Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Productivity I Seek, Love I Have Found!

If you haven't made that New Years resolution yet, let me be the first to remind you that there are only 2 days left.

I'd like to say that I have something original up my sleeve, but the truth is, one resolution just isn't enough. In a nutshell, I guess my resolution this year is productivity.

While millions of people will spend January on treadmills, stationary bikes and crowded gyms; I will take pride in the fact that those 4 pounds I lost in August have taken refuge on someone else's thighs. And while it may have taken 4 whole months to loose just 4 pounds, it took only 4 minutes to engulf a whole cinnamon bun this morning. (Where's the fairness?) Needless to say, weight will not be at the top of my resolution list.

Many of you know me as Mommy Maestro; the woman who pops out essay after essay about the daily adventures of being a Mom. This blog has become home for some of the craziness that I experience every day. And although 2009 may have been a productive blog year, I failed to produce the book I've been working so hard to finish. Year 2010 is my goal to complete this project, and the many other's that have unfortunately been allowed to collect dust.

This year I will stay on track. The first three months I will work on the business I set up last year (I am half way there!) I will take my continuing education courses; and yes, maybe even loose the next four pounds.

Productivity comes in many forms, and I think some of us loose site at just how productive we really are. Sure, I thought I would have a book done by now. I thought I would be in a classroom teaching at some prestigious school. I thought there would be enough money in the bank for a rainy day. But here's what I've been really doing: "I've been a Mom!"

I've wiped floors,butts and noses. I've given up sleep so that I could watch a child breathe when they felt sick. I've walked, carpooled and been towed. I've searched high and low for a child's favorite toy only to find that it was in their bed the entire time. I've read stories, written stories, and reenacted stories. I have praised and I have scolded. I have taught one how to hold a fork, pencil and their tongue. I have laughed. I have cried. I have felt total exhaustion. I have known many feelings, but they all hold a close second to the one I get when the arms of my children are wrapped tightly around me.

Productivity I seek. Love I have Found!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Fa La La La La......It's Over!

A month and a half of total hype, and it's finally over. That's right. I'm talking about Christmas.

Seems like I've been preparing for the day right after I carved that lovely Halloween pumpkin. And every year, it seems to begin just a little earlier. At the rate commercialism is going, I figure we'll be celebrating July 4th and Christmas together soon enough. Christmas in July will have a whole new meaning.

On a positive note I have to report that Christmas at the Brennan Ranch was near perfect. As usual, Toys R Us set up a satellite store right in the middle of our Living Room. As if we had room for all that stuff before the holiday arrived. Even with my consignment action plan in full swing, I failed to empty the house as quickly as it filled back to the brim Christmas Eve...Damn Claus!

Although Santa forgot the fruit cake and Figgy Pudding, he made up for that small lapse with a brand new Kindle. Oh Yes My Friends, despite my failed relationship with technology, the stars aligned, and the man in red, or shall I say the man with red hair (Hubby) contributed to the spirit of the holiday and satisfied Mommy's materialism. And although it is still in it's box next to the fireplace, I promise to report on this magnificent present by the end of next week.

It's always great when the kids appear to love everything they received on Christmas morning. It's even nicer when their parents love the toys just as much as the kids do.

I'm not bragging or anything, but let's just say there's a new Guitar Hero in town. Toy Story Mania for Wii also kept me busy for a while. Along with Leapster 2 and a amazing amount of stocking stuffers.

I did make one mistake however while choosing a present for Scooter. I purchased a Lego Winnebago from the Toys R Us online outlet thinking it would make a great stocking stuffer. Too bad I didn't read the dimensions. Needless to say, in between hitting flying targets and guitar riffs I was made to build an amazing double decker trailer equipped with sleeper, mugs, bike and surf board. It included 75 pieces and took the greater part of the entire day to complete. Imagine my face when the grandparents walked in with the Lego Fire Company (700 pieces). And you wonder why I dye my hair?

I'd like to mention one last present I received over the holidays. It was a Kreative Blogger Award from my friend at The Adventures of Fred and Ethel

Now, as some of you already know, I don't get caught up in the blogging awards. Although I find it flattering that there are people out there who actually spend their precious time reading my thoughts, it becomes quite time consuming to follow all the steps required by the award, and before you know it, another day has passed, writer cramp has set in, your popping Tums in record number because you haven't left the couch for a decent meal in hours, hence you have been forced to munch on those chocolates that expired sometime last month.

So, in an effort to add a few years to my life, I must keep my acceptance of awards to a minimum. But it comes with great gratitude to acknowledge this award. If you have not already stopped by The Adventures of Fred and Ethel, I insist you do so today.

I believe it was this wild woman who found me first (where, I do not know), but upon reading her blog I can honestly say it was love at first sight. Her honesty and well written material will have you addicted immediately. Not to mention her humor. I once read one of her blogs that she swears was entirely written by her cat (a truly talented family). A million and one thanks!

My Christmas is now complete!

Monday, December 21, 2009

When Hubby Holds The Remote

While the 50/50 rule may apply in my marriage, I think I would have to say that there are just those things in our home that belong exclusively to one of us.

Take for instance the television. Now while it may sit in our Living Room (a spot which is shared by the entire family); I can say with absolute certainty that the television belongs to Hubby.

It's been a year since we purchased "Freddy Krueger" (the nickname I gave to the oversized scary appliance that's disguised as a television). With it's many remotes, endless assortment of channels and surround sound; it makes a girl wish for the days when one had to turn a dial and rely on clear weather for good reception.

Since the installation of "Freddy," an influx of reality TV has been previewed on the Brennan Ranch. So much reality TV is viewed in fact, that at times it's difficult to decipher reality from fiction in our home.

Don't get me wrong, I don't mind a little reality TV. It's just that since the first installment of Survivor, everything is reality. Unless your willing to watch an entire day of Lifetime Originals (which by the way is based on real stories), you're out of luck.

I literally cringe when the remote is in Hubby's hands, for I know another segment of reality TV will find its way into our living room.

As I sit and write this blog, Hubby sits just 10 feet away watching Pawn Stars: a show about a family run pawn shop in Las Vegas.....Yawn! O.K. Maybe it's not that bad. There is a bit of humor, but the thought of someone making a show out of poor souls who can't pay their rent so they have to sell every valuable they have left really makes no sense to me.

But then there are the days when Cake Boss rules the air ways. Cake Boss follows the daily life of Buddy Valastro and his family owned bakery. There's never a dull moment in this show. If it's drama you're looking for, you'll fall in love with the family. If it's unusual cakes you're looking for, you'll fall in love with Buddy. If it's a happy husband you're looking for: Google recliner.

Ahh, but reality TV would not be complete without some of the best moments in television this year found on some of Hubby's favorites: Parking Wars, Dirty Jobs, Deadliest Catch, and last but not least: Jon and Kate Plus Eight (A reality trapped inside a reality).

In the last 12 months I've learned how to talk myself out of a ticket; how to clean a Port A Potty; how to distinguish between a male and female crab; and last but not least: how to make a million dollars on a book deal and hide it all from my husband.

Who says all reality TV is pointless?

Friday, December 18, 2009

"Fire In The Hole!"

I don't claim to be Paula Dean. For that matter, I am no Julia Child or even a Sara Lee.

I microwave with shear precision. I can reheat a dish like no one's business. I have mastered the art of kilowatts, which in layman's terms comes down to knowing the difference between High and Low heat.

If there was such thing as the Microwave Queen, well, my dear friends, I would have earned my crown years ago.

Despite this fascination I hold with appliances that cook food in the blink of an eye, every now and then I turn to that square piece of steel for added support....the oven.

It was another simple night of fast food at the Brennan Ranch: spaghetti and meatballs with a side of garlic bread. "What could go wrong?"

I had cooked this dish many times before. I generally heat the water and the sauce on the stove. I defrost the mini meatballs in the microwave (sometimes they are made from scratch, but only on the weekends). I dump the meatballs in the sauce, and the spaghetti in the boiling water. Once the oven is preheated, I place the garlic bread on broil.

I stir, sniff, then taste every minute or so until things are just right.

