Sunday, October 24, 2010


Are you sitting down?  Brace yourselves!  WE ARE LETTING OUR KIDS PARTICIPATE IN HALLOWEEN THIS YEAR!!!  That's right, for the last 7 1/2 years we have artfully dodged this "holiday".  I know you're trying to think of the most non offensive, polite way to ask why we've avoided it for so long...go ahead and ask.  (Did you tilt your head a little to side in that sympathetic way to try show that your not really judging us?) Well, there are many reasons....

1) We're mean.

2) We really don't want our kids to have any fun.

3) We're THOSE people.

Just kidding!!!  But, did those thoughts come to mind?  It's okay, I can take it.  Now, the real reasons...

1) We had the awesome experience of going to Disneyland when Joe was 9 months old.  Thanks, Young Life All Staff Conference!  While we wandered through the fake streets, taking in the pretend sites, Disney characters roamed about.  Well!  Joe FREAKED out!  He was having none of it!  If a character even came near him, he would start screaming!  His fear of costumes still exists to this day...he will literally start shaking and freeze up.  We had to keep him home from preschool on their costume parade day (Pajama Day doesn't even sit well with this kid), avoid Kenny the Kangaroo (at Kennywood), stay at the far end of the mall at Christmas and Easter, and peek in the windows at McD's to ensure him that Ronald was not, in fact, visiting that day.  So, Halloween has always seemed more like a torture than a treat.

2) For Joe's first Halloween, we just didn't see the point of dressing up our less than one year old to collect candy that he wouldn't be allowed to eat in weather that is typically Pittsburgh cold.  You know a lot of that candy is sketchy anyway...who really likes Bit O'Honey or Mounds???

3) Jay and I have had long discussions about the origins of this celebration.  Sure, by today's standards, it's just innocent dressing up...neighbors for everyone.  We get that.  BUT!  Do you know the origins of the day?  Jay and I had a hard time embracing a day that was used to either invite spirits in or ward them off.  And the truth is, is that for a lot of people they still embrace the darker side of this day.  Did you know that Trick or Treating started as a practice called "souling"?  Poor people would go door to door begging for food and in exchange that person would pray for the souls of the neighbors dearly departed in honor of All Souls Day.  How did we turn it into "Give me candy or I'll do something to your yard"?  How did it go from dressing as a saint to dressing as a sexy nurse or a zombie or a sexy nurse zombie?

4) Regardless of how cute your/our kids look all dressed up, there is some scary stuff out there!  Ya know what people around here think is hysterical?  Sitting on their porch dressed as a fake scarecrow, waiting for kids to come to the door, then jumping at them.  Guess who's kids would be in a coma???  In the past couple of weeks, I've had to explain to the kids that it was highly unlikely that the people down the street killed and buried at least 12 people in their front yard.  And I've found myself, more than once, saying "No, those ghosts aren't real and no, they're not going to get you.", "Of course that 6" spider is not real.", "I don't know why someone put Winnie the Pooh in a giant Jack-o-lantern and lit him up."  This is not my definition of fun.

*And, yes, both Jay and I dressed up every year when we were kids (ya know, back when costumes were innocent characters and caustic and flammable?).  We went Trick Or Treating and we turned out perfectly fine!  Why are you laughing?  

So what happened this year?  Well, Jay was named Executive Pastor of the church we attend and every year they host the event "Trunk or Treat".  Members of the church pull into the parking lot, decorate their open trunks and give neighborhood kids candy.  No scary decorations or haunting music or hiding monsters and, hopefully everyone will hand out good candy!  The Community Center is also open so that people can hang out, eat hot dogs, etc.  Since, we're now part of this church family and the kids wanted to dress up, we thought it might work out okay.  Don't worry, Joe already has an escape route planned in case there is any unforeseen, costume related incidents.

I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, October 8, 2010

So Long Old Friend....

It's with a bit of a heavy heart that I (we), me more than anyone else here, had to say good bye to a loyal, steadfast fixture that's been a part of our daily life for the last 7 1/2 years....
No, not Baby Trey...he's only 2 1/2, remember?  Plus, some days I'm not sure where his loyalty lies.  The highchair!!!  I put the highchair out by the trash yesterday...and maybe I did pause to reflect on the meaning of getting rid of something that has been an integral part of life here for so long.  The fact that my baby is big enough to sit at the table in a booster seat makes me a wee bit sad and nostalgic...I have to tell myself that getting rid of the highchair does not erase the possibilities of more babies.  The truth is, the highchair's heyday has been over for quite some time.  The seat belt didn't really work anymore, there was a crack in the frame, the seat cover had been laundered too many times to count.  That's why I put it with the trash instead of passing it along to another family.  But, this chair has seen it's share of....well, everything.  Of course, every meal for every child every day, but also, it was a safe place to put a child when I needed to contain one of them...we used it to hold children as they opened gifts...I've used it to restrain injured kids while I figure out what to do's been a part of holiday and birthday celebrations, too.  Maybe some kids have even puked on it resulting in brand spankin' new safety straps.  It'll be weird to walk into the dining room and not see old faithful, but it's great to have Baby Trey sitting at the table with us...sometimes.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Too Sophisticated For Photos

