Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Is Nothing Sacred?

This is how I felt when I discovered that Kellogg's Corn Flakes contained High Fructose Corn Syrup (after I had purchased a giant, value-sized box):

Friday, October 22, 2010

And Now You Are Eight

Dear Finn,
Today at 10:58am EST, you turned eight years old. It's hard to believe! I bet I'll still be writing that when you're 16...

When Declan turned eight, he seemed so grown up. To me, you are still so young--probably the difference between the first born and the "baby." Although you'd slug me if you heard me call you that.

Unlike your brother, who burst into the world upside down and two weeks early, you were perfectly content to hang out until week 40 when the doctor finally had to bring you out forcibly! It was a sign that you were going to be an amiable kid and a great sleeper. I rarely got to rock you to sleep--you conked out so quickly, no rocking was necessary. When you could walk, when you were tired and ready to sleep, you went right to your crib and stood there until we put you in.

Your Birth Day: Your big brother was so curious about you!

Your hair wasn't curly right away. It was very lightly red and the curls started showing up when you were about 8 months old.

You could spit up like nobody's business.

As you got older, you got curlier. People came up to me in the grocery store and touched your hair. When you were old enough to realize what was happening, you were a little freaked out.

As I looked back through my files for pictures for this post, there were so many that just made me smile or even laugh out loud. You were so YOU from the very beginning. As I look at pictures of you over the years, I still see so much of the same you.

Some of my favorites:

You smiled ALL the time. We called it the Finn Grin. This was your first haircut.

Some of them crack me up just because YOU'RE cracking up. Like you're years older and laughing at some inside joke that only you know about.

And then other times, you're just adorable. Can I still call you adorable?

This picture is so totally you. Still.

I love your gusto.

It seems like you've barely changed. But of course you have. As of this birthday, you have lived more than half of your life in Colorado. It's hard for me to imagine that you don't really remember Ohio and your first three years and 10 months there.

And today you are eight. Eight is great.

You are funny, smart, impatient, energetic, curious, sometimes a stinker, sometimes a little teaser and instigator, imaginative, loving (but I dare not try and give you a smooch!), and you can make me go from ready to strangle you to wanting to hug you in a single bound.

You are The Mighty Finn--a superhero in your right.

You are eight. And it is so lovely.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

Because it's October and I figured I'd better finally write about it.

There were so many pictures to upload--that's why it's taken me so long. Whatever Kodak Gallery has done to its site, I don't like it. Stuff takes forever and putting picture titles on there is totally cumbersome. The problem is that I don't want to switch to a new service because I have so many things archived on their site. So wah wah wah. I'm dealing with it already.

The boys and I were on the road for three weeks and a day in July/August. That was a long time. But it was a great trip. We saw a lot of people, took a lot of pictures, as you'll see, and we were ready to come home at the end. That's the best kind of trip in my book.

I'll link you out to the pictures at the end, but here's a rundown of what we did.

We were flying out of Denver so we took the opportunity to drive down the day before our flight and go to the Denver Museum of Natural History and Science. That might not be the actual name, but close enough. It was the second time the boys and I had been there and the first time for Eamonn, so it was fun for them to see it with him. Many of the exhibits are permanent, but they have some good rotating ones. In fact, it always cracks me up when I think about something a friend said once, "There's a good exhibit on natural disasters this month." It just struck me as funny.

We also squeezed in a clinic visit the day we left.

And then we were on our way. The boys love the whole airport/flying/travel process. Me? Not so much. But I do it to get from here to there.

Ohio was hot this year. Ridiculously hot. Last year, the weather was so nice, we often turned off the air conditioning. This year--no way. In fact, the boys frequently walked around saying things like, "Why is the air so heavy? The air makes me sleepy." I felt much the same.

We did have some rain, which was nice. I miss rainstorms here. So we went to see a movie. Something about Cats and Dogs who were spies. I fell asleep.

We saw tons of family and friends, including spending the night at my Grandpa's. They don't have air conditioning. And as much as I wanted to bark at the kids to get outside and play while we were there, I didn't badger them too much because after 8am, it was mostly miserable to be outside. We did help Grandpa fix an electric fence that was down--and I will mention briefly here thay my sweet Grandpa put my hand on a fence THAT WAS STILL LIVE--but I won't hold it against him. For much longer. He also took the boys on a tractor ride which is really their favorite thing. Right after eating homemade ice cream.

We went to the Ohio State Fair again. I think I talked briefly about that when I did a few posts at Mom's. I was hungover. It was a difficult day.

