Friday, October 28, 2011

Five Question Friday

I haven't participated in Five Question Friday in a while, and I sort of miss it.  It's fun to have the most random of questions thrown at you and then see what comes to mind.  So, I'm playing along this morning.

If you would like to play along too you can copy the questions into your blog, then link up to Five Crooked Halos for all the fun. Click on the button below for the website.

Let's get this started.

1. Do you prefer cotton, silk, or flannel sheets?

In the cold weather, nothing feels as amazing as flannel sheets.  In college my sorority had a cold air dorm where you sleep with all the windows open, even when it's 15 degrees outside, and flannel sheets and an electric blanket made for the best night's sleep ever.

Since I live in Texas now and my husband has never once suggested blocking off a room so we can fill it with bunk beds and leave the windows open year round, I always sleep on cotton.  My favorite are the t-shirt feeling ones.

I think silk sheets are for elderly women that are maintaining a sexy image, right?  Like Elizabeth Taylor.  Or for high level drug dealers.  Not sure why I think they want to sleep on silk sheets, it just feels right.

2. What time zone are you in?

Central.  I can't think of anything else to say about this simply factual question, except that I would like to point out that it means I'm living in the place which starts prime time TV at 7 pm.  It's difficult with children to have your night of TV start that early, but it's sort of awesome to have the "late night" shows start at 10. 

What is the rationale for starting our TV shows earlier? 

I would love to know and will pay someone $100 for a correct answer.

That's a lie, I have $6 right now.  I'm not paying anyone anything for information.  That's why God invented Google.

3. What is your favorite part of the holiday season?

Christmas morning.  I do not like the chaos of circulating through the holiday season's events, especially the exhaustion it inevitably bring to my children.  The large family gatherings, parties, and the running around for presents is too much for me.  I love seeing everyone, but I don't like long periods of time that feel hectic.  I'm weak.

Christmas morning is always intimate and relaxed, no one is trying to go anywhere, and there are presents! It's my favorite time of the whole year.

Other than Columbus Day, of course.

4. What is your favorite "wintry" drink? (It doesn't have to be an "alcoholic" drink!)

All the Starbucks seasonal drinks which are served in those fabulous red cups.  The fact that they change their cups for the holiday season is so fun.  It ups the joy of the season to a whole different level. 

A peppermint mocha in a red cup could change the world and should be explored as a way to until Israel and Palestine.  Just a suggestion.

5. In your opinion, what is the worst job in the world?

The person that empties those port-a-potties.

I can barely stand to go to the bathroom in them, I can't fathom having to empty and clean them.  Those people deserve some serious recognition and our deepest gratitude for handling such a disgusting, though necessary, part of life.

Oprah should have given them cars.

Happy Friday everyone!  I hope you have a WONDERFUL weekend!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Five Things Before My Hair Turns Orange

I have exactly twenty minutes to ramble to you before I have to wash out the hair color I professionally applied to my hair. I decided to take the twenty minutes as a challenge to see what I come up with in that short amount of time. 

This is a good time to lower your expectations about great entertainment value or being moved by the beauty of my words.  You know, the normal emotions you feel when you stop by.

What better way to be brief and concise than a list? 

Let's make it a list of the first five things that come in to my mind...because what could possibly be more fun than that?

(Possibly another great list would be to actually list five things more fun than listing the spontaneous thoughts I have at 10 pm?)

Aiden's school has been having a "Say No To Drugs" Week.  Each day is some sort of theme like, too cool to do drugs, so wear your sunglasses to school. Or, keep a lid on drugs (I could be getting this totally wrong,) so wear a hat.

Aiden has yet to participate in any of these shenanigans. It isn't that he opposes the idea of the week, to the best of my knowledge he has done nothing to advocate the use of drugs, but he just doesn't understand why anyone would want to wear their pajamas to school or keep track of sunglasses all day.

I love him.

You know what else he doesn't understand? Drugs. Every day he comes home with some sort of ribbon, button, or flyer about how important it is to say no to drugs, but when I ask him what drugs are he says he has no clue.

I tried to be mature and talk to him about it but it just got confusing when deciphering between pills for healing and pills for abuse, or when I tried to mention people snort things. I tend to overshoot information distribution on these sorts of things. Our discussions on reproduction are priceless.

In fairness to me though, and to the school which is so desperately trying to communicate about drugs, Aiden is really not focusing on the messages being delievered. Aiden thought that an entire presentation at school last week was about people that develop diaherrrea and how to prevent it. I was baffled, but with further questioning discovered the topic was actually diabetes.

All Aiden recalled was you were supposed to exercise and not eat too many bad food so you don't get diaherrea. Fantastic.

If you aren't Facebook friends with me you might have missed that I have $6 to last me until the 31st.  It doesn't include gas, but it does include grocieres and all other expenses for myself and the kids.  I've had $6 since Tuesday and holding strong. 

I'm thinking of going to Starbucks in the morning though and just blowing the whole thing on a single drink. 

I'm wild.

Alex should brace himself for much whining over the the weekend.  There is a good chance we could be fighting over the quarters in our change box so one of us could go to Sonic and the other could get a car wash. 

If you've seen my van then you know I don't bother myself with washing it, but I've been craving flavored fountain drinks lately.

Stella has suddenly shown an interest in the potty...some of you might know this as a toilet.  I used to say toilet, but now I say potty when talking to pretty much anyone about the bathroom.  It's one of the tragic side affects of having kids. 

She's only 17 months so I have no delusions that she will soon be shedding her diapers and putting an extra $35 back in my bank account each month, but it's pretty hysterical, and that's worth something.  Not something you can buy a Starbucks drinks with, but something.

She begs to be put on it and then just looks at me like I'm going to make something happen.  She's silent the entire time, focusing on what it is she is supposed to be doing, not that she knows what that is. 

The best part is that she will basically imitate any face I make while she is sitting there.  I'm not sure if she thinks that I'm giving her the secret to making something go in to the potty when I scrunch my face up or stick out my tongue, but she's giving it a fantastic effort. 

I spent the day cleaning my house, making chicken broth, baking two loaves of zucchini bread, washing the dog, and throwing together some ice cream sandwhiches to share with the neighbors.

What the hell is wrong with me?

I don't know what was going on, but for some reason I decided I was going to be productive in the house today and I knocked it out. I feel horrible now, like I've been part of some sort of slave labor all day, but my floors no longer have a film of dog drool, spilled milk, and graham cracker crumbs. It somehow feels victorious and depressing at the same time.

My neighbors have yet again changed my life.  Two of my friends and I started a dinner co-op and I am over the moon with how this has made things so much more simple for me.

Sunday I roasted three chickens and vegetables, Tuesday Amy delievered yummy stuffed peppers, and tonight Sue dropped off fantastic green chicken with rice and beans.  I am free from the nighly dinner drama! 

Love it.  Do it in your neighborhood! 

Time to wash the hair color out and pretend I don't have any gray hair. 

Also, after a quick re-read of this post, perhaps it's time for me to stop wasting money on beverages.

Is this really the only thing I am dying to spend my money on? 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I'm Going To Blow Your Minds, Or At Least Make You Feel Guilty For Eating Chocolate

I think I'm a nice person.  I would never buy or sell a person, regardless of the fact that I only have $6 left to spend between now and Monday.  It would be VERY difficult for me to willingly cause cancer in someone.  I don't even think I could do something simple like take all of some one's money just so I could have more than I already have. 

I can make that $6 stretch people.

Clearly all that means I'm just super.

Unfortunately, I tend to get absorbed in my own world.  I try to care, support, and love my friends and neighbors on a daily basis, but I consider that to be an extension of me, not necessarily going out of my way to change the world.  I really would like to buy a Coke and teach the world to sing in perfect harmony....but I can't even pee alone or schedule my annual ob/gyn appointment. 

I have a lot of excuses.  I'm busy, I'm overwhelmed, I'm tired. By the time I get the kids bathed, fed, and tucked in I want nothing more than some mindless television or a blank computer screen on which to dump my thoughts, emotions, and ramblings.  I barely feel motivated to read through my friends' Facebook status updates, much less watch the news so I can be depressed.

