Monday, September 28, 2009

Music Monday: (London and Maddie Sign Up for Mendham Patriots) Basketball with Lil Bow Wow

It's a school holiday here in the Roxiticus Valley, and London, Maddie and I are enjoying a lazy Monday morning.  I'm wearing my leopard jammies, and Rex is in the kitchen making chocolate chip pancakes.  We just signed up for Mendham Patriots Basketball (just recreational clinics on Saturday this year, but London will probably try out for the travel team when she reaches fourth grade), so our Music Monday pick is from Lil Bow Wow... we love that basketball!

They're playing basketball (JD:Uh, all around the world)
We love that basketball (Uh, to the beat y'all)
They're playin basketball (lets go)
(All around the world)
we love that basketball
they're playin basketball
We love that basketball (y'all know this is So-So Def)
They're playing basketball (To the beat y'all)
We love that basketball (Yeah)
They're playing basketball
We love that basketball (Bow Wow:Yeah)

[Bow Wow]
Now basketball is my favorite sport, I like the way they dribble up and down the court, I keep it so fresh on the microphone, I like no interuption when the game is on, I like slam dunk that take me to the hoop, My favorite play is the alioop, I like the pick and roll, I like the give and go & its basketball bow wow, LETS GO!

They're playing basketball (Uh,all around the world)
We love that basketball (Yeah, to the beat y'all)
They're playing basketball
We love that basketball

[Bow Wow]
Yeah, yo
I got the rock in my hands
There ain’t no tellin what i’m gonna do wit it
When i got possession i’m gonna have to fool wit it
I might cross you up and fake one way
Turn around and hit you wit the MJ fade-away
I throwin down passes like J-Kidd
Taking cats to the rack
And I’m dunkin over them like T-Mac
When I’m in the paint I play wit that Alonzo style
I’m like darious cuz I can shoot 2 miles

Don’t too many players get offers like me
I’m back-n-forth likely
Shake the checks off your nikes
They almost had me in a suit at the draft
Cuz it look like a freethrow
When I be shootin from half
The first step like Iverson, blow pass you
He’ll leave nuthin but net, but i can go blast too
When I’m in the paint the defense so shook
They don’t know if I’m gonna put up a slow hook or dish up a no-look
See my game consist of whole lotta.....
Moves you would think I learned from the Harlem Globe Trotters
JD gonna lead us to a ring
Fab and Bow Wow is the only players that makes the cheerleaders wanna sing

They're playing basketball (put it up, put it up. put it up now)
We love that basketball (put it up, put it up, put it up now)
They're playing basketball (ya)
We love that basketball (put it up, put it up, put it up now)
They're playing basketball
We love that basketball

[Jermaine Dupri]
Now tell me were you in the joint
The night MJ scored 63 points
When the Lakers won titles back-to-back
Didn’t give nobody no kind of slack
When Vince Carter came
Stuck his arm in the rim
Everybody went crazy in the whole damn gym
Dikembe Mutumbo standing tall
Playing D wit desire
Its Basketball

They're playing basketball (Uh, all around the world)
We love that basketball
They're playing basketball (put it up, put it up, put it up now)
We love that basketball
They're playing basketball (Uh, all around the world)
We love that basketball
They're playing basketball (put it up, put it up, put it up now)
We love that basketball

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.

PS: Because of spamming purposes, the linky will be closed on Thursday of each week at midnight, Malaysian Time. Thank you!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saving Up for a Dog

London and Maddie have been selling seashells down by the seashore all summer, and this year they decided to save their money (over $120 so far at 25 cents/shell) towards a pet... we explored leopard geckos, bearded dragons, and anoles, but despite London's pet allergies, we realized there's nothing like a dog. Over Labor Day weekend, we had a slumber party with the cock-a-poo who lives across the street from our beach house in Bay Head, New Jersey... and initial indications are that Cashew really is "hypo-allergenic" for London... hooray!

For many reasons, we won't be able to get a puppy until the late spring/early summer 2010. We will have to do a lot of research and make a lot of preparations, as a new puppy is quite a large responsibility. I have learned from friends' experiences that the best behaved dogs have someone (an adult human) home with them all day, at least in the early going. As our potential cockapoo breeder expresses it, "We do NOT permit people to get one of our puppies if they work full-time jobs, away from their homes. Puppies should NOT be left alone, unobserved, without human interaction for more than four (4) hours, day after day. This is analogous to putting a human infant alone in a similar scenario: how do you expect THAT CHILD would turn out!" So I will need to be in a position to work from home most days, and/or to have our nanny/babysitter show up early to take care of our new puppy. Right now that doesn't make sense for us, but I'm hoping that by June 2010, Rex and I will have our investment banking practice "under control" in a way that will allow me greater flexibility and fewer trips in to New York City.

