Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Resolutions and rules

The female units in my house are making a stand in 2009. The boys? Meh, it seems as though they will just keep on keeping on without much added structure in 2009. That is fine if it works for them but I on the other hand, well- I'm a planner. I thrive in structure and as such, have found myself in a quandary the last couple weeks. I've taken two weeks of vacation from work. It's too much. I don't know what to do with myself without my daily structure so most times, I find myself doing absolutely nothing. I actually found myself wondering yesterday, What day of the week is it today? . Add to that a voicemail from my dad wishing me a Happy New Year and I was all, whaaa??? Am I missing New Year's?!? Actually, I realize it wasn't New Year's but it made me wonder if my dad did but that's a whole other post for another day. Without my usual structure, I've taken on a "devil may care" attitude about a lot of things, mainly food and exercise. And as such, I've found myself consuming MASSIVE quantities of food with ZERO exercise to counter balance it. Add to that a dash of reality provided by my holiday Wii Fit purchase when I had to weigh myself and OH.MY.GOD. There you have it a New Year's resolution is born.

Here is a snapshot of my two world's colliding:

Notice the open box of Fannie May Mint Melt Aways (the best chocolate ever invented in deceiving bite size pieces) sitting right next to my exercise Wii video (still in its untouched original packaging) and there you have it- My life from the past two weeks in a nutshell.

So, needless to say, my New Year's resolutions include less food/better food and more exercise. In addition to that, I have my old trusty stand by resolutions. The things I put on my list year after year but never seems to pan out.
-Stop biting nails (it's a filthy disgusting habit)
-Call and see my friends more often (I've been known to go M.I.A. quite a bit)
-Tell my family I love them more often.

Megan doesn't exactly have resolutions, I would say it's more a list of rules that she created for her room.

In case you can't read the picture, here is the recap:
1) I make all the rules so everything I say goes!
2) Don't throw stuff.
3) No boys (dads welcome)
4) Never look through my closet.
5) No looking through the drawers.
6) Don't get crazy.
7) You can't come in if you have play guns or swords & stuff.
8) No yelling (unless I say it's okay).
9) No drinks like grape juice, pop and stuff.
Any questions? Look at #1.
With love,

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sharing food...and shovels

Megan and Jack are usually pretty good about sharing- well, except when it comes to food. We have to coax them to be willing to share their food, Megan even more so than Jack; Jack is typically pretty easy going in that respect. I'm not sure where Megan obtained her minor hoarding mentality when it comes to food. It's not like she's ever been in a situation where she didn't have *enough* food but she still likes to ask, "How many of these can I have?" or "Is there more?" essentially at every meal.

For example, last night we went out to a neighborhood restaurant for dinner. Megan ordered buttered pasta and Jack had corn dogs. (I know, I know...sounds like a dietitian's delight but whatever). When the food came, Jack wanted some of Megan's pasta and offered a corn dog in exchange. The first go around resulted in a meager trade of one mini corn dog for approximately 8 bow tie pasta. Then a round of whining ensued. "What?? This is all the pasta I got???" and "But he only gave me ONE of the corn dogs!"


(Insert parenting speech on how we share everything in our family, it's nice to share, have you ever left a meal hungry and we can always order more if you really are that hungry blah blah blah)

At this point, Jack extended his olive branch of another corn dog in exchange for some more of the butteriest pasta I've ever seen. After another successful exchange of food across the table, Jay and I commented on how great Jack shared. Megan commented, "I'm pretty good at sharing almost everything but food." Jay asked, "Oh really? Like what else?"

Megan's response, "Um, like I'm good at sharing shovels."


Saturday, December 27, 2008

The post Christmas mini meltdown and the surprising amount of swearing in A Christmas Story

Usually, I tend to romanticize Christmas. I liken it to childbirth in some ways; the more time that passes, I seem to forget the excruciating pain of the previous year's decorating, cooking, cleaning, shopping, wrapping, or the relative that drinks too much, etc. So by October or November, I've completely forgotten and am looking forward to the upcoming Christmas season with eager anticipation. I have to say, I think this year lived up to my romantic expectations. My sister-in-law captured it perfectly in her blog entry here.

Typically, all my Christmas decorations are taken down and boxed away by midnight on 12/26 but they are still up. I think this is due to a complicated combination of me not wanting this holiday season to end, and the fact that I ingested so many types of food in such vast quantities that it left me completely comatose yesterday by 7 PM. It was quite a gluttonous sight- so much so that I'm contemplating, just for fun, to see how much food I can actually consume between now and New Year's Eve.

Anyway, still riding our Christmas high, Megan and I decided to watch A Christmas Story last night (okay, who am I kidding, it was late yesterday afternoon since I was comatose and in bed by 8PM). It seemed like every two minutes Megan felt the need to comment, "That kid just said a bad word." or "Did that Dad just say a bad word?" or "That's a bad word, isn't it?" And you know what? She was right. I guess I never noticed but the dad in that movie has a filthy, filthy mouth. Not that I have any room to talk. I've been known to throw down my fair share of potty mouth, but I just have a pretty good filter so I usually don't slip up in front of the kids. Then during the scene where Ralphie mistakenly says the "F" word, or "The F, dash, dash, dash word" Megan asked me, "What is the F word anyway?"

"Oh,that's not a word you need to know so I'm not going to say it." I said.

She thought for a moment. "Does it have a U in it?"


"Does it have a C in it?"


"Does it have a K in it?"


"I know what that word is."

"How do you know what that word is?"

"I saw it spray painted on the tennis courts last summer. It was right next to a mushroom."


And I left it at that. It was time to shut off the movie and go to bed. After tucking the kids in, I flopped into bed. A moment later, I heard Jack walking down the hall. A band aid on his thumb fell off and needed a replacement so I helped him out. As he got back into bed, he bumped his head on his top bunk and a mini- post-Christmas-meltdown ensued. I went to grab an ice pack and upon my return Jack informed me of the following:

"Three bad things happened to me today. First, I forgot my blanket and had to go all the way downstairs to get it. The second thing is that my band aid fell off. And the third thing is that I bumped my head and needed an ice pack."

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Tis the season for empathy, turkey and time machines to Heaven

It's freezing here and as such, we all huddled in the house today. We did venture out this morning for church and noticed the temperature was -3 degrees (not counting the chilling wind that whipped through the air). Jack had a hard time with the walk from the car to church. He started to cry and exclaimed that he was "frost bit".

After church, we scampered from the car into our nice, warm home. "When it's this cold outside, doesn't it make you feel lucky that you have a nice warm home to live in?" I asked my kids. They both agreed and I commented, "Mr. Scott is probably really cold today. I feel bad for him." (Mr. Scott is the one prominent homeless man that lives in our town.) As I hung my coat up, I heard a whimper and turned around to find Jack, in his little Santa hat, crying.

"What's the matter, Jack?" I asked as I squatted down to his level.

"Mr. Scott is probably so cold. He might freeze to deaf."

"Aww buddy, are you sad for Mr. Scott?"

"Uh huh." he nodded and his chin quivered some more.

Although my heart was breaking, I felt proud that even at his young age, Jack could empathize.

Later in the day, Jack started snooping around the kitchen for something to snack on. I overheard him having a conversation with some turkey.

"Turkey...oh turkey!" he sang. "You can't hide from the Jackster. I can smell you turkey!"

I don't even know what to say about that.

All the lounging around made for some interesting conversations as Jack pondered the following:

1) Family relations and who is related to each other.
2) What happens when you get to Heaven and if you start out all over as a baby once you are there.
3) If there was a way to build a machine that could get you to Heaven for a visit.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Scared to deaf

Usually going to bed every night is a family event. Sometime between 7:30 and 8:00, Jay and I corral the kids upstairs, nudge them along to hurry up in brushing their teeth, and put them to bed with hugs and kisses. Last night things happened a bit differently.

Megan and Jay thought it would be funny to run up the stairs first and hide from me and Jack. As Jack and I walked up the stairs, I heard them whispering. I said to Jack, "I think Daddy and Megan are hiding from us and are going to jump out and scare us." Jack decided he was going to be pretty brave and started taunting our hidden family members. He ran from room to room yelling, "Show yourselves!!!" But his first few demands went unanswered.

We moved on to my room and saw nothing. Next Jack ran into our dark bathroom and was about to yell, "Show yourselves!" one last time but he didn't realize that Megan and Jay were hiding just inside the doorway of the bathroom. When Megan and Jay both yelled at the top of their lungs, "RRRROOOOAAAARRRR!!!!" even I was startled. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a huge lump flying backwards. I looked to my left just as Jay turned on the bathroom light. They had scared Jack so badly, he literally flew backwards off his feet and landed on his butt. The look on his face was of pure terror... then fury. "YOU SCARED ME TO DEAF!!!YOU SCARED ME TO DEAF!!!" he shouted at Megan and Jay. Then the fury turned to tears as he jumped into my arms. His heart was pounding out of his chest and he buried his face into my chest as he cried, "You scared me to deaf."

I felt so bad for him but I couldn't get the vision of him flying backwards out of my head and couldn't stop giggling. I figured it was okay though, he couldn't hear me laughing since we "scared him to deaf."

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Mealtime manners

I love being a fly on the wall to my kid's conversations. I like to hear their perspective on things. In this case, a life lesson if-you-will about etiquette while dining.

