Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Eye contact

Eye contact with strangers. It's a curious thing to me. It seems like there are moments of eye contact through out my life that I've never forgotten, the worst of which I had where else but right here in Miami the other night. It made me think about the weirdness of the connection with total strangers in those moments and how, thankfully, they haven't all been bad.

I remember when I was maybe eight years old? I'm not sure, but I watched a lot of basketball games with my dad. Of course I was a huge Utah Jazz fan. I was also a Sizzler fan (read: all-you-can-eat buffets = chubby little girl heaven). We were out eating at Sizzler one time with my family when I happened to turn over my left shoulder and notice Karl Malone sitting at the table just kitty-corner from us. WOW. All through dinner I kept trying to subtly crank my head around to stare at him, then whip it back around when I was sure he was about to look.  Well, one time I wasn't fast enough, and sure indeed he caught my stare in a moment of eye lock, then broke into a smile and winked at me before I realized what had happened, turned scarlet red, and whipped back, somewhat mortified to our table. As embarrassed as I was, I'm also sure it was exciting as it was my first real famous person sighting, he actually winked at me, and I'm pretty sure he got a good chuckle out of it. That one wasn't so bad.

Then there was another time when I think I was in college. I was in the checkout line at a K-Mart or something and remember singing my heart out to the tune playing overhead. Until I happened to lock eyes again with probably a 65 year-old man to find us simultaneously belting out the tune together. That was a little weird. And embarrassing as I realized there was no reason in the world I should know all the words to this song as it was definitely from his generation, not mine - something like the Carpenters or some other old sing-your-heart-out band. I was with roommates who noticed and were instantly teasing me like - why in the world are you the only person under 60 in here that even knows this song?  Really? You and the old guy serenading each other from across the checkout line? That one was ridiculous.

Then I remember being in prime flirtation mode back in the college years. Provo is a college town with two universities in it and is notoriously a meat-market. We were just heading out of town to go on a camping trip down in Zion National Park and had stopped to get gas. Being the cool aunt I was, I had invited my 16 year-old nephew and his friend to tag along with us. As I was gassing up the car, I caught eyes with a hot guy across the gas station. It was one of those moments of eye contact.  The good kind.  As we finished, I got back in the car and the guy made his way over in his car and stopped to say something on his way out. I'm not sure what he said, but out of the back seat of my car I hear my nephew pipe up, "Dude! That's my mom!!!"  Red-faced and flabbergasted, I peeled out of the parking lot before I had to see his reaction.  That one was mortifying.

Well, just the other night I was driving back through the ghetto that is our nearest neighborhood. Driving past a few houses, I see some middle-aged white lady bouncing up and down. I watch, as I'm approaching. No, it's some kind of dance she's doing. Hmm, what is all that weird bootie-shaking? I'm fascinated. And then I'm there. And our eyes meet, and her eyes follow, locked on mine as she continues to bounce up and down, knees bent. And then I realize it. Oh no. She's not dancing. She's squatting. In the middle of the sidewalk. She's going to the bathroom. And we just locked eyes in the middle of her doing that. For a good 4-5 seconds. And I feel so disgusted!!! Ugh, come on! Where is the humanity?! I feel so wronged! How could you stare me in the face while you are in the middle of that?! And are you like drip drying or what?! I mean, guys peeing on the street here, I don't even blink an eye at that any more, but this was a whole new level. And the eye contact. Oh the eye contact. I think I had nightmares for days. That one was definitely the worst.

Friday, March 26, 2010


The magical moment that people have been telling me about / consoling me with for the last two years has finally begun: my kids are all playing together!  Yes, it took almost a full two years. For about the first year of their lives, Cash wanted nothing to do with the twins. He eventually got used to the fact that they came everywhere we did, and would possibly hand them a toy now and then, but that was about the extent of it. The twins are also less mature than Cash was in all the same stages and it seems that only recently they've really figured out how to play. Cash had a remarkably long attention span and could play with one toy for hours when he was seriously like 8 months. The twins have just barely figured that they can sit and play with something for more than 15 seconds. (I'm sure my motherhood is deficient here somewhere.) Up until now they've mostly just been a destructive
nuisance and annoyed Cash to no end by ruining all his projects and stealing his toys. But anyway, they've somehow reached the level where Cash has deemed them cool enough to involve them in playing and he has just now discovered the joys of telling your little brothers what to do.  "Come over here, Phoenix. Sit down Phoenix..." So brother, mostly, I should say, as Phoenix is the willing subject and Ashton is in his own little world. And Phoenix following him around with "Cashy, Cashy!" Why he insists on calling him Cashy, I don't know, but it's adorable. And is really more like "Da-see" since he can't say his Cs or the sh sound very well.

