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Friday, August 31, 2007 New pictures: Disneyland, John Deere cucumber craftiness and more!
Job security. That’s the only reason I can come up with that they would have an entire row of open boxes of DONUTS at the gym. Thank you, 24 Hour Fitness, for congratulating us on finally making it into the gym and exercising. Thank you for treating us with PURE FATTY SUGAR! Cruel. Just cruel. The boys though, who had been playing in the Kids’ Club, were pretty happy to stumble upon the donut buffet.

Zachary has LOVED the Kids’ Club. It’s been months since I took the boys with me to the gym. Zach had been going through the whole separation anxiety thing, so I usually got pulled out of Spin Class to attend to my poor, suffering, tortured child. And because Zach was so upset, it upset Matthew. I decided recently that it was time to try again.

Zach took one look at the place and was like, “Woo hoo! What IS this place? This is awesome!” and took off running to see all the toys. Matthew, on the other hand, scarred by the last traumatic visits to the gym, does not easily forget. HE was totally upset to be there. He cried the whole way and then barricaded the Kids’ Club door so as not to let me in. (Yes, not at all awkward as I realize that everyone on the treadmills and stair climbers are watching me pry my sobbing child off the door frame just so I can quickly deposit him into the last place on Earth he wants to be). It was reported to me by a fellow mom that after I left, he cried for about a minute, rubbed his face and trotted off to inspect the truck supply (they have a decent collection, I might add). I don’t care if she was lying…it helped with my severe mommy-guilt.

Yesterday at the gym, as I checked the boys in, I saw that there was an 18 month old girl who had signed in just before us. Her name was Orphelia Martin. (Orphelia?! That’s not one you hear every day. I actually really like it though. But Martin – now there’s a name I could live with). Anyway, as soon as Zach was released into the wild of Kids’ Club kingdom, he went straight up to a little lady about his size. (Turns out it was Ms. Orphelia). The two tykes immediately started playing “house.” (Opening and closing the different parts of the play kitchen).

Orphelia looked over at me and shyly smiled. One of the childcare attendants said, “Wow! She rarely smiles. She’s the sweetest thing but really pretty quiet and serious. Her Mom speaks French.” (Hmmm…is this supposed to explain why the child has a more serious disposition?)

“Oh, that’s funny! I speak French too…and we have the same last name.” (Do I always sound like this much of a genius?!).

“No way!” she said. “Then they [Orphelia and Zachary] speak the same language. They can totally talk to each other!” Speak the same language?! Zach is 16 months old!! I’m not even sure if he speaks English. Well, he says the important things: hi, wow, uh-oh, all-doh (all done), ow, MaMa, DaDa and MAAAAAAAAAAAA (for Matthew).

Anyway, it is ironic that just in the last week or so I began speaking French a lot more. I really should be doing it more with the boys, and I need to keep up with it. So, I’ve decided that I’ll speak some chaque jour. Usually, when I speak French, Matthew will yell, “STOP TALKING FRENCH AT ME!!” Now he just responds to my French with a flowing-sounding, “blahblahblah, blowbleeblahbluuu, blahblahh.”

Zachary, with the help of baby sign language, too, is picking it up really quickly. Now, if I say, “Tu veux manger quelque chose?” He’ll trot right over to his high chair ready to mange (eat). And if I ask “Fini?” He’ll sign “all done.”

In the last week, that I started speaking French everyday, there have suddenly been native Francophones coming out of the wood-work! (And yes, Francophone is, actually, the real word for it. I can’t take credit for that one). We got a phone call from a woman at my therapist’s office. Her name was Veronique and by the hint of her accent, I immediately knew she was one of them. So what did I do? I spontaneously continued our conversation in French. What did she do? She continued on in English and didn’t acknowledge my Frenchly attempts.

Later that same day, up at our little neighborhood park, there was a woman speaking French to two children. So, again, I jumped at the chance and quickly started to parler with her. She was fantastic – very complimentary of my accent – and didn’t make any attempt to slow down her French or speak in English to me. It was great!

Last week, we saw Matthew’s buddy, Maxime who goes to the French Immersion School. They just got back from spending all summer in France visiting Maxime’s dad’s family. So, Maxime is completely in French mode and can’t shake it. It was so fun speaking French with a four-year-old! Patricia was telling us that when they were in France, if there was a word that Maxime didn’t know, he’d simply say it with an accent. Par example, he was telling people about his race car bed back at home, so he said, “J’ai un lit de…rrrrrace carrrrr.” (Complete with guttural French r’s).

