Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Years!


I'm not a big believer in resolutions. By January 30th, most people who have made a resolution have already broken it or forgotten exactly what they were shooting for in the first place. This includes myself Folks.

So instead of focusing on 365 days; I've decided to take it one day at a time. My key word this year is "Good."

"Good friends, good times, good health, and good choices."

I've come to realize that focusing on good health is alot easier than focusing on that 15 pounds that refuses to leave my side (or my butt for that matter).

Good friends are hard to come by. But I've been fortunate enough to be surrounded by good acquaintances. This is a great time to take a good look at the company you keep. Have they been as great of a friend to you as you have been to them? If not, then ask just one question: "Why are you keeping them?"

It really comes down to good choices. Will we regret tomorrow the decisions we make today? I'm hoping not.

2010 was a tough year. It brought about alot of change for me and those around me. And while I look forward to change; I realize that it will take more than a change of date to bring about some real change.

So let's raise our glasses Ladies. Here's to 2012. May all your dreams come true!

Saturday, December 25, 2010

If Only I Asked for a Shovel


I usually wouldn't think about writing during a holiday. But after my husband decided to view Despicable Me with the family; I called it a night. And although it's only 6:30 Eastern Time, I'm winding down at the speed of light.

The children decided to check if Santa arrived at 6:20 am. And while the excitement of Christmas is overwhelming, I have hit the age where I finally understand why coffee is considered a remarkable drug.

The first 2 hours of the morning were spent unwrapping presents, catching that perfect picture on a camera that refuses to flash until our child has already left the room, sipping cold coffee, and reading directions in 4 different languages and hoping one will help you get that toy together. Ahhh, Christmas!!!

All in all, things were perfect. And nothing beats a day together with the family. Unless of course you find out from the National Weather Station that a snow blizzard is heading your way tomorrow. Now that's fantastic!

Actually, you got to love it when the weather station tells you you're going to get anywhere between 7 and 12 inches of snow with 30 mile an hour winds. You look around and realize that Santa remembered everything but snow boots for the kids. Talk about practical. Not to worry. I'm sure we can dig out with the new Nintendo DS's. Or shall I say: "We'll be digging out while the kids play their Nintendo DS'S. Can't Wait.

Well, I hope everyone out there had a wonderful Christmas. And if you live in PA.......Happy Digging!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Why I Love Black Friday!!


To my loyal readers I must apologize. I haven't written in a month. Not because I haven't thought of you all, but rather, I have been training for the big day. Black Friday that is.

And while training may have begun the day after Halloween, the day came and went quicker than expected.

Coupons and store maps in hand, the alarm rung at 3am. And off I headed into uncharted territory. Not really, but it sounded like a good beginning for a story.

Actually, as tradition would have it, I brought my Mother along and my running shoes (equally as important that day).

I would advise anyone who takes on this adventure to have a plan. Start with a list of people to buy for. Decide on the perfect gifts. Search flyers. Investigate opening times. Check bank balances (one can easily get carried away, i.e.- "It wasn't my fault. The purple sweater whispered to me").

And while I may be the topic of jokes in my family ("I heard Mary was at the Mall before Last Call was even served.") My madness has served me well. For the simple task of waking up before the roosters; I have managed to save thousands of dollars....No Joke!
And what have I done with all my new found fortunes you ask? Well, I bought a brand new pair of running shoes.
Enjoy Training:

Monday, November 1, 2010

Halloween Is Just For Kids...Not!







Well another Halloween has finally passed. All this preparation; and it's over in a matter of hours. Is it worth it? You betcha!



There are very few people that face Halloween with as much enthusiasm as myself. I have a hard time understanding why. I mean it wasn't that long ago that we all marched through our neighborhoods with larger than life pillowcases hoping for the "Mother Load" of all candy. And yet somehow over the years we have lost our luster.



Maybe it's just about passing the torch. I know how it makes me feel when I see my children all dressed up and ready to hit the streets. They can barely sit for dinner, let alone stay by my side as we visit the many houses for treats.



If you were one of the lucky ones who viewed the Halloween episode of Modern Family this year, you would understand exactly where I'm coming from. It is that exact excitement that takes over my whole being come the first of October until the big finale on the 31st.




So when my sister proposed the idea of dressing up as the ghost of Abraham Lincoln, I felt it was only right that she needed a John Wilkes Booth. And yes, that is us in the picture. Please give her all the credit for the makeup. My talent ends with baking cookies.




No, we didn't bother anyone for candy. That shipped sailed long ago. However, celebrating Halloween with a great costume is right up my alley. Luckily, my sister holds the same belief.




There were some great costumes out there last night. But few stood up to Lincoln and Booth. I only wish there were more grown ups who continued their Halloween spirit into adult years.




Take it from me. You'll have a great time!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Thirty Six Wishes


In less than 24 hours I will be another year older. The thing I noticed about turning 36 is that it really isn't significant. Don't believe me? Check out any birthday card kiosk. It is there that you will find a card for 35 and 40. But if you are a little off the beaten path...let's say 36, Forget It!


So in honor of all that is wrong with this age, I decided to keep with trends and make 36 wishes. I mean why should I only get one. It's really unfair to the other 35 candles that lined up to celebrate as well.


Hold on to your hats ladies. After you're done reading this list, you'll wish you were 36 today too.


I wish for:


1) World Peace (This is strictly a default answer for when it's time to go to my final resting place, and God wants to know why I was so greedy on my 36th Birthday).


2) A visit from Manola Blahnik stating he has the perfect size 11 shoe just for me.


3) Soft toilet paper in Mall bathrooms (face it, the urge only happens when our arms are loaded with clothes).


4) Clothes Dryers with a self-folding option. (My oven has a self cleaning option..what gives?)


5) Meet Oprah Winfrey.


6) Road construction that is performed between midnight and 4 am. (Let's face it, they're never going to finish anyway. What's a few less hours on the job?)


7) A grocery cart where all 4 wheels work.


8) A dozen roses for that guy who cut me off the other day. (Judging by his middle finger, his day was worse than mine).


9) A Fast Line at the grocery store that actually deserves the name.


10) A Personal Chef, or at least someone with enough patience that could show me how to cook. ("Paging Rachel Ray. Attention, Mrs. Ray.")


11) A Christmas List from my children that does not require a second mortgage.


12) A beautiful sunset, and time to watch it.


13) More "great" teachers.


14) Less rudeness.


15) More kindness.


16) A world where it's safe to let our children run outside.


17) A cup of hot cocoa (with fluff of course).


18) Schools with adequate budgets. (Where did your tax money go this year?)


19) Politicians who care just as much about this country as my grandparents did.


20) The right to speak one's mind- even if it isn't always "politically correct."


21) A comfortable pair of sneakers.


22) A car that rides like a Cadillac but requires the payment of a Kia.


23) A hot air balloon ride.

24) A third arm. (If you're a Mom; you understand).

25) A family portrait.

26) Curiosity.

27) Good health.

28) A warm bath.

29) A piece of delicious chocolate, with the calories of a tic tac.

30) A smaller butt.

31) Wisdom. (To understand only exercise will assist Wish #30)

32) A share in Apple Stock. (Dear Mr. Gates, I've been real good this year...)

33) The ability to be present in every moment.

34) Be a good friend, a good wife, a great Mom.

35) Pay it Forward.

36) Be grateful. Even if I only get one wish on my list, I am still the luckiest woman I know.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

How I Miss 9 to 5


Lately I've been missing nine to five. Back when I was a kid; that was your work hours. Unless of course you happened to be a farmer (then all bets were off). But if you were just a regular Joe, you could count on your Dad pulling in the driveway around 5:30pm. Mom would have dinner ready on the table. My siblings and I would see how fast we could scoff down our food so we could return to the backyard for some more play before the sun gave up for the day.

But things are different now. If you are one of the lucky ones who still have a job, you're holding on for dear life. Realizing that your pink slip may soon show up at the top of the pile, you no longer work to live, but must live to work.

