Thursday, September 28, 2006
As a kid, I always tried to make sure everyone felt included. In elementary school, I would look around the lunch room and sit with the girl who was at a table by herself. During recess, I tried to get everyone not involved with something else into our 4-square game. Not too long ago, I was looking over the program from my 6th grade "graduation". We'd each written something nice about someone, who wrote something about us. I wrote 2, because otherwise no one would've written one for Demetria. She was new to our class, and further isolated as one of the half dozen or so black kids bussed in from Hartford.
Anyway, this probably colors my perception of Christina silently watching Lauren and her clique. Lauren is usually one of the most popular in her peer group. She's outgoing and articulate. My impression was that Christina was very shy. Although there are kids with special needs at Lauren's school, they're not integrated at her age group. That may have more to do with the impossibility of getting kids with physical disabilities to the temporary Pre-K classrooms, which are in the basement of the building...or it may be that they integrate them in kindergarten or first grade.
Yesterday, on our walk from the car to outside her classroom door, Lauren stumbled and fell, scraping her left knee. It wasn't particularly bad, but I had left my purse in the car a block and a half away. So we went to see the school nurse. She was very nice, and cleaned Lauren's scrape and put on a bandaid.
When we got back outside, Christina and her dad had arrived. Lauren walked up and said "Hi Christina" to no response. Then Lauren waved, and Christina waved back. Then they slapped five. Lauren crouched down to roll up the left leg of her jeans to show Christina her bandaid.
"Look I got a bandaid, see? I fell down and scraped my knee and then we went to the nurse and she put this on."
"Oh, we don't like falling down, do we, Christina?" her father said, nodding at Lauren. "Christina fell down when we were leaving the house..."
"And I stubbed my toe..." Christina added.
"Oh, yuck. I hate that. That hurts." Lauren said empathetically.
They then proceeded to play a game that involved jumping and running the length of the sidewalk until the teacher came out to collect the kids.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Here are all things Heather, and yet not. Google your name followed by needs, wants, has, would, and can. I didn't include duplicate phrases, and discarded any that came up as a result of another person with the same name doing a meme.
I found out some interesting things about not me. Not me has gay parents, is quite obsessed with her body, and is going through a messy divorce. Occasionally, I am a plant.
What do I need?
- Heather needs men...now!
- Heather needs 2 therapists.
- Heather needs to start wearing a brassiere.
- Heather needs a childhood.
- Heather needs a ride to the playa.
- Heather needs veggies!!!
- Heather needs a va-K.
- Heather needs to be in the loop more often!!
- Heather needs a name.
- Heather needs to be a lot more slutty.
- Heather wants a girl with lips like morphine.
- Heather wants money (and she's damn serious about it).
- Whatever Heather wants, Heather gets.
- Heather wants a new job.
- Heather wants new boobs.
- Heather wants to grab his booty.
- Heather wants your blood.
- Heather wants the words to come alive for the reader.
- Heather wants to know the time.
- Heather wants to support efficient environmental practices.
- Heather has 2 mommies.
- Heather has 3 parents.
- Heather has hired the divorce attorney who won Princess Diana her 17 million pound settlement from Prince Charles.
- Heather has turned us all into a bunch of slobbering automatrons, snapping away with our cameras everytime we see something shiny.
- Heather has completed all the artwork and layout.
- Heather has gone from notable model to human-rights crusader.
- Heather has a plan for winter dryness.
- Heather has accomplished what many fine actresses 3 times her age only dream of.
- Heather has always believed that the biggest handicap is negative thinking.
- Heather has handled a wide variety of litigation matters.
- Heather would've wanted me to play.
- Heather would stop an habitual drunkard from imbibing on their favourite tipple.
- If only Heather would look at the camera.
- Heather would have a job on to investigate every insulting dreadful comment.
- Studying abroad is something Heather would recommend to any student.
- I figured that sooner or later Heather would be a little Orca Snak.
- Heather would help the Exiles complete many missions.
- We fans couldn't understand why Heather would hang with such trash!!!
- If Heather would accept $76 million and go away quietly he would write the cheque to get it over with.
- Pray that Heather would be able to see the opportunities God gives her.
- Heather can write.
- Heather can wait.
- Heather can groove.
- Heather can offer color year-round with proper care.
- Winter flowering heather can be counted on to change this situation in a very colorful way.
- Heather can tailor-make this show to your liking.
- Heather can next be seen in the politically incorrrect operetta.
- Heather can brings smiles and laughter back with her unique, playful style of magic.
- Heather can send them messages but can't receive them.
- Mexican heather can return from its roots if the winter is not too severe.
Monday, September 25, 2006
There's definitely a clique forming with Lauren and 2 of her classmates Ruthie and Natasha. There are big hugs exchanged upon greeting, and often the initiation of a game. When we arrived today, neither were there, but Christina was there - one of the kids who has the separation difficulties.
When I saw Christina approaching with her dad, I said to Lauren, "Let's say "hi" to Christina."
"Uh. Well, Mom, you see Christina doesn't talk." Lauren said. "She just waves. That's why she isn't a friend of me."
This was something I hadn't noticed. But Lauren was correct, Christina doesn't talk. We waved and said hi to Christina, but then she sat on the steps next to her dad. She opened and closed her mouth at him in play.
I just didn't know what to say to Lauren. It isn't fair to isolate Christina because she doesn't talk. I left it at "we are nice to people because we like it when people are nice to us". It seems like a crappy answer though. There must be a better one.
