Sunday, December 30, 2007

Harvest Moon

While we were in Phoenix, we took a day trip to Tucson, to check out the town. Matt had an interview there, and we wanted to get a feel for the place. Tucson is a unique place--- it doesn't try to mask its desert landscape (unlike Phoenix, which feels like an annex of California). It's surrounded by mountains, and with the cactus, and the scrubby landscape- it feels like a Neil Young video or something. I really, really liked it.

We started our day by eating at Mia Nidito, a famous, traditional Mexican food joint. It's been open since the 50's, and President Clinton ate there so many times, they have named a special for him (Presidente Especiale- which must have been created before his bypass, because it's something like a tamale, a burrito, a tostada and 2 enchiladas). George W. Bush felt so left out, he finally paid them a visit and insisted on hanging his picture on the wall- with the inscription "You need a few good Republicans hanging on this wall." Despite it being a local institution, and thus having a 45 minute wait at 3pm in the afternoon- we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

Driving through the foothills of Tucson, we were struck by the beauty of the desert. Desert is an acquired taste--- some folks either grow to love it- others think it is terribly ugly. We happen to love it. The light is truly different there- everything seems starkly in focus- and sharper and crisper than anywhere else. On our drive back to Phoenix, we had the sun setting on one side of us- and a full moon romancing us on the other. It looks like you are driving through the bottom of the ocean- with all of the water sucked out of it. When I told this to Matt, he told me that at one time, it was the bottom of the ocean- so there.

It did feel good to see palm trees, bouganvilla and Trader Joes again. No matter where I land next year, the Southwest will always feel like home.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Have Yourself A Smelly Little Christmas

Dear Santa,
It was so nice of you to take such good care of my girls this year, but can I clarify a few things for next year? I know my girls only asked for lipgloss (and a remote controlled robot, but whatever). It was awesome of you to run to the corner gas station and clear them out of chapsticks, but next year- can we get PRETEND makeup? It seems my 2 little girls love to take their chapsticks to bed, and this makes for a sticky night time routine.

Also, not to sound ungrateful, but even though my 4 year old was more than ecstatic to find the Barbie perfume in her Christmas stocking---- any chance of making this stuff smell less like a Hannah Montana Whorehouse? The smallest dab reeks of teen angst, and I can't get the scent out of my house. It's giving me a Barbie pink headache.

The girls are in love with their dress up dresses, and their princess high heeled shoes. Scarily enough- my 2 year old walks better in pink plastic stilettos than I do. Please do not bring any pint sized stripper poles next year. We'll stick with the marabou trimmed shoes, for now.
Much Love,

Thursday, December 27, 2007

It's All in the Numbers...

3 suitcases unpacked, waiting to be put away.
1200 Christmas presents, littering the living room- no room to be put away.
2 cookie exchange cookies eaten for breakfast (dried cherry chocolate chip, in fact)
1 toddler, wearing Ariel underwear, pink butterfly socks and Sleeping Beauty high heels- and nothing else.

And so it begins--- the last potty training marathon of my child rearing years.

100 Lysol disinfectant wipes, ready and waiting.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

From the Mouths of Preschoolers

What a Christmas! We flew back from Phoenix this morning, where we crashed at my older brother's house. Since my little brother is still in Iraq, we thought it best to distract Granny with all four of her grandchildren on Christmas morning. It worked! They were... simply put- hilarious. Only a few power struggles, a couple of time outs and one incident involving Annie, a hammer and some dings in a wall- but hey! That's what Home Depot is for.

Every holiday dinner, since I was a kid- we ring the bell. It's a tradition started by my grandparents, and one we continue today. Usually, we are all wearing our paper crowns on our heads (the ones that came in our Christmas crackers) and it's your moment to stop eating and give a toast. It's ALWAYS my favorite part of Christmas. (after presents, of course). This year, it was so darling to see my 4 year old daughter and my 4 year old nephew give their toasts. (They were born exactly one day apart.)

Here's Annie's toast: (she has a purple crown on her head, worn "ghetto style" with it drooping down over her eyes).

"Merry Christmas! I want to say that I like my family to be nice to me." (someone inserts joke about a hammer here). "I love having dinner with you guys, and I really loved making orange juice with you this morning." (My Dad brought oranges from his trees, and the kids all took turns at the juicer).

Here is Jack's toast. (he is not wearing a crown, has not had a nap and has had people in his house for 4 days):

"Eat your food. Drink your drink. Then go back to your own houses."

And to all, a goodnight!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Good... The Bad & The Crazy

Christmas Trees
The Good: Filled with meaningful ornaments, delights kids every morning with "oohs and wows". Fun and festive.
The Bad: I dread having to pack up all of the ornaments, take the tree apart, vacuum up the fake needles and shuffle everything off to the garage.

The Good: Take monthly opportunity to let loose all of the pent up rage, bitterness and frustration that may be festering about. I feel better, family just thinks I'm crazy.
The Bad: dealing with all of the pent up rage, bitterness and frustration.

Opi Lincoln Park After Dark nail polish
The Good: I bought this to make my footsies look hip and stylish and fun.
The Bad: bottle smashed on tile floor of my bathroom and did not make my bathrobe, or bath mat hip, stylish and fun.

The Good: Decaf iced vanilla latte with nonfat milk so very, very good.
The Bad: When moron barrista gives me iced regular coffee, so very very bad.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Feels Like Yesterday...

Tomorrow Lucy has her just-over-six-month checkup with her Ear, Nose & Throat Surgeon. Last May, Lucy had tubes put in her ears. The six ear infections in six months kind of indicated something was up with her ears, and the tubes helped tremendously. She's only had one infection since then, and it was right after the surgery. However, even knowing that this was an outpatient procedure, and even knowing that my husband is a surgeon and assured me this was no big deal, I sufficiently freaked out the day of her surgery.

We don't have any family in town- and I really wanted Matt to come to the hospital. As luck would have it, the procedure was scheduled for the same day as Annie's Mother's celebration at school. We didn't want her to be the only kid without a parent there, so we all went to the hospital as a family. Matt stayed with Annie in the waiting room, and I went back to the pre-op room with Lucy. There were probably 10 other kids there, with their parents, waiting to have tubes put in, or their adenoids removed. The kids were in heaven- they were playing with tricycles, LIttle Tike cars, wagons and each other. The parents all smiled at one another, and I started to pace the room nervously.

At around 8:00am, the surgical teams started coming in. Texas Children's has a policy that they like the parents to connect with the surgical teams prior to the big event. So, nurses, anesthesiologists and surgeons all mingled into the room, and it started to look like a big, happy medical cocktail party- complete with small talk, sans vodka. All of the other parents looked remarkably composed.... yours truly did not. This is about the time I started to freak.

I smiled at the nurse, made nice with the anesthesiologist, but when her surgeon walked up to me and shook my hand- I started to shake all over. He put his hand on my back, and I started that awful girlie half laugh and half cry- and sputtered to him "Dr. XYZ, You have to promise me you will take good care of her. I'm not sure if you know this, but She's a VERY special girl." I'm sure all of the parents around me were like "Oh yeah, our kids are normal, but that one over there- with the freaky mom, she needs VIP treatment."

Luckily, Lucy's surgeon is not only well versed in removing icky Elmer's- like glue from ears and inserting tubes, he can also dialogue with panicked parents. "Kristen," he assured me, "I will treat her like my own." I walked down the hallway, and passed my baby to the nurse just outside the door of the operating room. Then, I'm embarrassed to admit- I ran like a banshee back to the waiting room so I couldn't hear if she cried or not.

Matt and Annie were playing a video game- and quite oblivious to the drama playing out in my head. Around the time they were supposed to call me back in to the post-op recovery room, Matt decided he had to go to the men's room. I looked at him in disbelief, and my look must have conveyed my wish for the fastest mens room trip possible, because he was back, in like three seconds. Of course, it was 2 seconds too late, as they had paged me the minute the bathroom room door closed.

Shooting him the dirtiest look possible for even having a bladder, I ran down the hallway as fast as I could. There was my baby, swaddled in a blanket, in the arms of a nurse. They passed her to me, and gently ushered me into a rocking chair. I rocked her, and sang to her, as she shrugged off the last of her morphine induced sleep. She looked pale, she looked sleepy, but she looked ok.

Tomorrow, she gets her ears checked. Statistically, one, or two of the tubes will have probably fallen out. (We're pretty sure the right one did). Which means, Dear Reader, that I get to relive all of this loveliness once again. This time, Matt's going to have to hold it.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Somebody's Watching Me

A family friend gave us this for Christmas this year. I had my girls open him up last night, and they have named him Sprinkle. I was a little worried he would freak them out a bit, but no worries on that front. The girls are OBSESSED wth Sprinkle. They run in from playing outside, to yell hello at him. They constantly ask me when he will fly back to Santa, and tonight I caught Annie faking being asleep- in hopes of seeing him fly off.

He's quite handy too. Today, after Annie refused to clean up the playroom, I brought Sprinkle in to witness her protests first hand. Before I could even threaten one little threat, she was tossing toys in baskets faster than you can say "Holy cow, thank God for creepy elf dolls."

This is the coolest thing EVER. If you don't have one, I strongly suggest you do- and Santa's little helpers didn't pay me to say that. I've gotta go help Sprinkle "fly" to a new location now...

Baby Needs A New Pair Of Shoes

Stride Rite is supposedly having a killer sale right now, but I still managed to spend a fortune on each of my kids today. Despite a 2 year age difference, they both insist on wearing the same exact shoes- which is a little "Whatever Happened to Baby Jane", but whatever.

Why is it that every kid thinks new shoes can give them magical powers? Annie was under the impression her hot pink mary janes could make her jump six feet into the air. When that failed, she resorted to running in circles in the cramped shoe store. Hmmm.... I wonder if that would work for me. Maybe I should go buy a new pair of ballet flats- and they would suddenly enable me to lose 30lbs and remember how to do differential equations. I think I may just have to try that.

In other news, the cookies are killing me. I've got to get them out of the house. I unloaded a slew of them on my playgroup, but they literally call to me late at night. I hear those Nanaimo bars, deep in the freezer, saying "Krrriiiisssten..... come and marvel at our chocolatey wonder! Watch us make your ass expand!" I hate them. I love them. I must get them the hell out of here.

