Saturday, September 27, 2008

Clarkey D.

I took a few pictures of Clark D. outside in the afternoon yesterday. He is so cute I had to share.

Baking Buddy

Two weeks ago we got a kid's cookbook out of the library. Curtis has expressed a real interest in cooking and baking lately so I found the book and we flipped through it once or twice. Then one day this past week Clark was napping and Curtis and I were bored so we broke it out. There was an easy recipe for a quick dough. I had to adjust it some since I didn't have enough white flour, so I halfed the recipe and then subbed half of the flour with wheat.

Curtis had fun making faces and snakes and worms. The faces he copied from the pictures in the book but the worms and snakes were his idea. He ate a bunch of it that night, so I guess it is true that kid's really do enjoy eating food they took a part in preparing.

Friday, September 19, 2008

This boy climbs

And I mean everywhere!


So I've been mowing the lawn some lately. I find it strangely satisfying. I think there is a sense of accomplishment in this that I don't get on a day to day basis. It seems like most of what I do all day gets undone very quickly. Like when I vacuum usually a pet or child makes a mess in 20 minutes or so and it gets frustrating. Also I do dishes after lunch only to have more dirtied up and waiting a few hours later after dinner. Laundry is a similar story.

So it all started a while back when Curt wanted to watch some big soccer thing on TV but it was Sunday evening and the lawn really needed to be mowed. I told him I'd try it if he'd turn the mower on for me and it went OK. I did it again a few times when there was a Buccs game on or some other thing and I'm really liking it. It's very zen like to cut across strip after strip in the long St. Augustine grass. I sometimes wear our MP3 player and rock out to good music but honestly I prefer not too. I think the loudness of the mower enhances the inward turning of my mind as I mow. It's therapeutic and then when I'm done I look back to see an actual measurable achievement. No one can make the grass grow back in faster than mother nature intends.

There is also something to be said for the endorphins that get set off due to the physicality of the activity. I'm not going to say there is a 'mower's high' but I think it might be something like that. I love to work out and walking in all sweaty and wore out after mowing away the grass makes me feel pretty good.

We'll see how long this lasts. We're getting into the good part of the year where you don't have to mow every week here in FL and things are starting to cool down a little (for Florida weather I mean), so who knows what'll happen once the heat comes back next year.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Funny Night

Well, change of plans...we did sushi and ice skating instead. It was DH's first time ice skating (he's a FL native) and he was so funny. We finally found one sport I'm better at then him!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

6 years ago today

I had just gotten married. It's really hard to believe. We've been together now 8.5 years married for 6. Tonight my MIL will sit with the kids while we go for Cuban food and bowling. Did you know those are the traditional activities for a 6th anniversary (just kidding)?

Then I look down at my lap and see this 10 month old and can't believe how fast time goes. He's growing right in front of my eyes.

How can I be almost 33 years old? How can I have two kids and a husband and a mortgage and a soccer mom car now?

Crazy stuff over here!!!!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

I'm not trying to be political here

but I just wanted to share this...I don't agree with everything said here but find the first part of it very interesting...take it or leave it...

The following testimonial was presented to me by an Alaskan. Please read.

To my fellow Americans

I’m an Alaskan. I grew up in Wasilla. Sarah Palin was my mayor. She wanted to ban books at the library where my parents taught me how to read. There have been many interesting pieces of journalism introducing my gun toting, mooseburger-eating former neighbors (I now live in Manhattan) to the rest of the country, and most have focused on how proud Alaskans are of their governor making the surprise leap to the big leagues.

Sarah Palin’s story is compelling, but it is one that could happen only in Alaska, where the politics and the economy are simple and where it’s not difficult to spend a lifetime sheltered from the complexities and diversity of the outside world. I love my home state; I wouldn’t trade my childhood there with anyone. And I hope the Palin intrigue will translate into a boost in tourism that will further enrich the state’s $5 billion budget surplus, so that when Gov. Palin returns to Juneau in November she can continue to serve Alaska’s interests with relative ease.

But as reporters roam the streets where I grew up, chatting with my ecstatic neighbors, I feel compelled to offer another view, as an American, by pointing out that John McCain has demonstrated an alarming lapse of judgment by choosing Sarah Palin as his party’s VP candidate. Choosing a running mate was his first and only concrete test of judgment in the campaign process. Here’s why he failed.

