Saturday, February 25, 2006

The gold standard

In the midst of an insane couple of weeks, I've tried to catch as much of the Olympics as possible. It is unbelievable what some of these athletes do (and, in some cases, what they fail to do). For example, did you know that the fourth place finisher in the women's skeleton competition was nine weeks pregnant? I remember how many people think I was crazy for still running at nine weeks (for the record, I finally stopped after 20 weeks). But how do you think my OB/GYN would have reacted to an announcement that I was going to slide headfirst on my stomach down a track at 70 mph (or whatever ridiculous speed they go)? The woman wouldn't even clear me to drink a glass of wine while pregnant!

All in all, I haven't had the same amount of interest in these games as I've had in the past. Perhaps it's the lack of Americans on the medal stand, or perhaps it's just that, since this is the first Winter Olympics since my daughter was born, I don't have as much time to watch. But to watch a pregnant lady hurtle headfirst down an icy track? That's pretty freakin' cool.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Travel Safety

Can someone please recommend a good, light car seat that will fit on a plane? Short of calling the airline, who I expect will not be helpful, I am at a loss. We will be flying to Florida in April and two year old Harry, thanks to my frequent flyer miles, will have his own seat. I have googled endlessly on this topic, and I am just looking for some reliable advice about what to get. We have a Britax Marathon now, but it is big and heavy and we are too lazy to take it out of the car. I am hoping to find a cheap but safe one that we can take with us for Florida in April and Chicago in June. Have any of you had good luck with a certain kind?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Birthday Party Circuit

Just as my husband was flipping out over the down payment I made on the 2nd birthday party that we "weren't having," I heard a phrase on the radio while listening to SoJo 104.something while driving on I-95: Birthday Party Circuit. As in, "if you are on the birthday party circuit, we have news for you about how to find the best gifts that won't leave you taking out a second mortgage on your house." I believe I was on my way, little guy in tow, to a karate birthday party for a little dude named Noah that lives 5 states away (if you count DC and cut through PA).
I like the phrase! And it makes a lot of sense to me now that I am perhaps over involved in planning birthday party #2 as well as getting started on #3 for April 22, 2007 - an Earth Day birthday complete with tie-dying and (fake) worm hunts through potting soil. Vegan birthday cake anyone?
I am facing the facts, I am a planner. I planned all of the Spirit Weeks and Proms in high school, I planned events for my sorority, I planned my wedding in about 2 days flat...I like planning! And now that I don't get to go anywhere, I don't get to plan extravagant brunches, I don't get to so much as enjoy an away weekend wedding (because half of the time it is much more fun to hang out with the little dude) I may as well have fun planning parties for Harry and the children of my friends.
At Noah's birthday last weekend, I had a blast not just watching the kids, but also hanging out with adult humans in a party atmosphere while the little people could have cared less what we were doing. They had cake and other people's toys! Often, it is an opportunity to see family of family, whose company I enjoy but we aren't close enough to make plans together on our own. This weekend I got to see peopel I hadn't seen in 13 years. It is also nice to chat with people you suddenly have so much in common with!
The trend now in our area for some kids is to accept charitable donations instead of birthday gifts. Perhaps this has caught on from the same idea in lieu of wedding favors. I think this is great for kids who understand the concept, and I already planned to do this with the tooth fairy money (some of it). I think for Earth Day Birthday, this would also be a great idea, so we can start that next year (can't wait to see what my family has to say about this one!).
While I won't ban gifts this year, my true focus is the favors to give to the other kids. I know for some this may seem extreme, and I suppose in some instances this can get out of control (anyone read White House Nannies? We won't be getting signed first additions for anyone, or even autographed hockey pucks for that matter). I am just thinking a mix CD for each kid, some Barrel a Monkeys to go with the monkey/gym theme. What's wrong with that? It makes me happy, and I will use the money I could have spent on Bloody Mary mix for the brunch we've put off or Apple Martinis for that Morroccan Night that I am too tired to throw!

Who Needs Leg Room?

It's funny to see a post about minivans here, because I've been having my own minivan angst lately. On Monday morning, we got a babysitter (no daycare because of President's Day). We headed down to Roxbury with all of Adam's research. And we test drove minivans. Two specifically: the Toyota Sienna and the Honda Odyssey. The first thing you need to know is I hate car shopping. The last thing you need to know is I hate car shopping.

Both minivans drove just fine. They're not stunning cars (Adam thought I was kidding when I complained, "The dashboards are ugly!" but really, who wants to look at an ugly dashboard?). Adam kept asking which I liked better, but honestly, they were really about the same. We had our checkbook in hand, the old car ready for a trade-in, and were mentally prepared to walk out with a new car. The prices were within about $500 of each other.

The Honda salesman seemed to be too busy to give us much time. The Toyota salesman, however, was breathing down our necks. "You don't need leather seats. Just do what I do: Don't allow any food or drink in the car for any trip under three hours." "Oh, okay, you can get the LE and simply add leather." "You won't need to move that seat very often--it doesn't matter that it doesn't slide." "I got kids, too, and this car is perfect." He kept disappearing to do God only knows what. Took forever. Adam tells me that's a sales technique, that they like to make the customer wait because then the customer becomes impatient and wants to make a deal quickly. Didn't work on me.

