Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The fumes almost killed me...

Housework is hazardous to your health. I’ve always seen those cheesy little refrigerator magnets that attest to that, and now I’m a believer. In an attempt to clean my house for our overnight guests (yes, dear, I know YOU didn’t care if the house was clean or not, and that you were here to see US, but it was bugging me!!), I took out my passive aggressive cleaning behavior on my kitchen sink. The kids were in school, the IPod was blaring, and I just knew that the time had come for me to tackle the mess.

Just a note about my sink… it’s original to the house. AND our house is 16 years old. AND the sink is white. AND no one around here has learned to turn on the water and rinse down the red Kool-Aid after they pour it into the sink. That’s a major grunge factor right there. It gets so stained, and nothing short of Clorox Clean-up bleach spray (wanna be my sponsored link, Clorox?!) will get it clean.

So don’t ask me why I attempted to use Formula 409 the other day to deep-clean the sink. Don’t get me wrong… 409 is great for many cleaning chores around the house. Peanut butter and jelly smeared on the counter? 409 it! Grease splattered on the stove? 409 will do the trick. Pee on the floor around the toilet? 409! (Oh c’mon, if you have a little boy, you’re feeling me on this.) 409 doesn’t make big bleach spots on my dish towels, but it is simply NOT going to get my kitchen sink stain-free.

Realizing that the 409 was not doing the trick (duh!), I grabbed the Clorox spray, and yes… sprayed it into the sink, completely coating all the grungy surfaces. I blame the IPod… I wasn’t focused on the task at hand. Damn that sexy John Mayer! Now, I’m no chemist, but even I should know that ammonia and bleach do NOT mix. That’s right. It even says so right on the side of the bottle.

Some pretty noxious fumes ensued before I could get it all rinsed down. In my haze of John Mayer, and my own little ‘chemistry experiment’, I thought to myself, ‘At least if I pass out now, the paramedics will be treated to a nice clean sink, in case they need a drink of water.”

Fortunately I did not pass out, and managed to get my kitchen sink looking respectable. So yes, housework can be a real hazard… those fumes could’ve killed me! What have I learned (other than that I should have paid more attention in chemistry class?) Well, I discovered that I wasn’t being lazy to let the housework slide. Not at all… it’s really just a case of ‘survival of the fittest’.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Solid Gold

What did you want to be when you grew up? Are you living the dream, my friend? Yes, by the way, you’re a grown-up, in case you haven’t noticed (and if you’re not, what are you doing on the computer at this time of day? Get back in school!)

When I was a kid, I can distinctly remember what I wanted to be when I grew up. A teacher? Well, sometimes. A mommy? Of course, but being a mommy and having a career are not mutually exclusive, as most of us mommies can tell you. A blog writer? Haha… didn’t really see that in my future. No… when I grew up, my greatest aspiration was to be a Solid Gold Dancer.

Admit it… you wanted to be one, too! Who didn’t?!! Those great shimmery, body-hugging costumes? The 45 second dance routines? The side ponytails they were rockin’? And if you’re not familiar with the T.V. show, ‘Solid Gold’ (either because you are significantly younger than me, or perhaps you spent your youth in the Amish country), here’s a little info from Wikipedia:

Solid Gold is an American syndicated television series which aired from 1980 to 1988, usually on Saturday in the early evening time slot. During its 7th season (1986 to 1987), it was called Solid Gold '87, Finally, in its 8th season (1987 to 1988) it was retitled Solid Gold in Concert.

The main premise of Solid Gold consisted of the "Solid Gold Dancers" doing elaborate (and sometimes borderline risqué) dances to the top ten hits of the week. Many other specials aired in which the dancers would dance to older pop hits as well.

(Wow! You laugh… you learn…this blog has it all…) I can remember begging to be allowed to watch it. Thank goodness it didn’t come on at the same time as ‘Dallas’. (Yes, those of us who had our formative years in the early 80’s... you know just what I’m talking about!) That amazingly catchy Solid Gold theme song (it’s on Youtube if you don’t remember it… but HOW could you forget?!) “Welcome to Solid Gold… starring Marilyn McCoo…”

By the time the show was in its later years, I had moved on to bigger and better things (namely, cheerleading and crushes on boys), and I was a little more practical when it came to my future career (although my mom still swears I went through a phase of wanting to be a trapeze artist, as well).

So, while I did go on to become a teacher, a mommy, and yes, even a writer, in a very unofficial capacity, I still harbor a dream of being on stage, dressed in a shimmery outfit, dancing in front of an audience. If one of the television networks ever decides to produce a reality show called “Dancing with the Stay at Home Moms”, I have just the gal they can call on.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

BLT battle

It is beginning to appear that I have lost the battle, my friends. Which battle, you might ask? The battle to keep my house clean? Well yes, that one, too. But that’s not the one to which I’m referring. The battle to lose the last of the baby weight? Considering that my ‘baby’ is almost 4, I’m about to throw in the towel on that one, as well… but NO! That’s not the battle either. (Wow, what confidence boosters you all are! Jeez…)

I think I have lost the Halloween battle. I knew it was coming. I knew there would come a point when the kids would no longer ‘buy into’ my Halloween delusions, and would revolt against the ‘themed’ costumes. It was so much easier when they were younger, and they just had to wear what I made for them. Now, they have their own little opinions, dammit, and no amount of coercing is going to convince my children that we should be a BLT sandwich for Halloween.

