Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It’s a boy!

We went to the doctor today for an ultrasound and we got to see the baby. The baby wasn’t shy, so now we know it’s a boy! 

They took all kinds of measurements and so far everything looks good, which is such a relief, for the time being anyhow!

20 weeks down, 20 more to go!


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Contemplating cloning myself…

I have read several blogs today by other Foreign Service spouses, who are overwhelmed with all the things they need to take care of. For some reason, several of them really resonated with me, though we are in very different circumstances. I am talking about ladies who have three or four kids each AND are either going it alone because the husband is on a unaccompanied tour, working from home to help the family finances, or going though major, major health issues.

So my rant will sound totally lame by comparison but that’s how I feel, even though I am, for the first time ever, a stay-at-home-mom. I have one kid in first grade and another on the way. I live in Northern Virginia, not in a developing country, for the time being. My husband works in town and not on the other side of the planet. Yet, I find myself more overwhelmed by the things I need to do on a daily basis than when I was working full-time not too long ago.

I have no explanation for why that is but I am dreaming of cloning myself, you know like in the movie Multiplicity. I am just not sure how many clones I need, especially knowing that their "quality" deteriorates with each successive clone.

Let's see, I think, I'd like one clone to do the cleaning, shopping, the laundry and ironing, the cooking, the bills, the drop-offs and pick-ups. Another to be focused exclusively on the kid(s) – getting the kid(s) fed, bathed, doing homework, reading, entertaining, play dates etc. A third one to be the most dedicated wife and lover to my wonderful husband. A fourth one to spend time on social activities, such as staying in touch with friends and family and organizing get-togethers such as dinners, birthdays, baby showers, family and school reunions plus do volunteer work. And a fifth one to read, stay informed, smart, professional, learn Hindi and blog in a timely manner (as opposed to weeks after something blog-worthy happens). This one may even go back to work and make some extra cash for family vacations and such. Not sure which one I need to be the real me, the really good copy, the good copy, the so-so copy, and the last and probably not very good copy but I am not going to worry about that right now.

But five total - I think I'd be OK with five versions of me.

Is that too much to ask for?

If that’s not possible, some supermom powers will do too…

And because I know we all need them, I’m sending super powers to all my mom friends out there but especially to Jen, who is battling breast cancer and really needs them right now! The pink cape and boots in the picture are especially for you Jen!!!

Image by Eric Kastner, but it’s actually a cake topper, which I fully intend to use for baby showers in the future.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

You bet your Assateague…

(This post is a little long – just thought I’d let you know.)

A few weeks ago we took an impromptu trip to Assateague, a barrier island on the eastern shore of Maryland, famous for its beautiful beaches and wild (feral) horses. Paul and I had been there 10 years ago, when we were young and childless but really wanted to share the beauty of the place with Nia. I wasn’t surprised when Paul called me and said that he was able to get a camp site for us, so we were going.

We wanted to go with friends but the camp site we got was the last one available that weekend, so we could really take only one other family. We went with our Foreign Service friends Jason and Carrie Show and their two little girls, Maia and Mackenna, who Nia just adores.

When Friday afternoon came, Carrie and I loaded up the girls in the cars and headed out to meet Paul and Jason at the Greenbelt metro station, in order to avoid going through downtown. Traffic on the beltway was horrendous and it took us two hours to get to Greenbelt from Falls Church. Once there, we grabbed a quick dinner and hit the road around 7 p.m. It was already dark by the time we crossed Chesapeake bay, which was just as well because that bridge just scares the puddin’ living daylights out of me.

The plan was to spend the night at a motel on the way and then go to the campground the next morning.  We got to one of the small towns about 30 miles from Assateague around 11 p.m. and decided to stay there. Only too bad for us – there was something going on in the area and the hotels were all full. Finally, we found a Best Western that had a couple of vacant rooms (and didn’t look too shady), so we took them even though they were $99 apiece.

We got in the room around midnight and Nia and I went straight to bed, while Paul went to get beer and hung out with Jason and Carrie for a little bit. As I got into the bed I had the distinct feeling that the sheets were not “fresh” and was really irked by the thought but was way too tired to do anything about it. I had to get up several times during the night to attend to my pregnant bladder and barely managed to contain my disgust at the sheets. In the morning, when I got out of the bed I found some clothing labels that were not ours between the top and the fitted sheet. That’s when I knew I wasn’t crazy. If the sheets had been changed, those labels wouldn’t have been there. I was livid. I know these are tough economic times and all kinds of businesses are trying to cut costs to stay alive but for $99, the least they could do is change the sheets. It’s just a basic sanitation/health issue. To experience that after all the reports about bed bugs in hotel beds and what not was just too much for me. My husband, on the other hand, found the situation highly amusing.

After we checked out, I (in the calmest possible voice) told the receptionist that our sheets were not “fresh.”

She was like, “What do you mean?”

I was trying really hard to stay calm, “I mean, we had to sleep in sheets that someone else had slept in before us!”

“How do you know that?” she asked.

“Well, first they didn’t feel or smell crisp and clean, like they should. And then, I found something between the sheets that wasn’t ours.”

“What did you find?” – she seemed almost conspiratorial.

“Clothing labels,” I glared, “but it really doesn’t matter because they wouldn’t have been there, had the sheets been changed.”

She just looked at me for a few seconds and then finally blurted out, “I’ll tell my manager about that.”

