Friday, December 23, 2011


I have a zillion Christmas blogs in edit mode. I'm hoping this one makes the cut.

I want to write about the excessive commercialism, the lost meaning, the overabundance of food, random acts of kindness, why you shouldn't keep talking to kids about Santa so much since it just sets every parent up for failure, what would Jesus think of it all, why parents put the Elf on the Shelf in pornographic positions, and the year my mother accidentally raised my oven temp to 500 degrees causing a chestnut to explode in my face.

But I won't.

I just want to say that we all work really hard this time of year to make the holiday extra special. We get less sleep, we work extra hours, and we get super stressed; always feeling we're not doing enough, not baking enough, not buying enough.

But, Enough is Enough.

Every so often during this season (when I am ready to have an anxiety attack about it all), I have to center myself and think back to last year. I vaguely remember what we bought the kids. I have no memory of what people gave me and have to think extra hard about what we ate. So, my point is, none of what you are doing and buying matters at all. It seems so "high priority", but in reality, next year, none of it will matter and this Christmas will be another distant memory.

For me, the only thing that really matters from year to year, is who is present and who is not.  And when you experience your first Christmas without that special someone, whether it's your Mom, Dad, Grandparent, Sibling, Spouse or your beloved pets, Christmas Day can be a devastating day. The gifts and the food mean nothing when you're grieving a loss.

The presence of your loved ones are the presents. This year, the big presents for me are that my entire family is together, under one roof.  There will be a LOT of noise, food, mess, laughter, and silliness, thanks to their presence. I can't think of a better gift.

Love and peace to all of you in the New Year,

Monday, December 19, 2011

TextmasTime is here

My Hurricane Irene blog helped you when the lights went out. Now, here is the Holiday edition to help you communicate with your peeps without overtaxing your fingers.

Whether you are a parent or a bored teen, there is something for everyone here while you Text the Halls. Add the following to your phones for those times when you need to vent to your TextPals.

NML: No More Legos!

DTENCIIDIFB: Does this eggnog count if I drink it for breakfast?

IDCTYFYSIO: I don't care that you finished your shopping in October

EOTSIACP : Elf on the Shelf in another compromising position.

IIBTIWTGAFXMS: Is it bad that I want to go away for xmas?

ACSWARM: At cookie swap with aunt, rescue me!

TKASA: The kids are sick again

DTFCSMMLF?: Does this fugly Christmas sweater make me look fat?

ROOSHDC: Ran out of stamps, hand delivering cards

GSAYSA: Got screwed at Yankee Swap, again.

IMBETCTJ: It might be easier to convert to Judaism

BNIFU: Batteries not included....

WMUI2012: Wake me up in 2012

Monday, December 12, 2011

Jugs R' Us (and why does this lady look so happy?)

It seems lately I cannot post a blog that does not include the words "boob" or "breast". In keeping with this theme....

Today was my yearly Mammogram. If you are under 40 and have never had a lump or worrisome history, then you have not enjoyed the pleasure of having your boobs squeezed into a vice. (This yearly test may save your life so please do not skip it! I am not here to give you medical advice so please do not sue me.)

I am here to tell you that after you have your first mammogram, you will feel the need to have a cigarette and a shot of brandy. You will feel the burning desire to scream, "What is the point of wearing this Johnnie if 99% of my upper torso is already naked while you twist my breast 180 degrees, squeeze it, vice it, and direct me to simultaneously stick out my butt like Mrs. OohWiggins? How exactly does the Johnnie help my dignity?"

After some intense research (Google), I confirmed that a man did, in fact, invent the mammography machine. No gal pal I know would torture another sister in this fashion, unless she was messing with her private stash of chocolate. Then, totally justified.

I know this machine can be a life saver. And I feel sorry for these poor technicians who do such a phenomenal job but have to resort to Cirque De Soleil maneuvers to get the scan just right. And I think about what they see (and touch!) on a daily basis. It runs the gamut from floppy fried eggs to mammoth watermelon jugs. They definitely need an award, or a chest to pin it on, as my mom likes to lovingly point out.

Turns out, I passed this year's exam with flying colors, thank God. And I will go back again, exactly one year from now. What can I say, I am a glutton for punishment.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Parenthood: Blessing or Burden?

When I became a mother, I had some clue as to how life would be....or so I thought. You never really know until you are in the trenches, up for nights on end; feeding, changing, nursing, crying (yours), repeat. And you think the hard work is just when they are babies but there is always a new stage to contend with and as good as your little angels are, it's still a lot of freaking work and it never goes away. Sure, you can grab a date night, an hour nap, or a one way run down the street screaming your head off for only so long. The job of motherhood is always there; 365 day/year job which pays you squat. Your leash is a short one, no matter how you slice it. The job violates every labor law out there. Why hasn't the Department of Labor intervened by now?

One recent article sparked some controversy. Take a look here. It's about parents who love their kids but hate their lives. If you are childless by choice, this article will make you feel validated. If you have kids, well, I can't tell you how you feel. If you wish you had kids, then please don't read the article. Personally, I love being a mother and feel that it is one of my "vocations" in life that I was meant to do, and if that sounds too corny for you then, too bad. I do have other hopes and dreams aside from all the glory and goo that is motherhood. But it's not easy, none of it. No matter who you are, whether you are a SAHM (Stay At Home Mom) or a WOHM (Work Outside Home Mom), we are all working our fannies off, right? Aren't we all doing what is best for our families and ourselves? Isn't that enough? I think it is. No one gets a prize when it's all over that says, "She made her own dough" or "She sewed all the kids' clothes". The prize is that everyone got out alive and mostly unscathed at the end of each day.

I know plenty of parents (many are very close friends) who have severely disabled or chronically ill children. Their kids' medical needs are never ending and their futures are unpredictable, at best. And do you know what is interesting about them? I NEVER hear them complain about their kids. And do you know why? Because they are just plain grateful to have those children, problems and all. Then, there are the parents who are given the most precious, perfect and healthy children and for whatever reason, do not see it. They complain about every little thing.

We all have our days. But to say that a person "hates their life" as a result of having children makes me cringe. Do you view having a child as a blessing or a burden? Every day and every night, and many times in between, I am counting my blessings, big and little.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Got Formula? Not anymore!

Our local baby factory hospital, Women & Infants, has recently announced that they will no longer provide formula samples to new moms who are being discharged. Their claim is that the formula sends the wrong message to mothers and discourages breast feeding, while also endorsing products, another bad message. (They also give you as many free Pampers as can fit in a body bag, but I guess that does not count).

I think this new practice is stupid, stupid, stupid.

A little background, in case you think I am biased (but aren't we all?). I was the mother who was beyond determined to make breastfeeding work no matter what happened. At no point was my baby ever going to have formula, unless it was a dire emergency. I took all the classes, I coached my nipples, preparing them for what was to "come", and I had all the right equipment; the pump, the peek-a-boo bras, the plastic breast shields (don't ask), the leakage pads, and the extra strength Advil for the pain that would ensue.

Are you picturing Wonder Woman without the tiny waist? Good.

Then my first born arrived. An average sized baby who had a hard time "latching on". What? How could this happen? Isn't breastfeeding the most natural thing in the world? Doesn't the baby have an instinct? And who are these hairy women coming into my room, analyzing my breasts and prying open my baby's mouth by his chin while squirting water in his face to wake him up, all in the name of a feeding? And did I mention that I can't even rest the baby on my tummy for a feeding as I've just had a C-section. Home team disadvantage, you must hold the baby like a football under your arm. Do these people know how much I hated flag football in junior high? I sucked! And now my baby doesn't even know how to.

Day 2: The baby starts getting jaundicy and it later turns out it's not the normal kind. It's the kind called "Breastfeeding Jaundice", which they tell me can only be cured by drinking more breast milk. Super! I have a yellow baby who wants to sleep all the time, has a receding chin (not cool in the Land of Lactation), and was just circumcised (adding to more trauma).

At this point, I may have turned to formula. I did not. As I said, I was determined! I used the hospital pump and tried to increase the supply of milk so the baby could look less like a lemon.

