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Monday, April 30, 2012

Where Did I Put That Bubble?

I never know what my kids really hear when I tell them things that I think are important. 

Recently, "Dateline" has had a series on called "My Kid Would Never Do That".  I saw a brief description of one on "The Today Show" and I set the DVR to record the series.

So far, there have been three of these, and we've seen two.  My husband and I are now dealing with LOTS of questions.

The first one was about stranger danger and this is the one that caught my eye.  They showed controlled experiments with hidden cameras.  The parents were watching the whole time.  The producers lured kids with an ice cream truck and the driver offering a tour of the truck and free ice cream.  It was absolutely terrifying how many kids got in the truck and took ice cream.

I thought it was important for all of us to watch this together, so that as situations occur in our lives, we would have these examples to reference and my kids will have a clear picture of what we're talking about.

I will admit , I kind of wanted to scare them.  I want them to know that it's completely okay to walk away from a stranger, to not worry about hurting their feelings, that's for me and their dad to sort out. 

What I didn't expect was for my daughter to be traumatized.  Some of the series is a little old for her, in my opinion, but then "they" (man, would I love to meet "they" someday) say, "It's never too early" to talk to your kids about these things.

My son is sensible, but I also think he can be innocent and naive.  He's a helpful kid and doesn't want to be rude, so I do worry that he'd be the kid helping to look for a "lost puppy" or walking up to a car to give directions.  I think the show was a real eye opener for him and helped to give him tools to be safe and smart.

My daughter however, cried , every time a kid got in the ice cream truck, or gave their name and address to an actor pretending to be a photographer with a casting agency, she was devastated.  I kept reminding her that these kids were safe, but she's a smarty, she knows that these kids wouldn't have been safe in real life and she was so worried for them.

The last one we watched was on whether teens would get into a car with someone who may be under the influence.  Sadly, most kids did.  Again, safe, controlled experiments, and absolutely heartbreaking for their parents (and me) to watch.  This seemed like a great way to start some dialogue with my son about drinking and driving, texting and driving, and making good decisions about who get in a car with. 

It seemed like every parent on there said, "We've talked about this, he/she knows they're not allowed to use their phone when they drive."  Sadly, most kids did. 

Again, I thought this may be a little old for my daughter to grasp, but she really wanted to be included in this.  (She HATES being left out of anything if the reason is that she's too little..a whole other blog entry entirely)  Once again, hysterical crying.  The thought of someone being a passenger in a car where someone else who was impaired was driving terrified her.  She kept saying, "It wasn't their choice!" 

We tried to explain that it was their choice and that if they knew the person driving wasn't okay to drive, they should not get in the car and that her dad and I are a phone call away should she ever be in that position.

We've been fielding a lot of questions about these things lately, a lot of "what-if" scenarios.  It's hard. It's so freaking hard.  At times I am overwhelmed by it all, but I want so badly for my kids to be as safe as they can.  I don't expect them to live in a bubble, I know that's not realistic. (Though it would make a lovely Mother's Day gift)  I'm happy this show has given us a way to talk about it all , I am especially happy that the next one we'll watch is about cheating. 

Don't get me wrong, cheating is bad, but I need a break from the thought of my kids being in physical danger or disappearing from my life.  I think they might need a little break too.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

So Fairy Special

You may recall that I recently kept my mom's African Violet  on life support for a few weeks while she was away.   I'm happy to report that it left my house in stable condition.

Inspired, I went and bought a few pansy's to put outside and my daughter helped me plant them in some urns we have on our front steps.

We got to thinking how we liked planting them and how we'd love to do more.  Living in a condo has the blessings of never having to do yard work, but it also means we can't really make a garden or plant a few things ever.

We started brainstorming and with spring vacation approaching, we came up with the idea of planting a fairy garden on our back deck.  We decided we would get a container and create some magic.

I couldn't have imagined how much fun we were going to have doing this project together.  Anytime we were out over the week, we would pick up little things that we thought would be cute to add to the garden.  By the end of the week we had an adorable little collection of crafts and knick-knacks.

My daughter got right to work, painting a few things we had picked up, I was so impressed with her creativity.  

A small Adirondack chair for the fairies to rest their weary wings on.
 




 A small house to catch a few Zzzzz's

Some wooden tulips for decoration (and in case our real flowers don't make it)  My husband thought they were piggy heads :)

 Some of the things we gathered over the week, nothing cost more than a few dollars.

