Wednesday, June 30, 2010

House Guest

Actually, first it was a car guest.

Husband came in the house yesterday with a young bird in his hands. He found the little guy in my car. I don't know how or when he got in there, but there he was. Husband wanted to show the kids. In an effort not to hold him too tightly he ended up holding him too loosely and he got away. I found him on top of my cabinets. It's days like these I wish I had a really good camera, because he was really a pretty little bird.

He was clearly scared as he stayed put even while I waited for StinkyMan to fetch the camera and didn't budge at all while I took pictures (Please ignore the dirty tops of the cabinets. Thanks to the birdie, I now have a new summer project.)

Husband had said he was a baby. Curly determined he was more of a teenaged bird.

Peanut was perplexed. "Why he come in here?"

"Maybe he thinks we seem like a nice family." I answered, taking pictures.

"But...." she cocked her head to the side, indignantly "we are not birds!"


"He needs is own family."

"Yes, he does."

I scooped him up easily and he peeped loudly. I handed him off to Husband who took him outside and let him go. He flew off and landed in a tree. I hope he does OK, our little teenaged friend. He seemed a bit lost and shell shocked. Perhaps I'd brought him home from grocery shopping the night before? Who knows. But I hope he found his family.

Monday, June 28, 2010


BabyGirl is my first and only child to call me "Daddy." She knows I'm Mommy, and she'll even say "Hi Mama" but I think she thinks that's a whole phrase, not specifically addressed to me. The rest of the time she calls me "Daddy."

All my kids have been late talkers and they have all, pre-understandable English, spoken some weird combo of baby talk and real words. None of them ever stops talking now, so I'm not concerned by her gibberish and lack of clear words. They all have wonderful vocabularies, I have no doubt she will be the same.

But she is the only one to not focus on the word "Mommy" and since the other three are home all day every day right now and say it AT LEAST 1,000 times a day EACH, I'm OK with being called "Daddy" at the moment. Soon enough there will be four of them calling out "MOOOOOMMMMMYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!" at the top of their lungs.

Or maybe she is smarter than we think. Maybe she has figured out that I'm more like to respond to "Daddy" since I tend to tune out "Mommy!" And if Daddy happens to be home, then she has an extra chance and getting our attention.

Either way, she's a cutie pie who is becoming more clear every day. She says "Wow Wow" for her favorite show "Wow Wow Wubbzy", she says "thank you", though you wouldn't know that's what she means, she says "night-night" for goodnight and goodbye and when she wants to leave she gets her shoes and brings me my shoes. When she wants some milk she hands me her cup, walks to the counter, pats the top of it and then points to the refrigerator, to show me where to put her cup and where to get her milk. She can tell me when she is finished eating and when she is hungry she straps herself into her booster seat and waits for me to notice.

She's getting big, my BabyGirl, but she will always be my baby.

UPDATE: She also learned a new phrase that suprised me less than 24 hours after I posted this. Her brother sneezed and she said "Biss ew." He sneezed again. "Biss ew." Could she really know "bless you?" So I tested it out with a realistic fake sneeze. "Biss ew."


Thursday, June 24, 2010

One year

365 days ago I found out that my friend Rochelle had died the night before, 366 days ago today.

So it's been a year since I first saw the words posted on her Facebook page by another friend that Rochelle had passed away.

I think of that moment often: the moment I truly understood that no one, not even the young, not even moms are safe from unexpected death.

Of course I knew that before. We all KNOW it. But like the teenager who drag races or the 3 year old who says "I won't fall" none of us actually believes it will happen to us.

Until it does.

I remember reading her page over and over and over, expecting that at any moment Rochelle would hop on and say "You guys, someone hacked my Facebook account. I'm fine!"

She never did.

It was a weird day. It's been a weird year. A friend told me the other day that she lost dear friend 3 years ago and that while it gets better, it doesn't get less weird that they aren't here. In essence, life will never, ever be the same again.

Her girls are doing well. It's been rough, but I just spent some time with them and they are happy, imaginative girls with great energy and fun spirits. Her husband is beginning new endeavors work wise as well and they are looking at relocating nearer to where we are, which could be lots of fun.

Time goes on. Life goes on. And yes, I miss her. But I have lots of good memories of our times together and I can see her in her girls, the way they act, the things they say, their artsy, craftsy imaginations.

But that doesn't stop me from checking her Facebook page every now and then, not because I think she'll be posting, but because it's nice to see that others think about her, miss her and feel as I do: that the world is odd without her.

I miss you, My Friend. I think of you often. I wish you were here.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


Today for the first time I worked out to Jillian Michael's 30 day Shred DVD.

That woman is trying to make me throw up and then lay down and die.