They even let me take him home where I continued pumping and nursing constantly. However, this baby was not recovering from Breast milk Jaundice and was losing weight. My pediatrician (also a nursing mother to 3 kids), knew how much I wanted this to work. She finally advised formula to supplement, just to get his weight up. I was devastated at the time, but I did what she said. I was in no way going to mess with his development. He ended up gaining weight and was fine, however, my breast milk supply never "took off", so he was a half and half baby. Kind of like what you put in your coffee.

Then I had my 2ND baby 4 years later. I gave the breastfeeding a try and miraculously, it worked extremely well for 15 months. He had formula once in a blue moon.

We all know that breastfeeding is the most natural and nutritious food choice for a baby. However, sometimes, it just doesn't work out for whatever reason. And after having experienced my own reasons, I can understand why some women "give up" on breastfeeding, or don't even try it. They probably hear horror stories or perhaps they are too self conscious to even try it. You cannot judge another woman for choosing formula. You are not in her bra, are you?

So, getting back to my opening sentence way up top. No matter what your choice is, having a sample of formula handed to you upon discharge will not be the nail in the coffin. You have already had the baby and by the time you have left the hospital, you have fed the baby via breast or bottle and have made some type of decision, correct? And what happens if you get home and you don't have a back up plan in case you cannot nurse? Won't that dinky little sample from the Similac company come in handy?

I loved my experience at Women & Infants and I am so grateful that both my babies were delivered safely and I was treated with the best possible care by all of the nurses and staff. However, I believe this new policy is just silly and they are using the wrong platform to send their message. The free Pampers do not cost the hospital any money, nor do the formula samples. You get all kinds of freebies as a new mom. Considering what the formula companies charge, I think it's the least they can do. The hospital already has their army of lactation consultants swarming the castle like Breastfeeding Ninjas, sniffing out every woman who springs a leak, so we know that they give breastfeeding more P.R. than the Kardashian girls.

Perhaps the hospital's new strategy can include sending all new moms home with a 60 year old Russian wet nurse. Now that would be useful!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Why you should go to that Class Reunion

It's hard to believe that 25 years have passed since my high school graduation. I have attended most of our reunions and I must say, this milestone reunion was the best ever. I can only speak for myself but I have a feeling that my classmates share the same sentiments. This one was extra special!

We're all getting older; that is a no brainer. But I think as you hit your 40s, the reality of mortality and time slipping through your fingers really starts to hit you. Many of us have lost parents, have dealt with tragedies, personal or family illness, daily stress and struggles, loneliness, or hardship. On the flip side, many have gotten married (twice!), had kids, enjoyed thriving careers, or traveled the world. We've all been down many roads with paths leading us on unexpected turns and twists. However, the one thing we all have in common is our time together in school.

There's something about this shared experience that makes you all warm and fuzzy inside. Even if you weren't the most popular, the smartest, or good looking (in whose eyes?) kid in school, we all had our fun. If you were a self-proclaimed Motorhead, Preppy, Dexter, Nerd, Beauty Queen, Jock, or Plain Jane, I know you had at least one friend to share your miserable experience with! I am so thankful to have had one of those friends who "got" me right away and made my 3 years the best ever. I still cherish that girl to pieces and I am so thankful she was brave enough to organize our 25th reunion!

Heading to a reunion after so many years can be scary. Let's face it, things are not exactly where they used to be. On our "Pre-Reunion" Facebook group, the boys were strategizing bald spot and pot belly coverage while the girls worried about love handles, saggy boobs, and laugh lines. Our conversation thread cried out with desperation to Sally Hanson, Spanx, and Manx (my own homage to men's Spanx), even minutes before the reunion began. The hysteria we all felt was contagious and made going to the reunion that much more fun.

And it turned out that we all look pretty damn good! Yes, we are aging but we are doing it together so we're all on the same playing field. There's really no point in trying to look like something you aren't. (Botox and toupees went undetected by this writer.)

What really mattered that night was that we had a rare opportunity to get reacquainted and stroll down memory lane. The night was filled with "our" music, laughter, hugging, crying, more hugging,some odd dance moves, more than a few, "Oh, I remember you!" (even when we didn't with the help of name tags, but that's ok), and wanting this night to last just a little longer.

Life is short and time flies. Both total cliches, and completely true. If you have a chance to go to a class reunion, just go. Don't think about it.

No matter what your experience was in High School, a night with your old classmates will leave you re-energized, giddy, wistful, overwhelmed, grateful, and just plain happy.

And leave the Spanx behind. Dancing to Michael Jackson's P.Y.T while feeling like a sausage stuffed in its casing does not a Pretty Young Thing make.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Want some candy little girl?

I am writing this blog under the influence of being dessert free for one whole week. I didn't think it was possible but after Halloween came and went, I went on a Tootsie Roll bender that would choke a horse. It was not pretty.

I decided to just cut myself off and go cold turkey and now I must say, I'm feeling a bit strange. I definitely don't feel like eating as much and now I'm craving raw vegetables. I am not sure if you should congratulate me or console me. I'm also feeling a tad self-righteous but that's not to say you won't find me face down in a Zaccagnini's chocolate cream pie a week from now. I know this won't last, and that's OK. I just had to detox and take back the control. Excessive sugar really does mess with your brain chemistry and is an addictive substance. Why else would I be eating cake pops in the bathroom and when asked by my kids, "Mommy, what's that you're eating?" my reply "Cheese", when it was actually the 10th mini Milky Way.

People have asked me, "How do you give it up?" Well, you have to be ready. You have to reach rock candy bottom, like I did. And to answer the question, "How do you continue to do it?" Well, I take the AA approach. One Day at a Time. I also find it helpful to snub the sweets when they somehow cross my path. I can be a real b*tch like that.

Have you ever tried to give up sweets? If so, please share your experience here. Am I the only one eating cake pops in the bathroom?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tricky Picky Nicky Soup

If you have a picky eater who poo poos the nicest veggies in town, LISTEN UP! By using an immersion blender, I managed to disguise beans and carrots, 2 things that would normally be picked out of the bowl.

I am calling it Tricky Picky Nicky Soup.

Here are the ingredients:

2 (32 oz each)boxes of chicken or vegetable stock (or your own homemade version)
3-4 carrots chopped
3-4 stalks of celery chopped
1 small onion chopped
1 tsp dried thyme
salt/pepper to taste
Combine all of the above ingredients in a large pot and bring to a boil. Cover and let simmer for approx 20 minutes on med/low heat.

Add 1 can of white cannellini beans which have been drained and rinsed and let it simmer another 15 minutes or so.

Next, take the immersion blender and puree the mixture right in the pot. This saves you from having to transfer the hot liquid to a food processor (total bummer and messy).

Blend the soup mixture until you can no longer see chunks of beans or carrots as Picky Nicky will find them, trust me!! (Or leave some chunks in there if you prefer.)

Add to this 1 cup of small dried pasta (star shaped work wonders for the little ones) and cook until the pasta is cooked. (You can always cook the pasta separately and add to the soup.)

If you are really adventurous, add some frozen chopped spinach at the end. Simmer another 2 minutes.

Serve this delectable soup with grated Parmesan cheese, freshly chopped parsley, crushed red pepper flakes, a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a drizzle of olive oil and/or some crusty bread on top.

It's a delightful comforty peasant dish that 3 boys under the age of 9 all LOVED and each had a second bowl. The boy who never eats cooked carrots did not detect a thing. Thank you immersion blender. I will be using you more and more, now that I know about your magic powers!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Over Scheduled Kids, Stressed Out Parents. Who is Winning?

"So, today Joshie has soccer and piano, Amelia has dance and chorus, and Winston has Karate and T-Ball". Then she sighs. BIG.

This familiar rant is heard all around the car lines, the bus stops, and the play dates. The tone of voice and the exasperated looks are always the same as the day's schedule is announced.

Parents today spend so much time shuffling their kids from place to place they lose sight of their own needs and in the process, lose themselves, their sanity and their family structure. They complain, they whine, and they are just plain tired. (I will say this. There is a special heaven for Hockey Moms.)

It starts off innocently enough. After you have your first baby and get into somewhat of a groove, you start to venture out to "activities" for your little cherub. First, it's story hour at the library, then it's "Gymboree", and before he's one, you fear he's lagging behind so you enroll him in Mandarin Chinese language lessons. Then there are swim lessons, soccer, T-ball and karate, all before he's learned how to wipe. And for the girls, there is ballet, pageants (another blog), and Princess lessons.