The day is gone when Dad left for work sometime around 8:15 am. Some kids don't even get to see their Daddies in the morning. Unfortunately, some don't get to see their Mommies either.

If you think this way of life isn't affecting us; take a long hard look around you. When was the last time a stranger smiled at you, held a door, or borrowed sugar? When was the last time you sat down to dinner with the entire family, gone on vacation, or given up your place in line?

We are overtired, overworked, hurried, underpaid, overindulged, and blinded by simplicity. We have taken someone else's definition of who we "must" be, where we "must" be; and turned it into our own credo.

It's time to slow down, and to become happy once more.

How about you start tomorrow. Let's say 9 am.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

No Thank You, I'll Do It Myself


While I finished my breakfast and coffee this morning, I quickly scanned through my email. I noticed one that had come from my library. To my surprise, it was an overdue notice.



Now I was positive that I had returned our books. I remembered it so well in fact because I had counted the books twice before I left the house to make sure I had everything. I then drove to the library and threw all our books down the chute.



As it turns out, they received all the books but one. Which by the way was the audio selection my husband choose. Immediately I went into recovery mode. Maybe it had fallen out of the bag? Maybe it was under the car seat? Maybe the dog ate it?



With no luck I decided to head over to the library. And this is when it happened:



I approached the desk and kindly explained to the librarian my situation. I told her I had placed all the books in the bin at the same time, so I didn't understand how there was just one missing. And believe it or not, this is what came out of her mouth next:



"Well, did you look for it on the shelf?"



I was convinced at this point that the bun on her head had been pulled entirely too tight. All I could get out of my mouth was: "Really?"



Clearly she had witnessed me walk through the doors less than a minute ago. How she thought it was possible for me to have scanned the library for a book that was legitimately returned a week ago, but was now being held over my head with a $10 fine and a collection threat, was a mystery to me.



I was suddenly likening my library to one of those old abandoned buildings where some entrepreneur comes through in October and hires all the towns teenagers to dress the place up in cobwebs and black sheets then charge the public an unbelievable amount of money and convince them it's haunted.



My librarian was Head Ghoul.



Well in the spirit of all that is Halloween, I graciously went to search for my book. Since I realized said Head Ghoul's ass was stuck to said stool.



And guess what? That's right. I found it!



Luckily when I returned, Head Ghoul had vanished (Probably hanging upside down behind the book case). However, in her place was left a much kinder, gentler librarian who must have overheard my story.



She immediately scanned in the book and cleared off my card. And in the blink of an eye, I was no longer a Wanted Woman.


I try not to be of the mindset that "When you want the job done right, you have to do it yourself." I try to believe in people and their abilities, especially if they've been hired to do the job. However, when I was asked to go look for that book myself, I have to admit I was thrown for a loop.


I'm thinking next time I need to return some books; I'll just save everyone the trouble, and scan them in myself.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Bye Bye Character Underwear


So there I was in Kohl's last week (enjoying the freedom that a 30% coupon gives one). When it was time to begin to shop for the boys.

I still love shopping for my kids. I realize one day soon, they will no longer want to wear the fashions that I have chosen for them. But until that day arrives (I was soon in for a surprise), I will continue one of my favorite "Mommy Jobs."
I had told the boys to follow Hubby so that they could pick out some new underwear. Within seconds, Scooter returned to show off the Scooby Doo and Transformer underwear that he just had to have. It's funny how some of the simplest of things can bring a smile to their faces.
Finally, Potter returned.
"I decided to get these," he said.
He handed me the package. "Wait a minute," I thought. Where's Scooby Doo, Sponge Bob, Spiderman?" They were absolutely plain.

"I didn't want the cartoon ones anymore, Mom."

What did I just hear? No cartoons. He still watches cartoons. Why doesn't he want them on his underwear? And just like that, I felt it. The overwhelming feeling that my son was growing up. And it was happening right in the middle of the underwear section at Kohls.

Suddenly I wanted to leave. Especially when I saw the look on Hubby's face. He was overjoyed. It was as if Potter just hit his first home run. I didn't get it. A guy thing I guess.

There are lots of first in a child's life, and for the most part, we look forward to them. This underwear thing caught me totally by surprise. And to be honest, I could have used another year!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Relax?...Really?


With the kids back to school I had this notion that I may be able to relax just a bit. Honestly, I don't know what I was thinking.

Once September hits, it's like a whirlwind in the house. I like schedules. I like them a lot. But seriously, my day now consist of blocks. I've become a human daily planner.

"Where do I have to be at 11?" "Where do I have to be at 12?"

It's only the second week in and I'm terrified of forgetting things. I thought that I wouldn't have to worry about forgetfulness until menopause. Apparently it's sneaking up on me faster than I expected.

I was in Target yesterday, and all I really needed to get was a few supplies for the kids Religion class. It seemed simple enough. Would you believe they were out of pencil cases? I was convinced it was my fault. I just wasn't looking in the right place. But sure enough...no pencil cases. I probably would have stayed longer searching the isles up and down, but as I mentioned earlier about the blocks. I just didn't have the time.

After school today we have about an hour to eat dinner, do homework and change clothes so that we arrive at Karate practice in time. That is where I will spend 2 hours because my children can't possibly be in the same class. By the time we get home, it's bath time, pajamas, stories and bed time. This schedule is the same for Tuesdays as well.

The rest of the week consist of: Back to School Night, a vendor open house, a meeting for small business owners, two orders of cookies, a flea market and a neighborhood party. Am I a bit worried? You betcha.

Somehow, like every other mother out there pulling her hair out, I will make it. I may be bald by Saturday, but I will make it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

I Met The Pilates Gods


No, I'm not kidding. Last night, my gym had a get acquainted night for members who wanted to learn more about their new Pilate's program.

As usual, I was early, so I was quickly greeted by the three most healthy people I had ever seen. And with my usual humor I couldn't help but ask: "How long before I get to look like you?" Well, that gave them all a laugh. But I was serious. I was ready to sign.

They were eager to show me the equipment, which I must warn you, I swear I saw in Silence of the Lambs. It's not exactly user-friendly. Unless of course you already belong to the Pilate's God Group. (I do not).

Before I knew it, my legs were in straps and my buttocks was gliding along a platform with wheels. There were pulleys, harnesses, and handles. One bad move and I thought I could easily be shot right into the pool.

On top of that shocking experience, I come to find out that the Pilate's Classes do not fall under my membership. I have to pay extra....Bummer!

So I'm left with a dilemma of some sort. Do I continue to do what I've been doing? Or do I jump in (glide) with both feet and try something new. I must say it beats those aerobic classes where everyone is huffing and puffing, anxiously looking for their asthma inhalers. And of course it beats running on the treadmill for a mile (Which believe me, I did the other day). I swore that my insides were sure to come detached, and smack against the wall behind me. What a sight that would have been.

I guess I've already made my decision. It's Pilate's Time!

Monday, September 13, 2010

It's Yard Sale Time Again


This Saturday is our annual borough wide yard sale. And already I am finding myself overwhelmed. Unlike past years, I don't have the extra time to go through as much "stuff" as I was hoping to.

I still find it funny just how much junk ends up on my front lawn every year. No matter how well I did during the year at keeping clutter to a minimum, I'm still able to showcase a good amount of crap.

One neighbor actually asked me "Where does it all come from?" I was stunned. I was under the impression that anyone could have these sales. I didn't think twice last year when things like a Pilate's machine, ladder, and Halloween costumes were sprawled across my driveway. The hundreds of strangers that showed up, didn't seem to mind either.

So what's in store this year? Well, since we repainted the kids rooms this year, there will be lots of accessories to find. There will be the normal kids clothes that go quickly for just 50 cents a piece. And if you're looking for a beautiful patio table; stop on by. See, the measurements for the new gazebo we purchased didn't exactly allow for the table. So needless to say, that too will be on the lawn this weekend.