Yes, you read that correctly. You know… two pieces of ‘bread’, with the bacon, lettuce and tomato. Count it up… it’s 5 things… we’re a family of 5… we could have been legendary in the neighborhood…(thanks, Katey, for the idea.) But nope. My own little bacon and veggies refused to go for it.

YOU try convincing a 4 year old little girl that she doesn’t REALLY want to be a princess for Halloween, and that she’d rather be a tomato. (oh, but the costume is soooo cute!) Even showing her the picture of the costume, and using that ‘high, excited’ voice that we mommies use when we’re trying to convince our child that going to the dentist is going to be “so much fun!” was not enough to sway the little ‘mater.

I knew it was a lost cause when I overhead Libby and Davis discussing costumes.

Davis: “I’m going to be a clone trooper for Halloween!”

Libby: “No, Davis. You can’t.”

Davis: “Yes, I am.”

Libby (sadly): “You have to be ‘Bacon Boy’.”

Davis: “NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!”

So, gone are my images of the 5 of us, ringing doorbells on Halloween night, gathering candy, all the while dressed as a tasty lunch entrée. And I guess, in the end, it works out. Phil and I will also be going to an ‘adults only’ costume party, and going as 2 slices of bread wouldn’t really have made much sense or been very comfortable. (That is, until drink #3… at that point, who cares?!)

I guess its just one more step in this big ol’ game of life. My kids want to choose their own costumes and they don’t want to ‘match’ each other… that’s okay. I’ll just put on my big girl panties and deal with it, and realize that they’re getting older. It was inevitable. And honestly, I can guarantee that I’m the only one in this household that is even remotely bothered by this. I just know Phil’s not all that broken up by the fact that I won’t have some cheesy costume for him to wear this year (that I later turn into our family Christmas card… sorry, honey!) He’s probably breathing a huge sigh of relief.

But I’m not giving up completely. There IS the possibility that we can come to some amicable agreement in terms of the Halloween costumes. But I do know that the cute little BLT sandwich was a battle in which I would not have been victorious. I could have forced the issue, but where’s the fun in that?

Now, a peanut butter, jelly, and banana sandwich, on the other hand…

Friday, September 26, 2008

In the mood for food

I think I must still be hungry. Trying to sit here and write and all that keeps coming to mind is food. I ate breakfast before I walked the kids to school, but food keeps popping up in my head (I feel like Homer Simpson… “Do-nuts…”)

I guess that’s understandable though. So much of a mommy’s life revolves around food. We prepare countless meals and snacks for our kids over the course of a single week. Heard this yet today? “Mommy, I’m huuuuuuuungry!” And this will be the first thing out of the kids’ mouths this afternoon when they get home from school: “Can I have a snack? Can I have another snack?” and at around 5:30: “Eeeewwww… THAT’S what’s for dinner?!”

Seems like I have quite a few conversations with my kids that are strictly about food. What they love (more often what they hate!), whether a food is a ‘Go’ food, a ‘Slow’ food, or a ‘WHOA’ food (thanks to the school P.E. teachers for those little gems).

And nobody likes the same thing in our family. One only wants cooked broccoli, while the other wants raw broccoli, and the third wants to eat the top part, but only if its dipped in ranch dressing. Same story for carrots, except in the reverse order. The girls will eat brussel sprouts without so much as a flinch. Davis, on the other hand, acts like they are mini hand grenades that will explode with a single touch. Josie hates chili. Davis loves chili. Libby just eats the beans out of the chili. Spaghetti? One wants extra sauce. One wants just a tiny bit of sauce. One wants just butter and cheese.

I’ve rarely ever made a dinner that got an across the board ‘thumbs-up’ from my kids. There is almost always one that won’t like some small portion of whatever it is. (“I don’t like sesame seeds on my bun!”)

So, it is up to me as the mother to make sure that everyone has their favorites. For this reason, I don’t mind preparing several different options at each meal, so that I ensure everyone has a balanced diet.

Hahahaha! Okay, I couldn’t get through that with a straight face. Sorry! (giggle) Pleeeeease!! Have you met me?!!!

Our food philosophy in this house? Well, it goes a little something like this: “You get what you get… and you don’t throw a fit.” Phil and I have also been known to say… “You don’t want to eat your dinner? Fine… then you’ll just be extra hungry at breakfast.”

I refuse to be manipulated by these little terrorists to whom I gave birth. I’m more than happy to load the table with ranch dressing, bbq sauce and ketchup so that they can ‘doctor’ their dinner to make it more palatable to their picky little tastes, but I absolutely will not be making special meals for anyone, anytime soon.

