Sunday, June 28, 2009

Oops I did it again

Not really an oops. I just liked the title:

That is:

4 12 packs Diet Coke

12 bottles of Pepsi

40 SoyJoy bars

1 mini eyeliner

5 men's deodorant

12 boxes of Oreo Cakesters

18 boxes of instant pudding

3 bottle of Rapid Release Tylenol

12 tubes of Aquafresh

2 pkgs of maxi pads

6 organic lollipops

1 Carmex

4 boxes of bandaids

for a grand total of $24.99 out of my pocket, which was primarily taxes, CRV, and a few dollars to get the ECB deals started (that's Extra Care Bucks at CVS). The retail value of all of that is roughly $157 and I have $8 in ECB's left and $3 RR from Walgreens. Not bad, eh?

I'm sitting out next week. I don't see much worth chasing after so instead of spending time stockpiling my stash, I'll organize it instead. The week after that, though, watch out!

Friday, June 26, 2009

I swear he is smart

The other day StinkyMan wanted to go play with Grammy. It was quite early in the day, so I said that she was still sleeping and that he maybe he could play with her in the afternoon.

A couple of hours later she and I were gabbing on the phone and StinkyMan was jumping up and down next to me, absolutely desperate to talk to her. When I gave him the phone he said:

"Hi Grammy. Are you awake or asleep?"

"What?" asked a baffled Grammy.

"Are you awake or are you asleep?"

"Well, you are talking to me, so that means I am awake."

"Oh yeah. Can you play wif me?"

"In a little while, OK?"


He's smart. Really.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Goodbye My Friend

My friend Rochelle died last night.

I'm really quite numb. She was 37. She had the flu. And then she was just gone.

I called her house tonight to talk to her husband and her 2 beautiful little girls. Her voice was on the machine.

I will never get to hear her laugh again. She had a great laugh. I will never get to share another secret with her. Never again will my family sit at dinner with her and her family. She won't be there to help me pass out cake at my next shindig. No more comments from her on my Facebook page, we'll never have that meet-up at the outlets we kept talking about. She was the kind of friend that, while we didn't talk every day, every week or even every month, it was always as if no time had passed at all when we did get in touch, something I consider the mark of a true friend.

A husband is left without his soul mate, 2 little girls without their mama. Here one day, gone the next, I can only begin to multiply what I feel by a thousand and then try to imagine that might be a tenth of how they are feeling right now.

And although she will never see this, I need to say it to her:

Rochelle, you and I were destined to be friends. Neighbors twice, it was my dream to be neighbors again some day. I can't believe you are gone. It is my absolute privilege to have been your friend. I will miss you terribly.

I promise that I will be here for your girls, to help the navigate the tough road ahead, not just now, but years from now: first loves, first dates, first heartbreaks and more. It isn't fair it can't be you and it isn't fair they have to learn at their young ages that life can be cruel. I will try my best to support Lance, to encourage him forward, to help him however he needs. I know he is and will remain lost without you. I will try to make sure he manages to find some joy amongst the sadness in his heart.

I will tell stories about you knew I was pregnant by the look on my face when you said "what's up?", how we used to walk in circles around the neighborhood every night just chatting away, how we ended up as neighbors by accident the second time, how we went to Ikea and bought furniture together, how we had a door in our backyard fence so we could open it up and hang out in one giant backyard. I will tell the girls how you liked Starbucks and chocolate, how you gave me one of the best haircuts I ever had and how all you ever wanted for them was happiness and peace and love and family. I will tell them about violent Chinese food and the dinners we used to have together at the last minute. I'll tell them about the laughs we shared even in tough times, the tears we shared when things got worse and the laughter that inevitably came back and often started with you.

They will miss you. I will miss you. Together we will keep your memory alive. Goodbye, my friend. I love you.


"Mommy, what's your special talent?"

"My special talent?"

"What are you really good at?"

I had to think for a minute. Curly posed a good question. What is my special talent?

