Friday, July 29, 2011

A New Mall Awaits!

The VTs are hitting the road this weekend! Yes, we're just heading down the street to Oklahoma City, and yes, it's for a soccer tournament, but - woo hoo! A hotel! Eating out! I am exceptionally talented at staying at hotels and eating at restaurants, as you might suspect.

And let's not think about what that says about my life that I am super excited to drive with PVT and my 5 kids to Oklahoma City, mmmmm k?

Anyhoo, since I am of course not a native Okie, I asked PVT what the "mall scene" was like in Oklahoma City. PVT looked at me like I had sprouted antennas - he hardly knows anything about the malls HERE, let alone a city away. So I asked my local network of hip with-it moms, and my dear friend Kappa Kappa Karen told me to hit Penn Square! So: yay! It does not have a Nordstrom, but it does have a Dillard's, Godiva, Ann Taylor, LOFT, Pottery Barn Kids and a few decent restaurants.

OK, I know that doesn't sound too craptastic, but remember where I am, you all.

And you know what? I know FOR SURE that we will make it to this mall. I won't be able to brush it off as too much trouble to take everyone to the mall, I can shop online, yadda yadda...

How do I know this?

Praise Jesus. There is a LEGO store.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

So I Didn't Want a Sixth Today

I apologize for the sparse posting, you all - my sister and her new spectacular bosom are here visiting from Virginia with her two children. Which brings the house total to seven children under the age of eight chez VT. But most of the chaos originates from my clan, of course; we were treated this morning to the Worst Toddler Temper Tantrum in the Post-Jurassic Era by my darling daughter, Colette.

Holy screaming, Batman. This was one of the worst displays I've experienced in my years of mothering psychotic banshees; it necessitated a stop next to a cop car (useless threatening), pulling into a neighborhood (more useless threatening), and finally holding her into her bed until she finally calmed down. Start to finish probably 45 minutes - I am pretty sure I sweated off three pounds of water.

Now instead of a real post, I will leave you with this:

UGGS. Ugg CLOGS, for freak's sake. Lined with FUR. So: are they so hideous they're kind of cute? Or just...hideous? Discuss.


Oh, and you can go check out my new Tulsa Kids article about indulging oneself at the spa. Yes, the "research" was a killer on this one.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Random Retail Diatribe

I am the type of person for whom "thinking ahead" is maybe pondering, around 8:49 pm, about what I'm going to do TOMORROW with five children. A week ahead, a season ahead? Ha!

But retailers seem to think everyone is envisioning their next month or three. Even my good friends at Nordstrom do this: their hugest sale is the Anniversary sale, where you can buy stuff cheap - well, cheapER - for November in July. People, I don't know about you, but it's July. I'm hot. I don't know what I'm going to want to wear in November. I don't know what my life is going to look like exactly around that time. More pertinently, I don't know what my ARSE is going to look like exactly around that time. I'll have put on 8 or 18 (oh, hopefully not 18!) pounds when I'm done breastfeeding. What will look flattering at that point in the hazy future? I just cannot squint that far into the horizon!

So: yesterday I went to Target because I needed some JULY things: a big cooler for lemonade for a kiddie lemonade stand; some cheapo little plastic chairs for kids to sit on outside. Did I find these summer tchotchkes at the SUPER Target? Heck no! There was hardly any summer stuff at ALL! In fact, Tarzhay is hawking BACK TO SCHOOL stuff already! I think I even saw a little bit of Christmas stuff, which made me super queasy.

REALLY, you all? Doesn't any retailer sell anything....REAL TIME anymore?

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Ballet Recital

Today was a rather momentous day for a mother with three boys: Colette's first "ballet recital."

She did splendidly. Some of the girls simply watched and stared at the teacher or their parents, but Colette took her teapot role VERY seriously.

Afterwards the girls enjoyed pink frosted confections.

While I suppose it's possible Colette may eventually morph into a butch lesbian, I'm sure glad she hasn't yet.

