Sunday, February 28, 2010

Never Said Never

There are few things or people I like less in this world than car dealers.  I don't want to 'get to know you'.  I don't want to fill out any paper work or share with you my children's names or hear about the deals you have a on a coupe.  I want to see and test drive your cars.  I don't want you to come with me and I don't want to make small talk about the weather, local television or what colors of car you like.  Embarking on this journey makes my skin crawl.

I am not sure when my sporty and pretty big (or so I thought) SUV turned into a sardine can but it has.  It's not a crossover or a a small SUV, it's a Pathfinder.  It's big.  It's got three rows of seats and a big engine.  And right now, it may as well be a two door convertible.  I think when carseats entered the picture the car shrank exponentially and now that we're at the end of the lease nothing smaller than my living room is an acceptable size.

I never said never.  I have lots of friends who have said "I will never drive a minivan".  Most of those friends now drive minivans.  So, I never said never.  It is a possibility.  It's not one I'm crazy about.  See, I never fancied myself the minivan type.  Does anyone?  I know a few people who couldn't get a minivan soon enough.  I am not that person.  However, I do not know anyone who does not absolutely hands down, without question, categorically, undeniably love their minivan. 

I have always fancied myself a big SUV driver.  Never a minivan.  However, if you're unfamiliar with the benefits a minivan now offeqrs you should look before you judge.  I picture myself in the rain with a cart full of groceries, Cannon on my hip and another baby (eventually, don't get excited) in tow.  Does the ability to push a button to open the doors and get out of the rain make up for the uncool stigma that goes with a minivan?  What about the ability to get to your kids on a road trip without pulling over?  Or all the bells and whistles they come with now?  Touch screen navi, rear cameras, sensors, dvd players, bluetooth, satellite radio, I could go on. 

The other option is a big SUV, I mean BIG.  A Tahoe or a Sequoia are at the top of my list.  They have plenty of space and all the toys (except the automatic doors).  I see myself in one of them.  But at this point, is it about me?  Probably not. 

The good news is that we have time.  We don't have to make the big minivan decision until this summer.  I do know that whatever we get will within days be covered in juice, goldfish, chicken nuggets and other undesirables.

The Best part?  They all have new car smell.  Except the used ones.

Birthday Wrap

We indulged.  We laughed.  We celebrated.  It was a great weekend with my parents.  They have so  much fun playing with Cannon and he loves them SO much.  He's still asking for them even though they're gone. 

It's hard when they leave.  But living closer to home isn't an option for us right now and actually we're pretty lucky that we're only about 6 hours from them.  But nothing will make you cry like your son reaching for his "Doobie" because he doesn't want him to leave.  We made some great memories and even went to the aquarium with 10,000 of Cincinnati's finest.  Fish AND people watching, two for one! 





What's that?  Presents?  Oh yeah.  Well my fancy camera is my birthday present from Dan.  So now maybe I'll take a class or a few lessons to get better.  My mom and dad got me some great earrings and some new stuff for the house and cash for 'sussies'.  I would be remiss if  Ididn't mention the posters I woke up to Friday morning made by my wonderful husband. 









And of course there was cake! 3 kinds actually.  And Ted Drewes (a St. Louis delicacy that you would be a fool to miss if you're ever in St. Louis).  And yes, I made a wish and yes I managed to blow out ALL the candles at once.




The Best part?  We are blessed with wonderful family we can laugh, cry, shop, eat, and play with.  So lucky.  So very lucky.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

29 Candles

In just a couple days (2 to be exact) I will celebrate my first annual 29th birthday.  29.  That means next year the number will start with a '3'.  Ugh. 

Don't get me wrong, I'm still excited about my birthday.  I always get excited about it.  I blame my parents for taking birthdays well beyond the normal realm of celebration.  When I turned 13 they barricaded me in my room with a sign that said 'Don't come out until you're no longer a teenager'.  For my 16th my mom had a giant cake made and brought it to school.  18 a limo and dinner at The Ritz.  I celebrated my 21st in Europe (I was living there at the time) which was anti-climactic over there cause 21 means nothing to them (probably avoided alcohol poisoning that way). 