Sunday, September 24, 2006
Karen commented last night that her boys sound Jersey. It is coming up on 2 years I've lived here,and already my ears are muting out what was a distinct regionalism when I first moved in. Ever so much more distinctly I hear my in-laws from New Yawk, my mom with the blendy-schwa goodness of a New England accent, and my sister's rapid fire language is nearly indecipherable. I know my own accent melts into the sounds around it. There are some words I say that sound distinctly Midwestern, and everytime I have a conversation with Mom both my vowels and my "r"s get a little softer.
I was thinking about it as I awoke this morning. Lauren was already up, playing library with the stuff animals in her room. She poked her head in and announced, "Ear and I are in charge of checking out the books."
The second time she walked by, this time to retrieve the bathroom stool, I sat up to see she had her great stuffed Eeyore in tow. Ohhhh. E're.
Saturday, September 23, 2006
I have been enjoying school. For 3 hours a week, I listen to a lecture about something unrelated to parenting or school. Even though the 8-10 hours a week I spend studying is often punctuated by Lauren asking me to explain anatomical drawings (she is really facinated by how body parts are deconstructed), I am still looking forward to just going to class.
I bring my laptop to class with the professor's slides on it and occasionally note key concepts in the note fields of the slides. I can type much faster than I can write. This way I usually manage to look over his slides and note questions I have about unclear concepts in his slides so that when he presents them in class, I have something reasonably intelligent to comment about.
We have a short break between chapters in class, and I closed out the Chapter 3 presentation, and hadn't loaded Chapter 4. I stood up to stretch, my laptop displayed its desktop picture of the girls sitting together in the leather chair. My classmate sitting behind me, also with an open laptop smiled, "Are they yours?"
"Yep. That's Lauren and Lindsay!" I said.
She is also a freshman, though a semester ahead of me and has a 2-year-old son.
We talked through the break, and then wound up talking for a half hour after class about our kids, going to school as an adult, and what we want to ultimately do. It was so nice to finally talk to someone who could relate to how hard it is. She is actually going to school fulltime. Mostly we talked about the problem she's having breaking her son of the cosleeping habit, and she admitted she had a hard time getting up for class this morning. I confessed to a 5 AM feeding that culminated in both girls in the bed. But also, as excited I was about my kid-free time, it seems we migrate to our comfort zone...poopy diapers, no sleep, and all. N'est-ce que pas?
Friday, September 22, 2006
The doctor came in and introduced himself. A good deal younger than I thought he would be for how many people have told me how wonderful he is - probably in his mid-forties. He was very good with Lindsay, and Lauren who was in a little snit this morning.
"Hi, I'm the eye doctor. Do you like doctors, Lauren?" he asked, smiling at her.
Lauren glowered back at him. "No. I hate doctors."
He looked surprised. Clearly this is not the answer he usually gets. "Really?" He flipped around Lindsay's chart to see where the assistant noted the girls' pediatrician, but that just seemed to confuse him further.
"Yes. Doctors are mean and nasty." She folded her arms and pouted.
"Oh. Um. Well, eye doctors are fun. Everybody likes eye doctors." he said, smiling again.
Lauren looked at him doubtfully. "Yeh. Well. We'll see."
The eye doctor has this wall of animatronic animals to get kids to look a certain way while he looks at the back of their eyes. Lauren actually stared at it with her mouth agape. And then when he left the room, she spoke of him in dolce tones as though he were some sort of God.
"Did you see," she whispered, "that the pig, Godzilla, and the tiger all danced together?"
We were there for quite a while, because the issue with hemangiomas on the eyelid is that they can cause pressure inside the eye resulting in astigmatism, so his assistant dialated Lin's eyes. She didn't like it much, so I spent a while pacing back and forth. She fell asleep about 5 minutes before he came back in to check her.
So this will be our routine for a while, returning every 2 months for an assessment of growth and pressure.
Thursday, September 21, 2006
An enormous sheaf of sales catalogues and flyers came home with Moomin the second week of school. Before he had any homework, he had fundraising materials. These catalogues are pressure on the child and on the parents.Lauren's school's PTO sent home a notice yesterday that there will be 3 fundraising initiatives occurring simultaneously in the month of October. I noticed that they failed to mention what the reason for which PTO is raising money. And no, my 4-year-old isn't going door-to-door in my neighborhood selling wrapping paper or notecards. And I don't happen to work in an office where I can guilt my childless coworkers into buying stuff they don't want or need. My coworkers with kids would just laugh at me, because they already have 5 different types of wrapping paper and matching candles.
I notice the school does not give prizes for academic achievement.
There are a couple of issues at work here methinks.
I don't believe that there should be fundraising in school. That's why we pay taxes. And for those of you who don't live in Jersey, our property taxes are staggering. If there are particulars lacking, I am happy to give money towards them - or make a donation of stuff.
My daughter's school seems to systemically write poor reminders. The first week of school, the PTO demanded a $5 "membership donation". At the end of last week, there was a list sent home of events, with no dates or other particulars, looking for volunteers. These are events they probably have every year. Even a short sentence like "involves collecting orders for plants, and coming in the Friday before Mother's Day to facilitate parent pick-up" next to Plant Sale would give me an idea of how much time is involved and the types of tasks I might do. And really, I would like to know what having all these events funds.
