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    Friday, December 21, 2007

    Christmas Wishes

    I have so many, for you and for me!

    I wish for you all your wildest dreams come true, all your hearts' desires come to pass, and your metabolism to go sky high and your blood sugar be ever-stable as you sit to enjoy your holiday spread.
    I wish for you peace, joy, happiness, time shared with family and friends, and the perfect piece of pie.
    I wish for you a sweater you love, a tool you need, a book you want, and only good gifts that make you smile.
    I wish for dry roads and clear skies as you travel to be with your loved ones, and not-too-cold days as you make your way.
    I wish for you a strong sense of gratitude at the bounty in your life, and a keen awareness of the want and lacking that some people live with every day, even at Christmas.
    I wish for you a meaningful time of worship, whatever that means to you, that refreshes and renews your beliefs, and makes clear "the reason for the season".

    OK, so I wish all that stuff for me, too, or more accurately I guess I hope someone else wishes those things for me, KWIM? But, in addition, I also wish for some other things:

    ~A laundry person, who would also love to pack for me and two kids when we travel
    ~A personal assistant or three
    ~My son to miraculously wean himself
    ~40 pounds to fall off of me overnight so I can look fabulous for Christmas...I'd settle for 20...
    ~Our debt to magically disappear so my husband can stop stressing over money every day
    ~My dogs to stop shedding, just for a little while, so I can catch up on the dog hair problem - right now it's like fighting an avalanche with a teaspoon and a baggie...
    ~One good family picture
    ~One year with no colds for the kids and us

    Is that too much to ask? I don't think so, but I'm not holding my breath. I do, as I've said, have a TON to be thankful for, so I mostly wish for me a constant and abiding ability to remember how lucky I am, how spoiled I have been for most of my life...and how most of the granting of my wishes lies in my own hands. Merry Christmas, folks. Thanks for reading, and I hope you'll keep coming back to read more. I have a feeling that 2008 is gonna be one helluva ride, and it won't be the same without you!

    God Bless Us, Every One! Merry Christmas!

    Wednesday, December 19, 2007

    POST 100!!!! Oh, and I suck... weight control. So "Happy 100 posts" to FMFO, and "Happy Back to Having Lost NOTHING" because people keep sending sweet stuff home to my house that I can't seem to leave alone. And I think I've mentioned that I'm not like most people. It doesn't take me months and months to gain five pounds. It takes days. If I have a "bad week", where I indulge occasionally in a sweet or two, I gain SEVERAL pounds, even if I eat right "most" of the time. This week, I am already up three pounds. Three. I've a had a couple of cookies, a piece of cake, and two mini-donuts. Three sweets, three pounds. Seems logical, right? And it wouldn't be so bad if those weren't the last three pounds I had lost, that I have now gained back. Nice, huh. I oughta be ashamed of myself...oh wait, I am.

    What's so infuriating about it is that I KNOW how to eat right, I enjoy eating right, but I am a sugar addict. So if I eat a little bit, I inevitably want more and inevitably eat more of it, until I am soon once again full-blown addicted and eating too much (read: eating any) of the wrong stuff. And since I have no metabolism to speak of, that's all it takes for me to pack on pounds, and quickly.

    It's not the same for me as it is for "normal sized" people. If you're ten pounds overweight, adding three would still mean you only needed to lose 13. I can't even say out loud anymore how much I need to lose without my face getting red and me feeling embarassed. I never dreamed I'd be a fat girl. Never even imagined it was possible. And now it's not only possible, it's my reality. And it doesn't seem to be changing any time soon. I should just get back on the SB plan right away, but I know what that will do for Christmas. Or what Christmas, more accurately, will do to the plan. Not that it's not possible to eat well, and healthily (is that a word?) on SB at holidays, but it's not fun, that's for sure. Mom's fudge, and strawberry bars, and MIL's texas sheetcake will all call to me.

    I didn't used to be such a damn pansy about food. When I decided to lose weight, that was it. NO whining, no letting myself "feel" deprived, I just did it. But then again, that was before my metabolism went permanently through the floor, my will power apparently went to shit, and my ass got bigger than I ever imagined possible. I hate having saddle bags. I mean, I really, really hate it. They're like having ass extentions.

    It's almost more than I can bear to be fat like this. I promise I would be grateful to have problems like "I need to tone" or "I can't drop this last 12 pounds" or "my size 8s feel tight". I've already conceded to myself that I will NEVER look good naked again - two kids worth of stretch marks made sure of that - but I'd settle for looking good in clothes that were purchased in the "normal" section of any given store. I don't need perfection, but I have gotten so far from where I used to be that I don't know how I'll EVER get back.

    I am SICK OF THIS SHIT. SICK OF IT. And I know you're sick of hearing it. So I'll stop. Thanks for reading. A happier post to come, I'm sure, soon. I wish you all better luck than me in fighting the holiday bulge!

    Saturday, December 15, 2007

    So I Just Scooped...

    Our weather man is a lying, dirty bugger.

    "Two to three inches", my ASS.

    Off We Go... Christmas shop. Yes, it snowed buckets last night. Yes, the roads will probably suck. Yes, we're all wearing our snow boots and buckling up and taking our time.

    And yes, we're nuts to go out shopping the Saturday before the Saturday before Christmas. But we're going anyway. I think I'll need to dig out that emergency bag of Lindt White Truffles to get me through the day...I'll have to hide them from Samantha, but I think I can manage...

    First we have to dig ourselves out, and since the boys are napping and Samantha is looking at my Barbie book, a rare, generally-forbidden activity, I'd better take advantage and go scoop!

    Thursday, December 13, 2007

    Evening Out Shopping - Snowflakes at Westroads

    So I wanted to do some Christmas shopping last night, sans hubby and kids. No sweat, right?

    Here is my retrospective checklist of said shopping trip:

    Work on gift list of things to buy, including new tools Greg may get for Christmas.
    Feed kids/hubby.
    Iterate to children the need to be good for Daddy.
    Share with Daddy my thoughts on flying solo with kids.
    Look for phone/wallet/purse.
    Pick up and put down the diaper bag...twice.
    Kiss all three repeatedly and add...I love good for Daddy...yes, I'll be back later...yes, I'm going Christmas shopping...NO, you can't come even if you promise not to look...
    Walk out door, reveling in the aloneness to come.
    Turn and say goodbye again; reiterate the need to be good for Daddy.
    Get to the van in the driveway. Start the van.
    Spend THIRTY MINUTES chipping ice off the windows/windshield.
    Get back in van, attempt to dry off coat with napkins from console.
    Curse about wet gloves and scarf.
    Cross "tools" off of Greg's Christmas list. (He obviously does not need more tools. If he was lacking tools, maybe my van would be IN THE GARAGE instead of in the driveway covered with ice.)
    Leave for shopping adventure a mere four hours after deciding to go.
    Almost get stuck in the end of the driveway, where city plows have made a lovely snow pile.
    Curse about city snow plow drivers.
    Fight traffic to mall #1, find almost nothing I need.
    Get back in van, pondering where to go; listen to Godspell soundtrack whilst fighting more traffic. Think of Erinn, Stephanie Burns, Doug Harmon and other fellow cast members from our version of the show a hundred years ago.
    Pull up to Westroads Mall. Notice Stanley Steemer vans at both side entrances to Von Maur. Shudder.
    Get out of my van. Walk to the front of Von Maur, look at the thousands of flowers/signs/bears placed at the doors; watch loved ones of Janet Jorgenson place a memorial and grieve.
    Stand with others and choke on my tears, and hang my head in shame at every whiny negative thought about my petty, small problems.

    There is no more checklist. At this point, I go into the mall. The food court has a huge Christmas tree in the center, full of snowflakes made by Omahans.

    I walk down to the area in front of Von Maur (where less than two weeks ago I stood with my mom and kids getting pictures taken with Santa) and what I see takes my breath away. Tens of thousands of more of the same kind of snowflakes, hung on the walls, on ledges, doorways and spilling out onto the floors.

    Why snowflakes?

    Here's why (taken from local radio station Q98.5's website ):

    Pat and JT, ...Listening to you this morning, I was moved to tell you about a dream I had on Wednesday night. Of course I spent most of the afternoon and evening watching the newreports about the incident. Those reports and the weather predictions of the snow were really the only two stories all night. So, I guess it is logical that they would have combined in my dreams that night but I was moved by what I dreamt and would love to see it become a reality.

    I dreamt that everyone did go to Westroads to show their support. I saw thousands of people there. They were taping handmade paper snowflakes (remember, like you made in grade school?) up on the glass walls and the railings around the escalator atrium in Von Maur. I heard a voice say "These victims are like the snowflakes falling outside. They are unique and special individuals. Like us, and like all the other snowflakes, their lives were fragile. But, we WILL NOT let their memory melt away! Like the snow that blankets our town, let our love and support blanket their families, friends, Von Maur, Westroads, and our entire city."

    Everywhere I looked there were paper snowflakes and I had tears in my eyes. The last thing I remember before waking up was dreaming that we (the city) presented the loved ones of the victims with beautiful snowflake ornaments to represent the support and love of the city and the memory of those they lost.I don't know why I feel compelled to share this with you but I believe that everything happens for a reason. Maybe you are the reason.......Tammy P.

    And so "Operation Snowflake" was born.

    There are many people coming and going to this spot as I stand there, using the tables and supplies provided to create a snowflake to add to the countlesss ones already there, or to sign the books for the victims' loved ones. Inside Von Maur, behind a black curtain and the snowflakes hung on the gates, floor cleaners hum and workers speak in low (and often not-so-low) voices. For some reason, the curtain is drawn back partly as we are standing there, and we can see those floor cleaners, going over the same spots over and over and over. The sight is burned into my memory and even now I tear up thinking about it.

    Like many others, I was moved to take pictures to share what I experienced, but pictures fail to truly capture the moment of standing where people died, honoring them with the simplest but most beautiful of things. But these I took to share with you:

    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

    Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

    You can find more pictures of Operation Snowflake HERE.

