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Monday, September 29, 2008

So What Exactly Are Unitarian Universalists?

Tis the time of year that the Big Giraffe and I get the usual question: what holidays do you celebrate? Don't get me wrong, I am more than happy to answer questions about it. My husband is Jewish, and I was raised Catholic. We are part of a Unitarian Universalist church, and our children are being rasied as UUs. However, sometimes the sarcastic side of me wants to say that we celebrate Festivus. Seinfeld anyone?

My Catholic upbringing explains the several years of Catholic school and CCD. My dad is Jewish, but we did not celebrate the Jewish holidays. This always seems to lead to a complex question and answer session.

Random Dude or Dudette (RD0D): Why did you not celebrate Jewish holidays?

Alex Elliot (AE)
: Because I'm not Jewish. I was raised Catholic. Judaism is passed through the mother not the father. Thus, by Jewish law I am not considered Jewish. I was baptised in the Catholic church and confirmed. My brother, mother and I celebrated all the Catholic holidays. For a time in high school, I was actually pretty religious, although when I was in high school, we had dinner with another family with a Jewish father and Catholic mother and children on Passover.

RDoD: So you did celebrate the holiday when you were there?

AE: No, my dad and Mr. C celebrated the religious holidays and we participated in the festivities. Brace yourself for this one, but aside from the dads, we were all Catholic.

RDoD: So do you celebrate the Jewish holidays now?

AE: I do not. My husband is Jewish. He celebrates the religious holidays in the religious sense. The boys and I join him at the meals, and he explains the rituals to the boys.

RDoD: Do you celebrate Christmas?

AE: Yes. The boys and my husband join in the meals and festivities. I teach them about why people celebrate Christmas and the other Christian holidays.

RDoD: This sounds confusing.

AE: Perhaps, but I grew up in a household with parents from two different faiths, so it's all I've known.

RDoD: Was it confusing to you growing up?

AE: It wasn't confusing for me as a kid, and I doubt my kids are confused by it. When I was little my friend's mother explained that God just reaches everyone in different ways. This made sense to me at 8 because I viewed choosing a path to appreciate God the same way I choose a dessert. We all like different flavors of ice cream, and some of us even prefer sorbet.

RDoD: So what exactly is a Unitarian Universalist?

AE: We believe that everyone creates their own relationship with God, a spirtual being, the world around them, their fellow human beings, a sense of justice or a combination of all five. It is basically the grown up version of my 8 year old ice cream theory. The kids learn about all the major religions. You do not have to convert, and there is no one creed. There are people in our congregation who are Catholic, Jewish, Humanist, Atheist, Wiccan, and Buddhist, for example. Our minister is a Buddhist UU, and her late husband was a Jewish UU minister. Some people just identify as UUs. It's up to each person to define themselves. I identify as UU.

RDoD: But you said you were going to church to celebrate the Jewish holidays?

AE: Yes, UU churches observe the holidays of all major religions holidays, but not necessarily on the actual day of the holiday. We tend to dedicate the nearest Sunday service to the holiday. For example, our Yom Kippur service is next Sunday, even though Yom Kippur actually starts on the following Wednesday night.

RDoD: So are you Jewish?

AE: No.

RDoD: Are your kids Jewish?

AE: No, they are UUs.

RDoD: Did you celebrate the Jewish holiday this evening?

AE: Yes, we had tacos, challah, and wine, and my husband said the blessings.

A. Elliot's Lesson Learned: There are many ways to enjoy a sweet new year.

Labels: ,

posted by Alex Elliot @ 6:46 PM   8 comments
  • At 9/29/2008 11:02 PM, Blogger Mayberry said…

    l'shana tovah!

    (from a Catholic with a lot of Jewish friends)

  • At 9/29/2008 11:41 PM, Blogger Ted and/or Laura said…

    That is oddly reminiscent of a conversation I've had with an acquaintance about Episcopal (me & kids) and Catholic (hubby) churches and the beliefs and will our children have their first communion (yes) at a catholic church (no), why (because they're not catholic) and will they be able to get married in a catholic church (uh, they're 4 and 3, that's not my list of concerns right now)...Very circular.

  • At 9/30/2008 5:49 AM, Blogger Jen of A2eatwrite said…

    Under Reform Judaism, you are, in fact, also considered Jewish from the father's side if you observed the Jewish rites of passage as a child.

    I'm from a very similar background, but I was the UU kid. Our UU church was not as ecumenical as yours, even though it was supposed to be. It was a horrible, confusing experience for me growing up, but it was such a different time (the 60s) and people who didn't fit into boxes were very confusing to others and were ripe for being teased (from my Jewish friends: You're NOT Jewish - you're not one of us; from my Christian friends: You're NOT Christian - you're not one of us).

    It sounds like your family has worked all of this out well. I'm envious, in a way. ;-)

  • At 9/30/2008 9:03 AM, Blogger Suzanne said…

    I agree with Jen. Just because the Orthodox are narrow minded and evil does not mean that you could not be considered Jewish because your mother is not one of the tribe. As an atheist Jew raised in the reform tradition, I believe that anyone who wants to consider her/himself Jewish can do so if they follow basic Jewish tenets. (What those basic Jewish tenets are, I have no definition for.) It enrages me that someone should be left out because his/her mom was not born to Jewish parents. We should respect a person's individual beliefs. Sorry for my rant, but this hits a raw nerve - intolerance in the Jewish community disgusts me.

  • At 10/01/2008 1:25 PM, Blogger Trenches of Mommyhood said…

    We grew up similarly! My father was Jewish, my mother Catholic. My 3 siblings and I were raised Catholic. My father only attended Mass on Easter Sunday and Christmas Eve. Every other Sunday, he stayed home because someone had to "watch the house."

    And now? We attend Pop Warner football games on Sunday morning, being the heathens that we are.

  • At 10/01/2008 3:31 PM, Blogger Goofball said…

    that's so interesting and so great. When Jan and I get children later on, we'll have a mixed situation too: catholic and atheist. I always fear that it'll get confusing for them

  • At 10/01/2008 5:43 PM, Blogger skiplovey said…

    well glad that's all sorted out. my family was kinda mix and match like that too. We celebrated both and it was fun. more presents, more food!

  • At 10/06/2008 12:16 AM, Blogger painted maypole said…

    sounds wonderful

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Parenting Different Children

Before I became a parent of two, I swore that I would treat my kids equally. What worked for one would work for another. Yeah, you can just add this to my list of things I swore I would never do (or LTISIWND).

Back when I had just one, I was convinced that it was best to wait until a child was 3 to switch to a bed (unless the child was climbing out of the crib or you needed it for another baby.) Since my older son (OS) wasn't trying to climb out of the crib and seemed quite content to stay in his crib, I saw no reason to move him. I had even read some articles from a sleep institute that supported it.

Fast forward to a few years later. While my younger son (YS) never tried climbing out his crib, he really didn't like being in it so I figured it was just a matter of time before the inevitable occurred. His distress affected his brother as well. He kept OS running back and forth to fetch the various toys that he insisted needed to be in his crib with him at night and again in the morning. Plus he always wants his overnight diaper off immediately. Hence, my two year old is spending the second night in his big boy bed tonight.

While it certainly has made it easier for OS to sleep, I'm not exactly sure how much sleep YS has gotten, since he keeps getting out of bed to get toys himself, and has been up late playing with the assortment. by himself while his brother is sleeping. Isn't that parenting, though?

