Monday, July 28, 2008

A riddle for you

What do you get when you combine a trip to London with a blown headlight that you can't seem to fix and you're inspection sticker expires in 4 days?

A 3 year year old sent home from school for throwing up.

Just had to share before I head out for a few days. See you at the end of the week.

Does the MSPCA take sisters?

OK, I'll admit it. He didn't exactly ask that question last night. But he is awfully concerned when he finds Sarafina racing through the house and Abby is following her with her mouth continuously moving and nonsensical words emerging from it.

Him (softly): "Mommy. Abby is too loud for Sarafina."

Me: "I know son. Abby is too loud for most animals and humans."

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Speaking of noses

Quick book update. Finished Love Walked In by Marisa De Los Santos. Wasn't the pick-me-up book I was hoping. A lot of analogies in the book reference black and white movies of generations gone by, and while I have nothing against them, I'm not a movie person in general so a lot of the moments slipped past me since I couldn't make the point of reference. I'm going to try a pure indulgence book this time and picked up Chasing Harry Winston by Lauren Weisberger who also wrote The Devil Wears Prada.

So the Feline and the Canine came nose to nose today through the thin baby gate that separates them. This morning, Coach got his first official glimpse of the little lady in the house but they didn't get too close. He got a treat for not barking uncontrollably at the sight of her. Good boy.

Later in the day, she came up from her basement retreat (she owns the basement playroom now) and put her nose right up to the gate as he sniffed from the kitchen side. Then she slowly turned around and walked back downstairs to claim her spot on a chair and probably do some licking of her paws. Coach immediately went to the spot where we keep his treats and sat patiently waiting for one - knowing he had been a good boy for not licking his chops and ripping through the gate.

After all this introducing is over, he'll probably have gained 20 lbs from the numerous rewards he'll get for not making her his dinner...but if I can spare the kids a glimpse of Animal Kingdom in action, it's worth the effort.

While we're on the subject of noses...don't read any more if boogers make you sick...I sat with my daughter this evening as she watched her favorite UK based cartoon, Charlie and Lola, and I read the Sunday paper and out of the corner of my eye I watched the whole thing unfold, but was still amazed.

At 5 1/2 it's no surprise tissues are not on the forefront of her mind when she has a critter stuck up her nose, but while she thought I was engrossed in the paper, I was actually grossed out watching the finger go up, then the first lick, then the investigation, then the decision to stick the said critter under my coffee table!!!!!

While I tried not to gag, I also said in a low and firm voice,

"I keep tissues in the family room so you can use them when you need them, and I think you need one right now."

She quickly retrieved her deposit, laughed a scared laugh, and got a tissue from the end table. It made it's way to the trash bin.

Now, this is not a surprising story to many of you - but there is always that hope in the back of a parent's mind that their kids will adopt all proper social manners by the age of 6 months...we all know that only happens in the movies.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Motherwords - made for me

Something arrived in my mailbox yesterday, unsolicited, and I cracked up last night reading each and every word of it.

It's a publication called Motherwords...every mother has a story. What's yours?.

I don't know much about it, except I think some sisters I never knew I had wrote some of the articles. At times, I actually felt like I was a contributor because the stories mimicked my own life - and it's full of Mommy stories, not stories about how to be a Mom. They steer clear of "10 best ways to hide cauliflower in your kids food" or "Summer fun with string". You get my point. One list was the Top 10 reasons her son gets naked - based on the bum check that happens after each poop. Hysterical!

I think I will be subscribing because it will give me something besides celebrity gossip and recipes to enjoy on those "quiet" Sunday nights (OK, on Sunday nights because who am I trying to kid...not much is quiet in my house)

Thursday, July 24, 2008

And Kitty makes 8

Ok, if you count 2 kids, 2 parents, 1 dog and 2 fish - then add our latest member, Sarafina - that makes 8.

Here she is:

We are adopting her from the local MSPCA and bring her home on Friday. The kids are thrilled! The dog - not so much.

Up, up and away

I booked my flight to London last Friday. I leave on Tuesday night at 21:30 p.m. I arrive at 8:45 a.m. Wed. I spend Wed south of London at meetings. Sleep. Wake up and spend Thursday at meetings. Go back to Heathrow at 19:35 p.m. Thursday and fly home.