Can I send anyone an edible care package?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Cookie Monster

Cookie exchange a huge hit. I walked away with Mexican wedding cookies, butterscotch haystacks, Nanamo bars, pumpkin chocolate cheesecake bars, cherry chocolate chip cookies, butterscotch goldies, cheerio cranberry treats, elf hat cookies, snickerdoodles and chocolate cinnamon cookies. If anyone wants a recipe, drop me a comment and I'll send it along.

I wound up drinking way too much eggnog laced with Southern comfort and a wine called "Mommy's Time Out." Somehow, I thought it was festive to tell the story of my favorite "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" episode where they make over a guy that loves to go to nudist camps. They help him throw a black tie holiday party, and watch in horror as they all strip out of their formalwear. At one point, Ted Allen shrieks "There's testicles hanging over my hummus!" Ah, yes, good holiday fun.

We hosted playgroup yesterday, and turned it into a Christmas party of sorts. The kids were supposed to decorate cookies- but they all piled into the backyard and pretended to hide from bears. While they were busy, we mixed up a batch of cosmopolitans for the mommies, and had a gift exchange. I wound up with a copy of Jessica Seinfeld's book "Deceptively Delicious." I look forward to sneaking some healthy goodness into my kids' crap foods.

Today we're off to a matinee of the new Chipmunks movie- and plan on eating some cookies.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

End of An Era

Last night, after I put the girls to bed in the room they share, I snuggled up with my laptop and started to relax. Then I heard Annie- shrieking like a banshee.
"Mommmmmmy! Mommmmy! Come see what Lucy is doing!" she cried.
Then I heard 2 little voices of maniacal laughter.

I hightailed it to their room, only to see my Lucy- my precious, sweet-faced girl- with one leg swung over the crib and a determined look on her face. With visions of pink footie carnage on the bedroom floor, I immediately swung into mother-of-the-year mode. (Well, a mother-of-the-year that sounds like she stars on NYPD Blue).


I did not have to get the big fat man on the phone, but I do feel it is only a matter of time. I will miss you, crib o'mine- container of all that is destructive and purveyor of a few more minutes of sleep. Damn you big girl bed. And couldn't you have waited until after Christmas?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Half Baked

I'm going to a Christmas cookie exchange this week. You know.... where you bring oodles and oodles of cookies, and so does everybody else, and you swap cookies, and then undo all of the hard work you've done at the gym all year? Sigh.

I'm making these cookies. I actually made them tonight, and they look pretty good. I wanted to make something my husband would enjoy testing for me- for, despite his protests and increasing waist size, there is no better person to cook for. I could serve this guy poopie diaper on a stick, (well, not really) but he's so darned appreciative of each and everything that I make- that sometimes it's a hassle to try and figure out if a recipe is a keeper. I finally got him over this phobia that if he says he doesn't like something I'll never cook for him again, and he still says it diplomatically, but you get the point.

So when I whipped out the pink kitchenaid tonight, Matt started groaning. He started grumbling about fatty foods, and bigger pants and jowls and old age- and I let him sulk on the couch until the first batch came out of the oven. Then he came jigging over, asking how fast the frosting could be made, and how long it was until "his" cookie was ready. Hah. Let's hope he still eats his beloved oatmeal tomorrow, and doesn't mooch my cookie exchange bounty for breakfast.

Spring Fever

ooh. Spring better hurry up soon.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Stomach Ache

Took kids to Costco. Costco celebrating holiday season with insane amount of samples. Below is a small representation of the samples my kids scarfed down:

Almond butter
Progresso chicken noodle soup
Cajun chicken pasta
Egg nog
teriyaki meatballs
sun dried tomato meatballs
chips and salsa
chocolate muffins
rotisserie chicken
beef stroganoff
lobster bisque
chicken pecan salad
cream puffs

Anybody want to come over and change Lucy's diaper for me today? Pretty please?

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Sunday School

Our neighbors have a nativity scene set up in their front yard. This made Annie very curious.
"Mommy? Who is that?" she asks.
I explain that it is Baby Jesus, and that Christmas Day is actually Jesus' birthday.
"Is he having a Pump It Up Party? Am I invited? Will there be cake?" she asks.

Later that day, we pass a local church that has a huge statue of Christ in front.

"Mommy? Who is that?" Annie asks again.
I explain that Baby Jesus grew into a man, and that this statue is of Him.

"Is Jesus a big boy now?" Annie asks.
"Yes." I reply.
"Does Jesus wear big kid underwear like me?" Annie asks.
"Yes." I reply.
"How old is Jesus?" Annie asks.
"He's very, very old." I answer.
"Oh, like Daddy." Annie says.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Fatbusters & Nutcrackers

My tummy is happy. Just got back from a swanky dinner with my husband. Nice pinot, aged rib eye and chocolate cobbler to harden up the ol' arteries and remind me that I'm now in the mid-smack-dab-middle of my thirties. I wore a Karen Kane black wrap dress with a necklace that my Mom forgot to take home with her over Thanksgiving (score!). As I struggled into my shapewear, my Lucy watched me get dressed.

"Mommy?" she asks, as I wriggled and wriggled into the damn thing. "Whatcha doin?"
"Mommy is encasing her extremities in lycra so that she'll have to go to the ladies room just to take a deep breath." I gasp.
"Mommy, you funny." she says, in disgust, as she toddles away.

Earlier today, I took the girls to a community theatre that was featuring a play based upon The Nutcracker. It was an 11am matinee, and the girls gussied up in their holiday dresses and were on their best behavior. We were a tad late, and entered the theatre as Marie and the Nutcracker started getting serious. Lucy screams, "Mommy? It's too dark in here!"I got nervous, not knowing how the rest of the afternoon was going to go. Little did I know...

Annie spent the entire time waving at the actors, and saying "Hello! Hello over there!' During intermission, they let kids come up on stage and sing Christmas carols. Annie didn't even wait for an invitation. She hopped out of her seat, with her little sister in tow, and waved to the crowd, sang Jingle Bells, and milked it for all its worth. When they were escorted off stage, you could hear Annie bellow "That was fun! Can we go back onstage?" Someone coughed and Annie gently reminded them to "cover your mouth when you cough". I think the ushers were very glad to see us going.

Up Late

It's 4am, and yours truly once again has insomnia. It doesn't help that I stumbled across an awesome site and am laughing at a couple of stocking stuffers I was able to buy. I'm bummed I bought my friend's birthday present already, or I would totally get her an "I Love Jake Ryan" t-shirt. She's a huge Sixteen Candles fan.

In other news, my 35th birthday was awesome! It was so wonderful to hear from my friends and family, and the best part is seeing how excited the kids get. I treated myself to a much needed manicure/pedicure, took the girls to playgroup and had some wine with my friends, and then came home and celebrated with Matt. He treated me to some ridiculously expensive parfum (I've never had real parfum before!) and the festivities continue this weekend.

I showed our house to a really nice couple that is moving here for a fellowship next year. The whole moving thing is still pretty surreal- but it freaks me out that we'll be packing up and shifting off to (where?) somewhere in just a few months. One thing at a time... first, I need to go get more sleep.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Happy New Year

So, the year is ending and 2008 is almost upon us. I love how Elizabeth Gilbert refers to the new year as a net that stretches over us- a net filled with a year's worth of births, deaths, laughs, cries etc. It makes me think of this approaching year a bit differently. The older I get, the more I realize a new year can contain upcoming loss as well as joy. Kind of brooding for someone as chipper as myself, but when things are this good- it makes me nervous.

To lighten things up- I realize I've followed through with most of my 2007 resolutions.

I am working out more. I've suffered through pilates, yoga and the treadmill- and while I'm no skinny minnie- I'm thinner than I was, and definitely healthier. I won't say I love exercise, but I do now acknowledge that it makes me feel better. Ironically, my armpits and ankles did not get skinnier until I stopped lifting weights. I still haven't worked up the courage to go back to the class taught by the senior citizen Barbie. She scared the bejeezus out of me.

I shop with purpose. My closet used to be filled with nonsensical pieces that didn't relate to one another. It made getting dressed a huge upheaval, and left me in a crumpled, (naked) mess on my closet floor. No more. Now, when I shop- I do the whole shebang. I buy in outfits- which makes tons more sense. It's also rewarding- to see things through and find just the right shoes and accessories.

Which brings me to another point- I'm wearing more accessories. I discovered the jewelry section at Target, and haven't been the same since. I love their big, chunky necklaces- and when I get the occasional compliment, I love shocking people by gleefully yelling- "I got it at Target for $9.99!" I'm so classy.

I have regularly scheduled date nights with the hubby. We had a dry spell where we didn't go out as a couple for SIX months. And I wondered why I was drooling all over myself and speaking in tongues? It's not fancy- but it gives me a chance to put on some lipstick and pretend to be grown up.

Well 2007- you have been very good to us. You've kept my brother safe, given us a new little niece who is now almost 4 lbs!, kept our family healthy and strong and taught me the importance of accessorizing. Thanks 2007- it's been real. Please do me a favor and tell your buddy 2008 to take it easy on us.

My Ten Minutes

I got interviewed for our local Mom's group. It was so very nice of them to think of me for this, and I hope I didn't ruin things by being a bit more snarkily humorous than sappy. Here's a copy of the interview:

When and why did you join the Mom's group?? I joined in the summer of 2006. We had just moved here from San Diego, and I was knee deep in moving boxes and freaking out over the weather- when I bumped into Lori XXX. She took pity on me and suggested I join - best thing I ever did!

What is most rewarding about your involvement with the Mom's group? There are so many things. First, for a new girl in town- there is no better way to acclimate yourself. I love the forums--- and I’ve gotten great advice on where to go out to eat, where to vacation- a good pediatric dentist- it’s great. On a more personal note, the friends I have made are without a doubt, the absolute best part. My little Friday playgroup and monthly outing to Cooking Club keep me sane.

Where were you born? Where did you grow up? I was born in Clifton, New Jersey. My Dad was a Colonel in the Air Force, so I’ve lived in many different places: Texas, Virginia, Hawaii, Southern California and New York.
How long have you lived in Houston? A little over a year. It took me a bit to adjust, but now I really love living here. The Tree Roaches still freak me out, though.

What is your husband’s name-please feel free to
fill in what you like or find interesting about him
e.g. how long married, where you met, occupation,
quirks etc...