When I was in elementary school, there were similar fundraising efforts. The big one was magazine subscriptions, which was always kicked off with an assembly by the magazine company. Seriously, this was like a bad infomercial with "What's my prize for selling JUST 3 MAGAZINES?!" where they would bring kids up on stage and embarrass them into committing to selling some amount of magazines. They'd use his testamony to harrass the other kids they dragged up on stage to making similar commitments. It was horrible. Then I'd come home with this package of stuff that my parents would go through, my dad would yell that child labor was illegal and it was not safe to go door-to-door alone.
Man, if I find out they do that assembly, I am so pulling her out of school that day.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
Yesterday, my neighbor was out by the stop, and we exchanged pleasantries and talked about a neighbor of ours who had twin girls on Sunday evening. When she said they'd been born by cesarian section, I was a little uncomfortable. That always seems to me a detail more intimate than required, and somehow usually manages to convey the speaker's point-of-view about birth in general. I mean, I admire your ability to survive 20 hours of labor with no epidural thankyouverymuch, but I knew before I embarked on that journey that pain relief was required.
My neighbor was very chatty today, having seen our neighbor and new family. She commented that they seemed a little overwhelmed. I replied that I would be. I also commented that St Peter's was a nice hospital.
After our kids got off the bus, she went inside to get me the number for another PM Pre-K mom who mentioned to her that she was looking to start a carpool, and wrote down her own number "just in case you need it" and took down my cell number "because you never know". Lauren and I waited on their front steps while she fetched a pencil and a notepad.
Lauren says, "Mom, I have to pee."
"Ok, Lo. We're going home in a second. Your friend's mom is just getting a number for Mom."
When my neighbor came back out, her son flew down the steps in front of her, and he and Lauren were off by the side yard.
Lauren was suddenly flanking my side, "I don't want to have to pee in the bushes."
"Um, ok. We don't pee in people's bushes anyway."
"Yeah, Mom. I just said I don't want to..."
My neighbor's face crumpled as she realized the reason Lauren was asking, of course, was that her son had just urinated on the side of her house and I think she was politely trying to muster surprise that her little darling angel boy just did that, but her initial expression belied that her three sons regularly marked territory. I also suppose if I had acted shocked and dismayed, it might have helped, but being nonplussed by outdoor urination was just not the reaction she wanted.
"See you tomorrow," I said, leaving her to her discussion with her youngest son.
Lindsay had a reaction to the DTaP vaccination she received on Monday, which wasn't entirely a surprise. Lauren had similar reactions to them: general irritability and a low-grade fever. Lindsay was further made miserable yesterday by cold symptoms: stuffy nose, sneezing, coughing. I gave her Tylenol for the fever, and tried to keep her nose suctioned out. Treating a baby cold is always tough business. They absolutely hate to have stuff put up their little noses. She slept a lot yesterday, but when she was up and trying to eat, she was a fussy little girl.
Her fever broke around 10 PM, and she slept through the night despite Alec's rising at 4 AM to leave for the airport at 4:30 this morning. Lauren climbed in my bed around 6:30 AM and Lindsay slept until nearly 8.
She sounded pretty good when she woke up, but as she ate, she got stuffier. She culminated her first feeding by spitting up, mostly out her nose.
Lauren sounds a little nasal too, but she also is suffering from hayfever. Poor thing is allergic to ragweed and we're getting into the miserable weeks of itchy noses and eyes. She seems a little less drowsy for the Zyrtec therapy this morning.
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
I'm 32 years old today. I am writing that because I am one of those people when asked how old I am, there's a long pause even though I could probably tell you how many days old Lindsay is.
When I turned 20, I really thought I had it all figured out. At 32, I feel like I am in a state of constant learning about the world around me, and even myself. I think that's pretty cool.
Monday, September 18, 2006
Lauren had to have a shot today called the ProQuad which is MMR and Varicella together...so one vaccine instead of 4. She also had to have a TB test. We have to go back for a flu shot and her second hepatitis A shot. She's going to be a mad little girl by the end of October, but at least we're done until next year.
Her doctor suggested putting her on allergy medication for 6 months to try to desensitize her of her seasonal and indoor allergies. The medication makes her a little sleepy, but it's taken at bedtime, which just means no middle of the night rousing for a while, which frankly sounds pretty nice. The doctor said that after a couple of weeks, she will tolerate the medication better and not be so sleepy.
The doctor said, "Oh well, your husband is short," as though my genes don't explain both of my daughters' low percentiles for height.
Although they armed me with a sheet of food introduction order, which seems to have relaxed since Lauren was 5 months old, we agreed we'd discuss it again next visit. When Lauren was a baby, food introduction was cereal: oat, rice, multi; orange vegetable and fruit in alternating order, then green vegetables. It was frankly a little like a puzzle we never quite got right, and they'd always say we should've done something else first or whatever. It didn't escape my notice that the food guideline worksheet is published by Gerber.
Unfortunately, Lindsay has thrush again. Seriously annoying. The doctor recommended buying new nipples (I assume he meant for the bottles). I pointed out that she sucks her thumb now and should I worry about her reinfecting herself. So now in addition to yet another round of nystatin for both of us, I have to wash her thumbs several times a day. I am supposed to wash with soap and dry with a hairdryer after every feeding, which just about sounds like the most comical thing ever. Seriously, did anyone else have to go through this? I don't even have any symptoms of a yeast infection...
Sunday, September 17, 2006
Our favorite restaurant bar none is The Tasting Room. It is a marvelously romantic restaurant that has relocated from 1st Street to Elizabeth Street to a larger location, and amazingly although the dining area is easily 3 times larger than the tiny space on 1st, it is still just as intimate.
