Wednesday, June 25, 2008

silly kids

both of my sons have been in DIRE need of haircuts. i'm not a terrific hairdresser, but i do a pretty good job when it's kind of long and i cut a lot off (i haven't tried trimming just a little). for the past two months i've been BEGGING them to let me cut their hair. it's shaggy and snarly and really needed it.

Saturday, DH offered to take them golfing on a par-3 course. it sounded like lots of fun but it was HOT and i said 'NOBODY GOES UNLESS THEY GET A HAIRCUT!' so i got to trim them up.

#1 son is 11 now, and he looks so mature with his haircut. i was getting verklempt and hugging on him and saying "you're my baby but you look so grown-up!" (this is the funny part)

he immediately responded "It's just the haircut, mom; i'm 2-1/2 on the inside!" I laughed so hard. he's such a clown, and sometimes (a lot) it's obnoxious, but that one was hilarious! hadta share.


#2 son is 8-1/2 years old. he's been tearing through the Harry Potter books 1-5 for some time. i went upstairs at bedtime Monday evening to find he had started Harry Potter #6. i said to him, are you really old enough to read that??? (teasing) (then serious:) there are some scary parts in that one!

he replied: well, i highly doubt i'm going to get to those tonight!

sometimes they just sound so much like me. i'm so proud! obnoxious sense of humor and all!

Friday, June 13, 2008

next part of saga

Day Five Wed. 5/28
back at the ranch, DH has invited his mom to go with us on an outing. as he is discussing destinations, i realize i really don't want to subject LaLa to any more road trip than necessary; he wants to go for an hour's drive to a nice greenhouse/nursery we used to visit regularly. sounds fun enough, but we can't BUY anything! so i propose he take the boys and his mom and have some good quality time. (not going with MIL is my bonus!) this makes the car less crowded and gives them quality time after the fiasco of his trip-that-wasn't to visit her in april. they enjoy themselves thoroughly!

meanwhile, SIL, niece, and i shop! we do ikea, have lunch there. i have a chicken caesar to keep my garlic trend alive. LaLa loves the meatballs. then i drag them to michaels so i can purchase materials for my embroidery project. they don't have what i need for my "vision," so i regroup and make do. this isn't as easy as it looks!

the nephew (not previously mentioned), has just gotten engaged (OK, it's been months), and we go to his new apartment to see it and have pizza. in philadelphia, there's a pizza shop on every other corner, and i don't know how chains make it b/c everyone is a pizza snob and refuses to eat the mass-produced sort. the dough has to be exceptional, and the alchemy of blending flavors is vital to the experience. so even pizza is a sensory experience! (and garlicky!)

we had met the fiancee on day 3, and she's very sweet, enjoys the offbeat sense of humor that pervades the family. (that will change after the wedding!) they're a good couple, seem to really accept one another. and boy does LaLa give her baby fever! nephew is nearly 28, and she's 32, so i expect it won't be more than a year after the wedding before they're going for it!

Thursday, June 05, 2008


NOT mine. but my BFF, my matron of honor (and i was hers), married something like 15 years. and i don't know why - YET.

i'm in stunned disbelief. i have that sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach - that "this must be a joke" reaction followed by OMG, it's not. the last time i had this feeling was when my SIL had breast cancer. and i felt guilty when i realized that - THIS was a choice, while that was not.

but divorce isn't unlike cancer. it often hits unawares. and it uproots and displaces so many lives - and most of these people AREN'T choosing it. so my reaction is reasonable; dropping the guilt.

i just hope she gets through this stronger, and doesn't regret her choice.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

part 4

Day Four Tues. 5/27
the graduation saturday will be semi-formal, and #2 son has no pants. (we planned to hit the stores on our trip when we discovered this before leaving.) so i drag both boys off to kohl's (best selection of different cuts, and my sons don't like to fit "standard" pants) to look at khaki's. it doesn't take long to find a pair that work. we find a stuffed animal display and the boys vote LaLa needs a "hop on pop" animal; Dr. Seuss is the theme, and i'd have picked something else, but asking their opinion means i have to be outvoted sometimes. *pout*

then we find the shopping center has a "discount" bookseller. between kids and me, we quickly spend $50 on a big bag full of books. (bookstores are one of our FAVORITE destinations!) i get a book on palmistry, which turns out to be even more fun than i'd hoped. looking at people's hands is fun!

on returning from shopping, LaLa LOVES her "pop" and deems him thumb-worthy (she will use him for a lovey while sucking her thumb). SCORE!

SIL and niece decide we all need to go italian (to their fave place) for lunch, and thus begins the first of several days of overindulgence in garlic for me. i order pesto ziti and caesar salad, and it's a little TOO much garlic. who knew this was possible? the kids and DH all get lunches that make them quite happy - #1 son, having been born in Philadelphia 'burbs, considers Philadelphia his home and is thrilled to get authentic cheese steak. it really does matter!

upon returning from the late lunch, we find BIL has come home early from work with Phillies! tickets! DH says they're having a guys' night out, and despite my slight chagrin, i agree to it. then as they're departing i find this means he's taking my sons to the ball game! i'd have loved to have gone, but LaLa wouldn't love it, and mommies make sacrifices every day. i'll get another chance. i'm actually pretty stoked that the boys get to go!

