Thursday, July 31, 2008

Boredom at its finest

Megan: I'm bored.
Jack: When I'm bored I just sit around and do this. (puts his chin in his hand) But mostly when I'm bored I try to mess with somebody.
Me: Huh? What do you mean you try to mess with somebody?
Jack: I just do stuff like spying on them.
Me: Really?
Jack: Yeah, but these days, I'm never bored. Actually, these days, I'm not bored a lot.

She's just not that into you

Jack has no filter when it comes to his emotions. It is one of the things I love most about him. I like to say he is the emotional glue that holds our family together. I don't know where he gets it from. I'm not that way. Jay isn't that way. And Megan certainly isn't that way. Tonight in the car Jack reached over from his car seat and touched Megan's arm gently.

Jack: Megan, I love you.
Megan: ...silence...
Jack: Megan?
Megan: What?
Jack: Megan, I love you.
Megan: ...silence...
Me: Megan, Jack just told you he loved you. Don't you have anything to say to him?
Megan: Um...Hi?
Jack (clearly frustrated and somewhat mocking their conversation): I love you...Hi?!?!?

There's a party over there

Today is something new for me. I was asked to guest post at one of my favorite blogs, Carolyn...Online. I love reading Carolyn's blog every morning with my coffee. She's wicked funny and so I'm just hoping my post can even keep up with her. I guarantee after you read a few of her posts, you will be hooked.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Having to, or wanting to

I was gone for 5 days. It started with a business trip and ended with a vacation with friends. The night before I left, I was tucking Megan into bed. In a rare moment of emotional vulnerability, Megan hugged me and said, "I don't want you to go."

"I know baby." I said. "I'll be back before you know it. But I have to go."

"Do you have to go, or do you want to go?" she asked.

What an interesting question, I thought to myself and I paused a moment before responding. "Well, the first part of the trip I have to go and the second part of the trip I want to go."

As I said the words I want to go I started feeling the twinge of Mother's Guilt tugging at my heart strings. How do you explain to a 7 year old that it is important, if not critical that as a mother you take time to nurture yourself? How can she wrap her little brain around that? How can I explain to her that it is an essential part of being a good mother and it doesn't mean I love her less but rather, it allows me to love her more? That it is in those times when you do something for yourself that you can come back refreshed, more tolerant and able to appreciate your life more; appreciate your family more. So I tried to explain it in a way that she could understand.

"Well, you know when you are out playing with your friends in the cul-de-sac for hours on end?"

"Yeah." she replied.

"When you are out there, a lot of times I miss you and want you to come in and spend time with me but I know it is important for you to spend time with your friends. So I usually let you do that because I know you enjoy spending time with your friends and that it is important to you. That's kind of what Mommy is doing- going to play in the cul-de-sac with her friends."

"Oh." she replied.

And then she rolled over to go to sleep. I'm not too concerned if she understood what I meant right now. Although, it would be nice. I'm just hoping that my answer has started to pave the way for her to understand it when she's a mother- that's the more important lesson. I think.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tattoo ponderings

I just got back from a fun and relaxing long weekend at Martha's Vineyard with a couple of girlfriends- no husbands, no kids. It's been a long time since I've had that much fun and I ended up throwing caution to the wind and just did what felt good. I had decadent frozen drinks in the middle of the day while sitting in the harbor watching the boats. I fell in love with Lobster Rolls and fell back in love with Clam Chowder.

We spent a good amount of time shopping and it was nice to just wander into the shops and putter around. I had only a few directives from back home that allowed me to guide my shopping experience. Jack requested an electronic toy. That was nearly impossible to find. Megan wanted a doll to add to her doll collection. That too was surprisingly difficult to find but I finally zoned in on a carved bobble head fisherman. Jay wanted a white hat with a small black dog on it from The Black Dog Tavern. But once I walked into that store, I fell in love with it. It almost made we want to get a dog. So I ended up spending way too much money in order to get the "free" tote and came home with shirts for everyone, enormous beach towels, hats, glasses, bottle opener, beer coozy and a "free" tote.

Oh yeah, and I bought a dress from a store that I will never wear. It seemed like a good idea at the time but I already had a few of those island cocktails so I'm blaming my purchase on that. That and the girls I was shopping with. What with their, "Oh that dress looks so good on you" and their "You have to buy it" and their assurance that "You could totally wear that with flip flops to make it casual". I should have listened to my inner self on that one. I don't usually wander around with an extremely low cut, long, silky, purple dress made of handkerchiefs.

At any rate, I also got a tattoo. Not a real tattoo because I'm the type of person that can't think of anything I would want on my body for the rest of my life. Plus, I keep thinking that if I got a nice little tattoo on my hip that it would end up closer to my knee by the time I was 80. So I got a henna tattoo instead. Right on the small of my back and since I watch reality TV and saw it on the Real Housewives, I realize that what I got is actually referred to as a "Tramp Stamp".

