Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Pajama Problem

We have a problem. Evan is a tiny tyrant when it comes to his wardrobe. He has a closet full of adorable Gymboree bargains that I carefully and lovingly selected for him. But no. Make that NO MOMMY!

At this moment Evan will wear only one thing. His cheapo-ugly-as-sin-Buzz-Lightyear Pajamas. Oh Lord help me. I bought the boys a matching pair for Christmas, knowing that while they were unattractive, Evan and Zack would enjoy wearing them (to bed) and they would likely never step outside the front door while in the gaudy ensemble. How very wrong I was.

Evan refuses all other clothing. Tuesday night he wore them to bed. Wednesday our nanny (Lindsay) could not get him to completely change his outfit, so they compromised. Evan wore the pajama bottoms with a clashing baseball t-shirt and Lighting McQueen socks (another *must*.) Wednesday night Evan wore the rather dirty buzz outfit to bed. This morning when he awoke, we discovered that his diaper had leaked leaving the PJ's rather....damp and somewhat smelly. We had to draw the line. The beloved sleepwear had to be removed and replaced with another outfit.

There were fits. It took Lindsay about a half an hour to get the stubborn toddler in clothing. What resulted was a hideous combination of too-small baseball pajama bottoms and a miss-matched Mets T-shirt with a pair of, what else? Lighting McQueen socks. This combination only made it through a partial day, until the Buzz Lightyear clothes were through the washer and dryer, and those PJ's were back on in time for dinner.....

What am I going to do?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I wore a dress today

Today I got dressed. Okay, I get dressed every day, but today I put on a dress. And boots. And eyeshadow. It was time to join the ranks of the living. I was headed into the office, and my new custom fresh- from- the- grave look just wasn't going to cut it.

Let's face it, I have been feeling pretty lousy for the past several months. First morning sickness, then followed by a cough that simply will not die. This cough has left the muscles between my ribs in a constant spasm (a common side effect of pregnancy per my OB), and thus I look a bit...haggard. Most days I throw on a maternity shirt that has been through probably 6 or 7 pregnancies (mine and various friends) and a pair of borrowed ill-fitting jeans. I often am too tired to accessorize and usually rely on little to no make up, the over all effect is well, like I said earlier, death warmed over. Nice.

Yesterday I sat in my home office looking like total crap and I started to think about how I might spiff up my look for the trip to the city. A dress... of course! But the only dresses hanging in my closet were either a) sundresses, which will prove to be totally unnecessary in the San Francisco climate, or b) a size or two too big, which leave me looking nothing short of frumpy. So I did what any self-respecting sick pregnant lady would do. I dragged my boys out in a rainstorm to Target to find myself a new maternity dress ala Liz Lang. As I hurried the boys through the parking lot, clutching my ribs, coughing and yelling at my little troopers to speed it up so we didn't all get drenched, I thought... perhaps I made a mistake.

But today when I slipped on my little grey dress, tights and boots I knew it was worth it. While it is hard to feel "pretty" when your stomach is the size of a watermelon, (unless of course you happen to be Heidi Klum) at least I felt pulled together and presentable and I so desperately needed that.

Thank you, thank you Liz Lang. If only you could do something about the stabbing pain between my ribs.....

Monday, December 27, 2010

Your Christmas Gift Was Stupid

I got a whole bunch of stuff for Christmas. It all looked so promising under the tree. Red and green paper, curly ribbons and shiny bows. I had high hopes.

Santa did alright. He brought me a helicopter lego set that took me and mommy over an hour to put together. Then it fell apart and I got MAD. Stupid legos! He also brought me a camera and a guitar, but the guitar was broken. Grandpa said that a reindeer must have stepped on it. Mommy looked at him and said Santa must not have been on TARGET and winked. Why was that funny? Stupid broken guitar!

After the Santa gifts, there were still more presents to go, and it took forever. Mommy wanted me to stop and examine every single present I opened, and I just wanted to see what was next. If we did it her way it would have taken forever. Plus she said the grown ups had to open up gifts too, and their stuff was really boring. Books, and soap and dumb stuff like that. I guess that Santa doesn't like big people very much.

I got two best things for Christmas. One was a red glow stick in my stocking. It was so cool and I had it in bed with me all night long, but then it stopped working. Stupid glow stick. I also got an awesome pirate set with an eye patch, a sword and a gold earring. Arrrg I looked like a real pirate! Until the earring and the sword broke and Christmas was ruined- but only for a few minutes because then we got candy canes.

I got some really bad presents too. Auntie Erica gave me a "make your own plate and mug set." Mom was crazy about it. She was so excited, but I thought it was stupid. It didn't make noise, it wasn't a car, or a superhero. Dumb! Mommy got really mad at me when I told Auntie Erica that I didn't like it. Aren't we suppose to tell the truth? Duh!

Next year I'm going to ask Santa for a chocolate covered Lighting McQueen remote control car, with candy cane windshield wipers. I think you have to be pretty specific with the big guy. And your Aunt.

Sunday, December 26, 2010


We awoke before dawn after a sleepless Christmas night. We dressed and gathered the last of our belongings in post holiday haze, preparing ourselves for the early flight back to Oakland. Home. Or that is what we are calling it.

It was too early for much emotion as I hugged my sister goodbye, my nephews still snug in their beds, asleep. We drank coffee and tried to force some sort of nourishment into two crabby children before bracing the chaos of Denver International Airport on December 26th.

As we drove East the sun started to rise painting the morning sky pink and red above the snow capped peaks. My muscles tensed as I thought of the long lines and our sleep deprived children, and as we drew closer to our destination my eyes began to sting as I finally blinked back tears.

Christmas was over, our trip to Denver complete. The "vacation" had not been ideal, I was sick for the entire visit, I only saw a fraction of the people I had hoped to, my boys had not displayed much grace upon receiving generous, well thought out gifts, and nobody slept much. Yet, I felt bitterly sorry that we were leaving. Too soon, for too long.

Each time I return to Colorado I am struck by an uncomfortable feeling. Remorse. Pure remorse, and it seems to grow more intense with each visit. I am sorry that I ever agreed to leave my home. People whom I love. Friends. Family. A city I adore, one that is comfortable, beautiful and so very livable. My husband would disagree. He would point out all of the phenomenal things about living in the bay area. He would gush about the amazing experiences we have had since arriving in Berkeley. And he would be right, however as pretty as Golden Gate Park is and however bountiful the fresh produce, it isn't mine.

And now I feel trapped. David likes his job....a lot. It's a good job, one that would not easily be replaced, particularly in Denver.

So Denver becomes only a brief holiday visit, with an early morning return flight home.

And I feel so very sorry about that.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Mama melt down

I fell apart at the library this morning. I totally lost it. Nearly ugly crying. In the middle of toddler time story hour. And it wasn't because the librarian's rendition of "I want a Hippopotamus for Christmas" was that good either. No, it was simply the sight of an old friend.

It was the feeling of warmth in a dingy library basement, filled with kids and faces that I recognized. It was the sense of belonging in a community, my community, even though I have been absent now for over a year.

I had spent the day before with my good friend Shannon and her lovely family, and enjoyed a playgroup with my beloved "June Babies" mamas, but for whatever reason it was the moment in the library, seeing several familiar faces unexpectedly that brought me to tears. When I went over to say hello to my friend Liz, I could not even get it together to speak. She was kind, blamed it on my hormones, and I simply had to leave without saying a word, I could not hold it together.

I love it here. I love the life we had. It was comfortable and full. It isn't as if life in California is so bad, it's just that Denver is home. This is where I belong.

And I am so very far away.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Here they come!

The kiddos arrive tomorrow! My babies will be here! Oh, and the husband too. I am greeting them at Denver International Airport in the afternoon, and I must say that I am ready to see them (husband included.)

