Wednesday, April 30, 2008
But, I digress.
In 2005 baseball came back to Washington, D.C. and we caught Nationals fever. One of our best friends--and a huge fanatic of all things sports-related--got a group together to purchase season tickets. We went in for about 10 games and had a great time.
After he moved to Arizona and we took over the account (shhh! don't tell!) we got another group of people together. The rest is history--this is our 4th season as Nationals fans and season ticket holders. Because of our seniority, we got sweet seats in the new Nationals Park--as sweet as we could possibly afford, that is!
We took Lucas to his first game in the summer of 2006 when he was about 6 months old. We got him all dressed up in a little Nats onesie, slathered him in sunscreen and took lots of pictures, but really, that game wasn't much fun for any of us.
We took him to the second baseball game of his life this afternoon and I'm excited to report that a fun time was had by all!
The game started at 4:30pm so we both left work a bit early and arrived a few innings into the game. Lucas loved watching all the people and loved the cheering and music.
Oh, and did I mention the playground?
Inside the Stadium they have an awesome play structure--tubes, climbing platforms and very cool slides. We made two trips there throughout our approximately 5 innings! Honestly, speaking as a mom, it was a little overwhelming. Speaking for Lucas, it was amazing!!
We can't wait for our next afternoon game to take him back!
Monday, April 28, 2008
Every year--every single year--I've made it clear to Abel that all I want for an anniversary gift is a bouquet of lilies of the valley or mini calla lilies. These were the two flowers which made up my bridal bouquet, which was, in my humble opinion, the most beautiful bridal bouquet ever.
Just to be clear, by "I've made it clear" I mean I've told my husband straight out, "All I ever want for our anniversary is calla lilies or lilies of the valley". I first mentioned this to him on our wedding day. As I admired my beautiful bouquet I told him, "This will make it easy for you on our anniversaries, just get me some lilies of the valley or calla lilies and I'll be thrilled."
So now four anniversaries have come and four anniversaries have gone and they've all been lovely. One year I received a beautiful ring, another year we went out to our favorite splurge restaurant, the next year more great jewelry.
Trust me, I've appreciated the jewelry, but really, my true desire is to receive lilies of the valley or calla lilies on our anniversary!
(Okay, I know some people would kill for a gift of jewelry and are calling me an ungrateful b. right now. Well, sorry, this is my anniversary and not yours and I'm just telling it like it is.)
It just so happens that our anniversary falls on Kentucky Derby weekend, which also happens to be the only weekend of the year that lilies of the valley are in season in our area. (Which is why I was lucky enough to get them in my bouquet; I would have never sprung for them out-of-season and flown in from who-knows-where.) So, it's not like I'm asking him to fly to the Netherlands to get them for me.
So, my darling hubby, I've done the work for you. You have several more days before the day. Simply click on one of these and order away...
Calla Lilies by Vera Wang for FTD or a Lily of the Valley bulb kit from Red Envelope (extra bonus here, we can plant the bulbs and thus practically guarantee I'll have lilies of the valley every spring!!)
For something a little longer lasting, might I suggest this Lily of the Valley print on Etsy or perhaps this one.
I'm sure there are many, many more options on-line or at one of the many local florists. So, babe, will you please, please take this oh-so-subtle hint?
Happy Anniversary! Love you!
So I was at the dentist--but the dentist was our priest and the office was actually a pick-up basketball court, with a game going on! And the dentist is pulling my teeth and basically telling me that my teeth are terrible. He gave me an epidural which didn't numb anything but was more of a very strong anti-anxiety drug. So I was totally chill and cool with everything that was happening.
My one concern--not that this dentist/priest was pulling my teeth, not that he was telling me I had bad oral hygiene (which is totally not true in real life; I am obsessed with my teeth and go to the dentist every 4 months!), not that I had a needle in my back and these huge guys were playing basketball right in front of me, almost hitting me multiple times. Rather, my concern was that I wouldn't be able to drive myself home and for some reason I couldn't think of anyone to call to come get me. Finally, I thought of my friends Megan and Katie (girls, we must get together soon!) and relaxed because I knew they'd come.
So amateur (or professional?!) dream analysts, what in the world does all this mean?
Here's my take on the most obvious themes:
Dentist-anxiety? Now, I do have a dentist appointment this Thursday. However, I am in fact looking forward to it (yes, I am strange!). I love a good teeth cleaning. So, dentist-anxiety is out.
