Friday, March 27, 2009

If you want to get the kids up in the morning

Get them these little suckers:

What are they, you ask? Animal? Vegetable? Mineral? Nope. They are a gift from Grammy and Grampy and I have NEVER seen my kids get up and dressed so fast in my life as they did this morning. Shirts, pants, socks, GO! All so they could rush downstairs to see if their eggs had cracked:

I don't know where they come from, but we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our creatures with baited breath. There were squeals of delight at the eggs starting to open. I think it's so much more ingenious than the sponge creatures that just explode upon impact with water. These hatch. Welcome to Spring - you never know what you'll find growing this time of year...

Monday, March 23, 2009

Brought to you by the letter P for Party!

Let the games begin! Spring is springing (although it doesn't feel like it today) and the neighbors are restless for company. So, Saturday night we descended on a neighbors house for some food and laughs. It was fun. But it was really fun because we've reached that important step in a parent's life when we can attend parties, bring our kids, let them loose, drag them home exhausted and not have to bring along 2 diaper bags and a Ziploc bag full of Cheerios.

And drinking...we can do that again, too, without panic of a child leaping out of high chair, splitting his chin open, rushed by ambulance to an unknown hospital while leaving his sister behind. Ahhh....the memories!

In fact, I don't think I saw my kids for more than a few fleeting moments the whole night. Bliss! And a reminder as to Why.We.Are.Done. No more babies, my friend. No sirree! Although it was awfully cute when the almost 3 yo in the group asked, "Daddy. Where is the birthday cake?" Obviously, if you are at a party, it must be a birthday! Too cute.

And during the course of the night we learned more fun tid-bits about our friends that share our little cul-de-sac. My favorite moment came when our local law enforcement officer, who was born in the Dominican Republic, chimed up when someone mentioned Sesame Street with,

"Oh, man! I loved Sesame Street. That's how I learned to speak English. I used to be like 'so that's how you spell that'."

Congratulations PBS - job well done!!! You raised a fine police officer.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

I have...

a washer and dryer in my house so I don't need to lug laundry around with me in my car.

a car.

a car that has 4 new tires, a quiet muffler and new brakes.


20 pairs of shoes.

OK, maybe 40 pairs of shoes.

a full-time, paying job.

a full fridge.

a second fridge that is often full.

a house.

heat in my house.

a new TV.

more than 1 TV, new or old.

3 computers.

2 cameras.

a shower.

two showers with hot water.


clean drinking water.

glasses and contacts to see all my stuff, clearly.

But what does that all mean? I am fortunate to have all those things, but am I thankful? Not always. In fact, most of time I forget to be thankful. What I don't have is...

my brother and his family right around the corner so our kids can play together.

my in-laws living down the street.

parents who live close enough that they can swing by for a few minutes, or even for dinner on a Tuesday, and not have to plan every time we want to see each other.

my Nana. Who loved me without ever thinking about it.

So while my life is full up on things, I'd trade my shoes for more time and moments with those I love - ok, I'd trade our extra TV ;) My message: be thankful. It's the best you can do.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The streaker-in-training

This was in Alex's mailbox at school.

Mr. and Mrs. Sierra,
Alex sat in time out for a few minutes because he pulled his pants down at the bathroom and showed all the children his backside. I explained to him that our private body parts are not for others to look at. If you could talk to him that'd be great!

Need I say more, really?

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Spring has sprung

With a blood curdling scream of "MMMOOOOOOOOOMMMMMMMM!" - which had me believing someone had cracked their head open - it became official. Spring has sprung.

My son found his first worm. Or as he put it, "I can not believe it. The first worm of the season." And with the softest little grin, he presented me with his big discovery. So I share it with you:

And yes. That is a hat from our snowman kit on his head. You should have seen him when he had the plastic pipe in his mouth.

Welcome Spring (a few days early).

Monday, March 9, 2009

Dinner and a prom, 1987 style.

On Saturday evening, I reluctantly dragged my husband out to dinner in my hometown to see an old friend from high school. He used to date my girlfriend and we caught up with each other at our 20 year 10 year high school reunion a couple of years ago. It was great to see him, but the whole reunion thing freaked me out for a couple of reasons.

1. I hated high school. OK, I didn't hate it. I just don't have warm, loving memories like I do from college. I worked a lot in high school, and dated a boy from outside the school, so I didn't get too involved with school activities. I went through the motions and either went home or to work after school. No sports. No plays. No school spirit. So when I escaped to NY for college, I never looked back.

2. I was now 50 lbs 5 lbs heavier than I was in high school and feeling VERY self-conscious. I knew I hadn't taken care of myself but I was in a funk I couldn't get out of. I never expected to stay 125 lbs, but never expected to balloon to 175, either.

As it turned out, the reunion was a good thing because 3 months later I decided to stop feeling sorry for myself and started exercising, eating healthy, and within 7 months, poof, 20 lbs were gone. And they have stayed off and I'm okay hanging in the 150's. Thanks 20 year 10 year reunion.

It was also good because my friend and I have managed to stay in touch (thanks Facebook) and so I said "yes" when he invited me out to dinner with two other guys I knew from the 80's(who also dated friends of mine in high school). Unfortunately, they didn't go to the 20 year reunion, so it had been almost 22 years since I'd seen them. Suddenly, that was weighing heavy on my mind. Twenty-two years. 22 years. TWENTY TWO YEARS! I hadn't had a "legal" drink with these boys because they were 18 the last time we saw each other!!

Welcome back, anxiety. Nice to see you again! I fretted over this night the whole week. What were we going to talk about? I've never met their wives. Did they have kids? How do you start the conversation, "So, whatcha been up to for the past two decades?? And why did you and Janice break up again?" Ugh. What had I gotten myself into?

