Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 good bye, see ya, so long...

Exactly one year ago today, we took a couple Aunts and drove to our ultrasound. I was SO SURE I was pregnant with a girl, but nervous, after Jackie had just delivered the 5th consecutive grand-daughter.
Afterwards, we celebrated our wonderful news, with friends, while ringing in 2009.
One year later, I admit 2009 was not the best year. It has been tough on me, our little family and my large extended family. Illness, heartbreak, turmoil, stitches and stress.
Given all that, this was still a year in my children's life. And I can find happiness, in that.
I do not believe in New Year's Resolutions.
Instead, I have made a life resolution.
I would like to smile more, focus on the positive and project a belief, in a better life.
2010 feels like the perfect year to start that.
I will kick off my warm fuzzies, by remembering a few great moments of 2009.

The Double Shower Head. Yea, baby. During our remodel, we replaced the shower and followed very sound advice from Ditta, to install a double shower head. I will keep this PG13 and confess, this shower has yet to contain double occupancy (unless you count me and the little girls.) Still, it is the single most awesome thing to happen to our home! Warmth and happiness surrounds you! Now, if I could just ignore Tink, chatting on the other side of the curtain....

This is my favorite 2009 photo of my Tink. It captures her beautiful eyes, crazy hair, my T-shirt as her pajamas and almost loving her sister, while still making life about herself.

I spent the majority of my summer exhausted, in a baby haze. My children, however, filled our summer with smiles. This is the most perfect picture of The Kid, full of life. He swam, at our pool, the town pool, the beach, trips with both sets of grandparents...etc. He was tanned, tired and smelling of chlorine every day. I always love him, the most, that way.

We gained another god child. My count: one beautiful god-daughter, one handsome god-son. Two, perfect reminders, of how lucky I am. (I am not resting him on a giant bag of pink cotton candy....that is me, 8 1/2 months pregnant. Somebody could have told me, big girls, should not wear pastels.)

Bringing me to the best, 5 minutes of my year....
I had a very rough, second half of my pregnancy. I was not well physically, which made me not so well emotionally. Growing my Coco, took much out of me. When I view the first half of 2009, I see it from my self-imposed cave. I can remember thinking, God is giving me one heck of a bad time now....but He will reward me with the sweetest baby yet....He just HAD too.
And He did. This photo may look staged, our faces may look too posed, too movie-ish. It was not. A nurse grabbed our camera and randomly snapped this, as I held Coco for the very first time. That look of awe, amazement and love, is real. At that very moment, I am feeling a wash of relief, as I fall in love. That moment, was easily, the best five minutes of my year. I have barely let her go since.
While this year, was a challenge, it will forever be the year my 'Baby' was born.
Making 2009, one of the best, of our lives.

Now...2010...we are waiting and more than ready for you.

Please bring us and our extended family members, much:
Joy, laughs, love, resolution, good health, forgiveness, dancing, hugging, surprises, faith, growth and memories.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Things I am not proud to admit.

After years of resistance, I found myself hooked on a 'Keeping Up with the Kardashian's marathon the other night.
This is my first time and I am not proud.
I realize this program is not real and the girls are spoiled brats with no redeeming qualities.
That said, I feel like the show has taught me a few valuable lessons.
#1. If you are going to date an athlete, find a Professional. They may be gone at practice longer, yet you miss them less in your 6 million dollar house.
#2. I think I should wear more black eyeliner. It seems to work for them.
#3. Large rear ends, are cool and should be embraced with very tight jeans.

Shopping list:
several tubes of eyeliner
tight jeans (oh wait, after the last 2 months, I already have plenty of those)

**I am also drawn to Bruce Jenner's face. What happened and can his wife not see that?
That other boyfriend is a very lucky tool. He hit the jackpot after pollinating that egg.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Darth Vadar...the morning after.

Saturday night, one of our guests made a spiced rum concoction. They were drinking out of The Kid's Darth Vadar mug. When The Kid arrived home the following morning and saw the remaining drink in his mug, he yelled (very disgusted)...
"Who peed in my cup at the party?"
It was all I could do, not to reply...
"Can't say, got pretty wild, up in here!"

Monday, December 28, 2009

My Christmas Wrap Up

(Get it, wrap up? Wrapping paper? Funny.)

Of the 12 memories of Christmas, that my life gave to me.....
12. On the 23rd my life gave to me....a party at the in-laws farm. So many people, so many presents, so many buckeyes and an ice storm to nearly trap us all there.

11. On Christmas Eve, my life gave to me...The Elf on the Shelf, carefully guarding The Kid's stocking holder (for one last day of threats). And a Tink in her beautiful dress, at Christmas Eve Mass...with a refusal to do her hair and candy cane all around her mouth.
10. A Grammy and a Pop-pop to drive the children around looking at Christmas lights, while Santa finished her last minute wrapping. And the best gifts, Coach has ever given me.

9. On Christmas morning, my life gave to me....easily, one of the greatest memories of my life. Santa was forced to hide the presents on the kitchen table, due to Desmond's love for candy. The Kid woke up, ran to the tree, ran around to the other tree, ran to his presents. He did not see them on the table, became convinced he really was bad and Santa didn't come. He put himself back to bed and cried for Coco 'because she was good this year'. I love that he knew him and Tink, really weren't that deserving!

8. On that same morning, life gave to me....A Tink, who repeated the phrase "I so exsited" and "Merry Cristmes" so many times, my heart nearly burst.

7. My life also gave to me....Coco and her smile, and her love for her present of wrapping paper.

6. On Christmas afternoon, my life gave to me....a not very successful attempt at a picture of 25 of GG's 30 great-grandchildren. I would not consider the attempt much of a present, but having my children included in such a group...most definitely a gift.

5. On Christmas Evening, my life gave to me...a mellow evening at Grammy's. A try at a picture with my Tink, an awesome charm bracelet and our favorite broccoli/cauliflower casserole.

4. On the day after Christmas, my life gave to me. An adult gathering at our home, a frantic clean-up of Christmas, a few too many drinks, tons and tons of laughing and a night cap at the local bar.

