Monday, September 26, 2011

Now We Are Six

When I was One,
I had just begun.

When I was Two,
I was nearly new.

When I was Three
I was hardly me.

When I was Four,
I was not much more.

When I was Five,
I was just alive.

But now I am Six,
I'm as clever as clever,
So I think I'll be six now for ever and ever.

- A.A. Milne

Happy 6th birthday to our determined, feisty, clever, funny, beautiful, stubborn, confident, opinionated, lovely best girl. 

Six is great.  And we can't wait for Seven, and Eight, and Nine, and Ten........

guilty pleasure - old movies

One of my quirks is that I like to have some sort of noise on around me - a radio, the TV, something.  I'm a person who walks into a room and immediately turns on the TV, whether I actually want to watch something or not.  It's a bad habit, one I try to moderate, especially now with kids.  Before we got satellite TV I could listen, as background, to the weather channel for hours (before satellite because the satellite doesn't pick up the local weather on the 8s, which is really annoying).  Before Headline News changed I could listen to that 30 minutes cycle over and over.  In the car I often veg out to WTOP, though not NPR (surprisingly as a member of the liberal (pseudo-)intellectual environmentalist elite NPR really kind of annoys me).  It's really just the background noise that I like, and I strongly prefer it be live rather than a DVD or a music CD or an Ipod.  Even now, at work with my yawning, snorting, chewing office mate I listen to a live radio stream rather than my large Itunes collection.

One of the things I most like is TCM - Turner Classic Movies.  My love of old movies comes from my mom.  I so remember the first time I saw Gaslight, an Ingrid Berman classic, with her.  She always has loved sharing old movies with me (my brother was never much interested in old black and whites).  Back in the day when Gone With the Wind and The Wizard of Oz were once a year specials on broadcast TV they were must watch nights in our house.  And I distinctly recall watching, as a family, The Sting, and how my parents watched my brother and me, not the movie, as the ending was revealed - and how open-mouthed with surprise both Michael and I were. 

Elizabeth has discovered me a couple of times this summer - after she's come in from a playdate or when I'm cooking dinner - with an old movie on from TCM, and it's tickled me to no end to watch her get engrossed in some light, frothy 50s or 60s movie, often a musical.  She likes Judy Garland and has seen parts of an Elvis movie or two (or three or four) and a couple of other summer time beach blanket fare.  Generally color movies, generally musicals, and she's been captivated.  I think they make her feel grown up to watch, and like my mom before me I get a kick out of her enjoying something that I really enjoy. 

TCM in the summer time (in August?) does a special they call something like the summer of stars or a month of stars - in a 24 hour period, showing 12+ classic movies featuring a particular actor.  When I think of it (which is not often), I'll check it out and see who is featured and if there are any movies I want to catch, or any that might be suitable for Elizabeth to watch part.  When Elizabeth Taylor died, I had to check out TCM because I knew they had to do a movie marathon, and I've not seen as many of her movies as I'd like (Suddenly, Last Summer -?  Go watch that movie Right NOW - one of the best movie entrances of all time, by one of my favs, Katharine Hepburn).  Of course there was no time to watch, and no space on our DVR, but I did manage to catch part of Cleopatra, which I'd never seen before.

Holy smokes!  Is that movie crazy!  I actually only saw the Queen's entrance into Rome, but it was so over the top I had to record just that bit and show it to Rich and Elizabeth (and Andrew, who didn't care).  Definitely one to put on my must watch list - a couple of years in the future. 

All I can say is, I cannot wait for Elizabeth to be old enough to watch My Fair Lady together! 

In Cleopatra: A Life, Stacy Schiff digs into the history books to share with us who the true Cleopatra was. As a member of From Left to Write book club, I received a copy of this book for review. You can read other members posts inspired by Cleopatra: A Life on book club day, September 27th at From Left to Write.  Given the past couple of weeks, I sadly have not even cracked the spine of the book, but I am soooo looking forward to it (I haven't even touched on my Egyptology fascination thanks to Elizabeth Peters). So this is not quite the post I wanted to write, but sometimes ya gotta do what ya gotta do, right?   

hell week

I"ve long had last week circled in my calendar.  Hell week.  Every fall activity beginning, plus a birthday and a handful of other activities means we're all exhausted today.  But it was fun.

