Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Day 203

I've come to realize that I tend to blog less when I'm out doing awesome things because, well, I'm off doing awesome things, and at the end of a day full of awesomeness, I'm done. It's time for bed - or maybe for falling asleep on the couch, contact lenses still in, swimsuit still on.

So when I sat down tonight, I was thinking about how our last two days were filled with worry and chaos - high fevers followed by long lists of tasks that needed attending, today's to-do's stacked high atop yesterday's. I was thinking about how I lost my patience with Jules when he squirted me in the face with a turtle "squirt toy" (I try to avoid using the word "gun" for this thing) for the second time, how my tolerance for kids putzing around was, tonight, at an all time low.

But then I realized the bias of my blogging and instead, decided that letting a most spectacular weekend going unrecorded would be a shame. And, indeed, I had a most spectacular weekend. 

Blue skies and light winds marked the days; the temperature couldn't be more perfect, and our great friends the Bevans were in from Boston. We took full advantage of this sweet situation: eating grass-fed burgers at Bread & Butter Farm, riding bikes to the Farmer's Market, stopping for crepes at Skinny Pancake. There were adults' nights out, too: the guys made the Church Street rounds on Friday; Amy and I sipped drinks and shared soft cheeses at the Farmhouse on Saturday, then headed to Ri's for a low-key girls' gathering. (Dads and kids toasted marshmallows in the fire pit and slept in tents out back.) We all biked to a chill fishing spot on Sunday and spent the afternoon scouting smooth stones and swimming at North Beach. 

Just writing this relaxes me. Life is good. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Day 197

Today, I am grateful for...

  • An extra hour with Jules in the a.m.
  • Soccer coaches who recognize the extreme importance of hydration on a 90-degree day.
  • Awesome colleagues who make putting out a fire-drill proposal feel like an invigorating, fun challenge.
  • A husband who happily embraces expanding guest lists with little (or, um, no) notice.
  • Little boys who still love to snuggle.
  • Unexpected texts from a favorite college friend.
  • A sister who's back stateside.
  • That my mom recognizes it usually takes 3 days to connect by phone--and takes no offense.
  • Friends who accept impromptu dinner invites, arrive with Fiddlehead IPA, embrace cold pizza and interrupted conversations ... then leave behind artful little notes on napkins reminding me of all of the important points on which I need to follow up. #superlucky 

I agree: It's a good song

Monday, June 18, 2012

Day 195

One thing I work hard to do as a parent is to see my kids for individuals they are - not as extensions of me, or  of Jon. Not Mini-Me's of ourselves.

That said, Jules and I have some striking similarities: a quick, gummy smile... a voice that carries wide and far... the need to be in motion constantly... a love of music and dancing and reading and eating... unbridled passion. 

Of course, I see plenty of Jon in Jules too. For instance, he has an engineer's brain and a budding athlete's muscle-y bod. Also, when faced with a captive audience, he turns the topic to poop. Apparently.

Like Father, like son (6/18/2012, Stowe Pinnacle)

Today, was Julian's first day of soccer camp. Barely four, he's one of the youngest "campers" (if not the youngest camper) in the group. But we decided to sign him up, given that he wanted to go and that one of his favorite teachers from school is on the coaching staff.

When I left the field, things appeared to be going well: little soccer players, some in orange vests, were buzzing around the field. When I arrived to pick Jules up at noon, he was pulling off another boy's sock. But he seemed to straighten up and joined in obediently for the final team huddle; still, I worried that we'd rushed things, that we'd sent him too early. 

When I saw his coach/teacher a little later, I asked her for the scoop: "Did he do okay today?"

"He was awesome."

"But I saw him pulling another kid's leg..."

"Yeah, but that kid said he needed help getting off his sock." 

Fair enough.

Then coach/teacher continued: "... but he did say the funniest thing at circle."

In the brief pause, I assumed that what I'd hear next would be something cute, something endearing... 


"While everyone was having snack, Jules announced that 'once he did a little squirt in his underpants. Not a poop - just a little squirt.' And then he started cracking up." 

