Thursday, January 31, 2008

Big Day

So today's report card day. A.'s very first report card! Mom and Dad's first report card, too. G. almost videotaped it, but I stopped him in time.

He got Excellent on Group Time: Attention, Courtesy, Participation and General Self-Control. He says, "That's because when Teacher is showing us a new job, I sit very quietly and don't move." He's a good listener (when he wants to be).

And he just got Satisfactory on PE. I expected that - Teacher doesn't like it when kids enter her class not knowing how to skip. But he's got the skipping down now, man. And he's the smallest kid in the class, for heaven's sake. I give him credit just for being positive about Field Days.

BTW, "Field Days are about winning. P.E.'s just about practice," according to A.

The comment was, "Since September, A. has shown great improvement in his penmanship." That's it.

Oh Thank God because we were afraid he was forever doomed to write all his letters backwards. I'm just guessing here, call me a dreamer, but I'll bet it gets even better by 3rd grade! I sure hope they track that in the report card comments!

So part of me is like, "Good. He's right on track, no worries, right where he should be. I'm not gonna put my perfectionism on him."

And the other part of me is like, "Are they BLIND?"

Who Needs Blog Topics?

I'll just type in A.'s list for the day.

Wac up
brush teef
eet brefix
pt on clos
wach creeeees jorj
go too sgoowl
plai hid and seek
sneec urond hawis
woch u videeo
hav sum aktivdee
sbed sum tim wi my famlee*
go too sleep

*That one's my favorite.

He's just a little bit of a slave to his list. He likes to do things in the order written, but he's not too thrown off when I change things around and add stuff like "go to libraree" and tell him to brush his teef AFTER brefix. He dutifully checks things off after he does each one, and gets quite thrown if he can't find his list. He's not sure what to do if he doesn't have his list to tell him.

My to-do list for the day:

wawsh dishs
mak dinr
dew billeeng
mak fown kawls

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

For Kids Who Do Too Much, Part II

We now have a list for what to do after bedtime, too:

Nit List

  • Luc at cadn unrpans bcs*
  • sai my prers
  • go in Ben's krib
  • cleen my room
  • sneec urawnd hawis
  • reed bcs

*Captain Underpants Books

Thanks goodness he included sneaking around the house. He always forgets to do that.

Monday, January 28, 2008

For Kids Who Do Too Much

When I got home from work tonight, A. very proudly showed me his To Do list for tomorrow. He had it all written out on a piece of paper:

  • waic up
  • pt on cllos
  • brush ar teef
  • eet brefisd
  • go too sgoowl
  • plai socr
  • woch u videeo
  • plai on u cmpyoudr
  • plai kards
  • hav activuees
  • hav dinr
  • go to sleep

"I've got a lot going tomorrow!" he exclaimed.

Ok, but you still need a cutlery set

I'm a busy non-blogger today, but I thought this was hilarious. Those smart-ass Brits left 145 comments about the Bic crystal pen. You can even buy a couple of them, used. Found via RockStar Mommy's great blog.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

So remember on Friday when I wondered what crazy thing I'd do next?

We bought a couch for our family room Friday night:

Nice, eh? We've needed something for this room ever since we moved in. We've been making do with my old futon, which worked but was pretty uncomfortable and rather ugly. Since we spend most of our time in this room, it didn't make sense to have nice furniture in the living room and the dregs in here. Levitz is having a bankruptcy sale, so we got this one for 60% off. We're all enjoying sitting on it. And I can label it and straighten my hair on it, too, if I want.

And, for something totally unrelated, G and I sublet a psychotherapy office in a suite. We do not control the books in the waiting room, which include "Venomous Animals." Maybe not what I'd choose as reading material for a bunch of anxious clients, but that's why we're just the subleters.

And the third totally unrelated thing:

Middle Niece (B) is quite talented, doing the singing and dancing thing. She just moved from California to New York (New Jersey, technically) to try her luck on the Great White Way. She and her roommate are writing a blog to chronicle their experiences and give their parents heart attacks. This is her first blog and we really want her to keep it up, so if you have a second to encourage them, that'd be awesome.

