Monday, September 29


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


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


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


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.

Tuesday, September 2

Top Ten List

I hope that everyone had a safe and happy Labor Day weekend! To commemorate the end of the season, here is my "Top Ten Reasons Why I Am Glad Summer Is Over" list.

10. The sight of my pasty white legs in shorts.

9. Bloody bug bite scabs.

8. Crisp Fall weather approaching, crinkly fall leaves.

7. Dirty, filthy, sand encrusted feet.

6. 10 pm bedtimes.

5. S’mores. And cheeseburgers. And hot dogs. And ice cream.

4. Sunscreen - apply liberally and re-apply every 2 hours or after swimming or excessive sweating. OK. Sure.

3. Return of Apples. Apple pie. Apple picking. Apple cider. Cider donuts . . .

2. Bathing suits.

And the number one reason I am glad summer is over -

1. Three little words. Back. To. School.