Thursday, January 31, 2013

Another tale from the Crypt

I got a call in mid-January from The Crazy Man.  It was a Sunday and he tracked me down at the Container Store in Tyson's Corner.  I was actually in their restroom helping Samantha.  With all the urgency of a fire truck responding to a 5 alarm fire, he asked me to research a list of all the Inaugural balls.  He needed this list ASAP.   The Crazy Man gave me a list of 5 states in particular he wanted to know when and where their balls were going to be held.

Once I made it back home (without rushing either!), I easily found a list online and printed it out.  The Crazy Man called me soon after to check on what I found.  I reported specifics on the inaugural balls of particular interest to him.  He sounded a little disappointed none were being held that night.

The one that captured his interest the most was the Black Tie and Boots Ball (hosted by Texas) on Saturday, Jan. 19th.  Tickets were $300 a person, but The Crazy Man had no interest in paying to attend.  He was planning on crashing it.  And he had a date going with him to crash it too.

On Monday morning, when I spoke to The Crazy Man.  My first question to him was, "So, did you get in?"  His response?  "The question isn't did I get in?  The question is, Did I have a good time?"


Tuesday, January 29, 2013


You want to know what is ironic?   Sam used to obsessively watch "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse".  We couldn't play them enough for her on the tv or her iPad.  Meanwhile, Ian was big into "Phineas and Ferb" and that was his show of choice. 

Guess what?  Sam now LOVES "Phineas and Ferb".   "Mickey Mouse Clubhouse" has all but disappeared from the line-up.  This would be great if Ian was still into the tv show, only he has now moved onto "Survivorman."  

Go figure.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

There is nothing cuter.

The few times I've been the one to put Sam down to bed, I tell her to pick out a book or two for me to read to her.  Sam has a new twist to the book reading experience and she says she will read me one.

There is nothing cuter than listening to Sam recite completely from memory a Pinkalicious book.  She must have about 10 different Pinkalicious books and know them all by heart.  These books are easily 15 to 20 pages in length, with 2 to 3 paragraphs on each page.  I'd say she gets about 95% accuracy on the wording and knowing exactly which parts of the story belong to what pages.

It is seriously adorable and very impressive. The girl has an amazing memory.  Either that, or her and Pinkalicious have a lot in common.  :)

Friday, January 25, 2013


We did it!  We finally made it snow tubing!!!  This was, for some odd reason, a hard one to pull-off.   Snow tubing tickets can not be reserved in advance, so unless you want to take a big gamble and drive 90 miles away to find out the day is completely sold-out or have to wait a few hours before you can get a ticket, it wasn't going to happen.

I figured out a way around this minor inconvenience and put together a group of 20 people, so we could get a group reservation and secure a two hour period for snow tubing.  We were guaranteed tickets as long as I was willing to pay up front for 20 tickets.  Not a problem!  I know people!

The problem was the first date picked.  The end of December was unusually warm for our area and snow tubing was not happening.  Our second choice in dates was Martin Luther King Day.  Also known as Inauguration day for President Obama and a great reason to get out of the Washington D.C. Metro area.  However, this date had me sweating big-time that one or more of the families was not going to make it due to the cold and flu season.  It was a game-time decision up until the very last second if the group reservation was going to stick or if I would have to cancel it.  Fortunately it all came together and everyone showed up.  Whew!

The one thing I didn't figure into the plans was that Ian and Sam wouldn't enjoy snow tubing.  All indications have shown us that both kids would absolutely love this experience.  I even lied about Sam's age (you have to be a minimum of 5 years old) so that she could feel like a big girl and do the hill we were doing.  After two times flying down the massive hill like you are about to take-off airborne, with the wind rushing at your face, holding on for dear life, both kids were done.  Sam sounded like a Taylor Swift song saying she was "never, ever, ever, going to do that again, never ever."  I give them both credit for going down twice before realizing they were officially finished.  I am surprised and a bit disappointed by their reaction.  Maybe in a few years they'll feel differently.

My mother-in-law joined us, snow tubing for the first time and looking like a pro.  She did awesome and went down the hill (I feel like I should be calling it a mountain!) twice before volunteering to hang out with Ian & Sam so Jeff could join me again.  That was pretty wonderful of her. 

She looks like she is enjoying this!

A not-so-very-happy Ian

Two happy parents who were able to keep playing thanks to a fantastic grandmother!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


I'd like to dedicate this space today to my parents.  My mom and dad got divorced when I was in college and each have gone on to remarry.  It could've been messy, it could've been ugly, but my parents took the high road and made it a very amicable situation.