3. On the 2nd day after Christmas, my life gave to me. Coach home all day with our family, taking the kids out in the snow, an alone cuddle with my Coco.

2. Tink's first long play in the snow, her subsequent need to take a warm bath with her new mermaid, and a snuggle up with the girls on the couch.

1. Last night, my Christmas gave to me...3 tired babies, a Harry Potter Family Movie Night and a very grateful mother for my life....

I hope you had a very Merry Christmas, filled with all the love, I felt.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

December 26th, just hit hard.

If this picture does not summarize the let down...I don't know what could.
There was exactly ONE present remaining under the tree this morning, for Coach's Godson.
Late this afternoon, I heard paper ripping. After an easy search, I found Tink, hidden in a corner of her room, unwrapping the last present.
She knew this was not hers. We had discussed it several times.
You'll note, she is refusing to look at the camera, has crossed her hands while playing possum.
And yes, that is a chocolate candy ring around her mouth.
And yes, again...she is still wearing pajamas late this afternoon.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

More tape, mom??

My in-law's Christmas is tonight, and we are buzzing with excitement. (Sweet description of hyperactive children on the brink of a meltdown.) Tonight will kick off, three days of non-stop presents, cookies and fun.
I feel the community would benefit from knowing:
If you open a present from this house, and it looks like it was wrapped by a 5 year old boy, with illegible cursive handwriting and a 'thing' for tape....Tink and I had tons of fun wrapping the gifts together.
If you unwrap a present labeled From Coach, that looks like a 5 year old boy wrapped it...chances are pretty good, he actually wrapped that himself.
Present wrapping, does not appear to be, on his long list of talents.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Shopping blows.

Go ahead. Go shopping. Go find clothes for yourself...sure, have that fun.
Drop the girls off to relatives, drive out of town with Coach, The Kid and yourself.
Part ways with your men.
Skip into a given shop.
Grab an armful of clothing, note that it is "Tis the Season for Puffy Cowl Neck Sweaters"....ignore those.
Grab your size, confident in post baby body.
Waltz into dressing room, undress to try on head to toe, new ensemble.
Stop. Turn. Stare. O.M.G.
No matter how great you may have felt, prior to the dressing room, nothing really prepares you, for the sucker punch to the gut.
Ok, immediately try to get past the dimples, the new addition of back fat, the belly that will never be the same after the 8 1/2 pound baby...
Address a few smaller issues.
Why am I so pale? Like beyond pale, translucent pale?
Really, how much truth is to that whole skin cancer thing? Can I just go back to tanning? Beauty Rule #248...tan chub is cuter chub.
I think I may be getting paler with age. Can that happen?
I am very much able to see the color of my skin, thanks entirely to the neon, fluorescent lights in the dressing room. What is the deal with that?
Here is an idea.
Light the dressing rooms with A. Candles or B. a string of Christmas lights.
Every person looks exponentially better in either lighting. I am positive they would sell more clothes that way.
With the room lit, brighter than the sun, I then wondered:
When did I start beating my upper thighs with a hammer. Why do I suddenly have 37 bruises? This has to be blamed on my children. I am sure of it.
As the body, morphing disorder reaches it's peak, I tried to focus on the clothing. Get past the near nakedness.
Except then, I noticed...hey, how about some cuter bra and panties, Grandma? When did we stop matching those?
Skip right into Victoria's....
and skip out after I realized She is apparently, only telling her Secret to 19 year old girls. All in matching PINK sweats, that they did not wear to the gym. (why would they need to, they haven't had babies?)
They may have worn the sweats to go tanning.
None were pale.
I should, confidently stride past them, wishing them luck with the age spots and wrinkles.
And yet, I was jealous of the tan.
Decide to order undergarments online.
Back to clothing.
Ok, I picked out dress pants. Not too bad.
Moved onto tops.
I now see the appeal for the bulky sweaters. Thick, warm, hides things...fine..two sweaters in the bag.
Began to quickly walk around the mall, pretending I was not 'mall walking'...wishing it would just once occur to me to eat at the food court AFTER standing exposed in the dressing room.
I may consider installing the same lights and mirrors in my closet. Kinda, like a scary personal trainer to insult me every morning. Only the insult, would be my own image glowing back at me.
While waiting in front of Sears for the boys, I began to peruse the racks. When did Sears get cute? Or is this the first step to 'Mom Jeans'? If I need an intervention...stage it!
My husband, pranced up, smiling "How was shopping? Did you find anything."
His voice dripping with kindness and joy.
I hate him.
And his same size jeans, as when he was 17. I hope he chokes on them.
I should have gone shopping at Old Navy for the girls. Toddler clothes are cuter and way more fun.

While the boys were bonding and loving not being female. Coach decides to reward his son with a small gift. The Chipmunks Squeckquel Soundtrack.
That purchase makes, complete sense for the parent that is absent for a minimum 11 hours each day.
Bonus, he promised The Kid we would listen to the CD for the 30 minute ride home.
After 27 minutes, I demanded Coach play somethings else to cleanse our music palette.
Our choice:

You heard a lot about a brother gaining mo ground
Being low down I do the showdown wit any little ho round, no!
I wanna know who youre believing through youre funny reasons
Even when Im sleeping you think Im cheatin
You said I know youre mr. o.p.p. man yo pp man wont only see me man
You shouldve known that I was wit if a bit when I aint hit it
And step not to consider the rep heck!
I did your partner cause shes hot as a baker cause Im naughty by nature
Not cause I hate cha!
You put your heart in a part of a part that spreads apart
Even though I forgave ya when you had a spark.

Oh Naughty, it does seem to be in your Nature, to make this old lady feel better.

Just another Monday

*Why, on my morning to sleep in....did Coach snuggle up to Coco. Allowing Tink to wander the house, until she found me. Why was she the sweetest thing ever when she snuggled, fell back asleep and proceeded to sweat and kick all over me?

*Now that my Christmas shopping is done, why do I have the overwhelming urge to go shopping, for myself?

*Why can't yoga teach itself this morning? Can't people just buy Yoga DVD's so I can go to the mall? Or is that maybe, not good for business?

