Monday, October 31, 2011

Aunt Mimi's & Uncle Mike's Letter

Recently, Ari and I wrote a letter to his Aunt Mimi & Uncle Mike. Well, the NYC mail system finally came through, and we received a letter back. I say that because it literally took a week for our letter to get to Aunt Mimi & Uncle Mike, in Manhattan, and a week for their letter to get back to us in Brooklyn. Currently, we get our mail at 7pm, which couldn't be a more inconvenient time. If I get a check in the mail at 7pm, I can't deposit it that day!

Our UPS man, Patrick, was telling us that the word on the street is that the USPS mail system may privatize. That means the mail system in New York will get even worse than it currently is. He's a UPS man, but he has USPS friends. I've never met our mail person, because I'm eating dinner, and putting Samara to bed when this person arrives.

Anyhow, here is Aunt Mimi & Uncle Mike's fantastic letter, in a montage of pictures. Aunt Mimi drew two pictures as well and included them with the letter. One of them is a picture of our family, and the other is a picture of my brother Jonathan and his family. They are amazing!

Thank you Aunt Mimi & Uncle Mike, Ari will write back soon. The stickers ended up all over Ari's legs.

Who have you written a letter to lately?

Happy Halloween Parte Una

It's Halloween today, and Ari wants to be a robot. We have several Fresh Direct boxes that will be painted, cut and turned into a robot. I asked him if Samara could be a baby robot and he said "Yeah!" So the word on the street is that there will be robots among us soon. In the mean time, we made a robot pumpkin. Want to see it? Here's how it all went down?

Here's the part in the story where Wil did the carving and I had to stop Ari from grabbing the knife and therefore couldn't take pictures.

Oh! We saved the pumpkin seeds, because I plan on roasting them.

Here's our robot pumpkin! Wil did all the work, I'm just in the picture.

Samara was a great audience!

Happy Halloween!

What are you all going to be for Halloween?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I'm Not Pizza The Hut On My NYS Driver's License

When I got married, Wil and I changed our names from Fader to Fader-Van Luyn. This meant that we had to get new government IDs, which included social security cards and driver's licenses. Filling out the forms to get the IDs wasn't too bad, thanks to to an awesome site that my friend Leah recommended, We were both able to use this site to get our new IDs!

Wil, the kids, and I spent four hours at the DMV one day waiting to get our new licenses. The day is a kind of blur now, but I distinctly remember tilting my head to the side, when the angry DMV lady took my picture, so she could get my good angle. Unfortunately, when my ID came in the mail, my picture looked like this:

If you've ever seen the movie Spaceballs, I resembled the character Pizza The Hut.

I decided that when my face healed from the MRSA infection, I would head on back to the DMV to ask for a new license picture. And that's just what I did, with Samara in tow. She really enjoyed the DMV, I think she was the only one there who was having fun.

When my number was up, I believe it was A34, I approached the woman at the window.
"Just a picture change?" She asked
"Yep." I replied. "How much is that, by the way, $10?"
"17." She replied through clenched teeth.
I knew she wanted to get down to business, so I stepped in front of the white drape thing that reminded me of "picture day" from elementary school.
The first picture she took made me look about 4000 lbs. So I asked her if I could take another one.
"Miss, you can't be doing this all day." Mind you, I only asked her to retake it once.
"I'm not like that. I was just in the hospital and had surgery on my face." I said rather curtly.
"Oh okay." She replied, obviously curious as to what I meant by that.
She took one more shot, and then she asked:
"What kinda surgery you have?"
"I had a MRSA infection on my face." I said icily.
"Ain't that the one that eats your skin?" She asked scrunching her face up.
"Yeah," I replied, not exactly sure what she meant by that, but I went with it.
I left the window and waited for another 3o minutes, until my number, F23, was called.
"Just a picture change?"
"So, you're turning in your old license, right?"
I handed the woman my old license. I opened my purse to go for my wallet.
"No charge."
"Really?" I said in disbelief
"Yeah, you don't want the old license, right? Some people like to save them."
"No, no! I don't want it." I said, thinking about my giant zit.
Ten days later I got a lovely surprise in the mail, it was my new license with a much better picture:

Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Top 10 Reasons Why My Cell Phone Makes Me Lazy

Cell phones have taken over the 21st century. There's not much the average Smartphone they can't do, which is why (I've determined) that my Samsung Gravity Smart is making me lazy. All I have to do it push a button or two and I get instant gratification. No, this is not an ad for my cell phone. I've only had this phone for a month and a half, and I'm actually very angry with T-Mobile right now; look what happened to my screen when I dropped my phone on the sidewalk once:

Regardless of the cracked screen, this phone is making me one of the laziest humans alive. Here's why.