We're so concerned that our child(ren) will not be able to "keep up" with the other children, we fall into the trap, thinking this insane rat race is normal.

Here's a little secret. It's not.

From my own Mom experience, I have learned that kids need to play; freely, by themselves, and with others. They love to explore, imagine, and create, all within their own space. How do I know this? Because I have 2 boys who fight over toilet paper holders and tape because they are too busy creating antennas, binoculars, robots, and microphones. They really don't need a lot to make them happy. Yesterday, they fought over a string and I had to set the timer to give each equal time playing with the string. I am not lying, people.

Parents complain about not having enough time but they do have a choice. In our house we have a 1 activity rule. Only one sport/activity allowed at a time. After it's over, you can move on to something different. Often times the parents are competing with each other to see who can do more. And in the end, does little Suzy end up in the New York Ballet? Does little Joshie get a full hockey scholarship? Chances are, no.

If you are a parent who is stressed from over scheduling, just ask yourself the following questions:
1. Does my child enjoy this activity? Ask the kid, s/he might surprise you.
2. Does taking my child to this activity place too many demands on the parent and family structure?
3. Is it too expensive? Are you sacrificing in other ways just to keep this activity going?
4. Are there alternatives to this activity?
5. How else would/could you spend your time if you weren't "sacrificing" for the child? (When do mommy & daddy get some play time is what I mean!!)
6. Is the child's school work suffering?
7. Is the child getting enough sleep and time to "be a kid"?
8. Do you think you missed out on something as a kid and are now trying to overcompensate?

Just some things to think about when finding the right balance in your family life. Personally, I was involved in softball, bowling, volleyball, Pep Squad, archery and school government. (I was the most uncoordinated participant out there, but I had fun). Most of my activities were "Intramural", free, and right after school. They did not seem to create any undue stress on my parents but at the same time, enriched my life, introduced me to new friends, and kept me out of trouble.

I hope this blog does not sound "preachy". My hope is that parents might take a step back and consider all factors. Childhood is already too short coupled with the fact that the life of a grownup is a constant treadmill. It sounds like a recipe for slowing down, doesn't it?

Just because everyone else is stressed and over scheduled doesn't mean you have to be too!

Would love to hear your feedback here on this blog. Please feel free to post your opinions here.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Lessons from Irene

1. There are people who drink and eat during the storm while there are people who will blow their leaves and mow, during the storm.

2. There are people who embrace the darkness, the lack of technology, and the dinners by candlelight with friends. And there are people who call a.m radio b*tching about not having electricity while their generators are humming.

3. If you know a hurricane is coming, just eat all the ice cream and get it over with.

4. You will continue to walk into a room even after seven days with no power, and still try to turn on the lights.

5. Your children will not even notice that there is no operating television

6. You will hear a.m radio caller say something like this: "I'm not calling to gripe like everyone else is about the electricity. I got my generator. I got my pool. What I'm worried about is, what exactly do they plan on doing about the hornet problem in my yard?"

7. You and your peeps will be huddled around a.m radio by candlelight. This will be your sole source of entertainment and you all make a pact to make it a weekly ritual, even long after the power returns.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Texting Up a Storm

The recent tropical storm, Irene, caused us all to think really hard about what is important. Like, how do we text during the storm so that our friends will understand what kind of crisis we are in? Well, Becky is here to save the day with some new texting abbreviations, should another catastrophe of this kind strike. Please share this with your friends so that we will all be on the same page next time!

1. SNP: Still No Power

2. FFKICBIM: Force Feeding Kids Ice Cream Before It Melts

3. TOLA: Tripped Over Legos Again

4. DDCF: Dropped Deuce Can't Flush

5. BTW: Buying the Wood

6. LAMRL: Listening to A.M. Radio Losers

7. ITMB?: Is This Milk Bad?

8. CSDTOT: Can't Shower, Doing The One Two

9. NDBAJL: No D Batteries At Job Lot

And my personal favorite, donated by the Mr:

10. FML: Fix My Lights!!!!

(Or, Find My Lantern)

Friday, September 2, 2011

Parents with Power

So, Hurricane Irene didn't do much damage in my hood but it did knock out our electricity for 6 days now (and counting). On Day One, we awoke to no power, a little earlier than we anticipated. I was hoping I'd squeeze in at least one last load of laundry, but oh well....

Who thought it would last this long? We hunkered down for the 1st 2 days of darkness with neighbors; cooking, drinking, eating, more cooking, laughing, and (finally) sleeping to the hum of nearby generators. Then we learned it would be days before getting the lights back so we packed the kids up and headed to my parents' house. (I honestly don't mind "roughing" it but I have my limits. If I can't do my laundry at least every other day, I start twitching. For more history on this click here. ) Plus, I am a big fan of fresh, cold food, something that is hard to keep when your fridge has been emptied and ice is nowhere to be found.

So, it was off to Manny & Ginger's house. ("Manny" is really "Kenny" but I nicknamed him Manny cuz he loves to read manuals to EVERYTHING, and "Ginger" is "Ginny", more on that in another blog.)

Thank goodness for parents, especially ones who don't mind a family of four invading their space. These 2 would really move the Sun and Earth for you....generous, kind, and beyond crazy.

Just a few tidbits of my last week with Manny & Ginger:

  • No matter what time of day, my father is eating. Standing at the kitchen counter. Eating. One night at 11pm, he was eating chopped onions and tomatoes with fresh basil. Still standing. Never sitting. Jars of pickled mussels, jalapeno peppers, Cheerios, topped with blueberries, milk and wait for it....crumbled blue cheese on top. I gently advised him that he shouldn't eat so late at night and his response was, "How is it eating late if I don't go to sleep until 2 a.m?"

  • Ginger: " Who the hell eats tomatoes and onions at night? Beck, what time does Dr. Drew come on? Is it after Nancy Grace and before Joy Behar?" Yes, mom. We'll watch in your bed and then Billy will come in to talk about Chaz Bono.

  • Cut to a commercial with the K girls. Ginger: "Ooh, I'm so sick of those Kardashian girls. They look like whoas."

  • My mother's obsession for sweet corn is worse than I thought. She cooks it at every meal and when she eats it, a lone kernel rests on her chin, waiting to be snacked on later.

  • My father writes down his doctor's appointment times on the sides of Kleenex boxes and then can't remember when he has to go. Until he sneezes.

  • Every conversation with my mother includes the words "RiteAid" and "Lottery Number"

  • My parents never use a door to exit the house.

  • Rubber bands are used on everything; from bagged salad and pasta boxes to bottles of pills.

  • And lastly, now I understand why Becky is the way she is.

Thank you to my wonderful parents! You guys are the best.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Come on Irene!

Ode to Irene....sung to the tune of "Addicted to Love":

The lights aren't on
And I'm not home
This gal named Rita, is on my phone
My pits are sweatin'
My food is spoiled
The kids are wired
The gridman's boiled

Ohh, you might be thinking that it's fun in the dark
But just wait until you're wiping and your underwear sparks

And you might be thinking that your ice will be fine
But just open up that cooler and your hands will be mine

(There is no end to this song, just as there seems to be no end to our power outage. Feel free to add your own ending to this song in the comments below!)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Why all Moms should take their little boys bathing suit shopping

I normally don't enjoy taking my kids clothes shopping,especially if those needed items are for moi. However, sometimes it's unavoidable and usually a little bribery (in this case, Trident gum) was enough to keep them happy. Considering what these 2 boys had to witness today in the dressing room, a better choice would have been Dove Chocolates or a trip to the Magic Kingdom.

I needed a bathing suit.

Yes, they did sit there watching; the 3 year old enamored with his gum wrapper, and the just turned 8 year old perched like an Olympic judge while I squeegied my way into the Land of Lycra.

Is it inappropriate for a mother to subject her sons to this? Maybe. But in my defense, I kept my bloomers on (like the sign says), and my eldest has already seen what's on the top shelf since his baby brother took up residence there for 15 months. They're just extra skin and stuff and someday all women will be allowed to mow their lawns shirtless like men do. I demand it! Wait, I don't mow the lawn.

