Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!!

Go forth and get candy kids. And make sure you bring Mommy all the Kit Kats and Almond Joys.

I'll be sure to post lots of cute pictures of the Kiddley Beans* tomorrow. I know everyone loves pictures of other people's kids in their Halloween costumes so we'll see you back here tomorrow!

*No, my kids aren't dressing up as some sort of legume tonight. Kiddley Beans is the cute name that my husband call my kids. I can only hope that my spelling of it is correct. If it is not, I'm sure my husband will let me know.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Woking hard to be the fun one.

A couple of weekends ago we took the kids to see Boone’s Cave Park. I was a little hesitant at first because my friend Jennifer told me that we would need flashlights.

Ugh! The last thing I wanted to do was crawl around in a dark creepy cave. However, I could tell my husband really wanted to go. It was a beautiful fall Sunday afternoon and we didn’t have anything else that we absolutely had to do so I said, “Why not. Let’s go.”

My friend Jennifer is "the fun mom" (my son has already asked me why he can’t go live with them) and my husband often tells me that I’m too serious.

I am. I can’t help it.

In college, my friends used to call me The Voice of Reason. Oddly enough I was never offended by this nickname. I was quite proud of it! I like to think being The Voice of Reason kept us out of trouble but I’m sure my friends would say it kept us out of fun.

So, this one time I decided I wasn’t going to keep us from doing something fun. We put on our old jeans and sneakers and grabbed our flashlights. The park is less than 30 minutes from our house so we were there in no time. We parked and headed down the trail towards the cave.

Apparently Daniel Boone’s family moved to the banks of the Yadkin River in 1750. Legend has it that Daniel Boone used to hide from the Indians in the very cave that we were going to explore. I have to say that the thought of being in a cave that Daniel Boone was in was pretty exciting even to a boring old no-fun mommy like me. Although the serious practical side of me wondered how it could be possible that over 250 years later anyone would know if this was the exact cave or not.

We took the trail (which was a set of wooden steps that had been built going down the side of a large rock outcropping) and made it to the entrance of the cave. We had to stoop down to get into the cave. I’m not sure what I was expecting…maybe the Luray Caverns which I had visited before and was quite impressed by. I can assure you, this was no Luray Caverns but it was free and it was just the right size for a three and 4 year old.

My husband and the kids crawled into the cave and started going further in. I however stopped crawling because I could feel my chest tighten as thoughts of getting stuck in the cave crowded into my head.

I couldn’t do it. I didn’t go in.

It had nothing to do with the fact that it was dark, wet and dirty but everything to do with the fact that I have a touch of the claustrophobia. Sometimes I can’t even sit in the third row of my parent’s mini-van without feeling like a caged animal.

My kids didn’t seem to mind that I wasn’t going in and followed my husband into the cave about 100 feet until the opening was too small and they couldn’t continue any further. They turned around and came back happy as clams. The knees of their jeans were dirty and they were gabbing happily about the cave and how dark and spooky it was. I think they were disappointed that they didn’t see any bats. I was just really glad we took flashlights. All fun mommies know that you should always take a flashlight when you are going to explore a cave!

After the cave, we let the kids play for a little bit at the edge of the river. Then we decided to take a hike on one of the trails. The sign at the beginning of the trail said simply “Cottonwood Tree”. We walked about 20 minutes until we came to a giant Cottonwood tree. We “ohhhed” and “ahhhed” and turned around and headed back up the trail. It was only when we returned home and I did some research on the Internet that I discovered the tree at over 160 feet tall is the tallest Eastern Cottonwood tree in our state.

All in all it was quite a nice afternoon. The kids got to play in a dark and spooky cave and we all got some exercise. And I wasn’t the stick in the mud that I normally am! Maybe, just maybe, if I keep working at it, one of these days I will be “the fun mommy”.

Friday, October 26, 2007

I want my personality to be sparkling, not my shirt.

The other day as I was getting the kids ready for school Peter asked, “Why did you Bedazzle your shirt?”

Bedazzle my shirt? What the heck is he talking about?

I looked down and noticed that the shirt I was wearing had some teeny tiny little gold sparkles in a small circular pattern on the front. I have worn this shirt for two years now and Peter has never mentioned the little crystals before. He possesses the observational powers of his father. “What?? Your hair has been 2 shades darker for how long now?”

Peter and Sarah have been aware of the Bedazzler for several months now – ever since they started watching the Magic School Bus. Prior to the Magic School Bus, all the shows they have watched have been on Noggin or PBS so I have never had to deal with pesky commercials. However, now that they are going through a Magic School Bus phase I keep hearing things like,
“Mom! You need a Quiktop to prevent spills and keep your drink fresh!”
“Mom! We need an inflatable Ready Bed because it is ready when you are and is perfect for sleepovers”
“Mom! We need Aqua Dots. It's fun for us and there’s no messy clean up for you!”