10. Checking the time- I'm embarrassed to admit, that I don't own a watch. Whenever I need to check the time, I click the side button on my phone and there it is in glowing white numbers:

It makes me a little more depressed each time I do it. I think back to all the watches I used to have throughout the years. This one was one of my favorites:

The problem with relying exclusively on my cell phone for time checks it that when it "dies" and I'm out in the real world, I have no idea what time it is. Then I rely upon the kindness of strangers to give me the time. I believe it's time for me to invest in a watch!

9. Taking Pictures- Who needs a "real camera?" I have my cell phone. It can take pictures like this:

8. Entertaining The Kids- Let's face it, kids get cranky in public. Have you ever tried to go out to lunch with a nine month-old? It's tough. Wil found an app on my phone called "Toddler Lock" that fascinates Samara to no end.

You want to see what it looks like, don't you? Okay fine!

She can touch and bang on the screen, even eat the phone, and it produces colorful shapes in response. It's pretty genius. But, it makes me too lazy to figure out a non-technology based solution when she's going apeshit in public.

7. Email - I don't need to open my lap top and turn it on to check my email. All I need to do is touch a couple of buttons on my phone, and voila! There it is!

6. Texting and/or Emailing Versus Real Human Interaction - People hardly call one another anymore! Why call someone, when you can just click a couple of buttons to say "how's your day going?" I'm not a proponent of this, but I feel like I had to jump on the texting bandwagon because people don't seem to have the time to talk anymore. They're so busy with life, that they'd rather text and/or email. I've actually started to fight against this in my freelance writing work. If someone emails me a job offer, and their phone number is in the signature line of the message, I call them! That way I don't feel like I'm writing to a robot.

5. Alarm Clocks- I don't own an alarm clock. Well, that's not entirely true, my alarm clocks have names, they're called "Ari" and "Samara." If Wil or I want to wake up at a time that is not related to the kids, we just use our phones! It makes me a little sad, once again, and I remember my parent's alarm clock, circa 1985, The Sony Dream Machine. Jason Mayo from Outnumbered shows us what this baby can do in this fantastic video, if you're interested:

4. Oh The Things You Can Do! - I don't need to go to the bank, visit an ATM, or even go online to check my bank account balance. I have an application on my cell phone that can do that. Wait, oh no! I need to transfer money from one account to another! I can do it on my phone.

Let's say, I feel like applying for graduate school, I can do it online...on my phone! This is craziness.

Ari has watched the entire Toy Story movie, on Wil's phone. Because that's possible.

3. Facebook- I have the Facebook application on my phone, and (I have to admit) it contributes to 75 % of my laziness. There's no need to wonder what my friends are up to, all I have to do is look at my piece of shit phone.

2. I Wonder... I wonder what song that quote is from, I'll just google it, on my phone. I wonder what street that restaurant is on...I'd better consult my phone! Who was that guy in that movie with the mustache who drove a pink convertible and owned a white poodle? I know! I'll ask my phone! How do I get where I'm going? I'm lost in a scary neighborhood! I'll just use the GPS...on my phone!

1. The number one reason that my cell phone makes me one of the laziest homo sapiens on the face of the planet is the calculator. I know this might be a surprising number one reason, but it's true!

I use the cell phone calculator when I'm budgeting money for groceries, bills, and other expenses. I use it when I total up invoices for my writing gigs. I use it to balance my bank account. I use this thing probably 50 times a day or more. I went to staples yesterday with the kids, and I saw this:

And once again, I found myself getting a little sad.

From writing this list, I've learned there are a fews things I am lacking in my life. Here's a list of items I must purchase immediately:
  • Watch
  • Alarm clock
  • Calculator
  • Non-Technology based baby games
How does your cell phone make you lazy?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pump it Up in Style! Win a Simple Wishes Pumping Bra!

On January 22, 2011, I gave birth to my second baby, Samara. There was no question in my mind that I was going to breast feed. I nursed my son, Ari, now 3 1/2 years old, for 13 months, and I planned on doing the same for Samara. With both babies, I wanted the freedom to leave them with Wil or my parents, so I knew that owning a breast pump was essential.

For those of you who have pumped breast milk with an an electric pump, you know how tricky it can be. I remember pumping for Ari and I was totally uncoordinated. I would hold the pumps in place, my hands would get tired, it was really aggravating. That's why, when Danielle @ Momotics announced that she was giving away a Simple Wishes Pumping Bra on her Virtual Baby Shower, I was (pun intended) pumped! Sorry guys, I had to!

