Monday, October 31, 2011

Those damn Francois Langur monkeys have all the luck...

One night after the kids were in bed, Tim and I were actually sharing space in the same room.

But wait...that's not the actual story.  Just thought I'd point it out because it's a rare occurrence.

The news was blaring on the television and suddenly the reporter's voice caught my attention, as he recounted the story of an orange baby monkey who had been born at a zoo recently.  A Francois Langur monkey, he announced proudly, as if he had given birth to the monkey himself.

I know, I know...monkeys are born every day, but wait, it gets better.  Trust me.

The reporter continued with the story, discussing how the other female monkeys will take the baby from the mother so the mother can have a break.

Tim cackled hysterically as I screamed, "WTF?! Where the hell is MY monkey? I need one of those to come here and give ME a break!!"

Yes, people....apparently, in the world of the Francois Langur monkey there is a thing called "aunting", where when a female gives birth to a baby, all the other females in the group who are not yet mothers, will come take care of the baby so the mother can rest.

As I watched the video of these amazing monkeys, I sat there in disbelief.

One of the "aunt" monkeys had to literally pry the baby monkey away from its mother in order to force her to take a well-deserved break.  All the other childless monkeys gathered around the aunt to help her care for the baby while the mother rested in a nearby tree.

Color me disillusioned but I don't remember any childless friends knocking down my front door, demanding that I hand over my newborn twins so I could rest my weary body, after having been doped up with an epidural and gutted like a fish.

Nor were there any well-meaning family members forcing me to temporarily discontinue the endless routine of mixing formula, measuring breast milk, cleaning bottles and changing diapers to give me a much needed mini-siesta.

Oh, but the unsolicited advice and harsh judgments (along with a huge side dish of guilt) came aplenty.  Of course.

"Don't wake the babies up to feed them.  That's so cruel," they would argue.

"Why are you supplementing with formula?  Have you tried everything possible to make more breast milk?" they would accuse.

"I can't believe you let those babies sleep in their car seats!" they would scrutinize.

The way I see it, those people who claim that monkeys are smarter than human beings may be onto something.  Lord knows, they certainly appear to be more thoughtful than we tend to be with one another.

Instead of giving away free cars, I believe Oprah should've been giving away monkeys.

"To every exhausted, overwhelmed mother in this audience today, you get a monkey!  You get a monkey!  And you get a monkey!  Everybody. Gets. A. Monkey."


Sure, I may be coming off as a little bitter...and, yeah, I'm still seething with envy.    

Those damn Francois Langur monkeys have all the luck.



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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I finally have a kitchen to be proud of...but I still don't like to cook

A year ago, this is what my kitchen looked like.

Kitchen Before 1

Kitchen Before 2

And then the day after Thanksgiving, a pipe in our downstairs bathroom broke and flooded the entire floor.

So we lived on cement floors for quite awhile.  Nothing like the feel of cold, hard cement on your feet on a chilly winter's day.

But at least when the kids colored the floor with permanent marker, I could laugh...instead of cry, for once.

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After approximately 278 days of merely TALKING about remodeling our kitchen, Tim and I finally took action and put a plan into place.

My stepdad, who loves projects such as this, offered his assistance.  What ended up happening was he pretty much did 75% of the work...and never complained once, as long as we had a 12-pack of Bud Light in the fridge for him at all times.

I painted our oak cabinets, which seemed to take forever and a day.  I started out with so much energy and enthusiasm but by day 10, I was fading...cursing at the paintbrushes and life in general.

Today, this is how our kitchen looks...with a new walk-in pantry, cabinets where there once were none, new quartz counter tops and an updated backsplash (those DIY shows make it look easy to do a backsplash but let me tell you, this crap will drive you to drink).

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And yes, I know that our window scarf has fallen off the rod.

Both Tim and I have become lazy about fixing it...and now it's just a matter of principle to see who will actually do it (kind of like the Christmas wreath which was displayed on our door for months after Christmas because we both wanted to see who would be the first to take it down).

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Oh, and the cabinets above the fridge....yeah, they're pretty much all done except they  haven't been mounted yet.  I could do it myself but drills and I....we don't mix well together.

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One of my favorite things is the crown moulding on top of the kitchen cabinets!












And I love that my kitchen pantry no longer looks like this....a disorganized mess with absolutely no space.






Now it's a large walk-in area with an abundance of space....

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And now that our kitchen is finally done, we're about to embark on a whole 'nother adventure...an addition to the side of our home.

A very wise woman with whom I used to work once told me, "Don't ever do major household projects or remodeling with your spouse...unless you want to get divorced".

It wasn't until this kitchen remodel that I could truly appreciate that little gem of advice.

Needless to say, we're hired a professional to do the addition.

Tim and I have other more important things to argue over....like who's finally going to take down the Christmas wreath (and really is there any point now that Christmas is right around the corner).

Monday, October 24, 2011

What went down at the pumpkin patch 2011

It's that time of year again.

Time for my family to invade a nearby pumpkin patch.  We have to switch it up every year...you'll know why if you've read any of my posts from prior pumpkin patch visits.

This year, I was insistent on getting one decent picture of all 4 kids together so I could send out Christmas cards this year (instead of being that one lazy-ass friend who couldn't have been bothered).

