July 2008

Some good clean family fun (as opposed to the usual wreaking of havoc we usually do as a family)

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So, this past weekend, we tried to go to the Boulder Festival in the South Wedge neighborhood, and we could only stay about an hour and a half. We knew there was a fee to get in (most Rochester festivals are free), but we figured it would be a few bucks. When we went up to the money-taking guy, he said, "Fifteen a piece." When we looked at him like he was crazy, he said, "Oh, it's ten a piece today." We again looked at him like he was crazy after we peered into the festival and saw no actual humans in there other than a couple vendors - who were probably sooo not happy - and some other workers and heard the sounds of a rather awful band (and I'm not saying it wasn't our taste - they actually were technically bad). We said, "No thanks," and turned around and walked away. As we did, Greta started bawling. We had talked up the festival, and she was so disappointed to not get to "go into the party." We finally calmed Greta down with a promise of pizza for lunch. Living in Rochester, home of the weekly summer festival, Pat also safely promised Greta that we would go to another festival this week. He found out about a carnival in the Swillburg neighborhood planned for tonight, so we decided to check it out and we had a blast. There were a lot of fun things for kids to do and good food. We got dinner, including cotton candy for dessert; a blue duck balloon animal from a clown who was barely creepy; we made a necklace out of noodles and boondoggle string; we saw a radio-controlled, stuffed fox riding a tricycle (holy random); and we bought Greta an awesome T-shirt with a skull on the front and says "Rochester 14620" on the back. Greta keeps it real (with a little help from Mom and Dad.)

Here's the proof for you naysayers.

In this picture, Greta was staring at the bizarro fox thing. Any time that was within 50 yards, she had an eye on it.

And here is the most elaborate blue duck made out of balloons ever.

Fran

You know you've been meaning to take a "blogventure"

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My very awesome friend Nancy Pearl Wannabe came up with a great idea a while back for something called Choose Your Own Blogventure. As I’m sure you can imagine, it is similar to the Choose Your Own Adventure books that were popular back in the day (or maybe they still are?), but with various authors (30 to be exact) and all published on the writer’s websites. She did it once before and I was too chicken to participate, but this time I was all “Me! Me!! Pick me!” when she decided to do it again. It is all going to post tomorrow morning, so be sure to check back then! PnF.com will have just my portion of the story with links to the beginning of the story (on NPW’s site), the story the leads to my part of the story, and the two options that I assigned to two other participants. I’m so excited I think I might pee my pants.

Fran

Now featuring two forms of birth control*

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Pat had class tonight, so I picked Greta up from day care. On the way home, I had to run to CVS to pick up a prescription. Tops is right next door, and there were a handful of groceries I really needed. Okay, so when I say I really needed some things, I am exaggerating a bit. As I mentioned yesterday, Pat got our new stove installed, and I haven't baked anything in a couple months now, which has been kind of awful for me. I had my eye on a cupcake recipe, and I really, really, REALLY needed Nutella for it. I had some other things on the list as well, so we were going through the store and when I was halfway through my shopping list, Greta started crying, trying to get out of the cart. Pat and I have a bad history of answering this behavior with A) taking her out of the cart and letting her help push, or carrying her while pushing the cart (which is AWESOME, let me tell you), or, as of recent, she just bolts down the aisle like a maniac or B) giving her the pacifier and quietly begging her to stop crying and stay in the cart. I am always afraid to make a scene, so I let Greta basically have her way with me any time we're in public. Every book and article I've read on the subject insists you can't fold in public, and I know this is true. So today, in cruddy Tops, I stood my ground and let her cry for 10 minutes while I finished my shopping and then waited in line for the slowest cahier in the world to check me out. On the drive home, I made Greta hold her pacifier but told her she couldn't put it in her mouth. (Amazingly, she complied.) We had a quick talk about it once we got home, and then we proceeded to have a great night. It was horrifying, and I felt every pair of eyes around me burning a hole in me, but we all survived. And, hey, at least it was Tops and not Wegmans or someplace I would ever see any of those people again.

*In case you missed it, the first form of birth control came from the pharmacist at CVS, and the second form of birth control came from shopping with a screaming two year old.

When Greta started crying and it didn't seem like she was going to stop, I was tremendously tempted to leave the cart and walk right out of the store, but I had the Nutella. Nutella! And I had cupcakes to make. These cupcakes!

