Wednesday, February 29, 2012

I Might Make Really Good Pot Roast - Seriously, It's a Recipe-Ish

I feel as though I should apologize.  I used to write a receip-ish every week.  I would throw one together every week without fail, or maybe sometimes fail, but I usually got it together. You can check out some of the ones from the past here and here and here.

This morning I saw an article on Rihanna though and I felt like writing this because I think she's nuts.  Then I checked out YouTube and found one of Rhihanna's new songs and felt pretty disturbed.  I do really like her, but something has to stop and surely a recipe-ish can heal everything.

I also have a new obsession with pot roast, and how can I be a good person and still keep that to myself?

Dear Rhianna,
First, I really enjoy your music.  I run to a lot of your jams...wait, is it cool to call them jams?  I'm assuming yes, of course. I realize I'm a 35 year old Caucasian, suburban house wife, but I think I can rock it out to all your songs.  I'm sure you would agree.
I must confess though, I have a difficult time relating to some of your tunes about all the rough sex having and such, though I do like that one about yellow diamonds and finding love.  It's catchy in the way repeating the same words over and over again is super fun.
Alex and I watched a Diane Sawyer interview with you not too long after your break up with that violent dancing boy, and I'm not sure if you know this or not, but you are crazy pretty.  You had the ugliest haircut since Sinead O'Connor and both of us couldn't get over how gorgeous you are. 

What is up with that hair?  Please don't cut it that short again.  If you can promise me that, I promise to never allow my Mom to chop off my hair and perm it like she did in the third grade.  I still shutter when I think of my 3rd year photo.  Short hair, perm, white blouse (not shirt) and plaid bow tie. 

That's right, bow tie Rihanna. 

Do we have a deal?

I am so sorry about all the face hitting you went through with your ex boyfriend, Chris Brown.  He really is a good dancer though.   I'm sure it was difficult to not go jet skiing with him a few days after he beat the shit out you, who can blame you?  I'm happy you made the right decision though and ended that relationship.

As Oprah says, once a beater, always a beater.
That might not be an exact quote.  It's possible Oprah was a bit more eloquent, she might have even rhymed or quoted Maya Angelou, but I think I have captured the jist of her message. 
It came to my attention earlier today though that you and Mr. Quick Feet have decided to work together on a few songs.  A professional collaboration of sorts.  That's interesting....very interesting.

Then I read an article about how your friends are concerned that there might be a rekindling of past romantic feelings.  I feel confused.  Did you forget that he hit your face really hard?

Have you been to an indoor trampoline park?  I recently went to a five year old's birthday party at one and I had a difficult time thinking about anything. I was mostly trying to save Stella from plunging into a foam pit, never to be seen again, or from peeing my pants when I bounced. 

For your future information, trampolines and jump ropes are not good for those of us that have had multiple babies.  Vigorous exercise of any kind will work against your bladder control and should be approached with care and Poise pads.  Our lower regions have been to war, and not the kind you sing so passionately about, ours is a bit more actual pain followed up by profound sleep deprivation and a general feeling of trapped sadness for a few years. 

Did you and Chris ever talk about having babies together?

Where was I going with this?

Oh yes, I think if Chris Brown took me to an indoor trampoline park, I might have a difficult time resisting him and his cool moves, even if he had given me a black eye.  But, I listen to Oprah, so I of course would not be able to be swayed by his flips and such.

Is this making sense?

I think we need pot roast.  See, I know you are from Barbados, a beautiful island.

( I was there in junior high, but I don't remember seeing you?)

My concern though is that since you were probably always in your island lifestyle, you probably didn't have a lot of pot roasts and discussions with your family about how you shouldn't stick around after someone punches you in the face a few times, even if they are a really good kisser, or dancer, or singer.  Wait...does Chris Brown sing?  

(You should know that I assume that everyone living on a tropical island mostly eats fresh fruit and ham, and drinks rum.  The discussions at the dinner table mostly center around sun tan lotion and fixing wheels on carts.  I can't explain it, that's just how it is in my brain.  I blame my adolescent perms.)

I'm going to tell you what I tell my six and four year old around our dinner table, hitting hurts and people don't want to be hit. 

Rhianna, you are aren't supposed to like getting hit.  Does that make sense?

Have you ever had a perm? 

Let's make pot roast and discuss.

I know you are probably busy, but it's really not an excuse for not having a hearty meal, or for finding a man that can dance, do a flip, and not punch you.  The answer to all your problems?  A crock pot.
You might think I'm over simplifying your life, but really, a crock pot can change everything. 

(I also read that you read 97 pounds and that sounds like someone that needs to eat a roast.  Often.)
Here is what you need.

  • 2 pounds carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch chunks (you can wing the 2 inch exactness)
  • 1 bag of small red potatoes washed (we wash our potatoes on the mainland)
  • 1 - 8 oz. package sliced, fresh mushrooms (non hallucinogenic, this isn't LA)
  • 1 large sweet onion, cut in half and sliced
  • 1 3-4 lb. boneless chuck roast, trimmed - NOT THE SAME AS RUMP ROAST, after listening to your music for a while and seeing quite a few of your videos, I have a feeling the rump roast would speak to you, don't do it.  Stick with Chuck, he'll be good to you.)
  • salt and pepper (I don't believe in measurements for anything put on the table for people to dump any undisclosed amount, just shake it a while, I'm sure you'll do great.)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 - 1 oz envelope dry onion soup mix
  • 1 -14 oz can beef broth (it sounds and is foul, but it's important and will make it all delicious)
  • 1 - 8 oz can tomato sauce (I like the basil, oregano, garlic seasoned one because I'm WILD, I think you would make the same choice.)
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons dried Italian seasoning
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • salt and pepper
First, put the carrots, potatoes, mushrooms, and onions in the bottom of a lightly greased slow cooker. 

(That's another term for crock pot, but I think it's degrading so I don't use it.) 
(Except right there to make a point.)
Sprinkle the roast with pepper.  This is awkward and sort of gross because you have to touch a lot of meat, but I've seen your S&M video, you should be able to handle anything.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high (again, such a perfect setting because no one wants to be high or plain medium.  Wait....maybe they do?) heat and then brown the roast for 2-3 minutes on each side.

(If you have any trouble getting olive oil, please let me know.  I receive mass quantities of olive oil from my Greek father-in-law and would be happy to share.  I'm really nice, also a potential side affect from perming my hair and/or having too many children so now I just want other adults to like me so they will talk to me about things other than Legos or poop.)

Put the roast on top of the mushroom and onion mix and sprinkle with the onion soup mix. Pour the broth and tomato sauce on top and put a lid on it.

(Put A Lid On It would be an excellent song by the way.  I could really help you.  We should be friends.)

Cook on low 8-10 hours or until the meat shreds easily with a fork.

While it's cooking,  I have to be honest with you Rhianna, because that's what nice people do, your new Birthday Cake song, on which Chris Brown collaborated with you, is pretty horrible.  It's offensive and not overly clever.  All your sexual innuendos about blowing out the candles, licking and the icing, and eating all the cake are pretty overt and sort of lame.  I'm totally not a prude, but this just sucks.

To help you remember:

Chris Brown's part is even worse than yours.  Did he really just through a line in saying he wants to f***you? It's like he's not even trying to write a song.  Surely there's a better way to express this.  I feel as disappointed in this song as my Mom did when she read my use of the f-bomb when expressing my profound hatred of a few things when I had just lost my dog, prompting her to email me pages and pages about how I am a better person than that. 

MaryAnn DOES NOT like the f-word. 

Maybe my Mom could be the answer to your love for a Chris Brown?  Or, she could be Chris Brown's answer to not needing to beat women anymore.  I'm sure we can work something out.
Think about it.

Sidenote: I do like the beat.

After the meat is done cooking, it should shred easily with a fork. If it doesn't, you jacked it up, but you should try again. Or you should hire someone to do this, because I bet you can afford that.

Take the meat out of the crock pot and shred it, then cover it to keep it warm.

(Also another song title?  Shred the meat?  I bet you and Chris could rip that one up.)
Side note:  Have you ever heard of Tina Turner?  You should totally look in to her story.  I think there is a movie or two about her life.