    It was a moving experience to go there, one week later, and stand with other people who were grieving in the same way, for the same reasons. It was surreal, and scary, and peaceful, and sad. I made a snowflake, placed it among the others, and moved on to make way for other people.

    I will never forget last night.

    Wednesday, December 12, 2007

    A Tragedy Brings Christmas... the sense it was meant to be. Kindness, love for fellow man, patience, an outpouring of love and friendship found in everyone we meet. THIS is what Christmas is supposed to be about.
    Someone sent this to me this today, thought I'd share it here...

    This is being passed around. All I know is that it's from "a friend of someone who works downtown". It brought a tear to my eye, and I had to pass it on.

    Dear Family and Friends,
    The Westroads Mall in Omaha re-opened today and, at 9 :00 a. m., I went there for my daily walk. Here is what I found:

    ....Mall administrators handing out candy canes at every outside entrance to the mall as they said "Thank you for coming today."
    ....Free coffee and cookies set-up in the food court and all servers saying, "Thank you for coming today".
    ....Many, many security guards were walking and milling around. I heard that they had come from all over the mid-west on their day off from another full-time job to provide comfort and reassurance.
    ....Every store/mall employee had a candy cane waiting for them when they arrived....tied to each candy cane was the note, "Thank you for coming to work and have a comforting, happy day".
    ....The two inside entrances from the mall to Von Maur had their gates down and the gates were covered with tasteful white drapes, but all lights were would have been very creepy if there had been no lights. Von Maur management had beautiful wreaths at each entrance with a tribute letter to Wednesday's victims. Many Red Cross volunteers had large tables set-up in front of the two mall entrances complete with lots of paper, crayons, pens, scissors, and tape for visitors to make snowflakes, with or without messages and tape on the gated entrances. The significance of the snowflakes was written in a is as fragile as a snowflake and can be taken away from us so quickly.
    ....Many, many stuffed animals, bouquets and tribute cards were being left at all entrances to Von Maur.
    ....Other Red Cross volunteers, who were not busy with the snowflakes, plus Salvation Army staff and grief counselors were milling around the crowds at the two Von Maur entrances. People knelt or stood in front of the entrances obviously saying a prayer, there were many tears, and many hugs between complete strangers.
    ....By the time I could finally tear myself away (a good hour after my walk), there were snowflakes being taped down the halls, the mall was packed, it was much quieter than normal, no one seemed in a hurry, and everyone seemed to greet passers by with at least a nod.

    I have shared with many of you the wonderful way we were treated by the people in three countries when we were in Europe during 9/11. Today I saw the same tenderness and compassion in the hearts of our fellow citizens in was touching and beautiful!

    God Bless the wonderful people of Omaha! ~ Pam

    Not sure who Pam is, but she's got it right. We are wonderful, and through this tragedy, we are showing the world just how much so.

    Midmorning Nuggles

    Is there anything better than when your kid, having trouble getting comfy for nap time, finally decides that the only place where he can fall asleep, the only place soft and safe and sweet enough, is with his arms wrapped tightly around you, nose burrowed in your neck, and one hand resting gently on your face so he can feel your breath in his hand?

    I didn't think so.

    Thursday, December 6, 2007

    Thoughts for the Day

    Been a while since I've rambled for you, and so this day seems as good as any, right?

    The Weather Outside is Frightful
    Getting lots of snow today. People often want to throw said snow at me because, well, frankly, since I became a SAHM, I don't mind the whole snow business much. I don't have to go out in it, I don't have to take my kids out in it, and so it bothers me very little. My mother is up-in-arms about snow, from the first flake's descent until she plants her garden in May. I am uncertain why - she knows it's going to snow, she knows we live in the Midwest, and this year the snow came MUCH later than most. But bless her heart, she just hates the stuff and makes sure everyone knows it. Regularly. Can't say as I blame her, though--if I was single, had to scoop my own walks, clean off my own vehicle and go to work in this, I'd probably hate it just as much. I hate the thought of her out there scooping. Makes me wish I could afford to contract somebody to do it for her for the season. Ahh, the things I'll buy when Greg finally hits Powerball...

    Saddest Story
    This mall shooting is awful. Not much else to say about it. Some things just suck. Westroads is still closed today, and Von Maur will be closed indefinitely last I heard. Can't imagine stepping foot in there any time soon anyway.

    Snot Any Fun
    Jackson has the runny nose that won't quit. He's fine otherwise, but this runny nose is just lingering on and on. I'm starting to wonder if it's an allergy. Although I've heard from more than one person's ped. that this stuff is hanging on forever, long after they are over the cold itself. Dandy.

    Gee, This Will Surprise You
    My office is a wreck. Not sure what happened, but it's getting cleaned today. Just took a short break from that particular fun activity to post a bit for you fine folks. Aren't I nice? Just say yes. And laundry, have having been defeated wholly last month, is now making a comeback. Time to get busy on that again, too.

    I DO Dream in Chocolate
    Lindt has these Lindor Truffles, right? You think the regular chocolate ones are good? Try the "White Chocolate with a Smooth Filling" ones.
    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    Samantha loves them, too. In fact, she just swiped my last one. She said "I love those chocolate vanilla marbles. They fill 'em with milk and they are guuud..." When she's right, she's right. Oh, and in case you're wondering, they are NOT on the South Beach approved foods list. Yeah. See, what had happened was...

    In Conclusion
    ~Weather stinks but I don't mind
    ~People shooting people in my mall sucks and I DO mind
    ~I'm wiping a snotty nose till I'm losing my mind
    ~I am very good at putting housework out of my mind
    ~You can buy me all the Lindor White Chocolate Truffles you want, and I WON'T mind

    Back to housework...

    Wednesday, December 5, 2007

    So This Is Christmas?

    We're in shock around here today. And feeling the holiday spirit slipping away. Yesterday we found out that a person we know from Columbus died in a car accident, left a spouse and three small ones behind. Then today...

    If you're watching any national news, you'll know that one of the malls here in Omaha, Westroads Mall, was brutally attacked today; a gunman (or gunmen, they're not confirming yet) killed at least 9 people in Von Maur, and I'm guessing the death toll will be higher once they get everyone out. The city is pretty much at a standstill, in shock at such violence in a place that so many of us frequent and have always felt "safe" in. This mall is not in a questionable part of town, is not known for gang or any other type of violent activity, and this is SUCH a shock.

    We were at home today having our weekly playdate with our friends. Thank GOD we didn't do what we often do on Playdate Wednesdays at lunch time...go to Westroads Mall for lunch and let the kids play in the playland, right up the corridor from Von Maur. We could so easily have been there today. She and I just sat and watched the TV in shock while the kids played in the other room, grateful that we met here instead today.

    Imagine what the holidays will be like for the families of those victims. Think about how you feel when you look at, say, your Christmas tree. My God, can you even fathom the pain they will feel when they look at their Christmas tree? Are there presents under the tree for those people? Will they place them now in their casket with them instead? Are there children who will always remember 2007 as the year their mommy or daddy died? Will they EVER enjoy the holiday season again? And apparently the latest is that the shooter took his own life when it happened, and had someone deliver a suicide note to the police station just after it happened.
    So that selfish bastard will never have to look in the eyes of those he hurt and killed, will never have to suffer the consequences. Then again, I suspect there is a special room in hell for people who kill strangers for no reason while they are shopping for loved ones during the holidays.

    How do people like that exist in our world? How can we endure it? What keeps us from hiding in our closets with our loved ones held close to us, praying for protection in a world where no one is safe? My heart is aching for those people and their families, and at the same time I am feeling the need to be on my knees thanking God that we were spared, as we have been spared from so much pain. Thankfulness comes to mind again.

    Hugs your loved ones, folks. The news doesn't get any better as the days go on.

    Saturday, December 1, 2007

    Nice Ice

    We've got quite the ice storm brewing this morning...well, not brewing, more like already brewed. With any luck it's going to warm up enough to melt most of it off the trees before the wind picks up later today and rips all the branches off the trees. That happened here several years ago - not pretty. So, naturally my husband decided to go and work this morning! I just talked to him, and he is fine, and he's coming home soon, but I wish he'd have just stayed in today. I'll feel better when he's home, that's for sure.

    So no big shopping today, that's for sure! Stay home folks, it's slickery out there!

    Wednesday, November 28, 2007

    Neck Nipple?

    I have a mole on the back of my neck. It's one that, frankly, I am glad is mostly out of sight, as it is rather pronounced. Samantha was standing behind me just now, "doing my hair", and she suddenly stopped and touched my neck rather apprehensively.

    "Hey, Mom - why do you have a nipple on your neck?"

    I'm calling a dermatologist today. Why the hell wouldn't anyone else ever tell me it looked like a nipple? Thanks a lot, people.

    Can't Stop Giggling

    My dad and I didn't talk for nine years. It's a long story, some of you know it, some don't. Maybe someday I'll tell it here...but probably not. If you really wanna know, call me sometime when you've got a hour or three to kill. Anyway, so we've been talking for about a year now.

    He must be making up for lost time, ha ha. Yesterday he bought me my Christmas present early. I am typing to you on it right now, and not believing my eyes, I might add. I got a SUPER HP bundle, and I am LOVING it so far. SO fast compared to my old PC! I am VERY lucky and feeling VERY spoiled today. You could serve a turkey on this monitor, it's so big it's silly. And the processor runs circles around my old one. After a couple of calls to Cox's AWESOME customer service, my modem and internet connection are running perfectly and at lightning speed! Vista's not so bad, except for the fact that it asks me if I want I'm SURE I want to do EVERY thing I do. Makes me know how Greg must feel every time he makes a decision. I'm like his own personal Vista. Poor guy...

    Anywhoo, I wish for each of you a PC like this one for Christmas (ok, or if you're Deb, you already just got a new fun toy, but everyone else probably needs one...)...I'm off to get the kids ready for our weekly playdate at the M House...

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    Wednesday, November 21, 2007


    I'm full of it today. Thankfulness, I mean, and you can keep your smart ass comments about what else I'm full of to yourself, thankyouverymuch. It's the holidays, dammit, so be nice.

