A Mommy Blog About Raising Men, Not Boys.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Oh, Jones Soda - What is WRONG With You People?

The Husband and I have been Jones Soda fans for as long as we've been together. It's a tasty treat, the flavors are unique and even their "regular" soda pop flavors are really good. It's good stuff. It's unique, the bottles are really cool and each one has a different photo on the label. You can even send in your photos to get one on a bottle.
However, they have this tradition of making a holiday meal version of their sodas. That's right. Turkey and Gravy. Dinner Roll. Sweet Potato. PEA. You see? It's like a soda pop journey through your traditional holiday meal. We got brave this year and bought one of their sets - which includes the above flavors AND Antacid flavor. So far we've made it through what we anticipated would be the GROSS flavors, Turkey and Gravy, Dinner Roll and Pea. I am sure that the antacid has some chalky mint flavor. We're saving Sweet Potato and the Antacid for another day, maybe tomorrow. But seriously, those first three?

EWWW EWWW EWWW EWWW. They not only didn't taste like their names, they made me kind of queasy. They were disgusting. Just to make sure it was a family experience, we made the 4 year old try some as well. Here you see him having a sip of the PEA flavor (which he kept giggling maniacally and declaring that it was "PEE" flavor. However, after taking a drink he ran into the other room frantically searching for his water. So the family votes that we're not such big fans of the Holiday Meal flavors. But we still like their other, tasty flavors. Such as Sugar Plum! I'll be breaking one of those out later.

I will buy the Holiday Meal Flavor Gift packs now just as gifts, and laugh hysterically as I hand them out.

The Fortress of Solitude

I have some friends who live out in the Florida version of "the country." This means it takes me about an hour to get to their house and it's a long winding drive through orange groves and cattle pastures to get to the hilly center of the state where they live. Besides being a place to relax with friends, drink beer and watch non-kid friendly movies, it's also a place to sleep like the dead. If you have kids.....let me taunt you with it's beauty.
Picture this......
A room for you to sleep in, alone. The sheets are soft, the mattress is firm. You close the door, and silence wraps around you like a cocoon. A place where the only sound is the wind through the trees. No one is going to wake you up in the morning. And, when you do wake up, they will make you coffee and breakfast. You can sit around in your jammies for as long as you like. No butts to wipe, no sippy cups to fill, no endless tales of trains/dinosaurs/Buzz Lightyear to listen to. It is, in a word, Mommy Heaven. Or at least a place that all parents should have to escape to, just once in a while to recharge and renew their brains.

So Friday night, I drove up to the magical land for a fine evening of hanging out, movie watching and beer drinking. I crawl into the magical haven of rest late and completely sack out. At 2:45 I am ROUSTED from my bed by a blaring noise. BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM, THUNK THUNK BOOM BOOM.......and my first thought is that Scott has lost his mind and is playing the bass out in the band barn - at 2:45 am. I lay there for a minute considering this.....and became more and more annoyed. My peaceful spot is being interrupted. I decide to go outside and kick his ass. Or at least say something snarky. I consider that it's probably not my PLACE to tell him off as it's his house and all - but maybe I'll just ask him to turn it down.
I step out into the kitchen and all of the plates are rattling in the sink in the kitchen. GOOD GRIEF.
I check out the window to see no lights at the band barn.......and then I SEE it.
A car driving down their country lane slowly.......apparently rocking out.

I presume that it's kids out smoking a blunt and jamming, and that they imagine that they are being discreet. Annoyed, I crawl back into bed. My peace was shattered but I decide to reclaim it. Back into the realm of magical slumber I go.

And then, 45 minutes later.........apparently Evil Knievel drove up from Clearwater and is now doing some trick riding up and down the street. The noise is incredible. The screeching whine of a crappy motorbike going on.....and on........

I am not sure what evil led these Crackers to try to disrupt my FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE but it was annoying as hell. I am going to kick some Cracker ass next time.

And then I woke up and got my period.

Like I said, annoying as hell.

But the coffee was good.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Large Penis is Always Welcome

Or at least, this is what I learned while watching ROME on HBO. I've been on vacation all week and one of my guilty pleasures has been sitting up VERY late, drinking alcohol in various forms and watching this overblown - period - piece - soap - opera. It has almost the same opening music as DEADWOOD. Anyone notice that? It has less swearing but more sex, ostensibly because the Romans didn't swear in a format that translates well (I'm guessing?) but hey, sex we all understand. It's a bit daffy and overstated. I mean, I REALLY don't think that Mark Antony held up the entire 13th legion on their way to Rome to shag a shepherdess. Here's a guy hitting it with the best Patrician families in Rome, am I supposed to believe he just HAS TO HAVE this dirty shepherdess? Possibly it's an example of "just because he can" sort of mentality.
But I'd sort of mindlessly been watching episode 6 when all of a sudden this woman, Atia of the Julii (Caesar's niece) is ornamenting this slave, who happens to be naked and, ahem, well endowed. She's decorating him. We learn she's giving him as a a gift to someone she's wronged - trying to make amends. When questioned as to the nature of the gift, she turns and utters that line, "Large Penis is Always Welcome."
I nearly shot rum and coke out my nose.
I can see angry young neo-feminists everywhere who like to say the C word and talk about their periods all the time embracing this slogan. There will probably be an article out on the web somewhere on how to crochet this slogan onto pot holders.
Perhaps I'll make them myself.
If only I could crochet.

