Saturday, June 27, 2009

Vacation, Part II

Catch ya later, ladies and germs! Urban Dad & I are off to Best Namma Ever!'s house in St. Louis to re-unite with our children and to re-assume some sort of responsibility for them.
We will thank BNE! for her Grandma Camp services this week by blowing up her front yard on the 4th. (fireworks are legal in missouri.... urban dad loves that)
Our goal of the Annual Urban Family Road Trip after that is to get to the Grand Canyon. Then Bryce, Zion and all of those other amazing places in southern Utah.
Details as I can get them to you.
(remember, BNE! does not know of this blog...)
My kingdom for a laptop about now!
Happy Summer. Will try to pop 'round to your blogs now and then too!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Vacation, Part I

Ok, it's been quite a week here! I haven't yelled at anyone in days, the Urbans have attempted to single-handedly re-start the economy by doing a bit of shopping and eating out, we've slept as late as we wanted, run by the Lake, worked out at the gym and opened more than one bottle of wine.

I also cleared off the camera, a task that has not been tackled since around Easter. If you're new around here, the rule for this blog is no pictures of us and no real names. So here's what I can show you from our camera clear-off

Urban Dad with Urban Kid 2. U-K2 likes to turn away when she sees a camera. If she would just look at me and smile, I would go away so much faster!

Urban Kid 1 Easter egg hunting in our back "yard" area:

Behold: the last Thin Mint cookie until next year..... *sigh* Yes, I consider that worthy of a picture....

From when I took the U-Kids to the Chicago History Museum. Sadly, we weren't allowed to photograph the really cool stuff. But the 1892 L car was kinda cool too!

I took this one at the Nature Museum in honor of June Cleaver A6P. Yep, it's a cougar! (giggle)
Miss you, June!!!!

I mentioned doing a bit of shopping, right? This was the bag of goodies from the Lucy store. I love the Lucy store. Great Mom Clothes. I live in this stuff. All but one item was on sale, too!
We also hit the Puma store. I didn't set out to have a slowly but steadily expanding collection of Pumas, but it's sort of happened over the last few years. And they're having a deal right now where if you take in an old pair of sneakers (Puma or not), you get 30% off a new pair of Pumas. U-Dad kindly sacrificed two pairs of his old sneakers so that I could score these

and these:
I got some pretty big-girl dressy dresses too, but don't have pictures yet. And we're packing to hit the road tomorrow, so that'll have to keep for a while.

I still have a fridge to clear of food so that we don't come back needing to sport biohazard suits before opening it again.

I think Urban Dad wants to take advantage of a last opportunity for privacy that we'll have for a long while too.

More soon! (but not about that last part)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Friday, June 19, 2009

All Hail Urban Mom's Peeps!

I have been blessed with two amazing people in my world.

Ok, more than two. Which means that I'm living under a lucky star that -- trust me here -- I do not deserve.

But the two that I'm talking about today are Best Namma Ever! and Pink Power Ranger.

If you're new around here, get to know PPR here.

First, BNE!. She is the only functioning player in The Grandma Game for the Urban Kids. And she embraces the role whole-heartedly. She has all of the wisdom, fun, creativity, nurturing, energy and discipline that a good grandma should have. But without the flyswatters that she went through with PPR and me. (ppr used to stash them under the fridge so that bne! couldn't find them; i can only imagine what the people who eventually moved that fridge must have thought!)

She has also agreed to take the Urban Kids for a week of Grandma Camp.

Second is PPR. She has the same wisdom, fun, creativity, nurturing, energy and discipline, plus she carries handcuffs and has access to all kinds of bizarre videos that will make you never, ever, ever even think of taking drugs, not so much as an aspirin, ever again. She also has a pretty wicked sense of humor. What you're thinking? Yeah, she'll say it. Usually when you have a mouthful of martini, thus making you nearly spray it all out, while she laughs at you trying to not waste perfectly good vodka.