But sometimes, despite your greatest efforts, every minute or so is just not enough. Every minute or so can be the difference between a tasty cuisine and a charcoal brick.

One minute I was starring at a delicious loaf of garlic bread; the next minute I was starring at a fire ball.

It's amazing at how quickly these things can happen. I was looking so forward to a nice meal, even if it wasn't made from scratch.

I quickly removed the flaming pan from the oven, chucked it into the sink and blew it down with a stream of water. What began as a loving family meal ended in a mushy burnt mess.

And just when you think you've destroyed the meal for the night, out of the corner of your eye you catch your children nibbling on that fantastic dish.

They're field mice I tell you! You can't get a vegetable in them, but serve a loaf of charcoal, and it's a feast!

I savor these moments because I know that I will most certainly burn more meals. But there will come a time in my children's lives when they realize that charcoal belongs in the bottom of a grill; not in their diet.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Naughty or Nice?

Let's face it, we all have rules. The rules we have for our children may be based on safety, love or just passed down through the generations. Sometimes we don't even know who made the rule; it's just that it seemed smart at the time.

With all the hustle and bustle of the season, I have suddenly noticed an influx of rules around the Brennan Ranch. Maybe because there is so much extra stuff laying around that we are forced to keep our children in some kind of holiday bubble just until the last key of Auld Lang Syne is sung.

For whatever the reason, here are just a few of the newest antidotes quoted by Mommy Maestro:

1) "I told you to put on your socks, not your Christmas stockings. Good luck on trying to get your sneaker over those things!"

2) "I'm sure there are wiser places to stick that candy cane than in your nostril!"

3) "It's a train track, not a race track. Thank you very much Mario Andretti!"

4) "They're called Christmas lights, not strobe lights. Kindly remove your fingers from the receptacle."

5)"Go ahead, I dare you to ring those bells again. I'll make wings myself for that damn angel!"

6) "You have how many kids in your class? All right, candy canes for everyone!"

7) "The dog is not a reindeer. I repeat, the dog is not a reindeer!"

8) "Yes, hot coco is hot. If you wanted it cold, could you kindly next time request a glass of chocolate milk?"

9) "No, we can not buy a reindeer, we have a dog. You may remember me already warning you that she is not a reindeer."

10) "If you have any plans of climbing a tree this holiday season, you better check for roots first!"

Sunday, December 13, 2009

By the Chimney With Care?

So I found this great Toy Store in my area. A little higher priced than that Big Boxed Famous Giraffe Toting ("Sorry Mame, we're out of Zulu Pets") one you may have heard of.

There are no carts, so you don't have to worry about banging into Ms. Gotta Have The Last Star Wars Figure. In fact, they don't even sell things like that.

The toys you find here are the ones you play with (I mean the kids play with) for hours. These aren't the toys you find stuffed at the back of closets. No sir!

These are the toys your children beg you to bring to Show and Tell their first day back from Christmas Vacation (despite it's net weight being heavier than said child). These are the toys that show up in every picture ever taken of your children whether it be in their hand, or in close proximity, making a really cool backdrop for the holidays.

So there I was salivating at the front of the store wondering where was this diamond in the ruff when I was a child. I quickly tried to regain composure. "Must buy stocking stuffers," was my mantra. "What a cool magic set," I thought aloud. Wait, no, "Must buy stocking stuffers!"

This is a dangerous store. I should have gone in with horse blinders. And within minutes, I was back on track. And within a few minutes more, I was wishing my children's stockings were much larger than the standard Santa regulated size. "Why couldn't they be more like pillowcases?" I mean honestly, Martha Stewart knew what she was doing: standard, Queen, King, Super King, California King. Does she even know that California isn't the largest state? If I were to get to be a kid again, I would definitely invent the Alaskan King Stocking.

As I began loading my basket with the coolest trinkets known to man it got me thinking about the things Santa left in my stocking as a child: toothbrush, shampoo, perfume, nail polish.

No wonder I have a complex. Was Santa trying to convey a message? "Hey kid, take a bath!" "Here's a few things to get you started."

I finally made it to the checkout in just under 30 minutes. Not too bad I thought. And then I received the result.

"That will be $120.00 today!"

"Are you serious?" I asked. "I only bought stocking stuffers! Did you get that coupon I handed you? Can I have a recount? I only have 2 children!"

She just smiled, and reached for my credit card.

Well, that mantra worked like a charm. Next years mantra will be better: "Save Money On Stocking Stuffers.....Insert Foot!"

Monday, December 7, 2009

Zumba Stole My Soul

I love trying new things. I say this in reference to experiences.

So there I was in the gym the other day looking over the class schedule.

Now mind you, although I joined this awesome gym back in August, I have yet to take a class.

Why? you ask. Well, it's like this....children!

As most Mommies know, when it comes to scheduling your day, it's a crap shoot. Let's face it, if something doesn't spill at the breakfast table, your day is off to a good start. If you make it out the door without someone declaring they have to pee; they already peed in their pants; or something is stuck in their zipper (and it's not a shirt); you have in essence had a miracle bestowed upon you.

So when Hubby told me he was taking off on Monday, I jumped at the chance to become Jane Fonda for a day.

Since I've always loved to dance, I decided to give the Zumba Class a try. Set to Latin music, this class combines dance and exercise for an hour of exciting caloric burn.

"Did I just say that out loud?"

What I can tell you is despite what you may have been able to do with your body when you were young- things change!

So there I was in the middle of the studio surrounded by women twice my age, who thought it would be nice to share their stories about how hot flashes work, and how 2 out of 10 were experiencing one that very moment.

"Good Lord, I thought. "Someone call 911!"

I'm trained in CPR, but I really had no plans of testing out those skills during Zumba.

Well, as the story goes: "Never judge a book by it's cover."

I don't know what supplements these ladies take every morning, but sadly I have to report that they were in better shape than myself. I've never seen anything like it in my life since the 80's when the movie Cocoon became a big hit.

I was stuck right in the middle of some cosmic geriatric conundrum. I watched as these older women swayed side to side demonstrating the Charleston with unfounded Super Powers, while I gasped for air with a load of kryptonite on my back.

When the girls informed me that Zumba is an hour long class rather than the 45 minutes I expected, I felt my heart skip a beat. Despite my CPR training, I had never learned to perform it on myself.

The words: "You did it ladies, you're done!" came none to soon. Suddenly angels were playing harps, and I regained consciousness.

I received many pats on the back from the troops who watched in amazement my stunning finish. I'm sure they each secretly called Vegas and placed bets on whether that finish would really occur.

And so, I have just six days to recover before I do it all again.

"What you ask, why would I do such a thing?"

Well it's like this...children!"

If this class gives me the energy that some of those other women have; I should have this Mommy thing down in oh, 18 years.

"Zumba, you stole my soul, but not my spirit!"

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

If Everyone Could be Pet....Smart!

Funny story: Just yesterday I was sitting down petting my dog Harley. I began talking to her like any good owner does. I asked her how she was feeling and what she wants for Christmas.

Now, you can act like that's all crazy; but seriously, I know you do it too. I continued to tell her how I had to get her groomed again soon. I love picking Harley up from the groomer. Her coat shines, she smells so wonderful (for about 24 hours, then reverts back to Doggy Scent), and if I'm lucky, the groomer finds some cute ribbons to place in her hair.

As I continued my vision of Doggy Utopia, the phone rang. I quickly looked at the caller ID which read: Pet Smart. That's odd I thought. I usually call them.

As I picked up the phone, I heard a friendly voice on the other end: "Hi, this is Julie, we we're wondering if you would like to make an appointment for Harley for her Holiday Grooming?"

"Holy Crap," I thought. Who is this Julie girl? Apparently some medium who sucks the thoughts from unsuspecting housewives. Frightened as I was, I quickly made an appointment with Julie. I began to tell her that I was just talking to my dog about how she needed a grooming. As the words left my mouth, I realized how ridiculous I sounded. Julie politely laughed, but I know what she was thinking: "If I have to call one more crazy person this season, I'm throwing in the towel."

After I hung up, I began to think about that strange coincidence....or was it? Maybe I need to talk out loud more often. Maybe I should just share my thoughts with my dog? What could it hurt? And so I began:

"So Harley, do you think Hubby will get me that Kindle this Christmas?"

