spent the weekend after their visit, decorating and turning the Martin Home into the Christmas Mania Abode it now is. It’s great! We’re all decked out and have the Christmas music blaring 24-7! (Yes, I even have a Christmas-themed drop cloth for under Zach’s highchair).

On Monday night, we had my parents, brother Chris and priest friend, Father Steve over for dinner. Nothing like attempting to make dinner and set a nice table when your children are going absolutely bananas and driving you up the wall. At least dinner was like two-for-one: food and confession. “So, Father Steve, I sometimes want to seriously injure my children. Is that a sin?” I was telling the fam and Padre about my upcoming Saturday fun. I get to be Larissa’s date to her office party. And we’re talking MICROSOFT Christmas shin-dig. Yeah! We’re going to a $70/plate Italian restaurant in downtown Seattle, followed by a ride in the Party Bus to the Key Arena to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert. I’m SO excited that Larissa (sorry, sweetie) didn’t find anyone better to take than me as her date! Father Steve said, “So, it pays to be bi-sexual these days!” We pretty much had to pick my parents’ jaws up off the floor. I reassured everyone, “Father Steve, she’s Mormon! So, she’s not even my type!”

My best friend from high school – who currently lives in London – is in town this week to find and buy a wedding dress. So, I’ve gotten to go on some really fun dress-hunting expeditions. She’s the perfect bride to dress – tall, thin, redhead, gorgeous…it’s like dressing up Barbie!

When Mo was here hanging out on Tuesday afternoon, she called to me from the stairs, “Uh, Jenny? So, does Zach usually stick his head through the stair railing like this? ‘Cuz he can’t seem to get it out.” Crap. Mo immediately launched into Super Woman – or attempted Super Woman. Her first thought was to attempt to pry apart the railing – the IRON railing. I watched her fail miserably and said, “Yeah, I’ll get the butter.”

We managed to butter him up and Mo wiggled his big ‘ol cranium out to safety. Thankfully we didn’t have to call the fire department – though Matthew would have LOVED to see the fire truck in our driveway. When Zachary was in the tub, I finally realized what Mo had tried to do. “Did you seriously try to pull apart the IRON railing?!” She said, “Hey! I could’ve done it if it was my own kid!” (You know that whole lift a car off of someone adrenaline that kicks in during an emergency). I agreed I owed her one and would someday save the life of her child.

Wednesday night was very possibly the most magical night of my existence. With three girlfriends, I fought through traffic to go to the Everett Events Center for the So You Think You Can Dance Tour show. I’m fairly certain that Molly and Erin were completely humiliated to be sitting with me and Larissa. As soon as those dancers walked (well, danced) on to the stage, Larissa and immediately turned into screaming twelve-year-old girls. At least neither of us fainted or wept with joy. We just may have squealed a lot. It was SO fun! And I was surprised that we weren’t the oldest there by about 10 years. There were plenty of teeny-boppers, sure, (and no, I don’t mean us), but there were lots of older people, and families and couples as well. My favorite though was seeing the dad who was there with his probably nine-year-old daughter. He was wearing a home-made SYTYCD t-shirt – puffy-painted and all. Now that’s a dad!

Too bad we hadn’t thought of puffy-painting shirts beforehand! Bummer. Well, I suppose Larissa and I could always make some for tomorrow night –for the Trans-Siberian Orchestra show, though I don’t know that that would go so well with my little black dress. And I don’t know that that’s quite the look Larissa would want her date in.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving! I'm VERY thankful for the many blessings that we've been...blessed with, but I must admit that today, my mind is stuck on something very sad and devastating. Kara the Computer – my laptop de reves – seems to have finally succumbed to the coffee bath that Zachary gave her some months ago. All of a sudden, yesterday, she just up would not start. Nothing. Nada.

This would not be quite so upsetting if the program that Mike had set up had worked properly. The program was supposed to sync up the documents I worked on with Kara with our home computer (on which I’m typing now). So, my Blog should have been automatically updated with changes, AND the middle-grade chapter book that I now have SIXTY pages of would have been updated as well. Yeah, you guessed it – Mr. Computer Program DID NOT do its job. I may have lost about 30 pages of my book. (A similar incident happened to my writer friend Kristyn a few months ago – she lost 40 pages of a piece of work, and I could not truly empathize. Kristyn – I now sincerely apologize for your loss; I truly understand and totally and completely am in mourning with you and for you).

Mike thinks that Kara’s hard-drive should still be OK and carefully holding on to all my documents. This is marvelous and wonderful news, but until I can see my book in its in entirety and all of my other masterpieces, I will not be at peace. Mike was, of course, a genius and got a warranty of sorts with my laptop. So, we’ll need to do some research to see if “Death by Coffee” is covered. In the meantime, all major banks in your area are accepting donations to the SAVE KARA fund or you can simply send your monetary funds to me, and I’ll be happy to see they get spent in a good and therapeutic-shopping sort of way.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

So, apparently I’m in Kindergarten. Kindergartners are the only people I know who take a pair of scissors and begin randomly lopping off chunks of their own hair. This is what I did yesterday. It really wasn’t my intention to end the day with short hair – it just kind of turned out that way.

On Friday night we went over to Kristyn and Nathan’s house. Their son Nolan is in my music class, he and Matthew are buds, and Kristyn cuts hair – so we trade hair cuts for music classes. It’s a great deal especially since Kristyn – along with her entire family – has very curly hair, so she knows how to cut it. It’s rare to find someone who knows how to cut curly hair. Some history: I once had a woman cut my hair all the same length – totally not acceptable for my hair, it needs layers to thin it out and give it shape – she finished up and said, “See! It’s a straight haircut; it will make your hair straight.” She was very proud of herself. Another of my MANY traumatic haircutting experiences was in high school when I’d grown out my hair – it was long, thick, unruly, I had yet to figure out what kind of style worked and didn’t know that good hair product was a must. So, I unleashed the beast (i.e. took my hair out of a pony tail) and watched as the stylist inhaled deeply – nearly gasped, really – and said, “And WHAT do you expect me to do with all this junk?” No joke. She called my hair junk. NEVER AGAIN will I have to put up with that now that kind of abuse now that I have Kristyn!

Our Friday haircut date went great. Zachary and Matthew went first and both of them sat like champs. (Well, OK, Zach was a wiggly champ and the trim didn’t last long, but there really wasn’t all that much to trim). Matthew was super brave and didn’t even need his protective ear-covering cups this time! He just trusted Kristyn that she would fold those ears nicely out of the way. Mike followed the little boys and Kristyn called me down to check for approval. Then it was my turn. I basically wanted the same haircut that I’ve had for a few months now and have loved. I’ve never received so many compliments on my hair before – even from strangers! The style has my hair shorter in the back, cut in layers and angled down towards my chin, but the very bottom layer is all the same length (the top layer is the angled one). Confusing, I know; but cute, I promise. Kristyn cut my hair, I was pleased and we called it a night.

