Monday, December 29, 2008

the queen

we are spending a wonderful week-ish in wv.

yesterday we visited my grandmother (a.k.a. maw-maw) in fayetteville. we had sunday dinner, then she decided she'd like to take her tree down. so we all pitched in and helped. the tree was down in record time.

all that was left were the bits of tree on the carpet. "get the sweeper," she said. i obeyed. i started to plug it in and she said, "oh, i didn't mean for you to have to do it."

i said, "that's okay, i am the queen of vacuuming!"

my 3-year-old looked confused and stated simply, "uh, no you're not, mommy."


Tuesday, December 23, 2008


dear extremely-annoying-lady-who-stole-my-parking-spot-with-your-lexus,

it is customary to put your blinker on, pull past a parallel parking spot, then back into said space. it might even be a law.

so, if you see someone obeying the law, it is not usually customary to pull in the same spot frontwards, get out, lock your car, making that grating "beek-emp" noise.

and since you did not even look at me, you did not see the lovely bird i was wanting to show you.

but, hey, merry christmas anyway - i'm glad i didn't decide to back over your little teeny car with my suv. i will not let you ruin my holiday spirit.

most sincerely,
paja-bah mom

Saturday, December 20, 2008


i just asked k what she wanted for breakfast.

she thought about it and said,
"not beans."

um, ok, because your other mother usually makes that for breakfast?

Monday, December 15, 2008


ok - it's been a week - so i don't feel like i might get struck by lightning if i tell my story...

mm got a free ticket to the hockey game last monday. pens vs. sabres. a rare treat to be offered a pens ticket, extremely hard to find, and expensive! and the sabres, well, that's his team. forever.

how could i say, "are you seriously considering leaving me here in the wacky house all alone?"

i was brave, i said, "yes dear! you HAVE to go, it's the SABRES!" maybe next time macy's is open until midnight he will return the favor...

i put on my big girl pants. all i had to do was drop off m at ccd. take g to basketball practice. go back and pick up m at ccd. go pick up g at basketball. come home. baths and homework. have dinner somewhere in there. read books, brush teeth, put everyone to bed. easy, no?

we all drove over to church. this is when "it" happened. last monday was a holy day of obligation! students were to attend mass WITH their families! all i can say is - thank goodness i showered. and the younger two kids were wearing socks and shoes. oh, and i had brushed k's hair at some point during the day...

we attended mass. three kids and me. no books. no snacks. no crayons, gum, stickers, or any of our normal church-gear! it was truly - awful! and i am not even catholic! i tried to see the hidden message, was this a test? of patience? or set-up? candid camera?

on the bright side, the priest did somehow manage to include in his homily about the immaculate conception, many, many references to the "immaculate reception" - ONLY in pittsburgh, folks. that made me chuckle. and the kids were okay, not great, but okay.

and we made it through in one piece, ccd, basketball, even baths. mm got to enjoy a night out to himself. so i suppose it was worth it. all these obligations, i guess that's what grown-ups do.

Monday, December 8, 2008

mostly unsettled

each year the santa shop comes to school. and each year i request a mood ring... one year i got a sapphire/diamond ring and last year a giant solitaire.

so this year i happened to be at the school while the santa shop was set up... (one perk of being a helicopter mom)

i walked around with the kids and let them pick out some things for their siblings and themselves. then i casually put the mood ring in with their stuff. i told m there was no need to wrap it, i would just put it on. merry christmas to me!

at first i thought it was broken. it stayed on orange "unsettled." all the time.

then it spiked to blue "lovable." for a brief moment... not broken.

so basically, i am mostly unsettled as well as occasionally lovable.

sounds just about right.

Friday, December 5, 2008

sleep issues

ok, i'll be honest. i like to sleep. there was a glorious time (before kids) that i was known to sleep 14 hours or more, especially on the weekends.

since kids, i am lucky to get 8-10 hours a night, and i know some people (mm) can get by on even less, but i am not one of these people. without sleep, i am HIGHLY irritable.

and i'll also admit, sometimes i am asleep when m gets home from gymnastics at 9pm. and sometimes, mm lets me sleep in 'til 8am on saturdays...

but seriously, do i really deserve this? really?

oh yes, folks, that would be me, in the bed... oh, and also, it's LAMINATED.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

dr. computer

today was k's well visit. three years old. i'd like to be able to say, "where did the time go?" but honestly, it seems like FOREVER since she was born... although i really can't imagine my life without her in it. any of the kids. like, what did i even do that i was so "busy" all the time?

i LOVE to go to the doctor's office. our pediatrician is the best. and this is mainly because... he always asks ME how I'M doing. am i getting out? getting some me time? going on dates? he tells me to go to the movies by myself and fall asleep! he makes sure i am sane. and whether or not any of his suggestions ever happen, he at least checks on me. and i appreciate that more than he will ever know. sweet validation. it makes me a better mom. seriously.

today happened to be the day the office went "live" with their new computer system. ok, no big deal. i'm glad they are moving on up in the world. the nurse typed in k's vitals and left us to wait for the doctor. adds an extra element of danger watching your three year old jump around a room with a brand new wall-mounted computer.

the doctor arrives. he asks us how we are, check. love that. he examines k, check. love that. then he starts asking the general questions, what's she eating, any sleeping problems, bathroom problems, etc. to which i answer, "wendy's chicken nuggets only" and "i honestly wouldn't know if she has any problems, 'cause she's the third kid"... buh-dum-dum. (i am oh-so funny)

i look over at the doctor and he is TYPING EVERYTHING i'm saying, on the new COMPUTER! forever! a record of me stating that my kid only eats chicken nuggets! i try to add some other stuff - um, yogurt and milk, and eggs... too late. i peek over his shoulder and the diet field says, "chicken nuggets predominate." AAAAAHHHHH!

great. now she will never get into harvard.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

my new vera/gianna

we spent a fabulous holiday in ny. no snow, but quite fabulous nonetheless.

i even got some shopping time. my mother-in-law took me to the vera bradley store. i picked out a backpack. i have been eyeing one for sometime. veras are quite expensive.

i picked out the perfect pattern. love at first sight. i'm checking out all the pockets. plenty of room for regular purse stuff plus random kid junk. it's perfect. the price is - gulp - $84?!?!?

i carry it around. i check out the pockets again. do i really, really want this? then i notice the tag! this bag belongs to gianna! i ask the saleslady if she has another one. she is mortified, she checks. no - but she can give me this one for 40% off!


and no one will ever know. except for me. and gianna.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

birthday pictures

working title "why all my money ends up at target"
or "why we take christmas pictures at home"

6:15am - g gets up? hears mm scraping his car.
6:15am - 7:00am - g plays ds while i sleep.
7:10am - kids up for school.
8:00am - bus picks up m and g.
8:30am - showered and ready.
8:45am - 9:30am - facebook, just kidding, well, not really.
9:45am - start getting k ready for her birthday pictures.
10:00am - remembering to print coupons, AND put in my purse. bonus!
10:15am - bag packed, dress packed, kid packed, off to target.
10:30am - at studio, changing k's clothes, brushing hair, etc.
10:40am - picture appointment, k looks perfect.
11:00am - still waiting, k running up and down the baby aisle.
42 times.
11:15am - um, still waiting. k dusting floor with white tights.
kind of frazzled.
11:20am - finally get pictures taken.
11:30am - pictures will be ready to look at in 15 minutes?!?!?
11:35am - in the toy aisle with popcorn ($1), sprite ($1), and vitamin water ($1).
11:40am - find the bakugan arena ($30)! and bakugan starter packs (2x$10)! score! check out, get some tic tacs for k ($1).
11:45am - look at proofs while k eats an ENTIRE giant box of tic tacs. ($70!) darn blonde hair!
12:00pm - loading up the car for the ride home.

exhausted, maybe i should have purchased TWO vitamin waters...
oh AND - i only had ONE kid with me! thank goodness.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

thanksgiving prayer

this prayer came home to us from church school. i'm not usually a sentimental gal, ok, who am i kidding, i liked this a lot. happy turkey day to you and yours...

my thanksgiving prayer to you from me;
is for love strong and true that you hold within thee.

a heart that beats steady and holds love within;
for your brothers and sisters and all creatures by him.

a soul that is worthy of all of his love;
that is given to you from the heavens above.

food on your table that you thank the lord for;
friends to surround you forever and more.

a house filled with love and the light how it shines;
showing all of its beauty till the end of time.

kindness towards others for all of your days;
to be returned i pray in many a way.

a good job to keep you and pay all your bills;
that you spend it all wisely and not on the frills.

a family around you that is loving and true;
that you all stand together for there are so few.

children to bless you if that is god's will;
to cherish and nourish so your life is fulfilled.