 The little artist , hard at work.

 Step one. Plant one adorable child.  We got this big container at Wal-mart, it looks ceramic, but its made of plastic.  My husband drilled a few holes in the bottom for drainage.  Look at me, talking like a plant person.

 Some soil, I totally underestimated how much it would take to fill this thing, there were a few trips to the store.

 Starting to place all our treasures..so exciting!


 A lovely stone path leading up to the house, complete with a welcome sign.


 An aerial view.  The plant next to the blue mushroom is a strawberry plant, can't wait to see if we get a few berries.  Next to the house is a solar stake, so the fairies can see at night.

 Little ladybugs, because according to my daughter, they are good friends with fairies.


 I love the way she painted the chair, it's so colorful!


My proud little gardener! 


The best part was really the next morning when she checked on the garden and yelled, "THEY CAME!!!"

She knew this because one of the leaves on the strawberry plant had moved.  (Never mind that the pinwheel in the garden was spinning madly, fairies moved that leaf, NOT the wind)

She was so excited, I didn't really know what the outcome of planting this garden would be , I hadn't planned on it becoming something so real for her, but I love it.  I love the time we spent together making it, I love that we'll both be working to keep the plants in it alive and I hope it becomes as sweet a memory for her as it is for me.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Where Everybody Knows Your Name, But Not What You Want For Christmas

Among many other things, I used to be a waitress.  My best friend had helped me get a job at a small Italian restaurant.  I worked a few nights here and there, but I mostly worked in the morning on weekends when they served breakfast.

I loved my breakfast crowd (for the most part).  A lot of people that came in were "regulars" as we say in the biz.  There was a man named Harold that I had such a soft spot for.  Harold came in on both Saturdays and Sundays.  On Sundays he came in before church and after.  I sometimes wondered if Harold ever actually cooked because he was in so often.  He was a quirky old man.  He liked things "just-so" and usually had some interesting fact or story to share with me when things were slow.  He always sat at the counter unless a bunch of people came in after church, he usually had someone invite him over to sit with them. 

Some days  he would be more quiet and introverted and order things like a banana cut up in milk.  I wanted to say, "Seriously, you can do that at home for practically pennies!" I don't think it was ever about the cost for Harold, I think it was about the company.  I had heard that he may have been a brainiac over at IBM years ago, but I never really knew much about him.  I still think of him from time to time and chuckle when I think about the few times they got his order wrong and how flustered he would get, but wouldn't want to be a bother.  Luckily, I could tell he was flustered and I would usually fix the problem.

Another great character was one of our chefs, Elvis.  Elvis was larger than life, loud and just arrogant enough to run the kitchen.  One Sunday, we had a large party coming in for an early Sunday dinner.  It had been slow all morning and I'm not going to lie, we had pretty much been goofing off all morning.  The owners were out until the afternoon, so we had the run of the place.

When the party came in , my order pad was too small to write all the orders, so I thought I'd be smart and section them off and number them so Elvis would be able to differentiate the orders.  Here is an artist's rendering of what the ticket may have looked like.


I got busy getting rolls and making salads.  A call from the owners came in saying they would be returning within the hour.  Everything was going well. 

Elvis called out that my order was up.  I walked over to the counter and that's when the horror set in.  All of this food started coming out of the kitchen, he had thought I meant that they wanted ONE sausage calzone, TWO fettuccine alfredos, THREE chicken parmesans...UH OH!!

He immediately saw the look of panic on my face and he yelled, "OH NO , you numbered them...why did you number them!!??"

The good news was, we had everyone's food, the bad news was , we had a lot of extra and the owners were on their way back.

I grabbed the correct orders while Elvis orchestrated the kitchen help into grabbing take-out containers and getting the other food packed up.  We then all split it up amongst ourselves and gave one of the dishwashers the keys to our cars.  Not a super proud moment for us, but we thought better than the wrath of the owners.  We all worked a extra hard the rest of the day to try and make up for it and I never wrote an order out like that again.

During the holiday season, we all decided to do a Secret Santa gift exchange.  It was my last shift before Christmas and I hadn't gotten anything yet, but I wasn't worried since I didn't even know the person I had drawn since she worked nights.  I figured I would get something eventually.  I was just about to leave when one of the dishwashers, Juan, the sweetest quietest guy, handed me a big box.  "For you"  he said.  He didn't speak much English.  I said , "Oh, thank you, is it from you?"  He just sort of nodded over and over and Elvis finally chimed in saying that Jose was my Secret Santa.