Reservations were at 8:00. We agreed to meet up with Dennis and his wife at 7. Of course we were the first ones to arrive. If you know me, you know that VERY RARELY am I late. Incredible trait passed down to me from my Dad. I asked the hostess about the reservation for 8 people at 8:00. Ahhh. Nope. But there was a reservation for 14 people at 8:00. WHAT??? Fourteen?? Crap. Who are the other 6 people???

Dennis and his wife arrived and the four of us had a great time laughing over drinks. There wasn't really a bar area, so they sat us at the long table early so we ordered appetizers, shared stories and the conversation flowed easily. This was good.

Then it was a little after 8:00 and 4 more arrived and it was one of the guys I knew so we exchanged big hugs and hellos. He brought his brother and sister-in-law. His brother coincidentally graduated with my brother, but they didn't know each other. Ralph says he looked just like DeNiro. And he did. This was good.

Then 4 more showed up. It was two guys I knew from school but didn't necessarily hang out with them. Their wives seemed really nice. Upon introductions to hubby, one of the guys managed to spill a whole glass of red wine all over Ralph's white shirt - but it turned into some pretty good fodder for jokes. They all shouted out "Welcome to Waltham." They tried to make him feel at home. Let's just say, I owe hubby a new white shirt. This was good.

Then the last guy I knew arrived solo - his wife was home sick with their son. We were our table of 13. This was good. As I found out, they all do this quite often so I felt a little out of place at first. But honestly, by the time more appetizers arrived, I was having a wonderful time. Everyone included us in their conversations. They filled us in on the stories of bachelor parties and family vacations.

I had bravely packed pictures from Prom in my purse because the main connection I shared with these guys was fact that they all escorted my girlfriends to the Prom. After enough drinks, I asked if anyone wanted to see them. So, out came 1987. And more laughs.

By the end of the evening I was sad to go and we were still talking as we were heading out the door. Amazing how your mind can resurrect those high school anxieties, but as we are all turning 40 21 this year something amazing happened. A group of 13 adults sat down to dinner and had a fabulous time!

What happened to those "girlfriends" from 1987? No idea. But I met some lovely wives so all things happen for a reason :) My, how prom gowns have changed since the late 80's, haven't they? I'm the one on the left. I must have misread "prom" as "wedding"...what the hell was I thinking????

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Pessimists need not apply

I've had enough. Enough. Enough. Enough.

People are so damn depressing today - and I make that general statement cautiously as I realize some don't have control over it - but Gosh Darn America - CHEER UP!

If I hear one more person whine about their 401K or the declining stock market, or complain about the nevernding New England winter (Raise your hand if you are guilty!! Mines raised!), or fret over the latest obesity study on children or their own expanding waistlines, I think I might lose my shit.

Life is too damn short to be so miserable all the time. Some things are out of our control. Including life. So while you're here, on this side of the dirt, give it a whirl at being happy.

It's cold today - but the sun is shining longer. My 401K is 1/2 of what it was 2 years ago, but there is food on my table. My kids eat too much junk food, but they literally giggle at the site of an ice cream sundae and that makes me happy.

Think about what you really need to make you smile. I bet it's not all that much. Cheer up. It's good to have a little uncertainty in our lives - otherwise things are damn boring.

Here's something to make you smile.

See. Was that so hard?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Hey, Mother Nature! Give me a break!!

Yo, Momma Nature - this is what we did on the driveway Friday afternoon:

This is what we did on the driveway today:

Needless to say, I've had enough...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Do people notice when you're not there?

I don't think much about who is thinking about me during the day. It's kind of weird to wonder who has me on their mind. I know during the weekdays I think about my kids often and wonder if they are safe and having fun at school.

I've been to convincing myself for years that it's okay that they are with someone else 8 to 10 hours a day. It's good for their social skills and for our financial well-being. If I sat and thought a lot about if they were longing for me or for home, we'd be locked in the house every weekend as some irrational way to spend quality time together. And that wouldn't be good for anyone.

Sometimes I wonder if my husband is thinking of me, or if he stuck in some meeting or on a client call at work. I guess we've never been one of those couples that calls 5 times a day to say hi or to check in. We catch up when he gets home at night.

So I was pretty surprised the other day when I stopped by the Sunoco station down the street to fill up on a Diet Coke and the young man behind the counter shouted out,

"Hey! Where have you been? I thought you moved or something. You haven't been in here smiling and getting any Diet Cokes."

I wasn't sure he was talking to me and then I realized he was. He has never asked my name. I responded,

"Sorry, Matt. I've been locked inside drinking hot tea at home this winter. Couldn't bring myself out in the cold weather every day. But I hear spring is coming so I'll be coming back."

He responded,

"You could always get your Diet Coke without ice. I thought you were mad at me or something." And then he laughed his funny laugh.

As it turns out, he's right that I haven't been there very often this winter - their machine was broken a lot and with the winter we've had if I'm going to splurge on a large soda I do it at the drive-thru places so I can stay in my warm car.

It made me laugh that he noticed I had been missing. I practically lived there last summer on the way back and forth to get the kids from daycare. I'm not sure how old he is, but it clear he has some learning disabilities but that has never hindered his ability to be polite, and say hello, and wish me a good day. His partner in the mornings is a young woman named Amanda. She always calls me "honey" as she hands me change and never, ever, forgets to say hello and good-bye. They are two young people working at a corner gas station off 495 in Methuen who could very easily be indifferent or irresponsible and no one would probably notice. But they're not. They are polite and chatty and appear very responsible.

Some people might have their Dunkin Donuts drive-thru person to greet them each morning, or their Starbuck barista, but I have Matt. And apparently he noticed when the Mom-lady stopped coming around for her big gulp Diet Coke. And I found that very flattering.