August 31, 2010

Dear Babies...

Sometimes I cannot believe I am lucky enough to know you babies, let alone call you mine. Here's a list of the things I love about you, and all the things that are amazing in my eyes.

JAMES IV:
Smart. Beautiful. Sweet.
Sensitive. Determined. Loveable. Creative. Silly. Structured. Thoughtful. Generous. Logical. Intuitive. Kind. Wise. Protective. Unexpected. Comforting. Musical. Amazing. Strong. Engaging. Huggable. Wonderful. Tender. Shocking. Intense. Snuggable. Loud. Funny.
Artistic. Awesome. Friendly.

Half of my heart.

STELLA RAE:
Smart. Beautiful. Sweet.
Lovely. Silly. Musical. Strong. Joyful. Calm. Athletic. Daring. Patient. Kind. Caring. Huggable. Adorable. Considerate. Creative. Wonderful. Precious. Amazing. Affectionate. Stunning. Agreeable. Surprising. Gentle. Free-spirited. Charming. Quiet. Soulful. Funny.
Adventurous. Fabulous. Friendly.

The other half of my heart.

Chicken II

So inquiring minds apparently want to know: how did the chicken turn out?

Well.

Boo-yow. I rocked that chicken. It was awesome and crispy and delicious. And the Expert ate his words - and about three pieces of chicken.

I am officially a Southern Woman. I know you are all so very proud.

August 28, 2010

Chicken

I don't cook. First, I never really learned how to cook. Second, I do not like touching raw meat (hold the jokes please), so any meat dish kinda creeps me out. Thirdly, the children do not leave me alone for six seconds to heat up hotdogs, let alone filet a mignon. Or whatever.

Things I can make: soup, chili, lasagna, various crockpot delights, and any salad or sandwhich you may want. Salad or sandwiches are awesome, but apparently do not constitute cooking (!?), so says the Expert.

The Expert is my husband.

We are having a friend over to eat tonight. Last night, my anti-cookingness came up when we were trying to determine what to feed our company. I suggested that the Expert cook something. He suggested that since it was his dude friend coming over, that I should cook something like a proper woman. (Sidenote: this comment was, of course, made in jest. Otherwise, he'd be a single man today).

I protested a few times, until the Expert opened up a diatribe about how I really never cook anything. I protested again, but then I really could not deny this. So I admitted it. And there was no fight.

Afterall, what is there to fight about? I do not cook.

So after all this happens, the Expert says (and I quote): Any self-respecting Southern woman should be able to fry chicken.

Well. I may not cook, but I also never turn down a challenge. And this was a challenge if I've ever smelled one. Hence, dinner plans were set.

So as I type, the chicken is marinating menacingly in the fridge. My breading is sitting and mocking me in a paper bag, waiting. The oil is ready. The wire rack is in perfect placement. And the company is en route. Here we go!

Any self-respecting Southern woman should be able to fry chicken, I'm repeating like a sick mantra in Paula Deen's accent. Now, I'm not sure what's going to happen with this chicken tonight.

But after a few glasses of wine, I'm not sure the chicken is going to be the determining factor of my self-respectingness. Ha!

Happy Saturday, ya'll!

In His Shoes


This baby girl who I love with all of my heart... loves her daddy more than anything in this world, including string cheese. Where I am chopped liver at best, Jason is fine dining to Stella. Actually, I do not mind in the slightest. The daddy-daugther relationship - it's a beautiful thing. Just ask a fellow daddy's girl (me).

August 25, 2010

D-Bags

So many of you know that the most awesome show, the Vampire Diaries films here in Atlanta. Which means that I firmly believe that my single co-worker, holy guacamole phrase user and beautiful, single blonde friend should randomly meet Ian Somerhalder and run away to Tahiti with him on some sort of shotgun wedding wherein I can be a last minute bridesmaid.

Turns out that Mr. Somerhalder is not only a smoking hot bloodsucker, but in person, he's quite the gent.

Stella and I often watch some of the episodes together, and when Mr. Somerhalder comes on, she'll kind of squeal and say Daddy, which is awesome. Yes, I hide her eyes during the vampire attacks, or wave Elmo feverishly in her face as a diversion. Now, Stella smirks at Paul Wesley, in a kind of toddler you're not hot enough way. Apparently, however, this slightly less attractive vampire, who should by default be nicer....turns out to be quite the giant d-bag. Who knew.