Check it. So good.

It rained tonight, so instead of our usual walk, we made the cupcakes, and they were ready just in time to get Greta all sugared up before bed.

The second best part of Tops (after the Nutella)? They have Framboise - the big bottles - for only $10! Nutella cupcakes and Framboise are totally worth sitting through even the worst tantrum.

Fran

Pride all around

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On Saturday Greta and I headed out to Skaneateles to give Pat some uninterrupted time to work on the kitchen and so we could visit with my parents and see Taryn's dental office.

Taryn, Baby Oliver, my mom, Greta, and I went to Doug's Fish Fry for lunch, and in case you live under a rock, that is my favorite restaurant. I hadn't been in ages, so it was quite exciting to go and share a fish dinner with my mom (they're huge!). Greta had quite an appetite, so she ate some tomatoes, grapes, and a fruit bar I brought as well as most of a hot dog. I made the obligatory offer of fish, and, surprisingly, she agreed to try it. She is anti condiment, so I was equally surprised when she dipped her piece in tartar sauce before eating it. The biggest surprise, though, was that she not only didn't spit it out, but she proclaimed it "nummy!" I was so ridiculously happy and also quite proud. I, of course, had to document the scene.

Dipping

Commencing bite

Smiling!

She ate a few more bites and seemed to generally enjoy the Doug's experience. And, um, in case anyone is super observant and notices that Greta is wearing the same dress in the pictures from Friday as in those on Saturday, I will say that I washed it Friday night (cool Friday night activity, riight?) and put it back in Greta's drawer, and Saturday she wanted to wear it again. That was simply a battle that didn't seem worth fighting, mmmkay?

After lunch at Doug's, we all went over to Taryn's new office. I knew it would be super nice because Taryn has great taste and her goal was to make it nice and comfortable and basically didn't want it to look like a dental office. She definitely succeeded, and it was even nicer than I imagined. In fact, it is nicer than most salons I've been to! I'm just so proud of Taryn for following the dream she's had as long as I've known her. I also have a vague recollection of her saying in high school that when she opened her dental practice that she would have my photography in it. I remember scoffing at the idea (what, I'm a pessimist), and it has actually come true. It means so much to me that she even followed through with the photography part.

She chose five of my photos to enlarge and frame, and she even named her two operatories after two of the photos: snail and ladybug. I am completely honored.

Here are some pictures of the office.

Waiting room

Am I in some kind of fancy coffee shop? No, I'm in a dental office waiting room!

Somethin' for the kiddies

Front desk

Snail operatory

The cherry on the top of our little Saturday jaunt home was that Pat made great progress on the kitchen. There is just a little more left to go on the floor, and the new stove is in place. Pat even hooked up the gas. I was there while he did that part, and I basically blinked and he was done. When Pat and I were newlywed renters, I never imaged he was a do-it-yourself guy! For that reason, I'm proud of Pat as well!

Damn, this post was super feel-goody.

Fran

Friday night is all right for going to the children's museum...

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...unless you're childless, and then it's just creepy.

We went to Strong Museum last night with the Moens family and the Levy family, and we had a great time! We hadn't been to Strong Museum in ages because the weather has been so nice lately, but it was the perfect Friday night activity. We hope to make a more regular practice of it.

Here's a picture of all of the girls in some type of bizarre cooking show behind the Wegmans.

And in Wegmans

Playing with these pigeons that Greta loves for some reason

And playing with a computer in Elmo's World

Fran

I'm vegan now!

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And when I say now I mean right now. Like, right this minute. And for approximately for the last 18 hours...except for that milk I drank at dinner last night.

No, but seriously, I found an intriguing website with kid-and-parent-friendly vegan recipes, known as Vegan Dad, and the pictures looked so delicious I couldn't not try the recipes.

Last night I made this, which was very good except that it had way too much garlic for my taste. It calls for 4 cloves, which I cut down to 3, and I still feel like I have crazy dragon breath. The garlic was especially pungent because it is almost raw (it gets cooked only briefly). Oh, and Greta wouldn't try it, but Pat and I liked it, so I still say S-U-C-C-E-S-S.

