Monday, October 30, 2006

Knock, knock.....

Greetings friends and family,

It's that time of year again. It's the time of year when I try and hunt down all the addresses that I have managed to write on the back of envelopes and in notebooks. I am getting better at this every year. Last year I even managed to rip the addresses out of the Christmas card envelopes but then I let them sit on a pile near the computer for a few months. I only put a few of them put in the computer before they scattered in the wind and around the house.

Every year the thing that trips me up for Christmas cards is the addressing issue. Right this very second, I still have about 12 cards in an envelope in one of the drawers of the computer desk. I can see them even as I type this. They are waiting for their addresses. This year I am determined to have my cards out by Thanksgiving!! Determined I tell you. I have baby announcements and thank you cards to send too--so it can all go in the same envelope.

So, readers. I humbly ask you all, once again for addresses. I need to announce and thank and send holiday greetings. The best part in this whole sneaky plan is that the the addresses will come via e mail so I can cut and paste them right into the address book. In fact, even if I don't put them in the address book I will still have them in E MAIL!!! Great plan, huh? I should have figured this out last year when I realized that if I e mail myself phone numbers and things I don't want to forget, then I can always find them. This is a sad, sad window into my disorganized soul.

Please send your address to me at rebeccakbingham at yahoo dot com. If you have ever commented here, send your address (unless you are philosophically opposed to mail). If you have commented here, I have read your blog and am probably still reading it--even if I don't ever comment on it. I have never done the old "please de-lurk" post, but this could be fun. Even if you haven't ever commented (MOM!!!!!) send your address.

Happy Halloween everyone. I will post pictures tomorrow........we shaved Mr. T's mohawk yesterday. It is awesome!!!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

A Crazy Halloween.....part one

This year I ran out of time (and energy) and I let Lulu decorate the house for Halloween. I have to say that she did a really good job!! I have a big Rubbermaid box (orange and black of course) that is full of all my Halloween stuff. Pumpkins, witches, ghosts and all the Halloween fabrics I have collected over the years. Some years I get very inspired and think that I am going to sew placemats or make trick or treat bags. Usually it just gets used as a makeshift tablecloth for the kids table. I also keep my Halloween craft stuff in that box. Anything black and orange or purple is in there. Every year when we break out the box, Lauren has a whole new set of art supplies. We have been making ghosts out of lollypops, tulle candy bar necklaces and spiders out of paper plates. If I find myself in need of orange and black during the year, I know right where to go. It might be a round about organization system, but it works for me.

A few years ago I bought a package of artificial pears, apples and pumpkins. They are very small, just a few inches. Their original purpose was to go in an apothocary jar or scattered on the table for fun dinners. What I didn't realize at first is that they have little strings on a Christmas tree decorations. For the last few years, Lauren has hung these pumpkins and apples them on the Japanese Maple that is outside the front door. Our tree is all decked out w/ fruit. This is the same tree we decorate at Christmas, too. This is one of those funny traditions that just sort of happened but Halloween wouldn't be the same with out our tree!!!

We had our annual "Cookie Decorating/Halloween Dinner" a few weeks ago when my brother was here. This was another one of the things I like to do because my mom always did it with us. Lauren's great grandma Thora used to have us come over at the beginning of October and decorate cupcakes every year. This tradition reminds me of the "great and grand" ladies in our life. For dinner I made the standby family favorite--Parmesan Chicken with Polenta with Lemon Greens. This is from the Barefoot Contessa's Family Style cookbook. It is one of those recipe's that you try once and you know you will make for the rest of your life. It isn't very hard but it is SO worth the extra work. If you don't like (or don't have time for) polenta, just do mashed potatoes. You serve this with the polenta or potatoes on the bottom. The chicken placed on top of that and the salad on the chicken. It wilts the greens just a little bit and the sharp lemon of the dressing is balanced by the creaminess of the polenta. In a word. YUM!

Parmesan Chicken
(You will notice, if you ever read my recipe's, that I print them as written and then add my own revisions and comments. What can I say? I like short cuts....)

