Thursday, May 29, 2008

Writer's Block

I know I haven't posted more than a couple of times in over a week. The few pots I've made were crap at best, too. I have been busy, but not any more than usual. This coming week is busy for me; at our home we are hosting my dad's birthday party on Saturday, Mikey's school "End of the Year Party" on Wednesday, Mikey's birthday on Thursday, and Mikey's birthday dinner with the inlaws on Sunday.

But the real reason I haven't posted? I just don't have it in me. I can't seem to write anything that isn't absolute shit--some pathetic, half-assed platitude on the state of humanity.

I want to be good. I want to inspire (eh. maybe just amuse) and have one of those blogs people check constantly for smart content. I want to be great, but I feel mediocre.

It's like my mind has PMS and I just need to #$&^* ovulate, already.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Memorial Day

It doesn't take a hero to order men into battle. It takes a hero to be one of those men [and women] who goes into battle.

---Norma Schwarzkopf

Thank you to all the veterans, yesterday and today, who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

God Bless,

Friday, May 23, 2008

Favorite Moment

My favorite moment was hearing my best friend, Kara, who is participating in the Foster/Adopt program, received placement of two little girls. She and her charming husband opened their home and their hearts to a 7 year old and 24 month old in need of a home. They would love to adopt them as well, if possible. Hearing about the success and failures of this state program is inspiring. I hope she updates her blog with just half of what she has been through. You can read all about her long journey to become a mom HERE. Good luck, Kara and Duane!

Other moments that were fantastic but didn't make the final cut?

  1. Making an egg free cake with Mikey for my sister-in-law's birthday party. I was reading the recipe and muttered under my breath, "OK. 2 teaspoons vanilla..." To which Mikey responded, "No, mama. It's called Banilla Extra. That's how Mazy says it." I stand corrected. Banilla Extra, it is.
  2. Watching Nicholas take a few more guarded steps today and having him NOT tear his frenulum in the process.
  3. Not getting fired by a client who had waited patiently for two weeks for me to finish a sales letter. Bonus: she loved it.
  4. Going to LA with the Mister to pick up another Craigslist find. No kids + shopping = bliss.
  5. Hearing the Mister admonish Mikey for tossing his sweater on the ground. "Mikey, pick your sweater off the ground. We don't toss our clothing on the floor whenever we feel like it. We drape it over all the furniture. There's a difference."
  6. And, finally, you know your three year old watches too much Food Network when he bites into a Ritz cracker with chicken salad on top and gushes, "Oh, mama! These crackers are so light and crunchy!"
What was your favorite moment this week?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Dear Misplaced Country Girl,

We did it! 30 days of green smoothies. Not so hard, was it? Did you wear one of your darling aprons while you blended up a green storm? Other than this past week where I was too sick to make them, I had one every day. It was so easy, mid-way through I got a wee bit bored with my own challenge. I'm thinking I have to step it up.

What do we (you, me, and anyone who is interested) do next to improve our health?

Exercise for sure. It's my downfall. I'm still figuring out how to incorporate it without setting myself up for failure. And sweating. Or breathing too hard. I'd also like to avoid moving as much as possible.

On the diet front, I'm seriously considering joining another blogger who is avoiding sugar, wheat, caffeine, and dairy. Since this comprises my four major food groups, I'd say this is stepping it up.

Then just now, while I was reading the articles on Perez Hilton, I read that Oprah is doing the same thing, plus eating entirely vegan, for 21 days. She's calling it a 21-Day Cleanse. Is this a sign? Should I [we] be doing this? Wait a minute. Aren't you on Oprah's shit list? Maybe we should see what Rachel Ray's doing. On second thought, I think I'm on Rachel's shit list.

I don't think I can go vegan (are there any vegan readers out there?) but I might team up with my new blogger friend and try the no wheat, sugar, caffeine, dairy thing. I think I can do it if alcohol is allowed. After enough tequilla, anything can taste like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup + Chocolate Blizzard, right?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Back at Work. Sort of.

Today's my first full day back at work. Things were gong along swimmingly until about 9:30am. I was watching Nico watching me as he held on to the back of his chair. I knew he was waiting for me to look away so he could practice a few steps. I obliged, and looked down at the marketing book in my lap (I was doing a quick market analysis of a company before I started drafting their sales letters). I looked up in time to see him land bum-first on the ground. He must have hit his face on the chair as he fell, because when he turned to look at me his chin, chest, hands, and arms were covered in blood. For one split second I watched, shocked, as his little heart pulsed a few beats of blood from his mouth like the last tablespoon or so of ketchup in a squeeze bottle. Squirt. Squirt.

