Monday, November 30, 2009

Two trailer park girls go round the outside

I'm being tortured.

By my own brain.

For the last week (yes, the entire week), I've had a song stuck in my head. The same song, all. stinking. week. long.

Can you just hand me that soup spoon over there? I'm gonna gouge out my ears. Oh...wait. That won't help cuz the song will still be rolling around inside my brain. Hm. If I stick my finger in a power outlet, do you think that would ZAP the song out?

Anyway. Where was I? Oh yes. So to add insult to injury, the song in question isn't some respectable little ditty like "Oh, When the Saints Go Marching In". Noooo.

I'm stuck on Eminem's "Without Me."

Really? Would that be considered Gansta Rap? And why does using the word gansta make me feel like a big dorka?

So infecting my brain, I have lyrics like this:
"Now this looks like a job for me
So everybody, just follow me
Cause we need a little, controversy
Cause it feels so empty, without me."

That's just about all I can quote cuz the rest of the song is, well, not so family friendly. In fact, when I read through the lyrics, I'm mildly horrified and I make a mental note to skip over this song when I'm listening to my iPod with the kids in the van.

Am I trying to relive some hip youth (which I never really had in the first place. Me? Hip? AHAHAHA! That's a good one!) by having this little gem on my iPod? I'm painfully aware that a 35-year-old stay-at-home-mom is not exactly part of Eminem's targeted demographic.

Believe it or not, I have a sentimental attachment to this song. (Can you stop laughing long enough for me to explain?!)

Way back in June of 2002, I had a 3-week-old baby boy named Benjamin who liked to get up several times a night for his bottle. During these feedings, I used the tv for company. His early-morning feeding was normally around 5am-ish. So every morning, I brought him downstairs, warmed the bottle, and we settled into the recliner with the remote nearby.

At that time, VH1 ran a show in the morning called (I think) "Cardio-Video". I believe the idea was that people could use these songs to accompany their workouts (at this un-godly hour of the morning?! Who DOES that?).

So every morning, I turned on Cardio-Video and nearly every morning, "Without Me" was on. It grew on me. Plus, the video is funny. Make me laugh at 5am and I'm ALL YOURS.

Yeah. You can relax. I'm not going to suddenly shave my head and show up with my pants hanging off my behind, sporting a "Gansta 4 Life" tattoo on the back of my neck.

I just enjoy the memory of sitting in the recliner with my new little boy. Listening to him gulp down his bottle. Kissing his long, wrinkly fingers and toes. Running my hands over his whispy hair. Patting his back and cracking up over the giant burps that his tiny body produced.

That was over 7 years ago and my tiny, wrinkly boy is a 2nd grader. So if it takes Eminem to remind me of the early days, so be it. Thanks a million, Marshal Mathers!

* * * * * * * * *

On an unrelated note:

I had to share these 2 photos with you. I took the girls with me last week to run some errands. Alexa said she was "huuuuungryyyyyyy", so I gave her a bag of goldfish to snack on. She fell asleep on the way home with her hand inside the bag.

Tired vs. hungry?

Apparently tired won.

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Sunday, November 29, 2009

Oops, I did it again

The Husband's 41st birthday is coming up soon. (Is that even possible?! I met him when he was a whopping 24 years old.)

When I got my Shiny! New! Calendar! at the end of 2008, I immediately filled in the family birthdays. I wrote it on the correct day, in red marker, and colored over it with highlighter. These are very important days in our house and I wanted to make them really stand out.

As the keeper of all family information, you'd think I'd know my own husband's correct date of birth.

You'd be wrong.

Exhibit A:

His birthday is on the 11th. Not the 1oth.

I don't think I'll live this one down any time soon.

* * * * * * *

Please make me feel better. Share with me your recent acts of sheer stupidity. Please? PLEASE?!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Share the Wealth

Hi, Family and Friends!

I have every intention of putting together a belated Thanksgiving soon as I'm feeling human again. The Husband and I have matching cases of strep throat this weekend and child #3 went to bed last night, at 7pm, with a slight fever. The good times never end 'round here. You're so jealous of our awesomeness, aren't you?

In the meantime, I'm going to share a link to one of my favorite bloggers. I know lots of you are my family and friends, so you're here to read only because you know me. You're probably not terribly interested in reading the adventures of someone you don't know. A handful of you, however, are new bloggers like me. You might enjoy reading someone else's work now and then...especially when the writer's block sets in.

