***This blog has moved to My Convertible Life.***

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Books, Recipes and Strategery from "My Convertible Life"

Really? You're still checking in over here? Come on, just sign up at My Convertible Life and be done with it -- you can add it to your reader or have new posts sent straight to your email (check the right-hand column to subscribe).

Then you can see the three latest posts...

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Recipe: The Best Lasagna

Lasagna recipe over at My Convertible Life.
It's delicious -- trust me, you want this recipe.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Story of the Convertible Girl

Want to know why I changed the blog to My Convertible Life?
Follow the link to find out...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The School Board Is Not Listening

Here's today's post from My Convertible Life... click on over to get all the links. And don't forget to sign up over there so you can keep on reading...

I spend a lot of time venting to my husband (bless him for listening) about articles in the newspaper, particularly those related to our public schools. Occasionally, I also vent to all of you. But here's the excerpt from this article published yesterday that finally got me to send a letter to the editor last night:

Kathleen Brennan, a Cary parent, said that while some parents won't get what they want, at least they're being heard now. Brennan is a co-founder of Wake CARES, a parent group that sued Wake over mandatory year-round schools.

After the N.C. Supreme Court ruled last year that Wake didn't need parental permission to send students to year-round schools, Wake CARES worked with other groups, such as the Wake County Republican Party, to elect new school board members.

"Parents are speaking out that they're dissatisfied, and the school board has given them a voice," Brennan said.

The good news for those of you tired of listening to my long-winded rants is that the word limit for letters to the editor is 200 words. So I'll refrain from lounging around on my blog soapbox and just give you the letter I sent to The News & Observer last night:

Kathleen Brennan (Wake CARES) says that while some parents won't get what they want in school options, the school board is listening and giving them a voice.

It's ironic she believed the former board didn't hear parents because board members didn't vote to end assignments to year-round schools. Now that the board majority is on her “side,” she assumes they are listening to all parents.

Yet the board is NOT listening to me, the parent of a rising kindergartner. The parent survey regarding year-round schools won't come to me, although my base school is year-round. The survey also won't come to my neighbors because they aren't parents, even though their tax dollars support and build schools in Wake County.

The board majority acts as if they are accountable only to those who voted for them – less than 4 percent of the county's eligible voters. I hope these board members will listen to all the voices in Wake County, not only those who agree with them. If they don't, they will renege on campaign promises of being responsive to parents – and they will do great harm to our schools and community in the process.

* * *
If you are also frustrated by the recent actions of the Wake County Board of Education, I urge you to write to the board and send letters to the editor -- don't just sit around and complain to your spouse. If the school board only hears from the people who are pleased, they'll assume that everyone is equally happy with their actions.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Will You Keep Reading for Another Year?

When I started this blog almost a year ago, I had no idea what I would write about or if anyone (other than my husband and my neighbor) would read it. So I picked a url based on my kids' nicknames, typed in the first title that popped into my head and started posting.

Now, after 161 posts, 400+ comments, about 3,000 page views and 64 subscribers (woo-hoo!), I've decided it's time for a change -- the blog turned out to be about more than my funny kids and I think the title should reflect that. New year, new title, new url, new template -- but still the same me writing the same rambling range of stuff.

I'll explain the new place a little more in a post later this week, but for now I hope you'll join me (and Juni and Pip) over at My Convertible Life -- the blog formerly known as Junius & Pippi Take the Cake. Might take me a little time to work all the kinks out in the new template, so I'll double post at both sites for a bit. In the meantime, if you're willing to sign on for another year of this, please subscribe to the new site or change your reader settings or whatever makes your life easiest.

Thanks for sticking around!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Friday's Five: Donaldson and Scheffler

One easy way to find great children's books is to pick a library book that you really like and then look for other titles by the same author. One of our favorite discoveries started because Junius likes the word "spiffy" -- our first pick quickly became a favorite, leading us to add more books to our collection.

Here are five great children's titles by author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler. All have great rhymes and interesting, detailed illustrations.
  1. The Spiffiest Giant in Town: In addition to letting you repeatedly use the word "spiffiest," this book also lets you sing along as George becomes the sweetest, kindest, most helpful giant in town.
  2. The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo's Child: These two books tell a funny tale about the relationship between the mouse and the gruffalo. What? You've never heard of a gruffalo? Hmmm, better get the book and find out.
  3. Charlie Cook's Favorite Book: This clever story winds through book after book after book to bring you right back where you started.
  4. Room on the Broom: Highly recommended by a friend, this book tells the tale of a witch and the friends she makes as she rides on her broom -- and about what happens when they crash.
  5. The Snail and the Whale: This is next on my list -- so fun to have another one to discover! Sounds like it will have all the fun and rhyme of the other books, with an important lesson about how little people can be strong, too.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thankful Mama and a Sweet Baby Girl

According to my husband, that last post crossed the TMI line toward the end there. Sorry about that. The good news is that the plumber came the next morning and had everything fixed and running properly within an hour. I really should have trained to be a plumber instead of a teacher or a journalist -- better pay and very appreciative clients.

