Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Best Summer Ever Wrap-Up

Fall is the one season I go into kicking and screaming. Although I like it well enough once I'm in it, I like to delay the onset as much as possible. Give me flip-flops and shorts over sweaters, socks and shoes you have to lace up, especially when I'm responsible for 3 other people to dress. Luckily I live in a part of the country where the start of fall is nice and gradual and isn't really official until towards the middle of October.

But the signs are definitely here. Besides the Halloween decorations everywhere, our leaves are starting to change color too. Mornings are foggy and evenings are cool. Since we declared it the Best Summer Ever way back in May, I thought I'd do a wrap-up and see how we did on our goals to have as much fun as possible.

  • Grill-did this quite a bit, but not enough. The most notable addition to our grilling repertoire was Trader Joe's Carne Asada, or "spicy steak" as Julia calls it.
  • Beach-not enough. After Memorial Day weekend, we ended up going just once, and it was cold and stinky. Big bummer, but definitely something to improve on next year.
  • Swim-We did this quite a bit, whether at friends' homes, Grandma Goob's, or on one of our trips. Julia had a great summer of swim lessons and she's officially water safe. One of these days, maybe we'll even have our own pool.
  • Play in the Backyard-done! The swing set was a big hit on the days that weren't too hot.
  • Camp-done and it was a huge success. Woo hoo Julia!!!
  • Legoland-done!
  • Disneyland-done!
  • Read-eh, could've done better.
  • Clean out the kids' rooms-kinda sorta
  • Scrapbook-in my dreams.
  • Picnics and playdates-didn't happen, which is sort of disappointing.
  • Stay up late-done, but we soon realized that earlier bedtimes are better for everyone.
  • Sleep in-heck yeah!
  • Ice Cream-um, yeah.
  • Popsicles-ditto
  • Shave Ice-most definitely, although the end of summer won't be the end of that.
  • Date nights-unfortunately, this didn't happen as much as we'd liked. But my birthday dinner was amazing!
  • Sleepovers at the grandparents'-sadly, no.
  • Zoo-ditto
  • Go to work with Daddy-ditto, but we can do this during the school year, too.
  • Get Ethan Potty Trained-you know how that went.
  • Dinner at Paradise Cove-this one we did do but it wasn't as great as it could've been.
There were a few other things that didn't happen. As usual, the summer went by too fast. It was also a lot of work planning all the outings, excursions, etc. and trying to fill the kids' days. I'm hoping that next summer, with Brady a bit older, will be less chaotic and much less tiring. We'll definitely remember these lessons (camp for sure, swim lessons for Ethan, Legoland is not necessary) and hopefully have the Best Best Summer Ever in 2007!

Monday, September 25, 2006

What I Learned At Tannaz's Birthday Party

In a show of amazing bravery, which could also be viewed as foolishness, my sister invited not just my brood and I, but our parents! to her birthday barbecue with all her friends last night. Talk about your worlds colliding! As I am not in the habit of hanging out with twentysomethings and my parents and/or drinking all at the same time (too bad) I ended up learning a few things.

* It is possible to have a successful gathering of 30 or so people without being a stress case, planning everything to death, and working yourself into a complete lather for months beforehand. However, it is not kind to invite your parents to a party and make them man the grill the whole time. Of course, some people's parents have big issues with relinquishing control, but that's a whole 'nother post.

* My 6 year old daughter is a complete social butterfly, not to mention, a flirt...but primarily with grown-ups. At one point she was in a group talking and laughing with 4 or 5 of the guests. It's the kids she sometimes has trouble connecting with.

* Blue cheese dip made with lowfat cream cheese and candied pecans rather than full-fat and plain walnuts is quite delicious. Also, the more cognac the merrier. In the dip, I mean.

* Drinking beer, wine, and Tannaz's strange cucumber-vodka concoction all in one sitting does not, in fact, make you sick! Woo hoo.

* It doesn't matter if they're 3 or 30, boys think boogers, farting, and burping, along with other general gross stuff, are funny.

