Thursday, November 29, 2007

Little of This, Little of That

A couple of times a week I park next to the same car in my office parking lot. It is a later model sedan, but that is not what stands out. What stands out is the seat covers. Every seat in the car is covered in what looks like t-shirt material with a picture of Snoopy and the statement "I Don't Have a Girlfriend, but I Have My Dog" or something to that effect. I swear. If you went on a date and someone picked you up in a car with those car seats, what would you think? My guess is that the owner has chosen the path of celibacy.

Today I even brought in my digital camera to take a photo for posting to the blog (yes, I am that mean, and no, I have no idea who the car belongs to). Unfortunately, even after several trips to the parking lot to locate the car, it appears the guy has taken the day off. Bummer.

Since there is no photo to accompany that part of my post, here are some new photos of LP. Yes, it is true, she gets cuter every second. She put the sunhat on her own head while getting ready for school yesterday.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tis the Season

I really can't believe that Thanksgiving has come and gone and we are now on to that dreaded period leading up to Christmas. For me, the next month or so means no desire to go shopping (because only crazy people go to the store this time of year, IMHO) but lots of gifts to give. I have squared away gifts for most of the family, but I have to worry about the folks from work and LP's day care teachers.

I didn't realize people at work gave gifts until my first holiday season here when I received several items and felt really guilty for not having something to exchange. After struggling to find gifts the following two years, I launched my genius idea to just give everyone homemade baked goods. My cranberry-walnut biscotti is typically a big hit. This year I am just not sure I have the energy to bake. I did whip up a batch this past weekend with LP helping, but I think it is a little bit too far from the actual holidays to count as a holiday gift. I am still thinking on what to do here.

As for the teachers, I have taken the bold step of offering to coordinate a group gift for LP's classroom. Another mom took this on last year, and I am figuring I should be up to the challenge - how hard can it be to pick up some Target gift cards anyway? And hopefully it is far enough in advance that I will actually have most of the cash in hand from the other parents before having to purchase the cards.

To be honest, I have never been particularly good at gift-buying. When the Hoos and I go on vacation we are the kind of people that don't bring back souvenirs, instead spending our money on food while there. We then typically end up looking for last minute gifts on the way to the airport or, on occasionally in the duty free shop. On our "honeymoon" to Canada the only thing we bought was a bottle of windshield wiper spray to fight the snow.

Gifts, schmifts, isn't a little love from me enough, folks?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Back to Reality

For the first time in at least 5 years, the Hoos and I spent Thanksgiving with my family. We typically spend turkey day with his side of the family, but since it was my grandparents' 60th wedding anniversary, we opted to celebrate with them in upstate NY at my uncle's house.

It is always nice to spend a few days with family, especially my family. They are nutty, diverse, silly, generous, loving and kind. You really can't ask for better. Seriously. For example, we spent one night playing the game "catchphrase" - poorly. You have to get your team to guess a phrase by describing it. To truly explain our inability to think after consuming large amounts of turkey, consider my grandmother saying "It is like a hamburger - with cheese" for the term "cheeseburger".

This applies to all of my family, not just my dad's side, who we spent the holiday with. We reserve the entire family gathering for Passover, because more than once a year might cause the universe to explode.

Anyway, we spent Thursday through Saturday at a lovely bed-and-breakfast/spa that my Aunt and Uncle own near their home. A restored mansion, it is spacious and quite wonderful. There is no television, which we didn't end up missing at all. We all gathered around the fireplace and talked, played games, and just chilled. It was great to be able to kick back and relax with no worries.

The situation was even more relaxing because with 12 adults around, LP had plenty of attention and the Hoos and I did not have to be constantly jumping up and down to chase her down. In fact, LP became so comfortable in the house, she would occasionally disappear behind the door leading to the kitchen and return with food. Lots of adults get lost in the 19th century mansion, but LP had no problems finding her way to the good stuff.

