Sunday, February 27, 2011

They Just Come Right Back

I stand in the bathroom, staring into the mirror, staring and feeling, well, I'm not quite sure what I'm feeling. Bothered? Resigned? Ambivalent? Annoyed?  

They're wiry and stubborn.  They catch the light, and not in a shiny, healthy, herbal essency sort of way either. 

I used to spend hours eliminating them.  

But, they just come right back and more all the time.  More.  All the time.  

Gray and mocking and a constant reminder that time marches on.  And, really, they're not even gray.  More translucent.  Colorless.  At least gray would be something.  But, they're not gray.  

Plucking is pointless.  I can't keep up.  I can't even see them all, you know, because they're colorless.  I tilt my head so the light hits it differently and look for the inevitable glint or rather glints.  I am increasingly blinded by their gleam.  

So now I wonder, is it time to dye?  
To dye or not to dye, that is the question.  

By my age, my mother was already salt and pepper.  She dyed her hair a few times, but then just decided to accept the inevitability of her fate.  Gracefully, of course, as she does everything.  I'm not there yet, salt and pepper or graceful, but I know I will be, salt and pepper, that is.  The graceful part is a work in progress.  

But, the change is coming and sooner than I'd like.  

Now she's silver, and lovely, but also 60.  60 and silver makes sense.  

I have good hair.  It's thick and naturally curly, well, more like wavy.  But, it holds curl and can be straightened too.  And, it has always been wasted on me.  I never "do" it.  I invest in a new round of headbands and barrettes and ouchless, pony-tail holders every few months so I can pull it up and back and out of my way.  I chop it off when I feel anxious and need a change.  I have dyed it once and put highlights in fewer than 5 times.  I don't have a go to style or stylist.  I know, a waste.

Genetics notwithstanding, I can't help but wonder if this is punishment for squandering my gift.  Maybe I can make restitution some other way? 

Because, I'm not ready to be gray, not yet.


Maybe, I'll go blonde?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Weigh in!

By the way, that's weigh in, not weigh in.   
No need to share your weight in the comments, you know, unless you want to.

We have a free night in a hotel expiring in the near future, where should we go?  

Now, before you go crazy, let me throw out our requirements.

1) Driving distance from DC.  This does not mean, one can get there in a car, but rather that the destination is a reasonable distance away from DC to qualify as a weekend getaway.  Eg. Boston is 8 hours away, that's probably too far to drive to spend one night. 

2) Must have kid-friendly attractions.  I use kid-friendly loosely.  Eg.  I thought the Parthenon was very kid-friendly and so did my kids.

3) We have to go in the next month.  That's from now, until late March.  So if the main attractions are outdoors, it can't be too cold -- I like climate control and my kids don't have snow boots.  Of course, for the right suggestion, snow boots could be acquired so don't be put off by my protests about weather.

4) Visiting you is not a bad suggestion.  We'll just stay in a hotel at night and play together during the day!

So, what are your thoughts, suggestions, ideas, must-sees, brilliant epiphanies?  I want to hear 'em.  Really.  I do.  
So, hit me with them!

I've got a long, long list of things to do in DC and the greater Washington metropolitan area, but beyond the beltway is not my area of expertise.

I can't wait to make our plans! 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Today is a snow day.  Well, a half snow day.  
School doesn't start until 10am.  

But, that means everyone can sleep in.  

So, guess what?  Of course!  

They're awake!  

At 7:30!!  

Yesterday, I had to drag them out of bed, at 8!!!  

But, today?  

Up and at 'em all on their own and nearly 2 hours before they need to be.  And, this is not the first time they've done this.  They seem to have an uncanny ability to know when days like today occur.  And, then they willfully flout the opportunity for a lie-in. 

How does this happen?  Why does this happen?  What can I do to keep it from happening?  

Sleeping in is my favorite luxury, my fondest dream, my heart's desire.  

Why could my offspring not have inherited that from me?