Jack: "M" at school is mean.
Megan: Why?
Jack: He eats stuff off people's plates during lunch.
Megan: Huh???
Jack: He does. Really- he eats food off my plate and other people's plates. It's not nice.
Megan: Why would your friend do that?
Jack: FRIEND?!?!? Why would you even ask that?!? He is not my friend. I would NEVER be friends with someone like that!

Note to self: Don't eat food off Jack's plate.

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Fuzziness

I don't remember much about Christmas 2000. I should. It should have been a joyous Christmas; one full of hope as we awaited the birth of our daughter. But joyous isn't a descriptor I would use for that holiday in that particular year. Fuzzy is the word that comes to mind. Then, and for many years after that, I took comfort in the fuzziness. The fuzziness helped me get through the days, the weeks, the years. But as the years progress, I struggle to push the fuzziness away, to seek clarity. To remember.

One of my few memories from that Christmas is sitting around my dining room table. In hindsight, when I think about that dinner, it reminds me of the scene from A Christmas Carol when Scrooge sees the foreshadowing of the death of Tiny Tim with the empty seat at the table; the crutches in the corner. There was an empty seat at our table that day. A seat where my mother should have been sitting. She died only two months earlier. We sat at that dinner table, me with my husband, my brother and his wife, and my dad and the empty chair next to him where his wife should have been sitting. On some level, I knew I would be there, in that moment- motherless. Over a year earlier when she was diagnosed with cancer, I immersed myself for days in research on the Internet. My future was right there for me to see in black and white...

...More people die from lung cancer than any other type of cancer. It has surpassed breast cancer as the leading category of cancer death in women...

...Overall, fewer than 10% of people with lung cancer are alive 5 years after diagnosis...

...lung cancer diagnosis at Stage 4 life expectancy is about 8 months or less than 1 year... I think we all knew it although we never uttered it to each other. And we certainly didn't utter it to her, nor her to us. But that Christmas we all sat there, stunted emotionally in our grief, trying as best as we could to enjoy the holiday. Mostly, I remember the awkwardness. My dad had suggested that we try to put our grief on a shelf for the day, so we could enjoy the holiday. So that is what we attempted to do. But I couldn't help but put myself in my dad's shoes. I kept finding myself eyeing him thinking, What if it was me, sitting there, husband-less?

The only Christmas gift given or received that year that I remember was the ornament. In an attempt to provide us with a memento, my dad gave us Christmas ornaments with her picture in them. I'm sure on some level for him those ornaments were cathartic. I could picture him remembering her, browsing the aisles for the "right" ornament, sifting through all the photos of her picking the "right" one. I remember looking at it and thinking to myself, No. I can't do this now. I can't feel this now. We are supposed to be putting our emotions on the shelf for today. So after barely glancing at the ornament, I shoved it back in its box and I emotionally shut myself down and refused to internalize the meaning of the ornament. Every year since, I open that ornament and hang it on my tree and I'm back there, in that moment- that awkward moment.

When my mother was alive, she was the glue that held our family together. She was the person who, on occasion, diffused conflict among the volatile personalities within our family. She was the communication link for our family. Everything flowed through her and with her. That day we tried unsuccessfully to make the conversation easy but in my mind, it was like trying to shake a person's hand after someone had just ripped your arm off. There was nothing there to make that connection with each other. It was false and it was hard and it was raw and that day we all pretended everything was fine and it just...wasn't.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Obama Rolls

To say that Megan likes Barack Obama might be a bit of an understatement. After the election, Megan consumed massive amounts of media related to Mr. Obama- 20/20 interviews on television, magazine articles in US Weekly, etc. She even made a collage that she keeps in her room.

The first time she showed me her collage, I had two thoughts:
1) Oh, how cute is that? She's showing an interest in current events.
2) I wonder if she will make posters like this of her love interests someday? Gosh I hope not because it would be kind of "stalker-ish".

Today, Megan saw a guy walking down the street with an Obama shirt on. I must say it was unlike any other Obama shirt that I've seen before. It only had Obama's face on it and the size of his face took up the entire front of the shirt. "OOOh!" Megan shouted. "Look at that guy's shirt. He has a Barack Obama shirt on. I totally want one of those shirts."

"Which shirt?" Jack asked. "A shirt with Obama on it?"

"Yes. I want an Obama shirt." Megan reiterated.

"You want an Obama shirt that says 'Obama rolls'?" Jack asked her.

"Huh? Obama rolls?"

Megan didn't quite understand what Jack was asking her so I jumped in to clarify. "Jack, I think you mean a shirt that says 'Obama rules', not 'Obama rolls'."

"Oh, yeah. 'Obama rules'. That is what I meant." Jack confirmed.

Megan looked wistfully out the window at the shirt she desired and said breathlessly, "Oh yes. Obama rules."

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

And he even had some interesting stuff to say in 2008

I don't quote Jay too much on this blog but as I looked over my Twitter entries for the year, I noticed that in addition to the funny things my kids said, Jay had his fair share of quotable moments, too.

One of Jay's most endearing qualities is his sense of humor. As of this year, I've officially known Jay for over half my life. He's always made me laugh- no matter what the circumstances he's always been able to make me laugh that deep, belly laugh that brings tears to your eyes. And I like him a lot, too which after all this time says something important, I think. Sometimes I think it's weird to say that you *like* your husband but I think it is important to feel that way. I don't really tell him as much as I should how I appreciate him. I mean, I'm sure he knows, but I'm not all verbose about it. (Note to self: Make that one of my New Year's resolutions.)

Anyway, here are a few of Jay's funnies.

Jay:"There's nothing like being in the car for Thanksgiving listening to some inappropriate, sexually explicit hip-hop."

Jay: What did you say? Me: I didn't say anything. Jay: Well next time you say nothing, say it a little louder.

I think Jay forgot I was here. He's watching House Hunters and when the guy chose house # two, Jay pumped his fist and said, "Yessss!"

Jay: A 5 dog eat off... this could be the greatest moment in all of sports. The bottom line is they both pushed each other to be the best hot dog eater they could be. It's literally bite for bite. (In reference to the annual Nathan's hot dog eating contest)

Jay: Our kids are chicken. Me: No they are just cautious. Jay: Chicken.

Jay: I met the new neighbor tonight. Me: Yeah? What's his name? Jay: Um, I'm gonna go with Dave...or Dan.

Jay claims Megan's lack of hand-eye coordination is due to my genes. I reminded him I was a gymnast. Jay: "Yeah but can you hit a ball?"

Jay just came home from Sam's Club with a Hawaiian shirt. According to him, he's "dipping his toe in the Tommy Bahama pool."

Jay: Some of the times I have been most scared have involved raccoons.

Jay to Jack: "If you lick me, I'm not taking you to the attic!"

Jay: I like to hang out in the morning and hear what's going on but I don't really like speaking... or being spoken to.

Jay: "I really need to get into the texting thing. I feel like everyone is riding in their cars and I'm still walking."

Told Jay about my bumpy flight. He said "I like flying with a bit of inclement weather. It makes me think the pilots are on their A game."

Jay referring to me typing away in Instant Messaging: "I think your fingers might start a fire over there."

Jay to Jack: "I can tell you are male because you noticed the garbage can was full." (In reference to me always letting garbage can overflow.)

Jay: "I mean, I like Tiger Woods as much as the next... well, maybe not as much as the next guy. But I like Tiger Woods a lot."

Jack: How long is church? Me: Not long. Megan: Long! Jay: Longer than you want buddy. Listen to me and Megan. We won't lie to you.

I asked Jay about an email chain going around. He said, "I gave it my best shot to figure out why I should care but now I just delete them."

Jay: "I spent the last 15 minutes describing the characters of the A-Team to my class." Me: "Huh? In what context?" He's a business teacher.

Jay to Megan:"What size shoe do you wear?" Megan:"13" Jay:"Wow you could paddle with those."

Jay: Is Desperate Housewives still on? What was the mystery? Me: Well, the one lady... Jay: Sorry- actually, I don't really even care.

Husband is doing "stretches" for his back and hamstring while watching the golf channel. Him: "It's so good of a stretch". Me: "I'm still here, ......

The world (in 2008) according to Megan

Megan also had her fair share of doozies in 2008. Here are some of my favorites.

Looking at yearbook with Megan. Me: "Look at that kids picture! Can you say Re-Do?" Megan: "Stop it Mom. I think he's in Special Ed." Oops

Me to Megan-"Miss America is on tonight." Megan: "What's that?" Me:"A beauty contest." Megan: "That's weird."

Jay and Megan are playing Yahtzee. She actually just yelled, "IN YOUR FACE!" Who is this child???

Megan to Jack after she wiped out and got a Hannah Montana band aid: "I'll bet you wish you were bleeding!"

Megan: Can I invite my friend over so we can cut some fruit in half? Me: Huh? Megan: Well, so we can observe it, you know- the seeds n stuff

Driving in the car and Jack was looking in Megan's direction babbling about Backyardigans. Megan said, "Jack! WHO are you talking TO??"

Eating frozen yogurt and I told Megan to hurry up. Hey response: Hey relax! I'm almost finished.

Megan's making toast- Me: It might burn if you walk away. Meg: (watching the toast) This is boring.

Megan: First we played Capture the Flag, then Refrigerator tag, then SPUD then we just started chasing people! I guess anything can be fun.

Megan: Mom, how do you spell evil? Me: E-V-I-L Megan: Thanks. Me: Whoa, wait... why do you need to know that? Megan: I'm making a movie.

Told Megan she was sooo high maintenance & I felt sorry for her husband. Megan: Well, I'm too young to get married and I don't have a husband.