"I tell pretty good stories, I think." I finally answered.

"You do tell good stories, Mama. Do you know what my special talents are?"

"You are a good artist." I said.

"Yes. But I am also a good dancer."

"Yes, you are."

"And a good singer. And a good cartwheeler. I'm a good spinner too." She says as she proceeds to spin around in circles.

"I can see."

"And I am a good stand-on-one-legger" She begins to demonstrate this particular talent, but it's a tough one to do after all that spinning.

"Be careful. I don't want you to be a good ambulance rider."


"I don't want you to fall and hurt yourself."

"No. I don't want to crack my head open. I don't want to be a good blood leaker. That's not a good talent."

"No it's not. I'd rather you keep your blood in your body."

"OK, Mama." And the spinning begins again.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Best conversation ever

Bathing suit debate:

Peanut: I wanna on my baby soup.

StinkyMan: Peanut, it's not a baby soup. It's a baving suit. BAY-VING.

Curly: No, your both wrong. It's a babing suit. Bay-bing suit. Baybing suit.

Mommy: Why don't you all just go get your swim suits on, okay?

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Look what I did!

"So?" you ask "You went shopping? Big deal."

Except it is.

Above you are looking at:
26 deodorants
12 body washes
4 detanglers
5 shampoos or conditioners
7 mini eyeliners
8 rolls of toilet paper
2 boxes of snack cakes
2 containers of baby puffs
2 things of baby food
1 lollipop
2 candy bars (I ate the 3rd one)
16 jars of spaghetti sauce
14 jars of peanut butter
1 container of baby powder
and a Diet Coke that I drank.

It should have cost me a total of $244.92.

But it didn't.

Including what is cost me to acquire some extra coupons, I spent $63.27 and I have $16 in store money (known as Register Rewards at Walgreens, where all this is from) left over for the next set of deals.


Very big thanks to my friend Christi for all her help. If you want to configure some deals for yourself, read her blog at There were several purchases made where the store was paying me to take stuff off the shelves and I wouldn't know where to start without Christi's blog.

But what on earth does someone need that many deodorants for? Well, they don't go bad, but beyond that, if I want to take some down to the local woman's shelter (deodorant is something they are always in search of, as well as body wash) I can write it off my taxes at retail price and everyone wins. We'll eat the spaghetti sauce and the peanut butter and the snack cakes and the baby food. I'll use the eyeliners and the baby powders and we'll be through the shampoo, conditioner and detangler and toilet paper in no time. The candy bars won't make it through tomorrow.

In the end, it saves me money to do it this way. And it's a high. A bargain shopping high. Try it. You'll like it.

Side note: On that infamous message board I frequent, there would undoubtedly be women who would rake me over the coals for clearing out the shelves and not leaving anything for anyone else. On the contrary, I went to several different Walgreens (5 to be exact) and nowhere did I take more than my fair share. The only time I cleared the shelf leaving none is when there were only 2 of the item left anyway. There was plenty of it all to go around.

Thursday, June 18, 2009


pulled herself up onto her feet today with the help of the Cricut box. She's getting too big too fast.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Curly has invented a word I rather like. The other day I spilled something and said "Oh, that's awesome."

She asked knowingly "Mommy, are you being sartastic?"

The combo of sarcastic and fantastic is something I can get behind. I think when someone is especially witty with the sarcasm they should be labeled "sartastic." It really works, don't you think?

The kidism of the week belongs to Peanut though, who calls her bathing suit her "baby soup." Admit it. That's just plain adorable, no?

Another love

As I mentioned earlier Peanut's first love is being nakey. It is closely matched by a love of trucks. We can barely pull out of the garage before hearing "I see trucks?" followed by an entire driving trip of "Trucks!" "BIG Trucks" I see trucks!" "More trucks!" etc, etc, etc. I mean she can keep it up for a really long time, which means I am halfway dreading the upcoming weekends' hours long drives. And every Wednesday we run out to see the garbage truck. The garbage man waves at us and she screams "GARBAGE TRUCK!" as he arrives and "BYE, BYE GARBAGE TRUCK!" as he leaves. It is the highlight of her day.

