Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I never realized how easy it was back then

I swear there should be some sort of pass for moms. They really shouldn't have to get sick, should they? I mean it is hard enough when you feel like crap but then to have a three year old boy jumping all over you? That just puts you over the top.

I woke up Monday morning feeling achy. I figured I was just tired and would be fine after a shower and some caffeine. After getting ready, I did not feel better and without even telling Abel, I called my boss put my jammies back on and crawled back into bed. Where I stayed. For 24 hours. Literally.

The good news is that Abel's parents were still in town and he had taken Monday off anyway so they were all gone for most of the day. Leaving me to wallow in bed like I would have before I became a mom. It actually was quite lovely. As lovely as a fever and other things I won't mention can be, that is.

What else was lovely, during this past week when Abel's mom was visiting, was getting ready for work in the morning and not having to get Lucas ready. I had totally forgotten how easy it is to get only one person up and out the door. I breezed out the door for work two mornings last week with Lucas still in his jammies, not having gotten him dressed or fed him breakfast or brushed his teeth or packed his lunch or wrangled him into his coat and into the car and to daycare. Is that what it's like to have a live-in nanny? If yes, I think I'd like to have one of those.

The funny thing is that I sincerely remember always running out the door a little late to get to work before I had Lucas. Little did I know how easy I had it. Little did I know.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Grace in Small Things, 8

1. Getting to "sleep in" almost every day this week because my mother-in-law got up with Lucas.

2. Watching Lucas splash with unadulterated joy in the pools of water in the courtyard of the National Portrait Gallery. (The water is just barely skimming the surface of the ground, maybe 1/16" deep. Yet, Lucas managed to get soaked. Oh well!)

3. Cherry Blossoms!

4. Seeing Hope in person. When we decided to visit the National Portrait Gallery, I hadn't realized that the Shepard Fairey portrait is on exhibit there. I was quite surprised by it as I rounded the corner. It is stunning and worth a visit. (But be sure to splash a bit in the courtyard while you're there!)

5. Bowling a strike! (My overall score, however, was pretty bad. Now, I would have beaten Barack Obama but there's no way I could beat the athletes in the Special Olympics.)

Yep, Definitely Mama to a Boy

I'm over at DC Metro Moms today with a cute Lucas story. I know how you all love cute Lucas stories so go ahead and read it here.

Yep, Definitely the Mama of a Boy

We found out the sex of our baby at about 20 weeks and the fact that he was a boy was confirmed again with another sonogram later in my pregnancy. No yellow or green for us, his nursery was all boy. Not just a football theme, it is a scarlet and gray Ohio State Buckeyes nursery.

Other than a brief interest in a baby doll stroller, Lucas's favorite toy selections are trucks and trains and more trucks. He's tough and likes to play rough. He never--well, almost never--sits quietly for minutes on end entertaining himself with a book or crayons. Give him mud and sticks, though, and that will keep him occupied for ages.

What I'm trying to say is that I'm definitely raising a boy. And while I've known that fact since the first sonogram at 20 weeks, it really truly set in recently at the park.

It was a nice spring day and Lucas and I walked over to the park. Not the one a block from our house but another one in town, several blocks away. We were both having fun running around and had been there for quite a while. I noticed that it seemed like he needed to go to the bathroom and momentarily panicked. He's newly potty trained and rarely has accidents but he also can't hold it for very long. Luckily I spotted restrooms and we started to make our way over. As we got closer I realized there were signs hanging on each of the doors. Uh oh: Closed for Winter. The situation was critical. It would take too long to walk back home and if he wet his pants, I was sure he wouldn't want to walk home then. There was no way I was carrying him the whole way home, especially if he was covered in urine.

Then it dawned on me: he is a boy, right? What's the one thing I was always jealous of on camping trips and--I'll admit--during a few college football tailgates? The ability to urinate outside!

So we went around back to a more secluded, forested area and I coached him into peeing outside.

What a milestone in the life of a boy!

His first time peeing in the great outdoors. And most certainly not his last.

Yes, it's official: I'm definitely mama to a boy!

Original post to DC Metro Moms. Aimee Olivo blogs about life's adventures at Smiling Mama.

amy m said...
Aimee--I love this. Being the mother of a boy is crazy and wonderful, and there's a little something new every day.

BananaBlueberry said... This advantage has saved us a couple of times !

Boys are great :)

Wife and Mommy said...
Oh yes. This ability has saved us several times as well. And now every time we go to the particular playground where Bito first watered a tree, he wants to do it again. Boys.

Stimey said...
This is one of the very best perks of having a boy.

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Favorite Things Friday: To Do List

Now, you all know that I love love love lists. Lately, however, my lists have been so long that they could be totally overwhelming and paralyzing. But, they're not! That's because I've been using this wonderful To Do list from Crissy over at Flip Flops and Applesauce. It is divided into three sections: now, soon and eventually. I'm so happy to feature it as today's Favorite Things Friday.

Since she first posted it, I've been using it and have found the system to work really well. I don't update it every day, but do re-write my list every few days. It is so nice to be able to finish the "now" list and then move some of the "soon" and "eventually" items over.

