Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Big Family Holiday Dinner Reality Check

I have a small family, and around the holidays I envy big huge family dinners.  

It seems like so much fun to have a huge get together with tons of aunts, uncles, cousins and in-laws and several different generations represented!

It’s not that I don’t relish spending Thanksgiving or Christmas Day cooking a meal with my mom, a meal that will be eaten by the two of us and my husband, and scorned by my two children.

It’s not that I don’t appreciate our table set for five where the second an adult opens his/her mouth some preschooler decides he or she has something to say that simply CANNOT wait.  

It’s not even that I don’t love these four people more than anything in the world.

It’s just that I wish our dinner could happen in the midst of other family members and friends; I wish it could be amped up with more people. I’ve fallen prey to the commercials and TV shows and movies that scream “It’s not a real holiday unless the amount of people in your house equals the amount of extras in the Braveheart battle scenes.”

Some of my friends from large families wouldn't trade their Million Cousin Dinners for the world, but others tell me I’ve got it all wrong. Those big events, they claim, are nowhere near my warm, fuzzy illusion, and sometimes feel like being trapped in a Smart Car with with a large farty dog.  

Well, okay then. 

So for anyone who needs a reminder not to look so longingly at the holiday BAFD (big ass family dinner), here's a reality check for you.  

There.  I don't know about you, but I'm feeling better about my tiny family already.  

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Dear Mr. R-

You are FIVE today.  That is a big number.  You are a boy, not a little one any more, but a BOY.

I want you to know that Mommy (How much longer will you call me that?) is so so so proud of you.  

I'm proud of how you play, how you dance, and how you write.  

I'm proud of how you are a helper in preschool.

I'm proud of how social you are - how you love to meet new people, and make fast friends quickly.  

I'm proud of how you can ride a bike with no training wheels.

I'm proud of how you are learning to handle your feelings.  How you are beginning to use your words to express yourself.  And how you are working to be a better big brother to Lady A.

And your art! Oh, your art!

A skirt inspired by How to Train Your Dragon's Astrid
above. Popsicle sticks, marker and glued-on "rubies"!

I love that you could spend every moment creating and designing. You are inspired by everything!  I love your drawing and no one, I mean no one, is better at making stuff out of paper and tape! You see possibility in every object - from the tops of dish soap bottles to yogurt cups to seashells.   And I love how you soldier on, insisting that you know EXACTLY what you are talking about when no one else understands the vision in your head.

May you always be this way.

Recently I've been looking back at your baby photos, remembering my chubby little guy who's morphed into a lean, wiry boy.  Remembering toddler who killed my back as I held his upstretched arms to help him walk, to the boy who can now run like the wind.  Every now and then I catch a glimpse of you and that sweet baby face is still there, the face I looked at for the first time five years ago today and felt such a huge swell of love I didn't know how my heart could hold it all.  

And your smile makes me feel that way still. 

I've been looking back at photos of tummy time, when I could place you down on the floor on a blanket and you couldn't go far. For photo sessions, my mommy buddies and I used to prop you guys up on the couch, trying to snap pictures before someone toppled over.  We'd also lay our beautiful babies down on the floor and watch you kids wave your limbs around, swooping in just before another child got his eye poked out.  

I've looked at the playdates, the trips to the beach, to the zoo, to shows, to the park, to Uncle Harry's farm, to museums and just hangin' at home. 

I've gone through the photos and videos of so many firsts, knowing that so many more firsts are on their way.

And I can't wait.  But actually I can, because it has gone so fast.  Before I know it you'll be taller than I am and exploring the world on your own. You'll be closer to being a man, the man I know you want to be RIGHT NOW.  

I need just a little more time with my boy, okay? 

I love you, kiddo.  I love who you are each and every day.  

You've made me happier than I ever thought possible.  

We have so much more to learn, to create, and to do. And if the next five years are even half magical as the first, we'll be the luckiest people in the whole world.  

Happy Birthday, my little man.

Happy Birthday!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Public Service Announcements Moms Need

I only know two people who ride motorcycles, and while I like them, they aren't particularly close friends of mine. 

But, now I think about them and everyone else who rides a bike because of this simple public service announcement:  

I thought I ALWAYS saw motorcycles.  I mean how could you miss them?  They're loud and disruptive like a hard-ripped fart in yoga class.  And while many motorcyclists seem like men and women genuinely out to enjoy the wind in their hair (or over their scalps), there are just as many who drive as though no one told them they weren't filming a super-testosteroney chase scene, weaving and cutting people off.  Some without helmet the first.  Others perhaps even with some woman hanging on to their waist, her buttocks so upturned she's in a prime position for Act III of a Brazilian wax.  

As a nervous wreck of a responsible driver, I began to wonder, was I not seeing motorcycles?  Was I not thinking of the rider's overall humanity and mortality? Was I just seeing a hunk of metal made for folks whose inner bad-ass needed to speed down the road on a motorized hunk of metal?  Could I possibly be the target of such a sign?

Whatever the case, it made an impression. I vowed to be more careful.  

That three-word campaign not only did its job, but deserved an award. Don Draper'd love that message so much he'd give it some cocktails and hop into bed with it.

Maybe this brilliance could work at home, with other blindness issues.  Blindness brought on by youth.  Blindness induced by taking someone for granted. And of course blindness brought on by not giving a shit.

Ask any overworked mom and she'll tell you that she'd kill for her family to see the clutter. The toys everywhere. The dishes in the sink. The dusty furniture. The piles of laundry.  She'd do anything for them to see the mess and then get up off their butts and do something about it.  

The people most in need of a PSA about changing the way people see?