A. Elliot's Lesson Learned: With parenting, solving one problem creates new ones.

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posted by Alex Elliot @ 8:57 PM   4 comments
  • At 9/27/2008 10:56 PM, Blogger Heather said…

    Yes, I understand. I'm a different parent for each of my kids.

  • At 9/27/2008 11:00 PM, Blogger Mayberry said…

    It's amazing how much mischief my younger one can get into after my older one falls asleep -- and she never wakes up.

  • At 9/28/2008 7:23 AM, Blogger Jen of A2eatwrite said…

    As a teacher I treat all my students differently, and I'm up front about that.

    I feel they're all individuals with different needs and it's my job to meet them where they are and to make sure that they all grow.

    C started polevaulting out of his crib at 16 mos. He did it over night and then we warned his daycare the next day and they said, "Oh, that's a fluke." Then they called me at 1:30 and told me he'd done it 3 times in the past half hour and I'd better get him another sleeping arrangement, pronto.


  • At 9/28/2008 11:23 PM, Blogger Chantelle said…

    My parents definitely treated us differently. My younger sister had a lot less freedom than I did (not my fault), and I asked her once if that bothered her. She said, nah, I still have more freedom than most of my friends.

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Thursday, September 25, 2008

You Know It's Sad When...

No, not when you think it's way cool to have a fanny pack although I still think it's one of the top inventions evah! I'm sure that as a parent there are many different ways to complete that sentence, such as when I realize I'm excited that I only had to change 1 dirty diaper today instead of three! Or my partner and I feel accomplished because we were able to a five minute conversation during dinner without being interrupted! Or how about feeling like my day is made because my kid wiped himself today without my help! Hmm...there seem to be a lot about potty training here.

No, today's excitement was sadder than all that. I was excited because I bought a new mop. A new mop whose head can be put through a washing machine 50 times though before being replaced!!! How cool is that? So at the rate I wash the floor, I consider it a lifelong investment. I'm kidding about that last part.

We've got some exciting prospects going on here in the Giraffe houshold, but that's under wraps for right now. For now though you can know how truly excited I was about this purchase. The Big Giraffe did a nice job of faking enthusiam as well.

A. Elliot's Lesson Learned: Nothing says lame old like getting excited over a cleaning product.

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posted by Alex Elliot @ 8:27 PM   7 comments
  • At 9/25/2008 10:32 PM, Blogger Heather said…

    I knew I was old when I was excited we got a new washing machine.

  • At 9/26/2008 4:54 AM, Blogger Goofball said…

    hey, new mops are certainly more exciting than old ones!

  • At 9/26/2008 8:37 AM, Blogger Megymelly said…

    Oh I LOVE that you got excited over a new mop. Cause that just blows my "you know it's sad when..." out of the water and I feel all cool now.

    "You know it's sad and hubby get very excited about the new shopping surroundings and routine, because a new Wal-Mart opened nearby."

  • At 9/26/2008 2:55 PM, Blogger Whirlwind said…

    I was excited the day I picked up my new Dyson. And then when I used it for the first few times, because you know, it actually did what it was supposed to do and sucked up crap. But then the novelty wore off now that I use it all the time.

    Congrats on the new mop - I need a good one - mine doesn't seem to work all that well. Or it could be because kids seem to spill stuff 2.4 seconds after I finish cleaning the floor.

  • At 9/27/2008 9:51 AM, Blogger Jen of A2eatwrite said…

    Okay, Alex, so the mop thing IS a bit sad, but all the potty training successes would have me whooping and hollering!

  • At 9/27/2008 10:58 PM, Blogger bethandrobert said…

    I would've been very excited to have a new mop today. We had a bathroom floor that needed a mop but one was nowhere to be found. Where could a mop go?

  • At 9/30/2008 9:07 AM, Blogger Suzanne said…

    No fair taunting me about the exciting prospects! Want to know more!

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Wisdom about Whales

Sometimes when I look at my younger son (YS) I marvel at the way the world is so different for him simply because he is a second born. The Big Giraffe and I both are first borns, each with a younger brother. Of course we feel that it is best to be first born, but we admit that perhaps we're just the slightest bit biased and perhaps there are some advantage to being a second child! In all seriouness, it is amazing how much more quickly he has adapted to information, toys and imaginative play by using his older brother as a role model. Of course this doesn't always manifest itself in the best way. Take today for example while YS and I were sitting in the small bleacher area of OS's Tae Kwon Do studio. YS was playing with the boys' ocean life figurines.

Woman Sitting Behind Us (WSBU): What type of whale do you have?
YS: Orca!
WSBU: I'm impressed! What type of whale is that one? (pointing to a different whale)
YS: Sperm!
WSBU: (Looking confused) Did he just say, I don't know, bear?
YS: Sperm! (waving the bottom of the whale which is labeled with the words "Sperm whale")
Alex Elliot (AE): It's a sperm whale.
WSBU: Oh. Wow.
AE: My older son is very into ocean life, so YS knows all the correct names. The names are written on the bottom of each animal.
WSBU: Impressive.

I'm assuming she meant my kids, but I secretly wanted to believe she was impressed that I had figurines with the animal names on the bottom. They were well worth the money at the aquarium for the labels alone. How else would I know all these names?!

A. Elliot's Lesson Learned: When buying animal figurines, ensure they are labeled with the name of the species.

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posted by Alex Elliot @ 7:52 PM   5 comments
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Monday, September 22, 2008

Timing and Organization

Ever since I was little, I've always had a compulsion to get to places early. I'm not sure why. Ever wonder who that bizarre person was circling around your block? Is it a lost person? A stalker? How about me arriving way too early for a playdate or a meeting and stalling for time. Haven't seen that block-circler recently? Well, I have grown up a bit now, so instead of circling the block, I now sit in a reading my Blackberry.

However, as the kids schedules are getting busier, so am I. All of a sudden I have to give more thought to when I plan to make dinner because we just might not be around when I would normally be cooking. Plus this is fall so we're back to fun plans with friends and family outings on weekends. We love it all, but every event requires exchanging a bunch of emails or playing a lot of phone tag with a several people to get everyone on the same page. Sometimes Almost always the planning takes longer than the event.

In fact I was just talking to my triathlon training buddy this evening about time management. She has 4 kids, and two of them are older than mine. She delivered an insight that really resonated with me - when you have a lot going on in the evenings it's hard to get to bed on time, which in turn makes it hard to get up early the morning to exercise.

Of course sometimes there are ways to at least cut down on the amount of time, email, and phone calls needed to organize an event. Know where I'm going with this? Click over here. Oh, come' on you know you want to know what exactly I'm doing with this Jooners thing!

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posted by Alex Elliot @ 8:11 PM   4 comments
  • At 9/23/2008 8:04 AM, Anonymous Amy said…

    I'm an early bird too! Anally early. I figured having kids would put a stop to it - but I'm still always early.

  • At 9/23/2008 3:25 PM, Blogger Goofball said…

    I always go to bed late, because I sleep in, because I get at work late, because I work quite late to get my work done, because I can hardly get into the stores before they close, because I cook late, because i blog/iron/...late, so I go to bed late

    not early...Late. I never learn. and I always complain that I'm tired

  • At 9/23/2008 8:21 PM, Blogger Kate said…

    I'm ALWAYS going to bed too late and ALWAYS sleeping longer than I should. It's just too hard for me to go to bed too early at night.

