Sunday, December 29, 2013

Looking Forward (12/29/13)


I cannot be the only one…who feels like they have been wrapping (and unwrapping…pun intended) this past week up for days now.  A holiday in the middle of the week, mixed with cookies and cocktails, can throw a Mama off her game.  I have offered reflections of this Christmas, our attempt to find the perfect balance in the right amount of time spent with everyone and the need to nap in order to recover from the holiday run around, so I’ll save you the repeat (if you somehow missed it, you can catch up here: Its Said and Its Done).   

In place of giving you the weekly low-down of my small family of three, this week I offer you why I am excited about the one holiday I can really get behind, New Years Eve.  I haven’t had a moment to put pen to paper and cement my resolutions in stone, but I can guarantee that there will be many for me.  I love the idea that with the tick-tock of the clock striking the midnight hour on January 1st we get a chance to do better and be better in the coming year. We can be better parents, be better members of our community, for some of us be better cooks (that one is definitely specific to me), and be better to ourselves (we all deserve that).

So Cheers to upcoming week and Happy New Years!

Until next time…

Friday, December 27, 2013

Its Said and Its Done


I cannot be the only one…who is more than a little relieved that all the salutations of seasons greetings have been said, all the festive meals have been eaten, and all the wrappings have been unwrapped for this years Christmas.  Now that the season has been said and done it is time for us to review, recap, and recite some of the holiday happenings.

First, allow me to start with the gifts not purchased from the multitude of list I created for various family members (if you need to refresh your memory on the gift list demands, read here: The Second Bah Humbug).  After all the researching and narrowing down of the items that the Sonny Boy wanted to a less than obscene amount, then the writing, the texting, and the dictating of the list to those who asked for them, NOT ONE of the items were purchased.  It feels so wrong to be peeved by the specific gifts that someone else took the time buy and give to Sonny Boy, but next year list making will not be one of my holiday chores (although, this declaration feels familiar, it's possible I say this every year).

Next, I have to say that making the effort to see all the family members who want to spend time with our little family of three is ex-haust-ing. Driving from one house to the next, spending just the right amount of time to get in all that Christmas cheer and leaving without short-changing anyone (mostly just my mom) of the glory of Sonny Boy running off of candy sprinkled covered sugar cookies (wow, those cookies sounds even worse when you type it out) while wildly tearing open packages, can run a mother down.

Finally, after everyone has gone home and we’ve picked up a small forest worth of wrapping paper, bows, and gift tags, we are left with finding places for all the new swag in Sonny Boy’s already overstuffed toy boxes. We are left with empty bottles of cheer and sore backs from all the standing around the hors d’oeuvres and cookie tables catching up with once a year relatives. We are left with a few more family gossip stories that will give us plenty to dish about until Easter and we are left with a sense of peace that this whole hoop jumping of the holiday season is done, done, done until next year.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

A Christmas Interview with my Sonny Boy


I cannot be the only who…doesn’t really have much to do on Christmas Eve, thankfully my mom still puts together the big family shindig, so we usually spend the morning relaxing.  With all this unusual spare time, I decided to conduct an interview with the fantastic Mr. Sonny Boy, to learn his five year-old thoughts on what is happening with Santa now that he has officially started his magical trip around the world.

Me: What do you think the reindeer do on the roof tops while waiting for Santa to shimmy his way back up the chimney after stuffing the stockings?

Sonny Boy: The reindeer definitely play checkers, the elves made them the checkerboard in Christmas colors, and Rudolf wins almost every game because he has a sparkly red nose and has the most power. (How the power to fly helps Rudolf win at checkers is unclear.)

Me: What does Santa do if he has to use the bathroom while flying around delivering gifts on Christmas Eve?

Sonny Boy: He wouldn’t use a stranger’s bathroom, so…he uses the plants outside. (Well, this is just good safety, you can never be to careful.)

Me: Do you think Santa’s big black boots get stinky while he is out all night making sure all the children of the world have gifts on Christmas morning?

Sonny Boy: Oh yes!  I bet his boots stink like old rotten bananas. (Interesting...stinky banana boots.)

Me: Does Santa eat all of the cookies the children leave for him on Christmas Eve before they go to bed?

Sonny Boy: No, sometimes he is too full to eat more cookies, so he puts the extra ones a lunch box with a picture of a reindeer on it to take the rest home. (I am still unclear of where he keeps this lunch box, in his pocket, in his sack of toys, but Sonny Boy was positive it was always close at hand.)


Me: What is the first thing Santa does after he returns to the North Pole and puts the empty sleigh in the garage, makes sure the reindeer are safely in their stable, and kicks off his boots?

Sonny Boy: He puts on his all red pajamas with his symbol on them (a reindeer wearing a Santa hat) and takes an extra long nap. (The only reason Santa would EVER take is nap is because he was awake all night, otherwise Sonny Boy still stands by his view that naps are for babies.)

There you have it, what my five-year-old thinks the man in the big red suit is up to on this Christmas Eve, and I have to say he answered my questions with confidence and conviction, that Sonny Boy has sure got the low-down on Santa Claus.

Merry Christmas to All!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Wrapping It Up (12/22/13)


I cannot be the only one…who managed to fit in at least two weeks worth of work, chores, holiday to do’s, and family drama all in one week. I am not sad to see last week go, but before I kick it on it’s backside on the way out, I offer you this weekly wrap up.

In a mad dash to finish all of my holiday gift shopping, I made the foolish decision to visit the Downtown Disney shopping mall, my good intentions turned sour when I spent forty-five minutes being waved through overcrowded streets by white gloved wearing police officers, and did not ever make it to the parking lot.  So I would like to officially apologize to all the children in my family who love Mickey, Minnie, and the rest of the Disney gang, because none of them are in your Christmas future, sorry kiddos.

