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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Recent Events

It's been a while since I've updated what we've been up to, so this will be a long one.

Starting with Thanksgiving, the four of us drove out to my hometown of Solon, Ohio. We spent the holiday with my parents, my brother Ryan, and his girlfriend Allison. We had a nice dinner out with my grandfather and aunt, did a little Black Friday shopping, and went to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. It was a short trip, especially because we drove there. We did both legs of the trip all in one day, and the kids held up surprisingly well. I was worried considering how mobile Max has become, but he was a very patient little guy. The kids got lots of gifts, and enjoyed spending time with their grandparents. A nice holiday break.

I came back to a lot of chaos at work. Everyone was hoping for a quiet December, but it has definitely been the opposite. It's good to be busy - I just wish our lives at home could have been a little quieter! But that is almost never the case.

Hannah has been very busy with 4 birthday parties so far this month, plus another 3 more scheduled soon (including her own). Her class is supposed to be the oldest kids in the program, so the birthdays are front-loaded, and Hannah's is actually the last in the class. Hannah comes home each day with tons of new art projects, and her writing has really progressed. She also had her Toe Tappers "peek week" class this week, as well as finally having her turn as Shabbat Helper. But the most exciting development was my discovery of her "shark" teeth: the adult teeth poking through the gum behind the baby teeth that had yet to fall out. She got a special trip to the dentist to have them pulled this week, and had her first visit from the Tooth Fairy.

Max is keeping us very busy as well, making for almost no "downtime" at home. He barely naps and wants to be on his feet at all times, preferably while also carrying a toy or two. While he walks quite well, he's not good at looking down for obstacles, and ends up tripping a lot. We often have to put him in his pack-n-play, or "baby jail," since we can't leave him unattended for a moment. We're also seeing cracks in his constant happy state, as he does not like being told "no" and is struggling to learn how not to hit...he is definitely different than Hannah was at this age! But Max is still the happiest baby I have ever seen, always waking up with a smile, loves clapping his hands, loves playing with drums and making a huge mess at every meal.

The next couple of weeks will be even busier for us. Hanukkah starts tomorrow night, and we'll be having our second (hopefully) annual night with Julie and Mike. (Side note on Hanukkah: Economic crisis-shmisis. These kids are going to make out very well!) We'll also be attending Hanukkah parties at our synagogue and Marc's parents temple in Hartford, plus a family party at Marc's parent's house next Sunday. The kids will be having their first joint installment of "Camp Grandma" for a couple of days this week, and it's going to be VERY odd having them both gone! Marc and I will meet up with them in Hartford next weekend, and then we'll both get some time off around New Year's since Max's daycare is closed.

It is hard to believe that 2008 is almost at an end. We'll be celebrating Max's 1st birthday and ringing in 2009 with family in Hartford, and then having Hannah's 5th birthday party a couple of days later. 2008 has been a tough year for me, and in a lot of ways I'll be happy to put it behind me. But there was also a lot of good things that happened, and I know 2009 holds a lot more in store.

Wishing you all of the best things in this special time of year: time with friends and family, time to take care of yourself, good fun and good food, and lots of busyness. Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year. And keep remembering: everything will be fine in 2009!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Response I Just Received from the MBTA

Dear Ms. Stober,

Thank you for contacting the MBTA Customer Support Department. We*re
responding to your comments regarding the service you experience on the
Green Line. We sincerely apologize for the delay in responding to your
e-mail. Due to a high volume of customer inquiries, we were unable to
respond in a timely manner.

Safety is the number one priority at the MBTA and the behavior you
described will not be tolerated. We have forwarded your comment to the
Green Line Supervisor's Office. Once the driver is identified,
appropriate disciplinary action will be taken.

Customer service and satisfaction are top priorities of the MBTA. We
want all of our customers to experience great customer service and a
safe commute when riding the MBTA. Again, I apologize for any
inconvenience that this may have caused you. Thank you again for your
comments.


Sincerely,


MBTA Customer Support Department

Monday, November 17, 2008

Complaint I Submitted to the MBTA website

Hello,

This is my first complaint to the MBTA in almost 9 years of weekday ridership. I regularly ride both the C and D lines of the Green Line, and was particularly upset about the following incident.

