Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Dancing With Slightly Well-Known People

Disclaimer: The post I am about to write is going to take me way too much time and be entirely too lengthy. But still I persist on. Because I feel it’s my duty as an American.

I have a confession. I am a reality TV junkie.

I attribute it largely to the fact that not only are less and less non-reality shows being made, but the ones that ARE made seem to always be canceled. Think Kings, Lipstick Jungle, Privileged, Pushing Daisies…

So I have given up on them.

Enter Dancing With the Stars.

I love this show.

I am less than impressed with the new season of stars. I can barely call most of them that with a straight face.

I think it’s hilarious how each star had to introduce him or herself and then explain why they’re famous. Because without that explanation, we might very well be left wondering.

Chad OCHOCINCO!!! and Cheryl

I’ll be honest—Cheryl bugs the crap out of me. I liked her a lot when she was partnered with Drew Lachey, but then she got a little too cocky for the likes of me.

But there’s something about pairing Cocky Cheryl up with Cocky Chad that makes me wanna scream ME LIKEY!

I’m not exactly a Bengals fan, having a general aversion to Ohio due to the fact that so many annoying snowbirds invade my town from there every winter, but I really do like Chad. I think he’s a stellar player, I like his spunk and I mostly like the fact that he looked down at his jersey one day and thought “My jersey number in Spanish would make a super last name.”

And then had the guts to actually change his name.

He did a decent dance last night. So I really hope he sticks around. Even if it means Cheryl has to stick around with him.

Shannon and Mark

I am not her biggest fan. But I do like Mark. I thought her dance last night was a lot better than she was given credit for. So we’ll see.


Erin Andrews and Maks

I’ve always like Erin Andrews. I am a softy for women who are strong enough to take on a stereotypically male profession. It’s the tree hugging feminist in me. I was happy to see her paired up with Maks also because he is one of my favorites. I think they are a good match.

In rehearsal she kept correcting herself before Maks had the chance and I almost peed in my pants when Maks said, “My only pleasure in life is to bitch at people and you’re taking it away.”

I’m sure they will be around for a long time.


Jake and Chelsea

I suffered through a season of The Bachelor with this man. I watched him send home perfectly lovely and delightful women in order to instead propose to Vienna, the one we all love to hate. And now, just when I thought I was free of his hokey ass, he’s on DWTS.

So last night, he did the Viennese Waltz. An ode to his sweet Vienna, how charming. We watched him present his hot blonde partner Chelsea with not one, but two red roses a la The Bachelor. (I really wish they would have cut to a shot of Vienna during their little quasi rose ceremonies. She strikes me as the jealous type, fo sho.) He danced to Seal’s “A Kiss from a Rose.” And then, then as if all this wasn’t enough, rose petals came falling from the ceiling at the end of the dance.

Excuse me. I just threw up a little in my mouth.

I love Chelsea. Love her! But please, America. Please don’t vote for the Hokey.

Nicey Nash and Louis

I have watched an episode or 30 of the show Clean House, so I know who she is. Her frequent references to her “jiggly parts” were funny, and I’m glad she’s comfortable in her skin. But between her relatively unknown status and her partner Louis being one of the less popular professionals, I don’t see her sticking around too long.

Plus she kinda sucked.

Evan and Anna

Everyone loves an Olympian. Remember Kristi Yamaguchi’s stint on DWTS? I like him a lot, and I think he has a distinct advantage. Although he’s not a dancer, I think figure skating lends itself a lot to this show. You’re in good physical shape, you’re used to being coached, you’re used to learning choreography, and you’re used to performing. These are a lot of advantages.

But his partner Anna never seems to connect much with the audience. She has never garnered the following that Chelsea or Cheryl or Julianne have. So we’ll see.

Buzz Alderin and Ashly

It was a nice touch that he was introduced by astronauts.

Poor Ashly. I love her (even though she is totally missing a letter in her name) and remember her awful time with Master P on Season 2. Remember, he wouldn’t even wear dance shoes and danced in sneakers? Imagine that… She left, got married, had a baby, and now she’s back. And I really think they should have given her a celebrity with a shot in hell.

An 80 year old astronaut doesn’t have a shot in hell.

Adorable as he is, a shot in hell he has not.


Nicole and Derek

I think Derek is some sort of unfair advantage. He is so good, and hot, and funny, and downright popular that I think he’s one of the best partners to score.