The food is fabulous. The chef/co-owner Colin creates the menu from the selection available at the local farmer's market. The wine list is an amazing tome, and recently as they've added a bar at the new location, they serve handcrafted cocktails. As you know, I don't mix my drink choices, so we'll have to save a cocktail there for another time.
Mostly, it was very nice to catch up with Renee, co-owner, and to hear about their son who is a few weeks younger than Lauren, and to find out that they now have a daughter who is a little over a year.
To make a reservation at The Tasting Room, call
Saturday, September 16, 2006
"Is this a different school, Mom?"
"Nope, Lauren. This is where Mommy goes to school."
"Oh. This isn't the R school?"
As I looked around campus, I noticed that many of the building doors and windows had the university logo on them, a big red R.
She noticed it too, and began to point. "This is the R school!"
"Oh, yes. This is just a different building. Rutgers has a lot of buildings."
She nodded solemnly.
Later this afternoon, Alec turned on Rutgers v Ohio. When she saw the university logo, she pointed and said, "Mommy's school's playing."
"You're supposed to say 'Go Scarlet Knights'."
"GO Scarlet Knights!!"
Friday, September 15, 2006
I finished my 3 chapters of psychology homework. Wow, I really hope the reading isn't going to be so substantive every week, because that was really my limit. I renew my confidence that taking one class this semester was really all I could handle.
Thursday, September 14, 2006
We were sensitive to the fact that having the last name Stoll meant we wouldn't pick a first name beginning with an "S". Oh my, what if our kid had a lisp? Themus Tholl.
I was named for a television character from a soap opera my parents watched while my mom was pregnant. I had a very common name growing up. There was always at least another Heather in class, and by college there were usually 2 or 3 others. Throughout school I was always called by my full name "Heather Fisher" or "Heather F." I wanted my kids to not have that experience, but still not have so uncommon a name that it isn't pronounced or spelled properly.
We liked the name Lauren after watching the first couple of seasons of Boston Public. Jessalyn Gilsig's character, a former nun who became a teacher, was named Lauren.The show wasn't very popular, and as a result, not very long lived. We liked the way Lauren Elisabeth sounded, and we decided on the spelling because it was my nurse's name. Both my sister and my cousin Allison middle names are Elizabeth.
The other girl's name I'd always liked was Lindsay. You'll remember, of course, because it was a much more popular longer run show that it was Kelli Williams' character on The Practice.
It was just 2 days before Lindsay was born that we decided on the middle name Alexandra. We planned to choose an "A" name to honor Alec's grandfather Arthur, who passed a year ago this week.
We never chose a boy's name for Lindsay...not that we planned to use Lindsey as our boy's name...it just never occurred to us to do that. Before we found out at 18 weeks that Lauren is a girl, we'd discussed naming our son Jacob.
I have no idea what we would've named our kids were it not for David E. Kelley.
My obgyn told me back in August he wants me to go for an ultrasound to check that the dermoid cyst in my right ovary has remained the same since June. Dermoid cysts are the product of cells making tissues in the wrong areas during gestational development, so I've always had this tiny piece of misplaced me there.
Anyway, it isn't something I've gotten to. I got a postcard in the mail from my obgyn last week, requesting that I schedule an appointment. I know his appointments - and this is typical of gynecologists - are at least 3 months off...but until I at least schedule the ultrasound, I don't want to call.
So I dreamed I was in a changing room, very similar to the ones they have at Roosevelt's radiology department, putting on a hospital gown. These changing rooms were not like little closets, however, but more like cubicles. I gritted my teeth, took off my clothes, and struggled to keep the barely fitting hospital gown closed in back. I turned around and saw her.
I haven't seen her in a dozen years, and in my dream she looked exactly as I remembered her. Tall and slender. Her long, sandy hair in spiral curls that were so popular in the early 90s. She spoke in a soft, little girl voice, her full lower lip in a pout.
Now, you're thinking from that description that this was my flaky friend who chased boys. Nope. Kristin did the Times crossword in pen, would abruptly decide that today we were only speaking en Francais, and scored a perfect 800 on her math SAT. She applied to 2 colleges, Harvard and MIT. She only applied to Harvard so she could turn them down. I know little of what happened after she graduated from MIT, I know she earned her PhD in astronomy at a university in Florida...and I believe she was engaged then to someone she met there.
Her blue-gray eyes were wide as she looked at me, her mouth formed an "Oh" in surprise.
She responded with her little girl laugh. She stooped as I hugged her.
"What are you doing here?" I asked.
She patted her flat tummy. "We're expecting our first next spring," she said.
A flood of thoughts went through my head, but I woke up before I responded in the dream.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Three chapters of text is a lot to read in a week. Particularly a week with work deadlines looming. More so in a week where our schedule has suddenly changed to trying to eat lunch at 11:15 so that we can be out the door at 12:10 to make it in time for school. With the time that it takes to check Lauren in, walk a few minutes back to the car, it seems I am never back home before 1 PM, which leaves a mere 2 hours until the bus arrives. Today, it didn't happen to be a 2 hour period Lindsay would take a nap through. So she fussed and ate while I tried to discuss project details via IM. She fussed in my lap while I tried to answer email. And finally at 2:30 she was snoozing in the swing...only a half hour before I had to scoop her up and meet Lauren at the bus.