Last Friday, 11/14, there had been an accident in the Green Line tunnel which caused me to be over an hour late for my destination. While these things do happen, it should have served as a reminder for T drivers that they need to be fully present while driving the train.

Unfortunately, that evening around 5 pm I was on the C Line, train 3816b. I boarded at Park Street, and once we exited the tunnel, the driver's cell phone began ringing constantly. Near St. Paul Street, the driver finally answered her phone, while driving the train. She informed the caller that she was driving and not supposed to be on her phone. She ended the conversation, and her phone continued to ring persistently until I departed the train at Englewood Avenue.

Please remind your drivers that they should not, under any circumstances, be using their cell phones while driving the train. In fact, their phones should be turned off and stowed, so that they cannot pose a distraction. There have been too many recent incidents on the T, and while these may not all be attributable to cell phones, the risk seems to be increasing.

I greatly appreciate being able to take the T, and even purchased my home based on its proximity to the T. But lately I have felt that my safety while riding the T is in greater peril, and I would hate to have to stop riding the T.

Thank you for your consideration,
Cheryl Stober

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Historical Hangover

As Marc also has pointed out, I finally know what it's like to be a bleary-eyed Red Sox fan staying up way too late to watch championship games. Last night was wonderful. I broke out a bottle of Cava (Spanish sparkling wine) around 8 pm and watched the early predictions roll in. Two glasses of this definitely helped calm my nerves, and I was excited but reserved as the map slowly turned blue. When they called Ohio for Obama, I got tears in my eyes. I was so proud of my home state, finally coming through with a decision I could support. I cheered as the CNN strategists showed that there was pretty much no way McCain could pull it off at that point.

I fell asleep and awoke at some point during McCain's concession, smiled and fell right back to sleep. Marc awoke me shortly before Obama took the stage at midnight. It was a wonderful speech, a wonderful display. I can't wait to see the Obama family puppy. I checked on Max and Hannah, and woke Hannah briefly to tell her that Obama had finally, really, truly won. She smiled too.

I supported Hillary Clinton in the primary, but always said that I would support Obama if he was the nominee, and I'm very happy to have done so. Voting yesterday was amazing, filled with neighbors and friends at the polls and speedy, efficient voting. When the church bell rang at 7 am, people cheered and someone lit sparklers. The enthusiasm was contagious.

Hannah's TK class also elected Barack Obama. Their recent homework assignment was to list some facts about the candidates (boys had McCain, girls had Obama). Hannah had listened to the radio and watched the Obamercial with us, and dictated the following facts, which I wrote down for her and which she copied again:

Barack Obama wants to:
1) keep good schools
2) help people go to the doctor
3) keep people in their homes

While I know she'll grow up and have her own opinions, for now it's nice having her agree with her parents.

So I'm a little tired today (Max waking for a bottle at 4 didn't help matters), but it's worth it. I'm so happy that Barack Obama is President Elect. I know that the road ahead is a difficult one, and I am confident in his ability to lead our country in the right direction and restore our place in the world.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

October Wrap Up

The month of October went in a blur as we celebrated four Jewish holidays: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Sukkot and Simchat Torah. We were actually at home in Newton the whole month, which was unusual but nice. The highlight of the month for me was the sukkah party we threw, which went really well. We had many friends come by and spend some time eating and chatting in our sukkah, and we had a great time catching up with everyone.

I also turned 31 this month, which was pretty low key. The four of us went to the Cheesecake Factory to celebrate, and both children were very well-behaved for a change. It was like they knew to be nice to mommy on her birthday. I also got some lovely presents as well as some time to myself the following weekend in order to enjoy them.

In other news, Max is finished with his helmet. His head looks a lot better than when we started the process back in August, and I'm very happy that we did it. Max seems very relieved to be done with it though, and has been sleeping a lot more in these last few days. While he tolerated the helmet very well, in retrospect it definitely seems like his sleep was impaired by it.

We had a fun Halloween. Hannah dressed as a "Barbie" cheerleader, and Max was an astronaut. I'm not sure which costume is more likely to occur in real life, though. :) I took the kids to trick-or-treating in our village, where all of the stores hand out candy. It's funny though, practically as soon as Halloween was over, Hannah forgot about her candy, and hasn't been asking for it.