Saturday morning – yesterday, I went for a run with Andrea and then showered off. After styling my hair (with my marvelous product that, by the way, I couldn’t find at any stores anymore and was devastated and just yesterday found at Fred Meyers so I bought FOUR tubs ‘o magic hair goo), I realized that yes, I really liked it….but…It just wasn’t quite as drastically angled as I’d wanted – especially the top most layer which is what really gives the haircut its style and saves me from walking around like a big ‘ol curly poof-head. So, I convinced Mike (fairly easily, I might add) that he could really easily just trim it up a bit more for me. I decided that I wanted it all angled just a lot more – bottom layer and top layer. After commencing on the daunting task, Mike started to second guess our decision, plus, he said, my hair was too wet so he really couldn’t tell what he was doing. Hmmm, not so reassuring. I towel-dried my hair and inspected the damage. Not bad. REALLY not bad. Actually pretty good. I cleaned up a few places that were uneven and proclaimed that it was exactly what I wanted.

Except apparently it wasn’t.

For the rest of the day every time I went into the bathroom, I’d check out my hair and see another spot and –oop, there’s one more – that needed to be trimmed up. The trimming continued. And didn’t stop. All day. The pinnacle moment was when I accidentally took too much off of the front (which was the longest part), so I therefore had to trim the other side to even things up. It was then that I realized, Oh crap. I’ve got short hair again!

Must interrupt this edge-of-your-seat, nail-biting hair drama to report that we’ve just surpassed a major Blogging milestone here. My Blog is now over 100,000 words! It’s 155 pages, 100,478 words, no wait, 100,482 words long. Well, now it’s 100,488. But you get the point. Dang! I’ve got a lot to say on the topics of mothering, wiping snot, cleaning up vomit, surviving Post Partum Depression (though barely), the geniusness of my children, the wonderfulness of my friends and family, how much I love coffee and red wine and books and running and the gym and losing weight and reality TV and girls’ nights and book club, how I don’t love putting up with snobby moms and the ones who think that their children sport all kinds of geniusness (see the beginning of my list here), and whatever other mundane details of my life I choose to ramble about and share with who-knows how many people out in Cyberland.

Back to the important details of my hair – I now must face the fact that, just in time for the holidays, I have short – though cute and spunky, and I can totally pull it off – hair. And it is no one’s fault but my own. Bad Jenny. No more playing with scissors for you!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Matthew now calls himself (and I quote): “A puke expert.” I didn’t even know that he knew that word. Expert, that is; I knew that he was well aware of puke. Mike and I were on an Engaged Encounter retreat this week – there were two of us presenting teams, 35 engaged couples and one awesome priest. (Seriously one of the coolest priests I’ve ever met). The weekend went great – as they pretty much always do. However, by the end of Sunday afternoon, Mike was really not feeling well. We arrived home at 5:30 and he went straight to bed – coat still on. He had a fever and chills. Matthew spent the weekend with our friends Jason and Rebecca and was on his way home. Jason called to say that Rebecca had called to say that Matthew had just thrown up all over himself in their car. Now, vomit is bad, but someone else’s kid’s vomit? Even worse. I felt awful. Then my mom and dad called to say that despite not having napped, they were going to risk taking Zach to church with them and it would be past his bedtime by the time he got home. Oh, and by this point Zachary had little green snot rockets shooting out his nose (my words – taken from my friend Megan, not my parents’).

I managed to get Matthew cleaned up and bathed before Zach got home. Matthew wanted to see Daddy, so I told him that we could just quietly go in and say hi but that Daddy wasn’t feeling very well either. Matthew climbed up on the bed and put his hand on Mike’s arm and in a quiet sing-songy voice said, “Michael? Miiiicccchhhhaaaaeeellll. Mike. Michael, are you not well?”

Matthew and I had some quality Lego and John Deere playtime before Zachary arrived. Mom and Dad used the Drop and Run technique – their preferred method by the end of the weekend. The first thing that Matthew said was, “No, Grandma! May you please take Zachy back?” But somehow, absence did make the heart grow fonder and for the first time EVER Matthew shared his John Deeres and Legos with his little brother! It was a miracle and very touching. And it hasn’t happened since.

I got the boys all tucked in, I talked Mike into getting up and at least taking off his coat and taking his contacts out, and then I collapsed into bed…only to wake up an hour later to the sounds of Matthew yelling – he was vomiting all over himself, the bed, the floor. I did laundry and disinfected the house and washed my hands nonstop until about midnight when I collapsed into bed again…only to wake up an hour later to the sounds of Zachary yelling – he was shooting snot rockets out of his nostrils and needed assistance. I think that after that I did sleep until about 5am when Zach had me up again for snot-wiping duty. Mike slept through the night – undisturbed by any of our broo-ha-ha – and was much improved the next morning. The fever and chills had passed and all that remained was that flu ache-y, muscle soreness. With Thanksgiving next week, I’ve already been practicing my thankfulness – I’m thankful that I haven’t gotten sick (and it appears that each of the three Martin boys had a different nasty Bug), and I’m so thankful that I’m not a single mother – that was a LONG night.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Halloween was a hoot. Matthew has never gotten ready to get out the door so quickly. Once he realized that it was Trick-or-Treating time, the boy moved super speedy fast. Matthew was decked out in this fire fighter gear and Zachary was a darling Dalmatian – complete with leash (the toddler-don’t-run-into-the-street-and –get-hit-by-a-car kind). Matthew was a T-or-T superstar and Zach loved it – ran the whole time up and down our. Zachary didn’t really get the concept. Every time a door opened, he tried to enter the house, but we didn’t let him – he’s not house-trained and might piddle on the floor.

We came home with a ton’o booty (just from the few houses we went to). As always, I sacrificed myself for the well-being of my family. I consumed most of the Halloween candy, so that they wouldn’t have to. Look, I just do what’s best for them. That’s the kind of mother that I am.

I’m also the kind of mother who likes to occasionally entertain my children with some choice musical numbers. Today, while I was preparing lunch for two apparently starving and famished little people, I was singing one of my favorite songs from music class. It’s about a worm who eats your garbage and turns it into compost. Seriously. My students graduate from Little Ditties Music Academy not only musical prodigies but environmental advocates as well. So, anyway, I’m singing and hear Zach say his first ever phrase, “All doh, Mama. All doh.” My child was telling me all done. As in stop singing, Mom. Stop singing. My talent is so underappreciated in this household.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

So, back to my night ‘o fun with my friend Brian. First of all, you must meet the cast of characters. The main players would be, well, let’s face it, the evening revolved around me…oh, no, wait, I mean Brian and his partner Michael. Maxine is Michael’s best girl friend who was at one time, his GIRLfriend. I was introduced by Brian that night as, “this is Jenny, my Maxine” or “this is my The One.” So, I was Brian’s – The One (the one girlfriend, that is). And Rebecca was, “Oh! You’re Joe’s Jenny?” or “This is Rebecca, Joe’s Maxine.” Rebecca was Joe’s Last One. Rebecca was a little nervous about seeing Joe – and all of his friends again – since the last time she saw all of them he and she were dating, but it was weird as he was in the figuring-things-out process. (I was told that Brian had figured things out, so to speak,while sitting at a table at an outdoor café in Northern France. What a place to hear, “So, you know how we kind of all used to joke that Brian was gay….yeah…well, there’s something you should know…Oh, and he’s also with a man named Michael now.” I will always wonder what those poor French people thought of my reaction: “NO WAY! ARE YOU KIDDING ME RIGHT NOW?! NO WAY!!!! But yeah, I can sort of see that, but still NO WAY!).