When I came home and showed it to Megan (before she realized it wasn't real)she reacted much the same way I might if she showed up with a tattoo before she was 18. "Let me see it." she pushed. And when she actually saw it, her eyes got big and she exclaimed, "What did you do that for????" But then she got used to the idea and ended up telling me if she was going to get a tattoo, it would read, "I love Joe" (Joe Jonas from the Jonas Brothers).

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Vacation Quotes

Some of the more interesting comments from our vacation include:

1) Me yelling at Jack, "Jackson- get out from behind that couch! You shouldn't be running around naked and wet back there. There are wires back there!"
**Yelled after he ran from the bath naked and wet and hid behind the couch.

2) "CANNON FIRE!!! KILL THE CORN!!"
**Jack yelling as he peed on the side of the road during an emergency "nature" stop.

3)"I like this place, but I don't like the name."
**Jack referring to Lake Okoboji, our vacation destination

4) "Zippers? What a strange name for a restaurant. They should call it 'Nippers'."
**Megan mistakenly referring to a strip club on the side of the road as a restaurant.

Reasons why I suck at cooking- Part Two

It's never a good sign when your husband walks into the house, scrunches his nose, and says, "What's that...what is that smell?"

I blame the Food Channel and I blame Megan for constantly watching the Food Channel. They make everything look so easy. Specifically, my nemesis in this case is the Barefoot Contessa. What with her soft voice, and her "Oh, it's so easy and delicious." Well, I can tell you for certain that her dressing for Salad with warm Goat Cheese is not easy and the way I made it was definitely NOT delicious.

It seemed easy enough as I watched Ms. Barefoot prepare the dressing on TV. Just pour some ingredients into a blender and voila, you have dressing! I think my problem might have started when I opted to uh, well substitute a few ingredients. The dressing called for good cider vinegar. I'm not 100% sure but I'm guessing good cider vinegar doesn't come in plastic liter jugs?? And then there was the matter of the good Champagne vinegar. Uh, excuse me? First of all, I've never heard of any kind of Champagne vinegar- good or bad. My local grocer didn't sell Champagne vinegar so I selected the next closest thing- white wine vinegar. To be honest, I have no idea if Champagne vinegar and white wine vinegar are even remotely close but I figured, heck they are both alcohol.

The outcome? Bad. Just very, very bad. As I mixed the ingredients I thought, well now, that just doesn't smell quite right. And Jay's comments upon entering the house confirmed my suspicions. I even went so far as to taste it and I have to say, it made me gag and I almost threw up in my mouth.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Reasons why I suck at cooking- Part One

Only I could do this type of damage to a pizza muffin. This should have been easy peasy.
Step 1: Toast English Muffins
Step 2: Put canned pizza sauce on toasted English Muffins
Step 3: Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese
Step 4: Put under the broiler until the cheese melts

Even a monkey should be able to do that. But alas, I give you exhibit A: The reason my family eats out, or orders in, practically every meal.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Things I know for certain: Jack can't swim, yet

I spent the last few days in vacation-seclusion...and I must say, I can't wait to go back next year- for an ENTIRE week! I usually take a so-called vacation but it typically ends up with me getting caught up on email, religiously looking at my Blackberry, and still not being able to resist the urge to get online during my vacation- I mean, there's a whole world going on out there people!

But this time was different. I consciously did not take my laptop and I told Jay, "Seriously, I mean it. This time I'm not going to work- at all." To which he responded, "Yeah, right." When I told my in-laws that I didn't bother to bring my laptop this time, their jaws dropped. My father-in-law looked at me incredulously and said, "I don't think in the all the time I've known you that you haven't had to do some work on vacation."

But yeah, that's me...I'm a rebel like that. I threw caution to the wind and left my laptop closed and laying on my desk. The environment certainly made things easier. There was no wireless in our condo and it turns out the cell phone coverage was pretty sketchy, too. I found that out when I received a voicemail for a "work emergency" and it was like a comedy of errors trying to get the phone to work. I stood in an open parking lot trying to get the best signal possible, roasting on the black top, sweating my butt off. The phone kept disconnecting and like the Type A person that I am, I just had to get my sentence out.

"Yes, our product does that by allowing you to crop, rotate and re-size the images as well as adjusting the...hello? Are you there?" Crap!

...Me dialing back the number...

"Hey, not sure where you heard me leave off but the product allows you to adjust the color, bright...hello? Hello?" CRAP!!!

...Me dialing back the number, again...

"Hi, me again- you can adjust the color, brightness and... hello? HELLO? HELLO?????" F*&@!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

...Me dialing back the number, again...

"Hi- adjust the brightness and contrast. Got that? Okay bye."

