My Convertible Life

Monday, August 31, 2009

Online Music Monday

We're having a beautiful time at the beach, although I'm grouchy this morning because apparently my daughter didn't get the memo about sleeping late and taking long naps on vacation.

Thankfully, I had a link to this video from a friend on Facebook to cheer me up:

As budgets shrink across the country, school districts are facing tough decisions about cutting teaching positions and eliminating courses. In some cases, that means getting "back to basics" by focusing on reading and math. I'm a former English teacher, so I appreciate attention to reading -- and numerous studies have shown that a student's future academic success is dependent on learning to read by third grade. But a focus on reading and math at the expense of science, social studies, foreign language and the arts comes at a price.

The following quote is from an article about how the P.S. 22 chorus became celebrities on the Internet and got to meet some of the artists whose songs they've covered (like Tori Amos, Stevie Nicks and Rhiannon):
"As for fame, aside from some local-hero treatment on Staten Island, getting spoiled by stardom isn’t an option, thanks to the bittersweet realities of P.S. 22, which runs only through fifth grade; most of the current group graduated from the school and the chorus last month. 'I’m devastated,' says Milagros Vega, whose daughter, Mariah Baez, is an alto. 'I want to hold her back.' Mariah typifies the benefits of working with Breinberg: Confidence skyrockets and grades improve. 'Mariah has more friends and is so much more expressive' Vega says."
"Confidence skyrockets and grades improve." The ability to sing songs by The Cure might not get tested by No Child Left Behind (NCLB), but the significance of being excited about learning and having opportunities for success can't be measured by standardized tests.

Gregg Breinberg (a.ka Mr. B), who started the chorus at P.S. 22 in 2000, has a blog about the group and their performances. Check it out -- more than 9 million people have already watched their videos. I just hope that, when it comes to supporting public schools through volunteer time or taxes and bonds, all those viewers will remember what our teachers and students can accomplish when given the support they need.

Photo from PS22 Chorus blog.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's Not American Idol, But You Still Get to Vote

It's a busy week at Juni and Pip's house -- lots to do before we leave on a week's vacation (see photo for a preview of what we'll be doing), so not much time for the ol' blog. I'm hoping to have more time to write at the beach, so look for some new posts next week.

In the meantime, head over to Triangle TRACKS (Tools, Resources and Activities for Carolina Kids) for their Blog Carnival. My post about the Code Brown in Pippi's crib is the second one down -- the top three posts that generate the most discussion (in the form of comments or questions) will be awarded their own promotional box (with a link to the RSS feed) on the Triangle TRACKS home page for two weeks.

There are eight blogs posted, so help me out by leaving a comment -- and then read the other posts and all the interesting info from Triangle TRACKS. Oddly enough, there's another post involving poop. Winners will be announced on Sept. 4.

If you got here from Triangle Tracks, welcome and thanks for reading! And I promise that not all my posts involve my children's fecal incidents -- look around for book and music recommendations, stories about food, and general musings about how life changes.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Friday's Five: Classic Children's Books

I love that there are so many wonderful new children's books that Junius and I get to discover together. But I also enjoy sharing the classics with him, particularly ones that I read as a child. He's still a little young for the original seven Chronicles of Narnia (although we have read the Chick-Fil-A versions) or my weathered copy of The Trumpet of the Swan, but I'm looking forward to breaking those out in years to come.

In the meantime, here are five children's books he and I both like that have survived the decades in my library:
  • The Story of Ferndinand: Written by Munro Leaf and illustrated by Robert Lawson (1936). This sweet tale of a young bull who likes to sit in the shade and smell the flowers always makes me smile. My old copy has a gray cloth cover that reminds of a suit jacket, making it feel even more like a classic.

  • A Fish Out of Water: Written by Helen Palmer and illustrated by P.D. Eastman (1961). My tattered copy of this cute story came from my cousin Dereck, inscribed to him from someone I don't know. Read it to find out what happens when a little boy feeds his fish Otto too much -- Mr. Carp to the rescue!

