Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Concert Goers
Attending a wedding was not the only thing we did during our jaunt to West Point.

Ronan Tynan, one of the Irish Tenors (and doppelgänger of a good friend of mine), gave a concert at the famed Ike Hall and after the nuptials we decided to take in the performance.

Now that we have kids, concerts are one of the activities we've given up in exchange for bedtime rituals. I miss concerts. Oh sure, we've gone to concerts, like sing-alongs at the kids' school and I've seen the odd third-rate performer at office Christmas parties but it's been a long time since we've gone to a concert, a live performance given by an adult for adults.

Ronan Tynan sang everything from Danny Boy to U2 to the Beatles to Bruce Springsteen and ended the concert with God Bless America. He could have sang Jimmy Cracked Corn for all I care. It was good to be out doing something we used to do!

We were some of the youngest people there and when Ronan Tynan announced that he'd stick around to sign autographs I thought I'd wait around and have him sign my program. Except all the older women who appeared to be leaving the concert early were actually getting in line for their shot at getting the big guy's autograph. The line snaked around the lobby of the theater and was so crowded we decided to ditch the autograph and go home for a good night's sleep, the other activity we've been missing lately.

Monday, September 28, 2009
Weekend Jaunt to West Point
This weekend we attended a wedding at West Point.

And all you need to know about West Point can be summed up in three words: MEN, IN UNIFORM.

The only other thing you need to know: Go Army, Beat Navy.

Friday, September 25, 2009
I Bought A Dirndl

The one above, to be exact.

I plan on wearing it to an Oktoberfest that I am helping organize.

Then I will wear it for Halloween.

Who knew ethnic costumes like this could cost so much? Real, honest to goodness authentic dirndl dresses can run you several hundred dollars. I bought this one on ebay. The other vintage, authentic, imported dirndls were getting as pricey as the new ones but this knockoff did not cost nearly as much and I will use some credit card points to offset the price, making it much more affordable.

John refuses to wear lederhosen. That's too bad because we'd have looked cute together when we took the kids trick or treating.

Thursday, September 24, 2009
My Personal Fairy Tale
Once upon a time there was a working mom who had two kids, two cats, two hamsters and one husband. Often, the working mom could be seen skipping to and fro between activities, which she rather liked, although at times it could be a bit much. But to and fro she went between church fundraisers and school meetings and work and multi-family block-wide events and dead car batteries, laundry, playdates and grocery shopping.

Seemingly at once, the husband and children of the working mom came down with nasty colds, which was evident by the symphony of coughing, sniffling and sneezing. The working mom administered the proper care and popped some vitamins to try to keep herself healthy.

One night, whilst the family were still suffering from their colds, the working mom's husband developed tremors and fever, requiring a trip to the emergency room. While there, the working mom sat in The World's Most Uncomfortable Chair and eavesdropped on the other patients' tales of woe. To pass the time she watched Oprah reruns and diagnosed all the patients, and decided they were all going to die, because, eventually they all would prove her right. (The working mom was very tired and in a dark place that day.)

Incidentally, the working mom's husband was OK, much to the relief of the working mom.

The working mom decided the next day that she herself should perhaps visit her doctor for a long overdue checkup. A step onto the scale showed that the working mom had packed on the pounds over a summer and knew right then and there she would have to do something about it because she was didn't want to have to buy jeans in that size ever again.

And as the working mom was slowly regaining control of a very hectic week she received a notice home about a case of head lice in her youngest child's class, which, honestly, nearly pushed her over the edge. Several deep breaths and a check of the babe's head revealed no lice, just dirt. Lots and lots of dirt. Whew.

The End.

Friday, September 18, 2009
School Days
Today is last day of the first full week of school. Overall, things are going well. We've had a few good days and a few bad days, which is to be expected I suppose.

Earlier in the week. Harry was anointed appointed Line Leader on Monday, which in his mind makes him Line Leader for life. He thought he'd secured a great position in pre-k, one of power and authority. I'm sure he thought it would give him an advantage for the rest of his academic career and I could just picture him in 25 years on a job interview, telling his prospective employer that he is well suited for the work because he was chosen as Line Leader on the very first full day of pre-k and is therefore a born leader.

He was none too pleased to discover on Tuesday that his teacher had staged a coup and made someone else Line Leader, which was followed by a meltdown and a not-very-good-rest-of-the-day.

The following day Harry's teacher mentioned that she's noticed he is very particular (which is an understatement), and really, really likes for things to be a certain way. Namely, his way.

And for the life of me I don't know where he gets that from. Ahem.

Anyway, we've been working on some things, namely sharing and understanding that school is about learning and his place within the class, not HIM and a bunch of other kids who show up on a regular basis. This has been difficult for the World's Cutest Dictator but he's getting there.

Thursday, September 17, 2009
It's In The Cards. Or Not.
We're currently in the process of getting the kids their yearly physicals and medical forms filled out for school.

The problem isn't in getting the forms filled out and the physicals completed. The problem is trying to find the pediatrician that up and retired and explaining to everyone along the way, yet again, why we don't have a yellow card for either of the kids.

It's not that I don't want to have a yellow card for them. I was given a card for Sophie when we were discharged from the hospital. Which I lost. Between not sleeping and the baby care books and the breastfeeding guides and the sheets of paper from the hospital telling me that I could return her at anytime, no questions asked (but please don't leave her on a doorstep) and that I should seek help if I ever feel like shaking the baby, on top of the no sleep, I don't know what happened to it. I just don't. I didn't know it was important.

