Picnic Party

Tuesday, July 31, 2007 1 comment

Sunday looked as if the rainy weather was going to hold off and just remain overcast. At least it did until we got to the Porsche club picnic then the heaven opened and let loose.

It wasn't so bad as most of the picnic was under shelter where everyone huddled and ate so we remained dry. It was unfortunate though that the rain prevented the main activity, the concourse, from taking place. When you go to a car club picnic you kind of want to see all the cars but the rain put a damper on that from happening.

The event had many kids activities. Chloe was eager to get her face painted, as were all the other kids. After 1.5 hours in line, Chloe finally got her face painted. I am so glad that the lady painting faces was really good and didn't just pencil in a little design on the kids faces. She really painted them, so it made the wait understandable and bearable. Chloe chose to be a cheetah.

While in the line for face painting we met another family in the club who lives northwest of us and has a daughter from China. They in turn introduced us to another family that lives in our town and are members of the car club. The family that lives in our town have a daughter in high school (can we say "babysitter"!!!).

In the end the rain prevented a lot of activities from happening, but we got to meet some new people and Chloe got her face painted!

Pool Party Photos

Saturday, July 28, 2007 No comments

A New Hobby

When we were on vacation in the Outer Banks, one of our fellow vacationers took some great photos with his digital SLR camera. I mentioned to Matt that we should get a nice camera to take some great photos of our #1 subject matter-Chloe.

Today, my dear hubby bought me a very nice present---a Nikon D80. Its a very nice camera that is well-beyond my current capability. We were lucky in that all of Matt's lenses from his 35mm Nikon will fit this camera, so we didn't need to purchase any other items.

Of course, I still need to figure it all out. I need to read the owner's manual and watch the in-depth DVD on using the camera. I signed up to take a Nikon School course in September that will teach me more on using the camera and taking great photos.

This afternoon we went to a pool party at the home of one of our friends from vacation. I took the advice of the salesman at the camera shop and just shot photos to get to know the camera. I ended up taking 116 photos at the party! I will have to post a random sampling (won't be posting all 116 now) later.

Tomorrow we are off to a Porsche Club picnic and I am sure I will have lots of lovely Porsche portraits to take. In the meantime, I am off to sort through my photos and to begin reading my manual. I have a lot to recall and a lot to learn. My mind is already swimming with aperture and shutter speed settings. I am beginning to think that I should have the credits from my photo-journalism course in University removed from my transcript.

The Tour is Dope

Friday, July 27, 2007 No comments

July has two meanings to me: Independence Day and the Tour de France. July has always brought fireworks and the running commentary of Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen through the French countryside on OLN (or now Versus TV).

I have watched the Tour since before the days of Lance Armstrong. The Tour was on in our home when there was another American cyclist, Greg Lemond, leading in the yellow jersey. In 2002, I got to witness the start of the Tour as it rolled through Luxembourg and saw the yellow streak of Lance Armstrong rush past me in the time-trial through the streets of Luxembourg City.

My devotion to the tour is rather humorous as I do not cycle. Ok, I’ll peddle around with Chloe strapped on the back, but I’m not one to have peddle clips or squeeze into the bike shorts. Even though I don’t go out and crank out a 50-mile ride on a weekly basis (or on any basis for that matter) it doesn’t mean that I can’t be impressed with the Tour cyclists and sit back and watch the Tour.

When we brought Chloe home in May 2005, her first TV was the Tour. She quickly learned to shout, “Allez! Allez! Allez!” at the passing cyclists on TV and to pick out a favorite rider (he even sent her a picture) and last year we all cheered as Floyd Landis made an amazing (or not so amazing depending on which story you believe) recovery to take the Tour lead and eventual victory.

But, alas, this year the scenes from the French countryside have not been on our TV that often. It’s not that we don’t want to watch or let Chloe watch because all of the doping controversy. No, it’s simply because of Chloe. Every time I attempt to tune in to watch the stage happenings I get a finger pointed in my face and in a threatening tone I am told to turn on “Diego”. It’s a sad day in this house when Chloe wants to watch a Diego re-run over the Tour.