Just brush off those sesame seeds, my friend, and finish your dinner.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Out of the mouths of babes

Ever been embarrassed as a parent? Ever wanted to crawl under a rock? Ever wanted to strangle your child in a public place? Can I get a ‘hell, yeah’?! Those adorable little munchkins say some of the damndest things, and right when you’re least expecting it. If you’re a parent, you’re totally feeling me on this.

Just the other day at the park, I was relating a story to my lovely friend, Sarah, about our lovely friend, Veronica, while pushing my lovely child, Libby, in the swing. (Hold on… it’s about to get a lot less lovely…)

V. had sent me a random email that morning and it basically just said… “Suck it. heehee” I laughed and sent her one back that said… you guessed it: “No, YOU suck it!” Now normally, my girlfriends and I are all very mature and would never say anything inappropriate like that (yeah, riiiiight…), but during Hairy Man Festival time, we all get a little punch drunk.

At this point during my story to Sarah, little Miss Libby turns around in the swing, giggles, and shouts, “No, Mommy! YOU suck it!”

Yep. Wow. It’s easy to forget sometimes that she hears every stinkin’ thing I say and repeats them at odd intervals. (Okay, but on that note, she did NOT get the whole ‘I can dance better without my panties’ thing from me. ;-)

And it’s not just Libby. Once in Wal-mart, Phil had put Davis in one of the little ‘truck carts’ (you know the ones that are great for the first 20 minutes, but then you’re wishing to hell that you’d just strapped them into a regular cart because they keep opening the door and getting out?!!) So anyway… a woman moves in front of them with her grocery cart, and my son (3 years old at the time) YELLS at her, “Hey lady! Watch where you’re going!”

To this day, Philip swears that he doesn’t know WHERE he heard that… (cough, cough… just a hint… it’s not Mommy that has the road rage!!)

So, here’s hoping that the older they get, the more they will know what NOT to repeat. Maybe Phil and I will just have to work a little harder to remember that ‘little pitchers have big ears’ (what the hell does that even mean?!) Otherwise we’re in a whole heap of trouble.

YOU suck it!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Yak's milk...

I swear… all 3 of my kids have a snarky little sense of humor. Honest to God, I don’t know where they get it (hey… no comments from the peanut gallery!)

Josie, the oldest, lives in fantasyland sometimes, and ventures out long enough to tell us a story or two from her ‘world’. She’s always loved to write stories, and one of her favorite things to do is to fill her little brother’s head with a load of complete crap. (We call them ‘stories’… he calls them ‘lies’.)

My mother swears that I did the same exact thing to my little brother (Sorry, Chris. Well, for that, and for that time I blew pepper in your face, trying to get you to sneeze like a cartoon character, but instead it went in your eyes? Don’t remember that? Okay, never mind.)

So, Josie is forever telling Davis something just so ‘out there’ as to not be believed, and we’ll hear this… “Moooooooooom… Josie said…*FILL IN THE BLANK HERE*.” Or worse, he totally believes her, and ‘parrots’ it back until we have to tell him that whatever she told him was not true. Yesterday for instance, we were sitting at the kitchen table, having an afterschool snack, and here’s about how the conversation went:

Davis: “Mom, can I have more milk?”

Josie: “Davis, did you know that yaks make pink milk?”

Davis: “Really?!”

Me (laughing): “Davis, don’t believe your sister! Yaks do NOT make pink milk.”

Josie: “Mom… yes, they do.”

Me: “No, they don’t.”

Josie: “Yes, they do. I read it in a book.”

Me (in my ‘warning’ tone): “Josie, I’m going to Google it!”

***Sidenote: This usually works around here. The kids will even say that to us. “I don’t believe you, Dad! Mom, Google it!” Some families use Google as an educational tool… we use it to prove each other as lying little sacks of doody.

Josie: “Go ahead, Mom. I read it in 'The Big Book of Tell Me Why'.”

I proceed to Google it… and HOLY HELL! Did you know that yaks produce pink milk?! (well at least some varieties do) Raise your hand if you knew that?! You, there… put your hand down. You did NOT know that. It has something to do with the high fat content, blah, blah. I didn’t really read that part… I was just so stunned that this little factoid was true. She was actually telling him something that wasn’t a complete load of bunk! My ‘mother’ heart swelled full of love… until I heard this…

Josie: “And Davis, that’s where we get strawberry milk from.”

Davis: “Really?!!”

Oh, brother…

Monday, September 22, 2008

Let the bashing continue...

Wow… my last blog was very cathartic. And several of you told me you’d had similar experiences there, so I feel TOTALLY validated (thank you very much!)

So with that in mind, my ‘outing’ of area businesses shall continue. I have to find a new dry cleaner. Or more precisely, Phil has to find a new dry cleaner. I have so few ‘dry clean only’ clothes (Thank God!), and I’m pretty sure most of my stay-at-home mommy wardrobe (shorts and t-shirts from Old Navy) is wash and wear.

However, because I do stay home, the dry cleaning is typically my ‘domain’… the dropping off…. the picking up. I’ve never had a problem with it, but lately the cleaners has really gone downhill in their um… shall I say… ambience?