Megan just walked by me dragging a huge chair. When I looked up from my computer, she said, "Don't even ask..."

Me: Megan, why don't you like kisses? Megan: Which kind? Giving or receiving? Me: Either. Megan: Because kisses are slimy.

Jay: Jack said he wanted Red Robin for dinner. Megan: No he said (air quotes) The Red Robins.

Megan: Mom, why do you need lipstick at a time like this???

Me: I'm trying to get feedback on that. Megan: What's feedback? Me: When people tell you what they think. Meg: I don't wanna know about it.

Megan after looking at my writing: First of all, never be a teacher because I can't read your writing and I can read most writing.

Meg: Love the fish, hug and kiss the fish.. Jay: Kissing fish isn't part of being a chef. Megan: Yes it is. You need to love your ingredients.

Megan: I know why that guy has a boat with only two seats. He probably like has a girlfriend or something.

Megan eating Quaker Caramel Rice Cakes: "I pretty much like any food with that Quaker guy on there."

Megan: Girls and Boys have different eyes. Me: How so? Because of the make up? Megan: Nope. Girls eyes are just

Meg: What's Blue Moon? Me: It's a brewery. Do you know what a brewery is? Meg: Yeah, it's a place that makes beer. I watch TV you know.

Megan: Mom if you were going to be in the Olympics, what would you do? Me: Gymnastics. Megan: NO! Something you can *actually* DO!

Meg: Mom, this kid at school said something weird. He said, "It's up your butt and around the corner." I think he was talking about my poop.

Megan: See this boy here (points at a kid in her yearbook)? He goes to one of those "smarticle" schools.

Megan: I feel the wind in my hair, the light on my face, and the carrot in my mouth.

After Megan let one rip this morning, she informed me, "I did NOT eat a taco!"

Me: You know what time it is? Megan: Time to wax my butt? Me: No, I meant bedtime.

Megan: Sometimes I feel bad that we aren't Japanese. Me: Why? Megan: Because they have respect and take their shoes off inside. Me: Huh?

Made the mistake of asking Megan what she wanted for lunch. She turned and yelled, "I'm NEVER EATING WHEAT BREAD AGAIN-EVER!" Alrighty then.

Megan to her friend, "Did you watch 60 minutes with Obama last night? I did and I read this article about him. I like Obama." Uh...she's 7

Megan: Mom, if you don't want to get me presents for Christmas, I also accept gift cards... And money

Me to kids: What are you thankful for? Jack: Um, I'm thankful for you, Daddy, Megan and all the things of the world. ...pause...Megan: Uh, Pumpkin Pie.

Meg: Can I have a cookie or two? Me: You can have a cookie. Meg: Did you say cookie or cookie plural as in two? Me:Did you just say plural?

Megan shut the car door on Jack's face this morning. Me: Megan!!! Megan: What? Don't yell at me! He put his face there! It's not my fault.

The world (in 2008) according to Jack

I have a confession to make. I'm a Twitterer. I find it to be a handy little tool for keeping up with co-workers, voyeuristically glimpsing into other people's lives and hunting down people (lilsass knows what I'm talking about!). But most of all, I use it as a way to capture interesting or funny things my family says. Sometimes those entries turn into a blog post but sometimes they just are what they are- a snippet in time of something I found funny.

So as we round out 2008, I wanted to capture my favorite "Tweets" (I know, I sound super geeky using word like "tweets".) from Jack. Here they are in no particular order.

Jack- " I like Backyardigans. They are animals that are standing up with clothes!"

Jack: I want to go to Toys R S. Jay: It's Toys R Us. Jack: Toys R S? Me: Toys R Us. Jack: Toys R Us? I like Toys R S better.

Jack: "is Twerp a bad word?" Me: "It's not a nice word, where did you hear it?" Jack: "From the talking bug in our yard."

Me: "Jack, you are one of the happiest kids I know." Jack: "That's because I like just about everything...except girl stuff."

Jack: "We aren't friends anymore. He got jealous about me. He says potty words & said my head was shaped like poop & called me poophead."

After I told Jack that I was in Texas he asked, "Isn't that where all the cowboys live?"

Jack as he rides by on his scooter: "Momma did you know survive means to last until you get killed?" Hmmm..

Jack told me yesterday he doesn't like raspberries because "they are too hairy".

Jack was counting this morning and paused to tell me, "Zero is the first number when you don't say anything."

Jack: "These are yummy! There is a party in my tummy."

Jack: "That thing was at the bottom. Daddy, I didn't mean the potty word bottom...I meant the good word bottom."

Jack: "Daddy you can never go where there is's DANGEROUS!" (he meant construction, not instruction)

Jack: Daddy, guess what- Bampa wastes money on tools. He wasted a lot of it. I'm serious. Jay: He doesn't waste it, he spends it.

Jack: If you have 2 eyes you can see a bunch of things at a time.

Jack: Sometimes I pee sitting down because my feet are tired.

Jack said he was cold when I put him to bed so I gave him another blanket. He asked if humans hibernate with blankets.

Jack: Do girls have moustaches? Me: Sometimes but they get rid of the hair if they do. Jack: How? Me: They pull the hairs out. Jack: WHAT?!?

Jack: Did you know earth worms have zero gravity?

Jack: if someone tries to steal your kid, you should just say "operation laugh time" and tickle them in the armpit. Me: yeah, that'll work!

Jack: If you are super scared, that is called frightened. Like if you are reading a book and someone pops up behind you, that's scary.

Jack: When are you going to be done on the computer? Megan: When I feel like I'm done. Jack: When are you going to be done? Meg: When I feel like I'm done. Jack: When are you going to be done? Megan: When I feel like I'm done. Jack: When are you going to be done? Megan: WHEN I FEEL LIKE I AM DONE!. Jack: Yelling in the house? That's only appropriate for outside!

Me: Jack what are you doing? Jack: Going upstairs to do nothing.

Jack: Can I touch your belly button? Me: No Jack: My belly button's not private. You can stick your finger in it. You want to? Me: No thanks

In the basement b/c of tornado warning. TV announcement on and Jack says, "Doesn't the TV know we are in our basement already???"

Jack: Momma, I hear lots of crickets tonight. You know, when crickets get together at night, they get in a group and they...crick.

Add this to the list of things I never thought I would hear from a 4 year old- "why can't I bring my numchucks to school???"

Jack was tired and acting a bit naughty. I asked him what was happening and he said, "When I am tired my brain doesn't work right."

Jack to his dad: Daddy, you are so lucky to have a boy that is such a great helper!

Jack: I don't think I should go to school today because I'm not even hungry.

Jack: We should have something warm for dinner so we can hiver-nate. (he meant hibernate)

Jack is 5 and just asked me, "Do you think Comcast is better in HD?" Who is this kid???

Jack on the way to his B day party- "this is the greatest day of my life... I have a lot of greatest days of my life."

Jack: Can Michael Phelps swim under water? Me: Yeah, he's like a fish. Jack: I'm more like an alligator

Reminder that life can be simple- Jack:When I get older you can buy me a thermos, right? Me: Yes. Jack:Yippee then you can make me noodles!

Jack: "when I grow up and become bigger, then I turn into an old man and get smaller." He's getting it figured out.

Jack: Mommy, you want to snuggle? Me: sure! Jack: Well get your entire body over here then!

Jack: Gonzo (from the Muppets) is a woodpecker but his pecker got bended.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

What does this smell like to you?

Tonight while I was washing the dinner dishes, Jack came wandering into the kitchen. "Hey Megan," he called. "Come here." Megan came around the corner and asked him what he wanted. I was only half paying attention over the sound of the running water and the clattering of the dishes. When he said, "just come here" and started following her around the kitchen, I started to wonder what he was going to do.

"Megan, come here. I'm serious. I want to show you something." he said and started to back her into a corner.

"What Jack? What??"

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw him get really close to her and then he shoved his finger under her nose as if he was going to stop her from sneezing.

"EEEEEEWWWWWWWW!!!!" Megan screeched.

It was then that I remembered where Jack was before he started stalking Megan. About 15 minutes earlier, he ran upstairs to go to the bathroom. I turned off the water and turned my attention to Jack.

"Jack, what are you doing?" I asked.

"Uh, nothing."

"Why are you making Megan smell your finger?"

"I dunno."

"Jack, did you wash your hands after you just went to the bathroom?"

"Uh, no."

"Did you go poop when you went to the bathroom???"

“Uh huh.”

“You have poop on your hand don’t you?”

“Uh huh.”

“EEEWWW!” Megan cried again. Then she ran to the bathroom to wash her face off.

“Jackson!!! That is DISGUSTING! You don’t EVER do that. That is so gross!” I yelled. “Now you go wash your hands and apologize to your sister.“

And as Jack sat on the steps for his time out, I turned my attention back to the dishes and once my back was turned… I laughed my ass off.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

It's kind of like multi-tasking but not exactly

One of Jack's friends at school celebrated his birthday and gave everyone in the class a goodie bag. The teachers seal all the goodie bags so the kids don't open the bag and start pulling everything out. This meant Jack's goodie bag was sealed tight when I picked him up from school. "Can you open it for me?" he asked. "Not yet, Jack. Let's wait until we get home." I told him. But the allure of the goodie bag was just too great. Jack could not...would not...did not want to wait until we got home to open the goodie bag.

Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't have a problem ripping into a goodie bag while I was driving. However, on this particular day, we were in the midst of our first big snow storm in the Chicagoland area and I needed to focus. It takes about 3-4 good snowstorms before I get myself back on autopilot while driving in the snow and I just wasn't there, yet. Jack was determined to change my mind.

Jack: Please Momma. Can't you open it now?
Me: Not now Jack.
Jack: Why not now?
Me: Because I'm trying to drive the car in the snow and I can't open the bag at the same time that I'm driving.
Megan (the voice of reason): You mean you are multi-tasking right Mom? You shouldn't be multi-tasking, right?
Me: Yes, that is right.
Jack: What is multi-tasking?
Me: Well, it's when you do more than one thing at the same time.
Jack: Oh.
Me: Like reading and watching TV at the same time is multi-tasking.
Jack: Oh.
Megan: Or like one example would be drinking and driving. That would be multi-tasking.
Me: Uh...well, maybe that's not the best example...

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Oops, I did it again

***Post title in honor of Britney Spears for a number of reasons: 1) Her birthday is today (I feel like such a loser that I know that fact) 2) Her big "comeback" CD is out today (Again,I feel like such a loser that I know that fact) and 3) Her MTV documentary from the other day made me feel so bad for her. She was like a lost little puppy; it made me want to put her in my pocket and take her home with me.


I definitely have moments where I lack the appropriate parenting judgement. Sometimes I can't control what spews from my mouth when I get angry. I'm not just talking about any type of angry. I'm talking about the protective lioness type anger when someone messes with my kids. And my wrath have no boundaries. I'll verbally lash out about anyone regardless of age. (Notice I wrote "lash out *about*" and not "lash out *at*" because really I'm a big confrontation chicken. In that respect, I'm not a model parent by any stretch.

A while back, Megan had a couple run-ins with a bully of sorts. It was fairly innocent in retrospect but at the time, I got angry and had diarrhea of the mouth and gave Megan some, uh...advice on what she should/could say.

Well, it's happened again. Last night Megan started to relay a story to me about a few girls in her class that have been giving her a little trouble. I'll refer to these girls going forward as the Mini-Heathers.

It took some coaxing but Megan finally let me know what happened. Essentially, she went to the bathroom and a couple of Mini-Heathers were in there. Heather #1 made a comment to Megan, Megan told her she was being rude and mean and went into the stall, Heather #2 mocked what Megan said and then Heather #1 kicked the door Megan's stall.

My reaction... Oh HELLS NO! I could feel my blood starting to boil as I grilled Megan for more details. "What exactly did she say to you? Why did she say that? What did you say? What happened next?" And then I felt it coming but I couldn't stop it...

"Well,"I said feigning calmness. I felt it bubbling up- something inappropriate. "Maybe next time they say or do something mean to you, you could oh, I don't know... maybe tell Heather #1 that she should comb her hair more often because it looks like a rats nest on the top of her head...Oh, and then maybe you could tell Heather #2 that she could stop crying every.single.time her mom drops her off at school any day now."

As soon as I said it, I knew I should take it back and one look at Megan's eyes bugging out of her head confirmed my suspicions that I went too far. "Mom! That's just mean!"

"I know! I know I was just joking right? Right??? You really shouldn't say that. It's not appropriate."

A sigh and an eye roll from Megan, coupled with a "Yes Mom... I know!" and my what-not-to-do-as-a-parent moment was complete.

...and scene.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Giving Thanks

Grocery shopping with Jack is always an experience. He was in a great mood today what with his post-Thanksgiving glow compounded with the excitement of putting up our Christmas decorations. As we wandered the aisles, Jack chatted away. We strolled into the cracker aisle where he asked for Sponge Bob Cheese Its. I, in my own post-Thanksgiving/pre-Christmas excitement, smiled and tossed them into the cart. Then I heard a faint, "mwah, mwah, mwah." I looked down to see Jack looking up at me smacking his lips in a fake kiss. I leaned down and gave him the kiss he was gesturing for and then a few steps later, I heard him say, "Now that is true love!"

My heart melted a little bit and I had a flashback to many years ago. I was in my early twenties, well before I was even thinking about having children of my own. It was February and I was in the card aisle picking out some Valentine's Day cards. Further down the aisle there was a little boy, he was four or maybe five. He was looking wide-eyed at something. I can't remember what it was anymore, maybe a box of chocolates or a stuffed animal. Anyway, I remember looking at him for a second because he was all alone and I thought, Hmmm. I wonder where his mom is? It was right about that moment where she came around the corner with the cart and when he saw her, he got so excited and grabbed the thing (whatever it was) and yelled, "OOOH Mommy! I am going to get this for you for Valentine's Day because I love you soooooooooo much!!!!" And Oh.My.God it was at that moment, that very moment, where I had a maternal urge so strong that I swear I think my uterus contracted and from that moment on, I WANTED SONS. So when Jack kissed me and casually commented that this is true love, I gave thanks. Thanks for my son. And thanks for my daughter and my husband who complete my family unit. Right there, in the cracker aisle of the grocery store. I gave thanks.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Jack's crush part 2

Boy, this boy is one smitten kitten.

Kasey is a commonly uttered name around our house lately. From what I can gather, this crush has been a long time in the works. To Jack's credit, he set a goal and worked to achieve that goal. The goal was Kasey. Ultimately, he got the girl (as much as a 5 year old can "get" a girl). I think it's great, unless it's not reciprocated; then we've got ourselves a mini-stalker and that's just not any good for anyone.

I was unaware of the depths of Jack's utter devotion to Kasey until a recent conversation. Jack was staring out the window of the car looking pensive as we drove home from pre-school one day. "What are you thinking about, buddy?" I asked.

Jack: Uh, Mommy?
Me: Hmmmm?
Jack: When you like someone and um, when they like you back so much that you want to marry them, that's a crush right?
Me: Yes, that's pretty much it.
Jack (thinking for a minute): What happens if you like someone and they don't like you back? Is that still called a crush?
Me (joking): No, that's called a bummer.
Jack: Huh?
Me: Actually you will probably have a lot of crushes as you get older. Sometimes people will like you back and have a crush on you too. But sometimes, you might like someone and they may not like you back. That's a bummer but that's life.
Jack: Oh. Um, well it used to be like that with me and Kasey. When we were littler, I still liked Kasey but she liked the other Jack in our class.
Me (heart melting at the phrase "when we were littler"): Oh really?
Jack: Yeah, I liked Kasey but she liked the other Jack in my class.
Me: What changed her mind?
Jack: I don't know. But I think she needs someone bigger to be the dad and I'm bigger than the other Jack. So now we like each udder (he meant other but pronounced it as udder).
Me: So that's good, huh?

With that, Jack smiled and nodded and continued to look out the window.

And all was right in his little world.

Monday, November 24, 2008

The shortest wrestling show in history

I'm not sure who had the *brilliant* idea to go ahead with a wrestling segment on Showtime with Megan but things went bad...very bad.

I gave them the cue to begin (you can hear me yell "wrestle!") and then right from the get-go, Megan was getting a good old fashioned ass whipping. 15 seconds into the wrestling match, I fired my warning shot (you can hear me all stern with them). I think Jack thought I said, "Hey that's not rough enough" instead of what I actually said, "Hey, that's too rough" because he dialed it up a notch.

22 seconds in- wrestling show canceled and peace was once more restored in our homestead.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Keeping track of little treasures

Both my kids love stuff. What stuff you ask? Pretty much anything that could create a collection or could be reused for an arts and crafts project. When Megan was little, she used to collect sticks and rocks and walk around with them in her hand while we were at the park. Megan was also big into recycling materials for arts and crafts projects. Upon seeing a piece of string, she used to exclaim, "OOOhh, I *need* that!" I would respond with, "No you don't. It's a piece of string."

"Yes I do!" she would lament.

"What are you going to do with a piece of string???"

"I need it for crafts."

"Whatever." And then I would cave and let her keep it because seriously, who wants to argue with an artist about what materials she needs to create her masterpiece?

Jack on the other hand doesn't usually collect stuff for projects. He collects stuff just to uh, well...collect stuff, I guess. He takes all the little treasures he finds and creates what he calls "set ups". He finds a few little treasures and then he carries them around everywhere for about a week or so until something else catches his eye. Here is his latest set:

When Jack describes this latest set, he refers to the three aliens as "the dudes", the car as "the vehicle" and the crucifix as "Jesus on a stick". We (and by we, I mean Jack) misplaced the set the other day and so it was M.I.A. until this morning. Jack has been hounding me to find it. Bright and early this morning, Jack came into my room to wake me up. His first words to me were, "Uh, Mommy? Did you find my Jesus on a stick?"

Now that he had "the vehicle, the dudes and Jesus on a stick" in hand, the creation of the set up began. As Jack described the set up, he pointed out the Jesus on a stick and explained that he was up in the corner because, "He's up here suffering. People didn't believe Jesus so they put him on the stick to see him suffer. See him suffering up there?"

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Showtime with Megan featuring the strong man who works out at the circus

In this episode of Showtime with Megan, Megan provides a mock interview with The Strong Man (aka Jack). A few of my favorite moments include:

1) Megan forgetting the name of her show.
2) The fact that Megan wants to "give him an interview."
3) Apparently most strong men work out at Circuses????!!??
4) I love Jack's character voice and Megan's fake laugh.
5) When Jack is showing his "moves", he warns viewers, "Do NOT do at home. It will break your wall off."
6) Jack closing out the show with his sound effects.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Showtime with Megan (and Jack)

Here's what happens when I just wind them up and let them go (so-to-speak). Megan's first episode of Showtime With Megan. It's a very short intro but you can hear Jack interrupting from the background. In true Megan fashion, she's trying to direct the shots as well as star in them wearing her Bampa's glasses. She does do a nice job of a segue into the commercial. Don't be fooled by Jack trying to disguise his voice. That really is him as a spokesperson for the Weight Store. Like he says, "It's totally awesome- get weights, get fit!"