Today though, I'm a little inspired.  I'm a lot inspired.

I thought I would share some of the sites I've enjoyed the most lately, and I really feel like you should be reading them too, since you probably are all set on hearing me talking about my gym class and parental exhaustion. 

(If you aren't, I'll probably have more tomorrow so do not panic.)

An Inch of Gray
I am telling every one I know to go, read, and care about Anna See's blog An Inch of Gray.  Anna lost her 12 year old son, Jack about six weeks ago in a flash flood.  Reading about her journey is heartbreaking, brave, and so painfully honest that it is impossible to not love her, her son, and the entire See family. 

I know a lot of people think that it's just depressing, but it is so much more.  When I read about her experience, her pain, I feel that it is a profound, truthful look at grief that so many parents have gone through. It is an honor to pray for her, to honor her son's life by being inspired and moved by his short but impressive life, and a joy to cheer for the whole family to walk through this grief to a happier time.

Read it.  Don't think it doesn't affect you.  We should all be a little affected by her journey. 

Rage Against The Minivan
Kristen Howerton consistently finds an amazing balance on her blog, Rage Against The Minivan, between sharing experiences on every day life as a Mom to four kids and thoughts on bigger picture issues like adoption costs, health care, and her most recent post on chocolate.

Read her posts on the cocoa industry and it's impact on child slavery and trafficking and you won't want to go out and buy your Hershey's bar any time soon...and if you do you're a total asshole. 

Don't be an asshole.

One of the things that has gone so wrong with our country is a complete apathy of anything outside of our line of vision, but the truth is that the wrongs of the world are our own.  As Kristen points out, we would never balk at paying twice the amount for a Fair Trade chocolate bar if we were witnessing child cruelty to harvest cocoa right in front of our eyes. 

Just buy the alternative choices she points out.  We do have power as consumers, we just have to take a few minutes to learn which choices are helping the positive and not fueling the evil.

Noonday Collection
Jessica Honegger started this accessories company a little over a year ago in order to help fund her adoption and it's just blown up from there.  She's changing lives that lady.

She's not only selling amazing accessories, apparel, and home goods, but she's giving women around the globe a pathway out of poverty.  Sometimes I simply feel lazy when I talk to her, but I make myself talk to her since she's so great.  I spent a few glorious hours with her today and it just makes me happy.

Check out the Noonday website and blog and be inspired.  Jessica and her husband, Joe, just returned from Rwanda with their little boy Jack, and the whole journey is chronicled on her blog.  It's beautiful.  It makes me want to adopt ten children. 

OK, that's a total lie.  I don't necessarily want to adopt, but I definitely want to support families that do.  I also want to help support something that is giving women a way to feed their children and send them school so that they no longer have to live in a hopeless state of poverty.  I also enjoy looking super stylish while doing it.  Win-win.

Side note:  Two blogs are currently having giveaways for Noonday stuff so go enter and start changing the world.  Finding the Beauty and It's Almost Naptime

Charlie Rose
I abhor watching the news.  I know, it's lazy of me.

I love me some Charlie Rose though. 

To be honest I've been totally clueless about the whole Occupy Wall Street thing, which is right where I like to be on anything like this...but after watching this earlier today I feel more informed and well, I liked it.

I don't know what any of the answers are to the bigger problems of our country right now, but I do know that it's good to have some information about everything that's happening.  So, if you are clueless you should watch this because it's easy to follow, interesting, and no one is shouting at one another or trying to ridicule the person they are talking to....a breath of fresh air to me.

The Mommy Therapy
What?  I could change the world.

And finally, because I am feeling so kind.  I am willing to share with you the one tip that my cleaning woman, Maribel....moment of silence for me no longer having her clean my house....shared with me on her last day here. 

(Read the post after she left.  I loved her.  Not just because she cleaned my house.)

Right before she left she walked me to the kitchen sink and said, "Leslie, you have to take the black drain cover out and clean it. All the food sticks on there from the garbage disposal and it gets very gross."

Oh Maribel, you are so wise.  I wish you could come back to me.

I did it tonight and every time I do it I marvel at how I never knew this before she showed me.  I'm worried that there are millions of people that never even touch this part of their sink drain.  Check it out people. 

Go clean that shit off your drain RIGHT NOW!

You are welcome.

I feel sort of mean and heavy.

How about a photo of Stella hiding behind the curtain in my bedroom last Saturday because she found a lollipop in a random bag on my floor and wanted to eat it? 

Am I forgiven? 

I mean, that's insanely cute.  She's even carrying a lampshade with her to add to the ridiculousness. 

You should have seen her when we took it away a few moments later. She actually went over to an empty laundry basket and lifted it up and pushed it over.  Baby girl can rage when she has her sugar taken away. 

No one tell her she's only going to be able to have Fair Trade candy or smashed fruit from now on or she will go nuts.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

I'm Just Here For The Child Care, Lady

I was reprimanded for my form in body sculpting class today.  I was putting away my weights when my instructor tapped me on the shoulder and said, "I need to see you for a few moments after class about your lunging form."

If you are friends with me on Facebook then this is not news to you, though I am surprised my Mom is the only one to call me to follow up on why I wasn't using the proper form during my class.  Isn't any one else worried that I was misbehaving in class?

I swear I wasn't in trouble Mom.

I hadn't been to the class much in the last month so I know I was a little lazy on my technique due to my lack of strength. I also had forgotten to eat breakfast and felt a little shaky a few minutes in so I began to sneak from a bag of fruit snacks I had in my purse.

I have never been so thankful to have children that are perpetually hungry while we are out, forcing me to carry emergency snacks like this in my purse.

Fruit snacks wouldn't have been my number one choice for food at the time, but it seemed excessively awkward and possibly disgusting to try to eat a granola bar or squeezeable applesacue.  It's quite challenging though to eat even apple fruit snacks while balancing a ball between your thighs and holding three pound weights.

(Yes, I only use three pound weights.  I'm just a small person, I can't handle the bigger ones without having to lie down mid-class on my step board, and that just feels more pathetic than the small weights.)

(I'm actually lying, I really use 2.5 pound weights.  They are so easy to hold and I feel very strong and powerful while using them. My instructor said it was OK so I'm not even cheating.  Much.)

I'm not sure if I was trying to shove fruit snacks in my mouth while lunging, but I'm pretty confident that it could have been part of the problem. Well, I thought that until I started working with the instructor. 

She asked me to do a lunge for her to critique, which felt a little ridiculous.  I know proper form is everything to not hurting yourself and getting the most out of the exercise.....but, I mean, really lady?  I'm not going to be a professional body sculptor any time soon. 

There is free childcare during this class and I like the music.  For a little over an hour I am free!

She should actually be grateful that I don't just break into freestyle dancing mid-class and steal that cool headset she wears, because that's what I want to do. I have to actually tell myself over and over (in my head, don't worry,) that I should just stick to the moves that are being part of the class and not break out on my own. 

Sometimes though it's so difficult.  All those mirrors, loud music, tight clothing, it's almost like a club.  Not that I really remember what a club is like, it just seems like we should be dancing instead of just kicking our legs back and doing squats.

As my instructor started to correct my form I instantly became self concious of the fact that I wear underwear to work out.  I spend a lot of time in that class looking at other women's asses, because that's simply the way it goes in there, and I have yet to see a single pantyline.  Some women's pants are so tight that I can actually see their bare ass when the fabric pulls. 

Why doesn't anyone want to wear underwear when getting that sweaty?

The instructor was doing a lot of pushing in on my butt and she was dangerously close to the crotch area, surely she was thinking I was some sort of old maid wearing underwear.  Surely she noticed me eating fruit snacks, and now that I was wearing underwear, this woman must think me a total idiot.

I almost asked her about the rule for undergarmets while exercising, I mean she's a professional, but I was too consumed in trying to line up my ear, shoulder, hip, and feet.  I was overwhelmed, and still hungry.  Those fruit snacks weren't gone, but I was terrified to reach for a snack during this personal attention to my lunging.

