Friday, December 12, 2008

This Is a Bit Embarassing

I should really be able to do better than that, considering there are over 200 more countries out there.

I see some practicing in my future...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

So I Don't Really Have Anything to Say...

But it's been a while since I posted.

Life has been very busy for the CoasterFamily. We've been preparing to host W.'s office Christmas party as noted previously, we re-decorated our living room, CoasterGirl has had 2 birthday parties plus a Christmas parade to participate in, and work has been...well...busy.

Thankfully, the Christmas party was postponed so that more of W.'s office mates can come, so I'm not nearly as panicked tonight as I would be otherwise. Still, there's plenty of work left to do, and of course the baking will need to wait until next week.

Speaking of baking, I managed to ruin a double-batch of cookie dough earlier this week by adding an extra stick of butter. Which wouldn't be so terrible, except I used 6 sticks of butter and 2 bags of sliced almonds in the batch - an expensive mistake! W. thinks it's funny that an accounting major screwed up the conversions for doubling a batch of cookie dough. Being the super-nice guy that he is, though, he waited to spring that one on me until after he'd consoled me about the cookies.

We did get a substantial chunk of our to-do list accomplished this last week. Christmas presents have been purchased, wrapped and shipped to the in-laws, the Christmas tree was procured and decorated, Christmas cards were designed and ordered, the living room was finished, and most of the rest of the Christmas shopping is complete.

I'm not sure I want to think about how busy we'll be this weekend trying to get the house clean and in presentable shape, though. It's amazing how messy it can get when you're super-busy with work and doing other things during non-work time.

Maybe I'll ask Santa for a housekeeper for Christmas.

Friday, December 5, 2008

'Tis the Season

For peppermint mochas from Starbucks. Having already consumed half of a grande non-fat Peppermint Mocha Twist, I discovered the following:

The Caffeine Click Test - How Caffeinated Are You?

Looks like I need to get crackin'!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Haul Out the Holly...

Wow. The Christmas season snuck up on me this year, even considering I've been planning a party for W.'s office-mates. Maybe it was the late Thanksgiving this year that did me in. Regardless, I need some help getting in the Christmas spirit. I still have a wooden pumpkin on my front door, and not a single bit of tinsel in sight.

I'm waiting to haul out the holly until after tomorrow, when we'll have new carpet installed in our living room. Until then, I suppose I'll just have to make do with the ultimate get-in-the-Christmas-mood song (at least for me): "We Need a Little Christmas". Here's Johnny Mathis singing his heart out about candles in the windows and carols at the spinet:


Monday, November 24, 2008

The Tooth Fairy Cometh

Today after school CoasterGirl proudly announced, "I'm growing up!" The latest milestone? She lost her first tooth today. As she grinned to show me the gap in her smile and held up the zip-lock baggie containing her first lost baby tooth, I felt my heart clench and my stomach roil.

Neither feeling was unexpected; this fresh evidence that my first-born is no longer my baby girl was sure to tug at my heartstrings, and me being me, make me nauseated. For whatever reason, the mere thought of a tooth wiggling around in a kid's mouth (much less being pulled) leaves me squeamish and faintly green. W. is getting a big kick out of this, I assure you. I have informed him that he is, from now on, in charge of all things related to loose teeth and the tooth fairy.

How on earth did I manage to make it through my childhood with such a phobia, you might ask? Easy: it didn't bother me when I was young. In fact, I have memories of pulling my own teeth and exploring the gaps with my tongue with no ill effects. Ah, well. Good thing I never considered a career in dentistry - I would never be able to complete an extraction!

CoasterGirl shows no ill effects from having lost the tooth, though; she's happy to be able to eat again, and anxious to catch up with her best friend, who has already lost five teeth!