I entered Danielle's giveaway for the pumping bra. I didn't think I'd win. So I was completely shocked when I got an email from her telling me that I won the bra! Hooray!

Here's what The Simple Wishes Pumping Bra looks like:

This picture is from The Simple Wishes PR folk. I wish I had this woman's abs.

Danielle, thank you woman! You seriously rock. I love this bra. It makes pumping so much easier than it used to be.

Don't believe me? You're probably thinking: "you're just saying that because you won it. " No people! I really love this bra.

When I realized how much I loved The Simple Wishes Pumping Bra, I wrote to their PR people and asked if they would allow me to give away one of their bras away on OS/NS Mom. Guess what? They said yes! Do you want to win this bra? You know you do.

Each one of these counts as an entry. Post a comment indicating which of these you've done:

1. Like Simple Wishes on Facebook
2. Follow Simple Wishes on Twitter
3. Follow Old School/New School Mom on Google Friend Connect
4. Like Old School/New School Mom on Facebook
5. Post a comment here about why you think you would love this bra!

The winner of the giveaway will be chosen randomly and announced on here on Wednesday 11/2/11. Hopefully you'll love the bra as much as I do!

Oh, and check out Danielle's new blog here!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Ode to a Muffin

When we first meet, I wasn't sure what to think.

You were strange from the outside. I couldn't figure you out. Thankfully, Erik suggested that I try to get to know you. I resisted, but only for a moment. Then, a curiosity arose within me, and before I knew it, you were on my plate.

Oh glorious carrot blueberry cream cheese
Thou art mighty in fruit and buttermilk.
Thou art sweetest when upside down.

Hear my plea, as I drink my decaf iced coffee!

Show thyself (in all your sweet glory) at Blue Sky Bakery tomorrow.
And do not crumble by mine hands.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Toad, I Have Sent You a Letter

One of Ari's favorite books is "Frog and Toad Are Friends."

Please excuse the orange stain on the cover, it's probably melted cheddar cheese, this book is loved.

If you click on this link above and buy the book, Amazon gives me approximately three cents. Awesome! I really don't care that much about the three cents, I just love this series.

His favorite story in the book is "The Letter."

The story goes that Toad is very sad because he never gets any mail.

He waits by the mailbox each day, but alas, he doesn't receive anything, not even a Verizon bill.

One day, Frog decides to send Toad a letter!

After reading this story countless times, it occurred to me that Ari has never written a letter before. I wanted to show him what it's like to write a letter. I asked him if he'd like to write a letter to Aunt Mimi (Mint) and Uncle Mike. He said "Yeah!" So we began the process.

Thankfully, I had just purchased 120 crayons from Staples, so that helped things along.

Writing this letter with Ari brought back memories from my childhood. My mom and I started a pen pal club when I was a kid called "Friends Forever Pen Pals." We charged $3.00 to kids all over the world (the majority of the letters we received were from Africa, actually) and set them up with another child to be pen pals with. I even got my own pen pal, her name was Anne and she lived in Washington state.

But, I digress. In addition to the crayons, I also purchased a box of 100 envelopes. Ari was quite excited about the envelopes.

Really excited about envelopes...

There was also a blue box involved, but I'm not sure how.

I asked Ari what he'd like to say to Mimi and Mike and then I transcribed it word for word.

He also made them a drawing.

Then it was time to address the letter.

Finally our letter was ready to mail!

I kept asking Wil to take pictures and Ari was getting antsy. He wanted to leave for the post office!

We got ready to leave for the post office, but first we had Ari had to make sure his Converse were tied.

When his shoe laces were in order, we set out for the post office! Unfortunately, we had to wait in line.

The line went quickly. We chose not to mail the letter in the actual post office, but we did purchase a stamp at the postal teller's window. I asked if there were any exciting stamps to buy, but unfortunately, the only single stamps available were 44 cent flags. Ari did, however, get a free coloring book. I didn't take a picture at the teller's window, because, frankly, I don't know if it's legal to take photographs in the post office or not!

I did, however, document him attempting to mail the letter in a closed slot in the mail box outside of the post office.

The free coloring book is pictured above.

I showed him how to open the door on the mailbox and mail the letter.

Mimi and Uncle Mike, let us know when you receive your post! Ari hopes you'll write back too.

To close, I leave you with the second to last page of "The Letter" from the anthology "Frog And Toad Are Friends." By Arnold Lobel © 1970, Harper Collins publishers, who (incidentally) I used to be an Editorial Intern for!

All images from "Frog And Toad Are Friends" By Arnold Lobel © 1970, Harper Collins publishers. Please do not reproduce without contacting Harper Collins. Thank you.

Have you and your kid written a letter? Tell me about it!