dreams of pure beauty as you lay there and sleep;
through the peaceful night when darkness is deep.

an angel to guide you through morning and night;
to protect you and love you till the end of your plight.

and last but most important your love for god will shine through;
to the heavens above for he's waiting for you.

amen and god bless! ~author~ judy n. marquart

Thursday, November 20, 2008

when i am president

m's class did a project. they each wrote what they would do when they became president. the booklet came home for us to enjoy and then send on to the next student. hopefully at the end we will get a copy to keep. it was a delight.

as i started reading, i became more and more nervous about what exactly m's answer would be. the other kids (this is second grade) wrote about many issues, ranging from lower taxes, lower gas prices, guns, straight up to better donuts... i am definitely voting for that kid.

i turned the page and there was m. sitting at the principal's desk, pen in hand, smiling up at the camera with her new teeth peeking out. my first thought was how grown-up she looked. i read her paragraph. i wish now that i had made a copy. she started with lower taxes, must have been a running theme in our households, as many students mentioned this.

the best part for me was that she wrote, "i would make sure that people have money to buy the things they need." closely followed by, "i would clean up all the litter."

the last sentence, however, was classic m - "i would put pandas in the zoo." are you listening pittsburgh?

mostly i learned that these kids are listening at home. they know what's going on in the world, and how their parents feel about it. i also learned that i have nothing to be nervous about, m is a bright little lady. and more than ready for the oval office.

bring on the donuts.

Friday, November 14, 2008

a little moon talk

overheard from the backseat...

"excuse me, moon."
"I AM K..."
"stop following us, ok?"

i'll be darned if that full moon didn't listen.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

ebony and ivory

yin and yang, tomato, tamato, etc. opposites attract. it's true, believe it.

although, over the years, we have somehow met in the middle, funny how that happens.

our ivory anniversary is today, 14 years. it is fitting, the elephant, since i rarely forget anything. anything. i have a mind for detail. ask mm.

a few weeks ago, i went through some old college notebooks. and there it was. the program from our first date. well, first "real" date. sorry honey, teaching someone how to "shotgun" does not a date make... even though i ROCKED... hey, i'm a good student.

as some of you know, i am a latin geek. i took way too many college latin courses. up to the point where i was the only person left at wvu that even wanted to take latin anymore. i should have been a latin teacher, but that is another post. in one of my first classes, we were offered extra credit to go see a latin play at the cac. i got two tickets and had planned to take another guy... hey, i was living the single life for the first time, well, ever, and i was enjoying it.

then i met mm. darn it. i knew immediately that he was/is the one. everyone says, "you'll just know." but i didn't believe it, until it happened to me.

fortunately, the other guy had "prior" commitments, i.e. getting hazed, so i called mm. he said sure, what time, he'd be there.

he came in style. a cardigan sweater with a skinny tie. probably from the chess king, no less. sounds weird, but it looked cool. i probably wore some giant over-sized sweater, as i tend to do. our carriage was his red blazer plastered with buffalo stickers.

now comes the actual date part. the play that i asked mm to go to. i really didn't read up much on it, just went for the extra credit. we were getting ready to translate the next week, so i thought it might help to go. the play was called lysistrata. i cannot even begin to describe it here, it's too embarrassing, so i'll post a link to wikipedia.

i pretty much kept sinking further in my seat as the night went on. afterwards we had a good nervous laugh and went to eat n' park for dessert. i ordered the biggest dessert ever. we talked and talked and had a great time.

after that, we have had many more dates. we got married, had way too many kids, but some things will never change. he is always early, i am always late. he hates clutter, i adore it. he loves scary movies, i can't watch. he doesn't like sweets, i do, like, duh.

but from that very first date we both knew one thing, we are in it for the long haul.

and to this day, mm still has a penchant for dressing cool, and i still like to order big desserts...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


last night k was flipping around on the couch screaming at the top of her lungs...

i said, "you, girl, are obnoxious."

she said, without missing a beat, "i know i am."

cute - obnoxious - but cute.

Friday, November 7, 2008

girl next door

thought you might need a friday chuckle.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

swing of thought

we have been enjoying some excellent november weather, so yesterday we were outside on our swingset for quite a while.

g can finally swing on his own, and is pretty proud. "look mom, i can get started on my own!"

"yes, pretty soon you'll be driving a car..."

"i'm going to get a jeep."
m says, "i'm going to drive a convertible."
"you guys better go to college and get good jobs."
"i'll be a teacher," m says.
"i'm going to build things with legos," g says.

i keep the conversation going, "there won't be much room for car seats in a convertible."

g asks, "is there room for car seats in a jeep?"
"yes, but jeeps are pretty loud, it might not be good for little ears."


g states matter-of-factly,
"my wife will have a better car than me."

interesting. i like it!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

i voted today

i voted today.

i think i'll just leave it at that.

now you go vote too.

Monday, November 3, 2008


i went to the fall festival party for g's class. first there was a parade and then snacks, games, etc.

as soon as i get there i notice g is in his costume. he turns around...

i suppose i forgot to explain to him that the costume goes OVER the clothes... dang it.

gotta love it!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

halloween observations

first - to add to the list of candy that hurts my teeth...

milk duds* - jeez, who even invented these?
ju-jy fruits
blow pops

*i totally ate 5 boxes anyway.

second - a group of tweeners came dressed as "techno hippies" - fluorescent socks, paint splattered shirts, sweatpants pulled up, side pigtails, painters hats, etc. it's good to know my eighth grade wardrobe is back in "style" and called something as cool as techno hippie...

third - my kids successfully ate candy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. this doesn't seem to have any adverse reactions, so far.

fourth - the mcdonalds coupons were a big hit with the jr. high crowd.

oh - and everyone please compost those pumpkins!

favorite costume - a young lady dressed as gisele, from enchanted. she was perfect. spoke just like her, complimenting our pumpkin and being all around gracious.

honorable mention - a tiny thomas the tank, who grabbed handfuls of candy. he was so cute i didn't even mind.

Friday, October 31, 2008

pika pika!

happy halloween!

my "artwork" - paired with mm's wicked carving skills. not our best effort, but the kids love it and that is all that matters, folks.

mm gets MAJOR bonus points because we picked out the thickest, most uncooperative pumpkin EVER. he actually used his drill... which i suspect he enjoyed immensely.

i might try to do some more tail detail this afternoon. and what exactly does pikachu have to do with halloween?
still trying to figure that one out...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

elf defense

i am so grateful pittsburgh is finally addressing this issue.

i am totally signing up.

damn elves.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

a tad bit scary

as halloween approaches, i just uttered a phrase that confirms i am turning into my mother...

"yes, i know, those almond joys are yucky, better just let mommy eat that one."

a tad bit scary.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

big girl pants

i was lamenting about my week without mm the other day at gymnastics. he went to nyc to be with his grandma while she had a stent put in. everything went well, and he is home safe and sound. and i did remarkably well, considering mm does a TON around here. more than i ever noticed, actually.

oh and by the way, i got NO sympathy from the gym moms whose husbands travel all the time. no really, thanks girls.

a wise (in more ways than one) mom said, "sometimes, you just have to put on your big girl pants and do your job."

i chuckled and went on my merry way, well, semi-merry way. i was alone with three kids for a LONG time...

since then i have loved using that phrase. on tuesday i put on my "big girl pants" and took care of a flat tire by myself. well, i called aaa, by myself. baby steps, people.

i also took the car and filled the spare tire with air - all with my "big girl pants" on.

today i put on my "big girl pants" and took back the paint that i was very unsatisfied with - that is so not like me...

anyone else had to put on their "big girl pants" lately?

Monday, October 20, 2008

donald and mary

about every week we get some mail for donald and/or mary. our address. our last name. but donald and mary? nope.

we get pre-approved credit cards, offers "too good to miss" - all the standard junk mail.

donald is even a jr. - like there is a donald sr. out there somewhere?

i sometimes wonder - how long we could live as donald and mary? enough time to buy everything our hearts' desire?

if you ever see me sign my name mary, don't ask any questions.
i'll buy you some uggs.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

breakfast patterns

g brought home an art paper with patterns...

different colored marshmallows.
green, green, yellow. green, green, yellow.

a whole page.
k just ate them.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

fruitless efforts

a few days ago i stopped in to see g at lunchtime. he was drinking a milk AND a juice. i asked him where he got the juice, he said it was "free." and that he always gets one. i was alarmed - had he been taking two drinks all this time? i looked around and several of the other kids had juice also. (and all of them had two straws and were drinking milk and juice at the SAME time, um, gross.)

as i was leaving i casually asked the teacher about the juice...

"do they get to pick out juice? is it free?"
wait for it...

