30 June 2010

Num nums ...

... with Lil.

Have to admit... putting Milo's name in everything for camp today (towel, shorts, sunblock, etc.) is reminding me of Olivia's daycare days. And, on top of that, Lilliana is watching an old Muppet movie of some kind (not THE Muppet Movie - but something starring Kermit the Frog). Sentimental me.

Enjoy your day, all!

29 June 2010

Casting Call!

Taylor Lautner of Twilight fame is here in Pitt to film his movie Abduction (I am, after all, the mother of a teen - of course I know where he is). Open casting call tomorrow.

On ... and in other teen news ... Justin Bieber is coming to Pittsburgh in December (we covered him in a previous post).

And... in a predictable food show recommendation from boring stay at home TMS (that would be "trendy mom sherri" :-), hubby and I also watch Hell's Kitchen - tonight at 8 pm on Fox - watch at your own risk... it is Chef Gordan Ramsay, so the swearing can get annoying - even for those fairly immune to it, like me.

And... now that I have your attention with my cheesey headline, please take a minute to keep the family of the jogger who was hit and killed in Mt. Lebanon in your thoughts. Lisa Styles died today of a head injury (accident yesterday), and her 3 year old son and 1 year old daughter will now never know their mommy - not to mention the fact that her life was cut short and her friends and family are surely devastated (AND the kids were hit too - the double stroller ended up in the middle of the road! They could have been killed or injured too). I'm sure the 3 year old will be horribly traumatized for a while. It's just such a crushing story. One minute out and about doing your daily routine with your kids by your side, and... the next.... everything is changed - gone - because of one careless person. So... please stay safe - watch yourselves and your kids and anyone else around these busy summer roads - near the water, etc. Spread the word. Disaster just takes and instant.

Images of Summer

We're busy, but we're having a lot of fun. Olivia hits swim team daily then plays cards, snacks, swims or plays tennis with her friends all morning and into the afternoon. They shop the Waterfront, go out to lunch, get their nails done, and, of course, attend "boot camp" to prepare for fall sports. She goes to the gym with us, watches movies in the evenings and actually helps with errands (Target is a favorite because then we can pick up t-shirts, shorts, bathing suit tops, etc. :-).

Odd today.... Enzo off to camp with friend, Harry, and Milo off to gym camp (water day ;-) with beloved pal, Finley. I did the camp drop-off yesterday... loaded everyone up and made the rounds (felt so bad - poor Lil wanted to go too, but... ended up in childcare at the gym with me where she cried, so... we sat at the coffeeshop later in front of a breezy window and she ate some chocolates. Of course, that made her feel better. Just the feel of her tiny, soft hand in mine as we walked back to our car, was so sweet and something I'll miss when she's bigger). Today, however, I dressed Enzo in his madras shorts and tie dye shirt, handed him his lunchbox and off he went. I dressed Milo in his Hawaiian print bathing suit, packed his "Milo back pack" with a towel, sunscreen and a change of clothes and off he went too (which is odd - as I've said before, I HAVE to do mommy and me classes with him at Gymkhana because he won't go in alone, but... with his best buddy, Fin, he goes without incident. Need to shamelessly plug his back pack here too - Pottery Barn Kids - mini back pack - got he and Enzo each one years ago to take on airplanes for family trips or on long car excursions - can load them up with all sorts of stuff - books, toys, clothes, etc. In fact, they both use them for school. They are smaller than the huge back packs you see high schoolers carrying, but... they accommodate lower grade folders, books, art projects, etc. plus they don't kill the little one's backs. I highly recommend them. Often, end of summer, they go on sale).

So... here we are.... rumpled pjs, unmade beds, Noggin cartoons, coffee and the ever-present smell of burnt toast. Me and Lil (who is talking to her Kai-lan and Rintu dolls right now). What to do?

While I'm thinking, here's a tidbit on a vegan cupcake maker who, apparently, makes delicious cupcakes - will turn you naysayers into believers.... Worth a look....

And... some good retro concert t-shirts here (looking for more authentic Police, Ramones, U2, etc. - told you I've been feeling sentimental lately - end of schoolyear ALWAYS does that to me - plus, as you all know, I am HYPER sensitive ;-)...

And, finally, I love Land of Nod (and why not? - I think they have been acquired by Crate and Barrel, and I love them), and they are having a sale! Check it out.

Photos: As promised.... images of summer... some anyway (and, for the record, Milo asked for a haircut yesterday, so I gave him one - since he is "anti-barber"... he looks like a different kid ;-)!

28 June 2010

Semi-figured it out...

Why do my kids lose so many toys? Why are they so restless at night that they keep mommy up all hours? Why do I feel the constant brain fry? Why is the house so messy?

Here's partly why.... My kids can't seem to focus on anything for more than five minutes. I wanna play water table - I want lemonade - I don't want lemonade, I want vanilla milk - where is my optimus prime? - where is my ogre's helmet? - why aren't the movies in their cases? - I can't find my alien's head - I want to watch Star Wars - I want to watch Kung Fu Panda - I want to draw - I spilled the crayons - can we make cinnamon rolls? - can I knock on the neighbor's front door? - Can we play a game?

ALL in the last 10 min.

AND... they follow me outside if I hang a pool towel on the deck railing - they follow me down the basement stairs if I do the laundry - they barge into my room while I change clothes - they get into the toothpaste and hand soap - they use the feather duster - they hide the pull-ups and diapers - they open the refrigerator door and take the Coke out - they partially eat the American cheese and put it back.

ALL right under my nose as I try to get ANYTHING done in the house.

They talk at the top of their lungs all day long - they fight - they cry - they have tantrums - they tattle - they throw toys to all corners of the room (some we NEVER find again) - they spill EVERYTHING (I can't tell you how many surfaces in this house are sticky right now - how many are fingerprinted, crayoned, smudged or just plain dirty) - they track dirt on freshly washed floors.....

Maddening, right? Wonderful too? All in a day. Count our blessings, right?

Enjoy the images of messy summer fun (and one neat and pretty high schooler - yep - almost wrote middle schooler...).

Gotta go... something is burning (as usual)....

Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice

Watched that movie over the weekend. Brought back some memories (Sue - if you're reading - we saw it together - reminded us of our funny friend, Steve, and his crazy behavior :-) - when we were kids....;-)... when I was just becoming enamored of Tim Burton and his talents.

I'm lowkey today so don't have much..... Some stuff interests me, like:
Modern dance choreographer, Martha Clarke, wins prestigious dance award... read here.

Watched The Next Food Network Star last night, and... I have to say, I think it is surpassing Top Chef for me this season in terms of talent and interest. Both worth a look....

England is OUT of World Cup big time. Hubby is pulling for the South American teams (being from Peru and all :-), so... I may jump on the Brazil bandwagon.

Had a lot to do yesterday... family stuff, household stuff.... so missed an ice cream party (where I'm told many free range kids would roam ;-) - and... despite all our camps, etc., I do embrace that concept otherwise. We snorkel in the bathtub, paint on the deck, race bikes down the street, wander to the neighbors, explore the woods, bake and cook a bit, really climb on the playgrounds, etc. - I allow some freedoms, space, rope ;-)... Anyway, hope everyone had fun (M and friends ;-).