The drive home was just as easy as the ride up, but the return to reality was not quite as enjoyable. Well, other than the fact that LP slept like an angel at home and less so while we were away. A new environment and all that. I must admit, it was nice to have lots of extra hands and eyes to chase down my munchkin. The Hoos spent most of Sunday blowing all of our leaves into a big pile on our lawn and I followed LP around and brought her to the grocery store.

Makes me even more thankful for a large, healthy, and loving family...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Bumbling Through

Today is a slow day in my office. Probably like most offices. The good news is, I have actually been able to accomplish a lot, the non-work highlight of which was a call to Amazon Germany to unravel the mystery of my order for my nieces.

Earlier today, I got an email notification, totally in German, I think telling me that one of my items was shipped and the other was back ordered. When you are sending gifts to siblings, it is never good for it to appear that only one kid was gifted.

After located the customer service number, I placed my international call. The first time I listened to the automated greeting several times, praying that a non-response would direct me to a person that could help me. This strategy back-fired and I was hung up on. Crap. I redialed and this time I began pressing random numbers immediately following the automated "Guten Tag" greeting. By some stroke of luck, I was sent to a customer service rep who greeted me (shockingly) in German. Crap. "Umm, you speak English?".

Fortunately for me, most other countries realize that Americans are typically not good at linguistics and adapt to accommodate us and this representative was no exception. We muddled through together and I think I selected an alternative gift for my niece that will hopefully be on its way shortly.

I think I should be embarrassed that I can only speak one language fluently. If I try really hard when talking to someone that cuts me lots of slack I can get by in Spanish, sort of, maybe...on a good day. And I can read Hebrew, as long as it is in block print, like in text books, as opposed to script, which is how most things are actually written. Not that I can tell you what it means, and I certainly couldn't have a conversation, but I can read it.

To make matters worse, four and a half of my nieces and nephews are bilingual. Two and a half (the half being my four-year-old nephew) speak Hebrew in addition to perfect English and the other two speak both Hungarian and English like champs. They all laugh hysterically when they try to teach me anything in their alternate languages.

I am sure in a few years LP will be spitting foreign curse words at me thanks to her big cousins. Yet another thing to look forward to...

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My Little Woman

Yesterday was LP's first day in her new classroom at school. She is now officially a "Young Toddler". I will wait while you cry softly about how quickly time has passed.

Anyway, when I went to pick her up I expected that she would be thrilled to see me and run over and give me crazy hugs. Not that she does this anyway. Typically when I pick her up, she is excited to see me and runs in the other direction. I imagine this must be her way of saying "come play with me." Riiiight. Yesterday was no exception.

For a few minutes I stood there talking to her teacher who told me what a delight she is: "She is like a little woman. We say 'hi' she says 'hi' back. We say 'how are you' and she says 'good'" Me: "SHE SAYS 'GOOD'?!" It is like my baby has a whole other life that I don't know about!

Of course, when I finally bundle her up in to her jacket and force her to leave, she cries. According to the teacher, this is the first they have ever seen LP upset. Which is a good thing, I guess.

Monday, November 19, 2007

My Spanish is Not So Good

Chanukah is rapidly approaching and this year I am making an effort to get my gift-buying act together. Unfortunately, we have family that lives far away in Eastern Europe in a country with a very unreliable mail system. It has taken months for packages to get through, if they get through at all.

This kind of stinks, because we love our two nieces to pieces and always regret not being able to send them Chanukah and birthday presents. To make matters worse, my brother-in-law is so good that he sends us presents from a variety of online sources. None of which appears to ship to Hungary. The guilt at not being able to reciprocate kills me. We do buy presents for the girls when they visit us here in the U.S., but a lot of times those gifts don't fit into their luggage and are left to languish stateside.

This year, my brother-in-law sent us a list of places that actually deliver to Hungary. This was very nice of him and I am thrilled to be able to send the girls gifts. Unfortunately, while they ship to Hungary, the websites aren't exactly friendly to English speakers. I ended up buying presents from Amazon Germany. It took me quite a while to navigate the site, which is essentially all in German, and the only way I got it to work was by using Babel Fish and having the Amazon US website open in the hopes that the sites would mirror each other.