Her name is Stacey and she is a stay-at-home Momma with 4 very small children. She is one of the people who inspired me to start my own blog, although she doesn't know that. She has a way of creating eloquent, moving posts out of the most mundane parts of motherhood. You can find her over here. In case that link doesn't work, her blog address is

* * * * * * * * *

For the rest of you, I apologize for my illness-induced silence. As a peace offering, here are some pics of the kids:

In the backyard, on our swingset:

My budding photographer:

My strong, silent one:

The one who loves the camera:


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Look at this photograph....every time I do it makes me laugh

Okay. *deep breath* Here are the pictures taken at JCPenney 2 weeks ago (the woman who took the photos is the same woman we have every single time). Most likely, you'll look at them and think they're great pictures. You'll probably just see my incredibly adorable children (they are pretty cute, dontcha think?).

But, I'm a perfectionist, in case you didn't get the memo. It's a little known fact.

When I look at them, I see a photographer who was in a big fat hurry because there were 43 other people behind me waiting to take pictures and she had to MOVE FASTER so no one would start whining about "hooooow looooong do we have to waaaaaait."

Plus? We've had photos taken at this very same place that were so stunning, so breathtaking, so adorable that they brought tears to my eyes. So forgive me if I seem unfairly harsh. It's just that I'm well aware of what this photographer is capable of and it seems to me that she was waaay off her game this time.

As a side note, please forgive the crummy photo quality. I was too cheap to pay for the photos on disc so I could properly share them with you, oh devoted fans. No. I stood on a chair, put the picture on the table, and took a photo of it with my camera. This explains why you can see my green tablecloth behind the photos. thriftiness knows no bounds.

Anyway, buckle up. I'm about to pick these things apart and it could get ugly.

The first picture is of Nicholas. No, you're not drunk...the picture really is crooked. Not crooked as in "let's be wacky and fun" but crooked as in "aw crap....the photographer was TOTALLY not paying attention."

Also. Do you notice another telltale sign of my cheapness? Keep looking....look closer......THERE it is. The shoes. I hate, with every fiber of my being, spending money on things that will get used once or twice. So I don't spend frivolously on things like dress shoes (or dress pants, for that matter). Not a chance. I put them in jeans and sneakers and hope like hell that the photographer shoots them from the waist up. Clearly, that was not the case here.

And don't even get me started on that background. Clutter is my mortal enemy. Why on Earth would I want clutter in my pictures?! However, we were led into the wrong room....the room with this Christmas-y setup rather than the room with the plain colored backgrounds.

My kids fell in love. And begged, in unison, to "PLEASEPLEASEPLEASE LET US TAKE OUR PICTURES WITH THE TREE PLEASEPLEASEPLEASE!" It was one of those classic pick-your-battles kind of moments. If I said no and herded them into the other room, there would surely be tears and red eyes and snotty noses and pouty faces. So we stayed put. And the only teary, red-eyed, snotty-nosed, pouty face was mine.

* * * * * *

The next picture is Benjamin's. And he apparently has a lamp growing out of his head (?!!?!!?).

That's all I got.

Next we have Alexa. The picture is cute enough, except her dark hair and dark dress blend in with the dark tree. Which wouldn't have happened against a different background. Like a, oh I don't know, maybe a WHITE background. Bitter, much?

And the final individual picture is Rachel's. I almost feel bad looking at that sweet little face and picking the photo apart.


If you were holding this photo in your hand in real life, you'd see the whisps of hair that are in her face. And again, her hair is just dark enough to blend with the tree.


I got this collage-type picture to hang in my dining room. We got something similar 3 years ago, but Rachel wasn't in it (cuz, oddly enough, she was still in ME). So I wanted to keep the old one up, but I wanted a new one with Rachel, too. I don't really have a complaint about this...most of the cluttered up background is cropped out and the pics are pretty cute.

Although, I just have to say, I dare you to find an 8 year old boy who would willingly tilt his head to touch it with his brother's 6 year old head. I think we've finally reached the age where that "pose" needs to be outlawed. With the girls, it's cute. With the boys? kinda looks like they're dating.

I KNOW! "You HAD to go THERE, didn't you?!" Yes, I did. The head touch is cute when you're 3 or when you're dating. Otherwise, it's weird.

