Don’t call us, we’ll call you

July 21, 2012

Pictures for the Weekend: We bleed Dodger Blue!

Filed under: Family, Personal, Pictures for the Weekend — Tags: , , , , — llcall @ 3:54 am

This week Addison got her first taste of Major League Baseball. We celebrated my Dad’s birthday at his happiest place on earth, Dodger Stadium. This year is the Stadium’s 50th anniversary, but can you believe my Dad’s first Dodger game was pre-Chavez Ravine era? The Dodger Blue runs deep in this family.

Addison was immediately engrossed in learning the game.

What’s a balk, mommy?

Well dear, there’s a variety of illegal movements a pitcher can make while on the mound. Like if the pitcher fakes a throw to third, but then turns and throws to first instead, he must disengage the rubber after his initial feint. Otherwise it’s a balk.


Um, I need these, Gramps.

Yep, just as I thought, the grass is green down there.

Clearly, Addison was enjoying herself.

Until . . . she wasn’t.

No more pictures!

How many innings did you say this was? I need a book.

And some fancy necklaces.

And to break the camera. Come on, just a little . . .

There were also piggyback rides and running from concession stand to concession stand, though I’m not sure if all that was due to Addison’s boredom or my Mom’s.

Finally, my little miss hit a wall. It was, after all, the 12th inning.

Thankfully, when you stick around for extra innings, you get rewarded with field level seats. And if you’re very lucky, a two-run, walk-off homer from Matt Kemp, which occurred about three seconds after this photo was snapped.

It was a great day to be a Dodger fan!


July 17, 2012

Radio crush

Filed under: Personal, Politics — Tags: , , — llcall @ 11:31 pm

Speaking of celebrity crushes . . .

This may or may not qualify but it has recently come to my attention that I have a special affinity for Kai Ryssdal, the host of Marketplace (on public radio). Is it the topic? I do love economic talk. Is it his unique name?  Admittedly cool. Is it the fact that he always sounds like he’s having a good time, even when he’s talking about the European debt crisis or Timothy Geithner? Probably.

All I know is I look forward to Wednesday nights in particular when I get to drive solo to Activity Days and listen to Kai “do the numbers.”

Have you ever had a voice-crush on a radio personality?

July 16, 2012


Filed under: Family, Lindsay loves Neal — llcall @ 7:16 pm

Searching through all my old phone pics reminded me of a little anecdote I never recorded. Addison and I were chilling at our little neighborhood library (not to be confused with the big one with the fountain) when Addison excitedly yelled, “DADDY!” while pointing at the magazine racks.

I looked over to where she was pointing and the first picture I saw was of a certain Johnny Depp (Dark Shadows style):

Pretty close. But when I asked if he looked like daddy, she vigorously shook her head no.

Right next to Johnny was a certain Robert Downey Jr. (who may or may not be my most enduring celebrity crush):

I was sure she was thinking that he looked like daddy. The resemblance is uncanny, right?

But again, she gave me an emphatic no, while leading me to the actual picture she was pointing to.


July 15, 2012

“The cure for anything is salt water: sweat, tears, or the sea.”

Filed under: Family, History, Lindsay loves Neal, Personal — Tags: , , , , , , — llcall @ 8:19 pm

I’m about three months late finishing this post on our 5th anniversary getaway, but better late than never.

I needed some kind of cure after a brutal few months of bad health and in April, the sea was it. More specifically, the Sanctuary Beach Resort just north of Monterey.

But first the back-story. Neal and I only sort of took a honeymoon when we got married. Neal was in the middle of a school semester in Utah, but we got married in D. C., which meant he flew there on a Thursday night, we got married on Saturday, hit some Frank Lloyd Wright houses in Pennsylvania on Sunday, drove back to the D. C. area on Monday and saw his former boss, and then flew back to Utah on Tuesday. It was a whirlwind, but surprisingly, one of the most laid-back whirlwinds I’ve ever been on. Our time in the Salt Lake airport was the real low-point (albeit hilarious low-point) of the whole affair, but that is the story for another day.

