Eat, Drink, and Be Varied

As you’d guess, this is just a random bit of stuff that’s happened lately.

  1. I’m an aunt!! My kid brother and his wife just had a baby girl.  I’m so excited and happy for them I could burst.  Now if only I could see the little girl….  We live so far from each other, they’ve never even met Felix.

    Matching eyes.  Makes me happy.

    Matching eyes. Makes me happy.

  2. My hatred of balloons continues. On Monday evening, we had a 4 hour power outage.  Why?  Some asshat decided that letting go a bunch of Mylar balloons was cool. What happened?  They collided with the junction box (or whatever this thing is in the picture) on the pole in my backyard and au revoir juice.  For 4 freaking hours.  Worst of all, it collided with bedtime.  I nearly had Felix to sleep when it hit, causing Stella to whine and yell.  This in turn woke the boy.  See?  I told you these damn things were trouble.  This also totally absolves me for any residual guilt I might have had for stabbing the Lightning McQueen and Mater balloons on our way out the door to go to the beach.  They clearly had it coming.  There would have been trouble had they been left unattended in the house for a week.

    My hatred for balloons grows strong.

    My hatred for balloons grows strong.

  3. I know this time of year everyone wants pumpkin everything. You know who I’m talking about, you Starbucks sluts.  I have found a pumpkin-flavored abomination: yogurt.   DON’T DO IT.  It tastes like fermented pumpkin pie.  I took one to work for lunch and about gagged.  To make matters worse, when I chucked it in my wastebasket, it hit the bottom and erupted like a sour, milky volcano.  It slung yogurt about 3 ½ feet up, where it hosed my cube wall, the carpet, and my Ramones poster (shakes fist).  This is clearly an evil product.

    This is fucking disgusting.  Don't buy it.

    This is fucking disgusting. Don’t buy it.


Glengarry Glen Gloss

I had one of those epiphanies the other day.  I was with Felix waiting for Stella to finish up with OT.  I don’t talk much about OT anymore as there’s not much to say.  Most of the time, I feel like we don’t need it, that she’s improving all the time and getting so much better at self-regulation.  Then we have a day like yesterday, where we get a dreaded behavior report from school due to her choice to behave like a soccer hooligan and bash some kid in the head (after screaming, pushing, refusing to share….).  I know.  We all have bad days.  I just still live in terror that her bad days – loud and extreme as they are infrequent – will be enough to cause us a mountain of trouble as she transitions to kindergarten.

Anyway.  I shouldn’t fuss.  All in all, things are good and getting better.

I’d say at least 75% of the kids and parents that go in and out of the therapy center have pretty big problems: the kind of problems that unlike ours (fingers crossed, knocking on wood, salt over the shoulder) won’t go away one day.  You get to know some of these kids as you see them and their parents every week.

One of these moms is the kind of mom you want to hate, or at least envy the bejeezus out of.  She’s always – and I mean always – impeccably dressed, and she’s so cute.  We’re talking designer, high dollar stuff.  Her kids are the same.  Her older boy is the one in therapy, but she had her younger son with her that seems to be around Felix’s age – maybe a bit younger.  He’s always in those darling hand-smocked onesies and overalls that cost about $50 a pair.  This woman also is gregarious, either chatting away at other folks around her or on her phone.  She doesn’t seem to have a career other than her kids.

So snarky.  Sorry.

So snarky. Sorry.

Like I said.  You want to hate her.

But she’s so nice and positive and perky and obviously adores her boys.  This past week, I could tell she felt horrible.  She probably had that demon germ that took out my household.  But her positive happy mom façade didn’t crack.  She still was dressed well, even if her hair was a bit disheveled.  I was in awe.

My awe grew when another regular mom had a bad moment with one of her twin daughters.  These girls – about 6 years old – both have autism.  One little girl was having a really hard time.  You could see how hard this mom tried to keep it together – to stay patient and calm and get her child back into the therapy room.  It’s one of those moments when I do feel grateful, seeing how much worse things could be, and then turn around and feel guilty for having those thoughts.  That mom doesn’t love her girls any less than I love my kids.