(As an aside, I think Atia has the best eyebrows in the world. I totally covet them.)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Where MY Wild Things Are

Help Me Help You

Or, just help me.
Here is the problem.
I am a sweets junkie. I can eat sweets like there is no tomorrow.
And I want to go back WW after the first of the year. I want to re-establish myself as a disciple of my lord and master BILLY BLANKS. Cuz I lost weight, and I'm down to an 18 which might not sound so skinny unless you knew that I was sporting a 26-28 quite comfortably this time last year. So yeah, I know that Billy and WW work.
But you see, there is candy, and treats of various ilk just lying about.
SO I have a plan.
The Queen already confessed that despite her ass toning gym workout today she splurged on fudge, and then told me she ate the rest of the christmas cookies. I don't chide. I say WELL DONE!
Eat them up! Get thee behind me Satan! Or as Fat Bastard would say, "GET IN MY BELLY!"
Personally, I'm on a mission to consume every sweet possible prior to the new year.
If I get as many of them consumed between now and then as possible, then they won't be here to torture me when I'm counting points again, right? I'm consuming. I'm eating Chocolate Raspberry covered almonds, sugared fruit slices, maple nut goodies, christmas cookies, chocolate covered bing cherries and blueberries from Harry and David, candy candy candy candy etc.
You get the picture.
I must consume.

So, while I eat myself into a food coma, just remember this.

January I'm going to be bitter as hell. But hopefully, getting thinner.
My husbands request is that I not lose my back fat. I think that if I can lose the rest, the back fat can remain. I can't see my back anyway.

In other, unrelated news.......pirates have invaded my home.

This Duck Wronged Me

So we at him.

Kidding kidding. He didn't wrong me. But we ate him anyway.

I was comparing this year to last year while looking at the Christmas Photos. Remarkably the same, eh?

At least as far as wrapping paper covering the floor goes.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Boxing Day Gifts

I know you're supposed to toss your carrier a little money today, or a gift of some sort. But this is the sort of gift that might REALLY surprise them.

Evidence of my immaturity......I know.

But I just can't stop laughing at it.

I actually think it would hit the charts if it got airplay, based on the garbage on the pop radio stations.

Oh, and PROPS to Kristine for emailing me to start with. You rock!

Happy Boxing Day

I know everyone is celebrating Boxing Day in style, and probably won't have time to post today. But I thought I'd take a moment to say hello and to share one of the funniest pictures I've taken yet with my lovely new digital camera.

I like to call it, Cindy Lou Who's Cousin.

And this is how people without kids make Christmas dinner. Can you believe I know these people? And why does he appear to be cooking in his swimming trunks? And why is he so afraid of the stove? I know why she drinks....I mean, see the picture on the right?

Happy Boxing Day Everyone!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

I Cried Twice Yesterday

When we got into the car to head out for the final leg of Christmas shopping we were a bit hurried. We were running later than we wanted to and so in a rush we swooshed out the door, fastened car seats X3 and then my husband sits down in the drivers side seat and says "I have a surprise." And fires up THIS on the CD deck.
It might seem silly to you. But I completely burst into tears. Gene Autry singing Christmas songs = my mom making apple cake, my Grandma Brandon and her fake homemade noodles (they were actually REAMES noodles), the Christmas I got Barry Manilow LIVE in my stocking from Santa, getting out the green glass goblets for my parents to drink wine out of if we are at home, the winter my Mom taught me how to make REAL homemade noodles and how disappointed I was that they weren't like Grandma's (thus, I learned the secret of the REAMES noodles). It means making desserts in our kitching on King Street that was freezing cold because that stupid old victorian wasn't properly insulated, but the stove would heat it right up. It meant my childhood Christmases, every good memory rolled into one album - and I know I had that album because my mom is a not so secret devotee of the singing cowboy.
He says he had been looking for it all Christmas season and was at the WalMart looking at those albums, and couldn't find it, was about to walk away when he asked the guy next to him if he had seen that album. The guy said he had, but couldn't remember where. Right then, he touched a CD which fell down to the floor - and the Gene Autry CDs were right behind it.
Mean to be, eh?

The other reason I cried was that I received an envelope from my friend Michele in Lexington containing these.

One is a car decal and one is obviously an awareness bracelet, although more fittingly a comemorative bracelet. They made me sad, and they made me happy to be remembered - that this had been shared with me. The bracelet says "In loving Memory - Flight 5191." The car decal has everyone's name on it and the same sentiment.
So I take a moment to think about their families, and to think about mine.
And to remember, that this is not a dress rehearsal.
So if I haven't told you lately. I love you.

Merry Christmas

Some Christmas Eve Mumbling

So Baby Birdman and I climbed out of bed this morning to spend some one on one time together. All the other offspring and my baby daddy are still snoozing. Which is okay because Daddy and I stayed up LATE last night, drinking a bottle of wine, watching this TV show called BIG DAY we had recorded (oh man was that funny) and then we broke out the eggnog and the cheeseball at 1 something.
I told him, I think this is what parents to, they sit up late drinking eggnog. He reminded me that they probably do it tomorrow (today) but that's okay.
Wanna know what sappy thing we did after we watched BIG DAY?
We watched 9 Months, the one with Hugh Grant, and got teary eyed and/or cried repeatedly through the movie. And at almost 4 I finally stumbled off to bed. It was one of the best nights we've had together in a long time.
Well, because the stress of having three kids is multiplied in geometric proportion when two of them are the same age. You've got one in the backseat crying? I've got two. What one does the other does. You don't want to know about what we spend on diapers and wipes. So there's financial stress, not just of having three kids but having two that are little more than tall babies.
And then, there is time. Or, lack of time. There is no time. For anything. Much less time to do stuff together.
So last night we MADE time, even though it meant we were up till 4am.
It was great.