Quickly I ran to the phone searching for the words Amazon.com on my caller I.D.

But aside from the word Pet Smart, it remained blank.

"Would I stop there, oh, probably not."

I continued talking aloud about other items that needed to be bought and/or repaired:

"So tired of the automatic doors opening by themselves on my car."

"Wish the food would actually rinse off while in the dishwasher."

"My house looks like crap, but boy does my Home Page shine."

"The account can't be empty, I still have checks left."

I checked the caller I.D. once more:

Mercedes Benz? (Nope)

Maytag? (Nope)

Merry Maids? (Nope)

Publisher's Clearinghouse? (Not a chance)

And so I must face the harsh reality: There is a difference in going to Pet Smart, and being Pet....Smart!

The phone did ring again that night, but you know the saying: "If it's not one thing, it's your Mother!"

Sunday, November 29, 2009

When Your Personal Trainer Calls It Quits!

Last July I joined the most wonderful gym. Sure, I've joined gyms before, but this one was different. I literally salivated as I was given the tour. It was pristine! Unlike anything I've ever seen.

To begin, I was greeted by a waterfall in the lobby. The gym even had it's own spa. It offered swimming lessons for my children (which was it's main selling point). In addition, it even offered to watch the boys for an hour while I worked out during the summer. This is the help I needed.

My membership included a personal trainer who designed an incredible workout. He even checks in with me regularly. Which unfortunately this month, ended up being, a not so good thing.

As I opened my email tonight I read the words: "Did not make your goal."

"What, how could that be?" I thought.

But then I thought some more:

Turkey, cornbread, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie, lions and tigers and bears OH MY!

"What have I done?"

First thing Monday morning after I drop the kids off at school, guess where I'll be?

That's right, you guessed it, Dunkin Doughnuts!

Who couldn't use a nice hot cup of coffee before their workout?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

And Then The Dog Ate My Pastry!

Six years ago I decided to have children. After discovering there was no direction manual, I almost threw in the towel. I mean for God sakes. Who gives you something that large and decides: "Just figure it out yourself." Even my Bow flex came with a video.

So I'm doing the best I know how, and whether that is good enough, only time will tell. I gathered the boys together this morning and headed to church. I thought this would be a good idea (since we had missed a few weeks). We quickly rehearsed the rules of church in the minivan. As we entered, I blessed myself with holy water, then moved aside so the boys could do the same. Potter did a fine job. Then it was Scooter's turn.

"I'm not sticking my hand in there," He said.

"It's holy water," I told him.

"Nope, I'm not doing it," He warned again.

For goodness sake. I don't know what got into the boy. The only thing I could figure was he saw a bowl of water and thought the next thing I was going to make him do was bathe. He can roll around in mud for hours, but let him see water in any other shape than a mud puddle, and he runs the other way.

Well, in a nutshell, that was the type of day it would be. All in all, this was one of their better days. With the week we have before us, my head is spinning as how we are going to complete our list.

I'm still trying to figure how I'm going to turn the dining room back into something I recognize. Yesterday, I hosted an Avon Open House. It turned out wonderful, but unfortunately it still resembles the likeness of a Macy's window display. "God, give me strength!"

While I was busy with customers, my sister decided it would be hysterical to change my screen saver into a picture of herself. Nothing like finding that image at 7am. And although I've tackled Bloggy Land with much vigor, I am a product of the 80's. Which basically means my computer skills came in the form of a game called PONG. There was a blinking square where my cursor left off, and my Radio Shack computer screen was absent of color. I didn't hear the word internet until I was almost out of college. If someone told me to click a mouse, I would tell them: "You click it first." Needless to say, my sister's picture may be a permanent addition to my computer.

When the kids finally went down for the night, I couldn't wait to get my hands on the left over pastry from yesterday. But as usual, my mind was in many places, and I forgot that I placed my pastry on the coffee table. (The same coffee table where Harley was sitting.)

Before I knew it; my pastry had been claimed. Claimed by an 11lb poodle mix. Probably 12 lbs. after that pastry.

Luckily, there was more. I'm currently trying to work off the pastry by typing at rapid speeds. Harley however has given in, and has slowly crept into a sugar coma.

Sweet dreams Harley Dog, Sweet Dreams!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thanksgiving. It's for the Birds!!!!

There's nothing like sticking your warm hands into a three foot deep freezer searching frantically for the perfect Thanksgiving bird. Butterball.com in it's infinite wisdom provided a calulator for us newbies which help you figure out how much turkey is needed based on the number you've invited to dinner.

It's funny how this works out. Because although I may be hosting Thanksgiving once again, I rarely know how many are coming until they actually show up that day. And may I add, that it really doesn't matter, because in my mother's infinite wisdom, she realized that I will never cook a turkey and therefore takes on the job herself.

At last count we were at 11 guests. Let's not forget the 2 who will be joining us by Skype. (I'm unsure how that works. Do I set a place for them also?)

Turns out that according to the math, we will be needing a 21 pound bird. The butcher told us to come back because he just put in an order for a shipment of 20 plus pound birds. It didn't look too promising. I told my Mom to cook (2) 10 and a half pound birds. I guess that comment alone got me kicked off kitchen duty. When I was asked how I planned on fitting both in the oven and I gave the answer: "We can microwave one," it just added insult to injury.

While I was writing this post I received notice from Mom that they found a 21 pound bird. I'm unsure exactly where they found it. For all I know it was a clean shot. (Need I go any further?) If Mom gives thanks for her new down comforter on the big day, I'll get my answer soon enough.

Until then, may you all find that perfect Turkey. And if you're as lucky as I am, may someone else cook it for you.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

If It Could Be Sunday Forever

I'm finally sitting. Hard to believe that my day began at 6am and I've been going full force ever since. I had to be at a show to sell Avon today which required loading the car, then unloading the car, then loading the car, then finally unloading the car.

Once again, I chose my most comfortable pair of shoes....NOT! Let me try that one again. Once again, I chose my most fashionable boots that make my feet look great on the outside, but make me cry in agony on the inside. Needless to say,the recliner is currently resting my sore, swollen feet. I may walk again by morning, but I've learned my lesson....Scratch That. Fashion will always reign first. I just can't help myself.

So I get home and begin checking the calendar. Oh My Gosh! Let's go through the run down: Monday I have to meet with my Writing Critique Group (If only they knew the only work I have to show is this darn blog, I may be kicked out!).

Tuesday is Grandparents Day at Potter's school. My Mom plans to come back to the house so we can buy the Turkey. I have an appointment at the consignment store to turn in some toys and make room for Santa stuff.

Wednesday is Parent Day at Potter's School. Hubby took off to help out with Scooter. I will go to spend time with Potter. After school is the H1N1 shot for Potter. The county notified us kindly after we filled out all the paperwork that they will not be administering any shots to Pre-K children. So we're keeping our fingers crossed for Scooter, because it seems unlikely that we will be finding a shot for him any time soon. I suppose the Bird Flu will be back before we get our next notice.

Sometime this week I have to fit in Karate, Prep Class, and Thanksgiving shopping. I also have the desserts to pick up for the Open House on Saturday.

I generally love to be busy, but this is going to be a challenge. Hubby also notified me that the rugs will need to be steamed again because Harley Dog had an accident in the Dining Room. Apparently Harley didn't notice that the same rug was steamed just three days ago. It must have something to do with the feel of pooping on fresh carpet, because this isn't the first time Harley pulled that stunt.

So I'm dead tired now, but not too tired to watch Desperate Housewives (which is beginning right now).

If only it could be Sunday Forever!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Prayer for Fish Fish

For the past four years, a little guy by the name of Fish Fish swam in our aquarium. We bought Fish Fish at Pet Smart shortly after Scooter was born. My husband had finally decided to throw in the towel concerning his 90 gallon salt water extravaganza located in the basement. He was so excited when he set that tank up, but shortly realized that once the babies began to arrive, there was no longer "Me Time." That mixed with the fact that Wifey wasn't a fish lover, and refused to help support his salty habit.