But that wasn’t the source of my awe.  It was this woman’s appearance.  She had on a reasonably casual outfit, but it matched.  It wasn’t wrinkled.  And even if she was in “mom jeans,” her toenails were painted (no chips) and she had on lip gloss.  She and I probably have the same BMI, but she looks like she hasn’t given up.  I felt like a lummox in my oversized shirt with the neck stretched out from nursing and floppy wrinkled shorts.  I might as well be in freaking sweat pants every single day of my life.

One should always have goals.

One should always have goals.

This has to stop.  This goes way above and beyond wanting to lose X number of pounds.  This goes to the basic matter of asking for and taking just a few moments extra just for myself, to put on cute underwear or lip gloss.  The gross underwear is in the same drawer as the cuter stuff, why not actually look for it and put that on?  Better yet, let’s throw the old shit out and gradually replace it?  Ditto for my now-ill-fitting nursing bras or pre-2-baby bras that are way too small?  I can put on lip gloss in the same amount of time I can chap stick.  So why not?  Why not wear heels to work at least once a week? It’s just as easy to slip on a pair of pumps as it is a pair of utilitarian flats or sandals.   I just have to choose to do it – to decide I want to do it.

I don’t have the financial resources to get all new stuff.  Too bad, because I saw the most darling pair of pajamas at Dillard’s the other day.  They were $100.  WTF?  Anyway, what I can do is let Will know that I need this, want this, deserve this.  He seemed pretty receptive during the brief discussion we had.  Now it’s up to both of us to follow through.

I will say, today I have on saucy red boots and my underwear and bra match.

There is truth to this!!

There is truth to this!!

Vanderpumpkin Rules

Our weekend was bursting with Halloween splendor, and we still have a full week to go.  I love it.  We are certainly making up for lost time.  That being said, I’m learning some things about this holiday and am left with more questions.  For instance:

  • When your children are very young, it’s not necessary for everyone to carve a pumpkin. We’ve had one small pumpkin for the house and that’s plenty.  Stella and her daddy drew and carved it together, Felix played with the guts, and I took pictures and watched.  Fun for all, and less pumpkin waste.  Hell, we’re not even going to be home Halloween night to light it – we’ll be out trick or treating.
    Our teeny-tiny pumpkin

    Our teeny-tiny pumpkin

    Pumpkin guts!

    Pumpkin guts!

  • Community events are a crap-shoot; you must be prepared to cut your losses at any point, lest someone gets cut. We went to 2 big events this weekend: a haunted hike at a local park/swamp, and a Halloween festival at a local historical museum.  I was more afraid of the former than the latter, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.  The swamp was awesome.  Felix got a bit cantankerous by the end, but the poor dude was up 2+ hours past his bedtime.  Stella and her buddy Sam did great.  It was really a lot of fun.  The historical museum was a disaster – far from the wonderful egg hunt we attended there this spring.
    • (Warning: I’m going to come across as a snarkaluffagus here. Too bad.) While I appreciate that it’s a historical society, this is the age of the internet.  They advertised the event as being on yesterday’s calendar day – 10/26.  No other times were mentioned other than the usual operating hours of the museum.  So we saddled up and hit the parking lot by 10:00, hoping to beat the church rush.  We were only 5.5 hours early.  The Halloween stuff wasn’t starting until 3:30.    Cue a major unraveling by Stella.  I tried to redirect her by a kitchen activity – pizza from scratch – but with limited success.
    • When we arrive again for the actual event, things seemed pretty organized. There were about a dozen different activities and games which you bought with ticket packets you got upon entry, and trick or treat would start at 5:30.  (Here comes the really snarky stuff.) Too bad each and every game/booth was manned by a Precambrian-aged volunteer.  These poor folks had 2 speeds: painfully slow and backwards.  That’s fine if you’re toting around a 6 or 7 year old.  But not a 20 month old and somewhat challenging 4 year old.  The first thing we tried to do was a fail: face-painting.  They had one little old lady doing it.  There were only 3 in line when we got there.  After 15 minutes of waiting, the lady was still on the first kid.  It was a very nice butterfly, but damn it:  This is street-style face-painting.  Not fine art.
      The gang, resting up for the next uber-long line

      The gang, resting up for the next uber-long line

      My silly dude.  No costume required!