Anyway, back to Lycra. The dressing room in any department store is a cruel, cruel place. For some reason, they still haven't realized that the lower the lighting, the better the sales. Why must the lights rival those of an operating room? Are they performing appendectomies on the off hours? Do we really need to see our facial hair, our spider veins and our cellulite all at 5000 mega pixels?

No. Which is why it's good to take your children on these adventures. You see, they don't judge. They don't critique that mass of veins on your legs, or the extra baggage you are carrying around on the lower shelf, or the less than perky top shelf. All they see is the pretty coral bathing suit and their Mom. Bingo. You are the most beautiful girl in the world to them.

I tried on 6 bathing suits and with each one, "Mom, that looks nice!" Not, "Mom, you have a short waist and should really try to e-longate it." or, "Your legs are so jiggly. You are so not buying THAT!"

Even though I couldn't find just the right suit for me, I still left the store with my head held high. The bribe gum remained intact and I was already looking forward to my next shopping trip with my kids.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Fuzzy Memories

Parents of this generation are big on creating memories for their kids. They overspend and overstress on making the kids' childhood rosy, glowy and supercharged with fun. And for some strange reason, they believe that the kids will remember all of the back breaking work they did.

I'm here to tell you, as a 43 year old mother who was a child once too, they really won't remember all of the minutiae that you are orchestrating. Every time I question or angst over a parenting dilemma, I think to myself, "He won't even remember this. Why am I bothering?" This gave me pause today as I tried to remember some things from my childhood, like before the age of 14. I remember nothing prior to age 4 or 5.

Here is what I came up with:

1. My siblings teaching me that if I stirred my Coke long enough it would turn to root beer

2. Spaghettio Saturdays

3. A tick in my head in kindergarten

4. Wearing my underpants under my bathing suit at a summer day camp because I was too embarassed to undress in front of the other girls

5. The way my mother sprinkled paprika on my tuna fish sandwiches and how special I thought that was

6. Getting hit in the boob (12 year old ones) with a line drive shot while I was pitching a softball game

7. Playing Manhunt into the dark of night with the neighborhood kids

8. Making chocolate chip cookies every Friday night with my sister while we watched Dallas and The Dukes of Hazard while our Mom went to Bingo

9. Playing a barbaric game called "Step on Stomachs" with my brother and sister

10. Winning a spelling bee in the 5th grade

11. Lite Bright and Spirograph

12. Kissing the TV whenever David Cassidy and the Partridge Family show started

13. My mother experiencing one of the worst foot cramps in history making my dad take her to the hospital, only to end up at Burger King since the cramp disappeared en route

14. Cutting my bangs in the 3rd grade so I could look like Olivia Newton-John in Grease but ended up looking more like the other girl with the buck teeth

15. The beach every Sunday from morning til night

16. My sister throwing up on the Block Island Ferry and my mother grabbing a lady's newspaper right out of her hands to catch it

17. My dad hiding all of us and our cousins in the back of his van (like illegal immigrants) so he wouldn't have to pay by the kid at Lake Mishnock

18. My grandpa Rico, giving all of us kids shots of beer and peanuts in his basement so we could all raise our glasses and shout, "Salute and Drink!"

19. My first AA meeting at age 10

That's pretty much all I remember. Do you need to create memories for your kids? Nope. Life has a way of doing that for them!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Not Yo Mama's Maytag Repair Man

This story happened almost a year ago. But it doesn't matter. My rage is still there.

The pizza crust was still an albino color after being in the oven for 20 minutes. Something was definitely not right with the oven. It was a hot day but I didn't care. We have a.c. and nothing stops me from making pizza when I get the hankering.

What to do? Who to call? Times like these I wish I married an appliance repair man (other times I wish I married a plumber, electrician, or auto mechanic!) After a few calls, I found a reliable repair man who has done work for other family members. He came the very next day. A bit on the grouchy side (complained about having to walk up my front steps, quite the hardship) but then got right to work. While diagnosing our problem and only $125 later, he joked that I probably called Dominoes during my prior pizza emergency. I twitched only slightly.

Then he started talking about his wife and grown kids. His crusty attitude resurfaced again as he referred to his daughter as a "Big Fat D". At this point, my husband and I looked at each other, totally confused. So hubby turned to him and said, "She's a Diva?", to which Mr. Oven Saver replied, "No, she's a Dy**." I can't even bring myself to type what he said. I am hoping you are intelligent enough to unlock the mystery.

Instead of unleashing on him, I said something like "As long as our kids are happy, then that's all that really matters", knowing full well that I could not change the spots on this leopard and just let it go.

But on that hot summer day, I was dually offended. I am not sure what upset me more, that he thought I, a direct descendant of the Pizza Therapy guru of all time, would call Dominoes Pizza or that he referred to his own flesh and blood as the "D Word".

Would you keep this repair man for future use? I won't. And if you know of anyone reliable and who doesn't use either "D" word, would you please post it here?

Friday, June 3, 2011

Forrest Gump was Right

Every time I reach into the box, my heart skips a beat. As my hands lightly caress the silky smooth, perfectly shaped square, my mouth begins to water. I pull it out of the box, giddy with excitement. I carefully open it.

Oh crap. They've done it again. They've somehow replaced the Ghirardelli chocolate square with a Kotex pantyshield. How could this have happened, again?

This is my recurring living nightmare each month. First it was the Always camp telling us girls to "Have a Happy Period". After discovering that their products do not have a built in tickling device, I boycotted, and switched over to Team Kotex which now markets their products like Forrest Gump.

If they really want us all to have a happy period, they should include a chocolate interspersed between all the pads instead of making each individual pad wrapped in jazzy, multi-colored plastic, only to disappoint yet another crazed woman. Why has this not happened yet? Why are they not getting it?

If you are a boy and cannot stand Ladies’ Days talk, then go scratch yourselves in the other room. But for my gal pals, read on.

The monthly Curse, Ant Flo, or your “Time” is up there with Death, Taxes and Laundry, so I know you all can relate.

My poor Portuguese friend got hers on her wedding day. My husband refers to her unfortunate event as her “Portuguese Wedding Present”(PWP). My friends and I like to speak in PWP code. But now the secret is out. You can use it too!

The PWP has been a major part of my life since I was 12. When she arrived, I was in complete denial and thought that brown color was a result of eating too much chocolate. And I refused to tell anyone until a few days had passed, even though my mother had prepared my sister and me by showing us a book about “Creation”. From what I gathered, chickens laid eggs and the man physically took his sperm (which I envisioned to be like holding a toothpick) in his hand and handed it to the woman. They both looked so happy in the picture and I never understood why.

After my brother read the book he said to my mother, “So your mother (our grandmother), had sex 12 times with your father?” She did have 12 kids so it all made perfect sense.

Over the years, Ladies' Days products have made some great strides since the “belt” era. And let's not forget what the cave women and my mother endured during GenRag. Envisioning her house of 12 kids (6 of them girls!) with a makeshift RagLine just makes me oh, so grateful.

The pads have taken off with wings, walls and channels. They can fly to the moon, win the Tour De France, and scale the Great Wall of China. The Tampons come in fluorescent colors and fold in half so you can fit them inside a Tic Tac case.

But no matter how jazzy you make Pretty Paddy or Talulah Tampon, they both end up in the same crime scene.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

How do you solve a problem like Ahnold?

Arnold is now the next one to come forward, not only revealing an adulterous affair but one that produced a love child. I put him in the same category as Tiger Woods, John Edwards, Elliot Spitzer, Mark Sanford, and Jesse James. All of these men appeared to have it all and threw it all away. They could have all easily divorced if they were unhappy but instead, they cheated cheated cheated and now their spouses and children must endure constant painful scrutiny. As if the cheating part isn't painful enough.

I feel such fury when I hear these stories. Above named "men" should all be banished to an island together where they are forced to watch 24 hour reruns of male Brazilian waxing. And Carrot Top.

Why do spouses cheat? Laura Bush once said about her marriage to George and the rocky time of his struggles with alcohol, "Divorce is not in our DNA".

Is cheating in some people's DNA? If so, why do they disrespect their spouse to such an extreme level? Is it a cry for help? Are they "sex addicts"? Are they afraid of something?

Or are they just plain stupid? Here we have an educated actor/governor/bodybuilder promoting good health and exercise. And what does he do? He has unprotected sex with his household staff (who was already a mother). Has he heard of AIDS, Chlamydia, Herpes, HPV, Gonorrhea, and oh, the other side effect of sex? PREGNANCY?