Good grief. This childhood thing really does go by quickly, doesn't it?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Today's Earworm

As I was taking CoasterBoy to daycare this morning, I caught Kid Rock's "All Summer Long" on the radio. But I was disappointed - the music I caught first was the snippet from Warren Zevon's "Werewolves of London"...and no offense to Kid Rock, because he obviously has great taste in music, but I had to search YouTube for the real thing.

Of course, now I've been singing "Werewolves of London" all day, and I can't get it out of my head. So I figured I'd share the love.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

So, Umm...Yeah

I totally got sucked in. I finished New Moon in about a day and a half, and I'm on to Eclipse.

And I made the mistake of watching the Twilight trailer online. I will definitely be going to see the movie, as soon as I can convince W. to hold down the fort long enough for me to go.

Yes, I'm a total dork.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

So, I finally read Twilight

"What on earth took you so long?" you might ask. Or perhaps you might ask, "Why?"

Unless you've been living under a rock, or just paying no attention to anything media-related but political coverage, you've heard of the series of novels by Stephanie Meyer, the first of which has been made into a major motion picture which debuts this month. This Friday, to be precise. Which was supposed to be the release date for the sixth Harry Potter movie. But no, I'll have to wait for summer for that one. Not that I'm bitter or anything. Stupid movie executives.

At any rate, there's been so much hype about the movie and the novels that I finally broke down and purchased a slightly used copy of the first of the series, Twilight. I'll tell you up front that I'm a bit particular about writing style and dialogue - if dialogue isn't natural, it tends to grate on my nerves. So I didn't have high hopes, given the reviews I've read.

Still, I got sucked in. I read the thing in 3 nights, which is quite an accomplishment these days, when the kids aren't in bed and asleep before 8:30 and if I go to bed after 10:30 or so I'm a zombie the next day. I'm a sucker for a love story. And even the angst-filled emo dialogue and sometimes awkward writing didn't distract me enough to want to put it down. It was a total guilty pleasure.

Even so, I'm not sure I want to read the rest of the series. I've heard the series finale was controversial with the fans, and I don't want to be disappointed. I've already wanted to smack Edward and Bella repeatedly. Perhaps I should just let the Twilight bandwagon roll on by. No sense getting invested in characters and then getting ticked off about where they end up.

But, I hear Robert Pattinson is quite the hottie in the movie. Combine his good looks with the practically-perfect-in-every-way-except-for-that-whole-vampire-thing Edward Cullen, and I'm betting every teen girl (and quite a few of their moms) will be lined up at the movie theater Friday night. And Robert Pattinson was great as Cedric Diggory in Goblet of Fire.

I wonder if it'll be less crowded on Saturday afternoon?

Oh, no. I'm talking myself into it, aren't I?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Martha Stewart, I'm Not

So, it's official. We're hosting W.'s office Christmas party here at Chez CoasterFamily. We have a few weeks (the party's on Dec. 13th), but this is the largest get-together we've ever hosted in our home, and I'm already starting to get nervous.

I've been scoping out holiday party planning tips online and flipping through Christmas-themed magazines in the check-out line. I think we're doing noshes instead of a full-out dinner, and having everyone bring something. So, maybe this is doable. Right? Right??

I have quite a few Christmas albums in my iTunes library, so I'm thinking I'll put together a playlist for background music. I'm also planning to make mini pumpkin-spice bread loaves to give as party favors. A fire in the fireplace is a must. And I need a holiday punch recipe - maybe some wassail? And some non-alcoholic punch for the kids. Did I mention that we'll be inviting families?

Oh, dear. What have I gotten myself into?

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Little Ear Candy

To make the afternoon go by more quickly:

And a little camp to make it fun.

"Sweep the Leg" by No More Kings.

Cobra Kai!

So, I'm Back...

It's been a while.

Things in the CoasterFamily have been very, very busy. CoasterGirl joined the Girl Scouts - she's a Brownie! In the month since she joined, she's attended two outings and earned a badge already! Now if I could just figure out how to sew the thing on...