The last couple of trips in, I’ve detected an odor that can only be described with the following word… “Funkified”. The clothes don’t stink or anything (at least not that I’ve noticed), but the store lately has just not seemed that clean. I don’t know if they are under new management, if the recession has forced them to stop buying air freshener, or if they have just decided to abandon all pretenses of a well-run establishment. (I mean, seriously, that has to be a lot of pressure. Whaaaat? Mop the floors?!)

But it was my trip in last week that was the last straw. When I went in to pick up Phil’s slacks (I’m always having to pick up Phil’s slack… just kidding, honey!), the clerk ‘greeted’ me (and when I say ‘greeted’, it is in very loose terms. Is grunting actually considered a greeting?!) I didn’t look at him very closely, initially, and just put my ticket on the counter. He picked it up and turned to go to the back to get the order. It was at this point that I got a look at about the top 3 inches of his butt crack. Oh yes. It was positively delightful…all that chubby flesh hanging out of the top of his Fruit of the Looms. It’s a wonder I didn’t decide right then to leave my husband, and run off with Mr. Grunty.

But it was when he returned with the clothes, that I saw the bloody piece of tissue half-stuffed up his left nostril. (Yes, I know… I just threw up in my mouth a little, too.) And it was only the thought of my husband going to work in only his boxer shorts, that kept me from just leaving the clothes there, and running out, screaming.

Now, I know you’re dying to know where this is, either because you want to completely avoid it, or perhaps you’re worried that it is your dry cleaners and that the nose-picking Mr. Grunty is handling your clothing, as well. In the interest of being fair and using a ‘rhyming’ pseudonym for all businesses I decide to bash, all I can tell you is that I won’t be going back to “Ick’s”… way too ick…sick.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

This system sucks...

Okay, so I love to read. Always have… and I’m sure I always will. I minored in English in college, and while I got a bit burned out trying to constantly figure out the symbolism and deeper meanings in Toni Morrison’s works (not bashing Toni here... but I had a college professor that thought she was the second coming), I do love a good book (preferably fiction… I’m into escapism)

I also love to go to the bookstore and wander the aisles. And used bookstores? Loooove them even more. Which brings me to the topic of today’s post, ever so nicely. When I lived in Colorado, there was a great little book exchange that was just a couple of miles from my house. I would take in books, accumulate credits, and then pick out more books. I don’t think I ever spent more than just a few dollars each time because I was always bringing books back in. I loved this dark, dingy little bookstore, and was sad to leave it when we moved back to Texas.

Now, here in my newest stomping grounds, there is a little book store that is just down the road, and I’m not going to tell you what its called, but I will tell you that it rhymes with… um …uh… “Blue’s Nook Sex Change”. Well, silly me… I *thought* that Blue’s Nook Sex Change would have a similar system to my delightful little store in Colorado. My apologies if you know Blue, are related to Blue, or you just love her little Nook Sex Change, but personally I think her system SUCKS.

Here’s about how it works: Take in your books (or your nooks, whatever…), drop off said books for a ‘credit’, and pick out new books. Sounds simple, right? You couldn’t be more wrong. ‘Blue’ has a few caveats: It is a ‘book for book’ exchange… you can only use one credit for each book. And that ‘credit’ just entitles you to the privilege of paying slightly less than if you had no credits at all. No accumulating credits to put toward the purchase of a book. Oh, and let’s not forget the most important part!! You can not use your crappy little credit on any books that have a particular sticker dot on them (I think its orange?). Well, can I just tell you, there are orange dots as far as the eye can see in this damn store. So unless, I want to buy a Harlequin romance novel featuring some chick on the cover with her bodice ripped, draped across Fabio’s naked chest, I’m crap outta luck.

Now, I know what you’re thinking… “Staci, just go to the library if you’re such a freakin’ cheap skate’. Okay, well that’s really not the point. I like to buy books. I want to feel like they’re MINE while I’m reading them, and that if I smear chocolate on the pages while I have them, that’s okay. (Whaaat?! You’ve never had a good cry and a couple dozen Hershey’s Kisses over a great book?! You’re missing out…) Besides, the library keeps wanting me to pay those stupid fines.

So, I guess I’ll keep checking out the selection at Half-Price Books (even though it’s not as close), wandering the aisles at Barnes and Noble, and just consider the books I dropped off at “Blue’s” a donation to her little system. It’s the principle of the thing now, and I’m taking a stand. Just say ‘no’ to the Nook Sex Change!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

"And now, a word from our sponsors..."

So, I have started noticing something very unusual about my blogs on my Myspace account. (Sorry if you’re reading this on Blogspot. Just try to follow along! ;)

After I post each one, a ‘Sponsored Link’ will often pop up next to the blog. I’m sure this is something that you all knew, but I’m a relative newbie at all this. And even more interesting is that it somehow ‘relates’ to the topic of my post. (Hmmmm… thinking…)

For example, when I blogged about ‘back to school’ and the homework the kids were getting, the sponsored link was “Be a Kindergarten Teacher” and a website linking you to an educational site. HOW do they do that? Is it a system that picks up on keywords in the blog and attaches a site to it? Or is there some pasty faced guy who hasn’t been outside his cubicle in this millennium, reading my blogs to decide the exact right website to assign to each individual post? If that is, in fact, the case… Hello! Sorry about the pasty-faced comment! I’m sure you’re a very attractive fellow! (Just covering all my bases.)