While I was sweating, StinkyMan watched for a bit, left, and then came back into the room and watched me a bit more. I could see him standing near me out of the corner of my eye.

When a very short break came along (like seriously 5 seconds is all she gives, mostly less) StinkyMan stepped forward and said "Here, Mommy. Here's your water!" and thrust a bottle of water at me.

I must really have looked like I was going to pass out if my 5 year old was concerned enough to try to hydrate me.

But tomorrow I will do it again. Losing weight at 36 is not as easy as it was in my 20s.

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Magic Word

Peanut: Mommy, can I have some chocolate milk?

Mommy: What's the magic word?

Peanut (thinking very hard): Mmmmmmmm, chocolate?

Somehow, she's not totally wrong.

I win!

We had ants. Lots and lots of ants. They adored my kitchen nook. If I was an ant I would too. With 4 kids, one of whom is a toddler, no matter how I tried, I could not keep all the crumbs off the floor all the time. Even when I thought I got them all and would go to bed thinking I'd get up to a bug free kitchen, inevitably, they'd be everywhere in the morning, hunting minuscule crumbs for their queen.

We dropped pest control long ago. It's pricey and chemical laden and, while it seemed effective, I always was confused when I got my bill because I seemed to paying a lot for a little. I've beaten ants back before with vinegar and cream of tartar and chalk and dryer sheets. That didn't seem to work now. Husband sprayed outside himself but this group was a particularly tenacious bunch and just kept coming.

So I turned to the internet before I gave in and had the bug guy come. I saw lots of recommendations for vinegar, some for baking soda, and many more. But then I saw a suggestion for Borax. I have Borax for making my laundry soap and apparently if you mix a little bit in something yummy for the ants they will take it back to their queen and they will all eat it and go to their ant hill in the sky. Sounded like a plan to me.

I mixed some nice sugary maple syrup with a little Borax, put it on a canning jar lid and put it near where the ants were coming in (but where the kids couldn't see or reach it. It's not safe for kids to ingest that and I have a few kids that would have wanted to take a lick of maple syrup if they had the chance.)

And they steadfastly ignored my tasty treat, opting instead for the itty bitty crumbs.

Back to the drawing board. Next concoction: 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise to 1/8 of a teaspoon Borax. They key apparently is not to overload the treat with the poison or they won't touch it.

I put it down and waited, but I didn't have to wait long.

For 2 or 3 days they streamed steadily to the "mayax" and back to their home. Some died en route, and there was a nice ring of expired ants around the lid of death as well, which made me wonder if it was too strong, but I think they were just the weaker ants because plenty of others came and went.

And then there were none.

They just quit coming.

I've tested it out. Friday night I got home from Bunco and there were crumbs everywhere. I went to bed without bothering to clean it. I got up in the morning fully expecting to have to fight the cheeky little buggers again.


HA! I win! And it could not have been cheaper. You know how I love cheap.

So remember: 1 tbsp mayo and 1/8 of a teaspoon Borax and keep it away from your kids and pets. It takes a few days, but it's effective and cheap.

Friday, June 18, 2010

And what language is that exactly?

Curly: Mommy, I know some Spanish words. Wanna hear them?

Mommy: I would love to.

Curly: OK. Hola! Como see-saw?

Mommy tries not to laugh.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Would you like a sippy cup with that?

One of the last vestiges of babyhood has left our home.

We are officially done with bottles.

I know, I know, she should have been finished with them ages ago. But, you know, she's my BABY and I didn't want to make her grow up.

But considering that she keeps grabbing her sister's sippy cups and stealing her milk I think it's safe to say she's ready to move on. And since she stashed her bottle somewhere that I can't find and I'm not about to buy another one I am left with no choice but to hand her the sippy.

She is pleased. I think she feels very big.

I feel nostalgic for babyhood.

Friday, June 11, 2010

A Thank You

StinkyMan graduated from PreK this morning. Never again will he be a student at his beloved preschool. While Peanut will darken their door this coming Fall (they won't know what hit them with that kid), and BabyGirl the Fall afterwards, it was still an emotional morning for me. I've been thinking a lot about why that is and I have decided that, in the end, it has to do with him being my only baby boy as well has StinkyMan being emotionally different from my girls. They are more brave, less nervous, less analytical and skeptical. They don't hesitate or get scared like he does. This school and it's teachers helped him grow a lot in many ways. Yes, I made them gifts and yes I said thank you to their faces, but heck, I have a blog, so I'm going to say it again.

Dear Miss M, Miss E and Miss K,

You will never know the special place you and your school hold in my heart. You took a little boy, not much more that a toddler, and helped him become a big boy in so many ways. He can read now and write too. He can count higher than I think I've ever even tried to count. He knows all the Presidents of the United States. He can tell us all about recycling. He knows how to share, wait his turn, stand in line, follow directions and listen.

