Friday, January 30, 2009

Favorite Things Friday: Mrs. O

For today's edition of Favorite Things Friday, I bring you a newly discovered (thanks Emily Style!) blog which has quickly become a favorite: Mrs. O.

Mrs. O is "a website dedicated to following the fashion of Michelle Obama." Where else could I possibly hope to find fashion and politics in one place? This site is truly a guilty pleasure! Enjoy!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Pride cometh before a fall

It has happened to me so often in my life that I should know it is coming. As soon as I get prideful, cocky or too sure of myself, something happens to bring me down a notch or two.

One of the most memorable experiences of this was, quite literally, a fall. I was just out of college and working on Capitol Hill. I was going somewhere--I have no idea where--and was all dressed up in a great suit and heels. I remember thinking that I looked great, felt great, was off to some great event. Life was grand. I was oh-so-confidently walking down the moving escalator at Capitol South. Then. Suddenly. I was falling. Down the escalator. Luckily, after a few steps, I caught myself. Even more luckily, I hadn't ripped my pants. Though, my leg underneath was pretty scraped up (how does that happen that your skin cuts but your pants don't rip?). My pride was a bit bruised, too.

So yesterday, as I sat on the couch cuddling with Lucas during an episode of Handy Manny, I should have known what was coming. I was sitting there with my almost-too-big-for-my-lap son on my lap thinking that it had been a really successful two days at home, just the two of us. (One my normal day off, the other a snow day.) We had a lot of fun playing out in the snow on three different occasions and we even did lots of fun activities in the house (we painted, played games and watched not-too-much TV). I had straightened up, conquered a mountain of laundry, shredded and made really great dinners each night. I was feeling like I had everything under control and was feeling pretty proud of that fact.

Until. My lap started feeling a little warm. And wet.

Yes, Lucas, who is rarely having an accident these days, peed all over me. And him. And the couch.

Pride. Then the fall.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

I finally have my bling back OR Why have I not been hit on in the past 4 months?

I haven't worn my wedding band or engagement ring since August and finally, finally was able to put them both back on last Friday. I feel like a newly engaged girl: I literally can't stop looking at my ring finger and admiring how lovely, shiny and sparkly my rings look!

Why this ring wearing hiatus? Well. It really is an embarrassing story. Back in August we flew home from the Democratic Convention in Denver (that was really just a gratuitous link to remind you that I was there!) and went straight to my parents' house to pick up Lucas. As a thank you for watching him for the week, Abel was going to replace their two old and ugly ceiling fans. So, we all trooped to Home Depot. While we were there, my rings started feeling really tight and I couldn't get them off my fingers. Long story short, I totally freaked out and we spent about an hour back at my parents' using every trick in the book to get them off. Now, remember, I was just recently off prednisone which had made me balloon up like a marshmallow woman, I had just flown, it was hot hot hot and humid. Looking back, I am certain that had I just been able to chill out and leave my finger alone for a few hours the rings would have slid right off. But. No. I was obsessed. And with each attempt (Yes! Crisco will work!) my finger got more and more red. More and more swollen. And, I got more and more panicky.

Finally, I gave in to my mom's suggestion that I go to their trusted and close-by jewelry shop to have them cut off. Extreme? Yes. Warranted at the time? Yes.

It was a truly awful experience, not painful, just awful to have them CUT off. Yet, when they were off, it was such pure relief. And, as suspected, in just a few hours my finger was just fine.

My rings? Well, those were cut and mangled.

At first I relished my bare left hand. After all, I was securely married. Who says I need the rings to prove it? Then, I started to desperately miss my rings. I felt so bare and empty without them.

Yet, I never got myself to a jewelry store to fix them. Partially this was because, while my plain band and solitaire diamond are modest in comparison to many others, that diamond is, by far, my most expensive piece of jewelry. I didn't know where to take it!

So, over Christmas I took it back to my parents' jewelry store to have them fixed. And, um, sized up just a tad.

And now I have them back -- perfectly fixed, polished and looking like the day I first put each of them on.

Oh how I missed my bling!

Yeah, and I'm trying not to let my self-esteem get too hurt by the fact that after more than FOUR months without wedding rings I was not hit on once. Not once. (Let's just blame it on the diaper bag, okay?)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Life at 3

1. My parents came to visit this weekend and my dad was joking with Lucas on Friday night saying that he (Lucas) was a monkey. Lucas protested that he was not a monkey but a little boy. Dad was joking that he had a tail and it was just covered by his pants. Then we moved on. Monkeys were not mentioned again. Until. Out of the blue on Sunday at lunch Lucas put his butt up in the air towards my dad and said, "Gramps, I'm a little boy. Not a monkey. See, I don't have a tail, I have a bootie."