The fantastic Mr. Sonny Boy has been a mess this past week and I’m not talking about the usual dirty clothes and face.  One wobbly tooth made it’s great escape from the confines of his jaw and the tooth fairy borrowed five bucks from my wallet but left her calling card, how does that even happen. 

Next Sonny Boy introduced us to the peculiar case of the swollen earlobe that deemed a trip to the good ole doctor and the bumbling pharmacist (you can read more about this ear mystery here: A Bug Bite or an Allergic Reaction? What is it?).

Finally, to wrap his physical ailments up in a bright red bow, after driving to Sonny Boy’s most beloved eatery, Denny’s, he stepped out of the car and let us know he was about to throw up.  This unprovoked vomit perplexed us enough to hop back in the car and bring him right back home where he did in fact boot, which he followed up with a perfectly healthy song and dance routine (he was right back to his normal self the rest of the day).

All right my fellow family forewomen (or foremen, I can dig it), we are on the final holiday stretch…just a couple of days to go and then we face the joy of finding ways to entertain our school-less children for one more week until that wonderful day when the school re-opens it's doors.

Until next time…

Friday, December 20, 2013

Falling in Slow Motion


I cannot be the only one…who has watched their child heading for imminent disaster, opened your mouth to call out a warning to them, but knew perfectly well that fate’s plan was for them to fall.  This was exactly the scenario Sonny Boy and I experienced on our precarious neighborhood walk to scope out Christmas lights yesterday afternoon.

Sonny Boy knows its all, he reminds me of this knowledge base of his on the regular, “Mom, I know not to run with my shoelaces untied,” or  “Moooom, I know not to put my Power Rangers in the toilet, I don’t need you to tell me,” although, sometimes the situations can be more dangerous than these examples.  As he was riding his bike, his training wheels rattling along and his bike bell ringing, Sonny Boy was looking everywhere but the road ahead of him.  I called out to him to remind him to look where he is going, he didn’t hear me or more likely he thought he knew better, and started to speed right toward the curb and the street.

It was one of those moments, the kind of moments that I imagine an out of body experience would feel like, but instead of seeing myself from above I could see every possible outcome of Sonny Boy’s upcoming crash in my mind.  The crash was slow, first tire off the curb, a hand stretched out to stop himself, a leg twisted around the bike frame, and as the bike finally hit the asphalt his helmeted head lying on the ground. He laid there, practically in the street, when he started the type of wailing cries that usually only come from something called a banshee, and then the imagining of the buckets of blood pouring from his scraped elbow came into the mix.

I picked that kid up, issued a mommy loves you hug, and practically threw him back on that bike, tears still flowing and all.  I knew that after his fall from the bike if I didn't get him back on those two wheels it would be a long time before he felt confident enough to ride it again, so off I sent him pedaling down the sidewalk, while I lingered behind silently thanking the inventors of bike helmets for saving my Sonny Boy's head.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Bug Bite or An Allergic Reaction? What is it?!


I cannot be the only one…actually, this time I may be close to being the only one, whose son’s ear has mysteriously swollen to two times its normal size literally overnight. One of the hardest parts of being a mom is a sick kid, the common cold that causes a red chapped nose, a stomach bug that causes a horrifying bathroom mess (if your lucky it’s only the bathroom), or a rather peculiar case of earlobe swelling, whatever the infirmity is as a mom I feel my child’s pain (with an added dose of anxiety).

The fantastic Mr. Sonny Boy rolled out bed painfully early, even earlier than the usual early rise and shine time, and started calling out to me in that pitiful something-is-wrong child’s voice.  As I walked into his room, dodging the Lego mini figure pile and the Nerf arsenal, he started telling me his professional health opinion, “I think I have an ear infection,” and my stomach dropped. Although, when he started to describe his ailment it was actually the outer lobe of his little dried apricot ear that was hurting, not the inside, and I noticed it was angry and red.  Being thankful that an ear infection wasn’t in the cards for the day, I suggested that he had possibly folded his earlobe under his head like physical origami while sleeping, and let him know it should start feeling normal once the blood has room to return to the rest of his lobe.  Then we started the normal routines that outline a school day, begging to eat faster, begging to get dressed faster, and begging to get in the car faster.

When I picked him up from school the earlobe in question had risen like bread dough and now was three times the size of his normal ear, giving him the timely look of an elf.  In the spirit of one of my life motto's, “Better safe than sorry,” a call to the overbooked doctor’s office was in order.  After an hour and a half doctors visit (which included not one, but two visits to the bathroom), an hour long stay at the pharmacy where the pharmacist needed to call and have the prescription modified, we finally made it home only an hour late for dinner.

If you are wondering what could have caused the bulging earlobe, and I am sure some of you are on the edge of your seats (okay, maybe one of you, just being realistic) the doc thinks the problem was caused by a bug bite or sting.  Sonny Boy took his medicine like the champ he is and the swelling was down significantly this morning (now only the size of baby elephant ear), but what a trip down mother’s anxiety lane I took yesterday…

Monday, December 16, 2013

Humble Brag Letter, But Where's the Brag?


I cannot be the only one…who cringes when they receive a Christmas card from that relative that takes it upon themselves to put together the Christmas Family Newsletter, also known as the “Humble Brag Letter." Upon holding the envelope in my hand,  I start to run through my quote unquote accomplishments of the past year in my mind, and unless successfully keeping my family in clean socks is an achievement, my portion of the letter may be less than riveting.

I was the recipient of one of these good old fashion Christmas Family Update letters last week. When I first saw the piece of paper fall from my card, I thought how lovely the sender was to include a check, only to realize that it was the "letter," and this only added a thread of disappointment to my usual trepidation of receiving the Family Christmas letter (that was sent to who knows how many people). I unfolded the letter, printed on very festive paper stock with mittens and snowflakes, and wondered how could this paper so filled with Christmas spirit cause me to flinch…then I start reading the prose on the paper and remembered why. 

