Trick or Treat Savings & Loan

When I was a kid, I wanted nothing more than to have our mom buy a Barbie costume for me for Halloween.  You know the one...Barbie was garbed in a shocking pink, plastic dress that tied behind the neck with drawn on faux pearls and it came with a mask that smelled like animal carcass (or so I've been told...) that stayed on for about 12 minutes before the elastic snapped and your mom had to strap it to your head with an old shoelace.  The one that was made ENTIRELY of plastic and your parents held their breath as you skirted every staircase, brushing right past the neighbor's lit pumpkins, for fear you'd burst into flames or melt into a puddle of pink plastic right before their very eyes.  Nope, never got that pink Barbie costume. 

But now I know why.  They were expensive.  I've never understood paying more than $10 for a Halloween costume. It's against my religion. My storage area houses a Buick sized bin that contains a plethora of clearanced Halloween costumes from years past. When my kids start tossing around ideas of what to be for Halloween, I send them down to the bin. "But mom, the Cad Bane costume with super reflective head gear and laser blasting pistol isn't IN the bin" I remember growing up wanting nothing more than for my mother to buy me that plastic Barbie costume. She would retort with, "Can Barbie wear this pillowcase, threadbare towel, and make-shift cotton batting wig?" Why yes mom, that is exactly what I had in mind. But now I'm that mom. I refuse to give in to the hype of Halloween costume catalogs that show up in the mail (that I destroy before my children know of their existence) I refuse to be a patron of Halloween specialty stores for a variety of reasons (most important ones being they are fucking terrifying and horribly over-priced)  A few years ago my husband came home with store bought FULL PRICE Halloween costumes for the kids and I almost had heart failure.

Is it mean that I crush my children's childhood dreams of being a Clone Trooper or Lalaloopsy?  Probably.  But I just can't get on board with my children picking their costumes out MONTHS in advance and then dropping $40 on each one...and THEN changing their minds about what they desperately want to be.  Halloween costumes are insanely expensive.  And if you think about it, they are a colossal waste of money.  They are worn for a few hours at most, are cheap  pieces of shit that fall apart after visiting no more than six houses, are worn when it's DARK out so who the hell can even tell what the child is supposed to be, and for those of you in colder climates chances are your little princess or Jedi is going to be wearing their fluffy marshmallow coat, boots, hats, and mittens over their costumes anyway.  Why spend the money?  Or at least the insane amounts they want for some of those costumes. You can buy a whoooooooooooole lotta groceries with Halloween costume money.  The year my Mr. bought the costumes I just kept picturing the kids walking around as boneless skinless chicken breasts, pork loin, produce, and other necessary staple pantry items...when asked what my kids were dressing up as for Halloween that year, I'm quite certain I replied chicken cordon bleu with steamed vegetables, chicken alfredo lasagna with a mixed salad, and loaded baked potato soup.

So it may be mean of me to squash their visions but I DO buy Halloween costumes and then GENTLY steer my children in the direction of those costumes.  The ones happily housed in my Buick sized storage bin with pretty little clearance stickers on them.  I always make sure I buy costumes that I KNOW my kids would have a least a small amount of interest in.  I wouldn't buy a Thomas the Train in the hopes that my princess loving 4 year old would love it and want to sleep in it dreaming blissfully of Percy and Sir Topham Hatt.  I wouldn't buy a Harry Potter themed costume for my son who is convinced that he truly is a Jedi in training.  They usually get so excited by the costume overflow that they forget about the low quality high priced crap they saw at the store.  Who needs that when mom has a bucket FULL of low quality low priced crap right here???

Even though *I* never got to be plastic pink highly flammable Barbie for Halloween, I'm ok with it.  Because a few years later I DID get to wear my older sister's hand-me-down Miss America costume, complete with pipe cleaner tiara and glittered banner.  My mom made some killer costumes for us growing up...several of which she still has.  And although I DO have sewing skills, my clearance shopping skills are better.  My kids still get to dress up in some sweet ass costumes.  Considering what I have to spend each year on candy for the little neighborhood urchins (and myself because I hoard and eat half of it before October 31st even arrives) I can't be dropping $40 on ONE freaking costume, I just can't do it.  So as some parents rework their monthly budgets, revamp their household energy usage, and vow to eat nothing but ramen to ensure that Junior gets to be Boba Fett, we'll still be eating just as well as we ever do, keeping the thermostat at a comfortable temperature, and my kids will be proudly trick or treating in their costumes that I rescued from the floor at Target and purchased for 90% off.

Pintastic? Not so much...

My name is Anne and I'm a Pinterest junkie.  I have spent many hours mindlessly, blissfully scrolling through page after page of recipes, home decor, crafts, nail polish art and hairstyles that would make Frederic Fekkai jealous...that is if anyone could REALLY do that shit.

I will say that I have found MANY useful things on Pinterest, for example did you know that if you cut up a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and drop a few pieces in your toilet that bald headed genius cleans that shit for you (literally)?     Or the perfect way to hang a picture is to use painters tape to line up the holes? walls no longer look like a firing squad went ballistic in my living room.

