Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas 2011

Well, the stockings were hung by the chimney with care and Old St. Nicholas found them there....both boys have said something to me separately today like, Is it really over?  Yeah, really....really?

A friend of mine has a brother who is a child rearing guru, because of course, he dosen't have any children. So as one of her children was screaming while he was trying to talk to her he said very astutely, "Dosen't he know this is not the time of year to be misbehaving!"  Her reply, "No Tom he didn't get he memo."

But she made a very good point to me- who was at the time mad at my own children for the very same thing - missing the memo.  No sooner than the Thanksgiving turkey is carved we drag a tree in the house, start asking what they want for Christmas, bombard them with TV specials and toy ads then get mad when they get all jacked up.
OK, it is a little rude. No, it's a lot rude.

We don't really expect our children to behave one month out of the year.  As parents we expect your children to behave all the time.  But especially at church and your in-laws house, let's call a spade a spade people.  And the reality is they can not keep it together any longer than we can.  Let's face it, even I get squirmy in church and at the in-laws the difference is I am are old enough to drink. I meant think, really I did!!

We have friends who's son is autistic and he is 13 now and is still non verbal.  They are doing some amazing work with a new type of teaching tool called Rapid Prompting Method.  For the first time in 13 years they are inside of their child's head.  They have been working with this for six months or so and it is truly amazing, but the thing that I found fascinating is that as Chirstmas approached he was able to tell his aide that what he needed at Christmas was time "alone with mother in the van" that there was "too many people".

I agree completely.  Sometimes I am overwhelmed with people, especially at the holidays.  I will try to remember that next year as the holiday's approaches and once again I ask more of my children then I expect from myself.  Thanks Cole.

For more on RPM try this link

Friday, December 9, 2011

Nurture vs Porn

My husband and I watched Crazy Stupid Love the other night.  After the movie I was thinking what I needed was a snuggle and time to process the subject matter - my husband thought he needed sex.  Really?? That's not even in the same book - let alone my page!

How is it that men can think about sex every second of everyday about everything.  My back hurts...I can make your back hurt baby.  The tires need rotated....I can rotate your tires.  He wants his dad...Who's your Daddy.  My water just broke....I can STOP

Well, you get where I'm going with this anyway.  Do I not understand because I am a woman, or do I not understand because I never think about sex.  I'll take that back, I think about it every Sunday about 4 p.m. when my husband starts turning everything I say into a come-on and making weird goo goo eyes at me.  Then I think - Oh Shut the front door! Is it Sunday again already?

I have been complaining for years that one man couldn't get it up and I have to sit through a three minute erectile dysfunction commercial every 15 minutes during Modern Family.  But I ask for help and the answer is "Just do it anyway, maybe you'll get into it."  Yes, ladies it was a male Doctor, and he no longer has the use of that testicle.  Let him explain that to his wife!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Family Traditions

It's been a weekend for strolling down memory lane.  At Church on Sunday the boys found out they would be Who's in Whoville! They are so excited to get to bring in their Ukulele and Keyboard (Thanks Nanna- we have finally found a place to use these!) and come into the play making NOISE, NOISE, NOISE, NOISE!

Oh, come on! Tell me you don't know the story of How the Grinch Stole Christmas by heart also?
Were we the only family who put on a puppet show every year at Christmas? What? We were? Oh, well let me fill you in.

It seems that some where along the line in my Big Fat American Family we stumbled into a tradition of putting on a puppet show every year at the family Christmas party.  It comes as no surprise to me now that I have two children of my own when I think that there where at most times 20 children running a muck through someones house.

The idea I think sprang from my Uncle Chris who's the self proclaimed "Wild and Crazy Guy!" and my mother the former teacher.  (and total follower you can talk her into anything)  They soon had all 20 of us scrambling through the house looking for puppets, stuffed animals, sleds, props, and of course -Noisemakers.  We would then all crouch behind a bar and act out the story while Uncle Chris or Aunt Barbe narrated and all the other adults watched (and drank I think).

Now I know as my family reads this they are already giggling, maybe even belly laughing as they recall some of these "plays".  This was not a one time thing, this became a production on the grandest scale.  Every family contributing to the puppets and props as it grew large enough for it's own dedicated plastic Christmas tub .  We had an actual Grinch doll, a Ms. Piggy puppet for Cindy Lou Who (which was the funniest because it was a HUGE puppet for that supposedly tiny character), and we had some sort of brown animal puppet with twigs tied to it's head for Max.

The noisemakers where the best part and as you can imagine 20 children when told to "make a lot of noise" can bring the house the down.  That we did.  I don't know what it must have been like from the audience, because even though I did move on by age 12 and give up my space behind the bar to younger cousins, let's face it I was a teenager.  I was looking at it through the judgemental hormonal selfish eyes of a teen.

I can't wait to sit in the audience in a few weeks and watch my boys come traipsing into church making NOISE, NOISE, NOISE, NOISE.  It will just be hard not to critique the director's performance, because nothing will ever take the place of those years in the basement crouched behind the bar.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

I find Gratitude a very difficult emotion, as mysterious as the opposite sex.  Sometimes gratitude is as clear as the sky on a cloudless day and yet other times it seems elusive.

Take for example a Holiday like Thanksgiving.  It is so crystal clear when you sit down to an overflowing table of turkey and all the trimmings surrounded by your loved ones.  You feel the warmth of food, family, and friends.  Everything about the moment fills you with - well, gratitude.

On that same day, however take the moment four hours earlier when you have been in the kitchen for three days not just preparing for one meal, but preparing every meal in between.  You have washed the same pot four times today and you've been to the store 15 times along with everyone else in three counties.  You are tired, hungry, in desperate need of a vodka tonic and not some wimpy wine that suppose to make brussel sprouts divine. As, if!

That's the moment your sister-in-law decides to "pop-in" to see how it's going and mentions that she and her family are now vegan so they can't eat any of the food you've made so she's brought a Tofurkey to bake in your already full oven on 300 for 45 minutes.  "Thanks!"

Your own family has had 10 years to discuss Great Grandma's antique brooch but they take this moment to argue about who got it, what it is really worth, and more importantly - and of course the loudest is - who wants it.  All the while Grandpa and Uncle Jay sit on the couch turning up the volume on the football game screaming at the opponent and asking "whens dinner".

So you see my dilemma?  There are moments when gratitude is so clear, and there are moments when you wonder if there is enough wine in the world to get you through another Holiday. 

If you have received this blog in your email, know that I am very grateful for you and this Thanksgiving I am wishing and praying for the very best for you and your family during the holiday season.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Rags to Riches - Riches to Rags???

So I wonder, is it easier to go from rags to riches or riches to rags?  I wonder because my husband grew up very very poor.  I grew up and if we wanted it, we got.  His family owned a car once for maybe a month before his father got into financial trouble, again, and they took it away.  I have four brother and sisters and we all got a car when we turned 16.  He still prefers day old bread because they couldn't afford fresh, and thinks it's cozier with all the lights out because they went years (yes - years) without electricity in their apartment.

We have plenty.  I should not complain, although sometimes I do.  Because I wish it were as easy as it looked when I was growing up.  I spent someone elses money - and that's really easy.  Just ask our government.  He grew up with no money to spend, his, theirs, or otherwise.  His attitude, if you don't have it, you don't spend it.  In other words it took almost 10 years of marriage to finally get a credit card and to this day there isn't one in his wallet.

I know that we are adding another person to the household and the stress level around here, at least between he and I, is through thte roof.  He opened the credit card bill and had a fit.  How can you spend that much, we need a budget, stop spending money.  Sure honey! That is such a great idea, I didn't think of that.  Let me ask everyone to stop growing, eating, and living so that we can stop spending money.

He never likes my answers?  I also said, maybe it is time I think about going back to work.  He dosen't like that either.  My sister's theory is that he is to afraid that dinner will not be waiting on the table when he gets home.  She's probably close this is definitely one man whose heart is in his stomach.  Our first date was hanging out at my apartment watching a movie - after I cooked dinner for him.  He's been around ever since.

There are days when I feel frustrated.  I hear other people talk about taking their kids to Disney World, playing three sports, an instrument, tutoring, major sporting events, eating out, shopping at a mall, etc... And sometimes I wish it were just that easy.  To spend money without considering every nickel and dime for months and calculating, planning, and prioritzing.  But it is not.  This is how we are able to give our children, our family all the things we have and my goodness do we have!!

A beautiful 39 year old house with plenty of room and warmth, an amazing backyard full of trees and bugs and snakes, a fridge that is always full of something good to eat, fantastic neighbors who have done anything for us, great schools where the kids are safe and sound and growing, and a healthy, happy, Nut'sO crazy family.  What more could I ask for?

OK, maybe a litte less nuts!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

What would you do?

No - John Quinones is not going to jump out from behind this screen.  It's just that this question keeps popping up in my head, everytime someone says, "Your letting your Mother-in-law LIVE with you?"

What would you do?

My mother-in-law is 68 years-old.  She was raised on the island of Cyprus.  She was hit by a car at the age of 17, badly hurt, then badly treated lying in a hospital for over three years trying to recover.  She left with many scars both internal and external along with one leg shorter than the other.  Somehow she found love, or so she thought and married only to find that her husband was abusive.  This was long before woman's right in our country and we are talking about one that was still farther behind.  Then there wa a war.

