Little Beach Mama

A Little Girl we are with is after my own heart.
Loving the beach.
Body Surfing.
Taking Walks.
Riding her bike to and from the beach.
Running from the beach with turtle head.

She didn't want to leave the sand yesterday.
She attempted to once, but turned around and decided to stay.
She cannot wait to get back on that beach today.
She is taking a boogie board.
Thank goodness there are lifeguards.

She told me she has sand piled in her ear.
I told her that I would try to clean it out, put some drops in, she said she likes it there.
She asked me if we could move here.
Sounds awesome to me.


On the Way to Cape May...

My skin is sticky.
It smells like muck.
My children are soundly sleeping, wafting in the salty air.
There is sand already in between my toes.
There is an outside shower.
I do love me the beach.

Sounds so magical, right?

Oh but you know it's coming. A nostalgic post, seriously? From this neurotic clown?
I am presently scratching 3 mosquito bites on my ankles with my toenails after only being outside for 3 total minutes. Get over yourself, like you've never done that.

I have never in my entire life, in my entire 32.5 years of living taken so long to get to the beach. Who is to blame? Those rotten scoundrels that I just carried around in my uterus for 9+ months, their bladders, the stupid turnpike, the dumb Phillies, and speed limits on the Jersey Turnpike. I mean you get pulled over by a Jersey State Trooper, you might as well start selling Lemonade on the Atlantic City Expressway, because there is no way you have ever seen or paid a ticket that high unless of course you frequently cruise towards the beach, and you are going to surely be left broke. Sneaky little fools hiding in the trees.

It was just me. Me and the 3 little darlings. I mean how hard can it be? We have made it to the beach before with 2 children, what's one more? And they both were small during some of these road trips to sandy highways, even younger then Jake is now. You never truly anticipate the craziness that might ensue. That would truly be ridiculous and you would never want to leave your house. I mean childbirth. You swear as that child is ripping apart all your lady parts that you would much rather be struck in the head with a boulder 10 times, and then it is over, and you do it again. And for some of us, and again, and again...

Oh but it was just me. That's the key. You might as well have thrown me into the wilderness with hungry savage beasts and I would have fared better. We are not 5 minutes down the road, 'Mommy, I have to go pee, and can you get us some gum?'  Now here's the rules, you go once, you are breaking the seal. It's inevitable that you are going to have to go again, and soon. Does that work the same with 5 year olds, you ask? Let me assure you that it most certainly does. So it's me, 3 children, over luggage in and out of seats and buckles, somehow in 5 minutes we have lost a flip flop, trudging into Wawa. Normally, with a road trip companion you would just take said peer into the restroom alone with one adult, the rest would wait in the vehicle. So you can imagine. I love me a worker that says, 'oh you have your hands full!' Why do people say that? Why state the obvious? I am a mother with 3 small children, all attempting to make decisions on a snack as if their lives just might depend on it. Of course I have my hands full. Next time someone asks me, I am going to either say, 'Oh no, why do you ask,' as Kendall contorts her body and face into all positions while shrieking about not being able to get a lollipop and a piece of gum. Or like break down and pretend like I am sobbing uncontrollably. Either way, the person asking will never say it again. It's seriously said to me at least once or twice a week. It's on now.

So we start going, again. I have on some tunes. I pretend that I can't hear them as they ask me, shouting, 'Mommy, how much longer,' 10 minutes after the pee stop. Thank goodness for Keisha, her techno beats override the high pitch voice of a child under 10. I have found that if you crank it loud enough, and put the windows all the way down you can only hear muffled screams, they barely even register on the rank of sound.

Here's the skinny on the highlights:
-Car fire on PA Turnpike shutting it down, leaving me to get off of it during rush hour, traveling on a two lane road that moved as slow as molasses. 'Mom, is this the beach, you said once the highway ends we are at the beach, where is it?'
- Finally moving, moving, Jacob screaming, screaming. Kendall shouting, 'I have to pee, you need to pull this thing over, its urgency!'
- I tell them I am not stopping until I cross a bridge. It is 3 hours in and I am still in the same state we live in. If they need to pee they are going in the sand buckets, I totally became that parent.
-We begin to drive over overpasses, 'oh there's a bridge, we just went over another one, there's another one, this is terrible, we passed over, 1, 2, 13, 27 bridges and you still haven't stopped, you are so mean, I am going to die!!!!!!!!'
-I assure her that no child has died on a road trip from an exploded bladder, and that if she needs to, I will pass her a bucket. Followed by silence.
-We sit and sit going into Philadelphia. Because its that stupid. I tell ask my friend Sue if she knows where all of this people are going, with the unemployment rate so high, this many people should not be on the road.She offers nothing in return, just a sorry. I tell her I would have rather been punched in the face 7 times right now.
- Ethan crying because his wenus hurts he has to pee so bad and does not want to pee in his sandbucket because it has Toy Story guys on it. I mean I suppose if I had a simple green bucket, he might have whipped it out.
- Pulling over to the side of the road, putting down window, having E stand on seat and pee out the window.
- Hunger screaming, not even Keisha can drown this out as I get smacked in the head by a wiffle ball that Jake has managed to get.
- Rest Stop with 3 small children. Enough Said.

And then we hit it. Exit 7S.
Love Exit 7S.
It's like you're home free as far as beach traveling goes for us. How many times have I driven to the Jersey Shore hit exit 7S and put down the windows because I am almost there? And it's in that moment that a calmness comes over the van. Bellies full, Daddy on the phone, the salty humid air hitting the hair making it instantly curl.

I love you 7S.

We cross over the bay.
'You smell that, you smell the beach,' I ask them.
E: 'Um, I smell poop. It smells like a fart. Who farted?'
Me: 'Knock the potty talk off.'
E: 'But it smells. Kendall did you fart?'
Me: 'Its the Bay, E. That's what I asked you to smell.'
E: 'It still smells like a fart back here, Kendall did you fart?'
Kendall: 'I. DID. NOT. FART. Mommy, Ethan is saying I farted and I didn't fart.'
Me: 'I said stop it. One more potty word and you are walking the rest of the way.'
E: 'But she really farted Mommy.'
K: 'DID NOT!!!!!!!!!'
Me: 'IT'S THE BAY!!!!!!!!!!!' (why am I indulging in this, oh perhaps heading onto hour 6 might have triggered that.)
E: 'Well who farted in the bay?
K: 'Mommy, E said a potty word.'

And volume back up...

Next time 7S...no kids allowed.


Do Not Enter*

*I don't think that you do, but I wouldn't let your kids read this post, I talk about hoo-ha's and junk, and you know, its just not appropriate for children to hear about all that just yet. They will on the school bus, so let's just leave it at that, its better that way then from Kendall, E, and Jake's mom.

So you know those storage closets I was talking about in my last post? MmmmHmmm. The ones where no one but me goes in? Tucked way back in there is my bike. My bike that I think I rode maybe twice before I got knocked up and then the only thing that you see my involved in on paths is pushing a stroller or pulling a wagon.

 It used to be a simple reason as to why I didn't ride it and release it from its habitat surrounded by hanging baskets, a sump pump, and tools. Have you tried riding a bike with a child? A child who's bike has training wheels and is about 3 times smaller than your bike? Yeah, you look like you are learning to ride a bike yourself, because the simple push of a pedal will send you 50 yards ahead and it will take the child 10 minutes to catch up, crying and whining for you to wait up with entire time. So you sway back and forth willing the bike to stay upright as you travel at a speed so slow that falling is seriously inevitable. So I just didn't do it. I can walk faster then they can ride.

Now today my love got the bright idea that he wanted to ride bikes with the kids. Kendall is now just riding on two wheels, on a bigger bike, and so her speed is a little bit greater. I hear the, 'seriously Melissa,' and I know he is somewhere in the house in a closet, just by the tone. Listen, when he can figure out where to keep things, then he can use the tone. So I travel to the basement. He makes it to the bike which has flat tires. He tells me, which I can almost predict, 'I doubt these will even hold air because the bike hasn't been ridden in 12 years.'  Classic exaggeration. It is perpetual and key to our personalities. It's almost like if we exaggerate, our point is that much stronger. In no way is this bike 12 years old. I got it right before I got pregnant with Kendall. Because if I wasn't going to have a baby, I might as well train for something, and I decided I needed a bike to assist with that training for something. So of course the tires held air.

So he rode with the children, came home and said he felt like he was riding on a metal pole. Comfy.

I decide later that I need things from the store and that I am going to ride my bike. It's the green thing to do, it's different, a little fun, exercising. I immediately begin singing, 'I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike...BICYCLE, BICYCLE....!!!' If riding a bike was just as wonderful as he makes it sound.