6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup flour
1 t kosher salt
1/2 t freshly ground pepper
2 extra large eggs
1 1/4 cups seasons dry bread crumbs
1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
Unsalted butter
Good olive oil
Salad greens for 6, washed and spun dry
Lemon vinaigrette

Pound the chicken breasts until they are 1/4 inch thick (I just used the tenders or buy the "thin cut" breasts at the store. I dislike handling meat. When I cater I buy the bags of boneless, skinless breasts and semi-thaw them and then thin slice them, but I charge extra for that! ).
Combine the flour, salt, and pepper on a dinner plate. On a second plate, beat the eggs with 1 tablespoon of water. On a third plate, combine the bread crumbs and 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese (I use more. Sometimes I use the cheap canned stuff, other times I buy the expensive, shredded stuff. They both taste great, but I like the shredded b/c it gives you bigger pieces of crunchy cheese on the end product). Coat the chicken on both sides w/ the flour, then dip both sides in the egg mixture and then dredge in the crumb/cheese mixture, pressing down so that the crumbs and cheese stick. (you can do this part up to a day before and just layer them on a plate with waxed paper in between. This makes this a great recipe for dinner parties b/c you can do it all ahead of time).

Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan (you really do need both because the olive oil alone will smoke too much and the butter will brown and burn if you use it alone...the combo of the two is perfect). Cook 2 or 3 chicken breasts on medium low heat for 2 or 3 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Add more butter and oil and cook the rest of the chicken breasts (this part can make it tricky to make for TONS of people b/c you need to cook it right before you serve it, but in a pinch you can keep the cooked ones in a 200 degree oven).

Toss the greens with the lemon vinaigrette (1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/2 c olive oil, 1/2 t kosher salt, 1/4 fresh ground pepper). Place a mound of salad on each hot chicken breast. Top with extra grated cheese.


1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1 T minced garlic (3 cloves) (I buy the jars of minced garlic at the grocery store. Who am I kidding, I buy the 32 oz jar at Costco, but it keeps forever!).
1 t red pepper flakes
1 t minced fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 t kosher salt
1/2 t black pepper
3 cups chicken stock
2 cups half and half
2 cups milk
2 cups cornmeal
1/2 c good grated Parmesan cheese

(Basically the only important parts of this recipe is the butter and oil, cornmeal and liquid. I usually end up NOT using rosemary, and I just use 4 cups of whole milk--I have it in the house anyway for the kids--and I use bullion instead of stock. It is a really easy basic recipe).

Heat the butter and oil in a large pan. Add garlic, red pepper, rosemary, salt and pepper and saute for 1 minute. Add the chicken stock, half and half and mild and bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and slowly sprinkle the cornmeal onto the hot milk while stirring constantly with a whisk (this step is important...don't dump it all in at once). Cook over low heat, stirring contstantly, for a few minutes until thick and bubbly. Take off the heat and add the cheese. (I usually serve it at this point. Put leftovers in a 9x13 pan and refrigerate. Cut into squares and reheat or grill or fry in a pan w/ a little bit of butter. It will retain its shape. This is another easy, make ahead recipe. You can also just add a little bit of liquid and reheat to make creamy again).


I have never had luck with sugar cookies. They always are too hard to roll out or bake too long in the oven and come out too crunchy. They are not my thing. Design Mom posted a few weeks ago about decorating cookies and posted a recipe for cookies and buttercream frosting. I decided to try them one more time before giving up forever and just doing the break and bake Pillsbury ones.

Holy Halloween. The dough wasn't too sticky to roll out. The cookies cut like a dream and kept their shape when I transferred them to the pan. I under baked them just slightly and they came out pale golden and stayed soft. Not so soft that they broke when you put 1 pound of candy on them, like Lu did, but soft enough that they melt in your mouth. Have I sold you yet? Here is the recipe. Thanks to Design Mom's friend that posted the recipe on her site....

Best Sugar Cookies

2 c. sugar
1 c. butter
1 c. milk
2 eggs
7 c. flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. b.s.
4 tsp. b.p.
2 tsp. vanilla
Preheat oven to 375-400 degrees
(it just depends on the oven experiment)
Roll out to about 1/4 inch thick on floured surface.
Bake for 5-6 minutes (on greased cookie sheet) until very pale
(do not overcook, this also takes some experimenting).

Buttercream Frosting:
3 c. powdered sugar
1 c. butter
1 tsp. vanilla
Beat with electric mixer for approx. 5 minutes, until light and fluffy.

Start with sugar cookies....

Add several colors of buttercream.....

Don't forget the candy..........

Mix with two happy kids......... crazy uncle.....

...and a liberal dose of whining and crying
(Norah had a GREAT time....)

