Monday, June 6, 2011

Bigger, Badder, Soggier

What a difference a year makes!

Peapod was faster. She ran a smarter race.  The Esposo did not have to carry her on his shoulders at any time.  She passed kids.  She passed adults. She made me so proud it was almost embarrassing. She paced herself in the beginning and didn't turn on the turbo boosters till she had the finish line balloons in plain sight.  Yeah.

The Edge made it the whole way without a single Peanut Butter Bumper.

He slumped less in the jogging stroller as you can plainly see by comparing

Fig 1: Santa Barbara State Street Mile June, 2011 

... with Fig 2: Santa Barbara State Street Mile June, 2010.

See what a difference a year makes?

Plus this year, I did not stick myself even one time with the safety pins.

It rained.

The kids got medals.

We had brunch.

And our dog, Sapphira, turned 17 years old. Yes, really.

Happy birthday, you stinky, sweet old girl.

Monday, April 25, 2011

King of the Candles

I had a feeling he was going to be really good.  He'd been practicing all week.

The Edge turned 2 years old yesterday, and when it came time to blow out the candles on his birthday cake, baby boy brought down the house.


Personally I think his big sister had a fair amount to do with his success, which was all about the preparation.

About ten days before the actual birthday party, we all explained that his birthday was coming up and that there would be a cake with candles on it, we would sing the "Happy Birthday" song and at the end of it, he was expected to blow out the candles.  

But Peapod took the prep to the next level with actual birthday drills.  These drills included the construction of a birthday "cake" with "candles." But more importantly, the drills included an audience, which was made up of every stuffed animal they could reasonably round up, every doll, every choo choo and every plastic Lego guy that still had a head.

Many of these drills also took place in picnic format on various bed comforters or decorative throws dragged in from other rooms of the house.  As the April 24th date drew nearer, the drills moved into the dreaded-but-effective two-a-day schedule familiar to any well-trained athlete.

As you can clearly see, it paid off.

Happy birthday, My Baby Boy.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Artistic Sweet Spot

Peapod has entered that preschool age -- that serendipitous artwork moment -- where most of the drawings and whoozinwhatsitz she creates are just so ridiculously sweet and cute that you want to keep them all.

Of course it has become a problem because I don't even have space for one extra fleece hoodie, let alone the eleventy-six masterpieces she generates at preschool and our kitchen table on a weekly basis.

My unsentimental yet practical solution is typically to photograph my favorites, keep them around for a few weeks, and then introduce them to the recycle bin.  You know, move it on through.

But every now and then something will crash past my practical exterior and into my soft, gushy heart.  It happened just last week with this one particular piece.  I discovered it when I carted The Edge into his room for a diaper change. 

There, propped up next to his little diaper caddy, she had left a beautiful, crayon-drawn picture of The Edge, wearing a striped shirt and shoes.  (Note:  if you look carefully, you will see that Peapod's artwork gives away The Edge's real name, as Peapod wrote it above the drawing of her brother.)

I set The Poopy Edge back down and took the picture to Peapod to ask about it.

"Can you tell me about this picture, Sweet Pea?"

"That's The Edge."  She stated matter-of-factly and with no sentimentality whatsoever.  "I drew it for my brother."

The next day I spent 20 extra minutes in Target, looking for push pins so I could hang the picture in The Edge's room, where I could look at for all eternity.  Or at least until Peapod draws an even better masterpiece of her brother.

Oh, and I changed The Edge's diaper, too, by the way.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ski School, Now in Session

Well, the one year I leave The Esposo, Peapod and The Edge unsupervised for the annual trek to Lake Tahoe, this happens:

Her first time on skis!  GO PEAPOD GO!!!!

Needless to say, I was devastated that I was not there to witness it myself, but bursting with pride when I heard all about how well she did and how much she loved it.  In fact, the instructors said she was the first 4-year-old they could recall who did not complain once the entire time!  (I had the Esposo check to make sure he was taking home the right kid afterward.)  I can't wait to crush her out of the chutes ski with her next year!

And here's a still shot just for fun, and because I'm so bleepin' proud.
My baby's gettin' all growe'd up.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

If you can't say anything nice...

I'm not sure where this quote falls out.

We had just picked up Chinese food from Egg Roll Express.  Now before you roll your eyes, let me tell you, this place is solid, and they nail all the Chinese-food basics that every American family needs.  Chow mein, cashew chicken, egg drop soup, bing, bing bing.  All solid.

So when we asked Peapod and The Edge, who had had Egg Roll Express many times before and gobbled it up like frat boys, "Who wants noodles?" (which was the vegetable chow mein), we expected an enthusiastic response.

We got it from Peapod, who jumped out of her chair and thrust her hand in the air.

From The Edge, however, we got something much more rude, yet somehow more priceless and indelible.

We got a catch-phrase.

"Blah.  No way!  Mee!"


No way.


What that could possibly mean, coming from a 22 month old human being is mind boggling.  It's almost deep, I think.

All I know, is that we will be quoting those three words, in that order for years to come.

Then someday, when he decides he wants to marry some lucky fool, and asks if he can bring them home so we can meet this person, I will look up from my book, peer over my reading glasses and calmly reply:

"Blah.  No way.  Me!"

Monday, February 28, 2011

Jet Packs: Now at Target

I was futzing with the radio when an interesting question floated up from the backseat.

Peapod:  "Mom, do they sell jet packs at Target?"

Me: "What?"

Peapod: "Do they sell jet packs?  At Target?"

I have turned off the radio, as this demands my full attention.

Me:  "No, I don't think so, Sweet Pea."

Peapod:  "How do you know?"

Me:  "Well, uh... Jet packs are for, um, scientists.  NASA people.  Astronauts! You really can't just buy a jet pack."