Next, stir the tomato paste and Italian seasoning in to the vegetables.  Stir the cornstarch and 2 Tbsp of water together in a small bowl until smooth.  (Try not to be afraid of cornstarch.  It terrifies me too, I don't understand why it works like that and what exactly it is.) 

Add the scary water mixture to the crock pot and stir.

Put the crock pot on high and cook until the juices have thickened, about 40 minutes or so. 
Reduce the heat to serve, or turn it off, add the meat back in, salt and pepper it, and then put it in a shallow bowl and eat it with some crunchy french bread and red wine.  Amazing.

Right a song about that! 

Pot Roast, Pot Roast, Pot Roast.
You can shred with your fork-a.
I like the crunchy bread.
I want to eat it off your head.

Dear Lord Rihanna, you are worse for me than the perm.  This is clearly poor work. 

It's done though. Go eat your pot roast, talk to Oprah, and possibly look into getting a perm and a blouse, I have yet to be hit by a man, or anyone for that matter, so clearly it worked for me.

Brace yourself everyone...The Circle of Moms Top 25 Contest is back. You can help me get in the top 25 Funniest Mom blogs just by clicking on the Circle of Moms icon on the right side of your screen.  It's right under the Vote for Me Heading.  Doesn't it feel good to make a difference?  Let's do this together!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

This Is Nothing Like Smelling Roses, I Don't Want To Stop And Smell This

The awful smell of stale urine is radiating from the kitchen trash can every time I open it to dump pieces from my frantic assembly of dinner. It nauseates me and taints my entire perception of the meal I am preparing, but I can't do anything about it. I would change the trash bag, but I fear delaying the presentation of food to my extremely hungry and very cranky children would mean I would no longer be pushing through the evening, but rather retreating to my closet floor to cry.

I have a splitting headache, most likely from all the screaming and my own ravenous hunger, but it could just be that I am being crushed by the guilt I feel for obviously not handling anything well this afternoon.  The best example of my lack of skills being my horribly timed preparation of dinner.  The pain is awful.  Nothing hurts more than realizing you are mostly to blame for your own problematic chaos. 

I have an Advil in one of those very mean foil packets teasing me on the counter. It could save me, if I could only get it open with my aggressive, but not at all effective attempts to rip into it.  I find myself opening packages and chopping onions and then trying to bite open the pill.  I probably look as insane as I feel. 

Do you think my kids would be nicer to me if I told them I had an actual mental health issue?  Could I train them to only whisper to me, being careful not to startle or anger me?

I realize I am out of two key ingredients for dinner and end up using diced tomatoes rather than tomato sauce and soy sauce rather than Worcheshire. I am confident that both of those substitutions have just created a meal that my children will immediately dislike and not even bother to eat, making me wonder why I'm not just sending them to bed now after a bowl of cereal that would make me the good guy. 

This could all be over and I could be pouring a glass of wine to wash down my Advil. 

Cereal does sound good.

Aiden is crying at the kitchen table because he doesn't like to draw pictures for his homework, claiming he's a horrible artist so what's the point? I feel like I should be starting some inspirational speech about rising to the challenge of a task or giving everything the best we can, but instead I finally walk over and simply take the paper from him and tell him to pour the milk. I am not winning that battle tonight, I refuse to participate.

Cole is still on the floor of the bathroom where he's been lying since I pulled him out of the bath 10 minutes ago for dumping water repeatedly in his sister's face.  He's crying because he's too cold to move from the bath mat to his room where his pajamas are waiting.  I sort of understand his lack of inspiration to move, his wanting some one else to handle all the work while he lies there.  I want a bathmat. 

Today, Cole's already informed me that he isn't going to cooperate anymore, ever, because he prefers to do what he wants. He also has proclaimed that I don't love him anymore. He's thrown playground gravel at me as he sat in time out on a park bench for hitting Stella, while I discussed discipline strategy with a Dad I met about 5 minutes before that when he asked my opinion on how to handle his two year old since he saw I have so many kids.

I am very aware of how little credibility I had in that man's eyes.  

I think I saw fear in his eyes.

Stella is screaming at my feet, inconsolable and desperate to be held, though picking her up doesn't come close to calming her down and only slows my progress. I keep throwing random parts to my food processor and a bag of Popsicle molds to her to try to pacify her.  She is surprisingly uninterested.

I know she's hungry, but these days she screams to get anything, lacking any real words to convey her needs.  We had a massive screaming fit over her wish to have me roll down her window in the van earlier today.  Is it that challenging to learn the word window?  Can we just get a noun of some sort?  I have given her a bowl of peas, a cheese stick, and a few crackers, why am I killing myself for dinner? What else could this child really want? 

I can tell you what she won't want in about 10 minutes, soy sauce and diced tomatoes mixed with meat.

I am starting to feel that there is something cosmically working against me today. 
All that is moving me forward is that in less than two hours they will all be in bed. I will be alone, this mess will be over. I can dedicate the five minutes required to open that foil package of pain medication. I can stop instructing and assisting and calming and reprimanding and freaking out.

I can eat, only waiting on myself.

Today is not extraordinary outside of the gift of having it.  This dinnertime-bedtime scenario is not unusual.  It's not always this bad, but it's always rough in some way.  It's always exhausting and frantic, regardless of my plans. There are just so many of them and they need so much. 

When do they stop needing me so much?  I'm looking for a time with significantly less tears.

I'm trying so hard to be grateful for this time with my small children at home. I am trying to put my phone down, cut myself a break on the frequency of blogging, and stop and seriously smell the roses, or in this case my kids, more often.

I am trying. I really am....but all I smell is stale urine and sloppy joes gone ary. 


Linking up to Shell's Pour Your Heart Out.

Monday, February 27, 2012

I'm Smiling About Balls, Scholastic Books, and Old Lady Shoes, It's Been A Good Month

I really needed his today.  Sometimes it's good to look back and find all the good, or some of the more absurd and random good, from a month. 

Emmy over at Emmy Mom, One Day At A Time has a monthly meme to find ten things to smile about.  It always amuses me immensely to write these posts. 

I am pretty easily amused though.

I'm also linking up to Dandelion Wishes My Happy List. Check it out too.


1. Scholastic Book Club
For years and years I have had a deep and very real love for all the brochures Scholastic has passed to my children and me.  There are few moments in life that can compare to the day your book order arrives at school. Possibly the birth of my children, but I knew approximately when they were coming and they totally jacked up my sleep. Scholastic is always a joyful surprise and has never once cost me a moment of shut eye.

This month I have reconnected with Scholastic in the form of books on CD that I can play in my minivan, creating....silence. Have you heard of this? It's where all your children are simultaneously not making any noise at all, not even a moment of fighting over the addition of two numbers, who saw or did not see a firetruck, or crying of any kind.

Thank you Scholastic. I love you.

2. Energy balls
Do not be alarmed.  This has nothing to do with testicles.  I swear. 
These are small rounded balls of deliciousness (see, nothing to do with testicles,) I found on Pinterest....and then actually made because I am totally conquering Pinterest.  Possibly only in the food category, but it's still rewarding. These are fantastic, do not require baking, and are perfect for snacking. 

My children even like them, probably because I call them cookies.  Find the recipe here.

3. Bows on Ponytails
We've reached a critical hair point at our house.  Today, I pulled Stella's hair back with a rubber band and then put a bow on the ponytail....and it was adorable. 

4. The Young and The Restless
I used to watch Guiding Light, before the world turned upside down and daytime dramas started dropping left and right.  It was difficult to move on after that.  I had recorded the show for years, and watched it for years with my Grandmother.  It's been a few years now though and just this month I have decided to watch Young and The Restless.  It's not the same, but it has brought back all the joy I missed of daytime drama.  People in jail, confessing things on their deathbeds, affairs, fake marriages, and very attractive crazy people.  It feels good to allow myself 30 minutes a day (fast forwarded on the DVR,) of over the top ridiculous. 

