Saturday, April 30, 2011

Trumpet Trio

Max and some buddies played at their first solo and ensemble competition today. Squawked once or twice, but did a GREAT job and got a rating of I - (on a scale of I-V). Way to go! Congrats guys on your hard work!

In case you missed it...

I was asleep at 5am yesterday morning, so I did miss it! So, if you're like me - here's a treat! The Royal Wedding in 60 seconds:

Thursday, April 28, 2011

How many camps did YOU sign up for?

It's summer camp time again. Feels like we were just dusting the snow off the car, but I'm already behind the curve. I wrote this a few years ago but am running into it again this year. Last summer the boys did one week of camp - all together - all at the same place, and loved it. The rest of the summer they goofed off, ran amuk, swam, and goofed off. A kids' dream summer if you ask me. Yet here we go again looking at brochures, wondering if we shouldn't fill a few weeks for them. But is filling a few weeks right?

May 23, 2008

How many camps did YOU sign up for?

SuzieI have been asked that question more times than I care to remember - and it's just that - it's ME signing up for camps, not how many camps are the kids attending this summer. Why on earth is there this big push to fill their days anyway? I have no idea what is at the root of this drive to fill the kids' summer with activities around here, but it is a constant pressure to do so, at least in my circles.

We never had that big push in Texas to fill our summers, and there surely wasn't as much cool stuff to do there as there is here in the nation's capitol. We're all of 20 minutes from DC proper, and the museums, the Mall, the galleries, zoos, and the historical places (that aren't so fun for kids but involve a Metro ride so they really are fun in the end) are all free or very low cost.

The gymnastics place offers a camp, but so does the soccer, the school district, the gym, the county rec centers, the preschool, other local private schools, and then the list branches out. I can't imagine how much money we'd spend if we filled our summer with camps, especially for three kids, but that's just what some folks are doing. When did it become OK to take all those precious summer days away from kids? How else are they going to learn how to deal with the "boredom" and head off on grand adventures in the basement, the back yard, or at a friend's house? Where are they going to get that much needed kiddo downtime that lets them unspool from the school year? If all of their days are filled with camps and classes and they have back to back weeks of those camps and classes, when do they have time to goof off? What are we teaching our kids by filling their every summer day with camps and classes?

I understand the need to provide care for your child over the summer, but at what point does one decide that filling an entire summer with different camps is good for little folks? And what's with asking me what camps I signed up for? I'm not going least not to camp this summer. Although, that could be fun - mommy camp...hmmm....

An original post to DC Metro Moms Blog.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Thanks for plugging in the Easter Egg Roll!

It's Easter Egg Roll time again in the DC area, and this year, while we aren't going, 250 students and teachers from our school will be there. Fairfax County Public Schools chose Bailey's Elementary School to give the tickets to, and the second grade was chosen to attend. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for a good chunk of these kids, and they are beyond excited.

We went to the roll last year and had a fantastic time. We rode the Metro. We hung out in the grass and had a snack. We waited in line to get in and went through security. ;). Then, we saw Justin Bieber, DJ Lance, Clifford, the White House up close (!), and the Easter bunny, of course! We rolled eggs, hunted for eggs, and dyed eggs. We tossed footballs, ran an agility course, and did some people watching (who was that Justin kid anyway?) We planted some seeds, did more people watching, got a cool looking wooden egg, a banana (yes, they were handing those out), and a neat poster, then rode the Metro back home.

I am sure that the second graders that go this year will have as wonderful of a time as we did. And maybe, just maybe, the President himself will be there when they go. How cool would that be?

March 27, 2009

Thanks for plugging in the Easter Egg Roll!

Dear Mr. President and the rest of you White House Folks,

Thank you for the opportunity to get tickets to your annual Easter Egg Roll. I know this is the first year that you will be in attendance of this tradition, but we have not yet had the opportunity to even participate in the whole process of getting tickets up until you decided to put it all online. In past years folks had to come down to the Mall to get tickets about a week before the event. And wait in line...and wait...and wait. And if you lived out of town? Well, you were stuck either coming into town a week early and waiting in line, or you were just out of luck. Locals? Well, we had the option of hanging out with our closest "friends" for hours and hours and hoping that we were far up enough to get one of the 18,000 or so tickets that were handed out. But you changed that all this year.

I want to personally thank you for giving my family a chance at coming to the White House Easter Egg Roll. Up until now we weren't really even given the opportunity to get tickets - I have four kids and there's no way I could have spent a full day out on the Mall for those tickets. For tickets to see Garth Brooks when he finally came to our city in Texas when I was in high school? No problem there - we were camping in front of the local grocery store and we knew most everyone going in and out of there. For football tickets when I was in college? No problem - there was beer involved there and it was just me and my roommates - no kids. But waiting for hours in line on the Mall? Not so much for me these days with four kids in tow or missing several soccer games to make them all stand in line. So you see, I was glad to hear that you changed it to an online system. If it had not been online then my family would have had NO chance of attending the White House Easter Egg Roll. We have lived in the DC area for three years now and the kids are all finally old enough to make it a memorable experience (well the older kids are old enough - the baby's a bit young but I'm sure she wouldn't mind being toted along) so I figured that this was our year.

