Monday, September 29, 2008

but what is your favorite?

...Instead of halloween costumes, Noah's teacher wants the kids to dress as their favorite storybook character the day of the Halloween party. Nice idea in theory but that means 2 costumes that I will have to make or buy for Noah.

So, I have started talking to him about who he wants to be for his favorite storybook character. I thought it might take awhile. It will.

For starters, he is picking books like Fish Out of Water, which has no main character. (That is a rhyming book, like a Dr. Suess but not quite as good). Then he is picking books that he hardly ever wants read to him. Moosetache, anyone?

I have asked him over and over, "But is that your favorite?" "" is always his answer. Sigh.

He keeps going back to Yortoise the Tortoise. That is Yurtle the Turtle to you and me. (Short story: I bought him a stuffed tortoise at FAO Schwarz and he named him Cortoise the Tortoise. Now he confuses Yurtle with Yortoise.) However, I don't think Yurtle is going to be an easy costume to make. I guess, though, if it is his favorite...

Friday, September 26, 2008

my present to me

...This is what I wanted for my birthday. Yes, it is a water bottle. BUT-it is a BPA-free water bottle from CamelBak. As you may know, BPA is that chemical that mimics hormones in your body and has been linked to obesity and cancer. So I told Seth this is what I wanted for our family. I ordered 4 on Monday from (the best place, I think) and they came yesterday! Noah and Rhett were excited because the package had something for them, not just for me. But they liked the bottles too. Although trying to explain leaching chemicals and hormones to your children was rather difficult and I gave up after many, many questions from Rhett. (What's a hormone? What do they do? Are they bad? and on and on)

I feel good though. I am trying not to buy anymore plastic water bottles from the store anymore. Convenient as it is, it just makes me feel guilty. I grew up without those things, so I can do without them again.

I also bought 2 of the CamelBak bottles for my brother, but I don't think he was that impressed. "I don't know what I am going to do with them." were his exact words. :)

Have a nice weekend!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

What color are you?

...Do you want to know what your color is? Just a fun little thing if you have time. Go to Colorstrology and find out your color for your birthday. I am Misty Rose. I am unusual, dynamic and clever. (Not sure if I am glad about the unusual part but I like the other two.)

"Your mind is sharp and clever. You appear strong and self-confident and you do not show your vulnerability easily. It is important for you to have someone with whom you can relate. Sharing and exploring life's questions is an important part of the journey. Your personal color eases irritation and connects you to love and passion."

So what is your color?

Monday, September 22, 2008

September 22

...Today, I am 31.

This morning, I made pumpkin pancakes in honor of the First Day of Fall. I woke Rhett and told him breakfast was ready.

me: Happy First Day of Fall!
R: It's the First Day of Fall?
me: Yes it is.
R: (shyly) Happy Birthday Mom.

That made my day.

R: I think Noah and me are getting you a gift.
me: That's sweet.
R: You know those fake gross teeth I got? I think I'll paint them all white and then give them to you to wear.
me: O-kay.
R: Well, maybe not. They probably don't fit you.
me: Too bad.

When we opened the door to say goodbye to Rhett, my friend had left a gift on the bench by the door. Noah saw it and asked who that was for. I told him it was for me because it was my birthday.

N: It's your birthday! Happy Birthday!
N: How long until my birthday?

Later, while he was eating breakfast, he asked, "Can I sing you the happy birthday about you smelling like a monkey? Or would you not like that?"

N: I can make you a cake.
me: You can?
N: Yeah. I'll make you a yummy cake too. Or maybe I'll make you pancakes. Or I could just make up another song for you.
me: That would be nice too.

So, happy birthday to me. I may smell like a monkey and wear gross, painted white teeth, but I think I am still pretty lucky.

Happy Birthday to my brother. Casey, as far as brothers go, and I know I only have you for an example, but still, you are the best. Rhett saw a golfer on tv yesterday and was so sure that was you. He knows that you are pretty special. So does Noah, so do all your nephews and nieces and especially your son. Love ya!

Friday, September 19, 2008

awareness and consumerism

...I have been thinking a lot about the environment lately, and my lack of helping it. I have really fallen short of a lot of goals for myself about becoming "green." So the other day, I bought a book to help me get back on track.

It was a great book filled with great tips and advice, plus some scary insights on what we put on and in our bodies. But most of all, it has inspired me to get back on the green bandwagon. Sophie Ulian, the author, gives resources, advice and most of all, lets everyone know that it doesn't matter what you do to help, even if you choose one thing, because every little thing helps. Even just being aware of what we do and what is bad for us is a first step. Believe me, I will no longer buy toothpaste with FD&C Blue 1 in it because that is a coal tar-based dye and that is a known carcinogen.

