In which we take a road trip.

{side note: I really admire the writings of A.A. Milne. I love that the chapters are named "In which..." And clearly, I love the Capitalizing Important Words.}

We did it! We took a trip! With a baby! Last week we hopped in Ye Olde Minivan, and headed for parts unknown. Only they were known. We spent a couple of days in Kansas City, and a couple in Omaha. Because when you hear "spring break" -- who DOESN'T head to Omaha? Are ya with me?


Well it was fun. The girls had a blast. The highlight of Kansas City was Kaleidoscope. It's next to the Hallmark museum. They basically take scraps from Hallmark, and utensils from Crayola, and you let your kids go to town crafting. In other words: ELLA AND NATALIE HEAVEN. And it's free. FREE! It was an hour of non-stop crafting excitement. They thought it was the best thing ever. (While they were busy filling their take home bags with Important Artwork, Captain America wrote me a little book in kid style. I love him.)

The next day we headed to Omaha. Home of The Zoo. Have you seen this zoo? Have you been? OH MY WORD. Over 6 hours we were there. SIX. Six! We didn't sit through any demonstrations or shows. We didn't go to the imax. We just wandered around looking at animals. For 6 hours. Every animal but an elephant. They were having their habitat cleaned or landscaped or remodeled, so they were off out of view for a bit. But every other animal I can think of was there. Some of them were in the world's largest geodesic dome, which houses the world's largest indoor desert. Some of them were in the world's largest indoor rainforest.

Now, aside from having beaucoup animals, let me tell you the other fantastic features of this zoo. It was chilly the day we were there. I thought we might freeze our petuties off. But of our 6 hours of animal watching, most of it was indoors. Some of those animals would have been outside if it was nicer, but we were also able to see them inside. Also? There was only one place we couldn't take the stroller - the very small Butterfly house. Everywhere else we were able to keep a kid in a stroller. I remember going to Brookfield Zoo in Chicago when Natalie was a tiny baby. We were forever having to park the stroller and carry her through exhibits. Not fun.

Also? Zoey was a traveling ROCKSTAR. Out of the 14 or so hours we spent in the car, I'd bet she cried for 20 minutes. And she calmed down when her sisters sang their magic baby whisperer song. There was no hardcore screaming. She was perfectly happy just to be out and about.

All of the above made for a delightful trip for us all. I didn't even bring a computer (WHAT??). We just got to hang out together. And I think the 4 nights was a perfect trip length, because I came home in love with my children, and not quite ready to be back. That's really the way you should leave a vacation. I wasn't ready to drop them off at their teacher's houses or anything! They were all just lovely, lovely girls. We got very lucky this time around.

It probably didn't hurt that Vacationing Captain America thought Ella and Natalie needed a ONE POUND BAG of candy EACH at the bulk candy store. And I was easily bought off with Cheesecake Factory cheesecake.

Hooray for vacation!


Tweet, Tweet

I've recently rekindled my relationship with Twitter. I'd been ignoring it for the longest time. I'm sorry, Twitter. You'd think I came back because I had something to say. Judging by the fact that my tweets are things like "still working" and "I'm so full," that clearly isn't the case.

Nope. It was a snake that wooed me back. Not that I'm a fan of snakes in general. But did you see when the Bronx Zoo's Cobra went missing? When that happened, the cobra got on Twitter. @bronxzooscobra has to be the most enjoyable thing to happen to my computer in a long time.

First the snake hit the town, tweeting all the way:

"Holding very still in the snake exhibit at the Museum of Natural History. This is gonna be hilarious!"

"Getting my morning coffee at the Mudtruck. Don't even talk to me until I've had my morning coffee. Seriously, don't. I'm venomous."

"If you see a bag of peanuts inexplicably moving along the ground at Yankee Stadium today. Just ignore it. It's probably nothing."

Then the snake was found. (In real life, it never left the Reptile House - they just couldn't see it anywhere.) Now @bronxzooscobra tweets from the inside:

"Just regurgitated my iPhone. Oh, it's ssso on now. You'll never guess what's coming. #freethebronxzooscobra"

"The secret to surviving on inside is to find the biggest snake in here and take him down. That earns you respect in the yard."

"I know the zoo doesn't like it when you tap on the glass, but I don't mind it. In fact, feel free to tap really hard. With a hammer even."

I don't know what to tell you. I've never claimed to be anything but easily amused. A zoo cobra on Twitter is bringing me unimaginable joy. Maybe snakes aren't so bad. At least not the ones with iPhones.


It would make the birthday girl haaaaaaaaappy... Part II

On this day in history... I WAS BORN! Happy birthday to ME!

Here's the thing. I'm just not having quite as much success with squeezing every last ounce of birthday power as Natalie did. For some reason it seems referring to yourself as "the birthday girl" is less cute on a 33 year old. Furthermore, Natalie is less convinced of the rock solid logic of "it would make the birthday girl happy" when she's not the one saying it. How convenient of her.