Normally, it wouldn’t bother me. When I published the post about reading bedtime stories to Libby, the link was “Publish a Children’s Book.” Absolutely! The world needs more children’s books. I can wholeheartedly support that. Seriously, we just don’t have ENOUGH books in my house that feature furry, precociously adorable animals. (rolling eyes)

However, my “Keep ‘em off the pole” blog generated this link: “Removable Dancing Poles.” Yes, my friends…a link to order your very own stripper pole. Check it out if you don’t believe me. You can order one of these puppies for your own bedroom! Who knew? YOU did? Oh, okay, sorry.

Heck, I forgot to even look to see who sponsored the blog I posted that was all about vomit. A carpet cleaning company, no doubt? (Wow! Aren’t you just dying now to go back and read all these posts about my incredibly glamorous life?!!)

So, in light of this little discovery, it makes me want to get a bit more creative. I’m tempted to have some fun with it and to begin posting things just to see what sites ‘sponsor’ my blogs. Can’t you picture it now? A blog about foot fungus? A post about a raging case of herpes? My obsession with Civil War memorabilia? Cooking with ketchup and lima beans?

So keep on reading, but don’t forget to check out the ‘Sponsored Link’ on the side. NO!! Don’t click on it!!

Dammit… lost another one.

"I love you, and I love you, and I love you..."

Alright, so this blog is just a 'shout-out' to my peeps. (Wow, I don't think I've ever sounded 'whiter' than I did right there.)

You know who you are... and *I* know who you are. My loyal fanbase (all 4 of you!) who not only read my blog, but are sweet enough to give me the awesome feedback through your comments and your emails, and the occasional reminder that I've skipped a couple of days. (Thank you, Jen... I love you, too!)

For my friends that read it to their hubbies, and my hubby who forces his co-workers to read it. For my pals that read it on my Blogspot, and those who check it out on my Myspace (nope- same blog... seriously... I have limited time in my day! Cut and paste is a good thing.)

Ya'll rock! Thanks for helping me find my voice... (sniff, sniff...)


Monday, September 15, 2008

Keep 'em off the pole...

Okay, so we know this friend of a friend (isn't that the way every good story starts?!), and I'd like to take a minute to share his parenting philosophy on raising daughters:

He says that as the parents of daughters, our job is to basically 'keep them off the pole'. That's right, my friends. This is actually his 'take' on parenting. That everything we do as parents either pushes them 'closer to the pole' or 'back from the pole'.

The 'pole' to which we're referring (if you're over 60 or live under a rock) would be a 'what'? Yes, a STRIPPER POLE.... ding! ding! ding! You guessed it.

Now, it starts with the name you give your child. Now, I'm not going to start a list of names here, at the risk of offending someone. But between these two names (completely hypothetical! jeez... don't go commenting on my blog) : 1. Anna Elizabeth OR 2. Crystaleene Rychelle... which of these moves your child closer to the pole?!! I think we can all figure out that little brain bender.

Every academic achievement or personal accomplishment? Why, that's 'one step away from the pole'. Pretty simple system, right?

Now, I gave both of my daughters very classic, beautiful names, so I felt like I was a good step ahead on this 'pole business'. That is, until this evening.

My own little Elizabeth loves to listen to music. And she loves to watch music videos on YouTube. She has her favorites, and she always requests them... "I wanna hear Gink in the Pink!" (Geek in the Pink by Jason Mraz)

She is so cute, standing in front of the computer, dancing, singing along, we can't help but laugh at her. (plus she's the third child, so she gets extra points for 'adorableness'!) So, tonight, having finished dinner, Phil and I were cleaning up the kitchen, and she wanted some music to listen to. We'd eaten spaghetti, and knowing what a mess she usually makes, we'd taken off her shirt before unleashing her on her plate of pasta with sauce.

So after dinner, she moves a little stool to the computer so she can see better. And then... I swear to God... she says "I can dance better like this!" and totally drops her knickers. At this point, we have a completely naked 3 and a half year old, standing on her own personal little "stage', dancing.

I'm a little worried that might be one giant step closer to the pole. ;-)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Kickin' it into high gear...

I am noticing a pattern. A pattern to this school year thing. Now, you would think that I'd be pretty clued in, since I used to be a teacher, but I guess I've forgotten, having been out of the workforce for 8 years.

The first couple of weeks of school... a cake walk. There are no spelling words... there are no projects... there are no practices...
I guess this has been the adjustment period. 3 weeks is it.

Well.... no more! Now, keep in mind, I have a 1st grader and a 2nd grader... I KNOW that the older they get, the sooner they will get homework and projects, etc. But I wasn't prepared for this week. Time to get down to business.