2. Generally when Lucas wakes up from his nap, he stirs a bit then yells down "Mama/Dada I'm awake!" In fact, he got really mad at me the other day when I heard him stir and went upstairs before he called for me. Yesterday Abel and I caught up on the season 3 premier of Big Love during Lucas's nap time and were savoring some Sunday afternoon lazy TV watching. I thought I heard him stir, but he never yelled down, so neither of us went up to get him. Then, suddenly it dawned on me that I was hearing cartoon voices through the monitor. I went up and Lucas was sprawled on the guest bed with his arms behind his head watching TV! When I asked why he didn't yell down to tell us that he was awake, he said, "Because, Mo-om, I was tiptoeing!" I called him a sneaky Pete and he replied, quite indignantly: "I'm Lucas not Pete!"

3. Lucas can and does divide the entire world into Dada items, Mama items and Kinky items: large, medium and small, respectively. Anytime there are three of something they are always "Dada, Mama and Kinky". If there are three trees they are Dada tree, Mama tree and Kinky tree. If we drive by a big backhoe and a small backhoe then they are "Dada Scoop" and "Kinky Scoop" (Just as Handy Manny has turned all hammers into "Pat", Bob the Builder has renamed all construction vehicles into names like Scoop, Muck and Dizzy.)

Edited to add: It's funny, I thought I was just writing three cute little stories about Lucas being a 3 year old. But, after hitting publish, I realized these really illustrate his qualities right now at 1 month into being 3: very literal, getting more and more independent (and a little sneaky!), and a strong desire to categorize everything.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Favorite Things Friday: Handy Manny

After a brief hiatus, Favorite Things Friday is back! Today, for the 12th edition of Favorite Things Friday, I bring you one of my--and Lucas's--favorite cartoons: Handy Manny.

There are so many annoying cartoons out there. If you have a young child, you know what I'm talking about. And, Lucas, well, he tends to get into cartoon jags. It's Caillou or Max and Ruby and over and over and over again until I am ready to poke my eyes out.

But, Handy Manny.

Well, I never tire of Handy Manny. The story lines are good. Not complicated, but good. I love that the mayor and owner of hardware store are both women. Manny is really a great guy. And, it doesn't hurt that he has a super smooth voice. Had I actually gotten to meet Wilmer Valderrama at the Latino Gala, I'm pretty sure I would have been the only woman there screaming "I love you, Handy Manny!"

If your child does start watching Handy Manny, be prepared: every hammer you see will be named "Pat" every saw "Dusty" and every wrench "Squeeze".

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Inauguration and the Purple Gate, Part 3

Okay, okay, I promise* this is the last thing I am going to write about the purple gate debacle at the inauguration.

Oh my gosh. I totally was going to write on my first "Inauguration and the Purple Gate Debacle" post that purple gaters should demand a do-over. But, I didn't write that. Because, you know, that was just so totally impossible it wasn't worth the screen space.

But there was a do-over!

Yes, indeed.

Late last night Chief Justice John Roberts went over to the White House and Obama re-took the oath. It was just a tad bit annoying how badly Roberts flubbed the oath on Tuesday afternoon. White House Council Greg Craig said this was done for "an abundance of caution." Which I think was a smart idea considering that as of December some crazies were still trying to claim that Obama wasn't an American citizen.

But, I do think an opportunity was missed--purple ticket holders should have been invited to the do-over!!

Oh, and here's your fun fact of the day. According to the American Bar Association Journal, two other presidents have re-taken the oath of office: Calvin Coolidge and Chester Arthur. (Chester Arthur? Who the heck is he?)

*fingers crossed. I'm hoping to move beyond the purple gate by tomorrow when Favorite Things Friday will resume. But, if something comes up, I'll be forced to revisit the subject!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Inauguration and the Purple Gate, Part 2


Obviously I knew that there were thousands of fellow purple gate ticket holders who, like me, were unable to get into the inauguration, because I was standing in the mob scene yesterday morning with them. But, for some reason, I was still surprised when later in the evening at a fun, low-key election night party, I heard that several people had the same experience. And then the comments just started flowing in on my previous post. People who Googled "inauguration purple gate" got my post at the top of the page--my blog traffic increased by 150%.

On one hand, it is nice to know that Abel and I weren't alone in our disappointing experience. On the other hand, I feel so terrible for the many, many people whose stories were much worse than ours. Thank goodness we weren't actually inside the 3rd street tunnel. I am certain I would have really freaked out. Thank goodness we hadn't spent thousands of dollars to get to Washington, DC for the event. I truly count our blessings and hope that all those other folks are, at some point, able to look back on the day with some positive feelings and not just the bitter disappointment and anger they most certainly were entitled to feel initially.

Here are some updates on the story in general.

1) The saga of the purple gate and purple ticket holders is getting reported in the news media.

The Washington Post has reported it. Laura Sullivan reported the story on NPR. Interesting to note that Sullivan reports that the DC Police take no responsibility for that section, despite the fact that the very few people "in charge" that I did see were indeed DC Police Officers. The Secret Service has no comment (my guess is that they never comment) and the Capitol Police hadn't returned NPR's phone calls for the story.