"it counts as a fruit."


i went home and checked the menu, the last item says, "choice of fruit." ok, so crazy me was thinking apple slices, or a banana.

at first i was upset, but then relieved, because if juice is a fruit, so are...

fruity pebbles
fruit roll-ups
fruit snacks


Thursday, October 9, 2008

flat samantha

flat samantha came to stay with us for a while.

she came to us from buffalo, new york and is originally from chandler, arizona.

flat samantha had great manners, listened, and was quiet on car rides.

she got along well with others. she didn't make messes.

i will miss her as she travels on to columbus, ohio...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

bohemian vibe

one of the moms at our bus stop commented on m's clothes. she said m had a "bohemian vibe"...

i said thanks and walked home.

so - do you think she meant "bohemian vibe" in a...

poor, starving artist, kind of way?
gypsy-chic, i don't care what other people are wearing, kind of way?

also - since i am the one choosing the clothes - does that make me bohemian-ish?

if so, i think i secretly might kind of like that. secretly, of course.

Friday, October 3, 2008

this made me chuckle

this is from a friend of a friend of a friend's blog...

AnneMade: The Blog: September Madness, Financial Edition


Thursday, October 2, 2008

fightin' words

mm said my lego ship was good... for a girl.
them is fightin' words!

pajama mom freakonomics

ok - one of my favorite classes in college was labor economics. i know - snooze. i'll wake you up when i'm finished...

i had a wonderful professor. the class was set up with weekly quizzes. i liked this format much better than the "do-or-die" final exam.

i actually studied. i actually learned. i actually enjoyed the class.

i was also a senior - so i had finally correlated that going to class, taking notes, gets a good grade.

anyhow, i was thinking in the car this morning on the way home, i had no kids with me...

my thinking topic was human capital. and moms. looking at the "labor" involved in the daily activities of moms. basic supply and demand. i could go a little further and determine wage rate and number of people employed. (um, that would be zero and one)

and let's not forget the (budget) constraints. such as time. and whining.

ok - that's about as far as i can go without getting out my notes. but i plan to, soon, and i am going to graph my personal diminishing marginal returns. this is the point where i cannot produce anymore - i.e. total burnout.

i think i might be pretty close. stay tuned for a fancy graph. and who says economics is only good in a "perfect" world?...

Monday, September 29, 2008

uncommonly good neighbor

our neighbor is the keebler guy.
not an actual elf, but fairly generous nonetheless.

our family has not had to buy snacks in quite sometime. unless, of course, we want something not made by keebler, such as, oreos. shhh.

some things we have not purchased in more than a year, due to our benevolent neighbor...

rice crispy treats
fruit snacks
famous amos cookies
fudge graham cookies
special k bars
nutri grain bars
animal crackers
ice cream cones
e.l. fudge
vanilla wafers

we have also received lots of promotional materials, including a life size shrek, and giant blow-up footballs.

i could go on and on - and i realize how lucky we are to have a neighbor like this. not only have we benefited, but i have taken food to the school, to gymnastics, to our family, friends, etc. i'm starting to look forward to my neighbor getting home from work almost as much as my own hubby. it is fun to see what the "elf" brings. the kids get very excited too.

can you tell i love free stuff?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

back to the gym

it has been - gulp - 7 years since i have been in a gym.

my, how time flies. i didn't miss it at all.

so - here's how my first workout went...

30 minutes on bike, level 1 - 85 calories burned.
wandering around the machines doing various arm exercises - ? calories burned.
20 minutes on treadmill, um, walking briskly - 45 calories burned.

felt good, but thirsty and hungry.

1 caffeine free pepsi - 100 calories consumed.
tostitos chips - 140 calories consumed.
zesty cheese dip - 45 calories consumed.

this could be more difficult than i originally planned.
note to self - stop counting calories immediately.

Monday, September 22, 2008

moment of genius

i invent things. all the time. the only problem is - they usually already exist...

for example...
i totally thought of kitty litter box liners.
i invented a tool that removes legos from each other.
i also invented a lego sorter.

this doesn't stop me from being creative...

my latest moment of genius is getting mm to scan all of his childhood school work. now it is all on the computer, and not in the attic. genius!

i'm going to do this with the kids' school artwork.

i know, i'm the best, just please don't tell me if you've already thought of this...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

school daze

i haven't been posting much (anything) about school.

that is because my kindergartner is having a rough time. therefore, i am having a rough time.

it reminds me of the email that went around a few years ago, where the kid is packing up his stuff to go home at lunchtime. the teacher tells him that he is going to be there all day. he looks at her and says, "well, who the hell signed me up for this?"

g seems to be fine once he gets there. the teacher tells me he participates, he is friendly, happy, etc. when he gets home, however, he starts. telling me he feels sick, he wants to stay home and play, he misses me... seriously? he misses me? does he remember i spend a good portion of my day reprimanding him - read - yelling?

then at the bus stop, those giant tears! hanging onto my leg. kissing my hand so i can hold it to my cheek. asking me 100 times if i'll stop by and visit him. it rips my heart out.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

powerless or powerful?

other title contenders...
pajama mom on the prairie
why you'll never see me on survivor
laundry is my life

i'm sitting here with the familiar hum of the computer, the air conditioner, the dishwasher, the washing machine, and the ice maker, reflecting on our 50 plus hours without electricity.

having no electricity wasn't that bad. i didn't lose a lot of food, we don't keep much around anyway... and realizing there are those who still don't have power, or water for that matter, made us a little more thankful that we could still shower and wash dishes.

we ate out, we bought coffee, we had glow sticks. we read books, we did picture puzzles, we had fun with flashlight shadows. we bonded.

i can see clearly now, how much tv we watch, how much the computer is on, and how dusty my house looks by flashlight...

and how, without laundry, i have nothing to do...

we got ready for school earlier, we went to bed earlier, we talked. we did everything we needed to before it got dark, making the most of sunlight. then we relaxed by the full moon.

neighbors came out of their houses. some grilled every night. everyone asked if there was anything they could do to help. offers came to take food to in-laws' freezers. we bonded.

maybe frontier life isn't so bad after all.

p.s. i seriously plugged in my hair dryer, turned it on, and stood there wondering why it wasn't working!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

morning mayhem

amidst the usual saturday morning mayhem - gymnastics, soccer pictures, soccer game, birthday party, bachelor party, silpada open house...

the car died. mm's car. it used to be our baby, parked in the garage, lovingly waxed on a lazy saturday. now it is the "other" car, the "old" car, the "scratched" car...

the dead car.

and don't even think it is lost on us, the irony that the car is dead in the gymnastics parking lot. you know - the place where we send what could have been a monthly car payment...

life is just so humorous, ain't it?

*update* - new battery, so far... *update* - new alternator, still cheaper than a new car, right?

Friday, September 12, 2008

lost and found

me, three kids, and grandparents at chick-fil-a. somebody is going to leave something behind. trust me. be thankful it was just shoes, and not a kid.

i was in such a hurry to get out of there, i forgot k's shoes. her new ones. of course. a toddler outside sans shoes?

yes, it happens. gasp.

i called chick-fil-a to ask if the shoes were still there. pink? yes. they have them, cool.

mm went to pick them up - this is what we got.

how's that for customer service? can you say customer for life? that would be me. LOVE that place. not that i needed another reason.

charming afternoon

i got invited to one of those "gold" parties. you go through all of your jewelry and pick out stuff you don't wear anymore. take it to the party and trade it for cash! sweet.

i went through my meager jewelry collection - my main criteria was getting rid of anything from old boyfriends. after that i had a little more trouble. all the memories. the little ring my parents bought me for my 14th birthday, the earrings i coveted for so long that my mom finally gave them to me, etc.

i'll let you know how much i get. somehow i don't think my high school boyfriend broke the bank on any of the gold he bought me - no offense. we'll see.

anyhow, i was left with a bunch of charms. i parted with the "charm holder." remember those? i'm sure they will be back in style tomorrow since i got rid of mine.

i decided to put my gold charms on my silver charm bracelet from childhood. i used sterling jumper rings, and i have to say, i can't wait to wear it! if you hear someone clanking in target, that will be me...

here's a brief explanation of my memories, all on one bracelet. oh - and since i'm older - i can say "back in the day" now.