36 hours in the United Kingdom. So, now I can't sleep. It's on my mind all the time. How will I sleep for 6 hours on a plane, wake up, look refreshed and not like the spawn of the devil? I need 8 hours of sleep, it's just a fact!

Is there some place to change so I don't have to sleep in the same thing I head to the office in? How can I possibly function as a human all day Wed? How will I manage to convince my body it's okay to wake up at 2 a.m. "its time" on Thursday to start to function again?

Most importantly, where will I find my morning "coffee" - the 32 oz big gulp of Diet Coke? They serve those skinny little cans over there - and they aren't COLD on ice!!

That's just the partial list of things that has me tossing and turning at night. I'm most afraid of flying over water because once you leave, there aren't any airports to land at if you have problems. At least cross-country you can call ahead to Oklahoma airport and say "We're coming in". Hard to do that flying over the Atlantic.

So please excuse me if you speak with me this week - I may be yawning a bit as the anxiety has me getting less than 8 hours of sleep at night in anticipation of this upcoming trip. It reminds me of being pregnant when you're body wakes you up every 2 hours towards the end - just to get you accustom to the nights to follow.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Baby oil and aluminum foil blankets

My whole childhood I was cursed with fair skin and freckles - at least cursed in the sense of summer fun. As teenagers, anytime my Greek or Italian friends would head to the beach with me, their skin would turn a beautiful shade of olive or brown and mine would turn a shade of red. Blistering red. The red that causes people to react with, "Whoa! She's going to hurt tonight." And they were right. I would hurt. After 8 hours in the sun, I'd return home covered in Tropicana Oil with SPF 3, peel my legs off the vinyl seat of my 1976 Ford Granada, and begin to slather on aloe vera gel. I'd create a paste of corn starch and cold water to soothe the tingling pain. And then sleep in front of a window fan blowing hot air on me in the attic bedroom and pretend I was a glowing goddess when in fact I was a ridiculous lobster. The next morning the shade would be pink and the bubbles would set in as the shedding process was soon to follow.

My children will not be cursed with this unfortunate circumstance because they are half Puerto Rican. So that means that while I slather on SPF 50 on them from warnings of sun damage that I never had as a kid, they still brown up nicely. My daughter's skin is such a golden brown this time of year that I don't know if I should be relieved or jealous. Her ankles are brown. She has tan lines criss-crossing her back from every bathing suit she owns. She has these adorable freckles forming around her nose and the tops of her hands are chocolate.

I'm glad that I'm able to protect their skin from the sun, but I'm also relieved that neither of them seem to run the risk of bubbled skin peeling off every inch of their exposed bodies each summer.

So, shall we talk about the neon green bikini's that were in style back in the 80's thanks to Body Glove? Boy, those were the days! And no, I didn't keep it - amazing what you can find on the 'net:

Monday, July 21, 2008

Ms. Sierra, please sit down here away from your cousin

OK. I will admit I was a pretty good student. I wasn't honor society but I never skipped school (I actually sort of liked learning!) and was usually well behaved. There were those random occasions when I'd get a little silly with some girlfriends which always turned into the uncontrollable giggles for me and then I'd hear the dreaded,

"Is there something you'd like to share with the class?"


"Please come sit in this seat down here since you can't seem to concentrate sitting near Karen, Kathy, Julie (insert your friend's name here)."

Yesterday I had a "get out of Mothering free" card for the afternoon because we had my Aunt's bridal shower down at Marina Bay. It was a small group because we have a small family - and the Moms left their kids at home. I was seated next to my cousin who I don't see enough, and who shares a similar sense of humor as me (must run in our blood), and since I was relaxed knowing my Dad and hubby were with the kids, I enjoyed some wine and some laughs at "our end" of the table.