My husband’s name is Matt. He’s completing a fellowship, and he works a ton. Some of my friends think he’s a figment of my imagination- but I promise you! He does exist. We’ve been married 11 years. I met Matt in high school; we’ve been together since I was 16. He taught me how to drive, and don’t tell anyone- but he used to bake me cookies during my finals in college. You guys should see our prom picture- it’s hilarious.

Tell me about your children. My daughter Annie is four. She likes to pretend she is either Winnie the Pooh or Peter Pan. She imagines she has her own Food Network show (really!) and makes friends wherever she goes. Lucy turned 2 this October. Lucy is quite fond of the color purple, afraid of pirates, thinks everyday is Tuesday, and thoroughly enjoys preschool. She’s also quite the Cinderella aficionado.

What are some things you like to do as a family? We go out for breakfast every Sunday- usually to Café Brasil or Empire. Afterwards, we hit one of the parks, or go the YMCA pool. I feel very strongly about having the family eat dinner together. Sometimes that can be rough with Matt’s schedule, but we frequently bring dinner in to the hospital and have our family time there. I can’t believe I am admitting this in public, but we also play games together- our current favorite is a Disney DVD Bingo- you guys have to check this out! I’m embarrassed to admit that Matt and I can be quite competitive with our after-dinner family bingo games. It’s all about the blackout, y’all!

How would you describe your parenting style? I think parenting is like that Bill Murray movie, “Groundhog Day.” Every day, you wake up to the same exact thing you did yesterday---- but what worked for you yesterday, doesn’t work today. You’ve got to constantly change up your game. I am blessed with very unique children- so the average parenting book doesn’t really fly in our house. I always struggle with the issue of “when do you let them go and try things for themselves and when do you let them depend on you?” I’ve got one very dependent child, and one very independent one- so it’s not a “one size fits all” parenting method here. I’m always on the lookout for something new.

Do you remind yourself of your mom and how? Yes, when I’m yelling at my kids and call them by their full names. Just kidding! Ok, not really- I think my Mom only gave me a middle name so I could gauge how mad she was when she called me in for dinner. My Mom did an excellent job of being a stay-at-home Mom, but also not comprising her entire identity on being a Mom. I hope I can do the same for my girls. I’m trying- but it’s easy to get obsessed with poopie diapers and eating habits.

What are some of the values that you want your
children to learn?
My husband has this incredible quality of being absolutely brilliant, but having this amazing work ethic. I hope this passes down to my girls. I want them to value hard work. I want them to have integrity, and a good sense of who they are and not be manipulated by celebrities that don’t wear underwear or can’t read a map. I want them to have compassion, and a good sense of humor, and find beauty and joy in their every day life. I also want them to take very good care of me when I’m old.

How has having a family changed you? If you had told me four years ago that I would be driving a Honda Odyssey, frequently go out in public in my yoga pants with no makeup and would consider showering every day a major accomplishment I would tell you that you must have been drinking.

What do you enjoy most about being a mother? The snuggles. The belly laughs. The unconditional love. The excuse to eat macaroni and cheese.

What is your most challenging aspect of being a
? The power struggles. Raising strong independent women can be fun, but they make for pretty difficult toddlers.

Favorite thing to do in the area. With or without family. There is so much to do in this city. It seems like every day, I get to have an adventure with my girls. It can be something as simple as meeting friends at the YMCA pool, browsing through Central Market, checking out the Natural History Museum, going bowling at Palace Lanes, or hanging out at Café Brasil- but I’ve really grown to truly love Houston. I’m also madly in love with the Hyatt Lost Pines, and think my dinner at the Roundtop Café is in the top five best meals of my life.

How do you take time for yourself? My Lucy just started going to preschool this fall, so I have 3 mornings a week all to myself. At first I had no clue what to do with myself, but I am slowly adjusting.

Hobbies? I read a lot- on average, 3-4 books a week. I also love to cook, and am blessed with a husband and children that like to eat. A little known hobby is I also have a blog- that I’m surprised to say, is gaining in readers every day, but I will not mention it here for fear you will actually read it.

Anything you'd like to add?? Nothing, but thank you so much for asking me to do this- and can I give a little shout out to my playgroup? “Wooohooo! Kirstin/Adrienne/Martha/Stacy/Alisa and Allison!” Oh yes, and if anyone wants to come over for a mean game of Disney Bingo, you are most welcome.

Monday, December 3, 2007


Setting the scene: We had family movie night on Saturday. Complete with popcorn and jammies- my kids loved the old school rendition of "Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer." I overheard this yesterday morning:

Annie: Good morning Lucy! I am Rudolph.
Lucy: G' mornin Rudolph.
Annie: Want to be my best friend?
Lucy : Ok!
Annie: You have to be a silly elf, though.
Lucy: Ok!
Annie: Alright then. Let's go play some reindeer games.
Lucy: OK!
Annie: Like bingo and puzzles. That's what reindeers like to play.

I wonder what seeing Frosty is going to do to them.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Holiday Cheer

This time of year reminds me of when I worked retail. Way back when, I was a buyer for a department store chain in New York City. It was tons of fun- and I would spend oodles of money in short spans of time (I once wrote orders for $4,000,000 in 2 days) but I had to work so much that the rats in the New York subway had a better quality of life than I did.

Anywhoo....when the hours got long, we tried to amuse ourselves with practical jokes. One of my favorites was around Christmas time. It was the height of Teletubby fever- and these scary stuffed animals were flying out the door. We had classic management back then--- a real mahogany row of executive offices, flanked by steely eyed secretaries, and a chairman who smoked cigars and was famous for his temper tantrums. You never spoke to management directly. They called a Senior VP, who called your Divisional, and then you were called into an office and chewed out for not reordering/ordering too much/ being a moron. It was a very uplifting experience.

One December afternoon, I got bored- and grew tired of listening to my officemate beg her vendor for a reorder of Teletubbies. I scooted over to the men's buying office, and cooerced one of my friends into this prank:

Pretending to be the chairman's secretary, I called my officemate. When she answered the phone, I said in my best Mary Poppins voice: "Please hold for Mr. XXXX (grumpy, cigar smoking, chair throwing chairman).

I then threw the phone to my buddy, and listened as my officemate nervously said hello. He returned, in his best, cigar smoking, belittling fashion:

"Annabelle? My kid's having a birthday this weekend, and I want to get him one of those f#@king' Teletubbies. Bring me a Tinky Winky to my office Immediately!" and with that, he slammed down the phone.

As she quickly tried to locate her tinky winky and make her way to the elevator, we smothered our laughter into samples of men's scarves. This was almost as good as the time my boss convinced me one of my vendor's was the mafia. Almost., but not quite.

Dear Diary

Note to Self:

Why, oh why did you burn a CD of Christmas music and put it in the car? Annie and Lucy are now obsessed with the Big Bad Voodoo Daddy's rendition of "Heat Miser" and run around the house singing "Toooo Much." If I hear Jinglebell Rock one more time, I may take a jingle ball and....well... I'll save that one for when I'm in better company.

How, how on earth do we have ANOTHER birthday party to go to tomorrow? And why does it start at 9:45 am? And please, let the newly divorced, freaky dad be absent from tomorrow's festivities. He's making all the moms feel creepy. Do you think the jumpee place will serve vanilla lattes with the pizza? Because at 9:45 am, I like a little espresso with my pepperoni. I'm just saying.

Have fun at the party!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Romance, Redefined

My husband can be quite the romantic. For those that know him, this news may be as startling as finding out that Britney Spears reads Parenting magazine, but it's really true. When we were dating in college, he sent me so many flowers, that I used to overhear my roommate on the phone with her boyfriend hissing "She got them again! Get over here pronto, and pick up some flowers on the way." He even surprised me one morning, pre-kids, by compromising his masculinity and buying me a Celine Dion album. He left it on my seat in my car, so I found it when I went to work the next morning. Alas, eleven years and 2 kids later, traditional romance has taken a backseat to poopie diapers (he HAS left these in my car, only to be found AFTER I promised to give a Vice-President with no kids a ride to his hotel, but that's a story for another time). But, it does not mean romance is dead.

Instead of jewelry, my hubby cleaned up Thanksgiving dinner completely by himself. This is the post-kid equivalent to receiving 2 dozen red roses. He also extended the duration of an out of state interview so we could spend an upcoming holiday with my family. When I couldn't believe this was HIS idea, he said "I just want to make you happy." This, ladies and gentlemen, is the post-kids equivalent of receiving a four carat pave' diamond ring. Now, if only he would learn that if he took the kids out for breakfast completely on his own, and then to the park one early Sunday morning, this would equate to the post-kid equivalent of reliving our honeymoon.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Doctor's Office

My kid is a champ. She braved her way through five whole shots, with barely a whimper. She hugged our doctor, drew her a picture of Pooh bear (what else?), read from a book and checked my reflexes. On our way out, she stopped by the waiting room and asked everyone waiting (it was quite full) if they would like to see her owies. She got her pants about halfway down before I was able to stop her. She then walked around the waiting room, pronounced each baby "pretty" and gave a 12 year old boy a kiss. After this visit, Mommy needed Tylenol.

Christmas Time... Is Here...

It's official- Christmas has finally entered the building. We polished off the finishing touches on the tree last night, and then kicked off the season with our annual "Charlie Brown Christmas" DVD last night. Now my kids are running around, pretending to be Charlie Brown and sing Vince Guiraldi- pretty brutal rendition before morning coffee, but who am I to judge?

We've got a fun filled day ahead of us- Annie's 4 year old checkup. Since I chickened out on her shot last year, that means she'll get a measly FIVE shots this morning. She asked me last night if there would be any, and I didn't have the heart to lie to her. She's a little brave soldier, but after the third one, she may turn into Linda Blair.

At yet another birthday party on Sunday, my little Lucy told a very funny joke--- for a 2 year old. The kids had just finished gorging on pizza and cake, when Lucy toddles over to where all of the grown ups are huddling.

"Mommy? Me hungwy." Lucy says.
"Really Lucy? What are you hungry for?" says Mommy.
"Me hungwy for cake."
Crowd roars. (I guess you needed to see Lucy's face, already covered in chocolate cake, to drive home the funny-ness).