It's always been fun to watch the twins interact with each other, but even more so now as their thoughts and schemes gain some sophistication. I guess even when it means they think up dumping a box of cereal all over the floor and I walk out to find them spinning around on their bellies licking it up. But I just love the fact that wherever one twin goes, the other is sure to follow.  Of course all this increased interaction with everyone also means more fights to break up, but there are a few magical moments now and then when I actually find my kids all busy entertaining themselves together and I realize - wow, I can actually do something! Which usually means clean, but hey, it does seem my house is more clean lately, and doing it without someone screaming underfoot is certainly more pleasant.

The first clue I got that Cash actually liked them was when he moved up from nursery to primary in our church. I've personally always thought that must stink - going from playing with toys and getting snacks for a couple hours to have to sit and try to be quiet and listen for the better part of two hours. I mean, they sing and color and stuff, but it's got to be a big change. So every week he'd start asking if his brothers could come with him.  Awwww. That was so sweet to realize they really are their own little support system. Now my only worry is that shy and anti-social Cash will never bother to make friends since he has his little buddies to fall back on!

(Notice the new addition to our house? Still a novelty thank goodness and bedtime is a little less crazy. Although I'll actually admit, every now and then I miss Phoenix's under-the-door commentary as he watched us pass by until he would finally fall asleep curled in a little ball on the other side of the door.)

So anyway, all those who consoled me by saying, "Yeah but when they're older and they all play together you'll love it," well, I'm glad I made it far enough (without spontaneously combusting from all the effort it took to get here) to finally start to see it! It is truly delightful.

Monday, March 22, 2010


I was laughing so hard when I got an email this morning advertising these as boyfriend shorts:

If you're stealing these out of your boyfriend's closet (insert mental picture of your own boyfriend/husband in these), you've got bigger problems than the fact that you'd pay the $150 price tag for them.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Schools shmools

I feel like I've gotten a little behind. Maybe I'll go back and discuss the fact that the twins turned two. Or go back to the time when Ryan left for Haiti and three minutes after we dropped him off at the airport Cash puked all over the car. And then the other kids got it. (Why does he get to miss all the fun?) And it was the same weekend I had already scheduled the twins birthday party, which we got to, got all unloaded at the park, and it started raining. And then on the way to an alternate location, a box fell over in the back and squashed the orange creamsicle cupcakes I had spent 6 hours making. (If you saw my version, you'd laugh knowing that was actually trying to imitate those. My dual frosting needs some serious help.) And then the part where I was unloading from that party and locked myself out of the building....

But that all nauseates me, so maybe I'll talk about something else. Like the fact that I think I may have found a pre-kindergarten program for Cash next year. I know it seems like about every other post is about this topic, but, hey, what can I say? It's been stumping me for months now. So while my mom was here I drove and drove around and looked at any and every program I could find around here.  The first one I went to, I didn't hear a lick of English. (Sadly, there were so few options I found, this is our backup school). I'm totally fine with him learning Spanish, I just don't want him feeling more confused and isolated from the other kids than he already will have his natural tendency to be. And he would be the only non-Hispanic. And I had a hard time communicating with the teachers. The next one didn't work out for multiple reasons (it also being one where you have to keep your kid there all day, you can't just do three hours), and there was some kid giving a teacher a shoulder/neck massage out on the playground right in front of me.  Uh, that's a little um, inappropriate?  Yeah, nix that one.

The next one also told me I had to keep the kid there all day and sounded confused by my request to just do three hours.  She even told me it "wouldn't be very good business sense" to just have kids for three hours when you could get the money for making them stay there all day.  Oh. Silly me, I thought it was about what's best for the kids.  She also said she "disagreed" with me when I said I wanted to keep him home with me longer rather than just leaving him in day care all day "because kids teach each other lots of stuff."  Right. Brilliant stuff, I'm sure.  Like how to call each other poo-poo-head.  I mean, come on. I know people are so worried about kids learning social skills, but they don't need it for 8 hours a day. And please, the one thing kids could actually use more of in this world is their parents, not more time with other kids.

The next one had graffiti all over the building and a cop car busting somebody out front. I really debated even getting out of the car, but it was sort of worth it to walk in and see a sea of cute little black faces all turn to look at me wide-eyed when I walked in.  The teacher couldn't speak a sentence with an ounce of proper grammar and I'm actually not even sure she had teeth.  Hmm, Spanish, ebonics, Spanish, ebonics....

The next one I also debated getting out. It was one of those neighborhoods with few cars, but lots of adult guys walking around during the middle of the day (meaning nobody has a job). Another no.  The one we're zoned for - tried that one too (the one whose demographic reports in the last 10 years list 0 white kids), and that one I didn't even dare get out of the car.

Then I stopped by this private school.  Wow, those people were so warm and friendly I'd want to go to school there.  Lovely. Nice grounds. Super friendly teachers. Actually diverse (not diverse meaning anything but white kids). The four year-old class was learning to tell time in Chinese when I went in.  (Ok, I'll actually admit, that's a bit much for me. How about something more basic, like coloring?) But they were another all-day program.  Oh, and they were $13,000 a year.  (Yes, that's right, I didn't add too many zeros.)

That day I went home super frustrated to say the least.