And of course Derek scored Nicole, who is also hot and popular (remember it’s not always a given on DWTS that the stars really are stars). And of course she’s done music video dancing. I don’t care what the pop stars say about how pop dancing doesn’t prepare them for ballroom. It does. Hello? You’re already coordinated and used to learning and memorizing choreography. Sounds like much more advantageous of a pre-req than say, walking on the moon.


Aidan Turner and Edyta

I am rooting for Edyta so hard. I love her, I envy her, I think she’s great. She’s the only star to be on every season since the beginning, yet she’s never won. So I think it’s fitting that she scores a hot soap star for a partner.

Now I must admit, I had no clue who Aidan Turner was before last night. He’s on All My Children, and I’m a Days of Our Lives girl myself. Something tells me you won’t soon be seeing an NBC soap star on this ABC show… But he’s hot. And he has an Irish accent, which is always a plus.

Too bad he sucks at dancing.

Better luck next year Edyta.


Kate Gosselin and Tony

WTF is up with her hair? I know the reverse mullet was bad but the frizzy extensions don’t strike me as much of an improvement.

She was lousy. And thank goodness for that, cause maybe we won’t have to put up with her for long. Here’s to hopin’.

Pamela Anderson and Damian

That woman is a hot mess. But I think she did very well, especially considering her inexperience, her cougar status, and her life of hard livin’. So we shall see.

Predictions: I’m rooting for Chad, Erin and Nicole.

{images from abc.com}

Book Nook - Graceling and Fire

Further recommendations from my good pal Kathleen...

I do think it's important to point out that I also recommend books to her as well. I wouldn't want to be thought of as a literary leech.

Graceling and its companion, Fire, by Kristin Cashore

Again, they have some fantasy and supernatural elements, and honestly I was more skittish about reading these than I was The Hunger Games. But that worked out quite well for me, so I had a little faith.

Graceling is the story of Katsa, a girl who is Graced with killing. In this fictional land of the seven kingdoms, some are born with a Grace, and are labeled as Gracelings when their eyes turn and become two different colors. In Katsa's case, she has one green and one blue. Unwilling to be a killing monster, she uses her Grace to form a Council that works towards helping people in danger. This is how she meets Po, a Graceling fighter himself and a prince of Lienid, the only kingdom that is an island. He has one silver eye and one gold, and I can't tell you how much that freaks out my imagination. Can't you see how they would make a stunning couple though?

I was enamoured with this book. It took me a solid 50 pages to really get a rhythm going, but once I was hooked and I was unstoppable and finished this 400 page book in 24 hours. I can't really go into further detail without ruining the whole experience for you, but put your prejudges against two eye colored people aside and read this. Trust me.

I started Fire within hours of finishing Graceling. Fire is dubbed a companion book to Graceling, as it's a bit of a prequel inasmuch as it takes place in the years before Graceling, but the story only shares one character in common. I was so enamoured with Katsa and Po that at first I was greatly depressed about their absence. I forged ahead because trusty Kathleen decreed that she loved Graceling, and loved Fire more.

Fire did not disappoint. It has romance. It has suspense. I was pulling for these people the whole way through. And although both of these novels are labels as the Young Adult drama, this one definitely seemed to me to be more adult in tone. For instance there was a ton of premarital, casual sex, and lots of illegitimate babies and people walking around with confused parentage. But I loved it all the same.

However, I have to disagree with Kathleen. Because I loved Graceling more.

I started to examine why because it really bothered me for no apparent or significant reason. And for me, it came down to the differences between Katsa and Fire.

Both are strong women.

Both love fiercely and are fiercely loved.

But Katsa is a feisty, strong, mud rolling, hunting, takes-care-of-herself kind of girl. She wants a meal? She shoots a rabbit. Someone ticks her off? She kicks him in the temple and knocks him unconscious. She emanates this feeling of never needing anyone to take care of her. And that draws me to her.

Fire is also strong and quite capable in her own ways. But in comparing her to Katsa, she's more of a lady in the traditional sense. She is brave, but still needs protection. And when people do her wrong, she fights them with words and letting them know of her sadness and disappointment, but they learn in a subtle sense. Fire needs, ever so slightly more than Katsa, to be taken care of. So while Fire is an appealing and strong character, Katsa is a badass.

For some reason it seems that all series books are coming in threes as of late. And the third companion book to this series is coming out later this year. I am excited for it, and although I loved these books as much as I loved The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, I am not in such a state of anticipation for Bitterblue because of that fact that it's a companion and not a sequel.

But I'm sure I'll love it to pieces all the same.

Now get to reading people.

