Saturday, December 13, 2008

Two more boys!!!!!

Yesterday at 11:30, our 2nd (and last) set of twins were born--Casey and Blake. We got to the hospital at 8am under strict instructions not to be late and not to eat or drink anything after midnight. I was starving by then, which made me extra bitter when some other pregnant lady cut in front of me in the OR. Something about an emergency-c-section--likely story.

After several episodes of WifeSwap and the Sopranos, we spent some time playing "Guess How Much That Costs" with all the tricked-out equipment in the Labor and Delivery Room. Nu won with his guess of 50K for the newborn-warmer-transconbobulator-ice-dispenser Machine.

At 11, it was finally OUR TURN and we had a very enjoyable C-Section. I've never aspired to a long and painful labor, so it is fortuitous that I have the Twin Trump Card and got to choose the planned-C. After a very effective numbing agent for me, the dr's worked quickly and delivered Casey first who wailed immediately, but was whisked away to the Flux-Capacitor-Warmer-Thingie in the other room to be harassed until the nurses found him to be cranky enough to declare healthy. Little Blake followed quickly and cried too although he was not deemed "cranky enough" at first and required extra pokes and prods to get him a passing grade. They finally found success by cramming noisy suction tubes into his nose & mouth which got him angry enough to get his own good Apgar score. Nurses 2, Boys-0.

The boys' first day of life has been blessedly uneventful. Our family and friends have come to meet the new Yamas and have brought us real food to help keep up our strength. I think hospital cuisine is like Airplane food. Some of it might be good, but I'm not going to risk finding out. I will say that our hospital does have a menu and takes special requests which I take advantage of--not for me, but for my Brother In Law. Noz loves anything under a covered blue tray and we order his faves and save it for his frequent visits.

Besides food, I have been nourished from a fabulous Intravenous-Narcotic-Happiness-Machine that provided me a steady stream of enjoyment until they pulled the plug this afternoon. :( On the upside, they will continue distributing little white pills of fun for the rest of the week.

The kids are eating well too, even if they are too young for the hard stuff. They've been a bit sleepy so each feeding takes a lot of prodding but they have both gotten the hang of it. For the next few weeks, their feeding is going to be a full time job for us. Because they love putting their hands in their mouth right before the food gets there, we have to pull some WWE moves to pin them down and cooperate. It's a two-person job right now, but I'm hoping to re-learn all those tricks where one person can feed them both at one time.

I hope to post again soon, but here are some pics from the last day:

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Fall happenings--Sham WOW!

We've been trying to pack in a lot of fun with the kids before our next pair make their grand entrance. As I recall, we were fairly housebound for the first month or so with newborns so we're now going places we won't be able to go for awhile.

In October, we went to the zoo, the pumpkin patch, and the state fair. The zoo is huge so we only got to see about half of it before kids and mommy ran out of gas and needed to head home. At first, we were tempted to rush from exhibit to exhibit, but that just frustrated Alex and Sasha. For the millionth time, we were reminded that the kids should lead the kids' experience and we should just follow and enjoy their fun. If you ask Sasha and Alex today what they liked about the zoo, they will probably tell you the best parts were:
  • the animal rescue helicopter they got to sit in (they cried when they had to climb out)

  • the gazillion acorns along the path perfect for lining their pockets

  • the baby and the mommy elephant

  • the "deer" (gazelles or impalas--not quite sure)

  • the giraffe we never saw because he was "sleeping" (according to the kids)

  • the POLAR BEAR!

  • the free Zoo Bucket that came with their lunch

  • the shuttle "train" that took us from one end of the zoo to the other

Here are some pics of the highlights:

The next weekend, we hit the pumpkin patch with our friends Megan, Drew, and Asher. Twelve dollars seemed a little steep for selecting one pumpkin but we quickly found it was a hay-bale, corn-maze, baby-goat wonderland for the kids. Once again, our expectations were a bit off the mark as we expected the kids to pick actual pumpkins. When let loose in the patch, both Alex and Sasha insisted that their choice was a green, runt of a baby pumpkin that looked more like a lime than anything else.

I confess that we pocketed the fake citrus and choose extra pumpkins behind their backs. Besides picking non-pumpkins we saw a lot of farm animals, navigated a corn maize (get it!?), took a hayride, and climbed over this haybale-drainage-pipe obstacle course.

We didn't get many good pics of the fair, but did enjoy some Turkey Leg and Funnel Cake. (Just doing our best to model good nutrition). Sasha did not dig the enormous drumstick, but Alex was a big fan and ate most of it himself. We saw some more baby animals (always a big hit) and narrowly avoided Nu getting suckered into buying a ShamWow. "But we saw how it works WITH OUR OWN EYES!!!" Um, no.

Halloween was awesome--great fall weather and lots of candy. Pink Butterfly and Black Bat were thrilled with the idea of wearing their costumes and getting candy from complete strangers. The grandparents followed them around like Flashbulb-Popping Stalkarazzi. Only later did we find out that Grandpa's flash wasn't working right and Grandma had her camera permanently set on 15-second-delay (designed for self portriats). After blinding 20 strangers with their unannounced picture taking, they had 4 decent pics at the end of the evening. Sigh. Luckily, Nu was able to get good pics to share:

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Halloween Bedtime

How do you know when "The Three Little Pigs" is too scary? When you find Alex and Sasha in the same bed an hour later. Maybe together they can fend off the Big, Bad Wolf?

Friday, October 17, 2008

Multi Mini's

In T-minus 10 minutes, we will be a 2 minivan family. Would this license plate put me over the edge?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Presidential Debate Drinking Game

Here it is! The final presidential debate Drinking Game. I'll be loading up on milk, but you can pick your own poison and play along. I've ripped much of this off from. . .

But I've made some changes to make it funnier.


