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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Brace Yourself

Last week my son got his braces off.

It has been so funny watching him check out his new (and may I say beautiful) smile every time he walks by a mirror.

This is a kid who barely brushes his hair in the morning and on more than one occasion has tried to wear the same clothes two days in a row to school.

The last time we were at the orthodontist, they asked me if I would be okay with the kids' pictures being on their website.  I assumed they would click a few pictures in the office and that was fine with me.  They informed me that they would be paying for formal pictures to be taken at a photo studio and that I would get a few complimentary pictures.

Free pictures of my kids?  Sure!  Whatever I can do to help!

We arrived and the photographer said she would set up for some close ups of my daughter who is just starting out with orthodontics and my son who just finished.  She then added that she would take a few of them together since I had color coordinated them so nicely, but I would be under no obligation to buy them.  As if I would be able to resist.

My daughter went first and do not doubt her modeling skills.  She knows just where to stand, how to stand, and when to flash that super smile.  She seemed to look a little more natural as the pictures went on.  She was battling a rotten cold though, and in some of the pictures, she just didn't look like herself.  Of course there were some great shots.

When it was my sons turn, I had to leave the room.  He was so self conscious and I liken the photographer trying to pose him to The Scarecrow and Dorothy trying to get The Tinman to move.  I was so afraid I would get the giggles and blow the whole thing, so I excused myself to "give him some space".

I peeked in on a few and wondered how these would turn out.

Then the kids got together for a few, they were more relaxed and these of course were my favorites.

When I got home, the photos were emailed to me since the studio was super busy and I decided to check them out on-line.

 I was so surprised to see how amazing my sons photos came out!

He looks so grown up , and even though, some of the poses are very "senior photo for the yearbook"  there's not a hint of awkwardness.

Now I just have to figure out how I am going to afford them all !

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Rainbow Sheets

Years ago when I worked part time at Target , I was obsessed with their clearance.

Oh who am I kidding, I am still obsessed with it, I just don't get to see it as often as I used to.

So one day, long ago, I came across a set of jersey knit, tie-dyed, rainbow sheets.  I can't remember how much I paid for them, but I swear it was around $5.00.

I thought we'd be able to use them for the extra sheets for my son's trundle bed, or middle of the night sheet changing for that sick kid.

Neither of my kids loved the sheets and they made their way to the back of the closet.

One day when one of the kids was sick, they wanted to lay on the couch and watch TV, I am fairly certain this was a stomach bug issue and I could not fathom scrubbing any grossness out of my couch, so I went upstairs to grab some sheets.

When I came down with the sheets, the sick child said, "Awww, I don't like those sheets." 

I said, " How can you not like these?  These have the power of a rainbow in them to make you feel better! (Translation, "If you think I am going back upstairs to get another set, you're crazy!")

Now, every time one of the kids is home sick, including today, they request the rainbow sheets.  I know it's just something that makes them feel better, as if it validates that they are sick and that they need special care.

My daughter, who was the sick one today, told me that I have to save them so that when she has kids she can use it for them.  My son got wind of this and said, "No way, those are mine."

Mental note, check ebay and the like for another set.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Fool Me Once

I got a call from the school this week.

My son's school to be specific.

It was an early morning call.  As in, he had just hopped on the bus a half hour ago.

I assumed it would be my son calling to tell me he forgot something, but instead it was him, telling me that he really didn't feel well and could I pick him up.

I was a little surprised seeing as he and I had some time together that morning and he never said anything, he did have a cough and cold, but nothing major.  I assumed that maybe he was feeling ill from the bus ride or something.

What made me crazy is, no adult at the school ever spoke to me, I wish that the nurse or someone had called me so that I could have said,"Does he have a temp?  Do you think we could try and see if he feels better and if not I will absolutely come and get him?"  This did not happen and I also didn't want to seem uncaring, so off I went.

I had to scramble to get my daughter ready so that we could pick up her brother and then drop her off at her school since we wouldn't make it back in time for her bus.

We arrive at the school and all "mommy senses" tell me, he's fine.  I even asked if he was sure he needed to go home.  He was sure.

Once we dropped his sister off, I turned to him and said, "Ok, I have to ask the question, did you forget to do any homework over the weekend?"

Poor kid, he never stood a chance, he has inherited my nervous smile when I know I might be in trouble. 

He confessed that he forgot to do something that was due, you guessed it , first period. 

He then went on to say that he really and truly did not feel well and thought he might get sick.  I went on to explain that I didn't doubt that he didn't fell well, but that I was also pretty sure that any symptoms he was having were due to his nerves over forgetting.

I thought it was funny that he didn't try and do the work real quick in the hallway, or take the zero.  It made me realize that he really does want to do a good job and gets upset when he doesn't. 

Unfortunately, he didn't realize the error until he was on the bus (again, I would have scrambled to write something).  I told him that in the future, should he forget something, I would much rather bring him in a little late and miss one class.  Missing an entire day over one class is not ideal.  I did warn him that I could not guarantee that I would be happy about it, but definitely not as mad over picking up a not so sick kid.

I then decided to let him off the hook, he is a really good kid, and tell him that he would get away with this once.  Once.

What was a nice little life lesson too was two days later when he was overwhelmed with the make-up work he had to do.  He realized it probably wasn't worth it and he would definitely try to be more organized in the future.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day

I don't really talk politics with my kids.  I don't really talk politics with anyone for that matter.

I will talk about why we have elections, answer any questions they have, but as far as personal feelings, etc. I keep quiet.

I feel like they need to make their own decisions, there are so many kids out there who parrot what their parents are saying and don't really get why they are saying it. 

My son has been asking a lot of questions this year.  A lot of questions I don't have the answers to , so we have tried to look up answers as best we can.  It can be hard to find the true answers when there seems to be 2 sides to every story.

He was happy to see his own school hold a mock election, he was very surprised that when one candidate for senate won, a lot of his classmates were upset.  He didn't see how the other candidate could have won if so many people were upset.  He then said, "Oh maybe just the people that were loud were upset."  He's pretty smart, that kid.

Yesterday, my daughter's school also had a mock election.  She came home and told me all about it.  It was so hard for me to keep a straight face while she told me about the conversations her and her friends had about the candidates.

She told me that a group of her friends said that if one candidate won, he would tear down all the schools.  So I followed up with, "So, I guess they all voted for the other guy."  "No." She said.  "They voted for him so we wouldn't have to go to school anymore!"

Another friend told her that a candidate would raise taxes.  My daughter asked me what taxes were and were they bad.  I tried to explain as much as I could to an 8 year old what taxes were.  She didn't seem to think this affected her life and moved on.

She was very excited to learn about the candidates in her Scholastic News.  She is excited to see who wins.

 I will the kids with me today when I vote so that they can be a part of all the excitement. 

I am the first to admit that I don't have a passion for politics, but I won't let that sway my kids from having an interest in it or just appreciating the rights we have as Americans. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

It's Just Been Raining...On My Face

So last week in a matter of a half hour I cried twice.

I tried both times to keep my cool, but when it comes to my kids, I can't help myself.

I picked up my daughter at school a little early.  She was going back to her old school to read to her 1st grade teacher's new class.

She was so excited all week.  So I was very surprised when she came into the office and I could tell by her face she was upset.  She barely made it to the car before she broke into tears.

It seems that she got yelled at by a teacher.  The teacher thought she was talking in line and yelled at her.  My daughter swears she wasn't, I don't care if she was, kids aren't perfect, but that wasn't what made her upset.

Apparently, when she then had to walk past this teacher, the teacher grabbed her shoulder and said, "I'm surprised at you missy."  This devastated and embarrassed my daughter.  She proceeded to cry throughout lunch and then into classtime.  Luckily her teacher was able to comfort her, but she was still very upset about it when she told me.

As I comforted her, I got upset.  It kills me that she was so upset for so long.  I was basically a raw nerve when we arrived at her old school.

We were in the hallway when her teacher spotted us.  She ran out, all smiles, and picked up my daughter, twirled her around and said, "I miss you so much!"  It was all I could do not to burst into tears.  Like I said, I was a raw nerve.

Everyone was so happy to see her, she was so proud to read in her old class and see some of her friends in there.

We were invited to come back anytime and we certainly will.

When we got in the car, I lost it.  I was so proud of her, so sad for her and overwhelmed.  I tried to downplay it , but my daughter said, "What's wrong?"

I started singing her this song from "Flight of The Conchords" to try and make her laugh and not worry and do the same for myself.

It's comic gold and did the trick.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Halloween Hangover

 I may be too old for Halloween.

I was so tired today , it was unreal.

I may have had some rum cider and other drinks.  This probably didn't help.

