Sunday, February 28, 2010

Slight Name Panic

As is to be expected, I'm having minor second thoughts on the baby name. We'll probably still go with it, but I've felt the need to go back to old lists and revisit my options. This is really important. I want to get it just right.

A good place to start was to find a Top Names of 2009 List and make sure none of my choices were on it. Those lists usually have all the names you'd expect. But I was really surprised by some of the ones I saw this time. I expected boy names Oliver, Owen, Jack and Jacob to be on the list, but so were Rhys, Miles, Brody and Gage, while the all-time classic John is at 100 - almost off the list! And on the girl list, I did expect Sophia, Olivia, Alexis and Lily but was definitely thrown off by Harper, Cadence, Isla and Scarlet. I'm impressed with the direction naming is going! Which makes it all the more crucial we choose carefully.

I browsed another site that led me to user lists, kind of like Listmania! for baby names. Anyone can make a list of names that fit any description, and others can browse them. It was unnerving, and at the same time little affirming, to find two of my names on a short list entitled "Fun but Unrealistic." This tells me that at least to this person, the names are awesome but she doesn't have the nerve to use them. Right up my alley. It reminded me of when we were expecting Ginger. I shared our name list with a close friend and she said something like, "Well, I mean, if you named her Ginger she could never be a CEO or a great scientist or something like that." Which is complete bull because as soon as someone has a name, the name begins to suit them and not the other way around. I don't know anyone who has been actually and truly held back in life because of their name. And that's just another reason why we don't tell people our names before the baby's born.

Can we really have a post about baby-name-freaking without at least a reference to the Nicholas Cage SNL skit that is probably older than I realize? The quality is horrible but it's all I could find on YouTube. Still good for a laugh after all these years. Anyone else ever been part of a conversation like this?

In other browsing, I found a couple of fun lists that helped me kind of take my mind off things. First we have the Girls' Name Coolator, which allows you to take a girl name you might like and bring it up-to-date, make it a little cooler. For example, for some reason you like the name Joan. To make it cooler you go with June. Need it cooler than cool? Juno. Fun idea.

Also we have a list of Boys' Names Kids Consider Cool. Don't we all want our kids to feel as cool as we think they are? Can't hurt if he has a name others envy. My personal favs on that list? Orion, Shane, Taj and Zeus. Easy to say since I'm not having a boy.

I recently attended a baby shower and was told about another name website, Nymbler, which has a cool approach. You type in up to six names you like and it generates more suggestions, kind of like, "If you like Hazel, then you might like..." I typed in Hazel, Ginger, and a few others we've considered in the past. I admit, I didn't care for many of the suggestions, but I'm picky. It might work well for other people.

Finally, I found a site awhile ago that I can't seem to find again but I will keep looking. It allows you to look up names and it provides the typical stuff like origin, meaning, etc. Then it says, "If this is your name, click here." And it takes you to a survey to fill out. Then people - potential parents like myself - can go in and look at the survey results. It asks things like, "Is this name often misspelled? Mispronounced? Hard to say in other languages? Was it made fun of a lot? Did you like having this name?" And the question we all want the answer to - "What were the schoolyard nicknames people called you?" As parents we can try to guess but you can never think of everything. I've found reading these survey results one of the most enlightening and helpful tools in the naming process. I'll try to find it again.

Right, then. Enough babbling on. This post has been therapeutic and I'm feeling better about things. Back to regular life...

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Birthday (1 of 2)

Finally getting around to my birthday, which seemed to fly by this year but which actually lasts all month, or longer if I want it to.

For my 12,775th breakfast I had hot my new mug that came from my friend of this post.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Rah, Rah, Rasputin!

When was the last time you went on a Nightflight to Venus? For me it had been awhile.

When I was about 4, my Dad returned from a business trip to Hong Kong bearing gifts. Cutie embroidered silk robes, China dolls, and a Boney M tape, Nightflight to Venus. Hot, very hot. Quite disco, occasionally a little Carribbean, a little of this-and-that thrown in, and that's Boney M. Popular in Europe in the late 70's, they never made it too big in the US, but there was a small cult following. The Younces were part of it. That's right, they were with us on those 2-week road trips in the van. They were put on after dinner for us to dance our blood-sugar-energy-rush off before bed. This album was part of our youth in the same way Mom's Chicken-and-Noodles and the smell of ripe grapes on the vine were. We can probably even attribute my first exposure to, and therefore the start of the love of, disco to this tape.

