Nort and Nuff...and little dogs go Wuff Wuff Wuff.
Many nights, Liam and I read this Sandra Boyton book. It's called Moo, Baa, La La La...or in Liam's words, Moo, Maa, Wa Wa Wa. I read the words and makes the animal sounds. I should really video or record him reading the book with me. It's really, really cute. And, don't get me started on how cute it was when he reads "But Not the Hippopotamus" with me!
Friday, May 29, 2009
Nort and Nuff...and little dogs go Wuff Wuff Wuff.
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Even though I didn't take it on this day, I had to include this picture of the camera with which I take ALL my photos. Now that I have a camera phone, I am able to photograph this unsung star. I am, however, still getting used to the fact that I have a camera on my phone.
The other day, the kids decided to strip down and go swimming in the lake on a rainy, cold, dreary day. I was calling them nuts and Elena was telling me to get a picture of them in the water. I told her I had left my camera in the car. She said, "But Mommy, don't you have your phone?" I said yes. She said, "You can take a picture with that." I thought to myself, "Welcome to the wonderful world of having your child surpass you in her access and familiarity of technology." Now, if I could just get her to use her little fingers on this stupid BlackBerry Storm touch screen...my fingers are way to big and fumbly.
Not much to this blog, but I had to stop in my work complex to grab a picture of this bird. Loud, beautiful and, er, hoppy.
"Reader, suppose yourself wandering over some extensive prairie, far beyond the western shores of the Mississippi. While your wearied limbs and drooping spirits remind you of the necessity of repose and food, you see the moon's silvery rays glitter on the dews that have already clothed the tall grass around you. Your footsteps, be they ever so light, strike the ear of the watchful Kildeer, who, with a velocity scarcely surpassed by that of any other bird, comes up, and is now passing and repassing swiftly around you. His clear notes indicate his alarm, and seem to demand why you are there. To see him is now impossible, for a cloud has shrouded the moon; but on your left and right, before and behind, his continued vociferations intimate how glad he would be to see you depart from his beloved hunting-grounds. Nay, be not surprised if he should follow you until his eyes, meeting the glaring light of a woodsman traveller, he will wheel off and bid you adieu."
Before the parade? All smiles in anticipation of the fire engines and cars. Lots of wheeled vehicles would be rolling by. How exciting!
As soon as the first marching band came by, I looked down and there was Liam, lip curled out, tears running down his face. "It's too wowd, Mommy..." Sigh...he actually seemed broken-hearted that the fire engines made so much noise. His adoration for the them destroyed for a moment by their scary noises. He's not one for parades, I guess.
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Meet Sadie, my grandmother's friend's eight-week old great dane puppy. She's deaf and the sweetest thing I have laid my hands on in some time. She came to my grandmother's house to visit and my sisters and I could NOT get enough of her. I know I didn't take this picture, but it was taken by my sister with my phone...does it count? If not, here are some I took:
We chuckle every time we leave Elena's new school and see this little sign. It's just odd. It's a sign with a good message, sure enough. But, I believe it's a sponsored message. I see a little tm sign or r in a circle after the Progressive, denoting that it is also trying to brainwash new readers to grow up to become Progressive insurance users. The sign is outdated, making it less progressive and more ironic. It's just plain odd. Can a good message be made bad in cases like this?
Poppies are short-lived and incredibly beautiful. I will never forget working for Pinchbecks back in college and watching all the plants, which started out as greenery only or little seedlings, burgeoning into their full blossom state.
The poppy was perhaps the most surprising. Out of what looks like a testicle unfolds this beautiful orange or white flower. It looks so much like it was made by a third-grader of tissue paper. If you have only ever seen poppies in pictures or paintings, the bear close inspection. They are pretty interesting plants.
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
The other day, my father had to go to White Plains for his work. He was going to take a state licensing test. He told us, as he was heading out, a very cute story. Apparently, he was going to take the test down the street from where he used to have accordion lessons when he was an 11 or 12 year old. He and his sister Susan used to go to their lesson and head up the stairs when their father, my grandpa, would drop them off. Then, after his car had cleared the block, they would sneak back down the stairs and head for the donut shop, skipping their lesson.
As he was heading off to take his test, he told us this place was literally next to the old Mayflower Donuts shop and the location of his weekly music lessons. I was really hoping that the place was still there so I could drive there and snap a picture of the actual storefront, but alas, it's not there anymore. He found the stairs and the shop, but no more donuts.
OK, let's talk geekiness for a moment. I can't believe I am going to come out about this here on my blog. In the last few weeks, I have added yet another facet to my dorkiness...Farm Town. Now, I seriously doubt that ACTUAL farming is this addictive, due to the arduous processes involved, plowing, furrowing, tilling, harvesting, threshing, etc. But this little game is. And, I am not the only one who finds it so. The game is simple, you plow "fields" and you plant them and you wait for the harvest. You then hire farm hands to help you harvest them, accrue money, plant more, harvest more, and so on. There is something sort of relaxing in the repetitive process of plowing and planting. Click. Click. Click, and then there are nice neat fields and then ripe red tomatoes, or fields of amber grain.