I have found fantastic recipes as well.  Cake batter pancakes?  Hell to the yeah bitches!!  Salted caramel pretzel bark?  Sweet baby Jesus...if you haven't tried that there is something fundamentally wrong with you.  Not even kidding.  I mean seriously, if a recipe calls for TWO STICKS of butter you know it has to be fanfuckingtastic.  I love you all SO much I'll share the link because you need to make this.  And eat it all.  Immediately.  And then make more and send it to me.  It's almost my birthday.  And you love me.  Trust me. If you aren't already on your way to the store I'm a little pissed off.

But for each fabulously useful or delicious thing I've found, I've stumbled across ten times as many things that did not bring me to a near orgasmic state.  Quite the opposite in fact.  I'll admit I've looked a few things and wondered who the hell could REALLY do that or make that?  But then logic is brushed aside by pure stubbornness because if anyone can do it goddammit, it'll be ME.  I'll show all of those naysayers and make my fingernails look like an argyle covered work of art while braising a pork tenderloin, making no sew pillows for my couch, and creating breathtaking wall art for my baby's nursery...while breastfeeding...and doing a needlepoint...and mod podging SOMETHING. Yeah, not so much...

Here I am going to share with you some of my most epic Pinterest fails...the ones that I'm willing to admit to, anyway...

Homemade ice cream in a baggie...

Yeah, I should have run for the hills as soon as I realized exactly WHAT needed to happen with this here recipe.  BUT I was gigantically pregnant (and clearly oxygen was not flowing to my brain properly) we had just moved, my kids were bored out of their ever loving minds, and I wanted to spend quality time with my kids before spawn #4 arrived.  All of the above = recipe for disaster.

I should have just called a halt to proceedings when the 7 year old insisted that HE be the one to pour the half and half into the first ziploc.  Bet you can guess how THAT turned out huh?  Good thing I bought two containers of half and half.  So the 11 year old poured while the 7 year old mopped up the floor and bitched about how life isn't fair, homemade ice cream sucks, why can't we just go to McDonalds, and that mom is the devil (not certain about that part but sure sounded like it)  So THEN the 4 year old said she wanted to get the ice...well, she has a hard enough time getting ice out of the ice maker and into a cup so getting it into a floppy, uncooperative plastic bag was soooooooo not gonna happen.  But I was too fat, cranky, hot and miserable to fight her and we were having bonding time dammit.  So fast forward to 48 bazillion ice cubes all over the now I have a crying 4 year old standing in a puddle, a bitching 7 year old on his hands and knees basically just pushing half and half everywhere, and the 11 year old standing over them laughing.  I SHOULD have just called a halt to the project right then and there.  But we were fucking bonding and I was going to make homemade ice cream with my babies dammit. WITH SPRINKLES  And then came the shaking...well, if you put three children together and shaking a giant ziploc bag full of liquid is the activity of choice OF COURSE they are going to fight over it and OF COURSE the fucking bags are going to explode in the ensuing battle.  So does homemade ice cream actually turn out?  No floors are STILL sticky and the 7 year old was grinning ear to ear as I handed out cones from McDonalds.

Handprint family tree...

SO cute, right?  Yeah...not the one we did.  It looked like my children were having seizures just as they were pressing their hands onto the paper.  OR have giant man-hands.  Or both.  We ended up with Godzilla-esque, rainbow smears across our family tree.  I figured that the end result would lead people to question our DNA even further so it never made it into the frame.

DIY ruffled baby shoes...

TO.DIE.FOR.CUTENESS.  I gasped when I found this one.  And rubbed my giant belly and smiled blissfully at the thoughts of my sweet baby girl toddling around in the precious little shoes that I would make for her.  I would make her some in every color, of every fabric, to match every little outfit hanging in her closet...with bows, and buttons, and flowers.  Let me just say that I MAKE CLOTHES FOR OTHER PEOPLE.  They PAY ME to sew for them.  I should have had this one nailed, right?  Something went horribly, terribly wrong.  Epically wrong (is that a word?  it should be...fuck you red squiggly line spell check)  They were not the cute itty bitty samplings of ruffly goodness you see posted above.  Mine would have fit perfectly...if my little princess had been born with 12 inch wide, webbed, flipper feet. Thankfully she was not...

Rainbow Pinwheel Cookies...

When Dr. Seuss' birthday rolled around, I thought these would be SO cute for my daughter to bring in to share with her preschool class, along with a copy of The Lorax.  These are so very Seussical and mine were going to look EXACTLY.LIKE.THAT  I was going to be THAT mom...the one who walks in with my rainbow pinwheel cookies on a plate and triumphantly present them to the children who will jump around me cheering and shouting my name.  Luckily I did not tell the preschooler of my plans because they failed.  Epically so. (used it twice so now it's totally a word)  I wish I had taken a picture, but in hindsight it's probably for the best.  They were unappetizing piles of discolored turds.  Mine were not the perfectly coiled, twirled, and sprinkled puffs of color.  Mine looked like a unicorn had snacked on a Care Bear and then shit the whole mess out onto a cookie sheet and threw on some sprinkles for good measure.  Not pretty.  And if you know anything about colors, you know that all of the above colors mixed together do NOT make anything appealing, further solidifying the shit-like resemblance.  So I COULD have brought them in along with the book "Everybody Poops" but I didn't think that her teachers would appreciate that.