But later I did go check out a nice school that is opening a new branch closer to me.  And it may be my only chance to get him in a good place like that because usually the good ones just have kids moving up from birth to each next level. So a new school, good option, and hopefully they will let me just do three hours a day like they say.  If not, looks like Cash and I better start learning some Espanol.

Ugh. I guess this topic nauseates me too realizing I'll have to do this all over again next year when it's time for elementary school.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

It's always fun when Grammy comes

I just got off of a two week vacation - a.k.a., my mom being in town.  I realize it's quite unfair that it's certainly no vacation for her, but for two weeks she made every meal, got the kids dressed every day and changed almost all the diapers. Can I tell you my stress level for the last two weeks was non-existent? Wow.  I was thinking back to a movie Ryan and I watched a while ago that was set back in the 1940s and they had a governess and a cook and all that - and the wife was always happy!  And she was so pleasant to her children.  And she would sit and knit!  And I told Ryan, "See how happy I could be if I had a cook and a governess?  See how happy and pleasant I would be to our kids if I could just sit and play with them and read books to them?  See how much knitting I could do?!?"  But alas, my mom just left and I'm back to fend for myself and realize how much more easily tempers flare when you're doing everything by yourself and your kids are being naughty, and how it's no longer a snap to get out of the house with kids dressed and lunches packed, and it's definitely much harder to get the kids back to the car without an extra hand to help herd them and chase them down as one bolts out of reach, one flops down on the sidewalk throwing a tantrum in refusal to holding your hand and the other one is off crying about not wanting to leave.

But we had a great time while she was here.  I got so much done!  I try to think of everything that might need to be done in the next 6 months or so and do it all in the space of two weeks.  We probably had about 8 doctors appointments, saw a ton of schools trying to find one for Cash, and got a million other errands run.  Without having to get three kids in and out of the car every time.  Amazing how much you appreciate that. And it's so nice to have a clean house, clean closets, and cleaned out piles of accumulated junk now too.

And we still managed to get out and have fun. I'll just throw in a bunch of pictures from all the stuff we did.

Went to the Children's museum:

Had a birthday party for my mom and Ryan complete with orange pound cake trifle.

My mom got some shots of the playroom in the condo of the girl who does Cash's school.  I'd love to have a room like this in my house!

My mom and I went to afternoon tea at the gorgeous Biltmore Hotel.

Went to lots of parks:

And hit the beach on an absolutely gorgeous day:

Yeah, even I was a little worn out from trying to get so much done by the time she left! I'm sure she's plenty relieved to be home recovering from us too!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Ok, I'm glad you're not a chiropractor

I usually complain a little about how if we're going through all this med school Ryan could at least be specializing in something that is useful to me.  And then I give the ultimate slam to an M.D. and say, "Like a chiropractor." That always goes over well.  :)  But eyes?  Perfect.  Never needed glasses, contacts, nothing.  I'm trying find the silver linings where I can - like free designer sunglasses for me, some Botox here and there, wish I could use that Latisse to make my eyelashes grow, but I'm too chicken because I don't want my blue eyes to go darker.  Anyhow, yes, I guess I have found a few perks.

And then tonight. Cash was playing with a bunch of cables that Ryan was cleaning out and Ryan saw as he flung around a USB cable that bounced back and whipped him right in the eye. I didn't see anything but before I knew what happened I caught Ryan's immediacy as he rushed him into the other room called out orders to me and within 30 seconds had dyes and drops and lights to show us exactly where the cornea had been scratched. Minutes after that they were off to the hospital to check him out more.  It was freaking me out a little to see how much Ryan was freaking out -  I guess knowing all the bad things that can happen and being worried about a ruptured globe - especially on your own kid, tends to make you a little paranoid.
Luckily it looks like it should heal fine, it wasn't any deeper than it was, and hopefully shouldn't have any scarring since it's right in the center of his vision and that would be bad if it did.  I'm a little emotional, and quite grateful that I married a talented guy and at present, couldn't be happier that he chose ophthalmology.

Monday, March 8, 2010


My mom is in town (thank goodness).  So we temporarily have a camera. And more bodies. And whenever we have more bodies, I always try to attempt getting some pictures of the twins because it's at least a three person job - one standing ready with the camera, and two to carry them into position so they'll actually be in the same place at the same time, and then both acting silly trying to grab their attention...then grabbing them as they run away, carrying them into position again, acting silly again, grabbing them as they run away, putting them back into position again.... and so forth. And maybe, just maybe I'll get one good picture out of a hundred.  This weekend we went to Vizcaya, a gorgeous old historic home in Miami with beautiful gardens.

Ho hum, historic houses.


It was basically us, and every 15 year-old Hispanic girl in the area out taking pictures that day for their Quincinera's (imagine lots of teenage girls in practically wedding dresses, spending lots of money on a big party for their 15th birthdays). And this exotic couple:

We were a little fascinated trying to figure out if she was a gold-digger, or he was just prematurely gray.

Then we went to a street festival that night and the favorite part was actually just playing on the curb.