Friday, January 25, 2008


Today's Complaint: Kid's DVDs that don't let you skip over the commercial previews to get to the menu. What's up wit dat? That annoys the crap out of me. Today's was Jay-Jay the Creepy Jet Plane.

Today's Obsession: GoodReads. Just found it via Laid-Off Dad, and come to find out some of my friends are already on it. Love it - helps me keep track of what I want to read AND has a widget. Add me as a friend if you're on it too. I need to change something, though, because it looks like all I read are books by Maeve Binchy. Those are just the most recent ones I added, I swear.


Today's Challenge: Run a full-frontal assault on the ants taking over my kitchen. The boys are making a game of hopping over the floor trying to avoid them, and having lots of fun calling them "stupid" since I said that ants were the one thing it was OK to call stupid.

Oh, and maybe get some exercise.

Today's Weather: Rain. Rain, more rain. The hills better be bright emerald green after this or I'll be pissed.

Today's Goal: Organize and label all the family room toys.

Today's Goal for Ben: Poop. We're on Day 6 of the Poop Watch and getting a little nervous. I am, anyway. Ben seems fine with it. I have become that mother - the one consumed by the lack of regularity in her child's bowel movements.

Today's Pleasure: Bought myself a hair straightener AND a label-maker. I've wanted both for a long time, and today I threw caution to the wind at Target and got the cheapest versions of each! Who knows what crazy thing I'll do next?!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Another funny parody of the Tom "Wacky Boy" Cruise video by Jerry O'Connell. He does a good job with the Tommy Hysterical Laughter.

I Liked It

I'm putting this on my blog so I don't lose it. It's from Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Suppers and is one of the best ways to get vegetables. I had to return the book to the library and now I can't find my copy of the recipe. Thank goodness she posted it on her blog:

Braised Mixed Greens and garlicky beans on toast
Serves 3 to 4

Any mixture of greens can be spooned over garlic-rubbed toast, as it is here, pasta, or polenta. For wine, try a Spanish red, such as a Grenache-based Priorat wine or a Spanish white Alberinio.

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for finishing
1 small onion, finely diced
2 plump garlic cloves, 1 slivered, 1 halved
1-pound greens, such as chard mixed with the tips and leaves of broccoli rabe, or a mix of small braising greens, washed and chopped
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
if available, a few leaves to a few handfuls sorrel, 5 or 6 lovage leaves, or a handful each of chopped cilantro and parsley
1 1/2 cups cooked beans (borlotti, cannellini, etc.), made from scratch or canned
3 to 4 slices chewy country bread
shaved Parmesan cheese or crumbled Gorgonzola

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet or Dutch oven. Add the onion and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Once the starts to soften a bit, after 3 to 4 minutes, add the slivered garlic. Cook a minute more, and then add the greens and any herbs. Season with 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  2. As the greens cook down, turn them in the pan to bring the ones on top closer to the heat. Once they’ve all collapsed, add 1/2 cup water or bean broth, lower the heat, and cook, partially covered, until tender. Depending on the greens you’ve chosen, this could take as little as a few minutes or as long as twenty. Just make sure there’s some liquid in the pan, for in the end you’ll want a little sauce. When the greens are done, add the beans, heat them through, then taste for salt, and season with pepper.
  3. Toast the bread and rub it with halved garlic. Arrange on plates and spoon the greens and beans over the top. Drizzle extra olive oil on top. Garnish with the cheese and serve.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Spring Fashion Report '08

On her blog today, Lemony Sarah introduced us all to the wonders of designer Thom Browne (which she found via Dave Barry).

I was so taken by this wunderkind, I just had to go check out his designs myself and steal LS's blog idea. Here are two more favorites:

How often have you heard your man say: "This unitard would be just perfect if I only had a pocket for my keys and ID."

