Thursday, November 27, 2008

Preschool Musical

We're heading over to a Thanksgiving party in a little while. I even heard a rumor about vegan pie. Just the possibility has me feeling truly grateful.

Untitled from Savvy Mom on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

And You May Find Yourself Behind the Wheel of a Large Automobile

There's a new stage happening here. Shef asks bazillions of questions all the time. Here's a sample of today's inquiries between the hours of ten and twelve: Can boys get married with boys? Does everyone have a dad? Is there just black night sky all around the planet? How can I feel the planet? What happens when everyone dies? What time is it in Senegal? What time is it in Senegal now? And, how do we kill turkeys?

This last one was prompted by a tapestry at church which features pilgrim men marching along with muskets behind the Thanksgiving table.

I did a little blah-blahing about how all the meat we eat comes from animals, and we have to kill them in ways that cause them the least pain possible.

"But how do we KILL the turkeys?" Shef said, undeterred.

I sighed. "Do you really want me to tell you?

"Yes," he said, his hands folded in front of his chest in anticipation.

"Well," I began, "I'm pretty sure the best way to do it is to hang the turkey upside-down by its feet, so all the blood runs to its head. And then, after a little while, you cut its head off, and let the blood drain out into a bucket."

I expected Shef to be horrified, but of course he wasn't.

He took a big inhale and looked gleeful. "Can I DO it?" he asked. "Do you use a BIG KNIFE?"

I was saved from answering these questions by the beginning of Church School, during which our cherub was cast in the role of Joseph for the Living Nativity. I'm sure he won't have any questions about that.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Sometimes It's Hard to Believe We're Actually Trying Our Best

So, yesterday, I was changing Mac’s poopy diaper, and there was a piece of Styrofoam in it. Isn’t that nice? He had been playing with a little Styrofoam boat Shef made at school, and apparently he ate some of it.

I had to call the doctor and ask if he might die because of it. Were there any secret, poisonous properties of Styrofoam that would slowly seep into his bloodstream and become toxic?

The answer was no to that question, but the doctor was none too thrilled that he’d eaten petrochemicals.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Whose Blog Is It Anyway?

Dan wants me to tell you that he has a new Top Chef Showdown blog. It's here. Since none of us scored any points last week, Dan is accepting new cheftestants.

Everyone should play. There appears to be a real prize and everything.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Top Chef Showdown

Guest posted by Dan

Brett Favre. Michael Jordan. Garth Brooks. Grover Cleveland. Me.

Due to overwhelming popular demand, I have agreed to come out of my blogtirement to run another season of the Top Chef Showdown - the reality show contest that took the blogosphere by storm one year ago.

The Savvy Mom has graciously agreed to host the competition on her blog (though she has enforced some unnecessarily draconian "rules" about when and how I can post on her blog). To be a part of this history-making contest, you need only (1) watch Top Chef; and (2) be awesome.

Here's how it works: Before each week's episode, I will post a preview of the challenges the chefs will face. In the comments to that blog post, you need to make three picks: (1) Quickfire challenge winner; (2) Elimination challenge winner; and (3) Which chef will be eliminated.

It's that easy!

This week's episode is called "Show Your Craft:"
Tom Colicchio takes it home to his very first restaurant tonight as the chefs are asked to serve more than just judges – although the customers' opinions may make them long for the tried-and-true.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I'm Hooked And I Can't Stop Starin'

"Mom," Shef began while we were waiting in the car for Dan to get our Thai food, "be sure to shake your butt before you go to bed tonight."

"Shef, don't say butt," I said, regretting his trip to Madagascar II this week, which is apparently heavy on butt-jokes.

"Okay, well what I meant was, shake your booty before you go to bed."

"Why?" I asked.

"Because Dad likes that."

"Hmmm," I said. "And how do you know?"

"Because Dad told me!" Shef said.

So, when Dan got back in the car, I related this conversation to him verbatim. When we got to the last line, Shef piped up from the backseat, "Dad, I just made that up!"

Indeed. Just like he made up for his babysitter last weekend the story that he'd seen Harry Potter "lots of times" with his mom and dad. And just like he convinced my sister when he was barely three that he always rides the merry-go-round at the Mall of America by himself. "Come ON, Aunt Mary," he said. "TRUST me."

Friday, November 14, 2008


The new kid is five months old now. He's got some new tricks. For instance, he's obsessed with his tongue - sticking it out, wiggling it around, rubbing it on his razor-sharp bottom teeth. He also laughs, mostly at Shef.