2) Congressional leaders have taken notice.

The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies issued a statement today saying that the committee "deeply regrets that some ticket holders were not able to get to their ticketed sections, primarily in the purple and blue sections. They promise to "thoroughly examine every prevent similar problems."

Alaska Representative Don Young is circulating a "Dear Colleague" letter. While Young would be pretty far down the list of my favorite Members of Congress, his letter reportedly states, "it was a failure in planning and organization which must be explained." The fact that he plans to send it to Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA.), chairwoman of the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies, will certainly make one of my anonymous commenters happy.

4) The story is all over the blogosphere. Seems that many bloggers had purple tickets, including Queen of Spain, Mama Bird Diaries, Technosailor and I'm sure many, many others. Maybe by 2013 they'll be smart enough to give the bloggers tickets to the sections that do work :)

5) Finally, to finish on a light note: purple ticket holders (and others) left out of the ceremony can commiserate on Facebook! Join the "Survivors of the Purple Tunnel of Doom" group. As of this posting there are more than 2,000 members, including yours truly, of course!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day and the Purple Gate Debacle

What a glorious day!

I'm still a bit chilly but my fingers have thawed. So, as promised, here's my story of Inauguration Day.

We breezed into the city in 20 minutes. I'm not kidding. I have spent weeks obsessing about our transportation plan--metro? metro bus? walk? What do to? Then, just a few days ago it hit me--everyone, and I mean everyone, was either planning to walk or take Metro. The bridges from Virginia were closed but the routes from Maryland were wide open.

Dare we go against all recommendations to take public transportation and actually just drive?

When I first suggested it, Abel laughed. Then, I ran the idea by our cab driver Sunday night and his reply was "brilliant!". The more we thought about it, the more it just made sense. I figured if we hopped on 50W to NY Ave. then cut down south and even got a few miles we'd be golden. We could park in a neighborhood and walk from there. We left our house by about 7:10am and literally zipped into the city--zero traffic. We made it the whole way directly to Abel's work parking space 1 block from Union Station in just under 20 minutes.


We even used the bathroom there quickly before walking the few blocks to our purple gate.

Oh, purple gate, purple gate, how you let me down.

It has already been named "Purple Gate Conspiracy".

Read the comments here.

It all started out fine. Yes, hoards of people and long lines and some confusion, but that was expected. People were happy, talking to their neighbors, a few cheers of "Yes we can!" and "Fired up! Ready to Go!" could be heard in different sections of the line. Then, we--and hundreds and thousands of other purple ticket holders around us--started to get nervous as it approached 9am then 9:30am then 10am then 10:30am then 11am with NO MOVEMENT. Well, slight movement, but I'm convinced that was just the crowd condensing itself.

Something went terribly, terribly wrong at the purple gate.

Thousands of people, including us, didn't get in.

Mostly the crowd was jovial. At first. Then people started to get upset. There was chanting "let us in! let us in!"

Rumors were flying. Some people said that they heard that they "forgot" to post guards at the purple gate. Others said the purple gate had already closed.

One woman was quite certain "they" would realize what was wrong when "they" looked out and saw that the purple section was empty. (Um, lady, who, exactly, is "they"?) One woman called her Member of Congress. (Honey, trust me, the lowest staffer is the one manning the office today; everyone else, including your Member, is already in place to watch the inauguration!) Another woman (why were these all women?) was convinced they'd hold the ceremony and wait for us to all get in. (Yeah, we all know that Obama is for the people, but there's this little thing called the Constitution that is pretty clear about when this show needs to happen.)

So, as it inched closer to noon and the line continued to be at a standstill, we decided to bail. We briskly walked back the 4ish blocks to Abel's office and caught the oath and speech on TV.

I'd like to think that all my tears were tears of joy and hope (and relief!) for this historical moment. But, I have to be honest that some of them were most certainly tears of disappointment.

The important thing is that this moment has happened. The important thing is that this dawn has come. It does not matter if I was on this side of the fence or that side of the fence when it happened.

Yes we did!

P.S. We left immediately after the benediction and got home in less than 15 minutes. Needless to say, our friends who were watching Lucas were shocked to see us back so soon!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Inaugural Ball Bust?

I remember reading this article by Roxanne Roberts back in early January and snickering to myself about how true it was. She writes:

"Every four years I warn starry-eyed rookies about the inaugural balls, and every four years they ignore my hard-earned advice. I feel like the mom who tells her lovesick teenage daughter, "Trust me, he's going to break your heart." Does the daughter listen? Of course not. She says, "But this one is different."
Prior to last night, I had been to two inaugural balls and my heart was indeed broken with each one. Don't get me wrong, I loved getting dressed up--I purchased new long gowns and accessories for the inaugural ball I attended with some college friends in 1997 and for the "official" ball Abel and I attended in 2001 at which George W. and Laura made an appearance.