The picture below was my first attempt.

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Doesn't it just scream "Christmas card photo"....what with Bella and her fake smile, Garrett looking as if he's desperately trying not to fart, Cole with his pumpkin rolling off his head and Landon who looks as if he just found out the awful truth that he's not adopted.

We stumbled upon this lovely little group of pumpkins immediately upon arriving at the patch.

Garrett announced, "Hey, look...4 pumpkins, just like us!"
Bella was quick to squish his excitement, "No, there's 6 of us in our family!"
He argued, "Yeah, but we have 4 kids and so do they!"
Never one to let someone else have the last word, she argued back, "How do you know these are the kids?  Where are the parents?"
Garrett responded, "Pumpkins don't have parents...DUH!"

The fun didn't end there, people.

Then they spent the next 5 minutes arguing over whether the bumpy pumpkin had a horrific case of warts or was just simply growing baby pumpkins on its skin....because that's how pumpkins procreate, in case you weren't aware.

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Another potential Christmas card photo gone wrong, with Cole looking as if he's attempting to give birth to a pumpkin...out of his ass.

And Landon, who was trying to come up with yet another reason why it was okay for him to keep the watch that he found in the parking lot, even though I told him some poor kid had lost it and would be crying for days.

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Yeah, here's another one, except I'm missing a kid...and didn't realize it until AFTER I took the picture.

What does that say about me as a mother?   Uh, that was a rhetorical question, people.

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In the farm area of the pumpkin patch, we spotted a mama goat with her babies.  I felt bad for her as she kept trying to get her babies' attention.

I would imagine she was saying, "Yo, don't go near those little humans.  Not only do they have strange looking eyes but they're covered in germs and snot.  Now, come here and eat this lovely bale of hay that I've lovingly prepared for you."

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And this is when I realized I could learn a lot from this mama goat.  She pretty much said, "To hell with you, you little ungrateful goats...I'm gonna eat my lunch."

Screw Dr. Phil and all his worldly advice.

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Say it with me, friends...another horrible Christmas card photo opp.

Not only did I shoot this picture from the wrong direction resulting in everyone's face being dark and shadowed but instead of standing near his beloved siblings, Cole is trying to hide a stick behind his back...which he intended on using to swat his sister in the back of the head shortly after the picture was taken.

Nothing says "Merry Christmas...we hope you have a peaceful holiday season with your loved ones" more than a young lad torturing his twin sister with a sharp object.

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And this is also when I realized that Landon was now wearing the watch that I had told him to turn in to one of the workers at the pumpkin patch.  Where's his freakin' Christmas spirit?

What could possibly be inside this little shack in the middle of the corn field that had other kids running away in fright?

You think my kids were afraid?

Hell no...after witnessing a gaggle of small children practically stumbling over one another to get away from the shack, mine were running towards it with excitement.

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Inside the shack, lives a scary werewolf who howls at little children and bares his sharp, bloodstained teeth.

Or, as my kids referred to it, "Hey guys, look.  It's Mommy when she gets mad at us!"

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I just love Bella and her "queen of the world" pose in this next picture.

Every girl needs a brother who has her back...unless of course it's to shove her IN the back off of a tall haystack so he can have center stage for once.

Obviously, this pic won't be making the Christmas card either.

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This next pic may actually be included on the Christmas card, only because I love Landon's pose, as if he's saying to himself, "I really really really wish I was adopted because the thought of being part of this family for the rest of my life makes me want to gouge my eyes out with a rusty fork".

And he's still wearing that damn watch!

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This little guy...well, I guess he's not so little...waddled his way over to us and wanted the kids to pet him.

Yeah, a turkey who likes to be touched by young children.  But I guess if you knew you were going out with a bang as the main meal on someone's Thanksgiving dinner table, you'd want to live it up while you could too.

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This sweet, unsuspecting bunny got passed around from kid to kid to kid to kid...it was a never-ending circle of snotty-nosed kids crying, "I wanna hold the bunny".

The poor bunny finally closed its eyes and pretended to fall asleep, which just confirms for me that rabbits are rather stupid.

The kids mistakenly assumed that the bunny was enjoying all the attention, resulting in the torture session being even more prolonged than necessary.

But then again, rabbits don't have the luxury of high-tailing it to the laundry room, where they can lock themselves inside with a tall glass of wine and tune out the outside world.

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Notice there are no small whiny kids in this next picture...or animals...or even an unhappy, miserable husband who was threatened with his life if he didn't accompany his blessed family on a fun outing to the pumpkin patch.

Nope.  Just an endless field of beautiful sunflowers, where I sat for a good 10 minutes...while my family was off in the near distance creating a chaotic mess of noise.

And I thought...in my next life I want to come back as this sunflower.

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After sitting in that field of flowers and being one with nature, I felt an overwhelming sense of calmness and peace.

Not even the kids playing in the large pumpkin containers could shake me out of my zen state of mind.

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Don't be surprised if the above picture ends up making the front of our Christmas card.

Yes, I'm perfectly aware (this time) that one kid is missing from the picture and that no one is posing, flashing a beautiful, flawless smile.

But that's so us.  That's my family...imperfect, unbalanced and completely chaotic.  I wouldn't want it any other way.

