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!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Star Wars tee

The other day I was at Target (yes I know, another blog about Target... I swear, my life only exists at Target or Costco) ...and I found this really great, vintage-style Star Wars tee in Ben's size. I snapped it up because it was on clearance for $4.88! I looked for a size that would fit Jake (he wears a 4/5 or a 5t if it's big). I thought, "there's no way I can come home with this for Ben and not have something for Jake..." God help me, I looked. I even looked for my nephews who are all similarly Star Wars obsessed, but I struck out. There was an abundance of 2t and 3t's. I ended up getting Jake some diving sticks for the pool and thought maybe if he got something, anything, he wouldn't care so much about the tee. One would think that this was a good plan...

One would be WRONG! I handed the tee to Ben and of course he by-passes Daddy and me immediately and beelines for Jake, waving his treasure in the air. Jake was crushed, and no matter how earnestly I tried to describe my searching adventure, it didn't matter. And I know kids are allowed to feel disappointed but this was really hard to watch. It made my heart hurt a little.

A couple of days later after the kids were asleep, I headed back to Target (I know, I know) and that's were I saw it: a new Lego Star Wars printed screen tee in the boys section. Luckily they had Jake's size, so I grabbed one up and headed for home. I went into his room and kissed his sweaty, sleeping face, and then laid the new shirt on the carpet at the end of his bed where he would be sure to find it in the morning.

The next morning Hubby graciously let me sleep in (he is good for something, apparently) and when I awoke I found Jake playing xbox and wearing his new shirt. "Wow! Look at that!" I exclaimed. He nodded. I asked what he thought of it and he said it was cool. I then asked about what happened when he first saw it and he told me this (almost verbatem):

"Well, I woke up and when I got off my bed it was still early and I wasn't supposed to be up but I saw this shirt and I was like, 'what!', so then I said to myself, 'I don't know where it came from but I'm putting this bad boy on!' and then I got dressed because I was so excited to wear it and then I got back into bed until Daddy came in."

(Yes, he speaks in one run-on sentence after another.) I'm just glad he's happy with it!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Okay, I'm completely infatuated with celebrity gossip. The Prime Minister of England--couldn't even begin to guess on his name (Or is it a "her"? Is there a Prime Minister of England?)... but Brad and Angelina just had twins and I could tell you the baby names and the times they were born! Did you know Jennifer Garner is expecting again? And that Christian Bale was not "arrested" but "voluntarily" walked into the police station to "discuss" issues that happened with his Mom and sister... This is something I live for in my life. I kind of thrive on it.

I have no idea when the Presidential race is over, or when we actually vote (I do know it's this November sometime, right?), but I do know who won the popularity vote between McCain and Obama! I can tell you who Oprah is voting for, although half the world thinks she should run for office herself *rolls eyes*.

This is my life. I go online several times a day, check my email (which is minimal at best), check out a few fellow bloggers (hi Karen! hi Ang!) and then begins my obsession. I go to spoilerfix and just jared and spoiler tv and fox to catch up on the latest news about my favorite shows...

Some may judge and think it's trashy, or stupid, or sad... but to me, it's my sanity! I so thoroughly enjoy it! Any Office fans out there? Check out their games and cute blog clips and online previews. Oh I could go on and on. Wait, is the baby crying? I'll just pause here on Madonna's latest review and be back in a jiffy...


Some days I truely appreciate being a stay-at-home Mom. Like when Hubby comes home from working until eleven, and then wakes up at oh, the butt crack of dawn the next morning, and goes to his real estate job until the early afternoon. Then the front door opens and there's this breath of stale air and all of the sudden slacks and a button down shirt have been carelessly tossed on my duvet and the wadded, wrinkled jeans disappear from the floor. Then the front door closes and I assume it must have been Hubby. As he heads for the Air Force base working his swing shift, those are the days that I appreciate my Victoria's Secret flannel pajama pants and Mossimo tank.

I appreciate his hard work and dedication, I do, but I can't tell him that. Gosh, think of the power he'd have! Oh the horror. That last thing the world needs is my Hubby higher up on his high-horse! I just smile and exaggeratingly glance at the checkbook with a heavy sigh. There, that should keep him in line!

What Happened??

