Saturday, July 24, 2010

More Common Sense Advice from the Peanut Gallery

If you think its a good idea to drive to the Galleria with your whole family on a Saturday afternoon so you can eat at the Cheesecake Factory, just stick needles under your fingernails and wiggle them around instead.

It is so much fun trying to create diversions for two whining hungry children for an hour while you marvel at your optimism and wonder, "How did we both agree to this madness?"

That'll be our Galleria experience for the next five years.

What was the last thing you can't believe you paid for?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Just like that, I've been Ousted

My son came home from Vacation Bible School today and informed me that the Angel of the Lord, named Summer, is the most beautiful girl ever.

"Even beautifuler than you, Mom."
"Really? You mean Summer, the girl in your class?"
"No, Mom. I'm talking about Summer, the Angel of the Lord."
"And iCarly. She's beautifuler, too."

***My little Romeo will be five years old [silent scream] in less than a month.

Monday, May 17, 2010


In case you were wondering, I'm not thinking about selling cars.

My last post was written on a day when we were in the midst of car shopping and I had just had enough of the sleazy run around. I actually felt sorry for car salesman in general at that point thinking about the base tactics those guys have to engage in day in and day out. In the end, MMA handled it beautifully and it all worked out.

My brother and sister-in-law are safe. She's already back in the US and I owe her a good home-cooked meal very, very soon. I also need to know the latest on my brother's plans and when he's coming home.

I'm not a vegetarian and I doubt I ever will be. I just like meat so darn much. Darn it.

The sleep is good.

Baby Brother seems to slowly be weaning himself. In any case, when that first tooth pops out, its over.

Decluttering has stalled out a bit. I need a reason to jump start again. I should throw a party.

More news to come, just not right now.

And, thank you, new comers to my blog. I feel a little guilty for not showing much B-love lately (that's blog love...not what every else you might have been thinking.)

Random thought: when is Young House Love going to pop? I mean, "WOW!" She's all baby! I know the desperation of that "almost there" time. Hang in there all you almost-there-moms-to-be...Heather, that's you!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ten Things I'd rather do than Sell Cars for a Living

Pick the gunk out from underneath the toe nails of perfect strangers

Work the 4 am bathroom clean up crew at House of Pies

Work at the MAC counter (just making sure you're listening...)

Sell just about anything else

Work the fry side (or the grill side) at Denny's

"Beeeeeer and PEEEE'nuts!"

Survey-taker at the mall

Road kill disposal crew


Nose hair groomer

Friday, April 9, 2010

On the Other Side of the World, Right Now...

As many of you know, my brother Lee and his wife Shawn are serving in the Peace Corp in Kyrgyzstan.

Earlier this week there was a violent uprising over government corruption spurred by a 200% increase in the cost of fuel (as I understand the situation.) There was rioting in the streets and many people were injured, some killed.

And just like that, the old government is out and a new regime has taken over.

Lee and Shawn have been evacuated by the PC and are safe but they've been asked not to disclose their location and they currently have no internet access. Our family is praying that they stay safe. But for now, we have no idea what this means for the remaining few months of their two year commitment.

You may never have heard of this little country that borders China and Russian. But I expect we'll all be hearing more about it, because it houses an American military base where our troops and supplies converge en route to Afghanistan.

It goes without saying that taking on a volunteer assignment in that part of the world is inherently risky. Particularly for Americans?

Please say a quick prayer for Lee and Shawn and their colleagues. I know they would also appreciate us thinking, too, about the friends they've made in the Krgyz locals and what this will mean for their future.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Have you Ever...

Had one of those days where you went to the store specifically to buy something, but then your kids turned your trip into a complete circus and you forgot everything that you intended to buy?

Then suddenly its the night before your kid's Easter party at school and you have no candy. So you have to raid your pantry to find something to stuff in the 16 eggs that you must send to school, perfectly sharpied with the classmates' names on the outside. (All the while thankful for a good neighbor who just happened to have extra eggs.)

So at 11 o'clock you're cursing the size of those diminutive standard drugstore eggs and wracking your brain to think, "what will fit?"