Each of those balls, however, confirmed Roberts' cautions as well as those noted in this article: long outdoor lines, horrors at the coat check, little-to-no food, long lines to purchase drink tickets then to secure actual drinks, no dancing and an absolute crush of people.

I snickered back in early January because I knew I wasn't going to succumb to the dream this year that "it will be different." I'd already decided we wouldn't be wasting our money on an inaugural ball.

But then, I got caught up in the excitement. Abel scored tickets through work (read: free for us!), we got a babysitter, I had a dress. We decided to go.


Don't get me wrong. I feel so lucky to have had the opportunity to go, to say "I was there." It was fun to get a dead-of-winter pedicure, to get dressed up, to stroll in with Abel (who looked so fantastic in his tux we need to figure out another opportunity for him to wear it soon!) and to celebrate this amazing time for our nation.


It was not fun to stand in a long line outside the ball with bare legs and very strappy sandals. It was not fun to walk about 100 yards to go to the bathroom at the Amtrak gate at Union Station with the hoards of train and Metro passengers coming into town for the festivities. It was not fun to wait forever to purchase tickets to purchase drinks--$7 for mixed drinks and $6 for wine. It was not fun to then stand in another long line to actually purchase the drinks. It was not fun to be in a crush of people the entire night and even have my foot rolled over by a suitcase (hello lady, really you needed to bring you suitcase into the black tie ball?).


It was fun to stand right next to George Lopez. It was fun to see Rosario Dawson and Rosie Perez. Apparently J-Lo, Marc Anthony, Shakira, David Archuleta and my cartoon-voice-crush, Wilmer Valderrama were there as well. (The true account is that we didn't lay eyes on these last few stars, but, you know, history gets, um, revised all the time....)

In truth, I've already forgotten the cold and the lines. And I quite clearly remember how nice Abel and I looked and that I got to see J-Lo and Wilmer in person.


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Inaugural Preparations, Part 2

Trying to be like a boy scout and be prepared. Read more here.

Witness to History: The Inauguration of Barack Obama

Hand warmers? Check. Long underwear? Check. Tickets? Check.

Ready to witness history? CHECK!

On Tuesday, January 20, 2009, my husband and I will be among the 240,000 people lucky and/or well-connected enough to have scored official tickets to the Inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States of America.

While we couldn't be more excited, I'm truthfully not sure that we're ready.

Ready to witness this historic occasion? Most certainly. Ready to brave the cold and the crowds to do it? Not so sure.

You see, my husband and I, despite having moved to the Maryland 'burbs a few years ago to purchase our first home, consider Washington, DC to be our city. I lived there for more than ten years, five of which were on Capitol Hill. On September 11, I was working one block from the Congressional Office Buildings. I quickly fled my office to get to my apartment, a not-so-comforting six blocks away. My doctor and dentist are still on the Hill. My husband and I zip in and out of the city on a daily basis.

Back in 1997, I had tickets to attend the second inauguration of Bill Clinton and, while I recall lots of people and some long lines, I basically breezed into my ticketed area. In January 2001, my husband (then boyfriend) and I were interested in seeing the protests to George W.'s first inauguration and so took a leisurely four block stroll over to the Capitol grounds from his apartment.

So this year, I find it almost impossible to wrap my head around the many prohibited items, road closures, bridge closures, large security perimeter and estimated record-breaking crowds. Not to mention the cold.

We've developed plans A, B and C for each of three potential legs of the journey. (In each case the fail safe last resort involves walking for miles and miles). And, we've purchased long underwear and other cold-weather gear.

After being lucky enough to be one of 80,000 at Mile High Stadium in Denver to witness Barack Obama accept the Democratic Nomination, we're not letting a few million people and below freezing temperatures stop us from being there to witness this historic--and emotional--occasion.

Tissues? Check!

Original post to DC Metro Moms. When Aimee Olivo thaws out enough to type again, she'll post about her experiences at the inauguration on her personal blog where she writes about life with a toddler and anything else that crosses her mind.


Stimey said...
Good luck and have fun!!

De in D.C. said...
I'm looking forward to hearing a recount of your experiences after the Inauguration. Have a blast!

Leticia- Tech Savvy Mama said...
Can't wait to hear all about it and hope you stay warm!!!

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Inaugural preparations

Friday afternoon Lucas and I headed over to Capitol Hill to physically pick up our inauguration tickets. Abel was on the Hill already so met us there. I'm so glad he did because those office buildings are like mazes and he knew exactly how to get to each office and through the tunnels between buildings. Another bonus was that we had an early dinner together (before he went back to work) which was a treat since he's been working so many late nights recently.