I won't pretend to be immune to the powers of the simulator, though. Once, when I was about twenty-four, I went to babysit for some friends. The first day I was exposed to Sim City, I sat down at 7AM when the kids were milling about getting ready to head out for the bus. I was in my pajamas. When they returned from school at 3-ish, I was still in my PJs and playing that darn game. Granted, I now had reached high levels and had quite a productive little infrastructure going on!
So, I confess. My name is Kristen and I am a simulatoraholic...
Monday, May 18, 2009
It's like Liam is just first discovering the joy of swinging. Higher Mommy! Higher Mommy! Remember that feeling? I felt like the chains on the swing were 1000 feet long and my feet touched the clouds with every big lift. I still love the feeling of "losing my stomach" like on a ride or roller coaster. Thrill seekers...ahhhhh....
My birthday gift from my parents was a trip to Broadway...always a big hit in this family. We got tickets to see Avenue Q, the highly bawdy, singing puppet show. It was good. I think it might have been built up a touch, though. I do think it was very clever. There were just some scenes that made me a bit uncomfortable...like the puppets having dirty doggy-style sex was a bit much for me. Take a look at the song titles and you're probably gonna catch my drift...then, imagine puppets singing these songs. It was odd. Good, but odd. Funny, but odd.
What Do You Do with a B.A. in English?
If You Were Gay
Everyone's A Little Bit Racist (this song really gets stuck in the head and then is a bit embarrassing if you sing it out loud)
The Internet Is For Porn (sung by the "Cookie Monster" character)
I'm Not Wearing Underwear Today
You Can Be as Loud as the Hell You Want
(When You're Makin' Love)
Fantasies Come True
My Girlfriend, Who Lives in Canada (sung by the closeted gay puppet who is totally a take off on Bert of Bert and Ernie)
There's a Fine, Fine Line
There Is Life Outside Your Apartment
The More You Ruv Someone
I Wish I Could Go Back to College
The Money Song
School for Monsters/The Money Song (Reprise)
There's A Fine, Fine Line (Reprise)
Beautiful, beautiful weather. Birthday money in my pocket. A quick trip to TJ Maxx for some new shoes and a couple of fun shirts. I got this one to wear to the show (Avenue Q) on Saturday. Super awkward self-portrait...yes, I know. I am the biggest dork this side of the Mississip!
Thursday, May 14, 2009
He put on my lipstick...and looked like a she!! Well, not really, but he has this thing for Chapstick I have mentioned before. This love seems to have bridged into lipstick. There are other times he has become a painted lady, but I haven't ever been at the ready with the camera (shocking, I know). Anyhow, this time, the kids had been trapped inside all day due to crapola weather and high winds. Elena asked if they could play in my car. I said sure. First, he ate three or four pieces of my Trident bubble gum, Elena flew indoors to report. No real loss there. Then, he "got your lipstick ALL over the car, Mommy." YIKES! I ran out there to find him looking pretty, well, pretty and my car looking, well, not so pretty. Here are some more pics.
The offending stick:
Luckily it was pretty low on lipstick...although Liam was later quoted as saying, "I was digging it out, Mom!" Greeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaat...now, it's definitely out of lipstick.
OK, Gomez, smile for the camera:
Yes, we ruined a shirt. Luckily this shirt has already been through four years of child-rearing at the Gill household and I bought it for $5 originally on Kids Surplus...so, oh well.
He doesn't have the best application technique, but this is a far improvement over the last time when he wore Grammy Gill's day-glo lip stick. He looked like the Joker then.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
So, I have been taking the kids on morning bird nest hunts. I am here to tell you that either birds have gotten WAY better at hiding their nests or I have grown far less able to spot them in my old age. I haven't found anything except two little stick "gatherings" I can't even really call nests. It's disappointing to me as I swear I used to see nests and eggs every spring. Heck, when we lived in Sterling, VA, starlings (dumb birds that they are) used to fall right out of their nests and onto our front stoop. We nursed baby birds back to life when I was Elena's age. I would love to show them little hatching eggs. I would love to show you a photograph of thin, almost translucent-shelled blue speckled eggs. Where have all the birds' nests gone?
Monday, May 11, 2009
New York City is interesting. Please see if you can follow along on a rather Kristen-like strand of logic here...See this picture? See that there are brides being photographed? The key being the "s" at the end of bride. There were at least five brides being photographed at the Brooklyn Bridge Park and the Empire Fulton Ferry State Park. In New York, you can never really feel like you are unique or like you are doing something unique. Wherever you go, there are others there, doing the same thing...apparently even getting married. OK, here's where the weird logic comes in. From 1996-1999 I lived in NYC. I noticed some behaviors that I attributed to NYC. One of these was tied to this bride picture.