I want to tell you the first thing I have decided to do and what I am making my family do. Lately, I have noticed that when I go shopping, I buy things just for the sake of buying them. If I want new towels, I will get them because one, they are fairly cheap and two, I have become so wrapped up in consumerism that I have forgotten how to wait for things.

This isn't good.

What kind of example am I showing Rhett and Noah? That when you want something to go ahead and get it instead of waiting for a special occasion? That you should go ahead and get it even though it may be not what you really want in the long run? To keep adding to our piles of stuff at home?

So Seth and I made a decision. No more buying stuff just because we want it. If we see something we want or desire, I made some little wish list books (reusing paper we already had by the way) so we can write those items down. Then when it is time to buy ourselves a little treat (because let's face it, there are times we do deserve them) we pick something small from our wish list. When it is time for birthday and Christmas, we pick those things we really like. Maybe we will see that some of those things weren't things we really wanted in the long run. I love this idea. My kids have no idea what it is like to look forward to something. That is my fault. But we are changing that right now. Consumerism will not have a hold of me anymore. (Yes, I am aware that in New York, all I did was buy things but I am forgiving myself for that because it was vacation and it was fun). :)

It isn't going to be easy. I told Seth I may have to avoid going to Target because that store tempts me. But I am trying to help myself by thinking that maybe if I wait to buy towels I won't have to get the cheap ones. I can save for the really nice organic cotton or bamboo towels. Same thing for sheets or even clothes.

I feel good about this. Seth feels good about this especially since the economy has taken a downward spiral. Noah took this hard but he'll be okay. Rhett loved the idea. So 3 out of 4 isn't bad. :)

Also, Krista and I found these really cool candy wrapper bags at the M&M store in New York. They were so cute but they cost around $90 and above. Well, I found out how to make them! It won't be easy, but I am going to try. The one pictured below is from Nahui Ollin's collection. I will let you know how it goes. And Krista, if it looks as good as the one below, I'll send it to you!
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

New York- Day 3 and 4

...Today, this post will be photo heavy. On Saturday and Sunday, we saw some sites and we did even more shopping.

I wish I had Krista's explaination for this statue. I read the plaque, still didn't understand it, so she told me what it means in her own words. Basically, it is symbolic of good vs. evil and if Krista would like to tell you more, I'll let her. :)
The statue was a part of The Cathedral of St. John the Divine and here is the church above. It was a beautiful church and being in the Upper West Side, it was also very peaceful. Not as many people and not as much traffic. We could actually talk while walking down the sidewalks and not have to walk one in front of another. That was a nice change of pace.
The church was nice but they were still fixing it after a fire in 2000 or 2002, I can't remember. Here I am at the American Museum of Natural History. The dinosaurs took up most of the 4th floor and they were amazing. There were also prehistoric skeletons of giant sloths, mammoths, giant turtles and horses with really skinny legs. I liked the museum. I think it made me miss the boys because I knew they would have enjoyed seeing those things a lot. I guess I'll have to come back with them one day.
This photo is of Central Park. I can see now why Central Park is such an important part of New York City. There aren't many trees anywhere else in the city, and this is also a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of things. We walked pretty much straight across the park to get to 5th Avenue on the other side.
Krista and I split up from Mom and Jana to do some shopping and when the two of us got back to the hotel, we had a near celebrity siting: Debbie Phelps, Michael Phelps' mom, was walking out of our hotel! "Krista, Krista, there's Debbie Phelps!" "She's here...because...Michael's here!!" we both shouted. Michael Phelps was going to host Saturday Night Live that night. Just 2 blocks from our hotel! I was so excited. I even thought about waiting in the lobby that night (or early morning) to see if I could catch him coming in, but I decided not to. That would have been silly. :)

Saturday night we went to Brasserie 8 1/2 for our birthday celebration (Jana's birthday was on Monday, mine will be this coming Monday). We had the most fun. The food was wonderful and the drinks were great but the company was the best. I really feel very lucky to have my sisters and mom. I am so glad we came on this trip together and hope we do more trips together.