wv charm - mm bought this for me to wear to mountaineer football games, back in the day.
colonial tricorner hat - memorable trips to williamsburg, one of my favorite places.
tennis rackets - hard to believe, but i was once an athlete, tennis and track!
rabbit - my favorite pet, peabody, a boy that turned out to be a girl, abby normal.
mizpah - ahh, young love, mm wore the other one, even though it ruined his herringbone chain, wonder if i could trade that in for cash?
bicycle - the 10 speed bike no one would get me, except for santa, mwah-ha-ha-ha.
sorority paddle - some fond kkg memories, but not too many, see "mizpah."
shark tooth - my dad collects these, this one is from an earring.
roller skate - lots of hours at the rink, shooting the duck, and playing ms. pacman, for real.
senior charm - the unfortunate class of ninety, nothing rhymes with ninety.
aries - and proud of it, so is mm.
mickey mouse - back in the day, i only bought things with mickey on it, still love him.
crucifix - although i am not catholic, mm bought this for me, love it.
ballerina - hard to believe, but i was once an athlete, tap, ballet, jazz, and gymnastics.
best friend charm - from my best friend amy, or was it wendy?
world's fair - 1982 world's fair, you've got to be there!
violin - if they had violin hero for the wii, i would ROCK!
"c" charm - for obvious reasons, and with a diamond, no less.

sweet memories, i'm thinking of starting one for my girls...
anybody else have a charm bracelet?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

ugly shoes

ever wonder who buys the "ugly" shoes?

it's me!

i own it, i admit it, i love "ugly" shoes...

these sweet merrells are my latest purchase. mine are blue where the white is and white where the blue is - think opposite.

guaranteed, my hubby can walk into a shoe store, scan the merchandise, and immediately know which shoes i am going to pick up. really. it is one of his favorite pastimes.

sometimes i worry i'm picking out "ugly" shoes for my kids. m is old enough to make that face, the same one my friends usually make when i point to the shoes i like. very similar to the one my mother makes as well...

anybody else have a soft spot for "ugly" shoes?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

sweet emotion

after thirteen (almost fourteen) years of marriage - yes - to the same guy, i thought our moments of learning new things about each other were over...

that's why i was completely dumbfounded when - over labor day - mm picked up the guitar and ROCKED! i don't mean a little bit, i mean TOTALLY! he hardly missed any notes! for real! it was bizarre, i was speechless.

needless to say, now that i know i am married to a real guitar hero, and not just a normal engineer, i've been feeling a little woozy... i am major groupie material. i have been waiting my whole life for this!

*note to mm* - aerosmith was pretty good, but ac/dc would be even better...

a successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person. ~mignon mclaughlin

grow old with me! the best is yet to be. ~robert browning

Monday, September 8, 2008

candy 101

with fall and halloween fast approaching, i figure you might need some candy guidance.

i am, as most of you already know, a candy connoisseur.

i eat a lot of it, chocolate or gummies, no matter.
for breakfast, for lunch, you get the idea.

anytime, anywhere, candy. i think it is genetic. in fact, i KNOW it is.

fall candy recipe, just trust me...
candy corn
salted peanuts

together, in a bowl, for your guests, for yourself.

you won't regret it.

Sunday, September 7, 2008



Wednesday, September 3, 2008


the tooth fairy brought these in exchange for the cow teeth...
"cow tales" candy.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

cow tooth fairy

my mother-in-law gave m some cow teeth to "fool" the tooth fairy.

she is putting them under her pillow tonight...

does anyone know what the tooth fairy leaves for cow teeth?

so far we are thinking she might bring -

an apple
an ear of corn
candy corn

have you ever tried to fool the tooth fairy?

Monday, September 1, 2008

labor of love

as we returned from our wonderful labor day weekend in dc... (more on that in another post)

we stopped to eat and let the kids play. k pooped in her pull-up, m carried her to me, with poop everywhere! all over both of them. m went to the bathroom to wash her hands.

i carried k out to the car where mm was getting pajamas for everyone.

he said, "what are you doing here?"
i said, "she s**t everywhere!"

k said, "it's not s**t, mommy, it's poop."

oh, sorry...

p.s. i did borrow their sanitizing bottle to spray down the steps where she was standing and wipe them pretty well - i didn't see anything, but i wanted to make sure. they may even be cleaner than they were before we got there.

p.s.s. we were traveling with another family who kept an eye on everyone while this was going on - i don't know what we would have done otherwise.

Thursday, August 28, 2008


mall triathlon
two toddlers and an infant. to medal you must...

1. play in the playplace for exactly 30 minutes. then get everyone to leave cooperatively.
2. eat lunch at the food court. everyone has to finish before they can get up.
3. buy a dress to wear to a wedding tomorrow. and try it on.

bonus points for nursing in a dressing room, finding shoes to match the dress, taking toddlers to the potty, or getting to your car safely - carrying the dress, the baby (in a front pack), a screaming toddler, and pushing a double stroller.

you will be judged on patience. adding extra toddlers or infants ups the difficulty score.

pool decathlon
three kids, any age. to medal you must...

1. pack all gear and kids into the car, by yourself.
2. sunscreen everyone upon arrival.
3. eat a lunch you packed yourself. have enough for everyone. plus snacks and drinks.
4. be in the baby pool and the big pool simultaneously.
5. reapply sunscreen.
6. break up fights over one bucket you have for three kids.
7. use all of your spare change to buy ice cream.
8. make sure no one falls asleep on the way home.
9. cook dinner.
10. wash all the towels for tomorrow.

bonus points if you get a tan, read something other than gossip, or if dinner is something other than mac and cheese.

you will be judged on stamina.

i have a bronze in the triathlon, but have yet to medal in the decathlon, i hit the wall on 8...

are there mom-o-lympic events you have a medal in?

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

two birds with one stone

ok - i'm not *usually* a big proponent of lying...


i told the kids that the nutri-grain waffles are brown because eggo puts the syrup inside the waffles...

it worked! no more "white" waffles, or syrup! how's that for fast-thinking? and you thought moms didn't have any brain cells left...

two birds with one stone!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

penny jewelry

a couple of weekends ago we went to the fall festival at our church.

my mother-in-law bought 10 tickets for the kids (and me) to put in the raffle boxes for gift baskets. i put m's name on some, g's name on some, and my name on the rest.

m wanted the webkin basket, g wanted the sports basket, and i wanted the vera bradley basket. i scattered them all around. the last one i put in was for jewelry from macy's. the ticket had m's name on it - and she won!

she scored two bracelets, two pairs of earrings, a necklace, and a watch. all gold, which i don't wear that often except for my anniversary band. there was a time that i swore i would never wear silver, until silpada came along, but i digress.

i had a brilliant idea to take the jewelry back to macy's, get store credit, and do some back to school shopping. the value of the jewelry was $650.

mm was so excited. we talked about all the things we could buy... clothes, shoes, microwaves, etc.

he took the kids to play at the mall and stopped to exchange the jewelry...

the sapphire earrings - $.01
the gold hoop earrings - $.01
the silver onyx bracelet - $.01
the opal and diamond bracelet - $.01
the watch - so old they didn't have it on record anymore
the necklace - $86.00

ok - are we so greedy that we are disappointed that we "only" got $86.00 out of our free prize? kind of! i had big plans for that money! darn it!

i bought mm some well-needed new shoes and three pairs of shorts for g for school. i guess you could call it a success.

i also have some nice jewelry, in fact the opals are starting to grow on me.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

interview, seriously?

every year around this time, i start thinking that i should get a job...

maybe it's the "back to school" groove, wanting to buy ALL those cute dresses at target, or just the long summer with little adult interaction.

this year i actually took it one step further and went to an interview. mm brought home the church bulletin. in it was an ad for an assistant to a preschool director. part-time with computer skills, finance, and early childhood experience. although i don't have the college courses in early childhood, i do have three small kids, so i feel like i've graduated from the college of "learn by living." and i do have an economics degree and some mad computer skills. so i sent in my resume.

i dressed up - read - not pajamas. my kids did not recognize me. i met with the interviewers and sold my skills. it was a pleasant enough experience...

"oh, you'd want me to be IN the office."
"THREE days a week?"
"more than SIX hours a day?"
"so you are saying - MINIMUM wage?"
"and i might have to someday BE the director?"

ok - so at least i tried - i suppose i can do without that extra pocket money in exchange for another year (or more) of hanging out with my 2-year-old.

i can't decide if i want them to call me back or not...

*update* they called back, and are trying to work around my schedule. weird.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

spoiled rotten

the triplets were here for the weekend. we had pizza night friday - yum, napoli's - and then went to the zoo on saturday. it's hard to describe the feeling of being an aunt. i never understood aunts, always gushing over these kids that aren't even theirs. but then i became one, and i get it now. our nephew and nieces are the cutest, smartest, and nicest ever. so polite, so good, etc, etc, etc.

also good, were my kids. no fighting, lots of helping, and sharing. made me think we are doing an okay job after all.

so - the spoiled rotten one - that would be - me!

the pittsburgh zoo is so fabulous. but i go there all the time. i no longer look at the polar bears with amazement. yeah, we have polar bears. baby elephants, yeah, got those too. seen them. how spoiled is that?

i started to see the zoo through the eyes of others. the amish families - talk about well behaved kids! and our nephew and nieces, their eyes lighting up around every corner... i can see that we are really lucky to have a place like that to go - even sometimes just for lunch.

see - spoiled rotten!

the polar bears were swimming, that was a great treat.

i think the triplets had a nice time in pittsburgh, i can't wait to take them to see the dinosaurs!

