Friday, January 29, 2010

Follow through is the hardest thing to do

I'm not good at follow through. That being said, I'm pretty organized as far as appointments, work tasks and social activities. But when it comes to following through on the "I mean it this time" stuff, I stink.

How many times have you said to your children, "If you don't finish all your dinner, you won't get desert!", only to hand over something sweet less than 30 minutes later?

Or how about, "If you don't get upstairs right now and put your PJ's on, you'll go to bed 1/2 hour earlier tomorrow night!", only to completely forget that claim the next night until the kids are having a meltdown because it's 10 minutes past their normal bed time. Me? Constantly.

And now I"m faced with a child who is not enjoying school, AT ALL, and leveraging no extra curricular activities against improving grades is becoming the norm.

I'm struggling because on one hand it's *only* first grade. But, these are the things she needs to know for the rest of her life. Like a silent "e" makes the vowel long in a word. And "ch" can say ka or cha.  Basics to me, but torture for her.

So, yesterday when she came home with a 12 (yes, that's a twelve. they do grade with numbers in her first grade) on an EASY test I had to hold firm. I had to follow through.  Earlier in the month she came home with a 13 and I attributed it to a long week after christmas break, and oral surgery throwing her for a loop. But I told her that if she brought home a grade like that again, we'd have to see about taking her out of her Daisy troop until her grades improve.  It's a weekday event that makes Monday nights horrible in our house.

Now that that day has come, I feel bad and frustrated but need to stand by my word. I'll be calling her troop leader to let her know that she'll be missing the next meeting. Hopefully that gives her enough pause to put a little more effort into her work and realize that school comes first. Or it will just give her another reason to tell me "You're mean!", in which case we continue on...

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Local news let me down

I love my local news. I really do. No, seriously. I studied broadcast communications in college - I mean, come on, how much more can you love news than to spend 4 years studying it?

But this week, my local stations let me down, big time. I know we all have our moments during a newscast when we wonder "Why are they reporting on that?" or "Do I care about the deer crashing into a home in Montana when I live in Boston?", but when the news hits close to home, I start to take things personally. This is my turf.

Why my anger? I wrote about it here last night in the height of my fury, but essentially I feel like we've lost our perspective and responsibility to our young girls and boys and have decided that the age of "anything goes" on YouTube becomes newsworthy. Guess what? It's not.  If there are issues with security, or education, that our communities need to be aware of, then report it. Absolutely. But teenagers being exploited for sensationalism on our local news reels has no place.

Let me know if you agree with my rage. Still growling this morning...grrrrrrr

Monday, January 25, 2010 review

Heading to Cambridge, MA soon? Looking for some place different to grab a bite to eat (brunch or dinner).  Check out my latest review over here...

Apparently my girlfriend has our next brunch stop all picked out so stay tuned for fried chicken and waffles, in New England no less!

Thursday, January 21, 2010


Who is s'posed to be watching this kid after school? First green marker and now this. Get ready L.A. Ink. You'll have a new recruit in 20 years.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Oh Valentine, Oh Valentine how I love thee red hearts

My daughter started singing Santa Claus is Coming to Town yesterday at the eye doctor. I put a kibosh on that right away. I am long over the holidays and have even started replacing snowmen and winter decorations with tulips and flowers.

I know, it's early, but this winter was not really welcome in my home. I wasn't ready to give up the summer and fall months so I'm a little stuck in protest over cold and snow.

But then I remembered I am *so* not a Valentine's Day chick either, so why am I rushing to get to February? I remember dreading it in school, especially when they started the ritual of handing out carnations in home room. White, pink and red. White was from "a friend". Pink was "I think I like you" and Red was "I love you".

At 14, 15, 16 years old the last thing you wanted to do was sit there and not get a flower - at least ONE flower - any flower! And I don't even think it went to a good charity or cause. It was just a fundraiser with huge social implications.

Inevitably my girlfriends would send me a few white flowers, and maybe a pink for fun, but no reds every came my way (ok, that may have changed when I started dating my high school beau, but that was so long ago and so foggy that I'm content thinking I was scarred for life by the carnations and that is why I insist they don't ever enter my house).

So, to help get Valentine's Day on my good side I told my daughter it will be her job to make up a Valentine's Day song since it doesn't have one. A love song for Valentine's Day.

She looked at me with a little head tilt and said, "Ahhh. No."

Well then, that ends that idea. So fresh. But so right. I can't handle another song in my head right now. I'm still stuck with Ma ma oh la la la, ga ga roh ma ma waking me in the middle of the night. Curse you Lady Ga Ga!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Let them be free...

Do you see it? Right there. Hiding behind the chair. If you look closely you can see it peering out at you.

Look. There's another one! Even Coach sniffed it out. Hmmm...

They are even in the kitchen!

It's the de-child-proofed house! Hip-hip-hooray! No more broken nails, cursing, prying, and fighting with the outlet covers every time I want to vacuum or plug in a mixer (which happens several times a day in my house...Ya, right!).

