Happy Everything!

May YOUR holidays be free of Google searches finding out if the song on the radio is sung by Ke$ha or Rihanna.

May YOUR holidays be free of explaining to your seven year old that there isn't anyone out there who can marry dogs ... nor do dogs need to be married in order to have puppies.

May YOUR holidays be free of having to reinforce why people should be married in order to have babies.

May YOUR holidays be free of describing just how the dog got pregnant in the first place.

May YOUR holidays be free of vaguely discussing how ladies get pregnant ...

May YOUR holidays be free of 19 month old toddlers who eat way more bean and cheese burritos than you could possibly imagine ... and have the toots that rival teenage boys!

... and most importantly,

May YOUR holidays be pink-eye free.


Dear Sheridan ...

Exactly six years ago today ... at 8:24 pm ... after 12 hours of labor and NO epidural ... weighing in at 7 lbs, 12 ounces ... in the Muscat Private Hospital, in the Sultanate of Oman ... you were born.

I know how much you like looking at your photos growing up, so let's take a walk down memory lane...

Here's the slide show I made right after you were born ... Click Here to view it on Shutterfly

And here are photos of you on your birthday for the past 6 years ...

1st birthday ~ Tel Aviv

2nd birthday ~ Tel Aviv

3rd birthday ~ Tel Aviv

4th birthday ~ Newport Beach

5th birthday ~ Chennai

6th birthday ~ Newport Beach

Happy birthday baby girl ... here's to many more years of you keeping us all on our toes!


Last Photo EVER Of This Five Year Old ...

... because when she wakes up in the morning, she's going to be SIX!

My what a difference a day makes.


If She's Learned ANYTHING At All From Me ...

... it's that in order to be heard, you MUST repeat yourself at least three times. The evidence? Tonight's latest letter to the tooth fairy.

Apparently, all she does want for Christmas are her two bottom teeth. I'd just be thrilled if she'd lose the two ugly top ones... the black one and the chipped one.


What Would YOU Do? **Take 2**

It's been a few years since we played this game, though I'm sure you can recall several instances where I went crazy with the schools in India. Remember the field trip incident with Sheridan's school? How about the school librarian spilling the beans about the tooth fairy? And who could forget about the maid sleeping in bathroom and taking photos of the kids incident at the International School?

I thought we'd be issue-free this year at our elementary school on the beach, but unfortunately Riley's class has had a problem child. Normally, I wouldn't get too concerned about a child with issues since ... well ... I, myself, have a spicy middle child who managed to lock all the girls in the bathroom and turn off the lights on her first day of kindergarten.

However, this young boy started the school year by getting suspended during the third week for unprovokingly scratching a child's face until it bled. Since his return, he's thrown items at the teacher (blocks and chairs), destroyed school property, used extremely foul language (the mother *effer* kind), and is disruptive, confrontational, and refuses to follow directions on a daily basis. How do I know all of this? Riley tells me weekly ... as do the many other parents who volunteer in the class.

So in true Perlman fashion, I wrote the below letter to the principal yesterday and copied it to the teacher. I just don't know what good it's going to do ... because from what I've been told, the principal has known about these issues but hasn't done anything. Why? Because up until last week, when she herself was hurt by this child, she felt the teacher had been exaggerating and provoking the child. Hence, little, if any, documentation has been filed with the district. My concern now is that things are going to stay status quo. And that's just not acceptable anymore.

I don't exactly know what the desired result is ... I just know that something's gotta give.

Dear Principal ****,

I want to express my growing concerns about my daughter's second grade classmate, (name withheld to protect the guilty). Since the beginning of the school year, my daughter has come home with weekly reports of (kid's name)'s behavior that has ranged from inappropriate and disruptive to alarming and destructive. The negative attention constantly placed upon him is beginning to overshadow the positive classroom environment that Mrs. Clarke has been so diligently trying to achieve. Quite frankly, it's unfairly taking precious time away from the other students.

Additionally, as a new family at the school, I find it frustrating to believe that this type of behavior has been tolerated for the past fourteen weeks. Scratching another child's face, throwing anything at the teacher, using foul language, and causing general mayhem is not only inexcusable, but it's intolerable.

(The local elementary school) prides itself with the saying, "Failing is NOT an option". However, by trying so hard not to fail this one student, the other twenty one have been left behind. Sadly, we don't know what the next trigger for this child will be, nor how dangerous the situation may become. Why are we waiting to find out?