We had a really fun night.

Our friends came over as they have done for the past 4 or more years.  We have dinner together and then head out to trick or treat.

My usual candy passer outer , my father in law , was stuck in Florida, so we decided to leave a bowl on the steps and head out.

My daughter was very concerned that people would take more than one piece.  I didn't care.  I just wanted that candy gone.

I only had one piece of candy the whole day, a peanut butter snickers, but I was so wired, I could not fall asleep.

My 38 year old body rejected all my fun from last night, I had a headache, I was nauseous and grumpy.

I think maybe, for my sake , I will only "celebrate" Halloween when it falls on a weekend.

Here's a picture from last night.  My kids were Alice in Wonderland and Fantasy Football.


Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

Though I am delighted that we managed to get through Sandy without more than a flicker of the lights, I am so saddened by the devastation that other people are experiencing.

Today at my daughter's school, they celebrate "Crazy Hat Day" instead of dressing up for Halloween.  I miss the days of the costume parade, but I'm glad that they still get to do something anyway.

I recently became my daughter's class room parent.  In a weird twist of events, I was given this job late last week and had a whole 5 days (with a hurricane in there) to plan the class party.

One of the parents had very nicely sent in a craft kit for the kids, so they will be doing that.  The other room parent and I organized the snack, which was no small feat since we have a list of allergies a mile long.  I am pretty sure that what they have today for a snack is what they will be having for every party.  I don't think we have too many options.

So it was up to me to come up with an activity or another craft. I attempted to go to a few craft stores, but they were wiped out and what they did have seemed too young for a bunch of savvy second graders.

I looked around my house and saw my kids' bowling set.  I cannot remember who gave it to us, but it's one of the best toys my kids have.  It's made of a dense foam, but has a nice flat plastic bottom on the pins.  My kids always struggled to make the plastic bowling sets stand and work and this set works like a charm.

Anytime we've taken it out, it's been a huge hit.  So I decided to take a white plastic table cloth, cut it up, and cover the pins like ghosts.  My daughter helped me secure the pieces on the pins with rubber bands and then we drew faces on them.

With the ball, I wrapped it up with gauze and added a couple of googly eyes so it looks like a mummy head.

I hope the kids like it.  I am fully aware that it has the potential of becoming a madhouse activity, but I also figure they're going to be nuts anyway, they might as well have fun.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Halloween this year was supposed to be easy.

My daughter has an Alice in Wonderland costume that she wore for her birthday , so she was all set.

My son, usually comes up with something that doesn't require a whole lot of money.  He likes a good pun , in the past he's been a killer bee and a cereal killer.  Ahh boys and their gross costumes.

This year he could not make up his mind.  He just kept saying that he didn't think he wanted to go trick or treating and we wondered if maybe he was feeling like he was too old.  He is probably getting close to that age, but he will be getting his braces off one week after Halloween and we cannot believe he doesn't want to load up on FREE candy.

After talking to him a bit, he finally confessed that he didn't have a good idea for a costume and that was why he was hesitating.  We decided to jump on the 'ol internet and take a look.

Within minutes, he found what he wanted to be.  He wants to wear football apparel, a long cloak and a long white beard and be ......fantasy football.

This works on every level for him.  He loves the pun and even more so, he's been playing in my husband's fantasy football league for a few years and loves it. (it's free) 

I was delighted, until I realized I had nothing for this costume and Halloween is a week away.

On a whim, I thought maybe I could try a few thrift stores in the area and see what I could piece together before I hit the pricey party stores.

I don't know what I was expecting to find, but I headed in with an open mind.  I was walking by the women's clothes when I noticed a few long black velvet dresses.  I was wondering if I would be able to make them into a cloak for him, after looking at a few, I saw one that would be perfect.  It was $9.99, so I debated whether I could purchase one already made, or if this was a better deal.  My friend then said, "Everything without a green tag is 50%off"  What?  Awesome.  Sold.

I moseyed on over to the men's section and saw what looked like a sporty section.  I was poking though when I saw it.  Quick back story, even though we live in New England, we love New York sports teams.  Yankees, Islanders, Jets and Giants.  So , there in all the Red Sox and Patriots gear was a Jets Jersey.  I couldn't believe it.  It was huge, but it's Halloween , who cares?  I looked at the price, $3.99!!  Oh and the tag was yellow, so basically $2.00....I almost lost my head with excitement.  Things like this don't usually go my way!

A trip to a Savers, which carries new Halloween merchandise, had me finding a giant wizard wand for only $.99 over what I wanted to spend on something that I am sure will end up broken in my basement at some point.  My daughter is so jealous of this thing, it lights up and blinks and she has declared that when her brother goes to college, it is all hers.  ( I doubt it will survive that long)

Anyway, just wanted to thank the universe for aligning and making this happen.  Someday I will use my luck for lottery winnings and great fortune, however a cloak and a Jets Jersey will do for now.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Lunch with Grandma

My dad has given me the task of researching my family's genealogy.

As part of that, I scanned all of my Grandma's pictures into the computer so that if anyone ever wanted a picture they could have it.

The only problem I came across was that most of her photos were in those old sticky albums that are terrible for photographs.  I wanted to preserve her photos, so I made them into scrapbooks for her.  I didn't change the order of the photos and I simply put them on black pages with gold photo corners, Grandma doesn't like a lot of fuss, and put them into new albums.

I have sat with her on a few occasions to get names of those in the photos and she's seen the progress along the way, but yesterday I was finally delivering them to her for keeps.

She was so excited and I know she will spend the rest of the week if not longer, going through the books and showing them to anyone who comes over. 

My dad and I went to see her together and took her out to lunch, by that I mean we physically took her since Grandma will not hear of anyone paying for her lunch, try as we might.

She was telling us some cute stories.  One was about how her doctor told her some of her numbers were a little high and she told him it was because of the Coffee Crisps.  For those of you who don't know, this is a candy bar that you can only get in Canada.  My Grandma LOVES them.  Her doctor had never heard of them and I guess decided to quickly "google" what they were.  Nothing could have impressed her more.  She could not believe that within seconds he was able to show her a picture of her candy bar on the computer.  I love how she's so innocent regarding technology. 

At one point she was kidding and said , "Oh, my computer doesn't get The Facebook", which is especially cute because she doesn't have a computer, but still kind of gets what Facebook is.

She then told us about a mystery.  I retold this to my kids and they are fascinated with it.

One night, she went to bed and took her watch off and set it on her nightstand.  In the middle of the night, she woke up because she had a dream that burglars were coming in and they were going to steal her watch.  So she is pretty sure that she got up, emptied some sort of container, put her watch in the bottom of it , refilled it and went to bed.  As she was falling asleep , she thought, "I am never going to remember that I put that there."

Sure enough, it's over a month later and she has no idea where it is! 

My dad, my aunt, and even I have tried our hand at finding it, with no luck.  My kids are now convinced that they need to go to Great Grandma's house and solve this mystery.  Something tells me she won't mind a visit in the least.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Fathers, Sons And Sports

Over the weekend, my daughter and I went to a baby shower, leaving the "boys" home.  They went to my son's soccer game and after my son even took my husband out to lunch.  While I was gone, I received an email from my husband about the game.  I was really touched by how he wrote about our son and I thought I would share it with you.  I can assure you that this game bonded my husband and son in a really special way and as a mom, I'm almost glad I wasn't there, I am not a fan of watching my kid hurling himself at every one's cleat covered feet! 

J had a soccer game this morning.  He started the game in goal (he is the team's starting goalie) and played the entire match at this position.  The opening face off lead to a goal for J's team within the first 30 seconds.  From that point on, I believe his team may have had two or three more shots on goal the rest of the day.  our town lost, and J had seven goals scored against him.

In all my years of watching J play soccer, I have never seen a goalie try and carry a team on his back in such a way.  Never have I seen a goalie give up his body, time after time, shot after shot.  Getting knocked down, kicked in the hand and the arm, stopping shots with his body at point blank range, attacking opposing forwards head on as they came in on breakaway after breakaway.  Beaten and bloodied, but not a drop of surrender in him.  Having his arm iced up during half time, and then going back in net knowing it was a suicide mission.  I am not lying when I tell you he must of had 30 to 40 saves, the majority of these coming within his own goalie box or on breakaways. 

Never have I seen a goalie give up seven goals, and after the game the opposing team telling him "great game keeper', knowing that if it was not for him, they would of had scored even more,  The pictures I attached do not do justice to how much of his body he left on the field.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Inspector Clouseau=Funny

Last weekend was a cold, rainy mess.

It was the perfect time for us to get in our comfy clothes, grab pillows and beanbags and watch some movies.