If the children get zapped by putting their fingers (or other appendages) in there, then it's their own stupid fault. They're old enough to know better and I'm free to plug away!

Monday, January 11, 2010

The bright side: It could have been all over his walls

If you can get past the knobby knees, this is what I discovered on my little mans legs on Day One of Solo Parenting. Apparently it wasn't washable marker, as we soon found out in the shower after scrubbing a few layers of skin off.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

45..75..90...What recession?

I have some fantastic news. The recession is O-V-E-R! Woot! Kick up your heels and celebrate.

See, hubby and I decided to get a babysitter tonight and enjoy an adults-only dinner before he spends 7 days in training for work. By ourselves. No children. No mac n' cheese. No screaming, "Cut it out!" at our table. It was going to be lovely.

I tried calling our first choice at 3:30 and they didn't have any reservations for two, but the hostess politely told me, "You are welcome to walk-in and may have a slight wait." Oh yummy. It was my first choice for our adults-only dinner and I had a craving for their lobster and shrimp pasta.

Twenty-one degrees later, with a windchill of negative 100, we arrived for our "slight wait."

Me: "How long for a party of two?"

Perky hostess: "Let's see. Right now. One hour fifteen to an hour and a half."

Me: "Huh? Uhm. Ok. Thanks anyway."

See, I had a babysitter at home and right there that dinner already cost us an extra $15.

Next place. Decided on a large Italian restaurant figuring lots of seats, no wait.

Me: "How long for a party of two?"

Not as perky hostess: "Do you have a reservation?"

Me: "No" and would I ask you how long if I had a reservation?

Not as perky hostess: "Hmmm. About 40, 45 minutes."

Me: "Ok. Guess it's not our night. Thanks."

As we drove from establishment to establishment to strip mall and back we were realizing that without a parking spot at any of these places (and the crowds spilling outside in negative 100 degree weather) we may end up at the sub shop down the street.

As luck would have it, literally on the way to a sub shop down the street, we tried one last place (that we had driven past earlier) and there was a parking spot. So we took it, went inside, and wanted to slip the hostess $100 when she told us, "Only a ten minute wait."

Of course at this point we had been driving around for over an hour (no joke) and could have just stayed at our first choice and been on our way to a table to order lobster and shrimp pasta. Instead, we settled for mediocre food (but cold wine and that's all that really mattered at this point, right?) and a much less expensive food bill.

Given the crowds and long lines on a Saturday night, I'm glad to report the economy is recovering!! Take the money out from under the mattress and start investing...things are looking good.

Going for the shot

I repeatedly tell my kids "Shots are nothing. They keep you healthy. You need them. Shut up and suck it up".

Ok that last part isn't said out loud, just in my head.

Now, I have to do as I say. Tuesday. 9 a.m. sharp (pun intended). H1N1 vaccine.

If I didn't have two petri dishes living at home, I would skip it. But there are too many fabulous things going on this winter and spring and I don't want to miss anything curled up in bed with 103 fever and body aches.

Plus, this gives me something new to obsess over for the next few days!


And if you didn't hear or read: I am hanging with the New England Mamas as a contributing blogger. Fun! And another reason to get vaccinated so I don't end up being the blogger blogging about having H1N1.

Friday, January 8, 2010

When you find a good thing, buy a ton of it

I’m a brand buyer. I don’t know how it happened because we were pretty frugal growing up, but I still remember having Cheer® detergent, Skippy® peanut butter and Lucky Charms® in our house – the real deal, not the generic versions.

Today, I stock up on my favorite brands whenever they are on sale. Cottonelle® toilet paper, I love ya. Same with Viva® paper towels and Barilla® pasta. Look in my stocked cupboards and you’d think all we do in our house is poop, wipe up spills and eat pasta every few hours.

However, there is one staple I find I use most during the cold winter months in New England that I never stocked up on and now they are gone forever – my crazy, paisley flannel sheets!

Flannel sheets – why you can buy those any time of year, at any store selling linens, in many fun colors, right? Wrong. My fav-o-rite flannel sheets are from Linens n’ Things®. That store no longer exists. Caput. Out of Business. Which means my super soft, NEVER PILL, keep-me-wicked-warm sheets are gone forever.

Sure, they still maintain a “New Linen’s n Things” web site, but apparently flannel sheets aren’t part of the inventory. I’ve gone elsewhere and purchased flannel sheets but find that we only use them temporarily while we wash our crazy paisleys. I’ve never found a set as warm and soft as those.

What brand item have you fallen in love with and watched go by the wayside? A cereal? A favorite pair of jeans? Or maybe you’ve never been brand loyal, which I don’t get, but good for you.
None of the products mentioned in this blog have paid for a mention, nor offered any products or services. Does that cover my a#*?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

My kids are winners

No, seriously. I'm not just calling them "winners" because they're my kids - which I would do if you asked - but they both have won some cash this week.

