Monday, December 29

Sorry

Dear Little Blog,

I am sorry little blog. I have ignored you, neglected you and you may have thought forgotten all about you. I'm sorry. So much has been going on in my life that I just haven't had the time or the energy to write in you. Sometimes I think I will write in you, but then I have so many other tedious things to do that you get pushed aside. I promise that I will be better in 2009. I will write in you much more, and make time for you again. 2009 will be a good year. I will have practically a new house. New carpeting, new cabinets, new floors, new countertops. New attitude. I am already planning a little nook in my kitchen where I can put my computer and write on you little blog. For now we will be moving into a trailer in the yard, and I'm not sure if I will be able to hook up my computer and write in you little blog, but I will find a way. I promise. So don't be mad at me little blog, I still love you.

Tuesday, December 23

Just Keep Swimming

Hello out there in blogger land, sorry for the short posts lately. I can't believe Christmas is only 2 days away! With all that has been going on with the storm and the pipes bursting it just hasn't seemed very Christmasy. So many holiday parties and events were cancelled around here, and there has been so much displacement and uncertainty, but alas Christmas does arrive and no matter where you live and what you are doing it is important to remember the true meaning of CHRISTmas, enjoy your families and have some fun. And so we will. We may be homeless temporarily, but we have our family and each other and so we really have everything we need. I have been extra busy, Dennis is still working 12 hour days and since he has been sleeping at home in the basement while I stay at my parents with the kids we have barely seen him. I really am a single mother now! My parents have been so much help to us, more than you can imagine. We are so thankful and grateful for them, I am sure I couldn't do it without them. ALL of our friends and family have offered to help, and been so kind. It's overwhelming to realize how many friends you have when something like this happens, it brings a little tear to my eye, and everyone knows I never cry (except when water is pouring out from my ceilings!)

But life goes on, I still have to work, and meet with insurance adjustor's, and cleaning crews, and contractors. I feel like I am rushing all around, while still trying to find time for the kids and keep their lives as "normal" as possible. They are doing great though, and have been so good through all of this turmoil. Kids are resilient, although after this experience I think there will be an entire generation of children who will have anxiety every time the power at their house goes off! At dinner the other night Abbey gave a blessing. She said she was thankful for her family, for life and lights, and her friends. Oh, and food of course. I think that pretty much says it all.

So, we are doing fine. I am tired, I miss my husband, but I just keep thinking like Dory.

Saturday, December 20

Yada Yada Yada

So, our power was finally restored after 8 days of cold and dark. I was so excited, I called home and my answering machine picked up and it was the most beautiful sound in the world. I rushed to the grocery store to stock up (because my fridge was emptied) and rushed home ~ home! Joy! I opened the kitchen door and. . . yada yada yada . . . pipes burst, house flooded, back to my parents house.

Thursday, December 18

Home

I never realized how much I love my house. I never thought I would long to be home doing laundry of all things, or vacuuming, or cleaning the toilet. The dishwasher has now been full of dirty dishes for 7 days. I had an actual load of laundry running 7 days ago that is still sitting there half filled up with water. 7 days ago we had all kinds of plans for the upcoming week. A romantic night with my husband at a hotel, a great party with all of my college friends and their families, a field trip with the cub scouts, Jack's first grade conference, Abbey's holiday concert . . . . instead I have spent the week shuttling our luggage from place to place, relative to relative, sleeping on couches, floors, strange beds. The children have had NO semblance of any kind of schedule, bedtime, or vegetable in 7 days. They are cranky and fresh and acting up, and I am quickly losing my patience. I know I shouldn't complain. There are thousands of families in the exact same situation, and unless my house is the absolute last house to be re-connected, I can't bitch. There is always someone worse off. I hear my sister-in-law with 8 kids is staying with her sister in New Hampshire. A sister who also has many kids. I heard the youngest 2 have chicken pox. I'm not sure if this is true, and since Amy is a dedicated reader perhaps she will be able to read this and set the record straight. Good Lord Amy, is this true? Are you really still without power as well, not in your own home and now chicken pox has been added to the mix? I pray this is just an ugly rumor making its way through my family and is not based in facts.

So we are now staying at my parents house who have a generator. I heard from my father a little while ago, they have power! I guess the generator can now come to our house, but the question of whether this will give us actual heat is still up in the air. I don't know about generators, electrical wires, grids or the such. I don't care about generators, electrical wire, grids or the such. I want to flip my switch, turn on the lights on my tree, watch t.v. and I don't want to think about where it comes from. Good grief, I even miss going on my treadmill! I must be delirious.

Monday, December 15

We Survived The Ice!

Well, we are still alive. We survived the horrendous ice storm of the century in one piece, although the same can't be said for our cars. Yes, my precious new mini-van, dented. But not totalled, everything can be fixed. Unfortunately we have been out of power (so no heat, no running water, no flushing toilet) since 9:45 pm Thursday night. I am hearing various reports of when we will be up and running, everything from 2 days to 2 weeks. I am praying hard for the 2 days. I actually wrote a post on my laptop this weekend, but of course it is still trapped there in my laptop so I will post it as soon as I can. Just know that we are warm with relatives, carting our possessions around in our dented van, and wishing we were home in our own beds. Dennis is working 12+ hour days and sleeping at home in the basement with the dog and an old coal stove. I'll post again soon, hopefully from the comfort of home. And wait until you see the pictures!

Monday, December 8

Oh Christmas Tree

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here. Saturday we went out and got our tree, and now that it is up I am really starting to get into the spirit. Now I can start wrapping presents and unlike in years past when the kids were more of a menace, I can actually put them under the tree without the fear of them unwrapping them. Some families may look for quite a while for the "perfect" tree, even going to different places, but not us. We drove up the road to a tree farm, got out and almost the first tree the kids walked by "fell" on them. It didn't really fall as much as lean over onto them as they brushed by. They decided that it was a sign, the tree wanted to come home with us and be our tree. Dennis held it up and while I was still saying "hmmmm, maybe we should look over there" he had already picked it up and was starting to tie it to the top of the car. "Um, OK, I'll just go pay and we'll be on our way." When I was a little girl getting our tree was a big event that I looked forward to as one of the best parts of Christmas. I remember that we would bring it home, all wrapped up in twine and my father would set it up in the basement for the branches to "fall". It would have to stay down there, "falling" until the next day when we would be allowed to bring it upstairs and decorate it. That was torture to me, waiting. I would visit the tree in the basement, pushing on the branches, willing them to "fall." This may be why we decorate ours almost as soon as we get it home, no waiting, no falling required. Of course, our trees have never been wrapped up in twine, so that may be helpful. I used to play for hours under the tree. I would set my barbies up all under it, and they would "live" in the tree. I would lay under it and stare up at the lights, the way my kids do now and it is just such a wonder. A piece of nature that up until that point has been growing in the forest is now wrapped in lights, with ornaments hanging from it's branches, in our living room. It's kind of amazing when you think about it. Now that the kids are older they actually remember the ornaments from years past. We have quite a bit of "Baby's First Christmas" ones, or that have their names on them, and everyone has to hang up their own special ones. I love that we have special ornaments, just for us. I love that the kids get excited to see the little ornaments with their names on them, or that they have made in years past. You take them out of the box and although you had forgotten all about them for the past year, there they are again. They look the same as they did before, from a different time, on a different tree.

Our tree fell down that first night of course, spilling water all over the rug and sending ornaments flying this way and that. It crashed down as 65% of the trees in our married life have. I'm not sure why they always fall over, maybe it has something to do with the stand? Or perhaps it could be user error? I'm not blaming anyone, I'm just saying.

Sunday, December 7

Photo Tag - I'm It!

My bloggy friend Jen tagged me weeks ago and I am finally responding. The rules say: Players look into their photo files, choose the sixth folder and then the sixth photo in that folder. Post that picture, and tell the story behind it.

OK, here it is.

I am not surprised it is a picture of one of the kids, considering they make up about 82% of our photos! This was in the folder titled "Christmas 2007." Not too exciting, Jack sitting in the snow by the side of the driveway. Abbey's little purple head peeking in the side. On another note, they are outside in the snow right now (although there is about 1/3 of an inch on the ground) and Jack is wearing the same snow pants. They still fit from last year, although the coat did not. They just fit, they barely fit, but they fit. It's a miracle!

Saturday, December 6

A Great Week

This week I got to experience how the other half lives, or maybe it is closer to the other 1/3? This week I had my husband HOME at normal times. His usual shift is 12-8 (pm, not am) which has him leaving home around 11:15 am and returning about 8:45 at night. This is a very convenient time for him to get home, considering that by this point I have entertained the children, cleaned up messes, served dinner, helped with homework, refereed squabbles, given tubs, read bedtime stories, delivered water, chased monsters out from under beds and yelled "nothing more to eat, it's time for bed now get back in there!" about a dozen times. Most nights he comes home to a quiet peaceful house, two sleeping quiet peaceful children, and a wife who is not peaceful, sometimes quiet but always TIRED. This has been his shift for most of our married existence and for the entire time we have had children, so I should be used to it, but I never will, never I tell you! But this week, ahhhh, this week he had Fios school. 8 am - 4 pm. He left in the morning like a normal person. Returned home before 5! 5! Played with the children, we had dinners together. He helped clean up, gave tubs, took Jack to Cub Scouts, and I even got to go out 2 nights of the week amidst the world of adults. I was still primarily in charge of bedtime because he kind of stinks at it, but I wasn't so spent from doing everything else that bedtime seemed like a chore. Happy mommy, happy children, but tired husband. A man that is used to having a quiet empty house each morning and being able to sleep until 10 had to actually rise with the sun and schlump out into the world with the rest of the nine to fivers. But he survived. Next week we go back to our normal routine, back to the single mother routine. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted, I just wish it could have lasted a little bit longer.