I am so grateful that they remain friends.  I am very appreciative they can be in the same room, plane, car, restaurant, graduation, party, bris, baby-naming and birthday party and get along.  And not just get get along, but get along GREAT!  All holidays (Thanksgiving, Passover, birthdays) are usually spent together.

My sister Lori and I for the 2nd year in a row, went in on a joint Hanukkah present for our parents.  Last year we surprised them with tickets to the Michael Jackson Cirque du Soleil show.  And, this year we surprised them with tickets to see Jerry Seinfeld.  When we came up with the idea, we knew both Mom/Jim and Dad/Rita would enjoy the experience.  It was a no-brainier to get them tickets all together.

Saturday night was the Jerry Seinfeld concert.  Rita called right before the show and said how great the seats were and they were excited to be there.  My mom called afterwards and said she had never laughed so hard in her life.  She described truly having to hold her sides from laughing so much.

It makes me feel so good that my sister and I could do this for them and give them a great night out.  And, I feel so fortunate that it wasn't at all awkward the four seats were together.  I love my parents deeply and appreciate their ability to have this kind of relationship.  Even if all this started "for the sake of the kids", it has become a wonderful example how two couples can respect and be friends despite all that has happened. And for that I am very grateful. 

Monday, January 21, 2013

The GREAT Sleepover

As I write this, we are winding down the last few minutes of a social experiment. It all started with Ian and his friends spontaneously asking if they could have a sleepover, as they were walking out our door one evening.  Then the siblings (fellow preschool playmates and close friends themselves) chimed in very quickly saying they wanted a sleepover too.   Somehow the idea formed that we would do a complete kid switch and free up the evening for one set of lucky parents from any parental duty.

In December, Ian and Sam went over to their friend's house for a sleepover.  And this past Saturday, we hosted the twin boys (Ian's age) and their little sister (Sam's age).  To say I was nervous was a very big understatement.  With the exception of Ian and one of the twin boys, we are dealing with some very strong personalities.   Laid back and go with the flow aren't really in their vocabularies.  The nickname I've given the girls and a few other of their preschool buddies is, "The Purple Screamers" if that gives you any indication of what we are dealing with.

I really wanted Jeff and I to go first in hosting.  I was certain I could handle the worst possible scenario if it came to be and abort the mission before Ian and Sam descended on our friend's house.  I was more intent that our friends remained our friends than having our turn at a kid-free evening.  But the timing worked out that Ian and Sam took their turn first.  Boy, did I hold my breath that all went well.  I hoped Sam could fall asleep and stay asleep through the night.  Turned out the experience for both sets of families was a good one.  Jeff and I enjoyed a great date night without having to pay for a babysitter and could even sleep in the next morning.

This past Saturday, we were able to repay the kindness and have our friend's 3 kiddos come for the night.  I was fully prepared for a very long, long night where none of us got much sleep.  To my delight, this could not have been further from the truth.  The boys were asleep by 8:55pm.  The girls proved to be a little more challenging and after many "I'm too hot, I'm too cold, It's too dark, It's too light, It's too quiet, It's too noisy, I want to sleep on the floor, I want to sleep on the bed, I don't want a blanket, I want a blanket, I want to change my pajamas, etc", they were both asleep by 9:17pm.  Not too shabby!

Everyone slept through the night.  Victory!  The kids got along great.  There was no whining, no tears, no fighting, no arguing of any kind.  Manners were at an all-time high.  

There comes an inner peace from knowing that your children (even at ages 4 and 7) aren't so high-maintenance they can't sleep at a friend's house.  The kids are showing they can be adaptive to a new environment for sleeping and do just fine.  It is a great feeling that very little instructions are needed when dropping them off. 


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Losing it.

The 5 minutes I wish I could roll back the clock and re-do this week?

I put a note in Sam's lunchbox on Monday.  Since she is unable to read, I don't put very many in her lunch because it means her teacher needs to stop what she is doing and assist her to read it. 

I wrote, "You are my cutie-patootie sweetie-pie.  I love you!   Love, Robyn"

Yep, I actually signed my real name and not "Mommy".  I didn't discover my blunder until I unpacked Sam's lunch at the end of the day and saw the opened note staring at me.

Oy!  I guess I was moving a little too fast that morning trying to get us out of the door.  I can just imagine what the teacher thought when reading this note to Sam and had to read, "Love, Robyn".

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Unchartered Territory.

I am off to a great start with two of my New Year's resolutions.