Sat end of day last night, sharing a juice pop with Lil on the front porch while by boys tried to sleep on our hot third floor (and hubby dropped Olivia and friends at a birthday party - a high school boy... and so it begins...). The humidity is starting to get to me.

Photo: Feeling sentimental for last month and beyond. These are 8th grade grad photos. More sentimental downloads to come......

And - thanks, all, for comments, emails, etc. on my doctor rant. Got some good advice and do feel better about my odd experience.

Finally - some follow ups....

For the most recent movement / news on Kate and Peter's Treehouse (remember Amy at Callapitter), read and follow here.

And.... don't forget to keep donating to the Haiti clean-up / reconstruction effort. Many organizations still accepting donations / help, including this one.

27 June 2010

You want a mediator? Here's your freakin' mediator....

So - last night, I was watching this comedian, Jim Jeffries. He is VILE - alternately horrible and hilarious (and I mean HORRIBLE). So.... while I'm laughing at some of his stuff and alternately standing open-mouthed, disgusted, ready to leave the room, I mentioned to hubby - "If I was with a group of people I like, I would NOT want him sitting next to me. If I was with people who I dislike or who consistently misbehave, however, I would want him RIGHT next to me." Hubby agreed. Laughed. My next thought was, "I think I'll invite him to Christmas Eve dinner." (Or New Year's, right? Happy f***in New Year's). Hubby had already thought the same - in fact, he was planning to announce to his family that all vacation plans, etc. would be handled through Jim - Any complaints? Talk to Jim. Jim drops the "f bomb" A LOT - he is Australian and, apparently, a bit misogynistic, arrogant, bigoted, an atheist, and a drinker to boot. Ahhh.... I can picture it now - anyone acts up, starts calling another family member names, begins to gossip, starts to verbally attack someone, sulk, snark, snarl - whatever - Jim would say, "You! Sit the f*** down and shut up!" (said with drunken slur, of course). And, really, a large percentage of the people involved would deserve this.

See... in our families, we've had to have a lawyer intervene on one side - a "life coach" on another (THAT did not work out well) and more. When there is trouble, we get phone calls regarding what to do, can we help, etc. When things are calm, we are ignored - completely. And all the "in fighting" - beating each other up even when we're not involved - tears - silent treatment - back-biting - not to mention all the "clean up" we have to do when they venture outside the immediate family.... It is not normal - it is constant - and it is comprehensive and all-inclusive (i.e. not a normal one in sight), which.... is why we think Jim might be a good family counselor or estate executor as well. I mean, he would really blow our families' skirts up (they are all self-proclaimed "conservatives" - you know - good family people ;-). I actually feel sorry for most of them. I would not sic Jim on them. Wait... maybe Shane MacGowan. Are you all familiar with the Irish - Punkish band from the '80s and '90s, the Pogues? He's their lead singer. Upon introducing the band to one gentle friend, she uttered, "how horrible" in response to some of Shane's lyrics... To which hubby responded.... "Oh, he's horrible alright, but the Pogues are awesome." Shane is now in the running...I can hear him singing now... "You scumbags, you maggots, you cheap lousy....." (Fairytale of New York - Google it)...

And just to prove that I'm not entirely humorless and / or swear a lot ... Some happy thoughts: Took the whole family to the gym yesterday and it worked out really well - me, hubby, Olivia worked out while little ones went to the childcare area and played Wii :-). The painting in the foreground of the photo I've included was done by my hubby (so proud - though the mess behind it is all kids :-). Trader Joe's multigrain pancake mix is really good (tried it out this am). And... finally - the episode of Fresh Prince of Bel Air (you watched it - you know you did - can't help it - I love Will Smith) in which Carlton (Alfonso Ribeiro) dances to the Tom Jones song - It's Not Unusual - is still really funny. My Olivia and pals have been circulating "the Carlton Dance" all week on Facebook (You Tube it).

US out of the World Cup, though they did give Ghana a good run yesterday. England currently playing Germany (and with Italy and the US out - England is my next love).

See ya!

26 June 2010

This is what REALLY bothers me!!!:

So I left the doctor's office yesterday feeling horrible. I now realize it wasn't JUST the fact that I was reprimanded for not getting my cholesterol checked in two years (though it was only 162 or so when I did get it checked and has always been around that number) - it wasn't that I was curtly told that my weight loss was not sufficient and that I was still overweight (not even a pat on the back for my new gym, personal trainer and low fat and low sugar diet - not even a nod to the fact that I was flawlessly on target, even above and beyond, with weight and fitness for years - the consecutive pregnancies broke my stride a bit - and, really - is 5'4" with an extra 20 pounds or so as horrible as you made it seem? I'm a size 8 currently.) - it wasn't that I was reminded again and again that, as an adopted person, I have no family history and so need to remain vigilant about breast health, etc. (I check my breasts daily and I ask many questions as I am a hypochodriac with OCD tendencies - I also brush my teeth 6X a day - tell me to do something and I do it - plus, I have always been adopted - you don't think I've had this conversation before with a doctor or nurse?) - it's not that I was freaked out by the stories my health care provider decided to share with me about her friends being diagnosed with cervical cancer after years of normal tests (I was about 4 months late with my check-up, having had to cancel a couple of times, but.... was made to feel that I had not seen a doctor in 10 years).... So, believe it or not, it wasn't what they did, really; it was what they DIDN'T do.

They did not inquire about my fitness routine as they normally do (and I had been told to implement one to lose the post-baby weight and get my spirits up after some post-partum crap - so I thought they would be, if not thrilled, at least wanting to follow up with me). They did not ask about my post-pregnancy anemia that I couldn't shake and that they were quite concerned with for a while (could not get my numbers up - speculation was that I may need to go back on Iron - though, now, it appears no one cares - am I supposed to put myself on a supplement?). They did not ask me if my post-nursing cycle had returned to normal (yes - it has - thanks for asking ;-). They did not follow up on some the leg pain I had been having, despite my pregnancies, birth control, etc. (probably an old athletic injury, but... when I mentioned it a year ago, they were all sorts of interested - now - who cares, right?). They did not ask me how it was going with the three little ones five and under, which they usually do (especially since I had some hormonal ups and downs after my last few babies and they had been watching me, again, just a year ago, to see if depression had set in - asked me to report back next check-up - only... this time, no one asked or cared). Over the past few years, I've had a series of UTIs (again, became a trend after the consecutive pregnancies), and... I mentioned this time feeling like I may have had one recently, though... no one checked me for that - no lab work in that area - did they forget? OR - again, just not care?

OK - so I don't want to be babied or handled with kid gloves. But... I am concerned that my specific needs as a patient are not being met. Yeah - I'm a forty-ish woman with small kids, which is maybe not the norm - maybe they are usually thirty-ish with small kids, but.... I am fit, healthy, a good patient in terms of staying up to date with my healthcare, etc. I do have specific needs - past history with anemia and other minor ailments - stopped nursing a year ago so my body is still returning to normal (my c-section incision just stopped being sensitive - AND, because of the FOUR c-sections I've had, I was asked last visit to report any changes, issues that did NOT return to normal - again, it appears no one cares so I didn't ask some questions I wanted to). I mean - sure - I have forty-ish needs and concerns now, but... I am also a busy mother of small children, still trying to lose her baby weight, still trying to deal with other lingering issues related to a post-pregnancy body (why do I still get the UTIs? do I need another iron supplement? are you still concerned about my sore leg? are you still wondering if my toddler has been keeping me up at night? how 'bout those nutritional concerns you had last time regarding mothers with small kids keeping themselves healthy?).