Until today, when she discovered a new truck love.

This morning she was the first kiddo up, so we came downstairs and she asked to watch her favorite TV program. Rarely does she get to choose what to watch, as her position on the totem pole is fairly low, so I was happy to let her choose. I flipped on the TV and it was as if she had struck gold.


That's right. My toddler has discovered the channel 3 news traffic cam.

She was enthralled. It was the best thing she had ever seen. With every truck that came by I heard " 'nother truck!" or "Truck!" or "BIG Truck". As far as she was concerned it was the greatest show ever. There simply cannot be anything better than truck watching from your favorite comfy chair with your froggy cup full of milk.

Much to her disappointment, the traffic cam only lasts about 40 seconds. "Trucks?" she asked in her most pathetic voice. So I hit rewind and we watched it again. And again. And again. And she was happy every single time the same trucks passed our screen. She whooped and hollered and enjoyed that traffic cam more than any traffic cam has ever been enjoyed.

And then the garbage truck came. Woo-hoo!

I'm not sure, but I think she might be having the best day ever.

Monday, June 15, 2009


What happens when taking a nap in your bed is the same as admitting defeat, but you are far too tired to go one more step?

You grab your pillow, put it over your head instead of under your head and fall asleep in the hall. That way, Mom didn't win!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Decisions, decisions

One of the things I struggle with as a mom is when to let the kids handle things themselves and when to jump in. When do I let them make their own choices and when do I pull the mom card. When is it okay to override their decisions and force my own and when is it worth it.

A prime example would be last week. Curly was going to our local clubhouse pool with some friends. She has the cutest tankini with a tassel hanging off the faux belt. She was looking desperately for some other bathing suit to wear, but they were all being laundered or missing a top. I said "Just wear this one" several times but she was frantically looking for the magical clean suit. It finally boiled down to this:

"The other girls will laugh at me. I don't want them to laugh at me. They'll think this is weird." She got watery eyes as she flicked at the tassel.

Ah. So what do I do? As an adult I know the girls will not laugh. It's in her head. But as a previously quite insecure girl, I know the torture this is for her. I thought for a moment and said "Well, I could cut it off. Would that work?"

A huge smile was my answer so I grabbed the scissors and cut away. To me it looked worse, leaving a little nub of fabric where the tassel had been, but to her it was better and she went happily to swim with her friends.

Could I have over ridden her choice? Sure. Could I have said "It's fine. Just wear it, or don't go"? Yup. But I didn't. I remember being young and afraid of what others would think and worried I didn't look quite right. She won and went to the pool with confidence and happiness. And although I think everything would have been fine had I forced my will upon her, her self confidence was better for letting her have her own choice and that is a priceless thing.

Today I had another "Do I push or let it go?" moment when StinkyMan came downstairs dressed for the day in this outfit:

(He's hiding in this picture because he didn't want me to take it. Little did he know I wanted to blog it and didn't want his face in it anyway. A fine example of forcing my will upon him. HA!)

So it doesn't exactly match and he was supposed to go to a lunch over at his aunt and uncle's house. Do I say "Oh, Buddy, nice try!" and get him to change one or the other? Or do I let it go and just be happy he decided to take the initiative to get dressed on his own?

For the record, I let it go. My husband's family is nothing if not super kid friendly and well aware of how these things go. And although it took everything in me not to try to get him to change, it is better to let them have the small victories, right? Some battles are worth it, but this wasn't one of them.

I try very hard to allow my children to find their own way. Sometimes it is hard, often times I fail. All I can do is be here for them for successes and failures. I hope they always know that whatever their choices, or whatever choices I make for them, I love and support and want the best for them always.

I never knew thinking about their wardrobe choices could be so humbling or philosophical.

Thursday, June 11, 2009



"Yes StinkyMan?"

