Thursday, December 31, 2009

Best of 2009

All who know me, far and wide, know me as a product junkie. I love people, but I also love stuff. And stuff that makes dealing with people easier.

So today, as my last blogging act of 2009, I take a moment to pay homage to those items have come into my life and made me love them in the past year.

#1 - My Canon Rebel Xsi. 12.2 mega pixels of picture taking beauty. It will be wonderful when I really learn to work the thing. And of course it's left me salivating after about $1,000 worth of camera accessories, but that's besides the point I suppose.

#2 - The iPhone. My love affair declaration has already been confessed here.

#3 - The Rival Griddle

Purchased for Rey for father's day, this thing sees more action in our house than the toilet seat. We make scores of pancakes at a time, french toasts, bulk amounts of grilled cheese, you can even fry bacon on this sucker.

#4 - The Dex Baby Bib

This bib rocks the spot. If you have a toddler of solid food age, run out and get one. I promise you won't be disappointed! It stays on, thanks to some sturdy snaps, has a huge pocket that really catches everything, plus get this--it's dishwasher safe AND machine washable!

#5 - My water bottle. It is my constant companion, both in the gym and out. I love "ice cold water" as Cole calls it, and this keeps my water cold for 2 hours. It's leak proof, insulated, BPA free, and has a five year warranty. I got mine at Target for $8 or $9.

So there you have it. Off to pour my kids some sparkling grape juice, and maybe something a little stronger for myself.

See you next year!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Self-Fulfilling Prophecies

Remember this post?

I think it might have been the beginning of my demise.

The month of December conspired against me.

It won.

And I think I brought it all upon myself.

I couldn't find the holiday spirit, let alone get into it.

The holidays are always stressful, and they don't discriminate--everyone feels the pressure. I decided to hang on until the boys were done with school for most of our festivities. I thought it would be a wonderful idea to use the tons of time when school was out to fulfill many of the traditions--we would bake cookies and build a gingerbread house, we would tour the neighborhoods of decorated houses near us and I even found some great Christmas books at the library.

And then I got sick.

Last Tuesday, I woke up with a little bit of a sore throat.

By Tuesday night, the pain was bad.

By Wednesday morning, it was excruciating. I knew I must have been sick when Rey took one look at my sleeping self and woke me to ask if I needed him to stay home from work. I did. And it's a good thing too because I didn't wake up until noon. It's frowned upon leaving your children unsupervised that long.

My doctor is closed on Wednesdays, otherwise I might have gone in, provided I could have mustered the energy to drag myself there.

Thursday Rey went to work. He had to, he's a busy man. Mason woke me up that morning, crying because his eye had crusted and he hurt it trying to open it. It was immediately evident to me that he had pink eye. I thought we were out of the clear since Lila was all better for a full week and had been finished with her course of drops for five days. But I guess not.

He wanted to wear a pirate patch to cover his eye. (Don't worry, I have since thrown it away.)

I tried to hold out as long as I could, but by 10:30am the children were in full mutiny mode I had to text Rey and see if he was coming home early. It was Christmas Eve, after all. Thankfully he did, but there was still much Christmas work to be done.

The night before we got out my personally custom painted Cookie Plate.

And loaded it with cookies for Santa and carrots for his reindeer. (When you are deathly ill, Santa gets Keebler cookies. Knowing what other kind of fancy cookies are being presented for him out there in the world, I was a little embarrassed.)

Upon explaining that these cookies and milk were for Santa, Mason said, "Is he going to leave our glass when he's done?"

When we said yes, Mason said, "What about the plate? Will he leave the plate?"

I love that boy.

At this point I couldn't speak. All I could do was cry. We never got to do all those fun things, the cookies and the gingerbread and the stories. I hadn't even wrapped any gifts. Nothing was ready. It was an awful feeling.

I woke up at 2am Christmas morning. Swallowing made my whole body jerk in agonizing pain. I was so thirsty so I tried to drink some juice and I just couldn't get it down. I decided I needed medical care. I called 6 or 7 urgent care places in town to see if any would be open on Christmas. Four of them had messages that they would be closed Christmas day, and the others had their standard messages. I assumed they'd be closed too. I figured the ER was my only option, and I figured 3am was as good of a time as any.

It turned out I was right.

They made me wear a mask because of the strep suspicion. It made me hot and it fogged my glasses. But they were no busy and very efficient that night. I had a male triage nurse and then my nurse was male, which I found so interesting. Not that there are male nurses, but that I encountered two of them. In a row.