Friday night, we knew we wanted to kids to get to be a little early since early Saturday morning, we had a travel soccer game for my son.

We spent some time looking through Netflix instant movies and my husband and I stumbled across Pink Panther movies.  We both remembered loving those movies when we were young.  After some quick plot summary checking on IMDB, we picked two to put in our queue and started the first one.

There are some movies you see as a kid, that don't always hold up when you watch them again as an adult.  I remember my dad coming home from Video Galaxy (remember that place?) with a movie he saw as a kid that he loved.  It was "Darby O'Gill and The Little People".  Let's just say, it didn't impress my sister and I and even my dad said, "I guess that wasn't as good as I remember."  However, it did star a very young Sean Connery.

We were so delighted that the kids (and us) LOVED "The Pink Panther".  There were parts that my kids were laughing so hard we had to rewind the movie because we missed something.  There was one part that my son made us rewind 5 times, he thought it was so funny.

Once the movie was over they begged us to watch the other one, but we made them go to bed and told them since the weather was supposed to be crummy, we would surely get to watch the other one at some point over the weekend.

Luckily we were able to watch it the next night and it was another great night of laughs for us.

It was such a great time, it is very rare that we all find a movie we like, my kids are 6 years apart and have very different tastes in movies.  I love that these were truly family movies.  Any other suggestions for us?  We are really loving the idea of movie night.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

For Super Ty

I am so overwhelmed with sadness. 

My friend J, brought this little boy's story to my attention.  Over 2 years ago he was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive cancer.

Yesterday, this sweet little boy passed away.

I had gone to their website a while ago and learned about Ty's journey, but as life goes, I hadn't read it in awhile.

Even then , I was amazed at the raw honesty his mother wrote with.

When I went to the website yesterday, I was overwhelmed with how she was able to write about losing Ty.  

I want to honor Ty by sharing his story with you, if you choose. 


 It's very real, very honest and so heartbreaking, but there's something about the way his mom writes that taps into every fiber of what being a mom is. 

Thank you.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Real Housewives of Anywhere

As you may know, my guilty pleasure is watching "The Real Housewives" series.

I think at some point I have seen them all, though I am not a big fan of Miami or Atlanta.

Lately, there's been a run of reunion shows that have been explosive and it got me to thinking about how my ACTUAL Housewife friends and I would behave under these circumstances.

So first of all, you have to think about the fact that there are cameras, in your house, filming what you do.  My house would be immaculate.  I would be so freaked out that some yahoo who was recording the show would pause it and say, "Did you see that sock sticking out from under her kid's bed?  Slob!"

Then, I think about how they follow them to different events.  So for example, today my friend K and I ran a few errands today.  So if the cameras were following us, they would have seen me exchange some jeans for my daughter at Old Navy.  It would have been quite the cliff hanger when I realized that they didn't have the royal blue jeans in her size and I had to (gasp!) pick another color.  I can imagine the comments as to whether the magenta polka dot jeans were the best choice. 

We then popped into Cold Water Creek since K had a coupon, but we didn't buy anything.  You would have heard the riveting conversation we had about my daughter's birthday party and her recent trip to the Bahamas.

All in all , it would probably not make very good TV. 

I can't really think of any "feuds" I would have with the other women.  I like to think that I get along with all of them.  I guess I would find out though when the cameras were rolling.  How terrifying.  Maybe that's why these women go crazy, maybe they think everything is great and then they see their friends on camera and hear, " I cannot believe Jenn bought her daughter the magenta polka dot jeans, I bought those for my daughter, she knew that.  I hate her."

Had cameras been rolling yesterday, you would have seen me in full lunatic mode.  I sent my kids outside to play in the gorgeous weather and my daughter was so awful to her brother, I completely lost my mind.  It was a RHONJ worthy performance, Teresa would have loved it, I said lots of things that didn't make sense.  I may or may not have flipped a table.  Okay, I didn't, but had there been a table in my backyard, I might have.  I can only imagine that yahoo pausing my face is some horrid position as I said, "Someday he's going to go to college and you're going to miss the fact that he's willing to throw on giant hockey gloves and play crazy soccer with you."

Sadly, that's the most exciting thing that happens around here, to a real REAL housewife.  I think that's why they cast such wealthy and glamorous (and crazy bananas) women for these shows. Even though I wouldn't want to watch what I do on TV, I would certainly pick the way I live and the people that surround me over reality TV fame.


Am I the only one who thinks Teresa (RHONJ)is absolutely insane?  Throughout 3 reunion specials all I could see was someone who was lying about everything she is.  Her voice goes up about 10 octaves when she acts like something is SOOO outrageous (but true) and she throws ANYONE under the bus when she is attacked.  I know she makes good TV, but I really can't stand her.  I follow the Manzo kids (and Greg , my god , how much do I LOOOOVE Greg?) and Albie had an excellent point.  He tweeted,
"I'll say it again, attention is the most dangerous drug on the planet."  Agreed.  She is so desperate to stay relevant, she will do anything.  

Ok, that's all, just my two cents ;)

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

She Should Run For Office

My daughter knows how to work it.

She has this uncanny knack for saying the most heart melting phrases when I am at my wits end.

We sometimes call her "The Mayor" because of her willingness to chat with anyone.  I am starting to think she would make an excellent politician.

She tries her best to work the angle so that she doesn't have to go to bed, finish vegetables, or clean her room.  

Since she was a little girl, my daughter has always been right there.  What I mean by this, is that where ever I am, no matter what I am doing, she's right there, by my side, touching me, leaning on me, laying on me, on me.

I have often joked that if she could climb back into my womb she would. 

For the most part, I love it.  It kind of goes against my norm.  I am not a snuggler, my husband and daughter are.  It kind of forces me out of my own cranky ways.

There are moments though when I think "Can I not just get some space!?"  Last week in the throws of exhaustion and sickness, I had one of these moments.

In a moment of frustration, I asked her, "Why do you always have to be right on top of me?"

Her reply, in true heart-melting fashion, was, "Because when I lean against you, it recharges my heart."

I was immediately remorseful for snapping and I am trying my hardest to enjoy every single second of her "recharging time".  Sooner than I can imagine, she will no longer need as much recharging and I think I'll feel a pang when I realize she's not right there.

Monday, October 15, 2012


I am slowly emerging out of the worst cold ever.

I am not exaggerating.  I have been sick for over a week , with a cold.

A cold with a vengeance.  This thing has knocked me out for days at a time. 

I don't know how I would have survived it if my husband hadn't taken some time off.

He had already planned to take the time off, my cold just sort of ruined it.

There were days I think I slept 17 out of 24 hours.

Some highlights were when he told me to absolutely sleep in.  He would make sure that the kids would get on the bus in weather appropriate outfits (seriously, coaxing my 13 year old out of shorts has been a battle) with lunches in hand.

Cut to, "Psst, hey hon, totally keep sleeping, but what time do they go to the bus?  Okay, great, go back to sleep"

"Psst, hey, what should the daughter wear?  There's too many choices."

"I have no idea how to do her hair"

I got up and did the mom thing.  I can't blame him.  My daughter dresses according to her mood and she can be overwhelmed by the possibilities.  Her and I have a nice routine where I give her freedom until it's just time to pick something already and then I make some strong suggestions.  Her hair is the same story.  Oh, and she also has the most sensitive scalp in the universe so I am just used to being the one to deal with it.

He took her to the bus stop and I crawled back into bed for 1, 876 hours or so.

I did manage to come downstairs at some point , to then just lay on the couch.  It was a lovely change of scenery.

Towards the end of the week, I was feeling well enough to leave the house.  We even ventured out to Ikea one day and had a really nice lunch together.

The only downfall is my house is in shambles.  I was able to reign some of the mess in today, but will no doubt be playing catch-up for a few days.  I am happy to do it.  The kids were happy and taken care of , I got much needed rest and I am hopefully on the mend (my cough is making a rare re-appearance) and I even got to spend some time alone with my husband. 

Thanks hubby!  You are the best!! 

All of this sickness made me wish that this really existed....also, I miss Chris Farley and Phil Hartman, sigh.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Kids On The Bus

Everyday when I go to the bus stop to wait for my daughter, a bus from another town pulls into my neighborhood to turn around.

One day, early on in the school year, I saw a girl sitting towards the back of the bus and her face lit up and she waved.

I am 99% sure that I know this girl.  I think that she dances where my daughter dances, but she's older and I think I've only seen her in passing.

I thought it was so cute how her face lit up and she waved.

Since then, I look forward to seeing this bus in the afternoons. 