We Love Washington, DC, #11

Happy President's Day!  
It was gray and rainy, but there was no school so an outing was in order.

For Christmas, Kenny's parents generously gave us a membership to the National Aquarium and today we used it for the first time.   Well, Kenny and the boys used it.  I was doing homework.  Happy President's Day indeed!
The Aquarium has two locations, one in Baltimore and one in DC in the basement of the Department of Commerce...of course.  The Baltimore facility is purportedly the more impressive of the two, but our membership works for both places so we'll visit get a chances to see for ourselves.

Here the boys are having an animal encounter with a bearded dragon.
 Yes, they are dressed alike.  And, no, they are not twins.  And, I don't even think they look that much alike, but whatever.  I dressed them alike so they would be easier to keep track of among the inevitable holiday crowds.

 Here is a sloth in the non-water part of the aquarium.  There was so much to see they weren't able to visit an entire section.  I think we'll have an impromptu holiday next month and go back.

The highlight of the day was the dolphin show.  An indoor dolphin show is hard to wrap my mind around, having grown up in Hawaii where the weather always cooperates.  They were seated in the splash zone so there are no pictures of the actual dolphins.  But, they loved every second!

Posing in the jaws of a megalodon
The Aquarium is situated right in Baltimore Harbor.  Fish, turtles, sharks and eels inside and boats outside is every little boy's dream come true.

It was a good day and we crossed off one more item from our DC Bucket List.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Finally Old Enough to be President

Today is my -- deep breath -- 35th birthday.  Okay, so that wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be.  Actually, being 35 doesn't scare me.  It doesn't even really give me pause.  But, it does seem like the appropriate juncture in my life to take stock and not just because I am now constitutionally old enough to run for President of the United States.

When I was growing up, I always thought my parents were 35 -- not for any particular reason, but 35 was a largish, round number light-years away from my own age.  Of course, I knew when they were born and doing the math wasn't difficult, but 35 seemed like the age that parents were.  And, now, that I am 35 and they most definitely are not, our roles have still stayed the same.  They're still parents, only now, so am I.  I am the age that parents are.  And, I don't feel as old as they seemed to me.  But, I am.

Last fall, as I sat in grad school orientation, I looked around and thought, this is like an episode of Sesame Street on crack.  One of these things is so not like the 50 others and it's me.  I'm the outlier.  I used to be the youngest, everywhere.  I graduated from college in 3 years.  I was the youngest intern, staff writer, research assistant, team member, roommate, employee at a firm of 300, committee chair, organization president, and on and on.  Everything was always ahead of me.  But, not anymore.  I'm on a collision course with middle-age and much of my life is behind me, and really, I'm glad.

The last 35 years have been good ones.  Sure, there have been moments I wished would have turned out differently, there were failures and disappointments and certainly there were bad hair days (probably too many of these), but mostly, I've been really blessed in my life.  I have a great life.  I have terrific friends and stellar parents.  I have a husband I cannot believe I was lucky enough to marry and pinch myself over daily.  I have 2 kids who make me grateful I am a mother.  I have read about amazing places and people and then had the incredible fortune to visit and meet them in person.  I have good health and financial security.  I am surrounded by love and brilliance and humor and joy and all the good things life has to offer.

I am content with who I am and even more content with knowing 35 isn't old.  It's just older than I was.   I have so much life ahead of me and being the age that parents are just enhances that.  I don't know what the future holds, and certainly my past is not much help with predicting that.  But, I'm looking forward to what's next and I'm positive much of it will be just as rewarding and wonderful as my past was and my present is.

One thing I can predict with absolute certainty, Article II, Section I of the US Constitution notwithstanding, I will not be running for President.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

For Posterity

Family photos are a hassle, but I'm always grateful after the fact.  

 2003 -- The beginning.  Neither one of us was a big picture taker and as such, we essentially have no record of our lives from this moment until Caleb was born.  Pity, because we did some fun things when we were just a couple.