So we went smaller...much smaller. This aquarium was set up in the office. No salt this time. We bought 2 fish: Fish Fish and Mr. X. (I can't actually remember Mr. X's real name since Fish Fish didn't seem to like being in the same tank with him and decided it would be funny if he chased him every chance he got. Needless to say, Mr. X quickly went into cardiac arrest.

Fish Fish soon enjoyed all the extra room. We talked about buying him a new friend, but based on what he did to his last friend, we decided that it would be a better idea if Fish Fish swam solo.

Days, then weeks then years went by, and Fish Fish still kept swimming. The children went from crawling to walking to attending school. They even learned to feed Fish Fish.

And then came yesterday.

I sat in the office chair working on the computer. Fish Fish always came out to greet me. Sometimes it took a while, so I didn't give it much thought when I didn't see him. After I finished my work I decided to look for Fish Fish. And that's when I discovered him. Laying so nicely on his favorite hiding place. Fish Fish had passed.

"Don't cry," I thought to myself. "It's just a fish." But it wasn't just any fish, it was Fish Fish. And it wasn't Fish Fish dying that brought a tear, it was the years gone by and the memories that took place with Fish Fish in the background. It was First birthdays, and presents surrounding the aquarium. It was fingerprints on the glass from babies trying to pull themselves into a standing position. It was lip smudges from toddlers giving kisses to their fish buddy. It was chair marks in the carpet from children who needed an extra inch to throw some food in the aquarium. And all at once, it's gone.

"So how do we tell the children,?" I asked my husband. Men have a way with words, there's no beating around the bush. So when he blurted it out to the children, I wanted to cringe. I would have handled it with much more care. But I'm a Mom, that's my job.

Surprisingly the boys handled it better than expected. One wanted to know if we could get new fish. The other asked if he could see the body?

"Excuse me?" What the heck am I raising? This has to be a bad dream. But then, there was today.

Scooter was sitting in the back of our minivan. We were on our way to Walmart. Suddenly, Scooter asked: "Can we say a prayer for Fish Fish?"

"Sure," I said.

And it went something like this:

"Dear God, please take care of my Fish Fish. Make sure he has a big aquarium that he doesn't have to share with another fish. Make sure he has plenty of food. And please remember to keep him away from the sharks. Amen.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Got Diapers?

It wasn't too long ago that I was waste high in diapers...both clean and dirty. So despite surviving that period in my life; I sympathize with those of you who are still knee deep.

While the prices of many items may fluctuate, the cost of diapers seems to have steadfastly continued to rise. So where does one go to make that purchase?

May I suggest a trip to your local Sam's Club. While Sam's Club is known to sell a variety of items, the prices for their baby diapers are extremely competitive.

Major brands such as Huggies and Pampers are carried by Sam's Club. From Newborn to training pants; there's no shortage of sizes.

Sam's Club offers the convenience of buying in bulk. As a mom I appreciate such convenience when there are children in tow. All too often, there is just not time to do a weekly shopping trip. Bulk items help keep cost down while also allowing me to keep the closets stocked with the most important items.

If all this seems to good to be true, just wait. You can also have your diapers shipped directly to your home.

Sleepless nights may continue for a bit longer, but with the help of Sam's Club, expensive diapers are a thing of the past.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

And If I Die Before I Wake.......

I'm not a huge Dr. Phil fan, but I once remember hearing him give very good advice. He said: "Do not marry a person until you see them sick." He then went on to explain that he wasn't talking about the common cold. What he meant was the sick where you become one with your pajamas, your hair is more matted than the dog, and your mouth and butt simultaneously take turns fighting for toilet time.

That was easy for me. Once I had children, I became a magnet for germs. I was like a walking case of Ebola. If the kids got it, so did I. As soon as I heard a cough come from one of their mouths, I began frantically searching for the safe room. Soon I realized there was no hiding. Apparently kid germs have a long incubation period, and all those kisses and hugs just add to anxiety.

One thing I noticed over the years was my husbands inability to catch a cold. Sure he's gotten a few, but nothing like the knock down drag out no-cure viruses I seem to catch. He's back on his feet in 24 hours.

I've seen the man vomit once during our tenure together. Let's just say there was no virus to blame. I found him the next day in our guest bedroom wrapped in my winter coat. Well, we were once young too. And there was a time that children were just a thought. My, how we've grown.

And then three days ago on Halloween, my husband mentions he doesn't feel well. He blamed it on all the running we were doing. We didn't get a chance to eat much, and before we knew it, it was time to take the children Trick or Treating.

But then it was Sunday. My husband looked the color of Elmer's Glue. I sprang into action: prescription, chicken soup, provide quiet time by taking children to Target with me. I figured he would be back on his feet in 24 hours.

No such luck. It's now Tuesday night. I've officially quarantined him to our bedroom. Something he is severely pee-owed about since I've been told the bedroom TV doesn't get the premium channels. (Obviously, that was my concern).

This is the first time in ten years that I've seen my husband this sick. Usually when I look like that I get to hear the famous words: "Man Up!" Generally the kids still find a way to their Mommy despite trails of vomit, beads of sweat, and a note to God written on her forehead: "Take Me Now!"

So Dear Hubby, as I get ready to go to bed tonight, I am tempted to roll over and tell you to "Man Up!" Instead, I will make sure you get to a doctors office tomorrow. I will make sure you take your medicine, stay hydrated, and get plenty of rest. I will roll those heavy trash cans down the driveway, take down the Halloween decorations, fill Avon orders, pack for the weekend craft show, make dinner, bathe children, feed children, dress children, bring and pick up children from school, take children to Karate, Prep, and swimming, supervise homework, read notes and sign paperwork. I will wash, fold and put away clothes. I will vacuum and mop after every spill. I will read stories, entertain and act like I enjoy every minute of it. Because the truth is....I do!

Those same 2 words I said to you seven years ago (In sickness and in Health).

By the way, when I'm on my death bed next week due to contamination issues, and you have no idea where to begin, refer to one paragraph up. That should get you started! Hope you feel well soon. I love you.

Friday, October 30, 2009

So You Think You Can Dance?.......Not!

Call it bravery. Call it stupidity. Whatever you call it, take my word, call it quits!

Maybe it was the fact that I was turning 35 last week that got me into a free spirited kind of mood. Whatever it was, I had to face the facts, I wasn't 34 any longer. And despite what you may have heard, Yes Virginia, there is a difference!

It started with an invite to my son Potter's bedroom last week. Both him and Scooter had the music blasting. Just the previous night, they had sat in the living room watching an episode of "So You Think You Can Dance? Let's just say they were inspired.

What was Potter's bedroom just a short 15 minutes before, had been transformed into a combination of Studio 54, a gymnasium, and a stage show that any child would be jealous of.

And my dear friends, I had a golden ticket!

After my children showed off a few choice moves of their own, I was asked if I wanted to join in.

Me, I thought? Well of course I wanted to join in.

And this is where the horror begins. Because something so strange happens to a person when her sister decides to put "The Best of the Eighties" dance hits on a CD and give it as a present to her children. Her children in turn jack the volume up to deafening decibels only to create memories of neon, Miami Vice, and hairspray flash through their mommies brain.

I remember the words I spoke so clearly that night: "Want Mommy to teach you a dance move?"

It was at this point that I should have consulted with my inner Jiminy Cricket. But no, not me. I continued on with my foolishness. Right up until that point where a fiery pain shot across my stomach. I remember curling into a small ball all the while trying to convince my children that Act 1 had still not come to a close. I smiled until I couldn't smile any longer.

I think Potter finally caught on when I left out a small moan. I thought for sure internal bleeding was occurring.

"Are you OK Mommy?" He asked. "Because that was so cool!"

"Cool, I thought?" Did this child not understand the concept of 911? I was sure I heard something inside my body pop.

Although I tried to encourage other dance moves such as the Moonwalk, the Robot, and the Cabbage Patch. My children still thought Mommy's dance move was the best.

I'm officially a year older, a year slower and a year smarter (debatable). I have mastered gaining weight, and losing my mind. I have come, saw and kicked my own @#$! I have had my heart melt, and experienced melt downs all in the same 10 minutes. I am one year closer to hot flashes; yet my kids still think I'm the coolest person in the world.