When we got to the brewery, we sat down at one end of a long table, at the other end was Joe who was totally ignoring us – but wait! On closer inspection, I realized quite quickly that it wasn’t Joe –this man just looked EXACTLY like him. Rebecca – not having seen Joe in a while – thought it was Joe and was wondering why the heck he was ignoring her; he was being rude and making an already awkward situation even worse. When Michael came to sit with us, I said, “Who is that guy? Imitation Joe?” Michael said, “Yeah, don’t they look exactly alike?! That’s Joel – Jewish Joe.”

Soon, the “real” Joe arrived and we had a fantastic and awkward-free reunion. We asked Joe about Joel. Joe told us about his first time meeting Imitation Him – the Jewish version, a few weeks previous. Joe had gone to dinner with Brian and Michael and knew that their friend Joel would be there as well. Joe couldn’t believe his eyes when he sat down at the table across from Joel. He said that he literally sat there staring at Joel, slowly moving his arm, itching his nose, scratching his head, etc. to see if Joel would move like a reflection in a mirror. Apparently Jewish Joe wasn’t so quick on the uptake and didn’t figure out what Joe was doing for a while. Seriously though, Joel could be Joe’s stunt double; Joe loved that idea.

Moving on to Sheila – who Brian describes as his “Karen Walker” (a character from the TV show Will and Grace). Sheila is Brian’s great, great super-fun friend who I knew back in high school (when they were first starting college). I later met Kelly – described as Michael’s Jewish Sheila/Karen Walker. Maxine (Michael’s Me – if you’ll recall) ended up marrying Brian’s good friend Dave. And the two worlds collided. We were all joking that if we could just take our show on tour, then we’d really have something. Throw in a few dysfunctional family-type holiday dinner gatherings and we could go on Oprah!

After a bit, it was determined that some dancing was in order. I was 100% game for dancing as it’s been way too long since I shook my thang out on the dance floor. And let’s face it: this thang needs to be a-shakin’ as I’m quite the shaker of my thang. Mike thought it was hilarious that I was going to go out dancing on a “school night” (every night is a school night for me – I’m studying the art of being a mommy and have yet to pass with flying colors. And every day has an early start). When I called to tell him that the party was regrouping and relocating for further partying, it was already 11pm. (On a normal night, I would’ve have been tucked in by 10:30, ideally). I estimated that I’d like to be home by 1. Crazy talk!

When we all arrived at the club, it was evident that some of our extreme dancing skills were in order to get the crowd going. Brian and I, especially, really ripped up the dance floor. Although, it must be said, that Brian’s friend Anthony did a phenomenal performance of Michael Jackson’s Thriller. My hat’s off to him (as well as my white glove). It turns out that my dance moves can last about 2.5 hours before I start running low on creativity. I had a GREAT time. Rebecca did as well, though she took one for Team Beauty – her shoes were hurting her so badly after dancing, that she walked barefoot back to my car. I made it home at 1 on the dot. Phew! Just made curfew. I managed to get up at 7 the next morning to get ready for my Halloween music classes. A different kind of celebration than the night previous, but fun too!

Monday, October 29, 2007

Holy Moly! My blog is exactly 150 pages long!!! That’s 150 pages of nonsense and non-importance written by yours truly since…let’s see…the first entry was made on March 15th, 2006 at 9:22am it says: “Testing...testing with this ridiculously slow hospital internet connection. Can I be a bed rest blogger?!” Wow. History in the making. Famous first words. And those first words set the tone. Some of the words that jump out there are on themes of the ridiculous, the slow, the self-doubting. Fascinating, indeed. Foreshadowing, perhaps? I’ll let my readers be the judge.

Well, I can report that I would’ve enjoyed more time spent in bed this last week. I had a wonderful week despite having a cold. Somehow, my social calendar exploded and I did more in the last seven days than I’ve done in—maybe the last seven months! On Friday night, my dear friend Larissa (she’s my designated Mormon friend – everyone should have one – they’re grrrreat!) picked me up for Karaoke to celebrate her birthday. She arrived at 8:15 – at 8:07, I was upstairs holding the puke bucket for Matthew while he filled it, meanwhile Mike was downstairs with our visiting little pal Joshua (2 ½ yrs. old) who was sobbing for his parents and wondering why his parents would abandon him in such a crazy place. By 8:12, I was looking like total Hotness and was ready to roll. Mike shooed me out the door with reassurances that he’d be fine holding down the pukey, sobby fort and I should go out and have fun. I did. I TOTALLY did.

I was a little concerned with how my cold-inflicted hoarse voice would hold up in Karaoke. I need not have worried: a.) I’m a Karaoke Queen regardless of any temporary vocal handicap and b.) I could have been completely hoarse and tone deaf and still would’ve sounded better than the drunken peoples who always seem to find themselves singing solo after solo at Karaoke bars. And why do they think they sound amazing? And then the more they drink the worse it gets because at least before they could read the words, now they’re just slurring nonsense in a cat-yowly way. It’s sad. But definitely an ego-booster. Hey! I didn’t even mind the sleazy middle-aged men hitting on us and asking our table to sing back-up for them on their next solo. And come on! Who wouldn’t want four mom/housewives: three Mormons and a Catholic, all choir girls standing up there with them?! We were so ready for a good time, we may have done just about anything (well, anything that three married Mormon women and a Catholic would do, and quite frankly, that’s a limited list).

The next fun evening was seeing a show in Seattle with Rachel – Rachel my friend from childhood who has been a part of my life since first grade; Rachel who still loves me despite knowing me in fifth grade when I had a mullet and serious chub-issues; Rachel who forgives me for all the times that I repeatedly chose Jenna Petrie over her; Rachel who introduced me to the Beatles, Dean Cain (of “Lois and Clark: the New Adventures of Superman”), and now…Josh Ritter. According to the reviewest (reviewee, hmm, I think it’s actually reviewer) Andrew Bartlett, “You're presently reading about what may be the best album of 2007 [The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter], hands down, by the most under-accorded American musical genius. Real murmurs, believable ones, came with Josh Ritter's 2006 album, Animal Year, suggesting that the Idahoan is today's Bruce Springsteen, today's Bob Dylan.” That’s exactly how I’d describe him: Bob Dylan meets Jon Mayer. (But way cuter). Josh’s voice (yes, Josh – yes, I do feel as though we’re on a first name basis) is ridiculously versatile and I feel like when I’m listening to his albums there are several different singers – but no, it’s just him; it’s Josh (with some back-up harmonies to boot).