*4 days out until Christmas and both girls are becoming congested. Of course.

*The problem with having a super HUGE tree....all the presents look very tiny under it. Daring me to ...yes, go shopping again.

*Why did people ever bake cookies, before they were pre-packaged in break-off form?

**What if, I did go to yoga, yet while teaching the class, I am thinking how badly I would love to go to the mall and eat Sbarro food court. How zen would the ancient yogis consider that?

*Can we start opening a few presents today? I'm bored.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Ye ol' Christmas Past.

A ghost shall visit (disguised as Carbon Hill) and take you on a trip to your Christmas Past.

While the Coach has a VERY large family....I have a teensy family in comparison.
Just my mom, dad and one younger brother.
As a result, I cannot reminisce, without thinking of him.
My brother is no longer himself. He is a different version of that self. The new self is an extraordinary Uncle, who loves my children without distraction and dotes on each unconditionally. That version, I cannot help but love and feel extremely grateful for.
Unfortunately, for the selfish me... my brother, does not have a clear memory of our past. Making my trips down memory lane lonely and painful.
That said, I am trying to shine light on the positive. This is the first year, Tink really 'gets' Christmas. I am watching her and The Kid, work into a frenzy of excitement. I am sharing in that joy, filling my heart to the brim with my three kids.
Many of the traditions in my 'new' family, are from my 'old' family. Each one, I shared with my brother.

We were allowed to open One Present on Christmas Eve. Typically, new pajamas. Later, we would exchange our sibling presents. Normally, he got me a book.
We could usually con our parents into opening a Christmas Eve Eve present on the 23rd. I am trying to push that in my home. In the past couple years it has been a movie, for 'Family Movie Night'.
On Christmas Eve, we would order a pizza, play old Christmas music (while dad hummed) and read 'Twas the night' in our new jammies. This year, we plan on replicating this (after Mass, with newer music and without Coach humming).

Christmas eve, My Brother would sleep in my room. This had less to do with bonding and more out of fear the other would wake first and get the stockings.
After a few years, I became rude and forced him to my floor. When I was 15... I forced him into his room. (He was very disappointed and this would be one of those memories I regret, in hindsight.) As The Kid behaves annoyed with Tink, it is hard not to yell "Appreciate what you have with your little sister, while you still have it!!"
On Christmas morning, My Brother and I opened the stockings without our parents. Dad needed extra time to crawl out of bed, put on a robe and fill a cup of coffee. Our Santa, loved stockings and they were nearly as awesome as the actual presents.
My children's Santa, feels the same. We would quickly open the rest of our gifts, carry our loot into our rooms and wait while mom made breakfast. Occasionally, we would travel out of town, usually we would stay home. ALWAYS...we would watch A Christmas Story. Each year, my dad would find it just as hilarious, as the year before.
My most treasured Christmas, would be the 'Year of the Giant Christmas Tree'. The tree was huge, I got Smurf jammies and a Barbie Condo with an elevator. I continue to duplicate the huge tree, every year in my home. Though, without the 4 boxes of tacky tinsel my mom, loved so very much!
I love to remember my childhood, though it makes me miss my brother. I am not able to turn toward him and say "Remember when"... which is sad, because we have several great "Remember whens". Above all, I miss his sarcasm. It is a bummer, when you do not have a sibling, to make fun of your parents.
He has, however, taught me that life moves at warp speed and you are never promised anything. As the next week progresses, I will take a breath, slow down and soak up every smile on my children's faces. Hopefully, our holiday traditions will pass to our grandchildren.
But not too soon. I want to live in this moment,
forever...if possible!

Photo recap:
#1. I am not an Umpa Lumpa, the paper has oranged. Probably, from bad storage: not my age!
#2. Cool, Bears jammies.
#3. We were not Amish...I can't really explain that dress. Or his dorky felt sweater. At least, we were cute enough to pull it off.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I have captured this holiday memory, enough.

A wallet size view, of our afternoon.
The Kid got mad, after I took him out of school early.
Kid: We were learning how to celebrate Christmas in France today!
Me: Most kids love to skip out of school early.
Kid: Not me, your stuff is boring. I only got in two rounds of Christmas Bingo.
In my head: Stop being such a dork! Thank god, you will be too tall to get beat up everyday.

The Good one/Coco: Cute in a Christmas Beret. Almost like celebrating in France.

It hides her lack of hair...not sure black is slimming.

I used a new bottle of 'Big and Sexy, Ultra Hold' for the first time, on my hair. It's big alright. Not sure about the sexy.
Not a fan of this pic. My fault, I should never complain, there are not enough pictures of me and the kids.
Only ordered a couple 5x7's for my family. Forced my brother, to take a copy.
This pose, made my Dad a little nervous.
Dad: You are missing one in this picture.
Me: He had to work.
Dad: You couldn't wait for him? Or pick another day?
Me: Don't worry, we are not divorcing. Don't get and my kids are not moving in with you.
He accepted that, but still, I thought I heard him counting dowry money in the back room.
Tink, she's three.
She had tiny legs in black tights.
She got her nails painted (notice how she sweetly shows them off.)
She will 'Neber be butiful, she neber wear dat pardy dress, she neber lubs Christmas pictures.'
Despite her best efforts and multiple proofs, we found a few where she couldn't hide the beauty...even if she tried.

Coco is the cutest Elf, I have ever seen.

Final verdict...
My kids are so cute, it's stupid.
I think, I am done going to that particular picture location.
I'm tired.
Never use 'Big and Sexy' hairspray, while taking a family picture.
I could use some sun.
I lost my dignity somewhere around 2:00ish while dancing with a teddy bear, over a strange woman's head and I'm not taking another picture of my kids, for at least two days.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Raise your hand if you hate Christmas Cards!