At this point, Jack changes from the star of the commercial, to the guest star on Showtime With Megan. They have a nice discussion about his artwork with Jack's voice trying to remain in character.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

He's going to the chapel and he's gonna get married.

Jack has himself a little crush. I was asking him about it tonight and he explained it to me. And although his explanation was extremely simple, it was right on the mark.

When asked about his crush on Kasey, he said the reason he wanted to get married to her was because she is one of his "best,best friends in the whole world!"

He told me Kasey also wants to marry him, too. I asked what he said to her and if I do say so myself, he was super polite. When you see his response, I dare any woman out there to say no to him.! He also mentioned that one of the things he likes best about her is that he's five and she's younger. So, he's on the prowl for a trophy wife already.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The silver lining to a day filled with otherwise awkward moments.

My day started with a work out and a trip to Starbucks. I am in Austin, TX this week for work and this morning, I casually walked out of Starbucks with my grande skim white chocolate mocha-no whipped cream (which I realize is *totally* contradictory that I get skim milk and no whipped cream but have chocolate in my coffee). There was a homeless woman sitting outside the Starbucks and when I walked out with my coffee, she went all freaky-deaky on me. She started screaming about how Starbucks is a government conspiracy and proceeded to follow me down the street. I kept on walking and didn't look back. I just kept thinking, Do NOT make eye contact. She WILL kill you. I just figured in my "professional" opinion (I do have a major in Sociology with about 15 hours towards a Master's degree in Psychology) that she was Schizophrenic.

My work day was relatively uneventful except for a minor awkward moment prior to a presentation I was giving. I made the comment that, "I realize that my presentation is the only thing standing between you and lunch." A word of advice- probably not the best move to point that out when prior to that moment, no one actually realized that I was the only thing standing between them and lunch.
In my defense, I wasn't on my "A" game because at that moment, I still had my mind on the fact that I had just flushed a visitor badge down the toilet. Oh, sorry. Let me back up for a moment. Prior to my presentation, I planned to do two things:
1) Stop off in the ladies room.
2) Stop by the front desk to drop off the visitor badge I was carrying.
So I wouldn't forget the badge, I put it in my pocket and didn't think anything of it. So I stopped in the bathroom, did my "business", and as I turned around to flush the toilet, plunk! The visitor badge flew out of my pocket and fell into the toilet. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm a loyal employee and all but sorry- no way I was going to stick my hand in there and retrieve the badge. So I thought, Maybe if I flush the toilet, the badge won't flush but the er... *liquid" will. As I stood for a second staring over the bowl, I convinced myself that it was a brilliant plan and then I could just reach in, grab the badge, wash my hands 15 times, and turn in the badge just like I had originally planned. So, I pushed down the lever- FLUSH- bye bye badge. Hmmm, wasn't quite sure what to do at that point other than to fully confess so I wandered up to the front desk.

"Hey," I said to the lady at the desk and tried to lean casually on the counter.

"Can I help you?" she said pleasantly.

"Uh, yeah, well- here's the thing, I was coming to turn in a visitor badge for someone (gulp) only I don't actually have it anymore. This is going to sound strange but I uh, actually flushed the badge down the toilet by mistake so um, (gulp)I won't be turning in the badge."

She looked at me for a moment and smirked and said, "How long did it take you to get up the courage to come and admit that?"

"Yeah, I know," I conceded. "I'm leaving today to go back to Chicago so I figured I would tell you now and it would be a long time before I'd ever have to look you in the face again."

Luckily for me, she was lovely about it.

As a side note- I have been buoyed by the fact that BlogHer 09 is in CHICAGO this summer! And I've been imagining what it might be like to attend BlogHer since last summer. I think I might just have to get over my aversion to socially awkward situations, get on my invisible glasses and head on downtown to (gulp) network!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The filth threshold

I have what I call a "threshold for filth". I can handle a certain amount of clutter, dust, dirt etc. around my house but once it hits a certain threshold, I become a crazy woman. I start to clean the house without regard for what is going in the garbage. I've always been like that. Newspapers? Gone. Stacks of random paper? Gone. Magazines? See ya later! Sometimes it backfires. Once, when Jay and I lived in our apartment in Colorado, I threw away something that was important and Jay and I ended up sifting through our garbage in the dumpster in the parking lot like a couple of homeless people.

A few days ago, I cleaned up around our kitchen and threw a bunch of stuff in the garbage. I didn't think anything of it until Megan pointed it out. She was eating a piece of banana bread and started walking around with it. As she made her way to the bathroom, I stopped her. "Whoa, where are you going?" I asked. "Don't take food in the bathroom with you. That's disgusting."

"Okay," she responded and walked toward the garbage can. As she opened the lid and stood over the garbage eating her banana bread, I thought to myself, "What did I do in parenting my children to make it seem like eating over the garbage is an acceptable option to eating on the toilet???" Anyhoo... Megan looked down into the garbage and said, "Dad, look at this! Mom threw away a coupon for free ice cream!" As she pulled the coupon from the garbage and stood with the banana bread in one hand and the coupon in the other, I had flashbacks to the Seinfeld episode where George gets busted for eating the eclair from the garbage.

She handed the coupon to Jay who upon looking at it said, "Hey it's actually a whole menu for Jason's Deli.Your mom thew out a menu and a coupon for free ice cream!"

"Yeah!" Megan chimed in. Jay looked at me, smiled and said, "We should have our kids eat over the garbage more often!"


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Random kid thoughts

Me: Jack, do you know who our new President is?
Jack: Who?
Me: It's a man named Barack Obama
Jack: Bark Obamba????
Me: No, Barack Obama.
Jack: Oh. I know how it works to pick the President. Everyone like votes and if they vote no, then they shooted them.
Me: Uh, no. That's not how it works at all.
Jack: Well that was the old way how they did it.
Me: Uh, no.

Megan: A bunch of kids on the playground play Kickball.
Me: Really?
Megan: Yeah. Kickball should be a national sport you know, not just a game.
Me: Huh. You think so?

Megan: My eyes water a lot.
Me: Really?
Megan: Uh huh. I mean, they water A LOT!
Jack: Well Megan, that's because God maked you like that.


Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A wise woman once said...

Sometimes I wonder if I'm doing this right. "This" being the whole parenting thing. I sometimes wonder if I have the right answers and enough patience. I know in my heart that I have enough love. I once doubted that. When I was pregnant with Jack, I couldn't imagine loving another child as much as I loved Megan. I worried that I wouldn't love Jack as much- or worse, that I would start to love Megan less. I expressed this once to my mother-in-law and she explained it to me like this... "A new child is like another candle. The love you feel is like the flame and both candles will have a flame that burns just as bright." And she was right. She is right about a lot of things and I look to her for motherly advice when I feel like I just can't seem to get it right.

She has this uncanny ability to know what to say, when to say it and more importantly- when not to say it. I hear horror stories from others about their meddling MILs and I feel blessed that I've never once felt that way. From the beginning, she's accepted me- flaws and all. Actually, accepted isn't the right word. She's embraced me. When my mother died she was there- loving me, supporting me, helping me but never once trying to take the place of my mother and in doing that, over the years she's become a mother to me, not just a mother-in-law.

The whole Halloween fiasco had me reeling and questioning myself. Then, I opened my email and saw that my mother-in-law sent me this:

"It is difficult riding that line between being a nurturing caring mother who wants to guide and protect your little daughter through all trials and tribulations of life, to keep her safe from all hurts; yet free her to blossom into a beautiful young woman confident, wise, and able to meet the world in her full glory. You want her to be beautiful inside and out, you want her to be confident in herself yet empathetic to others, you want her to be independent yet socially accepted. You want so much for her and you understand all that is out their to challenge and hurt her and it matters so much to you what happens to her. You want to rush out and explain to anyone who doesn't understand that the reason why she did thus and such was because she was feeling sad, or overtired, or misunderstood. Really, you want everyone to think she is as special as you do and the fact that anyone might have the wrong impression of her cuts you to the quick....for she is your daughter, your creation, your piece of your heart.

You have so many hopes and dreams for her, you want her road paved with rose blossoms and honey dew, you want her prince charming to come riding in on a white horse and sweep her off her feet, you want all her friends to be perfect and all she does to be good and wise. You want the world to know that she is here and worthy and talented and yours.

And the harsh reality of life is that she is all these things, but she will meet the world on her own terms, influenced by you, but somehow sensing that this strong bond needs to be tested, pulled, twisted, and turned. She will challenge you, test you. She can give you a withering look or a sharp retort that tears you to shreds, she can hurt you as no one else can for she is your daughter, your magnum opus. You care what she does, what she thinks, and who she is. You care, you care, you care. You remember any and all mistakes and errors you made, and you want to spare her the bad, the sad, the ugly side of life.

But to become the person you know she is, she must go through all these things, and when she does, she will turn to you and you will hopefully be there for her. You won't be able to make it all better every time, but she will know that at least you will try. You will cry with her, and worry over her, and yell at her when she needs it for her own good because you don't want her to get hurt in any way. And she will mess up and you will still be there and you will love her and care, and care, and care.