The best part is that she's made it free and available to download through Scribd. While you're at her site, check out some of her other really cute and helpful downloads (like this honeydew list that if I used, Abel would kill me!) and great activities for kids!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Two-timing it

I threw a little thought out there on twitter the other day, that blogs seem to be like tattoos: people can't seem to stop at just one. I mean, really. It seems like almost everyone I read has two blogs--a personal blog and a review blog or a personal blog and a declutter blog or a personal blog and a....you get the picture. Even though I don't have one tattoo, let alone two, I am thinking of two-timing Smiling Mama to start another blog.

One of my goals this spring and summer is to get out and about more, beyond my comfort zone of the few parks and museums that we frequent. I started a list of the places we've been to once that I want to get back to and the places we've never been but want to go. And then, like any good blogger would do, I thought: this would make for great blog material!

Much of my inspiration comes from A Parent in Silver Spring, my main go-to site for great family-friendly activities in the DC Metro area. The problem, of course, is that she's soooo far away in Silver Spring, Montgomery County (not really, but you know it does involve the Beltway!) and I'm way down in (often under-appreciated) Prince George's County. I'd love to feature some of the great, and lesser known spots closer to us.

And, since many of my readers don't have kids and many more don't live in my neighborhood, I don't think this is the right forum. Do you? No. It would need to be another blog, a blog about family-friendly activities in my neck of the woods and our escapades in trying them out.

It's all just swimming around in my head a bit right now. I want to get started on the right foot, starting with a name, a cool design and a plan. (So unlike when I jumped into this blog with the most basic blogger layout and a hastily written first post.)

If you have any ideas, I'd love to hear them! Otherwise, stay tuned!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Loose Ends

I know this is more of a twitter-length post, but I'm totally psyched that more than a year later I finally received my class action settlement from Airborne. I'll be cashing my $41.94 check today, thankyouverymuch!

It's never too late to get organized!

It's never too late to get organized, right? Congratulations to Megan U. who wrote, "How fun! And right now I have three calendars and it is making me CRAZY!"

Megan, e-mail me at smilingmama {at} gmail {.} com with your mailing address and I'll get the Kaleidoscope planner in the mail ASAP!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Great Expectations

Each time I leave Lucas, either to work or just to the store, he gives me the following warning as I walk out the door:
Mama. Mama. Watch for dinosaurs and another one and another one and roar back at them and they'll go "eeeee" and run away. And don't hit or pinch. Take turns and share. No spitting.
The "no spitting" is relatively new, since we found out he spit on one of his daycare buddies a few weeks ago.

Can you tell we talk about the rules whenever we go anywhere?

Sometimes I get so exasperated with Lucas when he doesn't behave as I would like him to and often I then realize that I haven't clearly explained my expectations. For example, he used to be awful, really awful, when I was on the phone. And a hissed "shhhh" wouldn't do a thing. After many crazy phone calls, I realized I needed to do a few practice phone calls with him. So, I explained to him exactly what I wanted--that he needed to be quiet while I'm on the phone but if he really needed me, he could tap my leg and quietly say, "Mama, excuse me." Then, I would tell the person to hold on while I answered his question/need. We even did a few practice phone calls with me chatting away to a dial tone while he appropriately got my attention.

Now, I'm not trying to tell you that he's a perfect angel while I'm on the phone or that his leg tapping and "excuse me" aren't overly loud and for non-critical (in my opinion) needs, but it is a huge improvement.

Church continues to be a huge stressor for me each week. Even more frustrating because before Lucas was born that was a really peaceful time for me. Our church doesn't have any sort of children's program (but I'm working on getting one started!) and Lucas is terrible in church. But, every week we are getting a little bit better and he's lasting a little bit longer before he starts to get too loud. I'm learning what works best, too. It isn't enough to tell him that he needs to be quiet in church, I have to go into great detail about what it means to be quiet.

More and more I realize that disciplining myself to be clear and not assume anything is the key to disciplining Lucas. I can't expect him to live up to my expectations when I haven't made it clear what those expectations are, can I? (Hmmm...that's something I need to keep in mind with my husband, too!)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Uncle Mike

My sister's husband Mike has been in Iraq about 14 of the past 24 months. That, in addition to the fact that they live across the country in San Diego, means that Lucas has seen very little of Mike during Lucas's three years of life. My sister has, at times, worried that Lucas doesn't even remember his uncle, her husband. I have to admit that chances are pretty good that Lucas wouldn't recognize him on the street, but Uncle Mike definitely looms large in Lucas's mind.

Take these examples.

1) When we were out visiting Sarah last September, Abel and I borrowed one of their cars to drive up to the OSU v. USC game. Lucas stayed with Aunt Sarah and we moved his car seat over to Mike's BMW M3. He was pretty fascinated and excited to ride in such a "loud fast car" and still talks about Uncle Mike's "racing car" with great enthusiasm.