The concert was SO fun. Rachel –has been a Josh fan for a while and was ECSTATIC to see him and was intrigued to see what his concert-attending crowd would be like. After some study, we determined that most Josh Ritter fans are Gruppies – Granola Yuppies. (For education purposes, I found this definition of Granola in the Urban Dictionary: A person who dresses like a hippy, eats natural foods (granola), and is usually a Liberal, but in all other ways is a typical middle class white person, and is likely to revert back to being straight when they finish college. And Yuppie is: Informal for (y)oung (U)rban (P)rofessional, or Yup. turned into yuppie in the 1980's. A term used to describe someone who is young, possibly just out of college, and who has a high-paying job and an affluent lifestyle. Can now be used to describe any rich person who is not modest about their financial status.) So, essentially we were surrounded by natural food eating, well-dressed Liberal folks. It was actually a really fun crowd – ranging from young single people to married couples (sometimes referred to ala Bridget Jones’ as the Smug Marrieds – I am not one of those. Or at least HOPE that I’m not)! Smug Marrieds get married and then they’re all bijiggity with their single friends who have yet to be wed. Anyway, back to the show – it was fantastic and so much fun. It was also Josh’s birthday and his mom surprised him on stage with a cupcake (that he proceeded to eat candle and all. Hmm….) and then cupcakes were passed through the crowd. I don’t think that I elbowed too many people to snag a chocolate one. It was, as Matthew would say, mighty perfection.

Tuesday night was book club night. We had fun – as always. I left hoarse – as always (no, more from my cold then from overextending my vocal chords. My vocal chords are, in gym muscle-meat-head terms, ripped and tight. My vocal chords get worked out so much they could bench press 250). The sad, tale of woe of our book club is that one of our girls, Kelly, is moving to New York for at least a year. Kelly and her husband Tim are major world travelers and have been all over the stinkin’ globe, so we weren’t too surprised with the news that they’d be abandoning us. I am surprised they’re going somewhere as tame and civilized as New York though. They have such an adventuring spirit; I thought they would’ve moved to somewhere like Zimbabwe. New York is a little closer, and we all like toying with the idea of Kelly’s turn to host book club. Girls weekend in NY, anyone?! We’ll miss her and we promised – at her request – not to replace her with an imitation Kelly – maybe another Asian girl named Kelsey or something. There is only one Kelly Chow-Sale after all and she is irreplaceable!

Thursday night was the night that all the other nights were in training for. Thursday was Celebrate My Gay Ex-Boyfriend’s 30th Birthday Night! Yes, Brian from high school – my good pal Brian – who is now also married to a man named Michael (didn’t see that one coming…) was having a big ‘ol shindig for his big 3-0 and I was going to go! I invited Rebecca to come with me to do a combo celebration and girls’ night out kind-of deal. When I forwarded the invite on to Rebecca, she left me the funniest voice message: “Oh my gosh, Jenny!! My gay ex-boyfriend is also invited to this party!” Turns out her gay ex-boyfriend (apparently a lot of us have them) just so happens to be Joe – the best friend of Brian and with whom I was quite good friends in high school! Crazy. So, squeezing into the jeans that are a little too tight (but are cute) and the shoes that hurt a little too bad (but are cute), we – two stay-at-home-hot-mamas – ventured out to a brewery on Capital Hill to party with our gay ex-boyfriends. It was a most entertaining evening indeed….to be continued. (Ha! What a tease)!

Friday, October 19, 2007

There is something new and magical in my life that I have not even discussed yet. Wine. It’s wine. While I’m not new to drinking wine or even enjoying it, what’s new and magical in my life, is that I’ve decided that I deserve wine. And not just when we have friends over for dinner. I’ve decided that I deserve a glass of wine on weeknights. On say, a Wednesday night, when we’re having leftovers for dinner; I deserve a glass of wine. On Mondays, when Mike comes home late after his class and I’ve been on my own with the boys; I deserve a glass of wine. On Fridays after a teaching music classes in the morning and having a busy afternoon; I deserve a glass of wine. Maybe even on a Tuesday or Thursday, I…well, you get the point. No worries, I’m not turning into a complete wine-o; I’m just following Oprah’s rules and helping myself to extra antioxidants every now and then. (Extra – because I do receive antioxidants every morning in my dark chocolate dose with my cuppa coffee).
My dear friend from book club was the first one to introduce this idea and inspire me to aspire to more wine-drinking. I’m just trying to do her proud. Molly enjoys a glass nearly every night at 5pm. She’s told the humorous tale of, after a rough day with the kidlets, standing in the kitchen, drumming her fingers on the counter as the clock slowly inched on: 4:56…4:57…4:58…She had a conversation with her sister about this habit, admitting that she has a glass of wine at 5pm, every night. Molly’s sister responded with, “Oh! Just one? I have one while I’m making dinner and then one with dinner!” The sisters realize that they’re both doing exactly what their mom always does, and what Oprah recommends – can it really be that bad?!
So, as you can see, I’m already faced with the guilt. Can I really do that?! Can I really open a bottle of wine when we don’t have company over, and it’s not even the weekend?! And my main fear of all: if I plan on making this a nightly – well, a couple times a week, anyway – habit, does that mean that, in order to be semi-frugal about this, I need to start buying the box ‘o wine complete with spigot?
No, says Molly. Not at all. See, Molly – I love as a friend because (and not only because of this), before being a stay-at-home Mom, was a middle school math teacher! I never thought that I’d be friends with someone who chose to do Math for a living. (Then, again, I’m married to a double major in Computer Science and Applied Computational Mathematical Sciences – math for computer nerds, as I call it). So, when I raised the boxed wine question with Molly, she immediately came back with calculations in defense. (Man, I love it, when someone else does the math)! It was something to the effect of: OK, let’s say you buy six bottles at a time, so you get 10% off, and the bottles we’re buying aren’t the BEST there is out there, but still very drinkable, good wine, they’re about $5.99-$9/bottle. That works out to be about $1.40-$2.80 a glass. We are SO worth $1.40-$2.80 a night! That’s not even as much as many moms spend at Starbucks every day! Now that is my kind of math problem, and more importantly, math solution!
The epitome of this new wine habit occurred a couple of weeks ago when my good friend Rebecca came over for long play date. We’ll be watching their son, Joshua, for the weekend, while Jason and Rebecca present on an Engaged Encounter retreat. For that reason, Rebecca and I thought that we should do an afternoon play date, so Joshua could nap here and get a bit more comfortable. I had made a big pot of chili the night before they came over. So, for lunch, Rebecca and I enjoyed the leftovers and we thought – what the heck! Let’s have a glass of red on this cold, cozy afternoon. By 2pm, we decided that they should just stay for dinner since Jason was out of town on business and then Joshua could even have more time feeling at home, AND that way, we could just finish off the bottle. So, by 2pm on a cold and rainy Thursday afternoon, we’d had a couple of glasses of wine. It was the best play date ever!!!
And here’s a great example of while I WILL have a glass of wine tonight with our pizza dinner: within 45 minutes of Rebecca arriving (to bring Joshua for his weekend with us) Matthew had to poo, Zach jumped in the bath tub fully clothed, Zach slipped and fell on the bathroom floor, and Matthew threw up. The boys and I all woke up with colds today and now Zach is refusing to take a nap – he’s standing in his crib yelling, “Mamaaaaaaaaaaa, MAAAmAAA!”

