Friday, October 31, 2008

Am I THAT mom?

D brought home her first report card EVER yesterday. Momentous. Milestoney. Can I really have a child old enough for a report card?

I held the thin, folded paper with trepidation. After all she's only six. No way could any of her grades make a difference on her future. She doesn't know the difference between an A+ or a C-. Yet. But, the natural competitor in me was kicking and screaming, "All As or Nothing!" Part of me wonders what her class rank would be. Part of me knows it doesn't matter. Part of me knows that I have to keep on making learning fun around here and not let the pressure to do well squelch their enjoyment of school, or their interests or creativity or talents or... oh B.S. just open the dang thing.

All As. Glowing comments. Os for conduct. And then... at the bottom... a C in handwriting! What?! Oh no! There goes Harvard.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Happy Howa-heeeeen!

A. says "Happy Howa-heeeeeen!" D. asks every day if tomorrow is Halloween. Not since Christmas and July (their Birthday Month) has an event been so eagerly anticipated around these here parts. Even more so since Mama decided to do a Homemade Halloween this year. It was surprisingly easy -- no sewing involved! -- starting with the Gallery of Ghosts and ending with D's Spider costume. She's going to be Charlotte from Charlotte's Web for school, complete with cute stuffed pig. We may even make her a "Some Pig" sign to carry. For trick-or-treating we're going to make her a little more scary and drape on some webs and stuff.

I was so into it this year, not the least because the weather has been so cool and Fall-ish, that I wanted to make homemade treats to hand out, but M. reminded me that it probably wouldn't go over very well with all the concerned parents out there. Good thing I came to my senses before slaving away over trays of cookies. After all, I wouldn't let D. eat a homemade treat unless I personally knew the person who made it.

Anyway, "Howa-heeeeen" was a Big Deal in our old neighborhood, we probably got 200 - 250 kids coming by. I've heard it's a bit slower over here in our new digs, maybe 100 kids. I'm still going to get the "good stuff" this year - Snickers, Baby Ruths, M&Ms, Musketeers. My main rules with candy is no PB cups. I can't resist a Reese's and last year I ended up snitching all of them from D's basket. But it's OK because she doesn't like them anyway. Anyhoo, despite my well-documented sweet tooth, I am NOT a candy fan. I like some Belgian dark or milk chocolate; I like Mike & Ikes. But I'm not big on commercial candy at all (except PB cups). So if I stick to buying Snickers, etc. I can pretty much guarantee I'll be able to keep my hands out of it.

I'm also making my traditional Trick-or-Treat dinner of turkey Sloppy Joes and Tater Tots. I've made this for dinner on Halloween since M & I first bought our house, so I'm keeping up the tradition. It's a great, quick easy dinner before we head out and keeps nice and warm in the Crock-Pot if anyone is hungry when we get back. M is in charge of handing out the goods (A will help) while I take D. around the neighborhood. The porch will look very spooky and I got some great haunting music from iTunes to play out there. By the way, check out iTunes Halloween sounds if you're looking for some mood music for a party -- some of it is really scary. Think whispery children's voices; distorted rantings; screechy stuff. My sis Jenn & I freaked ourselves out!

And finally, if you're looking for some REALLY SCARY ghost stories, the marvelous Fig of Dizzlefig has published a series called "Boo" including one by yours truly. Go check 'em out - look in her archives for "Boo."

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


It don't think it broke 70 yesterday. That's what I call nice!

I made a pumpkin spice cake with cream cheese frosting for M to take into work. It made the house smell like Autumn. I gave A a small spoon of the frosting as a treat. I might as well have given him crack. He licked it all off, begged for more and then had a total fit when I told him he'd had enough. He wailed and whined and then when I put him in time out he looked at me, all teary-eyed, and said "Mommy happy?" I explained that I was happy but I was disappointed in how he was acting and it makes me feel sad to see him sad, especially when I thought he'd be happy he got a treat. Too much complex psych analysis for a two-year-old? He then forced a grin and said, "More?"