That little "work emergency" aside, I spent the remainder of my days relaxing and doing non-exerting things like lounging by the pool. On our first day, we wandered by the outdoor pool and when I realized it was 4 feet deep, at its deepest- I wept. Okay, not really wept but wept on the inside from joy and elation. I was going to get to R-E-L-A-X. I have waited for this day; the day when I could sit on the side of the pool and read a book while my kids swam around self-sufficient in the pool. So we did just that.

And then I realized something. Jack isn't quite 4 feet tall. So maybe I couldn't read a book but as long as he had a floatation device, I could still do my lounging.
I looked up and saw Jack laying on top of a kick board and something in me, call it mother's intuition or call it my morbid nature thought, "Hmmm. If that kick board slips out from under him, he might be in trouble."

So I watched, and I waited. And then it happened. The kick board went flying out of Jack's hands. And then I saw his arms flailing; he was struggling to keep himself above water and right before his little face was submerged, he called out, "Daddy!"

I leapt from my lounge chair, before Jay even had a chance to react. Five running steps and then I cannonballed into the pool to get Jack. I scooped him up from the water and he coughed and sputtered and he looked at me and said with such sincerity, "Thanks, Momma."

Then for the next 5 minutes, we continued to hang on to one another and we kind of danced around the pool with Jack singing, "I love Momma. Momma loves me." It really was quite sweet. Almost his ode to my awesomeness at saving his life. Okay- so saving his life might be a bit extreme, but he wouldn't have been able to hang on without my help for very long.

As we danced around the pool, a number of thoughts went through my mind. Among them:

"Wow, I really reacted without thinking and that all happened so fast."

"What would have happened if I hadn't been paying that close of attention."

"I really shouldn't have worn the two piece bathing suit today. I'm sure my cottage cheese ass looked less than appetizing while I bounded from my lounger into the pool."

"I didn't even have time to adequately suck in my stomach."

"I'm sure I didn't look anything remotely like Pamela Anderson in the opening of Baywatch."

"That guy across the pool keeps smiling at me. What is he smiling at? He must think I'm a great mom for jumping in like that."

"Maybe that guy is smiling because it was an awkward situation to see me jumping in to grab my son. I can see that. I mean, I'm the person who gets nervous laughter and laughed at my friend when she fell overboard into the rapids while we were white water rafting. The hidden photographer caught it on tape and I spent the whole ride home explaining, 'I just laugh at things like that when I get nervous. I wasn't laughing at you, I promise!'"

And then I realized why the guy was actually smiling at me. When I did my running cannonball move into the pool, in my two piece bathing suit, the force of the water as I entered caused my bathing suit top to move upwards, exposing my right breast.

So as Jack and I danced around the pool for five minutes, the man was awkwardly smiling because, uh, well, my boob was hanging out the whole time.

It's not a seizure, it's just Jack's Robot/Kung Fu dance.

The brochure for the boat cruise didn't specify live entertainment, and the patrons certainly didn't anticipate it, but oh, they got it. After the electrolytes from the Gatorade kicked in, Jack got his "energy" and broke out into an impromptu Robot/Kung Fu dance.
video

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Your mission, if you choose to accept it...

Tomorrow we are embarking on a family vacation. I am both excited and anxious for the trip.

I'm excited to get away for a few days. I'm excited at the thought of relaxing, of reading the new David Sedaris book and to slather on SPF 50 and lay in the sun by the pool and not get fried to a crisp (fingers crossed).

But this is our first family vacation in a few years. We haven't had, how shall I say this nicely...the best luck in the family vacation department. We are 3 for 3 in hospital or emergency care facility visits. And our vacations tend to include vomit as a staple of the trip. A brief recap, if you will:

Trip 1 Disney World- Jack started vomiting on day two of the trip and I ended up spending the night in the hospital with him so he didn't die of dehydration and Roto Virus. He then proceeded to crap his way through the entire trip. Our hotel room smelled like poo, heck we all smelled like poo and by the last day of our trip, Jack ran out of clothes so he was running around for a time in his diaper (classy, I know). I ended up stealing towels from the hotel to put on our laps during the plane ride so his poop wouldn't leak through onto our pants.

Trip 2 Adventureland/Nebraska- Day two Megan got very sick, very fast. Seeing as I have some, um hypochondriac issues that I've transferred to my children, I ended up convincing Jay that I thought Megan had West Nile Virus (she didn't). So off we went to the hospital where Megan proceeded to vomit all over the emergency room floor.

Trip 3 Phoenix- Standing on the jetway to get on the plane, Megan turned to me and said, "Mommy I'm not feeling so good." She then puked all over the jetway. And she puked. And she puked. Every 20 minutes like clockwork for the entire plane ride. I had a stack of the vomit bags and just pulled one out every 20 minutes. But I was also having flashbacks at that point to trip 1 where Jack was dehydrated so after every puke, I forced Megan to drink something thereby ensuring she had more to actually puke in 18 minutes. I think it was at puke number 8 where I wasn't able to get the vomit bag ready in time so Megan ended up vomiting all over my leg. I turned around to Jay (who was sitting in the row behind me with Jack trying as hard as he could to act like he wasn't with us at that point) and said, "Can you smell that?" His response- "Oh Yeah!"