The point is that when our first anniversary rolled around I knew I wanted to do something really special. And there’s nothing more special to Neal than sand dunes. I love the beach; he loves sand dunes and solitude, so the Sanctuary Beach Resort seemed like the perfect fit. I planned the whole thing on the down-low,  even resolving to spend the most money I had ever spent on a hotel room ($150 a night . . . eek!) without consulting Neal. I wasn’t sure how long I could keep the secret (especially because practically everyone BUT Neal found out at some point during the trip planning process), but here was the plan I explained to Neal: drive from Utah to Bakersfield to meet our adorable new niece. After a couple of days, drive to the coast for a day at the beach before heading to my parents’ house in Orange County.

Since there were moments when I thought he heard some clue to the real plans around the house, and he questioned me on why I had brought no beach towels for a beach day, I assumed that he was on to my trickery. And I thought for sure when we got on the road, it would be obvious. After all,  destination A-my parents’ house is in the OPPOSITE direction from destination C-our resort.

But lo and behold when we got on the highway, Neal didn’t notice that we went north instead of south; in fact with his limited California experience, he didn’t even know which way was north and which was south. Shortly into our four-hour drive, he fell asleep, only to awaken when we were nearly to the central coast. The moment he first saw a sign that said “Los Angeles, 360 miles” was just priceless. He blurted out, Wow! I had no idea we were that far from L. A. Did you realize it would take this long? I played it off amazingly. No biggie. We’re almost to the beach, we’ll just hang out for a little while and then head south. He said, Okay.

But a few minutes later, he was worried again — finally putting together the fact that there was no way to get to my parents’ house by bedtime. Must not compromise the bedtime schedule! He suggested we find a Motel 6 on the route. I said, No, we’ll be fine. Don’t worry.

It’s hard to communicate the full extent of Neal’s cluelessness. Around this time, we literally drove through the gates that said Sanctuary Beach Resort in gold letters and he still thought I was just pulling in to turn around. When I parked and turned off the engine, he was just looking around completely perplexed. No doubt it looked like a too-fancy place for a couple of Motel 6 dwellers like us. But over the next two days we fell utterly in love with the place. The golf-cart driving, the fancy soaps, the plush white robes, the mini-fridge, the almost complete solitude (truly, we only saw about eight people during that whole first stay).

Although we debated other novel locations for our 5th anniversary getaway, we ultimately wanted to go back and thought the idea of having our own special place was appealing.

I know I should build up to my favorite part of the trip, the pièce de résistance, but I just can’t contain myself:

In case you can’t tell, that’s us. Reading. In fancy robes.

Neal loved feeling like a millionaire so he decided to wear the robe everywhere, throughout our stay.

But he’s an eccentric millionaire to be sure, considering that he brings his own bed to hotels:

And uses plastic bags for luggage:

(I do too, but I’m more of a peasant, so it works. Which reminds me, I would give at least 10 bucks to know what the bellhop who brought us to our little bungalow really thought of our strange luggage combination.)

Our other activities besides beach strolling consisted of admiring the view from our windows:

Fancy meals of french bread, four strawberries (it seemed like more at the time), and leftover sushi:

And an EPIC 8-hour game of Risk:

Neal won this time, but since I handily won the 1st anniversary game, we’ll have to wait for our 10th anniversary to determine the true victor.

Can’t wait for another trip to our little stretch of sea!

July 14, 2012

Pictures for the Weekend: From the phone

Filed under: Family, Personal, Pictures for the Weekend — llcall @ 7:12 pm

The ole blog’s been pretty quiet this week. There’s more to say about that (all good things) but there’s 3 kids under the age of 4 running around me right now, so words will have to wait.  In the meantime, some camera pics, old and new:

I know that shots for kids should be sad, but truthfully, we love the post-shot snuggles (plus they have never bothered Addison for longer than a minute or two). 

Date night 2011! Neal and I like to participate in research studies, especially ones where I have a hundred sensors attached to my head while we discuss a marital conflict. Good times.

My mom is part fish. She has loved water from infancy and later picked up swimming (which she still does three times a week at 6:00 am) and diving. She was hoping to convert her kids to water love, but aside from a nice shower, it never quite took. Now she’s trying again with her grandkids.