  • At 9/23/2008 8:47 PM, Blogger Heather said…

    If I'm supposed to be somewhere at a set time, I'm almost always early. It really throws me off balance on the rare occasion that I'm running late.

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Sunday, September 21, 2008

So Cool I Fit in with the Grannies

I am still looking for bloggers to do blogger reviews. Did I mention that there are going to be prizes? In fact there will be prizes for both bloggers and blog readers! Click here for more info.

For our wedding, my aunt and uncle gave the Big Giraffe and me gift airline gift certificates. We decided to use them to go to Disney World for our one year anniversary. I was quite excited when we got to Disney World and I discovered they sold one of the greatest inventions ever: fanny packs! For some reason the Big Giraffe didn't seem to fully appreciate how momentous this was. I never understand why fanny packs went out of fashion. They're so convenient particularly for those time you need to carry a wallet, cell phone and maybe one or two extra things like a tube of sunscreen and a packet of tissues. Sure you have a giant bulge over your stomach and you look like you're straight out of the 80's, but you don't have to lug around a purse or a backpack.

When we went to Disney World for a family reunion last year, I learned that after having two kids, the fanny pack just didn't fit. I was pretty upset about it. Tears were shed. The Big Giraffe tried to console me by saying I could just buy a new, larger fanny pack. That just didn't make me feel much better for a variety of reasons starting with the words "larger fanny pack". Fortunately, or actually unfortunately, we had to lug around a diaper bag everywhere with us anyway so a fanny pack was actually not needed.

After receiving a constant barrage of criticism from the Big Giraffe and various friends over the last year for running without my cell phone, I decided today that I really need to start carrying it with me. However, unless I'm wearing my fleece, I don't have the pockets to store my cell phone. That's when I remembered the fanny pack! With trepidation, I tried to put it on. Not only did it fit, but I had to tighten it! I have a sneaky suspicion that the Big Giraffe was laughing at me when I went running. I saw a glimpse of a smirk on my way out the door when he said that it is not my best look. He just doesn't appreciate how truly stylish I was. I also think he's jealous of my fanny pack. Not only is it handy, but the zipper handle is shaped like mouse ears and the Disney characters form the letters to the word "Disney" across the front.

Two people with obviously highly evolved tastes did stop me on my run to compliment my gear. They were specifically more interested in my pedometer than my fanny pack. Pedometer? Umm...that's my iPod. They had no idea what an iPod was, and they didn't even get it after I tried explaining it to them. That's right, the other group that just loves fanny packs are old people. I think they zoomed in on the fanny pack and figured I was one of them.

It's amazing how excited I can be over the fact that my fanny pack fits again. Yes, it is kind of pathetic. Don't agree with that one, Big Giraffe!

A. Elliot's Lesson Learned: Fanny packs are cool!

Labels: , ,

posted by Alex Elliot @ 5:58 PM   8 comments
  • At 9/21/2008 7:52 PM, Blogger Heather said…

    Oh we brought our fanny pack with us to Disney on our honeymoon, and again 5 years later. My hubs wore it both times. Yours sounds much nicer than ours.

  • At 9/22/2008 6:53 PM, Anonymous Kristen Smith said…


    As much as I am TOTALLY EXCITED that your "Fanny pack" fits... you must buy something else to carry your cell phone.

    Fanny packs: no no no!

    lol. I can only imagine.... :)

    Great job though!!

    Hope all is well,


  • At 9/22/2008 11:25 PM, Blogger Lady M said…

    Did you see any episodes of America's Best Dance Crew on MTV? The third place crew (and probably the most creative) was an 80's themed hip hop crew called Fanny Pak. There were awesome.

  • At 9/23/2008 7:27 AM, Blogger Suzanne said…

    Yes, Fanny Pak was awesome on America's Best Dance Crew. But I'm with Kristen - it's great that your fanny pack fits again, but dear god, no!!! There's got to be another way. I'm going to buy you a little backpack like I have. It probably won't work with running, but in other situations, it is much better than a fanny pak.

    Thanks for the laugh and I'll do the Jooners review today. I've been annoyingly busy lately, so I'm sorry that it is taking so long to get to.

  • At 9/23/2008 3:29 PM, Blogger Goofball said…

    fanny packs are cool, and practical....but unsafe for pickpockets. YOu really don't feel it if a thief opens it up. I lost my wallet like that in Prague, we were just in time to smack a thief's hand in Barcelona when he was in my friend's fanny pack.

    Now I don't wear them anymore.

  • At 9/23/2008 5:39 PM, Blogger skiplovey said…

    love the concept, can't get over the look though.

    there's got to be another option. two grannies thumbs up = not good.

  • At 9/24/2008 11:28 AM, Blogger Jen of A2eatwrite said…

    I say, anything that works is the height of fashion!

  • At 9/24/2008 9:58 PM, Blogger Count Mockula said…

    Dude, I have a fanny pack from like 1986 that's Reebok and has teal netting on it. I can't get rid of it, because it is SO GREAT for day hikes. I can get a granola bar, an apple, sunscreen, chapstick, antibacterial gel, and tampons in there. It doesn't chafe like backpacks can. It's awesome!

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Friday, September 19, 2008

The Tale of a Turd

I am still looking for bloggers to do blogger reviews. Did I mention that there are going to be prizes? In fact there will be prizes for both bloggers and blog readers! Click here for more info.

Sometimes as a parent I get so got up in all of life's excitment (like trying to explain to my sons why they can't wear their swim suits and use the sprinklers when it is 40 degrees out) that I blank on telling my friends stories about the truly embarrassing hilarious parts of parenting. Or perhaps I just blank on them because I'm hoping in time I'll think they happened to another parent.

When I was on the phone with Sally HP this evening, I referenced the following story without realizing that I had somehow failed to share it with her in any of our almost daily conversations.

A couple months ago I was at a farm and splash pad with my boys. They were having such a good time that we stayed a little longer than our friends. I had forgotten to put a swim diaper on my younger son (YS) despite the fact that I could probably build a home from the pile of swim diapers we have in our hall closet. Of course, I've never been truly impressed with swim diapers, because as I mentioned in my second post as a blogger, in my opinion they're just poop catchers; they don't absorb anything. Of course if they were absorbent, they would swell to gigantic proportions like regular diapers when they get wet. Plus my kids never do number 2 in them; they like liked to wander off to a quiet corner for that and not a crowded public area.

In fact, YS wandered off just like that and ended up standing behind a roped off grass area. Annoyed that he was where he shouldn't have been, I told him to either return to the splash pad or come over to me if he was finished to be changed back into clothing. It is very common for parents to change their kids in and out of their swim suits at the picnic table areas on the perimeter of the splash pad. YS and OS were both apparently almost done splashing. After jumping through every bit of spray between where they were and where I was, they came over to me. OS stripped off his suit, and I handed him his clothes. Then I turned my attention to YS. I quickly stripped off his suit too. Apparently I did it a little too quickly becase I saw something large roll under a picnic table. OS loudly annouced that there was "a big poop under the table". In case anyone missed his first announcement, he clarified the situation by announcing, "YS made a big poop! It's under the table!!!" In fact OS was so impressed by it, he couldn't stop talking about it and how big it was. I was simutaneously trying to quiet OS and find wipes. Except that I had already used the wipes I had brought with me. How was I going to get rid of this turd? Seriously, it looked like something one of the animals had done. Maybe I could say that a cow had wandered over the fence?