I had decided, I was not going to do Christmas cards this year. We are too busy, Coach is never around, our home is chaotic and I wanted to spend all our money on real Christmas portraits.
(PS- stay tuned for that post tomorrow evening.)
In the last two days, we have received eight cards in the mail. My guilt got to me and I decided..fine...FINE...I will do the dang cards. Ugh.
Of course, Coach had a game, which left this all up to me. About 3 seconds into the project, I regretted my decision. Before I even had the camera out, Tink was screaming she wanted lipstick (notice it all over her face), The Kid "DID NOT WANT TO DO HIS HAIR IF WE AREN'T EVEN GOING ANYWHERE", the Good One...well, she earned her name.
Here are a sneak peek at the out takes.
The final, is not much more posed.

(The one where, not one child looked at me.)

(The one where, Tink was just being herself and Coco realized how awesome the Tree was.)

(The one where, every child hates me simultaneously.)

(The one where, I HATE both her Uncles for teaching Tink to do that with her tongue. When can we hire the orthodontist??)

(The one where, everything is self explanatory. This pretty much sums up the entire experience.)

Merry Bleeping Christmas. I can't wait to spend a few hundred at the professionals tomorrow. And no Uncle Shooter and Uncle Warhol...I will not pay to print a 8x10, of Tink putting her tongue in the gap. Don't even ask.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Christmas Shopping

Hey, Christmas Shopping, we owned you on Sunday. Coach and I, taught you a lesson, you will soon not forget.
You nearly broke us in Toys R Us. There was a moment, we got confused and lost in the maze of the learning section. You tried to divide and conquer us. I'm pretty sure you turned up the temperature, because it got real hot, real fast. Still, we got our sale items and walked out, list in hand. You may have snagged us on the Christmas wrapping paper, placed strategically near the register but who won the war? You know, we did.
Except for those last four items.
You may still be victorious.
History has proven, one battle, in the last few hours, will determine the outcome.

1. The Kid's Christmas Eve jammies. Go ahead, Old Navy, put those on sale for $7. That sale will be great, for the mother's of boys size XXL or XS. Good for them. Though, you did surprise me with Beatles T-shirts for the girls, on clearance. I suppose, I still Heart you.

2. Coco's first Christmas ornament. You should know, Daddy was prepared to give up on you. Ironic, given he is the baby in his family. We will keep looking. I had no idea, it would be so complicated, to find some kind of baby ornament.

3. 'Somebody' at the last minute, threw us a curve ball. Asking, Santa in the school letter, for a book on the Titanic. Who does that? Who wants Santa to bring them a book, about hundreds of people drowning and/or freezing to death? Man, he is a twisted, little dork.

4. The Grab Bag. Ugh, the pressure. To have a cool, yet practical...yet cool, Grab Bag. Doesn't life have enough stress!?

Otherwise, Shopping. We did own you.
Just to rub the salt...we also fit in a movie, and a dinner with drinks.
How bout them apples?
Thanks Grandma, for taking my kids for 22 hours. My longest span, without children or a pregnancy, in 14 months. (Sad, I know.)
Did I miss my little ones?
Not so much!
Sorry, babies.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

It's not going in our yard, Russ....

It's just not Christmas, if you haven't ticked off a relative. This year, that relative is my father.
Coach and I own my grandparents home. They lived in this home for 48 years, raising all six of their children. I am honored, to continue, filling these walls with their grandchildren.
That said, we sometimes have a few issues with change. Occasionally, as every new homeowner does, we want to make a few changes to our home. Some, obviously, need to be updated. There are others, my father is not a cheerleader for.
One would be a tree in our yard. I HATED this tree. It has not done anything to personally offend me. It is placed in a location, I am trying to make more kid friendly. It also blocks the view to my grandma's flower garden, I am upkeeping, at a frazzled pace.
I decided this year, that tree needed to go. And it's not going in our yard,'s going in our living room.

Issue: The sentimental value, the tree was transplanted from Washington state and hand watered by my grandpa each morning.
I will remember to appreciate that, as my children plunge head first, under it Christmas morning.
It is almost sweet, the tree will stand, center, in our first Christmas as a complete family.
Problem: I should have come up with this plan, two years ago. That tree, is HUGE.

Coach, began, by cutting three feet off the bottom. National Lampoons Christmas, followed scene by scene. After, barely squeezing it into our home, we had to trim 18 inches off the top. Tack on another hour of me walking around with pruning sheers, to cut random branches off the side. Our original location, in front of the window would not work.
Not, if we ever actually walk into that room in the next two weeks.

Because...clever transition into my project of the year....Christmas is 13 days away.
Advent Blocks.
Grammy and I dubbed last Sunday, Craft Day.
It sounds more docile than it was. We made ornament wreaths and two sets of Advent blocks.
One nearly fatal burn to her thumb, from a wild glue gun attack and several shattered bulbs later...sprinkle in a few swear words and shrieks of "No Kid, you CANNOT help make crafts, it is too dangerous for children"...
We each completed a set. Hers, in Christmas colors. Mine, in Winter shades. (I plan a Christmas countdown, then New Year's, my birthday and then 1955 Sweetheart dance...aka the awesomeness taking place in 2 months, from today!!)

Block blueprint...
Cut two blocks from landscape 4x4. Paint edges. Glue scrap book paper. Stick numbers (Bragging rights! I am the Rainman, that figured out which numbers needed to go on which block. 6 sides, times two, needs to be able to count 25 days down to 1 day. I am pretty proud, considering story problems make me nauseous.)

After, my arms stopped burning from the branch trimming and light stuffing/hanging. We began to decorate. (Coach only cuts down our tree, then returns hours later to dramatically hang the Clover ornament, which plays the roll of angel in our home.) Otherwise, is was famdamly fun for the kids and I.

This photo, was taken from under the tree. The prime location, for Tink to hang 7 bulbs on the same branch. The Kid, nearly had an anxiety attack. The Kid and his mother, both. I whispered, I would move them around, after she went to bed.

