Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Another year older

And today is my birthday. So far, one Happy Birthday phone call from BFF and lots of birthday wishes from online friends.

It's a low key birthday. Not a particularly special number. I'm throwing an easy dinner in the crockpot in a bit and maybe there will be cake. Perhaps I'll go to bed early. No parties. I'm getting old.

I don't feel my age. Most days I look around and think "How am I a grown-up? I have 4 kids, a husband and a mortgage and I don't feel like a grown-up. I'm still 17!"

But really, I'm not. Not even close. I'm starting to notice laugh lines around my eyes and I've been trying rather unsuccessfully to cover some gray hair for months. I am closer to 40 than to 30 now and I'm still trying to decide how I feel about that.

So Happy Birthday to me. Here's to another great year ahead!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Do you have a best friend?

If you don't I highly recommend getting one.

Today is my BFF's birthday. She is not just my friend. She is truly my sister. Not biologically, maybe, but my sister, none the less.

She is my co-conspirator, my confidant, my secret keeper, my good news sharer, my problem solver, my good listener, my gossip buddy, my fellow Disneyland junkie, my cheerleader, my kids' auntie, and just my all around go-to person.

She helps me when I'm sick (I vomited on her front porch after Husband and my first date. It's a looong story) She's seen me through some disappointments (broken hearts and a miscarriage, to name a few); watched some of my children be born, helped me pack and unpack various houses, listens to my craziness and always, ALWAYS makes me feel better.

Her husband has joked that we are two girls with one brain. I'm not sure he's wrong. Independently of each other we have: chosen the same flooring for our homes, chosen the same clothes for ourselves and our kids, liked the same baby names and once we even discovered we owned the same underwear! One day when we were going out I got to her house and we were wearing identical outfits....she had to go change. We've had the same home in the same neighborhood with the same floorplan. More often than not we share the same point of view and I cannot count the number of times I've had the phone in my hand to dial her number when it rings with her on the other end. We can finish each other's sentences.

But as similar as we are, we have our differences which make us good for each other too. She is an overthinker and can't get out of her own brain, so I draw her back out into the real world. I am the one who gets all whirled up about things and she talks me down. She likes country music, I cannot stand it, but she would rather die than go to the opera, which is a dream of mine. She loves her junkie reality shows, I'd sooner watch the Biography channel. She can decorate the hell out of anything, my house is an empty slate. She's neat and me? Well, not so much. What comes naturally and creatively for her is a struggle for me, but she makes me strive to do better.

We completely compliment each other.

Am I sounding cheesy and silly yet?

Plain and simple, she's the best friend I could ever want.

Happy Birthday Lisa Lou. I'm not sure what I would ever do without you. I don't plan to ever find out.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


Christmas has come and gone. There were gifts and giggles aplenty, even some happy tears (thanks Mom and Dad!) but just like every Christmas, the morning did not pass without a comment about this:

That is our tree and that is our Christmas duck on top.

Yes, a Christmas duck.

And yes, I will explain.

A long time ago, before I was around, Husband's niece Chelsie gave him that duck for Christmas. Her mother had taken her to the Dollar Tree so she could purchase a gift for her beloved uncle with her own money. And Chelsie's eight year old self really felt that he would love that ugly plastic duck.

Amazingly enough he did love that duck, because he is a good uncle and because he thought it was kind of a funny gift. Remember when cordless phone bases had those super long antennae? Right. The duck resided there for a very long time, like it had been dive bombing the phone and became impaled on the antenna. When I moved in, I let the duck remain. I loved that he loved his niece so much that the duck was part of his permanent decor.

So our first Christmas together came and we went to Apple Hill and chose and chopped the perfect tree. We brought it home and decorated it with the most eclectic mix of white lights, niece and nephew made ornaments, childhood ornaments, Mickey Mouse ornaments and colored ball ornaments from Michaels.

But no tree topper.

Because we cannot agree.

At all.

I wanted a star. My parents always had one of those weird peak things on the top of our trees and my whole life I had wanted a beautiful star.

But no, he wanted an angel. He grew up with angels on his tree. He had an angel (it's ugly, of course) and why get something else when he has an angel already?

"Because I want a star. Stars are pretty."

"But a star has no meaning for you. I've always had an angel."

"A star would be a new tradition for our family."

"Why spend the money? I already have an angel."

So this continued for DAYS into the Christmas season; him wanting that ugly angel and me wanting a pretty new star. Until finally I had had it and said:

"I'd rather put that ugly plastic duck on top of the tree than that stupid angel."

Up went the duck. Plain the first year; the next year we tied a bit of Christmas garland around his skinny little neck and some Christmas ribbon around his birdy legs.

He resides in a bin 11 months of the year now, but for the glorious month of December when our Chelsie's fantastic gift to her uncle has a special, permanent place in our Christmas traditions, right on top of our tree.

And that is the story of our plastic duck tree topper. I like it. It makes me feel happy to know that we have such a unique tradition. Chelsie is married now, with a husband and a home and a Christmas tree of her own, but I love that she is always with us at Christmas time; by way of the duck, the most unique and awesome tree topper ever.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Bad Mommy/Good Sister

We have an elf in our house. His name is Funny. For most of December Funny lives with us. At night, when the kids are asleep, Funny goes back to the North Pole and tells Santa all about the kids' behavior. Then, when they get up in the morning, they have to find where Funny "landed" when he returned. He's been in the refrigerator, the Christmas tree...even the car!

Sometimes Funny is naughty, like when he toilet papered the bathroom or when he spilled cornflakes all over the table. Sometimes he plays with their toys, like when we found him sitting next to a tower of Legos StinkyMan had cleaned up just the night before. But most of the time, Funny is mild and just a brief morning game.

I have forgotten to put Funny in a new spot on more than one occasion. I'll wake up in the middle of the night, realize I've forgotten and trudge downstairs to put him on his latest perch. I have also had to do it quickly in the morning, before the kids start looking for him.

Before I go any further, I need to tell you that Curly is fully aware that it is all me. She knows Funny is just a toy. She knows he doesn't go to the North Pole (although she does believe in Santa still) and she knows that this is all for StinkyMan's and Peanut's benefit and she happily goes on the morning Funny hunt.

So Saturday night I forgot to stash Funny somewhere. I woke up at ten Sunday morning with that as my first thought (It was my day to sleep in.) I lay there for a good twenty minutes trying to think up what excuse I would give for Funny being in the EXACT SAME SPOT as the day before. And all I could think to say was that the kids had been so good he hadn't had to go see Santa at the North Pole.

So I went downstairs and was greeted by StinkyMan, who grabbed my hand to show me where Funny was.

Well, he wasn't where I thought he would be. Nope, he had moved to the kitchen counter and had spilled puzzle pieces all over the counter and was making a puzzle. StinkyMan jumped up and down with excitement. "Funny was making a puzzle! He made a mess!"

Quizzically I looked at Husband who was pretty much not paying any attention to the Funny business at hand. He must be responsible, right?

Until I looked at Curly. She quietly pointed at herself and mouthed "I did it."

I nearly cried. Her mama had dropped the ball and my sweet big girl picked it up and ran with it. She knew her brother would be looking and she knew what had to be done and she did it.

I gave her high fives and big hugs and told her over and over (quietly of course so our cover wouldn't be blown) how very, very proud I was of her and what a wonderful big sister she is.

I feel awed by my six year old. I am always proud to be her mom, but in moments like this I feel especially lucky to have a kid like her.

Way to go, Baby. Way to go.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I love you but

StinkyMan adores BabyGirl with a sweetness that is a mother's dream and pride. Today he was rolling around on the floor with her making her laugh when he sat up and said to me "BabyGirl wants to marry me."

"She does? How do you know?"

"She told me. She is the first girl who wants to marry me."

"Well she must really love you, then."

"Yeah." Then he lies back down with his head right next to hers and whispers "Baby, I can't marry you. I love you, though. You're a cute baby."


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

sing it!

When Curly was younger she sang wrong words to "Deck the Halls." It went something like "Deck the halls with balls of bally. Ba-la-la-laaaa-la-la-la-la."

Peanut sings the wrong words to Jingle Bells "Tinker Bells, Tinker Bells, Tinker all the way. Oh how fun...Tinker Bells, Tinker Bells, Tinker all the way. Oh how fun...Tinker Bells...." You get the idea.

And then there is StinkyMan who doesn't sing the wrong words, he can't be bothered to know them in the first place. All of his songs sound like this:

"Deck the halls with burp of burpy, fa-la-la-la-la-la burp, burp, burp, burp."


"Santa Claus is coming to buuuuuurp!"

or my personal favorite:

"On the 1st day of Christmas my true love gave to me, a burp burp in a burp tree!"

Friends, this is what I mean when I say boys are a whole different ball game than girls. This humor, I think, is within them. It's the very boyness of being a male shining through. While Curly is appalled and Peanut giggles, they would NOT sing that on their own. That right belongs to the solitary brother of the bunch.

I suppose someday he will out grow it. For now it's fine, because secretly it makes me laugh. It's so naughty in a completely innocent way, that I have let it slide. Some battles are just not worth fighting. This is one of them. And it's quite the Christmas memory in the making.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

So Much Fun

We had such a great time in Disneyland.

Curly discovered a love of roller coasters and she and I loopty looped and screamed until the park closed a few nights.

StinkyMan loved to play Buzz LightYear AstroBlasters and Toy Story Mania. He and Husband were the last riders off Toy Story Mania on our final night.