2006 -- There's a formal one of the three of us too, but my only copy is framed on the wall, so this will have to suffice.

2007 -- Caleb was so sick and I was so very pregnant the day we posed for this, it's a miracle we ended up with any good shots.

 2008 -- A blisteringly hot DC day.  We were soaked with sweat and surrounded by hoards of tourists -- not our most pleasant family photo shoot ever.

 2009 -- An October weekend in Caracas.  This captures perfectly the best, and often only good, thing about living in Venezuela...the weather.

2010 -- Our most recent, and my favorite so far.

Degrees of Perfection

Yesterday, it was 70 degrees in the nation's capital.  That's right, 70 glorious degrees of sunny side up warmth. We went outside to soak it in.  It was perfect.

 Perfect for watching Marine One and it's decoy fetch the commander-in-chief for his trip to visit some computer guys in California.

 Perfect for standing in the flight path of jets headed for Reagan National.

Perfect for getting a closer look at (read: chasing) a flock of orioles.
Perfect for feeding pigeons and some greedy, sort of scary seagulls who were ravenous and caused some nervousness with their seeming inability to distinguish between stale, off-brand Ritz crackers and dimpled, three-year old fingers.

Perfect for running and smiling and generally enjoying the sunshine 
and the unseasonably lovely DC day.

Friday, February 18, 2011

A Long Overdue Introduction


My name's regular exercise.  And you are? 


Nice to meet you, Linsey.  I've been wondering when we would finally become acquainted. 

I wish I could say the same. 

Wow, that's not very nice.  After all, we just met, maybe you could at least give me a chance before you write me off completely?

Right.  But, here's the thing, we've met before, several times in fact and I don't remember those meetings being anything but painful.  In fact, I'm still harboring some serious resentment, obviously.  

Are you sure those weren't just brief encounters, like you were a submarine and I was a battleship sharing the same ocean as we passed silently in the night? 


I mean, did you really give me a chance or did you just do a once-over and move on? 

Well...I like to think I give everyone a fair shot to make a great first impression, and really, you didn't.  I always had a pounding headache afterward and needed a shower.  That doesn't sound like a great beginning to me. 

I've been told I can take some time to warm up to.  But, once you do, we'll be true friends, BFFs even.  Don't you want a BFF? 

Um, no, what am I, 12?  I'm more in the market for kindred spirits.  What do you think, are there any circumstances under which you could be a kindred spirit? 

I can!  I know I can!  Just give me a chance to show you.  What have you go to lose? 

I think the better question is, what have I got to gain? 

Is that a serious question or are you just being obtuse (behavior, by the way, that is beneath you)?  Let's be honest, you know what I can offer you.  And, you have everything to gain from this relationship.  But, it's up to you.  I can't force you to love me.  

Alright, enough with the guilt trip, what do I have to do? 

Well, we should start by getting together a few times a week.   

A few times a week?!?!  Are you familiar with my schedule?  More importantly, are you crazy? 

Shh, pay attention, I'm not done yet.  First, let's not pretend that you are any busier than anyone else, okay?  Second, you'll want to wear comfortable clothing and bring a towel.  Some of my friends also like water bottles.  Some of my better friends swear by i-pods with special playlists.  But, that might be too advanced for you? 

Oh, is that a challenge?  I'm totally making a playlist too!

Finally, the fun stuff, we get moving.  Cardio first then some strength training.  We'll sprinkle in some ab crunches and leg presses here and there too.  You'll love it.  What do you think?

What do I think?  UGH!  But, I will not be accused of being judgmental and dismissive.  So, I guess, I'm in.

YEA!  One more thing, in the interest of full disclosure, you should know you'll have to get up before dawn, our meetings will be in a place that doesn't smell as nice as it could and the headaches might come back.  But, I promise if you stick with me, even these obstacles to our friendship will pale in comparison to the long-term benefits.  Did you hear that?  I PROMISE!