Or, perhaps, "I'm too much man for this unitard. I need a swatch of fabric RIGHT THERE for reinforcement. "

And, for those days at the office when the regular business suit is too stuffy, but a polo shirt is too casual:

Saturday, January 19, 2008

A. Thinks Globally, Acts Locally

A. is learning about peacemakers in kindergarten, and thought Target was as good a place as any for an impromptu peace march.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

And Another Thing....

If I was in the market for a full-time job, I would so go for this. Just so I could say I'm badass.

Seriously, if you like photos and the internet, Photojojo is the place to be. Subscribe to their newsletter.

AND...if you saw the Tom "Spiral Eyes" Cruise video, you've gotta see the Cathy Zielske scrapbooking parody. If you haven't seen the Tommy video and don't mind wasting 10 minutes of your life, look here.

Oh, and today is Beastie's birthday. She's way too important to the computer systems of a major hospital to post more often, but a big "Happy Birthday, Middle Sister," to her.

Oh, and because Oldest Sister reads this blog, Happy Birthday Two Days Ago to you too!

And, once again, thanks to you and Middle Sister for not only having birthdays 2 days apart in January, but also having (almost) ALL your children in January, too. Costco socks for all of you.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

No way could I post every day for a year. But I can do several posts in one day. Maybe I could do 365 posts in 365 days, but not necessarily once a day. Oooooh. I think I may need to make a banner for that. (My Own Banner! Not Stolen From Anyone!)

So I got this off of My Whim is Law (which is a great title, btw), who got it off Not World Famous. You're supposed to pick your birth month and then bold and discuss the qualities that apply to you.


  • Loves to chat. Once I get started, with people I know, sure, but I hate the telephone and I hate parties where I don't know anyone.
  • Loves those who loves them. Who's gonna say no to that? "I hate people who love me! They suck!"
  • Loves to take things at the center. An Oreo should always be eaten middle first.
  • Inner and physical beauty. So everybody born in October is beautiful? OK. And my CT scans were quite pretty, with all the colors and whatnot (re: inner beauty. Try to keep up).
  • Lies but doesn't pretend. - Eh, I think it's the other way around.
  • Gets angry often. Define often. NOW!
  • Treats friends importantly. I don't suppose they'd be friends very long otherwise, would they?
  • Always making friends. I'm not ALWAYS making friends, but I have kept friends from every significant phase of my life. I can almost always find someone to get along with.
  • Easily hurt but recovers easily. Eh, I used to be easily hurt. Now it's not that easy, but when it happens I don't recover easily.
  • Daydreamer. I'm sorry...what?
  • Opinionated. Who ever says they're NOT opinionated?
  • Does not care of what others think. I don't know...what do you think?
  • Emotional.
  • Decisive. Yes. Definitely.
  • Strong clairvoyance. I have good intuition about people, but I don't see dead people.
  • Loves to travel, the arts and literature. Sure.
  • Touchy and easily jealous. Again, I think I used to be much more than I am now.
  • Concerned. I'm concerned about any readers returning to my blog after this.
  • Loves outdoors. Sure. Love my bed more, but yeah, trees are good.
  • Just and fair. I like to think I'd make a good judge.
  • Spendthrift. Hahahahahaha
  • Easily influenced. Well, now, if I'm decisive and I don't care what others think, wouldn't that mean I'm not easily influenced? I guess it depends on what. Find some cute shoes or stationery, offer me a fruity drink, yeah, I'm easily influenced. Be a republican, and no, I'm not.
  • Easily loses confidence. Yeah, this is probably true. I don't know! Auuugh! I know nothing!
  • Loves children. Especially grilled with some lemon butter on the side.
So I got 73%. Not bad. But we don't know if that means anything unless I go and do all the other months too.

Here are the rest of the months. Knock yourselves out. Especially Beej - she rocks these things. And it's not Thursday, so she shouldn't be tied up. Hahahaha.

Along the same lines as Finslippy's Bad Parenting blog post, here's Mrs. Kennedy's Bad Housekeeping post.