I went to open it, but Jose shook his head and said, "No, no...open at home."  "Okay," I thought.  As I was getting in my car Elvis came out.  "What did you get?  Do you think it's a VCR or a DVD player?"  I thought this was unlikely even though it was that shape and weight of a box.  "Elvis we had a $20.00 limit, I don't think so."

Still as I drove home, I was wondering what it could be.

I couldn't have even imagined.....(this is not the actual item, but the closest replica I could find on the internet...mine had a lovely stripe of blue in it)






That's right people, my "could it be a dvd player?"  was a giant glass sailfish.  I mean what 21 year old girl still living with her parents doesn't want one? 

My parents were in awe.  Everyone I knew was wondering why.  It was so heavy and sharp, I could have probably murdered someone with it.  Still, it was such a unique idea from a mild mannered sweetheart, I held onto it for a few years just in case I won the lottery and built a beach house.  I would need a tasteful way to kill intruders. 

When I returned to work, I thanked Jose and disappointed Elvis when I told him what was in the magical box.

I will forever be grateful for these characters in my life story.


It's Magic

Growing up I was surrounded by cousins.  On my mom's side , there are 14 of us.  On my dad's side there are 7. 

When we were little we got together for birthdays and picnics and vacations.  As we got older it was graduations, weddings and holidays.

I'd like to think that I have a special memory with each and every one of my cousins. 

We used to go to Maine every summer with my dad's side of the family.  We all went to Sebago Lake and I have so many great memories of jumping on a giant tube called "The Fat Fanny Tube" and walking of to the general store and getting candy.  Perfect childhood memories, I am so grateful to my parents and my aunts and uncles for giving us those memories.

On my mom's side , our ages have a range of about 30 years, so I have more individual memories with my cousins.  There were babysitting adventures, trips halfway across the country, countless older cousins vs. little cousins battles, and we all have the memories of being told to put our coats on because it was time to go and sweating at the door while our parents got involved in conversation.

My cousin J has a daughter that is only a few months younger than my daughter.  They live in CT, about an hour away from us, so we don't get to see them that often.  The girls have always been drawn to each other, but now that they're older, they are inseparable when they see each other.

It usually happens that they see each other twice a year.  My family holds an annual golf tournament in November. (We're Canadian, Canucks, we play in the cold).  On that day my daughter (K) and my cousins daughter (M) spend the day with The Grandmas (my mom and M's grandma are sisters).  They always have a wonderful time and meet up with us after for pizza. 

Then a few months later, we get together for our Christmas party and the girls are off on the corner, talking, sharing secrets and sneaking treats for the entire day.

After this last year's Christmas party, it was decided by K and M that seeing each other twice a year was unacceptable.  We all agreed.

We scheduled a sleepover.  K went to M's house for a weekend in March.  K's mom described the girls together as "magic". 

Over Spring Vacation, M came up to our house for a sleepover.  It was truly magical.  These girls have such an amazing love for each other.  We had such a great visit.  The girls had very similar dresses for Easter, so I took them to Target and had their pictures taken.  They were so adorable, I can't wait to pick up the portraits on Friday.  After that we had lunch at Friendly's (while we still can) and then spent the afternoon at K's school's playground which was completely empty.  They were so thrilled to have the place to themselves.

I'm so happy to see the cousin love continue with the next generation and I hope K and M continue to have this special relationship as the years go on.  It really is magic.

 The morning after the sleep-over, they actually got a great amount of sleep, but still needed to warm-up with some cartoons before starting the day.

 "Coffee" for breakfast, they thought juice in the coffee mugs was hilarious!


 Playing Barbie Dream House, love the look on M's face...such love!


 Well deserved ice cream after all their hard work at the photo shoot.


This is apparently how fashion models walk.


 More modeling.
 K on the monkey bars, she has been trying to conquer these for years, she now flies across them, love her determination.


Pretty, pretty M, cheering K on.


M couldn't believe how steep this slide was.  They bravely went down together.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Bragatha Bigmouth

This is one of those blogs that I debated publishing.