I'm breaking our month-long moratorium on TV today because I absolutely have to vacuum the house. We'll see how it affects him.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Type "A"

A. is my two-year-old.

He is his own Type A. A could be for awesome - he can be awesomely sweet. He is awesomely smart. He has an awesome vocabulary. A can also be for awful - he's (still) a total awful nightmare at mealtimes. I used to love family meals. Now I sort of dread them. He screams and screams and cries until I want to scream and cry too. But I don't. Because I. Am. The. Adult. (Repeat 4 times.) A could be for aggravating - he sure knows how to push those buttons. He hits buttons I didn't even know I had. But I try to remain calm because I. Am. The. Adult. A could be for absolute - he's the most all or nothing kid I've ever been around. It's either 100% wonderful or 100% the pits.

A. screamed for a solid hour during dinner tonight. Then ate about a tbsp. of dried cherries dipped in sour cream.

A. is my two-year-old. He is going through the Terrible Twos in textbook fashion. I will live through this year and I will be a better mom and person for it. But right now? I feel like I'm the worst mom ever.

Friday, October 24, 2008

(My) Top 10 things every child should know

1) How to use a dictionary
2) How to write a thank you note
3) How to answer the phone properly
4) How to introduce themselves
5) Where the emergency phone numbers are
6) How to make themselves a snack (a healthy one!)
7) How to save money for a rainy day
8) How to floss their teeth properly
9) How to apologize graciously
10) How to make their own bed

Guess which one we did NOT need in real life this week?

Do I ask too much? Do I?! I think not.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Back to ice cream

The children aren't allowed to eat my Fleur de Sel Caramel. A doesn't much like ice cream (he's a cone-only guy) and the subtle deliciousness would be lost on a six-year-old. Or so I tell myself. Isn't it enough I share with my husband?!

But I did break down and buy the kids some regular Haagen-Daze vanilla i/c minis for their special snack time. The little ice creams are sooooo cute - about a 1/4 cup serving:

But what really caught my eye are these itty-bitty cones! A perfect two-bite treat:

Image shown is actual size. Note Grumpy in the background who is mad that I wanted to take a picture before he ate the cone:

All filled and ready for munching!

I think I've exhausted the topic of ice cream for the year. Friday we'll move on to something else, promise.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

In non-ice cream related news...

We finished decorating the porch for Halloween this past weekend. The theme this year is Gallery of Ghosts. My sis Jenn helped me make homemade, family-friendly ghosts using nothing more than $20 worth of white sheets from Goodwill, some hangers, a black Sharpie and a pair of scissors. And Martha Stewart's awesome ghost face templates. They were super easy and the kids had a great time "helping." They look very friendly during the day, but at night they are a bit more spooky.

(Note unintentional matching sweaters on J. and I. Also my incredibly flat hair.)

My favorite ghostie

Shane & A. say "boo!"

Daddy says "Scaaaary!"

A. dressed as a PumpkinHead. (No, he's not wearing this for trick or treating.)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Ha! I got the last four pints at my local Publix this morning.

I'm hoping no one in my family notices I have five pints of ice cream where the frozen veggies used to be. Although that D can be pretty observant...

Tuesday's pick

You don't know it yet, but you need this:

Haagen-Dazs Fleur de Sel Caramel ice cream. It is amazing. It could cause world peace, stop "global warming", solve the oil crisis, bring bipartisan unity to the country, end poverty, do my housework. It makes my children stop squabbling, cooks dinner, and folds laundry. It makes me walk on air. I love my husband, kids, dog and neighbors more because of it. There are no superlatives in the English language that can adequately describe this ice cream. Other food wishes it were this ice cream.

Tomorrow I'm going to buy out the entire stock at the grocery store. If you're lucky you'll get there before me.