In shopping news I searched every store at the mall yesterday desperately seeking one item for my husband. I hit every dept store, and even asked at a couple of them, and they acted like I was stupid. Finally - in my SECOND trip to JC Penny - THERE, in the CORNER!

And there was great rejoicing.

I will probably take a family break for the next day or two, but while I'm gone. Here is something to ponder.

I dropped this ice cream sandwich on the floor and tossed it in the sink the other night. To melt. I woke up the next morning to this.
The damn thing didn't melt.

I mean, it didn't melt at all. It just became soft.

Seriously, we gotta quit eating these, they are unnatural. Ewwww.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

A Little Fluff

I haven't done a "How You Got Here" post in a while, and they always crack me up a bit - I love seeing what you googled to end up here. Then I post what you googled to get here and I just get more hits for that. It's a vicious cycle.
Regardless, the latest list:
Bordom - Apparently neither of us can spell.
Picture of the living nativity at the wang - please tell me there is a place called the Wang and that it isn't anything like I imagine.
Snowman cheeseball pumpernickel hat - WHAT? You couldn't remember what website I told you we got it from?
Marthat Stewart Snowman Cheeseball - See this person remembered where he found the recipe.
Camoflaged baby clothes - That would be available at Cabelas.
Mirena - Yes I'm still implanted. I'm not 100% that it doesn't make me a little crazy from time to time.
Wynton Marsalis Anti Semite - I seriously never posted about this. Is he an anti-semite? I have no information here as he and I are not close.
Puss Sack hard like skin - I gotta quit blogging about my gross body stuff.
Mirena IUD Twins - Yes to both. But no I wasn't on Mirena pre-twins - I am using the Mirena to block further twins.
What a long strange ride it has been - Google is so weird.
Snowman Cheeseball - Yes it was cool, I understand why you keep searching for it.
Martha Stewart Snowman Cheeseball - Oh good GRIEF HERE IT IS!

There were TWO Versions of This.......

One of them was hilarious.....all three kids going in different directions with Poor Santa trying desperately to hang on to them.

We opted for the one where the Grandma's could actually see their faces. Even though 20 years from now it won't be as funny. (Okay the one trying to escape Santa is kind of funny).

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Something Terrible Has Happened

I don't know what it is.
But if I don't privately email you for a while, here is the deal.
My entire AOL email address book is GONE.

When I work up this morning, all of my saved web favorites were wiped out. I know we got hit with a TROJAN so the PC had to be worked on. Then I noticed I no longer had a set email signature. No big deal, all of my old SENT mail was sill there so I dug it out and set it back up.

But then, I was just getting ready to send and email, and I typed in the first few letters of my sister in laws name in the email field........and NOTHING CAME UP.
I was like,hmmmm, that's weird. Click on address book.

So, there are a lot of email addresses in there that I don't have memorized. MANY OF THEM ARE YOURS. I suppose this is the equivalent of my SIM card dying in my phone (oh LORD Knock on wood).

I ask you now, please email me at home so that I can recompile some semblance of an email address list. I suppose this solves my query of when and how to delete my recently deceased from the email address book. I had sort of planned to come to grips with it and do it on the first. I guess it's just easier to have someone else rip that bandaid off.

Now, just for fun, here is a shot of me, a couple of guys I work with and a Playboy Bunny, Sarah Elizabeth. Where I work, a Playboy Bunny comes once a year for a big event they host. Is it me, or does she look photoshopped in? I swear she was really there!

Now email me, PLEASE!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

The Nightmares of a Mother

I've been having nightmares for the past few days. I don't have many nightmares, generally, so these are really standing out to me in a scary, disturbing way. I have a lot of silly, wacky, surreal dreams usually, or dreams that don't make sense, or an very rare sex dream (very very rare) about having sex with someone I am not even remotely attracted to. In the sex dreams I'm always extremely skinny, and extremely HOT. That's how I know they aren't real.
But I digress.
For the past week, with regularity, I'm dreaming about dead babies.
Not my babies - no fears, I'm not about to snap and do something rash.
I'm having two distinct dreams, the second of which has lots of themes and variations but I always know it's the same dream.
In the first dream, I'm standing on a dock. A few hundred yards away from me is a big flat pontoon with several helicopters parked on it. I know, somehow, that this is a helicopter landing pad - a floating one. I'm waiting on a helicopter to come and get me. While I'm waiting I'm trying to figure out how you get to the pontoon over there? Do we have to swim? Then my helicopter comes flying in. It's full of toddlers. And as it lands it just misses the pontoon and plunges into the ocean. I'm leaping into the water - the blades have slowed remarkably because of the water -in my dream I knew this would happen, and I swim inside and get two toddlers and bring them up to the surface, where I hand them to someone on the pontoon. I'm screaming that I need more help. There are more of them, there's still air inside, someone please help me. It's sinking. And no one will move. I go back and bring up two more. And two more. And then I can't find any more alive so I start bringing them up dead and screaming for CPR. I bring the last of them up and I'm screaming in this dream but it isn't loud. I'm just pleading for someone else to help me with CPR, I can't do all of these toddlers myself. I need someone to do chest compressions. I keep crying that I can't keep this up, I can't do this. There are too many of them and they're doing to stay dead if someone doesn't help me.
And then I wake up.

