Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Salary Comparison Calculator

Have some time to waste today? I have a fun Internet site to visit. My personal favorite is if we move from Milwaukee to New York City:

The cost of living in New York, New York is 473.6% higher than that of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.


Anyway, fun to see how far (or not!) your money can go in various parts of the country.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Barbaro Euthanized

Last May I remember cramming in front of our kitchen TV with Joe, Hank and Madeleine and cheering Barbaro onto victory in the Kentucky Derby. It was an exciting race and we were so proud of Barbaro.

The kids, Hank especially, have been interested in his injuries and were hoping for recovery, a miracle.

Barbaro was euthanized Monday after complications from his gruesome breakdown at last year's Preakness, ending an eight-month ordeal that made him even more of a hero than he was as a champion on the track.

"Certainly, grief is the price we all pay for love," co-owner Gretchen Jackson said.

A series of ailments -- including laminitis in the left rear hoof, an abscess in the right rear hoof, as well as new laminitis in both front feet -- proved too much for the gallant colt. Barbaro was given a heavy dose of a tranquilizer and an overdose of an anesthetic and put down at 10:30 a.m.

Full article here

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Cute Video, II

Elisabeth's new favorite activity: talking on the phone. She's thrown her first, honest to goodness tantrums over seeing someone speaking on the phone and not instantly giving it to her the moment she reaches her hand out for it (which is, as a matter of course, the very second she spots someone using it).

Following is a very amateur video showing her engaging in her favorite past time. Forgive me, you have to watch this video sideways since, apparently, there's no way to turn a video once it's been shot. So, turn your head to the side and enjoy.

Friday, January 26, 2007

The Future

It’s so easy to only look forward when you’re set in a certain set of circumstances. When Superdad was in law school it was always: when he’s done then I can stay home and we’ll move into a bigger house.

The summer before we moved to the Milwaukee area it was: in three months we’ll be in a nice house that we own in a really nice neighborhood.

Every pregnancy for me was simply one long look forward to the day that baby would come and life would unalterably change. Little time was spent reflecting on the actual pregnancy.

Time was, and seemingly still is, spent looking forward. It always seems as if the present is simply a precursor to a bigger and better future.

What’s easy to forget is that today’s present is yesterday’s future. How is it that we can be enjoying the dream we once so longed for if we’ve forgotten we dreamed it and have our eyes, once again, affixed on a different goal?

Goals, ambition and future gazing are not bad things. But, they can be, in my opinion, if they breed discontentment and restlessness with the present. It's hard, at times, to be thankful for the mundane and ordinary; it's human nature to want to grasp the extraordinary.

I'm determined to try and be more thankful for all that I have been blessed with. No, I'll not stop looking anxiously ahead and setting goals for myself and my family, but if the goal I set paints the present as dull and uninteresting or, worse yet, makes me ungrateful for what I currently have, then perhaps the goal isn't worth it after all.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Business Cards for Mom

I need these.


I mean, seriously, I get that they might possibly make life easier but I would feel like a complete tool standing on the playground passing out one of these. So, so not cool.

Is there really a market for these cards? Does anyone have them? Been handed one? Are they "in" on the coasts? Will I be eating crow in a few years when the trend hits the Midwest and all of my mommy friends are slipping these to one another and I'm forced to choose between "daisy" or "sports" to stay in the loop?

Do tell.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Weekend

We're back. Happily, sort of, since we're home and it's always good to come home, but sad too. We had a wonderfully relaxing weekend and that smack of reality upon returning home isn't always the most welcome feeling.

Nonetheless, home are we. A bit more tired, perhaps, than before we left, but also full of more fun memories.

As always, we stayed here. In January I feel as if we're there by ourselves. The lobby with its breathtaking views of the bay was ours for the taking. The whirlpool in our building's basement was ours and ours alone no matter the time of day. And this time even the pool in the main building was desolate.

Here was the view from the condo in which Superdad, the kids and I stayed:

Most of our time was spent in the pool and whirlpool in the main building. But we also logged some serious hours in the whirlpool in our building. The kids loved this fun game (pictured below), taking their cues from hearing my sister and me talk about how we used to do it when we were kids and staying at the Landmark in January:

The whirlpool also affords a generous view of the bay and, as you see above, a walkout deck to appreciate that view. The kids made multiple runs outdoors in the freshly fallen snow in their swimsuits and then darted back into the whirlpool room to plunge into the steaming water.