  • Frog and Toad Together: By Arnold Loebel (1979). The series of shorts about two friends are sometimes melancholy and sometimes comical, but always lovely in their simplicity.

  • Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile: By Bernard Waber (1973). If you don't know Lyle, you should start by reading The House on East 88th Street to find out why Hector P. Valenti, star of stage and screen, left his crocodile in the Primms' bathtub. There are additional Lyle books, but the sequel, where Lyle gets separated from Mrs. Primm at the department store and later becomes a neighborhood hero, is my favorite of the series.

  • Harry By the Sea: Written by Gene Zion and illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham (1965). All of the Harry books are fun, but I like this one best. I always enjoy a good beach story, and who can resist adorable little Harry looking like a monster covered in seaweed.
What are your childhood favorites that stand the test of time?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

You Might Be Cute, But Your Sh*t Still Stinks

When Junius was about 10 weeks old, we took him to my cousin's wedding. Because he was prone to spitting up in quantities that defied his tiny body, I didn't dress him in his fancy clothes until we were in the church parking lot -- didn't want to ruin the look. It was one of those beautiful white, pintuck oufits that requires ironing and has impossibly tiny buttons up the back -- one that my husband had worn when he was a baby and his mother saved for us. Completely impractical, but Junius looked so sweet.

So sweet, that is, until his enormous pooplosion leaked out all over the fancy clothes (did I mention it was white?) and onto my husband's suit. Thankfully, we had a change of clothes in the car so that Junius didn't stink at the reception (see photo of him dancing with Nanna) -- and that turned out to be the worst of Juni's poop messes, even counting potty-training last year.

Pippi, however, is another story.

Today, when she woke up from her afternoon nap and started crying for me to come get her, I was on the phone with her Daddy. Apparently, in the few minutes it took for me to get upstairs, she had despaired of ever being rescued and decided to stage a protest... by removing her diaper, squatting on her blanket for a poop, and then smearing it all over everything in her crib. Seriously -- her diaper was clean, but her sheets, blankets, lovey, books and stuffed animals were covered in shit (pardon my French).

After scrubbing her down in the tub, putting on a dry diaper and taking her downstairs to play with her brother, I headed back upstairs to deal with everything in the crib (did I mention it was even on the books? and the pashmina blanket that we got as a gift for Junius and I never let him touch it but thought it was so sweet and girlie for her to have her own baby pashmina?).

I'll spare you the details from here (and be grateful I didn't stop in the midst of all the crap to take a photo -- you don't want to know). But I'm hoping against hope that this is Pippi's one poop disaster. Is it a bad sign that I'm already afraid about potty training with her?

Now it's your turn to share a poop disaster story so that I can feel better (or at least not alone) about my parenting. And feel free to make your own puns about hitting the fan.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hot Potato, Hot Potato

This video is awesome. Not only does it feature Mary Ann from Gilligan's Island (who seems really, really happy about living in Idaho), but it's the niftiest way to peel a potato I've ever seen. As someone who loves to eat potatoes in nearly every form, I may have to give this trick a try.

Thanks to Grandpa for sending!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Pizza Nostalgia

Even though Thomas Wolfe, himself a Tar Heel, said you can't go home again, I always like to try anyway when it comes to Chapel Hill. I spent four years there as an undergrad, then returned five years later for graduate school.

Over the years, one restaurant retained my unfailing loyalty:
Pepper's Pizza

A couple weeks ago I had a work-related meeting in Chapel Hill, so I took the opportunity to head to the Hill early and treat myself to lunch at Pepper's. It's been a few years since I had eaten there, and I knew that the restaurant had changed locations, moving up Franklin Street a few spaces from its original site (shown here). I was nervous, hopeful, a little skeptical -- but I needed to know if it was still My Pepper's.

As I enjoyed my lunch (my "usual": diet coke, side salad no peppers no onions with ranch dressing, and a slice with zucchini and feta) which was thank goodness exactly wonderfully like it had always been, I had to laugh about how much things have changed.

