Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Economy in ruins is saving the planet

I won't harp on this whole "bailout" thing, because quite frankly I could use a little less credit these days to keep me under control - Christmas season is approaching and my credit card companies love me this time of year!

I will make one observation - I used to work in the Direct Marketing Industry and I would tell people junk mail was an indication that our world was getting more targeted and the right people were finding you through the mailbox instead of the inbox and I liked that - I loathe spam.

Until one day I counted how many invitations by mail I got to apply for credit - whether it be credit cards, home equity loans, car loans, you-name-it. And then I realized I had more credit than I possibly needed and these people didn't know a thing about me! There were days when close to a dozen pieces of mail would arrive ready to consolidate all my bills by including the blank checks, along with pre-approved notices from American Express Blue, Green, Purple and Silver. But in the past few months I've noticed something. More catalogs are arriving (back to the Christmas season) but a lot less invitations.

So, Thank You failed credit market for helping to both freeze up the banks offering loans and credit, and saving the trees by cutting down on the number of solicitations I get each day. If you continue to spiral downward, we may all have empty mailboxes some day and that would certainly be best for the planet.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bye Bye Polka Dots

I realized today that I seem fairly committed to this blog, so I decided to give it a facelift since I'm unable to step away from the computer, or work, to enjoy a Diet Coke break on my front porch due to the unshakable, autumn-ruining, inclement weather!

So, bye bye polka dot template! They were giving me a headache, anyway. I love green and this seemed much more calming - but I doubt that will have any effect on my world outside of this blog.

Happy Monday!

Be 25 years younger in an instant

Think this post is about some miracle drug or fountain of youth? It's even easier than that!

Strap on a pair of quad skates and hit the rink! Yup, rollerskating under the disco ball with the Top 40 music blaring.

My daughter's school had their first PTO sponsored event last night at the local rollerskating rink in Haverhill and boy was it a good time! I know hubby and I had a ton more fun than the kids, but I was amazed at how HARD it was to jump back into the laced up boots and make it around the shiny, wooden floor. I used to rollerskate religiously on Saturday mornings as a kid. Luckily, I only hit the floor once as I re-introduced myself to the wheels - and it wasn't really a hit so much as a "whoops, I'm losing-my-balance-put-knee-on-floor-so-as-not-to-knock-down-5-year-old-daughter-in-process-now-how-the-hell-do-I-stand-back-up-without-crawling-over-to-railing".

My son made it around once and declared, "I want to give these back to the man" as he began un-velcroing his skates. That's okay buddy, I'm sweating from trying to hold your sister up after one go-around. Guess hockey isn't in his immediate future.

In the end, Abby picked it up okay, minus a little frustration watching the inline skaters doing circles around us, but I think we'll add it to the list of family activities. Hubby and I each took a couple of laps by ourselves, reminiscing about our youth and trying hard to look cool and confident.

My spirit felt 13 again, but my legs definitely felt 39!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Honey! Your son has something to share

It's official - my son is obsessed with his body parts. It's okay because he's only 3.9 years old and I'd rather he get it out of his system now, than in say 10 years when the therapy bills would drain our savings.

Me: "Be sure to wash good in the shower. I'll be back in a minute."

Him: "Mommy! Wait! Look," as he holds his wee-wee in one hand and his nuggets in the other, "look, there are little baby pee-pees waiting to grow."

Me: "Yup, be sure to wash up good."

I had no response ready for that one...where's my husband when I need him?

Friday, September 26, 2008

Twisting the night away

Warning: it is a rainy, lousy weekend so I could be bloggin' for DAYS if this weather continues.

Now that hubby is home on weekends I thought it would be a good idea to institute Friday Family Fun Nights - or Fun Friday Family Nights - or something like that because I can't really remember what I originally called it.

So tonight was our first "FFFN" and I sent hubby to the store to buy Twister. FFFN has a few rules that need to be followed:

1. The whole family (excluding animals) must be able to participate in the event.
2. TELEVISION OFF - this is not FFF "movie" Night.
3. If tears start, well then we've lost one of our F's and we stop to fix the problem instead of escalating it into "frustrated".
4. Try with all our might to keep our Friday's open.