Now I have heard this said before. After childbirth, riding a bike is a little bit more uncomfortable then before. And I never once thought bike riding was all that comfortable to begin with, unless of course I was 12 and riding on a banana seat. But, I get it, the hips have broadened after birthing through the hoo-ha 3 times, leaving a pretty wide gap between the legs, and it ain't like there is any cushioning there, and I already am completely doubly disadvantaged because I have a pancake for a rear end. So it's not like I could lean back a little and take some pressure off the crotch for a few minutes. Really, I have ridden a bike previous to childbirth, it really never was that comfortable of an experience for me, but eventually you numb and you just pedal right along, your crotch just gets used to it.

So I did this, and I expect this. I sit myself down on that bike and begin to pedal. And it hurts. And I think, if I turn around my love is seriously going to make fun of me. And really what is my excuse? Am I going to tell the children Mommy turned around because her hoo-ha hurt? And you do that little lift and resit, a little shift hoping that somewhere if there is padding it settles and you are actually a little comfortable. Nada.

But I keep going. Here is the thought process...I wonder how much I can get on craigslist for this thing. How much are gel seat covers, and would it really work? With the money I make off of it online I could probably get myself a beach cruiser and those seats are for huge butts and they have mammoth padding. I wonder if I took off this sweatshirt and tied it around the seat itself if that would cushion it. I don't think I should stop and give the hoo-ha some rest, it might swell, and then I would never be able to get back on and I would like so stupid walking my bike to the grocery store.

I  ironically catch up to a man on a biking expedition, or so it looks. He's got the packs on both sides of the rear wheel, the basket pack on the back, a back pack. So I focus in on him....Where in the world is he going with all that stuff? Does he know what town he is in? Where is he headed at 3 pm on a Sunday? Maybe he is practicing for some summer trip. I would die having to ride my bike so far. Look he's got those glasses on that have that rear view mirror that sticks out off of them, I would seriously crash into something while attempting to look behind me in that dumb mirror, just turn your head for half a second. (I contemplate waving, sticking out my tongue, just to see if it really works) I wonder if the spandex shorts he is wearing have padding in the butt and crotch. You must walk funny with those in your pants. Why do bikers who are not in races insist upon wearing tight clothes. It's awkward for me to be near a man in spandex. Why do they not feel awkward about that? I wonder if his crotch hurts? I wonder if his junk provides him some sort of padding or if it really just kills. When I get home I am asking Andy if he has to adjust his junk before sitting upon a bike seat. I wonder if this guy shaves his legs. Some men that bike ride do. I mean does the leg hair really hold you back? Really affect your speed or get in the way? (I squint, but can't tell)

With all that distraction, I finally arrive, disembark my chariot of pain, and head into the store.

Immediate swellage. My hoo-ha is throbbing. All I want to do is curl up in a fetal position in the frozen foods department with a pack of peas between my legs. I trudge on, get my supplies, and head back. I just want to speed bike the entire ride home so that I can get the heck off of that thing.

The entire ride home all I am doing is cursing the creators of this bike seat...Who really thought that this was ok to subject riders to? Why did the looks of this seat take priority over its comfort level? Who tried this bike out and said it was wonderful? Are they idiots with super padded crotches. And the thinking is well people will purchase a padded cover for their seats and I say that that is super unfair after paying a couple hundred bucks for a bike, why have to spend more money when they could have just made the seat padded in the first place. Now I feel like I am sitting on a bunch of razor blades. I shut my eyes for a second and imagine myself sitting upon my big turquoise beach cruiser with its comfortable seating that allows you to almost bob along. I have a big white flowered basket upon the front, and my hoo-ha is intact.

I now decide that my hoo-ha is out of commission for at least a month. I am getting white underwear and applying iron ons that say, 'Do Not Enter.' And it hurts to pee. It hurts to sit. Bikes are so stupid.


A Bright Idea

Sometimes I get me an idea. Now I cannot always promise you that these might be novel ideas. Sometimes when I spout out an idea I do get a strange look in response, or that raised eyebrow, or a flat out lie that it is a great idea, but you see that person is never around past the blurting out of the idea to see it into fruition with me. Sometimes I even hate my own ideas once I start doing them, and I am completely honest with myself, a very blunt person, if you didn't gather that already. And you see I get me an idea like cleaning out the basement storage closets on a random day. But let's be honest,  I mean who really cares? Who is going in there besides me? Clearly, what is in there you do not really need or it would be out. But here I am and it is 7 months from Christmas and I am in no need of a string of lights and I am surrounded by Tupperware crates, furniture, garland, and soccer trophies that coat the floor and reach to the ceiling of the basement. Kids digging through things like they are long lost treasures, almost suffocating themselves in clothes that we hold on to even though they don't fit anyone anymore. And then there is a meltdown, someone got their head stuck in a ski boot and the another one as got himself stuck in the sleeping bag zipper. I take one look around decide what I might need next in the order of things and I shove it all back in, leaving the things that I need next, until last, and do the hip bang until the door finally latches.

Clearly a bad idea. There is no such thing as an organized anything when you have 3 small children to take care of. And that is just the way it is, you all can just get right over it if you think that is a poor excuse. Come on over, I dare you to accomplish anything other then what is necessary and get it down with efficiency and with all 3 sets of eyes dry and smiling.

Oh but there are some ideas that I think are some good ones and they usually involve a party. I have been thinking about this particular party for awhile now and next year I am going to go ahead and do it. It got its test run at Jake's Birthday Party to see how many people would actually find some enjoyment in it, and there were many. It's time to raise the stakes.

You see I love big hats. I love mint juleps and I love big hats. I think it is time. And I thank the Duke of Sasquatchington for being born right around a time when these two things are in prime season for we can disguise it as a Birthday Party also. Nope, not an Easter Egg Hunt, we did that, and that was fun also, will have to do that one again, but it isn't that.

A Kentucky Derby Party.
Now another blog I follow, Nie Nie, she does one. I read about her preparing for this and a party of this nature was already on my to do list, I just wasn't quite sure of all the logistics. She got it down, and certainly inspired me.

I don't even know one darn thing about horse racing. I know that for whatever reason my heart has a race of its own when I watch one. It's the anxiety surrounding it, and I am filled with that, so anything that provides me with a trigger, look out heart. I know that I like to look at the jockeys and smile at just how tiny they are and I get filled with some ridiculous pride about just how fortunate they are, that their size is something positive in the horse racing world. I am sure they are just thrilled with me about that. I enjoy a horses name and enjoy that they quite typically have a racing name and a normal name for around the ranch. Like when they enter the track their alter ego is released. I think track athletes should also maybe have this option.

And you know sometimes my darling husband calls me out for being random and worrying or wondering about the most bizarre things. Like for example any sport contest in general. Who in the world decided that it might be fun to get about 20 people on a field with a ball and two nets, have them race around, not being able to touch the ball with the hands, and to win you have to get the ball in the other teams net more then they in yours? And who decided that this might be something that we really need to take seriously? And who decided that we should pay people millions of dollars because they can hit a ball far with a bat? And who thought of 'off sides,' and what is that anyway? It's so annoying. And horse racing? What is the point, right?

And recently I was listening to a stand up recording of Jerry Seinfeld's in the good old van, and I was completely justified. I am not the only one out there who thinks of these random thoughts and questions things. Jerry has a lot more then even I. Here is his take on horse racing:


But I love me a good time. I love to think of ways for people to have a good time. I mean if it takes having fun around something I don't really even understand, that's completely ok. So at Jake's party, since the Derby was on this day, as a little side show I invited everyone to bring themselves some gambling money, do a little research on a horse, and participate to win big and take their mama out to breakfast the next day. We listed the horses and kept up with their changing odds. Each bet would cost you $2 because we are high rollers like that, and you were only permitted to bet 3 times. I don't know why, something about logistics and if you put in $2 on every horse you would win on some level. I really don't know, I just nodded in agreement. And it went over well, horses were picked, some by just the name, some with deep thought and strategy.

Kendall picked Derby Kitten because well kitten was in the name.
I picked Soldat because I read somewhere that the track was going to be muddy and this horse ran well in these conditions.
Ethan picked Animal Kingdom, again for the name, biggest odds, no one was picking this as a winner out there in horse racing land, except for at this party because apparently Emma also like the name and threw in her $2.
My Grandfather picked Pants on Fire, a top pick, with a top rated female jockey, and apparently that is not common.
Amy picked Twinspired because she has twins.
And it went on and on.

The race came and people gathered around the televisions, we hooted, we hollered, we couldn't hear the announcers and had no idea who had won until a few minutes after the race had ended because of all the shouting but we still shouted anyway because someone won and shouting is fun. Who was that horse that popped out of the pack, moved to the right, passed all those galloping divas, and slid right into the lead? That's right, it was Animal Kingdom. Emma and Ethan split that pot. Those that bet on this horse were big winners. I love me an underdog story.