She has agreed to meet us in Springfield to collect the U-Kids and drive them the rest of the way to BNE!'s.

And she doesn't consider babysitting for BNE! a couple of times to be "babysitting." She considers it "hanging out with my nieces" and helping out BNE! to boot.

Her offer to meet us in Springfield will save Urban Dad and me no less than four hours of drive time tomorrow.

Now, it's time to try to use that math that always messed me up in school. Remember those word problems? Here's the one I'm working on....

If the Urban Family leaves Chicago and gets on I-55 towards St. Louis at 8:00am going at about the speed limit, it will take them 4 to 4 1/2 hours to reach Springfield, Illinois.

PPR will be traveling from just west of St. Louis towards Springfield. She will have absolutely no concern for getting a speeding ticket and is excited to see her nieces. What time should she leave her house?

You'll have to forgive me if I blog a bit unreliably next week. U-Dad & I have a long list of things to do around here: go through closets, watch movies, eat the fridge and pantry empty before we all go on vacation, go through toy boxes, organize drawers.... oh, and we plan to do most of it drunk and nekkid.

I love Grandma Camp!

And it wouldn't be possible without the Peeps!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Conversations Around Here

As Urban Dad & I are dozing off, just about to drop off to sleep.....

U-Dad: You're the best, you know that? You're the best mom ever.

Me: Nuuuuuh, I doubt it. I get too mad.

U-Dad: It's okay to get mad. You're still the best.

Me: Thanks, but I'm no Ma Ingalls....

(pause. i'm juuuuuust about asleep.)

U-Dad: Please. She probably beat the crap out of all of her kids.

Me: (pause. then fits of giggling that one gets when one is just about to fall asleep and then has a bizarrely absurd picture in her head)

U-Dad: (fits of giggling because of my giggling)

Both: (giggling and laughing)

Both: Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....................


During intermission at M-Pop

(I had initially expressed concern that the understudy was performing for our Saturday matinee. No need for concern, however; her voice was better than the one on the soundtrack that we purchased.)

Me: {Urban Kid 1}, I'm sorry that I had to keep shushing you, but you can't really talk during the show itself. So tell me the questions that you had.

U-K1: Well, if that's not usually Mary Poppins, then how can she be magic? I mean, does she just get to be magic for a little bit of time and then she isn't magic anymore after the show?

Me: Oh, ummm, those are effects. Like when Mary snaps her fingers and a light turns on? The guy who controls the lights turns them on when she does that, so that it looks like she did it by snapping her fingers.

U-K1: Ohhhhhhhh.....

She seems content after this explanation, but I kind of wonder if I've ruined something. But again, she sobbed her sweet little soul out when M-Pop did the big fly-away exit at the end, so it still seemed all real enough after all, I guess.


At the Chicago History Museum a few weeks ago: (backstory -- after a loooonngggg winter of watching HGTV, U-K1 wants to be a decorator)

In a bathroom stall:

U-K1: I don't have to go.

Me: Just go.

U-K1: I don't have to go!

Me: Just try. It's been a long time and there's one here, so go.

U-K1: Does it flush by itself? I don't like the ones that flush by themselves. They're too loud.

U-K2: Too wowed! (hands over ears)

Me: No, it doesn't flush by itself. Look, there's the handle right there. Now get up there.

U-K1: I don't have to go.

Me: For God's sake, it's been since breakfast. It's now lunchtime. You must have to go. Now go! (yes, i am the potty-nazi)

U-K1 gets situated, goes like Niagra Falls, looks around the stall. It's the handicapped stall so that I can trail two small kids into it with me, so she has lots of room to look around. And then up.

U-K1: Hey, I really like the crown molding in here!

Me: The what?

U-K1: The crown molding. Look at it up there. It looks really good in here, dontcha think?

Me: (looking around) You noticed the crown molding? Really?

U-K1: Uh-huh. It's pretty cool, isn't it? I like crown molding. I think I'll put it in my bathroom when I grow up and have my own place someday.