Thursday, December 4

What's For Dinner?

Sometimes I dread 4:30 pm. This is the time when I am forced to think about dinner, what I am going to cook and how I can get out of it. Invariably I cannot get out of it, because I have these 2 little faces that look up at me and ask every single damn day "what's for dinner?" Sometimes my response is met with cheers (taco's) or jeers (meatloaf) but more often than not I respond with "I don't know, what do you want?" This is a ridiculous question to ask a 6 and a 4 year old. Jack ALWAYS answers "mashed potatoes!" while Abbey thinks long and hard and replies "I don't know, how about chocolate and strawberries?" She is much easier to please and sometimes she answers "I don't know, whatever you want me to eat would be good." Jack, on the other hand, is 100 times more difficult. He is such a fan of eating in general that a bad dinner to him equals the end of the world as we know it (hmmm, could he take after his mother??). He wails, he cries, he screams. "Cheeseburgers . . . NOOOOOO, I wanted tacos tonight. This is the worst day ever of my whole life, waaa waaa waaa." He likes things that are yellow, filled with carbs and stick to his ribs (which is why we can no longer see his ribs). I struggle to get him to try new things, eat a vegetable, not sneak over to the pan and scrape the remaining rice out with the giant serving spoon. Then once dinner is served I spend the meal alternating between the two of them. For Abbey to "take one more bite please" and to "stop fooling around and eat your dinner" and "for goodness sakes just sit still on your bum!" and "Jack, slow down this is not a race" and "no there are no more mashed potatoes" and then "no Jack, you may not finish Abbey's potatoes, she is going to eat them . . . eventually"

This morning when I woke Jack up for school the first thing out of his mouth, I kid you not, was "what's for dinner tonight?" Please let's get through breakfast first! By the way, I have NO IDEA what is for dinner tonight. Do you?

Wednesday, December 3

Excuses

Excuse number 1,043 of why I didn't step on the scale this morning for this week's installment of un-frump a slump. First off, in these uncertain and hard economic times, I find I get the best feeling from giving to others. So, in that respect I have donated my scale to the needy. Yes, that's it. The needy. I mean, they like to keep in shape too, just the daily struggle for food and shelter doesn't burn half as many calories as it used to, and the needy must keep on top of their weight as well. I know, I know, it was a sacrifice, but one I'm willing to make for humankind. Second excuse . . . I mean reason . . . there was this little holiday cookie swap thing I went to last night with about 20 of the other mother's here in town. No big deal, I mean, I only sampled like 14 cookies or so, washed down by 2 or 3 (or 4 or 5) glasses of wine. I'm sure that I actually lost weight while there, due to the fact that I was laughing quite a good deal and ate most of those cookies and consumed a good portion of that wine while standing up, and everybody knows that if you eat while standing the calories don't stick to your body. They go straight to your feet.

Sunday, November 30

Lucky Shopping and Seeing Double Santa's

First, I must apologize for slacking off so tremendously for these last few days. I really don't have much of an excuse, just busy with Christmas broo-haha. This weekend we checked out the parade 1 town over to see Santa, a parade which involved the towns emergency vehicles, various sized horses, the middle-high school's marching band, a freaky giant Frosty marching alongside an equally freaky giant green Christmas tree and of course, the big man in red himself. Actually, we saw 2 Santa's. It was the strangest thing, first one Santa comes riding by with Mrs. Claus by his side and then about 4 minutes later another Santa goes riding by with yet another Mrs. Claus by his side. What? I immediately looked at the kids. Surely they would notice that this was a different Santa. Hell, you could look further up the road and still see Santa #1. But they didn't even seem to be fazed, waving and yelling "hi Santa." So weird. I think children just have such blind faith in the magic of Santa that seeing him twice didn't seem at all unusual. After the parade we ambled over to the tree lighting with everyone else but I had a rare burst of super-smartness and continued over to where we could visit with Santa. Actually, while one Santa was heading up the tree lighting, another was already getting ready to receive children on his lap. Ah ha, double Santa's strike again. We ended up 3rd in a line of about 100 kids to sit on Santa's lap. Jack and Abbey had their picture taken (see above) and even got to deliver their letters in person. So frickin' cute and made that much better by the 100 families we passed on our way OUT the door all waiting their turn.

The weekend got even better when my mom (who has been blessed with the gift of bargain shopping) took me to get my Christmas purchasing started and it rocked. I got tons and tons accomplished. Usually when I go into a store I kind of wander around in a disoriented fashion, ending up purchasing things I don't even need, or a bunch of gifts for people I don't even give to. We went to, well, I am not going to name the store because then people will know where I got their gifts, plus it might shed a little "clue" to where I live which my husband is strongly against. Safety first at all times, that's his motto. But the prices at this place were fantastic. I even got some stuff for myself, lets just call it an early Christmas gift to moi. Suggested retail value for my new clothing, $156.99. MY price, $44.95. $48 pants from the Gap, $12.99. Levi Sweater for $36 and I found it for $8.99 (so I got 2 of course). Ahhh, I do love Christmas.

Thursday, November 27

What Are You Thankful For?

"As God is my witness, I thought turkey's could fly." For a fabulous Thanksgiving memory, click here!

A turkey is a funny bird,
it's head goes wobble wobble
All it says it just one word
gobble, gobble, gobble!

Well, the big day is finally here. Before we gorge ourselves, I will remember I am thankful for my family, having healthy kids, that Dennis has a job when so many don't right now, that we have a roof and heat and food and clothes. That we have so much that I sometimes forget, but today is not the day to forget. So enjoy your families, enjoy your feast, and enjoy your life. Now go and pig out!


HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Tuesday, November 25

Four In The Bed

You know that song, "There were 10 in the bed and the little one said, roll over, I'm squished.
So they all rolled over and one fell out, there were 9 in the bed . . . "

Well, here is my new version:

There were 4 in the bed and the big momma said
Get the f%$k out of my bed, I'm squished!

I know that I have posted before about my children's inability to sleep in their beds for the entire night. For a while it was getting better, there were even 3 or 4 nights out of the week where no child came into our bed at all, at least until the morning. Lately though we have had a huge setback in sleeping habits. Now Jack is in our room every night without fail. If he wakes me up I bring his back to his own room to sleep, but most of the time he just sneaks quietly in next to Dennis, pushing Dennis into the middle and shoving me toward the edge. I wake up at some point with my ass hanging half off and Dennis' elbow in my ear. Usually the reason I have woken up at all is that Abbey is asking me to "move in" so she can join us. Really, our bed is a queen sized, although I don't even think a giant California King could hold us all. We are not small people, and our children are getting bigger by the second. Jack is 70 lbs now, and Abbey grew over 3 inches this year. So instead of doing the "right" thing, the Supernanny thing of saying nothing and putting them gently but forcefully (gently but forcefully, what?) back into their own beds every single time they get up, I usually just give up, grab my alarm clock and head to an empty bed. Jack's is my first choice, being that it is a double and pretty soft. Abbey's isn't bad though, it is a cozy little twin and I find her newly decorated big girl room quite soothing. But all these interruptions make for not good sleep, I swear I never get any of that REM sleep any more and I think that is why I can't lose any weight. Yeah, that's the reason. It's because of the children waking me up . . . yup, that has to be it. Yet another way the sneaky children are making me fat! Drat.

Saturday, November 22

Still My Baby

Phew, such a busy weekend that it has taken me 2 days to post this. Why so busy? Well, my baby, my baby turned 4. At 9:23 am Saturday morning it was official. Not a baby anymore, in reality barely ever a baby. Abbey seemed to be born, be a newborn for about a week, and then an infant for about a month. By the time she turned 1 and was walking around she was already a "girl." I should maybe even feel a little jipped, being that it seemed the baby-ness of my "last" baby was so fleeting. But I don't. I have just always been in awe of her, of her confidence. Her humor. Her intelligence. Her deep well of love and compassion. Her patience. Her immense stubborn streak. Her resilience. Her resourcefulness. So far she has been the easier of my 2. Aside from a month of colickness early on, she just seems to go with the flow. Maybe it is being a girl, or being second born. Her brother's needs always seem to be so URGENT, as much at 6 as they were at 1. Whereas she seems content to wait her turn, wait it out. More often than not if she wants something done or needs something she just does it herself. She always has. She's like me in that way, no point waiting around for someone else to do something that they will probably do wrong anyway.