I'm not sure when it occured, but sometime in the past month my sweet little five year old boy vanished, and in his place arrived a bossy, whiny, back-talking, lying, temper-tantrumy child. I don't know what happened! I looked behind his ears to see if his exterior was a mask to some unruly alien, but all I found was dirt. I was a little disappointed. I guess I was hoping that something as simple as alien reincarnation was my answer...

My son has taken on a whole new demeanor and I am at a loss as to what to do. I try to compliment him when I see him behaving appropriately: "Thank you for holding my hand in the street!" "I like how nicely you made your bed!" "Thank you for helping Ben go down the slide!" "I appreciate your efforts at wiping your own bottom!" etc...

He has began to back-talk me, which either I've never noticed before or it's something brand new. I end up yelling at him to just be quiet and stop talking. Even then he still tries to get the last word in. It's driving me nuts!

But back-talking isn't the only problem: he's resorted back to his toddler years and has started throwing temper tantrums--a lot! Over anything and everything. So I'll calmly look at him and say, "I don't understand you. Use your words." I have been saying this phrase so often lately (to both of my boys) that I accidentally used it on my Hubby the other night. I did something that annoyed him and he complained about it under his breath and before I could stop myself I opened my trap and out tumbled, "I don't understand whining, use your words!" This surprised both of us!

I'm having the hardest time with Jake's attitude about everything in general. I feel like I'm often nagging him because when I say something or ask him to do something just once, I get no results. So that annoys me, naturally, and I result to raising my voice, to which he retaliates with a whiny high-pitched complaint, and the battle ensues...

So to all you mom's out there with kids this age, or that have had kids this age, please help! I'll try anything you throw at me, even if it seems obvious. (And if you have any vegetable-eating advice for my kids, then it'd be great if you could just throw some of that in there too!)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Art Emotions

Usually I can appreciate a fine piece of art. I understand the depth and concentration and value that goes into a piece of work. The more love, color and texture, the more desirable a piece can be.

Jake is the artist of the family, and I'm constantly finding his Monet's and Picasso's plastered with tape all around my home. Here's a space picture that Jake drew for his little brother, which has now brightened his brother's originally dull bedroom door:
And these lovely drawings are located on the wall of Jake's own room, too valuable and prized to be placed in any other room of the house. (Fine by me!)
And above his bed is an entire row dedicated to anything he wants to "glance up and see" while he's sleeping. I've tried telling him that if he's sleeping then he won't be "glancing" anywhere. But he countered with, "Then I'll see them first thing in the morning and they'll make me smile." Okay, I was sold:
Today I spent the better part of my afternoon coloring with my five year old. We do this fairly often, and I actually find it quite therapeutic, but some days I'm just not in the mood--that would be today. He hadn't picked a nice, small, 8x10 sized picture from a book for us to color. Oh no, today he picked the 16x20 equivelant from the Cars poster-sized book that I had bought last year. I reluctantly relented and we set forth.

This lovely picture of Mac is the picture we worked on today. He did most of it and was very, very proud of "all the red". I looked around his room and said, "Where is it going to go?" to which he replied, "In your room!"

Oh, dear. Without meaning to offend him and hurt his tender feelings, I absolutely, positively, did NOT want Mac in my room. My bedroom is the one room in the house that I don't allow any toys, books or kid-related items (dirty clothes only, and even then...) I suggested a beautiful white wall in my master bathroom that was "in desperate need of some color!" He had other plans. We argued over the wall space above my bed, by my dresser, and finally he suggested under the window. Feeling rather pained and totally embarrassed that I was irritated by this Mac picture being forced into my personal space, I let myself out of my shell and agreed.

So here it is, below my window, across from my Pottery Barn bedding (isn't it cute!!) and between my silk curtains... a bright red symbol of my darling child's affection:
Maybe I can tear it down in a couple of weeks without him noticing!

Sunday, July 20, 2008


Lately my son has been obsessed with Legos. Both of my boys really, but where Jake builds ships and jets and characters (mostly Star Wars related), Ben usually builds "towers". Block upon block, straight up and down. But I guess that's good motor skill coordination, right? Especially because these are the tiny legos, the ones that make any new Mom gasp in fright as they have been written on scrolls from long ago as a "choking hazard". My kids have never once put them in their mouths--yet. (Good grief, what have I started... I can almost hear Ben now thinking, "I wonder what this tastes like...")