Then it was time to register Sophie for school and Sister Anna, principal at the parochial preschool was shocked! shocked I tell you! that I didn't have this yellow card.

I called a friend in tears. "What yellow card are they talking about? Why didn't I get one? Did I do something wrong?"

My friend assured me that the card was just a duplication of the medical records the pediatrician keeps and to not worry about it. So I didn't.

Then surprise! Harry was born and the yellow card turned up between the pages of the What to Expect the First Year book.

Yeah, well, that was 4 years after Sophie was born and with the no sleep once again and the nursing and the 4 year old who insisted on wearing a dress to school every day despite the 5 degree January weather....I made the conscious decision to NOT keep a yellow card for Harry. He'd be slighted enough with the few baby photos and no videos and no baby book. Would it really matter if I put them on equal footing in the YELLOW CARD department? Nah, right?


Over the summer, our pediatrician told me she was planning on retiring and it was then that she came to the conclusion that I should have been keeping these yellow cards all along even though I never once showed up with them. Didn't she wonder why I kept asking for copies of our immunization records twice a year, like clockwork?

Now the doctor's gone (some might say vanished, ahem). We're having trouble obtaining our records and we've had to cobble together health histories for the kids from spotty memory and copies of summer camp forms and is it spring break yet?

Friday, September 11, 2009
Today marks the eighth anniversary of 9/11. It is hard to believe that eight years have gone by but here we are. And the anniversaries have not gotten easier. I thought they would but they don't.

Today's anniversary is different since it is the first to be commemorated as a National Day of Service and Remembrance. This is a day set aside for everyone to give back, to pay it forward if you will, as a tribute to those lost on that day and the continuing sacrifices made by our armed forces.

In October of 2001, I volunteered with the Red Cross. It was only a month after the attacks and I remember lining up and meeting with a counselor at the Red Cross offices in Brooklyn to coordinate my service. I was trained, photographed for an ID card and told to return on a specific day for a shift.

When I did, I was handed a hard hat and my ID tag. We were told to get on a bus. We were being sent to a respite center 2 blocks from Ground Zero.

I was told to report to the logistics center where I would be handing clean, dry gear out to police, fire fighters, sanitation crews and iron workers--the workers on The Pile, which as we all know was the remains of two 110-story towers.

In they came, dirty, sweaty, dusty from digging through the rubble. "I need gloves. Mine fell in a hole."

"My pants tore. Do you have a pair of jeans in my size?"

"I'm going to take a shower. Do you have soap?"

I took sizes and handed gear out. I doled out tissues, lip balm, shampoo and conditioner, razors, clean socks, boots, shoes and jackets.

Every recipient, regardless of what he or she asked for, always, always said "Thank you. We couldn't be here without you." Me. A mom who showed up for two measly eight-hour shifts because that's all I could spare with a job and an nine-month old baby.

I forget what I ate that day in the cafeteria but I remember it was packed to the rafters with people. I sat at a table with a group of people. Iron workers. They'd driven all night from Texas. I met a guy who was starting an internet company in Nashville. Students. A female sheriff from South Dakota. Full time Red Cross workers from Canada and a the cheeriest, happiest, friendliest woman from England. A retired schoolteacher from Brooklyn and construction workers whose employer paid them a full week's wages but still let them volunteer one day a week until the clean up was complete.

2 blocks away was a scene of complete devastation but under that roof people from all walks of life came with a common goal: to help.

On this day of National Service and Remembrance, I encourage anyone thinking of volunteering to do it. Not only today, but maybe next week, next month, six months from now. A day, an hour, an afternoon. No amount of time or talent is too small but the rewards are huge.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009
1st Day

Today was the first day of school. Sophie started the 3rd grade and Harry entered pre-kindergarten.

This photo doesn't show the stress involved in getting them ready for the 1st day of school, which is good because in 20 years I'd really like to stumble across this photo and not remember spending the past four weeks trying to track down our now-retired pediatrician for the completed medical form. I'd like to forget that I told the babysitter the kids' dismissal time was noon, when it was actually 11:30 for one and 3:30 for the other. I'd like to have not argued with my mom over paper towels on the walk home from drop-off (sorry, Mom) and just remember them up at 6:30am, raring to go, ready to learn, eager to get out the door already.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Yeah. So this blog? Totally ignored for a few weeks. Terrible, I know.

We haven't been up to much these past couple of weeks. At least nothing bloggable. Very little cooking. Back-to-school shopping. Movie watching. We saw Ponyo and I highly recommend it. Got around to watching Slumdog Millionaire and I think it has a shot at winning the Oscar. Oh, wait. It did already, didn't it?

Anyway, we are back from a weekend away. The kids have been surrounded by grandparents for nearly a week straight. We've eaten too much, drank too much, laughed a lot and been out in the fresh late-summer air. Mosquito bites on our legs, freckles on our noses. Kids are looking forward to the first day of school tomorrow. I'm looking forward to not having to go back to work until Monday. Life, as they say, is good.

I will leave you with this picture. This is a forest in Pennsylvania, around the Dingman's Falls area. I love it because it is peaceful. Even though the trail was full of people, there was this little area where no one was, and most people were just walked right by it, oblivious. Enjoy.