She has been through more than I will ever be able to conceive.  Pain that came in every form: physical, mental, spiritual, emotionally.  This woman has perserverd and survived things that I can not imagine.  Things that wake you and I from a sound sleep in a cold sweat: poverty, death, famine, war, abuse.  And then she sent her only son to America.

He came to gain opportunities and a chance for a better life than he would have had in Greece and he found it.  But in the process has left his mom 5000 miles away.  He didn't move home and marry a good greek girl.  And she let him.  With all that she has been through, she didn't even get a daughter who can speak the same language, cook the same food, or give her a namesake.  And she's ok with that.

She has never complained.  She has never treated me with disrespect.  She has shown me only the love, kindness, and compassion she would have for her own daughter.  She shows me strength everyday struggling stand, walk, and tie her own shoes.  She shows her love by cooking the most fabulous of greek dishes that take hours to prepare and every pot in the kitchen.

So whenever someone asks me, "How can you live with your Mother-in-law for 6 months?" All I can think is, how can I not?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I need a new alarm clock....

As daylight savings time approaches I started to think, I need a new alarm clock.  The ones I have - well suck.  You see I don't actually have a working alarm clock per say.  I have a five-year-old that either explodes a diaper or decides he needs to snuggle somewhere between 2-4 a.m.   Which means that he is either climbing on top of me, or asking me to change his PJ's, then he climbs on top of me.

My husband sets two alarms.  One is the typical radio/alarm clock which blares out some more than hideous heavy metal song at 5 a.m. which is then promptly followed by a beeping alarm clock at 5:10 a.m.  As if this is not enough to wake me, I then have to pee by 6 a.m. if I didn't already go at 2-3-4 or 5 when one of the other alarms went off.  No - I persevere and generally get back in bed thinking...just 5 more minutes.

By seven o'clock one of the kids is usually awake and heading downstairs to turn the TV on which must be headed off or monitored, or else I sleep until I hear the bus, driving by the house.  At which point the alarm going off is the one in my head saying, "Oh Shittttake Mushrooms!!!"

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My favorite "canned" recipe

Here's one to go along with my latest rant...love this!!  I also really really love the iced pumpkin cookies and pumpkin roll that my mom would make every fall.  But they are a lot more laborious, and, they never taste as good as I remember my mom's tasting.  Somethings just have to be made my Nanna ;-)

Easy Pumpkin Muffins

One Spice cake mix
One can of pumpkin
3/4 cup of water

Add in chocolate chips if you like or raisins for a more traditional fall feeling pour into muffin cups and bake at 350 until toothpick inserted comes out clean.   I can't tell you how long that is because I lost my muffin pan to the boys a couple of years ago when they were into catching bugs.   So now I use a mini loaf pan for these and it works just fine.  Besides, who uses a mini loaf pan to store bugs, duh!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

So what if it's canned!

There are many lovely things that come in a can: pineapple, black beans, sweetened condensed milk to name a few.  There are many important things that come in a can: motor oil, beer, wrinkle cream.  There are also some very scary things that come in a can: Spam, brown curry mole crickets, cheeseburger, and headcheese.  Did you know there are whole cookbooks dedicated to eating out of a can - A Man, A Can, A Plan from Mens's Health Magazine.  My favorite Cook of the Can, so to speak, is Sandra Lee's Semi- Homemade.  She can turn a can of beef broth into Coq Au Vin.
But if you broaden your definition of canned from just food I think you will find that being canned is not just for political speeches and human resource directors.  It can even be for parenting - my type of parenting.  I stumbled onto something called Love and Logic.  The best part is they give you canned answers to memorize then spit out when your children repeat the same annoying behavior over and over and over again.

There was a time I might be ashamed that my spaghetti sauce let alone my parenting came out of a can.  But I'm starting to embrace the idea.  This is not my fault either - it's all your fault.  Yes, all of you.  Society is pushing for more, more, more and some of us just can't keep up.  No more feeling guilty for me!

I am embracing my averageness and refusing to bow to the pressure that is becoming every daytime television show.  These hosts are always cooking, decorating, styling, and preparing for the next holiday.  Not me.  Want a costume? They sell them at K-Mart.  Want Halloween decorations? Carve a pumpkin with a kitchen knife and stick a candle in it.  Want pumpkin pie? Guess what - that comes in a can!!

Enjoy your holiday.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

The only scary thing here at Halloween.....

ME! I swear this is what I look like in the morning...The hardest part of parenting has been learning that my children's behavior is a direct reflection on me.  I'm not sure what is going on with me lately, but I've been so emotional so testy.  Perimenopause?  If emotions are contagious, are hormones??  Am I sending the boys into an early puberty?

What happened to the first days of school when everyone got up more than an hour early and ate and played and was ready on time.  We've missed the bus twice this week! What's going on here?  Can I blame the weather?

Can I blame retail?  Christmas throws me into an emotional tailspin.   And this year I swear retail started Christmas in July.  Of course we also had a very emotional summer with the big trip and my BFF moving away and now we're getting ready to have Gia Gia come stay with us for the Holiday's.  No pressure!!

The boys still have not decided what they want to be for Halloween, but the five-year-old has decided what I should be - A Princess.  "Cause that's a girl thing."  Maybe he's got the right idea, it's time to embrace my inner princess, but is it to much to start wearing the costume now?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Best parental training ever....

Check your chart!  Has become the new mantra in our house at night.  We are working with someone in regards to our children's anxiety (and mom and dad's, but don't tell dad because we haven't yet) and they suggested that we have a chart.  They even drew the chart and a reward chart that goes along with it.

Let me quickly explain.  The Chart has 4 pictures for the 5 year-old who can not read and words for the eight-year-old who can.   Brush your teeth, put on Pj's, go potty...blah, blah, blah.  The reward chart is an old fashion thermometer marked from 1 to 25 with rewards earned about every 5 spaces.

Now let me say that this is not a new concept to me, but I have been resisting it for 8 years now.  I'm not sure why exactly I have fought this so hard, other than I am a little lazy and inconsistent and having to do anything everyday is torture.  And believe me - this is.

But as this person is describing the "rules" of the chart in front of the five-year-old (damn-it! because he is rules king, and he was listening!) I knew I was in trouble.  Not just because the five-year-old was going to hold my feet to the fire - but because I was required to have their "rewards" on hand.  That would require a trip to Target.  Do you know how much I hate shopping? Even at Target.

I'm like a squirrel searching for a nut when I hit Target. I get caught up in all the sparkly things, gadgets, noise, smells, people....I am soon lost in the underwear department when I was suppose to be buying Hot Wheels cars.  I'm now late for parent pick-up I have two new bras - that will never fit by the way - granola bars, a latte, and a new flashlight and of course NO HOT WHEELS CARS.

Needless to say that it took me a week and a half to implement this plan that said "expert" required I start that night.  (If you wanted me to start it that night buddy you should have given me the damn Hot Wheels cars.)  And even though Check your chart! works like some magic tazer zapping my boys in the butt because they jump up and run upstairs...they also will not stop asking for a reward.

That's when I realize this is the best parental training course EVER!  The said "expert" I am convinced is really Pinky and the Brain! They have found the key to world domination - one parent at a time.  Sure the kids are getting ready for bed, but who's really getting trained here?  I caught myself thinking after about three days, Maybe I should make a chart for the morning, and chores, and homework!!

Ahhhh - but I will not fall victim to the sinister Mastermind behind this plot.  No way! I will not be sucked into the mind control powers of positive parenting.  Because it will positively cost this parent the power.  I will tell all the parents of the world - Stop with the charts!
...and if you ever find me in Target, please return me to my rightful owner. Thanks.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

If I let you fall, will you do it again

Isn't that a song?  My biggest struggle as a parent, especially now that my children are getting older is when to let them fall, and when to swoop in and save them.  How early do you teach life's hard lessons?

I am really dating myself with this reference, but a favorite show after college in the early years of our marriage was Mad About You.  (Yes, I know how old I am, it's in my bio for goodness sake!)  Part of it was fantastic writing and good actors, and part of it was getting exactly where they were.

One of the last episodes is when they are trying to get the baby to soothe herself to sleep.  Which basically means letting her cry it out.  It is such a poignant scene because just when mom's about to break and give up and race in- tears spilling down her face, dad says WAIT, Listen.....nothing.  Mom says, What have I taught her except that I won't always be there for her.

So often I think about that, what I am telling my kids by letting them fall? Why do I have to teach them life is hard, they will find that out soon enough.  And can't someone else be the bad guy - Why me!

My eight-year-old has a Book Share coming up the end of October.  Requirements include poster, report, oral presentation, and more.  He choose a rather long book with difficult words and concepts.  We've been telling him for over a month now (Thank God the teacher gave everyone ample warning!) to read that book.  I think he's still on Chapter 5 - of 25! I'm getting concerned, my husband is freaking out, and our son appears to be blowing it off.

Do I let him fall? I started to read the book today, I even called the Library and reserved the movie version.  What Am I Doing!!

Being a mom?

Do you remember how Jamie (Helen Hunt) named the baby on Mad About You?  Her mother (Carol Burnet) told her to always remember MABEL - Mother Always Bring Extra Love.....and if your lucky they read your book share book before  the due date.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

This is my Now....

The time is drawing near.  Soon the chickens will fly the coop for a better part of the day, and I will be left with, well with my husband.  But who wants to mother their husband? Kinda kills the mood at the end of the day.