Jake is so disciplined when he's building. His ships are really very well endowed. He puts a lot of thought and effort into their structure and graphics, and all of them, every single one, have multiple "shooters". Fearing his imagination had taken a turn for the worse I asked him today "What exactly are they shooting? Because you know I'm not a fan of guns." He thought for a moment and came up with "fire" as his response. Good enough for me. As long as he's not playing Deadly Assassin then I'm game. I would completely understand if he was building a policeman/police car, or even a military character, but I don't think Joe Shmoe needs more ammo then necessary...


I love this store, but I dread going there... why? Because I never end up getting what I went in for! And I always, always buy more than I intend. "Make a list" "Stick to a budget" Yadda Yadda... It's Target! Those rules don't apply there, I swear!

I went in for 1 gallon of juice, 1 gallon of milk and coffee for Hubby. I walked out of there with 1 gallon of milk, 1 gallon of juice, coffee... and a shirt for me, three shirts for Ben, a toy for Jake that was on clearance (if it's on clearance then it's automatically a guilt-free item), swim shorts for Jake (all of his current swim shorts are from last year and embarrasingly too small) and socks for Jake which he needs for the upcoming school year.

I ended up spending almost $60, but in my defense the coffee was $8 and the milk and juice together were another $8... Well looking at it like that, that only accounts for about $16 of it... Good grief!

Monday, July 14, 2008

To Grandma's House We Go (Part 2)

This is the second part of the blog so read this after the first part (duh)...

The drive was certainly no less than an hour and a half, and about 45 minutes into it Hubby was really, really regretting eating those slices of bacon. "I need a restroom, and I need it NOW." I looked out my window and saw nothing but dead grass for miles and miles. Occasionally some cows would pop into view, but seriously it was only desert farmland that surrounded us.

Hubby was getting sweatier and sweatier, and he had the A/C blasted on extra high. The boys were huddled under their blankets in the backseat wondering why it was so cold. "Daddy has a little tummy ache" was all I could muster. Every couple of miles we'd come to a stop light and he'd say, "Look for a bathroom! Look for a bathroom!" Again, nothing but farmland and the occasional strawberry stand, or nectarine store.

I was about to suggest he go squat behind a tree when we finally reached our turn-off. His Grandma's house was about four streets away and then it happened: our car massively overheated! Smoke entered through the A/C vents and started coming out of the hood. We zoomed around the last couple of turns and screeched to a halt in the trailer "community". Hubby jumped out and opened the hood and I'll I could see was black smoke.

"Get the kids out! Quick!" Some family members came out to help, and then we all trooped inside toward safety. Apparently the coolant line popped free and cause a bunch of drama underneath the hood. It was fixable, which was good, because this was not an area I'd like to be stranded in!

We ended up having a nice time and the kids played very well with their limited resources. My mother-in-law had purchased a bunch of food from Costco and we all dug in promptly! After lunch Grandma wanted to play "Happy Birthday" on the piano, so we all sang while she played. Then she played it again, so we sang it yet again. Then my mother-in-law brought over a cheesecake with a candle for her to blow out and someone suggested singing again. Are you kidding me! Nope, there was indeed a third rendition.

After dessert no one could find Ben (my two-year-old) so the whole house went hunting. I found him hiding in a corner by the piano. "Are you okay?" I asked. His eyes got really big and he shook his head and said "No." Then he got sick all over Grandma's carpet. I hauled him up, passed him to Hubby, and he ran him to the kitchen sink. I asked Grandma if she had any spray or carpet cleaner and was met with a blank stare, so I looked at my Mother-in-law for help. She asked Grandma, "Do you have something to clean the carpet, Mom? Some kind of cleaner?" Grandma just looked at me. I added, "I don't want your carpet to smell like vomit, so maybe you have something for me to clean it up with?" I was nodding my head at her in an encouraging sort of way. Again I got no reply. Finally someone produced a bottle of Lysol Kitchen Cleaner with Bleach. It was better than nothing!