Friday, August 22, 2008

it's the great pumpkin, charlie brown

from a little seed, pumpkins! excellent!

this will save us at least $2 at halloween...

just doing my part.

p.s. this is a real pumpkin, not a webkin one.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

playdate crasher

yesterday we had a playdate at a friend's house. we arrived after lunch and the kids played inside. it's so great they are getting to an age where they can be off on their own and we (moms) can actually sit and talk for more than a sentence or two.

later in the afternoon, yes, i tend to stay as long as the kids are being good, we went outside to play. i was inside tying my shoes, and i heard a commotion in the backyard. i went to the back door and my friend was in the swing set fort with 4 kids. one kid was standing on the back porch, mesmerized. in the backyard was what i can only describe as a very large bird. mm later asked if it was "like a really big pigeon?" um, no.

i assume it was an emu? although i'm not sure what an emu could be useful for around here? if anyone knows, please tell me.

my friend was most distressed because the emu was circling the fort and sticking his head through the bars, opening his mouth. she yelled for me to call the police. i went inside and decided this is probably not the time to call 911, although i briefly considered it. i phoned mm and asked him to look up the police station number. (this is when i got the pigeon question) "no! the bird is as tall as me! taller!"

i called the police, this is pretty close to the actual conversation...

"i'm sorry to bother you, however, there is an extremely large bird in my friend's backyard and she is pretty much trapped in the swing set fort with all the kids."
"what's the address?"
address given.
"we tried to shoo him away, but he won't budge."
"okay, i'll call the farm and tell them to come get their bird."
"thank you."

are you kidding me? she knows the bird? she knows who to call? she is not surprised that there are birds like this on the loose in the community? she is not annoyed that i am bothering her with weird calls?

sure enough, the farm down the street came and picked up their bird. all is right with the world. oh - except those therapy bills from the nightmares...

p.s. armed with only a large yellow pirate sword, my friend totally ROCKED for keeping her cool in the face of danger. just another mom sacrificing for her kids. and mine.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

seven mom-ish sins

i was thinking about this the other day, no, i can't explain it, either. a fill-in-the-blank activity for your daytime enjoyment...

1. lust
_____ is so hot! (insert name of celebrity man/boy crush here)

zac efron, anyone? (bizarre, i know)

2. gluttony
hiding from your kids and eating _____.

a whole bag of peanut m&ms, not the little bag, either...

3. greed
pilfering change from your hubby's car to buy _____.

said m&ms. chicken nuggets. soda. i do this a lot.

4. sloth
pretending to be asleep when others are _____.

changing diapers. giving baths. paying bills.
making breakfast. cleaning. taking out the trash.
i do this a lot too, apparently.

5. wrath
the kids asking for _____, for the 42nd time this morning.

chocolate milk!

6. envy
longingly gazing at the mom next to you with _____.

one kid - who is sleeping in the stroller while she shops.

7. pride
putting a bumper sticker on your car, that you swore would NEVER happen, that says _____.

fortunately, i haven't gone there yet, but i would in a heartbeat!

let me know your mom-ish sins!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


conversation overheard upstairs...

g, "chicken nuggets are made from real, live chickens!"
m, "nuh-uh!"
g, "uh-huh!"

here they come, to verify... uh-oh, i'd better hide.

Monday, August 11, 2008


gotta love payday.

this payday brought/bought us dinner at moe's, lunch at chick-fil-a, groceries, some school clothes, a babysitter for an evening, and a movie with the kids...

we saw wall-e. pretty cute. it was k's first movie, she was a little nervous so she sat on my lap the whole time. it was kind of nice to snuggle with her, for a little while. all the kids ate popcorn, in fact, it was their lunch.

wonder what the next one will bring?
anyone else have a fun payday?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

school supplies

beware of school scissors at target for 50 cents. you may be tempted to buy some for your kids. at that price, you may be even be tempted to buy some for your two-year-old. resist.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

it's not easy being green

on the road to becoming green, i am starting to hit some speed bumps. i also have days that i feel completely overwhelmed and i can't take it all in.

some problems i've been having...

1. i refuse to pay $99 for a hemp shower curtain. no matter how green it is. plus i would need two of them and i simply can't afford it. i purchased two fabric (polyester) shower curtains at marshall's. i know anything is better than vinyl, but i thought a more green option would have existed for those of us who are on a budget of sorts. even the cotton ones are upwards of $59.

2. i finally started buying some organic food, including beans, in a can. now i find out cans have bpa in them. i can't win! i am not ready to buy beans, soak them, and cook them. i guess i don't have any other options. and what about canned tomatoes? i'm supposed to crush my own? i'm not sure if i can go there.

3. after a few weeks of no sippy cups, we caved and bought a set of four for k. there were just too many spills. too many to count. way too many.

4. the proactiv seems to be working. and i like it. a lot.

5. i'm starting to feel guilty about throwing paper away. especially packaging that is made with post-consumer waste. i feel like i should extend its life yet again. i have started a paper box, but it is in the garage and a long way from the kitchen. maybe i should move it. paper stresses me out. i feel like it's the only thing left in my trash. but i'm not ready to do anything about it.

maybe i should take a break and enjoy the progress i have made so far... anyone else feel completely overwhelmed with green?

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


in the spirit of saving money - we want the girls to have "real" bedroom furniture before they turn 18 - we have not been eating out. i didn't think we ate out that much anyway, but now that we aren't, i really want to. and it is making me quite grouchy. i'm especially missing moe's and chick-fil-a. and fountain pepsi. how sad is that?

also, i have been taking on a lot of the "meal" chores. compiling recipes, making grocery lists, prepping the food, cooking... as most of you know, i don't particularly enjoy this, at all. and also, as most of you know, if i don't enjoy something, i whine, endlessly. that coupled with the kids whining over some "yucky" meal that i've spent my evening fixing, makes for even more grouchiness. oh - and plus - more dirty dishes!

so where does mm fit in with all of this? he is "compromising" as well, mostly having to listen to me whine... he also does the grocery shopping, the kitchen cleaning, and one other service. he eats leftovers. like a champ. and he never complains. and sometimes, he says my meals are good. cool.

"compromise, if not the spice of life, is its solidity. it is what makes nations great and marriages happy."

Sunday, August 3, 2008

blackberry season

hurray! it's blackberry season! the kids picked these at our local berry farm - with minimal whining... even better!

we also scored some blueberries, although not as pretty as the blackberries, still quite tasty.

mm put most of them on his cereal before i could get a picture.

Thursday, July 31, 2008

all in a day's work

and ya'll didn't think stay-at-home moms had any fun...
now i can build that castle, sweet!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

the baby

k just said she wanted to take a nap. and then she did.

"third" children don't even need parents, they just raise themselves...

Monday, July 28, 2008

more fun with three

pajama mom trivia - my hubby is a twin. his twin sister has TRIPLETS. yes, TRIPLETS.

AND - she is the single most organized person i know - IN THE WORLD.

so we shuffled off to buffalo for their 5th birthday party. we stayed at their house, which was perfect. lots of toys and animals. they have 2 cats, a dog, and a hamster. my kids were in heaven, as we only have one old, fat, lazy cat. it was great to have all the kids together, loud, but great.

the party was a gymnastics party. all the kids got to jump on the trampolines and climb the "rock" wall. the party room was decorated with princesses, tinker bell, and transformers. three different birthday cakes, and tons of presents. the kids had a blast.

sometimes i wish i lived in western new york. weird, but true...

Thursday, July 24, 2008


this is not really what i had in mind when i said,
"let's play with the beads..."

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

la ti da

before our vacation, i spent some time in gabe's wandering. it is one of my favorite new hobbies. i picked up this outfit for k - i thought it was beachy and cute. it was on a rack marked "sweet potatoes". i also got her a blue and green flowered dress. the next rack was the same brand, bigger sizes. so i got m hot pink and lime green floral-ish marimekko shirts. i did not buy the skorts that matched because they were a little to short for my liking. each piece was $4.99, and after i racked up $25.00 worth of clothes, i figured i'd better stop. old age has done this to me...

little did i know...

fast forward to the "la ti da" boutique at hilton head. i don't remember the actual name of the place... so i'm walking around looking at all the expensive kids' clothes, and on the back wall, a whole display of sweet potatoes! the outfit pictured above - $44.00! i also saw the dress, and the shirts i bought for m, all weighing in at $20.00 or more!

let's hear it for hobbies! la ti da!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

a new oven

ok - getting new kid furniture was fun.
a new washer - glorious.
service engine soon light - not so great.
now - a new oven? - you've got to be kidding.

is it possible to just use the microwave and stovetop to cook all meals?
i'll let you know.

update - i am happy and sad at the same time - oven is fixed for now, got a new ignition? chicken nuggets for dinner!