As I watched my five-year-old step up onto the bus the other day like an old pro it hit me- I need to find a place for myself.  What will I do all day without any one to mother? No one to cook for and pick up after and cook for and to politely ask to close the door and to cook for and to ask again to close the door and to cook for and to scream "Where you born in a barn?! Close the @^#&" but I digress.....

I've known this day would come.  I've tried to remember if I ever had hobbies and if so, Are they what's in that box shoved under the steps in the basement?  What did I ever do with free time?  What makes me happy?  That's too much thinking for one blog.

Considering the state and uncertainty of the economy, should I find a job?  What am I qualified to do?  Who would hire me? Can I ever do anything other than make PB&J, wipe butts, and find lost legos??  Oh, dear God I think I'm hyperventilating!!

OK, I'm OK.  Just having a minor panic attack.  But who among us hasn't when faced with the next chapter.  The anticipation of the story to unfold, the excitement of the unknown, the sadness for what is left behind....this is my now.

Anyone have advice on where to start?  Seriously - anyone??

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I hate Sunday

Why is Sunday so hard? Everybody hates Monday - start work, school, blah blah blah  But I actually look forward to Monday's, because I hate Sunday's so much.  What do you do with a Sunday?  No one ever throws a party on a Sunday because the next day is - Monday.  It used to be almost everything was closed on Sunday.

As a kid Friday after school was a Hallelujah moment.  You ran out of the building squealing like summer vacation because in our small world, it was.  Sleepovers, Love Boat, Saturday Night Live, babysitter, or if you were lucky your mom and dad were hosting the get together.  There would be delivery pizza and great dessert then you went to bed listening to the muffled voices and cackling laughter of Mrs. Klosterman.  Creeping down the next morning to find the spoils of adulthood.  Mom would come down in her robe and with a very heavy sigh, start cleaning.  Dad would be awhile later.  There went another Sunday.

Soon the anticipation turned to panic as Saturday night became date night.  With all it's peer pressure, hairspray, and thirty four phone calls - to your BFF.  If you weren't on a date you were relegated to babysitting which meant actually watching the entire episode of Saturday Night Live.  Sunday morning was spent listening for hours as your BFF described every detail of the two hours spent alone in a theatre with "him".  Then spending the next 4 hours wondering why "he" wasn't interested in you.  There went another Sunday.

By the time Saturday night is no longer a blurr due from beer goggles, wings, and smoke filled bars it has become, just the prelude to Sunday.  (OK, so there is a middle- after you are first married before you have children while you are still frisky but it's so hard to remember because it's sandwiched between beer goggles and sleepless nights.)  There goes another Sunday.

Sunday is the end of the weekend, the travel day, the cleaning day, the bill paying day, the - I have a presentation, book report, mammogram tomorrow day.  Sunday is a goodbye day.  Sunday is a stressful day.  Sunday is the blues: soulful, reflective, melancholy.  Sunday is suppose to be the ultimate day of relaxation thus causing the severe anxiety to hurry up, relax, and enjoy the day. 

Sunday makes me feel like a failure because things are always left undone: the laundry, the toilets, the grocery shopping.  And things just left: the homework, the roast, the hike.  Instead we loafed around, nobody went to church, we made pancakes and played Lego's for four hours in our PJ's.  We watched the one quarter of the football game then all fell asleep in a pile on the couch.  Then we ordered pizza.

Maybe I do like Sunday?

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Gene Pool

With summer now officially over and the weather turning quickly to cold, I am already longing for lazy easy days at the pool.  Ahh, the pool.  Got me thinking about just how much parenthood is like the pool.  Call it the Gene Pool.

Getting pregnant is taking a big chance, diving into the deep end before you really know how well you can swim.  You hope for the best.  Funny how two people get together and what comes out is neither him nor her, but the funniest combination of both.  With a side of grandparents, parents, and siblings.

While you are pregnant you dream about a little mom, or little dad.  And all of us, and don;t say that you didn't, have silently prayed that that they don;t get the dreaded...something.  Dad's crazy hair or big second toe, mom's buck teeth or red hair.  Whatever it is once you're pregnant you start to put the children together.  Wouldn't a girl with my hair, your skin color, my eyes, and your height be gorgeous?

Funny though, when the child arrives no matter whose toes or hair they have you fall in love immediately and there is no turning back.  Which is good because by one year-old you start to realize that not only do they most certainly have dad's crazy hair, but they also have his stubborn streak.  That's when you realize the pool is soooo much deeper than you thought.

From then on when relative, friend, or stranger says "Oh he looks just like his dad!" It's hard not to add, "Yeah and he's just as freaking stubborn!" Or "Oh my, she's is going to look just like you." You bite your tongue not to say, "And she's gonna be just as awful when he's 16."  Because even though we hate to admit it, we know darn well the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

Friday, August 26, 2011

First Day Blues

So the first day of school came and went for my third grader.  It was long, he was exhausted, and a little ticked that they had to hear the rules AGAIN, and did not get to do math, but he was alright.

The first day for my Kindergartner, not so much.  I knew it was going to be hairy when we tried to go to a dance class the night before and he wrapped himself around me like a rhesus monkey and refused to do anything.  I sat on the floor through the entire class choking for air while he said, "I am not doing this!"

In my head, I was already formulating how to combat these issue the next morning.  We got ready for bed, laid out his clothes, and I explained what would happen the next day, twice! I also explained there would be no time for fits, tantrums, or screaming.  Then we said prayers, his brother talked about all the fun stuff you get to do in Kindergarten, and I read The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn without crying.  I was feeling pretty good.

Side note - I even remembered to prep his brother before he woke up that he might be nervous and throw a fit, or not get on the bus and all of that was OK.  We needed to show him love and kindness and help him through it just like mommy did for him on the airplane when he was really really scared.

Then the moment of truth arrived and he ended up barely eating, throwing down with me about what clothes to wear, and screaming for twenty minutes that he was NOT GOING TO KINDERGARTEN!!!  One step at a time.  I finally got him dressed, but he wasn't getting on the bus.  Then I got him outside but he wouldn't carry his backpack.  We got to the bus stop, but he wasn't going to school.  We got home and he had to do three things before we could leave.  And he did exactly three things.  He went and put glue in his back pack, he had to throw the whistle ball, and then he had to play PIG with dad.

So we got in the van and I start to drive to school not knowing whether I should talk about something else, talk about school, or just shut-up.  I turned on the radio, asked if he was cool enough, and then waited for him to talk.  We were not going anywhere fast as we live pretty close to school and were behind three buses.  He spotted the buses and just knew his brother was on one and we should race it to school.  SO we did!! At all of 18 miles and hour, I think, hot on it's tail.

Dad met us at school, so did the principal. (who I slipped inside to call when he wouldn't get on the bus asking for back-up at his classroom)  He gave her a high five, walked down to his classroom and got in line with the teacher.  I started to back away immediately not knowing what to expect.  Would he lunge tackle me screaming, "Don't leave me! I'm not staying here!"

I'm pretty sure what saved us was the child that did have to be extracted from his mother and carried into the classroom by a teacher and the guidance counselor.  So we wouldn't be the first - they had a system (and a very large woman) in place to handle child extractions. Excellent!

He looked so small, and scared, and I...I thought I was going to throw up.  I have not felt so sick to my stomach since my first day of Kindergarten.  When he was crying this morning, he said he would not go unless his "whole famiwee can come wif me."  Oh buddy, I want nothing more than to go wif you.  I wish I could sit in the corner and do Kindergarten all over again....but I can't.

I've cried so hard and so long, I did throw up.  Then I cried so more.  Gee, I hope next week gets better.  Maybe there is a large woman that can carry me home?

Friday, August 19, 2011

without words

Good, bad, wrong or right...words have always been a huge part of my life.  Talking, writing, singing, words have helped me through every joy and sorrow.

Why is it when I hear the word cancer, all words seem to escape me.  The first time that word came into my life was also when my Great Aunt Leona came into my life.  She was fighting a tumor that had taken her lung and was wrapped around her heart.  She was amazing, courageous, wise, and wonderful.  But I only saw a part of it.

Both of my father's parents battled cancer.  Papa was diagnosed and died within a month or so.  Mama was diagnosed and it seemed to giver her a courage and purpose like we had never seen in her 70 odd years.  She was ready to fight, and she did for three whole years.  I still only saw part of it.

My Uncle George fought a long hard horrible battle with brain cancer.  He showed strength and faith that still leaves me in awe.  My friends mother fought humorously against stage 4 breast cancer.  They taught me things that I will treasure not only about how to live but how to die.

We have had two friends our age diagnosed last year with cancer.  They have young children.  Their cancer's are very different and so are their struggles.  Two children we know have been diagnosed with Leukemia.  It's overwhelming and still I only know part of it.

A friend who had breast cancer several years ago found out that it is back in her lymph nods.  She is hopeful, courageous and still wicked funny.  She is also scared, vulnerable, and anxious.  And I have no words.  What do I say? I feel helpless and dumb and wordless.  This is the part isn't it? The part that is missing when you are not the spouse or caregiver.

Courage is a muscle you must exercise.  I think there could not be anything more courageous then facing death everyday.  Waking up knowing that there is a war raging inside of you, ready to take you down.  But is that want someone living with this diagnosis wants to hear - I'm awe struck by your courage, keep fighting. I'll keep praying. 

