Wednesday, December 30, 2009

bananagrams

"the award winning anagram game that will drive you bananas!"

mm picked up this game
to give to the kids for christmas.
at the toy store a few blocks from his office.
near macy's.
and the pittsburgh popcorn company.
and the freaking awesome gyro place.
where he meanders on his lunch break.
did that sound jealous?
oh, good.

anyway, we busted it out on christmas evening.
to kick their little behinds.
'cause that's how we entertain ourselves.

m, our eldest, starts with her tiles,
A S S
if only i were joking.

"you can't count it unless you know the definition," mm says.
yes, he is that competitive.
"an ass is a donkey," m says back.
so is she.

"how do you know that?" the conversation continues.
move on, mm, move on.
"the boys at ccd cover up the "m" in the word mass,
and make the word ass." she explains, patiently.
catholic boys, ah, but of course, i should have known.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

i'd rather

i'd rather be a mother
than anyone on earth
bringing up a child (or three)
of unpretentious birth.

i'd rather nurse a rosy babe
with warm lips on my breast
than wear a queen's medallion
above a heart less blessed.

i'd rather tuck a little child
all safe and sound in bed
than twine a chain of diamonds
about my foolish head.

i'd rather wash a smudgy face
with round, bright baby eyes,
than paint the pageantry of fame
or walk among the wise.

-author unknown

this poem reminds me of mary.
don't even pretend to follow that train of thought.
it's okay.

i hope you all have a blessed christmas.

i have a few secret wishes,
ahem, puppy, cough, cough,
but mostly,
all my wishes
have already come true.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

christmas ham











it doesn't feel like christmas until
the baumgartner family
ham is in the oven.

i started a little early this year.
i couldn't wait.

the smell of baked ham
tells me it's christmastime,
and i really needed some
holiday cheer today.

so now i'd like to share with you.
i'm sure the other baumgartners
won't mind too much.

baumgartner brown sugar ham
6 pounds ham (fully-cooked)
2 cans coca-cola*
2 T ground cloves
1 box brown sugar

score surface
fat side up
pour one can of coca-cola in bottom of pan
bake 20 min/pound at 350 degrees, covered
baste as needed

meanwhile, mix together
one can of coca-cola
cloves
brown sugar

when timer dings,
pour mixture over ham
and bake 5 min/pound longer, uncovered
baste as needed

"the original recipe called for pepsi. i think pepsi is more spicey than coke and not as sweet. the end is "...pour half of mixture over ham, bake another 5 min per pound longer, uncovered, use the other half of mixture to BASTE EVERY 5 MIN. dad b."

eat ham! drink booze! be merry!

*i have also tried this recipe with pepsi.
and dr. pepper.
and creme soda.
and ginger ale.
not as good as coca-cola.
you can just trust me, i've already done the research.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

treat bags

a few weeks ago,
i hopped on my high horse.
dug my heels in,
and decided,
NO treat bags.

not going to do it.
anymore!
you can't make me.
you can't make me feel guilty either.
i'm not having it.

and now, one hour before
the elementary school
holiday party,
i'm feeling like a schmoe.
a schmuck.
a schmoo.
whatever.

damn it.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

sunday confession

there is a wendy's
near the kids' preschool.

preschool -
m went there for 2 years.
then g went there for 2 years.
and now k is in her second year there.

that's 6 years.
driving to preschool,
then going to wendy's for lunch.
let's be conservative and say twice a week.
we'll say 2 packs of nuggets, depending on the kid mix.
2 packs x 2 days a week x 30 weeks x 6 years = 720 packs
720 packs x $1.06 is approx. $760
dang.

wait, there's more...
almost every time we go there
we have the same drive-thru guy.
he looks just like desi arnaz.
acts like him too.
so not kidding.
he always says hello,
how are you,
etc.

one day a few months ago,
he wasn't there anymore.
just disappeared.

then last week,
i went to the wendy's
over by the craft store,
and there he was!

we chatted like old times,
"what are you doing here?"
"no! what are you doing here?"
"i work here now."
"no way!"
etc.

it was so lame.
and yet, so true.

what's your sunday confession?
the confessional is open.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

he's just not that into you














oh, honey!
he's just not that into you.

sure, he's big and beefy,
but he doesn't look all that smart,
just my two cents.

i'd be more than happy to move you
closer to bob the builder.
or the mountaineer.
say the word.

seriously, who needs tv?
when our melrose tree is so
entertaining today.

an unlikely pair




yes, an unlikely pair.
kept apart by so many barriers.
not just social barriers,
physical and cultural as well.
age, weight, money,
language.

oh, and economic barriers,
competition, customer loyalty,
advertising.

but most importantly,
actual barriers.
of the cardboard variety.
separated by walls
all these years.

so how did this unlikely pair
overcome these barriers?
break down the walls between them?
seemingly by chance,
they were placed mere
branches apart by
three little matchmakers
on a fateful day.

and so they got to know each other,
leaning in for secret whispers
as the lights dimmed each evening.
they began to look forward to their
nights just "hanging out" together.
then, as if by force of nature
they slowly rotated
toward each other,
toward their future.

i wish them well,
this unlikely pair,
and hope they will be together
for many years to come,
their unlikely courtship
blossoming
into true romance.

Friday, December 18, 2009

you look like her














i recently attended a wedding. i sat at a table with a wonderful woman who knows my parents and brother, but had never met me. this happens so rarely that i was caught a little off guard. obviously, i realize i graduated from high school almost 20 years ago, went to college, got married, and live in a different state, but i still feel like i live in wv. at least in my heart, if that makes any sense. and i stay tuned-in thanks to my mother, who keeps me updated. even with this woman, who hadn't even met me yet.

"you look like her." she stated simply.
"yes." i answered simply.

"she must have looked just like you when she was your age."
she elaborated, nodding toward my mother.
"yes." i answered again, simply.

she did. she does. i do. we do. look alike.
and i've been thinking a lot about it since then.
and this evolution to the answer yes.

the high school me would have shouted,
"i DO NOT look like her!"
her manners, seriously?
cooking and baking - all the time.
cleaning and organizing.
decorating.
proof-reading my writing.
shopping.
doing laundry.
uh, no thanks. as if.

the college me would have conceded,
"i might look a little like her..."
learning to use those manners.
receiving baked goods in the mail.
cleaning and organizing my own space.
decorating - with posters - einstein, anyone?
proof-reading my own writing.
shopping - not so terrible.
doing my own laundry for the first time.
might not be so bad.

the newlywed me would have pondered,
"maybe i am starting to look like her?"
wondering why no one else ever learned their manners.
asking for copies of all those recipes.
cleaning and organizing a whole house.
decorating - ah, it just never gets old.
proof-reading mm's writing.
shopping, glorious shopping.
doing laundry for two.
i think i can do this.

and the now me answers simply,
"yes."
teaching manners to three little ones.
making up recipes of my own.
cleaning and organizing - and learning when to let it go.
decorating playrooms.
proof-reading little made-up stories.
shopping, me time!
doing laundry non-stop.
i'm trying, man, i'm trying.

so keep in mind,
when you say to me,
"you look like her."
and i answer,
"yes."
what i am really saying is,
"i sure hope so."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

magic

remember that shower in your apartment in college?
yuck.

ours kind of looked like that yesterday.
kind of.
scrubbing wasn't working.
so i got out the -
magic eraser.

desperate times...
all i can say is wow.

our shower looks brand new.

and i enjoyed cleaning it.
good lord, please don't tell anyone.
pinky swear.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

tough assignment

m has been studying
native american culture.

and the importance of names.
and how sometimes names aren't chosen right away.
the parents will wait to see what name fits the child.

not unlike other cultures, i suppose.
i once had an econ professor whose
name meant "bright" -
he told us it was because his parents
thought he was "dim" -
and hoped his name would help him become
brighter in time.
asian culture?
i digress.

anyway, this assignment came home.
write a paragraph about how you got your name.
interview your parents.

our interview.
i'll leave out the part at the end
where i got all sorts of defensive
and left the room.

"who am i named after?"
"no one."
what kind of wack assignment is this?

"then how did i get my name?"
"we just liked it."
can't we just name our kid?

"you just liked it?"
"yep."
yes, we just liked it!

"what about my middle name?"
"same."
don't you have some math i can check?

"same?"
"we just liked it."
how much longer is this interview?

"you just liked it?"
"uh-huh."
jeez!

"so i'm not named after anyone?"
"not really."
should i make up a great aunt or something?