Well, I made it!  I traveled to and from New York City all by my lonesome with nary a scratch or a hitch or a snag.  I wish I could convey how UN-like me it was to do this whole adventure.  I mean, sure, 20 years ago I dreamed of living in a super cool, super fancy New York apartment with no ties to anyone or responsibilities or burdens. (How I was to pay rent for this fab lifestyle was yet to be determined)...but, as life became more reality than fantasy, I realized I did not want that city life.  I longed for the perfect husband, white picket fence, well behaved children.  Two outta three ain't bad! (We don't have a white picket fence.  What did you think I meant?)  Anywho...back to the point at hand.  Since meeting Jay (aka the Perfect Husband), I have not traveled alone, ever.  Well...I once took a flight from Pittsburgh to Virginia alone...but Jay was waiting for me at the VA airport.  And one other time I flew from Hungary to Pgh without him, but I was with another girl who's unfortunate air sickness and general air-headedness was a good distraction for me.

*I need to make it known that I did not take any blog worthy pictures while I was in New York!  I felt like it would have been the equivalent of holding a huge neon sign that read "Hey everyone!  I'm by myself over here!  So, if you see me trying juggle my huge bag and snap pics at the same time, come on over and take advantage of the situation!"  But!  I promise to make that hair collage blog!

Needles to say, I made it safely to New York via the Megabus. (which I highly recommend as a travel option)  As we pulled into the city, reality came crashing down around me!  I've never hailed a cab!  What if there's some unspoken etiquette that I don't know about and I get yelled at by the driver?  What if a cab never stops for me and I'm left standing alone with my luggage in the slightly annoying drizzle?  Why are there so many people out and about in the middle of the afternoon?  Should I be standing at the corner or the middle of the block?  So, I stepped back to observe for a few minutes...I spotted a couple of other people confidently stand at the curb and put their arm out to signal the cab.  So, I mustered up some courage and stepped forward.  Immediately a cab swept me up and whisked me off to my hotel.  As I got out, I paid the cabbie and even remembered the tip!  I threw in a little extra as a silent "Thank you" for not kidnapping me and making a shirt out of my skin.

Once again, have I ever checked into a hotel by myself?  No, no I have not, but the SoHotel check-in could not have been smoother.  What a cool's like 100 years old, but has been updated so it has a modern feel but has held onto its older character at the same time.  Very cool.  Though, having never been in New York before I had only been told that hotel rooms were a lot smaller than what I might be used to.  Really?  I think 10 by 10 is the perfect size for a walk- in closet...oh wait, that's the size of my room!  And I loved it!  I certainly didn't need a ton of space, and it was clean and everything worked (well, except for when I blew a fuse drying my hair...but, it was fixed quickly)

In search of food, I sought out some help.  The bell hop was very friendly and reassured me that I could certainly walk to Little Italy on my own and not end up on the late news...he neglected to tell me that I would be totally overwhelmed at the sheer volume of restaurants to choose from...the maitre d luring tourists into Il Piccolo Buffalo won the day for me with his promises of fresh pasta and homemade sauces.  My Chicken Marsala was quite yummy and I texted with people the whole time because...can you guess?  I've never eaten in a restaurant alone before. 

So, Tuesday was THE day!!!  I woke up super early...way too early, but I was just so excited!  I walked to the Devachan salon on Broadway with plenty of time to grab some food from a cute grocery/deli/kitchen ware type place and people watch for a bit.  Once inside the (ultra cool, fancy, beautiful) salon, all the volunteer hair models got to sit and kibitz about our "curly girl" experiences.  And I'll tell ya, it was really refreshing to be in a room with other women who have similar hair horror stories and history as me.  What a relief!  Finally!  A salon where the employees won't shoot me dirty looks as I walk in the door...or openly talk about me as I sit under a dryer while my scalp burns (though in their defense, I did take a lip reading class in college so I kinda have an advantage)...or recommend that "maybe you need to find a different salon".  I kept waiting for a bright light and harp music to start playing.  The "students" who would be working on us were all very experienced hair dressers, so this was sort of an advanced class for them to further understand how to cut and highlight my type of hair (and not have it end in tears).  Evan From Columbus was my stylist. (Do you know him, Courtney?) He was super cool with his trendy slim fit jeans and fedora.  We set right to work...well, I sat and Evan From Columbus did all the work...cutting and turning and looking and consulting.  Then the REAL work began!  These highlights took FOREVER!  Not because of the procedure, but because of the amount of hair I have!  Poor Evan From Columbus!  I'm sure he was ready to throw in the towel (literally), but he didn't even complain.  Bless his heart. He was able to give me tips about how to use the Deva products I already have to get the results I really want and when all was said and hair looked fabulous!  So smooth (still curly, just not frizzy) and shiny!  I keep checking their Facebook page to see if they've posted any before and after pics!  What a great day!

Plus, I made it home safe and sound...though I could have done without the mice skittering around on the sidewalk and into the big cement planters at Penn Station at 6 in the morning...but, none the less, it was such a success!  Jay handled the home front perfectly.  The children got fed and bathed and educated and loved even in my absence. 

I think another trip is in order...but next time I want my other half with me!

*Devachan may contact me for future "modeling", this is (hopefully) not the end of the story!