As I work my way past what the other members of my family have been up to; the same list of employers as the past ten years, a census worthy count of children to parent ratio, and a description of the strenuous amount of yard work done by the writer throughout the past year, the letter seemed harmless enough, and then I see it, my name starting the second to last paragraph.

My staring role in the Christmas brag letter was a short paragraph that was about as exciting as the rest, including work (yawn), extra-curricular activities (snore), and a small mention of the Fantastic Mr. Sonny Boy's larger than life personality (the only mildly interesting part), not much to report I guess.  Here I was dreading this innocent newsletter, when in all truthfulness my family of three barely made the printing.

I was not expecting the author of this letter to graph the working of our lives, a la Carrie from Homeland, with an over sized cork-board with yarn, pushpins, and a map, but really...that was the whole impression my family left on the penman during the last year. I am not actually expecting anything from this person, they could stop this letter writing madness at any time, but if they were going to take the time to write out what their family has been doing for the last three hundred sixty-five days, a touch of fabulous embellishment would be fine with me.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Adios Week (12/15/13)


I cannot be the only one…who has fallen very far behind in their Christmas obligations; you know the shopping, the decorating, and the planning of schedules for the impending school holiday. Although, it is not entirely my fault, here are few of the things that have been happening in our house over the past week, keeping me from getting this whole Christmas thing under control.

My Sonny Boy has returned to campaigning for his right to make his own rules, I wouldn’t be opposed to his rules per se, except they include the eating of as much candy as he chooses, the freedom to tell me “no” with impunity, and leaving a trail of toys and destruction wherever he goes. So, I am not in support of his campaign, and I've been dishing out the time-outs like their going out of style.

The Kindergarten class cleaned out my wallet this week, which kept me from being able to commit any of my dough to the buying of presents and wrapping paper.  Between cash for the teacher’s Christmas gift, the dinero tucked into the Ye Old Holiday Shoppe envelope for Sonny Boy to buy us hacky-sacks and tin bracelets, and the fresh green beans for the class to make stone soup, I was left high and dry on the cash front.

And finally, to bring this week to a close, I did in fact make a trip out in the world of Christmas lunacy in an attempt to buy every last gift necessary for my family to keep loving me, but I failed miserably (well, I picked out items but the length of the lines were way too much for me to deal with, so I abandoned ship).

That’s it for last week, and unless I hit the jackpot with my Mega Millions lotto ticket, it's back to the grind for the upcoming week. Until next time...


Friday, December 13, 2013

Bring on the Weekend


I cannot be the only one…who loves a Friday. I love the feeling of knowing that I have two days ahead of me sans alarm clock, not freezing in the kindergarten line up first thing in the morning, and having an extra set of hands to help me with the distinguished Sonny Boy.

Ah, the possibilities, maybe I’ll take the dog for an extra long walk while listening to one of my favorite podcast, like Keith and the Girl or Adam Carolla Show, and have one of those, "laugh out loud alone in public- hope no one thinks I'm crazy,"moments.

I could hit the stores early, before the normal after school rush gets there with their runny nosed tantrum throwing toddlers, and get a little more of my Christmas purchases finished, lessening the weight of that holiday shopping elephant sitting on my shoulders.

I could scramble up someone to sit on the fantastic Mr. Sonny Boy while the Hubby and I check out a movie, we could sip diet sodas (possibly spiked with something if we are feeling really rebellious) and snack on crazily over priced popcorn in the dark for a couple of hours.

These things all sound great, but the truth is I will wake up at the same time as usual even without the alarm blasting its pesky tone, I will see a dusty end table and feel the need to get out the dust cloth, and I will wind up taking care of Sonny Boy just the same as always…well, maybe not exactly the same as always, there will be wine involved (it is the weekend after all).

Thursday, December 12, 2013

New Santa: Same Old Fears


I cannot be the only one…who has noticed how much better the “mall” Santa's are looking lately, gone are the days of red polyester suits, cotton masquerading as fur, and those weird shiny angel hair beards, the current Santa’s are bringing it.  Although, even with Santa's modern make-over, the kids standing in the crowded lines, between the red crushed velvet ropes, have the same terror in their eyes I remember from my time as a kid waiting to step up to Santa's throne.

While queuing up to say hello to Santa at our big town's version of a small town Christmas festival, I noticed my Sonny Boy and his two cousins slowly backing up out of the line, hoping us parents wouldn’t notice. While watching this gradual moonwalk perpetrated by the young boys of our family, I saw that it wasn’t only our boys that were apprehensive about greeting Santa, the other children looked worried as well.  I saw their little chubby cheeked faces with looks of horror on them, children holding onto their parent's pant legs as though they could be blown away by a hurricane at any minute, and I could tell these kids wish they were doing anything other than waiting for Santa. That's when I heard the familiar sounds of bargaining chips being pulled out of desperate parents pockets, “If you don’t tell Santa what you want for Christmas how will he know what to bring you,” and the old standby, “If you’ll sit with Santa we can get an ice cream afterwards." I started to think what a strange situation the Santa visit is, how could my Sonny Boy, who never stops telling me about all the toys he wants, suddenly clam up and want to bury himself in the sand when face to face with the man in the big red suit?

I do have to admit the peculiar duality that exist in the act of sitting on Santa’s lap, year round I preach "stranger danger"to Sonny Boy, I never make him show affection to people if he is not comfortable with it, and I always tell him to trust his gut instinct if he isn't sure what to do in a situation. Then here we are, one time a year, trying to force him to sit on this fur clad, long beard wearing, giant belt buckled man's lap, and whisper what it is he wants for Christmas into this man's ear...it is perplexing. Thankfully, after much coaxing I got Sonny Boy up on the steps to Santa's platform, where he stood a safe two feet away from Old St. Nick, and managed to get a couple of great pictures (of course, as soon as the flash bulb off so was Sonny Boy, back to his spot behind my legs).