Then it happened. The words I hadn't heard in a while put into a new context. The bride-to-be shouts out "Well, we know you two won't be able to sit at the same table at the wedding." Uh oh. I felt like I had been busted back in 10th grade and had missed a whole segment on the Pythagorean Theorem and was now supposed to explain it to the class. Shit. Was I going to be removed from the table? Then I realized this was the same woman who earlier, while opening her gifts, had put a thong on her face and said, "Oh good, an eye patch" so I knew I was safe. More laughing ensued - and a little more drinking was had - and an insane thunder "shower" rolled over us as we sat under the outdoor canopy - and it was a great afternoon.

As I am teetering between 39 and 40 years, I've realized that weddings are few and far between these days so it was fun to be celebrating the upcoming "big day" and I'm looking forward to dancing to some 70's disco tunes and thoroughly embarrassing my 5.5 year old at the wedding. As the bride-to-be admitted, there are going to be a lot of fun tables at that wedding! I hope I get to spend time at all of them!!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Oh when the ants...come marching in...

I have a little boy. My first is a girl and my second is a boy. And I always thought I wanted 3 boys. That seemed manageable - no real dating trama, no major hormone swings, no fights over make-up and clothes. They could have two on defense and one on offense (or however that works!). Then I had my daughter and I was thrilled. I was never a fan of pink so she got covered in lots of purple - ok, with some pink in there, too. And when my son was born I overloaded on blue and trucks.

Now that he's 3.5 years, I'm overloaded with dirt. Lots of dirt. Mud, actually. While boys may not come with the drama that girls seem to bring, they do come with filth and grime and bugs. Ants - all sizes. Beetles. Worms (LOTS of worms). Centipedes. Caterpillars. Grubs. Spiders. You name it, he's dug it up and brought it my way.

So when I think about his love of bugs this summer I'm pretty glad I have one of each - because 3 times as many bugs heading in my direction would have just grossed me out! Not to mention what all that dirt in the tub would have done to our drains.

Thursday, July 17, 2008,, Donkey

Arrrgggh! I will admit that I have been one of those flip floppers this Presidential campaign season. I really, deep down in my heart, believe I'm a Democrat. However, lately I have been questioning some of the basics of that party, but after reading the speech given by Al Gore about the state of our energy crisis, I think I'm sticking with the asses in November.

In part, he said:

"I don’t remember a time in our country when so many things seemed to be going so wrong simultaneously. Our economy is in terrible shape and getting worse, gasoline prices are increasing dramatically, and so are electricity rates. Jobs are being outsourced. Home mortgages are in trouble. Banks, automobile companies and other institutions we depend upon are under growing pressure. Distinguished senior business leaders are telling us that this is just the beginning unless we find the courage to make some major changes quickly."

If you missed it, the whole speech can be accessed here:

Al Gore Speech

Now if you excuse me, I have to go buy some solar panels for my roof...and stock pile my emergency supply of canned vegetables...and install my windmill...and ride my bike to the store...and replace ALL my lightbulbs with the squiggly kind...and then turn them all off...

Get out of jail free card

Mine came in the mail today. I was quite excited. I never knew that another benefit of being a AAA member was a little paper card that guarantees $5,000 Bail Bond Certificate or $1,000 Guaranteed Arrest Bond Certificate!

They should advertise that more :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

If these walls could talk..oh wait, they are!

Her: "So, with the husband in jail and the 4 kids, I'm just not getting any sleep and I have no energy to even walk up the stairs. I've gained a bunch of weight, too. The bills are sitting there but aren't getting paid so I've stopped answering the phone."

Dr: "Have you thought about hurting yourself or the kids?"

Her: "No, No. I just think I need some help." Baby screeching in the same room.

Dr: "Is there anyone you can talk to about this?"

Her: "No, the husband's family won't talk to me while he's in jail and I don't have family around here."

YIKES! I wanted to block my ears but I couldn't. All of this was happening in the waiting room next to me and the walls were so thin I could hear every word!

I went for my yearly physical and realized how extremely lucky and blessed I am to have my health, family and friends. I also realized that patient/doctor confidentiality is non-existent in this gorgeous, new (I mean still smells new)medical facility that my Dr. just moved into!! I had already been waiting 1/2 hour in this 10 X 10 room, but I couldn't be upset with the Dr. after hearing this poor woman's depressing situation next door.