Oh, and the mothers of these girls! They were all HOT! I felt like I had walked backstage at the Miss Shawnee pageant. Skinny blondes, hot brunettes - sheesh. I don't feel UNattractive when I'm about the general populace, but wow - I felt like the band geek I was in high school amidst the cheer squad again. I wonder if I'm entering the world of kiddie pageants.

AAAHHH! Run for your lives!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Baby Ballet and Oh It's Effing Hot

On July 14, my little girl suddenly BECAME a little girl and turned 3 years old:

Her birthday coincided with the beginning of "Baby Ballet," which she is taking for a couple of weeks at a nearby dance studio.

She LOVES her ballet class. I'm not sure if she loves the dressing up part most, or being around all those little girls - perhaps she did not know that many girls her age even existed.
Oh she is having a ball. And Friday we get to watch their little "recital." I promise I will try not to become That Crazy Mother Who Only Posts Pictures of Her Daughter In a Tutu.


Here is our ten day forecast in Tulsa, Oklahoma:

Awesome! My mental state is a bit precarious right now; insanity is just another degree away. I can't take the baby out in this heat. I am not going out in this sweltering sweat box. I'm not sending my kids out into this sauna. We stayed in all weekend - a weekend in July. Do you all have any great ideas on what to do with 5 kids in 100 + degree weather? Because I don't know what I am going to do with these kids for another month that doesn't involve copious amounts of Sponge Bob. Yes, we'll go the library. We'll go bowling. We'll go to the arcade (a lot more expensive than playing outside). We'll go to the McDonald's indoor playground.

Is this making you cry? It's making me tear up a bit. I remember many years ago when we told some friends we were moving here, friends who were both native Tulsans: Jim laughed and told me in an oh-so-ominous voice: "Say goodbye to temperate weather." I laughed him off. I'm tough enough for a little WEATHER.

Ha! Ha! I'm not laughing now!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Little Perks

A friend emailed me today to cheer me on for the beginning of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. But: haha! She didn't realize that the sale had been going on "privately" since July 5 for cardholders/rabid Nordstromaholics like me. Which made me realize: I forgot to tell you the drama that ensued the dawning of July 5: I couldn't physically GO to the sale, since - well, 5 kids! But I called the Nordstrom hotline just after 7 am, when the sale opened. And I called. And I called. And I couldn't get through - it was just the busy signal! After redialing for about 30 minutes, I finally got through - and then was on hold for another 30 minutes! But finally I spoke to a very helpful girl who patiently withstood my barrage of kiddie shoes, kiddie soccer socks, and kiddie back-to-school clothes.

The DRAMA of it all.

OH OK. I got a few things for myself. Like this silly little Rebecca Minkoff clutch:

Yes, I know, it is a bit cheezy - it says "Nordy Girl." But as long as I sport it ironically, that is still hip, yes?

OK, maybe not.

Anyhoo, I was delighted to find this little card inside when I bought it:

And on the back it said:

For the briefest of split seconds, I thought..."What? I have an ADMIRER? How did he put his card inside a NEW purse...?" OH. Ahem. So it was just a cute little marketing trick.

But I really appreciate marketing tricks that look like Olivier Martinez.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Give Me a Slug Any Day

I know, you CANNOT stand the suspense another minute: our dramatic return to lovely Tulsa, Oklahoma. Well, after our unexpected overnight stay in Denver at the La Quinta Inn, we woke up early the next morning for our short flight to Tulsa. And: it went OK! So OK that I ordered a glass of champagne on the flight (to make up for the lack of beverage service on the previous short, rocky flight - a slight from which I am still recovering) and a Bloody Mary for PVT. Woo hoo! So we made it home, and while I admit I had a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach to be back here, in the heat, the flat, the forest-free terrain, I was happy to finally be home.

And we got home! Where I started my usual post-trip unpacking freakout. While I was taking out the garbage, I saw a spider in the corner of our garage that for some reason gave me pause:

Now, I always call PVT to kill the big spiders. But I wanted him, for some niggling reason, to also LOOK at this one. So he did. He caught it. And instead of laughing me off, he confirmed what I thought: this was a not-so-nice spider. He thought it was a Black Widow.