Fortnately, that day was one of the rare times where the farm actually had a container of wipes at a nearby table. I tried to inconspiciouly grab it so as not to alert those eating lunch near the world's largest, although most perfectly formed, poop. Not knowing what else to do with it, I grabbed it with some wipes and threw it in the trash. Before you judge, people throw diapers in those trash bins all the time, probably because the bathrooms are pretty far off. Plus it's a farm so it always smells like manure. Yes, I know there is some rationalization here, but even though I prefer to throw dirty diapers in the bathroom trash, with two naked little boys and a wet, torn swim diaper that I couldn't fasten up neatly with the tabs to secure the deposit, there weren't a lot of options.

I say two naked boys because after dealing with the "incident", I noticed that OS didn't have a stitch on him. Feeling even more frazzled, I yelled at him to put his underwear on immediately. That of course caught the attention of the nearby picnickers. One of them started telling me that her son who was the same age as OS would go to school naked if she didn't nag him to put clothes on about 30 times every morning. I was worried that they would get a little too close in this bonding moment over exhibitionist children and start to smell the trash. I really wanted to make a quick escape before that happened or before OS went back to telling everyone about his brother's...accomplishment in the trash. Like a mad woman, I gave a little laugh which came out more like a yelp and shoved OS into his underwear and clothes. He let out a lot of yelps. Then I shoved the beach towel package in the stroller basket, grabbed both boys, and made a beeline for the car. Fortunately, I have not seen my picture on any wanted posters at the farm. Also fortunately, YS's suit washed well (it was his good swim suit!) and there were no "stains".

A. Elliot's Lesson Learned: Swim diapers do not absorb pee.

Labels: , ,

posted by Alex Elliot @ 8:58 PM   8 comments
  • At 9/19/2008 10:23 PM, Blogger Heather said…

    They don't tell us these things will happen before we become parents. It's a conspiracy.

    ha ha my word verification ends in pu.

  • At 9/19/2008 10:56 PM, Blogger Tracey said…

    It's not the first time a poop has rolled across the floor and it won't be the last.

    At least you put it in the trash, right?

  • At 9/20/2008 12:47 AM, Anonymous Chantelle said…

    These gems definitely belong in a book somewhere for new parents :)

    Thanks for stopping by my site. I am glad I got a free minute to come back to yours.

  • At 9/20/2008 12:49 AM, Blogger Zip n Tizzy said…

    Love those bonding moments don't you?
    At least we all know that no parent has been unscathed... whatever your kid's doing, they've probably seen before!

  • At 9/20/2008 6:44 PM, Blogger Kate said…

    I might be interested in Jooners/ It might be something useful for my PTA work. I need to organize the craft fair and so it could come in handy. Let me know details at

  • At 9/20/2008 11:44 PM, Blogger Kami said…

    Good story! Kids, they always find a way to embarrass their parents. The teen years? Payback time, baby!

    *insert evil laugh here*

  • At 9/23/2008 7:30 AM, Blogger Suzanne said…

    OMG!!!! LOL!!!

  • At 10/01/2008 10:45 PM, Blogger Sally HP said…

    AHhhh! I just read this, and was laughing all over again! I can't believe that you didn't call me on the way home or something. It's totally like the times that you fall and you're by yourself but others saw and you have to tell someone...had I been there I would never have recovered from the laughter, so I guess it's a good thing. I would have been more embarassing to you than the turd!

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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Please be Quiet about the Library!

I am still looking for bloggers to do blogger reviews. Did I mention that there are going to be prizes? In fact there will be prizes for both bloggers and blog readers! Click here for more info.

Today we walked into the library and right away I just knew that someone had been talking to my kid. I knew because he informed me that since he was now five, he could get a library card. What?! It's not so much that I have an objection to the library card, but it's everything else that goes with it. For example, OS was quick to point out that if he had his own card, he could check out anything he wanted. Oh sweet son, when have I ever denied you a book of your choice? Yes, I only recently told you that people could rent DVDs from the library, but that was really because I was protecting your best reading interests and I didn't want to have you watch one of those horrible never-ending videos like the time I made the mistake of letting you rent a DVD when you were three. I may have told some slight twist of the truth where I pretended that I just never saw the DVDs on the wall just behind the glass doors and made all of us take the elevator so we wouldn't have to walk passed the DVD collection.

Of course I responded with the obvious response, "Is this something from the Berenstein Bears?" Why would I blame the bears? Well, they have caused trouble in the past. Six months ago, OS started freaking out about booster shots, even though I never recall mentioning them to him. I later realized that they are mentioned (and administered) in the book about those bears going to the doctor. Apparently they weren't involved this time. OS looked at me as if I were clueless and informed me that we don't have a book about the "bears" going to the library. However, a helpful librarian announced that OS was right. Drat!! (That's the G rated version of what was going in my mind.)

It's just a library card, right? I still get the final say about what he can check out and when. When all is said and done, it's not about who owns the library card, but rather who owns the car keys. They did make a nice production out of giving him his first library card complete with taking a photo of him holding it. Of course my concern is who exactly is talking to my son, because when he tells me that he's old enough for a driver's license, it just isn't going to fly because he'll then know that he doesn't have to wait to get a license until he is 30. I'm totally kidding of course....

A. Elliot's Lesson Learned: The car keys are mightier than the library card.

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posted by Alex Elliot @ 8:09 PM   2 comments
  • At 9/18/2008 10:13 PM, Blogger Heather said…

    I let my daughter get her first library card when she turned 5, but since she's been in school we haven't gone to the library much. I think she's used her card 3 times in the year she's had it. I keep it in my purse because she'd lose it right away if I let her keep it.

  • At 9/19/2008 6:08 AM, Blogger Goofball said…

    I was totally excited when I was a pre-schooler and I got to have my own library card. there's a limit to how many books you can take out (10 at the same time I believe) and since my parents were taking out books as well, I was always limited in the number of books. When I got my own card, I could take many more home!!! It has stimulated my reading bug ever since. I still absolutely adore libraries.

    And they did restrict what children can take home though.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I Failed My First Homework Assignment

A couple weeks ago, the Big Giraffe, my older son (OS), my younger son (YS), and I all went to OS's preschool open house. The boys immediately found some toys and began playing with them. So far so good. However, as the open house wore on, there were some sharing issues between YS and OS...actually between YS and just about everyone else. YS was most offended that the bigger kids did not want him to jump on their giant bristle block chain. I'm sure that the teacher's description of the kids' homework assignment coincided with YS's expressions of outrage. I remember my ears perking up because frankly since none of those kids can read, you just know who is doing that homework assignment. In fact I think she even came right out and said at some point that the parents would have to do it. Basically, it was a "get to know you sheet" where you answered a bunch of questions about your child's interests and hobbies. Then you were supposed to attach a photo of your child.

Perhaps it's not too surprising to hear that the Big Giraffe and I are horrible about printing out photos. I uploaded a picture to and made the arrangements to pick it up in an hour at Walgreens. I purposely did not say it was the picture of OS's choosing because it wasn't: he wanted some awful picture of himself facing my least we both think it was of him. We couldn't actually see his face in the picture, and I really didn't want a picture exposing my midsection to be hanging on his classroom wall for all to see. I therefore pulled the mean mommy card and said no. Not only that, I held firm even in the face of persistent whining. I also decided to use the on-line service instead of pulling out my photo printer and special photo paper because that's reserved for when I remember at 7 am that we need a photo for the day and I don't have time for the hour long photo service.