Um... "He said what!?" (And who uses the word "squirt"?)

She repeated the story, then added that the whole group of - mostly slightly older - kids thought it was great, hilarious. At that, I felt relief. (Though I'm pretty sure that's not a responsible parent reaction.)

Suddenly, I flashed back to a scene a decade ago... 

The setting was an old "manor" in Charlotteville, where my friend Ronda - then a doctoral student studying Shakespeare at UVA - was hosting an end-of-semester (?) or holiday (?) black-tie soiree with several friends. We were having a great time and at some point I left Jon to refresh my martini...

... after refilling my drink, I meandered and mingled before eventually spotting my tux-sporting man across the room. He was looking particularly dashing and he was talking to a handsome couple, also elegantly clad. 

"Look at my hot guy over there, making new friends" -  I'm sure I thought something of the sort. 

Then, I got close enough to hear the conversation. 

"Tell me your favorite shit story." This is what I heard. This is what I heard JON say. To the classy couple.

I wanted to die. 

And then dignified duo burst into laughter, carrying on until tears streamed down their faces. 

Still... not cool. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Day 191

Today, in the mad rush that is our standard morning routine, Jules went missing. We found him out in the driveway shooting hoops. Jon gave him a stern "you can't leave the house without telling us" talk and hung out with him and Kai outside while I finished packing little boys' lunches and locating my keys. (The latter of which is also part of our standard morning routine. Pathetically so.)
Ten minutes later, the boys and I piled in the Swagger Wagon and headed to school. En route, I felt the need to discuss further the idea that exiting the house unannounced (when you're four) is verboten. I wanted Jules to realize why we have this rule: It's a safety issue. We're not unfair dictators. 

Jules got it. Totally. And since things were going so well, I decided to tack on a new lesson: the "don't talk to strangers" spiel. Which is a tricky topic for me...  a person known to gather the entire life story of a friend of a friend of a friend at a party, a person who recently introduced herself to another young family because of paths crossing repeatedly around town. (Hell, when you're riding on the same tractor at Shelburne Farms for the third time, you should be on a first name basis, no?)

This is the only kind of weapon we shoot 'round here.
Anyway... Jules's response: "What's a stranger?"

"Well... it's a person you don't know," I told him. "And it's not a good idea to talk to people you don't know when mom or dad isn't around."

Even as I delivered this message, I wasn't sure it was quite right.

"Because they're bad guys?" he asked.

"Well because they might be people who do bad things." I am not speaking confidently. I wish I'd read up on how to handle this talk before launching into it.

"Do you and dad have guns to fight the bad guys with?"

Guns?!? WTF?

I explained that, no, Daddy and I do not have guns. That we do not fight people. That fighting is usually a very bad idea. Because people get hurt. 

Eventually, he tired of this topic and we started looking for people walking dogs. 

We live in a hood with a bunch of seven-year-old boys (really great seven-year-old boys, I might add) who, I suspect, play "gun games." I assume that this is where might be learning about guns. I don't know. What I do know is this: I do not want my boys playing games that involve pretending to shoot people. Ever. Fellow parents, I'd love to hear your thoughts on this topic, whether they're aligned with mine, or totally not... 

PS: For the record, this isn't intended to be an opinion piece on gun control - which certainly can be a complicated issue. But the idea that preschoolers can somehow absorb the idea that shooting bad guys is simply "what you do" deeply disturbs me. 


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Day 190

This update is short and sweet. Today was stressful and I did not step up. I snapped, I whined, I worried. As witnessed by a small circle, I shed a tear. Or ... more than two.  I did not carry on, keeping calm. I crumbled.  

And I HATE that.

All I can hope that is that no one noticed my bad form much as it seemed they must have - and try hard to do better tomorrow. 

In the meantime, tell me: How do you face stressful situations with grace? 

My travel cup is tough. Me, not so much.  

