Parents need to be good sports too...

This week's unplanned topic is about the birds and the bees....the great miracle of reproduction. As I was at my son's hockey game last night, I was quickly reminded how some people should actually be banned from reproducing. In my relatively short experience as a I parent, I have always marveled at the thought that you need to apply for a fishing or hunting license. You need to take special classes to own a gun or drive a car. But any average idiot can become a parent. I was sitting among this wiley bunch of screaming adults, and was shocked and embarrassed. These adults were cheering on their 7 year old skaters with the passion of an NHL fanatic. I didn't check, but I don't think any of them had the big foam fingers or body paint. But with the same lack of social grace, these "adults" were heckling the opposing team (MY team). Yes....a team of 7 year olds. Grown adults (apparently with the I.Qs of a wet washcloth) pounding on the glass when their skaters lost the puck, laughing when our kindergarten goalie was scored upon repeatedly. All I could think (besides the repercussions of me gliding down the bleachers ninja-style and throwing some elbows to the temples in rapid succession) was how sad and utterly disgusted I was that these neanderthals were leaving their genetic mark on the world.

And the apple does not fall far from the tree. These little demon spawn were fist-pumping, chest bumping fools upon scoring, tripping or stealing. After the slaughter, I picked up my little Droopy Dog in the locker room. He was bummed. And I can understand, because it sucks to lose. I don't care how old or young you are it is hard to get your ass handed to you. But I assured my guy that I was proud of him that he worked hard, did a great job and if he had fun and learned something, that is all that matters (and the fact that we both made it safely through the lobby and dark parking lot) He said that WINNING is fun. He is right. It is. I am 30-something and I still hate losing, although it is my mind and car keys that I am losing these days. But I get it. And I was angry too after the game, not because of the outcome, but because of the road to it. And fellow hockey is not just hockey. I am a multi-sport parent and the crazies are out in full-force. They yell, scream, email the coach with complaints, etc. They are hard to miss. They think their kids are the best, and the parents yell the loudest, just in case you didn't know it. Here is a newsflash people: Your kid is not that good. Your passion is not absorbed by your child through the mere volume of your voice. They actually wish you would shut your cake hole. So does everyone else. Unless you brought the post-game snacks and juice boxes, everyone just actually wishes you would just wait in your car until after the game. And for the love of all that is good and holy, don't honk your horn as a show of support/frustration. Sports are for kids to have fun and learn some valuable social skills, not for their parents to live their dashed out dreams vicariously through the children. Your overzealous enthusiasm will not get your elementary superstar a full-ride to Notre Dame. Ain't gonna happen. And chances are, the more you keep acting like a blithering village idiot, the more likely they are going to quit and join the Chess team. And I can only guess that cheering is frowned upon at those events. So will the parents of a child in any organized activity heed this unsolicited advice:

-You're excited and THINK you're being encouraging. We get it. Now shut the hell up.

-If you know so much about the game, why are you on THIS side of the fence? Again, shut the hell up.

-For the love of GOD, do not put down the other team or opposing fans. No one EVER looks cool trash-talking a 3-foot 3rd baseman.

-And most importantly, kids live by example. It is just as important to be a good winner as it is to be a good loser...and the world is full of losers. So if you feel like laughing and congratulating your forward for knocking down the opposing defenseman who is half his size, please take a deep breath and put your head back up your ass where it belongs.

So go sell "crazy" someplace else, but not at your kids' extra-curricular events

Father knows best? Nope, he just KNOWS...

So yesterday's topic of the "talk" of course lead to more sex talk...not in THAT way (get your minds out of the gutter, people) but I will say that my fellow blogger and I did have some sex-related conversations yesterday. The topics ran the gamut from the "talk" we were given at our Catholic elementary school (given by nuns of all people), to sex toy parties (my fellow blogger recently attended one such party with our MOTHER...not a place I want my brain to go) Which then of course lead back to the sex-related issue that parents DO that. Almost ALL parents do or have been known to do that....ewwww. EWWWW, EWWWW, EWWWW and EWWWW.

But if that in and of itself isn't bad enough, our parents know that WE do that. Not so much ewww as it is terrifying. My sisters and I are all in agreement that the most difficult, mortifying, embarassing things EVER was telling our father that we were pregnant. We may as well have walked right up to him, slapped him congenially on the back and said "HEY! Guess what your son-in-law and I did a few weeks ago?" Because we all know how babies are made (well, I use the term "all" very loosely here...I would think MOST of our readers have a vague idea...if you don't, go ask your mom) So basically by telling him of his impending grandparenthood, we fully admit to doing THAT. HOLY SHIT, my dad knows. Seeing as how there are 6 of us, my dad is more than aware of how he got his 10 grandchildren. Between my sisters and I, we have admitted to our father of our sexcapades NINE times now. My fellow blogger being the biggest hussy of all of us, but that's neither here nor there....I'm not keeping score, after all (slut).

But he KNOWS and that is mortifying. My husband has just laughed at me with each of my pregnancies, watching my hands shake and sweat beading up on my forehead and the mere thought of telling my dad what I DID. We have flat out admitted that we have in fact done "that". I am a slut, my sisters are sluts, and our father knows it.

The "TALK"...

Friday was a big day at our house. In the theme of springtime, that magical time of growth, my 5th grader (the one who is smarter than me) had "THE TALK" at school. He officially learned about the "birds and the bees". He had a sneaking suspicion about some things before, but now he knows the hard and ugly (seriously, no pun intended there, but what the hell) truth about growing up and where babies come from. Before he had this talk, we got a letter home summarizing what would be told to the children. I asked him if he wanted to ask any questions before the talk. I stated that I would rather he ask his dad or me than a buddy, and that he should feel comfortable coming to us at any time. That suggestion was met with about the same level of enthusiasm he has when I ask him to unload the dishwasher. I just wanted to make myself available...approachable. So Friday, he comes home after school. I have baked fresh cookies. I have milk waiting for the kids. I think this would be a perfect opportunity to discuss the day (maybe briefly touch on the subject of "the talk" to fill in any blanks or clarify any questions he might have). I am ready. They have asked before where babies come from, and I froze. I knew the question would eventually come, but I thought that I would be able to deliver a sensitive yet honest answer, and my heart, brain and central nervous system seized and I went blank and said "we'll talk about it as a family when dad gets home" which I thought in my state of panic was a pretty freaking brilliant response that made it sound like I wanted us to all embark on this together, when really, it just bought me time. But this time, I was ready.

So the troops come in. The 7 year old I am pretty sure smelled the cookies upon entering our neighborhood, so he throws his backpack, bounds over the carpeted area of the living room onto the hardwood of the kitchen to avoid taking off his shoes, grabs a handful of cookies, and races out the backdoor. As he passes me, I get a slap on the back and a "hey mom, I am going hunting." Ok pal, see ya. The talk can wait for that one anyway. He is only 7. I have my sights set on the 11 year old who is just making it through the front door.

me:"Hey buddy, how was your day?"

him " was ok. Today is Friday right?"

me "Yep. So anything exciting happen at school today?"...this is my opening. The part where I envision him saying "yes mom, we had the talk and I have a couple of questions" and I grab a couple of cookies and pat the barstool next to me and we share a Norman Rockwell moment that he will fondly remember throughout the rest of his adulthood. And this tender moment will shape the moral, respectable man that he becomes, and prevent him from ever entertaining the idea of having premarital relations. But instead, my well-thought out moments goes quickly awry.

him" Yeah, we had the talk. It was very disturbing"

me "Why? What was disturbing? Did you find out anything you didn't know before?"

him "Yes, and it was all gross."

me: "Do you have any questions about it?"

Him "Not for YOU."

me "Ok, that's understandable. You can talk to dad though"

him "Ah, we'll see. I can't believe people DO THAT. Gross. See ya."

And with that, the rest of the cookies were gone, and I was sitting there alone with my inner Dr. Ruth fading. Then I thought....wait a second. He said "I can't believe that people do that"....oh crap. Now he has lost all respect for his parents. WE DO THAT! HE KNOWS! Embarrassment and fear begin to take over, like I have to explain myself to my 11 year old! Thank God he will be outside with his buddies for awhile doing normal 11 year old things, and then the ADD will kick in and he will forget about it all. Hopefully.

So, then the curveball comes. The princess walks in. "Mom, can I have a freezy for me and Maddie?" Sure honey, since the cookies are gone...and so is my tender moment, which was replaced with shame. "Oh, and mommy, Maddie's aunt is having a baby. How did she get that baby?" WTF?? Heart pounding, palms sweating, temples throbbing. I was prepared a few seconds ago, but Dr. Ruth must have left with my self-confidence. Bitch. That's ok...I don't understand her accent anyway. I was on my own. "Well, honey God put it there." Princess has heard this before, so no wonder she looks unimpressed "HOW does God put it there? And how come he won't put one there for you?" Ummmmm......well......"God helps mommies and daddies who want babies. Daddy and I are done having babies. So it is time for God to help someone else." Again, unimpressed. "But God doesn't PUT IT put it in there. He is not magic. So how does that happen?" She was not taking my canned answers. She usually does. Where is her ADD when I need it? Where is my courage and honesty? Screw that. Those are overrated. I have already flashed forward to the scenario if I do tell her the truth, the real truth, without words like PeePee or mommies have a headache, but daddies persist. So mommies give in, and then 9 months later...POOF! Then she translates that version to her swing-set buddies, and then I get the call from the other parents who weren't quite ready for their angels to be thrust into that world quite so quickly. And I know, even if I prefaced it with the "Please don't share this with your friends" that the whole neighborhood would be calling me. She is 5. They are not wired to keep secrets at that age. So I punt "How about you and Maddie can each have TWO freezies!!" Pleased with that, she grabs them out of my hand and bounces out the door. Quick save. So, here is a question for all of our loyal readers: How do you plan on telling your kids when asked? What is the right age for the actual details? And maybe someone needs to tell me where babies come from...I have been pregnant lots of times......