Marc is out right now making calls on behalf of the Obama campaign. I am very ready for the election to be over, though I'm sure Saturday Night Live will suffer for lack of topics after it ends. I will also be supporting Obama, and I hope my home state of Ohio will be with me on that one. I think it's the only time I wish I still lived there, so that I could vote! But one moment every four years is definitely not enough to make me move back.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Teach Your Children

We recently attended Curriculum Night at Hannah's school, and the class had spent a couple of weeks learning about themselves and their families. There was a list of parental careers, and Hannah said "Daddy works for computers." I didn't have a label. I can't really blame her, as I'm not sure how to label myself most days.

I work in finance - something that isn't exactly easy to say these days. My particular job isn't all that affected by the current crisis, but at the same time it is completely affected. I'm not one who should be pontificating on it by any means, so I'm not going to do that here.

However, I just read an editorial in The New York Times, "The Borrowers" http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/03/opinion/03mclean.html?ex=13807 (hope that link works, never tried that before!), and it reminded me that in some small ways, I have tried to talk to Hannah about finance. "Remember those ads telling you to let your home take you on vacation?" was what jogged my memory. I remember sitting with a 1 or 2 year old Hannah in our condo in Brookline and listening to adds telling me that my house had money in its walls. I would knock on the wall behind our heads and yell, "House? Give me my money!" It used to make Hannah scream with laughter.

Marc and I settled on a description of "Mommy makes money" for now, and that works for Hannah. We have a lot of discussions on why mommy and daddy work, how much things cost, why we have to wait to make certain purchases. Hopefully, all of these small discussions will help us have a conversation about what I really do some day.

Additionally, also when Hannah was younger, I'd answer her incessant demands of "I want" with "Well, I want a yacht!" I don't actually want a yacht, much less do I think I'd ever be able to afford one, but that answer had to have popped into my mind influenced by my career as well!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Busy Month

I would be remiss if I didn't post at all for the month, so just a few notes to jot down.

Hannah started her TK (transitional kindergarten) class this month, and it's off to a great start. She chose an apple green bedazzled shirt, black cheetah print skirt, pink shoes and a blue headband for her first day of school outfit. As she told me many times while we walked through the store together, "if it's not my fashion, it's not my fashion" as I tried to coax her into an outfit that actually matched. But in the end, she looked just adorable. Hannah's been very busy making new friends, continuing with her swimming, and starting out in tap class. And we've got the birthday party circuit keeping us busy too, as her friends turn "a whole handful" - that's 5 years old to the rest of the world.

Max is growing by leaps and bounds. He is cruising and wants to be on his feet as much as possible. He's at the impossible age, where he can't be left alone for a minute, yet also can't walk, talk, or eat anything interesting. It's very challenging for us, especially given how accustomed we are to Hannah's independence. But he is the happiest baby I've ever seen, and his eyes and smile can melt anyone. He's also made great progress with his helmet, and we're hopefully halfway through the process already.

I had my wisdom teeth out, which was far worse than I anticipated. It's been over two weeks already and I'm not completely healed yet. I'm glad it's behind me, but I definitely didn't have the mini-vacation I thought sitting at home, high on pain killers, would be!

Marc and I had a wonderful time at Mike and Justin's wedding this month. I'm so happy for the guys, and I'm proud to live in a state where they can make their commitment official. I was totally proud of Carol too, seeing her in action as a minister. I was so happy to see all of my friends "grown up" - everyone is with someone, everyone has their life on track. And it was fun to spend a night out with my husband, all dressed up with no one to take care of for once (thanks F&J!).

The Temple Emanuel Community BBQ went off perfectly, and I was very happy with my contribution to the day. We had music, juggling, face painting, balloon twisting and a bouncy house. I think the kids had a great time, and I got a lot of compliments. I just need to motivate myself to write it all up for the committee, and then I'll be done.

And today we went to the Eric Carle Museum of Picturebook Art. It was a cute little museum, and a fun afternoon. As Marc said, one thing done off of the "we should do that..." to do list. Tomorrow we're hoping for apple picking, but we'll see how well the weather cooperates.