Resolution #1:
Stop watching Beverly Hills 90210.  I didn't realize how much this tv show is on.  Nor, do I think I fully grasped how much I was watching it in years past.  Jeff always commented on it when he would pass by and get a clue on what I was watching.  But, even I don't think he knew how often I was watching the gang at Beverly Hills High.   In the past 14 days, I must've bypassed a channel 90210 was on about 6 different times.  This would've been 6 instances where I would've easily turned the remote to this channel and left it on.

So what I have I replaced 92010 with?   "Cops" and "Dance Moms".  Now there is quality television!  It's funny that Cops and Dance Moms don't have anything to do with each other and both shows couldn't be further from 90210, but for some reason they've grabbed my attention.

Resolution #2:
Cut myself off from email and FB on Saturdays.  I've officially survived the first two Saturdays of the new year and lived to tell about it.  Not nearly as bad as I thought it would be.  I actually enjoyed knowing I HAD to do other things than be on the computer.  It was a pretty great break.  I was in the car more than normal for a Saturday, and I definitely went through a challenging time coming to red lights and not checking email/FB.   My hand automatically reached for my phone, but after awhile I got used to it.  If I had been on FB a week ago Saturday, I would've posted the following status update:

"Just felt like I went to, wait, that was Costco."

The big downside of not being connected?  On both Sunday mornings, I had 54 emails to sort through.  About 1/3 of those were spams and easy deletes, but there was a lot of activity among my friends and various plans getting made.  I didn't get the chance to chime in, but that was okay.

As Saturday wore on, I did keep a list of all the emails I wanted to send the moment I could log back on.  It felt good to write them and send the emails on their way.

All in all, I think I am off to a good start.  But then again, it is only January 15th.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Wednesday rule breaker

I don't think I've ever shared with anyone just how insane Wednesday afternoons are. 

Jeff was working from home this past Wednesday and he asked me if I needed him to pick-up Ian from school.  I thought about it for a second and replied with, "You couldn't handle it.  I've been doing this since the beginning of September.  It takes months of training to be where I'm at."

Ian's school lets out at 3:45pm.  Since we live so close to the school, we are considered "walkers".  However, due to the after-school activities on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays there is no time to walk home from school.  Additionally, I really like having Sam strapped in her car seat and not too much of a wild card hoofing it the 10 minutes back and forth to the school.  So, we go with the kiss-n-ride option picking Ian up from school each day.  Normally, I have enough time to wait in the long line of cars, get Ian, and continue on with our next destination. 

Wednesdays is our quickest turnaround.  Ian's gymnastics starts at 4:00pm.  We are lucky that it's only a 2 mile drive to get there.  It can take us anywhere from 5 to 7 minutes depending on making green or red traffic lights.

Unfortunately, Ian and the rest of the kids don't actually make it to the kiss-n-ride designated door until 3:50pm (at the earliest).  If I ever tried to be the first car in line, I'd have to get there by 3:05pm.  Just not going to happen.  And, if we wait in line with the rest of the cars, then I won't see Ian until 3:58pm or even later.  It is not a fast moving process!  You can only go as fast as the slowest moving kid that needs to get in the car in front of you. 

So I have a multi-step process that assures me I get Ian as quickly as I can and make gymnastics on time.  At 3:40pm, Sam and I head to the school.  I cut the entire line of cars waiting in the kiss-n-ride line and squeeze in between car # 1 and car #2.  So now, my car is beyond the kiss-n-ride line.  I do a 3 point turn and back my car into an open teacher/staff parking space.  I am now positioned perpendicular to the doors where the kids will come out.  I leave Sam in the car (with the car running) and stand in front of the doors.  At this point the special needs kids are coming out (they get released first) and I know it won't be much longer.  The teachers are doing their best to get the kids organized and there is a list of parents in order waiting in their cars for their children.  Technically, the student is supposed to wait until they hear their name called to make their way outside.  However, I've told Ian to make a run for it and I will always be there waiting to get him.  Only once did I not make it in time and Ian got in trouble for escaping before his name was called.  That will not happen again! 

It is now 3:51 or 3:52pm.  Ian and I get back to the car.  While I slowly make my way, cutting back through the line of cars, Ian changes his clothes (into gym shorts and a t-shirt) and then eats a hot snack of some type (chicken nuggets, pizza bagels, quesadilla, etc).  Since he will be in class for 2 hours, it is important he gets something substantial in him.

We pull up to the drop-off at gymnastics at 3:57/3:58pm.  Voila!  On time. 

Now, you may be asking yourself a few questions.