I have had other disasters that would make Betty Crocker and Martha Stewart cringe in horror.  Painting nails in a checkerboard pattern is NOT that easy, not all cute little mod-podged, be-ribboned, buttoned frames turn out quite so attractive (unless you tell people the preschooler made it...THEN it's adorable), certain homemade sauces are NOT meant to look like curdled, spoiled baby formula, it IS possible to burn off your own fingerprints, I won't tell you about the hairstyle I tried on my 11 year old...we're still waiting for the bald spot to grow back in, and if a project LITERALLY has your blood, sweat, and tears all over it...don't hang it on your wall.  I'm just proud of myself for actually trying some of the things I've pinned.  I've spent hours upon hours upon hours on pinterest (great way to pass the time during a 3 am feeding) and I feel like I should have something to show for it.  So while many projects have failed miserably, it's not going to stop me from wasting hours of my life pinning things, ideas, and recipes that may or may not EVER happen.  So here's to Pinterest, all of the time I've wasted pinning, and the projects that made me feel horribly worthless and inept aren't going to keep me down.  Pin on and someday I WILL find success...


Today's scenario...I am sitting in my dining room with child #2 supervising while he writes out thank you notes from his birthday party.  When I announced that this activity must take place, he reminded me that he "said thank you when I opened the presents".  Yeah, duh.  Call me crazy or old fashioned, but I'm a firm believer in handwritten thank you notes.  But now I wish I wasn't.  Fuck it, yep, he DID say thank as he opened them.  As far as I'm concerned that is enough because this is fucking torture.  I want to take  his pencil out of his hands and stab myself in the eyes repeatedly.  I want to take this stack of fucking Star Wars themed thank you notes and slice them up and down various parts of my body inflicting horrendous paper cuts.  And then I would roll around in lemon juice just for good measure.  Then I will overenthusiastically lick the adhesive on the envelopes in the hopes that they are poisoned and will take me out of my misery.

Getting my son to do anything other than stage a battle with action figures, legos, and qtips is like getting a Republican and a Democrat to agree that Obama is doing a great job.  If I need to engage him in an activity that requires any sort of reading or writing I have to give myself a mental pep talk for hours leading up to the task.  I promise myself that I will be patient with him, use gentle reminders and soft, calming tones.  That typically lasts for about 12 seconds.  Some of my biggest frustrations are (but not limited to)...

Attention span:

He has none.  Now this is the same kid who can set up aforementioned battle and spend literally HOURS pretending the Republic is attacking the Clones (or however the hell it goes)  A pile of legos can be given undivided attention for a full day.  But if it requires reading, writing, or anything involving school he shuts down.  Practicing reading flash cards results in him rolling around on the kitchen floor, last time he was down there he was thrilled to find a stray french fry under the oven....THAT captivated his attention for at least 10 minutes.  While we have been sitting here in the dining room (we're now at over 90 minutes...with a lunch break and 5 bathroom breaks) he has thrown himself off his chair no fewer than a dozen times, blown 17 raspberries onto his arm, picked his nose with his pencil at least 5 times, crawled under the table a few times, and has tried to engage me in discussions about everything from the recipe I am using for dinner tonight to whether or not dinosaurs could run faster than his dad's motorcycle.


I have none.  I will fully admit that.  And yes, I am a teacher.  However, I teach older students who, a large majority of the time, can be left to their own devices.  I super suck at working with younger children.  I especially super suck at working with my own young children.  I find myself grinding my teeth and clenching my jaw when we are doing something that SHOULD be a relatively easy task.  Or at least *I* think it should be easy.  Not really sure what the hell is wrong with my kids.  Idiots.

Basic skills:

I really shouldn't even comment on this because I will likely piss off other parents and educators of young minds everywhere. I do NOT like working with my children in kindergarten and first grade.  It is painful. It is frustrating. And yes, at times it makes me feel like I have FAILED my children intellectually...I feel like I should have taught them all of this before entering school, it's not for lack of trying, I found a Star Wars character that corresponds with EVERY GODDAMN LETTER of the alphabet  to help my son learn his letters...and even that didn't work, it held his interest for about 12 seconds longer than the 47 ABC books we have so that was kind of a downer for me...thankfully he has learned his letters and now, heaven help me, we're working on reading....working with beginning readers on basic reading skills SUCKS MY BIG WHITE ASS...

" JUST read that word on the last page....and the 12 pages before that...and in every fucking book we've EVER.READ"

"just sound it letter at a time...that word RIGHT.THERE...don't look at me, look at the BOOK" (trying really hard not to increase the volume of my voice)

"yep, sound it out...**IN MY HEAD: DUDE ARE YOU FUCKING SERIOUS RIGHT NOW?????***, buddy P-I-L-E does not spell PRESIDENT"  Funny thing was, with that one, he was on the right track with sounding it out great, put all of the letters/sounds together and then SOMEHOW it morphed into PRESIDENT.  Fuck...well Dan Quayle DID kind of help run the country for a while so maybe he does have a chance?