      My silly dude. No costume required!

    • After a forced/haphazard meal of 2 hot dogs (one smothered with about a pint of horrendous cheese sauce) purchased at airport prices after a 10 minute wait, we tried to kill enough time to let Stella trick or treat. It was too late.  She was too tired and frustrated and had basically checked out on us.  We had to leave with her crying and screaming.  I don’t blame her.  This even was NOT well organized.  Stella was not set up for success.
  • Waste: Man, there’s been a ton, and I feel pretty bad about it.
    • First the edible stuff. Candy’s no problem.  It has a long shelf life and can always be dumped in my candy bowl at work for the office scavengers to devour.  Those bastards will eat anything.  I could roll rat crap in sugar and wrap it in cellophane and they’d eat it.  I’m talking about our Halloween village.  Oui Oui bought us the best kit which resulted in a fun family project and 5 cute little cookie/candy houses.  You know damn well you can’t let kids eat that much crap.  It would be like the Ghostbusters crossing the streams.  It would be bad.  I let them split one.  The rest got tossed.  I feel bad about it, but don’t know what else I could have done.  No soup kitchen would want a sticky half-stale village which my 4 year old coughed all over.
      This was really such a cute/fun activity

      This was really such a cute/fun activity

      End product, along with teeny-tiny pumpkin

      End product, along with teeny-tiny pumpkin

    • Now the cheap toy crap: I can totally appreciate that folks don’t want to over-sugar kids.  I just don’t know if the solution is buckets of cheap plastic whistles, spiders, rings, bugs, fangs, and I-don’t-know-whatsits.  Sure, kids like it.  For about a millisecond.  Then it gets thrown in the bucket or on the counter and abandoned.  I have already thrown out a huge handful of this stuff and feel terribly guilty about it.  But this isn’t decent product you could donate to a charity.  This is $0.01 per unit Oriental Trading Company garbage.  Stella almost choked on a stupid super ball from this stash of crap.  I may have missed an opportunity, however: maybe there’s a Pinterest search for this?  Like melting this stuff in a cookie cutter/mold in a low-temp oven in order to make coasters/sun catchers?  Anyone?  Anyone?
      Ok, so some fangs are ok.

      Ok, so some fangs are ok.

      A truly useful accessory

      A truly useful accessory

Clark the Herald Angels Sing

As I took my children to school last Friday morning, I found myself uttering the phrase “we’ll have more fun than any family has the right to have.”  It hit me: I am a female version of Clark W. Griswold, Jr..   Sure, I stop short of talking about the majesty of the winter’s morn, but I would totally drink my coffee out of a Tasmanian Devil cup.

But that’s not what I meant.

Clark loves his family and kids more than anything.  He wants to create “fun-filled family” occasions, whether it be a magical vacation or the best Xmas ever.  I totally do that.  This Halloween has so far given me my best opportunity.  We have found events galore to participate in.  All total, the kids will get to wear their costumes no fewer than 6 times before we hang up our candy buckets and get ready for turkey and pie.  It’s wonderful.

Felix's stormtrooper costume.  It was a bit hot when we did Boo at the Zoo so he opted for costume B....

Felix’s stormtrooper costume. It was a bit hot when we did Boo at the Zoo so he opted for costume B….

Felix in Costume B: Frankendude!  Along with pink Mermaid Stella

Felix in Costume B: Frankendude! Along with pink Mermaid Stella

Mermaid Stella and a.....  Sand People?!

Mermaid Stella and a….. Sand People?!