I guess Tour officials do have to worry about losing fans over the continuing scandals. They lost Chloe. She would rather watch Dora and Boots help their music teacher when her bicycle chain breaks than watch a man push himself to his physical limits in the Pyrenees Mountains. Hmmm, maybe if it doesn’t rain today I will take Chloe out on her pink Giant bike and see if I can’t bring her back into the fold. Otherwise, it’s the end of an era in our household because if Chloe isn’t watching, no one can watch.

****Lucky for us that we can catch some Tour news on a favorite show after the Chloester is in bed. If you are all a bit confused about the Tour controversies of this year and want a laugh, check it out here.****

Temper, Temper

Monday, July 23, 2007 No comments
Forgive me if this blog is long. Much has occurred in the world of Chloe and I haven’t been able to summons the energy to blog (I think this post will explain why).

Matt was out of town on business during the first part of the week and Chloe and I had some quality Mommy/Chloe time. I tried to fill the days with some fun activities and then at night we would go out to eat. Since Matt was once again at my parents house in Dallas enjoying Tex-Mex, BBQ and my Dad’s salsa we went to eat at the best Mexican food restaurant we have found in the area. It’s funny, because you would think that living outside the largest city in the U.S. would mean lots of great, authentic food options from all over the world. For the most part, it is true with the exception of Mexican food. We have tried local Mexican food eateries and the only description for them is yuk! So, until we come across a better option, our Mexican food craving has to be filled by a chain restaurant we wouldn’t enter when we lived in Texas.

Anyway, I digress….Tuesday, Chloe and I went to a pet store and purchased a 3 gallon tank and some mollys and neon tetras. We have had 2 betta fish for some time, Bingo and Bob. We acquired Bob from our neighbor’s son. They take care of Bingo and Bob when we are away and during our week away, Nate decided that he wanted Bob back. Chloe seemed ok with that but as the week went on, she became increasingly concerned that Nate was not feeding Bob or cleaning his bowl. Each night when she asked about Bob, I told her Nate was taking great care of Bob and that she shouldn’t worry. I felt bad for her, so we got the tank and fish. I guess I am getting “broody” with the long wait for Emma Claire and feeling the need to fill the house with animals. So, we now have a little tank and a betta bowl with Bingo. Chloe took it up on herself to name the 4 male Molly fish. She didn’t name the neon tetras because she can’t tell them apart. She came up with Cawa, Spot, Binky and Sally Galley. Interesting names. I didn’t ask. And, if you are wondering, I did attempt to put Bingo in the tank with the other fish. He lasted all of 20 seconds before I extracted him due to excessive show of force. He’s such a bully and will now remain sequestered.

----The Notorious B.I.N.G.O.
---Chloe's randomly named posse of fish

At the end of the week Chloe and I went to the Bronx Zoo. We are members and I don’t use our membership to the fullest so I decided on a whim to go. We had a great time UNTIL…

It’s was the spider web in the Children’s Zoo that was our undoing. Chloe was determined to make it to the top. She tried for 20 minutes to climb to the top of the web. She could make it half-way but would get scared and get down only to start again. I had to interrupt her and pull her off when a group of about 8 kids twice her age descended on the web. They stepped on one 4-year old’s hand trying to beat each other to the top and they were just too boisterous for me to let Chloe stay on the web. Well, pulling Chloe off the web caused a major meltdown on Chloe’s part and she got put in time-out for kicking me and telling me “NO!”.

After her time-out, we went to the next exhibit, the lemurs. The children could crawl through logs to the top of a tree like lemurs. Chloe set her sights on this new goal but slipped on the log and fell on her bum causing hysteria #2. I picked her up, checked out her boo-boo and attempted to calm her down. She wasn’t going for it this time. I got kicked, screamed at, snotted on in a screaming fit as she hysterically demanded to return to the spider web! In an attempt to calm her down and to stop getting kicked, I put her down. She ran—to the spider web! I was able to catch her before she began her climb and all hell broke loose. Flying snot, kicking legs, screaming, ranting hysteria. She was a child possessed. So, I surprised myself, remained calm, put her in her stroller and told her we were leaving since she wouldn’t listen to me, ran from me, kicked me, and screamed at me. And with that, she went into super-freak out mode.