You see, even if this girl is not on the bus, someone waves to me.  Sometimes it's a girl who I think of as a shy and quiet kid, who gives me a little wave and a smile.  Sometimes it's a few boys in the back of the bus who wave with crazy enthusiasm.

Whoever waves to me, it's such a sweet part of the day and I love that no matter what, I can count on a wave and a smile to brighten my day. 

I hope these kids remain this sweet forever.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Going Mad!

After a wonderful weekend celebrating my daughter's birthday with family, it is time for the annual madness of the kid party.

I go a little nuts for my kids birthday parties.  I really really like having their parties at the house.  I love locking into a theme and going crazy with it. 

For my daughter, we've done a purple party, princess party, Hello Kitty Carnival and a panda bowling party.

This year, we have decided to do a Mad Hatter Tea Party.  What I love is that everyone in our family gets excited about the themes.  My mother in law ran to The Disney Store and got my daughter the Alice costume.  It's awesome because she can wear it for the party, for Halloween and our super secret trip to Disney that's coming up. 

My parents (my dad actually found it, let the record show) found an Alice in Wonderland tea pot at a store and gave it to her for her birthday.

I have been collecting odds and ends to decorate the crazy table with.  I could craft FOREVER when it comes to these parties.  I have to tell myself its for one day and my husband will frown upon me celebrating "Unbirthdays" until the new millennium.

My other plans include writing names on tea cups for the girls to take home as favors.  Sharpie paint markers and the oven are supposed to make these last a long time.  I also want to make soldiers out of a deck of cards, it seems easy enough, but I'll have to see how much time I have.

I also managed to get a croquet set at the local flea market, so I'm going to set it up like a little obstacle course for the kids.  I don't know that they'll want to play croquet the real way, so I think this will be fun.

Can't wait to get started!!!  Wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Lucky 7

What an amazing 7 years it has been.

Tomorrow my little girl will wake up and be 8 years old.

I can't believe it.  It sounds so little and big all at once.

She really is an amazing kid.. I know all parents say this about their kids.  I would like to think that if she was who she is and was one of my friends' kid, I would still like her.

She is a great balance of tough and sweet.  She is so graceful when she dances, I love watching her do ballet, so sweet and poised.  She is such a toughie when she plays sports, loves getting dirty and has this swagger we can't explain.

She is so great at giving hugs and kisses and telling us she loves us without being prompted.  She is a great snuggler who loves to sneak extra kisses from her daddy and tease me about it.

She has her daddy's wicked sense of humor, she is so quick with a comeback it makes my head spin.

She has a quick temper.  I equate it with Donald Duck (hmmm someone I have also compared her father with) she blows hot and fast and then it's over.  I guess it's good that it's quick, but man does she get mad.

She has anxiety about school and change and moths that you think are dead but then fly out of the toilet and scare you to death. 

She loves clothes, shoes , accessories and lip gloss, which we still call "glip gloss" like she did when she was little.

We call her Lulu.  It's nothing like her given name, but it suits her. 

She was just what our family needed to be complete and I'm so happy she's ours.

Love ya Lulu!

I hope you have the best birthday ever tomorrow!

Mommy xoxoxxo

This is one of my favorite pictures of us from her first days.....

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Heart And Soul

So, if you want to get the sh*t scared out of you, have the school call you and tell you that your daughter is having chest pains.

It was one of those, "I know she's fine, I know she's fine, I am 99.9% sure she's fine. Oh my god what if she's not fine!!" moments.

The school nurse was very sweet and said that she listened to her heart, took her temperature, and she seemed fine.  I told her I would call the pediatrician and be right over.

The doctor was able to fit her in this afternoon. 

Let me sidebar here for a moment.  Maybe it was my nerves, but I hated every single person in that waiting room.  The dad not paying any attention to his daughter who was being a complete menace, the lady who would not stop playing on her phone, but every time she pressed a key it went "beep beep beep".  This went on for AN HOUR.  Also , guy next to me, NOT using a tissue , but your hand, you are so lucky I didn't vomit on you. 

Ok, back to the appointment.  The doctor was very sweet and asked her all kinds of questions.  He examined her and even though he didn't think there was anything to worry about, he decided to give her an ekg.  All was going well, but for some reason, my daughter freaked out.  I guess even though we told her a million times she just had to lay there, she was convinced it would hurt her. 

This is where I become Patch Freaking Adams.  I was trying my best to distract her or make her laugh, anything so I could get some piece of mind.  She finally was calm and they were able to do it.

The results were fine and they think that she may suffer from reflux, so they want us to try some sort of Calcium Carbonate with her and see if it helps.  Easy enough , right? Oh not really because there is apparently a shortage on these.  A very nice pharmacist at Target told me that they're just not getting them in.  I guess I'll be calling the doctor back in the morning.

I am so relieved she's ok.  So freaking relieved. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

Coach's Challenge

Short blog, but thought I'd share this.

After a busy weekend, my husband and I ran out last night to do a few errands for my daughter's upcoming birthday.

We were wiped out, but knew free time would be hard to find this week.

So, as it goes, when we're tired, we bicker.

We purchased an alarm clock/docking station/speakers for my daughter's birthday and we were discussing how excited she would be.  We are actually giving her my husband's ipod.  He recently got a smart phone and has all of his music on there.  I thought since she's only going to be 8, we could give her his old one and she can upgrade when she's older (but his is pretty nice).  She also has been dying to have an alarm clock.

So, I said that it will be nice to have a smaller more useful thing on her nightstand.  On her nightstand she has a little pink boombox that she's dropped a few times, so the only thing that works on it is the radio.

My husband was like, "WHAT?" "That's not true."

I was confused, apparently he thought I was saying this about the ipod.

We then bickered a good few minutes about the order in which I said things.

Stupid tired fight that means nothing and everything, married people, am I right?

Here's what I love.  My husband says to me, "You know, when we die and get to where ever we're going, I am going to have them playback this moment and you'll see that you're wrong."

"Are you telling me that you think there's instant replay in heaven?"

" Absolutely"

There is nothing left to do at this point but laugh, so glad I love him.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Totally Going Insane, F'Real


This was a long week.

Let's just say, my children's behavior this week has been spotty at best.  They've had some really great moments and some really not great moments.

I've also been helping my friend prepare for a yard sale this weekend.  It's been really fun hanging out with her and going through things, but it's exhausting work.  We've been hauling things up from her basement and cleaning them up.  I really hope her sale is a success, she's put a lot of work into it.

We've also been dealing with bus issues this week.  Basically my daughter was getting on the bus in the morning almost an hour earlier than last year.  However, she was arriving home only 5 minutes earlier than last year. 

The school has decided to move back the start and stop time for my daughter's school, pushing back by 10 minutes to eliminate the buses running late.  They announced this on Tuesday and started it today. 

The funny thing is , since they announced it, her bus has been getting here earlier in the afternoon, it's like they announced it and suddenly the bus was on schedule.  Ah well, back to the later time, but at least she gets a few extra minutes in the morning.

Anyway, I am really looking forward to the weekend, even though we're busy with the yard sale and the kids sports, it's a fun kind of busy and the weekend lends itself to the possibilities of a beer or 7.  

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Keeping Vinegar In Business

So as you should know by now, I use Pinterest a lot.

I found a nice cleaning schedule on there that I use for the most part.  Lately, I've been so busy that it's been a "clean when you have one free moment, or don't" schedule, but when I buckle down and get back on track, it's a really great schedule.

There are lots of cleaning tricks I have tried on there and I thought I would share a few that I tried that work.

I am usually skeptical of any cleaning trick that seems to easy, but sometimes it is the simplest things that work.

I had read that if you rub a dryer sheet on your baseboards, it prevents dust and dirt from settling on them.  I decided to try this in my laundry room (It's a very small room, about as wide as the washer/dryer with enough room to open a door, but it's upstairs which I LOOOOVE) since that room seems to get dusty and linty (is that a word?) the fastest.

It did work, it's not a forever solution, but I did notice that they stayed cleaner longer.  I just don't know where all the lint and dust settled, I am sure a giant dust bunny will attack me one day as I am washing the delicates.

The other day I noticed the kids' bathroom sink was clogged.  I will spare you the toothpaste madness that was stuck to the drain plug, but even after cleaning that, the drain was still clogged. 

I jumped on Pinterest, knowing I had seen something about using vinegar and baking soda.  This of course interested me because I would basically get to make a school science project volcano in the sink!  Sure enough, I found it.  I poured about a quarter box of baking soda down the drain, then followed it with about the same amount of vinegar.  Then I had to immediately stuff a rag into the drain since you want the "volcano" reaction to happen in the drain and not in the sink (bummer).

