Monday, August 29, 2011

Working Out...Ish

Today I finally did what 97% of Americans have done at some point in their lives:  I joined a gym!

And I had a fantabulous time! *

I brought the girls there, dropped them off at the childcare, and went off to a fairly low impact Pilates class.  So low impact, in fact, that a friend I ran into there was sipping her coffee during class - which I thought was rather awesome.  Now, what I had forgotten about exercising in public is that you're supposed to have cute spandex-y exercise clothes.  Well, cripes - I have nothing like that.  So the hot mess I wore included a black lace tank top and my super sexy prescription strength stockings I'm required to wear for two weeks after my surgery.  I am pretty sure I looked like I got off the shuttle from the Assisted Living Center for Retired Strippers.

The class was so much fun, you all - I almost felt like a kid in ballet class again without a care in the world (well, not really - I kept checking the door - I was sure the childcare lady was going to barge in any moment with my screaming, angry baby).  And I am about as flexible as a piece of plywood, but luckily I have no issues about looking ridiculous in front of a bunch of women.  So I did my class, sprinted to get the girls, and lo!  Sylvie was sputtering but not in cardiac arrest, and Colette was having a ball.  A SMASHING SUCCESS!

And now since I didn't really sweat, I get to wear my "exercise" clothes all day, and feel vaguely athletic even as I pop Russel Stover truffles.

On the way out we noticed the lovely smoothie bar, where health conscious hotties were drinking carrot-and-eggplant smoothies.  So, Sky Fitness, when can you all install a REAL bar there? Then I could drop my kiddies off and sit at the bar, sip a martini, smoke Gauloises, wear dark glasses, and read my eight pound September issue of Vogue!

If you all could do that little renovation, I will become a lifelong member.  Cripes, I will even put Sky Fitness and Wellbeing in my WILL.

What?  Smoking and drinking aren't pillars of a healthy, fit lifestyle?  Do some cardio, hit the CrossFit circuit, and then stat! slurp a glass of Pinot Noir?  Well sure!  All things in moderation, right?

*Let's not dwell on how lame and behind the times I am now, ummmmmmm k?

Life In Oklahoma Just Got a Wee Bit Better

This morning the heavens opened wide and dumped a buttload of sunshine and singing angels on my little world:


Yes, people!  That's just off the Nordstrom presses!  I already got the free shipping with my "status," but free returns?  So critical to mitigating the perils of retail bulimia, from which I suffer terribly:  buy!  Return!  Buy! Return!  Binge!  Purge!  So now I can buy and return to my heart's content, without incurring that pesky $8 return charge.

And do please keep PVT in your prayers:  the vertigo he will suffer from trying to interpret our Nordstrom statement will be debilitating. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Cool Babies Slurp Bottles

A few weeks ago I would not have thought it possible, my friends.  But my little Sylvie is down to one (well, two or so, if you count midnight or 3:30 am) feedings from mama a day. 


Weaning has always been a bit bittersweet for me:  suddenly I am no longer my child's sole source of nutrition.  But it is more than that:  it is the ultimate un-tethering.  Suddenly she is no longer dependent on me in that very physical way.  Suddenly she is her own little person, toddling off into the sunset.

Well, not the sunset.  Just upstairs.  And then I've got to run upstairs to get her, lest she eat a Lego, or think she can come back DOWN those stairs.

I have never understood those who say weaning is so liberating.   I suppose it can be for those who subscribe to the theory that you have to eat a certain perfect way, or never drink a glass of Pinot Noir while you're nursing, but we all know that's not me.  True, I believe in the female body's ability to nurse its spleen out despite a day or three of ingesting too much whip cream and not enough kale-and-soy-smoothies.  But now that she's weaned, does that mean I'm going to do tequila shots for eight hours straight, or go to Vegas for the weekend?  She is still my baby, she still needs me, I'm still a mother.  She still freaks out if I leave her with a sitter. 

Don't worry, Sylvie.  Not tonight.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Where You Realize How Much You Do When You Can't Do It

So I'm thinking that the whole surgery thing that is not 100% totally necessary (e.g., your appendix burst into a million pieces!  You accidentally ate a pair of scissors!  You have a tumor the size of Rhode Island on the north side of your pancreas!) should be approached with great trepidation.