Always have a back-up for your back-up...

Remember Linus from Charlie Brown? The little guy who was constantly dragging around a blue blanket EVERYWHERE he went? Yeah, I have one of those. Not a blue blanket, but a Linus. My youngest has in her possession what she affectionately refers to as her "me". Her blankets, her security, her lifeline, her protection from the outside world, her reason for being, her universe. She cuddles with them, drags them around, sleeps with them, requests them EVERY time the buckle clicks on her car seat, etc, etc.  She has four "mes" in her stash, normally we can leave the house with just one but when we are home, she requires all 4 for naptime, bedtime, upon waking up, and so on. Yes, four. It's always good to have a back-up, right? Well, sometimes you need to plan on a back-up for your back-up....

What do you see in this picture? My little cherub cuddling sweetly with her "mes", right? Yep, one would think so. What you aren't seeing is what transpired just moments before this photo was taken.

Naptime yesterday didn't end well. She woke crying, which she never does. I opened her bedroom door and INSTANTLY knew something was off. Upon closer inspection I realize her friggin diaper is what was, no it's not what you're thinking. It's not the "she-took-her-diaper-off-and-smeared-poo-everywhere-and-onto-every-surface" story. She DID poop, but it wasn't what I would call "everywhere" and she peed too. Awesome. So needless to say, her "mes" were not in the best of condition and required a bath, as did my spawn. Why is it this shit (no pun intended) always happens when you're in a hurry? As it turned out we were literally on our way out the door for my oldest's softball practice. The other two were already in the car. So I hosed her down, changed her, and ran. Unfortunately the mes did not get a bath at the same time so when we returned home at 7 pm, they finally got tossed in the wash...not ideal timing but I had hoped that a rare late-night viewing of Wall-E would help. No such luck.

At 7:30 she got another bath and jammies, immediately followed by a request for the mes. 6 minutes later she was looking around for her mes. 7:42 found her rolling around on the floor wailing "me me me me" over and over. At 7:54 she was standing in the laundry room whimpering by the dryer...2 minutes later she was banging on it shouting "ME ME ME!" By 8 she was standing by her crib wailing and begging for her mes. By 8:04 we had a tantrum reminiscent of the shopping cart meltdown. One would think I had just sat in front of her ripping her mes into tiny pieces, then I yanked the arms off of all of her baby dolls, poured out an entire gallon of apple juice before her very eyes, and ate an entire box of fruit snacks without sharing (all things that would devastate her little self if you hadn't already figured that out). By the time I got the damn things out of the dryer she was so pissed she didn't even want them, she didn't know what she wanted at that point...she was that far gone. She threw them back at me and was doing her best to get away from me, the offending bitch who took her mes from her. We finally got her calmed down with a few more minutes of a movie, some late night apple juice, and a fistful of pacifiers (so my kid has a few vices...don't judge)...only THEN did she ask for her mes. She cuddled happily as if nothing had ever happened while I scoured the internet looking for back-up "mes"...because a good mom ALWAYS has back-ups for her back-ups.

Are you smarter than a 5th grader? I'm not...

Did you ever (or are you currently) reading books or playing classical music to your protruding belly because you heard that it would make your fetus smarter? Did you (or are you currently) playing Baby Einstein and Baby Mozart on continuous loop in hopes that your offspring have an off-the-charts I.Q? Have you watched that commercial where the infants are reading words like "hippopotamus" off of flash cards while sitting in their highchair eating Cheerios, and thought "I should do that?". Well, you are not alone. I did all of the above. I even spoke spanish to my oldest when he was an infant with the thought that his little sponge-like brain would soak up all of that knowledge and make him smarter than me. And dammit. It f-ing worked. The little bugger is smarter than I am. Are you smarter than a 5th grader? Well, shit. I am not. It was confirmed today.

I was "helping" (insert the word "attempted" here instead if you prefer not to read between the lines) him with his homework. And I was stumped. I had to cheat and look in the back of the book because I looked at the algorithms and went all "deer in the headlights" on him. Oh, please. You don't know what an algorithm is? Well, me neither. And even worse, I just had to spell-check it too. So luckily during this homework session, I was pumping him full of Kool-Aid and at the moment his 5th grade work-book stumped me, his bladder kicked in. So when he was in the bathroom (with the door open so he could still talk to me - he is SO his father) I peeked in the back for the answer. And luckily the answer sparked my memory (vaguely) of how I was supposed to derive the answer. So when I tried explaining it, he said "Mom, I think it would actually be easier if you did it THIS way." And I looked at him, looked at his computation, looked at him again, and he said "I don't think I need your help. I pretty much get it." I think that was his nice way of saying "Thank GOD I got your looks and dad's math skills." Wow, he even knows how to let a girl down easy...or so I thought. So as I am digging through the fridge trying to think of something creative for dinner (by the way, I am very RIGHT brain...that is creativity and spatial reasoning, and a sharp eye for fashion...) the brainiac asks me "Hey, what are we having for dinner?". And since my RIGHT brain was obviously suffering from sympathy shock imposed on the LEFT brain from the math lesson, rendering all creativity gone, I simply answered "Leftovers". That was met with a disapproving grunt. I said "What is wrong with leftovers?" Then he drives the dagger in. As if HIM teaching ME how to do his remedial math wasn't bad enough he states matter of factly "Well, if the food had been so good the first time, there wouldn't be any leftover."

Wow. I mean, wow. And he said it with a tone that made me know that he KNEW he was stating a fact, with a little bit of smartass flair to it. Ok, he may have gotten mad math skills from his dad, but the smart-ass attitude he got from me. Then at the super non-gourmet dinner, he throws another stunner my way "Mom, have you ever thought about Canada bumping into Asia? I mean, it could happen. Another Pangaea is very likely. But not in our lifetime." And just when I want to throw an elbow to his temple, he redeems himself and says "Can I have Lucky Charms instead so I can get outside and play baseball right away?" Thank the heavens. He is normal...whatever that means. But I feel better (maybe that is not an appropriate word here...and keep reading and you will see what I mean) because I did all of the above "Baby Einstein" business with the 2nd child as well. And after I discuss the possibilities of tectonic plates sliding and shifting whole continents with the 11 year old, I look at the 7 year old who is literally licking the remains of the leftovers off of his plate and exclaims "That was awesome. How come you have never made that before"? Dude, seriously. They are LEFTOVERS. Which means in most tupperware-safe terms that I just served this meal no more than three days prior. I guess maybe Baby Einstein has a delayed effect? Or at least I am hoping. Or am I? Do I want two, possibly three children that are smarter than me? I guess I would rather have that, but I was hoping that I could answer a resounding and non-hesitant YES when asked the question, "Are you smarter than a 5th grader?" least for a little bit longer. As time wreaks havoc and motherhood takes its toll on my brain, will I be able to answer "yes" to "Are you smarter than a common earthworm?" Oh, GOD...there are days when I wonder.

Something for ME...

If you recall, last month we did a drawing for a "little prize". Our winners chose gift cards to Target; excellent choice ladies! One of the girls emailed me to let me know she had received it; my reply to her was simple: buy something for YOURSELF. I let her know that we'd be pissed if she bought something for her kids...I am a hypocrite. I should take my own advice, as I suck at buying things for myself. I am the queen of buying things for my kids.

Last weekend was the "friends and family" 30% off sale at Old Navy/Gap/Banana Republic. Cause for big excitement in my house (for me anyway, my husband did not share my enthusiasm) Seeing as how down here in slightly more rural southern Maryland shopping options are slim pickins' (unless I want to drive 45 minutes away) off to Old Navy I went with my freshly printed coupon in my hand, ink still wet.

I went with the GOAL to buy something for myself. I was hell bent to find something for ME, the kids be damned. Today's shopping excursion was all about yours truly. An hour later I walked out of Old Navy with 2 bulging bags, a bit lighter in my wallet and not a single damn thing for myself...nothing, nada, get the picture.
I tried, believe me I tried. But my failure to find anything for myself has multiple reasons:

#1. I'm cheap. Thanks, dad. I look at a shirt and if the price tag has too many numbers before the decimal point, I deem it too expensive (yes, at OLD NAVY...sad, I know)

#2. Trying on clothes often depresses me (for reasons discussed HERE)

#3. Finding clothes for my kids is way more fun, and I can often picture the mini photo shoots that will stem from the purchases of the many adorable, color coordinated items

#4. For each single thing I find for myself, I find 5 times as many things for my kids and if they are cheaper than my ONE item, I will put back my ONE measly item, and purchase the five cheaper options for my kids. F'd up logic, I know.

I have just resigned myself to the fact that now that I have children, shopping will ALWAYS end up being about them. Regardless of whether or not they NEEDED the shoes that were on clearance or the 3 pairs of shorts that were on sale...regardless of the fact that I go into Target for milk, bread, and toilet paper and come out with tshirts, skirts, and flip life and consequently my wallet revolve around my kids. I guess to an extent it makes sense, as THANKFULLY I do not grow at the same rate my kids do so they need new things far more often than I do. But one of these days I will get rid of the last few college-era items in my closet and buy myself something new...I really will, as long as I have a coupon.

