Friday, August 24, 2012

Once Again, I Will Not Win the Award For Mother Of the Year

1. So, about that title: earlier in the summer, I decided to relax the restrictions on Miranda's diet concerning her allergies to coconut and palm oil and their derivatives, to see if she still reacted to them. She has refused absolutely to go back to the allergist for a retest (her memories of the scratch test are admittedly bad, so I understand her reluctance) but the occasional exposure didn't seem to cause problems, so I thought, what could it hurt? And then I forgot all about it.

Well, guess what? She's still allergic to coconut and palm oils, which are everywhere in baked goods, granola bars and lots of crackers. How do I know this? To quote Mike Rowe, "There was poo everywhere." You see, her reaction is gastronomic: basically, diarrhea. For the last few weeks, her underwear has been spotted with brown slime and as the trip has gone on, it's become a lot worse. We talked to her about it and she got upset, we got upset, we tried discipline, but nothing helped. Then my mother said, "We haven't prayed about it." And she was right. So, as I set off to the grocery store to buy some pull-ups and other necessities, I prayed on my way there and continued praying while I was in the store. And one word came to me: coconut. And I was, as you may imagine, fairly upset. Because I had made this decision to reintroduce coconut and palm oils and then not monitored the result. So it's good that most of the poo cleanup has been mine because it's all my fault anyway.

I apologized to Miranda and asked for forgiveness, and she forgave me willingly, although it didn't hurt I'd bought her favorite sugar-free popsicles at the store while I was out and could offer her an seemingly unlimited supply. And here we are, 48 hours later, with no more brown slime.

So what have we learned today (again!)?

  • God is still good and He gives us real answers when we pray.
  • I am still a really imperfect parent (humility is good for me, really)
  • The solution has made everyone happy, including Miranda, and there are no hard feelings, which has to be grace.
  • She will never get to eat another granola bar, ever. 
  • I will still be looking at food labels for the foreseeable future. 
  • But, the occasional piece of store-bought-so-it-has-to-have-coconut-oil-in-it-cake at a birthday party won't kill her or me. Just no more than that.
BTW, it is my dear friend Brynn who coined this phrase "I am so not going to win the award for mother of the year;" I stole it from her.

2. So I wrote that last night and now it's late morning and I'm groggy because Alex was up until at least 1 am. Poor boy; insomnia is no fun.

3. I haven't managed to go out and see any movies or read any books. But my husband bought me a really pretty new smart phone, a Samsung Galaxy S3. And I spent almost all of yesterday playing with it. It's very pretty and I like it a lot.

4. On Wednesday, my mom and I went with the kids to the beach in Del Mar. Even though the weather was a bit chill, the water was beautiful and I remembered once again that there's nothing better than jumping through the waves with my son.

5. I want to have another dog someday, especially since my beloved Havoc is gone three years next month, so we've been working with our kids about good behavior with my aunt's dogs. We've made progress, so maybe I can adopt another greyhound next year.

6. I watched Henry IV, Part 1 on Wednesday night and like I expected, Tom Hiddleston was mesmerizing. Jeremy Irons was good too, of course.

7. Jen is really funny today, so don't miss it.

Monday, August 20, 2012

7 Good Things About Vacation So Far

I know, I know, it's Monday morning and I'm supposed to blog on Fridays, but I'm on vacation and the weekend was busy, what with my cousin's wedding and all the necessary hugging and kissing of my new niece and nephew, so this will be brief.

1. The new niece and nephew are as darling and cuddlesome as previously advertised. Here they are with my mother, last week:

I held them and kissed them and loved them as much as possible all weekend, because they went home last night. I'm sure there will be more pictures to follow.

2. Our flights last Thursday were on time and fairly trouble-free; it's just exhausting to spend all day on an airplane. Still, 3,000 miles in a day is handy when you live in NJ and your family is in CA. The only stressors, really, were the lines at 5:30 am at the Philly airport, both to check luggage and then go through security. Our kids were remarkably tolerant, all things considered.

3. My cousin's wedding was lovely and the ceremony was very meaningful. I enjoyed visiting with my extended family and good friends. My sister-in-laws took some lovely photos that I hope to share later.

4. I'm only 5 days into my 12 day vacation so even though I woke up at 3 am this morning, I'll be able to get a nap later.