Anyway - all I got this time was - why don't you have another PCP? And... a bunch of snarky comments on how I should do this - should do that. When I asked about the patchy dark spots on my skin that have not cleared up since I was pregnant with Lil - instead of the - this is common - can take a few years to clear up - usually hormonal and common with olive-skinned people, I got - "I dunno. Maybe check with a dermatologist." When I attempted a follow up on something that had changed when I stopped nursing last year (again, something I had been told to watch), I was told it was probably more age-related as opposed to nursing-related (exactly the opposite input from last year). IN FACT, when I did begin to go over my list of things to follow up on (remember, I am fastidious and wanted to be sure to give them the input they asked for last year - things to watch over the course of this year), I was cut short - told things like, "Well I wouldn't worry so much about your anemia; at your age, you need to get your blood pressure and your cholesterol checked" WTF? And, I apologize here - I don't like to swear given the fact that my daughter and her friends read me - some of my gentle readers do not like it (and those of you who do, call me - we can rip it up ;-) - in fact, I kinda feel like a little kid trying out swear words right now (poopy, butt, booger) - plus, I'm not REALLY swearing (but I digress)... Anyway - so WTF? WTF? WTF? In 12 months, I go from busy young mother to forty-something woman who should be looking for an old age home for myself instead of preschools for my kids? Cholesterol? Mine is consistently UNDER 160 (to the same point, my hemoglobin was hovering around 9 last time you checked - so glad YOU are not concerned). Blood pressure? Mine is usually around 100 / 60 or even lower (though, with all the cervical cancer as the silent killer talk, it did creep up to normal during the course of the visit - and I could feel my mouth getting dry - my heart beating faster - in fact, I needed to pace and cry a bit when I left the office - I felt like I needed to go make out my will - make sure my kids were Ok when I was gone, which would be soon). WTF?!!!

I ended up leaving with a mammogram script and a reprimand for not having another PCP (at my age). I was also about 90% sure that, given the fact that I was 4 mo. late for my annual check-up that I had advanced cervical cancer (I was told a number of times during the exam that it has no symptoms and is very common). When I asked if I could get a script for blood work (if they were THAT concerned about cholesterol - and I was worried about the hemoglobin), they ignored me. I did not ask ANY of the questions I had. I did not recognize anyone in the office. I did not get the opportunity to follow up on any of the issues I was told to last time, making me feel a little panicky. I went from harried mom of four who needed input on weight, nutrition and offsetting depression born of hormonal fluctuations that I was told were due to my body readjusting from pregnancy and nursing and lack of sleep due to life with little ones, and I left thinking I needed to call another PCP to get some geriatric testing done. This visit did nothing to help me with my current health concerns. I need to find a new place..... bummer. Advice?

Blah lifting....

So ... went to a party last night. It's always just nice to be out, talking with friends, meeting new people. Last night, we were at PMI, a television and other digital media production house downtown. We had drinks and did some chat on a big 6th floor balcony (and met a teen dream, Justin Bieber, connection - so.. got to text Olivia with that info - OMG!!!), lighted and with a great view of tall, glittery buildings (PPG - we all know it, but it was nice to see a different perspective - I used to eat lunch and do coffee by the fountains there when I worked downtown - much preferred being up high and looking down at Market Square). Anyway, I am a little out of touch with industry people, having formally left marketing years ago, but... I have to say, their new space is very nice - congrats to them.

Getting out was no easy feat. We were inundated with requests for bizarre dinner food - had to orchestrate pick-up from a year-end lacrosse pizza party - discovered we had lost a shoe - had to assemble some Lego Playmobile characters (have you seen how small those things are?), tried to pick up the many, many toys littering our first floor (I have not seen my house this messy in a loooong time), attempted to clean the dirty kitchen floor, changed some poopy nappies.... ugh, ugh ugh. I feel like I've lost control in this house..... BUT I did get out, and I looked OK, felt semi-relaxed (took me a good half an hour to shake the brain fry).

US plays Ghana today in World Cup.

Photo: Swim meet at the Edgewood Club a few days ago (we won!). Silly girls... You all know who they are ;-) - I talk about them all enough....

25 June 2010


Had a doctor's appointment this morning. Long gone are the days of feeling reassured and coddled during pregnancy and any post visits. Now, it is all lab work, high weight, mammogram chat and other nerve-wracking discussions and procedures (though there was some familiar discussion about my past pregnancy but it was post-nursing boobies and my c-section incision - good times). Add to that the fact that I just got one of our bills, and it looks like 3X higher than what it should be. Fun. I just got peed on. Trying to get out to a party tonight.... need to secure childcare and get a bunch of stuff done. Cranky kids. Cranky hubby. Cranky me. Far cry from last night when everything was roses and butterflies (we almost forgot to pick up our CSA basket, but.. when we did were very happy - got peas, which Lil and I sat and shelled and ate on the deck - brocolli, which I always misspell, btw - more - very happy). Ebb and flow... ebb and flow....

24 June 2010


Random today. Try to follow.... I'm all over the place (keeping up with chaotic schedule today... but playdate got canceled :-(. Looks like rain, rain, rain....

Anyway... was passively listening to this interview with Au Revoir Simone on my Sirius radio, and one of the girls in the band mentioned her pregnancy / mommy blog at "trying to be barefoot and pregnant" a Wordpress blog, but I couldn't find it - at all. It sounded a bit interesting - working mommy trying to deal with people who want her to quit her music BUT staying on tour and dealing with it all, and... sometimes... wanting less. Ya know? What we all bitch and / or get happy about... in a nutshell. Anyway - will keep looking.

Also, have not kept up with Gwyneth Paltrow at Goop lately (and you know I love to).

Anyone see Top Chef last night? I have no comments yet - still getting to know this group.

I just heard that Italy is OUT of the World Cup. Yikes. I was wrong yesterday, btw - US plays Ghana on Sat. (not Fri).

Anyway ... Enzo had last tennis lesson today and did GREAT (Pioneer Camp starts Monday) - Milo swims for last time tomorrow and also has been doing GREAT (and gymnastics camp starts Mon) - Lil has her check-up today (to this day, even though I am no longer a "new mommy", I love the reassurance of the well check-up) - Olivia swims tonight (after "boot camp" with pals, Caroline and Olivia B) so go Edgewood Eels!

Big time project today? Trying to figure out how to unlock the downstairs bathroom door behind which all the new diapers, pull-ups and bathroom cleaning agents reside. Lilliana has learned to lock things. Thankfully, she is on this side of the door. Paper clip has not worked yet - plus the hardware has already been removed from the doorknob on this side...... so.... what the hell is holding it onto the other side? A mystery.... Any suggestions?

Photos: More summer kids :-) 2010.

Happy, happy!!!

23 June 2010

A good day.

And this is what we all strive for, eh? In my last post, I made some comments in passing about making friends, finding your place among people, deciding your path, and... I would be interested to hear some stories on how we all, at this stage in our lives - sisters, mothers, wives - whatever - have overcome our obstacles to move forward and redeem ourselves, fix the past, learn to live with difficult people, learned how to make friends, figured out how to forgive and even figure out how to connect and reach out to others who need it. Anyway.... I'll work on a post and see what happens.