This boy is not dumb. He just wanted to eat the candy.
And that is exactly what he did.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Please bring my children





or this....

I am in LOVE. These are from Robeez and Babylicious. They have so many cute things. I am giving Santa a list because I am pretty sure he won't be able to bring me what I really want. That is for Jacob to keep his DIAPER ON during naptime, or any time really. If that kid hands me one more diaper (and doesn't matter what clothes he is in or how many layers...he pulls them out of his neck.....turtlenecks are in his future...). I do the sheets twice a day. You may think that this means he is ready to potty train, but you would be wrong. He needs to be able to talk to do that. Oh, and understand what I tell him. What do you do with a child that has decided he no longer wants to sit in his own waste, but that is about all he can do? Sigh.

I'll settle for the Robeez. Ironically, he hasn't figured out how to get those off.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

A gift for my readers.....

This Monday I am going to give you all a gift. I am going to let you relive your youth in 6 minutes. This video is called the evolution of dance. It is 6 minutes long. Watch it. I promise it will make you giggle. This guy is funny. I especially liked the part in the middle (that is my middle school/high school time). He has songs and dances that I forgot I know. Grab a Diet Coke (or Diet Pepsi for you MCP) and lock the kids in the living room. Sit back and prepare to laugh a little. I promise that you won't be sorry.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

3 Moths Ago...

The house is quiet, sort of. Derek is coaching Lu's game, Jacob is in front of Elmo and the baby is sitting on my lap as I type kicking her little legs and singing. I just realized that today is her three month birthday. Has it only been three months? It feels like it sometimes, but we can't remember what it was like before Miss Norah joined our family. She is really getting a personality (diva) and starting to loose the little baby look and become a real girl. She has huge eyes, beautiful Angelina Jolie-esque lips and the biggest afro ever. So. much. hair. Lauren still doesn't have this much hair. I can feel it starting to change just a little bit. The very fine, straight baby stuff is falling out and we are left with perfect curls that beg to be touched (hence..the afro). We can't stop petting her hair. Jacob does it, Lu does it, Derek and I do it. Even she likes to grab on to it. And, last night she rolled over for the first time. She can go from front to back. She pushes up, tucks her arm under, leans her giant head to the side and bam...she is over. What a smart baby.

Before we know it the holidays season will be over and we will be FINALIZING!! I can't believe it. I have to go now. Jacob found Lulu's stash of Pixie stickes (in Tinkerbell packaging...Genius, huh?) and he has opened one, eaten it, gagged on it (because it is sour..he will eat jalapenos and pepperoni but doesn't like sour) and now the powder has stuck to his drool covered chest (I hadn't dressed him from his bath...ghetto baby, I know). Blue power is about to be distributed all over the house. Stinker.

This is Nori wearing Lulu's blessing dress. We will have pictures of N in her own dress soon...

This is the hair a month ago. It has doubled since then....

Although this looks like baby torture, I take her picture in this same child sized rocking chair every month so we can show how much she has grown....

Thursday, October 19, 2006

A question for you, readers...

I have stated before that I am not really sure what this blog is about. Some blogs are about adoption, some are about kids, some are about saying what you feel strongly about. Some are mommy blogs, others are home schooling blogs. You get the idea. I have seen some beautiful writing and have several on my favorites list that highlight design, baby products, clothes, adoption journeys, infertility journeys, craft's, etc. I just figured out how to do a blogroll and will be listing the blogs I visit really soon.

Mine is about...not much of anything really. My blog is the 5th year senior that is majoring in "undecided". Mostly, it is nice to write and have some time to process things in my mind. It is really helpful to have "computer writing time" on my schedule because it helps me keep up the sites I have for the families of Cubby and Squeaky. I do their stuff first and I often don't have time for the Crazy site. It is also nice to have a project that has a beginning, middle and end. This is something that I don't get much of in the hamster wheel of mommy-hood. I miss that part about working.

I write lots of entries that don't ever get published. Nor should they b/c they are usually overly emotional and ridiculous. Writing does help me to get things out of my system. I am prone to periods of "the blues". There are certain times of my life that I feel like the weight of the world, and all the sadness of the world is residing on my shoulders and I am not doing enough to make things better. I am not raising enough money. I am not being proactive enough about getting my "message" out there. Especially after I have spent large amounts of time doing Africa stuff. I need to get things off my chest and out of my brain so that I can think again and not just feel hurt and helpless. Here is where you come in, reader. We have all heard much of the hoopla about Madonna adopting a child from Malawi. I have seen articles and blogs and anger...oh, the ANGER in adoption-land. I must confess that I have a very unpopular view of the whole thing. Do you want to hear it or are you sick of it already? I know that I am sick of it but I am just curious.