Monday, June 11, 2012

Day 188

Today, I was a little cranky and on edge. Why, who knows... but when I sat down to write about what I've been doing for the last eight days, the gratitude came easily. In the last week, I've connected with so many loved ones (and I use that term quite literally) I hadn't seen in a long time. A very long time in some cases. And it was AWESOME. Here are the highlights. (And they're not in order.)

That's John. In the late 1990s/early 2000s, he was the Robert Benchley to my Dorothy Parker. We may or may not have been quite as witty as the original Park Bench but we did work in magazines and we did sip martinis in the Algonquin's Oak Room. Now John and his awesome partner Jason run a wildly successful design firm called madcapcottage. Here with John is Jasper. He of the one blue and one brown eye is supposedly a nipper of strangers but he did not bite me. I think he liked me a lot, actually.
This is my cousin Corinne, who came to visit from Vail last week with her guy Skipper. When my Aunt Steph was pregnant with Corinne, I told her (my aunt) that if the baby was not a girl, I wanted to "send it back." I was nearly eight at the time. It was the beginning of my bitchy years. Which lasted awhile. Corinne, on the other hand, was never a bitch. She exudes warmth and chases fun. Always. 
These are the freshly mani-ed hands of the some of the greatest ladies I know. They came with Jon.  Seriously... I married a man who, as a kid barely older than Jules, knew how to pick truly amazing lifelong friends... these friends, in turn,  excelled at choosing truly amazing lifelong partners. Once a year, we ladies hang out while our great men watch the kids at home. #luckygirls
This is a photo I snapped at the MoMA. In the best city. Ever.
This is my girl Jenny. We should see each other lots given our relative proximity but lately syncing our schedules has been tricky. Last week, I went to help her baby proof for Kid #1 before Kid #2 joined the fam. We ended up leaving the cabinet latches for Scotty to install and sat on the couch laughing. (Some help I am.) Two days later, Baby Julia was born. Yay!
Me with HT, my PFL. Whenever we get together, it seems, we shoot another Twolander (Zoolander x 2) shot. At least we're no longer dressing as Charlie's Angels. On not-Halloween. 

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Day 180

So today I got a note from HT saying (and, here, I paraphrase) "there's still time! last chance." What she meant: I still had time to decide to detour through NYC "on my way" to Hartford this weekend, to catch the Cindy Sherman exhibit at the MoMA before it closes on Monday. 

I love Cindy Sherman.

More good timing: I got my watch back today. It was broken for months and being repaired for weeks.
PS: This is not my watch. It is Jon's. But it was next to me and made for a good photo, I thought.

I've not been to the MoMA since it was remodeled, years ago now. This seems crazy to me.

I don't work in the office on Fridays.

All of my boys have big plans of their own while I'm away for girls' weekend in Hartford. 

Earlier this weekend, I learned that my very pregnant friend whose toddler son I might get to watch while she's having baby #2 (yay!) will be induced on Wednesday if the little one doesn't decide to come in the next day or two.

(In other words, I have no little boys to take care of this Friday.)

Yesterday, I also learned that one of "my girls" needs to be back in Boston by noon on Sunday. I know, too,  that there's a Megabus from Boston to Burlington.

The timing of HT's message was just right.

I checked the Megabus schedule. Perfect.
I checked the Jetblue schedule. Great option. I had JUST enough points for a free one-way to the city. Jackpot!!!

Upshot:  I'm getting myself from Burlington to Hartford and back by way of New York and Boston for $31.50. Plus: I'm getting one-on-one car time with two friends, Cindy,  a day in the city  (NYC pals: Ping me if you want to have a coffee!)  and an evening with HT and her fam. I'm not even going to bother calculating how much money I'll be saving on gas by not driving. I trust it's a lot. Jon accused me of concocting this situation to avoid driving on highways. Whatever. He was smiling. And psyched about my good fortune. 

The moral of the story: Life is all about timing - and you gotta seize the moment. Right?

Or not? Perhaps life is not at all about timing but rather about what you make of any given situation (case in point: we had an awesome night camping in the rain with the boys and our friends this weekend). 

Probably, though, it's a combo of the two: Timing + perspective. Hmm... what do you think?