Monday, March 22, 2010


I can look at almost any stroller and tell you its make, model and colorway (which in layman's terms, means pattern name).

When presented with the name of a car seat, I can probably tell you it's weight and height limits and why or why not it's a good choice for your child.

And I can look at your baby's outfit and tell you what store it's from. If it's Gymboree, I might even be able to name the line it's from.

And herein lies my sickness.

It is just not normal to know this much useless baby crap. I suppose perhaps it's not useless as people really do need to know that their 23 pound, 31 inch long son can't ride in that Graco Snugride any longer. But boy does he look cute in his Tropical Turtle romper.

Rey always says I should figure out a way to capitalize on my knowledge. He's just trying to figure out a way to make a buck off me, I'm sure. It's his way of saying he's sick of supporting me all these years so I could raise his children and clean his house. (I would add "cook his meals" but of course, I don't do that.)

Do you think I really want to be like this? No! But I can't help it. It's ingrained in me and I can't escape it. My children are getting older and much of this useless information is becoming more and more useless to me.

So next time you're watching a movie with me, don't be alarmed if I exclaim "Chicco Cortina stroller in the Adventure Colorway!"

Cause I am working hard on deprogramming myself.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Cole's Easter Birthday Bunny?

This year, Cole's birthday falls square on Easter Sunday. And I am at a loss.

Do I forgo a little of Easter for all three of my kids to properly celebrate Cole's birthday?

Or do I forgo a little of Cole's birthday to properly celebrate Easter?

I am an all or nothing kind of girl. So I am having a lot of trouble with this sharing the holiday business. Those of you with Christmas babies, my heart goes out. Although in a way this is tougher because it's difficult to explain to a three-almost-four-year-old why he has to share his birthday with Easter this one year only, when each are equally lofty to a kid his age. The 40 days of lent mean nothing to a kid who can only count to 14.

I'm looking at napkin rings that say "Happy Easter." But I can't use those on Cole's birthday....

Can I?

I'm looking at our typical tradition of taking the birthday child to breakfast with his or her parent of choice.

But we can't split up our whole family for breakfast on Easter Sunday...

Can we?

I feel like whatever way I throw it, someone's going to get shorted. Is this reasonable guilt or am I being ridiculous? I do have say that since he's the middle child I alway go above and beyond to make sure he doesn't feel shorted...

His party is on Saturday, his actual birthday/Easter is on Sunday, and the obligatory cupcakes at school come on Monday.

I am exhausted already.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Over the course of my 5.5 years of parenting, I have come to the conclusion that the stomach flu is pretty much rock bottom. Having it yourself takes you to the point where you literally might begin to wish death, and if your kids have it...well I can't think of many things worse than being vomited on by another human being. Add in the ever loving fear that you will catch it yourself and begin to wish for death, or the ever loving fear that your other children will catch it and begin to vomit on you as well, and you've got a situation so awful that I'd rather give birth and/or have a root canal than endure it.

Oh, and as a special token, our dryer broke. So I have veritable mountains of laundry piling up. Some with vomit, some without. We like to have a variety around here.

Sometime last week the preschool sent home a note that if your child has stomach flu symptoms, they are to be kept home for three whole days after the symptoms stop. Good grief. Now for the good of all, I don't mind abiding by this. I just wish everyone else would. Ahem. I will step off my soap box at this time.

So here we are, on Thursday. Mason can't return to school until Monday. And as if the broken dryer wasn't a special enough treat, Rey had to leave town for work. Super. We are stuck home in quarantine with no daddy to rescue us at dinner time.

As luck would have it, the weather's pretty good. So after a morning of fighting, screaming, ear piercing loud siren imitations, and the crushing of one's sister underneath a Pottery Barn Kids Anywhere chair, we headed out into the back yard. I took a chair and a People magazine out with me, at which point I thoroughly enjoyed sitting in the sun and breathing the fresh air. That is, until I realized that the three of them were standing there staring at me.

"Daddy plays with us," Mason says.

Oh super. Super, Super Daddy. How is he better than Mommy? Let me count the ways.

Despite the aforementioned little sister abuse, Mason can be really sweet with her. He kept lifting her into the wagon and after several rounds of lifting her in and out, he proclaimed his arms were so sore from doing that.

Cole decided he was too good for the paparazzi and offered a kindly view of his palm instead.

But Mason was pretty happy to pose, at least if he could make some faces.

Our yard is currently a little, shall I say, grass challenged. Inasmuch as large parts of it have none. The Old Man is in a constant cycle of ripping out the dead and replacing the sod, and we are currently in a "ripped out" stage with promises of sod coming this weekend which remains to be seen since he's currently six hours away.