So, 29.  Eh.  Here's the problem.  Even though I'm a wife and a mom, I still feel like I can hang with the kids.  It's not true.  I can't hang with them.  I'm several years and life experiences removed from college.  More than a decade removed from high school.  I just don't see myself as 'old'.  BUT when I was in high school and college, I saw people my age as old. 

So, here's to my last year in my 20's.  Here's to celebrating all the things this 29 year old has in her life.  Here's to life in suburbia and being a wife and a mom.  Here's to being seen as 'old' by college kids. Here's to the work my mom did (the likes of which I had zero appreciation for until I gave birth) to bring me into this world 29 years ago.  Here's to 29.  I wouldn't change a thing.

Bubbles and Doobie (my parents) are coming to town for the weekend!  Can't wait!

The Best part?  Dan will always be older. :)

Sunday, February 21, 2010

It's about time.

60.  60 degrees.  Outside.  Thank the Lord.  Bye bye snow. 

It was nothing short of a gorgeous, snow melting, zoo adventuring Sunday with the Best part.  We walked right into the penguin march which was amazing and had basically the whole zoo to ourselves.  Perfection.













The Best part?  The snow is melting!

Friday, February 19, 2010

To. Die. For.

It's not often I come across a recipe so delish that I feel inclined to share it.  This one is amazing.  Seriously.  (I know my mom thinks it sounds gross, I will be making it for her next weekend to prove her wrong). 

Credit where credit is due, this is my SIL Jen's recipe.  No idea where she got it.  If she created it she is a genius.  I don't think she did though.  :) And to clarify, no, I don't often take pictures of our dinner.  However, I was giving the recipe to some friends and they requested pictures.  So, the blog has pictures.  Don't judge.

Marinated Cheese
Ingredients:
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup white wine vinegar
1 2oz. jar diced pimentos, drained
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
3 tablespoons minced green onion
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon of sugar
3/4 teaspoon basil
1 block sharp cheddar
8oz. cream cheese
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon of pepper

Directions: Combine all ingredients except cheeses.  Put into a jar and shake vigorously.  Slice cheese and stack, one slice cheddar one slice cream cheese (this is where you'll appreciate the pictures).  Pour marinade over the cheese and refridgerate for at least 8 hours.  Remove about 30 minutes before serving.

Serve with crackers or bread.






The Best part?  What's not to like?

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Spreading joy

We've established that Cannon is a talker.  He comes by it honestly.  We are talkers.  Few things bring a smile to my face as much as taking him places.

Yesterday we went to the grocery store (one of the ones that has cars in front of the cart) and I'm not kidding, everyone, every single person we walked by either heard a cheerful and loud 'hi!' or 'vroom!' or 'yay!' or 'weeee!'.  The only time he was quiet was when he was eating the cookie we got from the bakery (a time honored tradition).  Leaving was another story.  He did not want to get out of the car/cart.  Shocking.  I told Dan he threw a small fit as we walked to the car and Dan said "so did you have to get the car/cart?" to which I responded "why in the world would I deprive people of the joy he brings when he's excited?"  Yes, I know, it's not nearly as cute to strangers as it is to us.

Our trip to story time at the library was similar.  After each story/ song/ book he cheered and clapped and stood up with excitement.  I mean what library storytime leader doesn't want that kind of encouragement?  I would. 

The Best part?  He is so happy. 

Dude, Layoff

I don't read Vanity Fair.  And, it's a rare occasion that I include a 'newsy' story on the blog but this time, I feel compelled.  An opinion (I'm not knocking this guy's right to express his opinion, I am merely expressing mine) article a columnist named A. A. Gill (wonder if he's related to A. A. Milne.. tut tut... looks like rain) writes about the Creation Museum.