"oh."
"we just really liked it, okay?!?"
hello, it's the best name ever!

go ahead, write a paragraph with that info, i dare ya.
tough assignment.

there was one fun part - giving her a native american nature name. we loved coming up with different ones, sadly, "tooting toothless wonder" did not make the cut. (get it, cut?) but she did end up dubbed, "tumbleweed"... practically perfect if you ask us.

Monday, December 14, 2009

ro*tel it on the mountain

ro*tel, motel, holiday inn?

don't be too jealous,
but i just bought an eight-pack,
of ro*tel.

yes, eight little cans
of ro*telicious-ness.
now, if i just had some velveeta.


what is your favorite ro*tel recipe?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

sunday confession

one night this week i offered the kids
a choice for dinner.
because i'm awesome.

chef boyardee abc & 123s
with meatballs.
(protein, duh!)
or
chef boyardee dinosaurs
with meatballs.
(protein, duh!)

i had two orders for abc & 123s.
and one order for dinosaurs.
mm ate the leftovers.
served with bread/butter and yogurt cups.
i had cereal.

what's your sunday confession?
the confessional is open.

bonus confession - i don't really like bruce springsteen.
don't tell the pittsburgh people.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

cuz of cuz(s)

guest blogger - g.

My Cousin Luc duss wut I Do.
He Likes Legos and Me.
We Like to Do Stuf together.
I Love Luc.

my little nerdy phonetic speller.
is just like my big nerdy phonetic speller.
i hope he buys me a car someday
when he becomes a big nerdy engineer.
hopefully lego will still be hiring.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

old spice and a basketball

i did some secret shopping the other night.
at toys r us.
(wink, wink, nod, nod)
say no more.

our kids haven't asked for much,
so i just kind of wandered around the store.
looking for ideas.

(i am prone to wander, ask mm)

as i wandered i started to notice
parents with piles of stuff
in their carts.

just stuff.
seemingly no rhyme or reason.
gator golf and chess sets.
i refrained from telling them to forget the chess set.
they'll be sorry when they are missing a piece,
and are looking everywhere because they can't sleep
because of that lost bishop.
oh wait, that's me.

i was amazed at the jammed carts,
the lists,
the craziness and crowdiness
of the store.

i was just starting to think to myself,
"is this really what christmas is all about?"

when i smelled him.
my paw-paw.
that perfect blend of
old spice and irish spring.
there in toys r us.
it took my breath away.

and from around the way
an old man came shuffling by.
in the middle of all the craziness.
the piles of stuff stacked all around.

in his cart -
a basketball.
that's it.

in that moment,
i lost it.
in toys r us.
yes, weepy, wandering me.

i sincerely hope that whoever receives that basketball,
loves it with all of their heart.
and truly appreciates this person
who braved the crowds,
stood in line to pay,
and drove in the sleety rain,
to purchase the perfect gift.

smelling all completely wonderful.

i know i would.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

ain't gonna happen

dear facebook,

thanks for the "suggestion" - much appreciated.
oh, and yes, i know we have 51 mutual friends.

uh, add as a friend?
yeah.
about that.
it just ain't gonna happen.
never.
ever.
the end.

apparently, some grudges* can last a lifetime.
interesting.

xo,
pj

*my fatal flaw i suppose. frak.

Monday, December 7, 2009

fruitables

oh hell yes.
my kids love these.

they cost a small fortune, but...
a full serving of fruit
and vegetables.

totally worth it.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

sunday confession

i'm starting something new today.
sunday confession.

today's confession...

my kids don't wear coats.
a la suri style.
for real.
there, i said it.

what's your sunday confession?
the confessional is open.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

pre-lit, sh*t!

not all men like to decorate trees. it's sad, but true. there are men who can artfully wind lights onto a tree (like my dad) and men who just can't* (like mm) - this is disappointing. but after a few years of the whole "i can change a man" thing, i gave up. he's just not a light guy. it's cool. for 11 months each year, anyway.

enter our tree. it is really pretty. we bought it at lazarus/macy's half price ten years ago. and it was still expensive. but totally worth it because it was pre-lit. (and i had a job, yo!) 1,000+ little white lights all perfectly placed on each branch.

get it out of the box, "fluff" the branches, plug it in. genius.

a few years later one of the rows burned out. we called the company, they sent us a whole new row for $12! still genius.

last year, three rows burned out. we called the company. no longer in business. we ignored the burned out lights and hung the ornaments anyway. classy.

this year, i had a beyond brilliant idea. simply take all the lights off the tree and put new ones on. i know, i'm a thinker. so we got to work. the kids sat with eager anticipation and ornaments in hand. "is it time yet?" - "how 'bout now?" - "how 'bout now?" - etc.

let me just say for the record that whoever (whomever?) wraps the lights around the branches of a tree to make it pre-lit, does not make nearly enough money. i'm sure of it. in fact, i can't even fathom an amount of money someone could offer me that would make me think wrapping lights would be a good career move.
and i'm a stay at home mom, bu-dum-dum.

we spent hours, yes hours, unwinding, cutting, snipping, ripping, and cussing the little white lights on our tree. they are double (sometimes triple) wrapped around every shoot/bud/leaf of every branch. then, clamped with little tie-wraps. our fingers were scratched up from the fake needles. about 4 hours in, we just wanted to buy a new tree. we didn't care how much it cost. after another 2 hours, we were finished.

except - we still had to put new lights onto the now naked tree! by we, of course, i mean mm. remember, he's not a light guy. yeah. he was a trooper though, he got in there and made it happen. it looked halfway decent, until about 10 inches from the top, when he ran out of lights. i just smiled and said it looked fine, he knew i was fibbing, but neither of us had the energy to discuss it further. we were exhausted.

so that's how it stands at the moment.
anyone know a light guy?
or maybe i should become a light lady?
even better.

*editor's note - mm asked me to point out that "can't" could be replaced with "don't enjoy" - point taken. agreed.

Friday, December 4, 2009

spelling queen bee

so here we are, it's december 4th.
third grade.

m just came home from school in tears.

she just...
missed her first spelling word.
insterment.
damn.

the mom in me is so freaking proud
that she made it this far.
the student in me really feels for her.
but the competitor in me is thinking up a strategy.

who is this william kid, and how can we throw him off his game?
we need to get back on top.
there are prizes. fame. fortune.
we will double our efforts next week.
and every week after that.

happy friday everyone!
good luck on your spelling tests!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

to whom it may concern

to whom it may concern,

just for the record,
let it be known,

i would have NO problem
bashing a car with
my nine iron.

absolutely none whatsoever.

bring it,
pj

friendly advice

apparently you cannot put
non-rechargeable batteries
into the battery recharger.

even if they really look like rechargeable batteries.
they really did. really.
i'm not crazy.

it causes a rather loud explosion.
freaks out little dudes.
and pj moms.
and sprays black liquid-ish, powder-ish stuff everywhere.
like the lost mist.

so now you know too.
you're welcome.
or de nada.
whatever.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

random thought

today i realized,
i have been watching
dora the explorer -
FOR EIGHT YEARS.

in a row.

you'd think i'd be more bilingual by now.
seriously.

Monday, November 30, 2009

dear lady at the movies

dear lady at the movies,

thanks for bringing your four-year-old to the nine o'clock showing of new moon. although you had your choice of at least 100 other seats, you sat right next to me with said child on your lap. explaining each scene!

hello - trying to have a date night here. team edward!

then as we are leaving, you (loudly) make sure your kid's coat is zipped because clearly that's important when leaving the mall at midnight after watching werewolves and vampires for three hours.

i'm really trying not to judge, because obviously i haven't walked in your shoes, but omg, please at least try the matinee next time.

xo,
pj

p.s. mm has chosen team jacob, must re-evaluate him.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

i am thankful

guest blogger - g.

i am thankful for mom and dad and starcraft.
and stars and me and pie and food.
and gramuthr and pets and the moon.
and fun and papa and nubers. (neighbors)
and phones and CANDY and tv and starfish.
and green and boxs and books and k...
and madellen and frins. (friends)
and toys and plum and paint and pictures.

happy thanksgiving everyone!

dream interpretation

i had this dream.
mm bought a new shower curtain.
liner.
took the old one down.
hung the new one up.
the end.

???