***There is going to be another giveaway soon...something JUST FOR YOU, nothing that could potentially be used for your kids, so make sure you leave a comment!!***

Spring has sprung...dammit...

Ahhhh...the sounds and sights of springtime. The TV commercials make spring time look and sound like this magical, warm fuzzy awakening of the earth and all of its splendor. Flowers blooming, birds chirping, sweet green grass and tree buds popping up everywhere. Beautiful, right?

That is a load of crap. Spring is brown, muddy, ugly and it is a leaving a pile of sand in my house. Yes, that sounds negative. We try to have this blog be a place of positive, happy feelings. Screw happy. I am tired of sweeping. I know that "to see the rainbow, one must endure the rain" and all of that poetic stuff, but this is one of the worst times of year. The winter left-overs are just plain ugly. I guess I am speaking from a Mid-Western standpoint. I live in the frozen tundra where 9 months out of the year, it is either totally acceptable to be wearing Elmer Fudd style hats, snow pants and boots.....or flip flops. You never know what weather you are going to get. The snow has melted...except all of that nasty "snirt" still piled along highways and in parking know that snow mixed with dirt that never seems to melt until July?? The melted snow is a form of renewal. The spring "reveal" as a friend of mine called it is helping my kids find all of the stuff they lost in the fall. So far, we have found
-a baseball glove (not ours thankfully otherwise my husband would have had their heads)
- a shovel
- a basketball
- two sleds and a snowboard that we spent MOST of December and January looking for (handy to find them now when there is no snow, don't you think?)
-a furry frozen lump that I am assuming USED to be an animal, but after my kids discovered it and were poking it with the shovel that they also found, I freaked out and made everyone come inside. I made sure my husband took care of it before it defrosted (turns out it was just a squirrel) Whew!

I know that makes my yard sound like a junk yard, and it did sort of look like that until we cleaned it up. But that is my point. Now that it is springtime, I not only have to clean inside, but outside too?? That blows. And "outside" keeps finding its way "inside". Like I said, I am constantly battling sand. Sand is the not-so-welcome reminder that parks have re-opened (although this sand is left-over from the plows, it is like the city-workers way of saying "No matter the season, we are bound and determined to mess up your house, car and washing machine). With the warm weather, everyone and everything is coming out of hibernation.

And then there are the wet, sloppy puddles that are like kid magnets. My kids cannot resist a good puddle. And honestly, why should they? Go ahead I guess. Jump, splash and stomp to your heart's desire. Just take off your stuff on the front porch. My 7 year old looked at me like I had lost my marbles when I told him to get undressed outside. He tried to come in the house with only his boots and socks off. "No!" I said "Take everything off, you are soaking wet." His look of anger/embarrassment was only assumed. I didn't actually get to see it because he dashed through the front door and up to the shower so fast, I only saw the blur of underwear. His socks and pants were frozen to the front porch the next morning. So then we of course have to swap out that wet/frozen gear for fresh gear for the school day, only to have that fresh stuff come home sopping wet and smelling like....well, what is that smell? Yikes. They are damn lucky I don't turn the hose on their smelly little carcasses right there in the front yard. All I know is that my kids are getting a bath every night because that springtime "outside" smell reminds me of wet dog. And I don't particularly like cuddling with "wet dog". Ahhh...spring. And every morning we go through the check list "Where is your coat, where are your mittens, where is your hat...." And I am mostly met with blank stares because at some point they took off all of the above items. Because, it was cold enough in the morning to warrant all of that gear, but too warm for it by the time they got home. So those items are reclaimed again at school in the ever-growing Lost and Found box...most of which I seem to own.

But here, you never know. It is like the kiss of death to put away the snow pants and boots, because you know that winter has a good chance of rearing it's ugly head again...and then here come the damn plows with their sand trucks again. And more melting snow means more puddles which mean more kids smelling like wet dog. Someone bring me a bouquet of tulips quick! But truly, I know that this all gives way to green grass, barbeques, and baseball season. Spring is the rocky road we must travel to get to summer. I tried to remind myself of that when I found the resident princess (nope, not me) holding something gently in her little curled up wet mitten. When I asked her what she had, she slapped a small dead mouse onto the counter. "I found it in the yard. He is sleeping and I am going to wake him up and keep him." Inside I was screaming WHAT THE F- IS THAT??!! CALL ANIMAL CONTROL!! CALL THE REALTOR! WE'RE MOVING BACK TO THE CITY!! WTF WTF WTF!!! GET IT OFF OF THERE - NO WAIT - DON'T TOUCH IT!! OH GOD...WE ALL NEED SHOTS OR PENICILLIN OR SOMETHING!! God and all of my angels must have been watching over me, because I had an out of body experience when I gently and calmly held it together and explained to her that he is dead and not a pet, so we have to throw him away and maybe it would be a good time to wash her hands and feed the goldfish. So I helped her remove the first 7 layers of her skin and throw her gloves away. Then I scoured my counters with a brillo pad and 8 gallons of bleach. Since the carcass had touched a food preparation surface, I decided to go outside a rally the troops. We were going out for dinner. On my way outside, I followed muddy footprints, tripped over wet rain boots and pile of wet socks and mittens. I found my cherubs and loaded them into the car. One of them had wet pants (from outside, not urine), two of them emptied their boots onto my car floor and all three smelled like maple syrup and wet animal. Lovely. Ahhh springtime....

Between 8 and 5...

"Someone will be by between 8 and 5"

Oh, super. Thanks for narrowing it down for me. I LOVE that when WE as consumers need assistance of some sort requiring a housecall, we are at their mercy. And they know it. When I had cable taken out of my house a few weeks ago (I know, I know...perhaps another post) I had to call them to come and pick all of the equipment up. I was told someone would be to the house between 8 and 5 as I was not a "priority appointment". Priority or not, I now had to sit at my house all friggin day waiting for them to show up (because I was told a courtesy call closer to time of arrival was not possible...yet another way for them to f*** with me).

The morning of the appointment dawned overcast and rainy. Perfect. Even more reason not to leave the house. But of course Darwin's laws dictate that when you CAN'T leave the house, multiple reasons materialize that require you to do just that:
My oldest forgot her lunch on the bathroom counter. What the hell it was doing upstairs in the bathroom, I had no idea. But the fact remained, my child was sans lunch. Crap. Even though the trip to her school would have taken 7 minutes total, they WOULD have shown up while I was gone, that's a given. Luckily, she had a few dollars in her backpack from the last time she bought lunch, problem solved.

My beloved called shortly thereafter to inform me of some paperwork that NEEDED my signature, like YESTERDAY and would I by any chance be able to swing by work to sign them? And by swing by I mean drive 25 minutes one way, spend 20 minutes dragging kids in and out of carseats, luring them away from the fun distractions at daddy's work, and another 25 minutes driving home. Yeah, DEFINITELY not going to happen. I'd miss them for sure, odds are I'd pass them on my way out of the neighborhood.

Lunchtime rolls around and my son had requested hot dogs and mac and cheese. Now why would THIS cause issues on "ridiculously long pain in the ass put your day on hold cable appointment" day? Because wouldn't ya know it? I was out of milk. Shit. I had already made the noodles and they were just waiting for that little splash of milk for completion. The 2 neighbors I called were not home so borrowing a cup of milk was out. I very briefly considered using Coffeemate Fat Free French Vanilla creamer, but just the thought of doing that to my kids had me gagging so that was out. Lots of extra butter and a few splashes of water later, they had macaroni and I was dry heaving into my kitchen sink...

Long ass appointment day also happened to fall on one of the days in which I tutor. Normally not an issue except I had told her parents I would pick her up at the bus stop on days it was pouring rain...oops. Not only was I waiting for the cable asshats to show up, my youngest was sleeping at the appointed time of bus drop off. So when the poor child showed up on my front steps looking like a drowned rat, I had a warm towel and a cup of hot chocolate waiting along with my pleas to NOT tell her parents I made her walk 1/2 mile in a torential downpour.

FINALLY at 4:45 I get a phone call. Interesting considering they told me one wasn't possible. Whatever, some schlub had been napping in his van all day dicking around, messing with my head, laughing to himself knowing I had been sitting around all day waiting for his sorry ass.

"UHHHHHH, we can't find your house"

Of COURSE you can't you sorry excuses for human beings. Check up your ass, maybe it's there with the rest of your common sense and intelligence.

I speak slowly and very deliberately, much in the same way I speak to my 2 year old when giving her instructions.

"UHHHHHHHH, ok we'll be there in about 10 minutes"

10 minutes comes and goes, and the damn phone rings again.

"UHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, were we supposed to go left or right into your neighborhood?"

Sweet Lord above. I hung up. 3 minutes later the phone rings again.

"UHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, someone is home, right? Because no one is answering the door"

Well dipshits, it would probably help if you weren't standing on my neighbor's front steps. I'm the one across the street waving with a handgun and a very pissed off look on my face.

I think they were scared so they were oh-so-grateful when I ripped the cable box out of the wall myself and narrowly missed their heads when I chucked the remote out the front door. Me weilding a sharp, pointy pen was not in anyone's best interest at that point so I hope that the cable company doesn't mind that my 8 year old signed the paperwork.