After cleaning up the mess I realized there was a slight argument going on, and Grandma was looking very stubborn, sitting arms crossed in her chair. "What's going on?" I ventured. After some careful explaining by my sister-in-law I figured out that Grandma was complaining that she had never seen the two youngest babies, my Ben and my nephew. We both tried to explain to her that yes, she'd seem them both a number of times. We counted off specific events where Grandma had been present and had seen, even held, both boys. It was useless. Grandma sat stern in her chair refusing to believe.

Thankfully Hubby called, "It's time to go!" and happily we all packed up. In the car I asked, "Are we okay to make it home?" Hubby replied, "Let's hope so!" Oh, great...

To Grandma's House We Go (Part 1)

This is a long blog, so it will be divided into two blogs....

Yesterday we had plans to go to Hubby's Grandma's house to celebrate her 93rd birthday. I can't imagine living that old, some days I feel ready to keel over due to exhaustion from taking care of my children... but that's a different story.

I awoke with the kids around their usual 6:30 time and Hubby got up a little later. He informed me he wanted to leave at "ten to ten". I was like, "Isn't this a lunch thing? Why are we leaving so early?" Then he sighed, and explained that we needed to get gas and that he yahoo-mapped our destination and we needed to allow an hour and a half for drive time. Fine, whatever.

A little after nine Hubby asked if I was planning on getting ready. So off to the bedroom I trotted, and a half and hour later I was only half ready. "You're not ready yet!" He yelled. Resisting the temptation to pop him on the nose, I explained that I had been interrupted about thirteen times by the kids asking for things or complaining about each other. During this discussion, my cell phone chirped that I had a text message. Hubby rolled his eyes at that and informed me that he "still wanted to get on the road at ten to ten". I swore if he said that phrase to me again I was going to strangle him at ten to ten.

The message was from my sister-in-law, Hubby's brother's wife (she's also my best friend which is helpful at these dreadful family functions) and she was asking if we'd left already. I glanced at the clock (it was about 9:45) and responded that we'd be leaving soon. I picked up my pace and started to get a move on towards my ten to ten goal. Then my phone chirped again and she made a joke about how she's "finally not going to be the one who was late" (a rare occurance for her). I was quickly applying my mascara with one hand and texting back "what are you talking about" with the other hand. Then, in my efforts to multi-task, I got the wand too close to my eye and blinked really hard and had fresh mascara bands imprinted on my upper cheeks... so I had to start over from scratch.

Hubby was poking his head around the door every couple of minutes hurrying the "kids" along (which I'm sure was aimed at me). Then my phone chirped again, and my heart stopped a little when I read the message. Apparently, according to my brother-in-law, were supposed to be there at 11, not 11:30, and the clock on my dresser was now flashing "10:05". Oh great!! So I start running through the house trying to remember to pack pj's and swim shorts and snacks and diapers, while Hubby was doing I-don't-know-what with the kids outside. My adrenaline was pumping so hard my head hurt, and then he opened the door and sent in a screaming two-year-old. This caused me to come to a full stop to handle the situation, and when I couldn't calm him down I was stuck toting around a sniffling two-year-old-who-weighs-about-a-hundred-pounds on my hip while I finished packing.

I then remembered we were traveling to a house filled with breakable objects, old furniture and no toys... oh, and it's in a trailer "community" which is about the size of my bathroom. So I felt forced to pack an overwhelming amount of "quiet activities". The clock was now flashing "10:15". Hubby sat down on the couch to put on the kids sandals and he made a small comment about how he hates to be late. I felt bad, because he really does dread being late. My largest annoyance in life are fingernails on a chalkboard, his is lateness.

So I bravely faced the lion and explained that we were going to be more than just a "little" late. He stopped and stared at me for a beat and then calmly said, "You want to run that by me again?" I explained about the change of time and he literally threw his hands up in the air. (I might have seen smoke coming from his ears, but we won't go there...) I shooed the kids out to the car, grabbed my purse, diaper bag, bag of toys, portable dvd player, two juice boxes and a sippy cup and trooped out to the car to buckle them in.

The tantrum from the baby was still continuing in the car, apparently he was upset about life in general, so over the noise from him, the noise coming from Jake (he was singing) and the hum of the engine Hubby and I were screaming to each other things like "Did you grab the dvd player?" "Did you get bottled water?" "Did you pack Grandma's card?" "Did you go pee-pee?" (after a little confusion I realized that last comment was directed toward my five-year-old.)