5. Bird Earrings
I try to harass you as often as possible about how great my friend Amity is.  I think it's important that everyone have someone close by that they know is honest, supportive, funny, and just enjoyable to be around.  If you live in the Austin area I would highly recommend Amity, but I fear  she isn't accepting any new friends right now.

This might be a lie, but I don't see her enough already, I can't have a bunch of people trying to occupy her time in an effort to get free earrings and stimulating converstation.

She does make some amazing earrings, and she gave me these a few weeks ago and I find that they make me really happy whenever I put them on.

She makes these and that's insane to me.
You can order them here.  She also is giving all my readers a discount of 25%, just enter the code Mommytherapy25 and it's magic.  Seriously, magic.

6. "Cheeeessseeee"

Both of my boys were saying several words by 18 months.  Cole could even repeat complicated words and speak with two or three word phrases.  I, of course, assumed all my children would be verbally gifted and go on to find some way to earn a zillion dollars (a million simply isn't what it used to be) using their robust vocabulary.   So, imagine my surprise when Stella is barely saying anything at almost 21 months.  She says Mama and Dada, and usually says da for yes and nein for mine because there is a lot of German on my side, but that's about it. 

I was pretty overjoyed though to hear her master "cheese" when posing for the camera.

I am seriously fearful of how dangerously cute she is these days.

7. Downton Abbey
I have been hearing so much about it lately that I decided to suck it up and watch it once I discovered season one on Netflix.  (Alex actually discovered it, but I'm not sure he wants everyone to know that he's watching English period pieces with me...wait, oops.)   I had to see what the hype was about and I'm totally hooked.  It's a nice change of pace. 

It's like adult Anne of Green Gables.  Or maybe not, but it feels the same to me for some reason.
Please though, do not tell my Mom that I am watching this.  I've been making fun of her love of all things English and PBS for years now, this is going to tarnish one of my key areas of teasing.  We might even have to watch it together in the future.  I dare say she probably even knows more than I do about what is going on...I can't wait to discuss cousins marrying cousins with her.

Oh, important sidenote though for those new to the show.  It isn't Downtown, it's Downton.  I had been thinking it was weird to have such an urban name for an English show, I stand corrected.

8. Girls Weekends
I have two in the works in May and I basically want to pee my pants with joy  when I think of these days away with amazing women. 

One weekend is with my best friends from elementary school, the people I crave most outside my family.  They are my family.  They are the ones that took me to Vegas last year where I was able to do insane things like drink a large glass of milk and eat a cinnamon roll at 5:30 PM....before dinner.

I can only imagine what we'll do this year at a private lake house.  Eat zero vegetables?  Drink after brushing  my teeth?  I'll keep you updated.

9. College Algebra
In college, I earned the highest grade in my college algebra class.  It was such a thrill to have grades printed and posted in order from best (me) to not-best (everyone else.) You see, I sucked at trigonometry and calculus in high school, and analytical geometry made my tummy hurt, but algebra  was totally my zone.  I understood and liked it.   So when Aiden had this question, the last one on the page in the picture, on his KINDERGARTEN homework, though shocked that my six year old was starting on stuff I felt such pride over when I was 19, I chose to simply be happy that I could help him.  

In case you can't see it reads, "I had some rocks.  I found 4 more rocks.  Now I have 9 rocks.  How many rocks did I start with?
Surprisingly, he could not have cared less about my high grade achievement in college, though I tried to work it in approximately six times.  I'll keep trying. 

Sidenote:  He also didn't care about my questions about why this person has so many rocks.  Do they work at a mining quarry?  Are they in to geology?

10. Sexy Old Lady Tap Shoes
I bought these shoes right after Christmas and they have been bringing me so much joy this month.  They are so fun with my skinny jeans.  I feel a little sexy, a little old lady, and a little bit like I should be could that not be a huge success?


What are you happy about from this month?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

I Like My Bagels Toasted and My Men Young

It's Alex's birthday. He's turning 34, while I on the other hand am settling in nicely to a different year. I don't know why I married a man younger than I am. I guess it was all the Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher stuff going to my head. I didn't think I was influenced by her, but what other explanation is there?

He guess he always flushes....and puts the seat down.  That's huge.

He's quite yummy to look at and still makes my stomach flip when he kisses me, which he always does when he walks in the door.  Best part of the day.

He works hard...on everything he does.  He is determined and the complete opposite of lazy when it comes to his job, his kids, or me. He is fiercely dedicated to all those things.

He is passionate and critical in the most productive way.  He is honest, faithful, and loyal.  He is so full of integrity. 

He participates fully in our family dance moments.  He is not a good dancer....but there is a slight chance that I am not either so it actually works out very well.  Neither of us have any problem busting out our moves to Otis or Beyonce on a Friday night with the kids.

He makes me laugh, and laughs with me.  He gets me, and even when he doesn't he attempts to and does so lovingly. 

He will watch The Twilight movies or The Bachelor and only make fun of the things I am making fun of, and will genuinely have a favorite at the final rose ceremony.

He's confident. 

He's capable of fixing almost anything around here and it never ceases to amaze me that he can just fix the a/c or install a new dishwasher like it's no big deal.  These things seem like very big deals.

He is simply awesome.  He is my partner in all of this and I am overjoyed that it has worked out like that because I can't imagine doing any of this  without him.

I suppose I can think of a few things besides Demi Moore's influence that caused me to go nuts for this guy.

Now I know you are wondering what we did to celebrate?

We celebrated his birthday the way every parent dreams, without our children.  We hired a babysitter and got the hell out of our kid chaos house so we could go shoot guns.

No kids and firearms?  It was a dream.

To be honest, I was a bit terrified.  I had only shot a shotgun a few times at a friend's house, so going somewhere to pay to shoot a gun around a lot of other people with guns sounded sort of horrible, but it was Alex's choice of birthday event so we went.

As soon as we got there I felt a bit overwhelmed by all the people. It was a crowded Saturday and apparently everyone wanted to shoot a gun to celebrate the weekend.  I'm fairly confident I was just paranoid, but everyone in there looked like a criminal to me.  It's a good thing I looked so bad ass in my protective eye wear.

Can you believe that I don't wear these all the time?  Alex could barely keep his hands off me.

We shot a 22 and a 9 mm.  I don't really know what either of those mean, but I was OK shooting one of them, fairly confident I could have been part of Charlie's Angels with it, thought the safety guy told me I couldn't pose with it or try to shoot it while turned to the side, lame. The other gun scared the shit out of me and I think I would be a danger to those around me if I was forced to shoot it again.

Alex handled it all much better than I did.  He didn't jump every time someone else shot a gun or complain that his thumb hurt while trying to load the bullets. He's very tough. 
   I'm pretty sure he was the only guy there in a Banana Republic shirt and loafers though.  I mean, I think that's some dangerous apparel, but surprisingly no one else was dressed like that for gun shooting.

After the range we went to an electronics store for Alex to put some wall speakers or woofers or something to do with sound for our stereo.  I was VERY interested.

We then headed out for sushi, a new love of mine and an old love of his that he finally gets to enjoy because I have decided we should go more often.  I still get confused about why things like "whole baby octopus" are on the menu to actually eat, but the other things that I do order are delicious. 

All in all it was a great birthday celebration. Unfortunately, Alex decided today that it would be a good idea to install those speaker things in our ceiling.  He had to actually take a saw to our wood ceiling, which didn't feel very celebratory.

Please note the blanket he placed on the floor to catch all the debris.  It seems like a really nice idea until you see the find coating of dust all over EVERYTHING in this whole room.  It was a lot less fun than shooting a gun to clean it all up. 

Happy birthday to my favorite husband!  I love you Alex!

(I guess honestly he's my only husband, but he is currently also my favorite so let's not get caught up in semantics, OK?)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Has Your Dad Ever Emailed You About A Brillant Scientist?

I was searching through my yahoo account the other day and came across a cherished email from my Dad from many years ago.  It quickly reminded me of a few, very important things. 

First, I have the most amazing father in the history of the universe.  He has profoundly impacted my life in the best of ways.  How did that work out so fantastic for me?  Second, going through crappy times really are fantastic for helping to learn a lot about yourself and most often make you a lot stronger.  Third, I am so happy to have married Alex because he only periodically gives me need to remember the message of my father's email, and always respects and responds.  Again, that worked out pretty fantastic for me too. 