Yes, boob jobs,  I'm looking at you.

Yesterday I had my very uncomfortable varicose veins surgically attacked.  But I would be remiss if I didn't confess that a major reason I had the surgery was for vanity:  I was hoping to eradicate the long, bulbous blue veins that make my left leg resemble a topographical map in the vicinity of the Himalayas. 

So yesterday I arrived promptly at 9:30 am for my 11:30 am surgery.  I had been told - perhaps mostly by my very own self - that it was no big deal!  That it would take an hour, hour and a half tops.  That I'd be just fine by the afternoon!

At 11:10 am I went under blissful anesthesia.  Lovely, lovely.  And then I woke up calm, happy, comfortable, thinking I was at home, then remembered where I was, glanced at the clock...it was almost 2 pm!

CRIPES!  I had told the sitter I'd be back before 1:30 pm! 

And the rest was a bit of a blur:  the kind nurse gave me some pain pills; I was discharged (Saint PVT was there to bring me home), and then I was home!  Wait!  Why hadn't I talked to the doctor?*

At this point I was so, so thirsty, because I hadn't eaten or drunk anything since Monday evening per the doctor's instructions.

So I drank some Gatorade!

And I started puking!

From the anesthesia, or from the pain pills that I was supposed to have taken with food (note to nurse:  "food" means more than two crackers)?

Cripes, I don't know.  All I know is that it was a rather ghastly afternoon.  Although not really that ghastly because I hardly ever lay on the couch and watch how charming my children can be when they observe their mother actually immobile.  Or how lovely and caring PVT can be, or how concerned and helpful my eldest could be (he was flummoxed but proud when I told him he had a great "bedside manner").

So besides the fact that it looks like I have a bit of shrapnel in my thigh and I am wearing freaking support hose when it's a hundred and seven bejeezus outside, I guess it could have been worse.

But I think the boobs are going to have to wait for a little while until selective amnesia has set in.

*  Oh, he was chatting up PVT:  they were in the same high school class!  Calculus, Latin, fellow geeks reuniting!  At least I know I was in good hands.

Monday, August 22, 2011

How to Join a Gym Without Working Out

It is a great irony that I write a "Hip Mom" column, you all.  Because I am so slow and so OUT of the know on some things that I blush.  How about this revelation:  did you know gyms have child care?  CHEAP child care?  Well, I knew this vaguely, but I needed a friend to put two and two together for me:  why don't I join the nice posh gym near me, drop my kiddies off for an hour (that's all I usually need, you all, to regain my sanity) and just...um, READ A BOOK?  Or go to the in-house spa?  You know, since I don't actually work out. 

So the girls and I checked out the gym this morning, and while the weights, dungeon-esque machinery, hot thin women and muscle-bound men were a bit intimidating, I figured if I just drop off a child or three and then skedaddle to the spa for an express manicure, or to the locker room to read US Weekly, surely that's worth signing up!

OK, OK, maybe I'll take a yoga class here and there. 

Of course, as PVT pointed out, the child care is not actually THAT cheap because you are signing up for the dang gym!  And paying membership fees!

Oh, right. 

So we'll see.  But tomorrow I am finally undergoing leg surgery for those pesky, ugly veins.  So wouldn't it be a great time to join a gym, not be physically able to work out, and drop the kids off while I get a massage?  Since I have to TAKE IT EASY, you know. 

Ahem. 

I have no doubt the surgery will go just fine.  It's just the no food or drink past midnight - and my surgery is not until 11:30am - that will be the tough part for me. 

I may wilt.  Wish me luck. 

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The A/C Sure Is Loud When Your House is This Quiet


I think it was time for my boys to go back to school.

After a disastrous Marvel Comic cookie-making experiment (what did I do wrong, people? Can you not roll out refrigerated cookie dough for cookie cutters? I threw some flour around - surely that was the right idea? Alas, after much whining and gnashing of teeth, everyone decorated a sugary orb, which was what they wanted to do in the first place), I actually LOCKED MY CHILDREN OUTSIDE. Yes, I did! They were bouncing off the walls, screaming, throwing things...and when a bit of cloud cover passed over, lowering the temperature from 118 degrees to around 107ish, I threw them out.