Monday, July 21, 2008

14.333 infinity

number of hours spent coming home from an otherwise perfect vacation...

saturday - spent some time swimming in hotel pool, then headed on to hilton head. walked on the beach in our clothes, i personally think there is nothing better than hopping out of the car and heading straight to the ocean. unpacked our car and went to the grocery store. some highlights of our house - a 3-hole putt-putt course in the basement, foosball table, and air hockey, although we never found the paddles. a swimming pool, that i think i liked almost better than the ocean, and SPACE. all of the rooms were huge. very cool.

the rest of the days go something like this - mornings on the beach and afternoons in the pool. eating something really yummy for dinner - chicken parm night, mexican night complete with homemade guac, bbq night, surf and turf night, etc. food was a real highlight, as everyone took turns making their favorite dishes. playing games and talking until way too late.

a couple of nights we got the kids ready for bed and the moms went shopping. one night we all went to harbour town to see the lighthouse and gregg russell. one of the kids in our group got picked to come up on stage! he sang country roads. everyone cheered!

we had a couple days of scattered showers, and one day of all-day rain. the kids and dads went to the beach anyway.

saturday - driving. a lot.

i could go on and on - crafts with the kids, getting some sun, diving for quarters, t-shirt shopping, i really couldn't have asked for a nicer vacation.

"ah, how good it feels! the hand of an old friend."
henry wadsworth longfellow

Friday, July 11, 2008

a gift of proactiv

actual mall conversation...

"there's the proactiv machine."
"yes, that's cool."
"want me to buy you some to try, my treat?"
"no, i'm trying some organic stuff right now."
"are you sure?"
"yes, i'm 30-ish, i shouldn't need acne medicine."
"betty buys it for her daughter-in-law."
"she mails it to her."
"let's try some."
"not today, thanks."

so guess what just came in the mail? a package from my mother - proactiv. thanks for giving me a push in the right direction, i guess denial is not just a river in egypt...

i still think i am way to old for acne. (and really too old to say "cool" so much) it doesn't seem very green, seeing as i am trying not to put chemicals on my face, but i will try it and keep you posted. change could be good. maybe mothers really do know best, vanessa williams does look great...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

a minor inconvenience

i finally sat down to read the selection i made at the library -

i have wanted to read "an inconvenient truth" for a while, he did win the nobel peace prize after all, beating out this outstanding woman...

so i start reading... pictures? simple theories? how did this dude win anything?

oh - wait - look closer - ADAPTED for a NEW GENERATION...

dang it! no wonder it was in the kid section. now i have to go back to the library for the real deal.

note to self - go alone...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

windfall woes

my father-in-law sent this article to us last week. i had to find it online and share because it was so humorous.

my in-laws' windfall disappeared with fixing the air conditioner, the washer/dryer, and a hail storm that left little divots in their brand new car...

our windfall experienced a similar demise. we finally ordered g some bedroom furniture, so of course, the washer died. now we are experiencing the "service engine soon" light in our car. wonder what the third thing will be? i am afraid to think about it...

anyone else experiencing dwindling windfall?

Monday, July 7, 2008

parent's delight

ho-tel mo-tel hol-i-day inn...
if your kids start actin' up...

ahhh fourth of july weekend - spending the night in a hotel room.

i have to admit, it went way better than i ever thought, although g kicked me for almost 6 hours straight. that child is restless. i'll make sure not to bunk with him on the way to the beach.

we also didn't get free breakfast, what is even up with that?!?! fortunately there was a 7-11 next door with coffee, pop tarts, and chocolate milk. plus doughnuts!

the kids loved the pool, and i enjoyed the hot tub, i tried not to think about the fungus, and just chilled.

the best thing was the "green" i saw in the hotel. light bulbs, fabric shower curtain, low flow shower head. probably saving them a ton of cash, but still kind of cool.

we got pizza sauce and marker on the sheets, but so what? gotta love it.

oh - AND - we weren't the loudest people there... hip hop hippie!

Friday, July 4, 2008

the underrated ramekin

a few years ago i received some ramekins from my mother. they sat in my cupboard and collected dust until her friend sent me this recipe from oprah. it is one of those super-yummy desserts that is easy to make, and makes a good impression on guests. like you worked all day...

when i saw that fiestaware makes ramekins also, i bought some more. they have to match my dishes, no?

real point of the post - since we have purged our house of all plastic, these little ramekins have become indispensable. the kids haven't broken one (yet) either. some examples of what we have used them for just in the last few weeks...

mac 'n cheese bowls
rice bowls
chili bowls
strawberry shortcake
cheez-it containers
small cereal bowls
fruit salad
regular salad
syrup bowls
veggie dip bowls
ice cream bowls

they are the perfect kids' size. love them! does anyone else love their ramekins?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

she is me

she steps down onto the grass and makes her way to the tent. her heels sink into the ground, but these are the only black shoes she owns. she is not prepared.

whose shoulder will she hide behind when the wicked witch of the west is on the screen?

just minutes before she had left the room. the room was happy enough, but the people were not. they all had sad hearts. she thought she could be grown-up, walk right in and be brave. she could not. she could tell that it wasn't him as soon as she glimpsed his pale skin. she could walk no further. she leaves. better to remember him the last day she saw him, his wife combing his hair, and sitting on the porch talking. like always.

who will let her eat fudgesicles for dinner?

under the tent she waits. family sobs. she cannot. through the prayers, the songs, the military rifles, she stands and stares at her grandmother, who is shaking with grief. she still thinks she is dreaming. the presentation of the flag, "from a grateful nation." she thinks they should have said, "from a grateful family." memories, too many to count, replay in her mind.

who would ever buy her another pony?

back at the house there is a picnic. not unlike many she has attended here. but it is different. everyone is different. changed. forever. the usual air of joy is sprinkled with moments of solemn reflections, tears. it is a different concept for her. for all of them.

who is going to let her ride in the back of the truck?

she leaves. back to her life. her young family. but she is different. grown-up some more. she doesn't like it. she leaves behind a grandmother. a grandmother that is sleeping alone tonight. and for many nights to come. she doesn't like it. she is crying as she writes this. it is finally time.

he will be missed.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

28 minutes

i just spent 28 (count them) minutes at the library with my kids. i signed k up for a storytime and *thought* the other two could read some books while she listened to her story.

mind you, i am not frazzled because these things happen to me, i am frazzled because even with mountains of scientific proof that i shouldn't, i still leave the safety of my house...

our 28 minutes, broken down -

2 minutes in the parking lot, trying to unbuckle everyone who is crammed in the backseat of mm's car. the suv is with mm.
2 minutes checking in - one to actually check in - one to find my kids after checking in.
1 minute to get k settled into a spot.
1 minute to get g settled into a spot.
1 minute to get m settled into a spot.
4 minutes k stayed in her spot and listened to a story about butterflies.
2 minutes with g while he looked for a lego book.
2 minutes with m while she whined about not getting a turn on the computer.
2 minutes to change k's pull-up, that has already soaked my shirt.
1 minute to get our craft "to go".
2 minutes with m to pick out a book to take home.
1 minute to pick out something for me to read.
2 minutes to check out.
1 minutes to fill out summer tickets to put in the raffles.
2 minutes for kids to decide what raffle basket they want to put the tickets in.
2 minutes in parking lot cramming kids back into mm's car.

seeing it all typed out it doesn't look THAT bad. maybe i'll try again tomorrow...

Monday, June 30, 2008

mayflower mayhem

since i finished the lincoln book and it was not a total snoozefest, i headed back to mm's book shelf to pick another tome.

so far, i am mildly interested, they haven't made it across the ocean yet, i'm assuming the action picks up after that...

ahh, history, not my cup o' tea.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


isn't she beautiful? hope we have enough undies to last until she gets here on tuesday...

never, ever, thought i'd be this excited over a washer. sad, very sad. pathetic really.

also, happy 39th anniversary mom & dad. true bliss.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

vacation time

last year we started a new tradition. vacationing with our college friends. oddly enough three of the couples (including us) lived on the same co-ed floor freshman year, and ended up married. the fourth couple are high school sweethearts that we met just a little later. between the four couples there are eleven kids! once about ten years ago we all went to nags head, before kids, and now are re-starting the family vacation tradition.

this year is hilton head. mm and i are used to vacationing with parents (read - money) and so paying for a beach house on our own is not fun. makes me appreciative of all the beach vacations i had growing up.

as we start to pack i am reminded of all the things that have happened since our last vacation. or rather, all the things that haven't happened...

i haven't exercised in a year - except for 10 days on the bike - a new year's resolution gone horribly wrong.
i still have the SAME summer clothes as last year - even the swimsuit.
i am no tanner than i was last year at this time when i was the palest woman on the beach.
i haven't learned to count cards in phase 10 - darn it!
my kids still don't drink near enough water.

even though my closest friends are about to see that my post about the extra 5 lbs. around my mid-section is actual reality, there is good news...

they are my closest friends - and they don't give a poo about any of the things i haven't done this year - because i think they like me okay the way i am.

oh, and - we are going to be SO busy with our kids that no one will even notice my "mom tan" - think farmer tan but with capri and flip flop lines...

see you soon girls! i can't wait to hit the beach!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

fun with diction

g and i were quizzing k on different words...