Reading at the table led to Lauren telling me the pasta salad for dinner was "Not scrumptuous". I told her she could eat the walnuts and have an apple for dessert. She ate a circle around the top of the apple and announced she was done with a sweeping gesture, knocking a half glass of pink lemonade on my $80 textbook. I grabbed a towel and sopped up, saying calmly that she needed to go sit on the stairs.
Well, idiot. Don't try and read your science homework at the dinner table.
Once the apres dinner crying jag had started that bathtime, storytime, and bedtime were a tearfest from both girls. I sit in the living room, an hour later, fully exhausted now. The idea of reading about neurons makes my eyes glaze over.
What a long week already.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Ruthie's mom and I joked about the problems with the classroom...no exit. No phone. No sink. The school hasn't gathered the kids' allergy information yet, so we were told once they did that we'd get a list of food we couldn't send in as a snack. Neither of us were sure what was supposed to happen between now and then.
Just as our kids went in, the principal stuck her head out and announced that Pre-K would now be from 12:30 until 2:55. And we were asked, once again, to understand that things are difficult because of the construction.
What's so disturbing about all of this to me, is that they knew there would be construction. It is planned to continue through September 2007. It can't be that they didn't consider any of these scenerios.
I went to the bus stop to meet Lauren at 3 PM, and saw my neighbor who has 2 boys who ride the Irving bus. She asked me where we were yesterday, and I said that I was sure that if I dropped Lauren off in the cafeteria at 2:30 PM to wait for 15 minutes to board the bus that that would upset her, and I decided to wait until today when her teacher would escort her to the bus. I believe she still has to wait on the bus for 15 minutes for the rest of the grades to board.
I said, "The organization at the school seems to be lacking. We keep being assured that once something happens, it will get better...once the Pre-K has its own exit, things will be better..."
"Yeah, all the grades will have their own exits," she said.
"Well, I am starting to lose confidence. Every day, it's some other random issue..."
She held up her hand. "Oh. Well. I am the wrong person to talk to about this. My husband is on the school board, thankyouverymuch."
I couldn't help it. I just started laughing at her.
She continued about her husband being on the faculty at one of the university hospitals and so on, but I was no longer listening.
I'm not the most patient person. I am particularly not patient when it's about one of my kids. I'm not sure how much longer I am going to be able to go along with this when nearly nothing they've done so far makes any sense.
Monday, September 11, 2006
Sunday, September 10, 2006
“The only way to describe Jeff is to say he was the most caring, gentle, kind and patient person every to enter my life.”Jeff and Rani lived in Tuckahoe with their 3-year-old son Bradley, who, after being told they couldn’t have children, was somewhat of a miracle to them. Every Thursday, Jeff’s day off from Ladder 9, he would do something special with his son. They went to nearby Bronx Zoo and Mets stadium, or spent the afternoon at a park. Jeff shared a passion for mountain biking with his older brother, Raymond. He often would ride his bike from his home to the firehouse, a 2-hour trip.Rani Walz, Jeff’s wife.
“The bond between brothers is an extraordinary one that can never be broken. His heroic efforts are a testament to the type of man we can all be proud of. I not only lost a terrific brother, but also my best friend.”Raymond Walz, Jeff’s brother.
“He cherished every possible moment with his family. He was a wonderful husband and father.”Family was tremendously important to Jeff. He cherished his wife and son. He was proud of being a firefighter.Karen Ciaccio, Jeff’s sister.
On the morning of September 11, 2001, Ladder 9 was dispatched to the World Trade Center. Jeff did not escape Tower 1 before it collapsed."Jeffrey grew into a very fine young man, not just as a son, but as a brother, husband to his wife, Rani, and most of all, a wonderful father to his son, Bradley,"Jennie and Raymond Walz, Jeff's parents.
Rest in peace.
It is barely believable that my itty bitty baby Lauren turned 4 today. It seems like yesterday that hollering 4 pound 3 ounce babe was placed on my chest and my life forever changed. And yet, I can barely remember what life was like before her.
Lindsay and Uncle Jason
Uncle Ben and Auntie Maria
Me, Rebecca, Chris, and Karen
G.G. and Grampie Fisher
Saturday, September 09, 2006
We were participating in the annual garage sale today, which meant a very early morning. We'd planned to set up, and then Alec was going to drop me off at class because it just didn't make sense to shell out the $150 for a parking pass for the one class. What we forgot about is, when you start setting up a garage sale, people show up and want to buy stuff or are asking you dozens of questions about stuff you don't have. Suddenly, it was 8:45 AM, and I had to go, so I took the car.
I knew the street address of the building I was going to, but not the name of the building...which turns out is exactly opposite of what you want to know because everyone calls the buildings by their names. The other discovery I made is that the reason a Saturday class on the Busch Campus is so underenrolled is because it's bedlam there on game day. I spent about 20 minutes finding a lot to park my car in that didn't say explicitly I'd get towed out of without certain sticker, which was about a half mile away from the nearest building.
I walked back to the Psychology building to see if perhaps my psychology class was there. As I walked up to the door, between the cell phone and keys in my right pocket, and the drawstring pants, I looked up to catch a glimpse of my own reflection with a bared right hip. I threw my phone and keys into my purse and desperately retied my pants, just as someone walked out the door.
The third building was the right one, and some helpful person directed me to the classroom. I arrived 20 minutes late.
The professor was just finishing his class policies part of his lecture. He was reviewing how one must attend class else have a doctor's note, that the syllabus and lecture notes were available online and that we should download them.