If you've never heard of it, the Creation Museum is randomly located like 10 minutes from our house and is a literal walk through the book of Genesis.  It would make Charles Darwin roll over in his grave.  It's complete with animatronics that rival those of Disney World and depicts people living with dinosaurs.  Fine.  Whatever.  Everyone believes something different.  These people are making a fortune off of home schoolers and Bible beaters who can finally say to their kids 'see, we told you this is what happened'.  I've been.  Three times.  Twice for work, once for entertainment purposes.  My real frustration with the place is the demonetization of anyone who doesn't believe the literal translation of Genesis.  AIDS, famine, Nazi Germany all happened because people don't believe, according to the Creation Museum.  Anyway.

A. A. Gill didn't like the Creation Museum.  I don't care.  I don't like it either.  What bothers me about the article is the opening line: "It’s not in the nature of stoic Cincinnatians to boast, which is fortunate, really, for they have meager pickings to boast about."  Suddenly I'm territorial. 

Greater (I say 'Greater' cause we live in the burbs, in Kentucky...) Cincinnati is our home.  We work here and have lived here going on five years now.  When you travel from small town to small town for years, putting roots down in a metropolitan area and staying there and buying a house there and having a baby there, makes this home.  So layoff A. A..

Cincinnati is a hidden gem, I think.  Two professional sports teams, a fabulous aquarium and zoo, several museums (The Museum Center, Underground Railroad Freedom center, even The Creation Museum, Art Museum, the list goes on), some really fabulous restaurants, 52 neighborhoods each with it's own identity, growth in every direction, major corporations hq'd here, I could go on.  There are a lot of cities with a lot less to 'boast' about Mr. Gill. 

He's not the first one to knock the Nati.  Mark Twain famously said "When the world ends I want to be in Cincinnati because everything happens there 10 years later.".  We survived that tongue lashing, we'll survive this one.

I will just suggest to Mr. Gill that rather than judging us based on a Bible lovers paradise, take some time to see what the Queen City really offers.  If you eat a steak at Jeff Ruby's, take in a show at the Aranoff, see the shark rays at the aquarium, check out the latest exhibit at the Museum Center and have a few drinks in Mount Adams, and still don't like it, fine.  You win. 

The Best part?  Anyone who goes by 'A. A.' is probably named Arnold or Agamemnon.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Inspiration



I am an inspiration.  An 'inspirer'.  I am humble too.

My brother, Ross, has started blogging (yep, the same one who was the inspiration for this post)!  How freaking fun is that?  His first post includes a couple shout outs to 'the Best part' so I thought I'd plug him! 



Check it out, he's funny, and he's a trainer and promises to offer training tips.


The Best part?  Ross having a bunch of chick and mommy bloggers as followers :)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Over. It. For real.

We do not live in Wisconsin or northern Canada, or the North Pole.

After spending the entire 10 hours of my workday today in the snow, I am done.  Done.  Done.  Done.  Right now we have like 15 inches on the ground which is 15 too many. 

Just so you get the idea...








More pics to come, prettier ones, when I stop being mad at the snow.

The Best part?  Spring can't be that far away.... it can't.  It just can't.

Friday, February 12, 2010

14 days of Television Bliss

Bienvenue Vancouver.  I love it.


There is something about the Olympics that makes my heart happy.  I love it.  I have always loved it.  It is such a celebration of patriotism and world togetherness it gives me goosebumps.

When else are all of the world's finest athletes in one place to celebrate their talent and strive for the ultimate?  A gold medal.  They aren't the highest paid ones.  Most of them don't boast huge sponsorships or endorsements.  They don't have deals with Pepsi or Nike.  They have devoted their lives for this one moment.  For this one challenge.  They have sacrificed time with their families, holidays, friendships, some things most of us take for granted like a high school prom or your college graduation.  For this moment.  For the honor of wearing their country's flag and representing not a team, or a franchise but their country.  The place they came from.  Some wear the flag of countries where life is more different and difficult than most of us know or could ever imagine.  They are heroes in their homeland. 