The other dream I am having involves the baby that died between me and my brother Matt. In this dream I've gone to the cemetary just to look at the burial places of my loved ones and they've messed up the baby row. If you haven't ever seen it - most cemetaries have a special area for babies and children to be buried. It's possibly the saddest place you'll ever see, so be happy you haven't been there, or ever had to be there. I used to drive through the cemetary once in a while, just to say hello, pay respects to my dead, make sure all was as it should be, and to check that the baby's marker was where it was supposed to be. Her marker is metal, and unfortunately moveable. I've been known to put it back where it goes, although I haven't been back for years now, so who knows where it is.
But in my dream, they've put a snack bar right in the middle of the row where the babies are buried. And although her marker is there, I can't tell where it goes anymore because they destroyed the concrete wall that was all along the baby wall. My dad notched it with his keys the day we buried her, and showed me, so that we would always be able to tell if her marker was in the right place. In this dream, after discovering the snack bar (and purchasing a coke, because who am I NOT to support the baby cemetary snack bar) I spend the rest of my time trying to determine where my sister is buried now. The entire dream is like that, me talking to people who don't understand why I care and what does it matter - it's been 30+ years so they don't understand why it would matter to me.
In my dream I don't know why, I just always felt like (and this is true in real life) that my dad showed me the notch in the concrete for a reason. So that someone would know. And now no one knew. In my dream it's more about her being lost than dead. Which, at least in my dream, is worse.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Sunday, Bloody Sunday

Okay there hasn't been any blood yet.
But MOM is at her wits end.

This is the one where I admit that I am not good at the stress of having one four year old + two 2.5 year olds. When things are good, I rock. When things are bad.....I just suck.

My husband is quite ill today, maybe going to the hospital later (he has bleeding ulcers and hernias that are giving him problems if it isn't something else) and I'm completely stressed out.
My four year old has not quit talking. SINCE 10 AM. Nonstop. Jabber. Jabber. Jabber. Talk talk talk talk talk. He has 6 of those information pamphlets you can pick up at tourist areas (this is FLA everything is a tourist area) and has gone through EVERY SINGLE DETAIL OF EVERY SINGLE ONE IN EXCRUCIATING DETAIL with me. I may poke my ears out (not my eyes, gotta be able to see what they are up to).

I tried to talk on the phone earlier to my mom and the 4 year old dumped an entire bucket of blocks (which, incidentally I had JUST PICKED UP) over his head, despite the fact that as he picked it up I DIVINED his purpose and said "NO! NO! Don't DO THAT! NO Don't YOU DARE DUMP THOSE OUT FOR NO REASON!" which he then did anyway.

The littlest boy keeps SHRIEKING everytime the TV show changes. Even though shows he LIKES are coming on. Oh, did I mention we don't allow screaming? Did I mention I have disciplined him EVERY SINGLE TIME AND IT DOESN'T EFFING MATTER BECAUSE HE KEEPS DOING IT?

Deep breath Mom.

Here is a shot of them being sweet, not demons.
As you can see, Target suggests I limit my repoduction to the current brood. Not such a bad idea based on today's track record.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Will You Still Need Me, Will You Still Feed Me, When I'm 64?

4 Years Ago today, at Chapel in the Park, we decided not to casually dispose of our relationship.

And yes, that was the biggest trane (sp?) I could find. They didn't have one QUITE as long as Princess Diana's was, this is a close as I could come.

Happy Anniversary Sweetie. At least we've now been married more years than the number of kids we have!

Friday, December 15, 2006

The Stroller Situation

I have a lot of strollers. I'm not sure if it's because we have multiples or if it's just because of our sheer number of kids in general. But I have a lot.
Let me elaborate.
When I was pregnant with #1 I spent an agonizing amount of time at TRAVEL SYSTEM. It was so wonderful. Cushy comfy car seat. Awesome stroller with nice comfy seat, big so it would be useful for a long time, and TALL so that the husband and I didn't have to bend over to push it. One hand release to collapse it. Very fancy, in our world, being new parents, we (at least I) was pretty happy with our choice. Which was THIS stroller.
The problem with it was, it didn't fit into our car.
Who'da thunk, eh? It is/was SO big, it wouldn't fit into the trunk of our compact car and with the car seat placed in the middle where it was supposed to go, it wouldn't go into our backseat. So we effectively had a very expensive but unuseable stroller - good only for walks downtown for parades and the like (4th of July Parade in this picture).
So, back to Babies R Us we went, and we purchased THIS one. This was very much like our original stroller but smaller, and more compact. But it really really hurt my back to push, because I had to stoop slightly, so I never really liked it. And then of course......only 19 months after producing our first tiny human, we produced two more. We needed another stroller.
Thanks to my twins club, I was able to pick up TWO of them for less than the price of one. So I picked up this triple stroller (I actually have a picture of us using this one but after an hour of searching I've given up) and this double stroller. Henceforth these shall be known as the strollers that set us free. After several weeks of essentially being homebound, with these two strollers we were able to take all three of our children, who were all babies, OUT IN PUBLIC. We could GO PLACES Again. It was like a miracle. We could go to museums and amusement parks and festivals, just like we used to do when we were two - or when were 3 instead of 5. It was LIBERATION.