Time for a bit more structure, oui?

I was so proud of myself this first day, you all: I got up very early to avoid most of the drama and yelling that usually happens around here when we NEED to get out of the house - I so wanted to leave them with a good taste in their mouths as they launched a new academic year. And when I nudged my newly-minted five year old on the school bus with his big brothers, I DID NOT CRY.


I was so proud of that little guy. He bravely marched to class, and when the day was done, he came bounding off the bus, ripping open his backpack before the bus had pulled away to show me an art project. The sole tragedy of his day? The lunch ladies who attended to his table were "talking to other persons and didn't open (his) milk."


Which tore my heart into a million little pieces - my poor thirsty little kindergartner! - but he seems all right.


And you mothers of two little girls? I am ON to you. The girls and I had the calmest, sweetest little day, reading, playing, and watching Angelina Ballerina.



But by 3 pm we missed "the brothers," and the usual ruckus resumed. We - I - did not come up for breath until 9:30.

It was nice to have a little break. But I suspect I will start to miss those boys a wee, wee little bit. And whatever will we girls do tomorrow?

Luckily there's no Nordstrom here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

And the Prize Goes to Whomever Can Guess What I Sort of Actually Want Just One More Of


These waning days of summer (oh praise Jesus for the waning) have been witness to some of the most severe mental deterioration I recall suffering in my middle (gulp) age.

Exhibit a): I totally, completely forgot a neighbor who moved to Houston last year was visiting town for a few days and hosting a party at our neighborhood pool. I only remembered it when I saw party pictures posted on Facebook.


Exhibit b): I have had to go to the grocery EVERY DAY for SIX days now because each time I go with three or FIVE children in tow, I forget a critical, crucial item. Today I desperately needed whip cream. Did I actually return home with whip cream? HECK NO.

Exhibit c): At "Meet the Teacher" day at our school (Ha! Ha! It is not "Meet the Teacher!" It is try to smile calmly at the teacher so she doesn't think you are a lunatic because you have just traipsed all over the school to the gymnasium, three classrooms and the cafeteria to fill out forms and write checks while your many children follow you alternately whining for snacks and water and punching you and/or each other, and now the teacher stands before you wondering why you are sweating profusely, with a screaming baby on your hip and you are on the VERGE OF TEARS!), I saw so so many people I knew. And I knew their names, too - really! But I only remembered their names 39 milliseconds too late - so after they cheerily called "Hi Jill!" to me and I threw back a lame "Hi there...." it is only THEN I recalled their names which I then lamely tossed out to their retreating backs.

Exhibit d) I thought it would be such a nice bonding activity with all my children before school starts to go to Williams Sonoma for their adorable Marvel cookie cutters and spend a lovely afternoon baking and frosting Spider Man and his cohorts. But! I should have remembered I am NOT a baker, you all. Every time I break open the recipe that came with the cookie cutters, I have to close it quickly to stop a sudden onset of nausea: "Electric mixer...refrigerate dough...roll out...parchment paper..." OHMYGAWD NOOOOOOOOOO!




So last night I tossed and turned over making these damn cookies, for one, and thinking about the first day of school - tomorrow - when I will have to get my two big boys, my brand new kindergartner (sniff! sniff!) PLUS the two little girls to the bus stop on time without PVT, who rarely travels but had to be in San Jose for a few days. Cookies! School! Cookies! Bus stop! Toss, turn! New clothes, nap mats, snacks! Sylvie! She needs to eat AGAIN? Toss, turn!



So today we went to the grocery store AGAIN where I bought refrigerated cookie dough. Which we will roll out and stamp with our new cookie cutters, dammit.




That was the sanest purchase I had made in a while, you all.




And now I just have to get through tomorrow morning.

No problemo!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Capes, Cow's Milk, and More Udder Drivel

Well, you all. In the time I should be blogging and reading about the Duchess of Cambridge's eating disorder, I am dealing with this darling little maelstrom:

Yes, my adorable 11 month old believes that tryouts for the Cirque de Soleil are coming to Tulsa. She is climbing on tables! Scaling the stairs! Opening drawers and climbing into them! Rappelling off the dishwasher!