Thursday, October 18, 2007

At preschool, I feel a bit like a voyeur, an observer, a fly on the wall. This may be the first situation that I’ve been in where, well, not many people know me. That’s right – I’m admitting that I’m not the center of attention, AND that I’m FINE with that. (Mom, Dad – are you OK? Are you sitting down?).
The format of preschool is you arrive a couple minutes before class starts, drop your kid and go. Then at the end of the school day, they’ve requested that you not return until five minutes before they’re done (there isn’t that much room in the hall for parents to wait, and it would be too much of a distraction for the kids if we were all loitering around. This is very different from the format of Matthew’s Almost Three’s class, last year, at the community center. There was not only room to sit and loiter and socialize, but the entire classroom had windows and it was no rare sight to see parents, faces pressed to the glass, watching their little kiddo, the apple of their eye.
So, as I said, for numerous reasons of the parents at preschool right now, only a handful knows me, and I – them. I’m actually really enjoying this new sensation of anonymity. Now, don’t get me wrong, I do have friends – two, actually. Two dads – they’re my homeboys. I LOVE dads; because with dads there is NO drama. Every day it’s just, “hey, how are you? I heard Conner was home sick yesterday…” You NEVER have to have all the mandatory mommy-talk: “So, where will you be having Joey’s birthday party? Oh, there?! Well, we looked into it but it was just way too small for our plans, that and our caterer doesn’t like to serve there….Where did you buy that outfit? TOO cute!” Oh, and don’t forget the are-you-a-good-enough-stay-at-home-Mom stuff, “No, sorry. We can’t do a play date on Thursday; Joey has a private piano lesson, followed by soccer practice. Oh, and Thursdays are when we always spend an hour drilling with flashcards. He’s only four, but the SAT’s are right around the corner. If he wants to go to YALE, like daddy, we better get studying!” Heaven forbid id your child is at a “normal” level upon entering kindergarden – or even Pre-K 2.
No, with the dads there’s no drama, no pretending that you’re super mom, no talking recipes or where to shop and there are no cliques. The dads are just happy that someone is talking to them. They stay at home all day with their children, doing the things that the stay-at-home moms do but without the (necessary) benefit of daytime empathy and companionship. I don’t imagine that the dads get invited to many play dates or lunches with other moms to vent about the frustrations of childrearing. It’d just be a little awkward. So, these poor guys are just home – all day, every day with their kids.
I’ve befriended these two dads for two reasons: 1.) they’re very nice and based on the attention-starved looks in their eyes they could use a friend – or at least another parent who will talk to them. 2.) There is NO drama! (LOVE this). What you get is what you get; no strings attached. No tricky social ladder to climb. The dads and I just hang comfortably on our bottom rung.
As I said, because of these reasons, I haven’t met that many other moms and I don’t plan on exhausting myself trying to break into the preschool mommy cliques. I had a moment at the field trip that completely reassured me that I shouldn’t bother wasting my time. On our John Deere-pulled tram, we ended up sitting between two moms who have kids in the 4/5yr. old class. Most likely, this is the second year; these women have had kids in the same class, so it’s normal that they’d be friendly with one another. Since I was sitting between them, I initiated conversation – first with one (and that failed), so then with the other (mmm, strike two). After a few moments, we all gave up, so they proceeded to talk over me and around me – literally over my head or leaning forward practically across my lap to discuss, “did you hear what so and so did?” and “can you believe she dressed her daughter in THAT today?!” etc. After the tram, we went through the hay maze with Conner and Lydia’s dad and ate snack with Mason’s dad (and mom – who took the day off for the field trip). No who-wore-what or can-you-believe-its. Just chillin’.
I’m probably not helping my preschool social life by making enemies, but I can’t help it. There’s a mom from upstairs (the older kids’ class) who I totally and thoroughly judge. She shows up every morning in skimpy tank tops with bright colored bras sticking out, low slung jeans so that the big tattoo on her lower back is prominently displayed, and it’s not her clothes that I have a problem with. She parks – EVERY DAY – in the spot closest to the door which, yes, is a handicap parking spot! If that closest spot is taken, then she just places her white minivan in the other one. I understand that she has at least two kids to shuttle around – one in an infant car seat – but we’re all lugging little people around, so let’s just be fair about this. Equal luggage, I say!!
I’ll admit that there was a time – pre-kids – when I would go out of my way to use the handicap stall in the restroom. They’re nice and roomy, often cleaner as they’re at the end of the row. I learned my lesson when, one time after taking my sweet time, I exited the handicap stall to see a woman in a wheelchair waiting patiently for her turn. ALL OF THE OTHER STALLS WERE EMPTY and yet I HAD to be in the roomy, handicap stall. Never again – if I can help it – do I take advantage of handicap-provided spaces, services, etc. I have since become a bit of a self-proclaimed advocate for the handicapped. I tell them at Blockbuster, look guys, if my double-jogger can’t get through the aisles – while I realize it’s a monstrosity and huge – it’d be hard for a wheelchair to fit through. And until you have kids in strollers, I don’t think you really realize just how not-handicapped-friendly our streets, sidewalks, restrooms and stores are.
So, back to tank top lady. I’ve given her the benefit of the doubt. Maybe she circles the parking lot and makes sure there are NO other spots available, so she just grabs it, runs in, drops her kids and go. No. Of course not. No. Her white van is, without fail, in that handicapped spot – even if the rest of the parking lot is still fairly vacant. When I get into the school, there she is – tank top, bright bra, baby carrier on the hip – chatting it up and taking her time visiting with the other members of Mom Mafia. I’d had enough when I saw at least two cars in the lot with handicapped stickers that weren’t able to park in the handicap spots, and I know that there are at least three grandparents that bring their grandkids to school and, I’m sure, would appreciate a closer spot.
Being in the not-really-caring-about-making-mommy-friends mood that I’m in, I approached one of the moms who I know is queen bee of the preschool board. (She also, happened to be, one of the moms talking over me on the pumpkin patch tram). The best part is that I got to be the tattle-tale but wouldn’t have to be the one to scold Tank Top Mom. For once, I don’t have to be the bad guy (well, not really). So, I explained to Preschool Board Mom in general terms that there was a parent parking in the handicap spot every day. I said – it’s a white minivan. Her eyes got big like, Oh my gosh, SHE’S the one I have to talk to?! She nodded slowly, admitting defeat, “Yeah, I know who that is. OK, thanks for telling me.” I smiled, “No problem. Good luck with that.” Better her than me. Her social life isn’t suffering any.
I don’t care that much that the moms don’t know me (or adore me – which, let’s admit, is what I’m used to), but I wouldn’t want Matthew’s social life to suffer because of my behavior, “Oh. It’s you. YOU’RE the kid with the tattle-tale mommy. My legs are sore now, thanks to her. We have to walk fifteen extra feet through the parking lot to get to school. Sorry, you can’t play with us and the worker trucks at recess today.” It’s all fine until sharing of the working trucks is affected. We just can’t have that.

Monday, October 15, 2007

You can judge what kind of a week I’ve had based on my blogging habits – or lack thereof. BUSY (I’m working on the house painting project again – doors, trim, hallway)…and CRAZY. So, let me summarize. (Granted a Jenny Summary is never a super brief thing).

Home Sweet Home
The boys were still up when we got home from the airport a week ago. They were, as should be expected, very happy to see us (thankfully, they still remembered who we were and didn’t seem to hold our parent negligence against us too much…initially) and we were, them. Within less than 24 hours though, I was wishing I could get back on a plane. Again, please feel free to judge me, because I thoroughly do.