Peanut loved to spin herself silly on Teacups and Ladybugs and was just the cutest thing you have ever seen wearing her 3-D Toy Story Mania glasses. And no one else was allowed to touch the steering wheel or the controls. She would do it herself, thankyouverymuch.

And sweet BabyGirl was so good, viewing most of Disneyland from her stroller, but delighting in taking off running in Bugs Life, where it's generally fairly quiet and extremely kid friendly.

Grammy had a wonderful time, as did Auntie who joined us from Vegas. It's nice to have one adult per allows for everyone to do pretty much everything together, plus one to stay by the stroller if needed.

Husband had fun as well, I think. Let me tell you, after nearly 10 years of marriage, there is still something really amazing about that guy. Disneyland Daddy is HOT and the kids adored riding rides with him and he made it even more fun, if that's possible.

And me? I loved it. I love the place, the atmosphere, the decor, the rides, the customer service, the fireworks, the "snow", the awe on my kids faces, the sparkle in my husband's eye, the grin on my mom's face and the time my sis got to spend with my kids.

I can't wait until next year.

Monday, December 7, 2009

What's next?

Disneyland! That's right, we leave at the first sliver of dawn for Disneyland. It's hard to know who is the most excited. I think that award might just go to Grammy, but the kids and Husband and I are right there with her.

There is still much to do even though Husband went ahead and flew down there this morning to work in the area taking all the heavy luggage with him. (Thanks Babe!) All I have to do is get the kids and myself on the plane (like it's that easy!)

This is the true kick off to our Christmas season. The housesitters are arranged, the errands are (nearly) completed, the mouse ears are packed and we could not be more ready.

My mom (the famous Grammy) and I used to do this trip together, just the 2 of us, before kids. Then I had Curly and we went with the 3 of us. Husband was never convinced it was as wonderful as I said. Then I had StinkyMan and he remained unconvinced for just a bit longer. Finally a few years back I talked him into it. Now, he wouldn't miss it for the world.

There IS something magic about Disneyland for all ages. It's even MORE magical through the eyes of the children. It makes your heart feel full and young and carefree. Watching the faces of your children light up at the sight of a princess or a mouse or giggling hysterically as you spin yourself sick on teacups is the best Christmas present I could ever want.

So watch out Disneyland. We are about to descend upon the House of Mouse and we are amped and ready!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Favorite Word

Curly: What's your favorite word?

Mommy: My favorite word? Hmmmm. Maybe "chocolate" or "sleep."

Curly: My favorite words are Mommy and Daddy and StinkyMan and Peanut and BabyGirl and Love.

Mommy (hanging her head in Mommy shame for answering so poorly): I agree those are super words. And Curly. That's another favorite word.

It's amazing how a child can humble you with their point of view and inspire you with their capacity to love all in one sweet sentiment.

Indeed, my favorite words are Curly, StinkyMan, Peanut and BabyGirl, with some Husband and Love thrown in, too. I just needed to have it pointed out to me.

I do still like chocolate and sleep though......


StinkyMan (as he pushes a Hot Wheels car around): Hey Peanut?

Peanut: What?

StinkyMan: Thank you for playin' Hot Wheels wif me right now. I love you.

Peanut: Oh, thanks, StinkyMan. I love you, too.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

It's Beginning...

to look a lot like Christmas!

This is my favorite time of year. Tonight we will put up our tree and get out all the bins of Christmas decor to start making our home look like Santa's workshop.

There is nothing cuter than listening to little kids sing Christmas Carols. Peanut thinks that "Jingle Bells" is actually called "Tinker Bells" and StinkyMan is working hard to learn all the words to "The Twelve Days of Christmas." In a move of equal parts utter genius and dorkiness, my kids are well acquainted with and adore the Christmas CD of John Denver and the Muppets. (Beeker chiming in on a Christmas chorus is sheer brilliance!)

Curly is ready and waiting to help with all the baking and making of the season and Baby Girl will be IMPOSSIBLE to keep off the tree.

Secrets are whispered, packages are stashed, our supply of tape and ribbon is up and craft ideas and surprises are at an all time high.

Our elf made his first appearance this morning, hanging upside off the TV, with a note explaining that he's helping Santa with his naughty or nice list and how tomorrow morning he will be in a different spot for the kids to find. StinkyMan's smile was a mile wide and Curly, though she knows better, was eager to play along. Peanut didn't quite get it, but she will soon enough.

I have always ALWAYS loved this time of year. This time of Christmas cookies, Secret Santas, family gatherings, whispery conversations and jingley bells. Through they eyes of my children it is an amazing, magical month, filled with endless possibilities and visions of Santa and reindeer and elves.

I love Christmas's not the presents, it's the season. I love giving more than getting, plotting and planning more than the post gift giving and just the whole atmosphere. Even the everyday stuff seems more special somehow. And I plan to savor it all.

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Today we went on a little adventure: We went to cut down a Christmas tree. When Curly was a baby we did it, but since StinkyMan it's always been excuse after excuse why we couldn't: we moved too far away, I was too pregnant, the baby was too small, it would be so difficult with 4 kids, etc, etc.

But this morning I decided that mass chaos be damned, we were going to give it whirl. Despite Husband's best attempts to secretly convince the kids the lot up the street is just as good (yes, Honey, I heard you) we trooped out the door before noon, lunches packed and spirits high, ready to track down our perfect tree.

OK, so the enthusiasm had died down considerably after 90 minutes in the car, but once we got to the first Christmas Tree farm the jolliness returned. Even Peanut taking a tumble in the first 10 minutes didn't dampen anyone's spirit.

The first place was a bust. After tromping around we decided to move on. The second place was better and we found the perfect tree right away. We collected some leaves, found a pine cone, "tightrope walked" on some felled logs, threw piles of leaves in the air and took lots and lots of pictures.

It was a wonderful day and I am reminded that it's silly to put things off because we think they will be too chaotic or difficult. Today was neither of those things. It was kind of an adventure and fun. Yes, Peanut cried a little. Yes, BabyGirl got a splinter. Yes the ride home was long and full of "Are we almost home?" But we made some good memories, both in our hearts and on our camera chip. Had we given in to the urge to make it simple and head to the lot (or worse, The Home Depot) we would have missed out on a great day and a great tree.

I need to try to remember this lesson next time I dismiss something out of hand as "too much" or "too hard." Today was a good day.

Thursday, November 26, 2009


There are so many, many things I am thankful for. My husband and my children and our collective good health are at the top of my list. I am thankful for our family on both sides, for good friends, for my best friend, for a nice neighborhood with great neighbors. I am thankful for good schools and amazing teachers. I am thankful for a roof over my head and food on the table in a time when many go without. I am glad to live in a country where we have choices and the luxury of voting on the issues and on our leadership. I am thankful for bargains and coupons that keep me able to spoil my children on a budget. I am thankful for so much there is no way I can list it all.

But I am also very, very thankful to you. When I started this blog, back in January, the goal was to keep a daily log of our everyday lives. That changed into a several times weekly log, because there was no way I was going to keep up writing every day. I posted the deal of the day, hoping that some of my friends would benefit. In my wildest dreams I never thought people would read like they do. Just yesterday I received my 20,000th blog hit! I started with about 10 readers per day (thanks mom and dad and friends!) and I now average about 100. I don't know you all but I am honored that you come here, whether it is to read about my life or to check my latest deal. I an thankful to you for finding my blog and for coming back to see more. I hope you all have a wonderful holiday today and that you find yourself surrounded by family and friends, unable to count high enough to tabulate all the things you have to be thankful for. Know that someone in NorCal is thankful for you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 23, 2009


Peanut is at that funny age where she talks A LOT but still gets some words wrong. Other times she has words and phrases that are so unique, that they become part of the family vocabulary. These are a few of my favorites:

Peanut butter is always called "other butter." If you think about it, it makes sense. It's not regular butter, it's the other butter. Peanut butter.

Skeletons are called "scary ones." If you say it fast enough you can see how she came to think that.

We have a family friend named Brianna. Peanut CANNOT call her anything but Banana. She thinks she has it just right.

Mickey Mouse is still called Mickey House.

Her hot pink shoes are still her "fancy shoes" and they are now often accompanied by her clearance rack $2 Target outfit she calls her "fancy dress."

She's just a riot, that kid. She makes me laugh every single day. Everyone should have a Peanut. She is fancy and fun!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Today was a day and a half...

...or more. It seemed to go on endlessly.

First, BabyGirl isn't feeling well. Her nose is a crazy, runny mess and she slept great last night but did not really nap at all today. I think either her head or ears (or both) are bothering her when she lays down. Her longest nap today was 25 minutes....not good. So there was a lot of eye rubbing and crying and screeching, but very, very little napping, no matter how hard I tried.

We had to squeeze in some last minute cookie making for StinkyMan's teacher and of course he and Peanut needed to "help" while BabyGirl screamed in the next room.

Then I got all whirly and riled-up over finances. I do that. I freak out, decide we aren't doing any of it right and then start to dissect what we are doing and how to make it better while I have a crying baby hanging on my legs. Then I have to be on the phone with BFF for 30 minutes while she talks me down from my tornado like spinning. Really, I need to not do that. We are so fortunate and doing fine...I just want to be more fine. But you know, I'm a stay home mom of 4 kids in California, a high cost of living area....just to be able to be home is beyond lucky. The economy stinks, but things will get better, and so will we.