I have to say, our first attempt was pretty fun. We didn't play by the rules - having a 3 year old who can't reach from Blue to Green because he's only 37" tall makes it tough - but even with our abridged version the kids laughed, we laughed and I think I actually got a little workout from it.

I'm always open for ideas for our FFFN so if you have something to suggest, send it along. We have a list on our whiteboard of things we want to do. Abby is all about trying ice skating one Friday - wait until we do it and she realizes ice is slippery.

I haven't slept in 3 years

I'm afraid of the dark - sort of. I am pretty blind (and wore glasses JUST LIKE these when I was younger) so the fact that it's dark at night and I have to take my glasses off at bed time means that when my son enters my room at 2:30 a.m. to inform me he's peed the bed, again, I usually lunge at him in karate-chop mode, but he's gotten used to this.

I also don't sleep on weekends. For the past 3 years or so, hubby has worked the 3rd shift on Sat/Sun/Mon nights which has left me with the two kids and my phobia for the dark every weekend. Usually by Tuesday night I am so exhausted I am in bed by 9:00 to catch up on my 3 sleepless nights.

Every Saturday around 8 p.m. I begin the same conversation with myself,

"Hi self. Tonight you are just going to go to bed and relax and fall asleep. No one is going to climb in the window and murder you. Burglars don't aim for houses with shining street lights in front of them..."

Then around 9 p.m. I have a new conversation,

"Hi self. Me again. I know...I have an idea. Go to bed now. That way you can lay awake for a little while and watch TV in bed. Yeah, that will work. Then you'll just drift off."

And by 10 p.m. I am locking the house down like it's FBI headquarters, checking in the garage one more time to be sure no one is lurking under my car, staring out front for shadows and begging the dog to bark if he hears anything during the night so I can find my glasses and at least see my attacker heading towards me. Then I go upstairs and listen to every possible noise the house makes as it "settles" and convince myself someone is wandering around on the first floor ready to make their move.

Am I nuts? Yes. But all I know is hubby is finally moving to the day shift next week and I CAN'T WAIT to sleep on the weekends again!!!! Turn off the lights and unplug the night lights!! I'm ready for the dark.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What's a puppet without all the parts?

My son proudly removed his paper bag puppet he made in school today from his backpack. He had colored the arms, legs and face all black. And right in the middle of the bag was a red, oval like object that I assumed was a belly button gone awry.

"Let me see your puppet. Wow, that is nice!", I said.

"Yup. And that is my pee pee."

So much for my belly button theory. An anatomically correct paper bag puppet. Excellent.

Drunken Mom for hire

I don't get out as much as I used to. In the mid-90's it seemed that I spent every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at some engagement or at some local bar immersed in lively conversations, interactions and reactions. Now...not so much.

So last evening when my company (small company I might add) hosted dinner for some "blokes" visiting from the UK, I seemed to revert back to my pre-Mom ways. You know, the animated, energetic-type that isn't exhausted by 9:00 each night and actually gets a second wind at 10:00 instead of rushing to bed because it's "late". And after 3 (okay 4) glasses of wine, I was on a roll.

Sad thing is, I'm not quite sure what I talked about. I think I just babbled and babbled and babbled endlessly for hours. I'm not big on awkward silence so I tend to fill it in - with useless comments. Let's review what I remember:

Dinner - I spoke about my total ignorance of World History and learned some really fascinating tid-bits - all of which were lost on me as the wine consumption increased. I do remember learning where the "middle finger" form of expression originated from - France.

After dinner - we headed to a cool bar inside an old tunnel (appropriately named The Tunnel Bar) and I remember talking about Rob Thomas - which often happens with this crowd because they find my unhealthy fascination with him amusing - and I also tried to convince a crowd of men from Nebraska to hang out and have a drink. They wanted nothing to do with the Tunnel Bar for some reason - claustrophobic perhaps?

Lastly, I remember ending the evening talking about squirrels, chipmunks and gophers. By this time I believe we were grasping for conversation. Oh, and I must have asked my colleague to send me pictures from his trip to Poland this summer because the link just arrived in my email inbox.

