Ten things you may not know about Gordon Lewis

  1. The "T" in T. Gordon Lewis stands for Theras not "the".
  2. He didn't have an indoor bathroom until he was in 7th grade
  3. He plays the guitar, piano and has a lovely singing voice
  4. He gardens in long sleeved button up dress shirts, jeans, and church shoes
  5. He finished his PhD course work at Stanford University after graduating from BYU as the top engineering student in his class. Mom was scared to death when they first arrived. "Kathleen, this is a whole new ball game and I am up against much tougher competition". Needless to say after the first couple of A+ grades, she stopped worrying.
  6. He prepares the tax return for his daughter who is a CPA with a Master's in Tax.
  7. His favorite dessert is gooseberry pie
  8. Once on a business trip while waiting for his flight home, he accidentally mailed is return ticket thinking it was his weekly handwritten letter to his mother.
  9. Among other things, he does the vacuuming, dusting, cleans the bathroom, and many times grocery shops [no, Kathleen isn't just sitting around eating bon bons]
  10. He is a very dedicated, calculated, educated, and self-deprecated golfer.

This man is my hero and the wisest advisor I know.

I love you DAD.

The dangers of a semi-mobile baby

If you had told me I would still be at Avaya when Brig turned 7 months old I would have laughed in your face. And yet, here we are.

So far, so good.

Sure Avaya has frozen salaries, and bonuses, and 401K contributions due to the economy...but I'll take what I can get.

About once every two weeks I have a really stressful day. Otherwise, things are very manageable. My angelic mother comes down almost once a week to hang with Brig during my long conference calls, and I'm typically able to get the rest of my work done while he naps.

However, Several times a week I have a shorter conference call when Brig isn't sleeping, and I'm on my own. Brig is pretty chill and can "play by himself" for a good 45 minutes to an hour. So usually I lay him on his back, turn on baby Einstein, surround him with toys, put the baby monitor by him, and head downstairs for my call.

This works 95% of the time - especially since he doesn't crawl, sit up, prefers not to roll, etc. He is typically in the same position I left him, or at most, has pivoted 90 degrees.

Leave it to Brig to learn a new trick while un-supervised.

On Tuesday I had been on a conference call for 45 minutes. I listened to the baby monitor - Brig wasn't crying, but I thought I would go check on him anyway. He had gotten himself into quite the predicament.

One of his toys was a good 6 feet from where I had left it. He must have been trying to grab it and kept pushing it away (inching towards it), pushing it away (inching towards it), pushing it away (inching towards it), until it was 6 feet away under the entertainment center. He then somehow rolled from his back to his stomach (FOR THE FIRST TIME) in an attempt to get at his toy. And, proceeded to get his feet stuck under the entertainment center, so he couldn't roll off his tummy to his back. Note: he hates being on his stomach.

When I came into the room he wasn't crying, just pushing with all his might to try to get on his back. Of course the entertainment center was preventing this from happening. Poor little peanut. He was thrilled to see me when I walked through the doorway.

I guess I need to come up with a plan B. Baby Brig can no longer be left un-supervised. Thus - I've entered a new, and I suspect, never ending era of my life.


InterOffice Email

Just a sample of what overworked, overfed, and underslept CPAs do about 6:26 pm [read from the bottom up]

Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 6:26 PM
Subject: RE: My lost towel

Well, I feel better I didn’t steal anyone’s towel…..


Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 6:23 PM
Subject: RE: My lost towel

Fortunately for everyone’s sake I do shower after running but I use the same towel every time and come to think of it I should probably take it home for a wash one of these months.

I’ll keep an eye out though.


Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 6:16 PM
Subject: RE: My lost towel

Not sure this is the correct answer but I never have used the shower and don’t “towel off”. This hopefully doesn’t put my personal hygiene in question.

Have you checked craig’s list?


Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 6:16 PM
Subject: RE: My lost towel

I’m about 99.9% certain that I don’t have it but I will keep an eye out around the house.


Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2009 6:14 PM
Subject: My lost towel

About a month ago, a light blue/lavender towel disappeared off of one of my hooks in the shower room – does anyone have any leads on this? Are there other shower room users? I’m hoping this isn’t a towel I stole from someone….let me know if it is.




Saturday Night McFever

Each Saturday I have a date with Tanner, Christian, Mason, and Sydney. This week we were slated to go.....

Bowling, Bowling, BOWLING but alas, itwas not meant to be. Both Tanner and Christian had friends over when I arrived so 5 boys in full basketball shoes, shirts, and shorts and Sydney in her juicy sweatsuit, collared shirt, purple bow and tennis shoes with svaroskis loaded into the Odyssey [have I mentioned how much I love this vehicle.]

First stop, Splitz which is the premier alley. They have video games, they give you socks and you can order pizza, nachos, and probably sushi. The guy at the register informed me it was a 1.5 hour wait. Next stop, some other ghetto place by Target, but, it was league/satin jacket night and a 3 hour wait. Last stop and my Ace in the hole, Flatirons crossing mall.

Everyone got food from their preferred place and we all sat down at a huge table to eat in the middle of the very crowded Food Court. Ethan, T's friend, pulled a jalapeƱo pepper from his sandwich and Christian popped it into his mouth faster than you can say Barak Obama. Literally 1 minute later C stands up and looks at me wide-eyed and says “I think I’m going to throw up”. PANIC. Tanner said “run to the bathroom” but C had the “I’m going to do it now” look on his face. So I glibly grabbed the McDonalds bag that the McNuggets came in and held it under his mouth. C preceded to throw up, the bag got heavier and heavier and all the while I was ghost patting myself on the back for having so quickly diverted a most certain and smelly disaster.

Suddenly I noticed how heavy the bag was getting and then THE BAG MCBROKE and you guessed it, puke spewed everywhere. I took Christian and got him cleaned up and came back to see a poor little Latino worker staring at the mess radioing for backup. Our group had conveniently moved to another table.

And you guessed it, C was fine, went and ran around the dinosaurs and slammed a huge Wonka candy bar.


Winter Break Recap

Well, it's Friday night and Winter Break is officially over.

I think Winter Break is a grand idea. In the middle of February, it sounds so idyllic to escape the final cold days of winter and lay on a beach somewhere tropical. I'm all for it! But sadly, we didn't have the funds for such a vacation. So I really think they should have cancelled Winter Break in honor of the recession. Apparently, though, we are just about the only family in Scarsdale who is saving their ca$h right now, because everyone else got out of town for warmer weather. Lucky ducks.

So I made the most of what I had (a zoo pass!) and decided we'd do fun things in NY that we rarely have time to do otherwise. Thankfully on Monday, the big kids went into the city with Trav. He had some work to do [cleaning out the office] and they were going to work on Calder's 100 days of school project. Cros and I had a day of fun, which involved not much of anything besides a trip to Stew Leonard's and a baby adventure in the cold and muddy backyard. We drove in to pick them up, and all the stuff Trav cleared out, around 8 PM. Crosby wreaked havoc around the office while we loaded things in the car, and then we stopped by the American Girl store to get Scout "Steps High". It's a horse that's the size of a dog, in case you don't know. Her plan is to get the doll that rides it for her upcoming birthday. [Nana, hope you are writing this down in your Daytimer... her name is Kaya.]

The next day we headed to the Brooklyn Aquarium. If I could give this week a theme, it would be: Crosby is really hard to take places. Catchy, no? He loved the aquarium, as we knew he would [he's a big fan of water], but once he got to an attraction, he'd refuse to leave. I'd have to forcibly pick him up, kicking and flailing, and move him to the next spot. He also spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to touch the water he was seeing, but luckily, he couldn't get to any of it.