But I forge ahead. I have answered my phone "Happy birthday to me" and "Happy Sarah Day." Tonight is game night at the pastor's house. We're bringing cake. Would it be wrong of me to wear a crown? Would it be more wrong to go out and purchase a crown for wearing? A crown that is combination leopard print, feathers and tiara? I might be wrong. If I have time. I also considered wearing a cocktail dress. Just because.

Do you know what DELIGHTFUL thing happened today? I mean, DELIGHTFUL. Full of DELIGHT. The very lovely Gretchen over at Second Blooming gave me a Cherry on Top award. Feast your eyes on its cuteness:

She did not even know it was my birthday. Gretchen is a Real Life Actress. And a Real Life Writer. Her in-laws would make a fantastic tv show, and I have actually told people the story of how she named her son Jude as if she is a Real Life Friend of mine. Always embarrassing to realize you've just started talking about a blog as if you met the person for coffee earlier in the day. Gretchen even takes her little cub scout camping. In the Real Woods. I guess they're LA woods - but that's still more camping than I'm interested in. Now I am to tell you 5 Things I Love About ME. Which I will happily oblige. It is, after all, my birthday:

  1. I am an open book. Ask me even part of a question, and I will bore you with details you never dreamed of wanting to know.
  2. I give a mean 7 & 5 yr old mani/pedi. I used to think I did a pretty good paint job on my own as well, until I started going to places that do all the FAYNCY painting with pretty details and pictures.
  3. I've always really liked my hands & nails. I don't feel the need for fake. Nails. Not hands. That'd just be weird.
  4. I love to sing. Which is not to say I missed my chance on American Idol. I just like to do it. I love having something that instantly makes me happy.
  5. I can be funny. At least I hope that's why people sometimes laugh at me.

That was harder than I thought. And I think I gave a few copout answers.
And now....Five Bloggers I Love:
  1. My sister. I don't just have to say it. I'm linking to a specific post, because I want you to read it.
  2. Mr. Patrick over at Good Morning from Maine. I know him in real life. From before he even had a blog. Go read his series on how he & the Mrs. got together. It's good times.
  3. Bits and Pieces. Also a Real Life Friend. We have discovered we are like scary clones of each other. Clones. Not clowns. That'd be wrong.
  4. Jersey's Musings. Yet another Real Life Friend. He's always got some interesting travel/restaurant notes. Drop in and say hey - they recently found out his mother-in-law has leukemia and I'll bet he and his lovely wife would appreciate some kind thoughts & prayers.
  5. Are We Still Cool? It's a question I often ask myself. I'm pretty sure the answer is no. It's completely fascinating to me to read about their adventures as they try to raise a couple cute munchkins in NYC.
And there you have it. Thanks again, Gretchen, for the extra special birthday present!


It would make the Birthday Girl haaaaaaaaappy...

Six years ago today I said to the doctor, "I don't care what day it is. Just induce me." I'd been scheduled to be induced on Thursday, March 31. But when I called into the hospital that morning to say I was coming, they said they were too busy to induce me. So I called my doctor later that day, and he said, "Well, if you're okay with an April Fool's birthday, go in tomorrow. Otherwise we can do it Monday." I apologized to my belly that I was not going to be able to wait until Monday when I had thought I would have had her by now. Tomorrow already seemed pretty far away. So on that April Fool's morning, I got hooked up to pitocin around 7:30 am and Natalie was born by 12:30 pm. Pretty fast for not even being in labor when I got to the hospital.

It was as if Captain America knew she'd be born on April Fool's all along. The moment we knew it was a girl, she was Natalie. And then he started calling her Natalie Gwynn. And I said no. I will not name my baby girl after your favorite baseball player. But he persisted. (Perhaps in response to my affinity for a dead actress?) "How's Natalie Gwynn today? Kicking a lot?" I don't know. It grew on me.

I honestly don't remember much of Natalie's babyhood. Ella was a diaper-wearing, social, busy toddler - that first year is a blur. I do remember Natalie was awesome about going to bed. I could lay her down fully awake and she'd put herself to sleep.

Today Natalie is living it up for her birthday. She is truly her mother's daughter. "Can you pack me a lunch for tomorrow? It would make the Birthday Girl haaaaaappy..." "Ella, do you know what I would like? If one day we didn't fight at all. Could we do it today? It would make the Birthday Girl haaaaaaaaaappy..." And Ella has been playing right along. She sang Happy Birthday to her right away. She got Natalie's clothes ready for her. She did everything this morning, right down to putting toothpaste on her toothbrush, putting on Natalie's rain boots and zipping her coat for her.

So Happy Birthday to my Natalie Gwynn. You are sweet, sensitive, and knowing. Funny and loving. I look forward to seeing what another year brings out of you. And may you always be as big of a birthday junkie as your mommy.