CoasterBoy has become increasingly obsessed with The Wiggles. His new favorite toy is his sister's old Wiggles guitar. That plays music. And makes sounds. Over and over again.

We re-decorated the powder room.

We've contracted with a fencing company to build a privacy fence in our back yard. That will likely be completed next week, and then we will need to stain and treat it - I'm thinking a Wagner power painter is in our immediate future.

And we may or may not be hosting the Christmas party for W.'s office at our home. Oh, my.

Anyone have any great ideas for decorating and/or party planning?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Are You Registered to Vote?

Can you believe it's already mid-September? The 2008 Presidential election is just weeks away, and voter registration deadlines are even sooner. Please make sure you are registered to vote at your current residence so that your voice is heard in November, no matter who you vote for!

Here's a handy site where you can confirm that you are registered, find out about early and absentee ballots, and you should eventually even be able to check your polling location.

Full Disclosure: This site is sponsored by Obama for America.

Saturday, September 6, 2008



Not that I would, mind you. Just that I could.

Monday, September 1, 2008

So Long, Summer

So this weekend was the unofficial end of summer. For the CoasterFamily, summer ended not with a bang, but with a slow fade. We're all getting a little tired of the hot weather, I think, and have gotten lazy.

We watched college football, kid movies, and the news on television. We played with balloons, legos, dolls and crayons. We avoided yardwork like the plague. Oh, we did a little cleaning, a little shopping, and a little home renovation, but for the most part, we just stayed around the house and took it easy.

Even so, I'm beat. Even on days when we're not doing much, there's still the daily business of potty training, attempting to feed the kids food that's actually good for them rather than succumbing to the siren call of the fast food joints for every meal, and trying to maintain patience in the face of whining, fighting, and misbehaving (but lovely!) children.

I'm looking forward to fall. I'm looking forward to cooler weather, long sleeves, and football games. To crock-pot meals and changing leaves. To chili. To planning for the holidays. To fires in the fireplace, and s'mores with the kids.

So long to the August doldrums. Bring on fall!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Snip Snip Sniff Sniff

CoasterBoy got his first haircut yesterday, and of course, I cried like a baby.

W insists that it was time - and he's probably right. The sides and back were getting long and unruly, but I just loved it when the hair in the back curled, and I liked to play with those golden curls. *sigh*

At any rate, the stylist, Nora, was very sweet and gave me a lock of hair to keep, and a card to keep it in. She left the top alone, and just cut the sides and back.

CoasterBoy looks so grown up now that he has a little boy haircut. It makes me sad in a way that his 2nd birthday didn't - why is that, do you suppose?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Let's Just Hope CoasterGuy Gets a Better Score...


Editing to add: in case you can't read the percentage there very well, I only have a 37% chance of surviving a zombie apocalypse. D'oh!

Click the image above if you want to take the quiz yourself, but be prepared to waste a lot of time at that site!

UPDATE: CoasterGuy got a 54%. But only, he says, because he's willing to shoot me in the head without hesitation if I become a zombie.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


(Updated - see below)

I am a champion worrier. I come by it honestly; my mother and her mother before her were worriers, too. (Right, Mom?)

My worries tonight are a little more than my typical neurotic anxiety about molehills, though.

CoasterGirl has been having pain in her hips. This started about a week and a half ago, with no known cause, such as a fall. It tends to bother her most in the morning and at night; up until the last few days, a dose of Children's Tylenol and some walking around would do the trick. The last few days, though, the pain has been worse and has lasted longer, and today it never went away at all.

We went to the pediatrician yesterday - she ordered x-rays and labs, so we spent a good portion of midday today at the local regional medical center having the tests done. (Note to self: must try to make CoasterGirl forget the blood-draw experience today so as not to cause trauma before future tests. The lab guy was friendly and nice, but had quite a bit of trouble finding a good vein. Poor CoasterGirl! He felt so bad that he gave her multiple stickers, character bandaids, toys and a sucker.)