With my husband in Baghdad, Iraq for the year, I already have to worry daily about his safety. When I send my daughter to school every morning, I shouldn't have to worry about hers too.

Jill Perlman


All In The Name Of Vanity

I went for my second Rosacea laser treatment today... six weeks to the day since my last visit. Remember that?

However, this time I was prepared. This time I knew what to expect. This time I knew exactly how it would feel, what my nose would look like, and even planned an entire weekend of activities ... knowing full well that nobody would even notice that I had anything done to my face.

Except ... I left the office with my nose looking nothing like it did the last time.

See, I mentioned to the dermatologist that I didn't notice any difference since the last treatment. Not only that, I didn't have any redness or even showed any signs that I had laser treatment done.

She fixed that today.

Apparently when your dermatologist asks you if you have any plans for the week because when she turns up the intensity on the laser your nose is going to bruise immediately, turn purple, and stay that way for about 7 days ...

... and you respond, "no worries because I can always cover it up with make-up"

... and she responds back with, "um... no, makeup isn't going to cover this"

... and you roll your eyes because you don't believe her... and then say, "bruise me ... bruise me doctor"

Well ... then you're an idiot. And you should have. Because your dermatologist specializes in laser treatments. And she wasn't kidding. And now you're bruised and you look like Rudolph's third cousin, once removed.

There really wasn't any more pain for this laser treatment than the last time. Okay, maybe it was a little more intense. But nothing awful. It just looks far worse than it feels.

5 minutes after I left the doctor's office ...

1 hour later ...

3 hours later ...

10 hours later ...

Lucky for me, I live in the land of the laser treatment, so nobody even blinked when I went shopping this afternoon. Of course, I'm sure there may be a few glances once this bruise starts to heal ... because the doctor warned me that it scabs before it falls off.

I think I just may believe her.

p.s. I am very aware that I'm not wearing any makeup, that the photos are taken way-too up close and personal, and that I probably should have at least plucked my eyebrows or put on some of my trademark dark lipstick for the photos. Would it really have helped detract your eyes from my nose?


With This Job, We Say Good-Bye ...

... like we did EXACTLY ten years and two days ago, when I drove to the Los Angeles International Airport in the early morning hours to send Matt off to Washington, D.C. for the beginning of his seven long months of training.

... and like we did again today, when I drove to the Los Angeles International Airport, where I pulled over to the curb outside of Terminal 7, watched him pull his black backpack and duffel bag out of the car, and gave him a long hug and kiss good-bye.

Ten years ago I escorted Matt into the terminal and waited in the United Airlines Red Carpet Club until he boarded his flight. Back then our good-bye was far different. We were newlyweds with no kids, no dog, few responsibilities... but with the knowledge we'd see each other soon because my job was relocating me to New Jersey four short weeks after he left.

Today I had trouble containing the lump in my throat, and like four months ago started crying before he even let me go. I know I won't see him again until February. However, unlike our last big good-bye, neither of us realized just how difficult it would be this second time around.

Now we know.

Now we know how busy the kids schedules keep us. Now we know how crappy the rental house is. Now we know how lonely it is ... to sleep alone... wake up alone ... to spend the weekends alone.

Yes, we're both strong. We're troopers. We'll do just fine. But we're also secure enough to admit the reality. Sometimes it's hard. Some days are very, very hard.

One foot in front of the other. One day at a time...


We Interrupt This Irregularly Scheduled Hiatus ...

to show you what pure joy is for these little girlies...

It has been a BUSY ten days with Matt in town. Since we returned from our whirlwind 3 days in Virginia, we have been overwhelmed with events and activities ranging from ...

* early dismissal every day
* no school last Wednesday
* 2 parent / teacher conferences
* PTA skate night
* Grady's 18 month doctor's visit
* my mammogram
* car issues
* working in Sheridan's class
* Riley's Brownie event
* daily visits to the park to poop out the kids and dog
* grocery shopping and home cooked meals
* Hanukkah shopping
* Saturday date night
* ice skating
* laundry, laundry, and more laundry
* dealing with electricity issues in the house
* dealing with landlord issues
* canceled family photos due to rain
* rescheduling family photos
* Thanksgiving parties in both girls classes
* Monday night football in San Diego

... and lots more to come.