Me: Crown molding?

U-K1: Yes, wait until I can move over there and cover my ears.

(She moves to the corner of the stall with U-K2; they proceed to each cover their ears like two little statues of Hear No Evil)


U-K2: Toooo wowd!!!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Catching Up Cliff Notes

Woah! Where did I go?

Sorry to have bailed out like that. I haven't taken any spontaneous, exotic adventures or anything like that. It's just been, well, busy. Not crazy busy. Kind of fun busy. But busy.

I don't think I can do a full update, but here are some highlights. (you stopped by, so i figure you're at least a little interested)

1. School is OUT for Urban Dad! He is officially ours until September.

2. He was voted by the students Teacher of the Year for the third year in a row. For the third year in a row, he did not tell me; my friend (& U-Dad's colleague) L had to send me the text. Care to guess how long Great Big Urban High School has had the students vote for the Teacher of the Year? Yuh-huh... three years.

3. I took Urban Kid 1 to see Mary Poppins before it leaves Chicago. This was actually Best Namma Ever!'s treat. I wish I'd matched BNE!'s funds and gotten us closer. But we were there, and U-K1 loved it. At the end of the show (SPOILER ALERT, PEOPLE), M-Pop flies away over the audience and into the sky. U-Kid 1 sobbed her eyes out! Sobbed! As the lights came up and people filed out, I was stuck in my chair holding a 5 1/2yo who was absolutely disintegrating over M-Pop leaving the Banks family. So we were one of the last people out of the theater, out of the bathroom, mine was the last coat in coat-check... But the music was great, the big numbers were indeed huge, and it was well worth it. I don't care if you have kids or not -- go see this if you get a chance. Trust me, M-Pop is one cool beeyotch.

4. I got certified to climb at our gym's climbing wall. My friend Julie did the class with me, so now we can belay each other now and then. And I can belay U-K1, who has recently discovered that she loves to climb the wall. And who gets pretty high! Oh, did I mention that I'm scared to death of heights? Yep. Great sport for me to check out, huh? Thank God, Julie is so, so patient. It's a fun activity -- breaks up the routine, lets me do strength work without venturing into the weight room. But man, it is hell on a manicure!

5. I watched Liam Neeson in "Taken" a few nights ago. Oh Man! Who knew that Liam could make Jack Bauer look like a sissy! Nope, no moral-relativism-struggling-with-do-the-ends-justify-the-means crap from Liam. I barely blinked the last half of the film, found myself yelling, "kill him! KILL HIM!" towards the end... oh, and Liam's voice. That voice. Oh yeah, very satisfying 90 minutes.

6. U-K1 go to have a sleepover with her soon-to-be-moving NBF. When I was out running today (yes, I ran outside... by that big blue thing I hear people talking about... I love summer!), I saw the moving truck at NBF's building and felt sad for U-K1. The moving truck pulls out tomorrow. *sigh* I didn't breathe a word of the truck to U-K1. I'm hoping that a very busy summer will cushion the event for her.

7. U-Dad suggested we hire a babysitter (a babysitter!!!!!) last night and catch up with our friends L&A for pizza and wine. Oh yeah, summer is sooooo gooooood! Eating outside on a Sunday night, plus wine. L&A are teachers at GBUHS too, so we were all celebrating the summer. We spent more on the babysitter (a babysitter!!!!!!) than on the actual meal, but who cares! Well worth it.

I love this time of year.
Don't be a stranger! I'll try to do the same.....

Monday, June 8, 2009

Dear Leafy Suburban Elementary School

Remember when I told you that Best Namma Ever! and I took the Urban Kids to the Nature Museum? We went last Thursday; Thursday afternoon, I typed up this letter and sent it to the principal of the elementary school emblazoned on all of their millions of t-shirts swarming the place.