Monday, November 23, 2009

steeler sunday

here in the 'burgh, we buffalo fans share a little secret
with all the other non-steeler fans.
when the steeler game is on,
there is NO ONE out.
NOT A SOUL.

except buffalo fans,
a couple of new england fans,
oh - and your occasional
dolphin fan.

it seriously looks like a ghost town around here.

an excellent time for grocery shopping, restaurants, etc.
shh! don't tell anyone!

so we took the kids bowling for their report cards.
(straight A's, baby! yeah, i'm bragging!)
during the steeler game.
there was hardly anyone there.
we had a terrific time, <---- did i just type that?
then headed over to primanti's for a late lunch.

primanti's is really a post of its own, but i'll just say it now,
they put french fries ON your sandwich.
oh. yes. they. do.

the steeler game was on all the tvs, but the usually packed restaurant was about half full. no wait. we ordered, colored, talked, it was really fun. <---- did i just type that?

about halfway through our meal, m and g look at us and ask,
"are the steelers playing today?"

mm and i look at each other, thinking,
"are they serious?"

we explain,
"yes, there's a game today, did you notice - everyone is wearing their steeler clothes?"

they think about it, conference, then say,
"yeah, but people wear their steeler clothes EVERYDAY here."

them youngins got a point there.
touche.
did i mention straight A's?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

ok - i get it now

(my baby brother has this poem framed somewhere.
i never really got what the big deal was - sheesh!)


to my baby

i've always loved you best because while endings are generally sad, you are such a joy!

you readily accepted the mild-stained bibs, the lower bunk, the cracked baseball bat, the baby book that had nothing written in it except a recipe for graham-cracker piecrust that someone had jammed between the pages.

you are the one we held on to so tightly.

you darken our hair, quicken our steps, square our shoulders, restore our vision, and give us a sense of humor that security, maturity, and durability can't provide.

when your hairline takes on the shape of lake erie and your own children tower over you, you will still be our baby!

so - anyway, ok - i get it now.
happy fourth b-day baby k.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

doo doo cupcakes





chocolate birthday cake mix: $1.25
chocolate birthday frosting: $1.50





time spent baking 24 birthday cupcakes,
6 at a time because you only have one pan,
and that pan was borrowed from your neighbor,
because your pans were used for kid paint and got rusty:
72 minutes

time spent frosting birthday cupcakes:
10 minutes

having your husband and children giggle
and say they look like little piles of doo-doo:
price-oh-yes-they-did-less.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

where the #@$% is build-a-bear? (part three)



well, well, well.
it seems i have found you.
at last.




not in the couch.
not in the toyroom.

but where i least expected you to show your face.
wal-mart.
pretty sneaky.

a bargain at only $19.82.
just in time for k's b-day.
and ya'll thought i was crazy.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

haircut

k's hair was all one length, cut at her jawline. with bangs. now that her bangs are growing out, she got the back stacked, then the sides slope down to her chin. very cute. very k.

she gets in the car after school - first day back with her new haircut.

"did mrs. s and mrs. h like your hair?" i ask.
"yep, they asked me where i got it cut." she says.
"what did you say?" i wonder out loud.
(thinking she will not know the name of the place)

"well, at the hair-cuttin'-place, duh!" she tells me, annoyed.

i stand corrected.
duh.

Monday, November 16, 2009

the kommandant's girl




you should probably
clear your schedule.

or just ignore everyone,
like i did.

thanks ann!

Friday, November 13, 2009

the f***ing fours

when m was a baby we joined a playgroup. every week the kids played and the moms talked. about kid things. about grown-up things. current events. husbands. it was a welcome event in our week. for almost 5 years. until our firstborns went to school and we all scattered in the different directions of soccer, music, art, etc. we do still see each other at an occasional moms' night. it is always fun to catch up on what our "babies" are doing now.

one memorable conversation was about the terrible twos. m had just turned two, so i was only half listening. plus, g was nursing every 1.5 hours, so i probably wouldn't have noticed any terrible behavior anyway. i was exhausted. but it's more likely because m is just m. easy to reason with. easy to distract. thrives with choices, even if it's a choice between corn or peas. she was far from terrible.

the next part of the conversation peaked my interest. the trying threes. "two is nothing." the seasoned moms told us. "just wait for three." this made me a little nervous. but again, we have m. maybe some issues, but not overly trying. and g. sweet g. besides a quick temper, he will follow rules to a t. if only to show m he can, better than her.

then, the last part. the kicker. "after that, is the fabulous fours." a mom said. doesn't that sound wonderful?

"fabulous fours?!?" my friend g laughed, "my sil calls them the f***ing fours."

woah. certainly not at my house. seriously? people think that? about their children? i chuckled. i dismissed it, went home, and didn't think about it again.

then i had k. oh - we had some terrible two moments. and the trying threes are here. in my house as we speak. and folks, i don't mean to alarm you, but she is turning four in a week. a week!

i cannot stop thinking about my friend's sil. and i am not chuckling anymore. i am terrified. completely terrified.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

the sock anniversary














when i was 18, i met a boy.
he was tall.
handsome.
funny.
wicked smart.
the combination
knocked my socks off.
my white scrunched-down ked socks.

when i was 19, i went on a date with a guy.
we talked.
laughed.
more dates.
he kissed me.
the combination
knocked my socks off.
my fuzzy tye-dyed birkenstock socks.

when i was 22, i married a man.
he promised me the moon.
the stars.
the sun.
the combination
knocked my socks off.
my perfectly-matched-to-my-sweater socks.

when i was 29, i had a baby with a husband.
he held her all day.
loved her more than he ever thought possible.
stared at her for hours.
the combination
knocked my socks off.
my green hospital slipper socks.

when i was 31 i had a baby.
a son.
when i was 33 i had a baby.
a daughter.
with a seasoned pro.
he builds pillow forts.
tells tall tales.
leads meetings of the secret flashlight club.
he is, hands down, the corniest person i know.
the combination
knocks my socks off.
daily.
my black adidas running socks.

when i am 100, i want a geezer.
he will sit beside me.
travel with me.
rock our grandchildren.
and guitar hero.
and promise me the moon.
the stars.
the sun.
the combination
will knock my socks off.
i just know it.
my knee-high old lady socks.

a 15th wedding anniversary,
in my opinion, should not be crystal.

it should be socks.
the sock anniversary.

'cause at this rate,
i'm gonna need some new ones.
grey puma, please.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

tubby song

live - from our tub - last night...
g singing, quite well i might add,
"god is great, beer is good, and people are crazy."

wth?
daddy.
no, really, thanks mm.

and let's not even mention what a huge yankee mm is...
my southern-ish roots are rubbing off on him yet.

Monday, November 9, 2009

the force is strong with this one

since halloween, every morning, k and i have this conversation,

"can i have three pieces of candy?"
"did you finish your breakfast?"
"yes."
"you may have one piece."
"how about two?"
"how about none?"
"ok, one."
"good choice."

this has gone on for a while now, because let's be honest, it was happening even before halloween. i just like to blame it on halloween so i'll look more normal. true story.

after a few days of this, i felt i was in full control of the candy.
and, subsequently, the three-year-old.
then, day four.

"can i have three pieces of candy?"
"did you finish your breakfast?"
"yes."
"you may have one piece."
"ok."

well, that was easy. dude, i'm good. then she comes down the hallway with her stash. she is holding a full-size hershey bar.
full-size.
she proceeds to open it and eat the whole thing.

"that's a lot of chocolate."
"you said one piece."
"yes, i sure did."

and the student has become the master.
well played, young padawan.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

bumper sticker

bumper sticker sighting...

i am a bitch.
just not yours.

Friday, November 6, 2009

really, we actually made a decision?

after talking it over - 5,442 times,
we have decided to get the kids
vaccinated for h1n1.

so now, of course,
we can't find any vaccines.
anywhere.
we are on two lists.
one at the doctor's office.
and one at the school.

so frustrating.
grr.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

guess the ocd, part one

m is an avid reader.
just like me.

she has read almost all the
magic tree house books.
twice.

junie b. jones series.
thrice.

judy moody, clementine, ivy & bean.
too many times to count.

it is time to move on.
so i got out my favorites.
that i have kept.
for her to read.
i'm like that.

a partial list of my
favorite books
from childhood...

anne of green gables
emily of new moon
pippi longstocking
tom sawyer
the secret garden
a little princess
jane eyre

and as a grownup...
harry potter
eve dallas series

can you guess the ocd*?
i might need some therapy.

*fixation?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

hobby lobby

you.
must.
go.
now.