Eamonn arrived. We went to a water park. That was very fun. I sunburned my chest. That wasn't fun.

Our trip to Virginia was in two parts: Norfolk for Eamonn's cousin's wedding and Williamsburg for family vacation time.

I really liked Norfolk. It, of course, sits right on the water, which I dig. I like being able to see the ocean or other large bodies of water. The focus was the wedding, which was beautiful and please note I didn't take any pictures for some reason (mostly because the purse I took was too small to hold the camera). We had a great time with Eamonn's cousins, some of whom we hadn't seen in awhile. We did have some time on Saturday morning to visit the USS Wisconsin and the attached museum, which the boys loved.

I went and got a pedicure. Which I loved.

And then we went on to Williamsburg.

Which I totally loved.

I did wonder if Finn would be too young to appreciate it. He wasn't. Both boys had a great time, as did we. There is so much to see there. We did the different locations in chronological order, based on when they were settled/took place:

1. Jamestown--Sunday
2. Williamsburg--Monday, Tuesday (and then I went back and did a walk through Wednesday evening)
3. Yorktown--Wednesday

I read about doing it that way in a book or on a website or something. I don't know if it made any difference to the boys--I think maybe they looked at the whole thing as just a bunch of people dressed in costumes in three different locations.

Whatever. It was fun.

So if you're wondering about taking your kids to Williamsburg--do it. However, don't go in August. In fact, I recommend October through December. The last time I went, it was October 1990 and my friend Karen and I went. We had a great time, but even in October, it was pretty humid. Of course, a hurricane had just rolled through. I laugh looking back at the pictures, some of which are pratically duplicated for our 2010 trip.

The saving grace of our trip was the $10 souvenir mug which you could use for unlimited refills of various and sundry drinks. My kids drank more high fructose corn syrup laden lemonade in the two days we walked around Williamsburg than they have in their entire life.

It was hot, people. Oppressively hot. At one point, after lunch on the second day in Williamsburg, it was so hot I wanted to lie down and scream. But I figured that might be bad for morale, so I didn't. You'll see how sweaty we look when you see the pictures.

A huge, huge highlight of going to Williamsburg was getting to meet blog friends, Beth and Hannah. Beth had been providing me with Williamsburg advice prior to our trip. Her son attends William and Mary and they live about 90 miles away, so they've been to Williamsburg a time or ten. In fact, I believe Beth told me Hannah was "over" Williamsburg, which made me laugh. After four days in the heat in the area, I was over it, too! So Beth and Hannah graciously drove 90 miles to meet us! It was very exciting and we had a great time visiting.

And I'll tell you something else--after weeks of "quality family time"--the boys were so excited to have someone else to talk to. They enjoyed showing off their swimming and diving skills for Hannah. I think they were so relieved to have an audience who appreciated them and wasn't lecturing saying things like, "don't splash me, you're being too loud! Don't run around the pool!" etc. Ah, parenthood.

Anyway, our whole sweaty summer vacation is available for viewing HERE. Kick back, relax and enjoy with an ice cold glass of high fructose corn syrup.

Or hot chocolate now that it's October.

Friday, October 15, 2010

We Interrupt this Dinner for a Few Questions

So last night the phone rang at exactly 6pm. Exactly 6pm. I was right in the middle of fixing dinner. Who calls at exactly 6pm?

It was someone doing a poll about the elections. Ugh.

I'm embarrassed to say that I have no clue who I will be voting for and was mortified to think that I was going to have to answer questions about the candidates.

One time, a reporter was trying to interview me for an article about local candidates. I had to decline the interview because I was so clueless.

Anyway, back to the 6pm phone call.

I always try to take part in those phone surveys because my minor in graduate school was consumer behavior and that's how you get your information--surveying people. So I try to take one for the team and answer questions when I can.

I asked how long the survey would take, given that I was in the middle of making dinner and was using a knife. There are many well-documented circumstances of me trying to talk and cook at the same time and it never ends well.

The survey woman said it would take 5 minutes.

OK, I could spare 5 minutes.

We started the questions.

Immediately, I was annoyed. The survey woman had such a heavy African accent that I literally couldn't even understand the candidates' names. Now, I know I said I was clueless about who I was going to vote for, but I at least know their names and I was completely unable to understand who she was talking about.

The survey dragged on.

I gave some flippant answers, including one that asked me to give my opinion about the ethics of the various candidates.

"They're all crooks."

She also wanted to know who I was voting for. Even though I didn't know, I wouldn't have told her if I did. Isn't this why we have secret balloting?