    Anyway, it's almost Thanksgiving and I find myself ruminating about how truly lucky/blessed/spoiled/overindulged I am.

    Why, you ask? What makes my life - which happens amidst Walmart decor, dog hair, 4 years of old bills and credit card statements that will never get shredded, fat which simply refuses to come off of my ass or any other area, and a carb addiction which I battle daily in place of any real addictions - so blessed? So special? So worth living that the thought of being in any one else's shoes makes me weepy? I'll tell you.

    1. I have GREAT friends. You know who you are. You know why you mean so much, and why you have proven theories WRONG that I held true about female-female friendships for most of my early adulthood. I cherish each and every one of you, and I thank the heavens I found you.

    2. I am raising my beautiful, sweet, funny, smart, adorable, good-hearted children (along with my husband, of course). First-hand, without exception, I am their primary caretaker, the center of their world, and I miss nothing in their lives. This was my absolute greatest fear about being a parent: that I would miss out on milestones and have to ask daycare workers to lie to me (even lies of omission are lies) about first teeth, first steps, first words. I have been spared that. I decide what they watch, what they eat, when they sleep, who they play with, what they wear, what they learn, and the control freak in me finds that very, very gratifying. The challenges that are so much a part of being a SAHM are real, ever-present and consistently overwhelming, but they are such a small price to pay for the honor, the privilege, of knowing that I haven't missed a thing. Not everyone is that lucky, and I know that, and I don't take it for granted. Not that there aren't days I'd like to stick my head in the freezer for about a week, but that's another story...

    3. My husband kicks ass. You've heard me tell of his great-husband-ness many times, and it's all true. He is "Father of the Year" and "Super-Hubby" rolled into one. His absolute WORST character flaws are that he exaggerates an awful lot, and he is too tender-hearted when he should be tougher on people (usually me, honestly). That's it. Those are the really crappy things about Greg. Yeah. I'm way lucky. I have said it for years, and it's still true: Greg IS the best man I know. He's VERY supportive of my role as SAHM, helps in any way he can, busts his ASS at his job whether he feels like it or not, gives me whatever support/encouragement I need in ALL areas of my life, and does just about every other thing I can think of that you'd want a husband to do. Seriously. The guy even does his own laundry when he needs it done. He has NEVER, in almost ten years, said "Hey, can you wash my _______?" My husband kicks ass.

    4. Despite the numerous "issues" in my family, I am close with nearly every member of it. My sisters and I, and both of my parents, all have a relationship that I value in one way or another. Mom is one of my best friends, we each enjoy the other's company so very much, and I cherish her more with each passing year of my life. My sisters, who are really nothing like me in most ways, each give me unique perspectives that are valuable to me in my life, and I am grateful that they are my sisters. And even when we disagree, we can let that just be its own entity and move past it as people who love each other. Even Dad and I are rebuilding bridges, and in his own way, he continues to show me that he does, in fact, love me.

    5. I have a sweet treadmill. And whenever possible, I actually USE it. I'm hoping that will start paying off someday.

    6. My dogs are nice dogs. They are good family dogs, with kind hearts, and I will miss them someday when they are gone, despite the fact that they are a royal pain in my ass. I trust them with my kids, they always let me know when someone comes to the door (or the neighbor's door) and they would protect me with their lives if anyone ever tried to hurt me. I think. Either that or they'd show the guy where I was sleeping, and point out the safe on the way by. It's hard to tell with dogs.

    7. My in-laws are super nice people. They truly are, and I enjoy them more and more the longer I am part of the family. They have been supportive in every way they can in our lives, they adore our kids, and they make us welcome in their home any time we want to come and invade for several days. Overall, in the grand scheme of things, I got pretty lucky in the in-laws department - and I didn't always used to think that. I'm sure they didn't either!

    8. My washing machine and dryer are approximately 20 years old, and they still work pretty darn well. Ya gotta be grateful for THAT, right? Not that I wouldn't also be grateful for a new set, don't misunderstand - but meanwhile, I'm glad these are holding out. The washer washes, and the dryer dries. Can't ask for more than that!

    9. We have enough money to pay our bills, eat as we please, and enjoy fun family times every month. I never have to tell my kids there is no food in the house. I never have to pay a bill late. We're not investing in major stocks or paying off tons of debt by the thousand every year, but compared to the state of lacking and want/need that some people live in every day of their lives, we are spoiled. We just bought new coats and snow boots for the kids tonight, and bought them new outfits for tomorrow, and I thought of the kids in the world who don't have anyone who even gives a shit enough to make sure they HAVE those things. How can any of us complain about ANYTHING when there are kids in the world with those types of heartache?

    10. I have a brain and hands and feet and organs that all (mostly) work. I can get out of bed in the morning. I can feed myself, clothe myself, write to you, walk on my treadmill, listen to my dogs bark, and hug my family.

    Those are luxuries to so many people, and I get to do all of them every day. Most of us do. Most of us wouldn't know a hard-knock life if it jumped up and bit us in our asses. We spend our days bitching and whining about things that make people with REAL problems roll their eyes. We have food in our bellies, generally more than we need. We have clothes on our back that some would kill for, and some do. We have all that we need to survive, and we have people who love us and care about what happens to us. THESE are the treasures in life, folks. The houses and cars and things are so irrelevant in the big picture. Even in writing this, I am more aware of the need for gratitude in my life.

    True gratitude can change us, I really believe that. Gratitude for the blessings in our life can give us more joy and peace than any material possessions, promotions or kudos/acknowledgement/praise from the Pope, the president or the press ever could. Looking in the mirror every day, even if we don't feel like it in that moment, and saying "HOW did I get so lucky?" might just be the cure for what ails us a great deal of the time.

    Life is full of problems. And challenges. And trials. And thank GOD we get to wake up every day to work through them - in our comfortable homes in our store-bought clothes that fit, while we eat our fresh delicious food (or our Burger King, if we choose) and look at our beautiful families with our eyes that see. We are TRULY, truly blessed - all of us.

    Thanks so much for the time you take to read. It means more to me than you know. Pass this on if you wish, and remind someone else to be grateful on this Thanksgiving Day. May God send you a Thanksgiving that inspires MUCH gratitude!

    Tuesday, November 20, 2007

    Tuesday's Thoughts OR Two Days Till Turkey

    Not that the turkey is what I'm all worked up about.

    Let's face it, turkey is good and all, but if it was just turkey, people wouldn't gather in droves at family's homes who they mostly can't stand. No one likes turkey on its own THAT much. It's all the nutritionally void stuff that goes WITH turkey...stuffing, mashed potatoes/gravy, cranberry-shaped-like-a-can (my personal favorite), relish trays with olives, pickles, veggies (only acceptable because they are the vehicle for dip), with said dip, and the pies. And cakes. And bars. Greg's family puts out a helluva spread, no matter who's hosting, and it is just one big carb fest. A big YUMMY carb fest, but a carb-fest nonetheless. So thought #1 is about trying to maintain my weight this week UNTIL Thursday, which will undoubtedly be a South Beach nightmare.

    Thought #2 centers around this stupid "infant cold medicine recall" nonsense. Went to Baker's last night, and as we are battling yet another cold with the kids, and the pheylephrine that the dr. gave me for them is about as useful as nothing, I was hoping for something familiar and recently-unavailable. Well what should I see on the shelf, but the card for Sudafed's Children's pseuodephedrine. Hallelujah! I couldn't get it up to the pharmacy counter, driver's license in-hand, fast enough! Fortunately, my ped. had already given me dosage for my kids of the stuff before the infant drops were recalled. Jackson is already fine with a 2-year old dose b/c of his size, and Samantha takes the same. But as I got home and read it and compared it to my almost-empty bottle of the infant drops of the same drug, an interesting set of facts emerged. The drops they pulled? EXACT same medicine, in the EXACT same dosage. It's just a different amount of liquid they suspend the drug in. Less for babies, more for bigger kids who can swallow more. Two droppers of the infant drops has the exact same level of pseudoephedrine as one teaspoon of the children's formula. And they BOTH say the SAME thing for children under two: ask a doctor. So the drugs they kept say, do and have the same characteristics as the drugs they pulled, all because people are too stupid to read labels, write down doses, and pay attention to what they are putting in their kids' bodies. And yet the anti-drug freaks..uh, I mean folks, are now placated because the "dangerous" drugs are off the market. Hilarious. Whatever. I'm not tellin' them any different.

    I asked the pharmacist if they would be pulling this stuff too, and she said "I don't think so, it was just the drops they were worried about, and it was just because people kept overdosing their kids." She here inserted her own eye roll, which I wholeheartedly returned. The nurse in my ped's office told me basically the same thing three weeks ago, when I said I was surprised to hear that "they" claimed it didn't work: "Oh, it works, it's not that it doesn't work - it's just that people kept overdosing their kids on it." How many more arguments do I need for the case in favor of "license to breed" legislation?

    I just know I'm glad to have pseudoephedrine back because it is the ONLY thing that helps my kids feel better when they are truly congested. Anyone who wants to do a case study on my kids, feel free. Or you can just trust me - it works.

    Thought #3 - we are selling the Jeep. It just sits 29/30 days of the month, and there's no reason to keep it. Anyone interested? It's a great Jeep, and we'd LOVE for you to have it. Several people are coming to look this week, so if you want it, get in fast! That snow is COMING! Get into a 4WD with remote start and laugh at all the suckers stuck in their cold little sedans! Ok, or just come buy my Jeep, no laughing required.

    More thoughts to come...

    Saturday, November 17, 2007

    I'm Not Much Of A Drinker

    It's true, anyone who hangs out with me can attest that my limited experiences with mass amounts of alcohol are practically non-existent. I'm not even what really qualifies as a "social drinker", as of late primarily because in one way or another I've been drinking for two for most of the last four years. So that has pretty much left alcohol off my drink menu.

    But Jackson is down to just nursing at bedtime, and is (knock, knock, knock on wood) sleeping through the night now, so after he's in bed, my evenings are mine to do with what I please.