Time for Brownies and Cub Scouts and piano lessons and baseball and dance and spelling homework and a timeline project and reading logs and field trips and 1st grade reading night..... yep... that's pretty much what the calendar looks like for the next week and a half. Not to mention Hairy Man Meetings (I'll explain later) and teaching classes and packing lunches and organizing playdates. (and doing laundry and cooking dinner and blah, blah, blah... no need to explain any of this to any of you mommies out there!)

Makes me miss summer just a little bit...

Friday, September 12, 2008

A bedtime story

Okay, so this is definitely officially a "mommy blog". When you're blogging about the book, "Good Night Moon", you lose quite the reader score, but since this blog is about my life, I will proceed.

Libby loves to read "Good Night Moon" (yes, I know its a book , so should technically be underlined and not in quotes, but I'm too lazy to figure out that feature! okay?!) When I say, she loves to read it, it means I've read it to her so many times that she now likes to 'read it' to me.

And oddly enough, it lasts waaaaaaaaaaaaay longer when she reads it. We must say goodnight to the mush a half dozen times. (My apologies if you've never had the privilege of reading this classic... eye roll...)

We spend quite a bit of time spotting that damn mouse as he cavorts all over the great green room, and commenting on how the mouse must live in the little house, how the little bunny wears those socks... (and those mittens! Well, at least he never catches a chill.) And of course we can't forget to say goodnight to "nobody".

And one thing I've never quite understood: in the last line, when the book says "Goodnight noises everywhere" does that mean we're saying goodnight to the noises... or that there ARE goodnight noises everywhere? Around here, it makes much more sense that there are the sounds of goodnight throughout the house. Which usually consist of "Get back in bed!!" and "But I just needed ONE more drink of water!!!"

So, God bless that kid's sweet little britches. We have read this book to the point that its practically falling apart. And just as I'm about to doze off myself, she'll slam the book shut with finality (hmm... guess that could contribute to its dilapidated condition!) and tells me "Goodnight, Mommy".

At which point, I pack up my red balloon... and tell her "Goodnight, Libby."

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

"With love..."

Yesterday on a routine trip to the mall, I had a flashback to the 80's. Not of the 'big hair' or parachute pants variety... nope... it was a 'Things Remembered' store.

Okay, so it wasn't 'technically' a 'Things Remembered'. It was a Fast Fix watch repair place that just so happens to do the machine engraving on all those cheap metal gifts. But within their humble little leased mall space, they had quite the assortment of things you could get engraved with your name or your monogram. And if you can't remember what your monogram looks like, they even have a special guide to help you remember that its the LAST initial that goes in the middle! (so helpful)

Now, I can clearly remember in high school, giving and receiving many an engraved 'item'. (heck maybe even in college... which would fast forward us to the early 90's...) But I'm not even sure that the 'Things Remembered' stores exist anymore. Does anyone get anything engraved anymore, besides jewelry? When was the last time you got a frame engraved with 'Friends Forever'? Or a ball point pen etched with the sentiment, "Congratulations"?

As I stood in line yesterday to pick up Phil's watch, I stood in awe at the plethora of 'cheese' that surrounded me (and a few cheese trays, too, I think!) There were the standard frames and pens, of course, but there were also a few other items that got me to thinking about possible gifts.

What about that flask? Engraved with "Good Luck at your AA meetings."

Or the mirrored compact? "At least you're pretty..."

There was even a 'mouse' (you know, for the keyboard), and a desk calculator. Both of which were coated in a silver substance that was so shiny it seared your retinas. But I guess that computer mouse would be a perfect little gift for that special guy in your life... you know, the one you met in the internet chat room? Have it engraved... "Thinking of you..."

Now that I think of it, the desk calculator might actually be a pretty handy gift. I'm considering getting one for Phil to use when he does the bills. I'll have it engraved to remind him how very much he loves me. Which should always be foremost in his mind just before he opens my credit card statement.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Suburban moms with 'Tats'....

If you think this is a blog about suburban moms and their 'tatas'... you misread. Please redirect your browser.

Nope, I'm talking about those suburban, stay at home, cookie baking, mini-van driving mamas... with a tattoo. You see it all the time these days. Heck, I can't go to the park with my kids without seeing at least 2 or 3 other moms, bending over with their 'tramp stamps' showing, or seeing the flash of a butterfly on an ankle.

And, in case you missed it (or you don't know me...), (or you haven't seen me in the last 13 years...), I am one of those very women. That's right, my friends.... my inner left ankle is 'inked'.

My personal tattoo story is not very interesting or provocative, but surprisingly enough, it DID involve alcohol of the 'tequila' variety. (huge shock, I know!) It was a 'what a great way to finish out this hellish year of middle school' (okay, now, I wasn't IN middle school, mind you! Geez...) And after having a few margaritas with some of my teacher pals, we decided we should all go get tattoos!

So, we trooped on over to Atomic Tattoo... where I picked out a giant skull with a snake coming out of one of the eyesockets. Fortunately my friends were NOT as drunk as I was, and talked me out of it. ;-)

I settled on the cutest little ladybug... had them shrink it as small as they could without completely losing detail (hey! is that a melanoma on your ankle?!!), and the tattoo artist proceeded to make me wish I'd chosen a bubble bath, or a shopping trip or even a root canal to celebrate the end of the school year! Yes... it hurt. The vibration on that ankle bone... damn! Sets my teeth on edge just to think of it, 13 years later. (I am a weinie, so please don't comment about how you got your entire back tattooed with the Gettysburg Address, and you didn't flinch once.)

