Our Nomadic Lifestyle Is Coming To An End

How we managed to fit everything into the car is anyone's guess. But we did. And my parents are lucky, because had things not fit, I would have left one of the girls behind. True story. And it really would have been a toss up on which one to take with me ... the whiny one or the whiny one. Okay, let's be honest. Don't tell my parents, but I may have even considered leaving both behind.

My fancy shmancy car has a DVD player. With wireless headphones. So, in theory, I'm able to listen to my own music or talk show on the drive, but when the girls want something, need something, or must have something that VERY minute, they yell to me. Or cry to me. Or bicker to me. They obviously can't hear how loud and annoying they are when they're tuned into their own movie. Nor can they hear when their brother needs something. I spent a majority of the drive down to Southern California breaking up fights. Handling minor crises. Talking through clenched teeth.

I think next time I'll wear the wireless headphones.

The drive back down to Orange County was uneventful. Albeit long. We decided to stay in a hotel for the last few days before we move into our rental home on Sunday. A bit more convenient to have our own space. A lot more considerate for all parties as we spread out and unwind. And it's great practice for us to get used to living in close quarters... for the rental house we'll be living in for the next 9 months is not that much bigger than the hotel suite we're staying in.

Five days until we move into our house. Seven days until school starts. Seventy-two days until we see Matt.


And I Am Now DONE Paying To See The Animals ...

We took the kids to the Oakland Zoo yesterday. On another outing to see animals. And relatives. Where we ate junk food. And listened to the girls whine and beg about all the things they wanted me to buy. Basically, a typical Sunday for us.

No need to go into the details of what we saw at the zoo. You can pretty much take a guess at what was there... Baboons with ugly butts. Elephants eating and pooping. Animals that the zoo claimed were there, but never materialized (the lions, the tigers, and bears, oh my!).

In all a great day. Despite everyone's crankiness. Though I have a ton of photos to show for it, I decided to spare you and just post a few of my favorites. I think you'll see why...

Tomorrow we head back down to Orange County, where we'll still be in limbo until Sunday when we FINALLY move into our rental house. Until then, enjoy the photos ... and wish me luck that we fit everything back into the car.


Mommy Took Us To The Aquarium And All We Got Was An Overpriced Apple Juice*

I took the kids to the Monterey Bay Aquarium today. For free. Yes... for FREE! Can I tell you how much I love free?

My dearest girlfriend and college roommate lent me four guest passes so the kids and I could enjoy the day in Monterey. And with almost 80 degree weather and no crowds, we sure did.

It's been at least a dozen years since I've been to the aquarium. In fact, if I remember correctly, the last time I was there was when Matt and I visited old family friends in Monterey way back in November, 1997. My how it's changed.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is a virtual paradise for young kids. We spent four hours there, yet had we been able to watch any feedings or caught any shows, we could have easily stayed another few hours. We walked through all of the exhibits, touched everything we could have touched, and visited every bathroom on every level.

Photos taken today ... approx 150

Number of meltdowns ... less than a handful

Total money spent at the aquarium ... $2.40*

A great day was had by ... most all

L: The girls touching a bat ray
M - R: Touching the star fish

Sheridan wasn't tall enough to look through the telescopes the "right" way,
so she decided on her own way ... which as you can see, is backwards.

Grady enjoyed hanging in his seat ... and I enjoyed when he finally fell asleep

Some of my favorites

A fun attempt to take our own photos


And We Had Fun Fun Fun, Until Mom Made Us Throw Out Our Melted Ice Cream Cones

We went to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk yesterday.

Where we ate junk food. Lots and lots of junk food.

And rode on roller coasters.

Some they LOVED.

Others ... NOT so much.

We watched a show on the beach... while Grady decided to do face plants in the sand instead.

And we hung with our Bubbie and Zadie.

In all, it was a fun day! The weather was perfect, allowing us to be comfortable in our long sleeved shirts until the evening, when were thankful to have sweatshirts. The kids more than got their money's worth of rides. And the baby ... well, he was just thrilled to eat his way through the Boardwalk.


Wordless Wednesday

Sitting in the firetruck was a dream come true for Riley.
Getting one semi-decent photo of the three of them was a dream come true for me.


It Takes A Village To Tighten A Bike Chain

I patched a flat tire on Sheridan's bike today. By myself. The first of many I'm sure I'll fix over the next year.

After she came into the house screaming that she couldn't ride her bike because her tire was flat, together we found a large thorn stuck all the way through to the tube. With nobody around to help me fix it, I took off all my jewelry, figured out how to remove the back wheel and brought it into the house. There I filled the tube with air and put it into the sink to locate the leak; a job I've watched my father do countless times before. Once I marked where it was, it didn't take long to read the directions on the back of the patch kit ... to buff the area, glue, and finally patch.

But don't congratulate me just yet. After I got the tube and tire put back onto the wheel, and the wheel back onto the bike, I did have a wee bit of trouble tightening the chain. After fiddling with it for another five minutes, realizing that I would have to loosen and tighten the back tire again, I gave up and told Sheridan that I needed Matt's, my dad's help. Darn, I was so close!

Matt has been gone for exactly one month. And while everyone who knows us knows that I'm the handy one who does the majority of the work in, out, and around the house, he's at least usually there to help cheer me on, relieve some of the burden, or in the end, to "call a guy."