Then I remembered that this is my blog and I'm supposed to be able to say whatever I want here, so there.

There is a certain kind of parent that drives me insane.  It's the parent who feels the need to let me know how amazing they are, how amazing their kid is and how amazing every little thing they do is.  I don't mean parents who say nice things about their kids, or share their accomplishments.  It's the parent who needs to make it very clear to me that their kid is the best.

"Now, Jenn.." you may say. "Don't you often tell us how great your kids are?"  Why yes, dear reader, I do, they are great.  (And way to call me out on that, it keeps me humble)  They are also not perfect and I will be the first to tell you that as well.

Everyone thinks their kids are good at what they do.  That's fine.  Cheer for a goal, encourage them to be better, practice harder.  Support them when they find something they're really good at it, get a poster sized picture of them and hang it over your fireplace, you gave birth to that, you helped create the magic, enjoy it!

However, why oh why do you feel the need to tell me how your kid is the best?  Do you think I won't be offended?  You are basically saying your kid is better than mine and any one else's on the team.  It's just thoughtless really.

I realize that this kind of parent pushing my buttons is probably more about my issues than theirs, but sometimes a girl needs to vent.  I know that I am very sensitive about offending people, so this is why I get so easily offended.

When my hubby and I were dating, I remember being at a video store (remember those?) and him looking at a particular movie and saying (in his normal voice, which is LOUD) "Who would rent that, it's awful!"  I was mortified.  What if someone was about to rent that?  He would have just made them feel like a moron.  These are the things I worry about.

I've learned a little, with time, that what people think about the people I'm with, isn't my problem.  If someone thinks my husband is an movie snob, that doesn't mean I am.  I am just a born protector of people's feelings.

My kids have gotten hurt , or had bad days, but if someone hurts their feelings, it just rips my heart open, it's just the way I'm wired.

So Bragatha Bigmouth, I may have to suffer sitting through a few sporting seasons with you, but I will do my best to realize that your issues are not my issues and I will be trying to park my chair far, far away from you.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Such A Great Grandma

The kids and I got up early yesterday and headed south to Connecticut to visit my Grandma.

It was so cute that they both dressed up a little, it's as if they know going to see Grandma is a big deal.

My grandma was waiting at the door for us.  She gets so excited when anyone visits.  My son headed straight for his favorite chair.  It was my Papa's.  It does just about everything, it moves, helps you stand up and even gives you a massage.  I will not lie.  I teared up a little.

Even though more than a year has passed, I still miss seeing my Papa sitting in that chair.  I also miss the way his face used to light up a little when the kids walked in.

Once again, I came to her house bearing old photo albums that I've fixed up and I eagerly awaited all the stories that she'd be sharing over the next few hours.  She did not disappoint.  We had such a great rhythm.  She would look at the photos, try and remember who was in them and usually every 5th photo or so , she would lean back on the couch and say, "Oh, that's a good story, do you want to hear it?"  My reply every single time was, "Absolutely."

We took a break and went out for lunch.  I would love to treat my Grandma out to lunch, but short of throwing her purse in a river, she will not allow it.

After lunch she wanted to show us some of the things she had been talking about, like jewelry my Papa got her or souvenirs that he had brought back from trips.  ( I was cursing myself for forgetting my camera)  Then she went to her closet where she keeps her.....furs.  Now say what you want about a fur, I don't want this to get political, but my Grandma lived in Canada, in a different time, where instead of saving up for your first car, you saved up for your first fur.

She let my daughter try on her short fur coat and her hats.  I dare say, my daughter loved them.  I managed to get a picture on my phone.

I'm always a little sad when we have to leave Grandma's house and head home, but both kids had baseball/softball practice, so home we went.

It was a great night to spend at the fields.  My daughter is loving softball, which makes me so happy because she was so upset in the fall when we had to cut back on a dance class to accommodate the softball schedule. It's nice that this year it's coach pitch and she cannot wait to hit that ball.  I am looking forward to a great season. 

We had to divide and conquer last night since both kids have practice/games on the same night at the same time.  I'm not quite sure how I will handle this when my husband has travel, I guess I better get started on that cloning machine.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Zzzzzzz......

I sat at my computer to write about this wonderful day and my eyes literally slammed shut.  That's the thing about wonderful days, they're so full of fun and emotion, they're EXHAUSTING.

