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.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Lost In Translation

So, it's no secret that my hubby is looking for a job. His training is up next summer, and now is the time to begin the hunt for our next stomping ground. To put it mildly, this is frustrating. It's frustrating because I'm on the sidelines, which is VERY hard for such a enthusiastic (translation: controlling) person as myself. I am constantly "encouraging" (translation: nagging) my husband if he has contacted so and so, or mailed this, or thought about that- and sometimes that provokes stress (translation: outright hostility and hibernation) in my dearly beloved. Sigh. I am a nice person, really.

In other news, I dragged my hung over self (yeah Cooking Club!) to the hairdressers to undo the havoc that happened to my hair last Saturday. I needed a haircut in the worst way- it was really looking dire, and my normal hairdresser was flat out booked for 2 weeks. So, throwing caution to the wind, because Hey! It's only hair! Hair you have to live with EVERY FRICKIN DAY, I scheduled an appointment for someone else at the same salon. This woman completely ignored everything I asked her to do, made me look like an inflated Nicole Richie AND finished the haircut in the Olympic finishing time of 30 minutes. Before I could even ask where my cup of herbal tea or neck massage was- I was being tossed out the door with a non-flattering fringe cut that makes my face look like it should get its own Macy's Day Parade. So my normal hairdresser squeezed me in for a color (translation: highlights and please re-cut my hair on the sly because I'm passive aggressive and don't want your co-worker to know that she cuts hair like a chimpanezee, I'm more than happy to just insult her without her knowing) and now I feel much better. Much poorer, but better.


I hosted my Cooking Club tonight. The theme was "Fall Favorites" and my friends really outdid themselves. I made a butternut squash soup (Barefoot Contessa of course!) and others brought a wild mushroom risotto, a spicy pot roast, apple slices in a delicious toffee dip, pumpkin bars, cranberry pecan pie and a banana bread pudding. Plus, I bumped into a friend at the pool- who had a baby four months ago and really wanted to come, but didn't have time to cook. She brought the wine.... really, really good wine- so everyone stayed much later and drank way more than normal. It was a good time. Annie only made one grand appearance (clothed! We're making progress!) and Matt got to hibernate and go to bed early.

I took the kids to the pool today to tucker them out in preparation for tonight's festivities. It worked so well, I'm going to repeat this adventure when the Grey's Anatomy premiere starts soon. Annie tried to take a nap, but I sabotaged her and jumped on top of her and tickled her out of the land of nod. (Payback can be a bitch). I also taught her the term "going commando" in the women's locker room today. She, of course, didn't want to wear undies on the ride home. This should go over well in preschool tomorrow. Her lesson for tomorrow is to tell a story about what you like to do with your family. I'm preparing myself with some Valium and a reminder that I'm no Britney Spears.

So, aside from some dirty dishes, my house is spanking ass clean. (I love it when people come over!)

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Cuddly Little Ol' Snuggly....

We've reached a new level of Winnie the Pooh obsession. Not only does Annie only refer to me as "Kanga," and her sister as "The Little Roo", but tonight, she was (of course) stripping off her clothes. When she removed her shirt, I asked, "Hey, what are you doing?" She replied, "I'm turning into Classic Pooh. He doesn't wear a shirt." She's right- Classic Pooh is naked. God help me.

Friday, September 14, 2007

"You Like Her, You Really Really Like Her!"

Remember the nice lady that came to pay us a visit and brought me a nice, FREE packet of unsolicited advice to help Annie adjust in school? You know, the one Annie almost scarred for life with her Picasso poop painting? Well, today I had a nice meeting with the poop-scar free lady and Annie's teachers at school.

I was really nervous. Since we've moved both the dinner hour and bed-time up by an hour, things have improved dramatically. Annie also REALLY likes her big girl classroom, and while her stubborness and ability to always try and control each and every situation have not dissipated, her tantrums have. So, even though her daily reports from her teachers have been good, for the most part, I was still nervous they wanted to go ahead with the meeting.