My friends mother went into her mastectomy with a t-shirt that said STOP THE WAR IN MY RACK.
Our friend with Colo-Rectal Cancer said if women can have Save the TaTa's he wanted brown t-shirts that read SAVE THE ASSHOLES.  If humor is the key, my friend has more years then she can count and plenty of Bunko left in her.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

it's all relative

I started out thinking I was going to write about turning 39, hense the title "it's all relative", but after watching an episode of the Jersey Housewives while I folded three loads of laundry that has taken on a whole new meaning in my head.

Aren't those housewives all related? And not just with the mob, I am the marriage kind of related?  It's funny to watch them interact with each other on camera; one arm hug, pecks on the cheek, plastered smiles then all the one uping, snide remarks, more fake smiling (and boobs) and then they turn around and say to a camera man - LIKE NO ONES GOING TO HEAR - "She is such a b!tch.  She thinks she can sing and sh!t and she's all fake..."

Hello?  and then people are surprised when these women throw down at a wedding in six inch heels and floor length gowns.  Who knew?

Ok, time to come up with a letter title for my rant about age??

Sunday, August 7, 2011

do over

I want a do over! she calls from box one
box two and three shrug and look down
but the girl in box four says No Way!
and she is the ultimate one

why doesn't democracy rule
on the playground you follow a code
there are kids in charge and most are not
and that's just the way in schools

but box one insists she has the right
she looks to her friends for help
but they are too scared of the one in charge
they will not get in on this fight

I want a do over! she says with a stomp
hands on her hips like her mom
she tries to look big, as big as a house
as she trembles with fear of a romp

for just one moment the world seems to stop
as she stands in the crackling air
defiance is hard and it makes her feel weak
until box four shrugs and head drops

Monday, July 18, 2011

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

The trip is over.  And I feel that it is time to reflect on all that went well - right.

We spent time with my husband's 96 year-old grandmother who is still very feisty.  There were many many meals filled with great food and even greater family.  Gorgeous days at the sea filled with sunshine and salt water.  Water the color of jewels that is just the right temperature when you have been fried by the Mediterranean sun.  There were movies, sewing lessons, shopping, and cooking as well as tickle time with Gia Gia. And of course eating, eating, eating, and more eating.  Oh how I miss the eating;-)))) You should only eat croissants in France and Baklava in Greece...something like that.  There were tons of cousins, futball games, tag, even some goats and a pig! The borrowed DVD player that even worked in the car and the 15 new movies from Theo Marinos. SCORE!  Motorcycle rides for the all the boys, and a great new book for mom.

There was the medic in London (Thanks again Mick!) that took great care in making sure my eight year-old could get on the next plane without popping two eardrums.  As well as the young woman who stayed with us until daddy got back with the tickets (3 hours later) and we were safely on our way.  There was the flight attendant who could see that my eight year-old was anxious and made sure he had snacks, drinks, and even found some gum.  To all of the passport agents who asked the children their name, where they were from, and if they were enjoying their holiday.  The pilots we meet in the hotels that answered numerous questions from two nervous children (and one nervous parent).

The countless family, friends, neighbors, shop keepers, and strangers that gave the children money or presents or both! Or got us out of a pickle because they could speak English thereby supplementing my very limited Greek.  It kept us from once boarding a bus bound for Turkey and also from buying Gia Gia a vegetable when what she asked for was soap.  At least I was hoping I was asking for something that wasn't either illegal or immoral.
There were many things that went well - wrong.
The flight attendant who ignored my pleas to get us off the plane quickly to get medical attention when my son was screaming and crying and holding his ears.  That was the very first flight - so you could say that was all that needed to go wrong because for mom it seemed it would be all downhill from there.  The missed flight, the five hour layover, not being able to notify family on the receiving end who was waiting for us at the airport.  Getting in at 11:00 p.m. at night after traveling 48 hours. 

The customs and passport agents in the US who were just down right rude.  The operator at Holiday Inn's 800 line that would not connect nor call the hotel in Chicago to notify them we were waiting at the International terminal for the shuttle after flying 9 hours.  After eating GiaGia's cooking for 30 days - airport pickings and hotel food. Yuck!

The EU.  Can I claim that one? Can't say I know a whole lot about the economic crisis in Greece.  But the kids got to see a protest, why is that in the things that went wrong list? Well, having seen Greece prior to the Euro, and prior to the Olympics, all I know is that something went horribly wrong.

The things that were just - well ugly.

I think my biggest problem on the trip was panic attacks.  Not that I wasn't expecting them (had my first at age 5), I don't like to fly and get a little nervous when I am left alone in a foreign country where I don't speak the language.  I was not however, ready for my son's panic attack.  My biggest fear has always been that I will be that crazy lunatic that runs through the plane screaming right after take off clawing at the door trying to get out only to get tackled by several flight attendants all wielding needles full of horse tranquilizers.  It was my eight year-old however after the ear pain disaster on the first flight that developed the biggest fear of flying.  We had a short flight from Cyprus to Greece and right after take off he started sobbing yelling at me to get him off the plane.  It was my worst nightmare come true only he was living it.  It broke my heart into a million tiny pieces some of which I am certain are still on that plane.

We got through it.  My husband's mother cried and cried, and then told everyone how amazing I was, so did my husband.  I didn't want to be amazing.  I wanted to cry with him.  I wanted to get the hell off that plane too.  I never did cry.  I never did break down in all those days of struggling to get through knowing what lie ahead.  Not until we got back, not until everyone was in bed, not until I was quite sure I was alone did I cry.  Not because I had an awful trip, or because he had an awful trip - we didn't.  I cried because I realized I merely survived.  We made it home.  Now what?  I can not fathom getting back on a plane and doing again, and yet we will.  Will I have learned my lesson for next time? Be ready for the worst? Enjoy the ride? Go with the flow?  I'm not quite sure yet what the universe is trying to teach me, but I am ready to learn.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Broken heart

That term has taken on a whole new meaning since having children.  I used to think it only applied to love lost.  Now it feels like every time I turn around my is breaking sometimes just a crack and sometimes into a million tiny pieces.

My oldest son, who just turned 8, will run his first 5K today.  He is so nervous - he'd be more nervous running it with me I can tell you that!  He would have to be concerned with carrying his mother across the finish line.  But to see him break down as they left, he came back to bury his head in my chest and cry, has left me feeling so empty.  Crack, Crack, Crack.

He's also nervous about our summer trip and came down at 10:30 last Saturday night to tell us he had a bad dream.  He dreamt that he had to get on the plane by himself, then the world ended while he was on the plane, and well- sum it up to say it went on.  Shatter!

There is nothing more I want to do than to lean down, scoop him up, and tell him nothing bad will ever happen to him.  If I could wrap him in my arms and protect him forever, would that be long enough?  People warn you, that it just gets harder.  Rocking away colic, kissing skinned knees, mediating temper tantrums (well that really hasn't stopped yet) seems like so long ago.

I know that he will be fine. At least I hope, and wish, and pray as I sit here typing.
Dear God, please watch over my baby today.  Help him get through the nerves and the race without fighting with his dad.  Let him be light as air and not be weighed down because he didn't poop this morning.  Let him be agile like the gazelle and not trip and fall because his shoes are never tied properly.  Let him be fortified with your spirit because he didn't eat the special oatmeal I made at 10:00 last night and there is still a bowl of apples on the table.  Oh for goodness sake just let him cross the finish line!

See - this is why his mom stays home!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Right O Govner!

We have started a pattern lately, that Dad walks in after I've read to the children and said prayers -to lay down with them.  Well, it started as going in to lay down with them, then it was to say Greek prayers, then it was Greek prayers and five Greek words, and it has now morphed into a Greek words wrestling match giggle fest.

So much for getting to bed on time.

Tonight was no exception - we are reading book two in a series I highly recommend - The Incorrigibles: The Children of Ashton Place. (If your library has it, listen on CD, it is excellently read)
Since we listened to Book one, and it was read in a very proper British accent, I of course, have to read the book in my best Midwestern proper British accent.  Thank God no one but the children are listening.  However, I digress.

After reading a chapter and saying prayers with the children my husband walks in and my oldest son who has been laying very quietly the entire time I was reading announces - I think I have three boys.  Of course there are three boys I say counting my husband, and two sons.  No I have three BOYS, my son says.

We call their balls - their boys.

"Ah, Well", I said in my Best Midwestern proper British accent as I back out of the door, "This one is for you Ole Chap! RightO, I'll be going now - you can check for extra boys Gov'ner! Cherrio!"

Monday, May 16, 2011

Do as I say, not as I do.....

Why do we take a dip in the gene pool, only to get mad when the result is mini-me?  My husband and I were married eight years before we had children.  Once when a long time family friend asked me what we were waiting for I commented, "The government won't allow us to reproduce."  It became my husband's response for the next seven years.

Here we are eight years and two boys later.  Both boys are a combination of both of us, but unfortunately my husband and I are a lot alike.  So what did I expect?  I expect them to not act like me.  Really?!

At least I am not alone.  I've talked with other people who have an anxiety disorder and they've said the same thing - "Please don't let them be like me!"  We know it's insane, but yet hope that somehow we'll have children who are calm, cool, and collected.

I know that I have good qualities, I used to tell potential employers.  But living with an anxiety disorder all my life has been like being on an emotional roller coaster.  One minute life feels great and the next it feels like a total loss.  I remember feeling like this as young as five.  Somehow I was hoping that it wasn't genetic - or that at the least-I could fix it.