Of course, the space is new -- much brighter and less grunge than the old space, with four televisions mounted on the walls. The wait staff still looked college-town-quirky, but none of the employees had multi-colored hair, large tattoos or excessive piercings. And even the music was different -- instead of head-banging alternative noise, I actually heard "Walking on Sunshine" (although, to be fair, that is one of my all-time favorite songs -- seriously, click the link and thank me later for putting that feel-good tune in your head and a skip in your step).

But what had really changed? Me.

Instead of walking up to Franklin from class or the dorm with a group of friends, I drove to the parking garage and ate alone with a magazine (and enjoyed it! how else would I get to read The New Yorker in peace?). Instead of wearing jeans and a t-shirt with birks, I was in suit trousers, dressy top, pearls and heels -- professional attire for my meeting, of course. After lunch, when the waitress shooed me back to my table (apparently you don't pay at the counter in Fancy Pepper's), I handed her my AmEx card instead of a wad of change and bills out of the pocket on my backpack.

But the salad was still the right balance of lettuce, tomatoes and mozzarella with just the right amount of dressing. And the pizza still has that perfect-not-too-thick-not-too-thin crust with just enough sauce, thinly sliced veggies and salty feta cheese. And the diet coke, refilled at exactly the right moment, still comes with that delightful pebbly ice.

So I decided I'm okay with the changes at Pepper's because the food is what matters most. And I'm more than okay with the changes in me because it's a good life I've got here -- even if I did look a bit dorky at lunch.

Photo from

Monday, August 17, 2009

Remembrance of Summers Past

It's not as elegant as Proust's madeleine, but I had the strangest moment last week when I fixed the beverage shown above.

The glass is one of those Looney Tunes glasses that you used to be able to get with a purchase at Burger King or McDonalds back in the 70s and 80s. My favorite one was a Miss Piggy glass (she's on the motorcycle bursting through the stained glass window in The Great Muppet Caper) -- found this picture on Ebay that shows the whole set; sadly, my glass broke when I took it to college.
Anyway, back to the Looney Tunes glass, which I inherited from my Nana after she died more than 15 years ago. I always loved using those glasses when we would visit her house on the river. She'd fill them with ice and Pepsi-Cola to take down on the pier. As strange as it sounds, that was a luxury -- we didn't drink sodas at home when I was young.

So the other day, I needed some caffeine to avoid joining my kids during their naptime, so I popped open a can of Diet Coke. It was room temperature, so I reached into the cabinet and pulled out this Foghorn Leghorn glass without thinking about anything in particular, added some ice and poured in the drink.

Then I stopped and looked at the glass, suddenly filled with memories of my Nana, of playful summer afternoons by the river, of being young and finding great pleasure in the smallest treats. I was so grateful to have had the sort of childhood that could be summoned up like that. And I imagine that my parents and my in-laws are creating little things like that now for my children, without even knowing it, that will become the catalyst for their own fond memories one day.

What little things conjure up fun summer memories for you?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Did I Mention I'm a Famous Blogger?

Just in case you weren't watching NBC17's "This Week on MyNC" program at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday (or at 9 a.m. or 11:30 p.m. on Sunday), you can go here to see what you missed (click on the 8/15/09 program).

The show includes a television version of 30Threads, which featured... you guessed it, my very famous tree letter post! As a friend's daughter once said, "I am SO celebrity."

Turns out writing "open letters" is this week's blogging trend. The post mentioned after mine is another Triangle Mamas blogger -- go TM!

You can skip ahead to about 15:07 for the blog segment, but you should also watch the whole show to learn about the very cool Backpack Buddies program. And thanks to Ginny for publicly defending my love of trees.

Lost in Marbles

As Pippi strolled past me with her miniature grocery cart, I waved to her and she tossed me a big flirty grin. Then I turned back to Junius, who was fixing a plastic breakfast of eggs, bacon and spaghetti with meatballs.