If only I could keep everyone healthy.  In addition to the magic of Halloween, October seems to be our month for acquiring vicious germs.  Remember last year?  We couldn’t trick or treat or go to the school party because Stella got the pukes.  This year, we seem to have caught our bugs early.  3 out of the 4 members of my household have had some sort of flu-like cold, complete with fever, chills, horrible sore throat, and ending with a never-ending cough.  Felix is still battling his ears, although since they cultured the goo (REALLY?!?!) and found the specific germ, his meds have changed and he’s looking much better.  We may finally be closing this section of his medical file.

And obviously the boy is in fighting form again.

And obviously the boy is in fighting form again.

Channeling both Alfalfa and Stevie Wonder

Channeling both Alfalfa and Stevie Wonder

So it’s been busy.  I’ve been swamped at work and at home, with no energy to do anything but the essentials.  In this case, that means Halloween.  (You didn’t think I meant housework, did you?!)

So wish us all luck and fun.  I should be back more regularly by next week.  Unless I’m hung-over from too much candy.


Wean, Lose, or Draw

Recently our city’s zoo did a “Brew at the Zoo” event – a beer tasting held after hours.  It was a phenomenal success and sold out fairly quickly.  As I cannot stand beer, Will went with his father.  And since you can imagine that cops might just think that some impaired drivers might emerge (and rightly so), Oui Oui decided she’d be their designated driver.  To save some travel time, she came and hung out with me and the kids for a few hours after dropping the men off.

Both kids were a bit excited and thrown off with the change in the normal routine.  Felix, in particular, seemed like he was on crack.  I tried to nurse him and get him to bed while Oui Oui  ferried our husbands to the event, but that kid wasn’t about to succumb.  It didn’t matter how obviously tired the dude was.  He was not going to go to bed, damn it.

Finally, roughly an hour and a half later than usual, he decided he was tired.  Oui Oui ended up rocking him to sleep.  You know how it’s sometimes kind of hard to see something because you’re in it?  Well, 99% of the time I’m the one holding my son.  I rarely see anyone else with him.  Watching the two of them rocking, it smacked me upside my own head just how big, old, and long my son is getting.  He doesn’t seem that way to me when I hold him.  But he looked almost half as long as Oui Oui.

I always see my boy and see that giant candy-apple baby head and see a baby, you know?

I always see my boy and see that giant candy-apple baby head and see a baby, you know?

It occurred to me then that that’s most likely how Will sees him.  We still have angst about Felix’s unwillingness to wean (and all these damn ear infections and such don’t help).  Will always seems freaked out about how old and big he is – that he’s too big to still be nursing.  I always counter that Felix is still a little bitty dude and not even 2 years old yet; while inconvenient, nursing is not out of this world weird and creepy, you know?  But based on that perception – of seeing someone else cradle my little boy – I can understand a bit why Will might seem so freaked out about it.

Speaking of growing up, Stella is practicing having a full-sleeve.

Speaking of growing up, Stella is practicing having a full-sleeve.

We’ve started negotiations with Oui Oui to try to farm the dude out for a night or two.  That seems to be our best option at this point, other than to all go quite crazy with loads of crying and screaming.  If only we could get him healthy!!

From Ear to Eternity

Like so many children before him -his father and myself among them – Felix may be cruising for tubes in his ears.  Just last week we were back at the doctor’s office for the second time in as many weeks with what I like to call “ear snot.”  He hadn’t even been off of antibiotics for 5 full days.  Long story short, both ears were impacted, with the eardrum on the leaky one ruptured due to the pressure.

Have I ever mentioned how much I loathe snot?  You’ll think I’m nuts, but give me pee, poop, or even vomit over snot.  Mucous is just revolting to me.  And prior to my little boy, I never dreamed it could stream from ears.  Oh, and eyes.  Now it’s coming from his eyes.

Ear's looking at you, kid.

Ear’s looking at you, kid.