I can't fix it, I can't even fix myself.  Anxiety is something I struggle with everyday on some level.  Seeing my oldest son struggling right now is killing me.  This is not what I wanted when I took a leap of faith straight into the gene pool, but it isn't totally unexpected.  So I guess it's time to learn to swim - together.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day

When I was younger Mother's Day meant a celebration of all that is glorious, because I went to a Catholic School named after the Virgin Mary.  We celebrated Spring and rebirth and flowers and Mom!  Mother's Day was construction paper cards with glitter, glue, dollies, and ribbon and a poem copied off the blackboard.

As a teenager, Mother's Day meant trying my hand at the magnificent Sunday morning breakfast my mother was famous for, but not without some help.  It meant taking a trip to the Hallmark store with Grandma to find the perfect card.

In early adulthood it meant taking time out of the selfishness that filled my days, to spend a little time doing whatever Mom wanted to do, even it it was cleaning up the basement, planting flowers, or getting out the deck furniture.

Now that I am a Mom, I have a whole new respect for those that came before me, for they are the reason I am here.  My Mother, Grandmothers, Great grandmothers, the stories are too many to mention, but yet essential to who I am.

They were immigrants, and pioneers, and workers, and trail blazers.  They raised families in whatever circumstances they were given.  They gave everything they could, asked for very little, and prayed that their children grow strong and happy.

I am a mother.  I can bring life into the world and have an uncontrollable urge to protect it.  I am a fighter and a nurturer.  I am a worker and a queen.  I am a survivor.  I am mad as a hatter one minute and as organized as the ant before winter the next.  I can sing a lullaby and scream like a banshee.  I am a mother.

On this Mother's Day I smile over the handmade cards and slightly crooked potted plants.  I tear up when tackled with hugs, kisses, and compliments.  And I give up a silent prayer of thanks, to those who made this possible.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Teacher Appreciation Week

As Teacher Appreciation week approaches I thought I would share some funny stories about my husband. When I first met him, though he was very proficient in English, there were still a few times that we had communication issue.  I hope you enjoy.  And I not only want to hear stories from all my teacher friends, but I would like to say Thank you for all you do to shape minds and mentor young people - especially those struggling with English!

When my husband and I started dating I never took into consideration that English was his second language because he was very fluent.  There just weren't too many times that he would ask me to explain or ask what something meant.  He did say some really funny things, for example; instead of "Fine-see if I care!" he would say - "Fine- Look if I care!", and instead of "This is the best lasagna I've ever had!" he would say- "This is the best lasagna I never have!".  He still shuffles the snow from the driveway and shovels a deck of playing cards.  He uses expressions like, "You in the right truck" (you're on the right track) and "It's taking a long time for you to get off the pot" (poop or get off the pot).  He preheats the aven (oven), eats pitches (peaches), and loves Lance Am'strong (Armstrong).

Right after we graduated from college, he got a job teaching at The Little Gym and brought home a binder filled with songs he had to "learn".  Well I took one look and started to laugh, these were songs any one of us would have heard or sang a thousand times in childhood, however it never dawned on me that they don't sing Pop goes the Weasel in Greece. So we spent the better part of a night singing and when we got to the ABC's he said, "Why you sing it?" I don't know, but I still sing it when I need to put things in alphabetical order.  "You mean I suppose to say the alphabet in order?"  They taught him English without ever teaching him the alphabet!

I must not have done a good job of teaching him the songs because in the first parents class he taught he asked everyone to help him sing the Itchy Bitchy Spider.  He started singing and everyone just stared at him, he just kept singing, thinking maybe no one knew it.  When he got all done one of the mother's kindly went over to ask him what he was singing- to which he replied, "the itchy bitchy spider?"  She explained that the song was the Itsy Bitsy Spider.  He's never gotten that one wrong again!

Once while helping him prepare for a job interview I was asking him questions about salary. (Which by the way he pronounces - celery, and the vegetable, you guessed it - salary)  After practising a few times we ran through a mock interview and half way through I asked the question, "What kind of a salary are you looking for?" to which he passionately replied, "I just want to be constipated for what I do!"

But the very best story was the night we were sitting in my apartment, we had dinner, watched a romantic movie,and we were just sitting quietly when he looked over at me and said, "You are unforgivable."
I think he figured out pretty quickly that he had the wrong word as I stood up, burst into tears, and started shrieking, "What did I ever do to you?!" To which he stood up and shrieked, "What did I say? What did I say?"  We went at each other like this for about 20 minutes.

Those of you that know us well can not only picture this, but you are probably changing underwear right now as you have peed your pants laughing.  We acquired the nicknames, Lucy and Ricky, and we earned every bit of it....

I finally realized he was asking me what he had just said because he truly didn't know.  Just like calm after the storm, I suddenly got very still and said, do you mean unforgettable? Is that good-he said.  Yes, I replied. "YES! That is what I mean you unforgettable!!"

Thank you my dear friends: Julie, Linda, Betsy, Sue, Katie, Carolyn, Angela, Cathy, Mary, Vicky, Molly, Terri, Jodie, Beth, Cindy, Marie, Toni, and many many more ;-)

Monday, April 25, 2011

A message about "The Trip"

Most people I know think of traveling abroad in the most romantic sense.  Air travel, taxi's, hotels, beaches, ancient ruins, museums, and fabulous dinners at cozy restaurants with lots of ambiance.  When I tell people that we are going to Greece this summer they swoon imagining Mamma Mia or Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants.

Wouldn't that be amazing?! Where do I sign up?
My trip - think My Big Fat Greek Wedding - on Vacation.

My husband is not from America and ALL of his family is overseas.  Some of you will visit Pittsburgh, or Boston, Cleveland, or Atlanta this summer to see relatives.  Flying, driving, packing, planning, and sleeping on an air mattress are all involved at some point.

Now, I am no mathematical expert, but I think there is a definitely an equation that looks something like...
# of kids + hours of travel = ^stress level

So imagine if you will, being on one airplane with your children, for 9 hours then deplaning to board yet another aircraft for 4 more hours.  Are we there yet??

I will not complain, OK that's a lie, because I don't like to fly so I complain a lot.  To certain people.  And while I don't want you to think that everywhere in Greece looks like the pictures of Santorini, if only! Or that I am not dog tired after the plane ride and jet lagged for 6 days after we return.  That not being fluent in the language isn't annoying, frustrating, and sometimes scary.  Or that it's always easy to fly so far away from my box......

# of kids + hours of travel = ^stress level

So when you see me and say, "I heard your going to Greece this summer!" and I just nod and smile like the Joker from Batman, it's not because I am not excited to see my relatives and spend time being fed, and pinched, complimented, and showered with unconditional love.  Reading a book, or five.  Sitting on a white sandy beach for a day or three looking at water so blue it can't possibly be real.  Eating souvlaka at midnight on the roof overlooking the city with the mountain's behind me.  Praying in churches older than the country I was born in.

I am only human.  I am frightened.  I am stressed.  I am preparing, and planning, and postulating the trip, so that I may truly enjoy the journey.

It is something I think everyone should do - at least once.  So pick a place you've always wanted to go, maybe it is Santorini  (I hear it's beautiful!)  save your quarters if you have to (airfare is outrageous) and GO! 

What will become of us?

There was a time before we decided to have children that we just couldn't fathom bring children into this mess.  What's becoming of America? More and more everyday I wonder if we are just the world's largest trailer park.  "Tonight's top story Teen Mom beat down - caught on tape."

I have since decided that when you are not ready for children, you rationalize not having them with the creativity of a two-year-old that wants ice cream...greenhouse gases, world water shortage, war, hunger, pestilence..........the list goes on and on.

After you have them you start rationalizing on a whole new level.  World water shortage, well I turn the water off when I brush my teeth.  Greenhouse gases, I use cloth shopping bags.  Carbon footprint, I'll start turning out the outside lights when we go to bed.

Maybe it's the melancholy mood that I have been in lately, or the fact that the boys have been fighting like two roosters in a hen house but I've just been wondering, What's this world coming to?  I know every generation says that, I remember discussing with my Grandmother how much had changed in her lifetime.  But I feel the same way.  My first jobs out of college - I used electric typewriters, dot matrix printers, and green screens.  I didn't own a cell phone or a computer.

I look at my friends 18 year-old who is leaving for college with an iphone, laptop, and enough computer skills to take over the world.  He is very smart, savvy, and even getting scholarships will still walk away form a state school with $30,000 in student loans.  He's going to be amazing at whatever he does but having watched his mom struggle to raise three children on a teacher's salary he is majoring in International Law and Spanish.

What will become of us?  We've depleted the ozone, bankrupted wall street, and created more plastic then could ever be recycled. then asked the next generation to do better.  With what?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Insights from the Freshman Mom

Growing up I heard that the only certain things in life were death and taxes.  Then I grew up and that's when I found out that there are plenty of other certains in life, but you have to be in the club first.  And once you join the club, you will be inducted into the rank and file only in due time.  Seeing as I have a second grader and a preschooler- I am only a Freshman.  Sophomores have the teenagers, Juniors have the college students, and Seniors of course - have grandbabies. This is what I know so far........

In childhood roommates are stinky relatives, in college roommates are eclectic and avaunt garde, after marriage - back to stinky relatives.

Halloween costumes go from cute witch, to sexy witch, to just a witch.

Before college it takes forever for summer to get here.  After college, summer is over before you realize it was here.

When you are single it is perfectly acceptable to eat a bag of popcorn for dinner.  When you are married a "meal" must contain something from all the food groups.