Monday, November 2, 2009

the witch and the warlock

the witch was aflutter.
she had received an invitation.
to a spooky, witchy party.
a hallowedding.

she started brewing a plan.
the whole coven would attend.
in their finest witchy clothes.

it wasn't easy to get away.
the clown, the knight, and little red,
would miss trick or treat.

miss trick or treat?
the warlock mused.
not possible.

the witch and the warlock schemed.
42 possible scenarios.
all complicated.
all missing trick or treat.
not possible.
they decided together.

a few days later,
the warlock conjectured,
why not go it alone?

interesting.
the witch thought about it.
leaving the coven.
for a whole weekend.
how glorious and terrifying!
leave the clown, the knight, and little red?
and the warlock?
for trick or treat?
no, not possible.

more time passed.
eons it seemed.
the witch realized,
she wanted to go.
alone.
but was afraid to say so.
out loud.

she was worried.
worried the warlock,
the shy clown,
the brave knight,
the fearless little red,
might have... fun.
without her.
not possible.
unacceptable.

but why shouldn't they?
have fun?
together?
surely they would miss her.
a little?
but what if they didn't?

in the end it was decided,
she would go.
alone.
she packed up her witchy dress,
her witchy shoes,
her witchy beauty spells.
she loaded up her broom,
kissed the warlock goodbye.
and the clown.
and the knight.
and little red.

they waved,
they cried!
as she flew away
she cried too.

then she cackled loudly
and turned up her witchy music
and sang.
all the way to her hometown.

her parents were there to greet her.
but with no clown, knight, little red,
or warlock,
it was boring.
eerily quiet.
they slept in.
they shopped.
they ate at restaurants.
but it wasn't the same.

they donned their finest
witchy clothes.
and attended the finest
witchy wedding in history.
truly perfect.

then the witch slept some more.
forever it seemed.
recharged,
it was time to head home.

she was sad to leave.
and excited to go.
she loaded her broom,
and started her journey.

when she arrived,
the gorgeous clown,
the smart knight,
and the freaking crazy little red,
screamed and cheered.
hugged and kissed.
and talked nonstop.
just like old times.

the warlock was tired,
he had done an amazing job.

they did miss the witch!
even the warlock missed her!
what a lucky witch!

and they all lived
happily ever after,
until this morning.
when the spell wore off,
and everything returned
to normal.
dang.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

sugar baby

we are home from k's halloween party.

so far k has eaten...
a pumpkin sugar cookie
juice bag
two packs of fruit snacks
m&ms
sugar daddy lollipop

it isn't even lunchtime.
she's just getting warmed up.

another parade tomorrow.
then trick or treat.
and so it begins...

i am so proud.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

letters from the battlefront

my troops are admirable.
obviously, as i'm not writing this from the brig.

but lately i've been thinking of battles.
head to head.
toe to toe.
dude, was i this hard to break?

i've noticed battle intensity is connected with patience. my patience. because the troops never change. same personalities. everyday.
so it has to be patience that's making the difference on most fronts.

after eight years of parenting,
you'd think i'd have a battle plan.
as the four-star general, so to speak.
i'm getting there.

i'm taking the "lose the battle, win the war"
attitude with some conflicts.
it could sound defeatist to some,
but i prefer the term - laid back.

some of the battles i'm thinking of "losing"...

defcon five - g's freaking LOUD voice. kind of cute after school when he's telling me about his day, not so cute at 6am. i have shushed, pretended his ear is a volume control, flat out said, "you are screaming, bud." over and over and over. not working. does this really matter? really? no, let it go. let him be who he is. loud and proud. (k is shaping up to be even louder, must conserve energy)

defcon four - running. do new recruits have to run everywhere? absolutely. no matter what, they just have to run. so besides not running on the stairs, with a toothbrush, machine gun, or scissors, i've got to let this one go as well. should save 2-3 rants a day, at least.

defcon three - clothes. ah, clothes. the "omg, you don't seriously want to wear that?" battle. i've tried to be tactful, tried redirecting, distraction tactics. but when they get something in their little heads, it's over. and mm is no better at outfit assembly than the troops. so really, i just have to wave the white flag on this one. shopping with cinderella or recruits in swimsuits/snow boots can actually be kind of fun. entertaining, even.

defcon two - food/could you please just sit still for five seconds? this one is sticky. i can remember sitting at the table until i finished (fill-in-the-blank) for what seemed like eons. i don't appear to be affected by this, as i will eat pretty much anything. except oatmeal, raisins, and oatmeal with raisins - yes i'm talking to you, mother. the problem for our troops is they can't sit still to save their lives. it is borderline ridiculous. like a not-so-nice evening game of whiny musical chairs. and the battle is multi-faceted in the sense that the leaders are in conflict on how to proceed. delightful. we seem to be at a standstill on this one. i'd like to let something go, but i'm not sure what, or how. dinner is definitely touchy territory.

defcon one - clutter. the "you little noobs are destroying our base!" battle. i don't honestly think on most rational days that they are flithin' it up just to annoy me. most days. other days i suspect mutiny. they create mounds of dirty dishes, dirty clothes, dirty bodies. they use the bathroom 42 seconds after i clean it. and i mean like a giant #2 in the sparkly clean toilet. grr. they use towels with reckless abandon. crumbs fall like bombs 24/7. they spill, we scrub, they spill. it is exhausting. something's got to give, but i'm too afraid to let it go, we could be condemned. seriously.

what battles are raging in your sector?
are you ready to wave the white flag?

Monday, October 26, 2009

carving pumpkins with my kids, husband, and pms














don't ya just hate it when
the title gives everything away?

(zerg, evil eye, wubbzy, and patrick)

Sunday, October 25, 2009

lysol lady

when i was in high school, i had this friend.
his mom sprayed everything with lysol.
e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.
the lysol lady.

we thought it was most hilarious.
jokes flourished.

mm just bought our first can of lysol.
expensive little bugger.
kills h1n1.
and lots of other germies.
i am spraying everything.
e.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g.
until spring.
i have gone lysol loco.

mrs. marilyn would be so proud.
call me lysol lady junior.
down with germs!

Friday, October 23, 2009

buffalo plaid


i think i just got rid of mine last year.
no lie.

dang.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

alcohol awareness

m and i were on our way home from gymnastics.
we like to catch up when it's just the two of us.
well, i like to catch up with her, anyway.

"did you know alcohol can affect your brain
and make you lose your balance?"

wha?
"yeah."

"and it can make your reaction time a lot slower."

where is this coming from?
"where'd ya learn all of these fun facts?"

"at school, in health."

i KNEW i should have home-schooled!
"that's cool."

"you and daddy drink alcohol."

sh*t!
"yeah, somtimes."

"that's what i told mrs. p."

SH*T!
"really?"

"yeah, i told her that daddy has a beer,
then a few weeks later has another.
she said that was o-kay."

hahahahahaha!
"oh good."

"how come he doesn't lose his balance?"

huh?
"oh, because he is so big, he'd probably have
to have more than one for it to affect him."

"what about you?"

crap.
"probably more than one."
well, like one and a half. but who's counting?

"mom?"
"yeah?"
"can i have cereal when we get home?"
"yeah."

the end.
good lord.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

belly laugh

i have not had a belly laugh this good in a long while.
i am still crying laughing as i type this.
our children were born here.
all three of them.
lord help us.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mobi0B0L37w

thanks hjm!

inventory

taking inventory...
can you guess where?

five
hooded sweatshirts
legos

four
ping pong balls

three
princess/dora books

two
pant hangers
headbands
brand new toilet brushes
happy meal toys
backpacks
leapsters

one
winter coat
beach hat
princess crown
pair of sweatpants
jean jacket
dora jacket
pair of jeans
purple shirt
lunch box
leotard
pop tart
blanket
pair of socks
gift bag
seashell book
pokemon book
turtleneck
ccd folder
webkin
scotch tape
plastic goldfish
pink flip flop
pair of keds
bakugan card
care bear movie
important receipt
box of crayons
pair of scissors
pair of pink sunglasses
bag o' bulletin board supplies

and a partridge in a pear tree.
hint - the answer is not my purse.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

dear hot lady

dear hot lady,

perhaps you did not get the memo. no one should look that hot dropping off her kid at preschool. seriously, you are making the rest of us look frazzled.

hello! you are supposed to arrive - in your pajama pants. then return two hours later for pick-up looking hot. or at least clean.

also, no one should have to wear heels that early in the morning. although, they were hot boots. maybe you are the nanny? or not? do people often mistake you for the nanny?

wow. that would be awesome.

xo,
pj

Monday, October 19, 2009

train wreck

we just got back from k's gymnastics class.
i am so enjoying watching her do her thing.

but today i spent most of my time staring.
at a mom with three kids. boys.
four, two, and can't be more than a few weeks.

the four-year-old was in the gym.
the other two were in the lobby.

it was seriously like a train wreck.
i could not look away.

because - she looked just like me.
almost four years ago.
all those memories came rushing back.

trying to nurse the baby.
changing diapers. x2.
the water fountain.
climbing everything.
snacks.
throwing toys.
crying.
coats. shoes. hats.
aaaahhhh!

it was then i realized,
even though it doesn't always seem like it,
we've sure come a long way, babies!
whew.