It is either that or details about the trip Lulu and I took to Disneyland (best trip ever). You can hear all about how I had to remind myself that I did NOT have my black children with me and to stop staring at all the BEAUTIFUL black hair I saw there. I saw lots of great styles and 'do's that I wanted to commit to memory. I have become more aware of how much time hair takes and Nori's 5 inch afro is in need of some help. I have been putting head bands w/ bows on her but it is time to braid (do you braid baby hair? Or should I just do afro puffs? hmmmmm). I also would like to apologize to all the folks in Disneyland last week that saw me staring at them. It was out of awe and admiration...but w/out the babies I just looked like a crazy person instead of a white woman who was getting hair inspiration. is up to you readers. Madonna (and risk my blog actually having an opinion and be "about something") or just more kid stuff? Mom, you are not allowed to vote b/c I know you just want pictures of the grandbabies. :-)

P.S. Africa stuff is making me CRAZY this week. It is too much "hard" and not enough "happy" lately. I have some GREAT stuff that will never see the light of day :-)

P.S.S. 20 buck to the first person who knows who Karl Pilkington is............... No googling allowed.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Halloween at the Crazy house..

Look at my pretty pumpkins!!

I found some cool ones called Fairy Tale and Cinderella pumpkins. I love how they all look together. I LOVE LOVE LOVE orange and I am thinking about painting one of my bathrooms orange, but that is another post for another day. I was taking pictures of the pumpkins and thought I would get a head start on the kid Halloween pictures. In fact, I was going to take pictures of Cubby early to send to his brothers so that they would have them BEFORE Halloween. Easy, fun and responsible. Right?

First problem: Jacob won't put down the stupid blue golf club and ball he has been carrying around for days. He likes to hit the baby's bottle w/ the club (not while she is drinking it though). His grandfather is thrilled that he has a potential golf buddy in the works, but I am frankly tired of being smacked with it. Cubby sat in the doorway and perfected his favorite word. No. But he says it in a very snotty 6 year old way. Noooooooooooo. I wonder where he learned that?

Second problem: He is not wearing pants. I can't keep pants on this kid. I can't really keep diapers on him either but that is also an entirely different post.

"JJ come here".


"JJ please come here".


"JJ, let me take picture of you with the pumpkins. Please"?


"JJ, come hit the pumpkins w/ your golf club. Look it is a ball".


"Look Cubby, Elmo is by the pumpkin".


He happily climbs over the pumpkins to find Elmo. Lucky for me his memory is about the same as a goldfish and he has forgotten all about Elmo by the time he climbs to the top.

Third problem: He thinks the pumpkins are balls. We have a sloping driveway and at Halloween it facilitates a new fun game. The game is for him to see how many pumpkins he can roll down the driveway while Mommy is getting Squeaks out of the car. The small ones make perfect projectiles. We are into he throwing stage.

"Cub...Sit there while Mommy takes a picture....."

"Sit down!" "Please?"

"Come back here!!!"

"Don't throw those please (look at that face!!!)" ....

Uh oh...they are starting to tumble.... (look at the front pumpkin starting to roll and the little one is already flying!!)


And the good mom that I am I keep shooting instead of helping him. The minute he started to slide off the pumpkin I thought to myself...this could be blog worthy. I had no idea I would get this picture. How great is that? The white pumpkin is in mid air. MID AIR people. You can't really tell but Jacob is actually parallel to the ground here. He wasn't hurt though. He is a tough kid. Right after he fell off the pumpkin pile he kicked the little ones into the rocks by the front door and the walked over to the biggest pumpkin and PICKED IT UP!

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Happy Friday the 13th.

At the (Ignore the) Crazy house we are going to do all kinds of spook-i-licious things. We will carve pumpkins and frost cookies and leave cupcakes on the doorsteps of our neighbors (who are all 1000 years old) and read stories by candlelight before bed. How cool is that? I got that last idea from Design Mom on her really cool blog ( I would link it but I still don't know how...sigh). I love, love, love Halloween and fall in general. I love the new candle smells (time to replace "cotton" and "rainfall" with "sugar cookie" and "apple cinnamon"). I love the decorations (three giant rubbermaid tubs as opposed to my measly one for Christmas). I have already purchased my mini pumpkins, my waxed gourds, my Cinderella pumpkins and ghost pumpkins. We are SET!!!!!!!!!!! My mom and dad always did really fun stuff at the holidays and I am glad that ONE of my kids is finally old enough to remember this stuff. Also, my 19 year old brother is here and I can boss him around and make him wrestle Cubby to the ground when the need arises....