After a lot of pushing and grabbing I did indeed master proper form.  I'm not sure I'll be able to do it while eating though, I really need to remember to try to have a meal before I go next time.

I promise I will not get in trouble again Mom.

Monday, October 24, 2011

I Might Make Really Good Zucchini Muffins, Seriously, It's A Recipe-Ish

Do you know who Sara Leal is?

You win all sorts of classy points* if you cannot tell me.

I fear that I might not be able to fill in a blank map of the United States with all 50 states accurately, or tell you who the Prime Minster of England is right now, but I know all about Sara Leal. I'm so sad.

Sara, 22, is a gem of a lady who recently confessed to sleeping with Ashton Kutcher, twice. She spilled it all in the hard hitting news journal, US Weekly, complete with a photo shoot where she looks sad, but content that she's banking on this interview.

The whole interview is just...embarrassing. It made me fear for all young women, including my daughter and her future self. I thought perhaps if I reached out to Sara to get to the heart of what is going on, and help her bake some muffins, perhaps she could give me some good advice on how to prevent my daughter from ever, ever, EVER being anything like her.

Also, though I am primarily concerned with my daughter NEVER being anything like Sara Leal, as the possible future Mrs. Bieber, I am extremely concerned about a hot young woman swooping in and sleeping with Demi’s younger man. This could happen to me and Justin someday. Right?
Oh Lord, this woman is making me so upset.

Dear Sara,

Oh Sara, you have gone to a bad place. You don’t ever want to be the random chick doing the married celebrity and then giving a tell-all interview.

Let’s get right to it, we have a lot of ground to cover.

I am really worried about you. As someone that has never met you and has only seen you in this article, I feel panicked about what is next for you. Drugs? Alcohol? Charlie Sheen? You need to take a few steps back.

You seemed upset when you describe photos of you which were posted online that make you look like “a drunk slut.” Sweetheart, this whole article does that. We didn’t need the photos to back it up.

Let’s run through the positive things I took away from your interview.

  • You understand that Ashton is probably not ever going to talk to you again.
  • You were not self-conscious about being naked, which I hope means you have a healthy body image. Yeah 22 year old you! (Please call me after you have a kid.)
  • You were able to correctly identify the name of our President and at least one potential candidate for the 2012 election. A real thinker!
  • You have adequately mastered the smoky eye.
Now, a few of the not so good things I discovered.

  • You went in to a girl filled bathroom to talk to Ashton Kutcher, a guy who normally plays a stupid person while “acting.”
  • You engaged in a discussion about a threesome with someone who was rubbing your leg.
  • You found the discussion about birth control “weird” with someone you had just been sitting on in a hot tub while naked.
  • You discussed your astrological sign “traits” and then allowed that to steer you toward a discussion about being religious.
  • You might have thought Ashton thought you were funny as in witty, rather than funny as in ridiculous.
  • You wear too many rings on one hand.

Let’s make some muffins and work this out.

Given the amount of alcohol you consumed the other night, I think it would be a good idea for us to give you some vegetables. We’ll make zucchini muffins. Not that vegetables have anything to do with alcohol consumption, but it just sets a better image for you to be eating “healthy” baked goods rather than filling your body with more damaging things.

You mentioned that it “caught you off guard” when Ashton didn’t wear a condom. You know what else will catch you off guard? A baby. Gonorrhea. Herpes.

If you are going to keep having sex without birth control there is a good chance we’ll soon be reading about your baby. If this statement confuses you, please contact me immediately for a quick lesson in reproduction, or try your best to get your hands on any ABC After School Special from the 80s.
You can watch it while we bake.

Here is what you need for the muffins.

(Just FYI, you should probably be buying organic, fair trade, straight from farmer, whatever you can on all this….you have some serious karma correction to take care of after this.)

1 cup all purpose flour

½ cup whole wheat pastry flour

½ cup sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

1 egg lightly beaten

½ cup vegetable oil

½ cup milk

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon vanilla extra

1 cup shredded zucchini

¼ cup mini semisweet chocolate chips (If someone else is eating these, you do not deserve chocolate anymore and should sub ¼ cup raisins. Besides, the baby needs iron.)

¼ cup chopped walnuts…though I think you should avoid nuts of all kinds for a while

DO NOT look at the magazine rack by the checkout. You are all over the place and I fear this may just fuel your delusional mind’s idea that people want to hear more from you. We do not. We want you to be very, very quiet until you have essentially forgotten that you ever had Ahston as your “lover,” as you called him several times in the article.

Can we go ahead and agree that the term “lover” is horrible? Please don’t use it anymore. I am so worried that other racy young women are going to hear you using it and think it’s cool lingo for describing their sexual partners, and they are going to be wrong.

Lover should only be used when you are trying to be funny, it’s the only time it’s OK. I swear.

Besides, it just cheapens your time with Ashton.

HaHaHaHa. Totally joking. Your time with Ashton was nothing but cheap, it could in no way be further cheapened unless you confess that he did something awful like urinated on you or something.

I just vomited a little.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Take a 12 cup muffin pan and either grease it up really well, which is annoying because you are going to have to really clean it later, or line it with paper muffin liners.

Get a bowl and mix together the flours, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt.

In another bowl mix together the egg, oil, milk, lemon juice, and vanilla.

Pour the dry mixture into the bowl with the wet ingredients and mix well.

The truth is Sara, you have an opportunity, for about the next ten minutes, to help prevent other young women from following in your footsteps. Could we agree that you have perhaps made some poor choices?

I would love any suggestions you have, tips and whatnot, for me to help my daughter become nothing like you. Did something bad happen to you as child? Do you not have love from your father?

It seems you had shots, vodka and sprite cocktail, then time in the hot tub….should I have this horrible formula stenciled on her wall now with a line through it or something?

Are you watching the wrong kind of TV shows? Too much Kardashian?

While you are thinking of other tips add the chocolate chips or raisins and shredded zucchini and fold in to the batter.

Pour the batter in to the muffin cups. Bake the muffins for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

These are delicious and I think you should focus on these sorts of things for a little while. Bake more and have less random sex, particularly with people that are married and land you in the middle of a scandal that gets you fired. Besides, no one ever got gonorrhea OR a baby from baking too much.…that I’m aware of at least.

Good luck Sara and please, please contact me with any advice you have to keep Stella off your path in life.

*Classy Points are fictitious points I pretend to distribute to well deserving individuals that really impress me with their lack of pop culture information. Not to be confused with friend points, which I also avidly pretend to distribute and track in a make believe friend chart. There's a lot that I'm trying to pretend to keep up with, I'm exhausted.

Linking up to Amanda's Weekend Bloggy Reading Party!  Check it out here!

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Did You Want To Marry Daddy?

It is my nine year anniversary.  I attempted to make my children sit down and watch my wedding video, all six hours of it, but they just didn't seem interested.  It was so strange.

I did manage to get them to look at a few photos though, which elicited Aiden's question, "did you want to marry Daddy?"


Nine years ago I was doing this.

This is a photo of me seriously asking my Dad what the hell I was doing.  I hit a panic from the time we were outside the church doors, all the way down the aisle.  I was terrified.  I was too young, too impressionable, too naive. 

My Dad is lovingly telling me he's paid thousands of dollars toward a sit down dinner and live band and I better get my ass down the aisle and kiss the guy. 

Just kidding.

He was attempting to talk me out of my panic with rationale words about how I was going to be fine.

I like to think I was just nervous about all the show and hoopla of walking down the aisle in front of a lot of people and all that, but I was scared.  I was really good at the dating, falling in love, planning a big wedding, but then I was a bit nervous about the married forever part.

But I kissed the guy. 

(Sidenote:  I don't have a single electronic image from this day, so I just took some photos with my phone of the album I have.  Super high quality.)

We did a euphoric walk back down the aisle where I look all shoulders and elbowy and Alex looks like he's trying to pull me like I'm a prize he just won. 

Then we posed for some cheesy photos.