And Peanut fell and smacked her face on the tile floor. It was one of those moments where you hear the sound of the thunk and just know it's teeth. Indeed, she bit through her lip and knocked loose a top front tooth. At least I think it's just the one. I didn't wiggle the second one after she howled when I touched the first one. That kid is determined to maim her face. She's already been glued once, then split the exact same spot open again a month later. Now this. Oy.

All the while Curly has a playdate here and they are shrieking "OH, EW! SHE'S BLEEDING!" or wanting a snack and there is lots to do housework wise. But the two little girls just want to sit with their mommy; so we sat. And in the middle of everything else, we lost the tv remote. It's 6 hours later and I still can't find the thing. We watched a lot of Phineas and Ferb least it was stuck on a kid appropriate channel. Baby Dora is MIA too. She took the remote and ran, I suspect.

The redeeming moment of the day was when StinkyMan gave me his preschool rendition of how Thanksgiving came to be:

"Girl Pilgrims wear bonnets and Boy Pilgrims wear hats. They came on a ship called The Mayflower. They met a man named Squanto and he helped them with their food and they all had a big feast together. That's why we have Thanksgiving"

"Oh, StinkyMan, that's right!" I say, ever the proud mama.

"And then, on Thanksgiving a Pilgrim comes to your house. Or Squanto. But just one."


"Yeah, they come to your house on Thanksgiving."

"Oh. I didn't know that." I'm doubtful and he knows it.

"But just one." He reassures me. "Not all of them."

"Oh, okay then. Just one. Goodnight, StinkyMan. I love you."

"I love you too, Mommy."

Honestly, I think he thinks it's like Santa or The Easter Bunny. And why wouldn't he? He gets stuff from The Great Pumpkin and then is tossed right into Christmas by the retailers. Why wouldn't he think The Great Squanto is going to come leave him a gift? Or that the Thanksgiving Pilgrim might come fill his cornucopia with treats. Who wouldn't hope for that?

So, hey, Mighty Mayflower or Super Squanto or whoever you are, if you're out there, could I get some Calgon, please? Because today was a day and a half.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


I must know who thought it would be a good idea to give light up, blinking air horns as fundraising prizes to elementary school children.

Clearly someone with no kids at home.

Someday, this will come back around on him/her. Someday.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The Adventures of Baby Dora

I would like to introduce you to the love of Peanut's life:

This is Baby Dora. Baby Dora was just another dolly du jour. Before Baby Dora we had Baby Nakey, Baby Hat, Baby Bonky and Baby Doll. Baby Dora was just one in a rotation of babies. But something about Baby Dora had some staying power, because she's been Peanut's favored doll for about a month now and that doesn't look to change anytime soon.

I can't stand that doll. For one thing, it is ugly. I mean really. Take a look. U-G-L-Y, ugly. And secondly she (and yes I know that it's really a he, but roll with me here) is small. As in, easy to lose, small.

Baby Dora goes to bed with Peanut at night and she gets a goodnight kiss from Mommy too. Baby Dora gets up with Peanut in the mornings. Baby Dora sits at the breakfast table. Baby Dora watches TV. Baby Dora goes to school drop offs and pick ups. Baby Dora get strapped in a seat belt. Baby Dora even goes to the grocery store, but she has to stay in the car. We don't want to lose her in the grocery aisles somewhere.

Sometimes, when we can't find Baby Dora, which is fairly often, we imagine it is because she is off on an adventure. It is true that Baby Dora's life is full of exotic locales. Just this past week she spent a night in the dark pantry and another night in a drawer of pot holders. She has spent time in the wilds of the playroom and once she was even held hostage by BabyGirl! And just this morning she had a cornflake spa treatment in Peanut's cereal bowl.

Hopefully Baby Dora is just a passing phase. But Peanut loves her and so I must learn to love her too.

Welcome to the family, Baby Dora. I hope your stay is a pleasant one.

Friday, November 13, 2009


Every night I sing Peanut two songs at bedtime. One is the theme song to Wow Wow Wubbzy. (Don't ask.) The other she calls "The Peanut Song." It's really just "A Bicycle Built for Two" but instead of singing "Daisy, Daisy" in the beginning we sing "Peanut, Peanut."

So last night, after I put her in bed, StinkyMan asked me to sing him the StinkyMan song. I made one up real quick on the spot and then he asked me if BabyGirl has a song.

"No" I said "I haven't thought of one yet." It's true. I haven't.

"I know a song about her" he offered.

"You do?"

And he started to sing:

"Baby Girl, Baby Girl, you don't poopy in the toilet. Baby Girl, Baby Girl, you poopy in your diaper, but that's okay because you are a baby.''

"Baby Girl, Baby Girl, you shouldn't climb on the ottoman because you might fall off. Baby Girl, Baby Girl, sometimes you fall just when you walk."

"Baby Girl, Baby Girl, you are a super cute baby and I love you. Baby Girl, Baby Girl, you'll look cute upon the seat of a bicycle built for two."

I think it is the sweetest song I have ever heard.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Attention Target Shoppers

I have mentioned before my undying love of Target. I have also told you how Peanut screamed "I LOVE TARGET" on recent trip to my favorite retailer.

Well apparently it is time for me to expand my children's shopping universe because now StinkyMan's favorite past time is playing Target.

He pulls out 15 to 20 items from the pantry and sets them all out on the kitchen table. He gets out our plastic bag storage bin, and a seasonal decorative bucket is a shopping basket. I have to buy one item at a time. He scans it, bags it and sends me on my way. I say thank you and tell him to have a nice day as I walk away with my bag. I am always to return immediately to purchase the next item. He does not take coupons, charges me $99 for Parmesan cheese and tells me I am not allowed to kiss the Target Man. (It is true that he is the cutest Target employee I have ever seen.) When Grammy came today she too had to play Target.

And every night, for the last three nights, when I tuck Peanut in bed she says "Mommy, guess what."


"I'm going to Target tomorrow. I'm gonna wear my fancy shoes and go in Peanut's seat and go to Target."

"OK. Tomorrow you are going to Target."


Yesterday I took her to Kmart where I was scolded "This not Target!"

I wonder what will happen if I take them to Walmart. It will either be a world of wonder or an utter mutiny.

Monday, November 9, 2009


They say you can't get something for nothing. Or that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

In bargain shopping, sometimes those statements are true and sometimes they are not. This bargain is definitely worth trying to see if you actually get it! is Fuji's new site. Right now, if you go there you can order either 4x8 or 5x7 personalized photo cards for absolutely FREE with code freebies4mom-1109. Think holiday cards!

The catch? Well, the site is HORRENDOUSLY slow. It's utterly absurd. I think everyone is trying to get their free cards. And it's not (at least to me) the easiest site to work with. But if you push on through you will eventually be able to create and order your cards. And they do prompt you to create an account in order to use the promo code freebies4mom-1109 but once you do, it should go through no problem. If it says the code is invalid keep trying it. Mine took 2 tries to go through, but it when I made sure there was no space after the 9 it worked like a charm. I never even had to put in any payment info other than where to ship them and I ordered 50!

I am so excited to get cards for free. I hope it works for you too! And I hope Fuji makes good on their offer! Good luck!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

ooooh yeah

Folks, there is nothing like a bargain high. NOTHING. And I did well this weekend, my friends.

First look at this:

Big whoop, right? Yeah, but that all cost me $2.78! Thank you Target!

Check out this loveliness:

Nice, right? So autumny and fun on my front door! It goes nicely with the "No Doorbell" sign StinkyMan made so the babies could nap in peace (It actually reads NO DOO RBELL, but he's 4, so I still think it's pretty good.)

And what about this beauty?

Ignore the otherwise poorly decorated mantel and focus on the garland. Fall-ish and festive, no? I bought 2 of them.

All that together was under $14! That's right! Two garlands, a wreath, two boxes of granola bars, two boxes of cereal and a bag of Halloween marshmallows (for potty bribes) for $13 and change. The bottom of my receipt says I saved $85! Ha!

So after that I went over to Walmart and bought this stuff:

Six containers of yogurt, six cans of soup, six packages of flushable wipes, 2 boxes of potatoes and 2 packages of frozen vegetables for a whopping total of $8 and a few coins including tax. It was $21 before coupons! Squee! Bargain high!

The only thing equal to a bargain high is working on a project and finally finishing it. I've been working on something for a while now and I'll be showing you that soon! Here's a clue:

Yep, that's me with a big ol' saw. Stay tuned!

TRU Board Game Deal

It was new deal time, but here's the TRU game deal in case you still need it!

Don't let the size of today's DOTD scare you off! Free $10 Toys R Us Gift Card when you buy $25 in Hasbro games with the coupon on the front of tomorrow's ad. Included in the deal are games for $3.99, $7.99, and $9.99. Pretty good, but it gets better! Hasbro is offering a mail in rebate on many of those games. For example, CandyLand is on sale for $3.99. The rebate is for $2.00. Candyland for $1.99! And don't forget you get the $10 TRU gift card on top of that! Click here to get the rebate form. Print it out, take it with you and select your games based on the rebates. GREAT deal!