5. My aunt and uncle have a Netflix Roku box hooked up to their tv, which meant I got to watch my favorite Farscape episode last night, "Revenging Angel."

6. Alex has been presented with some real challenges on this trip and he has coped marvelously. I keep reminding myself what Mrs. Garrett, his one-to-one aide, would say about requiring him to do new things and expecting him to rise to the occasion. I cannot bubble-wrap his life.

7. My aunt found us a wonderful babysitter for Alex and Miranda while we were away at the wedding and my kids loved her. I wish I could take her home with me.

Here's Jen.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Because It's Monday . . .

. . . and Marshall and I were able to go out for a movie TOGETHER last night, like a REAL DATE, and I'm full of anxious energy waiting for Thursday when we fly out to California to join my family for a wedding and a vacation (it's a package deal!), I thought I'd update my 2012 movie list, if only to remind myself of all the movies I want to see while I'm in San Diego and the childcare is free. (Yes, that's me, the freeloading-off-of-my-family girl.)

Alrighty, folks, let's review:

2012 Movies

January 20
Haywire (This is sitting on my DVR, waiting for me to watch, as it has been for weeks. Somehow, I just haven't felt the urge.)

Underworld: Awakening (even though the first one was only mildly entertaining and the second one was so problematic I had to refer to Wikipedia's plot summary to figure out what was happening while I was watching the film on cable, Kate Beckinsale is a lot of fun to watch run around in black leather with double pistols. Maybe on DVD.)

Coriolanus (Marshall and I watched it last month and it was BRILLIANT! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED! Ralph Fiennes takes your breath away, both in acting and directing, and Gerard Butler and Brian Cox were perfect. I remarked to my husband afterwards that I didn't care how many money-making-but-poorly-reviewed romantic comedies Butler did if he would do something like this in-between.)

February 10
Safe House (This has also been sitting on my DVR for weeks. Sigh.)

March 9
John Carter (of Mars. It was awesome! You should have seen it. Rumors of its failure were greatly exaggerated.)

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (looks really sweet. Maybe on DVD.)

March 16
21 Jump Street (Yet another just waiting to be watched.)

March 30
Wrath of the Titans (I saw it right before it left theatres; they ran the movie just for me. It was pretty but rather hard to follow if you know a lot about Greek mythology. If you knew nothing about the origins of the characters, I'm sure it was fun. As always, Sam Worthington and Rosamund Pike are very appealing.)

Mirror Mirror (I went to see it with my mother and really liked it.)

April 13
Lockout (I really enjoyed it even if my husband choked on the serious scientific flaws in the story line. Guy Pearce was so amusingly irreverent and his chemistry with Maggie Grace was remarkable as I've never thought much of her acting. Lennie James was also good, as always.)

April 27
Safe (I did see it in theatres and while it did have plenty of plot holes, Jason Statham is still as appealing as ever)

The Pirates! Band of Misfits (from the makers of Shaun the Sheep, got great reviews but was geared for older kids so we did not see it as a family. Maybe when it comes out on DVD we can watch it together and tackle it in pieces.)

May 4
The Avengers (I did see it twice and it was just as good the second time as it was the first.)

May 18
Battleship (Waiting for DVD, even though the reviews were better than expected.)

May 25
Men in Black III - (It was really fun and sweet and we had a good time; Josh Brolin was brilliant as a younger Tommy Lee Jones.)

June 1
Snow White & the Huntsman (I dragged my poor husband to see it and we did not like it. Here's why.)

June 9
Prometheus (this is the movie Marshall is most looking forward to in the summer of 2012 and while we liked it, we weren't thrilled.)

June 22
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (I still want to see it and here's why.)

Brave (The story just didn't interest us and the reviews were good but not overwhelmingly so; wait for DVD.)

July 6
The Amazing Spider-Man (Even though this picture has transfixed me for months I still haven't managed to see it. Put it on the "To Do on Vacation" list.)

July 20
The Dark Knight Rises (We saw it last night in IMAX, which means my brain felt like it was still spinning for hours afterwards. We had mixed feelings and here's why.)

August 3
The Bourne Legacy (Basically, I'll watch Jeremy Renner in just about anything. Also on the "To Do on Vacation" list.)

Total Recall (I don't care how bad the reviews are, it still looks pretty. Maybe on vacation, even if I have to go by myself.)