* * * * * * *

Okay. So this is the big ray of sunshine among the clouds. Could this be any cuter?

And finally....we have the group shot.

Did she NOT notice how Ben squeezed his face against Rachel's? Or how Nicholas is looking downward? Or how Alexa has a fakey smile? Or that Nicholas is not really smiling at all? Or that there's a nasty shadow behind Alexa?

On the bright side, there's always next year.

Of course, there's also February. Maybe I'll take them back in a couple months when it's less crowded and get some different pics taken.

Cuz these? Are getting promptly filed in a photo album where we can pull them out in a year and LAUGH at how bad they are.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Yummy Yummy Yummy I Got Love in My Tummy - Part 2

The kids had an early dinner of of their favorite meals. Nick got home late from work, so I made us a separate dinner. It was a bit of a peace offering on my meals recently have left much to be desired.

Pizza and buffalo wings? That was last night. Is there any wonder why I'm toting around an extra 40ish pounds?!

So tonight, I made a portobello mushroom salad. On the plate, I put a small bed of romaine lettuce. I put the pan-seared mushrooms on the bed of lettuce. Then I layered on fresh mozzarella cheese, basil, tomato slices, and roasted red peppers. I sprinkled on some chopped up kalamata olives and drizzled on the easiest/best tasting dressing EVER.

Balsamic vinegar reduction. HUH? That's a fancy-schmancy way of saying I poured some balsamic vinegar into a small saucepan and let it simmer for awhile to thicken it up. (If it simmers too long, it becomes too thick and sticky.) Drizzle it over the salad.

And that's it! No fat, no sodium, 38 calories per tablespoon, no weird list of ingredients and preservatives that no one can pronounce, and easy to keep on hand.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Thank You...Part 2

Today, I am thankful for Rachel's extensive vocabulary. Even when she asks me questions like, "Momma, do you have boobth?", I know that she is growing and developing normally. (That would be "boobs", for anyone needing a todler-to-English translation.)

I am also thankful that she's coming out of her shell a little more every day. As a matter of fact, she invites her teacher over to our house every day after school.

I am less thankful for her habit of repeating every. single. word. that Alexa says.

I am also less thankful for her constant interruptions while her siblings are talking. It's time to work on the "Do Not Interrupt" portion of her manners.

But mostly, I'm insanely jealous that she can do THIS:

And I can't.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mama said there'd be days like this

1:30 am.

That's what time I went to sleep last night. (This morning?) I was working feverishly to finish a charity project. The actual deadline is November 20th. My mental deadline was today. I needed to finish the blankets last night so I could deliver them today to the woman who would be taking them to the dropoff. Are you dizzy yet? Me too. Not enough sleep.

As I stitched away, I watched tv. Let me just say that Sunday night tv must be some kind of programming abyss. There was noooothing on. I finally found an episode of "Sons of Anarchy", but that was the only bright spot in a cesspool of bad tv.

I also watched the tick-tocking of the clock. Oh boy. I know I'm going to pay for this tomorrow. The time whizzes by when I'm working on a project. The downside of such intense focus? My body pays dearly for it. Today, I'm nursing a sore wrist and one achy knee (from standing on a concrete floor for so long). Surprisingly, my back doesn't hurt at all. Over the summer, my hands were nearly useless for 2 months when my carpal tunnel acted up.

So anyway, I met my deadline and this was my finished product:

All of the stitching you see in the pictures was done by hand. It's my favorite part of any blanket or quilt because it's so methodical and relaxing.

I fell into bed at 1:30 and tried not to think about how quickly the next 4 1/2 hours would pass.

* * * * * * * *
This morning at 6:am - My alarm goes off. Oh you can't be serious. I just went to bed 5 minutes ago.

I realize that's an exaggeration, but it was 6am. I have NO sense of logic and proper time-keeping at that un-godly hour of the morning.

Barely bothering to open my eyes, I grab the alarm clock and shut if off. Had I been more conscious, I would have contemplated drop-kicking the clock out the window. Mmm. Bed warm. Pillow soft. Must sleep more. Nick wakes me up 40 minutes later so I can stumble into the shower, grunting and scratching the whole way.