In high school, when I started discovering my own taste for modern alternative, classic folk and disco music, I returned to Boney M. Dug the tape out and put it in my prized collection. I mentioned it to friends and got blank looks in return. Only one other girl had even heard of them, and she grew up to a different album that meant nothing to me.

So it was like a warm homecoming when my sister Maren gave me the CD for my birthday this year. We put it on immediately and both families - all six kids and four adults - started to dance and laugh and dance some more to the rockin' beats. Hazel pointed to the girl in the silver cap, much as I had at her age, and said, "She must be the queen!"

So I've been playing Boney M as my make-dinner music. The girls have latched on to it, and one song in particular: Rasputin. You know the story. Or maybe you don't. No reason you should. I'm pretty sure the only Russian history I've ever learned came from this song, which is not impressive. Here's the wiki link if you really want to know. ("Oh, those Russians...")

Anyway, the song is crazy fun. Put traditional Russian-sounding tunes to a disco beat, and the story of a kind of madman/charlatan/loverboy/politician into 70's slang, and you have really got something special. In the song, his name is pronounced, "Rass-pyoo-teen", so the girls call it "Rescue Team." The sex and intrigue references are over their heads, but Hazel picks up enough to know it is about a person, so he must be a superhero. And in one line he is referred to as a "cat" so Ginger thinks Rescue Team>Diego>Baby Jaguar>cat, so it all makes sense! They ask for it (on repeat, naturally) every evening and spend 15, 20, sometimes close to an hour marching/dancing around the coffee table to the music. Ginger's favorite part is the chorus:

Rah, Rah, Rasputin, lover up the Russian queen
There was a cat who really was gone
Rah, Rah, Rasputin, Russia's greatest love machine
It was a shame how he carried on

I watch them and think back 30 years to me and my sisters doing the EXACT same dancing to the EXACT same song. Some things are really worth passing on. Boney M has just made it one more generation. Rah, rah!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Snow Madness

Posting things a bit out of order here. Eventually I will write about my birthday. In the meantime, I just had to post some pics from all the snow. It was seriously crazy. Combined with our 2-foot storm in December, it has officially been the snowiest winter in DC since they started recording in 1899.

#1 Feb 3-4 A couple of inches, enough to cancel school one day and throw everyone off just a little.
#2 Feb 5-7 A massive dumping - started out slow, picked up speed overnight and unloaded for 30+ hours. We got about 22 inches; other areas got up to 3 feet.#3 Feb 9-10 Another hefty dump - we got about 8 to 10 more; just north of us got even more. I think this one was even officially called a blizzard because of the high winds.

The combination of #2 and #3 closed school for an entire week. The federal government was closed almost all week. Don't get me started on what happened when they reopened. Potholes, visibility and lanes hindered by mountains of snow, absolutely no street parking, major issues with Metro (so what's new?) A complete disaster. Local governments are already over-budget on plowing and salt. Fire stations, post offices, schools and other cheap public buildings sustained major roof damage, some collapsing.

We lost power for about 10 hours during storm #2. It went out overnight and was pretty cold when we woke up. But we bundled up, had cold cereal for breakfast. Ed shoveled a path to the shed for some firewood (it was a cozy thought even though our fireplaces don't seem to provide any actual warmth.) We played some board games and I started to make my way through a huge pile of magazines I've been meaning to look at. The girls got to use their princess flashlights they got for Christmas. I panicked a little when the fridge started to smell - to lose all that food I stocked up on! But then the power came back on late morning and in the end it wasn't a big deal. Especially compared to people we saw on the news who were without power for 4 days or more. Ed's boss in McLean moved her whole family to a hotel for the duration.

But I promised pictures so here they are!