Here's the interesting part...when I arrived to the office this morning the first comment out of one of my colleague's mouth was,

"You survived?"

Excuse me? What exactly happened last night that I don't remember? I was trying to keep the conversation lively but I didn't think I was that entertaining. Others this morning have said they didn't know I could be so funny. Funny? Really? I think I just had a good buzz going.

I think next time we have a corporate outing, I'm going to charge to be the comedic entertainment for the night. I'm off to a meeting now...perhaps I'll learn more about the material I used last night so I don't get caught using it again at the next function.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Look Mommy, the bags!

At our house when we have the "big" TV on, it's normally set to Noggin so my kids can enjoy lots of fun, educational shows and I am assured that they have commercial-free time in front of the babysitter...I mean, TV. Noggin doesn't inundate them with ads for toys, fruit juices or sugary cereal.

On occasion we move them to a smaller TV that is only hooked up to a DVD player so Mommy can sit in front of the big TV and watch something called the News (or Access Hollywood). Again, when the kids are in front of the "movie TV" there are no commercials.

The other day I happened across a different channel on the big TV and my daughter stopped me in my tracks because it was The Fox and the Hound, which is one of her favorite movies. I thought it would be nice for them to see it on the big TV so I left it on and went about my business in the kitchen.

Apparently, it only took about 2 hours in front of this "Disney" channel for her little mind to be stuffed full of infomercials! She started rattling off all the cool things she saw on TV. Globes that water your plants. Bags that keep your veggies fresh. Bags that store things under the bed. Liquid drops that turn into plastic art. Hair braiding machines. The list goes on and on.

This weekend we ran to the local home good store and as we walked into the store Abby got all excited and shouted,

"Mommy! Mommy! Look! I can not believe it! It's those bags for under the bed!! I did not know they sold those here!"

That's just great. Almost 6 years of hard work to keep her shielded from the affects of TV commercials is now down the drain - or in this case - under the bed!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Don't got bed with a headache

My head was POUNDING last night when I retreated to bed at 9:30. I couldn't read the paper and the TV was too bright. I wasn't sure what was going on but closing my eyes was the only option.

And that's when I started dreaming. Let me catch you up - I am a vivid dreamer. Oddly vivid and there are mornings I wake up confused and wondering if I actually did quit my job because I won the lottery.

And last night was no exception - but I blame this on the headache:

I started smoking again - Marlboro menthol - and the new man in my life, Kid Rock, ran to the store to get me a pack. I *think* I knew I was married with 2 kids because when he asked me to move to Georgia with him I remembering wondering how the family would feel about that. Then I realized they may like Georgia because they are warm weather people.

Clear as day - Kid Rock was right there handing me the pack of butts. And then I also remember thinking why is he talking to me? I'm certainly no Pam Anderson look alike - not even in a dream.

Moral of the story - pop several aspirin before going to bed with a headache or else you too may fall victim to packing up your belongings for the move to Georgia that isn't happening. I have to go unpack my suitcase - it appears Kid Rock isn't coming!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Cougar on the loose

I think I found a cougar in the making...and I'm still not sure if I like the term "cougar" or if I find it offensive.

As we were leaving preschool yesterday, I noticed this blur out of corner of my eye as a tall, lanky, jumper-wearing girl came shooting across the playground and wrapped her arms around my son.

Alex's face lit up as she gave him a long hug goodbye.

"How old is he?" she asked me directly.

"Almost 4." I responded

"Oh, I'm 5 and 1/2."

"Do you have a little brother, too?" I had to figure out why she was smothering my son and my first thought was that she missed her little brother at home.

"No. I have a sister. She's 19." And with that statement she took off like a flash back to the jungle gym. Hmmm...I'll have to keep my eye on that one!

Dear Mr and Mrs

My son came running into our kitchen after school with an envelope in his hand. It was addressed to Mr and Mrs Sierra. He had a big grin so I couldn't wait to open it.