But then our beloved double stroller began to break down. It had already survived a set of triplets before it got to us. So we hunted and hunted for the NEW version of our stroller......it was so nice, surely they made a new one? The husband found one online......and VOILA.......back in business. The one feature we loved so much about the first one, that you could switch the front seat around, wasn't practical after about the second time we used it, though, because the boys had gotten big enough to pinch and kick each other and generally fuss at each other and drive us crazy. So we turned the front seat around. It doesn't completely separate them, but it does provide a modest break between them and other than some hair pulling we seem to be okay with this the way it is now. But the heavier they get, the harder it's getting to push. Which has me eyeing things like this. Allegedly these are easier to push and worth the money because they'll last as the kids get bigger. It also makes my husbands head almost spin off, based on the sheer volume of strollers we have now we could seat 10 kids.
Oh, you were counting? You only count 9 seats?
Well that's because I didn't show you THIS one that they gave us for free at Babies R Us when we bought Baby Bird Man and Baby Birth of Cool their toddler beds.
Because we REALLY needed one more.

And just so mention something crazy......have you seen THIS nonsense? I swear I almost want to have a baby just to get one. This is the coolest stroller I've ever seen!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I know I never watch TV but.....

The National Geographic Channel is having a series of shows titled Animals in the Womb. On January 14 they are featuring MULTIPLES.
I'm probably more interested than a lot of you, because I once grew not one but two humans inside of me. But I thought I'd share in case you didn't know it was going to be on. It looks pretty interesting. I will at the very least have to TIVO it and check it out at some point.

Also, I keep meaning to share this.....if any of you MOMS out there have a dinosaur fanatic in the house, I have found no better purely educational site than this one. But can you really go WRONG with the British museum? We spend time several nights a week picking out a letter of the alphabet and looking at the dinos under that letter. You can also sort them by body types, so if you just want to look at the ones that look like T-Rex well then, there you have it. There they are. Brachiosaurus shaped dinosaurs? No problem. I also like that they give a scale which references how big or small a man would be next to them.


Tuesday, December 12, 2006

My PSA for the DAY

Okay my husband sent me this.
I think the DRESS is my favorite part.

A Christmas Tradition......of Sorts

When my husband and I moved in together it was fall. So together we geared up for the first CHRISTMAS together in our own house. We bought a tree at Walmart. We bought some decorations at Walmart. In his single days he had purchased a large number of really pretty ornaments.....longing for a home of his own to hang them in. We had a lovely tree covered in glass ornaments and various decorative, breakable objects.
I wanted a Nativity. My Grandfather Drake had been working on nativity sets when he died and I've always wished I had one of those. In lieu of that, we purchased a nativity at FRANKS and they didn't have any Holy Family sets that I liked. Actually, if I remember correctly, the ones they had were all the wrong size for the Creche we had picked out so we decided we'd figure it out later. And that is how a tradition started, much like the Queen's Santa.
You see, I had something very specific in mind. I wanted Fontanini figures. My mother had picked up ONE at a clearance sale at our small town department store (I think it was Murphy Mart or Grants) for a small amount of change. He didn't match any of our other figures, but he was beautiful. He was a bagpiper, which doesn't seem quite appropriate for the manger in Bethlehem......but who am I? I loved him, and I always knew that some day I would have a beautiful Nativity set with gorgerous Fontanini figures. It would be lovely and classy, and it would show that I have style. I realize that this isn't the message I should be striving for on Christmas......but, hey, first house/first Christmas together........you want everything to be RIGHT even if that isn't what it's all about. Right?
But you see, Fontanini figures are not inexpensive. They are, to be direct, a bit pricey. So I looked around for them. And was sticker shocked by the price on the heads of the Holy Family. They were COMPLETELY out of my bottom rung manager salary range. I looked. And I looked. And I just couldn't afford them.
I didn't want to settle so I chalked it up to the fact that I just wasn't going to HAVE a nativity that first year. We still had the tree and the lovely new place......
And then my husband, knowing the Nativity was important to me, had an idea.
He took a piece of white poster board and created this.....
You can't read the sign, but it's two sided.
One side says "They Day Before......." and the other side says "The Day After".

And it's 8 years later.

I'd still like some Fontanini figures.......but I don't know how I'd ever replace that silly sign.

Monday, December 11, 2006

A Call Center Manager's Nightmare

People Make Mistakes.
People Make a LOT of Mistakes.

And if you monitor all of their phone calls.......you're going to hear them.

Which is precisely why 100% recording in the call center industry is simultaneously one of our best tools and our biggest nightmares. Because you just never know what sort of crazy crap you are going to hear.

For example......how about THIS?

The entire time I listened to this the only thing that kept going through my mind was that I was so happy that I wasn't the manager having to explain this incompetence. Whew. Not my turn int he barrel. This time.

According to Sweetbay, I can have ONE more Kid

Our SWEETBAY Grocery Store has a cart that fits FOUR kids.
I was pretty stunned to discover that Walmart has a number that will fit all three of mine. But Sweetbay upped the ante..........behold.