Oh, and let us not forget the cookies. It's the yard sale where our cookie company first got its start. For only $2. you can get a bag of delicious gourmet cookies. The kids will be manning their first lemonade stand, so if you're in the neighborhood, stop on by.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

When Little Hands Let Go


The alarm clock sounded at 5:45am. With so much to get done, I should have jumped right out of bed, but instead I decided to lay there just a few more minutes. I thought about the day ahead. It was the first day of school. And it's official, I now have the house to myself.

Most of our routine remained the same. We ate breakfast, made our beds, and watched a bit of T.V. The kids were even excited to help with our annual tradition of taking first day pictures on the front porch. Since Daddy had to go to work, I had to trust the kids to take turns with the camera so that I could take a picture with each child.

The ride to school was uneventful. And even when I thought the tears would begin...they never came from either child.

Potter, my new first grader, entered class with gusto. He waved as to say, "Go ahead Mom, I'm OK." And so I did. Ever so happy to have Scooter my kindergartner reach for my hand. Surprisingly, he never cried either. Although there were a few of his new friends that looked like they may not make it to the classroom door.

When it was time to wave goodbye, I did my best at giving my proudest smile.

By the time I had reached the car, I was a sloppy mess. I knew this would pass, but so had all those firsts and lasts in a blink of an eye: "The first day of First Grade," "The first day of Kindergarten," and "The last time I helped button 2 shirts in one day."

When I returned home I quickly pulled out the camera to review this mornings pictures. I should have expected that when you hand a camera to your child, you don't always get what you expect. So there I was in both pictures, hugging my child. The only problem...my head was cut off in both pictures. I could do nothing but laugh.

It are moments like these that end up in scrapbooks. It are moments like these that help get you through the roughest of times. It are moments like these that help you, "When Little Hands Let Go."

Monday, August 30, 2010

Guess What's In The Oven (No, Not One of Those)!


Hard to believe that I've finally reached this chapter in my life...Business Owner. I can now cross off the line on the Bucket List that read: "Be My Own Boss."

I can't say that I ever imagined owning a cookie company, let alone being it's main baker. But when I was handed my license last week; I knew it was true.

The past couple of months seem like a whirlwind. But to be able to work from my home is really the ultimate dream. I can continue to be a Mom, carpool, watch Karate and Swimming lessons, help with homework and build paper airplanes. While I realize our schedule will change a bit, I am still grateful.

To my family and friends that believed in me and supported me through this process: "I Thank You." Thanks for ignoring your waistlines during the rigorous taste testing.

I'm looking forward to the next couple months!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Those Were the Days


Oh, how I miss the 80's. Sure, some of you that read this post may not have even been born yet. And although the eighties were filled with much neon; memories take me back to a time of boom boxes and roller skates.

So when my children asked if we could take them roller skating, you can imagine my response. Yes, Yes, Yes!!!

It's funny how times have changed. The place to be on the weekends was the roller skating rink. In order to take my children roller skating though, we had to venture into North East Philadelphia (which isn't that far). But seriously, there are absolutely no roller skating rinks in the suburbs.

Now, had they asked to go ice skating, they could have been easily accommodated. We are surrounded by three.

Who needs three ice skating rinks? It's not like ice skating's popularity is on the rise. I mean I remember the Dorthy Hamill days. I had her hair cut for Goodness sake. But I also remember the Nancy Kerrigan/Tonya Harden incident. (What that was all about, still baffles me).

So when we finally reach the rink, I'm filled with nostalgia. I can't wait to get my skates on. And then it hits me, my body is a little older since I tried this last. In addition, I was there to teach the kids to skate, not to recreate scenes from Xanadu.

By the end of the session, I was still ready to go, but honestly my body was done. Although I hadn't fallen once, my attempts at catching children before they hit the hard wood took a little out of me.

I woke up this morning asking the question "What Happened?" I finally realized why so many of us 80's Lover's had retired our roller skates for a pair of Isotoners and a bottle of Doan's.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A "shifty" Issue


i guess it's time to buy a new computer. i'm unsure how long these things are meant to last, but this morning when i began this blog I noticed the shift key, well, got a little "shifty.'

as you can already tell by the use of my capitals, my shift key is giving me a problem. funny how yesterday it was the 'T' key. i had to go through my entire post and hold the "t" key down with all my might in the places it had been omitted.

when i opened my computer this morning, it was telling me it was shutting down Windows. Listen Mr. computer, i shut the window yesterday before i left.' I know the rules. If you don't shut the window, someone is likely to crawl in. And maybe that's exactly what has happened. i have a visitor.

i don't remember inviting anyone in, so if you're here, it's time to leave. my computer is only 2 years old, and frankly I need a dishwasher and oven more than I need a computer right now.

Maybe the keyboard just needs a good cleaning. Hopefully by tomorrow, i'll have this thing figured out!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Electric Went Out, and Our Son Vomited!


And those were the words I woke up to this morning.

As usual, I was in my morning stupor. My husband leaned over me around 5:30am and gave me the news. And that was how the day began.

As I sat in bed, I began to already change the plans for the day. I was unsure how sick Potter really was at that point, so I decided in order to avoid the hustle and bustle of the morning, we would forget about the gym.

I entered the shower realizing this would be the only "Me" time of the day. For as soon as I emerged I would have to have my Super cape attached, and be able to leap buildings in a single bound.

Scooter was already sitting up in bed at 6:15. He is always a delight in the morning. Like clockwork, he attempts every day to convince me of the importance for children to consume Pop Tarts as their morning breakfast. Again it is followed by a silly attempt on my part to explain the Food Pyramid to a five year old. The only thing I really have on my side at this time in the morning is size. Mom: 1, Scooter: 0.

When I walk in to check on Potter, I'm greeted by a mysterious smell. Well, as luck would have it, Husbands do indeed wake up in he middle of the night and change sheets. They just forget to bring the soiled ones down to the Laundry Room.

And so the saga continues. It is now 7:39am, and Potter has been vomit free so far. Here's hoping that luck continues.

As for Me, well I guess I have some Febreezing to do.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Yes. I've Managed to Blow Up Another Appliance!


I'm unsure whether or not a carpet steamer can be filed under the word appliance. When I think of appliance, I automatically think of all those dust collectors that line our counter tops. Our coffee pots, toasters, KitchenAids, food processors, blenders, etc.

I have independently decided that carpet steamers be filed under a special category...CRAP!

See, it's like this. Hubby and I bought a carpet steamer the year we bought our home (eight years ago this week). Sadly, carpet steamer #1 left us much too soon.

We began a family the following year and knew we would need a new steamer. So of course, out to the store we headed. I believe that one lasted us about a year. Just in time for our second child to arrive. Unfortunately, it too bit the dust (no pun intended).

Steamer #3 was sure to last us a lifetime (at least that's what it said on the box). Now, before I go any further, I need to mention that I do not steam every day, or every week for that matter. So for anyone who may believe I'm just killing these steamers slowly by overuse, well, that is truly not the case.

Steamer #3 was off to a bad start. See, we were forced to buy special chemicals (that were not sold in stores) to keep that puppy running. And although I believed in the promises, Steamer #3 found it's way to the garbage can shortly after it decided to backfire its "special chemical" all over the user, i.e. Me. There's something truly special about a Steamer that not only steams carpets, but also steams it's owners, it's owners clothes, and air.

Steamer #4 was bought at my local Kohl's store. And while I do not hold Kohl's accountable for today's misconduct, I have to mention that I've only owned this "appliance" for four months. The fact that it broke was only half of my misfortune. I now have a steamer filled with water and carpet cleaner. And a dining room table which is now balancing all the contents of the dining room, including the chairs.

I literally had to sit down and take a break. Steamers are indeed not one of the cheaper "appliances." It always seemed more logical to me to own a steamer than to pay someone to come in and clean our rugs.

Hubby is currently in Google Mode trying to find a way to fix said appliance. I however, have bigger plans. I think I should put the $300 I would spend toward a steamer, and purchase a Margarita Maker. Let's face it: If it decides to leak, I can always sip the contents right off the counter top. And maybe after 2 or 3 of those Margaritas, the stains in the carpet won't look so bad after all.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The "Right" School Supplies


It's not even August yet and everywhere you go, you're bombarded by school supply deals. Tons of flyers are piled on my dining room table. I had no intention of beginning so early, but when I saw that some stores were selling supplies for less than a dollar, I began to pay attention.