This morning everything was all organized and ready to go. I carefully packed the paper into OS's backpack this morning and had OS tell the teacher, at my prompting, that the paper was in there. It was particularly important because today was OS's birthday celebration at school, and they have a special board for the papers of the birthday celebrant. Also, today might have been the deadline although neither the Big Giraffe or I were sure most likely because we were reconstructing a bristle block line that YS had accidentally broken when the homework assignment was discussed. We thought it was due the 21st, but the 21 is a Sunday. A key element of the instructions was apparently to use the blank piece of white paper that came in the plastic casing to paste multiple photos of your child doing activities he liked and spending time with his family. The Big Giraffe and I both thought the paper was just filler paper for the plastic liner. Needless to say, I got a post-it note home asking me to please send in the paper with pictures on it.

When I was in 4th grade, my parents made me do a geology report on rocks by myself. I used my scissors and a mountain of glue and pasted jagged edged pictures on construction paper with handwritten descriptions and definitions. I think I got a C on it. The kid who got an A on it had beautifully mounted pictures on black construction paper (I never even knew you could do that) with typed up descriptions underneath the pictures. I later found out from him that his dad had done all the work. Poor OS. His parent did the work and she didn't even follow directions!

A. Elliot's Lesson Learned: Paying attention in school is as important for parents as for children.

I still looking for bloggers to do blogger reviews. Did I mention that there are going to be prizes? In fact there will be prizes for both bloggers and blog readers! Click here for more info.

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posted by Alex Elliot @ 6:45 PM   6 comments
  • At 9/17/2008 9:55 PM, Blogger Tracey said…

    Just wait. My 9 year old had homework today and I honestly, HONESTLY didn't know the answers! And I had a study guide in front of me!! HOW am I supposed to double check it if I can't even figure it out?!? I just clucked my tongue and said, "Well, if YOU feel it's your best work, then you should turn it in..." And went off to cry silently in the bathroom.

  • At 9/17/2008 11:16 PM, Blogger Heather said…

    See? Now that's why I think all those instructions need to be written down, not just told to parents. I can't remember stuff like that even if I hear all the directions.

  • At 9/18/2008 9:43 AM, Blogger Goofball said…


  • At 9/18/2008 9:45 AM, Blogger Goofball said…

    those problems never happened to me....maybe because my mother was one of the teachers :p.

    the opposite happened: we had a knitting assignment and I made a mistake in the design.
    The year afterwards my mom needed an example and took mine....and then for the next 10 years everyone has taken over my knitting mistake. whaaahaaa. I always cracked up when I walked into my mom's class and saw all the knitting pieces displayed with my mistake in it.

  • At 9/18/2008 8:27 PM, Blogger Kate said…

    They teach things a lot differently these days. And not to mention we've got enough on our minds to have to remember preschool homework instructions.

  • At 9/21/2008 5:31 PM, Blogger Lady M said…

    I'm re-reading the instructions from preschool again, and that's just for what we're supposed to do when we're on snack duty. This is more complicated than it should be. ;)

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

2 Days on the Treadmill!

The Big Giraffe needed to leave for work early this morning. After dropping my older son (OS) off at preschool, my younger son (YS) and I headed out for the gym where I learned a most important lesson: people who workout later in the morning look put together. Seriously, in the wee hours, brushing your hair is an accomplishment. It remains an accomplishment for me later in the day, and I therefore looked like a deranged person as I ran into half the residents of my town.

Dishevelment aside, I was having a hard time at the gym because I decided to run on the treadmill. Running on the treadmill is my least favorite way to run. My preferred method is running outside, followed by running on a track. However, to be able to gauge my speed and heart rate, I periodically will run on the treadmill.

In an effort to keep myself from looking at the clock and mileage every two seconds, (while spending the intervening 1.999999 seconds wondering whether the clock is slow), I watched the Regis and Kelly show. Fittingly enough they had some lunatic runner who decided to attempt to break the world record for longest distance run on the treadmill in 48 hours. I was thinking, maybe 6. Yeah, try 240. Yes, you did read that right. He also decided he was going to start at a 7 or 8 minute mile just to ease into it. He's a fast runner, loves the treadmill, and has no body fat. I hate this guy This guy is very impressive. Of course he did answer the question I most wanted to know: what about bathroom breaks. Rest assured, he can take them. Apparently the clock still runs.

I listened keenly to the explanation of the rules for the record, because at first it sounded like I too had a shot at breaking the record. There is no reason why I couldn't hop on a treadmill, then relax with a book while sitting on the treadmill or even next to the treadmill for that matter while the clock ran for 48 hours!

A. Elliot's Lesson Learned: People who workout later in the morning look put together.

I still looking for bloggers to do blogger reviews. Did I mention that there are going to be prizes? In fact there will be prizes for both bloggers and blog readers! Click here for more info.

Labels: ,

posted by Alex Elliot @ 4:59 PM   6 comments
  • At 9/16/2008 10:24 PM, Blogger Heather said…

    I know what you mean. I can ride a bike a long time outside, but the stationary bike? Man it's like time stands still.

  • At 9/17/2008 2:13 PM, Blogger Jane - Mom Generations said…

    That is NUTS. I would be making those bathroom breaks would be like a few hours long if I were him! Just bring a few magazines with me... the time would pass like *that*! ;-)

    Treadmill running is my least favorite, too. I love running outside... but the treadmill is just awful. Sometimes you have to do it, though. At least you had Regis, Kelly and the psycho runner to keep you occupied!

  • At 9/17/2008 4:48 PM, Blogger Goofball said…

    oh do you always wonder about bathroom breaks too?

  • At 9/17/2008 5:53 PM, Blogger painted maypole said…

    i do the elliptical, and occasionally the time flies, but usually I check the time a LOT

  • At 9/17/2008 8:45 PM, Blogger Jen of A2eatwrite said…

    yeesh, I wouldn't look put together on a treadmill no matter what. You should see me doing my dance tapes, lol. At least I have fun. ;-)

  • At 9/19/2008 5:29 PM, Blogger skiplovey said…

    I'd love to run outside instead of the treadmill but then I'd have to get up really early instead of cruising over to the gym around 10 and dropping the kid off at the daycare room. so yeah I'm punished with the boredom because I'm so lazy. Eh what can you do?

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Sunday, September 14, 2008

Get Organized and Get A Prize!

We are now approaching my favorite time of year. I love it when the air is crisp, the leaves turn bright colors, and I can wear jeans and a light jacket. What could be better? Answer, you can become the parent of preschooler, and it becomes the time of year when kids also go back to school.

When I became a parent, I began to get more involved with various activities ranging from Mommy and Me classes to events at our church. In fact, on one occasion I let a friend of mine talk me into participating in a potluck. I had no idea what to bring, and it was last minute so I brought left over stew that I had made in my crockpot. I worried that no one would eat it, because it was a new recipe that turned out not to be worth repeating. This potluck ended up being largely attended probably because my friend had done such a good job of personally inviting everyone. Unfortunately, pot luck can be a nice way of saying "Bring whatever isn't moldy in your fridge" so they ended up serving a half a dozen salads, a plate of brownies, and my stew. Despite its quality, as the only entree, my stew was a hit. Of course, people learn quickly, so there was no problem with having too many salads and not enough desserts at the next potluck. Unfortunately that was because everyone brought desserts. While that is definitely my type of potluck, that wasn't what everyone wanted.