During a break, I asked a classmate whether there was a sign in at the start of class. She scoffed, and replied, "Girl, this ain't high school."
Things have changed a lot.
Friday, September 08, 2006
Our school opening is late this year because of contruction to all 4 of the public schools. Lauren's first day of pre-K will be Monday. Today, we attended a bus orientation and an open house.
My first clue should've been that the bus orientation was at 10 AM and the open house was at 4 PM. This is very inconvenient unless you either have a stay at home Mom with only one child, or both parents at home. The instructions for the bus orientation stated that we should expect to be dropped off at home. We live about 1 1/2 miles away from the school, which the school system feels is too far for Lauren to walk. Riiight. You're starting to see a problem.
Alec stayed home today, because otherwise, there would've been no reasonable way to coordinate both kids and the parking problem at Irving. He dropped us off at Irving at 10, where we stood with about a hundred other combinations of Moms, a smattering of Dads, kids, and siblings in a dusty torn up yard with a newly poured sidewalk. We were handed squares of laminated construction paper with our kids' names on them which will serve as their bus passes.
Most of the older kids destroyed their bus pass within 3 minutes of receiving them.
When we returned at 4 PM for open house, it was bedlam outside the school while the principal detained us for their staff and school board tour guides. The school is still a construction site, its hallways are littered with construction debris. While the classrooms were mostly cleaned up, they had all of the furniture in the middle of rooms and boxes scattered everywhere. The teachers seemed as though they were frantically trying to unpack while kids milled through their rooms. The tours left randomly as you entered, and my tour group had a bunch of older siblings who were disinterested, and spent the whole time talking about, y'know, whatever the tweenies talk about. They were a little less distracting than the moms who also talked over the narrative of the school board president who led the tour.
When we got to Ms Murphy's room, I stopped and made a point of talking with her to find out when we're supposed to report on Monday and introduced Lauren to her new teacher ("Ms Murphy, this is Lauren, and she wanted me to tell you she is feeling too shy to say hi herself"). I was instantly relieved, because when I met the teachers at parent's night back in June, she was the one I liked most. She told Lauren she was looking forward to having her in her class and Lauren grinned. So all ends well, I guess.
It's fine that they chose to have the open house despite the conditions at Irving, but I think the invitation should have said "The site is under construction, please dress appropriately in closed toed shoes". Half of the kids were wearing flip flops. Also, the note about the first day of school from the principal stated "all students should report at 8:30 AM", which meant all students who are supposed to report at that time should, but the PM pre-K kids were supposed to report at 12:30 PM. Um, huh?
The tours would've been a nice opportunity to also meet some classmates, if they had been organized by year rather than at random. It would've, at least, put Lauren's mind at ease if she knew a couple of kids from daycare were going to be in her class...
After spending a solid 15 minutes complaining to Alec about their missed opportunities today, I said, "Y'know what really pisses me off?"
"That I'm going to effing have to be on the PTO. And I'm going to be that bitchy Mrs Stoll who complains about everything."
Alec grinned. "You'll probably be the president."
Thursday, September 07, 2006
Here's my make up box:
I bought it at TJ Maxx. It's cute and was about $4. I love bargains. It matches the fashion theme in our downstairs powder room which also has a little dressform and 2 prints of style from the 20s. Alec chose them.
And my make up:
What I wear...
1. Sephora professional brushes
I got these as a gift. There are about a half dozen other brushes in this nice little aluminium container. I only actually use a single shadow and blush brush, which are described below.
2. CoverGirl Instant Cheekbones in Rose
This is my third one of these. I love the colors. The medium rose is just a little flushed for every day and the dark rose adds a little intensity for evening. The very light pink is great for highlights.
3. CoverGirl Eye Enhancers in Urban Basics
I read in one of my dozen or so magazines that browns make blue eyes look more intense. These are sort of putty shades with a little shimmer. I don't wear eye shadow a lot. I don't like how it gets all over the rest of my face.
4. CoverGirl Eye Enhancers in Dance Party
Ok. I have no idea why I still have this one. It's shades of purple and a little sparkly. Whenever I used to try to wear this to work one of my coworkers would say, "Waitaminit, are you wearing glitter?!"
5. The well-used Sephora blush brush
6. Yet another Sephora professional brush
I use this one for eye shadow.
7. Stainiac in Beauty Queen
I have a love/hate relationship with this gel product. I love how it feels going on - very cool and slick, and it deepens the color of the lipstick you're wearing under it. It's actually one of those lips, eyes, and cheeks things, but it is a little too red to wear as blush. The hate part is it dries tacky sometimes. I am something of a lipstick addict as you can see from my list...
8. Revlon Lustrous Lipstick Pearl in SoftSilver Red
9. Revlon Lustrous Lipstick Creme in Kiss Me Coral
My sister picked these out. I would never have bought them but they look really good for summer. Very pink.
10. Chanel A Levres Hydrase in Sugarplum
I love Chanel product, but as you can see from my kit, most of it has been replaced because it is just too pricey. This is a deep wine for fall.
11. Chanel A Levres Hydrase in Beige du Chanel
Quite possibly my favorite lipstick ever, with its subtle shimmer and great rosewater scent. It's worn down all the way and I have to use a brush to apply it.
12. Chanel A Levres Lumiere Intense in Emotion
I was sold on this by a saleswoman. It has gold flecks in it. It's pretty much gone and at least a couple years old. It was $35 for the tube.
