Friday, April 27, 2007

Horrible Parents

Several times this week, Ryan and I have said things to Sydney that when taken out of context would make us look like horrible parents.

1. "No more fruit until you eat your hot dog."
2. "Stop counting."
3. "No more reading."
4. "Please don't touch me."

See? Don't we sound like horribly cruel parents that not only force our daughter to eat junk food but also stunt her emotional well-being and love of learning as well?

I could explain the context of each one to you, but I'll let your imaginations run wild instead. Please know, however, that we really do try to be good parents.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Oh Insomnia, How I Hate Thee

Every now and then, I get horrible bouts of insomnia. I have no trouble falling asleep at bedtime, but if I wake up for any reason in the middle of the night (usually between 2 am and 3 am) then forget it: I'm up for the day. Absolutely nothing can help me go back to sleep and believe me, I've tried.

Experts say to get out of bed and read something boring until you feel drowsy again. That doesn't work because we don't keep boring reading materials lying around the house. I don't buy boring books and I don't subscribe to boring magazines. And since we have the Internet, we throw out phone books so we don't even have those around.

The old wive's tales say to drink a glass of warm milk to trigger sleepiness. This doesn't work because I don't like warm milk unless it has cocoa in it and that has caffeine which defeats the purpose of the warm milk. And even if I did like warm milk this wouldn't work because I've cut all dairy from my diet due to Liam's gastrointestinal sensitivity to cow's milk.

Doctors say to take sleep aids. A few years ago my doctor gave me a prescription for Ambien and it worked wonders. However, I cannot take that (or anything else for that matter) until I'm done nursing Liam. Heaven knows we don't need his sleep cycles to get anymore messed up than they already are.

I used to practice the breathing techniques I learned in my yoga class and that seemed to help clear my mind and allow me to fall asleep again. But, alas, those don't seem to be working anymore so here I sit, at 5:58 am typing this blog. I've been awake since 3 am, by the way.

So, if you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them. I'm sure my family would appreciate them as well. A tired mommy is a cranky mommy.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

I Need Your Help

Every year, my sister, my mom and I get together and make chocolate candy for Christmas. We make peanut butter cups, chocolate covered cherries and the like. Ryan and I give most of it away as gifts to our neighbors and friends and we get compliments from everyone. Ryan's coworkers joked that we ought to sell them they are so tasty.

Well, I'm considering taking them up on it. I'm going to start by making a set of these for Sydney's birthday party favors. In fact, party favors are going to be my focus along with these for party platters. I'm hoping word of mouth will help me land jobs making favors for parties, showers and weddings.

Here's where I need your help. I don't have a name for this business. Everything I come up with sounds cheesy or juvenile ("Sweet Treats", "Edible Delectables", "Charming Chocolates" and the like). So, please leave your recommendations as comments on this blog. I know a lot of people read this blog but do not comment (this means you, you lurkers) and I'm feeling like a loser since I rarely get comments. Here's your chance to leave a comment and help me out.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

How to Get the Republican Party off Your Back

A few years ago, a friend in our Sunday School class asked us to vote for a friend of hers who happened to be running for a local judicial appointment. We trust our friend and agreed to read up on the candidate and if we liked her, we'd vote for her. The only catch was that we had to vote in the Republican primary which means we had to register as Republicans. I generally don't have a problem with Republicans; I also don't have problems with Democrats. I'm pretty much a middle-of-the-line Independent which means I don't really want to be associated with either major party.

We went ahead and voted for our friend's friend and ever since, the Republican Party has not left me alone. For some reason, they've pretty much ignored Ryan, but I keep getting fliers, surveys and junk in the mail. "Fill out this survey and tell us what you think of the party", the forms would say. Once I took the time to fill it out and while stuffing it in the envelope, noticed the fine print stating, "Please include a minimum $20 processing donation." I promptly threw it away.

Well, last week, an unknown number kept popping up on the Caller ID. After several attempts to get Liam down for a nap only to be interrupted by this same number calling, I finally answered.

Me: "Hello?" (In an annoying tone)

Lady: "Umm, yes, I'm trying to reach Jana Lozado."

Me: "This is she." (Even more annoying tone)

Lady: "Yes, I'm calling on behalf of the Republican Something or Other Committee and was wondering if you had a moment to participate in a short survey regarding our current administration."

Me: "Sure."

Lady: "Would you say that you are currently satisfied or unsatisfied with the job President George W. Bush is doing?"

Me: "UN-satisfied."

Lady: "Did you say unsatisfied?" (As if I were the first person all day who dared to say 'unsatisfied')

Me: "I certainly did." (I'm smiling, wishing she could see it)

Lady: "Oh, I see. Well, thank you for your time."

Me: "No problem."

They haven't bothered me since.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

It's Already Started.....

While watching "America's Funniest Home Videos" this past Sunday evening, we were treated to probably a dozen commercials for Disney World. That's only fair, considering ABC is owned by Disney. They have every right to promote themselves.

One particularly alluring advertisement flashed scenes from the park: Cinderella's castle, the teacup ride, Space Mountain and of course, various characters greeting and hugging guests. Sydney could name all of the characters. We heard such phrases as:

"Look! There's Mickey Mouse!"
"And Daddy, look! That's Cinderella's castle!"
"Mommy! It's Tinkerbell!"

Then we heard the phrase that every parent dreads:

"Can we go there on vacation?"

Curse you, Disney.

Monday, April 2, 2007

I love the market!

When we moved to the Heights almost six years ago, we visited the famous Canino's Market that is on the fringe of the neighborhood. Many of the local chefs frequent the establishment and base their weekly menus on the produce found there. We thought we'd give it a try and since we were both working, we went on a Saturday morning and were less than impressed. It was difficult to find a parking spot, hardly anyone spoke English and it was so crowded that I could barely breathe. Needless to say, we didn't go back. Until a few weeks ago.

At the urging of some of my playgroup friends and to lower our grocery bill (now that all four of us are eating solid food), we went back. This time we went on a Saturday afternoon and that eased both the parking and crowd situations. The number of Spanish-speaking patrons (and workers) still outweighed the English-speaking ones, but that didn't seem to bother me this time around. And the amount of fresh, quality produce that we got on our shoestring budget convinced me to go back.

Now I go on Monday mornings with both of the kids and we love it. I have no problems with parking or crowds and the the staff is so sweet to both of the kids. Sydney gets offers of free popcorn from the concession lady (they have Coke in glass bottles for $1!) and Liam flirts with all of the ladies who tickle his toes. The produce is some of the freshest I've ever seen and it is so inexpensive I almost can't believe my eyes. Take a look at what I got today for $34:

Fruits - a whole pineapple, oranges, apples, grapes, plums, bananas
Vegetables - green beans, asparagus, 1015 onions, sweet potatoes, red potatoes, zucchini, Roma tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, avocados, carrots
Nuts - 1 lb. whole almonds, 1 lb. slivered almonds

If I'd bought all of that at Central Market, I would have easily spent twice as much. Not to mention the fact that since everything is so fresh, I have started making Liam's baby food so that saves us even more money in the long run.

Someday I'll be brave enough to venture into the back of the market where local farmers set up individual tables to sell their unique produce. I don't know how to cut up or prepare things like cactus leaves, bok choy or papaya. Maybe I should learn.