Finally we pulled out of the driveway, but not before Hubby spilled coffee all over the dash. I suggested we skip getting gas (we had enough to get there) and head for the freeway. Hubby asked if I grabbed his stack of business cards (that was a big fat NO from me) and then he began to lecture me on how he was hungry and very disappointed that there were no snacks for him in the car, and why wasn't I more prepared. I said, "I'm sorry, I didn't realize I had to feed three children this morning." Then I said, "I thought you already ate?" Apparently only eating two pieces of bacon doesn't constitute a breakfast.

We reached the freeway and got about two exits from the house when Hubby threw his hands in the air and exclaimed,"Oh great! Look at my shoes!" Sure enough, he was wearing his ratty, beat-up, five year old, black and white Addidas flip-flops. These are referred to as the "poop shoes" in our house because we throw them on to go out back and pick up dog poop. I busted a gut laughing, and insisted that he turn around. We headed back to our house and I ran inside to grab him a change of shoes, snacks and a hefty amount of business cards. Back on the road we went...

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Messy payday

Today has been somewhat of a lazy day, and because of this laziness my living room quickly turned into this catastrophic whirlwind of debris. There were stickers everywhere, and I'm not using that phrase lightly: under the couch, on the couch, on the floor, on the table, under the table, behind the curtains... and so on. Along with all the stickers, there were markers scattered across the coffee table, crackers from an earlier snack littering an end table, juice cups tipped over on the coffee table and on the floor, pillows from the couch carelessly tossed on the carpet, and the list goes on...

I took one look at the room and my head began to spin. I glanced into the kitchen and saw the counter tops strewn with cups and plates and cans and bottles, all begging to be taken out to the recycle bin. The sink was overflowing with dishes, and the counter tops and stove tops were sticky from lunchtime. The worst part is I had to unload the dishwasher before I could even begin to begin. I hate unloading the dishwasher. It's the equivalent to fingernails on a chalkboard, or bad breaks on a car... unloading it drives me nuts!!

Trying to ignore the ringing in my ears, I called Jake over to me and said, "how would you like to earn some money?" His eyes lit up like Rudolph's nose on Christmas day. I sent him to work on the living room, and before I knew it he had rallied up Ben and together they were picking up sticker after sticker and putting them away. After that he moved into the kitchen with me and helped unload the dishwasher (thank the Lord) and then on to his bedroom to finish in there. Without complaining, and in record time, he had definately earned his dollar!

When I handed him the crisp bill he was very grateful, but just before he turned away he kind of hesitated.
"What is it?" I asked.
"Do you have any of the dollars with a 2 on them?" he asked.
"I'm not sure I know what you mean? Are you asking if I'll give you 2 dollars instead of 1?"
"No, do you have the dollars with the 2 and the 0? I think it's a number 20?"
"Um, no, sorry, fresh out!"

He trotted off to his room to brag to Ben and shove his earnings in his piggy bank. Thankfully he was happy with his 1 dollar, but sheesh! I'll have to remember this for the future, this guy drives a hard bargain!
On a boring Saturday afternoon, my boys and I were in the middle of a sticker and marker extravaganza when this picture was developed. You have a football coach for the Browns on the left, equipped with a micro-phoned headset and clipboard, and a football player #20 on his right. To be funny, Jake gave them chicken legs! I love the big fingers...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Pool Pandemonium

It's got to be like 125 degrees here in Vacaville... I'd be shocked if it was anything less. It's too hot to move, too hot to breathe, and too hot to swim. Which was a huge bummer in this household today...

The kids wanted to take a dip in the middle of the afternoon, so we all slipped into our suits, slathered on our sunscreen, and suited up in our goggles and floaties. We opened the back door and a wave of sweltering hot air blew in on our faces. Any sweat that was already beading on our foreheads was instantly dried.

I took the cover off the pool and tested the water; it was a cool 92 degrees. Jake decided to take his super-duper squirt gun into the pool with him, and promptly filled it up. "Just squirt the plants and grass, dear." I warned.

