Saturday, December 20, 2008


Yesterday Ben and I had to stop by Target for something (after Costco, Target is our 3rd home) and there were no parking spots available up close so we had to park near the back and walk. I decided to carry him because of the long journey, and as we were walking it started to sprinkle random drops.

Ben was holding his hand out palm side up, and staring up at the sky (while he was sitting like that his weight was torture on my back). Then Ben made a couple of comments about the rain, and then I began telling him about what we needed to buy in the store, all the while I'm thinking that he's listening to me... as he continues to gaze upward. So in the middle of my comment about 409 versus Fantastik! cleaner, out of his mouth comes:

"I wonder if it's coming from the clouds? I think the rain drops are from the clouds in the sky."

Just like that. Perfect English, perfect words, perfect revelation. And as his little face was getting gently pelted with water, he just kept staring up at the sky. I was speechless. I stopped walking, looked up at the clouds, and then down at him. And with special regard to not ruin the moment I hastily blurted out:

"YES! Yes you brilliant child! The rain does fall from the clouds! You are so observant! What a little genius! I'm so proud of you!" and so on and so on I ranted. Consider the moment officially ruined.

Then he looked at me like I was an idiot, and possibly...yes, I believe there was even some embarrassment in his expression. We reached the Target walkway and even though the moment was over, I smugly smiled and as I walked by perfect strangers and I held up Ben a little higher. I nodded down at other snot-smeared children's faces and thought of all the wondrous days ahead in my Ben's life. I wonder if he'll keep in touch at Harvard?

Friday, December 19, 2008


Lately my almost-3-year-old has been showing some interest in using the potty. The past few months he'd tinkle on the toilet before taking a bath, or during bedtime in an attempt at stalling he'd suddenly need to use the restroom. Then a couple of weeks ago he started telling me before he wet his diaper, and so we started the dreaded... potty training adventure.

At first he hated underwear. Couldn't stand the things. Apparently he much preferred the heavy, pee-soaked paper feeling of a diaper over soft cotton. So we brought out some pull-ups and they were an instant hit. The first week he did very well on the potty! He went all the time with very few incidents. Then one day I tried a pair of brother's underwear on him and before I had reached the garbage to toss the previous pull-up, he had soaked through his pants--right on to my couch. Back to pull ups.

This week has gone much better. That's an understatement: it's been fantastic! Not only is he wearing underwear (which he picked out at the store himself) but he's been keeping them dry... and poop free! I still put a pull-up on at bedtime and during nap, but he's been waking up dry too! EVERY TIME! It's been 4 days now and no accidents at all, including during nap and overnight. I'm flabbergasted!

When we brought home the underwear the other day he immediately pulled some on and ran into my room to look in the mirror. Not wanting to miss a moment I grabbed my camera and followed. This is how he "checked them out" in my mirror:
So then I said, "Show them to Mommy!" so he swiveled his rear-end toward me.
Here he is looking a bit more proper, and dare I say it, more grown up.
I'm so proud of him for doing well and I hope it continues without too much drama. It's cost me his college tuition in M&M's as bribery, and he HAS to go in every public restroom we come to, but on a positive note maybe I'll finally be able to save for my retirement since I'll no longer be investing in diapers!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Indoor Soccer

Jake started Indoor Soccer this weekend and it was awesome! I was not familiar with this type of game before yesterday, so it was nothing like I imagined it to be. Picture an indoor hockey rink, if you will, with rounded wall corners, and goals blended into the walls. Unlike outdoor soccer, Indoor Soccer has a referee who actually blows the whistle and calls the fouls! Coaches aren't allowed on the field, which means the kids are left to fend for themselves!

That being said... Talk about your competition! Keep in mind the age range is 5-6 year olds... There were kids elbowing other kids, pushing others against the walls, tripping, slamming down... then there was my son who was dancing around on the defense line. Other parents were calling from sidelines things like, "Keep running! Follow the ball!" or "Watch the pushing!" or "Good block! Way to stop the ball!" Then there was me, yelling, "Stop twirling!" more than one occasion. *eye roll*

On the sidelines, us parents were practically voiceless after the game ended. We were cheering, yelling, encouraging and laughing our way through all 44 minutes. I turned to the person sitting next to me (who happens to be the Senior Pastor at my church--his grandson is on Jake's team) and said, "I don't think my heart can take this much longer! All the excitement is going to put me in an early grave!" Then he laughed and told me I better buck up because I have two boys, and this is only the beginning!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ice Cream Catastrophe

In an attempt to start a new tradition once or twice a month called "Family Day", Hubby and I took our boys to Fenton's Ice Creamery restaurant. They serve large, gourmet-style, bowls of ice cream and other treats and desserts.

We were sat in a booth, Hubby and I on the aisle with one boy each tucked next to the wall. When the waitress came over I ordered two children's ice cream sundaes, and two adult root beer floats. Then, as an afterthought, asked her if she could please bring 4 glasses of water. Is it just me or does ice cream make everyone thirsty? Hubby assured me later that it was just me...

The water glasses arrived promptly, and shortly after our waitress brought some straws and four silverware settings wrapped inside paper napkins, and set them on the outer edge of the table. My youngest son instantly reached for his straw, followed by my 5 year-old... who bumped his water glass over in the process. Floods of water and ice cascaded over the table, eventually ending up in my seat and soaking the side of my leg.

I hurriedly whipped my Dooney bag up off the seat and scrunched my body closer to my son. "Move Mama!" he exclaimed. The napkins around the silverware bundles were soaked, my seat was soaked, and every time I moved away from the watery mess it seemed to follow me down the bench. A female employee with two small towels came over to assist us, but the look on her face clearly read, "All this from one small cup of water?" I silently nodded my head. Exactly my thoughts, lady.

It took her almost 5 minutes to clean the drippy mess up, and then we settled back into our seats. New, dry, silverware and straws were brought to our table and we continued to wait for our ice cream. Hubby lectured our son about his clumsiness around the table. I had no sooner said, "It was just an accident, dear... accidents happen to everyone", when Hubby bumped his own water glass over and I received my second bath of the day.

Up in the air went my Dooney, and down the bench I scurried, cuddling next to my child for the second time in 6 minutes. Hubby was beyond bewildered, I was beyond hysterical, and the table and napkins and silverware were soaked--again--with water. "Why do we even need water!" Hubby was yelling, scooping up the cups into his arms. "We're done with them! All of the cups are gone! This is ridiculous!" He was unsuccessfully trying to hold back his laughter. I on the other hand couldn't help myself and was crying mascara tears down my cheeks.

Hubby excused himself to get some help and when he approached the same woman again, she looked more shocked than I think was appropriate for the situation and then looked over at us like, "You can't possibly be that inept!" Once again I nodded another apologetic bob while I tried to put some of the ice into a pile.

When that mess was cleaned up and our third helping of silverware was brought over, our ice cream was finally ready. What a way to pass the time by! Our waitress brought the boys sundaes followed quickly with our floats. The size of our floats would have made the Statue of Liberty jealous. I looked with large eyes across the table at Hubby, who very sternly said, "Hold the side of your glass with one hand! We are NOT spilling these!"

I lifted up my Dooney and tried to pass it over the table so it could carefully rest on the dry bench. In doing so, I dipped the bottom corner of it into my son's whipped cream atop his sundae. "Mom!" he yelled. "Babe! Watch it!" Hubby grimaced. I began laughing again. Certainly we were not cut out for restaurants.

I made the comment about how I needed to blog this and got a glare in response from Hubby.

Luckily we made it through the remainder of our meal (leaving behind a very gracious tip), without another incident... until we reached our car and Hubby noticed he had chocolate syrup on his sleeve.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Grey's Anatomy

If you love Grey's Anatomy like I do then you've followed it through all 5 seasons, and have your tivo set to religiously record it every Thursday night.

I enjoy the show for the most part. There's been some off-the-wall scenarios (Denny's stolen heart), and some really bad story lines (like the Izzy-George-Calleigh love triangle... puh-leaze), and some great characters in general (oh how I miss Addison).