2) During our long drives to visit family over Christmas we had fun naming what might be in the many, many, many 18 wheeler trucks we passed on the road. Common guesses from Lucas included: Christmas presents, bicycles and dinosaurs. I think the first two were pretty likely since many of them seemed to be FedEx trucks. One time in particular he was really grilling me about the name of the truck driver. "I don't know" just wasn't cutting it, so I said that I thought his name was Mike. Lucas replied--quite indignantly--"NO Mama, that's not Mike. UNCLE Mike lives in San Diego with Aunt Sarah and he is working far, far away." Well, okay then, buddy. I guess he name is Gus.

3) Last Friday, on the way out to Picture People to take some pictures of Lucas (and take advantage of a great coupon we got in the mail) we passed a local airport. Lucas loves looking at all the little piper planes lined up along the highway so we are always sure to be in the far right lane when we drive by. This particular day, Lucas was pretty intent on getting me to pull over so he could "drive a fast, fast airplane!" I told him he couldn't drive one and he said, "Oh yeah, because I'm just a kid. But, Mama, YOU can drive one!" Then I explained that not all adults get to drive airplanes, that you have to go to a special school to learn how. I threw in that Uncle Mike can drive airplanes and maybe, just maybe, when Lucas is really big, Uncle Mike will take him in an airplane. Well, Lucas just freaked with excitement: "You mean Uncle Mike is a pilot! Uncle Mike drives a fast, fast car AND flies a fast, fast airplane! Wow!"

So my sister doesn't have to worry one bit: Lucas most certainly knows exactly who Uncle Mike is. He's the dream-come-true of every little boy!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Grace in Small Things, 7

1. Blooming crocuses

2. Great conversation, food and wine at book club.

3. Our babysitter telling us what a delight Lucas is.

4. Lucas waving or saying hello to every kid we see when we're out and about.

5. Lunch with a former boss, a wonderful friend.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Favorite Things Friday: Let's Dish

So far in 2009 we've been so busy that I rarely have had time to make complete home cooked meals, even on the days I don't work go into the office. After getting an e-mail survey from Let's Dish, I remembered how great and affordable I found their meals to be way back in January 2008 when a group of friends and I did a session. I signed up and went in a few weekends ago.

The meals have been so fabulous that I decided to feature Let's Dish in this week's edition of Favorite Things Friday.

Here's the basic overview--you schedule a session, select your meals and then go in and follow the easy instructions to put them together. Everything is chopped/minced/julienned and ready to go. Hate red peppers? Leave them out! Love garlic? Add a little extra. It is so easy. For our small family of two adults and a picky toddler, I split each meal into two 2-3 portion meals. So for $100 I came home with 8 meals which serve 2-3 people each. (Actually, for filling out that survey, I got a $15 coupon so I got 8 meals for $85--woohoo!) So far, I've found that we've gotten a solid 3 portions from each meal. Either Lucas has liked it so much that he's eaten an almost adult-sized portion or I've had an extra portion to bring for lunch the next day.

I can't tell you the relief and happiness that floods over me when I'm driving home from work or when Lucas is begging to stay at the park longer to know that a fabulously delicious made from scratch dinner is literally only 20 minutes away, courtesy of Let's Dish.

That reminds me, we've only got 2 meals left. I need to sign up for another session ASAP!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Are you organized yet? (Psssst, it's a giveaway!)

So I know it is March, the second half of March, even, but maybe, just maybe you haven't found a good planner/calendar/organizational system yet this year. And if you haven't, then I've got something for you. The Franklin Covey Kaleidoscope Planner. It was part of my lovely goody bag package way back when at the BOCA spa night. And it really is a wonderfully adorable planner with beautiful colors and designs and I have so been meaning to start using it because once again, I am having multiple calendar issues.

But, after flipping through it several times to admire the lovely, lovely blank pages and not writing a thing down, I just have to admit that this particular planner just isn't the solution for me. Mostly that's because I need my calendar with me at all times and just can't add this to all the other-must-have-with-me items I carry around already.

So, dear readers, my loss is your gain. If you are still searching for the perfect 2009 organizational tool then leave a comment, any comment, on this post. I'll use random.org to pick a winner on the 24th and get it in the mail to you ASAP.

After all, it's never to late to get organized!

Edited to add: Please be sure to include an e-mail address on the comment form so I can notify you if you win!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Elephant Parade

The Circus is in town! And, today they had to get the elephants from the circus trains to the venue. How else to accomplish this than to walk them through Washington, DC? I really had no idea what to expect but thought it would be something fun to see, so Lucas and I headed to Capitol Hill this morning for the Elephant Parade.

Here they come!

This was our view when they stopped to greet the crowd at Stanton Park. (I guess we were on the wrong side of the street!)

Lucas was SO excited. He wouldn't take his eyes off them for a second!

And, what's the take away from this awesome experience? It's that elephants go pee-pee and poo-poo in the street! That's right, folks, do you see fat ass there on the far right spreading his legs? Our wrong-side-of-the-street view got us front row action for elephant defecation! And, really, what could have delighted a 3 year old more? Nothing. Nothing at all. I will admit, it truly is a sight to see an elephant piss and shit on the street. Man oh man! Sure am glad I don't have to clean that up!

I've already heard about it about 100 times since 10:30am. And anticipate it being the #1 story of the afternoon and evening, too! That's always the case, isn't it? You can take a kid on a grand adventure, but you can't determine what the memorable take-away will be!