I'll be writing in the morning after I hopefully get to sleep past 7am.  I have set out cereal for my daughter who is STARVING the minute she wakes up and I have told her she can watch cartoons until her brains fall out. 

Yeah, so put away your applications for "Mom of the Year"  I've clearly got this in the bag ;)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Good Times

This past weekend was so nice.

My parents , who have been away for a few weeks, came and took the kids to the movies.  My mom and daughter went to see "Mirror, Mirror" and my dad and my son went to see "The Three Stooges".  I thought it was cute that they split up and had some one on one time with the kids.  After that they all went out to dinner.

Which meant that The Husband and I had....gasp!....free time!  I love how anytime we're faced with some free time we panic.  Do we run errands?  It's so much easier without the kids complaining.  Do we do something fun?  Dinner?  Movie?  What the heck did we do before we had kids?

We decided to try and squeeze in a little of both.  We went to buy a new umbrella for our patio set.  We decided to just go to Ocean State Job Lot, since we only seem to get 2 years out of an umbrella.  We've had expensive ones and cheap ones and it doesn't seem to matter.  Wind took one, sun damage another. 

Then we headed out to a diner we had seen on The Phantom Gourmet and had talked about going to  for a long time, but never seemed to get there.  When we pulled in, it looked as if there were no cars there, so we wondered if we had made a poor choice.  We were seated and almost immediately a bunch of other people arrived and soon the place was full.  It seemed we just had wonderful timing.

The food was really good and it was so nice to just sit and talk and splurge on a root beer float and a coffee milkshake.  We couldn't believe when the bill came and it cost us just $20.00 including the tip! 

We will definitely be going back, but will we bring the kids to our happy place?  That remains to be seen.

On Sunday we decided to clean out the garage.  Our garage is only one car and very small, we don't park in it. Ever.  It's full of the kids' stuff.  Bikes, sleds, a giant portable basketball hoop.  We also take our shoes off in the garage and even though I have 3, count em, 3 shoe racks, they inevitably end up in a giant shoe pile that I curse daily as I am going in and out of the house.

So, we tried on shoes, cleaned up, swept and donated a lot of stuff that the kids have outgrown.

The Husband went to work today and told me that when people asked him how his weekend was he replied, "It was great, we cleaned out the garage"  After a few looks, he then realized he sounded much like Will Ferrell's character in "Old School".  Poor guy, welcome to your life.

Hope you all had a wonderful weekend and are handling the heat today!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Spring Fever

Flashback Friday is being replaced by Fever Friday this week.  (And apparantly on Saturday, as I just realized I never published this yesterday)

My son came home Thursday and was unusually not STARVING when he got home.  I assumed he'd grab something in a little while. He headed up to his room to do some homework.

My daughter got home about an hour later and after a phone call and getting dinner ready, she and I were headed out to her dance class.  I yelled upstairs to let him know we were leaving.

The poor thing came down looking like he'd been hibernating for the winter.  He told me he'd fallen asleep.  A quick hug and I knew he had a fever.  After taking his temp, it was 102.

I gave him some Advil and had him rest on the couch until we got back.  ( in case any grandparents are reading this, her class is only a 1/2 hour long and 5 minutes away)

So, he was able to squeeze on extra day out of Spring Break, I kept him home Friday.  He was still battling the fever and didn't have an appetite at all.

He decided to spend a good part of the day in my room, resting and watching TV.  I kept popping in to check on him, or do some cleaning.  I thought it was so cute how sometimes I would walk in and he would be engrossed in something on The History Channel and the next time, he would be watching The Smurfs.

It's kind of a perfect example of how he is at 13.  He's still so innocent and yet so mature.  He's more than happy to sit and play Chutes and Ladders with his little sister, but loves challenging me to a game of Scrabble.

He loves all those awful video games where he and his friends go on shooting missions ( something I've just given into recently , he knows that if at any point he is inappropriate or violent it all goes away) but sat last night with his sister watching old "Leave it to Beaver" episodes on Netflix with his sister , laughing like a maniac.

I really love him at this age, it's like witnessing the crossover of him becoming a young man.  He really is a great kid and I consider myself so very lucky, but also allow myself some pride that it didn't happen completely by accident.

It also helps that no matter how big he's gotten, when the fever hits, he wants his mommy.