So Saturday we had a big family party for her, with 40 relatives arriving to shower the princess with gifts and birthday wishes. She wore a special new princess dress from Grammy (Sleeping Beauty, NOT Cinderella which you might think but don't you dare). She had a special pin, "Birthday Princess" and pink streamers and princess balloons everywhere. My mother brought her a gorgeous cake shaped like a carriage with a polly pocket princess and prince in attendance. It was her kind of day. For me the day was super busy, lots of running around but I still managed to eat practically an entire lasagna by myself and a million cookies. Ughghg, think I'll be skipping Un-frump Wednesday this week. Even all the running around I did won't make up for that, and I think I even snapped at my mother (sorry mom, but besides my husband there is no one else I can snap at, and I can only snap at him so much). And all the presents she received, it's almost ridiculous. Dresses and tights, Barbie's and Polly Pockets, a REAL tea set, Play-doh up the wazoo. One of the Barbie's even came with a dog that you can feed and then it poops out the little brown pellets that Barbie can pick up with a pooper scooper, they look like brown Good N' Plenty's! Such a riot. And we can't forget Baby Alive. She was thrilled of course, but this baby really pees (water, not actual urine although there probably is a play baby out there that does that!) She came with little disposable diapers that have to be purchased, although I am trying to dry one out now because she is already on the last one (she only came with 3, which took us 1 day to use up with all the water she has been fed). I found myself holding Baby Alive, christened today as Baby Ella and absentmindedly bouncing her, without even realizing it. Old habits die hard I suppose. But I think I am content to just be a grandma to baby Ella now, even though Jack declared "babies are fun, I wish we had a real baby in the house." Bite your tongue little boy! I am quite enjoying my life with a 6 year old and a 4 year old and have no desire to start over. As we speak Baby Alive is sound asleep in the cradle in Abbey's room, needing absolutely nothing from me! Glorious.

So now she is 4, and she seems more grown up already. Today she got the milk out of the fridge by herself, and twice in the last two days she has answered when asked a question "that's for me to know and you to find out." Where does she get these things? But like her brother she will always be my baby, mine to hug and kiss and tickle, mine to love. And that's just the way I like it.

Wednesday, November 19

Rudolph's Roundup

First off, let's get the unpleasantness of Un-frump out of the way. Let's just say that the day started with me yelling "frick frick frick" and Abbey asking me "mommy, why are you mad at the scale?" That's not true, she was still asleep, but there was yelling at the scale involved, albeit soft yelling. 1 lb gained, I'm going to move on now though, hope for better next week. I always have a setback after a good week, so I shouldn't be surprised.

Now, onto other things. Some of you may remember me writing about a little boy battling cancer named Coleman Larson a while ago, on International Coleman Day. If you didn't, you can catch up by reading all about him and his family (including his adorable twin brother Caden) here. Presently the family is in New York City undergoing treatment, so let's send some extra prayers and good thoughts their way. Michelle over at Semblance of Sanity wanted to raise money for the family, so she got together with Mimi, another Care Page momma and they cooked up Rudolph's Roundup. Bunches of people sent Mimi lots of fun prizes and they will be having a great raffle. I will just paste the last entry right from Mimi's own site to let you know more about it.

RUDOLPH'S ROUNDUP prizes are coming in steady. I got candles in today, they are 3 wick candles in a glass container shaped like Texas ! They are beautiful ... (not just cuz they are Texas shaped , well...). I will be getting some Cure Search stuff, a team Unite sweatshirt. I am also designing new Coleman and Caden Tee Shirts. That will be a surprise for later..." For now it is time to get busy: I DECLARE RUDOLPH'S ROUNDUP OPEN. One entry: $5 or three entries: $10. (Maximum 3 entries, BUT donations for more welcome ) The $$$ will go exclusively to TEAM LARSON (100%), please be generous, we want their holiday season to be as amazing as possible...You can either mail in the money for your entries and/or donations.

Mimi Avery
111 Aviator Dr
Fort Worth , TX 76179

Or paypal them at mimiavery74@msn.com

If your heart is willing, please include a short (or not) note for The Larson's. Even if you paypal, I will print the notes out for them. If you didn't quite get it, if you have questions, suggestions email me at myriamtx@yahoo.com

You may be thinking "I don't know this Mimi, I'm not going to send her any money!" I understand but believe me, the money will go to the Larson's. Mimi lost her own son Julian last January to the same cancer that Coleman is fighting, her heart is pure and her determination to help families that are in the same boat she was in knows no bounds. So, if you are considering giving a donation somewhere this holiday season, consider Rudolph's Roundup, you could win a great mystery prize!

Remember, our children drive us crazy and can be real pains in the butts sometimes, but they are healthy and happy, so go and hug them and kiss them and smell them. Go. Now. Go on.

Monday, November 17

The Enchanted Forest

This title isn't really accurate in the fact that although the woods around my house are alive, they are not exactly enchanted. The word enchanted conjures up images of fairies and sprites, singing birds and dancing princesses. The trees in my woods are enchanted for sure, but not in a good way. Honestly, sometimes I think they are out to get us. As fall begins the acorns start to come down, with such force and gravity that at times I think the children should have to wear helmets outside. When we got the new mini-van I almost didn't want to park it in my driveway! Then a strong wind blows and branches come flying down as if they were attached to the trees with no more than bits of scotch tape. And then the leaves, the beautiful fall leaves. The trees shed and shed and shed and we rake and rake and rake. Every fall as I rake I think about this book I read when I was in middle school, Blubber by Judy Blume. Anyone remember this? In the book these two girls "egg" this old man's house on Halloween night. They are caught egg-handed (ha ha) and as punishment have to rake this man's enormous leaf riddled yard. That's what I want. Not to be egged, obviously, although if it would buy me the time of a couple of pre-teens to come and do my raking I would gladly accept.

I still love fall though, it is my favorite season and I'm sure the trees don't have anything personally against me, it's just their way.

On another note, this marks my 100th post. When I started writing this I never imagined I would write 100 times! I want to extend a GIANT thank you to everyone who reads, whether you check in religiously or once in a while. I know that the Internet is a big vast space, with lots to read and see, so I thank you from the bottom of my heart that you come and visit me.

Friday, November 14

A Spoonful Of Sugar


Who is this little boy who used to be my baby? This little boy who puts on silly glasses and quips "Tip Tip Tallyhoe" just to make his sister laugh. When Jack was little he used to get ear infections up the wazoo. I think he had 10 from the time he was 1 to the time he was 2. (Then tubes, viola ~) But during this time he had to take antibiotics of course, and he was THE WORST medicine taker. I used to have to pin him down, and physically lay across him to get it in his mouth. I would have to push that syringe way back in his throat, practically gagging him and shoot it out at the exact correct speed to get the liquid into him without causing him to choke and throw it back up. It was not pleasant, and not a job for one person. Usually it would be for 3 days, but occasionally I would hear that phrase I began to dread, "twice a day for ten days." After the tubes his infections let up, although he would still get one now and again, and so now and again I would have to muscle him down and shoot pink liquid down his throat. I was remembering this recently because he just got another ear infection. He usually has 2 a year now, which is much more manageable. This year the antibiotics they gave him didn't work, so we had to get something stronger. It is white and thick and has to be taken twice a day for 10 days. 10 days is such a long time, and I was dreading it. But he's 6 now, and although he told me it was "the most disgusting thing I've ever had to drink" he drank it down bravely. It is still shocking to me that my baby is now a boy, and I don't HAVE to force medicine down his throat, or do any number of things for him that I was so used to doing every day. Tonight he actually said "I think I'm getting used to this stuff" as he threw back his head and drained down the last drop of white goop. What a trooper. Now if he can drink that, why can't he eat peas?

Wednesday, November 12

Do I Get A Star?

When I used to go to Weight Watchers 100 years ago you would get a star when you reached 5 pounds lost. I must admit that I didn't get too many stars, but I would have gotten more if you could get one every time you hit 5 pounds down. I mean, I would lose 5, get a star, gain 1, then lose 1.5. Should I be asking for another star? I never did, I mean I would have had those stars coming out of my ass with all the times I went up and down with the same 5 pounds. So today I am going to make myself a shiny star and put it on my fridge, because I am happy to report that this installment of un-frump my jelly belly is a success. First it is a success because unlike last week I actually got on my scale. Second I was very happy because I was down almost 2 pounds. For anyone paying attention (and believe me I don't really expect anyone to be actually paying attention to this, I know you have lives) this is 5.6 pounds gone, and it only took me 4 weeks! I know, I know, the breakneck speed with which I am losing this weight is probably not healthy, but I'm willing to chance it. So, now I must stay focused because I still have a long way to go, 15 pounds to go. Focus . . . focus . . . focus . . . tostitos . . . cheese . . . I mean focus . . . cookies . . .