Later, Maxime rattling on in French was being helped by Cathy (not at all a Francophone) with putting on his shoes. He’s going on and on en francais about his new Spiderman back-pack. Cathy tried explaining to him that she doesn’t speak French. So, he should speak English to most people and save the French for at home and at school. Maxime looked at Cathy for a moment and taking a big breath replied, “Oui, mais regarde mon nouveau sac-a-dos…” Cathy sighed and shook her head.

A few minutes later, I hear Cathy from the other room say, “English, par favor!”

So, back to yesterday, and our newest little French friend. When I went to pick up the boys from the Kids’ Club, the ladies were all excited to tell me about Zachary and Orphelia.

“They spent the whole time playing together…they didn’t leave each other’s side. After a while they walked around holding hands. And when Orphelia’s mom came to pick her up, Zach stood at the door, resting his head on the gate and kept waving to her. He looked so sad!”

“Hmmm…if they get married, she wouldn’t even have to change her last name!” (And I’d get to speak French even more, I thought). I’ve got it all figured out.

I’ve had plenty of time to practice my French (out loud to myself) while painting. We got the entire entryway painted. I have some more doors down now that I’m working on and am starting in on some of the doorways and trim. I’d like to get the entry way completely finished before music class starts back up in a couple of weeks. And, starting next week, life will be even busier. I’ll be watching a little boy from up the street (Nick, 2 ½ years old, very sweet, was in my music class for a while) just for the month of September. It works out to only being a 3 day week, a 4 day week and two 5 day weeks, but about 9 hours a day of having three boys ripping around to watch! I’ve got music class to get ready for and Matthew starts preschool next week, so things are getting busy!

I can’t wait to be done with this house painting project, so I can have more free time for writing. Even though I’ve been staying up late to paint, I’ve, for the most part, been managing to get up early to run or get to the gym, but I haven’t been able to write much. I’m looking forward to getting back to my book (mid-grade chapter book)….I have about 40 pages and I love it! (It’s pretty darn good, if I do say so, myself).

With three boys ripping around here for a month, I’ll have all sorts of blog material and yet no time to blog!

We’re having one last hurrah today before life gets even crazier. We have a babysitter coming to stay with Zach, and Mike and I are taking Matthew to see Ratatouille. I’m thrilled, what with all this French, to see a film about a Parisian rat! C’est trop parfait.

Breaking News: this JUST in. We interrupt this witty Blog conclusion, to inform you that a deer was JUST seen meandering through the backyard of the Martin’s. In the five years that the Martins have been in residence at 7337 127th PL, they have seen deer twice in the last two months in their yard. (Before that, wildlife consisted of squirrels, the occasional rabbit, a raccoon – once, and three random and horny ducks). This concludes our breaking news report.
[I wrote this on Aug. 25th and forgot to post it on-line!]

It’s a little scary just how brilliant these children are. Yesterday, I casually mentioned to Matthew, “Hmm, this room is a mess; we should pick up your books.” Neither Matthew nor I immediately made a move. Zachary – who was on the other side of the room – came rushing over right away and started putting books up on the shelf. He’s not even 16 months old!! (OK, well, he will be in three days, but still…)

Later, I was taping off the hallway at the bottom of the stairs getting ready to paint. Zachary wandered over to inspect what I was doing. I realized that we hadn’t changed his diaper since he’d gotten up from nap a little while before, “Zach, we need to change your diaper,” I said continuing with my taping. A moment later, I heard Zach behind me. He was handing me the packet of baby wipes. He took me by the hand and walked me over to the little Elmo sofa on the floor where he proceeded to lie down and wait for me to change him. C’est incroyable!

Matthew, who we also know is a genius beyond all measure, has reached an interesting stage of boyhood. He’s come to the place where everything is a “good guy” or a “bad guy.” Despite the fact that he’s never watched anything violent – nothing with guns – in our home, every object can and will be turned into some sort of shooting, self-defense device.

Last night, we’d gone to the neighborhood park with some of our little neighbors – Sydney and Nick. Somehow it had fallen upon my shoulders that I was the “bad guy” who was chasing them. (I was actually thinking of the game more in terms of tag or ‘catch me if you can;’ but without failure I soon found myself being referred to as “bad guy mommy.”) At one point, I ran around the play structure and found myself face-to-face with Matthew holding still and ready in a position of attack. He let loose with his version of a common boy theme, the “you’re a bad guy, and I’m going to kill you” or “Die! Bad guy!” verbal attack that accompanies the spraying or shooting of said-bad guy.