Once we got to Phoenix, Megan bounced back after day 2. However, Jack woke up with rash all over his body and at 2 years old, he was asking to go see a doctor. So off we went to the emergency care facility and it turned out he had a double ear infection.

Trip 4- Oh wait, there hasn't been a trip 4 yet because after trip 3 I swore off any further family vacations in order to keep my sanity intact. After trip 3, we were talking to neighbors about our trip and Jay (who always sees the bright side of things) actually told them we had a nice trip. I think it was at that point that I got whiplash because my head spun around so fast to see if he was joking. He wasn't. I looked at him in disbelief and asked him what trip he was on because we obviously had not been on the same vacation.

I'm hoping this time, this one time, we can escape without seeing anyone in a white lab coat. So for the last few days, I've been studying my kids every move, every sniffle, every cough for a sign...any sign. I am hopeful that this may be our year. But I've packed an entire medicine cabinet- just in case.

Open wide

Jack never plays quietly. For some reason, he always seems to make these noises while he's playing. Sometimes I don't even notice it anymore but if he has a toy in his hand, or he's pretend playing, he always makes constant noise.

I was capturing him on film making some of these noises and then it kinda, well...it kinda evolved into some other stuff.

video

Monday, July 14, 2008

What is up with his obsession with boobs?

Early this morning...

Creeaaaak went my bedroom door. Step...step...step, step, stepstepstepstep. "Uh Daddy? Daddy? Hi Daddy." a small voice whispered.

"Hey buddy."

A bit of grunting and groaning as Jack climbed into bed with us and then all was quiet for about 10 minutes or so. I felt Jack's little hand on my back to get my attention but I was still tired so I continued to fake sleeping.

I started to nod off again and then Jack turned his attention to Jay. "Uh Daddy? Daddy?"

"Hmmm, what Jack?"

"Is that your boob?"

...pause...pause...

"Boys don't have boobs."

Uh oh, I thought to myself. This is bordering on a discussion related to birds and bees or private parts (also known to Jay as "it" or "thingy"). This is not Jay's area of expertise. That is my department. In our house, we have very clear roles and responsibilities. Laundry, killing bugs and mowing the lawn-Jay. Dishwasher, grocery shopping, anything close to resembling a sex talk- Me.

Jack wasn't going to let him off that easy. "Well, uh then what are those uh reddish brown circles right there?"

...pause...pause...

"Huh, Daddy? What is it?"

...pause...pause...

Oh for the love of Pete! It's going to be one of those times where I might need to save Jay from "that type of thing". So, I inhaled deeply and jumped in. "They're called nipples, Jack. Boys have nipples."

And then Jay breathed a sigh of relief. Crisis averted. Hillary Clinton once said, "It takes a village to raise a child." Or in our case, it takes at least one parent who can say words like nipple, vagina and penis out loud without cringing. And it takes another to kill the bugs.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A blow to the ego

This morning Megan was combing her hair in the mirror and as she gazed at herself she said, "Do you think I look like a teenager? Because some teenagers are adults, you know. Some teenagers are 18 and that makes them adults."

"Not really." I replied. "But sometimes when I look at you, I can picture what you are probably going to look like as an adult."

"Really? Who do you think I will look like? Do you think I will look like you?"

"Um, well actually, I think you might end up looking like Aunt Lori."

"YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm going to be a miniature Aunt Lori. She's so pretty!" Megan yelled a little too excitedly for my taste. I mean, what's wrong with looking like me? I may not be the prettiest person around but I don't think I'm an eyesore by any measure. And it was at this point that I should have reminded myself of one of my cardinal rules- Don't ever ask a question that you really don't want the answer to. But I asked anyway.

"What's wrong with looking like me?"

"Uh well," you could see her trying to back peddle a bit. "She's pretty. Not that you're not but well, she's like, um pretty all the time."

***Note to self: do some self reflection and see if you've been letting yourself go.***

"Mom," Megan continued. "What's Aunt Lori's job again?" At this point, I could see Megan's mind working. She was thinking about how to look like Aunt Lori, dress like Aunt Lori, marry Aunt Lori's husband, Uncle Billy (but that's a whole other story) and to make the life complete, she was now pondering having the same job as Aunt Lori.

"She's a teacher remember? Why, do you think you want to be a teacher?"

"Uh, not really."

So I decided to take another shot at it. My ego was bruised at this point so I was looking for a bit of redemption. If it wasn't going to be my beauty, certainly she may be interested in my brains, right??? "Well, how about if you look like Aunt Lori, but you could have a job just like Mommy?"

Without hesitation, and with a mild bit of panic in her voice at my proposal, Megan said, "NO WAY! Your job is soooooo boring. All you do is type on your computer and say things like, 'Our product is launching, yeah.'"