I don't know who's on the US hockey team, mens or womens.  I can't tell you the names of the curling stars.  It doesn't matter.  I love the stories.  Of triumph, heartbreak, and I love tearing up when you see an athlete stand on that podium and hear their country's national anthem.  Pride. 

We went to the Games in 1996 in Atlanta.  We saw some basketball (the 'dream team' being the exception to the rule above about endorsements and large paychecks), and some track.  We saw Michael Johnson set the world record in the 100 meter dash (which I'm pretty sure Usain Bolt blew away in Beijing).  It was awesome.  I even had an Olympic themed Swatch Watch (that's right, I said it).  I'm pretty sure I'd die and go to heaven if we could figure out how to go to London in 2012.

There is something about Bob Costas, Matt Lauer, and company telling stories of 'what it took to get here'. 

I love the pride I see shining in Vancouver tonight.  Oh, Canada.  Here's to you tonight. 

A few facts I learned tonight that I find facsinating:
There are more people living in California than in Canada.
90 % of Canadians live on the Canada- America border.
There are places in Canada where temperatures as low as 81 below have been recorded.
Canadians took in more than 200 American flights of people on September 11.  Fed them, took care of them, when our country was hemorrhaging.

So here's to the world's finest athletes who have sacrificed, and worked harder than any of us can imagine for this one moment.  Here's to dreams coming true.  Here's to athletes becoming heroes.  Here's to Bob Costas and Tom Brokaw and all of NBC's finest telling the stories only they can tell.  Here's to two weeks of phenomenal television.  Here's to a South American country winning a medal in the Winter Games for the first time ever.  And on a slightly more catty note, here's to Ralph Lauren's fabulous designs for the American gear.

The Best part?  The Azerbaijan's pants (google it if you didn't see them, it's a country apparently in Europe that borders Georgia, Russia, Iran and Armenia), Bermuda's shorts, curling, and pride.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I mean 'shoot'!

Banana.  Mama.  Da-DEE.  Elmo.  Shoe.  Boot.  Hat.  Hot.  Doggie.  Bubbles. Doobie.  Nose.  Eye.  Mwah.  Pancake.  Ernie.  Ball.  Basketball.  Bye bye.  Hi!  Water.  Fishy.  Truck.  Vroom!  Plane.  Amy (his teacher).  Show.  Snow.  TeeVee.  Cheese.  Sweep.  Cookie.  Table.  Brocoli.  Tuck. Yucky.  Pretty.  Play.  Book.  Back.  Whoa!  Yay!  Row row.  Hot dog.  Bite.  Hug.  Yummy.  Toe.  Blue.  White.  Ross.  Red.  Down.  Jump.  Night night.  Ride.  Side.  Pig.  No.  Blanket.  Animal.

Some of those require parental translation but lately Cannon is a chatterbox.  He doesn't cry when he wakes up from naps, he just talks.  Sometimes it's like he can't control himself and he goes through every single word he knows in a matter of seconds. 

He repeats EVERYTHING we say.  Yep, everything.  This story will suprise no one who knows me.  I spilled the dog's water yesterday.  A quick, emphatic 'shit' escaped from my lips.  And not 2 seconds later the same emphatic word came out of the mouth of my 17 month old.  Neat.

It is so fun to look at him and see his little brain going a million miles a minute.  Love it.

The Best part?  Fortunately for me, he can't quite make the 'eff' sound just yet.  Then we'll be in big trouble.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Scissor Skills

You remember the scissors.  You know, the ones that you could have (could have, not saying you should) run the blade along your tongue and not shed a tear.  They're usually two different colors and if you're a leftie, you're SOL.  Ah, scissors.  I was reminded this weekend of a story that has lived on for decades in my family.