My source for this information is really twelve times removed. But I like to think that: 1) because I live in Atlanta, and 2) because I know someone who knows someone who may have met Mr. Somerhalder once... or waved across the room... that I have scoop.

I like scoop. And I like vampire scoop, like doled out in this month's issue of Rolling Stone - the one with the gory True Blood cover. Actually, I wasn't interested too much in Rolling Stone as a stand alone magazine until the fake blood cover (oh, and Lady Gaga's completely airbrushed cover). My almost three year old son picked up the magazine tonight, saw the messy cover, and said, Goodness, that's a mess. Sticky mess! Oh my!

Yes, I get it. You goody two-shoes parents: don't have Rolling Stone lying around for the toddlers to read. D-bags. If that bothers you, then you must have missed my Sports Illustrated swimsuit folly.

And yes, I am calling people d-bags. Me.

The person who has a ticket to the New Kids on the Block cruise to the Bahamas.

And I feel like parents, in general, are the biggest d-bags of all. Is it because we are trying so hard to be sane, do the right things by our kids, snag some sleep? And in turn, we say things like "up and at 'em" or "golly gee, you look fancy."

I have always been a nerd, but by golly (there it is again), if I am not tripling in nerdiness by the second. I also understand that the nerd and the d-bag are two entirely different creatures. But I do think the nerd and the d-bag are adjacent landowners.

So now, my simple goal is to prevent the d-bag from setting up a fence on my land and encroaching on my nerdiness.

I need a nap. How nerdy.

Holy Guacamole

My co-worker frequently says holy guacamole, and it still makes me giggle. Tonight, was a small holy guacamole incident. But I think only because the locale was near margaritas.

My husband happened to be home early and we pulled the herd to the local Mexi joint. The kids were good. I mean, shockingly good. Good to the point that I started checking for birthmarks and sniffing their hair.


So, near the end of dinner I tell James, thank you for being such a good boy. Well, that was just plain stupid, because in case you didn't know, "thank you for being such a good boy" is actually a secret code for unlocking the baby beast. No sooner were the words out of my mouth, and a bloody temper tantrum began. And I'm still befuddled as to the cause of it. I actually welcome the terrible threes, because at least the threes are something different. The terrible twos tantrums are boring.

In other news, I get the sneaking suspicion that someone is after my husband.

Now, I do not say after my husband like he has a hit out on him. And I do not say someone as if I do not know who this person is. I know exactly who she is. And this appears to be of case of good old fashioned attempted man-stealing. And holy guacamole, if she is crazy enough to try that, God help her. At least, Jason and I can laugh about it, because the ten foot pole rule totally applies here (and may actually be stretched to a twenty foot pole in this situation).

Regardless of the ew factor, I may be a bunch of things - but neither mild mannered, nor completely sane is really one of my attributes.

Afterall, part of my wedding vows went something like: in sickness and in health and even after I serve seven to ten for clubbing that woman who was after you.

I kid, I kid. Holy guacamole!

August 22, 2010

Dino Unexpected

Even poor Mr. Dinosaur experiences the unexpected from James and Stella. To walk into the playroom and see tough Mr. Dino with his Lego adorned horn and wormy tail... I just had to laugh. This work must be courtesy of James.


August 17, 2010

Slow Fat Triathlete

Ok. So I have taken steps to pack my things to move out of Rutville, by signing up for a duathlon in October, with a lofty goal to hit a sprint triathalon in the spring (thank you, Jayne Williams). So, I told baby boy James last night at bedtime that I was going to do a triathalon, and the little bugger laughed at me.

I said, "No really, I am going to swim, bike and run... in a race." He mocked me, saying "No, Mommy ! No race!"

Earlier, Stella put her hands over her eyes when I said, "Mommy is going to swim in the morning." Thanks, guys!

Well, at the ripe hour of 4:40 this morning, my alarm beeps, and I head to the gym. Me and my mom swimsuit. Yes, I have ordered a slick looking Speedo number with silicone swimcap, but the getup will not arrive until next week. And I say, best to get moving while the motivation has slapped me - no time to waste here.

Board shorts and impractical swim top it is. Goggles. Check. (Sweet).

Three Olympic proportioned laps later, I am dying. I have sucked in water through my nose, my mouth and somehow, through my ears. I am huffing and puffing. Yesterday, I told my Ultra Marathon running friend that I really didn't think the swim part was going to kill me in my hypothetical triathalon. I lied. Holy cows.