What I can't stand is when a good show turns bad. I hate when the characters go stale, or when their story is so repetitive you can guess what's going to happen before it happens. And I hate when the writers just can't let things go.

The Alex and "Ava"/Rebecca story was neat. It followed a true relationship built from the beginning and made this really great history, and then voila, she appears last season all looney and mentally unstable. A good thing ruined...

The Derek/Meredith storylines have been all over the map and I swear, if the writers break them up again I'm boycotting the show all-together.

Then there's Izzy and Denny. Poor helpless Denny. He and Izzy were fantastic together, then she went and got him killed, and the poor guy's life ended before we really got to know him. We were all sad and upset with the writers, but it made for great t.v. and we eventually moved on. Then low-and-behold I watched last week's episode and who should appear but our beloved Denny! And I thought to myself, "Oh how nice! They gave him a little cameo!" But then again on last night's episode our deceased friend reappeared talking and touching and kissing Izzy! I blinked a few times to make sure I wasn't going insane along with the blond girl on the screen, but yep, there they were!

So I'm completely irritated and oddly intrigued by this. What's the storyline going to be? Is Izzy completely insane? Does she have some brain tumor or neurological disorder that's preventing her from seeing things clearly? Has she completely lost her grasp on reality? I'm curious as to what others think about this peculiar tale...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Dresser Demolition

I was unhappily enjoying my afternoon, disgruntled and irritated that a sewing project I had been working on was turning out poorly (it would have looked better if I had put my five-year-old in charge), when from the deepest dungeons of my house came a very loud thud, followed by a crying child. I muttered something inappropriate under my breath and heaved myself up from my chair.

I was sauntering toward the bedroom where all the noise had originated from, when Jake (the five-year-old) said in a calm, although slightly panicked voice, "Mom? You better come faster..." I picked up my heels and ran! When I rounded the corner to Jake's room this is what I saw:
The entire dresser had fallen face-first down to the carpet, spilling its entire contents out from underneath, and throwing its lamp and darth vader room monitor forward. Ben, my two-year-old, was laying underneath the lamp cord, about 10 inches from the top of the dresser--and he was crying!
"Oh My Gosh!!! What happened?!?! Are you okay? Did it hit you? Where are you hurt? WHAT HAPPENED IN HERE?!?!" You can imagine the images rapidly shuffling through my mind at that moment. Jake, who had been standing on his bed, answered, "All I did was open my sock drawer and the whole thing fell over!" After noticing that my horrified expression had not even slightly diminished from my face he quickly continued, "It didn't hit him Mom, it didn't hit Ben. Just the lamp. The lamp hit Ben!" I looked at Ben who was nodding along angerly and realized he had stopped crying.
I believed Jake for several reasons: 1) I'm constantly finding him standing on his bed, reaching into the top of his sock drawer for clean under garments; 2) His eyes were as large as dinner plates, and he looked about as white as a ghost from the neck up; and 3) Ben was vividly explaining that Jake opened the drawer and then the dresser "chased him down".
I walked around the dresser carefully examining it, and found the sneaky culprit in the back: a leg of this oh-so-cheaply-made-out-of-fake-wood dresser had snapped completely off. I was happy that no one was hurt, but annoyed that this had happened. If there's not one thing to buy for these boys, there's another! I just got them all settled with enough clothes and jackets and shoes for the winter, and now I need to buy a new dresser. Good grief!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tree Art

Part of Jake's homework last week was to take a walk and collect a leaf to bring to class. Of course this turned into an art project at the pleas of both my children. So off we trotted down our street, happily enjoying the day and looking for leaves.

Jake, my finicky child, was very careful about which leaf would be "the one". He didn't want one that was bent, or too small, or an oddball color. He was searching for his version of perfection.

After we'd been walking for ten minutes we had only passed by two houses. Jake had already been searching and hunting and had turned over, stepped on, passed by without a second glance, dozens of perfectly fine leaves. I wanted to yell "It's a leaf! Who gives a flying can of tuna!"... but I resigned to say: "Every leaf is a little bit different honey... just pick one that's halfway decent and you'll be good." *mentally rolled eyes*

Finally after another excruciating ten minutes of leaf searching he finally found exactly what he was looking for. The Heavens shined down on it, as it glowed from the gutter. It was a simple leaf, yellow in color, soft in texture, and had no marks or torn edges of any kind. Just as he held it up to show me, a gust of wind blew whisking the leaf out of his gentle fingers, and sending it into the street. My breath caught in my throat when it was almost swallowed up by the passing-by of an SUV.

"Quick! Into the bag!" I shouted. I was not about to endure another half an hour of this. Once it was safely and securely in the bag we continued our walk (with me secretly veering the children toward home).

While Jake had been concentrating on finding the Beauty Queen of all leaves, Ben had filled his baggie with darn near 80 leaves. Some were bent, some were torn, some were dirty, some were infested with bugs... and he was happy as could be about it. So then Jake whined that he only had one and apparently life wasn't very fair to him, and his baggie should be equally filled. He filled his bag quickly--at my insistence--and then off we trekked for home.

We made "trees" out of brown construction paper (which the kids crumpled up to resemble the "trunk"), and then they glued their leaves on the top. They loved this project and were so impressed with it! As soon as they were dry, up on the fridge they went!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


We've reached that dreadful stage where every other word out of Ben's mouth is "Why?" He'll be 3 in January and he's smart, and capable, and totally curious about the world around him. I can't say that I blame him; there's a lot of interesting things to look at and experience... but if he asks me "Why?" one more time I think I might blow my top!

When Jake was that age he didn't ask too many "Why?" questions. He did a little, but we'd answer him pretty thoroughly and he would contently withdraw any further questions. Ben... not so much.

We saw a fire truck come sailing down the road tonight, lights flashing, siren wailing, horn honking, and I made the mistake of saying, "Look Ben! A fire truck!" That led him to ask where it was going. A fair question, so I promptly answered that it was probably going to help someone who was injured. This led to "Why Mom?"
"Because that's what firemen do."
"They help those who are hurt. They go to their house."
"Why? Why Mom?"
"Because that's their job."
"Why? ...Why? ...Why Mom? ...Mom? ...MOM!"
"Why, Mom? For 'da fire? On da house?"
"Yes. Look! McDonald's!"

This is a sad, but typical situation that happens pretty regularily. He asks why objects are certain colors, why the dogs have hair, why I brush my teeth, why the food stays at the table, why, why, and more why! Sometimes I answer, "Because I said so!" or "Just because!" But he has no clue what "because" means, so it's in one ear and out the other. I'm hoping it's a phase that will end soon!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Lab, Part 2

You'll want to read "Lab, Part 1" first to catch up...

Hubby was carrying Ben and we gingerly stepped into the vampire's lair--oh, sorry, Kaiser's laboratory. A lovely woman at the end of the table asked if the blood work was for the "baby". We responded "yes" and she asked us to come sit down in front of her.

I was completely dreading this. I thought, "Ben's going to take one look at that needle, freak out, I'll cry the big ugly cry... this will not go well for either of us." But instead I said, "he's never done this before, just so you know!" I kind of giggled a nervous laugh to show that I was a breezy, go-with-the-flow kind of Mom, but I didn't think I was fooling anyone.

This Lab tech bubbled over-the-top with kindness and friendliness. She talked to Ben a long time, explaining how things worked and what she was doing as she was doing them. She used real words like, "blood" and "tourniquet" and "needle", but she said them all with this soothing, gentle tone and Ben was completely mesmerized. Then she said, "Okay, I'm going to poke your arm here with this little needle and it'll pinch for a minute." Hubby was holding Ben's other arm down tight to his side, while I was busy removing all the blood from my own hands by clenching my fingers together tightly.

Another tech came over to help "hold down" the arm that was being worked on. Good grief, it was probably more dreadful for me to watch then for Ben to feel. There were some Halloween decorations on the walls and I was trying to distract Ben by pointing them out but he was transfixed by what was happening in front of him. The tech's were telling him things like, "Wow! Look at your muscles!" and "Let's test how big and strong your muscles are!" and "Let's see how healthy your muscles are!" which of course Ben just ate up! He was nodding confidently and answering, "Yeah!" and "They big!" and stuff. He was such a doll to watch! Every now and then he'd say, "Ow." But nothing more. Then she pulled off the last tube, removed the needle quickly and put a cotton ball on his arm.