When you are dating Applebee's and TGIF's are perfectly acceptable dining establishments.  After marriage you must graduate to PF Chang's.  Once you have children you are downgraded to any restaurant with a drive-thru and a play land.

When you are looking for a date there are "no good men left".  When you stop looking for a man and start searching for the best chocolate cake in town - you'll find your husband.

Single = not guaranteed sex.  Dating = guaranteed sex.  Marriage = guaranteed NO sex.

Before you have children you have brain "farts" after you give birth you have no brain left what-so-ever.

Once you have children you can no longer go to the bathroom, take a shower, answer an email, or talk on the phone without everyone in the house wanting your attention - RIGHT NOW!

After you have children you will never finish an entire meal while it's hot nor will you eat an entire piece of cake by yourself. (Not even the closet, I've tried! They find you)

When dinner is ready, nobody else is.  When dinner is not ready, they will eat things that will make you want to vomit i.e. apples with ranch dip, rice with ketchup, cold spaghetti, or crackers with mayo.

Just when you think you have everyone tucked away nicely for the night and you turn on "that" episode of Sex in the City, your husband will be horny, your oldest will need water, and the baby will wet the bed.

I have a few more years before I make Sophomore status, so stay tuned!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Best decision in weeks!

Even though my eight-year-old has been coughing like an old man with 30 years of smoking behind him and falling apart each night when it's time to go to bed.  I let him go to a birthday party last night - from 7:30 to 9:30 at a Roller rink.  You heard me right.

I offered to take the neighbor to the party, not thinking that maybe he should just stay home and cough.  Also - he's never roller skated before. What was I thinking? So I take these two to the roller rink last night and as I am helping with skates I whispered to my son, "Are you a little nervous?"
"Let's talk about this.  This is the break, you want to push your feet out to the sides a little bit, easy - glide."

Although I went to the roller rink every weekend as a grade schooler, I have not done it in years and I have never taught anyone how to roller skate.   But my son is determined, athletic, smart - basically not me.  So I am going on the assumption that he is going to be just fine.

We got the roller skates on and he stood up and immediately started to do the splits.  He looked at me like a deer in the headlights saying, "What the ?"  He started out slowly like Bambi on those shaky legs holding on to the wall and slipping every two steps.  When he got to the end of the wall he turned around and looked at me horrified - "WHAT NOW?!"

I went out into the rink and took his arm and started to guide him around the edge of the rink.  Whispering in his ear: you are doing great, you can do this, it's not about being cool, get your feet under you, change your center of balance, glide.  I don't know that I was any damn help at all, but as a mom you have to do something right? By the time we get half way around the rink he is sooooo mad at me and fighting tears saying, "I can't do this it's too hard, I don't like it!"

We got back to the carpeted area when one his schoolmate suggested we practise in the carpet until we get the hang of it. DUH! Why didn't I think of that??  He went back and forth on the carpet while I walked next to him, then I sat down and he went back and forth in front of me.  His friends came over a couple of times and he told them he was just learning and wanted to stay on the carpet.  Soon there was a group of kids hanging out with him going back and forth on the carpet.

I tried to keep my distance, cause I don't figure that an eight year-old boy wants to hang with his mom at a birthday party when there are friends.  Besides I kinda felt like a fifth wheel, he was working hard and was surrounded by a gaggle of girls.  After watching from the sidelines for another 10 minutes I went over and said there would be a break soon for cake and ice cream and I was going to go. "Are you OK?" YEP! was the quick and confident response.  So I left and stopped for wine and a girly movie.

As I left the store every siren you can imagine goes screaming past me in the direction I just came.  That's when the panic starts to creep in...why did I leave?? He's never done this before, I spent Friday night in a roller rink.  Holy Crap! Creepy adults, horny teenagers, show-off bullies, and broken elbows. What was I thinking.

I didn't crack open the bottle of wine too afraid that I would have to meet the ambulance at Children's hospital where they were reassembling his body parts.  I started the movie as a distraction but can't tell you what it was about.  Finally at 10:00 p.m. they neighbor rolls up and out pops my son in perfect condition.  He bounds to the door and the first thing he says is "I can't believe he's never skated before!"

Before he could go to bed he had to tell me all about how he figured out how to stop by putting his feet in a T (oh yeah, I remember that now) and he watched some other kids and got the hang of it and went back out in the rink and watched the big kids break dance and did the hokey pokey and the chicken dance....

Once in a while, I do it right.  I am so proud of him.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

He's watching....everything!

My now five-year-old has "homework" from pre-school every week.  My older son had this also and it is very cute.  They work on one letter a week and must draw, cut out, or find pictures that start with that letter and paste in in the booklet.  My older son liked to mix it up but not my little man.  He comes up with the items, I must draw them (always a challenge) and then he adds the details if he's feeling like it.

This weeks letter is B.  Thank goodness because last week's Y had me completely stumped.  What the the hell starts with Y except Yellow? He came up with Yak but I hard pressed to draw that one.  But B not that's a letter I can draw with!  Banana, boot, basketball, brother, bottle.

I complimented him on all the things he came up with, especially bottle. 
"That's a good one buddy." I said as I started to draw my best rendition of a soda bottle.
"We talked about it at school." He said looking over my shoulder eyeing the bottle I was drawing.  "You know like a bottle of wine - like you drink."

Yes honey, and if I weren't responsible for getting you to and from the pre-school, Mommy might have one in her hand right now.  What must those teachers think?

When I get older....

....losing my hair, many years from now.  Will you still be sending me a Valentine? Birthday greeting? bottle of wine.

Tonight while I was screaming the boys to bed, because it's the method that works most effectively, I had to ask the eight -year-old to put his clean clothes aways instead of stepping over them, to hang up the wet bath towel, and put the dirty clothes down the shoot.  After we both heaved a big sigh and rolled our eyes at one another I said to him.

"I can't wait until I am old and senile and living with you.  I'm going to pee on the bathroom floor, leave wet towels lying about, use my undies for toilet paper, and never pick up a single spec of clothing."

To which my son replied with that face that says "You are sooooo stupid" and shut the bedroom door in my face.

Oh the joys of motherhood.  Will I live long enough to seek my revenge for unflushed toilets, mud stained WHITE shirts (couldn't wear the dark one, A?) wet towels, and that "DUH" look?? 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Then he kissed me

Funny how a song, smell, even a picture can take you back to a particular time and place.  Yesterday at church a young girl played "Cannon in D Major" by Pachebel.  We played this at our wedding as I walked down the aisle.  I always tear up when I hear the song, but yesterday as I closed my eyes and took myself back to that moment I was surprised by my reaction.  Panic.

Panic is not new to me, or any special occasion in my life.  But to be sitting in a safe place in the world, in my life and go right straight back to the panic I felt on my wedding day was crazy.  The fear was not about getting married, or being married, but simply having to be on the alter in church.  (To me there is such a thing as being to close to God.) And there I sat, with my eyes closed, no chance of having to walk to the front of church - heart racing, palms sweating, stomach flipping.

Panic is not new to me.  I've learned to go with it, let it flow a little, see where it's going, then work through it.  So as I took myself back to my wedding day I walked through all of it. The song and the panic began to flow outward and away as I got closer to my husband.  My dad took my arm and told me to breath.  I looked up and saw a friends three year-old peeking from the pew.  My husband getting closer.  A beloved neighbor.  My husband getting closer.  Friends from college.  My husband getting closer.  My cousins, uncles, aunts, and family.  Then he was there.  Then he kissed me.

Panic is not new to me.  I remember this moment on our wedding day because I was horrified that we had done something wrong and would get yelled at by the priest or worse struck down with lighting right there in church.  Then our officiant and friend Deacon Tom smiled his tender smile and said, "You look beautiful".  to which I replied, "I'm scared shitless".

And I was worried about the kiss!

Mommy Jail

How was Spring Break you ask?
Wednesday morning at 7:00 am I can hear the boys talking in their room.  Since it was spring break there was no reason for me to jump up and get the day rolling, and because they were talking quietly I just laid there for a moment.  OK, I fell back to sleep, DON'T JUDGE.  Anyway, at 7:30 I hear screaming and the five-year-old comes tearing into my room holding his face screaming at the top of his lungs "he punched me".

Needless to say, I did not jump up because I was not fully awake yet and beside all I could think is, Seriously?!

They both ended up downstairs 4 minutes later watching TV together.  How do I know - I timed them.  So I laid there trying to decide what to do.  OK, I fell back asleep again, STOP JUDGING! But I came up with this fabulous idea.  Lock down.  Yep, that's right.  I decided that if they want to act like hooligans they can live like a hooligan and where do hooligans live?? Jail.

So I calmly went downstairs, got a bowl of cereal, started two separate lists and told them both the plan for the day.  They needed to complete all of the chores on their list and then they would need to go to their room until they were called for lunch.  They knew they were in trouble so there wasn't much argument for the first 1/2 hour.  Unfortunately, the chores took two hours so at 10:30 they were marched upstairs and I shut the door.  That went well again for about 1/2 hour then the five-year-old began opening the door every 5 minutes to ask if it was lunch time yet.

At lunch time, when dad came home for lunch and asked how things were going they both started telling the story, then arguing about the story, then screaming and fighting all over again.  I asked them to finish lunch, put the dished away, and marched them back upstairs.  All while my husband buried his head in his arm pretending to cough, but actually laughing his butt off.  Which made it very difficult to keep a straight face when I told them they were not to come out until I opened the door.