Friday, October 16, 2009

shrimp and feta

the kids are having hot dogs and mac 'n cheese.
but the grownups just aren't up for kid food tonight.
not when one of us has been dining in, uh, paris.

this is a fabulous dinner for company.
it is much better with fresh shrimp from ocean isle.
but grocery store shrimp is okay in a pinch.

jay cook's shrimp and feta
1/4 c. olive oil
3/4 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
red pepper flakes (to taste)
1/2 tsp. garlic, crushed
28 oz. tomatoes, canned
1/4 c. white wine
2 lbs. shrimp
2/3 cup feta
8 oz. pasta (linguine is good)

cook shrimp until pink. spread in baking dish and sprinkle with feta cheese. combine first 9 ingredients and simmer 10 minutes. pour over shrimp and feta, cover loosely. bake at 400 degrees for 10-20 minutes. cook pasta and serve with shrimp mixture poured on top.

enjoy!

first comes... kissing?

we received a most excellent treat for halloween.
the hannah montana movie.

we have watched it several times already.
and will probably wear it out over the next few weeks.

i mostly like it because it's not a cartoon.
actual, live people, so novel!

since watching,
k has equated kissing with marriage.
every time there is a kissing scene,
she squeals, "ooh, they are getting married!"

to which m and g groan,
"no they are not."
k screeches,
"yes they are."
infinity.

so when grandmother was here she set them straight.
"if they kiss does that mean they are getting married?"
they asked.

"yes... yes, it does."
she answered, matter-of-factly.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

miles apart

day one.
he says, "the flight was long, but the train ride was nice."
she says, "k tried to pee standing up."
he says, "how'd that go?"
she says, "not well."

day two.
he says, "i saw the bayeux tapestry!"
she says, "i filled the car with gas!"
he says, "all by yourself?"
she says, "amazing, huh?"

day three.
he says, "i'm standing on utah beach."
she says, "i ran over a squirrel."
he says, "are you serious?"
she says, "pretty much."

day four.
he says, "i'm touring omaha beach, where my grandfather arrived."
she says, "our dream house is for sale, we have to act fast."
he says, "you are stressing me out."
she says, "seriously?"

day five.
he says, "i'm looking at notre dame cathedral right now."
she says, "i shopped while the kids* watched a movie in the car."
he says, "we had communion."
she says, "we ate at red robin."

day six.
he says, "the louvre is amazing!"
she says, "the kids are home from school for columbus day!"
he says, "do you think you'd like a scarf?"
she says, "hell yes i want a scarf."

day seven.
he says, "i touched the eiffel tower."
she says, "my mom left this morning."
he says, "did you look at the house?"
she says, "yes, i bought it. haha."

day eight.
he says, "the next time i talk to you i'll be home."
she says, "thank goodness."
he says, "you would like it here."
she says, "yes, but i like you here better."

*with grandmother, sheesh.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

award worthy


i got an award ya'll!

the ringmaster over at traveling circus and osma (one-sided momma) think i'm hot. well, creative. creatively hot? ooh, that sounds good.


to those who are nominated: here are the "rules" of the award:
you must thank the person who has given you this award*
copy the logo onto your blog (in post or sidebar)*
link to the person who nominated you for the award*
name 7 things about yourself people may find interesting*
nominate 7 other Kreativ bloggers*
post links to the 7 blogs you nominated*
leave a comment on each nominee's blog to let them know*

first thanks to the ringmaster. i adore her because she juggles it all so well. family, marriage, kids, career. if something drops, she picks it up. and keeps juggling. she is honest. she puts a new spin on all those plates she has in the air. just when i think i have her figured out, she surprises me again. she is made for circus life. i check her blog often enough to be considered a stalker. but a perfectly normal stalker. uh, yeah, normal.

another round of thanks to osma. i appreciate her compliments because they come from someone i feel has a real talent for writing/blogging. i check in for a daily breeze of fresh air. it fills my heart and soul. she is so refreshing. creative. unique. she sees her blessings clearly. this helps me to see mine. for that i am grateful. and again with the stalking. geez.

ok - next - 7 things about me - you might think are interesting...

- i believe with all my heart that i can find everything i need in life, at marshalls.
- i am a freaky neat freak. so is mm. our kids are not.
- i am afraid of raisins and the dark. in that order.
- you couldn't comprehend what a hypochondriac i am.
- cash burns a hole in my pocket.
- i could probably live on skor bars and dr. pepper indefinitely.
- i have been known to hug trees.

besides the links on the left, i don't follow a lot of blogs publicly, see, i am a stalker! but i will take you through my "train of links" on a typical day... if you get a chance, take a peek, highly entertaining. the nominees are...

1. my big fat italian/polish family - life in the 'burgh, new baby, and bachelor/bachelorette episode summaries! what more could you ask for?
2. am i waspy? - one woman's inner struggle (?) with waspiness. love. it. also links to her baby blog, journaling to munchkinland.
3. real simple - probably the most hilarious blog i read.
4. pittsburghmom - ok, she created the site, but she also blogs. pretty terrific.
5. annemade - she inspires me to order all her kits, then i don't, but i still want to someday. her work blog also links to her family blog, childbearing has stolen their brains. beautiful baby and gorgeous pictures.
6. women running from houses - if this isn't freaking creative, i don't know what is. i smile just thinking about it. my "running" outfit is all picked out. be prepared, i always say.
7. silver age gold - a great (but not old) friend from high school. he is teaching me more about comics than i ever wanted to know. or thought i ever wanted to know. anyway, i want to know now. whatever, i'm enjoying.

now i'm off to catch up.
and thanks again for the award.
aw, shucks.
blush.

Monday, October 12, 2009

seemed like such a great idea

i really, really wanted this.

bertolli oven bake meals.
chicken parm and penne.
to solve all my dinner issues.

eck. don't bother.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

viva la france

mm just left for france.
(this is not the code word for a meltdown)

please let him...
relax
try new food
eat cheese
and chocolate
drink lots of coffee
read
walk on the beach at normandy
touch the eiffel tower
not get arrested for buying a fake purse
buy the real purse! (fingers crossed)
see some art
drink some wine
enjoy his father's company
remember which swatch watch i want
laugh
cry
not get blisters
be safe
miss us, please, miss us

i know i've said before how much he does around here.
but good god, that man does a lot around here!
i am in charge of the trash and recycling, and am very nervous.

please let me...
keep it together
try new food
eat cheese
and chocolate
drink lots of coffee
knit
walk through the woods with the kids
touch the fall leaves
not get arrested for forgetting someone somewhere
buy some toilet paper*
see some art in my kids' eyes
drink some wine
enjoy my mother's company
remember homework
remind mm which swatch watch i want
laugh
cry
not get blisters
be patient
miss him, oh, how we will miss him.

i'm practicing my funny daddy voices for stories as we speak.
and please pray that i don't leave for france.
(this is the code word for a meltdown)

*seriously, we are critically low.

Monday, October 5, 2009

bacon vegetarian

over the past few months i've become increasing disgusted with... meat.

i can't explain it. i can't look at ground beef. or ground turkey.
i make it for the kids, then eat something else. like cereal.

chicken tastes like yuckiness. even chick-fil-a chicken.
and don't get me started on nuggets.

i have ordered cheeseburgers at restaurants, normally my favorites, and haven't enjoyed them.
at all.

i can't even eat a fish sandwich.

my love knew no bounds - i was a double pepperoni pizza, hot dog with slaw, sausage biscuit and gravy girl.

bleck, bleck and bleck.

what is happening to me?

the only thing i have left is bacon.
sweet bacon.
is there such thing as a bacon vegetarian?
or do you think there is soy bacon out there somewhere?

in the meantime, i'm looking for vegetarian recipes.
cereal isn't working.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

zoozilla 5K

zoozilla, 5K, this morning.

mostly* uphill. i ran the whole way.
my time was under 40 minutes. barely.

whoever said, "oh, the zoo will be easy to run through without a double stroller, front pack, diaper bag, and four tons of snacks!" should be punched.

wait. that was me.
never mind.

p.s. hate you, polar bear hill.
p.s.s. i got passed by a lady with a stroller.