I picked him up and ran to the kitchen. Squirt. Squirt.

He looked at me with those big Hershey's Kisses eyes and smiled a bloody, toothy grin--like one of those deranged hockey players thrilled to have picked up another red badge of athletic prowess. Squirt. Squirt.

Eight saturated paper towels later, I decided to take a peek inside his mouth. I thought his upper lip was caught on his teeth, so I called the doctor and they had me come right in. Unfortunately, my fiddling with his mouth opened everything up and he started bleeding again. Thankfully it slowed down quickly, and by the time Nico and I got there the bleeding was nothing more than a fuschia tinged saliva--slow enough that the doctor could pull away his lip and look inside.

(Paper Towel No. 9)

Diagnosis: torn frenulum. That little membrane that attaches your upper lip to your gums? Nico doesn't have one anymore. He's now a hanging loose, free frenulum-ing kind of guy. According to the doctor, this isn't a big deal. The membrane doesn't serve much of a purpose. Translation: It's a bummer it had to happen but it's nothing for you to run home and Google.

The best part of all of this? Nico's attitude. Other than the initial crying over the pain (which wasn't much and lasted all of ten seconds) the only thing that really got him upset was when I told him he couldn't eat the paper towels. His response when I pried them away from him was priceless. For the amount of tears he shed you would have thought he, oh, I don't know, ripped his frenulum. It turns out the missed opportunity to ingest Bounty is a far greater tragedy.

(Reason No. 342 why life isn't fair: They don't let me eat paper towels.)

Nice touch with the crocodile tears, Nico. You almost convinced me to let you have the paper towels again. Damn you and your hold on my heart. Squirt. Squirt.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Favorite Moment

Hi. Nico here. Don't tell my mom, but my brother and I read her blog. We still can't believe she didn't know it was called a sofa.

Anyway, I caught her diatribe against Baby Center and felt bad for the ol' bird. I didn't mean to worry her. What can I say? I like it when my peeps carry me like a prince. So, the next day I decided, 'what the hell' and walk about 5 steps for her. She's tried a couple of times to catch it on film, but so far I've stayed committed to the Loch Ness Monster School of Photographic Evidence: slim to none.

Here's one of me when I thought she wasn't looking. She's quick with the camera, but luckily I can drop faster than she can click. I think I'll call this one, Close but no Cigar: You'll Have to Point and Shoot Faster Than That!

This one is my favorite. I made sure to fall like a flour sack the second I saw Fuji. Look--you can't even tell that I know how to stand! Brilliant. I'll call this one: I was Born Last Year, Not Yesterday.

Stay tuned next week: my mom might actually write something entertaining. I was thinking if her blog got any more boring this week it was going to have to come with a pillow.


Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Stupid BabyCenter

I am sick as a dog with what feels like traffic pylons up my nose. I have slept no more than 6 hours since Sunday because Nicholas has miniature traffic pylons up his nose and, frankly, they just don't make for a good night's sleep. I can only assume the plastic from the pylons leaching into my brain is what prompted me to make the asinine decision to check my email. I scrolled through the contents from the carrier pigeon of masochism:

  1. Junk Mail [delete]
  2. Junk Mail [delete]
  3. Forward [delete]
  4. Business [put off until tomorrow]
  5. Baby Center 15 Month Update: Your 15-Month Old: Week 1 [RED ALERT! RED ALERT! Delete without reading! Nothing good will come from this! DELETE! DELETE!]
Naturally, I read it.

  • 90% of toddler are walking by now.
Not mine!
  • Talking.
  • Silly dance routines for attention.
What the???
  • Puts finger to mouth and says "shhh."
Who exactly would he be shushing?

Now, I'm not worried. That much. At this age Mikey wasn't doing any of the these things either, and now his teachers and pediatrician all agree he is a gifted little boy. [Take that Baby Center!] Besides, Nicholas is doing things that are advanced for his age. He "reads" books for months now, talks on the phone, tries to put on his own clothes and socks and shoes, and throws tantrums. He shouldn't be throwing tantrums for at least another 3 months, but my boy's advanced!