Go. Go buy some now.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Top 10

Lame-o, crazy-o, busy-o Monday morning post. Top 10 TV shows we're watching this season:

1. Amazing Race. I *heart* this show. It never fails to entertain and it provides vicarious worldwide travel thrills.
2. The Office. I am happy Pam & Jim are together. Aren't you?
3. Bones. Good show - gory without being too scary.
4. NCIS. I just like the characters. Whatever.
5. Life. Very quirky cop show #1
6. Life on Mars. Very quirky cop show #2
7. Worst Week. Sooooo funny!! You have to get past it's horrid lead-in (2-1/2 "Men") but worth the wait.
8. Old Christine. Liked JLD on Seinfeld, like her here. I like the brother too.
9. What Not to Wear. Catty, funny, I'm a sucker for makeover shows.
10. How I Met Your Mother. This show has grown on me. The writing is great and they usually work some pretty poignant, twisty stuff in there too. The whole show is one big cliffhanger!

I've got one kid off school today, Jr. League puppet show (w/ BOTH kids in tow), swim lessons, a house to clean from the weekend's festivities. So.... yeah.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Ode to silence

Turn off the TV
Turn off the ringer on the phone
Daddy took the kids to play
And mommy's home alone!

Friday, October 17, 2008

What's for dinner

If you are one of those lucky folks who's kid will eat anything (I'm looking at you Reed!), then I congratulate you. #1 Daughter ate everything (or at least tried to) we ever gave her, with the notable exception of bolognese sauce. The Son? Not so much. So I have to get creative. Or not. Last night we had Build-Your-Own-Oatmeal for dinner.

What's that? Well, it's kind of like a build your own taco/pizza/omelette bar. But we had oatmeal instead of any of those more traditional dinner foods. I started with a big hot bowl of oatmeal, then added:

Here's everything mixed together:

A says "Yummylicious!"

Happy kids. Happy mom. That's what I call a Happy Meal!

Thursday, October 16, 2008


I usually treat myself to two things when M is gone overnight -- a yummy little dessert savored while watching something entertaining on TV/DVR. So, last night, I settled on the couch in my pjs, kids asleep, house clean(ish) and quiet, my yummy treat on a plate, getting ready to watch "Bones" on Fox. Instead I got a MLB playoff game (not even the Rays!) and a spoonful of petrified cheesecake in a pool of Smuckers strawberry jelly. Boo. Boohoo.

The kicker is I passed on the ice cream and opted for the cheesecake, a dessert I almost never eat, never crave, never think about, don't usually like. I should have got the mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Early bird

I was up at 5:00 today because M had to leave superduper early for a business trip. He'll be gone until tomorrow night, or maybe even Friday, depending on whether he has a hearing go forward, so it's just the kiddos and I. Sigh. So for the next few days I'll have to get up early to shower, get some makeup on, have some coffee, catch up on blogs, make my to do list for the day. If I don't get my personal stuff done outside of business hours around here, my (two) bosses get pretty cranky.

Today A and I have an outing to Old Navy to get some tshirts (he destroys his, so we can never have too many). Then we're going to make ghosts for our Halloween "Gallery of Ghosts" theme. I got a bunch of old white sheets from Goodwill, bleached and washed them on the hottest setting -- twice -- and I'm going to draw faces on them. I hope they turn out OK.

Still got a lot of prep to do for our company this weekend. Including the dreaded mopping of the floors. I hate mopping. Vacuuming isn't so much fun either. Of course I'm going to put it off until the last minute because I'm so so lazy busy.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Busy week

Hello there! What are you doing this week/end? We are going on our neighborhood's annual Haunted Hike! The neighborhood where we live is (un)lucky enough to contain the intersection of 13th Street & 13th Avenue, so it lends itself to all kinds of Halloweeny fun.

Sister Jenn & Co. are coming for the weekend so I got a passle of grub to get together and I need to put the finishing touches on D's spider costume. Yes, I've figured out how to make a homemade costume that requires no sewing! Yay me! But there are a ton of safety pins involved. Her school has a strict code about costumes for their Halloween carnival: only characters from stories, fairy tales, some movies, no violent imagery, no occult imagery. But I figure we can either make her Charlotte or the spider from Little Miss Muffett. A will be dressed/undressed as Dash from The Incredibles. He loves the costume, but doesn't seem to like to wear it. He's not trick-or-treating anyway, so no biggie.