13. Stila Lip Glaze in Cranberry
I bought this with a gift certificate from Sephora and it was quite expensive, but I hate it. It's gooey looking and a really strange color.
14. Too Faced Loose Lips
This clear gloss is awesome under intense color, and is a little mentholated, which at least makes your lips feel a little plumper, though I am not sure they actually look that way. Another TJ Maxx find, it was $2.
15. Maybelline Undetectables in True
Concealer for hiding the occasional pimple.
16. Maybelline Great Lash Waterproof in Dark Brown
I've been a fan of Great Lash for some time. I like that it's in a bright pink tube because it's easy to find. I replace my mascara every 8 weeks, and grabbed the waterproof version by mistake. But I kind of like the waterproof formula because it stays put nicely. You will probably never see me without mascara because my lashes are blonde.
17. CoverGirl Fantastic Lash in Very Black
I used to only wear black mascara because I thought it looked good. Whenever I wear it now, it looks kind of harsh. My lashes aren't really long, so at least I don't get that weird porn-star look.
18. Olay Complete for Sensitive Skin SPF 15
I'm struggling with face product these days, and reverted back to this one. I forgot that I really hate the smell of SPF-containing lotions...they smell like the soap in public restrooms to me. It's too bad because this is a nice light day cream. I need a product that does a better job of hydrating the little lines that are starting to appear around my eyes and that crease across the bridge of my nose.
19. Neutrogena CleanTint in Fair to Light
This is a nice product I bought at the beginning of the summer. I have been an SPF-foundation wearer for a while, but tinted moisturizers were really in this year, so I bought this one. I am flagging my magazines now for a product to replace it for fall.
20. L'Oreal Smooth Defining Eyeliner in Smoke
My other make up must is eyeliner. This one is for evening with black mascara.
21. Lumene Eyeliner Pencil in Grey Brown
I loved this color, but the pencil is spent. I saved it to replace it, and then never have seen the product again.
22. CoverGirl Perfect Blend in Charcoal
Another evening pencil.
23. Bourjois Paris LinerStylo in Brun
This is my every day pencil. It yields a nice smudgy line. A Sephora find.
24. Stila GoldenMoon Kit
I liked the look of this kit in browns and golds, but the colors are a little too warm for me. I wore this more when I dyed my hair light brown.
Lauren's 4th birthday is September 10. I have been planning Lauren's birthday party pretty much since James' going away party. I decided this was to be a lowkey affair with barbeque and cake. Having attended the kid themed parties for the under 5 set, I personally think it's just too much. I also was trying to avoid the 3 separate parties we had to attend for Lauren's 2nd birthday.
Although I had said to those parties involved who might pitch high drama saying that just doesn't thwart the high drama. There was a flurry of email over the family guest list. I replied I am inviting my parents, my brother and sister-in-law. Period. The day after the invitations went out, the reply list was demanded because "Well, if your mom isn't planning to go, then we won't because Lauren won't want to play with us with her friends there". With the very few details I knew about what was going on at my mom's, I certainly wasn't going to demand she attend a birthday party. It sounded, at least initially, as though she wasn't going to make it. Last week, when she called she acted surprised that I thought she wouldn't come, and she sounded yesterday as though she was looking forward to it.
After talking to both my parents last night, I figured I should let Nanny know what was going on because I know I would hate it if I didn't know and I said something wrong. She thanked me for letting her know, and asked if she could bring some salads with her to the party, if that would help me out. I said, "Thanks, that would be very helpful."
This morning, I received this email:
It was great talking to you. I need a big favor. You have to find out the closest exit on the GARDEN STATE PARKWAY to your house and then how to get their [sic] going South. My sister wants to meet me their at 3:30 and we are going to AC from their [sic]. She has plans until then. We take the Garden State to Atlantic City. Please research that and write back as soon as you know. ThanksI replied, "Exit 130, which is Route 1". I'm not sure where she's trying to get - from my house to the Garden State? From the Garden State to my house? I have to assume from context that she already knows how to get to Atlantic City, right? I probably would've either gone to MapQuest or consulted a map. Anyway, this is typical of an email from her - no transitions between thoughts...this email happens to use punctuation, but usually they don't. It's also important to know that she teaches at an elementary school, so one would think she would know the difference between "there" and "their".
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
Today, I walked Lauren to daycare with Lindsay in the snugli. We haven't gotten to walk there in what seems like weeks because of the constant rain here in Jersey. It's about a 5 minute walk...it actually takes me longer to drive because of the slow light on Raritan and Third Ave and trying to park.
On the way back, I had to stop in at Century 21 to confirm that we are participating in the townwide yard sale on Saturday and to pick up our signs and maps. So I was standing at a light. Lindsay, who holds her head up well now, was front facing and looking around.
An older woman, probably in her 60s smiled at Lindsay.
I smiled back and said hi.
"Boy or girl?" she asked.
"Hard to tell when she's not wearing pink."
"Yep, well. Can't wear pink all the time."
"How old is your baby?"
"About 4 months." I replied.
The woman chuckled, I assume because Lindsay gave her huge grin with raised eyebrows.
Now, although the neighborhoods in Highland Park have huge trees, Raritan Ave is pretty devoid of vegetation, so it was suddenly quite sunny.
"She really needs a hat if you're going to have her out in the sun."
"Uh..." I stammered. Thinking, why no, I didn't grab the hat. It wasn't this sunny a minute ago.