*ALL

Saturday, October 3, 2009

dearest merrell

dearest merrell,

the search for new hiking boots has finally ended.
mm has tried on every hiking boot in pittsburgh.
every hiking boot in huntington, wv.
and every hiking boot in buffalo, ny.

the search had spanned several years.
the actual number is too ridiculous to type.

his feet will now be dry when he shovels snow.
when he walks downtown this winter.
when he goes to hockey games.
when he plays with the kids outside.

he says yours are the most comfortable he's ever worn.
i've been telling him this for a while.

i'm not exactly sure what we will talk about now.
but thank you from the bottom of my shopped-out heart.

xo,
pjmom

Thursday, October 1, 2009

wordless thursday






i asked my father to send a picture of me from track.

this arrived.

i am wordless.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

real men eat quiche

i don't "cook" that much. not because i don't know how. not because i don't like to. it's because - no one eats anything other than kid food around here! mm included. his favorite meal is probably chicken pot pie or hot dogs.

so when my only son asks me to make his favorite, i do.
his favorite is - quiche.
my mother's recipe.
my mother has a degree in home economics.
for real.
she is (in my opinion) better than martha.

so this is what i'm making for dinner tonight. by request.

grandmother's quiche
9 inch pie crust
1/2 cup mayo
2T flour
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1 cup diced ham*
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup shredded swiss (i sometimes sub mozz)

bake pie crust at 400 degrees for 3 minutes, remove from oven, gently prick with fork. return to oven, bake 5 minutes longer. let cool. combine mayo, flour, eggs, and milk. mix thoroughly. stir in cheeses** and ham. pour into pie shell and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

*we usually leave this out. could also use sausage.
**i use the bag o' mixed cheese blends, 2 cups exactly.

this is a great brunch item for guests or parties.
we grew up having quiche on christmas morning.
and again on easter morning.

it also makes super-sweet six-year-old boys happy.
and i'm all for that.

whatareyouhavingfordinner?

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

fringe benefit

mm was proud of my 5K accomplishment.
he was amazed i stuck with it.
i have a tendency to abandon projects, hey, he knows.

he made it easy. he encouraged me, he put the kids to bed, cleaned the house, etc. (ok, i know, he usually does all of this anyway, but this time i took advantage)

here is one of our after-race conversations.
and why i love him so...

"aren't you so happy, you are a real runner now!"
"yes! and, if i were being chased by vampires,
i could hold them off for 3 miles at least."

"vampires?"
"yeah, vampires."

"uh, let's not get crazy, no way you could outrun a vampire."
"oh."

"but if there were zombies, you could totally outrun them!"
"aw, thanks honey!"

and i mean it.
thanks for everything.
eat my dust, zombies.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

it's the great race, charlie brown

i've never blogged this early, because i h.a.t.e. mornings.
i'm on my way to the great race downtown.

my goal is to finish without walking. just running. three miles.
and a little more, but who's really counting at that point?

this is big for me. frankly, i haven't set a goal other than get up, get dressed and don't lose it - in about eight years.
(and with the name pajama mom, you can see how that's working)

i'll update when i get back.
oh - and it's raining.

I DID IT! i ran the whole way, averaging 12ish minute miles.
i passed a few people, but mostly i got passed - a lot.
but i finished. slow and steady. ok, freaky slow and steady.

i am soaking wet, a smidgen tired, loving/wearing my new t-shirt, content, and proud.

and like a true champion,
i'll be spending the afternoon at a chuck e. cheese party.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

say this, not that

~beware, semi-incoherent rant ahead~

i've lived here for 15 years.
in a few years it will be longer than i lived with my parents.
in fact, if you ask me where i am "from" - i'd probably say pittsburgh - almost.

and yet, i still have a wv accent.
i don't mind.
i really don't even think about it anymore.

so, if you meet me, for the very first time...

say this,
"i couldn't help but notice your accent is quite unique,
may i ask where you spent your childhood?"

not that,
"OH MY GOD! WHERE ARE YOU FROM?"
followed by,
"YOU SOUND LIKE YOU ARE FROM WAY FAR SOUTH*!"
and,
"QUICK, SAY SOMETHING ELSE!"

oh, and please, for the love of grits,
let me finish introducing myself first.

*not that there's anything wrong with that.

Friday, September 25, 2009

grammar police

excerpt from k's new "dora saves the crystal kingdom" book...

"The greedy king has the crystal in his crown! What can we use to fly up to him? Right! Our butterfly wings! Whoa! Rocks are coming right at us! What can use to block the rocks? Yeah, the shield!"

did you catch it?

dudes, if i'm going to read it 42 times a night,
i'd really appreciate a grammar check.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

what a drag it is getting old

well, i was actually reading a beatles article,
but it was in the rolling stone.
so there.

i spent yesterday afternoon in the dermatologist's office. waiting mostly. but i've been waiting since may/june, so a few more hours were no sweat. plus i had zero kids with me. hence the beatles article.

she comes in. coolest* derm doc ever.
love her. see her every few years.

"so what's up?" she says.
"my face, my hair, my fingernails, my moles." i say.
we break it on down. 'cause we are hip.

my face
i have acne. i hate it. had it since i was 13. everyday. every. day.
so over it.
she looks at my face with a magnifying glass. horrifying.
"what are you using?"
"i've tried proactiv."
"oh, that's for teenagers, not old ladies like us."
oh no she didn't just include me in her old lady club.
"now i use a scrub with salicylic acid."
"that is the wrong stuff for old ladies."
oh yes she did.

my hair
"let's talk hair."
"it falls out."
"falls out?"
"in handfuls, most everyday."
"uh-huh, you are getting older."
"great."

my fingernails
"your fingernails?"
"they are dry and brittle, crack-y."
"you're old."
"thought so."

my moles
this part was completely mortifying. out came the magnifying glass, again. she looked everywhere. armpits, elbows, fanny, with extra special attention to my muffin top/belly, which has a "birth mole" on it. sexy. she dictated sizes of various spots to her nurse, and then said, "mild to moderate sun damage."

"did you get many sunburns in your youth?"
"yes."
trying to ignore in your youth.
"did you use suntan oil?"
"yes."
didn't everyone?
"any other concerns?"
"how about this one? it is new."
"age spot."
"and this one?"
"age spot."
"this one?"
"ditto."
"this one, this one, this one?"
"age spots, and you are going to get more..."

let's say it together,
"as you get older."

so i guess the good news is that although i am old,
i am not really, really old.
and so much more derm stuff to look forward to. yay.

*she totally did a knuckle bump with me because it is flu season.
told ya. way cool.


Monday, September 21, 2009

performance review











instead of a raise, i've been promoted.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

intervention

on fridays we have a routine.
order pizza at our local favorite.
stroll down to the pet store.
ooh and aah over the puppies.
decide which one we want.
list the reasons we aren't getting one.
sulk back to pizza place.
eat.

this last time i was standing at the cage of "rocket hamsters" protecting them from massive internal injuries at the hands of my brood. a lady walks in. she has on a skirt with chuck taylors. tattoos. a black t-shirt, clanky jewelry, and pink highlights.
a scarf.

and the HAIRIEST* legs i have seen on a human. ever.
i can't look away.

*in that instant i thought she was the awesomest person on the planet. i wanted to be just like her. never shave again... i started formulating a plan...

squeals of delight from the three-year-old broke my gaze.

AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!
what is happening to me?!?
where are stacy and clinton?!?
i need a fashion intervention.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

butterfly fly away












"caterpillar in the tree
how you wonder who you'll be
can't go far but you can always dream

wish you may and wish you might
don't you worry, hold on tight
i promise you there will come a day

butterfly fly away

got your wings now you can't stay
take those dreams and make them all come true
you've been waiting for this day
all along and known just what to do

butterfly fly away"

(lyrics from hannah montana soundtrack, quite catchy, really!)

if you ever get the chance to do a butterfly pavilion, just say yes.

Monday, September 14, 2009

paint yourself





i was sitting in the driveway with k reading a magazine. she was playing with the sidewalk paint, three feet away...









"what should i paint mommy?" k asked.
"why don't you paint yourself?" i said without looking up.
"ok." she said.