Anywho, I got a strong reminder yesterday that if my biggest problem is that I had to go overnight without running water while I waited (inside my toasty warm house with my loving husband and sweet children and plenty of bottled water) for the plumber to come in the morning (so that I could write him a check without worry and without having to crawl under the house in the puddles myself), then my life is really good. I have wonderful family and friends, my health and a great new year ahead -- and I am thankful. A little bad luck here and there shouldn't change that.

So instead of giving some kind of rant today about the crazy school board that just did away with assigning students to year-round schools without any review of the economic impact of that decision, I'm going to write a happy little Pippi post instead.

This morning while I was getting dressed, Pippi was playing in her room -- she's just now getting old enough that she's figured out she can do that. I love listening to her talk to herself and her toys, alternating between random snippets of songs ("Row, row, row,... ream..." followed by "Bimble bell, bimble bell, bimble bell, way!") and general gibberish.

At some point, I realized she was calling for me, so I peeked into her room to find her holding Elmo by the hand (which makes him sing the "Sesame Street" theme in Spanish) with her pretty monogrammed burp cloths spread all over the floor. She had pulled a diaper and a new package of wipes from the changing table and had been wiping Elmo's bottom, but she couldn't fasten the diaper by herself.

"Emmo dia-puh?" she asked, handing me the diaper and placing Elmo's tushie squarely on one of the burp cloths. After I got him properly suited up, she took Elmo into her arms, cradled him with a kiss, then tossed him over the side of the crib. "Night night, Elmo," she called, before dumping every book in her room on top of him, one at a time.

As I struggled not to laugh in front of Pippi (she was being so earnest about taking care of her "baby"), I realized I couldn't remember Junius doing this when he was her age. Maybe I've just forgotten -- and he certainly "mothers" his baby bear -- but the baby-doll instinct (or at least the impulse to keep a diaper on anyone small, which I certainly understand) seems much stronger in my daughter than in my son. Don't get me wrong -- she'll play with cars and balls and blocks, too, but she really loves to put on her dress up shoes, hook a little purse over her arm, and push that diapered Elmo around the house in her stroller.

Crazy stuff, this parenting -- but it's a funny show to watch.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Bad Omen? Or Nowhere to Go But Up?

My husband likes to say that, when I met him, I'd had the longest winning streak of anyone he knew. That may have been true (I found him, didn't I?), but I've also had some jarring losing streaks (like mono at age 30 that knocked me out of work for a month) to break up the wins. Thankfully, the good times always came back around -- but I'm a little worried about this start to 2010 that's causing me to flashback to five years ago.

In the final days of 2004 and the opening of 2005...
  • While visiting family in California, we borrowed our niece's car to drive to San Francisco. The car was vandalized at the train station where we parked outside the city (side and rear windows smashed in). After trying to drive the car back to Davis in the rain, we finally gave up and called my husband's sister and her husband to come rescue us. Oh, and I was about 13 weeks pregnant, so you can imagine how even-keeled I was about the whole thing.
  • While trying to get home from California, we sat in the plane on the runway for 3+ hours before finally taking off -- then missed our connecting flight in Chicago after running (literally) through the airport and ended up spending a few hours of sleep in an airport hotel before catching an early morning flight home. Did I mention I was pregnant?
  • On my first day back at work after the holidays, my wallet was stolen out of my office by a con-man who (through an elaborate scam that I won't detail here) was able to charge several purchases to my ATM card before I realized what was happening. (Thankfully, the Credit Union took great care of me once we got the mess sorted out -- but let this be a reminder to all to NEVER EVER tell anyone your PIN, even if you think they work for your bank. Ever.) And again, did I mention I was pregnant and emotional and exhausted?
Thankfully, despite the disastrous beginning, 2005 brought us great gifts -- namely, one beautiful, healthy baby boy. He came with his own craziness, but he's definitely worth it.

I tell you all of this now because here's what happened today:
  • A water pipe burst under the house this afternoon. It was a comedy of errors (okay, it wasn't funny at the time, but you have to laugh so as not to cry) while I tried to locate the tool to shut off water to the house (we have no inside-the-house shut-off) and then attempted to figure out how to use it while my husband coached me over the phone.
  • Our home warranty won't cover the plumbing problem because it involves freezing weather and a hose bib. Really? I'm paying you over $500 a year so that you can NOT cover things that break?
  • UNC lost to the College of Charleston tonight. C'mon, Heels!
  • When I reminded my husband that 2005 turned out to be a great year after all (because of course, we both went back to that jinx when the pipe burst today), he said, "Oh no. I hope you're not pregnant." But clearly that's not a problem as I started my period this morning -- this may seem like a good thing, except that it also means I'm on a 26-day cycle. At this rate, I'll end up menstruating twice a month before the end of the year.
Okay, so that last one was probably more than you wanted to know. But it really was the perfect ending to a completely stellar day.

The good news? The plumber is coming tomorrow morning, so hopefully we'll have water again by tomorrow afternoon. And in the meantime, we have wonderful neighbors who are going above and beyond the call of duty to take care of us.

Hopefully this is all a good sign that 2010 will be just as fruitful as 2005 was -- but in a totally different way.