And as I looked around, still again, obsessed with the royal wedding, I thought of one thing. Hats. The hats were missing. I want me a giant hat.

So that's, that. Next year we are having a Derby Party, and you will have to bring your $2 a horse, and ladies, you will have to come donning a hat. I don't care one bit where you get the hat. Mine will be from the Salval, and I will be decorating it on my own. You have a year to think about it. I have a year to find a mint julep recipe.

The best part of the entire race was my grandmother's rage about children winning the pot. 'Now what will they do with that money? They only picked the horse because they liked the name.' Oh I'm sorry I forgot that she mastered in horse racing and had ins with all the ranch hands. I will let you know that this same woman picked her horse by shouting out a random number, but you know, the shouting, its strategic to horse racing. I love my grandmother. If you ever wonder why I become highly passionate about the injustice of such random things, like children betting $2 on a horse race at a child's birthday party, wonder no more.

I got me some Mother's Day breakfast from the little pot winner, and he had some extra to pick out some guys from Target. All because of saying...'hmmm, I like animals, a kingdom of animals would be awesome...I pick Animal Kingdom.'

So who's in?


The Nugget is One.

The Duke of Sasquatchington turned one yesterday. I am still a little obsessed with the Royal Wedding, but I do think the name fits him quite well...and yes of course I loved Kate's dress, who wouldn't? And I do have alot to say in regards to the wedding, but the Duke's birthday takes some major precedence, and this queen mum is quite proud.

I tell you someone must have pushed the fast forward button. I think the more children you have, the faster time goes. I say it all the time, I know. You are like, 'shut up already, kids grow, its what they do, get over it!' And I get it, the busier you are, the faster the time goes, you are too side tracked to notice the calendar. I understand the reality of the situation. Before I know it I will be wearing Depends yelling at Andy to turn up his hearing aid and put in his dentures because the great grand kids are coming to visit.  So just let me have my pity party, alright?

So yesterday was a day of nothingness and somethingness all in one. See it's hard to celebrate one, unless of course you have the One Year Old Birthday Bash on the actual day the child's birthday. And having a party on a Wednesday in the beginning of May for 50+ of his most adoring fans can get a little hairy. The actual party then is Saturday. A mexican fiesta if you will, for the nugget who turned uno this week. So we celebrated Jake's birthday for Kendall and E today. We decorated, we had his 'favorite' meal, we sang to him, and we let him do what he wanted to do all day. This consisted of knocking down castles, eating crayons, dumping pet food bowls after others have done said chore. It was a little overwhelming for the siblings, we hit the top of the patience meter all day long, but it was for only a day, and it is his day, and you just have to deal with him climbing up your barbie house, just pretend he is Godzilla.

But of course turning one was something for me.
 I snuggle up in his little chunkiness and breathe him in as he sleeps, since that is the only time he is still. The debate rages on as to if this is my last little baklava, and so having him come out of this baby stage is a little overwhelming for me. I still swaddle him all up in a blanket and rock him to sleep. Yes, if he is my last, I will be also doing this at the age of 10. Why do you even bother wondering?

I mean look at him all scrunched up in that baby seat that lasted all of 4 months until he grew out of it. I miss size 1 diaper bulges. And not that I am craving another body invasion at this moment, please don't mistake what I am saying. I just want him to stay little for a couple more minutes.

Isn't it funny that as we grow we still look the same when we sleep as when we were a baby? I mean Jake doesn't sleep in this jacked up position, but the face is the same. I never realized this until I watched my kids sleep, and I thought I might share this important piece of information with you.

He now sleeps through the night.
He eats what we eat.
He is now beginning to take those first steps, preferring to side step then forward march. You know, whatever gets the job done.

I love when they are learning to walk. It's similar to the first time you are on roller skates. Everything becomes your stabilizer, your balance. The wall, the car, the chair, the dog, your brother, a tree, you get the idea.

His favorite thing to play with is balls. He just found his own personal set and thinks they are just about the most fascinating thing, typical to most males. However, he is obsessed with all actual balls that are not of the human anatomy as well. And surprisingly, he gets it. It's a little bizarre. He knows where to shoot a basketball. He can play a mad game of catch. And he can bounce and catch until the cows come home, if we had cows that were going to come home.

His most favorite things are his animals, and Lillian actually tolerates him, when she swats at him he still goes in for the lovin'. He's winning her over. And he adores his brother and sister. Each time he sees them its as if they have been away for days. The excitement is completely lost on them because it just doesn't make sense to them, but he doesn't even notice. Personally, I think it's awesome to be rendered as someones most favorite person, and this is what he thinks of them. I remind them of this frequently...and Kendall gives me that look that says, 'seriously, all I did was go to take a leak and was gone maybe 2 minutes.'

He is a lover and a goof.
He is at the stage right now where he is noticing social nuances and when we laugh he mimics it, when Kendall or E cry he loves on them and pats their back, and when he does something worthy of praise, he is the first one to give himself a standing ovation encouraging everyone to do the same.

He is my joy.
His smile so sweet.
I could sit and twirl my fingers in his strawberry blond curls all day.
He is happy and it is infectious. I feel as though life is going to be awesome through his eyes.
His cheeks are munchable.
His kisses, slobber filled.
He is mine.

Nugget we love you so.
Happy 1st Birthday.
It's the 1st of many and despite my heart breaking over the entire aging process, we can't wait to spend them all with you.

If you missed it and just want to read the play by play on Jake's Birth click:
here and then here. Why yes there is two parts, have you had a baby?
I blogged a lot about my pregnancy with him through 2009 and 2010 if you feel the need to dig into my past.


Anyone seen Queen Frostine?

'Does your person have on glasses?'
Her turn, my turn again.
'Does your person have red hair?'
Her turn, my turn again.
'Is your person Shirley?'
'Uh, nope.'
'Wait, well Shirley is the only one I have left, who was it?'
'It's Mary.'
'Mary? But you said that your person didn't have a hat on, and Mary has a hat on!'
'Well that turn it didn't because I first picked Frank, but then I decided to pick a different person, and I picked Mary.'

MmmHmmm...oh. 25 minutes of your life playing Guess Who, only to find out that she decided midway that she just wanted to pick someone else. It's game time. And you know you feel like a terrible Mom when they ask...'Hey Mommy, want to play Uno Moo,' and you would just really rather have them all sit around in a circle and scream at your while you trim their nails.

And you really try and have the best intentions. Games sound like fun, it's quality time, and not only that, it's a learning experience. So you set out to have just that with your joyful children. But I would just like to say to Milton Bradley, thanks a freakin lot. Because who decides to put together a game for preschoolers and just when they are about to win, about to be victorious, they pick up a card that sends them all the way back to the beginning? Destined to lose, destined for all h-e double hockey sticks to break loose in our playroom. This is a trigger Milton. Clearly, he was not a hands on father, never played games that were intended for preschoolers, if he even was a father, aren't they two last names? Who cares, I just want to meet their testing children. The ones that sit in the circle and think it is fun to lose. They are clearly slipping something into their juice boxes and they haven't a clue what they are doing just that there is pretty colors in front of them.

And I begin with Candy Land. And I want to play games with them, I really will it to be a great time. But how can I with Queen Frostine being involved? 'I promise Mommy, I promise I will not be upset if E picks Queen Frostine, I will keep on playing.'

I hate Queen Frostine.

Who decides to put one character in the game that is royal and beautiful? No, I'm serious. The rest are some comical plump blueberry grandmother types and a lanky lollipop man and things of that nature. If there was one caped gumball super hero involved, the game would easily become Ethan's demise. Because every little girl wants to be associated with Queen Frostine. As if picking her card, and getting to move to her spot makes her your BFF, almost royal-like yourself. So you know what I went and did? If I must subject myself to Candy Land, we are going to play in peace, and I took away the Queen Frostine card and tossed it in the trash while no one was looking. And now, at the end of each game Kendall has the same remark,'I can't believe it Mommy, no one picked Queen Frostine, again! That's crazy!' Nope, just your mother is crazy. But it is for the most part, peaceful since I sent her away. They might even get another round on the rainbow trail with me now and again.

You might say that I am a terrible mother. Shielding them and protecting them from disappointment. You say games are teachable moments about life; winning and losing is important to learn. I say, get a grip.

My daughter, like me, sometimes lives in some fantasy land. And like I said, when she gets the card with the princess ball gown for the wedding dress when playing The Bride Game, that is just the dress she is really going to wear on her wedding day. So she better have picked up the right card, no one wants the too casual Semi-Formal Gown.