Gasp, is she mocking me???

She continued, "Oh and you also say stuff like, 'SHHHHHH, can't you see I'm on the phone?'"

Okay- now I officially feel like a loser.

He's faster than a tractor

I honestly love to listen to Jack talk. I have no idea how his mind works but when he says really random things, I just wish I could get into his brain. Like tonight, he came running in from outside to go to the bathroom and told me, "I made it through the door before the portal closed." Uh, HUH??? Where did that come from?

The other night I hit the jackpot in the video department. I just let the camera roll on Jack after his dinner meltdown. He was stuck in the house (as grounded as a 4 year-old can get although he told me later he thought grounding was when kids were put underground) until he apologized to his dad for his behavior at dinner. But when Jack finally decided he wanted to apologize, Jay was out on the riding mower, cutting our lawn. Jack was trying to convince me it would be a good idea to run to the tractor while Jay was cutting the lawn.

video-

Thursday, July 10, 2008

It will be our little secret

I've always wondered what goes on in Megan and Jack's rooms after I put them to bed at night. Sometimes in the morning when I go in to get them up, it's like I'm putting the pieces of a puzzle together to figure out what activities took place in their room between 8:00 PM and 7:00 AM. Toys are typically moved, books are out and with Megan, sometimes she's in a different outfit than she was wearing when I put her to bed.

But I've decided that is fine with me as long as two conditions are met:
1) They don't come out until the sun is up. (Exception- If they need to go potty then they need to go straight back to their room when they finish).
2) They don't wake up cranky.

Jack gave me a glimpse into what happens when the lights go out and the door is closed. It's now our little secret.
video

Females in the family unite!


As we were walking downtown last night for some dessert, I leaned down to Megan and said, "Hey, maybe after we get our ice cream we can stop at the Gap on the way to the car."

"What for?" she asked.

"Well, I was thinking about getting some shorts."

Megan's eyes lit up, "Can I get some, too?"

"Maybe, we'll see what happens after we get done with our dessert."

So after our ice cream stop, I kind of let the idea go of stopping at the Gap. The impulse to buy started to subside. After we walked past, Megan turned to me and said, "Hey Mom, I thought you wanted to stop at the Gap?"

Jay turned and looked back at us. "What for?" he asked.

"Oh, I was telling Megan that I was thinking about getting some shorts."

"Aw, you don't need any more shorts." Jay said, half joking.

I shrugged my shoulders and walked a few more steps before Megan looked at me and said, "Hey Mom, he's not the boss of you!"

The boy needs his ears checked- say what????

Last night in the hardware store:

Jack (practically yelling): MOMMA- CAN WE GET THIS???
Me: No and why are you yelling?
Jack: LOOK AT THOSE KEYS MOMMA. IS THAT COOL?
Me: Yes it is and please stop yelling. You are talking so loud.
Jack: WHICH ONE IS MINE? IS MINE THE BLUE ONE?
Me: Shhh, Jack. Seriously.
Megan: Jack, why are you talking so loud? Mom, maybe he needs to get his ears checked.
Me: Nah. He just got his ears checked at school a couple months ago and he was just fine. Isn't that right Jack?
Jack: Huh? What did you say?

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A sighting as rare as an Amur leopard

Megan is usually a bit reluctant about drawing attention to herself especially when there are crowds, or a video camera involved. At Megan's one and only dance recital, she froze. She had what I call a Cindy Brady moment (you know the episode where she's on TV and the little red light comes on and she just stares at the camera). When the lights came up and the camera was on her, she stood there while the entire class danced around her for 3 minutes. Watching it from the crowd, I started to tear up as I watched her silent panic and I felt mortified for her.

Tonight on our deck, I was able to capture a rare sight- Megan singing on tape. She decided to entertain us with an impromptu concert. Although, there were a couple snags along the way. Every time Megan started her "show" Jack started to yell in the background. I love the bugged out look on her face that she gives him but she is able to maintain her composure. She was trying to star in and direct the film and as such, since Jack kept interrupting, she kept directing me to "cut". Her first attempt at the cut sign ended up looking a bit more like the "Wax On, Wax Off" motion from The Karate Kid so I didn't quite catch on at first that I was supposed to shut off the tape.

Eventually, the show got underway and Megan just went with it when Jack hijacked her show. Megan opted to sing one of her favorite songs, I Am Your Brother. This was a song from the last season of American Idol. I have to give it to her, she sang it with gusto but as I watched, I couldn't help but wonder if I needed to write another genetic apology for her obvious inheritance of my singing genes.

Megan shifted into a rap number to close out the show and left us with these profound words, "Word, yo. Peace out."
video

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The heat is makin' em crazy

Things started out great. The kids were in a good mood; they were hungry and ready to eat. So off we went to the restaurant for dinner. The kids decided they wanted to eat outside and since it wasn't unbearably hot, we agreed. And so we sat. And we ordered.