She kept asking. I kept replying, "I'm not going to tell you that."

I'm sure it was annoying.

Ten minutes later, I asked how many questions were left because it didn't feel like we were reaching closure.

She told me in an impatient voice, "Just a few more."

Truthfully, I wanted to hang up at this point. We were long past the 5 minutes, and I was having to concentrate so hard to try and figure out what she was saying that I'd had to abandon my efforts to make dinner.

Really. Annoying.

Finally the call ended, 15 minutes after it started. And I have to say, I was totally bugged, not only that I spent all of that time on the phone and dinner was delayed, but that a survey company would give a phone job to someone with such difficulty in pronouncing key elements of the survey--like the candidates names. Doesn't that seem like it should be a very basic thing?

It's got me all riled up. This is me. Riled.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Things I've Noticed About Disney Movies

I'm sitting here working (well, clearly, I've stopped working and am now blogging) and watching "Summer Magic" with Hayley Mills. I'm not digging it, but I feel compelled to watch it because, well, it's Hayley Mills. I'm not even 100% sure of what the plot is because I am only sporadically paying attention, but I'm paying close enough attention to notice the following:

Disney apparently employed only 10 different actors in the '60s and '70s. There is of course, Hayley Mills, who was in Parent Trap--possibly one of my favorite movies of all times, The Moon-Spinners, Pollyanna, That Darn Cat, In Search of the Castaways. Heck, I didn't even know about that last one. And how about Johnnie Whitaker. Wasn't he in a bunch of Disney stuff? The kids from Mary Poppins showed up in like three other movies together. And now there's this woman in Summer Magic who was also in Parent Trap. She played the maid in Parent Trap. She's Burl Ives' wife in this movie.

Speaking of Burl Ives, he's also in this movie. He just collapsed on the floor. I don't think I've ever seen him in anything other than Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. Although I guess I really only heard him in that.

Anyway, that's Thing One about Disney movies--the same 10 people over and over.

Thing Two is: why does everyone sound like they have an English accent in the movies from the '60s and '70s? Of course, Hayley Mills is actually English, but they all sound that way. And yet, they're not.

Thing Three: The pre-recorded dog barking is exactly the same in this movie as it is in the Shaggy Dog, 101 Dalmations, and I swear, even Lassie. They're not even the same breed, or even alive--101 Dalmations was animated, you can't fool me!!--and they have the same bark.

Thing Four: Same soundtrack. OK, probably not really, but it all has that same tone.

Thing Five: This isn't about this movie, but it's more from all of the Disney cartoon movies like Bambi--the mother always dies. What the heck? I think Disney must have a thing about mothers. Brother Bear, Finding Nemo, and others I can't think of right now. Or the mother dies and we never see her at all: Snow White, Cinderella, Aladdin, Little Mermaid, etc. etc. etc. Are orphans big sellers?

Ok, then.

I have no idea why I wrote this post. I think it all started when I heard the barking dog...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Because Who Doesn't Want to Ride in an Ambulance?

I'm trying to remember if I had ever ridden in an ambulance before yesterday afternoon. I'll have to ask my Dad if we rode in one when we were in a car accident when we went to Washington, D.C. when I was in fifth grade. I can't remember.

With the state of health care in this country right now, I've always been grateful that we haven't had to require the use of an ambulance. Because if you think they're taking you on that little ride for free, you are sorely mistaken.

So now we're about to find out exactly what a 30 mile ambulance ride costs. Not that it wasn't worth it and that I don't completely and totally appreciate the firefighters and EMTs that came to our rescue yesterday.

Most of you have read on Facebook that Finn had a mountain bike accident yesterday.

It was gross, people. Really gross.

Eamonn and the boys went out for a ride before dinner. I was working. A frozen pizza was in the oven. I love frozen pizza nights. It's like vacation.

Eamonn called me at about 6pm to say they were on their way home. I took the pizza out of the oven, did a little more work. Minutes later, the phone rang again.

It was Eamonn again, telling me Finn had just had an accident on his bike and that someone was calling 911. He told me where they were and to get there right away. I could hear Finn crying and saying, "I'm dying! I'm dying!" in the background. Not stressful for a mother or anything.

I grabbed my coat, purse and Finn's coat and ran out the door. I drove through the neighborhood at about 60 miles an hour, tires squealing and everything. Sorry, neighbors.

I was to them in probably less than two minutes after getting the call. Hey, it's a small town.

I parked the car at the side of the road and ran down the bike path to them. And here is a bit of advice. If you are going to be running in a crazed frenzy, don't wear slip on shoes. Just an FYI.