-When the buzzwords “change” or “maverick” or “hope” or "cronies" are used

-Whenever either candidate says “fundamental” or “fundamental difference”

-When someone says “I voted for or against” or “He voted for or against”

-When McCain refers to Obama’s “inexperience”

-When McCain stammers and looks like he might have a heart attack

-When McCain somehow works in his personal story as a POW during Vietnam

-When McCain refers to the moderator as “my friend” or the audience as “my friends”

-When Obama somehow works in his personal story of being raised by a single mom and his grandparents

-When Obama makes a smirk, shakes his head, and says, “Look…” as a preface to a statement or follow-up

-When Obama makes the case that McCain and Bush are one and the same or uses the phrase “more of the same”

-When Obama says “John McCain is right on this, but…”

-When either one lays claims to being “bipartisan” or working “across the aisle”


-When someone mentions the “Bailout” of Wall Street

-When someone mentions Wall Street and Main Street in the same train of thought

-When someone starts quoting dollar figures (for example: 700 billion)

-When someone talks about mortgages/foreclosures/homeowners

-When someone says the word "Fannie" without cracking up

-When either candidate explains what the heck the initials AIG stand for

-When someone dares to utter the R-word (recession)


-If anyone uses the words “surge” or “victory”

-When anyone mentions a particular nation as being a potential “nuclear” threat

-When McCain talks about Islamic Radicals/Terrorists

-When Georgia, Russia, Iran, Iraq, and/or N. Korea are mentioned

-Finish your drink if both candidates ignore foreign affairs in favor of discussion of the economy

Monday, October 6, 2008

Palin and SNL

Two of my new favorite Palin parodies on SNL. Notice the 2nd one mocks the debate and makes fun of Biden too. I'm so bipartisan!!!!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

It's never too early . . .

. . . to impose your dreams on your unwilling children. At least, that's according to Nu.

Today, he announced that he and his brother would take the kids out to "train" them in their soccer skills. This is not the first time (or even the 2nd) that they have taken the kids out to a soccer field to drill them on the basics. To prepare his twin 2-yr-olds, Nu brought 7 soccer balls, a ball pump, cones (for running drills), and soccer jerseys for each of them.

Thanks to some friends' generosity, Alex sports Zidane's jersey and Sasha has Ronaldinho. He wanted to get them some cleats, but I convinced him that we could hold off for a few more months. The kids were excited to play some soccer with daddy. They were eager to bring their own soccer balls. They played enthusiastically. . . for 10 minutes. After that, they were lured away by snacks, leaves on the ground, butterflies, their water bottle, and pretty much anything else that crossed their line of vision.

Alex was particularly fond of the soccer ball pump and tried to "fix" all the soccer balls in Nu's bag. When asked if she would like to play some more soccer, Sasha said, "No. I want to eat." Conclusive confirmation of her mom's genes--as if we needed it.

I came along to provide snacks, enjoy the beautiful day, and to ensure they weren't pressured into sprinting tests. Alex was more participatory than Sasha and demonstrated some impressive ball-handling skills. Sasha can run pretty fast and enjoyed running over (not around) the cones. In the end, Dad and Bro gave up and played some soccer themselves while the rest of us ate our sandwiches in the shade.

Sasha: "How long do we need to hold this pose?" Alex: "My cheeks hurt, daddy."

Friday, October 3, 2008

Palin Debate Chart

Note: I make no claims as to Palin as a good VP candidate. I just think this chart is really funny!Props to Anna and Nu for sending this to me. Well worth the time lost at work.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

How to Create a Diva

Step 1: Paint her nails--preferably with pink Wet-N-Wild nail polish.

Step 2: Tell her that a pink mani/pedi coordinates well with her pretty dress.

Step 3: Allow her several minutes in front of the mirror to admire her new look. Listen to lots of "pretty, pretty. Pretty nails and Pretty dress. I'm pretty!"

Step 4: After her West Side Story moment, watch as she flounces around the house telling her brother, dad, and stuffed animals just how pretty she is.

Step 5: Regret the damn nail polish when it starts to chip and she falls apart on the living room floor. "My pink is coming off!!!!!! Paint my nails! PAINT THEM!"

Step 6: Begin saving for her MTV Super Sweet Sixteen TV appearance.

"Have you seen my pretty nail polish, Baba? I'm pretty!"

Friday, September 19, 2008

My new geeky addiction

I'm not great at math. In high school, I never understood probability and statistics. Like what are the chances I'll flip a coin and get tails 10 times in a row? Or, say . . . what are the chances of getting pregnant with twins two times in a row? But I digress.

While I cannot create or use statistical formulas, I do understand the value of statistical analysis.
In one of my classes, we're looking at the difference between causation and correlation. In other words, things that happen together sometimes cause each other and sometimes don't. While preparing for my students, I stumbled across this website from George Mason University:

They critically analyze news stories about research studies and give some perspective to all those scary reports about hot-topics like cancer, vaccines, and toxins. The blog is now my new fave.

It's like the adult version of the urban-myth-buster website, SNOPES, but it's not about email scams from Nigerians trying to move millions into my bank account. Both are great ways to waste more time online. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Palin and Clinton

We all knew that Tina Fey would make a great Sarah Palin, but in this SNL clip I can't even tell them apart!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

They're finally asleep!

Day Four of Big Beds and it's been a wild ride. While moments have been crazy, it's mostly due to the extreme excitement about their new beds, blankets and pillow. I only wish I could get so excited about bedding--oh, the thrills of being 2yrs old.

Here's a recap . . .

Day One: Kids wreck their new room. Mom rethinks her decision to move away from cribs.

Day Two: Kids again spend 2+ hours bouncing around the room and fall asleep in a heap. Mom goes in to give 34 stern lectures during that time. Mom also google-searches Gypsies in the market for two new recruits.