Looking back, I think he’s had an almost-constant infection for the past 4-5 months.  We’ve been on toddler Z-packs, Cipro (drops and orals), a few other random orals I can’t remember at this point.  He’s even had a direct injection.  He’s on Bactrim now, which apparently is the last stop on this train.  Bactrim, I’ve learned the hard way, is what treats staph.  We’ve also started him on some Zyrtec in case some of this is exacerbated by seasonal allergies.

So we wait.  And I have to force feed my son this medicine twice a day for two weeks.  The only thing worse than this might just be having to medicate a feral cat.  He fights, claws, kicks, screams, and cries.  This, in turn, agitates his sister, who becomes defensive of her little brother.  Not cool.  But the alternative is not great: a non-stop ticket to an ENT and tubes.  While I know it’s very common, no parent wants to think of their kid having to go under general anesthesia.

So cross your fingers and toes for us, s’il vous plait.  No to surgery.  No to snot, no matter what orifice it’s coming from.

Driving Kiss Daisy

Stella has really gotten into kissing.  Given that she’s only just 4 years old, I’m totally unprepared for this.  A couple of times recently when I’ve picked her up from school, I’ve gotten reports from her teacher that she and one little boy are a bit too affectionate.  Just the other day I witnessed it directly.  The teacher does what she ought to:  no shaming or anything, just a rather firm suggestion that they keep contact to “buddy hugs.”

Now don’t get all in a twist; we’re not talking slipping of the tongue or anything like that – just very enthusiastic pecking on the mouth, particularly after licking our lips. (God kids are nasty)

Other than the cute little boy at school, her choices for recipients of her affection are quite peculiar.  A few days ago it was Lightning McQueen.  Felix has a large plastic version which speaks when you push the button on the top.  For 2 days and nights, McQueen got to sit by her at dinner, on the couch, and almost made it into bed until that was vetoed due to the rather rigid and uncomfortable nature of hard plastic.  They had fascinating conversations, punctuated with plenty of kisses.

Yesterday, she started showering “Silver” with kind words and kisses.  “Silver” is what she calls my car.  Seriously?  Kissing my vehicle?

The strangest, however, has got to be A and B.  A and B are just that: letters pulled from that wretched foam alphabet “rug” on the kids’ bedroom floor. (Note to new parents: do yourselves a favor and resist this urge.  Sure, they’re cute, educational, inexpensive and easy to clean.  But you WILL BE PICKING THAT SHIT UP FOR YEARS, EVERY DAY.  It’s a big puzzle.  Children can’t help but to disassemble it on a daily basis.  It will drive you quite nuts.)  A and B have joined her for 3 meals now.  They discuss what foods they enjoy.  A and B get kisses.  I just don’t get this.

I’m prepared for the ultimate inevitability that at least one if not both of my children will bring home a date that I might not be crazy for.  This is pushing my limits in a strange way, however.  I’ve heard of imaginary friends, but this seems even more bizarre. Any ideas?  Anyone?

Beach-able Moment

We just returned from a week at the beach.  Compared to last year, it was a dream vacation.  There was very little drama involving little people, particularly during the drive to and fro.  This is largely thanks to the dual-screen portable DVD player and Despicable Me.  So we played it over and over and over again.  That is largely preferable to the kids screaming.



Not every moment was 100% happy....

Not every moment was 100% happy….

It was somewhat unseasonably chilly in southern Alabama, but we all made do.  By mid-week, the sun came out.  Hallelujah and all that jazz.


Mermaid/fairy hybrid?

Mermaid/fairy hybrid?

We found a way to keep Felix quiet

We found a way to keep Felix quiet

It was nice.  I got to eat lots of delicious seafood that we normally can’t afford.  I didn’t get to really sleep/rest much, but one day my children did sleep until almost 7:00 AM!!.  That was due, no doubt, to the daily routine of playground or splash ground followed by inadequate napping and at least 2 more sessions of swimming of at least an hour each.