Just before he sprayed me with his imaginary “fire hose,” Matthew yelled, “You’re a bad guy and I’m going to get you to heaven!” If this is the most vicious thing that Matthew can come up with when fighting off a bad guy, I’ll take it.

* * * * *

Bob and Therese Buckley – my parental units, my kin, my folks, the spring from which I offed – are celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary tomorrow. FORTY YEARS!!! That’s a LONG time. Over the years, there were some sad times – particularly the years of “BJ” – Before Jenny – that they so fondly refer to wistfully. What, did they do for the first 13 years of marriage before my blessed arrival into their lives? I’m fairly certain that they sat on a retro, plaid sofa somewhere and twiddled their thumbs. So, while I can’t reflect on all of their forty years of marriage, I can reflect on the 27 years of which I’ve played a crucial role. I came up with a list forty things about my parents. They included everything from, having the ability to fix anything with duct tape, to sleeping on the floor in an empty condo with three chicken-pox riddled children (that's one heck of a story!), showing up on our wedding night at the ER still in their tux and mother-of-the-bride dress, making one heck of a Bourbon Slush, becoming President and First Lady (of their Condo Board), making all sorts of crafty, home-made costumes (the kind my kids will never have, once Grandma kicks the can), and they've watched "A Christmas Story" and lit their "electric sex" leg lamp in the front window for many, many years.....these are just a sampling of the many characteristics that make my parents so amazing.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What was I thinking?! How on Earth did I manage not to realize that if it all happened at once, suddenly my life would loose so very much of its’ meaning? On the same day that I had my last ever therapy session (well, at least last insurance-covered session for 2007), I had to also sadly say adieu to So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD) – only, possibly THE BEST reality TV show of all time which has become my best friend come Wednesday and Thursday evenings. So, my show and my therapy come crashing to an end on the same day. Then, while still reeling from the loss of those two vital aspects of my existence, an even worse reality comes to fruition. We finished Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Book 7. The end of the series. The end of an era. How, I ask you, how will I get through this?

Mike and I have read all of the Harry Potter books out loud together. We’ve read them since we were dating. We read one of the books driving to Spokane to stay with Mike’s family at the lake house. We read another one the night that we got stuck on Snoqualimie Pass in the snow storm. We had to pee in the woods next to the highway and slept in the car until 4am – reading the book outloud to keep our minds off how cold we were. We finished book 4 the week after our wedding, when we were supposed to be on our Honeymoon but instead were lying low due to Mike’s cancer. We read book 5, the summer that I was pregnant with Matthew. Mike read the entire book out loud – we finished it in a week. I didn’t read much because in-utero Matthew was pushing on my lungs and diaphragm so much I couldn’t get a deep breath. Mike read book 6 to me in the evenings while I painted the family room downstairs. And just two nights ago, we finished the series. Mike read while I painted doorframes and doors. He read and read and read. And then it was done. I don’t know how I’ll move on.

OK, but I’ll manage. I don’t have a choice – these boys keep me busy, keep my mind off of the lack of therapy, the lack of SYTYCD, the lack of Potter.

I discovered Zachary up to an interesting activity the other day. I’d left the room (the nerve! Using the restroom! What was I thinking?) and came back find that Zachary had climbed up on to the dining room table and was typing some additional comments into an email I’d been writing. I couldn’t help but keep his added note. I’m sure my friend Kate enjoyed hearing from him.

On Saturday, we went to dinner at our friends Jason and Rebecca’s house. Matthew and Joshua (2 ½) were happily playing downstairs. Rebecca had gone into the kitchen and wondered why she could hear them so well through the window. We figured it was because a window was open downstairs and their gleeful voices were carrying up to us. After a bit, I decided I better go check on them. When I got downstairs, Matthew and Joshua were no where to be found. The slider door to the backyard was open and as I approached, I could hear the hysterical laughter of the boys from outside. Matthew and Joshua had somehow managed to get the slider open – a really old, heavy LOCKED door that takes a VERY strong adult to open, mind you. They then proceeded to turn on the hose and were spraying each other and were head-to-toe completely drenched. Saturday was rainy, cold and overcast. When I came upon the boys and their activity, Matthew was happily squirting Joshua who was giggling through chattering teeth and lips that were turning blue with cold. I tried to keep my laughter hidden while Rebecca and I both firmly chastised the boys for their behavior. Matthew, who was practically holding the hose practically down his pants and with water running down his legs said, “But Joshua sprayed me. That’s how I got so wet.” Right.