I wish I was exaggerating. It was one of those moments that people stop what they are doing and stare to view the carnage. The animals even stopped to see what this 3-year old was freaking out about. As I pushed Chloe through the maze of people and exhibits in the children’s zoo, she grabbed hold of the sides of her stroller with both hands and shook so hard that the stroller wobbled from side to side all the while she was screaming. It’s bad enough to have your child in super-freak out mode, especially when you’ve never witnessed this before in your child, but I love the comments I got from people as I exited. “Oh, she’s upset.”, “OOOOHHHH, somebody’s not happy!”, “Wow! She’s throwing a tantrum.”. I was obviously in a place with very astute people who possessed extreme powers of perception (***sense sarcasm***).

Once Chloe realized I wasn’t bluffing, and we really did exit the children’s zoo and make our way for the zoo exit, she stopped and we were able to calmly discuss why Mommy exited the zoo and how her behavior/reaction was not appropriate. At the end I got an “I’m sorry” followed by an “I’m hungry.”

While that was the worst tantrum to date, it wasn’t the first and it hasn’t been the last. So, beginning this week, Chloe has a behavior chart on our refrigerator. I ordered one here that was personalized and tailored to meet some specific targets. Now, don’t take me the wrong way, Chloe is not a poorly-mannered child. In fact, she is a great child and 99% of the time she is easy-going, happy, etc.. It’s just that we are entering into a new phase where she capable of expressing her opinions, wants, desires, etc. and if she doesn’t get what she wants she seems determined to express her displeasure. So, we want to try to teach her better ways to express her displeasure. As her parents, we think it is our job to do so. I hope it works—I want me sweet, sweet child back.

During the weekend, Chloe took to calling us “Mom” and “Dad”. She must have heard other kids at the zoo calling their parents that and decided she liked the shortened version better. Too bad we don’t.

It’s raining and I promised Chloe that we would have a tea party after her nap. She is very excited.

PaPaw's Farm Logo

Wednesday, July 18, 2007 No comments

papaws_farm copy, originally uploaded by pookie2shoes.

A Shameless Plug for Chloe's PaPaw

Chloe wanted to make certain that all our Dallas-area friends and family knew that her PaPaw sells his produce at some of the farmer's markets in the northern 'burbs. We just purchased him some banners to hang at his stall so be sure to look out for him (see sign) and make certain to purchase some of his tomatoes and cantaloupes--they come with the Chloe seal of approval and will not disappoint.

Goodbye Stranger

Thursday, July 12, 2007 2 comments
Chloe and I dropped off Matt at the train station this morning. As we were pulling away I turned on the radio. A new song came on after a few minutes. It was an old song I knew I had heard before but didn't know anything else about it. Chloe began to yell, "This is MY song Mommy! This is Chloe's song." I called Matt to see if he knew the song. He didn't recognize it.

Apparently my 3 year old has selected her "theme" song and she was adamant it was HERS so when we returned home I Googled some of the lyrics I could recall and good old Google didn't fail me. Not quite sure what Chloe is trying to say in selecting this as her "theme" song but she swears it's hers.