It ends up, dear readers, that we secured a grand total of 6 inaugural tickets. It was a true bounty. The first four, which we've known about since December, came courtesy of my sister having requested them from her San Diego Republican representative the day after the election. The last two were a huge surprise and came from my own congresswoman because of my political and community activism, along with early support for her campaign.

While I was incredibly grateful to have an abundance of tickets, it also left me in an extremely difficult situation. You see, everyone I know is desperately seeking one of these 240,000 tickets which give you entry to the closest viewing points of the inauguration. Back when we had just 4, we promised 2 to my aunt and uncle. After much deliberation and a good friend deciding the cold and crowds were too much, we gave the other 2 to my cousins so that whole family will be able to enjoy the inauguration together. Abel and I will be taking the slightly better tickets from our rep. If there's one thing this experience taught me, it's that I don't think I every really want to win the lottery because the decisions about who to give gifts/money to would just kill me.

So yesterday we headed out to one of those outdoors stores to purchase wool socks, hunter-type (but not camo) long underwear and hand warmers. I feel slightly prepared for the hours and hours of cold weather we'll be exposed to.

Then, last night at approximately 9pm, after finally securing a babysitter, we decided to attend an inaugural ball tonight! I can't believe how calmly I'm taking this spontaneous plan but I'm actually really looking forward to it. Abel already had the tickets through work and was planning to go solo (and mostly work/network there) but once we had the babysitter and he mentioned that Marc Anthony would be performing. Well, come on! Let's do it! I have a dress that will be fine. It's not floor length but I can't tell you how many black-tie events I've been to in this city where women have worn not-to-the-floor dresses.

So I've added a new item to my inaugural prep. checklist: get pedicure!

Friday, January 16, 2009

End of a good run?

If you came here today expecting my weekly edition of Favorite Things Friday, I'm sorry to disappoint. I've got nothing. Seriously, I've been wracking my brain for the past two days trying to come up with something I love enough to give it the honor of a Favorite Things Friday feature. And. Nothing.

I mean really? Are there only 11 things that I love?

Certainly there are more. I just can't think of them at the moment. So, let's just call this a mental health day for Favorite Things Friday. I'm sure it will be back next week.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


A have two friends who hate socks. Hate them. Never wear them.

Me? I'm a socks person. Perhaps that is because said friends are uber-stylish and wear the most wonderful (except when they cause you to fall) high heels pretty much every single day.

Me? Again, not so much. I'm mostly wear loafers 'round the house and to work.

Like many, I've recently been trying to declutter. Abel tends to be a "stasher" when he cleans. You know what I mean: out of sight out of mind. When he picks up the house he just stashes stuff places. For example, if he cleans out the trunk of the car, he puts everything into a big bag and puts said bag into the basement. Is the trunk clean? Yes! But, is there now a random bag of junk and not-junk in the basement? Uh, yeah.

To date I've sorted, thrown out and donated from the following: our kitchen utensil drawer, my jewelry box, Lucas's sock and underwear drawer (I can't even tell you all the crap that has been stuffed in there!), and my own sock drawer. (Ah, yes, finally back to the socks!)

Let me also explain Abel's theory of unpaired socks: when a sock comes out of the dryer without a mate, just throw it back into the dirty laundry. Eventually they'll meet up again.


So my point today (ah, yes, a point!) is that wearing a bad pair of socks can ruin your day. Today, for example, my socks are falling down. And it is driving me crazy. I resolve to throw them away when I get home rather than put them in the laundry. Because every single time I wear them they drive me crazy. And if they get back into my drawer, I guarantee I'll wear them again. And they'll drive me crazy again.

Just the thought of throwing them out is making me so happy.

The end.

Monday, January 12, 2009

May I ask you a favor?

I have a favor to ask of you, dear readers. It's easy and fun: don't worry!

First, some background. A dear friend in real life and in the blogosphere, Amy of Organized Living by Amy, is pregnant with her first child (a girl!!) and due in just over a month!

Wonderful wonderful news! Yes!

And! No!


Well, that the dear girl, who has many, many close girlfriends here in the DC metro area, just had to move down South leaving us, her friends, so so far away.

We realized we couldn't all fly down to Nashville to throw her a shower. And, we couldn't expect a very preggers Amy to fly up to DC for one either.

So what are good friends to do?

Why throw her a "Week of Well Wishes" shower from afar, of course!

Her week began earlier this afternoon with flowers and a somewhat-vague-note to telling her to enjoy her "Week of Well Wishes". She has no idea what else is coming (and I can't reveal that here, either, as she's an avid Smiling Mama reader).

But doesn't this sound like fun? Like the kind of fun you just have to get in on?

Of course!

Here's how you can help make Amy's Week of Well Wishes extra-special: head on over to her blog and leave a comment wishing her well. Or, drop her an e-mail.

Thanks! You're the best!

(To thank you, after Amy's week has concluded, I'll post some ideas about how to throw your own baby or bridal shower from afar!)

Comments, please!