The email from my Father was one he wrote to me when I was going through a challenging time with a boyfriend.  This boy and I had dated for a few years , he was very intelligent, good hearted, and funny.  We had a good time together.

The problem was, there were little ways in which I felt belittled.  They were seemingly harmless jokes about my intellect or my taste in music.  There was poking at my traditional viewpoint of how I believed I wanted my future to play out, and challenges to so many small things I said.  It was not constant, but it was there and it permeated me as a person, changed how I acted. 

I felt second.  I always felt second. I acted second too.  His needs and thoughts were first and I started to believe that was right.  I don't think he even knew it was happening though.  I was horrible at discussing these sorts of things.  I ignored it and ignored it, until I was pissed and unhappy and it had to end. 

I wasn't fantastic when I was with him and it took me years to figure that out.

My Dad, always quick to point out the awesome in me, while challenging me along the way, sent me the following email during the rocky time of me trying to end this relationship that just didn't make me as great as I should have known I could be.  He knew though, and he is so amazing at reminding me in the most subtle and powerful ways.  

(He calls me goofy, just in case you were wondering what that was all about.)
I promised you this sometime ago.
Background: Richard Feynman(1918-1988) was a brilliant scientist. some considered him the smartest man in the world during the 40s and 50s. he won the noble prize for physics and was a factor in the development of the atomic bomb.
he could master any subject in an afternoon if he wanted to.
Feynman prided himself on honesty, independence, and, of course, logical thinking and knowledge. he was attractive; women liked him and he liked them. his first sweetheart was arline; they married and she died shortly thereafter from tb while he was working at los almos on the bomb.
feynman became concerned about disputes between husband and wife. using his logic, he devised his method for resolving these disputes, to wit: one hour would be set aside to argue the point under dispute. if a conclusion was not reached, he would decide the issue because he was older, more knowledgeable, and more experienced. as a practical matter, feynam would simply give up and arline would decide. an example of the theoretical mind at work. arline knew where his vanities were. once she sent him some pencils emblazoned with 'richard darling, i love you! putsie' and caught him cutting off the incriminating legend. she then sent him the following poem.
If you don't like the things i do
my friend, i say, pecans to you!
if i irate with pencils new
my bosom pal, pecans to you!
if convention's mask is borne in view
if deep inside sound notions brew
and from without you take your cue
my sorry friend, pecans to you!
love you
I can't imagine having navigated life this far without my Father.
Thank you Dad! 

I love you!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Please Stop Telling Me About Your Daughter's Relationship, Aiden's Still Single and It's Just So Painful

*****Just for fun, it might be nice to play Beyonce's Single Ladies while reading this.******

*****Or it might be weird and difficult to concentrate.  Your call.****

This might come as a shock to some of you, but Aiden does not have a girlfriend.  He's currently single.  We aren't sure what to make of it.  We're afraid he might not ever find his true soul mate if he doesn't start working it a little more on the playground.  What kind of a player can he possibly be down the road if he isn't sweet talking at least two or three girls now?

I mean he's cute. What's the problem?

Are you thinking I should implement a sort of strategy to remedy this?  Should I let him watch Hitch? or Boyz N The Hood? 

(Not that Boyz N The Hood was really about match making, but it's just such a classic.)

Should I splash some Drakar cologne on his backpack and Star Wars shirts as he heads for the bus?  That worked for all the boys I had a crush on back in junior high.  I wonder what reeled me in in kindergarten? 

Oh yeah...I didn't care at all about boys then.

All too often recently I hear other moms talking about their daughter's boyfriends.  Even bragging and encouraging their daughters to chat it up about their "relationships."  Occasionally it's a boy's mom chatting about her son's girlfriend, but often it's the other way around and I'm baffled by the whole thing.  Why is anyone with a child in kindergarten, or younger, talking about a boyfriend-girlfriend type of relationship of their child's?

I used to have a reasonably clear idea of what the term boyfriend meant, but apparently that is no longer the case.  Are these kindergartners holding hands and having deep conversations about their future?   Are they passing notes and scribbling on Trapper Keepers with hearts?  Are they meeting outside school to make out?  
(Not that I EVER did that with a boyfriend.)
I assume they are not.  I assume most of them aren’t even able to write the word boyfriend without assistance, much less embrace the idea of it all.

I encourage all my children to play with the kids they enjoy being around, regardless of gender, unless they are annoying, of course. I feel that turning their genuine enjoyment of another child’s company in to something as adult as a boyfriend-girlfriend status robs them of these innocent years to simply enjoy one another, pick their nose in public, and have complete disregard for the embarrassing things their parents can do around them.  It's a good time.  
It seems challenging enough to navigate the ins and outs of friendship with another person without the added stress of placing labels and terms to the relationship that my six year old should not, and does not, understand.  
My kindergartner often mentions that one of his friends has a lot of girlfriends, and he thankfully says this as a fact, rather than a way in which to bemoan his own single status. 
(That little boy is not as cute as Aiden anyway, so I've reassured Aiden that he'd be able to easily steal any of them away if he could only figure out why that kid has them.)
(That's a lie people.  Remember, when in doubt, assume it's a joke.)
He is being told the whole thing matters though and that bothers me. It doesn’t matter; someday it will feel like it does, but not now.  Please not now. Now is the time to be free of the pressures of crushing on, rejecting and being rejected by the opposite sex.

I find the idea of discussing a boyfriend with my daughter particularly dangerous.  She is already aggressively targeted with ideas of finding her prince charming.   Even gentle encouragement from me to discuss the existence of a boyfriend would feel as though I am telling her that her having a boyfriend, or not, matters.  I don’t ever want to send that message.
The other night, I heard Tori Spelling talking to her three year old daughter, unfortunately also named Stella, about her boyfriend. 

(To be clear I was watching her on TV, we are not actually close and personal friends.  She has a pig and a goat living in her house and it would be tough for me to go over there and hang.  Though I love her decor and she throws super fun parties.) 

(Also to be clear, I don't usually watch that show, but Alex works really late and sometimes my TV choices get low-class and well, annoying.)

Tori was giggling and little Stella was very serious in her proclamation of boyfriend having.  There was even a discussion of a kiss.  What the hell?  Later in the show, Stella was shown jumping in a bounce house with her love interest and Tori was immensely amused.

I was sort of disturbed.
I get the idea that it could be sweet that your child has developed a strong liking, even a genuine friendship love, for another kid.  I fully grasp the potential adorable factor of your cute girl loving on an equally cute and well dressed little boy,like a Gap Kids ad come to life.  I feel like it's wrong though to start making them feel like it matters in the terms of boyfriend or girlfriend.  Don't we have plenty of time to put forth energy, emotions, and tears to that in years 10-20? or on in to 30?

Cole has an adorable friend in his preschool class that hugs him, very enthusiastically everytime she sees him.  He loves to play with her.  The two of them really enjoy being around one another and talk about the other one a lot when they are apart.  Thank the Lord though, I haven't ever heard this mom refer to Cole as her daughter's boyfriend, and I haven't once referred to her as Cole's girlfriend.  The idea is absurd and to be honest, I think it tarnishes the innocent sweetness of their genuine liking of one another.

Is this just another vein of dressing our daughters more provocatively at an earlier age?  Is it a matter of our young kids watching too mature types of TV programs?  Can we blame all this on Wizards of Waverly Place and ICarly?  Is it older siblings trickling down their fascinations with the opposite sex?

Is it the gluten and dairy? I feel those two are to blame for a lot already, we could just lump it in.

Red dye?

The big question I the only one that hates it?  Does it really matter?  Or am I just easily annoyed and cranky and overly exposed to alone time with my children all freakin' day long? 

Wait...don't answer that question. 

Answer this....

What do you think?  Do you think it's OK to talk to your very young children about having a boyfriend or girlfriend?


I'm linking up with Shell's weekly meme, Pour Your Heart Out.  Go over to her blog and check it out!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Down With Legos! Who's With Me?

I can barely type the word Lego without feeling a surge of anger. 

