My Convertible Life

Monday, October 31, 2011

Capture the Everyday: Halloween Close-Up

Halloween got rained out at our house tonight.

Thankfully, our kids are young enough that they didn't seem to care. Plus, they'd already had a neighborhood costume parade on Sunday (complete with pinata) and trick-or-treating around Daddy's office on Monday afternoon. So they're not exactly starved for candy.

We hit a couple of milestones for Halloween this year. For Junius, it was his first year dressed as something in a full face mask and carrying a weapon (Anakin Skywalker). Wearing the full mask was really creepy -- even though it was just a hard plastic face -- because it made him look so stern and angry. That's not his normal look.

And for Pippi, I suspect this may have been my last year for enjoying her in a non-princess-based costume. The allure of the tiara is strong. But it turns out that the ears were a bigger draw for her this year.

In case you can't tell from the close-up, that's her Olivia costume. I love that she picked that one -- over Strawberry Shortcake and Cinderella -- because it suits her personality oh-so well. Olivia also comes with happy memories for me because I bought a hardback copy of Ian Falconer's original book in French when we were in Paris more than 10 years ago. At the time, I had no idea it was an American story and soon-to-be Nick Jr television show.

Oh, and in case you're wondering, that's a Halloween kazoo in her mouth. You just never know what sort of treats they'll be handing out at Daddy's office.

Capture the Everyday from Adventuroo
Capture the Everyday is about getting you to capture those everyday moments in your life! Each Tuesday, Melissa at Adventuroo will issue a simple challenge to capture something that’s a part of your daily life. You can post just a picture or add some words to go along with it. You’ll have a week to get it done and then she’ll issue another. It’s a quick, easy way to start capturing those little parts of life we sometimes take for granted.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday’s 5: Take Your Lovey to Work Day

We all stay really busy around our house. Like most families, we're passing ourselves coming and going from gymnastics, preschool, dance class, elementary school, hockey, work, church, work, friends, volunteering and who knows what all else.

But it turns out, it's not just the people in my house who are busy. It's also our loveys.

A couple of weeks ago, Pippi sent her Lulu to work with Daddy. And it turned out that Lulu had a very busy day. Here's what her day looked like:

1. Lulu at work: Lucky for Lulu, she’s in an office that’s been named one of the Business Journal’s “Best Places to Work.” That doesn't means she's not working hard -- but at least she gets some good benefits.

2. Lulu on coffee break: I'm pretty sure she's drinking decaff while reading the Wall Street Journal. She's in public relations, so it's important for her to stay current on the day's headlines.

3. Lulu eating her lunch: Everyone has to eat, even loveys. But there's no time to stop working, so she's eating at her desk.

4. Lulu proofing a press release: Before heading home for the day, she checks to be sure all the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed.

5. Lulu spots a punch-buggy: As part of the family, of course Lulu is also participating in the ongoing punch-buggy game. Being the giver that she is, she credited that one to Pippi's account.

Photo credit: @pwsoneil

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Week in My Life: (Last) Wednesday

Yeah, so blogging every day for "A Week in My Life" with Adventuroo didn't happen. At all. But I took all these pictures each day and I'd hate for them to go to waste. Plus I think it will be interesting to look back in a year or two and see how our routines have changed. So here is our Wednesday from last week. Tomorrow will probably look a lot like this, only without Junius -- he's at Grandparent Camp for his last week of track-out.
Wednesdays, even more than all the other crazy days, are a race.

I should have Pippi at preschool at 8 a.m. so that I could be at the office by 8:30 -- but I never do. After locking the front door, loading us in the car, waiting for Pippi to buckle herself in and remembering to put my smoothie in the cup holder instead of leaving it on top of the car, it's 8:12. My husband has already taken Junius to a friend's house for the day. I drive with my makeup bag in my lap so that I can fix my face at traffic lights.