The other confession I made to Rex last night is that I'd love to get each girl her own dog... two cockapoo sisters for two sisters!

Trying to Explain Twitter to Rex

On Friday, September 25th, The New York Times reported that Insight Venture Partners and T. Rowe Price were on the verge of making a $100 million investment in Twitter at a billion dollar valuation. That kind of valuation gets a lot of attention in our investment banking community, so my husband and business partner, Rex, had a lot of questions for me about Twitter. As my loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers know, I have a Twitter account but don't update (or "tweet") very often. Even though you'll find lots of companies and potential advertisers like Charter on Twitter, it is hard to grasp how Twitter will monetize all of the 54 million "eyeballs" (i.e., committed users) the 140-character alerting and social networking service commands. The investment community's euphemism for Twitter's current financial situation is "pre-revenue."

In other news worthy of a tweet, Charter just finished up giving away a laptop every day for the past two months and switched to a new Camaro Sweepstakes... Charter just loves fast. They're giving away not just any Camaro, but the new 426 hp 2010 Camaro SS, one of the fastest and hardest to get cars in all of North America. The new Charter contest runs from September 15th through noon on November 26th. In addition, anyone who signs up for 3 Charter services can get a $100 gift card, a $50 gift card for 2 services, or a $25 gift card for signing up for one new Charter service. These gift cards are from major clothing, home and accessory retailers, restaurants and more!


Check out Charter on Facebook and register today to win the 2010 Camaro SS, view the complete rules, specifications on the Camaro and more. And I'll keep trying to explain Twitter to Rex.


Fun at the Beach Today: Kitchens By the Sea in Bay Head, New Jersey

There's a school holiday on Monday, so our family is spending the long weekend at our beach house in Bay Head, New Jersey. We may come back early if the rainy forecast for Sunday proves true, but today was sunny and perfect. Rex and I headed out to Kitchens by the Sea, an amazing day of peeking into our neighbors' kitchens and enjoying delicious food samples provided by local Jersey Shore restaurants and caterers. This year's participating restaurants included:

  • Rock'n'Joe's
  • Scone Shoppe
  • Miletto's
  • Bay Head Chocolate Shoppe
  • Labrador Lounge
  • Martell's
  • Theresa's South
  • Shore Fresh Seafood
  • Brandl; and
  • Joe Leone

Each of the homes, spread out through Bay Head and Mantoloking, featured an excellent local restauranteur or caterer serving samples of their cuisine. In addition, the dining areas of the homes showcased table settings and floral arrangements provided by local designers.

All proceeds benefit the Bay Head School Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.

Many of our favorite local Bay Head merchants, including the Anchor & Palette Gallery on Mount Street, offered special discounts to kitchen tour participants.

It was a terrific day of food and fun for a great cause... I may have to suggest a kitchen tour to the Mendham Township Education Foundation for Spring 2010.

Hey, Rube, Get a Tube (or a Shave)!

Even though Rex and I joined forces with another investment banking firm this past February, we still get plenty of unsolicited resumes addressed to us at our old M&A firm. One recent college graduate from a college I hadn't heard of in the Chicago area even assumed the close, letting us know in his cover letter that he was grateful to be starting as an analyst with our firm! I know it's a tough job market out there, but here are a few surprising career pointers I found on the Gillette Resource Center:

  • Results from a recent survey of more than 500 human resources professionals indicate that 84% of HR professionals agree that well-groomed employees climb the corporate ladder faster than those who are... well, dirty... or at least not so well-groomed. When Rex and I were interviewing for investment banking analysts, or even summer interns, I know we passed over guys with a grubby goatee or a dangling earring.
  • When it comes to first impressions, we all judge a book by its cover, and approximately 90% of human resources professionals place more importance on being well-groomed than even a firm handshake.

Gillette (think "clean shave") has engaged career expert Mark Jeffries and GQ style correspondent Brett Fahlgren to supplement the insights from the HR survey with their own personalized expert advice for guys who are out there looking for a new job in the current economy or just looking to move ahead in the job they already have, and launched the Gillette Career Advantage, where you can take the Gillette Career Quiz or view the Hire Guide to see what human resources professionals really think. The Gillette Career Advantage is designed to help guys (hey, what about helping Roxy and all the professional girls out there??) by providing tools, information and advice to help them to trounce the competition in today's competitive job market.