Jay decided to take the kids in to play some vending machine games to kill time until our food came. A few moments later I saw Megan come flying out the door. She had the hugest smile on her face and was carrying a gray stuffed elephant. She obviously won it from the vending machine with the grabber thingy. You know the one. It's the machine that is nearly impossible to ever get anything from where no one ever wins. But she won! Then I saw Jay following close behind and one look on his face and I thought, "Uh oh. There is no way they won twice in a row." Sure enough, plodding along behind Jay, trying to hold back his tears but not doing a good job at it, was little Jack.

That was the turning point and from there the meltdown started to take place. First and foremost, it was the elephant and the constant questioning by Jack about the elephant and why does Megan get a toy and can he touch the elephant and hold the elephant. All of which was mildly irritating but I could see his point. He did kind of get the shaft in the deal.

Then there were the bugs. Little gnats that kept swarming Jack's head. He kept complaining he was getting bit and with every dive bomb of a gnat, the whining got more urgent and impassioned. To help get his point across, Jack kept swatting at his face while he whined, "They're biting me! I'm serious. They're biting me!"

And then Megan turned on me. 2/3 of the way through the meal, and halfway into her spaghetti with meat sauce, Megan turned to me and said, "Why did you order this for me? I don't like this kind of sauce." I looked at Jay like, oh no she di-dn't just try to blame this on me. Jay defended my honor and told her next time she should speak up and order something different and would she like a piece of bread? Which was a genius move by him because she got side tracked by the loaf of bread with butter which was lucky for me because that ended her tirade.

Jack was beyond done at this point. He just wanted out of there and started in on Megan. "Megan, when are you like going to be done with your noodles? You are taking too long, like for hours!" Which of course caused Megan to bring her bread eating speed from Kobayashi-hot-dog-eating-contest-style to a snail's pace.

It was right after I looked at Jay and said, "It's the heat. The heat is making them crazy." when Jack pretty much just lost control and out of frustration gasp, slapped Jay in the arm. I think I may have audibly gasped and thought to myself, "Whoa. He's gonna geeeettt it." You could tell by the look on Jack's face that he knew he made a big mistake and it reminded me of the time when I was in high school and I got in trouble for having a party at my house when my parents were out of town. I remember so clearly my dad saying to me, "You will not have a party in our house." I snapped, "Well, I don't see what the big deal is. It's my house too." And then I ran. Fast. Like roadrunner fast back to my room because I knew my dad was coming after me from that comment.

But Jack wasn't so lucky. He was cornered at the table and didn't have anywhere to go. Jay looked at him in disbelief and said, "Did you just hit me?" And then Jay started removing Things That Are Fun For A Four Year Old- Like dessert. Like going back to the vending machine for another shot at a toy. Like the Burger King trip planned for the next day.

Then we left. Jack whimpered the whole way home and I went to get him out of the car. I opened the door and Jack looked at me and said, "Daddy ruined half of my life!"

Sunday, July 6, 2008

You know you are video taping your kids too much if...

I think I may have been pushing the limit lately on the video taping. My kids are starting to boycott me. Over the last two days, I have more than 5 taped incidents where my kids are asking me...begging me...to just stop taping already!

Megan in particular has acquired a "talk to the hand" approach when I'm taping her. She actually at one point told me, "Talk to the hand. Film the hand but don't film me."

Jack on the other hand started out much sweeter in his approach by simply asking, "Momma, can you please stop doing that?" But once I had him in the car and was taping, I think he started to feel a bit like a caged animal and became a tad more aggressive in his approach by saying, "Maaaaaa-Maaa! STOP. IT!"
video

Take my advice, please!

Megan typically never takes my advice, on anything. I can't even begin to count the number of discussions (also known as arguments) where she asks my opinion on something and doesn't bother to heed my advice.

A typical example looks like this:

Megan: What's the weather like out today? Will it be cold enough to wear pants?
Me: It's going to be 120 bazillion degrees out. You should definitely wear shorts.
Megan: But I want to wear pants.
Me: That's crazy. It is going to be extremely hot today and pants would be crazy.
Megan: Okay.

...Ten minutes later...
Megan comes down the stairs in pants.

It drives me nuts when she does that but it's always been that way. Once when she was 3, she refused to wear black pants. I assured her that black matched with everything but she still refused. I finally had to call in the reinforcements. I called Aunt Lori... In Megan's eyes, Aunt Lori is super cool, super fun and above all, super fashionable and hip. I begged Lori to assist with the situation and I kid you not, after playing Polly Pockets with Megan for less than 10 minutes, Megan was singing the praises of the black pant. Lori just had to mention that she wanted her doll to wear black pants because black pants are cool and they go with everything and that was it. I never had a problem with the black pants again.