Day Three: Alex starts to show the strain of continued sleeplessness at school and at home. Possibly due to extreme fatigue, kids go to bed after only 90 minutes of bedroom gymnastics. Is this a light at the end of the tunnel? Mom peeks in to find them asleep--both in Sasha's bed. So cute I forgive the first days of madness.

Day four: Kids fall asleep after only 20 minutes of quiet talking. Extreme exhaustion is finally working in mom's favor!

Monday, September 1, 2008

The next kids will be in cribs till they're 12

We moved to BIG BEDS today and I was very nervous. We have plotted the move, bought the furniture, PAINTED the furniture, and spent the last two weekends dismantling our office to make room for our rapidly expanding family.

Alex and Sasha were pumped about the new beds. We talked up the sheets, the wall decals (not yet arrived) and the new privilege of sleeping with a PILLOW for the first time. They actually said, "Thank you mommy! Thank you daddy! I WOOOOVE my new bed!!!!!" It was very touching.

Since we took everything out of the office (their new room), we thought it wise not to move any of their toys in until the sleeping patterns were well established. In this room the kids have beds and an empty dresser and . . . nothing else. Every item that could distract or destroy was removed from the room. Or so I thought.

The kids start their first big-bed nap and I hear a lot of activity. I went in a few times and remind them to go to sleep, but ultimately had to wait for them to calm down and sleep themselves. At various times . . .

Alex terrorized Sasha by trying to sleep next to her.

Sasha laughed hysterically at her stuffed animals.

They both ran several hundred laps around the room.

At one point, I heard a mysterious heavy banging sound. It crossed my mind to investigate, but I remembered that I had stripped the room bare (such a prepared mom!). They were probably just kicking the wall or something--no worries.

Eventually, I heard the sweet sound of *silence* and thought what every parent thinks right before disaster strikes, "That wasn't so bad. I'm a really good parent. Maybe I should write books about this and make millions helping other families with daunting transitions."

I peeked in the room after an hour of quiet and found

1. Kids alive and well. Check.
2. Kids sleeping snuggled adorably with stuffed "amimals". Check.
3. Kids sleeping in correct beds. Sheets still on them. Check. Check.

4. Flimsy window shades completely destroyed. Metal bar removed from shades to bang gashes in the week-old dresser and bed frames.

Clearly, no one should buy this book.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wine in a Sippy Cup

The Beach! It was so fun! We joined our friends Dave and Kim for some sun, sand, and card playing a few weekends ago. Besides the 1st night hotel drama, we had a sunny and fabulous time swimming and playing in the sand.

The kids were great in the car. Debo does not like long road trips, but this one could not be avoided. Armed with cartoons, Pink El'phant and Tiger, the kids chilled in the car and had a happy ride to the beach.

The kids never tired of the water and sand, but my favorite part was eating fried junk the entire time.

In summary, it was pretty much eat, swim, sleep, repeat and felt like the perfect vacation. The adults knew they were having a little too much fun when Alex asked for Merlot in his cup "like Daddy."

Friday, August 22, 2008

No polio for me, thanks.

Here's a good article today on childhood vaccines and how the un-vaccinated are putting others at risk. I'm just glad that my state is pretty strict on vaccinations before kindergarten.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I want to be a Syncro Diver

In lieu of . . .

1. Preparing for school to start
2. Converting the office to the soon-to-be Big Kid bedroom
3. Sleeping

I've been obsessively watching the Olympics. The night before I went back to work, I stayed up until 2am watching Gymnastics.

Yesterday (after swearing that I wouldn't), I watched the entire Women's Marathon and marveled at how that Romanian chick could run multiple victory laps after WINNING a 26.2 mile race. For comparison, you should remember that I completed a marathon in triple that time and could not walk properly for a week.

Today, I lost 30 minutes of my life to Dressage--which I now know to be Snooty-Horse-Prancing.

(this horse is called Special Ed. omg.)

In my enthusiasm, I accidentally erased my entire TIVO by scheduling a Season Pass of ALL OLYMPIC EVENTS. [Remember, HD shows take up a lot of space--especially when they're 8 hours a piece]

So I've prioritized. Here are the highlights of the Olympics according to Debo:

Synchronized Diving:

I love watching those Chinese divers and their robotic precision. I know that they're a little more "motivated" than the other athletes (get a medal or exile to the countryside), but it's amazing how they do all those flips together.

Also, I am inspired by the story of Dmitri Sautin who overcame a SEVERE STABBING to return to Olympic competition

Mens: This has been a hard year for Nu's people as we watched the Japanese men fall off one apparatus after the next. Never mind a medal, they just wanted to live through the All-Around. Maybe it was the hairgel?

On the plus side, this guy is a shoe-in for the next "Agony of Defeat" video montage.

Womens: So great! Love Nastia! Love Shawn! Only complaint: all the girls looked so pale and pasty under the bright lights. I know they don't have time to sunbathe during training, but they should really consider a Mystic Tan before they go on camera again.

The Chinese: Wow. Those communists really know how to motivate their athletes. They see their parents once a year, forge their birth dates on their passports, and are FREAKISHLY strong despite the fact that not one of them weighs more than 100lbs.

Bela Karolyi: I'm sure it sounded like a great idea for him to commentate for NBC, but he's clearly gone off the reservation. He has become a story unto himself by calling the underage Chinese gymnasts "half-people" while giving Bob Costa a near-stroke every time he makes a new inflammatory comment. Love it.


Mens: Michael Phelps looks bored with winning medals. It's sad when you win the gold, break another World Record, and can't even summon up the enthusiasm for a fist-pump.

Womens: Australia and New Zealand are SO fast! Do you think it's because they have lots of practice swimming away from all those man-eating sharks down there?

Beach Volleyball:
Since when was it acceptable to play an Olympic sport wearing Pasties and a Bikini-bottom? Not cool.