Parental Dental 101

Well, if I was in the running before, today I surely dashed all hopes of my "Mother of the Year" award. My kids are not voting for me, and neither are any of the medical professionals in my immediate area. This is spring break week, as I stated in an earlier post. So out of pure guilt as you recall, my husband and I took our kids to a water park resort (aka: Armpit of America). So I thought that the abbreviated family vacation justified me in making some necessary "maintenance" appointments for my kids later in the week. Today was Dentist/Doctor day. Now, I have been a mother for 11 years. I would have thought that those years would make me all the wiser, but that was my first mistake.....motherhood does not make you wise. It sucks every last viable brain cell out of your body. When making apppointments for the "Double Whammy" I never thought that it would be a problem, because of the earlier vacation, and we of course would sprinkle some fun in throughout the day to make it more palatable to my young companions. But the complaining started the night before.

11 year old: "Mom, what are we doing tomorrow?"

me: "Well, we need to get to bed early tonight because we all are going to the dentist at 9. And you have to take a shower before we go." He was stunned. I couldn't tell if he was having a stroke or trying to figure out if I was punking him.

me: "I am serious. We have to do some things tomorrow because that is the only time we have to do it." chirping crickets

11 year old: "You have to be kidding? Why can't we do it when we are in school like normal kids do?" Ahh, he reminds me of myself as a child. Sweet boy.

me: "Well, we have the time this week, and they had the openings, so I thought we would just get it over with. I'll take you to McDonalds for lunch."

11 year old in a very sarcastic tone (again, from me.): "Yippee, can I get a toy too." I am shocked because I swear that just last year he stopped crying when he didn't get the toy. Now it is an opening for sarcasm. The other two spawn must have sensed some upheaval in their universe because they descended upon us from out of nowhere.

7 year old: "What's going on?" - first of all, he never enters a room and asks a question for two reasons 1) because he doesn't generally want to draw attention to himself because he is usually trying to sneak obscene amounts of food out of the house or he is full of mud (or both) OR 2) he is afraid after drawing attention to himself he might thereby make himself a target for mundane household chores. This one likes to stay under the radar....

me: "We are going to the dentist tomorrow."

7 year old: "We can't."

me: "Why?"

7 year old: "I am going hunting tomorrow."

The thing is, he is serious. Wearing head to toe camo and crouching in the tall weeds in our ditch with the neighbor boys for hours on end is "hunting"

me: "Well, you can hunt when we get back."

7 year old: "Mom, we have to get to our spot early so the deer don't see us. So you can go without me." Again, serious.

me: "No, you guys. We are all going. We are getting up early, showering and going early so we can get back and play then."

7 year old: "WHAT? Why do we have to shower? I showered the other day!!!"

I am losing it here, plain and simple. And the Queen of Perpetual Whining hasn't even chimed in her opinion yet....oops. I spoke too soon.

5 year old: "Mommyeeeeee....I don't want to go. I don't like the dentistaaaahhhhh." Now, picture one small blonde flailing her arms and jumping up and down while saying this. I look at my husband....the look that says "PLease take your attention away from ESPN for one damn minute and support me here please."

Husband, in a big booming outside voice: "You're all going and that is final!" To which the kids all stomp away grumbling something as they retreat.
Wow...thanks honey for that. Dr. Phil would be proud of that break through.

The next morning arrives and no one....well, let's just say no one at my house is whistling Zippidy Doo Da. They force smiles, fake hug me, and miserably make their way through breakfast and teeth brushing with obligatory flossing, so that when they are asked, they can honestly say that "Yes. I floss." I will not make liars out of them...yet. So we get to the dentist. Looking at the troops as they filed in one would have thought that I just told them "Hey, we're going to go get a pet today, and then flush it down the toilet tonight." But I gave them the "you had better behave in here OR ELSE" pep talk in the parking lot, so they greeted the receptionist with smiles and amazing manners. They each were called to their appointed hygenist....which as this simultaneously happened, I panicked. I cannot be in with them one at a time. Not because I wanted to hold their hands and make sure that they were brave. Screw that. I wanted to monitor what the little demons were saying in there. I am going to try to be as brief as possible (tough for me). So let me paraphrase here and say that between the three hygenists and the dentist himself my kids shared little tidbits such as "What is floss? We only have to brush after we have ice cream or candy. Sometimes if we get home late at night, my mom says we can just brush really well in the morning. Capt'n Crunch is OUR FAVORITE!! Once we got to eat cotton candy for breakfast" and the one that made me cringe, only because I know how dentists react to this is "WE LOVE FRUITSNACKS" to which I replied "Well, I don't buy them, they must have them at grandmas' house." Here is a parental tip; when in doubt ALWAYS implicate the grandparents, because chances are, they will never meet your child's dentist or doctor. Sorry mom. It had to be done.

After my "Parental Dental 101" talk from the dentist about the implications of pretty much everything my kids shared, we left. (All had a clean bill of health by the way...take that Betty Crocker and your evil artificially fruit flavored goo). It was obvious that though some of which they told was true, they unintentionally threw me under the bus..I guess it was their way of saying "This is not how we spend a vacation." Dually noted little ones. I hereby solemnly swear to never take a precious vacation week and ruin it with official kid maintenance. My bad....which is why in the car on the way to McDonalds, I called and cancelled the 5 year well-child visit scheduled for that afternoon...complete with shots.

Excuse me sir, where is the concession stand?

"Here is your ticket lady"

I stared down at him...his empty little hand held out to me as if he was holding something. I said nothing. Apparently this was my cue to take the nothing that was being offered to me.


"Oh! Ok, my ticket for what?"

He rolled his eyes as if that was the dumbest question he had heard all day. He audibly sighed.

"For the SHOW. My room. 5 minutes."

He walked away before I could inquire what the show was about. Oh sweet Jesus. A show, written, directed, starring, and produced by one of my children. Awesome. At least this time I was getting off lucky...with a complimentary ticket. My slightly more entrepeneurial 8 year old typically charges for such events. I trudged my way upstairs, anxious to see what he had in store for me.

Apparently today's production was involving Larry the Cucumber and his nemesis, General Pickle. I spent the next 17 minutes basically watching him play, yet his "narration" and humming/theme song qualified it as a "show". I had to sit attentively with his stuffed animals in my lap (whom I was told, were NOT allowed to talk) and listen while he went on and on and on about the General (aka: Trio blocks), his troops (aka: legos) and their quest to rid the world of Larry the Cucumber (also made of Trio blocks)

He would narrate "TROOPS! Listen up! Larry the Cucumber is our target, he must be eliminated by Tuesday" then the humming would start up again (a combination of the Star Wars theme song and various Veggie Tales tunes) and I would watch as legos and Trio blocks were banged into each other and went flying across the room. Then inspiration would strike and he'd stop mid song, "Wait, I have an idea" he'd spend several minutes rearranging the troops and then start over (this happened no fewer than a dozen times) "TROOPS! Attention! We will blow him up using these" (various lego pieces were then strategically scattered amongst other lego pieces). Now, keep in mind I was still sitting on his bed. Any strategic suggestions I offered were met with an upraised eyebrow and a roll of the eyes. Apparently I'm not schooled in vegetable warfare. I took dramatic, thoughtful pauses as my chance to end the show. I would clap enthusiastically and compliment my son on a show well done. Bad idea. Not only would I get yelled at, he'd start over....AGAIN.

Now don't get me wrong, I LOVE that my kids have incredibly active imaginations and can self-entertain with the best of them. I love playing WITH my kids (even if half the time I do it wrong). But when I'm expected to sit idly by basically watching them play by themselves when they decided to turn this afternoon's playtime into a production...not my idea of fun. I was not allowed to talk, I was not allowed to make his animals/other audience members talk, ideas were NOT welcome, clapping was most certainly not allowed, and the ending time of the show was clearly NOT up to me. He continued on happily with his destruction of Larry the Cucumber with me sitting as a silent observer until he decided he had had enough of me. I'm not sure what I did wrong, but perhaps asking if there was a concession stand at which to buy snacks was NOT the thing to say. But if I had been able to enjoy a beer it would have been a lot more fun to watch Larry go down.

Spring break = Lysol and water shoes

It is spring break week. If I had a dollar for every time I heard "We are the ONLY ones not going ANYWHERE!" from my kids, I could buy Mexico...not a trip to Mexico, but the whole f-ing country. So the parental guilt kicked in and my husband and I decided to take the kids on a surprise local trip to a water park resort.

I have goosebumps again just thinking about it...not because of the thrill of the rides, or the rush of excitement, but from the idea that I brought home multiple germs, viruses and bacteria that the CDC would love to put in a petri dish. Because water parks spell out hours upon wet hours of excitement for my kids, but to me, they are the cesspool of America. This less-than-favorable qualification is not due to the patrons that think that 350 pounds of flesh shoved into stretchy swimsuit fabric is acceptable. Nor is it anything against those with more body-art than Don Ed Hardy himself. It is just the pure idea that this is the breeding ground for so many bad, bad things to happen.