I was lucky enough to have received a starter list from Potter's teacher before he left for summer vacation. However, in small print it warned that we will receive another letter in August and there may be additional supplies needed.

"Exactly how many supplies does one child need?" I thought. But I go with the flow, and try not to complain. That is of course until I get to the store.

The first thing on the list is a 4oz bottle of Elmer's Glue. Which by the way was strategically placed right next to the store brand. The difference? Oh, about 20 cents. Doesn't seem like much until I realize everything on the list is name brand. "What is going on?" And to top it off, the sale was just on the store brands.

So I leave my shopping trip dumbfounded and poor. I get that teachers would like to have all their students have the same supplies. But let's face it, when it comes to supplies the only thing we as parents are worried about are the words: "Non-Toxic."

I'm not done with Potter's list just yet, and Scooter will be going to Kindergarten this year. Can't wait to see that list. "Gold Leaf Crayons, anyone?"

Friday, July 23, 2010

Apron Extensions


I may have let it slip out. I'm unsure. But if the cat's out of the bag, I guess I can let you all know that I am in the process of opening my own business. Yep, that's right. Mommy Maestro is now wearing yet another hat. I have decided to open a cookie company.

While all the legalities are still in the process, I'm hoping to be up and running by September. I will be working in my home kitchen to start out. The idea was that I could work around my children's schedules and still keep myself busy doing something I enjoy. Just one problem.....I'm gaining weight.

As you all know, my goal this summer was to take the weight off. And I was doing OK. Not so much with weight loss as toning. But I finally gained some muscle in places I had forgotten I owned. I thought that maybe by September I may again recognize that part of my body once labeled a waist.

But then along came the cookie company. And hours of taste testing later, I am back to where I began. I still have plenty of varieties yet to test, and dare I say, I'm frightened! Thank God for long apron strings.

I began with good intentions. "I'll just take a bite," I would say. But then that bitten cookie would sit there (so lonely). I would continue the baking process: running around the kitchen, juggling baking sheets, and scrubbing bowls. Then suddenly, that lonely cookie would catch my eye. And before I knew it, I had consumed the entire thing. Not good. Or shall I say: "Yummy!"

And there I was, standing in the kitchen again. Finally satisfied with how my double chocolate cookie had turned out, and realizing I only knew that because I had consumed three of them.

Maybe the excitement of opening my own company will help burn off some calories. I guess there's always an alternative....Apron Extensions! (I know, you thought I was going to say: "Put the cookie down!") Really?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Happy Birthday!


I decided to take a break from my normal storytelling this morning. And instead talk about someone I love dearly....My Husband.

See, today is his birthday. Hubby doesn't much like surprises, so I figured I would just send some love by way of my blog. And anyone who would like to join us, please feel free to leave him a comment.

I won't say just how old he is, just that he's older than me...teehee!

And while he still had to work today, we wanted to let him know that we will be waiting for him tonight with 39 birthday candles....OOps!

We Love You. Happy Birthday Bri. Love, Your Family: Wifey, Potter and Scooter

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Uninvited Friends


Five years ago, when we put in a pool, I never imagined the pickle I would find myself in.


Instead, I foolishly visualized my white pasty skin would somehow magically form a Caribbean like tan. The water would always be warm. A lifeguard would be on duty for when I needed an extra eye to be kept on the children. Salt would rim the glasses. And last but not least, that bikini that sat at the back of my dresser drawer for years would finally fit my body.


Oh wait. Time for a pinch. This really isn't a dream?

As you may have picked up over the years on my blog, aside from my loving dog Harley, I have never been a huge fan of animals. (That's right PETA, you heard me). So imagine my surprise when I found out that an inground pool (especially during this current heat wave) attracts wildlife.

Because we have such a small yard (honestly, the pool is the main attraction) I thought that maybe the animals would go and play in my neighbors yard where they could frolic and run the day away. (Frolic? Really? One too many fairy tales Mary). But as it turns out, the animals apparently enjoy a little pampering as well.

When we discovered that the bunny population was exploding, we decided to go and put special netting around the inside of our fence. Guess what? They ate it. Yes, apparently rabbits are not only known for their high speed reproductive systems, but also their innate ability to swallow property fence.

During the heavy snows this past winter we found deer and rabbit prints in our driveway. Rumor has it before the rabbits realized they could break in themselves, they called on the deer population to put a little spook on us. Seriously, it looked like the sequel to Bambi was being shot while we all slept that night.

Just two weeks ago I heard cries from my children's playground. "Hey Mom, what's that thing?" "It just ran under the bush."

After getting down on all fours, then grabbing the camera so that I could take a picture for my Dad (Self Proclaimed Wildlife Identifier), I came to find out we had a groundhog. While Pennsylvania may be known for it's famous groundhog, I seriously doubt Punksatony Phil traveled across the state just to take a dip.

And last but not least, let us not forget about the frog population. If there is one animal that grosses me out...it's the frog. I don't want to look at them. I don't want to hear them. And I certainly don't want to swim with them.

It all started about 2 weeks ago. Right after the groundhog left us. I found a frog at the bottom of the pool. And since Hubby was at work that day, I knew I would be the one who would have to fish him out. But suddenly, as I tried to put the net under him, he swam away. Let me just say, how fast that guy could swim. He went back and forth from the shallow to deep end. Had he worn a pair of goggles, he may have been mistaken for an Olympic contender. Of course he was sporting his Birthday Suit, which I believe is an automatic disqualification from any event.

As it turns out, I did catch Laurel. Yes, I named him.

Why you ask? Well, because as it turns out, he returned the next day. And the next. And the next.

Then one day last week, as I went about my daily duty of fishing Laurel out of my pool, I noticed he had lost some weight. A lot of weight. Whatever secret he had, I wished he would pass it along to the loyal netter who has been saving his life everyday.

But then, out of the corner of my eye, I caught a shadow. It was Laurel.

Well then who was it that I was trying to get a net under?

From what I can figure out. Laurel now has a wing man. Somewhere during the last 24 hour period Laurel went to the local drinking hole, got thrown out, waited till dark, made a friend, returned to hole, and promised his friend that a cool chick would come along with a net and save them both. Lucky for them, I was home.

It's been tough watching my tropical oasis be turned into a wildlife refuge. But as I see it, so far, the animals have the upper hand. The groundhog may have left for cooler weather, but Laurel and Hardy (Yes, he earned a name as well), look like they're here to stay.

Just one warning boys: Friday is mowing day. You may want to be at the neighbors house then.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

A Trip to the Candy Store


Yesterday my Mom and I took a ride to Peddler's Village. It's a great place to walk around. There are so many unique shops. The only problem was that it was near 90 degrees and we had the kids with us.


There's something so ugly that happens to little ones after they hit a certain temperature. I have to say that despite this, they were doing their best at hanging in there. So to reward them for their good behavior we took them to the Candy Store.


The Candy Store at Peddler's Village is something everyone should get a chance to see. The smell of chocolate once you hit the door can make just about anyone immediately turn diabetic. While I may have initially had an underlining agenda entering the candy store (air conditioning), I soon realized what a gem this store was.


We ended up in the lower level of the store. It was literally candy nostalgia. Everything from candy cigarettes to Dots to Sky Bars was for sale. I couldn't believe my eyes. I was in Wonka Land.


Before I knew it, the store owner was showing my boys the ropes. Now remember, my boys are 6 and 5. They light up when anyone gives them attention and they generally hang on every word. And let us not forget, they believe just about everything they are told.


With that said. Keep in mind the following conversation.


Store Owner: "These are our top sellers. Lightning Bugs Gummy Worms. They fly off the shelf before we can restock them."


Scooter: "Wow Mom, I want a bag of those!"


And so I paid the $3.50 for the bag of Gummy Worms, and the .85 cents for the Candy Cigarettes for Potter. And after a wonderful dinner we traveled home.