The ring master and a few clown cars came after the elephants.

I didn't get a pic of what was the last, but also the most important part of the parade: the street cleaners.

Lots of local mom bloggers have discount codes posted on their sites for circus tickets. Check out Jodifur or APISS or your other favorite local blogger (except me, why not me, Ringling??!!) for great deals to see the elephants--and the rest of the circus--in person!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Facebook and mini vans, oh my!

Lucas and I hopped in the car Friday afternoon for a quick overnight visit with my parents. He's the only grandchild and my mom needs her fix every few weeks (though I truly suspect it will be the same with the 2nd and 5th and 15th grandchild, too). Sometimes I'm so productive back in my hometown. There are two reasons for this. First, things are so much closer--nothing is really more than a 15 minute drive through no traffic. Second, I have built-in babysitters. I always wish I could just run to the grocery store or post office while Lucas is napping. Imagine how much you could get done with 1.5-2 kid-free hours each day! Yes, I try to be productive around the house while Lucas is sleeping (cleaning up, getting dinner started, blogging--well, maybe that last one isn't being productive but it is fun!) but it's those errands that take so much longer or are more of a hassle with a kid in tow.

All that's to say that Saturday afternoon my dad and I headed out to test drive a couple of mini vans while Lucas took his afternoon nap. Abel and I had been meaning to get out to do some test drives every weekend since January but it just never happened. In 2 hours, Dad and I hit two dealerships and drove two mini vans. It was great.

Then, I started some minor facebook hysteria by updating my status to read: "test driving mini vans. Anyone have one they love and want to tell me about it?" Well, of course, several people (0bviously NOT readers of this blog!) immediately commented "are you pregnant??" Beyond that, several more people said, "don't do it!" or "I hate mini van moms!"

Because I rarely get on actual facebook via computer and generally just update my own status via my phone, it was more than 24 hours before I could get on to clear the rumors and tell people that I was indeed, not pregnant. But by then my sister had posted another comment, this time saying, "If I find out that you are pregnant via facebook someone is in big trouble!" and my cousin (the original preggers commenter) wrote, "You'd better comment on this or we're going to start to think it's true!"

Too funny!

Not pregnant. But, we are indeed thinking of a mini van. First, we have seriously got to get rid of our Audi. We've been saying this for years. It was a splurge purchase when we decided that there was no way we were ever going to be able to buy a house in the DC market. Then we did buy a house. And have a baby. And as much as we both love love love love love driving the Audi, it just doesn't make sense. And, oh my gosh, we can. not. afford those fancy foreign parts and labor (Hey, do you want to buy an Audi? We'll give you a great deal!!)

So, even though right now at this moment, we have no need for a mini van, the hope is that in a year we will have two car seats and oh my gosh I never thought I'd say this but those sliding doors and that 3rd row of seating are so incredibly appealing.

We've narrowed it down to the Toyota Sienna and Hyundai Entourage. We each have our own favorite and are pushing hard for that one. And, let's note that Abel got to pick out our last two (read: only two) cars so really it is MY turn. And, I'll be the one most often driving this mini van so really, the Sienna is the obvious choice. Aren't you with me, Internets? Thx.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Grace in Small Things, 6: Lucas edition

1. "We're still friends, right Mama?" after he gets in trouble.

2. A tight, tight hug.

3. "You can't get me!" while running away then "You can't get me!" while standing still because he really desperately wants me to get him!

4. "Mama, you're my best lady."

5. Just one more. . . song. . . book. . . TV show. . . game. . . PLEEEEEEEEEASE!!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Favorite Things Friday: Chick-fil-A

This past Monday I finally took Lucas in for something I'd been avoiding for the past two years--to have his blood drawn to test the lead level. I know this is a standard thing for kids and living in an older home, it really was something we should have checked. To be perfectly honest, I did attempt to have it done when the doctor first ordered it two years ago. But, it was so incredibly awful--no fewer than 3 people tried to get the needle into my little guy's arm before I told them to stop and left as fast as I possibly could. So Monday I was resolved to finally do it. And we did. And it was painful, probably more for me. The woman did a great job and although Lucas cried he was totally fine by the time the crayon-shaped band-aid was applied. We both deserved a treat, though, and there was a Chick-fil-A close by.

As we sat there eating lunch, I realized just how great Chick-fil-A is. At least the 3 locations close to our house are incredible. The indoor play areas are fun and always clean. The kids meals have healthful options (as do the regular meals). But, where they go above and beyond is the service. On Monday, the first employee who stopped by our table asked if Lucas would like a placemat. He brought one over and put it down for me (it was one of those ones that stick to the table!). A second employee asked if I wanted a refill. The manager stopped by later to ask if there was anything else we needed. A few weeks ago we were at another location and someone came over to help me with the trash when we were finished (wrangling a toddler, diaper bag and tray, not to mention the just-refilled diet coke I planned to take home, was not an easy task!).

It is for that above-and-beyond attitude of service that I bring you Chick-fil-A for today's edition of Favorite Things Friday. I mean, really, how often do you find that in a company this day and age?

