Saturday, July 31, 2010

To Ab on her 9th Birthday . . .

To my baby girl, Ab,
Nine years ago today, I resembled Violet from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I had only one purpley blue outfit that fit me, I waddled when I walked, and my face was permanently flushed pinky-purple from the 90 degree heat that I endured during my last month of your pregnancy. Let's face it girl. Your momma was not pretty. Not pretty at all! But one thing is for sure, my Ab, even though I was HUGE, and hot, and cranky and in pain, I walked into that hospital with a smile on my face, because I was headed to meet you.

My girl.

In your 9 short years, you have taught me so much about myself and about the world. I remember changing your diaper in the hospital, and you screamed and screamed, and I said to you, out loud, "C'mon kid. Give me a break. I am new and learning this on the fly," and miraculously, you stopped crying. You gave me the benefit of my inexperience and were patient with me, a new mom, from the get go.

Thank goodness!
We learned some things together. While you learned your ABC's with Elmo, I had to learnhow to be patient when I had to listen to you sing the ABC's with ELmo repeatedly on a 12 hour car trip. When you learned how to exert your independence by saying, "I don't like that!" when choosing your morning outfit, I learned how to pick my mommy battles. Consequently, you went to the grocery store in cinderella's gown with socks and Dorothy's red ruby slippers.

Obviously, your love of fashion started early!

And as you grow, you give me more and more opportunities to learn. When I got overprotective and scared for you the day you told me about the school bully, I shouldn't have worried. The next day I learned that you and your friend ate lunch with the little girl in the wheel chair so that she wouldn't be lonely and so that the bully wouldn't bother her. How proud I was of you that day! You have such a big heart that is so full of love. Your Pollyanna outlook on the world inspires me every day to continue to look for the good in people. I have come to believe ,through you, that if I look for good in people, I will usually find it.

What a great lesson!

Finally, last night as you took the stage at your performance, you rocked out. I was pleasantly surprised to see that you had a solo ( a fact that you had neglected to share with me!), and you sang your heart out. You were confident and happy and enjoying your moment, and my heart swelled. I was so happy to see you embrace your joy. Again, you made me such a proud mom.

So,my love, I wish you a happy ninth birthday. I thank god each and every day that he picked me to be your mom. I am so very lucky.



PS There may be lots and lots of this letter that you think is weird or silly or just plain dumb, and that is OK. If all you get out of this letter right now is that I love you, then I am happy. But, someday, someday, you may be able to look back on this birthday letter, and you may be able to see just exactly what a wonderful gift you have been to me and your dad these last nine years.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What's in a Name, Anyway?

There are times when I talk to my husband that I wonder if there is a reality TV camera focused on us and our conversation.

And, before you start wondering . . .it is not because one of was throwing things.

And, it isn't even because one of us was born in Jersey and can claim to be an actual "Jersey" girl.

It is just that there are times that I think that there may be a candid camera on us. In fact, I am pretty sure there has to be a camera on us, because it is just too hard to believe that other married couples talk about the same crazy things that we talk about. I mean, our conversations can be downright idiotic. They tend to be about things that are just plain stupid, yet, we have the conversation anyway, just like it is completely and utterly normal.

But . . . it seriously can not be normal. After all, how many normal people have discussed the reasons why a person's feet are cracked, but don't stink ?(Hubs' feet. Not mine.) And, just how many normal people can say that they have had a conversation about how the neighborhood squirrels are possessed by demons?

I would venture to say . . . not too many,my friends. Not too many.

So the other day when hubs and I were out on a much needed date, and he said, "If I could change my name to any name besides my real name, what should I change it to?" I shouldn't have been suprised.

With that question, I glanced over my shoulder, looking for the reality TV camera, and not finding one, I answered, "Hmmm. I don't know. Why do you ask? "

He shrugged and said, "No reason, really. Just thinking."

"Well what's wrong with Paul, your real name?"I asked.

"Nothing, "he shot back.

"So why would you change it?"

" Annie, it's just a what if. Like what if I was in a golf tournament and the announcer was announcing my name on the first tee? I don't think that Paul has that ring to it," he explained and then, he paused.

I paused too, because really, how do you answer that question? I tried to be funny and make reference to one of my favorite movie characters from Sixteen Candles.

"How about Long Duck Dong? That certainly has a ring to it." I laughed.

He didn't. "I was thinking Will."

"Will?" I questioned. You think that Will has more ring, more pizzazz, than Paul?"

He answered simply, "Yes."

My answer? A very noncommital, "Hmmmm."

Because really, what normal couple has a conversation about possibly changing one's name for a PGA tournament event?

Ummm, yeah.

I don't know of any people that talk about that either.

So, give it up. What crazy conversations have you had with your significant other?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

I'm a Thrifty Gal . . .