I have enjoyed reading on other people's blogs about the fun traditions that they do at this time of year. I have loved reading the recipe's and general excitement for Fall. What kind of things do you do for Halloween? De-lurk if you need to, but I need more idea's, people. I have creative readers and I am dying to hear what you do so I can add it to the Crazy family traditions....

Happy Friday the 13th!!

Monday, October 09, 2006

Self portrait..

Squeakey is on my lap talking. This is a new thing she does....she squeaks and squeals and sings and yells until she is ready to sleep. She started laughing today too. It is so fun, but also loud.

Mostly, I cannot believe how big she is. I still wear her in the sling most of the time. The other day as I walked past the bathroom mirror, I was struck by how small she still is. I also realized that I have very few pictures of myself w/ my kids. I don't like pictures of myself, but I didn't like pictures of myself 10 years and 4o pounds ago either so I might as well just suck it up and start taking the pictures. The other challenge is that I am the one behind the camera. I leave both of my cameras and my video camera out in a special basket on my kitchen counter so that they are always there, always ready to snap away. I have millions of pictures of my kids. I love to see their little faces through the lens. I have even taken some of my husband.... but there are very, very few of me. I tease my husband that if I died he could marry again and according to the pictures, no one would be any wiser. There wouldn't be any pictures of the "other mother" to put away. That needs to change. I have seen a few other bloggers that participate in self portrait Tuesday... I am not going to do anything as formal as that, but I am inspired to start taking pictures of myself w/ my kids. They see me every day as I am and I want them to have that to look back on.

SO...... and this is for posterity......... Self portrait......... I like the second one b/c she is smiling. She looks SO SMALL here..... I wish you could see her hair because it is so beautiful. Ignore the wicked fern wallpaper. Sadly, this is the BEST wallpaper in the house. The upstairs bathroom has green zebra print paper. ..........

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Happy Birthday Cubby...

I know that all parents say that time flies...but I have to say it again....has it really been two years? Holy Cow. When Lulu turned two, it felt fast, but it also felt like it had been TWO years. With Cubby, it literally feels like YESTERDAY that I met my little man. I will never forget the feeling of fierce, intense and almost ferocious emotion I felt for him. It was visceral and it was instant. I watched him being born. I remember the second that I could feel that there was another person in the room. I remember his little squishy face and his black curly hair. I remember his little presence from the very first second. When we blessed him in church, Derek said a lot of things but the only thing I remember is that Derek blessed him that he would be cheerful and use his personality to lighten the burden of those around him. He is cheerful and does just that.

Now that he is two, he is rapidly pushing beyond the boundaries of any patience I might pretend to have. Throw in a newborn and insomnia and I worry that this loud and funny child might be getting too many "no, no, no's" and not enough "you clever boy's". I worry that I don't spend enough time enjoying him and bragging about the silly boy things he does and too much time lamenting the fact that he emptied the toy baskets (again) and that he is throwing them all over the kitchen gate (again) because he is disgusted that I dare HAVE a kitchen gate. Raising a boy is so different then raising a girl. Raising THIS boy is so different then raising my girl. It goes both ways...some of it is easier and some of it is harder. Lulu is like an alien to me. She is her father through and through. I don't understand the way she reasons things out, I don't understand why she chooses to place importance on certain things. Derek does because he was the same way when he was little. I could make a list a mile long of the things that she does that has said "I used to do the same thing". Maybe on Lulu's birthday. Cubby is me. I know what he is going to do before he does it. It is like I can literally see into his mind and his thought process and know what he is going to do. It is uncanny. We like the same food, we laugh at the same things and he knows every single button to push for me. I feel like our souls just knew each other from the very first second. I didn't feel that w/ Lulu and I don't feel it w/ Norah. It was slower with them. Jacob was my "love at first sight" kid.