Films still to come

August 17
The Expendables 2 (the first one was amusing; I will probably will see this on video.)

September 21
Dredd (Karl Urban is a good actor and I've read enough about the project on Wikipedia to read the reviews and think about seeing it.)
September 28
Looper (comparisons to Moon can only be good.)
Hotel Transylvania (this looks really funny)

October 12
Argo (sounds interesting, although I have yet to watch any of Affleck's director projects, even though I hear they are very good.)

November 9
Skyfall (new James Bond; end of story.)

December 7
Les Miserables (love the musical so am curious about the film)
December 14
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (do I have to make any explanation about why I want to see this movie?)

Unannounced Date
Much Ado About Nothing (directed by Joss Whedon, cast includes innumerable old favorites--what's not to like?)

And that's my list, so far.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Last Friday Before Vacation

1. Yes, I really have been watching the Olympics during most of my waking hours. I'm not really much of a sports fan, but every two years I turn into some sort of fanatic. My family is very tolerant, even though both children keep asking me, "Why do you love volleyball so much?" I have no good explanation: I never played, I never saw my brother play when he was in High School because I was away at college, the only games I ever watch are in the Olympic broadcast because the USA is stupid and doesn't have a professional league like Russia and Turkey and Italy and China and.... But I watch every minute of every Indoor Volleyball in the broadcast (and get upset when NBC preempts it for things like Handball or Floor Hockey or when they only show portions of the matches; you can actually watch the whole game on the website, but it's only available without the color commentary and that's half the fun) and a lot of the Beach Volleyball as well. And all my fun will be over tomorrow.

But then I get to start packing for vacation, so it's not like I'll be bored.

2. Various photos from the past 3 weeks:

Alex with his new orange bird, a reward for getting a tooth pulled by the dentist.

We went to the shore 2 weeks back and the reason these photos are good is that my mother took them. The waves were so high and strong, we left early due to exhaustion, but the kids had fun in spite of being knocked down regularly.

Proud owner of the whole collection (minus the Mighty Eagle, which is priced ridiculously high). To his annoyance, I moved them around for the benefit of the picture; he always puts them in the correct order: Red Bird, Blue Bird, Yellow Bird, Black Bird, White Bird, Big Brother, Green (Boomerang) Bird, and Orange (Balloon) Bird.

I haven't touched it in two weeks, but made good progress until them. And, yes, I had to do a lot of frogging on the edges of the tail because my counting was off.

Great Miranda pictures, taken by my mother.

I think Miranda was dressing up for my birthday on the 27th of July: a fancy dress and rain boots. Yes, she is adorable.

3. On Thursday, we fly from Philadelphia to San Diego, via Houston, which breaks up the trip in a nice, half-way point for the children to get off the plane and run around for a bit. We will spend 12 days in California celebrating the wedding of a dear cousin and enjoying the company of my family. The children are very excited and I am trying not to be anxious about packing perfectly. Trying, but not being very successful. Instead, I've been catching up on correspondence and noticing all kinds of household chores that suddenly seem terribly important: defrosting the freezer, cleaning out my closet, trimming the trees and shrubs in the backyard.... I haven't actually done any of these things, mind you, but I'm cataloguing them in my head, instead of planning what to pack. Or I just go back to watching the Olympics.

4. Marshall and I are going to see The Dark Knight Rises at the IMAX Theatre at The Franklin Institute on Sunday night. One of our favorite babysitters is about to go back to college but she was able to squeeze us in before she goes.

5. I hope to see a whole bunch more movies while I'm in San Diego on vacation so I'll do a movie update then.

6. I mowed both lawns this week. Because July was so dry here, and we don't water the grass (or the weeds), I was able to put it off until the backyard returned to its natural jungle state. Although with all the rain forecasted for this weekend, I may have to mow again before we leave so as not to return to even worse conditions.

7. Surely I've done more in the last 2 weeks but celebrate my thirty something birthday and watch the Olympics? I can't remember. And, anyway, I have more volleyball to watch.

Here's Jen.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Sorry To Worry You

I haven't been posting because I've been recording approximately 35 hours of Olympic coverage every day and spending any free moments watching the sports I'm interested in (Indoor Volleyball, Swimming, Diving, Gold Medal Tennis, Beach Volleyball, Gymnastics...) and skipping all the rest. I will try to get back on the horse this Friday.