This is the only picture I was able to get. I was too busy trying to make sure I didn't lose the kids [I actually did lose Scout for about 5 minutes, but that was her fault, not mine.] It was super stressful, so I was relieved we had the dryer repairman coming the next day so we couldn't go far from home.

Wednesday and Thursday were mostly playdates and frustration. The Sears man informed me it would cost $475 to repair the dryer, making it pointless to fix. But I still had to pay him $80 to tell me that. Nice! Plus I've been out of clothes for a few days now, and was really banking on having the dryer up and running by the afternoon. No such luck. So I ended up washing several loads of clothes (Scout had an incident the night before that required ALL her bedding to be washed, along with the entire bathroom, at 3 am) and taking them over to Palmers to dry. Super fun.

Today the new dryer arrived (I didn't waste any time ordering a new one, once I had checked Consumer Reports) and luckily, the guys who delivered it charged me very little to hook it up. [It was all "under the table... just between us" as Pepe told me over and over. Got it. Sears will not be held responsible when it turns out to be a bad electrical job and the whole thing explodes]. So since we got that done in the morning, and Scout had a playdate and Calder got to hone his Lego Star Wars skillz for about 6 hours, we were ready for another outing. Destination? Ikea!

I have a real love/hate relationship with Ikea. Today I was returning several items Travis had bought a few months ago, that didn't work out. It seems as if every time we go there, we end up with a few things that have to be returned, which is a major pain, and then we end up spending way more than the value of the items we returned. I'm happy to report that I broke the cycle today. I showed miraculous restraint as I returned $130 worth of merchandise and only left having spent $27... on shower curtains, a child's tea set (we need it... we really do!), and some tea lights.

The real problem today was my fault. Crosby had refused to take a nap, so he fell asleep in the car on the way there, which was my plan. The problem being that I had taken the stroller that I always keep in the trunk out the day before, because we had taken bikes and scooters to the park to play (the weather was a balmy 45 degrees, so we had to make the most of it). Normally he'll transfer to his stroller and sleep for a while, which would have been lovely. We could have returned the stuff without incident and the kids could have played in the ball pit for a while, while I sat on the couches and chilled. But no such luck. He woke up the second we went into the store... maybe because I tried to lay him down in a shopping cart to nap. He turned into a lunatic, clawing at my face and throwing his body with force all over the place. There was no other option but to hold him as tightly as I could, to keep him from seriously hurting himself. This went on for about 20 minutes, no lie. It was a nightmare. Finally he calmed down and we were able to venture through the store. Here are my grainy pictures taken with my iphone:

Scout was the only one who wanted to stop in the cafe and eat, go figure. The rest of us played in the kids' area while she ate dinner #1.

Calder got eaten by several stuffed animals, but we made it out alive. Phew.

Crosby looks deceptively happy here. In fact, he was a total nightmare. This was the only period he wasn't screaming while trying to rip off my head.

I just thought these lights looked so cool. I love Ikea (when I don't hate it).

So in summary, Winter break: Over. I'm wiped out. If you made it this far, I can't believe you're still reading. You deserve a medal or something.


Pimp my ride... Westchester edition


Check out my wheels for the day. I went to get our car serviced, and they were out of loaner BMWs so they called Enterprise to rent a car for me. When the lady led Crosby and I out to this hot little number, I couldn't believe it. SWEEEEEET!

I'm desperately hoping that they don't call me to come get my car before tomorrow. Trav and Scout are going to a daddy/daughter Valentine's dance tonight and really, can you imagine a better ride for such an event?



There are many (many) things I could/should be doing right now instead of this blog post... such as:

1. Sleeping. I could always be sleeping.

2. Prepping my YW lesson for Sunday on, get this, Homemaking. Can't wait to see how I tweak that lesson!

3. Sewing patches on my kids' jeans. Lesson to be learned: Skinny jeans are VERY cute on kids, but they rip the knees out about 3 months earlier than in normal pants. Tight pants + crazy kids = big holes. Bummer. Thank goodness I got a bunch of patches from Trav's dad about 10 years ago. I KNEW they would come in handy someday!!!