"all done." she said a few minutes later.
"ack, i meant paint a picture of yourself on the driveway." i clarified.
"oh." she said.

house special -
free pedi.
in your choice of blue, yellow,
or bluemixedwithyellow sidewalk paint.
washable.

p.s. sorry i chuckled so loudly, crk. darn karma.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

my kind of piggy

k's piggy song...

this little piggy went to target,
this little piggy stayed home,
this little piggy had tacos,
this little piggy had none,
and this little piggy
didn't go wee wee
until she got home.

yeah, she's all ours.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

mountain o' magazines























i think it's pretty obvious that i don't have time to read magazines.

but i'm in denial. i renew old subscriptions, i accept bogo magazines from friends and family. i even picked out cooking light with unused frequent flier miles. cooking light? i think this is definitely a giant red flag. cooking light! ha!

the magazines have piled up. in one of "those" piles that mm hates. every few days or so he will wave his magic arm over the general area of the pile and say, "so are we keeping this here?" or "so what are we doing with this?" or "so are we ready to recycle these?" - to which we would respond with the standard eye roll or bird flip, depending on my mood, of course.

they sat by our bed. in my beach bag. 'cause i had planned to take some to the beach to read. two years ago.

this summer the pile got out of hand, even for me. so i decided to flip through one every night, or every time i took a break.
(read - instead of facebook)

i am pleased to report that i have ready to recycle:
16 better homes and gardens
2 woman's day
10 cooking lights

to be fair, i did read the bhg and the wd, but not the cooking light. i have already donated the 2007 issues to the library because the ingredient lists would put martha to shame. seriously. we just aren't ready for cooking light in our chicken nugget kid world.

i still have three bhg and two family fun - new subscription. and parenting. ah parenting. i just can't make myself read it. i have over two years' worth of these. it makes me feel guilty for not preparing our own baby food, or using cloth diapers, or not using bpa free bottles. and sometimes after a long day of mommy-ing the last thing i want to read about is how perfect mommy-ing should be.

so if you need me, i'll be reading. oh, and if you need a gift for me, i'm thinking lucky? 'cause ya'll know how fashionable i am...

just saying.

Friday, September 11, 2009

reflections

a new mom getting her 8-week-old ready for her first pictures.
a new dad getting ready to go with them.

flipping on the tv. for no reason at all. the first plane had already hit. it was inside the building. inside the building. another plane hits. another plane. new mom and dad cannot move. cannot speak. they watch. they don't care about pictures anymore. there are objects dropping from the sky. what are those objects? new mom starts asking over and over. don't you see them? it takes minutes to register. humans. they are human bodies. how horrific to think that jumping out of a window would be better than staying where you are... nausea. the tower, falls. down. completely down. impossible. completely surreal. the other tower falls. dust. tons of dust. they don't move for a long time.

they leave their house. it is picture time. nothing else to do but go. no one there knows what they are talking about. what? they ask. new mom and dad explain. pictures are taken. no one is smiling but the new baby. as they leave, everything closes. everything. for the whole day. that day.

a day they will never forget.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

bear hunt

k in the car,
after her first day of preschool,

"mommy, want to sing the bear hunt song?"
"sure, i know that one."
"okay, you start."
"ok."

i'm going on a bear hunt,
(she repeats)
i'm not afraid,
(she repeats)
i've got my trusty gun,
(whaa?)
and my bullets by my side.
(whoa, mommy!)

"it's camera."
"what?"
"i've got my camera."
"your camera?"
"by my side."
"for what?"
"to take a picture of the bear."
"i don't get it."
"we go into the cave and take a picture of the bear."
"oh."

HUH??? what the hell?

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

wonder engineer powers, activate!






















we are home from a super weekend with friends.
somehow the weekend gets better each year.

starting with graduation, every year mm and his engineering buds get together over labor day. we used to meet in morgantown and go to mountaineer field. when babies started arriving on the scene, we would meet in morgantown, the guys would go to the game, the gals would watch on tv. nowadays, kids overflow, we meet near dc and order the game on pay-per-view.

sidenote, it is ever-so-funny to me that our kids think the house we stay in is in fact - dc.

there have been other subtle changes too, let's call them the fab 5.

food
then - standard bbq
now - smoked chicken, ribs, baked potato bar, pasta salads, pepperoni rolls, sushi? our host got up early saturday morning and shot a deer, that's some serious hospitality!

fluids*
then - um, beer
now - an abundance of "better" beer, smirnoff ice, twisted tea, lots o' wine, buttery nipples (so not kidding)

friends
then - the men play a basketball tournament. all the ladies watch attentively.
now - the old men creak and groan and play a half basketball tournament on a half court. all the ladies watch semi-attentively.

family
then - no kids! can you even imagine?!?
now - i counted ten kids at one point, but they were moving fast. they are all amazingly beautiful. and they entertained each other - all we had to do was keep them hydrated.

fun
this part has not really changed. talking. laughing. poker playing, drinkin', shopping, trampoline jumping, water battles, bike riding, swinging, basketball, legos, eating, movies, s'mores, bonfires, etc. it really doesn't matter, it's all so good.

my mother always told me to marry an engineer.
i'm so glad i listened.

p.s. v totally got carded TWICE! craziness. so. jealous.

*pj mom fluids - coffee, coca-cola, coffee, smirnoff, repeat daily. heaven.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

at least someone is listening

we were playing in the driveway, just me and k. i like this time i have with her, it reminds me of when it was just - me and m.
(poor middle kid g, hardly any alone time, another post indeed)

we did bubbles and chalk, i sat in my wvu stadium seat and pretended i had season tickets for the best team in town.

after a while i thought i could sneak in and put clothes in the dryer. i left the garage doors open so i could hear her and almost see her. i opened the washer, "k you okay out there?"

"yeah!" she answered.

"great! i'll be right there." i closed the dryer, set the timer.

"still okay?" i asked again.

the answer came back matter-of-factly
and with just a hint of annoyance,
"don't worry, no one taked me yet."

well hell, at least someone in this house is listening!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

detangler














as promised, homemade detangler.

i bought the paul mitchell stuff one day when k was getting her hair cut. i hadn't brushed her hair that morning, it got even worse in the carseat, then we decided, after playing at the park, "hey, let's do haircuts."

so i got the guilt trip from the lady. i know she meant well, but i could tell she was appalled that i hadn't brushed the poor baby's beautiful hair. like she was telling herself, "when i have kids, that will NEVER happen." i know the look. i used to use it all the time...

i thought six bucks for a magical bottle of "red alert" chemicals was a bargain. the way she sprayed it on the rat's nest and pulled the comb through without a scream or a tear. i instantly fell in love with detangler.

i was bragging away at gymnastics, you know - how awesome detangler is, like i'm the only person in the world that knows about this fabulous stuff. i do that sometimes. another mom, with SIX kids, FIVE of them girls, said, "you know that detangler is just conditioner and water, just mix it in a bottle and spray."

well, of course, i knew that. i mean somehow, i knew that already, right? shouldn't moms know that? i'm sure i read it in my mom handbook somewhere.

when the six dollar detangler was finished, i made my own. i used a cup of water, that's how big my bottle was, and all of the conditioner from one of those hotel bottles. maybe 2-3 tablespoons. it works really well. and it was free. go figure. and now mm can stop bugging me about taking the hotel conditioner. haha on him.

in the meantime, i'm looking for organic conditioner? our next batch will be perfect. mwah-ha-ha! who says you never use chem lab again after college?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

dear buffalo bills

dear buffalo bills,

congrats on your 50 years of football.

mm loves his new 50th anniversary shirt.

i like it too.

i'm just asking that you change your team colors. neutral please.

you see, every time mm gets a new red buffalo shirt, it turns my laundry pink. this time it was my khaki shorts that took the hit.

yep, i am one of those people - i don't separate clothes.

so can ya'll help a sista out?

let me know what you think.

xo,
pj

Friday, August 28, 2009

withholding information

we have been taking the kids to the pool in the evenings. i tell myself it is because it is much less crowded in the evening, but let's be honest, it is really because i am too chicken to take all three by myself. i have other excuses too, like we don't have to use sunscreen in the evening, we don't have to pack snacks in the evening, it is cooler in the evening, etc. whatever ever works well with the words, "in the evening"... so i wait for mm to get home from work. i tell myself that he will enjoy getting to go with us.
(in the evening)

i was sitting with k at the little pool, mm was with the big kids at - the big pool.
three kids, two different pools. seemingly infinite combinations.
ANOTHER reason i don't take all three alone, oooh, that's a good one.

ok, on to my withholding information. i wasn't doing it on purpose, i was just being a good listener, honest.

a nice enough mom, two kids. little kids. she starts up a conversation. that's cool. about 20 minutes later i realize, omgosh, she thinks i have one kid. only one kid. curious.

(although, i don't think she thought about it long enough or she would have seen how incredibly laid back i am with my three-year-old. want to jump in by yourself? go for it. want to try a tea party? sure! cannonballs? hey, give it a try. and the ever popular - "oh, you fell? well, maybe that's because you were running..." you know, things that might have happened OVER MY DEAD BODY with my first. i mean, come on, i was sitting on a lawn chair with a book and i hadn't even taken my t-shirt off yet. or my shoes. i figured if there was a real emergency i'd just step in clothed, or signal to that teenage lifeguard boy.)

