Sunday, May 31, 2009

A Night At The Symphony

I went to the Symphony a lot when I was lived in the big city. My parents took me for the first time when I was about 10, and although I wasn't a musical type (and I'm still not), I always loved it. There's something about the music that occupies the crazy, high-strung part of my mind and lets me feel this surreal calm I don't find anywhere else. I went on many great dates there, including my first real date with Steve. Luckily, I married a musical type who wants to go even more than I do.

Last night we went for the first time in a very long time, and I still love it. And I love Symphony Hall. It just feels like home. Almost ten years ago the sculpture by Dale Chihuly in the photo was added to the lobby, and I love it. I was lucky enough to be there for the opening party when it was installed; it was a great affair with waiters running around with plates of caviar and lots of the local elite. I don't get much of that in my daily life anymore, but it was a great night for remembering all the many amazing times I had in the city.

Hopefully it won't be too long before we make it back.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Tuesday Mornings

One of the things that has saved my life as a full-time Mom is Tuesday Mornings. They started with me and Max five years ago when we first moved to town and didn't know anyone. Coming from the city and adjusting to life as a stay-at-home Mom, I was desperate to find stuff to do, and in my search I found Story Time at the Library. Luckily we have a great facility where people are dedicated to making great kid's programs, so we started going every Tuesday morning, like clockwork, and then went and got a bagel at Einstein's afterwards.

After Jack was born, we kept going, even after we went one time when he was an infant and one of the Story Tellers made a big noise with a shark puppet and made him cry like a banshee. This year Max was in school full time, so it was just Jack and I, but the best thing about Story Time is all the other Mom's I've met there (Mirjam, Kirsten, Sabine, Marcie) and all the other Mom's I've recruited to come along (Janell, Trish, Amy, Sarah). I feel so blessed to have these friends, and even though many of them weren't at Einstein's this past week, I got some great photos of some of the kids.

Like I said, there were many other friends missing, but when I see these photos of these awesome kids, I think about how lucky I am to have such beautiful children and amazing friends in my life. And it makes me think that being a full-time Mom just might be the best job in the whole world.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Happiness Is...

A cinnamon roll an plate of bacon at IKEA.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

My New Face On Facebook

I absolutely, positively loathe pictures of myself. When I have to use one, I have generally gone for something old and taken with my laptop, like this:

This photo has been my profile picture on Facebook since I signed up, and the other day I realized that it was like 4 years old, so I decided it was time for a little bit more honesty. I still took the new color photo with my laptop (oh, what did we do before Photo Booth?) and this was the only one I could stand. I'm still squirming as I post the thing, and I am still wondering why my lip gloss looks so pink. Please tell me it's the lighting. I chose this one because it shows my (old) new bangs (I've had them for over a year now), and is in color, so the wrinkles are not so cleverly concealed. I figured it was finally time to say "Hey look, I'm 40. Get over it."

Of course I'm only saying it to myself, and, who knows, maybe someday I'll actually start listening.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Best Birthday Present Ever

As I mentioned before, we had planned to go fishing for Jack's birthday, but had to cancel due to rainy weather. My parents felt bad for him, so for a present they bought Jack a goldfish. It's been fun to see how excited both he and Max have been about having it, and they fight over who gets to feed him every day. We asked Jack what he wanted to name him after the party was over, and smiled and said "Humpy" with big, bright eyes. Luckily the fish is covered with spots, so I was able to convince him that "Spotty" might just be a better choice.

Now I just have to start planning "the talk" when we wake up one morning and Spotty is "sleeping upside down." Can't say I'm particularly excited for that one, but luckily I know Robert Frost's poem "Nothing Gold Can Stay" by heart. May come in handy.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Al Fresco Dining

Yesterday morning Steve invited us over to dinner at our friend's house, and we had a great time. We made up for our boldness by bringing the main course, and we had a great time. I didn't realize how much I missed having a yard until we were in their great, huge one yesterday, eating in the perfect weather, sending the kids off to play when we were done, and sitting around chatting. Living in a condo has it's perks (no lawn mowing, less space to clean), but lack of a yard is one of the big negatives. I can't wait until ours is up and running at the new house. Here's some photos of last night's festivities:

The highlight of the evening (at least for the boys) was the Tortoise , not turtle, that our friend Scott inherited from his grandpa. It's 35 years old, it's name is Millie, and Jack is already making plans to go back to visit her.