We are thoroughly enjoying our time together as a family... though, it doesn't come without its own set of stresses. For those of you who think that it's effortless to just jump right back in to where we left off back in July, let me honestly say that it's not. The kids and I moved into our own place and got into our own routine and have manage to live our own lives ... all without Matt. As much as we've missed him, and we have, the reality is that we've all had to adjust to his homecoming. And the worst part is that by the time we've all settled into our new routine, it'll be uprooted again when he leaves.

However, on a happy note, after spending three long days in Virginia, we feel fairly confident that we found an area where we want to live. We spent the entire weekend with our realtor and looked at a myriad of both resale homes and new construction in the Loudoun County area. We originally went there to scout potential locations, and left there with a new direction. New construction. Say hello to the lot we're hoping to buy. This 1/3 acre is located in a nature preserve surrounded entirely by natural forest. If all goes well, this little lot (or one right next to it), will be ours sometime in January. Once we make that decision, we then hand over Matt's wallet and sanity to build our dream home.... all 4700+ square feet of it.... and hope it's ready by June.

But for now, we return to our irregularly scheduled hiatus. Once Matt leaves I'll be back online. This week we are barely checking email, hardly returning phone calls, my google reader is overflowing with unread blogs, and I can't seem to get back to anyone for anything. Surprisingly? Me and my OCD-self is pretty OK with it right now. While I feel a tad disconnected with the "outside" world, our family of five is enjoying our togetherness. Lots and lots of togetherness...

We wish you all a wonderful Thanksgiving filled with good health, happiness, friendship, and love, wherever in the world you may celebrate.


T-Minus 24

In less than 24 hours I will be leaving the kids with them for 3 days ...

and getting on one of these ...

so that I can meet up with him ...

and go look for these ...

Our first R&R trip has finally arrived! One hundred and sixteen daddy-free days behind us. Almost four full months crossed off on our year-long separation. Amazing how quickly the time flew by.

In just thirty-six hours I will be landing in DC and meeting up with Matt. Three kid-free days to drive around Virginia in search of the area we will soon call home. Three days to narrow down the neighborhoods we'll consider when purchasing our next house. So much driving to be done. So very little time to do it.

This little get away couldn't have come at a more perfect time either. I need the break from the kids. I need a break from mommy duty (and baby doody). We are in such cramped quarters that the girls have been off their rocker and have been climbing the walls. Literally.

Have a nice weekend everyone. We're at the beginning of a great three weeks ...


She's In The Money ... Or So She Thinks....

Who doesn't decide to pull out their semi-wiggly tooth the minute they walk through the door of Target? When mom has her hands full and can barely rummage through her mom-bag to find a semi-clean napkin to help stop the bleeding.

Her letter to the tooth fairy ...

Followed by her Hanukkah List.

For those of you who aren't able to decipher her 5 year old phonetics ... she wants:

* Two more Zu Zu Pets
* An iTouch
* Diaries
* Piano
* Barbies
* Books
* Bookshelf
* Camera
* Polly Pockets
* Barbie Cars


Really? I Mean REALLY?

I received this email today from my OB/Gyn.

Love the results ... Not so comfortable with the verbiage.


I Am Thankful

There are so many things I'm appreciative for this week....

I am thankful that the babysitter I used for two hours & forty minutes on Thursday night only cost me $40.

I am thankful nobody called Child Protective Services on me when I had to open a BIG can of whoop a** on Sheridan at the beach during one of her award winning meltdowns and tantrums to trump all tantrums.

I am thankful that when I fell asleep on the couch during movie night at 7:45 pm last night, that when I woke up at 9:45 pm and saw the girls were STILL awake, they were at least watching the Disney channel.

I am thankful that despite changing the clocks back one hour and kids managing to still wake up at o'dark thirty, they weren't the only ones running around Starbucks or Pavilions at 7 am.

I am thankful that my 5 year old was able to correctly describe the difference between "liking" boys and "like-liking" boys.

I am thankful that while running barefoot in the park that Grady only stepped in dog poop twice, and that the sweet looking Golden Retriever who walked by Libby only bit her once on her back.

I am thankful that I have driven my girls to climb up the walls. Literally.

I am thankful that Riley realized her Hanukkah list was a tad unrealistic ... and modified it accordingly.


I Sat. I Waited. I Sat. I Waited. And Then, I Waited Some More.

I spent two hours and ten minutes at the DMV today. Two hours and ten minutes that I'll never get back again. Two hours and ten minutes that ended up saving me $296 in late penalties. How? Because even the DMV can't dispute that the address on the paperwork from the Land Rover dealership when we purchased our car did NOT match the address on the DMV car renewal form. That was sent to my wrong address. Twice.