    Tonight I please to drink me some White Zin mixed with Sierra Mist and ice, thankyouverymuch. I intend to reach Buzz Level One, at least, before I go and assault my husband, who knows nothing of my plan. I should clarify. I do not need alcohol to want to assault my husband. The two events just happen to coincide tonight because, well, quite's a fucking miracle that one of us did not strangle a child today. He's not a drinker either but he's already had a Mojito. We need to blow off some steam.

    Samantha got up late because we got her to bed late. She got up OK, I guess, not too grumpy or bossy or pushy or snotty. That would come later, trust me. Then her father came home from work at noon, and her brain fell out. She did not find it again today. I am hoping it makes its way back in before morning because I am almost certain none of us can survive another day like today.

    We went to the mall for my hair appointment. Greg walks the kids around in the double stroller while I get my only pampering for the month, and usually it goes swimmingly. Today she whined. And whined. And kicked her brother in the back, and pulled his hair. And mouthed off. And talked back. And threw a screaming fit in Sears, I'm told, bellowing "I WANT MY MOMMY!!" over and over and over, while her father looked for a snowblower to crawl under. He was already exhausted by the time I left Regis. "Bye, Jocelyn!" she smiled sweetly, waving and batting her evil-disguised-as-cute eyes at my stylist, certain no one would buy Daddy's story. Nauseating. Greg was at his wits' end already, poor guy. There's a reason I'm home with them all day and not him. He is an incredible father, a truly connected, involved parent, but if he had to handle them 24/7, he WOULD run away and never come back, I'm telling you.

    We were so disappointed at Samantha's behavior, and the mall was SO crowded, that instead of having lunch there, we opted to hit Sonic on the way home (yes, I know, not exactly Beach food, but it was an off-day). This was another fit for the throwing, as she had wanted to eat THERE, and so she went ahead and threw the fit. We ignored, went to the van, loaded up. She putzed around, dawdled, didn't get in her seat until she was threatened within an inch of her life, then pouted that the wrong person was buckling her in, as though anyone really gave a rip who she wanted buckling her in. She then kicked my seat until I explained how hard it would be for her to walk without FEET. She stopped.

    I needed to make a quick stop for wipes, and Samantha announced that SHE wanted her DADDY to go in and get them, NOT her MOMMY. I once again ignored, told her I would be right back, and went about my task. She seemed better when I came back to the van.

    At Sonic, she would scarcely even answer my questions about what she'd like to eat, until I was ready to order. The instant Greg pushed the button...


    "Thanks for choosing Sonic, I'll be with you in one moment." Fine.

    "Samantha, WHAT do you need? I am trying to order food."

    She mumbled something about her imaginary friend, or some other such nonsense. Yeah. Ok. We get our food and proceed home, while she and Jackson WHINE all 12 blocks about wanting their slush right NOOOOOOOW. Jackson's sounded like this:


    Samantha's was more advanced:

    "Mom, can I have my cheh-wee" (cherry) "slush now? ... Mom - CAN I HAVE MY CHEH-WEE SLUSH NOW? ... MOM! MOM!"

    Know that I had already explained patiently TWICE that they would get their slush when we got home, but that we were not drinking cherry slush in the van. This is not new info. This is not unusual.

    The rest of the day came to pass in much the same fashion. Samantha acting like a pubescent teenager, disagreeing with EVERYTHING we said, antagonizing her brother at every turn, mouthing off with 9 of 10 sentences that exited her mouth, and acting GENUINELY surprised when she was disciplined for doing things she's been asked not to do more times than there are months in her life up til now. Her father and I trying to encourage, diffuse and support one another as we traded off between two kids who were unable to be satisfied or pleased in any way. It was just one of those days. Jackson was the better of the two by far (he is DEFINITELY my favorite today), but he was a handful in his own way, battling another cold, this one with a nasty cough and a sore throat. Joy.

    So now, they are both in bed sleeping (they wore themselves out trying to make their parents commit suicide), it is quiet in here, and dammit, I am having a drink. Not even sure why, one drink and I'll have a headache and get sleepy, and about that time one of the kids will get up.

    Wait, it's Saturday night...Greg doesn't have to work tomorrow. I think HE can get up if one of them wakes up.

    Where's that bottle of wine?

    Thursday, November 15, 2007

    State of the House Address...

    ...for you, dear readers.

    All is well this Thursday morning. I'm not feeling bad now, I am certain it was a cyst. We had Pumpkin Pie Blizzards last night at the mall. NAUGHTY...but yummo. What else? My older sister is in town for a class, my younger sister is turning 26 today, the trash guys took the broken toilet this morning, and my laundry is (drumroll, please) CAUGHT UP. My laundry room is EMPTY. Naked. Bare. Clear. Allow me to elaborate (because I KNOW you've been dying to know about my laundry).

    Looks pretty weird in there, quite frankly. Usually there's at least some blankets waiting to be washed, but when I sorted/organized/complied the laundry loads Friday night, I did blankets, towels and linens first instead of last. A brilliant idea, if I say so myself. I know I'll wash the clothes, but the blankets always get left for last and then I run out of steam and leave them for next time. So they got bumped up the chart this time. Result? - naked laundry room.

    I should clarify the OTHER brilliant part of my plan, which I save for times like these when laundry was in DIRE need of a jump-start, and when a $40 trip to the laundromat looks imminent. That other part is this -make laundry a centerpiece. Into the hampers, up the steps, and dumped RIGHT in the middle of the livingroom, all of it. Scour every room, find every sock, shirt and washcloth. Every single one, and into a giant pile in the livingroom it goes. Did it require me to take laundry AWAY from the laundry room, still dirty? Absolutely. Is it more work? You betcha. But you know what else it does? It makes it almost impossible to ignore or forget about. It's tough to leave laundry lay when you know anyone who comes over at any given moment would see the big nasty piles of dirty drawers and t-shirts, laying there like Barbie-sized Rocky Mountains. And no fair sorting it and then taking it back down all at once, no sir. That's how it got piled up in the first place, it's easy to ignore down there.

    I will not share how many loads we did over the weekend and into this week - my shame just won't let me. Suffice it to say that the laundry around here was OUT OF CONTROL, and just blankets and linens took all of one day. Fine, I'm a slacker, whatever. Sue me. Somebody get that maid-iternship program going and then I won't have these problems, will I? But anyway, for now it's all caught up, and I need to focus now on maintaining, keeping caught up so we won't have this issue again.

    Ok, was that enough about laundry to suit you? Yeah, me, too. More later, gotta go get the boy down for his nap.

    Wednesday, November 14, 2007

    Still Here

    Since I know you've been waiting with baited breath...

    Well, I made it through the night, thanks to ibuprofen, a great hubby who got me up to the tub and made me soak, and a heating pad.

    I'm almost certain it's an ovarian cyst. I can still feel it in there this morning, but it's not as bad. Let's just pray it subsides (and doesn't rupture) soon, because my sister is coming today and I don't want to be a big sicky while she's here, you know?

    I should call my OB/GYN, but if it IS a cyst, she'll just want to do surgery to drain it and/or take my only remaining ovary (having already lost the left one to this), and I'm just not up for that. I'd prefer the current state of pain, honestly. There's no danger in having the cyst - it just sucks.

    How can a body part, one that malfunctions SO much, have been SO efficient at doing its job? Two tries = two babies. Oh, and cysts that kick my ass. VERY productive. Nice.

    Tuesday, November 13, 2007

    Stay Tuned for...

    ...possible rupturing organs.

    Been battling some abdominal pain off and on for a few days, and tonight it's gotten significantly worse. All on the right side now, so I'm guessing (TMI coming up) either I've started ovulating again and it's a big ole cyst (the kind that cost me my left ovary) that will eventually rupture and put me on the floor (it's worse then childbirth, I swear to god), or it's my appendix, or some other fun organ. I'm multi-tasking right now...blogging, while trying to ignore the overwhelming nausea and urge to vomit, whilst trying to also talk myself out of going to the ER.

    So keep it here this case, no news will probably NOT be good news...

    Monday, November 12, 2007

    It's Four Steps Around new treadmill. Four steps from the time my left foot hits the seam of the tread until it comes back around again. Four steps when I'm walking, not jogging. I'll let you know if I ever get up to jogging. I am not betting on it.

    Anyway, let me back up. We finally got one! I've been scouring Craigslist for MONTHS, and had a couple of dead ends, and then I saw the post Friday afternoon. "Barely used, had it three months, like new - $75."


    The girl was not kidding, it is barely used. She said she wanted (and had purchased) an exercise bike ... she said she'd decided she wanted to "be lazy and sit down" while she exercises. Whatever. These people already had three nine-foot Christmas trees up and decorated in their livingroom, so I don't pretend I understand thier rationale about everything, but needless to say, I didn't give a rip about that.

    So we load it up, get it home. Greg and I wrestle it through the not-quite-wide-enough-but-yo-can-bet-your-ass-we're-not-carrying-it-up-and-down-three-flights-of-stairs door, and get it set up in our room (facing the TV, of course - the TV is an integral part of my exercise game plan). It's still all nice and "purdy"-looking (please ignore the small paint scratch where we coaxed it thru the aforementioned door), no wear on the hand rails, no scuff marks on the tread yet, even! Lots of bells and whistles I don't pretend to know how to use yet, but I have been using it - for three days in a row now! Probably an exercise RECORD for me! Certainly not running any marathons yet, and certainly not going the 30 to 40 minutes at a time that I should be, but I am on it, and if you know me, you know that is a HUGE step for me. Exercising at ALL is "WORK" in my book, but I am enjoying being able to do it in my home, barefooted if I choose, at my convenience, with no one watching the chubby chick struggle through my workout. I think I may be one of those people who a treadmill really works for. Time will tell!

    If not, then I paid $75 for a clothes hanger. But that, my friends, is exactly why I don't pay retail for stuff like this. If I use it, I got a GREAT deal - and if I don't, then I'm not out hundreds of dollars for something I have practically give away on Craigslist. Just ask Christmas Tree Lady. She paid more than twice what she got from me for it, and used it 4 times!