Back at the ranch, the kids couldn't wait to open their candy. While Potter found easy access to his candy cigarettes, I watched as Scooter began to line up his Gummy Worms on the counter. And soon I found out why:

Scooter: "Mom, the lady at the store said these things fly off the shelf. Mom, they're not going anywhere!"

Try explaining that one to a five year old.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Welcome Home Stealth Puppy


Every once in a while when we go on a trip, we choose to board our dog. It's not like it's really a choice. If I could take her everywhere we go, I certainly would. But the housekeeping staff in Atlantic City would probably frown. I would certainly loose any comps I may have earned. (Oh what would I do without that $1.00 coupon for the buffet?)


When I dropped Harley off at the kennel, I made sure they had all the necessary directions: feed once a day, walk twice a day, give only the food we drop off, scratch belly until leg shakes uncontrollably, etc., etc., etc.


I was asked to take Harley's collar home since they would be using their own at the kennel. This always makes me nervous. Although the kennel seems completely safe, I liken it to going to Atlantic City without my wallet. Without I.D.- Do I really exist? I mean it's not like my image is plastered all over grocery store magazines. Aside from close friends and family, I don't have a huge fan base.

So I wondered. If Harley Dog decided to plan the great escape from her kennel; would anyone know she is gone? How would they break it to me? Would they even remember her name? Or would they just refer to her as that cute furry creature I dropped off Saturday morning?

Well as it turns out, Harley is safe. But for a while she was silent. See, all those ID tags that usually hang nicely around her neck were still in the car. And if Hubby had it his way, that is where they would stay. The jingle and jangle that usually followed Harley was nonexistent. If it hadn't been for the fact that Harley always greets me at the door, I probably would have a hard time finding her. It's funny how quickly we miss the things that annoy us so easily.

I watched her play for a while without her tags. She ran through the house at the speed of light- minus the speed of sound. She quickly earned the name Stealth Puppy. My Husband was in his glory. One can usually hear Harley coming from a mile away. But now she crept through the house almost reserved. This of course led to another problem.

Harley tends to follow me wherever I go. This is fine when I can hear her, but once she was put on mute, I had some problems. I found myself tripping all over the place. After about an hour, it was time to retire Stealth Puppies super cape and return her collar.

Well peace and quiet was nice while it lasted. But nothing compares to the real Harley Dog. Welcome home Stealth Puppy!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Lost in Pronunciation


Did you ever have an experience where you know what you wanted to say, but you just couldn't find the right words? Well, something like that just happened to my six year old.

To say this week has been busy so far is an understatement. We're currently trying to redo the kids bedrooms. This has been no easy task since it's the same bedrooms they sleep and play in. Aside from hanging caution tape across the threshold, I've had little luck at, shall we say, recycle their toys. Kids have a hard time parting with everything.

I was sitting in Potter's room with him trying to help him clean when he comes out with the following statement: "Scooter's room is such a whore." He said.

I froze. My head immediately began to spin with thoughts of "What have I done?" "Where did this child learn to speak like that?" Then suddenly I broke into laughter.

Potter was unsure whether to run or hide since only a moment before he witnessed my head about to explode.

"I think the word you're looking for is horror, Potter. You're brother's room is a horror, not a whore."

I didn't bother going into the definition of either word. The look on my face told him everything he needed to know.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

It's Official; My Kid's Are Smarter Than Me


I consider myself to be of average intelligence. Like every other parent, I hoped that my children would one day grow up to be smarter than their Mom. I did not expect however that it would happen so early.


At ages 6 and 5, my children have turned into geniuses. This is the part where I guess I should break out my "Proud Mommy" shirt, but I must pause for a quick breath. For I realize sometimes the things we pray for are the exact things that will scare the hell out of us.


Take for instance the other day when I had to rent a car while my minivan was in the shop. As usual my children took the opportunity to beat on one another while I was forced to hold onto the wheel. I would glance into the rear view mirror only to find a flying arm, a hand full of hair and a child in a headlock. After a few threats and a million prayers for a Calgon, I decided to take it to the next step.


"If you boys don't quiet down now," I said. "I'm going to push the eject button."


All was quiet. So quiet in fact, I thought I may have been the first Mother to kill my children with a threat.


But not to worry. Like most pleasantries and tranquil moments in my life, they were quickly sucked out the window by the sound of laughter.

"This thing has an eject button?" The older one asked.

"Sure does." I said with complete certainty.

Again, silence. Then finally, my defeated moment began.

"Push it, Push it, Push it!" They yelled.

Car manufacturers should hang their heads low. For years their focus has surrounded such things as heated seats, anti lock brakes, video monitors and GPS systems. Had they only spoke to a Mom first.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

When Life Gives You Lemons


If you read my blog regularly, you already know my luck with cars. I received my license when I was 17. I am now 35, and I have owned (drum roll) 7 cars.

I love the "new car" smell. I salivate when I walk through a showroom and a salesman gives me a decent price on a vehicle I've been eyeing. But the excitement is generally short lived.

I will begin with my purple Chevy. This was the first car I bought with my own money. It was my favorite color. I am not counting the "brown bomber" as my first car since that was so nicely handed down to me while I was in college. Hence the name; you can image the issues that car had. After graduation I gladly handed that sweet ride down to my little sister (that's what family is for).

The purple Chevy however was a dream come true. Nothing like turning the ignition and having a car start on the first try (something I wasn't privy to with my first car). Then it happened. One day on the way to work I got stuck in a police chase (so Hollywood of me). And yes, the front of my Chevy was pulled off. Although it was fixed, it never quite ran as well. And so we parted ways.

I moved on to a Hyundai. While it wasn't top of the line, it had more options than the Chevy, and I really liked it for a while. Then the transmission went (not even a year on the road). Shortly after that was fixed some Bozo decided to make a left turn in front of me. I made it out with just a few scratches. But the Hyundai was sent to the big scrapyard in the sky.

Car accidents are never a good way to get rid of a car you don't want. However, because of that previous accident, I was able to buy my Monte Carlo. Hands down, this was one of my favorite cars. But once again, it didn't last very long. Although this time it was good news.

We were expecting our first child. We soon realized that getting a car seat in and out of a Monte Carlo was considered an Olympic Event. So I traded cars with my husband. I was down graded to a Ford Escape while Hubby rode off into the sunset in Monte.

After the transmission blew in that (a few times) we bought a Chrysler Pacifica. What can I say...beautiful. This car was wonderful. And aside from the small hit and run it was involved in, it remained a dependable car. Unfortunately at the time, we could only afford to lease it. So after three wonderful years they had to pry it from my grasp.

And that is when the minivan entered our lives. It was a nightmare on wheels. It literally rained in the backseat because of poor sealing issues. It was in and out of the shop. Of course, it was also involved in a hit and run......but we got that girl.

When I finally couldn't put up with the problems any longer, I began to visit dealers again. Let's just say the smell of "new car" makes me break out the checkbook.

So there I was with a brand new minivan. This was April 2009. It is now June 2010, and my minivan is a little over a year old. You probably won't be surprised when I tell you its been towed twice, the automatic doors have closed on my children, and I sometimes find the doors open in parking lots when I return from a shopping adventure. Needless to say, it will be going into the shop tomorrow.

You're probably also wondering why it's not considered a lemon. Apparently, in order for your car to be considered a lemon, the same problem must exist three separate occasions within a certain period of time.

So until I can convince the dealer that I have been sold a lemon, I will have to be satisfied with owning a lime.


Monday, June 14, 2010

The Man, The Myth, The Legend


I know what you're expecting. Some superhero blog featuring a fictitious character who once again is "here to save the day." What else do you think of when such a title is given?

The truth is, the following post is about my husband. While I had plans of writing about another subject, he took me by surprise when I found him sitting downstairs this morning instead of on his way to work.

You'll understand my dismay in a moment. Right after I explain that my husband doesn't call out of work....ever!