Oh, and here's the rub... do you think anyone else actually GOT a tattoo that day?!! Of course not! Okay, in their defense, it can't be very encouraging to watch someone sweating bullets and crying over a tattoo that is no bigger than a dime.

So, seeing all those moms at the park, sporting their tattoos, made me wonder what their stories are? I can almost guarantee that none of us pictured ourselves, years later, pushing our little ones on the swings, swapping mommy 'tales'. We all thought we'd stay young, cool and hip forever (okay, at least, I did!)

Do I regret my little tiny tattoo? I'd like to say 'never', but it actually depends... on the day, the place, the time, the oufit. Most days I don't even think about it. It's just a part of me now. And its a part of my past... inked into my memory.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

How to build a better blog...

Okay, so in an effort to improve my blog, I've taken the liberty of checking out some of the 'Blogs of Note' featured here on Blogspot. It seems like there might be some kind of formula to all this blogging, and here I was, just flying off half-cocked.

First and foremost, a lot of people are blogging about celebrity news or gossip. Now, that's not really my area of expertise, but seeing as how that seems to be what draws in the readers, I *do* actually have a little tidbit of celebrity gossip that I picked up and am now ready to share with the world. Now, it seems that those cute little girls that played the baby, 'Michelle' on the sitcom "Full House", are grown up now and have all kinds of personal issues. Wow, who knew?! Aren't you glad you found this blog?!

Other blogs seem to focus on travels around the world. And they are 'oh so interesting' to read . I'm sorry, but I can barely focus on that 'national monument' when its right in front of me... pardon me if I can't drum up much interest in reading about how someone else visited there and bought enough postcards for their entire 2nd grade class. Considering most of my travels these days involve a trip to H.E.B. for ibuprofen and red wine, its possible that I'm just having a hard time relating.

Lastly, many of the blogs that get a lot of readers offer relationship advice. Aha! This is one I can do! Here's my relationship advice:

Never, EVER post a blog that implies that your husband was not a world-class diaper changer when the children were younger. Trust me... this blog might just save you a trip to H.E.B. for that box of red wine.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Consider yourself warned...

**Warning*** Today's post is filled with language of a graphic nature, and might cause spontaneous barfing. Reader discretion is advised. ***Warning***

Of the many things that I have gained as a result of being a mother... you know, wisdom, patience (ha!), some extra pounds, etc...... there is one thing that I simply can't *do* as a mother. I just CANNOT deal with barf. Puke. Upchuck. Vomit.

Whichever charming term its given, the fact remains that I am completely incapacitated by it. It's my kryptonite (yes, that and box tops, Sarah!!) And it never fails that it occurs in the middle of the night, right when I'm having a really great dream about Javier the pool boy (refer to Frog Butts blog). And last night was no exception...

A child will materialize next to our bed, with words to strike terror in your heart... "I threw up..." You sit up, ready to administer love and comfort, and while simultaneously placing your hand on their forehead to check for fever, you whisper the question, so hopefully... "Where, sweetie? In the toilet?"

But nope... of course the answer is always..... "In my bed." So begins the post-puke ritual of stripping the sheets, scraping the chunks (I warned you!), and bathing the child. Of course, there is the teeth brushing that follows, the sleeping bag placed on top of the bed (um, you didn't seriously think I'm taking the time to put new sheets on at 2:30 a.m., did you?!), and the cleaning of the carpet. (Oh yes... its never contained to just the bed! duh!)

And, if I was a good wife, I would just soldier on, and do this without waking my husband. But I just can't. I can't do it. I have tried, and it always turns out badly. Of course, I can usually make it to the toilet!

Now in my defense, I was the diaper queen... give me a disgusting diaper, and it doesn't faze me one whit. Poop running down a leg? Mommy's got it covered.... don't you worry. Phil would blanch at the sight of raisins in the diaper... but for this mom, it was all in a day's work.

So, in our personal puke patrol, we have a pretty good division of labor. Its a two man job, but we make it work. Phil deals with the sheets, carpet, etc. and I take care of the child. Giving baths, giving hugs, tucking back in, (and of course, you can't forget the all important trash can next to the bed!! Have we learned nothing?)

And honestly, I guess that's the way it should be. Because as we all know, when you don't feel good, all you want is your Mommy, anyway. Even if she's holding her breath. ;-)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

House jargon...

I honestly do not understand repairmen. Nope, its not that I'm infuriated by prices or the fact that they track mud into my entryway. I just really cannot UNDERSTAND them. Its not a 'language barrier' thing... they can speak perfectly lovely English, and I still just stand there and go, "Uh, huh.... uh, huh... oh, okay..."

"Well, ma'am, today we added a flux capacitor to your air conditioning unit, so that the epg's are 50 to one. Which is standard in the industry."

Um... okay... that sounds just super. (?!!)