"can you say - please?" i say. (usually sounds like mease)
"puh-puh-lease," g says.
"please," k says. pretty good.

we quiz her on a few more words, grandmother, pizza, penny. you know, the important words in life...

then g says, "can you say - distinguished?"

*update* when asked where g learned the word "distinguished" - he answered, "spongebob!" who says bob is not educational? sheesh!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

play-doh hero

i know it's not really in my job description...
but i just rejuvenated all the crusty play-doh.

with water and my own two hands.
it's just who i am.

learning 'bout lincoln

mm has lots of books. he loves american history. i personally avoid that space on the trivial pursuit board. history tends to get jumbled in my head as i can't keep a clear timeline, or match the appropriate people with the right event.

i prefer mysteries. fiction. romance.

i picked this one off of our shelf. mm said he really liked it. that can mean i will like it too, or it will put me to sleep in 10 minutes... either way, i'm a winner.

i wouldn't say i can't put it down, but it is holding my attention. and it has a little mystery and romance. and i feel like i should have been taught all this at some point. maybe history class would have been a little more interesting. or - maybe i WAS taught all this stuff - i was just asleep?

obviously, we all know what happens, but the details are exciting, and i'm learning what a "cool dude" lincoln was, and how different our country might have been if he had lived. good stuff.

**green update** moved on to food. shopped in the organic section of the grocery store for more than a few items. i realize i am late on all this stuff - but better late than never, yes? found organic "go-gurt" tubes. really cool, the kids have been missing those since we removed red-40 from their diets last fall.

Monday, June 23, 2008

my webkin

yes, folks - my webkin. a charcoal grey cat.

mm got me one for valentine's day. i am still taking care of her long after the kids have given up on theirs...

why? why do i feel like i need to feed and take care of this "pet" for a whole year?

because i'm loony, apparently.

her name is sterling. isn't that adorable?

anyone else have a webkin - and are proud-ish to admit it?

Friday, June 20, 2008

new hobby

this is my first bracelet. it was infinitely more difficult than i ever thought it would be when i muttered my now-famous line, "i can make that."

i started with copper - sterling is more expensive - so i am learning with the cheaper stuff.

as i get more experienced, which could take a while, you may be blessed with one of my creations. m has a pair of butterfly earrings we made together.

then, when i am famous, you can show everyone the junk i used to make...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

i give up

so i am ridding my house of all products that are harmful...

yesterday i get out the new hurricane glass i bought at marshall's. will look great with the new soy candle my mom bought me. yes, i am really trying here.

on the bottom i remove the price tag and a little sticker that says,

"this product contains a chemical known to the state of california to cause cancer."

good thing i live in pennsylvania...

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

home school

after a few mornings of wrestling and jumping on couches, i have started a home school. the kids sit around the table and do worksheets. they actually like it - for a little while.

g is a master mathematician - but i figured out that while he can say the answers - writing them is a different story. will work on that.

m has a summer math booklet, if she finishes she gets a prize.

k scribbles with various art utensils and makes quite a mess.

but for a moment they all sit. and yesterday i wiped down the stove and this morning the dishwasher. i had no idea that something that is cleaning our dishes could get so disgusting. i mean, really disgusting. but it looks better now. the magic eraser is a wonder tool.

on to the microwave, that we said we were getting rid of... so i let it get totally grimy, but we still have no new one, so i will clean again for now. how long do microwaves last? ours is 14 years old and going strong.

Monday, June 16, 2008

swiffer man

a couple of years ago, when k was a tiny baby, my mother-in-law sent me an entry form for "mr. good housekeeping." as most of you know, mm does a LOT around here. so i worked on my essay and sent it in...

i got a call that he was in the top five. could we come to nyc for father's day? of course! they would keep us posted. unfortunately, we didn't win, which was kind of okay with mm, because he didn't want to be on national television running a vacuum cleaner anyway. i personally wanted the prizes which included a plasma tv and a fancy-smancy washer and dryer, among other goodies.

on father's day i always think of my essay, and how much work he really does around here.

for your review... although i don't think i technically own the rights to it anymore.

Superhero Profile

SwifferMan – No floor can escape his awesome strength. No surface is safe from his brawn. Hardwood, tile, or carpet – dirt cannot hide from his invincible cleaning power. Scours, polishes, buffs with super-human style.

Real Name – M M
Occupation – Network Engineer, Grime-Fighter
Fortress – Pittsburgh

Height – 6’2”
Weight – 200
Eyes – Green
Hair – Blonde

Special Abilities – Though legendary for floors, to typecast would be gravely underestimating his true genius. Able to put away mountains of laundry in a single evening, able to grocery shop with two spawn and coupons, and able to bathe three spawn with barely a dribble spilled out of the tub. Never met a dishwasher that didn’t need emptied.

Weapons – Weapon of choice is his SwifferMax. Other expert weapon proficiencies – vacuums, brooms, disinfecting wipes, bathroom sanitizers. Secretly developing a mini-legion completely versed in all his cleansing methods.

Nemesis – LaundryQueen. Seen heaping clean laundry on bed hoping SwifferMan will sort and put away before retiring. Carves out her own spot, leaving rest of bed covered. Previously perturbed by SwifferMan’s aid – now skilled in covertly increasing his workload…

Allies – Mother-in-Law, “Let him clean!”
Nemesis’ friends, “Wish we had husbands like that!”

Summary – Can you love a husband more with the vacuum cord dangling over his shoulder? (To keep it from getting shredded) A man who makes a challenge each week to save more with coupons? ($15 personal best) A man who knows that two small Swiffer sheets equals one SwifferMax sheet? (In an emergency)


Friday, June 13, 2008

how clean is your house?

update from camp wv...

the kids are fighting, yes, throwing punches, over who gets to clean grandmother's kitchen floor!?! they are hitting each other with the dustpans and swiffer - trying to be the first to get the crumbs from under the table...

where am i? some parallel dimension?

p.s. pajama mom got some sweet new pajamas, no more hello kitty pants, i've moved on to polka-dots.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

head for the hills

school is out - all the kids are home - so what's a pajama mom to do?
head for the hills of course!
we are all at camp papa and grandmother's for the week...

Friday, June 6, 2008

g's clothes

g did this... thought i'd share.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

blessed owie

i recently applied for some life insurance. i suppose if something ever happens to me, mm will have to hire some unattractive, old - man to help take care of the kids, right? at least this kind of places a value on all the crazy stuff i do all day...

the nurse stopped by to do my physical. i felt like the true hypochondriac i am as i explained all the times i've been to the doctor in the last 10 years. chest pains, gall bladder pains, ultrasounds, stress tests, 3 kids, etc. it actually got kind of humorous after a while.

by this time we were exchanging stories about our lives. she has 3 boys, and a sixteen year old granddaughter. she told a story about living with her husband on a military base and having to wash all the cloth diapers and other laundry in her bathtub! i could tell she would have no sympathy for me and my pull-up in the washer story. which i did again yesterday. ugh.

it came time for the blood test. first she told me my veins were very thin. then she checked each arm several times. then she picked one that she said was shaped like a y. this did not give me much confidence. but she pulled it off, and soon she was collecting blood. then - i knew i was in pittsburgh when she said the next sentence,

"i blessed your arm before i jaggered you."

i have a large purple bump, but at least i only got stuck once. and my arm is blessed. so i should expect great things from myself today.

** weekly green update ** i got new facial cleanser and moisturizer. it is actually less expensive than the department store brand i was buying before. it smells really earthy, which i didn't think i would like, but i do. my new deodorant seems to be linked to my complexion, which looks better than it has in years. very weird. i also bought a pair of - bamboo pants! so soft. this week i am going to look at soap and lotion. and an eco shower curtain. it's a good thing i love to shop...