So you pull out all the gummies and fruit snacks you can scrounge but you have to prick a tiny hole in each bag and squish the air out to make it work. And you marvel at your own ingenuity under pressure.

Then your son gets home with his 16 eggs and you can't help but peek at the booty you'll soon be getting your hands on. And you feel some sisterly connection to the mom who put silver wrapped gum and spare change in her kid's eggs.

Ever had one of those days?

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Freecycle 2 U, My Funky Junky Sista

MMA is starting to notice all the bare spots where stuff used to live.

But has my spring cleaning gone too far?

I had this old sumpin' or other laying around my house that was a gift that I loved and enjoyed for years. Then it sat in a cabinet collecting dust. I never had the heart to get rid of it. So I loaded it in the car today and dropped it off on my SIL's front porch. When she was suppose to be at work.

Hee Hee.

I figured she'd find it and wonder about the secret benefactor that knows her tastes so well. Warm fuzzies. (Or call me and say, "what the hell?")

In truth, I really thought she would appreciate the little re-gift because the colors compliment her lovely house.

Well, before I could even pull off the street she was pouncing my cell phone to ask "What the drive-by do you think you're doing?"

We had a little laugh before she affirmed what I already know...we're just two junkaholics trying to stay clean and take it one day at a time. The last thing she needs is me offering her my knick knacks, much less dropping them off.

I promised to pick it up on Sunday.

Maybe she'll change her mind.

Friday, February 26, 2010

More confessions from the Closet

Literally, I'm the girl with junk in the trunk [of my automobile...right this minute.]

There's an old telephone, a flip flop (just the one) and various magazines, plus other stuff that looks like trash to everyone but me.

What you need to know about my issue, people like me, the Cluttery among us, WE are a little schizo.

Rational me knows I'm not right . Irrational me wants to hang on to that flip flop just a little longer because the other one might just show up. Rational me says, "So what! Throw it away and be done with it. You have other flip flops WITH MATES." Irrational me says, "One more year. Just one more year."

So you see what I'm dealing with? They don't make medicine for this. Not that I'm aware of.

So, cold turkey, I have been getting rid of things that are not enriching my life. Its like a little game: What will I throw away today? Usually it feels empowering, but not always.

Do you know how hard it is for me to put an old blue Tiffany box in the trash and walk away? Did you ever see that scene from Sex in the City where Miranda puts the cake in the trash and then goes back to eat a bite?

This is the year I lose my pack rat, thing. That's why I'm putting it out there. Accountability, baby. So when you see me you will (however uncomfortable it may be) ask me, "How's your clutter today?"

I have an idea for a reality show in the same vein as the Biggest Loser. Because I get why a morbidly obese person would go on TV in the most unforgiving spandex and bare it all for help.

Here's the premise: Your husband/partner signs you up. Producers come to your house and verify that you do have a clutter issue. They take video of your deepest darkest closets, under your beds, they count how many junk drawers you have. They record your house at its worst. Then they send over an organization expert to get you in shape. They outfit you with the latest Stacks and Stacks technology. Unified hangers in every closet. No socks unturned.

Then, they lie in wait. They can and will come back unannounced at any time. It could be 2 months later or it could be 2 years later, but you never know when it will be. You keep your crap in order because you live in fear.

If your house is a wreck when they come, you get stuck for the extreme makeover bill and they show the clutter cam on prime time. But if your house is organized and clutter-free, you get to keep all the stuff AND you get a fabulous vacation to somewhere off the charts. I'm still working on the pitch...but getting my house in shape is really prize enough (and I can't do that on my own, WHY?)

I should publish a picture of my dining room table to prove my candidacy. But then I'd feel so naked.

And, in random news that made me laugh this week, I spied a guy driving around in a blue Dodge Caravan with a "Tap Out" sticker on the back.

P.S. Good luck to MMA who's doing the Conoco Phillips 10K Rodeo Run tomorrow. He hasn't been able to train as much as he would have liked because life gets in the way. We would love him even if he hobbled across the finish line, but he won't. He'll charge through like a warrior.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Who me? Junkie?

Decluttering Chronicles: Step I - Declaration

I'll never live in a model home for the same reason I will never be a swimsuit model.