I admit, I looked forward to the solitary time. The mornings where I had nothing more to do than shower and feed myself. The macaroni and cheese-free evenings and a full five days without once uttering the words "time out" or "put your pants back on Zachary." It has been nice. I have no idea when I will experience anything close to this type of quiet again. Yet, I miss my crazy boys. I miss reading them their bedtime stories and stroking their hair while I sing to them each night. I miss Evan's "I love you mommy!" and the way that Zachary laughs at himself when he *thinks* that he has said something very funny.

It's Christmas time, and although I need/needed the rest, I feel lonely without my family. I can't wait to pick them up at DIA tomorrow. While I have visions of lovely reunion filled with hugs and smiles, I am bracing myself for reality. Two crabby kids, tired from a long flight and one husband assuming I owe him. And I do. He is a brave, brave soul to face holiday travel alone with a two and a five year old. I wouldn't do it. I'm guessing that tomorrow probably won't be the makings of a feel good Lifetime holiday movie, but I'm looking forward to a very Merry Christmas with my beautiful little family.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Am I crazy?

I'll try to spare you the details, because they are boring, but this post is about my doctor and why I am mad at her.

As you may or may not know, I am out of town, visiting family in Denver for the holidays. I arrived on Thursday afternoon, and that evening I had one of the most severe hot flash experiences of my life. For those of you who know me, I am always cold. Now granted, I know that pregnant women tend to run warm, but do they lay naked in 65 degrees sweating and awake until 2am, while covered in cold wet towels? I don't think that is normal. Let's not forget to mention how on the flight out to Denver I sweat through my sweater and jeans, while the girls next to me kept their wool jackets on. I take thyroid medication. One of the symptoms you can experience when your thyroid is out of wack is.... hot flashes. Now I am not a doctor so I don't know how concerning it may be to have a thyroid problem when you are pregnant, but I decided I should get things checked out. Friday morning, I placed a call to my doctor. I left a voicemail message explaining my situation. I waited for a return call. I waited until 4:00 pacific time and placed another call before the office closed for the weekend. I left another message. I informed my doctor that she would no longer be able to reach me on my cell phone because I was now headed to the mountains where I have no service. I gave her an alternate number to call.

I never received a call.

Saturday morning, once I was at lower elevation I discovered that my doctor had returned my call, on my .....cell phone. She thought it was a splendid idea for me to get a blood test to check my thyroid, but she needed to know where to send the orders. Alas, my doctor does not work on the weekends and thus everything would have to wait until Monday.

I called back on Monday morning and left a message. I told her that I would be going into Denver that afternoon, so it would be great if she could send the orders to the lab there. I left the fax number. I asked her to return my call so that I would know everything was all set. No call back. I leave another message at 11:50 with the receptionist who assures me that I'll get a call back before 3:00. I get no such call. Finally I contact the lab and ask them to contact my physician to get the orders. I drive down to Denver.

When I arrive at the lab, the technician "Denise" informs me that she did in fact get in touch with my doctor's office. They had noted my calls and that I was "upset". Great. Now I am the problem patient. Denise told me that they tried to convince her to leave a message as well, but that she was very forceful and stayed on the phone with them until they faxed the orders over.

So they drew my blood in 2 minutes and I was on my way.

A part of me is embarrassed. My doctor is going to think that I am one heck of a high-maintenance patient. If my thyroid results come back normal, I am going to feel really stupid.

But should I? Were my requests unreasonable? Am I expecting too much? I realize that my doctor has many other patients, and that she is very busy, yet does that mean that I should be ignored? I am not a doctor. I do not have the answers. All I have are my symptoms, the Internet and my imagination. Is this all I can expect for my super expensive health insurance?

What do you think?

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Okay, this post ain't gonna be pretty. I don't have it in me. I am miserable. Sick miserable. I have the chills and a fever, a headache and feel in a fog. On top of that my neck is in spasm again. What is going on? Lucky for me, I still have some blessed muscle relaxants which do seem to help.

I am getting on a plane, Denver bound tomorrow for what is suppose to be a merry, festive holiday visit. All I can think about is how very cold I am going to be, how I won't have my own bed, how I can't just nap. People to see, things to do.

What bad timing. Why could I have not come down with this bug last week? Why am I suddenly plagued with debilitating neck pain? Oh I know, I know things could certainly be worse, but let me pout a little while.

I don't believe in Santa anyway.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Chevy's (or shall we call it Chubby's?)

Recently we took the boys to Chevy's Fresh Mex for lunch. Chevy's is a typical Tex Mex chain restaurant that serves up huge plates of refried beans and smothered burritos. It's the kind of place where the waiters bring out a bowl of fried ice cream then serenade the guest of honor with a jazzed up version of "Happy Birthday To You." Yes, that kind of place. Don't get me wrong there is room for such a restaurant. The food is bountiful, you get what you expect, kid's usually dig it.

Fortunately, or unfortunately (depending on how you view it), because of a new law, Chevy's (and other like establishments) are now required to publish the caloric content of everything on their menu. Hello buzz kill. I'll take the water, thanks.

Get this:

Kid's Hamburger: 1060 calories, 50 grams of fat

BBQ Chicken Salad 1448-1583 calories, 107-128 grams of fat

Chicken Quesadilla (Appetizer) 1260 calories, 80 grams of fat

Grande Beef Burrito 1720 calories, 88 grams of fat

"Ooey gooey chewy sundae": 1020 calories, 48 grams of fat.

Holy diet destruction! I stared at the menu and found basically nothing that I could feel good about eating. Diet Pepsi? A woman my age, weight and height needs approximately 1500 calories and 50 grams of fat a day to maintain. So basically most of the items on the menu exceeded my fat intake and pretty much maxed out my calories for the day. I settled on the "Kickin Corn Chowder" 280 calories and 16 grams of fat and the mixed green salad, 130 calories. Then I spent the rest of the meal coveting my husband's smothered burrito.

I have a feeling we won't be back.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Call me Mrs.C

It appears that I have transformed from Scrooge Rachel to Ms. Jingle Bells. Yup, that's right, I am in the holiday spirit. Big time. But in little ways. There are no flashy parties this year. No spendy gifts. No festive cocktails.

Somehow this year I have succeeded in recognizing what the holidays are really about, simple joy and family. My family. Is it a hallmark card? Not quite, but I'm trying. Hard.

This weekend, a glowing example of my Christmas cheer. Friday, a gloomy, rainy typical December day in Berkeley. What to do? I packed up the boys and headed to Barnes & Noble, where we picked out no less than 10 Christmas books and sat down to read them one by one, as I sipped on a gingerbread latte. (Short detour, I am 100% addicted to the high priced, highly caloric "holiday" coffee drinks ala Starbucks-decaf style. I'm blaming it on the baby.)

Saturday we headed to Sacramento to visit old town. I assumed that the cute tourist destination would have a significant amount of holiday spirit. Wrong-o. But did I let that grinch me out? No sir. Instead I sent the kids on a quest to find candy canes. Bingo. Instant Christmas fun. Sort of. It took us a while to actually locate the red and white sugary confections, and the boys started getting cranky. But when the kids finally sat down to enjoy their candy, Zack informed me with a smile that "Candy canes are a special Christmas treat!" Precious, right?

Last night I decided to enjoy one of my very favorite Christmas traditions, holiday light viewing. I have always enjoyed driving around to see the sparkly creations adorning our neighbors homes. The problem this year has been that the clowns in the backseat have turned this simple cheerful activity into a shouting match. "Christmas lights!" Evan screeches at the top of his lungs. "Christmas lights!" Zachary yells in return. Then a battle of "I saw them first" and finally, tears and hitting ensues. Good times. I had just about vowed not to drive after sunset when I came up with a fabulous idea, make it special mommy and me time. So tonight after dinner I packed Zack and only Zack into the car and cranked up to the Christmas tunes. We spent 25 minutes just driving around and admiring the pretty lights. No screaming. Nice.