I had to stand in a line once I got to the DMV. I then had to fill out a sworn statement of events. And in the end, I had to park my recently naked tush on a way-too-close-to-my-neighbor's seat for over 1 1/2 hours while I waited for my number to be called.

When I finally made it to window twenty four, I explained the situation to the overly crabby DMV personnel, she changed the address in the system and waived the late fees. Sure she barked at me through the entire transaction. Goodness forbid she ever crack a smile. But she only charged me the fees I owed. And sent me on my way with my updated registration and license plate sticker.

Which was great because when we got home, Riley presented me with this. Her updated Hanukkah list. I may need more than that $296 to complete it ... not that I plan to ...


There Should Be A No Talking Rule

I had a doctor's appointment today. More specifically, I went to my OB/Gyn, and had my annual exam today. The "once over" that should have taken place about four months ago. Should I be embarrassed that I'm a tad overdue?

Many of you will remember how much I love my doctor. I do. I mean, I really really do. And I should, considering how often I was in his office last year ... (three times a week for eight weeks for my insanely expensive high risk pregnancy). Of course, it felt funny walking back in there this time. Skinny. Not pregnant. Not worrying about how much I gained since my last visit. In the last eight years I've only been to the Gyne for prenatal care, post natal care, or annual exams that involved discussions about future pregnancies. This time it was strictly a well woman exam... and nothing else.

After signing in with the receptionist, I went to take a seat in the newly remodeled waiting area. However, before my tush could even hit the couch, the nurse called my name and sent me into room 4. She took my weight and then instructed me to get completely undressed and put on the pale pink gown with the ties in the front. I undressed as quickly as possible because I have this irrational fear of changing too slowly and having the doctor walk in on me with my butt in the air and pants around my ankles. But who am I kidding ... I'm usually left waiting long enough to read a trashy magazine. Or two.

This time though, the doctor came in before I even had a chance to open my email on my iPhone. He had a warm smile, and a bunch of questions about India all ready for me. He remembered. Or he was smart enough to check my chart. Either way, we started chatting away. He worked his way from "North" to "South" with nary a second of silence. He started with my neck and told me all about his office, his staff, his practice. He got to my breasts and I told him about Matt's job, his position in Iraq, our upcoming move to D.C. And as he made his way to my nether regions, with my feet now in stirrups, he started telling me about his son, his graduation from Annapolis, and his new job with submarines or somethingorother.... It was then that I realized I was only partly listening. Because uuuuummmm... is it just me or is it awkward to chat away while a doctor is "looking at London with his fist high in France?"

In a flash he's done and he has me sit up. Only to continue talking to me. About his upcoming trip to Kenya next week. About his future work trips overseas with the hospital next spring. About his family. About his new office remodel. About recommendations for doctors in D.C. And all the while my head is swirling because remember...


Ok, technically I'm not entirely naked. I am wearing that pale pink gown that ties in front. But let's be honest, it ties at my collar bone. So the only thing that's covered up are my shoulders and my clavicle. The rest of me is hanging out. Literally.

I must be a good conversationalist because he is not getting the hint that I'm ready to get dressed and that he should go see other patients. Or he is just so immune to talking to naked ladies all day that he doesn't quite pick up the signs. Either way, I'm a tad uncomfortable. Since I'm as sober as can be, I figure that if he's going to see me naked, the least I can do is offer up entertaining dialogue.

We continue to chat for about five more minutes. Five more minutes of me shifting on the crinkly paper. Five more minutes of me crossing and recrossing my legs (not a la Sharon Stone thankyouverymuch) so that I maintain some semblance of modesty. Five more minutes of building a relationship with him. Chatting away about life. That I'm almost surprised about the next two sentences out of his mouth before he walks out of the room.

He recommended I have a pelvic ultrasound for the cramping I've been having since my tubal ligation. And because I've had a breast reduction, it's difficult to tell whether or not what the doctor is feeling is due to scar tissue or breast tissue, so he's sending me for a diagnostic mammogram. Neither of these two test are because he suspects anything wrong, rather as a preventative measure he wants baseline images.

So off I go for more tests in the next few weeks. Where I can undress for another set of physicians and technicians, who will ultimately see a whole lot more of me than this doctor just did. But this time I'm planning ahead. I'm wearing perfume, I have a no-talking rule ... and I'm bringing the cocktails.


And Now For The Obligatory Halloween Photos ...

... from our very first Halloween in the United States.

