Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Post-Holiday Chores

The LIST of things I should be doing instead of writing this blog:

What to do first?

  1. Take down the tree.  This will include keeping three pairs of paws off the tree so that I can neatly organize each sentimentally valuable ornament, wrap the lights in an organized fashion on the nifty little reel that Hubby bought me at the after-holiday sale, and break the tree into a thousand little branches so that it will fit in the Christmas Tree Body Bag we keep in our basement.  How this task will probably go down: I’ll chuck everything in bins and curse myself next December.
  1. Play with one of the many, MANY toys our children received from the jolly old elf.  My choices include playing legos, painting pottery shaped like cartoon characters, constructing my very own monster truck, coloring in a coloring book so large that Stevie Wonder could see it from space, pushing buttons that make annoying and/or repetitive sounds, or teaching Batman how to repel off his batcave, (which, at press time, is in Time Out because of a progression of events that included the following: whining, mild stomping, a full-blown temper tantrum, time out, and pulling on curtains with such force that my curtain rod was yanked out of the wall resulting in Mommy losing her sh*t in a very unladylike manner.)

  1. Tackle one of the 4 loads of laundry that is literally overflowing from the laundry room.  I finished 4 loads last night, so I’m halfway there!  I feel that the universe is punishing me for having my laundry “sent out” while we were in NYC.  It’s not that I was particularly spoiled – it’s just that we lived in a 3rd floor walk-up and I had two little boys with me at all times.  When we first moved, I loaded up the double stroller (which city dwellers will tell you they loooooove . . .) with a child in front and a gargantuan bag o’ laundry in the back.  I tried to steer the stroller with one hand and hold Large’s hand with the other all the way to the Laundromat, where I was expected to do enough laundry to keep my family of four clothed for a week.  And I was supposed to do this with my well-behaved and always cooperative toddlers in tow?  Okay, I’m spoiled – but really, Hubby agreeing to pay for us to have our laundry sent out may have just saved our marriage. 
  1. Dispose of the two gift bags of cookies Hubby’s administrative assistant gave us.  They’re yummy, but devoid of chocolate.  Who sends cookies (to a family with children, no less) that don’t have chocolate chips, or chocolate drizzle, or chocolate candies, etc.?  Hello, Gift Horse, this is me looking in yer yapper.
  1. Write a letter of apology to my uncle and his wife, who had to endure a dinner out with my children.  Grandpa’s idea of a casual meal with my family (sans my hubby, who was having new tires installed on the Divorce-Maker) included eating at an establishment where we had to wait a half hour just to be seated.  When we were finally seated at a booth with a 2-top stuck on the end, baby Small was perched way out in the aisle so that when wait staff raced by with trays precariously balanced with hot meals and heavy drinking glasses, my instinct was to cover his head.  It was like he was going through a little baby gauntlet filled with steak knives and pepper mills.  Medium was no more rambunctious than usual, but my uncle had to witness me gently escorting him outside so we could chat about his ability (or lack thereof) to make good decisions, one of them being NOT having a full-blown temper tantrum in an eating establishment that is clearly not designed for 5-year-olds whose bedtime was 10 minutes ago.  So now my uncle is privy to all of our dinnertime rules: "no feet where we eat" and "get out from under the damn table" being among them.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Adventures at the Gym: Day Two

I did it.  I returned to the gym even though I can’t walk down the stairs without cringing and sitting on the potty requires a freefall of about 12 inches. 

The thing is, I still hate Wes.  I have decided that my Beefcake Boyfriend has no concept of the fact that this body has birthed and nourished three babies, and I have struggled with my weight since 7th grade.  (Also known as the last time I wore a belt.)  I am not interested in becoming a body builder or even becoming a size 8.  My primary goal is to adopt a healthier lifestyle that includes better eating and better fitness.  I do not need my Beefcake Boyfriend to “motivate” me by talking sh*t, threatening to make me do 300 of whatever torture he’s subjecting upon me, or questioning my level of determination and dedication, because I am not above b*tch-slapping a 6’2” personal trainer. 
It would be a good idea
to locate ALL of these and
then choose the equipment
that's closest.