What? Childproof my house? That is SO THREE KIDS ago, my friends. I am done with that whole scene. These newer family members just have to man up.




And even while I methodically dig out fake plant moss from my baby's mouth, I'm also S-L-O-W-L-Y trying to wean her off le boob. But cripes! Feeding her at 4 am just doesn't really feel like weaning, now does it? This Sylvie, though, she doesn't like formula at ALL. She isn't a huge fan of bottles either, unless I - oh I can't believe I'm fessing up to this - fill them up with plain old organic whole milk (with added DHA, of course. I'm not THAT bad of a mother!). She LOVES that creamy goodness. Although as any self-respecting mummy knows, cow's milk I guess is supposed to leech red blood cells from their kidneys, or something? Mother of the century, c'est moi. And yes, I could pump, but pumping a) reminds me of working, and b) makes me feel more like a sow than I already am - that I already HAVE BEEN for the past 11 months.

And of course that's all that matters because it's ALL ABOUT ME.



I promise to monitor the whole death-by-cow's-milk situation. Really. I have to, because I am quite fond of this pleasurable peach of a girl.




So when I'm not trying to hide my hooters from my baby, I'm trying to contemplate howEVER I will spend a recent windfall of Nordstrom Notes:




Capes are IT for fall, apparently. While I appreciate the tongue-in-cheek theatrics of a cape, I suspect I would just look dorky wearing a cape to soccer practice and preschool drop off.




If you all could ponder that super deep conundrum while I make sure Sylvie isn't eating a Lego, that would be awesome.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

He-Will

Yesterday my "baby" boy turned 5.





Will, sporting the various balloon weaponry that the balloon guy made him at his birthday party



Will had become enamored of "He Man" characters after finding some of MY old toys at my mother's house - yes, the same "He Man" from the 1980's. So I trolled Ebay, and found him a hot mess of He Man paraphernalia:

Will was thrilled with all of this stuff, me less so - it all STINKS! I'm not sure if it was kept in a dank, musty basement for the past 30 years, but EEEWW. Probably each of the guys needs a good scrubbing, but since I am lazy and averse to long periods of manual labor, I thought I would just throw all the He Guys in the bathtub with a particularly potent lemon oil bath bomb.



Alas, the guys still all smell musty and creepy, with a hint of lemon.



We had one of our usual birthday parties of mayhem, one of these crazy affairs where one mom will tell me how brave I am to have all these kids over to my home. Well, a) I have five kids, so I've already lost the housekeeping battle; 2) we pay this huge mortgage, we might as well use the house; and 3) if we tried to outsource five birthdays per year to the Bounce U's of the world, we would have to cut back on things like light margaritas and Nordstrom.com. In other words, ha! Ha!



And now I have to face my littlest guy going to KINDERGARTEN in one week. He has quite a year ahead of him, too: he won a spot in the partial-day Chinese immersion program, so the kid will be learning Chinese AND starting his academic career. And with his late birthday, he will be so much younger than a lot of the kids, particularly the red-shirted 6 year olds. So dear Will! I hope you emerge with your essential Will-ness, your goofiness, your comic frat-president silliness intact. It's what we love most about you.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

And God Said "Let There Be Diet Mountain Dew"



11:08 pm: Go to bed.


11:10 pm: Fall asleep.


12:44 am: Hear Sylvie. Go feed her.


1:05 am. Totter back to bed.



2:36 am: Wake up to loud storm.


2:44 am: Listen to Keane, who is standing by my bed, explain that Skippy is trying to sleep with him, and is it OK that the dog's nail touched his lip? And can I hold Skippy so he doesn't come to bed with him?



2:46 am: Hold squirming dog's collar while he labors to escape.


2:47 am: Realize lying in bed while holding skittish dog's collar is not good long-term solution. Let dog go.


3:03 am: Listen to dog scamper around, whimpering, and wonder how long it is until he wakes ALL the kids up.



3:23 am: Go upstairs and shut kids' door so dog doesn't bother them anymore.


3:26 am. Back to bed.


5:40 am: Hear Sylvie again. Go feed.