Thursday, March 12, 2009


I hate giving advice. Really hate it. Now, don't mistake me. I love giving my opinion on things. Like, you know, what necklace you should wear with that dress or what color you should paint your wall. I hate giving advice about the big things--parenting, marriage. You know, relationships. What I prefer, and what I think you'll find peppered throughout this blog, is to give examples of things that have worked for me, for us, for our family. To share our experience. And you can take it from there.

Within just a few days last week, a good friend had a baby and we attended an engagement party for another good friend. I think those events have made me think about some great advice I've received. Advice my grandmother gave my mother and that my mother gave to me. And, so dear readers, I'm giving it to you in this post. (Please note, not specifically to the friends mentioned above!) Take it or leave it or claim its irrelevance to your life. All I'm doing is putting it out there.

First, for your marriage: "I don't want to know about your fights."

That's basically a direct quote from my mom before I got married. And, it was a direct quote from her mom before she got married. To be more general about it, the advice is to not involve your family in the disagreements between you and your spouse. Because, here's the thing: you and your spouse will kiss and make up. But your mom (or your dad or your sister or even your best friend) won't forget and move on so easily. They'll take your side every time because they've known and loved you your whole life. And if you do this too often, there might grow a resentment toward your spouse, which you certainly don't want to encourage.

Now, this isn't to say that I haven't grumbled to my mom that Abel was driving me crazy. Or complained about something or other. And to be honest I can think of many occasions where Abel has sought my mom's opinion and she's sided with him (the nerve!) on a disagreement. But, folks, we're talking small domestic things. Not any big things. Those are between us. We work them out and move on without the involvement of our family and friends.

Second, for your baby. Again, sage advice from my grandmother: teach your child that nighttime is for sleep as early as possible. The idea and method here is that even as a very small baby, you can lay the groundwork for an understanding that we sleep at night.

Here's the method, which we started with Lucas, oh, the day he got home from the hospital. Set a bedtime. Maybe early on, when they are eating every few hours, that is 10pm or even later, but it is a set time, nonetheless. At that time each night, do a little routine: wash their face, change their diaper, put on jammies (yes, they may be wearing jammies all day and they may be getting a new outfit every few hours, but make this part of the routine), dim the lights. From that point until morning, keep things quite and dim. When you wake for feedings, don't turn on the lights, don't watch TV, don't play with baby. It is nighttime! Things are different than daytime.

During the day the curtains may be open to let in the sunlight, the lamps may be on along with the radio or the TV. You might carry on conversations or watch TV while feeding baby. But, at night these things don't happen. Yes, you meet baby's needs--feeding, changing, soothing. But, you do it in a fairly basic manner. It is business that gets done without any extra fanfare. I truly believe this also sets the stage later--for both you and baby--when he or she is older and wakes at night not for a true need (e.g. food) but for comfort. I never could stand to let Lucas cry it out for very long. But, I would go in for minimal soothing: retrieve the paci, pat on the back, etc. He did not get fed or rocked to sleep. At night we were all business.

Now, I'm just the mom of one, though Lucas is indeed a champion sleeper. But this method was used with great success by my mother-of-six grandmother, mothers-of-many aunts and several of my cousins.

So there you have it (wiping hands). My two best pieces of tried and true advice. They are yours to take or leave. To gratefully accept or scoff at.

The end.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Let's Get Physical

My darling son is all boy. Boy. Boy. Boy. He loves sticks and mud and trucks and dirt and digging and trucks--did I already say trucks?--and trains and tools. With the exception of a brief interest in a doll stroller and that he occasionally calls this voodoo doll (a random marketing thing for some political site that we kept around because it cracks us up!) his "dolly" he is 100% boy.

He's also the most physical creature I've ever known. He is constantly climbing on Abel and me, jumping on us, tackling us. When we are watching TV, he wants to be sitting on our lap or our head. He attacks us, often knocking me off balance, for a running hug. He jumps, without warning, toward us from the bed or couch. If I happen to be laying down, he wants to sit on top of me or jump on me. Often first thing in the morning or after his bath, we'll lay down on the guest room bed to watch a little TV. He doesn't lay next to me, he lays on top of me (as my blanket, he tells me) or he kneels on me or he climbs up me or he falls onto me.

Get the picture?

And at the same time, he's so incredibly sweet and lovely. He's constantly giving us hugs and kisses. He'll take my head in his hands and pull me in for a kiss or hug. He'll pat my head or rub my back so sweetly. When we leave the park or playgroup, he almost always hugs and kisses his friends to say goodbye.

We've signed him up for an awesome nursery school in our town for September. Since the day we moved into town we've only heard wonderful things about this program. And, it's literally at the end of our block. How great is that?

I'm a tad bit nervous about their rules of not touching other kids and specifically not kissing other kids. I can totally understand the reasons behind these rules, certainly where preschoolers are involved the difference between a hug and a tackle depends if you are on the giving end or receiving end. So we've started talking to him about only kissing mama and dada. This summer, I'll start teaching him to not hug and kiss his friends at the park. And while I totally understand, it also makes me sad. I know we need to walk a fine line here--teaching him not to hug or kiss his friends while at the same time not inadvertently teaching him that hugs and kisses are bad things.