* My dad is fun! Everyone who knows my dad knows that, he's a lot of really great things, but he's also kind of a grouch. He has no problem falling asleep at social events if the conversation isn't stimulating. Phone conversations with him are quite short, and often include grunting in lieu of speaking. He has a lot of fun with his own group of friends, sure, but he's always been really quiet, if not purposely absent, with ours. But last night was a different story. It turns out that Tannaz's friends like tequila as much as he does. He was positively hilarious. Way to go Saeed!

* People should do what they're good at. Say you're a really good, even a great, smart, cook. And you've mastered many difficult techniques and on any day have a freezer stocked with exotic dishes and finely chopped ingredients to make more exotic dishes. This does not mean that you know how to barbecue. If this describes you, and someone else tells you to stop flipping the damn mean so it will cook, take my advice and don't serve raw meat to someone else's poor unsuspecting guests.

* Little boys are much easier to keep track of when the exits are blocked.

* When my mom is trying to cook the food and chat with the guests at my sister's party, she has no time to take care of my kids. What the hell? Who's going to take care of them then?

* Tannaz and her friends are cool, fun, accomplished people. The group represented a slice of young LA life and the vibe was so friendly and welcoming. I'm so glad they're all in her life. But I'd be lying if I said I wasn't jealous of this fun group of friends, and I'm so glad to have been asked to join them for the evening.

Friday, September 22, 2006

How to Make Friends and Irritate Your Mother or Adventures In Potty Training

Allow your mom to put a pull-up on you. Promise promise promise that Buzz will keep his airplanes this time (they magically disappear when they get wet). Elicit a promise from her that if he does, you get candy.

Pee in your pull-up, then demand a bathroom break. Dribble 4 drops of pee into the potty, the rest of it already being in the pull-up, and proclaim the bathroom break a success. Insist on wiping yourself, flush, demonstrate a flushing toilet, wash your hands, get water all over the bathroom. Demand candy for your success because you did after all squeeze out a few drops and there was one corner of one airplane that hadn't disappeared by the time the pull-up came off. Get a lollipop just so your mom can you the hell out the door to Costco. Promise promise promise that you'll save your lollipop for after your pizza. Ask 90 magillion times if you can have just one lick before the pizza.

Roll all over the nasty Costco bench as you eat your pizza while your mom cuts yours, eats hers and feeds nasty looking pea baby food to your brother who doesn't really like it. Ask if you're being a big boy. Make your mom late so she has to shove the rest of your pizza in your mouth 3 bites at a time. Ask if you're being a good boy. Ask for ice cream.

Get your lollipop at last.

Tell every single person you come across at Costco that you get candy when you have a bathroom break. Invite the checker to come to the bathroom at your house 'cause maybe your mom will give him candy.

Go to school with your mom and brother to pick up your sister.

Go hide behind the classroom where your mom can't see you.

Poop in your pull-up.

Happy Day!

Today is the day my baby sister, Tannaz, celebrates her 29th birthday for the first time. In honor of this momentous day, Jews all around the world will feast on apples and honey, and if they happen to be Persian, also on cow tongue and black eyed peas (I'm sensing a huge culture clash...what if you're Persian and from the South? Do you double up?). Oh wait, maybe that's for something else. At our Rosh Hashanah celebration, we will have the aforementioned, as well as birthday cake. Woo hoo!

Happy Birthday Tannazie and happy New Year to all who are celebrating it tonight. May it be one of peace and prosperity.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

If You Are My Husband...

And you got yourself on the local news last night for being a hero and helping get a school built where it's sorely needed....
And you got your back patted by all the big boys, and a few girls, at work...
And you've been frolicking at the Four Seasons for the last day or two, "working" while you loll by the pool in between expensive meals....

Don't think you don't have to change poopy diapers when you get home not a minute too soon!

P.S. The flowers were a very nice touch, thanks.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Free Fashion Tip of the Day


If you must insist on wearing these godawful plastic shoes for some reason, there is no reason to make them uglier than they inherently are by adding socks, particularly when you are wearing them with shorts. Granted, the socks probably make your feet less stinky, but trust me, it's not worth it.