Finally today we took the family out to City Hall for a Christmas festival complete with fake snow and Santa Claus. We waited in line so Zack could slide down the one man -made snow hill (kind of a bizaar site for a Wisconsin girl), and introduced the boys to Saint Nick. To my surprise even Evan posed for a picture with the fat man in a red suit. Sadly, this turned out to be a seedy part of San Francisco. On the way back to our car we had the pleasure of witnessing a junkie shooting up in plain site. Ho,ho, ho.

We ended the day making Christmas ornaments. Not quite Martha Stewart, but I am okay with that.

So here I am giving myself a pat on the back for not giving into the Christmas stress, and turning eggs into eggnog, or something like that.....

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Christmas Letter

Dear Friends & Family,

You can be my friend today, but you might not be my friend tomorrow. I'll have to see if you are still nice. I guess I'm stuck with my family but I wish that my little brother was not in my family. I wish that it was only me.

This year my little brother has become really terrible. He is so MEAN. He always copies me even when I tell him not to. He always has to say everything first too. Like when we are out driving in the car he always has to open his mouth first to tell mommy that he saw a fire truck or an ambulance. I know that I saw it first dumb dumb. He just always says it faster. I hate him.

I am in preschool. I'm five but I'm not in Kindergarten yet. I don't want to be. I have my best friend at the JCC. His name is Eli. I like him but sometimes he is mean. At school I like the part when we play outside the best. And snack time. Snack is always better than lunch. Mommy packs me bad lunches. She gets mad when I don't eat them, but then she should put better stuff in my lunch box. Like Cheetos and chocolate milk. I love Cheetos. Sometimes I trick mommy into taking us to Subway. I don't eat my sandwich. I just want the Cheetos.

I can read now. I learned all by myself. I like the Frog & Toad books and I know all the words to Green Eggs and Ham.

I also take karate. It is hard. The best part is when we run around in circles and do sit ups. The worst part is when we have to figure out which leg to kick with and which hand to punch with. It gets confusing and I get mad. Sometimes I quit but the teacher just stares at me until I try again. I guess it is okay. I am going to learn how to use karate on my brother. Hi-yah!

Mommy & Daddy tell me that we are going to have another little brother in the spring. I hope he is not like Evan. I want to name him Stanly. Mommy said no. But maybe I'll change her mind.

Soon we are moving to Oakland. Mommy says we need more space now that we are having another baby. But the baby is so small, why can't we just put it in the closet? It's okay. Our new house is nice. We can look out the windows and see people get on and off buses all day long. Cool! I overheard mommy saying that there were a lot of bad guys in Oakland. I wonder if there are a lot of jails there too. I think Evan should go to jail but daddy says that kids don't go to jail only juvenile detention. Maybe he can go there.

We are going to fly on an airplane and go to Denver for Christmas. I can't wait. On the airplane I get to watch movies and eat pretzels. I want to see snow. In Berkeley there is no snow. I don't know how Santa can use his sleigh when there is no snow. When we are in Denver I get to see my friend Finn. I used to call him toddler Finn, but I guess he isn't a toddler anymore. I always have fun at his house. Last year we took off all of our clothes and ran around the Christmas tree naked. Finn's daddy got mad and made us put our clothes back on. He is mean. I also get to see my cousin Finn. I used to call him baby Finn, but now he is 3. He has the most toys of anyone in the world. I can't wait to go to his house.

Santa is going to visit us in Denver. Mommy says he knows where to find us. I hope he brings me lots of toys and nothing for Evan!

Merry Christmas!


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Where is my Alice?

Okay so we have a lot going on. A lot. A toddler growing into his terrible twos, a five year old who we will call "spirited." A new baby on the way. The holidays. A move. I would be lying if I told you that I wasn't feeling a little overwhelmed. Okay massively overwhelmed. Like pulling my hair out of my head crazy beans overwhelmed. In the midst of all this do you know what it is that tends to push me over the edge? The little things. The insignificant. Realizing that it is ten pm and I haven't packed the boys lunches yet. Discovering that the dishwasher is filled with clean dishes and that it needs to be unloaded before I can remove the clutter from the kitchen counter. Losing my keys. Yes, these are the things that have me blinking back tears and cursing under my breath.

What I need is an Alice. You know who I am talking about. The ever cheerful, ever helpful, superhuman, live-in housekeeper. Yeah, that's what I'm talking about. Someone to help me keep it all together. Someone to to do the crap work with a jolly smile plastered on her homely little face. Someone who can keep things light with her simple jokes. And she has to come for free. Any takers?

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Random thoughts from the weekend

Karate Kid:

Saturday morning is now karate morning for my wild child. The intent is to give Zachary an outlet for all of his physical energy, while teaching him a little discipline. I have to say it is terribly adorable to see these little 5 and 6 year old children in their uniforms barking "Yes Sir!" to their "master." So far Zack pouts in class. At times it is painful to watch him sulk when he gets frustrated with a new move. The other children persevere, while he hunches his shoulders and refuses to look his teacher in the eye. I do think that in the long run it will be good for him. The "master" does not baby him, and demands respect. Maybe he can whip him in line. I certainly seem to be struggling. At times my little Karate Kid actually seems to enjoy the physical nature of the class and he is very proud of his "enormous muscles." Ralph Macchio? Perhaps not, but I'm not giving up hope just yet.

Where have all the jackets gone?

Where have all the jackets gone? Each day passing. Where have all the jackets gone? Long gone each one. Where have all the jackets gone? Evan's lost them every one. When will he ever learn? When will he ever learn?

(The new jacket photographed below has joined the missing jackets club along with half a dozen others.)

It's official I'm a Jew

Why? Because I can now not only make matzo ball soup, but I am also capable of preparing latkes! At 36 years old, I whipped up my first batch of potato pancakes this evening. What took me so long? For starters, I do not particularly care for them. However, now that I have children I have decided to suck it up and and follow tradition. Tonight (with the exception of Evan, who seems to boycott all holiday meals) we all dined on potato pancakes and roasted chicken.... I'm officially a Jewish mother. So there.

It's official, I'm a Christmas Jew

The Kargas family did in fact purchase a Christmas tree this year, and I am so very glad that we did. We refrained from putting up a tree last year due to our holiday travel plans, and it just didn't seem festive. Our tree is beautiful, and the best part was unwrapping all of the familiar ornaments. I think that is one of my favorite aspects of the holiday, looking at the treasures of years past and taking a walk down memory lane....

Friday, December 3, 2010

My Three Sons

At only 12.5 weeks, I did not realize that today would be the day that my dreams of mother-daughter bonding would finally be put to rest for good. When I went in for the ultrasound (which was done for the purpose of genetic screening) I didn't know that it would be possible to determine the baby's sex. Oh but it was. It was hard to to miss. This tiny fetus has very visible male parts. My third son. Wow.

I can't say that I am shocked. Any time someone jokingly told me that we should try for a girl, I laughed at them and responded that if we kept trying we would simply end up with an army of boys. But secretly I thought... maybe.

But now there is no more maybe. There will be no more babies after this, and that is a promise!

So gone are my fantasies of mother-daughter tea parties and wedding dress shopping. Funny, I am not as devastated as I was upon receiving the news of Evan's gender. Perhaps I prepared myself better this time around, or maybe I have just come to terms with the fact that this is my lot in life. Mama to boys. The lady of the house. Football Saturday's and guys golf outings. And it is okay. No, better than okay. The ultrasound showed a healthy baby, and I am beyond grateful for that news.

It isn't the life that I expected. But if we always got we planned on, things would get awfully boring right?

Who knows what adventures lie ahead for me and my three sons.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The new house

Kargas Inc is moving. It had to happen. Our current headquarters are just too tight. We need space. Space for our belongings. Space to breath. Space to not kill each other.

We found a place. A beautiful home in Oakland. Perfect? No. It is on a busy street and very close to a highway so noise is a factor, and we are unlikely to have a lot of neighborhood block parties. But we have four bedrooms and a mother in law apartment with a second kitchen. And the house is immaculate. New fixtures, fresh paint in warm colors, and beautiful window coverings. The bathrooms and kitchens are updated and shiny. It really is quite lovely.