When I sent the Hoos the url asking him how to figure out what the Shipping and Handling charges would be, he referred me to the tab that said "Schuhe & Handtaschen". To him it looked like "Shipping and Handling". When he clicked on it and saw shoes and handbags, he quickly determined that this was not as easy as it looked.

After finally (I think) figuring it out, I was emailed a receipt, which I forwarded to the Hoos. His response: "Great, I'll print it if ever ever need to dispute it." Good lord, I hope their presents are delivered in a reasonable amount of time without costing my thousands of dollars.

Doubt or Denial?

Thursday night the Hoos and I listened to LP cough in her sleep. It was a phlegmy, icky cough. But, she didn't wake up. When she did wake up the next morning, she was pleasant, despite the snot running down her face.

As a parent, I have a constant internal struggle about doing the right thing for my baby. Does she have a cold? Is it something more serious? How would I know? While we try to err on the side of caution, we also have no desire to run to the pediatrician for what could me a minor problem. And since all infant/toddler cold medicines were pulled from the shelves recently, it is not like we have lots of options for treatment other than a humidifier and lots of fluids.

In this case we took the "wait and see approach." LP didn't (and still doesn't) have a fever, the cough only occurs first thing in the morning and over night, other than the usual toddler pickyness she doesn't seem to have a diminished appetite (is it bad that she only ate the olives off of the pizza we ate Saturday night?) and in general she has maintained her pleasant disposition. Granted she has become increasingly frustrated with my efforts to wipe her nose, but I think that has more to do with chapped nostrils than anything else.

Last night, LP's cough wasn't as gutteral, which I think is a good thing. She did wake up at 5 this morning and when I went in to give her a pacifier she was standing in her crib, reaching her arms out to me. I decided to be a strong mommy and resisted the urge to pick her up. Instead I laid her back down and turned off the humidifier, blaming it for scaring the poor munchkin. Fortunately, after 10 minutes or so we both fell back asleep.

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I am distracted by thoughts of what I should do next. Do I stay the course and just continue to "treat" her "cold"? Take LP to the doctor to get her checked out? Again, this whole mommy thing, so not as easy as it looks...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Bath Time

We still bathe LP in our kitchen sink. It is actually a really big sink. It is more comfortable for us because we don't have to kneel and it uses much less water than if we put her in the tub. We put a pillow thing in the sink for her to sit on so she doesn't slide and so her little bottom has a cushy place to rest. We are starting to think that maybe she is outgrowing this practice though...

Meet Mr. Stupid

I manage public relations for an environmental engineering firm. A large part of my job is securing editorial coverage for my firm. A few months ago I had a huge coupe, getting my firm featured in an article about women in the engineering field. It was to include an interview with one of our employees as well as her photo. Yesterday, I received my copy of the publication in the mail.

After my immediate thrill at seeing our name on the cover, I realized that is was misspelled. Ugh. A PR person's worst nightmare. All that effort, for what could be great coverage, that I can't use.

To set the stage, the firm is named for a person, which can often be confusing. He did exist at one point, but he has long been deceased and his name lives on through the firm. The name may be tricky for some to spell, let's say that is it "Johnny Quest, Inc." Other than replacing the actual firm name with this pseudonym, below is my actual email conversation with the editor of the publication.
Jim –
Thank you so much. I received the copies today and they look great. One problem I notice is that “Johnny” is spelled incorrectly throughout the entire thing. Is there a way we can get a corrected pdf of the article so we can post it to our website?

Thank you,

Hi, Amy:

I also had a question about the spelling of the company’s name, so I checked the Website, which lists the corporation as Jonny Quest, without the h. Please check and advise me if the Website is incorrect. Thanks.