I let it sit for a half hour and then boiled a kettle full of water, slowly poured the water down the drain and voila!  It is amazing how excited I get when something works.  I also loved that I didn't have to purchase drain cleaner.  I am scarred by an old CBS movie called "Aftermath: A Test of Love" where robbers break in to a hi-fi store and force characters to drink Drano.  Apparently,  this was based on a true story.  I just do not like having that stuff in the house.

The last trick is my absolute favorite.  I LOATHE cleaning the tub and shower.  Loathe it, loathe it, loathe it.  I have tried every cleaning product there is and nothing seems to get it super clean without a ton of scrubbing that leaves me so exhausted and bitter.  This usually means that I just sort of spray and clean for a month and sure enough it needs to be super scrubbed again. 

So, I saw a tip that involved mixing vinegar and Dawn detergent (the blue one) in a spray bottle, spraying it on the tub, leaving it for a half hour and wiping it away.  It was way too good to be true, it had to be.  I researched the heck out of this.  After checking into a few blogs and reviews, it seemed like heating the vinegar would be even more beneficial. 

So off I went to Wal-Mart.  Did you know they sell vinegar for cleaning?  They do!  Because it's not food grade, it's super cheap.  I grabbed me a big ol' jug, since I have discovered so many uses for it, and was on my way.  I also picked up blue Dawn and a spray bottle.  All in all I think I spent about $5.00.

Since I was heating up the vinegar, and didn't know if it worked as well at room temperature, I decided to use just a cup of vinegar and a cup of Dawn.  This way I could spray the kids' tub and my shower stall.  My biggest complaint was the spray bottle.  In the future, it's probably worth spending more than $.98 on one.  I sprayed away and crossed my fingers.

A half hour later, I was amazed!  I took a cloth and began wiping away, it was a thing of beauty.  It took the smallest of efforts for me to wipe away the mixture and the dirt it was carrying away with it.  There were a few spots that didn't get clean, but I think that was due to my spraying.  I actually had some solution left so I resprayed and decided to leave that overnight.

I had the same results in my shower stall, it was great!  Again, I had a few spots, but the difference between the spots and the new clean surface was so great to see.  Again, I sprayed and left it overnight. 

This morning when I got up, I wiped the spots clean and it was beautiful! 

If you hate scrubbing, I seriously suggest you try this, I think vinegar sales are going to skyrocket.

Monday, September 17, 2012

The Punisher

Ugh to the millionth power.

I am not a fan of punishing my kids.

This weekend they both managed to something that required a little more than a talking to.

My daughter told a lie.

A lie that was insignificant and not over anything she would have gotten in trouble for, but she told it anyway.

No matter how many times I tell my kids that they will be in more trouble if they lie, I am convinced they will take the risk now and again just in case they can get away with it. I did it, my parents have the gray hairs to prove it.  For some reason, I thought maybe I had cracked the code and my kids would totally get it.  Ah well.

I had read somewhere awhile ago that if you know your child is lying, you shouldn't repeat the question.  For instance, "Did you take the trash out?" If your child says yes and you know it hasn't been done, than asking them over and over only makes them learn to be better liars.

So, my daughter told the lie.  I gave her one more chance to tell me the truth, she didn't.  I showed her the proof I had that she lied and that's when she broke down.

I had her go to her room, because in my initial anger I wanted to hand out drastic , and let's face it, unrealistic punishments.  In the wind up, she and I were supposed to have a nice girl's day together since my husband had worked overnight and was sleeping and my son was out with friends all day, and I cancelled it.  Instead she helped me clean and organize things all day.  She also went to bed early that night.

Now, that boy of mine.  He's been on thin ice re: keeping his room clean lately.  It's mostly irritating my husband and I since we practically killed ourselves   repainting and decorating it for him.  I don't expect it to be perfect, but I refuse to send a man out into the world who thinks that 2 inches from the hamper is just as good as in the hamper.

So, I have felt really bad about all the homework he has had this year.  We even implemented a new system of working hard for a half hour and then taking a break for a few, otherwise he gets completely stressed and frustrated.  I thought we were a team, which is probably why I took what happened this afternoon so personally.

He was in his room doing homework, I knocked, looking for his flag football clothes from the day before.  When I went in he was playing a freaking computer game.  Now I know of all the things I could have walked in on, this isn't the worst, but I was....so.....mad.

It was just so sneaky, so ridiculous.  I called my husband at work, I don't like to call him and complain, but I needed to vent.  It made me feel disrespected, and yeah, my feelings were hurt.

When I was 15 or so, I kept my room a horrible mess, so my dad took my door away.  I was, of course, mortified.  Every adult we knew thought it was genius.  I get it though, it's an"appreciate what you have " lesson. 

When I called my husband, he suggested we follow in my dad's footsteps, I only hesitated to take the door off because I feel like this is the kind of thing you can only do once and I am not yet at my breaking point.

So we've decided that he will have no free time this week.  There are plenty of things to do around the house, and he will be the one doing them.  Yes, I like things done a certain way, but that's not the point of this.  It's to have him appreciate the free time he does have and to learn that he actually has it pretty easy around here. 

I am always looking for ways to make the punishment fit the crime.  I struggle with it.  What do you  think? 

Parenting is hard! 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

If It Wasn't Screwed On...

So last week, I took my daughter to dance class.  Except dance class didn't start until this week.

So today, I told myself a million times that she had dance tonight.  Guess what?  I COMPLETELY FORGOT TO BRING HER!

Here's the thing, I can't accept that I just forgot and as a friend told me , she has a million more classes, it's not a big deal.  It's seriously bothering me.  It's like my brain completely betrayed me and I am in no mood to forgive it.

Now , in my defense, I had a very busy day.  I helped a good friend prepare for an upcoming yard sale.  I made it home just in time to get my daughter off the bus.  We did the usual after school stuff and I headed upstairs to shower and get ready for my daughter's open house.

We were eating dinner before heading out when my daughter suddenly said, "Oh! Dance."

It was almost as if I could not even comprehend what she was saying and then suddenly I yelled, "For the love of RayJay, I forgot to bring her to dance!"  (This is what I yell in frustration, I never watched the show with RayJay, you know the singer Brandi's brother, who had a reality show where ladies tried to date him?  No?  Haha..I don't blame you)

A quick look at the clock revealed that there was indeed 5 minutes left of dance, I had blown it.

Ugh, I hate that.  I am such a schedule freak.  My calendar is a color coded array of activities.  I am the one who keeps this machine running, I am the COO of this family. 

I am still so mad at my brain.  I plan on putting it in a time-out by watching some useless TV and perhaps enjoying an adult beverage.  Maybe killing a few brain cells (is that a true thing?)  will get the others to straighten up and fly right.


Tonight was The Middle School Open House.

It was my first time in my son's new school.  Our town built a new high school, so there were some school shifts that went on and the middle school is now in the old high school and houses 7th and 8th grade.

I will admit, I don't always look forward to these things.  Flashbacks of my own school days creep in and inevitably, I always feel like I'm not paying enough attention.

I do think that the staff at the school did a nice job with the Open House.  They used a new format and it was a little easier than last year's running around to every single class.

We managed to find our way to our son's Algebra class.  As we were seated and I looked around and was astounded by the beautiful handwriting on the white boards. I am a sucker for nice penmanship. 

The teacher then spoke to us.  I was mesmerized.  This man proceeded to tell us that he loves teaching.  He has been teaching for 11 years, he didn't start teaching until he was 56 years old.  He said that each year he teaches he loves it more and more.

He told us that he wants our children to have a successful year with Algebra.  He told us that in his classroom, no one will ever feel humiliated or singled out.  There will never be a stupid question.  He demands respect from the students towards him and to each other.  

This man comes from working in business for years and he actually provides the kids with notes.  He doesn't want them sitting in the class and taking notes, he wants them to all be able to go over them and have a discussion.  He informed our children that they are all responsible and mature eighth graders.

He does expect them to study the notes, he expects homework to be done every night, he gives lots of quizzes.   However, he only wants them to work on math homework for 30 minutes a night, if they can't finish everything in that amount of time, it's okay.  He wants them to come in and say , " I couldn't figure out problem number 10."  For him, it shows that they tried, and that's all he wants.  He tells them he gives them quizzes so he knows what they're understanding, he doesn't want them to stress out about it,  no one will fail his class.  They will work together and this class will be successful for them.

As my husband and I walked to a lecture hall where we would meet all of our sons team teachers, we both remarked how much we liked this guy.  We wondered if he was the kind of teacher parents love, but kids don't appreciate.  We decided to make sure to let our son know what a privilege it was for him to have this teacher.