And so, my friends, that is what went down at the pumpkin patch this year.

Oh and Landon did end up turning the watch in...and it's a good thing because the family of the child who had lost the watch had come back looking for it.  Guess my boy does have the Christmas spirit after all.  At least one of them does.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Pouring My Heart Out...Stupid Girl



The stranger's eyes darted in my direction as he placed his large hand on my leg.  An angry voice inside my head screamed, "Stupid girl!  How could you be so trusting?"

Like every other teenager at the tender age of 16, I yearned for more freedom and independence.  I had discovered it in the form of my very first car, which my father bought for me at an auction weeks earlier.  Now, I could come and go as I pleased, filled with excitement and wonder...and filled with a huge amount of stupidity.

Sure, my parents had given me "the talk".  Always lock your car doors.  Never give a ride to a stranger.  Don't roll your window down for anyone unless it's a police officer.  Yadda, yadda,  yadda.

I had rolled my eyes as they lectured me with their rules...because I knew how to keep myself safe.  After all, I was 16 years old.  I knew everything I needed to know in life.

Or at least, I thought I did.

My encounter with the stranger happened one day as I drove myself to work at a local fast food place. I was running late and with every passing minute, I grew even more concerned that my boss would be waiting for me in a fit of anger.  Patience was not one of his strong points.

I couldn't jeopardize losing this job, even though it sucked big time.  Now that I had a car, I was responsible for paying for my own gas and insurance.  There was no way I could afford to be without my freedom, especially after having just a small sampling of how liberating it was.

As I waited at a red light just a couple blocks away from where I worked, my car stalled and died.  I had no clue what had happened to it, being a new driver and not that well acquainted yet with the car.  Back then, there were no cell phones so I didn't have the luxury of simply calling my dad or my boyfriend and asking them for help.

I just sat there in my car, on the verge of tears...and when the light turned green, other drivers became annoyed and began to honk angrily.

Suddenly, a man appeared at my window and motioned for me to roll my window down....and I did.

"Looks like you need some help.  You're close enough to the sidewalk here so put your car in neutral and I'll push you off the street," he offered.

Taking a brief glance at him again, I noted that he was around my father's age...he looked kind and was obviously helpful.  Nothing in my gut, at this point, shouted out to me...there were no red flags, no warning signs.  And I desperately needed to get to work.

I shoved the gearshift into neutral as he had asked and allowed him to push my car forward onto the nearby sidewalk.

In a hurry, I grabbed my purse and bid him a polite thank you, along with a brief explanation that I really needed to get to work.

The stranger must have taken note of my uniform, as he said, "Hey, I can give you a ride.  Burger King is just a couple blocks from here...I'd be happy to drive you."

I looked at my watch and saw that it was 5:55 by now...my shift was supposed to start at 5:30.  Tears began to fill my eyes...not only was my boss going to rip me a new one but I could imagine my dad yelling at me, "Well, you've only had the car for a few weeks and you've already managed to fuck it up."

My hands began to shake and tears filled my eyes.  I felt as if I were stuck between a rock and a hard place.  I knew better than to accept a ride from a total stranger but I also needed to get my ass to work and then deal with the car and its aftermath later.

The stranger smiled at me and put his arm around my back, ushering me back towards his car.  I detected the faint scent of aftershave on him and somehow felt more at ease.

"Come on," he said.  "I have a daughter around your age and I'd hate to think of her stranded all by herself.  Let me just get you to work and then I'll be on my way."

He's cool, I thought to myself.  He has a daughter my age...surely, someone who is a father himself is worthy of my trust.

I accepted his offer, "Okay, sure.  Thanks, I really appreciate all your help."

He got into the driver's seat and made his way back onto the road.

"Uh, I usually make a right on this next street.  It's kind of a shortcut," I stated.

I breathed a sigh of relief as he took the right turn and replied, "I know where Burger King is.  I grew up here and remember cruising the avenue back in the day.  Isn't that what you kids still do?"

Suddenly, I felt nervous.  Wouldn't he know if kids still cruised the avenue if, in fact, he had a daughter my age?  Trying not to be obvious, I moved my hand over to the passenger side's car door handle and gently grasped it.

This is when I could feel his eyes on me, as his hand manuevered its way over to my leg.  My gut trembled in fear and I prayed that he wouldn't be able to tell how scared I was.

"Stupid girl," I thought to myself.  "How could you be so trusting?!"

The fact that he was touching my leg made me extremely uncomfortable.  Beads of sweat began to form on my forehead and I could feel my heart racing in my chest.

"Oh hey, my name is Fred, by the way," he stated.

Fred?  Seriously?  When was the last time I had heard of a serial killer named Fred?  It was just too...well, normal of a name, I thought to myself.   Fred the Serial Killer.   Nah, it just didn't work.

Or maybe I was just trying to convince myself that he really was a nice guy, a good samaritan wanting to help someone in trouble.   Rather than a total freak who wanted to take advantage of an innocent and way too trusting teenage girl.

I brushed his hand off my leg and rambled, "I'm really late for work.  My boss was expecting me almost 30 minutes ago.  I'm sure he's already called my house and now my parents are probably worried so they've probably called my boyfriend to see if he knows where I am.  I really just want to get to work so I can let them all know I'm okay."