***UPDATE***  He's a whole new kid today, and for those of you keeping track, I never found the freaking underwear, it's driving me nuts.  I just bought new ones, so I should find them any minute.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Case Of The Missing Underwear

I've been doing really well with my cleaning schedule.  It's nothing normal people would celebrate, but I am shouting from the rooftops. " You can come in my house, it's CLEAN!!"

Recently, my husband was informed of a last minute business trip.  The conversation went like this..
Him: (calling from work) "Hey, I have a meeting in 2 days"
Me: "Okay, is it a late meeting?"
Him: "No, it's in Chicago"

That afternoon, I reverted to my old panicky ways, asking him what he needed laundered for his trip.  I was delighted when I realized that everything was clean!  Wohoo, yay me!!

The next morning, my husband was working from home, he had a few phone meetings before he was getting picked up to go to the airport.  I was getting the kids ready for school when I heard the washing machine running.

I asked what he was washing and he said he needed underwear.  Thus began THE CASE OF THE MISSING UNDERWEAR (duh duh duh)  Let me explain.  There were a few things in our hamper, including a few pairs of his underwear.  All the clean clothes were put away, and yet besides the few pairs that he had in his drawer, there were no underwear to be found.

The obvious conclusion was that my son, who doesn't , at 13, always pay attention to what he's doing, probably took them and put them away with his stuff.  No luck there.  I thought perhaps I put them away in my drawer.  We have a closet organizer and our drawers are on top of each other, so they must be there!  Nope.

I have yet to find them.  I am assuming that I must have had them in my hand , gotten distracted and they are somewhere that makes no sense.  Well, that or The Underpants Gnomes from South Park ARE real.  It's a tough call.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

ThoughtFULL

My husband is not very good at making grand gestures.

I will admit that at times it can be a little frustrating, in the past he's flubbed a few holidays and birthdays.  On Valentine's Day a few years ago, we decided instead of presents we would do something thoughtful for each other.

I spent an entire week sneaking down to the basement where I cleaned and organized all of his tools.  Some of them were full of grease from a job he had over 10 years ago.  It was definitely a labor of love.  I was so excited for my husband to get home from work so I could show him what I did.

When he arrived at home, changed and was about to get comfy I asked him to go to the basement and get me a screwdriver for something.

He came back upstairs and was so happy about what I had done, then he said, "What's the occasion?"  I knew in that moment that he had forgotten. He really did feel terrible, and after my initial reaction, it wasn't the biggest deal in the world.

You see, he's really good at doing small things that let me know he's thinking about me. 

I keep track of expenses in our house.  We use our debit card a lot, so I go on-line every couple of days to track any purchases. 

When my husband gets gas, he always tries to get a number like $33.33 or $44.44, it's his way of saying, "hi" to me when I'm sitting down to pay bills or balance the checkbook.

He also always gives me his cool pens and notebooks he gets from work.  I cannot express how happy a pen and notebook can make me.  I have such a love for office supplies, he knows this about me and indulges this crazy love of mine.

He always seems to know when I've had it.  Whether its when I'm sick, or had a particularly trying day with the kids or something else, he immediately jumps in and takes over.  Sometimes I just look at him and say, " I need to tag out" and that's all he needs.  I am free to go read or sleep or watch that terrible tv I love so much.

Though every girl loves a grand gesture from time to time, I am so thankful for the small things he does that lets me know he's thinking of me.

Easter

We had a really great Easter weekend.

It started with going to an art show.  Our area holds a show that features art from kids in kindergarten though 8th grade and one of my daughters painting from her art class was chosen.  She was so excited to get dressed up and show us her painting. 

There were a ton of people there and it was difficult to find her picture, but we found it and it was so cute, she used a lot of detail and she was so very proud.





Then, my daughter, a connoisseur of snack food, saw a recipe on the back of a graham cracker box and decided it looked amazing.  Easter was the perfect opportunity for her to make it.

I wish I had a picture of her face when I told her she could make it all by herself.  The only parts I helped with were adding the boiling water to the gelatin and putting the mix into the pan.  She was so proud of herself.

I'll be honest, I wasn't holding out much hope that this would be an amazing dessert, but it was pretty good.  It was light and fluffy and refreshing after our big Easter dinner.  It was also very pretty.


We spent the day at my in-laws and got a chance to hang out with my newest nephew, he is so adorable, I just want to gobble him up.


I thought that my own kids cleaned up pretty nice too. 