Mostly I am excited, but I am also a little sad. I won't miss our house, but I will miss our routine. I got used to this neighborhood. The Monetary Market where we buy all of our fresh produce and the bagel shop that I frequent on the weekends which is far superior to Noah's. We have our favorite playgrounds, the doctor's office, the dry cleaner, my salon, dentist, and favorite watering holes all within a mile. Now I have to learn a whole new city again, and I'm not in the mood. I just figured all of that stuff out. Not to mention the actual moving. The packing and unpacking. The house filled with packing paper and cardboard boxes. The chaos.

But it is going to be worth it. It is going to be worth it. We are going to love it. It's going to be great. As long as I can find a good bagel.

Positive thinking.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Siblings Without Rivalry?

It's come to this. I am reading a book on parenting. I don't know what else to do other than seek professional help, which isn't out of the realm of possibility.

The book? Siblings Without Rivalry. The kicker? When I was a senior in college, I actually presented this curriculum to a parent education class that I was facilitating as part of my internship. Of course I don't remember a lick of it. It was after all a long time ago, and at the time the content was not very relevant to my every day life, thus, it didn't stick. Ironic that now, at 36 I am the student.

I am hoping that the book will actually provide me with some insight and useful tools to help me break the dreadful cycle of "nah-nah-nah-nah-boo-boo" and "You love him more than me." It better or I may just run off and join the freaking circus. So far, I am finding the book to be interesting. My favorite nugget thus far is as follows : Imagine that your husband takes you aside one day and tells you "I love you so much and you are so special to me, that I am going to get a second wife. She is going to add so much joy to our family, and I know that you will love her too. I expect you to be very nice to her and share all of your belongings with her."

Yeah. Now that hit home. It gives a whole new perspective on how it might feel to be a kid welcoming a new sibling into the family. It would kind of suck.

The book goes on to provide many examples of positive reactions to sibling jealousy, and I think some of the ideas just may work, but I worry that I am not smart enough to execute these techniques in real life. It's one thing to say what you would do in a hypothetical situation, and another to think fast on your feet in the heat of a preschooler versus toddler meltdown. But I am going to try. Hard.

Is it just me, or does this whole parenting thing seem to get more difficult and complicated with time?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Dead give away

This is another post I wrote about six weeks ago which I can now finally share. Enjoy!

It's one of those moments that all newly pregnant women dread. Dinner out with friends or coworkers-wine flowing, bursting to share your secret but desperately trying to cover it up. While I have shared the big news with some of my friends, at 6.5 weeks it hardly seems appropriate to blab it to my coworkers.

Tonight was the very first social outing I have had with my new coworkers. The occasion: our head of global HR was visiting from New York. It was a fun evening actually. I have come to learn that PR attracts incredibly clever, charismatic people, and in fact, this holds true for agency HR staff as well (present company included!) But I was nervous. Like any one who is self conscious about something, I assumed that it became glaringly obvious to everyone else. Like a neon sign hanging above my belly flashing "PREGNANT".

I did a fairly good job disguising my bloated tummy with a newly purchased loose fitting (Liz Lang Maternity) shirt and cardigan, yet I knew there may be some other hurdles to scramble. Primarily, the wine factor. Luckily, as previously noted, I have never actually gone out with this group before, so nobody was aware of my typical (heavy) drinking habits. But still I anticipated the moment. The wine list was passed around. The orders were taken, and the drinks poured. "Rachel, you're not having any wine?"someone asks. I spew out my rehearsed response, something about migraines and giving up wine for a couple of weeks. It seemed to go over. (Although it is truly a ridiculous scenario for anyone who knows me. I would rather deal with an occasional throbbing headache than God forbid, give up my Zinfindel). The evening continued on and went well. We covered everything from politics to religion before somehow landing on the topics of babies and fertility.

An unexpected moment came. "Rachel, are you planning on having more children?" It was as if, like in some old movie, a record came to a screeching stop, and everyone all at once turned their heads for my response. I stammered a moment and came up with this gem; "The jury is still out on that one!" Which, I suppose is not a total lie, at less than seven weeks, this pregnancy could have a disappointing end. But everyone laughed, and we moved on.

The final incident was in the coffee ordering. A round of caffeine love for everyone, everyone accept me that is. I ordered decaf, which should be normal right? It was 8pm. But my colleague eyed me (with what I felt was suspicion, but which I am nearly 100% sure I fabricated) and asked "Don't you drink caffeine?" "Oh yes" I assured, her, "just not at night." Ha! What a whopper, I could drink a triple espresso, and still fall right to sleep. I am immune to caffeine, I swear it, but they are none the wiser.

Imagination or not, I think they are on to me. By the time this is posted, they will have already received official word of my news. They can tell me then if I am diffusional and self-absorbed, and if they honestly thought that I was a clean-living tea-totaler. I'll prove to them otherwise in 8 or 9 months...


I was completely right. Everyone knew after that fateful evening. Guess I am not as crazy as I thought I was.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Feeling a little lame

I don't remember feeling this tired or this sick with either of my other pregnancies. Yes, I recall morning sickness and a few extra naps, but nothing to this extent. I simply have an energy level of zero. Zip. Nothing. I feel as though I could nap at least four hours a day. An unlikely scenario for a working mom of two. I must say that my husband has been a real trooper picking up the extra slack with the kids, putting them to bed most nights and playing referee to the boy's daily dramas. I am hoping that soon enough I will turn the corner and start to feel more human again. For those of you whom have not heard much from me latley, please bare with me. I am simply not myself.

The benefit of my new lethargic state is that I have seen more movies in the past few weeks than I saw in all of 2008 and 2009 combined.

My mother and I recently saw Conviction with Hilary Swank. It is a very well acted true story of Betty Ann Waters, a woman who spent 18 years of her life trying to prove her convicted brother's innocence. In the end she prevails, using DNA evidence to clear Ken Waters of murder and free him from prison. It was a very good movie, one that I recommend if you can get over the unwritten epilogue. My mom and I were curoious about what happened to Ken after he was released from 18 years of captivity. We googled Mr Waters only to find that the poor fellow died in a freak accident 5 months after his release. 5 months. He fell off a 15 foot ledge while walking home from his mother's house and cracked his skull. Dead. What kind of fairy tale ending is that?

I also took the kid's to see Tangled on Friday. It is a lovely enjoyable movie. Or at least I enjoyed it. The wee ones had a different take on the flick. Evan's commentary (provided in the middle of the most moving scene) was, "Can we go see Megamind instead?" And when I asked Zachary what he thought of the film he shrugged his shoulders and informed me that it was "The second most scariest movie I have seen." Interestingly enough he could not recall what the first most scary movie was. I am guessing that since the movie did not include cars, pirates or superheros it was doomed from the get-go. You win some, you lose some.

Finally last night, the husband and I watched the cult classic Heathers. Wow. I of course had seen the movie many years ago, but I had forgotten what a dark, creepy and just plain bizarre movie it is. More than that it made me feel old. Really old. That movie came out in 1989. Winona Ryder was hot, and Christian Slater wasn't bad either. And the wardrobe . Wow. Talk about dated. It got me thinking. Winona and Christian must be pushing at least 40 now right? That number isn't so terribly far off for me either. I am closer to the dowdy middle age parents than I am the angst filled teens. Ouch.

I hope I start feeling better soon, otherwise I am going to turn into one giant couch potato who writes really boring blog posts about what I am watching on tv.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Gobble Gobble

Happy Thanksgiving Eve. I hope you have done your grocery shopping, because from what I understand the supermarkets are full of half crazed last minute shoppers fighting over cans of pumpkin, sprigs of parsley and stove top stuffing.

