Monday, July 31, 2006

Not the typical dinner with the in-laws

So Ryan ditched me last weekend to go fishing and MILF oogling in Seaside, FL with his buddies from high school. And for those guys the weekend started Thursday morning. For some reason when I went on my girl's trip the weekend started on Friday.
Yeah, I feel a bit shafted but that isn't what this post is about.

Anyway, this left me alone with the babies all weekend. Let me be more specific-- this left me alone with my children-- one of whom I am in the process of potty training. For those that have potty trained a child surely you remember how much the beginning stages of it sucked. Again, that isn't what this post is about either. I'll be kind and spare you the gory potty training details.

This post is about dinner at the in-laws. Saturday, my mother-in-law, Bubbles, graciously invited me over for dinner--along with the rest of the six pack, Lois (Steph's mom) and Joe and Donna (Steph's brother and sister in law) and all the kids: Carmella, Beau, Livi, Max and Julia.

And, that my friends, with the mousehead on his forehead, is Poppy, the other host of the fabulous dinner party. He is also the other half of the fun couple Bubbles and Poppy. Together they are also known as the parents of my husband, grandparents to my children or those that bring champagne to all events-- even baby showers and children birthdays. Great, no make that, AWESOME couple. (PS. Remember this when you redo your will, k?)

I could tell though that Bubbles had high hopes for an elegant evening. The table was beautifully set, the food wonderfully perpared, the drinks delicious, the wine hand picked from our trip to Napa . . . But, you know, by this point, really, she should know what she is getting into when she invites this crowd to dinner. Sure she may have wanted and planned for an uber sophisticated evening with friends and family but I think she should have thought more carefully about her guest list.

The good news is that I had fun, the kids had fun and I think, everyone had fun. Dinner was amazing.

Afterwards we played our favorite game--Loaded Questions. Except, we didn't exactly have the game with us and no one could be persuaded to go out and buy it. So instead we made up our own questions and played our own version of Loaded Questions.

You know Bubbles, really, what is a broken wine glass? A borrowed shirt? Two drunk daughter in laws and some unruly kids trashing your house? What is any of it when you consider the memories and the fun of such an evening. Doesn't your heart just feel fuller, your soul enriched? Doesn't it?

Here are some more pictures.

While I'm at it, for the uninterested . . .
Weekly log: 34 miles
Man oh man did this week ever suck. With the heat index everyday near 100 and the bad air code orange or red alert I have really struggled. I feel so far away from my training goals. Right now I am plugging away and looking towards the fall when cooler weather arrives. Getting out there and running is a challenge everyday. I'm just getting by with the endorphins. They are keeping me sane.

Items found: bad attitude, apparently.

Friday, July 28, 2006

A Superhero turns 3

My wild boy is 3 today. He is my silly super hero--always laughing and making light of the world.

He has been waiting to be three since he turned 2. I don't know if that was because he couldn't say 2 (he can now) or because he just thought 3 was way cooler than 2. Like Beau, I too have high hopes for the 3's. The 2's are a tough age-- more so for the parent than the 2 year old. Beau has survived because he is so funny and so adorable despite the naughtiness and terribleness that has seemed to define 2 for my kids. Carmella was a gem at 3 but, like Beau, was also terrible at 2, well, not quite so terrible as Beau at 2--just because she has a mellower personality but difficult nonetheless. So I am praying that Beau, like his sister before him, will also turn that corner to 3 and move onto a more agreeable age.
Don't get me wrong, 2 has been fun. Granted, it has been more fun for Beau than me but still fun.
I guess I just have a love-hate relationship with the 2 year old stage. I know that if I weren't the mommy I would definitely think Beau and all his twoness--all those antics that make me crazy on a daily basis--would be much funnier and cuter, you know, if I wasn't the parent. But since I am subjected to the toddler antics 247 and most people only get to experience them in short doses I therefore find them tiresome if not down right annoying at times. However, if I am being honest, I think since Beau has turned 2 I have matched him meltdown for meltdown. Surely, all this is making me a better person too--right???