Because of my experience in the torture chamber the other day, I now walk like I have Parkinson’s Disease.  My legs are like jello.  Jello is for eating; not for leg analogies.  You know that feeling you get when you step off of the people mover at the airport terminal back onto the regular floor?  That’s how my legs feel, except with much more pain and crampiness.  My feet move about as if independent of the rest of my body.  I’m like a marionette. 

Today I decided to take it easy, but I didn’t want to break my momentum.  I really want going to the gym to become a habit.  I decided on the elliptical machine – I could get a decent cardio workout, loosen up my leg muscles a bit, and, as an added bonus, I could learn everything I ever wanted to know about Jennifer Lopez on Behind the Music.  I hopped on and began punching all the necessary info into the machine – the duration I planned to work out, the level, and my weight. 

The default on the weight part is 150.  That would be nice and all, but I really needed to be honest, so I pushed the button in order to adjust the weight.  The sensor moved by one pound.  So I pressed the button again, and again the sensor moved by only one pound.  So I pressed the button and held it, hoping it would continue moving lest I spend my entire 45 minute workout pressing the button in order to get it on the correct weight.  Unfortunately, you have to press the button over and over and over and over and over and over and over in order to adjust it because it only moves by one friggin' pound at a time. 

Thaaaaaat’s charming.  A little beep for every. single. pound.  One after another.  Just beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, beep, etc.

I don’t think I need to tell you that every beep was for a pound by which I needed to increase.  If you thought, even for a split second, that each beep represented a DECREASE in my weight from 150, then
A)   you’ve never seen a photo of me
B)   you don’t actually know me
C)   you are now eligible to be my new BFF

I’m not obese (despite what my Wii Mii says – that little meanie.)  But I am, admittedly, a good hunk o’ woman.

Wait!  I'm cheap . . . NOT free.
I wanted to be honest about my weight because I’m secretly afraid that if I lie, the machine will push me too hard and I will wake up on the floor of the gym with a particular Beefcake yelling, “Clear!” and trying to feel me up with the defibrillator paddles.  Everyone knows that if you want to see “the girls” you have to buy me dinner first. 

That being said, I did the elliptical for 45 minutes, caught up on my Jlo, and avoided having CPR performed upon my lifeless body.  Soooooo . . . success.  Victory is mine! 

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Our Kid Broke Himself.

Mommy tries.  Really, she does.
Well, Medium broke his arm.  It was just a matter of time really. 

My goal had always been to NOT have to visit the ER until at least Kindergarten.  With Large, we achieved that goal, but just barely.  He had an anaphylactic episode after eating a particularly nutritious granola bar and I had to take him to the ER about 2 weeks after he started Kindergarten.   So much for trying to ply him with protein - instead I activated a tree-nut allergy.

Medium was only about 18 months old when he came down the hallway saying “yucky!” and pointing to his mouth.  He had swallowed some prescription medication; I had accidentally left the few remaining pills on the counter after I called in the refill.  Yet another fine parenting moment.  He was fine, but as a precaution we took him to the ER to have him monitored.  The nurse told me they see many toddlers who have ingested something they shouldn’t have, but that’s little comfort when you know you’re the one whose carelessness resulted in your child’s ER visit.

(Did you know that Mt. Sinai has a Pediatric Emergency Room?  I did!)

A week ago, we met Daddy at the local mall so that we could do some holiday shopping while Large attended a birthday party in the area.  While I was dropping Large at the party, Medium was playing in the Kids’ Play Area.  According to Medium, he “fell.”  According to Daddy, he “jumped and missed.”  Knowing Medium the way I do, my money is on Daddy's version.  At any rate, he fell on his wrist and broke both bones.  He has a cast up beyond his elbow.

My question is this: how does one prevent a 5-year-old from using his cast as a weapon? Essentially he has a battering ram attached to his body at all times.  And, given that Large broke his collarbone a couple months ago, when exactly can I expect Child Protective Services to show up at my door?  

Monday, December 20, 2010

Adventures at the Gym: Day One

The new gym in our town has finally opened its doors. 


Can I take this on the
treadmill with me?
My girlfriend Laura and I decided to go over there together this morning, as both of us were feeling first-day-of-school jitters.  My jitters may have also been a result of excessive coffee consumption.  In fact, Laura made a joke about the juice bar having a Starbucks and I GOT ALL EXCITED!!! until I realized she was making a joke.  We don’t joke about the Starbucks, Laura.