The amount of volunteer opportunities for me has skyrocketed since I began parenting a preschooleer. From volunteering to help out for special events in the classroom, to chaperoning, to after school activities, to bringing in snacks for school and outside activities, there certainly seem to be a lot. That's not even counting carpools, since we won't drive into that world until we get a larger car. The challenges also extend to community activities (who is hosting which event), programs to bring meals to new parents or friends in need (6 meals on one night could be overwhelming rather than helpful), and team participation (who is bringing the halftime snacks to which game).

If only there were a way for everyone to know what was needed and what people had signed up to bring without barraging each other with emails followed by reply alls to emails containing conflicting copies of spreadsheets that are difficult to incorporate into one document!

Well, there is...

Yours truly is in charge of a campaign for a free website that helps parents (and others) get organized and get things like this done. The site is called Jooners. That means I also have some good prizes to give away. Click here for more info.

A. Elliot's Lesson Learned: It is difficult to know what to bring to a party if you don't know what everyone else is bringing.

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posted by Alex Elliot @ 7:00 PM   1 comments
  • At 9/15/2008 6:08 AM, Blogger Goofball said…

    ah so you are also a fall lover. Not me! Crisp air? I couldn't care less. I am preparing a post on that ;). Keep your eyes open if you are interested why I don't like fall.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

The Secret is Out

With the coming of five not only did my older son (OS) grow taller, speak more articulately, and become more like a little boy and less like a baby, but he also realized that he has no idea what his brother is up to when he is at preschool. More importantly he realized that he does not know if his brother gets to do activities that are more fun than going to preschool. Sure, last year he would inquire, but he didn't ask why we didn't wait until a time we could all go. Fortunately, he reacted well to this today.

Of course that could have been because he got to eat the raspberries that his brother picked.


posted by Alex Elliot @ 10:46 PM   8 comments
  • At 9/13/2008 12:47 AM, Blogger Heather said…

    That is the tough part about the kids not having the same schedules. M would ask all the time last year what K and I did while she was at school. I just told her that she "got" to go to school, since K was jealous about that too.

  • At 9/13/2008 4:33 AM, Blogger Goofball said…

    at what age do they start pre-school? and kindergarden? what is the difference?

    In belgium kids can start kindergarden at age 2,5 if they are potty-trained...all kids that I know started at 2,5 (first year maybe parttime) since I don't know any stay-at-home moms either.

  • At 9/13/2008 10:44 AM, Blogger Kami said…

    Yes, but I can say now that Jack is in grade 2 and I constantly remind him that we did all the same fun things before he was in school, he doesn't complain... but he always asks!

  • At 9/13/2008 7:16 PM, Blogger Tracey said…

    It's helpful when the activities provide fun for the other kid. Also, once OS starts going on school field trips, he may be able to see that it's only fair that YS gets to do little kid field trips...

  • At 9/14/2008 9:59 AM, Blogger Jen of A2eatwrite said…

    It may be that OS is having enough fun that raspberry picking just doesn't cut it. ;-)

  • At 9/14/2008 10:29 AM, Blogger Kate said…

    Awww, that's such a cute picture. THese days, my younger son REALLY misses his older brother when he is at school all day.

  • At 9/15/2008 2:04 PM, Blogger Suzanne said…

    Very adorable.

  • At 9/15/2008 5:55 PM, Blogger skiplovey said…

    That is so cute.

    I'm a younger sister and I remember being so jealous that my sister got to go to school and I had to stay home. Probably because we weren't doing fun things like picking raspberries.

    The grass is always greener.

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Thursday, September 11, 2008

Ready for the Day and Ready for Bed Review

My review for Ready for the Day and Ready for Bed both by Stacey R. Kaye for the Parent Bloggers Network are up on Flexible Parenting Reviews. Make sure to check it out!


posted by Alex Elliot @ 7:00 AM   0 comments
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Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Oh Baby

I just got back from babysitting a 3 year old and a 3 month old. It's been a long time since I've given a baby a bottle. In fact, when I went to prepare the formula, I had to double-check the back of the container just to make sure I remembered the correct ratio of water to formula (and that it hadn't changed). It's funny how something I used to be able to do almost in my sleep seems so far away. In fact it made me remember that after I felt like an old pro at feeding and changing my older son (OS), I almost knocked my younger son (YS) out the first time I put clothes on him. I forgot how much head support you have to give newborns when pulling on those tiny shirts, and he fell forward on the changing table. Fortunately I caught him in the nick of time. For a while everything was smooth sailing with YS and then of course life changed.

Which leads me to today. Where in the course of parenting does it teach you what to do when your son drops a piece of pizza on his Tae Kwon Do uniform? Um...bleach? A friend already warned me that bleach will give the uniform a slight yellow tinge. I'm hedging my bets on Oxiclean. Where is the info on these important parenting skills because the Big Giraffe and are at a loss? Forgot crafty little projects to make your kids brilliant and fun recipes to trick your kids into eating vegetables. I just don't want to look like the idiot who let her kid eat pizza in his white uniform pants. If it doesn't stain it's like it didn't happen, right?

A. Elliot's Lesson Learned: There is a fine line between parenting expertise and ignorance.

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posted by Alex Elliot @ 9:54 PM   5 comments
  • At 9/11/2008 7:01 AM, Blogger Shel said…

    Pizza is a greasy thing that Oxyclean may handle but I like to spray that kind of stain with degreaser. My favorite comes from a hospital supply company but you can use one from the car supply store. I also have used this product called Goop Hand Cleaner. It is in a white tub with blue and white letters. Look in the automotive and laundry departments. I know I bought some at Walmart, on the reccommendation of Shannon at Rocks in My Dryer. I also bought some at Big Lots in the car section. Just slather it on then wash.

  • At 9/11/2008 1:09 PM, Blogger Jen of A2eatwrite said…

    I think every kid's tae kwan do outfit should have a pizza stain or two. ;-)

  • At 9/11/2008 1:47 PM, Blogger Heather said…

    My daughter never fails to eat and spill chocolate ice cream on herself when she's wearing white. I can never seem to get those stains out either.

  • At 9/12/2008 3:44 PM, Blogger skiplovey said…

    I always head to the trusty Stain Stick, it works for most things. Then if that doesn't work I'd try bleach or Oxiclean. Good luck!

    And yeah it's funny how quickly you get used to toddlers. I held my friend's newborn last month and I felt like a total rookie again. The skill goes right out the window.

  • At 9/12/2008 6:56 PM, Blogger Kate said…

    What kid doesn't have stains all over their clothes. If there were spotless that means they're not having any fun!

    And your story about the bottle reminds me of the fact of how we're starting to try and toilet train our little guy, and I feel like I have amnesia on how we toilet trained our older son.

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V-Motion Active Learning System

My review of the V-Motion Active Learning System for the Parent Bloggers Network is over on Flexible Parenting Reviews. Be sure to check it out!


posted by Alex Elliot @ 7:08 AM   0 comments
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Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Walking Around With Pride and Embarrassment

Today my older son (OS) had a hearing test and ENT appointment to check on the ear tubes that he got at 22 months. Since he still has the ear tubes at five, the insurance company has definitely gotten their money's worth out of them! Of course the appointment was during what would otherwise have been my younger son's (YS) nap time, so a very crabby YS accompanied us to this appointment.