He caught it in a jar, and I called 911, the National Guard, the Navy SEALS, and three hundred exterminators. I was hoping the exterminator would come NOW, since the thought of Black Widow babies waiting to devour my children with their poisonous fangs was rather troubling. But alas, the exterminator could not come until morning.

And then we found a carpenter ant infestation in our master bedroom window!

WELCOME HOME to Oklahoma, baby.

So PVT napalmed the ants and I slept restlessly in our creepy crawly house, waiting for the morning visit from the heavenly exterminator.

And he came and confirmed: we had a Black Widow! And he found another one outside! But he sprayed our entire house with some vile bug spray pumped out of his van, and I am pretty sure that killed everything but our dog within an 8 mile vicinity.

In Seattle all we have are these:

But now I am pretty much ready to face down the rest of the summer in my Black-Widow-Free house.

If you DO hear of any finance/legalish/venture capitalish jobs for PVT in the Bellevue or Seattle area, however, you could let me know, if you wanted.

I wouldn't MIND.

Gawd I am such a brat.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Vacation Ends. SMACK!

Well, you all, I know that tales of airline woe are banal and common. But I'm going to give you one anyway, because hey! It happened to ME this time!

Our time in Seattle ended rather suddenly and abruptly in my mind. Boo! We never had a picnic at the winery, or made the trip to the zoo, or went boating, or saw enough of friends! Sniff, sniff - but we had all in all a spectacularly Northwesty wonderful time.

I suspect, however, that my beleaguered parents breathed a huge sigh of relief as soon as my mother dropped us off at Sea Tac airport.

Our trek home would trace a complicated flight path from Seattle, to Salt Lake, to Denver, and THEN to Tulsa. But hey, I didn't care - PVT was with me. WHATEVER.

When we got to Salt Lake City, where we weren't even supposed to have time to deplane, the flight attendants kept making ominous announcements: "Storms in Denver...10-15 minutes delay..." then "You can get off the plane, but be back in 15 minutes..." then "We don't know WHEN we're leaving..." All of these rumblings prompted the ever-prescient PVT to start looking at hotel options in Denver since we would likely miss our connection.

None of this is super dramatic, you all. Except our little entourage makes the stakes a little higher: keeping all of these bodies happy-ish, clean, fed and mostly free of cooties from the airplane potty is not exactly like nursing a daiquiri on the beaches of Cabo.

So: we were two and half hours late to Denver. Our flight from Salt Lake was a nauseating barrel-roll through the leftover storm winds (although the kids thought this was fun!) where in Denver: we had an aborted landing! (Really? We were too close to some other plane on the runway?) and then didn't even have a gate!

But FINALLY at 12am Denver time we had settled four children horizontally into a double bed into the sold out Denver Airport La Quinta Inn. We had no luggage. We were down to one diaper. We had no contact solution. We (OK, I) did not have the proper facial cleanser, eye cream, anti-wrinkle serum or night cream. We didn't even have anything for mama's NIGHTCAP.

Holy cripes, you all. This whole experience was dangerously close to CAMPING.

But you know what? Despite being fed peanuts and bagel scraps for 10 hours, trudging around huge airports (including the wee Colette), sitting on planes for interminable amounts of time, and not knowing what was going on, our troop did remarkably well. I think Mama was the biggest whiner.

Well, OK, except for Sylvie, who will be forgiven because she is a) 10 months old; and b) the most deliciously adorable baby in all of fly-over country. I need to try to wean this kid, you all. She thinks Mama is her own personal chocolate Easter Bunny, and I am starting to feel like more gnawed on than a piece of road kill in the vicinity of vultures.

Zoinks, I am starting to fade. So: stay tuned to the riveting second half, PART TWO: the VT's return to Oklahoma.