Once you get that clean shave, boys, if you want to play in Roxy's World, it's all about tenacity, cold calling, writing, and analytical skills...


Monday, September 21, 2009

Music Monday: Roxy's Gone Country

This past weekend, our family stayed in the Roxiticus Valley and hosted a family reunion for Rex's mom, two brothers, two sons, and two grandkids. We finished it off with a trip to the Fall Family Farm Festival (say that three times fast!) at Middle Valley Farm in Mendham, NJ. London and Maddie "worked the booth" for a pumpkin ring toss and bracelet sale to benefit Schiff Nature Preserve, and the whole family enjoyed a hay ride, a corn maze, and picked our own pumpkins in preparation for Halloween. All these outdoor country activities got me thinking about Alan Jackson's song, "Gone Country," so here it is as my Music Monday post. Take a few minutes to kick back and go country along with Roxy!

She's been playin' in a room on the Strip
For ten years in Vegas
Every night she looks in the mirror
And she only ages
She's been readin' about Nashville and all
The records that everybody's buyin'
Says 'I'm a simple girl myself
Grew up on Long Island'
So she packs her bags to try to her hand
Says this might be my last chance

She's gone country, look at them boots
She's gone country, back to her roots
She's gone country, a new kind of suit
She's gone country, here she comes

Well the folk scene is dead
But he's holdin' out in the village
He's been writin' songs speakin' out
Against wealth and privilege
He says 'I dont believe in money
But a man could make him a killin'
'Cause some of that stuff don't sound
Much different than Dylan
I hear down there it's changed you see
They're not as backward as they used to be

He's gone country, look at them boots
He's gone country, back to his roots
He's gone country, a new kind of suit
He's gone country, here he comes

Well, he commutes to LA
But he's got a house in the valley
But the bills are pilin' up
And the pop scene just ain't on the rally
And he says 'Honey I'm a serious composer
Schooled in voice and composition
But with the crime and the smog these days
This ain't no place for children
Lord it sounds so easy it shouldn't take long
Be back in the money in no time at all'

He's gone country, look at them boots
He's gone country, backt to his roots
He's gone country, a new kind of suit
He's gone country, here he comes
Yeah he's gone country, a new kind of walk
He's gone country, a new kind of talk
He's gone country, look at them boots
He's gone country, oh back to his roots

He's gone country
He's gone country
Everybody's gone country
Yeah we've gone country
The whole world's gone country

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.

PS: Because of spamming purposes, the linky will be closed on Thursday of each week at midnight, Malaysian Time. Thank you!

Finders of Lost Loves: the Ex Files Update

Now, Roxy is far far too busy with work and friends and family these days to qualify as much of an online stalker, but every now and again (in between going to meetings and paying the bills), I get a little curious and Google my old friends and acquaintances, including ex boyfriends or teenage crushes as well as former coworkers or clients, to see what I can find out about them since the last time I saw or heard from each of them. Now there's a new web site called MyLife, that makes it even easier to find everyone all in one place and get all of the latest dirt when you're feeling a little nostalgic... just go to the bottom of the MyLife home page and type in the name of someone you know, along with their approximate age. I looked up Johnny Moneybags, the Spud Stud, the first boy I ever kissed, and one of my favorite old clients who I lost touch with years ago... they were all there! Now, I'm not really looking to reconnect with any of my exes, but it is a great service for the curious... Who's got twin ten year olds? Who's still single but really getting a bit too old to be considered an "eligible bachelor?" Who's dropped that bad boy behavior in the back of a Chevy van to become a minister and a "healer"? So what are you waiting for? Look up your own lost loves and report back to Roxy!!


Monday, September 14, 2009

Music Monday: Growin' Up (Bruce Springsteen)

Rex and I had a great time at last night's party, which featured live music by a local band called either Three Jeffs or Not Enough Jeffs... at any rate, it seemed like all the guys in the band were named Jeff. We took the girls to Hilltop Church for their Sunday School "Rally Day" brunch and kickoff celebration this morning, and spent the rest of the day getting "back to school"... homework and organization for the "new year." In addition, London's been reading all of my old favorite Judy Blume books that I got her as part of a Judy Blume Box Set (including "Starring Sally J. Friedman As Herself," "Blubber" and "Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret")... so it's time for that mother-daughter talk about "Growin' Up." Rex is much more accustomed to taking his sons out for a steak at the Palm when it comes time for their pre-teen chat about the birds and the bees, and he will be happy to leave that responsibility for London and Maddie to Roxy. So I stopped in to the Mendham Bookstore to pick up "The Care and Keeping of You" by the publishers of American Girl Magazine, and checked in with Bruce Springsteen for a little advice. From 1973, when I was seven, here's a very young Boss with "Growin' Up."