I'm going to put a positive spin on this. I've decided that Nicholas is not a slow learner. If you look at the evidence, you'll have to agree he is brilliant.
  • No walking.
Walking v. Having someone sherpa you around town. The choice seems obvious to me. Then again, I'm a dozen macaroons away from looking like Mazy.
  • No talking.
Who needs words? Everything you need to convey can be done with a well timed grin and doe-eye flutter of lashes. Or screaming. Kicking works.
  • Silly dance routines for attention.
This is for amateurish toddlers who don't know how to command attention by grinning, eyelash fluttering, screaming, and/or kicking.
  • Puts finger to mouth and says "shhh."
Why would a screamer let on to knowing this skill? Clearly counterintuitive. Rather than put a finger to his mouth, it makes much more sense to jab those fingers up the nostrils of an admonishing parent. Every good escape plan has a diversion.

So, BabyCenter, you're going to have to reevaluate your parameters. Maybe include kids who think on their feet as well as walk on them. You can keep talking about the babies who like to dance, but don't forget the ones who like to orchestrate. And maybe, everyone now and then, celebrate the babies who don't do well at crafts, but are just plain crafty.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Oh, Becky Oh!

What is it about the warm weather that makes me want to shop? This new Bolsa bag by Becky Oh! isn't helping matters. I want it.

It makes me think of summer, a three month period of the year that, while intensely hot, is usually cold and flu free. And since I spent the entire weekend sick and in bed while the Mister took care of two boys who were also sick and in bed, I can't imagine anything more wonderful than going three months with nary a tissue in sight. I would love to say I feel better, but not yet. Thanks, the Mister, for taking one for the team the last couple of days. (xoxo)

Buy your own bag HERE, which is where I will be when my money isn't tied up in Kleenex or Nyquil.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Favorite Moment

Mikey: "Mama, I don't feel well but I don't want to take a nap. I want to sit on the sofa and relax."

Jules: "Well, alright. You can sit in the Lay-Z-Boy. How's that?"

Mikey: "OK. But I want to watch Mazy Cook."

Jules: "You want to watch Mazy Cook?" I scanned through the roledex of cartoons in my head and drew a blank. "What does Mazy look like?"

Mikey: "She's just a mommy. She has brown hair like this," Mikey looked at me with both hands pressed on either side of his face. "and she has brown eyes."

I immediately thought of someone who matched the description, but I thought maybe it was a mistake.

Mikey: "And Mazy makes cookies and cakes and chicken and juice and steak and cookies and smoothies and soup and cookies and she's just a mommy!"

Jules: "Mikey, is this Mazy?" I pressed the TiVO button and looked back at him with a mixture of amusement and confusion when a huge smile broke across his tired face.

Mikey: "Yes, mama! You found her! Good job! That's Mazy. I like her."

My three year old has a crush on Ina Garten. Clearly he has Oedipal issues, because I'm pretty sure that's what I'm going to look like in 30 years. And I know why he calls her Mazy. If you've ever watched The Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network, you know Ina loves to state how many of her ingredients "Amaaaazing" in her east coast accent.

And so that is how it came to be that on a Wednesday and Thursday afternoon in May Mikey and I watched back to back multiple episodes of The Barefoot Contessa, many of them two and three times. During commercial breaks he would run to his toy kitchen and reenact some of the finer parts of the episodes, talking to the wall in his toy room like it was a studio audience.

Why is this my favorite moment? Well, because it's hilarious. Mikey is almost four and I think it's amaaaazing how obsessed with cooking he has become. Since Santa brought him his toy kitchen in 2006, he has played with it every day. And Santa brought him that kitchen because Mama was tired of looking for her pots and pans after they had gone missing. His teachers at school say all he does is make elaborate dinners and desserts in the kitchen and serves them to the class and faculty.

I love that we are really getting a glimpse at his personality. He is developing likes, dislikes, innate skills and talent and all around becoming a little guy. I love that he is passionate about something. His joy for cooking may not last forever, but I love that right now it is gender neutral and isn't some prototypical "boy" thing, like playing army. I love that he is well rounded and gentle and funny and not some violent little monster. I love that all the cakes he bakes in his toy kitchen "don't have eggs in them, mama." I love that he has a group of boys at school that are now his soux chefs. I love that when he is done cooking he'll go outside and play golf or soccer or baseball. And I really, really, really love that he asked for Mazy and not Rachel Ray.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Dear Pottery Barn,

Please stop.

Lately you've been hurting my eyes, and I think it's time for an intervention. You've always been the bastion of safe shopping. It used to be an indecisive young lady, such as myself, could wander into your store and buy anything-- confident that while it may not be exciting, revolutionary, or the hallmark of modern design, it would at least last several seasons without offending anyone's design sensibilities. You took us suburban moms into your brushed-canvas rolled arms and said, "It's OK, I'm a slip cover. You can wash me after I'm peed and puked on." And so we bought you. And we were happy.