My son's other teachers spoke to us and it wasn't as detailed a presentation as the Algebra one was, but all in all , I think he has a great bunch of teachers.  The Algebra teacher spoke once again and informed us, that being older, without little kids to run after, he is available for extra help 5 days a week.  He arrives at the school before the custodians do and he makes himself available for help every day.   He joked that he has nothing better to do, but I would wager, he's having the time of his life and loving every minute of it.  It is so refreshing.

On a side note, this teacher put 4 algebra problems on the board and labeled it "Homework for parents, Due Friday."  The parents sort of chuckled , and I jotted them down, for kicks.  Last night, my husband and I both agreed that we should in fact do the homework along with a note saying that we really enjoyed meeting him.  This man made me want to do Algebra, need I say more?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Kids-2, Sanity-0

If anyone was driving the streets of my town today and happened to pass me driving my kids to their soccer practices, they would have thought I was a lunatic.

I could not have made it any easier for my kids to be ready for soccer.  While they were at school, I got their clothes ready.  My daughter had an orthodontist appointment that I thought could take awhile so I wanted to make sure if we were running late we wouldn't be scrambling for shin guards and soccer shorts.

I called my son from the appointment to have him get water bottles and himself ready to go.  I also told him to make sure he had all of his stuff together.

My daughter and I arrived at home, hurried to get her changed , got cleats on and everyone was out the door.

The trick of today was that my kids had to be at 2 different soccer fields at opposite sides of town, at the same time.  Our town has asked that all sports conclude 1/2 hour before dusk because of the threat of the EEE virus.  Luckily, my husband would be home in time to help with pick up (again, same time, opposite sides of town and terrified if I'm late my kid gets bit by the deadly mosquito) but it was all me to get them to the fields.

My son is 13, so logically, I would drop him off first, with his cell phone , about 15 minutes early and then hoof it across town with my daughter.

Except he forgot his cell phone.  For the second time.  This is THE WHOLE REASON he has the cell phone. 

Lots of things were said in the car, lots of threats were made, and basically I said that he had 2 1/2 hours to get ready and it was unacceptable that he forgot his phone, especially since he had forgotten it the week before and I had already given him this lecture.

He has some apps on his phone and games and I told him that as soon as he gets home from school, we get the phone and he only gets it when he is at a practice.  I wanted to take it away completely, but the worrier in me won that argument.

Then, my daughter informs me that she forgot her water bottle.  Are you kidding me?  Is what I repeated over and over and over.  I was pretty much at my wits end when I got a call from my husband ,who had just arrived home and found my daughter's water bottle in the garage.  He was not frustrated by the children at all and happily offered to bring it to her.  I was ready to let her learn her lesson for remembering the ONE THING she had to bring, but who was I to stand in the way of Daddy to the rescue?

Then sitting on the soccer field, watching my daughter run around and even try her hand at being goalie, I was less and less annoyed and actually found myself smiling and realizing that even when my kids drive me absolutely nuts, I am a lucky, lucky lady and I wouldn't change a thing.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Everybody Wins!

My kids have declared that Fridays shall be pizza for dinner and Family Game Night.

Of all the things they demand of me, this one makes me the happiest.

My son is at an age where I am sure that he would much rather be hanging out with his friends.  My daughter is usually a bear by Friday night, she's been exhausted from school and we haven't even begun dance and soccer for her.

This gives us all something to look forward to at the end of the weary week.  We try and come up with a different pizza every week.  This week, thanks to a friend , we made a Hawaiian pizza.

It's really fun playing games with the kids.  We've decided that my daughter is old enough play older games now.  We've all had our fill of Candy Land and Chutes and Ladders.  We figured we could have teams or modify the rules a little, but it was time to use ALL those games we have.

The first week, we played  Pictureka and Hangman.  My daughter actually won Pictureka, so her confidence had a nice little boost.  We teamed up for Hangman and the boys won, thanks to words like Phalanx and Babies. (a reference to my daughter and I protesting the use of a gun name that we were totally unfamiliar with).

We have a tradition of writing the names of the winners in the game box top.  It is a very coveted honor, and I get such a kick at looking back at the winners.  Friends and family have all made it onto the box tops and when we open a game , you never know what memories of past games will come up.

This past week, we played Uno Attack.  This is a big favorite for us because you really get to trash talk.  Surprisingly, my daughter is really good at it.  My son attacks like a ninja, quiet and stealthy.  Ultimately my husband won, he's very crafty at card games, very hard to beat.

I could care less if I win, I really treasure these nights, and I love that my kids insisted on it.  It makes me feel like we're not doing so bad if they want to hang out with us.  Who knows how long it will last and I am happy to oblige as long as they want it.  Now, what kind of pizza to make this week?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sympathy For The Kings Horses And Men

I would rather try and put Humpty Dumpty back together again then continue one more day of putting my house back together after everyone leaves for school and work.

I feel like by the time I clean up after breakfast, make the beds and clean up any clutter from the night before, half my morning is gone.  I realize that my kids are old enough to do some of this themselves and they do on the weekends, but honestly I don't need another thing to delay them in the morning.  I am trying to keep the peace and not send them off to school thinking their mother is a screaming lunatic. 

Never mind the new daily tasks of figuring out what's for dinner,laundry and grocery shopping.

I think it's the repetition that gets to me, it's like "Groundhog Day" up in here.  It's also a bit of rebellion against the rigidity of the fall schedule, the care-free days of summer are over and I miss them. 

Now, to be honest, my schedule could use a little tightening up.  I'm pretty sure that cleaning when it's a commercial during "The Today Show", is not the most time efficient way to get things done.  I also tend to get a little distracted with Facebook.  I mean how can my day start without making sure I haven't missed someone's first day of school pictures?

"Now Jenn", you say, "Some people manage to do all of this AND work full time."

To that I say, "You're absolutely right and it takes a true friend to point out when you're making a big deal out of nothing, thanks."

Sooooo,  how about that weather?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

She's Crafty

I'm on a craft kick.

I think it's the time of year.  I feel like now that the kids are back in school, I have all this free time (which amazingly enough used to drag, but now seems to fly by!) and I can really get some projects done.

Luckily I have a friend who is as equally in love with crafts as I am, so we are planning on getting together once a week to work on whatever.

We decided to keep the planning to a minimum since you never quite know what you're going to be inspired by.  We are both Pinterest (seriously, they should pay me for all this free advertising) addicts and "the best craft idea ever" can change in the blink of an eye.

This week we did some sewing.  I had made an anniversary pillow out of some burlap I had purchased at a fabric store.  It seemed to be a big hit and I ended up with a few requests to make some more.  I finally got around to it today and can't wait to deliver the finished product to my friends.

My friend G had bought some drapes at our local flea market and wanted to cut and hem them to fit the windows in her house.

It was a lot of fun, we had the TV on one of our favorite shows, "Flipping Out" on Bravo.  We were cracking up, sewing, chatting about our lives during the commercials.

Sure enough, time flew by and we were off to get ready for our kids to come home and begin "real life " again.

I can't wait until next week!

Here are the pillows I finished today along with the one I made for myself.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Labor Of Love Day


Every ache aches.

Who knew marathon painting would be such a good workout?

Saturday we were busy.  My daughter had a playdate at the playground with a friend in the morning and my son went over to his friend's house in the afternoon for a birthday party.

Saturday afternoon, my parents came to our house and picked up the kids for a weekend sleepover.

My husband and I had decided earlier in the week that we would be painting the upstairs hallway.

In the interest of being honest, we haven't painted it since we moved in 7 years ago.  The urgency to paint it comes from my obsession with Pinterest.  I saw an idea of  hanging old frames up but removing the glass and replacing it with cork.  My kids have always loved having their artwork on display and this idea seemed genius for my household.  This way they can change it up and I love the idea of having a little museum in our home.

We live in a condo that has lots of continuing walls and open space, so we were lucky that we had already made the grueling color choice years ago when we painted our foyer which included part of our wall to the stairs.

We were unlucky in the fact that our color had been discontinued.  Luckily the associate at the paint store did a great job getting us the closest possible match.

When we went to pick up the paint we had a few minutes to look around.  That's when I started looking at swatches.  I found a color gray that I thought would look really great in my son's room.

The kids' rooms were the first thing we painted when we moved in.  For some crazy reason, we painted their rooms in a flat paint.  Something about the builder saying the house would settle, it would be easier to touch up, it was all hooey and the kids rooms are just completely marked up and in need of some eggshell paint.

A quick call to the boy to see if gray was still his favorite choice for his room, it was, so we told him that we would probably pick up the paint since they were offering a rebate and then at some point in the near future we would repaint his room.

Cut to finishing the hallway, having a few drinks to celebrate and deciding that we can indeed go ahead and surprise our son and paint his room for him.  This is why alcohol and paint fumes don't mix.