First of all, kids and crowds drive me crazy. Ask any mother what is the quickest way to send her into cardiac arrest and she will tell you the story about how she was at the County Fair and watched her 6 year old get off a ride and go out the gate on the OPPOSITE end of where she patiently stood with her camera waiting for he melted into a crowd of strangers. Now add water. I was a wreck wondering where my children were the whole time; and they were never that far from me. I wanted them to wear matching swimsuits, have a code word, family meeting spot and a check-in time at 15 minute intervals, but that was not met with unanimous applause. I was actually the only "yes" vote. But my kids are good swimmers, are very aware of "Stranger Danger" and altogether responsible, so that was the least of my worries. I wanted a HazMat suit to swim in to protect us all from what might be lingering in these viral greenhouses, but that was not a great idea either (at least I could spot them from across the park). Just thinking about it makes me want to drink Lysol. Sitting in wet chairs where other wet swimsuits sat. Walking in wet footsteps where other wet feet walked. Sitting on wet inner tubes where other wet....BLAGCH!! I am swallowing vomit as I think about it. Don't even get me started on the bathrooms...wet, wet, wet...and how can you be sure it is all water??? Ever thought of that? And people, any body hair that resembles a sweater vest is just overkill. And hot tubs? I threw up in my mouth when I accidentally touched a stranger's foot under water. I hate feet as it is. I hate stranger's feet more....wet feet. And we learned in 8th grade health class - "hot" causes bacteria and "tubs" are for, I am no genius but you are swimming in a swirling pool of fungal glory. Oh wait, that is right. If you have ever sat in a public hot tub, there are enough chemicals in there to rival Chernobyl. I was punched in the face with the noxious smell of chlorine the moment the hotel slapped on our wristbands. Am I spelling ok? Because I am dictating this to my neighbor's 4 year old because everyone in my family is blind from the three-day's worth of chlorine. My lungs fell out when we got home, my eyes are the size and texture of bad raisins and my skin feels like find grade sand paper. Oh, and I can no longer hear from the deafening sound of screaming children, the thunderous rushing water, and the fake jungle animal sounds piped through the speakers at 32 decibels to complete the "authentic jungle vacation" experience. Ahhh....vacation. This cost us how much? We paid for this? But the kids had a blast. When my eyesight comes back I will love looking at them...the pictures and the kids. Next year I am springing for the beach vacation.

Eating right doesn't always go right...

Much like women everywhere, I have realized with a looming sense of dread that bathing suit/shorts/capris/tank top season is just around the corner. Well, shit. I wish I could say I was one of those people who work out regularly. I'm not. I wish I could be that person updating Facebook with stories of my triumphant running abilities or how I just kicked some serious ass doing a dvd and can't wait to do it again tomorrow. Clearly my sister has tried that, and we all know how THAT turned out. I AM trying to get better though, I really am. Just ask me how I feel about Jillian Michaels (crazy, soul-sucking, sadistic bitch). I'm doing my best to get "shredded" and now that the weather is improving (knock on wood) I'm getting outside more with the jogging stroller I just HAD to have, but it was most recently being utilized as a wheelchair for my daughter and the neighborhood kids while they played "hospital" if that tells you anything.

In addition to stepping out the workout regime, I've also been making a more conscious effort to eat better. Well, easier said than done when one has 3 small children (one of whom threw a tantrum over being told she could NOT have 2 oatmeal cream pies, a bowl of cheetos, and fruit snacks for breakfast) And easier said than done when mom has zero willpower. 'Cuz one of the biggest reasons I try not to keep that stuff in my house is because I will end up eating it. I would gladly plow my way through a box of Little Debbie's but just sitting here thinking about it...I can HEAR my ass getting bigger.

So here's what I've been trying to do...for breakfast I will try to eat oatmeal, an egg white omelette, whole wheat toast, yogurt, fruit, etc. (not all in one meal mind you) My oatmeal has to be ridiculously sweetened, putting fresh fruit on it does not help; I'd rather eat the paste that was on our tables in kindergarten. In fact, I'm sure that's how they MADE that paste. Egg white problem with omelettes is that I think they taste way better with things like sausage, bacon, and cheese. Sure, go ahead, throw some tomatoes in for good measure. But JUST scrambled egg whites with green peppers and mushrooms? Where's the fun in that? I may as well just eat the egg shells while I'm at it. Damn, eating right can be boring as hell. Where is the sour cream? The cheddar cheese? SOMETHING, anything drowning in butter??? Now, I'm not a big breakfast eater to begin with; it's just never been my thing. So if I'm going to make myself eat something right away in the morning, it better damn well be worth it. So far my options are making me want to just sleep until lunch...not a bad idea regardless. I usually end up choking down a granola bar and adding extra creamer to my coffee (fat-free of course!)

Lunch is tough because this is typically when I go total stay-at-home-mom and my lunch ends up being the rest of my coffee from that morning, the few remaining chips off of one kids' plate, a handful carrot sticks, and the crusts of their grilled cheese sandwiches. Stellar nutrition at it's finest right there. So I've gotten myself a few of the microwaveable options. They just SOUND so fancy you're positive they're going to be the most amazing thing you've ever eaten and won't you seem so sophisticated when you tell the other moms at playgroup that you just had Baby piccolini pasta in a garlic white wine sauce with fire roasted asparagus and braised lamb shanks on a bed of parsnip puree? Some are relatively decent, some disintegrate or turn into carcinogen laden hockey pucks in the microwave, and some I can't even get the woodland creatures in our backyard to finish off. So most days you'll find me eating cottage cheese and whatever vegetables we have in the fridge (and still finishing the kids' grilled cheese...don't judge). But I figure if I eat cucumbers they will negate the grilled cheese...I'm bound and determined to find research to prove this.

Snacking is my downfall, my weakness, my Achilles heel if you will. I LOVE me a good snack, which is why instead of saying NO to the little Girl Scouts, I go seeking them out, begging them to sell me cookies (WHY they only sell those damn things at certain times of the year is beyond me...brats) Anyway, some people prefer salty snacks, some are sweets eaters. Well, therein lies my problem. I would not think any less of someone if they offered me an Oreo cookie nestled atop a Dorito. But I've tried to make better choices in the snacks I have available not only to myself but everyone else in the house as well. However, since discovering 100 Calorie Packs, let it be known that I hoarde those. My family is unaware of their existence in our pantry and it will stay that way. That is one snack I very, very much enjoy. And hell, 100 calories in one little pack? Heck of a deal! But not so much when you eat 3 packages within 15 minutes. Shit. But several other snacks have been a big fat mega fail in my book. I'm convinced that a few companies sat down one day and realized they had an overabundance of cardboard lying around so rather than throw it away, they added some seasoning and called it a "cracker" hoping no one would notice. Well, I'd rather not have to pay for what I can clearly dig out of my recycling bin in my garage, thank you very much.

I'm hopeful that now that I'm in my 30's, I can develop some good new habits in terms of exercise and eating. I WILL make better choices, I WILL give myself the cheesy line that in a way, I'm doing it for my kids and despite my best efforts, I WILL take you out if you come within 20 yards of me with a tray of baked goods.

I love my husband...16 hours out of the day...

I love my husband. I really do. We have a great relationship. I am one of those women that is able to say that my husband is my best friend, and I actually mean it. We were friends first and then our relationship developed from there. We have a solid foundation of love, trust, friendship...which is good because that keeps me from killing him.

My husband and I lead very busy lives (duh - who doesn't?) But between three small children, their activities, his job, the business we own together, his hobbies and our social lives in general (which is last on this list for a reason) we do not have much time together. We make date nights, try to have some meaningful conversation here and there, and talk during the day, but time is precious, and we don't have a lot of it. So we cherish our time together....sort of. I feel like I would REALLY REALLY want to see my husband more if I did not have to spend the hours of 11pm-6am with him. We like sleeping...and NOT sleeping together (wink wink) but one of us (me) does not find his little idiosyncrasies so charming anymore as we grow together in our relationship. First of all, he puts the kids to bed, and hops on in himself. While for me, kids in bed=laundry, undone dishes, school paperwork, etc. So by the time I do make it to bed, he has already begun his nightly "unwind". I complete my nightly bedtime ritual, which includes wiping up the bathroom vanity from his leftover toothpaste and contact solution. Then I change one more load of laundry, check on the kids and crawl into my side of the bed to .....ahhhhh.....finally unwind to ESPN SportsCenter. Yes, not particularly my idea of downtime. He does comply and we agree on something to watch together while we trade war stories of the day. If I am lucky I will either A) stay awake through the weather forecast or B) Fall asleep before he does or if if the stars are aligned, the moon is waning and Mercury is in retrograde C) both A and B will occur. But rarely do I fall asleep before he does. He turns out the lights, and it is lights out for him as well. But there is something in my brain that kicks into overdrive the minute he double-claps an dall goes dark (just kidding, we don't have a Clapper but I always thought they were intriguing). So I lay there thinking about "Did I call the bank? Did I sign the field trip permission slip? Did I take bread out of the freezer? Where is my cell phone? Are the kids still breathing? I think my library books are due. What is the name of the elf on Rudolph who is a dentist? I have to remember to get toothpaste, deodorant and Tide at the store tomorrow. Is it our turn to bring snack tomorrow?..." The "mom" brain finds it hard to shut off once she has a rare moment of quiet....even if that "quiet" comes at 11pm. It is even harder to shut off my brain when I am laying in bed awake making my mental "To Do" list, listening to my husband snore and using the rest of the energy I have left trying NOT to smother him with my pillow. When sleep does finally take over, I hardly have enough time to get into a decent REM state before I have one of those F'd-up dreams about being chased in the forest; I am sweating and struggling....a tree has fallen on me...oh WAIT, nope. Not a tree. A hairy leg the size of one. Snuggling is great, but not when one of his legs is thrown over me therefore rendering me paralyzed from the torso down and unable to breathe. In all fairness, one of his legs is almost the size of my whole body. But I don't care what the size differential is between you and your mate; no one wants uninvited limbs thrown across their midsection in the middle of the night. So, I am awake again, which is handy because it saves the kids the trouble of waking me. One of them must have heard my struggles and thought "Hmmmm...sounds like mom would like to get me a drink of water." So I send the youngster back off to bed, so that I can lay there awake again, fighting for survival and valuable mattress real estate while my husband snores on peacefully. And an hour later, I am having lucid "I am on the verge of consciousness" dreams and I hear the panic yell "Mommy, who turned off my night light!?" To which I bound out of bed before she wakes anyone else (god forbid HE actually be interrupted) and flip the light back on. I crawl back into bed. I am amazed. If he is truly asleep, why is it every time I get out of bed, does he migrate over to my spot? I wake him to have him move back over, because any physical attempt on my part to move him would be futile. I say "Did you hear her?" to which he replies face down into his pillow "hmsdhf". I want to tell him to hold that spot.....really, really tight. Now I am awake, frustrated and semi-angry that I am the only one that hears/responds to any nighttime requests. Thinking about it makes me more angry, therefore pushing sleep that much further away. But again, that is handy because the bed wetter strikes again. When he calls for me, I just lay there a minute to see if Sasquatch moves at all. "MOMMY!?" Nothing from the big man. Part of me revels in the amazement that all of this can go on, and he has no idea. Then I think maybe it is a game. Maybe he is awake but trying to keep so still that I only THINK he is asleep. I think it is a gift he inherited the moment we brought an infant into our home...I digress. So since I am wide awake, I am the obvious choice for changing sheets at 4am. I throw myself into bed not-so-gracefully, and if he were awake, he would say "What's the matter?" and I would say "Well, I have been up three times tonight and when I do finally get back into bed I can't sleep because you are snoring, rolling over on me, sweating, breathing, making weird noises with your mouth, throwing limbs at me and taking up my space!" But he won't ask because he is stone-cold asleep. At 5 am the alarm goes off....and here is a real "thinker" for ya because I still have not figured it our nor have I been met with a clear answer; why would someone set the alarm for 5 am if they really don't plan on getting out of bed until 5:45am?? Perhaps because he thinks his wife LOVES to listen to 3 seconds of a country music song being blasted out every 9 minutes?? Let's take a vote - NOT ME!!!! And each time he beats the alarm clock into silence, he is snoring again. I swear this man should be a Sleep Study subject. He is a phenomenon. He finally gets out of bed, and I lay there by myself for a few moments and enjoy the space, quiet, and the memory of my solid 21 minutes of sleep I got that night . And I am reminded of a neighbor girl when I was growing up. She was an only child. Once when I went to her house, we walked by her parents' bedroom and I noticed two double beds in there. She caught my quizzical look, because she said "My mom and dad don't sleep together." And I always thought that was really strange. And then I got married. And then I got older. And then sleep became a very valuable commodity. I get it now. There are even current homes being built with 2 master suites. Brilliant!...and obviously designed by a woman architect. But again, I do love my husband. It just makes it hard for me to really really really want to see him when he comes home at the end of the day and I say "Hi, how are you?" and his response?? "I'm tired."