I assure you, the name of the firm is Johnny Quest Inc. If you can give me the url that you saw the incorrect spelling, I will make sure that is fixed right away.
Hi, Amy:

I accessed the website for When I went to, there was no listing. If I have somehow made an error, we can make a correction on the PDF files and in the next issue. Thanks.



It is important to note that the writer we worked with on the interview spelled it correctly, I have a draft she sent me to review. In addition, the article actually has the correct url - which is neither of those he searched ( IN IT and this editor took it upon himself to do this bizarre search (who types in www.Whatever you think the website might be. com to check how to spell a company’s name?) and change the spelling. If he had just done a Google Search for either “Jonny Quest” or “Johnny Quest” the correct spelling would have come up!

Adding to my frustration, is that he doesn’t seem to believe me that it is incorrect! Is it just me, or are there more stupid people in the world today than there were even a few weeks ago?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Dang Time Change!

So I know it has been over a week since we changed the clocks. I thought by now my sweet little angel's internal clock would have readjusted, but it appears that she continues to march to the beat of the former drum.

LP used to sleep peacefully until sometime between 8 and 8:30. The Hoos would have to wake her up at 7:45 for day care the three days a week that she goes. And even after rousing her from her peaceful sleep she would rest her fuzzy little head on his shoulder, milking every last second of relaxation she could before having to greet the day.

Don't let the media fool you - only people without young children actually gain an hour of sleep when we turn the clocks back. In my house, since "falling back" we have all lost an hour of sleep. LP now wakes up at 7:15 or so EVERY DAY. And not just waking up and mewling for us - but standing in her crib and calling at the top of her lungs to be released.

On the weekends we try to bring her into bed with us and hunker down, hoping that she will just relax and enjoy the warmth of mommy and daddy. But no. She is up and she wants to play. She may stay in bed with us, but there is no rest to be had. She will poke, prod, smack, and generally make it impossible for grumpy grown-ups to maintain the illusion of sleep. The other day, she pulled my lips back and attempted to force her pacifier into my mouth. She thought it was hysterical. I was not as amused.

Please don't tell me that we have to wait until Spring to regain our precious hour of sleep....

Monday, November 12, 2007

I Am So Lame

This weekend was supposed to be an exciting adventure for the Hoos and me. Mid-day Saturday we dropped LP off with my parents on Long Island and returned home to an empty house for 24 hours. We actually had a concert to attend Saturday night, the impetus for the baby-sitting. I know, it sounds like we are going to have something crazy planned, right? We are going to party like rock stars, relive our second honeymoon (the first honeymoon, Canada in December, was a bust)...

But no. Here is what really happened:
  • 2:30. We return home.
  • 2:35. The Hoos notices that there is water pooling around our less-than-a-year-old boiler.
  • 2:40. We search our disorganized files to find the boiler paperwork and service number. We call.
  • 2:45-3:30. We do yard work while waiting for the service guy to show up. I rake by the driveway and side of the house and he shreds leaves to dump into our new composter.
  • 3:35-4. The composter is full, so I go inside the house and start to clean up, I vacuum, spot clean sticky spots on the tile know, the good stuff.
  • 4-4:10: The service guy shows up, looks at the boiler, closes a valve and is gone is less than 10 minutes.
  • 4:10. I leave the house in search of a "nap mat". Apparently you can only buy these things online, because at all of the stores I go to, all I get is sympathetic looks.
  • 5:10. I return home, peek my head into the basement where the Hoos is cleaning off the kayak he is building, and remind him that we have to leave by 5:30 in order to grab dinner before going to the concert.
  • 5:45. After going through my entire closet to select an outfit, I throw on clothes, grab the directions and we make our way to the car.
  • 6:10. We arrive in fabulous Ridgefield, CT to discover that the town only has 3 restaurants. Since the concert is at 7, we both eat breakfast at the local diner. Fancy.
  • 7:02. We circle the parking lot of the East Ridge Middle School in Ridgefield looking for a spot. Eventually we end up parking about as far from the entrance as possible, illegally, and make our way to the entrance.
  • 7:10. We find seats in the last row of the auditorium and the lights dim.