Saturday morning, Feb. 6 when we woke up. I thought it was so amazing that Ed's car (across the street) was almost buried. Little did I know it was just the beginning:
Ed and the girls got out in the snow almost every day. Ginger's stamina is pretty good for a 3-year-old but Hazel is a complete Eskimo! She could stay out in it ALL DAY (if she never had to pee.) I'm so glad I took action after the December storm and got her some proper snow pants, boots and mittens:
Sunday, Feb. 7:
Ed's car on Feb. 7:
By the time storm #3 came around things were getting a little desperate, so we built a blanket fort. Gave the girls a whole day of entertainment (the picnic lunch inside was especially popular):
After or during storm #3:
Ed's car on Feb. 10:
Remember that snowman from this post? Here he is five days later:
And check out this igloo our friends made - they even slept in it!

Me, I like being snowed in. Everything is cancelled. No obligations, no errands, no schedules. No having to worry about what to wear (it's getting pretty bad at 7 months pregnant.) I'm a home body. It's not like I got a lot done. Having everyone home all day makes more work for Mom - food to make, entertainment to provide, messes to clean. I still liked it, though. I hope it snows again soon!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Valentine's Factory

The preschool Valentine's Party was supposed to be last Friday. But the entire region was still recovering from "Snowmageddon" (not my invented term) so school was cancelled. Monday was Presidents' Day holiday so the party was rescheduled for today. Again, school was cancelled. So it's rescheduled for tomorrow. Luckily preschoolers totally don't care that it's a few days late. It's a party and Valentine's Day, at least to my girls, is particularly exciting. So much pink and love!

The preschool Nazis sent out an email asking that children bring a Valentine for each child in the class (OK) but no candy (BOO!) I promptly planned to ignore that and make big heart cookies - generously decorated with candy - for each kid. Then I came across these adorable ideas and thought I'd do one of them instead, just to try something new:

Valentine's Oreo Pops

But with all the scheduling uncertainty, and my lack of getting to the craft store for supplies during all the snowstorms, I decided yesterday we would just have to go a more simple route this year. Simple meaning non-perishable homemade Valentine's cards, not simple meaning pointless store-bought Spongebob "cards" that you just put your name on. I hate those.

I'm not a scrapbooker or otherwise paper artist. But I did have a stack of cardstock, some red heart paper doilies in the craft basket, and a huge pad of 12x12 scrapbook paper I bought once and have used for a surprising variety of projects. Such pretty paper. I also scrounged up some unopened (= not dried out) tubes of glitter glue in the craft supplies, which to Hazel is like the Holy Grail of art supplies. Also picked up some stickers at the grocery checkout earlier this week.

It took a few hours, and a massive amount of redirecting, but Hazel and I (and at the end, Ginger) managed to crank out 16 of these custom beauties. It was all worth it when Hazel would pick one up, look at it critically, and proclaim which classmate it should be for. Then she would set about decorating with glitter and stickers with that person in mind.
"I just know ***** will feel my love when she sees this!"

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

See's Dream Box

Today's my birthday. I am off on a fun adventure with my mom and girls - it does involve cupcakes - so I can't take all your calls and well-wishes personally, but they are important to me. Feel free to leave them here.

About a week ago, as I was polishing off the box of See's dark chocolate assortment I got from the preschool Christmas fundraiser, I realized that what I really need is a custom box. I like almost all chocolates in a box (except cordials and fruity nougat and the occasional unidentifiable filling), but definitely some more than others. Unfortunately See's does not make the Disco Mom Assortment for general distribution. Luckily, they do make custom boxes, available in stores and online.

So with my birthday today, and Valentine's Day fast approaching, I created my dream box - for your reference, for my reference, for ED'S REFERENCE. If you ever want to get me something, but just not sure what, this is a good place to start.

You can only pick 10 kinds, and I would like them in pretty even amounts (maybe 1 or 2 more of the Bordeaux's and Orange Creams than others.) After drooling on the keyboard as you scroll down, click the link to see all the options.

#4 Dark Vanilla Cream
#7 Almond Square

#9 Dark Bordeaux (wow, yum)

#26 Scotchmallow

#36 Orange Cream

#37 Strawberry Cream

#34 Caramel with Almonds
#74 Peanut Butter Patties

#75 Dark California Brittle

And one of the following:
#10 Pecan Buds

#38 Raspberry Cream

Nice, right? Obviously everyone's perfect mix will be different. If you are so inclined, go to See's and tell us all which 10 are in your dream box?
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