Tuesday, November 11

Curious Indeed

"After a good meal and a good pipe, George felt very tired." This line was written by H.A. Rey in 1941 for his classic, "Curious George." Can you believe it? You forget how much things have changed! And there is actually a picture of cute little George sitting in an overstuffed easy chair, smoking a pipe. Jack and Abbey were a little surprised, exclaiming "but monkey's can't smoke!" Indeed they can't. In fact, if what you remember most about Curious George is the recent movie or the shows on PBS, you are sorely misinformed. In the book the man in the yellow hat actually kidnapped George from the jungle to bring him home to New York for the zoo. He put him in a bag and swept him from his home. Once home, after he did all that smoking, he accidentally (because he is so curious, natch) called the fire department and when they arrived they were so pissed it was a false alarm that they had George arrested and put in prison. Prison! Its pretty funny though, seeing that little monkey behind bars. Maybe it was supposed to be a lesson for the kiddies of the 40's. Screw around and be too curious and you'll end up in jail sonny! I must say I am glad that Jack took it out of the library so that we could see how the classics were really meant to be written.

Monday, November 10

Badges! We Don't Need No Stinkin' Badges!

You all know who Betsy Ross is, right? Come on, think, think. Fourth grade. American History. Right, she sewed the first American Flag, good job! I think it is pretty safe to assume that we are not related in any way (but I am related to John & John Quincy Adams, so there). Jack just started Cub Scouts and was recently embraced into the brethren as a Tiger Cub. It is incredibly adorable. He is so proud of himself and his orange kerchief, with his little tiger slide. He has been pouring through his handbook, checking out the cool stuff he will be doing, and asking me every day "do I have Cub Scouts today?" And his blue shirt, the "official" shirt of the Cub Scouts. And the badges, his den number and troop number and council badge and round scouting symbol. Oh those adorable little son's of a bitches badges . . . I mean super easy to sew if you are someone who owns a needle badges . . . I mean stick a needle in your eye how the hell do you do this badges. What movie was it where they said "Badges, we don't need no stinkin' badges!" Blazing Saddles? That line just kept going through my head as I sat this weekend hunched over his blue shirt attempting to sew on these damn tricky badges. Actually they are probably a piece of cake for some mothers, just not me. I do not sew. I do not hem. I do not stitch. I do not embroider. I bless the day I found "Stitch Witchery" where you can hem pants and such by just ironing this white gauzy stuff onto them. Of course, after about 6 or 7 washings you have to do it again, but it is still way easier than actual sewing.

First I had to find my sewing kit (if you can actually call it that). I did, but it had no needles. I think we last used it to pull a splinter out of Jack's hand last summer, haven't seen it since. So I went up to my mother-in-laws and got some. While I was there I got in a little bit of a tiff with my father-in-law, who is a pain in the ass, but that's another story altogether. Then I tried to thread it. And I tried again. And again and again and again. Finally I got the actual sewing underway, but it kept slipping. Ah Ha, that is what the pins are for! To keep the badge in place while sewing. Genius! Eventually I got into a groove, and the kids even took a couple of tries. I especially wanted Jack to see how much actual work was going into this sewing, and let him know that as soon as he was old enough and learned he would be sewing his badges on himself. Unfortunately I think I have a few years before he is up for this challenge, but if I can do it, I'm sure he can. Suffice it to say it was a long process, but I did manage to get almost all of them sewn on, and now that I have the hang of it I'm sure the other 2 will go faster. I only pricked my finger with the needle around 68 times, so that's pretty good. I put the thimble on at last but it kept falling off. Damn thing.

I know that I could have given it to my mother or my mother-in-law or my grandmother and asked them to sew it, but I don't know. I wanted to do this myself. It just felt like something that as his mother I was supposed to do. Does that make sense?

Friday, November 7

Wonderwoman To The Rescue!

Do you ever wish you had superpowers? Of course you do. If you could have one purely for yourself superpower what would it be? This would have to be a power beyond the obvious ones like, "Save the World", "Cure Cancer" "Have Money Fly Out Of Your Butt" or "End Starvation". I think mine would be to be able to suck up all the dirt and dust in my house and eradicate it back to the earth where it belongs. I would just start spinning really fast and all this dust would fly out of my front door. There, mission complete! This would help especially now when my house seems to be drowning in dust. Where is it all coming from? I look up at the ceiling and start to see all these cobwebs everywhere, like we are living in a haunted house or something. Before I know it I am on my tiptoes on a chair, teetering precariously and swiping at the dust with a rag. But no matter how much you clean it, it just leads down the hall to more dust. Into another bedroom and more dust. There is no end! Yes, being a supercleaner would be awesome. So, what is your fantasy superpower?

Wednesday, November 5

A New Day

First, let me inform you that this week's installment of Unfrump-A-Slump Wednesday will not take place due to the magnitude of Halloween candy I ate, which in turn made me too chicken shit to get on my scale this morning. I promise I will be back on that horrid contraption next week, hopefully with good news.

In other news, we have elected a brand spankin' new president. No matter what you're personal political views or wishes, we can all be happy that we will no longer have to be inundated with political ads every 4 seconds, and I will not have Abbey come up to me with this statement again. "Mommy, did you know that 19 dogs DIED in their cages???" Ummmm, as a matter of fact I think I DID hear that about 4 or 5 THOUSAND times. Instead I answered "yes, that is very sad, but those dogs were all quite old and just happened to get sick and die, it happens."

It is a big day for our country, monumental and historic. An exciting time. A time of change (hopefully good). We have elected the first African American President. The world keeps turning, evolving and growing, and still my husband can't seem to find the damn hamper or the dishwasher. Why?

Monday, November 3

Pre-Voting Cramming

So, will you vote tomorrow? Of course I plan on voting tomorrow, I think anyone who doesn't might run the risk of getting stoned by their peers. I know all about how women fought with their lives to give me the right to vote, and I promise I won't squander it away. I just wish I were a little more, informed? Educated in this particular area? Political? I guess I just wish I were more sure. Red or blue? Yes or No? Vote no on Question 1 and yes on 2, or was it yes on 1 and no on 2, and what about 3? Am I a friend to the animals or people who need jobs? I tend to lean toward humans every time. And I just know that someone has snuck in a "Question 4" or something and it will totally throw me. Sure, I should know who I am voting for by now, and I do, kind of. Sometimes I feel like we are just voting for the least bad choice, rather than the best choice. I wish the decision were more cut and dry. My grandmother votes for whichever candidate is pro-life. That's all. The requirement is that if you are pro-life you get her vote. No further information needed. I wish I had something like that which would swing my vote in one solid direction. After all, I can't not vote for Obama because he seems too flashy or spent way more than I thought he should on an ad any more than I shouldn't vote for McCain because he blinks too much when he talks (a sure sign of a liar if you ask me) or because he is really old and, well, old. I really should base my decision more on the facts.

I have decided that I will just do what I did in High School and College when I had a big test and procrastinated. I will cram tonight, gathering information on both candidates so that I can make an informed decision. You know, stuff that I should have been paying attention to these last million months rather than occupying my mind with things like birthday parties, Halloween costumes and what's for dinner. So tonight after the kids go to bed I will hit the Internet and get information, right after I watch Jon & Kate Plus 8 . . . . unless I get too tired.

Friday, October 31

Happy Halloween


Hope you're night was Spooktacular!

Wednesday, October 29

Is It Wednesday Already?

Continuing my weekly un-slumping project, I paid my scale a visit this morning. I was expecting disaster because I didn't exactly do as good this week as last. I went on my treadmill 4 times, but hardly stuck to my points. I did lose .6 (that is 0.6, like 1/2 a pound, not 6 which would mean my scale was probably broken) but I'll take it! I am considering it a gift and vow to get back to my points this week. I am a totally out of control portion person. If left to my own devices I would eat about 4 times the recommended amount of any food (except vegetables, I like to eat the exact serving size of those, I do have some control over myself).

On another note, today was a much better day. I didn't throw food at anyone! Yay me.

Tuesday, October 28

What Kind Of Mother Are You?

What kind of mother are you? Apparently today I am the kind of mother that throws jello at her whining, complaining that they are starving son. I am also the kind of mother that will give her children a supper of macaroni and cheese at 4:30, give them a bath at 5:30 and put them to bed at 6:30, just to get the day over with. I am also the kind of mother that will pour herself a glass of wine at 4 pm. That is the kind of mother I am today. Hopefully tomorrow I will be a different kind of mother, perhaps the kind that smiles graciously and bakes cookies, who serves nutritious and delicious meals and reads story after story to her well behaving, shiny, smiling children. We'll see.

Driving Blind

My kids really do expect me to be a superhero. They cannot grasp the concept that I cannot do all of the things for them that they want, WHILE DRIVING. What? I can't fix a sandwich, read a book, play a game involving covering my eyes with both hands while driving? What is wrong with me? Jack now seems to have grasped this concept more, being a wise 6 year old, he can now understand that I actually have to pay attention and keep both hands on the wheel. Abbey on the other hand, cannot understand why I can't just drive with my knees, freeing up my hands to say, color a picture for her. She is also always inventing made-up games for us to play in the car. Games with names like Boobidy Ooogly Hands, or Scarey Tree a' Clap. Most of the time I can hardly hear her. Since we got the mini-van she is situated all the way in the back, and for some reason when she really wants us to hear her, her voice gets super, super quiet like a mouse and keeps getting softer until she is barely whispering. Then she yells "Mommy, do it!" and I am so confused. Do what? Did I miss something? Her games always have rules and instructions that seem to change second by second, making it hard for us to play with her "correctly" since no one can keep track of exactly what we are doing. Or she decides we should have a sing-a-long to a song she is making up on the spot, yelling at us that we ARE NOT doing it right, that we don't know the words. She gets frustrated and upset, "no, not that way", "can't you hear me" (ummm, no), "those aren't the right words", or "that's not what I want!" So it goes, frustrating in the van as we plod along. By this time Jack has usually turned on his Gameboy and I have turned up the radio, happy that she is all the way in the back!