We went to our fancy dinner and dancing and had a fantastic time, as did my friends with the open bar. 

(My brother might have even dropped the maid of honor flat on her back on the dance floor since they enjoyed that open bar so much.)

And it was done.  Married.  Forever.

Thank God.

It is not always easy. It isn't even always pleasant, but I always want to be married to him.  I never wish this weren't the choice I made that day.  I never wonder why my Dad didn't pull me back and tell me to run.  I assume he already knew it was going to be OK. 

My father was elated that day.  He even got out on the dance floor for more than just the father-daughter dance.  My Dad can work the chicken dance. 

He was right to be so joyful.  It was a pretty damn fantastic thing we started nine years ago.

I think I was so scared that it would all fade.  That we'd both be fat and apathetic before we could blink, or that we'd get caught in all the day to day blah that we would let it consume us.  I figured we'd forget how much we like each other and how fun it is to be with one another so we'd slowly stop trying to be around one another.

As it turns out, my fears were mostly all for nothing. There isn't a part about our relationship that has faded, quite the contrary.  When I look back at those photos of two very young people I am amazed at how little we knew and how much there would be to discover.

I feel immense gratitude that instead of becoming fat and apathetic we've grown more and more determined and passionate about not just one another, but about us.  We are stronger, me physically because I go to body sculpting classes now, and Alex probably just emotionally. We are a family.

We often do get caught in the day to day blah and it does in fact consume us.  We fight about who takes the trash out and I get mad when he pour the dog food early in the morning and wakes up Stella.  I'm silent and angry and he is cold and distant. I feel mad that I'm the only one cleaning the toilets and he gets mad that he is the only one that mows the grass. It's all sorts of ridiculous anger around here, and it totally blows sometimes.

The amazing thing is that these moments are fleeting and small.  These moments don't add up to anything but the routine of life....which is thankfully much more full of heartfelt love, genuine respect, and a very real belief that being anywhere else, with anyone else, would simply be an insane impossibility.

We are reminded of our affection for one another in the fierce determination we both have to do the best we can for our family.  We realize how much we like one another in the small moments brushing our teeth or laughing until it hurts at one another, ourselves, and thankfully we can team up to laugh at our children. 

Did I want to marry him? 


Hell yes.

Happy Nine Years!

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Weekend With Stella Brings Out My Sappy Side

There is no logical explanation for why I have three children. I should only have had two children if I had been honest about my capability to handle my children at the point when I got pregnant with Stella. I really struggled with the first few years of my boys' lives and the idea of a baby made me want to throw up in my mouth a little.

A baby was exhausting and sad for me, something I really wouldn't want to repeat if I could avoid it. I have no clue how Alex and I decided that it would be OK to stop preventing me from getting pregnant two years ago, but maybe large amounts of alcohol were involved?  Maybe the frequently appearing moments of sheer lunacy that I experience prevailed that day? 

Or maybe it was just the grace of God, because I can not fathom a greater joy than my daughter right now. 

She is a gift.

I am still smiling from a blissful 40 or so hours alone with Stella.  It was so fun, so peaceful, so different from the chaos of every day life here.  It was magical, truly.

Alex took the boys camping this weekend.  He left Friday night and didn't return until noon on Sunday.  I would have mentioned the upcoming trip earlier but I am a completely irrational, paranoid freak and sharing the fact that I would be alone with my most adorable daughter would have only fueled my fear that someone is going to break in to my house and stab me in the middle of the night and then steal Stella to sell her into sex slavery.

I watch a lot of Dateline and read way too many demented books, because I can totally rationalize these as viable concerns.

Good thing I'm really smart about my security.

There is no way a psychotic killer could bust through this intricate trap. 

Had one at every door.  I'm no fool.

It is no secret that I have been in a funk lately. (It's probably not a secret because I'm writing posts with titles like, "I'm All Funked Up.")  I felt freed of that this weekend though.

For the first time in a long while I wasn't consumed with a to-do list, a mental let down from unmet expectations, or a sense of longing about where I want to be in life, or just at noon on a Saturday.  Oh and no one was whining to me, beating up on a sibling, or begging me to do something.

I did not cook.  I cleaned and did laundry at a leisurely pace that I found therapeutic rather than slave-like. We ran errands and stopped to giggle and destroy displays, because that's the sort of thing you can do when you have just one child with you that can't talk and still trips when she starts running too fast.

I was able to interrupt my activities and pleasantly help her lift her shopping cart over the slight step up from our sun room to living room before she lost her mind from frustration.  I could stop her from eating a Cascade detergent square by playfully diverting her attention instead of shouting across the room. I could share my food with her and not have to do that with two other ravenous children that eat everything in sight.  I hate sharing my food.

I felt like a good Mom, a feeling I have so desperately missed lately.  I felt recharged with enthusiasm for all my children by being able to spend some time alone with just Stella.  I felt like she allowed me to just enjoy her without having to work so hard to keep the forward motion of day to day life going that has simply drained me recently.  I felt like she loved just being with me, even if we were just folding laundry, and that felt amazing.

We sat and read books for much longer than our normal nap and bedtime routines required.  I discovered new pages that make her giggle or prompted her to ask for them over and over again. I marveled at her enthusiasm for hiding and rediscovering anything, including herself.....and laughed until I cried at moments like this.

I mean, she is the height of her adorable status right now and it is truly amazing.   If you don't know her in real life, you are totally missing out. 

As you may have read in previous posts, I have struggled in the past with enjoying the boys.  A combination of postpartum sadness and a very real struggle with submitting to parenthood after Aiden was then only complicated by the arrival of Cole, and my feelings of being overwhelmed by essentially two babies. It wasn't until Cole was two that I feel like I could come up for air and really start to enjoy how amazing they both are.

Then I got pregnant with another baby and complicated the whole thing again.

With Stella connection was instantaneous.  I don't love her more, I simply loved her more easily, earlier.  I continue to feel like there is a pull on my heart toward her.  It feels freeing and sweet rather than being paired with struggle and an uphill battle to simply get through the day.  Don't get me wrong, I still have those days, but from the time she arrived it has been easier to enjoy her and get to know her in a happier space than I feel like I had when the boys were her age. 

She melts my heart.  She always has. 

And she helps me bake!

I am really hoping to milk these feelings for as long as I can, for I know that all too soon it will no longer be amusing when she tries to bite me, that the words of dislike or, God forbid, hate will hurt me, and that we will fight fiercely over things like makeup and clothing and use of the word bitch.  Right now she only says "mama," "dada," "on," "off," and "Aiden," and it's somewhat spectacular. 

I wrote this about Stella soon after she arrived and she is still all heart stopping moments of wonder for me.  I simply adore her.  I think I should have another baby!

Totally joking. 

Geez, that really wasn't funny.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I Might Make Really Good Turkey Chili, It's a Recipe-Ish People

I went to the dentist yesterday. It was time for my six month check up and since one of my best friends is my dentist, I try to be regular about my visits.

It's a free outing and those are hard to come by. I even take time to pick out my outfit for this sort of event because I'm that pathetic these days. Her staff even helps with Stella so I like to pretend I'm at an important meeting.  I know, I know, I probably should go get a job.

She has one of those fancy offices with the TV over every chair so I watched the first 15 minutes of The View while Stella removed 100 travel tubes of Crest, pushed the lever that moved my seat up and down, and attempted to rip apart a stack of paper bags.

Now, if given the choice of shows to watch I probably wouldn't pick The View, but I never get to see TV like that so I was sort of mesmerized. Plus, it gave me something to do other than attempting to talk with some one's hands in my mouth.

Why is there ever any conversation attempt at the dentist? It's beyond awkward.

The leading story for their Hot Topics segment was that Justin Bieber had announced that he is in fact "in love" with Selena Gomez. Hot Topic indeed ladies.

I had recently heard some other things Justin had announced and I felt I could be silent no more.  I came home and wrote this letter to Justin to express my feelings on a few things, and of course teach him how to make turkey chili. 

I'm just a generous person like that.