We took the subway to downtown so we could see the Statue of Liberty and the WTC site. We came across this though on the way to the statue. There were many flags like this at Battery Park. They had the names of the fallen heroes from 9-11. It was a beautiful site. This is the spere that was in front of the World Trade Center buildings. It was damaged, as you can see, but they brought it to Battery Park for a temporary memorial. The eternal flame was lit exactly one year after 9-11. It was sad to me to see this in person.And this is the site of the World Trade Center. Not much to see obviously. It is hard to believe there once were two towers that stood so far above everything right there.
Every time I look at this photo, it makes me laugh. The duck is almost as big as the statue! That is about how far away we were. I didn't care though. I still thought it was cool to see. What a great symbol it has been for so many. Krista shot this photo of me trying to get everything into the one suitcase I brought with me. It was not easy, let me tell you!
The final photo is one of the four of us, ready to go to our Broadway show. I loved The Lion King! It was so fantastic! By now, our feet were killing us, they were so tired, but we put on our nice shoes anyway because this was our last thing we were going to do.

After the show, we walked down Times Square area and decided to eat at a diner that was across the street from The Lehman Brothers. There was a huge crowd and many tv cameras just watching the building. I have to admit, I had no idea what was going on until I asked.

Well, that was my trip. I loved every minute of it and definitely want to go back. Now I am back and this week has been a struggle to get back in the groove of mommyhood. Laundry, cooking, sports and doctor's appointments... But I was so glad to see my boys.


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

New York- Day 1 and 2

...I had an amazing time in New York with my sisters and mom. Just wonderful. I want to go back. There is so much to do and we wore our feet out trying to do it all, but just couldn't. What we did was have fun though, rain or shine.

We arrived in New York on Thursday afternoon, right at rush hour. So it took us awhile to get to our hotel from the airport. We were dropped off blocks from our hotel and then we got turned around several times before we made it to the Hilton New York. Our room was wonderful and we were excited to start our vacation.

We ate at a Cuban restaurant called Havana Central. We drank mojitos and ate interesting things but all of it was good. The music was loud but catchy and we caught our waitor dancing a couple of times. Heck, even we moved to the music. For dessert Krista and I had a dulce leche cheesecake and Mom and Jana had the Tres Leche cake. Divine.

After dinner, we walked around Times Square and saw the ball that drops at New Year's Eve. It was so bright there and so many people and places to see. We went to the M&M store and had fun shopping for the kids.

The next day was the day of our shopping tour. If you ever go to New York and like to shop, you have to do the Shop Gotham Tour. It was great. We met a couple of designers in their showrooms and the clothes were offered at wholesale price. We found some great deals and met some fun people. I had a lot of fun!

On the way to the tour, we walked by the New York Public Library. It was getting some work done on the building, but here is the lion with a bird on top of its head. I think it is a pigeon. Those birds were not afraid of people and we quickly found out that we needed to think fast and duck when they flew by us.

After the shopping tour, we went to Little Italy and ate a bite. The plan was to go to the Brooklyn Bridge and then the WTC site, but it began raining and steadily got worse, so we decided to take a subway back to 5th Avenue and go to FAO Schwarz instead. That was an experience! What a great but overwhelming toy store. Wow.

We stopped at a couple of other stores, but the rain and the having to constantly move around the many, many people with umbrellas were making us tired, so we walked back to the hotel and ate dinner there. The service was terrible but the food was good and we had a nice visit.

A funny side note: Every street corner was filled with either hot dog stands or people selling handbags. But when it started raining, all the sudden people selling umbrellas appeared from no where. "Umbrellasumbrellasumbrellas" they would call. "I am selling umbrellas" one man said, "Because I don't like when you get wet." Jana was the only one of us who didn't have an umbrella so she did buy one at the subway station. Guess what? It only cost her $5. The rest of our compact travel umbrellas that we bought before our trip cost $12. I guess sometimes, it pays off to be unprepared. :)

To be continued...

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

5 Reasons for Being Happy Today

1. I am going to New York tomorrow!
2. I am going to miss my boys like heck, but I love that I am going to have that opportunity.
3. Rhett is such a big kid. He now walks to the bus stop by himself, leaving me in the comfort of my pajamas at the house.
4. My good friend let me borrow her little black dress for my trip.
5. Seth bought 2 trees yesterday and planted one last night, in the nearly dark. One of the reasons he did that was for me.

And I'll leave you with a couple of quotes:

“We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventure. There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes open.” - Jawaharial Nehru

“People travel to faraway places to watch, in fascination, the kind of people they ignore at home.” - Dagobert D. Runes


Monday, September 08, 2008

counting down

...4 days away!!! This photo above is what I think of New York: fast, bright, exciting. Hopefully, we can keep up with it! Ha!