Last night A was pretending to put me to bed... read me a story, said prayers, sang a little song. He even did the little impatient eyeroll that I give him when I asked for one more story. It was too cute.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Monday update

You wouldn't know it from looking at me today, but I was one sick puppy over the weekend. I apparently had a Perfect Storm of every virus that has been making the rounds: the "tummy related" one, the high fever and aches one, the nausea one, the sore throat/cough one. My midsection hurt so much I actually thought I had appendicitis on Friday -- until M pointed out that I always think I have appendicitis when my tummy hurts. But this time it really hurt! Really!

Anyway. I guess when you get so many things all at once they kind of cancel each other out quick, because I was mostly better by Sunday and today I feel fine except for a tiny scratchy throat. And I lost 7lbs. over the weekend! As my sis said, we're always one good bout of the flu away from our perfect weight! Now as long as I don't eat my body mass in brownies over the next week, I may actually keep it off.

I checked my calendar this morning and we have something going on every weekend from now until Thanksgiving. I love this time of year, when the excitement of almost-holiday time lurks in the air. Now iIf only our weather would change to Fall -- and stay that way! It's not fair to be in the 90s in October!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Happy Anniversary!

We made it to the big 9. Hurrah for us! 

My dream dinner didn't work out. Instead we had:

pork chops
buttermilk mashed potatoes (noodles for the non-tater eating kids)
green beans sauteed with 'shrooms 

I'm a good wifey.

Thursday, October 09, 2008


"You look terrible!" said my friend at morning drop-off.

And she'd only seen me from the side. When I turned to face her, she got the full effect of the massive dark circles and bags under my eyes, pale and splotchy skin, the more-rumply-than-usual outfit. Early trick-or-treat? Nah. Up all night while A barfed and barfed? Yep. Poor baby. Poor mama. At 3:00 M was rocking him, cleaned up and wrapped in a towel, while I changed his sheets and wiped the worst of it off his precious baba (blanket) that he can't sleep without. I could hear him asking M over and over "Me throw up? On bed?" I could tell he was worried about lying down again, so I held him on my lap in the rocking chair nodding off while singing "Hush Little Baby." He woke up again around 5:15, but only wanted some water.

It's the start of our own mother-son vicious cycle though because he gets sick, then I get rundown taking care of him all night, then I get sick, then I pass it back to him. And so on.

But at least my amazing husband helped out (and I only had to ask once!) and A is starting to feel much better after getting all that yuck out last night.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

What are they thinking?!

Yesterday I get a new catalog in the mail. No problem; I love new catalogs. Only this catalog, called PoshTots, was ridiculous. It was the toddler equivalent of the wretched MTV show "My Sweet Sixteen." Here are some of the highlights.

Looking for a way to get your little bundle of joy outside for exercise? Well how about a playset!

You can have the Topsy-Turvy Tangerine playhouse:

It's only $3000.

What? Your tike doesn't have an imagination of his own? How about the ultra deluxe Pirate Ship?

For $49,000. No problem.

Or, if you are looking to instill a permanent sense of superiority in your child, for the price of a real house you too can own this monstrosity:

It's only $123,000. Sorry I couldn't get the picture any larger. Check out their website for a full size pic.

Don't even get me started on the $14,000 toddler bed.

I immediately called the company and asked to be permanently removed from the mailing list. Even if we had that kind of money, even if we felt that we should be spending that kind of money on our children (and the only time they'll get close to that kind of cash is for their college tuition!), even if we HAD to spend $123,000 and couldn't think of anything else to buy, I wouldn't do it. Everyone with children knows that they would be just as happy playing with the boxes these things would be shipped in. What a waste.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

The good, the bad & the ugly

The good:

Go Rays!

The bad:

Sick baby, AGAIN. Too much partying for him!

The ugly:

I desperately wanted this dress to look stunning on me. I loved the way it looked on the mannequin. On me? Ugh. Not. My. Style. It emphasized things that had no business being emphasized and exposed things that had no business being exposed. 

NB: I cannot wear wrap -- real or faux-- tops of any sort. I need to stop trying them on. They will never ever ever work for me.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Party hardy

We had five social events this weekend -- which is five more than usual for our family. But, as a mark of how my little family is growing up, everyone hung in there, had a great time, partied and, except for one teeny blowout on the way to b-day party #2 on Saturday, there were no tears, fits, or temper tantrums.