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Mistaken Women's Lib

I cannot be the only one...who sometimes realizes that as independent, as self assured, and as confident of a woman that I think I am, there are times that I am surprised by my need to be acknowledged for doing a job usually considered masculine.  How could a woman who wants to be treated as an equal in the world, and more importantly in my marriage, feel the need to receive the proverbial pat on the head by a man for a job well done...this is a mystery.

This anti-women's liberation tale begins on the way to Sonny Boy's school, after gathering the lunch box, backpack, and debating over the necessity of wearing a jacket in place of his super hero cape to school, we finally made it into the car.  As we are pulling out of the garage, I was mentally checking off my "are we really ready to leave check list", when I noticed a dingy little dash light refusing to turn off.  This orange light, with it's exclamation point within parenthesis, immediately caused a cord of anxiety within me (not to mention irritation). I started obsessing over what this light could mean, how was I going to fix it, and where was the time to fix it going to come from? After safely dropping Sonny Boy off at school I did something I truly despise, something that I generally avoid as though it were a kid with a runny nose, I opened up the car's owners manual.

I spent ten long seconds looking for the dash warning light section (the manual was surprisingly well organized) and deciphered the problem, the tires needed air.  My first thought was to simply not drive the car until the Hubby returned from work, at which time he could take the car to put air in the tires, but I really wanted to go out and grab a few things, meaning I was going to have to handle this all own my own.  I drove to the nearest gas station, plopped four quarters into the slot of the air compressor, and got to filling the tires with air and checking the pressure to make sure I didn't over inflate (the only issue I had was the realization that women's low waisted skinny jeans are not conducive to any kind of car trouble situations).

After a job well done, I felt a strong need to call and let a few of the men in my life know that I had a car related problem, researched the problem, and (wait for it) solved the problem all on my own, with no help whatsoever, and did it right the first time. Needless to say, I understand who I really am a little better after that morning, and I am alright with it. Who doesn't want to be recognized when they have stepped out of their comfort zone and managed to solve a problem (even if the recognition sort-of sets back the women's liberation movement by about twenty years)?

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Second Bah Humbug: Gift List Making

I cannot be the only one...whose family is not known for being list makers, no to do list, no grocery list, and absolutely, positively no Christmas lists. I know this sounds silly, how could we possibly expect to receive any gifts we really love if we don't let people know what it is we want, but we never take the time to sit and put pencil to paper to create a list.  My family's aversive attitude towards holiday wish list is going to have to change because I have somehow become the PR person for all things gift related for all three of us, and it's starting to get exasperating.

My Sonny Boy wants everything he sees, all as seen on t.v. pillow pets and rainbow light projectors, but I would rather him not have these things, so I must take his encyclopedia sized dream list and edit it down to a more reasonable paper back novel sized list.  Once this task has been completed, I then have to equally distribute list ideas between family members, and as if this isn't enough leg work on it's own, I later have to cross reference the list at an Aunt's or a Grandparent's request when one of them wants to buy something that was listed on the other person's list (trust me, I am aware of how first world problem this all sounds, but I am going with it).  One would think my wish list woes would end there, but one would be wrong, because next comes all the calls, emails, text messages, and carrier pigeons asking me if I could suggest some nice ideas for the Hubby as well. Thus begins another process of me creating an abridged version of all my Hubby's mumblings of, "I would like to have one of those...," items into a another list.
 
Where does my list come in you ask...I also wonder, but in an attempt to not sound like the martyr I have portrayed myself as here, I really don't need much (besides my iPhone, iPad, and laptop, all of which I have), so unless someone wants to knit me an iPad cozy I think I am good with whatever anyone is kind enough to gift to me. I know this list making madness is happening in other homes this time of year and to you collectors of all things yearned for by your family, I say hold onto that last string of sanity because there is a whole lot more of this holiday season to go.

Monday, December 9, 2013

To Publish or Not to publish

I cannot be the only one...who has written, edited, spell checked, and re-read a blog post only to hover their mouse over the publish button, unable to click and commit to publishing the post.  I have gone through this to-publish-or-not-to-publish song and dance with a particular post I wrote recently more than a few times, and I am having a difficult time deciding whether or not to share the story.

I write about my life, the good, the bad, and the ugly parts of it. I try to change the names to protect the innocent (well, their not always so innocent), and I purposely do not give too many details in case anyone's feelings could be affected by something I have written. But taking other people's feeling into account sometimes feels like I am being held back, I can sense a little angel over my shoulder shaking their finger at me to remind me to be nice and careful with other people's emotions, and this is an annoyance. I know my voice of reality can be taken as mean spirited, thus I proceed with caution, and this brings us back to the dilemma concerning the post in question. To publish and risk the chance that the person I am sharing about may come across it and unravel the mystery of whether it is them or not, or to delete the post and let it rest in peace?
 
Taking my anxiety into consideration I am sure I will continue to hem and haw over this beautifully written example of how a person in my life has an unfortunate personality trait, that just happens to make me want to jump through the nearest emergency exit anytime I see them coming. But I guess for now I will bite my tongue (or keyboard keys) and keep the thoughts to myself (and my laptop).  Wish me peaceful resolution in my wavering ability to make a decision about that particular post, until then I will continue my dedication to bringing you the safe topics from my anything but mundane life of motherhood.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Wrapping This Week Up (12/07/13)

I cannot be the only one...who has realized that the end of another week in December only means seven days closer to Christmas, and that thought is making me break out in a cold sweat.  I don't know about the rest of you, but my normal chores don't cease in the name of Christmas, meaning I haven't wrangled up any extra time to spend getting this holiday thing under control.