"Okay! That's it big guy! You were awesome! I can't believe how good you were!" she was saying. I realized I had been holding my breath the entire time and was now nervously trying to inhale some air. I laughed out loud and patted Ben on his back. I was so extremely proud of how well he acted. I couldn't believe how calm and sweet he was about the whole thing! The Nurses and Lab tech's were just eating him up! Complimenting him and us. Then when we left the laboratory and exited through the waiting room three different people commented on how well he had behaved! Ben deserved a big treat after that, so we picked up his brother from school and went straight for ice cream!

Lab, Part 1

Hubby and I took Ben to Kaiser the other day to get some Lab work done. He needed several tubes of blood taken from his arm, and we also needed to pick up a "stool sample" kit (oh, the joys of parenthood). When we arrived at the Lab department, Hubby sat in a seat with Ben in the waiting area while I walked up to the counter to register.

I handed the woman behind the desk Ben's card and said, "My son needs to get some blood work done... his doctor already sent the orders through." She clicked something on the keyboard and then looked at me with a straight face and said, "He'll need his ID."

I kind of chuckled to myself, and while restraining the urge to laugh I responded, "Well he doesn't have one!" She looked at me, raised her eyebrows, glanced over at Hubby and Ben, and then looked back at me and continued: "Well, he'll need an ID to get his labs done."

Is she serious? I looked at her carefully but her expression was totally deadpan. It threw me off for a moment and I thought, Wow! Am I totally out of it? Is this the new thing parents are doing now? Getting ID cards for their babies? I cautiously said, "He doesn't have an ID..." but she didn't remove her stare from my face so I quickly explained, "He's only two!" ...and then I laughed because this conversation seemed completely ridiculous to me!

She looked quizzically over at Hubby and Ben again, and then glanced at her computer and said, "Well it says here he's 32, so he should have one! He'll need one to be admitted." Good grief! I mean, granted I've been a little tired all week due to a nasty cold, but do I really look old enough to have birthed a 32-year-old? Sheesh, I'm not even 30 myself! That'll be the last time I skimp out in the makeup department--sick or not!

It was then that she corrected herself and said, "Oh. I get it, 32 months. He's only two-and-a-half." Still deadpan... Was she for real? She then handed me a bag with a cup and gave me some instructions on removing the stool from his diaper. She told me to line the diaper with a plastic bag first, and then take my sample from there. Apparently this woman does not have children of her own, nor does she know of any kid under the age of thirty. Try explaining to a two-year-old that we need to line his butt with plastic to catch his poop. Yeah right! He'd hold it in for days if I did that! I mentally rolled my eyes and nodded along.

She gestured toward a door, "Okay you can go on in." After another mental eye roll I signaled to Hubby that it was time to face the music.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Yesterday afternoon time got away from me a little and before I knew it my kids were whining for dinner. I glanced at the clock and realized it was already 5:00 and I didn't have anything ready. I knew my kids would declare they were starving at 5:01 so I had to move fast! I was opening the cupboards looking for something to prepare (you know me, not one to plan ahead) and pulled out some pasta. This started a whole array of questions:

"What is that Mommy?"
"It's the spaghetti before it's cooked. This is how I buy it."
"Why is it long? Does it bend? Do we eat that? How does it cook?"
To eliminate the number of questions barreling at me I held the bag out to my eldest.
"Oh, cool! Can I have a stick?"
"Me too! Me too!"

Of course the "sticks" were cracked and broken in no time at all and they were begging for more. I reached into the back of my cupboard where I had some old pasta, circa 1996. I handed each kid a pot, some scoopers, and a bowl and then poured the "retired" pasta into their containers. Jackpot! This kept them entertained throughout the entire making-of-dinner process.
Ben was talking non-stop, explaining that he was making meatballs and macaroni and cheese.
Jake was working so diligently, and he was concentrating so hard that he had a very stern expression on his face. I actually stood there with the camera for a couple of minutes waiting for him to smile or something, and then said, "Jake are you enjoying this?" And he assured me he was. So then I said, "Prove it!" and this was his expression:
Here he made a smoothie! Yum! Bean and pasta smoothie! That'll get the intestines flowing!
I had made it very clear at the start of this project that I did not want to see any beans or pasta on the ground. In this picture I asked Ben, "What are you guys doing?" and he said, "Oh, Day-tub spilled so he keening up!" Then he was pointing out the couple of beans on the floor to him saying, "Over here, Daytub... over dat way!" It was funny!
So yes, let me point out how much I hate my kitchen. The floor is this marbled-gray tile with brown grout, and my counter (as much counter space as I have) is all white tile with brown grout. So pretty. I can't believe how tiny my kitchen looks in these pictures...

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Tech talk terror

I was working in a Microsoft Word document typing something up and was trying to make it a little more "creatively pretty". The original font styles that Word offered were all boring to me, so I turned to my sister--the creative genius--for help. She tells me to go to for some new font styles. I think, "Wow! How neat!"

Sure enough this website offers tons and tons of new fonts and you're able to download them for free to your computer! Sounded good to me! I found a couple I liked, clicked the "download" button, and waited. Nothing appeared in my Word font box. Hmm... Now I'm not a very techy person, so back to my sister I went. I explained my computer problem and that I couldn't figure out how to download the new font. She said, "I did it pretty easily..." go figure. This from the person who always made straights A's in school. Then she told me to click on the download box. More heavy sighs from me. Did I mention that I'm not very computer-techy?

I went back and tried again. I managed to save the new font to my computer. Great! Progress! I opened it and sure enough, there was the new font style, but no obvious way for me to type with it. Mental head scratching... I wrote a new email to my sister, and this was her reply:

"You need to unzip it and install it. What unzip program are you using? Winzip? Then are you using Vista or XP? With Vista you right click and then click "install". With XP you need to copy and paste the file into C: Windows/fonts/".

I swear I read that passage fourteen times. I was just kind of blankly staring at my screen. Was this English? Did I bump a button that automatically changed her speech to a foreign language? What's an XP... or a Vista? How do you, or what do you, "unzip"? I know files can be opened, but some have zippers?? I thought the next thing she's going to tell me is that something needs to be "unbuttoned" or "put on a hanger" or "laid out to dry". I was beyond lost...

I randomly started pushing buttons and copying and pasting the darn font file to every windows folder I found. Finally, after sweating pretty profusely, I found the Windows Font folder. It was hiding between other files like "dell", "media", and "WinSxS". Who knew what they were for, as long as I found the correct folder I was happy. I dabbed my underarms and continued working. I finally managed to copy and paste and get the new font in the correct place!

I was thrilled! Mentally I was exhausted, physically I was a headachy-sweaty mess, but emotionally I was excited to have learned a new, cool techy move! Thanks to my lovely Sis for all her help, but I think next time I'll look up "Downloading New Fonts For Dummies" and see if it's written in English...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Pre-heat, Re-heat

It's not a shock to those who know me that I'm not the world's next Rachel Ray. I can heat a can of soup to perfection, boil water like it's going out of style, and make a mean plate of nachos. However, I burn food without meaning to, and I under cook and overcook just about everything. I hate to meal plan, and we often have repetitive dinners week after week. Seriously, how much spaghetti can one girl cook? Or eat!

Recently I discovered it's not cooking the food that I despise, but cooking in the evening. I'm dog tired by the end of the day and the last thing I feel like doing is cooking a big meal... especially when my kids start whining that they're hungry a little after four. And it never fails that when I'm elbow deep in chicken carcass my children decide that that's the moment they'll fall and get hurt/pull out all the paints/spill milk on the table/color on the couch... Not to mention their incessant whining and complaining that they're starving and can't possibly survive waiting thirty more minutes to eat. I have no patience for whining. And I have even less at dinnertime.