Dear Ms. Principal Lady:

I have just returned from an outing with my two children to the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, where we encountered your first graders. We left the Nature Museum when we realized that the behavior of your students would not allow us to enjoy our own visit.

Our encounter with your students began in the Butterfly Haven, where the Museum employee had to repeatedly and emphatically tell the children to get off of the various ledges. I had to wonder at why he had to keep doing this and why your school's adults were not on top of this.

Knowing that we were hopelessly outnumbered and that your adults were not interested in controlling their students, we spent much of our time trying to avoid your group as we went through other exhibits.

We finally ended up on the first floor in a play area designed for small children. However, our enjoyment there was short-lived, as droves of your students soon descended upon the area. Your students came into an area that was being enjoyed by very small children and their caregivers. Your students soon took over and showed very little regard for those smaller than themselves. For example, my 2 1/2 year-old and another little girl had been enjoying a slide, one designed for children about their age. Your students, however, shoved by them in such numbers that they were soon in a corner, confused and unable to wrangle a turn from the group towering around them.

I waited for an adult, any adult, from your school to intervene. I waited for an adult, any adult, from your school to look into the play area to check in on the students. This was not to be. The adults from your school were not interested in chaperoning their students. Nor were they interested in noticing that each and every caregiver of a smaller child was collecting their charges and getting out of there. No, your school's adults were outside of the play area, where they were huddled together deep in conversation. Apparently, they believed this play area, perhaps the entire museum, to have been appropriated for their exclusive use today? (I finally stepped in to play "traffic cop" on behalf of the smaller children.)

I take my children around the city to various museums throughout the year. Inevitably, we encounter school groups. I tend to keep my distance from these groups until I can get a read on how well the adults are handling their group. I have noticed that the city school's students are very often the most closely and strictly supervised; they are also the best-behaved and pleasant to be around.

Your students today acted as a large group of antsy first-graders will do. Your chaperoning adults, however, have succeeded only in denigrating your school.

As a former teacher married to a seventeen-year veteran of the Chicago's {Great Big Urban} High School, I see your trip today as a very sad way to end your school year.

Thank you for your time,
-Urban Beyotch Mom

I then called the Nature Museum and found out who is in charge of school groups, then forwarded the letter to him with a delightful note to him praising his staff for their hard work despite Leafy Suburban School's roughshod behavior. My hope is that if the principal actually gives a rat's patootie and calls the museum about any Crazy Lady's Complaints that he will find me to be the Nice & Smart Lady.

For the record, I did get a return note from the principal at 8:45 that night thanking me for my letter, assuring me that she would investigate what happened and apologizing if her students interfered with my visit.

I've yet to hear anything more, but don't much care now. I got it off my chest.

(Tell me again why I need the schools to teach my kids how to socialize?)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Favors and Flavor

Sorry, it's been a while. Best Namma Ever! came to stay for a few days. Since she doesn't know of this humble blog and stays in the same room as the computer, I bail out when she visits.
Before I go on: Uptown Girl -- I really did try to type out how to strike out a word. I thought that since I'd done it under the "Compose" tab that it would show exactly what I had typed out and not take as code. But it did take as code, which means that it looked like some sort of obnoxious blow-off when it published. And I didn't look very closely at the published post for a while. Sorry about that!
On another note, BNE! & I took the Urban Kids to the Nature Museum. Outings are always easier when you aren't outnumbered. But more on that tomorrow. Because it turned into blog material.

And with BNE! here, Urban Dad & I were able to go out for a long walk on one of the rare nice evenings here in Chicago. Yes, people, it's still cold here. I knew we were going to pay for that balmy, beautiful Halloween! But we managed to get an evening where we needed only one jacket to be warm, so off we went for a few hours.

And finally, Flavor of the Month. I know, I know. "Hey, Val, no time like whenever!" And to that I reply, "Better late than pregnant!" Besides, this is a Bad Guy Flavor of the Month. So I feel justified in being late for it since he's bad. He doesn't deserve a whole month. So there. I've rationalized the missing of my own deadline. Besides, what's the fun of creating your own deadline if you can't then blow it off?