Track & Field is just getting started, but I just can't wait for the Discus competition to begin.

Opening Ceremonies recap

Since I was drinking milk during the Opening, I didn't exactly win the Drinking Gaame but I did avoid a headache the next day. I really enjoyed the drums, pyrotechnics, and am definitely going to get my own 500 ft LCD screen for my backyard next year.

There were so many awesome moments, but here are my favorites:

2008 Drummers
(in diapers according to E.)

Parade of Nations
(aka: International Fashion Disasters)

A white beret? Did the US think this was a golf tourney?

What is the purpose of that belt?
Man-pris! Turns out that Nu should maybe move to

or Denmark?
(note: not every man can pull off capri's)

Side note: When is it warm enough in the Swiss Alps or Scandinavia to wear short pants?

The Aussies apparently forged a river to get to Parade.

South Africa
Yo, Ben: What's up with your people representing themselves in CROCS?
I hope you're embarrassed because I am.

I think the Swedes stole this uniform from the food vendors at Busch Gardens.

And Japan.
Nu's people just LOOOVE that school-uniform/museum docent look.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Olympics Opening Ceremonies Drinking Game

Note: Much of this was ripped-off from Be sure to drink responsibly!


The Olympics are referred to as Beijing's "coming-out party."

A TV announcer refers to China's "rising middle class."

A TV announcer refers to the fact that the Chinese frequent KFC, McDonald's, and Starbucks, just like us!

A TV announcer makes note of the fact that the Chinese people eat all sorts of crazy things, including dog leg, donkey meat, scorpion kebab, and yak.

Teenage girls are shown giggling while watching Michael Phelps.

An announcer mentions the intense Beijing air pollution.

An announcer brings up the Chinese government's ability to rid the atmosphere of said pollution by artificially inducing rain.

The sad story of "Dan and Dave" is brought up.

Every time you see a lantern, fan, or fireworks


Bob Costas informs us that an athlete has "prepared his whole life for just this one moment."

An announcer utters any of the following phrases:

1) "Everyone in the stadium was a winner today." (Or its inverse: "There are no losers here.")
2) "This is what the Olympics are all about."
3) "[Random obscure athlete who competes in an event you only pay attention to once every four years and who will never be heard from again] will remember this day for the rest of his life."
4) An announcer states, "This is truly what the Olympic Games are all about."

An announcer acknowledges that saying something like "the whole world is watching" is a cliché, but proceeds to say it anyway.

An announcer tell us that a participant is competing despite:
1) The recent diagnosis of a family member/loved one with a life-threatening disease.
2) The recent death of a family member/loved one by way of a life-threatening disease.
3) Having been diagnosed with a physically debilitating or crippling disease as a child.
4) Having been maimed in a tractor accident or other freak occurrence as a child.
5) Having grown up with no access to food, clean water, training equipment, or sneakers.
6) Having grown up in the midst of genocide/geopolitical strife/major war.

The final heat of a competition featuring an American and a Chinese Olympian is billed as "a showdown between East and West."

There is some type of interpretive dance illustrating the last 2,000 yrs of China's glorious history.

The great wall is recreated by 1,000 school children in a gigantic human pyramid.


The wrong country is named during their opening procession.

The American Opening Ceremonies uniform includes a Cowboy hat.

The American Opening Ceremonies uniform is uglier than EVERY OTHER COUNTRY REPRESENTED.

You learn of a country's existence for the first time as they cross the field at Opening Ceremonies.

An athlete faints on camera due to pollution.

The Olympic Flame goes out.


Mahmoud Ahmadinejad applauds the American soccer squad's "fine effort on the pitch and exemplary patriotism."

Chinese president Hu Jintao invites the Dalai Lama to be the official lighter of the Olympic torch, after which he grants Tibet total political and religious autonomy.

David A. features prominently in the telecast.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Debo loses it on Vacay

So we had a great time on vacay last week (pics later), but had one little hiccup.

To understand the depth of our tale of Woe, you should know that our kids sleep in cribs. Starting next month, they will be moving to beds but are crib-bound in the meantime. On the rare occasions we've had them in beds with us, we have learned the hard way that
a. They don't sleep much
b. We don't sleep much
c. The whole family is cranky in the morning.

Keeping this in mind, we reserved the hotel room in advance and were assured 2 cribs in the room. On the road to our destination, I called again to be sure they would have 2 cribs. Upon check-in, I asked again about the 2 cribs and was told they were ready in the room. When the cribs were not apparent in the room, we called the front desk and were told, "Cribs will be right up." At that point, we left for dinner and assumed pac-n-plays would appear magically in the room before our return.

After a long drive where the kids were very patient (and watched the Lion King 3 times), we had dinner with our friends Dave and Kim and put the kids to bed in cribs at their resort. Around 11pm, we picked up the sleeping kiddos and carted them back to our hotel for some much needed sleep.

At 11pm, no cribs and a blinking message light: "Ma'am. You won't believe this, but we don't have any cribs left."

I was tired and was not happy about the prospect of a long night of being kicked in the face by my cranky children. Normally, in this situation I would like to think I can be all Zen when complaining to management. I try to be calm, but firm with my reasonable demands and shame the manager with my Jedi-like professional demeanor into throwing apologies and compensation my way. [You WILL not charge me for the room. You WILL provide extra mints.]

Normally, I am not soooo tired and hormonal.

So I march down to reception and throw the mother of all tantrums at the front desk. No Zen, professional or otherwise. Just yelling and arm waving and more yelling. It wasn't my proudest moment, but it might have been my loudest.

And still there were no cribs. We found out later that Tony at the front desk was actually the Breakfast Bar Manager who was unlucky enough to be in my path that night. Because his training was limited to restocking mini-cereal boxes, he had no managerial skills or authority. Therefore, my dramatic tantrum was pointless to the point of comical.