I hope you all had a nice Easter!!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Puppy Love

One day, I think it was in the summer, my parents told us we were going to Riverside Park.  We were so excited and it was so unexpected,  we usually knew when we had something planned.

We ended up at a house.  I am guessing that my parents wanted to give us a destination that was far enough away that we wouldn't ask a million questions as to where we were going.

In the backyard was the most amazing thing we had ever seen....puppies!!

English Springer Spaniels, so tiny and adorable.  We picked out our puppy, we liked that her head had brown patches with a white stripe down the middle.  She would be home with us in a little while and we went out for pizza after to decide on her name.

Even with our excitement , I still remember my sister and I thinking, "So are we still going to Riverside, could this be the GREATEST day of our lives?"  We weren't, but that was just fine.

My sister and I liked the name Samantha, it sounded so fancy to us.  My mom, who I think had given us pretty normal names said she had always liked the name Kyran.  We didn't like it at first, but before she came home, it was her name.

Kyran was a great dog.  She was so obedient, except when it came to being outside.  Outside, all bets were off.  She could not be off of a leash or off of her run or she just took off.  She just loved to take off, sometimes she'd come home filthy or sometimes even with a dead bird.  She was mischief in the wild outdoors.

On one of her adventures, someone picked her up in their car and brought her home.  It wasn't her home though, unknown to us, Kyran's brother, Charlie lived just a few miles away from us.

Inside, she was completely different.  My dad had her trained to stay out of a few rooms.  She listened for the most part.  Sometimes, in our first house, we would pull up the driveway and would see her standing in the front bay window, in the living room, where she wasn't allowed.  Magically, when we came inside, she'd be laying in another room, breathing a little heavy.

When she got older, and sick, she finally decided that she wasn't going to stand for us bring in a room she wasn't allowed in.  One day , we were all sitting in our living room ( we didn't use it much, we also had a family room) and she just walked in.  My dad said, "What are you doing in here!" and Kyran just growled, looked at him and hobbled to a spot to lay down.  My dad let it go.

Losing Kyran was awful, we tried everything to make her well, but in the end we did what was best for her.

I still miss how she would come running when you would open a food wrapper.  I miss how her and I would chase each other around the house.  I miss how if her dog food had peas in it, she would gobble it down and then methodically spit out the peas.  I love all the nicknames we gave her, Ky, Kyran B Anthony, Kyran Samantha.

I miss you girl!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

If Loving You Is Wrong...

I love TV.

I really really love it.

I don't get much occasion to sit and watch hours of it, but catch me on a rainy weekend and I will get caught up in some 9-hour Teen Mom Marathon and I won't regret a second of it.

I'd like to think that I watch a good amount of what people would call "critically acclaimed" shows, enough to give me some credibility for having a good sense of humor and some intellect. "Mad Men", "Parks and Recreation" and "Downton Abbey" are all smart, intelligent and well crafted series, I appreciate all the hard work that goes into them.  However......

If you really want to know the truth  , I LOVE terrible TV.

There are shows I watch (or rather, record, since I can't seem to remember when anything is on, ever) that are just pure trash.  They offer nothing other than the chance for one hour to not have to worry about being a wife or mother, I just need to figure out if those crazy Manhattan elite are ever going to get their acts together, and would Chuck and Blair just work as a couple already?

There are shows I watch just to make me feel better about myself.  I'm talking to you "Dance Moms" and "Bridezillas".  I am amazed at how truly awful these people are, and though I probably shouldn't condone their behavior by watching, if I come across them in my channel flipping, I am hard-pressed to turn away.  Seriously, that Abby Lee Dance Company is the place where happy childhoods go to die.  I can't believe those people put up with her crap day after day. Psycho!

I love watching snippy people fix other people's lives.  Jeff Lewis, I love you.  Tabitha taking over things is pure gold.  I am someone who has a very hard time saying "no" and I love that these people have such confidence and just tell people what's what. 

My biggest guilty pleasure is any of the so called "Real" Housewives.  These people are so beyond "real" (and I'm not just talking about the plastic surgery) it's hilarious.  I take most reality TV with a grain of salt because it's hard to think that they just happened to capture you walking into a friend's house when there's already 7 cameras taking 7 different shots of you walking in, but it's so bad it's good.  I can't even really justify why I love it, it's just mindless and catty and almost like a modern day soap opera with bigger boobs and lots of drinking.