Inside was a handwritten note on notepaper with a big apple emblazoned on it. I was quite excited and had begun to think in my mind how it was going to tell me how wonderful he was doing in his new school and to reassure me of my decision to move him to this new preschool.

I began reading,

"I wanted to let you know that Alex had a hard time today at school. I had to speak with him repeatedly about hitting his friends and I explained that we do not do that and that it makes our friends sad. If you have any other questions please let me know. I will be in tomorrow morning and afternoon."

What?? This must be the wrong note. It was supposed to read,

"I wanted to let you know that Alex is adjusting wonderfully. He is a joy to have in class and is making new friends. You have nothing to worry about and he is just as happy as he was at his other school. Bravo for being such a wonderful mother."

I explained to him that we agree with his teacher and hitting friends will make them sad and cry. He assured me that no one cried when he hit them. This wasn't going well.

I know change is hard, and maybe I underestimated what it was going to be like for him to be removed from the other school where he had gone since I went back to work 3 years ago. And maybe since his sister was so excited about starting kindergarten at her new school that I just assumed we could rub some of that excitement off on him and expect him to accept the change.

Or maybe this is the end of it and he will understand he did something wrong for that one day. And I guess there is a little comfort in knowing he didn't make anyone cry - I think...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Says 78, but feels like 7

I know today wasn't a complete washout in our neck of the woods, and the temperature outside did read 78 degrees, but the kids and I went at each other all day like it was mid-January, 7 degrees out, and we had been cooped up in the house for days.

I guess we all go through these cycles when we know we love our families but if you hear any of their voices one more time you start to believe your head might explode. I had one of those days.

Mistake #1: Telling they kids (yesterday) that there were going to be pony rides at a fall festival up the street today - well that got rained out so I was already a huge letdown of a mother by 9 a.m.

Mistake #2: I decided to substitute real ponies with the hard, merry-go-round kind at the local mall - ironically everyone else in a 50 mile radius had the same idea. Sadly, while at the mall, both my kids went deaf because no matter how many times I repeated "keep your hands to yourself" there still seemed to be flailing hands wherever I turned.

Mistake #3: Not INSISTING they go outside once the pouring rain stopped so they could run off some of the extra energy that was some how bottled up inside even after 8 rotations around the mall. Needless to say, by 5:30 p.m. tonight I certainly didn't want to be listening to them racing through my house like a pack of wild dogs! I think my daughter spent about 6 hours of her day in timeout - and my son spent 6 hours of his day whining about something not worth whining about.

As I put them to bed tonight they kept repeating:

"But wait, I want to tell you something..."

to which I responded,

"Sorry. You didn't want to listen to me today, so right now I don't think I want to listen to you."

Funny - they weren't sure how to respond to that (and I felt bad saying it but before I apologized and gave in I quickly retreated downstairs).

Tomorrow brings another day - and a little piece and quiet while they are school. Only 2 more weekends of hubby working the odd shift and then I will have back-up on Saturday and Sundays. For now, I am going to resist the urge to drink a bottle of wine by myself to relax! Sad, I know. I'm hoping by tomorrow night I'll begin to love them again - at least until mid-January when you may see more posts on my blog that look a lot like this one!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A pain that will live forever in my heart

For several years I have told myself that I would not cry on this day. I want to try and move past the pain of September 11th, 2001 and find comfort and solace in the fact that our country is safe and out of harms way. I know that is not guaranteed, but it helps me to travel around this world, take my kids on subways in large cities and allows me conversations with strangers of all races and nationalities in my town.

But every year, I watch the memorials held in NYC, Pennsylvania and Washington D.C., and as if it was yesterday, that sadness, shock and pain washes over me. The sound of the beacons from firefighters trapped in the rubble are fresh in my mind. The silence that pierced this country when no planes were flying in our skies. The feeling of helplessness watching images over and over on the television, wishing I could be at Ground Zero to help out somehow.

I will cry every year, I know this to be true. Not because I am scared or unsure of our country's future safety, but because I can not imagine the pain those families are feeling who lost loved one on that day. And I cry for those who have lost loved ones in all the days that preceded and followed Sept 11th who serve my country to keep me safe.