Wait. Does this mean the next person waiting for a check up was going to hear me talk about my gas issues since I changed my diet - they really are painful. Or about the brown freckle on my inner thigh that is now red and itchy and freaking me out since my Mom's recent skin cancer episode (I call it an episode because everything is removed and fine for her)? Should I tell the Dr. I heard the whole thing and they need to re-insulate the walls? Or do I just mind my business and share the experience on my blog?

You guessed it...but speak softly the next time you meet with your Dr.

Someone could be listening right next door!

Monday, July 14, 2008

What I did on my summer vacation, Part 2

The first day of vacation turned out to be very HOT. We went straight to Santa's Village from home and panted like dogs as we roamed the beautifully manicured park for the day:

The below picture is not cloud cover on the mountains but pure haze from the heat:

As it turned out, we made it through the day, and a few hundred bottled waters, and enjoyed all the rides and feeding Santa's reindeer. It is such a small place and the kids never have to wait in line for a ride. You just have to tolerate endless Christmas carols in July.

As we were wrapping up our day, the rain drops started to drip on us as we whipped around on Rudolph's roller coaster. We slowly made our way over to the parking lot and as we walked through the igloo exit and emerged on the other end it started to POUR. Not heavy rain, but torrential downpours. The kind of rain where you can't look up because it pounds your face. We started running across the lot to our car and the kids were squealing with delight. We were drenched to the bone by the time we got in the car and we all laughed as water was dripping off of Alex's head. This was the beginning of Abby's exclamation that it was the best vacation ever.

The next morning we woke up and could easily see the mountains - it was much cooler:

We took it easy and enjoyed a gondola ride to the top of Loon Mountain where the kids ride free and once again there was no line:

There were caves to explore and a little wooden walkway into the mountains with fun facts. Did you know chipmunks only live 2 - 3 years?

They also offer Sunday service on the side of the mountain (literally). That would make a gorgeous wedding site.

On Thursday afternoon we popped in at StoryLand. If you arrive after 3 p.m. they allow you to come back any other day in the season for free. Since we planned on being there on Friday we thought we'd get a jump start on some rides and then come back at our leisure the next day so we didn't feel rushed to get it all in in one we had NO IDEA what the weather was going to be so we didn't want a wash out:

It was a great day. The kids love this place too because there isn't a single "big person" ride. However their restriction that an adult must ride with anyone under 48inches is a tad annoying. The flying dutch shoes proved to be almost too much for Daddy:

He's kidding of course. But we did get our fill of rides that go round and round. It was a very successful day as little Alex pooped out around 6:15 that night:

Our final full day was spent wandering around North Conway, shopping at a craft fair where I bought some great WildTree seasonings and oils and we got to see Thomas the Tank Engine up close - but it was revealed that we aren't as big of Thomas fans as we thought. The kids could have cared less about Thomas and just wanted to slide down a giant blow up slide. Fine by me.

There were so many moments when we were laughing out loud and really enjoyed ourselves. Everything was so clean and the people were all so friendly. I think we may only have one or two more years left of this annual trip before we take the plunge to Disney which is a totally different league.

Now we are back home facing reality - Abby has a cold which arrived conveniently the last night we were in NH. Alex didn't want to go to daycare this morning. I am sifting through emails for work. Daddy is back to work tonight. But at the end of the day we created some great memories up in the White Mountains, many of which include things I did as a child from which I still have great memories. Good thing mountains don't move or melt :)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

What I did on my summer vacation...

Main Entry: va·ca·tion
Pronunciation: \vā-ˈkā-shən, və-\
Function: noun
Usage: often attributive
Etymology: Middle English vacacioun, from Anglo-French vacacion, from Latin vacation-, vacatio freedom, exemption, from vacare
Date: 14th century
1: a respite or a time of respite from something : intermission
2 a: a scheduled period during which activity (as of a court or school) is suspended b: a period of exemption from work granted to an employee
3: a period spent away from home or business in travel or recreation
4: an act or an instance of vacating

What I noticed most about this definition is the absence of the words relaxing, rejuvenating, calm or peaceful - which is very smart on their part because I know our family vacation didn't include ANY of those things.