Now, Lucy has learned the power of working a crowd, and telling a joke. At random times, she'll come wandering up and say "Cake" and expect the masses to dissolve into giggles. Oh boy- just what this family needs: more bad comedians.

Friday, November 23, 2007

The Real Holiday

I must, affectionately called "Black Friday" is one of my all time favorite days of the year. Not because I get up at the crack of dawn to go shopping (no way!)... but because for me, this is the real holiday. In years past, Matt and I hosted both of our families for Thanksgiving. We've never had a large house, so having 20+ people over was always kind of a big deal. It involved days of cooking, rearranging furniture (one year we took everything out of our living room and set up one huge banquet table) and oodles of logistics and last minute prep. By the end of it- I was creaking around like an 80 year old woman and wondering why I ever did this.

Then Friday would come. Most of the family have gone to their respective homes, and the much smaller group spends the day in our jammies, eating leftovers, watching movies, drinking wine and playing board games. H-E-A-V-E-N.

This year, my parents drove out from California with their cocker spaniel, Goldilocks. We've had four nonstop days of giggles, good eats and fun. My parents haven't seen my girls since June, and they couldn't believe how much hair Lucy has. My girls reveled in Granny and Grandad's attention- and nothing makes a mommier happier than enjoying the free babysitting grandparents offer to go and get other things done. (Christmas presents wrapped!)

My Mom spent the last two days cooking with me- one of my favorite things to do with her. We work well in the kitchen. Someone always has your back- your pot gets stirred at the right time, your dishwasher emptied and I never got that last minute Thanksgiving heartburn that has plagued me in years past. Plus, to make the holiday even better- my husband single handedly cleaned up the entire dinner. He has definitely made up for last year's faux pas of cleaning closets, paying bills and ignoring the food. I Heart him.

So, to all you Moms out there that are not at the 4am Jc Penney doorbuster sale, Happy Real Holiday to you. Enjoy your Leftovers, hug your loved ones, and take comfort that there 364 more days until we have to do this all over again.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Revisited

In honor of Thanksgiving, I thought I would re-post my blog from last year's turkey day. This year promises to be different-- I've got the chief Turkey maker with me this year- thank God for Moms. (and we're not letting Matt inject the wine this year).

Thanksgiving 2006...

For me, cooking Thanksgiving dinner is like giving birth. Supposedly, women have a chemical in their brain that makes them forget the pain of childbirth- otherwise, we'd all be like China, and only have one kid.

Thanksgiving is like that for me. Somehow, in the beginning of November, I actually get excited to cook this monstrous dinner, and I somehow forget all of the pain and suffering that it usually brings. Then, on the actual day of turkiness, with the Macy's Day parade blaring in the background, and I'm dressed in my stinky jammies and haven't brushed my teeth yet or had a cup of coffee, but oh by the way, I've already made 2 pies and diced 12lbs of onions, I suddenly remember: this stinks.

I used to take the 2 days leading up to this hell-i-day off from work, so I could "prepare." That doesn't happen anymore. One of my bosses is teething, and is so grumpy that the only way she'll stop crying is to be bounced on my hip. My other boss must continually be reminded to take potty breaks (see earlier blog post) and that involves me reading the Fisher Price Little People book to her ad nauseum. Add to this party of frivolity a rather festive husband, who never takes a day off- and thought this would now be a good time to clean out his closet (NO JOKE) and pay some bills until he was "gently" reminded that his services were needed in the hip bouncing and potty break department. Said babysitter was then enlisted to help me inject the turkey with wine, and he took it upon himself to sample the marinade. I'm not sure who was more sauced- it's still up for debate.

When you actually break down the staples for this dinner, you realize you're screwed. Especially if you only have one oven, which in my current kitchen- is the case. (I hope, dear renter of my beloved kitchen in San Diego, that you thoroughly enjoyed my professional range. I miss that double oven more than Coronado Beach). Somehow, you have to get the following things WARM to the table with only one oven: turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, gravy, green beans and cook a pie or two in the interim. It sounds like some lame-o David Blaine stunt.

Plus, to complicate matters, I happen to love to cook. And Thanksgiving is just not that much fun to tinker with. Turkey is pretty boring, there's only so much you can do with stuffing- and no matter how much of a sophisticated palate I think I am developing, I still feel compelled (and am not ashamed to admit) that I LOVE a good sweet potato casserole and jello salad. (Yeehaw y'all!)

But Every stinkin' year, I make this day as hard to deal with as possible--- cranberries from a can? A pox on you. They must be home-made, and gently tossed with orange rind, lemon rind and green apple. Turkey in a roasting bag? For shame! It must be injected with wine, then basted with melted butter and more wine every 20 minutes! (Potty breaks only last 15, so we're good there). Pre-seasoned bread crumbs? How pedestrian! One must suffer by cubing and drying their own bread.

So, for all of this turkey snootiness, you think it would garner some good praise at the big showdown, yes? NO. Not if your husband invited a couple of fellow medical folk that didn't know, or care what the difference is between pepperidge farm and my loony bin of home-made craziness. Immediately after sitting down to dinner, they all launched into their routine of tossing around big Latin words and something called "crit numbers" that did nothing more than remind me of how kind it was of Mr. Cruikshank to let me pass his chemistry class. After 30 minutes into the meal, someone finally made an off-hand remark about the food, and I realized 2 things:

1. I'm serving hungry man tv dinners w/ stovetop next year. As long as we serve plenty of wine, no one will know the difference.

2. I needed some humble pie w/ ice cream to bring me back to reality. No more green beans with cognac or inebriated, injected turkies. But I will have seconds of the jello salad.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

"Houston... We Have a Field Trip"

Today we went to NASA. It's been on my to-do list for awhile, and since my parents are in town for the holiday, we thought we'd knock it out. We took the kids, and it was pretty impressive. There is a real space shuttle you can board (with fake tiles, because each one costs one million dollars), a piece of moon rock you can touch, and a space lab you can walk through and see where astronauts sleep, go to the bathroom and hang out. We missed the tour of the real training facility, because we were dangerously past nap time.

The film summarizing our history of space exploration was remarkably moving. I don't know if I'm just overly emotional because it's Thanksiving, or by some miracle of all miracles, I am pregnant- but this film made me cry. The Challenger footage brought me back to Hawaii, where I was living for the time- and moments before the Challenger exploded, I was looking for my shoe before school. My Dad offered to help me, but wanted to watch the take off first, on live news. So there we both stood, me with one shoe on, on our lanai overlooking Pearl Harbor. Funny how you remember what you were doing during historic moments.

Random trivia- did you know tempurpedic mattresses were first created for astronauts seats? It cushions their bodies during the g-forces.

More random trivia- Lucy charmed the entire NASA crowd today by announcing in the space lab "Astronauts, they are cool, huh!"

Monday, November 19, 2007

Happy Birthday Pooh Bear

Four years ago tomorrow, you made me a mother. And your Daddy became a Daddy. That was the best gift we have ever received- so remember that when you are 24, flat broke, and not sure what to get us for Christmas.

Happy Birthday my Pooh Bear- my Peter Pan- my little firecracker of energy that burns so bright. You take a whole room over with your energy, and feel so deeply- it astounds me. Your teachers are not only impressed with your brilliance, but touched by your compassion for your little friends (after you hit them over the head, of course).

Currently, you insist on everyone calling you Pooh Bear. You hate spaghetti sauce, refuse to eat off a plate (yeah bowls!), love to set the table, pretend to host your own Food Network show, and are obsessed with my general well being. To call you a Mommy's girl would be putting it mildly. Like an infant, you think you are an extension of my right arm. And I must confess... most of the time? Most of the time I adore this adoration you give me. It makes me laugh when you knowingly misbehave, and then ask me "Are you happy Mommy? Let me give you kisses and make it all better." Yourr manipulation skills are maturing at a fast pace.

You defiantly see the world the way you want to, and are not shy to speak your mind. (Where, oh where did this come from?) You are not easily intimidated. Occasionally, I get glimpses of the woman I think you will become, and it pleases me, and surprises me with the strength I see in your eyes.

You are obsessed with baseball. You play a mean tee-ball in the backyard, and would sleep in your Red Sox cap if you could. You only tolerate your weekly ballet lessons because you know it ends in a recital, and you can't wait to get back on stage. You don't want to be just a princess- you have to be a princess Magician. You don't want to just be Pooh bear, you have to put on your strawberry hat and turn into "Super Pooh." (Daddy has good times making fun of this one).

Happy Birthday, my girl. Four years ago, you were born on your due date. Contractions started at midnight, and your Daddy and I have not been the same since. It's like you were sayin "Hey! Let's get this show on the road!" And the game is so very on, my dear- and I'm so happy to be playing it with you.

Help A Brother Out...

My brother is feeling glum. It's hard to be off fighting a war, but even lamer around the holidays. He is desperate for mail, so if anyone in the Republic of Moldova or anywhere has a spare drawing from one of their kids or a funny joke to tell- please send it to:
William Duerbig
SGT Engineer Battalion, HSC
APO AE 09322


p.s.- If anyone is making pumpkin pies this week, I just learned the coolest trick. This works with any old pumpkin pie recipe- but the trick is, before you pour the pumpkin filling over your pie crust, crumble up some gingersnap cookies and press them down in the crust. Voila! It's magic baby, serious caloric magic.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

I Know What Santa is NOT bringing you....

Yesterday, after attending another Matrix birthday party at Pump it Up, Annie and I headed over to Costco to load up for Turkey day. She loves Costco more than I do, because their toy aisle is adjacent to their musical instrument aisle, and a couple of weeks ago, they set up a full sized drum set for display- right next to their electric guitars.

Playing the Fender, is a balding, middle aged goateed guy in his mid- thirties. His eyes are closed, and he's strumming out the bars to some Metallica song that faintly reminds me of my older brother in high school. He's clearly in his element, and not aware of the Veggie -matic demo going on, or the shoppers fighting over pecan pies, or the pint-sized little Van Halen next to him whaling away on the drums. Then, he stops playing.

Annie stops too- drumsticks in mid-air and says, "Keep it going! Keep it going!"

And the goateed, middle-aged jukebox hero yells, "ROCK AND ROLL DUDE!" and they jam for a few more minutes.