He quickly removed his hand from my leg and mumbled, "No problem."

Although it felt like time was moving as slowly as molasses, it must have only taken 2 minutes to arrive at Burger King.

"You are so so so STUPID," I silently chastised myself repeatedly.

He parked his car in the back of the lot and said, "Pleasure knowing you.  I hope you can figure out what's wrong with your car," as he reached across me and put his hand over mine on the passenger door handle..again, invading my personal space without my permission.

I pushed the door open and tried to jump out quickly...but unfortunately grace and balance weren't always my best qualities, as I tripped over the strap from my purse.

"You scared, little girl?" he asked, with one eyebrow raised and smiling in a way that sent shivers down my spine.

Without looking back, I ran through the side door of the restaurant, directly into the ladies' restroom, where I proceeded to break down in tears.  When I finally composed myself, I went into my boss' office and apologized profusely for being late.

Seeing that my eyes were red and puffy, he must have assumed that detailed questions were off limits and simply asked, "Are you okay to work today?"  I nodded my head.

Although I did tell my boyfriend what had happened, I never told my parents the truth, other than my car breaking down on the side of the road.

I lied, telling them I had walked to work because I feared the wrath of whatever punishment they would dole out, knowing I had accepted a ride from a stranger.  Probably the loss of my car, the loss of my job...the loss of my freedom and independence.

I'll never know what might have happened with that stranger...so many unanswered questions continued to haunt me long after that day.  What if I hadn't told him I was running late to work and that people would be worried?  What if he had driven the opposite way, clearly not taking me to work?  Who was he?  Had he intended to do harm or was he merely trying to scare me?

It took awhile for me to trust my instincts again, after having felt betrayed and mislead by my own gut.  Even now, I tend to assume the worst about people before trusting them...a quality I despise about myself but just can't be helped.

And this is why I always tell my kids that not all strangers appear evil or dangerous looking.

The friendliest, most attractive strangers can be your worst nightmare.  Or maybe they aren't.

But it's certainly not something you want to find out once you're inside that stranger's car, ultimately entrusting him or her with your precious and valued life.

I am not that same stupid girl any longer.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

SafetyTat Review and Giveaway....

Three years ago, we were enjoying an outing at a crowded amusement park...until a frantic mother's high-pitched scream pierced the air.

"My baby girl...has anyone seen my baby girl?  Oh My God, I can't find her!  Can someone please help me?" she cried.

My first instinct was to account for all four of my children.  Then, along with several other parents, I ran over to her and we all asked for a description of her daughter.

By now, security was involved and sending the little girl's description over their walkie-talkies and securing all entrances and exits.

The mother was having difficulty describing her daughter, too shaken up to recall in detail what clothing her daughter had worn that day.

She kept repeating, "She's only 2 years old!  I turned around for only a few seconds and she was gone.  Please find her!"

Thankfully, the little girl was found wandering near the bathrooms only a few feet away from where we were but the incident continued to haunt me.  Suddenly, the reality of how quickly and easily a child can disappear right from your side struck fear and panic in my heart.

From that point forward, any time we went to a crowded public place, I'd write my cell phone number on their small arms, and take a picture of all of them with my cell phone so I'd have a picture handy, showing exactly how they looked that day in case, God forbid, they got separated from us.

All of that was great, except the marker always seemed to wash off or get blurred as sunscreen got reapplied throughout the day.   There seemed to be no perfect solution, as far as I knew.

And then I stumbled upon SafetyTat's site!  I was so excited about these children's tattoos that I actually contacted them and asked if they'd allow me to do a review (and a giveaway!), in which they were happy to participate.

I chose to review the Quick Stick Write-On SafetyTats, mainly because I liked the option of being able to write in either mine or Tim's cell phone numbers.

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Here's how the people at SafetyTat describe this product:

Requires no water to apply. Quick Stick Write-on! Child ID Tattoo is a peel-n-stick skin applique.

Made with our proprietary tattoo material, Tateck®, this ultra-durable skin safe applique "tattoo" sticker issweatproof/waterproof and will last an extra long time -- up to two weeks -- until you are ready to remove it. The Quick Stick Write-On! requires no water to apply. Simply peel and stick -- "Quick Stick!" Perfect for traveling with children, theme parks, school field trips, drop-off birthday parties and play dates, sporting events, scout trips and extracurricular activities.

These skin applique tattoos are shipped BLANK, so you can write your information on them with the included waterproof tattoo marking pen.

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In addition to the Quick-Stick Write-On SafetyTats, there are also other products to choose from.  Some include the Original SafetyTats, Halloween SafetyTats, SafetyTat QR (scannable using a smart phone) and Tat Kisses.

I loved that we didn't need water to apply the Quick-Stick Tattoos.  Just simply peel the backing off the tattoo and hold it securely in place for a few seconds and...bam...you're all set!   Then use the pen included in the package to write your phone number.

I put them on my kids one day when we went to a fairly crowded amusement park and they LOVED their tattoos and wore them proudly (except one refused to be photographed but such is life).   The tattoos stayed put and intact through several water rides and a couple rubdowns of sunscreen.