As many of you know, I've been doing my dreaded arm work while making my way through Season 7 of "24." And that Jack was last month's Flavor of the Month.

This month, it's Tony. After the dreck that was Season 7, can you blame me? He was the most interesting character in the show! I mean, is he a bad man with a flicker of good left in him that's trying to stay alight? Is he a good man driven to the brink of all-out badness? Is he going to be seen in a towel again? And why can't I find that image anywhere on the internet?

In past seasons of "24," my opinion of Tony was.... meh. But he's lost the Breck girl hair, wears black all of the time and always looks like he smells something bad. And I am completely weirding myself out that he's grown on me over the last few weeks!
But I'm not entirely convinced about what team Tony plays on. No, I don't mean the "is he good or bad" question that was so carefully -- and repeatedly -- laid out of us. But living in Chicago's "Boys' Town" neighborhood, I've gotten to the point where I see things that may (or may not) be there. (notthatthere'sanythingwrongwiththat!)

For example:

Where exactly is Tony's left hand?

And then maybe this?

This kinda made me wonder:

And this:

And this finally gave me enough material to do this silly post:

So what can I say? It's 2009 in America, guys! Own it!

Can you tell that Season 7 aggravated me?

But it was interesting that it was much about Tony as any other character. And that he might be back. I was satisfied with how the story ended (for now) with him. But frankly, he looked like he might be fun to take for a spin first.


Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Luckily, We Use Citrus-Scented Cleaners

I was so efficient today. I had a moment of peace... Urban Kid 2 was parked in front of Blues Clues learning about numbers. Urban Kid 1 was down the street at a playdate. So I grabbed every bit of produce from the fridge and chopped up an amazing...and very large...salad and put it into the fridge for when my beloved Urban Dad came home.

Fast forward about an hour:

U-K 1 has been collected. U-K 2, who did not nap today so is nothing but love and sunshine, is fiddling around in the fridge while U-Dad chats with her.


Piles of beautiful salad all over the bottom of the fridge and even more piled up on the kitchen floor.


This is why it's good to live with a neat freak. And ooooooh man, is Urban Dad a neat freak. I'm more of a "tidy, but lived-in" kinda gal. He seems to think that Architectural Digest might happen by with a photographer.

But he's the one who cleans the kitchen floor.

You know where I'm going with this, right?

And I'm only telling you this because it's a pretty anonymous blog.

Yes, U-Dad piled the food back into the bowl. And served it up.

So when someone says to us, "he's such a neat-freak that you could eat right off of his kitchen floor!"..... Well, yeah, you could.

(PS: Best Namma Ever! is coming tomorrow for a few days. Guess what U-Dad is doing? Cleaning! So I better scoot off of the computer, lest he see me goofing off.)


(PPS: Uptown Girl: to strike out a word, go to Edit HTML tab, go to the word you want to strike out and do this: WORD Enjoy!)

Monday, June 1, 2009

The Devil Keeps Making Me Do It

If by Devil, I mean June Cleaver After A Six Pack.

I've never been so happy with such a bad influence! Keep it' coming, June! Oh, how I wish we were neighbors. How I wish you and yours were my neighbors instead of the weirdo guy with the yappy dogs.

I love June's blog. And today I was especially stoked because she posted not only all sorts of naughty-thought-inducing pictures of Yes-I'm-Legal-Robert, but the trailer of New Moon, as well.

I'm suddenly believing that being a giggly, simpering 12-year-old is a good thing.

However, that said, I've also come across this video:

Please Robert and the rest of the cast... please just stand around and look pretty. Please don't ruin it by talking. Got that? No more talking. Robert, shirt off anytime. But do not make me acknowledge the reality that you are actually just a goofy actor who was blessed with beyond-deserved genes. Just keep your mouth shut, Robert.

Unless, of course, you're....

Oh, never mind.