Cole found a fat stick, which Mason promptly disarmed him of with threats that if he didn't relinquish the stick he wouldn't be able to watch Mason play Wii later. Apparently Cole really likes watching Mason play, because he handed it over without a blink.

At which point Mason started writing everyone's names in our dirt pit. (I can guarantee you Rey will use this story as proof for why having no grass is beneficial. You know, the education aspect and all.)

After all other outdoor options had been exhausted, I went to the last resort--the light sabers. I abhor these things. Strong enough words do not exist to properly parlay my hatred. But I decided to take one for the team.

And I was terrified for my life.

Those kids attacked.

I always hear them and Rey playing out there, making the voom voom noises and using their force (whatever the heck that means). But I very rarely will bear one myself. And for good reason because those kids were out for blood.

Look how gleeful his face is, so happy to be attacking his poor mother.

Cole thought it was super fun to attack me too. But if I decided to rally Mason against him, he cried and ran like a sissy.

Happy attacking...

Sad sissy.

Happy attacking (this time Lila's playhouse was his target)...

Really sad sissy.

Happy attacking...

Sad sissy.

And then Mason hit him in the face.

It was time to put these evil things away.

I have cabin fever.

I haven't spoken to an adult all day.

I can't wait until Saturday when our three days are up and I can go to the gym.

I have run out of trick in my book to keep these people occupied. At this rate I might have to pull out the dreaded paint.

Friday, March 12, 2010

High School Sweethearts

The Old Man and I are high school sweethearts. This is amazing to most people. Sometimes it's even amazing to me.

We met when I was at the ripe old age of 13. He was 15, an older man. But we didn't start dating until I was 16 and he was 17.

Fast forward 13 years, a house, three kids and a dog, and you will find us here. In a state of wedded bliss. Or wedded semi-bliss, depending on if any of the children have had the stomach virus as of late. That definitely will take your bliss down a few notches.

I'd say once a month or so, it comes up in conversation with friends or strangers that my husband and I were high school sweethearts. It is nearly always met with a response of shock and awe.

I have come to expect, and accept, the shock and awe.

But it isn't that shocking to me. Or awesome. Or even that rare!

A few days back, I got to thinking about all of the people I know, who went to my high school, who are now married to their high school sweethearts or at least someone they knew from high school.

Michelle and Aaron. High school sweethearts, married with three kids. Sound familiar?

Nicole and Jeff. Okay, not high school sweethearts, but definitely high school friends. Married with an adorable (and tall!) little boy.

Lindsey and Tyler. Again, not high school sweethearts, but they were acquainted... Married with a little girl who has the most darling pigtails. (Pig tails are a pipe dream around this house!)

Keri and Joe. High school sweethearts, just had their first baby. A girl!

Is this some kind of Southwest Florida phenomenon? And who made up the term "high school sweethearts"? Cause despite the fact that I can't think up a better term to use, I don't like it.

Gifts and Guilt

Today it rained. A lot. I thought about trying to build an arc, but then I remembered I am no good with a hammer and nails.

A rainy day is a blessing and a curse.

It's a curse because it sucks every ounce of motivation out of me, right down to my bones.

It's a curse because I have three children, so if I am to leave the house I am also to get soaked.

Then comes the blessing.

I'm so unmotivated that I do nothing.

I'm so unwilling to get soaked, that I stay home.

The boys were at school, so it was down to me and Lila today. We sat on the couch and engaged in our new ritual of snuggling and watching American Idol.

This child loves music. It really fills my heart to know that music fills hers. I feel like every day with these kids is like opening a present. I never know what part of their personalities, what new interest will emerge, what new talent will make an appearance.

I feel so grateful for rainy couch mornings like these, and at the same time I feel overwhelming guilt at my unproductivity. Where's the balance?

Sometimes, much more often than I might like, I am overwhelmed by motherhood. I waver from wanting to rip all the hairs out of my head to wondering who out there was crazy enough to leave me in charge of these three little humans.

But then Lila's little ears hear music and her little body starts to shimmy.

Cole tells Mason that he's his best friend.

Mason draws a little stick figure picture of himself and Daddy. And he even writes their names on the page.

And I feel a little better about myself, a little more convinced that I might be doing something right.

I feel so lucky for this gift of time with them. I feel lucky to be staying home with them. As often as I want to run away, I also want to run home.

Our children are on loan from God.