Priest as dentist? What the heck could that mean? Is my soul in peril?
Lack of people to come pick me up? Am I worried I have no friends? No one to rely on? Well, if this is it, it just isn't true. I know there would be dozens of people who would come pick me up if I was unable to drive due to an epidural after getting several teeth pulled at a pick-up basketball game.
What do you think?
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
The thing is that only 7 -- yes 7 -- people came! It was so disheartening. I had about 13 solid RSVPs and many more who said they hoped to stop by. Grrrrr....
So, my dear internets, in honor of Earth Day, and to make me feel less like I did all that work for nothing, I'm pleased to share with you several of my tips and recipes!
Here's my spiel -- green cleaning is CHEAP and easy. Studies have shown that many homes are actually more polluted that the outdoors because of all the chemicals we use to clean our homes. Since Lucas was born, I've been using mostly white vinegar and baking soda to clean my kitchen and bathroom. It works! It's cheap! And, I feel good that my cleaning is safe for all of us.
Here are the basic ingredients for green cleaning:
Naturally cleans like an all-purpose cleaner; disinfectant and deodorizer; safe to use on most surfaces; very cheap!; do not use full strength vinegar on tile grout as it can eat away at the grout; never use vinegar on marble surfaces; the smell disappears in minutes, as soon as it dries.
Uses for Full Strength Distilled White Vinegar
Pour in toilet, scrub with toilet brush (you can also add some baking soda)
Spray on stovetop, appliances, countertops
Add ¼ to ½ cup to the laundry rinse cycle to soften clothes and reduce cling; also helps break down laundry detergent to help those with sensitive skin
Use full-strength to remove mildew in your bathroom or to remove carpet stains (especially effective on urine stains when toilet training kids and pets!!)
Use to scrub surfaces in much the same way as commercial abrasive cleansers; great deodorizer
Uses for Baking Soda
Sprinkle on a damp sponge as a gentle non-abrasive cleanser for counter tops, skins, bathtubs, ovens and fiberglass (for larger jobs simply make a paste of baking soda and water)
Can remove crayon marks from walls (!!!!)
Add ¼ to ½ cup to the laundry as a fabric softener
Sprinkle on carpet before vacuuming to deodorize
Dissolves soap scum and hard water deposits; cleans and shines brass and copper; mix with vinegar and or baking soda to make cleaning pastes
RECIPE: All Purpose Cleaner (This is what we made at my workshop)
2 cups white vinegar
2 cups water
Several drops essential oil (optional)
Combine in a spray bottle and use for cleaning practically everything in your home!
RECIPE: Drain Opener
First, try using a drain snake to remove clogs.
Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down drain, follow with 1/2 cup vinegar, cover and let sit, flush with boiling water.
Happy Green Cleaning! Oh, and please write a comment if you have any other green cleaning ideas to share!
Friday, April 18, 2008
I had been thinking the same thing. Less than two hours had passed since Mass concluded and Pope Benedict XVI, along with hundreds of cardinals, bishops and priests, had processed out of the stadium amid the cheers of more than 46,000 people.
And I was thinking about how to convey this experience and my feelings to my readers. It is a delicate thing, this post. And I’m not sure I’ll get it right, that I'll get my feeling out exactly as I want to, but I’m going to try.
As a serious Nats fan, I've made the trek from my house to the Metro to the new stadium several times. But that morning I did it with extra anticipation in my heart—I wasn’t going to a baseball stadium but to a church to sing and pray and celebrate Mass with 46,000 fellow Catholics and His Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI.
Oh I do love a Mass. All the pomp and circumstance of a Catholic Mass. You know the songs, you know the prayers. You know what will happen next. And yet, each time it is brand new.
The only thing I’ve ever done in sync with 46,000 before is cheer at a football game. And for some people that’s a religious experience, isn’t it?
Singing the familiar songs (gotta’ love the Mass of Creation music!) and saying the prayers with so many others, I literally couldn’t hear my own voice—and that’s saying something because I sure was belting it out!
Straining to understand the German-accented English of the homily, I was completely focused on each and every word uttered by Pope Benedict. (Though I will admit there were several strings of words that I just couldn’t decipher). His message truly moved me—he urged hope and a return to faithfulness. Along with priests and religious, he also thanked married people and parents, and confirmed our important role in society. He even addressed the failings of the Church in the sexual abuse scandal. I was proud that he did that and proud that he later met with some victims privately. For so many, that terrible tragedy has made them lose faith and move away from the Church. I believe his words—and acknowledgement—were needed; I hope they begin some important healing.