Meet Minnie Mouse, Alice in Wonderland, and the Cranky Dinosaur. Who had the night of their lives Trick or Treating here in Newport Beach.

Where people decorate their yards to the nines... pass out regular size candy bars...
and even offer alcoholic beverages to the adults.

Where they have Pre and Post Trick or Treating Parties.
And are smart enough to bring wagons big enough to hold 5 pooped out kids...

Of course, there was one minor casualty.
Notice anything missing? Um... yeah, never found it
Though a great night was still had by all.

And if you ever have a teacher bold enough to wear this to school.
Just remember to bring your extra battery with you when you schlep your DSLR camera.
Your iPhone just won't do it justice ...

Yeah ... he rocks.


When In Rome ... Er, Newport Beach

I live in THE beautiful capital of the world. It is THE place where you can have THE perfect body if you're willing to either a) spend the time in the gym or b) pay for it.

I learned a lot about beauty the weekend I moved into the rental house and first got together with my neighbors. They told me all about their Restylane, Botox, boob jobs, microdermabrasion, face peels, IPL Laser treatments, and teeth whitening. Oh, and that California is a 50/50 state if you stay married more than 10 years.

They take their doctors, their lawyers, and their referrals very seriously. When these ladies talked, I rolled my eyes listened.

So about 6 weeks ago I went to one of their recommended dermatologists to talk about something that has bothered me for years. YEARS! I went to discuss options to "cure" the Rosacea on my nose.

For as long as I can remember I have had a red nose. The redness of it ebbs and it flows, looking more prominent when it's cold outside or when I have a cocktail. I've tried every gel and cream since college. I've tried every home remedy, cosmeceutical, and new makeup on the market that claims it will hide the redness. Usually people tell me they don't notice it, but that's only because I cake-on the cover up and reapply it throughout the day so that I don't look like Rudolph. I have spent endless hours and dollars dealing with this and have hit the stage where I can finally say I'm just about done.

Enter my last resort. The v-beam laser. My panacea.

Today I began my 2, maybe 3 series laser treatment to reduce the redness on my nose. No more creams. No more gels. No more looking like a clown with the caked-on cover up on my nose. Today is the first day of the rest of my non-red nose life.

The only problem? I'm pain averse.

I usually have a very high pain threshold. Heck, I had Sheridan without an epidural. But the anticipation of today's procedure had me literally hyperventilating in the doctor's office. See, about 12 years ago I was a test dummy for a new laser on my spider veins. Without getting too graphic, let's just say it was one of the worst experiences. My legs were mangled, scabbed, and scarred. I didn't have a great outcome, and the pain was beyond horrific. Without the ability to use the Emla cream to numb my nose and based on my previous experiences, I just wasn't sure that I could handle it.

But I did. And honestly, the pain was quite minimal. The twenty'ish pulses didn't bother me one bit. That is until about ten minutes later when my nose started tingling. Which it's been mildly doing all day. Though it's not bad. Not bad at all.

I go back in mid-December for round two of treatment. If I'm feeling frisky, I may even let her turn up the intensity on the laser. No better time to actually look like one of Santa's reindeer....

The kind nurse took photos of me prior to the procedure.

The "bug eyed" AFTER photos.
With remnants of mascara from yesterday, just for good measure.


I Never Knew ...

... just how adorable he'd be today. How flipping cute I'd find him afterward. How that quick half-hour would change his entire look. His whole face. How I could manage to take 152 photos with less than 5 of him actually looking in the camera.

I never knew that at 17 months, I'd have to take Grady to get his first haircut.

I hadn't planned on getting his hair cut today. I really wanted to wait until Matt was here so we could take him together. But when his sweet little ringlet curls started becoming unruly and standing on end, and the girls were able to style his hair in mini ponytails, I knew it was time.

I took him to a children's salon just down the street. They put him in a little yellow car and made sure to tighten the seat belt. The stylist was recommended by my neighbor. She asked me what I wanted. I told her, "the usual?" And she began cutting ...

And all was fine until she took away his play toy. Which is exactly what it looked like.

Ahhhhh... much better now. Grady got his pink dildo pretend hair clippers back.
Um, sure... I guess it's a good toy to play with while sitting in a kids hair salon.

Before & After photos. What a difference twenty minutes makes.

And you can bet your sweet bippy that I tipped her well. Mostly for annoying her with the endless photos. And the dildo comments. I'm sure she'll look forward to having me back there again...

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