4. Did I mention sleeping already?

5. Scraping the glue off my table. I'm detoxing from a Valentine making marathon this afternoon. I'll deal with the glue, and dinner dishes, tomorrow morning.

But, I really want to quickly discuss budgeting.

So for the first time ever, Travis and I have decided to track what we spend and keep a budget.I know what you're thinking, but you're wrong. We are actually quite frugal. We discuss our purchases for months (years!) before going through with them. We don't eat out much, we clean our own house, and the amount of vacations we've taken that didn't involve visiting family equal 1. It was that trip to the Jersey Shore where we stayed in my parents' friends' condo.

But we've never kept track, or been sticklers for a monthly budget. So step one was to total and categorize the past 3 months of spending. And oh, was it painful.

We were both pretty shocked at the amount of money we've spent lately. Granted, we're in a new (largely unfurnished) house, and had Christmas one of the months, and had to pay about 2 K in boiler repairs. But still... we need to slow things down.

So I'm wondering, in these tough financial times, what are you doing to "trim the fat" from your monthly expenses? There are many things I'm willing to let go of, but a few I'm not, such as:

1. High quality food: Mostly organic, lots of produce.

2. At least 1 activity per child... right now they are doing swimming, but I'd really like to have Scout start piano.

On the note of frugality, and so you have some idea of what I'm surrounded by, the other day a friend and I were talking and she was telling me they were on a "spending freeze." Then about 2 seconds later she mentioned they were going to the Bahamas next week for vacation, and that she just signed her kids up for drum lessons. It's hard to NOT think you're super thrifty when surrounded by New Yorkers.

At any rate, let me know what you're giving up... and what you refuse to.

ps: Don't tell me to turn my heat down. If it gets any colder in here, we'll be wearing snowsuits all day long... and Travis and I will never be able to get out of bed!


Overheard Yesterday

Calder: I'm giving out Fun Dips to all my friends for Valentine's day. I'll have to get you something different.

Ezra: But I'm your BEST friend!

Calder: No. You're one of my brothers.

Ezra: Oh yeah.

Such cute buddies... just like their dads.

Baby's first haircut

In November Brig was rocking the following hair style:

All his original hair on the sides and in the back had fallen out - but the top was holding strong. It would stand straight up - and his new hair was starting to come in.

By December his top hair was getting quite long and a little floppy. He really looked like he was about to fly away at any moment.

By February the new hair was also quite long and it was just a big shaggy mess. What you can't see is the bald spot in the back, and how all the long hair on top would lay over it like a baby comb back. He was starting to look pretty hobo-esque.

So I finally agreed to a hair cut which Dave, and my mom, and everyone else has been talking about for some time. Here are some before pictures. Poor kid has no idea what is coming his way.

Don't you love how he is holding his feet?

And the after...

I have to say I was a little traumatized at first, but it is growing on me. I do think Brig is bugged we messed with his mojo though. He shed a tear for every lock we cut off. He is NOT a fan of the clippers.

National Western Stock Show

Brig loved the animals, hated the rodeo. It was way...too...loud. It took us 5 minutes to realize he was crying while he sat on our lap. Nevertheless, it was a fantastic evening.


DC Diaries


At first Dave was excited Brig and I decided to crash his business trip, but as we attempted to get our 12 billion bags / stroller / car seat through check in and security I could see him beginning to look at us as liabilities instead of assets. Luckily our own row on the airplane + 1 angelic baby made for a very successful flight! Brig only cried a total of 60 seconds. It helped that Dave had some baby Einstein music and his noise cancelling head phones on hand. Once the headphones were on Brig froze and did not move a muscle for 30 minutes.