Friday, November 16, 2007

A Little Bit Scared

So, out of the blue, hubby got a call with his dream job. It's in a place Matt has ALWAYS wanted to live--- one he used to joke about as paradise. The job....well, it's EXACTLY what he wants to do with his life, and the people? So far, the people seem like the kind of people that will laugh at his poop jokes and wear t-shirts with "Beer Ambassador" on them. (Did I tell you guys Matt wore this out to dinner recently? After our meal, I took the girls to the ladies room, and when we came out- we couldn't find him. The hostess said "Are you looking for your Beer Ambassador? He's waiting for you in the parking lot).

Why am I freaking out? Yes, it's far from family. But, hey, that's what JetBlue was created for. Yes, it snows quite a bit- but I think four seasons would be fun. (ask me again in March, after the umpteenth blizzard of the year). Why does this make me nervous?

It's a 2 hour drive to the closest Target.

Most people own pick up trucks and chain their own snow plows to them.

It's a 2.5 hour drive to the closest Costco.

There are less than 11.000 people in the largest town.

It's a bit rural. That's cool- I can be down with the rural folk. But, I'm not outdoorsy. I like a good walk now and then- but I can't ice skate, I don't ski, and hockey and me? Well that's like waiting to see if Rosie O'Donnell and Donald Trump ever get married. Snow pants would only accentuate my faults, and a down jacket would only intensify my Stay Puff Marshmallow Woman impersonation.

But.... I've never seen my husband more excited. He wants this badly--- and I'm not supposed to be talking about this, so shhhhh! This is our little secret. God help me. Hopefully Honolulu will call soon.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Old Men

I need to tell you guys about "The List." Matt's got a group of friends from college- they were all in the same fraternity, and they email back and forth every day. They call this mass of emails "The List." When all of us starting having kids, they named the kids "Listkinder" and Annie and Lucy both have a onesie with Listkinder printed on it. (Each kid gets a Listkinder number, so I think my offspring are respectively, Listkinder III, and Listkinder VI). The List has been a continual source of entertainment over the years- Matt has shared numerous emails (usually involving poop, or trying to pick up women) that have left us doubled over in List laughter. Until now.

Yesterday, on our way to dinner, Matt was chuckling hysterically, literally drowning his i-phone with happy tears. Expecting to hear a great story, I asked him what was going on with the List. Apparently, someone recommended a certain kind of oatmeal- Coach's oatmeal, to be exact. Numerous other list members then went to the website and ordered some. Matt received his free sample of Coach's oats yesterday, and couldn't wait to try them for breakfast. The reason for the laughter? Another list member did not order a free sample, he ordered FOUR bags- four huge, gigantic bags of steel cut oats that will carry him through the next nuclear war.

Now, this is amusing, but also sad. This is a group of guys--- some of the funniest, most hilarious guys you would ever come across. (Remind me to tell you the story of Doogles, and the drunken Junior League party in NYC). That they have now been reduced to not only talking about oatmeal, but becoming OBSESSED witih oatmeal, makes me kind of sad. Matt is so excited about his oatmeal, he wants to eat oatmeal for breakfast every day. I think I'm going to get him a gift certificate for a prostate exam and put it in his Christmas Stocking.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Nothing On My List

My parents have a video of me, circa 1980, with my buckteeth and Miss Piggy nightgown, banging on a pot and pan on Christmas Eve, chanting "Let's Open Presents! Let's Open Presents!" I adore presents. Birthday, Christmas, Arbor day- you name it, I'll open it. Except for this year. As I'm scrambling to get my holiday shopping done (boxes to Iraq have to be mailed by December 4th, and half of my family celebrates Hannukah and it falls early this year) I realized yesterday, that there is nothing I need for Christmas.

Would I love diamonds, pearls? Sure! But if Matt spent that kind of money right now, I'd have to kill him. The smartest thing he ever did was put me in charge of paying the bills- because it has now made me paranoid about spending any money. Ironically, my frugal husband is now blissful with his ignorance, and has now asked for an expensive camera lens.

Maybe it has something to do with our upcoming move. We're renting a smallish sized house- and our closets are bursting at the seams. I have 2 boxes in the garage that were never unpacked from the last move, and knowing that I will soon have to pack up each and every one of my belongings may have put a damper on my Christmas greed.

Or, I'm getting older. I'm going to be 35 (gasp!) in a couple of weeks. Have I finally grown up? Nah. I was laughing at poopie jokes last night.

I think it mostly has to do with my excitement in seeing my 2 little ones open their loot- I can't wait to see Lucy's face when she opens her Pat Pat Rocket. There's nothing cuter than kids in footie pajamas, opening presents... as long as they don't wear Miss Piggy nightgowns and bang on pots and pans.

Oh Poop.

Lucy definitely takes after her father. If her shyness wasn't a clue, tonight's behavior at the dinner table certainly made it official. Lucy, just now 2, made her first poop joke tonight. I asked Annie what she would like to drink with dinner- (milk? water?) and her little sister piped up with a loud "Poopie?" We dissolved into tears of laughter, which I am now thinking was not such a good idea, since she keeps saying "drink poopie?" over and over again. Matt celebrated her milestone by saying, "Lucy, you will learn that there aren't many things greater in life than a good poop joke." We are now a family with a combined IQ of a fourth grade bunk at sleep away camp.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Tumble Down the Birthday Party Rabbit Hole

We're done. Finito. No more birthday parties for another 11.5 months. Maybe, by that point, my year of campaigning will convince the girls to forgo all parties in favor of a joint family vacation to Hawaii. Somehow, I doubt it. I'm so over frosting, cakes, goodie bags, wrapping paper- the works.

Today, we celebrated Annie's birthday early with her friends, because her birthday is so close to Thanksgiving this year, I thought it would be best to try when most folks are in town. We went to a local gymnastics academy, one that is famous for training Olympians. There were REAL gymnasts doing amazing things while they segregated my kid and her pals into one section of the gym. The irony was amazing. There was a guy, probably 17- swinging himself around the pummel horse, and then right next to him, was my daughter rolling around in chalk on the ground and picking her nose.

Birthday parties at this age remind me of the movie, The Matrix. Once you get on this birthday party circuit, there are only 3 or so different places where you go for all of the parties. An inflatable jumpee place, a gymnastics place or one of our museums. The cake flavors and themed paper plates change, but basically, it's the same party, with the same people, over and over again. Sorry to digress- swallow your red or blue pill, and follow Neo to the pizza and cake part of our shindig.

For the pizza and cake part, our paper plates featured Winnie the Pooh. We had 24 kids today, plus their parents- so the little shaped Winnie the Pooh cake pan I bought at Michaels was so not going to fit the bill for today- it was simply too small. Throwing caution to the wind, I baked an old Barefoot Contessa recipe for lemon sheet cake, and then using the Magnolia Bakery buttercream frosting, I free styled a big head of Winnie the Pooh on the cake. We baked them yesterday afternoon, and then I took the kids to playgroup to tucker them out. It only took me until 2am to finish frosting the cake. I was so tired, that by the time I was done, I wasn't sure if it was Pooh on the cake, or a big golden mouse, but it worked.

Honestly though-- despite all of my grumbling (and knowing that I have a real weakness for any holiday- meaning I completely overdo it until I'm so sick of that particularly event that I can't wait for it to go away for another 364 days) it was all worth it when I watched Annie's face when everyone sang Happy Birthday. I stood in the back, and watched my little girl stand in front of her golden rodent cake, with her face beaming from ear to ear, as she waved at everyone as they sang. She blew each of her four candles out individually, and then immediately ran into the crowd to jump in my arms and give me, as she has now named them, a "birthday hug." I'm going to try and keep those birthday hugs around all year round.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

On A Mission

Operation Costco, it was so on this morning. Do you guys remember me telling you how much my girls love to go visit Pottery Barn Kids whenever we go to the mall? They call it the "Kitchen" store, because they spend their whole time playing with the retro 1950's pink kitchen set. Lo and behold- Costco got in similar version for Christmas, at a fraction of the price. My Mom really wanted to get them one, and I was going to pick them up- but they've been sold out! So, yours truly has had to call them EVERY frickin' day, until they finally came in today. I left my Mom a message on her cell phone, telling her that "Operation Costco is a go. I repeat, Operation Costco is a go!" and headed off.

Costco was aweosme. After speaking with them quietly, they let me pay for the item, and then took the girls outside and loaded them up in the car. I popped in a Winnie the Pooh movie, and then a couple of guys graciously loaded them in the back of the van and we covered it with a blanket. They have no idea!

Here's the irony. I was so proud we finally got this, especially after Costco told me they anticipated selling out of these silly things by tonight. Then, I realized what my kids had been playing with all day. We had a leftover cardboard box hanging out in the living room from a recently opened package. The girls got their markers out, decorated it as a "castle" and spent all afternoon role playing and sitting in it. It figures. Luckily, after we open their kitchen, it comes with a wonderful gift with a purchase... a very, very big box.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Thank You Fors...

I'm really boring lately. Just thought I should add that in case anyone out there is actually still reading this, and if you aren't, I just want to take a moment to say that I completely understand, and I think I'm dreadfully boring too.

There's just not a lot going on. The kids are doing great, my hubby is doing great- and even though we don't have a CLUE as to where we'll hang our hats next year, we're trying not to freak out about it, and just let it all shake out. It's kind of weird though- to be trick or treating, and then think ahead to next year, and not be able to forumulate a picture in your brain because.... will it be hot? Will there be snow? Who the hell knows?

Without giving away too many details, we got word yesterday that a couple that we love, is on the rocks. This sent us reeling, and also makes you take an inventory of your own situation. So much of who I am is based on being a wife, and a mother. Good, bad or indifferent, that's what it is. Matt has been in my life longer than he has not, and sometimes, I take that for granted.

Which reminds me: at night, when we say prayers with the girls, we do what we call "The Thank You Fors". This is our time of day to say thank you to God for anything and everything... We always say thank you for keeping Uncle Billy safe for another day, and for our new little niece Aden (she's over 2lbs now, hooray!) and Lucy always wants to say thank you for "brushing teeth." This is my favorite time of day- because as we all take turns for our "Thank You Fors," I catch my breath and say my own thank you... for being right where I am.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Truffles and Picnics?

