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 . . .

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