When he is asleep or when he is calm and sitting on my lap I feel like my heart might burst with love and I cannot believe that I get to be his mother. I cannot believe that I get to be the person that leads his little soul into adulthood. I worry about the things that all mothers worry about. I worry that the world won't be nice to him when he is older. I worry that he will never learn to hold his temper or to share and play nice with other kids. I worry he won't have friends. I worry he will have TOO MANY friends and always be in trouble in school. I also give some time to the adoption / race worries. I worry about the challenges he will face because we brought him into our world and it will be too much for him. I worry about what his relationship with his first family will be like. I worry he will feel guilty for loving us both...or not loving us both. I worry that the world is a very, very hard place for a black man and we won't know to teach him the right way to navigate it. The moments that he is awake I don't get that luxury. I get to spend that time keeping him from biting, from hitting, from screaming, from poking out the baby's eyes. When he is asleep I worry about keeping him safe from the world and when he is awake I worry about keeping the world safe from him. No wonder I can't sleep.

Birthday stuff. We had a pretty low key day. Lu and I woke him up that morning singing "Happy Birthday" and to our surprise, he sang it with us. I didn't know he knew those words. Lauren also taught him to say "I'm Two". He doesn't know what he is saying, but it is still pretty cute. He also ends every song or word by clapping his hands and saying "yeeeaaaaaa". Every word is such an accomplishment for him he gets applause. I like that.

I took the big kids to the park in the morning. We have a great park that has a really cool train play structure and sand...but BIG sand. The kind that doesn't stick in every conceivable crevice or little afro curls. They had a ball. We met up w/ 5 or 6 other friends of mine and their children. It was one of those glorious San Francisco fall days...the kind that starts out crisp and then turns really warm in the end. The kids played and played and the mamma's talked and talked. Those are the times that being able to stay home with my kids is such a treat. Those are the times when I feel like I have the best of both worlds. We wanted to keep the celebration small. Mostly because we have all been sick--especially this mamma. We did what all great American families do...we went to Chuck E Cheeses for his birthday. We invited our great friends, The Jackson family . The oldest Jackson child was NOT impressed with Chuck E. (or "that rat" as she called him) and Jacob wasn't either. He was shaking w/ fear at the sight of that giant animatronic rat. Poor baby. it was much the same reaction that he had to Chip and Dale and Mickey Mouse in Disneyland. In fact...he sat in the booth like this the whole night. He only left the booth under duress. Doesn't he look THRILLED to be there?

He got many Elmo themed presents, mostly books. He has been carrying them around and sleeping with them ever since. I am learning that less is more when it comes to kids presents. I made a cake (thanks for the frosting recipe Carina) and he blew out the candle...but he wouldn't TOUCH the cake. Not one little bite. Stinker. What kind of kid doesn't like cake? That would be my kid. Both of them actually. Nori sat like a tiny little angel on Suzi's lap and didn't make a peep. Show off. :-) She is growing bigger every day (so are the cheeks and the afro...). She isn't cross-eyed...she just looks that way in this picture.

He finally blew out the candles...but it took some coaxing....

Happy Birthday, little man.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

If you like the Gap and Old Navy.....

Hi blogworld...

I have been really sick this week. The kids were sick before and now I am. I had a cold that settled into my chest and now is pneumonia (I am pretty sure... doctor appointment pending...). It burns when I breathe and I am wheezing. That is never good. Add that to the serious lack of sleep lately and well, I am a snotty mess.

The reason for this post is that I have some fun stuff from Gap for you. The corporate offices are in our area so we hear about cool stuff as it is in the beginning phases. We also get to see the prototype stores and get secret info (not really). One of the cool things that Gap has done is open up a new type of story. It icalled Fourth and Towne. It is aimed at the older woman with a little more money than the average Gap shopper and with taste that is slightly less trendy then the average Banana shopper. The Gap brand has been trying to reinvent itself lately, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't...but the recent drop in company value on the stock market has encouraged them to stick to what their customers want...basics that are not too expensive and clothes for our kids that don't make them look like little Essex Girls. ( ) It is very neat. It will be really high end in quality and price and is aiming for the older woman (not old, but one that is not looking for trendy, only looks good on a size 2, clothes). There will be classics, athletic gear as well as some more tendy stuff and it will all mix and match pretty well. They want the shopping experience to mimic a personal shopping get set up in a dressing room and get lots of one on one attention from the staff. You never go to a cash do the transaction in your dressing room. I remember seeing the brochure before it launched and now that there are a few brick and mortar stores in the Bay Area, I can tell you that is is MUCH neater then I though it was. I tried to upload some pictures but it wouldn't let me (shocker) so go check out the site....