It's just such a slow, painful process...GOD BLESS elementary school teachers.  I should have made it a habit to send in a bottle of SOMETHING for each of my child's teachers every Friday.  Seriously.  They must have the patience of saints, whereas I should likely have my children taken away from me because I can't even make it through a goddamn Little Critter book without wanting to cause bodily harm.

PLEASE tell me I'm not the only one???  I made it through with my oldest and she's now making straight A's and cries in heap of disappointed hormones if she gets a B.  I know things will be different with my son, he just doesn't seem to care.  He just can't be bothered but I KNOW he needs the basics to get by in life.  His teachers can't do it all unfortunately...or CAN THEY?????  Can I give up completely?  Just kidding...kind of....

No such thing...

I am a firm believer in "there is no such thing as a stupid question"  If I'm ever asked something that could possibly be considered a stupid question, yes, I may look at you like you have a penis growing out of your forehead but I will comply and answer, even if on the inside I think you're an idiot.  We are taught as children that if we want to learn something or are curious about something, we should ASK someone for enlightenment.  When did that stop being ok?  Can't adults ask questions too?

Case in point...since I'm recently knocked up, I started frequenting a few forums on a well known "baby/mom/pregnancy" oriented website.  Recently a mom there posted that she was not cut out for said forums basically because the other moms were fucking idiots.  She could not BELIEVE that some of us (actually the vast majority of moms who participate on the forum) are so uneducated as to ask such basic questions that could EASILY be found in other sources in which to educate ourselves.  Kind of thinking she has no friends in real life, no one likes her and she has no choice but to resort to books and google because no one talks to her.  So she wanted to make herself sound holier than thou and super smart because she opts to defer to the written word of so-called "experts" instead of discussing the ins and outs of pregnancy/childbirth/motherhood with other moms who have DONE IT BEFORE or are experiencing the same thing at the same time.

Don't know about you all but I like to find people who know what I'm talking about.  Like EXACTLY what I'm talking about...

"should this shit be coming out of my nipples right now?"

" is my stomach this huge because the baby is growing so rapidly or because I have such bad gas I could clear my entire neighborhood in one fart?"

"so hemorroids basically feel like a cluster of grapes coming out of my ass, right?"

Pretty sure I COULD google those things or MAYBE find them in a book, but I like talking to real women who have been there, done that.  I guess the fact that I (and many other moms) like this method of "learning" makes us uneducated shmucks.  Apparently we're all drooling idiots for wanting real time answers and responses to our concerns, no matter how repetitive or ridiculous...

"Should a foot be hanging out of my crotch right now?"

"If I push hard enough to get this stubborn poop out will the baby come out too?"

"What the FUCK!?!?!  Did I just sneeze out of my vajeej???  What is this HUGE snot looking thing??"

All valid questions...some people may read them and wonder, REALLY?  Is she serious?  But for those of us who have been through even one pregnancy knows that SO many fucked up things are going on with your body as you house your little parasite that you NEED to be able to ask someone.  You NEED to know that you are #1: not dying, #2: harming your parasite, or #3: not crazy.  Believe it or not, doctors do NOT know everything and SURPRISE SURPRISE...they've been known to give conflicting information before!  GASP!   For example, it's typically frowned upon to drink during pregnancy...pretty common knowledge.  However, imagine MY shock and oh-so-pleasant surprise when my midwife damn near prescribed a small glass of red wine a night to chill out my super spaz baby, fucking awesome.  I was told I should shy away from body shots and tequila mixers but a small glass of Pinot Noir was ok...score.  And imagine my pleasant surprise to find out (upon asking a seemingly "uneducated dipshit" question on aforementioned forum) that MANY moms have imbibed in a bit of wine during pregnancy.  Didn't find THAT in a book, bitch!

So my point is...there is no such thing as a stupid question ESPECIALLY when you're pregnant.  Get your information where ever you can, from whoever is willing to share (want to get moms talking?  ask about pregnancy, labor, & delivery!)  I'm all about googling too, but sometimes information that one finds on the internet is downright if you have to ASK someone, no matter HOW STUPID you think the question is, ask away!!!  Odds are pretty good that there is another mom (or several) who had the same question!  So you may be doing many a favor by having the balls to ask "is it normal to piss my pants everytime I sneeze?"

Happy Holidays..are you as fabulous as I am?

So 'tis the season...full parking lots, assholes who won't move out of their spots for you, long lines, maxed out credit cards, last minute scrambling for a gift for your significant other because in your frenzy of buying Lalaloopsy dolls, PS3 games, and Star Wars lego sets you completely forgot about him/her, baking, wrapping, standing in the godforsaken line at the godforsaken post office, and of cards.