    Sportscraft won't let me copy the picture (they act like it's THEIR picture or something), and I haven't taken any myself of the real thing. SO click on the link below and then you can see my new toy:

    Fun, huh? So cross your fingers that I stick with it, and come on over for a walk sometime. Course, we can't go together, but I'll watch you walk, and then you can watch me walk. Or vice versa. Or whatever. We'll work it out.

    New Feature, Just For YOU!

    Hey! Check out the top right...yeah, over there! Now you can sign up to receive updates so you'll KNOW when I post a new article! Isn't that swell? As you would expect, your email is NOT going to be used for anything other than the auto-feed that will send you an update on my blog. Hell, I'm not even sure I know how to GET to the thing that shows me what your email address is, anyway! So no worries, just sign up over there and then we'll be cyber-bonded because I'll be writing for you, and you'll know because you'll get an email from Feedblitz telling you that I did just that! Kinda gives me a warm fuzzy inside...

    Sunday, November 11, 2007

    Scary Spamming Scamming

    BACKGROUND Part 1: I use my "primary" email address on eBay, always have. We have another email address, completely different domain, that I use mostly for registering online, etc. so the spam and ads don't come into my everyday address.

    BACKGROUND Part 2: Greg has been bidding on a certain type of cell phone on eBay for WEEKS, and has bid on several from the same seller, having won one a couple weeks ago, and another this weekend. But he bid on several between the first and second, all from the same seller, who we have had regular contact with. But we've always corresponded through our primary email as that is, again, the only one we use on eBay.

    So today, in our JUNK email Inbox, we get this:

    Dear "xxxxxxx",

    You expressed interest on this item. I'm the seller of this item on which you've recently bid on through the eBay system ( Item # xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx ) and I've contacted you because I need to know if you are still interested to buy ... Email me as soon as possible with your answer because I must to know if is necesarly to find another buyer or if you can buy the item(i need to know your final price)...If you accept this offer the eBay policy automatically proclaims you winner. The transaction will go strictly according to eBay's RULES and POLICY and will be supervised by eBay Trust & Safety Department. If you are interested just reply to this message. I am waiting a fast response! Thankyou!

    Now. We know it's fraudulent, no question. Primarily b/c we KNOW the email address of the real seller. The strange, and scary part, is this: We DID bid on the auction number he cited in his email. We DID. But, and this is the crux of the issue, WE DO NOT USE THAT EMAIL ADDRESS ON EBAY! So how did he know to contact us at THAT email address about an item we DID bid on, but under a DIFFERENT email address? Scary stuff. My only guess is that the email addresses have the same thing before the @, so I guess if he sent it to all the domains with that user name, it may have gotten to us - but geez, what are the chances?

    So, after I reported him to eBay, AND to the real seller, I sent him back this:

    Actually, you are NOT the seller of this item. We have worked with the seller of this item before, and it is not YOU. He has our REAL email address, not this one for SPAM. This email address is not even registered on ebay for our ID, so you must have just sent this to every "xxxxxxx" you could find. We have reported you to EBAY as a SCAMMER, you pile of crap. We are also informing the REAL seller of this item that you are posing as him. Get a life.

    Assholes. His email username is a banned ID on ebay, so I'm guessing that was the same guy.

    Happy Sunday, anyway...

    Saturday, November 10, 2007

    A Correction from Yours Truly

    I was reading over my recent posts, and at the end of my "Welcome Missives From Suburbia Readers" post, I said at the end that I was ready to go post something fun after having talked about Deb's blog.

    It occurs to me as I go back and read this - that probably sounded like I didn't think pimping Deb's blog was fun. Oy, that is SO not what I meant! And people used to PAY me to write? Great googly-moogly.

    I HEART Deb, AND I heart pimping Deb's blog, and did not mean to imply that doing so was less-than-fun. Sometimes I just write out of my ass and don't edit enough. What a dip! Anyway...

    Friday, November 9, 2007

    Aimee Asks A M*A*S*H-tastic Question

    Which is another good reason we are such good friends - the girl can follow directions. If you haven't yet, dear reader, follow her fabulous lead and ask me somethin', huh? Anyway, Aimee's question:

    I've known you for, well, pretty much forever and I've always wanted to know. What's up with the MASH thing? I have some favorite shows, don't get me wrong, but you have a commitment to MASH. So there's my question!

    Told'ja the girl was funny!

    But there's nothing funny about M*A*S*H. Wait, no, there is TONS funny about M*A*S*H. There's nothing funny about my LOVE for M*A*S*H.

    It's a serious family love, and we are so, so devoted. No doubt about that. It is, in my expert opinion, the finest television show ever made. I submit to you as evidence the fact that my mother, sister, husband and I all quote it from memory, for now going on twenty years, and we all still laugh our butts off every time. My husband, nearly ten years in, who used to roll his eyes, now quotes it more than I do. Try that with some here-today-gone-tomorrow lame sitcom of today. I think not, my friend.

    SO. My life-long love affair with the fine folks of the 4077th. Hmmm, let's think back.

    Mom always liked M*A*S*H when I was growing up, so I knew it well from childhood. When I was about high school age, she got an offer in the mail from Columbia House: three episodes of the show per month, on VHS, for $24.95 each. There are eleven seasons of M*A*S*H, so go ahead and do the math on that. It's 251 episodes in all, although Columbia House only released 207 episodes. And she bought 'em all, baby. Every one. She still has them to this day, and watches them regularly. They have their own media rack in her bedroom.

    Of course, now you can buy every show ever made on DVD, and for MUCH cheaper than the investment Mom made. So M*A*S*H came to DVD, a whole season at a time, and this time in broadcast order! And yes, I have them, of course. I just need to get the final episode DVD...I saw that in the store the other day and seriously tried to figure out what there was on the grocery list we could go without so I could put THAT in the budget for the week. Ok, not really, but I was close.

    Anyway, what is my deal with M*A*S*H? That's the basic question. It is, as I said, the funniest show ever. And it must be true or I wouldn't still be laughing at the same jokes after 20 years. And yet it also has some really poignant, touching, deep moments that are anything BUT funny. The episode about nightmares ("Dreams") scared the hell out of me for years, it still creeps me out to this day. There are quotes from that movie that will be with me my whole life. Hawkeye's priceless rants, calculated ramblings peppered with alliteration, rhyme, and words that flowed like honey. Alan Alda created a character that was so unique, so real, so vividly raw that I think, no matter what else I see him in for the rest of his life, I will always see Benjamin Franklin Pierce. And each character is like that in their own way. Margaret, Frank, Charles, Radar, Henry, Col. Potter, Father Mulcahy, Klinger - each of them did their part to make the show more funny than it ever would or could have been without any of them.

    I cried when Larry Linville died - I called Mom in tears and said "Frank Burns died!" Then we cried a little bit together. I am not even kidding you.

    Some of my favorite quotes, just for kicks...

    "Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice, pull down your pants and slide on the ice." ~ Sidney Freedman in "O.R." (He also says this in the last episode, which just makes you smile when you hear it again.)

    "I will not carry a gun, Frank. When I got thrown into this war I had a clear understanding with the Pentagon: no guns. I'll carry your books, I'll carry a torch, I'll carry a tune, I'll carry on, carry over, carry forward, Cary Grant, cash and carry, carry me back to Old Virginia, I'll even 'hari-kari' if you show me how, but I will not carry a gun!" ~ Hawkeye in "Officer of the Day"

    "I'd like a dry martini, Mr. Quoc, a very dry martini. A very dry, arrid, barren, desiccated, veritable dustbowel of a martini. I want a martini that could be declared a disaster area. Mix me just such a martini." ~ Hawkeye in "There Is Nothing Like a Nurse"

    "Sir, I thought it over and I was lying before when I said the baby wasn't mine. It's hers, mine, and ours...No, you guys wouldn't know me when I was in town. I mean..uh..I remember that night 'cause I took a shower. I was wearing my paratrooper scarf with nothing on underneath. I had maybe two beers and I was looking for trouble. I wanted to get a tattoo, but the guy had printed 'mother' so much that he'd run out of ink. So I was taking the jeep back home and I saw her hitching a ride by the side of the road and I stopped. And..uh..I'd rather not say anything more in front of the baby." ~ Radar in "The Chosen People"

    There are just too many to list. I could go on all night. And now I'll have to go watch an episode or two before I go to bed. I think some oldies, maybe Season Two - some good old Frank-and-Margaret-meeting-behind-the-delousing-tent stuff. Hawkeye chasing the nurse-du-joir whilst downing "gin" with Trap. Klinger in his latest attire from Wang's of Seoul. Good times.

    There is a website for people like me, made by people (or a person, rather) like me. Want to know ANYTHING about the show? It's on there. It was created and is maintained by a man named David Long, who I can only imagine is at LEAST twice as cool as me, when you consider the incredible, comprehensive, encompassing site he's created, all for M*A*S*H-heads of the world. You should check it out: It is the shit, seriously. It's where I copied the quotes above from, and where I refer to when I can't remember something about the show.

    I'm not even sure what else to say about it. Don't get me wrong, I could go on for a week about the show; just sitting here I've thought of about 10 episodes I want to go back and watch again and laughed out loud as I thought it. Right now I'm listening to a sound clip from the site, one of Henry's lectures - the one on sex ed and birth control. Totally hilarious. But you either watch M*A*S*H or you don't. If you don't, well, that's OK. To each his own...but you're missing out. And if you've been living under a rock for the last thirty years and have never seen it, come over sometime - I'll pop in a DVD for you and you'll see what I mean. I'd bet money on it.

    Good question, Mrs. B! Thanks! Now I'm going to put in M*A*S*H while I go to sleep. Anyone but "Dreams". Like I said, still creeps me out. Hawkeye's arms coming off is just too much for late at night...