What is better than a freshly decorated home for Christmas? Sitting alone on the couch with your husband, to enjoy those lights....after Aunt Flag girl, unexpectedly called, asking your children to stay the night. Uh, duh...YES!! We were filled to the brim on Christmas joy, for the night.
Plus, we needed our rest.
Coach and I, are embarking on an all day shopping marathon today. We both HATE Christmas shopping and have bought NOTHING.
We have a typed list of names, prices and stores. We used our romantic setting, under the lights, to map out our plan last night.
Hopefully, we can knock it out in one long afternoon.
We have a VERY large tree, to fill with presents.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I am madly in love with 'Father Time'

Reference back, to "How do I sleep at night", you will remember The Kid having a terrible tantrum, resulting in good ol Catholic punishment.
The cause, for said tantrum, was being assigned one of two main parts in the school Christmas program. (the other huge role, going to his friend, who had a solo...our son, cannot carry a note!)
The Kid was set to play Father Time, the narrator. He had to speak 4 separate times, open and close the play with humour, expression, pause for laughter and a three paragraph opening monologue.
The Kid can be a little shy. It is not obvious, he appears VERY friendly and outgoing. Yet, before events, there is a shy boy hidden in there. A trait, I very much shared as a child. Ten times over.
We have been practicing, though not easily. Each session ended with a loss of temper, as the fear would creep in.
I made him a tiny cheat sheet, nearly as small as his hand. (I do not condone cheat sheets, but if you saw HOW MANY BLEEPIN words he had to would too, mothers).
We practiced working the crowd. Being an accomplished Toastmaster, (pause for giggles at my lameness) I tried to teach him every trick. Thirty minutes before leaving, he nearly had it but was still sneaking peeks at the cheat sheet.
After arriving, Coach was becoming a mess. You know how some people would rather die than speak in public? Coach is that man. I was pretty calm. Confident, in The Kid and the cheat sheet.
The Principle opened, quiet sign raised (eyeroll) and at least 300 people prepared for my boy to walk out.
He stood up, smiled (handsome in his gleaming-brand-new-white shoes Dad unwrapped for the occasion), turned back, PUT HIS CHEAT SHEET DOWN WITH SCARY CONFIDENCE AND WALKED ACROSS THE STAGE LIKE A BIG MAN.

He left the sheet!!
Oh bleep!
He is so full of himself, he left the sheet!!

I nearly fainted. Black washed over me.
Then, Mr. Somebody, began to speak.
The Kid, NAILED it. Every single word. Every pause, every hand movement, every pitch change for sarcasm and rhyme.
I began to sob. I could barely see him, through the tears.

Please note: I rarely cry. Movies, TV, real life...nothing. My son's a waterfall.

I can proudly say, he inherited the speaking abilities from his mother. I'm sure, his other grand standing events, will be credited to the men in his life.
I am riding the high. I have no idea, how his little 8 year old body did not crumble in front of the crowd....but I could not be more proud.

No drama club jokes today. He wasn't acting...he was giving a speech. Let's pretend, it will come in handy when The Kid accepts his draft day jersey.

I gushed over The Kid all night.
Tink kept calling him a 'Moobie Star'.
At bedtime, I reminded him how ridiculous those tantrums seem now.
Always a life lesson to be taught, in this house!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Life experiences

I've just spent the last two plus hours, at the laundry mat. Thanks to the busted dryer. This was my first experience at the laundry mat since I was a toddler.
It was something.
We had six washers going and it should have been more, but we over stuffed.
I observed the following.
1. We had so many loads (thanks to 3 kids, a husband with 3 jobs and nearly that many wardrobe changes in a day). We had to bring clothes in with garbage bags. Just the ribbon, wrapping up the analogy of our day.
2. Is it possible, my children's clothes, smell more like pee now, than when they went in?
3. I became famished and could not get enough junk out of the vending machine. But I tried.
4. My shoulders hurt from all the folding.
5. There was a point, where I rationalized, most of our clothes should just be thrown away rather than fold and take them home. Why do we have so many ugly clothes?
6. Tink, fit in beautifully, especially after not brushing her hair. This will not be her last life experience at The Mat. Vending machine lunch, the highlight of her week.
7. I will never again, look at the people there as white trash. Obviously, they have far more money than I, if they can afford to drop $30 a week in quarters.
8. Clothes are washed, folded and back in my house. Now,I am too tired to put them away.
9. I began to regret, not getting those vaccinations.
10. It was hard, not to randomly blurt out...."I have a new, updated laundry room...the dryer just broke. I'm not a regular."
Whatever my children are wearing today. They will be wearing tomorrow. And for the next three days.
I'm not going back.
How many more times, should I wash my hands, this afternoon?

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Accepting the inevitable

While Christmas shopping online at Amazon, for your son's requested Microscope and Accessories...
AFTER already ordering the complete, 'Teach your Children French' kit.
And discussing with both grandmas, the reference books on Volcanoes, Fossils and History of Trains books, they bought him.
Not to mention, waiting for the arrival of the new Harry Potter DVD in the mail.

If you scroll down to Amazon's, "If you like that, you may like this" section....
and browse the long list of Harry Potter, bug catchers and space dork stuff...
all the while thinking,

Yes, he would love that!
Oh, we already have the Harry Potter trivia game.
He might like a Spy Kit.
Wait, how much would he love the microscope, telescope, magnifying glass combo pack with free bug guide and net!!?

It may suddenly hit you hard in the gut, that your son.... may not be a Texas Longhorn QB, one day.
What kind of team does ITT Tech have?

Wait a second.... there's always Illinois or Purdue.
Never mind.

That was close,
I nearly had to drift into reality.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

"Unfortunately, alive"

The cat returned home, in the middle of the night.
Coach took him to the vet this morning.
After texting Coach, asking for an update...
Coach responded with a text that read:
"Unfortunately, alive"

I hope that didn't choke you all up too much. He is a very sensitive man, my husband.

Final diagnosis:
Rigby was in a cat fight, several days ago.
He has an infected bite, no other injuries or cooties from the storm drain.
Antibiotics and a swift kick, any time he moves towards our door.

Isn't Life cute and ironic?

While quickly depleting our cash envelope with remodeling and Christmas Shopping....our dryer went and broke down.
Why the Bleep wouldn't it?

Monday, December 7, 2009

The cold hard truth.

