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."