Too bad the laundry isn't on loan, too.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fortunate Fortunes

When I think about fortune cookies, I can't help but think about The Joy Luck Club where the women get jobs working for the fortune cookie factory and wonder why in the world people think they're a Chinese dessert.

Tonight I had Chinese food for dinner, and my fortune said, "Don't pursue happiness--create it."

Now don't ask me how a stale, basically tasteless oddly shaped American made cookie with a tiny slip of paper made me delve into the philosophical, but it did.

My first thought was that Oprah would love this. You know, the whole put your desires out there into the universe and it will reward you. I love Oprah. (I was watching her show today and Mason was aghast that he couldn't watch Nick Jr. He said, "Mom, WHY do you always have to watch Oprah?")

Then I was seriously wondering, do we create our own happiness? My first happiness (and greatest challenge) is my children. And them I definitely created. I have the stretch marks to prove it.

But going beyond the obvious happiness in life, I started to think about others, which naturally only led me to things that make me unhappy.

The kids are noisy and messy which is stressful.
I am so tired. So very, very tired.
The laundry is endless. I swear it frickin' breeds.

So I played a little game. Can I create happiness out of these things that I label as happiness destroyers?

The kids are noisy and messy which is stressful.
When I tune out the peripherals, and really really listen, I hear Mason doing a perfect imitation of the trombone Roger plays in 101 Dalmatians to accompany his "Cruella Deville" song. Cole and Lila are laughing hystercially, which makes Mason laugh and do it some more. Now I'm laughing because I'm astonished that he's so good at sounding like a trombone, not to mention the fact that he's pitch perfect. And the whole thing takes me back to my own childhood where I used to watch 101 Dalmatians, a movie which my children are now just discovering and enjoying. The circle of life. And suddenly, with just a little work, I have created some happiness.

I am so tired. So very, very tired.
Every morning, I am woken up. I don't wake up, someone wakes me. Get it? I always wish that my kids would sleep later than me. But then I wouldn't get to wake up to someone's shining face (usually Mason's) as it tentatively climbs into my bed. And as soon as my eyes open, bleary and confused, his face lights up, so happy that I'm awake. The fact that my sweet boys craves my company so much is worth walking around like a zombie most of the time. I think.

The laundry is endless. I swear it frickin' breeds.
I'm not gonna lie. I thought I had the fortune cookie whipped here because laundry is my nemesis, the very bane of my existence. I work and work at it, and still, there is more because all the pesky members of my family are constantly wearing clothes. I was sorting through today's ration of laundry thinking about my victory over the cookie when I saw Cole's shirt from preschool on Monday. The shirt was covered in purple glittery paint (which is thank goodness completely washable), and I immediately recognized the color to be the same one used to paint a dinosaur. He was very proud of that dinosaur today, and insisted on taking it to Grandma's house to show her. And now, in the midst of my least favorite chore, I created a little happiness thinking of my boy at school, swirling away with his purple glittery paint. The damn fortune cookie is victorious yet again.

The cookie came on a good day. It came on a day where I was feeling overwhelmed, under appreciated, stressed, stretched and strained.

I still am all of those things. I have just learned a little bit about being able to float the good to the top of them.

So when life hands you lemons, send life a thank you note.

Oh and P.S.! I'm teaching yoga every Monday at 4:30pm now. Let me tell ya--that creates some happiness!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

I love having a daughter...

I love having a daughter. Although she can throw down some shocking diva drama scary enough to make me shake in my boots, she also walks around in her jelly shoes, carrying a teacup from her pretend tea party in one hand and a baby in the other. It makes me want to hug her forever, that it does.

She is just so her.

And she is obsessed with her new jelly shoes.

Her love of shoes and hair styling and makeup and all things pink... it makes me marvel at the differences between boys and girls. I've always heard about them, and I really didn't care. My boys are so wonderful and unique in their own rights, they even decided against having the same hair color in effort to be different from one another. I shouldn't be surprised that our third child is yet another version of offspring. But I can't help but look at Lila and appreciate the brave new frontier that is parenting a girl. Even though I am shocked, shocked, that it's happening so young.

(Doesn't she really look like she's intently reading this book? I think it's actually upside down, but whatevs.)

This morning we dropped the boys off at preschool and came home to park ourselves on the couch and watch American Idol. Jelly shoes and all.

Lila loves American Idol. She swayed and danced and we generally enjoyed ourselves. She was quite fond of Casey and his electric guitar stylings, but we decided against choosing him as our favorite.

We like Alex, the guy with the mullet.

We're partial to people with mullets around here.