Thankfully, Matthew and Joshua stayed indoors and dry today at Matthew’s (early) Birthday Play Date. For some reason, I’m in denial and just can’t admit that it really was a Birthday party. I had already scheduled our little play group to come over and figured – well, what the heck! We’ll just turn it into a little birthday play date celebration. We had five mommies, five little boys, two toddlers, and two infants. I suppose that was a party.

Matthew and I even decorated the dining room with pictures of John Deeres and Fire Trucks (the theme for this non-birthday party-birthday celebration play date). And somehow, I managed to channel my Inner Therese Buckley (mom!) and found myself with a moment of crafty. I, yes, me, jenny martin – queen of the anticrafties – carved cucumbers and yellow peppers into little John Deere tractors. I made tractors out of vegetables!! Me!!

Maybe vegetable art can be my new therapy.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Matthew just groggily stumbled out to the dining room (where I’ve been working on my laptop, Kara – as named by the almost-four-year-old). He sleepily informed me, “I had a bad dream, Mommy.”

“Oh no,” I said, wrapping my arms around him. “What was it about?”

“The monster was using his Number gun to shoot the ABC bug.”

“Wow,” I replied (trying not to smile), “that sounds pretty scary.” But how happy am I? I thought. With preschool starting back up in a couple of weeks, it’s pretty great that his bad dreams are at least educational.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Today is my last therapy session. I’m pretty bummed about it. So sad, in fact, that I might need some therapy to cope. It has been such an amazing experience – one that everyone should experience at some point in her life. I’m a little disappointed that Louise had it so easy though. I really wanted to experience an appointment where she really had to ask me questions to get me talking. (I suppose, the fact that I never ran out of material to discuss, is no big shocker). It’s been pretty great having such a guilt-free one-sided relationship. There have been times where I thought, hmm, I should probably ask about her – see how she’s doing and all. But then I thought, Nahhh. I’m paying to talk about me not her! Terrible, right? But oh-so satisfying.

I’m going to miss that hour where I sit on the green couch and take a break from my life – look at it from the outside for a bit and see what’s good, what’s not so good and what could use my energy. I feel so blessed to have had this opportunity. So, I guess, in a way, I’m thankful that I had to suffer through Post Partum Depression. While I’d never want to relive it, and it’s a darkness that I’d wish upon no one; it has forced quite the journey of self-discovery though. I also now can truly empathize with the many people I know who suffer from Depression. I think that they’re a misunderstood lot – sometimes considered as weak, making excuses or taking anti-Depressants to avoid coping with life on their own.

I’m currently weaning off of Zoloft – ahh, Zoloft, a friend and foe for this past year – but will continue on Wellbutrin for a bit. And I’m happy about that. I’ve made peace with being on the happy pills. And I’m happy that come January 1st, 2008, I’ve got 20 insurance covered therapy sessions coming my way, should I want it!

Yesterday, Matthew – who has become quite the argumentative, testing-our-limits, talking-back little boy – provided a moment of pure joy to me. I was saying that something had been a good choice (I don’t recall the specifics), and Matthew jumped up, ran over to Zachary and said, “Zachary’s a good choice!” He wrapped his arms around his little brother planted a big kiss on the top of Zach’s head and whispered, “I love you, Zachy.” That, my friends, is a dose of happy, right there.

Monday, August 13, 2007

August 13, 2007

We’re BACK! Actually we’ve been back from sunny So-Cal for a few days but have been busy battling colds. Yes, as always, we caught a bug on the plane. Mike was sick for most of the trip – though he pulled through – and the boys and I really came down with it towards the end. Despite the illness and the trip getting off to an interesting start; we had a great time.

So, yeah, the trip started out with a bang. We were up at 4am, got the boys out of their beds at 4:30 and headed to SeaTac. Upon checking in at 5ish for our 7am flight, we were informed, “Oh, by the way, your flight is cancelled. The pilot didn’t show. The next flight, direct to Ontario, CA is at 1pm.” Right. We debated on whether or not we should head home, but we’d already paid for the parking garage, taken the car seats out (installing Zach’s is a mega-pain), had all of our luggage, etc. So, we bit the bullet and spent 8 hours hanging out at SeaTac before even boarding our plane. And, believe it or not, it was the best airport experience of my life and so much fun!

