Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Thank You, Johnny Cash

I try really hard not to make this blog nauseating.

As in "look at this adorable picture of my baby playing with a puppy and carrying a flower!" or other such drivel that might make a reasonable person barf. But the events of the past few days made it really hard to avoid gag-worthy subject matter -- until Johnny Cash entered the picture and saved us all.

The first super-cute thing that happened was that Peapod got her first two wheeled bike. Well, actually four wheels if you count the training wheels in back. Which of course dictates that I insert at least one gratuitous cute picture of subject riding said bike. See below.

Please accept my deepest apologies for the fact that her outfit matches the bike. She picked out her clothes that morning and at that time, I had only seen the colors of the bike on the Craigslist photo online, so I did not realize the full potential for visual assault until we arrived at the seller's home. And as anyone knows who has driven across town to "look at" something on Craigslist -- it was too late by then. We had already fallen in love with the bike -- and the little girl it used to belong to.

Then, before we recovered from the bike purchase, 24 hours had passed and The Edge was sitting on a rocket ship at Little Kutz, getting his very first haircut. Insert second gratuitous cute photo.

Ridiculous, right?

Just when I was thinking I had a normal family, Peapod reminded me otherwise and saved the day. We were driving to her swim lesson this morning when Johnny Cash came on the radio singing "Ring of Fire."

Peapod: Who is this singing?

Me: It's Johnny Cash.

Peapod: It's just like that blue guy!

Me: What?

Johnny Cash: Love's a burnin' thing and it makes a firey ring...

Peapod: See? It's like that blue guy from China!

Now, by way of some background, the Esposo's parents had just returned from the World Expo in Shanghai, China and they brought the kids some souvenirs. One of them was a little stuffed version of the Expo's mascot, named Haibao. Earlier that morning Peapod had inexplicably named him Johnny Cash instead. Not just Johnny. Johnny Cash. This is him.

Me: I think his name is Haibao. He's the mascot from the...

Peapod: What?

Me: Never mind.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

And He's Off!

First, A Song (to the tune of Row Row Row Your Boat)

Walk, Walk, Walk About,
The Edge is on the move...
Wiggly wobbly, giggly bobbly
Life is but a groove!


In the past two weeks or so, I am thrilled to report that The Edge has officially become a toddler! He's been teasing us with walking for about two months, but we can say it's official now because he uses walking as his primary form of locomotion. And because yesterday he hauled a package of toilet paper halfway across the house, which I thought was pretty good. Before he would walk as many as 27 steps and then get back down on his knees and crawl for the rest of the day, just to bug me.

Anyway, it's a big deal because now I no longer will go through 1.5 bottles of stain remover a week trying to get the knees of his pants clean. Unless he takes up cupcake smearing. See figure 1.

Fig. 1

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Father's Day Gift Ideas

This is the part in the blog where I take up space (and potentially your time) to promote my own bad self. How could I be such a jerk? Let me explain...

I've been working with The Esposo to try to juice up his online health insurance website in the eyes of the Google-bots. To do that, we have to generate lots of content outside of Medicoverage that links back to it. (Hence the two gratuitous links above). To add further confusion and to potentially also cross your eyes, one must additionally try to ensure that those outside links that link to Medicoverage, are also, um, linked to.

Anyway, one of my pen names is Katie Banks and I have written an article as Katie about Father's Day gift ideas. Check it out and, if you like it, vote it up (use the little green button on the bottom). In my own defense, the article might actually help you to plan a fun Father's Day for the Super Dad in your life. If not, um, ... I'll.. uh.... buy you a fudgesicle..?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

12-Minute Mile

Peapod entered her first official race last weekend and it was ridiculously fun. I suppose it was technically The Edge's first race as well, since he was an official entrant, but it's hard to give the guy credit since he spent the entire race slumping in a jogging stroller, eating Peanut Butter Bumpers out of a snack trap.