Today.... so "go USA!". They beat Algeria in the World Cup game and will be moving on as head of their group ahead of England (I believe they play Ghana next - on Friday? Will check...), and... Slovenia (sorry Cleveland and my many relatives) is out. Hubby went to Piper's Pub today to watch the game at 9:30 am, and it was packed! He ended up at Fathead's - still packed, but... he made a new friend, had a bite to eat and watched the game among some appropriately rowdy fans. Good for him - glad he had fun.

Me? I was at the pool enjoying the companionship of many women from my kids' school and beyond (friends of friends) - conversation, sunburn, bottled water and kid snacks. We discussed everything from the best swimmy wings to movies to what to make for dinner, and it was cool (plus, we stayed so long that hubby actually showed up end of day to hang out). I do like how this life of mine is turning out. Lil Lil bumped her mouth on the way out of the pool (big ouch - glad her 30 mo. check-up is tomorrow, and.... yeah - they do those now - between 2 and 3 years - this is new since Milo was younger... plus she has some hives that I want them to look at - mosquito bites or sunscreen allergy? Hmmm....), but... enjoyed the attention of many older girls today. Enzo is swimming underwater again (hooray), and Milo is actually interested in tennis. Double hooray (he is becoming more social - my grand plan for a lot of this). Sore from "boot camp", Olivia baked cookies with her "bestie". Yin and yang - like I always say.... though admit - I sometimes forget the ebb and flow of life and get stuck in a rut.

So - how 'bout this Wimbledon game that won't end. 10 hours! And so it will continue tomorrow....

Speaking of tomorrow ... we have to be at tennis and orthodontist at the same time - enjoy a lovely playdate at the new Little Outback kids area and cafe in Sq. Hill (thank you, E - great suggestion - NEED some downtime - fun place for kids - coffee, kosher sandwiches, etc. for parents) - be at a well check-up, swim team photos and boot camp at the same time THEN hit the swim meet later. All in a day... it'll be fine :-) - though I am getting a little jealous of hubby and Olivia and their regular workouts - mine got bumped today and, for the life of me, don't know how to squeeze one in tomorrow (and I can't even describe the state of my house right now - piles of laundry that would do my friend, Kim's "Mt Laundry" in her house, proud - unmade bed this am - dishes piled in sink - toys scattered about.... ugh).

Top Chef tonight. I'm ready. Are you?

Photos: My crazy family and.... one of Lil (since she appears to be left out of the other one).

Sunshine again!

And... a few fun things 'round Pittsburgh...

Anthropologie opens at Bakery Square on Friday. Can't wait. Interesting / fun article here.

The shamed pierogi from the Pirates returns (after being booted for saying something bad about the team on his Facebook page). If you don't know what the Pirates Pierogi Race is, here you go. And, if you don't know what a pierogi is, here you go (I grew up eating them with my Dad's slavic family).

Also, we're thinking lake or mountain vacation this summer - probably a little closer to home, but... the Berkshires would be nice. Went many years ago when I was more connected by family and friends to the NE part of the country - would like to go again. Worth a glance :-).

Lastly, USA plays Algeria, I believe in the World Cup. Apparently, they can still advance and do well. You know, I actually thought I would watch, discuss and have a little more fun with this than I have been. Hubby into work and watching on his own this week - I am busy with kids and trying to fit all of our doctor appointments, outings, activities in.... Oh well - time alone gives me more time to reflect and figure my own world out.

It's funny (and this will just seem pathetic to most normal people), but... on The Next Food Network Star (and check it out if you are watching - fun discussion questions on the Food Network home page - see my link - AND, by all means, discuss with me too :-), there is this pretty, put together, sweet girl, Brianna, and ... for some reason, she doesn't connect with others, doesn't like to be touched, admitted tearfully in an interview that she doesn't made friends easily.... Anyway, aside from the pretty and put together part, she reminds me of myself. Though.... she is younger than I am and more bothered by it, I think - like I used to be when I didn't get asked to prom, or my friends forgot to ask me along on the fireworks outing on the 4th of July in college and I sat alone all day and night - no one in the little college town I knew was home, or when I planned a huge baby shower for a co-worker yet when my time came a few months later, no one even took me to lunch - I found my gift, a gift certificate card, on my desk (though the sweet secretary in my dept. did get me a cake in the theme of the room I had planned for baby Enzo - vie email all my co-workers were summoned to the kitchen to eat it - I did get a photo before it was gone, though ;-). I have become quite used to it all, and, sadly :-), am still working on "fixing" it. Anyway.... all crap for another post... ;-).. rant for another day, as I always say..... Now the focus is sun, pool and making my kids happy.

Not much time today (or this week, for that matter). Gotta go! Enjoy the day.

22 June 2010

A few quick updates.

Now that I've joined the living again....

OK - another mess. A general summoned by the President for comments in Rolling Stone. Ouch.

I love the 365 degrees brand by Whole Foods. Two favorites this week - the lime frozen fruit bars (just shared one with Lil) - and the organic creamy tomato basil soup (one serving 3.5 grams of fat - not bad but go easy... easy to "over-serve" yourself soup).

Two favorite kid distractions of the week - Yo Gabba Gabba on Nick Jr. (has good music - and lots o' dancing ;-) - and MarioKart for Wii (totally working to get everyone on the same page for the play date this afternoon - Enzo, Milo and little pal from school - all preschool or kindergartners). These are probably good examples of my "less than stellar" parenting tips - since they are totally tv-focused.

Toys R Us has a 20% off sale on all Little Tykes stuff - outdoor, furniture, toys, etc. Go to the site for the coupon. I'm hunting a sandbox (I know many of you say don't do it, but... my kids are diggers - I have to, I think).

And, by the way, has anyone seen the new boot looks for fall? Usually, they begin to surface this time of year, and I've got some birthday cash I want to spend (and I'm a flip flop or barefoot girl all summer anyway). I did see that Nordstrom is having an UGG trunk show for fall 2010, which will make my daughter and all her pals happy (though I do possess some UGGs myself). That's all I've got thus far...

Water table, cookie baking and writing sample organization are now calling me. Au revoir and have a nice day :-).

I admit it; I did ask for rain today.

And here it is. My rain dance worked. My house takes on a cozy feel when it is dark and stormy outside. The girls are sleeping in - the boys are eating french toast and watching movies (though it looks clear enough to make it to tennis....).

Yesterday, I just had enough of sitting alone again while my kids refused to go in the "big pool" (odd - because Milo did SO well in swim class and Enzo had his friends). Plus - poor Lil kept trying to play with some bigger girls who were ignoring her AND Olivia was occupied by her school buddy's mom who wanted her to watch her little ones. I am often left to my own devices. Anyway, got some sun .... the kids got some exercise (my turn for gym today).

You would think today's anemic post would produce some retail recommendations - or things to do this week - I mean the least I could do, right? But, alas, no - Milo already needs to be dressed and wants more to drink - Enzo needs the movie switched and is drinking my coffee... I hear Lilliana stirring...All good, but... my day beckons.

21 June 2010

End of the day.

One kid in shower - two in the bathtub - one at sports boot camp. Everyone fed. I'm not showered (or fed). Preparing movie and popcorn now after a long day out in the sun. Pool, tennis, running around with friends, riding bikes. What a day. Play date tomorrow plus the swim team, tennis drill in the am. Plan to squeeze in a workout. All good. What IS for dinner tonight anyway? Hubby on his way home.....