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

strep butt

a trip to the pediatrician is always blog worthy. (un)fortunately, i haven't been there in a while. until today.

if you are a parent with little kids, poop stories are funny.

when we didn't have kids we would listen to friends tell these exaggerated (or so we thought) tales about giant blow-outs and the like. we would look at each other with these grossed-out faces, thinking our friends were cuckoo.

now we proudly tell our wal-mart parking lot blow-out story with pride... but i digress...

pediatrician's office:

- we arrive, sign in, i tell the nurse k is having "poop issues".
- kids touch every toy and get cozy with a new friend who has the croup.
- called back for k's weight check. g asks a million questions. nurse gets annoyed.
- stuck in THAT LITTLE ROOM... i swear they have cameras in there and are in the hall watching me lose what's left of my patience.
- kids climb up on the table, jump down, repeat. paper on the table crinkles, a lot.
- since k hasn't pooped in a while, she decides now would be good.
- even though i have a bag of snacks, stickers, crayons, kids just want to crawl on the dirty floor.
- doctor comes in. g asks a million questions. doctor gets annoyed.
- doctor takes one look at k's cute bum, and says, "looks like strep."


now, i had two kids with me, so i couldn't hear too much with the constant badgering, "mommy, i'm hungry, i'm thirsty, i want chocolate, i want gum, i want sprite." in front of the doctor they like to ask for things they know they won't get... i mean, at least not at 10am, duh! i think they like to see my facial expressions...

i ask, "you mean like strep throat?"

so we have a prescription and are home safe, strep butt and all.
i think i need a drink.

Monday, June 2, 2008

(a)musing morning

this morning amidst the usual chaos, g says,

"mom, i'm starting to like this life."
how cute, thoughtful, insightful, clever, lovely, etc.

"except, you don't buy me the things that i want."

and there you have it.

Friday, May 30, 2008

the truth is out there

the past few weeks i have noticed about 5 extra pounds around my mid-section...
this seems to be connected with some new found knowledge...
it is REALLY easy to use your debit card at chick-fil-a...

coincidence? conspiracy, i say.
trust no one.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

the grass is always greener?

our next door neighbor travels. he is young, single, working, etc... translation - he does not pull weeds.

i love to pull weeds, hey, i like to live on the edge.

so each day when i'm outside with the kids my eyes drift over to our neighbor's landscaping. i could just pull a few each day, and soon the flower beds would be clear...

i sneak over, and find the craziest looking weeds EVER! they are huge and spiky and i swear they lean toward you if you get too close. i go inside and get a paper towel to yank them out with - yes i am bored. i wrap the towel around the weed and grab. the spiky things pierce every finger - they don't bend!

so - i looked them up - of course! they are thistles. supposed to get them by the root or use weed killer. must think of a plan b.

when mm asked me what i did yesterday - oh, yes he did! - apparently it wasn't obvious. i didn't share this info as i am a little worried he might have me committed.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

back in the groove

almost everything is unpacked from our weekend trip to buffalo. the laundry is finished and the suitcases are put away. we are back in the groove of normal life. bummer.

a top 10 of "out of the groove" things i got used to on my visit...

10. adults outnumbering kids - only by one, but still!
9. holding my newest nephew z - ALMOST making me think about another baby...
8. my father-in-law fixing my coffee AND bringing it to me - that never gets old!
7. the fenced-in backyard - makes counting kids easier.
6. opening the fridge and seeing food - weird.
5. m, g, & k playing with their cousins - triplets can be very entertaining!
4. different toys and books - always good.
3. tekla - the adopted greyhound - ALMOST making me think about a dog...
2. late night talks with adults other than my hubby.
1. thanking my lucky stars i got so blessed in the in-law department.
0. bonus - mm got lousha with the whoopie cushion - classic.

it was a wonderful weekend. food, fun, and i even found a way to sneak off to the jcrew outlet for a little retail therapy...

** weekly green update - got rid of all plastic plates and cups. except for a few sippys that i plan to discard when i find some siggs for the kids. got new dishwashing liquid and hand soap. also toilet cleaner - but again we are using what we have first. found some dryer balls, mostly because k is allergic to dryer sheets, but still a green thing to do. they are kind of noisy. my mom ordered us a low-flow shower head. i'll let you know how that goes. **

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

what did you say?

the kids are playing with mm's walkie-talkies...

the conversation is going something like this -

"what are you doing?"
"what did you say?"
"i can't hear you."
"what are you doing now?"
"what did you say?"

good times.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

17-year itch

papa sent us this video of the cicadas in his yard. i thought it was pretty cool. the kids really enjoyed it too.

i was reading a little about cicadas - almost 5 billion will emerge in southern ohio alone - very near my parents' house in wv. their strategy is to come out in such huge numbers that their predators get tired of eating them!

protein-rich and carb-free, some people stir-fry them - they taste like asparagus!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

odds and ends

found in my purse...

a pair of m's underwear
small packets of tabasco sauce

i don't think these things would ever be on the list for that baby shower game. but they should be. that's what's really in a mom's purse, people!

pre-kids i could never understand that game. now, three kids later, i could kick some serious butt!

stripe-ee three

this morning we let stripe-ee three go home to his family.

stripe-ee one was found last summer in my geraniums. we fed him more leaves and flowers from the same pot until he turned into a cocoon.

stripe-ee two came to us last week by way of mm's car. he ate oranges (we think) until g decided he probably missed his mommy. mama's boy, much?

stripe-ee three used to live at gymnastics. now he lives here. best of luck to him finding something to eat. he was looking a little, dehydrated, would be a nice way of saying it. maybe he can find something in our weed-filled flower beds.

i did a little research. stripe-ees are tent caterpillars. they are considered pests. not in our house. they are honored pets. the article said to pay particular attention on where you find them so you'll know what to feed them.

anyone have any ideas on the proper food for stripe-ees? the geraniums only worked once, and none of them like our purple plum or cleveland pear leaves...

p.s. sorry for the crazy spelling, our gifted children come up with these gems all the time, gray-ee, spot-ee, brown-ee, pink-ee, you get the idea...

*update - stripe-ee four was rescued from the park earlier this morning.*

Monday, May 19, 2008

eat this!

one of my friends had this book at her house when i went there for a silpada (love it!) party. i had a hard time putting it down. since then i've talked about it non-stop. the last time mm took the kids to the mall to play he bought me a copy. sweet!

it is a fun book. i was surprised that we do already eat some of the "good" stuff... sun chips, lite syrup, hummus, goldfish, AND guinness!

the kids have been running around shouting, "eat this, not that!"

*some things i'm going to look for on the next grocery trip - luna tea cakes, simply jif, dried goji berries, and hellman's with canola.*

update - tuesday - it's only fair i tell you the "bad" stuff we eat too, namely, yo crunch yogurt, pop tarts, pringles, quaker granola bars, and cheez-its.

a long way to go

this morning m's school hosted "muffins with mom" - moms come and eat breakfast with their kids. (not unlike "donuts with dad")

i look forward to it because the younger kids get to see inside the school, and we get to walk m down to her classroom before we leave. we had a very nice morning.

i was pretty proud of myself because i managed to get up AND shower. there is a reason i am called pajama mom. half of my town probably wouldn't recognize me without my hello kitty pajama pants on. but that is a post for another day.

we are all dressed and on time. everyone's hair is brushed. a rare feat. standing in line i notice the woman in front of me. mostly her shoes. i always notice shoes. they were awesome grey nike shox running shoes. she is also wearing a black sweatsuit. how come some women manage to look "dressed up" and they are wearing sweats?

so we all sit down. my family eats chocolate muffins, chocolate milk, and coco puffs. no lie. i look over at the more-put-together-than-me-mom. she is eating two hard-boiled eggs, no yolks, and a container of peppers, green, yellow, and red. she even brought her own tea - green, no doubt.

man, i have a long way to go...

gabby's boutique

this is what we called gabriel brothers in college. "where did you get that super long pair of socks with the holes?" "gabby's, 25 cents for a 10-pack!"

-the towels with rips? gabby's!
-the leopard print mini-skirt? gabby's!
-all things (sorry mm) buffalo bills? gabby's!

i stopped in for the first time in about a year, in fact, the last time i was there i bought the liners for my window boxes, ($2!) and that's why i stopped in saturday.

no liners, but i saw many other things, mainly, crocs, purses, bamboo cutting boards, and swim trunks.

alas, i had g with me, so i must go back. soon. i figure i'm doing my part to save all that stuff from the landfill, right?

gabby's is the new green!

**weekly green update - we switched our toothpaste. mm and i switched deodorants. i now smell like lavender and mm smells unscented, cool! i also bought new shampoo, but we are going to finish what we have before we start with that. m and i picked out new lip gloss. i looked at moisturizer and facial scrub, will get that next time. baby steps. this week's goal - get rid of plastic cups.**