This is Addison patting and rocking her beloved “dubby.” Dubby AKA “plague bunny” got a lot of play over at Neal’s blog this week, though it was not all complimentary toward the poor thing.

Addison loves to talk on the phone. Here she’s talking to an actual person, Grandma. But sometimes I hear “Hello, China?” (when I asked her what China said, she yelled, “PICKLEWEASEL!”) and “Hi! That’s me” and “Oh, I don’t know. Bye!”

These are really old, but they never get old, you know?

I forgot to post this one from that beach trip last week. In case you can’t tell, she’s wearing a 12-month-size “church” dress. I love this pic because it takes me back to my Girl Scout days when I was teased for consistently going to the beach oddly dressed.

Static at the park!

I have “taken” a picture of this “sign” at least two or three times. Apparently, it’s another thing that never gets “old” for me.

Grammy’s got the coolest office — empty bookcases AND a playground!

First pigtails. Everyone adores her pigtails, which obviously means that about 1.5 minutes after they are put in she smiles sadistically while pulling them out.

July 6, 2012

No sad pandas here.

Filed under: Family, Lindsay loves Neal, Personal — Tags: , , , — llcall @ 10:47 pm

Neal and I are in the last few hours of a little “staycation.” My mom took over Addison care on Wednesday morning. We had intended to go away alone three times a year, but our schedule and budget felt too crunched this summer, so we stayed home instead. It’s been a rousing success, thanks in large part to a last minute visit from my aunt, uncle, and their two nine-year-old boys, who are hands-down some of Addison’s favorite people on the planet. She’s hardly noticed that Neal and I have been tucked away in our room for three days.

This morning Neal and I walked over to a nearby cafe and had gourmet “cheese everything” bagels. It felt like such a hip, urban thing to do. And I thought about how it’s hard for us to do things like that with Addison — she doesn’t much care for strollers so she fusses relentlessly on walks (and I can’t even think about taking her beyond our cul-de-sac without the stroller) and the last time I took her to this particular cafe, she fell through one of the chairs and banged up her leg in the midst of some acrobatics. It felt neither hip nor urban.

But then, we were never much for chilling in cafes before Addison came along anyway. Our getaway-turned-staycation has consisted of reading, a library visit, driving around a couple of neighborhoods looking at small(ish) houses, buying new tennis shoes (on clearance!), a temple trip, and a couple of $3 sushi rolls. But it reminds me of how much we enjoy each other’s company one-on-one, even doing mundane things. We love our little third-wheel, but she sure makes long conversations that move organically from one topic to the next very difficult. It’s been a happy few days of seeing her, but focusing on each other.

But none of that is actually what I got on here to write. What I got on here to write is that this morning Neal got his first offer to become a regular contributor at another blog! Since they are still working out the details, I won’t give any particulars here except to say that the person that runs this bigger, award-winning blog says she loves his voice and reviewing style (it’s for a book review site) and would be a “sad panda” if he didn’t accept their offer. Awesome, right?! Not everyone has the potential to turn someone else into a sad panda (which is probably good). So proud of him and his ability to do interesting work that nobody wants to pay for (yet).

After we got done at the Newport Beach Temple, we hopped over to Corona del Mar to play at the beach for a few minutes. A few minutes turned into an hour when Neal got really into sand-building, crab-finding mode.

July 4, 2012

Maybe reading fiction was a bad idea . . .

Filed under: Books, Personal — Tags: , , , , — llcall @ 2:19 am

Before I left Utah last summer, we had dinner with our friends the Dyers. We talked quite a bit about reading fiction because that’s a passion for Aislin, and of course, Neal. Interestingly, though, Aislin talked about how at this stage of her life (three young children and now number 4 on the way), she rarely reads fiction because she gets too quickly engrossed and bothered by interruptions. I think I sort of nodded and had a vague sense of what she was trying to say. But after my foray into North and South (recommended by Carissa and Ishkhanoohie on this post), um, I get it.