Rosh Hashanah begins on Monday night - hard to believe, but we've been able to do so much this month since the holidays are so late this year. The next few weeks will be a mishmash of work and synagogue days, which is a bit tough for me given the uncertainty in the financial world right now. But I suppose having something spiritual to focus on might give me a better overall perspective.

Wishing you all a happy and healthy 5769! Shana tova!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

August Adventures

Our family has made up for so much lost summer time over the past three weekends, and I finally feel like we've had some good summer fun.

We spent a weekend in Bridgton, Maine, at Camp Kingswood. The event was sponsored by Hannah's preschool, and we spent a lovely Shabbat with other small children and their families. Since I LOVED my summers at GUCI in Zionsville, Indiana, it was a blast to get to introduce Hannah and Max to the camp experience. We slept in a cabin (though I don't remember the beds being so awful when I was 10 or 12!), ate in the dining hall, swam in a lake, tried archery, did arts & crafts, went to services, had song sessions, got bug bites and scraped knees, had a campfire and made smores. We told each other stories (about the "Fish Tailor" or "Fish Taler" depending on your telling) to get to sleep and met interesting people. It was wonderful to spend three days as a family, without TV and housework distracting us. Hannah left telling new friends that she'd be back next year.

The following weekend was a little more low-key, with Tot Shabbat on Saturday and a trip to the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston on Sunday. Marc's parents joined us for the zoo, which worked well. When they left they took Hannah with them, and she spent most of the past week in Hartford, as her school was closed. We've never been apart for so long, and I missed her so much. However, she had an amazing time there, getting lavished with attention (and lots of new toys!). And it was great to have the alone time with Max, who is getting so big so quickly. He now has four teeth and is doing some real crawling, though he seems to prefer scooting around on his belly when he can manage it. He also seemed to find his voice while Hannah was gone, taking the opportunity to get a word in, finally!

On Thursday night the three of us drove to Hartford and reunited with Hannah. And then we really packed all the best parts of summer into one day that Friday. We got up pretty early and drove to Hammonasset Beach, getting to the beach for the first time all summer. Hannah loves being in the water and jumping in the waves, and Max seems to like it too, though I did have to stop him from gnawing on a rock he found in the sand! It was a little cool, so we didn't spend much time there, and found a great place for lunch - coincidentally named Fish Tale! We had a nice lunch outside and Hannah got to ride on a carousel, another staple of summer in New England. After lunch we headed out to the Mystic Aquarium, which we've tried to get to for the last three summers, and we finally made it. Hannah has been very into jellyfish, and had a great time there. We just didn't feel like ending the day, so after dinner we decided to try mini-golf (or putt-putt, which is what I really want to call it!). It was a bit tough since one of us had to hold Max the entire time, but Hannah actually seemed to enjoy it. I know that was influenced by Troy Bolton being a golf pro in High School Musical 2, but hey, whatever it takes. It was a truly great day, and I'm so glad we did it.

Saturday was also busy, with a wedding for one of Marc's MANY cousins. Josh and Michelle looked so happy, and the weather was mostly agreeable. It was great to see all of our extended family. Hannah is totally in her element at a wedding, and many thanks for the bride and groom for graciously dancing with her so often! Max also seemed to have a great time. He loved the music and, if I may say so myself, loved dancing with his mommy. He looked very handsome in his little sailor suit, and Hannah was very pretty in her pink gingham dress. Afterward my in-laws offered to watch the kids so Marc and I could go out, and we had a great dinner at a place we'd never been to before, but hope to definitely go back to again.

And today we went to Old Sturbridge Village. We were lucky to get in for free today as a benefit of our membership in the local PBS affiliate, which was worth the membership fee right there! Hannah got so into it, and our aspiring fashion designer loved seeing the old spinning wheels and looms and, of course, the clothes. She was the perfect age to enjoy all the activities, and I had fun making dipped candles and a candle holder with her.

The best part of this busy weekend is that I still have tomorrow off! I'll be able to get the laundry done and the house put back together before we have to get back to work and a very busy week coming up. And I actually had the time to sit and write this very long post, which never would have occurred under normal circumstances. Four day weekends are awesome!!!