As a parent, I felt a sense of security, knowing the tattoos would stay in place and were easily noticeable.  Of course, I never let my guard up the entire day but just knowing each child wore a SafetyTat definitely eased my mind.

You can purchase your own SafetyTats by visiting their site at http://www.safetytat.com/.

Or....

WIN A QUICK STICK WRITE-ON MULTI DESIGN 3 PACK!!!

To enter the giveaway, simply visit the SafetyTat site and leave me a comment telling me which product is your favorite. 

If your e-mail isn't visible in your profile, please leave it in your comment.

For extra entries: (please leave me a comment for each entry)

1)  Like SafetyTat on Facebook (leave your FB initials in your comment)


2)  Follow SafetyTat on Twitter (leave your Twitter name in your comment)


3)  Tweet (just click the retweet button at the top of this post and leave me the URL in your comment)


4)  Write a blog post about this giveaway (and leave me the URL in your comment)


5)  Follow my blog via GFC (if you're already a follower, let me know in your comment)

This giveaway ends on Tuesday, October 25 at 9:00 pm PST.  The winner will be chosen via Random.org and notified by e-mail. 



Open to US and Canadian residents only.


*  I received a complimentary package of SafetyTats for the purpose of this review.  This review is based on my honest opinion of the product, as well as my personal experience.


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Thursday, October 13, 2011

10 things you should never say to your spouse....

1)  Honey, guess what?  We're pregnant...with TWINS!

He may be excited at first but after awhile, fear and anxiety will set in.

You'll probably find him curled up in the fetal position, hiding in a dark corner of the bedroom, muttering to himself, "My life as I know it is over...I'm never gonna sleep again, never gonna watch tv again..."

2)  Honey, guess what?  We're pregnant...with ANOTHER set of TWINS!!

He won't even be able to hide his feelings this time around.  It'll be obvious the moment you share the news with him.

He'll laugh hysterically in your face for the first few minutes.  And then he'll begin to sob like a baby, to the point where an unbelievable amount of snot will flow freely from his nostrils.

Then he'll spend the remainder of the day sitting on the floor of the shower, in a catatonic state of utter confusion, bewilderment and distress.

3)  Do these pants make my butt look big?


If he's smart, he'll pull the old "answer the question with another question" crap.  He might say, "Uh, what do you think?  Do you think it makes your butt look big?"

And if he's a real freakin' genius, after he asks you that, he'll go straight to the garage, grab a shovel, hand it to you and say, "Where do you want me to start digging the hole for my grave?"

4)  (When your MIL calls to speak with you) Can you please tell her I'm not home?

You know your man can't lie to his mama.  This is his MAMA we're talking about.

My advice....just run out the door real quick so technically he's not lying.

5)  Didn't you think Ryan Reynolds was super hot in Green Lantern?

You see, normally a question like this would just make a guy shrug his shoulders and say, "Whatever".

But if you've asked him this while laying in bed together immediately after a particularly hot lovemaking session, it probably won't go over well.

6)  Are you EVER going to get around to fixing the handles on those cabinets or have you already reached your quota of "things to fix around the house in 2011"?

Let me just say this once...sarcasm won't work this time around.  Chances are,  he'll throw it right back in your face with, "Uh, no...I'm saving that job for 2000-Never".

If you ask politely, he may just surprise you and fix those handles.  Of course, he'll expect you to have sex with him that night in return (and every night for the rest of your damn life).

So, long story short, just fix the handles yourself and save everyone some grief.

7)  So, honey, did you have a good day at work today?  Did you have a nice lunch?  Because I sure as hell didn't.  No, I spent the entire day chasing after your kids, making them meals they refused to eat, wiping their poopy asses and snotty noses and breaking up fights left and right.

News alert...men very rarely feel guilty.  Wait, let me change that.  Only their mamas can make them feel guilty, not their wives.

Plus, he'll probably end up making YOU feel guilty by saying, "Let me remind you that it was YOU who wanted to give up your career and stay home with the kids.  It's not my fault you had a bad day."

Feel free to remind him that it his partially his fault in the first place that you even have the kids who caused you to have a bad day.  Again, don't expect him to feel guilty.

It's a vicious cycle that rarely ends well.  Call a good friend and vent to her instead.

8)  The kids ate the last of your hidden stash of cookies.

He'll go ape shit on you.  You ever seen a grown man cry over cookies?  It's not pretty.

And, trust me, it's really hard to stifle your laughter as he accuses you, "Well, who showed them where I hide my cookies?!"

9)  Just get out of the kitchen and let me make the kids their lunch. 


Ladies, ladies, ladies....never (and I mean NEVER) rescue your man when he's attempting to make a meal for the kids.  No matter how much of a mess he's made, no matter how badly he's burned their toast, no matter how putrid the kitchen smells...you rescue him once, he's gonna expect it for life.

Besides, imagine the pure satisfaction you'll feel when you hear the kids whine to him, "You expect us to eat THAT?  It looks like dog puke and smells like diarrhea!"

10)  Would you mind taking a look at my computer because something's wrong with it?

This question actually doesn't apply specifically to computers but more to what your man does for a living.

See, Tim is a computer geek...HTML is his language of love.  He'll help everyone in the free world with their computer problems....he'll spend hours at friends' homes freeing their computers of nasty viruses and such.