I understand that there were lot of folks out there who were unhappy about the outcomes. One man posted online earlier today that he has attended for the past three years and he was getting screwed out of his tickets - as if he has some sort of right to attend. Listen bub, there are only 18,000 or so given out each year - don't you think it's someone else's turn to attend? Another person complained that the system kept timing out. Haven't you ever tried to get those hot, HOT concert tickets online, and read later that they sold out in 2 minutes, 14 minutes, 30 minutes. Well, this isn't my first time hitting the refresh button either. And really - computer crashes happen - even the best laid plans. We all know the drill with modern technology.

In the end we did not get our six tickets. But for the first time since we've lived in this area there was the chance for us to be included in the magic of the White House Easter Egg Roll. The kids won't be disappointed because they'll never know I tried. The hubby is sympathetic because he knows how much I enjoy these types of things. And me, well, I'm appreciative that I had the opportunity to try to get those tickets, and hope that next year I have the same chance. And to all of you out there complaining that you had to hang near the computer all day, or that the site kept crashing - remember that you could have spent today in the rain, in the cold, on the Mall, by yourself waiting for hours to get those tickets...or to be told that they were all gone.

So thanks, Mr. President, for "plugging in" the Easter Egg Roll! This familyappreciates it and hopes that you keep that tradition alive in the future. And who knows - maybe we'll see you next year!



This is an original DC Metro Moms Post.

Suzie can be found lamenting her missed egg rolling opportunities as well as other things over at Confessions of A Not So Well Behaved Woman.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Parking Win

Spotted recently:
Really? Two spots for a minivan?

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Well that didn't work...

Back to my old blog template for a short while. Need to figure out this whole weird error thing that I'm getting on some of these really cool templates. Unfortunately I don't actually know HTML, but I'm learning very quickly what the bits and pieces are that I need. Nothing like a little creative motivation to learn a new language! So, more templates to come over the next few weeks until I get this all figured out! ;)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mommy Makeover + 1 Year

Four years after my surgery I'm down a size, and still rocking the smaller bras and smaller pants! Here I am, happy as a clam that I did this, and willing to share my story so others like me will be inspired to make the same great decision that I made! Here's what I wrote about it one year after my surgery:

April 14, 2008

Mommy Makeover + 1 Year

Band_aidA year ago today I was recovering from what some call a "mommy makeover." I had a breast reduction and a tummy tuck. I am 35 years old and have had three children, two of whom are twins, and another who was 9.5 lbs at birth (and man, did he have a big head).

Contrary to what some out there might believe, I was not duped into believing that I was misshapen, unattractive, pressured into surgery, or taken in by clever marketing. And I was certainly not self-loathing. My husband and I came to this decision on our own, after many discussions. I mention my husband because he too is part of my decision making process whenever a big decision comes up. You see, I married him and he's still in the picture. He did not, however, ever tell me that I was unattractive, insufficient in any way, nor did he pressure me at all into having this surgery. He was supportive of me every step of the way, and only wanted the best for me - whatever I decided was the best for me.

You see, this mommy makeover WAS all about me. I often joke that everything is about me, but in this case it was. I was uncomfortable in my own skin. I had headaches, back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain from straps digging in, couldn't run or jog, and had trouble exercising at all other than weights and some minor cardio. I had been exercising for years three times a week but was unable, due to the sheer size of my breasts (40 FF if you are curious) to do a whole lot that would make the exercise effective. I also had trouble finding clothes that fit my body. I have skinny legs and large hips, which normally wouldn't be an issue in hunting up clothes that fit. But I also had a lump of skin near my belly that hung down about 3-4 inches from where it belonged, and had to literally be tucked into my pants. Any weight I lost made the skin fold hang down further, and the layer of fat accompanying my skin made it impossible for me to fit into pants that were shaped appropriately for my size. Basically I should have been in a size 16 based on waist, leg, and hip size and shape, but had to wear a size 22 to accommodate that lump of skin. No pants were made that fit my shape. Also, those lovely muscles that separate to make room for those kids during pregnancy never came back together - not even close. It didn't matter how much I exercised my muscles wouldn't come back together. So here I was with separated muscles, saggy skin, and big giant boobs. No amount of work would bring that skin back towards home, and those boobs, which were there from the start, were never were going to get smaller.

It all started with an episode of Dr. 90210 (a guilty pleasure that I'm admitting for the first time publicly). After seeing boobs on the show that looked exactly like mine and realizing that I could find some relief from the pain that I'd felt all these years, we started looking into the surgery. We decided that now was the time to remove the belly skin, and that the muscles that weren't friends could be sewn back together. This was not medically required, nor was the reduction covered by the insurance because apparently going from a FF to a C cup was not removing enough tissue. So, it IS all about me - not some doctor - and I could get both things done at the same time. And so I did. Now, one year later, I couldn't be happier.

