Wednesday, December 30, 2009


"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,
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
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.
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.

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

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,

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!"

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,

oh, and economic barriers,
competition, customer loyalty,

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
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.
proof-reading my writing.
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,
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,
what i am really saying is,
"i sure hope so."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009


remember that shower in your apartment in college?

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?"
yes, we just liked it!

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

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

"you just liked it?"

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

"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!)
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?
about that.
it just ain't gonna happen.
the end.

apparently, some grudges* can last a lifetime.


*my fatal flaw i suppose. frak.

Monday, December 7, 2009


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.

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,

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.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

random thought

today i realized,
i have been watching
dora the explorer -

in a row.

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