A group of people had gathered--some were walking along the path and came across the accident, some had come out of the nearest house, which happens to belong to a guy Eamonn used to work with and he had friends over for dinner that Eamonn also knew. They had brought out blankets and wrapped Finn up.

Eamonn quickly and quietly explained that the brake lever was impaled in Finn's right thigh. I asked if he thought the femoral artery was hit and he shook his head and reminded me that basically, Finn would have been bleeding out there and then. Frankly, there was very little blood at all. The darn brake was just lodged in there. Fortunately, Eamonn had the foresight not to pull them out. I stress a little thinking about what I would have done.

By the way, did you know that when you call 911, everyone comes to the party? Police, fire, ambulance. It was all very dramatic. Cute firefighters running down the bike path towards you. That's a sight to behold.

But I digress.

Brake cables were cut, handle bars taken off the bike, and Finn and I rode in the ambulance to the nearest hospital with the handlebars still firmly attached to his leg.

The friends took the bikes into their house, Declan and Eamonn drove home and gathered some overnight items just in case, including some of Finn's favorite things: like baboo--his lovey that he still sleeps with, Big Boss--his pillow pet, Sharkey--favorite stuffed animal, and Pokemon cards. Because you can't spend the night in the hospital without Pokemon cards, right? What if a nurse wants to trade with you or something? It would be a shame to be unprepared.

Eamonn dropped Declan at Tara's and met us in the ER. Declan gets very, very stressed when someone happens to Finn. I can only assume that it's a result of worrying about the leukemia and we just don't see it flare up very often. So really, it was best for him not to be at the ER.

We had no idea what to expect. Do you have to surgically remove handlebars? It turns out, not in this instance. They slid out pretty easily (a relative term used by someone who did not have handlebars in her thigh). Stitches and a drain were put in and I have to say, even though they numbed the wound, it clearly didn't work to well, although when the doctor took this huge cotton swab and was probing around under the skin, even I almost lost it. I can't imagine how much that must have hurt. In fact, Finn repeatedly said, "Please knock me out!"

In the end, we left after a few hours. Declan decided to spend the night at Tara's. Finn wanted chicken nuggets--I know, I know--so we drove through Wendy's and let him eat deep fried chicken parts to his heart's content.

He was in bed by about 10:30pm; I had drugged him with some Ibuprofen. He slept soundly. We did not. I could not stop envisioning the accident happening (even though I wasn't there) and then what his leg looked like.

I'm telling you, it's gross.

At 6am, we all had a pleasant awakening to our smoke dectectors malfunctioning.

Sweet. What are the odds.

But then again, what are the odds that this accident would happen 366 days after the scalping at the park last year?

Next year, we're not leaving the house on this weekend.

Today we visited the orthopedic surgeon and all is well. The wound, and this is pretty gross, can't be stitched completely shut. So part is sewn shut, part is gaping open. I'm sorry--I shouldn't have used the word gaping. It just has to heal.

I wanted to take a picture, but Finn wouldn't let me. He hasn't seen it yet.

It's probably best that way.

I took a two hour nap today while my children watched inappropriate videos on You Tube. I've decided I don't really care.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Flaming Shrew

Is anyone else's PMS getting worse with age? Just wondering. Because this afternoon I literally thought the top of my head was going to fly off for no apparent reason. Well, of course there was a reson--I'm not THAT irrational. Or so I think.

But then again, "Everybody thinks they have good taste and a sense of humor but they couldn't possibly all have good taste." Name that movie.

My point here is that I don't seem irrational to myself, but I could be wrong.

Anyway, there was a reason for my irrationality, but I can no longer remember what it is. Was.

So if my PMS is getting worse with age, at least I can't remember it in any great detail. Silver linings.

On a completely different subject, here are a few pictures of a fall hike I took with friends last Friday. It looks mysteriously like the fall hike I took a few weeks ago, even though it's a completely different part of the valley. Crazy.

The view from the bottom of the trail. We were at a state park near our house.

Views on the way up.

Probably because I didn't grow up around Aspen trees, I'm so enthralled by them. Those long, long trunks and yellow leaves against the bright blue sky. I still miss the reds of the maple trees though...

Twila and Gillian following me and Vicky back down the trail.

View of the lake on the way back down.

Ahhh, I feel serene just looking at these pictures...until I realize how freaking long it takes to upload them and how cumbersome the process is. So Blogger, you're on notice: You upload function sucks.

We now interrupt this crazed post and return you to your regularly scheduled evening.....