Bargaining: 5 year old style

This past weekend, my son went missing. Not just for a few minutes and we later found him in the basement bathroom singing Star Wars songs on the toilet...nope, he was literally MISSING. We could not find him anywhere, nor could the 20-some neighbors who were out combing the surrounding streets and woods of our neighborhood. Long story short, the police were called and my son was found at the home of a newer neighbor. To her credit, she DID ask my son if he had permission to be there BUT this was a problem for a few reasons...#1: she has a VERY thick accent and he probably didn't understand a word she said, #2: odds are pretty damn good he has NO idea what the word "permission" means so he had a 50/50 chance and said YES, and #3: she took a 5 year old at his word. So for about an hour and a half on Saturday we had no idea where this child was, neighbors were out en masse, the police were called, and I stood in the middle of the street clinging to my stroller and cried. THANKFULLY we found him and I was torn between hugging the life out of him or beating the life out of him...reason prevailed and we hugged him until he couldn't breathe and then we grounded his little ass. Unfortunately at the age of 5, he's still working on that whole concept of TIME so we didn't put a time limit on it persay, he's just grounded until we say he's not. Needless to say he has spent the last few days trying to get off early....

"Mom, so you said I'm done being grounded right?"

"When, buddy?"

"Yesterday, when I was playing with my guys and Ryan was crying and you were on the phone with Aunt Carrie and the mailman rang the doorbell" (impressive buddy...making me think that in the confusion of a typical day I told you something that is in fact, complete bullshit)

"Nope, sorry bud" (the 'DAMMIT, I thought that would work' look clearly evident on his freckled little face)

"Hey, mommy...when I finish cleaning up my guys, put my laundry away, and put my dishes in the sink I get to be done being grounded, right?"

Ah, mentioning chores...the way to a mother's heart. But again his attempt was he was just plain old pissed off.

"Mom, I need to call grandma"

"Why buddy, what's up?"

"I just really need to talk to her about you" (clearly I'm about to be ratted out to my son was going to tattle on me)

"Hmmm...I don't think grandma is home right now, maybe we can call her later" (at this point he just rolled his eyes and walked away, clearly to continue plotting)

He got down from his chair mid-lunch...

"Buddy, are you done eating?"

"Nope, just have to get something"

Comes back downstairs with his little velcro tabbed, camouflage print wallet. My son was going to bribe me. He is SO going to get arrested someday. I put a stop to that one before he even started.

He tried again later that day:

"Mom, when is dad going to be home?"

"Later tonight buddy, why?"

"I have something I need to discuss with him" (at this point I was so clearly impressed by his proper usage of the word "discuss" that I may have given him anything he asked for)

"What's up?"

"I just really need to talk to him about my grounded. I really think I've been a good listener and a good helper so he should think about being done with my grounded" (hmmm...any pleasure I had over the use of the word discuss was wiped out by this statement)

One provision of him being grounded is that he is allowed to play outside, but he is not allowed to leave our yard, nor can he play with any friends. He attempted to worm his way around that one too:

"HEY MOM! (yelling to me from the very edge of our yard with one of his friends) If I stand right here and he stands over there and we're not REALLY playing together can he stay there and I stay here and we just use light sabers but not really play together but fight with light sabers and I'm in our yard and he stands in the street?"

Again, trying to confuse me and be logical at the same time.

"Sorry bud, we said no playing with friends...even if he is there and you are here, nice try though!"

All was quiet until bedtime:

"Mommy, you're the best mommy in the whole world" (added a huge hug for good measure)

I was ALMOST suckered in by this one...warm fuzzies started creeping their way in as I hugged my little guy. Then I hear his little voice:

"So NOW can I be done being grounded?"

I stifled the urge to put his pillow over his face, tucked him in and walked away. Sorry bud, being grounded sucks. But having to call the cops to find your 5 year old sucks way more. Someday we'll have to ground him for much, much worse...of that much I am certain. In the meantime I'm sticking to my guns, holding strict to his "grounded", and not giving in to the wily ways of bargaining of my 5 year old.

Eat your heart out Mr. Rogers...

I cherish days at home with my kids. I count my blessing everyday that I am able to stay home, that I WANT to stay home and that my husband supports that decision as well. But we all know that some days as a mom (regardless of your SAHM,WAHM, WFHM status) are challenging in their own way.

Last week we wrote about embracing your inner child. I hope some of you heeded that call with reckless abandon (you might be in traction today or under psychiatric evaluation as a result) but you did it. I went sledding with my kids. Under the urging of my 5th grader, I tried snowboarding. We had a snowball fight. I rolled around on the floor. I was a "bull" and they were the cowboys. We went rollerblading. We played board games. We did puzzles. This kind of activity is not new at our house. I do play with my kids....a lot. But I realized early on in my mothering that I am more of a "let's go out in the yard and throw the ball around" kind of mom. Even growing up I was never a girly-girl. I had Barbies, but I usually...ummmm..."restyled" their hair with scissors and Crayola markers. I also tried to see how long Barbie would stay in tact when tied behind my brother's big wheel for a trip down "Dead Man's Hill" (aka - the alley behind our house). So, plainly stated, playing "girly" things is downright painful for me. This past weekend, it was whatever the kids wanted to do, and we did it. But I will admit, that the boys took the lead...and the preschool girl gladly followed along. We all had a great time....and then I put the preschool princess to bed that night and she said "Can we play what I want tomorrow?" and I lovingly (and with a bit of guilt) said "Of course honey, whatever you want." If only someone could have told me what I was in for.....