I had no idea that today was National Delurking Day, but it is! So, I've been busy leaving comments here comments there comments comments everywhere!

If you write a blog then you already know that receiving a comment is pretty much the bestest feeling ever. So, I would be oh-so-grateful if you left a comment for me. Pretty please!

And, if you have a blog then be sure to fill that line in on the comment form--that way I can head on over and read you, too!

Not sure what to say? Well, anything will do, but here are a few suggestions: tell me the best part of this past weekend or where you will watch (if you watch) the Inauguration next week or how cold (or warm?) it was this morning where you live (chilly 27 degrees here!) or any little fun fact about yourself.

Thanks and luv you bunches!

xoxoxo Smiling Mama

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Wrap up

What a week.

I went into work Monday then was home the rest of the week because Lucas caught a stomach bug from his one day back at daycare. At least three of the kids started puking between 6-8pm on Tuesday night. Isn't that bizarre? Anyway, it was rather strange around here, too, because he only puked at night or wee hours of the AM and seemed mostly fine all day (though extra snugly). So, it was kind of like a 3rd week of Christmas break but we stayed quarantined. I wasn't ready to go back to work anyway and he's now healthy for lots of weekend activities so all has ended well!

Lucas tends to get a little dictatorial when he's sick (probably because we do pretty much jump at his every whim when he's so pathetic) and he had the funniest line earlier in the week (the actual day eludes me). He was on his potty and wanted a puzzle which was about 2 feet away. He wanted me to get it but I told him he could wait until he was done. He looked at me, pointed at the puzzle and commanded, "Mom, do your job!". I guess I should add that to my resume: retrieves toys for those on the potty!

In other news, I finally joined the ranks of the tweeters on twitter. You can find me @smilingmama. I'm been avoiding joining but was convinced when Design Mom said, "Twitter is like status updates on crystal meth." I'm a bit obsessed with Facebook status updates now that I can do them from my new phone device. So, I joined the fray on twitter, too.

I received the nicest note from the folks over at pingg after my Favorite Things Friday post. They will be adding the pot-luck-type-menu as well as many more features in just a few months. Yay!

We've got a double-date planned with our good friends tonight over at a wonderful new DC restaurant: Founding Farmers. My mouth is watering from looking at the menu on-line. Not sure how I will choose!

Hope you are enjoying your weekend!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Favorite Things Friday: pingg

For today's edition of Favorite Things Friday I bring you pingg, your new source for creating and sending on-line invitations.

Like most, I have used e-vite to create and send on-line invitations for years. I remember first using it in 1999, which I believe is when they were founded. Back then the whole concept was revolutionary and I couldn't have been more excited about e-vite. But, I'll be honest, over the years I've become less and less enamored with them.

Pingg is my new love. Where e-vite is clunky and junky, pingg is sleek and beautiful. Where e-vite has trouble mapping to my home address, pingg understands Facebook, Flickr and Twitter. (Yes, I have finally caved and joined twitter, too. More on that later!)

Some of their many features include really beautiful graphics (or the ability to upload your own), the ability to have them print, stamp and mail copies of your invitation for only $1.25 each, and awesome management and communication tools for the event host. You can easily put your invitation on facebook and twitter and can even send it out via text message. Like e-vite, your free pingg invitation will have a few ads. Unlike e-vite, I've found the ads to be not the least bit intrusive. And, pingg offers the very classy option of making your invitation "ad free" for just $5.

The only feature pingg doesn't have, which I've found helpful on past e-vite invitations, is the ability to create a list of items for guests to bring then have them taken off as they are selected. So unless I really need that feature for a pot-luck or similar event, I'll be using pingg from now on!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Gift Giving Success

Despite my apparent failures in selecting gifts for my son, I am a good gift-giver (right? right? any past Smiling Mama gift recipient want to agree here?). I thought I'd share with you a few of the gifts I was particularly pleased to give this year.

My Mother-in-law
I love buying gifts for my mother-in-law not only because I feel like she will be very happy with pretty much anything, but also because I like to try to spoil her a bit. She works very, very hard and is very careful with her money. She does everything for my father-in-law and raised a great son in my husband.

When we visited her back in October we started talking about Coach because the factory she works at gives their employees (almost all women) a $300 Coach handbag after they've been there for 30 years. (First, can you even imagine working the line for 30 years? And, second, I think they will be sorely disapointed when they see how small a $300 Coach handbag is!). We each commented that we'd love to have one but would never be able to spend that much on a purse.

When she asked for a wallet for Christmas, I knew I had to get her a Coach wallet. Luckily, there's a Coach outlet store close to my parents' house. My sister and I had a lot of fun shopping there right before Christmas. I snagged this wallet (slightly different colors, probably last year's line or something) for about $55. I know that is a ton of money for a wallet but it is a true steal for Coach and, most importantly, she adored it! Simply because I couldn't resist, I also got her a little Coach key chain for about $12.