Peapod:  "But Daddy saw one at the Rose Parade.  Where did that guy get one?"

Me:  "Um.  Not at Target, that's for sure." I have begun to lose composure at this point.

The Edge: "JePaaak!  JePaaak!"

Peapod: "Well if you see a jet pack at Target and it's a good price, will you get it for me?"

Me:  "You got it, Boo."

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Fake Cats Re-Arranged My Tupperware Drawer

People who write books about raising kids:

  1. No longer have toddlers or babies and therefore have time to write actual books.
  2. Are smug.
Anyway, I listened to these people and put all my tupperware-like plastic food storage containers into one low drawer that I let Peapod and The Edge have access to. The idea, according to these books, is that you arrange a few drawers in your kitchen to have only "safe" items in them, and then let your kids do as they please. The theory is that these fussy small people won't go caveman on you, because you've put the rest of your far more interesting kitchen stuff behind toddler locks and electrified cow fence.

What these book authors don't talk about is how this little arrangement will drive you slowly insane.

Let me explain.

The Edge loves cats. Not only does he know every cat in the neighborhood, he can point out where every cat has been in the neighborhood, for roughly the past 6 days. He also likes to imitate cats, which has inspired his sister to do the same.

So now I have two fake cats, meowing and re-arranging my tupperware drawer. Let me assure you, it sounds much cuter than it actually is, especially when you are trying to unload the dishwasher.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Well THAT Was Easy.

There are "Bottle Fairies."

These are apparently fairies who come in the night and take bottles away from toddlers who are otherwise occupied.

There are also parents who snip the nipples of bottles lower and lower until there is no more nipple to be had.

There are chapters in parenting books about how to wean your toddler off the bottle. There are pages and pages on the internet on this subject.

So as The Edge approached his second birthday, which is in April, I figured maybe I ought to pay attention to all this noise.  We did not go through any of this with Peapod because at the age when she was to be weaned from the bottle, she was in the hospital, recovering from her boo boo finger injury where she was strapped down and plugged into feeding tubes.  When we returned home a month later, she had completely forgotten about her bottle.

We hoped to avoid a similar bottle weaning plan for The Edge.

One day, about three weeks ago, Super Nanny burst into the kitchen with the following apology "So sorry -- I dropped The Edge's botella!"  She genuinely felt bad because we only had two left -- I was too cheap to buy any more, and it was clear that these were on their last legs.  It had slipped from Super Nanny's fingers in the driveway -- probably while she was hoisting The Edge, his diaper bag, the Plasma Car, his jacket, nine of his toys, and a bucket of sidewalk chalk, which I have seen her do.  She is Strong Like Bull, this woman.

"Don't worry about it."  I waved her off. "I think it's a sign."

It was time to wean The Edge off the bottle.  So I went to Target and bought him two of those sippy cups with the flimsy nipple-like tops and let Super Nanny know we'd start using those at bedtime to see how it goes.  We figured he's so tired by then maybe he wouldn't care.

He didn't care.

We did this for a few nights, just to be sure.

He didn't care.

So we ushered it in during nap time.

He didn't care.

Mind you, this is a kid who makes every diaper change difficult.  85% of the time I put him in a car seat, he screams, kicks his feet and arches his back.  For 7 weeks straight, right around the time he was 18 months old, he refused to nap in his crib. He is not the Happiest Baby on the Block. He is The Edge.

But man, that was easy.

Friday, January 7, 2011

FinancialRx "Soft Launch"

With the new year comes some new news:  the "soft launch" of my website,

As some of you may know, I am the founder and Editor-in-Chief of a new business venture with The Esposo and his business partner, who will heretofore be known in this blog as, simply, "Money."

Turns out that building a business, and designing a website from scratch is, like, hard!  The Esposo, Money, a talented German code writer who lives in Dallas (who I will name Das Boot because they're the only German words I know.  Sort of.) and I have been working on FinancialRx since the summer, designing the font end, building the back end, and writing and uploading the content.

So why is this a "soft launch?"  Because if you look at the site, you'll see that even though it has a fair amount of content and live ads, the subscription function is not live.  And this will be a key part of our revenue model and our public relations push. Also, the front page is not yet where we need it to be for the hard launch.  It's a bit messy right now, but we have plans in the works to change it.

So why are we even bothering with any type of launch now? Because we need to start building up some juice with Google, which you've heard me yammer on about before with The Esposo's website for finding health insurance, To do so, I need to execute a link strategy by creating external locations around the internet that have links back into various urls in the FinancialRx site, like the ones I'll gratuitously insert below.

When we execute our hard launch in a few months, I'll really be tapping into the talents of my network (that's you) to help get this thing off the ground. But in the mean time, there are actually two things you can do to help, if you have a minute or two to spare. You can visit the various pages on the site, read a few articles, and leave a comment or two and click the little "recommend" button with the thumbs up icon below the articles you like. Comments and recommendations also help to elevate the site in the eyes of Google.  This will help more than you may realize.

Now with that in mind, here are some suggestions of pages where you can start looking:

This is an article I wrote about buying a first house

And here's one that answers the question "what is a living trust?"

There are also a bunch of articles on much lighter financial topics. For example, here's one about saving money on kid's birthday parties.

And an idea for having free fun with toddlers at the train station.

We're creating to be a finance website for women, who are becoming the Chief Financial Officers of many American households. These women are busy and pressed for time, but they perceive themselves to lack competence in the area of finance, whether this perception reflects reality or not. At, we skip the tickers and and speak in plain English, not finance gobbely gook. We provide the information these women need, quickly and painlessly, so they can make a good decision and get back to their bustling households. Sometimes we even have a little fun.

We hope you'll join us on our journey toward a happy, healthy financial life.