You know, if you loved the Game of  Life, you get what I am saying. You know that if that little spinner led you through college and then you landed on being a doctor, then having twin girls, and living on a country estate, that that was just what was going to happen to you when you grew up. Similar was the game, M.A.S.H., you played in junior high school when you were supposed to be doing 'group study.' As the choices you picked were narrowed down, it was as if you were actually creating your destiny.  'Oh! I am going to be a vet! And I am going to drive a Fiero! (that's right, remember those hot little numbers?) And I am going to have 8 children, live in a mansion and be married to Steve!!!!!!!!' It was too much to handle, and if the choices that were made by your chosen number led you to be left with living in a shack, it was just plain embarrassing, and you begged to start all over again. Even though the next day would be a whole new game with a whole different future.

This is my son with the game of Memory. We have the Super Hero Edition, and with each match he gets its like he becomes that Super Hero that he matches. If he makes a mistake he tries to fix it because he really wants that Wolverine match, 'wait, wait, let me pick again, I didn't mean to flip that one over.'

'That's cheating E, please stop cheating.'
'I not cheating, my hand slipped and I flipped the wrong one.'
'Now you are cheating and lying. If you cheat one more time, I am not playing.'
'Ok Mommy, but is this one the other Wolverine card? Just tell me.' (as his little hand hovers over top of the card)

And games can be fun, and bring back a lot of memories from your childhood. But it's funny that you forget the bad experiences as you grow older. I used to love the game, Old Maid. And it is clear now, why I loved it, because I loved laughing at the person who was left with the Old Maid. It was just plain mean. But, what I didn't remember was the break down when I was left with this card. Yet, it came right back to me as we played Old Maid with Kendall. Back and forth, in and out of hands went the Old Maid, Kendall giggling incessantly when it would leave her hand and go to the doomed game player who would live a life alone with her 27 cats. However, when she would pick it, her face would fall, she would panic, threaten to quit, she hasn't quite mastered the poker face. We pushed her to keep playing and a few times other people were left with the Old Maid, and we would point and laugh, and say, 'you're the Old Maid,' and play again. But it was quickly over and done with once Kendall was left with the Old Maid. Emotional breakdown, 'but I don't want to be an Old Maid, she's ugly and alone.' Memories flood over me. I tell her, 'hey Kendall, look at Mommy, sometimes when I played Old Maid when I was your age, I too was the Old Maid, but look at me now, I'm not an Old Maid. I am a crazy woman who thought it was a good idea to play games with my children so I could hear them whine and cry all afternoon.'

But now I get all envious of that Old Maid. I am sure she is curled up somewhere with a bowl of ice cream and reading a good book, laughing at me, who thought that having10 children and building hotels on Boardwalk would be a piece of cake.


The Sack-a-Rice Jesus Made

Today was Easter Sunday.
aw...so sweet & innocent...see that's exactly how the disney princesses got their kiss, they look so angelic, the prince must kiss her...and then BAM! their awake...and they want you to run through the forest talking & singing all day long.

Don't you just love trying to get a photo of your children on holidays? It's even more awesome when you have a son named Jacob Michael and he hates to sit still at all.

We have just decided amongst ourselves that we are simply just attempting to document the event, and that frills, smiles, and eyes and heads looking the correct way is just plain stupid to expect. Apparently so are shoes.

We do get the two oldest in a shot, and so there you can see the outfits because I am that matchy matchy mom...see the gingham theme? The blues, whites, khakis, greys? I'm that mom.But beyond that, we set our expectations pretty low. We now have Jake, and he's really just a doll, as you can see.

We did better with the whole reason for the season this year in regards to Kendall to some extent. Last year if you remember, in great theatrics...I tell you, I am sending her to the auditions at Sight & Sound to play Mary Magdalene, 'but that is terrible, why would they have my Jesus hang on a cross and laugh at him, and make him wear a sticker bush on his head, that's terrible!' I mean there was heaving sobs. And its sweet, right? She felt it. She felt the anger and the emotion of the entire event at 4 years old. Yet, I could not speak of Easter without her getting extremely emotional and theatrical for weeks before and after.

So this year, you know, I prepare for it. My kids ask tons of questions they want to know what we are doing and why. Kendall is now in preschool at a church. And I sat with the phone at my side for the past 2 weeks she was in school waiting for the phone call from the master of the preschool, to come and pick her up because she is hysterical while they are learning about the true meaning behind Easter. It was really that bad, I had to sit with her and rock her and hold her in my arms last year. 'My poor Jesus!'

And she was right. How do you sugar coat that story and make sense of the entire thing to a four year old? I believe I just rolled with the punches when I was that young, until I could truly conceptualize the great sacrifice that Jesus has made for us. But I knew the end, I knew that he rose, I knew that he returned, I knew that he was alive. I think it was fast forward learning in Sunday School when you were that young, ' and we wave the palms, Jesus eats with his disciples for one last time, Jesus died on the cross,' and then press the pause button and big emphasis on...he rose from the dead, the stone has rolled away, he is alive ! Kendall, could not get past the horrific events that led to this to even hear what a miracle had occurred, that he was ok, that he loves us so much. So I prepared myself, made sure I had the tissues.

I sign her up for the Lunch Bunch, this is staying for lunch afterschool for a few hours, that is about Easter. She thinks that she is going to see the Easter Bunny and is going on and on about how she is just going to wave to him and not sit with him. I tell her that Easter is not really about the Easter Bunny, and that the Bunny is fun and all, but that Easter was more then that. I told her to listen real closely at Lunch Bunch and then to tell me what Easter was really about, and that the Easter Bunny would not be joining her for lunch.

I prepared, like I said for the worst. She gets in the van at pick up, she has a wooden cross that she painted, and she hands it to me with specific instructions, 'uh Mommy, we must hang this in a place where we will see it often and are reminded of the great sack-a-rice Jesus made for us.' MmmHmm, that's right, she said sack a rice, like sack of rice. This entire thing took on another complex twist to it. It's never easy right?

I ask her if she had learned what Easter really was all about and she says to me, 'Jesus, Mommy, it's about Jesus,  (and she huffs, like I am stupid), but Mrs. K (her teacher) says that it is still alright for us to have an Easter Egg Hunt, so please make sure of that.' I just love the age where what your teacher says to you is law.

So at bath time we are talking about Easter again, and I am asking Kendall some questions about Easter and having Ethan join in the conversation. And I am saying how Jesus gave his life for us, and because of that when we ask God for forgiveness for that we did that was wrong, he forgives us. And Kendall looks at me and says, 'uh, Mommy, no Jesus made us all a sack a rice.' Ethan asks, ' Jesus gave us rice Kendall?' 'Yes a sack of it.'

This may actually be worse then the emotional breakdown the previous year because now there is the hard headed stubborn 5 year old correcting me and my theology. And really, does she even know what a sack of rice is anyway? Where is the Cadbury Egg Bunny?

So I nicely explain that it actually was a 'sacrifice,' and explain what the word means and I go into the story explaining it to Ethan and Kendall. And she is not saying 'sack a rice' anymore, which is encouraging. And as I am explaining the crucifixion to them Kendall interjects for her brother, 'now don't worry Ethan, Jesus is ok in the end. He has risen, he came back and was alive again.'

Ethan looks at me and asks, 'so can our fish come back alive again too?'


A Pug and a Bullseye

You know sometimes having a dog is really helpful. He cleans up the scraps quite well. He is like a snorting food censor. He sniffs it out and zeroes in on it. 'BEEP! BEEP!BEEP!'  But in Stanley's case its 'SNORT,SNORT,SNORT!' He loves it when Jake eats. He just knows that this little rugrat will throw food all over the place, a little afternoon food sprinkle, if you may. So when Jake plops into the highchair in all his thunder thigh glory, Stanley mans himself at the base.

Having Stanley around is also very fun for the children. He is their dog. A member of our family. He keeps them warm at night, whomever he chooses to snuggle with and snore all over. And you know, he plays some pretty sweet catch. He sometimes runs around the house at top speed, tail straight out, bottom almost to the ground enabling him to propel himself forward at an even greater speed. Which is quite entertaining to watch. He is a good companion, and always seeks us out. Always happy to see us return home. Always worried about us as he sits perched in Kendall's window sill barking incessantly at us as we play outside, the anxiety over us perhaps putting ourselves in danger is too much for him to bear.

We live in a neighborhood where your dog must be leashed while outside. And this is handy. I mean who wants dogs just running the sidewalks? However, Stanley and my children didn't get this memo from the association, and they find it necessary to open the door to a world of free play. I will readily admit there are times that I don't even chase after Stanley. I just leave the front door open and call his name like 764 times when I think of him. Because I cannot leave a house full of children unattended. Its the dog or the kids. A decision must be made quickly, I mean after all, its my job. However, he is getting better. Most especially if I threaten to send him to a country where dogs are a delicacy. And sometimes he goes and checks on his homies and comes home after he gets them all agitated and pawing at their crates, windows, or doors.