So I'm now ready for fall to bring it on. The next few weeks are going to be a bit challenging - I have wisdom tooth removal to look forward to - but also another wedding coming up and our temple annual BBQ, which I have been helping to plan. Then the High Holidays begin. There's always something on the Google Calendar. Before I know it, the kids will be turning 1 and 5! So I continue to live up to the name, LilMisBUSY.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Vanished Summer

Unbelievably, we're a week into August already. Tonight, my best friend from high school, Betsy, is staying with us. We first discussed these plans some six months ago, and I'm not sure how the night has arrived already.

This summer has been a drag. Between the issues with my heel and many other medical traumas in the lives of those around me, not much has happened in a carefree summer way. By the third week of the cast, it was becoming more and more difficult for me to get around with it. My body had adjusted to walking in strange ways, and when I finally got it removed, it took a while for me to trust my leg again. But just days later, I threw a wonderful surprise party for Julie's 30th birthday, and tried to temporarily forget my own pain. Unfortunately though, Julie then began dealing with health issues of her own, which brought a new degree of fear and worry into my life.

Just after that, we had the unexpected passing of Marc's grandmother. Instead of spending a weekend in Hartford relaxing with family and playing at the beach, it became a difficult weekend of emotion and exhaustion. And because of my never-reliable body reaching it's maximum stress-handling breaking point, I came down with an eye infection to boot.

And just so I don't neglect to mention it, we also had a draining doctor's appointment with Max, the result of which is that he will be getting outfitted for a helmet to be worn almost constantly to treat plageocephaly (his flat head) for about 3 months. And to think this was actually the least major thing we had to deal with!

So as the title suggests, this summer seems to have just vanished. We haven't done much, and have actually found it difficult to justify some outings with gas prices as they are. This weekend will be pretty low key too. Though low key, so long as there are no more medical crises, kind of sounds good.

I am trying to look forward to fall.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Roll Call

I'm curious to see if anyone is actually reading this thing. Not that I'm expecting to achieve great fame and glory through my very limited posting, which offers no great insight on life or information of true value, but just out of serious curiosity. I've been making more of an effort to comment on what I'm reading lately, so if you've stopped by, drop me a note in the comments to let me know. Thanks, and happy reading!

Hannah Takes Manhattan

Despite the injury, I haven't really had much time to slow down. This past weekend, Marc and I took Hannah to New York City for the first time. Max stayed with my sister- and brother-in-law (thanks again!!!) and we took the train into the city.

It was a jam-packed weekend! We spent an afternoon at the Natural History Museum and caught a show at the planetarium. Hannah was particularly interested in the depiction of a whale eating a squid, and seemed to like the dinosaur fossils as well. We spent the evening in Times Square, and rode the ferris wheel at Toys R Us. The following morning we took in a street fair and spent some time in Bryant Park before enjoying Hannah's first Broadway show - The Little Mermaid.

The show was great, and Hannah seemed to love every minute of it. I'm a big Broadway fan and would go all the time if I could, and I think as she gets older, it will be something Hannah and I will get to enjoy together. The show was very well done too - I'd definitely recommend it to anyone with a princess-loving child. There was a little boy in front of us who was maybe 3 years old, and he ooh'd and ahh'd at all the right places, which was just adorable (and made me miss Max terribly!). All in all, a wonderful, exhausting weekend. I can't wait to go back.

Extreme Strawberry Picking

I have spent the last two weeks with a cast on my leg, from my toes to my knee.

The Saturday after the week I've just described below, we decided to go to a strawberry farm. I'd never done this activity before, and since I particularly love strawberries, I was very excited. Unfortunately though, after picking just one strawberry, I fell when I placed my foot in a tire track from the farm's tractor. I was holding Max as I fell, and I guess I did it in such a way that he came out of it just fine...but I ended up with a fractured heel.

I was basically incapacitated for four days until I finally got the cast. I should have it on for just three weeks, but needless to say, it's not fun. While I am incredibly relieved that I am not more injured, this has been a great inconvenience. I actually miss driving - and that is a statement I never expected to make in my entire life.

The other annoying factor is having to tell and retell the story each time someone encounters me and my giant piece of plaster. At first, I felt really silly saying I fell at a farm. People seem to want a more glamorous story. So it's taken two weeks, but I finally have a good opening line: extreme strawberry picking. Whoever said I wasn't into sports!