I truly love getting holiday cards in the mail, I look forward to it every year; I love seeing the pictures, seeing who loves me enough to send a card, etc, etc. And for the most part, I even love those damn letters. Those newsy letters filled with fun little tidbits about people I never see...good times. But invariably a letter will show up in my mailbox that makes me feel like a total asshole. You know the one I'm talking get them too (or god forbid you SENT one)

Dear wonderfully amazing family and friends sent to us by our blessed savior:

Another blessed year has almost passed us by and we feel so very blessed to be able to share with you, our wonderful family and friends, all how incredibly wonderful we all are and how we spent the blessed year of 2011, year of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Chauncey is almost 13 and it's so difficult to find words to describe our amazing little boy who is rapidly becoming a wonderful young man, right before our eyes. He has had a fabulous year at the St. John's Preparatory Academy for Overachievers and excels at calculus, chemistry, physics, world literature, political science...well, there's nothing this boy can't do academically. Next term he has been invited to co-teach several of his courses, so of course we're ridiculously proud and he is making the astronomical tuition fees worth it! I guess mom won't be upgrading her BMW this year! HA HA! He started the fall football season with the freshman team but was rapidly moved up to varsity, as the coaches were astounded by his athletic prowess. I'm sure the senior quarterback was a bit disappointed to be benched for the season, but when Chauncey needs a break, he does get to see some playing time and is learning quite a bit from our boy. Looking forward to baseball season as well; Chaunce can't wait to spend the summer at two highly overpriced, exclusive sport camps, all the while making time for reaching his goal of 150 hours of volunteer work and rescuing wounded and abandoned proud!

Our little Penelope Rose is quite the astounding young lady. She turned 10 in October and was able to jet off to New York City with mom for a girls' weekend. Nothing says Happy 10th Birthday more than tea at the Plaza, a suite at the Waldorf, a shopping spree at the American Girl doll store, and an appearance on the Today show! Will be hard to top that for the big #11 but we're working out plans as we speak! Paris, anyone?? ;) So far she's impressing all of her teacher's at Miss Emmaline's School for Young Debutantes with her impressive knowledge of well, EVERYTHING! Won't be long before she's challenging Chaunce at his academic pentathlon competitions! She is still masterfully juggling ballet, flute, honor chorus, student council, yearbook, and fitting in yoga sessions every other day to stay in balance. She'll be going on her first mission trip this summer to teach young orphans in Zambia the importance of staying connected on the world wide web and maintaining physical beauty in an otherwise tough world...our little do-gooder managed to procure several thousands of dollars in donated beauty products from MAC and Estee Lauder to bring to the lovely little darlings of Zambia...she's always thinking of others! We'll round out 2011 with her 24th pageant of the year, fingers crossed she'll bring home another Grand Supreme crown to add to her collection!

James and I have had another busy year, as expected!! James received many achievement awards from his company and has garnered yet ANOTHER promotion! Along with those awards and promotions clearly came quite the pay raise (yay!) and the added bonus of several work related trips around the world, many of which I was able to join him. We spent several weeks traveling around Europe (the south of France is GORGEOUS and now James wants a bigger yacht..maybe next year?) The all inclusive resorts of Thailand really are something and we can't wait for another trip back to Fiji...maybe this time the kids can come too! Thank goodness for their team of nannies at home to help hold down the fort while we're away! I'm still involved with many charities and organizations and spend my days scheduling social teas and luncheons, auctions, and balls...all of course to benefit the many groups we support and sponsor. I feel so blessed to be in positon to help all of those less fortunate, it's amazing to see how exciting a "day at the country club" can be for those who wouldn't experience it without the tireless work of our rewarding!

If I haven't mentioned it already, we are blessed beyond measure for so many wonderful things this year. We can only hope that the good Lord has blessed all of YOU, our dear family and friends, as plentifully as He has blessed us. We wish you all the happiest of holidays and implore you to remember the reason for the season...look for a postcard from the Bahamas sometime soon! Love to all, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all!

With love and prayers for a prosperous New Year that you can be thankful for,

The Snootington family

Ok, so MAYBE a bit of stretch...but you KNOW the letters I'm talking about...we are wonderful, our kids are fucking amazing and accomplish more in 20 minutes than your little spawn will EVER achieve, my husband is rich and successful and I get to buy shoes and bags and jewelry like it's my job, all while fitting in trips to the spa and salon...barf, barf, barf. I get being proud of your kids and your husband but seriously...SOME people take the holiday letter a little too far with the whole blowing of the sunshine up one's own ass. It makes me want to send them a singing telegram in which I pay extra for the giver of said telegram to assault the receiver.

And what they do/accomplish/achieve over the course of a year makes me feel like a total asshole. A bottom-feeding, mother of delinquents, underachieving asshole. My drafted out holiday letter would probably sound a little bit like this:

Dear family and friends...

Odds are good my family and I will be taken off of your holiday card list after you read this but I figured for this year, hey...why not jump on that holiday letter train just this once?

Where do I even start? Kind of hard to wade through everything that has happened in the past year in my mind...I guess a fog of valium, vicodin, ritalin, and Jack Daniels will do that to a person, huh? But I DID get myself a new Keurig so that makes mornings more bearable...of course the Bailey's added to each cup of coffee sure does help too!