Well I stood stone-like at midnight suspended in my masquerade
And I combed my hair till it looked just right and commanded the night brigade
I was open to pain and crossed by the rain and I walked on a crooked crutch
I strolled all alone through a fallout zone and came out with my soul untouched
I hid in the clouded wrath of the crowd, when they said "sit down" I stood up
Ooooh, growin' up

Well the flag of piracy flew from my mast, my sails were set wing to wing
I had a jukebox graduate for first mate, she couldn't sail but she sure could sing
I pushed B-52 and bombed 'em with the blues with my gear set stubborn on standing
I broke all the rules, strafed my old high school, I never once gave thought to landing
I hid in the clouded warmth of the crowd, but when they said "come down" I threw up
Ooooh, growin' up

I took month-long vacations in the stratosphere, and you know it's really hard to hold your breath
Swear I lost everything I ever loved or feared, was the cosmic kid in full costume dress
But my feet they finally took root in the earth though I got me a nice little place in the stars
And I swear I found the key to the universe in the engine of an old parked car
Whoa I hid in the mother breast of the crowd, but when they said "pull down" I pulled up
Ooooh, growin' up
Ooooh, growin' up

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.

PS: Because of spamming purposes, the linky will be closed on Thursday of each week at midnight, Malaysian Time. Thank you!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Roxy Parties Like a Rock Star Tonight!

It's been a rainy day here in the Roxiticus Valley, but for the first time in a loooong time Rex and I are headed out tonight to a grown up party in Chester, New Jersey, featuring a band called the Three Jeffs and co-hosted by a couple of the wilder Roxiticus Desperate Housewives and Husbands we know. Now, I don't know if any of this couple's antics could compete with truTV's Rehab (the hottest party in one of the world’s sexiest cities... Viva Las Vegas!). However, our friends' tales of asking naughty anonymous and intimate questions to torment the priest who moderated their six weekly sessions of pre-cana (a course or consultation that Catholic couples must undergo before they can be married in a Catholic church), and ladies' mud (or was it jello?) wrestling at a local community women's club gathering, have made us curious enough to attend what just may be the hottest party in our history....tonight!

I have to admit that I have been away from the wild party circuit for so long I don't even know the lingo anymore... apparently there is such a thing as a "party foul" these days. When I was young, wild and single, the rule was "anything goes!" After Rex and I have a chance to recover from tonight's Dionysian bacchanal, I'll be sure to post and let you all know how our local event compares with Rehab: Party at the Hard Rock Hotel. After that, we'll probably be back to getting our vicarious kicks every Tuesday night with Rehab's "Real Life" TV experience, where this season the party promises to heat up to keep Rehab the biggest and best party on the Vegas Strip.

Be sure to tune in to an all new episode of TruTV's Rehab every Tuesday night at 10pm Eastern, 9 o'clock Central, to see if Rex and I win the sweepstakes to party like a rock star at Rehab at the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel & Casino pool.


Back to School, Back to Church at Hilltop Presbyterian Church in Mendham, NJ

Having spent a couple of sun and fun-filled weeks at our beach house in Bay Head, New Jersey, before school started, Rex, London, Maddie and I are staying here for a rainy weekend in the Roxiticus Valley. The rain kept us away from the annual clam bake at the Brookside Community Club, and the Sounds Around Town event in Bernardsville was postponed until next Thursday, September 17th.

Luckily, the weather is expected to be warm and sunny tomorrow, so if you're a local Morris County Roxiticus Desperate Housewives reader, we hope you'll join us for "Rally Day" at Hilltop Presbyterian Church on Sunday, September 13th. Since he joined our church late in the "school year," many of you may not know that Hilltop Presbyterian Church has a new pastor -- Robert Heppenstall III. This Sunday gives everyone a chance to hear one of Pastor Bob's sermons while the kids kick off the 2009-10 Sunday School program at Hilltop Church. The students will have a chance to meet their teachers and new friends after they are dismissed to Fellowship Hall following the Time with Children in worship. Everyone is invited to gather after the 9:30am worship service to enjoy a delicious brunch for all and games for the kids, hosted by he Fellowship Committee.

I Said No, No, No...