......In case you thought we were maybe at a rager of a concert, we are watching the Ridgefield Chorale. A local chorus, the Hoos did some pro bono work for them and they rewarded him with free tickets to their concert. They sang a selection of songs from the 50s, 60s, and 70s. We did enjoy the music, but we also found time to be catty, as one woman was wearing a black dress slit up to her crotch. Every time she moved we would crack up. We were thankful to be in the last row. We are horrible people...........

  • 9:05. The concert ends and we make our way back to the car and home.
  • 9:10. I call my parents to check on LP. She in wonderful, had a great time and went right to sleep at 8:30 when they put her down.
  • 9:30. We arrive home and go upstairs to change. I tell the Hoos that I have no intention of going back downstairs and slip into my flannel PJs. He agrees to stay upstairs, but only if I watch TV in bed instead of going right to sleep.
  • 10:00. We watch a very romantic episode of Law and Order: SVU. I fall asleep before the final credits roll.

Are you sick of the play-by-play yet? Because I haven't told you about the grocery shopping that I did Sunday morning...I was at the store by 9:15 since I woke up at 7:45.

Lest you think the weekend was a complete bust, let me reassure you, the Hoos and I actually had a very nice time. We spent some time together, got to do things individually without worrying about occupying LP, and I did even manage to get a manicure...

To be honest, the weekend was reminiscent of any weekend before we became parents. Errands had to be run, things had to get done, they just didn't take as long.

Sigh...I have become lame.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Lessons in Being a Girl

Today I am wearing a skirt and stockings. This is a relatively momentous occasion. Every few months or so I get tired of wearing the same thing week after week and throw on a more girly outfit to mix it up.

As I pulled on the stockings, trying to take special care not to catch them on my really dry hands, I noticed that this particular pair of pantyhose has something akin to built-in panties. I hadn't noticed before because, well, I typically just buy whatever pair of hose is on sale. This got me thinking - are there women out there that wear stockings without underwear? I find the idea highly unappealing and actually quite disgusting. Does this make me not-so-womanly?

I am also not too keen on the idea of thong underwear. I don't really care if people see my pantylines (or my bra strap for that matter). I do care if I have an irritating piece of string up my tush. Furthermore, much to the Hoos' chagrin, it is very rare that I wear make-up and I blow-dry my hair about as often as I wear stockings.

As LP gets older, it will be my responsibility to teach her about these things. In general, I find the task to be quite daunting. Growing up,I was a bit of a tomboy. I played Little League all through elementary school and as much as I wanted ballet and gymnastics lessons to be like the other girls, I didn't last more than a semester in either. In fact, I am about as graceful as an elephant in high heels.

While I hope for her sake that LP is lighter on her feet than me, I also hope that she is a rough and tumble little girl. And not just because I am dreading her asking me questions about boys and the birds and the bees, but because dang it, I don't know if I am ready to learn how to properly utilize cosmetics.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Better than a Post

My mother thought my post yesterday was "random". I guess that means it wasn't her favorite, so I am guessing she won't like my main post today any better. To make everyone happy, here is a picture of LP.

Joie de Vivre

Yesterday I was feeling particularly blah. Over lunch, my good buddy Wenderina commented that I seemed to be shrugging or responding "whatever" a lot more lately. This got me wondering - have I lost my passion? Even more direct - what was my passion?

Interruption - my goodness, the last sentence sounds an awful lot like a reading from a book on tape. Wenderina gave me a book on tape, which is enjoyable but frustrating. For a silly little romp of a book that would take me two hours to read I am investing countless hours listening to 14 cassette tapes.

Back to our regularly scheduled posting...

Obviously of late, as in the last two years or so, my family has been my number one priority. LP is the most wondrous and spectacular thing in my life. I love her to pieces and channel a lot of my energy into all things LP. Just by existing she makes me feel more full, more alive than I even thought possible.