After a moment, I noticed that Pippi hadn't circled back to us when she got to the corner, so I stood up to check on her. That's when I realized there was no corner, just another opening that connected to the rest of the play area. And Pippi was nowhere to be seen.

It was a busy Saturday morning at Marbles Kids Museum, the kind of day when I would have preferred to go to the pool and avoid the crowds. But Junius had asked so nicely and I was tired of always saying no. So we went, just the three of us.

My eyes darted around the chaotic space, searching for her shaggy little head among all the other toddlers -- how do you find someone so short in a crowd? I raced around the loop twice before grabbing Junius by the hand for fear that he might disappear, too. After a third frantic circle, Juni struggling to keep up with me, I could feel myself starting to panic.

Surely she was in here somewhere, I tried to rationalize. But what if she'd followed someone out of the gate and they hadn't noticed? How far could she wander without being stopped? What if someone had taken her?

We dashed to the information desk, telling the woman there that I'd lost my child. I started spouting out details, which she relayed through her earpiece to the other staff members -- 18 months old, sandy hair, pink shoes, flowered dress. As I described her, she sounded like any one of a million little people playing in the museum. I wrestled with my lungs to make my breathing stay at a normal rate.

After making Junius promise he would stay at the desk, I darted back into the play area to search again. Another staffer met me there, saying, "I think someone found her." I looked up, expecting to see her crying for me, searching as desperately for her mommy as I had been for her.

But she was playing happily at the little cash register, just a few feet from where I'd been sitting for our pretend meal. She must have been two steps behind me the whole time I was searching for her, not even knowing that she was lost.

When I scooped her up, thanking the staff and heading to the desk to retrieve Junius, it felt like she'd been missing for hours. In reality, it had been less than five minutes -- but it was the longest one of my children had been lost, and it was more than enough time to leave me shaking and exhausted.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday's Five: American Lit 101

It's back-to-school time. I know because all the stores are stocked with pens, notebooks, blue jeans and sweaters -- because nothing says back-to-school when it's 95 degrees in August like a nice sweater. But this post isn't about what to wear on your first day back in the classroom. Instead, it's about five books you should have read in high school English class (or at least your college American Lit class).

If you haven't read these, go straight to your local library or independent bookseller and find them. If you read them in high school, but haven't looked at them since then, they deserve another try. If nothing else, you need to have read them to understand all those literary allusions in high-brow things like ads for The Gap and episodes of The Simpsons.

All five are books that I taught as a high school teacher, and I'm certain I didn't fully appreciate them until I read them as an adult. Whether or not my former students liked them is something about which I will refrain from speculating -- but I can only hope they found their way back to these books a second time.
  1. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury: Drama, intrigue, suspense and censorship in a futuristic world that parallels real life today in strange ways. With flame-throwers. The 1966 film version is just bad, so don't bother.

  2. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck: One of the sweetest, saddest stories of friendship ever. Makes me cry just thinking about it. The John Malkovich/Gary Sinise movie version of this book is actually really good, but you should still read the book.

  3. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne: The tale of a surprisingly strong female character who is inexplicably in love with a very weak man. At one point, she tells him, "Preach! Write! Act! Do anything, save to lie down and die." That's my favorite line (loosely translated to modern English: "Dude. Get over yourself, grow a pair, and live your life, preferably with me in it.") Watching the Demi Moore film version does NOT count.

  4. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald: Secrets, opulence, jazz and heat. So glamorous and tawdry at the same time -- what's not to love? The Robert Redford/Mia Farrow movie version is unintentionally funny to watch (lots of fuzzy lighting and stiff dialogue), but not a particularly good film.

  5. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston: Another strong woman with a tough story, this novel wraps you up in Janie's life and loves in the early 1900s. The book is ritten in dialect and beautifully descriptive. Haven't seen Oprah's film version with Halle Berry, so I can't comment on that.
Note: As always, the links take you to purchasing info about the books at Quail Ridge Books & Music, which neither offered nor sent any compensation in return for this post. Also, the authors in no way bribed me to get their books on the list, given that they're all deceased, except for Bradbury, who doesn't know I exist.