Legos have literally taken over my home.  I almost weapt when I saw that adorable new line of Legos geared at girls at the end cap of the aisle in Target.  The only thing that had given me a moment of comfort the past few months was that in a few years Cole would be better about keeping his Legos more or less on his giant Lego desk, and this family could just move past this dark time of Lego permeation since our youngest is a girl. 

I'm all for my daughter and sons playing with any toys, regardless of the stereotypical gender for which the toy is intended.  But Legos?  I've been telling Stella over and over that those are the boys' toys, on purpose.  I make a clear point to direct her away from the Legos, even if it's toward the basket of cars.   I probably should be doing this because I fear that she will put one in her mouth and choke, but more than anything I fear that she'll develop a love for them. 

Then there will be more Legos in my house.  I can not have more Legos in my house.

 I'm probably wrecking her development of spatial thinking and whatever else those Legos are supposed to do, but I'm fine with that.  She'll have other skills to survive on, I need to get those Legos the hell out of my house. 
Surely there's a scientist doll, or a carpenter doll who can build a treehouse to inspire her.  Stella can't possibly need the girl Legos to gain this sort of perspective of a female role in life, right?  Doesn't Barbie have a career dream worth copying? 
I think the most frustrating part of Legos is that they hurt, not just emotionally, but physically too.  Those pieces are small and pointy and can wound when walked on in bare feet.  I feel an irrational amount of anger when I hurt myself on one.  I try to keep calm, but my mind fights against all the logic I feel like I usually have and I have visions of throwing all the Legos I can find into a large fire in the backyard or taking a very large hammer and smashing them all to bits. 

Do not worry, I am not doing either of those things for fear of the pshychological damage to my children, which would probably cost an insane amount of money to treat.  Besides, the kids are challenging enough for me as they are, I can not fathom having to put up with extra mental issues which would possibly require even more emotional support from me. I'm just not strong enough for that. I need to continue to supress my Lego rage turning into a truly damaging situation.

I do throw away a fair amount of Legos though.  It's my new rule that if somehting looks like it is completely apart from it's intended set, and I don't know immediately where the intended set is located, it's going in the trash.  This also holds true for anything broken, missing a piece, or repeatedly left scattered all over, like my children's Old Maid card game that they simply could not keep in a box. 


The one redeeming quality about Legos is that they can be sucked up in the vacuum. This makes getting rid of the random ones so much easier than larger items. I get a perverse satisfaction everytime I hear the rattle and crack of a primary colored piece of plastic being sucked away with the dirt and crumbs.  There's no bringing it back from the vacuum canister, I'm disgusted by emptying that, no way am I ever picking out the Legos.

I constantly read different organizational methods for our family's supply of Legos, and all of them sound fantastic.  They all leave out one key element though, my children's' ability to scatter bits of toy all over. Even if Cole did play with his Legos in only one location, Stella is relentless in her pursuit of all things small and scatterable. 

Stella will climb chairs, desks, tables, shelves, and pillage any drawer, box or case to find the Legos.  She puts them in her adorable purses and shopping cart, then walks around and throws them in different locations.  I'm confident she targets my walkways.  She has to know she's going to get me or she wouldn't bother.  She can be really mean.

The truth is that I am at a loss for how to proceed.  The boys are far too enchanted by Legos to ban them from the house at this point.  We're in too deep. There's no going back with them...but, please, no one tell Stella that girls can play with Legos too. I'm still holding out hope for her to escape them and give our family our home back.

Congrats to Kelli of Random Thoughts of A Supermom and Emmy from Emmy Mom - One Day At A Time who just won Amity's beautiful earrings.  Thank you to everyone who entered to win! 

If you didn't win you should still go check out the earrings here, they are pretty awesome.   Amity is basically the most wonderful woman on Earth and she is going to offer all Mommy Therapy readers 25% off because you clearly have good taste in reading.  

Go to Amity's etsy store and enter the coupon code: Mommytherapy25 and let you amazing earrrings change your life.

Emmy and Kelli, I'll have Amity get in touch with you about where to send the earrings.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

If I Could Be Any President It Would Totally Be Chester Arthur, Of Course

Happy President's Day!

If you are anything like me, this is one of your favorite holidays.  Other than Earth Day and Secretary's Day (perhaps this was changed to Administrative Assistant''s Day?), President's Day is the best. I've been cooking all weekend to get ready for our feast. 

I've made all of our costumes and I think this year is going to be really spectacular.  Stella is dressing like Martha Washington and I decided to be Mary Todd Lincoln.  Alex is going to be Grover Cleveland and the boys are going as Polk, Taylor, and Fillmore, because it's fun for no one to have ever heard of you. 

The point is, it's going to be a spectacular day of reading the constitution, saying the pledge, and singing the National Anthem.  What are your plans?

Nothing?  What?!?!?

It's possible I fabricated most of what I just wrote, but it would be really fun to see my children dressed like obscure presidents.  Or, maybe it would be pretty lame.  It's really difficult to tell so we'll probably just pass and go to park, watch some TV, and have some spontaneous fights over toys and/or being told to do things.  It's rough enough around here, we don't need costumes.

I do feel that if my children are not going to have school, I should at least pretend it's going to be a fun holiday for a few minutes.  Valentine's Day was a HUGE deal comparatively and school was still in session for that.  Just like Martin Luther King Day, our kids would probably celebrate more effectively at school than here where I just pretend to have President related plans on President's Day.

If my husband doesn't' get off work too, it's not a holiday folks, it's just inconvenient and mean.

Obviously, this is one of those nights when perhaps I shouldn't have even opened my computer, but I couldn't resist reminding you all that you need to register to win one of the sets of earrings I am giving away. and I are picking the winner tomorrow evening.  There are two pairs so you have a really good chance of winning and really, all you have to do is leave a comment on the post you find when you click here.    How easy is that?

Imagine how nice it would be to have these.

The good news is that you can skip over all my babble at the beginning of the post about my children's annoying sleep issues related to their recent failing health...though I can't imagine why anyone would want to do that.  So go now and win some beautiful earrings!  Go here now!

Is there anyone with actual President related plans for tomorrow?  Please share.  Please say someone is dressing like Grover Cleveland.  Anyone?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day, It's Not Just For Lovers - PYHO

I like Valentine's Day.  I like being told I should take the day to celebrate something.  I work well with clear direction.  I do not excel in the "find joy in your everyday life,"  having a holiday is a fun excuse to step it up a notch.  Yes, I should remember to celebrate everyone I love, everyday, but that gets challenging with three kids and all sorts of life. 

Having a day to be conscious and aware of it is perfect, though the onslaught of Pinterest  projects coming home with my kids from their Valentine's parties when I just sent a Star Wars card with a pencil is a bit rough on the Mom ego.

My husband also deals best with very specific instructions. So this morning, I cornered Alex and demanded to know his plans for us.  OK, I simply asked if he wanted to do anything special, but the point is, he had nothing.

I took this to mean that he wanted me to take the lead. Here's the quick run down of the itinerary that first came to mind. First, vegetarian dinner with white wine, because I think he secretly really likes the nights I make a "lighter" meal.  Over dinner we'd make pros and cons lists about all the major decisions we have on our minds for the near future like colors for the new couch throw pillows, soap or shower gel, buy Stella more or less patterned tights, and do we think Cole is eating too much corn?

After dinner we'd have a staring contest, followed by a very in depth discussion about all feelings and emotions and thoughts and concerns about our relationship.  He's been waiting for this, I'm sure.  Next, we'd look through the scrapbook I made him to give a visual image to our love.  I couldn't wait to talk about each and every picture!

Finally, we'd put on the Notebook, cry, snuggle and fall asleep in our flannel pajamas while we cuddle the night away.  How could he not love it?  I'm a love machine, clearly.

I had the whole day to work on it, but as it turned out I decided to seize the holiday and actually enjoy my time with my other love.  No, not Target, the kids......putting all my Alex plans on hold.

It was a good day.

I contemplated taking Stella and Cole to a jumping place, but that sounded really, really awful.  I knew I would soon hate life, Valentines day, inflated houses, and kids in general, so we went to the park around the corner.  It was 65 and sunny and all around fun.