I can't sleep. It's 4:30 in the morning, and I'm sitting here, wasting time, while my house slumbers. Lucy's been waking up again, and after a certain point, it's impossible for me to get back to sleep. My mind starts racing, and I think of stupid things- today it's all of the Christmas shopping I need to get done. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

Matt's got a week of vacation coming up. We were trying to hightail it to Florida, but Disneyworld wanted $10,000 for a 3 day park stay, and then was sold out of everything we wanted to do unless we paid them another $2,000, so we scrapped that plan. Airfare to Cali was just too darn expensive, so we're saving our pennies for another rainy day. I asked Matt what he wanted to do on his week off, and he said:
"I don't know, take the girls to school, hang out at Cafe XYZ and just relax. Pretty much live your life for a week."
He then laughed hysterically, and I joined him for a minute before adding:
"You do know that it's not all truffles and picnics. Well, absolutely no truffles, because they are too fatty, and ok, we do tend to have a lot of picnics- but you get what I'm saying."

In other news, I'm thoroughly enjoying the book "Eat, Pray, Love." It's been on my radar screen for awhile, and after getting past the point that the author completely tears her life apart because she wants to avoid any semblance of what my own personal life looks like, it's actually a great story of how one finds personal growth. Lots of good nuggets of Cliff Clavin trivia too-- like where the Italian languange originated from (great story!) to what kind of person Bali describes you as if you are born on a Thursday. (When reading this part, it sounded so much like myself that I had to pull a calendar from 1972 and figure out that, yes, I was born on a Thursday). If I had a year to spend traveling solo to find myself, I'd spend 4 months in the Italian and French countryside- learning to cook and eat local favorites, then hightail it to an Indian Ashram (preferably the same one where the Beatles wrote Dear Prudence) and then cap off my stay on the big island of Hawaii. Of course, I'd want to bring my anklebiters with me and Matt to eat truffles and picnic with, which any self respecting Guru would frown upon.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Dinner Music

Date night was last night. A much needed, highly anticipated excursion. We missed our October night out, because Matt was off in Aptos, California, drinking his yearly wine and brandy with his fraternity brothers. Matt put on a sweater vest, I put on a dress and lipstick and we hit the town. Only problem? We had 8:00 reservations at this cool place called Cafe Annie's (we really love the name) and it's supposed to be one of the finer places to dine in town. But.... it's spicy tex-Mex stuff, and Matt' s stomach is still trembly and wobbly, at best. So, we cancelled our reservations, and went to an Italian place that reminds me of Carmines in New York City.

Many bellinis, glasses of wine, veal picatta and eggplant parm dishes later.... we sat at our table, licking up our tiramisu and laughing.... at the music. There seems to be a consistent theme to our date nights--- no matter where we go, there is always the lamest, and cheesiest dinner music you could ever imagine. In September, it was the minimalist sushi place, that somehow placed a piano smack dab in the middle of the joint and had an old fogie tinkling out Charlie Brown Peanuts tunes all night. Last night, instead of playing Frank, or any other suitable Rat Pack tune- this place hired some dork who sat at a table with his Mac laptop, and accompanied himself to Spandau Ballet.

Babysitter was a little freaked out when we got home. Lucy refused to go to sleep, and in protest, took her pants off and pooped in her crib. Nothing like hazing your babysitter to make them want to come back for more.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Weekend Visitor

Trick or treating was a blast. The girls headed out at 6:30, and even my shy little Tinkerbell was rapping on doors and demanding candy. She insisted on carrying her bag herself, even when it got overwhelmingly heavy. She then dragged it on the ground behind her, still in disbelief that she was actually getting all of this candy.

This week, we are entertaining Curious George in our house. Annie's class has this little project- where every weekend, George goes home with another kid to spend the weekend. You have to take pictures and write a story about what you do. We have absolutely nothing planned this weekend, so I have to come up with something better than Noggin and pancakes. We did get some contraband photos of George breaking into the Halloween candy. This made Annie roar with belly laughs. I'm sure we can find some other trouble for George to get into today.

In other news, parent teacher conferences were yesterday. They went great! Annie's teachers are trying to convince me to enroll her in kindergarten next year. I'm still thinking we'll wait a year, since 95% of the states we'll move to have a later kindergarten cutoff date.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Party Pooper

Party was a complete success. A tad overwhelming and exhausting por moi, but the birthday girl had a terrific time. We somehow lucked out, and found the largest Disney Princess bounce house this side of the Mississippi. I tipped the delivery guy extra, and encouraged him to come as late as possible to pick it up on Sunday. So, we got some extra jumping in.

Having the party guests come in costume was my favorite part. When each kid arrived, it was like the Toddler Academy Awards--- the party stopped and everyone oohed and ahhed. We had Batman, who refused to take off his mask for the entire party, we had Spiderman (complete with muscles), a glow-in-the-dark skeleton, Superman, an elephant, a little devil, a fairy princess, Jasmine, Ariel and a couple of witches. The pumpkin hunt was a big success, and the pinata was hilarious. Each kid got their turn to swack (a few walked off with the baseball bat) but the pumpkin pinata wouldn't budge. Finally, I picked up my Tinkerbell in one hand, and the bat in the other, and soon jolly ranchers and taffy pelted all of our surprised party guests.

After the party, Matt mentioned he wasn't feeling well. I chalked it up to after-party exhaustion, and it wasn't until he got the chills and a fever that we both realized he was sick. Very sick. I now have 3 children to take care of.... and my oldest child (because he refuses to stay home from work) calls me every 15 minutes. Each conversation goes like this:
sounds of grunting.
"You still feeling sick?""
more grunting.
"Did you take any Tylenol?"
"Did you call for anything else?"
"Just to complain."

Friday, October 26, 2007

For My Lucy...

Happy Birthday Little One.

Two years ago today, you joined our little family. Since that time, you have added such joy to each and every day. You have a quiet way about you most of the time, but the minute your Daddy walks in- all bets are off. You squeak, you scream and flirt incessantly with him. You are the ultimate Daddy's girl.

You're also madly in love with your big sister. When she's in trouble, and having a time out, you always sit there, right next to her. Fun doesn't start for you unless Annie is in the thick of it. You give her a hug, first thing every morning, You hold hands with her, "nuggle" in her bed before turning in and always ask where she is.

Which brings me to talking: last May, you had tubes put in your ears. Since that operation, you have talked nonstop! You amaze folks with your verbal skills-- and I like to think you got that little part of you from your Mom.

You are so affectionate. When we grocery shop, and you ride in the cart, you constantly grab on to my shirt and pull me in for a hug and kiss. You love to be picked up, and always rest your head on my shoulder. I still rock you before bed, and probably will until you're 45, because it's my favorite part of the day.

The older you get, the more hair you have and the more you resemble your Granny. You are artistic, and love to paint and color. Currently, your favorite colors are pink and purple, and you think every day of the week is Tuesday. You adore going to school, can be shy when folks first meet you and when you dance, you kind of throw your arms up and down and it kind of looks like you are having a seizure. You love it when we all call you "Little Roo" and when you're in your crib at night, you either sing "Deep in the Hundred Acre Woods" or "Happy Birthday" to yourself. I so hope you have a good time at your party, and I'm sorry your pumpkin cake looks more like an overgrown orange. Happy Birthday Tinkerbell- your Mommy loves you.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


We're having a little shindig Saturday. My little one is turning two, so we're throwing a small Halloween party, and having everyone come in costume. It wasn't much of a gig, until I sat down and added up how many people were coming. 45! 45 people! Including my mother-in-law, and dear friends flying in from Orlando. No pressure, people.

Plus, my almost 4 year old really, really wants to be Peter Pan. All the Peter Pan costumes are for boys (go figure) so yours truly,made a Peter Pan costume yesterday. This is the same person that almost flunked home economics, because the duffel bag I was supposed to sew resembled more of a corduroy lump. Somehow, I pulled it together. I sewed fabric leaves all over her old ballet skirt, and made her a little triangle hat out of green felt and some feathers. Made her a little green tunic too, complete with Joann Fabric sequin pins, and even Tim Gunn would approve. Lucy is Tinkerbell (thank you!), Matt is Captain Hook and I ordered a beautiful smocked nightgown from Garnet HIll and am going as Wendy.

As for food- yesterday, I baked 36 Magnolia Bakery cupcakes. 12 of them are going to school tomorrow, and the other 24 will accompany the pumpkin shaped chocolate cake for the party. I ordered a large platter of nuggets from the beloved Chick-Fil-A, and will serve these up with some fruit salad, an orzo pasta salad and some sandwiches for the adults. (orange muffins studded with ham, montrachet goat cheese with roasted red peppers and capers, and shrimp salad).

In other news, we have now insisted that everyone wear pants to the dinner table. This declaration was met with protests, and one almost four year old grumbled, "I don't like this underwear business." Life can be hard.

Monday, October 22, 2007

A Case of the Grumpies

I hate Pottery Barn. That may make me un-American, but I loathe that store more than Democrats hate Bush. We got our winter catalogue in the mail yesterday, and while the glossy pages are filled with gorgeous rooms- there is always a sameness, a cookie-cutter feel to all of their stuff. It's like Americans don't even have to think of creating original, thoughtful homes that reflect their own personal styles- they just go to their local PB, Starbucks latte in hand, and schlep home their own Thomas bed. I always imagine these wacky San Francisco designers, smoking their little French cigarettes, surrounded by their apothecary jars- plotting which home accessory to inflict upon us next.

In other grumpy news, I've got sick kids home YET again. With a million errands to run, no milk in the house and a mother-in-law fast approaching, this virus has long worn out its welcome.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Cutting Class...

It was a break from routine today. Annie is still too sick to go to school, but not sick enough to be confined to the house. So, after dropping Lucy off at preschool this morning, my little Peter Pan and I spent the morning together. I took her to this local cafe that I like to hang out in when they are usually in school. It was 71 degrees this morning, and we sat outside and enjoyed hot chocolate and brioche. Annie fed some breakfast to the birds, and we compared pigeon imitations and shared a couple of giggles.

I must confess. I am really glad she played hooky today. One of the things that surprised me the most after having kids was how much I would actually like them. I knew I would love them... but I wasn't expecting to like them so much. I really like what kind of people they are, and when they are not whining or smearing poop everywhere, I really enjoy their company. I feel blessed that I get to share my life with these 2 little people.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Too Much Miles Davis...