Image from wikipeida.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

If Only They Would Listen to My Wisdom

Following the wild success of my open letter to a tree (and a big thanks to my friends who commented on 30Threads, defending me against "Lance"), I was considering going to an all-open-letter blog format. Then I realized that had already been done -- and I'm not going to try to compete with Sarah Vowell and John Hodgman. But so many little annoying things happened while I was running errands on Monday that I feel compelled to employ the device a few more times, so here goes.

* * *

Dear Woman in the Parking Lot at Bed, Bath & Beyond,

I will try not to judge you and your passenger for parking in a handicapped space, then walking easily into the Party City store. It's entirely possible that, although you are both ambulatory, one or both of you has a less visible illness that makes walking difficult over certain distances. Your passenger's very short hair suggested she may be recovering from treatment, so it's easy to give you the benefit of the doubt.

However, it's harder for me to be sympathetic when you're smoking a cigarette while wearing a cancer survivor t-shirt from Relay for Life. Perhaps you've missed the whole surgeon general thing for the past 40 years, but it seems like now would be a good time to quit with the cancer sticks.

Best wishes for continued health,

* * *

Dear Mom of One at Harris Teeter,

Congratulations on having such a well-behaved toddler at the grocery store. And congrats for your new one on the way -- what an exciting time for you!

One of the things you'll learn after you have two children on the outside of you is the critical nature of the double-seated grocery cart. It is difficult to corral two children in the grocery store unless you can buckle them in and keep them entertained (thus protecting all those products on bottom shelves cleverly covered in Pixar characters). That's precisely the beauty of those rocket-ship-race-car carts -- both kids fit and each one gets a steering wheel.

So given that Harris Teeter has a VERY limited number of these carts (like, two) and given that you still only have one child who can actually access said cart, please be considerate and leave them for people with two children. We desperately need them.

C (the mom who was giving you the stink eye while her son pushed one of those customer-in-training carts running into shelves and customers all over the store)

* * *

Dear Woman in the Parking Lot at Harris Teeter,

I'm so glad you were driving slow enough and watching closely enough to see the elderly man backing his land yacht out in front of you. That's a tricky parking lot, so I commend your attention to safety.

I also think you were right to toot your horn to alert him that you were coming, in hopes that he would stop and let you pass before continuing his slow and steady move into traffic.

However, continuously holding your hand on the horn for the duration of his very slow and steady move into traffic when he clearly was not intimidated by (or perhaps could not hear) your honking and when he was posing no great threat to your vehicle or other drivers and when my small children were stuck beside your bleating car waiting for me to unload my groceries into the trunk was truly excessive. Please go home and take a nap (or a valium).

Kindest regards,
* * *

Phew. Don't know about you, but I feel so much better now. And I promise to leave the open letter mechanism alone for awhile.

Monday, August 10, 2009

My Most Famous Post

Congratulations to all (seven) of you for reading this blog! You'll be able to say you knew me way back when.

Turns out, I am a totally famous blogger now. Over the weekend, my post on Triangle Mamas got picked up by 30 Threads, a site that highlights Triangle blogs and media.

In case you haven't clicked over to Triangle Mamas in awhile, you should go now and read my open letter to a tree (the post linked as #5 on 30 Threads), as well as posts from other area moms. And I should clarify that I am a) not opposed to trees in general, b) not suggesting they cut down the fully-grown trees that provide a tiny bit of shade at the amphitheater and c) not going to take a preschooler to a show two hours early just to stake out a good spot.

While you read, I'll be sitting at home waiting for all the mommy-blog marketers to start contacting me. Just hope it's someone other than tree removal and landscaping services.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday's Five: Children's Books for the Stage

In college, I took a very fun course called "Performance of Children’s Literature" with an amazing professor named Paul Ferguson -- he still teaches the class and I recommend him highly to anyone at UNC who is interested in performance or just wants to try it out.