Dear Justin,

Congratulations! I hear you are in love. This is huge. Now you are not only a giant megastar, but you now have someone to share all your success with on this journey through life. I'm so happy for you.

Or I don't really care.  I feel like you are everywhere though so I feel guilty for not caring. What is wrong with me?

I have heard a lot about your very deep feelings for Selena and how you are in love with her for a lot more than her gorgeous external appearance. I think that's just pee-your-pants-fantastic.

(First time using that phrase.  How it did it go over?  Would you like to make that phrase yours?  No charge.)

Your love of Selena as a whole person is simply a wonderful message to send to the young men and women of today, the inside is just as important as the outside.  I'm sure middle school and high school men everywhere are making gross jokes out of that message though.  They aren't all sweet like you Justin.

I'm guessing it doesn't hurt that Selena's outside looks like Selena though, right?

I watched an hour long special on you, and Justin, I think I like you. You seem pretty damn fantastic. I might possibly have a crush on you, it's promising to see you dating an older woman.

I'd like to take a moment to let you know that I can not be swayed from my husband under any circumstances, however, should he some day no longer be here, I think I'd be a fantastic catch for you. I am super fun (unless sleep deprived then I'm mostly whiny and a fun way though of course,) I know all the words to the songs on the radio because I'm really smart, I could buy you alcohol, I have three kids for you to play with, I also love Jesus and celebrate all his big moments, I can cook, I could be more like Demi Moore with the assistance of your limitless funds, I do believe I might be 18 mentally, and I am really fun to watch reality TV with because I always have witty comments. I'm just saying, we should probably keep in touch.

Do NOT tell Selena, it would be really uncomfortable for me.  Feel free to speak freely to my husband about it though, he's well aware that I am at times mentally unstable and given to what he calls "delusions" that some one like yourself might be interested in pursuing a nice Mom of three, twice your age.  He's clearly really uptight.

(Just to clarify though, I am in no way interested in you using your wealth and influence to "do" anything to my husband. I don't want there to be any confusion here, because honestly you are way too young for me any time soon.)

Despite my love for you, I recently saw something that sort of scared me about you. I read that you have been talking about how you want to be a young dad.

I think you probably meant somewhere in your upper twenties or early thirties, but the entire statement was far too ambiguous to not be totally dangerous for your demographic of influence. Why, oh why, must you discuss reproduction?

(Sidenote:  If we have any chance of making it as the next Demi and Ashton someday, I would have to insist that you watched, loved, and could sing all songs from Grease 2, including Reproduction.) 

I immediately felt compelled to write to you, as a Mother (something you should probably ignore if we have a chance of a future romantic relationship,) and warn you about your influence.  I can't have my daughter falling prey to someone like you and your crazy family making aspirations.

She's only one, but you're really cute.

I'm not sure if you know this or not, but you are something of a hot item in the pop culture world. There are a lot of tweens, teens, and possibly a few women in their 20s and 30s that are listening to your every word and thinking you might have the answers.

You could spark a world-wide cougar situation if these women think men like you are interested in being a father soon.  Playing with fire you are.
It isn't like we don't have enough problems with that MTV show 16 and Pregnant making parenthood look like it could be associated with the crazy fame so many of the youth are striving for these days, but now you are blabbing that being a young dad would be great!

Justin, shut your adorable mouth.

Let's make some turkey chili and give you something else to focus on for a bit.

Here's what you are going to need.

1 pound ground turkey (organic since you are loaded)
1 cup chopped onion
1 green bell pepper chopped
1 red bell pepper chopped
1 can rinsed red kidney beans
1 can rinsed white beans - I used Great Northern because I'm irked that I live in the South
1 can Mexican style diced tomatoes (ask Selena for help)
2 cans tomato sauce (8 oz.)
1 can corn - any variety, could also be frozen
Some tiny macaroni noodles, cooked and lightly tossed in olive oil
1 teaspoon chipotle chili powder (this is a randomly chosen amount, I just shake until I'm done)
1 teaspoon of cumin (this is a randomly chosen amount, I just shake until I'm done)
some water (start with 1/2 a cup because I have no clue, just to cut down on the tomato affect)

Put a large skillet on the stove with some olive oil and turn the heat to medium-high.

(Sidenote: For approximately three years I thought your last name was Beaver.  How common is this?  I also thought you were a girl for probably 6 months.  Justine Beaver, you were the hottest thing around and I was the crazy old lady trying to talk about that popular new chick Justine.)

Saute the meat, onion, and bell peppers until the meat is no longer pink and the onion is soft, but not brown.

While this is browning we can go over a few things.

Here are the topics I am comfortable with you covering however you choose:
  • Dancing, freestyle, hip-hop, sock-hops, etc.
  • Closed mouth kissing. It's hotter than sex.
  • How cool Moms are to listen to and be nice to.
  • Wearing a lot of clothes to cover most of your skin.
  • How tattoos suck.
  • How drugs are just for losers or people that are really bored.
Now take the browned meat and veggies and drain off any fat if you so desire. I keep the fat because I like to live on the edge...another idea?  Never mind, damn childhood obesity that's running rampant.

Pour this concoction into a large pot. I don't know the name for it, something you could envision scooping chili out of if you made it. Trust your instincts.

Now dump in everything else. Be bold.

Turn the heat up slightly and wait for the chili to boil, then turn the heat down, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes.

While that simmers here is more for you to work with regarding your image.

Here are the topics I am comfortable with you throwing in to "keep your edge":
  • Street racing
  • Ageism
  • Anything about "the club"
  • Staying up late
  • Interracial dating
  • Piercing ears (not stretching because it hurts my belly to look at it)
  • Piercing nose (stud only....because I had it so it can't be too bad.)
  • Interpretive dance
I know you hang with Usher a lot.  Do you ever ask him about that song he sings, Make Love In This Club?  I mean, has he done that?  Does that sound romantic?  Was he trying to woo a woman into sleeping with him in a club bathroom or something?  This concerns me.  Please report back soon.

I think I have decided what your problem is Justin.

(Other than your very black rimmed glasses, which I really don't like Justin.)

You keep talking about how you want to have kids while you are young so that you can kick a soccer ball with them. Kicking the soccer ball isn't ever going to be an issue Justin. 

An old man would never have the dexterity and muscle control to handle a screaming, wiggling infant that has just managed to poop their body weight up their back and into their hair.

An old man would collapse at the number of times they are forced to get up in the middle of the night for no specific reason and then pretend to be able to think the next day after getting 3 hours of disjointed sleep.

An old man would never be able to figure out how to get their kid's toy out of the super strength packaging to which they are seemingly permanently affixed.

An old man wouldn't be able to force a screaming toddler to sit down in the shopping cart while locating and retrieving a run away four year old, calculating how many gallons of milk to purchase for one week, and trying to remember how much wine is left at home.

An old man wouldn't be able to play soccer only if his wife weren't around to tell him where he and the kids last left it.

See Justin, none of this really matters because mostly the man, old or young, won't be in these types of spots and most wouldn't be able to do it regardless of age.

Sprinkle your turkey chili with some cheese, serve it with some crusty french bread and a juice box and just enjoy your time to be young.  And stop telling people in public that you would like to be a young dad without some serious specifics, I fear you could really cause some issues.

Keep in touch!

Linking up with Amanda's Weekend Bloggy Reading Link Party.  Check it out here.


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Don't Worry, Aiden Has Had His Shots. I'm A Good Mom

Today I'm participating in the weekly meme Proud Mommy Moments hosted by Emmy of Emmy Mom - One Day at a Time and Kmama of The Daily Dribbles.  Feel free to link up!

Aiden always gets off the bus with two of his favorite friends to play with, one being an unnaturally sweet eight year old boy that he totally looks up to as his best friend. We'll call him David.

I only say "unnaturally sweet" because he is so much nicer and openly affectionate to his Mom than Aiden is to me, and I am of course envious because I am mature about these sorts of things. It makes me feel better to say it's unnatural when really it's just about the cutest thing I've ever witnessed. 

David even hugged me goodbye after playing at my house yesterday.  He melts my a totally weird kid sort of way. 