So I returned to the room and hoped the kids would stay asleep all night between us on the King Sized Bed (oh Debo, will you ever learn?). Here's an annotated time-line of events:

12am--Settle into bed with sleeping Alex and Sasha. Spend 30 minutes plotting hotel vandalism before I fall asleep.

1am--Train rolls by near the hotel. Alex's choo-chooo radar is activated and he immediately sits up. "What's that noise, mommy? Is that TRAIN???!!! Let's go see the train!!!" Yes, and let's take Breakfast-Manager-Tony with us.

1:05--Sasha's up. "Awex took my Pink Ephant! I want to sleep next to mommy! I'm thirsty! I want to sleep with daddy!""

1:10--[Alex in stage whisper] "Shasha, be quiet. Mommy's sleeping. Let's get off the bed."

1:12--Escape attempt thwarted, the kids start climbing over Mom and Dad and wrestling over their Stuffed Animals.

1:20--Mom: "Go to bed. Be quiet. Go to sleep."
Alex: " I want peanut butter on bread. Daddy, I want peanut butter"
Sasha: "I want milk"
Mom: Just wait until morning and Tony will get you all of those things.

1:45--Mom: "Go to sleep. Stop talking. If you talk again, I will take your stuffed animals away." (Big time threat, by the way)

1:47--Sasha starts to hum a song.
1:48 Alex joins the humming.

1:49 --Mom: "STOP HUMMING!!!!"

2am--Kids still singing, bouncing, chattering in the dark. Nu still sleeping. I start to seriously entertain the idea of sending them to sleep in the lobby with Tony.

3am-4am--Sleep? Who can remember.

4am--Alex: "I want to see the boats. Let's go outside, mommy"
Sasha: "Mommy's sleeping. Ask Daddy."

5am--At the merest hint of sunlight, the kids are up and ready to see the BEACH!!!!!

5am-6am--We do everything short of bungee-cording the kids to the bed and finally give up to hit the breakfast bar. WATCH OUT TONY!!! WE'RE COMING YOUR WAY!!

6am--Nu discourages me from letting the kids wreak havoc on the breakfast bar. In retrospect, he was probably right, but it would have been really entertaining.

My interaction with the management did not improve a lot the next morning, but I did yell a little less. We got the night free and an upgrade the next night, but I have a scathing and detailed letter to the Hotel Corporate Office ready to squeeze some more compensation from The Man.

I'll post an update soon about the better parts of vacay.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Nu is a Legend

Every summer about this time, Nu gets a reminder that he lives in legend. He holds an impressive athletic record which stands unbroken year after year. Sometime in the month of July he'll get an email or phone call to congratulate him for holding onto his Awesome Status . . .

. . . as the fastest under-14-yr-old swimmer in Breaststroke and Butterfly in the Local Summer Swim League.

Please congratulate him next time you see him. It really makes his day.

Monday, July 21, 2008


Alex is a very active, mischievous little boy who tests boundaries and limits wherever he goes. If there is a line, he must cross it. If he is told not to touch, he must reach out his sticky little hand. Lucky for him, he's exceptionally cute and can be surprisingly sensitive at times. He regularly gives advice, comforting words, and insights which are so adorable that I forgive the fact that he scaled the kitchen counter to grab the scissors out of the KNIFE block and tried to CUT HIS OWN HAIR.

I've recorded a few of our favorite Alexisms:

If I drive around a corner too fast: "Be swowy [slowly] mommy. Don't crash our car. It would be sad."

If I've asked him to stop whining, "Ok, mommy. I happy now."

If Sasha hurts herself, [In a sing-songy sympathetic tone] "Ohhhh, Shasha, it's OK. Here, I kiss it."

If he spies a very large object, "That's vewy HUGE!!!!!"

If he spies a small, fuzzy creature, "Awww. That's vewy CUTE!!!"

If something bad happens and he needs a hug, "Hold you mommy!!! Hold you!!!"

If he's particularly enthusiastic about an upcoming event (like school, popsicles, and the approach of the garbage truck), "YEAAAA! I E'CITED!!!!"

If he knows we're heading to his favorite restaurant, K&W: " I LOOOVE my Roast Beef!"

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My favorite gas station

??? Is such a thing possible ???? Oh Yes. I was filling up the car today at a crappy gas station and lamenting that my favorite Fossil Fuel Source is nowhere near my house.

This wondrous place I speak of is: SHEETZ. Not only is this my fave place to get $4 gas (because that's a party all by itself), but it's one of the Top 10 places to eat in America. I discovered the wonder of Sheetz in my small college town where there were TWO stores which each sold gas for $0.75. This was particularly remarkable because this little town had about 3 decent restaurants and a mall that hosted Square Dancing on Friday nights.

For the uninitiated, let me give you the virtual tour.

You are driving along the highway when suddenly you see a bright light that inexplicably draws you closer.

As you pull in to the station, you are blinded by the unnecessary illumination but impressed with the red, shiny building.

You get gas and notice a food menu adjacent to the pump. "What's this? Can I order fresh-made food while I pump gas?" Yes you can! (And that's what makes America great)

As you scroll through the MTO (made to order) touch-screen menu, you are perplexed by some of the choices--Shmuffins? Subz? Fryz? Shmocha? All you need to know is that they're SO TASTY. Eat this, WaWa.

So, you've ordered your meal (Shmagle, perhaps?) and go inside to retrieve it. Immediately you are confronted with an overly-enthusiastic Sheetz representative. "Can I help you find something? Did you notice our MTO menu?" As you look around the store, you are shocked by just how clean this place is. It's no exaggeration to say I wish my house looked this great. Everything is in place, the bathroom smells nice, and the food is hot and ready in 5 minutes.