A few of the possibilities are somewhat scary, so I'm trying not to worry until we get the test results back, hopefully on Monday. I'm hanging my hat on the statement by the pediatrician that even the scary options are treatable, so I should really try not to worry.

I'm not doing such a great job.

UPDATE: The pediatrician's office called Sunday evening - both tests came back fine, so at least we know it's not a fracture, a joint problem, or an infection. The bad news is we have no idea why her hips hurt!

Friday, August 15, 2008

We Made it Through Week One

Since CoasterGirl's first week of first grade is in the books (as it were), I thought I'd make a few observations.

1) 6:48 a.m. is way too early for the school bus to arrive.

2) 6:43 a.m. is way, way too early for the school bus to arrive.

3) Apparently, having clothes, shoes, backpack and lunch ready the night before is not enough preparation to prevent missing said school bus. Twice.

4) Raisins are not a "cool" snack.

5) Socks with decorations are "cooler" than plain white socks.

6) I'm never going to make it through May.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

You Like Me, You Really Like Me!!

Thank you, Thank you. You're too kind! I'd like to thank the Academy...

Actually, I'd really like to thank Cori for this cool blog bling/award:

How awesome is that?

I'm going to spread the love to Kelly, Susan, Alimum, and Abby. Rock on, ladies!

There are some strings attached when accepting the award - post the logo to your blog, link to the nominator (that's me!) and then nominate up to 7 other brilliant bloggers (be sure to link to them, too!). Also, you might want to let them know they've been nominated!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Music to Crunch Numbers By

"I've Just Seen a Face" sung by Jim Sturgess in Across the Universe.

Have you seen this movie? I love it! A musical using Beatles songs - what could be better? Why, a musical using Beatles songs starring Jim Sturgess, of course!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

OK, So I Lied...

This entry will not be about our day trip to Napa and the rest of our San Francisco excursion. I may write more about our trip later.

What I want to write about tonight is my beautiful daughter. Her birthday is tomorrow, and she'll be turning six years old. Six! How can that be? It seems just yesterday that I was in the hospital room in Nashville, excited and scared and relieved and exhausted, having been awake since 3:00 a.m. in labor with my firstborn, but it was six years ago today.

The sweet, grown-up little girl sitting in the living room right now and cheering on her father as he plays Mario Galaxy bears little resemblance to the small bundle that was given to me after my unplanned c-section. That bundle was red and screaming and tiny; CoasterGirl is tall (nearly to my shoulders already!) and willowy and tan from two months of summer freedom and excursions to the water park. She is talkative and energetic and smart and much too mature for her age.

She constantly amazes me - she's reading on at least a 3rd grade level; she reads words like "elementary" and "underpants" and "unfortunate" without batting an eye. She knows things about ocean life that I never learned in school. (Did you know that the bump on a beluga whale's head is called a melon? I had no idea.) She thinks math is fun. She is interested in so many things, and has a drive to excel at whatever she does.

It's so hard to remember sometimes that she's only 5 - she's smart and sarcastic and funny and understands more than she should.

These six years have passed so quickly; I can hardly believe it. My mother warned me it would, but somehow you can't quite believe it when you're up for the 3rd time in the middle of the night with a newborn, or taking a toddler to the potty for the 2nd time since you were seated in the restaurant. All of a sudden, you look up and your little girl is no longer so little - she's a kid instead of a baby; a student instead of a pre-schooler.

Happy Birthday, CoasterGirl. Here's to the next year - may it be filled with happiness, learning, and new friends for you. And may it go by just a little slower than the last one did.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Food, Walking and More Food

San Francisco: Day 2

One thing we knew we wanted to do before leaving San Francisco was to have Chinese dim sum. If you've never had dim sum before (we hadn't), it's a really fun dining experience. Servers bring around trays of small portions of dumplings of every kind, pork buns, snow-pea shoots, and other yummy offerings while you sip hot tea and try not to gorge on any one type of food for fear you might miss something delicious.