The food. A pretty good impromptu dinner if I do say so myself.

The true test of a great backyard: Is it big enough for wagon rides?

Thanks Scott and Sarah for all the fun, and I promise, next year Memorial Day dinner will be at our house.

Monday, May 25, 2009

A Blast From The Past

The other night Steve and I went to dinner with my friend Sam who was visiting from Sacramento. He and I met in New England back when he was 19 and I was 21. The last time I saw him was at his wedding 13 years ago and it was fun find he's still the same old Sam. And he still looks like the same old Sam, which begs the question, if he still looks 19, why don't I still look like I'm 21?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Day Off

After baking a four tier cake replica of Gotham City Hall and throwing a birthday party for 10 kids, I think I deserve it. More tomorrow, but until then, a little blast from the past.

Sorry, I had to do it.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Cake

Although I'm sure it won't get me a guest spot on Ace of Cakes, hopefully it won't land be on this website either. All in all I'm happy with it (I like the bat symbol on the spotlight the best), especially when I saw Jack's face light up when he saw it this morning.

All I can say, is I'm glad Max's birthday isn't until January.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Making His Cake And Eating It Too

Jack loves to help me cook, so I enlisted him to assist me with baking his birthday cake.

He's a great helper...

...but I know he's looking for some payback in the end.

And to anyone coming to the party, I promise I made him wash his hands first.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

A Thing Of Beauty Is A Joy Forever

On the girls trip I purchased my first Le Creuset pan, and I've yet to use it, but I've been admiring it on my stove for over a week now. I love it, but I really love Mirjam's. I like the great colors, but I fell in love with the black because it will go better with my All-Clad set. I went with a saucepan since all mine are trashed, but I made a pact with Steve that I will buy one a year until I have a complete set. So maybe by the time I'm 50, my cooking life will be complete.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A Change of Plans

We've had a little change of plans for Jack's birthday party on Saturday. The forecast is calling for thunderstorms, so we decided just to hold the party at our house and do a fishing game. Jack was a little disappointed until we told him we would be fishing for toys. And everyone would catch something.

So, the good news is I can be more ambitious with my cake, and the bad news is I can be more ambitious with my cake.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Party Planning

We are having Jack's official Birthday Party on Saturday, and since it is now Tuesday, I need to start the cake preparations. As I've mentioned before, I have set the bar pretty high for myself, so I cannot disappoint.

Even though we will be fishing for Jack's party, he wants a Batman cake. Now, anyone that knows me knows that a birthday cake challenge brings out the over-achiever in me, so I am trying to decide how ambitious to be. I could go simple and do the Batman symbol, like this:

Or I ca get a little more ambitious and make a skyscraper cake with Batman at the top and a bad guy coming after him like this (and not to sound all full of myself, but mine would look much better):

Or I could go all out and do my idea of creating two cake skyscrapers with a zip line connecting them that Batman will be suspended from, holding a sign that says "Happy Birthday Jack." Needless to say there are no images of a cake like this available online because no one based in reality would do that to themselves.

One of the biggest factors in making this decision is the fact that I have to transport the thing in my car about 20 minutes to the park with the fishing pond. I have a sneaking suspicion that two skyscrapers made of cake with Batman dangling between them from a zip line may not travel well.

We'll see how ambitious/insane/obsessive I am from which one I choose. And if I choose the zip line option, I need someone to promise to get me some professional help directly after the party is over. Okay? Thanks.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Art Show

Just before we went out of town we went to the annual Art Show at Max's school. I knew he was learning a lot about art when we bought a new toy for them at the Hirshhorn museum in D.C. and told him it reminded me of a painter named Miro, and he said "Oh yeah, Juan Miro." A couple of weeks ago he had to wear old clothes because they were making a Jackson Pollock mural as a class. Since I'm an Art geek, and Jackson Pollock is one of my favorites, I was overjoyed. The Art Show was fantastic. I love all kid art, even if I don't know the kid who did it. Here's some photos:

Jack, Max's friend Kyle, and Max by some kid versions of Jasper Johns.