My fellow Alaskans have vouched for Palin as a charming, interesting person. I can add to that that she is perfectly friendly. But now she is running for the highest office and so it must be noted that Sarah Palin the Friendly Neighbor is different from Sarah Palin the Executive. The latter is a woman with intense agendas guided by a narrow set of culturally conservative and extreme religious values. She believes that abstinence should be the only form of sex education taught to teenagers; she believes that creationism should be taught alongside science in our schools; she is against a woman’s right to choose even in the cases of incest and rape; and her church believes gay and lesbian Americans can and, one assumes, should be corrected by prayer (“pray away the gay” is their cheery slogan).

When she was mayor of my hometown, these extreme views came off as petty and irrelevant to people like me who did not share them. There seemed little cause for alarm. Most Alaskans are happy to live and let live; we don’t think of ourselves as Republican or Democrat. Besides, as mayor, it’s not like she had the power to wiretap our phones, amend our constitution, or send us to war.

But she did try to use her power to ban books. Wasilla’s popular public librarian rightly objected, and the community rightly backed the librarian. The books were never banned, though Mrs. Palin did fire the librarian for not agreeing with her political views, then rescinded the firing after it was clear she’d made an unpopular decision. Sarah Palin’s behavior is revealing: in a state as isolated as Alaska, in a town as small as Wasilla, books are vital to the culture and to the education of its residents. The small town values I learned growing up included attending story hour at the public library. Those values most certainly did not include trying to ban books that the mayor’s church friends didn’t think other people should read.

It will be interesting to see what effect Gov. Palin’s penchant for reform will have on the McCain campaign. Will she put one of Cindy McCain’s private jets on eBay? Maybe one of the McCain’s seven houses? It certainly hasn’t meant she’ll answer any questions from voters or the press. Her very first media interview won’t come until later this week. The reason is clear: she’s not ready to answer questions about the housing crisis, foreign policy or healthcare. So far she’s been allowed into public view only to deliver a speech similar to the one she gave at her party’s convention, the one in which, with the sass and smile of a punch line, she ridiculed community organizers who step up to help less fortunate communities whose government has allowed them to fall through the cracks. Her speech made for good television, something the McCain camp felt they desperately needed. And it sure fired up the folks at the Republican National Convention. Who can blame them? They finally have a candidate who can shoot a gun, drink a beer AND speak in complete English sentences. This is real change for them.

In recent days, Sen. McCain and Gov. Palin have directed accusations of elitism at the Democratic ticket as well as at the media, suggesting that there is something undesirable about a presidential candidate with extensive knowledge of foreign policy, inner city community struggles, constitutional law, and the complexities of the major domestic crises. This is baffling. Don’t we want an elite leader? Don’t we want a White House made transparent by an elite press? We are a large and complex nation with large and complex problems. Common sense suggests, and the last eight years have shown, that perhaps the president should be something of an elite leader.

Barack Obama studied international relations at Columbia (he also has a law degree and has taught constitutional law) before returning to Chicago to be a community organizer. Meanwhile, Mrs. Palin ran for Miss Alaska (she placed second) and then received a Bachelor’s degree in communications-journalism from the University of Idaho. She returned to Alaska and became a reporter at a television station’s sports desk.

For just 22 months Sarah Palin has been the governor of a state of just 680,000 people that is “awash” in money (as former Alaska governor Tony Knowles put it) and receives more pork-barrel money per capita than any other state. Alaska has no tricky border or immigration issues with the remote parts of British Columbia and the coast of Siberia. There are no inner cities struggling with poverty and daily violence. There is a lot of drunk driving (Alaska is dark and cold much of the year), though the state police force is well funded and the road system they patrol is startlingly simple; I can’t think of a stretch of highway lasting 15 miles that has more than 4 lanes.

To use a metaphor from track (a sport the Palins are fond of), putting Gov. Palin on a presidential ticket is like Coach McCain sending a promising high school long-jumper to compete for Team USA in the Olympic decathlon. It’s a really bad coaching decision. And by all accounts McCain’s vetting process was hasty and impulsive.

John McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin shows that he is moving farther and farther to the right of mainstream America. If he’s doing it for political reasons, he’s no maverick. If he’s doing this for reasons of principle, he is merely out of touch with most Americans. Ninety percent of the delegates to the Republican National Convention were white. That might resemble the America that the Republican party sees, and it certainly resembles the demographics that shaped Gov. Palin over the many years she’s lived in Alaska. But it’s not the America most Americans live in. Not only is Sarah Palin’s executive experience inadequate, her worldview is not possibly diverse or nuanced enough to appreciate either the domestic challenges or international complexities that a VP must grasp at the most basic level. A McCain/Palin administration would be risky at best, and potentially disastrous.

I’m sick of Republicans suggesting I’m unpatriotic while they ruin my reputation around the world. I’m sick of people casting votes of fear because of threats that are mischaracterized and exploited by their own political leaders. I’m sick of distorted television commercials being my country’s primary method of public discourse. And I’m sick of being told that straight, white, Evangelical family values are better for my country than my family’s values. Anyone who has paid lip service to the idea that America’s strength relies upon its diversity, be warned: it’s actually true, and it will be even truer in the future. I think my generation will be known as the diversity generation. We get America. We are ready to be leaders for the world community. We are motivated. We think. We are patriotic.

And if we vote, we cannot be outnumbered.

Ryan Quinn
8 September 2008

Ryan Quinn was born and raised in Alaska. He now lives in New York City.
He can be reached at

Friday, September 12, 2008

Crazy week means we need cake

Yes, it's been a crazy week.

I had some big tests on Monday including a diabetes test. It happens to be the 6th time I've taken this test, which requires fasting and hours of waiting and blood taking. The good news is I've heard nothing back and no news is good news I think.

Then we finally bought a new car on Wednesday night, keeping us out very late and putting us all in bed way past our bedtimes. I'm really happy with the car and I'll get a picture and post about it sometime soon.

Then of course there was the sadness of Sept 11th on top of me hosting a play date at my house, which both made me a little anxious. On that day Clark happened to turn 10 months old too and that made me a little sad to think of how fast he is growing up right before my eyes. I'll take a picture this weekend so we can mark the occasion.

So I guess it's not too much of a surprise that we were all burnt out by last night and ended up waking up to colds. Clark has been snotty since Thursday and now we are all following in his footsteps. I can only hope that it's a quick little bug that our strong immune systems will bust out in 24 hours tops.

So earlier this week we tested out our new pumpkin cake pan. Curtis really loves Halloween (and cake). It is clearly his favorite holiday, although I'm sure Christmas will soon win out once he understands it fully. He just loves to read books about halloween and talk about it and check out the bats in the sky at night etc etc. I got this cake pan at Ross for cheap and we tested it out with a simple chocolate cake recipe that I glazed with a simple powdered sugar glaze. We didn't want to frost it since then the features wouldn't come through clearly. We only ate half before we got burnt out on it and gave a big chunk to my FIL who is always happy to sample my home baked sweets.

Here is Curtis helping with the mixer. He is a surprisingly great egg cracker.

Of course we had to test the batter.

And here is the finally product.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

My little student

That's right...we ended up putting Curtis into preschool at The Complete Soccer Academy. This is their first year doing preschool, but they have been doing clubs and after school care for two years now. There are only 4 kids in the class right now but they have room for 15 and I'm hoping at least a few more enroll since Curtis is a little social butterfly. He gets all the regular preschool stuff plus one 20 minute soccer lesson and one 20 minute yoga lesson each day. It's more than I wanted to pay but priced lower still than most of the other places around here that I checked into. I sure hope this works out and that he likes it there this whole year. We both have been making each other a little nuts lately with our boredom.


Monday, September 01, 2008

Inpromptu Beach trip

Yup we decided to book a room at our favorite spot on the beach very spur of the moment last week. Curtis was really excited to go down the water slide again and we had great weather and there were no crowds at all.

I had a blast playing on the beach with the kids making drip castles and sitting in the waves.

My little dare devil 3 year old begged me to let him go on this ride over the Daytona Beach Pier. I had my heart in my throat the whole time they were up there and when they got down they both said it was scary.