I would do it like this: For $3.99 I would buy CandyLand, Chutes and Ladders,Ants in Pants and Memory for $3.99 each, or $15.96. Then I would buy Connect 4 for $9.99, making my total $25.95. Then you get back the $10 gift card (which has to be used by 12/31) That brings your total down to $15.96. Then I would get $2 rebates for all the cheaper games and a $3 rebate for Connect 4. That would give me $11 in rebates, so my total out of pocket for 5 games would be $4.97! WOW!

UPDATE: You do NOT need to have the ad! Even easier!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Alone Time

When Husband travels I often let a kid sleep in bed with me. It is mostly Curly who revels in this special treat (She should. I have 1000 thread count sateen sheets. Hello Luxury!) But every time she does, she wants me to go to bed at the same time she does.

"Why can't you go to bed now?"

"Because I have things to do. Have seen this house? It's a mess! Plus, I need some alone time."


"Everyone needs alone time, Curly. It's just nice to be able to think without being interrupted and to do what you want to do without having to do anything for anyone else."

The answer varies, but that's a pretty good summary of what I say. I did think she understood it, but now I am not so sure. Because today, this went down in my house:

Curly: Mommy, can I have some alone time in my room?

Mommy: Alone time?

Curly: Yeah.

Mommy: Sure after you do your homework you can have some alone time.

Curly: YAY!

15 minutes later....

Curly: Mommy! I'm done! Can I have my alone time now?

Mommy: Sure. Go right ahead.

Curly: Okee! Hey StinkyMan! I'm going to have alone time in my room. Do you wanna come?

StinkyMan: OK!

And off they went, spending a lovely 20 to 30 minutes of "alone time" together.

She may not understand the concept, but if calling it "alone time" makes playing with her brother more acceptable, I'm all for it!

Mini Me

They say children often mimic their parents. In fact, what is that old expression? Do as I say, not as I do? And don't they say that doesn't work? Kids copy actions, not empty words.

Well, I think Peanut has a healthy dose of her mama in her because yesterday we went to Target and got her some "fancy panties." So enamored was she with her Target popcorn and princess underwear that she shouted several times, at the top of her lungs "I LOVE TARGET!" She got lots of chuckles and smiles and she told anyone and everyone who looked her way "I got princess panties. I a big girl. I go poopies in the potty" and then "I LOVE TARGET!" The teenaged (male) kid behind the counter did not quite know what to make of that, but that didn't stop her from repeating it to the lady who came to the counter behind us. "I got princess panties. I a big girl. I go poopies in the potty. I LOVE TARGET!"

I'm raising that kid right.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

another quick Walmart deal-UPDATED!

If you are going for soup anyway, print the coupon here for Betty Crocker boxed potatoes (I know, I know, but some of them can be doctored up and are really quite yummy!) They are on rollback at my Walmart for 78 cents and the coupon would make them 38 cents! That was a pleasant discovery while I was shopping. I love surprise coupon/sale match ups!

Adding another link to a $1 off the potatoes...if you are buying a lot of stuff they might just push it through, giving you the overage. If they catch it they can (and are supposed to) adjust the coupon down to the price of the item, making it free!

Also cheap frosting!
Betty Crocker frosting is on rollback for 78 cents. Use this link to see the 50 cent off printable (you will also see another potato printable on the page, so you can get another box!) 28 cents for frosting is a nice deal!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sassy Princess

Peanut is, for all intents and purposes, potty trained. She goes on the potty all day long and is successful when she wears both underwear or diapers.

However, the other day, when I wiped the clearance aisle out of diapers at CVS, she discovered the biggest scam in all of potty training history:

The Pull-Ups.

More specifically Princess Pull-Ups. She saw them and they were a must have. Since they were on clearance and I had a coupon that would make them less than $2 for the pack I caved and let her have them.

She only wants to wear Princess Pull-Ups now. She has no interest in underwear or diapers. She doesn't even want to be nakey, a former favorite past time. Nope, life is all about princess Pull-Ups.

The funny thing is, she really doesn't know who they are save what she knows from Curly. She doesn't know their stories, she's never seen their movies, she only knows they are princesses and that is enough for her.

There is one Pull Up that features all the princesses on the front with a castle on the tush. Then there is another with only Cinderella on the front and a castle on the tush. She very solemnly brought me the Cinderella Pull-Up today and said "They leaved her all alone."

"She's all alone? Who left her all alone?"

"The other princesses went away and leaved her all alone at the castle."

"She's all alone at the castle?"

"Yes" she shakes her head with all the seriousness of a shamed mother "She was too sassy."

"She was sassy?"

"Too sassy so they leaved her alone at the castle. She is sad."

"That is sad. Why is she so sassy?"

"She's just sassy. I put her in the pantry" and off she ran, bringing back the Pull-Up will all the princesses, leaving Cinderella on the shelf.

Poor Cinderella, locked in the pantry, away from the party once again. And this time by a 2 year old who knows serious sass when she sees it.

Tomorrow we will go to Target and she will get to pick out some big girl panties. Let's hope they have less attitude than the Pull-Ups.

Sunday, November 1, 2009


My biggest challenge is organization. I am not organized. Never have been. I have no less than 4 junk drawers. FOUR! I often don't know where to put things and while in theory everything has a place, it's never in it's place when I need it. Believe me, if you ask me where something is and I know the right answer, it's pure luck that I know where to find it.

My poor Husband never used to live like this. When we met, his clothes hung in his closet by color, sub categorized by long and short sleeve and fabric. (He can be kind of obsessive) When we first lived together I was short a clothes hanger so I took one out of his closet. The next day he said "Did you take my hanger?" Apparently he had the exact same number of hangers as shirts so when he suddenly had a shirt and no hanger he knew just who to ask.

He's had to let go of that when he married me. He had to let go a little more after Curly and more still after StinkyMan. We had barely figured out how to wade through the craziness of 3 kids when we were expecting number 4. And, although it's been 14 months since BabyGirl's chaotic arrival we have not managed to retrieve even a glimmer of my sweet spouse's organizational roots.

My online friends and I are attempting to identify our weaknesses and support each other in our attempts to change. E and C are working on their budgets and tracking their spending, S is working on her general attentiveness to her house and I am working on organization by choosing one extra thing to do every day that relates to the organization of my home and our lives.

It's a month long challenge. Husband always tells me it takes 21 days to create a habit. So my hope is that in 21 days I will have created a habit of earmarking time at the end of the day to organize something and that by the end of the month I will have it so ingrained in me to be organized that it'll be a part of life. (WHAT? That could totally happen!) Tonight it was my coupon binder. Tomorrow I will clean out a drawer or 2. Tuesday perhaps it will be my car. The idea is that by organizing and purging and discovering long lost items and allocating a proper space for them my life, our lives, will become more organized and orderly and hopefully, ultimately, easier.

So play along if you want. What do you need to work on? What could you improve upon? What are you going to do to get better results than what you are getting right now? The more organized my household, the more organized my life feels and that is an idea I find really appealing.

And maybe, while I'm at it I could find that hanger Husband has been looking for. ;)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I feel famous!

Well, I feel special at least.

My friend Sandy has a great blog called Modern Simplicity (it's in my blog list to the right of the screen as you look at it) and she asked me to do a Q&A for her and it's on her blog RIGHT NOW. Check it out and then check out the rest of her blog. It really is fantastic!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A mystery

How do my smoke alarms know to start the low battery beep in the middle of the night? Apparently when we last changed the batteries we missed one or something. It decided to let me know at 2am. I have never in my life had one start to beep in the light of day. Why is that?

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Great Pumpkin

You all know and love the story of Linus waiting in the pumpkin patch for The Great Pumpkin, right?

Well around here we wait for The Great Pumpkin too.

See, a few years back I realized that my kids love candy. I know, I know, all kids love candy, but my kids love it in a "I'll do anything to have it and I cannot leave it alone until I am on a sugar high bigger than Mount Everest and even then I'll eat it 'til I puke" kind of way.

And I value my kids cute smiles and dental hygiene so I devised a Halloween plan. Thank you Linus!

Every year, after Trick or Treating around the neighborhood, they get to dump all their loot out onto the table and choose a set number of candy items they'd like to keep. This year I have said 12. I have no idea what I said last year or any other year. So far, the kidlets haven't noticed the discrepancy.

Then, they put the rest of the candy back in their Trick or Treat bags and set them out on the back porch (or right inside the slider if it's raining.) While they are sleeping The Great Pumpkin comes and trades them their treats for a small gift or 2. He takes the candy, they get a gift! They always have the option to opt out if they want to keep their candy but they never do.

This works great in my house for 2 reasons: 1) it saves their teeth and 2) it replenishes my potty training treat supply (yes I bribe and reward with food. Sue me.)

I never spend more than $10 or $12 each and they think it's great fun. The bonus is that they go to bed nicely so they can get to the morning faster to see their gifts!

I love the Great Pumpkin. And I love that he always leaves me the Snickers bars.

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Play

StinkyMan had been telling me for days that he wanted to do a play. He even went so far as to pull out a chair for me one day, but it was bedtime and I don't allow much fluctuation in bedtimes during the week.

Finally yesterday he told me that it was time for a play and showed me to my seat. I sat down and was handed a thin, rectangular, wooden block. Not sure what to expect I watched and waited as he and Peanut sat on the coffee table about 6 feet in front of me.

"You hafta pick me or Peanut" he ordered.

"Oh. OK, I pick Peanut"

"No, you hafta pick me for the first one."

"All right then. I pick you."