Well, besides

Details, Details.

I keep things flexible and clean my house a-r-o-u-n-d whatever else is going on in life. Sometimes I ask Big Brother,

"Hey, what do you want to do today? Anything you want, we'll do it."

Because his preschool days are numbered
AND because avoiding chores around the house is so naughty in the SAHM world.

My avoidance hit a high note last year when I was pregnant enough to really sell it. And the resulting chaos in my home is proof of how good I've gotten. (Or bad, if you want to be a glass half-empty kind of person.) I looked around last month after the Christmas stuff had been put up and things still seemed cluttered, unorganized, JUNKIE. My stuff has reached critical mass.

I started by giving things away. Little things at first. One big thing. Things on Freecycle. I cleaned out my husbands side of the closet to avoid working on my side. I fell off the wagon, but I'm back.

And there's this one thing, a purse, that's a metaphor for my "stuff problem." I know I will love myself more when I get rid of that dusty Coach purse I haven't used in ten years. It's cluttering up my life, err, uh, my closet. I've shaken it off a half dozen times over the years and thought,

"I really need to let this go." Hmm. Hmm. Hmm. "I wonder if my sister will want this?"

Junkers, you see, always want to keep "it" close. Its not familial generosity. Its actually a selfish security thing -- in case somewhere down the line I have a crazy urge to spend some time with my lovely old purse and hold it close once more. Not use it as a purse, but just know its there if I
wanted to see it again.

We'll call that phenomenon
charitable storage and if you love me you'd never, EVER, let me get away with it! That's called enabling.

Maybe you understand me because you have pile somewhere... A little something in a closet you pretend to forget about or excuse yourself for on a sentimental basis... Maybe its a whole closet when you only have four in your whole house... No? Oh, that's called projecting.

I like my stuff, but I'm not one of those crazy hoarding people that that you see on TV and think,

"My God! She looks so normal."

They should make a made for TV movie about those freaks. No, I just collect, recreationally. Years ago, MMA set down a rule that if I bought a pair of shoes, another pair had to go. I've kept up my side of the bargain on the easily quantifiable. But girls have their ways of getting around silly roadblocks. And we had a smaller house then.

That doesn't sound like justifying AT ALL.

Friday, January 29, 2010

To Meat or Not to Meat

These biological urges are the real deal. First, we decided it was time to start going to church exactly a year before I got pregnant with my oldest son. Now we've hit our mid-thirties and the clock says, "time to take a serious look at what we're putting in our bodies."

MMA and I are curiously in tandem, again. We've both been feeling ambivalent towards meat. (We've also broached our high fructose corn syrup and MSG problems, but that's for another day.) I don't think this is an accident. I think there is a greater force at work, a beacon of light that's even brighter than the fast food neon.

If you'd asked me a few weeks ago where I was in my vegetarian walk (because none of us are getting any younger) I would have said, "I haven't laced up my shoes." I love me some Texas BBQ, bacon nineteen different ways, elaborate burgers that fall apart and drip down your hands...I could go on Liz Lemon-like about our meat fetish. Didn't I list
bacon bits IN THIS VERY BLOG as one of my favorite things?

Well. All of the sudden, meat is starting to gross me out
even while I'm enjoying it for dinner. MMA, too!?!

What has gotten into us?

My 4 year old just realized that the "chicken" that we eat almost daily was once an animal just like the chickens at the zoo. And thanks to Chick fil A's brilliant marketing, he has worked it out in his little head that a hamburger was once a cow. And he's got a healthy pensiveness about it.

I, myself, made a conscious decision years ago to put that inconvenient truth out of my head and just enjoy steak night with a little garlic butter and beer. I do my best not to waste meat, you see, and so I feel better about eating the flesh of another animal.

Thanks to MMA, we stopped eating most bone-in meats because he found it unseemly. I never understood that until now because everyone knows that meat cooked on the bone tastes so much better. But, its a little harder to deny what you're eating when a bone makes your dinner an identifiable body part.