Preschool was in a Methodist church and my parents got called in to the 'principal's office' one day.  A very concerned preschool director told my Mom and Dad that my scissor skills were not even close to those of a normal five year old.  The way the story is retold goes something like this: "Your Mom and I looked at the director, and told her we'd be going.  'Corey is two.'"  So I was tall, apparently I passed for a five year old.  Perhaps my verbal skills were way advanced (clearly destined for a life in television). 

I was reminded of this story as I questioned my current 'scissor skills' while preparing crafts to make Valentines for the Grandparents.  Cutting out hearts.  Shouldn't be hard.  Fold the paper in half, cut the heart out.  I was never good at art.  I am still not good.  The good news is that it doesn't matter.  Cannon doesn't know the difference between a symetrical and asymetrical heart.  The grandparents may but will be so blown away by his artistic skill level and the glitter they won't notice my poor scissor skills.  Maybe the preschool was on to something.










The Best part?  Glitter in the mouth, marker in the mouth, glue in the mouth, it's like he kissed all the Valentines.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

The Name Game

For obvious reasons, it's rare that we encounter another little boy named Cannon.  In fact I can count the number of times on one hand. 

Two. 

One time we were in Vero Beach and there was a Kanon (pronounced the same way) at the other table.  His middle name was "Ridge" which is a name Dan still likes.  I do not hug trees, therefore we will not ever name a child "Ridge". 

The other time was today at the Children's Musuem.  He was older than our Cannon and his mom (possibly Grandma) said to me, vis a vis, the following (Friends reference).  "It's not very often that we meet another Cannon!  Do you call yours 'Cannon ball' all the time like we do?".  Trying not to laugh, roll my eyes, or be rude, I respond "Nope, we don't."  And scene.

We know that Cannon is not a common name.  It's one of the reasons we chose it.  It's hard to find in baby books, won't show up on any 'Top 10 baby names of the year' list and it's unique.  And it fits our little boy perfectly.  I remember my parents saying "don't you think they'll call him a loose Cannon?" and "Everyone will think of that TV show" (These comments from people who named a GIRL Corey in the early 80's).  Unless he grows up to be a crazy tempered loon, I think we'll be fine.  Oh, and that TV series called Cannon, went off the air in 1976.  Pretty sure none of his peers will make refernce to it.  Now, I know they love his name cause they love him. 

We still get mixed reactions from people which is absolutely fine with me.  Some love it, some hate it.  The beauty of it is, we don't care.  He's not a Carter or a Cole (two other names we liked) or a John or even a Dan.  We're not big on traditional names and won't ever be (plus, you can't name one of your kids Cannon and the other Joe, it just won't work).  He is Cannon Rhys. 

So, what's in a name?  When you search for Cannon on baby name lists it's an 'official of the church, no reference to firearms'.  And Rhys is Welch and means 'enthusiasm, passion'.  I can think of no better middle name for him.  We obviously didn't pick Cannon cause of the religious undertones, seeing as we haven't been to church since Christmas eve 2008 (religion is a whole other post about how I pray and I believe but don't think I have to go anywhere to do that).  We picked both names because we love them both and when we saw him (yes we waited until he was born) it was obvious that he was Cannon Rhys. 

The Best part?  Rest assured we will never call him Cannon Ball.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Genius

In Cannon's classroom at school (fine, it's daycare, but we call it school) they have family pictures up on the wall.  Today when Dan picked Cannon up the teacher told him that he was standing next to our picture, pointing to yours truly, saying 'pretty'. 

Love him.  He is the smartest 17 month old around. 

The Best part?  Today's new word was 'pretty' and he clearly used it correctly. :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

Snow. Not lava.

I will never laugh about the way Cincinnati handles snowfall again.

48 hours in Raleigh.  2 maybe 3 inches of snow.  A baby shower location shut down due to the 'winter blast'.  Mexicans unable to get to work so we could enjoy chips and cheese (thank goodness for Chinese takeout).  Several bottles of wine and a fabulous baby celebration and girl time.  It was imperfect and totally perfect all at once. 











The Best part?  It was just what we all needed.  :)