"Can you get the peanut butter down so I can just hang wif it?"

"You want to hang with peanut butter?"


"You want to hang with peanut butter."

"Yes. I want to hang wif it while I play cars"

"OK, Dude. Whatever floats your boat."

Another teacher gift

My son had the most amazing teachers at the most wonderful preschool this year. They love my StinkyMan, quirks and all and truly seem to appreciate, not just him, but the individuality and creativity and personality of each and every child at the school.

I wanted to get them something nice. If I had my way, I would have sent them both to a spa for a day. Sadly, I have not yet won the lottery, unless you count that email I got about how I won the lotto in Zurich.

So I took my considerably smaller than a day spa budget and made them each a little DIY spa kit. It included:

Homemade sugar scrub (of course)
A terrycloth headband to hold back their hair when they sugar scrub their faces
a loofah
a microfiber facial glove
a bathtub pillow
an exfoliating fingertip pad
some body butter
and a candy bar

all put together in a cute tub, with a little note about how they cared for StinkyMan and now they should take extra good care of themselves.

I wanted to put in a candle, but I forgot to pick some up. I also wanted to put in a CD of relaxing spa music, but since I didn't finish putting it all together until about 1:00 in the morning, you can imagine why I did not want to go in and burn CDs at that point.

Still I think they came out pretty cute. Here's one:

They were identical except the names and were actually cuter in real life than in the picture. Both teachers seemed to appreciate it. It was small potatoes when compared to what they have done for StinkyMan. I am eternally grateful.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Nakey Nakey

All of my kids are or have been at some point nudists. Currently it is Peanut who prefers to be "nakey" as we say in our house. She delights in pointing out when anyone is half nakey, all the way nakey, getting nakey, whatever. If she sees those stupid Old Navy commercials with the talking mannequins in their swimsuits she screams "He's NAKEY!" when one of the shirtless guy mannequins graces the screen. She'll open the shower to door to tell me I'm nakey. She points out that the baby has a nakey tushie when I change her diaper.

She has also shown a good bit of interest in the toilet, so I decided to try potty training. And since I am fully against anything that generates MORE laundry, I figured we'd try naked potty training. The experts say it works. That the kids don't like the feeling of the pee running down their legs and within days will have the whole thing figured out. So far, that has not been my experience.

And lastly, her new found love is art. Specifically coloring. And she is no dope because she is WELL aware that the Crayola Color Wonder markers and paper are absolutely not the same as the markers her sister and brother are coloring with. This is a dangerous proposition because she also has no restraint, or at least she has the restraint of a two year old. She colors on the paper, then the table, maybe a chair and, of course, herself.

She's quite the canvas, what with being nakey and all. At any given moment her legs and arms are colored. Right now they are green. She also likes to do the palm of her hands and the tops of her feet. They are currently blue.

But yesterday....oh yesterday was the kicker. Yesterday I emerged from the pantry to discover that one leg and one arm were pink......but her vajay-jay area had been decorated a lovely shade of purple.

We are now doing panties only potty training.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

And so it begins....

It is officially summer vacation for Curly and StinkyMan has just 2 days of preschool left before he's out as well.

And it is time for my confession: I don't like summer vacation.

I'm pretty sure that puts me in the Bad Mommy Club, so I don't like to admit it. There are, of course, some aspects I enjoy. Not having to jump up and herd short people through breakfast is nice. I like not having to navigate clothing battles at 6:30 in the morning. And summer does allow for some fun leisure time with them, which is great. I love hanging with my kids.

But not all day long, every day, 7 days a week for a bazillion weeks. I know, I know, it's not a billion weeks, I'm being dramatic. But when the fighting over Mario Cart begins before 7am, the day stretches out and the weeks seem like they will be an infinitely long patch on the highway of Boredom and Fighting.