I knew it!  There's always a catch!  So, how long do I have to do this before I can write you off for good?


I'm just saying, what if being kindred spirits isn't in our future?

This is a ridiculous exercise, but if you insist, 1 month.  1 month I can do.  And then, if I never see you again, we're square right?  No writing derogatory messages about me on bathroom walls?  No notes to my doctor tattling on me?  No threats about osteoporosis or chronic fatigue?




Why so flip?

Because, Linsey, "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

Okay, okay.  But if this is going to work, that kind of corniness has to stop! 

1 month later


You might have been on to something.

I'm sorry, what was that?


Kindred spirits forever?

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think so.   Mind you, I'm still not wild about the 5am wake-up calls, but the headaches are dissipating and the smell isn't as bad as I thought it would be. 

I knew it! See you tomorrow?

See you tomorrow. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Hooray for Boys!

Made and Made by Rae are beginning a month of celebrating boys today!

Hip, hip hooray!
There are so many wonderful blogs out there devoted to ribbons and bows, frills and furbelows, ruffles and flounces and everything in between.  But, boys definitely get short-changed.  I have been waiting all year for Boy month and now it is here.

Click over to their sites daily and don't miss a minute of this celebration dedicated to boys!

Things I Love Week -- Day 7


 For presents,

 and making memories.

 For field trips,

and frosting.

 For picnics,
and parades.

 For sleeping in,

and dreams coming true.

For loving each other every day,

 and in every way.

Happy Valentine's Day!
PS This is my 300th post...only took 4.5 years to get here.  Yea me!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Things I Love Week -- Day 6

Stuff I could (because I have), but would 
rather not, live without.

image from here
Shout advanced gel for heavy duty stains saves my life almost daily.  Well, okay, so not my life, but certainly it saves me money and keeps my boys' clothes from looking, well, like boys clothes.  It is a miracle product and not all that easy to find.  I buy whatever is in stock whenever I find it.  It's worth it, I promise.

image from here

These are my favorite snack food, bar none.  They are the perfect combination of tangy and sweet and far healthier than what I could be eating, see yesterday's post.  I put them on and in everything too, oatmeal, salads, cookies, etc.  Or, I used to.  Giving them up has been really challenging.

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If you read my blog with any sort of regularity, you know that we travel a lot.  A LOT.  And, most of the time with the boys.  For us, the go go Kidz Travelmate is an absolutely essential item.  It is a bit pricey, but it has paid for itself ten times over and I never hit an airport without it.

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We are Apple people and I love my MacBook Pro.  Especially now that I am back in school, I never leave home without it.  How I ever managed to graduate from college without a laptop attached to my hip, is a wonder.

  I have found so many discount, out of print and rare editions of books on this site.  It is my go to site anytime I need a book that was published more than 5 years ago.  If you are a reader, or you give gifts to readers or you want to be a reader, visit and have a ball.

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Ah, Vanity Fair.  I've been subscribing to it for ages.  As a grad student, it's just about the only unassigned reading I allow myself these days.  I read it cover to cover every month and then wait, impatiently, for the next issue to arrive.

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These are the best invention ever.  In the car, on the airplane, in hotel rooms, on furniture, at church, NEVER ANY MESS!  Brilliant.  Positively brilliant.

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If you haven't discovered Gymboree bubbles yet, run, don't walk to your nearest Gymboree and get some today.  They are glycerin-based so they last longer and so does the fun!

For more celebrations of love week, go here.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Things I Love Week -- Day 5

Somewhere not so deep inside this adult, is a 7 year-old girl who still wants to know how many licks it takes to get to the center.  Who loves the idea of edible jewelry.  Who thinks candy bar posters are the ultimate expression of love.  And, who believes that sour candy in bulk is pure joy.
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From Red Vines to Cherry Sours and Jelly Belly's to Salt Water Taffy, I love it all!  Excuse me for just a moment while I deviate from the green diet and go indulge my sweet tooth.
For more celebrations of love week, go here.

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