We headed straight to the Georgetown Ritz Carlton and took a minute to relax. We laid Brig down on the bed so he could stretch out and with-in 90 seconds he fell asleep. Apparently he is a fan of high thread count and down.

Next we were off to find the National Mall. We walked by the department of interior and Dave said, "Hey, that is Ken Salazar's new assignment. I bet he is in there." I point this out only because we ended up walking past the department of interior another 5 times in the next 40 minutes (we were lost.) Each time we happened upon the department of interior it felt like Ken Salazar was slapping us in the face.

When we finally made it to the National Museum of Air and Space Dave made me stand by this exhibit for a picture. Turned out he thought it would make an excellent science project for Brig. Apparently we are really planning ahead.

We LOVED this museum. That night we went to a oyster bar in Georgetown and got - hamburgers, what else? Dave ordered the cheeseburger and I ordered the cheeseburger sliders. I figured a big plate full of small cheeseburgers was way better than just one burger. Oh how wrong I was. My plate came and there were 3 cheeseburgers each the size of a quarter. Dave's hamburger was more football sized. I finished my 3 burgers in 3 bites and proceeded to beg Dave for fries, lettuce scraps, ketchup droppings, whatever I could scavenge. Never again!


Dave had to work so Brig and I were on our own the rest of the days. I woke up and turned on the news. Immediately I was bombarded with "WINTER STORM WARNING" and "ICE STORM" and "ALL THE DC SCHOOLS ARE CLOSED" and "STAY INSIDE!" So I put Brig down for a nap, took a bath, and tried to decide what to do. After he woke up I decided I might as well and try a walk. We could always return to the hotel. The Ritz staff saw me coming down the hall with my stroller and tried to get me a cab, give me an umbrella, anything to shield us from the storm. I told them we would be fine. I walked outside and there was maybe 1 inch of beautiful snow. Unbelievable!

We walked around for 3 1/2 hours looking at the amazing homes, the university, and the shopping district. At 2pm I was starving to death and intimidated by all the cute little restaurants. I tried to find something easy and familiar. Minutes later I saw a guy walk by with a Chipotle bag - BINGO! So I followed him. It took me 10 minutes of tailing this guy, at a break-neck speed, pushing my stroller through the snow, flying off curbs - when it donned on me. If this guy HAD a Chipotle bag, he probably wasn't heading to Chipotle. So I turned and walked in the opposite direction and finally found it.

That night I made up for my lame lunch by going to a cute little Italian restaurant with Dave for dinner. Poor Brig was so wiped out from our big day he passed out on my lap.


We switched hotels and moved to the Ritz in Pentagon City. I was nervous about navigating the subways with my stroller, so I put on my yellow coat, put on the Bjorn, put Brig in his grey fleece get up, and put him on. We went to the Holocaust museum which was amazing. When we arrived at the museum they asked if I wanted to check my coat. I said no.


Like anyone in DC would even remotely consider stealing my giant yellow coat.

After 15 minutes both Brig and I were SWEATING TO DEATH. I finally took him out of his sleeping bag thing and just carried it (while carrying him.) But I had to leave on the furnace (coat). In addition my back was pleading for relief due to the 18 lbs baby strapped to me. By the end of the tour I decided no amount of intimidation would keep me from using my stroller the next day.

That night we got some Thai food and took Brig for a dip in the hotel pool. It was a literal dip as when we got in the pool we realized it was freezing cold and got right out.


This was my favorite day. I survived the subway and made it to the National Museum of Art. I walked around for 30 minutes wondering who I was trying to impress, after all I was alone, and let's be honest, not a big fan of old art. So I left and headed over to my new true love, my new home land - The Museum of Natural History. I LOVED THIS MUSEUM! I couldn't get enough of the dinosaurs, mammals, giant whale replicas, etc. A++++. I loved it so much I decided I had to try to take a picture to capture the moment. Taking a picture of yourself is tricky as is. But taking a picture of yourself, with an IPHONE, that doesn't have a button, just a "touch" button that can't be seen from the other side of the phone proved impossible.