Of course, the same advice goes for the ladies but I can't imagine any ladies making this fatal footwear faux pas.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

When Nature Calls

Picture the Pearl household on a surprisingly non-chaotic afternoon: Julia, having finished her homework and watched enough Spongebob to turn her own brain into kelp is playing on the computer; Ethan is happily making a mess in his room, quietly occupied in his happy place, after having run out to inform us that there is a "gecko" on his "ground" (translation: there's a lizard on his floor). A quick investigation reveals that the "gecko" has fled. I'm totally relieved because I'm not an animal person and definitely not a reptile person and yuck. But I know it'll probably be back. I put the whole episode out of my mind and head to the couch where I happily play with Brady, who is in an exceptional mood, and watch Dr. Phil. All is well, at least for the moment.

All of a sudden, my hand feels slimy and my arm is covered halfway up to my elbow in green poop. It's on my pants, all over Brady, everywhere. Disgusting! I holler for Julia to help me, undress the Bunch and start getting a bath ready for him. All of a sudden, I hear shrieking and Ethan RUNS out of his room. Guess who's back?

Completely creeped out, I grab a glass, make sure Julia is stationed to make sure Bunch doesn't roll off his changing table, and head into Ethan's room. This time, the poor baby lizard is trapped among the 10,000 toys on the floor and can't figure out which way to run. The poor thing tries to get away, and I'm so tempted to let it. But I'm The Mom and must Make It Go Away. After a little chasing, I use Ethan's dump truck to nudge it into my glass. And that little lizard trick with the detachable tail just never gets old, does it?

A few minutes later, Brady's clean, the lizard is wondering how the hell it landed on the front lawn, kids are playing and mom has recovered. It's not exactly dragon-slaying but it's the mom version. Hopefully, it'll always be this easy. Now, off to Lysol my watch.

Half Assed Book Review: Breeding Between The Lines

It is customary, when reviewing a book, to have actually read it. But I, laughing in the face of convention, have decided to recommend Breeding Between the Lines without taking the time to read it myself. Imagine how much time this will save me in reviewing book in the future. Besides, I already read a book this month.

There are several reasons you should check out this book, the premise of which is that people of interracial descent are healthier, more attractive, and a whole bunch of other good stuff (there would probably be more details if I'd read the thing). First, and foremost, it's written by a very good friend of my sister's. Alon is a really smart, good guy with whom she's been friends forever. Second, it's been well-received by those who did read it. The author is a clever, good-natured person, so I imagine his writing style to be engaging as well. He's been on some radio shows in LA, one of which I heard this morning (see, I do my research) and he did a great job enticing me to think about reading it. Plus, it's just cool that he was on the Kevin and Bean show. Third, apparently my sister appears in one of the examples, and since her lineage is identical to mine, you can, by reading this book, learn more about my ancestry than you ever hoped. I'll leave the book to spill the beans on whether we're interbred...or just inbred.

Finally, and this is serious now, apparently Alon's book has stirred up the white supremacist crowd into quite a tizzy. Obviously, they oppose any suggestion of mixing up the races and have chosen Alon to be the current subject of their vile hatred. Disgusting. Of course, the book has little things like science and common sense to back it up, but why let a little reality get in the way of your filth? For this reason alone, I'm tempted to buy several thousand copies of the book and help shoot it up the best seller list. Maybe I'll start by sending Mel Gibson a copy.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

A Night Out

The gods smiled upon us, the stars aligned, and we actually got to go out last night. Ray is on the board for a great organization, the Child Care Resource Center and last night was their 30th anniversary gala. For us, a night out involves coordinating with the grandparents, schlepping food, milk, toys, diapers (in 2 sizes), pajamas, etc., fighting traffic, and other stress that hardly makes it worth it. Being on the political side of his business, Ray has to go to lots of evening events and I usually skip them. But he really wanted me to go to this one, and I had a dress (actually, several to choose from, miraculously, with shoes to match!) already in my closet, so I happily complied.