For the second year in a row, we are not hosting. Instead we are going over to my step-aunt's house. We are in fact bringing the bird and the dressing, but that's it. There will be no cleaning, no table setting no preparation of appetizers, desserts and side dishes..... so I am left thinking, what on earth will we do tomorrow? We aren't expected for dinner until 4:00. It will be a chilly day, making outdoor activities fairly unpleasant. I hate football. So where does that leave me?

It leaves me with two stir-crazy kids and a turkey to tend to. A husband who will be glued to the tube watching game after game, and me wishing I could follow the usual tradition and guzzle a bottle of white wine with my mom. Darn developing baby!

I suppose it also leaves me with a great opportunity to think about all that I have to be thankful for today, which is more than any year before. I'll spare you the usual cliches (my sons, my home, my husband, my family, our jobs, our health, the pregnancy) and finish simply.

I am a lucky, lucky woman. I should give thanks every day for all that I have, however I usually don't. It is easy to take things for granted, but tomorrow I'll remember just how much I have to be grateful for.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 22, 2010

New Diet

Honestly someone should bottle this. "Morning Sickness-The Pill", for easy, quick weight loss.

I can see it now:

Your favorite foods? You won't miss them. Ice cream sundaes and supreme pizzas will make you cringe. No will-power needed, your appetite will simply disappear! Drop 4 dress sizes in 4 weeks!
Now the fine print:
Those who take Morning Sickness- The Pill may experience abdominal swelling and bloating, sudden mood swings, crying unexpectedly and for no apparent reason and massive fatigue.

***Disclaimer: I have now been on this special diet for almost five weeks. Alas, no weight loss. In fact my bagel and cream cheese diet has resulted in a three pound weight gain. Shhhh. Don't tell anyone.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Now that the cat's out of the bag

Now that I have announced my big news, I can post some things that I wrote at the very begining of my pregnancy.....

This is a post I will not be able to make public for some time. At least six long weeks anyway....
Only a few days ago, life was normal. We had a nice routine going, a rhythm. It all changed with a "positive" sign. A pregnancy test. A possible baby. I was home alone when I took the test. I had a bad neck and decided I could not make the trip to Sacramento with my family. I got a deep tissue massage and took a 2 hour nap. The sun seemed brighter. Something was different. I did the "deed" and took the test, leaving it resting on the bathroom counter. I took a long hot shower, thinking about the possible result, willing myself to stay in the warm mist of not knowing for a few more minutes. I stepped out of the shower wrapped a towel around my sore body and looked down at the counter. PREGNANT. My heartbeat quickened. My first reaction... excitement, joy, disbelief. I could not wait for my husband to return home so I could share the news. But I guarded myself, due to a haunting memory. When the husband and I were trying to conceive our second child, we had months and months of fertility treatments. Then one day I took a Clear Blue Easy test, and holy cow it was positive. I was ecstatic. I called all my closest family and friends to tell them the news, throwing caution to the wind. Everyone knew we were trying anyway. That night I could hardly sleep. My head was busy contemplating potential baby names and due dates. The next morning my joy came to a screeching halt when another, then another, then another test came back negative. Who gets a false positive? I do. But it was unheard of. Yet it happened, and as silly as it may seem I was devastated.

But it was different this time. I took two additional tests after the first positive, both with the same result. So it is true I am pregnant. My husband and I were in a state of shock for the first day. We giggled at the prospect of a mini-van and maybe, just maybe a girl.

But now here I am with a few more days to digest it all, and what I am left with is cold fear. A close girlfriend just miscarried. She was a few weeks ahead of me. I know that I could share the same fate. And if everything (God willing) turns out, then I will have three babies. Three. I never planned on three. Now let me state this for the record, we were not completely surprised by the pregnancy, we knew that we were playing with fire, and yet I guess I didn't quite expect it. Now I am here trying to envision my new life, and there is so much uncertainty. Where will we live? This house is so small. Will I ever get any me time again? I was really enjoying my evenings out with new girlfriends. How will we pay for college for three kids? No more shopping for mama. What will my body look like after three pregnancies? I have a feeling I am going to be asking for a tummy tuck every Christmas....

So right now, I am feeling quite afraid, afraid for the baby as I am with each pregnancy, because ultimately above all else I want this baby, and I want it healthy. And I am afraid of what my life might look like for the next few years. And you know the one thing that might help in a situation like this? A glass of wine. But like the ibuprofen I desperately wish I could take for the never ending spasm in my neck, alcohol is off limits. That is just plain cruel isn't it?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Kargas Inc is expanding (YES I'm expecting!)

We have a very big announcement her at Kargas Inc. After several years of continued success we are in fact, expanding! That's right, we will be adding an additional staff member in early June 2011. This is very exciting news.

I realize that you may have some concerns. Perhaps you feel that you do not have time to train a new employee, or you may worry that this individual will not fit in with our organizational culture. Finally given our small offices, I realize that it is hard to imagine that we have any additional room for another person. These are all valid concerns. However, we are in the process of scoping out new locations for our corporate headquarters. I am confident that we will find a new space that will be comfortable for all of us....eventually. Additionally you all have very important jobs to do! I expect each of you to welcome our new staff member with open arms, and take him or her under your wing. Think of this as an excellent opportunity to further develop strong leadership skills.

I admit, I did not believe that this day would ever come, but here it is, please celebrate with me!

Monday, November 15, 2010


Oh whoa-is-me. Remember The List I started a few weeks back? The one that included the adolescent Assistant Store Manager at Mr. Pickles who kicked us out? Well my list is expanding. Right now I am adding AT&T/Apple and the entire East Bay. I am in quite the mood.

Why the East Bay? Because it is too damn expensive, period. After over 12 months of living in our little house we have decided that the Kargas family needs more space. We are far too squished in our little home, and it is wearing on us all. So we have started the search for new digs. It has not been easy. Sure we could get more bang for our buck if we moved to Oakland, but then again, our children would either be forced to attend the poorly performing public schools of the city, or we could fork out $15,000-25,000 a year (per child) for private schools. Not an attractive option. Of course there are pockets of Oakland with good schools, but those pockets are highly desirable, and therefore almost as expensive as Berkeley. We could move to the suburbs, but a) we are urban people and truly do not wish to live in the suburbs and b) that would mean longer commutes. It all seems like a lose-lose situation. And all though I am not being singularly persecuted, it generally pisses me off.

Why AT&T/Apple? About a month and a half ago I destroyed my cell phone when a Diet Coke exploded in my purse. I took that opportunity to switch over to AT&T and get a brand new Iphone. I paid nearly $500 in penalty fees for leaving Verizon, and gave up any chance of ever having more than 2 bars for the privilege. The result? Less than two months later, I have a dysfunctional phone. No Internet. No Internet. What is the point of an Iphone if you have no Internet? I spent 30 minutes on the phone with AT&T on Saturday with no resolution. I had a sixty minute call with a technician tonight, only to be told that my phone is "seriously messed up", and that I would have to make an appointment to go into an Apple store to see a "Genius". Great. What a fun way to spend a Saturday afternoon. All I can say is that "Genius" better give me a fully-functioning brand spanking new phone or *someone* is going to have a temper tantrum in the middle of an Emeryville shopping mall.

So there you have it. It appears I am on a roll.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Performance Evaluation II

As employees of Kargas Inc, it is time once again for your bi-annual performance evaluations. This time I have conducted a 360 degree assessment and gathered feedback from your peers, as well as your supervisors at Kargas Inc and the JCC.