Keep in mind, I write this amid chaos. As we left this morning, we only got a portion of the breakfast dishes done - the kids pajamas hang on the banister - discarded tennis rackets litter the foyer - Lilliana brings every single toy from her bedroom down the stairs and... well... wherever she put them, that's where they stayed - I kicked my own flip flops off under my desk earlier as I bolted out of the house - the video camera that I was looking at (my b-day gift) is dismantled on my desk (I had 5 min. to look at it this am) - in the midst of looking for Enzo's school tennis medal (he was asking - horrified, I realized I did NOT know where it was), I rummaged through all the "filed" school papers in the dining room, creating a horrible mess (not to mention the piles of new high school forms and kindergarten stuff for the fall already lying there)... Basically, where it all sat this morning, it still sits. When the kids get home from the pool or school or whatever - they bolt 9,000 mph out the door looking for friends, a bike to ride, a walk to take, a bug to examine, and... I am, of course, right behind them.... Nothing gets done, but... well... the bugs, the walk, etc.

Happy evening hours, all!

20 June 2010

My cramped, cluttered house...

... may have a reprieve from screaming kids, wet flip flops, toys that litter the floor, gym bags, multi-colored snack cups, etc. Not to mention dusty bookshelves, sticky counters, smudgey windows and unmade beds. I'm even hoping for sparkling clean refrigerator shelves, a neat deck, and an orderly countertop coffee corner. How is this possible you ask? Don't laugh. But.... check out THIS Martha Stewart book (some of you already know about my admiration of Martha - now the rest of you do - again, don't judge me). Seriously - like a "how to" regarding "homemaking", which I think is kinda cool. I'm home with the kids - why not make one of my missions to keep it comfortable - you know - clean, organized, tasty food on the table. I'm not talking standing around in an apron with my hair done up in hairspray (unless I feel like ... um ... doing something like that - I mean we all have those days - experimenting with a curling iron or some eye shadow.... yeah... you know :-).... I just mean..... my kids are happy - know where to find their books in the bookcase - brush their teeth at a clean counter - have Q-tips if they need them..... Worth a look / read (you knew that was coming ;-).

Had a good day - great really. Pool, chocolate ganache cake (with one candle - don't want to burn the house down - gettin' up there in b-days :-) - AND hubby made homemade delicious whipped cream), time with friends and family (got lotions, which I LOVE and a video camera!!! which I will try out and report back on). Thank you all - via email, text, phone, Facebook and other... for the wonderful b-day thoughts and messages. It meant A LOT to me this year.

In closing, how 'bout this cluster*%#&!!! at the World Cup. The French team. Shaking my head and clucking my tongue right now ;-). Also "worth a read". Ridiculous behavior.

No photo today - picture me sore from a couple of days in a row at the gym and... sunburned / tanned from time outside (if that image isn't too housewifey and self-centered for you). Anyway, wishing you all some self-centered "me time" this week! Tomorrow, we have the swimming, tennis, swimming drill - plus Olivia has joined some sort of high school sport "boot camp", so.... there's that.

Oh hey -and if anyone else is watching The Next Food Network Star... let me know who you like from this crop. I'm pulling for Aarti. She's awesome (and a food BLOGGER :-), and the network doesn't have an Indian chef... hmmm...... maybe.....

Happy Father's Day!

Hope everyone has some fun plans today. I, of course, have some festivities, homemade cards and gifts for my hubby (in the midst of making french toast with fruit and tofutti banana milkshakes now - will be nice day to sit on the deck) - and I'm thinking of my Dad today. I was born on Father's Day (though not adopted until weeks later), but... it was often a day Dad and I shared :-). Anyway... so it IS my birthday as well.... should be fun.

By the way - Toy Story 3 is so good! We saw it last night - all kids in tow (though Olivia sat with her friends - all middle and high schoolers who also went - I guess we're all a little sentimental about the Toy Story series). Anyway, it it a beautifully done movie - hilarious - a little sad in parts :-) - happy - just great. Everyone in the theater applauded when it ended.

Italy and New Zealand play in the World Cup today. Maybe Italy (the "mother country" :-) will win today in both Big Daddy M's and my honor (b-day and father's day ;-).

So ... peaceful, happy wishes to everyone!

19 June 2010

Can't sleep.

Possibly a good thing this morning as I contemplate a workout at the gym.....

I worry (as you know). Sometimes, I am overwhelmed by bad family behavior (I don't like to see my kids hurt again and again - and I know that there is often nothing I can do about a family member and his / her issues - mental, personal, etc. - especially if it's a family I've married into and I may not know all the past baggage - but it still stings and ... can be frustrating), issues I needed to resolve with the kids during the day, guilt at not being more of a financial contributor to the family..... more. And.... I can't sleep. Warrants mentioning here that I have always been this way (and I think I have mentioned that before) - an insomniac since I was a kid (back then I worried about outgrowing my toys, disappointing my Mom, why certain people laughed at my new "wedge" haircut, etc.).

I do have to say that with the worry comes some good stuff too - remembering how Enzo got into bed with us early yesterday morning to cuddle (lay on the floor outside our door waiting for us - poor guy) - Milo and how proud he is of his swimming progress and how cute he looked floating on his "noodle" in the pool yesterday - Lil Lil and how I found her playing Barbies by herself on the deck, wanting to eat her dinner out there, perfectly happy alone - how Olivia hung out with us a bit last night, watching silly movies, talking about her day and her friends - and how hubby rubs my head and back when I can't sleep...

Meant to say happy birthday to my brother earlier this week. When I contacted him, he was not feeling well - allergies, sinus infection - something. When I spoke to my Mom yesterday (and all is well there aside from a bird who has built a nest outside her front door and swoops at her all the time), she was going to make him a birthday dinner so assured me that our plans to visit (foiled by Olivia's field hockey clinic today at her old lacrosse field, Winchester Thurston) would be best moved anyway. My birthday is Sunday.

Anyway, if I want to get a pre-6 am start to the gym, I need to give you my rundown....

As you know, I love Olive Juice kids clothes. Big sale here (and I do mean big - when they mark down, they mark everything, including $60 girls dresses, down to $10).

Found this web site recently. Kids clothing, household accessories - started by a Mom. Again, I would give credit regarding where I found this, but... I cruise so many sites and get so many referrals, I often forget.

And... how 'bout that bad call that cost the US the win (they tied) in the World Cup game against Slovenia (found the announcer's nod to the 80,000 + Slovenians in Cleveland, Ohio funny - particularly because I am from the area and my Dad's family is of Slavic heritage - varied). Anyway, it was a game to watch. Read here.

I'm in love with vegan California Suncakes. Not many people are, but I have always loved them and recently rekindled my relationship at a local coffeeshop, Coffee tree Roasters. Try them - you'll like them. Might best be eaten post-workout since they are a little dense.

And, finally, my friend's friend's company here (got that?). She had this funky idea to put area codes and the city you live in, come from ,etc. on t-shirts, and.... finally, the other day, someone wore one on tv (minor celeb - Elizabeth Hasselbeck from The View, but still....) and now she is inundated with calls. Good for her! Check her out.

Thinking of friends today who are hiking the Rachel Carson Trail. 35 miles in less than 15 hours. They are better than I am.... Interesting background on Rachel here (really interesting - as is the case with all that I've mentioned here... worth a look).