I told the sales guy, "Listen, we've got a babysitter at home. We have to leave soon." He dawdled. He disappeared for a bit. He returned with a sales manager. He thought he had us reeled in but he didn't get that I was serious. Minivan or no minivan, I was thirty minutes from home sans br*east pump. "We've got to go," I told him. He smiled and leaned back in his chair to negotiate some more. Finally, I'd had enough and I picked up my bag. "You've got to understand. I'm a breastfeeding mama and in about five minutes, I'm going to be in a world of pain, so we're leaving now." I'm a little sorry now that this was one of those rare moments when I actually censored what I said, because what I meant was, "Hey, jerk! My b*oobs are about to explode!"

And since we didn't walk out with the minivan, it's given me lots of time to rethink my minivan position and I believe I'm over it. Really, it shouldn't be such a leap. I already drive a station wagon, albeit a station wagon I love (a 2002 version of this). I so love my car. Love, love, love. It's a beauty of a car. And yet... I must find but another to love. The Audi has two points against it: One, a convertible infant car seat in the rear-facing position renders the front passenger seat unusable, so Adam and I will not be able to travel with our children together until Sweetie Pie is both over one years old and twenty pounds. Two, the warranty on the Audi is up soon. Right now the full warranty covers all service. The thing is, the Audi actually goes in for quite a bit of service. And it won't be economical to keep it. So I need a new car sooner or later. And let's face it: the minivan just makes sense now.

Here we are in limbo. What do we get? An SUV so there's room for car seats (and if we do that, a hybrid tops my list)? Another, larger, station wagon? The minivan? Chuck common sense, decide the kids really never need to leave the house, and go for the Boxster? The biggest argument that I can see for the minivan is it means I don't have to test drive any more cars. (Did I mention I hate car shopping?)

The only response is the Scarlett O'Hara one: I'll think about it tomorrow.

Friday, February 17, 2006

I love my ball!

My bouncy ball! No - wait- I was about to say mini van, but got started watching my favorite episode of Dora. The one about the bouncy ball. I love the way Boots says "My ball is bleu!" But I digress. As I was about to say, I LOVE my mini van. I am serious. I love the way the dry cleaning fits. I love the way my groceries fit. I love the way the dog fits. And Harry loves seeing out the window, having all of his stuff with him, and the 6 disc CD changer that plays Ernie by request. Or Elmo. My convertible did not have a 6 disc changer. Heck, it didn't even have a CD player!
Last September I traded in my cute little Cabrio for a light blue Town & Country mini-van. I was a little distraught the day the donation people came to pick it up, but I honestly had not driven it since the day I bought the van. I have spent the past few months happily cruising Northern VA neighborhoods.
TODAY IT GOT WEIRD! Today I am in NJ. In the town that I was born. Today, I am driving past the places I used to drive past in my old convertible. The one I had in high school. You see, until recently, I was a convertible kind of girl. I will surely go back to them at some point, but I've been happy with my mini-van. But there is just something very weird about driving one on the streets you used to be driven on as a child. And cruising in a mini van in the same parking lot you used to "cruise" for guys - granted, that was the movie theatre end, and I was at the Whole Foods end. It's just weird, that's all. Weird. Weird like teh first tiem an adult tells you a dirt joke. That kind of weird.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Running in Circles

Ever feel like you are running in circles? Not just in every day life, but in your running/training. I mean, granted, I run around in circles most of the day while chasing around my precious toddler and trying to accomplish simple things like finding my toothbrush under the bed so that I can brush my teeth or mail a few bills after peeling the sticker stamps off the refrigerator door.

Now, back to the actual running in circles. This whole childbearing age thing creates quite a viscious circle. You are running like a champ...your pace is faster than're running more races than ever...then BAM - you're pregnant. So you temporarily slow down or need to stop running for a while. You concentrate on creating a nice, safe, healthy environment for the baby who is sucking the life out of you. You give birth. Your life is turned upside down (or for some, right side up). You enjoy every moment, except the part when you're ready to start really pushing your body to the limits again. You start building the miles all over again. Speed work really sucks, but you are determined to get back to your pre-baby pace (ha!). A few months later you're almost there. You are running 5 days a week. You are racing every couple of months. You feel great -- even though you are pushing 35+ pounds while racking up the miles. Then you decide you might as well have another baby before you need dentures. So...BAM - you're pregnant. There goes all that hard work AGAIN. You chill. You try not to beat yourself up. You live through yet another preganancy and birth. Guess what?!? Its time to start all over again.

But it IS worth it. And guess what -- supposedly after giving birth your heart can pump more blood faster and your oxygen in take is greater. Meaning -- you will be FASTER and more EFFICIENT than ever before!!! So keep on running girls.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Activity# 288: Get a free lila guide

If you like to give advice to others, or you're just really excited about your favorite kid's bookstore because of their free lemonade and men's room changing table, here's a way to make yourself and your brilliant recommendations heard.

Rate 10 local baby-friendly outings, hangouts, parks, restaurants, or service providers (or even products that you use every day) and get a free copy of the lila guide. There is one for each of the 10-15 biggest metro areas, so if you don't live in one of those, sorry to taunt you with this offer.

You don't even have to remember a login name. Just use the same email address every time you write a review and they will figure it out. Get started >