Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Quick Update on Camp Mom

The boys are in a massive screaming fight right now, which will soon escalate into a fist fight, over the monkeys from the barrel of monkeys game. See how exciting here:

I have been mediating stupid fights all morning ("Mooooom, he's looking at me." "Mom, his foot is on my side of the line."). So I either ignore this latest fight over the monkeys or I completely loose my cool with them. Better to ignore, don't you think?

Ironically, I was logging on to give a quick update on Week Two of Camp Mom. Despite this morning's evidence, Camp Mom has been going quite well. It's been the perfect balance of down time, play time, and field trip time.

Last week we went to the California Academy of Science (saw an albino crocodile, calculated our carbon footprints (ugh), sat captivated by the schools of fish swimming by in the aquarium, learned how life came to the galapagos islands), went to a great indoor play place, jumped sky high at a nearby trampoline place, and had plenty of playdates and popsicles.

This week we went bowling at a new bowling alley (which is more like a Hooters meets bowling than a traditional bowling alley) and today we are taking the train to the City and going to a Giants baseball game. We were supposed to head to Tahoe for Thursday and Friday but my van is still not out of the shop yet so that is delayed until next week.

My darling husband announced last night that Camp Mom (alternatively known as a staycation) has been a great success. I pointed out that his point of view was likely tainted by the fact that I am sole camp counselor and entertainment director while he is at work - getting praise, feedback, and a paycheck.

But in seriousness, Camp Mom has been much more enjoyable for all of us, including me, than I expected. We're building memories that childhoods are based on and I am grateful for the opportunity. Especially when they are sleeping.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tag, you're it

I was tagged so I need to answer these questions and pass it on.  I love these things!!!!!!

1. What is your current obsession? Coldplay

2. What is your weirdest obsession? I cannot stand to touch newspaper.  Truthfully I can't even stand to be in the same room with it.  Yet, I love the NYT and the online version doesn't do it for me.  So I end up putting the paper on the dining room table and reading it from as far away as I can possibly still see the letters.  I am convinced in some previous life I was a dog who was hit with rolled up newspapers.

3. Recall a fond childhood memory? Walking to the creek with my mom and brother - catching tadpoles.

4. What’s for dinner? Whatever I can scrounge up at 5pm when the boys say they are hungry.  

5. What would you eat for your last meal? Anything in a coconut milk/curry sauce with white jasmine rice.

6. What’s the last thing you bought? Shoes for my husband and socks for my kids.  How annoying is that?

7. What are you listening to right now? The boys complaining because they are all 3 in a time out for hitting each other.

8. What do you think of the person who tagged you? She is probably the most influential person in helping me evolve into the person I am today.

9. If you could have a house totally paid for, fully furnished house, anywhere in the world, where would it be? Overlooking the ocean with a pool and doors that could open all the way around letting the ocean breaze flow through.  Doesn't matter where.

10. If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go? My room with a book.

11. Which language do you want to learn? French

12. What’s your favorite quote?  I don't really have one but I often think "There but by the grace of God go I"

13.What is your favorite colour? Red or the blue of my boys' eyes

14. What is your favorite piece of clothing in your own wardrobe? Joe's jeans

15. What is your dream job? I am trying to figure that out.  Something creative where I can work 20 hours a week from home in a kick-butt white home office.  My company would be called Violet.  Any ideas for what I should do????

16.What’s your favorite magazine? Probably Oprah or real simple although I also devour my Us magazine and lately I've been into InStyle.

17. If you had $100 now, what would you spend it on?  Paint and painting supplies for the guest bedroom (aka Junk Room).  Or new underwear.

18. Describe your personal style? It is changing.  I am trying to be more classic trendy (eg, dark wash jeans and white tops) with a few simple pieces of jewelry

19. What are you going to do after this? Put my kids' lunch on the table and listen to them bitch about what i am serving.

20. What are your favorite films? I don't have a favorite film.  I need to come up with an answer to this question.  But I did just see The Hangover and just about died laughing.

21. What’s your favorite fruit? I love all fruit but something would elevate to my favorite if someone else cleaned it and cut it for me.

(right on cue - boys complaining about lunch now!)

22.What inspires you?  People who stick to their convictions.

23. Your favorite books?  By Wally Lamb

24. Do you collect anything? Nothing.  I absolutely hate "stuff."

25. Any advice from bitter experience? Just don't eat your way through it.

26. What makes you follow a blog? Ditto Mel - When the author shows real heart and warmth.  Also when someone takes the everyday and elevates it an the art form.

And now.... I tag.... S@L, The Mama, and JennyAlice.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Picking adventures from a hat

For the first 5 weeks of summer, my boys had an assortment of different camps/playdates/activities.  But starting Monday, that's over.  Think of it as "Camp Mom," I told them.  The 5 and 8 year olds groaned.  (Not as loud as I groaned in my head.)

We have 25 more weekdays to go until school stars.  So this afternoon the 3 boys and I sat down and made a list of 25 places we'd like to visit/things we want to do - ranging from the local bowling alley to the  Monterey Aquarium to the Jelly Belly Factory tour.  

Once we agreed on the 25 things, the boys cut up strips of paper and on each strip we wrote one of the activities.  Each evening, before bed, we are going to reach into the hat.  Whatever activity is selected is the activity we will do the next day.  

We may just survive after all.