Sigh, all that said Beau's greatest gift is making everyone laugh-- especially himself. He has the best sense of humor of anyone on the planet. The kid is laughter and even when he is in the throes of a monster tantrum he is making other people laugh (not me and certainly not him and not those crotchety old ladies that can't keep their comments to themselves but everyone else.) And even when he is extremely pissed off all it takes is one silly look, or funny action or making fun of him and he absolutely can't help it and will laugh. He can't stay mad. Being silly is too much fun. The ability to laugh at oneself and to make people laugh is an incredible gift. I think, above all else, the ability to make people laugh is the best trait a person can have. And I hope for Beau's sake that his laughter and his charm stay with him forever.

Beau comes by it naturally. When he was a tiny baby he was early to smile and laugh--much earlier than his sister who is early at everything else. Admittedly, it use to be a bit embarrassing how happy and smiley he was. There he would be in the baby bjorn and he would zero in on some stranger and like some people stare a person down he would smile them down. He attracted everyone's attention and is still doing that. He has an infectious charm. It is impossible to go anywhere with him and not attract attention. As an attention whore myself I love it most of the time. Having a social child is fun and an easy icebreaker. Even Carmella uses him to meet people. But there are those times when you just want to get something done and escape under the radar unnoticed. But I'll, of course, have Beau with me and he will make that impossible. Everywhere we go Beau makes himself known. This is mostly because I have to yell, "Beau! Beau! Come here! Stop that! Where are you?" And even if I didn't have to call after him constantly, he will just go up to people and say proudly in his cave man voice:"Hi! I'm Beau!"

So while I am hoping that 3 will yield a more agreeable kid, I certainly don't want him to have to sacrifice any of that spunk or charm. Gotta take the difficult with the awesome, I guess. I just want him to keep on laughing and keep on making me laugh, that's all.

Happy Birthday Beau! I am so proud of everything you do. I watch in amazement and wonder at the person you are becoming.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Girl's Weekend

I went to Hilton Head Island again last weekend for some R and R. This time it was with my girlfriends. Don't get me wrong, I love to go to the beach with my kids, with Ryan--of course. But that is a different sort of vacation.
This vacation I was only responsible for myself and my fun.
I got to go running both mornings without worrying about leaving Ryan for too long with the kids. I could get in the ocean and body surf and not worry about my kids getting in and being concerned for their safety.
One day, I even slept til 8 am--unheard of for me. I enjoyed nice restaurants and the only person's embarrassing behavior I had to worry about was my own.
Talk about relaxation.
During the day it was great to sit on the beach and not be plagued with anxiety about one of my kids drowning. Nor did I have to raise my voice all weekend, well maybe a few times just to get a word in edgewise. Everyone knows I am a talker but get a couple of girls together who went to college and high school together and you got yourself some chatter.

Here's the thing about old friends that I think is so unbelievably awesome: You'll go through life and you keep in your head your memories and your experiences. They are singular, yours alone. After awhile they start to fade, get a bit fuzzy and over the years you'll forget things-- forget exactly what happened and when and how it all felt. That is you forget until you are with old friends-- those other people who share the same memories and experiences but lived them differently and remember different things--those cute details that you missed or forgot. So those memories/experiences becomes a collective when you hash it all out and you get a completely different perspective on your past, on your personal history. The empty blanks and faded places in your memory are filled in again. And your memory of those experiences becomes richer from the varied perspectives of other people's memory of some shared event.

I don't know if I am explaining it very well or if any of that makes any sense but basically I am just trying to get across that it was nice to remember good times and be reminded of great times that I had forgotten. Not to mention it was some what comforting to find out, that yes, all that really happened; it was not a figment of my imagination; I did not, after all, make it all up. It really happened; those crazy times, those people, that other life-- they were all real. Good stuff.

I am sure a lot of ears were burning this weekend as we recalled what happened and what has happened since. My only regret from this weekend was that it was too short. An extra day would have been perfect. My voice though may not have been able to take it, I am a bit hoarse.

Here are some more pictures from the weekend.

After a lunch at the Sea Pines beach club we made pals with a Sea Pines local, Chuck. He took our picture and insisted on being in a few himself. It seemed, at least what I gathered from his bar friends, that he has a reputation of taking pictures for the tourists.
Me and my running buddy, Steph, relaxing on the beach. We had some issues with getting the umbrella to stay anchored in the sand. Several times Steph sprinted down the beach to chase after it. I did not because then I might have spilled my beer.
Finally a very nice man did some trick and got in the sand for us where it stayed. He and his family had built a 5 hole putt putt course and invited us to play. Lissa and I declined but Camille and Steph took a swing at it. Apparently a sandy windy beach is not ideal conditions to get your putt putt game on.
Us at CQ's. We had an awesome dinner and I highly recommend going to CQ's if ever in Hilton Head.