The new "back to school" year gives Roxy a chance to get a fresh start on my diet and exercise program, and I had a rockin' new playlist going on the iPod this morning while I headed "back to fitness" with four sets of 7.5 minutes on the elliptical trainer, traveling four miles and burning 420 calories while London and Maddie lifted weights, did curl-ups, and kept me company in our basement gym. I used Apple's iTunes Genius program to generate a playlist of 25 songs based on "Rehab" by Amy Winehouse, and worked out to tunes that included Joss Stone's "Fell in Love with a Boy," "Sign Your Name" by Terence Trent D'Arby, Stevie Wonder's "Sir Duke," and wrapped up with "Tell Me Something Good," a classic by Rufus. The tunes took me back to my wild and younger days, when I might have needed to go to rehab, but I said no, no, no....

Friday, September 11, 2009

One Day

One day maybe I
Won't have tears behind my shades
Walking home from work

September 11th continues to render me speechless, but today I read an essay by Peggy Noonan in the Wall Street Journal entitled "The Children of 9/11 Grow Up" that really hit home. Noonan begins:

It is eight years since 9/11, and here is an unexpected stage of
grief: fear that the ache will go away. I don’t suppose it ever will, but grieving has gradations, and “horror” becomes “absorbed sadness.” Life moves on, and wants to move on, which is painful for those who will not forget and cannot be comforted. Part of the spookiness of life, part of its power to disorient us, is not only that people die, that they slip below the waves, but that the waves close above them so quickly, the sea so quickly looks the same.

Not for me. Eight years later, it feels like it was yesterday I took the photo at right from our old neighborhood in the West Village on Bleecker and 12th Street. Noonan continues:

"9/11 was for America’s kids exactly what Nov. 22, 1963, was for their parents and uncles and aunts. They were at school. Suddenly there were rumors in the hall and teachers speaking in hushed tones. You passed an open classroom and saw a teacher sobbing. Then the principal came on the public-address system and said something very bad had happened. Shocked parents began to pick kids up. Everyone went home and watched TV all day, and the next."

That's Rex holding seven-month-old London along the Hudson River after both towers had fallen; I was pregnant with her sister, Maddie. Today, the girls went off to second and third grade at Mendham Township Elementary School, wearing red, white and blue along with their classmates in remembrance of 9/11/01.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

First Day of School

Another shiny new school year has begun! After waking an hour early all excited about seeing their friends and teachers and wheeling their new rolling backpacks down the halls of Mendham Township Elementary School, London and Maddie headed off on the school bus for their first day of school.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Music Monday: "Don't Stop the Dance" by Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music

If there's a theme to my Music Monday picks this weeks, it is sexy, sultry, seductive... here at Roxiticus Desperate Housewives, I thought I would share Bryan Ferry and Roxy Music with "Don't Stop the Dance," from the same album that gave us the equally seductive sound of "Slave to Love," which you may remember from the movie 9 1/2 Weeks. "Don't Stop the Dance" was actually featured in a far less famous made-for-TV movie (teenage girl, older man) that I couldn't track down on Google... if anyone remembers it, drop a comment to let me know.

Mama says the truth is all that matters
Lying and deceiving is a sin
Drifting through a world torn and tattered
Every thought I have don't mean a thing

Don't stop, don't stop the dance
Don't, more music, stop the dance

Mama says love is all that matters
Beauty should be deeper than the skin
Living for the moment, lips and lashes
Will I ever find my way again?

Don't stop, don't stop the dance

Mama says love is stormy weather
Don't know why there's no sun in the sky
Footsteps in the dark come together
Gotta keep on moving or I'll die

Don't stop, don't stop the dance
Don't, more music, don't stop the dance
Don't stop, don't stop the dance
Don't, more music, don't stop the dance
Don't stop, don't stop the dance

Come join Music Monday and share your songs with us. One simple rule, leave ONLY the actual post link here. You can grab this code at LJL Please note these links are STRICTLY for Music Monday participants only. All others will be deleted without prejudice.

PS: Because of spamming purposes, the linky will be closed on Thursday of each week at midnight, Malaysian Time. Thank you!