But alas, I can't have Aunt Lori rescue me from all situations so I typically just muddle my way through our discussions trying in earnest to explain why she shouldn't wear a sweater in 90 degree heat. I think the most frustrating thing is that she asks for my advice, but she never takes my advice. It reminds me of that Seinfeld episode where Jerry is yelling at the lady working the rent-a-car counter. "See, you know how to take the reservation, you just don't know how to *hold* the reservation and that's really the most important part of the reservation, the holding. Anybody can just take them."

But today we had a breakthrough. Megan was setting up a room for her new Webkinz, and she asked my opinion on what the theme of the room should be. After I made a few suggestions that were initially negated by Megan, I got frustrated and left her to make the ultimate decision. Then later today...
video

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Injuries vs. boo-boos

Jack: Um, Daddy? Injuries hurt worse than boo-boos, right?
Jay: Yes.
Jack: Okay, um Daddy? I'm going to give you a hint for a kind of injury, okay?
Jay: Okay.
Jack: The hint is... bloody nose.
Jay: Well, that's not a hint. That's the whole injury.
Jack: Oh.

4th of July lessons learned

We decided to take the plunge this year and take Megan and Jack to see some fireworks. In the past, we stayed away from late night events because, well our kids get up early- like before the sun comes up early. And it doesn't seem to matter what time they go to bed, they still get up around the same time every morning. Our philosophy has always been, and continues to be that we will let our kids stay up late on occasion, if they a)sleep in later or b) don't act as though they are the spawn of Satan the following day.

So, we decided to give it a go. It actually turned out as perfectly as I would have hoped. The weather was perfect; We didn't have to park too far from our car; The kids were in good spirits; The woman sitting behind us had a pet goose.

Um, yeah- I'll back up a second on that last point. At first we thought it was fake because the head was sticking up out of a box. But once she took the goose out of the box and it sat on her lap, Megan and Jack had to get a closer look. Megan inched her way over to the lady and Jack just walked right up and stared at her for a second. Jay and I couldn't hear the conversation that took place but a moment later, the kids came back looking a tad bit bewildered.

"Well," I said. "What happened? What did she say?"

Megan shrugged her shoulders and said, "Um, well she said the goose bites."

"Oh, really?"

Megan said, "Yeah." Then she thought for a moment and asked, "Why would someone have a goose that bites?"

Exactly my question too!!! Well, that would actually be my next question. My first question is what the heck is anyone doing with a goose as a pet in the first place and how the heck did she train that thing to sit in her lap???

Anyhoo, as we waited for the fireworks to start, Jay started to get a bit nostalgic and talked about how when he was growing up that his family would go see fireworks, too. "But we would always leave the fireworks before the grand finale." Jay said. "My dad always wanted to get a jump on the traffic."

So we made it through the fireworks, and through the grand finale and headed to the car. We started to make our way out of the parking lot along with everyone else. It was like taking a 5 lane highway down to one lane. We inched along for a moment and then sat in bumper to bumper traffic.

...and we sat...

...and we sat...

...and we sat some more...

...and we sat even more...

And when Jay put the car in park, resigned to the fact that we were going to be there for a while, I turned to him and asked, "What was that you were saying earlier about your dad leaving the fireworks early?"

Jay paused for a brief second and said, "Genius."

Friday, July 4, 2008

An apology to my kids for having half of my genes floating through your DNA

To Megan and Jack,

I want to say I am sorry. I know you may not care about this now, but at some point in your future, between the months of May and September, you may wonder how this may have happened to you. What exactly is "this" you ask? Well, "this" is half of my DNA that is floating in your body that could potentially result in "this":

And I know you may be scared, but it's okay. I know you've seen me gingerly touching my skin, canceling the follow up trips to the pool, and heard your dad say, "Man doesn't that look painful?" with that winced look on his face. But I can tell you this, you will make it through this. Given my many years of dealing with my milky white skin, I have a few bits of wisdom to impart on you as you grow older:

1) First and most importantly, DON'T EVER FORGET SUNSCREEN. Yesterday was a total lapse in judgement for me and the additional lesson here is that even big people make mistakes.

2) Take up winter sports. Ice skating, snowboarding and the luge are all fine choices.

3) Pick your friends wisely as you grow older. Birds of a feather is what I say in the skin department. I mean it. I'm just saying I'm going to save you a bunch of alone time. I can't tell you how many times my Puerto Rican, Italian, Greek, Filipino and...and... well I'm not sure what nationality the other friends were but I can tell you that they tanned very nicely. But anyway, as I was saying, I can't tell you how many times, after 10 minutes in the sun with baby oil, I heard myself say, "Okay, well that's it for me. I'm fried to a crisp." and then went inside to watch MTV for hours by myself.

Now for you, the phrase "fried to a crisp" will probably just be a figure of speech because no one in their right mind would consider laying out with baby oil anymore. But for me, unfortunately, it was that I literally had fried myself to a crisp.