First, the little lady was top seller of her school's fundraiser calendars - which ironically offers you a chance to win cash every day - so she walked away with $25.

Then, today her little brother won $50 from the calendar I so graciously purchased for him that made his sister the top seller.

Ding, ding, ding...we have a winnah!

So, the moral of the story is: The way to the Sierra's heart is through gambling.

Ask us to buy pies, cookies, or wrapping paper and we probably aren't your family.

Do you think I could get the kids to pick some Mega Millions numbers this week? What? I was kidding...maybe.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

This little tooth went to market

This little tooth stayed home. This little tooth had roast beef. This little tooth had none. And this little tooth went wee-wee-wee-wee all the way home.

So there were only 3 little teeth, not five as the tale goes, but man...we are so glad they wiggled their way out of her mouth.

Oral surgery was a success - that is if you don't count the idiot move by Mom to give her a nice, cold, frosty vanilla ice cream from Micky D's on the way home that subsequently revisited us all over the living room rug as soon as we entered the house. (Note: wait until you are home and safe before feeding a child who is coming back to earth after being high as a kite.)

She doesn't remember a thing, so it was a success in that manner, but it certainly was not all that smooth. The nurse congratulated me for having the first child, in 5 years of her nursing career, to refuse to drink the sedative in the happy juice. She admitted she pulled out all her tricks and nothing was working.

What should have been one big gulp turned into 25 small sips and lots of whining, gagging and complaining. Obviously, it had minimal effect other than to slur her speech a tad going into the room. So they brought out the big guns. The injection. Not a good scene at all - not as it was going into her arm nor as she was drifting off to spend time with the Sand Man. Eventually she rested but she's one tough cookie.

Time to get her sedated: 40 minutes
Time to extract 3 loose bottom teeth: 5 minutes
Time to return to earth: Ongoing but 45 minutes in the office

Thankfully the staff consisted of three angels who made me feel comfortable and did what was best for Abby. There were moments on the ride home when she cried hysterically but not because it hurt but "because I am so happy".

Thank you tooth fairy for inventing soft spoken oral surgeons with good drugs. See you tonight. Hope you went to the bank.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Stay At Home Parents are My Heroes

Hey brave soul – yeah, you. Over there. I want to say good work. Congrats. You are my hero. Seriously.

Our family vacation officially kicked off on December 24th, although my husband had the days leading up to that day off so some would argue we were already in vacation mode. Over the next 11 days, we would be all together. All the time. Ok, most of the time. Ok, almost all together because the kids did go to their after school program mid-week last week so I could clean out their playroom without interruption. And my husband did work the week after Christmas.

OK! What do you want from me? I did the stay at home thing with my daughter for 14 months after she was born. It was great. We napped. Constantly. She barely moved and would snuggle with me whenever the moment presented itself. Now, she talks back and never stops. And needs to be entertained every minute of the day when she’s at home. Laying a blanket down on the floor surrounded by stuffed animals doesn’t count as entertainment anymore.

I made a conscious decision to return to work. Ok, I had to go back to work in order to maintain a lifestyle that fits my life (I loves me some Ann Taylor Loft) and in the process I got used to some alone time. Some down time. Some quiet time.

Christmas vacation had none little of that. And the more I got to thinking, the more I realized some Mom’s or Dad’s never have those moments. Some parents not only spend all day with their children, but some do it alone. All the time. Without the loving spouse to back them up when the need arises.

My husband worked weekend nights for 3 years and I remember the trips with the kids to anywhere-I-could-find so he could sleep during the day to prepare for his shift. I was exhausted by the time the weekend was over.

So, to the stay at home parents who rule this planet, great work. I respect you more than you know. And for us who work full-time and start another shift at night when the troops come home. You ain’t so bad yourself!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Taking 2010 one day at a time

New Years resolutions for twenty-ten: Weight loss challenge. Get out of debt. More time with the family. Volunteer in my community more. Find my true calling.

If you are reading blah, blah, blah - you're right.

Starting a new year tends to lend itself to setting up goals and expectations that are usually abandoned by Valentine's Day. I'm sure plenty of people can tackle a list of "to-dos" like a pro and cross things off at record pace over 12 months. I opt to sit back and let the days decide how life will turn out.

In fact, I thoroughly enjoyed 2009, and hope that 2010 can even come close to that year. I mean, it wasn't the best financially to see our retirement shrunk to pennies. Or the anxiety that if the economy didn't turn around, we could be taking in roommates to help pay the mortgage. But when I think of the past year, I think of so many moments that gave me reason to pause and appreciate how fortunate I am - from my children, to two healthy parents, to time with my brother and in-laws who live far away.

So my new years resolution for 2010 is to live 2010 like it's just another year. Full of hope and moments that I can't always control, don't often expect, and have to appreciate no matter what they bring.

Bring it on. Now I have to get back to work, because this Internet access doesn't pay for itself...Happy New Year.