As surprised as I was that they were airing a Bedazzler commercial during The Magic School Bus, I was even more surprised to see Tana from the Apprentice hawking it. If you will remember, she was the runner up on season three. What? You don’t remember her? Then you must not love reality TV as much as you think you do.

Part of the reason she didn’t win the Apprentice (aside from the fact that she turned into a complete bee-yatch in the last episode) was that in one of the tasks she spent many hours searching Manhattan for a Bedazzler to “spiff up” some t-shirts they were trying to sell. I’ve put "spiff up" in quotes because is anything that is Bedazzled really and truly "spiffed up"? I think not.

Long story short, it annoyed Donald Trump that she wasted time on something so stupid and I have to say I agree. I’ve mentioned my wardrobe previously and my lack of expertise in that area but even as horrible as it is even I know that no one in New York City wants anything bedazzled. Heck, most people around here don’t even want anything bedazzled so it really annoyed me when my son – my own flesh and blood – accused me of wearing a shirt that had been Bedazzled.

I decided that I was going to take a picture of the shirt to let you guys decide if I need to rethink wearing this shirt. But I soon discovered it is very hard to take a flattering picture of yourself.

Now, let me just say that it has taken me a lot of courage to post this picture. First of all, I hate, hate, HATE almost any picture that has ever been taken of me. Even if most people say it is a nice picture I will find something wrong with it. I get this annoying trait from my mother. This drives my father crazy about my mother and now it is driving my husband crazy about me. But they vowed to love us for better or for worse so I’m not too worried.

So now that you guys know that I hate almost any picture of me, you know that I must abhor this picture and I do! The width and depth of the nostrils alone are going to give me cold sweats tonight when I realize that I have posted the picture on the Internet for the world to see. And the wrinkles around my eyes look really deep in this picture…much deeper than the seem to me when I am staring at them in the mirror while pondering whether or not my anti-aging cream is working. I’m pretty sure based on this picture it is not.

The thing that really and truly annoys me the most about this picture is the massive amount of flesh where I used to have arm muscles. When I look at this picture I am reminded of my dear sweet Grandma Lois. I knew I always took after my Dad’s side of the family and now I have the arm dangle to prove it.

But the whole reason I posted this picture was to show you that, contrary to the popular opinion of a certain almost five year old boy, my shirt was not Bedazzled. Do you agree?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

I guess my house isn't clean enough for a 3 year old!

Sarah and I were at the grocery store earlier this week. We were on the aisle with all the cleaning products and she pointed and said, “Mommy, who’s that man?”

“That’s Mr. Clean,” I said.

“Oh! Well, maybe we could ask him to come over to our house!”

If only.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Timing is everything...

Sarah and I were leaving Wal-Mart yesterday. She was strapped into her car seat and I was loading the back of our SUV with groceries and talking to her. As luck would have it, right as I was saying, “You know better! We put boogers into Kleenex not into our mouths!” I looked up to see the father of the guy who I spent most of my college years with a giant crush on walk right by us.

I did not say hello. Instead I put my head down and pretended not to see him. He did the same thing. Can you blame him?

Monday, October 22, 2007

Peter's version of "Guess How Much I Love You"

The other day as we were heading out, we drove past my parent’s house and my dad was heading into his shop. He saw us and waved and we waved back. Peter said to me, “Mommy, I love Grandpa more than you do!”

“You do? I don’t know about that. He’s my Daddy after all!” I replied

“Well, I love him a lot more than you because he’s my Grandpa!”

“Oh, yeah. Well how much do you love him?”

“I love him from our house, to the moon, to our play set, to the shop, to the beach and back to my room! That’s how much I love him!”

“Well, that is a lot! I think I love him that much too!”

Friday, October 19, 2007

Chocolate covered pretzels

I've been busy this week making lots of these...

And these...

And these...

Don't they look delicious??

My kids loved them. And why wouldn't they? Almost anything is good covered in chocolate. Hmmm...does anyone have a recipe for chocolate covered broccoli?

Peter, who has a birthday coming up soon, even asked if I could make some of these for his birthday cake. Ah, birthday pretzel rod cake. But where would I put the candles??

Monday, October 15, 2007

Peg, that boy ain't right...

For the last 8 months or so, Peter will abruptly declare that he is not getting married. He will say it out of the blue as if someone has just asked him about his feelings on marriage. I find this behavior very odd for a not quite 5 year old. The only thing I can figure is that maybe some of the girls in his class at school have been talking about marriage. I know that on the playground the girls will chase the boys around and perhaps he thinks marriage is what happens when one of the girls catches one of the boys …he wouldn’t be too far off.