I always get nervous before these things. Nothing strikes fear in my heart faster than a parent teacher conference. It is completely ridiculous- and my Mother makes fun of me, but I get intimidated. I did not need to be nervous. Annie's new teachers ROCK. They've only known my kid for 2 weeks, but they have her completely down. And more importantly, they appreciate her. They LIKE her. They enjoy her boundless energy, they know she's freakishly smart and they laugh at her manipulation skills. They are also, successfully, teaching her- not only to write her name, but to quit punching kids in line and respect other's boundaries. They also laugh hysterically at her antics. This immediately made me a fan. Especially when one of her teacher's said, "Annie is a great kid. She's not a problem kid. Believe me, I've had my share of problem kids- and this one isn't. Is she stubborn? Yes. Does she like to control things? Yes. But this will serve her well in life. We just need to teach her how to adapt." This was music to my ears, especially since there was a unanimous agreement to not enroll Annie in any of the programs the Picasso Poop lady offered- because really, her advice was so outdated and NOT useful, it was a bit of a joke.

Whew! A relief. It's so hard when you're parenting your first born- because, as my pediatrician says- "Parenting is like that Bill Murray movie, 'Groundhog Day'. Every morning, you wake up to EXACTLY the same events, but you've got to change your gameplan to make it work. And no 2 days are ever the same." True. Very, very true.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Tag, I'm It

I got tagged from the ultimate in photographic virtuosity- Sugar Photography (I can't figure out how to embed a link on a mac, but she's tagged in my blogroll- check out The Sweet Life). Anywhoo--- even though I've given you guys more than a fair share of poop stories, I've got to find 8 random things about myself that I can share. Here are the official rules:

Rules: post the rules before you give the facts. post eight random facts about yourself. at the end of your blog post, you need to tag eight people and list their names. leave the people you tagged a comment on their blog, letting them know that they've been tagged.


1. I once got in a car with a stranger. I was six, and decided to follow my 8 year old brother on a trip to the candy store. (yeah the 70's! Before milk cartons and such...). I got tired about half way there, and sat down on the curb and cried. My brother told me to stay put, and he ran home to get my Mom. After he left, a nice woman in a yellow VW bug pulled over and said "Little girl, are you lost?" After nodding my head, I got in the car. Turns out she was a realtor, and was on her way to an open house. I went to the open house and sat in the kitchen drinking a Coke and entertained her prospects while she called the cops. I was giving advice about window treatments when my parents showed up.

2. I can be a bit manic with my mothering style. One minute, I'm cherishing every last ounce of my little anklebiters. Then, you may find me wishing to charge a one way ticket to Hawaii for a LONG, solo vacation.

3. I'm a bit of a freakishly fast reader. On average, I read 3-4 books a week.

4. I come from a long line of superstitious, Irish women. My grandmother was born with a caul on her head, and she would dream about someone right before they would die. I, on the other hand, dream when people are about to get pregnant. I also have serious ESP in parking garages and can find a spot lickety split. This both delights and scares my husband.

5. After learning I had a guardian angel when I was 4, I used to make my Mom set a place for her at the dinner table. I also used to scooch over in bed so she would have enough room to sleep.

6. I lost a baby 3 months before I got pregnant with Annie. I was 24 weeks along, and it was a little boy. We named him Sam.

7. If you make me laugh too hard, I just may wet my pants. When this happens, it makes me only laugh (and pee) harder.

8. I met my husband when I was 15 years old. We were at a speech and debate tournament (yeah, NERDs!) at Cal State Fullerton. He was wearing a tie with red suspenders, and I remember when he introduced himself, I thought to myself "Pay attention Kristen- this guy will be important."

Ummm...don't hate me for this, but I'm going to tag my cousin Tara, Allie, Jennifer P., Pioneer Woman, Not That You Asked, Cheeky Lotus and Notes from the Trenches.