After the English portion of the sermon, Pope Benedict addressed his “hermanos y hermanas” in Spanish. The crowd went wild! I believe his Spanish was more fluid and less heavily accented in German than his English was. I don’t know exactly what he said but it certainly was well-received and followed by the only chants of the day—“Viva Papa! Viva Papa! Viva Papa!”
Overall, it was an amazing and emotional experience. I am so grateful to have been lucky enough to attend. I pray that I am able to carry the blessing of the experience in my heart for a long time to come.
This is an original Post to DC Metro Moms. When not attending Mass or baseball games at Nationals Stadium, Aimee Olivo blogs about life with a toddler at Smiling Mama.
Thank you so so much for this post. I really wanted to go but did not get chosen in our parish's lottery. Your writing makes me feel I was there.
Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!
The rest of the story, which I didn't share on that post, is something I just can't stop thinking about.
Getting to the stadium was a really good experience. For the most part (except for a few newbie and clearly nervous Metro riders) everyone was so nice on the very over-crowded platforms and Metro cars. The secret service officers checking bags and monitoring the metal detectors were very friendly (as friendly as their very serious job allows); the ticket scanners were downright joyous.
Okay, I think you get my point, overall it was a very joy-filled experience.
A joyous experience, that is, until we left the stadium. There, tens of thousands of the faithful met approximately one dozen men (I do believe they were exclusively men) holding very large signs and shouting into microphones. Unfortunately (in this instance) the path from the stadium to the Metro is a long, street-width path--with no way to change course once you're there--and it is the perfect set-up for just a dozen people to get right in the faces of thousands of other people.
The messages communicated via sign and angry shout included: the Vatican is the devil; you are not born again and therefore going to hell; your priest is lying to you; you worship the Virgin Mary and therefore are condemned to hell; the rapture is coming and you will be left behind.... I could continue but will stop there.
Now I know these were the crazies of their branch of Christianity. And trust me, I know every branch has their own, Catholics included.
What sort of impact did they think they were going to have? Did they think they were going to convert people who had gone through so much for the opportunity to simply be in the presence of the Pope and celebrate Mass with him? Did they truly believe that any man, woman or child coming out of there was suddenly going to have a relelation because of their vicious signs or their hateful speech?
Did they really?
I walked right by them, didn't acknowledge their presence and am really trying my best not to give them a second thought. Unfortunately I clearly have given them a second thought.
Now that I've vented to you, dear readers, I will try my best not to give them a third (thought).
Monday, April 14, 2008
Name a country, I've got an ancestor from there:
Scotland? Check. Sweden? Check. Germany? Check. Ireland? Check.
And on it goes.
Sure, in college I was more than happy to proclaim "Kiss me I'm Irish" but growing up we never really celebrated the holiday like true Irishmen. We didn't have any cultural holidays or traditions. I think if I had to identify a cultural element in my family, it would be that of Catholicism, rather than any country or region.
Abel, on the other hand, comes with a true cultural heritage. He primarily spoke Spanish until kindergarten. His parents prefer to speak Spanish and are most comfortable around other Mexicans. I swear, my father-in-law only eats Mexican food. Well, and occasionally a rice dish from a Chinese take-out place. (But, he explains, it is rice; what's more Mexican than rice?)
And so I've always known that we'd share Abel's Mexican heritage with our children. Not only did I know that, I truly looked forward to it. I also looked forward to raising bilingual kids.
I took years of Spanish in high school and college. My minor was Latin American Studies. While I am far from fluent, I have a decent accent and can read anything (just don't ask me what it means!). So before Lucas was born we bought Spanish baby books. When he was just weeks old we bought Spanish music CDs.
By the time Lucas was 2 months old, I had the the songs memorized and was singing and reading books to Lucas in Spanish throughout the day. As for Abel, I don't know why, but he just didn't get into the groove of speaking to Lucas in Spanish. Except for a few body parts (which Lucas can successfully identify in Spanish) Abel only speaks to Lucas in English.
And so I was SHOCKED the other day when, out of the blue, Lucas counted from 1-8 in Spanish.
Don't get me wrong, though, as surprised as I was to hear the words come out of his mouth, I knew exactly who had taught this to him.
And it certainly wasn't Abel.
It was my crush. Good old Handy Manny.