More Party Planning Fun

A. is turning into a regular Stanlee Gatti. Last night, after bedtime, he climbed into Ben's crib and started helping him plan the party for his 3rd birthday in March. They chose a "Halloween" theme and the invitations, already designed by A., say something like,

Happy Brfedee Ben
We love you Ben
Ben is turning 3

They have the guest list done, too. I'm really hoping I can change their minds back to Little Einsteins as the theme because I don't want to dig out the Halloween decorations again for a party in March. On the other hand, we already have Halloween decorations and we don't have Little Einstein decorations, yet. Hmmm. Maybe A. does know what he's doing.

A. got distracted, though, by his wish list for his own birthday, still 9 months away. He came out and asked me to spell the words for him.

On the top of his list is money. Finally, we're getting practical and not asking for a rocket trip to the moon. Next is Lincoln Logs. Beautiful. I can handle Lincoln Logs. (It nearly broke my heart when he told me they had a set at school but he never gets to play with it because other kids always get there first. It's not like he has a wooden leg and hobbles pathetically behind all the other children, but it felt like that.)

Next is "Underwater Lego Set."

Me: Um, what's an underwater lego set?

A: A lego set you can do underwater. (Duh.)

Me: Yeah, but....have you ever seen one?

A: Tomorrow we can check on the internet and see if has one.

Me: But why an underwater one? How often do you build things underwater?

A: We'll just check tomorrow, OK? Next is a fake balloon.

Me: A what?

A: A fake balloon.

Me (adding it to the list): What's a fake balloon?

A (slowly): It's like a balloon but it's not real.

Me: I know, but......

So today while we were walking to school, I brought the subject up again:

Me: Hey, A., remember when you asked for a fake balloon yesterday? What would a fake balloon be made of?

A: Rubber. So it wouldn't pop.

Me: Oh. Would it float around like a balloon?

A: No, it would bounce.

Me: Gee, that pretty much sounds like a ball.

A: Yeah. A bouncy ball. Except that it looks like a balloon. A fake balloon.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

In Other News....

Sorry to be such a downer these few days, but it will continue just a tiny bit longer. I just went to the funeral of a colleague I really admired. She taught me how to see the world through a psychotic person's eyes, and how important it is to respect the human being underneath the mental illness. She was always smiling, even after 30 years in community mental health, and was a fantastic mother and wife. The church overflowed with people who loved her.

The service was a really super long Episcopalian one. Damn, I think it even outlasted my super long wedding. The celebrant was a woman (yay) and the homily was inspiring and made me feel a tiny bit lighter about my friend's sudden, accidental death. In the middle I thought, "Hey, maybe I'm actually an Episcopalian!"

I continue the search.

With Baited Breath....

I await an e-mail from the author of that letter generator site, answering my question if it's OK that I edited his letters in photoshop and added a black background. I assumed it was and maybe I was wrong. But now that I see that people really want to jump to the worst possible conclusions about other people, I guess I'd better check.

Y'all are totally right that I should let this roll off my back. Don't make it a big deal....

But it's terribly discouraging to me, this willingness, NO, eagerness to think the worst about someone. I realize I shouldn't let it affect me so, because I have also gotten support from corners I never expected. But yeah, it does bother me. I give people the benefit of the doubt. I believe everyone's just trying to do their best. And, I believe the world would be a better place if we all did that.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Mea Culpa

My fancy new header is courtesy of Spell with Flickr.

Just for the record, I never claimed it was my work. I put the words together in PSE6 and added a black background and some texture, which I guess is what some other letter generator sites do automatically. Kelly (in the previous post's comments) thought I'd stolen the idea off her blog. Never having seen her blog before, that would have been impossible, but she was quite right that I was being lazy in finding the link to the site. I had put in my credits that I got it "off a flickr widget that I had to find the link for."

When I put up the header, it was late at night. I'd found it through someone else's blog and couldn't remember who, so I figured I'd have to retrace my steps and find it. I hadn't kept the link to the site and I figured I'd get to it in a few days. That was a mistake - I've thought about it and I shouldn't have posted it until I had the link ready to go. It wasn't at all hard to find - google "flickr letter generator" - there are tons out there and the one I used can be found in the very first result. Wish I'd thought of that earlier.