So, a couple of you have wondered what we will be doing while we are there. Short answer: Everything we can. The long answer I will try to keep short and sweet.

We are going to eat a lot of good food, shop 'til we are broke (just kidding Seth), walk 'til we drop, and pretend we are New Yorkers and do what they do. :) We are going to eat lunch at Central Park, see the dinosaurs at the American Museum of Natural History, pay homage at the World Trade Center site, view the New York skyline from the Brooklyn Bridge, window shop 5th Avenue, eat brunch on Sunday and have afternoon tea too, watch a Broadway show, take the Subway and a taxi or two, go to FAO Schwarz and spoil our kids, get up early (at least the first 2 days) and stay up late and try to have as much fun as possible.

Right now though I have to do laundry, clean the house, plant some bushes, mail a bill, find a birthday gift for my nephew, call Goodwill, make some snacks and things for the boys, and try to figure out if I have everything I need. So, bye for now!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

good advice from a wedding photographer's mother

...This morning I woke up feeling like I had been hit with a truck. Not sure what is wrong exactly, could be sinus or allergies, but whatever it is, it has made me feel terrible. What is funny is I called my neighbor, who has a son that is in Noah's class and we carpool together, and she feels the same way! My other neighbor also has been sick. Usually it is the kids who get sick but this time it is all the moms. Weird. I am just hoping I get it all out of my system now. One week!

I have just finished a book called: Exposed: Confessions of a Wedding Photographer by Claire Lewis. It was a good read with lots of humorous stories about psycho brides and drunk grooms. If you want a quick read that makes you laugh, check it out.

She was also honest about how she became a wedding photographer and her life. Her mother died when she was a young adult and it was a terrible time in her life. She tells about how her mother taught her everything she needed to know about life. The following is a quote from her book:

"Beauty is important, and life is something you must pay attention to and not waste a moment of. You must take life and run with it as far and as fast as you can, and regret only the hurt you may cause but not your mistakes. Pass up no opportunity to love, to explore a new place, to feel deeply. A passionate life is the only sort worth living."

I love this. These are the kind of things I want to teach my sons. This is the kind of person I want to be. I especially love the part about not regretting your mistakes, but only the hurt you cause. I think so many people focus too much on their mistakes and their past. We all need to have grace but not just for other people; for ourselves too.

And the beauty is important part is so true. To me, it means that there are beautiful things all around us and their are moments of beauty that we all live through. But beauty is not what is on a tabloid magazine or a fashion magazine. It is not how skinny and tanned we are or how young we look. It is all about what is inside us, how we live our lives, how we love and how we act toward other people. It is finding the good in the bad, the fun in the boring and the happy in the sad.

I am happy that I read this book. I am happy that I am going to go explore a new place (at least to me). I am happy I get the opportunity to spend time with my sisters and my mom. I am happy that the boys will get to spend some time with just their dad. I am happy that I have friends that help me out when I am sick or tired or sick and tired.

and now I am just rambling so I'll go.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

it is a jacket day!

...This morning we woke up to a very drizzly, windy day. Rhett was excited because he finally got to wear his new hoodie. There he is, at the bus stop, trying to...I don't know exactly. I stayed under the cover of the garage. He didn't want to.
Here is a photo of last night's oncoming clouds. I have come to love clouds. I love their shapes, I love that they can hold so much power to them but yet look so beautiful. I love watching their movements, either up toward the heavens or stretching across the skyline. I knew that we would not get much rain from Gustav (we are too far west) but we did experience about 5 minutes of heavy downpour that made me thankful we weren't on the coast.

I feel I should apologize for the lack of good blog content these days. I am not feeling very inspired, I guess. This next week and a half won't be much better (but I will tell you about NY trip, Christy) but when I get back, I promise more photos and better posts.
Have a great Wednesday.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

quick thoughts

...Has it really been almost a week since I last blogged? Wow. That went by fast.

September is here! My favorite month of the year. (It has almost everything--I mean, nothing, to do with it being my birthday month). The weather at last gets cooler (hopefully), fall begins, and this year I am going to New York! I am so excited and I can't believe it is next week. We've been planning this for over 3 years, y'all.

I have a lot to do before then though. 5 days is a long time to be away from my boys (husband included). Have I ever done that I wonder? I don't think so. Not for that long.

I have to go fix lunch for Noah now. We have had a busy but fun morning. Now we are hungry!