We have a cat named Rigby. I am not a cat person and never have been.
This is The Kid's pet. He loves that cat, though I have no idea why. Cats are not givers, they are takers. They do not cuddle you, they let you lay near them. A cat's personality is very similar to Tink's. Occasionally, kind. Affectionate on their schedule. Without warning, they may bite, scratch and hiss for no apparent reason.
Last week, our normally inside cat, got out.
Three months ago, after a previous escape attempt, we found him in the storm drain. Saturday, we found Rigby there again.
Coach spent the better part of his Saturday evening/into night trying to coax a cat back into our house. This is against everything a farm boy believes in and a clear reminder what a huge loser he has become.
Saturday...11:00pm...half inside a storm drain...making kissy noises to a cat...not good for his ego.

Several cars stopped to make sure this hooded man, hiding near the stop sign, was not sinister. Cold and grumpy..but not sinister.
After FINALLY getting Rigby back, we realized he is several days injured.
I assume, at the losing end of a fight with some other animal.
This morning, we made an appointment, at the vet.
Inches and I mean, INCHES from the running van...he escaped his cage and guessed it...back into the drain.
Coach, again, found himself trying to rescue a cat.
Rigby responded, ' thank you'.
The cold, hard, sad truth.
In the midst of our home remodeling project, a living, breathing member of this family, whom normally spends 22 hours of the day in our son's bed....
Is choosing to die in a sewer drain, in the middle of December, than come back into our chaotic home.
Message received, loud and clear.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

What a generous man

Hey Grandpa-
A few days ago, I was driving with the kids, at least 20 miles from your farm. Tink saw a tractor clearing a field and declared..."Dat's mine Grandpa".
I tried to inform her that no, that is not your grandpa, his tractor or even his farm.
She agreed, it was not your farm, but it was in fact you and you were clearing "dat man's corn".
Are you finished with your own field and did not inform us?
Or, are you so kind that you randomly farm other men's fields for the heck of it?

Here's to all those farmers, still working in December. Every time we fill our dog's dishes, order a Miller Lite or chomp on an ear of corn at a cookout... we'll try to remember how cold you must be, up in that heated tractor!
Shout out to all our farmers!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Orange Hair looks natural

Did you know, Thursday, at Wal-mart is 'Old Lady Day'?
If you take cute, little girls to Wal-Mart on 'Old Lady Day', you will inevitably make a long and painful shopping experience, even longer and more painful.
Our meandering trips up and down the aisles were filled with:
They are so cute!
You have two tiny helpers!
How old!?
Looks like big sister wants to push the cart for mommy!

Pause for me to smile kindly and try not to exclaim...
Yes, she would love to help push the cart, into the every wall or display.
While demanding, cookies, candy or cake.
And she is sometimes cute, when not naked or throwing things.
Kinda like monkeys.

Somebody, please inform me, on which day is 'Exhausted, Unfriendly House-Wife Day'. I will restrict my shopping to those designated times.

High point of my afternoon:
When the kind, orange haired, 80-something old lady, rushed over in the parking lot to offer me help with my cart or kids.
With one hand, I was pushing the $300 worth of food-cart. With the other hand, carrying Coco in her carseat, the diaper bag and my purse. All the while, shrieking at Tink to, Stay Close to Me!
Why, after they bag your groceries, do they consume twice as much space in the cart, as when you were shopping for them?

Low point of my afternoon:
When the kind, orange haired, 80-something old lady, was so sure that I was such a 32 year old disaster, that I needed her to assist me.
And how very hard it was for me to not accept her help.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

From Point A to Point B

Subject One:
Have you ever been in the middle of a remodeling/craft session/holiday decorating/cleaning project SO HUGE that you find yourself in 'that place'?
You know, 'that place' where you are living in such a disaster, such chaos, such confusion, you don't even know where to clean next? And yet, while in 'that place' you are completely aware that you are only days away from having your home look about as awesome as it has ever looked? The kind of awesome that makes you light some candles, grab a glass of wine, sit back and sigh at the awesomeness you have created?
Right now, at this very moment...Coach and I...own 'that place'.
In the history of mankind, no person has ever been, so over, under and on top of 'that place' as we are right now.

Subject Two:
While in the bedroom, for the length of one Coco diaper change, I walked into our kitchen/TV/danger zone to find this....

The snack:
Her brother had been eating the chips and dip at the kitchen table. Somehow, this tiny girl was able to carry both, up and over the back of the couch onto the ledge that separates the room.
The Ledge:
FYI...she is NEVER allowed on that edge. Settle down, if you were about to freak.
Her hair:
She had a bath this morning...that is the result of no product.
Her clothing or lack of:
We are having naked issues. When I say, 'we' I am not referring to Coco or I. Not even the boys. 'We' refers to one Tink. She was dressed, she removed all clothing, repeatedly.
I should never have complained about the pajamas.
The only thing, she would wear, are panties and only because they were Tinkerbell.
The smile:
Luckily, I had a camera, literally, inches from her. This is the look that crosses that face, when she knows she is terrible rotten and just doesn't give a bleep. It looks much cuter now, than it will at 15.

How does Point A meet Point B?
Have you ever met a girl... so cute, sweet, funny, charismatic and charming that she is this close to being the greatest joy you have EVER encountered in your lifetime?
And yet, she is so chaotic, messy, rotten and exhausting, that she has ground her heels deep into 'that place'?
Tink, is that girl.

This is how it begins...

Quick, somebody save me. I have lost myself in a world of remodeling, crafts ideas and Christmas Famdamly project suggestions. New empty frames from Ikea...check. Old cards, scrap paper...check. Lamps that NEED a face lift...check again.
Glue gun, warmed and ready.
I am convinced, everything must be spray painted. Seats can be covered and duh...why have I never made a wreath out of ornaments before??
The Picture Ratio...23 pictures of the Kid framed, per room, to every one of Coco. She will think, I never loved her! Crisis.
This is how it begins. How perfectly good housewives start bedazzling their clothing. At some point, you wonder, "Why don't I have more sparkles on my jeans? Why shouldn't I put appliques on my sweaters?"
I am this close to falling into the "craft blog world". This close!
There is no bottom, to that pit!
I need outside stimulation. Tell my husband to take me to dinner. Or at least, Christmas shopping.
And not to Hobby Lobby!
Except...wouldn't our holiday, not to mention our lives, be more memorable if I got the pets, cuter food bowls?
Wouldn't it?!
If you know an affordable place to get two awesome, old chairs me the name and number.
If we don't have cuter chairs, I don't know what will happen!