What are you all getting hubbies, brothers, Dads for Father's Day? I'm only shopping for hubby and may just do a new gym bag and get some of our cool urban family photos from a month or two ago framed for him, which.... brings me to the photos of the day....

My boys and my girls (and I'm just realizing that due to preschool and toddler fickle-ness, we did not get one of the four of them together.... whoops) photographed by Libby (who has moved - sorry Pittsburghers....).

18 June 2010

Throwing in the towel....

So - today - rejuvenated by the fact that "things" are going well this summer (having the kids in tennis and swimming lessons and semi-hanging out on their own a bit has done wonders for my interaction with others at the club - still have kids bucking for the "clinginess" championships, but... am doing a bit better - can chat a little - sit a bit - have not done either in years - so even being on the fringes of inclusion feels good), I packed a nutritious lunch (had forgotten that Enzo did not have tennis today, but... got all ready bright and early so hit Trader Joe's instead and had some fun one on one with my little E), got all the towels, bathing suits, sunblock, changes of clothes, water for hydrating, etc. ready - and packed up the car with me and ALL kids (Olivia included - and she NEVER wants to hang with me) and headed to Milo's swimming lesson at the club, planning and looking forward to staying all day. Then - things got odd.

My cell phone wasn't working and neither was Olivia's (love you, Verizon Wireless). Once that problem was solved, Lil wanted to join the swimming class again and cried when she was told she was too young. Enzo suddenly said he didn't feel good (even gagged a little) - refused food, refused to get in the water, wanted to go home (and I suspect it is, once again, because he doesn't want to use the restroom at the club and, therefore, created some stomach issues for himself - frustrating - happens every few days). Milo was ready to eat then hit the pool after his lesson but got cranky when he and Lilliana fought over the Coke that I reluctantly got to settle Enzo's stomach. Hubby called to tell me that he would not make it home early and would not be able to work out with me late day (too busy). Soon after, I discovered that, once again, members of our family planned a fun Florida trip without us and, further, were trying to keep it top secret. Awesome. Heartbreaking in that my kids were upset a bit about that news.

Anyway, headed out to the van, hot and frustrated, crying / fighting kids in tow. Did run into some people who said - "stay - we'll help", but I was embarassed and just wanted to leave. In hindsight, I should have stayed and taken them up on the offer. I wanted to have a day with Olivia, and I wanted to sit in the sun, chat with friends, watch my kids enjoy the pool like they did the other day (friends and water and sun - the stuff that memories are made of - really, should I have to convince my little ones of that fact? Lil seems to get it - why are my boys so fickle?).

I do have to learn to accept help - develop deeper friendships. It's not the way I was raised (in fact, such "craziness" was discouraged - my Mom preferred to choose what we did, who we hung out with, how close we got....), so... I will have to work on it. I vow to do so. If I would have opened up and accepted the help of friends today, I would have had a much better go of it.

So.... we got gas in the car, ran a quick errand and came home to air conditioning and movie. They are fine now - in fact, when they saw some friends walking in, wanted to go back. Too much. I should have stuck it out, ignored everyone else having fun, dealt with the whining and waited to see what would happen. But... with Enzo almost throwing up and ready to poop his pants - Milo fighting - and Lil insisting on the big pool by herself, it just got to be too much.

I'll admit it, too. I did get a little teary - watching everyone else's kids swim, throwing my carefully packed lunch out on the way home (out of anger and frustration - my mantra should be - "don't react" - "don't react" ...), dressing the kids in the hot, cramped car so they don't get their carseats soggy with their wet bathing suits (I just couldn't deal with locker room).

Alone again. Looks like a house cleaning, photo organizing, laundry folding kind of day :-(.

Oh - and one thing of value before I go.... I do have kids who like Spaghettios (sp? - and yuck), so.... got a message from Giant Eagle about a recall. Read here. And.... this. Are you kidding me? Spain's loss in the recent World cup game blamed on goalie's girlfriend!?!? Whatever.... US plays / played ???? today. Updates later....

Have a good weekend everyone! Olivia is trying field hockey tomorrow - it's my birthday - and.... Father's Day, so.... wish us luck ;-)!!!

17 June 2010

Not a lot to say...

I'm rushed and tapped out today.... But here's what I got.....

I think this is relevant to all of us here. Many mothers take time off to be with kids, then go back to work. Here is an article that says employers are now not even looking at people who don't currently hold jobs, so..... kinda tricky.

I don't have much to say on Top Chef yet... except that it is a good show, and I think you should all watch....

I'm being stretched in a million different directions today, so... amid screams and stories of tattle tales and 14 year olds fighting with 4 year olds and everyone pushing and hitting....... I am OUT for the day (middle schooler happily off to gym with friend - dinner with kids new to Shadyside Academy Upper School tonight, which comes after fun outside bonfire with her second family up the street last night - Enzo and Milo happy to buy new fish and tank accessories - Lilliana -fresh from one nosebleed this week because big bro hit her with a snorkel and one extended dunk under in the baby pool courtesy of all the big kids playing cards poolside and not keeping eyes peeled - you know who you are - is happy to be feeding and putting dollies to sleep in her room....).

16 June 2010

Top Chef - top workout - and top swimmer

So ... tonight is the premiere of Top Chef DC - Bravo - 9 pm this season.

Worked out tonight at my new gym - yippee!

And... Olivia shaved 5 seconds off her time trials 50m freestyle time at the swim meet last night. Go, Olivia!

And... in a nod to hubby... World Cup news.... Spain lost their first game to Switzerland. Shocking :-).

15 June 2010

A couple o' things .....

First of all, thanks to all of you who have responded to my pleas for help regarding my plans to make my kids more self-sufficient. I wanted to share with you some information provided to me by a good friend (thanks SBC - always good with the dead-on referrals), but..... when I Googled "good enough mother" (the info. I was given), you would be surprised to see / hear / read all the interesting and valuable (and varied info) that came up from blogs to books to psychiatry.... Apparently, many of us wonder about that very thing. So... I will share what I research (and I will clarify what I'm supposed to be looking for - I am not the world's most focused person these days) and get back to you. A whole new world....(and just in time as my sweet Enzo - eager and happy tennis player this morning - became kid who won't apologize to wronged friend and child who now kicks and scratches at unsuspecting mommy a la toddler tantrum... way upsetting on a 5 yr old).

Also, check out Design Mom (see my blog list) for input / ideas / queries on digital storage from anything like bank statements to photos. How do you guys roll? I do a little of both (and, in fact, commented on her blog), but... currently the photos have me overwhelmed as do keeping the utility bills and statements organized (hubby and I don't want to pay twice in the same week, but we do not want to miss a payment either - so... who's keeping track?).

One more blog to check today..... Random House (see my list!) for a fab - thorough, uniquely relayed - review on The Tim Burton / Johnny Depp, Alice in Wonderland (who woulda thought that the Yeah Yeah Yeahs would find a home for a song entitled "Heads will Roll" :-).