I managed to paddle, swim, lay, roll, bob and sputter through about forty minutes of water time. I consider that a massive victory. Hey, I got in the pool! Hey, in my mom suit! Hey, at an athletic club where everyone is about 100 pounds, runs the Kona Ironman for fun and in my imagination, comes to the pool with a bloody harpoon to stab folks like me.

But it was nice. And everyone was nice. The true athletes looked on a little sympathetically (aw, look at that special momsuit), but nice, nevertheless.

Now, I am wondering about the bike portion. (No need to speak about my running skills. I have none.) I feel most confident with the bike part. I "easily" handle an hour straight of Ironman Gerry on Fridays, so that has to be at least fifteen miles a class. By "easily," I acutally mean that I do not pass out. Theoretically, I think I could do at least ten more miles.

I don't know about my bold and big decisions here. I should probably have my head checked. Clearly, I cannot really swim or run. I think I can bike. However, I declare I am going to be a triathlete. And frankly, I have decided. And as Ironman Gerry says, the decision and the mindset is the biggest part.

Whether a Slow Fat Triathlete or otherwise, I will do it.

Now, if I could just get my children to stop laughing at me...

August 16, 2010

Screw Rutville

I have been living in Rutville, or similar town (Rut-o-Rama, etc.) for over two years, and I am so tired of it.

Therefore, I'm putting my Rutty house for sale, and I'm moving out. But where will I go?

First, I will try Get My Buns Moving Land, and see how that goes. Once I get settled there, I will find a second home in VeganVille or Please Slap That Food Outta My Hand Land.

I am almost certain that residency in Rutville is directly porportional to how little time I have. Actually, not just time. Time for myself. Time to actually work out, shop for and cook healthy food, take care of myself.

So like the Shawshank Redemption, I best get my tiny hammer and chisel out of my secret compartment Bible, escape and get busy living.

Kids are amazing and funny and sweet. But they take up an unfathomable amount of resources and time. Without getting myself centered as a person first, and then a mother, I fear I am going to move into Rut-o-Rama permanently. Live like a crazy old lady with nineteen cats, and cursing the whole time I live there. Complete rut. And what good can I be for my kids, then?

Like I said, I'm moving out of Rut. I have signed myself up (and Jason!)for a duathlon in October (think: triathlon without the swim leg), which consists of a 10k run and a 20 miles bike. There are no duathletes (especially triathletes) living in Rut-o-Rama, so this is my first hard-nosed move to get out.

Keep ya posted.

August 11, 2010

My Purse

I am not going to commentate on these pictures. Instead, I am just presenting facts, for the sake of record keeping.

The fact is: James has taken over Stella's purse. He holds it specially in one hand, while saying indignantly, "This is James' purse."


He stops for bit to gingerly pack the purse, stuffing his comb, wind-up toy whale and a book inside. There's a tiny bit of prancing going on, but not more than I've seen from any other boy toddler.


Stella looks on, confused, but eventually gets up and heads for the Thomas trains, sputtering vrooom vrooooom and moving the trains around the room.

I'm smiling like crazy. These are the reasons you have kids. For the sake of pure humor.

I now have a picture of my son packing a purse. I cannot wait for the slideshow at his wedding rehearsal dinner.

BlogVice: Getting Rid of Paci

.....THREE WEEKS AGO

After James' multiple fights with the coffee table and couch (twice landing on his teeth) and after two visits to the dentist and being scolded, I was determined to break the paci habit.

Well, that's not completely true. Deep down, I did not care if he had a paci until he was thirty. He was going on three. He only used that paci in the crib (yes, he's still in a crib too - shut up), and I did not think it was that bad. I mean, it's not like I was still breastfeeding him.


But when the dentist said that James could suffer issues with the actual jaw, the roof of his mouth and other scary and expensive horrors... I decided that was it. No more paci.

So I bought a tree.

The infamous "paci tree" idea. Rumor has it: you tell the kid that this magic tree needs pacis to grow, then plant the tree with the pacis under the roots, and voila! the kid is supposed to be cured from the habit. I liked it, and we needed some landscaping. Couldn't hurt.

I read about the paci fairy. And rewards. And stickers. And then my mom said a friend of hers actually told her son: "the bugs got the pacis." While that kid may no longer use a pacifier, I bet he's scared to death of bugs. I did not want to trade one problem for another.

So I decided to go with the tree.