What it does (did) include is chaotic, exciting, exhausting, wild, unpredictable and all around insane. And we wouldn't have wanted it any other way!

Our yearly trek to the North Conway area was a success. No sprained ankles like last year. No scars or scrapes like last year. Just family fun at 2 amusement parks, exploring the top of a mountain and a little shopping thrown in the mix.

I will update with stories and pictures soon. But let's just say we all found something we loved about this year's trip and my daughter kept exclaiming, "This is the best vacation EVER!"

Successfully completed The Prince of Nantucket while on vacation. I recommend it if you want a soul searching book about your relationship with your mother and what you would do if she wasn't who you thought she was. Moved on to Loved Walked In by Marisa de los Santos.

Monday, July 7, 2008

My booty is moldy

I was quite pleased when I relocated my Booty after they moved it from the chip aisle at the local Stop & Shop. I'm a creature of habit and when it disappeared I didn't go looking for it.

But the display at the end of the Organic Food shelf (since I can't call it the "Organic Food Section" because that would be an exaggeration) had it proudly displayed last week so I grabbed two bags - my son loves the Booty, too.

I thought I grabbed Pirate Booty and Veggie imagine my surprise when I opened my Veggie Puffs to see Pirate Booty with mold!!

It wasn't really mold, it was Veggie Booty with Spinach and Kale. And since Fairly Odd Mother is hiding Kale in yogurt shakes and Popsicles, I thought I'd give my moldy booty a shot. Not bad. But a little disappointing when you're really craving some Veggie Puffs!

Summer Reading update: Finished Meg Cabot's The Queen of Babble and was not a big fan. Wouldn't really recommend it for any type of light reading. Moving on to The Prince of Nantucket by Jan Goldstein.

Happy July 6th

Unbeknownst to me, the fireworks in our town got canceled due to rain on July 3rd so they were rescheduled for last night. Our neighbor called us to share the good news. Only my kids are still in school (daycare) and have to be up early to get ready and the fireworks weren't starting until 9:30 p.m. After a long vacation week I needed them to get to bed a normal hour. Supposedly you could see the display from our driveway - we've never been home on July 4th to find out - so I mentioned to the kids I'd wake them when they started and they could come downstairs and watch them with me.

Well, either the trees grew a lot over the past year, or the fireworks were shooting lower than years past, because all I saw were glowing colors behind a bunch of tall trees, followed by thunderous BOOMS after each glow. So, I didn't wake the kids.

But my daughter woke up anyway - in tears. I found her wandering around upstairs crying that she tried but couldn't go back to sleep because of the noise. My heart broke because she looked so lost.

I took her downstairs with me and we sat in a chair and peered out the window at the glowing sky and I calmed her down a bit. We actually enjoyed watching a million fireflies in the "meadow" across the street. She informed me that one had kissed her recently. Then she commented,

"Well, we can't see the fireworks but that moon came up nicely tonight."

Wow - if all it takes is a sliver of a moon and a hug to make her happy, I'm one lucky Mom.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Red, White and Booze

I've always thought the real reason I enjoyed July 4th celebrations was the excuse to have some more drinking time squeezed in during the summer.

I don't, in fact, like Fireworks or the 1812 Overture and for many patriotic souls those are staples on July 4th. I get nervous around fireworks because they are dangerous, loud and smelly. And, when mixing the Red, White and Booze into the day, they become REALLY dangerous.

However, this year up at the beach they canceled the fireworks display in Ogunquit for lack of funds - I'm guessing - so it allotted us more drinking time during the Lobsterfest we enjoyed (and took no pictures of!) at my parent's house. And as I started with a few beers, and turned to drinking wine later in the night, I found that I wanted to see fireworks really badly. So badly that I sat out on my parents deck on their 2nd floor, got bitten by mosquitoes, and inhaled so much smoke it felt like I had actually burned through a pack of cigarettes, just so I could enjoy the neighborhood display of bottle rockets and pyrotechnic motherlodes - that's really the name of the best seller at this fireworks site - shooting off in every direction. The locals were not going to let some "lack of funds" ruin their festivities and plenty of folks took matters into their own hands. And respectfully it all ended by 10:00 and I hooted and hollered with my mother and aunt and clapped like we were sitting on the Charles in Boston watching the BSO and fireworks display there!