A few minutes had passed by and I was standing on the grass about five feet from the pool hosing off the dirty pool filter when all of the sudden I got squirted in the middle of my back with a warm, sharp, blast of water! "Hey!" I called out, then turned around to get blasted yet again, but this time in the middle of my forehead. "Cut it out!" I yelled momentarily blinded by the chlorinated water quickly settling inside my tear ducts, causing my mascara to goop and clump. I could hear giggling and snickering from the direction of the pool. "Stop, let me finish so I can join you in the pool!" I attempted.

I turned around and bent over to pick up the filter (which was flung on the ground during all the commotion) when I got blasted again, this time on my rear-end. "Eeek!" I ran to the garden hose, whipped it on, and turned toward the pool. That little devil swam under the water. No problem, I'd just wait until he resurfaced. Well, apparently he's gotten pretty good at swimming. He'd dive under for quite a few seconds, come up for a breath or two, then dive back down again. I was too proud to squirt him. Oh what a fool I was...

I tucked the hose into the side of the pool to allow some cold water to filter in with the warm. I dove in and laid on my back to relax. Just as I was about to say "Ahhh", I was hit with ice cold water right on my face! I jumped up and turned away from the child hosing me down. Blindly, I tried reaching for him or the hose, and I was hit in the face from the other direction with the warm pool water by my other child. One had me with the hose and one had me with the squirt gun. I was guzzling water by the gallons, my nose was running, and my mascara had glued my eyelids shut. My eyes stung like crazy from the water, and my face literally hurt from all the torment.

"Enough!!" I shouted. Both kids got yanked from the pool and stood like wet cats, dripping on the grass. I took a minute to control my emotions, and stomped over to the spout to shut off the hose. I turned to lecture them, but found my oldest with a very solemn expression on his face. "You're the one who added the hose to the pool..." he pointed out. This was true, and due to the blazing heat we were all dried before I could even reach for a towel. I decided to call a truce, and sent the little devils inside for a movie and a snack. "They better watch out at bathtime..." I cackled to myself...

Thursday, July 3, 2008


The great thing about being in my twenties is that I still look relatively young... the awful thing about being in my twenties is that I still get zits. Not so much full-blown acne, the zits are kind enough to appear just a few at a time. And they never show up on a weekend, or a slow week where we spend a lot of time at home. It never fails, they always show up on a big night out, or right before an event, or on the day my foundation runs out. And of course, it's usually when a crater appears on the tip of my nose that I run into an old boyfriend or ex work-colleague.

My sister was kind enough to invite me along to her photography shoot this past weekend, which was a beautiful (and big) wedding. During the middle of the wedding reception I could feel a zit surfacing on my chin. Great, just great... I finally get a chance to go somewhere in a dress with no kids, and it's all going to be ruined by a Jay Leno inspired zit. Little did I know it was the calm before the storm!

A few days later I start to feel another zit forming on my forehead. Wonderful, and with my side-swept bangs it won't even come close to covering it. The zit is the size of Mongolia and right in the middle of my forehead, down between my eyebrows, hovering like a third eye. It's not the kind you can pop, it's the rounded type that is sore to the touch. So last night I started my treatments on it, applied some specialized creams that cost me an arm and a leg, and went to bed. I awoke thinking I had discouraged the little bugger, only to find it had doubled in size overnight!

Knowing that "a zit should never be popped" I've desperately tried covering it up all day long. I've concealed and re-concealed it like thirteen times, I've applied and re-applied my foundation about fifteen times, but to no avail the zit remained unchanged. And this was the day where I had a million places to go and a hundred people to see. I saw my good friend at Jake's summer school this morning, and all I could think to ask her was if my shirt made me look pregnant. I got a big fat "no" on that one (I love her), but I couldn't bare to ask her about the island on my forehead.

Then my stay-at-home-mom's group met at the mall today and I felt like everyone was staring at my third eye than my other two brown ones. And later this afternoon I had babysat Jake's best buddy, and when his dad came to pick him up I tried doing a lot of staring down at my toes, but he ended up chatting with me for thirty minutes, and there was no hiding it. After he left I ran to the bathroom to see how awful it was, and found not only was it still growing, but it had darkened in color.

Good grief. I've still been trying to dispose of it, but I'm having no luck. If anyone has any great pimple popping advice, I'd love to hear about it. Otherwise I'll be in hibernation for the next week or two...