Geez, I'm trying to be mature. Fine, it's possible that this child is a better person than I am.  His Dad's in law enforcement though and I like to think he's nice out of fear from the law.  We all know the law is not kind to me, so perhaps they are now targeting eight year olds and threatening them in to being nice to wound my self esteem.

OK, my theories have no validity and are actually more mean to a really nice kid than anything else but since this is my blog I'm going to leave them since they make me feel better.  Isn't that what we all want around here?

I have aspirations that David's easy way with all the love and kindness will rub off on Aiden, but I have some serious doubts because David's mother is super sweet too and Aiden....well I'm really nice but I tend to lean more to sarcastic cranky than super sweet. You know what they say about the apple and the tree. Oh well, Aiden will surely have other strengths. 

I can pick things up with my toes!  There is hope for him.

Recently Aiden and David have taken to wrestling, reasonably aggressively, with one another. David's Mom and I have talked to both of them and as long as both of them are OK with it and no one is getting too rough, we won't intervene.  We've told them they have to listen to one another when some one's had too much, never touch one another's faces, and not to hit. 

Yesterday, Aiden and another little girl had David wrapped up in a rope as they were playing "catch the bad guy."  Well, the rope got close to David's neck and I immediately intervened because I am a really responsible person to leave your children with for long periods of time.  I totally will not let them be strangled by my children. 

(I also probably won't let them be strangled by any one else either, just to clarify.  I just don't know what I'm going to be up against and I'm not that big so I'd rather not make any definitive statements I can't back up.)

A few minutes later I saw Aiden and the little girl pulling on the rope while it was across David's face.  Awesome.  I took the jump rope, did some reprimanding, and sent them inside where I could monitor them without perspiring, which makes me irritable and probably less like to immediately jump up if someone were actually hurt. 

It's been hot for a long time, it's wearing on me.  Try not to judge.

I kept waiting for David to be annoyed with Aiden and the other little girl, but no dice.  Sweetness wins out again.  Love that kid, but I sort of wanted a peer related consequence to really resonate with the other two.  Help a Mother out kid!

I like the idea of Aiden learning about how to be appropriately playful versus too rough within a safe environment.  I don't want my six year old to feel like he can mess with someone older and stronger than he is and not get hurt.  I want him to have a healthy respect for someone larger than he is, but also not be a total wimp if he's playing with other boys...and I prefer he learn this at six with the nicest kids around than at 15 with the school jerk.

Last year David wouldn't give Aiden a turn with a little rocket he had (ah-ha! He can be mean!) and Aiden reached up and twisted his nose. It wasn't exactly a cool move, but it definitely hurt and I was shocked watching it happen. David simply started to rub his nose and looked baffled at the absurdity of Aiden's method of attack. I was so proud. 

I sort of had wished David would have shoved Aiden or something, as a lesson, but I guess his kindness won out.

I can not win with this kid.  Retaliate against my kid already!

It's important that kids are beat up in a safe space. 

(I really hope I'm explaining this well, because otherwise I just sound nuts...which isn't entirely impossible.) 

Unfortunately, David never hits Aiden back when he takes it a little too far, only amplifying David's sweetness and Aiden's ability to be a little punk. 

So today, David and Aiden were running around while I was chatting with my friends when we suddenly heard David crying and grabbing his arm.  It took me a second to understand what he was saying, but then I finally heard it.  "Aiden bit my arm!"

What the hell?

Aiden bit the nicest boy I know?  Oh wow.

My eyes found Aiden, standing with his arms crossed with a stern look on his face.  Couldn't he have at least mustered up some looks of horror about his actions? Fear of the consequence?  Surprise that he tried to eat his friend's arm?

He wouldn't even move toward him to apologize.

I knew that my sweet neighbor was not going to be mad at Aiden, or me, but in the moment when your kid basically attacks the nicest child around, it feels some what embarrassing to see your child not stepping up and doing the right thing...after they've done a really wrong thing.

David went home, we went inside, and I gave Aiden a few minutes in his room to think before I tried to talk to him.  When I went in I was fuming, but trying to keep calm for a healthy "learning" discussion. 

He told me he was too scared of how angry David was to go to him and apologize.  He said he was just trying to bite David's shirt, he didn't want to hurt him.  He was worried that David didn't want to be his friend anymore.

Oh my sweet boy.  Where was the video camera when I needed it?  I asked if he would be willing to re-enact this moment after Mommy got her phone, but he wasn't interested.

We had an in depth discussion about hurting some one's feelings and making mistakes.  He wanted examples and dates of previous wrongs I had committed and exactly how the situation had been remedied. 

I told him I couldn't recall a single instance when I had hurt some one's feelings because when you are a really sarcastic woman that can at times get caught up in attention and entertaining, you absolutely never take anything too far. 

So I made some confessions and then Aiden set to work on the best Star Wars sticker laden I'm sorry note you have ever seen.  There were a lot of action figures and a lot of Aiden writing out his name, because that is primarily what he knows how to write currently. 

It was sweet, and it was delivered and received with a huge hug....because of course the sweetest kid on the block is going to react in the nicest manner possible.  He even wanted to play with Aiden. 

Seriously, what is wrong with that kid?


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I'm All Funked Up

I'm in a funk.  It's been around since I first got sick a few weeks ago and I simply can not shake it.  I physically feel better, but mentally I am dragging.  Emotionally, I am beyond blah.  I'm totally funked.

Alex and I don't talk.  I am cranky, he's at work.  The kids simultaneously drive me nuts and are the joy I cling to...but mostly they drive me nuts.  I need a challenge.  I need to snap out of it.  I need something I have yet to define, but pray every day for to fill me up.  I'm working on it.

Until it happens though, here are the signs that I am officially funked.

  1. I started crying at WalMart because my purchases to make snack for Cole's preschool this week exceeded the amount of cash I had left for the week.  I had to empty the change in my wallet to pay for bags of pretzels, goldfish, cereal, and yogurt....and I forgot I was supposed to save $20 to get Aiden's haircut for picture day tomorrow.  I will forever look back on his kindergarten photo and remember it as the time we couldn't afford a kid haircut. 
  2. Alex can do no right, but nothing feels me with rage faster than him not wanting to hang out with me.  What's not fun to hang out with now?  Who wouldn't want to sort through my Pinterest pins with me on a Friday night and listen to my woes?  
  3. I didn't feel the slightest bit of emotion over the entire Kim Kardashian wedding special on E. It's like I don't have a heart.  Did anyone else see how challenging that seating chart was to put together?  I clearly should have cared more, possibly even shed tears.
  4. I cried over the lack of Halloween decor in our home. Halloween is a holiday I am annoyed I have to decorate for, but I was determined to be fun this year.  Is crying some sort of spooky fun?
  5. I actually peed in the kids' bathroom, completely breaking my rule of never using the same toilet as Aiden and Cole and their inability to aim.  I've lost my will to remain clean.
  6. I've completely neglected the planning of this week's Craft Night.  It is truly a shame.
  7. I have eaten leftover roasted chicken, potatoes, and carrots daily since Saturday, too lazy to cook something new. 
  8. My David Sedaris book hasn't elicited a laugh-out-loud moment in three days...and I know there have been several brilliant lines that should have given me immense joy.  I'm so sorry David.
  9. I felt complete apathy about Columbus Day and the entire celebration of the Nina, Pinta, and Santa Maria other than a profound sense of loss at the idea of not having mail delivered so I could shuffle through another catalogue.  What kind of an American am I?
  10. I've started day dreaming about a job at my former place of employment, a place of pure dysfunction that sounds so appealing and healthy compared to fighting with my children over picking up their belongings for the 6,000th time.
I am prone to these funks.  They are tough for me to emerge from quickly, and I annoy myself beyond words when I am in them, but it will pass though.  I know it will pass.

Until then, I have long showers of soul searching and glasses of wine that can quell my cranky edge just enough to believe Alex will probably not run off to Mexico so I stop being such a basket case.  Probably.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Six Years Ago I Ruined My Chances of Ever Using the Bathroom Alone, Probably Ever

Six years ago today I was doing this.