That said, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for you. In an effort to dilute your milkiness, I found and married a lovely man with FANTASTIC skin. I'm sure you've noticed this already. Especially when I'm standing next to your dad glowing like a beacon in the night next to him in all his tanned glory. But it is my hope and prayer that in the skin department, you have acquired a significant, if not majority chunk, of his DNA. But only time will tell.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed for you that you have a smooth road ahead of you for the summers to come. Megan, I think you may have lucked out but Jack, I'm a little worried about you buddy. But in either case, I love you and am here to support your skin no matter what.

Love,
Mom

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Hey look- It's Sasquatch!

Jack & Jay were changing clothes in the locker room at our health club after an afternoon of swimming. Jay mentioned that as he was changing Jack, that Jack was muttering something under his breath that he couldn't quite make out. "What did you say? I can't hear what you are saying." Jay said.

Jack continued to whisper said, "I'm telling myself a secret."

"What's the secret?"

"Uh, he's furry. That guy is furry." Jack told Jay just barely above a whisper.

Jay turned around to see who Jack was talking about and apparently, it wasn't to hard too figure it out. In Jay's own words, "When I turned around, the guy was wearing a body sweater."

American Girl Mania

Who is the best mom in the whole world? Uh, that could quite possibly be me. Well, at least in my daughter's eyes, for about the next 3-4 hours I will hold that title.

Tonight I took Megan to see the new American Girl movie, Kit Kittredge. But wait! Not only did I take her to see the movie, I also took one of her friends along. AND, it was at one of those really cool theaters where you can order an actual meal which the girls thought was super awesome. AND, one of the movie's stars, Madison Davenport, was there signing autographs.

The girls were really excited to see the movie and it was actually really good, as far as wholesome movies for kids go.

The only somewhat awkward moment was during the previews of the movie. One of the movie previews, uh how shall I say it, didn't quite fit the demographic of the movie audience. Or at least 2/3 of the audience. After seeing the preview, I am actually looking forward to the movie coming out called The Women but I'm not sure the trailer hit home with the 5-10 year olds in the audience. I mean, I find movies about 4 middle aged women trying to figure out how to tell their friend that her husband is having an affair with a super sexy hot woman that works at the cosmetics counter right up my alley. 5-10 year olds? Hmmm not so much.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

What's a mom supposed to do with a fact like this?


Email blast from neighbor two days ago:

Title: Man In Van"

Hi,
Heads up to everyone who has kids out and about in the area. Yesterday (Saturday, 6/28) at about 2 pm a 9 year old girl in our neighborhood was riding her bike to a friend's house. A man in a blue van pulled up next to her. He told her he had a puppy in the van. He got out of the van and approached her and became angry when she would not get into his van with him. He threatened to call the police if she would not go with him. She got away. The police were notified and interviewed her extensively. The van was a late model utility type vehicle with a Cubs sticker on the back driver's side window. He is a tall, medium build white man with tan skin. He drove away westbound on Whirlaway.

Hopefully he has been scared off but please be alert and watch out for the kids!


My heart skips a beat and I think this can't be happening. I mean, I know it can be happening but most times, I like to live with an "ignorance is bliss" motto and go under the assumption that things like this happen in those other towns, not mine. I'm perfectly happy over here in my cul-de-sac with my nice neighbors in the western suburbs of Chicago living with my head in the sand. To be honest, I was a little bit annoyed when my neighbor sent me that little reality check because... sigh... well, now what the heck am I supposed to do with that information???

I mean, now I'm totally between a rock and a hard place.

Do I tell Megan and Jack to look out for some white guy in a blue van because he tried to but didn't quite abduct a girl less than two miles from our house? Let's face it-like I said, I live in the western suburbs of Chicago. Let's venture a guess as to how many white guys in blue minivans are in my town. Hmm... um... maybe...twenty...THOUSAND???? They are a freaking dime a dozen!

Delivering that kind of news to my kids may cause their little world to stop spinning on its axis. I'm pained at the thought of causing them undue stress as they contemplate that any car, and any person, might be coming to steal them away. I can already see the onslaught of nightmares that Jack (my sensitive child)will have upon hearing such news. And I can also imagine Megan (my rule following, toe-the-line child) inciting panic amongst the other kids in the cul-de-sac about the remotely possible, but probably more of a chance of getting struck by lightening, abduction that may or may not ever take place.

Or...

Do I say nothing and hope for the best? This certainly is the more attractive option of the two. Given my penchant for sticking my head in the sand, and Jay's (my extremely logical husband) genetic predisposition to only worry about things that actually happen and require worrying, that will likely be our approach to the situation. But I can't help but have a bit of unease about this approach. Because my morbid nature immediately compels me to think of the worst case scenario. You know, the one where my kids are happily playing in the cul-de-sac and then I look out my window and see a blue van with a Cubs sticker on the driver's side window speeding away and I'm left thinking, "But if I'd only mentioned to be on the look out..."