And while I might not know a good advertising slogan from a boil on a guinea pig's ass, I'm going to give it a shot.

Here goes. . .

So yes, man child sitting over there with the I-pad, or watching TV with his feet up.  Yes, little girl trying on 860 ballerina outfits and putting every single one in the hamper.  Yes, person treating his home like Picasso's studio and a hoarder's lair.

This message is for you.

Look around and see. And then be moved to do something called "cleaning."

'Cause if you don't, you might find yourself without things like clothes and food, let alone a clean plate or sink to use.  Because your mom/wife/cook/maid might start living by this PSA:

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

If You Give a Three Year Old Some Gum...


My four-and-a-half-year-old son stood in front of where I sat on the sofa, panting, his eyes twinkling with the fact that he was going to get his little sister’s ass busted.    

“I have something to show you!” he proclaimed. “And you are not going to like it.”

He grabbed my hand and pulled me to his sister’s room.  He hopped up next to Lady A on the big-girl bed we gave her for her third birthday, barely two months ago.  Then he folded down her fuzzy lavender blanket.

“Look!” This was tattletale GOLD, people!

Shit! Shit! SHIT!!!!!

There was gum on not only her lavender polka-dotted Land of Nod sheets, but in a J-pattern over her velour fleece blanket.  GUM!!  It had been there for at least a couple of DAYS. 

I had spent hours dreaming about and shopping for and ordering just the right combination of purples and polka dots and softness and ruffles for my girl to feel like a princess. Now she had a bed fit for a flophouse.    


Somewhere a studio audience chanted, “NO! YOU! CAN”T!” 

Muttering curses, I stomped back to my laptop where I learned that the enemies of gum on fabric were these guys:

Peanut Butter
Olive Oil
White Vinegar (warmed, if possible)
Baking Soda
A popsicle stick/tongue depressor/spoon (something with which to scrape off the gum)

I willed myself to calm down and not put both children on Craigslist.  Surely all was not lost.  When I was in college a little girl I was babysitting got gum in her hair.  Ice did the trick, so I tried that first.

I got some cubes and pressed them to the sheet.  The gum hardened quickly and I scraped it off, effortlessly.  Done.

Now for the blanket.  It was a deep velour and the gum was ground in like dog crap in sneaker treads.  I held ice on it and waited. 

Nothing. If she were older I’d make her work to earn a new one.  But she was three.  For all she knew, money grew in the toilet tank.

“Hold the ice on that gum so it gets hard and we can pull it off.  HOLD IT!” If these kids thought they were going to destroy yet something else in our home and run off to play, they needed some serious correcting.  “And don’t be sucking on that ice!” 

They rubbed the blanket with ice for a few minutes.  I did a test. I pulled off less than a millimeter of gum, as well as some of the plush material.

The next suggestion was to deep freeze the item, either by putting the blanket in the freezer, which was not happening, or to put a big baggie full of ice on the spot and wait. 

I put a big ol’ plastic bag of ice on the gum pattern, put the blanket on our bed, and went about my business. 

A little later I returned and did another check.  Off came another millimeter of gum, and more velour.  At this rate the blanket would look like it was attacked by a wolf pack and dragged through the street. I considered throwing the thing in the trash, but I wasn’t sure if Target had any more, and with my luck my kids would figure out how to bust a bottle of red all over the new blanket three days later. 

Time for the big guns.

Peanut butter. 

It helped a little – I was able to scrape more off.

Then I went for it.  Warm white vinegar with a little baking soda.  I doused it as if I had gasoline and was going to send that blanket up to glory in a bonfire of life.  Yesssss! The gum became softer and easier to scrape off. 

Finally I reached the point where I’d done all I could do.  Game over.  That side of the blanket would always have to be the underside. 

Not too bad right? 

Not pretty, but could be
a whole lot worse...

Wish I could say the same thing for my nerves!

What's the worst thing your kid(s) ruined?  

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Win $500 From Checked Twice!

CheckedTwice is a free online gift registry for families and friends to create and collaborate on holiday and special occasion wishlists – making gift-giving simple, organized, and fun. CheckedTwice makes it easy to add gift ideas from anywhere, create and manage lists for younger children, share gift giving across family, friends, and other groups, and more. And no spoilers here – CheckedTwice won’t reveal what’s been purchased from your registry, so the joy and surprise of gift-giving stays intact! When less time is spent shopping and the gifts are guaranteed to please, there’s more time to celebrate the season with friends and family. Happy Gifting!

With my son's birthday and the holidays coming up, I am beyond excited to have a way to ensure this: 

And avoid this!

We all know how it feels to open a gift we think is ummm, well, interesting, and we also know how it feels to give a gift the receiver isn't in love with. 

Not so great. 

CheckedTwice prevents your daughter having to lie to Aunt So-and-so about the AWESOME sweater she bought her.  No more watching your son's face fall after he opens a not-exactly-what-I-was-hoping-for gift (God forbid the giver is sitting right there!).   

I am going to STRONGLY encourage my bestie who has everything to register STAT!  Next, there's the Hubs, who oh-so modestly claims not to need anything.

And then I am going to do my own list, so maybe I can even score some great stuff for myself!

I am thrilled to put CheckedTwice to use this holiday season! I have already started entering items for my son's birthday and it is super fun and easy.  

If you're not already thinking CheckedTwice is the most amazing thing to happen to birthdays and holidays since the gift receipt, here's something else to love about it...

One lucky winner will receive $500 to help you get started on your holiday shopping!

CheckedTwice is giving away $500 to help you get started on your holiday shopping! Giveaway ends November 18th at 8 pm ET, open to residents of US and Canada, ages 18+. Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

November Finding the Funny!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...