While many people are already speaking to the boss before their first sniffle, my husband would have already worked out, logged into his computer, made calls, filled out paperwork and consumed about 5 cups of coffee. Referring to him as a work horse is actually an understatement. And to top it all off, he has over an hour commute both ways.

While he does catch the occasional cold, most of the time, you wouldn't even know it. Because he also suffers from allergies, it's sometimes hard to figure out when he is really sick. But lately I saw the signs: glassy eyes, chills, an uncontrollable cough and boxes of tissues lined up in every room.

To see him finally give in today and make a doctor's appointment was actually a relief. No fighting, no "it's just a cough." I was shocked.

Sometimes we all need to take it easy. I think he is long overdue. Get well soon Hun!

Monday, June 7, 2010

The Ones They Forgot To Mention


You may have heard about the uproar in Major League Baseball last week. A bad call made by umpire Jim Joyce prevented Detroit Tigers Armando Galarraga from making baseball history.

On his way to throwing a perfect game, Galarraga made the out at first base. Only it wasn't an out. At least that is what Joyce saw. He called the runner safe, and like that, it was all over.

After further review, Joyce realized he had made a mistake. And here is my favorite part: He apologized. And Galarraga accepted.

All too often a play in baseball ends in a coach yelling at an umpire, a player throwing a bat, a fine and an eviction from the game. This time it was different.

Mr. Joyce could have easily stood behind his call, and baseball would have went on as normal. But instead, he made the tougher decision. He listened.

Talk about a life lesson. It's not often we get to witness history being made in such an eloquent way. If you ask me, both men should be inducted into the Hall of Fame simply for rising above adversity.

And maybe that's where this story should end. But I think there are two people that still need to be recognized.

Three cheers for the women that these two men call Mom. Ladies, you raised some outstanding men. But based on what we've seen so far, you probably both have already received your thank you calls.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Blame It On The Dog


I've began to notice a common theme in our home lately. Whenever someone doesn't want to fess up to their accidents; they blame it on the dog.

Our dog Harley is eight years old this year. She was once the baby of the family. But in the past 8 years she saw us through a new home, a wedding and the birth of two boys. And although she may have slowed down over the years, she still has her wits about her.

Harley has been trained since she was a puppy. But whenever she feels she is not getting enough attention, the dining room becomes her mine field. She waits until we leave the home before she begins her work. After all these years, I have never caught her in the act.

And now it seems, the kids have caught on. No, they're not peeing in the dining room. However, whenever there is a mystery puddle or smell, guess who gets the blame? Harley has become the default button at our home.

Just last night I asked: "What's that smell?" At first, there was dead silence. It was as if everyone needed that minute to take a deep breath and figure out exactly what smell I was referring to. Then I got my answer: "Maybe it was the dog, Mommy."

So there you have it. These kids may not realize it now, but someday they will have to fess up to their criminal activity. Until then, I guess it is Harley who will have to explain that "funny smell" coming from the kids room. And it is I who will have to trust that Febreeze will help keep things under control until the real culprit gives up.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tinkering With The Blog


"Don't fix it if it isn't broken." Those words were running through my mind as I was editing my blog last night. I spent Memorial Day weekend searching for a program that would help me make my blog a bit more personal. I've come to the conclusion that my talent ends with my writing.

Luckily I only spent $20. I was hopeful that the $20 would also include a direction manual...no such luck. Funny how that frozen pizza I cooked for the family the other night was coated with directions. Just in case an overscheduled Mom such as myself should accidentally forget that cardboard is highly flammable.

I often spend my mornings admiring some beautifully designed blogs. I've spent hours on the Internet trying to avoid buying some of the more expensive programs. But apparently it's those exact programs that I need. I thought by reading a few tutorials I could magically give my blog a professional touch. No such luck again.

So I'm off to find a blog designer this week. Someone who's mind doesn't turn to mush when their handed a series of directions.

Hopefully soon, Mommy Maestro will have a new look. Until then, I think I'll stick to making pizza.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Hanging Up My Yard Sale Hat


Last week was our community Yard Sale. I always have so much fun on this day. It's a way to get the house clean, socialize, and maybe if you're lucky, make a few bucks.

But, as with any event, there is a lot of preparation needed. I always find myself at the last minute trying to affix tiny price stickers to every item. (Those same stickers are the ones that don't want to cooperate once they hit the heat). Despite all my hard work, I end up selling things for $1.00. And like the optimist I am, I have to keep in mind: "It's a dollar I didn't have a minute ago."

So there I am standing over my table of treasures. I have to wonder how I accumulated all this stuff. Among it sits a large bowl filled with chocolate chip cookies. I sell small batches of these fresh baked cookies every year for $1.00. And like clockwork, the bowl is just about empty at the close of the sale.

So while I spent the week price tagging salt and pepper shakers, Halloween costumes, baby monitors and exercise equipment; I realized where I had gone wrong all these years. There may be a few people out there that love to buy your old junk, but there are a lot more who enjoy buying cookies.

The truth is, it was actually Hubby that brought it to my attention. If it weren't for him, I probably would have kept doing things like I always have. When I bring up a flea market that I was interested in, he suggest that I use the event to launch my cookie business. Funny thing is, I don't have a cookie business. "Oh, I get it." I say.

Sometimes it takes a little while to sink in, but eventually I catch up. After seven years, it's finally time to hang up my Yard Sale Hat. Now, if I only owned a baker's cap. I think I need to find a Yard Sale!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

"Lost" Lost Me at Hello


Sunday nights are generally not too bad for TV. My kids love the ever so popular Americas Funniest Home Videos. I love 60 minutes, but like most people, I tune in just to see the ever so popular antics of Andy Rooney.

For a while, Hubby enjoyed tuning into the Amazing Race. I enjoyed the premise of the show, but the drama that some of the couples chose to bring along; I could honestly do without.

For me, 9 o clock was always worth the wait since it brought the arrival of my favorite housewives. Just when you think the stresses in your life are overwhelming, along comes one of those beauties from Wisteria lane to remind you just how great you have have it.

So as Sunday was coming to a close, I checked the TV lineup. What a disappointment. Since the Amazing Race and Desperate Housewives had come to a close, I guess I was hoping for the network executives to put something just as entertaining in their place....NOT!

To make matters worse, I'm the only one who was not tuned into the whole "Lost" phenomenon. But let me explain: I too was excited when it first aired. Let's face it, the first episode where the passengers were being sucked out of the airplane was amazing. I guess it was somewhere around the time they introduced the black cloud that I lost interest (First season maybe). I don't know, call it deja vue or something, but wasn't the whole concept of passengers getting stuck on an island already done before.....Gilligan's Island?

So now I have to sit and watch a tribute to Brooks and Dunn. Another disappointment. Apparently after 20 some years together, they've decided to call it quits. You must be kidding! Does anyone believe in counseling anymore. Couldn't they have talked this out a bit longer and realized what a big mistake they're making. I have no words.

Let us not forget Celebrity Apprentice. Since it's not over until 11, I'll have to wait till the morning to find out the winner. Why am I feeling that Bret Michaels will be crowned?

Here's hoping Sunday night television picks up again for the summer. Well, I guess there's always blogging. I may even get a chance to finish a book. If all else fails, I may actually get some sleep. Or I could just keep watching, and be put to sleep naturally.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

When All Else Fails...Use a Safety Pin!


I do not sew. I do not want to learn. I have no passion to make my own clothes or give my creations to friends for special celebrations.

I admire those who can. Funny thing is: my husband is one of them. Apparently that is one of the patches he earned in Boy Scouts. Just a side note: I was in Girl Scouts and my patch was for the tin foil oven I built at camp. I unfortunately did not retain that skill, so you're sure to find me starving if I ever get lost in the woods. You're likely to also find holes in my clothes since I may have mentioned, I do not sew.

This leads us to the other day when Scooter, my younger son finally decided to take on Karate. Since we were all unsure how long this passion would last, the Sensei thought it would be wise to borrow a uniform until we were absolutely sure Scooter was serious.

I refuse to complain about anything that is given to me for free and with kindness. However, one look at Scooter, and you can tell, he is not very tall. Unfortunately, the only pair of pants they had to spare were definitely made for a taller kid.