StinkyMan then proceeded to begin to walk around the table. And around. And around. Finally he said, "Mommy! You have to get me! Click me with your meyote (remote)"

All of a sudden it dawned on me. He wasn't putting on a play. He wanted me to play him. The wooden block was my controller, he was the Wii game and I was the player.

"CLICK!" I said and he fell to the ground. "You got me Mommy! It's time for level 2."

Now he jogged around the table. It took a few clicks to get him this time, because you know level 2 is harder than level one.

We played a total of 6 levels, each busier and harder to pass than the last. By the 6th level, he's exhausted himself, running full speed ahead, spinning in circles, bouncing off the couch and waving his hands in the air like a maniac.

I was clicking like a fool to no avail, and I'm wondering how much longer he can keep this up when, still running and bouncing and waving, he asked "Mommy? (pant pant) Can you push the pause button?"

I aimed the block, er, remote at him and said "PAUSE!" and he stopped and caught his breath. 'Thank you Mommy. You can unpause it now."

"UNPAUSE," and off he went.

Just 5 more clicks and I won the game. I think he realized he couldn't continue much longer and didn't have any clue what would make level 7 more difficult than level 6, especially for him!

That was the best video game I have ever played. Very realistic looking, too. And so much better than watching a play.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rotting Their Brains

I'm that mom.

The one the better mommies whisper about.

The one who's kids will have ADD or weight issues.

I'm the mom who lets her kids watch TV.

They don't watch it all day or anything, but they do watch it.

And for all the studies that suggest it's bad for them, I say that my kids have learned a lot from TV.

I have, until now, really managed to keep it to mostly educational programs like Sesame Street, Dora (*cringe*) and Blue's Clues.

When Curly was 2 she got locked in a closet and I heard this tiny little voice saying "Ayudame, Mommy. Ayudame!" She is still interested in learning different languages

StinkyMan is reading. Yes we have worked with him and yes I think he is exceptionally smart and yes he goes to a good school, but Elmo taught him a lot of the basic components for sure.

Peanut knows her numbers thanks to the LeapFrog DVD series, but her favorite show is Wow Wow Wubbzy (blech!)

Even BabyGirl is fascinated by the Classical Baby Series by HBO, which blends music and art in a way that is both educational and interesting. Think Baby Einstein-ish.

But we are venturing into new territory now. A lot of those programs bore the heck out of Curly. I won't do Hannah Montana. I just want to smack that chick up the head (the character that is. Although I'm not really in love with Miley Cyrus either.) We will allow an occasional Wizards of Waverly Place, which StinkyMan mistakenly calls The Wigglers of Wiggly Place. And we're all for Phineas and Ferb (Husband has been caught watching when the children are nowhere to be seen)

It's hard though. When Curly puts on some insipid cartoon of my generation or before I just want to scream "There is no value in that! Turn it OFF!" and sometimes I do.

Sometimes I dream of just unplugging it and seeing if we could go a week without it. What would my kids do? How well would they play? What would they create, invent, draw, imagine or configure?

Then I remember something. The TV allows me my daily shower. The TV allows for my dinner prep. Some days the TV allows my sanity to stay intact. Heck, some days the TV allows me to blog.

No, we won't be getting rid of the TV. Because I am that mom.

But that's fine with me. Because at least I've showered.

Monday, October 19, 2009


Meet Henry:

We had guinea pig custody this past weekend. Henry belongs to StinkyMan's school and was he ever excited to bring Henry home.

We picked Henry up on Friday after a quick trip into Target, throughout which StinkyMan said "Mommy, now? Now can we go get Henry? Now?" By the time we got to school he could barely contain himself.

Miss Teacher took Henry's cage to the car while StinkyMan carried the backpack full of all things vital to guinea pig care like food and books about guinea pigs. Peanut sat next to Henry, which was surprisingly OK with StinkyMan. I guess he knows better than to get upset over the unchangeable position of car seats..

When we got home I told Peanut and StinkyMan that we would take our Target bags in first and then come back for Henry. StinkyMan said "I will stay in the car with Henry so he won't be lonely" and he did.

Once Henry was inside StinkyMan said "Henry you are staying with us for a little while" and he and Peanut rarely left the cage alone.

At one point I found him reading Henry a story (he read him two over the course of the weekend) and every morning he'd go to the cage and say "Good morning Henry" and every night he would turn off the lights in the room and say "Good night Henry. See you in the morning!" After we talked about not startling Henry, he would approach the cage and say "Hi Henry. It's just me, StinkyMan" in a really soft, sweet voice that really echoed my baby boy's compassionate heart.

Peanut, on the other hand, was not so delicate, yet in her own way utterly fascinated by Henry. The funniest thing was that she couldn't remember two things: 1) That Henry was a guinea pig. She would not stop calling him a cow. And 2) That his name was Henry. She called him Hermie. Hermie the cow. So all weekend long we'd hear "HI HERMIE! MOMMY I SAID HI TO THE COW! I SAID HI TO HERMIE!" Poor Hermie, er, Henry, probably had a heart attack or 2.

Today we took Henry back to school. The kids were sad to see him go, but StinkyMan bravely said "I will still see him" before confessing after school "I miss Henry." And Peanut just walked around saying "Hermie's gone. Hermie went to school. Mommy, Hermie went bye-bye in your car."

As for Henry, I imagine that, as I type this, he is sleeping in his little plastic purple house, enjoying the dark and currently quiet corner of the school and wondering where that nutty family he stayed with was keeping that poor cow named Hermie.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Things I Love

Besides the obvious, like my kids, my husband and my family, there are a few things in life I really, truly love. It's a phrase we toss around quite loosely. For example, I'll tell people all the time that I LOVE my homemade laundry detergent. And I do like it a whole lot, but love? Real, honest, love? Not so much. But there are some things I really do love and I thought I would list them for you.

I love:
  • My son's laugh. He has the best infectious giggle ever.
  • My Bounce Dryer Bar. Seriously. You need one.
  • The way it smells outside after the rain. Mmmmm.
  • My kids' preschool. Best. School. Ever.
  • Curly's curls. They are so beautiful.
  • My good jeans.
  • My giant Mickey Mouse hoodie. Disappearing into that on a cold day is the best!
  • A great bargain (like my FREE cereal at Target today!)
  • My in laws. All of them. How many people can say that?
  • My Chevy Tahoe.
  • When my BFF calls on her commute home every day. You must love someone if you can talk to them every day for 45 minutes and still not be done chatting when time is up.
  • Actually, my BFF in general. I love her.
  • Disneyland at Christmas time.
  • Christmas as a whole.
  • Peanut's smile. It's so big and she's so small that it takes up most of her face!
  • The way Husband sticks his tongue out when he's concentrating really hard.
  • My crockpot (you knew that already, right?)
  • Blogging.
  • My 1000 thread count Sateen sheets.
  • U2's song "One"
  • O Mio Babbino Caro. Someday I WILL go to the Opera.
  • My Wootie Girls
  • The way BabyGirl's eyes light up when she sees me.
  • Footy pajamas on little kids
  • My giant bathtub.
  • My kitchen floors.
  • Really good chocolate.
  • The sound of rain in the roof and windows as I go to sleep at night.
  • My life in general.

What do you love?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009


I was contemplating all kinds of blog entries today when I realized that several of them involved feet. So I put them all in one.

These are the cutest little feet I know. Busy too:

As you can see, Baby Girl has mastered the stairs and has also become a true toddler, taking tiny, lurching, toddling steps. She is dangerously close to dropping crawling all together and becoming a full time walker. Her mama isn't ready for her to be a walker, but it's so going to happen and sooner rather than later.

And Peanut got her first pair of winter shoes for the year. She put them on in the store and proclaimed "I fancy!" I have not been able to convince her to take them off for anything other than sleeping. She thinks she is hot stuff in her hot pink Stride Rites and calls them "My Fancy Shoes."

Her feet are not the least bit small. Unlike the rest of her tiny self, her feet are enormous, measuring only half a size smaller than her older brother's. She got brown ones too, although I'm not sure if drab brown will be as exciting as magenta.

And finally, with the shift into fall and cooler temperatures I get to bust out my favorite cold weather hallmark:

Footy pajamas! (see my baby walking! Yikes!)

I love nothing more than seeing a little kid in footies. I love how warm and cozy they look. When I zip Peanut up in her jammies she says "I cozy!" and pats her belly and shakes one foot to show just how covered and comfy and cozy she really is.

And I love when they get out of bed on a cold morning, hair sticking every which way, sleep still lingering in their eyes and voices, and they are all snug in their footies, ready to cuddle.

I love the sound of the pad on the bottom of the pajama feet on my tile floor, I love knowing that they are warm in their beds and I love, love, love how they look on my babes. The good people at Carters have cornered the market on darling footy pajamas and they have more than a few of this sucker's pennies.

Feet. Only a mama could love someone enough to write a whole blog entry about feet.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Halloween Lesson #1

Fake vampire teeth+Tootsie Roll= big, drooly mess and unsalvageable vampire teeth.

Trust me.

Friday, October 9, 2009


I couldn't pick just one Deal of the Day, so I thought I'd give you a separate post about 3 more:

Go here

Take the pledge and (have your printer on and ready) get a coupon for buy 1 carton of eggs, get the second free! The best part? Hit your back browser a couple of times (past the web page expiration notification) and it will print the coupon TWICE! And they are good until the end of the year, plenty of time to use all those eggs for holiday baking. Hurry, though. It won't last long!