(I'm breaking my "no pictures" rule because I like this one so much)

It was The Esposo's idea. Sometimes he has bad ideas. Like the potato that is currently growing as a science experiment in what used to be a really nice water carafe. But when he has good ideas, he really hits them out of the park. He got it in his head that he wanted to celebrate our dog's 16th birthday by taking her to an off-leash dog beach on Saturday and then running the "Dog Mile" in Santa Barbara's annual "State Street Mile" race on Sunday. So he built a weekend around it and sooner than you can jam a dog bed, a step stool, two kids, some sunscreen, an old dog, and two strollers into a Highlander, we were off.

The beach was fun, but the race was just about perfect. I got to pin a number on my daughter's shirt for the very first time, which was surreal and magical for this washed-up, aging former athlete. Then we got in line with a bunch of other Dads and Moms and kids and dogs. There were dogs everywhere. Fat ones and shaggy ones, hot dogs and costume-wearing dogs. Most were barking or howling except ours, because she is mostly deaf. Did I mention that she is 16?

Then the whistle blew and everyone took off like bats out of hell. Including Peapod, which took me by complete surprise and left me lurching behind the Baby Jogger to catch up. The Esposo is a former track athlete who ran this same race a few years back in 4:56. Yes sports fans, that's a sub-five-minute mile. I, myself, am not quite as fast (stop laughing, Big Brother). Fortunately for me, Peapod could not keep up the pace of insanity for long and ended up riding another two-tenths-of-a mile on The Esposo's shoulders while she caught her breath.

Around the half mile mark, our aging dog became an anvil on a leash. My pace in comparison became quite perky. But then at about 6-tenths-of-a-mile, when we had dropped to exactly dead last, something truly magical happened. People on the sidelines had begun to clap and cheer for Peapod as if she had just set a new land speed record. Back on her feet by then, she had picked up the pace and was proudly waving back to her new fans and yelling "Hello!" and "Hi guys!"

When I was about 10, I won the Class III (that's old gymnastics-speak for "mediocre level") State Beam Championships. I was not a fraction as proud then as I was watching my 3-and-a-half-year-old daughter soak in the applause of complete strangers as she ran a mile in 12:05 to finish in last place.

After the finish line, there were the requisite race sponsors handing out their freebie samples and giveaways. The Esposo explained to Peapod that the water bottle she got there was her prize for not giving up and for finishing the whole race. She fell asleep holding onto it in her car seat during the drive home, and an athlete was born. Well, at least, two aging, washed up former athlete parents can hope so.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Sap in the City

The Esposo just gave me a super fantastic Memorial Day gift: he took both kids for the afternoon and urged me to do something that I deemed "fun." Left with the prospect of several hours without kids, a husband, or a meal to cook, I sort of panicked for a minute. Or five. First I worked out. Then I realized that working out did not qualify as "fun." Afterward, I actually caught myself folding laundry because I though it would be nice to "get ahead." Ahead of what, you moron? GET OUT OF THE HOUSE BEFORE YOU SWIFFER SOMETHING.

At last, I came to my senses and typed in and learned that Sex and the City 2 was playing 1.2 miles from where I was standing that very minute. I showered and ate a leftover burrito in record time. I texted V Train to see if she could join me but she was booked, so I ventured out alone. And it was awesome. I bought popcorn and a gigantic Diet Coke. I sat right in the middle. I saw previews.

The movie was cute. If you're a woman and you haven't seen it yet, grab a bunch of girlfriends and treat yourself. I saw one woman walking her at-least-88-year-old-mom in by the arm, and a gang of 10 women who filled up the better part of a row. It's not cinema at it's finest, but it's a ton of chick fun.

I do have a warning for fellow moms, however: you may tear up if you are a sap like me. There is a part where Charlotte is trying to make cupcakes, take a call from Carrie, calm her screaming youngest child and pay attention to her icing-smearing oldest child, when she ends up crying in the pantry. The only thing that has stopped this exact episode from occurring in my own home is that we do not have a pantry. And there are some other mom-moments that are scary-relatable, but I will not share them, lest I spoil too much of the plot.

Anyway, I know Memorial Day is when we are supposed to remember all those unfathomably brave men and women who have made life in the States so worth celebrating. But I found it was a lot easier to take some time that weekend to pause and remember our soldiers after I had a little time to pause and remember myself.