Here is our list:
1) Alcatraz
2) Sky High Sports (a trampoline place)
3) Pump-It-Up (and inflatable jumpy house place)
4) Safari Run (an indoor jungle gym)
5) SF Zoo
6) Great America
7) Gilroy Gardens (kids amusement park)
8) Beach
9) Playdate with the Hobarts in SF
10) Walk across Golden Gate bridge
11) SF Science Museum
12) San Jose Children's Museum
13) San Francisco Children's Museum
14) Mini Golf/Batting cages
15) Raging Waters water park
16) Bowling
17) Jelly Belly Factory Tour
18) SF Giants game
19) Monterey Aquarium
20) Airplane Museum
21) New park in Palo Alto
22&23) Overnight trip to Tahoe
24) Playdate with Thomases
25).... hmmmm.... we are one short.  Any ideas?

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Never talk sex, money, or politics

Ever since Aaron and I started dating seriously (about a month after we met) we sort of combined our finances.  Aaron was a student and I was working so most of the money came from my side.  When we married, we combined our finances completely (both money coming in and our substantial school loan debt).  It seemed very romantic at the time.  We were taking care of each other.  

When I stopped working outside the home (when our first child was born), I had absolutely no difficulty with the fact that I was no longer contributing financially to the family.  It was immediately clear to both Aaron and me that I was working harder than either of us had ever worked before but NOT getting paid for it.  

So that is how we looked at it.  We both had jobs.  They were both equally important.  The paycheck Aaron brought home reflected both of our jobs.  That may sound hokey but we have never once had even one ounce of financial stress between us (we've had financial stress together, but never pitting us against each other).

Every so often I'd hear a friend say something like, "Oh, my husband would never let me buy that" or "I have to hide this so my husband doesn't see that I bought this."  It always struck me as strange and sad.  Aaron and I have always been on the same financial team.  

But last week I was in a car accident.  It was ruled the other driver's fault but the fact remains that it is going to cost us over $1000 to take care of deductibles, etc.  And while it was the other driver's fault, I still feel like if I was really, really paying closer attention I could have avoided it.  I don't know if that is technically true or not, but that's how I feel.

The past few days I have really been feeling down about the fact that the accident is so clearly in the "withdrawal" column of our family's balance sheet and I am not adding anything to the "deposit" column. Even though I made the withdrawal by being in the accident.   I think I am feeling it so much because for that $1000 we get zero benefit.  It's just the cost of being at the wrong place at the wrong time.  Also, we've been really, really trying to hammer away at our school loans, to get them paid off once and for all.  And so that money from the car accident is  taken directly from paying off the loan.  

Hmmm.... I'm not sure exactly where I'm going with this.  It's not as though I feel like I don't contribute to our family, it's just that this is the first time I feel like I've so blatantly been a $$ suck.

I think I am tired and just need a good night's sleep.  


You know that old saying that God doesn't give you more than you can handle?  My mom says it all the time.  Well, today I am sure that it's not true.  I am seriously thinking that my middle son is more than I can handle.  All I want to do right now is curl up in bed some warm chocolate cookies and cry.


I have a blog post brewing in my mind about marriage.  Just thought you should know.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

More on clothes

If you are bored by the mundane and superficial topic of clothing, then read no further.  But if, like me, you get strangely excited by weeding out your closet, even if you can't replenish it, and the fantasy of a closet full of clothes that actually fit and look good, then keep reading.  

Today I bribed my neighbor J to come over again to help me further with my wardrobe.  We went through every single item of clothing in my closet and did a three point filtering process:  
1) is it a style that is current (not to be confused with trendy - nothing in my closet is trendy) 
2) is it in good enough shape to wear (minimal fading and pilling, not stretched out) 
3) is it flattering on my body

If the items made it past those 3 tests, we then figured out whether or not I had anything I could wear it with.  If not, to GoodWill it went.  

Finally, we got to the point of figuring out outfits.  FINALLY!  This is where it all came together.  

Here are some things I learned:
1) I cannot wear khaki or white pants with pastels or I look like an ice cream cone of sherbet.  Khaki or white pants go with navy or black tops (maybe with a white tank underneath).
2) If your pants are loose at all, you must wear them with a tight top.  
3) Even if my abs are ever back in rock hard shape (ha!), I cannot, CANNOT tuck.  My waist is way too high.  If I tuck I end up looking like my waist is in my armpits.
4) I don't look good in collared shirts.  Go figure.  Every one we tried on did not make it through step 3 (flattering).  
5) Tank tops in all different fabrics and styles are THE staple of my wardrobe.  99% of the time I wear pants, a tank, and a cardigan sweater of some sort.  
6) Long sleeves should always be worn pushed up a bit above the wrist.  Otherwise my arms look out of proportion.
7) I can pull off feminine.  It looks great on me with dark jeans to give it a little edge.  
8) My best colors on top are navy and white.  I can wear a pewter gray as long as I wear lipstick.  Black is OK but a bit severe for me.  Better to stick to navy.  
9) I can only wear my flowy tops with tight (relatively) jeans.  Otherwise I look preggo.  
10) Necklaces (or lack of) make or break an outfit for me. 

Next step:  try to figure out the accessories piece.  I saw first hand that necklaces make all the difference but I have no idea how to pull it all together.  Also, I don't really have any.  I just have a few that J let me try on of hers to prove a point.  

Also, I am on the hunt for two items during the summer sales:  

1) subdued gold every day sandal that I can wear with everything, every day.  I am trying to hunt this down in my size:

2) Dark wash denim skirt - straight, pencil cut, hitting mid knee.  Can be worn the same as jeans.  My calves are one of my best features.  It's nice to show them off.

Thanks for following along in the fun.  My new prayers at the end of the night are for world peace and for everyone who wants one to have a J in their life to help them look their best.