Another thing he likes to do is grab on to things and push them back and forth. I have documented this interest in this video:

Untitled from Savvy Mom on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Very Own Tim Gunn

This morning I had coffee with Emily, my most stylish friend.

"Okay," she said, as I opened the door, "Kace, I brought some tops for you." She's obviously read my blog. "Try this on. I've told you about the Target Salvation Army, right?"

Apparently, in the basement of the Minneapolis Salvation Army, there's a whole section of new Target stuff - samples and irregulars and overstocks.

I put on a little green hoodie.

"That's too short," Emily said, looking me over. "Try this on over the t-shirt that you're wearing."

So, I pulled on the green v-neck sweater.

"That could work," she said, giving it a scan. "But, maybe the problem is you need new bras?"

That's completely obvious. Tim Gunn already told me that.

"Well, keep that one," she said, frowning. "And this pink one. That could work for spring."

"But look at my butt, Em," I said, gesturing toward the rear of my jeans. It's so flat and saggy."

"Well, you need tighter jeans," she said.


But here's the good news: she'll shop with me. "I'd LOVE too," she shrieked. "We'll do the Mall of America. Nordstrom is great, but it depends on your budget. Banana and Gap are good options, too."

Later in the morning, she told me that she'd read that the average woman has to try on fifteen pairs of jeans before finding the right one.

"You mean I can't just go to Old Navy and grab the first one I find in my size?"

"No," she said definitively. "You need casual clothes, but you need cute casual."

Step One is admitting you have a problem. I'm so glad I did.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Desperately Seeking Stylist

A couple of years ago, Oprah gave me some instructions on how to clean out my closet. She said, throw it away if it doesn't fit, isn't flattering, or doesn't reflect the image you want to project.

For some reason, as I was entering the second trimester of my last pregnancy, I suddenly remembered this advice and took it to mean I should get rid of everything I own except a couple of pairs of pants (now too big - thank you, breastfeeding!), a few fading t-shirts (now too small - darn you, breastfeeding!) and a green cable-knit sweater (see photo below by the Obama sign).

Since then, I also have watched a couple episodes of Tim Gunn's Guide to Style on which the guru pronounced my Dansko clogs "the homeliest shoes in the world," and decried cable-knit sweaters as dowdy and bulky.

Dammit! I'm hopeless! And experts have confirmed this!

So, I guess it isn't that surprising that when Dan thought, because he could see the inside-out logo on the rolled-up cuff of the green sweater at church this morning (ok, yes, it's both too big and unflattering), that I'd simply put the whole thing on in the dark.

"Oh, hon," he said, gently, "is your shirt inside-out?"

Not, "Ha ha, what a funny anomaly! You dressed inappropriately!" But, rather, "Oh, how sad. You've done it yet again."

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Families for Franken

It's time for me to return to my usual fodder here on the blog. Dan told me that I didn't totally suck as a political blogger. That was nice to hear, and I'll probably still Twitter the Franken recount, but... well, I think I'll have to go back to writing about the little things that happen to us. That's probably my best stuff.

I'd like to thank Lee for the idea to blog Barack until he won. This was fun, and it felt worthwhile.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

America for Obama

This was an unbelievable victory. I'd like to thank Senators Obama and Biden for inspiring so many people. I'd like to thank those people for making this happen.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


It's happening today, and I'm so excited I can hardly stand it. On the way to school , Shef asked, "Who is the next president of the United States?" I think we all know the answer to that. It's Barack Hussein Obama.

Here we GO!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Families for Obama

Did you know that 90% of brain development happens between birth and age 5? That's why Barack Obama has a big "Zero to Five" initiative that will help states adopt universal pre-k programs and expand Head Start.

McSame advocates more regulation for Head Start centers. This is kind of funny, don't you think? More regulation for Head Start and less for Wall Street?

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Franken Supporters for Obama

So, the Strib buried this story in Metro, but the word is that a good pal of Norm Coleman's used a company in Texas to pay his wife, Laurie, $75,000 to do nothing.

That's a pretty sweet job, right?

I've been in teaching for ten years. Would you like to know what my top salary has been? $41,000. For doing quite a lot, thank you very much.

Al Franken's daughter has been a public school teacher, so he has a clue about what it's like to teach in a test-crazy climate. Al would like to scrap or rehaul NCLB. For instance, he would like to stop testing ELL students with their age-mates until they can actually speak English. I think that's an excellent idea.

Let's vote for Al Franken for senate. Abby, I'm talking to you.