Matthew decided to deal with his abandonment issues as most any normal four year-old child would – he got even with his behavior. (That’s right. I’m going to make you suffer by being SO bad and crazy that you’ll WISH you could go back to Dallas and therefore you’ll have so much guilt for thinking that, that you’ll….suffer…from the guilt…of thinking that..). Yeah, behavior has been pretty crazy this week. And I’m not talking just about Matthew’s

Zoloft Sweet Zoloft
Several weeks ago now I took my last Zoloft (that I’d been on for a little over a year to ward off the Post Partum Depression Demons that had inhabited my body since shortly after the birth of Zachary). I tapered off the drug VERY slowly and gradually because I was afraid of what the weaning/withdrawal would be like. I had every reason to be afraid – very afraid. I’ve been SCARY and SPOOKY….how fitting for this Halloween season. (“What are you going to be for Halloween this year?” “Oh, thanks so much for asking. I’m going to be a Psycho-Zoloft-Withdrawals-Crazy-Mama. Grim Reaper, Hockey Mask Chainsaw-Murderer, Gory and Blood-Oozing Serial Killer? They ain’t got nothin’ on me. Look out. Stay away. Stay far, far away.

I’m dizzy, I’m light-headed, I’m spacey (at least I have an excuse now), I’m nauseous, and worst of all I’m EVIL. It’s pretty much like PPD all over again. Why, WHY would they make a drug that you take to fix a problem and yet only CAUSES the problem when you finish it? It makes you want to go right back on the juice. I’ve been reassured that this is a temporary situation that usually lasts between one and two weeks. When I called the doctor to see what, if anything, could be done and how long we would all need to suffer and could I maybe be locked away during this process, I was told, “well, if it gets really bad, we can always just put you back on Zoloft.” Yes, so keep me on the happy pill FOREVER ‘cuz I’ll be way too frightened to ever come off again because I’d just have to go through this again. No thank you, I’ll just suffer through now and get this over with (as will the entire Martin clan).

I’m all jokey-jokey about it here and now, but calling this incredibly difficult and frustrating, is a huge understatement. It’s heart-breaking when your sweet four year-old is pleading with you, “Mommy, please don’t be sad. Mommy it makes me sad when you’re sad. May you please not be sad?” He’s even polite about it! “I know; we’ll go play Legos and then you don’t have to be sad anymore, K? Right? Then you won’t be sad? Please may you not cry anymore?” And unfortunately, there’s nothing – nothing – that I can do to ‘snap out of it’. It’s completely out of my control; I can’t just NOT be sad. I have no real reason to be sad, and yet my brain tells me otherwise. It says, “Be sad, be totally and completely without hope (kind of like how the Dementors in Harry Potter make their victims feel)…oh, and while you’re at it, be completely irrational and moody and have a temper that can snap like nobody’s business, for no reason.” So, without meaning to, I’m sad, I’m irrational, I feel lost. I don’t feel like me. I feel like I’m back in that deep, dark depression place that I never wanted to be in ever again; and there’s nothing I can do about it. But wait. Wait. They say it’ll get better. So we wait.

Big sigh. Moving on to some of the other things that popped up in the midst of the crappy of this week.

Yes, I’m one of those
Turns out that I’m one of those obnoxious Moms. Following my orders (from PPD Pal, Patricia), I had to get out of the house with the boys as much as possible – she said that was the only thing that helped her get through the post-Zoloft adjustment phase. So, on Friday after my music classes, we went to McDonald’s for lunch. We had just sat down with our food when a McDonald’s employee approached and inquired as to whether or not I drove a red Honda CRV. “Why, yes I do. Thank you for asking.” Right. They needed me to move my car as the big McD’s delivery truck had arrived and needed to unload tons of fat and oily and greasy food products. “Hmm, no, sorry,” was what I pretty much said. I explained that we had JUST sat down and that I’d have to put my boys into their car seats to move the car or I’d have to leave them in the McD’s unattended to go move my car. I put my foot down. Neither of those things would happen. “Was there a No Parking sign where I parked? Or a truck unloading sign? Because I took the one open spot in the middle of a fully packed row of parked cars….so I certainly wouldn’t have parked there had I known…” Yeah, I wasn’t going to budge. You don’t mess with me on my ppd, non-Zoloft weeks.

In the end, I did have to run out and move the car. I asked an employee if he wanted a stint as a Valet driver and did he want to move my car ‘cuz well, as it turns out, I do care about my children more than the car (besides I figured he wouldn’t take off with my car since we knew who he was…and where he workd). After much discussion, it was determined that one of the McD employees (a father of two, himself, I was informed) stood watch over my children (who were still sitting eating and Zach was strapped into a high chair, so I knew he wouldn’t run away). But what would you have done? Do you judge me for abandoning them in a restaurant with total strangers for 30 seconds? I even played all of the worst case scenarios out in my head: “OK, if someone tries to steal my offspring – based on behavior this week (mine and theirs) – I might let them because maybe they’d be a more fit parent than I. No. I would see them exiting out of one of the doors that I’d be very close too, and I would be able to use my super ppd, Zoloft-withdrawal violence to Kung-Fu chop them down, snag my kidlets and get the heck outta there.” They’d be fine. They were fine. They were still there, happily munching away on McNuggets unaware that I’d even left.

Apparently I was on such a mission not to let anything detract from my McDonald’s dining experience, that I kicked an entire huge pack of unruly young teenage boys off of the McD’s playland equipment. They were too big to be on there (requirement is four feet and under) and they were freaking out the little kiddos. My boys stood frozen just watching the big hooligans rip around. Yes, I’m an old fart, a fuddy-duddy, a stick-in-the-mud, a party pooper. You name it; I’ll admit to being it. My threats of getting the manager to escort them out worked, and they managed to leave with my lame, scary mom threats trailing after them.

John Deeres make things better
When all else fails, John Deeres do provide some cheering up; especially to Matthew. This past Wednesday, we successfully attended Matthew’s first ‘real’ field trip (like leave the property, go far, far away field trip). We went to a pumpkin patch way down in Orting, WA – about a 45 minute drive from our house. Matthew was ready to roll in John Deere hat, construction worker rain coat, and “army man” camouflage rain boots – this kid is ALL boy. The first thing we saw when we pulled in was a HUGE John Deere tractor on display complete with pumpkin head scarecrow in the driver’s seat. Next to the John Deere was a 975 pound pumpkin on display. I informed Matthew that no, sorry, that would not be the one that we took home with us. When we saw Matthew’s preschool teacher, she said, “Matthew! Are you so excited for the pumpkins?” He replied with a confident, “No! I’m excited for the John Deeres!!”

Of course, our trip to the pumpkin patch wouldn’t be complete without pouring down rain. So, all the raincoat clad kids and parents were huddled under a tarp while we sat and listened to a woman talk in a really bad, fake Southern Drawl about how the ‘old days’ were – covered wagons, cooking food on fires, etc. The kids sat there, heads down to keep out the cold, eyes glazed over, not listening to a word that Old Fashioned Lady had to say. She attempted to lead the crowd in the most unmelodic, lack-luster rendition of ‘Old McDonald had a Farm’ that I’ve ever heard. But then, OH, but THEN, she announced that we would go on a covered wagon ride – but a little different than the kind they rode in the old days – and on perfect cue three – THREE – huge tractors pulled up towing long cow-themed-painted wagon/car/tram-type thingies. The first tractor that drove by was red. This was exciting, sure, sure. Matthew sat up to get a better view. But then the next two tractors to appear were – you guessed it – great big, beautiful green John Deeres. Matthew shot straight up off of his hay bale seat and exclaimed, “John Deeres, Mommy! John Deeres!” And wouldn’t you know, that being in the emotional state that I was in, I had to blink hard to not let my tearing up be noticed by anyone. (I could’ve blamed it on the rain, I suppose). He was so ecstatic, it was like Christmas morning; I’ve got a knot in my throat just thinking about it.