Yes I can put them in activities and yes they will have playdates and yes there are things to do. But don't forget my husband travels, so while many fellow moms sit down and enjoy dinner with their whole families, I'm trying to figure out the best way to coerce 4 kids into going to bed even though the sun is still out. (Yes I stick to the same strict schedule in the summer as I do during school. They get up at the same time no matter what I do and if they go to bed later they are cranky. Why add the difficulty to my life? It's called self preservation!)

In truth, I think summer may be one of those things I will dread in theory MORE than in reality. At least I hope so. I don't want to be in the Bad Mommy Club. Only time will tell. I'll let you know if I make it out alive.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Teacher gift

So I had a plan for Curly's teacher's end of the year gift. I got this really sweet little necklace with a darling apple charm. There had been a coupon code for $20 off any purchase and free shipping, so the whole thing cost me 68 cents. Well, I guess you get what you pay for, because, while it was originally $20, I got 68 cents worth of necklace. That is to say, it came broken.

Plan B time and those who know me know that I am a wait until the last minute kind of girl. I am also the kind of girl who like to give nice and meaningful gifts, but without spending a lot of money (see the 68 cent story above.)

But if you remember when I made these I said they could be used for a cute teacher's gift and I took my own advice. And so I proudly present my (I think) very cute, clever and creative teacher's gift:

It's a gift for the garden and it includes:

1 watering can-$2.49

1 garden shovel-$.99

2 pkgs Forget Me Not Seeds-$1.98 total

2 pkgs handmade soap-free

1 travel size tube sunblock-free with coupon

1 cute card made from leftover scraps-free

1 floppy hat to keep teacher cool while she gardens and to put all the stuff in-$2.50

For a grand total of $7.96 (plus tax) I have a pretty unique gift.

It is, however, the poem that pulls it all together:

I want to thank you, Mrs. Teacher

For all the things you've done.

This past year of Kindergarten

Was really so much fun.

There are so many things I learned

Far beyond my ABC's.

And now I know so much more math

Than just my 123's.

So here is a just a little gift for helping me a lot;

Things for your garden and packets of seeds

So you'll forget-me-not.

Personally I love it and Curly is very excited to give it. This idea is going in the "keep" file for future use!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


I was without internet and home phone for 24 hours. It was harrowing to say the least. At first I looked at it as an opportunity. How convenient to have that distraction forcibly removed! Why, I could accomplish all kinds of things without the internet beckoning me to shop, chat, surf or blog. I could fold laundry, clean out cabinets, get organized.

HA! I did manage to fold some laundry, but the rest was trickier than I anticipated. I cleaned out 4 cabinets and had things to freecycle, but no internet on which to freecycle them. I wanted to pay the bills, foiled again. I was going to call a paper shredding place, but I was phoneless and anyway, the phone number was in an email which I couldn't get to.

It's amazing how dependent I (and dare I say we) have become on something that wasn't commonplace not all that long ago. I graduated college without using the internet....current college grads likely never cracked an encyclopedia that wasn't online. And I will fully admit to suffering greatly without my link to the outside...because somehow it has become crucial in life that I know what the people I went to high school with are doing at every waking moment, or what city former co-workers should be living in or what movie quotes they know, or who scored higher than I did on Facebook Farkle. (For the record, everyone scores better than me. I don't get Farkle.)

I also have a running chat with my girlfriends that I pop in and out of all day long. What were they doing? What was going on? Who was having what giggle/story/irritation that I didn't know about.

There were plenty of moments when I thought "Oh, let me look that up real quick" only to realize I could not. My mom even wanted me to search for something online for her and of course I was unable.

There is a lesson in my 24 hours of disconnectivity, I'm sure. I did spend a lot of time with my kids and my cabinets do look nice now (I freecycled this morning) and the laundry has been folded. I learned I use my computer more than I thought and can barely remember how I did things before my computer was up and running and connected to the World Wide Web all day. I suppose I should unplug more often.

But I can't disconnect right now. I have to go check Facebook because the sister of a girl I kind of knew in high school might have posted some pictures of her kid or something.