At 8:18 we're in the preschool parking lot. Pippi actually carries her own backpack (amazing!), meanders through the parking lot, pushes the door opener (every child's favorite part of coming into the school), strolls down to her room and finds her cubby (her teacher moves their names around each day, so that way they learn to recognize their name). I get to my office at 8:30.

Work work work. Blah blah blah. Me at a desk. Computer writing social media. Meetings. At 12:49, I'm back in the car and racing to preschool so I can get Pippi before she heads to afterschool care and falls asleep during quiet time. I curse the radio for the pledge drive chatter. On the way out of school, Pippi leads me through the path her class took that day on their nature walk. I remind myself to treasure the feel of her hand in mine.

At 1:07 we're in the car driving home. Time for Pippi to change into her dance clothes, grab a quick snack and head downtown for Dance Play class at 1:32. This time she claims she can't hook her own seatbelt -- it's always that last bottom piece that won't click. Her smile below is my kankoomommy for helping her.

While Pippi is in class, I sneak over to the Farmers Market to get advance tickets for the NC State Fair. (I cannot emphasize enough the importance of buying ride tickets ahead of time. SO MUCH cheaper.). I only discovered the advance ticket plan this year, but apparently everyone else knew based on the line. I spy a punch-buggy yellow on my way through the parking lot. After Dance Play class is over, we pick up Junius at his friend's house and go home.

While I try to make dinner, Junius takes pictures of Pippi. She's pretending to be the teacher and demonstrating some sort of art project. She insists that I be the student, then takes my crayon-holding hand and corrects what I'm doing wrong.

* * *
At that point, I ran out of the energy required to live the day and document it simultaneously. My husband came home and we gulped down dinner. Then he took Junius to faith formation class (6:30-7:45, which means Junius is out past bedtime which is totally crazy to me) while I took Pippi through her bath-books-bed routine.

On that particular Wednesday night, once the kids were in bed asleep, I sat on the couch with my laptop and wrote my post for Tuesday. I stayed up too late (as usual) and regretted it the next day (as usual).

I'm assuming all of this is normal, right? I mean, the rest of you are running your own version of this marathon, right? And every time I think the slow-down is just around the corner, well... it's not.

More from (Last) Week in My Life:
- Monday
- Tuesday
- Friday

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A Week in My Life: Friday at the Fair

Keeping up with Adventuroo's "A Week in My Life" project. has turned out to be nearly impossible. Too much life happening to have enough time left over for writing about it. But I'm doing what I can -- check out my Monday here and my Tuesday here. Then you'll have a good idea about why I'm so tired.
Friday was no ordinary day. It was Go to the North Carolina State Fair Day.

So for our documentation purposes here, we'll skip over the morning part where I went to work, Pippi went to preschool and Junius went to the office with his Daddy, blah blah blah. Let's jump straight into the crazy fun part....

If you can make it, they can fry it. More on that later, but we just couldn't resist a photo on the way in.

Self-portrait so that my dermatologist will be impressed. The weather was NC perfect on Friday -- but definitely required sunscreen and a hat.

The one ride we all went on together was the Ferris wheel (or, "ferist wheel," as Junius calls it). This unedited photo was taken while we waited in line.

Here are my two dare devils, waiting for the wheel to start turning...

...and here are my white knuckles as I gripped the handle. I was seriously nervous on this ride. My children were not. I spent much of the ride telling them to hold on and sit down. It's been a long, long time since my days on the Carolina Cyclone and Thunder Road.

The view from the top of the Ferris wheel was very cool. But it was hard to grip the handlebar with one hand and take a photo with the other hand without dropping my iPhone.

Some of our beach buddies came into town for the day so they could go to the Fair. And what a bonus for us that we were already planning to go on the same day! Pippi was so happy to see her friend, they kept holding hands and hopping around. So adorable...

Junius really liked controlling the map. I'm not sure how well-developed his sense of direction is, but knowledge is power -- and now that he can read, he really likes having the power tools.