Samantha is our oldest and will be turning 11 this coming April. We're ready to pack her off to boarding school because the pre-teen years are upon us and will likely result in a homicide here sooner rather than later. She pretty much sucks at school, she's fighting to keep her head above water...we're just happy she has maintained 50% attendance so far. She WAS in band for a while but was asked to be removed from the class when she "accidentally" hit a few other students in the head with her flute. We tried art classes for some time, but apparently sniffing glue was the only thing she got out of those. So we're working on her, slowly but surely.

Alex turned 7 in September and is trying kindergarten for the 3rd time, we're hoping the old adage "third time's the charm" holds true! Fingers crossed!! He loves playing with legos and riding his bike, we think we've nipped the "ride around the neighborhood chucking legos at unsuspecting passers-by" game in the bud...HOPEFULLY! We like to encourage creativity and activity but apparently other parents didn't like HIS method of combining the two, so we've made it a requirement that the legos stay INDOORS for the time being. He enjoys rough-housing with his sisters but we need to curb the number of knee drops and choke holds, the plus side of that is that he is really doing well in the Parks and Recreation wrestling program!

Ryan is a 3 1/2 year old little spit fire. Her cute little blonde pigtails and big brown eyes are deceiving...she's um, well, she's something. We've got her enrolled in a preschool program 3 days a week and we've only had a few issues so far. Thankfully no parents have chosen to press charges! She loves to paint and draw, hopefully a few gallons of Kilz will mask the "artwork" she has created throughout the house that we are currently renting! But we don't like to curb creative energy so we just kind of go with it...gotta choose those battles wisely, right? :) MOST of the play-doh has come out of the carpet, doors can easily be replaced, and I THINK the Mr. Clean Magic Eraser will really come in handy!

As for Vince and's been an average year. Vince is still hanging in there in the USMC, working on a Naval Base has been a challenge for him but he's muddling his way through. I'm still staying at home with the kids, which, given their current "issues" is probably a good thing. Our legal "troubles" are hopefully almost over...send prayers that the case DOESN'T make it to court! My personal habits are getting under control, my support group really helps with it most days. I keep busy with the kids as often as I can, they finally lifted the ban on me volunteering at their school which is great!

We're hoping that 2012 shapes up to be a good year for us and the rest of you as well! We are so blessed to have you all in our lives and hope that we can continue to maintain our relationships throughout the coming years...we need as much as support as we can get! Love and holiday blessings to you all in the coming year!

From our family to yours...

So there ya go! Unfortunately time got away from me and I wasn't able to print these babies up and get them in the mail...I'm a little bummed but pleased that you all can read about my wonderful family on this forum.

Again, I need to reiterate that I really truly enjoy reading the holiday letters that I get in the mail...mostly because I'm friends with normal people who don't enroll their kids in intensive language programs for "fun" or have them involved in every activity imaginable in the hopes of early acceptance in an Ivy League school...So if you sent me a holiday letter, I read it and enjoyed reading about you and your kids. I also enjoyed that you are NOT one of "those people" but I know you all know some of "those people", so not only do I thank YOU for not being one of them, but I thank THEM for giving me something to write about...Merry Christmas to all! Cheers!

Smack it, flip it, rub it down...

So my husband and I just returned from a blissful week-long vacation in Mexico...without kids (there will be a separate blog post about this and the scathing I received from not one but TWO people) and unfortunately the weather did not cooperate and it rained the last 3 days we were there.  Suckage.  But we made the most of it (get your minds out of the gutter, people...there will NOT be a blog post for this one) and one particularly gloomy, blustery afternoon we decided to book massages in the resort spa.

I've had many a massage in my day and I'm a big fan.  Some people get weirded out by a complete stranger not only rubbing them down with various slick oils but rubbing them down with said oils whilst barely clothed is just crossing a line for them.  I get that.  Clearly it doesn't bother me since I would strip down buck naked in the middle of Times Square and roll around in a drainage ditch of vaseline if someone wanted to give me a massage then and there. 

The spa was pretty booked considering the shit weather so we were asked if we wanted our massages in the "couples" suite.  Yeah, whatever.  I had no intention of spewing words of love and holding his hand, I was more focused on my 80 minutes of pure bliss that were awaiting me just beyond the frosted glass doors and waterfall.  So, NORMALLY I've done my massages completely nekkid.  There, I said it.  I'm covered with a sheet so why would I need to mess with undergarments?  A bra would get the in the way so off it goes and who's gonna sneak a peek of  my vajeej?  Um, likely no one and I wear a thong anyway so it's not like it's hiding a lot.  Off it goes.  Welp, apparently that's not the policy here so she handed me a set of "disposable underwear" to put on.  Hmmmm.  3 minutes later I was wearing a paper tube top and a diaper.