And the morning begins....bring the girls downstairs. "Momma. Can I have milk?" Fill cups with milk. "Momma. Can I have milk?" Warm it up cuz that's the ONLY way they'll drink it (eww). "Momma. Can I have milk?" "YES! Here's your milk!"

Butter the bagels. Put the bagels on the table so breakfast can commence. Start boiling some eggs. Pack Nick's lunch. Change Rachel's diaper. Dress the girls. Squeeze Rachel...inhale her sweet baby smell. Kiss. "Good morning, Ben." Hm...where's Nicholas? He's usually down here first. Pack Ben's lunch. It's 7:30 already. This might not be good. He DID complain of a headache last night.

Shut off the eggs, get them peeled, cut, and served. "Please sit down and eat. Do not get up from the table again until your food has been eaten. You CANNOT go to school with an empty stomach." (I'm going next week to get this tattooed onto my forehead. Or maybe I'll just cross-stitch it onto a pillow. I haven't decided yet.)

Brush my teeth. Brush the girls' teeth. "Ben. Did you brush your teeth yet?" Today is picture day. I still need to do Alexa's hair. Check on Nicholas. Uh oh. He's too warm. Come back downstairs to confer with The Husband. "Here's your vitamins, kids." I take photos of the finished blankets for my portfolio.

Nick goes to check on Nicholas. "If you stay home from school today because you're sick, that means you'll need to stay home from hockey this evening, too." When Nicholas doesn't argue with him, Nick knows he is serious.

Crap. One sick kid throws off my whole morning.

8:16 am - I give Ben the option to walk to school alone (he usually walks with Nicholas) or wait for me to drive him there. As I'm saying this, I realize we need to be out the door in about 3 minutes and I'm still in my pajamas. I inform him that he'll be late if he waits for me. He still wants to wait. I still have to do Alexa's hair.

I throw on some clothes, grab the hair styling supplies, keys, and purse, and we all run to the van. (Nicholas stayed on the couch with strict instructions to not open the door and not answer the phone.) I poked the key into the ignition and turned. "click click click" What? "click click click" You've GOT to be kidding me. "click click click" CRAP CRAP CRAP! "Everyone out of the van."

8:25 - I have to call Victoria's mom to see if she can take Alexa to school. AAAHH! I still have to fix Alexa's hair. I hope she hasn't left for school yet. I hope I can find her phone number! "Ben, I'm so sorry, but you're going to have to walk to school by yourself because I have to wait here for Victoria's mom to pick up Alexa." My stomach knots up in guilt as I watch him walk down the sidewalk alone. He didn't want to go alone.

I quickly whip up a suitable hairstyle, kiss Alexa, say thank you to Victoria's mom, and breathe a sigh of relief after she offers to bring Alexa home, too.

8:35 - Run back into the house. I still need to figure out what to do with these quilts. Call my neighbor. Not only is he willing to help me on a moments notice, he also knows his way around a car. Awesome. But his wife says he's not home. Not awesome. She offers me the use of her car. Super awesome.

" stay here on the couch. I'll be back in one hour. I have to drop off these blankets. Here's my cell number and a list of 42 other people you can call if you need help for any reason." Why won't my cell phone stay ON? The little light comes on and goes off right away.

Really?! I need phone problems, too?!

"Nicholas. You can't stay here on the couch. Grab a blanket and put on your shoes. I can't leave you home if you have no way to call me on my phone. You can wait in the car when I drop off the blankets, but you can't stay home."

I grab my purse, the blankets, the booster seat, and Rachel. "Everybody out! Let's go!" I lock up the house and we all run across the street to borrow the neighbor's car....which makes me vaguely uncomfortable, but I'm too desperate to give it much thought. Buckle up. Start the car. Back out of the driveway and into the street. Try to drive. What the......? OH! The parking brake is on. WHERE'S THE RELEASE?! OHMYGODICAN'TFINDTHERELEASE AND I'M SITTING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE STREET!

*deeeeep breath* In with the good. Out with the bad. Or something like that.

I managed to get the blankets delivered on time and safely brought back Neighbor's car. Right now, I'm hoping Neighbor gets home soon and that he can help me figure out the problem with the van.

So far, the rest of the day has been better than the morning was.