First, where my purse is, you can sit two kids side by side........I'm not sure how well you can see that - but where my purse is would be the CENTER - it has TWO seats, and four leg holes. On the right, is the ATTACHED CAR deal......also fitting two kids. They must want two kids as it has two steering wheels. I can have one more kid......and still go grocery shopping. Who am I to argue with Sweetbay?

Sunday, December 10, 2006

But Do I Look Like a MOM?

I am a lot of things, and the thing I simultaneously remember constantly and forget constantly is that I'm a MOM. I love being a Mom, don't get me wrong. I'm not trying to SHED the MOM image. But sometimes I feel like I don't look like a Mom. So I have to ask "Do I look okay? Do I look like a Mom?" Hosting my twins club holiday party I chose what I was going to wear, toned down the make up, didn't straighten the hair........why?
Because I feel like, a lot of the time, that they all look like Mom's and I don't. I'm not exactly sure why. None of them look the same, they are tall, short, fat skinny, super cute, super plain etc etc etc etc. So it's not like there is some Stepford twin mom thing I'm trying to compete with.
I'm not really competing, either. I just want to LOOK like a Mom. I think I had it knocked in this photo.

And just for icing, here is my being a BAD mom........see Baby Birth of Cool? He's eating the cap off of a water bottle. Mother of the year.....here I come.....
I like to think that I'm not torn between being cool and being a Mom because geez, lord knows I left cool behind. But....do I look like a Mom? What does that mean, looking like a Mom? I suppose I AM a MOM therefore I look like one. Or something like that. There is some part of my pride that still enjoys it when people are surprised that I'm a Mom. I suppose I shouldn't be that excited.....it probably means they think I'm too much of a goon to be a parent.

The Cheesy Snowman

If you weren't aware, sometimes my husband is amazingly brilliant. I've been responsible for two parties at the my twins club, and as the hostess I'm fairly inept. Hosting children's parties, not in my skillset. Kicking corporate executives in the nuts and making them do my bidding....yes.....what games do four year olds like? Not so much.
So like a genius he dug around on Martha Stewart's website and not only found something cool to make for the party......HE MADE IT AND IT WAS COOL AS CAN BE.
BEHOLD.......I GIVE YOU.......
The Cheesy Snowman. A Cheeseball. Times Three. With a pumpernickel Hat.

That's right. My husband made this. And took it to the party I was hosting.

Sometimes he rocks.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

A Test

So Becky's Head will explode but I just downloaded the new version of Blogger.
Yes, I had to sign up with Google........but I'm pretty sure I didn't offer up my soul or anything when I checked the "I agree to terms" box.......of course I didn't READ all of it.
I thought since this was a test I thought I'd include a photo of the Rock Stars of the Suncoast Blogging Mommy Scene (from Sarah's vacation)..... Included from left to right are......Wendy, Sarah, Me, Izzy and Becky. It was a very good night! I'm not sure how excited I'm supposed to be about this new blogger, though. They've just sent me 20 emails confirming that I've installed the new BLOGGER. Okay!


This week, the words are HONOR and LOVE. So I chose an old and a new photo. (I'm still excited about digging out the old photos to share.......INDULGE ME!)
So first, we have HONOR.
This is my childhood friend's installation ceremony back when I was in Job's Daughters. You can find me pretty easily, I'm the TALLEST girl at the top of the pyramid in the back, right in the center. If you don't know what any of this picture means.......well, it means I can keep a secret. I can't tell you more or I'd have to kill you.
For LOVE I chose a recent snap of the Baby Birth of Cool discovering the wonder of a garden. He was just full of wonder, especially at this silly bunny rabbit sign. I was so delighted with this picture when I pulled it up on the PC because he was so enamored of the place.
How did you say the words?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A Salute to the BIG TEXAS

Nearly every day I have some sort of snack from the vending machine. And I have a confession to make. I am addicted.......absolutely addicted to THE BIG TEXAS.
THE BIG TEXAS is the finest cinnamon roll that 85 cents can get you out of a machine.
I love it. So do other people. That's why it won the "AUTOMATIC MERCHANDISERS" PASTRY OF THE YEAR in 2005 and 2006.
So I wondered, what ELSE won? I mean, I've never seen any other product BOAST it's status.........so you know it.
I emailed them.
Last year's winners were

Hot Pockets Subs Meatball & Mozzarella - food
Coca-Cola Classic - cold beverage
Nestle Nesquick Ready To Drink Chocolate Milk - dairy
Kar Nuts PB&J Mix - new product
Famous Amos Chocolate Chip Cookies - Cookie
Kar Nuts Sweet N Salty Mix - Salted Snack
Snickers - Candy
Cloverhill Big Texas Cinnamon Roll - Pastry

I guess that the rest of these items don't really feel the need to TOOT their own horn like the BIG TEXAS.


Sunday, December 03, 2006


In doing some much needed cleaning today I came upon a bag in the bottom and back of a drawer. It was an old grocery bag, the plastic kind, and it was jam packed. I pulled it out wondering what sort of crap I had tossed in there, probably during some move.......and then I opened it.

And saw my whole life tumble out.

It was, essentially, every picture that I ever thought was lost, from grade school through college.

I'll be sharing a lot of these with you because there are moments in these pictures that were lost in time that came zipping back to life today as I sat crying and shaking going throught them, picture by picture. I could remember zoom lenses not working, and what we had been doing when the pictures were taken. There was none of that "Man what was that" in the stack......each moment jumped off the paper and I could remember their sounds and smells and it was heart wrenching and precious all at the same time.