    I Only Hang Out With Funny People...Here's Proof

    One of my long-time and dear friends, Aimee (AKA Mrs. B) is a funny, funny girl. She seriously needs a blog. To prove this point, I am sharing a post from her myspace page; a personal blog reproduced with her permission, for your laughing pleasure. I give you, "Aimee Made A Funny":

    So in the spirit of being a newlywed, I thought I would spice things up a bit by purchasing some Dallas Cowboys bikini underwear.
    So they arrived and as I modeled them for my new husband who is totally a die hard Dallas Cowboys fan, he says "I love them, you should wear them everyday."
    To which I replied...
    "But then they would be the Cleveland Browns."
    Thank you....I'm here all week.

    When you stop laughing, leave a comment and tell me how funny she is, because I know she'll check in to see if I'm right about it being freaking hilarious, and grounds for her needing a blog of her own. And I'm usually right, let's face it.

    Wednesday, November 7, 2007

    How Come?

    How come there are no internship programs for kids who are aspiring to be housekeepers? Maids? Window washers? Young minds just itching to get their feet (and hands) wet in the custodial arts, who would love to come and clean a girl's house for free, just for the experience?

    Because I could give some kids some DAMN good experience here at the house of much dirt, endless dog hair and countless smudged-up, fingerprinted shiny things. I think it's a GREAT idea and I think someone should get ahold of Merry Maids or some shit, and tell them they need an internship program, and they can start RIIIIIIIIGHT here in my neck of the woods. I would even grade the kid and send a report back. Hell, I'd post it on here and sing the kid's praises. If s/he's got a blog, I'll pimp it!

    In the mean time, until my brilliant plan comes to be, I am stuck doing my own crappity-smacking housework. But not today, because it's "Wednesday Playdate at the M Family House" day! Whew! I had nothing else planned but housework today, and if Momma M hadn't called we'd be stuck here at home where I'd be forced to do just that! Close call! Maybe tomorrow, right?

    Tuesday, November 6, 2007

    Random Reflections Readers...Come On In!

    Another of my good friends, Catie, gave me a very sweet post on her BLOG today, and so if you're popping in because of that, I say "HEY!" to you! If you're a reader of Catie's blog, you obviously have great taste anyway, so I'll do my level best to keep your interest sparked. Just bookmark me, and stop back once in a while, and leave me a comment, ask a question, whatever!

    And to my current faithful readers, if you didn't check out Catie's blog the last time I pimped her, do it now!

    Welcome Missives From Suburbia Readers!

    Hey! Deb gave me SUCH a great kudo on her site (isn't she the best?), and if that's why you're stopping by, it's GREAT to have you! Look around, read a bit, ask any questions you have, and don't forget to bookmark me and stop back again! Oh, and tell your friends! I KNOW you want to tell everyone how witty/smart/clever I am, right? Seriously. Pass it on already, huh?

    That goes for the rest of you, too! Have you shared me with anyone? Dontcha wanna? Huh? And have you popped over to Deb's blog, too? She's a blogging maniac, you gotta check her out!

    Ok, blog pimping for the day complete. Time to write something fun. Back soon!

    Monday, November 5, 2007

    Holiday-In-Review: Halloween Candy 2007

    Hand decorated ghost cookies...4 different kinds of FULL-sized candy bars, several of each...11 Reese's Mini Peanut Butter Cups...10 Mini Hershey Bars...6 Mini Kit Kats...4 regular M&Ms...4 peanutM&Ms...Smarties...Tootsie Rolls...suckers galore...bubble gum...and that's just a sampling! The list goes on and on! These kids raked it in! It's nuts, I'm tellin' ya! Check out what's left - FIVE days after Halloween!

    Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

    Needless to say, much of this will end up in the garbage, after a few days of letting the kids pick some sweet morsels each day (and Mom and Dad are partaking today before going back to the Beach tomorrow).

    NOW...most who participate in opening their doors to kids on this last day of October each year are generous, sweet folks who truly enjoy getting great treats to give to kids. But there are, as always, a few people whose choices are mind-boggling...

    Maybe some people genuinely have unique taste. Maybe some people can only afford the cheap candy. Maybe some people have an inordinately busy life and forgot what day it was, so they were forced to improvise. But folks, I speak the truth when I tell you that there are some major candy faux pauxs going on in my hometown, and I suspect it's more than just here - I'm betting it's nationwide. I shall elaborate for you.


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    The strawberry candy. Forgive me, but...what the hell is this piece of crap? It's like a strawberry-ish flavored cough drop. Hard as a rock, no fun shape, no Halloween theme, no anything that makes it remotely appealing unless you have a sore throat and no teeth to break off. Clearly someone either had this leftover, or just doesn't like kids.


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    The LEMON Tootsie Roll. Huh what? Not to be confused with the Brach's Toffee Rolls, sold at Christmas time, which are yummy. This is a Tootsie Roll, which is supposed to be, and I think you'll agree with me here, CHOCOLATE. Lemon? Lemon, really? And apparently Tootsie has done an entire line of these fruit-flavored variations on the original. I do NOT, however, encourage supporting their decisions. In short, Tootsie Roll Industries needs to quit jackin' with the Tootsie Roll. SO many other better Halloween candies out there.


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    Graveyard Gummy Candy. This item definitely has the theme going on, and props for that. But shouldn't gummy candy be at least kind of appealing looking, at least in color? I appreciate the effort to create an authentic bone-colored candy, and damn if they didn't do just that, but it makes it less-than-appealing to think about eating it, even for most kids. But I will say that the purchaser of this was definitely looking with eyes aimed at creating a holiday-related candy experience, so good for them. Just pick something that anyone would actually want to EAT next time. Otherwise maybe go with the skeleton erasers, which look as cool, but no one has to try to work up the courage to eat them.


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    The Not-Even-Halloween-Candy-Candy. Shame, shame, shame. This Truffle is Green and Red, showing no signs of being anything other than last year's Christmas candy. The wrapper was even worn on the corners, like one that's been sitting in an old stocking somewhere. This is both nasty and rude, and I'd rather you just shut off your porch light than to try and pass off 10 month old candy to me...uh...I mean, my kids.

    Overall, the booty received last Wednesday was more than adequate, with peanut-butter-chocolate-nougat-caramel-fudgy-sugary goodness aplenty. And no, those who offered less-than-appealing treats did not commit a mortal sin or stick needles in Snickers bars, so I am over it now. But if, by some chance, you are one of the offenders, please, PLEASE...get some better candy, or spend the night out next year!

    I was going to break down more than the candy aspect of Halloween, but when you have two kids and a sweet tooth, what else to Halloween is there? Happy snacking!

    Tuesday, October 30, 2007

    The Hardest "NO" Of All...

    I know it's going to be, and it's part of why we're still nursing.

    I am a "no" PRO. Don't you question it. Ask around. I have no problem denying my kids anything that is not in their best interests, anything that may pose a danger for them, anything that I know will do them more harm than good. I can "no" with the best of them. And mean it.

    But how do I begin to explain to a one-year old that the thing he loves most, the thing that has been partially responsible for his lack of sickness in his first year of life, the thing that comforts and calms him when nothing else will, the thing that he still consistently ASKS for several times a day, is soon going by the wayside? It's easy to tell him no to overabundances of candy, eating off the floor, playing in the toilet, hitting his sister, playing in traffic, pennies in outlets, sitting on the dog, and a million other things that I know aren't best for him. But this...I am at a loss.

    "No more mom drinks, Jackson, Mommy is tired of you sticking your hands down my shirt in the grocery store."

    "No more mom drinks, Jackson, everyone thinks it's weird now."

    "No more mom drinks, Jackson, I always said if a kid was big enough to ask for it, he's too big to have it. And didn't I just know everything back then?"

    "No more mom drinks, Jackson - I'm just DYING to get my period and gain a quick ten pounds."

    See what I mean? I am lacking a convincing argument. I want to quit because I want him to sleep thru the night for ME, and I've tried every other thing there is, and he still wakes up at night asking for, you guessed it, a drink at the bar. But that's not exactly about him, now, is it? And nursing is for him in the first place...

    I think Samantha must not have been as attached to the boob as her brother is, because I don't remember quitting being traumatic for either of us. But this boy is a boobie baby. I only offer at bedtime and in the AM, but he asks for it all day long. Any time he sits on my lap, if I'm in front of him at boob-level in the grocery store (as he sits in the cart), when I'm carrying him...he pulls at my collar, and says "Eh! Eh! Eh! Bbbb...bbbbb..." And it's not a thirst issue, because I've tried offering a sippy (which he drinks fine any other time) in place of the boob, and he looks at me like I'm completely stupid and throws the cup with one hand, while he sticks the other down my shirt again.

    Oy. I'm not sure when it's happening. I am tired of him not sleeping at night, and I wonder if the boob disappearing altogether wouldn't help with that. Because even though I don't give it, he still asks/whines/begs for it. Every time. Then again, that makes me wonder how long he'll keep asking for it. This child is persistent.

    But believe this (and I feel a short rant coming on) - if you're one of those people who thinks it's weird that I'm bfing my 14 month old, know that when we quit, it's NOT because of you. Notice that reason was listed as a "NOT" convincing argument. You people make me want to follow in my big sister's footsteps and BF him until he's three, just to piss you off. I'm pretty sure not one person who knows me can say I ever gave them ANY grief about how long, or how SHORT of a time they nursed their kids, so everyone could do the same for me...ok, rant over, thanks!

    So I'm sure when it happens you'll all know, because you'll hear the boy wailing from near and far, and I'll be trying to think of a good reason WHY he can't have what he loves most anymore. Can't hardly wait.

    Sunday, October 28, 2007

    I'm In Here

    To my husband Greg...

    I'm in here, I promise. I know the sweet, skinny, charismatic, fun-loving, sassy-yet-classy girl you married has been replaced with this oft-grumpy, almost-never-flirty, frumpy, middle-aged, pudgy "wife", and you probably spend most days thinking you got the world's biggest bait-and-switch. It's a wonder you come home every night.