This past week I managed to start multiple unfinished gift list, these "list" only have the names of the people I need to buy for, and sadly only one or two ideas for actual gifts on them.  I sat down at the table with Sonny Boy, plying him with gingerbread men shaped marshmallows, and attempted to pick his toy experienced five year old brain to get gift ideas for his cousins. I was like a Pulitzer prize winning journalist committed to getting the real story of what kids want for Christmas, but once Sonny Boy realized this was a purely selfless operation (all this talk of toys was not for his gift list) he hit the bricks pretty quick, leaving me to come up with gift ideas all on my own.

Thanks to this preceding week's bizarrely cold weather and my desire to stay inside away from the chill, my boys were able to talk me into putting up the Christmas tree (that lives in a box tucked up in the rafters of our garage), and trimming that synthetic pine like there is no tomorrow. Although, this trimming was more like a secret mission, a mission that entailed me stealthily following around Sonny Boy and moving the clusters of four or five ornaments that he concentrated all on one fake branch to various fake branches of the Christmas tree.

After receiving the December breakdown from Sonny Boy's school last week, I noticed that there was no Christmas pageant extravaganza scheduled, and I did a quick mental recap of the missing holiday activities since the beginning of the school year: no Halloween parade, no talk of Hanukkah, and now no Holiday singing? At first I thought, "Well, that's one less thing I have to put on my Holiday to do list," but then it registered that no Holiday pageant means no memories of stuffy nosed singers, no rosy cheeked faces looking anywhere but at the audience, and no frantic teachers chasing the mini cantors to place them back on the stage, and these things I actually enjoy.  I am going to have to get to the bottom of this lack of holiday spirit happening at that school (I'll add this to my to one of those multiple list I got in progress laying around the house and maybe I'll get to before summer vacation).

Well, on to the next...

Friday, December 6, 2013

Young Couples...Really Young

I cannot be the only one....who thinks it is more ridiculous than it is cute when people try to couple up your child with another youngster.  I know you've all heard it before as well, the "Oh look, those two really like each other," or "what a cute little couple they make," and I am sure, like me, you have smiled while nodding, but really the whole time your thinking how silly the suggestion is.

While digging in the sand at the park during a play date with a girl from his kindergarten class, my Sonny Boy and the Sweet Girl were subjected to this particular form of annoyance from two ladies sitting near by.  These two busy bodies watched our little ones, elbowing each other every now and again when something our children did really tickled them, and soon after made their way over to where I was sitting quietly watching the kids.  "Those two are quite a pair," one of the ladies opened with, and proceeded to tell me that they were sure the two of them like each other in a "special" way. I sighed deeply, smiled, and excused myself to go sit closer to the kids. Although, what I should have asked is if we should suggest the two kiddies plan a dinner and a movie date or maybe just meet for coffee first to test their chemistry, but I didn't. Unfortunately, my mom raised me to be more polite than that, so I let the ladies enjoy their daydream about my five year old finding his soul mate in the sandbox.

I know people are just being friendly, I don't think any less of someone for making the kiddie couple suggestion, but I can't help but wonder where that need to create a circumstance that's more than just friends comes from.  I want my Sonny Boy to enjoy many, many more years before he starts contemplating the twosome factor of relationships, I want him to take pleasure in friendships with boys and girls without labeling them, and I definitely don't want to rush into conversations about the birds and the bees (I am hoping the Hubby will step up his game at that point and break the news that the birds and the bees really have nothing to do with neither birds nor bees).

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Should We Eat This?

I cannot be the only...who has slaved away in the kitchen, with multiple pots on the stove top, the oven a'baking, and even the BBQ smoking away outside, to finally sit down at the dinner table, look at the food and think, "is this cooked enough?"

As a mother of a finicky eater, the persnickety Sonny Boy,  I threw in the towel a long time ago on the idea that our family would all consume the same meal every evening. With this resolve I have managed ways to produce meals that are half leftovers of definite "will eat" foods, you know the Mac and cheese or slice of pizza, mixed in with my planned main course.  This method has been working for some time, but every once in a while, when the moon is full or maybe I am just distracted, the meal doesn't work out according to my plan. After placing all the plates on the dining room table, chasing Sonny Boy down to get him in his seat, and making three trips back to the kitchen for hot sauce, juice, and ketchup, I realized the chicken looked slightly under cooked. Faced with the immediate dilemma of forcing feeding possible salmonella or scrapping the main course and we all eat left overs (Sonny Boy's dream come true), I had to face the facts. The facts are that one night of re-heated pizza won't ruin all of my attempted brainwashing, that is the explanations of how eating healthy will help Sonny Boy grow to be six feet tall and invisible (don't snicker, I had to tell him something he would actually care about), and tomorrow is another chance to make a healthy meal.

As much as it angered me to not serve the questionable chicken, and wasting all that time standing in the kitchen tirelessly working over the hot stove, choosing to not play Russian roulette with the possibility of projectile vomiting was the right choice. I am sure many of you have had a "should we eat this" moment and have also served your family an exquisite meal of dinosaur chicken nuggets, butternut squash, and fresh green beans, after all learning to go with the flow can be as important as a eating a healthy meal sometimes.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The First Bah Humbug

I cannot be the only one...who hates to sound like a Scrooge, but sometimes when a thought gets in this old head of mine I have to go with it, no matter how curmudgeonly it is, such as my displeasure with Sonny Boy's school holiday boutique. I am sure you are wondering how could something as genial, warm, and inviting as a kid friendly holiday shopping event be annoying, we'll let me explain.

In Sonny Boy's over stuffed homework folder, jammed between drawings of his Grandpa "going crazy" and unfinished handwriting tracing papers, I found a holly jolly flyer featuring a beanie cap wearing penguin advertising the Holiday Shoppe (oh yeah, they went for the old timey spelling of shop). Attached to this joyful flyer is an envelope that has a gift list printed on it; mom, dad, sister, grandma, etc.. In this envelope we are to enclose money for our little one to use at the holiday shop to buy gifts for those on their list, with the assistance of a volunteer parent to keep them within their budget. While the flyer informs that the items in the shop will range in price from twenty five cents to twelve dollars (boasting its affordability) I still feel that how our family chooses to spend out holiday money should be up to us, without the influence of the school.  Whenever the school promotes a shopping event (or a fundraiser that involves my five year old begging his grandma to buy a twelve dollar mug) I cannot help from feeling backed into a corner, and in this corner my Sonny Boy is the only kid in his class that doesn't get to go to the holiday shop (or get the stuffed animal key chain showing his fundraising prowess). 