The above recipe called for half a brick of tofu, and he suggested using the other half to make his eggless salad. I enjoy the taste of egg salad, but eggs that are not incorporated into food slightly gross me out, so an eggless salad has always appealed to me, but I just hadn't tried it. I took his advice and made some last night (he said it's better the next day) and am eating it as I speak type. It is much zestier than my typical egg salad - which has about two ingredients - and that is definitely a good thing. This morning, when I was making the sandwiches for Pat and myself, Greta asked me what the filling was, so I told her and asked if she wanted some. Rather than the typical "NO!" she said, "Not today. I try someday." That works for me!

Fran

What if fonts were people?

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This is the funniest nerd humor I've seen in a long time - maybe ever!

Fran

I have a friend who is an Ironman!

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Now that he has finally posted the news on his own site, I am excited to announce that my good friend Alex completed the 2008 Lake Placid Ironman this past weekend in 16 hours, 51 minutes, and 19 seconds! His Sunday night / Monday morning text message with the good news was the best, most exciting text message I've ever received. I am so proud of him!

Because I like to put things in perspective with my own accomplishments, I will note that my labor with Greta was more than 5 times shorter than Alex's Ironman race. I am no Ironwoman, but I am efficient at pushing babies out of me. We both have our talents.

Congrats, Alex!

Fran

And today, just like that, Greta turned 5.

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Today, Greta was carrying around a sticker with princesses on it, and she said, "Mom, am I a princess?"

She had never called me just "Mom" before, and I didn't even know she knew the word "princess," and she said it clear as day without having, like, a tantrum. Mark my words: they DO grow up fast.

(She has yet to ask me to take her to Hot Topic, but I can tell it's coming.)

Fran

I think my subconscious is trying to tell me something

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I'm not one to pay much attention to what I dream about, but a dream I had this morning seemed rather telling.

In my dream, Pat, Greta, and I took a little boat ride with a group of strangers (something similar to the boats on the canal that we have here in Rochester), and after the trip we were all getting off the boat, and a little boy had taken this toy that Greta has. (It's this fake cell phone filled with candy - she has no idea there is candy in it - and pressing the buttons makes it beep and light up. For a toy that cost fewer than two dollars, she is amazingly fond of it.) It didn't seem like a big deal except that the boy's father looked down and saw his son had this cruddy little toy, and he grabbed it, quickly glanced at it, and threw it in the water. It was clear that the man simply didn't think the toy was worth any more than a piece of garbage. While he did this, without realizing it, he also knocked this ugly sweatshirt that I love into the water and also one of our butter knives. (I have no idea why I would have had a butter knife there - It's just a dream; it can't all make sense, people.) Anyway, I didn't know what to make if it at first, and I considered jumping into the water to save the three things, but I realized that in the grand scheme of things, as tangible objects go, they didn't have much worth, even though they did have meaning to us. I started to get very angry and wanted to tell this man how inconsiderate he had been to me and my family. I started to yell at him, pointing my finger at him and furrowing my brow, but as I raised my voice, the boat's motor started back up and the noise completely drowned out my words. Now matter how loud I tried to be, the motor was louder. The man was looking directly at me and he was - get this - unapologetically picking his nose with this smug look on his face.

I woke up right then and laughed at the silly dream. I then felt relieved that Greta still had her candy cell phone and that I had my ugly sweatshirt. I assume the butter knife is still in the silverware drawer, although that's unconfirmed at this time. :)

This dream perfectly illustrates a frustration I'm having right now, where I am not doing a very good job of speaking up, and as a result I'm not being heard. I have been questioning if it's even worth speaking up over because it wouldn't seem like a big deal to most people, but for some reason it is a big deal to me. I wanted to take some time this weekend to decide if it was worth feeling upset over or not, and now I think it's clear that I am, and that in itself probably makes it worth speaking up over, no?

And because I haven't posted a picture in ages, I will tell you that Greta and I were flipping through Cookie magazine this morning, and there was a Capri Sun ad. In it, there is a picture of a tubby, middle-aged guy wearing a hospital gown and his hind region is sticking out of the back of the gown. Greta pointed to it and said, "Daddy!" She then made me get some tape so we could hang it up on the wall.

She has gone up to it a few times today to proclaim that it's Daddy. Sometimes I swear she is just messing with us.

Fran