But I ask him to take a minute to look at my computer and you'd think I asked him to impregnate me with a third set of twins.

If you man is an auto mechanic, don't even bother asking him to figure out what that wierd noise is in your car.   If your man is a doctor, don't ask him to look at the odd rash you have on your back.

Your best bet?  Just get a little creative.

Rant and rave about the hot guy at Best Buy who would be more than happy to get his hands on your keyboard.  Go on and on about the gorgeous dude at the car shop who'd love to look under your hood.  Gush about the hunky doctor who'd be thrilled to take your temperature.

He'll have the problem fixed faster than you can say, "2000-When?"


* This was one of the prompts given by Mama Kat for her Writer's Workshop.


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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

10 signs that pigs must be flying....

Yesterday, one of my amazing bloggy buddies, Shell at Things I Can't Say, wrote the funniest post called "Seven Signs Pigs Must Be Flying".

She graciously allowed me to borrow the idea from her (after I hogged her comment section with several of my own "signs pigs must be flying")!!

  • Should my kids ever listen to me the first time around and actually do what I'm asking with huge smiles on their faces and humming the tune "Whistle While You Work", pigs must be flying.
  • If my husband ever says to me, "No, you sit and finish your dinner. I'll go wipe his ass this time", pigs must be flying.
  • If all the clothes ended up in the hamper and not all over the floor IN FRONT of the hamper, pigs must be flying.
  • If I could get through a day without being sneezed on or peed on, pigs must be flying.
  • Should my kids ever happily admit, "Oh, it was me who spilled the huge bag of cat food all over the floor.  Sorry, I'll go clean it up", pigs must be flying.
  • If all the toilets in our home could stay sparkly clean with no signs of bad aim or leftover butt nuggets, pigs must be flying.
  • If total strangers witness my kids doing something horrid, such as spitting on one another, calling each other ass-heads, or screeching at the top of their lungs as if they're being kidnapped by Ted Bundy himself and smile politely and say, "Oh, what are you gonna do?  Kids will be kids", pigs must be flying.
  • Should my boys welcome the opportunity to try new, healthy foods with an open mind instead of comparing the dish to "dog poop with a little bit of cat puke and raccoon guts mixed in", pigs must be flying.
  • Should my daughter leave the home in an outfit which matches, pigs must be flying.
  • Should Tim ever respond to anything I say with, "Sweetie, let me turn the television off so I can hear you because you deserve my undivided attention after such a long, exhausting day taking care of my spawn", pigs must be flying.  And hell must have surely frozen over.

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Monday, October 10, 2011

You want to know the REAL secret to losing weight?

When you find out someone's lost weight, your first reaction is, "What's your secret?"  Am I right?

Trust me, I wish there were a magic pill that would effortlessly melt away the pounds.

I mean, really....how nice would that be?  Just pop the pill in your mouth each morning, wash it down with a chilled can of soda and scarf a couple donuts along with it...and then just watch the pounds magically disappear.

Yeah and you might as well believe that childbirth isn't painful, while you're at it.

The REAL secret to losing weight is that there IS no secret.  It takes tons of hard work, patience, persistence and an extreme amount of willpower.

How do I know?  Because my life for the last 9 months has consisted of nothing other than hard work, patience, persistence and an extreme amount of willpower.   And I'm happy to share what's been working for me so far.


            January 2011                                             May 2011

IMG_3499 (1)      May28,2011


August 2011


That first picture is downright embarrassing.  I look bloated, tired and just plain old.  That's the heaviest I've ever been.

It was taken after a particularly grueling workout, having been convinced that I would be happy to have this picture to reflect on someday of how far I've come (SO true!).

You see, at the beginning of the year, one of my good friends convinced me and another friend to take on a personal trainer at a local gym here in town.  We were totally on board, loving the idea of getting in shape together.  We're all busy moms with 9 kids between the 3 of us but we were committed to making 2011 the year where we would take our health more seriously and finally do this.

We met with one of the owners of the gym and he recommended one of their female trainers, Jillian.

The minute I heard the name Jillian, I'll admit I had a vision of a totally rock-hard, muscle-clad chick yelling in my face, "Pick your fat, pathetic ass up off the floor and get back on the freakin' treadmill NOW!"

I imagined her breaking me down emotionally and getting in my face, making me reveal to her the deep, dark secret I was harboring, which was ultimately preventing me from losing weight.

And then she'd be all disappointed when my juicy confession went something like this, "Well, it was a combination of severe sleep deprivation, leftover pregnancy hormones and, simply, my love for Ben and Jerry's Phish Food that made my ass puff up to a size XXL."

Much to my delight, Jillian wasn't like that at all.  I instantly liked her, even though I would soon learn she was born the year I graduated from high school.

But how could I hold that against her...it wasn't her fault that she had no clue who Joan Jett was OR that she lacked even one ounce of cellulite on her youthful body.

So we jumped in with both feet and hit the ground running.  At first, we worked out with Jillian 2 days a week but then, shortly, as we would go over our schedules for the following weeks, she'd increase our workouts to 3 days, then 4 days and, soon, 5 days a week.