    But I promise, I'm in here. I still love you in all the ways I loved you when we were dating, and now love you in all new ways, as well. Your eyes still make me feel weak in the knees, but one of those knees generally has a baby hanging on it when I would have previously thought to mention it to you. My arms still want to hold you all night long, but there is almost always at least one little person between us in the bed. My quiet moments of the day that used to afford me the time to think about you, and us, and all the things I love about who we are together are now filled with worry about how we'll do better for our kids than we had, how we'll get the house flipped and sold, how I'll get those boxes in the laundry room sorted out, whether or not I've done any laundry today (almost always, NO), did I write down Jackson's first tooth in his baby book, will Samantha ever say her "r"s right, and how long is it REALLY OK to breastfeed a toddler?

    I know you understand, and I know you are in "parent mode" all the time, too, which is why you bust your ass every day at a job you don't hate but don't love, and work overtime even though you're tired, and always try to do what I want in making decisions about our life. But I sometimes wonder if you lay in bed at night, missing the girl who stood before you and God and promised that there would be no road too long.

    There still isn't, you know. There is no road too long. I would lay down my life for you, for these kids, and would give every last breath in my body to defend you, to protect you, and to show you how much I love you, and how much you mean to me.

    And I'm still the same girl here as I was back there at the beginning. Our priorities have changed, and the package is certainly different, but the girl you fell in love with is still in here. I am trying to get out, to get back to you, to us, in the way that we used to be. I am trying, and I know you can see small glimpses of me now and then. Once in a while, the mom hat comes off and I get to just relax, joke with you, talk without preschooler-know-it-all-intervention; and I even sometimes feel like that girl who carried lilies and roses and baby's breath to the altar where she stood and made promises that she meant with every fiber of her being.

    So please don't give up on me. Know that I still see you with the same eyes as I did before the kids, before the move, before the debt. Please keep fighting for more time and space for our marriage to keep growing. Please don't stop waiting for me to come out and play. Please don't stop encouraging me to be just "Cathy" once in a while, because I deserve some time for me, and you deserve some time FROM me FOR you.

    You're the best man I know. It was true the first time I said it to you a million years ago, and it's true today. You are my sweet baboo, my baby, my babies' daddy, the love of my life and my best friend. I know our marriage is solid, and our future is together, but I wanted to tell you that, even if it doesn't feel like it some days, I still adore you.

    Baby Shampoo, New Kitchen Toy and Why Aren't You Voting?

    So maybe I just hadn't posted since I put up the poll, and that's why there aren't more votes, but THANKS to my two IRL friends who have voted so far, and the rest of you - get on it! I can't see anything about your votes, so your vote is anonymous, I promise. So vote irready!

    Let's shampoo--I dig it more all the time. I was cleaning (time crunch-style) a couple of weeks ago, and while in the shower, reached for the first soap I could find, along with a scrub brush, and I'll be damned if the baby shampoo I used didn't take the ring-around-the-tub RIGHT off. Then, I read recently that it could be used to get a grease spot out of a shirt without harming the shirt b/c it's so gentle, but has some compound in it designed to remove grease/oil (think baby's head that only gets washed twice a week). I thought I might need that piece of info some day, so I filed it in the front folder of my brain. This weekend, however, we found a new and exciting reason to sing the praises of this liquid gold.

    Let me back up. The aforementioned new kitchen toy is a garbage disposal. I know, how behind-the-times is our kitchen? VERY. We're working on it, trust me. In steps, though, and if you'll recall we recently put in a dishwasher...but hadn't yet put in the garbage disposal.

    Saturday morning as I went to clear the sink and load the dishwasher, I became aware of the standing water in both sinks. Drain clogged. Jim-dandy-dee. I made the mistake of mentioning that if we were unable to clear the clog, we'd have to call a plumber...if you know Greg, you know that was enough to make his blood boil, actually saying he was "insulted" that I had even suggested such a thing.

    In the midst of his quiet rant, he was plunging the "snake" down the kitchen sink drain, using his hands to emphasize his points. Suddenly the water gave and began to drain. Greg's initial "Ah ha! There, I told you it'd be..." turned into... "Uh-oh..." as we heard the sound of water hitting the floor...or floorS, more accurately. His forcefulness had broken the drain trap under the sink loose from it's collar and the water gave way because the pipe was now in two pieces under my sink. SOAKING every single item in the cabinet, RUNNING out onto my floor. That was floor #1.

    The worst part is that we STILL had a clog, apparently down in the pipe between the main floor and the basement. So Greg went down to further explore and find out where the clog was.

    He eventually found the clog, and had opened the coupler of that drain downstairs to do so. When it broke loose, the nastiest of the nasty came flowing out of the coupler hole...and out onto my laundry room floor. Like a river of sludge. Gag. Much profanity then flowed from said laundry room. I stayed upstairs for the time being.

    When I say nasty, I should clarify...if you have ever watched a plumber clear drain lines, or if you are folks like us who do our own plumbing, then you know what I'm talking about. If not...picture dirty motor oil mixed with water, dirt, and goo. But mostly it's like dirty motor oil - the stuff that builds up in your pipes is mostly oil-based stuff that doesn't get flushed through. The residue it creates is a BIG NASTY. This drain was direct from our kitchen sink, so all the stuff you pour down your kitchen sink, and rinse off your dishes, all that...on my laundry room floor. (Floor #2, obviously). Thank the LORD that the drain goes down into there (and that there's a floor drain), and not my office or our bedroom, or Greg may have shot himself on the spot.

    That was bad enough, but then he comes upstairs looking like someone just shot the dog. He informs me that, in his panic to find something or other as part of the repair process, he tracked the big nasty goo THROUGH my office to the garage, and back. Four or five softball-sized (or bigger) spots of pure coal black, on my light brown carpet. He just kept saying, "It's bad, Cathy, it's bad." I went down. It was bad.

    He was asking for Resolve. I said "Honey, I don't think Resolve is that good." He then got the LA's Awesome Cleaner that I use for laundry stains. It just smeared it around. And he was using an old toothbrush, and that was not doing much.

    Suddenly the article about the baby shampoo and the grease spot jumped out of the front folder of my brain, and I thought it certainly couldn't hurt to try. At least I knew the baby shampoo wouldn't hurt the carpet, and if it didn't come out the carpet was ruined anyway.

    I applied it VERY liberally to one spot at first, and then scrubbed it in with a scrub brush, and let it sit for just a minute or so. Then I poured water on it, scrubbed it again, and then sucked it up with the shop vac. Lather, rinse, repeat.


    And by nothing, I mean there was NOTHING left of the stain. Nada. Zip. What in the hell?...

    In disbelief, I quickly began working on the other areas, and could NOT believe that it took every spot of that black nasty grease off my carpet. And this wasn't even the Johnson's baby shampoo - this was cheap, store-brand baby shampoo!

    Greg and I were SO relieved that it came out. I'm looking at it right now, a day and a half later, and I swear to you I cannot tell where the stains were. So I am giving my FIVE-STAR recommendation to baby shampoo. It hasn't failed me yet! Try it out!

    And the garbage disposal (which Greg hopes will help with the drain problem) was installed by noon today. Let's hope the nasty stuff stays where it belongs from now on!

    Friday, October 26, 2007


    Thanks, Catie, for asking! Let me see if I have any (besides being a web-junkie, obviously)...

    There's writing, which I obviously love, and which technically is NOT a hobby since I have been paid for it more than once, even under contract for a year (Club Mom) - that makes me, as my friend Peg would say, an "equity writer". But I guess since no one's paying me these days, it's back to being a hobby. So writing, for one, is a hobby. I wish it was a profession, and if anyone has any great contacts to make that happen, as always, you let me know!

    Coloring. Yep, like with Crayolas and color books, and signing my initials and the date at the bottom. One of my all-time favorite things to do. And now I get to do it with my kids. Seriously one of life's best stress-busters, I recommend it 100%. Lose yourself in a big, fat, giant activity book. They're a buck at Wal-mart, getcha one! I buy myself a shiny, new box of Crayolas every year or so, and the old ones go to Samantha to destroy/break/peel, but the new ones are mine! And yes, I only buy Crayola. Off-brands of crayons SUCK.

    Crafts. Although not in recent years, I used to be quite crafty. In high school, I made windmill wall hangings. They're hard to describe, but they're beautiful wall-hangings that depict old-style windmills in nature. My aunt taught me to make them. I used to do craft shows with them. In later years I made satin-lined decorated baskets, even made all the baskets and decorations for Greg's and my wedding. I'd love to get back into doing that.

    Baking. I love baking, but I'm not a genius at it. Overdone and underdone cookies are plentiful in my house, but the ones that turn out good are REALLY good. And cakes and brownies and the occasional bread. Not that I am doing much of that these days since returning to the Beach.

    Decorating -as in cookies and cakes. I do my kids' birthday cakes, and holiday cookies, and get pretty good reviews, but I am no trained professional. I'd sure like to be, though. Other than writing and being a brilliant psychologist, I'd love to be a baker - a female Duff, if you would. How fun must THAT job be?

    Watching OLD movies. I'm not much for the new ones (with some exceptions), in general, but I've seen Anne of Green Gables (and all the sequels) more times than I can count. Pollyanna. Legends of the Fall. Interview With The Vampire. Gone With The Wind. Muppets Take Manhattan. Back to the Future. Karate Kid. These I can and do watch over and over. There are more than I can even list, any of which I would watch over ANYTHING on the "New Release" list at the video store. Putting in an old movie is peaceful, comfortable, pleasant and low-stress--you know how it's going to end. I'm too old for that surprise-ending shit. Seriously, rent "Anne of Green Gables". I dare you to not love it.

    Reading. This is more of a former hobby, since I have books I haven't read piling up faster than my laundry, but it has been probably the most consistently-loved pass-time in my life, since childhood. I can remember spending hour after hour on weekends and in summer in my room, reading book after book, lost in pages and words where I became part of worlds I could never go to in my real life. Stephen King is my favorite writer, I discovered him as a sophomore, and have read his work so much more than anyone else's since then. As a child, books like "The Great Gilly Hopkins" and "Bridge to Terribithia" were my favorites. And even silly teen romances like "Tiger Eyes", I read my share of those.