Lucky for me.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I'm a Dead Head-er

I decided to do some front-yard cleanup yesterday. My formerly luscious marigolds had become crispy, brown, and sad thanks to a frost on Saturday morning. We woke up to 27 degree temps and I glanced at my yellow beauties....knowing what was in store for them. A tiny part of me breathed a sigh of relief that my dead-heading days were numbered.

My mother, while staying with us in May, carefully planted the whole batch of flowers I'd purchased. She reminded me many times that I would need to dead-head them to keep the flowers strong and healthy. She even showed the boys how to do it, so they could be helpful.

That didn't last long.

* * * * * * * *


After several years of frustrating (and costly) experiments, I finally got smart and became a die-hard fan of marigolds.

See, my trips to the nursery usually go something like this:

"OOOO! That's PURTY! I'm gunna GIT me somma THOSE!"

(Apparently, when talking to myself, I turn into a big hillbilly.)

So I fill my cart with whatever catches my untrained eye. Then I take it home, plant it, and cross my fingers.

Every single year, though, I find myself drawn to the marigolds.

(Perhaps a strong connection to my past? My mother and grandmother both had them. When I close my eyes and breathe in that pungent, distinctive aroma, I'm right back on the farm.)

And every single year, those are the ones that thrive the best under my questionably green thumb. Everything else seems too fragile or not drought-resistant enough.

I need plants that aren't going to get all whiny and wilted when I forget to water them every 5 minutes.

(Which is why I will never ever ever ever have a plant in a hanging basket. Really? You need to be watered several times a day? Bwahahaa! That's a good one! Take a hike.)

(I'm also apparently very snotty when I talk to myself.)

* * * * * * * *

So these beloved teeny little marigolds that I purchased in May? You know...the ones that are about 2 inches tall in the nursery? Well, put them in the ground, add an entire month of rain (!!!June!!!) and some diligent dead-heading, and you'll get this:


I had Nicholas hold a tape measure against the tallest of them....they measured 24 inches from dirt to flower and had stems that looked like little tree trunks.

What I'm holding in this picture is one plant. One itty-bitty 2-inch-tall flower from the garden store turned into this massive marigold shrub.

We were The House With The Yellow Flowers this summer.

I can't wait to get started again in May!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sweet Land of Liberty

Apparently Little Miss Rachel has a tummy "issue" today. I've lost count of how many diapers I've changed this morning.

I've also lost count of how many times I've gritted my teeth and said to myself, "I gotta potty train this kid."

And as I changed the last diaper, about 15 minutes ago, I was prepared to have a mental pity party.

Then I stopped.

How many people in this world would love to have my problems? ...or lack thereof.

Is it really such a problem to spend my day with this little face? Am I really so over-privileged and pampered that I find diaper changing is my biggest Issue Of The Day? Poor me.

Thank you, to the service personnel.....past, present, and future.....who spend their days and sometimes give up their lives, so that I might live my over-privileged, pampered, worry-free life here in the U.S. Your dedication and sacrifice leave me speechless.

Please....remember our Veterans and the gifts they have given to us.
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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Design MALnourishment

My friend from high school recently got married. (Recently, as in, within the last 2 years...which is very recent to someone who has been married for 13 years.) Through the miracle that is called Facebook, I've become friends with his wife, Jess. She is a designer and recently started a new blog, titled Design Nourishment, which you can find here.

Aaaanyway. That was a long way around to tell you that I was thinking of Jess one day while I was walking around my house.

And noticing my serious lack of "design".

And wishing I had some cash on hand to hire her if she lived closer.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Exhibit C:

Exhibit D:

Exhibit B shows pictures the boys did in school.

Exhibits A, C, and D are Alexa's handiwork. Perhaps she noticed my desperate lack of style and decided to take things into her own hands. She's good like that.

So her contribution to the family environment? Taking a piece of paper, drawing a picture, and sticking said picture to the wall with tape.


As of now, she's decided to focus on faces and large circles and writing her name (with no guarantee that the letters A-L-E-X-A will be in the correct order).

So, Jess, this is what an average-household-with-4-kids looks like, in terms of design. Someday, I might have a home style worthy of a Pottery Barn catalog. For now, it's pieces of paper stuck to a wall.

And base moldings that look like a puppy used them as a chew toy.

And a sensible, sturdy coffee table that's durable enough to be used as a "stage".

And backpacks hanging from doorknobs.

Oh's a good thing I'm too busy to care.