Overall everyone is very pleased with your performance. You have made great strides in the past six months. Your communication skills while not yet polished, have improved greatly. Your supervisor at the JCC indicated that you are a joy to work with, that you embrace teamwork with your peers and that you rarely resort to physical violence. All good things. Your coworker at home unfortunately told a somewhat different story, indicating that you are generally annoying and bothersome. I took this feedback with a grain of salt knowing the source personally. While we do not yet believe that you are ready for a promotion, the management staff here including myself, is proud of you. There are some areas we would like you to focus on developing over the next several months. First and foremost, and I realize that this is a highly personal matter, we often notice that a strong odor accompanies you wherever you go. This is probably due to the fact that you continue to wear diapers. You have six months to get this situation under control. No additional diapers will be purchased for you after that time. Additionally, we encourage you to expand your interests outside of firetrucks, Spongebob Squarepants and Lighting McQueen, there is a whole world out there Evan, spread your wings, explore new horizons.


This past six months you have acquired a plethora of new skills, and we could not be more proud of these accomplishments. You now have the ability to read basic correspondence, and while we will not be putting you in finance any time soon, you have learned to grasp simple arithmetic. Good job. We also understand that you are forming some key partnerships with some of your colleagues at the JCC, this is wonderful. We do unfortunately also have some concerns. It has come to our attention that your conflict resolution skills need some improvement. For example, when problems arise with our junior staff member screeching "You're a poopy head" at the top of your lungs is not an appropriate response. Similarly, threatening to run away when your supervisors provide you with constructive criticism is not acceptable behavior. We need to see some serious changes in this area if you are to advance to the next level at Kargas Inc. We would also truly appreciate it if you would bring in additional income to the organization. With your affinity for toys and your tendency to outgrow or destroy perfectly good apparel, you are quite good at spending, however you have yet to contribute to Kargas Inc. financially. Please make an effort to increase our earnings.

Evan & Zachary we sincerely appreciate your continued efforts. We look forward to the months to come and believe they will bring you much success.

Thank you.

Mommy & Daddy

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Need to get it together

I just don't have my act together these days. Point in case our nanny arrived at 8am this morning and I had no idea why she was there. (She usually arrives at 12:45 and picks the boys up from preschool). I stared at her blankly as she stood in my doorway. "There is no school today." she reminded me. It's a good thing that she arrived when she did, because we were on our way out the door.... to preschool.

I had a doctors appointment this morning at 9:40, or so I thought. I decided that I had better call to confirm. I'm glad I did, because as it turns out, it is in fact next week.

Where oh where is my head? Why do I seem to lack all organization? I recently read one of my references on LinkedIn. The manager kindly described me as organized. I had to laugh. I am anything but organized. It is a true flaw. It can be seen in the sloppy way that food is hastily thrown into my refrigerator, the general disarray of every closet in my home, or the fact that I frequently forget to pay my credit card on time. For whatever reason I seem to be missing that tidy little organizational gene.

And I know that things are only going to get worse. There will be soccer practices, play dates, little league, school performances and field trips to remember. If I am failing now-I can only imagine what lies ahead in my future.

It's time to get my act together. I need the Yoda of domestic structure and planning to take me under his little wing. Oh wise mentor where art thou? Rescue me. I am hungry for your teachings.

But you might want to call to remind me when you are coming. I'll probably forget.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Is it Friday yet?

We had an awesome day today. I woke up to a dreary, rainy Sunday morning in Berkeley with a chip on my shoulder. My first thought was of how I needed to get the boys new rain boots for the wet east bay winter that lies ahead. Recalling the torrential rains of last January, February and March my mood was somber. Rainy days with kids can get a little bit, shall we say claustrophobic. I brightened briefly upon realizing that I had a very believable excuse to skip my Sunday workout.

But the day was surprisingly terrific. We had what I would call a first date with another family in the morning. Last weekend I met a woman and her 3.5 year old son Dylan at the park. We chatted and came to the realization that I had actually had a long conversation with Dylan's grandmother almost a year ago at the same playground. Dylan and Zack played well together despite the age difference, and we ended up exchanging phone numbers. I could use a new friend in the neighborhood. Heck I could use a new friend period. I debated contacting her, because like asking someone out, it's hard. You don't want to appear desperate or lame, yet someone has to make the first move, and I am so glad that I did. She ended up inviting us to her home for Sunday brunch, and we had a really great time. Her husband likes baseball so the men folk hit it off. The boys for the most part got along well, and I had a great time. The perfect way to spend a rainy morning.

Next we hit the Oakland Museum of California. It was free day. And it was raining. So of course it was crowded. The exhibits were a bit grown up for the boys, but they seemed to enjoy looking at the old fashioned cars and the 1950's televisions. Of course the difficult questions came when Zack started inquiring about World War II. How do you explain the "relocation" of the Japanese to a five year old? Oye.

Finally we had a late lunch at a diner. A real diner with milkshakes and breakfast served all day. No it wasn't all sunshine (er... rain) and roses, there was some inappropriate behavior at lunch, occasional bickering between siblings, but overall a much better day than I had anticipated. In fact it was the kind of day that will make me miss the family all week long as I look forward to the weekend.

Is it Friday yet?

Friday, November 5, 2010

A change of attitude. So there.

My bah-humbug post of earlier this week got me to thinking. I had some interesting responses and suggestions on how to shake the holiday blues and I have decided to change my attitude. For real.

A trip to Target today actually proved to be therapeutic, joyful even. The store was seriously decked out. Festive signs suspended from the ceilings, isles upon isles of all things Christmas. Cards, paper goods, wrapping, ornaments, lights, candy, stockings, stocking stuffers, lawn decorations, tinsel, ribbon, candles, red and green socks and sweaters, even underwear. Ahh sheer consumerism.

And then I came to the Hanukkah isle. A neat, tidy little section dedicated to the Chosen People. The Hanukkah isle probably represented about 1/10,000 of the store's merchandise, it was so......manageable. And it came to me. This is it. This year I'm a Hanukkah girl and it is going to be easy and fun. I purchased a driedle covered tablecloth for $5. A menorah adhesive to put on the window. I added a stack of blue Star of David napkins and 2 packs of chocolate gelt to my cart. Wah-lah. Holiday decorations complete. Easy. The rest of my plan includes eight small gifts for each of the kids, and inviting another family over for an evening of latke eating. We will light the menorah, maybe bake a few cookies and enjoy family time. I like it.

As for Christmas? No I will not ignore the holiday entirely, it is after all my husband's tradition, and the boys love it. But I'm going to let daddy be the Christmas guy. If he wants to get a tree and mess with the lights, I'll be there cheering him on from the sofa with a cup of apple cider. I am not joining the frenzy this year. I will enjoy the neighborhood lights and the 24x7 Christmas Carols on the local light radio channel. We will fly to Denver to celebrate with family, but I'm not knocking myself out purchasing large bulky gifts that need to be shipped back and forth, we are going small scale, and I'm just going to try and enjoy the season for the beauty that it brings. I am going to focus on keeping it fun, even if it isn't picture perfect, even if we don't do it all. Maybe we will skip the long line at the mall for the shot of Zack and Evan squirming on Santa's knee. Maybe we won't have the most elaborate holiday meals, or the best decorated house on the block. But we are going to have fun.

So there.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Oye vey, Christmas is coming

Believe it or not Halloween has come and gone. I say that because we still have enough candy to feed an entire neighborhood of eager trick-or-treaters. And do you know what that means? Have you been to a mall lately? A Hallmark store? It's the holiday season folks. Christmas is coming, get your jingle bells on .

I used to be a Christmas freak. I couldn't wait to pull out all the decorations and transform our ordinary home into a festive holiday wonderland. I insisted on a tree the day after Thanksgiving. I decorated with candles, poinsettias and ribbon. I hosted cockAdd Imagetail parties, and bought the latest Christmas CD. I was a bonafide Christmas Jew.

Over the last several years however, it as if someone was slowly letting the air out of my big jolly balloon, and this year, I am afraid I may fall entirely flat. As the holiday approaches I feel less merry and more stressed out. Perhaps this explains why every "Woman's" magazine features countless articles on simplifying the holidays from October to January.