    Landscaping. I LOVE planting flowers, forming new fun-shaped beds, and seeing things grow. My dogs' goal in life is to destroy everything I create, so that keeps me in the business of re-inventing the beds in my back yard...over and over. I obviously don't spend enough time on this hobby, however, because the bed under my picture window out front has been half-done and awful-looking for a couple of MONTHS now, and still, there it sits. Wonder if I'll get to that before the snow flies? Hmmm...

    That's a good start to my list of hobbies. I need to get better at all of them, but my favorite "hobby" is raising my kids, and it takes up much of my time, as you know. That, and this BLOG, which I love doing more all the time. And it's all for you, loveys! So leave a comment and keep reading! Thanks!

    Wednesday, October 24, 2007

    My Favorite Kid

    Deb, this is for you, girl. Her question was "Do you have a favorite kid?"

    Do I have a favorite kid? It's an age-old question, asked (mostly to oneself) for decades by parents everywhere. Having never been the favorite kid in my family (until now, ha ha), I always swore I would love each of my children equally, never show favoritism, and banish the word "favorite" from my parental vocabulary. And so far, so good, in general. But there are days...

    Last week one day (not sure which, maybe Thursday), Jackson was DEFINITELY my favorite kid. His sister was doing her level best to drive me to drink by lunch time. Lucky for her I'm not a drinker. While he played contentedly with his toys, never straying from the safety of his room, she was venturing into the bathroom (under the guise of needing "privacy") to create toilet paper mountains and write on the floor with toothpaste. He was happy to eat his snack in his highchair as requested, while she felt the need to smear banana all over the wall, and her feet, and the dog's head. And at bedtime, he sweetly drifted to sleep in my arms, while in the next room she screamed bloody murder for her father, baying woefully about not needing to go to sleep and saying very naughty things about her feelings towards her father and me. I went to bed that night CERTAIN that Jackson was my favorite.

    The next day served to change my mind. And by "day", I mean starting with each hour from 3AM on, when Jackson woke up. Over and over. And whining mercilessly for the boob each time, which he knows he doesn't get until morning. Breakfast - she sat cheerfully and ate her cereal and fruit, even throwing out a "You're the best mom EVER, Mom...". He, meanwhile, was throwing everything on his tray with great gusto. Taking the sippy and food away instead of returning them to the tray brought screams of protest from the formerly-favorite-titleholder. Samantha then wanted to draw, and spent a great amount of time making me a picture of a mommy spider and all her spider babies, singing sweetly as she drew ... while Jackson whined at my leg, even after being held for 15 minutes, dumped the dog water all over the kitchen floor, and stole crayons off the table to have for a snack. THOSE he'll eat instead of throwing. And no nap for Jackson this day, just screaming in his bed after 1/2 hour of rocking. Meanwhile Samantha was more than willing to lay down for rest time and stay there through the whole movie, never moving except to say "Mommy, I need to go potty", which she then promptly did and then returned to her designated spot. Such a perfect girl, this child. Surely she is my favorite.

    And the next day, they trade again, proving to me that they are having meetings behind my back to decide who is graying Mommy's hair on any given day. I'm sure of it. And when I catch them, I'm going to put a stop to it. I think gender segregation is a great idea in this house, because they are in cahoots, I have decided, and I think they intend to keep it up for a great while.

    So honestly, they are both my favorites. He's my favorite son, and she's my favorite daughter. There are so many things I adore about each of them. They each give me joy in completely different, but equally significant ways. When I was pregnant with Samantha, I worried (even worrying in writing) a lot about whether or not I could love Jackson as much as I loved Samantha. I thought my heart was so full of adoration for this "perfect" baby girl that I would never find enough love in my heart to love another as much. But as much as I have a beautiful strong mother-daughter bond with my girl, this sweet boy has stolen my heart and touched me in a way I never could have foreseen. As I have written before, love is a funny thing — when you divide it, it doesn't become less, it grows.

    I wonder, had I bore two girls, or two boys, if I wouldn't have found myself comparing them more, or secretly liking one more than the other. It's certainly a common enough phenomenon amongst same-sex siblings (ask my husband, the "less-favored" son). A part of me was secretly SO relieved to have one of each, because it meant I would still get to call Samantha my "best girl", and would now be able to have a "best boy" as well.

    As usual, things work out how they are supposed to. I love having a boy and a girl, and it affords me the opportunity to call them each "my favorite" and mean it.

    Great question, Deb. Thanks! Who else has one for me?

    Tuesday, October 23, 2007

    Google-riffic, OR...You're Being Googled

    I'm checking you out. That's right, you. If I know you, I'm probably "Googling" you. It's a sickness, kind of, and I do it a couple of times a year. So if there's stuff out there you don't want me to know about, better work on getting that scrubbed out of cyberspace before I get to you.

    I've already seen some cool stuff, lots of wedding announcements, and assorted work-related links for many of you. It is nice to see your faces and/or info about you, and your families.

    Feel free to Google me. There's not much to see, but have at it! It's a great way to kill an hour...or two...


    Watched this tonight. First of all, LONG freaking movie. But not creepy like I expected, very much more from the people-who-were-trying-to-catch-him point of view rather than the killer's. Not a bad flick, overall. Did you know they never actually "caught" him, and he never served one day for any of the killings, and in fact based on evidence, they can't even prove he did it? The guy they suspect, well, he died of a heart attack before they could question him. How nice for him.

    So now I'm on here instead of going to bed because I have to get something else in the front of my head before I go to sleep...and of course, Greg fell asleep, like clockwork, approximately 9 minutes in, leaving me to watch a movie about a freak who kills random people for kicks. Thanks, baby.

    And so what am I doing to get it out of my head? Writing about it. Oy.

    I need to go to bed, it's late, and Jackson's already been up once. Maybe he'll sleep til morning now...yeeeeah, right...

    Tomorrow I'll tackle Deb's question: Do you have a favorite kid? Hmmm, do I? Check back and find out!

    Monday, October 22, 2007

    Question #1:, 2, 3:

    "I'd like to see you tackle how we can survive planning three meals a day forever. Plus we have to consider budget, picky eaters, AND it has to be healthy?!!!!"

    Thanks to Peg for the question...I'd like to see me tackle it, too!

    It gets SOO monotonous when you're home 24/7/365, and for some strange reason, these people, big and small, want to eat EVERY SINGLE DAY. What is THAT about? What, we have to eat on a REGULAR basis? And I'm supposed to pull that out of what hat? Ok, ok, I know, it's my job, and in all seriousness, I really don't mind. Planning ahead is my biggest help. But how do we survive it forever? Well, I guess it beats the alternative, right?

    Budget deserves a whole separate post, so I'll save that for another time.

    "Healthy". Such a relative term. I try to make sure fruits and/or veggies, and usually dairy are a part of every meal we eat. The kids can have real juice, once a day. The rest of the day is milk or water. We have switched to pretty much whole-grain everything, and the kids don't know the difference. Our diet is FAR from perfect, but the biggest key for me is to make sure that most of what we eat is not from a vaccu-sealed bag, or a pre-packaged-already-cooked freezer box. We did that for enough years and we're paying for it now, both physically and financially. I want better for my kids than that. It does exist in our kitchen, and I certainly won't claim the kids eat a 100% balanced diet every day, but the junk and processed and preserved-within-an-inch-of-its-life foods are occasional things now, not staples. Fresh food feeds our body better than anything else. And I want my kids to know that food is for energy, to nourish our bodies; it's not something we eat to bring joy, to ease pain or for any other reason.

    "Picky eaters" - that's easy in our house. They're not allowed. Probably stems from my upbringing, the famous old-school "you'll eat what's on your plate or you'll get nothing else til you do" routine, which was standard in our house. Mom and Dad couldn't afford anything other than plain old meats, potatoes, and veggies, and the occasional noodle of sorts, so basically you were eating veggies and other 'oft-unpopular with kids' foods, or you were starving, period. And that's if Dad didn't just whoop your butt for disobeying and not eating what you were told when you were told. But you know what? It's served me much better in my life than if I had been allowed to be picky. I can eat just about anything that's put in front of me and I know how to politely decline things I don't eat. We were taught that it's considered RUDE to make awful faces, turn our noses up at things we hadn't even tried, or to turn away "perfectly good food" for no good reason. And frankly, it is.

    Now, that being said, we are not quite as hard-ass about food as my parents were, but we do NOT facilitate picky-ness with our kids. If it gets put on your plate, you eat some of it. Not four cups of it, but you are going to try it. And even if you didn't like it last time, you're trying it this time. Kids don't learn to like vegetables by never being made to eat them. They learn to like them by eating them. They can dip them in ranch or ketchup or whatever, but trying new foods (and sometimes eating them whether you like them or not) is an important part of learning to live in the world. Greg and I try to lead by example - he dislikes carrots, but he tries them every time I make them, and I put on my game face and choke down a bite of his gyro every time he eats one and insists its the perfect food.

    This philosophy is generally met with little resistance, because they DON'T have to eat tons of it, just a little bit, so they can learn about flavors and textures. And they learn that even though they maybe didn't like it last time, they might like it now. Samantha obviously is more the focus of this stuff right now, because Jackson doesn't understand all of what we say, but even he is a good eater of most foods - on some things, better than his sister.

    Another big factor for us is that they see what WE eat, and when WE eat good foods, they usually want to at least try it. After all, Mom's food always tastes better than our own, right? Some folks make completely different (and generally unhealthy) meals for their kids when they are eating a good healthy dinner just because it's "easier", and I feel like that, for us, would be an opportunity lost for the kids. We have stir-fry, they eat stir-fry. It's good for them. That, and I'm not running a short-order restaurant around here. We're having "x", and if you don't want that, then (as Mom used to say) "you're just not hungry". They get to choose plenty of things in their day, and if there is a choice they can make, such as banana or grapes for a snack, I am happy to let them choose. But I'm the person who is supposed to help them learn what good choices are, so when they grow up they have the tools to be healthy and make good choices on their own.

    NOW. All that sounds so great and is totally my goal and focus daily in feeding my family. But please don't think there aren't days the kids get frozen pizza and chocolate milk for lunch, after having had Count Chocula for breakfast. No claims of perfection here. Just doing the best we can every day. What else is there to do, really?