Not too bad for 35. I'm enjoying it already.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Mommy Down!

Whether your child takes the bus, walks or is car-pooled, one thing is for sure: it can be chaos. Morning routines require precision, planning and a whole lot of energy. By 9am I'm generally looking up to the heavens and asking: "Are you seriously going to make me do this all over again tomorrow?"

When Potter began at a new school this year, it was all about learning a new routine. The morning wasn't so bad. There were some simple rules to follow: "1) Do not drop your child off before 8:30am (the doors are locked)." "2)Your child must be in school by 9am or they are considered late." "3)Use the side door for car riders." "4) The front doors are only for the buses, and of course for the parents who drop their child off after 9am and must sign them in late!"

I'm sure there are more rules, but those are the ones I can remember.

As for the afternoon pickup, well now, that's an entirely different monster all by itself. In the handbook it says the children will be dismissed at 3:15. The car line begins forming in the same place as the morning drop off. I thought leaving my home around 3:05 would give me plenty of time. Boy, was I wrong!

When I arrived at the school, there was no less than 25 cars in front of me. The line curled around the parking lot. Everyone seemed to know what they were doing except for me. By the time I picked my child up, it already felt like the next day. I now leave at 2:45 (yes, an entire half hour before my child is dismissed). Believe it or not, there are already parents there waiting in line. It's not like the school was handing out gold bars. We're just getting the same exact child back that we dropped off that morning. (Hopefully a bit brighter, but still, the same child).

To give you an idea of how exhausting this process has become to not only me, but to the many parents who sit that half hour bumper to bumper, I'd like to share a story.

So the wait was just about over. It was 3:15 last Friday afternoon. The children were beginning to be dismissed. I was about 6 cars back.

As the moderator began loading the children into the cars, the line began to move forward. I put my car in Drive and waited for the car in front of me to move....but, it never did. I was about to beep when I noticed the drivers seat was reclined. And that's when I got the uncontrollable giggles. Scooter was in the back seat wondering what the heck Mommy thought was so funny.

I could barely get out the words: "She fell asleep!" "Good Grief, I cried. Mommy Down!"

I quickly tried to compose myself as I waved down the moderator from my window. The swiftness at which this moderator glided across the parking lot to awaken Mommy Van Winkle showed me that this probably was not the first Mom to go down in a car line. She lightly tapped on the window. The look of shock on this woman's face said it all. She apparently hadn't taken a nap since she gave birth to her first child. She now squeezes in whatever shut-eye is possible during red lights, PTA Meetings and of course car lines.

Sometimes the greatest gifts life can give us will never be wrapped in a box. It will never come tied with a bow. It will simply be the offering of 10 minutes of complete silence. A cool breeze flowing through the window. The smell of evergreen air freshener lingering. And a reclined chair with a soft pillow to hold our head.

Sweet Dreams Mommies Everywhere!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

"What Do You Want For Your Birthday, Hunny?"

The countdown is on. In just six more days, I will be 35 years old. I remember a day when that number sounded so old. Now it's just a number. A number which reminds me that the clock will continue to move forward, my boobs will continue downwards, my butt will continue outward, but my optimism will continue to rise upwards.

Some things you just can't fight. Like those lines that mysteriously appeared around my eyes the day after I gave birth to son #2. Although a bit premature, I think it was God's way of preparing me for the other surprises my body had in store.

When my feet swelled so large during pregnancy and forced me to replace running shoes with bunny slippers...I laughed. When after I gave birth I realized that not only were my feet not going to return to normal size; they were going to stay 2 different sizes...I cried. When my bathing suit began to act more like the rubber band around the Sunday paper: trying desperately at all cost to hold everything in...I cried harder.

Age is a gift that is frequently misunderstood. We all pray that we live long enough to see our children grow; their children grow and so on. And somehow during all those years we also feel we're entitled to stay beautiful.

Doesn't sound like an unrealistic request.

So what do I want for my birthday? Here are a few suggestions for the gift givers in my life:

1) A shoe company that appreciates that not everyone's feet are the same size, and therefore decides to sell their shoes A La Carte.

2) A Non-Caloric Hot Fudge Sundae.

3) An eye wrinkle cream that, dare I say...works!

4) A mirror that lies well.

5) A small case of amnesia that temporarily causes me to believe I'm 29 again.

All right, all joking aside, you can't wrap amnesia. So, I guess I have no choice but to "hang in there"....literally!

Sticky Note Overdrive

I love October. This is nothing new. I've always loved this time of year. I love the color of the leaves. The cool breeze that calls for just a sweater. Pumpkins. Warm Apple Cider. Hay Rides. Halloween. And of course, to top it off, I celebrate my birthday on the 28th.

But this October seemed a little different this year. It's been the month of the checklist.

Now, if you know me, you know I'm a lover of lists. I'm never far from a pile of sticky notes, a highlighter, or a note book. I organize my own organization. It truly is a sickness.

This month however, everything hit at once. There are places we have to be, people we have to meet, things we need to accomplish. And that was just yesterday.

My calender filled up by week two of October and actually began to seep right into November.

To keep me on track I finally decided to enter the fascinating world of the Blackberry. Five minute nightly tutorials given by Hubby seem to be the only training I receive since the instruction booklet looks like something out of World and Peace. I love my new Blackberry, but have no fear 3M, Post-It Notes are never far from my reach.

October has been filled with Field Trips, costume ordering, karate practice, fundraisers, swimming lessons, Avon shows, class parties, permission slips, dry cleaning, pool closing, winter clothes shopping etc., etc., etc.

There are still leaves to be raked, gutters to be checked, summer clothes to be packed, toy consigning, and a never ending list of necessary craziness that I'm sure is written on a sticky note somewhere in my pile of organization.

I have just 11 days to get my act together. November is creeping in way too fast, and I'm running out of sticky notes!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Living In An Automatic World

I remember as a child hearing the infamous words: "Don't Touch!" We heard them so much that I began to wear down my pockets since that was the obvious place to hide my weapons of destruction. Sure, there were days when temptation got the best of me. And sure enough I heard my parents second favorite phrase: "You're grounded!"

But slowly as I began to grow, I noticed a change in the world around me. The need to touch things began to diminish. Doors that automatically opened themselves began to appear everywhere: from the malls to libraries to my local postal office.

I still remember sitting on my first automatic toilet. I had thoughts that my butt cheeks were going to be sucked right off my back side. I held on for dear life waiting for the flushing to stop. But just as I would scoot a millimeter, it would go right into another flushing episode. I now know what those hand rails are for.

When the toilets received critical acclaim from truck stop tourists, I guess the powers that be decided to roll with the idea that "automatic" was good. And so came about automatic sinks. Because children everywhere like to leave water running at full blast, it seemed only right that a limit be put on the amount of devastation one could do after relieving themself.

Maybe it's me, but I'm not so sure this was the best idea. I mean how many times have you needed to wash your hands and the water just won't turn on? So you walk over to the next faucet only to find that you now have a large blob of foamy soap stuck to your sleeve? And still you walk down the line waving your hands like some raving maniac. All the while you watch children exiting from stalls who seem to hold a Masters Degree in hand washing. The ease at which they retrieve water and soap has you baffled, if not a bit more determined to figure out the whole process.

Alas, you discover the secret: If you stand on one leg, while holding your breath for a count of five, and just slide your hands in the line of fire at a 45 degree angle, you will indeed get some water. Probably not enough to wash the entire blob of foam, but just enough to show those hot-shots next to you who is boss.

You continue to hold your head high until you realize you must begin the entire process all over in order to retrieve a paper towel. You do a quick look around, accept defeat, and decide that your Levi's will do a much better job at drying your hands than any super-absorbency paper towel held captive by a robotic box hanging on the wall.

You return to your car only to realize that the cherry on top to this day is leaving your keys in your car. If only you had chosen the model with On Star.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009








Sunday, October 4, 2009

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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Finally, All Your Car Questions Answered

It's not uncommon to have a question about your car. But who do you ask? And can you rely on that person to give you a honest answer?