And here's the birthday boy:

Happy Birthday, Dad!

Friday, January 19, 2007


We're off for a weekend of snow, game playing and celebrating my dad's birthday at our favorite getaway spot in Door County, Wisconsin. Hopefully I'll have anecdotes and pictures to share when we return!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Potato Soup

I lied. This ended up curing a bad day better than a cup of coffee ever could.

No Blogging

There will be no blogging today. Well, unless you count this post, which I guess you should since it's here. So there will be no blogging today after this post. But wait, that doesn't make any sense either since as a matter of course I usually post no more than once a day.

My small readership made up mostly of friends and family (though I welcome anyone who might be interested) might ask me why. Well, I'm simply not in the mood. I have nowhere interesting on the Internet to send you and nothing interesting to tell you.

Unless I talk about the fender bender I had this morning which was, pathetically, all my fault and, to be perfectly honest, quite embarrassing. So, no, I don't want to talk about that (though I will calm any fears: everyone is perfectly fine; all that is bruised is my ego).

Coffee. Yes, that's what I need to improve my mood and spirits. Coffee and a four year old son who listens. Hmmm. I guess the coffee will have to suffice.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

New TV

Here you see the old (bottom left), the installation of the glorious new and our little Hank-er enjoying Diego on our new, huge TV.

Frankly, I can't believe how excited I am about a stupid TV.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Spa Day

Today I finally made good use of a gift certificate I received two (or three?!) years ago issued for a trendy spa downtown. I decided to indulge in a massage and a manicure, two things I never, ever do.

I was looking forward to my day. I chatted with my friends about what to expect since a great many of them indulge in these activities regularly. It seems to be what one does around here to fit in.

And enjoy myself I did. There's no denying that lying on a table with soothing music playing, being treated with various Aveda oils and lotions and having kinks in your neck worked out is incredibly relaxing.

But it may just not be me.

I know little about the nuances involved with regular massages but I gather you're not supposed to be thinking about twenty other things you should be doing or, more importantly, what you'd rather be doing. Surely in massage utopia a complete disconnect from reality and routine is achieved.

I shouldn't be surprised. I've always been more of jeans and tennis shoe type of girl than a fitted pair of Diesel jeans and heels type and you're much more apt of find me without make-up than with, but still, the hope was there. Why couldn't I also be a spa girl?

Truthfully I feel much more relaxed sinking into the futon down in our cold, miserable basement with a bowl of hot, buttery popcorn on one side and a kid snuggled into me on the other and indulging in a movie we rented (for free!) from the library on a Friday night than I do having all my aching, stressed out limbs blissfully and skillfully manipulated to feel as unwound as possible. How bizarre is that?!

But, as always, I'm a contradiction. I loved the gift, and I'd happily accept another spa gift certificate but I think it's time I just accepted the fact that I'll never be the sort that wants or desires regular primping beyond a regular hair-cut, and that's only because I can't physically see if I don't do that. I'm not a spa girl. And that's OK.

My Fashionista

Or, as she's otherwise known, Madeleine.

Madeleine and I went shopping on Sunday afternoon with a gift certificate to the Gap that Madeleine received for Christmas. Barring anything inappropriate I gave M free reign and the above is what she came up with.

I have to say, I'm not too crazy about the sequin-y, frayed jeans, but she sure was and, overall, she did a pretty nice job. And we sure had a lot of fun!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Terri Fischer Photography

For those of you who haven't seen me showing off the pictures my dear friend and old college roommate, Terri, took of my kids, let me show off now. Here is a post she has on her photography blog showing of the Christmas card she did for us.

If you live in the Milwaukee area check out her business' website. And, even if you don't live in the Milwaukee area check out her prices page (a selection after you choose her "info" link) because you might just see a familiar face there.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Over-the-Counter Cold and Cough Medicines Can Kill Babies, CDC Says

I'll admit it, this really scared me.