Friday, October 24

I Don't Have To Go!

Why do kids wait SO LONG to go pee? It is so frustrating. I mean, how busy can you possibly be that you can't take the 1 1/2 minutes necessary to go to the bathroom? Are they solving world peace? Finding a cure to cancer? Cleaning the dust bunnies out from under the refrigerator? NO! They are playing, or watching t.v., or playing a video game. For some reason even the mundane act of staring at a dead bug is vastly more important than going to the bathroom. We see them dancing around, fidgeting, skipping, getting that look. You know the look. That anxious, nervous, guilty look. As a parent you can look across a cavernous room the size of a football field and know by your child's movements alone that they have to go. Jack waits until the last possible instant, pulling his pants down and whipping it out before he even gets to the toilet so that the first stream goes directly over the bowl and down the other side, puddling by the base way back where you can't see it. Then you clean your toilet and scrub it and think it is clean but your bathroom still smells like a public restroom at the beach on one of the hottest days of the year. But where is the smell coming from? You clean the toilet again, clean the floor around it, but still the smell lingers. Then you discover it, a puddle of dried urine on the base of the toilet, way back by the pipes. Lovely. At least Abbey is tidier. She waits until just a little dribble comes out, just enough so that she needs a new pair of underwear (averaging about 5 pairs a day). The night before last I actually had a dream and in it all I was doing was cleaning pee off of the floor. Bright yellow pee. Over and over and over again, no matter how much I cleaned there was always more. Come to think of it, we will categorize that as a nightmare!

Thursday, October 23

Un-Frump A Slump Wednesday

I know, technically it is Thursday, but I meant to post this yesterday, I really did. So, I'm sure you are on pins & needles wondering how my first week went at "un-slumping" myself. What? You weren't? You didn't think about it at all? Hmmmm, OK. Actually the week went alright. I am happy to report that I stuck to my points about 70% of the time, went on the treadmill 4 times (I know not the 5 I vowed, but whatever) and drank my water, took my vitamins, blah blah blah. I lost 3.2 lbs, which is good but I suspect it may have been mostly due to my body's shock that I was actually attempting to control my eating. My complexion has not gotten on-board with the new plan though, and my chin still looks like the chin of a 15 year old. All in time. What do they say, Rome wasn't built in a day? This is a dumb saying that implies that other cities, like say Boston, were in fact built in a day.

Remember, if anyone wants to share with me their triumphs or setbacks this week, feel free. The more the merrier. If we get enough of us joined in I can make a chart (I LOVE to make charts!).

So I was feeling good today until an old man yelled at me on the road. I was driving (alright, maybe a little bit fast but no more than 5 miles over the speed limit) and this old man was walking his dogs on the side of the road. This is a narrow, winding country road. I came around a bend and there he was with 2 golden retrievers. I had to slow down and tried to swerve into the other lane but there was oncoming traffic so I couldn't swerve too much and when I went by him he shook his fist at me and yelled "slow down." I felt horrible. I'm so glad I didn't hit him or one of those dogs, but I DO NOT like to be yelled at. I don't. I just don't. OK, I feel better now. I've blogged it out.

Tuesday, October 21

Mother Mortality

The kids got a new movie from Netflix this weekend. "Ariel's Beginning" or something like that. Its about Ariel when she was born and was a little girl growing up, before she met Prince Eric and decided to throw her entire ultra cool mermaid life away on a stupid man. But I digress. In this movie Ariel's mother shockingly . . . you won't believe this. . . its so unexpected . . . dies! What is it with Disney and mothers? I'm sorry, but they totally hate us! We are ALWAYS getting killed off, leaving them to be raised by their fathers who usually screw it up by losing them or marrying someone evil. I'm surprised kids don't have more nightmares about this situation. Bambi, Snow White, Chicken Little, Cinderella, Finding Nemo, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin (he actually doesn't have any parents at all). You get my point. Maybe the mothers of the world should start a protest.

The Lion King is one great exception and in my opinion one of the top greatest movies ever made. . . of course the dad gets killed off instead.

Sunday, October 19

Fire Safety

I don't know about the rest of you, but for us October (as well as being Breast Cancer Awareness month) is also some sort of fire safety month in our towns. Both the kids had fire safety at school, and in Abbey's preschool the fire truck came to visit and they all got fire hats, did fire projects, yada yada yada. Today they were playing "fire rescue." This involved Jack (wearing the fireman's hat) "rescuing" Abbey from the fire in our house. They wanted me to also evacuate but since I had just gotten out of the shower, had soaking wet hair and was wrapped in a towel I refused. But I noticed something kind of funny about them. First, why did Jack have to be the fireman while Abbey was the damsel in distress? Who teaches them this? Then I saw that as Jack was rescuing her that she had something in her hands. She was "saving" her plastic container filled with her jewelry. Not her babies, or her dogs or bears or stuffed whatevers, her jewels! Cracked me up.

Friday, October 17

Flu Shmoo

Each and every fall I find myself pondering the same dilemma. Should we get flu shots? Dennis is easy, there is no way he will ever subject himself to any kind of shot on purpose. Seriously, I've never seen a grown man with such a little girl attitude about needles. He has to close his eyes and look away, and when he has dental work he has to get prescribed Valium. You should have seen him when we got our blood tests to get married. I almost thought he was going to call the whole marriage off just to avoid it. Sometimes I just want to hit him and yell "toughen up you wuss!" but I don't (well, OK, I have). But the rest of us, should we get flu shots? The problem is that the kids never have. They didn't get them when they were babies because, well I don't know why but they never did. I think it has something to do with the timing that they have their well-child visits in the year. Jack is in April so way too early to be thinking about the flu shot and they are not available then, and Abbey is at the very end of November, really to late to worry about getting one and probably all gone by then. So I would have had to make separate appointments just for this. And why I never did? Hmmmm, not too sure. Another factor is that the first year kids get one they have to have 2, like 6 weeks apart. So now it wouldn't just be 1 shot I was subjecting them to, but 2. Of course, now they are older and know about shots and can scream and fight and kick and try to run away. Two years ago I actually had appointments for the kids but Jack had gotten himself into such a state about getting the shot that at the last minute I just cancelled. I could have still taken Abbey but that would have seemed wrong, like I loved only her enough to get the shot. That didn't seem right. That same year my mother-in-law "treated" me to a flu shot at Walmart which might have been my first flu shot ever in my whole life, and three days later I came down with some illness that had me flat on my back sicker than I've ever been for a week. I know, I know, it was just a coincidence I'm sure and had nothing to do with the shot, but still. I'm apprehensive. Maybe it was the location? Perhaps you shouldn't be getting a shot 6 feet away from where you can pick up your dog food?

I guess its not really a dilemma. We haven't gotten flu shots in the past and won't this year, but I will continue to have this nagging thought of "should I be doing this?" The American Academy of Pediatrics sure as hell thinks I should, but lets be honest, they think I should be doing a lot of stuff I'm probably not. About December when people start getting sick and my in-laws who watch CNN constantly start hearing about all these kids that have DIED from the flu and start questioning me just like they do every year "Did you get flu shots for the kids? You did, right? Because they could die so I hope you did" and I have to say that no, yet again I slacked off in the fall and didn't get them so now we'll just cross our fingers and hope we don't get too sick.

Maybe its because I was never raised getting a flu shot every year. My mother (who works in a PRESCHOOL) still does not get a flu shot. (At least I don't think she does but maybe she's been getting one for years and not telling me, wouldn't that be a kicker). My father always DOES but he's a little bit of a hypocondriach anyway. My 86 year old grandmother who SHOULD won't because she's sick of getting shots and lets face it, you don't argue with an 86 year old. My brother barely goes to the doctor for regular visits so I don't see him jumping on this one. So we won't and maybe we will get the flu, but maybe we won't. Probably in 2 months I will have another post entitled "Flu Shmoo" in which I am typing in ALL CAPS about how we are all sick and why oh why didn't I get us those damn flu shots.

So I have a little poll for you all. Do you readers out there get flu shots? What are your thoughts? Could it be construed as child abuse that I don't?