Monday morning comes, and all is normal. The preschooler and I drop the boys off at school, stop at the store, run to the post office and come home to unload the morning's errands. I had forgotten about her bedtime request. Not that I don't play with her, I most definitely do. We go to the park, we have tea parties, play "school", we color, do puzzles, play-doh, etc. But it was about to become abundantly clear that today was on her terms. "Mom, you are the teacher and I am the kid." Easy enough....and pretty standard....for a little while. Again, she was in charge. I was the puppet and she was the master. Right down to her winter coat and backpack, she was all set to enter "school" for the day. "HELLO CLASS!!" I greeted her cheerfully. "No mommy, you are working and we come in quietly and sit on the rug". Ok, so I abide. I ignore her, as requested. Then I walk over to the rug and sit. "Teachers don't sit on the rug. They sit in a chair." Ok, so I get a kitchen chair and chirp "Good morning Kindergartners!" The blonde in the front pipes up "We are in first grade." Tough crowd. "OH...thank you Lanie, I almost forgot!" "My name is Averie." Well crap. "Well thank you Averie, please go an get out your coloring pages and we will begin."
"You are supposed to give us partners" she says
"Ok, Bridget, you can be Lanie's (evil look from blonde) I mean Averie's partner."
"There is no one named Bridget in here."
WTF?? There are 15 pretend kids here and I am pretty sure I will get all of their names wrong today. This is the drill...all morning long. But I am a trooper, and I play along. But I did try to kindly interject and say that mommy is having a hard time knowing the rules when you make them up as we go. "But that's how it goes." she innocently states. And so it goes through pretend lunch and recess (where we did actually go outside and I was reminded that teachers don't check the mailbox or bring in the paper at school). I tried to get her to buy into naptime, but that was coldly rejected. Because without skipping a beat, we were now playing "house". I played several roles; sister, mailman, grandma (not a favorite given my self-consciousness about growing older), aunt, and even dad. I did draw the line at "dog". I do have some self-respect left. My favorite was when I was "friend" and she was coming over to drop off her kids and chat. She was donning my favorite heels, my purse, my gloves and coat. She "rang" the doorbell, to which I responded "Come on in" and I was met with a head poking around the corner of the dining room "You can't say that, because the dog is barking and I cannot hear have to answer the door." By the way, let me state that we do not have a dog, but apparently my fictitious dog was not pleased that someone rang the fake doorbell. Anyway, I answered the door this time "HI! How are you? I am so glad you stopped by!"
"Mom, you have to ask me if I got new shoes."
Ok...this is going well already. "Well, HI. I am so glad that you stopped by. You look fabulous! Did you get new shoes??"
"No, these are old. Can you watch my kids for me? I need to go shopping."
Is she serious? So it is like a repeat of school. She is the director of this two-man production and I am the understudy that seems to be failing miserably. But that is ok, because before I can blink, she is packing all of the tupperware into a grocery bag because we are going "camping". I look at the clock. It is only 2pm. Again, I LOVE playing with my kids, but this is way overly high-maintenance for me. But camping means fort-building and fort-building means NAP POTENTIAL. But after we construct the fort and get cozied-up, we can't "sleep" in there because there are bats and bears outside. "Well, then we should stay inside" I smartly reply. "No, we need to get in the car right away and drive to a hotel." Hmm...I can do that. Except by car she meant couch, and by hotel she meant my room. I was cool with being in my room, but hotels are the only place my kids get to jump on the bed, so....yes, instead of pretending to get 12 seconds of sleep at the "hotel" she wanted to jump on the bed. I was exhausted from my pretend life already. Afterall, I had been to school, camping, entertained at home, watched her pretend kids, and had been approximately 8 different personalities all before lunchtime. "Should we go to Target and pick out that present for your party this week?"
"Nope, I am having fun playing with you." OH OUCH - I was stabbed in the gut with the guilt that I wanted to divert her attention if even for 30 minutes. "You're right," I said "So what do you want to do now? A puzzle, go for a walk, color?" "How about we play 'bartender'? Mommy will teach you how to use the blender" The usual suspects were not enticing her. Food! She is my kid. She can always be bribed with food. "Do you want some ice cream for a snack!?" She bought it, hook, line and sinker. "YES! And we can pretend that you are driving the ice cream truck and I am buying it from you!!" Ok, so the child development experts state that a vibrant, vivid fantasy world is a sign of intelligence. Then my kid is going to be friggin' brilliant. So we play "ice cream truck", which I of course got several of my lines wrong. But that is ok, because them we moved on to "work" and then "dentist" and the "hairdresser" where I was the subordinate in all of those...probably because I was failing miserably at the other roles I had been previously assigned. I was saved by the bus when the boys came home from school, and all pretend activity ceased in favor of playing with the boys. I made it through an entire day of make-believe. Mr. Roger's ain't got nothing on me! I was tired, but fulfilled. But don't breathe a sigh of relaxation just yet....because there it was. As I was standing there in the kitchen making dinner, the unmistakable sound of too-big high heels, jiggling car keys...and then the knock on the "door". I snap to attention. Do I dare answer the call?? The knocking is relentless. She found me. "Come in?!?!" I sheepishly almost whisper. And then the blonde head pops around the corner...lipstick brighter than the setting sun....
"HIeeeeee! How are you?" in her best Valley girl impersonation. And we are playing house....again. I hope I get it right this time. But if I don't, that's how it goes. Or so I have been told.

P.S. - This was a very tongue-in-cheek representation of my day. I will state it again, that I love playing with my kids. And I am already getting teary-eyed about the fact that someday I will look back on our time together and wish it were all back...the coloring, the "camping", etc. Because right now I am her best friend. The day I am replaced is unfortunately just around the corner...and I dread that even more than pretending I am her dog

Does YOUR ass hang low?

I will admit, I occasionally check things out in the mirror before I get into the shower (if I'm lucky to GET a shower but that's a separate issue...) Upon inspection one day, I noticed my facial expression as I pinched, pushed, pulled, and tugged...I look confused, defeated, depressed, and pissed all at the same time. What the hell happened to me? Is that seriously MY ass? No...when did we get Boticelli art in the bathroom??? Now, I don't look TERRIBLE by any stretch of the imagination, that much I do know. But I certainly won't be asked to be in any calendar spreads or wet tshirt contests anytime soon (not that I ever was in the past mom!!!! Just making a point...) And if my college cheerleading coach could see me now, he'd weep. He'd rage, cry, curse the heavens, and likely run away screaming. WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED??????

Motherhood. That's what happened to me. My lovely little parasites have done this. I was their host, and they have destroyed me (ok, destroyed might be a bit too strong but it sounded more poetic, don't you agree?) They've given me scars in places people don't talk about at parties (at least no parties I attend). They've caused my ass to start slowly running down the backs of my legs. Their wriggling little bodies stretched my skin so grotesquely, one may wonder if it is in fact a map of the Chicago interstate system on my hips and thighs. And don't even ask about my breasts....I can't even call them that anymore. They don't deserve to be called breasts. I lovingly refer to them as either: my "rocks in socks" or my "naval ornaments" or I often joke that I can tuck them into the waistband of my low-rise jeans...super sexy alongside my muffin top. Let's just say that if I needed to itch my nipple, I now need to lift the hemline of my skirt for easier access. Seriously, what the hell happened????? Ok, I am not blaming this whole thing on my angels (it sure does make me feel better though) Afterall, THEIR existence was MY choice. But getting older was NOT. I am going to fight that bitch Mother Nature every step of the way. Whore. How come men get more handsome with age, and we women get....old? I can't tell you how many times in my 20's I heard that EVERYTHING changes once you hit 30. I laughed when I hit 30 and I could still feel my ass where it was intended to be. I didn't have to roll up my boobs so that they could fit in my bra. I didn't shy away from sleeveless shirts because my arms looked toned. But then it slowly happened. The great "Ass Pangea" went into started separating from where it began and sliding south. The boobs? know. And now my arms keep waving even though I have stopped. I think about Girl Scout Cookies and gain 8 pounds. I used to be able to eat anything I wanted anytime I wanted. Food, gravity and time are my enemies now...and having housed 3 beings for a grand total of 861 days of my life.

Of course after my thorough inspection of every little stretch mark and dimple, I began to wonder if there is any mother out there who is truly happy with her body? It goes without saying that I love my kids but I DON'T love what those little leeches have done to me (yes, I'm that shallow). I don't buy into the "these are my mothering battle scars" or "I am woman, hear me roar" bullshit. Good for you, She-Ra; I don't know about you but I want my boobs back in their firm and upright position and my ass to climb it's flabby way back UP my thighs thank you very much. If you ARE one of those moms who is happy with how you look, PLEASE share your secrets. BUT if you're one of those evil, awful bitches who just happens to walk out of the hospital in your size 4's a mere 72 hours after giving birth, bite me. Kiss my flabby ass and bite me. (but do continue reading our blog, we're oh-so-appreciative of your patronage).

But seriously, will there come a day when I'm 100% happy with what becoming a mom as done to me? Will I ever accept the fact that once you've breastfed 3 children, nipples just "go that way"???? No one told me that they would become the size of dinner plates. I'm wishing for the day when I can stop picking my "naval ornaments" up off of the floor before putting my bra on. Someday I will stop pretending I think the moms who use "lotions" for stretch marks are wasting their time and money, because I secretly want that magic elixir too. Yes, I realize I'm whining. I KNOW it could always be worse. But doesn't every mom, or every WOMAN for that matter, have at least one little thing she'd like to change or fix or have back to it's original shape, elasticity, color, and form????? Maybe I am feeling this way because those marketing bastards at Target littered their ad this week with swimsuits. I bet that was the stellar idea of a "20-something" who has never had children with 6 pack abs and boobs that don't hit her knees when she takes her bra off. I'm tempted to boycott Target as a result...In the meantime I will continue to attempt to fight the effects of time and motherhood. If that doesn't work, does anyone know where I can get a head-to-toe body slimming garment?

Be a kid again...

I just returned from my 1st grader's spring concert. I LIVE for those events. The kids are just so sweet and candid. You can always pick out a few who would rather not be there....the ones that are not doing the hand-movements, not even mouthing the words, and usually have a finger in some orifice. Then there are the ones stricken with stage fright and appear as if to be frozen right where they stand and their only comfort is scanning the crowd for a familiar face...if they are even able to muster up the brain-power to do that. My favorites though are the ones that sing (or yell) the words with wild abandon. Their arm motions are exaggerated out of sheer excitement. They could not tone down their performance if they tried. Their body and voice are operating independently from their brain when on stage. They have completely written off the music teacher that is standing at her piano mouthing the words as she coaches the young performers. These kids don't need coaching. They think they are awesome "as is". I want to freeze them all in this stage...and it got me to thinking; when did WE lose sight of our own wild abandon? So this weekend, I am going to try being a kid for a day:

Honesty - no more "Yes, that looks good on you." Not today. A kid would say "Those jeans make your butt look big. I don't like your hair in a pony tail...oh, and you have stinky breath too."