You see, I don't see my body as a "badge of mommyhood." Being a mommy is all about who you are on the inside and what you teach your kids. I have three little badges of mommyhood running around. First off, my kids represent all that I am in respect to being a mom - you can judge me that way, not by the way I look. Isn't that what we teach our kids? And while I gave birth to these three, that doesn't mean that if I adopted they wouldn't also represent all that I am as a mother. Who says that you have to give birth to a little person to wear your badge proudly - any adoptive mom can tell you that.

I did this for me. I did this because I wanted to. I can now exercise and have lost some weight, which in turn makes me more healthy and more available for my kids now and in the future. I am now pain free - no back, neck, shoulder, or strap pain. I move around much easier - I no longer have FF's working against me every step (but my husband mourns the loss of his friends). And yes, I am more confident. But honestly, that comes from feeling better and being more healthy. And poo on you who think otherwise.

Original DC Metro Moms post.

Suzie also blogs over at Confessions of a Not So Well Behaved Woman.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Can you enhance it?

"Tighten up on that."
"Freeze that."
"Run that back."
"Zoom in."
And my absolute favorite:
"Got an image enhancer that can bitmap?"

Want a giggle? You gotta see this for yourself:

Saturday, April 09, 2011

So, who will take care of us?

Last week both Tom and I got very sick and went down for the count. But this time, two years after I wrote this first post, a lot has changed. Not only do we have family in town, but we also have a much more solid support system in place. I know who I can call to get groceries, who can bring the kids home from the bus, who can watch Lucy on short notice, and what our kids will do if end up in bed for two days. Seems that things do change, and life moves on, and I reach out. That's the biggest lesson I learned from a few years of being sick here and there and needing help but not asking for it. I really do need to ask for help. I'm sick so infrequently that sometimes it just doesn't occur to me to lean on others for help. But this time I did. I not only cut out any extra activity for the few days we were really sick, but I also called a friend or tow, had them grab my kids, asked them to bring me stuff, etc. It works, and it's a much different place to be than where I was a year and a half ago.

December 06, 2009
So, who will take care of us?

I'm the mommy. When any of my four my kids get sick, I take care of them. When I get sick, my husband takes care of me (He's the daddy.). When my husband gets sick, I take care of him. You see how this goes. It's all pretty straightforward and generally works out really well. But what on earth are you supposed to do when BOTH the mommy and the daddy are sick? Who is supposed to take care of us?
Are the kids supposed to step in and run the house? Well, for several days over the past week the kids did just that. They basically took care of themselves, and also entertained their one year old sister as much as three 6 and 9 year oldscan, But, we discovered that we do not have a support system in place at all. I thought that my list of folks to call in case of an emergency would suffice, but now I see that that's not the case. Those folks are really for emergencies - not much else. They can step in short term but not for any length of time. Who am I supposed to call if we really do go down for the count again? We have no family in town, no friends close enough to pop in each day to see if we are still alive and kicking, and no classmates near enough to drive the kids to school. This time it was hacking and coughing and low grade fevers for a week, so we could actually drive them around. But what happens to the kids if we both get really sick again and can't get in a car (or shouldn't)? How are they supposed to get to and from school, gymnastics, soccer, etc. Clearly those things would fall aside, as some did this week, but school? What if we run out of groceries? Everywhere I went this week I was aware of the fact that I was spreading the nasty bug that was residing in my chest. And this one was a minor bug I'm sure - no pandemic in me. But what if I do get the swine flu, and my hubby gets it, and what if we have to get a kid to the doctor, or school, or anywhere? Who can step in and take care of us? At this point I'm at an absolute loss.
What I did find out is that there are some folks close enough to run the kids to and from the bus. Whether they can fit them all in the car together is a different story (three school aged kids throws a kink into many good plans). But they offered, and I'll take them up on it if we both head south again. And I also found out that people don't appreciate you hacking and coughing at them, even if it isn't the plague, in the midst of a highly contagious flu season. Guess I need to buy some masks to take care of that. But this leaves us with my original question - who will take care of us? Clearly we barely took care of ourselves this time, but next time, what if it's worse?
This is an original DC Metro Moms post. In between coughing and running kids to the bus, Suzie also blogs over at Confessions of a Not So Well Behaved Woman.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

DC Metro Moms

A few years ago I started writing for a collaborative blog called the DC Metro Moms. We were an arm of the Silicon Valley Moms, and had a bunch of local to DC writers. Over the four years that I wrote for this blog I found my voice, I found a great group of writers that inspired me, and I met a bunch of wonderful women. Almost a year ago the blog shut down, and so over the next few months I'll be sharing the posts with you here. All will have my byline, some will be out of date, and some will be completely relevant.

And soon, I'll be writing for another local collaborative blog called The DC Moms. We are still in the process of getting it all set up, but drop it in your blog reader as posts will start going up soon!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Like my new style?

It's still me here - no worries. I'm just playing around with my template a bit. Not sure I'm 100% sold on this one yet, but it's closer to who I am and what I'm feeling these days than my sweet simple flower template. So, this may stick around and it may not, but keep your eyes peeled!

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

barefoot for the day

today I am going barefoot

while I know i can't go into the grocery store
and it's rainy and cold out
these seem like such small sacrifices

i hope that you can join me