So we got up bright and early on Wednesday morning and enjoyed coffee and a doughnut at a bakery in a nearby hotel, then made our way to a bus stop and caught the MUNI to Geary between 22nd and 23rd, where the guidebook said we could find great dim sum at Ton Kiang. We weren't sure how crowded it would be, or whether we would have to wait in line, but as we were fairly early, we were first in the door! We had our pick of dishes as a result (though the place filled up quickly) and enjoyed pork buns, garlic-sauteed snow pea shoots, shrimp balls (which CoasterGuy said he expected to be really, really tiny - har-de-har-har) and some kind of dumpling that I don't remember at this point. It was (nearly) all very tasty, and we were full to bursting when we finally put aside the chopsticks and told the server "no more, please!".

Our plan for the rest of the day was to spend the better part of the afternoon at Golden Gate Park, and then to go back to the hotel, change for dinner, and enjoy a nice meal followed by drinks at the Top of the Mark.

We ended up walking off the dim sum - a combination of misinformation and poor choices led us to hiking most of the way to Golden Gate park from Ton Kiang and through a good portion of the park while looking for some sort of shuttle or bus stop. Finally, though, we found the Dutch windmill, which was the main thing I wanted to see at the park. The gardens were beautiful, though I wish we could have seen it when the tulips were in bloom.

Near the windmill was the Beach Chalet restaurant, which has some spectacular views of the Pacific from the dining room. Though we were still full from our dim sum excursion, we decided to stop in for some liquid refreshment and to rest our now aching feet.

Once at the bar, however, we just had to try the "best crab cake in San Francisco" with our beverages. It was a fairly tasty crab cake to be sure, but CoasterGuy and I agree that it couldn't hold a candle to the crab cakes at Phillips Seafood in Baltimore. They were generous with their liquor, though - my amaretto sour was at least 80% amaretto, with merely a splash of sweet and sour mix and ice to break it up.

Afterwards, we watched the ocean for a bit, and were surprised to see some surfers on the beach, as chilly as it was.

We decided then to take a bus back to Japantown and kick around the hotel until dinner time. The much-needed downtime was nice!

We made reservations for dinner at John's Grill, the restaurant famous for being mentioned in The Maltese Falcon as a place where Sam Spade ate, and planned for heading to the Top of the Mark for drinks afterwards.

John's Grill was very nice - live jazz in the upstairs dining room, great martinis and good food. CoasterGuy had the cioppino, and I had a ribeye with a baked potato and some steamed veggies. Again, we must have arrived just in time, because the dining room was packed to the gills before we finished dinner.

After dinner, we made our way up to the Mark Hopkins hotel for drinks at the Top of the Mark. It was a foggy night (in San Francisco? Imagine that!), so the view wasn't nearly as spectacular as we'd hoped for, but the atmosphere was very nice nonetheless with live music and great service.

By the time we made it back down the hills to a bus stop (in heels, no less! Well, heels for me - not for CoasterGuy) we were exhausted! I don't feel a bit guilty for having dessert at both John's Grill and the Top of the Mark - we did enough walking that day to make up for it!

Next time: Day 3 - Napa Valley.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I Left My Heart...Well, You Know

I believe I promised a trip log (with pictures!)

The CoasterFamily set off early in the morning on Saturday, July 12th with 2 kids, 3 suitcases, a diaper bag and a duffel full of carry-on items for the flight. Nearly 12 hours, a car ride and 2 flights later, we arrived in Las Vegas and were greeted at the airport by CoasterGuy's sister. The first order of business: Slurpees! Since we don't have any 7-11s near us, CoasterGuy was excited about getting a real Slurpee, as opposed to that imposter, Icee.

Thus fortified, we made our way to the north end of Vegas to meet the newest addition to the family, Baby Bean. Bean is adorable - she looks just like her older sister. The cousins got reacquainted and blew through the house like a tornado as the adults sat, chatted and thanked the heavens that we didn't usually have 4 kids under age 6 in the house. Dinner: In-n-Out Burger - mmmmmmmmm.