Thankfully it wasn't quite as bad as THIS.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Just Don't Order The Soup

I forgot to mention that my new article for Tulsa Kids is online now. About date night! So take a look if you desperately need to get out of the house. And live in Tulsa, I suppose!

PVT and I took our own advice the other night and left all FIVE of the children with my sainted parents while we ran up to the Calcutta Grill at the Newcastle Golf Club, an absolute paradise just minutes from my parents' house with mind-blowing views of the entire Seattle area. We sat up at the bar and had a fabulous time tippling, eating bruschetta and pasta, and admiring the hip people coming in from a round of golf or two. Or those who were faking a long day on the golf course, like us.

And then: we got in a weird fight! I'm not even sure what it was about: kids? Inlaws? Soccer? Tulsa? Seattle? I really have no idea, you all. All I know is that I got up and left PVT with the check, and by the time we got home I was calling him a big meanie, or something of that ilk. So that night we did not speak. Which is a bit odd because PVT and I get along very well 98% of the time.

The next day, though, we were friends again by lunchtime after some sheepish apologies on both of our parts. So our date night was a bit, um, abbreviated. But we are just fine. And it's good for me to remember from time to time that marriage is a cauldron of inchoate emotions, a big, soupy mess where we dump all of our deepest longings, emotions and insecurities. And to continue with a cheezy stew metaphor, this pot of muck can bubble over sometimes, even in happy couples. That it requires constant tending, checking, stirring and calibrating is obvious, but I tend to require the obvious pointed out to me.

So do go out on your date night. Even if it ends less than perfectly. Because a stew constantly poked and prodded is bound to be better than one neglected for long periods.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Time Slipping Away, Yadda Yadda Yadda

WHHOOSH! Suddenly my Northwest time is slipping away so quickly! My older boys have been in Boeing space camp all week, and that has consumed much of my administrative brain space. And today I met too many relatives in too few minutes. Here I am with my dear Aunt Joyce:

(She is sporting/rocking her distressed jeans. She knows they are distressed.)

You all, I adore my Aunt. She and I share a fervent devotion to pink cheezy boxed wine. But perhaps what I admire most about her: this woman is never in a bad mood, that I can tell. She has had health issues recently, and she just seems to laugh them off. And perhaps even more admirably? Her twin brother will poke fun at her 24 hours per day, 9 days per week, and she laughs HIM off too. He can tell her she is a total whack job, and she finds this hilarious. If this brother of hers called me a whack job, I would have to retreat to my room for many days for serious navel gazing.

Yes, this twin of hers is my dad.

Anyhoo, I would show you pictures of her hard-working, blond bombshell of a daughter, my cousin Amber, and her beautiful, spunky, on-the-brink-of-something-big daughter Katarina, but I am WAY too vain: my eyes are closed in THAT picture. In fact, I look like I had already sprung the spigot of said pink wine.

I had NOT.

After this quick visit, my mother and I and 60% of my kids made a visit to a posh Bellevue mall, the Bravern. I would like to tell you that I sashayed my way through Neiman Marcus with my 4, 2 and 9 month old (who, despite my pathetic attempts to wean her, still is attached - and was quite attached - to my boob on this trip), but alas - we surveyed Neiman's, Jimmy Choo and Salvatore Ferragamo from afar. Instead, I bought up 85% of Anthropologie's inventory in 14 minutes, with Sylvie yammering and sputtering and the other two whining for their new favoritest thing in the world, gelati purchased from the chi chi panini-and-gelato lunch spot for the hard-working Microserfs nearby.

I am getting tired just typing the memory, you all.

But we are cramming in as much as we can in very few remaining hours, dagnabbit.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Catching You Up on My Various Shortcomings

How was your Fourth, friends? Ours was lovely: PVT grilled his perfect-as-usual burgers, and we impressed the children with ill-gotten fireworks from the Indian casino. What nice ages they are - it's so easy to wow the 8-and-under set. The sole casualty was a bit of PVT's thumb, which suffered a dark and angry burn at the hands of a smoke bomb.