Junius and his beach buddy directed us (more or less -- okay, less) to the animal area, where we watched the sheep getting sheared. The sheep did not seem happy about this plan. The children were mesmerized. I was considering switching to synthetic fabrics.

I don't know what this lovely girl's name is, but she was one of the people showing off recently-sheared sheep in the animal section. She must be really good at it because she had on one hell of a belt buckle. Pippi was jealous.

And here's another celebrity at the Fair -- my friend, the Practical Cook. In addition to being awesome because of her deep and abiding love of cereal, she is also a Deep Fried Ambassador for the NC State Fair. Seriously. She has a media pass and everything. Check out her blog -- including video of her taste tests with deep fried Kool Aid, deep fried bubblegum and the Krispy Kreme burger. I'm not kidding.

Pippi was desperate for ice cream with sprinkles. Not sure you can see it here, but she ended up with sprinkles in her hair because she was so excited.

Thanks to a tip from the Practical Cook, based on her extensive deep fried Fair research, we located the best stand for deep fried Oreos. After sharing a taste with Pippi, she promptly declared the Oreos to be even better than ice cream. If you'd like to hear an on-the-scene description of what it tastes like, check out the video at the end of this post. Here's a peek inside...

While we were indulging, Junius was busy spending the last of his ride tickets (which we bought in advance because they are SO much cheaper that way). He looks kind of serious in this photo, which could be because he takes his fake four-wheeler driving very seriously or might actually be because he is flippin exhausted.

By that point, we had clearly overstayed our welcome at the Fair. Thus, Pippi got carried back down the long and winding path back to the car (free parking at Gate 8, thankyouverymuch) -- first on a mommy piggy-back and then on daddy's shoulders.

And before you get alarmed that I'm not wearing my hat anymore in this photo, rest easy knowing that it was dark out by then. Seriously time to go home -- but worth staying to see the Fair light up as we said farewell until next year.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Week in My Life: Tuesday

Yes, I know it's Wednesday. But Tuesday was very full and there was no time for blogging -- but lots to document. I'm participating in Adventuroo's "A Week in My Life" project. You can see my Monday here.
Tuesday started painfully early for a good cause. If I look a little blurry in that first picture, it's because I was volunteering at my polling station at 6:30 a.m. in the RAIN in the DARK and I wasn't totally awake yet. The kids joined me at 7:30, mostly playing in the car for my last half hour of greeting. (Translation of J's post-it: "Christine is are [our] school board.") And no, no one wanted my little candidate flier.

Once our shift was up, we headed home to play. Also to lay out the newspaper across the counter because it was somehow soaking wet inside the plastic bag.

At 9:00 we got ready for our friend Baby J, who hangs out with us on Tuesday mornings. That means dumping out an entire basket of toys and then confiscating all the tiny things he might try to eat. We also got our They Might Be Giants station playing on Pandora (via TiVo, which I LOVE). You can see here that we all love Baby J very much. He loves us too, although sometimes I think he'd like a little more personal space.

At 11:00, we loaded up Baby J and took Pippi to her gymnastics class. Baby J took a nap while Junius played games on my iPhone.

After we returned Baby J to his parents, we loaded back into the car with lunch and headed to Daddy's office for flu shots. Junius, apparently exhausted from the morning, gave out along the way. Pippi managed to keep herself awake by singing the entire time.

Junius and I were very brave for our shots (Pippi already got hers at the pediatrician). Then we argued over who would get to push the buttons in the elevator.

On the ride home, we rocked out to one of our most favorite CDs: the aptly-titled Songs Your Mom Will Like by Big Bang Boom. That's Pippi beatboxing and playing the air trumpet on track 14. Buy it now and thank me later.

After a little rest time (read: 30 minutes of TV) at home, we loaded back into the car (are you noticing a theme here?) for some play time at our friends' house. Pippi showed us how she can buckle her own seat belt (which can take up to 5 minutes, depending on the amount of whining involved). We admired our friends' fabulous Halloween decorations, debated the scientific names of toy dinosaurs and generally had a whirlwind of fun.