We managed to push into the line for one of the John Deere-pulled trams (again, I was not about to let anyone rain on our John Deere parade – yes puns intended as it WAS raining AND a John Deere parade). We rode around the huge corn maze and by the pumpkin fields, passed by the pumpkin-catapulting field (complete with hundreds of small smashed and squashed pumpkins), and eventually came to the small area where pumpkins were neatly lined up in rows, ready for the taking. We stopped to see the goats and miniature horses in the fenced pasture and picked out the two best pumpkins available. (Zachary got one too). After putting the pumpkins in the car, we went through the hay maze in the barn and then had hot apple cider. It doesn’t get any more Harvest-y perfect than that.

On Saturday, we had another fun-filled day. We ended the night at our friends’ Fourth Annual Pumpkin Carving Extravaganza. Mike chose not to stay for the carving process (he would’ve stomped the competition AGAIN), plus we decided that being near all the knives and sharp carving implements was maybe not the best idea for our children. Before the carving extravaganza, we had dinner with some friends from Engaged Encounter. Their kids are 4 and 2 and the boys LOVE them. Matthew walked out into the backyard and stopped dead in his tracks before sprinting off their deck faster than I’ve ever seen that kid move – they had a toy riding John Deere, the kind that every John Deere-loving kid DREAMS of having. He was in HEAVEN. Amy (mother of Tyler and Amanda) had been on backyard duty (making sure no child got seriously harmed or mutilated in any major way) when she came in laughing. She said that Matthew was playing with the John Deere and had said, “This John Deere is mighty perfection.”

Matthew has reached the age of questions. What’s and why’s and how’s fill our days, ALL the live-long day! He and I had been having a very deep conversation about how people are different (i.e. different hair color, sometimes skin color, sometimes people have to be in a wheel chair etc.), but that we’re all the same (i.e. no one is better than someone else because of their skin color, etc.). I had said to Matthew that there are people in the world who, for example, are light-skinned people, but think that people with dark skin are bad. I stressed that THIS is bad, that it’s bad for people to say that someone else is bad because their skin is a different color.

That night, when Mike was putting Matthew to bed Matthew told him, “Hey, Daddy. People with dark skin are bad.” “What????!” Mike said. Mathew casually responded, “Yeah, Mommy said that. That people with dark skin are bad.” Great. So great. Here I’m trying to teach my child all these great lessons in acceptance and to be a loving little being, and it’s going to come back and bite me in the butt. I can only imagine the things that Matthew will be telling his best little buddy, Mason, at school – Mason, who happens to be darker skinned and whose parents we hung out with at the pumpkin patch. I now live in fear of the moment, when Mrs. Mac asks me to stay after class. I’ll be SO busted, by the preschool teacher…for something that I’m SO not guilty of. That would NOT be mighty perfection.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

The wedding was beautiful. So, so beautiful. And SO exciting. Liane and Jeff shared their first kiss on the altar. (Mike and I easily admit that we were disappointed with the quickness of the event – it wasn’t even long enough to get a picture!). But we made sure that at the reception they shared numerous others – frequently initiating the obnoxious clinking of glasses and hitting-of-plates-with-forks that signifies the requirement for a bride and groom smooch. The first time our table started it, Liane looked over quizzically – the photographer had to bend over and explain, “You’re supposed to kiss.”

They are such a perfect couple – absolutely made from the same cookie-cutter – and they were so happy and humbled yesterday by the beauty of their special day and the love emanating from everyone present. I was so happy for them. I smiled ‘til my cheeks hurt, laughed and cried. (No worries: I came prepared with Kleenex and waterproof mascara. I’m quite a clean cryer. I do it well. Lots of practice).

I’m happy to report that my practice paid off (ridiculous amounts of practice, Mike would have you know) – I didn’t mess up on my reading at the wedding and MORE important and exciting – I didn’t fall on my face and moon everybody walking up to the mic in my high and oh-so pretty heels. Here’s a question: why must women suffer for beauty? When we got back to the hotel after the wedding last night, it was determined (by me) that I looked too darn good to check-in early for the night. We’ve got built-in babysitters for the weekend; we best make the most of it. So, I changed (dressed down a little) and put on my cute shoes #2 – a pair of slip-on, shiny silver high wedges. Why, oh why, must women suffer for beauty?! I even said to Mike on our walk up to the bar/bumpin’ night-spot that I’d decided that life is “too short to wear ugly – yet comfortable shoes. I don’t get to go out much,” I said, “so I might as well look smokin’ hot when I do.” Having cute, sexy shoes really helps with that whole goal of being the Ultimate Hotness. And thanks to both pairs of cute shoes #1 and #2, I’d achieved. I was THE Ultimate Hotness. About two minutes further down the street I said, “life is way too short to wear cute – yet completely uncomfortable shoes.” I had a blister the size of…Texas…appearing on the top side of my left foot where the cute, sassy shiny silver strap was rubbing my cute, sassy foot totally and thoroughly raw. Not so cute and sassy anymore, huh? Here I thought that cute shoes #2 (the silver shiny strappy wedges) would be more comfortable than the shoes I wore to the wedding – cute shoes #1 (a pair of sparkly and bedazzled bronze multi-strappied, oober-high heels). Cute shoes #1 rubbed my baby toes the wrong way, cute shoes #2 rubbed the top sides of my feet the wrong way. My feet now look as if I ran a marathon and suffered extensive damage. Mike gave me a piggy-back ride some of the way back to the hotel. But at least my toes are still pedicured nicely and thanks to last night’s damage I’m forced to wear my hopefully-more-comfortable but cute shoes #3 (periwinkle and black dressy flip-flops that sport a periwinkle flower on the top – between my big toe and 2nd toe). We won’t be walking that much today – we have to wait for a couple hours for our airport shuttle bus, then we’ll sit at the airport for a couple hours, then we’ll sit on the plane for several hours…what with all this sitting around, wearing cute shoes is practically a requirement.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

October 5, 2007

My dreams are coming true. It’s 5:35 in the morning, I only got about four hours of sleep last night, but I don’t care. I’m at the airport – sitting in a fairly comfortable leather chair, looking out the window at the pitch black sky beyond the runway. We flew through security – no strollers, no carseats, it was a dream – and now we have an hour until our flight to Dallas. I’ve got Kara plugged in and look oh-so important. I can just imagine people seeing me (“Wow, look at her – typing away on her laptop at 5:30 in the morning, she must be very important. She’s working…or maybe she’s an author. Wait! Isn’t that Jenny Martin…THE Jenny Martin?!”)