RepairPal.com has decided to put an end to all that wasted time. By providing a website filled with relevant information; car owners now have a place to go to find unbiased advice on everything from price estimates, to ratings, to answers to common problems all given by certified mechanics.

Let's say you're interested in finding a repair shop in your town. Take for instance you need to find Dallas auto repair. RepairPal.com will provide you with the top rated mechanics in the area. You'll be able to quickly find these shops on the map. The addresses and phone numbers are also listed to help save you time.

Maybe you're the proud owner of a Chevrolet Silverado, and your in need of some information about your car. RepairPal.com gives you the latest details regarding common problems, repairs, reviews and popular questions and answers.

Let's say your mechanic advices you that your car needs a brake job, but your unsure exactly what that entails. RepairPal.com has a useful encyclopedia section that allows the user to enter just about any term concerning your car. The explanation of the repair is then broken down into an easy to understand definition. It is followed by recommendations and an explanation of why the repair may be needed in the first place.

RepairPal.com is a user friendly site. It saves time and aggravation, and it gives the car owner a sense of knowledge and comfort that he or she may not have had before.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Good Deed Mom Could Face Charges

Mom's have a hard job. We cook, we clean, we pick up, we drop off, we worry, we love and we do it all over the very next day.

It's nice to think that we can handle all those jobs, but many of us require a helping hand from time to time.

That is exactly what a few mom's from Middleville Mich. received from their friend Lisa Snyder. Because the working mom's schedules conflicted with their children's bus pick-up, Lisa offered to watch their children for the few minutes in between to make sure they got onto their bus safely.

The arrangement was perfect until Snyder received a letter from the Department of Human Services warning her that it is against the law to run an illegal day care. The letter continued to inform her that if she were to continue watching the children, she must apply for a license, if not, she could be fined or put in jail.

As a stay at home Mom, this story really hit a chord. I am one of the lucky Mom's that have family close by. So when my baby was in the hospital, there was help. When there were meetings that both parents had to attend, there was help. When I was ordered on bed rest, there was help. And on those occasions where I didn't feel well, there was help.

But for many out there, family members live miles away. Often we are surrounded by tiny voices, but still we feel alone. We must depend on friends and other parents who are willing to lend a hand. Friends like Lisa Snyder.

To read the entire story and more about Brian Calley; the lawyer who is working hard to change the law that is affecting Snyder go here.

May the state of Michigan one day realize the difference between day care and a good deed.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

"I Slept Wrong"

I remember as a child hearing grown ups say how they "Slept Wrong." I'd often be in the middle of a bowl of cereal when my mom or dad would walk into the kitchen holding a part of their body and declaring these words.

I'd just shake my head pretending I understood this adult jargon. But in reality what I was really thinking was: "How do you screw that one up?"

Honestly. You pull back the covers, lay down, and go to sleep. What's the big deal?

Then something so strange happened one day: I grew up.

Sure, I expected it to happen. I was even warned. However, the speed at which it took place was quite surprising. It may just be that speed that was responsible for getting me to repeat those words once spoken by my parents: "I Slept Wrong!"

The only difference now is I finally understand the saying. I can't say for sure what takes place during the night; since I would like to believe that I'm asleep. But there are some mornings that even that thought might be questionable. I mean, how does one hurt after sleeping on a bed of feathers? It doesn't get better than that.

But sometimes I have to believe that I was occupied with much more than sleep. Could I have possibly decided to run a marathon say around 2 am? Maybe I decided it was time to master double-dutch? Or maybe because I find Yoga too daunting to attempt while awake, I've taken it up during the middle of the night.

I guess the scariest thing now would be to find out that what I really did last night was...sleep!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Newbie Euphoria

I remember as a child when my Mom would get something new for the house. Oh, how she would light up. New pots and pans, new dish towels, a new bathroom curtain. And the list went on and on.

I'd often wonder why these things brought her such joy. Wouldn't she rather something like a brand new car? Surely that blue station wagon wasn't going to make another 100,000 miles.

Mom was an avid collector of S&H Greenstamps (these were very popular back in the day). I don't actually remember how or where these stamps came from. I just knew they had similar rules to that of Gremlins: 1) Don't get them wet, and 2)Watch out, they multiple like rabbits! For a few years in the 1970's I was totally convinced that my mother had purchased me with S&H Greenstamps. They were everywhere! And because they were in such abundance in my home, she was able to purchase me a brother and a sister as well.

Once the 1970's disappeared, so did S&H Greenstamps (or at least their popularity did). The new way to earn rewards was to jack up your credit card to 6 figures. You then might earn enough for a plane ticket that you could only use a few days a year, to go to only a few places, for only a few days with less than a few people. (Makes you want to pull that plastic out, now doesn't it?)

At the young age of 34, I finally understand what my mom was experiencing way back then. I returned from my Target Trip to find the Sears truck parked in front of my home. My new washer and dryer had arrived. It was all too exciting. I was suffering from Newbie Euphoria.

I entered my home only to find a look of disgust on my husbands face.

"What was going on," I wondered. Did they bring the wrong model? The wrong color? The wrong appliance?

"The dryer doesn't get hot," Hubby said.

Well, now that's different, I thought. These new front loaders are quite miraculous. Somehow in my mind I figured anything that spung around at 100 mph long enough would eventually dry. "Heat? We don't need no stinking heat!" Maybe it's a green dryer. A clothesline wrapped in a pretty box.

Anyway, Sears will again be here tomorrow....with another new dryer. It's unlikely that I'll experience another case of Newbie Euphoria. Although I only owned that heatless dryer for less than 24 hours; it seems like it's been here for years. It tried it's best, but just couldn't keep up.

That's me at the window waving. Goodbye old(new) friend, Goodbye.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Lemon "Aide" Brigade

You know the saying: "When life throws you lemons; make lemonade." Let's just say I put Country Time to shame today.

I figured I would get a jump on the wash last night since I wanted to go to the gym this morning. See, there's something about being ahead of the game that excites me since I spend most of my day behind the eight ball. Nonetheless, my plan failed.

Sure, I should have listened to Hubby when he pointed out that the washer sounded a little off. But I didn't. I should have checked the bag at Dunkin Donuts before I left the window. But I didn't. I should have learned all the words to American Pie. But I didn't. (Wait a darn minute, who wrote that?)

Anyway, my morning began at 5:45am. By 6:15 I attempted to do a load of wash. By 6:17 I realized that it was not going to happen. After the "click, click, BANG!" I finally turned the darn thing off. If it had not been for children; I would have headed right back where I started...bed!

I figured I could work my frustrations out at the gym. This would have been a good solution until I entered the cardio room only to find every elliptical machine was filled. So I jumped on a bike. Unfortunately I only burned half the calories. So I decided to celebrate with a chocolate chip muffin at Dunkin Donuts.

This leads me to the life lesson : "Always check your bag before leaving the drive through." The thing is, I usually do. But when all you order is a muffin and the bag was the right size and right weight, it seemed only appropriate to pay and drive off.

When I got home, I found my chocolate chip muffin had magically turned into a blueberry muffin. I have just one thing to say: "I don't like magic!" Sure, blueberry muffins are OK, but I had readied my palette for a chocolate chip muffin. Therefore, by the time it hit my tongue, I was experiencing that taste you get when you follow orange juice with toothpaste.

When Hubby arrived home from work we were off to buy a new washer.We decided that our stars weren't exactly lining up lately, so we threw in a dryer for good measure. They'll both be delivered Wednesday.

Hopefully by then, I will have finished this glass of lemonade.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Another Case of Momnesia

When I was with child I was given I was given a ton of advice. Everything from how to burp my baby, how to feed him, how to find a good doctor to how to deal with getting no sleep was offered.

Suddenly after about a year into this "child rearing" thing, the advice began to wear off. This is about the time people begin to whisper. If they're whispering a lot, you can probably count on one thing... you're screwing it up!

There wasn't much whispering around these parts. In fact, there wasn't much of anything after a while. The advice stopped, the silence continued, and my child still grew.

So there I was one day just minding my own business when I began to notice a common theme. I began to forget things. I realized this was a problem because for the most part, I don't forget things.