We managed to get through it.  I was only slightly panicked when I realized that we had packed our daughter's room with all the furniture from the hallway and her brother's room and that our kids would indeed, need to have access to their rooms in order to sleep and get ready for school and the week ahead.

A quick call to my parents begging them to bring the kids to us instead of us going to get them, every minute was precious and necessary, and we were in a race against time to get things done.  We managed to get enough done so that we could function and I now have the lovely task of getting the rest of it done today.

Let me say this, painting is hard work.  Every room that is painted in our house has been done by us.(the only exception being a wall that was repaired through our insurance company and repainted by painters)  I think in the back of my mind, it's going to be all overalls, painters hats and some sort of crazy paint fight. It's patching, sanding, taping , trimming and dismantling.  Despite my begging, my husband refuses to buy matching overalls and a paint fight?  That's just insanely messy and only  fun if I'm not the one who has to clean it up.  It is usually really fun and exciting adding the new color, but the second coat, come on, there's just no thrill in that.

      My vision of painting may or may not be influenced by this scene in "She's Having A Baby."

In the wind-up.  I am really glad we did it.  Everything hurts, I am so sore and exhausted and I feel bad that after two days away, my kids came home to tired and grumpy parents instead of refreshed ones.   Luckily a weekend of getting spoiled by my parents took the sting out of it.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Maybe I'm Crazy.,,

Today we went to the lake in town.

This is really what we pretty much do every day all summer long.

I honestly feel like it is my reward for getting through the school year and spring sports and all of the nonsense of scheduled life.

This year it is a little more challenging for us because if there isn't anyone for my 13 year old to hang out with, he is miserable.

My daughter on the other hand is in her prime for enjoying the lake.  She has tons of friends there and is so happy to splash around and hang out with them,

Today we arrived in the morning for the kids' lessons.  The lake opens up for swimming soon after. 

The plan was that one of my daughter's friends would come home with us for a sleepover.  My daughter had slept at her house last week and it was time to return the favor.

They have another friend that they play with and I was making arrangements to have a sleepover with her (the girls and their moms have been friends of mine for years) for later this week or next week when the girls decided that they all really really wanted to have a sleepover all together.

I was game.  Honestly, they're going to talk and giggle and I'll probably have to remind them a jillion times to get some sleep because they have lessons in the morning, but I figured if I was doing it , why not get it all done in one night instead of two nights and two mornings with a cranky mommy searching for a caffeine fix? 

The girls squealed with delight when all the moms agreed and the plan was set.

It was then I sensed some puppy dog eyes staring at me ....It was my son, giving me that, "If she's having people over...." look.

Why not, seriously after adding one extra kid, it hardly seemed like it would matter. 

So I have 5 kids in my house right now, but other than giggling and some running up and down the stairs , you really wouldn't know it. 

I love that even though it was last minute , as you all know , I'm a bit of a planner, we've managed.  I hope the kids have a blast and I hope they all get a decent nights sleep, but that's never really the point of the sleepover, is it?

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ridin' Along In My Automobile

I've discovered that there are things that my family will always do on a car trip.

- If there is a town that has the same name as a town near home, we always make a comment as if we've driven the wrong way, or that our destination was closer to home than we thought.  Clearly,it never gets old.

( For example- "Milford? Aww man, we're back in Massachusetts")

- Any town name that can be made into a song or silly word, will get the royal treatment from my husband and daughter who are excellent at making these up.

- We hunt license plates.  I was amazed we found 34 different ones!  32 of them states, one from Quebec and one from Washington D.C.  We even saw one from Alaska!

- At some point , someone will be ill.  In this case , my daughter threw up in the car.  I have to hand it to her though, she got everything into the jillions of bags I had , just in case and there was no mess.  She also did it while were were one mile away from a rest stop where we were able to get rid of everything and brush her teeth.

- We read signs, out loud.  I kind of assumed everyone did this until my sister got married and her husband pointed out that we all did this.  I don't know if it's so we remember different things, or it's just nice to see new signs, businesses, or beach house nicknames, but we all do it and it's a bit of a competition to see who can find the coolest one.

What do your families do while on the road?  We're always looking for new games to play or fun ideas!  Let me know, I'd love to hear them.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Woah, We're More Than Halfway There....

We finally got to the hotel.

We were all exhausted, but in pretty good moods.

We had picked a hotel with a pool, so that the kids would get a chance to do something after being cooped up in the car all day.

We thought picking a hotel with an indoor pool would be smart, that way in case it was raining, we could still swim.

Well, so did every other human in a 50 mile radius.

I get it, there wasn't a lot going on in the town we stayed in, so most of the people there had the same brilliant idea as us.

Everything in the pool area was wet.  Chairs, towels, even the walls, were soaked.

Kids were running around like maniacs, I remained calm, but couldn't help notice that the adult presence seemed a little low for how many kids there were.

Once we found a partially dry corner, we all went in the pool.  It was then I was able to see that there was a large group of kids there with one woman as their adult supervision.  Okay, that's fine.  Except, she couldn't have paid less attention to any of them.

I am all for kids letting off steam, I know that in a pool full of kids, you're going to get splashed and bumped into, but these kids were out of control.

They ran from the hot tub to the pool and back..jumping in each place without paying any attention to who they were jumping on, and just at the moment when I thought,"Okay, my nerves are shot, just calm down" , my husband looked at me and said, "Someone is going to get killed, who is watching them?"

Once my kids had had enough (we felt awful, they basically stayed in a shallow corner to avoid the madness) we attempted to dry off and head out for some dinner.

As we were leaving the pool area, all the other adults who belonged to the pack of wild ones, were coming into the pool area, with tons of alcohol.  Awesome, things would clearly get better.

Once back on our room we all decided we were much too tired to go and sit at a restaurant, so we ordered some take out , ate it in the room and soon after , went to bed.

Tomorrow we would head to our destination!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Scenes From A Road Trip

The following takes place on a very early summer morning , when a family of four jumped in their minivan and headed south...

5am- "Can we watch a movie?"
         "Sure, just use your headphones please."
         "Ummm, we didn't pack any."

Cut to me ripping through bags to find my husbands and my ear buds for our ipods, since it's way too early to pop into a Target or Walmart to grab some.  Oh lord, I hope that's all we forgot.

7am- Paid $3.99 for gas in New York.  Yikes!
- I love how we have a set of directions to help us bypass some of the busier parts of the trip, but we're still using our GPS.  Our poor GPS, who is a girl, has recalculated a jillion times and it's only 8am.  Also, even though we are the ones who are "disobeying" her, my husband still feels completely justified in arguing with her.

10:00- Hit bumper to bumper traffic as we enter Delaware. Boo.

Baltimore- This is where my husband and I threatened to take away every bit of electronics the kids brought if they could not be bothered to look at the scenery.  I think that's a lot of the beauty of a road trip, I love reading signs and coming across interesting things.  I also love how content my kids were because of the DVD's they could watch.  Also, I love that they watched "Clue" and "Annie", two childhood favorites of mine.

The Capital Beltway- Where exhaustion sets in as we sit in traffic. On to Richmond!

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD - WE WILL NEVER GET TO RICHMOND!!  Traffic sucks, oh and did I mention that something in/on/under my car is making a howling noise? **car stuff freaks me out**

The moment when I lost my cool- (a.k.a. How many people does it take to change a baby?)
We stopped off the highway to check on the car.  Our professional diagnosis being, we have no idea.

We all decided to stop at a McDonald's and use the restroom.

We step out of the car.  So hot.  Sweating, and we haven't even moved yet. 

There is a line for the bathroom, once you get in the bathroom there is another line.  There are TOO many people in this bathroom. 

My daughter and I are next.

Three, that's right I said THREE, adults come in the bathroom to change a baby.  The changing table isn't in a stall, it opens up into the already tiny bathroom waiting area.

My daughter and I have to move and now stand between the sink and a stall where a woman is trying to get out and has her adult diaper in her hand. ( Please don't think me insensitive, I was completely overwhelmed in the moment and I HAD TO PEE!!!)

I may have yelled, "THAT'S IT!" and pushed our way out of the bathroom.

My husband and son stood there with their oh so empty bladders as I yelled, " WE HAVE TO GO SOMEWHERE ELSE!" (Here is a dramatic representation of the event, I swear the bathroom was even smaller than depicted)

Luckily there was a Target across the street where we were able to use the bathrooms and score some cheapo lumbar pillows that saved the rest of the car trip.

We were thrilled that we had planned to stop at a hotel for the night and not drive straight through. 

More to come.....

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

In The Interest of Being Interesting

Hello out there!