And someday, this wonderful, lovely woman will enter a room and you will wonder when and how that metamorphosis slipped quietly by you. You will look at her and thank God that he gave you the opportunity to walk this way with her. You will see the beautiful person that she has become inside and out and your heart will swell with pride. You will hope that you have played some important role in her formation. And you will care and she will know you care.

It happened with my mother and I, it happened with my daughter and I, it probably happened with your mother and you, and so it goes. It is a process; sometimes painful, sometimes poignant, sometimes perfect.

Look in the mirror, you are all strong, confident, beautiful women. Your daughters and nieces will be the same. Enjoy the journey."

Thanks M. Love you.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Friday, October 31, 2008

The most stressful Halloween ever

Oh, what's that you say? Megan doesn't look like she's in a costume for the school's Halloween parade? The parade where all parents go and video tape and take pictures of their kids in their adorable costumes??? Um... yeah, well what can I say. According to Megan, she was in a costume. Add a backpack to her street clothes and her costume was "a kid going to school". She marveled at the fact that some kids didn't seem to think she dressed up at all!(Gee- go figure). She was perfectly fine in her non-costume costume, thank-you-very-much! I however was in a tailspin about the whole thing. I was totally sure that all the parents were thinking what a horrible mother this girl had. I could hear them in my head, "Awww, that poor girl. Her parents must have forgotten to send her costume. I'm sure she is going to be scarred for life on that one." And in my head I could see the mother's giving each other the knowing, sympathetic nod. Oh, I'm not proud of it but I tried to plead my case with one of the mothers. You can hear me on the video tape.

But I'm not going to lie. I plead my case with about 5 of the mothers. It was like verbal diarrhea. I couldn't stop myself. Honestly, I was quite a pathetic sight. The minute I would say hello I would automatically start in on the mothers. "Did you see Megan's costume? (insert air quotes with the word costume) You should have seen our house this morning! Whew- knock down drag out fight over the costume," I kept hearing myself say. One of the moms said, "Oh yeah. I was thinking maybe you just didn't celebrate Halloween." Ugh.

But alas, there is a back story to this. Megan did have an actual costume that she was supposed to wear. A few weeks ago when I was on a business trip, Jay bought her costume. She decided she wanted to be a Chicago Cubs player. Great in theory- not great on our wallet. Those jerseys are expensive! Add a hat and shorts along with the jersey and $100 later, you've got yourself a costume.

A couple weeks ago, Megan started changing her tune on the costume. "I'm not a Cubs player," she would say. "I'm going to be a UPS driver, Cubs edition!" (Whatever that means.) But I just rolled with it.

Then this morning it was time to get the outfit together and the shorts were nowhere to be found. I looked everywhere and nothing. "Meg, I'm sorry I've looked everywhere and I can't find your shorts."

"Well I can't go to school with half a costume!!!" Megan sobbed. And although I realize it's not my responsibility to keep track of her shorts, I had the stab of guilt that I ruined her Halloween.

But as the morning went on, her anguish about having half a costume evolved into, "If I wear the jersey and the hat, people will think I'm a Cubs player AND I AM NOT a Cubs player! I'm a person who likes the Cubs." (Again...whatever that means.)

I had kept my cool up to this point. But I looked at the clock and we had 15 minutes to get it sorted out. Admittedly, I lost my shit. I could feel the veins popping out of my forehead and if I was a cartoon, you would have seen steam coming out of my ears. "I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU WEAR TO SCHOOL. JUST STOP TALKING TO ME. I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU GO AS. I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU WEAR. YOU JUST NEED TO GET IT FIGURED OUT IN THE NEXT 10 MINUTES."

Just in case, I included the jersey and hat in Megan's backpack. I hoped and prayed that she would change her mind before the parade. She had already warned me at the bus stop that her new costume was adding a backpack so she would be "a kid going to school". I went up to the school in the afternoon for the parade. As I waited in line, I held my breath that she would come around the corner in a Cubs jersey and hat. But Megan stuck to her guns. She came out wearing her backpack and in my head, I thought, Oh Fuuuuuuuuuddddge (but I didn't say fudge). Part of me loves the fact that she can be so bold and not care what others think but there was a small part of me that saw her sticking out like a sore thumb.

And therein was the lesson I learned today. Be careful what you say you don't care about. Because I did care. I wanted her to dress up. I wanted her to fit in. I didn't want to feel like I needed to explain my daughters lack of costume to every person who I made eye contact with. I hate that this holiday that was supposed to be about her, turned into a holiday about me- how I felt, how I reacted, how I was embarrassed by how I appeared to the other moms.

Jack in his dragon ninja costume

Jack was really excited about Halloween as you can tell from the video. Megan, well...she was another story which will be coming in another post.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

A religious discussion about inappropriate touching.

Megan's Religious Education (RE) class is in full swing. At this week's class, they sent home a note informing us they would be discussing inappropriate touching with the students. The note assured us that it would be done in a tasteful manner and that it wouldn't be too jarring in nature. Yesterday, Jay and I gave Megan a heads up on what would be discussed and gave her the key points (or key "take aways" as I would say in my business-speak). Things like no adults should touch you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable and if an adult tells you to keep a secret that it's always okay to tell us about it. She seemed to be fine with that.

But today when I was driving her to her class, Megan started pondering the topic. Among her questions:

Q: "Why are they bringing someone in to talk to us?"
What I said: "The church wants to make sure all of its members remain safe. They are using this class to share some information to keep you safe."

Q: "Wouldn't it be easier if they just had the priest come in and talk to us about Jesus?"
What I said: "Well today they want to talk about the other stuff so they are bringing in an expert to talk to you."

Q: "Why are we talking about inappropriate touching in a church class?"
What I thought: Uh, well if you were old enough to read the newspaper and see all the scandals with the Catholic church, it might make a bit more sense.
What I said: "Uh, I dunno."

After the class was over, Jay picked Megan up and when he came home I asked him what she said about it. His response- "She didn't say much. She said they watched a video about Karate."

??? Huh???

Sunday, October 26, 2008

The birds and the bees...Megan style

Megan and I haven't had The Talk yet. But I'm sure it will be coming...soon. After all, by the time I was seven, I had already asked quite loudly at Thanksgiving dinner where babies came from. My mother gave me the evil eye and said through clenched teeth, "We'll talk about it later!". To me, *later* meant the moment that she got up to run to the bathroom. I vaguely recall following her and sitting across from her while she was on the toilet. "Okay. I'm ready to hear about it now," I stated and patiently waited. So there it was. My sex talk. In my grandmother's bathroom. On Thanksgiving. With my mother still sitting on the toilet.

I can't recall the specifics of what she said. I just know it was pretty clinical in nature and when she finished, I had two questions for her.

#1- Do you and Dad do that???
#2- Can I watch???

Megan on the other hand, hasn't been as adamant about knowing the specifics on the whole deal. Which in a way is shocking to me because she's very detailed about most other things. But up to this point, she's been satisfied knowing that:

a) Babies grow in the mom's tummy.
b) There is a special hole where the babies come out.

That's it. No questions about where the special hole is- actually that's not true. She did ask once and I pretended like I didn't hear her. And she didn't even think to ask how, if at all, the Dad factors into the equation.

Anyway, I overheard a conversation Megan had with Jack that has left me wondering if I shouldn't take the bull by the horns, so-to-speak and set the record straight. The conversation went as follows:

Jack: I'm not going to have any kids when I grow up.
Megan: What? No kids? Well, are you going to get married Jack?
Jack: Yeah. I'm going to get married.
Megan: Well then Jack, you might have kids. People who are married don't get to choose.
Jack (pondered this for a moment): Will my wife get to choose?
Megan: No. It just happens.

So that is where we are at with babies in our family-You have to be married, you may or may not have them, and you don't get to choose. I still haven't formulated what exactly I'm going to say to her. I want to be specific enough that she gets it but not so specific that it's TMI (too much information). I'm looking for suggestions on how to handle- Anyone? Anyone? Beuller? Bueller?

Friday, October 24, 2008

The two worst things I've smelled in the last 24 hours.

In the last 24 hours, my nose has gotten a work out. I've had the one-two punch so to speak, in the odor department. I just got back from being out of town all week. It was my company's global user conference and it took everything out of me. I had to be "on" all week-long days of conference sessions followed by long nights of drinking socializing. I think I had about 10 hours of sleep all week. So yesterday afternoon, I finally poured myself into my airline seat and was looking forward to closing my eyes and relaxing on the way home. But the thunderstorms swirling across the US had other plans. The turbulence was absolutely atrocious; the flight attendants were seated a good portion of the flight. So instead, I white knuckled the flight and tried to just close my eyes and appear like a normal passenger while I silently panicked.

And then I smelled it- rubbing alcohol. The smell was so acute, my eyes flew open and to be honest, after coming off 3 nights of drinking socializing, it kind of made me nauseous. Where is that smell coming from? I wondered. I looked to my left and saw the lady in the seat next to me rubbing hand sanitizer on her hands. But alas, that wouldn't be the last time I would smell the rubbing alcohol. In the next 2 hours, that lady rubbed hand sanitizer on her hands SEVEN times. I found this quite odd since she never did anything, I thought, to warrant more sanitizer. She didn't eat anything; she didn't leave her seat to go to the bathroom; I don't think she even touched anything other than her pants. But since I count the number of seconds from when the wheels come down for landing until the plane actually lands, I guessed I couldn't be too judgemental and so I endured the headache I acquired. (Note: it's usually about 180 seconds or so, in case you were wondering.)

