This Is Going To Hurt Me More Than It Hurts You: and it did

07.13.10

Alexander is an only child this week. Jane has gone to camp, so it’s just the three of us. To be perfectly frank, we are not quite a family this week. We are a couple with a kid.

Yesterday I asked Alexander if he’d like sausage, broccoli and rice for dinner. He was very enthusiastic, so I made the dinner. I did use a beef sausage instead of the Italian pork that he typically likes, but I did so knowing that there were breakfast steaks in the refrigerator, and I had an alternate meal in the event that he didn’t like the new food.

He didn’t like the new food.

I offered him the breakfast steaks and he said, “I’m not in the mood for this.”

At this point we require some back story. I cook dinner every night of the week. At noon each day I prep my lunch and our dinner. Every dinner has two greens, a starch and a protein. Every dinner has at least two things on the plate that every member of our family enjoys. If you do not the dinners I prepare, it is absolutely your problem.

When Alexander told us that he didn’t like the sausage and that he wasn’t in the mood for breakfast steak we asked him to eat his rice and broccoli. He said he wanted to, “look in the kitchen for something else.”

The answer was no. The process was long, but Alexander ultimately decided he wasn’t in the mood for broccoli, steak or rice and that he didn’t like sausage.

He went to bed hungry and crying.

Mr. G. and I shook, and fought back tears of our own. We did it for his own good. Family dinners were devolving, and Alexander was manipulating his way into the pantry, eating cereal and fruit. Further, we would eat our dinner while Alexander moaned about the food I’d made, and then when we were done, he would be starting his alternate meal.

It was very unpleasant.

Last night, while shaking and trying to not cry, I put rice down the kitchen sink. I wasn’t thinking straight, and if you don’t cook you might not know that rice absorbs water and expands. Like a sponge.

So I made a little video about how to unclog your kitchen sink… you know… in the unlikely event that you ever put rice down the drain.

Sorry for the mediocre video quality. It’s been that kind of day.

Review: WD TV® Live Plus

06.9.10

The folks at Western Digital were kind enough to lend me a TV Live Plus player (WD TV Live). The TV Live Plus Player is an excellent add on for families, particularly families on a budget (that would be most of us, right?).

Here’s what the TV Live Plus is. It’s a little box that you attach to your television. It’s very small actually at 5 in x 4 in x 1.5 in, you could throw it in a bag when you travel.

So what you do is take this little box, plug it into the wall, plug it into your TV with cables or with an HDMI cable (I’d recommend that), and connect it to your router with an ethernet cable (or buy the wifi add-on, but trust me you want the ethernet cable for this). After you’ve done this you go through a very simple set up process with your favorite online entertainment channels, and voila, you’re streaming them all to your TV at Full-HD 1080p.

What’s new and different about the TV Live Plus is that you can actually pick out your Netflix movies from the unit. I know this might not seem revolutionary to you, but other brands and older players did not have a full integration, so in the past if you wanted to order a netflix movie, you’d have to go online to Netflix, add a movie to your queue, and then go back to your device and start streaming it. This is much better, much smarter. I have a competing brand’s player, and I’m enjoying this quite a bit more.

Did I mention it’s small? It’s the silverish device on top of the Playstation.

The TV Live Plus also streams YouTube, Flickr, Pandora, Live365, as well as the MediaFly network which includes daily podcasts from CNN, NBC, MTV, ESPN® and other online content providers. I’m pretty sure those folks at MediaFly must be so embarrassed that they aren’t streaming Momversation… right? (please???) Last night the kids and I watched about a half hour of Annoying Orange webisodes on the family room TV. The orange really is annoying, I’m including an episode here so you can get a good idea of just how much I love my children.

Did you see that? Now imagine watching eight episodes back to back with your son screaming “More! More!” and your daughter imitating the orange for hours thereafter.

I noticed that on Netflix there are tons of cartoons available. If you’re in TV mode with kids, this would save you a fortune, and you don’t have to watch commercials. Woot!

The TV Live Plus retails at $149, and has two USB ports so you can connect your hard drives to it and stream your own content. This is wonderful for home movies, music libraries, photographs or in store advertising.

It is imperfect in that the picture quality is not as good as what I get from my HD DirecTv input. However, I would compare the picture quality of this system to cable television. It’s a nice picture, but it’s not the crazy sharpness that prodded us into getting HD DirecTv. My husband is We are absolute snobs when it comes to watching sports on TV. So long as you have a good, fast internet connection the TV Live Plus will give you a nice high quality picture. If your internet connection drops out your picture will become more pixelated, but you will not experience buffering (you know the delay you sometimes get with online media), so if you’re enjoying a movie you might not notice very much at all. I think a short term drop in picture quality is MUCH better than a buffered movie.

Considering that we spend close to $140 a month to have DirecTv, I think a $149 TV Live Plus would be a great investment. If you couple it with an $8 a month Netflix subscription it’s a high quality, low cost solution.You could get it without netflix and just enjoy the free music services on it, and youtube. I think you can rent a number of movies on YouTube.

As a complete aside, I love that you turn the device off when you’re not using it. Unlike satellite and cable TV, it doesn’t bleed you of power day and night. I get really worked up about devices that run hot when no one’s using them, and this one shuts down completely. I appreciate that.