I would like to start with these two. I am 12 in this picture. In my arms are my two treasures, my cat Morris (who lived to be 18) and my brother Matt, who in this picture is just 1. In this picture I have just gotten home from intramural basketball practice (see the shirt). It's Fall and we are sitting outside because it's a pretty warm day and my Aunt Suzie has just come over, she was home for some reason. She took the pictures. Not too long after this picture we went down to the Pizza King for dinner. I had Mello Yello to drink with my pizza. It was a very happy day.

Weekly Words Challenge

I don't always participate and I'm certainly not the photographer that John is.......but I had two shots that I thought were fitting for the WWC this week.

This weeks words were CHANGE. (Here is a big change at our house. Normally for safety's sake no little people are allowed in the kitchen while we are cooking. However, on Thanksgiving Daddy made sure to include our little Chef and to let him help prepare the meal. It was very special to him, and I think really made the holiday a family event since it's just us here alone without an extended family around.)

And Persist. (Here is Charlie learning to use the spoon. He's still very anti untensil.......he can do it just fine. I think it seems like too much work to him.)

The White Tree Is Up - So Begins the Holiday Season

To comply with requests, here are a couple of shots of the white tree. It's up and really, pretty cool. In my imagination, I'd have a house with a chic formal living room filled with sassy post modern furniture and this would be just the piece of kitsch to tie the whole thing together for the holiday. Little Satchmo was about the biggest helper a little guy can be and even though we opted for all new ornaments and a tree that is coordinated and not a patchwork of old an new, I'm pretty happy with it. Hopefully next year we'll have room to have a sassy stylish color coordinated tree (this one) and a regular tree with all of our family, non-coordinated ornaments on it. Keep your fingers crossed for me on that one, lord knows we need a new place.

My holiday social season has kicked off with a bang.....I've had two girls nights out in the last 5 days, I feel like a socialite (Unlike Paris and Britney, I wore panties both times and I'm decidedly less shaved). Last week Sarah, Becky and I had a night out before Sarah went back home and we got to meet Izzy and Wendy which was a blast. It was cool meeting local mom bloggers who were also cool to hang out with. Beer was consumed and bar food was plenty. I hope to get to hang out with those guys on occasion in the future - they were fun.
This weekend I had girls night with Nik and we celebrated our girls only night by spending the evening in our PJs, eating nachos, birthday cake and ice cream and drinking Margaritas, Boddingtons and egg nog. It was possibly a possibly perfect girls only evening. I slept like the dead and woke up with only the mildest of hangovers. I TOLD YOU IT WAS A PERFECT EVENING.

The holidays are here........and now that the white tree is up I'm in the spirit.


Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I am NOT The Only Person In America Who Was Confused

Watching the Lighting of the Tree at Lincoln Center tonight we were surprised to hear that Sasha Cohen was going to be on.
Seemed like a strange choice, despite the popularity of BORAT we weren't exactly sure what sort of "Family Appropriate" entertainment he would bring to the show.
You can imagine our surprise when the entire show came and went without him.
So we had to rewind. What the hell? We didn't see him. We had skipped through Christina Aguilera - despite the fact that she looks very nice now and not at all like a living BRATZ doll - we were bored. And that's how we missed it. You see, there is apparently a Sasha Cohen who is a skater. I'm not even sure I'm spelling her name right. But she was much more family appropriate than Borat....I'm fairly sure. Here is a photo of the nice lady who did a lovely figure skating routine - the lady who is NOT Borat.
Don't act like you weren't confused too!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Because I Could Touch the Top

My husband and oldest son went Christmas tree shopping a couple of weeks ago as the stand broke on our cheap-ass Walmart fake tree and we were going to need a new one.
When the boy came home he excitedly informed me that he had seen the BEST THING EVER! A WHITE CHRISTMAS TREE!
I recoiled somewhat, in horror.
White Christmas trees remind me of textured wallpaper and shag carpet. Of teased hair and bridge mix served at holiday parties where kids steal drinks out of misplaced cups of Tom Collins and egg nog. White Christmas trees, were in fact, 1952.
But the boy went on about the white tree. For days. "Mom, just think about it, it would be so cool. I've never seen a WHITE christmas tree before. Think about how neat it would be."
He kept working the angle about how awesome the white tree would be and how pretty he thought it was and it hit me a few days ago. And I gave in.

Because you see my favorite story about my Grandpa Drake actually involves a Christmas tree. I don't even remember this event, but I remember the story well. My Grandpa took me out to get a Christmas tree, a real one off a lot that in my imagination is right out of a movie. When we returned back to my grandma's house apparently everyone stood back somewhat surprised, and probably annoyed. We had arrived back at the family Patriarchal Home with the shortest Christmas tree anyone had ever seen. He had let me have that one solely because I could touch the top. It was important to me and he let me have it. Because I was important to him.

So let me tell you about my White Christmas Tree..........

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Since my day can't get any worse

Since the previous post I have now experienced the "mistaking two boxes of Eggos for having two boxes of EGGOS when in fact one was Waffles (containing ONE Eggo) and one was EGGO PANCAKES" problem which made me swear and do a dance in anger. I decided to just eat the ONE since I was having a shitload of creamer in my coffee (thank you honey for the Gingerbread creamer it is SUCH a yummy treat) but then I had to spend 20 DAMN MINUTES trying to get the freaking syrup open. You'd say "just turn on some hot water" except that we have ZERO water pressure most of the time and it took almost 5 minutes to get the water HOT And then it just made the bottle wet and teh short version is that by the time I got it open my ONE SAD EGGO was ice cold.