Wednesday, October 15

A Slump

I think I am in a slump. Have you ever felt that way? Lately I feel like I have let myself go. My treadmill has dust on it, and I have been eating anything and everything I feel like. I finally forced myself to step on the scale yesterday morning after 2 months of neglect, and it showed. 7 pounds. At the beginning of the summer I had lost 5 with grand plans to lose the final 15. But now I've backtracked up 7. I did quit smoking this summer, so I guess some weight gain should be expected and is a small price to pay, but it doesn't seem so small now. I have always been an "all or nothing" type. I'm exercising, I'm drinking my water and eating right, taking my vitamins and flossing my teeth. But since summer I've been in the "nothing"category. And it shows. Even my skin has turned against me, with moutainish eruptions all over my chin. My hair is weird, and most of my pants are too tight, even my blog posts has become pretty b.o.r.i.n.g. Something MUST be done, or else I will just keep on getting frumpier and more zitty! And I will have NOTHING to wear, ever. It doesn't help matters that I was banned from straightening my hair by my hairdresser. I bought a straightener (see above) in 1997 and was amazed. Finally, straight hair was mine. Straight smooth hair. But over the last 11 years the poor thing got a little bit tired, so that by the end it wouldn't heat up enough and I would have to pull it over the same parts of my head again and again. In this process I apparently "burnt" the top part of my hair and was instructed to throw away my dear straightener and refrain from straightening for at least a month. Woe is me. Now the month is up but I have no straightener and the "good" ones are like $100, so . . . I stay curly for now. But not good curly, it is curling in weird new places and giving me an odd look, when I pull it back it is like the do Alice wore on the Brady Bunch. So in admitting that I am in a slump I vow to "un-slump" myself from this point forward.

So, hear me now. I am committed to going on my treadmill 5 times a week. I will stick to my Weight Watchers points of 22 and check in with my scale at least once a week. Giving me further motivation is the fact that we are going to Disney World in May. In 7 months I DO NOT want to be huffing and puffing across the Magic Kingdom with my thighs rubbing together in such a way that I may start a small fire. I don't want all our vacation memories to have me red-faced and sweating. Wish me luck . . . I will of course need it. And if anyone out there wants to "un-slump" themselves with me, let me know. There is strength in numbers!

Monday, October 13

The Happy Cow

OK, this is perfect because I LOVE cheese. Always have. Always will. Even my kids love cheese. It must be hereditary. So go and vote for Kirsten. Let's make her a winner!

Vote for Kirsten

Friday, October 10

A Lifetime Ago

9 years ago I got a restful nights sleep at my parents house, uninterrupted and blissful. Last night I was awoken at 1 am by that feeling of someone breathing in my face, and awoke with a start to find Jack standing there, complaining of an earache.

9 years ago I started the day having my hair done by a very tiny Russian girl who spent 2 hours putting it up on the crown of my head in gorgeous curls. Today I started the day calling the school to let them know that Jack was sick and would not be in, followed by a call to the doctor.

9 years ago my bridesmaids helped me into my beautiful white princessy wedding dress, and then a limo picked me up to bring me to the church. Today I pulled on my one pair of jeans that aren't tight, a top with a stain on it and ugly shoes for a trip in my mini-van to the pediatrician.

9 years ago I was the center of attention. All eyes were on me and people waited on me. Today I was not the center of attention and 2 pairs of little eyes were on me a lot, and they kept asking me to do stuff for them and get them food and drinks.

9 years ago I had a choice of Prime Rib or Stuffed Chicken for dinner, with a champagne toast. Tonight I had pizza and wine.

9 years ago I danced with my new husband with a sparkle in my eye and a spring in my step. Today I haven't done any dancing with my husband. Actually, it is now 8:29 and he's not even home from work and come to think of it I really haven't seen him at all today.

9 years ago I looked forward to leaving on my honeymoon the next day. 10 straight days soaking up the sun with my husband in Florida, just the 2 of us. Tomorrow I am not looking forward to getting up early to bring Jack to a 9 am soccer game.

There really isn't much that is the same as it was 9 years ago. I did spend the afternoon with Suzy and the kids today, and I did spend that afternoon 9 years ago with Suzy too . . . . . . although luckily she didn't have 3 children with her at my wedding reception. Hmmmmm. Not exactly the same but close. I do love my husband the same today as I did the day I married him, even though he acts like a child much of the time and does many, many, many things to annoy me. We are older and wiser (well, I am) now, but I know as much today as I did that day 9 years ago that he loves me more than the world, and for that I am grateful.

(Not as grateful as I would be for a full nights sleep and to fit into that wedding dress again, but still . . . )

Wednesday, October 8

This Is A Test, This Is Only A Test

1. in
2. it
3. did
4. sit
5. six
6. fix
7. lip
8. mix
9. pin
10. wig

These are the ten words that appeared on Jack's FIRST spelling test ever in his whole life and I am happy to report that he got all ten right. He didn't seem to think it was that big of a deal though, except I kept gushing things like "your first spelling test" and "I am so proud" and "this is going right on the fridge." Then he was actually quite impressed with his little spelling self. Let's hope that this enthusiasm in test taking continues on for a very, very, very long time.

Tuesday, October 7

Jon & Kate Plus 8 Equals Abuse?

I was. . . am. . . used to be . . . .still are. . . (obviously so confused), a big Jon & Kate Plus 8 fan. I have quite religiously watched the show for the past 2 years, and seen their "specials" and checked them out on Oprah. I've watched them potty train, have meltdowns on planes, give time-outs by the dozens. I've watched Kate yell at Jon and most enjoyed that, although there are many times I would perhaps like to be married to Jon, just for a little while (he seems so damn helpful to me). Most Monday nights at 9 you will find me curled up on my couch with some salty crunchy snack watching a new episode on TLC. I always enjoyed peeking into their lives, and especially coveted Kate's great organizational skills. Lately though I am becoming disenchanted, and I think the love affair is ending.

There has been A LOT of hoopla lately regarding this show. There are many, many people who are starting to question the children's actual safety and if this many hours in front of the camera can be construed as abuse. Paul Petersen of some actors children's advocacy group is all involved now, as is supposedly Pennsylvania's Department of Children and Family Services. In the episode I watched last night they were having a 2-day photo shoot with Good Housekeeping. 2 days in 90 degree weather posing for a Thanksgiving November issue wearing sweaters and turtlenecks. And the kids were, well, kind of miserable. The older twins, Cara and Mady were especially upset, and barely smiled. I kept thinking, "wow, this does seem like a lot" and a small part of my brain kept thinking that maybe these opponents of the show have a point. Perhaps it is time to pull the plug.

When the show started I enjoyed it because it was interesting to see how a family managed with that many small children. Jon would go off to work and Kate would take care of the kids. You saw her doing a lot of cooking, a lot of laundry (although she always has had some help which I never begrudged because hell, the woman has 8 kids!), playing with the kids, taking them outside. But now it is different. Jon no longer has to go to work, I assume because they are now making like a gazillion dollars or so from the show. And the people who were around before, their friend Beth and Aunt Jodi and Kate's brother, they seem to be gone. The last few episodes have had things like Jon and Kate get their teeth whitened. Jon gets hair plugs. They go to Idaho. They go to Disneyworld. They go look at a GIANT house they might buy. They go to the beach and stay in a gorgeous location. I have not seen her cooking much lately, or cleaning, or going to the grocery store. Now it is no longer at all realistic. I've heard that there is now a chef, someone who grocery shops and someone who cleans the house. Kate works out 1 hour and 15 minutes every morning on her treadmill. Hmmmm, I suppose I could do that too - if I got up at 5 am every day. But then I think, maybe she does get up to work out at 5 am. I don't know. It is just a t.v. show, there is a lot we don't see. But we sure do see a lot . . . and maybe that is becoming the problem.

Friday, October 3

The Great Escape

Twice a year I escape my family and spend the weekend away. I am ecstatic to report that THIS WEEKEND is one of those weekends! You see, every January I have an annual "Girls Weekend" with my college friends, a tradition that is going on it's twelfth year. But about three years ago we began a sister/cousin weekend in New Hampshire at the lake. This consists of me and my three cousins, and this year we have added Caitlen, my brothers girlfriend, to the group. (Welcome Caitlen). Last weekend the boys had their turn, and they spent two straight days having fires, drinking beer and eating red meat. Dennis came home in exactly the same clothes he left in on Friday afternoon, his bag unopened, smelling like fire, meat and B.O. Lovely! Our girls weekend is a little different. We will eat of course, there will be wine and other delicious alcoholic beverages consumed, and some shopping. We will attempt a fire, although in years past we have had varying degrees of success in this endeavor. Unlike the men who rarely if ever left the campground, we will go out to eat, where others will wait on us and there will not be crayons anywhere on the table. We will shop with no one tugging on our arm to leave. We will be making no mad dashes to the nearest restroom or stooping down to tie anyone's shoe. In fact, there will be no stooping the entire weekend. Oh joy, I am excited. Off to pack!

Monday, September 29

Chili's

We were at Chili's tonight. Were you? I would like to say that we had a delightful meal while at the same time helping to raise money for St. Judes, but in actuality it was really quite stressful. There is a reason that we DO NOT go out to eat on Monday nights! We were all tired and had the cranky "Monday blues" and I worked my long (well, long for me) day and didn't get home until 4. I had to get the kids into the tub before we went out to dinner because they were filthy and I knew when we got home it would be too late. It was my brother's birthday so we met him, his girlfriend and my parents at our local Chili's around 6:30. For us to get there it takes a 1/2 hour, plus we had to stop and get some cash. It seemed like I was yelling at everyone for the entire hour before we left the house, because NO ONE seemed to be cooperating. The kids DID NOT WANT to have a tub at such an odd time, and then they DID NOT WANT to get dressed again after and Abbey DID NOT WANT to have her hair dried with the hair dryer and Jack DID NOT WANT to have his hair brushed at all! By the time we got to the restaurant I felt ready to collapse. I expected it to be crowded, due to the whole "100% profits to Childhood Cancer" day, but it was depressingly not. It seemed that the word didn't quite get out there, or maybe all the other families just played it smart, succumbed to their Monday blues and did Car Side to Go or something.