The next day we took the older kids to the aquarium at Mandalay Bay and lunch at House of Blues. I highly recommend the garlic fries and the Soul Sensation - a lovely concotion of various rums with a splash of soda. Tasty! Afterwards, we walked through the Luxor to Excalibur, where we spent WAY too much money on carnival-style games for the kiddos. CoasterGuy's sister won a giant tiger at the ring toss booth, and the kids each got a few smaller toys.

That evening, CoasterGuy's sister and her husband kindly agreed to watch the CoasterKids while we went to see Love at the Mirage and then afterwards, to Caesar's Palace to eat dinner at Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill. While the meal was very good (and the margaritas were excellent), I think we both enjoyed the Manju Buns (steamed barbecue pork buns) we had before the show at a bar in the Mirage more. Maybe because we were hungry? Maybe it was the martinis? I'm not sure, but boy, were those pork buns good.

The next day was a travel day - we arrived in Phoenix around noon and enjoyed a nice lunch with the in-laws at the Rainforest Cafe before saying goodbye to the CoasterKids for the rest of the week and flying on to San Francisco. Yes, that's right: in one day, we had breakfast in Las Vegas, lunch in Phoenix, and dinner in San Francisco. Whew!

San Francisco, Day 1: We slept in a bit and had coffee and pastries at a bakery in the Japantown Center. Then, we walked from our hotel in Japantown to Union Square, where we caught the Powell-Hyde cable car up to Lombard Street (the crooked one). I don't know if you can clearly see the kid in the dark gray shirt (next to the one in bright yellow) but I caught him in mid-yawn. How anyone can yawn looking down over Lombard Street when the hydrangeas are in full bloom is beyond me, but there you have it.

We walked part of the way down Lombard, taking the time to watch cars navigating the twists and turns, and admiring the hydrangeas and other blooms lining the street. We saw this brave couple riding a motorcycle down Lombard.

After meandering down Lombard for a little way, we made a beeline for CoasterGuy's old high school, Galileo, and then to Ghirardelli Square for the yummiest hot fudge sundae I believe I've ever had. I'd post the picture I took of it here, but you'd just be jealous.

Afterwards, it was on to Fisherman's Wharf for lunch at Boudin's (yes, we had dessert before lunch - ahh, the freedom of dining without kids!) CoasterGuy had clam chowder in a sourdough bowl, while I opted for a rustic tomato soup. From there, it was shopping, shopping and more shopping as we picked up souveneirs for friends and family, and of course, for ourselves, too!

We wandered from Fisherman's Wharf over to Pier 39, where we did more shopping and watched the sea lions sunning themselves on the floating platforms (docks?). This time of year, there aren't very many of them around, but we had a good time watching those that were. Later we had a delicious Nutella and banana crepe from one of the shops.

As the afternoon wore on, we started our trek back toward Union Square, laden with shopping bags and mostly full bellies. Though we were nearly exhausted and tired of walking by this time, we had reservations for dinner at the Stinking Rose, so we walked through the Chinatown gate and headed past the junk shops towards the restaurant (stopping to browse and to buy a fan and a Lucky Cat pillow for CoasterGirl).

We arrived for dinner early and were seated immediately. Alex, our server, was very nice - she gave us the rundown on the most popular dishes. We had the roasted garlic/anchovy concotion to spread on bread before dinner, and split a bottle of very nice pinot noir. For dinner, I had the 40-clove Garlic Chicken, while CoasterGuy opted for the Garlic-Rubbed Prime Rib. Both dishes were great, but the star of that particular meal (at least as far as I was concerned) was the giant martini glass full of tiramisu we had for dessert.