I am a meticulous note taker. I have planners for my planners. There are calenders on the refrigerator, the kitchen wall, the office and my purse. And despite all this help, I still forgot things.

I once heard that a woman's brain actually shrinks during pregnancy. Whether that is true or not, my concern is not that it shrinks, but does it ever return back to actual size?

There's no science involved in that answer I'll let you know. It doesn't.

Because now, after I've given birth to two beautiful sons (who's names I can't remember...just kidding) I am truly dumbfounded.

Let me give you a few examples: The other day I put my coffee pot in the refrigerator after I filled my cup. A definite case of Momnesia. I couldn't find the thing until it was time to fetch Potter's lunch for school. Honestly, where does a whole pot of coffee go?

That may be where the list begins, but it certainly doesn't end there.

Just last week I was at the grocery store with the kids when an announcement came over the speaker: "Would the owner of a blue VW minivan please report to the parking lot; you left your hatch open."

"What?" I'm thinking. That can't be possible. I didn't even use the hatch. I swear the kids came out of their safety seats this time; not the trunk.

So out to the parking lot I trotted with 2 kids. Right after I left my large cart of groceries with customer service (luckily I remembered you can't wheel the groceries out before paying, even if you left your trunk open).

Another case of Momnesia.

Frankly, it's becoming scary. For safety sake I'm toying with the idea of getting a tattoo that reads: "Momnesia Victim. If I look lost, I probably am. Please return me promptly before I forget where I live."

Saturday, September 19, 2009

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I'm Onto You....Publisher's Clearing House!

The normal stuff came in the mail yesterday: bills, fliers, and magazines promoting gadgets I'll never use. Then of course there was the famous "Yellow Envelope."

I don't remember the envelope always being yellow. In fact, as a child I remember a large brown envelope with the faces of Dick Clark and Ed Mcmahon pasted on the front. Who couldn't trust those guys?

For the past year these yellow envelopes have been plaguing my mailbox. In fact, I sometimes get a letter days before that warn me not to throw the envelope out. Now that's advertising.

So like the sport I am, I delve into the stack of papers found inside. In a nutshell, it's a smaller version of all the crap magazines that go directly into the recycling bin. Everything from Wonder Hangers, Wonder Bras, to Wonder Purses. Honestly, it all makes me wonder.

Wrapped nicely within all the "wonderful" things are the directions and a lovely letter. The letter tells me that the famous Prize Patrol will definitely be in my local TV area on November 11th to award the $10,000 prize or a $1,000,000 prize.

So which one is it boys? Both prizes sound nice, but you must admit,there is a large difference between the two. Winning the first would definitely excite me. I may take a few pictures, pay a few bills, and get a small write up in the local paper. The second prize however would require the TIKI bar to be pulled onto the front lawn, a bullhorn to notify the neighbors I'm moving, and maybe a bit of streaking down the middle of my street.(Hey, I have bail money now!)

If you're lucky enough to find one of these envelopes lurking in your mailbox let me be the first to warn you to set aside a good hour. It takes at least that long to find all those darn stickers that need to be affixed to the "alleged winning envelope."

Don't forget to order something. I mean technically they tell you that you're chances are no better than someone who does order. But really, what would it hurt? As I was looking at all the fabulous junk, Scooter spilled his cup of chocolate milk. Not a little spill mind you. The whole 8ozs. And then, he just sat in the mess. If I only had an 8 pack of Sham Wow's.

Wait just a darn minute! Where's that sticker? I'm a lucky girl today. A very lucky girl!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Ding, Dong! "Did Somebody Order Avon?"

Check your caller ID twice. Keep the blinds closed. Lock your doors. Unless of course it's me!

Well, I've finally done it. After three years at home, I've decided to jump back into the work force. Not to worry people. I am a Blogger first and foremost. I obviously have my priorities in the right place.

Both boys began school last week, and while the silence may work for some people, I tend to be a spirit that gravitates towards chaos. Yes, I enjoy noise.

When I began dating my husband, I made him buy a TV for the bedroom right before he had to leave the country for work. I know some people are against the whole TV thing in the bedroom, but I've always gone to sleep right after the evening news. It was so quiet in that bedroom without him, I just wanted a little noise.

Be careful what you ask for friends. In less than three years afterwards, I was pregnant. And 18 months after that I gave birth to my second son. Noise I wanted; noise I got!

And so the house is empty again. Giving 100% to any company is just not possible without sacrifices. Sacrifices I'm not willing to give at this time. Although I long to return to teaching some day, because of the children's ages and Daddy's commute, at some time during the day, the kids would have to be put in daycare.......No Way, No How!

So after many hours perusing the Wanted Adds, I have decided to become an Avon Lady. It sounds a little weird saying it out loud. When I was small, I remember all the Avon Ladies were old. Could I really be identified as the "O" word at the ripe age of 34? Good Grief!

Unlike those olden days, the internet does most of the work for you. And that is where you wonderful women come into play. Don't have an Avon Lady? You do now!

I should be up and running in about 24 hours. At that time you'll find a button on my blog that will direct you to my Avon homepage. You may not need any new makeup or perfume, but let's not forget about the necessities like deodorant, bath gel and shampoo.

Not to worry if you don't live nearby; your order will be shipped directly to your home. How cool is that?

Thanks to all who place orders. Even if you just take a look this time... you are wonderful. Let's not forget how quickly the holidays will be upon us. Do you believe I'm thinking about stocking stuffers already?

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My Priorities vs. His Priorities

I love being married! I truly do. We are on year seven, and despite the normal ups and downs that every marriage experiences, I am in love.

They say opposites attract. I was never much for that saying. I mean why would you go and marry someone who is the total opposite of you? But then the craziest thing happened: I did exactly that.

I have a very hard time relaxing. Honestly, I have to be asleep to relax. I haven't always been like this. But I know that it has gotten worse since I had children. I'm a huge believer in getting the most from each day. You will never find me in my PJ's past 9am (not because I don't want to be). It's just that I have this fear that if I don't spend my time doing something productive (like blogging) my life will never be the same.

My husband on the hand is a relaxer at heart. Wait, let me rephrase that. My husband is a very hard worker who believes when the end of the day has arrived there shall be rest. (Wasn't that in the bible?)

My husband does not believe in waiting in line. "That is why they invented the internet," is his reply.

And now it's time for the "F" word. Oh come on people, not that word. This is a rated G Blog.

I was referring to Football.

This is the part of the season when life as I know it shall I say....changes. It is that time of year when I begin talking to myself (I mean full blown conversations), because if I'm not wearing shoulder pads and a helmet there's no getting my husbands attention. Or at least that is what I've been led to believe.

And this continues right through to the Superbowl. Can you give me an O-H-C-R-A-P !
Well, there is an upside to things. Hubby did use that trusty internet that he so believes in and looked up the recipe for Hooter's Wings. Boy were they tasty! If he decides to make them every week I guess I can talk to myself for just a bit longer.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Scooter Soprano Strikes Back!

From the looks of the title it's hard to figure out whether I'll be discussing "The Muppets," "Mafia," or yet another sequel in the Star Wars trilogy. The truth is...none of the above.

If you're an avid reader you already know I've nicknamed my younger son Scooter because of his need for movement...constant movement that is. Try holding a baby that refuses to stop wiggling. Needless to say there were a couple of close calls.

So it was the first day of school for Scooter today. I know you're all anxiously awaiting this story.

Let's just say things went so smoothly that a few times I actually had to take a good look at my kid and ask: "Are you mine?"

So we're standing there in the courtyard behind the school when Scooter catches wind of a child who is having a breakdown. Let me add that Scooter was beginning Pre-K, and for most kids this is the first time they are away from their parents.

With that said, the child having the breakdown was now turning a shade of red that only Crayola could have perfected. Obvious sweat circles were forming under his mother's pits, while his father looked cool as a cucumber (he was obviously returning to work after this, and mom would be the one to receive the call that told her her child just bolted out the fire escape).

The teacher made a calm announcement to give hugs and kisses. Scooter did well again. As the line began to move, I caught that look in his eye. I knew what it meant, but I kept smiling and waving and blowing kisses........TOO LATE!