I understand that these activities are the nature of the beast, the beast we call public school, and most likely I will shove a couple of bucks in the provided Ye Old Holiday Shoppe envelope for Sonny Boy to be able to participate. I only hope that Sonny Boy remembers that he was a part of the Holiday Shoppe, purchasing his father and I pencil erasers and mini kaleidoscopes this holiday, when he is a teenager. Hopefully the memory of how his mom and dad didn't want him to be the only kid that didn't tour the holiday shop will deter just a bit of the resentment he will harbor against us in the future (I know it's a long shot).

Monday, December 2, 2013

Make New Friends But Keep The Old?

I cannot be the only one...who has suspected that their long time friendships may have turned into something other than actual friendships over the many, many years that we have known each other. This is something I have been thinking about for awhile, after our invites to our old friend's kids birthday parties have been "lost in the mail" or seeing pictures of our group of friends at a dinner parties we were not a part of showing up on Facebook, but the thought became a definite realization over this past weekend when we spent time with the New Friends.

While drinking red wine, chatting about annoying child behaviors, and watching my son having a great time in the living room of a newly acquired friend, I began to think how much better this social setting feels than the ones we have been a part of recently. These new friends flung the doors of their home wide open to welcome family members, old friends, and new acquaintances in an effort to build a bridge between us all (while generously offering cocktails to loosen up the awkwardness that tends to tighten everyone up around newbies). This all are welcome environment is in stark contrast to our friends we have known since the Jurassic period, who preferred to keep the group of compadres small and tended to entertain by category (old friends, work friends, family, etc.).  I started to realize that a lot of my social anxiety may have been spawned by our old friends rules of engagement, before attending a soiree I would worry if what I was wearing was up to their snuff, I would second guess the worthiness of a bottle of wine I brought, and I would obsess the morning after a party about whether or not I had said the wrong thing to anyone (sounds like a blast, right?).

I love all our old friends, although I sometimes feel like I love them out habit more than because we have strong connections anymore, and I think I may be at the point where I accept that the best times we are going to have with our old pals may have already happened.  I am enjoying spending time with these new friends, friends that are sans the expectations of the past hundred years of experiences, who knows maybe these new friends will be around for the next hundred years (and then I'll start thinking maybe we've out grown them too...I'm sensing a pattern).

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Putting this Week To Bed (12/01/13)

I cannot be the only one...who is relieved that this "holiday" week is over (and isn't afraid to say it).  Between my part time job, shuffling Sonny Boy around, and the hubby off work for two extra days this week, I am ready for it all to go back to normal.

Here are some of the highlights (I use the word highlights loosely) from this past week of vacation:

While driving Sonny Boy to and from places, in between my driving to and from places for work, I wondered why this particular, caring, lovely family member (who does not work) couldn't help a girl out and just come sit on Sonny Boy at our house.

At Thanksgiving's endless happy hour I came to the sad realization that one of the "kids" in our family is now old enough (and probably has been for a while without my noticing) to understand the spelling of the many dirty words I use on a regular basis. Oops, sorry family.

Why...oh why, is it my Sonny Boy and the Husband can not get along even when they are doing dude things?  The fantastic Sonny Boy has a real knack for bring the Husband down to his five year old level, when this happens I get sucked into the middle and needless to say I inevitably make someone mad at me...and it sucks (go back to work and school boys).

There it is, the wrap up of a week that went on too long, and the worst part is I am already breaking out in a cold sweat thinking about the preposterous amount of tedious chores that need to be done in order to bring on the Christmas spirit...ah..wish me luck.  Until next week...

Friday, November 29, 2013

The Aftermath

I cannot be the only one...who thinks the corporations that thought it was a good idea to make the day after Thanksgiving, the one day of the year that is synonymous with eating and drinking too much, the same day as the biggest shopping day of the year, are a group of evil masterminds. While thinking about these wicked geniuses I envisioned the consumer prepping for their Black Friday, I imagined it went something like this:

I pictured the deal seekers, getting out of their beds like bloated ninjas, passing the half eaten pumpkin pie still on the kitchen counter with a lonely fork leaning off the edge of the tin from last night, on their way out the back door. These go-getter shoppers double checking their list in the car, making sure their credit cards are in their wallets, and finally taking a deep breath before putting on their seat belts. I imagined these penny pincher's making their way to the shopping malls, department stores, and big box stores wishing they remembered the Alka seltzer and Advil, all the while trying to not be pushed or have their toes trampled on. These masters of bargain hunting finally reaching the blue ribbon at the end of the race, a half price flat screen or a deeply discounted video game system, and sighing in relief that the whole fiasco was worth it.

To these shopper I wish you successful shopping and fantastic deals, but for me I am going to sit, think about the creative ways I will use those leftovers to over-stuff myself again today, and watch holiday movies on t.v (that I will ruin for everyone else by saying my favorite lines out loud). That is how I will be spending my Thanksgiving aftermath; stuffed, using minimal brain waves, and never putting on a pair of shoes.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Obligatory Thankful List

I cannot be the only one...who feels obligated to have a list that shows all my gratitude ready at a moments notice to share with those around me on Thanksgiving.  Please don't misinterpret my sense of obligation with being ungrateful, I am very, very thankful for the many people and the things in my life, I am just not fond of an on the spot listing of those things (sometimes in front of a decent sized audience). To prepare myself for this spotlight on Thanksgiving I decided to put together a quick reference (see how professionally I am handling this very personal moment) of the more fantastic moments of my life.