I have one more week to go, and am praying that everything will look good when I am x-rayed again. In the meantime, I am hobbling around as best as I can, and am very thankful that Marc has been a big source of help to me over the last few weeks.

A Chapter Ends

I have had a few blog posts rattling around my brain for a while now, yet seemingly no time to actually write them, so I will attempt a little catch up.

Hannah's school year came to a close a couple of weeks ago. There was a crazy week where it seemed every day was monumental. On Monday, we had her end of the year party and "graduation" ceremony. On Tuesday she went on her first field trip, to Drumlin Farm, and she is still talking about it. Wednesday was her official last day, which was quite emotional for her. Then she spent Thursday and Friday at the back up daycare center in my office building. It was quite a week.

I am a little sad to see that chapter of her life come to an end. She has one more year as a preschooler, and I can't believe how quickly the past two years have come and gone. I felt proud of her and all of her classmates - they've grown and accomplished so much. I will miss seeing all of these kids and hearing about Hannah's daily adventures with them.

Hannah has since moved on to her new program, and so far it is a giant success. I don't think it even took her the whole first day to feel at home there. I am thrilled that the transition went so smoothly, and it gives me great hope for her entrance to kindergarten in another year. But gosh, my little baby is so grown up already.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wordle

I just found out about a fun site, wordle.net. This one is based on the Counting Crows "Walkaways". Enjoy!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Ponytail Days

Last week at work was unexpectedly busy. A project came out of a meeting that I attended on Monday, and I spent the rest of the week working on it at a feverish pace. When I get extremely busy at work, I usually end up pulling my hair into a ponytail, since I don't want to be irritated by it. Since it was quite hot last week as well, my hair went up as early as possible each day.

I almost never wore ponytails until Hannah arrived. Then, they became my default as soon as I passed over the threshold. She always pulled at it, and now Max does too. I guess it's my version of a "mom cut" - I haven't actually chopped it all off, just keep pulling it back.

This weekend Hannah discovered pigtails (and braided pigtails for extra fanciness). I'm not very good at doing her hair, but I'm getting better at it. She looked so different with them in, but it's good for her to experiment. She shouldn't be stuck with a "I'm a four year old" look just because I can't escape my ponytails.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

A Busy Week

This week won't go down in history as one of my favorites. It's been a draining one.

Max's (formerly known as "BabyBee") daycare was closed on Tuesday, so I brought him to the back-up daycare center in my office building, which is run by Bright Horizons and is one of the benefits provided at my job. He actually had a great day, but I needed to give him a bottle on both legs of our extensive T ride. This was not an easy maneuver, but we managed. Having to contend with this change to my routine was interesting though. Usually I spend most of my commute on my Blackberry and/or ipod, and there was none of that happening.

On Wednesday we followed our usual pattern, which means I take the Green Line, C Branch, to pick up Max from his daycare. Then we walk a few blocks and get on the D branch to take that train home. We're on the train together for three stops, just about 10 minutes in total. We got off the train at Newton Highlands. That train continued on, and two stops later, approximately 10 minutes after we got off, it rear ended another train and the driver of my train was crushed by the impact.

I have been very upset and freaked out by this. At the point where Max and I get on the train, you are supposed to pay your fare (I have a monthly pass, so the T gets no new revenue despite me switching lines - but I usually try to follow protocol and get on at the front of the train). The front of the car seemed particularly crowded that day, so I made eye contact with the driver. I held up my pass and motioned that Max and I and his stroller were going to a door at the back. She waved me through.

Later that night, while she was still trapped in the wreckage (I have not seen when they declared her time of death to be, whether it was on impact or some time later), I saw her father on the news coverage. Based on his appearance, I was pretty sure he was the father of the driver of my train, and my heart went out to him. Fortunately, almost everyone on board was able to walk off the train, and just a dozen people were treated at local hospitals (it is estimated that a total of 200 people were on both trains).

I am incredibly thankful that Max and I got off the T when we did - I can't imagine what that would have been like. I don't want to imagine it. But I have been, over and over, since then. I'm not sure I'll ever get on a train again without thinking about it. And this is something I do five days a week.