Below is my best picture. Yes, I said best.

They had a butterfly pavilion exhibit that Brig went crazy for. He flapped his arms and legs like...well...a butterfly. His highlight was when one landed on his arm and he tried to grab it.

That night we got some Mexican food with Dave and packed up.


The next day we headed home. We gave Brig his first real "food" and let him suck on my apple core. Big mistake. He would scream every time we tried to take it away. Other than that, he was a great baby on the return flight.

I fully intend to crash all of Dave's upcoming business trips. We had a great time!


Summer Recap III

We went on lots of adventures all over the greater Denver area while in Colorado, but we also spent a lot of time just hanging at Nana and Grampa's house (the former domain of Ashes the cat). I'm not going to lie to you... there was a TON of TV watching, by kids big and small. Since we don't have cable, when my kids are exposed to regular television (particularly Cartoon Network) they go crazy. We watched a lot of Chowder, Avatar, Jimmy Neutron, Yugioh and Bakugan. Is it me or do all kids shows feature animals that live in balls and come out to fight each other?

It's also so funny how into the commercials my big kids are. They're not used to them, and they watch them with the same attention and interest as the shows. For example, one day Scout said, "Mom, do you have any old jewelry you don't want any more?" I thought about some of my old bead necklaces and thought I could part with a couple of them, thinking she wanted to wear something pretty. Oh no. Next she said, "Mom, you can turn your old jewelry into CASH!" Apparently she had seen that commercial where they want to buy your old gold. Nice.

There are two high chairs at Nana's, which works out really well for all the little grandkids. But they also come in handy with the bigger kids, who for some reason take most of their meals in the high chairs, even though they are way, way too big for them. Maybe they like being at the same height as the TV?

Another fun activity was making homemade ice cream. The kids loved it. Note that the ice cream was being made at about 8 PM, and Scout is still in her bathing suit. Also very indicative of a typical summer day. She puts it on first thing in the morning and only takes it off to go to bed. You'd think she'd get cold.


Summer Recap II

One more post and then I'm forcing myself to call 2 plumbers.

When we were in Colorado this summer, we spent lots of time at the cabin. We had so much fun. We did lots of swimming at the rec center, snorkeled in the hot tub, roasted marshmallows with swim goggles on, hiked, rode bikes (often during a rainstorm), played games, and watched lots and lots of Dora the Explorer. Dora has such universal appeal... kids of all ages get sucked into watching her.

Summer Recap

Well, we're four days into February and already, I'm suffering. I never do well in February. By now I'm so OVER winter, and cold, and snow and ice and wind, that I slip into a weather-related depression/funk. Since I never posted much about our summer adventures, I thought now might be a good time to reflect on days past. Days that were much, much warmer.

These pictures are from the last week in my old house. We had this beautiful bush outback... it was kind of like a lilac bush, but blue. It smelled awesome. My mom had come out to help me pack up the house, and it's a good thing she did. I NEVER would have finished in time, what with the broken ankle and the C of O drama. It's good to post this because even though it was warm when I took these photos, I'm so happy to not be living this time of my life. It was a stress fest.


Welcome Home

While trying to navigate the subway system of DC with a giant stroller holding one very cute baby, I was the receipt of many looks filled with:


Everyone saw me. Trust me. I was hard to miss - especially in my bright yellow coat (I didn't realize DC had a "black wool only" dress code). While everyone took a good long look at me - no one let me on the subway first, helped me on the escalator, offered me their seat, said hello, or moved out of the way to let my stroller off the train.

My first errand back in Colorado was to Sunflower Market grocery store. The lady in front of me purchased a bouquet of tulips, and before she left turned around and handed them to me. She said, "Here. I bought these for you because you are a mom, and you deserve them."


It is nice to be home.