And by that token, it is so easy to reconcile the standard frozen chicken tender in your head. It's just a preformed meat-like substance supped up with hormones, saline solution and encrusted in God-only-knows-what to make it pleasantly palatable. I mean, did an
actual chicken have to die?

virtual chicken. My marketing guy is already working on the T-shirts.

I'm no tree hugger. I'm not even an animal hugger. There, I said it. I don't even like live animals that much. I will not be carrying a PETA card or trading in my leather shoes anytime soon. But it cannot be coincidence that I have been bombarded with such disgusting meat imagery lately. To the point that I must reconsider my diet of probably thirty percent meat. (Don't judge.)

Exhibit A) There is a ziplock bag of turkey left over from Christmas in my fridge. I meant to spin it into some kind of casserole and never did and now I feel too guilty to throw it away. I wish an elf would magically take this problem off my hands. (MMA will not make it easy and throw it away because he told me not to make a whole turkey in the first place.)

Exhibit B) I got the pink slime email...did you? Regardless of what I should have known and/or chose to believe before reading the NY Times article, I now know too much. I heard somewhere that a typical fast food hamburger was literally made from the meat of hundreds if not thousands of cows. I can now fathom how this is possible.

Exhibit C) I also saw the show discussed here about a guy eating roadkill. BY CHOICE. My eyes were tearing up as a precursor to dry heaving before he even loaded the carrion into his car. By the time he served up his badger head and seagull stew, I was asking myself what starvation scenario would it take?

Urp coming on.

Since I'm not really motivated by environmental or moral considerations this must be the weakest embargo ever:

Meat is gross (right now.)

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The New Normal

I've missed you all, bloggers. I occasionally log on to catch up with what is going on in your lives. But until I can catch a real night's sleep, I can't justify much computer time.

Plus, its so much fun to play with my new baby. I remember Picky saying after her first baby was born that she loved everything about being a mom. Even the feeding and diaper changing. Admittedly, its all work, but its like the Peace Corp...the hardest job you'll ever love. I'll have to compare notes when my little brother gets back from his Peace Corp assignment in Kyrgyzstan (and then has a child.)

MMA has been insistent that I give my loyal mo fos an update.

Things are good.

Big Brother is adjusting, but its a process. He so wants to be both the big boy I need him to be and also my baby. He pretends to be a baby in the safety of our home but he is clear, this game is for our eyes only.

Today we wrote a story about a boy who gets a new baby brother; I wrote as he narrated. To paraphrase, the character in our story loves his baby brother, but gets grumpy and sometimes acts naughty because of all the changes in his family. Our little activity helped us both, I think. I'm reminded how much Big Brother loves me. Almost daily he tells me he is going to marry me when he grows up. I could just cry...can I bottle that stuff up?

Baby Brother is plumping up nicely. I love every fat roll on his little body. He's got those tight baby wrists where his hand meets his chunky arm. 'Love those wrists. So many kissable places, so little time.

He's also starting to follow me with his eyes. Sometimes I'll see him looking at me from across the room. When I turn my attention on him he just lights up!

We achieved a goal that I am very proud of, breastfeeding success. We did it! Around the three month mark, I realized, "Hey, we've got the hang of this" (more or less.) I don't know why this one deed is so tantamount to my feelings of adequacy as a mother, but it is. And I was not about to allow it to elude me this time.

I well know...we're not suppose to beat ourselves up about these things, but we all do. If it's not breastfeeding, its the "working mom guilt" or something else. This is not a new subject for me.

I think part of the problem is life zipping by. I'm still trying to juggle everything I used to do before and care for a baby. I keep telling myself, "I will do this" or "I will do that" when life gets back to normal. As if I could make a new little person, with his own agenda, quietly fit in to who we were as a family before he emerged.

Suddenly, it dawned on me, this is my life now. Baby brother changed us, and this is normal. Life just got busier and I need to make difficult choices about how I spend my time. Get in shape, so to speak.
Whine less. Eliminate clutter in every form.

Superstar has no resolutions this year! Just a promise to myself to blow lots of raspberries on a soft round tummy and play trains for at least a few minutes every day with full enthusiasm. And to stop worrying about things that don't involve God and family.

Peace out.

(Pictures to come)