Exhausted and full to bursting, we decided to take the MUNI back to Japantown and crash back at the Hotel Kabuki. This was quite possibly the best decision we made all trip - we ended up using the buses to get around everywhere all week, and found it to be a convenient and inexpensive way to get where you need to go in the city (as long as you're not in a rush).

Well, as I've already practically written a novel, and I've only covered our first day in San Francisco, I think I'll leave off here for today. More to come, if you're not already bored to tears. Next time, San Francisco: Day 2.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What I'm Listening To Tonight

Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers, baby. "Maybe We Should Fall in Love" from No More Beautiful World.

I love this band - they're mostly straight up rock n' roll with a Southwest flavor, though on different songs you'll hear echoes of country and reggae. They were in Atlanta last night - I'm so bummed I missed them. Their live shows are great, as are their fans.

I must now go have a drink with tequila in their honor.

Monday, July 21, 2008

We're BA-ack!

We returned home from our trip to Las Vegas, Phoenix and San Francisco last night, and boy, what a trip it was! We had such a great time!

Once I get my pictures downloaded from the ol' digital camera, I'll post a detailed trip log, and I think I may make my very first scrapbook ever to chronicle the trip. I'm quite sure both will be dominated by descriptions of meals we had and places we ate!

The CoasterKids had a great time visiting their grandparents, and CoasterGuy (trying it on for size...) and I enjoyed ourselves immensely in San Francisco. Getting up this morning for work was so hard to do! When does my next vacation start?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

High Anxiety

I mentioned in an earlier post that W and I -- yes, "W" - I haven't come up with a witty pseudonym for Mr. ChelleBelle as yet, and I refuse to use his suggested alternatives on general principle. At any rate, I posted earlier that we will be taking a trip via airplane later this month. Well, what I neglected to mention is that I get nervous flying. Actually, that's an understatement. I am phobic about flying. And now that the scheduled flight is a mere 3 days away, I'm having trouble eating and sleeping, and my stomach is full of butterflies.

It wasn't always this way. I used to love to fly. I loved the acceleration as the plane sped down the runway on takeoff, I loved the spectacular views from cruise altitude, and I loved settling in with a good book and a soda.

So what happened? I'm not sure. I've read that many people develop this fear in their 20s or 30s, as they become more aware of the fragility of life and begin forming their new family units. I was in my early 20s when my phobia began, and traveling frequently (by air) for work. I did have a few rough flights which were weather-related, but I can't really pinpoint when exactly it started. But start it did, and now days (and sometimes weeks) before a scheduled flight, I begin worrying about it. I'm not even sure "worrying" is the right word - I'm not really consciously thinking of flying at all - I just feel anxious. "Dreading" might be more accurate.

Logically, I know that I'm safer on the airplane than I am on the drive to the airport. I know the statistics. But somehow, logic just doesn't seem to work on this particular part of my psyche. The logical part of my brain says "get a grip!" but the other part is screaming "Danger! Danger!" and marveling at how calm everyone else seems to be while it takes a massive effort of will for me to board the plane.

So before most flights, I retake an online Fear of Flying Self-Help Course. It seems to help some.

The most annoying part of all this is the general anxiety level in the days before a flight - it scrambles my brain enough that I find it difficult to concentrate on anything, including planning what to pack and preparing my workload for my upcoming absence. Also, I'm ridiculously irritable and short of patience. Grrr.

Monday, July 7, 2008


So, after reading the first few entries of this blog, Mr. ChelleBelle has a few corrections he'd like me to issue.

Correction 1: He is not merely an "auditor for a university" - he is an audit manager.

Duly noted.

Correction 2: He is not a "foodie"; he is a "gourmand".


Correction 3: He prefers not to be called "Mr. ChelleBelle". Suggested alternatives include "His Almightiness", "Sir" and/or "Master".

Errrr....hmmmm. For some strange reason, none of those suggestions really grabbed me. Gee...I wonder why?

Henceforth, Mr. ChelleBelle shall be known as...well...any ideas?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

And So Ends Another Long Weekend...