Moving on to today...

I'm not sure how things could have gone so terribly wrong in the week that I was out of town but when I left Jack's feet were just like any other normal 5 year-olds. But now? Now they are some of the worst- I mean THE WORST- smelling feet. Out of disbelief, I grabbed his foot and brought it close to my face to give it a whiff. I just couldn't believe that smell could have been coming from such a small area. But as I leaned over to smell Jack's foot, an odor so pungent hit me like a Mack truck and I immediately gagged.

If I was a betting girl, I'd say Jack will have new shoes by Sunday.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Happy Birthday to Jack!

Five years ago, Jack arrived on the scene and completed our family unit. His arrival was swift, timely and according to plan- only 1 day later than his originally scheduled due date. He’s always had a sunny disposition and was generally a happy baby- except for the time when he was a week old and we (and by we, I mean Jay) put scented Vaseline on Jack’s newly circumcised penis during a middle of the night diaper change. He wasn’t so happy then and in a testament to mother’s instinct, I flew out of bed because I noticed his cry just wasn’t right; he was actually screaming bloody murder. (In Jay’s defense, we were both extremely sleep deprived and in my sleep-deprived haze, I directed him to the wrong drawer that contained the scented Vaseline that I bought by mistake during another sleep-deprived haze.)
I feel privileged to be Jack’s mom and am in awe that in watching him and parenting him, I learn from him as well. With Jack, you always know where you stand. He is emotionally vulnerable and has no filter when it comes to his emotions. It is one of the things I love most about him because I’m really not sure where he got that trait. It is something I have always wanted to have for myself, that emotional vulnerability, but it’s just not in me. My nature is to tend to be more guarded, to make sure I’m safe before I start to let myself crumble. Jay is the same way. Megan is obviously a product of her parents in that respect. But Jack, well- he just lays it all out there- he’s mad, he’s sad, he’s tired, he’s happy. He lives in the moment and as his mother, it is joyous for me to watch.
He’s the boy who…
…while eating McDonald’s with his family leaned back, sighed and said, “This is the way things ought to be.”
…when opening his gifts for his birthday exclaimed, “This is the best day of my LIFE!”
…looked at me the other day when I was looking gross and unshowered and said, “Mommy, you are beautiful.”
…has told me on more than one occasion that he would want to marry me but knows he can’t because I’m married already- oh yeah, and mommies can’t marry their sons.
…stands up for himself and for other kids at school when he was bullied.
…isn’t shy and will ask for what he wants. On occasion, he will ask for things on behalf of his shy older sister and I find that endearing.
…is almost always polite- even when he is asking me, “Can you get out of here now please, Mommy?”

A co-worker of mine once described a mother-son relationship as a love affair. And I have to say, after I got over the ick factor of using the words “love affair” in the same sentence as mother and son, I tend to agree with it. It is as simple as this- little boys love their mommies. It’s like no other and I know I am a better person for having him in my life.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I'm guessing this song might be called, "Your eyes are locked. You can't see me." (sub title- "Don't touch me.")

I know I've been posting a lot of video here for the last week or so but I can't help myself. Megan and Jack have been allowing me to capture on camera what I struggle to explain using words alone.

Megan's personality is an interesting mix. She is shy-sometimes almost painfully so. But when you are around her enough, there is a part of her that is an extrovert. It's like the walls eventually start to crumble. She's like me in that way. Shove me in a networking event, or a party where I don't know anyone, and I want to crawl out of my skin. But if I'm with a group of people I know and adore, I could stay out all night having the best time.

Jay used to be like this, too. He's much more social now and can take the awkward social situations in stride. He's almost grown out of his shyness. I remember when we first started dating. Depending on which of my friends I was talking to, they had totally different perceptions of Jay. My close friends who interacted with him a lot would always comment that he was one of the funniest people they ever met. Ask any of my friends at the outer edge of my inner circle if they thought Jay was hilarious, and they would look at me blankly and say something like, "Jay? He never says anything."

Anyway, I guess I love this video clip because it captures what Megan is like on the inside, with her inner circle. I just hope that as she gets older, more people get to see this side of her. Lately, her new "thing" is to make up songs. She's writing lyrics and even adds the melody to them. This is one example of her latest, uh..."creation". As a side note, she's been listening to our local hip hop station... A LOT. I can see some of that influence here in the video.

She starts off on a mysterious tone, with her eyes covered. She has a little bit of a mini Gwen Stefani feel, I think. I love how she keeps singing but including directions to me as part of the song, "Zoom, zoom, zoom out." I also love how she incorporates the wording on her shirt into her lyrics.

I'm not quite sure why she switches up mid-song and turns into a British talk show host but heck, when she requested that I zoom in "one touch", I obliged.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

It's a Twister

Jack has quite an interesting thought process on a number of things. In this video, between taking sips of his Gatorade, which we know he lurves, he provided me with a few weather facts:
1) Tornadoes can destroy lots of damage...
2) ...more damage than Twisters, which apparently are different than Tornadoes in his 4 year-old mind. (As a side note, I can't stop going back and listening to him say the word Twisters. I'm not sure if it is the way he is holding his Gatorade, or the look in his eye, or the way that he curls his lip up and just pauses for emphasis, but I.cannot.get.enough. It makes me want to just bite him because I love him so much.)
3)...which apparently are different than Water Tornadoes...which are actually Hurricanes that make "big circles all twisting and windy".
4) Finally, it's good to know that he's got it figured out. I'm happy to know that Twisters are only at farms. Here in the suburbs, we just have fires.

And that's all he has to say about that as he gulps down more Gatorade.

Monday, October 13, 2008

OMG little brothers can be annoying

Megan in a somewhat rare moment of acting totally girly.

A few comments about the video:
1) I'm not sure why she keeps licking her fingers while pretending to dial. I know, I know- it's kinda gross.
2) There is something inherently wrong, I think, about a 7 year-old child doing a skit in which she says things like, "Did you hear the news? It's.the.MAN. He's outside." But I don't know. I'm just gonna go with it.
3) The amount of times that Megan says OMG in the video... five. (Note: I don't think she even knows what "OMG" stands for.)
4) Yes, I do realize that her high pitched pseudo scream just might break a few glasses. She gets that from my side of the family. (Or so the story goes that when I was young, I would scream and people thought it might shatter glass, or that it was a whistle.)
5) There is one point in the video where I'm not sure if Megan was pretending she was buzzing like a bee, or if she was trying to act as though the person on the other end hung up on her.
6) I love how Jack is so stealth about ruining Megan's phone skit.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Harold ain't a Gangsta

Sometimes I just love to drive around in the car with my kids. It's like I'm a voyeur. I cruise around town, periodically looking in my rear view mirror sneaking glances at facial expressions to help add color to their chatter.

A few days ago we were driving by a Burger King and there just so happened to be some graffiti on a brick wall. Jack noticed it first. "Hey look at that. Someone colored on the wall."

"It's not colored, Jack," Megan corrected him. "It is painted. Isn't that right Mom? It's painted not colored, right?"

"Yup," I confirmed. "It is spray paint. That is not good. People should not paint on walls like that. It's naughty."

Jack pondered that. "It looks like crayon to me."

"Yeah," I joked. "And it's purple. Maybe it was Harold and his purple crayon."

Jack laughed at that one. "Harold and his purple crayon," he echoed.

"There's just one thing," Megan chimed in. "It couldn't be Harold. Harold isn't a gangster, Jack."

"What is a gangster?" Jack inquired.

I peeked in my rear view mirror to get a look at Megan's face. As our eyes met, she sighed and whispered, "Mom, he's not old enough to know what a gangster is yet."

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Another one of Jack's odd eating habits

In addition to Jack's love of fruit snacks, he also has an affinity for Popsicles. Recently, he enjoyed eating, or should I say devouring, a Flavor Ice.

And now, for your viewing pleasure, I give you...Jack and the Flavor Ice.

...and scene.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Lonely Girl 15? Nah, it's just Megan, alone, with the video camera

Preface to this video- Megan is the "tour guide" to the messiest part of our house. The storage area of our basement. Please, no one call the hoarding police.

Commentary on the video:
1)Note to self- remind Megan that saying you are "hip" doesn't actually make you "hip".
2) I assure you that on most "normal days in our family" that my son doesn't wander around with a Santa hat on.
3) She's right. We are big fans of holidays. We are used to the concept.
4) Love Jack's two brief cameos.
5) Yes, in our family reading is a "chore" in Megan's eyes. And by "projects" she means cleaning up. We aren't having her build a space shuttle or anything.
6) Help an un-hip woman out...can anyone name that tune at the end????

Monday, October 6, 2008

Three more things I do that my daughter finds embarrassing

Megan has started to be more, um how shall I say this, open to telling me what she really thinks about me. The flood gates are open and the hits just keep on comin. In the last 48 hours, I've accumulated 3 more things that embarrass Megan in addition to "Everyone out of the pool!" They are as follows:

1) Shop till you drop. I took Megan to get some new clothes for the winter. As I opened my car door to exit I benignly said, "Okay kiddo. Let's shop till we drop." Megan sighed deeply, hunched her shoulders and grouched, "See that is what I'm talking about. When you say stuff like that! It's weird."