So lately my solution has been to cook my meals at lunchtime, or in the early afternoon, and store it until dinner! Now when dinner time arrives I pull out my Gladware, un-pop the top, and shove it in the microwave. A high level of radiation does the trick and voila! Dinner is served! Of course there are the times (usually when Hubby is home) when I'll cook a fresh meal in the evening, but at least I've found my silver lining for all those other days.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Sprinkle Art ...Again

Remember this blog? Well, Ben was at it again! He's been begging me and begging me to do another sprinkle picture so I conceded and below is the end result:

I think there's something fun in the fact that he gets to throw food around on a piece of paper, in hopes that it lands in glue blobs here-and-there! The last "cake" he made was up on our fridge for weeks before he finally let me take it down. I tried to draw cupcakes instead, or a double-layered cake... but no, it has to be this specific style of cake (if you can call it a "style") or it's not good enough! LOL

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


Lately my five-year-old is obsessed with his personal privacy. All of the sudden he needs to have the bathroom door closed when he's using the restroom. Or he needs to change his clothes somewhere private, like in his room with the door shut... and then inside the closet *rolls eyes*. It doesn't faze him that I still help wash his body in the bath tub or shower, or that I shampoo his hair... or that I help him to dry off after the bath...

I think it's interesting that he's developing a new emotion in regards to his privacy. We've never made a big deal about his body parts, or ours, but all on his own he no longer feels completely secure with himself to just "show himself". I'm not sure why but this just fascinates me. Without expecting it my child has aged into this other person... no longer baby-like, but someone much older! I bet soon he'll want to start wearing his pants below his knees, and he'll want to pierce something... God help us all!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


The other day (okay, a couple of months ago) my sister tells me: "You've got to create a facebook page! It's so fun!" So I'm thinking, oh, maybe it's a beauty website about makeup or facials... Nope, it's another "blog", "myspace", "broadcast your life all over the internet" kind of a thing... It took awhile, but now my children have to be bleeding for me to pry myself away. You can view my page here!

Recently I'm hooked on it. I just uploaded a motherload of pictures today (half of which I credited to my professional photographer). So instead of "leaving comments" you "write on walls" (my two year old would go nuts at the sound of that). You can look up people and send them an email asking to "be friends" with you. How fun?! I've had cousins whom I haven't spoken with in decades (no exaggeration) email me.

This is the last thing I need, another reason to be on the computer. Between this blog, my MySpace page (which I'm horrible at checking or updating), my flickr site (again, not very good at keeping it current... the last pictures I uploaded are from the 80's I think), my online stay-at-home-Mom's playgroup (yes, we meet in person, we just chat online), ebay, and of course my celebrity gossip links... it's a wonder my house stays clean, my kids are fed, and the bills are paid on time.

Monday, September 22, 2008


My Hubby and I breed Labs professionally and this past weekend our yellow female, Chloe, gave birth to 4 puppies! Three black and only one yellow! They are the cutest things! I know what you're thinking, "You must be crazy to voluntarily invite other creatures that eat and poop into your home"... but we love it!

Here's Jake enjoying the yellow pup, whom he named Green Bay Packer. *rolls eyes*
Now here's me and Green Bay Packer... they'll open their eyes around 10 days...
Ben loves all the puppies and thinks it's so great when they're in the warmer! He loves to sit by them and tell them, "Shh... okay?!" when they squeal.
This is how he's "soft" with them...
Having a litter with only 4 pups is extremely odd, usually for Labs the litters are much larger. For some reason God only gave us a handful, and we feel blessed regardless. We might have to raise the prices to $6000 each to make up the difference, but we'll burn that bridge when we get there!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


I had the pleasure of working in my son's Kindergarten class today! Last week he came home from school and announced, "There was a Mom in the class today. When are you going to come?" So today I came!

When I walked in, the class was just returning from playing outside. The teacher asked if I'd like to be in charge of the art project so I said "Yes!" Little did I know that it involved lots of glitter and glue, not to mention 20 students. Well... you can imagine! This week the class was working on the letter "d" so the children were gluing glitter on a sheet with a large "d". The project was simple but oh so messy! Glitter was everywhere! And everyone had glitter on their clothes and hands, in their hair, and on their faces. It was crazy fun!

I enjoyed watching Jake interact with the other students in the class. I got to see where he fit in academically and socially. He seemed to be a pretty popular kid and had tons of friends following him around wanting to play with him. I was happy to see him sitting patiently on his bottom during "rug time", and raising his hand to respond to the class discussion. (we need order like this at home!)

I didn't envy the teacher at all! Twenty kids all pining for her attention and acceptance... I'll remember this around the Christmas season! Thank you to all the teachers out there who constantly pour love into their students!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Frozen Food

A friend of mine and her family are moving to Hawaii this week (why can't we all be that lucky), and she mentioned that she had a bunch of frozen items she would like to dispose of, so I said, "send 'em over here!" I was expecting a couple of brown paper bags with some frozen pizzas, maybe some microwaveable dinners, etc...

I couldn't have been more wrong! She brought a huge tub overflowing with food, and another large bag also filled to the brim! There were frozen french bread pizzas, microwaveable dinners, french toast sticks, push-up pop's and ice cream sandwiches, tubs of ice cream, toaster strudels, frozen fruit, and soda! Not to forget there were tons and tons of Schwan's frozen items like stuffed pasta shells, cheddar cheese biscuits, salmon, shrimp, cookie dough, and more!

I offered to pay her for the food several times and she just waved my hand away and dismissed my offers with a guffaw of laughter. This is the kind of wonderful person she is. Including the Schwan's, there was definately over $150 worth of frozen product! Good thing we have a fridge and freezer in the garage along with our indoor one! I couldn't believe my luck! All I need for the next couple of weeks are fresh fruit and veggies, and maybe some fresh meat, and we're set!

Friday, September 12, 2008


Something was drastically altered with my children today! Sometime this afternoon (probably while I was sorting that never-ending pile of laundry) something mysterious happened... The usual sounds of the whining, bickering, mischievous little devils I call my "sons" had disappeared, and in its place were pleasant, polite, obedient noises coming from content boys with clean clothes and happy faces. I thought, "Very funny Lord, now what did you do with my children?"

I was hearing more "please" and "thank you" manners than I have ever heard come out of their little mouths before. And the "please" wasn't followed by ..."remove your hand from my throat". The boys were generally enjoying each others company! I know, it sounds strange, but trust me I saw it!

Jake was patiently teaching Ben how to play XBox (just what we need, another video game fanatic in the family), but it didn't stop there! Jake was also encouraging him on, and congratulating and cheering for Ben! I was floored. I lifted up Ben's shirt (half expecting to find some sort of alien goo oozing underneath) but all I found was a pink pudgy tummy with chocolate pudding remnants on it.

The boys ate all their dinner without complaining (courtesy of McDonald's, but still) ...and the good behavior continued through bath time. There was NO water spilled over the edge of the tub, no soap in a helpless victim's eye, and my shower curtain remained dry and in tact on the rod. Pajamas were put on without protest, books were read quietly, and both boys trooped off to bed on time without complaint.

I honestly could not believe my day. I was actually able to sit through an entire episode of Days Of Our Lives--uninterrupted! Did you know Sami has twins now? Phillip has gone over to the dark side, and when did Brady become a drug addict? All important info that I had been missing out on!

Not that I'm complaining--but would it be too much to ask for the kids to behave like this when I'm sick with the flu, or on a day when my PMS is off the hook, or I have a killer headache?

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Today was one of those days in Church where I desperately wanted to be "in the moment" but couldn't help myself... there were distractions everywhere! There was a Jr. High aged boy sitting to my left, doodling on the weekly pamphlet (we've all done that), and occasionally he'd whisper to his Mom, or he'd cross, and then un-cross his legs... and cross, and un-cross them again.

To my right was a woman, maybe late 40's, and to her right was (probably) her son, who was maybe in his twenties. The two of them were talking and whispering throughout the ENTIRE service! And not quietly! Most of their conversations were about the Bible passages we were discussing (in the book of Titus), but seriously! I felt like telling them to "zip it, lock it, and put it in your pocket"!

