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Saturday, May 31, 2008

Jill of all trades.

Lil' mouser.

To describe Lauren as a "busy girl," would be an understatement. When I looked down at her the moment she was born and saw her wide open eyes staring up at me as if to say, "That was fun, Mom. What do we do now?" I knew that we were in trouble.

Recently, she has mastered the use of the computer mouse. She especially likes to play games on Nick Jr and PBS Kids. The only problem is that now I have to compete with her for computer time. If I'm anywhere in the vicinity of the computer, she wants to take over. I'd tell her to get her own, but that would mean I'd have to give her an allowance.

Shave and a haircut.

Lauren also likes to give us haircuts with her Play-Doh scissors. She's always ordering us to hold still. Because of this, I usually stiff her on the tip.

A little squirt giving a little squirt.

But BY FAR, her most favorite thing in the whole wide world right now is cleaning with Windex. She has always liked to clean our television stand. We would give her a baby wipe and she'd be occupied for a good twenty minutes, pretending to clean. One day, I thought, what the heck - I'll give her a few paper towels and a bottle of Windex and let her clean for real. Off I went to catch up on some American Idol gossip.

I came back a several minutes later to find that she was still intently spritzing the TV stand and carefully wiping away the residue. Now, even though Windex has some type of "green" seal of approval on its label, I thought that prolonged exposure to glass cleaner probably wasn't a good thing for anyone, a child especially. Mark would kill me if I stunted her growth.

I went over to her and said that she did an excellent job, and that the TV stand has never sparkled more. I then gently requested that she hand over the Windex.

She responded by going COMPLETELY BERZERKER. Seriously - it was like I had told her that Disneyland had burned to the ground, leaving Mickey and Pluto homeless. She threw herself on the ground and screamed, "NOOOOO!! MY CLEANER! MY CLEANER! I NEED MY CLEANER!"

So every now and then she'll come over to me and innocently say, "Mom, that TV stand looks dirty. Can I clean it?" It is then that I try to distract her with a cookie. I know better than to feed an addict's addiction.

Lastly, I know that I said that I was done writing about American Idol for the year, but these videos are worth checking out. I think AI has found someone really special in David Cook. I would not be surprised if he does just as well or even better than Kelly/Carrie/Daughtry.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Musical youth.

Apprently, Lauren enjoys reggae music. Take that Simon!

***Begin American Idol mutterings***

American Idol Season 7 has finally come to a close, so I will find myself at a loss on Tuesdays. But just a little.

When it was all said and done, I felt that the most deserving contestant won the competition. When David Cook started off the season, I thought him to be a bit of a creep (You can attest to this, right Noreen?), but as the weeks progressed, he kept delivering compelling performances which soon won me over. And even though he stole some of Jason's thunder on a couple of key weeks (Cook sang "Hello" when JC sang "Hallelujah" and "Always Be My Baby" when JC sang the extremely underrated "I Don't Want to Cry"), I downloaded his songs too, because they were just too darn good.

As for the finale, I thought that it rivaled Season 5 in terms of entertainment value. The first hour was the best, because it focused on the contestants. I wish the producers would realize that people tune in to see the kids, and not people like Mike Myers and Robert Downey Jr. who have nothing to do with the show and just want to promote their latest projects. Given that many of this year's contestants could play instruments, they could have instead filled that time with an "American Idol Band" number, with Cook on guitar or vocals, Archie or Brooke on piano, Jason on drums, etc. Yet another missed opportunity due to the producers' shortsightedness.

I was slightly disappointed that Jason sang a reprise of "Hallelujah" instead of a new song, but then again, it gave him an opportunity to remind people why he made Top 4. And I'm not at all bitter over the fact that Renaldo was given more time than Jason. Ugh...

Lastly, while George Michael is no Prince, his performance was just as um, interesting. What happened to the beautiful man that was the lead singer of Wham!? I watched it in HD and it was not pretty. Yikes.

Until next year...

***End American Idol mutterings***

Who's number one?

Who's #1?

He's #1!

He's #1!

Last week, our nephew / cousin Noah celebrated his first birthday. Boy, that year sure went fast!


Noah's interests include the Pittsburgh Penguins and Spongebob Squarepants, which also happen to be his parents' interests. Isn't it funny how things worked out that way?

Cake smash.

Noah wasn't quite sure what to do with his cake. Similar to Lauren, he didn't like having his hands dirty. It must be a shared gene.

A few more photos of the party* can be seen on Flickr.

*No squirrels were harmed during the party. Which is good, because as we all found out, you don't mess with the squirrels.

By the way, I haven't forgotten about American Idol. I have a video(!) to accompany the post, but I'm experiencing some technical difficulties with it. I'll try to "work it out, dog" later today.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Wii wish you a merry Christmas.

Wii would like to consume your life so that you neglect your loved ones and never venture outdoors again.

I guess you can tell that I have the day off from work today. I may even make it a three-fer if I get time to post again later tonight. I want to put down my thoughts on the American Idol finale so that wii can all move on with our lives.

Last Christmas, wii received gifts in the form cold hard cash / Target gift cards from several individuals. At the time, wii were going to save the stash and put it towards a bigger flat screen TV for when wii enclose our porch to make a family room. Since it is almost June and wii've received only one estimate out of the seven contractors wii solicited (Four of which made appointments and no-showed), I suggested that wii instead get a Wii.