In any event, the 8 of us were there, slightly cramped into a booth, enjoying our family togetherness. I have to admit right now, we never really eat at Chili's. It's not close enough, and I think we would all rather go to an Italian place, or a good burger joint instead. Also, my family isn't exactly all that keen on any kind of "spicy" food. In fact, in all of my life I've never really seen my father eat with his hands, so for him to order taco's, quite strange. My parents kept saying how hot and messy everything was. On the upside, they were quite impressed with the $2.99 Margarita's (but I think I heard my brother ask if there was any alcohol in them). They were all good sports though, considering I practically forced them all to eat there. But I was annoyed. For a place only half filled the service was s...l...o...w. Super slow. The kids used up all of their patience waiting for their food to arrive, so that by the time it actually did they were all done and just became antsy, annoying and all-around pains in the asses. In fact, I brought my camera with me, expecting to get a nice family picture to put here on this post, but do you see a picture? No. Because the kids would not sit still long enough for such a thing, and by the time the check came we were wrangling them out of there, and happy to go.

In the end I will admit that the night was not that bad. The chips were salty and delicious, my chicken tacos were tasty and the company (not including my children) was delightful. I would like to give my parents a GIANT thank you for treating us all, and when it comes right down to it, any food that is prepared, served and paid for by someone else is always a damn good thing.

Friday, September 26

The Raincoat

When you have children and you see them day after day, night after everlasting night, you tend not to notice that they are growing. They grow and change each day, but we don't notice it. When they are infants you can't help but notice. They change so fast, even you who know every minute detail of their little bodies can see that they have grown. They getter bigger from week to week, sometimes it seems from hour to hour. If you watch close enough I swear you can even see their fingernails grow! But when they are older it seems to sneak up on you at unexpected moments, like when you pull out their change of season clothes. Abbey has had a bright pink raincoat for 2 years. I got it at Landsend, I love it, she loves it. When I first bought it she was 2, and it was too big for her, but she wore it anyway. I remember that the hood was so big that when she wore it up it would cover her entire face, making her look like someone from Star Wars. Today it is raining (as it is supposed to all weekend) and she pulled on her trustee pink raincoat. But today it was too small. When she put it on her wrists were hanging about 2 inches below the sleeves. I tried to pull the sleeves down, but her little white wrists kept creeping down again. I had one of those nostalgic moments as I placed the coat into my "give to another little girl we know" pile, next to her outgrown ladybug slippers and piles of summer tee's. This afternoon I realized that my children are old now, not old like give me the car keys get out of my face old, but markedly more independent than I feel they just were. For example, today they were playing, just entertaining themselves and I realize that this is wonderful. It is what is supposed to happen. But I was just standing in the kitchen, at a loss. I felt confused, like in a "what was I doing again?" state. It is disorienting when you spend years doing stuff for your children almost every waking hour of your life and then one day you realize with a start that now they do so much more on their own. And you are just left there, standing in the middle of the kitchen.

Tuesday, September 23

Ms. Realistic

You know the section in the parenting magazines where they answer readers questions? I have assembled some answers that I would like to see. Let’s call our expert Ms. Realistic.

Dear Ms. Realistic,
How much TV should I let my child watch?

Typically, children should only watch 1 hour of TV per day, tops. That being said, if it is a snow day, they are sick, you are sick, it is raining, it is a Saturday or Sunday, you have to clean your whole house and/or have a lot of laundry to do, you are on an important phone call, you have work to get done, you would like to talk to your husband, or you just don’t feel like talking to them for a while, it is more than OK to let them watch a 12 hour Jimmy Neutron marathon on Nickelodeon.

Dear Ms. Realistic,
Is it bad to let my child have coffee?

Not at all. A few sips is not going to hurt them. It is especially a good idea to give them some caffeine around 4 pm if they seem like they might slip into a nap, thereby screwing up their entire bedtime routine and keeping them up with you while you try to watch Grey’s Anatomy.

Dear Ms. Realistic,
My “babies” are 6 and almost 4, will I ever lose those last 20 pregnancy pounds?

Let’s face it, the statistical odds of you ever losing those 20 pounds are only about 9%. My advice is to just forget about it. Your kids think you are beautiful and your husband probably thinks you are hot, enough. Just give up, realize that 10 lbs per child is actually an accomplishment, and have yourself some cheese. It was recently discovered to be “the best snack on earth.”

Dear Ms. Realistic,
Is it bad to criticize my husband in front of the children?

No, no, not at all. How else will the children know that you do all the work around the house while their father watches TV? Doing this will teach your children very important life lessons. For a son, it will show them how irritated their wife will someday become if they don’t pull their weight, and for a daughter it will help to show her the kind of man she shouldn't marry.

Dear Ms. Realistic,
Is it OK to lie to my children?

Of course. Children are not supposed to know the truth all the time, or to be fully informed about life and the world around them. Most of the time, lying to them is the only way.

Dear Ms. Realistic,
My child sleeps with their eyes open, is this normal?

Oh my goodness, No! That is freaky. Your child is obviously possessed by some sort of demon. You should probably have them checked out by a priest or someone in a similar religious organization as soon as possible.

Dear Ms. Realistic,
Is is alright to let my children play with toy weapons?

Well, this is a tough question. I believe it depends on many circumstances. For example, if you live in a rural hunting area, your children should probably learn how to handle weapons as soon as possible, and toy ones are the best way to start. I would not recommend letting children have real weapons. . . until they are at least 10.

Dear Ms. Realistic,
My children sometimes like to sleep in bed with me and my husband. Is this bad?

Not at all. If it helps everyone to get rest, let them sleep in your bed. Someday they won’t want to be in your bed. Or at the same table with you. Or in the car with you. You will have to drop them off far from school or the mall, or pretend you don’t know them when they see their friends at a sporting event. Someday you will probably cry and say to people, “it seems like only yesterday they were crawling into my bed and today they flipped me off and slammed the door in my face.” So by all means, let them in your bed. Snuggle them close and smell their little kid smells. One day you will be smelling them to see if they smell like butts or pot, and that won’t be nearly as much fun.

Monday, September 22

Funtastic Weekend


This weekend was an absolute blast. We headed to New Hampshire to go to Storyland with 5 other families, friends I've had since college. 12 adults, 13 kids, one house, one hellava good time. We got to hang out, the kids got to be kids, the Old Lady In The Shoe got to be old. It was wonderful! Giant kudos to our friend Kate who drove EIGHT hours, got a speeding ticket and almost killed her husband just to hang with us. I am too tired to write more, being that I am exhausted from all the fun, fighting off a cold and am still hung-over from Saturday night. Man I'm old, I just can't party like I used to!


Thursday, September 18

Waist-Less

Well, it's official. I now know for sure that my body is strange and weird. I always suspected it. I knew I was shaped like a cucumber, inherited from my mother who is just a slightly shorter, larger cucumber (sorry mom). I popped into Fashion Bug with Abbey to get some new jeans (for me, not her) after gymnastics (for her, not me obviously). I had heard about this supposed great new "Right Fit" technology (like is it really "technology")? There were tons and tons of these pants everywhere, it was of course a little overwhelming. Obviously, since this technology is so "new" and all, they couldn't just use the regular old technology pant sizing system and had to come up with an entirely new one. Instead of being between a 2 and a 14 for example, you are between a 1 and an 11. I checked out the guidelines and decided I would probably be a 9. Before I could start looking an associate scurried over and asked if I needed help finding my "perfect" fit. Sure. Why not. I like help whenever it is offered. She whipped out her measuring tape (gulp) and proceeded to wrap it around my waist. Her brow furrowed in confusion. She motioned for another associate to come over. They commiserated. They looked perplexed.

Associate #1. "Well, it just doesn't make any sense. Her size isn't coming up anywhere on this measure. It is saying she should be in the Plus size, but looking at her that doesn't seem right. Her legs and hips are too small, a plus would be too big. Hmmmm."

Associate #2. "You know, this happened to me one time before, last week. I had a customer who just didn't fit. It was very strange. I didn't know what to do."

At this point a third associate came over to help, they discussed my odd shape disorder and decided I should try both a 10 and an 11, in the yellow (straight) fit and the red (slightly not straight) fit, but most definitely not in the curvy blue fit (due to my complete lack of curviness).

Abbey and I were off to the dressing room with 3 people helping (this was on a Wednesday at 1 pm, not a big shopping time). I tried on jean after jean after jean, while Abbey quickly lost her patience, and her shoes and proceeded to run in and out of the dressing room floating like a butterfly and dancing around in her leotard before the many mirrors. After too many pants to count it was discovered that my perfect size was . . . . wait for it . . . a 9. Hmmmm. By this time though I had lost Abbey completely and had to go to the grocery store before Jack got home from school and didn't actually have any time to choose the color or style I wanted in my new "perfect" size. So I left. Pantless. Umm, but thanks for all your help!