Secondly, free sunglasses from PRVCY in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month!

Go here, fill out the form, give them one friend's email to inform them of the deal and you'll get your free glasses mailed right to you. This also won't last long! GO!

And finally Herbal Essences is giving away a bunch of FREE shampoos and conditioners! They have reached the limit for today, but check back, because this give away is going on for several days. Here's the link and they should refresh it tomorrow, but it's always worth checking back today just in case.

And of course, don't forget the Deal of the Day!

Enjoy your freebies!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Riddle me this.....

...if the king sized bed I have is 76 inches across (that's more than 6 feet!) why, when I share with Curly, are we always just using about 24 inches of it?

All night long I look longingly at the unused 52 inches. And it makes no difference how I move or if I move her, inevitably my little snuggler will burrow into my back and we wind up with her snoring in my ear, one leg slung over my knees, one hand in my hair.

I suppose some people would argue that it's cozy. I guess so. It's also very crowded, quite warm and not very restful for me. She, on the other hand, sleeps like the proverbial baby.

One day I will look back and think fondly of these nights. Today, I will just try to stay awake.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Time for Rapunzel Mode

It is nearly time to lock Curly in the tower.

I was informed by my beautiful 6 year old that she is playing a game with boys at recess where they all try to catch and kiss each other.

She thinks it is great fun. I think it's kind of funny. Daddy will have a small stroke.

I did tell her not to play with anyone who says they don't want to, to be respectful of boundaries and that if an adult asks them to stop they should immediately stop and not ever do it again. I was imagining those horror stories where students are expelled for such games.

But I'm not going to tell her to stop. My dramatic, pretty, pretty princess could use a good dose of tomboyish running around and mock terror screaming. And she says no one actually ever gets kissed, or even caught. Apparently there is a really big "base" on which to seek refuge.

I can't wait to hear about it when she comes home from school today. When she told me about it earlier she was giggling and her eyes were sparkling and she was super animated. Clearly she is enjoying her recess.

And I played those games too and didn't come out any the worse for wear. It's part of being a kid. And it sounds like fun to me.

Now if she actually gets kissed..........................

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Crafty time!

Martha Stewart, I am not. But I sure can pretend to be. And Martha sure does make it easy sometimes.

Earlier this week Curly had a playdate over and they made these:

Cute right?

A while back the Deal of the Day was Martha Stewart Art Kits at Big Lots for $2 each. I told you to get some for the upcoming winter weather. If you haven't gotten any, you really really should.

Martha thinks of everything. And when I say everything, I really mean everything. When I opened the package, each farm animal came individually packaged, so there was no guessing as to which parts belonged to which animal. And each piece that needed to be stuck on had, wait for it, pre-applied stickiness! No glue needed, just peel off the backing! Each animal that had parts for the front and back of the balloon had pictures of the front and the back for the kids to model theirs after and yes, each packet had a balloon. I opened 2 packages so the girls could make the same animals if they wanted to and all told, they each made a total of three and were happily busy for well over an hour. Each kit has 8 animals total. An absolute steal at $2!

So, I have already decided on Peanut's birthday. Yes I know it's in February, so what? We are going to have a farm theme and guess what the favors are going to be? That's right, $2 art kits from Martha Stewart, courtesy of Big Lots. Better than a cruddy goody bag for sure and a great rainy day activity for the recipients. (Plus see today's Deal of the Day for an extra good deal for these kits!)

There were all kinds of kits. Picture frames, hand puppets, balloon animals and more. You absolutely should take a trip to Big Lots. These are great gifts for birthdays, stockings or just to bust out on a rainy, yucky, boring day.

Addition: I changed the Deal of the Day, but here is the link to the Big Lots coupon I mentioned in this entry. Happy shopping!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

self confidence

StinkyMan climbed in the car after school today and was getting all strapped in when his teacher walked by and said "Goodbye, StinkyMan!" He looked mighty insulted and said "Why does Ms. Teacher always say goodbye to me?" in a really grumpy way.

I asked "Did you want her to say something else?"

"Yes" he said "She is supposed to say 'Thank you for coming to school today StinkyMan.' You hafta say thank you when somebody does somepin (something) nice for you."

So apparently StinkyMan thinks he is gracing the teachers at school with his oh-so-important presence 4 days a week out of the goodness of his heart. What other reason could those women possibly have to get out of bed in the morning?

And Peanut, when asked today if she looked pretty said "Of course I pretty!" and ran off, with a ponytail flip.

What is that business about the self esteem of middle children? I don't think we have that issue here.

Monday, September 28, 2009

No More Nursey

I nursed all my babies. In fact, for nearly the last 7 years solid I have been either pregnant or nursing or pregnant AND nursing.

BabyGirl has just stopped nursing. I'm a little bit sad to end "nursey" as we called it. It was so nice to have a reason to just sit down, one on one with her and do something with and for her that only I could do. Now, anyone can sit down with her and give her a bottle.

On the upside, NOW ANYONE CAN SIT DOWN WITH HER AND GIVE HER A BOTTLE! It's not just up to me! When she wakes up in the morning, she doesn't need me. Husband can get up with her. If I want to leave the house for hours, no worries. She can have a bottle and does so happily.

Don't get me wrong, I will miss it. But this is the first time in more than half a decade that my body is all mine.

I love you babies. I enjoyed all my nursey time, my pregnant time, and even my pregnant nursey time. But holy cow I cannot wait to go and get fitted to buy bras that don't have to open and shut, that actually push the girls up where they are supposed to be and are actually kind of cute. It's going to be nice to be able to buy and wear clothes that don't require forethought as to how I might access my chest while wearing them (I once had to almost strip naked in the backroom of a church to nurse Curly after not having given access in a dress much thought. Oops.) It's going to be great not to have to go out and scout locations to nurse or to just sit in public with some boob hanging out (I try to be discreet, but babies are squirmy and don't like to hide under blankets, ya know?) It's pretty awesome to not have a baby head butting your chest when she's hungry.

But I will miss it and I am kind of bummed. I was a good nurser and my kids LOVED it. But she showed signs of moving on and I let her take the lead. It's weird to know that part of my life is over. No more nursey. And although part of me is very excited, don't think I haven't shed a tear or two. Or two hundred. Or more. Because for me, nursing was a quintessential part of Mommyhood. And now it's over.

Sunday, September 27, 2009


I have wanted to try canning for a while now, but every time people would say "It's so easy" and then start to verbally explain it to me, I would immediately think "No way. Sounds hard. Sounds complicated. Sounds overwhelming. Pass!"

But then, when people would talk about fresh, homemade jam or their stockpile of canned goodies I would think "Well, maybe......."

My sister-in-law rode to my canning rescue this year. She came out two weeks ago and showed me how to make homemade raspberry jam. It's so yummy and it wasn't as hard as I thought. Apparently I am totally a visual learner because once I saw it I knew I could do it.

Said sister-in-law procured an obscene amount of pears and some apples and came back out this past Friday to help me can pears and make applesauce to can as well. We did the pears together and I am now the proud owner of 10 quart sized jars of pears. Then she started the applesauce and left me on my own.

I'm proud to say that I did it. I made 6 pints of applesauce on Friday and then made another batch on Saturday all by myself that yielded 2 quarts. My kids LOVE it (we had a little left over to try) and I know we'll whip through those jars in no time.

Weird confession: Now that I have all these beautiful jars of food, I'm a little sad to bust them open. While it was fairly easy to do, it was labor intensive and I'm kind of bummed to open them. Yes, I know that's why we made them, and I know it's silly. But the whole point of canning is that you work towards hearing the lids go "POP" which means you have successfully canned something. To undo that seems almost counter productive.

I'm sure I'll feel differently when I stroll past the applesauce at the store and know that not only do I have some at home, I know exactly what is in them and how yummy they taste.

So if you want to try canning, go for it. Find someone who knows how to do it and watch. It's not hard at all. And totally worth it.

Friday, September 25, 2009


Curly had a rough day the other day. She said some boys made fun of her snack, then a teacher had a dog at school and she is afraid of dogs, so some kids called her a scaredy cat, then she lost her "Golden Ticket" at school, then some boy hit her "in the heart", then she stained her dress, then her brother punched her in the arm.

Let me say first that I believe that these things happened to my child. And I believe that she believes they happened the EXACT way she feels that they did. But I also know my daughter, and she has a flair for the dramatic. I was standing right there when her brother "punched" her. It was, at best, a tap and really, not even that. And the stained dress? That happened while she was hanging out with her Grammy, eating ice cream. Not exactly a Shakespearean tragedy.

Chances are the boys who made fun of her snack said "Cheese? That's a funny snack!" Or maybe "That's a stupid snack." I don't know. I packed a kick butt snack the next day and that took care of that. The Golden Ticket I can't fix. That is what it is.

The dog. Well, she is terribly afraid of dogs. She had a very scary encounter with a very scary dog a few years back and refused to go out the front door for a while after that. So while we work towards acclimating her to dogs, I understand her fear. I told her it's fine to be afraid of dogs, far better than too friendly with dogs and that those kids don't know what happened and why she is nervous and if it had happened to them, they'd be afraid too. And I know that she did this overly dramatic thing that she does, where she tucks her hands up under her chin and fake shakes her legs and quivers her lips and whimpers.

See, her drama is their weapon. That is the conclusion I came to after thinking about it for a while. She is giving them their fuel.