"Well, I hope you're taking her right back to the car..."
"Ah..." I was suddenly walking very fast away from her.
Y'know, I really must look clueless alone with Lindsay. I didn't receive nearly this much parenting advice with Lauren...
The helpful people on CBS' morning show let me know I should stockpile food and water in case of a weather or terrorist related emergency...And that I should tune in tomorrow for suggestions on how to take off the pregnancy weight.
Well, talk about your tuned-in advertising. CBS is just letting me know they think I'm unprepared. Oh. And fat. Very fat.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
I am getting tired of having to part with my digital camera every time my husband is on a business trip [Read: several days a week]. Surely, your successful firm can afford to outfit my husband with a digital camera for use onsite. Seriously, that Canon Sureshot that's always in my husband's suitcase is even on sale now at Radio Shack. It's $50 off. If you buy that camera, my company will throw in a 256 MB card.
-the wife of your travel-worn employee
Moody madness laughing wild amidst severest woe.Lindsay sat patiently in her bouncy seat while I ate my cereal and drank my coffee. Once I finished the last sip of coffee, she whined loudly. I scooped her up to discover she needed a diaper change.
Newborn Lindsay hated having her diaper off. Currently, she will fuss until her wet or soiled diaper is off, and then as soon as the fresh, new diaper is under her, she smiles as if to say, "Oh you! That's exactly what I wanted."
Today, we waited for Lauren to fetch a clean diaper. Lindsay looked up at me and laughed loudly. A big belly laugh, "Ha ha ha!" I laughed back. She squealed, kicked her feet, and laughed louder, which made me laugh even louder.
Monday, September 04, 2006
Whenever anyone leaves the house, everyone remaining in the house comes to the front porch to call out, "I'll see you later! I love you!"
It's sort of sweet the first few times. Once you realize it happens about 5 times a day, it becomes a little comical to the point that if we see anyone leave their house, Alec and I call in falsetto voices, "I loooove you!"
While it is very endearing to see how devoted those girls are to their parents, I hope our girls won't be still living at home in their 20s...
Sunday, September 03, 2006
Is this some sort of "Let's see how well the parents follow directions" tasks? Because already, I am worried I broke the rules by writing her name on the coin, and that Lauren decorated the ship with paints, crayons, and sticker.
There's just too much pressure.
(known to self and others)
caring, kind, patient, sentimental
(known only to others)
able, complex, confident, friendly, giving, independent, intelligent, loving, mature, observant, powerful, trustworthy, witty
(known only to self)
(known to nobody)
accepting, adaptable, bold, brave, calm, cheerful, clever, dependable, dignified, energetic, extroverted, happy, helpful, idealistic, ingenious, introverted, knowledgeable, logical, modest, nervous, organised, proud, quiet, relaxed, religious, responsive, searching, self-assertive, self-conscious, sensible, shy, silly, spontaneous, sympathetic, tense, warm, wise
60% of people think that Lady Epiphany is confident
100% of people think that Lady Epiphany is intelligent
60% of people think that Lady Epiphany is witty
able (40%) accepting (0%) adaptable (0%) bold (0%) brave (0%) calm (0%) caring (40%) cheerful (0%) clever (0%) complex (40%) confident (60%) dependable (0%) dignified (0%) energetic (0%) extroverted (0%) friendly (20%) giving (20%) happy (0%) helpful (0%) idealistic (0%) independent (20%) ingenious (0%) intelligent (100%) introverted (0%) kind (20%) knowledgeable (0%) logical (0%) loving (40%) mature (40%) modest (0%) nervous (0%) observant (20%) organised (0%) patient (20%) powerful (20%) proud (0%) quiet (0%) reflective (0%) relaxed (0%) religious (0%) responsive (0%) searching (0%) self-assertive (0%) self-conscious (0%) sensible (0%) sentimental (20%) shy (0%) silly (0%) spontaneous (0%) sympathetic (0%) tense (0%) trustworthy (20%) warm (0%) wise (0%) witty (60%)
You'll remember a couple of weeks ago, I went to Sybil's apartment so that Rebecca could teach me how to make new pillowcases for the living room throw pillows. I finished the pillows, and they came out looking like pillows.
I had purchased the sewing machine so that I could make curtains for the girls' rooms. The panels I liked at Pottery Barn Kids were $25 per panel. Lauren's room has 4 windows, and Lindsay's room has 6. I couldn't bear to spend that much money on a rectangle of material. So I bought the material last weekend, it was $1.99 per yard (50% off!). I've finished 3 of Lauren's 4 panels. And 2 of Lindsay's 6. I'm actually getting pretty good at both cutting and sewing straight lines.
I realize I am starting to look at the other stuff in my house I now can make myself. Napkins and placemats. Duvet covers.
Rebecca has created a monster...
Saturday, September 02, 2006
The good news is that my glasses were in, so I picked them up. They look cute, but the stronger prescription, the first change I've had since I was 18, is a big adjustment. I was trying to explain to Alec that it makes me feel very short. He says it's probably been a while since I've seen the ground clearly...
Friday, September 01, 2006
Last night, of course, was another sleep strike. Lauren demanded her stuffies at 11:30 PM, a drink of water, and then had to go to the potty. After I finally got her down after midnight, Lindsay woke up and had to eat. She was up again at 4.
Alec returned on the red-eye from Scottsdale at 7, and woke up Lauren as he came upstairs.
Not so much loving this.