"we went to the zoo today. you have no idea how hard it is with two kids, and the double stroller, all those hills!"
"then they wanted to come to the pool and with two it's just plain crazy."

"uh-huh." i said knowingly. preaching to the choir, lady. and thinking, yeah, try a double stroller with a front pack. also thinking, yep, why do you think i'm here in the evening?

two kids is tough. i remember those days so well that i am actually kind of surprised that i had another kid at all. and i also have a few friends with four (or more!) that tease me relentlessly for avoiding the pool with my three. and i also have friends with one child. so really, i know it's all relative. parenting is just plain hard.

but i kept quiet. i wanted to tell her my secret. but i didn't. i'll blame it on my sinister twin.

it didn't take long. m and g crashed our little party.

m had to go to the bathroom (#2, mom!)
g was hungry (low-blood-sugar-monster-hungry)
k started screaming at the top of her lungs because g splashed her
(the bloodcurdling scream that means, "it's time to go")

so, you see, even though i really didn't mean to do it,
the look on the mom's face, was, pretty classic.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

run update

yes, two posts in one day.
did i mention the big kids went to school?

anyway, in regards to my couch to 5k bid,
there is good news and bad news.

the good news, i'm in week 5.
today i ran 8 minutes, walked 5 minutes, ran 8 minutes.

i feel great after a run. i look forward to running.
the little flabby part under my arms is almost gone!
that is cool.

i ran today at the gym for the first time. i wanted to try the treadmill, but i also wanted to see how far i've been running.
5k is three miles or so. yes?

now the bad news.
don't laugh - too loud.

after i completed my session of a total of 21 minutes, i looked at the distance...

1.25 miles?!?!?!?

i think people could crawl faster than that.
drunk people.
really old, drunk people.

wtf?

school daze

the big kids started school yesterday.
it was both a relief and a grief, if that is possible.
as soon as they got on the bus, a funny friend appeared.
guilt. my old pal.

so - i ironed...
'cause that's what sane people do when they feel guilty.
right? right?!?!

i ironed school outfits for this week and next.
(don't worry, this will wear off soon)
as i ironed i let the guilt sink in.

we didn't make it to kennywood a second time.
ditto for the zoo.
why don't i home school?
what, am i freaking crazy?
i can't home school.
duh!
did we watch too much spongebob?
why didn't we make those cute christmas ornaments?
why am i so happy they are going back?
does everyone feel this way?
i hate that i feel this way.
i miss them already.
why was i not brave enough to take them to the pool all by myself?
why am i ironing t-shirts?
why don't i home school?
that gets funnier every time.
i could be completely insane.

after this cathartic ironing session, i did other "sane" things. i made detangler (future post), cleaned out the butterfly pavilion (another future post), did some laundry, ate tomatoes and cookies for lunch, and started to feel a little better.

i looked around.
so much to do.
so i flipped through 5 better homes and gardens.
(third post's a charm)

btw - the three-year-old talked through all of this. in fact, she never stopped talking from the time she got up until she went to bed last night. she was so thrilled with the one-on-one-ironing attention. she was delightful. until about 3pm, then not as much.

i started to think about all the fun things we did do this summer.

grandparents, beaches, amusement parks, zoo, butterflies, painting, sidewalk chalk, bike riding, swimming, trail walking, cousins, baseball park tour, restaurants, s'mores, lightning bugs, camp fires, birthday parties, washing cars, girl scout camp, math books, sprinklers... etc.

hmm, i guess we did have some laughs.
we were busy.

they crashed through the door. smashed through all my warm and fuzzy thoughts. hungry and tired, but excited and laughing, talking about their day. and already thinking about tomorrow.

maybe no need to home school after all? right? right?!?!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

how does it know?

love this stuff, but...

how does it know when i am stressed?

oh, wait,
i am stressed all the time.

perfect!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

conversations in playdates

samples from today at our house...

in the car - "just step over the legos, our house is really messy too, but it's okay."
in the house - "we have three spider webs, two by the stairs and one by the back door."
at lunch - "my brother has a wart, go on g, show her your wart."
in regards to spongebob - "the POOP episode is the best one ever, definitely."

i'm really not sure if this means we need more playdates, or less...

*update*
ride home - "your mom is really nice." "yeah, she's nice, when we have a friend over."

Monday, August 17, 2009

orange float

actual drive-thru conversation...

"may i take your order?"
"yes, i'd like 2 root beer floats and 1 orange float, please."

"uh, we don't have orange floats."

"oh. do you have orange soda?"
"yes."
"and ice cream?"
"yes."

silence.
"huh, yeah, i guess we could make you one."

"uh, thanks."

i think.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

literally

this morning while the kids were getting dressed...

g is putting on his shorts, i notice he has on two pairs of underwear.

despite the obvious question of - aren't you horribly uncomfortable? - i ask instead,
"hey g, why do you have on two pairs of underwear?"

he looks down, unsurprised,
"because daddy told me to put on clean underwear before bed."

"uh, i don't think he meant over top of your other underwear, bud."

"oh."

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

careful what you wish for

baby k said m's name.

i mean, obviously she has said it before, but stumbled over the middle part. she was the only one who pronounced it this way, just the first syllable and part of last syllable. in her sing-song voice, a ba-jillion times a day.

now, all of the syllables and sounds are clear.
utterly, positively, clear as a bell.

and i find myself heartbroken.
utterly, positively, heartbroken.

Monday, August 10, 2009

dear bank lady

dear bank lady,

first of all, omg, could you please count that money a little faster? listening to "hoedown throwdown" for the 42nd time here.

when you motion to the lollipops, i shake my head no. you look at me like i am an alien. "are you sure?" you mouth, "they are free."

yes, i KNOW they are free.
been taking lollipops from the bank my whole life.

"no thanks." i say. she shrugs. i drive away.

isn't that enough? why can't i say no? why are you staring at me?

why (?) do i feel the need to drive thru again and explain to you...

one - my kids are beyond hungry. they need food. i've pushed this errands thing to the limit. it's after noon. we don't usually have lollipops for lunch. usually.

two - i'm trying to cut out dyes. especially red 40. yes, it's ridiculously difficult, but something i'm committed to for my kids.

three - i normally don't reward behaviors that include the baby screeching, "I WANT A LOLLIPOP, NOW!" - with a lollipop.

so back off, bank lady. 'cause i'm in charge here.

xo,
pj mom

p.s. four - and hahaha on you - we just had lollipops at the post office. dum-dums too, not like those generic-looking things in your basket...

Friday, August 7, 2009

woodlouse spider

ever wonder what eats
roly-polys?

it's the woodlouse spider.

i didn't even know you existed until just the other day.

i could have gone my whole life without knowing you.

you best stay the F out of my house, spider.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

wordless wednesday, cleaning














i don't think we are irish...

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

the cadillac of sit upons

did you make these in scouts?!? sit upons? i swear mine was two paper plates sewn together with yarn! and i sat on it. on the ground, in the mud, in the rain, in the woods!

nowadays, these young whippersnapper girl scouts have created the cadillac of sit upons.

an empty icing bucket from a bakery. decorate it. put ALL of your scouty stuff in it. mess kit, canteen, bug spray, sunscreen, poncho, and song book. put the lid on - sit.

freaking genius.

Monday, August 3, 2009

couch to 5k

this year marks 20 since i ran high school track...

400
800
4x400
4x800
mile

that was me! hard to believe, no?

i'll have to find a picture. or not.

in the meantime, i found a couch to 5k link at pittsburgh mom.

i'm in.

Friday, July 31, 2009

signs you are on vacation

















- the baby arrives at inn wearing only panties and a tank top (classy) because at the last rest stop girls' bathroom is closed for cleaning (?) and the boys are taking a terribly long time forcing you to take said baby into a port-a-potty where she ceremoniously drops the super cute pink skort to her ankles and into the sludge on the floor. ew.

- you say things like, "don't eat too many donut holes or you won't have room for ice cream."

- you obsessively spray sunscreen on anything that moves, but somehow miss the backs of your legs.

- you find yourself listing for your kids the pros and cons of public beach restrooms vs. ocean peeing. choose wisely, young grasshoppers.

- going for coffee at dunkin' more than once a day becomes an unspoken rule.

- $12 for a lobster roll is a bargain.

- fried clam strips are an acceptable breakfast food.

- a kid in the pool after a day at the beach counts as a bath.

- you learn the word "wicked" can be used to describe anything.