Stanley is also obsessed with our neighbor Beck. Its just really annoying is what it is when it comes down to it. Beck has thought that it might be a fabulous idea to give Stanley treats on the regular which has now in turn, trained Stanley to expect this. I don't know, maybe he felt as though Stan was being neglected in a house crawling with needy children and a fat cat. I mean, Stanley always has some dog biscuits readily available. But perhaps Beck is a snob about his dog biscuits, and our dog biscuits weren't as good as his dog treats. Whatever the case may be, Stanley now recognizes Beck's vehicle. And when Beck arrives home from a really long day at work, because he seriously is the hardest working man I know, Stanley seriously cries like a 5 month old whimpering puppy. He lays it on real thick...'all day Beck, all day, they smeared snot all over me, yelled at me for eating the diaper again, chased me around, dressed me up, please come take me home to your house.' Because I will tell you that Beck and his wife have some serious malfunctioning attachments to their dogs. If I were to let him, Beck would seriously talk about his dogs all day long. I don't even talk about my kids on a day that they mastered pooping on the toilet as much as he talks about his dogs on just a regular day. I know, it is a little disturbing.

And before meeting them,  I knew that there were people out there who have this attachment to their dogs. You know where you actually think of the dogs while you are away from home all day and miss them, and want to bring them home something special because they are just so good to be in their crates all day patiently waiting for you? So you go to the specialty pet store and you spend an unreasonable amount of money on a treat that tastes just like a filet mignon. When really they would have been just as happy licking their crotches, which cannot be done in a tight space like a crate to its greatest potential. I'm just sayin. But Beck and his wife are the first of this special population that we are friends with. And I love me an animal, I love having pets...but you know what I mean.

And then they wonder why their dogs are high maintenance. Beck and his lady love do not have kids yet. And you know they say that once people who are obsessed with their dogs in this matter have children, the dogs take the back burner. I can tell you whole heartedly, that this will not be the case with them. And that they will read books on transitioning the baby home to make it easier on your dogs. People write these books, and they write them for Beck, who will have anxiety over this matter. He won't think they are too cute when they eat the baby's crappy diaper.

And you know Beck, this is all written as a special thank you for getting my dog all rawled up with your presence and in turn waking up my napping baby.

Oh but today was one of those days, where having a dog is no laughing matter, and as Stanley cowers in the corner, I still send him daggers from my eyes. I mean this was worse them him being on top of the Thanksgiving table searching for leftovers. Yup, just walking right across it like he was asked to lick the plates.

So today, I decided that we needed to go to Target to pick up a few household items. It was me and the boys since Kendall was at school. Stanley had decided to come with us in typical fashion and he is typically a very good listener. So la, la, la. I am getting the boys out and Ethan is trying to decide which 3 Super Heroes he should take into the store like not choosing Elektro or Robin might really hurt their feelings and put them in such a deep sadness that they cannot save the world today. So I say to him, 'Come on, let's go,' and as it is coming out of my mouth I realize as you did too, if you follow Stanley stories, that I have just given him a command. And it is all in slow motion now, like some action movie and I am Jackie Chan and spin around and shout in that monster slow mo voice, 'NNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO STTTTTTTTTTTAANNNNLLLLLLEEEEEEY STTTTTTAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!'

Too late.

I, in complete Mommy Super Hero, action press the remote to shut and lock the doors and as I am doing it I am yelling to Ethan that this is an emergency, and I am throwing my stow away in case of emergency and I need to entertain boys quickly, balls and superheroes from my purse and into the closing doors. 'Play with these Ethan, and don't move from this vehicle and watch your brother.' That's right. I am saying this to a four year old. Where is my five year old when I need her? There was no time to grab a cart, secure the boys and get to Stanley before he was smashed on the parking lot asphalt or worse...


Oh we have been here before. But in a place where pets were welcome. But today he ran towards the bullseye like there was a whole pound of ground beef in the center for him. I turn quickly and one of Kendall's friends mom is right next to me. I swear she was sent right down from heaven. And we turn and laugh at each other, and then she says, ' I will stay with Jake and E.' As I am rounding the corner, I see the automatic doors to the store open, and no person going in, and my gaze furthers to see Stanley slip sliding all over the linoleum floors at top speed.

I run in, and it was like a movie, people darting, dashing, and diving, ok maybe not diving, after Stanley. An employee turns to me, and I say, 'that's my dog,' and she actually says to me, 'we don't allow animals in the store.' And I just about stop and smack her. Really? Are you sure that Target doesn't allow dogs without leashes just roam the store? I mean what if I had sent him in to pick out his dog food while I waited for him in the van, but he forgot his wallet and that is why I am running after him.


I say, 'Uh yeah, I know that.' Deciding that today would not be the day for assault charges, most especially not at Target since I would be banned from it, and I love that store.

And she goes on her merry way. Could I live in that brain for 5 minutes?

So then another lady says to me, as I am racing after Stanley through the women's department, 'I am really good with dogs,' and I tell her, 'uh, not with this dog.' Now Stanley knows he has really done it and is avoiding me at all costs because he knows I am irate. Ever made your master irate? It's not pretty. And then as Stanley is racing in the other direction, the woman crouches down, and I kid you not, throws herself on top of Stanley. It was one of those moments where I wish that my phone took videos because the entire thing would have went viral in 10 seconds. She is lying now, on top of Stanley, petting him, and whispering to him, 'good boy Stanley, good boy.' I turn my head a little to the side, you know, the position you take when you are trying to see things a little more clearly, to make sure what you are seeing is really happening? Yeah, she is comforting my dog. I grab Stanley, and thank her profusely, and she says, 'oh I love dogs, I have 4, so anything to help a doggy who is lost in a store and frightened.'

Apparently she and Beck have a lot in common.


Our Day, with Rachael Ray

First off, 'Hello Harry,' he will never be able to not be Harry Potter. And 'Wicked,' goodness I would love to see this. And so would my friend Cherie who went with me, and she is going to see a show with her hubby  for her 30th Birthday. I think I may just have to be a tour guide, or promise them dinner or something and convince them that spending the money on 'Wicked,' is just a fabulous idea...who needs to feed the kids for 2 weeks anyway?

I tell you what. I know that there are people that read this blog that live in New York City, ( Holla!), but I feel as though everyday would be an event in NYC.  From what to wear to what to eat, from where to eat, to where to go. From how to get there, to when to get there. It's constant movement, constant things to stare at, constant trend changing. I seriously would not be able to keep up. We would head out with our stroller daily and get lost in things to stare at, not making it home until after 8 p.m., looking a bit flustered, starry eyed, and exhausted. A constant caffeine buzz and ability to achieve one if you are lacking every single block. I am a people watcher. Some people are bird watchers, safari watcher, tv watchers, I am a people watcher. I am amused by people's ways, nuances, and things that make them tick, and just how they tick. To make you really uncomfortable, you can pretty much be rest assured that before I have talked to you, I have sized you up. And not in a snotty pants kind of way, making sure that you are good enough to associate with me, that would be just ridiculous because I am by no means that mean girl who doesn't let you sit with her at the lunch table.And seriously 9 times out of 10 we have something in common, I promise you. I am sizing you up to see really if you would be receptive to even talking to me, if you have the moment, and or if you need the moment. And that is just the way I tick. I like to silently observe people, how they interact. So New York City sends my weird character trait into overdrive.

So we get there (we is: Me, my lovely neighbor and friend Sue, my darling friend and super knitter, Cherie, and my fabulous friend Bonnie who is my son's BFF's mother), we find the parking, we begin to walk, a light mist in the air, because it would never be 70 degrees and sunny with a light breeze when I plan to go somewhere. I think that happened once. It was on Ethan's 2nd Birthday and it was a trip to the zoo at the end of March and all that we needed were light jackets. That NEVER happened again.

So we stand in line, and we wait. See when you sign up for the Rachael Ray show she has a list of things when you are chosen to be a recipient of her tickets that you are required to follow. And one of those things is that even though you were chosen to be in a selected audience, you are not guaranteed a placement in the audience. I know.  Seriously, four people behind us, they stop the tickets. No joke. And these people were given the same confirmation that we have. You also have a dress code. Which I tell you really isn't followed or adhered to all that much by the staff. I mean, I wouldn't go in there in your sweat pants and Bon Jovi tee from his tour in 1994, but this girl in the front row was wearing wellies, and I am not quite sure why, I mean it was misting, but why on earth would you want to walk the streets of New York City in rain boots? The puddles seriously are not all that deep honey, and there ain't no grass to be frolicking through.