To the side, you see some sort of paper mache rock formation. In between the fake rocks, there are sliding doors and a sign beckoning you to the BEER CAVE. In some Sheetz locations, a voice actually calls out as you step inside, "Welcome . . . to the BEEEEER CAAAAAAAVE." It's exactly as advertised--an awesome cave of beer. I guess that explains why there were TWO Sheetz in my college town.

In the end you drive away fat and happy and can't wait until the gas gauge blinks "Empty"again.

I took a LOT of weekend road trips in college and saw some of the worst gas stations in the US. One time I stopped to use the facilities and was handed a key and a flashlight (never a good sign). Sheetz is a wonder of capitalism and I want one to open in my neighborhood.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Playground Antics

Recently, David A. was in town briefly to bond with his niece and nephew. Actually, he came home to renew his work visa for China. After signing some documents promising to refrain from prostitution and dealing drugs, he hung out with the fam a bit.

The kids did not spare Day-Day from any of their endearing yet exasperating craziness. On this particular trip to the playground, you can see just a glimpse of the drama:

It all begins innocently in Grandma's wagon en route to the playground.

Look how sweet everyone looks!

At first, the kids play happily. They swing, climb and get along well.

But wait, is that sand!

It seems harmless, but you have to be alert to trouble . . .

Like certain people dumping sand on their sister's head. A definite no-no.

David then got to witness Time-Out in action. Alex assumes the position--to his credit, he is well skilled at Time-Out. His look is the adorable combo of guilt, sadness, and scheming to escape.

After 2 minutes, he dashes back to his precious trucks and all is right with the world again.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Dora for Adults

SNL has a parody of Dora (thanks Leslie for the heads up!). For those of you who watch it with your kids, enjoy the story of plucky little "Maraka"

(Also courtesy of Leslie) Check out this short clip of comedian, Brian Regan, lampooning Dora and that blasted Map Song.

Monday, July 7, 2008

I Heart Olympics!

We got hooked on the Olympic Trials this weekend and I'm all hyped up for Beijing 08. The kids are particularly fond of "G'Nastics" and I caught Sasha trying a complex dismount from the arm of our couch after watching the Balance Beam routines.

We're a month away from the Big Time, but I already have so many questions:

1. Is the gymnast Alicia Sacramone related to Johnny Sac from the Soprono's?

2. Was gymnast Nastia Liukin home schooled to avoid the inevitable name-calling?

3. At 41, will I have a chance to make the Olympic Women's Swim Team?

4. How many dragons, fireworks, colorful fans, and lanterns can I expect in the opening ceremonies? Stay tuned for my upcoming Opening Ceremony Drinking Game.

5. Is there a bigger Jerk than Gary Hall, Jr? Gary Hall, Sr perhaps?

6. Who will have the Saddest Bob Costas Voiceover Mini-Bio? I anticipate some beach volleyball player with a heartbreaking story of overcoming a drug addiction after his Prius is stolen.

Can't Wait!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Old Houses

Many of our friends have moved, are moving, or want to move into an Old House. They're mostly part of the trendy, gentrification movement where they renovate beautiful old homes full of Character and Squeaky Floorboards. Nu and I have never understood this trend. All we want is a big refrigerator and a place for our enormous TV. Also, we like having a nice yard for the kids.

And even though I'm generally against "nature" I do like having some mature trees on our lot that shade us from the sun and give us some privacy. So I'm not dying to move into a brand-new house. I just like a house that's "a little" old.

Why am I against Old Houses? Here's a list that will certainly convince you of my viewpoint.

1. Old Houses smell funny.
2. Old Houses rarely have a garage. And if they do, the garage is inexplicably detached from the house.
3. Old Houses are far away from where we live. It's getting increasingly inconvenient to visit everyone and I really think our friends should think more about our location when they house-hunt. Gas isn't cheap, you know.
4. Old Houses have bizarre layouts. Finding the bathroom is a challenge and when you do, the facilities are oddly arranged. Why should bathtubs have feet? Do you really need two spigots in one sink (one for hot, one for cold)?

This is the clincher:

5. OLD HOUSES ARE HAUNTED!!!! It's just plain statistics. If your house dates back to 1910, enough people have lived there to have had some fatality or unfortunate calamity. Watch the movie, The Others, and you'll be begging to live in a 1970's split-level. If you haven't found the ghosts yet, I challenge you to spend the night alone in the creepy cellar/basement that certainly came with your Historic Purchase.

So . . . See you at the next HOA meeting?

Lessons from Supernanny

We loooove Supernanny. There are so many reasons to enjoy this show:

1. The kids are always a complete nightmare. After a particularly difficult day with our own rowdy offspring, it's always nice to see someone with children who hit their parents with rocks and make their babysitters cry.

2. We take delight in our self-righteous judgment of these parents completely clueless to obvious problems in their household. I say this fully aware that if camera crews filmed us for two days, people all over America would be laughing at us and possibly calling social services.

3. Supernanny always solves the family's problems with perfectly ordinary discipline techniques in only 20 minutes. It's so amazing! All it takes is a handwritten chart of some kind, a naughty step/stool/bean bag, and a jar of jelly beans. Suddenly everyone loves each other and goes to bed at 8pm without complaint.

From our completely objective viewings of many episodes of Supernanny, we have noticed a few common elements in these families.

1. Their kids don't get enough sleep. Ergo, the parents don't get enough sleep. Apparently getting our kids consistently to bed at a reasonable hour is 1/2 the battle.

2. Mom is usually a short-order cook. Each child gets to choose their entre at every meal and reserves the right to change their mind multiple times mid-meal. It's like being on a cruse ship everyday!

3. If you want to bring chaos into your family, go out and get yourself some multiples. Twins, Triplets, Quads--doesn't matter. The presence of multiples always leads to screaming, biting, and generalized craziness.