Monday, March 9, 2009

That, or a greeter at Wal Mart

After almost 30 years, first as assistant superintendent of recreation then superintendent of recreation for my hometown, my dad is retiring this summer. 30 years people. My goodness, I've been at this job for 3 years (this month, actually) and am feeling like I've been here for. ever. We're all totally psyched for this retirement, especially because he's treating the fam to a nice beach vacation immediately following his retirement party. But, I keep asking my mom, and Abel keeps asking me, and I keep asking my sister, "What is he doing to DO?" We're all quite sure he'll go a little stir-crazy, at least once it gets too cold for golf.

Well, I now have the answer! He can use is extensive real-life experience with a small town recreation and parks department to consult for this new show. Perfect.

If I've learned anything over basically my entire life of seeing my father do this job then I can assure you that this is going to be must see TV, people. Must. See.

Okay, not really, but running a recreation department is definitely more exciting than making paper and so if they can do for parks and recreation what The Office did for paper than it's sure to be a hit!

By the way, my claim to fame as daughter of this all-powerful recreation man is that I got to pick out the colors for a new playground once. Seriously. What do you think those colors were? Why, purple and pink, of course. It was the 80s after all!

Go ahead. Admit it. You're jealous!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Grace in Small Things, 5

1. My mom. Who is amazing. My brother and sister and I are so blessed to have her as our mom.

2. Several inches of snow and a lovely snow day.

3. Sunshine and warmer temps to melt the snow after just a few days.

4. Tulips!

5. Spring. The weatherman says the days are getting longer by more than 2 minutes every day.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Favorite Things Friday: Arm & Hammer Dental Care Toothpaste

Photo from www.myoralcare.com

Here's the thing: I'm a little obsessed with my teeth. Obviously I brush several times a day but I also floss at least once each day. I go to the dentist for a cleaning every 4 months. That's three times a year. One of which I pay for out of my pocket because, as I'm sure you know, insurance only covers 2 cleanings per year. When I was 20, I had to have a little surgery on my gums. My dentist said there were many possible reasons for this happening, one of which was "overzealous brushing" believe you me, my siblings and parents still make fun of me for that to this day. (I remind them each and every time that there were several other possible reasons for the problem, overzealous brushing was merely one of the possibilities!)

All this is background for the fact that, as you might imagine, I'm a tad bit picky about my dental products. Specifically, tooth paste. And so for today's edition of Favorite Things Friday, I bring you my preferred brand of toothpaste: Arm & Hammer Dental Care.

Now, you might see the word "baking soda" on the package and think "gritty." I assure you, you would be wrong. The great thing about this product is that their wide range of varieties ensures there is an Arm & Hammer for everyone--smooth green gel, basic white paste, etc. My newest favorite, though sometimes hard to find in stores, is Arm & Hammer Age Defying. No matter which variety I choose, Arm & Hammer always leaves my teeth feeling incredibly clean and my breath fresh.

Please note: Abel does not share this preference with me. He, in fact, hates this toothpaste. And, since Lucas can't have fluoride toothpaste yet, there are three--THREE!--different toothpastes in our very small medicine cabinet. One of those, however, is always Arm & Hammer!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

At least the flowers will last longer

Thanks to Lucas's prompting at dinner two night's ago, Abel came home with two bunches of tulips last night. It was really, really sweet: one was for Lucas and one was for me. Lucas was thrilled and we are all enjoying them.

Immediately after handing over the tulips, however, I sent Abel down to the basement to check out the furnace. It wasn't working! The house seemed a little chilly when Lucas and I got home, but it had been an unusually cold few days and we keep our thermostat pretty low anyway. I figured I'd just notch it up a bit. Well, the temp. was set to be 68 but the actual temp. was reading at 60! No wonder my toes were cold!

Abel was convinced that the original-to-the-house round Honeywell thermostat had simply crapped out. Luckily, we'd had a programmable thermostat laying around for more than a year (part of our small steps to go green effort) that he'd never installed. He spent a few hours on that and then....ta da! nothing.

We pulled out the space heater and moved Lucas over to our bed. It was actually quite cozy in our room for the night. A freezing bathroom first thing in the morning, however, is not so fun.

Some one's coming over in a few hours. Hopefully it will be a cheap, quick and easy fix. I am praying we don't need a new furnace. (This is a strong possibility, though, as our home inspector told us more than 3 years ago that it was on the end of its life cycle.)

Well, at least the chilly temperatures will help the tulips last longer!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Lucas Says...

Here are a few pretty adorable things Lucas has said/done recently....

When I pulled out the nail clippers, Lucas said, "No Mama! I want claws like a bear so I can climb trees." I finally convinced him distracted him with TV long enough to clip his fingernails but he would not let me get close to his toes, which are definitely approaching claw-length! A fight for another day....