My husband and I went over calendar's, questions, work issues, etc...it was really quite nice, then we both promptly fell asleep. OK, JUDGE! I don't care anymore.  Two hours after I had marched them upstairs and my husband and I had gotten in a power nap, he went up to talk to the prisoners.  He told the boys he backs me up 100% and they needed to shape up.  Then he gave them a list of exercises told them to change clothes and get water bottles because they were going to the gym.

As I was loading them up in the car the five-year-old year old started to get snippy with me and I asked if he would like two days in a row.  He looked at me and said, "This is not real jail! This is mommy jail and I don't like it."  Darn, thought I had a good thing going here.  Is it too soon to think I nipped this thing in the bud??

Saturday, March 26, 2011


All this time writing a blog and all I had to do was try out for the Ben-Gal Cheerleaders!
Dag Nabit!!


When life hands you lemons...

I hate this expression, because life has never actually handed me lemons, but it has handed me a big pile of ...

This story is life handing you lemons
and Melissa Jones made lemonade.  Good for you Melissa!! Thank God you will get your sight back.

Unfortunately, we have had a recent barrage of sad news from friends and loved ones regarding cancer, surgery, and or a big move.  I guess that's why this expression has been rattling around in my head. We have two friends, our age with young children, who are battling cancer.  One neighbor who is probably in better health than me, that just had prostate surgery and awaits results.  Two friends, whose parents have been battling cancer, are ending the fight, a third is already resting.  My friends daughter who was born with physical and developmental delays will be undergoing yet another (#60?) surgery for a brain defect that is causing headaches.  My best friend is moving 6 hours away, and two more from school who are moving this summer.

I'm sorry life, this no longer feels like lemons.  Besides I can't drink lemonade because of the ulcer I know have in my stomach!

Try as I might to look at the positive side, like when I am standing at the sink and want to bitch about doing dishes for the fifth time in one day I say to myself, "I have a house to clean, and food to cook, and a family to cook for, everyone is healthy..."

There is just no way to spin this, it just sucks.  Every time I turn around I am on the verge of tears.  When I go into my children's room at night to tuck them back in, I sit on the edge of their bed and cry.  I know that I can't cry forever, I know that life must go on, but right now I would like it to stop - for just a minute.

Maybe it's not lemonade that I'm suppose to make when life hands me lemons, maybe it's turtle soup?

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Ode to Dr. Seuss

Oh the hunches you'll think when I Gertrude McMom won't get up, so please go away!

I Gertrude McMom I'm the Queen of this house!
Queen of the chaos, this mess, and this mouse.
I'm taking a day to just stay in bed
No work will be done I am resting my head!

My hair is quite crunchy cuz I don't get to showers
I just spray more perfume, now I smell like dead flowers.
My armpits need shaving the hair I can braid,
my leg hair has bugs, can I just use the Raid?
The make-up I put on three weeks ago Monday,
is making me look like a big DQ sundae.

Oh, the things I will do in my bed there all day,
the things I can think, I can do, I can say!
Oh the beauty of solitude - just me and my pillow
and movies and ice cream and my batteried friend Zillow!!

My dear friends, must I say what I'd do
with a day without watching Thing 1 and Thing 2-
and the biggest and hairiest and loudest of all
the husband thing- stands just 'bout 6 feet tall.

I wouldn't make breakfast, lunch, and then dinner
I'd go to the gym and make myself thinner.
I wouldn't be referee, judge, lawyer and jury
I wouldn't be rushing somewhere in a hurry.
I wouldn't be running to store and to errand
No milk in the house - Look! See if I'm carin'!!

Yes - I Gertrude McMomy am taking a day
to tell everyone - everyone - please Go Away.

I'm not Crazy!!

OK- while the jury may still be out on that one, here is one thing I do know - I am not alone.

While walking and talking today with girlfriends, commiserating about kids, life, husbands, work, etc...I found people saying exactly what I sometimes think.  These are people I respect as women, mothers, friends.  And they too sometimes feel like sending their children to military school. Thank you!!

I am not alone. I have found that place where it is OK to say, "I love my children, but I don't always like them."  What I have found as a mom is that there are very few places, and fewer people where I feel safe saying, "This job sucks! and so do I!"  Other women seem to have time to organize a clothes drive for the homeless, volunteer in the classroom, and bake bread while making dinner from scratch.

I have trouble feeding two boys breakfast cereal, while packing a nutritious lunch, and getting everyone out the door with underwear on.  And by everyone, I am including myself.  Many of my friends are very dear, I truly love them, but they are not who I call when I need to say Supercalifragilisticexpealodocious!
( I trying to somewhat observe lent and give up cussing- let's see if that lasts 5 minutes.)

I revere that generation before me.  The women that fought so hard so that I could have maternity leave and still have a job.  The women who gave up families to break the glass ceiling and especially those who did both.  My problem is they have set the bar so high.  Somehow, someway my generation bought into an idea that we can do it all.  And God love you sisters - some of you can.

I can not.  I have a common and mediocre disease called normalcy.  It causes a person to just be average - a C.  That's me.  But I'm consistent.  I will consistently plop my butt on the couch on Tuesday night to watch Parenthood, even if one of the children is still up God forbid.  I will forget at least three major milestones a year i.e., Birthday, yearly Dr.'s Appt., or school function.  I will bake two dozen cookies for the school carnival every year, rake old man Schneider's leaves every fall, and make chicken chili for friends as needed.

I will vow to go to church more often, scream a lot less, and spend quality time with my husband.  I will try to get to the gym to workout only to see an acquaintance who's been diagnosed with cancer and spend an hour crying together.  I will pray every night to be a better, thinner, kinder person - starting tomorrow.  I am average.

So ladies, find those friends, who will walk with you and talk with you and let you be exactly who God made you to be -even if it is just average.

Friday, February 18, 2011


If you had asked my Mama about patterns, she would have thought of sewing one of many dresses that she made for herself or perhaps the many quilts that she owned and made.  Had you asked my Grandmas about patterns she may have thought about the needlepoint she did for so many years before the arthritis betrayed her.

If you ask me about patterns I would tell you that Mama had IBS, my dad has IBS, and so do I.  I would tell you that there is a link between IBS and anxiety, and anxiety and depression and I know this first hand.  I would tell you that Gia Gia has a stubborn streak a mile long that she has passed on to her son, that he has in turn pasted down to his children.

If you asked my second grader about patterns he would most likely give you examples of the ABAB pattern that they talk about, practise, and look for in mathematics.  My four-year-old would say something, I guarantee you that he would vehemently back-up, but which most likely has no more of a connection to patterns then rice pudding.

Patterns.  What an amazing word, what a difficult concept.  Everyone has their own definition.  Patterns in math, science, life, art, behavior.  This is the one that trips me up every time.  Why is it so difficult to break a pattern in behavior?  Is it even possible?  If an alcoholic is always "recovering", will I ever be the mom who isn't yelling?  Or will I always be the mom is is a recovered yeller?

I can hear it now, said in a low raspy voice in some obscure but obvious church basement that smells of strong coffee and crayons...
"Hi, my name is Bad Mom, and I'm a fit thrower."
"Hi, Bad Mom."

What do we really know about changing behavior?  I've confessed to not being the type of parent to run to a book to find the answers.  In part because all the books say the same thing, this is your fault!  I already know that in my heart.  My kids didn't learn to throw a fit from the neighbor, nor the word idiot which the seven-year-old used on me this morning.  They learned from their mom, bad mom.

For all that we do right, or try to, it still seems to all come down to those few moments when the bus is coming and I'm screaming again and he says, "This is all your fault you idiot!"  And the words slap my face harder than even he could - you are right.

Anyone know which church basement???

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

What a wonderful holiday, maybe because my husband and I have never put any pressure on each other to outdo, overso, or even some years do-anything.  That was more his doing than mine, what girl doesn't like a holiday centered around chocolate!

I will be headed off to the Elementary school after lunch to help with the seven-year-olds Valentine's party, last Friday it was the pre-school for the four-year-olds Valentine's party.  At the pre-school it was all about the sugar - literally and figuratively.  They scarfed down cupcakes, cookies, and juice boxes and wanted to hug.  Me, the teacher, each other.  Good thing I brought 5 games - they ended up all trying to sit in my lap as I read a story then rolled around on the floor together.  It will be interesting to see what happens at the Elementary school.

My seven-year-old brought his Valentine's box in on Friday (so that his mother would not forget on Monday!) and right away noticed the differences.  He didn't tell me until Saturday at bedtime after a long night of fighting over our Famous American report - Yes, I said OUR and you other mothers know why!  That his box was different than all the others.  The girls (surprise, surprise) were quick to point this out.  When they got the assignment to make a Valentine's box my very crafty and creative son ran up stairs found a shoe box that was brown and green and decorated it with puffy animal stickers and googly eyes.  He said everyone elses is red or pink and covered in hearts, flowers, and ribbon and one is even shaped like a mailbox.  We talked about how his reflects his personality, he did it by himself, that he wouldn't want a pink one covered in flowers anyway, Done.

My husband whose only hope for Valentine's day is a little love, romance - ok he just wants a little something something.  (Good Luck with that)  Spent Sunday driving around looking for a Florist that was open - he found one! And brought home a gorgeous bouquet.  (Alright, I'll throw him a bone)  Now I'm wondering if what I found is appropriate? He asked for something to make him feel like a man....so I bought him IronMan underoos.  What's more manly that that??