So as you wait in line you do the typical 'standing in line chit chat,' with others. What shows have you been to, when are we going to be let in, what did you get at other shoe tapings, what is Rachael like? And there is a lot of speculation as to what she is like. There is a mixed review. Some people say that she is not very friendly. That she does the show and is pretty impersonal. I say that everyone is entitled to their bad days. I mean ok, she is in show business, and there is no business like show business, but day in and day out? You are bound to have a bad moment, bound to get in a fight with your hubby, have pms, have to fart and no one will leave you alone, the dog crap on the floor and you step in it. I will be the judge, we will see, you know me the people watcher.

And she was cute. She was hungover from a night out with Bobby Flay because you know she's super important like that and has famous chefs invite her over for dinner. She wore her leggings, boots, a blazer, and a tank, and she looks just like she does on t.v. She was joking and she was engaging, but she also had a job to do. She has to remember how to prepare every single meal she prepares people and side bits of information about meat, veggies, seasoning, I mean I can't blame her if her mind is in another place. She ad libs, although lines are prepared for her, and she knows exactly where to look, when to look, and how to look. I don't know how people can go through stuff like that and not make a million mistakes. She did not fumble over her words once. I would be,'...and like, stir this, and then like, add some of this, and then like, pour in some of this, what is this called again...oh yes, broth.' And that is why Rachael Ray is the host of her own television show, and not me.

We sat in auditorium style seats that were on a large circle floor that rotated to all the different sets. The guests were Katie Lee and Elizabeth Berkley. Katie Lee made some fish tacos, talked about her new book, her new line of Stila Cosmetics, and surfed on this surfboard that was attached to an inflatable ocean, like a giant moon bounce. It resembled the bull that you get on in hole in the wall bars, and for whatever reason, people feel compelled to sit upon to just be thrown off in such a manner that something in the back is bound to be thrown out. However, back to Katie Lee, most importantly we all got her make up that she was promoting by Stila. Not too shabby, I enjoy the color of the blush.

Bonnie, in the taxi, and for some reason feeling compelled to apply her new make up that Katie Lee gave her.

Yet,I just couldn't help thinking the entire time that she was talking that she had been married to Billy Joel, and sorry Bill, but he is like super old, and she is like my age, in fact a few years younger, and you know what married people do, and it just kind of baffled my mind. She is a super cute southern girl with some great legs, and she can cook, what in the world is she doing with a man that is most likely older than her father? But I heard nothing she said because here I am thinking, 'well she didn't really need the money, and well he does sing really well, and I mean he is uberly famous, but look at her, she could have married any singer. I wonder if she felt weird around his daughter because technically they are separated by as many years as siblings are. And, I have never had a fish taco, I wonder if they taste good, they certainly smell good. She is just wearing khakis and a tank, that's weird, she is going to be on tv, nationally. I wonder why they ended their marriage.' Seriously, I need a life.

And Elizabeth Berkley talked about her book that she wrote surrounding giving advice to teenage girls. I don't know. I don't think I would want Jesse Spano from the Saved by the Bell and the girl who starred in 'Showgirls,' giving my daughter advice. That's all. I mean Jesse Spano really made some bad decisions. She actually told Rachael that Showgirls was meant to be funny. Like, mocking showgirls in general. Like the movie, 'Best in Show,' or 'Napoleon Dynamite,' or I don't know, 'Anchor Man.' I don't think so Jesse Spano.

Then Rachael made some other dish.  I forget what it was, but a crucial question was answered for me at the completion of the meal. No. The audience does not get any. So totally unfair. It's a cooking show. I think that Rachael could take a slight decrease in her salary in order to let her guest taste some samples. Oprah gives away samples if she is talkin food or drink. I'm just sayin. You want the following, you have got to give up the pasta. But in actuality, they have a list of the staff and go down it, and if your name is up, you get to take all the food home from that show. I mean I guess the staff is cool enough. The warm up comedian was entertaining and all. I don't know, I just think that comedians in general have this weird personality that leaves them with the inability to turn off the joking and sarcasm, and in reality at some point you are like, 'ok shut up.' We got out just in time.

Overall, it was better then 'The View', but I haven't been there since Whoppi took over, so that isn't really fair. I also went to Regis and Kelly, and the dynamics are a bit different because it was live. And they are very real, and very engaging with the crowd. Since I will never be able to see Oprah, I will be a bit sad, I can only imagine that unless you are in the audience when they are talking about slaughter houses, it might be a good show to see. Could you imagine? 'Oh what was she taping, you are so lucky to have gotten tickets to Oprah.' And you can only reply, 'Oh we got to see a video of Lisa Ling in a slaughter house telling us all about dinner...moo...' I hope they got a free ipad or something.

My favorite part of the day, was literally the drive. My friend Bonnie, you know Tinkerbell? Yeah. More on that in a bit...let's just say that for one she states that the movie 'Titanic,' changed her life. Lordy, I love her.

So New York City. It's a bit of a concrete jungle in every sense of the word. If you suffer from claustrophobia, this is not the place for you to visit. If loud noises and people scare you, stay away. But for me, there is something about it. I think that pre child, if I could do it again I might want to live there for a year. Not that there is anything wrong with raising your child in New York City. Just to me, living in the city and having a baby would prove to be way too much for me, another odd quirk that would produce overload. However, I highly suggest it as a day away with your lady friends like mine, if you know, you can get there and back in a day. If not, maybe a weekend? Just remember to bring me with you and don't honk.


Lincoln was a Good President, Not a Tunnel

So as it turns out someone recieved some tickets to the Rachael Ray Show, ahem, that would be me, and um, well you know, I rallyed in some lady loves, and we decided to make a day of it. And I am aware that it is not Oprah, but that's cool, Oprah founded her, and so interconnection is welcome as well.

No, let me just tell you how excited I was to make this day trip, we all had our sitters within 24 hours of me obtaining the tickets, one month in advance.

I am a big fan of New York City, and I am all about being and looking like the tourist and I take absolutely no shame in that. I have been there many many many times but for some reason am still all googly eyed staring at it all. My favorite is the ultimate touristy thing to do and that is to go to a Broadway show. Love them. When we went to see 42nd St, I wished that I had been a tap dancer and stuck with the tap dance lessons instead of moving to jazz. No, like, I really got a bit sad about it, because tap wasn't cool at the time, but look where it could have taken me. No, the thought did not enter my mind that perhaps you actually need to be good at the actual tap dancing. Nope, just sadness for myself, because I wanted to wear the gold glittery unitards and be all fancy up on stage.

I am a very theatrical person, I mean some wonder where Kendall gets it from, but let me just tell you, I will randomly break out in broadway vebrato song and dance, you know, whenever inappropriate. Ethan begs of me to stop. Yesterday I was just singing about how much he has grown and that his pants are too short, and for my finale took a flying leap off of his bed. I seriously think I injured something somewhere in my hip, its quite sore today. So in the weeks leading to this day trip, not week trip, not even overnight trip, I would break out in song and dance to 'Annie's N.Y.C.' My kids were ready to send me to my room with no snack.

'You crowd, You cramp, You're still, The Champ, Amen for N.Y.C.'

I kept hoping that our husbands would grace us with some reward; tickets to a show, hotel rooms with a view of Central Park, reservations to the yummiest restauarants with brunch on Sunday,  and unlimited amounts to spend in the stores. And then I woke up. Seriously? It would cost as much as a 2 week stay in Hawaii for one long weekend in N.Y.C. God love it, but I don't know how people sleep at night charging $3.00 for a glass of Diet Pepsi. You that I can get 3, 2 liters bottles of this at Target. Next time I am stuffing that in my purse as well.

So we decided to drive into the city. I have always taken the train. But for some reason we agreed that it might be easier, and it was, until we hit the Lincoln Tunnel. I had never been through the Lincoln Tunnel. It's a bit like survivial of the fittest. What it is is this giant u-turn into this open area with no lines, no signs, no one directing traffic, no limit of the amount of people permitted into this open area. And we are all trying to get into one of three tubes. It is similar to a funnel. It makes no sense to me. And the closer you get to the tunnel it all of a sudden starts to move, almost like you are smushed, smushed, smushed and POP, you go through the hole. And cars get so so close to each other. We had a tourist van almost slowly glide itself right into the passenger door, like it was nothing, just wanted to attach itself right onto us and have some of my coffee.

We decided that this might be the job for me. Standing between the openings of the tunnel up high on some pedastool, and everyone who is to enter the tunnel as to tune to a set radio station. They will then hear me and know when it is their turn to move, where to position themselves, and when it is their turn to go through the tunnel.  'Red Hyundai Sonata, with the female driver, please move into the left line.' And, 'White Prius, with the sunroof open, please proceed into the tunnel.' I don't know, but I think I might have a job idea there, alert the city council. Another thing that would make me quite nervous is being in stand still traffic in the actual tunnel. I tell you if it lasted more then 20 minutes, you are fairly warned that I will be abandoning my vehicle, and walking out. And it was pointed out by one of my savvy friends with me that day, what happens to the tiles that fall off of the ceiling in that tunnel? No joke, look up next time you are in a tunnel, there are missing tiles, and I have never thought of this. Who's car do they hit, I want to meet this person. What happens?