I used to think that shopkeepers in NYC were mean. They didn't care a lick for customer service. They actually seemed to enjoy pissing customers off. I theorized that they didn't have to be customer service oriented. Unlike stores in unpopulated areas, there are always more customers. More potentials, teeming in the doors, crowding the shop. With this sort of inundation, who has to be nice? Like the brides in the park, NYC's cup runneth over. You get it?
I might have made an error when I ordered tickets for the Ringling Bros. circus this weekend. As a disclaimer, the only reason I bought tickets was that it was the only way to attend the animal open house which is the event I REALLY thought the kids would enjoy (and they DID). I swear to you, the circus I remember from when I last went, when I was ten, was a simpler event. Since then, it appears the circus has mated with a Vegas casino and rock concert.
The music was unbearably loud. The tricks and animals were glitzed out. There were flashing lights, gaudy costumes, light effects, and blasts of fire and fireworks. The circus I remember from my childhood had three dirt rings and simple tricks going on in each. The excitement and overstimulation came from trying to decide which of the thrilling acts to watch at each moment. It was enough. This new fare was too much.
We didn't make it to intermission. The kids thought it was too loud. I thought it was bordering on scary. There was a villain! Did circuses used to have a villain? So, is my memory failing? Did I just paint a Pollyanna view of circuses past? Chime in and let me know.
Friday, May 08, 2009
Liam gets his full body into his work. It's a little absurd. I always end up getting out the OxyClean to do the carpet and cleaning little painted footprints off the kitchen floor. I think he's destined to be a future Jackson Pollack!
Yes, good idea son, get out the hose...
Now, this is a HOT look!
Gee, I wonder how his feet get all painty?
Seriously, was he actually PAINTING HIS TOES?
Awwww....but he loves it so!
Thursday, May 07, 2009
Today, I had to go to St. Anne's Warehouse, where they are setting up the Bklyn Designs 2009 show. Work brought me down there to drop something off, but I figured I would bring the kids along to enjoy the trip. What's more exciting than a drive to the river's edge in Brooklyn? So the kids got to come to DUMBO with Mommy (and their sitter, Sara). It was fun! The highlights were a visit to the installation, watching giant boats go up and down the East River, viewing Lady Liberty, romping in the Empire Fulton State Park and tasting a local-made chocolate (just one). It was fun! Here are some more pics:
Empire-Fulton Ferry State Park
So, this week I was a bad mommy. I forgot I was snack mom at the nursery school. Monday it was my fault that the poor little dears were relegated to skip snack or eat leftover Sunday school snacks. But, I made up for it! On Tuesday evening, I went to the store and got fun snacks. Little cookie packages and applesauces and fruit. This was after I had a discussion with Elena about me potentially bringing cut up veggies for snack. I could see her face fall and, in a flash of panic, imagined myself as THAT mother. The one who gives out pretzels on Halloween and makes low-sugar cupcakes at birthday time. I looked at her little face and said (in a quickly amending fashion), "...or do you think the other kids might not like cut up veggies as much as they would like a special fruit?" So we bought a large watermelon, melon baller and made giant melon balls which were a big hit...PHEW! That was a close one.
Tuesday, May 05, 2009
Here's Elena posing with the finished product of about twenty-five hours of work...a seventeen page sales list. Not every little girl loves animals, nor particularly zoo animals. Not every mother works for a toy company that sells to zoos and aquariums. When I bring home rough drafts of my work, it's like Christmas to Elena. Here she is practically swimming in the pages of specials items, screeching, "OH LOOK!!! A meerkat!!!" As if she were spotting a celebrity! It's a lovely shared interest.
Today was a busy day at work. Worked all day putting together a specials list of the animals that will be on sale for the next couple of months. The good news? I learned Quark! I have wanted to learn for some time. The bad news? I don't love Quark! Ugh...
Sunday, May 03, 2009
This is me in five minutes...I was fascinated this evening to capture what I look like sleeping. When I showed up at my in-laws to pick up my kids today, Liam was sound asleep. I HAD to go peek at him. He stayed asleep and I was struck by how relaxed and heavenly he looked. So, I played at sleep for the camera to see what I look like. Just in case you were wondering, I do NOT look angelic and beautiful...more greasy and exhausted. Oh well.
In the past, Derby Day was a big deal. Back then, it was a party on the lawn in Chappaqua (where my grandparents lived). They would have a bunch of people over, make mint juleps with fresh mint and erect a scoreboard for tracking bets. My grandfather would figure all the odds...he was quite a mathematician. He would tally up his own parimutuel betting which added to the fun already started by the mint juleps, I imagine.
My favorite story my grandmother just told me the other day. Apparently, one year, some friends of her father came out of New York City for the big shin dig. They had no idea what a derby party was, so they came wearing derby hats. I would have loved to have been there that day!