Side note: I am unable to blame, the dementia on my sweet but clueless husband brought home Carmel candy bars from a school fundraiser.
Tomorrow, I will do better. Maybe.

Unless there is another fundraiser, we have to support our community's youth. My jeans will understand. Besides, with the new bedazzled basketball on the pockets, who will notice they are tight?

Monday, November 30, 2009

We need to talk,

In regards to my Will-power.
This weekend, while trying on jeans, it was time to get real. After three weeks, jeans are not tight because: the dryer shrank them, you are bloated, your skin may be puffy from too much water or elves moved the buttons.
We cannot wear yoga pants every day. God knows we try.
After three weeks, we have to admit, we've put on a few pounds.
Now, Will-power. It is not all our fault.
Halloween candy.
Who knew, half a dozen bags of candy would really stick? They should warn people. Maybe in a magazine article. At least, on morning television.
Our Family Birthday season.
Again, not our fault. It is impolite to attend parties and NOT eat cake. Impolite and sacrilegious. We tried to make it low fat by only eating the frosting, but after 3 pieces, our logic is waining.
I couldn't live with the stigma, of being the aunt that disappointed her niece, by only eating one piece. How would she live with that rejection? Not on my conscience.
Then, we got a tiny bit out of control.
The remodeling.
We just HAD to order pizza (4 times). Plus pick up DQ and McDonald's. I mean, for bleep's can't cook a decent meal, with your back master bathroom torn up! Duh. look at me, Will-power...when you saw me eating the Lay's chips out of the bag, you should have spoke up. You and Self Control, really dropped the ball. It's not like it was a Snickers! I am barely a chip eater.
Ok, I know, I ordered pizza again tonight.
But I didn't eat the crust. That has to count for something.
Tomorrow, we are done playing.
We are one holiday cookie season away from an Intervention episode.
Here's the deal:
Dark chocolate, is not really healthy, if you eat two full bars.
Halloween candy does not have a 'Get out of Jail Free' card on weight gain.
Thanksgiving, either.
Shocking, but true.
Ease back on the pizza. Just because you order from 5 different locations, so the phone girl does not recognize your voice, does not excuse the excess.
Birthday season is done. Calm your frosting shakes.
You cannot claim, PMS snacking, two weeks prior and one week after.
Chips out of the bag. Never sanitary. Never a good idea.
Put down the Capn Christmas Crunchberries. I don't care if the colors are festive.
Nightly, hot cocoa is not necessary, when it is 55 degrees outside, you haven't shoveled snow and you are not in grade school.
Even if they claim Chicken Nuggets are made with white meat. It is not low fat to order the ten piece, with a Diet Coke. Though, it seems like it should be.
Now, the weekly Butterfinger Blizzard.
Unless, we are starting me on Zanax, that is a necessary evil.
Alright, Will-power and Self-Control.
Let's do this.
If tomorrow gets too hard...I swear, we are really starting, on Wednesday.
Next week, we need to think about crawling back on the Treadmill.
But let's baby step it...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ten things I've learned, in the last 24 hours.

(acknowledgement, phrase 'Patten'ed by Munchkin.)
1. When you repeat, "I am bored" to your husband, 4 times on a Saturday evening, and he answers, "Why don't you go out?" Listen to him, he is wise.
2. It is good, to have a Grammy on-call.
3. Standing around a tall table with a bucket and 5 funny grown-ups, can do wonders for your sanity.
4. It is priceless to have several friends, that know plumbing.
5. It is less special for them, to know us, and our 52 year old rusty pipes.
6. Eating Lay's Sour Cream potato chips from the bag, as an appetizer to your pasta dinner, is never a good idea. But sometimes, it needs to be done.
7. When they tell you not to boil water in the microwave, or it may explode. They are not kidding.
8. Having your baby daughter nap for 2 hours, is as magical, as you dreamt it could be.
9. Looking at a nearly finished, remodeled bathroom...can be one of the most beautiful things you have ever seen. New linoleum, is pretty.
10. Sunday, pasta on the menu, Bears on the TV (even with the expected loss), house kinda-sorta clean, family lounging in comfy almost a perfect evening.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hey, let's relax and rent a couple videos.

I have a bone to pick with Hollywood producer types.
I've had my fill with the 'realistic, life sucks', movies.

'My Sister's Keeper'
Here's a fun ditty for a mother of daughters. Throw in an older, ignored son. A dash of life threatening illness, strain on the marriage and side of gut wrenching sadness. Nothing like, staying up late at night pondering a little 'What if Sophie's Choice was forced upon me'.
Good times.

Next, lighten things up with a children's movie,
Standard, the mother dies in every children's movie. Why would Disney want to portray a mother, actually living, to raise her children.
Let's spice this movie up, by adding a new twist.
Fun loving, little girl, grows up with HUGE dreams of adventure and travel.
She marries, moves into her dream house.
Set aside her 'Adventure Book' to have a baby, only to find out she is unable to have a child.
explanations of infertility ensue.
To pull herself from a deep depression, she chooses to live out her adventures.
Wait a sec... the roof needs to be fixed, the tires blow, the windows break in her money pit. Her 'Adventure Jar' is emptied to pay for mundane life.
Until finally, the mother dies.
Without becoming a mother, or living a single adventure.
They try to convince you, that just being the husband's (hypothetically, Coach's) wife was all the adventure she needed.
Great lesson, for daughters to learn.
If they were raised in 1952.
After she is gone, the husband/Coach, lives her adventures, without her.

Used to be, movies transformed you from your real, crappy life to a place of magic and fun.
Little Mermaid: Fish, then woman, kill the octopus with a stack, become a princess, move to castle.
Cinderella: Maid, fairy godmother, a ball, prince rescues her, castle.
Even Pretty Woman has more magic. Prostitute finds rich man.