And with that, I think I finally figured out how to get Abel to talk to Lucas in Spanish. Urging didn't work. Cajoling didn't work. Guilting didn't work.
Being one-upped by a cartoon character?
Friday, April 11, 2008
After a few hours of quality time with Lucas I feel like I've been tenderized.
He has got to be the sharpest kid ever. And, I'm not talking about brains (though obviously he's a genius!). I'm talking sharp elbows and feet and knees that wedge through you into your muscle and bones. He's even got a sharp little butt.
Speaking of butt, is that a taboo word? Should we be using "bottom". I mean I'm sure he's going to go through a "butt" stage anyway, you know butt head, etc. whichever term we use. But will other parents get annoyed and think our kid taught their kid the word "butt"?
What was I saying? Oh yeah, sharp kid.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Sound like the best place in the world to raise kids? Well, yes and no.
The public schools, apparently, leave something to be desired.
Even as the amazing parents on the listserv offer up hearty on-line and in-person (complete with a welcome baskets and meals!) congratulations upon the birth of a new baby or welcomes when a new family moves to town, they also regularly offer up grave cautions about the local public school system. Whenever the topic of education comes up, the "word on the street" is simply—you can't send your kids to the public schools. Then the discussion promptly moves to the complicated and seemingly ever-changing rules and strategies for getting into the lottery for the magnet Montessori and French immersion schools and for applying to the local Catholic and private schools. And if, forbid, you end up at the public elementary school, there are tactics for getting your kid qualified for TAG – the talented and gifted program – which opens the door to another school.
When I was wholly consumed with a new baby, I didn't pay too much attention to these discussions. After all, I still had years to figure all that out, right? Now that Lucas is two, and with the entrance to the Montessori program starting at three or with Kindergarten soon to follow, the issue of our public schools is weighing on my mind.
While I still don't know what education option we'll choose for Lucas, I do know that I believe strongly in public education. I see no reason why our fabulous town shouldn't have fabulous public education opportunities.
Luckily there are many other parents in town who believe the same thing. So, a group of us with pre-school aged children, older children, grandchildren and no children at all, have come together. We've formed a group dedicated to getting involved with--and hopefully improving--our local public schools. Town officials are supportive of the idea. We don't have a plan yet per se, but we are committed. After all, as Margaret Mead said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
Original post to DC Metro Moms. Aimee also blogs about life with a toddler at Smiling Mama
Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!
Monday, April 7, 2008
How so, you ask? Well, let me give you a few examples...
Just awakened from a nap and jumping in his crib when I go in to get him, Lucas announces, "Go outside, Mama. Need coat, hat, shoes." Well, alrighty then.
"Meow" licks your face. "Meow" licks your pant legs. (My dear friend Katie got to experience the pant leg licking on her recent visit!)
Speaking of Katie, I think Lucas thought I was calling her "Lady" and so he began calling her "Old Lady". It really was quite funny. Though perhaps not for her. I tried to explain that the reference comes from Goodnight Moon in which there is "an old lady whispering hush". I'm not sure she bought it. But, clearly she made an impression on him. Her visit was two weekends ago and just a few nights ago when he woke up in the middle of the night he begged to "go sleep in old lady bed, Mama, other bed". You see, we've avoided the idea of him coming to bed with us, but occasionally either Abel or I will take him into the guest room bed and sleep with him. More accurately, try to sleep while he lays sideways and kicks our head all night.
But anyway, back to the adorableness...
"I so happy Mama."
I'm so happy, too, Lucas.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
With approximately two round-trips a year we've pretty much become masters of the drive and I am very pleased to report that both the to and from of this Easter trip were our best ever. Lucas was so good both ways. He kept himself entertained, sang some songs, "read" some books, played with a cool driving toy (his first video game! according to my brother-in-law), enjoyed looking at the trucks and mountains and rivers. No DVD player in our car! (Although I was about ready to cave on that one after our last two trips were horrible!) Sure he got cranky at the 7ish hour mark. But heck, so did I!
When traveling long distances with Lucas, we generally stop every 3-or-so hours to get him out of the car and work off some energy. This is a big part of why our trip is now 2-3 hours longer than it used to be, but it is also critical to any hope of a decent journey.
One of the best things about the actual drive to Ohio (the only good thing?) is our stop in Cumberland, MD. We discovered Cumberland on our first drive to Ohio with Lucas and now I really look forward to stopping there.