So here's our fall schedule, along with the extras from last week:

Monday- Elizabeth soccer practice
Tuesday - School Of Religion for Elizabeth, and the first week was a family mass followed by potluck.  But not potluck dinner.  As exhausting as that would have been, at least we'd have gotten fed.  No, it was potluck snacks at 5 pm.  This week it's the opening ceremony for SOR.  For the love of god (literally), can we just get this thing going?
Wednesday - morning, Andrew's music class, afternoon, Andrew's soccer class

Then, last week Thursday was parent association meeting in the morning at Elizabeth's school, and of course Elizabeth's birthday (post to come!).  Friday was the co-op sale that my friend TSM runs (post to come on AwwwClutter!).  Saturday is usually Elizabeth's soccer game, but it was mercifully cancelled because of wet fields, so we had more time to prep for our supposedly easy neighborhood happy hour / birthday party.  Saturday night Elizabeth hosted her first ever sleepover, as a special birthday treat, with a her friend who lives down the street.  The girls stayed up til midnight and woke up at 7 am.

Sunday the neighborhood was shut down because of the Latino festival that takes place one block from our house, and brings something insane like 30,000 people to our little neighborhood, shutting down all streets around us.

Oh, and let's not forget another parent snagged Rich one morning at school and asked if we could bring snacks for the week, then sent us a page-long rules of snacks (no artificial colors! no Nuts! no dairy!) that sent us off to two different stores and boiling 24 eggs and lugging three giant bags of snacks into school last week.

And then let's talk about our plague.  Of fleas.  Which meant a previously unscheduled, 2-hour, expensive trip to the vet during the week, and a full day Sunday of flea control measures.  Frontline, you ineffectual crap product, I hate you and your expensive price tag with a passion!  There was simply no time to go 100% on flea control before Sunday - when Rich did 7 loads of laundry (none of them clothes!) and bathed both pets and I read up on fleas and combed both pets and swept and swept and swept.  The only good news is we have a new product for Skipper and an entirely different new product for Harrison so maybe, just maybe, after an entire summer of battling fleas (I cannot believe I am admitting our flea problem, but let me just make it clear we have been AGGRESSIVELY battling fleas since mid-July, and none of measures worked because our main line of defense - Frontline - only managed to DO NOTHING, but we have been combing and bathing and washing and flea bombing and doing everything we are supposed to do to no avail) maybe we will finally turn the corner and gain mastery over them.  Or, it will finally get cold and no longer so humid and the cycle will end for the year.  One or the other.

So that's why we all struggled out of bed this morning bleary-eyed.  To start it all over again this week with the soccer and the religion and the soccer and so on.  But we made it through, a more regular schedule starts this week, and the humidity is finally scheduled to break, so maybe fall has really begun now.

Monday, September 19, 2011

If it's fall it must be soccer

Elizabeth started taking a soccer clinic when she was 4.  It met once a week, and basically it was just a series of fun drills.  This year, now that she’s going to be 6, she’s ready for soccer league. Soccer leagues apparently have their own little code language and traveling teams and blah blah blah that I am only just beginning to be frightened of learning.  But whatever, bottom line she’s on a team coached by a friend of ours, they practice at the park right by our house, and it’s all friendly and low key, oh, except that we are scheduled to the max every.single.Saturday.morning.through.November.  Yeah, that little thing of adjusting your whole life around your kid’s activities.  Welcome to the next 16 years of our lives. 

Which reminds me, one of my child-free friends asked me a question about some activity one evening and I replied, can’t, school night.  Which caused her to bust a gut laughing and she said, oh, I haven’t thought of schools nights in years.  Yeah.  Haha.  Me either. 

Anyway, now we’re on an actual team, with uniforms, and cleats, and shin guards, and games.  Wow.  They don’t keep score, there’s no out of bounds, and they play 4x4, with no goalie. 

Here’s the team. 

And here’s the first game, with Daddy/Andrew cheering from the sidelines.  The first 5 minutes of the game were definitely a highlight – it was a whirling dervish of kids and the ball, utter chaos at a fast pace until they burnt the excess energy and settled in to a level of moderate chaos. 

Elizabeth had a nice dribbling run at one point, but overall was not a fan of games.  “But there’s only 1 ball!  And we all have to chase it!” That, plus a mid September cold spell which made the tip of her nose numb left her not loving soccer, though she is a huge fan of the cleats.  But, she still likes soccer, and is looking forward to practice tonight. 

And then there’s Andrew.  Poor little guy has ben carted along to Elizabeth’s activities since he was a newborn, and has in general been a trooper, though a fairly disappointed trooper when forced to remain on the sidelines.  Even though the clinic starts at age 3, I knew I had to get him into it this fall.  Because, as we all know, Andrew is a ball guy.  Anything and everything to do with sports thrills him to no end.  He wants to play. 