Traveling without kids is like…it’s like a date! We’re having a weekend-long date. I even carefully planned my outfit for today (well, of course I planned my clothes for Liane’s rehearsal and dinner tonight, but I mean my butt-crack-o-dawn flight outfit). I’m Casual-and-Comfy-Yet-Cute Sporty Spice for my day of travel. And so far, my date has been a perfect gentleman. He lugged the heavy suitcase, carried the carry-on laptop bag and he’s currently on a coffee run – hunting down one of the 250+ Starbucks at SeaTac airport. (OK, maybe not that many, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the number were way up there).

I do worry (very selfishly, I know) that on the plane we’ll end up sitting next to a single mother traveling alone with her two toddlers and colicky infant. I, of course, will feel her pain and will spend the entire flight walking a cranky wee one up and down the airplane aisle. But there’s something to it not being your own kid.

I will definitely miss my kiddos. Wouldn’t you know that yesterday, as we spent the day at home playing, doing laundry and packing, my boys were excessively cute (mixed with moments of seriously not-so-cute crankiness)? They were the right balance of I’ll make it so you CAN’T wait to leave but then you’ll feel SO GUILTY that you left us and that you couldn’t wait to leave us that you’ll have a ridiculously hard time checking the guilt at the gate. But darn it! I’m determined to gate check-it. What dedicated parental unit wouldn’t enjoy two weekends away from their offspring?...ahh, my coffee and date has arrived! Wait, I better not rest my Latte on Kara – the last thing I need is a coffee-in-keyboard laptop. Oh wait, I already have that.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Matthew is giving the art of guilt-tripping his absolute all. 100% effort. No sign of weakness. It’s currently “Quiet Time” in the Martin household. Quiet Time ideally means that it’s quiet…time. Zach is napping and Matthew should be having some quality time with Green Bear in his room, playing with Legos, listening to an audio book or looking at books. But no. Instead, recently, Matthew has declared that he no longer wants to do Quiet Time in his room – he wants his Legos out in the living room. This isn’t – and shouldn’t be – a huge deal…but then Quiet Time turns into “Lay it on Thick” Time.

I was trying to work on my book a bit ago (since this is the only time during the day – unless I get up early) that I can do so. But I couldn’t really concentrate when all I could focus on was the steady stream of whining. It started like this: “Mommmmmmy. I NEEEEED you to come PLAAAAAYYYY with me…I get very tired when you don’t play with me.” Then it turned into this: “Mommy. I LOVE you. I need you to play with me because I love you SOOOOOOOOOOoooooo much…Don’t you want to play with me? Why don’t you want to play with me? You’re a fun Mommy and I want you to play with me.” See the change of tactic there? He figured his odds for my caving were much better should he go the guilt-trip, butter-me-up route. Hahaha! How he underestimates my will of steel – my complete and total dedication to MY Quiet Time. (He finally gave up and went to play Legos in his room).

Now, if that isn’t enough for you to judge me – (What kind of mother wouldn’t cave under those loving pleas?) – I will now provide with some more proof as to why Mike and I deserve the “Deliquent Parents of the Year” award. We abandoned the boys this past weekend – they were in good, loving and capable hands – but we totally ditched them. We went to Eastern Washington for an Engaged Encounter hootenanny. Well, technically it’s the Unit 3 Board Meeting but the board meetings are WAY too much fun to call them meetings.

We got put up in a house of another EE couple – pretty much a mansion where we had our own Master Suite (the house had two!) complete with ginormous bathroom with soaking tub. We spent Saturday evening doing a ‘blind’ wine tasting. (Everyone brought wine from their region – Washington, Idaho, Oregon, but it turns out Montana doesn’t have wine or there would’ve been some). All the bottles were placed in brown paper bags (classy, huh?) and numbered. So, we just drank away trying to pick our favorites and guess what they were. Then on Sunday before we came home, Mike and I stopped at a vineyard and did some more wine tasting. Mike drove. I drank. We left with two beautiful wine glasses and a few bottles – one for us, one for my parents and one for our friends who hosted Matthew for his first ever sleepover on Saturday night.

[Ahh, beautiful segue, which I still think should be spelled “segway”…] SO, Matthew went on his first ever sleepover! That’s right – four years old and the kid is doing slumber parties! Matthew (and Zach) spent Friday night at my parents’ house and then Saturday, Matthew got to go to his best pal, Jack’s birthday party and then spend the night. We met Jack’s parents, Megan and Kelly, in childbirth class, so the boys have literally known each other since before Day One. And Matthew LOVES Jack and anyone slightly related to him. Megan reported that Matthew is officially a Sleepover SuperStar. The best story of the night happened around bed time.

The boys were getting all tucked in and settled to sleep when Matthew said that he didn’t want to have bad dreams. Megan assured him that they chase all of the bad dreams out of their house, so there was no need to worry. Matthew thought about that and replied, “But my bad dreams are in my eyes, so when I close my eyes they’re there.” Without skipping a beat, Megan blew into Matthew’s eyes and said, “There! I just blew away all the bad dreams. You’re good to go.” Matthew thought that was hilarious! (When I heard that I thought that’s just another reason why I need to take parenting lessons from Megan). Then, Megan suggested that the boys – though they had to stay in their own beds – could talk a little bit about the good things that they wanted to dream about. With that, she left the room….only to return a few minutes later when she heard nothing but hysterical laughing coming from Jack’s bedroom.

“What’s so funny?” she asked.

Matthew, who was busting a gut laughing, managed to squeak out, “We’re going to dream that Jack and I are at the beach….giggle giggle….and that we sit down in the sand….haha…and TOOT IN THE SAND!” And with that the boys both collapsed into gales of laughter again. Needless-to-say, they had a great time…and Matthew was in bed for a nap by noon.

So, the reason why you need to thoroughly judge us (because I do) is we’re leaving our children behind AGAIN THIS weekend. We fly out of SeaTac at the butt crack ‘o dawn on Friday morning for Dallas to go to Liane’s wedding. Liane is my best friend from college, Freshmen year roommate, one of my bridesmaids and fellow Marathoner…she’s gotta be a good friend to listen to me talk for five hours of running. I ADORE HER. And I ADORE her man – Jeff. As much as Mike and I are absolute opposites-attract-types she and Jeff are exact carbon-copy-types. Jeff is pretty much the boy version of Liane. They are so stinkin’ cute together and will go forth and make the most stinkin’ cute little Korean-American babies that you ever did see. And….drumroll please….they haven’t even kissed!!! They’re saving their first kiss for the altar. Now, that’s a lot of pressure. I mean, when they’ve waited that long to kiss, what’s the likelihood that they’ll actually pull apart and come up for air anytime soon? I’m thinking it’ll be a long wedding.

And since I’m the first to admit that I completely judge us and our parental dedication (or lack thereof) for ditching the boys two weekends in a row, I will also be the first to offer the following confession: I am SO excited to travel without children. I’m excited to sit on a plane for five hours with my book and my laptop. I’m excited should we get delayed at an airport! I’m excited to not have to travel with car seats and oodles of baby gear – heck! We aren’t even going to rent a car! And I’m super excited that it’s 90 degrees in Dallas right now! (It’s currently cold and windy and rainy in Seattle…welcome to October in the northwest)!

Alas, Quiet Time has come and gone. The boys are here eating Goldfish crackers and whining…and asking questions…and begging for more food…and dropping food on the floor. I AM going to miss them this weekend – maybe not the whining part – but I will miss them. I mean it.