I can't seem to help myself. When I think about the season I envision dragging out all of the clutter from storage-I have no space for my every day belongings, where am I suppose to put my fine collection of Christmas tree candles? I think about the pine needles endlessly falling from the tree. I think of all the shopping, so much shopping, so much money, money, money. Trust me, I love shopping, I adore giving gifts, and perhaps that is the problem. I always overspend, leaving me feeling guilty and guaranteeing that my husband and I will be caught in an endless battle of the budget each December. And please, no comments about crafty gifts for less, I am no Martha Stewart. I don't sew, I don't can, I don't preserve and don't use a glue gun, thank you very much.

Finally, I know children are suppose to bring the magic to the holidays, but to be honest, I found that since I have had kids I have felt a tremendous pressure to make Christmas special. To create amazing traditions and memories. Somehow my lame attempts at cookie baking never seem to measure up.

I know I am getting away from the true reason for the season. At the risk of offending my more religious readers, to me the true meaning of the holidays is family. Celebrations where you get everyone together, grandparents, cousins, sisters and brothers. Which is great. Except we live miles and miles and miles away from our families, so being together entails a lot of work and stress. It means packing, shipping gifts, finding pet sitters, and flying with small children at the busiest time of the year, (and did I mention flu season?) All of which quite frankly put me in a rather foul mood.

So here I am at the begining of November already full of dread for what used to be one of my favorite times of the year. So tell me, what's a girl to do? How can I learn to love Christmas again?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Stay Tuned

I have to level with you. I'm just not that into this. Right now that is. I am compelled to write something to fill the page on my beloved blog, and yet I am drawing a blank. I actually have quiet a bit going on at the moment, enough to fuel many more inspired posts, but for now I must remain quiet. And since I cannot write about what is truly on my mind, I am finding it difficult to find acceptable material. I can promise you this, stick with me, and this blog will get a whole lot better, I just need a little time.

In the mean time, the highlights from my weekend:

  • I went to a movie by myself on Saturday night. I know *crazy*, but I rather enjoyed it. I mean who really needs a partner to view a film? It isn't as if I want to chat during the movie, and after 11.5 years of marriage, I feel no urge to make out in a dark theater. So going solo suits me just fine. Accept. Accept I ran into a couple from Zack's preschool and I instantly felt weird. What did they think? "Look at that poor woman.... doesn't she have any friends?" "Where do you think her husband is?"

  • My husband's friend visited us from the great state of Minnesota this weekend. He confided that one of his goals was to get a mention in getrealmama. So here it is Pete-great to see you. You are a true beer nerd, and I mean that in the nicest of ways. I am sure he feels a profound sense of fulfillment now.

  • Today was a day chock full of trick-or-treating. We took our two little Batmen out on three seperate occassions to collect candy from strangers, and they were delighted. I was mildly embarressed by Zachary's lack-luster "Trick or Treat" and forced "Thank you", mumbled with his back already turned to the door. However, Evan's cheerful "Trick or Thank you!" made up for it all. He was quite the charmer. Now we have enough candy to keep us sugar-loaded until Easter. Super.

Hope you all had a lovely weekend. Stay tuned.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Let's hear it for Poughkeepsie!

Fellow bloggers, tell me that Google Analytics are not a wee bit addictive? No? You're lying. I own it. I get sucked in, checking my stats each day with my morning coffee. The peaks and valleys. Why only 13 visits on Saturday? Don't ya'll love me? Someone found my blog by searching the key words "experiments with live rabbits"? A little creepy.

My find from reviewing the stats today? On October 4, 2010 a reader in Poughkeepsie spent 20 minutes and 43 seconds, reading 10 pages on my blog. My blog. They must have liked it right? Heck, maybe even loved it, otherwise why stick around for 10 pages? They have not yet returned, but I wanted to put a shout out to Poughkeepsie. Please come back! I love you! We should be friends!

Ego boost of the day. Thank you Poughkeepsie. I needed one.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The List grows longer

Perhaps I should rename this blog "The Diary of Debbie Downer". Maybe it is just easier to write when I'm in a sour mood. I apologize. For those of you who would prefer a peppy positive take on life, I know there are plenty of mommy blogs out there for you.

I guess that I'm on a roll. First on my list was Mr. Pickles. Now we can add "Bertha" the babysitter. I am calling her Bertha to protect her identity, while I am sure she doesn't read my blog, you just never know who does.

Bertha has babysat for us probably about 6-7 times over the course of the past year. She works at my son's preschool, which is how I met her. She is a fine older lady. Not the spry, energetic type my children would prefer, but rather the trustworthy person who you hire to watch the munchkins for an hour or two before bedtime. She feeds them, sticks them in front of the TV for a half an hour, then tucks them into bed.

I'll be honest. I have always been slightly dissatisfied with her services. For $15/hour, you think she could give the boys a bath before settling on our sofa to watch Dateline until we arrive home. Nope. No bath. Cleaning up after herself also doesn't seem to be a strength. One night we arrived home to not only a mess of dirty dishes, but a full pan of almost untouched lasagna sitting on the counter. It had been there since I removed it from the oven upon her arrival, five hours ago. The lasagna, needless to say, went in the trash. I don't know why I kept calling her. Maybe because finding a new sitter is so much work, and at least I knew Bertha would show up.

Well today was the final straw. This camel's back is broken. I can take no more. Goodbye Bertha. True, I may be over-reacting, but I'm not feeling very well, so cut me a little slack.

Tonight, at this very moment I am suppose to be in San Francisco with my husband at The World Series! The hubs scored tickets from a generous vendor, and I was invited to attend. Now, I am not a huge baseball fan, but I do enjoy a game, the crowds, the junk food, the beer, it's a good time. And The World Series? That has to be one heck of a party. Bertha was scheduled to babysit. But here is the problem. I am sick. Sick-sick. Too sick to go out and have fun, even if it means that I am stuck at home with rowdy kids. So I called Bertha with the news this morning. Bertha was not happy. Bertha was not shy about her feelings. Bertha went on and on about how she had just turned down another job and how she had planned on working tonight.

Okay, before you think I am totally heartless, to some extent I get it. She was planning on making $60.00 tonight for sitting on her butt watching TV in my living room. Maybe she had that money ear-marked. But it isn't as if I have ever cancelled on her before. It isn't as if this is her regular job. I am not her employer.

What really ticked me off? The fact that she didn't have an ounce of sympathy for me. Did she think I was lying? Did she think that I decided that it would be more fun to stay at home eating saltine crackers than going to see the ball game that everyone is talking about?

In the end I asked her if she wanted me to pay her for a portion of what she would have received tonight. Her words? "You just have to do what you think is right." I gave her a check for $45.00. You can be damn sure that was the last dollar she is going to earn from me.

Maybe I am not being fair. Maybe it is common practice to pay a sitter when you cancel on them. Perhaps I just have some pent up anger about the lack-luster job she does for us, and some general dissatisfaction with the way this evening turned out.

What do you think?

Monday, October 25, 2010

A little bit like crack/ A little bit like watching a train wreck

What can I say? When it comes to the Real Housewives, I am a sucker. SUCKER. I cannot get enough. I know it isn't good for me. Mindless television. Voyeurism into the lives the rich and pissed off. Oh the drama. The Louis Vuitton handbags. The vehicles that are worth more than my husband and I make in an entire year. The face lifts, personal trainers, sprawling homes, cat fights, bad music, family feuds, fancy trips and endless, endless cocktails.

I have to admit, there is a sting of jealousy when I see these women fly off in private jets, only to arrive in Paris and drop $20K on a single shoe shopping adventure. It sure looks nice, but we all know that money can't buy you happiness. And none of these well dressed, well traveled, well pampered ladies are happy right? Bah. I don't know.