My Brother
My brother is a true challenge to buy for. He's incredibly picky! He literally gives my parents links to websites with the specific item number for what he wants. They don't dare to veer from his suggestions! Last year I scored big with this very cool Brooklyn print. So, this year I thought I'd continue with the city/art theme. He's living in Philly and met the woman of his dreams there. He's hopefully proposing soon (and let's all pray we didn't scare her off over New Year's!) so when I found this fabulous Philly Love goco print by artsharkdesigns I knew it would be perfect. The print was $15 and I put it in a nice black frame from Target. He--and his girlfriend--loved it. Another success! (Note: The artist also has similar love prints set in many, many more cities so you should definitely check out her shop!)

My Niece
I have a really sweet 10 year old niece on Abel's side of the family and I just loved the gifts I got her this year. She's very creative and so I worked around two creative themes for her--writing and cooking. First, for writing, I got her a Rhyming Dictionary. Have you ever used one? I'm telling you, if you know a young person who likes to write poetry or lyrics this is a must-have. To give her a place to store all that creativity, she also received a lovely lined journal which I personalized with some scrap booking letters. Second, for cooking, we got her a cookbook designed for kids and to go along with it, this beautiful apron on Etsy from Berkshire Hostess. I wrapped that up with some cute heart-shaped cookie cutters tied on the package.

She composed a really lovely poem/song later that evening and her father told me that she's been watching cooking shows lately. So, I'll count these gifts as a big success!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Shred not Nap

Oh my goodness, three posts in one day. That certainly is a record for me! But, I just had to check back in and give a quick update. (This is why I really need to be on twitter, right?) Anyway, after putting Lucas down for a nap (poor kid was exhausted!) I decided not to crawl into my unmade and oh-so-appealing bed but instead decided to put on my sports bra and running shoes and head back downstairs to check out the 30 Day Shred I'd been hearing about here and here and here. It was tough. Tuff. But, I did it and am feeling even better than I would be after an afternoon nap. Yay for me! (Note: if you have Verizon Fios it is On Demand under My Life then Exercise TV.)

Here and there

Light bulb! So I just need to employ a little humor and guilt to get comments. Seriously, I hope everyone realized that the beginning of this post was meant to be funny. Though I'm certainly grateful for the comments it did elicit!!

I'm over at DC Metro Moms today with a short post. You can read it here. Oh, and just between you and me, I modified my grandmother's quote just a bit. She actually used to say, "It's a piss poor mother who can't come up with an excuse for her child." So true!

I'm home with Lucas today. After a pukey night (him) we're having a very cuddly, lazy day. I'm planning to nap when he does (we were both up much of the night). At times like this I do appreciate having only one kid to care for!

Excuses, excuses

Like most, we traveled to visit family over the holidays. We were away from home for 12--count them--12 consecutive days and traveled from the DC-area to Pennsylvania then onto Ohio then back to Pennsylvania before finally returning home. The trip gave us a really good chunk of quality time with each side of the family. And, in my opinion, our just-turned-three year old son Lucas was a really good boy throughout the entire vacation. Then again, my grandmother did always say that it's a poor mother who can't make an excuse for her child.

And sometimes I did feel like I was making a lot of excuses. He's the only grandchild on my side of the family and his only cousin on my husband's side is now 10 years old. So, it's been a while since either side has had a toddler around. Personally I felt like their expectations were just a little too high sometimes.

Take, for example, my father-in-law: this big, tough guy who Lucas just adores (the feeling is mutual). He loves to play with Lucas but much of the "play" involves games like "I'm gonna get you" with fake pulled punches. Well, sir, then don't be surprised when the 3 year old gets so worked up that the play escalates into real punches (that do hurt!).

Or, my brother who also loves to play rough but expects Lucas to say "excuse me" anytime he happens to bump into him or his girlfriend while running by. Hey, I'm all for politeness and take pride in Lucas's use of "please" and "thank you" but expecting an "excuse me" for a run-by bump is a little much, in my humble opinion.

And what about those long holiday dinners? I really don't think it is fair to expect a just-turned-three year old (literally 3 days before Christmas!) to sit quietly through dinner for as long as the rest of us gorge enjoy ourselves at the table.

Or, is it?

Well, like I said, I'd be a poor mother if I couldn't come up with at least a few excuses!

Original post to DC Metro Moms. When Aimee isn't making excuses for her son simply being a good mother, she can be found blogging at


BananaBlueberry said...
You are not making excuses :)

sounds like your little guy is incredibly well-behaved,

glad you had fun!

MammaLoves said...
Many folks who aren't parents--or who haven't been around little people for a while--don't have realistic expectations for kids.

And holidays?? They're never easy. LOL

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Gift Giving Failure

One of the things I take pride in about myself is that I pick out damn good gifts. I really do. Seriously. Apparently, however, when it comes to choosing gifts for my son, I am a complete failure.