The event was at Universal Studios, with a silent auction along a couple of the fake Universal streets outside the ballroom where dinner was held. We bid on a few items (some very cool John Wooden autographed UCLA basketball memorabilia and VIP tickets to a taping of Dr. Phil) but were outbid. Because Ray didn't have to work at this particular event, we got to just hang out, eat some good food, have a few, ahem, drinks, and enjoy each other's company without having to worry about someone shoving chicken nuggets up his (or his baby brother's) nose. It was lots of fun to get dressed up, and see everyone else dressed up, in spite of my killer heels. Who cares how much they hurt when they look this good? The best part, by far, was having Ray tell me over and over how much fun it was for him to have me there. We definitely have to get out more.

If I Knew Then...

This is a topic my friend Jacquie posted for her blog ring this week, and it's taken some thought for me to post my response. I'm a firm believer that things happen for a reason, and that the journey is sometimes much more important than the destination. But I really think that if I knew how awesome it was going to be, I wouldn't have waited as long as I did to become a mom and start our family. I remember thinking, just after Julia was born, "What took us so long to do this?" I know I have the kids I was meant to have, and I can't imagine my family with a different set of kids. The only thought that lingers in the back of my head is that if I'd started younger, I may have decided to have more. I love my three to the ends of the universe, and now that I know how special they are, I can't help but think more would be better. Circumstances being what they are, this is most likely what my family will ultimately look like (I'm still mad at that little Bunch who didn't bring a twin sister with him), but then, we don't always know how things are meant to be, do we?

The only other thing I would have done had I known better would be to beg, borrow and steal to buy a house the minute we landed in California 8 years ago. But, again, the Southern California housing market is a topic for another bitter post somewhere down the line.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Random Thoughts and Updates

Agreeing to have Ray go to Las Vegas this weekend (just one night) for his annual dork convention, also known as the Fantasy Football Draft, earned me a little bit of time this afternoon to sit, veg, and not think. First order of business is to blather on a bit about some random stuff:

  • First Grade seems to be going just fine, just as I hoped it would. The offending kid apparently hates ALL girls, not just mine; all the moms tell me that they've heard great things about Julia's teacher (no idea how), and most importantly, Julia is perfectly happy in her class. So far, so good.
  • Other than a discolored middle finger (the joke continues), my hand no longer bears any signs of the fnipple. After the whole slicing off bit the black skin eventually fell off and there's brand new normal skin underneath. My hand doctor was very happy, and almost seemed surprised, that the granuloma seems to be gone. There's a little bump where it was, but it doesn't seem to be coming back so far. Woo hoo!
  • Potty training has begun anew, God help us. I'm trying to have a sense of humor about it, and am trying some new parenting techniques (more on that in a later post) that are hopefully making it easier on Ethan and less frustrating for me, although cleaning poop off carpet is inherently frustrating, no matter how it got there and whose it is. We're nowhere near done, especially since he can't figure out that underwear is not absorbent like diapers. Preschool starts tomorrow (you'll find me at the mall with JUST ONE KID!!!) and I'm hoping that a group trip to the bathroom will move things along a bit more quickly.
  • Thanks to everyone who commented on the baby food issue. I appreciate knowing I'm not the only one out there who thinks homemade baby food is a good idea. Brady is doing great on it so far, although he doesn't love carrots. He does love slurping pears through his little mesh baggie and has almost mastered holding the contraption himself. What a great mom I am, training my 6 month old to feed himself.
That's a good rundown of what's been going on around here. I've also had to deal with a Bridezilla issue that is now resolved to my satisfaction by my not attending a wedding I thought I was going to. Just a note: if you're getting married, and your mom tells my mom that it's OK to bring my infant if I need to, and so I plan on it, and arrange a babysitter for the older kids, don't leave me a snooty message telling me that the hotel has some rooms blocked for my nanny to take the baby into. Nanny? Are you kidding? Honey, if I had a nanny you can bet that I'd be using her to go to someplace better than your dumb wedding. And on a similar note, if you promise your daughter at least a month ago that you'll babysit her kids so she can attend a work event with her husband, and then you get invited out to yet another dinner party, it's rude to ask your daughter what you should do. Either flake and own up to it and deal with your guilt, or do the right thing and skip the damn party for once. Better yet, if you're planning on having children and ever asking your parents to, God forbid, watch them for an evening, make sure their social life isn't way, way better than yours.