As a class, we performed excerpts from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, then we did small group performances from children's books that we selected -- I used a couple of stories from The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. I'm sorry to say I didn't turn out to be much of an actress, but I loved the class anyway and enjoyed reading children's books with performance in mind.

The first five children's books I wrote about this spring would all be good in performance, but here are five more books that Junius likes -- and every time I read them, I can picture in my head how they would look and sound on a small stage. Maybe I should send Paul a nudge and see if we can get a show started...
  1. Mercy Watson Fights Crime: Written by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen, this is the third title in a chapter-book series about a pig named Mercy who lives with Mr. and Mrs. Watson and loves to eat hot buttered toast. The illustrations and characters are hilarious, and I find that I am incapable of reading this series aloud without adopting a series of very Southern accents. Book 3 continues the characters from the first two, plus a comical little thief/wannabe-cowboy whose robbery attempt is foiled by a certain porcine wonder.

  2. Skippyjon Jones: This is the first in the series by Judy Schachner about a Siamese cat who likes to pretend he's a chihuahua. It's great for reading aloud because of the funny things Skippyjon says (in his best Spanish accent) as he turns into El Skippito Friskito, the great sword fighter, and tackles Alfredo Buzzito, the bad Bumblebeeto (who may or may not actually be the pinata in Skippyjon's closet where he's playing during time-out).

  3. Don’t Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late!: Words and pictures by Mo Willems make up this series about a funny little pigeon who likes to drive a bus, eat hot dogs and stay up past his bedtime. We particularly like this one because Junius is always trying to stay awake, too, and the interactive style of the main character would work well in a show.

  4. Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type: Written by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Betsy Lewin, this is one of many very funny books about the clever animals on Farmer Brown's farm who use a typewriter to get what they need. The sound effects would be fun to do in a performance, plus the story is a riot.

  5. The Grouchy Ladybug: Probably everyone knows Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar, but this book is another one of his his that I just recently discovered (apparently Juni had been reading it at preschool and found it at the library). It includes lessons in telling time and relative size, but it's also a funny tale of a tough-talking ladybug who is continually looking for someone bigger to fight. Would be interesting to try to do this as a two-woman (or two-man) show with one person as the bug and one person as everyone else.
Note: As usual, I have received no compensation from Quail Ridge Books & Music or any of the authors or illustrators of these books. But if you live in Raleigh, you should go to Quail Ridge for all your book purchases. Trust me. And if you don't live in Raleigh and don't have a local independent bookseller, you should buy your books online from QRB -- it's the right thing to do.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Cult of Domesticity

I may have joined a cult.

At first, I wasn't sure -- but after today's incident, I'm thinking that's what happened.

It all started innocently enough. Earlier this summer, we installed new carpet upstairs -- the old mess desperately needed to be replaced, so we had it pulled out and put in a lovely loop-and-pile Stainmaster carpet. My bare feet were so happy.

Then, in order to take good care of our fancy new carpet (plus the almost-new carpet already downstairs), we decided to get a new vacuum cleaner. Seemed like a good idea, given that the one we have was a cheap floor model we got at a discount and it makes the house smell bad every time I turn it on. So we spent some time looking online (as we always do) -- reading reviews, checking prices, looking for the best deal.

I also asked friends what they use, laughing each time one of them lowered her eyes, blushed slightly and said apologetically, "I bought a Dyson," adding hurriedly, "but it's amazing what it can get out of your carpet. Really. Seriously. I mean, you should see it. It's amazing." Why so embarrassed, I thought -- I know they're expensive, but it's okay if you really think they're that great.

Finally on Sunday, we found ourselves at a big box appliance store. We started with the Hoover, which seemed like a good basic option that had all the necessary details. My husband was test-driving it when Junius announced that he needed to pee, so I took my son to the potty. When I returned from said potty trip, somehow my husband had moved from the $170 Hoover to the nearly $500 Dyson. You know, the one with the cool ball roller thing and the wand attachment that launches out of the handle like a light saber. That vacuum has more engineering in it than my car.