I admit to turning a blind eye when I saw this oceanic lovely lampooned on Decorno. Just a little design hiccup, I thought, clearly the product of a long, gray winter.

And then today, while innocently scanning your site for rugs and decorative pillows I find THIS.

Pottery Barn, how could you? More importantly, what the??? A herd of elephants? On a pillow? Mind you, elephants are my favorite animal ever and I still find this egregious conduct on your part. Will you soon be accepting pictures of our pets so you can machine-weave them into throws for our sofas? Please advise. If so, I can have one made up of the kids for my 87 year old grandmother.

Let's take it one step further and go over the copy, shall we?

Incorporating photography into furnishings brings a fresh look to a room. (False.) Printed with a highly realistic ink-jet technique ("Things Remembered."), our photoreal pillow captures the image of an elephant herd in espresso tones (The color of dung.). Printed on smooth cotton canvas and backed with espresso textural linen. (This pillow is rougher than an elephant's ass.)

Demonic Pottery Barn, I rebuke you! Go back to the fiery bowels of bad design from which you crawled and let the original, safe, Pottery Barn do it's job. From this point forward I expect to see canvas slipcovers, the color red, hurricane candle shades, and a smattering of starfish in the summer and reindeer in the winter. No exceptions.

I trust we won't need to have this discussion again.


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Sniffles, Sofas, and Sass.

Mikey is sick again. It's just a cold, but since he hasn't been sick in over two months I'm fumbling my way through the virus like an unsteady, newborn colt. How much Pediacare? Where is the thermometer? Starve a cold or feed a cold? I'm rushing to and fro with tissues, decongestants, and sympathy hoping one of the three will do the job.

We got our new furniture today. It looks nice, and when my batteries are charged (literally and figuratively) I'll take pictures. The delivery people, as usual, were insane. The head-guy looked like a 5' tall, overweight Tiger Woods and decided to carry in the sofa, by himself, by balancing it on his head. An entire sofa. On his head. To be fugly and stupid must be an incredible cross to bear. Good luck and God speed, 5' tall-chubby-Tiger. Good luck.

Mikey was especially taken with our new seating arrangement. He was quick to state that it was "Beautiful!" "So comfortable, mama!" and "A great idea!" All of which made me chuckle and think he was just so cute and adorable until I asked him if he would like to relax with me on the new couch, and he turned to me without missing a beat and said, "Mama, it's called a SOFA."

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Where the Magic Happens

Or rather, where we scramble around at the last minute hoping to come up with something adequate.

We moved into this house three years ago this month. Since then, the Mister and I, two confirmed work-a-holics, have been without an office. Correction: we have a studio in the backyard with a floor and four walls. Here is what it looked like when we first moved in. As you can see from the above picture, I have had a torrid love affair with books my whole life. All those white boxes? Books. Some of them.


About 6 months ago, the Mister put down laminate floor. We had someone else paint the room and do the electrical. We bought the desks right after the floor, paint and electrical thinking we would have the office by the following month. Not so much. We still haven't bought the bookshelves, and you already know I need the shelves.

In Progress

It's a pile of receipts, supplies, and two empty desks. We have been so busy the last few years that we haven't been able to devote a large chuck of time or money in order to finish the project. The good thing about dealing with the various succubuses I met on Craigslist is that we now have the money to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Who am I kidding? We don't even have lights. Now we can afford to buy them. The time issue we're just going to have to force, because the Mister and I can't stand to walk through this mess one more day on our way to the office.

Covered Patio

Now, don't judge us. It was, at one point, neatly organized. Unfortunately, two things happened during the last six months. We had bizarre wind storms during the month of January. Not much rain, but enough wind to make you search the sky for a witch and flying monkeys. The second thing to happen was, oh, I don't know, the BEAGLE SIZED HAWK that flew into the patio. Anyone remember my brush with the wild animal kingdom? Yeah. Well, Tweety bird decided to crash into every other box while he was visiting. After he left I just kind of pushed everything back up so it was barely falling and instead of almost falling.


So now we are off to IKEA to buy some long needed shelving. Wish us luck and please do share you any great organization tips. In the spirit of spring cleaning, I'm going to get rid of over half my books. Maybe. Just not on Craigslist. God, not on Craigslist.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Favorite Moment

Despite having a week that had me wrapped around the axle, I am pleased to report that I have several favorite moments to share.

1. I narrowly avoided riffling through baby poop like some beleaguered anthropologist searching for evidence of meals long past.