Stupid stupid stupid.

To Maria and her kids, I pray for you all. You are the victims. You will prevail, heal and love again.

Arnold and the others, enjoy your time on the island together.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Free Fun

I'm one of those moms who doesn't believe you need to sign your baby up for pricey activities to ensure a healthy and enriching upbringing. Let's face it, there are a lot of programs available that were not around when we were little. Gymboree, Karate lessons for 2 year olds, Mandarin Chinese as a 2nd language for tots, and the list goes on.

I once read that the single most important thing you can do with your baby/child is READ TO THEM. That's it. And it doesn't matter what. You can read them the side effects brochure from your Xanax scrip if you want.

So, I always read to my kids. They will sit for hours on end with books (they take after Daddy). It's a beautiful thing.

There are other FREE things you can do with kids which will help them to use all their senses, exercise their bodies and brains and give you a needed outing as well.

1. Hit the local library. Here you will find story times for your tots, special art, music and science programs, all for nothing. Take advantage of free DVD rentals for you too!

2. Public playgrounds/Parks/Bike paths: Hopefully you live in a place where there is one of these. Fresh air, free exercise.

3. The supermarket. I know, I know, the Pea Pod delivery guy and you are FB friends. But taking babies and bigger kids to the market can be great fun (as long as it's not 10pm at night.) The produce section alone is an educational goldmine. Kids love to explore, touch and learn about new foods. It's pure eye candy for them! And it might inspire them to try something new, for once. It also teaches them to be patient while you shop. (Hey kid, this is life, deal with it!)
**However, if you really need a timeout, then go alone***

(If you are worried about what to do with a roaming baby/toddler once you get home with all the groceries, simply put them in a pack n' play or highchair, strapped in, while you tote all the goodies inside.)

4. Picnic in your backyard. Get the blankie out, lay out the lunch and punch. Just sit and listen to the birds, watch the butterflies, the clouds, play tag, turn on the Slip n' Slide. All free, all fun.

5. Check out MacaroniKid for local listings of many free events for kids.

6. Lastly, leave the guilt at the door if you wish you could afford to sign your kids up for xyz. They will not remember when they are 43. But they will remember the time you spent with them gazing up at the clouds, watching worms and baking cookies.

What kind of fun free stuff do you do with your kids? I know my list can use some company.....

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

How I lost my friend to Facebook

I met her at the library. She was prego with her 2nd. Our boys hit it off immediately, as did we. We've been friends for 6 years now. Sometimes we go a few weeks without talking (and that always worries me, because usually something major is happening to her in that timeframe). She'll tell me after the fact in the most non-chalant way. Like the time she called me on a Monday and said, "Please don't get mad at me. I had a brain tumor removed on Friday".

Yes, I have never met anyone like her. The most calm, collected, patient, angelic, unique person I know. I am convinced she is otherwordly.

It took her a long time to get on the Facebook bandwagon. She dappled a bit and threatened to leave (like so many who have come before her). And now she is a Full Fledged FB Junkie. And because I am such an inspiration to her, she has now started her own blog. (Or is this a case of Single White Female: The Sequel?). Nah.

The girl blogs about 5 times a day. Yes, that's right. She used to be media shy and now she is a media......(wait, I just can't use a trampy word to describe her.) Between her FB updates and her blogs, is there really a need to talk to her? It's been a month since we talked on the phone. So, I called her today. And she responded to me via Facebook saying she was far too drained to talk.

Damn you Facebook, you stole her. The one who said she didn't have time for you. The one who felt you were getting in the way of "other energies" coming through. Was she really just using me before for my soup recipes?

Oh, and here's her blog . I hope you like it. I hear her daughter likes to dress her son in Hello Kitty underwear.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Rant of the Day

I ventured to the Dollar Store last night. While there, the cashier was checking out a customer who was on her cell phone the entire time, just chit chatting loudly to her friend about nothing special. She paid for her goods, continued to talk, the receipt handed to her, continued to talk, then walked out the door. Still talking, and walking. Oblivious to everyone around her. Completely unaware of her rudeness.

Next stop; 2 doors down, the market. Different customer and cashier. Same scenario.

I suppose this is normal for some people. They talk and drive, text and drive, talk and shop. They can never be in the moment, or say, focusing on the ROAD and not killing someone?

I am not a cell phone lover.

Unless you are Hawkeye from M*A*S*H talking Corporal Klinger through a makeshift tracheotomy using a Bic pen, then do you really need to be on the phone? Why is everyone so self-important? Why don't they care about my life, your life, and your kids' lives?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What I don't post on Facebook. But want to.

1. I checked out an elderly lady in the locker room today. She had a really cute bathing suit on.

2. Weiner farts are the worst.

3. I have a crush on Christopher Plummer and Clint Eastwood, even though they could be my grampa. Is that icky?

4. The automatically flushing toilets at work scare the crap out of me.

5. I am done with my uterus

That's it. I'm sure you've been waiting a long time for a posting. But this is all I got.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Frugal Fatigue Part 2. The Possibilities are Endless!

Saving money is serious business. Below is Part 2 of Combating Frugal Fatigue. (I have a feeling this is going to be an ongoing series).

Remember, small changes here and there can add up to big savings in the long run. Think big picture.

1. If you wear contact lenses, try 1800Contacts. I have saved approx $30-$40 (compared to Dr. office prices, same name brand) for a year's supply. And to take it a step further: Stop wearing your contacts so much and wear your glasses more. If you are on the computer a lot (especially since you read my blog daily) you are prone to dry eyes. The glasses are a great way to give your eyes a rest and they make you look wicked smart. If you cut down on lens wear, you also save money on the ridiculously overpriced cleaning solutions.

The frames of today are so cute and trendy and I've been told that some people wear glasses even if they don't need to! What are you waiting for? I bought mine at JcPenney Optical. Check them out for some great coupon deals. I received excellent service there and love my new specs! (Note: This money saving method only works if you don't have eyes that are constantly changing. I happen to have the same Mrs. Magoo eyes since I was 13).

2. Thrift stores Save a suffering non-profit while shopping for treasures.

3. Lighten up on the gas pedal. Yes, we know you are in a hurry to schlep little Johnnie and Suzie to their baseball games and tutu fittings, but do you have to drive so fast and furious? Think about how much gas you are wasting every time you slam on that pedal. Let's go for a kinder, gentler foot, eh? Lighter foot= less road kill.

4. Use less....of everything. Do you really need 18 squares of toilet paper to wipe each time? Take a tip from my 3 year old. He uses 1 square each time (and if he doesn't rip the exact shape of a square, he has a conniption). Can you spare a square?

  • Use the lights less
  • Use your bath towels 3 times before you wash them.
  • Wash clothes in cold water
  • Take shorter showers
  • Stop wasting plastic zip bags for kids' snacks and instead use small plastic containers. The landfill will thank you too.
5. Forgo the "Snack Pack" mentality and make your own. Overpriced, more packaging, more waste, more "unnatural" food. Don't fall into their trap!

6. Wash your own car

7. Clean your own house

8. Cook your own food

9. Swap babysitting with friends so you won't have to pay a sitter. A win/win!

10. Check out this blog for more great suggestions on Sharing It Forward.

Please share your frugal tips. The best of the bizarre are welcome!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Combating Frugal Fatigue

There is a new buzz word for you. Frugal Fatigue.

My own definition?

"Living on lentil soup, buying undies at the Salvation Army, borrowing movies from the liberry, reusing teabags, showering only on even days, generic everything, and feeling so deprived one goes out in retaliation and buys a $3000 Coach handbag."

Has this happened to you? Are you tired of scrimping, saving, scrappin' and survivin'? I think a lot of folks are and some wind up in worse trouble.

With the price of gas soaring literally by the minute, we all have to watch our spending and it's looking like we are in for another $4/gallon summer. And everything else is rising as a result.

I declared today a No Drive or Spend Day. I just hunkered down with the little one, and paid attention to some neglected house duties and just played with my boy. And it was a great day!

Some tips below to help you save and possibly rethink your spending habits:
1. Buy generic! A recent study showed a family of 6 can save $4000-5000 per year if they bought mostly generic products. Many store brands are just as good and contain the same ingredients as name brands. This applies to all over the counter meds too. They are all regulated by the same higher power, just cheaper!