After my strep test the doc came in. Said it was negative but said he was sending it out to be cultured because I have no cold symptoms which makes it really look like strep. And since I have a heart murmur he said I needed to go on antibiotics either way.

While I was waiting to be discharged they brought in six people who were involved in an assault. I listened to the nurses try to work with them, but the people didn't speak English. There were EMTs and police officers everywhere and I was surprised not more people in this place spoke Spanish. I imagine the language barrier was a frequent one.
It was also so sad because there were several little kids in there. If I was able to speak I might have told them to go become patients of Dr. W--he leaves his cell phone number on his office voicemail and tells you to never go to the ER. It's comforting to know I won't likely spend a night sitting with one of my suffering kids in the ER... but I digress.

90 minutes later, I was walking out of the ER. That's gotta be some kind of a record.

I went to the closest 24 hour CVS and I kid you not I was the only customer in there at 4:30am. The pharmacist was this super nice young guy and I wished I was able to speak to thank him properly for the sympathy he gave me. Oh well.

I got home, took my first dose, had some Motrin for pain, and slept like the dead. For two whole hours.

The kids woke up and were super stoked that Santa had come. They fished all the presents out from under the tree and sorted them into piles, which I admit was very helpful.

We hauled Lila from her crib, gave her a donut, and started opening the presents.

The boys were so excited that they got what they asked for. Mason got his Toy Story video game and his Star Wars tent, and Cole got his Toy Story toys--a Buzz, a Woody, and a Slinky the Dog.

Every Christmas, Rey's grandmother Aya has a brunch. It's is hands down my most anticipated meal of the year. Even though we were sick, they still welcomed us over. You know people love you when they are willing to catch your germs.

Lila certainly enjoyed herself.
Aya has a houseful of the most beautiful Christmas decorations. It must take her a full week to haul them all out. And every year she swears she leaves a lot of them boxed up.
I love her village...

And her nativity scene is one of the most beautiful ever...

Including Baby Jesus, who was notably missing when I went to plug in the star. But we restored to his place for this picture. With all of the Christmas excitement, Aya forgot to put him there on Christmas Eve.

I tried to eat my delicious french toast and bacon, but every swallow hurt worse than childbirth. It was awful to WANT to eat something so badly but to be physically incapable.

We stayed there all of an hour, and retreated home so I could go back to my misery.

In summary, my Christmas was terrible. I really wish I had something else to say, some way to sugar coat my misery, some way to see the positives despite the overwhelming negatives. I feel like I missed out on so much with my children and that they missed out on so much Christmas magic because I wasn't there to facilitate it.

And I can't help but blame it all on myself because from the get-go I was Debbie Downer about Christmas.

So next year, when and if I bitch and moan again, refer me back to this post. Because Christmas passed me by this year, and I'm sad.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

T'was the Night Before Christmas

T'was the night before Christmas
And all through the house
Not a person was healthy,
Not even my spouse.

No stockings were hung by my chimney at all,
I ran out of time for decorating or the mall.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
Sneezing and wheezing and spreading the dread.
With pink eye and sore throat and lost of congestion,
People want us to be healthy and give loads of suggestions.

Rey's off to the store for supplies in a hurry,
I doze on the couch and pray for some mercy.
I awake to the sound of an opening door,
And sure it's a robber I prepare for war.

When what to my watery eyes did appear?
But my dear husband with a Target bag full of gear.

On NyQuil, On Chloroseptic, On Motrin, On Vigamox!
Drink hot tea, with honey, and gargle and rest!

With none of these remedies working for me,
I lie on the couch and stare at the tree.

My children, though down, are definitely not out,
They continue to fight, and scream and shout.

This is not my idea of a very good Christmas,
And hope for the holiday is starting to diminish...

But I will go ahead and exclaim with my meager might,
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Oh! It's my Blogiversary!

On this day, one year ago, my blog was born.

Sounds like a good excuse for me to eat some cake.

As if I needed an excuse.