Yes, I found the "S" key!

My joy was quickly dampened by the discovery that I was also missing the #1 key. This then lead to the realization that if I couldn't find it under the sofa I would soon be digging around in #2 in order to find the Mister's #1.

I was all over that sectional like Lou Ferrigno and didn't stop until I found the #1 key. I like to keep my days figuratively crappy, thank you very much.

2. I am {this close} to having the Mister completely snowed into thinking I'm a wife worth keeping.

Did you see the Mister made a comment on my last post? So exciting! Isn't he cute? You know, when he's not leaving me with two maniac boys for almost 50% of the month. Speaking of leaving me alone for countless hours in the month of April, that leads me to my next favorite moment.

3. The Mister is Home!

Not only is he home, other than two days of golf with his dad (he's visiting from Florida) I don't think he has to go anywhere until June. Maybe--as in maybe not even that!

4. A Baby, But not Mine.

My dear friend, K, suffered an unspeakable horror in January 2007: the loss of her infant daughter, J. Today I am thrilled to announce that little J will be looking over her baby brother, Joshua, who was born today at 35 weeks. He is doing fantastic, and we all couldn't be more excited to meet J's little brother.

So, basically I was in the crapper, out of the crapper, feeling abandoned, showered with love, and witness to a miracle. Not bad for a work at home mom from the 'burbs.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Everything is Under Control

Dear The Mister,

You are probably reading this in a nondescript hotel room in Atlanta, Georgia. How's that going? Are you having fun on your second long business trip in one month? If I was a counting girl I would probably bring up that between your business trips, client dinners, business parties, and late nights at work you have been gone more than you were here in the month of April. Lucky for you, I am totally not a counting girl. Not. At. All.

Things around here are great! Super!! I do believe the second your plane left the ground 83,000 people from Craigslist emailed me that they need to see our various items for sale RIGHT NOW. Naturally, they were all males with emails like, "Larry_the_Love_Man[at]" or "Beer-n-Bitches[at]" They seemed really interested and should be here around 6:00pm. Wish me luck!

Mikey decided last night that his stomach hurt so bad that he needed to go to the hospital. I offered him chocolate instead. He was happy with the outcome, and so was I. I could be wrong, but I don't think his stomach was really hurting him.

This Could be a Problem

Oops! I almost forgot. We had a little incident with your computer. It was totally Nicholas' fault, but I have to give the little guy credit for figuring out how to open your computer, rip out half the keys, and then close it again all before I reentered the room. I thought it was really cute the way he was tossing these things in the air like confetti until I was, like, "Hey, we don't have confetti. What are those things?" So I took a closer look and then was, like, "Oh, SHIT!" and I dropped to the floor and was rolling around with Nicholas trying to pry from his pudgy death grip the letter Q and the Shift key when Mikey came around the corner, took one look at me giving Nicholas a half-nelson and was all "Wrestling! So fun!! Me, too, Mama!"

As much as I would have loved to wrestle with Mikey, it just wasn't the time. You understand, right? I felt a little guilty because instead of wrestling I looked up at Mikey, wild-eyed, and screeched, "Mikey! You have GOT to help me get these little pieces away from Nico or daddy is going to be really mad at mama because NICHOLAS broke his computer." And then Mikey looked at me full of pity and calmly walked up to me and put his hand on my shoulder and said, "Mama. Relax. It's ok. We'll just call Handy Manny. He can fix anything."

Of course! Why didn't I think of that?! That's exactly what we needed: an animated Wilmer Valderrama and talking tools. So I bit the bullet and made the long distance phone call to Sheet Rock Hills. Manny said he would be here sometime between Larry and Ruben (that's Beer and Bitches), but I might have to call him off because I have most of the keys already put back. So you see, I have everything under control and there is nothing for you to worry about. I mean, well, I guess if you had to worry about something--you know, if you were so inclined--it's that I can't find the letter S. But, again, totally not something for you to worry about. I'm pretty sure it's either under the sofa or just rounding the curve in Nicholas' duodenum. If it's under the sofa it will be back in place by tonight. If it's in the smaller intestines, well, it will most like be in place within 24 to 48 hours. Either way, plenty of time before you get home! Honestly, I don't even know why I'm telling you all this. I bet you would have never known anything was amiss.

OK, that's it. Not much else to report. Pretty boring, really. I'll talk to you later. Have a safe flight, and I'll see you when you get home. You know, right before you leave again to go play golf with your dad. Just saying.

The Mrs.