I don’t make a big deal out of his declarations because I don’t want him to think it matters one way or the other. And of course it doesn’t matter one way or the other but I keep screaming in my head, “You have to married! I want lots of grandbabies!” Although one could argue that he could still give me lots of grandbabies without being married. That, however, is a whole other post.

Back to the story at hand…at least once a week Peter will declare, “I am not going to get married!” To which I try to reply nonchalantly, “That’s fine. You don’t have to get married if you don’t want to.” But yesterday, he declared gleefully, “I love all the computer games on so much that I think I want to marry them!”

I think a statement like that might even scare the little girls on the playground away. Good thing he’s cute!

***Edited to add - Even as I am typing this Peter is in the other room telling my husband that he is going to play baseball for the Red Sox when he grows up. This, of course, makes my husband very happy. Peter then asks if any of the Red Sox are married because he is going to be one that is not. This, of course, makes me very sad.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Sweet Treat

There are a lot of fringe benefits gained from living next door to your parents. Among them for us are free and convenient babysitting, delicious Sunday lunch served right after church, free use of a riding mower and access to a wonderful front porch equipped with a swing and lots of rockers.

Last night as I was drying the dinner dishes my mom called me to ask if we had finished dinner.

“Yes,” I replied.

“Have the kid’s had their baths yet?” she asked.

Baths? Ha! Wasn’t really planning on giving them baths.

“Um. No,” I answered.

“Good! Send them over here with their pajamas and I’ll give them a bath while you and Dan run to Dairy Queen.”

An impromptu run to Dairy Queen! What could be better than a quick trip to Dairy Queen with no kids?

We got 45 minutes of uninterrupted talk with each other. We got to listen to bad 80’s music in the car without anyone yelling for us to “turn on my songs”. (Why is it that all stations insist on playing "the best of the 80’s" on Saturday night?) We got to eat without having to wipe melted ice cream off of anyone’s nose or ear. And best of all, when we got back home, our kids were clean, in their pajamas and ready for bed!

If anyone of you ever has the chance to live right next door to your parents, I highly recommend it…almost as much as I recommend the Chocolate Xtreme Blizzard at DQ!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

To go or not to go? That was the question I didn't have to answer.

We just got back from a wonderful, restful long weekend at the beach. The weather was great and we had a wonderful time. However, I missed my 20th high school reunion. (Yes...I'm old!)

When I received the invitation to the reunion, I was torn. Part of me really wanted to go and another part of me really wanted to hide. I probably would have been more inclined to really want to go if a couple of my good friends were going. But one had a wedding in Chicago and the other was just as torn about going as I was. So, that left me trying to decide if I really wanted to pay $68 to stand in a corner with my husband marveling at how different everyone looked. Which wouldn’t have been much fun any way since my husband doesn’t know any of these people.

There are a handful of people from high school I would really like to catch up with. But in order to talk to them (if they even attended) would I have to endure endless small talk with people I didn’t really even talk to in high school? Or worse yet…would I end up alone in that corner with my husband because no one wanted to talk to me? I kept mulling these questions over and over in my mind.

The nosy part of me wanted to go just to see if the cheerleaders had gotten fat and if the football players were bald. And another part of me wanted to go just to say look…I didn’t get fat and my husband still has some of his hair!

But in the end, I didn’t have to decide. My parents were able to get a house at the beach the exact weekend that the reunion was to be held. Part of me let out a huge sigh of relief and another part of me was a little sad that I wouldn’t be able to go after all.

So, if any Black Knights from the class of ’87 happen to be reading this blog, sorry I missed you. I hope you had fun if you went.

Maybe I’ll see you at the 30th…I haven't decided yet if I'll go or not...

Friday, October 5, 2007

Are they spying on me?

We use for Christmas and birthday shopping. If you have ever used then you know that periodically they will review your past purchases and send you a list of books they think you might enjoy. Yesterday I had to laugh out loud when I was informed by Amazon that I might enjoy the following books:

Scream Free Parenting by Hal Edward Runkel

Come Be My Light by Mother Theresa

Wow! Is someone trying to tell me something?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Conversation with Peter....

Me: How were those Lucky Charms, this morning, kiddo?

Peter: They were delicious Mommy.

Me: Yes. But were they magically delicious?

Peter: Huh?

Eau de Pot Roast

I was rushing around Tuesday morning trying to get the kids fed, dressed and ready for preschool while brushing my hair and my teeth simultaneously when I remembered the pot roast. Augh! I’ve got to be in the car in less than 15 minutes and I’ve got to get the pot roast in the crock pot to insure that it is tender and juicy and more importantly done when my husband gets home from work.