Tuesday, September 16

Did You Know?


Did you know that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month?

Did you know that cancer is the number one illness among children?

Did you know that each year one in every 330 kids will be diagnosed with cancer before age 19?

Did you know that The National Cancer Institute’s (NCI) federal budget was $4.6 billion. Of that, breast cancer received 12%, prostate cancer received 7%, and all 12major groups of pediatric cancers combined received less than 3%?

Did you know that one out of every five children diagnosed with cancer dies?

Did you know that Cancer in childhood occurs regularly, randomly, and spares no ethnic group, socioeconomic class, or geographic region?

I didn't. But I do now. There are tons of things you can do, but one is very simple and also quite tasty. Eat at Chili's. They have made a 10-year, $50 million commitment to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and on September 29th they will be donating 100% of their profits. 100%! I wasn't planning on eating at Chili's on September 29th (which happens to be my brothers birthday) but now I will. So Matt, how about joining me & the kids at Chili's to celebrate your big 3-0 (oops, did I put that here)? I'll probably have the fahita's. Or maybe the Bacon Burger. Or perhaps the Boneless Buffalo Chicken Salad. Ahhh, choices, choices.

Monday, September 15

Mine, All Mine


Hmmm, I wonder who's 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan this is in my driveway? Who on earth is visiting? Oh wait, it's mine. It's my Mini-van. Mine, all mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine.Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Mine. Yay! It's mine!

Friday, September 12

Greatest American Hero

My fabulous friend Suzy's twins started preschool this week, giving her a glorious 5 hours per week absolutely CHILD FREE! She has decided that this new lifestyle deserves a new theme song. I'm sure we have all felt this way at one point or another (and if we haven't, we should)!


Look at what's happened to me, I can't believe it myself.
Suddenly I'm up on top of the world, It should've been somebody else.
Believe it or not, I'm walking on air.
I never thought I could feel so free.
Flying away on a wing and a prayer.
Who could it be? Believe it or not it's just me.
It's like a light of a new day, It came from out of the blue.
Breaking me out of the spell I was in, Making all of my wishes come true.
Believe it or not, I'm walking on air.
I never thought I could feel so free.
Flying away on a wing and a prayer.
Who could it be? Believe it or not it's just me.

So congratulations to Suzy and all of those mom's out there who with the new school year are getting a much needed and much deserved short break. You are my Greatest American Heroes!

Thursday, September 11

9/11

I had another post all ready to go today, but I've preempted it. I had almost forgotten what day it was. Since Abbey had school I didn't even get into work until 9:30, and it was already past 10 when I realized. 7 years. Crazy. Those in our parents generation will never forget where they were the day Kennedy was shot, and for us we'll never forget where we were on 9/11. I was at work (the same place as today, again, not big on change). I was very newly pregnant with Jack, about 5 weeks, and so nauseated that it was all I could do to stop myself from puking into my wastebasket. I was eating saltines, constantly. I was watching the computer, listening to the news, everyone in my office congregating together, unable to do anything else, and the whole time I just kept shoving saltines into my mouth like some sort of crazed cartoon character. Everyone seemed to either know someone there, or know someone who knew someone, but I didn't. I had no relatives in New York, Washington or on the planes. No long lost friends from college or elementary school. Everyone I knew was safe and sound, but there was a new giant terrifying question of "how long?" How long would everyone I know be safe? And being pregnant, all I could think about was what kind of a world I was bringing a baby into. I had these dramatic visions of delivering in the middle of a war-torn suburb. Of Dennis marching off to fight, me alone wearing some sort of drab colored cape and babushka, clutching a newborn baby. Of course, these things did not happen. Things stayed fundamentally as they were, but they also changed in all ways that were important. The world changed, the safety we had felt was gone and it never returned. My children, and many of your children, were not even ALIVE before 9/11. They never knew a time when the Towers stood, will never know a world that doesn't include the word "terrorism" in its vocabulary. They are the post 9/11 generation, and I have no idea what that means for them.

There were a lot of pregnant woman that day, I was just one of thousands. I saw a special not long after I had Jack, all of those babies that were born after their fathers were killed. 9/11 babies they were called. And now they are 7. They are in the first grade. 7 years.

Tuesday, September 9

The Troll In My Closet

I don't know about the rest of you, but something very strange is going on in my closet. Suspicious actually, like in "Real Genius" when that guy lives in the closet, but really has a hidden door in it to get down to his weird lair. But in my case I think some sort of sadistic sewing troll lives in the closet and has spent the summer stealthily taking in all of my winter pants. A quarter of an inch here, a millimeter there. Sneaky, those sewing trolls. If I were you, I'd watch out for them.

Sunday, September 7

These Are The People

A few days ago Abbey was watching Sesame Street, a tried and true favorite for generations, when a song came on that I remembered. It goes something like this:

"These are the people in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood, in your neighborhood oh, these are the people in your neighborhood, the people that you see each day."

I've made up a new one for parents out there. It goes like this:

"Lisa, Judy, Eve and Paula, oh these are the parents of your kids friends, your kids friends, oh your kiiiiiiiiiiiids friends, oh these are the parents of your kids friends, the people that you see when you're walking down the street, oh the people that you see each day."

Except the list goes on, and on. Mr. so and so, the soccer coach and Mrs. what's her name, last years coach. Lori, Audrey, or is it Ann, mothers you've run into dozens of times. Ali, Heidi, Cindy, gymnastics mothers all of them, but you can't remember who's name goes with who. I coached Jack's soccer team last year so that is a whole new bunch of parents names I should remember. Brenda, Emily, Michelle. In a small town, or maybe even any town, you start to run into the same circle of people. You see them at the school, at the park, at the playing fields. You see them at the one gas station in your town, or the library. Sometimes they are with children your kids seem to know and you recognize, other times they are with different children and then you are completely thrown. I didn't have this problem as much before Jack started school, you are more set apart. But once they hit that Elementary School, watch out! You know these people, have chatted with them at functions and events, and you know you have been introduced to them at one point but for the life of you can't fathom their name. And you know how when you have been introduced to someone once, and then proceed to see them like once a week for a year, you can't at that point be like "what's your name again?" Sometimes it is sufficient just to remember their children's names, if you can. "How is so and so liking kindergarten? Who did they get for a teacher?" But the children's names seem to outnumber the adults at least 2 to 1, so this can be more difficult.

It's a tough world out there on the homefront, you need a steel trap memory. Unfortunately for me, I don't, so I just smile with recognition at just about everyone I see, just one of the hundreds of smiling mothers out there, and hope I never have to call anyone by name!

Thursday, September 4

Impatience

This time of year reminds me of the way your body is in early pregnancy. Not yet able to pull off maternity clothes, yet way too thick all of a sudden to wear any of your regular clothes. It is an annoying in-between time, when you just look fat. That is what early September is. It is not yet Fall but Summer is over, at least all the fun of Summer. As everyone can tell, Fall is my favorite season. I love it. The smells, the weather. You can wear long pants and long sleeves again, but you don't need a heavy coat. The leaves turn all beautiful and bright, the air is crisp. At this point I tend to mentally block out all of the leaves that will have to be raked up and the acorns the size of tennis balls that fall from the trees and land with loud clunks on the top of my car and my head. Fall evokes more of a feeling of rebirth and renewal than Spring ever does.

But it is not cool out. I am so tired of looking at the kids in these worn out boring summer things. Practically all of Jack's shorts have stains on them, half of Abbey's short sleeves tops are all of a sudden too small, and the cute summer dresses that looked so adorable on her in June now just look ridiculous. And here at my office, Labor Day marks the end of casual dress. The biggest impact is that I can no longer wear open toed shoes. That means no more sandals, and really no more Capri's because wearing Capri's with closed toe clunky wintry shoes just looks insane. But it is still hot, so I have on short sleeves but my pants are my dressy pants and so I just look all discombobulated. I know, I know, what is wrong with me? There are millions of people out there that have way more serious, dramatic and important stuff to worry about and here I am bitching about office dress.

But now that school is in full swing and soccer and gymnastics have begun, I feel like it is Fall. It should be. But it is not. Fall does not "officially" begin until September 22nd. Today the weather forecast calls for temperatures in the 80's, maybe even pushing 90 in some areas. What the heck? I am getting impatient. I want to clean out our clothes and pull out the warmer stuff. Don't you remember when you were little and you went school shopping, you had all these brand new clothes but it was too damn hot to wear any of them? I can still vividly remember the outfit I wore on my first day of High School. It was of course an outfit appropriate for an outside temperature of about 40 degrees. Black pants, red turtleneck (?????) and then another long sleeved rugby type shirt (red, white & black of course) on top of that. The best part is this, 2 (not 1) but 2 pairs of socks (red and white) and sneakers. I am getting sweaty just thinking about it, and yet for some reason I don't remember being hot that day (I certainly wasn't "hot" in a "damn she's fine" way in that outfit!). Perhaps it was cooler then? Oh shit, they must be right about this Global Warming thing.

So, does anyone else remember what they wore their first day of High School? If you do, leave me a comment. Let's see if we can get really good and immersed in nostalgia.