LaLa and i spend time relaxing every day and napping (it can be difficult to settle her for a nap, so we spend lots of time in bed, and by the time she drops off i'm often ready for a nap). we're sleeping on a futon, and it's not bad, but not great for me after a couple of days. the room is decorated with a large embroidered "tree of life" wall hanging, which fascinates LaLa. guess what my next project is? LaLa is loving this uncluttered house with lots of room to roam, and is showing off new tricks every day.

the girls hit friendly's for dinner to make life easy. when the boys get home from the game (at 10 pm), we find it was "hat night" at the Phillies! and they all got Phillies! hats! DOUBLE SCORE! this is just the best vaca ever!

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

part three

Day Three. Mon., 5/26, Memorial Day

SIL gets up early. [[in addition to being intense and a gourmet chef, she's a genius like Einstein and doesn't need more than 4-5 hours of sleep per night. i used to be envious of her but now i'm just tired after a few days with her.]]

we are going to SIL's sister T's house for a BBQ/picnic. this would also be a Filipino sister, of course, though it's hardly relevant. SIL gets up at 7 a.m. and starts cooking. BIL takes DH and the boys over at 2. T has sons the same ages - she started late. at 3 the food is all ready to transport and off we go.

T and husband are high-powered folks, live in Villanova in a million-dollar home. with a live-in Filipino maid. these boys have every bit of sports equipment one can imagine and my sons have an amazing time. they go from playing baseball in the city-park-size (and landscaped) back yard, to the GAME ROOM, to trying out zip-boards (?rip-boards? something like that). spare shoes are easily found. T's DH is a tall man and her sons, while my sons' ages, are larger; we are loaded up with outgrown clothes and sports gear. hoot hoot! she so gently starts to ask if we would like some of their stuff and i just blurt "i'm
not proud, i'll take anything you've got!" b/c their castoffs are nicer than anything i can buy at my income level.

so the picnic includes proscuitto-wrapped asparagus, burgers and dogs for the kids, steak for the 'dults, LOBSTER, and let me tell you right now you have not lived until you have watched a Filipino attack a lobster. i have never seen my SIL (whom i have known for 17 years) eat this much. (she polished off two full lobsters herself!) they eat EVERY bit of that beast. suck out the mustard, eat up the egg, and it's fun to watch, just don't ask me to do it. i ate one claw and it tastes mostly like butter, hardly worth the effort. (my first lobster!)

dessert is where she really shines (or just what i appreciate most). strawberry tart on a shortbread crust coated with a thick layer of chocolate. the most amazing chocolate cheesecake you ever had - all others pale in comparison, and as smooth and silky as you could ask for. she modifies the process by combining a couple of different master techniques and it's well worth the effort and time. topped with a smattering of crumbs for texture.

kids have a blast. i cannot imagine a better vacation - visit a mansion, play with completely normal albeit incredibly privileged children, eat like kings. i'm going to hate going home.

part two

Day Two. Sun., 5/25/08.

LaLa starts nursing this morning. when it's time for the second feeding, i find grandpa's recliner and rock her and she nurses without fussing again. hallelujah! hoping this trend continues. she's VERY TIRED. off we go to Philadelphia!

the drive goes awesome, no delays. arriving around 2, we're so excited to see brother and his wife, and they to see us. LaLa gets some BIG-TIME adoration! MIL comes over for dinner and niece is there all day. good fun unstructured time.

a much less eventful day overall. SIL is a gourmet chef, asks what the boys like to eat. she constructs marinated chicken breasts and a beautiful paella, in addition to an amazing salad, with oranges and beets and suchlike. (never serves anything but homemade dressing either, of course - and if you ask, she'll tell you how to make it - it's all easy to her!) SIL is also Filipino, but has been in the U.S. for MANY years, since college, so almost 30 years. so much seafood! i'm not a huge seafood eater but no matter - everyone enjoys her cooking!

she is also also a very intense person and we discuss Important Things until late at night.

Monday, June 02, 2008

travelogue part 1

the good news is, the first day was the worst. but i didn't know that until it was over!

Day One. Sat., 5/24/08
We get up, get the car loaded, leave about when we planned to, and drive from Winston-Salem, NC, to Richmond, VA. Stage One of the drive went REALLY smoothly. My grandfather lives with my aunt and her family there, and we plan to spend the night. She's actually younger than my DH and her kids are 14 and 8, so with mine nearly-11 and 8, and nearly-1, we all enjoy each others' company in many ways.

But the baby isn't cooperating. i normally nurse her at 6:30 and again at 9:30 a.m., and 5-6 times in a 24-hour period. she refused to nurse before we got in the car, and again at lunch. not too worrisome as she had plenty to eat otherwise.

Then we arrive and she is STILL refusing to nurse. i'm in pain, anxious, worried, and hormonal. i spent the next 18 hours trying to coax her to nurse. she ends up nursing only at 7 a.m. sat. (before we left - and normal), again at 7 p.m. sat., and again at 7 a.m. sunday. this makes the mama a complete WRECK.

we did enjoy our visit with the VA family. i, however, am stressed to the max about how long the baby will be on strike and what the whole trip is going to do to us. almost ready to turn around and go home!

their air mattress leaked for the first time, and i got up at 2 a.m. to express a little bit b/c the BBs are 3x their normal size and HURT and leaking. did i mention i'm a wreck? baby isn't sleeping well b/c she's HUNGRY, but won't nurse, and she's cranky.

up we get and after a leisurely start to the day, off we go to Philadelphia! The kids rode bikes on Sat. with their cousins, then had a water fight that resulted in completely soaked children and clothing, particularly THEIR ONLY SHOES. even with sitting out overnight and a run through the dryer in the a.m., they were still soaked. so we stopped at CVS for flip-flops and mock-crocs. at least they have something else to wear.

see part 2 for more!