Volume - I will have two volumes - OFF and SHOUTING. I will choose only to use the SHOUTING one when in public places that require the OFF volume...especially when using my new-found honesty.

Speed - I will run everywhere. I might even decide to skip if the spirit moves me...unless of course I am supposed to be in a hurry, then I will drag myself along the ground and may even flop and lie face down on the floor like wet noodle.

Hygiene - My shirt will be a perfect surface to wipe my hands and face or anything that I might come into contact with. I do not discriminate against mucus. The sleeve is a perfect spot for this. If my shirt is full, pants or any furniture will do. (I must interject here that I draw the line at re-ingesting any mucus bi-products)

Verbiage - I will either whine or sing all thoughts, feelings, requests and emotions for the day. All of the aforementioned will be done using the SHOUTING volume.

Preferences - I am allowed to change my mind upon my own free-will at any given time without any warning. If I say I want my PB&J cut into triangles with the crust cut off, don't be alarmed when I look disgusted and ask "Where is my macaroni?". It is what I do. I will also request the pink plate and snowman glass at every meal. I don't care if they are dirty, at grandma's, etc. And I know that food tastes the same off of other plates, but I want the pink one. Make it happen.

Chores - what? Are you kidding me? Only if there is a pint of chocolate chocolate chip ice cream at the end of that tunnel. (this is where the dragging myself along the floor as if completely incapacitated will come in handy)

Playtime - This is my new job for the day. I will color, watch movies, do dozens of craft projects (with feathers,glue and glitter). I may even sample a bit of Play-doh. I will also read 32 books. I can dig it

Bedtime - Ok, yes. 8pm works just fine for me. How 'bout naps? Feel free to throw one of those in too. Oh, and I want "in" on that whole TIME OUT thing too. be a kid again. We spend a good part of our childhood wishing we were big. Then spend most of our adulthood wanting back the innocence and simplicity of childhood. So I challenge you this weekend - be a kid, and have fun doing it. They don't care what people think. They do everything for themselves. When did we become so aware of ourselves that we started to care what other people think? I am going to truly try to live by one of my favorite quotes by Mark Twain "Sing like no one is listening, Dance like no one is watching, Love like you'll never be hurt. Live like it's Heaven on Earth" - if even for a day.

Toddler torture: Gitmo's got NOTHIN' on Target...

Her round little face was turning purple, beads of sweat were appearing on her forehead, her cute little hair clippie was askew and fine little strands of hair were going every which way, her tiny little limbs were twisting and turning frantically, and veins were bulging with the effort she was exerting...not to mention the shrieking. Oh, the shrieking. It was painful, ear-piercing, glass shattering, and damn was it embarassing.

Odds are by now you've got a pretty decent picture in your head of my lovely little darling's tantrum. But this is not just any tantrum. This one is acted out with great regularity. Not because I've taken something away from her, or have told her no. It is not because she is overly tired. It is because she is confined. Strapped in, held down, unable to escape, and plain ol' stuck. Nope, she's not in her crib. Not being forcibly bent in half by a knee to the gut to be put into her carseat. I'm not using every arm muscle known to man to prevent her from wiggling out of my grasp in the middle of a parking lot. She's not on a leash (although, believe me, I've considered it) No, she is being held prisoner in what SHE considers the worst form of torture known to toddlers everywhere: the shopping cart. As far as she is concerned, they should have shopping carts at Gitmo, because nothing is worse than being strapped into one. Not when she thinks she should be given the freedom to wander the aisles of Target at will.

It has gotten to the point where she will start whimpering as soon as we pull into the parking lot, the full blown whining kicks in as I park the car. We start walking towards the carts and she will do everything in her power to climb out of my arms and escape. Occasionally I will get lucky and she will let me initially put her in; we manage to make it past the front doors but then all hell breaks loose. It's like she all of a sudden she snaps out of it, realizes where she is, and she freaks. Completely flips her shit. Then you've got the limb twisting, vein popping, and screaming. And you better believe I've tried everything to keep her in there, let's just say that it IS possible to cut off circulation to your child's lower extremities with the buckles on a shopping cart (and a strong forearm to the upper thighs). Bribery can occasionally buy me a few minutes. Yep, I'm that mom that opens boxes of fruit snacks or granola bars in the store. A bag of Goldfish doesn't stand a chance if it will get me down the aisles. M&M's at 9:30 in the morning? Hell yeah! Not a whole lot is off limits...I've learned that my toddler does in fact enjoy Diet Coke...dammit. I'm that mom that you see chucking marshmallows at her kid every 12 seconds in the hopes that I can at least make it long enough to get 5 out of the 25 items on my list. Letting her look at toys is a no-go because she gets pissed that I won't take Kiss my Ass Elmo out of the box and I'll be damned if I'm going to spend $20 to bribe her to sit still long enough for me to get a gallon of milk and a pack of diapers. So we do our best to avoid that section of any store otherwise you will see me strolling the aisles with a fidgety toddler being suffocated by the 15 baby dolls, 7 books, and 32 Elmo toys I've thrown at her in my attempts to distract her long enough to keep her in the cart. The longest I've lasted is about 30 minutes before she manages to Houdini herself out of the straps. By that point I've already been ignoring dirty looks from other shoppers for about 29 minutes (due in part to the shrieking) so it doesn't phase me when I'm getting the stink eye from people who are clearly more concerned than I am about my daughter standing in the seat of a shopping cart with one hand on the nearest shelf and a foot on the handle of the cart in her last-ditch effort to get the hell out of dodge. I have been known to give in and dump her in the basket portion of a cart. She should have figured out by now that one should SIT; going over a bump or any kind of jerking motion can result in a tumble and a can of shaving cream up the keester. But she really hasn't learned yet and therefore I have had to swap out squished loaves of bread that she has sat on. BUT she is still in the cart, so mom wins....kind of...because chances are she's standing there screaming and crying, purple face, snot everywhere, tears dripping all over...whatever. It's a phase, one that my other two went through (that I apparently blocked out; understandable since it's a less-than-pleasant experience). She'll get over it eventually, but I will NOT give in and let her wander around freely. I will not carry my 20-some pound toddler through a store while trying to push a cart (and I usually end up with the carts with the jacked up wheels making pushing even more difficult). Even if I have to weigh her down in the cart and start using bungee cords, she WILL stay in there.

Like all of the other unpleasantries of parenthood, "this too shall pass". In the meantime I will continue my forays into any store that requires usage of a cart, my toddler will have her meltdowns, disrupt other shoppers with the purple-faced-hair-sticking-up-vein-popping-limb-twisting tantrums, but we'll all get over it. And some of my trips may end in me wanting to push the cart headlong into a rack of jeans and leaving her there or swapping carts with some poor, unsuspecting shopper leaving them with my spawn, and some end semi-successfully with me checking out (looking about as miserable as my toddler) handing the cashier opened, half-empty boxes of fruit snacks and bashfully asking her to put back the laxatives and jock-itch cream that "somehow" ended up in my cart. Either way, I was victorious as my spawn never made it out of the cart, but it wasn't without a lot of hard work and bribery. So the next time you see a harried, flustered, frustrated mom plying her upset toddler with M&M's and tootsie pops, chances are she's not spoiling her child but desperately trying to make it long enough to get the toilet paper that she needs.

I am winning the battle...but perhaps losing the war‏

Do you recall our post from early last week? We "quit" our jobs as mothers. We subsequently wrote letters to our husbands detailing our love for their "quirky yet cute" child-like ways that they have complete and utter disregard for socials norms. As a result of our posts, my sister and I decided to borrow and page out of my parents' play book and call a "Family Meeting". Oh GOD I remember the gut-wrenching nerves that took over when we were called to these as children and teenagers while growing up. Whether I was guilty of something or not, I always internalized the angst. I knew that the message was indirectly intended for me, and therefore I would turn my questionable behavior on its rear and kick my cooperation into high gear. I was hoping our current version of the Family Meeting would have the same effect on my family and I could sit back and coast along through my wonderfully clean, organized and happy home. I was on crack. Well, sort of.

I have noticed less whining and eye rolling when I ask the kids to put away their laundry.

My dear, sweet husband does not walk PAST the closet to hang his coat on the back of a chair (I think he has actually stopped wearing a coat out of defiance...but I still chalk that up as a "win" for me). And hey, at least the kids FOUND the closet.

The kids put dirty dishes INTO the appliance meant for washing them instead of on the counter above this appliance.

They have even unloaded it.

Soiled clothes make it TO the laundry room and even within inches of the hamper.

They put hats and mittens into their appointed bins.

Coats no longer litter the floor in our mudroom.

Empty toilet paper rolls have actually been replaced with full ones (I am still not sure who is responsible for this, as no one will admit to it...I have my money on either the 5 year old or the 39 year old).

Beds get made. (no, there is not a child in least I don't think there is...)

You can see the floors of their bedrooms...but who REALLY wants to see baseboards, right?

Anyway, I have noticed a bit more helpfulness, but I wish I could stress "bit" in a font that is worthy of dripping sarcasm. I have realized that I need to be VERY DELIBERATE AND PAINFULLY DETAILED in my requests and corresponding instructions. I must remember afterall that they are still children, even the 39 year old. They are still in training. I wouldn't buy a horse, tell him he is a champion and expect a Triple Crown year right out of the gates, right?? So I guess you could say we're celebratinghelp me celebrate our small...victories??? Dare I even say.....chalk one up for the moms??

At what point do you say, "good 'nuff" and walk away? Life is all about choosing your battles and winning the war. I am still not sure if I am ready to wave my white flag.