Steph, Camille, Me and Lissa at Harbor Town enjoying some after dinner mudslides.

Monday, July 24, 2006

6 Pack at the Beach

It was a vacation. It was Hilton Head Island, SC.
The weather was great and the friends awesome. So to say I had a great time is a little predictable, if not down right redundant. So instead I will focus on things I learned.
Above all else, on this trip, I learned what is the absolute greatest threat to humanity.
We played a really great game. So fun was this game that we played it every night and the other games we brought remained unopened. The game wasLoaded Questions. One of the questions was "What do you think is the greatest threat to humanity?" Among the answers were: Iran, North Korea, Iraq, George Bush, religion, terrorism, and poverty. But the one that made me snort beer out of my nose was the most right on. I know you are over there dying to know what exactly is the greatest threat to humanity.
Well, I'm here to tell you and this is per Uncle Pat.
It is, my friends,. . .Hip Hop. That's right, Hip Hop. That booty shaking, gangsta-pimping lifestyle promoting genre is the greatest threat to humanity. Come on, think back to those bountiful Reagan years, the pre hardcore Hip Hop years, and you know that he is right. I am sure by the time our kids get to college there will be a course tracing the Rise and Fall of American Culture since the Birth Hip Hop.

During this same game I also learned that corn is an exotic food. This was again Uncle Pat's answer to the "loaded question" of "What is the most exotic food you have ever eaten?"
Of course we all laughed at that but after much thought, I have to agree. I mean you eat corn. You know you chewed it up. But then the next day, after you, uh hum, get your constitution on--and you know you look, everyone does--there is that same corn in whole kernels again. Somehow corn has the amazing ability to regroup during digestion.
What other food do you know that does that? Now whether the magic happens in the stomach or the intestines or is due to some sort of gastric-chemical reaction I don't know. That is a mystery for science. What I do know is that corn is an exotic food. Possibly the most exotic food on the planet.
While we are on the subject of poop I also learned from Livi a way to hold poop for almost indefinitely. Just in case you want to try this at home yourself here is what you do: First eat lots of cheesy poofs and avoid juice, fruit and veggies. Second, whenever you feel that "urge," stop whatever you are doing and stand up straight. Then, raise your arms above your head as if you are doing a sun salutation and arch your back slightly.
What is great about this move is that everyone around you will just think you are stretching, doing a little yoga pose. What they won't see is you tensing your butt cheeks very tightly together. And they won't know because you will be staring contemplatively into the distance--as if you are meditating and they won't want to bother you.
We learned that Carmella and Livi want to be princess sisters and can get along great.
We learned that Beau and Max do not want to be related in any way and that Beau can irritate the crap out of Max.
We found out that four kids can sleep together in a queen bed, maybe not comfortably but it is possible. We found out that buckets on the head is not just a drunk thing. And that Beau loves to "ride" the waves.
Okay, so this one wasn't a total surprise.
We learned this trip that riding bikes on the beach is a great way to entertain the kids, and the adults.

We found out that Steph can build an enviable sandcastle.

But the best part was watching the kids destroy it.
From Dee Dee and GQ I learned what it takes to be a NBA groupie-- should the need ever arise--and a whole slew of sex terms I never even knew about. Talk about huge holes in my public school sex education. Just to get you to go out and buy the current GQ issue with Will Farrell on the cover here are some the terms that may be missing from your vocabulary too: Dirty Sanchez, Dirty Rodriguez, The Abe Lincoln, Glass Bottom boat, dental dam, and many more. I am not kidding; GQ is a verified wealth of knowledge.
I also found out on this trip that kids, just like everyone else love to skinny dip. Being naked is so much fun.Difference is their butts are way cuter.

Finally, I learned that my husband's photography degree wasn't a waste after all. He took some amazing pictures.

Good trip guys! And as always, tons of great memories. Love you all.