Did I mention that I don't sew?

And this is where Mother's intuition along with invention comes into play. I went into the trusty sewing box (which belongs to Hubby) and found a few safety pins. And like magic, the pants were fixed. Well actually, they had kind of a hobo look to them. Each pant leg was rolled about five times. Then these giant safety pins were poking out from the sides. The only thing my child was missing was a bottle wrapped in a paper bag.

It was a good fix for the night, but it looks like I will be buying a new uniform this week. Right after Scooter ran off the mat crying, I knew he had been injured by my make shift sewing project. "Something poked me," he shouted.

Suddenly I felt all those parents looking at me wondering: "What's wrong with you lady?" "Don't you know how to sew?"

Well ladies, I may not know how to sew, but I can make a kick ass cake in an Easy Bake Oven.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Perfect Gift


Who hasn't ever ran out of ideas when it comes to gift giving? Even when we think we've come up with an idea; where do we begin to shop? Do we run around the mall and do our best at comparing prices? Or do we just use a search engine and cross our fingers? Wouldn't it be nice if all the hard work was done for us? Now it can be.

Recently I came upon the site Become.com. I was searching for a new watch. While I had a few specifications such as price and color, I needed help with narrowing my choices.

Become.com gave me exactly what I needed. I was able to set my exact price range along with my desired color and brand. What originally began as a huge search came down to just a handful of choices. Because I was able to comparison shop with ease, I found I spent much less than expected.

So I did what any responsible gal would do... I continued shopping. Become.com was also able to help me find a new pair of earrings. Sure, I could have wandered through the mall. But I already did that, and I came up empty handed. Once again I was able to enter exactly what I was looking for. And let me just say how happy I am.

If you're short on time like most of us are, why not stop by Become.com for all your gift giving needs? It's like having your own personal shopper along for the ride.



Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sharing My Pool...Is For The Birds!


Could someone please tell me where in my contract did it mention that I would have to share my pool? After signing on the line, I thought I was free and clear. I mean it is in my back yard. It is properly fenced. Last time I checked, it's my address that's on the house it sits behind. Yet, I continue to get visitors....unwanted visitors!


Take for instance Mr. Duck who mistakes our pool for his own personal launching pad. Not to mention a Day Spa as well.


Mr. Duck stops by every year. Occasionally I will have just awoken, only to find Mr. Duck perusing the waves. Sometimes he stops by for just a few minutes. Other days, he stays a bit longer. But don't get me wrong. The last thing Mr. Duck wants is to be bothered....As If! Once I enter the back yard, Mr. Duck is on his way. Mr. Duck is shy and refuses to engage in any conversation with those who are not wearing feathers.

Next I must mention Mr. Frog. Or shall I say, the entire Frog Family (cousins and all). The Frog Family must have done cartwheels when then found out there was a pool going in at the Brennan Ranch. For as soon as we installed the pool, the Frog Family jumped in immediately to do their morning laps. Unfortunately, while the Frog Family may have admired the ease of entering the pool, they failed to realize there was no exit. Once in the pool, the Frog members had to await a member of the Brennan family to rescue them with a net before they reached exhaustion. While our success rate may be higher than our failure rate, I have to admit that more than a few Frog members just didn't make it. A special place in the Brennan Garden has been dedicated to them.


Lastly, there are the birds. Those damn birds. When I look out from my window at my backyard I see an oasis. A place to retreat to during those hot days. A gazebo to relax under and enjoy conversation. A barbecue to enjoy good meals. And a swing set where the kids play for hours.


What I didn't realize is what my pool may look like to others. Or for that matter, what it may look like from the sky. Apparently, for our winged friends it looks like a giant bird bath. I have afforded these creatures a chance for a break. A truck stop if you will. A chance to free themselves of pollutants, and whatever else may collect in those feathers during long flights.


While sharing my pool with wildlife may not have been part of my plan, it sure appears that it will stay that way with or without my approval. And until I decide to screen in my entire backyard I will just have face the facts: This pool thing is "For The Birds!"


Sunday, May 9, 2010

What Being a Mom Has Taught Me!


In only two months, I will have been a Mother for seven years. Hard to believe it's been that long already. For many of you out there, it's been much longer than that.

It's funny how in just that short amount of time, how much one can learn. Here are some of my favorite highlights:

1) No matter how much you spend on a toy. Your three year old would prefer to play with the box instead.

2) Children will run a high fever all day, but will wait until you're dead asleep to vomit all over their bed sheets.

3) Before I had children I took hot showers for granted. Now I just hope for a hot shower.

4) Great Mother's feed their children fruit. The rest of us think the man who created Pop Tarts is a genius.

5) Tornadoes are covered by insurance. Tantrums aren't.

6) No matter how far you force your body into the dryer; the vortex that stole your sock will also one day steal your child's favorite toy, the last drop of milk, your car keys and your mind.

7) No matter what you may think of her; the best babysitter for your children will always be your mother.

8) A half hour of cartoons does the soul good.

9) Prefer whine over wine once in a while. Some things can't be preserved.

10) The best presents you will receive for Mother's Day are the ones without wrapping.


May you all have a Blessed Mother's Day!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Pillow Fight!




A few weeks ago I bought a new pillow for my bed.

Now one thing I should let you know ahead of time is that I don't take pillow shopping lightly. In fact, if you accompany me on this adventure, you'll probably find yourself sitting in one of those chairs next to the dressing room. It's a process. A long process.


I take serious anything that aids in a good nights sleep. From the thread count in my sheets, to the cotton in my pajamas. It's all important.

So after 30 minutes in the bedding isle at Kohls last month; I thought I had found it...The Perfect Pillow.

The first night is always a little tricky. No matter how comfortable it felt, there is a breaking in process.

Just after my pillow turned a week old, I was sure this was the one. I had a perfect night of sleep. I was well rested.

I headed to the bathroom to begin my morning routine. And that is when it hit me...right in the face. As I looked closer at the mirror, I realized my dear beloved pillow had left its mark.

Not just any mark, mind you. There was an impression of a seam which began at my hair line and stemmed down to my left ear. Dear Lord! Despite my love for Avon, I knew there was no makeup in the world that would cover this monstrosity!

A hood? A big hat? A comb over? Nothing would work. And now I had to bring the kids to school. I prayed the seam would disappear by then. Every few minutes I ran to the bathroom to check things out. It was going away, but not quickly. Apparently, my pillow wanted to let everyone know just how good of a job it was doing.
I thought for sure I was part of pillow conspiracy of some kind. I was forced to walk around all day with this thing on my face just so people would start a conversation with me. Suddenly there would be a surge in sales at the local Kohls. People around town would start waking up with pillow seam impressions across their foreheads. But all of them would be well rested.
And then it occurred to me: "I really need to get out more often." A blog about pillow seams? Really Mary. There must be something more interesting to write about.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Last AVATAR


I finally did it! I saw AVATAR.

Well actually I saw the beginning and I saw the end. As for the middle, I can't say I remember a thing. That's probably because that nap I so needed overrode the need to watch green and blue men fight for their planet.

My husband has been raving about this movie for months. "As soon as it comes on DVD, I'm buying it." He would say.

Of course as we walked into Walmart this weekend for a casual shopping experience, guess what was there to greet us? (Aside from the Walmart greeter).

That's right. A kiosk filled to the brim with AVATAR DVD's.

"Sure Honey, put it in the cart." How could I possibly say know. Not to mention he was being helped by my sons who just mastered "puppy dog eyes." It was three against one.

Like a typical Mother I thought of all the other things that could be bought with the $24.99 that was spent on a movie instead. But how can I complain? Surely if I had brought everyone to the theaters to see this Gem, I would have easily been out 100 bucks. So technically, I saved around $75. Or at least that is what my husband would lead me to believe.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It Start's With One Person


It starts with you.


On April 22nd we will be celebrating Earth Day. I always get excited about Earth Day, because even if it's only for a day, it's one day that people try to act responsibly.