5:52 am: Back to bed.

6:40 am: Hear children screaming gleefully over new He Man characters Will received for his birthday.



6:45 am: Hear Colette screaming due to some unknown injustice.



6:46 am: Contemplate going to Colette's aid.



6:47 am: Give daughter opportunity to build character and stick up for herself. Don't get up.



7:20 am: Hear Sylvie screeching.


7:22 am: Mumble "of course" when Colette asks me if I will get her breakfast.



7: 45 am: Finally give in, get up.



7:46 am: Thank the good Lord for the maximum caffeine wattage goodness of Diet Mountain Dew. How else would I survive until my coffee is ready?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

And Don't Expect Any Pictures

Oh you all. These weekend getaways are a lot of fun - all the eating out and magical hotel housekeeping staff - but my great resolution for my NEXT vacation is to return well rested enough to not think I need ANOTHER vacation from the vacation I just took.


The Great Wolf Lodge was fun but a bit too crowded. And with the rates they charge I'm not sure how they can justify lackluster, indifferent service. But the children still had a marvelous free for all, and PVT had a grand time watching the Seattle Sounders playing in Kansas City's spectacular soccer venue, Livestrong Park:



I was hoping to perhaps gather all of the family to traipse about the Plaza Shops in Kansas City. But alas, it was a bit too far from the Great Wolf, which always builds its behemoths on the outskirts of town using the cheapest land possible. And then I thought I'd just drop into the Kansas City Nordstrom. But in my fantasies I forget the whole five kid thing. Nothing is administratively easy with this brood; there is no such thing as "dropping in" or "going for a quick ride." Of course, I wouldn't have it any other way. Or at least I'm not sure yet which one I want to return to sender. But perhaps I just need to have these fantasies for my mental health. And then I can come home to Nordstrom.com. Where, by the way! There is one of those splendiferous gift with purchase ruses for which I always fall!


Oh, and to all of you who ask "How do you DO it?" Well, like this: I pack five bathing suits, four goggles, four toothbrushes, kiddie Tylenol AND infant Tylenol JUST IN CASE, Sangria, Early Times, a liter of coke, kiddie snacks, kiddie LIBRARY books, detergent for the hotel laundry, Tom and Jerry videos for the car, but? I can't pack my OWN bathing suit. Or a camera. Which I only just realized NOW that we didn't bring. Our poor poor children and their unchronicled childhood!


So today we spent recuperating and watching an entirely inappropriate amount of He-Man reruns from GASP the 1980s. And I contemplated my favorite season in Tulsa, FALL. I cannot wait to wear footwear like this again: Oh Autumn Where Art Thou!


Friday, August 5, 2011

Sorry This Is Not a Gratutious Sex Toy Post

Oh you all, I apologize. My blog has been so kid-centric lately, without any tantalizing sex, shoes, or shopping. What frumpiness! Ah well. When three of them are in school full time in a few short weeks (sniff, sniff - my baby boy going to KINDERGARTEN!), I am sure I will have a few minutes to blog about something more interesting than kiddie tantrums.



What I've been dealing with. OK, fine, two aren't mine! Aren't they all delicious?



Apparently we are cramming a little more vacation into this summer, because tomorrow we depart for a night at the Kansas City Great Wolf Lodge. Where: all the males in the VT clan will attend a Seattle Sounders soccer game versus Sporting Kansas City! So I thought how marvelous: perhaps the girls could get little manicures at Scoops, the Great Wolf Lodge "kiddie spa" (OK, well, Sylvie would just sit on my lap and soak up the atmosphere). I was thinking this might be a fun $20 or so indulgence.

Ha! Ha!

NOTHING at the Great Wolf Lodge costs $20, except for maybe the roll of toilet paper in your room. My darling daughter can indeed get a manicure at the Scoops Spa. For $49! Good GAWD. We do love the Great Wolf Lodge, but the rate at which money is hemorrhaged there is breathtaking.


In True VT Style, though, we will choose to get over it. And self-flagellate once we get home.


Also, rumor has it there is a Nordstrom in Kansas City.