We had to wait four hours before we could even check our luggage and get through security, so supplied with tons of food vouchers, we bought some goodies and coffee from the one open espresso stand and set up camp by the empty baggage claim. We had the place pretty much to ourselves and boy did we make the most of it! The boys would’ve been surfing the baggage belt if I’d let them (and we did think about it), but we spent most of our time riding the escalators up and down and sprinting across the empty sky bridge. Once we were able to check in, we had all of SeaTac at our finger tips. We bought (and ate) tons of food and found the coolest airport-themed, indoor playground for kids! It was great! By the way, the flight went well too, and Matthew thoroughly enjoyed chewing gum for the first time.

Our Engaged Encounter Convention was great. We went to workshops, the boys played in the daycare, we swam in the hotel pool, danced and drank and ate. Zach and I got up early on Sunday morning (and since Mike wasn’t feeling well and Matthew was still sleeping), we headed out for a run. The foothills surrounding Ontario were cloaked in a fog so thick I couldn’t make them out. Sadly, with my throat burning, I eventually realized that it was SMOG and not fog. Talking to friends at the Convention later, I found out that years ago, the smog was so bad that they used to cancel school due to health concerns. My friend’s mom would cover his face with a cold wet washcloth. When she removed it there would be a black circle on the cloth where he had been breathing. Crazy.

We spent Sunday afternoon at the big mall in Ontario, then drove to our new hotel near Disneyland, did laundry and swam in the pool. Monday morning we were up bright and early to catch the shuttle to Disneyland. We got through the main gate and headed straight to the new Finding Nemo submarine ride. The park had only been open for about fifteen minutes and there was already a TWO HOUR wait to ride the submarine. Mike and I took turns walking the boys around while the other slowly creeped up in line. By the time we made it on the ride, Zach was fast asleep in the backpack. Oh well, he wouldn’t have remember it anyway, though he would have loved all the fishies. Mike and Matthew shot “bad robot guys” (according to Matthew) on the Buzz Light Year Astroblasters ride. Then, we all went on the circus train ride, the boys and I went on the carousel, and we drove cars at Autotopia. We paid WAY too much for lunch. Rode the big schooner ship, then Matthew braved the Thunder Mountain Railroad rollercoaster with Mike. Matthew was only slightly traumatized (he didn’t like the dark tunnels). Then I got to do the ride before Mike and Matthew headed to Pirates of the Caribbean. (Where Matthew was traumatized by the shooting pirates). I went and did Space Mountain and the Matterhorn. We went on It’s a Small World – Zachary’s favorite (he couldn’t decide where to look, what to point at and whether he wanted to sit or stand). We also went in the Tiki Room (which we all loved…until the thunderstorm which Matthew didn’t like). We caught the parade – where Matthew was traumatized by the Ursula the Sea Witch float and where Zachary fell in love with one of the parade ladies (even blew her kisses). We met up with Mike’s dad, Jim and stepmom, Annelies for dinner back by our hotel. The boys (and I) fell into the dangerous zone of post-Happiest Place on Earth crankiness and attempted to get to bed a little early (which ended up being 10pm).

We slept in Tuesday morning and then set out to California Adventure. The boys and I rode the Under the Sea carousel while Mike rode the California Screamin’ roller coaster. He then joined us for the Bugs Life rides that the boys LOVED. Matthew loved driving the Bumper Bugs, the spinning ladybugs, the “silly hungry Caterpillar train” and Flik’s Flyers (where we flew inside a huge Chinese take-out box). Jim and Annelies joined us and the two of them, Matthew and I rode the Soarin’ over California ride. (You sit strapped in a seat that lifts up and moves like an airplane/glider in front of a huge movie screen showing views of California). Matthew loved it…until he was traumatized by the loud planes and the fireworks. After that, Mike, Jim and Annelies went on Tower of Terror (the highlight, for Mike) and the boys and I watched the 3-D Muppet Movie (which Matthew liked until the fireworks and loud explosions at the end). Do you sense a theme? Basically Matthew loved Disneyland except for…something…on every single ride! We watched a live stage show in which Mickey magically appeared at the end. Zach immediately started rushing the stage waving and yelling “hi…hi…hi” at Mickey. It was very cute.