Letter Of The Day

Today was supposed to be my favorite kind of day. Annie calls them the "P Days"- because P stands for pajamas (which we stay in for as long as possible), Pancakes (which we all make for breakfast- a real mess by the way,) the Pool (because it is still a 100 degree inferno here) and the Park (in case either of my kids have an ounce of energy left in them, we hit this in the late afternoon). However, Lucy kicked off this morning's party in style, with the unplanned explosion of Poop. Lots of it. So, it seems some of our Plans will be Postponed.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Lumps And Bumps

We had friends over for dinner tonight. It was all well and good, until their five year old launched off our family room chair and smacked head first into the wall. I was three feet away, and instead of playing "tough parent" and saying something smart like "hey there, we might want to put some ice on that lump on your forehead..." I screamed "OH NO! HOLY COW! THAT WAS HORRIBLE! ARE YOU OK?" So, we ate dinner while a sufficiently freaked out kid sat on her Dad's lap and we discussed the trials of growing up in a medical family.

Like the cobbler's kid- healthcare can be a bit of a comical situation when you have someone with professional expertise in the family. Take tonight's incident, for example. If it had been any other family- that kid would have gone to the emergency room. Seriously, the lump on the poor little girl's head was cartoonish, it was so big. After her pupils were checked, and she didn't throw up, we all went about our business. Her parents are going to rouse her a few times during the night, but all in all- it was chalked up to kids being kids.

It reminded me of a conversation I overheard between another medical couple. He said, "Do you think Dr. XXX (The Boss) is going to be mad because I took out too much of this guy's intestine?" And the wife says, "Screw Dr. XXX- do you think the patient is going to be mad?" And then they both laughed and went about their business.

So, it wouldn't surprise me if my kids grow up to only believe in holistic healing and wear crystals and listen to Yani. Payback can be a bitch.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Sleep Tight

I'm tired today. I missed my girls so much yesterday, we celebrated our day home with a jam packed day at the local pool. (note: no floating biohazards today). I packed us a picnic, and we braved the heat to go play in spray fountains and swim. I didn't realize how hot it was, until I jumped into the pool and the water felt like ice against my steamy skin. It was HOT here today.

After getting home for naps, I remembered that I agreed to babysit a friend's kids so she could go to a parent/teacher conference. I whipped the house into shape and then watched 3 crazy kids while my baby took a nap. They fought over playdough, they duked it out over cookies, and then chased each other in exhausting rings around my coffee table, while I sat and watched- and prayed no one cracked their head open on the coffee table like I did when I was 3.

Matt called and (no surprise) announced he was slammed at work and neither of us could attend the open house at preschool. A blessing in disguise really, since I feel like a cotton ball that is slowly being shredded apart. I'm really glad I didn't fork over $500 to that quack of a psychologist for my Annie- an earlier bed time and a good ol'fashioned bribe of more Jibbitz for her Crocs has worked wonders. It's not even 8pm, and she's sound asleep. Life is good.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Back To School

Today is the first day of school. Annie is now upstairs at preschool, where the "big kids" go. I was astonished to see her classroom at the meet -and-greet last week. It's starting to look like a real classroom, with a science center, and a writing center where they can practice their letters. She gets to go on field trips this year too. Such a big kid.

My Lucy also started school- which has thrown me for a loop. She's totally ready- and couldn't wait for me to leave the classroom so she could get down and dirty with some crayons. I thought I was such a seasoned parent- and when I took their picture this morning, in their little outfits, with their new Disney backpacks, I suddenly realized how different our life will be this fall. I told Matt I don't want to feel like the family's golden retriever, waiting at the door for everyone to come home- but it will be nice to take a deep breath and reconnect with myself. Honestly, I have to figure out what I'm going to do. (Aside from the mountain of laundry and neverending dirty house that incessantly calls my name).

Did Lucy cry this morning? No. But I did. I threw on my sunglasses, and wormed my way through the crowded lobby of oil Moms talking about their summers and made my way into the steamy parking lot. Then I realized I accidentally took someone else's car keys.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007


I'm back! I've got a brand new laptop, and a spanking new modem. Barring all natural disasters, I should have a fresh new post soon.