I am thankful for my son and my husband, who make my life worth living with their laughter, and who only drive me up the wall once or twice a week (for this I am thankful because it could definitely be worse).

Obviously, I am beyond thankful to my family who step it up and pitch in when we really need them (and only slightly make me a little crazier for having to have asked for their help), and I appreciate them greatly.

I am thankful that we were able to find a place to call our own this past year, even with an incredibly inflated realty market that made me want to forget the whole thing at times and just move back in with my parents, but now that we are here in our new home and town it was worth the agitation.

Okay, enough with the sarcasm, I am thankful for all of the gifts in my life, the friends, the family, and the comforts that make my life what it is (look, Thanksgiving isn't really my type of sentimental holiday, wait for New Year's Eve then I'll bring the sentimentalism).

Happy Thanksgiving to you all...I hope you all get a chance to be with the one's you are thankful for this Thanksgiving (sans the speech giving of course).

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Rimmel 60 Seconds Nail Color: Polished Thumbs Up?

I cannot be the only one...who is inspired by the colors associated with the holidays; rich oranges, sparkling reds, and many a hue of green. In an attempt to show a little of that cheer, I decided to use my finger nails to express my love of the holiday color palette.  I am not talking about creating small versions of the infamous Christmas sweater on my nails, no small wreaths or hanging jingle bells here, but simple, tasteful colors and this is where my latest nail polish purchase comes into the equation.

I was browsing the toothpaste aisle at the local Wal-Mart (definitely picking up a tube of Crest 3-D white, the best...read about it here) and low and behold the end of the exciting dental health aisle shot me right out to the brightly back lit cosmetic aisle. Feeling drawn into the the shining light and colors like a moth to a flame, I browsed my way to the Rimmel section and decided my finger nails could use a little pick me up.  All the Rimmel nail polishes are fairly priced (starting at a dollar and half up to about three dollars), so the choice I made was purely based on color alone.  The Rimmel 60 Seconds polish in Sage is where my eye gravitated to, I know you are probably thinking, "green?" but it is a demure green heavy on the grey (literally imagine the fresh sage you are going to use during your Thanksgiving cooking this week). I purchased my wares, including the Rimmel polish, and made my way home, excited to give the new polish a try.

I got all the evening chores put to bed, bath time with Sonny Boy, taking Barko the wonder dog for a walk, and finding the hidden t.v. remote for the Hubby, and set off to manicure up my nails.  The Rimmel 60 Second polish bottle boast it is a "one-coat" nail polish that dries in "60 seconds," those are tall orders to fill in my mind, but I am an adventurer so I shook the bottle, dipped the brush, and got to painting.  The polish did not cover enough for my taste in one coat and truthfully after 60 seconds it was a bit sticky to the touch, BUT the color is amazing, it is shiny, and has not chipped after three days of mom chores (you know dishes, zipping up zippers, scrubbing the tub, etc.).  Considering the toughness of the polish and the accuracy of the color from bottle to nails, I would definitely recommend the Rimmel 60 Second nail polish in any color, but especially in sage, why not try something a little different? I give the polish two beautifully painted thumbs up.


Monday, November 25, 2013

Juggling the School Holiday's

I cannot be the only one...who, as a working mama, associates school holidays with a mad scramble to find someone to watch their child; making phone calls calling in favors, while dropping discreet reminders of something you did for that person in the recent past. Harboring hopes that the person you decide to ask will offer their assistance before you have to resort to begging and making future promises of your services when needed.

As I sat down at the kitchen counter, iPhone nearby on the ready to put those contacts to the test, I
threw together a mental list of those most likely willing to chip in during this holiday week.  Scrolling through the smiling faces in my contact list, I can almost hear the echoes of my friends and family in the past letting me know, "what a joy," my Sonny Boy has been to watch, and I start feeling optimistic that I will get this figured out quicker than I expect.  Luckily, I nailed down a schedule with only a few promises made to be no longer than a couple of hours at a stretch, after all, it is the week of Thanksgiving, many an errand must be ran in order to prepare, and managing a kindergartner at the super market during the biggest week for groceries is less than desirable (don't I know it).

The need for extra child care is one of the many woes of being a parent. Those of you lucky enough to have amazing people in your lives, people who happily offer to watch your little ones while their school is boarded up for a week (or two come Christmas time), are fortunate, fortunate people and have something to be very thankful for this Thanksgiving.  For the rest of you in the same boat as I am, out in the open seas all alone, I hope you are able to work out a plan that makes your child happy, keeps you employed, and gives you all peace of mind until school starts back up.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A Wild Week in the Wind (11/24/13)

I cannot be the only one...who can imagine the pages of the 2013 calendar blowing and tearing off quickly racing us to the end of the year.  We are on the last stretch of the year, it is time to eat too much, imbibe more than usual, and get gifty with the ones we love.

This past week flew by just like those calendar pages I was imagining, the hubby had a minor procedure and has been couch bound making my life a tiny bit more difficult than usual (well maybe a lot more difficult), but hopefully will be back at work on Monday, fingers crossed.

Sonny Boy's school had their Thanksgiving extravaganza, every student was asked to donate a specific food item, for us it was King's Hawaiian Sweet Rolls, and of course Sonny Boy ate...nothing.  Picky eaters and Thanksgiving is not a great mix, I can already see myself making him a grilled cheese this coming Thanksgiving.

my little Indian chief
Lastly, we have been hiding in the house from ridiculous winds, the type of winds that are knocking down our outdoor furniture, ripping all the leaves off my plants, and causing sneezing in conjunction with a delightful running nose (this is a Southern California fall weather charm).