Laundry, dish washing detergent, talcum powder, aluminum foil, etc are all products that end up down the drain or in the trash and are definitely worth trying generic.

2. Buy in bulk, but only if it's something your family eats/uses a LOT of on a regular basis.

3. Shop around (but only if you have time and it's not wasting more gas). Keep a running list on your fridge of the most frequently bought products and where the cheapest price is for that product. Then stock up.

4. Designate certain days (or weeks, if you can swing it) as "No spending days". I know this is not helping the economy but if you're struggling, it's not your JOB to stimulate the economy so much. You do need to worry about your own needs! Eat what you have in the house. Don't be afraid or ashamed to tell the kids why and what you are doing. They need to know sooner or later. Let them help you get creative and try to make it fun. My kids love to clip coupons and help in the kitchen. Put them to work, stat!

5. Make a double batch of whatever you're cooking and freeze your leftovers for later. This will save you time and money later on. And check out DoItDelicious for some handy tips for freezing.

6. Keep a well stocked pantry and freezer. Frozen veggies are just as nutritious (if not more) and last longer than fresh produce. This will save you multiple trips to the market, saving time and gas. You can freeze lunch meat, hard cheeses, bread, soups, etc for later.

7. Consignment stores! It is now chic to shop here so what are you waiting for? I have bought incredible winter coats for the kids for $12. Brand new Easter outfits for less than $10. LL Bean snow pants for $5. And these items were all brand new. I feel no shame. Quite the contrary, I feel an incredible victory coursing through my veins when I find a treasure! AND, you can consign things that are outgrown and make some money back. Always a bonus!

Two stores I like: April Showers for the little ones and Flip Boutique for me. Check your local listings under "Consignment" or "Resale". You will be pleasantly surprised once you change your mindset. Most consignment stores only accept good quality, name brand items so you can feel good about your purchases.

8. Brown bag it every day and forgo the drive thru coffee. Healthier and cheaper, need I say more?

9. Stretch your haircuts a little longer than usual. If you normally go every 6 weeks, try 8 weeks. You might like your hair a little longer!

10. And speaking of beauty regimes, don't be afraid to try at home beauty treatments. Take a look at
this blog for more great suggestions.

11. Last but certainly not least:
Be grateful every single day for what you do have. Whether it's your health, your children's health, the roof over your head, getting through another day, or simply the melted snow; money does not buy true, inner happiness and peace. Hunker down, make the best of it for now, and be thankful you don't live somewhere like Haiti or Libya. Write down every day what you are thankful for and you will find you are the richest person alive.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Parenting 101: You heard it here first!

I've only been a mom for 7 plus years now. No one tells you what it's REALLY like. Well, search no more. Here is what it's all about, up until now (at least for me anyway) in no order of importance or sense:
  • knowing how to assemble and operate a breast pump in the dead of night
  • wondering if your contortionist skills rival those of the Cirque de Soleil performers
  • installing a car seat for your first baby in 3 hours (see 2ND bullet)
  • installing a car seat for your second baby in less than 10 minutes
  • delirium
  • covering your nipples in the shower
  • Using baby wipes to bathe..........yourself
  • walking through Babies R' US moaning "Why didn't I invent that?"
  • Lactation Consultants who manhandle your breasts to teach you the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
  • bite sized everything
  • twitching
  • being so tired that you'd rather pee the bed than get up during the night
  • eating chocolate in the closet
  • one minute picking out a crib, the next a pre-school and not being able to account for how you spent your time in between
  • being held hostage by a toddler who ____ (you fill in the blanks)
  • enjoying bubblegum toddler toothpaste a little too much
  • coffee
  • 30 minutes of dressing 2 kids in snowsuits, mitten, boots, hats.....5 minutes in the snow
  • lowered expectations
  • higher standards
  • animated movies that are so wrong for kids
  • endless story hours at the library
  • wondering how you used to spend your "free" time pre-kids
  • wondering when you'll stop referring to self in 3rd person ("Mommy's not happy!")
  • feeling breathless every time you check your child in the middle of the night. You look at him and wonder what happened to the little baby you were just holding in the hospital moments ago
  • step stools and examining their stools
  • desperately seeking inspiration from your tea bag quotes
  • Silly Bandz
  • Ring around the Rosie
  • neck pain
  • beautiful
  • breastfeeding on the toilet....and then answering the door to a mailman while baby is still latched on
  • eating standing up
  • hum drumm
  • a "top five" list of what they like to eat posted on the fridge
  • plastic mattress pads. for you too.
  • kids eat free on Tuesdays
  • a purse filled with buried crayons, gnarly granola bars, baby wipes and spare undies
  • saving your C-section pain meds longer than necessary
  • wishing there was a college major 20 years ago called Parenting, Toy Organization, and Dust-Bustering
  • feeling like a Lego hoarder
  • or just a hoarder in general
  • worrying about the landfill
  • crying
  • Gummy Vites
  • short order cook
  • having a baby throw up in your mouth and still not being as grossed out as going to Chuck E Cheese or Walmart
  • ABCs & 123s
  • sticky
  • avoiding the words "Play Date" as much as possible
  • wondering how your other mom friends are getting advanced degrees while you haven't finished a book since y2k
  • Groundhog Day
  • sunshine times 1 million
  • empowering
  • boring
  • more ways than one
  • lullabies with psychotic lyrics
  • a drawer with 18 ill-fitting different sized bras
  • 3000 Goodnight Moons
  • never tiring of hearing the word "mama"
  • sleep deprivation
  • out of body experience
  • yelling at big chooches in bouncy houses knocking your kid around
  • wondering when your breasts moved to a new zip code
  • like the Army; a lot of hurrying up, and waiting
  • majoring in minutiae
  • birthday cake for breakfast
  • one.more.kiss.
  • having more intimacy with your breast pump than your husband
  • pure magic
  • life changing
  • mind altering
  • body altering
  • blissful
  • memory loss
  • did I mention memory loss?

Fantasy Tax Deductions

Happy tax season to all! I happen to be sleeping with my tax man so our deductions are always documented very clearly. *Wink*Wink* (Yes, it's my husband who files ours each year, in case you are slow on the uptake.)

There's been some new talk about offering a tax credit for breastpumps to encourage mothers to breastfeed. While this seems like a genius idea to many, I am highly suspicious of grandpas, grandmas and 18 yr old boys going to Babies R'Us just to get the pump/receipt and sucking Uncle Sam dry once again.

This makes me think about what other deductions I'd like to see as they pertain to our household.

For the year 2011, I'd like to deduct the following. All living here rent free:

  • Legos

  • Hot Wheels cars

  • Fisher Price Little People

  • Megablocks

  • Stuffed animals (also known as "Mamauchies" by Nana Ginny)

  • Stickers

  • Crayons

  • Coloring books

  • Games

  • The Pet Rock named, you guessed it, "Rocky" who has been taking up residence in a yogurt container in the bathroom sink. He currently requires a regular dosage of ice to keep him alive.

  • The 5 Cox cable men who have bunked here for the better part of January.

And lastly:

Time spent shoveling snow, hearing people complain about the snow, looking at the snow, wondering how come they don't know how to drive in the snow, and how many cookies I baked (and ate) because of the snow.

What would you like to deduct this year? All fantasies welcome here!

Monday, February 28, 2011

Stars get gassy too, you know

I'm glad the Oscars are over. And the SAGs. And the Golden Globes. How many more awards shows do we need to stroke some already big egos? Why aren't there more awards shows for doctors, teachers, military members, scientists, chocolatiers, and MOTHERS? I guess that might be another blog?

Over time, the Red Carpet has evolved into more of a catwalk (or rather Catty Walk!). I am amazed at how much Monday morning quarterquacking we do in the following days and months when there are so many other news stories to report. Soldiers dying, jobs lost, mudslides, and mayhem. Yet, Sandra Bullock's hemline is the opening story.

Don't get me wrong. I love going to the movies. I love the escape of it all; two glorious hours of uninterrupted time to myself. I love to just sit and be entertained by someone who doesn't always have Thomas the Train undies on his head.