That night, we had dinner with Jim and Annelies and got to meet her son Erik for the first time. Erik is a 19 year old surfer dude studying to be a nurse. He was SO nice and fun and the boys LOVED him. Wednesday morning, we went to their motel for breakfast and then we all went to Huntington Beach for the day where we got to watch Erik surf. I quizzed Erik on surfing and surf culture and decided that in another life I should be a surfer chick. I’d be one now except that I look frightening in a bikini; I get lobster red instead of golden tan, I don’t have sun-kissed highlighted blond hair (my hair gets bigger and bushier with sand and water); and I’m probably way too chicken to even try surfing. But despite my lack of California beachiness, we all had a blast at the beach (and yes, got a little sunburned). We had a quiet night at the hotel and packed up for the trip home.

The flight home was a little bit harder for Zach. He was SO done with sitting down, being strapped in or tethered to anything. Once we were able, he and I pretty much paced the aisle the whole flight. He was the Walmart greeter of Flight 435, waving, saying hi, giving high-fives and making everyone on-board his new best friend.

As predicted, we arrived home tired, sick, cranky and ready for a vacation! We had a great trip and we’re so happy to be back home.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Last night was the most fun Book Club ever! (And coincidentally I hosted). I fixed a big salad and a bunch of easy appetizers. We dined out on the deck under the striped umbrella. We were all dolled up and looked marvelous, I might add. We had sparkling lemonade with frozen berry sparkling water ice cubes in wine glasses, followed by some chilled French Rosé. Excellente, bien sur! I provided ridiculously cute children for entertainment. Then, when dessert time rolled around, Kendra abruptly stood up and quite rudely announced “Well, I’m leaving. Bye.” I followed suit and said something to the effect of “yes, me too…and you should all come. It’s time for dessert…and it’s not here.” Three of our ladies – Kelly, Molly and Adrienne all turn 30 this summer/fall, so we surprised them with drinks and chocolate fondue for dessert at the Melting Pot. It was so fun! They were completely befuddled when Kendra abruptly got up to leave and had no idea where we were going. We got them each a magazine subscription for their interests – for Molly, entertainment; Adrienne is a crafty gal; and Kelly is our International traveler.

We may not travel to the exotic places like Kelly, but it doesn’t get much more exciting that Ontario, California, now does it? We head to So-Cal at the butt-crack of dawn. Why do we always schedule flights for 6am? Come 4am tomorrow – we’ll whisk the boys from their slumber and head to the airport. First trip with two kiddos – oye; should be interesting. Thankfully the flight is only 2 ½ hours long.

We just got the coolest baby item ever to make the trip even better -- the Ergo Baby. It's a front pack carrier, backpack or hip sling. It's totally comfortable and works really well for bigger kids (up to 40pounds). I don’t know how I survived life for the last 3 ½ years without the Ergo Baby (infomercial to follow, I’m sure). We're also going with one stroller and the good 'ol toddler leash.

Now, the toddler leash…this is something that I’ve been against since I once saw a woman “walking her kid” at the park. She really was walking her child like one walks a dog. She would pause while the kid explored something off the path; then ready to move on, she’d give the leash a little tug to indicate it was time to go. I vowed then and there that I would never do something as cruel as leashing my child. That was before my parents gave us one a couple of nights before we went to California exactly two years ago. (Matthew was one month shy of two). Even as we graciously received the gift of parental-inflicted child torture, I knew we’d never actually use it but promised to pack it in the diaper bag “just incase” (fat chance, I thought). The second we landed in LAX airport, I was pulling open that toddler leash package like a crazy lady. We got comments everywhere we used it – Knotts Berry Amusement Park, Disneyland, SeaWorld – that it was such a smart thing to have. Several people asked where I’d gotten it (hoping that they could buy one right then and there) – including one security guard who said that helping find lost toddlers was a daily occurrence and he wished all parents would be as smart. (OK, thanks Mom and Dad). I even ran into a woman with triplet two year old boys who was trying desperately to keep their leashes untangled.

We’re heading on our trip prepared with toddler leash, Ergo baby backpack, stroller, and la piece de resistance: bright matching outfits for the boys. Disneyland day one – they’ll be in bright orange striped t-shirts; Disneyland day two – the same striped shirt in bright green. For the Fiesta party at the Engaged Encounter Convention, they’ll be sporting matching Hawaiian shirts and navy shorts. They also have matching blue striped shirts and matching navy blue t-shirts featuring a red bulldozer that says “Move it”…or maybe it’s “Push it” (whatever). The point is, we’ve become one of those families. (I have to draw the line somewhere though. Mike will not be in a matchy match match’ems striped polo shirt and I don’t have matching jumper dresses made from the same fabric. Come on, I’m not that bad…besides I didn’t seen any at the store).