ATLANTA — More than 1,500 toddlers and babies wound up in emergency rooms over a two-year period and three died because of bad reactions to cold or cough medicine, federal health officials reported Thursday.

The U.S.Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned parents not to give common over-the-counter cold remedies to children under 2 years old without consulting a doctor.

Thankfully Elisabeth has a regular check-up soon so I can query her doctor more about this development. Yikes!

Thursday, January 11, 2007


As a child a year seemed to last an eternity. The time from sunset on Christmas Day to sunrise of the next Christmas Day, the unit by which I measured all time, seemed almost a lifetime. A year felt long.

As an adult with children a year feels short, fleeting almost. Careful, don’t blink or you’ll miss the whole of 2007.

So what’s changed? A year is still just a year. Three hundred sixty-five days. No more, no less (well, except for those pesky leap years).

I know that I am not alone. Every parent I talk to speaks wistfully of the passage of time, of their babies turning into school age children and not having enough time with which to accomplish certain tasks.

It almost seems a cliché.

So, when does the acceleration of time stop? Does it? Will I feel that two years passed as quickly as I now feel one does when I’m seventy? Or does it start to slow down again? And why does it accelerate? Is it merely becoming an adult that triggers this change in perception or is it tied to having children?

I have no answers, only questions that bring about more questions.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Cute Video

I know, I know, every mother thinks their kids are the absolute cutest kids to ever grace humankind with their presence. I get that. I'm biased.

Still though, I have to share this video of Elisabeth. The picture quality is grainy and horrible; the camera operator (me!) is horrible; yet through all this horrible-ness there's sweet little Elisabeth Jane trying her darndest to play Pat a Cake just a few hours ago.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Brain Exercise

I'm not going to lie: staying home with three kids ages six, four and fourteen months isn't the most intellectually stimulating task in the world. Don't get me wrong; I wouldn't give it up for anything. I love what I do and I have no desire to stretch my mental capacities beyond doing what I currently am at this point in time.

That said, I never really thought about the idea that keeping my brain in neutral day in and day out, so to speak, has left it vulnerable. When I first starting forgetting things (Why did I come into this room-- what was I supposed to get?) I blamed it on pregnancy. All the experts say forgetfulness is a symptom and I was pacified. Later I blamed it on having two kids. Then three.

Or keeping the house running smoothly.

And having school events to organize.

Or church functions to orchestrate.

The excuses flowed easily.

Lately though, I've wondered. Could it be my forgetfulness is more of a product of not exercising my brain and not because of having children? This article suggests that it might.

So, what's my New Year's resolution? To take better care of my mind. Its regimen will include Sudoku, Chess, non-fiction books about something other than parenting and more writing (though what about or for what purpose I'm not yet sure).

Monday, January 08, 2007


Elisabeth is finally walking! She's been taking steps here and there for months now. But this past weekend, at long last, she really got moving on her two tiny little feet. She's been practicing, practicing, practicing and although she still crawls 50-70 percent of the time that percentage is decreasing daily.

Yay, Elisabeth!

Thursday, January 04, 2007

It's Baaaa-ack

Starbucks has re-introduced its most tempting, delicious drink ever: the Cinnamon Dolce Latte. I got hooked on them at about this time last year and then, mercifully, Starbucks took them off the menu and both my trips to Starbucks and waistline decreased.

I didn't know whether to jump for joy when I pulled up to the drive-thru menu this morning or step on the gas and drive far, far away. But, thankfully (or maybe not...) there was a white van in front of me and a black SUV behind me, sandwiching me, trapping me in the drive-thru lane.

So now I know they're there. And for a limited time. I'm doomed.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007


Home, at last.

Christmas and celebrating the New Year was enjoyable, of course, but so is my own home. My own messy home which has been forgotten in the midst of the holiday bustle. It is now time for cleaning, unpacking and laundry. Yet still, I'm thankful to be here.

Thank you to all who hosted us. We had a lovely time at all our stops on our Christmas tour and are thankful for the opportunity to spend extended time catching up, forming new relationships, playing cards (Hearts, Sheepshead and Smear were all played extensively) and drinking coffee (with foamy milk, of course).