I just thought I'd let you know that Two Penny Jenny is going to be taking a little vacation.  I don't know if I'll have any internet access (which may be a nice change of pace) and I didn't want to leave anyone hanging. 

I hope you are all having wonderful relaxing summer and I'm sure I will have many stories to tell when I return.

Friday, June 22, 2012

15 years

I cannot believe I have been married for 15 years.

There are so many highlights over the years , I thought I would try and name 15.

1. Taking a few minutes at our wedding to go off to a quiet corner and watch everyone having fun.  The day was so busy, hot, crazy, hot, and did I mention hot? It was so nice to see all the people that were there to celebrate with us.

2. The morning we found out I was pregnant with our son.  I was so excited, we carpooled to work then.  When we got to a 4 way stop, I , the passenger, waved the other cars to go ahead of us.  My husband informed me that as the driver, that he should be the one to do it.  I was just so happy , I wanted everyone to have a great day!

3. Taking our son home from the NICU.

4. Trying to get pregnant the second time around, giving up and getting the surprise of a lifetime and the missing piece to our puzzle, a little girl.

5. Our trip to Niagara Falls, our first trip without kids.  It may have cost us a fortune, but it was great and I'm so happy we were both thinking, "I can't wait to take the kids here." Which we still have to do by the way.

6. Singing in the car.  Any road trip, my husband is really good at keeping everyone's moods up.

7. Purchasing our condo.  We were so happy to be able to finally afford something in a town that we love.  It may not be much, but it's ours and we love it.  I am very proud of us for getting it.

8. Camping.  So happy we all did it for the first time together.  I love that its a new tradition for us and we have such a great time (minus the 10 minute "setting up the tent fight").

9. The time I thought I heard something go bump in the night, husband went to investigate, stepped on legos in the living room.  I heard him yell, so I assumed something was up, I started yelling, he thought something was up, there was a lot of confusion, and yelling, "What are you yelling for?  What are YOU yelling for?!" and it was followed by us laughing like lunatics for hours.

10. Merkle de Mayo, a fun tradition we've started.  Friends, tequila, beer and nachos.  I love when we work as a team and get to have a great time.

11.  Sitting at any sporting event for our kids together.  It's almost like a date.  Almost.

12. I would be remiss, if I didn't mention that a huge highlight for me has been the privilege of getting to stay home.  When I think of where we started and how hard we've worked and now how hard he works for us, I am very thankful.  I love my hard workin man.

13. The weekend we painted the kitchen and living room and had waaay too many margaritas!

14.  The way we've comforted each other through tough times.

15.  Getting to spend this weekend with you !!!!  (big thanks to Mom and Dad for taking the kids!)

We Are The Champions!

The day was hot.  Very, very hot.

The kids had their last day of school.  We had planned to go to the lake in town to cool off, but my son had a championship playoff game that night and he didn't want to be tired.

The one bummer of the day was that my husband had to take a very last minute business trip and was going to miss the game.  My husband was so disappointed and sad, sometimes it's hard to be a grown up.  ( He would also be away for our 15th anniversary the next day...booo)

It was really funny watching my son prepare for his game.  I have learned he's superstitious.  He didn't want any dinner before the game because he didn't have dinner before the previous playoff game.  I tried explaining that with a 7:00 start time, he may not be able to eat until very late.  He ignored me as he had he pre-game snack, wheat thins and peanut butter.

On the way to the previous game, his spirits were down because he was kind-of convinced that they wouldn't win.  I decided to change all the lyrics to the songs we were listening to so that they were all about his team winning.  Not my finest lyrical work, but it made the kids laugh (which may have had more to do with my lack of singing ability) and it was fun.

One of the songs we heard was "Come on Eileen". I LOVE this song, I never get tired of it.  So I changed the lyrics to "Come on (town name here), Oh I swear, you can win, You've got this, Oh come on (town name)".

On the way to the championship game, at almost exactly the same place we had heard it two days before, "Come on Eileen" came on the radio again!  My son turned to me and yelled, "You have to sing it again!"  I was not about to be the reason the team lost, so I obliged.

We played against another tough team, but we came out top!  We managed another shut-out against a very good team.  I called my husband when there was one out left and put him on speaker phone so he could hear all the chaos when we won.  It was great, not the same as being there, but great.

It's so nice to see a team come together.  A team of really hard working and nice 13-14 year olds.  The coach had really great things to say about them all and was rewarded with a cooler full of water over his head.  It was such a great night and wonderful memory for my son.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Speed Of Lightening...Roar Of thunder...Fighting All Who Rob Or Plunder


Last night, my son had a playoff game for baseball.

According to the gossip on the field, my understanding was that out of 8 teams, 4 made the playoffs.  I am thankful to anyone who could make sense of this crazy season.  There were so many missed games due to the rain.  So, of the 4 teams, our team was in 4th place, we were set to play against the 1st place team.

I had sat through two games where we had played against this team and they had clobbered us.  One score I remember was 18-3.

When planning the week ahead, I will admit, I assumed that we would be done with baseball last night.

I've never been more excited to be wrong.

I dropped my son off at the field, went with my daughter to grab a coffee and returned in time for when the game started.  As I was getting my chair, my daughter's blanket and her backpack stuffed with everything imaginable to keep her busy during the game, I heard some cheering from the field.

I was happy to hear that our team had scored a run.  Soon enough we settled in and our team was up another run.

Some other parents started to arrive and were wondering if we were losing by much.  They were as happy as I was to hear that we were winning!

All of the boys played well.  On a personal note, my son, who has been average all year, managed to make two phenomenal plays.  One being an outfield catch and another outfield catch followed by a throw to first for an awesome double play. 

It's so fun to see him have some moments of pride.  He may not be the most talented kid out there, but he shows up and has a good attitude and I think(being his mom , I am completely biased) he deserves some moments of glory.

I can't wait to see what happens in the championship game this week.  No matter what , these boys have really come together and I am so proud of what they've accomplished.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Why Do They Call It Softball?

So last night we made our second trip to the emergency room with our daughter.

Our first was about a year ago when her finger was slammed in her brother's bedroom door.

Last night, my daughter had her last softball game to be followed by an awards ceremony.  My son was at another field in town with his own baseball game.

We had decided that since this season has been so scattered with the rain, my husband and I would both attend our daughter's event since my son still has baseball for awhile.

My parents came to join in the fun and I had the video camera ready to go.

She was really having an amazing game, a couple of nice hits and she was able to play 1st base (her favorite).  She was so happy we were all there to see it.

Then sadly, a throw came to first base and we all thought she may have actually caught it, but soon realized she got hit. 

I saw her coaches go running, I turned to my husband and said, "Go."  This is because he is faster than me and I needed someone there fast.

As she walked across the field, her face just began to swell, then I saw dark blue almost immediately.  I really thought we'd throw some ice on it and she'd be back out there, but the more I looked at it, the more concerned I was getting, it was so huge!

I told my husband I was ready to panic and take her somewhere and that he needed to talk me down.  Another parent showed concern at how fast it was swelling and my husband looked at me and said, "Go, I'll pack up the stuff and meet you there."

I am a little ashamed to say that it took my mother saying, " We'll go to J's game and meet you at home later" for me to even remember I had a son!  I was panicking like no body's business.

I was a storm of emotion on the inside, but held it together until I hit a particularly long red light, where I did a little bargaining for my daughter's health.

When we arrived at the emergency room, it occurred to me I had never been there before by myself  and I wasn't quite sure what to do with my car.  I am very thankful for the valet attendant who took care of it all, for a $5.00 charge of course, but it was so worth it as I fumbled with locks and windows and general confusion.

Everyone at the emergency room was amazing.  The hospital closest to us is a teaching hospital and I am always a little nervous, but both doctors we dealt with were spot on.

The concern was of course, a broken cheek bone.  Nothing about her injury indicated that was the case, but the only way to be sure was to do a CT scan, and that brought up a whole host of other worries, like radiating my child's developing brain and such.

We decided, as the kindly Dr. Murphy assured us this is exactly what he would do with his own grandchild, to wait and see if it got worse before we proceeded with the scan.

We finally arrived home, where I was so touched by receiving a call from her coach, a teammate's mom (whose daughter threw the ball and is my daughter's friend and was very upset about it.  I felt awful, I hadn't even realized who threw it and I assured her that my daughter was fine, and it was of course, and accident, they were sweet enough to grab my daughter's trophy and are headed over this afternoon so they can see her) and the commissioner of the softball league.

In all of this, the thing she is most delighted about is that she was supposed to get her palette expander put in tomorrow morning, but we are postponing that until she is cleared by the doctor and healed up.  Love that she found the silver (literally!) lining.