And I do watch all of these awards shows. I just can't help it. Even if I don't know who's nominated, I am compelled to watch The Red Carpet. Since I am fashionistically impaired, I like to see what the latest trends are... should I someday win the futuristic BOTY (Blogger of the Year) Award, I want to be sure that I don't make the Worst Dressed List, or even worse, the "B*tch Stole My Look" list. Nothing screams desperation more than wearing the same meat dress as Lady Gaga.

I'm always flummoxed by the depth of criticism cast by our media. Whether it's Al Roker, Joan Rivers (who is always right), Kelly Osbourne (how did SHE become a fashion critic?) or Perez Hilton (gag me). We are so very hard on our stars if they don't accessorize with just the right necklace, shoes, barrette, lipstick, or nipple ring.

We say things about Nicole Kidman's Golden Globe attire:

"I was very underwhelmed by her dress".

Really? Because I think the girl could throw a burlap sack over her body and look gorgeous. And her Oscar dress is already getting lousy reviews. During her red carpet interview last night she referred to her dress as "Comfortable. It doesn't look it, but it is!" she cheered. Was she overcompensating for a dress that was already getting tepid reviews? Poor thing. Can't a girl dress for comfort without being publicly humiliated? It's not like she was wearing a tutu, for heaven's sake!

Each year we set the bar higher and higher and hyper-scrutinize the stars who are really just people like you and me, only with airbrushing, better highlights, and donated jewels. Yes, it's hard to believe but they, too, use a toilet, get strange rashes, have hammer toes, and have occasional gas.

So when you are watching the next Red Carpet event, keep that in mind and maybe we all won't be so hard on their fashion choices.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Tutus and Fuzzy Boots

I am not sure when I got so ornery about Tutus and Fuzzy Boots. My Facebook status updates are evidence enough that they are definitely thorns in my side. I am hoping that if I write about them, I will not feel so negatively about them. After all,they are just inanimate objects, so why doth I protest so much?

And there are some perfectly nice people wearing them. I guess it's just one of my "things".

I am going to offend someone here who either:

1. Has a cute little girl who wears a tutu every day of her life, whether the child is submitting to forcible tutu wearing or simply insists on donning her tutu for all occasions.
2. Is a grown woman, child or infant who is wearing the UGGs, or some variation of the Fuzzy Boots.
So, you can hate me all you want. I get it. You have a right to wear or dress your child in whatever you want. Just like I have the right to wear my orange puffy coat with pink mittens in public. It really is all the same. So, I know I shouldn't judge and obsess, but I do. And here is why.

Tutus are in essence, a ballerina's uniform. They are technically not clothing for everyday. Would you dress a child in a lab coat, police uniform, or chef's hat every single day? No, that would be like Halloween or "Take your son to work" day apparel. Now, if the kid wants to play dress up or is in a phase where s/he will not go out unless s/he can wear the tutu, then I get it. We do have to pick our battles.

But to enforce tutus as everyday garb is just wrong.

Putting a tutu on a newborn baby with stockings underneath. Wrong.
Wearing a tutu to Mystic Aquarium in 33 degree weather. Wrong.
Middle schoolers in tutus and purple tights. Wrong.
Grown up women shopping in Walmart, Target, or having fun at the Gymboree with a tot? Wrong.
Are you with me now?

I guess I'm really so over the Madonna phase and it just brings back memories of the mesh tops and tutus. Just a bad fashion era. Period. Little girls are being socialized into these princesses so early on...when does it end? Only one can marry Prince William and I don't see her rockin' a tutu in the palace.

Perhaps I just don't get the fashion of today. I have 2 boys and don't run into these fashion dilemmas. In fact, the boys clothes are sorely lacking in variety. Is it possible I have Tutu Envy? Does this deep seated dislike stem from the fact that I never took dance lessons?

Now, onto the Fuzzy Boots or FBs. I might almost be "over" these. I think my disdain is really about women of, how shall I say it....a certain age, who should not be wearing them. Especially with pajama pants in public. Not like at the bus stop, but out to lunch, shopping, etc. Or seniors who are trying to look like they are part of the GenFB. Wrong. I think the young kids, under 22 can pull off this look and some older women too, if they wear the right pants with them.
But if you pair it up with a tutu, then I may have a full blown seizure.

The FBs do look nice and warm and cozy so you'd think I'd like them. I am all about comfort and warmth. But yesterday I saw a girl wearing a pair and I swear it looked like a Lhasa Apso on each leg with the fur cascading down her calves. I almost threw her (them) a Snausage.

So, the traditional FBs I think I'm OK with. But the ones who bark and go fetch....not so much.

As far as tutus go, I'm on the hunt for one in my size and hope to conduct a social experiment to see if I can rid myself of my Toxic Tutu Tantrums by wearing one in public to see what all the fuss is about.

There, I said it all. Love me or leave me.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Life's Not the Breath You Take....

"But life's not the breath you take, the breathing in and out.
That gets you through the day, ain't what it's all about.
You just might miss the point trying to win the race.
Life's not the breaths you take
but the moments that take your breath away"

These are some lyrics from George Strait's latest song "The Breath You Take". I only needed to hear it one time and I was sobbing. George has an amazing ability to drive home a message in the simplest way while hitting you in the gut.

The song made me think really hard about my own life and which moments have taken my breath away. It also made me stop and realize that my day to day life is filled with so many of these moments. I only need to take a second to step away from the mundane activities to see the beauty all around me.

What moments have taken your breath away?

Below are some of mine. Some of the breaths were full blown gasps, while others were subtle whispers of air. Others....somewhere in between. And I make no apologies for the level of corniness you are about to read.

1. The births of both my children

2. Hitting a double when I was a 10 year old perpetual strike out.

3. Watching footage of children reunited with a military mom or dad.

4. The night my husband proposed. Shocked the knickers off me after duping me into carving an entire pumpkin for his school project, then hiding the ring inside.

5. Then the ear to ear Jack O Lantern smile from my dad after we told him.

6. Hearing Corinna Calise sing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" on my answering machine.

7. Watching my kids cuddle up together

8. Having all my brother's kids reunited with our family for a photo shoot. Seeing the boys (who are now men) still acting like goof balls, made my heart smile big.

9. On my wedding day, when the photographer first said, "Turn your head toward your husband". Pure butterflies!

10. Watching my son present the baby Jesus during Christmas Eve mass.

11. Winning a spelling bee in the 5Th grade.

12. Any Christmas morning

13. Watching the utter shock on my husband's face when I told him I was pregnant with our second miracle baby.

14. The surprising pangs I feel watching my 2ND grader walking into school on any given day.

15. Discovering IKEA for the first time. Sort of like being in Disney, Bed & Bath, and OZ at the same time. Magical!

16. A chocolate cream pie from Zaccagnini's Bakery for my birthday. (B-day is in March, in case you need to plan ahead)

I'd love to hear about what takes your breath away. I have many more to share too, but I'm going to run out of oxygen if I keep writing! Just wanted to get the convo started.....

Monday, February 21, 2011

Teen Mom vs. Peri-Meno-Mom

Over the weekend, I actually had about an hour to myself. One kid napping, the other at a friend's house. I could have exercised, slept, baked, or phoned a friend. What did I do instead, you ask? I turned on MTV and watched Teen Mom 2

If you are unfamiliar with this show, it's about real life teen moms who are trying to make it work. Most of the girls are living with their parents, or their baby daddy's parents. Some are still in high school, trying to graduate. One is losing custody of her son to her own mother. Another is petrified that one of her twin girls is not developing properly. Her story was heartbreaking to watch. Damn you MTV! I just wanted a little mindless TV and you give me this?

I am not here to judge the Teen Moms or make a big political statement about birth control or abstinence. Although I do think God has a strange sense of humor when he passes out babies to certain people; not the teen moms, per se. Just in general. I do applaud them for trying their best and I'm rooting for all of them.

But I do have a few issues with the Teen Moms that make me wonder who has the leg up: The Teen Mom or the Peri Menopausal Mom? Since I am one of the "Advanced Maternal Aged" mothers, I thought I'd offer a little perspective on who might have it easier. Or not.

The Teen Mom

1. She has better highlights than me.

2. She has a nicer vehicle than me.

3. She has prettier finger nails than me.

4. She gets a lot of Girlfriend time.

5. She has mastered the art of holding a baby like it's a sack of spuds on her hip. All the moms flop their little tater tots around in the same way, like they all took the same Small Fry class, perhaps?