Fun Facts

16 - Number of days the boys have off from school for Christmas vacation, including weekends

8: 14 - Time I stayed in bed 'til this morning since I didn't have to be anywhere as a result of this vacation

93 - Minutes it took for the kids to drive me insane and cause me to lose my gratefulness at being able to slow down and stay home since school was out

79 - Degrees of temperature for Christmas day

18 - Days I have until the half marathon

13.1 - Miles IN a half marathon

3 - People in my household who are sick with a cold, to one degree or another

1 - Christmas presents I still need to purchase (it snuck in there)

4,365 - Christmas presents I need to wrap (perhaps that one's a bit exaggerated, but I detest the wrapping aspect of Christmas)

Sunday, December 20, 2009

FaLaLaLaLaJingleBellRockDecktheHallsSilentNight (Yeah Right!)

Just home from Bryan and Ana's wedding and I have a bazillion and one pictures on my camera. Time to catch up on my blogging...

Mason and Cole's preschool puts on a Christmas program each year. They have a play where some of the Pre-K4 kids act out parts and the rest of the Pre-K4 kids and the Pre-K3 kids sing in the chorus.

Mason was assigned the part of one of the Wise Men. Oh, how very, very appropriate.

Let me tell you something--those boys have been singing these Christmas songs, morning, noon, and night. Emphasis on MORNING. Now, I complained about this on Facebook and my mother-in-law commented on how lovely it is to be woken by the voices of angels. And I see her point--I should be a more appreciative mother of how sweet my boys are. But, all I could think was "It's 6:15AM! Why are these kids SINGING?" I don't think I'm very good at being appreciative.

Mason demonstrated during one of these Morning Song Sessions that he knows every word to various versus of songs like "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" and "Away in a Manger." It's impressive to hear a 5 year old singing

"You will get a sent-i-mental feeling... when you see..."

It made me do a double take, 6am and all.

But as usual, I digress.

I wanted good seats for the show, so we got to the church wicked early and I scored us the whole front row. My parents, Rey's parents, and Rey's grandparents came and we settled in to enjoy preschoolers sing as only their parents and grandparents can...

Lila was looking as lovely as ever.

Cole, coming in the processional with the kids. (Since Mason had a part in the play he didn't walk in the processional.)

And then Cole stood with his class and covered his eyes. He was a little shy I suppose. His motto is if he can't see you, then you can't see him either.

Mason and his fellow wise men, looking adorable as ever.

Mason carried the "coins" a.k.a. Gold. The other boys had the frankincense (yellow juice) and myrrh (yellow fluffy stuff).

And the boys--I mean men, pardon me--gave their gifts to baby Jesus.

They took their spots and began to sing "Away in a Manger" complete with choreography.

And in quick time Mason realized the microphone was next to him. So he picked it up and started singing into it. He thought he was a rock star. Rey swear he pointed out into the audience and winked but I missed that. But he and that microphone were hilarious, all the same.

At some point, Cole stopped covering his eyes and started covering his ears.

Afterwards, I got a shot with the kids. I like to be in a picture from time-to-time. I have the same shot last year! Except my children were a little less unruly in that one...

Friday, December 11, 2009

Be Real, People

Alright, so I can concede that perhaps most people would like to use their blogs to put better feet forward.

But sometimes life has some ugly, dirty, stinky feet. Feet that need a pedicure.

Why not put those feet out there and admit the need? Don't say, "Look how lovely and wonderful my ugly, dirty, stinky feet are! They are so glorious and wonderful and by the way I making lemonade from rotten lemons in my spare time." Cause I ain't buying it.

I just read a blog from a northern dweller where the temps are no doubt quite frigid this time of year. The blog said something to the effect of "It has been a deliciously rainy week. It's so cold at night that in the morning everything's covered with ice."

Seriously? Is there anything delicious about rain where it's so cold that it results in actual, honest to God ICE? I live in Florida, so perhaps I'm off base here, but don't we as humans sorta detest ice? Icy roads, Icy sidewalks, Ice caving in roofs and such? I'm really having a hard side seeing the upside...

I am going to revise an adage. Instead of "If you don't have something nice to say, don't say anything at all," I am going to abide by the following: "If you don't have something nice to say, don't try to blow smoke up people's asses."

I am going to work on being more optimistic. Maybe that will be one of my resolutions.

In the meantime, check out what winter looks like where I live. Eat your heart out.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Bah Humbug

Top Ten Reasons I Am Not Sending Christmas Cards This Year:

10. At this point, waterboarding sounds more pleasant than sitting down to address, stuff, stamp and seal 100 envelopes.

9. I can never seem to find a card I like enough that wouldn't cost $200 for the quanitity I need.

8. Saving $200 sounds like a good idea.

7. Saving the environment by not using up the paper for 100 envelopes and invitations seems like a good effort for a tree hugger like myself.