Well, the day I brought the tree home, we experienced a torrential downpour (and hail). Now there's a sign for you. The problem: I had already made up my mind to get rid of the paci, so it had to be done that day. I had mentally prepared for the incessant screams of paci paci paci mommmmmmmy!!! And I was ready.

At naptime, I said, "James, after this nap we have to tell the paci bye-bye. This is the last time we'll have a paci, ok?" I was thinking the rain would stop and we could plant the tree when he woke up.

He looked at me, and strangely muttered, "Paci bye bye." And I nodded in agreement.

Well, the rain continued, and no paci tree happened. Then bedtime rolled around. Bath and change. He's in the crib, and I think, screw it, let's go cold turkey. So, I just remind him that the paci has gone bye-bye. "James, remember how we said bye bye to the paci today?"

"Paci bye bye," he says. He thinks for a second and says, "Okay."

I'm thinking, whatever, and bracing myself for the tantrum. But there is nothing as I step out of the room. Quiet... as I head down the stairs. One hour. Tick tock. Two hours. Nothing. I check the monitor. How is this even possible?

We head to bed. I lay awake most of the night thinking I am on an episode of Punked or James found a spare paci in the crib. But by five o'clock the following morning, I am completely shell-shocked. We were paci cured.

The next night was fine, and the next and the next.

He asked for the paci on night five, but then laughed and said, "Paci bye bye."

If I had a million dollars and had been asked to bet on the disappearance and success of Operation Get Rid 'O Paci, I would have placed all million on ONE outcome: tantrums, fits, biting and eventually me giving him the paci so I could sleep just one hour.

Parenthood never ceases to amaze me.

Now, why do I consider this an "advice" posting? Well, here's why. My advice for the paci is: do whatever you want - it's a total crapshoot. Heck, try "paci goes bye bye" and let me know how it goes.

My real advice from this post: never underestimate those little buggers that are your children. Sometimes, their inner genius emerges...and we are all a little surprised.

Best of luck with your habit smashings!

August 10, 2010

In Love

Most of my blog is spent trying to make my readers laugh.
Othertimes, I use the blog as an outlet to complain and vent and rant
and rave about how crazy my life and nutty my munchkins are.

Sometimes I forget a few simple words....

That I am so in love with these two little people,
sometimes I cannot see straight.

I love you, babies.

August 5, 2010

BlogVice: Discipline 101

Ha ha. Fooled you! I have absolutely no practical advice about discipline. If I could reign in the insanity which is my house, I could make millions.

Mr. Spoon works (sometimes). Time-out works for a reasonably mild-mannered child. If you've got a hitter or a biter, then what in the world is time-out going to do? The kid is just going to sit in the time-out chair, swatting and chomping at you. Then there's the naughty hat, the naughty mat, the naughty stool. Super sad face stickers. Taking away toys, books, blankies. And talking to the kids. I laugh at the latter...it's not like you can really talk to a tantrum.

However, despite all the discipline successes and failures, Jason and I have managed to have these great, well-behaved kids (for everyone else). They are absolute angels for teachers, grandparents, etc.... And to me, that means we are doing something correctly.

I have read and read about discipline, and the one thing pops up constantly: discipline should remain consistent.

Well, actually.... I find that discipline tends to work best when the kids don't know what's coming. Kinda like, oooooh, what's Mommy going to do next? Mommy is craaaazy. Better not test her. You know, keep them on their toes. That may be the stupidest thing you've ever read. But I already warned you, I have no advice about this.

As Stella rounds the corner to the terrible twos, James seems to be simmering down. He's sweet and delicious and hilarious. The tantrums still rear super ugly heads, but the spacing between is longer. Someday I am going to look back on all of this and laugh, and even miss these times. I know it.

Still, I say kids need to know who is Boss.

However, sometimes, it's pretty clear.... the boss ain't me.

August 4, 2010

Dueling Puh-Nee-Nos

One of the main issues with having two kids is the toy situation.

If one munchkin has a toy - the other munchkin wants that same toy - no matter what that blasted toy is. Or if it's even a toy. Sissy's got that old shoe? Oh, hell to the no, says James. He wants that old shoe too.

James usually melts into a puddle of goo when Stella takes a toy, screaming No No No and then just crumpling to the floor and turning into tantrum central. We are attempting to teach him to run after her - take back what is his - conquer the world! The whole grab the bull by the horns mentality.

