Sunday, October 31, 2010

I didn't go out last night

Man, I hate missing costume opportunities. Last night, I didn't go to a witches party. Arguably the best idea EVER: a bunch of moms dressed witchy, descending on a karaoke bar. I went last year and it was a BLAST. I also didn't go to Equity Foundation's fundraiser -- an over-the-top costume party with amazing entertainment, all to support a good cause.

After being gone at work all day I realized my kids needed me at home. So the Daddy Man made grilled cheese sandwiches, and we made ghost candles. I had some feelings of longing when I started seeing the facebook posts from all the parties. I almost experienced a little regret, until I reminded myself how much fun my kids were having. I can't say it was the easiest decision. I'm glad I made the choice I did, but I a little bit feel like I missed out on some super fun last night.

I don't have any glamorous photos of amazing parties, but I do have these awesome ghost candles that we made last night!

 Here's my silly Girl Child, wearing an infant-size pumpkin costume:
 More ghosts...
 And a few of the jack-o-lantern candles we made last week:
Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Wordless Wednesday: Penguin Parade!

OK, so MOSTLY wordless...

Craft (as tested by my kids last weekend):

Jesuit High School is putting on a play called, "Nunsense," so of course we needed Nuns Having Fun at the Penguin Parade:
What's a quirky parade without a 6' tall Humboldt penguin?
With the band, our beloved Sneakin' Out:

And of course, the cute little birds themselves, safely paraded and deposited in their new, temporary home:

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Crafty Kids

My job at the zoo has been a blast since I started nearly 12 years ago, but I have to say it's even more fun now that I have kids of my own. Instead of planning fun events for "kids," I'm planning fun events for MY kids. So much cooler. It hasn't really changed what I do, it's just a bit more fun for me. (I'm so relieved that I didn't have some giant lightbulb moment after having my own kids — "OH! So THAT's what kids like!")

It first hit me last August when I was planning a first birthday party for Samudra, the Asian Elephant. I planned what toddlers would think was fun, based on what my toddlers thought was fun: cupcakes & bouncy houses! It was a blast for me, and my kids -- along with thousands of other kids -- got to celebrate right along with the elephant. Here's more on Sam.

So next Wednesday, we are having a Penguin Parade. The penguins are moving into a temporary home while we make significant improvements to their water filtration system. The parade is a way of letting people know where to find the penguins for the next 6 months or so, but it's also just a fun celebration that we're able to do such important upgrades.  As a way of inviting kids to "be" penguins and participate in the parade, we're making little penguin hand puppets. It seemed liked a good idea, but now I have my own little test subjects, so we tested out the craft.

Good news! It works! The kids loved it, although the black bags I ordered are less than great. But it works.

Also, The Boy-child thought one of the eyeballs should go on the belly, and The Girl-child thought the beak should face sideways instead of pointing down. Whatevs!

I think all the kids at the zoo next Wednesday will love it. 

Here are the deets on the Penguin Parade, in case you'd like to join us!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Fall colors

Oh, it seemed to take so long, but now the trees are really changing colors. So gorgeous, every day I am stopped in my tracks to admire this leaf or that tree. I just love it. We Portlanders have been so blessed with this sunny weather, it makes the colorful trees all the more beautiful.
Here are a few pics I took while walking around the zoo today.
I was planning to do pumpkin carving and Halloween crafts with the kiddles this weekend, I may have to work in some pretty leaf activities as well...

 Enjoy this beautiful Autumn!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Brussels Sprouts

I love them.
They're a seasonal delight, and popping up at my favorite farmers' market. So I've bought stalks the last two weeks... and then they sit there. I love them! Why don't I prepare them? I feel so guilty when they sit there, reminding me to eat more veggies. They're stalking me (pun intended) every time I go in the kitchen.
Brussels sprouts are a commitment, though. The way I love to eat them takes a little bit of work to prepare.

The recipe, courtesy of my darling friends April & Yashi, is this:
Cut the ends off each bulb and peel the little leaves off. Yes, take apart each little bulb. I usually cut it in half to facilitate the decimation.
Place all the little leaves in a baking dish.
Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper.
Sometimes I sprinkle freshly grated parmigiano on, sometimes I wait until they come out of the oven.
Bake at 400ยบ for about 40 minutes, stirring up occasionally.

When they come out of the oven, I often just stand over the baking dish and eat them right there -- it's so good, I can't even wait to put them on a plate.

But you can see why it's a bit of a commitment, right? Who has an hour to commit to a vegetable?
Actually, my early morning running date just got canceled this morning... maybe I should go tackle those Brussels sprouts. I'll feel virtuous despite not running... :)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Mostly Mommyhood, plus some Other Musings.: a rant on voice mail

Mostly Mommyhood, plus some Other Musings.: a rant on voice mail: "Voicemail. Let's review: You call me up, but I don't answer. You spend... oh, let's say 45 seconds leaving me a message. That is, of course,..."

a rant on voice mail

Voicemail. Let's review:
You call me up, but I don't answer. You spend... oh, let's say 45 seconds leaving me a message. That is, of course, after having to listen to me saying, "Hi, this is Krista, this is the socially accepted amount of time for me to leave an outgoing message, any shorter and you'd think I was rude. Thanks!"
Back to your message.
So you talk for, say, 45 seconds. If I'm lucky. More likely, you identify yourself, recite your phone number (usually too quickly, but whatevs), state where you are calling from, and why you think your band should be hired by me to play at the zoo. I mean, why you are calling. (sorry, half of my calls are from prospective bands. The other half are from prospective vendors. The other half are from people wanting free tickets to the zoo. The other half... wait... Nobody told me there'd be math!)
Back to your voicemail message.
You say your:
Phone number (spoken quickly)
Where you're calling from
Reason you're calling.
"please call me back"
(and this is the part that KILLS me)
"Once again, here's m y  n a m e, phonenumber, r e a s o n  w h y   I' m  c a l l i n g . "
Why the repetition??
So I then have to listen to your voicemail. And then play it back 2-3 times because the one part you talked fast during was your phone number.
All in all, it takes me 5 minutes to listen to and WRITE DOWN your voicemail message. That should have only taken 30 seconds. And then I still have to call you back... and probably get your voicemail.
It's insane.
BUT PEOPLE... if we'd just lose voicemail, think of all the frustration we could avoid.  Let's kill voicemail! You want something from me? Great -- put it in an email, and I have it in writing. You want to tell me something? I'm all ears... I mean eyes. Put it in writing, please.

You want to tell me you love me? AWESOME! If you can't tell me person, by all means -- leave me a voicemail. I'll make an exception for you.

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, October 18, 2010

Embrace the now.

My four-year-old daughter was being silly (as usual), and she said, "When I'm your age..."
I didn't even hear the rest of what she said, because I realized that when she is my age, I'll be 74. About once a month, I have a panic attack -- did I wait too long to have kids? I was 34 when my girl was born. I have two lovely, charming children (mostly!), and I swear I draw on every ounce of experience and maturity I have to be the best parent I can be. I just don't think I was ready to be a parent any younger. So I have to accept the fact that there are trade-offs. I think I'm a much better person at almost 40 than I was at almost 30. I sure hope I'm even better at almost 50, etc. But I had a little heartbreak tonight when I realized that I might not be around to see my daughter reach those same milestones of 40, 50, 60. Well, I dang well better be here for her 40th. But shoot! It kind of makes me wish I hadn't waited so long. All I can do now is be here, present, for as much of my kids' lives as possible.
Also tonight, she said, "Mama, I want to be everywhere that you are!"
I promise to enjoy that while it lasts!
And to exercise more, and eat better... I need to stick around as long as possible.