6. It breaks my heart to think of how most of the cards just end up in the trash come January 1. (I know some of you keep them, and I know who you are!)

5. Rey left town to work in Key West for 8 days and my stress level is at a max.

4. So something had to give.

3. Call me The Grinch and paint me green, I'm having a hard time feeling festive this year.

2. I am too tired.

1. I would rather shoot myself that try to cature the "perfect" photo card shots of my kids.

So, in light of all of these confessions, I started wondering why I send out Christmas cards every year. And I honestly couldn't come up with a good reason. Thus, I decided to opt out this year.

And boy, let me tell ya, I feel liberated.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Book Nook - The Help

So I have been reading a lot. And by a lot, I mean I have been reading in lieu of doing other things, like laundry, or vacuuming, or dishes, or blogging (as you may or may not have noticed).

There, I said it.

It is because of this that I decided to share some of my readings in a sort of book review. I won't go over each one I read, because that would scare you all and out me for the house neglecting book worm that I am. But I'll do the best of my reads, and perhaps the worst.

Starting with The Help.

I can't recall where I got the desire to read this book. But I might have something to do with the fact that there are stacks and stacks of copies for sale at Costco, and they are right next to the stacks and stacks of copies of Dan Brown's new book for sale, so one could safely assume it had best seller status.

THEN, when I went to put it on my library request list, I was getting in line behind something like 80 other people. (Now the wait list is well over 200, and I believe I waited about 4-5 weeks when I started off 80th in line.) But I really hate buying books unless it's one I really, really love and have to own, because reading something once and having it sit on my shelf for a lifetime seems dumb. I might as well stick a stack of money on my shelf to stare at me like the money with the eyes in those Geico commercials. There's a perfectly good library, after all. And usually you don't have to get in line behind 200 other people for a book.

But I digress.

My number was up last weekend and I darted right over to pick up the book.

I'll admit, it was a rough start. The book is written in the voice of three women, the beginning of which being an African American maid living in 1960s Mississippi. I found it very hard to get used to reading things written in such a different vernacular (it was like reading Shakespeare--English, but not). That was really hard for me--I have a Bachelor's degree in English and perfect grammar is ingrained in me. But I noticed at the end of it I wasn't even aware anymore, and it became as easy as reading perfectly written text.

Once I got past the grammar I was engrossed. It was... a page turner. In a very unexpected, surprising way, it was a page turner. I couldn't wait to turn the next page to see what was going to happen to these amazing and courageous women. I found myself hating who they hated and loving who they loved and before I knew it I felt like I was there.

I like to think of we modern, 21st, women's lib ladies as strong, but we've got nothin' on these three, that's for sure. I'd definitely say read it, otherwise soon enough everyone you know will have read it and you'll be left in the literary dust.

My next commentary will be on The Shack. I am still undecided as to whether that will be a rant or a rave. I had to stop midway through (which I never, ever, ever do) because the book was about to drive me mad. I just can't tell if I was going mad in a good way or mad in a bad way.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Fashion Connondrum

So here's the thing--I live in Florida. And it just so happens that I seem to be emerging from underneath the coma of I-just-had-a-baby--or-a-second-baby-or-a-third-baby-and-might-actually-want-to-dress-in-something-other-than-yoga-pants stage of life.

It's a good stage of life. When you start to emerge a little more as a person and a little less as only someone's mother.

And I've decided I need a new wardrobe to match this new stage.

I'll say it again--I live in Florida.

And Fall Fashion is Not Florida Friendly.

Boots, Scarves, Coats... I have no use for this stuff! It's 85 degrees as I type this.

It is so, SO cute. Like this girl...

Or this one....

Or how about these?

I mean, honestly. Even if I were so inclined to shell out the $399 that these boots retail for, where would I wear them? The Beach?

Yes, I would most certainly shrivel up and DIE of a heart stroke if I were to wear any of this stuff.

What's a girl to do?

So I take this moment to tell you northern dwellers that I am jealous of you and your limitless fashion possibilities. To be clear, I don't envy your frosty weather. I just want the clothes.

Sorry to be a hater.

Friday, November 13, 2009

An Open Letter

To my dear Blog,

I know that I have neglected you lately. For some of this neglect I have good excuses. For some of this neglect, I do not.

Let's stick with the parts where I have excuses.