In keeping with quick summer, pull it together fast for the family recipes (i.e. kids might eat...) recipes, here is a sloppy joe recipe from Bobby Flay (Throwdown style). I have some buns to use up today and might give it a whirl (I hate wasting food and groceries - plus I'm on this "make it easy" kick, and last night, made the bbq sauce base, so... in my household where dinner is expected warm and on the table every night, and... when the limited amt. of time I do have to cook is interrupted by constant fighting and requests for snacks and juice, having dinner partway done is HUGE for me - speaking of not wasting food .... anyone have a good root veggie recipe? I have some to use up....).

Went to Whole Foods today, and... have to say - prices were lower - my bill seemed reasonable, and.... I got a variety of stuff - veggie entries, deli, produce, 360 degrees brand stuff, paper products..... Competitive and LOWER prices always good.

Tonight, Edgewood swims against Meadowink (a worthy and talented rival).
Go Edgewood Eels!

Last night - watched Shutter Island, which came out around the time the supposedly much better thriller, Ghostwriter (with Ewan Macgregor) came out, but... it wasn't on On Demand, so.... watched the former (and I love everyone in it - Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Rufallo, Ben Kingsley - of course, directed by Martin Scorcese...). Anyway.... parents beware; I didn't realize the premise and / or one of the storylines was so disturbing (in that anyone with young children will be upset... some hard to watch moments).

Lastly - all you private / Catholic school parents .... important EITC message below.... along with ACTION ITEMS - please read:

State lawmakers are supposed to pass a balanced budget before June 30. There is an anticipated $1.1 billion shortfall, so many cuts are being considered.

One cut under consideration is E.I.T.C. A column on page 4 of this past weekend's Pgh. Catholic does some very enlightening math.

"All students in Pennsylvania must go to school. 44,000 students receive EITC scholarships to attend a non-public school. It costs the taxpayers about $12,083 per year to educate a student in public school. Therefore: If all 44,00 students lose their EITC scholarships and return to public schools, then the taxpayers will have to pay an additional $531.6 million per year in local school taxes.........Cutting a successful educational program like EITC that saves local taxpayers does not add up."

Even just a partial cut, puts $12,083 additional cost per student onto the tax roles.

"Operation Restore is a statewide initiative to restore funding for EITC to $75 million. People all across the commonwealth need to speak up.......lawmakers should be asked to support the restoration of the $75 million for EITC."

Either contact your state rep and state senator on your own, OR, as the Pgh. Catholic suggests, for information, log onto www.operationrestorepa.org -- To look up your legislators' contact information, go to the PA Catholic Conference's www.pacatholic.org/current_issues/catholic-advocacy-network/ and lobby through there. (If you can't navigate that website, just contact them by phone, e-mail, or through their website.)

OK - so photo speaks for itself (gearing up for swim meet season - this was last year's championships), and... my two wee ones are beckoning (apparently, there is a major ice cream spill on the back deck - Remember my Milo and my Lil are the kids that, at dinnertime in the summer, I put an ear of corn in one hand, a hard roll in the other, put them in pull-ups and let them go feral - and I'm not even exaggerating for a moment on that....;-).

14 June 2010

This is how we ALWAYS roll....

Milo's swimming lesson went well today - he did what he was told, and he seemed to enjoy it. Following the lesson, the older girls took my little ones as well as those of some of my friends for a little spin in the pool. It wasn't too crowded - black clouds looming apparently kept people away....

As you all know... I do complain about my life in a vacuum and have been a little freaked lately that I do not see anyone AT ALL. I mean - I do - but can only manage smalltalk before wild ones drag me away to a day lived with kids and no adults (I think I may drive my friend and neighbor a bit crazy with my constant chatter.... she has a baby who still naps and a child still in school, so.... I'm the last person she needs chatting her up all the time - thanks M ;-) - love all the sideyard chats about anything from food to Tina Fey to religion :-). Anyway - so nice to see some of you today. We share school, interests, activities, etc., and I feel like I don't TALK to you all at all. So .. this morning was nice (aside from my 2 year old and 5 year old raging at me for the baby pool not being open).

Oh - AND aside from the snack bar tantrums, the constant "I wanna go home" and Milo running naked poolside because he didn't want to change in the locker room, I REALLY did have a fun morning. Oh - and the "I want chicken" - "I don't like that chicken" debate - OR how 'bout the "I'm too cold; I want to go in the pool." - "I'm too cold; I want out of the pool" dichotomy? Needless to say, we did leave earlier than planned, but.... love, love, love the fact that I go to hang with pals a bit.

Tomorrow - I will try Enzo in the summer tennis league (he was a little burned out on his school instruction) - Milo will return for swimming lessons - Olivia for swim team (and, yes, O, I will get your new team suit, goggles and swim cap). Lil will hang with me and drink cold bevies and paddle the baby pool (she likes to collect all the rubber duckies).

Oh - and made my own bbq sauce tonight - ketchup, tomato paste, worchestershire sauce (that is soooo spelled wrong, isn't it?), soy sauce, cider vinegar, dijon mustard, garlic, chili pepper, brown sugar, lemon.... simmered it for half an hour or more and put it on chicken for a low fat, hearty dinner that everyone loved. High five to me...

Have become obsessed with Last Comic Standing... makes me laugh (and I like that one guy - Daryl from the office...... Craig Robinson?). Anyway - tonight - 8 pm - ish - ????

Photos: Me and Milo in what I like to call our "album cover" photo - and.... as I looked out the window of the boys room tonight, I saw bathing suits and towels on the deck railing - a water table with toys scattered about - bikes, etc. A few months ago, we were all snow, snow, snow (the hemlock out the window looked like a giant all snow covered!).

A near perfect day and a request for help.

So yesterday was great (just did frozen waffles and some fruit in the am - don't judge me ;-) - tired of weekend food clean-up :-). Olivia served mass for the last time (so a wee bit sad). Me and Lil went and, though Lil acted up a little bit, I saw some friends there, it was a pretty day, I got some time with just my girls. We shopped Trader Joe's afterwards - took a tour of our beautiful new gym, Urban Active Fitness - Olivia got her photo ID, we sampled smoothies, checked out the babysitting area, talked to a personal trainer, etc. We brought everyone lunch home, chatted with the neighbors then headed to the pool for a couple of hours of swimming (Olivia opted out but did have brownies baked when we got home) - then... home to grill carne asada with fresh tortillas, homemade guacamole, cool chopped English cucumber, jasmine rice, chopped red onion and buttery bib lettuce fresh from the farm (I opted for a veggie option - my carnivores loved the grilled meat). Late evening, we watched The Next Food Network Star. See - it does NOT take that much to make me happy :-).

I'm dragging a bit this morning. Lil was restless last night (mosquito bites, I think) - Milo was doing his "I'm overly tired so I can't sleep" thing (up until midnight!) and something woke Enzo in the middle of the night, and he was confused and thought I should put Toy Story back on for him (from way earlier in the evening), so... I was up and down all night. Lil sometimes needs a cup of milk to get back to sleep - Milo had to use the bathroom - Enzo was "loud talking" like it was the middle of the day... Anyway - up early - hubby to gym - boys watching Noggin and playing the little piano in their room. Lil up and cranky but went back to sleep - Olivia off to swim team. Boys currently demanding vanilla milk, waffles and the transformer that they left with their water squirters in the water table last night. Next order of business... COFFEE!!! Though... on the bright side today - I DO think I get my van back from the body shop (crippling not to have transportation).