Once Elizabeth started school and her activities kicked in, he’s been asking every day when his soccer class and music class starts.  Not yet, little guy, but soon – next week, we’d reply, leaving him a little bit crushed.  So I woke him up in the morning by whispering, guess what today is?  Soccer day!  Which caused him to leap up.  He desperately wanted to wear his soccer outfit all day, but the shirt is white, and his nanny told him he needed to wear another shirt and change into his soccer shirt before practice.  This did not go over well, and he sulked for a bit. 

Rich and I both took off work for his first soccer practice, and as I drove he and Elizabeth to practice, he made up a song about how excited he was to be going to soccer.  At the field, the other kids milled around their parents, but Andrew was ready and kicked the ball back and forth to me to warm up.  And once it started?  Well, he paid rapt attention to Coach Pablo. 

Every question that was asked Andrew raised his hand and/or shouted out the answer (except the first question was, who went to school today and he looked around as every other kid raised their hand, poor little guy).  Every time they moved around or changed activities, Andrew moved his way around the pack of kids to position himself right next to Coach Pablo.  He gamely attempted every activity, though he was one of the smallest in the class.  The only time he age really showed was when the coach would “trick” them (asking them to run to the blue spot, when they were already on the blue spot, for example).  He’d take off along with a handful of other kids, and have to be called back.  He was just so eager to DO, and that’s just clearly a development thing, a lack of true comprehension skills at age 2.75.  It is always hard to remember he’s not even 3 yet.  There is not much holding this guy back. 

And how did Elizabeth enjoy being carted along to Andrew’s activity?  Well, two of her friends and soccer teammates have a younger sister in Andrew’s class, so the three of them amused themselves by ripping a dead branch out of a tree and marching it around.  You know, safe self-directed activities like that!  

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Semi-Wordless Wednesday: Dress Up

Some days it's princess dress up day
 And other days it's deep sea explorer.  Hence the flashlight (it's dark down there), arm floaties, and helmet.  

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My son is a marketing genius

Telling an old story here, but I've got a lot of old ground to cover, so, remember when we (Elizabeth, Andrew and I) went camping with my parents in their RV?  We had a lot of fun, and Andrew coined a new term that lives on in the family.

I brought a long a bunch of stuff they like, including some food and drinks.  One morning, I started to get Andrew some orange juice.  Now, since he was quite small he's never really liked cow's milk, strongly preferring OJ in the morning, so (pediatrician-approved) we buy the calcium-fortified OJ and don't worry about milk (too much).  And as you all know, I come from a long line of bargain shoppers, though I do have quality standards.  Bottom line, I buy whatever name brand OJ is on sale, and don't pay much attention to it.

And so I pulled out the OJ I brought along:

Which resulted in screeches from Andrew.  No, I don't want that juice, I want straw juice!

Hmm.  Straw juice.  What the heck?  So, like any mommy, I tried to find out what was making my 2.5 year old screech.  What do you mean straw juice?  What is straw juice?

Which just made him screech louder.

So, in the midst of the screeching, I started wondering, maybe he had seen me pack the cooler.  I had put in two small, frozen juice boxes, and those juice boxes were tucked away into the RV's freezer.  Maybe he wanted a juice box?  But it was breakfast time and I was not going to give him a frozen juice box, because a) it was frozen and b) we don't drink juice boxes at breakfast.  But, the juice boxes were in the freezer, and he wasn't around when I packed and unpacked the cooler, so why does he want a juice box?  And why is he calling a juice box straw juice, though they do all come with those little plastic straws that peel off and get lost everyplace and...well, let's jut say the screeching continued as I pondered all this.

So, I tried reasoning with the 2.5 year old toddler.  Andrew.  We don't have straw juice.  We have orange juice.  Let me pour you your orange juice and let's all just calm down.

I'm sure you can imagine how well that worked.  And remember there are 5 people in a 30 foot RV while a 2.5 year old is screeching about straw juice.

Exasperated, I flung open the RV's fridge door and said, Andrew. Look. There is no straw juice!

Whereupon he launched himself across the RV and with a shout of glee, grabbed:

 Oh.  Tropicana.  With the logo of an orange with a straw.  Straw juice.  OK, gotcha.

And since that time, we only buy straw juice.

Which would be the end of the story, but I needed a pic of Tropicana, and a little googling led me to discover that my 2.5 year old has more marketing sense than the execs who run the Pepsi-Cola Corporation.  You see, in 2008, Tropicana (a subsidiary of Pepsi) went through an entire re-branding effort, which resulted in complete redesign, at what must have been enormous cost, of their entire product line.  Straw in orange out, bland expanse of orange juice in wine goblet in.  The redesign was such a failure and resulted in so many complaints, that in 2009, they went back to the tried and true.

Orange in straw.  Straw juice.  So simple even a 2.5 year old understands the power of a brand.  Stick with what works.