Sunday, September 06, 2009

36th Annual Fall Craft Show in Chester, NJ: Saturday, September 12th and Sunday, September 13th

Experience a wide variety of hand made items including traditional craft, fine art and country crafts at Chester's 36th annual Fall Craft Show. The event returns to Chester, New Jersey, next weekend: Saturday, September 12th and Sunday, September 13th from 10:00am until 5:00pm, rain or shine. Chester's Fall Craft Show was featured in Sunshine Artist Magazine's Top 200 Craft Shows and is one of the largest in New Jersey, showcasing over 250 unique exhibitors. Artists and craftspeople from around the country will be showing off their hand-made work. If you're one of those people who has started their holiday shopping, you'll find unique gifts for everyone on your list as well as beautiful handcrafted furnishings for your home. $5 admission, though you'll find postcards around town with a coupon for $1 off single admission. For more information call 973-377-6600.

Friday, September 04, 2009

Annual Pastime Club Carnival and Labor Day Parade Return to Mendham Borough

Rex, London, Maddie and I are staying down at our beach house in Bay Head, New Jersey, until Sunday, but we will make it back in time for the last day of the Pastime Club Carnival and the Labor Day Parade in Mendham Borough.

The 2009 Labor Day Carnival started tonight -- Friday, September 4th -- and continues through Labor Day Monday, September 7th. The carnival runs from 6pm to 10:30pm on Friday the 4th and 6pm to 10:30pm on Saturday the 5th. On Sunday, September 6th, games and races -- including sprints, wheelbarrow, three-legged and sack races for 10 years old and younger -- will run from 2pm to 3pm, followed by the carnival from 6 to 10:30pm.

On Monday, September 7th, the Labor Day Parade will assemble in the Kings parking lot at 9am, and the parade will begin at 10:00am, followed by the carnival from 11am until 10:30pm. We'll see you out there!

The Pastime Club of Mendham has sponsored a carnival within the Borough of Mendham to celebrate Labor Day for over sixty (60) years.

Right Where I Wanna Be

As my loyal Roxiticus Desperate Housewives readers know, our family has been at our beach house in Bay Head, New Jersey, for the past two weeks. Rex and I have worked from the home office in the mornings and evenings, getting our daily dose of the beach for a few hours around low tide, which was 2:30pm today. This afternoon, I actually went in boogie boarding with Maddie, something I haven't done in a looooong time, possibly since the summer before I was pregnant with London, so ten years ago. It was a lot of fun. I believe, however, that I overheard the following discouraging exchange between two young boys:

"Hey! Great ride... but I crashed right into that old lady at the end." Could he really mean me?

It seems like just yesterday I was shopping for baby formula, but both London and Maddie have preferred chocolate milk or cranberry juice for at least the past six years! Forgive the cliche, but time really does fly when you have kids... and in the midst of that great run from 5 to 12, I'm right where I want to be... the girls are old enough to really enjoy body surfing in the waves, and to entertain themselves by building sandcastles or reading on the beach. Today, London finished a Judy Blume book ("Starring Sally J. Friedman As Herself"), Maddie finished a Judy Moody book, and I've been doing some writing and just started into a new page turner ("The Secret History" by Donna Tartt).

Meanwhile, I see lots of other mothers on the beach, enjoying their infants and toddlers but not getting much "me time." Apparently, health experts and the federal government are encouraging American mothers to breastfeed, as the best nutritional option and to save money... up to $2,000 per year on the cost of formula. WIC -- a federal agency that provides food, nutrition counseling, and access to health services to low-income women, infants, and children -- has introduced a new food program that encourages breastfeeding. Mandated for all states, the new WIC package reallocates funding for all currently provided foods, including infant formula, baby foods, juices, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Women who select the breastfeeding package will not receive any infant formula; in addition, those who partially breastfeed or formula feed exclusively will receive 13 percent less formula than was paid for by WIC in previous years, forcing them to purchase baby formula on their own.

While I know it is not a particularly politically correct point of view (and did you really come to my blog seeking something PC?), I believe that if a woman can't afford the cost of having a child, she shouldn't have one, nevermind more than one. However, if money is tight and for some reason a woman can't or doesn't choose to breastfeed, the fact is that, in the United States, all infant formulas are subject to the same regulations governing manufacturing and ingredients as stipulated by the Infant Formula Act. Store-brand infant formulas sold at major retailers are therefore a premium nutritional substitute at a substantial savings over the major advertised brands and meet the same FDA nutritional requirements.

Enough about baby formula... I'm right where I wanna be, with a second grader and a third grader who are sure easy to live with... and lots of fun at the beach. However, I can feel "back to school" closing in on us... no matter how many perfect beach days I get, and this summer couldn't have delivered many more, Labor Day always sneaks up on me and makes me a bit nostalgic, and a little sad. Even though we will still come to the beach on weekends after school starts in September, there's something about the lifeguards leaving that makes Labor Day seem so final.