Tonight's episode of The Real Housewives of Atlanta featured a baby shower (pictured above) for one of the women. A baby shower for 150 of her closest friends. A baby shower with a dress code, (floppy hats and white gloves.) A baby shower with ballerinas and an open bar. A baby shower that probably cost more than my wedding. Damn. I bet she got a lot of good gifts, and the thing is, she doesn't need them. With money like that she can buy all the cashmere receiving blankets and silver spoons she wants. I wish those ladies had come to my baby shower. Maybe then my kids wouldn't have had their diapers changed on a rickety old hand-me-down, out of style (gasp) change table. Perhaps then they would have slept in one of those elegant bassinets from The Land of Nod with a beautiful gauzy canopy overhead.

Then again, at least my kids are happy. At least I wasn't so vein that I hired a surrogate to bare my babies (True story for Real Housewives of Beverly Hills). At least my kids don't call a full time live in nanny "mommy." Right?

Silver lining folks. I don't want to be a Real Housewife. I just want to be invited to one of their baby showers, and own at least one pair of Jimmy Choos.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

You talkn' to me?

Mr. Pickles you are on my list. I have sought revenge on the pages of Yelp! Ha!

Today, after a visit to the pumpkin patch in Livermore (see the happy photos) the family and I decided to grab lunch at a very casual sandwich shop, Mr. Pickles. When I use the word casual, I specifically mean about a half step up from Subway. This type of restaurant suits us perfectly, since our kid's are not the type to appreciate or respect the rules of a fancier establishment. Mr. Pickles has counter service, very loud music, and was very busy. We ordered our sandwiches, and I admit it, the boys were a bit rambunctious, but in a good way. They were having fun. We purchased 2 kids meals for the boys, and sandwiches for us. We found a table behind a group of college age boys who looked like they might have been nursing a hangover, but they looked happy enough eating their gigantic subs. The rest of the place was full of people noisily trying to converse over the blaring music.

We started eating our meals. The boys continued their bantar and play between bites. Just as I was about half way through my sandwich, some skinny kid in a Mr. Pickles shirt came to our table and informed us that he had received a complaint about our children and could we kindly move outside. Outside? In the cold? Excuse me? I could barely sputter out a response. I don't remember exactly what I said but I believe it was something to this affect: "Are you kidding me?" "In this place? Just who are we bothering? Who comes to Mr. Pickles expecting peace and quiet?" The skinny kid went on, sweetly explaining to us that he could wrap up our food to go. It was all I could do from hurling my sandwich in his pimply face. He caught me on a bad day. I was a little short on patience. I went on to tell the guy that they shouldn't have a kid's menu if they were not prepared to serve actual children, and my husband out of character, mumbled something about this being really "f*cked up".

With a huff we packed up our drinks and sandwiches and moved outside to eat in the wind and slight drizzle, but I had lost my appetite. I sat there stewing and thinking about what I could possibly do to get back at this stupid restaurant and that bratty sandwich maker. Clearly, I will never return to a Mr. Pickles, and I have made my little visit to Yelp, yet my blood is still boiling. Just wait until that loser franchise manager has a kid of his own, now that will be the sweetest revenge.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Yes, I am pathetic.

I got my haircut over the lunch hour today and it got me thinking. Just what is it about the salon that makes me open up as if I were sitting in a therapist office rather than on a vinyl adjustable seat facing a mirror? I swear to God, when under the artful hands of my "stylist" I start to spew. Why? The woman who cuts my hair is fine, but I have nothing in common with her. She is a young twenty something, with hair that changes color with the day of the week. She parties hard, lives the single life and is really not my type. And yet with her I talk. I tell her secrets that I would never share in this public space. She listens. She nods appropriately and asks questions. But I doubt she cares. In fact after I leave and she pockets the $15 tip I leave her, I bet she goes to the break room and has a good laugh. But what do I care?

It was worse in Denver. In Denver I went to a salon that would pour you a big ol' glass of wine. It was like being on a mini-vacation every time I got a haircut. With a glass of wine in me and a stylist who had cut my hair for years, I was pathetic. But at least she reciprocated with her own funny stories.

These days, I am thinking this is a sad result of the fact that I am short on girlfriends. It's true. When I first arrived in Berkeley I was motivated and gung-ho to make new friends. Every outing to the park was a mission for me. I was out to meet my new BFF. And for a while it worked, I formed playgroups and mingled with the mother's at Zack's preschool. But ever since I returned to the workforce last spring things have slowly fallen apart. I could no longer attend the playgroups, and the new friendships faded. It's nobodies fault. We are all short on time. And friendships, if nothing else need time to develop.

So now here I am. This side of lonely and sharing my secrets with the lady who cuts my hair.

Damn. At least she could have served up a little vino with my whine.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Rachel's Behavior Star Chart

Because if kid's get reward's why shouldn't I? If only.

  1. Behavior: Maintains composure while children
    wail and sob after being served french
    toast for breakfast... they wanted microwave
    pancakes. Reward: One grande Starbucks latte.

  2. Behavior: Shouts "Rats!" after dropping an eight volume cookbook on big toe, rather than using a more descriptive exclamation. Reward: Getting to watch a real-life rated "R" movie for a change.

  3. Behavior: Gives up opportunity to watch "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" so husband can watch baseball game. (Again). Reward: A professional massage.

  4. Behavior: Does not cry when son tells her for the 22nd time in one day "you're not my friend" Reward: A night out with girlfriend's who actually like being around me.

  5. Behavior: Picking up husband's dirty socks, underwear, and t-shirts, putting them in hamper without muttering a single snarky comment. Reward: Peace

  6. Behavior: Listening to son painstakingly read each word of the 62 page "I Can Read" version of Danny and the Dinosaur, while my dinner gets cold. Reward: A heart all swelled up with pride.

Sunday, October 17, 2010


This is not a funny post. I am not even going to make an attempt at humor. This is serious business.

Zack hates his little brother.

If Zack were in the mafia he would order a hit on him.

If he had a facebook page, he would taunt him 24/7 with his status updates. "Evan poops in his diaper!" "Evan is a stupid baby!"

If he were the head of this household he would disown Evan. Trust me, he has inquired on multiple occasions about the possibility of "kicking Evan out of the family."

I am not making this stuff up.

Is it a phase? If it is it goes back to June 12, 2008.

Sure there have been flashes of tenderness along the way. I will never forget the first time Zachary witnessed me changing Evan's diaper. When I removed the infant onsie, Zack recoiled in horror at the site of Evan's stumpy belly button. I had forgotten to warn him. He looked truly scared and for his brothers well being. Sweet, but that was a long time ago. Since that moment, I would have to say there have only been a handful of times when Zachary has shown even a small amount of kindness toward his nemesis.

Is this normal? It seems to me that all of my friends with multiple kids have older siblings that look after their little brother or sister. They give out hugs and kisses, perhaps sometimes to forcefully, but at least the intention is there. Zack has never asked to hug his brother. He will barely stand next to him for a photograph.

So what did I do wrong? I tried to prepare my son for the arrival of his baby brother. I read the "I'm a big brother!" book to Zack about 200 times. I talked on and on about how important a big brother is. We talk about jealousy, and got a book about it. I feel as though we give him tons of attention. Today for example, I took him for a mommy & me day, and went to the bookstore and the movies with him. I filled him up with mama hugs and popcorn and we had a delightful time... until we got home, and the fighting between brothers started all over again.

Please readers, I am looking for your advice, or your words of encouragement. Have you witnessed this type of behavior before? (Tell me I am not alone!). Do you have any ideas on how to improve the situation? (Since brothers cannot get a divorce, we are all stuck together under the same very small roof for at least the next 13 years). I am all ears.

Friday, October 15, 2010

That's my boy

What does this picture say to you?

To me the biased mama, it screams two things:

1) I have a very, very smart son, perhaps even "gifted". Harvard here we come (full scholarship of course.) Zachary at five years old, selected this shirt himself. Why? Because he could read every word on the shirt. "Do not feed the bears" "I am not a bear" "Trust me". And he thought it was hysterical. Okay so maybe his sense of humor is that of a preschooler but the kid has some mad skillz.

2) I have a teenager with attitude stuck in a five-year old body. I mean just look at him.