Now? I call my dad. To help tighten the chains on the bikes and fix other flat tires. And my mom. To pick up stuff from the grocery store or to feed and watch the baby. And my in-laws. To store all our cr*p while we're at my parent's house and to help us with the paperwork for the girls school (which doesn't start until after Labor Day ... ugh). And my aunt and uncle to help with synagogue stuff. And my cousins to pencil us in for playdates. And my family and friends to lend an ear or three.

We are going on ten weeks of nomadic living, with three more to go before we move into our rental house for the rest of the school year. The honeymoon period of living in guest bedrooms of both my parents and in-laws house is long gone, and we concede that our brood is akin to the adage of guests and fish smelling after three days. At this point we could singe your nose hairs for we smell as pungent an Asian market's seafood department.

Yet, despite these frustrations of displacement and assuming all parental responsibilities, I'm slowly acquiescing and relating to the former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton's book, "It Takes A Village." However in our case it's more like, "It Takes A Country." This country. Filled with an over abundance of everything I've been missing and craving for the past few years. Which, again, I'll take right now. Along with all the help I can get. Despite my usual disdain searching it. Because with Matt gone for the next eleven months, I recognize that while I wouldn't necessarily ask for it, my country, my peeps are always there to provide "it".... the phone calls, the emails, the texts, the notes, the history, the support. Sometimes whether I want it or not. Along with an extra serving of Jewish guilt on the side. For good measure.

And that's OK. In fact it's appreciated. Almost as much as having someone come over to lend a hand scooping and bagging the multiple piles of dog poop in the backyard.

Or tighten a bike chain.


What You May Not Be Able To Say In Words, Can Often Best Be Summed Up In Photos...

Seven months ago my friend Christy emailed me in India and asked me if I thought about attending BlogHer 2010 in New York City. Sure, I had thought about it, as I had done every year for the past three years, but I knew that with school starting in early August that I'd never be able to go. That is, until I started talking about it with Matt, and expressing how much I WANTED to go ... how much I NEEDED this conference, that we made the decision to keep the kids in the States an extra few weeks this summer before we headed back to India. And on February 28, mere minutes before the registration deadline, I paid my entrance fees and signed up for the two-day conference.

Of course, by now we all know the change of events in our lives, and instead of worrying about starting school a few days late, I now have to worry about managing the kids and dog solo while Matt is in Iraq for the next 49 weeks. Though I digress... so let's get back to my weekend in New York City.

As I sit here, attempting to sum it up in a paragraph or two, I struggle with my loss for words. Which probably isn't something to admit after returning from a blogging conference where I should have found my voice. The irony is that despite the ideas and experiences rolling around in my head for the past few days, I don't think that I can in any way remotely articulate what and why attending BlogHer meant to me. So let me try to sum it up in one word: Community.

Long before I began connecting with the other State Department bloggers, where by sheer happenstance it's easy to find commonalities, I slowly began discovering blogs that interested me. Blogs about sewing... photography... travel... mom blogs... humor blogs... mens blogs. You name it, I probably read it. Some resonated with me and I still read them today. Others took paths that no longer kept my interest. But over the years I've spent an awful lot of time searching. And reading. And devouring. Their words. Their style. Their lives.

This blogosphere, online community, if you will, has helped mold and shape me and my blog since I took "The Perlman Update" public 3 1/2 years ago. These bloggers, along with my family and friends, have really helped encourage and support me throughout the years as ... we moved from Israel to India to California, I underwent all the medical procedures, during my pregnancy with Grady, the packing, the moving, the vacations, the vomit, and most recently, Matt's unaccompanied tour.

So again you ask, how does one put into words meeting these ladies after SO many years of stalking, reading, commenting, communicating? You can't. So you put it in pictures... as you'll see below.

The conference more than paid for itself with the two photography sessions that I went to... listening to the community keynotes where I laughed until my sides hurt and cried the ugly tears ... AND most importantly, from the friendships I made. I went to the conference having met absolutely no one in person, and left there with a few really solid girlfriends I know I'll be in touch with outside of blogging. The hardest part for me was just getting out of my comfort zone... though once I psyched myself up to introduce myself to people (many of whom I'll admit I'd been dying to meet), it became easy. And fun. And filled with fantastic memories.

There's so much more I could say about the weekend. So many more people to recognize. And thank. And I WILL when I do a recap of the things I learned. But for now, here's a peek into my forty eight hours in NYC.

Doesn't everybody have a picture of themselves and Bruce Jenner at a blogging convention?

L to R: Me and my roommate Christy, Me and Pauline, and Christy, Me, and Loukia

Left: In Times Square with Amy, Pauline, me, Stacey
Right: At lunch with ... ladies I ALWAYS wanted to meet...
: Scarymommy, me, Carolyn Online, Twenty-four at heart,
Momo Fali, Bitchinwivesclub, Annsrants, San Diego Momma
Front: Vodkamom, OHmommy, Is There Any Mommy Out There, wendiaarons, Heather of the EO, and PostPicketFence

Left: Kate, Christy, Anna (The ladies who made it ALL worth attending)

Right: Christy, Kari, Issa, and me

Blog Designed by: NW Designs