I was literally speechless. That’s the best she could come up with? Not even an apology! I so wanted to punch her in the face but realized it wasn’t going to do any good, so I just walked away hopping mad and defeated but I digress…

The trip got better after that. We got to the island and spent a few wonderful hours at the beach. The weather was beautiful and the girls had a blast.


By noon we were famished, so we went into the nearby town and had Chinese for lunch. Then we went back, got our camp site, put the tent up and spent a few more hours at the beach. The weather was still gorgeous but now there were pretty big waves and Paul and Nia did some body surfing. Back at the camp site, the girls decided to make sand angels and goof off around the tent.

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We got all cleaned up and started the fire, so we can make dinner.

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Then it was time for S’mores!!! Nia and I had never had S’mores, so this was a new and very exciting experience for us. Carrie showed us how to make them and they were delicious! Our fire wood must have been wet, though, because the fire was very, very smoky!

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After the S’mores, we just chilled until it was time for bed but noticed that now there was a pretty strong wind out and the ocean was getting louder. At first the sounds of the wind and the ocean seemed nice and soothing to sleep to but they got louder and louder until we had a full blown wind storm on our hands. The wind was so strong it would partially lift the tent and blow sand under the tent’s fly and into the tent. That part was not fun but the kids slept right through it all. I took a video of it in the morning when you could see what was going on.

It was too windy and sandy to eat breakfast at the campground, so we decided to pack up and grab some food on the way back. The only problem was that we hadn’t seen the wild horses yet. The kids were really bummed out because we had told them that the last time we were at Assateague, the horses came right to our camp site and it was pretty neat to watch them, though these are not horses you can pet or play with because they kick and bite. We did find a big pile of fresh (as in “wasn’t there the night before”) horse poop between our cars but that really wasn’t any consolation.

So, sad that we hadn’t seen the horses, we headed for the park exit only to see not one but three horses, one of which was a foal!

IMG_8505 The kids were besides themselves with excitement and we were glad we were able to make their day.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Devil Mommy

(or bribing my kid into eating the right stuff)

Yeah, that’s me. And no, it’s not what I’m going to be for Halloween (though after this episode maybe I should).

So, yesterday, I went shopping. I had to get Nia a light jacket. When we lived in Florida, we didn’t need many jackets, so Nia had only two - a jean jacket and a parka that I got for a quarter last year at a yard sale because we were going to Chicago for Christmas. It’s not quite cold enough for the parka yet here in the D. C. area, so the jean jacket would have been perfect, if it weren’t for the fact that I sent her to school wearing it a couple of weeks ago and we never saw it again, even though I had labeled it with her name. I asked the teacher for help, checked “lost and found” several times but no luck. The jacket vanished, so I had to go get a replacement. I ended up finding two nice ones and they were both on sale, so I got both, just in case.

When Nia came home from school in the afternoon, she fell in love with one of them. It’s a cozy fleece hooded little thing with multicolored stripes. She liked it so much, she wanted to wear it the very next day.

In the meantime, I was making chicken pot pie for dinner. I put lots of vegetables in it and really wanted her to have it because she had been having constipation issues of late. Too much info, I know, but stay with me.

She wanted to eat corn dogs instead. So, I cut her a deal: if she ate chicken pot pie for dinner, she could wear the new fleece jacket to school the next day. She didn’t like that at tall and ended up throwing a mega tantrum complete with crocodile tears. I was not moved by her tears, so she said, “Why do you force me to do things I don’t want to do?”

I somehow managed to stay calm (which is usually not the case) and just said, “Because chicken pot pie is better for you than corn dogs.”

She gave me a big huffy breath and marched off into her room only to appear five minutes later with a couple of pictures she had hastily drawn to illustrate her feelings:


Exhibit 1: The creature with the sword and the horns labeled Devl (Devil) Mommy, is me (I did like how skinny I was and yes, spelling is not her forte, yet). She later explained that I had her pinned to the wall. Notice her sad face and the emphatic “No!!!!!!!!!”


Then she proceeded to show me Exhibit 2, representing how she wanted to feel. She wanted to wear her jaky (jacket) and feel happy and eat whatever she wanted.

I stood firm and she eventually relented and ate her chicken pot pie. Here she is today, wearing her new jacket and happy, just like in her drawing…


Oooohhhh, the things we Moms have to endure to get our kids to eat right...

Monday, October 4, 2010

Ben’s Chili Bowl

Half-smoke, anyone? French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy, ate at Ben’s Chili Bown on Tuesday. Yesterday, we checked another item off our D.C. To-Do List, Ben’s Chili Bowl. The place has been a part of the D.C. food scene since 1958. It’s another Obama favorite and that’s where he took the Sarkozis for lunch this past March, when they were visiting the capital. Bill Cosby is a fan too. As a matter of fact there’s a sign in the restaurant saying that the Obamas and Bill Crosby get to eat there for free (and no one else!)

The place is very simple – a counter, food prep area, and some tables. There are no frills at all but the staff is very friendly. As I guess is usual with popular joints in D.C., the place was packed and there was a long line. After patiently waiting our turn we ordered our food and sat down to eat it. Paul and I got chili half-smokes (a D.C. specialty, similar to a hot dog, though larger and spicier) and Nia got a turkey cheeseburger. We all shared a basket of chili fries and Nia and I had milk shakes.

The verdict: the food is very good. I wouldn’t describe the place as fantastic partly because I don’t like waiting in line and am not real big on crowds but we all liked the food. So, if you are looking for a local specialty, I definitely recommend trying it at least once.


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