Why don't I park the car somewhere else close by that doesn't have me pissing off the first 2 cars in the kiss-n-ride line and breaking a few rules getting to the spot I want?  Because I want to be able to keep an eye on the car with Sam still in it.  By being on the other side of the kiss-n-ride line, I can keep Sam strapped in her car seat and watch the car the whole time.

I've also been asked why don't I go in to the school and sign Ian out a few minutes early?  Because I would have to park the car in a very inconvient location, take Sam in with me to the school to do the checkout and it would have to be EVERY SINGLE WEDNESDAY!  Once or twice, I could see doing.  But every single Wednesday?  No way.

And this is just one of many reasons why if I get committed to the looney bin, it will be on a Wednesday.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Dropping Ian off at religious school yesterday afternoon, Sam is throwing a fit as we walk into the synagogue.  We escort Ian to his classroom and I give Ian a kiss good-bye.  As I am walking out of the room, I hear the following conversation:

Ian's friend:  What's wrong with your sister?

Ian:  Ah, that's just the way she is.

I had to laugh.

Please G-d, let Sam be the one to grow up and find the cure for Cancer.   Then all this will be so worth it.  :)

Monday, January 7, 2013


On Fridays, I get to Sam's preschool at 1:00pm and pick up her and her friend to take them to gymnastics.  This past Friday I actually got there 5 minutes early and used the time wisely to go to the bathroom.  As I am flushing the toilet and grabbing my keys, sunglasses and cell phone, my sunglasses slip out of my hand and fall into the toilet.  And before I can quickly grab them, they sink all the way to the deep, far in the toilet. 

I am momentarily grossed out and stick my hand all the way in to retrieve them.  I go to wash my hands (okay, scrub them like I am about to operate) and quickly rinse off the sunglasses.  I will not be wearing them again until I can get home and give them a deep clean with "Clorox Anywhere".

A few minutes later the kids coming running out to meet their parents.  I am in the midst of chatting with Amy and our kids start playing while waiting for us to finish talking.  Before I know it, Sam has picked up my sunglasses and is wearing them on her face. 

Yuck!  Yuck!  Double Yuck!  Now I want to take Sam home and spray her entire head with "Clorox Anywhere."

I am convinced that the reason my kids rarely get sick is because I am not a germ freak.   But this is taking my theory a little too far.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Ian has been making his case for getting the wii game, "The Amazing Spider-Man."   It is a rated T (for teens) video game. 

According to CommonSenseMedia, this wii game is full of violence, though no blood or gore.  The game also has some mild suggestive themes and mild profanity.   Even though the game is rated T, parents say they are comfortable with kids as young as 11 playing the game, and kids themselves feel you should be 10 years old or older.  And of course, Common Sense Media is recommending kids be at least 13 years. 

Ian has a strong case for thinking we should let him have this wii game.  His main point is that we are okay with him watching all the Spider-Man movies (and not just the cartoon version).  In fact, the Spider-Man movies have been downloaded to our DVR and Ian is allowed to watch them as often as he'd like.  He also has stated that he played the Rated T wii game at a friend's house and it didn't give him nightmares.

I actually could give him more fuel for his case and say that Ian is not an aggressive child and doesn't have a violent nature to him.  I really don't think this game would do harm to psyche.  Ian is pretty grounded and has a good head on his shoulders.  I do think he can walk away from the game and leave the violence behind.   But I am not giving Ian this point to add to his persuasive argument on why he should be allowed to have the wii game.

Jeff and I keep having the same discussion.  Getting Ian this wii game has to be mutually agreed to.  I have a feeling Jeff would be on board to get it for him, if I was.  But Ian doesn't realize I am the main reason that is keeping him from getting it.

So, why I am I having a hard time approving of this wii game purchase?  Because there is a reason that the game was given a T rating.  Ian is only 7!   He is still 6 years away (almost double his life!) before the video game company thinks it is appropriate and still 4 more years from other parents thinking it is appropriate.  Those age suggestions are there for a reason.

Yes, he is allowed to watch the movies.  But he isn't also actively killing things when watching a movie.  He also isn't watching these movies every day. I think there is a big difference to watching a movie, than being a player in a game.

Our kids need boundaries.  Telling Ian to wait a few more years until he can get the game is good for him.  Ian doesn't lack video games to play.  There are plenty others that are more appropriate for his age he can play and has at his disposal. 

Ian has his whole life to play video games rated T, why do we have to rush it and start now? 

My mind is set and I won't budge on this.  I just wish the argument was on why we should get a dog.  Now, that is something I can get behind and help convince the big guy we should jump into.