I'd prefer to trick my girls into believing there is a chance at a castle, rather than infertility, in a money pit.
I miss false hope and unrealistic fantasies.
Just sayin.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

3 reasons to give thanks.

Several times in the last 6 months, we have thought:
It's too many.
We are out numbered, out witted, out maneuvered.
I can't do this.
I am in over my head.
Really, three?

What am I most thankful for?

Our three beautiful children.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Why the food edition

In honor of The Greatest Week of Calories. Let us celebrate, Fast food.
(The following are the opinions, suggestions and thoughts of the author (and a few friends). My ideas are not meant to influence or sway you.)

Why the F...

..does McD's need two drive thru lanes? They lead to the same window, of the same restaurant, with the same girl taking orders and filling drinks. Why confuse us with the two lines? I have enough pressure choosing a check-out line at Wal-Mart. ordering food at Jimmy John's so scary? What will happen, if I order without mayo? Can those Soup Nazi's really ban me from all JJ's?? Though, I concede, you are fast enough to make me freak.
..does Papa John's always sound like a better idea than it really is? Unless, you order at 1:00am. Then it is ALWAYS brilliant. 4th meal not catching on? Not for Taco Bell, but in life? We still have a little more give, before National Obesity is really a crisis.
..does receiving cold fries, feel like the greatest sin ever committed against me? And yet, I will continue to eat them, while driving away, though the disappointment may linger for hours.
..would you ever order a single cheeseburger, when the double is on sale for nearly the same price?
..can face cream not duplicate the ingredients found in McD's fries? When I find week old fries on the floor, they are the exact same consistency and color, as the moment they were ordered. How does that happen?
..has the blizzard not been nominated for Saint hood? Can we get on that, please? When times are tough, I always turn to a blizzard to lift me higher. She has never let me down.
..has Wendys not closed? Does anyone actually eat there? we need to take out a loan, against our home to eat at Arby's? Curly fries, give back some love to the little people! there that moment with Steak n Shake fries, where you I eat these with a fork (unnatural) or with my hands (though they are too tiny to properly grab and dip). I prefer not to think, while eating.
..are Subway's chocolate chip cookies so amazing? Mrs. Field's, give that sandwich shop a call. the morning after, Dr. Pepper and BEC meal, not listed on Web MD as a cure all? we need to combine chains? How do Long John Silver's and Taco Bell blend together? What if a teenager got confused during prep. It could be catastrophic. these places not deliver to my home? I am really exhausting too much energy, picking up my 1200 calorie meal. Wouldn't want my heart to actually work before I clogged it up.

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Kid's 8th Birthday aka National Dork Day

In my lifetime, I have not spent much quality time with nerds. Sure, intelligent people, artistic, clever and witty...but honest to gosh, nerds. Not so much.
Until, yesterday.
I cannot say the experience was pleasantly enlightening.

For The Kid's birthday surprise, we took him and Six to the Chicago Planetarium. At the last minute, we threw Tink in the mix. I had an inkling, the boys may ignore us. Frankly, Tink could use some culture, off her couch.
I had purchased, each boy, Universe coffee table books, which they opened, prior to leaving town. First painful, indication of our day. Driving to Chicago, we heard, "Isn't the Universe interesting? We could learn about space for hours. Did you know the star --- was a gas ball of ...etc"
While I love many, a lame subject (history, geography, travel) space is not one of them. If I have not absorbed it from Star Wars...not info my brain needs to retain.

We were greeted with a beautiful and shockingly out of character, Chicago day. While we waited 40 minutes for Coach to locate a parking spot, we began with the gift shop. A rare move. What could I possibly threaten their behavior with? However, this proved genius.
The boys purchased matching notepads (dubbed, Space Journals) and pens.

These Space Journals, were the thorn in our sides, or protectors in their pockets. They 'documented' every station. Mind you, in a Space Museum, there are plenty of nerds. Ours, managed to stick out like a dorky, dislocated thumb.

Weigh in for a space walk. Tink, 4 pounds, moon weight.

After watching the boys, barely lift off, Coach joined in. If he was 'just a little bit taller, and lived on the moon' we would be rolling in mad NBA money.

The boys were chosen by Nasa to fly on a top secret mission. (Thumbs up, their idea.) Trust me, we would not have influenced them to be more weird.

We proceded to the 'big draw' of the Planetarium. The show. I meant to purchase the Cosmic Collisions, show. Instead, I bought the 35 minute package on the origins of Star Constellations. (naptime). We could barely keep our eyes open, Tink followed the red pointer light (like a puppy) and the boys? Those dorks ate it up. Just read their notebooks for a recap.

Later, we goofed around by the Lake side. It was so beautiful. Normally, on November 22nd, you may encounter snow. At the very least, face shredding Chicago wind.

Not, to worry, as they roll down the hill, their space books are safe with me.
I have vivid memories of my own childhood hill rolling. I am pretty sure, my mom was not asked, to hold my dorky space book.
We ended our trip, by touching Soldier Field.
Six, remarked that he hoped the Bears QB, Brian Urlacher, won the game.
Not a QB, not even playing, not all season.

While the photos end here, which I regret, our trip moved to Ikea.
Mom needed some new pretties for the bathroom.
And a new ironing board,
and I guess, new frames,
and new painted sticks...for something...
While I was being sucked into the wonder of Ikea. The dorks, discovered the company is European. Awesome.
They then, found the Scandanavian food section.
Six, exclaimed, as he feverishly wrote in this space journal, (yes, journal made the trip into Ikea), "I don't think I have room in the journal to write how awesome this place is! This is the best day of my life!".
Hey boys, we could have just spent the day in Ikea, if I had known that.
Tink agreed, "I not go home. I libe in dis building"
Me too, Tink. Me too.
We finshed the evening with Godparents and Grandparents, for dinner at Grammy's.
The Kid will work on Thank you cards this evening, to improve his gratefulness.
Overall, National Dork Day, a success.
Except, now he really is eight...