Even for me.

Well, except for when an evil two year old demanded his ball back, not even caring about Stella's adorableness factor.

Not even the slide could make her forget that she was not getting her way.

I was feeling so optimistic that I decided to break all the rules and actually pay for my children to eat out in public, and they were awesome.

Maybe Valentine's Day is magical for the mother-child relationship? 

It's not just for lovers anymore.

It's a good thing I didn't spend the day planning my onslaught of love for Alex though, because not only could I have not fit it in with all the fun kid times and heart shape pizza for dinner getting, but he turned out to have a little plan of his own.

Sushi and flowers, and the best part? Assistance with bed time.  I swooned.  I allowed us to skip the entire itinerary, and make up our own.

Happy Valentine's Day!

I'm linking up with Shell's Pour Your Heart Out meme over at Things I Can't Say.  Check it out here!

If you haven't yet, you need to check out my awesome giveaway.  You can enter through next Monday 2/20 and you'd basically have the chance to win the most amazing earrings you have ever seen...or at least very, very cool ones.  Just do it.  Check it out here.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Maybe I AM Too Nice...I'm Giving Away Earrings!

Well, the bad news is that I found myself curled in a ball on the floor next to Cole's bunk bed at 12:30 last night, crying and saying, "you aren't ever going to let me sleep, are you?  I can't handle this, I need to go to bed." 

It's safe to say I'm reaching mental insanity, totally sinking to my children's level due to sleep deprivation.  Tonight I plan on setting my alarm and waking whomever is asleep to ask for a tissue or if they know where my socks are, just because.

On yesterday's post, Jennifer mentioned that perhaps I was just being too nice to my waking children.  There is rarely a chance of that Jennifer...though the approval seeker in me adores that image.  A too generous Mom?  Dare to dream.  You are now my favorite reader though for thinking I could be that kind. 

Unfortunately, despite the seemingly basic cruelty of some of my kids' awakenings, 90% of them are because they are actually not feeling well.  They are having trouble doing little things like, oh say, breathing. I feel like I need to help them do that or this blog might turn in to something really depressing and I'll have to stop bitching about the big issues of getting enough sleep and the fights my kids are having. 

Another little problem?  A few nights ago, Aiden came in because his pillow was wet, which sounds really annoying, until I turned on the light in his room and there was so much blood all over his pillow and bed that it looked like there had been a stabbing.  I feel like it's probably OK to wake me up for a stabbing, or anything creating that much blood.  (Just a nosebleed folks, no stabbings yet.)

It'd be oh so much easier if they really did just suck.

I guess they probably aren't conspiring against me.  Well at least not for the night wakings, but being ill doesn't explain their carefully orchestrated disputes of insanity over things like the conjugation of the verb "do," how to properly sing the months of the year song, and whether Monopoly is pronounced Bonopoly (Cole) or Momopoly (Aiden.)

Sometimes I just want to scream, "You are both WRONG and probably mentally challenged for even engaging in this argument.  Shut your mouths so that no one else hears this insanity!"

But I don't, because like Jennifer says, I'm too nice. 

Wait, did my first sentence make you think there is good news?  Well, in fact there is.

You see, I have this friend named Amity.  She's pretty awesome.  She's supportive, intelligent, creative, and funny. You can read more about her here.

What's important for you to know now though is that she makes earrings. She makes cool earrings.  Not earrings that you might have made at summer camp or in an after school enrichment course in bead design, but earrings you want to wear because it makes you a better person, because you look better.

Now, as much as I think you all should just be excited that Amity exists somewhere in the world making pretty earrings that I get to wear, this actually does apply to your life.  This could change your life.

Two people are going to WIN a pair of her earrings.  You can see her Etsy store here (be sure to look at the bird ones, because I LOVE them,) but here are the two you could win. They are gorgeous, check it out.
Pale turquoise

Silver, similar to what I wear all the time, for those of you stalking me.  I know you're out there.


I know, some of you might be thinking, "Change my life Leslie?  Come on, they are just earrings."

Well, you have small minded, horrible thoughts.

You see, when you put on a pair of her beautiful, leather earrings if makes you feel prettier.  Feeling pretty makes you feel good.  When you feel good you are nicer and probably a better Mom and a better wife. When you are a better Mom and wife, your kids and husband are happier and so they go out in to the world and spread good.  It's really a pay it forward, bring world peace about faster though accessories sort of thing.  It can happen people, I've seen it.

How can you not want to change the world like that?  Don't you care about the world?  What about all the little children? What about the old people?  Don't you like old people?  Don't be ageist, it's horrible, and only you have the power to change it.  Remember Michael Jackson?  Remember Man in the Mirror?  Remember The Time?  He loved old people.

I know, you might feel confused now, but don't be scared.  Here's what you need to do to get those earrings and make world peace AND ageism disappear.

  • Leave a comment on this post stating one good thing about either leather or the elderly...or you can just say you like the earrings, but that just feels a little selfish now, right? One entry.
  • Tweet about this giveaway and leave a comment telling me you did, because I'm not getting any sleep, I don't have time to track twitter for all your tweets and other bird related things. One entry.
  • Post about this giveaway to your Facebook page, and then leave me a comment telling me you did, because I'm not in all of your inner circles, even though I try so hard to be nice to you and get you to let me in, why do you fight this? One entry.
  • Go to Amity's Etsy store, hereEtsy, those five comments are going to be annoying enough.  FIVE entries, totally stacking the entire giveaway in your favor.
I'll use to pick a comment number next Monday night at 6:00.  You have a whole week to comment and spread the word! 

That's it.  We can do this!  Let's change the world. 

Linking up to Amanda's Weekend Bloggy Reading Link Up Party! 

Weekend Bloggy Reading

Check out all the fun posts here.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Pay Attention If Your Kids Are Clapping More Than Usual, It Could Be The Beginning Of The End For You Too

I am convinced that Aiden, Cole, and Stella are working together to see how far they can push me, for what I can only assume is simply their amusement because they are so cruel.  There is no way they are independently orchestrating this much torture on me.   I wonder what time they meet?

In fairness to them, they have been "sick" for quite some time now. Cole had strep and now a congested nose, Stella has had more snot than I ever seen in my life, and though Aiden has no sign of mucous, I like he might have PMS. None of them are truly themselves, so I shouldn't assume they are plotting, but I am.

Perhaps even their illness is part of their plan?  What if Aiden has committed to fake washing his hands all day at school, possibly even licking playground equipment so he can bring the germs back here to spread to Stella and Cole?  What if they are intentionally perpetuating this time of sickness for giggles?
I figure they meet sometime between 4 and 7 pm, when they are all awake and I am usually at my most depleted. Aiden probably has some sort of signal that he has taught the younger two, most likely involving clapping because he seems to be doing that more often than normal lately.

I assume their meetings consist of quick suggestions of torturous strategy, like Aiden committing to crying and refusing sleep for over an hour tonight because his fingers feel too funny after I clipped his nails. I also assume there must be a quick distribution of a scheduled time, or times, for each of them to wake with a variety of complaints through the night. From what I can tell, Stella is completely free styling her wake up times, sometimes overlapping with her brothers.  She's just too young to fully understand, unfortunately she's turned out to be the most difficult.

I've been sick for over a week now and they have held strong in their continuous and perfectly scheduled disruptions to any attempt I have made to rest.  Cole has peed through his pull up at least four times, he requests his lullaby CD be restarted over and over, and some nights he just wants some one to sing him a song.  (Please note Cole: I do not sing well when filled with sleep deprived rage.)

Aiden has had a bloody nose, spilled water, and a suddenly developed a fear of sleeping by himself.  Stella, well Stella is in a league of her own.  Her coughing and general inability to sleep for more than an hour straight are killing me. 

Killing me.

I can't get ahead of them, regardless of what I do.  They just don't want me to sleep.  They wake at midnight, 1:20, 2:55, 3:30, 4:15, 5:45....all close enough after a prior wake up, or just before morning, that I barely fall back to sleep, only to be awoken almost immediately again. It's just really mean.