Above all, this summer, I'm on a mission to make my kids more self-sufficient. I find that, if I don't pay attention, I will consistently be the one who fetches toys that the boys have left upstairs - become a short order cook for all the kids who eat different things at different hours - change shirts at their request because they've gotten sticky or dirty or wet - pick up toys that they spilled themselves - give in to fickle preschoolers, whining for yet another toy because the one I just ran the stairs for was not good enough - fetching lunch THEN a drink THEN "dessert" THEN more lunch because they're still hungry... I mean some of this, a mother does - ya know? BUT ... I should not have to run the stairs 10X while able-bodied preschoolers lounge waiting for games and toys to be brought to them - I should not have to forgo my own lunch to make ANOTHER for my army of picky eaters - I should not have to pick up discarded sippy cups filled with juice residue everyday from all over the house - I should not have to give up my bedroom to kids who don't like the movie that is on in their room and THEN have to give up the family room because they now want to play Wii; there are days that I do not have even one corner of the house to myself (again, I realize some of this comes with the territory, but...). And... these things are not one time issues.... they are ongoing and consistent realities in my day. One day, I recall not having even 10 min. to myself without a food, clothing, toy, bed making, fight break up or other request. I got NOTHING done. Laundry sat half-folded on the bed - dinner was burned - my lunch sat on the counter half-eaten all afternoon - I was half-dressed all day..... Just no way to live. Add to that the fact that my hubby is a clothes piler (this am, I watched him try to pick through the 6 ft. pile of discarded clothing for a pair of jeans to wear, obviously realizing that he had thrown all of them out of his closet and onto his "piling chair' in our bedroom) - my middle schooler puts ALL of her dishes in the sink all the time - the baby is clingy right now - the boys fight and need to be occupied constantly..... This will change. I promise you - by the end of the summer, I will have a more functional, less stressful household (for me anyway ;-). I mean, sometimes I am actually ashamed that I let them dictate my timeline - as I race out of the house in pajamas because they see their friends and IMMEDIATELY want to play outside - I hang up with a friend because one of them needs his juice RIGHT NOW and is conjuring a tantrum to prove it - or give up valuable task time because they have decided they can no longer get dressed by themselves and need me to do it, so... later, when I should be enjoying their company, playing with them, spending 5 min. on my own hobby, I am frustrated, scrambling to get things done, yelling at them or others..... I guess this is all part of my "mission organization" this summer. Much needed changes will be made :-).

Photos: Some images from last summer - picnic at my brother, David's, house - hanging in historic Peninsula, Ohio with my Mom (near her house - near one of my old high schools, actually) - Olivia and pals, Kelly and Olivia, at a swim meet last year - funny picture of Enzo in Daddy's "vacation hat" (though he thinks he looks like Indiana Jones) - Lil Lil with ice cream in her cool, sparkly black onesie by Childish Clothing .... Looking forward to more fun this year :-).

Haven't heard from a lot of you lately - email, FB, here, etc. What do you have planned this summer? I'm interested..... And... any suggestions for making the fam more self-sufficient? There are days that I am STUMPED. Good thoughts for a good week, all.

12 June 2010

"pieces" of my house

Happy Sunday (tomorrow). Not much to report here. US and England tied in today's World Cup game (sweet, sad story about US star, Clint Dempsey, and his family and sister here).

Anyway.... like the title says.... just images of my bizarre lil' house for photos today.

More happy thoughts...

Thoughts and warm images from last night's graduation party (and I CANNOT believe this boy is done with high school and going to Denison - where he will, definitely, have a good time and do well :-):

Lil Lil holding hands with some older girls (by that, I mean only second graders or so) and walking all over the grassy yard (one would hold her like a little baby for extended periods of time - and I remember when these girls were little like Lil!).

Olivia and friends playing wiffle ball and other games in the yard.

Enzo and Milo playing hide n seek with kindergarten and preschool pals (later used discarded wiffle bats to have a "light saber" fight in the shadowy trees...)

Seeing Enzo dance for the first time (and enjoying Milo's ten minute "Milo wiggle" yard dance while others played).

Watching Milo play volleyball like a pro (while playing frisbee with Enzo).

Numerous games of duck duck goose.

Late night "dance offs" and line dancing - little kids, high schoolers and adults ( from Olivia - "Mommy - please!").

Cake with chocolate icing eaten by candlelight while sitting on picnic tables and watching the kids play.

Olivia enjoying her friends surrounded by people who care about her and have known her for years.

The smell of cigar smoke (reminds me of my Dad).

Wet, dewey grass - lightening bugs - music - food grilled outside - reminded me of parties from when I was a kid.

So much fun. Little ones did not get to bed until almost midnight. I hear the hosts did not get home until much later (reports from Olivia and pals indicate 3 am-ish ;-).

Seriously good times. Today - ice cream cones in the backyard - more gardening - a little Giada at Home on Food Network to escape the humidity (when I spoke to Olivia this morning - sleepover at Olivia B's - all she and friends cared about was breakfast and waking up slowly) - called Mom, left msg (though she spoke to Olivia earlier this week). Are you watching the World Cup? We are :-).

Photo: More calm... just calm.....

11 June 2010

Now - this is what I'm talking about!

A blog after my own heart. If you don't want to bookmark now, I will be following it here, so....

Thanks, TKW, for the referral.

Go there to hear more about how its Ok to admit that some days suck, and it's even better if you can find those little things, that I so often refer to, to make you HAPPY.

A warm cup of coffee - your little one searching for a rainbow in a stained glass window - an uninterrupted phone chat with a friend - a forgotten photo that makes you smile when you find it - a dollar that turns out to be a $5 bill in your wallet - your five year old remembering the octopus cake you baked for him over two years ago for his third birthday, just out of nowhere, asked about that day :-).... Little things.

In the moments of pure chaos, sometimes you find your zen. Haven't we talked about that here again and again?

Photos: Random happiness - from running in the fall leaves to marveling at a new goldfish or my #24 kicking butt on the basketball court. Snow, quiet nights in watching TV, trying new foods.... ALL good.

New moments of happiness being created today? Long wagon walk, strawberries dipped in sugar for lunch (graham crackers dipped in milk for dinner? ;-), relishing volunteer opportunities at daughter's new school, hubby going to grab some lunch and World Cup action at Piper's Pub with a friend, ....

Oh - and I totally stole this off another blog (and can't remember which one to give them the credit... will research. Anyway...), but... I like the kids' spaces on this site (Little Lavender). Totally where I am right now - organizing and making sense of my kids' rooms from 14 year old down to 2 year old. Can be fun once you get over that "curve" - right now, daunting.....

Found something to try... maybe you already have (but I am finding myself in BAAAAD need of some muscle repair lately - you know it's bad when you injure yourself doing nothing - so... am amping up some protein in lieu of new workout schedule, which, admittedly, may be contributing to my pain - Results SOON... definitely soon ;-): Bolthouse Farms "perfectly protein" bevies (coupon here if you're so inclined). I am currently diggin' on the mocha cappuccino and chocolate flavors.

And... this makes me happy because I like them both, but... looks like Renee Zellweger and Bradley Cooper may be getting married.

Remember - document those happy moments today. Feel free to tell me about them and / or send me photos. You know how I love that :-). I, for one, am making no excuses for my dirt-smeared, ice cream dripping down chin, pizza sauce on shorts, half-dressed / shirtless, boot-clad, wet for God knows whatever reason wild ones today (photos to come at later date). Enjoy your day!