This may make it seem like I just sit around and watch TV all the time, but I really don't.  Luckily many of these shows are so bad, they don't require me to sit in front of the TV to get all the details.  I can be cleaning or organizing or getting other things done while they drone on in the background. 

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have some terrible TV to watch.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

My Three Sons

The universe is a mysterious creature.

When I was growing up , I always thought that I would have 3 boys.  I don't know why I thought that, but I was convinced it would happen that way.

Obviously, that was not the plan, and I really have no problem with how things worked out. 

Then the other day I realized, that as things usually go for me, I end up getting what I need, but never in the way I envision it.

You see, I have been blessed with 3 godsons.

The first is 14, he's the son of one of my cousins.  He was born 10 days after I got married.  He was the youngest of my cousin and his wife's 3 children and their first boy.  I remember being completely shocked when they asked us.  We had just returned from our honeymoon and had rushed over to meet the newest member of this already awesome family.  I can still picture sitting on their couch , holding this little bundle when they asked my husband and I . 

I couldn't have imagined how great this kid would be.  He's such a sweetheart, even at 14.  When he and my own son were little, they called each other "godbrothers". So adorable.

What I also couldn't have imagined was the shock and sadness I would feel just a few years later when his mom passed away.  She had a brain tumor and though she fought with all her might, she passed away just shy of her 30th birthday.  I still think of her a lot, especially seeing her daughters grow up into beautiful young women.  I still get choked up every time I watch my godson blow out his birthday candles, wishing she was there to see it.

I hope as he gets older, I can still always be a part of his life.  We don't live near each other and life gets busy, but I think it helps that he and my son are close.  I still like to think of them as "godbrothers" even if they're too cool to say it.

My second godson is the son of my dear friend from high school. 

He's a year and a day younger than my daughter.  Even though we live an hour apart, his mom is fantastic about making plans for us to get together. 

I love hearing about this kid.  He does and says things that completely crack me up.  When we last visited them, he was pretty sure he wanted to play video games with my kids, even though his mom had said that this was a quick visit and there would be no video games.

He proceeded to ask my son, "How good are you at video games?" and "Oh, I bet you could probably beat me at this game." 

How can you not applaud the effort?  It was so cute. 

He also even went into his own candy stash and gave each of us a piece of his candy, all on his own.  That's love.

This past weekend, I was asked to be the Godmother to my newest nephew.  I can't wait.  He's adorable and lives close by!   I was so honored, I know I am his Aunt too, but I love that it's just a little something else we will share as the years go on.  Unknown to this little guy is that he is my only local nephew and godchild, so he should be prepared for some serious spoiling!


So, in the end, besides my own wonderful son, I was blessed with the 3 boys I always wanted.  Thanks Universe!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Coming Clean



So, I totally blanked on doing Thursday and Friday's blog posts.  I'm awesome. 

I have been so focused on my new cleaning calendar that I seem to have forgotten about other things.

I have looked for cleaning schedules in the past, but I would barely make it past the first few days.  I don't know why , but they just didn't work with the way that I "enjoy" cleaning.

I saw this one on Pinterest.  For some reason it spoke to me.
 


I really like the idea that along with the stuff I should do everyday, each day I am tackling one big task.  I have amended a few things on the list.  For example, my son empties the dishwasher everyday when he gets home from school, so that isn't done in the morning.  I also try and do laundry during the week as well.  I really don't want to spend my Saturday doing laundry, especially with spring sports about to kick in.


It was so nice this weekend to invite my brother and sister in law over and have to just spend a few minutes straightening up rather than the usual cleaning up until the moment people arrive.

My goal is to have this become a habit, I am so happy when my house is clean.  I wish it was easier for me, it just has never been something that has come naturally for me.  I would love to be cleaning one day and not hear my kids say, "Who's coming over?"

So I've been successful for one week. I won't sound the victory trumpets just yet, but I did actually wake up this morning thinking, "Oh! It's deep vacuuming day!"  My vacuum cleaner has a dirt indicator light that goes from red to orange to green when it's clean.  I don't know how the little elves that live in there know, but they do.  There is something so satisfying about seeing your whole house "green". 

So, the theory is that , it shouldn't take me as long to clean this week since I just did it last week, leaving time for writing and other wonderful things, right?