So it all came back to me really quickly why I drive North every year with thousands of other local tourists to partake in the Fourth of July festivities at the's partly for the drinking but mainly to enjoy time with family and the occasional glow in the sky.


Our own fireworks display happened before the sun went down because my kids weren't sure what planet they were on by 7:30 and HAD to go to bed - thus the blank stares in these pictures:

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Final Night: Kid Free Zone

I have to say we saved the best kid free night for last. Hubby and I went to our SECOND movie date in one month! I dragged him to the ultimate chick flick of the season (Sex in the City) about 3 weeks ago and he was such a good trooper that last night we saw Get Smart to even the keel a bit. He could have picked the Incredible Hulk or Wanted, but he went with something more neutral.

We laughed, a lot. I thought the movie was great, having no real memory of the original TV series - probably because my brother and I would watch Adam 12 over and over again every night as kids - it's a wonder neither of us are police officers in LA!

Anyway, we started our kid free night with a yummy dinner at our local, over-priced (hubby's eyes literally popped out of his head when the bill came), snooty restaurant that I love because the collection of Mercedes and BMW's in the parking lot always amazes me! In reality it's priced like any restaurant in Boston, except it's in North Andover, which is not Boston. But I did get served a yummy Peartini, or two, or three so that made dinner all worth it.

Later that night, after filling up on a large Diet Coke and buttery popcorn, we hit the exact OPPOSITE of said snooty restaurant and had a night cap at TGIF's. The attempt to reproduce the Peartini's of earlier failed, however the concoction the bartender created wasn't half bad. I think the key ingredient missing (amazingly) was the PEAR Grey Goose vodka, so when she asked me to list off the ingredients my half-buzzed, half-exhausted mind shouted over the blaring 80's music:

"Grey Goose, Amaretto, splash of cranberry!"

In fact, the original was Grey Goose la poire, Amaretto and actual cranberries and pear slices. But amid the buzz of the evening, the new version went down just fine. And drinking a martini in TGIF's is just wrong anyway, so I deserved it!

Today we leave to join the little ones at the beach for a few days. I'm looking forward to seeing their little faces and giving them a squeeze, but will miss this little down time that included an incredibly clean house and quiet mornings. As my boss with two teenage boys he never sees said, "The grass is always greener".

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Night Two: Kid Free Zone

I had a much more successful night minus the little ones. The trend has continued with loud music pumping and SUV windows down as I do my errands - so liberating even if I look like a wacky, middle-aged Mom trying to recapture her youth by attempting to sing the words to Top 40 songs she doesn't know as her obviously foiled highlights are blowing in her eyes.

The night's checklist included:

*Buy hubby's birthday present
*Buy Bridal Shower gift and card
*Eat dinner - ALONE - and read book at table
*Buy summer reading (i.e. mindless fiction and I'll report back on how mindless they are as I attempt to complete them this summer)
*Enjoy a couple of cold brews and catch up on Tivo

I am happy to report, all of those things are checked off the list! But wandering the mall on my own last night was very odd. I wasn't sure if I was supposed to be keeping track of other Mom's kids or making eye contact with strangers. Funny how social skill change when you aren't consumed with the whereabouts of a 3 and 5 year old.

I did notice there is one member of the house that seems to be enjoying his little vacation from torture and that is the dog. The first night he ran from room to room looking for his food sources, but by last night he realized it was just him and I and it must have reminded him of our life in Maryland, pre-conception. He was lying at my feet by the couch and kept coming over to take a look at me every now and then just to be sure I was okay. Don't you worry puppy, I miss those children of mine but I am going to enjoy every quiet minute I can get. Tonight - date night with hubby!

Oh, and I did hear from the kids and they are having a blast - almost like they don't want to come home this summer...hmmmmmmm.

Book #1: Queen of Babble in the Big City - by Meg Cabot
I basically love anything that tracks the life of a twenty-something in New York City as it reminds me of someone I know :)