Generally I'm a big fan of the T. It has its annoyances, to be sure - constantly running late, stopping unnecessarily long at certain stations, too crowded, too noisy - but it is a much better alternative than me driving downtown and paying outrageous parking fees. I know the chances of an accident like this happening are very slim, and far less than the chance of a car accident fatality. But it did shake me out of my "I love the Green Line" reverie.

On a MUCH, MUCH lighter note, I went to see the "Sex and the City" movie last night. My best friend and I purchased tickets about a week ago. We both figured that if we didn't go on the night it opened, we just wouldn't make the effort afterward, since we knew we see spoilers everywhere. We both expected it to be an okay movie, but nothing great.

We were pleasantly surprised. Despite the series being gone for so long now, it was easy to fall right back into the rhythm of SATC. I've always had an affinity for Miranda, and enjoyed her plot line very much. Charlotte had some great lines (though I don't appreciate potty humor, and was a bit sad that they brought that in). The movie was indeed long, but I felt it was necessary to show that happy endings can take their time in coming to you. We left the theater happy that we gotten to see it for ourselves, and saying that we would tell others to see it as well.

One point to note about the audience though - this isn't your living room! The theater was packed with women, gay men, and the occasional husband, and we were shocked at the noise level before the film started. The crowd cheered at the first sight of pink-colored font, and also cheered at the end. The group of women behind us felt it necessary to talk throughout the film, making little comments on the fashion or a funny line. While that is acceptable at home, it didn't feel right in the theater, and did detract from the experience. I don't particularly care whether or not you, strangers behind me, like Carrie's wedding gown - but maybe the discussion is part of the point and what makes SATC such a different experience.

Funny though, that for me the most decadent part of the evening was getting to use a public restroom without a child in tow! A rare moment indeed.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The First Thing to Get Dropped from "The Juggle": Blogging

I have been back at work for almost eight weeks now, and you might have noticed the total lack of blog posts since then. Not that I'm especially prolific, but it's even less than usual now. No specific reason for why, other than crazy busy-ness at work and less time to sit at the computer at home maybe.

I have a Blackberry now, so there's less need to sit at the computer at home too, but typing out a post from that device just seems ridiculous. And work really has been a lot of work. It's not that things weren't done while I was out for 12 weeks, but there were some major initiatives put on hold. Or maybe they were put on hold for my entire pregnancy, but it seems like my job has a whole new dimension since I've been back.

The kids are doing pretty well. BusyBee finally seems to be jealous of BabyBee, which is both frustrating and entertaining. She's acting out in ways that are totally unrelated to his existence - she's still totally in love with him - but it seems like her change in behavior has coincided with his more demanding needs. Obviously, I don't like the way she is carrying on, but sometimes I do find it really funny. This morning she said she'd no longer be my daughter if I didn't allow her to wear slippers during naptime at school (they are required to wear shoes, just in case they should need to leave the building). It's not even my rule, yet I'm the one being yelled at by a four-year-old. Somehow, within minutes it all blew over and she was fine by the time we got to school. I want to take her seriously, but I'm often holding back a smile as we engage in these moments together.

Mr. Bee has been on paternity leave for the past 8 weeks (thanks to his employer for recognizing that men are parents too!), and BabyBee will be starting daycare next week. No, not the same one as his sister. It's not even in the same town. So the past 20 weeks have been a trial run for parenting two children while maintaining two full-time jobs, a sort of suspended animation. Next week the real deal begins. While we have a plan for handling it, I think our schedules will be adjusting almost daily given whatever might be happening at the various jobs and schools. And since BusyBee switches schools in mid-June, I still feel like we're in a bit of a trial period. I guess that's just how parenthood is though - something is always changing, requiring constant little adjustments along the way.

I hope to get back to doing this more often, providing I have something worth saying in a public forum. I have just joined Facebook, and am finding it's very fun to post my "status" and quickly alert my "Friends" to my thoughts at the moment. I'm just trying to decide if I want this blog linked to Facebook, as I have deliberately kept this vague, which Facebook is decidedly not. Any thoughts?