"Mommy, I feel sick." Annie says.
Mommy looks up and asks, "What hurts you Annie McFannie?"
"My tummy." Annie replies.
"Hmmm... what does your tummy feel like?" Mommy asks.
Annie thinks for a minute and says, "It feels like jazz."


I heard from my little brother today. We made a pact that before he left, he could talk to me about ANYTHING, and that I would be here to listen. Today, I got a message from him. He is moving between 2 different locations, because of the specialized nature of his training. Two hours after he left one location, it got hit by rockets, and 2 soldiers were killed. 32 others were injured. One soldier that was killed was exactly where my brother was 2 hours earlier. He made me promise not to tell his wife, or my mother. Ay caramba. I think I'll have trouble sleeping tonight. I know he will.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Weather Forecast

We're home sick today. Lucy's fever finally broke last night, but her little body is limp and tired from this nasty virus. It's a good day to be home--- lots of rain and general gloom in the air. I've got a shepherd's pie ready for the oven, and am about to bake some pumpkin cookies with a brown butter frosting.

I love rainy days--- their coziness, staying in your jammies all day- but I don't like the tornado that occurs inside. My girls are talented- they can create a mess in less than a three second span. Most people long for peace and quiet, but in my house, quiet spells t-r-o-u-b-l-e. It usually involves a pilfered Sharpie marker or a fresh new bottle of hand soap. There are days, lots of them, when I feel like I will be swallowed by the mess. But then, just when I've reached my limit- my girls do something hilarious... like climbing on top of their rocking horses, buck naked, and yelling "Yeehaw!".

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Giddy Up.

Just got back from a birthday party, and my house is passed out from exhaustion. Our good friends hosted a "derby" party- since their kids are obsessed with horses. Instead of mint juleps, the adults drank mojitos, and the kids all got stick horses they used for some horse racing in the front yard.

Party highlights:
"You must wear underwear to bounce in the jumpee. It's a rule." Annie finally agreed.
After the pony pinata bit the dust, the kids screamed in horror because the body came crashing to the ground, and the pony head was left dangling from a rope on the tree.

Tomorrow's agenda? Hopefully Lucy kicks the fever she is now sporting, and we can make it to the pumpkin patch for our annual photo. (We miss you Ian! Won't be the same without you). I've also got to drop a down payment on a some new tap shoes for Annie and it's the last day for gymbucks- I don't know if I have enough fight left in me to battle the soccer moms.

Upcoming blog? Dealing with the Preschool Mafia.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Bribes and Baking

Today was a celebration. Annie has been earning "Good LIstening Days" at school--- this is a new game I created to encourage (ahem! bribe) good behavior. If her teacher tells me she had a good day when I pick her up, it counts as a "Good Listening Day." After ten of them, Annie gets a reward. She earned it on Monday. What tempts a 3.5 year old?

Lunch at Chick-Fil-A. It's this fast food restaraunt with awesome chicken nuggets, and it has one of those nasty playgrounds. She constantly asks me to take her there, and I refuse-- we don't need to eat crap, and we don't need to get sick. Today, I relented. We invited a couple of her friends to join us at a local park to get all good and sweaty, and then we all trekked over ot the Chick-Fil-A. The girls had lunch, they played, and then capped off the celebration with an ice cream cone. You would have thought it was Christmas morning.

In other news- we spent all afternoon making cupcakes for Lucy's teacher tomorrow. She's turning 22, and I bought the class gift- a nice gift certificate to Urban Outfitters so she can buy disposable clohting and a copy of "Everybody Poops." Anywhoo--- back to the cupcakes. I've been wanting to try this recipe for a while. It's an upscale version of a Hostess cupcake- you know, the one with the white squigglies on top? They are truly evil, folks. I highly recommend the effort

Here's the link to the Ny Times posting of the recipe:

Sorry this looks goofy, but I can't embed a link on a mac. Sigh.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Close Call

We went over to a friend's house for dinner tonight. Matt had to work late, so my girlfriend took pity on me and invited me and my girl posse over for some fun. We've been looking forward to it all afternoon, but in typical fashion of those-that-live-in-my-house, we had a hard time getting our act together. Clothes had to be changed multiple times, shoes debated, and when we thought we were in the free and clear, a massive poopie diaper slowed us down.

So, maybe I was hitting the gas pedal a bit too fast as I careened down a street that is NOTORIOUS for speed traps. Yes, there was a cop car driving the opposite direction, but I didn't think they would turn around and follow me. Especially after I hoofed it off the main street and tried to become obscure in a small side street. Didn't work. The cop found me. All of me, including my expired insurance card (damn!) and California drivers license (it's a personal thing--- I don't vote in Texas, I really don't feel like a Texan, and my drivers license picture is a remarkably decent one, and I loathe to give it up).

This cop was tough---- she had short hair, beefy sunglasses and a penetrating gaze. She meant business. So much so, that when she tried to say hello to my girls, she asked if Lucy would say hi to her and Lucy, with rounded eyes, slowly shook her head from side to side.

When she asked me if I knew why she had pulled me over, I looked her in the eye and said "Yes Officer, I'm really sorry- I was going too fast down Street XYZ." She said I was going 44, I was really going 41- but whatever. She asked where we were going. I told her we were late for dinner, and that a massive poopie diaper had slowed us down. She started to laugh, and then told me she was going to cut me a break. I couldn't believe it! I've got the touch with the lesbian police force. Work your talents, I always say.

The Clean Smell of Success...

My Roach-friend from last night will, regretfully, be unavailble for future nocturnal terrorizing. I was just in the shower, putting some conditioner on my hair- when I noticed the motherfucker hanging out in between the shower curtain and the liner. This time, I had the RAID close by- and with my 3 year old cheering me on, we sprayed the shit out of him and tossed him in the toilet. Take that, you post apocalyptic nuisance.


Hubby just got interview number two. It's in a state that I explicity told him I have no desire to live in. It's in a city that is known as bleak, in an area with the highest unemployment rates and number of meth labs in the entire country. However, on a positive note, I am not sure if Texas Treeroaches like to live there. That may be something.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Scream, Part IX

I'm trying really hard to be good to my teeth. After the marathon dental visits lately, I'm making sure to get a good floss in every night. So, there I was--- finishing up the ol' toothfloss, and I go to reach for my Sonicare toothbrush- when, just like out of a movie, I look up in the mirror, and see IT.

There, a few inches away from my head, clinging to the mirror, is a six inch Texas Tree Roach. I swear to you Dear Reader, this cretin waved its antennae at me. After the standard Scream, and Shriek-In-Horror that is becoming de rigueur around here, I scurry off to the garage to locate my last can of RAID. Only to return, and realize my intruder is gone. GONE. I cannot find him anywhere.

Holy roach spray, Batman. I'm not going to get a wink of sleep tonight, for fear I'll become one of those urban legends that has to go to the ER with a "buzzing in their ear" only to discover Mr. Tree Roach preferred my ear wax over my toothbrush. Fuck. I've got to go buy a new toothbrush tomorrow. And now I'll be quite grumpy when I do it.

Spare Me

No school today. It's an in-service day, so I've got my little anklebiters, and we've got big plans today. BIG plans, folks. We're meeting up with a whole gaggle of our preschool friends to go bowling. That's right-- because it's not hard enough to put ONE pair of shoes on my kids, I'm now going to let them wear nasty, infected bowling shoes. At least I can smoke a few ciggies and toss back a few Bud lights while I'm there. Just kidding. I'll let you all know how it goes.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Shopping Trip

I reveled in being a girl with girls today. It's still pretty hot, so as a treat today, I met one of my girlfriends (who also has 2 little girls) at our local mall extravaganza. We met at Nordstroms, and took our whole gang to their cafe for a lovely lunch. (except for the incident when someone-who-shall-remain anomymous threw their booster seat, but whatever). After lunch, we heard rumblings of a Lancome gift-with-purchase, so we trekked downstairs and before loading up on makeup, we detoured to the piano-man. Nordstroms always hires some good natured senior citizen to play Phantom of the Opera tunes while people drop some serious cash. I don't think he expects to be a toddler exhibit, but it wasn't just our kids fascinated by his playing. This geezer was a literal Pied Piper- he was surrounded by bewildered kids, absorbing every note of his "Music of the Night."

Then, it was off to the Lancome counter. We were helped by the nicest Irish makeup lady, and she took pity on us and loaded the kids up with free makeup bags filled with combs and little pots of pilfered lipgloss. Annie could not believe her luck, and has not let go of her leapord furry makeup bag since she got it in her grubby little hands. The kids had such fun at the counter, I asked if she would do Annie's birthday party in November- but she said it would be against store policy. (Rat bastards).

My kids weren't tuckerd out enough yet, so we then made our way over to Pottery Barn Kids, to inflict some damage on their kitchen display. I was only slightly embarrassed when Annie held up a toy iron and said, "Mommy? What is this?" Ummm.... yeah, not a lot of ironing goes on over here. We think wrinkles are our friend.

After tossing a couple of pennies in the fountain, it was time to head home. Both girls passed out in their carseats, still clutching their makeup bags. Sigh. A good day.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

"It's My Party, I'll Get Naked If I Want To"

Last night, my family survived what could have been a catastrophic event. We went to a party. A grown-up party, hosted by one of Matt's bosses, who is not married and does not have kids- but strongly encouraged Matt to bring our entire brood. A catered party, in a beautiful, non-kid friendly home, complete with white walls, original art pieces and a grand piano worth more than all of the contents of my house. To say I was nervous about this was a mild understatement. I packed a backpack filled with washable crayons, stickers and a Mr. Clean magic eraser, and hoped for the best.

We picked up a small box of Neuhaus chocolate as a host gift, and elected Annie as the gift bearer. She came toting it in to the party, and bellowed out "Who is Dr. XXX? We've got some chocolate for ya." To the delight of other guests, she thrust the candy into his hands, said "Thanks for the party!" and then smiled gleefully when he asked her to open them. She helped herself to a couple of rounds of Belgian chocolates, before we barricaded all of the kids (there were 4 other ones at the party) on the sunporch with toys and chicken nuggets. Waiters with silver trays delivered Capri Suns to keep them from getting thirsty.