Jack (being silly, as usual), Max and Kyle in front of the Jackson Pollock done by their class. You can create your own Pollock by going to the jackson pollock website that Mirjam just showed me on the girls trip.

Max taking photos of the paintings. Art imitating art.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Back To Reality

One of the things I do that drives Steve crazy (and not in a good way), is how whenever he brings up something I don't want to talk about (like the fact he has to go on a five day work trip or has to work late) I just brush him off and tell him we'll talk about it later. It's a pretty futile ploy since he still goes on those trips and works late, whether we talk about it or not.

Well, this whole trip to California, and especially it's four day extension, has just been another one of my avoidance tactics. But it worked, at least for nine days, and I feel much more ready to hit the day to day and my dreaded contractor.

Denial may not just be a river in Egypt, but I've been riding it for over a week, and I have to say it's been a lovely trip.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Whole Lotta Legos

Yesterday the weather clouded up and got a bit windy, so we were wondering what to do for the day. During my morning walk on the boardwalk I saw a bus for Legoland, which is right in the back yard of where we're staying, so we decided to give it a try. The boys are way too into all things Lego, so they were excited. Here's some highlights:

Max, Jack, Steve and I on the Human Powered Free Fall. More work than you'd think. And you get to check out my dental work.

Jack got his official Lego Driver's License after a run on this track, but seeing all the head on collisions he encountered during the process makes me happy he's got twelve more years until he's driving the real thing.

A scale model of San Francisco made of Lego. Oh yeah, and Max liked the apple fries too.

Max and Jack meet their nemesis.

Jack kicking it on the Lego boats.

A Lego recreation of the inauguration of Barak Obama. He's standing on the stage next to the Lego Michelle in the bright yellow dress.

And one of my favorite surprises of the day: Volvo V.I.P. Parking. I thought the attendant was kidding me when she said we got to park there, but she was serious. I knew we bought the Volvo for a reason.

Our camera battery died early on, but it was a great day for all of us. Long live Lego!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Baby Fish Mouth Is Sweeping The Nation

At the beach house in California there is a cabinet filled with games, which Max is always fascinated with. He loves to pull them all out and try to figure out how to play them, and is always begging that we play them with him, especially the dreaded Full House board game. Yes, it's based on the insanely bad early 90's sitcom. And the game isn't much better. I can't help but laugh when someone draws the "Becky and the Twins" card. It just sounds dirty to me for some reason. Maybe it's just my dirty mind. I have actually told the boys that Mommy doesn't play Full House, and they're buying it. Maybe deep down they know it's pretty bad too.

But today, as I was trying to find something to distract them, I came across Pictonary, and since we haven't played it with the kids we decided to try it out. It was so much fun and totally hilarious. There is nothing funnier than six and four year old's Pictionary drawings. They made me laugh so much, I just had to share some here:

Team Steve and Jack fighting for the win. Unfortunately they were beat out by team Laura and Max.

Max's awesome drawing of a squid.

Jack's tiger. Not a centipede. Those are stripes, not legs.

Lizard by Max.

Jack's dog. It was especially good because Steve actually guessed right from this drawing. Go Jack!

This whole Pictonary tournament brought back memories of some pretty hilarious Pictionary tournaments, most memorably one played with Steve, Andrea, and our friend Geoff Stone. I can't really go into the details, but let's just say Andrea's drawing of morning stayed on our fridge for over a year, and made me laugh every day when I went to get my breakfast. The game also brought back this scene of my and I think everyone's favorite romantic comedy, When Harry Met Sally:

Can't wait to play more Pictionary with these guys. I haven't laughed this hard in a very long time.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Just A (Birth) Day At The Beach

Yesterday the guys arrived and we got right into the Birthday festivities. It was a beautiful, sunny day so first we opened presents and then we headed out to the beach. I love being here this time of year when you feel like you have the beach to yourself. We caught sand crabs, made drip castles, and had a lot of fun running in the surf. If only we could celebrate all of our birthdays this way. Check it out:

The Birthday Boy.

Jack got a whole bunch of Batman toys, a Nerf Shooter (we don't call them guns in our house) and Lego Pirates. He loved them all.

Happy Jack.

Building a sand crab city.

A big bucket of Jack.

Jack doing his best Indiana Jones with a seaweed whip.

A perfect birthday together.