This moment was made possible by grants from these individuals:

Mommy and Daddy Bruno
Grandma Andritz
Uncle Johnny Andritz
The Cole Family
Donna Stolz, aka Mark's boss

Wii at the Ross Family Equation thank you for your generous support.

(Wii watch way too much PBS around here.)


Lauren also got to spend her birthday money that she received from Aunt Dolly. She picked out this pony from the Target Dollar Spot. They have been inseparable since.

Let the sun shine in.

Let the sun shine in.

I didn't mean to let the blog go so long without an update, but before I knew it, a couple of days turned into a week, and then one week turned into two we are. I have been putting in a lot of extra time at work lately, so besides working and mothering, there hasn't been a whole lot else going on anyway.

Lauren had her three year check up this week. I'm happy to report that the experience was a complete 180 from last year's fiasco. She made nary a peep when the nurse weighed and measured her, and when it was all said and done, she even gave her a high five. She donned the ugly paper gown without protest. She stared intently as the doctor did his dog and pony show and then complied as he poked and prodded her. She was THE BEST PATIENT EVER. And considering how frayed my nerves have been lately, I couldn't be more relieved. Thanks to you, darling daughter, mommy may get to keep her sanity yet.

Besides the fact that Lauren is a healthy child, the only thing of note that came out of the check up was the fact that she is in the 60th percentile for weight. Yes, our child who could eat a kernel of corn for dinner and call it done, weighs more than 60% of other girls her age. I think she slipped the doctor a Hamilton to bribe him to tell us that so we would stop hounding her to eat.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Make a wish.

Make a wish!

For the last several weeks, my life has pretty much been consumed by work, and unfortunately this week is no different.

I had to go into work on Saturday, so I had a hard time getting my act together for Lauren's birthday party on Sunday. I didn't even realize until everyone had left that I had forgotten to put out ice cream with the birthday cake as well as the cute party hat shaped cookies that Lauren and I had made the night before. Worst of all, I didn't take hardly any photos, and the ones I did take came out lousy. I'm pretty sad about it, but what can you do? I was especially looking forward to getting photos of the three of us together like we had done on her previous birthdays, but it wasn't meant to be. Maybe we will fake a birthday photo shoot this weekend. Until then, I offer a few decent photos of the decorations that I made and of Lauren's birthday cake.

Party hats.


Birthday cake.

***Begin American Idol mutterings***

Well, this was the week that I always knew would come. Eventually, whether he won American Idol or was voted off, Jason Castro was going to leave my television screen. Surprisingly, I couldn't be more relieved about it.

These past few weeks have been heartbreaking. I was concerned that having to tackle two songs a week in addition to the Idols' jammed packed schedule was going to take its toll on Jason, and unfortunately, my worries proved correct. You could tell through his performances that Jason felt in over his head (Which he confirms in his interviews with the press). Just like me forgetting the ice cream, it's hard to be at your best when you just have too much going on at once. In his Top 20 interview package, Jason talked about how surprised he was about how much non-music stuff that they had to do. At this point, he said something that was so endearing that it completely sold me on him: "I just really like to sing and I like music and everything that has to do with music." That was his strength and his downfall. I think the Idol machinery was bringing him further and further away from what he loved to do, and it showed in his performances.

After watching Jason slip further each week, I couldn't even enjoy the other contestants performances. I just wasn't having fun anymore, and no amount of iTunes downloads were worth keeping him around. Although I voted for him every week since Top 20, I couldn't bring myself to do it on Tuesday. Not because I loved Jason any less, on the contrary, I just couldn't contribute to his undoing anymore. I didn't want him to become the joke contestant that overstayed his welcome. I wanted him to be remembered for all his great performances, and even though people forget that fact so easily, there were many.

When I first became a fan, I never could have predicted that I that I was getting invested in such a controversial contestant. Jason Castro has pretty much ruined American Idol for me, because thanks to him, I will never enjoy another season more than I have this one. I hope Jason goes on to pursue music and share what he has to offer, but I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if he faded back into anonymity. Because after all, that's what made Jason so appealing. He was just one of us.

Now I direct my obsessive compulsive behavior on something else, like Lost. At least I know that Sawyer won't be voted off the island.

Friday, May 2, 2008

The house that daddy built.

The house that Daddy built.

The day finally game. Our child is no longer a two year old, but a full fledged, card carrying three year old. I guess now instead of two going on thirteen she's now three going on fourteen. Earlier this week she told me that she didn't want to do something any more because it was "boring."

This also marks the day (No pun intended) that I get my husband back! Mark has been working non-stop for the last two weeks on building a doll house for Lauren. He wanted to make sure it was ready in time for the big unveil on her birthday. Lauren loved it and said "Daddy, this is a really nice house."

Third birthday!

Mommy gave Lauren some Power Puff Girls stuff (She likes Buttercup, the green one), a monogrammed apron (green of course) and a pair of green Crocs. She also received a care package all the way from Michigan (Seen in this picture - note the green ribbon) from cousin Noreen, which contained some new clothes, stickers, bubbles, and sidewalk chalk. Thanks Noreen!

Aunt Dolly sent a card with a dollar bill all the way from California. Lauren will spend it next time she shops at the Target Dollar Spot. Thanks Aunt Dolly!

So Lauren really made out. And the grandparents haven't had their turn yet!