It had crossed my mind that now that OS is five, he might have a standard hearing test instead of the little kids' one where they hear a sound from two speakers on opposite sides of the both and if they look where that sound came from, a toy raccoon lights up and claps it's hands or a toy pig lights up and moves it's legs back and forth. I have always been impressed by the sensitivity of his hearing; I often only realize that the audiologist has played a sound when I see OS staring at the clapping raccoon. Then again, I also lost some of my hearing from childhood ear infections which is one of the reasons OS was sitting at the ENT's office in the first place!

Sure enough the audiologist explained that OS was to wear headphones with special ear plugs on them. "Good luck with that!" I thought. Then she explained that every time OS heard a sound, he needed to clap his hands. I seriously thought this might be a recipe for a silly fit from OS or at the very least flat out refusal to cooperate. He seemed pretty excited about it though and sure enough he participated perfectly. The trend of perfection continued when the audiologist asked him to repeat back several words.

OS and I received so many compliments on his behavior that I almost forgot that YS was under the chair pitching a fit throughout most of the testing. What would upset YS about OS's ENT appointment? Well one of the words that OS had to repeat was "hot dog," and since YS also apparently can hear properly, he heard "hot dog" and suddenly decided he needed one. Yes, YS and I did have to leave and wait in the waiting room, which left OS unfazed. On the other hand, YS continued escalating his tantrum into a grand fit as he passed through the lobby topped off by throwing off his new rain boots.

A. Elliot's Lesson Learned: It is impossible for both children in a family to behave well at the same time.

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posted by Alex Elliot @ 5:48 PM   5 comments
  • At 9/09/2008 8:17 PM, Blogger Heather said…

    Wow I'm surprised they've let him have the tubes in that long. My son had them put in at 10 months and they removed the one that hadn't fallen out after 2 years.

    I sort of miss those audiologist trips though. He had so much fun and charmed all the ladies on the floor.

  • At 9/10/2008 9:27 AM, Blogger Alex Elliot said…

    If he still has them in March (his next appointment) they're going to schedule him for surgery to remove them since he hasn't had any problems with ear infections.

  • At 9/10/2008 6:31 PM, Blogger soccer mom in denial said…

    I love tubes! My darling daughter had them around OS' age but they have since fallen out.

    Do you have the Pigeon books (e.g. Pigeon Drives the Bus, Pigeon Wants a Puppy)? YS is the PERFECT age for the Pigeon and hot dog book.

  • At 9/11/2008 10:27 AM, Blogger Goofball said…

    oh we had to do such hearing tests every 2 years at medical tests run by the school district medical center. I thought they were funny to do.

  • At 9/12/2008 9:41 AM, Blogger Suzanne said…

    Good for OS! I can't say that I blame YS for his tantrum, though. Poor kid missed his nap time and wanted a hot dog. Still, I'm glad that I didn't have to deal with it. :)

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Monday, September 08, 2008

5 New Tires

The past few days have been pretty hectic here between my older son's (OS) birthday party, my last triathlon of the season, my parents' stay, Suzanne and her husband's visit, and Murphy's stop-over. Murphy, as in the sponsor of Murphy's Law, who no doubt snuck in while so much else was going on.

OS had a fantastic time at the party! Seeing his beaming face (during the few times that he was moving slowly enough for his expression to be visible) was one of the highlights of the weekend. After the party on Saturday, Suzanne and I went to pick up my new bike shoes and newly tuned-up bike from the bike store. The shoes and bike were fine, but my car was not. As I went to put the bike in the car I realized there was a nail in one of the tires. We drove back to my house, and the Big Giraffe took the car in to be fixed. After another saga involving a missing hub cap lock remover and a small repair effort on the Big Giraffe's car executed by my dad, our neighbor, and the Big Giraffe using super glue, duct tape and a hair dryer (possibly as the result of a questionable decision I made with the car in a parking lot), I was able to retrieve my own car and its four new tires. (I hadn't purchased tires since 2002, so they all needed replacement to avoid uneven wear.)

The next morning I had my triathlon. Everything started out fine. There was a slight snafu with my biking shoes that made me feel fully justified in having registered as a newbie (for the race newbie was defined as being in your first season of triathlons). At least I didn't forgot to wear them though! As I was coming back into the park to complete the bike run, I hit a pothole. While it really hurt my wrists and my "lady parts", I didn't think too much about it. I was too focused on why it was suddenly so hard to pedal my bike. I figured I was just really tired. I mustered the energy to pedal to the end and tried to put my bike into the special bike racks for this event. For some reason, I couldn't get the front tire to balance. I finally gave up, left my bike tipped, and took off to run. I later discovered the problem: there was a hole in my front tire.

When I reflect back on the week, I think of the fun visit, OS's new bike, OS's incredible excitement and joy in his birthday party, and the triathlon. I also think of what I have acquired: a sense of accomplishment (for both the triathlon and the party),five new tires, and a slight burning feeling when I pee.

A. Elliot's Lesson Learned: When biking, problems with tires may cause you to feel tired.

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posted by Alex Elliot @ 3:49 PM   6 comments
  • At 9/09/2008 2:23 PM, Blogger WM said…

    Ha! Congrats on the triathlon. You continue to amaze me. I'm pretty sure I couldn't even make it through 1 part of a triathlon let alone the full 3

    And happy belated to OS!

  • At 9/09/2008 3:00 PM, Blogger Tracee said…

    Hey Alex - I wanted to invite you and your audience to participate in positive media for girls.

    I'm redesigning my Empowering Girls website and am looking for empowering photos of girls to include in the header and as cover art.

    For more details:

  • At 9/09/2008 7:31 PM, Blogger Jen of A2eatwrite said…

    OUCH! I did enough bike riding in my day to KNOW that had to hurt.

    Glad OS had such a joyful day, though!

  • At 9/10/2008 6:34 PM, Blogger soccer mom in denial said…

    You are my inspiration with racing. You mean you can hurt yourself so that it hurts to pee? Eek - I may need a new hero. Seriously, congrats on the triathlon season and the 5th birthday of your boy. Good job Mama.

    Psssttt - I'm running my first 5K this weekend.

  • At 9/11/2008 10:35 AM, Blogger Goofball said…

    oh I'll use that as an excuse next time I drop dead after biking a bit :p

  • At 9/12/2008 9:43 AM, Blogger Suzanne said…

    Oy vey!

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Friday, September 05, 2008

When New Memories make You Think of Old Memories

Do you ever watch your kids and suddenly get flooded by a memory from your own past? For example, my older son (OS) has recently been intrigued by the police and fire departments. Every time he talks about or to a police officer, I remember how I accidentally set a jar of peanut butter on fire on my stove requiring the fire department to come to our house. I believe that event was what actually first established OS's interest.

Some memories triggered by my children are far older. I still remember how desperately I wanted to have a two wheeler. My old Hot Wheels was no longer cool. My parents had a system where I earned a star on every day that I behaved myself. When I earned enough stars, I could get a special gift. When I was saving stars to get a bicycle, a kid from across the street assured me that indeed we were allowed ride our hot wheels across the street from driveway to driveway. Apparently my parents disagreed. Just like that I lost two weeks worth of stars. I was later able to make it up by helping my mom take care of my baby brother. I was so excited to go to the bike store and pick my out my red bike with training wheels. I had it forever. In fact, it's still in my parents' basement. I have no plans to use it for any of my triathlons.