This post was inspired by Design Mom ( ). She mentioned that the designer's have gotten their act together and are making better kids clothes at Old Navy. It is true. You can't believe the focus groups and revamping of the brand. I did a little bit of research and discovered that previously they were targeting a customer that wanted trendy, low cost clothes. They are now targeting the customer who also WOULD buy high end stuff (because they want classic clothes..not trendy) but will buy them cheaper if they can find them. I didn't shop Old Navy for a long time b/c I didn't want my baby to wear low rise, glitter embellished jeans. Serioulsy, they had low rise jeans for babies. I want cotton and solid colors and modest and comfortable clothes for my little ones. Not just faux fur hoodies and low rise jeans. I think it was the same w/ Gap. They were selling "work" type clothes and it took them awhile to realize that the people who buy "work" clothes don't buy them at Gap. People who shop at Gap want great Jeans, basics and the occasional affordable trendy item. They have gotten back to that. Women who are looking to buy a suit for the office weren't going to Gap to find it.....

Back to the fun stuff...Here is an e mail from a friend in corporate. It is about a new shoe store they are opening soon called Piperlime. Have you noticed that they have been doing more shoes in the stores the last few seasons? Cool, huh? I loved Gap shoes when I was in college. It may not replace Zappos for my shoes (have you seen that site yet? It is AWESOME!!!!!!! and free return shipping so you can order as many shoes as you want and just send back the ones you don't want.....heaven). Also, if you are pregnant and live near SF, NYC or Chicago, you can go to their Old Navy Maternity Fit Sessions and try some clothes on give them feedback. You get a gift card and a baby gift. I am

Enjoy......Cubby's bday is tomorrow so I will have a new post after this weekend...we have Chuck E Cheese, rain and the pumpkin patch on the schedule...

Do you have friends or family members who are expecting? We’d like to hear from Maternity customers on product fit. (Please note that Old Navy employees and immediate family do not qualify.)

Old Navy is conducting market research through Maternity Fit Clinics the weekends of October 14–15 and 21st–22nd in New York , San Mateo and Chicago . If your friends or family qualify, they can earn a $60 Gift Card plus a bonus baby gift valued at $20.

Please forward this message and encourage them to call the number listed below for their nearest location.

34th & Broadway
New York, NY

Orland Park
Chicago, IL

Hillsdale Mall
San Mateo, CA

Hi everyone,

As most of you know, I’ve been working on a new online shoe shop for Gap Inc. called Piperlime. Thanks for all the support you’ve provided – I’ve never worked so hard in my life, or seen so many shoes (Which may cause me to seek serious counseling). Many of you have asked about when we launch and what kind of discount you are going to receive. So here is some good news….

In the next few weeks, we’ll be unveiling the site, and I wanted to give you the inside scoop that we’ll be extending an exclusive launch offer to everyone who’s signed up for email prior to launch. All you have to do is go to and sign up for email this week. When we launch, you’ll receive a special offer so you can be among the first to shop our site. I can’t wait to hear what you think of Piperlime when we’re up and running…!

Happy shopping!!!

P.S. Shoppers unite! Feel free to pass this along to your friends.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Jacob take down...

Jacob is freakishly strong. It has been said before and it gets more true every day. He has a trick that he does to Lauren. He has been doing it since he could walk. Even as a one year old he could literally take Lauren to the ground. He has a low center of gravity, he is strong and Lauren hasn't quite figured out how to fight back yet beyone shrieking for one of us.

I finally caught the elusive "Jacob takedown" on film.

First he comes up from behind her and wraps his arms around her waist. The first few times he did this Lulu thought he was giving her a hug. Umm. No.

Then he hooks his leg around her front leg and pulls it out from under her

Finally he drops his weight and just pulls her down with him. Sometimes he ends up on the top (which is fine for him b/c he can get away faster)

Other times he ends up on the bottom. No problem. He just pulls her hair until she flips him over and he is on top AND THEN he runs away.

There is no point to this exercise. He is not trying to get something from her. He is like a lion in the grass that waits for his prey. Poor Lauren HATES this (who can blame her?). We need to teach our girl how to defend herself. Also, note that he has an enormous smile on his face the WHOLE time.....and she is crying the whole time. My friends, that is what I am learning the difference between boys and girls is.