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Target Drama

This morning I had a couple of errands to run, first to the pet store for dog food and then to Target for new pool filters. I love Target because they have everthing from underwear to chips and salsa to bug spray all in one store. I hate Target because everything I seem to need is located in or near the toy section. Light bulbs: across from the swim toys. Baby wipes: across from the toddler toys. Pool filters: next to the aisle with the Star Wars figurines. You can imagine the drama that ensued...

After I said for about the sixth time, "I'm ONLY buying pool filters today", and after the boys had looked at every toy possible on the Legos aisle, the cars and trucks aisle, and the figurine aisles... I said, "We're done. Let's go!" and I made a beeline for the front registers. This of course encouraged more whining from my five-year-old, Jake, and was soon accompanied by his begging and pleading for a "cheap Lego toy". After another firm "no" on my part (I was so proud of myself for not giving in), and after I pried a barbie doll from my two-year-old's hands, we headed toward the check-out. I could see the sunlight beckoning me from the front windows and automatic doors, saying "come toward the light", so I was encouraged that my journey was almost over...

And then we passed by the toothbrush aisle and Jake almost bull-dozed a lady in a walker trying to swing my cart in that direction. After a short lecture on paying attention to our surroundings (which went in one ear and out the other) my son began the begging and pleading act once more, this time over an automatic Power Rangers toothbrush. I could see this would soon turn into a whining, near tears fit if I didn't handle the situation properly, so I bargained with him: after our dentist appointment today, if he had no cavities, we would come back and get the darn toothbrush. This seemed to appease him... for about a minute and a half...

We headed toward the registers and all of the sudden Jake starts throwing himself around in a sort of toddler way, whining and moaning, and practically insisting that we return to the toothbrush aisle. Jake was pulling the cart away from me, while I'm trying to remain calm and collected, not daring to give up my space in line. And Ben's watching with utter fascination. You could just see the wheels turning in Ben's little head while he watched his big brother... "Oh, this is how I'm supposed to act to get what I want..." WRONG!

So I calmly but firmly told Jake he needed to stop or he would go on a time-out to his room when we got home. He continued his horrific behavior so I told him, "That's it. You now have a time-out." Of course this produced bigger, louder, tears and screams and when it was finally my turn to pay the woman looks at me with a plastered smile on her face and said, "And how are you doing today?" I just kind of stared at her, "Oh, just peachy..." I managed to sarcastically spit out.

When we got home, Jake went to his room for his time-out (kudos again to me for following through with my punishment--an area I tend to lag on a little) and then we had a nice long talk about proper five-year-old behavior in a store. In a half hour I get the joy of taking both of my children to the dentist by myself... there might be another blog about that later...

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

What a day

My kids were very disappointed in the pool today (or, rather, I was disappointed that they couldn't be occupied in our pool today). It was really murky and dirty due to the slathers of sunscreen that we pile on our kids every day, and I kind of felt like the Health Inspecters would come knocking on my door if I let my kids play in it.

The problem was the dirty, disgustingly gross, filter. I was out of clean ones, so I decided to pull out the current filter and just hose it off. After breaking a nail trying to untwist the top, I was finally able to lift the lid off, but because I was bent down so low I got splattered with dirty filter water right on my face. Then my legs were itching like crazy, but in my attempt to hose off the cartridge (thinking the itchiness was compliments of the grass), I finally realized it wasn't grass irritation, but ants. And lots of them! All over my legs and arms and swimsuit!

I finally got the darn thing cleaned of most of the grunge it had acquired, put it back in the container and tightened it down. My two boys and I bent our heads over the side of the pool to examine the results: still murky. Not Health Inspection dirty, but "foggy" at best. I said to heck with it, and sent the kiddos indoors to watch a movie and enjoy a sticky treat.

Then later that day, at two different times, I managed to burn my finger (the one with the broken nail) in two different places. I splattered spaghetti sauce on my favorite white tank and then proceeded to splatter it all over the kitchen in a million different spots all the size of the head of a pin. My son dumped a big cup-full of bathtub water onto the bathroom rug, which splattered onto the Pergo floor, my son had two bloody noses today, and there's dog hair all over my dining room. This has turned into quite a day!