Awesome.  Once in the room she told me to remove the top so off went the elastic, newspaper tube top.  Bummer, I was hoping to hold onto that.  Clearly it was pointless but I guess they all wanted to laugh at the stupid ass American who put it on because they told me to.  It's like the Asian ladies who talk shit at nail salons.  I was tempted to ditch the Pampers but I didn't want to get yelled at in Spanish so it stayed on.  Did the standard climb on the table face-down in the blow hole thing and waited for them to come back in the room (I was just flat out ignoring my husband (who didn't have to wear a diaper thank-you-very-much) laying on the table next to me and fully focused on the 80 minutes of happiness and relaxation that were about to be bestowed upon me)

Now, our resort was VERY spa-zen-peaceful so there was aromatherapy shit EVERYWHERE.  We should have expected it.  What I did NOT expect was to  be smothered with what I suspect were rags soaked in choroform and held right under my nose via the blow hole.  WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!  Make it stop!  I was trying not to cough and gag because it was so strong, she was already trying to kill me.  This should have been a HUGE red flag.  I just stopped breathing altogether hoping it would go away, but not before the pure strength of her "aromatherapy" invaded my nasal cavity and my nose started snotting all over the place.  She is lucky her feet weren't right underneath me.  I was wishing I still had on my paper bra so I could use it to wipe the river of snot that was flowing freely at this point mixed with tears from being gassed.  Once I started breathing again I tried to relax but then I realized I had to pee.  Shit.  I had 79 minutes to go and although I wasn't uncomfortable yet, I knew I would be in about 13 minutes, give or take. I briefly considered peeing in my diaper but they weren't particularly "absorbent" and I didn't want to lay in that for 80 minutes.  I didn't give a shit what they would have thought when the time came to clean up the room and realized what I had done...what were they going to do, walk upstairs to room 7009 and dump my diaper and peed on sheets in the hallway?  I think not.  But I chose not to, despite having to pee REALLY badly.  And so began my massage...

The beginning was pretty fucking awesome.  She started on my feet and legs which was very relaxing and I wanted to hug her and bring her home with me...that blissful feeling lasted a grand total of about 3 minutes.  Then she started doing some weird-ass yoga shit on my leg and I'm convinced she was trying to see if my big toe could touch my left ear lobe.  Then she grabbed my calf and started shaking my leg back and forth.  Not sure if that was part of the therapy or if she just WANTED to gross herself out while seeing what my cellulite looked like in motion.  I just wanted it to stop.  Immediately.  The bending, twisting, and whipping my leg around like an al dente spaghetti noodle was NOT my idea of massage.  There was no rubbing involved; pretty sure she was trying to jump rope with my leg.  My hip was dislocated and I couldn't feel my toes.  I don't know what she was doing but it hurt, it wasn't relaxing and I was PISSED not to mention a little frightened when I realized she was going to do it on my other leg shortly.  I almost kicked her in the face but I couldn't move my leg. And I still had to pee.

She moved on to my lower back and I had mentioned to her previously that I suffer from sciatica so I wanted her to avoid mainly the right side but I apparently that translated to "I like your unibrow, I will likely fart in your general direction, and please use all tools at your disposal to hurt me you sadistic bitch".  Not only did she NOT avoid that area, I'm convinced she had hot pokers hiding under the table that she jammed repeatedly into my body, or it could have been a wrench or crowbar...tough to tell.  Then she moved onto rolling small John Deere-like tractor vehicles with spiked wheels up and down my back, taking special care to REALLY dig in near the lower back/butt area, because again "please avoid the sciatic nerve area" loosely translated REALLY means "use 40 G's of pressure to make every effort to sever my spine" then I think she added a knee drop for good measure.  Beating me with wooden spoons may or may not have been involved. Good times. 

Once she got to my upper back and neck I was in tears and think I may have peed a little, or I was bleeding internally, it was hard to tell.  I was more tense at that moment than I had been in college when I had 4 finals within one day, hadn't slept, hadn't studied for any of them, and was still drunk.  She stopped using her hands and resorted to her pointy, little elbows.  I came up out of the blow hole for air at one point (to try and work out a kink, ironically) and glanced over at my husband who was being gently kneaded and massaged into a blissful state while I was being beaten into submission by the most sadistic bitch Mexico has ever seen...HIS side was was like rainbows and unicorns with the gentle sounds of Enya flowing through the speakers.  MY side had anacondas and Nine Inch Nails.  No sooner had my head popped up then she was ramming her forearm into my upper back forcing me back into the blow hole.  Then I think she sat on me and put me in a head lock.  She was pissed and now not only did I have to pee, but my internal organs had been crushed, she had broken my sternum and I was trying desperately not to fart and/or pee on her.

I think I blacked out at this point because I don't really remember her doing much of the same to the left side of my body.  Either that or she temporarily severed some nerves, thereby rendering me unfeeling of all sensation.  Fine by me. And yes, I did try a few times to ask her to lighten up the pressure but again...I believe that was translated to "Me love you long time... smack it, flip it, rub it down"  At one point on the left side I believe nunchuks and cleats came into play, then she used the sheet to bodily toss me in the air...allowing me to flop helplessly back down onto the table in a bruised, battered heap and the next thing I knew I was being suffocated with more chloroform.  In retrospect, I would have welcomed being unconscious for the last 80 minutes.  My husband sat up on his table, yawned, stretched, and rubbed his eyes ever-so-gently looking so content and relaxed, and I just rolled off the table onto the floor.  No Tonka trucks, no chloroform, no elbows, no sternum-crushing, no internal organ damage were involved on his side of the room. Not even wooden spoons.  Whereas my diaper-clad self nearly peed all over the table, was paralyzed from the waist down, couldn't turn my head to the left, was cradling what I suspected were broken ribs, and was gasping for air as a result of my crushed sternum.  Oh, and I couldn't walk.  He got an 80 minute aromatherapy massage as the brochure stated and I got a crash course in Lucha Libre. 