At first, the weight came off slowly...like, super slowly...often leaving me frustrated and wanting to throw the towel in.

That's when it became apparent that exercise wasn't the problem....my diet was the problem.  I wasn't eating enough.

Yeah, that's what I said....not eating enough.  I was taking in maybe 900-1000 calories a day, with the belief that I needed to cut back the amount of food I ate to lose weight.

In reality, my body was hanging on to every single calorie, especially on the days I worked out.

Poor Jillian kept trying to get me to realize that I needed to increase my calories in order to shed some serious pounds.  It seemed so backwards and I had a difficult time accepting the fact that I was supposed to be eating anywhere from 1400-1500 calories a day.

Once I finally came to grips with the idea of seeing food no longer as my enemy but more as fuel for my body, that's when the weight began to come off at a quicker rate.  I was burning fat and, at the same time, gaining muscle...resulting in a faster metabolism, which helped me drop even more weight.

Since August, I've discontinued working out with Jillian because Tim and I agreed to only a 6-month gym membership.

As crazy as it sounds, I miss her kicking my ass in the gym on a daily basis. I was never one to look forward to working out but there's definitely something about having a personal trainer on your side, looking out for your best interests and helping you stay motivated toward reaching your goal.

Now, for exercise, I take walks often, which is a wonderful family activity.  This usually consists of my kids riding their bikes and me chasing after them, panting like an old fart as they scream, "Come on, Mommy....hurry up!"

Or I'll do one of the levels of Jillian Michael's 30-Day Shred DVD, as I yell at that crazy bitch the whole time and wonder how the hell she stays in shape when she basically just stands there during the entire 27 minutes and yaks at us about "not phoning it in".

As far my daily diet, I still stick to the 12 Power Foods (ala The Abs Diet, which is mentioned in my list below).  I'm always switching things up...taking in 1200 calories one day and maybe 1400 the next.  The key to my success, I have found, is constantly keeping my body guessing at what might come next.

I've dropped a total of 35 pounds so far (a total of 21 inches lost!).   In addition, I've been able to lower my dosage of thyroid medication and discontinue the cholesterol meds my doctor had me on.

I've got another 15 pounds to go to reach my final goal.  There have been weeks that have passed where I've lost absolutely no weight at all, between vacations and nothing other than pure laziness.

And, truth be told, there have been weeks where I've had a "screw this" mentality and I've eaten everything not nailed down.  It certainly hasn't been all sunshine and roses.  

While there are no quick fixes or easy ways to lose weight, I've found some things along the way which have been helpful....

1)  Drink caffeinated green tea at least two times a day.  According to some studies, green tea helps inhibit fat absorption and can also increase metabolism.

2)  Eat 3 servings a day of low-fat or fat-free dairy products.  Dairy is known to help the body absorb less fat.  

3)  Take supplements.  I take fish oil capsules, calcium with D3, a multivitamin and L-Carnitine.   While I do eat fish at least 2-3 times a week, I take the fish oil capsules mainly to help with my mood and to help lower my cholesterol but it also has been shown to help with weight loss.  

I heard about L-Carnitine after watching a Dr. Oz segment.  It's supposed to help your cells burn fat more effectively and increase your energy level, which I've definitely noticed since beginning to take these.


4)  Eat every 2-3 hours.  Instead of 3 large meals, eat 6 small meals.  


5)  Carbs and fats are not the enemy, as long as they're from healthy sources.  Carbs can be whole grains or from fruits and veggies....good fats can come from nuts, fish, olive oil and canola oil.   


The perfect snack = a 1/4 cup of almonds and an apple or a few whole grain crackers smeared with hummus and a handful of grapes!


6)  Stop the insane cardio routines!  Mix strength training in with your cardio to help tone and sculpt your body.  Yes, muscle weighs more than fat BUT muscle increases your metabolism so you burn calories at a faster pace.  Lifting weights will NOT turn you into a tough looking quarterback!  


7)  The New Abs Diet.   Seriously, it works.  I hit a plateau shortly into my weight loss "adventure" and happened to stumble upon this diet.  After reading the book, I shared it with Jillian to get her thoughts on it and she was just as excited as I was to try something different.


It basically consists of eating 12 power foods each day, like nuts, green veggies, eggs, etc.  What I love about this plan is that it's realistic.  It's not necessarily a diet but more of a lifestyle change because you can honestly maintain this way of eating for the rest of your life.   


You are discouraged from eating white sugar, white flour, white pasta...all the foods that have their nutrients stripped from them. 


But...and this is a huge BUT...you are encouraged to have one cheat meal per week while you're trying to lose weight.  Yes, you can have whatever you want!  And once you're at your goal weight, you can even have an entire cheat day!   The author of the book actually says that a cheat meal/day is an absolute necessity in order to shock your body and change things up.  What's wierd is that I tend to drop the most weight after my cheat meal.  Go figure.


The book also shares a workout plan, along with pictures describing each move.  It doesn't require you to spend hours at the gym or expect you to go for a 3-mile walk every day.  The workouts are concise and spend your energy wisely so you get the best workout possible in a minimum amount of time.


8)  Get a workout buddy.  Not only does working out with someone keep you accountable, you'll benefit from the encouragement and support of someone who's doing this side by side with you.  