So later, I said this:

"Baby, let's pretend for a minute that I am a bad guy and you are a good guy. I want to fight you, just because I am mean and nasty, but I don't have any swords. You are a good guy and you have two swords just laying around and you aren't guarding them. What happens if I manage to take your sword? Are we going to be friends or am I going to fight you?"

She thought for only a second and said "You are going to fight me."

"That's right. Because I'm a baddie and that's what I do. So when you do things like show on the outside you are very, very afraid of dogs, that's like leaving your sword laying around. People who feel mean see how you feel and use it to fight you, even though you haven't done anything to them. Your feelings are their sword. And it's fine to feel how you feel, but sometimes it is better to pretend something doesn't bother you until you are safely at home and then you can tell me all about it. Sometimes it is better not to give them any weapons. Do you understand?"

"Yes." She said. "I will just look like this" and she made a face to show me how stoic she can look. "And then on the inside I will think that I don't like dogs."

"Perfect!" I said. "No swords!"

"No swords." she said and we laughed together and I think she understood.

The next day was better and she proudly announced when she came home that she'd "had a great day and NO swords were out."

That's my girl!

As for the boy who hit her in the heart, well, for all I know it was a missed high five or a game of Red Rover. I told her if it happened again she is to say loudly and firmly "GET YOUR HANDS OFF OF ME!" and tell the nearest person in charge. She was worried that that would be considered tattling, but I told her it is not, as it involves her and it a BIG violation of school rules. But there hasn't been another incident and I really don't think there will be.

This is hard. Hard for her and for me. I don't want her to smush her feelings down inside, but I also want her to cut the drama. I want her to be confident in who she is without her inner actress shining through all the time. I guess only time will tell if I handled it okay. Only time will tell if the weapons I give her work to fight the baddies and the meanies that exist in all the schools, playgrounds and even workplaces in the world.

I hope so. I'm so thankful she feels she can talk to her mama and I hope she always knows that she can tell me everything. I will do my best to equip her to navigate her world.

Now, if someone could just equip me to navigate her world, I'd be really grateful.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


I posted a new Recipe of the Week.

You can pick your jaw up off the floor now. You look quite silly and you are going to swallow a fly if you don't close your mouth.

That is all.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bloggers block

I can't think of a darn thing to say. I don't have any super cute stories to relate, I just told you how great my kids are and I haven't done a stock up run in a while because the sale and coupon match-ups have been average at best. I also just did a list of what clues you in that you are a mom and I did a random musings set not all that long ago as well.

I have lost my blogging mojo. Have you seen it?

Yeah. Me either. Hmmmmmm.

Watch this space. I'll be back. I have to go look for my mojo.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Former Deal of the Day Alert

Last week I linked you to a coupon for $10 off at Sears in the Juniors Dept. Well apparently the people at Sears have never heard of the Internet or something, because they are now claiming it was never their intention to have so many people use the coupon so they will no longer be honoring it. I cannot stand it when companies do this sort of thing, but that's the way the cookie crumbles, I guess. I hope I saved you a trip to Sears.

Friday, September 18, 2009


I hurt StinkyMan's feelings.

I was in the middle of pouring various bowls and cups of milk when I realized that I had forgotten to complete Curly's reading log. As I quickly finished filling it in and signing it, StinkyMan decided he would pour his own milk.

"NO!" I said, but it was too late. I took the cup from him and he said proudly "But look, Mommy, I didn't spill any!"

"I know. I see. But I thought that you would. Next time wait for me okay?" and I turned back to the errant homework assignment.

All of a sudden there is wailing behind me. StinkyMan is devastated.

And I realize my error.

Instead of praising him for a job well done and for trying to help, I chastised him for what COULD have happened, but didn't. His heart was hurt. I had crushed him.

I hugged him and told him I was sorry, that I didn't mean to make him sad. But he cried the cry of a broken hearted boy.

Peanut asked "StinkyMan sad?"

"Yes" I said "I hurt his feelings."

"He has an owie?"

"Yes" I answered. "He has an owie."

"Oooooh." She understands the seriousness of an owie. "StinkyMan need a band aid." After all, bandaids heal everything.

"I think he just needs hugs" I said as her brother still whimpers in my lap.

"And a kiss!" and she leans in and gives him one.

"That was nice, Peanut" I say. "StinkyMan, I was going to have some cereal for breakfast" Which I was not, but I would fix this. "Will you pour my milk?"




And a slow nod. "Yes. I can do it."

"I know you can!" I said enthusiastically. "You are a good pourer."

And so we trooped back into the kitchen, poured a bowl of cereal and he poured my milk. And he did great.

Next time I will also try to do great the first time. It's a good thing that sometimes in life we do get a do-over.

Thursday, September 17, 2009


In StinkyMan's class is a little boy, whom I believe has special needs. I can't say for sure, of course, because the teachers aren't going to share that info and it isn't obvious at first glance. But apparently, the other day, the class had a little chat about differences amongst them. They talked about how everyone is a little different, but we should always be kind and friendly. Then the teacher asked if there was anyone on the rug who would be willing to go and "sit next to my friend who hums."

It was my little guy that jumped right up and said "I will!" and promptly sat down next to the child. And when he came out from class he said "MOMMY! Guess who was Monkey of the Day? It was 'Kiddo' and I am his friend because I sitted next to him!" He was genuinely happy for "Kiddo's" Monkey status and that he had a new friend.

I'm so proud of my StinkyMan and his big heart. The teacher (I think) looked a little teary when she told me and I certainly got teary. He's such a loving kid. It's one of the things that makes me know we're doing a good job.

Way to go, my Sweet Boy. Way to go.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

My Daughter the Car

From Peanut, after a rather loud burp:

Oh, 'scuse me! I beeped!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Climate Control

Curly: Mommy why is it so gray and blah outside today?

Mommy: I don't know. It's strange weather for us for September.

Curly: Maybe someone is feeling down today. Maybe lots of people are feeling down and so the weather is down too.

Mommy: Maybe. Who could be that down? You'd have to be pretty down to make the weather yucky I think.

Curly (looking down at her navy blue dress): I'm going to go put on a brighter dress. Maybe then, people will feel better. They will see the color of my dress, feel happy and the weather will change.

Mommy: I think that's a nice idea, Curly.

How great would it be, if all the "blah" in the world could be changed by putting on cheery colors? And wouldn't it be great, even if it was just for a minute, to be innocent enough again to believe that your dress holds the key to good weather and happy friends?

I wish it were that easy. Curly really thinks it is. Her dress du jour is now yellow.

And you know, I think I do feel happier.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thoughts on this day

Today is September 11th, 2009. Eight years ago we, as a nation, experienced a tragedy of indescribable proportions.

Today has been a day of reflection and remembrance, as it should be. All the news channel have talked about it. Facebook statuses give thanks and updates of "I remember where I was when..." Online articles, magazines and blogs like my own have tried to find the words to accurately describe the horror of September 11, 2001, the pain of attempting to move past it and the difficulties that these anniversaries bring for so many.

Eight years later I sit here and can only draw the same conclusion I drew then:

There just are no words to describe it.

Not any of it.

Not the acts of terrorism, not the unification of our country in the aftermath, not the horror, not the anger, not the grief, not the heroism...none of it will ever, EVER accurately be described by words. They only way to know truly what it was was to have lived through it and even then there are different versions and experiences that will never properly be relayed because the words that will be used will never be enough.

No history books will ever do it justice, though they will try. Teachers will try. Professors will try. Historians and museum curators and even Hollywood will try.

But the words will be lacking and the grief will linger and the generations that come afterwards will not ever fully understand it, even when they try. Because nothing, NOTHING can accurately describe that day and the days afterwards.

And so, like so many others, I'm left with only being able to say "thank you" to those who were heroic that day, "I'm sorry" to those who lost loved ones and "God Bless America" to the rest of us.

May we never need to search for such horrific words again.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Impressive Kids, this bunch

StinkyMan can READ!

OK, don't whip out Moby Dick quite yet, but he's been pointing out random words here and there for a week or two now. This morning I decided to see what he could do and brought out Curly's spelling/reading flashcards.

Now granted, the spelling words are really review words from Kindergarten, but he just started pre-K 3 weeks ago, so I think I have the right to brag and say he whipped through her cards like no big deal at all. He got tripped up a time or two, but he could sound them out and read them for sure!

I'm so impressed with my boy. He's getting so big and is quickly graduating from little boy to, as he would say, a big boy. He's the sweetest kid, full of love for his family and friends and I think he has a few teachers semi wrapped around his little finger, too.

Someone else around here is getting big too. BabyGirl had her one year check and in the words of Mary Poppins "is practically perfect in every way." She is 20 pounds and 29 inches and is 33 percentile for her weight and 43 percentile for her height. She's in the 46 percentile for her head...I suspect it's all pure brain mass. My other kids are all brilliant, why wouldn't she be, right? Plus she's cute as a button (what does that even mean? Still, she's a doll.)

Curly is loving first grade and seems to have a small "thing" for a boy from her class. This morning she said "I wonder if 'Boy' will be at school today" and when I asked if he'd been absent she said "No. I was just wondering." Hmmmm. And yesterday she told me she thinks "Boy" is funny. I've been hearing a lot about "Boy" this week, actually. She's only 6...I'm not looking forward to 16! She's such a sweet girl, though, I can't imagine any real trouble from her.