Now, a bit of housekeeping: I feel I have to fill you in on the various failed experiments I've undertaken. Remember after a bad weekend I wanted to go back to work? Surprisingly, I had a few responses after firing out my resume. The first nip resulted in an in office interview with one firm, and they were all great. But: the next day I made the fatal mistake of signing up Colette for baby ballet. Which prompted this train of thought: I will miss baby ballet? I will miss all of these little things, that I have been taking for granted - all of these little moments that I have been THERE for? And yes, this constant motherhood bit does get frustrating and bone-crushingly boring at times, but I actually don't want to MISS stuff like this. Or really ANY of it. So as long as we can struggle along financially, I guess I am officially throwing in the career towel. Because I'll have been out so long that I think it might be getting too late to hop back in with any grace. Which is a little sad.

But not as sad as missing baby ballet.

And in other failures: remember the second dog we had to have? Well. She was a bit of a nightmare. Maybe not really - maybe in the end she was just a typical puppy who chewed, destroyed property, barked and dug - but none of us really bonded with her. After she took one too many chunks out of our summer home, we decided to cut our losses and put an ad in the classifieds to find her a good - better - home. And we did, right before we would have had to board her.

Terrible, heartless, yes?

I didn't have the time to properly train this dog, you all, and I should have known that. I have no love left to give at the end of the day.

So we are going to try not to indulge our children's - or our own - whims for a little while here.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Fun Like This Only Comes Once a Year

Every year when PVT and I come to Seattle, we do something crazy illicit: we leave the kids with my parents and stay in downtown Bellevue at the Westin for a night or two.
People, I can't tell you how much fun we have. We splurge on a high floor room with panoramic views of the lake and the city.PVT loves it because he loves the Westin, and it is conveniently attached to a movie theater. And hey, no kids! I love it because it is attached to Bellevue Square, certainly the best-est mall in the Pacific Northwest. And hey, no kids! So I shop, he watches movies, and we go out to ridiculously expensive dinners at one of Bellevue's many swanky new restaurants.

We may indulge in happy hour in our hotel room, too.
No, we did not buy the "Fighting Cock" whiskey; that's a gift from my dad.

Yesterday I meandered around the mall in a happy daze, and impulsively bought these ridiculous shoes to wear out to dinner with friends, along with a new simple black halter dress I found:
I am pretty sure I topped out at over 5 feet in these puppies, you all. Aren't they hilarious?

So I had PVT snap a picture of my ensemble for you:

What? What's that you say? You see a baby there snarkily crashing our kid-free weekend?

Well, we got rid of 80% of them. It still felt pretty kid free to us.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Scenes from a Beach

Here are are my poor Okie children, playing on the beach in West Seattle:
They had a fabulous time, and could have stayed for hours, but Mama could only handle Sylvie eating sand for so long.

Keane found a starfish - dead, we think:
They were fascinated by the kelp, the tide, the shells, all of it:

We may not ever live here again, but perhaps their memories of a day like today will be all the more vivid.

Oh, and yes, my children are whores for the Seattle Sounders, neon jerseys and all.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Forget the Fourth, Let's Talk about the Fifth

Happy July, you all!

Unfortunately the Seattle area has not been informed that it is, indeed, summer, and seems to think it is still early November. I'm sure if you took the coolish weather here and threw it in a cocktail shaker with the weather in Oklahoma, you would have the perfect summer day.

Perhaps the most momentous occurrence in the month of July is the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. And it falls every year when we are here in Seattle, which is incredibly fortuitous. I was ecstatic to get an email with my own personal "access code" to shop early for the sale on July 5. Until I learned that my mother, who spends 99.999% of her shopping income at Talbots, got a code too. Phooey! So much for my elite status.

In truth, though, while I love the estrogen-fueled excitement the sale generates, I have never been able to buy clothes for fall in JULY. I just can't think that far ahead. So I will probably just buy some cosmetics and kids' school clothes and shoes. But don't cry for me, you all. I will be doing just fine.