Alex came home on Thursday, determined that we were going to beat them. He rushed me though dinner. He practically shoved me in the shower, and not in a good way. He actually yelled at me when I flossed, "that stuff will be there tomorrow! Get in bed!" It was a bit militant for me, but I understood what he was trying to do. He was determined to get in bed early enough to actually get some sleep before our kids realized we had gone to bed and felt the need to wake up.

I knew his efforts were useless, but I played along. We were in bed by 9:30. By 9:45, my body was so elated to be allowed to rest, I started to fall asleep, fooling myself in to believing that I might actually get some sleep before Stella started screaming.

How crazy am I?  10:30 brought the first of many of Stella's awakenings.  They must have gotten word of our rest and decided action must be taken earlier than usual. I'm surprised I didn't hear anyone clapping.

I'm weak and completely defenseless against them.  They are too organized.  They have the perfect blend of attack and then withdrawal so that I start to feel safe again, only to be assaulted by a full blown screaming match over whether a car is gray or silver.  For the love of God, is there a difference?  And why does anyone under the age of 60 care about that?

I'm not sure how many more tears over socks or Lego injury can be inflicted before something snaps around here....probably me.  Send prayers for sleep, or dart guns with tranquilizers which I could utilize when one of them approaches my side of the bed tonight.  I'm not sure I can handle much more.

I'll keep you updated. I'm making a run for the bed.  Wish me luck.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Lessons Learned While Cleaning My House

As I reached for the doorknob on my way out of the house to pick up Cole, my hand stuck to the knob.

This seemed like a sign directly from God. 

It seemed to say clearly, "Your house is nasty.  Quit avoiding it and clean immediately."

I hate mean signs.

It was true though, my house really needed to be cleaned.  So after Aiden got off the bus, I distributed Nilla Wafers and Nutella with milk for all three kids, informed them I was going to be cleaning all afternoon and their expectations of me should be lower than usual, and I dove right in.

Since I feel like I might fall over from exhaustion, I figured I'd simply share some of the revelations I had while cleaning.

1. Acting enthusiastic and calling clean-up a game does not elicit a more positive response from children being told to clean up all their stuff.

2. I would be a horrible maid.  I would never show up at a regularly scheduled day and time, I am easily grossed out by my own family's nastiness, and I get progressively more and more lazy the longer I clean, eventually stashing things under furniture and pretending I don't see spots.

3. Cleaning, like most things, is best done to music. As with running, Eminem, Pitbull, Rhianna and the like were excellent partners in attacking the grime today.

4. I am capable of accomplishing almost anything in an insanely small amount of time if someone else will occupy my children. 

5. Just like sex, cleaning always sounds horrible, but once you get going you are happy to be getting it done.

6. Also like sex, cleaning is best done with rubber gloves. (Fine, that has nothing to do with sex, rubber gloves really do make cleaning better though.)

7. Living with three males means there is a lot of urine in a lot of places.  I simply don't understand what is happening and wonder if medical attention should be sought.

8. Cole picks his nose a lot more diligently than I had once thought, and dried snot does not come off a headboard with Pledge.

9. I am a bit of a bleach junkie.  I know it's really bad for us and all, but I really don't feel like things are clean without it.

10.  I have now watched four seasons, and 87 episodes of Gossip Girl and none of the people on that show would be cleaning their house.  I am a worse person for seeing all 87 shows, but now I am desperately seeking season five.  Anyone?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Surely This Isn't My Fault - PYHO

Do you ever wonder how the assholes of the world got that way? 

I used to assume they all grew up in houses filled with anger, or were spoiled rotten with material possessions, but were starved for love.  I figured they all were emotionally empty and had parents that ripped them apart and gave them no chance for high self esteem, certainly never providing countless sticker oriented praise charts. 

I always assumed they had a diet much too low in fiber and probably watched way too much fake wrestling on TV.  Surely they spent all their time looking at Corvettes in car magazines.  But, what if I was wrong?

The last few days have shook me to the core.  I'm terrified that perhaps some assholes are just born that way, perhaps even to a sparkling young couple like Alex and myself.

Aiden has been in rare form since we returned from Houston on Sunday evening.  He's been rude to the whole family.  He's particularly harsh with Cole and I even saw him start crying and yelling after Stella took his pencil.  (Perhaps it's really asshole with a hint of pansy?)

This morning he actually ripped a shirt out of my hands and threw it across his bedroom like a diva.  He's demanding food constantly and complaining about every type of ailment known to man.  He's cranky about everything, every request or statement is met with an eye roll, a shout, or a growl. 

What's that?  A growl isn't a usual response to displeasure for a human being? 

Fine, I know.  It's been bothering/amusing Alex and I for a while now but it's just his way.  We aren't sure if we should reprimand him or just take him to a vet.  I don't even think he knows he's doing it most of the time, it's just his natural instinct. 

(Perhaps Alex is part bear and never thought to tell me and now has passed this down to our son...which would explain the growling, and the ridiculous amount of hair on Alex.)

I've been pulling child behavior reference material off the bookshelves around the house all day. I'm doing a panic read through all of them, scanning for the miracle method that will turn our situation around fast. None of these books have been read cover to cover by the way. All of my books on child behavior and sleep are read in moments of desperation and hopelessness such as this. I really feel there's no other way to do it.  I can scout out the highlights and devise a plan which will bring us, at least temporary relief, in less than thirty minutes. I don't have time for all the details, just tell me how to make my child stop scowling and growling. 

Why isn't there anything under growling in the index of these books? What about bear-child? Asshole is there, but the reference material surprisingly doesn't apply to demeanor.

The truth is, as with most of my children's difficult phases thus far, I assume that with a little time and some firm boundaries, this too shall pass without the aid of any of my behavior books or medical intervention, but what if it doesn't?
What if this is just Aiden?  What if his "asshole potential," turned in to just asshole?  What if his life as an asshole started at the age of six?
I mean it has to happen I suppose.  It isn't like everyone in the entire world is super sweet. There are in fact a lot of assholes out there roaming around, living their lives, and they all have to start somewhere.  What if this is Aiden's beginning?
What if despite having the kindest, most loving parents on Earth, he runs awry and is just a jerk?

Or, perhaps more realistically, what if despite having parents that love him immensely, make him sticker charts, and do the best they can to teach him the correct path to follow, he just has his own plan, and it involves being a giant ass?

Who has horrible plans like that?

Our neighbors did just get a trampoline and maybe he's dislodged the part of his brain which allows him to be kind, permanently triggering his asshole self to emerge.  Maybe that's how all assholes are created.  Maybe if we just stopped buying every kid in the suburbs a trampoline, we could put an end to all of this insanity. 

I simply refuse to believe his asshole status is sticking, but there's a part of me that is definitely concerned.  I think I need to get on WebMD and see if I can nail this down. 

Maybe it's time for another sticker chart?

Surely my kid isn't really an asshole, he just acts like one....for now.

Oh, and Mom, I know...he's probably just not feeling well, or he's growing...or he's growing in to a giant jerk.  Anything is possible.

Linking up with Shell's Pour Your Heart Out.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Help! I May, or May Not, Be Sick

I'm not feeling well.  I don't know that I would classify myself as sick, but I don't know that I would classify myself as well either.  I'm firmly non-committed to a health status currently.

I can't breathe or smell out of my nose so that's sort of a blessing and a curse type of thing.  I mean, I really like to breathe, but I have three small children and not being able to smell is actually extremely helpful in my line of work given the mass amounts of poop and rotting milk in sippy cups I have to deal with around here.

I am horribly sleep deprived since Cole and Stella have been taking turns keeping me up for hours in the middle of the night during the last week.  Yesterday I felt like my head might explode, which seemed bad, and my exhaustion was hitting me so hard I could barely function.  So after lunch I did the craziest thing, I took a nap.  It was awesome. 

Is anyone else doing this?

I usually am horrible at falling asleep during the day, but I laid down and was out for three hours.  I haven't done that since Stella was born.  I really recommend it.  Why don't my children beg for this every day?