And Peanut has shot up a bit. Though still tiny, many of her 18 to 24 month dresses are suddenly on the short side. That's OK, since she is now 30 months! She can't wear pants because they fall down her nonexistent tush, so I have to cross my fingers and hope that what she has will last until Fall. Mind you she's not any heavier, just taller. She outweighs BabyGirl by a mere 4 pounds! And she talks and talks and talks and talks and has the cutest little "smokers" raspy voice and the quirkiest sense of humor. She makes me smile all the time.

My kids are the best. You can think your kids are. I'll let you. But I know you're wrong. And you can think I'm wrong, as I'm sure you do. The most important work I could ever do is raising these little people. I'm so lucky to do it....and to see the results of my work in smart, sweet, kind, fun and cute kids.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Not quite the same thing

Curly: Mommy, we watched Star Wars at Friend's house!

Mommy: Oh yeah?

Curly: Yeah! Star Wars: Clown Wars.

Mommy: You mean Star Wars: Clone Wars?

Curly: Oh, yeah, I get those words confused. That's probably why it wasn't like I thought it would be.

Mommy (envisioning light sabre wielding Bozos): Maybe, Sweet Girl. Maybe.

You know you are a Mommy when:

You are at home and announce you have to go potty and someone says "I'm going with you."

You call it "Going potty" and you announce that you are going, rather than just going.

Someone tries to pour water in your pocket "for later"

You can remember all the words to "Don't Lie" by Wow Wow Wubbzy, but not what the appointment reminder lady said about the pediatrician's appointment.

You know the pediatrician's phone number by heart.

The receptionist at the pediatrician's office knows exactly who you and all your kids are the moment you identify yourself on the phone.

You get up at 2am and fix a sandwich because you realize you forgot to pack lunch and you KNOW you won't feel like it in the morning.

You have more kid food than adult food in the house. Nuggets, anyone?

You know what a Funtainer is and the importance of having one.

You have the Fresh Beat Band song stuck in your head.

Your car's cassette player has a packet of Trident gum in it because your kids don't really know what a cassette tape is and couldn't fathom what that might be for except to hold gum.

Your "good" shirt is the one with only one small stain in a hard to see place.

There is more toothpaste on the counter, in the sink and on the shower curtain than in the tube.

Your wake-up call in the morning is "I'VE GOT POOP!"

The concert you really want to see is Laurie Berkner.

The last things you watched on You Tube are "How to make a no sew tutu" and "How to French Braid"

You can change a diaper while the kid is standing up.

You are alone and still consider watching Phineas and Ferb. After all, there isn't really anything else on.

You think the entire list above is actually pretty darn great.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Smarty Boy

StinkyMan: Mommy, what is that called at the top of the calendar?

Mommy: At the top of the candle?

StinkyMan: Calendar.

Mommy: Oh, calendar. The month?

StinkyMan: Yeah. What's it called? The one with 3 E's in it?

Mommy: 3 E's...September?

StinkyMan: Does that have three E's?

Mommy: Yes. S-E-P-T-E-M-B-E-R. September.

StinkyMan: That's it. That's at the top of the calendar now. It has 3 E's.

Mommy: Yes it is at the top with 3 E's, Smarty Boy. Goodnight.

StinkyMan: Goodnight Mommy.

I'm trying to decide if I should be impressed or slightly frightened that after one day of September calendar at preschool the thing he remembered about our new month was that is has 3 E's in it. It's a way of thinking I'm not used to. Very engineery and mathematical...the side of my brain that works at a sub-par level. I'm all about English and flowery language and the symbolism of the written word. He's all about breaking down the parts and tinkering with the pieces and figuring out the little bits that accomplish the whole. As far as I can tell, he's the only one of my kids who thinks this way, even though BabyGirl is too little to decipher yet.

Ah, my boy. Part of you will always be a little puzzle for me I suspect. You are an amazing kid with brain power that will help you do outstanding things.

For the record, this post has 80 E's in it.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Monday, August 31, 2009

Good Mommy Cake/Good Daddy Handywork

Sunday was BabyGirl's birthday bash. I figure she's my last first birthday party, so why not blow it out, right? The pool was open, the BBQ was on, the company was awesome and the cake? Well, see what I did? (with thanks to BFF for the help)

I also have to give props to my super handy husband for building a fantastic overhang. I was told by another friend that the correct term is "pergola." Whatever you call it, he did amazing work. It helped keep our guests nice and cool:

He finished it literally minutes before the guests arrived. Everyone was appropriately impressed, as was I. He's dreamed of this thing since before we moved in. I can only imagine what he'll dream up next. Whatever it is, I'm sure it will be equally awesome.

We partied from noon until about 7:30 when just about everyone was ready to drop. It was fun, but I'm always glad when these things are behind me. We are birthday partied out until January. Whew!

Friday, August 28, 2009

They know so much and yet so little

From Curly, upon not discovering any Cheerleader Halloween costumes to her liking:

"Mom, can't you just type in"

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My BabyGirl... one year old today.

One year ago she was born with premature lungs. One year ago the pediatrician came in and said he thought it best if she go to another with a NICU. And I stayed behind.

It was awful. And sad. And difficult. And all the things you would expect when your newborn is taken out of your care and out of your line of vision. It was not an option for me to leave. I had dangerously high blood pressure and needed care myself. I cried a lot.

It was a rocky start. Eight days in the NICU. One day we came to visit and they said "You can take her home!" I didn't have her going home outfit so we ran to the mall while they gave her her "car seat test" to make sure she could sit and breathe well in a car seat for an hour. She passed and we brought her home to an excited and curious and busy household of siblings.

She was and is a beautiful baby. Our very last child is even tempered yet strong willed, chubby in that cute baby chub way, yet not particularly big. She's happy yet dramatic, particular but easy going and loves to explore. Her eyes are a gorgeous blue (that makes 4 for 4 with two brown eyed parents. Weird!) She has 4 teeth and likes to wrinkle her nose up and breathe in a way that reminds me of the Lamaze breathing I did in labor. She can clap her hands and is never happy being fenced into the family room. She'd much rather crawl all around and, although we don't let her, she is capable of climbing up the stairs. Her hair is straight and wispy on top and in the front, but pretty curly in the nape of her neck. She says "nah-nah-nah" but no mama or dada yet. She is goofy like her sisters and brother and seems to have a great sense of humor. She brings the funny and giggles when someone else is being silly. She loves music and will shake her head and "dance". She is absolute perfection in baby form.

It's bittersweet for me that my baby is one now. I know we are quickly leaving babydom behind us and toddlerhood is around the corner. I'm not ready for my last baby to not be a baby. I know we have many exciting adventures ahead of us. I know we have only just begun to discover her and her personality. It's been an amazing year. I know the coming years will be just as wonderful.

Happy Birthday BabyGirl. Mommy loves you more than I could ever say in words. Thanks for joining our family. You made us complete.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Good Mommy Lunches

Good Mommy has been packing lunches for four school days now and has strived every day to pack something fun for Curly.

So far the biggest hit are her Funtainers, which have kept yogurt and applesauce cold and today kept mac n cheese nice and warm. She also gets chocolate milk in her tall Funtainer, which comes out much cheaper than a juice box every day.

She's also had butterfly shaped sandwiches, Hershey's kisses, granola bars, cherry tomatoes, grapes, baggies of Cocoa Puffs, raspberries, and grapes. I've packed little notes in her lunchbox too.

But my absolute favorite thing I've packed so far were these:

Hard boiled eggs in cute shapes! Sweet right? And Curly LOVES hard boiled eggs, so how great of a lunch is that? An egg or two, some fresh fruit, some crackers and a treat. Perfect!

Except Curly came home and said they aren't allowed to have eggs because someone in her grade (not her class) is allergic and if she brings them again she has to sit alone at the end of the table to eat her lunch.

Now I have an egg allergy kid, and I've never been told that egg allergies are that dangerous. And I don't think, at six years old, this other child is going to lean over and lick my kid's lunch. But I don't want Curly to sit alone and I certainly don't want to cause anyone any health issues. So I won't pack them anymore. And it makes me sad. I thought they were really fun and a great thing to pack. I bought $20 worth of molds too.

Guess I'll have to find another way to keep being Good at the fun lunch game.

Anyone wanna buy some egg molds?

Thursday, August 20, 2009


If you were in my house right now I would tell you to be quiet and listen.

And you wouldn't hear a thing.

The big kids are at school. The little girls are asleep. The dryer just stopped and the breadmaker hasn't warmed up enough to kick on the mix cycle quite yet.

It's so quiet.

It's awesome.

The first day of school went well. Curly went happily to her desk and was excited to start her day as a big first grader. StinkyMan isn't super sure about this 4 days of Pre-K thing. He's not convinced that's not too many days. He'll adjust. He loves school...he just forget how much he loves it until he is there.

Peanut was equally unconvinced about her nap. I convinced her. I'm tricky like that.

BabyGirl should be up soon. She's loud in that cute way that babies are loud, so I don't mind.

You know what else I won't mind?

The noise. The noise that comes when everyone is awake and everyone is home and everyone is talking and laughing and screeching and hollering and playing.

I've been saying for a while that I was ready for school to begin again. And I was. I love it.

But I like after school a whole lot too. It's pretty great having all those cute little people here with me, under my feet, around my legs, at my table, and wherever I look.

I love my kids. They are the best kids ever. You can disagree if you want, but I'm quite sure I'm right.

But right now, I'm enjoying my peace.