I'm definitely not a weight loss expert by any means or being paid to endorse the Abs Diet...I simply wanted to share what's been working for me so far.  

So, the moral to the story, is that there is no secret to losing weight...no quick fixes, no magical pills or powders (as much as the Kardashian sisters would like you to believe)...

It just takes some good old-fashioned hard work to get the results you want, people.

Got a tip you want to share, which has helped you lose weight and stay motivated?  I'd love to hear it!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The rebirth of a wanna-be cake artist who still desperately wants to be Supermom....

Some of you may remember back in March, I wrote a post about how I was officially DONE baking birthday cakes for my kids.

I went on and on about how I was desperate to prove that I was indeed Supermom...and then I finally had my "aha" moment when I realized that my kids would love me no matter whether I baked them the most magnificent cake ever or bought them a cake from Costco.

And unicorns and leprechauns live in my backyard and we have tea parties every day at approximately 3:23 pm.

You see, apparently, my children do measure my love for them based on the fact that I bake them birthday cakes every year.

And it's not enough to do the same type of cake.  Oh no...they raise that damn bar so high every single year.  The cake has to be better....bigger...more extravagant that even I could ever imagine.

If you lived near me, you might've heard me pleading with them, "Come on, guys.  How about a nice sheet cake with lots of frosting and I'll write your names all pretty in bright colors?  What do you say?"

They laughed hysterically at first.  Even the unicorns and the leprechauns chuckled...freakin' traitors.

Then the kids said, "But Mommy, if you REALLY love us, you'll make us whatever cake we want."

Stop shaking your head...they seriously said that.

If you think young children are not consciously aware of ways to make their parents feel incredibly guilty, then you probably honestly believe I'm having tea parties every day in my backyard with the Lucky Charms guy and his gaggle of unicorns.

While I was trapped knee-deep in a pile of guilt the size of Mt Everest, I caved and agreed to make them whatever their little hearts desired.

I'm a total sucker.  Aren't we all, though, when it comes to our kids?  We just want them to be happy, dammit...even if it costs us a few more brain cells and a little bit more of our sanity.

Okay, enough of my bitching...let's get to the pictures of these monstrous creations I agreed to make.

First (yes, I did say first...remember, we're talking twins here.  God forbid they grow up and blame me for their problems all because they had to share a freakin' birthday cake every year), we have Bella's cake.

Or should I say Princess Bella who must have the finest of all apparel...




...including a cake purse, gumpaste high-heeled shoes, as well as fondant makeup.  You can bet your sweet ass the whole zebra-striped design was her idea.

She may be only 6...oops, I mean...7 years old but she knows her stuff.

Bella was all, "Okay, I want purple and black zebra-striped shoes and a matching purse.  I want really super high heels and lots and lots of makeup, especially eye shadow.  The eye shadow has to be all kinds of colors because I like everything bright and beautiful.  Oh and lipstick.  No, wait...lip gloss.  I like the more natural kind of look".

My response was, "Let me get this straight....you want natural looking lip gloss yet you expect green, yellow and blue eyeshadow?"

She looked at me as serious as Roseanne Barr is about her beloved macadamia nut farm and nodded her little blonde head.  

So just to be clear here...Bella is a girl who knows what she wants.  Indecisiveness has never been an issue for her.  Obviously.

Moving on...

At first, Cole wanted a dragon cake, which I was all excited about because I thought, "Oh, that can't be very hard to do".

That's when he switched it on me and said, "Well, shit, it's no fun if you think it's easy so I need to come up with something more challenging.  Let me think of something that will surely make you want to violently drive rusty nails into your eyeballs and I'll get back to you."

Okay, he didn't really say that but I'm sure he thought it.  In fact, I'm positive that's what was running through his head the minute I made it sound like the dragon creation would be a piece of cake.  Pun intended.

"I want a Pokemon cake," Cole said to me a couple days later.  I was smart enough this time to make it sound like he had asked me to prove that Steven Tyler really is a dude.

"Oh, wow...a Pokemon cake," I repeated.  "Hmmmm, that'll be tough but I'll see what I can come up with."

That seemed to please the boy enough and what do you know...it turns out the Pokemon cake WAS actually more difficult than the dragon cake.  But I figured after a few glasses of wine, it wouldn't seem all that tough.  Besides, I had enough brains to research Pokemon cakes online long enough to find one I might be able to recreate somewhat successfully.

This was the result...




Before I managed to get completely drunk, I made an adorable little Pikachu out of fondant.  And then I got reprimanded by one of the 4-year olds for making Pikachu "fat".

I said, "He's not fat.  He just had a really big lunch today...so bite me."

Alright, you caught me again.  I didn't really say "bite me"...or maybe I did.  I don't know...I think I was on my 4th glass of wine by then.  I guess I'll know for sure if I get called into a conference with his preschool teacher when he repeats it to some kid who looks at him the wrong way.  

But I'm not a bad mom.  Really, I'm not.  I mean, crap....look at the birthday creations I made for them with my bare hands.

Doesn't that prove I'm a good mom??

Maybe not Supermom...but, surely, a good one.


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I figure that if the children are alive when my husband gets home at the end of the day, I've done my job.

----Roseanne Barr



 
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