And in the middle of service I really needed to use the restroom, but sat stewing in my seat for several minutes debating a good time to quietly slip out. I hate leaving in the middle of Church! I feel like every person is staring at me as I leave, and it always sounds like the doors are slamming behind you, further announcing your departure. "Don't mind Jen, she couldn't bother to use the facilities before leaving the house!" I had this vision that if I stood up to exit the Pastor would stop his service and make an announcement: "We'll wait until you come back." Then, to make matters worse, you have to re-enter the Church auditorium where a multitude of people turn to watch you return to your seat. It's just torture! But when nature calls, it doesn't wait for a polite moment, it's usually during a meeting, or a movie, or something like that.

God knows my heart, and he knows my efforts... right??

Thursday, September 4, 2008

kids camera

When I turned on the camera today, these are some photos that I found (the boys are hiding under the art easel outside):
I think this one is hilarious because it shows that they started to get silly:
...and here's one of Charlie:
...this is actually a Hot Wheels-sized car that was zoomed in on:
...and Charlie's feet:
I had no idea they had grabbed my camera and snapped away to their hearts content! (Sheesh, what kind of parent am I that I don't have a clue to my children's whereabouts and activities!)

Strawberry Explosion!

For a treat today I took my kids to the dollar store and let them choose a candy of their choice. Jake chose a Twix bar, Ben chose licorice, and I chose a two-and-a-half liter (for only 99 cents!!!) of Shasta strawberry soda. It's the yummiest soda and I rarely buy it for myself.

When I got home I stuck the bottle in the fridge for a few minutes, folded some laundry, and then pulled from the cupboard a tall blue cup to enjoy a refreshing drink. I casually untwisted the top and that's when it happened: strawberry soda EXPLODED everywhere! All over me, all over the counters, across every surface... except not a single drop landed inside my blue cup.

This is about 1/3 of one of the counters that was doused:
See how it continues down the counter...
All over the floors, covering the entire bottom half of my fridge, and all of the cabinets (which is hard to tell in the picture):
This is our doggie/kid gate, which was about four feet away, and it had several areas on it (like in the picture) where puddles collected on the top, and drips flowed all the way down through the poles: Somehow between my screaming and the pink shower I was getting, I managed to literally throw the soda bottle into the sink (spewing it's contents in the process):
I had already done a bunch of house work this morning and was planning on folding the last load of laundry in the dryer, and then kicking up my feet to relax. Instead I spent the next half and hour cursing under my breath, and kicking myself in the rear for even buying soda when I'm supposed to be "eating healthier" ...while I cleaned up this disaster. I know what you're thinking, "Why stop to take pictures! Grab a sponge! Grab a towel!" But I couldn't resist. I didn't even know where to start. There was pink dripping from my kitchen sink, sliding down numerous walls, dripping from the counter tops, drying in pink puddles on the floor... where does one begin?! You begin with a camera so all your bloggers will appreciate it later!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Hubby's an Equal Half

My Hubby is a tall, fair skinned, blue-eyed, "balding" (or rather bald with a little peach fuzz) man, and for the past few years he has sported a slightly bulgeoning belly. I've never minded this before because it's more of him to love... it also helps me with my self esteem knowing he's not perfect either. He's almost 6'3 so when I hug him it's comfortable for my face to be buried in a pudgy pillow then up against rock-hard abs. (Yeah, right... or so I've convinced myself.)

I think I can speak for most women who openly admire the looks of such men as Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Wentworth Miller, etc... but I would not want to be married to one of these guys. Nice to gaze at over coffee in the morning, sure! But what would they have to look at in return? My frizz-ball of a hairdo, my sleep-swollen eyes, and my morning breath (which has been known to defrost a chicken in an under a minute). I wouldn't be able to keep up with these men! It's too much pressure for a "normal" chick like myself. I need to be able to burp under my breath, cough up my morning phlem, hang my bras around the bathroom to dry, and not give a hoot if my toenail polish is half chipped off.

I've always felt confident knowing that I have the love and devotion of a man who is more my type. Chicken legs and skinny feet... Sun tanned arms with a chest so white that when his t-shirt is off you can't tell if his undershirt is still on. Calloused fingers and muscular shoulders... stubbled face. The every-man! Not the type that requires beauty-pageant elegance on a regular basis! Good grief, to think about the daily rituals and headaches that Jennifer Lopez or Katie Holmes must go through! Thank goodness I've been spared from that life! Whew!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

dog lovin's

My kids were happily playing a game of "construction Star Wars" in the living room, when our dog Charlie stopped by for a visit! He plopped himself in the middle of their play area and layed on his back for a belly rub. This is Ben quickly moving toys out of the way to make room for him:
You see, Charlie weighs about 90 pounds, but he thinks he's the size of a gerbil. He'll come over to wherever someone is standing and literally lay on top of that person's feet to be "loved".
This is Jake loving him back! After this photo was taken, Charlie patiently and happily laid there while Jake explained the various Star Wars characters to him.

Sprinkle Art

If you don't mind getting a little messy, this is always a fun art project! I drew the outline of a "cake" on a piece of paper, and then made "decorative" designs with glue... then Ben got to shake sprinkles all over! I'd highly suggest doing it on a tray or cookie sheet, or in a pan to help contain some of the mess!
I said, "Ben, show me how fun this is!" and this is the expression he gave me:
And the finish product...
After Ben was finished and had left the room I began to clean up. I instantly regretted my extra-positive cheers of "shake it harder!" as my feet began to crunch on the floor with every step I took. It's been about eight hours since that project and I'm still finding green and red sprinkles here and there... maybe next time I'll do it outside and let the dogs lick up the remains!

Monday, August 25, 2008


This morning Ben was scheduled to go to Kaiser for a Radiology appointment. He was supposed to drink a very chalky, thick, milk-of-magnesia-consistency drink and then the Radiologist would track his digestion through a live x-ray machine. Ben's Pediatrician had called me on Friday and set up the appointment for Monday (today). Because the appointment was so sudden, and because we had no time for me to be mailed the appropriate paperwork about the appointment, Ben's doctor "reviewed" with me the instructions over the phone.

During the call he had said, "Let me just zone out here for a minute and see if I can find any specific instructions (on the computer)." Then he followed with, "Nope, nothing. Just show up a few minutes early." I asked him at that point, "So it's okay for him to eat a normal breakfast?" and he agreed that that should be fine. He and I went back and forth for a minute discussing fasting and he said he didn't find any special instructions regarding that, so I decided I would just feed him an early breakfast so he would be "hungry" enough to drink the "smoothie". Ben's doctor agreed that "yes, that should be just fine."

Back to this morning...
We arrived at the Radiology appointment a few minutes early and they ushered us in almost immediately. As we were led down one of the millions of hallways (Hubby commented that a person could get seriously lost in a hospital) the technician inquired as to when Ben ate his last meal. So I happily replied, "Oh, he had breakfast at about seven."

No joke she stopped dead in her tracks and stared at me. She checked her watch, it was about nine o'clock. Hesitantly she continued, "And what exactly did he have? Because he's not supposed to have eaten anything! He was supposed to fast from Midnight on!"

I'm sure my expression was more than shocked! I am rule-follower down to the umph detail, so to me this was a completely humiliating moment. I stuttered for a second and answered her, "Well, he had about 2/3 of an Eggo waffle and one small strawberry." Again she lectured me on the importance of fasting before an event like this. I then explained that Ben's doctor had booked the appointment and he didn't mention fasting. I told her the big long story I just told you. She "needed to check with the doctor on staff", so we sat in the hallway and waited. A little while later she returned to tell us that we needed to reschedule for another day so Ben could properly fast.

Rescheduling was not an easy task! I asked for the earliest appointment possible since he's so little, and she informed me that 9:10 was the first appointment of the day. We walked to the reception area and she announced at the top of her voice to the receptionist, "She needs to reschedule because she fed the baby breakfast and he was supposed to fast." Naturally the waiting room was filled to the brim with other patients, causing me to feel like I deserved a "World's Worst Mom" award.