But he'd rather just cuss at the bull. Which is kinda my approach to life, until absolute destruction and butt-kicking is necessary. I guess I can't complain. The monkey's cut from the mold.

In a valiant effort to even out the toy playing field, I have started buying two of everything. Because the kids might as well be twins, I think this is fitting.

Well, tonight... the pint-sized toy pianos arrived. (Insert music of dread and evil thoughts here).

James exclaims, a puh-nee-no!

And I'm like, darn straight. I'm happy. He's happy. Stella gets her very own puh-nee-no too, and she's happy, too.

In summary, everyone is happy for about..uh...sixty-seven seconds.

Then, Stella tries to lift the piano to crack James on the skull, which makes her mad because the darn thing is heavy. James is mad because Stella busted up the perfect OCD alignment of the pianos (they were side-by-side, perfectly in line).

They both start crying. I have had it. I'm thinking, why do I even bother?



Next thing I know, the kids have gotten over their individual fits and decided to turn on me. In the blink of an eye, they convert the puh-nee-nos into convenient step ladders, and I cannot stop the light flickering insanity that ensues. Up down, up down. No no no no, get down from there. I gave up.

Pianos to the garage. Pronto. Bring back the old shoe.

August 3, 2010

The Battle Rages

Okay, scrap all my advice. I have no control over dinner. I am losing the battle.

Rice wins.

Have you ever tried to actually sweep up "sticky rice"? It has that name for a reason.

August 2, 2010

BlogVice: Wartime Dinner Secrets

Every parent fights the dinner time battle at some point. For the most part, I am resigned to the fact that I am going to walk in the door, kick off my heels, and start the battle. Every night.

Somedays, the war is not too bad (mac and cheese night). Sometimes, the outcome is shocking (they ate sushi?! and pot roast?! together?!) Sometimes, there is spinning of heads, spitting of green pea soup, tossing of plates, knocking over of cups, throwing of tantrums - these are the meals that question my capabilities as a human, let alone an actual mother.

I think the whole issue is the "surprise factor" of dinner time. I never know what the outcome is going to be. I tiptoe into dinner like a scared animal. Sometimes, the uncertainty of the battle is enough to make me loco.



With two kids spaced about six days apart, I have learned a few dinnertime secrets over the past two years. Thought I'd share some things that have helped me through.

1) Food shaped into animals/people/characters tends to work. No matter what the food. Mickey mouse pancakes. 90% success rate.

2) Shredded cheese or even vegan rice cheese, for the most part, will disguise most covert vegetable operations. Most effective on broccoli. Least effective on cauliflower. 75% success rate.

3) Hide baby food in spaghetti, cassaroles and pies. Jessica Seinfeld has a best selling book based on this concept. I think her recipes are awfully self-indulgent, but whatever. Who has time to puree peas and THEN cook a real meal? Crack open a jar of spaghetti and add a tub of Gerber peas. Now, we're cooking. 87% success rate.

4) If in doubt, let the them down from the table and just graze in the kitchen, while you randomly check your email. Hand them carrots, apples, raisins and cheese. Again, with the cheese. You're bound to find something they will eat. 92% success rate.

5) If I am feeling major tantrums brewing, I will declare the food is "magic" or "special" or incorporate some weird color (like Catalina dressing on chicken - voila - "pink chicken") For example, "Hey James, today we are having magic beans and pink chicken." Making up some nutty story at least grabs the attention (for a bit, until they throw it on the floor). 55% success rate.



6) Also known as the "Lazy Six," for when you KNOW you cannot possibly bear the battle, try this for dinner:
Plate.
Crackers.
Cheese.
Applesauce.
Sweet potato chunks.
Deli meat.

Now, the Lazy Six is downright lazy, but it works everytime. And you've got protein, vege and fruit. Heck yes. And if you are really adventurous, fashion the Lazy 5 into a magic monkey design, and you've got a true winner.

Sometimes preparing dinner is the worst end to an already heinous day. If you find yourself drinking three-quarters of the bottle of wine intended for use in the risotto...it's time to just stop and go Lazy. Crack open the Sargento, Saltines and Salami and go to town. Happy kids. Guaranteed. 99.9% success rate.

Happy mealtime, friends!

August 1, 2010

When the Kid is Quiet...

...it may be Sports Illustrated's fault.



Personally, I like the clever positioning of his penguin watch.
As if to say, "Hey, man... it's time to get me a woman."