Yee haw!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Where My Whip Cream Addiction Bites Me in the Arse

When we returned from our little mini break, I was chagrined to find our air conditioning didn't seem to be working; it was stuck around 86 degrees, while we had set it to 77. So in a small panic, I called the air conditioning repairman; he came within the hour, and started sleuthing around. Alas! Our air conditioners were working FINE. They were just doing the BEST THEY COULD when it is one jillion and nine degrees out.

Great!

Yesterday I was such a grump, you all - I don't know why. Well, I do: I brought all kids on a huge Target run, which started out fine but ended with multiple kids having fits ("No I am not buying a pink donkey pinata!"), Sylvie refusing to sit in the cart, and me balancing her on one hip while pushing one cart and a Target employee pushing the OTHER cart. When I was unloading my 473 bags, somehow the whip cream bottle was punctured. Suddenly a huge PSSSSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHhhhhHT! sound, and whip cream was shot all over my kitchen, refrigerator and family room in a 180 degree arc. Sylvie got her face sprayed and started to cry. I finally got the whip cream plugged and wrestled it into the trash, but not before most of area was covered in a white, sticky film.

So I then while I spent the better part of the next couple of hours trying to de-whip everything. As I was scrubbing the fridge, I somehow managed to knock an entire new can of salsa all over the refrigerator, the floor, and my leg.

I laughed at first, but holy crap it was a long afternoon. And after all that cleaning, and perhaps on top of our rather intense weekend, I was so grumpy, so short and impatient with the kids. I was exhausted; they were all feeling short changed; we were all pissy. A quotation haunted me, from a wonderful book I recently read: "Half a century from now, your children will remember how you treated them. If you showed them kindness, they probably won't forget. If you habitually lost your temper, they probably won't forget that, either. Out of all the wishes on the Parental Wish List, "good memories" are one of the few that clearly depend upon how you raise your child. Don't forget it."

Dang, dang, dang. Tomorrow is another day.

OK, the whip cream fireworks WERE a little funny.

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Trip, A Baseball Game, A Tournament, A Disaster

We have just returned from Oklahoma City, my friends! Which was surprisingly not as dull as it sounds: we stayed in "Bricktown," a very pedestrian-friendly area with plenty of restaurants, shops and pubs. Who knew I would have to go to OKLAHOMA CITY to feel like I was traipsing around Manhattan again? Although there were of course far fewer pedestrians than in NYC, and those who were walking actually obeyed the traffic signs. And our hotel room was awesome! PVT found a hotel where some rooms overlooked their minor league ballpark; for some reason - perhaps my mellifluous, honey-like voice - they gave us the top floor overlooking the ballpark!

So both nights the stinkers were treated to aerial views of baseball games - the sounds, the sights, and even the after-game fireworks - without actually having to sit at the field and sweat their kidneys out.


Alas, our otherwise wonderful weekend ended on a downward spiral: one of our sons had an enormous, nuclear meltdown during the last game of their soccer tournament. The other team made a goal first, you see. The tragedy! The horror! But he couldn't handle it - our talented, brilliant, perfectionist son couldn't take it. He started crying; he started his ridiculous self-flagellating routine: "I'm so terrible! I hate myself!" It was disturbing, it was mortifying, it was awful. I can only imagine what the other parents on the team were thinking: "They must put so much pressure on him!" Or: "They have too many kids!" Or "They must tell him these awful things!" But oh, you all, my gosh we try to be very sensitive to his personality. We are always telling him that winning/first place/highest grade is NOT IMPORTANT. And I am pretty laissez-faire in his day to day life; I have to be, with five children. PVT has NEVER been one of these apoplectic sports dads who screams bloody murder from the sidelines; he has only wanted his sons to have fun and to channel some of their energy into playing for a team and all the lessons that experience teaches. Maybe I am not seeing something from up close? I don't know.


But that is parenthood, isn't it? One moment you are at the Spaghetti Warehouse, marvelling with your hot spouse at your gorgeous, well-behaved children as they delight in the cheezy creations the balloon guy is making; the next you are wrestling your son on the sidelines of the soccer fields as the other parents look on in horror.


The only thing I am learning from all of this that you keep teaching, you keep instructing, you keep learning, you keep praying. And you never, never, ever give up.