Usually I just let my husband deal with all that, and hope that the repairmen detail on the bill exactly what they completed. And when they sometimes don't do exactly the thing that Phil talked to them on the phone about... well, oops! Then I hear this, "Honey, why didn't you remind them that they were supposed to install a tabulator to the external component?! Remember we talked about how that was going to affect the energy output of the unit?"

"Um... uh huh... oh, okay..."

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Frog butts

If wishes were wings, a frog wouldn't bump his ass a'hoppin...

Yep... definitely one of my favorite sayings. I've heard it said in a variety of different ways.. but this is my personal favorite. And if you have kids, you know all about their 'wishes'. You hear it alot... "I just wish..." (fill in the blank:)

1. we had a dog
2. I didn't have a brother
3. we could go to Disneyworld tomorrow
4. that Mommy would get off the stupid computer, so I could play with my Webkinz

So, I have been known to say that to my kids (substitute 'butt' for 'ass' in this particular scenario... I mean, seriously, what kind of mother do you think I am?!!) And if you say it really fast, they look at you funny and decide that its best to not bug Mommy while she's speaking in tongues.

But, I admit, I can sympathize with my children. I, too, have unfulfilled wishes. (of course, they have nothing to do with getting a four-legged friend to add to the family, much to my children's disappointment)

1. I wish I could completely renovate and update my kitchen. Granite countertops, anyone?!!
2. I wish that I had a cute pool boy named Javier. Heck, I'd even settle just for a pool.
3. I wish those kids would quit nagging me about those damn Webkinz when I'm trying to blog. "But I haven't even fed him for 4 days!" (Yeah, and see why we're not getting a real dog?!)

Just like everyone, I have some wishes. But for the most part, things around here are pretty good... life is pretty darn good. It's easy to get bogged down in the 'stuff' that we all want, and sometimes we all need a reminder that too much 'wishing' can make us all sore-ass little frogs.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Eight years ago...

I admit it... I have a terrible memory for events in my past. Recently I have reconnected with a couple of friends from high school, and they'll tell me stories... "Don't you remember?!!" Um, no?!

However, I *do* have a couple of days that stand out with clarity in my mind. Just a few, mind you... and today happens to be one of those days. And with very good reason.

Exactly eight years ago today, I became a mother. Exactly eight years ago today, my life was altered beyond anything I ever could have imagined. Exactly eight years ago today, I came to understand what it means to love another person more than yourself.

I can remember almost everything about that day in 2000. Every mother has that labor and delivery story that she knows by heart and could recite in her sleep (heck, I have three such stories!) But I won't bore you with the details about my water breaking, or the epidural that wasn't working (God, help me!)

I remember everything in stark detail, and I remember EXACTLY what I said the moment I first laid eyes on my beautiful daughter. I said...

"Oh my God! It's a baby!" Seriously... um, hello?!!! Not sure what the heck I *thought* I was doing in that hospital?! So, yes... it was in fact, a baby, and in that instant, I would have given my life for that baby I'd only just caught a glimpse of.

The few days after she was born are a bit more of a blur, but I do remember holding my beautiful little girl, crying, and asking my husband, "What did I ever do good in my life that I deserve her?"

And so began this rollercoaster thrill ride of motherhood, with all its exhilarating, exhausting, (sometimes nausea inducing) loops, twists and twirls. The frustrations, the joys, the sticky hugs, and with still so much to look forward to.

So yes, I am a mother. Starting 8 years ago today. A moment in time that helps define who I am. Three beautiful kids and all the craziness that goes with them... And still I ask, "What did I ever do good in my life that I deserve this?"

Monday, September 1, 2008

My kid, the comedian...

Sometimes my son (6 years old) just kills me... His comedic timing is outta this world.

Today we celebrated Josie's birthday. 8 years old... wow! She had already had her big party with 14 of her closest friends , and we just decided for her 'family party', we would go out to the eat and to the movies. (works out pretty well when your birthday is so close to Labor Day!)

She chose to go to Chuy's for lunch (she's definitely my kid!), where they sang to her and presented her with an ice cream sundae after we'd eaten. We also gave her the gifts we'd gotten for her. She had opened the rest of her gifts at her party last week, but we wanted to save the 'special' one for her actual birthday. So, she opened her new American Girl doll (Kit Kittredge), and was thrilled! She immediately took her out of the box and started reading her book before Phil had even paid the bill for lunch.

On the way to movie, I was explaining to her that there are not very many American Girl stores around, and that we didn't have one anywhere near us (yes, I know, in Dallas... but that might as well be on another planet!) And that Daddy had made a special trip to the American Girl Place in Chicago (the original!) on his recent business trip to Chicago. He bought Kit, and brought her back on the plane with him, and how it was so special that he'd done that for her... blah, blah, blah.

You get the picture... I'm wanting her to really appreciate that this doll is not just something you can pick up at Target. Phil even told her, jokingly, "I was probably the only man on the whole plane with an American Girl doll."

And from the back of the mini-van, I hear a little voice pipe up... the voice of my son... "Daddy, were there a lot of people laughing at you?"

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