I am a thrifty gal.

And, it's a good thing that I am. As a stay at home mom, whose husband is a teacher, I have to make paychecks stretch quite often.

Very, very often.

I have actually become quite good at stretching my family's dollar. I buy foods in bulk and then come home and separate them for future use. I clip coupons, and I watch for sales. My husband jokes about the mess that I make of the Sunday morning paper as I cut it up and then align the coupons with the week's sales circulars. But, he doesn't joke when he sees what my thrifty work provides.

Case in point . . .

This week, I scanned the sales flyers, and then I perused my coupons. It was a golden week. My coupons lined up with the sales at the CVS drugstore. So, I purchased:

2 Suave Shampoos
2 Suave kids shampoos
2 Suave bodywashes
2 Head and Shoulders Shampoos
1 deodorant
1 Gillette Pro Fusion razor with cartridges
1 box Multigrain Cheerios
1 box Chocolate Cheerios
1 box Kellogg's brown sugar poptarts
1 box Kellogg's smores poptarts
1 pair of kid's school scissors
1 10 pack of ball point pens
2 cans of Folger's coffee

That is 18 items. (28 if you count the pens individually, but really, why would you?) If I had used the suggested values for each of the above items, I would have spent approximately $53.95.


My cost . . . $21.12 for all of the above.


Now, do I really need 6 different shampoos in the near future? Not likely. Do I really need 2 cans of coffee tomorrow morning? No. (But there are days when it feels like a yes.) The point is, if I can catch them on sale now, and stock up, then in the long run it saves me some serious cash.

Cash that I can use to support my shoe habit.

After all, a girl has to have her priorities.

Friday, July 9, 2010

It's Time for You to GO! Really. It Is!

Dear Unwelcome Guest,

It has come to my attention that you have chosen my family for a little middle of the night visit. . . again! While I have remained a polite host during your previous stays, I am drawing the line this time. Here are a few ground rules that I would like you to follow during your stay.

No longer will you be allowed to arrive unexpectedly while we slumber. For future reference, please provide me with at least a 2 day notice of your arrival. That way I will have the extra sheets, blankets, and towels clean and ready for your stay. When you arrive unexpectedly, I inevitably am already behind on my laundry, and therefore, you usually add to Mt. Washington. Providing me a little notice will allow me to refrain from such rants as, "For the love of God . . . again?!?!" and "I am not ready for this tonight!" I will also be able to handle your visit more graciously if you decide to arrive during daylight. Trying to make accommodations for you while I am half asleep and blind makes for a rough first impression. And while I do have the blind-man-pat down to an exact science, if you were to provide me with a little notice, I would be able to either sleep in my contacts, or at least have my 10 year old prescription glasses handy, so that my lack of sight would not be a hindrance to your stay. I could immediately direct you to our facilities and accommodations. It is the least that you could do.

Along those lines, no longer will you be allowed to visit each of my family members individually. I know that you are a yearly guest and all, but, really, when you visit with each of us individually, you prolong your visit by days and days. Why not just visit with one or two of us during each of your stays? That way, you will still feel as if your stay was worthwhile, and we will not feel so exhausted and drained when you finally leave. I am not one to complain, but when you come, it is hours and hours of extra work for hubby and me during your stay, and then when you do leave, it is hours more, but by that time, we are quite worthless. After entertaining all of your whims at any hour of the day, hubby and I just want to catch up on our sleep, let out the stale air that you create, and give thanks that you are finally gone.

Finally, I politely request that you in no way bring along your so-called friends. Frankly, they are nothing but trouble. They may think that they are funny when they cause us to double over and hold our bellies, but trust me, we are not laughing. It is more likely that we are crying from the thought of another unwanted guest that refuses to be polite. We are crying because your friends create more laundry, more yucky smells, and more chaos each and every time that you insist on bringing them. Plus, they tie up the bathroom for hours at a time. Remember, making us cry and feel as if we were kicked in the stomach is not the way to receive an invitation for next year's visit.

So, that is it, Mr. Stomach Flu, or should I call you, Mr. U.P. Chuck? Keep in mind that this year, I mean business! I have invited Mr. Clorox to stay on permanently, and he has agreed. You may want to rethink your visit for next year.

Your host,


P.S. Please relay this information to your friend, Ms. Di Arrhea . I would hate to think that she was not informed of our changes.

*******Yes. This is a repost from March of last year, but due to the fact that the stomach bug has once again reared its ugly head in my family, I thought that it was a more than appropriate post (That, and I am up to my eyeballs in laundry and chlorox). So, if you see me at the grocery store, I will be the one buying popsicles and ginger ale, and it is OK if you stay away, very far away. Trust me . . . you don't want this funk.*********************

Friday, July 2, 2010

Excuse Me?!? Is That Sooooooo Hard????