Anyway, I'm sorry my blog has apparently ruined someone's entire morning. Personally, I thought her post was a bit harsh and made a lot of assumptions.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

The Party of the Century

A. came home with more plans for his birthday party. He now has the complete guest list, having spent his entire recess gathering the kids names. Three children said they didn't want to come (who are not getting any candy for Valentine's Day, btw. He may not be bothered by it, but I hold a grudge).

He wants a Charlie Brown/Peanuts theme, with a poster of Charlie Brown looking at Snoopy's decorated-for-Christmas doghouse, and we will have a game of "Pin the Star on Snoopy's Doghouse." Do they even sell Peanuts party supplies anymore?

We will have a jumpy house, according to the schematic of the backyard he's provided which shows where everything will go. There is a place to read books, a place to watch TV (which, oddly, is drawn with 50's-style rabbit ears), and a place for grown-ups because "they'll want to talk to each other." It looks a lot like the epic dinosaur party we threw just 4 months ago.

He is also very insistent, almost to the point of tears, that he really wants a whole cake this time, not the lousy little cupcakes I threw at him in years prior.

I don't know if he's trying to deflect attention from Ben's birthday in two months, or if he is really this compulsive a planner.

Oh, and I forgot to add: There's a place in his party map to make paper crowns. Because nothing says "Peanuts" like paper crowns.


And, because Ben hasn't gotten any stories lately, this from the car yesterday:

A: Ben! Why did you tear my map?

Ben: Well. I just didn't mean to tear it, A. It was a axident.

A: But why did you tear it?

Me: (suspecting Ben was not alone in the map-tearing scenario) Hey A. - did you actually see him tear the map? How did it happen? Where were you and what were you doing?*


*I have a habit of asking 16 questions at once without giving him a chance to answer any, which I'm working on.

But It Didn't Ask Me to Rate Hair

83% John Edwards
82% Hillary Clinton
81% Dennis Kucinich
81% Barack Obama
80% Chris Dodd
77% Mike Gravel
76% Joe Biden
76% Bill Richardson
37% Rudy Giuliani
30% John McCain
24% Mitt Romney
22% Tom Tancredo
21% Mike Huckabee
14% Ron Paul
11% Fred Thompson

2008 Presidential Candidate Matching Quiz

Thanks to Sarah for the link.

Making Me Feel So Much Better

I have to direct you to Finslippy's awesome blog today because I laughed so hard I cried. You also have to go down a few posts to read the comments on the "bad parent" post. Makes my seething of several days ago look downright angelic.

Monday, January 07, 2008

When I get home from work on Mondays, the boys have usually been in bed about a half hour and are nowhere near asleep, so I have get to go in and hear about their day.

Tonight, A. greeted me with the excited announcement, "In three days from today, I get to have a treat!"

Me: "Oh yeah? What treat?"

A: "I get to go to the movies!"

Me: "Really? With who?"

A: "My dad."

Me: "Does he know about this?"

A: "Yes, he said so."

Me: "Well, in three days it's Thursday, and he has to work that day, so I'm not sure how that's going to work."

A: "Oh, I forgot. He actually said Mama."

He also began writing down the names of all his classmates who say "Yes" when he asks, "Do you want to come to my birthday party?" He's got two names so far because that's all he had time to write. Tomorrow he's going to have to write Brandon because he didn't have time to write his name down today.

Me: "Boy, that could take a long time if you only get two children each day. "

A: "Maybe tomorrow I'll ask some children with shorter names."

Me: "That's a good idea. Is there anyone you don't want to invite?"

A: "No, I'll ask everyone."

Me: "That's nice. And will your feelings be hurt if someone says they don't want to come?"