Today though, there was no nap and I am pretending to care about the Super Bowl....but really I am just excited to see Tim Riggins, David Beckham, and Madonna.  I'm tired, and sick, or maybe not sick, but definitely shouldn't be blogging.  So how about you guys do some of the work?

I need some answers.  Here are the questions.

  • I need a crazy good, lose yourself in the story, book.  What should I read?  Please, oh please do not say Hunger Games, Twilight, The Help, or anything where I have to really concentrate to understand the English used....because I've read them.  Think people!  Think!
  • This year is Alex and my 10 year anniversary and we want to go away for a few days to somewhere mountainous and full of all things appropriate for October that we can't get in Texas, like cool weather, elevation, and leaves of multiple colors. Any affordable ideas?
  • I am determined for 2012 to be the year that I take my adult tap dance class.  Where would I take such a class and would you be willing to attend my recital for support?
That's all I'm asking.  I'd appreciate any information you could share. 

Remember, I'm sick, or not sick, I need your help.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Just When You Think It's Going To Be Death By Lego Ninjago Talk, Joy Falls From The Sky

Afternoons are rough here sometimes.  Fine, afternoons are almost always rough unless we aren't home. Invariably Stella has been awoken from her nap too soon, Cole and Aiden have declared war over something as important as Lego design, and my patience has already been through the ringer and wearing thin.

There are lots of tears.

From all of us.
Since Cole was diagnosed with strep throat we were hanging out here today, our only outing a quick trip to stockpile Emergen-C for the entire family. I listened to countless hours of Lego Ninjago fight descriptions, excitement over pretend strategies for a fictitious Star Wars fight against Count Dooku, and heard, "Mommy, Mommy, watch this!" no less than six thousand times.  It would be safe to say that we were bored and had a bit of cabin fever. 

It would also be safe to say that I resurrected my fascination with meth addiction just for amusement.  Do people do this to cure boredom as well as stay up for unreasonable amounts of time?  I would get it.  I would. 

By the time Aiden got home, Cole was ready to hang out with a more interesting companion and I was interested in feeling like a real person again.  Why do I ever feel that the addition of Aiden will make things more entertaining?  Or, why do I ever feel that the addition of Aiden will make things more entertaining in a happy way?

After a mere 15 minutes inside, I mandated everyone outside in hopes of peace. My kids, like many, tend to be happier outside. Unfortunately there were sticks stolen, one threw a child-size broom at someone else, and there was an incessant demand for Star Wars Wii that ended in screaming tears and a repeated slamming of the door from the porch to the garage. (Cole)

Aiden, Stella, and I headed down the street on some bikes and I spent a few minutes praying for some relief, some peace.  These are the sort of days that make me question everything about myself and my current position.  I feel defeated because of the chaos, the tantrums, the monotony, and it seems to repeat itself over and over.  I felt desperate.
And wouldn't you know...relief and peace came pouring from the sky. The slamming and screaming ceased and we all converged on the driveway again for something I think they are calling "fun" these days.
This "fun" stuff is fantastic.  I highly recommend you all run crazy through the rain with your kids.
Particularly with those that don't understand umbrella logic.
Or those willing to fake brotherly peace for a photo opportunity.

And maybe even take your clothes off.*

Feeling washed in gratitude for such a wonderful break in the midst of another routine day.  We all needed it, and we all LOVED it.

Have a fabulous weekend everyone! 

*I strongly recommend that everyone able to read this blog post plan on keeping their clothes on at all times while running through the rain in a residential neighborhood.  It only works for Stella because; she escaped while we were trying to strip down to go inside, she's one, and she has a PERFECTLY chiseled body.  If there weren't so many freaks out there I'd show you the video, oh it is cute!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Red Balls Means Strep...Seriously, I Think

I spent this morning trying to determine why Cole's testicles could be red.  He told me that they weren't itchy, but there had been a lot of excessive touching down there recently, so I assume he was lying. 

Is there such a thing as just dry skin balls? Should I just tell him to rub some Jergens down there?  Can you get jock itch at four?

Figuring out penis issues is nothing new to me since having two little boys, but testicle questions baffle me, and I assume they always will.  To be honest, they're really weird.

Aiden asked me the other day why he had two little balls below his penis, what were they for?  I told him I thought they supported the weight of his penis.  They are there for protection, obviously.

Is that correct? 

At the very least, I figure I probably increased his self esteem and that seems like a kind gesture.

Honestly, I wasn't about to discuss the actual function, as I understand it from health class, of the testicles in reproduction with Aiden.  The last time reproduction was discussed I felt all confused and sweaty.  I'm a horrible liar and my ability to bullshit was useless against Aiden's painfully specific questions.

"What of Daddy's mixes with what of yours and where is this happening?"

If I can't figure out a way to creatively, yet innocently, answer that question, I'm powerless against itchy red balls. Thankfully, Cole is much more easily distracted than Aiden and the suggestion that I give him some chocolate milk and see what happens after that was met with great enthusiasm.

Maybe Ovaltine solves testicular issues?  Anyone?

Unfortunately, things went down hill after chocolate milk.  His balls weren't the problem, but it seemed everything else was.  He couldn't put on his shoes.  Stella was perpetually stealing his Beyblade.  I gave him applesauce...without cinnamon!  The apparent cruelty of Cole's life was simply too much for him to bear.

Cole is by no means an easy going child all the time, but he was not himself.  Since Sunday he had been congested, Monday night I was convinced he had a fever in the middle of the night while sleeping next to me, and there was this rash that seemed to be getting worse on his chest and neck...and it was not symmetrical or obvious in shape so I had to strain my brain for high school geometry descriptions of what it could be.

His physical complaints were random and seemingly related to his most recent Lego Ningago fight simulation.

"My legs feel weak and achy from so much kicking, I can barely walk.  My arm on this side is really hurting me.  I think I was struck by a golden numb chuck.  My tummy hurts too." 

Oh the dreaded tummy aches of the powerful ninjas!

I decided he was going to get in the van to go to school because I couldn't figure him out.  On the ride to school though, Cole didn't seem himself. He was rude and grumpy and very short and sarcastic when answering any of my questions.   He was a lot like Aiden...or me. I finally said, "Cole, I would like to remind you that you need to watch how you are speaking me. "

He didn't miss a beat and informed me in the nastiest of voices,  "Mommy, I would like to remind you that I can't find my R2 D2." 


 I decided he could choose to go or not, and he chose to not go to school.  I chose to call the doctor, and mid-way through my list of symptoms the nurse was totally confused and informed me that I would have to bring him in for a personal evaluation.

I don't know why she was so confused, the symptoms were clear.  Red testicles, possible fever two nights ago, excessive emotions, an obtuse triangle shaped red mark on his shoulder...I feel like I spelled it all out for her.  Did she not go to nursing school?

Once we were there though, the truth quickly revealed itself.  Our house had it's very first infiltration of strep throat.  Mysterious symptoms and behavior explained.

(The red balls were allegedly an unrelated anomaly that can not yet be explained.  Any ball experts out there?  Jergens?)

I might as well have gotten a diagnosis that Ebola had struck our family. The advice and fear has been pouring in via Facebook, texts, neighborly shouts from a safe distance. No one wants to be near us. 

The worst part?  We have to replace all the kids' toothbrushes. We're all comfortable with what they have now, I hate to mess that up.  There's a certain rhythm with the broken in ones and standing in front of all those options of brushes gives me so much anxiety.

I haven't ever had strep, but I am now terrified.  My friend Kristi told me it can be harder on adults than kids, which scares me because I am not permitted to get sick.  I was told by my friend Jen that it usually tears through the whole house, sometimes twice.  My own doctor told me I already looked weary and cranky.

Fine, I only felt like that, he was very kind as usual.

My throat hasn't stopped hurting since we got home.  I drank an extra glass of wine to kill the germs in my throat, but I'm not sure it's worked.  I am confident my Mother In Law will direct me to eat five grapefruits or a raw artichoke or something that will oddly cure me, I must call her. 

Every sun spot or weird pregnancy induced skin mutation is the beginning of an awful skin rash to mark my time with this illness. 

It's only a matter of time.  I'll keep you posted. 

I wasn't kidding.