The pot roast recipe I use is really yummy and the “sauce” contains quite a few ingredients. Luckily I had mixed those all together the night before so all I had to do was throw the roast, the “sauce” and the vegetables in the crock pot. I hastily cut some potatoes into big chunks, threw in some little carrots and reached for the onions. It was at this point that I realized I didn’t have any Vidalias, my onion of choice. All I had were those little boiler onions that are about the size of gumballs. My husband loves onions as much as he loves the Boston Red Sox, the New England Patriots and me so I knew that I should use those little onions instead of attempting to serve him pot roast without any.

The problem with those little onions is that they require more work getting the skin off and getting the outer layer off. So I got to peeling and pulling until I had removed the skin and the first thin layer from about 15 of those little onions. I threw everything in the pot and washed my hands.

And washed my hands.

And washed my hands.

No matter how much I washed I couldn’t get the onion smell off. I knew I had read a good trick somewhere about getting the onion smell of your hands but I couldn’t remember what I had read and at this point it was too late to Google “remove onion smell from hands”.

It seemed that the onion smell was overtaking my whole being so I ran into my bathroom looking for some perfume or something. And since I don’t currently own any perfume, I quickly spritzed myself with hair shiner.

Um, yes. You don't use hair shiner instead of perfume? I highly recommend it.

At my last visit to my hair stylist I asked her what I could use on my hair to give it make it shiny and she recommended something called Pure Shine Hair Luminator. I dutifully purchased some and used it twice before I determined that while it smelled really good it made my hair look greasy not shiny. I couldn’t bring myself to throw it away since I had just bought it so I stored it underneath my bathroom sink where all my old beauty products go to expire.

As I was hastily searching for something to make myself smell better I found the hair luminator and spritzed my shirt and yes, even my wrists with it. The wrists are after all, pulse points. This was the best I could do since I don’t have any perfume.

I loaded the kids into the car and headed to school. I dropped them off and headed to my Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) meeting. As I sat at my meeting, listening to an interior decorator tell us how to make our homes more beautiful yet reminding us we needed to make the livable, I felt like I smelled like onions, carrots, potatoes and beef and not at all like my hair luminator. And while I was surrounded by mothers who have probably all smelled like pot roast at one time or another I decided right then and there that I really need to invest in some perfume.

Because I’m pretty sure if I Googled “remove onion smell from hands” one of the results is not going to be “spritz self with hair luminator.”

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Easy come. Easy go.

I gave them up. I had to. There was no use keeping them in my closet. I had 3 pairs of size FOUR jeans that were wasting away, attracting dust and depressing me every time I laid eyes on them.

One of them was a pair of Daisy Fuentes jeans. Very comfortable, very stretchy, and if I held my breath and tugged real hard I could still get them on and zip them up. The only problem is that I looked a wee bit trashy in them and I had a very unappetizing muffin top hanging over the jeans.

The second was just a plain pair of Levi Capri’s. Nothing special about them except for the fact that they were a size FOUR! I could still pull them up over my rear end but there was no hope of ever zipping them.

The third was a pair of low-rise, boot cut, dark wash Gap jeans with really cute flaps on the back pockets. These would have to be my most favorite pair of jeans…ever. I loved how the back pockets had the cute flaps. I loved the dark shade of the jeans. I loved that they were low cut (no high-waisted mom jeans here!) and flared out just a little at the bottom. But most of all I loved how wonderful I felt in them.

When I put these jeans on with a black turtle neck and my black boots I felt like a model. I felt long and lean, and beautiful. But alas, those days of long and lean are long and gone.

After I had Sarah I went on the Atkins diet to loose the last ten pounds of baby weight. I am one of the few people who actually enjoyed the Atkins Diet. I love all things cheese and don’t really care if I have bread or not so this diet was made for me. I quickly lost the ten pounds I needed to loose. But I didn’t stop there. I kept right on loosing and loosing until I ended up at 118 pounds and the owner of several pairs of size 4 jeans.

But that was the spring of 2005 and now it is the fall of 2007. They (whoever they are) say that you shouldn’t keep anything in your closet if you haven’t worn it in the last year. Since it’s been well over a year since I wore my beloved jeans I decided to give them away. I normally give my old clothes to Goodwill and while I’m sure they are appreciative of all the stained black tee-shirts I drop off, I just couldn’t bring myself to let a complete stranger wear my beloved jeans.

So I gave them to my friend, Jennifer, who, after giving birth to four kids, is a size four. I don’t begrudge her this size though because she works out EVERY. DAY. and she actually WATCHES what she eats. So if anyone should have my size four, low-rise, dark wash, cute butt-flap Gap jeans it’s her. And who knows. Maybe after seeing her wear them I may actually be inspired to start working out and watching what I eat.

Nah. Probably not.

Enjoy the jeans, jennwa!