A: (looking puzzled) "No, my feelings won't be hurt. I don't really mind if they don't want to come. I just want to know who does want to come because then I will know who to invite. "

I LOVE the practicality of that kid. Don't stress over the guest list, just ask who wants to come. Everybody wins. Even if the party is eight months away.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Now is Greater and She Knows That

(I'm big on the REM lyrics as Blog Post Titles right now)

Last night G. sat on the couch next to me for some "quality time."

G: Let's go look at tires online.

Me: ....grumble...grumble...roll eyes....OK.


Me: OK, there they are.

G: OK, those prices aren't too bad. Now let's go to

We stumbled around that site a little until we found the hammered paint for the gate outside.

G: What color would you paint it?

Me: Black. Same as it is now.

G: OK.

Me: Anything else you want to look at?

G: Well, we could go to the IRS site. (he wasn't kidding)

Me: Yeah, what would be more fun than The IRS!

We watched an episode of Heroes instead. But I could tell he'd rather be poking around the IRS site.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Lenny Bruce is Not Afraid

Today is a bake-in-your-jammies kind of day, as we're homebound by the Storm! Of The Century! We might get a whole inch of rain! Winds may approach hurricane force (if you happen to be standing on a mountaintop). We're not homebound in the way people with real weather are homebound, but when we look outside and see the wind and hard rain, we say, "If we don't have to go driving in this, we won't." It's the kind of weather that invites accidents here in California where drivers don't have the sense of a goat. (When did I turn into my grandmother? Shoot me if I start saying "Boy, that sun sure is warm!")

We have our electricity and the drainage culvert behind us is a good 8 feet away from flooding. Good things.

I'm feeling much more child-friendly today, as my good friend Britney kindly sucked all the crazy-mommy out of me and used it herself. Good thing, too, since we're all stuck together inside all day. I mean me and the kids, not Britney. Someone else is taking care of her, hopefully.

God is currently on notice, however, that I am DONE with tragic deaths. Done. No more. I've heard too many stories this winter and the latest was getting news that one of my favorite psychiatrists ever to work with got hit by a car. Middle of the morning, an intersection I drove through many times a day when I lived there, crosssing in the crosswalk with the signal. And that's it - she's dead. Enough already.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Except for the "Weak" Part

Do you ever have days where you just can't believe how big a bitch you are? Where you feel like you have one of those voice-changers in your mouth because if you didn't work very very hard to make your voice slow and neutral, every "that's nice" or "that's interesting" you say to your kids would sound like a very acerbic "you've mistaken me for someone who gives a shit." Or you're afraid they might hear the "OHMYGODSHUTTHEFUCKUP" you're screaming in your brain?

And part of you is just watching this, marveling at the bitchdom, because you're not really like this normally? Oh sure, you have the cranky days, but they're not usually this Psycho-Mommie-Dearest. And you know it's not the kids' fault. They're not being any more annoying or difficult than usual.

When I was pregnant with A., I had this very hormonal day where I snapped at G., "OHMYGOD, JUST LEAVE ME ALONE!" Hysterical Lunasea was new to him, so we just stared, startled, at each other and I said, "Whoa. Sorry 'bout that." That's what this is like, but it's harder because I can snap at G. and he'll be like, "Okaaaay. I'm just gonna go hide in the garage. See ya in a few days." But the kids can't do that and would wonder what the hell they did to turn me into Monster Bitch. I can't have that. I won't have them afraid of my blow-ups, especially when they're doing nothing wrong. I know what that's like and I won't have it for my children.

So I brought out the aforementioned voice changer and tried very hard to speak slowly and neutrally. I played with A. and read to Ben. Otherwise I kept my mouth shut. Because whoever was possessing me today...she really shouldn't be around children.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Happy New Year's!

We went out for a quick dinner at a Japanese restaurant yesterday, and explained to the boys what New Year's resolutions were. A. jumped on the bandwagon, saying he wanted to get better at skipping, learn French (?), and try new foods.

Great resolutions, I thought, especially the one about trying new foods. When I started reading him the menu, though, he said, "I'm going to start that one tomorrow," and opted for plain white rice.

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