Surfin' bird

Surfin’ bird

Mermaids chilling

Mermaids chilling

Gulf Shores' most famous tacky souvenir shop

Gulf Shores’ most famous tacky souvenir shop

The boy is not so sure about this place.  Calamari what?

The boy is not so sure about this place. Calamari what?

So now it’s back to the grind.  Damn it.



And what helped make coming home easier?  Our new mermaid bedding.

And what helped make coming home easier? Our new mermaid bedding.

On the upside, Halloween is coming.  The kids’ costumes are already in.  It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Boring blog, y’all.  Sorry.

Twice Bitten, Once Shy

Felix has settled in really well at preschool. He only goes three days a week: Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.  As with any kid going to preschool for the first time, there were some initial bumps in the road. Notably, String Bean wouldn’t eat or lay down for naps easily.  I’m pleased to say the napping thing has sorted itself out. I’ve asked his teacher and aide to come to my house to put him down at night.  They won’t do it.   Anyway, in all other aspects he seems to fit right in. He rarely cries when I leave him and it seems as if he really likes his teachers.

Having two kids in the same school, I’m pretty familiar with the way things work there now. There are two types of reports that you might get in your child’s cubby: behavior reports and ouch reports.  You definitely never want to see behavior reports. Those are the ones you get when your kid really shows his or her butt during school.   I’m pleased to say that we don’t get those very often anymore, and usually when we do, there are some aggravating circumstances involved – like the beginnings of a virus, a slew of new students, or something else out of the ordinary.

Ouch reports are exactly what you would think; you receive those whenever your child sustain some sort of injury or bobo at school. Granted, the school will call you if it’s anything involving the kid’s head or for something like fever or vomiting, but unlike the Stepford Academy our current school will only call if it’s absolutely necessary (i.e. diaper rash isn’t considered an emergency).  For the more run-of-the-mill scrapes, bumps, or other miscellaneous damage resulting from a kid’s general clumsiness or over-exuberance, they will write it up in an ouch report.  Stella has had a couple of those over the last year, but given her general size and toughness, she’s fared pretty well in that category.  My son may be another story.

The past two days he’s gone to school, my poor little dude has had an ouch report in his cubby.  It seems that some kid or kids enjoys biting him.  It’s not a huge deal. The biter or biters have not penetrated the skin. There have just been a few little bruises here and there.  My son just must be super tasty. I always knew he was sweet.

Why are you looking at me like that?  Why is your mouth watering?

Why are you looking at me like that? Why is your mouth watering?

It’s gotten me thinking though: if that nasty neem oil won’t work for weaning purposes, maybe I can put it on my son’s arms as some sort of toddler vampire repellant.

Pieces of Late

Since I rarely feel like I have a life outside of little children, work, dishes, dinners, and snot-prints on my black capri pants, I’ve taken to stalking following many celebrities on Instagram.  It’s not probably who you’d expect.  There are more than a few celebrity chefs, a small handful of actors from Game of Thrones (I can always hope for a teaser pic for the upcoming season), an author/illustrator, Dave Navarro, and….the weirdest of all, Dita Von Teese.  I can’t even remember how/why that one happened.  Maybe because she was on Project Runway recently?  Who knows?

Anyway, I don’t ever really pay close attention to what these people post.  I’m not that pathetic, after all.  But I kept seeing a massive increase in posts from Miss D recently so I actually read some comments.  Turns out, she’s launched her own lingerie line.  No big surprise there.  What is surprising is that one of her retailers is Destination Maternity: she’s made freaking sexy-ass nursing/maternity bras.

Where the hell was this shit 4 years ago?  I’ve been running around in these awful, ugly-yet-utilitarian things for years, feeling about as unsexy as a spayed hippo when I could have been wearing (at least) some saucy little brassiere under my milk-stained tank tops.

This.  This is what I could've been wearing (From Destination Maternity website)

This. This is what I could’ve been wearing (From Destination Maternity website)

Not cool, Dita.  Not cool at all.  You’re several years late!