Then as the receptionist looked through the computer database, she found an appointment a couple of weeks away at 10:45. I shook my head "no". She found an open spot for a day this week at 11:30. Clearly the woman does not have children. I said, "No. He gets up at 6:30, there's no way he can make it that long. It HAS to be the first appointment of the day." So then I waited for another twenty minutes while she tried calling the Vallejo office for an appointment. Finally we were successful and were able to reschedule for later this week.

I was irritated with the whole situation. I could not believe that Ben's doctor didn't know he was supposed to fast! I couldn't believe we wasted an hour out of our morning in the company of a rude nurse. And now we had to drive to a different city on a different day because of Ben's doctor's incorrect information! We get to go through all of this again on Friday. woopee.

Thursday, August 21, 2008


This week Jake started Kindergarten! It was a chapel day, so this was his uniform:
He seemed very excited to go and didn't seem in the least bit nervous. I was sweating like a pig out of anxiety, but blamed the "early morning heat" so as not to appear wimpy. I didn't think Jake would cry (he puts on a pretty tough exterior), but still it was a new place with new people and I had no idea what would happen! Well, he marched right in and sat down and was ready to go!After he sat down I leaned over a bit and whispered in my Mommy-knows-best tone of voice, "You let us know when you're ready for us to leave and we'll step out!" He waited all of three seconds and without barely a glance upward he mumbled, "Okay, go! Bye!" I was a little surprised to say the least! "Can I at least have a hug?" I ventured. That comment was met with this kind of face:
Sheesh, throw a dog a bone! "Fine, we'll stand in the back of the classroom for a few minutes." I glanced to my left and found many teary eyed parents and not one teary eyed child. I looked over my shoulder to the right and found a poor Mom waving to her daughter. Her daughter was absorbed in a fit of giggles with another little girl and didn't seem to notice. I could sympathize.

I slowly stepped out into the hall and looked at a woman standing guard next to me. She raised her eyebrows to me and said, "Well I thought he'd have a hard time but he's so involved with the dinosaurs I think I can leave now." I smiled politely and glanced around the corner at the dinosaur area to where her son was playing. Yep, no tears in that department! "Good for him!" I encouraged. She asked which child was mine, and I pointed to my little lad sitting at a table already engrossed in conversation with another blond-haired boy. The woman stated that Jake seemed to be doing alright too! I nodded... but still we waited.

A couple of times I thought Jake was glancing in my direction and I'd raise my hand to wave to him but he never looked over. He was content, which is every parent's dream for their child's first day of school, but something was troubling me. What was this hold he had on me? Surely I could walk outside, drive off and not look back, but something was holding me firm. My feet felt glued to the spot! I guess it was love, or something sappy like that...

Monday, August 11, 2008

Another blog about weight...

I had a very unsettling resolution the other day: I had gained weight. An obvious, too-many-nachos-and-soda kind of weight. All of my shorts were snug across the bottom (if you looked closely enough you could read my Victoria's Secret label) and my buttons and zippers were practically bursting at the seems!

This past Saturday we were traveling to my sisters house, which isn't a fancy affair, but I wanted to look cute and it had been hot out so shorts seemed necessary. I actually went through four pairs of shorts trying to find some that were suitable. One pair were to "exercisey" for me; another pair were too tight across the waist; and a third pair were okay (if spandex was back in style).

It was the forth pair that did me in! They were just fine when I was standing up, but as soon as I would start to sit the fat would just ooze out like extra cheese on a pizza. So I thought, "well, what if I just stand all day?" That's no good, surely I'd get tired. But I seriously weighed over this decision. What IF I stood all day? That's not that awkward looking, right? Who would notice? I could just casually lean against the counter tops, and rest one foot up here and there on a stool... Oh, but the car ride down... it's over an hour! So I told myself I could just unbutton the shorts in the car, and when I got there I'd suck it in and put the button back in place!

I tried out my plan on a chair in my dining room. However, as soon as I sat down there was a muffin top explosion! I was quickly becoming short of breath, so I hurriedly unbuttoned my shorts and before I could stop it, the fat had taken on a mind of its own and unzipped the zipper by itself! I looked like Al Bundy from Married With Children. This wouldn't work at all!

My self-esteem and body image were bypassing depression and heading straight for suicidal when I got a sudden burst of hope! My safety jeans! Every woman I've ever met has a pair of safety jeans. These are the jeans that look fabulous no matter what size you are! If you've lost some weight they hang off your hips in a funky, casual, too-skinny-to-care kind of way, and if you've gained weight they "accentuate" your curves in a most flattering way. You can pair them with heels, sandals, or tennis shoes and they always look great!

I ran to my closet and threw on my safety jeans. Okay, so they were more "accentuating" than "hanging" but by golly they worked! I instantly felt better... okay maybe I'd been watching too much of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants but I needed anything at that point to boost my confidence. *sigh* It was such a great movie... now on to real life...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sweeter Than Chocolate

Meet Maia (pronounced My-uh)! She's a beautiful chocolate Lab pup that we "rescued" from a family who could no longer care for her. She's purebred, with AKC paperwork and she's a total sweetheart! She'll be staying with us for a few days while we find a suitable home for her (we have several positive prospects right now).

She loves to play in the hose water, she loves to play with cats (yup, you heard right) and she's an all-around well mannered pup. We read over her AKC paperwork and found out she's the same age as our pup Charlie! They were born on the same day, March 26, 2007! What a small world!

It was love at first sight for Hubby when he picked her up today and I had to remind him that NO we are not keeping her and YES we will be finding a home for her ASAP! Hubby's walking around like it's Christmas morning, while I'm standing by ready to throw coal in his pants the next time he "suggests" she stays here. The last thing we need is another mouth to feed! Especially when we already have two that drool and shed like it's going out of style.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Dog Drama

I had just emailed my Mom this evening and told her I was behind on my blogging when God saw an opportunity and ran with it...

I walked by my french doors that open to the backyard and saw my lab, Charlie, lying on the grass casually holding something between his paws. Then I saw him lean down and nibble a bit. It looked dark in color so I immediately begin muttering under my breath something about the kids not keeping their toys picked up. I sighed heavily and yanked the door open.

"Charlie! Leave it!" I scolded. He glanced up casually as if to say, "You called?"

"Leave it!" I hollered again, and then pointed toward the side yard. "Go!" Clearly he was not willing to budge (stubborn mutt, gets the trait from my Hubby). I huffed out toward the lawn and said, "Come." Again he stared at me and cocked his head sideways a bit. I swear he curled his claws into the grass roots even deeper as if to say, "Go ahead, make me."

As I walked a little closer I couldn't quite make out the dark object. I squinted my eyes a bit and leaned forward. It seemed to be shredded some, as if he'd been working on it awhile. It looked like a type of hand glove or towel. I bent down a little closer... nope, dead bird. It was a dead, torn-to-pieces, de-fluffed, partially de-feathered bird carcass. EWWW!!!

I shrieked, jump backward, and then threw up a little in my throat. I shaked the willy-nilly's out of me and tried to swallow some saliva to ease the vomit sensation. Charlie took my commotion as an invitation to play and began dancing around trying to lick me. "Get away! Shoo! Ew! Gross!" spewed out of my mouth at warp speed in his direction.

I locked him behind the side fence and tiptoed back toward the dead bird. I quietly looked at it again, gagged, and headed back inside toward the phone. I dialed Hubby at work and explained my drama. Much to my surprise he started to chuckle. "Well look at that! He's doing what he was made to do. These are bird dogs, you know!" The man couldn't have sounded more impressed.

"Oh, really! How exciting! Good for him! Now come home and clean this mess up!" I snapped into the phone! He casually instructed me to "just get a bag and scoop it up and throw it away."

"But I can't!" I wailed. "It's a bird! A nasty, gross, disgusting carcass... with the head still attached!" To this comment he pointed out the obvious, that I change poopy diapers every day. "Yes, I said. But that's poop; I know what I'm expecting! I don't open the diaper and occasionally find a dead animal laying in there!"