Supertramp--Goodbye Stranger

It was an early morning yesterday

I was up before the dawn

And I really have enjoyed my stay

But I must be moving on

Like a king without a castle

Like a queen without a throne

I'm an early morning lover

And I must be moving on

Now I believe in what you say

Is the undisputed truth

But I have to have things my own way

To keep me in my youth

Like a ship without an anchor

Like a slave without a chain

Just the thought of those sweet ladies

Sends a shiver through my veins

And I will go on shining

Shining like brand new

I'll never look behind me

My troubles will be few

Goodbye stranger it's been nice

Hope you find your paradise

Tried to see your point of view

Hope your dreams will all come true

Goodbye Mary, Goodbye Jane

Will we ever meet again

Feel no sorrow, feel no shame

Come tomorrow, feel no pain

Sweet devotion is not for me

Just give me motion, set me free

The land and the ocean, far away

The life I've chosen every day

So goodbye Mary, Goodbye Jane

Will we ever meet again

Now some they do and some they don't

And some you just can't tell

And some they will and some they won't

With some it's just as well

You can laugh at my behavior

That'll never bother me

Say the devil is my savior

But I don't pay no heed

And I will go on shining

Shining like brand new

I'll never look behind me

My troubles will be few

Goodbye stranger it's been nice

Hope you find your paradise

Tried to see your point of view

Hope your dreams will all come true

Goodbye Mary, Goodbye Jane

Will we ever meet again

Feel no sorrow, feel no shame

Come tomorrow, feel no pain

Sweet devotion is not for me

Just give me motion, set me free

The land and the ocean, far away

The life I've chosen every day

Now I'm leavin' - got to go

Hit the road - I'll say it once again

Oh, yes I'm leavin' - got to go

Got to go now

I'm sorry I must tell you

Goodbye Mary, Goodbye Jane

Will we ever meet again

1st Dentist Visit

Tuesday, July 10, 2007 No comments
Good news and bad news. Good news: Chloe was quite a champ and did very well. Bad news: Chloe has 3 small cavities!! We return Wednesday for her fillings.

Can you guess what the new focus is in our house??? We were all in the bathroom together last night teaching how to properly brush our teeth.

Beach Vacation!

We’ve just returned from our first legitimate family vacation and it was very enjoyable. We rented a beach house with about 8 other families on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. There were actually 2 houses of people on the vacation. Both were identical and had about 16+ people in each. The houses were next door to each other and we opened the gates in the back yard and roamed freely between the two pools.

The houses were huge, each with its own pool and beach access. The 12-bedroom house was very nice and expansive enough that we did not “bump” elbows and get in each other’s way. We had our own room and bath on the top floor.

The true test of our family vacation is whether Chloe had a good time and I am happy to report that she had a blast. There were 9 kids under the age of 6 in the house, so there was always a play pal around to run up and down the stairs of the 4-story house screaming and yelling.
The vacation started like any other we take---hurried and stressed. We had planned to leave mid-morning on Friday, June 29, but things interfered and we did not leave New Jersey until 4 p.m. after we hurriedly packed the car. We drove about 4 hours and stayed in a hotel in Maryland. It wasn’t until we got to our room and started to get ready for bed that we realized that Matt’s wash kit, with his prescription medicine, was on the couch at home. Luckily our 24-hour pharmacy was able to get us a week’s worth of medicine for Matt (which of course insurance didn’t cover).

Saturday morning had us on the road again headed for North Carolina. After some traffic and a stop for groceries, we arrived at the beach house. We were the last family to arrive, so most had already settled in at the pool. The kids got to know each other and we got to meet all of our housemates for the week. We took Chloe to the beach after sunset to see the sand crabs. She wasn’t as amused by the sand crabs as were and when we returned to the beach on Sunday morning she didn’t want to walk for fear a crab would get her.

Most mornings were spent at the beach and then after lunch we would move to the pool. Matt played golf a couple of times with the other men in the houses and managed to get out on his bike for a couple of morning rides. Chloe and I were able to see a Cinderella play on Roanoke Island and go shopping at the outlet mall too. One morning we took a family outing to the sand dunes in Nags Head and Chloe slid down the dunes and flew a kite.
We celebrated the 4th of July on the beach setting off fireworks and watching the surrounding towns’ firework shows. We also had a 3 nights of catered events and on the 4th had a 8-man reggae band.

Most of our time was spent relaxing, meeting new people and making new friends. Chloe loved swimming in the pool with Daddy and splashing in the ocean with Mommy. But, I think if pressed she would admit she enjoyed the company of her new pre-school pals.We left the Outer Banks on Saturday, July 7. We drove to stay at a friend’s farm outside Fredricksburg, VA. On the farm, Chloe got to ride a tractor with Daddy and feed carrots to the 3 horses.

We returned late afternoon on Sunday. Chloe is absolutely dark. We put spf 50 on her every two hours and she tanned beautifully. Matt looks rested after the vacation and I just looked burned.

We had an awesome time in NC and we hope to create a great family vacation memory/tradition by returning next year.