It kind of snuck up on me because initially I was forcing myself to read it rather than the 4 nonfiction books I also checked out from the library (even though I vowed to read fiction, I guess I couldn’t resist their siren call). But about 100 pages in, I was super impressed with Elizabeth Gaskell’s writing skill. And about 300 pages in, well, I was pretty much obsessed with finishing the book, ignoring pleas for food and diaper changes from my baby girl. I even tried to persuade Neal that it would be fun to stay up half the night finishing our books. I was reckless, I tell ya! But I totally escaped for a few hours (and Addison survived the deprivation), so it was worth it.

Although Gaskell’s writing didn’t have the wit and vivacity of a Jane Austen novel, I was oh-so-impressed by the breadth of issues she addressed. Loss of faith. Challenges to authority. The process of industrialization. Capitalism and market forces. Interaction between different classes. That last one was especially impressive because although Austen addresses that in a high class vs. shopkeepers sort of way, there is never much notice paid to servants. Gaskell isn’t necessarily railing against that system, but she is examining it in a way that felt distinct from other period work I’ve read. And dang it, can she write a heart-fluttering love story! I’m not ashamed to say I reread the last two pages a couple of times. I think I might have felt a little bit transported. That’s real progress!

Now I just gotta get my hands on this BBC version . . .

July 3, 2012

The votes are in . . .

. . . and the internet gave this victory to Neal by a landslide. (You won something, babe! Though you might have been stacking the deck with your cartoons.) It was really interesting to read everyone’s perspectives. Thanks for weighing in!

Honestly, I was very surprised that (1) that just became my most-commented post ever and (2) the vote wasn’t closer (between Facebook, the blogs, and private emails and phone calls, it ended up at about 18 to 8). I thought there was a fair chance Neal would win this one, but I had no idea how adamant many of you feel about this issue. That said, Neal thinks that if I had written about our dilemma a bit differently, I might have gotten different reactions because really I think a number of issues got entwined that, to me, are only tangentially related. In particular, it was perhaps not clear that I was talking only about affection within our immediate family.

Basically, what it boils down to for me is that giving a goodnight kiss or hug should be one of our family rituals. A family ritual like that is, in my mind, not merely appropriate but good and right. Granted, if Addison had body issues like On Call Mom mentioned I would rethink this ritual, but in Addison’s case that is clearly not in play. I see now that in my efforts to not over-complicate the question or psychoanalyze Neal (cause believe me there’s a lot of places I could go with that!), I left it open for many issues to mingle together, like forcing her to hug more distant relatives, or what kinds of “persuasion” would be defined as forcing her to use her body in a way she doesn’t want to, etc. Still, if I am understanding many of your opinions, even if it was phrased as more of a basic family ritual question, most of you do not feel comfortable soliciting physical affection from a child that he or she is reluctant to give. Fair enough . . . I certainly learned something about other people’s take on parenting that I wasn’t quite expecting. And this has spun off a lot of interesting discussions, in part, because Neal and I have to physically “force” Addison to do a lot of things with her body she doesn’t want to do right now, everything from diaper changes to bathing, teeth-brushing to holding hands while crossing the street. I’m sure there’s another post in there somewhere, someday.

Having acknowledged that Neal is the unequivocal winner of the internet skirmish, and wanting to make clear that I read, considered, and appreciated all the opinions offered, I’ve decided that I’m still going to win this battle. Three of the four people that live with and know Addison best agree that she is a very willful little girl (well, Neal agrees with that too, he’s just not a disciplinarian), and giving in to her many and varied demands will be a bad idea. Children’s autonomy and decision-making is something I take seriously, but if we let her determine her own bedtime routine it would not only involve no hug, but also no diaper, teeth-brushing, or prayer. I do think I am going to try variations on two particular suggestions: one from Michele (giving Addison a choice between a hug or a kiss) and one from TakJensen (modeling more hugging and cuddling between me and Neal — cause there’s always room for more!).

In this case, I learned that sometimes you only know how strongly your parenting instinct is at play when you hear many thoughtful, articulate reasons to reconsider and still, deep down, feel that this is the best path for your child’s development.

Till next time . . . on The Parenting Ref.

P.S. If you missed the Facebook thread, Neal’s cousin Kali had one of the best comments of the day: “Get a dog. Henry loves to cuddle.” Oh, if only every parenting dilemma could be solved by getting a dog!

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