Happy Valentine's Day!!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Stop to smell the babies

Isn't it funny the things we tell young people, things that they are sure not to understand until years later.  Like: Make sure to stop and smell the roses, You can't see the forest for the trees, This too shall pass.  It takes years to figure out what they mean, then more years to understand why adults said it over and over again.

My sister emailed me recently, saying how scrubbing the bathtub got her very sad, and it wasn't all the bleach.  It was the fact that her kids are all older now and at an age where they take showers.  Gone are the days of "tubbies" and toys and sometimes three giggling naked bodies in the tub.

Funny, I was feeling the same way.  The school sent home a note saying, If you have another child at home that is getting ready for Kindergarten, We need to know!  I shouted at the paper - NOOOOO! You can't have my baby! The paper really didn't seem to care.

My soon to be five-year-old sat next to me yesterday on the couch and put his head against my shoulder, I just stayed quiet and continued to write my list and the first thing I know he was asleep.  And I thought, this is not going to happen much anymore.  Where did the time go?  All those days I thought would never end (and sometimes still do ;-) are gone in the blink of an eye.
The other day he told me that he doesn't want to turn five, he doesn't want a birthday party if he has to turn five.  My almost eight-year-old had such a hard time turning five.  I think it is because I suddenly realize that they are suppose to be big guys and go to school and do it all on their own so I start pushing them to do it by themself.  Which they can, and I know it, but perhaps it is their way of holding on to these days for one more minute.
The holidays, for once this year, came and went with out my usual fall into the deep dark hole that seems to suck me in and hold me there.  But it didn't take long for that hole to open up.  I am almost forty, there are more lines on my face and hair in places that it shouldn't be, it's time to register my baby for Kindergarten, we're working on the first "big" school report, I can't get away with no bra even though I have no boobs (due to odd slippage), I have the pre-school class, and the PTA, and Right to Read Week committee, I can't get away with no make-up either (due to the added creases and more new found hair), there are lunches to make every morning, and basketball, and baseball sign-ups, and soccer that needs a coach.......
And everyday it reminds me of how fast this time goes.  Once my only job was to hold those little boys, check their diapers, and feed them again, look into those beautiful eyes while they ate and tell them how loved they are, how safe, how beautiful.  To hold that little bottom breathing in the smell and feeling the pulse of life so pure and simple.
Everyone tells you  "The days are long but the years go fast. Enjoy these moments." But it's as hard to stop time,as it is to stop a baby from growing, or a season from changing, or a mother from worrying, or a parent from parenting.  That's why sisters, friends, grandparents, and Auntie's are so important - their the ones who help you stop and smell the babies.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Drunk Dialed

Before you make any assumptions, I know I talk quite openly about how alcohol consumption and parenting go hand in hand, but I was the recipient of the call not the maker.

You heard me! I got drunk dialed last night - Swear! By my mother.  I always thought it would be one of my single friends from a bar or a date as they gushed about meeting "the one". Nope, it was mom.

My parents have been down in Florida now for two months and I think it is really getting to my mother.  My dad, the life long drinker has taken to tea toting.  My mother on the other hand has taken to Manhattan's like a fish to water.  And last night I swear she was sloshed when she called the phone call went something like this...

Me: Hello
Mom: (talking and dishes clatter) did you get your order whose is that...
Mom: Hello?
Me: Hello?
Mom: Hi dear, are you there? Hello? Can you hear me?
Me: Yes, Hello.
Mom: Hello! How are you? Did you get all the ice they are talking about?
Me: No, we really dodged a bullet.
Mom: Oh that's nice.  Julie just called Connie and said it's really bad up there so we were wondering if you got it too?
Me: Nope. Thank goodness
Mom: Well we were worried about the house, and you all and ....
Me: If you are worried about your house why don't you call Bruce? (he's watching their house)
Mom: Well, that's a long story I can't talk now, I'll tell you later, and we tried to call but they have something going on...(voice trails off and dishes clatter and she seems to be mumbling to someone else)
Me: So how are you?
Mom: Oh, good, yeah, we had a pretty nice day, finally! We took a boat ride, and then your dad saw a Verizon store and wanted a new phone, you know your dad! Do you have Verizon? She said all the calls would be free if you have Verizon?
Me: Yes, I do.
Mom: OH! I thought you didn't I wonder who doesn't,
(then she says to someone else- She says she has Verizon so all the calls to her will be free I wonder who doesn't have Verizon, maybe it's Beth or Cindy!)
Maybe I'll call Cindy, I talked with Beth the other day, that's another story I will have to tell you later.  But Connie talked to Julie and said their getting snow, are you getting snow?
Me: Nope. (SIGH) Nothing, we really dodged a bullet there Ma.
Mom: Oh, well we came to get a bite to eat and we're with Connie and Jim and we heard about the ice and now we have to go back to the Verizon store because your dad saw one and had to get a new phone and that's another story, I'll have to tell you later.
Me: That dad got a new phone?
Mom: 256 pictures! He had 256 pictures on his phone, mostly pictures of fish, UGH!, that we had to keep so they are working on that at the store and then we'll go back, but that's another story, I'll have to tell you later.
Me: OK, Mom.  Sounds great enjoy your "dinner".
Mom: You too, kiss the boys, and stay warm, remind me to tell you a funny story later - I'll call you!

Oh please dear lord, Don't -  just go to bed!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Wii must go, now..

After three months of trying to manage the fits, tantrums, screaming, manipulation, and non-stop whining about the Wii my husband and I have adopted a "weekends only" policy for the Wii.  And even that is contingent on behavior, considering how often the boys are wailing on each other.

So today, after a monumental second win for the seven year-old's basketball team, and the four year-old's gentleman behavior, a one-hour hike, the completion of all homework, and a lecture I gave in and let them have an hour of Wii.

Low and behold what happened in the end?  They not only screamed at each other almost the entire hour but when I said time's up, they came upstairs screaming irrationally about everything.  I asked the four year-old if he'd been picking at his lip again as it was bloody and raw.  "NO! AIYA DID IT! I SAID STOP THE GAME AND HE DIDN'T AND THIS HAPPENED!"  (No I didn't forget the caps lock, he was yelling at the top of his lungs and he's got a good pair, promise)

The seven year-old went to the TV straight away and tried to turn it on and I said no. He returned with "THAT'S NOT FAIR YOU TREAT ME LIKE A SLAVE!" (Also said with great projection thanks to all the damn exercise we get.)

The four year-old stayed within 6 inches of me for the next 25 minutes jumping up and down and screaming.  The seven-year-old would stay quiet for 3-4 minutes and the come over and say this is what you look like, and then proceed to jump up and down and scream incoherently at both of us.

I wish I could tell you that I kept my cool, used I statements, Love and Logic, or 1-2-3 Magic.  I can not.  That would mean reading one of those parenting books and we've already been through that, A? I threw a tantrum of my own - a mommy tantrum as a friend calls them.  That's when I blew it, I said, "I'm going to thow the Wii away it makes you all crazy."  That's when they both lost it, throwing themselves on the floor, on me, screaming, crying.

We finally did salvage the evening but I was determined to find out if there is scientific proof that the Wii is causing brain damage.  Here are the signs.  Hold onto your hats, because I don't think the Wii is the only activity that is causing brain damage.

For parents who are concerned about the possible risk of seizures, it may be helpful to observe the child during the game and watch for signs of possible seizures:
  • brief episodes of blank staring, during which the child seems momentarily frozen in place
  • rapid blinking or twitching of the mouth or face
  • jerking movements of other parts of the body
  • loss of attention
  • brief inability to talk or respond
  • reports from the child that things look, sound, smell, or feel different than usual
According to this, I am also a possible cause of seizures not only in my children but my husband.  All three boys in this house exhibit these behaviors when I speak to them.  Maybe I should throw myself out.

Two in a Row?? YES!

Keep your fingers crossed people - we are off to another basketball game!
Follow me on Twitter (just learning so bear with me!!)

They Won - a hard fought Super close great game!! 10-8

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

What does that say about me?

I had a really busy week last week - socially.  That is unusual for me.  I generally only get out once a month, to Bunko.  But I caught up with a friend on Tuesday night, Bunko was Thursday night, Girls Night on Friday, and Saturday a surprise 40th birthday party for someone.

I'm now sick.  But it was all worth it.  Tuesday and Thursday were more about nurturing my soul and relationships that keep me sane and whole.  Friday and Saturday were more social, meeting new people and developing relationships.

All of these situations include talk about our children.  The element that binds us: soccer, baseball, preschool, grade school.  The topics reiterate, the conversations refresh, and once in a while something stands out.  An unexpected compliment or passionate response or a very alternative point of view.

One thing that came up several times where parenting books.  People mentioned reading this one or that one, quoted them from memory, or attacked them vehemently.  It made me think, Have I ever read a parenting book?  I have heard of them, I've perused them, I've been given them.  But I don't think that I have read one - cover to cover.

What does that say about me?  I am not so egotistical to think it means I've got it all wrapped up that's for sure.  I just had a conversation with a friend the other day about how badly I suck at this job sometimes.  Maybe that's why I am thinking it doesn't speak well of me that I am not reading the latest parenting how-to.

But I am reading a great book about baking and the author includes recipes throughout which make me salivate and smell good things baking in my own oven.  She also talks about being a mother and the inadequates we feel when we can't help our babies and the loss of dreams we thought we would accomplish no matter what.

That I can relate to, while I bake these muffins that sound amazing.