A even made it through Mass on Sunday -- a whole month of church for my little guy. It was so nice to be there as a complete family.

We've been media free for over one week now and we've really seen a huge difference in the kids -- even D who had always watched some TV. They are playing with each other more and really using their imaginations. At dinner last night (Taco Night!) I was describing "The Amazing Race" to D and she totally got into it. After dinner both kids spent an hour tearing through the house doing "challenges." At one point, D was dragging him along by the arms and when I stopped to ask what she was doing she said she was helping him out of the icy river that they'd been swimming in for five miles.

On the downside, things aren't quite as clean and tidy as I usually keep them and the laundry room looks like someone's camping in there. I've also been cooking more e-z things like mac n' cheese, spaghetti, quesadillas, basically cheese. A doesn't like sharing me with anyone or anything, so unless he's being distracted I really don't have time to cook like I used to. And there's only so much roast chicken one family can eat. Which leads me to this week's conundrum: anyone know where I can order surf n' turf for two to be delivered on Thursday? It's our Ninth Anniversary and I'd like to do something special but will probably opt for the mail-order kind of special instead of the cook-it-yourself-then-clean-up-until-ten-o'clock kind of special.

My dream menu:
Gazpacho with garlic croutons
Surf n' turf
Buttermilk mashed potatoes
Sauteed green beans with mushrooms
Bananas foster

Friday, October 03, 2008

I didn't. Did you?

I didn't watch the VP debate last night. Instead M & I spent the evening watching the Mel Gibson classic "Tequila Sunrise" and making snarky MST3000-type comments. And folding laundry. And trapping the few remaining cats.

Was it socially irresponsible of me not to watch? I have decided who I'm voting for and I doubt whatever I heard last night was going to change my mind. I think both parties have a share of the blame in the current mess, but I don't think that Obama's plan is going to fix anything, other than the short-term agendas of a few special-interest groups. I think the bailout has to happen, but I don't like it or agree with it. The way I see it, it's kinda like when you're a struggling student and you have to hit mom & dad up for a loan to cover your rent. But guess what? The reason you're short in the first place is because you spent the money on BEER. (True story. Sorry mom & dad.) But you learn from your mistakes, as we are now. I don't care what you want, or what the "American Dream" is, you don't get to own a house, or have a credit card, or buy nice things just because you want them. Those are things you have to earn by working hard and saving your money and not buying stupid stuff you can't afford to pay for all by yourself. (If you want to buy stupid stuff you can afford, check out the dollar bins at Target.) And there are a whole lot of people trying to get into office right now who's policies reek will create an even bigger class of people looking for entitlements and handouts. I grew up in a socialist country (not America). It wasn't pretty.

I'm talking about a government who will happily take MY tax dollars to support programs that shouldn't exist in the first place.

I'm voting for the person that will be in the best interest for MY family. You should vote for yours.

This is my Friday Rant. I'm up to my eyeballs in Daisies, and birthday parties and Jr. League stuff. And we are keeping A "media free" right now so my blog time (and blog-reading time) is minimal. I'm sure I'll post sometime next week, but don't worry if things are a bit quiet 'round these here parts for a bit.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Over the hump

Two days to the weekend.

Not easy keeping up with things these days. A definitely has me on the move -- I think it's a boy thing. And even though M & I have never really enforced any gender-specific things with the kids, they chose their boyness and girlness all on their own. This afternoon D was playing Cheerleader while A played Iron Giant. I sat on the couch and tried to play both. But at least dinner wasn't a total nightmare. A only ate a handful of grapes, but at least he wasn't screaming. I think the trick is to wear him out completely. We were at the zoo for four hours today and he never stopped running. Tomorrow I might take him to the beach and see if that works too.

All this activity is bad for housework (I'm still doing Laundry at 10:00! Yikes.) and bad for any downtime during the day, but if it is good for A and helps him get back on an even keel then we'll work through the rest.