Needless to say, I removed the "debris" from my yard but not before almost dropping it on my foot, twice, and then using said foot to soon after step in dog poop on the way to the garbage. I swear the next time I look out and see that dog chewing something, I'm just going to let him have at it. And if his poop is in the shape of a squirrel or woodpecker or owl, then Hubby can discard of that himself!

And thanks, God, for your lovely "suggestion" of a blog!

Monday, August 4, 2008


A friend recently sent me an email with this link for the Kraft Foods website for some dinner ideas. These are all very simple, very easy to make, even for those that struggle with boiling water. I made the Crisp-and-Creamy Baked Chicken today for Hubby to pack for lunch and for the boys and I to eat for dinner and it looks delicious! It turned out exactly like the picture looks--which is an obvious statement, but sometimes I'm a little cooking-challenged myself and my food doesn't always resemble the pictured entree (who knew pesto can turn purple).

I printed out several recipes and plan on giving them a go over the next few days. I thought the jumbo meatballs looked pretty tasty, so we'll try those tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


I'm so irritated at myself. I made a poor parenting decision and I'm being reminded of it over and over again...

This past Saturday my Hubby planned a fun day for him and the boys. He wanted to roast s'mores over the fire from the BBQ in the afternoon, cook kielbasa sausage for dinner (something all three of them enjoy), and watch a fun movie that night. The boys were more than elated for a fun time with Daddy!

In preparation for the "big day" I took the boys to the video store to rent a movie. This is where my irritation began. We looked at all the newly released movies and came across "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles". When it was in the theaters Jake begged and pleated for me to take him to see it, and I consistantly said "no". When he saw it for sale at Costco, or Target, or Wal-Mart, he persisted with his desire to buy it, and again my response was "no". Now at Blockbuster it was beckoning to him from the shelves. After much deliberation I relented and agreed to rent it, thinking that Hubby would be viewing it with the kids and therefore could make a parenting call to shut it off if necessary. I was worried that my boys (Jake inparticular) would be eager to mimick the Turtle's fighting moves, aggressive behavior, and adult commentary.

It started off a little rough and a little intimidating, but turned out to be an "okay" (at best) movie. I would not recommend it and I won't let my kids rent it or own it. When it was finished I thought, "Okay, he's seen it and it's out of his system, we can put it to rest." Boy was I wrong! Not only does Jake continually talk about the movie, its characters, the plot, the "funny" things that happened, but he has begun acting out some of the Turtle's moves. And not only in imaginary play, but today at Costco (yes, I was back at Costco... again...) when I told him "no" after he asked for muffins he did a "move" I'm sure that he learned from the movie. He configured this leg-stance and he did this karate-type of movement and actually hit me!!

I'm completely annoyed, mostly at myself for allowing this to happen. What's worse is that Ben, my sweet two-year-old, has asked continually for the movie every day (which I've held a firm "no we're not watching it again" stance, and yes it's going back to Blockbuster tomorrow). I'm irritated that I knew this would be a bad choice for my kids--no judgement on other parents who own or have let their kids view it--I should have trusted my inner thoughts. I know it's a phase and eventually they'll move on to something else, but currently it's a daily reminder of my poor parenting choice. Next time I'll know to play it safe and stick with my gut.


My boys and I are spending a couple of days with my Hubby's parents, their Grandma and Grandpa. They're really excited, especially because on one day of our visit we'll be spending some time at the Monterey Bay Aquarium! A wonderful community of Marine life all in one building! This will be a mini-vacation of sorts...

The problem with vacations (mini or otherwise) is all the packing that's involved! There's the obvious clothes and shoes and toiletries, for both me and the boys. And then you have extras for the kids like sleep-blankets, sunblock, the camera, batteries for the camera, medicine, jackets, diapers and wipes, stuffed animals that couldn't bear a night or two alone, extra clothes for those "just in case" moments, sand toys, inside toys, quiet toys, car toys, and extra batteries for those toys. Then there are beach towels, bathing suits (oh gosh, mine too I suppose), life jackets (because Grandpa's pool is a little deeper than our above ground pool), snacks, sippy cups, a diaper bag, and my cell phone charger all to be included too.

Did I mention we're going for 2 nights, 3 days? Is it like this for everybody or just me? If I leave something out I almost always regret it. When the camera runs out of batteries at the aquarium I don't want to pay $10 for a 2-pack of AA's. It always rains when I don't have the kids jackets in the car, or my cell phone dies while my charger is at home on the kitchen counter. Half of the time most of this doesn't even get unpacked from the car, but I always like to be prepared. Is there such a thing as being a little "too" prepared?

Monday, July 28, 2008


I had one of those "smack your forehead" moments today. After squishing Ben's thick, fat, chubby feet into his croc's today I thought, "hmm... maybe they're too small..." So after naptime we piled in the car and headed to the Stride Rite outlet to (hopefully) catch a sale.

When we got there I asked the sales associate to please measure his tootsies. He measured a 7.5 on his left foot and an 8 on his right foot... I looked down at his croc's, the size was "5/6", and I was pretty sure his tennis shoes at home were maybe size 7's. Holy Cow!! I felt like a horrible mother. It didn't help that the associate said, "he should probably get an 8 wide or an 8 1/2 wide." Good grief.

So I searched and searched and hunted through box after box looking for decent sandals for his plump feet. Twenty-five times I had to tell my kids to "stop running" "stop climbing" "stop picking" their noses. There ended up being only 4 sandals in the whole store that were a size 8 wide. He didn't like the first two pair (they pinched so I didn't blame him), and the third pair I didn't like how his foot fit in them.

Finally we came upon the last and final pair. They fit great but by then Ben's attitude had turned to sour grapes. He was ready to go (I feel ya' kid) and had no patience left. They were on sale (not cheap enough) so I was getting them regardless, but in a final attempt for him to like them I reached really far into the depths of Mommyhood and pulled out this line, "They look like cowboy boots, only they're cowboy sandals." This got a perked-up grin and big-eyed response: "Cowboy sandals! I like a Cowboy!" I knew that would work. He's currently obsessed with anything western: cowboys, horses, horseshoes, hay, rope... you name it. So I reached a little further, "You see how they're dark brown leather? Well, that's just like a cowboy's boots! Only they're sandals!" He was sold, and happily wore them home.

Here they are:

And here he is, happy to model them. So if you see us on the street, please refer his shoes to "cowboy sandals".


My nephew's 2nd birthday is this week and yesterday we went to his house to celebrate. It was a very small, cute party, all basketball themed! He is obsessed with basketballs, and balls in general (and I'm not using the term loosely). The boy lives and dreams balls! His parents even put a video of him on YouTube shooting basketballs into his Playskool hoop. He's too cute! And he has great aim! He puts my five-year-old away everytime!

We had a BBQ lunch and a basketball cake for dessert, courtesy of Costco (yum! love their cakes!). The house was decorated casually with basketball-themed paper supplies on the tables, and yellow balloons around the floor.

This is the part that I love best about 2 year olds: when it came time to open presents my nephew was more enthralled with the balloons then with the gifts. And there weren't many presents to open, maybe five, but his attention couldn't be taken away from the balloons! One of my gifts to him was a "professional" sized NBA Nike basketball, and when he opened that package (one of two presents he actually tore himself away from the balloons to open) he was gone. He was so happy to have it, which made me particularily pleased, that even the balloons fell short!

Balloons, bubble wrap, strings and boxes... all boring to me, fascinating to them. We bought a new fridge a couple of years ago when Jake was 3, and I remember my son played in that box for a few weeks straight, full-blast imaginary play, in the middle of our living room. He was totally captivated.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Horrible Nails

My toenails were in desperate need of a make-over. My pink polish was cracked, chipped, and half peeled off, not to mention my cuticles were a disaster and the heels of my feet... well, let's just say you could crack nuts on them. Off to the nail salon!

I chose a salon I don't visit very often because they're a teensy-bit too pricey but my feet were such a disaster so I thought the occasion called for a little extra pampering! It's a big salon with about ten pedicure chairs, five lining each of the side walls, and there are at least ten manicure tables in the center of the room. It' s a pretty clean, well maintained, largely staffed facility...