At 6:00, we picked up Daddy and went out for dinner at a local restaurant that was having a fundraising night for our arts school. Junius impressed his friends by reading all the signs on the way in (yes, first-graders are that cool). The kids played with wikistiks while we waited for our food (smart restaurant), then Pippi cleaned her plate and part of Junius' too. My girl loves some pasta. I had the yummiest bleu cheese mac-n-cheese with bacon -- comfort food on a rainy night.

Back at home, we filled milk cups (I don't know why, but that blue cup is THE ONLY WAY Junius will drink milk and he MUST have it at bedtime every night) and went upstairs for bed. Junius brushed his teeth and protested all the photography. I spray-treated Pippi's shirt (why oh why do I ever buy white shirts for her?) and pondered the need for gender-specific children's toothpaste. Then Daddy showed the kids pictures from his day touring cool Raleigh locations like the science museum and the RBC Center.

It was my turn to read to Pippi. She picked out "The Shy Little Girl," a book I somehow still have from my childhood. I love how much she loves the book, even though parts of it are really dated. The trick to getting Pippi to sleep is to get her to be still -- see how she fidgets with her hands to stay awake?

Finally at 8:00, with both kids asleep, my political junkie husband and I settled in on the couch for election returns. With two laptops, an iPad, an iPhone and the television between us, we stalked the results, read tweets aloud, flipped news channels and cheered for the victory. Who says you can't have champagne on a Tuesday?

And so my day ended where it began -- worn out, but happy to support a great candidate.

Monday, October 10, 2011

A Week in My Life: Monday

This week I'm participating in Adventuroo's "A Week in My Life" project. In case you wondered what it looks like where I am. Apologies in advance if you're exhausted by Wednesday.
Junius is tracked out this week, so he got to hang out with me at work this morning. Thankfully, he had Daddy's iPad and could watch Toy Story 3 while he ate lunch. He pronounced my office "boring." He's absolutely probably right.

But at least I made a lot of progress on my to-do list today. Turns out that having Junius at my desk is a lot less distracting than having to go to meetings, which were cancelled today.

Even though he got to have pumpkin bread and play with the tape dispenser, Junius was still happy when it was time to leave.

We picked up campaign materials on the way home (the kids and I are volunteering for Christine Kushner at the polls tomorrow!), then went to preschool to get Pippi.

 This is my view in the rearview mirror.

Not sure I'll ever understand why climbing out of the car and carrying your own stuff into the house is so hard. But apparently it is. So. Very. Hard.

Junius's first task after arriving home? Testing out the paper/straw boat he made in my office to see if it would float. Turns out that construction paper? Not so sea-worthy.

Meanwhile, Pippi took control of the iPhone, where she recently discovered the iPod button. She likes to listen to the first 15 seconds of every song. Yes, that's Ben Folds Five. Thankfully it's not one of the songs with the F-bomb.

Here's the bane of my existence. A full dishwasher, waiting to be unloaded. Sort of like Pippi getting out of the car, I don't know why this pains me so. But it does.

While I was unloading said dishwasher, the kids started to get silly. It always begins innocently enough...

...then turns into a wrestling, giggling heap, which is all good and fun until...

...somebody gets poked in the eye...

 ...and (unrelated to the eye wound) someone else lands in time-out.

We ultimately all recovered and were grateful for some playtime outside with our friends across the street. Notice that Junius is travelling sans-training wheels as of yesterday. (Also, if you are a mom with a son, you must take a minute to read my friend's latest post.)

We closed out the day with one of the kids' favorite meals. That is, anything served on the floor in front of the television. Always swore I wouldn't let my kids watch TV during dinner. And yet, here we are. At least we were watching Sesame Street and talking science terms with Grover 2.0.

Good night, y'all. It's been a full day.

P.S. In case you missed the good news on Facebook or Twitter Friday, I got the all clear at the dermatologist! I'm free for another six months. Phew.