4. About 1/2 way through the show, the parents rebel against Jo-Jo's rules acting as if they never expected her to institute such Draconian measures such as bedtime. One would assume that they had never seen previous Supernanny episodes. It never fails to make us laugh and it one of the best part of the show.

In general, I feel like our kids are fairly well-adjusted, but the Twin thing always freaks me out. A small part of me fears that we're going to be on Supernanny someday. Is it possible that all twins are hardwired to just Flip Out at some point? Will the kids turn 3 and suddenly destroy the house? Stay tuned . . .

Monday, June 30, 2008

Dancing Matt

I saw this video (courtesy of Sherry who is allegedly studying for the Bar Exam, but is actually forwarding videos to her friends) and thought it was really fun to watch. But mostly, it reminded me of how many places in the world I have not been. Nu and I have traveled a decent amount (separately and together) but with the kids we get out of the country a little less.

It turns out that all I need is corporate sponsorship to travel the planet! This guy got a gum company to pay him to travel the world not once, but TWICE. And--I'm guessing--all the gum he wants. He's living my dream (only with more TMJ).

Check out the video:

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

Here's his website:

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Fortune Cookie Torture

So we went to PF Chang's tonight so I could eat my fave entree--Crispy Honey Chicken. The kids were pretty well behaved and loved their Chicken Lo Mein. Wisely, Nu told both of them that they would only get to eat the fortune cookie at the end of the meal if they did not throw any food.

Sasha was OK with this, but Alex had a hard time. He was born with an intense need to test food aerodynamics. At 2.5, he no longer drops a lot of food, but sometimes has to throw a piece or two at the end of the meal just to see them fly through the air. He really wanted a cookie, but couldn't resist launching a few Noodles from his plate onto the floor. (In his defense, noodles do have an interesting flight pattern)

At the end of the meal, we explained again why only Sasha would get the cookie and Alex's little face crumpled into utter despair. "I want a cookie! Mamma, please! PLEASE!" Sasha sat in her carseat double-fisting fortune cookies and went to work torturing her brother.

A: (looking at Sasha) I want to cookie!
S: MMMMM. . . cookie yummy. See, Awex? Yummy cookie.
A: (face crumpled and voice wobbly) Shasha, I want a cookie. Please. PLEASE!
S: No cookie, Awex. Throw food on the floor. Daddy say NO! No throw food on floor.
A: I want a coooooookkkieeeeeeee. (Sobbing, screeching, etc.)
S: (smugly) No cookie, Awex. MMMMM. Yummy. See it? (holds cookie in front of his nose) Nice cookie.

Where does she get such a devious little nature??

Things I will never do . . .

Dress Alex in velvet knickers--even if it's for an expensive, Victorian portrait session to be displayed at the mall.

Attempt any kind of extended Cleanse/Detox/Organic/Vegan diet. I can only survive 6 hours without sugar and cheese. Also, I think Oprah's friends and associates should run for the hills until she's done with hers. Severely deprived people can be psycho.

Partake in any clothing (or undergarment) with clear straps. YOU CAN STILL SEE THEM!!!!!

Go to a movie without ordering a Medium Popcorn (with butter), Diet Coke, and candy.

Put a magnetic soccer ball decal on the back of my car. The mini-van is a statement all its own.

Wear a scrunchie in my hair (ever again).

Cook a veggie/turkey/tofu burger for myself. I don't care what anyone says, they are NOT real burgers.

Eat quinoa--whatever that is--even though FitSugar says it's the new cool vegetable. I say: there's no such thing.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Debbie Downer

The skit from SNL is passably funny, but watching the cast members deteriorate on live TV is what made me laugh till I cried.

Also, E is very worried about the statistics on Feline Aids. Can someone confirm this?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Shark Attack: It's a REAL DANGER!

Some like to mock me and my "safety-first" attitude toward the Great Blue Sea. Read this and you'll see that YOU SHOULD BE SCARED OF SHARKS TOO!!!!!!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

"Hey Daisy!"

Last weekend, Benanna invited us to join them at their fabulous beach house with their dog, Daisy. Alex and Sasha in tow, we had a relaxing weekend in the sand and sun. The kids were particularly fond of Daisy and by Sunday, she was exhausted from running away from them.

One of the cruel ironies of parenthood is vacation with toddlers. We are so excited to play with them in the sand and collect sea shells, but there are some drawbacks that must be considered.

1. They wake up early on vacay. From 6-8am, they are like crazed, demented monkeys running, shouting, and demanding a 4-course breakfast to their specifications.

2. They never allow me to read my gossip magazines on the beach. Instead, I am constantly rescuing them from running into the ocean, throwing sand at each other, fighting over the much coveted "Red Shovel."

3. Sunscreen application for two squirmy people is precarious. I have to apply it evenly but not get it in their eyes and I have only one minute of stand-still time to do it. Reapplication is even worse--sand everywhere! everywhere!

4. I realize I've become my mom when I demand my kids to strip naked so I can spray them mercilessly with cold water from a garden hose before we go inside. I am still haunted by the screams.

5. The only TV I watch involves three baby animals named Ming-Ming, Tuck, and Lenny

Despite the hardships, we still experienced some funny moments.

1. Alex followed Daisy all day demanding, "L1ck my toes! L1ck my toes!"

2. Against my advice, Sasha insisted on taking her pants off during our first beach outing.

3. Before asking for Mommy and Daddy in the morning, the kids awoke both days asking for Daisy.

4. Both kids impressed Benanna with their Adult Language (learned from Daddy, by the way).

5. Anna and Debo had fun with Alex by removing the batteries from the ridiculously loud tractor toy. "No Alex, it's not broken. The tractor is supposed to be a QUIET toy."