Yesterday my parents flew in from Chicago and took my older son (OS) out to get his first two-wheeler. He was so excited. He'd been talking for a while now about how he wanted the green bike at the store. He was thrilled when he could actually take it home (We had told him that it might be a few days since they might not have one built; we were lucky, the color he wanted was siting there waiting for him.) Watching OS reminded me of the day I got my bike. Where did all the time go?

After we got OS's bike and had dinner and ice cream at Friendly's, we returned home to find several cops across the street. An already wired OS got even more excited! We don't know why they were around, but a neighbor said she was going to try to get the scoop today.

A. Elliot's Lesson Learned: A new bike, ice cream, and the cops make a perfect day for a preschooler.

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posted by Alex Elliot @ 6:51 AM   2 comments
  • At 9/05/2008 9:07 AM, Blogger Whirlwind said…

    Do you mean Big wheel? Hot wheels are the little toy cars, aren't they?

    Wow, must have been the day yesterday - I picked the girls up from school and there was an accident on both corners by the school and a total of 8 cop cars (or maybe the same accident but they went different ways - it was hard to tell).

  • At 9/05/2008 8:53 PM, Blogger Alex Elliot said…

    You're right! It was Big Wheels. I always mix the two up.

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Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Happy Birthday OS

Dear Older Son,

Happy 5th birthday! I can't believe that you are already five years old. It seems like my own 5th birthday was celebrated just the other day, never mind the birthday of one of my kids. I have been reflecting on your birthday for the past couple of days, not only because you would be turning five, but because the days of the week are aligned the same way they were when you were born, when Labor Day was also on Monday, September 1. I joked around that for me it really was labor day since I went into labor with you on September 1.

This year has brought about so many remarkable changes. Somehow you grew from being a toddler into being a true, little boy. Suddenly you became so much more independent. You learned to make your own decisions. You learned how to stand up for yourself. You made friends with kids in preschool and on the playground whom I hadn't met. I went from knowing all about your life because I was part of everything to listening to you tell me about it. Sometimes getting you to talk required bribery! Except when the subject was a little girl named M whom you just adored or two boys named M and J who were very outgoing and on a couple of occasions got into trouble. You were very impressed with these boys. Your own interests have really developed. They've run the gamut from princesses to sports to emergency vehicles. Yesterday you wanted to visit with a police officer in the parking lot at the beach so you could learn about his job, including whether he had ever rescued any cats from trees and how exactly his police car worked. You were so excited when he let you turn on the sirens and speak on the speaker.

This year was a first for you with parent/child t-ball where you amazed us all with your swing. Tae Kwon Doe has looked to be pretty impressive too. Your knowledge of ocean life this year impressed all of us, not only including your teachers but sometimes including employees of the aquarium. You were enthusiastic and happy with your swim lessons this year. You also very firmly told your instructor and me several times that you were fully aware of the swim lessons process, but you would not jump in the pool and you didn't care if you didn't move up the next level of lessons. I have to confess that I'm hoping you'll reevaluate that decision. What was I saying about making your own decisions? I'm also hoping you'll re-evaluate your decision to boycott milk and decide that you will at least attempt to drink it and some point in the future.

You spent a lot of time with H and C this year and have just loved it. You really look forward to your playdates with them. Daddy and I are thrilled with what great friends you and your brother are. We love that you stand up for each other. You politely but firmly told the little boy at the beach yesterday to stop splashing your brother because he didn't like it.

These past five years have been wonderful. Happy 5th birthday little one. May all your dreams come true. As Cinderella says, "A dream is a wish your heart makes."


Cinderella's Lesson Learned: A dream is a wish your heart makes.

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posted by Alex Elliot @ 5:56 PM   4 comments
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Monday, September 01, 2008

Being Terrified

I had met friends early yesterday for a girls day out and we were discussing two particular workout songs. I had already heard and enjoyed one of them, because it was so upbeat, and I was excited to hear the other. No, these aren't the type of songs you would playing at a dinner party but for motivation they work great because they're so fast. By the time I decided to go for a run after dinner, I coincidentally had two new additions downloaded onto my iPod. (Don't worry, Big Giraffe. If you've connected your iPod to my computer recently you too have these fabulous songs on your iPod. I'm sure you're thrilled.)

Of course, I didn't hit the road as soon as my meal ended. You know how it goes though where you just need to do one thing followed by another and before you know it a whole hour has gone by? It was starting to get a teeny bit dusky outside, but I decided to go for it anyway. As I started running, it suddenly seemed more than a teeny bit dark. The first of my new songs, Beat it by Fall Out Boy, was playing. Yeah, it's a remake of the Michael Jackson song. I felt pumped and my feet were definitely beating it out on the pavement.

After a while, I noticed a car parked on the sidewalk, next to a patch of woods. Right away my creep alert went on. Why was there a car parked on the sidewalk? Where was the driver? Was he hanging out in the woods? Sidewalks are a rare occurrence where I live. Did someone get confused about their purpose? I got off the sidewalk and started running in the street. I've seen enough TV to know better than to get to the close to the bushes. Who says TV is a waste of time!

One-hundred fifty feet later, as my second great song, Smooth Criminal by Alien Ant Farm started playing, a guy popped out of the woods with a chainsaw and a weed whacker. I freaked out, let out a stifled scream, and started running faster than I have ever run before. Then I realized two things. The guy was as surprised to see me as I was to see him, which is atypical of slashers from horror movies. More importantly, he actually had a valid reason for being there with a chainsaw and weed whacker. He was a town employee doing landscaping. Neither of these realizations caused me to pause or even slow down.

While he had a valid reason for being there, one might question whether he had a valid reason for being there at 7:45 pm on a Sunday night. My friend Sally HP suspected that he forgot to do it last week in preparation for the start of the school year. He probably had an "Oh s**t!" moment Sunday evening, further forgetting that schools would not be open on Labor Day. That explanation makes sense to me, but I have no intention of going back to ask.

Reminder to the Big Giraffe: My goal in the triathlon is to "complete not compete." No bringing a chainsaw next Sunday to inspire me.

A. Elliot's Lesson Learned: If your creep alert goes on, it's a good idea to turn around and go back the direction you just came from.
posted by Alex Elliot @ 5:54 PM   4 comments
  • At 9/02/2008 2:21 AM, Blogger Zip n Tizzy said…

    You had me really freaked out as that is often where my nightmares start off before they get scary, and now I can't stop giggling.
    Poor guy. I hope he has a good sense of humor. Maybe he can't stop giggling either.

  • At 9/02/2008 7:28 AM, Blogger Jen of A2eatwrite said…

    I'm sure he's run into your reaction before if he runs around catching up on work at that hour. Yikes!

    The weed whacker tipped me off, though. It wouldn't have if I'd been in your shoes, however.

  • At 9/02/2008 12:59 PM, Blogger Suzanne said…

    I totally would have spazzed. I like your logic, though, that a serial killer would not be as surprised to see you as you him.

  • At 9/04/2008 10:43 AM, Blogger Kami said…

    I cannot stop laughing... I totally would have freaked too but then your lesson learned...Too funny!

    You just know someone is going to show with a chain saw and you have your best time yet!


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Name:Alex Elliot
Home:MA, United States
About Me:Professional Mom of two cats, a dog, an ant farm, and oh yeah...two boys: a 6 year old and a 3 year old. Also found in my house is my husband who is known on this blog as The Big Giraffe.
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