Ahhh....long holiday weekends. Gotta love 'em. Time to sit back, relax and enjoy the family.

Or, if you're Mr. and Mrs. ChelleBelle, time to finish a redecorating project, host a party, and listen to the CoasterKids fight about whether they should be watching The Wiggles or Spongebob Squarepants. Or whether CoasterBoy is allowed to touch CoasterGirl's dolls. Or whether CoasterBoy will be messing up CoasterGirl's puzzle. Or...well, you get the idea.

CoasterBoy will be two in a few weeks, and the Terrible Twos have arrived a bit early and with a vengeance. His favorite word is already "No!" and his stubborn streak has become his most prominent personality trait, eclipsing his innate sweetness with astonishing speed. I think the highlight of the weekend was CoasterBoy crying hysterically because his cereal puffs were in a plastic baggie instead of in a bowl like his big sister's. Or maybe it was when he insisted on watching The Wiggles in Big Red Car for the bajillionth time ("Car! Big Car!! Car, Mommy!! Car, Car!!").

So now the kids are in bed at last, and the house is quiet. The dishes are washed, the living room is straightened up, and we're planning for the week ahead and the vacation that starts on Saturday. And as this long weekend finally comes to an end, I raise my glass to all my friends who are stay-at-home moms: Here's to you. You're my hero.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

July: Month o' Craziness

July is going to be a very, very busy month for us.

My brother is turning 30 this month; I'm planning a party for him in conjunction with the 4th of July for Friday. CoasterGirl and CoasterBoy both have birthdays at the end of this month, and in between? Well, Mr. ChelleBelle and I are celebrating our 10th anniversary a month early with a trip to San Francisco by way of Las Vegas and Phoenix. The CoasterKids will be with us for the first 2 legs of the trip, but we're headed to San Francisco by ourselves after that for the longest trip we've taken sans kids since before CoasterGirl was born. Just writing that is making me tired!

Sometime in the next week or so, I need a haircut and a manicure, CoasterGirl needs to see the eye doctor and get new glasses, CoasterBoy needs an immunization that was out of stock at his 18 month well baby visit, and I need to order a new set of contacts. Oh, and Mr. ChelleBelle is having some dental work done. Also? I need to make sure my current wardrobe is sufficient for our trip out west, plus plan what to pack to keep a 2-year-old occupied on a cross-country flight.

Oh, and did I mention that we're in the middle of a kitchen remodel?


The Obligatory "All About Me" Post

Hello, my name is ChelleBelle, and this is my blog. For an explanation of the name and why I'm blogging, see my previous post, "Riding the Life Coaster".

I'm a 30-something working mom living in the Southeastern United States. I telecommute full time for a large financial services firm. Mr. ChelleBelle is an auditor for a university. We have two children: CoasterGirl will be 6 years old later this month, and CoasterBoy will be 2. We also have 2 cats whom we rescued from an animal shelter - they've been with us through 9 years, 3 moves, multiple jobs and 2 kids. Mr. ChelleBelle often tells CoasterGirl that she must be nice to the cats because they were here first.

I am an avid reader, a newbie runner, a tentative gardener, a word game enthusiast and a terrible housekeeper. I love music, baseball, movies, and food.

No, seriously - I love food. Mr. ChelleBelle and I are self-proclaimed foodies. Over the years, we've learned to cook ever-more ambitious recipes, primarily in an effort to avoid crushing debt from our dining budget.

So that's the scoop on me. And as this is my second post, no one can call me a one-post wonder. Ha!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Riding the Life Coaster

The life of a working mother can be filled with ups, downs, twists and turns. Sometimes, it feels as though life is speeding by so quickly that you can barely take a breath before you're flying through the next loop.

This blog will be a place to chronicle the daily roller coaster of my life with a husband, two kids, two cats and a full-time job. Someday, I'd like to look back and be able to remember more than just the blur.