He ran out of line straight for me. You would think that 45lbs. isn't a lot of weight until it hits you straight in the gut. I felt like a bowling pin after a strike. How I prayed for a gutter.

As if that power play wasn't enough, you can imagine what was next. Being Scooter's Mom I was well aware that my child could scream. Maybe it was the fact that the bell had already rung and there was complete silence (except for Scooter), or maybe in my mind I was waiting for the "cool as a cucumber Dad" to help even the score. Suddenly I inherited Breakdown Mom's sweat circles.

As my child hung on to my body for dear life singing "Mommy" in Soprano, I couldn't help but feel alone. I was surrounded by people, yet none of them wanted anything to do with me. Their faces had the typical "Please don't let my kid catch what your kid has," written all over them.

As the principal appeared, I did my best at screaming for help without saying a word. She was a pro. She wrangled both Scooter and Breakdown Kid in with the style of a rodeo cowgirl. She quietly mouthed the words: "Go now."

I went straight to the bar....just kidding. I still had to drop off Potter first.

Then I went to the bar. Gotcha again! I went to Target. Obviously to buy deodorant.

Like any concerned mother, I called the school once I got home. I kept having visions that My child and Breakdown Kid would conspire to create some fancy escape plan out of blocks and Play doe. In a couple of years we would be sitting on a couch next to Dr. Phil talking coping strategies for the High School Drop Off.

Turns out, Scooter had a great day. At least that was the words that came from his mouth when I picked him up just three hours later. It was kind of robotic. So I have my own thoughts about whether or not he was trained....or hypnotized?!?!

So, the rest of the day was easy. Thank goodness. Tomorrow, the school request that all children are dropped off at the car line. They do not want the parents in the playground. They say it's an easier transition for the children if we leave right away. I agree.

I've already requested there be some help to pry Scooter from the minivan tomorrow. Honestly, what could go wrong? I have a feeling I may end up at Target again.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Our Last Day Together

Dear Potter and Scooter:

As you sleep, I anxiously await spending time with both of you today. See, tomorrow, you will both be off to your first day of school. While some mother's celebrate as if it's the new New Years Celebration; I quietly cry a tear.

Potter. You have surprised us all. You arrived into the world a little over 3 lbs. Today, your 42 lb. stature may still be a little small for a six year old, but you "give it hell everyday." I know you're a little confused as to where you fit this year. "Am I a First Grader, or am I repeating Kindergarten, you ask?"

Luckily, your school district has been wonderful. Grade Levels are just numbers Potter. Do what you've always done. "Give it Hell!"

Scooter. You have us all anxious about how exactly you will handle school. At only four years old, you've learned to verbalize your opinions loudly. You are compassionate, and will make a good friend. You will learn patience in time. But for now there are no limits to your ability. You have already proven that to Mommy.

I wish I could send you both to the same school this year, but things don't always work out as planned. I guess it is all meant to be. This will give me a little extra time in the morning with you since I will be your official school bus.

So what's the plan boys? How should we spend the last day of summer? Hide and seek? Ride bikes? Make wishes as we throw coins into a fountain?

I say we do it all!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Small Rooms. Big Projects.

A few weeks ago, Hubby and I decided to make a few changes to our laundry room. And like every project; what started out as something simple has snowballed into epic proportions.

I simply requested an iron board for the wall which would replace the standard one that was currently occupying our guest bedroom. I'm no different than most people. I have the traditional guest room, which I can honestly say is anything but traditional. It is where we do our ironing, bill paying, paper filing, gift wrapping, and gift hiding. Just to name a few.

So my "simple" idea has escalated into, dare I say....PROJECT!

The new ironing board sat for a while when after we purchased it we realized that the laundry room was filled with obstacles. There was only one wall where it could be installed. Unfortunately, within that wall lay two light switches and a heating duct. If the ironing board had been made of silly puddy, I would not have a story to tell. Luckily, with the help of some family, it is now hanging where it belongs, in our laundry room.

Since the wall had to be cut to fit the new board, we realized that we now had to paint. Not a big deal... right? WRONG! Despite the size of this room, there are more obstacles than one can count. A washer, dryer, ironing board, utility sink, two shelves and a window.

I should have just set up camp at our local Home Depot. No matter how many lists have been made, we have put enough mileage on our sneakers that I think we officially completed a marathon in the store yesterday. When the associates start waving to you; you realize you've made one too many trips.

So now you know what I've been up to, and how I plan to begin my Labor Day. Not too worry, the barbecue will be going in a few hours...right after the paint dries. Thank goodness for grandparents who enjoy taking the kids overnight. We may have had some fingerprints on those newly painted walls.

Stay tuned for the pictures. I look forward to sharing them.

Enjoy your holiday!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Give My Kid Some Books!

Last night was pretty special. I had the opportunity to meet Scooter's Pre-K teacher. I'm trying my best at putting a positive spin on letting go of my youngest next week. I've done my best at preparing myself for an empty house (if only for a couple of hours).

I know, I should be jumping up and down screaming: "Me Time...Finally!" But I'm just not up to it. And the more I try to squeeze in quality time before I cut the cord, the more I wish the cord was made of steel.

As I sat in the meeting last night, one issue caught my ear. If you are from PA, you already know what I'm going to say. But for all you out-of-staters, let me fill you in.

Currently, the state of PA is without a budget. So what does that mean to parents? Well, it's like this: That large book order that your principals put into the book companies last Spring have been filled, but until they receive payment from the state, the books will sit piled on a shelf. They will not be delivered to our schools. Our children will have no books.

Dare I complain? You betcha!

But I must say, I am in shock. We have received letters with contact information for our representatives. But seriously, how can you call yourself a representative if you have watched sat back and watched this happen.

I have been a teacher. And yes, it is possible to teach without books. It takes a little creativity, and alot of preparation; but it is possible.

According to our principal, it looks like the books may not be shipped until October.

As I write this post, there are wildfires burning in California the size of Philadelphia. While there have been budget issues in California, those of us from PA have to scratch our heads as we watch millions of dollars being managed wisely by someone who once ruled the box office.

Maybe during the next election I should just dismiss experience and instead check the box that says: "Terminator."

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Worth the Wait

I once read a study that said we spend a quarter of our lives waiting in line. A quarter of our lives I thought, that can't be true now can it?

And then I thought about a typical day in the life of Mommy Maestro. For example, the other day after I awoke, I began by getting the kids ready first. I waited while they each went to the bathroom. I waited again when I asked them to clean up their toys and they gave me that zombie look (like I know your my mom, but unless you're screaming at us, we can't hear you.) I waited while they brushed their teeth, put on sneakers and made their way to the car.

Once at the gym, I waited for the person in front of us to check her children into the daycare. I waited for kisses, I waited for hugs (worth the wait). I waited for exercise machines, and mirror time.

At the grocery store I waited at the deli, and I waited in the checkout. I waited for my children to stop yelling (still waiting for that one).

I waited for my husband to arrive safely home from work. I waited in traffic to bring Potter to Karate. I waited for our food to be brought to the table at Applebees. I waited for the sales man to come back with a quote on the new car we were interested in purchasing for Hubby.
I waited for the kids to fall asleep. I waited for the weather on the news. Then finally, I got fed up with waiting, and I fell asleep. I began the whole cycle again the next day, just in different places.

For the most part, I've gotten used to the whole waiting thing. It's a part of life, so why complain about something that isn't going to change.

I would however like to see more stalls in women's bathrooms. No invention in the world is going to prevent us from sitting a minute or two then wiping afterwards. There is an obvious flaw in this facet of the system. They even provide chairs outside the bathroom for the gentlemen who are waiting for their ladies. Now that was a bright idea!

So what is this post all about you ask? Well, waiting is just part of it. But the other day, when I went to the movies I got so excited at one of the previews. Try to remember, if you will, that I'm a kid at heart.

The preview was for Toy Story 3. I was so excited. And then the release date popped up at the end of the trailer....June 18, 2010.

Are you kidding me? That's almost a whole year. How do I explain that to the kids? Wait a darn minute! How does someone explain that to me?

What is a Mom to do?

I know. I'll just keep watching the trailer in anticipation for the big day. Oh thank you YouTube.