"Well, it's a good thing I'm driving the Brownies to a hay ride and not taking them shopping then, huh?"


2) The car purrs like a kitten. I took our car to get an oil change and simply made the comment, "The car purrs like a kitten." This, as you can imagine, was met with an eye roll and a comment about, "What does that even mean???"

3) No more making random comments about other drivers. I still say this one is totally justified. I mean, I was waiting to turn right out of a parking lot and the driver coming down the road didn't even turn on his turn signal before he took a right. Had he used proper signal-age, I could have made an exit. I commented under my breath, "Nice turn signal." Megan heard me say something and asked me to repeat it. I told her I was just muttering under my breath about the driver who failed to use his turn signal and that it irritated me a bit. "Well, if you aren't talking to me, maybe you need to keep those types of comments to yourself," she said.

Oh no she di-dn't just say that to me. Seriously? How much does a woman have to take from a 7-year-old??? So I kinda snapped...just a little bit. I felt my face getting hot and as I was driving, I turned back to look at her in the backseat. "Now Megan, that is just mean. You know, I get it. I GET IT. You don't think I'm cool. You are embarrassed by me. I GET IT. But you know what??? Why don't you try KEEPING THAT TO YOURSELF!"

Not one of my finer moments but whatever.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Boys will be boys, I suppose

Today we are going to my niece's 4th birthday party. The kids are excited about it and I suspect that for the most part, my niece is excited to see them. I say "for the most part" because although Megan is a gem with her, Jack on the other hand has taken to somewhat torturing her at times. Jack is a...well, he's a boy. He likes boy stuff and that includes creatures, monsters, dragons, aliens, snakes and anything else that falls into the scary and creepy categories. My niece is a...well, she's a girl. She likes girl stuff and that includes ponies, barbies, dress up and anything else that falls in the absolutely NOT scary and creepy categories. Jack has figured out how to "freak her out" and I fear he revels in pushing her buttons a little too much sometimes. But according to Jack, he's "just trying to teach her some lessons." Teaching his cousin "lessons" can be anything from making scary noises to holding scary toys up to her face to freak her out. Or like the last time we were all together, Jack kept turning the lights off in the basement. There were a couple of angst ridden moments on that one and so on our car ride home, it was a topic of discussion.

Me: Jack, why did you keep turning the lights off on her?
Jack: I dunno.
Me: Were you doing it to try to scare her?
Jack: Um, she's afraid of the dark. She shouldn't be afraid of the dark.
Me (sarcastically): So were you turning the lights off on her to try to teach her not to be afraid of the dark?
Jack: Uh, no. I just turn off the lights when we are going upstairs and she is at the bottom of the steps.
Megan (always the voice of reason): Anything he just said- I don't believe any of it. Trust me, I've been there and I've seen it.
Jack (trying to justify his actions): Well, she follows me everywhere.
Megan (again, the voice of reason): Well then go somewhere else.
Jack (trying to change the subject): Actually, she only follows Megan, not me!
Me: Well, do you think she follows Megan around because Megan is nice to her and you do mean things like turning off the light on her?
Jack (after a moment of contemplation): I dunno.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I thought it would be a few more years before I was considered so uncool

I am going to be a helper in a couple weeks for Megan's Brownie troop. The girls are going on a trip to a farm for hay rides. I was pretty excited about it and mentioned it to Megan the other day while we were in the car.

Me: Megan, guess who is going to be one of the drivers when your troop goes on the hay ride?
Megan: You?
Me: Yup!
Megan: Do I have to go in your car?
Me: Well, don't you think it would be weird to have your mom driving and you not be in the car?
Megan: (says nothing and just shrugs her shoulders looking out the window)
Me: What? You don't want to be in the car with me?
Megan: Not really.
Me: Why not?
Megan: Because you say weird things sometimes.
Me (shocked): Like what?
Megan (visibly getting upset): Stuff.
Me: You have to give me an example before I believe it.
Megan: Well, you say weird things that other mom's don't say like, "Everybody out of the pool." Who says that? Nobody!
***My grandpa used to have a habit of yelling, "Everybody out of the pool!" when he would pull up and park the car. It was his way of saying, "everybody get out of the car." I always thought this was hilarious and I sometimes say it- but only rarely.
Me: What you don't think that is funny?
Megan (totally tearing up, voice quivering): No! It's embarrassing!
Me (gasp): You are embarrassed of me?
Megan: Sometimes (sob, sob). IT'S WEIRD!
Me: Wow. That kind of hurts my feelings.
Megan: (sobbing saying nothing.)
Me: Why are you crying? Are you crying because you are embarrassed of me or because you feel bad that you hurt my feelings?
Megan (whispering): Both.

That was a painful conversation. I thought I had at least a few more years before she would realize how embarrassing I could be.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Jack loves Gatorade

No really, I mean it. The kid LOVES Gatorade. He asked me to take this picture of him kissing Gatorade so "We can take this picture to always remember how much I love Gatorade!"

I'm kind of nervous about it though, I must admit. He really does look like he, well- actually loves the Gatorade. I feel like maybe I intruded on a private moment between a boy and his drink. You know what I mean?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Green Acres is the place for me.

"What we do in life echoes in eternity."
-Maximus (Russell Crowe) from the movie Gladiator

After this past weekend, that quote has new meaning to me. It has always been one of my favorite quotes- a reminder to myself that actions have consequences and each action taken has a ripple effect of sorts on my life, and the lives of those around me. It's been over 20 years since I last visited the farm owned by my family in Wisconsin. It is a farm rich in history. My great grandfather farmed the land and was a blacksmith when he came to the U.S. from Finland in the late 1800's. He built the house on that land with his own two hands. My maternal grandmother grew up in that house. Over the years, the people living there were my relatives; a homestead passed down from generation to generation. And as is the way in many families, even relatives who didn't reside on the property would lend a helping hand when needed- fixing roofs, tilling the land, cleaning-those kinds of things. Now it is my turn. Along with my brother, we now have the responsibility of maintaining the farm. It wasn't until I stepped foot on the land and entered the house that it dawned on me what a responsibility this was. But it is one that I welcome. The house has a history that is undeniable. Past actions and events that took place here are echoing through eternity into my lifetime, into my children's lifetime.

There are clothes hanging in the closets from generations past.

There are photos galore.

There are papers from years past. The most disturbing of which (for me anyway) was a Western Union telegram from the 1930's sent to my aunt. All it said was, "Jean. Billy died in an accident. Get home." Even after all these years, that single piece of paper endures to remind me that life is fragile; that life can turn on a dime.

But there were two other things that I would say fall into the disturbing category:

1) The flies. Oh.My.Lord. The FLIES!!! They were EVERYWHERE. I was in the house for about 10 minutes when I looked at my brother and said, "Are we sure there isn't a dead body somewhere in here???" And then we laughed because, well, in those circumstances you just have to laugh. Even if the flies are dive bombing your head as you're laughing. And then we went and bought every fly trap the local grocery store had on their shelf. It wasn't until we found out that it was actually "fly season" in northern Wisconsin that I stopped wanting to scrape my skin off my face. Huh- who knew??? Fly season? I think I must need to get out more because I've never heard of fly season- deer season and bear season, yes! Fly season? Not so much.

2) The Bedroom. The last relative who actually lived on the property full time was my uncle. He passed away two years ago and left a um (cough, cough-shift uncomfortably in my chair) legacy of sorts. Let me put it this way... at best, he was extremely eccentric- at worst, I think he had a severe hoarding issue. I knew we probably had an issue on our hands when the guy in town who works AT THE GARBAGE DUMP told us we must have our hands full with that place upon hearing that my brother and I were taking over the farm. I mean, when the garbage guy is telling you there's a problem- trust me- there's a problem! In the last two years, generous family members and friends have slowly but surely removed, cleaned and restored most of the farmhouse to a liveable status. Most of it, that is, except for "The Bedroom". It was the most daunting of tasks to undertake- cleaning out that room. Much of it hadn't been touched in the two years since his passing. But since the rest of our relatives did such a fantastic job restoring the rest of the house, "The Bedroom" was the last room that needed attention. So, my brother and I donned our face masks, put on our plastic gloves and decided to tackle "The Bedroom".

My brother looks somewhat optimistic in this picture...

I on the other hand, well, I was scared shitless. You can see it in my eyes.

We gave it our best shot. We cleaned out the drawers and our long standing opinions about my uncle's eccentricity were more than confirmed. He had always been one to want to live "off the grid". One neighbor asked us if we found any parts to his wind generator that he was building. He was always into Sci-Fi and based on what I found in the drawers, I think he had a true fear that nuclear war was an imminent possibility. There were groups of pills to take in the case of radiation exposure and more than one exposure meter to measure your radiation exposure. And that was just the tip of the iceberg. In the interest of some level of decorum, that is all I will say about the details of "The Bedroom" cleaning. With the exception of this- we were not successful. It was too much. What started with optimism ended with me and my brother dry heaving on the front lawn.

So now we are looking into Plan B. Candidates for Plan B include but are not limited to the following options:
1) Take another crack at it ourselves when we go back there in a couple weeks. But this would require me to get very, VERY drunk first.
2) Hire a fire/flood restoration company to come in and wipe the slate clean. But since there technically wasn't a fire, or a flood, I'm not sure we could qualify for their services.
3) My brother suggested that we just order new carpet and keep our fingers crossed that when they show up to install the new carpet, that they would rip up the old and haul it away without asking any questions. Good idea in theory but in practice I'm guessing not so much.