First, I will reiterate that someone crashed into the back of my mvan. At the time of last blogging, I was in that grateful I'm-so-happy-my-kids-and-husband-came-out-in-one-piece stage. A lot of me holds on to that, but as the royal pain in the tooshie of getting a rental car big enough to fit your family began, wrestling with insurance companies reared its ugly head, and dealing with the body shop nonsense became my harsh reality, I started to have hatred towards the accident. And I still can't get over the fact that kids born in 1993 can drive automobiles. Maybe they shouldn't, in which case this thing would have never happened in the first place.


My eldest turned the ripe old age of five. *I* have a five year old! Yes, that freaks me out.

Kids these days don't just have birthdays, they have birth weeks. Does that make me sound old?

The beginning of the festivities was on Sunday. Only in Florida can you throw a pool/beach party in the middle of October. And it was hot as all get out, too.

Mason and Cole (and maybe even Lila? I can't remember at this point) had been rather sick in the days leading up to the party. What started off as a good effort towards pre-party prep ended in a mad rush to get the thing over with. Perhaps it makes me a bad mama, but I was not feeling like a party animal.

Cousin Alex was our Master of Ceremonies.

The kids had fun sometimes...

And sometimes they did not have so much fun...

Lila, she was definitely livin' large.

But by and large the biggest hit was this game--Drip Drop Slash. A Florida version of Duck Duck Goose. The kids had a wild time.

Not such a tight grasp on the part of the game where you run around the circle though. Instead they ran away from it.

A close second for entertainment value was the hermit crab races.

Disgusting little buggers, if I do say.

I sewed this spiffy banner.

And I made some nifty cupcake toppers. Too bad I neglected to bring them to the party...

Sometime back we started an event of taking the birthday child to a special, one-on-one breakfast with a parent. Cole picks daddy, and I put on a brave face even though I want to die inside when I don't get picked.

But Mason! Oh my Mason! I can trust him to pick me.

And when it was all done, he even asked me if next year I would bring him to breakfast on his birthday again. So despite my doubts and convictions, I guess I'm doing something right here.

I bought him $40 worth of Spiderman cupcakes to take to school. The boys' school does not allow homemade goods to be brought in. How do you people feel about that? I think it's crap. I'm sure someone out there agrees and doesn't want their kid eating someone else's homemade stuff, which makes me think that the world has gone to pot.

Mason's birthday happened to be fire truck day at school, and my original plan had been to go and take pictures of the event and his cupcake eating. But alas, I had to go to the body shop for the mvan, thus eliciting less accident gratefulness and more accident hatred that I was discussing before.

That night, Mason's request was a grilled cheese dinner at Calistoga. A boy after my own heart.

And like that, a three day celebration, two cakes with singing, one happy boy later and we were finally done celebrating.

Okay, Blog, I get it. That's probably not a good explanation as to why I haven't posted in 33 days. So I'll continue.

We took a trip to Tampa. Rey's best friend Nick is getting married, which to say the least is freakin' amazing. He is lucky to have found his beautiful fiancee Angie, even if we can't understand what she sees in him. (Kidding! Love ya Nick!)

They lived in Michigan but were visiting Florida for a friend's wedding, so they had an engagement party for the ol' college crew.

It was a bit of a frat boy reunion. But I am happy to say that not one but TWO of Rey's frat brothers told me I haven't aged a day in the eight years since college. LOVE those boys!

Which brings us to Halloween.

There are no words.

Oh, wait! Yes, I can think of a few.

Candy. Candy. Candy. CANDY. Candy. Candy. Candy. Costumes. CANDY. Candy. Costumes. Candy. CANDY!

Kids with stomach aches eating more candy!

And lastly, mixed into all the everyday mayhem, the sick kids mayhem, the birthday mayhem and the Halloween pandemonium, there is running.

Remember? I decided that running a half marathon was a good idea!

And now, running is no longer something I do for fun, something I do on days where other forms of exercise elude me, it's something that I have scheduled.

For real, I have a calender with mileage and rest days and strength days and cross training days.

I'm still pretty sure I have no clue what I'm doing.

But as much as I bitch about it, and I really do hate to run, I will kick ass and take names.

Cause that's how I roll.

So you see, Dearest Blog? I have neglected you, I know.

But I had my reasons.



P.S. Lots of complaints were lodged through the various channels about the lack of your updating, Blog. It's amazing that none of these people who miss my posting ever, AHEM, leave comments. : ) Cause then I would be more aware of my wide and vast and expansive audience and how it misses me so.