6. She has lost all her baby weight before leaving the hospital.

7. She doesn't care about hurting her "in-laws'" feelings.

8. It's OK to change baby's diaper on the floor of a public rest room and say "Eww, sorry baby, this is gross", minimizing the 'ick' factor of the experience.

9. You can live with your baby daddy and his parents while simultaneously announcing you are "In a relationship" with someone else on Facebook. But then you get grounded for it which really sucks.

10. The teen mom will be a grandma by the age of 32 and a great grandma by age 48 (if history repeats). The plus side here is that she will be young enough to baby sit all the babies her babies are having. Down side? She will be spending her life baby sitting her baby's baby's baby's babies til she dies.

The Peri-Meno-Momma

1. She has a higher FICO score.

2. She doesn't need to have her Mommy cosign for a cell phone.

3. Her vehicle is paid for.

4. She's old enough to drink.

5. And vote

6. And have a gym membership she doesn't use.

7. All her friends throw lavish baby showers, thus eliminating the need to buy anything for baby until he's two.

8. She can afford a Spanx to conceal the baby weight she hasn't lost yet.

9. She has lower auto insurance rates.

10. Her grandchildren will have to wheel her around and change her diapers

11. And although she was nominated for a Saggy Award, she really doesn't care because her spouse can no longer see very well and those things really aren't that important to him. Well, that's what he says, anyway.

Who do you think has it easier or better? Do share your thoughts below!

Monday, January 17, 2011

To Pluck or Not to Pluck?

Somewhere along the line women became extremely high maintenance. Think about all the things women pay other people to do to look nice.

Hair color, waxing, threading, microderming, facials, pedis, manis, laser hair removal, you get the picture. Now, before you think I am promoting the Nana Rosie look, hairy mole, pits and all, think again. I am all for upkeep or as my mom calls it, "The Overhaul". This is when she devotes an entire morning or evening to hair removal and primping; all in the privacy of her own bathroom. Really, no one needs to see that, right?

There are women reading this blog who are probably accustomed to pampering themselves on a regular basis in a salon or spa. I am not one of those gals as I can't afford it nor do I pretend to afford it by charging services like this. Also, the last time I had a pedicure (3 years ago when I was 80 weeks pregnant), the pedicurist talked so much about her family problems it really sucked all the relaxation out of the experience for me. It was supposed to be my last hurrah for myself and it stunk, big time. Of course, this is not a generalization of all pedi/mani experiences. It just wasn't worth it for me.

We have so many products available to do it ourselves and yet we pay other people 20 times more in a salon. If you are feeling the pinch and are afraid to do it yourself....
Fear not little ladies!

I spend next to nothing maintaining myself in the comfort of my own home. I do splurge on massages from time to time as I suffer chronic pain and this is my treat to myself for my health and well-being. I get regular hair cuts, about every 7-8 weeks. And that's where my primping ends. The rest is up to me.

So you wonder....just how does she remove all the unwanted hair? Well, I use this thing called a tweezers. It's metal. Some folks use it to remove splinters. I use it to pluck my eyebrows. Seriously, shaping your brows is not rocket science. And who likes having hot wax ripped off their head? I know, you can do the threading technique. But that, too, costs money.

As far as my Italian moustache. I use Sally Hanson creme remover. It costs about $6 and lasts me about 6 months. I can apply the cream to my upper lip, or a goatee if it's really out of control. The cream sits for 10 minutes and after it's removed, be gone! And the looks my kids give me are priceless. They think Bozo the Clown has moved in.

I do have some gray hair (on my head). Luckily, not that much but enough to make me want to color it. For this I use Garnier Nutrisse Brown Sugar #63 and my mom colors it for me in my kitchen. I know I am saving at least $60 by doing it at home and the bonding time with my mother is priceless! Every so often, I use the highlighting kit, also by Garnier. Same price, great results.

I sell Mary Kay skin care and cosmetics on the side (which means I get all the products at cost). To keep my skin looking alive, I use Mary Kay's Microdermabrasion kit. It retails for $55. My cost is half that and one kit will last at least 6 months. ONE salon microderm treatment will cost $100. You can buy your own kit and pay several dollars per treatment. And you can find many good products over the counter. Start looking!

Instead of having my legs or other parts waxed. I use this other insanely inventive tool called a razor.

To keep my feet soft (they are a nightmare in the winter!), I use Mary Kay's pedicure set, complete with foot file, soaking tablets, etc. No backtalk from the manicurist allowed.

I don't paint my nails, so no manicures for me. Some girls really like to have their nails done regularly. However, if you are struggling financially, the manis probably aren't as important as feeding the family. Just my opinion.

So there you have it. Home remedies for keeping up your appearance on next to nothing. If you are worried you will no longer have your alone time away from the hubby and kids, just lock yourself in the bathroom and give yourself The Overhaul.

P.S. Please share your home beauty treatments here. I am sure I missed a body part or two.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

I'm Missing the Clean Gene

The secrets to a tidy house are:

1. Set a cleaning schedule. Tackle one room each day.
2. Follow your children around all day with a DustBuster
3. Disable your Facebook account.

Ah, screw it, who am I kidding? I hate to clean. It's the most unsatisfying and counterproductive activity. If you're reading this blog looking for cleaning advice then you should probably log off now and waltz with your Swiffer.

Don't get me wrong, I really love walking into houses where there is no clutter in sight. So neat, tidy, almost museum-like. The kitchen counters are bare. The toy room has built in storage containers where everything is neatly organized and tucked away, as if there are no children actually living in the house.

But then I wonder, where the hell are they hiding all the dead bodies? They must have crap like me but where is it? This makes me very suspicious! And how do you function in a kitchen without a coffee pot or toaster in sight? It's all unsettling to me!

I know people who spend the better part of the weekend scrubbing their bathroom tile and vacuuming their garages (no lie). Honestly, if you vacuum your garage monthly, and there's nothing in your garage, then you have clearly run out of things to clean and should re-examine your priorities in life.

For me, cooking is so much more gratifying. At least when you roast a chicken you can plop it in the middle of the table for your peeps to enjoy. There is laughter and conversation. But if your time is spent in a threesome with Tilex, rubber gloves, and a sponge then well, where's the joy? After the tub is cleaned, do you invite your company over so you can all sit around the tub with a glass of Pinot, admiring your reflections in the chrome?


I think the clean gene skipped a generation. My mother cleaned the house every Saturday like clockwork so I can't blame her . Grampa Rico was a bit of a pack rat so I'm guessing I inherited my dishoarder from him. Unless we are having company, I will let things go for a while until the dust bunnies are back-talking. Now granted, we don't live like pigs and I do keep the important stuff clean. But battling the clutter, paper, toys, and stickers is a never ending battle, one that I feel like I'm always losing.

I am a bad mother. Or am I the BEST mother? I let the kids paint, do crafts, etc on the kitchen table. I don't banish them to the basement for these things. So there is always paper paper everywhere! They love to be creative just about anywhere in the house. And as much as I know we should limit where they do projects, well...I'm just not that strict. There are battles to be picked and for me, this is not one of them.

I heard recently that a cluttered brain makes for a cluttered house. If you've been reading this blog over the last year, you have probably deduced that I do have a lot of strange thoughts running rampant. I foolishly thought that writing a blog would help clear out the cob webs in my house and my head. Not so much. My brain is still swirling like a tornado and certain corners of my house look like they've been hit by one. There goes that theory.

I do wonder about kids who grow up living in the museum houses. Do they feel confined? Are they ever allowed to make a mess? Do they rebel later on in life like the kid who is raised a vegan and then in college he goes hog wild on Big Macs daily?

I don't think it's healthy growing up in a sterile, stark home. Nor do I think it's healthy to grow up in squalor. I really just want to find a happy medium. I want to like to clean, even just a little to get me by. I want to be neater and more organized. But I also want our home to feel and look like people live here, eat here, and play here.

So, looking back now at the beginning of my blog, I should at least follow #1. I don't own a Dustbuster and disabling FB is not happening. Perhaps every time I get the FB urge, I clean something? I come!

ps. Please share your thoughts below. Looking to hear from the clean, and not so clean : )