We go to Canal Place which is literally two turns off I-68. The first two times we stopped there we simply enjoyed a picnic lunch at the picnic site along the C&O Canal. The next time we explored the Western Maryland Railroad Station and discovered the Tree House Toy Shop. On this stop we didn't pack our lunches but enjoyed really yummy sandwiches at Karmer's Deli.
I really can't say enough about how wonderful Canal Place is. But I'm going to try.
First, any woman--and especially any mother--knows the value of clean, spacious public restrooms with a changing station. There are two restrooms here that fit that bill--one inside the train station and one near the shops along the C&O canal.
Second, there is a lot of room for a rambunctious toddler to stretch his legs. Not only is there a nice-sized grassy area, there are almost always 1-2 real live passenger trains parked at the station, there's a replica canal boat and a nice brick walkway along the water that leads to the shops.
Third, there is great food! We can heartily recommend Kramer's Deli. The food is so yummy (lots of specialty sandwiches) and the owners are the kindest people. For example, they have a kid's menu and the little shtick is that if you finish your meal you go back to the counter to let them know and they give you a cookie. Even though we didn't pack our own lunches, I did pack food for Lucas so we didn't order him a kid's meal. The wife in the couple that own the place still came over to ask Lucas if he finished eating (clearly from our own tupperwear!) and offered him a cookie. And...wait for it...bubbles!
Finally, great toys. We simply adore the Tree House Toy Shop. It is a smallish toy shop with all your favorite brands and old-fashioned toys you haven't seen in ages. We aways pick up a few things. Our most recent discovery is Nuchi--adorable wooden trains which are compatible with Thomas yet have a very "generic" look--great for building imagination! We purchased a starter figure 8 set for Lucas and he loves it.
So, if you find yourself travelling through Western Maryland on I-68 or are lucky enough to live close to Cumberland (only a few hours from the DC metro area!) then definitely stop by Canal Place!
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
Bottom line: we feed Lucas healthier food than we eat ourselves. And I'm happy to report that the double-standard has officially (started to) come to an end!
Today we received our first milk delivery--to our front door and in glass bottles! Welcome to 1950!
Seriously, I am so excited that our town has been added to the delivery route of a Maryland dairy farm. Their dairy cows aren't given growth hormones and have free choice feeding options. The fields don't get any pesticides. Our order included both 2% and Skim--milk (can I just say it again, in GLASS BOTTLES!) for all of us.
Hopefully this will be the first of many choices I make for us all to eat healthier.
Original Posting to DC Metro Moms Blog. Aimee also blogs about life with a toddler at Smiling Mama.
I've heard rave reviews about South Mountain Creamery and have been meaning to have some of their meat delivered. I've also heard that it's a great place to visit as a field trip since you can help feed the calves from bottles.
I'm jealous! I miss milk in glass bottles!
Hi Aimee! I can't imagine receiving milk in a glass bottle - what a foreign concept! Welcome to the DC Metro Moms Blog!
I *love* South Mountain Creamery! We get their milk delivered and it makes me so happy to never leave my house! I mean support a local farmer (smile). Welcome to DC Metro Moms! MamaBird from SurelyYouNest
We also get milk delivered from South Mountain Creamery (as well as to-die-for cheese, butter, meat, etc.) and have been thrilled with their service. We just put our order in on their website on Wednesday night and everything arrives on Friday morning - couldn't be easier! :)
workout mommy said...
milk in glass bottles delivered to your door? I need to sign up for this! Thanks for the tip!
oh my, this sounds amazing! very jealous.
I grew up getting milk delivered to our house. I'd be interested to know how long the milk lasts- both in freshness and quantity during the week.
I hear they are delivering to Vienna, VA now and it only takes like 5 people to have delivery to your area. I know my mom's group has got enough people that it's now delivering to Reston!
I love the taste of milk in glass bottles. Yum.
Welcome to DC Metro Moms! And thanks for your first post - we have been trying to eat more local and organic food since our 16 month old daughter came along. South Mountain could be exactly what we are looking for!
Awesome! After we read your post we clicked right over and signed on up for delivery. South Mountain Creamery should give you a commission! ;)
Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!
In between working the polls today for our special County Council election (more on that later!) I just posted my first blog entry on DC Metro Moms! Check it out here. And, I'd be oh so grateful for some comment luv!
xoxo Smiling Mama
P.S. The milk? Deeeeeeeeeeelicious! (That will make sense when you read my post.)