Last night at dinner, Lucas put his index finger up in the air and announced, "Dada, I have some great news!" What, Lucas? "Mama needs flowers!" Indeed, after a Valentine's Day sans flowers I did coach Lucas to tell his Dada that they should get me flowers. I guess the reminder took a few weeks to get delivered! (To be fair, I did tell Abel to get me flowers before or after Valentine's Day, not pay the outrageous prices on Valentine's Day.)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Getting Lucky

I've written before (and here) about my fantastic luck. And, I have to admit that I do seem to win more than the average Joe. But, I also think that part of it is that each time I win something, it increases the opinion (mine and others) that I am lucky. But, every time I don't win, those opinions are not diminished. I think there's some sort of law about that in science. I'm not really one for science, though, so have no idea what the name of that law might be. Anyone?

Speaking of laws of science, the one that I will always fondly remember, though apparently not fondly enough to recall the actual name, is the one that says if you look at a measurement from any angle other than straight on, the measurement will be incorrect. The reason I remember that one? Well, my physics teacher used the example that when the person in the passenger's seat looks over at the speedometer from the side they will see a reading that is a few MPH higher than the actual speed of the car. I pulled that little factoid out many, many times when driving with my dad. He always thought I was going too fast. Probably still does.

So anyway, what I'm trying to say is that maybe I'm not really more lucky than the average Joe but that the perception is that I am. My family certainly perceives this. Case in point, when I was a child, my aunt--who lived in another town--would regularly put my name on raffle tickets. (Hmmm...she never did share any prizes won with my name and my luck! Humph!)

All this is to say that I have gotten lucky thanks to the Internets recently. So here are some belated thanks to...Jessica at A Parent in Silver Spring Reviews for some lovely, lovely Skinn lip gloss; Leticia at Tech Savvy Mama for System Mechanic to help my PC run faster; and, Stacy at The Fabulous Miss S for the Milk Bank breast milk feeding and storage system.*

So, am I right that winning those three contests increased your perception of my luckiness? If you knew that there were several more I entered but did not win would that diminish your opinion?

*OMG seriously. The babies are on the mind.* Not only did I enter this contest for a breast milk feeding and storage system, I also purchased a little pink tutu on clearance at Target. Like this one but pink and only $2. I totally justified the tutu with the fact that, well it was only $2, and also, I know several people currently pregnant who could have girls who I could give this tutu to. (Why didn't I buy 2 then I could have written these two tutus to. Ha ha!) But, I probably won't give it away. It is just so freaking adorable and I am going to hug it and squeeze it and wish on it. Because I do so want a girl. I am unabashedly admitting it.

*ON the mind, not IN the belly, people. Not yet anyway.

DC's Ultimate Celebrity Sighting: President Obama

In places like New York or LA, celebrity sightings are common. Or, at least that's that those folks would lead you to believe. In just a short time living in New York, my brother saw Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke (though not together, of course, this was when the divorce was going through). My friends who have lived in LA casually throw out the name of this or that celeb they saw at this or that club.

Those are "real" celebrities--TV and movie stars. The kind of people most of us would recognize on the street.

In Washington, DC, we have our own celebrities. And, trust me, most people wouldn't recognize them if their lives depended on it. That's because they are generally dark-suited, gray-haired, completely unglamorous white men.

That's right: In Washington, DC, the celebrities are the politicians.

Sure, Capitol Hill staffers occasionally get to see a "real" celebrity when the stars come to town to lobby or testify for their pet causes. I know a few people who have seen Bono or Susan Sarandon walking the halls or Congress. And of course, during the inauguration, celebrities were swarming around town. But, that's not the norm for Washington, DC.

Here are a few examples of celebrity sightings DC-style.

•My husband and I ran into Michael Steele in Macy's a few weekends ago. Who, you ask? Steele is the former Lieutenant Governor of Maryland and was recently elected to serve as chair of the Republican National Committee. We recognized him and offered our congratulations on his new gig.

•A friend of mine lives in the same building as John Paul Stevens. Drawing a blank? That's Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens. Every time I visit her, I imagine what I will say if he happens to step into the elevator with me.
But the ultimate celebrity sighting in Washington, DC is, of course, the President or First Lady.

I never saw President Clinton in person on the street (though I did get to formally meet him twice!) but I have friends who saw him on a jog or out at dinner. George W. and Laura didn't venture out too often but their twin daughters were common sights around town (especially late at night in Georgetown bars!).

Just over one month into the Obama presidency, on Friday night, my husband and I hit the DC celebrity jackpot: we saw President Barack Obama!

Earlier in the month, we attended our parish school's Casino Night fundraiser and auction. My husband bid on and won two tickets to the Washington Wizards v. Chicago Bulls basketball game. We were psyched that he snagged them for a great deal, less than the face value of one ticket. Neither of us are big basketball fans, but it was a great excuse for a date night.

Friday night, as we approached the arena, we noticed lines out the doors. When we entered, we realized the Secret Service was there checking all bags and sending everyone through magnetometers. We excitedly realized that could only mean one thing: President Obama might be attending the game! It made sense, didn't it? We all know he loves to play basketball and the Bulls are his hometown team.