So I decided to do the MEME that Becky tagged me for a billion years ago to release my stress. I'll think about happy things, like books.

1) One book that changed my life.
Ummmmmm, CAT'S EYE by Margaret Atwood,and LIFE BEFORE MAN by Margaret Atwood. They say a lot about interpersonal relationships that I strongly identify with. I suppose in a way they helped me understand ME better.

2) One book I read more than once. The two books listed above I've read many many times. I can tell you that right now I'm re- reading THE BLACK COMPANY by Glen Cook and it's good, fun stuff.

3) One book I'd want on a deserted island. NEVERWHERE by Neal Gaiman

4) One book that made me laugh. GOOD OMENS - again Gaiman

5) One book that made me cry. Good grief, cry? Ummmm.....okay, GAIMAN again - I think......I can remember, actually I remember the SCENE in the book that made me cry, it was about a child raised in darkness without affection and then one day taken outside and the child was so happy and there were all these people who were so happy to see him etc etc etc and then they sacrifice him. It was either American Gods by Gaiman or one of the Anne Rice books.....I seroiusly cannot remember. I just know I read that book more than once and always have to skip that part.

6) One book I wish I'd written. I'm not exactly sure. Hard to say.

7) One book I wish had never been written. Any of the shit Anne Rice has been churning out lately. Oh and HOUSE OF LEAVES by some asshole whose name escapes me. The only book I can say that not only did I not finish it (I got about 3/4 of the way through and just got SO pissed off I had to quit) I now often threaten to give it as a gift to people when they are making me angry. Worst book ever written. Cool concept. Shitty story telling and execution.

8) One book I'm reading now. Well I'm supposed to be reading Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell but I'm actually reading BLACK COMPANY again because I can only read for about 10 minutes before I fall asleep and it's hard to absorb a new book that way.

9) One book I've been meaning to read. Hmmmm, been meaning to read? It's probably any book I haven't read.

So far today

I have poured the water for my coffee into the filtration basket instead of the water reservoir and poured my PURE HAWAIIAN KONA coffee into the garbage disposal rather than the grinder.

Not the most positive of mornings so far.......

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Name of the Rose is but a BLIP on an Otherwise Uninterrupted Downward Spiral

Recently I went to the doctor because my hips hurt me so much I can hardly stand it. I have trouble getting up and down from chairs. I have trouble walking. It hurts no matter how I sleep, after I've been in that position for long enough I have to change (regardless of the position). It hurts when I sit, stand, walk, run, etc. It's just become degrees of pain. Mostly, it sucks. So I finally went to the doctor.
It all seemed to start back when I was pregnant, I had a lot of hip pain, especially carrying the twins. The problem is, it never went away. I've lost weight, I bought a special pad for the bed that was supposed to help. I used it, I took it off, I've done whatever I could think of, and it never has gone away. It just keeps getting worse.
So I went to my doctor.
This was a new doctor, the partner of my regular doctor. He immediately set about poking me in exactly the places in my hips that about sent me into the screaming mee-mees. He then gave me an adjustment, the likes of which - had we been on a date - would've nearly been grounds for my daddy to demand marriage. But when he was done......oh my god, the pain was gone.
And then he says "I used to be a physical therapist, so I have a lot of experience doing this, just usually in geriatric patients." Then he asks me to walk.
I say "What?" and he asks me to walk up and down the hall.
Which I did while he sat on a chair at the end of the hall watching my less than fashionable stroll down the doctors office catwalk.
About the third round of walking he says "Yup, that's it." and had me get back up on the table to start messing around with my right knee.
"Does your knee pop when you walk?"
"Especially when you go up and down stairs?"

Turns out the verdict is not that there is anything particular wrong with my hips, it's my right knee. Which is somewhat disintegrating. At some point in time, I'll have to have knee replacement, but he says he's pretty sure I can count on that happening in "old age" (thanks Grandma Brandon once again for giving me these damn inferior legs). I'm apparently walking like a gimp, slightly, just enough to whack out the pressure on my hips and to even make them a little disjointed occasionally.
Hence the pain.

So, now in my life is the wonder supplement GLUCOSAMINE, per the doctor, to help maintain the cartledge in my right knee to help me from walking like a gimp and hurting my hips.

Got that?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thank you Buzz Lightyear

This year as I gaze around the living room, I am thankful for strange items taking their rest among our possessions. I am thankful for the Buzz Lightyear tent crowding many square feet of the living area. It's full of bears that were gifts and a ladybug, won at the Strawberry Festival. It is used for Hide and Seek, and to hide toys from your brothers.
I am thankful for the Little People Village that is hogging up a good portion of my dining room floor, as well as the play kitchen which can be used to make soup and eggs as well as tea, from what I've been served. I am especially thankful for the hobby horse and the playhouse door activity center that is also taking up floor space but we've spent more time climbing over than anything.
But most of all, I'm thankful for the shrieks of "It's SANTA! It's SANTA MOM it's the REAL SANTA COME SEE COME SEE!" coming out of the mouth of a 4 year old in the next room.

Mom is thankful.

Thankful that she is a Mom.