Another job that I found for myself on our drive in was the Honking Patrol. Did you know that there are signs in the city that actually say, 'No Honking, $350 citation.' Seriously? There were people honking all over the place in these areas. We were well over $3000 in fines within the first 5 minutes of our arrival. I want to be the person who bangs on their hood and slaps a big fat ticket onto their windshield. I mean seriously, this economy needs jobs, and needs money flowing, it's time to fine those Wall St big wigs and stop the honking!

And this was all getting into the city, what about Rachael Ray, my first ever, I said it, first ever taxi drive? Did you know that they have t.v.'s and touch screen maps? It's outrageous. More to come.


The Future Wing Bowl Champ is 11 Months

11 months.

He eats more than anyone in this house combined.
No joke. I make more trips to the grocery store for this monster's this and that, because, quite frankly he is eating us out if house and home.

Presently he has a diaper rash that is the size of the state of Ohio because he loves him some oranges. Seems like the citric acid doesn't feel the same way.

I toy back and forth with starting the whole milk now.
'YOU TERRIBLE MOTHER!!!' You scream.
I will have you know that I started all 2 of my other children whole milk just around this time. One continues to love her some milk, the other took the bottle from me at 15 months and went on and all out revolt against milk by throwing it across the room and refusing to let it touch his lips from that moment on. To this day I still beg of him to eat his dairy daily. It's a real great time.

So the jury is still out on the milk issue, as he just downed 12 ounces of formula for his nap.

He will eat just about anything so long as it isn't baby food because it isn't cool to eat pureed turkey with vegetables.

This child has 3 teeth, and he downs anything that crosses his path.

Practicing for the next month at his brother's birthday party.

Helping his sister and brother with their chores of feeding Stanley and Lillian, and taking a taking some nibblets for himself, because yes, he enjoys himself a little snickety snack of dog or cat food.

I am hoping that one day he becomes The Wing Bowl Champion or will go in the Guiness Book of World Records for eating the most hot dogs or something. Right now he would surely be in it and win it for the most goldfish crackers.

You know my aspirations are pretty high.
But beyond all the eating he does, he does not sleep through the night yet either. Ok, I take it back. He sleeps until 5 a.m., but who is jumping out of bed to start the day at 5 a.m. in this house? Unless it involves going to the airport to catch a plane to a vacation, we will stick to our beds at this hour, thank you.

But some quality traits that are positive and not wearing his mother straight into exhaustion are:

He likes to cuddle and give hugs. Most especially to those who don't deserve one like a growling cat or a sibling who doesn't like him touching his super heroes or her barbies.

And he loves to make you laugh. Loves it. Presently he enjoys blowing air our of his nose and sucking it right back up where it came from. And this is fun? Most especially fun when you attempt to do it back to him and snot comes flying out of your nose.

He is obsessed with balls, all balls. Yes, those balls too, but aren't all males? He screams and points at the giant red concrete balls at Target every day, since we are there every day. This morning we let him stand by it, and he tried so hard to push it so he could play with a giant ball of concrete. And was he ever mad that it wouldn't budge.

Kendall asks me all the time, 'Mommy is it hard having 3 kids?'

Some days it is like a marathon. And you just keep going and going and going. But there is a finish line. I have them several times a day with a snuggle, a smile, a thank you, and imitation of something I said or did, a small moment where they help each other.

Because quite frankly 3 is a bit hard. An 11 month old that is never still, even in his sleep, is hard. Putting on 3 sets of clothing, shoes, hair-do's and coats just to get out the door, late, is hard. Feeding a belly that is never ever full is hard.

But I would never ever change it.

Presently hooked up to the coffee IV, and would still never change it.


The Fourth Year & The BFF

This growing of children is ridiculous to me. It must be stopped. Time must start standing still.

I cannot believe he is 4. That is seriously impossible. I tell you I just want to march downstairs right now and swaddle him in his blankie and sing him songs that sound like lullabies but are really things I need to get done. You say he is too big, mind you, I have an almost 11 month old who is just the same size that I still swaddle and sing to, although he swats at my mouth when I sing. Listen, I never promised you a voice like freakin Celene Dion, but boy I can baby you like no other.

So on his actual birthday we went to The Crayola Factory. Ethan loves him an arts and craft time and this is like the mecca of preschool arts and crafts. He asked if he could take his BFF with him, and so that is what we did. We hit up the factory, made us some sweet crafts, got paint, chalk, marker and glue all over our clothes, had some ice cream that got all over our faces,  hit up our favorite pizza joint because they have a gumball machine, and called it a celebration .

And as evidenced in this pic, apparently we party hard...these two look like they were rolled over by that giant red crayon!
But let me just tell you something about my little man and his BFF, they are literally BFF's. I mean like up late at a sleepover chit chatting back and forth, playing for hours on end with not one squabble, not one. Leaving their mama and opting to spend immense amount of time at the others home without even a second thought. And this is all things that you do with your BFF, but at 3 and 4 years old? They talk about the other when the other isn't around. Just today E asked me, 'so do you think that Ryan would want to come over and hang out and play with my new toys from my birthday?' Come hang out?

It is not surprising that they are friends. They have the same personality, the same interest in toys, and think the other is just hysterical and just about the coolest person in the world. But their tightness, the BFF status is what blows my mind.

And you know, you hope for that for your kids. You hope for friendships that are strong, that are comforting, that are memory making, that are loyal and seek each others best interests. I had this growing up. A tight, almost crazy glued together tight, group of girlfriends that weaved me through childhood and teenage hell, and enabled me to be the person that I am today because they let me be me. We sought out the best in each other, accepted each other's faults, and man we made some memories.

In that group I had a super BFF that I thought for sure Kendall would have first, but like all things with parenting, I am always pleasantly surprised, and it looks as though Ethan took that.Kendall has a wide range of friends, is extremely social, and the life of the party, but hasn't zeroed in on a BFF quite yet, it changes daily. But Ethan has that someone that is your numero uno sidekick, someone who always has your back, even when they know you are wrong, and someone you can completely be yourself around.

 Each time I watch the Local News I am reminded of this friend because sometimes in the middle of the night you would find us laughing hysterically at each other as we attempted to name every reporter on the Action News Team. I kid you not. Many kids were sneaking out of houses, rolling their manual cars down the streets and then starting them within a safe distance from parents ears, and we were naming New Jersey Correspondents. Ok, ok, truth be told, perhaps we were doing both, not of course naming the accuweather team on the same night as the joy ride, that's just not safe, but in either situation we were definitely in it together.

I am incredibly thankful that my little buddy has a buddy of his own, when I really sit and think about it, and am not extremely jealous over the fact that he pays me absolutely no mind when his BFF is around. At home he is definitely outspoken by his darling older sister and his little brother requires a bit of attention, and so to have a buddy that you can simply just be with is just what he needs. They are both ironically middle children. And as my husband attests to over and over again, being the middler is rough sometimes. Yeah, well try being the oldest.

On the night the BFF slept over  for the first time, I could hear the two of them talking back and forth for over an hour just lying there in sleeping bags. Giggling, making superhero impersonations. But, what in the world could they possibly find to talk about at 3 years old for an hour? I have no idea what grown men even talk about when they are together, because they still manage to remain clueless when you ask what is new with the person they just spent an entire day golfing with. However,  I am sure that my parents thought the same of me and my friends as I did of E and his BFF. 'What could they possibly talk about until 3 am? Do they not spend every single day together?' But I was 15.

The two of them conference quietly together as activity rages on around them, and then they run off like tag team superheroes to conqueor whatever is that they have decided to counqueor, together. It is endearing, it is in some ways very enviable, because some search and search and never find a friend like that. And at now, 4 years old.

I was in New York yesterday with some of my lady friends and saw an interview with Elizabeth Berkley, you know Jesse Spano? More on that in another post. But she was talking about friendships and described them as, some sticking around for a reason, a season or a lifetime. And isn't that for real?

And the reason that E and his BFF are so tight is quite evident but I can't help but hope that it lasts a lifetime...cause beyond that...I think his mama is a pretty awesome friend as well.

So to my four year old man. I can't help but be in awe of you. Your spirit, your enthusiasm, and your sensitivity for others is honorable. I love being your mama. You are sweet and determined, and the best big brother. Your imagination reaches beyond the clouds and the way you love me melts my heart.

And from what it looks like...you are a pretty awesome friend.