6. Post bedtime drinks on the porch--such fun!!!!

Alex talks a big game, but is actually afraid of the ocean. Here he is running away from the tide.

"Why again was it a good idea to take off our pants?"

This is the best sand castle EVER!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

"It's funny because it's raci*st" --Ricky Gervais, creator of the Office

We were out of town last weekend, so we missed SNL. Thanks to the wonder that is HULU, however, I have a clip from the "Japanese Office" parody. Enjoy.

P.S. If you think they don't actually have Hello Kitty Sanitary products in Japan, you are mistaken.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Hope for the new generation

My mother-in-law (Baba) is awesome. Besides helping us out with the kids (frequently), she often feeds us because we cannot feed ourselves. I don't like to cook. At all. I CAN cook a few things, but I just don't like it. I should note that NU DOESN'T COOK EITHER, BUT HE DOESN'T FEEL THE NEED TO EXPLAIN HIMSELF. My mom is a great chef, as well, but I did not inherit her love of the kitchen. Someday, when I am a rich and famous social studies teacher, I will hire a personal chef who will make my favorite foods.

Until then, we subsist on a non-homemade menu between meals at Baba's house. Typical week's fare goes something like this:

Monday--Dinner at a Mexican restaurant with a "Kids eat Free" special (leftovers for the kids' lunch the next day)
Tuesday--Stir-fry-frozen-goodness from Trader Joes
Thursday--Meeting or event of some kind--eat snacks before and after
Friday--Date at a restaurant
Saturday--Leftovers from the previous night's dinner

Baba has offered many times to give me cooking lessons, but has long since realized that my problem is not aptitude but interest. She now accepts me as I am and prays every week that my husband and children will not waste away because they eat out of cans.

But things are looking up! Overcoming incredible odds, Sasha seems to like the kitchen. She wants to help Baba all the time and has already started cutting soft foods like mushrooms with a little plastic knife. Back from a trip to Japan, Baba brought Sasha an adorable little apron and Sasha went right to work helping to make dinner.

So it turns out, I don't need to be rich and famous to have a personal chef. I can grow one right here at home!!!!!!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Doughy. White. Sad.

Check out this clip from the Daily Show mocking the new Republican slogan, "The Change you deserve." Apparently, they ripped it off from Effexor--an antidepressant drug. Wow. That's taking branding to a whole new level.

(skip ahead to 1:15 for the funny part of the clip)

Monday, May 19, 2008

What if I . . .?

Got so excited to see my friends that I hit them in the head.

Emptied my bowl of pasta on the table and then ate it "like doggy does" with my face.

Encouraged my brother to hit me, pull my hair, bite my hand, or push me down the stairs so I could cry victim and get people to hug me.

Jumped up and down every time the Garbage Truck drove past my house.

Insisted on eating carrots out of a toy bucket.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Victor Sifuentes vs. Hawkeye Pierce

In my Current Events class, we have a weekly seminar about some timely topic like polygamy or taxes. Because it's been such an exciting primary season (and because I can), I am also forcing the students to watch the last two seasons of my all-time favorite show, The West Wing.

I always loved WW and even when the writing suffered from Aaron Sorkin's various trips to rehab, I watched every episode. (He writes much better on the 'shrooms by the way.)

Since the fall, we have been watching an a few episodes per month starting with the beginning of the Santos Campaign. Fans of the show have probably noticed the similarities between the WW and the current Democratic Primary Contest, but Slate TV does a great job of exposing the eerie parallels between real-life and a TV show that was canceled two years ago.

In case you're wondering, my students are now also hooked on the show. My 10th graders ask me weekly, "Will Santos win? Isn't that the girl from Meet the Parents?"

My 12th graders pretend to be bored by the whole thing, but I can sense they're secretly into it. And even if they're not, I love watching it at work.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

The Groundhog Who Will Not Die

A few weeks ago, Alex and Sasha had a sleepover with Noz and E. While driving around town, they encountered a groundhog clinging to life after being hit by a car. Apparently, the scene was quite messy and dramatic. The Aunt and Uncle took advantage of the teachable moment to drive home the lesson to "hold hands on the street."

The next day, I got the skinny from the kids:

A: We saw AMIMAL!
S: GROUNDHOG! He was bleeding!
A: Bleeding. . .
S: Yeah . . .bleeding . . .
A: Noz got shovel
S: It's Ok! It's OK! E got a shovel
A: Tell amimals. . . Tell amimals. . .Tell amimals to hold hands.
S: Hold hands in the ROAD!
A: Groundhog no hold hands. His mommy sad.
S: Need to hold hands in the road. Mommy sad.
A: Groundhog bleeding. Mommy cry.

We've been having trouble with Alex darting away from us, so this lesson was quite helpful.

Since that fateful day, the kids have been repeating this scene OVER AND OVER. Everyday they regale me with the tragic tale of a careless groundhog who's mommy is now crying. We hear about this groundhog whenever we hold hands, see a road, scrape a knee (bleeding), eat our breakfast, it goes ON and ON.

Yesterday, Sasha asked me for the 12th time on the 1.5 mile journey between our house and Trader Joe's about the Groundhog.

S: Where is the groundhog?
A: He's bleeding. Sad . . .
S: Where is the groundhog, mommy?
Me: (impatient and tired) The groundhog is dead. He died. He's all gone.


I glance into the rear-view mirror and see their little synapses firing a mile-a-minute trying to understand the existential question of life and death.

Just when I think I've finally put an end to this gruesome saga . . .

S: Groundhog dead
S: Dead! He Died!
A: His mommy sad.
S: It's Ok, It's OK, He DIED!!!!
A: All gone

(and on and on . . .)

Commies, Commies Everywhere

While I almost expected China to let David A run with the the torch, I am impressed that he got to witness it without even leaving his apartment. Extra props for getting into the "Spirit of the People" with the little red flag.

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