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Hyper Parenting vs. Satisficing

Over the past couple of weeks, Mr. Bee and I have decided to enroll the BusyBee in a new preschool/daycare beginning in June. The decision was very difficult for me, for too many reasons to list here. In the weeks leading up to this decision, there were many 2 a.m. feedings that I spent obsessing over the contents of mass emails, and many stomach aches that I'm sure were stress-induced.

Her new school is not that much different than the old one. It's actually across the street, has the same schedule and similar philosophies of teaching. After all, how many different ways are there to teach the days of the week? And yet, I agonized about it. I felt so much pressure over this one decision, one of many that I've already made and will continue to make on the behalf of my children.

For a long time now, I've been reading about the hyper parenting phenomenon. It's like we can never do enough for these kids, and not just in the "they won't get into a good college" ways. I threw a tremendous birthday party for 18 of the BusyBee's nearest and dearest a few months ago, and we'll be going to 4 similar affairs over the next 5 weekends. Seriously - I just used the word "affair" to describe 4-year-old birthday parties.

When we made the decision to send BusyBee to her current school, in June 2006, I was taking a class on decision-making. I spent my entire midterm exam analyzing that real-time decision, specifically on the concept of satisficing. At some point in every decision, you must finally choose, and very often you pick the thing that best satisfies your needs. This often means settling for less than perfection, but the time invested in searching for that elusive perfection would "cost" more than the additional benefit obtained.

I felt we had satisficed in June 2006, and I feel like we're satisficing again now. Some factors have changed at her current school that make the new one seem more desirable, but I honestly have no idea if she'll have any better experience for making the move. I don't see the new school as perfection. But I do know that my stomach doesn't hurt anymore, and that's got to be worth something.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Miss Independent

This weekend we visited Hartford to stay with my in-laws and introduce more of the extended family to BabyBee. It was a nice visit, and included some quality time for Mr. Bee and I to go out alone, as well as afforded me the opportunity for a girl's night out with some of my friends. BabyBee seemed to enjoy the new environment and didn't mind being passed between all the relatives.

The activities of our BusyBee were more interesting to me though. I feel like I barely was needed this weekend, and indeed, she decided to spend an extra night and day with her grandparents while the rest of us went back to Boston. She spent a lot of time playing independently. I didn't have to take her to the bathroom at all, or convince her to eat any of the food she was offered. It felt like she didn't need me much. As I was leaving to go out last night, we did have a round of our new game, "No, I love YOU more," but my little girl is definitely growing up.

It's a good thing I still have this little baby curled up on my chest as I type this - he'll still need me for quite a while. But maybe someday the BusyBee will have her own blog - LilMisIndependent.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Four Years, Four Weeks, and Being a Family of Four

BabyBee will hit the one-month mark tomorrow. No, he wasn't the first baby in Boston (and I didn't see the coverage of who was, being that I was still in labor for half of January 1st). But he was delivered by an obstetrician who once delivered the first baby of the year in the country, so that must count for something. :)

We'll be celebrating by taking him for his one-month pediatrician appointment, as well as having BusyBee go in for her four-year check-up. It should be an interesting hour to say the least. I think both kids will be getting shots, which I'm sure neither will enjoy.

I'm adjusting well (at least I think I am) to being a mother of two. I have to admit that it's hard for me to be at home. Several times a day I have to remind myself of what day of the week it is, since there's not much to distinguish one from another. But I'm happy to have this time with the baby, and BusyBee seems to like her reduced daycare schedule. And I know it will be hard for me to go back to work too.

We haven't had the seismic shift I expected in my last post though - I'd say it's more of a mild aftershock from an earthquake. The second time around is easier in many respects as I feel much more confident as a parent, and our lives are already structured to be kid-friendly. As a bonus, he has such an easy-going personality. BusyBee really adores her little brother and has handled the situation remarkably well. We had some wonderful family support in these first few weeks, which has made things even smoother (thanks again!).

This has been a pretty cheery post, but I still need to take a moment to gush about my son: what a cutie. His blue eyes - if they stay this shade - will make someone fall madly in love with him someday. He's a champ at holding up his head and desperately wants to crawl and move on his own. I think he's going to have Mr. Bee's intensity and intellect, and I can't wait to see what kind of person he will become.