Rules of Biking

So we snagged the bikes out of their winter home this week. They are like new toys all over again. They fight over them, they race around and top speed and topple over. Kendall tells me that she can ride without her training wheels. She tells me this almost every spring since she has had a bike, like it is just going to happen has sure as she will turn a year older, she will now be magically able to ride without training wheels. I remind her that she has to learn. That she needs to wear a helmet and knee pads and elbow pads because she will surely fall until she gets the hang of it. I tell her that she can do it, and once she does it is so much fun. But that it takes commitment and a lot of practice. She asked me yesterday if they sell training wheels for my size bike because she thinks that she would always like to have them even when she is a grown up like me. I cannot wait to see that.

So there are rules when we ride our bikes outside and all. And they are not permitted to go around the block without me and that they must stay between our two neighbors houses on the sidewalk and no further so that I can see them at all times.

Yesterday Kendall took it upon herself to remind her brother of the rules that she had remembered from last year. I tell you, this is proof that this girl listens and processes. Remind me.

'Uh Ethan, now you remember that there are bike riding rules, right? Mommy needs to be able to see you. You have to stay between Kathy's house and Justin's house no matter who is down the street. Unless it is Jesus, if he tells you to come, it's ok, but you have to go and get Mommy because she wants to go and see him too.'

Oh my little rule follower.

Oh but the best is Ethan's response.

'I know the rules Kendall. You not need to tell me. You not the boss.  I have a Mommy and a Daddy. So what's the big deal, huh?'


The Banning of the Fast Food Playhouses

Let me start out by saying that I have heard the stories.
I am fully aware that there have been instances of children barfing on the landings and children running shoeless or on their hands and knees through it.

I know that there are guardians of children that permit their children to bring their food into the play area and then it is smashed all over, and again children are walking and crawling through this food.

I am aware that there have been said instances of leaking diapers, smearing down the slide.

Bon Appetit.

And I'll admit it. Up to this point I have taken my children to this fast food establishments and have permitted them to enjoy the wondrous playhouse.

Never was there an incident.

Ok, so I have been a bit paranoid about the germs and have them use antibacterial hand gel when coming and going through the playhouse. And yes, even if the table appears clean, I clean it first with a wipe, then with some antibacterial spray, and then with another wipe. And then have them eat off of mats made of napkins. I am a big fan of disposable place mats. But who can remember to a.) purchase them and then b.) bring them?

Alright, maybe you can, come get your Mom of the Year trophy.

Let me preface this story again with what led up to our journey to this what will go unnamed establishment for kids meals and playhouse.

We had lost the remote for the Blue Ray Player once again. Knowing that it was somewhere downstairs being used for a phone, and or put away hastily in the wrong spot, I refused to look for it. This has happened like 15 times in the past 3 months, and instead of getting aggravated and going on a mad search through the downstairs. I simply pronounced, 'whomever finds the black remote gets to go on a trip with Mommy to _________.' ( the unnamed fast food establishment) They shared this with everyone, such excitement. But for some reason this went on for 3 weeks. I still refused to look for it. I get agitated when looking for needles in haystacks. I really do, and I know that there is some mental issues in regards to that, because it is more agitated then necessary, however, I simply refused exacerbate this said mental issue, and said, 'good luck my friends, may the best child win.'

So my  friend Sue watches the darlings for us on Monday afternoons while I go and get my weekly spa treatments. Not really, wouldn't that be something though, to actually say that with no qualms about it? Really she is watching them while I go to work until my love gets home from work. I explained to her that they can watch a movie, but will have to endure all of the previews and then you will have to push stop and then play again to get past the main menu, because the remote is lost. The offspring chimed in, 'and whoever finds the remote gets to go to _________ with just Mommy!!!!!!!!!' I seriously think they thought that one day it would just jump into one of their hands because they did not once go on a mad search for it, but their enthusiasm over the prize was huge. I don't really think they got the whole concept.

Amazingly the next morning they proclaim, 'we found the remote!!!'
'Who found the remote?!?!!'
'We found the remote!!!!'
'You found the remote at the same time!??!'
'Uh....yes, we found at the same time!!'
'That's amazing, so you both get to go with Mommy!!'
Such good story tellers.

Later after egging the situation on with such praise and compliments, you know, 'I just can't believe you both found it, that is just so wonderful, I am just so happy for you, you surely deserve this trip,' and things of that nature, Kendall comes to me all guilt ridden.
'Uh Mommy, you know um, well, Sue actually found the remote, but she said that we could both say that we found it so that we could both go to _______.'
'Hmmm, well since you were so honest Kendall, and you know Mommy is all about being honest and telling the truth, I think it is only fair that we go, since the remote has been found and Sue wanted you both to go for her.'
We will later address the situation surrounding the prompting of my children lying with a write up, Sue.

So we're there.

I want to first point out my initial annoyance which typically occurs in said playhouse.
The age parameters completely being disregarded.
It annoys me to no end that guardians permit their grown children to play in the playhouse. And they aren't just walking around nicely minding their size and the tiny children underfoot. They are storming through there playing tag and wrestling and pushing and shoving and being all loud.
If they are an older sibling helping the younger sibling navigate the house, well then, I will let them and their kind heart slide.
But this rarely occurs and I just want to say that if you are old enough to read playhouse rules, you should not be in the playhouse.
I'm just saying.

So they play, we get the food, we call them to eat, they shovel it down, ask to play again.
At this point a foul stench begins to overcome the playhouse eating and playing area.
To the point where people are coming in with their food making a funny face, scrunching up their nose, and walking out.

And you know when you are in the smell you don't really notice it all that bad. But Andy who is walking in and out and is the roving reporter when anything is going on definitely smells it. And when Andy knows there is something going on that is affecting everyone around him, he always chimes in, always. He seriously should be on CNN or something.

Andy has me checking Jake's diaper, but it isn't a poop smell, and I really can't smell it all that bad, I haven't left the area, but the diaper was all clear anyway. Andy then has me smelling his feet. Picture: Me leaning over while husband props up foot and me again, sniffing. The things we do. But no, it isn't that either.

Then the crew walks in to 'inspect' the area. They have a mop and their noses, they scan the area like the freakin scent is going to jump out at them and say, 'here I am.' They pronounce they don't see anything, and walk out. You know, perhaps some air deodorizing spray might work in this situation, again I am just saying.

Ethan then walks up to me to tell me something crucial. It is that 'I can't believe this just happened,' face. It is half smirk, half amusement, half astonishment. These are typically great comments.

'Mommy guess what? I just farted like a super big fart and it's so loud in here that I couldn't even hear it!

'That's awesome E, but since you told me, can you still say excuse me?'

'Uh yup, 'scuse me.'

I suppose this was his first experience with the 'don't ask, don't tell,' policy regarding passing gas in public. If they don't know it was you, don't draw attention to it.

And I like couldn't even smell it either.

So then of course he has to use the facilities, and Andy is like, 'that's it we're out you are going to have to hold it E.'

And you know little boys and holding it? Yeah, not gonna happen.

So we run to the bathroom, he is dancing his I have to go to go jig, as I cover the seat with tissue paper. He says his normal line, and I can pretty much recite it as I know he will proclaim it every time, so that all females in there will hear that this wasn't his idea. 'Uh Mommy, it is ok for me to come to the girls room, even though I am a boy, because you are with me and I am too little to go to the boys room by myself, and there are strange people in there when I am not with Daddy.' I think he means strangers, but you know, people are strange too. You've heard the stories.

Then we walk back walk in and the smell hits me and I want to literally vomit. I grab one of the kids sweatshirts to breathe through because you need a gas mask of some sort. I announce, 'pack it up, we are getting out of here this is so gross!!!' And the smell is like dirty socks that have not been washed in seriously five months. You know the ones that have been sitting in the bottom of a gym locker after a serious sweat for the entire school year. And there are children who clearly can read, running through the playhouse at top speed. The culprits.

I tell Kendall that we are going, she is aware of what is going on, not sure where the smell is coming from and says, 'well if you want me to I can check the slide, maybe someone threw up in there, and I can go and tell the workers if I find some in there.'

I thank her for her sacrificial suggestion, but that we will be leaving before that can occur.

We rush out the door breathe in the fresh air, well sort of, it still smells like fast food, you know that fry and hamburger smell that encompasses the establishment in a one mile radius? But it ain't that terrible smell from the playhouse.

I announce, that that is it, we are never going in that dirty place again. No more playhouses at fast food places ever!
They both say, 'yeah that was super smelly gross! But we can go through the drive thru?'
And they have a point.
I mean who can never ever again have fast food fries?
Case Closed.

*And I would like to point out also that with us that evening was a 10.5 month old who ate his entire Kids Meal... we're talking four nuggets, a small fry, and a juice box. He is no joke in the food department.