There are times when you just have to let one go.

One what, you ask?

Well, a burp, of course.

Yes, a burp can hit the spot after drinking a 44 oz Big Gulp, or maybe after inhaling a big bowl of steaming chili, or even after consuming the yummy loaded bacon cheese fries I ate the other night on vacation.

In any of these situations, a burp could be considered an appropriate response to its stimulus. And, as long as there is the required, "Excuse me!" no one would be the least bit offended.

But, as I was checking out at the local discount store while on vacation, I couldn't believe my ears. The checkout lady was busily checking out my items. She would grab one, quickly run it over the scanner, and when the computer registered a loud BEEP, she would deposit the item into my shopping bag. It created its own music. Grab, swish, scan, BEEP! Grab, swish, scan, BEEP! I listened and watched intently until I heard it.


It was a Booger burp.

Immediately, I jerked my head upward. That was some impressive burp! Quickly, I looked over at my Ethan. I shot him the motherly look that said with my eyes . . . I know what you did! Fess up!!

He knew that look, and replied out loud, "Mom, I swear. It wasn't me!" Then he glanced at the checker expectantly.

My gaze turned to the checkout girl. Truthfully, I was a bit surprised that a burp that loud and that disgusting could emanate from this very, obvious adult lady. As I was wrapping my head around it, I must have forgotten to turn off my mom-guilt gaze, because the checker stopped her grab-swish-scan routine, darted her eyes up to me, and said, "Umm, yeah, excuse me, I guess?"

And then she rolled her eyes at me.

Now, I am usually a go with the flow kind of gal when it comes to bodily functions. I live with a man that pollutes my bathroom on a regular basis, and a son that can burp up to the letter J when he burps the alphabet. Clearly, I am no stranger to the music of our bodies, and although it is gross, I can usually let it go, if there is a mannerly, "Excuse me, " or even a timely, "Pardon me!"

After all, farts happen. Burps happen. I can deal. Really, I can. At times, I can even appreciate their comic timing and eye watering aromas. . .

But, if you roll your eyes at me, WATCH OUT!

Not only does an eye roll completely negate the previous "Excuse me, " it blatantly waves a red flag in front of the bull. It says, "Yes, I know that I am supposed to excuse my poor behavior, but I am only doing it because I am supposed to. I. don't. really. mean. it!"

And that, my dear friends, is what got to me. If I was not in vacation mode and instead in my full mom-mode, I think I may have just given that checker a tongue lashing . . . after I had slapped her eyes back to their rightful position.

So, in conclusion. . .

A burp? Gross, but usually OK.

A burp and some manners? Positively acceptable.

A burp ( reminiscent of Booger's burp in Revenge of the Nerds), a pseudo apology, and an eye roll?


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Things You May (Or May Not) Know About Me . . .

People would be surprised to know that . . .

1. Although my house is pretty clean, my van should be condemned.

2. I have a bad habit of putting cracked egg shells in my kitchen sink instead of in the garbage can. This drives hubs crazy. Me, not so much.

3. If my kids are playing and are happily occupied, I will pretty much let them have at it with whatever room in my house in which they are situated. I have had tents in my dining room, obstacle courses in my living room, and a campground in my basement to name a few. After all, playing and occupied kids equals happy, not bothering mom, kids.

4. I chew my nails when I stress, which is usually daily. It is a yucky habit, and my rational mind knows this, but I unconsciously do it.

5. When I do the grocery shopping, I buy myself a treat that I hide when I get home. Later, after the kids are asleep, I eat my treat without guilt. I relish every bite especially when it is ice cream right from the carton, something that I would never let my kiddies do.

6. I second guess my parenting, probably daily. I wonder, what if I did this? Or what if I did that? How am I affecting my kiddies?? I worry about being a good mom.

7. I eat peanut butter from the jar. This is especially true since Ellerie was born. She has a peanut allergy, so I can not eat PB around her. Instead, I sneak it in here and there.

8. Although I like to work out and be fit, it is sooooooo hard for me to get motivated in the morning to go to the gym. I would much rather drink coffee, read blogs and remain in my pj's.

9. I have a poster board summer wish list on my dining room wall. It contains the family's wishes for summertime activities. We check off things as we do them. It is a great conversation starter at dinner time.

10. I love my hubs so much. Even though his laugh lines have deepened and his hair is salt and peppery these days, I can still look at him and see the young guy that stole my heart. He drives me crazy sometimes, he keeps me sane most of the time, and he makes me laugh all of the time. When I was young, I never thought that I would "go for" a guy like him. I didn't think he was my type. It just goes to show that I was completely clueless.

*******I'm linking this to Mama Kat this week. GO check her out and some of the others too. You won't be disappointed. Really. You won't.******************

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