I few days later I was crying, rocking my new baby and wondering why people had children.  He cried constantly, he barely slept, nursing was horrible, and I didn't feel like I could eat a bowl of cereal, much less a meal without having to pick him back up for some reason. It's not fun to hold a baby, or anything really, all the time.  It was horrible.

I felt zero connection.  I loved him because I was intellectually aware that he was my child, had come from my own body, but all I felt was annoyed obligation.  I didn't understand how this was supposed to be my new life.  I felt less like myself than I ever had and it felt awful.

As I rocked him and cried I was trying to figure out how anyone could have two children.  I mean, of course the first time you could get sucked in, you wouldn't know.  They are cute from a far. How in the hell were there any second children, much less third or fourth though?

I mean he was cute in an old man sort of way...when he was quiet.

Unfortunately he wasn't quiet that often.

We had trouble with eating.  We had trouble with sleeping.  I would drive to the grocery store, a few stolen moments away, and simply bawl my eyes out, staring at all the other people out in the world just living their lives.  I hated all of them.  I was insane with jealousy at their normality.  I missed my life.

I probably should have been medicated.  It sucked. 

Amongst all of this though was this little boy.  My son.  Born on a beautiful, sunny October day and brought home in the pouring rain.  It was like the weather was design to fit my mood.  I was elated going into the hospital, excited and brimming with anticipation.  Leaving I felt beat down, exhausted and disappointed in the entire situation, particularly in me. 

It did get better though.  Slowly, very slowly it got better.

I stopped crying every time I left the house.

He started eating...and smiling.

Slowly, very slowly, I fell in love. 

I also cut my hair all off, which every woman knows is an important part of going through any major transitional period in our lives.  It made me feel like I had some control.  It allowed me to feel like it was reasonable for me to be doing something for me again, because I desperately needed to be doing something for me so I could do something for him.

Of course I had to take him with me to get my hair cut, nurse him mid-cut, and listen to him cry for 15 minutes straight at the end, but I got it done. 

The whole first few years were very rough for me.  It was a good thing he got cuter and cuter.

And cuter.

And cuter.

Oh so cute.

I still wanted my freedom though.  I still dream about my freedom.  I think a lot about what I would do if I had more time for myself.  If  I didn't have to take three kids with me to do things or pay a sitter $50 so I could go out to dinner with my husband, that sounds pretty damn nice. I celebrated that sunny October day six years ago that started the most wonderful kind of trapped I have ever been.  I do not think being a Mother is a constant joy. I do not think my children are perfect.  I often dream of a lot of different things....but that day six years ago started the most profound, challenging, amazing experience I have been blessed to have...and today I played glow in the dark golf, lost my mind in an arcade, and at pizza and cake to celebrate that beginning.

It all started with Aiden.  That small, angry, screaming ball of baby has turned into an amazing, beautiful boy.  That stranger is now my whole heart.  And I rarely cry at the grocery store now, just on the really rough days.

My particular, Star Wars loving, Lego building, rule following, silly, thoughtful, curious, intelligent, creative, beautiful boy...thank you for starting this journey with me.  Thank you for putting up with me when I had no clue what I was doing.  Please forgive me for feeling like my care for you was an obligation at first, for I know now it's the greatest blessing.  Not that you had much choice, but you always needed and wanted me, even when I couldn't figure out why we were being forced together because I really didn't like it.

I love you Aiden.  You're turning out to be a pretty fantastic idea...even prompting the arrival of siblings one and two.  You must have done something right.

At the very least you have taught me that I can in fact function on less than four hours of sleep, bullshit my way through a Star Wars re-enactment that I care nothing about, suppress a laugh when my child is crushed over the most ridiculous of situations, learn to make amazing pancakes, care about decorating for holidays, and watch the worst movies EVER and have the time of my life.  Important lessons learned.  I am sure there are many, many more to come.

Being your Mom probably won't always be this much physical work.  It won't always be this intense, this constant in the same ways. It will surely always be this full of love though and I'm so grateful for it.

Happy Sixth Birthday Aiden!  I can not wait to see how you amaze me next.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

I Might Make Really Good Sausage and Egg Casserole, It's a Recipe-Ish People

It's tough in Hollywood. There is an onslaught of criticism, judgement, and superficial everything. It can be painful and at times unbearable.

I should know. I feel it.

Now, I've never actually been to Hollywood, and I'm not at all famous, but I'm pretty sure I'm right.  I watch a lot of E and VH1. I'm informed.

It would be really difficult to be constantly criticized and compared to others. I saw an entire story on E yesterday about how Jennifer Aniston was seen wearing the SAME OUTFIT that she wore FOUR months ago.

I couldn't even believe there could be 10 minutes worth of discussion about that, but E took on the challenge and did some hard hitting journalism with that worldly issue. I was moved. Changing lives they are.

What's really sad is that 57% of people polled though that is was in fact wrong of Jennifer Aniston to repeat an outfit.  What the hell is going on?  People are all sorts of jacked up.

Speaking of jacked up...remember Leann Rimes?

You probably didn't until she cheated on her homosexual husband with a married man and got all skinny...unless you REALLY love country music. 

OK, her ex-husband wasn't gay. He was just a backup dancer turned chef. It just sounds like he should be gay....or the most fun husband to hang out with EVER.   Apparently he was not fun enough for her though.

She's been under all sorts of criticism lately for her body, and there seems to be a lot of lingering frustration with her morality over the cheating which occurred at least two years ago. It's tough to cheat and take other woman's husband in the public eye. People tend to not like you too much.

No one likes a super-skinny cheater, Leann.

You know what I don't like? I don't like that she keeps talking about how much food she eats.

It's just annoying.

I figured she could use another recipe if she's really eating so much all the time so I thought I'd share with her some thoughts I have on her "issues" and my egg and sausage casserole. No one can be that skinny and be eating a decent about of sausage, which everyone should be of course. It's like bacon, it's simply delicious.

Dear Leann,

You sure are taking the heat lately. Cheating on your husband, breaking up another man's marriage, and now you are too skinny?  You need to go on Extreme Makeover Home Edition again or something.  You have some serious karma repair to do.

What happened to that little girl with the big bangs singing on Star Search?  I miss her.

We're stuck with the adult version of you now though so I thought I'd reach out to you.  I feel like you've been wanting to hear from me. I tend to get feelings like that. 

Let's just get a few things out in the open.

First, I want you to know that I forgive you.  I would probably cheat on my husband too if he were gay-ish and Eddie came along.  I would of course have refused him unless he changed his name though. Eddie just doesn't work. Please send him my apologies, but his name sucks.

You're famous, why didn't you try to snag someone like Justin Timberlake?  Or Nelly?  Nelly could rap to you and probably carries a gun to protect your frail body.  I love him.

Why did you pick a guy with kids?  I've seen you bopping around town in your cute outfits, brushed hair, and pretty lip color, didn't you know that the kids will take all of that from you?  Were you trying to have kids without jacking up your tiny body?  Hmmmm...perhaps a smart move?  I bet your boobs are just as they always have been.  Bitch.

Next, I don't think you are anorexic, or bulimic.  I do think you are really skinny though and you should stop posting photos of yourself in bikinis on Twitter.  Your ribs stick out and it's just not cool.  It's sort of gross.  You are not making any friends this way Leann. 

You should get pregnant and show your stretch marks, that makes you friends.

Is Twitter paying you to post bikini shots?  If not, you're just an idiot.

I didn't say I was going to be nice the whole time Leann, I'm just reaching out and opening my heart to you. Embrace the honesty.  Wait....should I define honesty?

By the way, I read that you sued your father for millions of dollars.  It's important for you to know that this just pisses me off. 

Finally, where the hell have you been?  Before your affair I swear I hadn't seen you since your brief appearance in Coyote Ugly. 

Side note:  I used to have a fascination with working in a bar after seeing that movie.  I was convinced that I could be a total bad ass if I just worked as a bartender.  The closest I got was being a waitress and frequently crying when someone yelled at me.  I could never have made it at Coyote Ugly.