Long story short, the salesman did his job and we were sold -- plus he had a coupon. An hour later, we had it home, out of the box, assembled and were vacuuming the upstairs. Everyone wanted a turn. And when we were finished, the amount of crap inside that canister was enough to make my stomach turn (see disgusting close-up photo at left). Between knowing that all that mess was no longer under my feet and that the air the Dyson was putting out was actually cleaner that what was already in the house, I was an instant believer.

Then today at the pool, I was chatting with two other moms (who I don't know well) about life, love and the pursuit of cleanliness. One mentioned using her vacuum attachment to clean hard surfaces instead of dusting. "That's brilliant," I said. "Never thought of that, but I just got a new vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment built in, so I could do that at the same time when I'm vacuuming."

And when she asked the next logical question -- "What kind did you get?" -- I promptly lowered my eyes, blushed slightly and answered apologetically, "I bought a Dyson."

Guess that means I'm an official cult member now. But at least my carpet is cleaner than ever.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Firsts Night

Saturday night was a momentous one filled with "firsts" for our little family. The big event was Junius's first camping trip -- he went to Hanging Rock State Park with his dad and Grandpa (my FiL). They hiked to a waterfall (see photo of Juni and Daddy), rowed in a boat and slept in a tent during an overnight rainstorm. Juni had a blast, and the big guys had fun sharing the experience with him and each other.

Pippi and I stayed with Nonna (my MiL) while the guys were out roughing it. We took naps (or at least they did while I got some contract work done), went shopping, ate dinner in a restaurant and slept in our beds. It was lovely and civilized -- and too bad that Pip isn't yet old enough for pedicures at the salon.

But even though we weren't out camping, Pippi and I still had our share of firsts...
  • It was Pippi's first night without Junius since we brought her home from the hospital. Seems funny to imagine, but in her whole life (minus the first couple days), she's never had dinner without her brother, never had breakfast without her brother, never gone to bed without her brother in the next room. She had an unusually tough time in the restaurant during dinner -- could have just been crabby, but I honestly think she was starting to miss Junius. She was VERY excited to see him when they returned home on Sunday.

  • It was possibly my first night in almost nine years without saying goodnight to my husband. We've certainly spent nights apart because of business travel or weekends with friends, but I don't think I've ever gone to bed without at least saying goodnight to him. Felt really strange and kind of icky.

  • It was probably the first time I went 24 hours without talking to my husband. I expected to get a call sometime during their trip since both my husband and Grandpa had their cell phones with them. When I didn't hear from them, my brain leapt straight into the deep end -- car wreck, bear attack, rock slide, lightning strike, whatever irrational disaster you can think of. The rational part of my brain told me they simply didn't have any reception in the park (which turned out to be true), but sadly that tiny part was no match for all the crazy scenarios that nearly drove me over the edge waiting by the phone. I was so relieved to see them arrive home on Sunday that I proceeded to yell at my husband for not making a Herculean effort to call me and tell me that they were neither injured nor dead.

  • It was only my fifth night away from Junius (out of 1,483 days in his life) -- of the other four, one was a getaway with my husband (so luxurious and restful!) and the other three were spent in the hospital when Pippi was born (neither luxurious nor restful). Don't get me wrong -- I'm looking forward to a night away from both of my children sometime this year, but it still just felt weird not to see him, tell him good-night, tuck him under his blanket before I went to bed.
The good news about all of this is that Junius has convinced his dad that they should bring Pippi and me along on the next camping trip -- might be the ONLY way I'll ever get invited to camp again with my husband (I'll save that story for later, but let's just say the first trip didn't go well and may have caused him to reconsider his intentions to marry me). Honestly, I'm not a huge fan of sleeping on the ground, but at least I won't be waiting by the phone if I get to go along for the ride.