Little cocoons

7:49, 7:24, 7:36, 6:59

Those were the times we used to wake up in my house. No alarms. No rushing. For 4 years while the kids were in daycare, and there was no "start" time per se, we would let the kids sleep in and wake when they felt rested. I work from home so as long as I was logged on by 8:30 or so each day, I was good.

6:53, 6:52, 6:50, 6:51 1/2

That is the time we are all up and scrambling now that my daughter has started kindergarten. They have to be out the door no later than 7:45 to get over to the school on time. We tried the morning bus the first week but they wanted us out front at 7:00 for pick up, and well...that wasn't happening. But 7:00 is still better than the 5:45 bus pick up that my cousin has up in Maine for high school.

I'll admit, this morning was our first challenging day in rousing the troops. We've been running on fumes because my brother is still in town from the wedding weekend and we've been back and forth to Maine where he is staying with my parents. Last night was another late night for the kids and tears flowed as we all said good bye.

So, combine a late night filled with emotions with the first chilly morning since last May and all we saw when we went into their bedrooms were little blobs tucked soundly under their fleece blankets - no feet, hands, ears or noses visible.

I'm thinking when the winter months comes, we better turn that alarm clock on a bit earlier because it may take several attempts to get them warmed up for the day - especially my son who takes after his lazy Mom and could sleep 20 out of 24 hours in a day!

On a sad side note, my brother and his family leave Friday for home and it will be awhile before we see them again. We'll miss you cousin Sophia, Uncle Mike and Aunt Tammy! Thanks for a great visit.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

One wedding and an amusement park

Where you been? Seems like I've been offline forever.

What a fun, busy, beautiful weekend for us. On Saturday, we celebrated the marriage of my Aunt Bev and her husband Sean! There were so many faces we hadn't seen in so long and relatives that traveled across country to be there. Even with the scare of a tropical storm approaching and humidity that made it feel like we were in Mexico, not a raindrop fell and we enjoyed a day spent with family!

My children got to play (and meet) their cousin who lives in Las Vegas - what a treat that was! We hit Canobie Lake Park on Sunday and then had a great beach day on Monday. Tonight we will travel to Maine to say good bye as they prepare to head home. It was so fun having them so close by for a few days.

But then things will get back to normal and I'll find inspiration and time to blog again. I am still adjusting to two children in school full-time and while I had thought that meant I could concentrate on work and accomplish more than I did this summer, I just find that I try to cram more in my day so that they can have my attention at night. We'll figure out a routine soon. Now, back to work!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A salute to God

"In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit."

So that threw us last night when Abby pulled that one out of the air before bed. She was really learning something at school in two 1/2 day sessions.

But what I loved the most was that instead of touching her head to start the sign of the cross, she actually saluted. Like God is the head of the armed forces.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

2339 more to go

Day 1 of kindergarten was a success! Only 2339 more school days to go until graduation!

It was an amazing joy taking my daughter to her new school this morning and watching her line up with all the other kindergartners in her class as the school bell rang. They looked like a soccer team in their uniforms of navy blue t-shirts and shorts - except not too many soccer players I know have brightly colored backpacks weighing them down. We saw Tinkerbell, Hello Kitty, Lightening McQueen and Transformers plastered across their backs. At Catholic School that's about as commercial as they can get.

Their sneakers were all so clean and their socks were so white. Each one had that nervous energy and innocence about them, but few had tears, which was comforting. And as long as I didn't look at some of the other Mom's with their tissues in hand, I knew I'd be okay. We waited patiently for the teacher to lead them inside. And suddenly, they were off...and the tears welled in my eyes, and my throat got a huge lump, but I just shouted "Have fun." and held it all together. I promised myself I wouldn't sob this time around.

As they approached the entrance to the school her teacher asked who would like to be the door holder and she quickly raised her hand and rushed over to help. And then in an instant they were gone - inside their classroom ready to embark on a whole new experience. When she got back home later that day she admitted it was different from the daycare place she left behind last week, but she can't wait to go back tomorrow for Day 2. Hopefully by Day 2063 of this school adventure she'll still be as enthusiastic!!