Before that you were singing that "How Do I Live" song and making me cry.

Side note:  In 1994 I pumped up the volume to that song while driving my Honda Prelude and cried and sang along.  I like to think that my rendition would have moved you.  I had just had a fight with my high school boyfriend and I was devastated. Thanks for being there Leann.  It meant a lot.

Anyway, every time I hear the discussion of your weight brought up to either you or Eddie, both of you mention obsessively how you eat "SO MUCH."  I don't know if that's true or not, but your ribs will not stick out so much if you were throwing back more sausage and cheese.

Let's make a casserole!

Do you like casserole?  If you say no then I will have to take back my forgiveness and start talking about your acting in TV movies. Not. Good.

By the way.  I remember seeing this beautiful piece in People magazine of you and your first husband at your "7 Year Itch Party" and thinking it was an adorable idea. I even thought about having one with my husband.  I'm the sort of person though that thinks about doing a lot of fun things like that, but rarely ever does them, so I wasn't ever going to actually throw a party like that.  I loved talking about it though.

Unfortunately very soon after that I heard you were cheating on him and leaving him for another married man with little kids, which substantially decreased the sweetness of the whole event. So happy I didn't have that party.

Apparently you were more itchy than you thought?

Let's get going. Here's what you need.

1 can of crescent rolls, Pilsbury.

(Don't get the reduced fat variety, no matter what anyone says it doesn't taste the same. If it tasted exactly the same then they would be made with less fat in the first place.) 

(You are showing a tendancy to make poor deicions Leann so I thought I should point this out.)

(Oh, and don't buy generic.  Despite what my Mom says, it isn't the same for everything.  Not all food companies are conspiring against you to charge you more money for a different label.  Well, some are, but not Pillsbury....have you seen that adorable white puffy man?  He's nice.)

1 pound of pork sausage

(I get Jimmy Dean original because it's the only one at my grocery store.  I'm picky like that.)

2 cups mozzarella cheese or combo of cheeses you like

3/4 cup milk - I'm recommending whole for you

6 eggs

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425.  Get a 9x13 pan and grease it with Pam or something like that.

Brown the sausage.  Then let it cool.

While it cools you should stop and take a moment to look at the photo of you on your new album cover.  Why do you look like you just were arrested for drinking and driving?  A little smile to show people that you are a nice person would be a good call.  You should hire me.

Unroll the crescent rolls in the pan so it covers the bottom of the pan.  You'll have to pinch some parts together again since they tend to pull apart when you unroll it.

In a large mixing bowl, mix the eggs, milk, salt and pepper, cheese, and sausage.

Pour this mixture over the crescent rolls in the pan. 

Now put the pan in the oven for 15 minutes or until the middle of the casserole isn't raw anymore.  You can stick a knife in the middle and see if it comes out clean or eggy.

I haven't listened to your new albumn, but I certainly hope that as a country music star you are using all this to write some serious songs. Wait...did you cheat on your husband so you could write some songs?

It all makes sense now. 

Good luck Leann.  Eat.  More. Sausage....just make sure it's YOUR sausage.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Oh Adele, Shut Up, I Can't Hear Cole's Orders!

I had another one of my headaches today.  I know, I know, this blog has more or less turned into a place for me to record my medical history.  You're welcome.

They say you should keep a medical journal though. 

"They" is of course my Mother.  Or Dr. OZ, I don't remember which.  Both should be listened to at all costs.

Or ignored.  I don't remember.

Anyway, my sinus headache took over my ability to process information, talk, or simply move without pain, but I unfortunately couldn't get that new Adele song, "Someone Like You" out of my mind.  Over and over and over again.  The girl wouldn't stop

Please do not misinterpret my frustration, I LOVE that song.  I love trying to sing along to it because it is way too high for my already horrid singing voice so it is just a brutal experience for anyone near me when I'm belting it out with her.  (You can't let someone in that much pain sing alone.) 

My children are most often exposed to this horrible sound, which is sort of a parenting bonus because it's payback for the millions of annoying noises, etc. they have put me through over the last six years.

So while Adele is trying to make me cry and can't stop telling me how it's all cool that her dude has moved on because she can just find another one like him and my head was pounding...there was Cole.

He had his four year check up yesterday and received FIVE shots.  It was brutal, but he handled it pretty well.  Unfortunately he was up all night and then up at 6 this morning burning with fever. 

Freakin' shots.

Of course his fever and general inability to stop moaning meant he wasn't going to school and I was going to have to wait on him. 

Aiden is a good sick kid.  He mainly sleeps, watches TV, and just wants his water cup filled.  We all realized Stella is a fantastic sick kid and basically just hangs in her crib.  Those two are gems when ill, sometimes easier than when well.

Cole, on the other hand, is high maintenance.  He's a moaner.  He whines.  He whimpers.  He is dramatic.

Trying to get him to go to the bathroom this morning he simply fell on the floor and screamed, "they just don't work!  I can't move my legs!"

I have to admit, I've heard enough crazy vaccine talk that for a brief moment I thought, "Holy shit!  The drugs have paralyzed him!  He's going to need a wheelchair.  I'll probably have to push it.  I'll have to get a full-size van.  I wasn't cut out to be a Mom of a special needs child, I can barely handle my three perfectly healthy ones.  This is the entire reason I didn't drink while pregnant! Crap!"

Fine, it was a long, brief moment. 

(Anyone commenting that a moment can not be simultaneously brief and long will be shot.)

Then I remembered that Cole can be nuts and I stood him up and made him walk a little.

It was a miracle.  I'm basically a healer with my hands.  I'm a lot like Jesus...or those evangelical preachers that always end up getting caught with prostitutes or drugs.  Wait, what am I talking about?

I spent the next seven hours trying to get Cole comfortable. 

Here is what I heard from 7 am - 1 pm from Cole.

Please whine and/or drag out each syllable of the italicized words.

"Juice Mommy!"

"Will you please just sit and look at me?"

"I need water!  My water is gone!"

"The water is too cold."

"My tea is too hot."

"I'm starving!"

"I'm more starving because you aren't fast."

"Will you just dip an ice cube in my tea until it feels just right?"

"I can't believe my eyes! Chips! You gave me chips Mommy!"

"Will you change the channel?  I don't watch commercials."

All the while Stella is running around like someone slipped her some speed.  I wish someone would slip me speed.

She squealed with delight as she dragged all the dirty laundry around the house and made little stacks and piles for herself.  I quickly learned that the purpose of the piles was to have something to throw random, mostly tiny, objects on like dice, Lego pieces, small swords and knives, raisins, and puzzle pieces.  At least she didn't want me and never once requested her beverage temperature to be altered. 

I had enough going on trying to serve King Cole and keep things emotionally in check for Adele.

That woman can sing some pain!  Why doesn't that man want her?  What are these things this new woman is giving to him that she didn't?  Why is he acting differently?  The questions go on and on as I'm searching for Cole worthy television and adjusting the temperature of beverages.

I was basically a slave all day to Cole's whims, my throbbing head, and Adele's emotions

Once Cole was functional though I high tailed it to Walgreens to seek out new and exciting drugs for my sinus issues.  I think we can all agree it's quite an issue now.

I was very excited to say that this trip to Walgreens included me dressed fully, including under garments, and mostly pulled back hair.  I looked and acted substantially less like a meth addict than the last trip. I felt 100% innocent signing that contract that I would not make meth from my sinus medication.
You can read about my last trip to Walgreens here.  It was fun.

Unfortunately Stella was covered in remnants from a cupcake, crazy hair, and no shoes, and I may or may not have still been singing that damn Adele song, but Cole was totally presentable by this point.  I even successfully purchased more drugs and my new go-to joy....sinus spray!  I felt better within 15 minutes.

Adele still won't leave me alone though.  Am I the only one that can't get it out of my head and feel emotionally wrecked every time I listen to it?  I'm starting to get a little annoyed at her. 

Cole has, for the moment, left me least until I have to take a thermometer and ice cube to his room at 3 am for his water.