But, I can't think of what else I am passionate about - or have ever been passionate about. I know some people are passionate about their jobs, others about their hobbies.

Unfortunately, I am not a woman that has hobbies. (This is endlessly frustrating for the Hoos who never knows what to buy me for presents. If I just collected something or focused my energies on a particular type of project it would make his life much easier.) I love to read and cook. And, well, I couldn't imagine life without food. But since I am not in any way, shape or form passionate about exercising, I don't see eating as a full-on passion.

Don't get me wrong, my life is full. I am content. But I wonder if I am missing something.

What are you passionate about?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

I Got Nothing

As the sole author of this blog, I have certain ground rules for myself:
  1. Nothing too personal. People I know and people I don't know read this.
  2. Minimize the cutesy. LP is cute, that doesn't count. But I am not big on animation, or picking up silly things from around the web or chain letters. Sure, I go with it every once in a while, but looking back, my link to The Onion child care thing was just dopey (IMHO).
  3. Keep it positive. I can be catty, but who wants to read a pissy rant about nothing? Besides, I will eventually get over whatever is bugging me.
Today I am breaking rule numero tres. For some reason, I am stuck in Negative-ville. Maybe it is because I had class last night and it seemed like an absolute waste. Or because I ate so much random crap yesterday that I went to bed with a belly ache and while there is no more physical ick, the mental ick is sticking around. Or maybe it is because it was pouring raining all night long and who wants to get out from under the covers on a dreary day? Whatever it is, today is a blah blah blog day.

I don't even have any super cute pictures of LP to post since I saved them all to our home computer and I am at work.

Monday, November 5, 2007

East Side - Here She Comes!

Sometime in the next few weeks, LP is going to be moving up from the "older infant room" to the "younger toddler room" at her day care. It is hard to believe that my little munchkin is really a toddler.

Obviously, she is a toddler. She toddles around and babbles incessantly and is just so smart that she continues to constantly amaze me. Even more amazing is how much she has changed in the 15 or so months she has been in day care. When she started she was just over three months old. She could barely support her head on her short little neck (she does still have a short neck) and her activities consisted of crying, sleeping, spitting up, peeing, pooping and drinking. She was fed a bottle while being cradled in someone's arms.

Now she runs circles around me, pointing out things that she wants to eat or play with or read. She feeds herself, drinks from a sippy cup and drags chairs across the kitchen floor when she wants to play bubbles.

I know there is a constant debate in the mommy world about child care. Some people prefer nannies, others home care or day care centers. For us, day care has been the right choice, despite the hiccups and challenges I occasionally complain about. LP is a social, outgoing kid. She doesn't cry when mommy or daddy leave her in someone else's care. She is independent and really fun to be around. And, while the fact that she doesn't fear strangers may become a concern in the future, for now it means that she is a happy kid who likes to meet new people, even if she acts coy until she warms up.

Today I had her parent-teacher conference and her lead teacher impressed upon me how sad she was to see LP go. This makes me feel good that my little girl is in the hands of people that care about her. Now we can all sniffle together as we watch her grow up.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

The Dancing Ladybug

Most of you have already seen this, I sent it to about a zillion people, but I can watch it over and over again.

A few minutes before the Hoos shot the video, I was standing in the kitchen cleaning up from dinner. LP walks in with something stuck to her chin. Turns out to be a small part of a Milky Way wrapper from her trick-or-treat exploits. I remove it and throw it out. Two seconds later, I feel a tap on my leg. She has removed the entire wrapper from the candy bar (sometimes I have a hard time opening packages, I have no idea how she did it) and wants me to take the garbage.

She then proceeds to go into the living room, grab her Bootylicious Turtle and put it on the steps to accompany her fantabulous dancing. My favorite part is when she knocks over the turtle with her spin move. If you listen closely she says "uh oh" as she picks it up. I swear, she was not goaded into a single aspect of this production. She really is that awesome.