I entered at 10:08 (I know this because Hubby called to whine about some missing keys at exactly that time) and told the front desk that I would like a pedicure. I was immediately asked to please wait, so I grabbed the latest issue of Us Weekly and sat down. About five minutes later there were two other women also waiting, and one of the "technicians" came over and said a bunch of things to all of us really quickly, most of which wasn't in English. She was gesturing me toward a pedicure chair in the far back on the right. "Do you want me in that chair?" I ventured. She nodded and half-walked me over toward it.

I sat in the chair and opened my magazine. It was now about 10:15. A few minutes later another staff person came over and filled my foot-tub with scalding hot water and some blue fizzies. I thought I could muster enough strength to deal with the boiling temperature, but when I saw that my nail polish was beginning to peel itself off I flagged the man down and asked for some cool water to please be added. He laughed and said something to someone in his language. Humph. Excuse me for not wanting my insides to boil!

I sat there and read my magazine, page after page for what felt like an eternity. Everyone else in the salon was being helped... everyone but me. I looked at the clock, 10:35. Hmm... I loudly closed my magazine, "cleared" my throat, and sat a little more forward in my chair. I was beginning to get pretty annoyed that no one had bothered to help me. The two chairs next to me had been empty up until a few minutes ago, so I leaned forward slightly aiming my body toward the "technician" working on the girl to my left. In my most patient voice I asked, "I'm sorry, do you know how much longer it's going to be?" She didn't look up, didn't respond, didn't acknowledge my presence. I huffed quietly to myself and muttered under my breath, "I've been waiting forever!"

And then the "technician" said something under her breath and another woman came over, the one who half-guided me to my seat, and said it would be just a moment and pointed to another "technician" who was doing something by the sink. The time was now 10:40 and I was contemplating just getting up and leaving. Then the woman at the sink said something I couldn't interpret to the woman in front of me, and back and forth a few of the tech's chattered, sometimes gesturing at me and sometimes gesturing at other clients.

Then the woman looked at me with a plastered smile on her face and said, "It be just few more minute. Just few more. Maybe 5-10." And we all know in a nail salon when they say 5-10, it means 10-20 or whenever they feel like getting around to you. So I raised my eyebrows and said, "Oh, really? I can wait a couple more minutes, but not ten." She didn't know what to make of this and just kind of stared at me, plastered smile remaining. She repeated that it would be 5-10 minutes and could I please wait. I told her (as pleasantly as possible, keeping my seething temper locked in my head), "Well I've already been waiting for over a half an hour..." she just kept staring so I continued, anger now barely contained, "I have other errands to run and things to do today." She jumped in, smile still in place but with an added fake giggle, "Oh we just have lots of appointments this morning. Lots of people." So I said, "That's fine, I understand that you have appointments but no one told me that when I walked in. If someone had told me earlier you were busy I would have just come back this afternoon... instead of waiting here soaking."

I could see this was going no where. So I made the "forget it" gesture with my body and got up to leave. She quickly came over to help drive off my feet, which were fluorescent pink from the water. As I was trying to quickly slip into my flip-flops and grab my purse she was saying, "Sorry. So sorry! You come back? Come back today!" I was thinking, "Not over my dead body, lady."

Then I had to face the most humiliating walk of shame EVER and wind my way through several other chairs, all filled with clients whose nails were gleaming, and make my way quickly out the door. The clock in my car flashed 10:46; what a waste of an hour! I was so embarrassed and completely ticked off that I almost smashed my car pulling out of the parking space. I'm a reasonable person, and if they had just told me from the beginning that they were busy I would have made an appointment for later that day.

I came home, snapped at Hubby who has no clue at all about nail salons, and went about the rest of my day. Hubby tried to make light of the situation by saying, "Hey, at least you've got clean feet!" I frowned at him and told him they weren't cleaned at all, they were pruny, blistered and pink from the water. I wonder if nail salons have an HR department so I can call to complain to someone... I'm thinking no.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Growing Babies

Ben, my 2 year old, has a nightly routine: every night at about 7:15 he and his brother hit the sheets. Ben with his blanket and sippy cup and favorite toy-of-the-day, Jake with his blanket and/or a toy. And every night Jake is asleep by, oh 7:20 ish. However Ben stays awake every single night until about 8 and calls me in to his room every ten minutes or so. "Mom. M-o-m!"

Why do I encourage this behavior? You might ask... This is why: I enjoy it, as does he. He does not, and will not, fall asleep before 8 (unless he's skipped naptime one day) and he's a terrific stays-on-the-bed kind of guy. He never gets down, he never cries, he never throws fits.

Sometimes when he calls me in it's because he wants more water (the classic "fool the parent for more time" delusion). Sometimes he hungry (that cookie after dinner didn't quite do it), sometimes he wants to grab a toy "real quick" he'll tell me. And he is quick; he jumps down, goes straight for the toy he wants, and climbs back into bed.

Usually one of the times he calls me in it's for this reason (my favorite): he wants me to hold him... so I do. I pick him up, blanket and all, and stand and sway gently and cuddle him close. When he was younger he used to fit so snug and perfectly all huddled up in my arms on my chest. I loved that feeling!! I miss that feeling! Now when I hold him his feet practically drag on the floor (thank Heavens for carpet) and his head is triple the size of my shoulder so his noggin is constantly sliding down my arm (cramp!)... but it only lasts for a couple of minutes and then I gently lay him down and wish him sweet dreams.

We've done this together since he was a baby, just one last goodnight hug, but lately he hasn't been needing it as often. He's too busy growing up, and it makes my heart twinge a little when I realize in a couple more months he won't want me to hold him at all--ever. *sniff*

As parents we're so busy with bottle weaning, and potty training, and temper tantrums, that we forget that parents need to be weaned too. Jake wouldn't hear of me kissing him goodbye in front of his friends at pre-school this past year (It's pre-school! They're all barely out of diapers!). I would bend down for a hug and a cuddle and he would literally (gently) slap at my body and irritatingly say, "okay, okay, okay" and hurry off to meet his buddies. I'm glad he's become so independant but when did that mean leaving Mommy cold-turkey emptied handed in the school hallway! And Ben isn't any better. He used to love having me carry him--everywhere! Now he can climb into his carseat himself; he can walk in the parking lot and hold my hand; he can swim on his own without my help...

And now my precious nighttime cuddles are dwindling to few and far between. This is just one more chapter in his baby book that is coming to an end. *dabs eyes*

Vasectomies are reverseable, right???

Starving Kids

My son asked me for Lucky Charms this morning for breakfast, and I agreed. Yes, I'm that Mom. I hadn't bought them for awhile, but at the grocery store this week I thought I'd grab a box so my kids would award me "Best Mom Ever".

After pouring him an ample amount of cereal with milk, I set about to get my own breakfast. A few minutes later I glanced over and saw him picking at just the marshmallows. Now before you all think "well, what did you expect" know this: I've bought my children Lucky Charms for the past couple of years, not every week, but fairly often. They usually finish their bowls of cereal, scraping the bottom for every last morsel, and have never before "picked" at it.

I scolded him for picking at it and told him to use his spoon. He scowled at me and whined that he only liked the marshmallows. I told him he was crazy and he needed to start taking some huge bites. A few minutes later my son brought his bowl over to me and announced that he was done. If it was possible, it seemed like there was even more cereal in it now!

"You didn't eat anything!" I surprisingly said. "I don't like it." More whining... so out of my big Mommy bag I pulled this line: "You know, there are starving children around the world who don't have any money for food, or cereal. And when they do get cereal it's not something sweet like this. No, no! They eat oats or bran or maybe oatmeal. You're very lucky to have had this for breakfast." He thought about it for a minute but then placed his bowl on the counter and walked away. I yelled at his back, "I'm never buying this again!" to which I then heard, "Okay!"

Little does he know, I'm not joking! If he wants to test my cereal-patience then go for it! The child will see nothing but oatmeal for the rest of his life!