I came to this realization over the weekend. I was sorting/organizing/culling some of Lucas's old toys to make room for his many new toys. There were toys that he loved and used a ton that we'll take up to the attic to save for a future (I hope!) child. There were toys that are broken that were thrown out. And, there were toys that were never used that have been donated to Value Village. Then, there's his Melissa & Doug stick pony that I was so excited to give him last year for Christmas. This toy (which is on its way up to the attic!) is in mint condition. Why? Because he never. played. with. it. Okay, maybe, maybe once. But that's it. I'm not kidding.

And this year. What was I so incredibly excited to give him? A fabulous, hand-sewn, personalized cape (that link takes you to his actual one; note the Buckeye colors!) which I spotted here and was made by this wonderfully creative woman. I swear, just a few days before his birthday he asked me to tie his sweatshirt around his neck "like a cape, Mama." And I happily complied knowing that in just a few days he'd be so excited to receive his own cape--his only birthday gift from us this year. And, he was. He was very excited when he ripped open the package. And then he put it aside.

And has he worn it? Not once!

Believe me, I've tried to get him to wear it. Seriously, almost every day, I've asked if he wanted to wear his "superhero cape". His reply: "No thanks. I'm not a superhero today, Mom." (Points for politeness and complete sentences!)

It is now hanging prominently on his bookcase (fka his changing table) waiting for the day he decides he is, indeed, a superhero. (And, in the meantime, I might just think about putting it on myself!)

Monday, January 5, 2009

Wanting a baby

Tap. Tap. Tap. Is this thing on?

Seriously, dear readers, I oh-so-casually drop "get pregnant" into my list of New Year's resolutions here and not a single comment about it?

Hmmm...perhaps it is only news of an actual pregnancy that elicits comments.

(I'm not.)

But, I want to be.

Almost all our friends with kids had their first child after us and has had or will be having a second child before us. I hate that at this point Lucas will be approximately 4 years older than a future sibling. I mean, first we stick him with a crappy birth date then this?

I know, I know, it is fine for siblings to be several years apart. I'm sure Lucas has gotten many benefits from being an only child for this long. But, when I thought about our family, I just always thought that any children would be closer in age.

In my ideal world, we would have gotten preggers this past summer. But, a little thing called ITP put a big wrench into those plans. Back in August, I inquired about getting pregnant and got this response: "Well, if you do, we'll certainly deal with it. But, we strongly recommend you wait."

And so we waited and I continued to ask.

In early December my platelet count came in just below normal, which was a very dramatic increase for me. I'm praying that it will be at that level or even a little higher at my next bloor draw and if it is then that will be my green light.

I'll still be considered a high risk pregnancy because pregnancy in itself has the potential to lower your platelet count. But, that just means that I'll be monitored very closely we'll deal with any possible complications as they come.

With Lucas, I was blessed to get pregnant quickly (very quickly--is that TMI?) but wanting a baby and being told to wait certainly has given me just a hint of what it must feel like to deal with infertility.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Home again, home again, jiggity jig!

After 12--count them--12 days on the road visiting family for the holidays we are finally home! We had really nice visits and it was great to spend lots of quality time with both sides of the family but it sure was fabulous to sleep in our own beds last night.

When Lucas jumped onto our bed to wake us up this morning it seriously took me about 2 minutes to figure out where I was. Then it sunk in, ahhhhh home! Then it also sunk in that there were no grandparents or aunts or uncles around to entertain him bright and this morning. (Oh, I kid! My lazy-bones sister and brother never got up early with him! Oh, I kid again, they're not lazy, just, you know, people without children who have no reason to wake up that early on vacation!!)

Though I am tired, (from staying up too late unpacking and finding places for the many, many, many new toys) it is nice to have a quiet morning with just Lucas and me. And, the look on his face when he saw his train table all set up with the new tracks, track accessories and trains was awesome.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Favorite Things Friday: UGGs

For today's edition of Favorite Things Friday, I bring you my UGGs. Specifically, the women's UGG Australia "Coquette" Slipper.

Along with a gift certificate to the Red Door Spa (which I literally just used on Tuesday!) Abel gave me these last year for Christmas and even before I opened the box, I was certain I'd be returning them. You see, I figured out he was giving me UGGs because he called to ask my shoe size! And, you may recall, UGGs were the hot present last year. I'm not really a huge fan of the UGG boots.

But, when I opened the box and slipped these on, I fell in love. I can't tell you how much I looked forward to pulling them out of the closet this winter. I wore them on the very first chilly day!

These slide-on slippers have a very durable, thick sole and so I really wear them more as shoes than as slippers (just be careful if there is snow on the ground as your heels will get wet!). The incredibly thick sheepskin lining is the ultimate in luxury and in warmth.

My UGGs are being featured today over at Jodifur for her "Shoes Friday" post. Go check them out!