When I was small, although Earth Day may have existed, there was no fuss. Global warming was still a phenomenon, and we didn't own a recycling container until I was in high school (but it was just decorative).


So when did things change?


For me it was a teacher. A teacher who had so much passion about the environment that it was literally catchy. I would leave her class with so much excitement. I couldn't wait to pass that excitement onto my students.


As luck would have it, I quickly became a Mom. Rather than passing the excitement onto students, I was able to pass it onto my children.

I quickly began to realize the hurdles of "Being Green." I also realized that my excitement wasn't shared by all...a huge misconception.

When I was pregnant I began my search for biodegradable diapers (something you probably won't find at your local market). If you think the price for a regular pack of diapers is expensive, wait till you get a load of what they want for these puppies. Needless to say, due to budget constraints, I wasn't able to add this coveted item to my baby inventory.

And that's just one example. The list goes on to contain everything from bottles to clothes to organic food. To be green you have to spend the green. There's no way around it.

While I do find it unfair, I believe in the cause. Sure it's more expensive now, but as more people catch on, companies will be able to lower their prices.

Start to make your home a green home, and you won't look back. But be patient, it takes some time. My home is still a work in progress and I began over a year ago.

If you need some help getting started, refer to this site: http://www.earthday.org/

Best of Luck!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

"What's a Lamp?"


It's official. I've once again failed Mothering 101.


I couldn't have predicted this one, even if I tried. Somewhere in my heart, I knew there would be things we forgot to teach our children. I know my parents did. But somehow the cracks get filled. Whether it is by a teacher, a relative, a friend or (dare I say) T.V.


So when I was putting Scooter in bed the other night, imagine my surprise when I was asked: "Mommy, what's a lamp?"


Surely this must have been covered in one of those sweet baby books we received for his first birthday. He is 5 years old now. How is it that he doesn't know what a lamp is?


By his age I had already changed a few bulbs in our house. Remember back then how often they would burn out? Now you can go something like 10 years before you buy a bulb. I even remember how our hall closet would be ready with at least 4 packs of bulbs. Parents back then would often talk of power surges......we never had one.

So there I sat with Scooter wondering exactly where I had gone wrong. And then it dawned on me. Seven years ago my husband and I bought new construction. We decided on all recessed lighting. It seemed like a good idea at the time. But I never really noticed that we didn't own a lamp. Apparently someone would.

Just goes to show you that you should never take anything for granted. Looks like Scooter and I will be hitting the Yard Sale Circuit soon. He is sure to learn all there is about lamps there.

Please join us soon for some more forgotten life lessons: "What is a Walkman?" "What is a tape cassette?" "And how did you turn on your T.V. if you didn't have a remote?"

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A "Sense" of Urgency


Imagine a world where the sounds you heard around you were so loud, it left you practically debilitated. Imagine your fear of the dark consisted of more than the boogey man. Your parents consistently change light bulbs so as to avoid the inevitable burnout. Imagine a world where your senses are so heightened, you question every move, ride, trip, play date and vacation.


At one time, I imagined this world...now I live it. I live it with my son Scooter.


Scooter was a healthy 10 lbs. at birth. But almost immediately when we brought him home from the hospital, I realized there was something different.

He cried. He cried a lot. And when you would try to hold him, all he would do was fuss.

We blamed it on his eczema for a while, but after several prescriptions, I felt there was something more. Once he learned to speak (which was very early) the word "no" is all we heard.

Finally, one morning, Scooter began to ask me questions about a conversation I had with my husband the night before. Here was the odd thing: Scooter was in bed when we had the conversation; and we were down stairs at the time.

I began paying closer attention to Scooter's hearing. Sure thing, Scooter could hear. Scooter could hear real well. So well in fact that loud sounds began to bother him.

As Scooter grew, so did the problem. We always needed a plan B. Especially since we had 2 children. Luckily my older son was very thoughtful, and constantly looked out for his brother rather than complaining about what he was missing.

Doctors were very dismissive about his problem. After much frustration, I began my own research. Turns out Scooter suffers from Sensory Processing Disorder. While putting a name to the problem seems it may have solved things; the story doesn't end there.

See Sensory Processing Disorder is often associated with children who suffer from Autism or Aspergers Syndrome. And although it can stand alone, it is not recognized that way as of yet. In a nutshell...insurance won't cover it.

This post is not meant to be depressing; but rather informative. I am far from the only parent out there living this experience. My hope is to create conversation and to convince insurance carriers of the importance to reevaluate their decision and begin to cover this disorder.

There are middle men of course. Politics. And of without a doubt, money.

Everyday is an adventure with Scooter. An adventure I wouldn't change for the world. And while I can't protect him from all his fears; the hugs and kisses I am showered with daily let me know I helped shield a few.

If you would like to become an advocate, and help get SPD recognized, please visit this link and fill in the form. Every name counts.

Hugs To All. Sincerely, Mommy Maestro and Scooter



Tuesday, April 13, 2010

My Dear NyQuil; How I Love Thee!


As a mother, no matter how many children you have, we always feel like we are taking care of someone else. If a child is sick, we are cleaning up the vomit. If our dog is sick, we are running it to the vet. If Hubby is sick, we are making soup. And so on, and so on.


Yesterday, I was sick. I was waiting for that magic Mommy to jump out from behind a doorway....she never did. I waited for her to say go lay on the couch while I finish the laundry, landscaping and carpooling....she never did. I waited for her to make dinner and drive the kids to Karate....still, no one showed up.


It finally occurred to me around 6pm last night, that I was going to need to pull this one off myself.


But when I pulled in the driveway after Karate classes, there sat the best site I had seen all day....Hubby's car. Yes, that meant he was home. My shift had ended. Right before I was about to drop over.


I didn't really need anyone to take care of me. I just needed someone to take care of all the stuff I normally was responsible for so that I could have time to regroup.


Around 2 hours later I sat on the couch sipping hot tea. Other nights, this would have been relaxing. But since my nose snot decided to run the 5K, I was anything but relaxed. Thank God for NyQuil.


I managed to have a decent night of sleep. I'm finally ready to take on the day. If it weren't for this NyQuil hangover I'm experiencing I probably would be much chipper.

Looks like a did get a hand after all.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Night The Lights Went Out In Georgia


Well Folks, we lost a great one over the weekend. Dixie Carter, age 70, and former star of Designing Women passed on Saturday.


I was a huge fan of the show, and of course my favorite character was Julia Sugarbaker, played by Dixie.


If you were too young to have had a chance to see Dixie in action, I left a clip from my favorite episode. It is without a doubt one of her best performances.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Warning: Do Not Decorate the Rose Bush!


Well, let's just say I've had better ideas when it comes to decorating.

Last week before Easter the kids begged me to decorate the outside with some hanging eggs. I had made the eggs the year before by just hot gluing some ribbon on the tip of some plastic eggs and tying a bow (that is the extent of my creative endeavors).

So we headed outside, and before long I realized that the only bushes the children could reach to decorate were the rose bushes.

It wasn't like I condoned them doing this, but they both promised they wouldn't go near the "prickly things." And like most boys, decorating consisted of a good toss into a tree. No careful positioning needed. And for good measure (or just to add a little frustration to Mommy's day) they both decided to toss eggs into the larger trees. God bless the bird that finds that nugget in his nest when he returns.

And so yesterday I decided it was time to take down the Easter decorations. I began outside with the eggs...."What was I thinking?"

I could have just as easily decorated barbed wire for the children.

It's one thing to play ring toss with some eggs and hope they land inside a rose bush. It's another to try and collect those things without causing bodily injury.

And after what seemed like the longest fifteen minutes of my life. The undecorating (Is that such a thing?) was complete.

Indeed I appeared to have been mawed by a bear. But with eggs in hand I knew the worst part was over. Anything left would have to rely on the wind to blow them out. There was no way I was reaching into those bushes again.

Like I said, I've had better ideas when it comes to decorating. I've learned that being Super Mommy could have easily equated to a trip to Chuckee Cheese. Well, better luck next year.