The sun porch soon lost its shine, and the kids slowly start to either go home (not mine) or explore the house (uh oh). In between juggling Lucy, who has a serious party-phobia and spends the entire time on my hip, with her head burrowed into my shoulder, I hear my husband say "Hey now, that's not a good idea." Then, Matt appears in front of me and says "Annie's in the den, and has taken off her shoes and socks, and just asked everyone if she can take off her pants." I look at him in horror, and whisper vehemently, "get in there N-O-W. She will be completely naked before you can take one more sip of that margarita." She did not get naked, (Thank you God) but she did discover the fun of stealing desserts from other's plates, and then, after gorging on eclairs and fruit tarts, she pulls a cashmere afghan off the back of a chair and lays down on a sheepskin rug in the living room and pretends to fall asleep (her fake snoring is really getting realistic). That was our cue to leave.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Shake It Up

My kids thrive on routine. They are not the kind of kids who can stay up late, or skip a meal or postpone a nap and remain functioning human beings. This is hard for my family to fathrom- because my niece and nephew are the most flexible kids on the planet, so much so that their feelings must be made of rubber- because they can go four days on no sleep and still be their charming selves. Seriously! Me, not so lucky.

However, knowing my kids, and their penchant for routine, sometimes you have to throw caution to the wind and just enjoy. Like this morning... which morphed into morning after a night-gone-bad. Annie and Lucy share a room. This is a good thing, most of the time- because they really enjoy each other's company. Nothing is sweeter than hearing them talk to each other when it's "light's out"- and after Lucy has begged Annie to give her one more "nuggle' in the big girl bed.

But now, my Lucy is in full throttle teething mode. She's got 2 incisors poking through- they look like little fangs, and my little Dracula is now waking all hours of the night, in serious pain. I will just get her settled down, when Annie rouses from all of the commotion. I'm like a serious Threes Company episode- complete with bed swapping and perfect comedic timing. (The minute I finally lay down and close my eyes, one kid screams. It never fails). Last night, Lucy started waking every hour- almost on the hour. (I think I shall start calling her "Little Ben.") Not wanting to wake Annie, at 3am, I finally gave in and brought Lucy into bed with Matt and I. I have not done this since Lucy was 16 months old. Because, Dear Reader- Lucy used to sleep with us EVERY NIGHT. She used to use me as an ottoman, and an all you can eat boobie buffet. I had to finally quit nursing her at 16 months and convince her the crib was a fun place to be. So here we are, almost a year later, and she immediately reverts back to her bed-hogging self. After first squealing "DADDY!", Lucy snuggles up to him and puts her feet on me, and falls asleep.

Annie wakes up an hour later, and realizes there is a sleeping party going on without her in my room. She quickly joins in. When Matt's alarm goes off at 5:15 this morning (he sleeps in on Saturday. i know, sick joke), he awakens to both girls nestled next to him, and his wife, curled up in the fetal position at the foot of the bed. Both girls immediately wake up, and no amount of bribery, or promises of buttermilk pancakes can get them to go back to sleep.

But, to make a long story longer- what's the beauty of varying from routine? BOTH KIDS ARE NOW NAPPING. AT THE SAME TIME. Breaking routine can be a good thing.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Back To School

Wow. Today was a kooky day. After dropping the kids off at school, I headed out- on my way to Target, when the school receptionist stopped me. "Is there any way you could sub for us today?" she asked. "We have so many teachers out sick, and all of our subs are here- any chance you can help us out?" I agreed, not really knowing what I was getting myself into. I stepped into another 4 year old class, and had a terrific time. There were only 9 kids in the class, and they were absolutely adorable.

But, something about assuming this new role made all of the logic seep out of my brain. During circle time, when the other teacher was reading the kids a story, I noticed this really cute, shy little boy start to look sad. Immediately after story time was done, he started to cry. Without thinking, I scooped him up and gave him a big hug. He put his head on my shoulder, and started to blubber, and I sat there, rubbing his back. The other teacher then comes up and says to him, "Benjamin, did you have another accident?" That's when I realized Mr. Cutie Pie had soaking wet pants and had just peed all over me. Nice. Apparently, he does this a lot.

When I was on the playground, I started to help each kid cross the monkey bars. This one, adorable little boy- was seriously going to break my back, he was so heavy. I said to him- "Hey there- did you have a bag of rocks for breakfast?" He answers, in a very serious tone, "No, I had pancakes and sausage."

I didn't really get to tell my own kids that I would be at their school today, so when Annie spied me on the playground, playing with all of these other kids, my tough little girl had a complete meltdown. She couldn't understand what I was doing with those other kids- and thought I was cheating on her. When I picked her up at her class, she gave me the biggest hug and told me how much she missed me. I took them to Jamba Juice after school, and over Mango Madnesses, Annie asked me, "Mommy, are you going to be a Teacher again, or just my Mommy?" I replied, "Just your Mommy, Annie." Because that's a job that I really treasure, most of the time.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Random Stuff

Sorry for the delay in posting, but really, nothing new to post about. Same old same old. Diaper rash. Rampant nudity. Sleep issues- you know, the stuff that makes my life, well, my life. I'm now sneaking fish oil in my kids' juice. It's supposed to provide a "calming effect" and raise your IQ by 5 points. Probably a bunch of hulabaloo, but since we don't eat a lot of trout around here, it can't hurt anything.

We have a new game before bed time. It's called "Let's Talk About My Birthday Party", and Annie is VERY good at playing this. Tonight she told me she wants this for her birthday:
1. A Banjo. Where the hell am I going to find a banjo? No more Dixie Chicks in the car. That's it.
2. A tutu. Ballet lessons paying off!
3. A music box.
4. A saxophone. (????)
5. Moonsand. DAMN you Nickolodeon commercials! Moonsand looks like it will destroy a vacuum in ten seconds.
6. a camera. She only says this because Matt suggested it.
7. Jewelery. When I pressed her for more info, she said "any kind would do." That's my girl.

In other news, I was so busy watching "The Office" premiere, I didn't even notice my DVR did not record Grey's Anatomy. And I'm not even that bummed about it. Last season was so ridiculous, I think I'm over it. Until they start showing grey, pasty residents that never see their family and are in debt up to their eyeballs, I may have to pass.

Monday, September 24, 2007


While driving the kids to school this morning, I started to realize how much I will miss Texas. My girls have really embraced life here--- my Lucy yells "Yeehaw!" when she's overly excited, and Annie's favorite song to rock out to on the way to school is the Dixie Chicks' "Sin Wagon." I try to muffle out the parts of mattress dancing and such- but really, at age 3- she probably thinks they are just jumping on the bed or something.

We've made some really great friends here--- especially our little Friday playgroup. This past Friday, it was just me and my friend Kirstin, and the kids and mommies were having such a good time- we stayed until 9pm.

I won't miss Matt's work schedule. He's got that grey pasty face again--- the one that makes me worry about his blood pressure. He's got a KILLER week again, but hopefully after that- things lighten up a bit. We had friends over for dinner on Saturday, and Matt did most of the cooking. After dinner- we cracked open another bottle of wine, and were just chitchatting, when I noticed my husband slumped over, snoring away. Luckily, our friends understand and laughed it off, while quietly leaving. I hope October slows things down for him.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Milk and Pepsi, Here I Come????

How does the universe play a joke on a girl who once lived in Hawaii, calls Southern California home and currently lives in tropical Texas?

It gives her husband his first job interview in Wisconsin. And we're not talking cute, Madison either. It's THE LAND OF LAVERNE AND SHIRLEY, PEOPLE.

God help me.

Friday, September 21, 2007


Sigh. Sometimes, I never learn. We're throwing Lucy a costume party for her 2nd birthday, since it falls on the Saturday before Halloween. I've been cruising town, looking for cool Halloween stuff- and you would think ONE traumatic epidode would teach me a lesson.... but no Dear reader, I must traumatize my kids multiple times in order to drive a point home.

Last weekend, we were in Michaels, because I needed some baskets, silk flowers and unpainted bird houses (not really!) and I was zooming through- with the kids trailing behind me, when suddenly, I heard it. A slight whimper, which suddenly led into full throttle screams of terror. It seems, in my ignorance, I wandered down the Halloween aisle, and my Lucy, my little, impressionable, not-yet-2 year old now stood in terror- transfixed by a display of a six foot tall witch with green glowing eyes that swayed back and forth and moaned like her Mommy did while going through transition.

Flash forward to yesterday. Am at Costco, because I now needed 100 rolls of toilet paper, a chicken pot pie and 4 gallons of shampoo.. Distracted by the samples of mocha frappes, I neglected to notice the Halloween display, featuring another six foot tall witch, this one garbed in purple, cackling an evil laugh, dancing, and effectively scaring the bejeezus out of my 2 little ones.

Now, it's today. School lets out early, so I take my little ones out to lunch, and to Party City for a little Halloween costume scouting. I thought this would be a fun outing. I thought this was a good idea of some shopping therapy, and quality time. I did not think Party City would put a frickin' eight foot ghoul inside the front door that sang a song and proceeded to lift off his own head. Nothing kills a toddler lunchtime appetite faster than a decapitated singing corpse.

My girlfriends now tell me our local grocery store has a display that features gory witch body parts. I think I'm in hibernation until November 1st.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Current Events

My little brother is now officially part of the surge of troops in Iraq now. I can't give away too many specifics, but he's finished his training stateside (he says prison must be better than what they went through) and today, we spoke for a bit, but I don't anticipate hearing from him again for some time. It's pretty trippy stuff. He's my little brother--- the little boy I terrorized, but wouldn't let anyone else touch. The baby whose feet I used to smell to make him laugh when he was a baby. I was able to send him my free ipod I got with my swanky new laptop, so that made me feel at least I could do something.

My Mom is pretty much a wreck- which surprises me- not that anyone wants to see their baby go off to war, but he's been in the reserves since right after 9-11, and really, it's remarkable he has not been deployed earlier. However, when soup comes to nuts and your kid heads off to a war zone, it's more than a good reason to go to bed. Which is what my Mom did. FOR A WEEK. She's never done that in my entire 35 years of knowing her--- through brain tumors, miscarriages, deaths in the family... this is one stoic woman. She can cook her way out of any mood (consider yourself blessed if you ever get her beef wellington) or twist it into a funny event (we giggled over hairstyles when her head got shaved to remove the brain tumor when I was in highschool) but she's not laughing about this one. I don't really think anyone is.