With you he learned to use his words when his heart was hurt or frustrated. He learned compassion and kindness, empathy and sympathy, along with creativity as well as logical reasoning.

You recognized his quirks and always worked WITH those quirks, never once trying to get rid of them or change him. You encouraged him, embraced him, cheered him and loved him. You gave him a safe place to be in his first foray into the world without Mommy and Daddy holding his hand.

I am teary eyed today because I am so thankful for that safe and loving place. That every day he could go and I knew he was emotionally and physically safe, loved and happy. There is no value that can be placed on that. It is priceless. And I am emotional because I know he is about to get a push into the real world that is not as safe and cozy and I'm sad that not everywhere will be as warm and comforting to my little guy as you and your school.

So thank you, for all you do and for making my son's first school experience so completely amazing. I could never ever have asked for a better two years. I've said it before and I'll say it again: You are all amazing. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

See you in the Fall,

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Lost Voice

Yesterday Peanut was screaming at me from the bathroom:


Me: You lost your voices?

Peanut: YES!

M: But I can hear you


So I go, because I am an obedient Mommy. And I find her sitting on the toilet, fingers in her mouth, mouth wide open, stretching her lips out as far as she can, looking in the large mirror across from the potty.

M: What are you doing?

P: Do you see my voices in there? (really it sounded more like "oo you ee i oices in ere")

M: Yes. I'm sure your voices are in there.

She takes her fingers out of her mouth and puts on a sad face: No, they are gone. I have no more voices.

M: Oh dear.

3 Minutes later she comes tearing around the corner: MOMMY! MY VOICES ARE BACK! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!

Husband: Yes. Yes they are.

My future Oscar winner Ladies and Gentleman. She'd better thank me in her speech.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

It's not all glamour

Today I sold 3 different brides dresses at the Brides Against Breast Cancer gown sale. It was 4 hours of silk and tulle and slips and veils and smiles and happy tears. My contribution to the weekend's $20,000ish total was just a shade over $1500.

On the flip side of that girly coin I then came home and snaked a toilet that was bubbling, not flushing right and emitting a weird odor. Kind of a rude return to reality, no?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

You know you are parents when..... hand your husband a bandaid for his cut, he puts it on and neither one of you thinks twice about a 38 year old man wearing a Dora the Explorer bandaid.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Teacher gifts 2010

Last year I made teacher gifts that you can read about here and here. They were both my ideas, down to the little poems.

Well this year I was drawing a blank. But then I found this DARLING little blog called eighteen25 and stole, er, used all their ideas. Actually, my finished products don't even begin to hold a candle to theirs, but it's after 11pm and you get what you get.

Now, before I show you what I made I want to explain a few things. 1) Curly wants to thank every staff member she's ever even smiled at, not just her teachers. This includes but is not limited to : The lunch lady, the crossing guards, the office staff, the school nurse, the principal, the music teacher, the librarian and more. 2) I'm not completely cheap. These are thrifty ideas though because I don't feel like draining my bank account to thank every staff member who has ever walked through the doors of the school. So really we were just looking for a small token of appreciation, a trinket, really, to give people who are often forgotten at the end of the year. And as for the teacher gifts, well I just emptied my wallet for Teacher Appreciation week so this isn't the most expensive gift because she just got a good gift less than 3 weeks ago. I appreciate her, but my checkbook appreciates a bargain.

All right then, on with the show.

For the school staff:

Can you see what that is? Fishy Crackers in a small bag with a ribbon and a tag. That's it. You could do Swedish Fish too, but well, we HAVE goldfish crackers in the house and I think the goldfish crackers will go nicely with this:

No, not the giant bottle of vinegar on the counter or the facial scrub in the background. Ignore those. The root beer with a cute little tag that says:

Sweet, right? So crackers are for the staff and the "secondary" teachers like music and science and the librarian, will probably get one of each. Cheap and cute. It's the thought that counts. And it never EVER hurts to butter up the office staff. Trust me.

And then for Curly's teacher we did this:

We just rewrapped a big candy bar, leaving the foil on obviously, and replacing the outer wrapper, threw on a ribbon, a Starbucks giftcard and a tag. Cute and well deserved. And the great thing about a gc is that it can be for as much or as little as you would like, but the teacher will be grateful regardless. (I ran it by BFF the teacher to be sure.)

So there you have it. This years thrifty, fun and creative teacher (and staff) end of the year gifts. Don't forget that the other thing a teacher loves is a heartfelt note explaining your gratitude for the work they do. Pair that with some a yummy treat and you will never go wrong.