Here are the household trends for this last week:
#husbandathome
#schoolthanksgiving
#wildwinds

Here we go folks, Thanksgiving is next week and as much as we all enjoy the turkey and the literally stuffing of the turkey and ourselves, this means that the race to the holidays is officially on.  Get ready to add more shopping to your already busy weekly to-do list...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Putting Myself Out There

I cannot be the only one...who sometimes gets lost in her daily routines, so lost that when the frenzy finally calms down for the day, and she thinks about the world outside of her harmonious home life, she isn't really sure where she fits in anymore. I dream big about the ways I am going to put myself out there for the world, let my talents shine, but then something happens. I pull back at the last minute telling myself I am still trying to put my thoughts in order and I should wait to offer my brilliance until I can launch my boat in tip top shape.

If your life has been anything like mine, your biological clock gave it's first loud tick right around the same time your career was hitting it's stride, needless to say the timing was not the best.  I decided to answer the call of my biological clock and was lucky enough to have the fantastic Sonny Boy, but my ability to give my career the attention it needed, combined with the bad economy, equaled unemployment for the first time in ten years.  This gave me a chance to put all that work ethic into making the best home life I could for my little family of three....but then something else happened, that Sonny Boy kept growing and growing, and now he doesn't need me quite as much.  Which brings us back to where I sit today, pondering over the type of things I want to do, my doubts of what I can do, and wondering how thin is the line between growing a new career but still being totally available to my family.

As I write this I haven't come any closer to the answer of what I will be to the rest of the world now that I am Sonny Boy's mama, I think next week I will put myself out there and see what bites...then again maybe I need to spend a day or two more making a game plan...here I go again.

Friday, November 22, 2013

I Used to Have Style...Now I Have a Child

I cannot be the only one....who used to have style, I'm talking up on the trends, shopped at fashionable stores, and thought of my wardrobe as something of an investment. Now, as a mom, all of that knowledge of what was haute has disappeared and has been replaced with a mastery of all the latest Lego sets, which doesn't quite compliment my outward appearance in the same way.

I remember the days, pre-Sonny Boy, that I would dress for work, and by dress I mean an outfit, accessories, and shoes (not practical shoes, but shoes that were uncomfortable and looked great). I loved going out on the weekend because it was an excuse to wear the clothes that were too fancy for work, even though I knew Sunday morning my feet would be killing me from being out and about in heels all evening.  Now, post Sonny Boy, I would say my style is...utilitarian, I dress for the occasion and most of those occasions are picking up and dropping off at school, playing in the park, and unfortunately a wealth of cleaning up.  I stay away from those fancy duds in my closet in fear of ruining those fabulous blouses with chocolate covered hands or sloppy faced hugs and then I would have no reason to keep all those fancy rags with memories embedded in their threads.

Please do not get me wrong, I know there are mama's out there that are bringing it with the fashion and climbing trees with their children (well, maybe not climbing trees per se, but you get my gist).  I see some of the mom's at Sonny Boy's school in full fashion regalia: dresses, coats, tights and boots looking fantastic, so maybe it's not the mom in me that moved my flair for fashion to the back seat but just a natural change in what I am passionate about....which is now my family (and that passion takes a lot of work).

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Flu Shot Doesn't Make You Invincible?

I cannot be the only one....who after receiving their flu shot had an inflated sense of invincibility to germs, after all, wasn't I injected with a live active super version of the flu? Even though the pamphlet that accompanies the inoculation doesn't actually say it protects against the common cold...it has to make you at least a little stronger to fight those pesky germs, right?

I dislike you common cold!
It was just a week ago, while standing in the morning kindergarten line up that I was boasting about the flu shot. Sure I had never actually got a flu shot in the past, but something about my initiative against this seasons flu made me feel like I could take on the world of germs.  A boy in line behind Sonny Boy was coughing without covering his mouth, I wasn't worried, a girl in his class vomited on the Share rug, I didn't start to break out in a cold sweat, why...because we got flu shots.  Yet, here I sit, pockets stuffed with tissue, rosy nosed, with a hoarse throat attempting to pretend that this is just a side effect of my allergies.  Last night was the second night I took cold medicine and had to sleep with the noisy humidifier steaming up our bedroom, my husband was one sniffle away from moving to the couch to escape my restless bacteria filled coughing, but I still resisted throwing in the towel and admitting I had yet another cold.

I guess the good news is that my immune system is going to be impermeable to germs, with the succession of colds in addition to my super flu shot, I should be able to make it through Thanksgiving, into Christmas, and past New Years without one sick day.  Wait...maybe my over confidence is kicking in again.  I should set my sights lower, I should be able to make it to Thanksgiving without another cold, that is unless Sonny Boys picks up something at the school wide Thanksgiving feast, in which case we will be back to square one.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Award For Greatest Goofball Goes To...

I cannot be the only one....whose child is incapable of completing any task without a healthy dose of goofball antics. My attempts to teach Sonny Boy how to judge when fooling around is okay and when it is not, has only landed him in and out of time-out (over and over again, to the point he is about to wear out the kitchen timer). To help illustrate my level of frustration at the goofing off that is plaguing my once peaceful existence, I offer you these three examples:

1. Running late for school: I implore Sonny Boy to please put on his very easy velcro shoes, which he starts to do, until he decides to put his shoes on his hands and chase after the dog.

2. Dinner time: I beg Sonny Boy to please take a bite of food between his incessant talk concerning the latest episode of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, instead he uses his fork as a sword and his spoon as a mac and cheese catapult.

3. Bedtime: I plead with Sonny Boy to please stop making faces at himself in the mirror and pay better attention to brushing his teeth, after which he uses the potty inspiring a ten minute comedy set on all things potty related (I'll save you the details, as I am sure you've heard them many a time in your own home).

I had a difficult time editing these examples from an endless list I could have shared to make my point, but after hearing them I am sure your blood has heated up just a bit thinking of your own household goofball. There is much to be said for goofing off, blowing off steam, or simply having a jolly good time, but for the love of all that is sacred in this world I can't take it ALL day.