I’m thinking this could also be a great addition to any dorm room. You know… when the kids aren’t studying… because they’re studying most of the time, right?

The Parents of the Sexy Dancing Kids Go On Good Morning America

05.14.10

And they are (not surprisingly) totally inarticulate. Cory Miller is very proud of his daughter.

For background see my last post.

I’d also encourage all parents to read my post about privacy. Our behaviors are seldom private any more, and I cannot even bother to comment about putting this in context. There is no context necessary.

A Hodgepodge

03.1.10

Things with Alexander are better, we had a bit of a blowout and I yelled at him. He didn’t yell back, which is good. It’s not good that I yelled at him, because I hate being the yelling mom, but I absolutely refuse to be the mom of the kid who doesn’t listen. He’s a good little boy, he’s testing the limits, and we’re providing them. I try to take cues from my husband who is so thoughtful. Before the kids turn on the PlayStation he asks them, “how much time do you think you need?” and then he sets the timer. I’ve just been setting the timer. Adding the step that empowers them has been helpful. When they were littler I used to remember that, now I fear we’re all running at so fast a pace that I’m forgetting the details of being their mother.

Krista came over and we sipped wine in the middle of the day (4pm), half a dozen (or more) kids ran in and out of the house, and I installed my new ceiling light. Our girls have been friends since diapers, and Krista remembers Alexander’s birth. There’s magic when the kids get together, I love it.

My friend Tanis was told by a PR rep at Blissdom that she’s too edgy, feral even to work with publicists. If Tanis was a better listener she would know that girls like us shouldn’t cross the Mason-Dixon line. Oh, but Tanis is Canadian, so she might not have known that. I mean, how could she possibly know? She’s busy decorating her Ivory Tower as she has won the 2010 Bloggies at THE BEST CANADIAN BLOGGER. Conversations like that just reaffirm for me that the best Bloggers has little to no use for Publicists. Mommy Hawkers (review only bloggers) are probably the best match for the fake Louboutin PR crowd that dominates in the blogosphere.

I went to the gym this morning to get on the elliptical. Well, actually I go to the gym to watch TV. It’s lame, I know. A run would do me more good than an hour on the elliptical, but sometimes I just want to watch TV. Of course I couldn’t because all the TV plugs don’t work at the gym. I should stop blogging and tell them, because I care about that. After my workout I passed by a smoothie chain and I thought I’d pop in and get one. In the store were two women and myself. One was at the cash register and one was behind her, coughing, a lot. In fact, she was coughing into her hand. After I decided on on one of four smoothies that weren’t comprised mostly of sherbet (which makes them into milkshakes), I handed the cashier my $4.35 and watched the coughing one begin to make the smoothie with neither a hand washing nor a set of gloves. I told her I changed my mind, and that I’d like my money back please. Unlike the gym, smoothies aren’t a big part of my life. I’m not going to complain to a manager (I’m pretty sure one of them was the manager) because I don’t care. I’ll be perfectly content to skip the smoothies altogether, as I probably have 3 a year. The opposite of love is not hate, the opposite of love is indifference. As I walked out of the store I heard the two girls talking about the “crazy lady”, um… I’d get bugged about that, but again, they’re coughing in a smoothie shop all day.

I’m playing with YouTube more and more. I’d love it if you subscribed. I promise no super long videos. Double dog swear. I have a terrible case of YouTuberculosis and I blame Ben Hughes. It’s highly contagious and clicking here just might transmit it.

Kenmore has provided me a Washer and Dryer to review. They arrived on Friday, and I ran out to get HE laundry soap so I could get started. While I was at the grocery store I started sniffing the laundry detergents, because I wasn’t sure what sort of flowers my husband should smell like. Well, I got distracted and came home with regular laundry soap. Although some people might think it’s a crummy way to start, I thought that a mountain of laundry suds was kind of funny. I’ve since bought the HE soap and I’m deeply ashamed that our clothes have been dirty this long.

I’m turning 40 this month. My husband is asking me what I want for my birthday. Nothing. Really. I do have it all, and the things I don’t have I never really wanted. He’s asking if I want a party? Nope, nothing sounds less appealing than playing hostess on my birthday. What about a small one? Oh good, then I can’t even get lost in a crowd. Maybe I want to take a trip? Well, I’d love to ski, but I’m not into spending the money. I looked around for ski trips, and found the Snowmamas, which raises more questions than answers. Do I trust any of those reviews? I went on over to Skidazzle (which is a group I’ve always trusted) and I’m wondering, do I want to review my family vacation for you? Why should I? Why shouldn’t I? Again, I’m struggling with privacy and authenticity. Every time I show up in a group of Mom Bloggers (which is less and less often) I hear the same refrain, “If I don’t have anything nice to say, I won’t write a review.” Really? How is that helpful? And how the hell did I go from turning 40 to (once again) noting that too many people can be bought and paid for? In some circles Yelp is no better.

The book is killing me. I’m writing like crazy, but I don’t think I’ll be done by the time I’m 40. This is depressing. Everything about it is depressing. I mean, if I put the kids in daycare I could be done in four weeks, but really? Why? I’d rather play with my kids, which is not what a publisher wants to hear…