People smiled at us sweetly as we left the room together with our arms tightly wrapped around each other; likely thinking "aw, so cute and in love".  Nope, he was holding me up and I had to shuffle because she had severed my sciatic nerve, my bladder was reaching critical mass, and my diaper was rapidly working it's way down my legs. Super romantic.  He would have carried me out potato-sack style but it would have snapped my already compromised spine so we nixed that idea.

I somehow made my way back up to our room where I promptly pounded 5 advil with a Corona.  The spa called later to ask how our experience was and I informed them that my instructions to avoid a certain area were ignored and I was actually in a bit of pain and they offered to book me another massage....yes, please...the internal bleeding has slowed, my left side isn't completely paraylzed and I can still feel my toes on my left foot and turn my head to the right.  Sign me up...right after I hunt down a certain massage therpist named Valeria and go vigilante on her ass.

Not breaking down any barriers here...

There is a YouTube video floating around of a couple "breaking the barrier"....have you seen it?  If not, you should watch it, it's pretty damn funny...go HERE...quite entertaining. And of course it got me thinking about that "barrier" that may or may not exist between husband and wife, boyfriend and girlfriend, or whoever makes up the other half of your couple.  Is there ANYTHING that is kept only to you in your relationship?  Or is your significant other privy to EVERYTHING, right down to the last skid mark?

My husband and I most definitely have our "barriers". There are things that we don't care to know about each other and things we have absolutely NO desire to share. It's ok to not know EVERY.SINGLE.THING about your spouse. I'm not saying you should keep vital information from your significant other. Obviously the number of sexual partners should probably be shared (although I know quite a few women who have fudged that number one way or another) if your vajeej is a hotbed of communicable diseases...may want to passt that one along...are you deathly allergic to latex, farm animals, or Brut cologne? Again...may warrant some sharing.

BUT there are things that you and your spouse can most certainly keep under wraps. My husband is well aware of the fact that I suffer from irritable bowel syndrome (aka: spastic colon). That is ALL he needs to know. Do I need to inform him that our most recent meal at TGI Friday's had me clinging to the shitter about 7 minutes after my plate was cleared? Does he really need to know that a trip to Taco Bell SHOULD require a diaper (for me)? Does he really NEED to know how spastic my colon REALLY is? Nope. Just like I don't need to have any insider information about what goes on when he closes himself into the bathroom with his dog-eared copy of "War and Peace" for 45+ minutes. I don't want to know what it looked like, what it smelled like, what it resembled, or how long it was. I'm just not comfortable sharing that with anyone...a girlfriend told me that her latest bout with diarrhea was shared with her husband and 2 out of 3 children who refused to leave the bathroom.  That's got barrier written all over it.

My husband knows that I get my period. He has more than enough basic information about what it entails. Enough that it makes him want to stay far, far away from me for about 4-5 days and he cringes everytime a tampon commercial comes on. I was folding laundry one day and he made the colossal mistake of asking me what I was doing as I sorted my underwear into two piles. "These are my period underwear" as I pointed to the pile on the left. He turned white, gagged, and walked away. That was more information than he ever wanted to know...when I told him I know women who have changed tampons/pads/etc. in front of their spouses, pretty sure he sent up a silent prayer that my period would go far, far away...forever. He likely aso prayed that my "period underwear" would go up in flames and the girls on the Kotex commercials would meet an untimely demise. I like to pretend his barrier is constructed entirely of tampons.

One barrier that we agreed upon years ago is the one that was the topic of the YouTube video. We DO NOT fart in front of each other. It is highly likely I let one rip as I was giving birth but when you are squeezing something the size of a watermelon out of an opening the size of a lemon and it feels like you're shitting knives, odds of a little gas escaping are pretty good. But I have held some in that have been so incredibly painful because I just don't need to share that with him. And vice versa. My brothers are disgusting people and their wives have dealt with their "scent" for years, it was a barrier that was blasted down in a gassy explosion...likely on the first date. They find great pride and pleasure in sharing that with others and I'll never know why. There is nothing pleasurable about sitting in someone else's fart cloud. Contrary to popular belief it does not dissipate as you walk away from it, they cannot be masked by couch cushions, and I don't know of any women who enjoy dutch ovens.

People may think that because we have these barriers with each other it means we are not comfortable with each other. I would politely disagree with that. Just because I don't tell my husband when I'm about to shit myself, change my tampons while he is brushing his teeth, or let him waft in the gassy cloud of today's lunch does NOT mean I am not comfortable with him. We think it's more of a show of respect that we do not share these things with each other. We KNOW they happen, we KNOW less than pleasant things exist about the other but I'm content in not getting the details about his junk chafing the inside of his legs after a run. Just like I'm sure he's totally fine NEVER knowing that my hemorroids flare up after I shit myself. We like our barriers and have every intention of keeping them firmly in place.