After we got to our seats, I started scanning the boxes for any sign that the President might be in one of them. When the players were announced, I expected some sort of acknowledgment that the President was there too. With no mention and no buzz of excitement I figured he had a last-minute change of plans. After all, he's got a few things on his plate these days. Then, just a few minutes into the game, the crowd erupted. It wasn't for a fancy dunk; the President of the United States had entered the arena!

He took a seat court side near an exit and sat back to enjoy the game like any other fan. My husband and I--not really hard core basketball fans to begin with--kept our eyes on him more than the game. I just kept thinking that I hoped he was truly relaxing and enjoying the game, he certainly deserved at least four quarters of a break from the realities and pressures of his job.

In just the past few weeks the Obama family has been out and about around town a great deal. If this keeps up over the next four eight years many DC area residents will enjoy the thrill my husband and I had on Friday.

And now that I've seen President Obama, I'm desperately hoping to see Michelle!

Original post to DC Metro Moms. When Aimee isn't celebrity-sighting DC-style, she's trying to balance life and writing about it on her personal blog at www.smilingmama.blogspot.com


Becky said...
Funny. My 6-year-old was saying today that he wants to take a vacation to Washington, D.C., so we can see President Obama.
Reply March 01, 2009 at 06:03 PM Leticia- Tech Savvy Mama said...
That's so exciting! I'm hoping for a President Obama/Michelle/Sasha/Melia sighting during his presidency too!

amy m said...
Awesome!! I'm crossing my fingers, too, for a few sightings in the next few years!!

KC said...
How fun! For the first time, I feel like we do have a true celebrity inside the Beltway.

Ladybug Crossing said...
I think it's fascinating that he gets to take a break. Our nation is in crisis. If GW had taken a break and gone to a game the press would have been all over him and called him a slacker.

The other thing that gripes me - my tax dollar is paying for his security at that game. He should stay home, tuck his kids into bed, and while he finishes his work for the night, then he can watch the game on TV. You know, like the rest of us have to live...

Ames T. Philips said in reply to Ladybug Crossing...
Ease up Ladybug Crossing. After all bush took 499 days of vacation...MY tax dollars hard at work, heh! Besides, I would rather Obama take several several hours for down time in DC then fly hundreds or thousands of miles away like bush. Do you think bush lived a life like you or me...absolutely not. Why? Because he was the President of the United States! At least Obama was willing to go out in public...without having to establish "free speach zones"...thank you very much bush. Mission Accomplished? I think so.

pat said in reply to Ladybug Crossing...
As of march 2008 Bush had spent 879 days at his Crawford Ranch. Wonder how much money the security cost for those days? Be careful what you complain about.

Claire Jess said in reply to Ladybug Crossing...
Two recent fascinating pieces in the Washington
Post about what he does on a daily basis:


and also how he's connecting both in and outside of DC in ways his predecessors didn't come close to in their first 30 days in office:


Gunfighter said...
Remind me to tell the story of how I was almost killed by Tip O'Neil's limo about 22 years ago.

Aimee Olivo said in reply to Gunfighter...
I'm sure it's quite a story!! Thanks for your comment!
:) Aimee

Sue @ Laundry for Six said...
Oooh! So exciting! My 3rd grader wants to transfer to Sidwell Friends so she can have a celebrity friend. Ha.

Claire Jess said...
How great for you!

The other night I said I was going over to my friend Michelle's house and my son asked if Barack Obama (her assumed husband) was going to be there. He's watched that inaugural ball couple dance video clip a few too many times, methinks.

My celebrity sightings have included only George Stephanapoulos (on K St. after a lactation consultant appt. at the Breastfeeding Center). Apparently my son and I narrowly missed Condi Rice at my gym last week.

Original post by Smiling Mama. Thanks for reading!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Snow Day!

I didn't put my PJs inside out last night but I did prepare lunches and make sure we were otherwise ready for a normal Monday morning. Thus, I feel partly responsible for today's SNOW DAY!! Woo hoo!

Who doesn't love a snow day?

My mom started working at an elementary school when I was in 4th grade and after that I'd be woken up by the phone ringing at a 5am for a school delay or cancellation. Oh how I loved the sound of the phone ringing at 5am! (Only in winter, though, right? Otherwise a call like that incites dread.) I'd roll over and turn off my alarm and go back to sleep. More often than not (at least according to my rosy memory) I'd eventually wake back up to the smell of cinnamon rolls baking in the oven. This was an especially big treat as we were a cold-cereal-for-breakfast family.

This morning, Lucas came bounding into our room to let us know it was snowing. Before I knew it, he was standing our our bed looking out the window naming everything that was covered in snow. My ears perked up when he said "the roads are covered in snow." And I turned on the radio to learn that our school district was closed (meaning his daycare would be closed as well) and my university was closed, too! (Definite perk of working for a university!)

We played in the snow all morning, got the sidewalk shoveled and the cars cleaned off. My neighbor and I even went across the street to clean our elderly neighbor's steps and walk. Now Lucas is down for a hopefully-marathon nap.

Oh I love snow days!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

DC's Ultimate Celebrity Sighting: President Obama

I just can't stop thinking and talking about our Obama sighting on Friday night. So exciting! I'm over at DC Metro Moms today with another blog post about it. Go check it out here!