We finished the tour and went our separate ways.  I stayed with our tour guide and my new Beefcake Boyfriend, Wes, who replaces my former Beefcake Boyfriend, Sean (owner of the sassy red leather bag that he claims belongs to the woman with whom he shares a desk.)  Here’s the thing though; I was all witty and charming when I was signing paperwork in order to join.  I am hateful and mean when it comes time to actually work out. 

Wes took me to a torture chamber equipped with floor-to-ceiling mirrors which now have my sweaty handprints streaking down them.  Picture me as a high-healed, adolescent, poor-decision-maker in a slasher film, trying to claw my way out of a precarious situation and leaving bloody handprints on a wall in an effort to save my very life.  It’s the same, except with sweat.  Because he had me do so many squats, it now hurts to pee.  I’m probably going to develop a urinary tract infection because I’ve been “holding it” since 9 am, but it’ll all be worth it if I don’t have to do another squat. 

Working out does not bring out the best in me.  I’m sure that Wes is a very nice young man.  And for his sake, I hope he has high self-esteem, because I am NOT very nice.

BoyMommy!  Are you all right?
Are you all right?
In fact, I told him that I hate him. 

I actually used those words.  “I hate you.”  And I said it more than once.  It was not my finest moment.  I even thought about flicking him off, except I was trying to concentrate on not rolling across the floor courtesy of a certain giant medicine ball.   The other patrons who just happened to be working out in the same torture chamber were staring at me, no doubt wondering if and when Wes would begin performing CPR, given that my face was beet red and my body was so shocked by the threat of physical activity that it was actually refusing to sweat.  That ain’t right. 

Furthermore, I could not speak in complete sentences.  “I’m.  Gonna.  Just.  Go.  Getta.  Sippa.  Water.”  I’m pretty sure that’s an early warning sign for Stroke. 

Laura is in great shape.  It could be – and I’m just throwin’ this out as a possibility – but it could be because she can do arm exercises with weights heavier than my infant.  Or maybe because she doesn’t eat Hershey Kisses for breakfast.  OR MAYBE because she doesn’t leave the gym and drive directly to Starbucks, where she orders a Venti Peppermint Mocha. 

If I have to give up my Starbucks, I may just lose the will to live. 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Impressing the New Babysitter

One day last week we found ourselves in need of a babysitter.  MP has babysat (sat on our babies?) before, but only with the older two, so she was understandably a little apprehensive about keeping the baby too.  Her mama and I decided it would be a good idea if they came over to visit one evening so that she could spend a little time with Small.  Honestly, I wasn’t worried because he’s such an easy baby and my theory on babysitters has always been that, in the grand scheme o’ things, as long as the kids are safe and alive when we get home, it’s been a good night.  Pretty low standards.  Just use some common sense, and it’ll all be okay.  Turns out, I shouldn’t have been worrying about MP as much as she should have been worrying about the dynamic duo made up of Large and Medium.

Where's the Warning Label
on these things?
We made arrangements for MP and her mama to come over one evening before bed time, and I figured I’d let MP give Small his bottle and snuggle with him for a while so that they could get to know one another.  Meanwhile, the older boys were sitting at the table finishing up their homework and then working on thoughtful, hand-made holiday gifts for their teachers.  MP and her mama would be doubly impressed with my well-behaved children and their propensity for giving unto others.  This is a nice family from our church, after all, and I want to perpetuate that MYTH that we are a charming, well-mannered brood of little southern gentlemen.

But then I decided to let them work with beads.

While MP and her mama sat on the couch oohing and aahing over my sweet little angel baby, Large and Medium were mere feet away, silently plotting the demise of THE MYTH.  

They have been working on making lanyards for their teachers’ ID badges.  Medium is my little artiste, so we had gone to the craft store and picked out all the necessary supplies.  I had envisioned complementary colors of the spectrum, but Medium chose bags of black & white, greens & blues, rainbow, and iridescent clear.  Not what I would have chosen, but the gifts are from the kids, so I took a deep breath and purchased the beads that would soon become a glaring eyesore of mismatched colors hanging from his teacher’s neck. 

I carefully opened each bag’s contents onto paper plates so that the boys could choose their colors easily and the beads would stay neatly confined on the kitchen table. 

Hello, my name is Medium.
It’s obvious where I’m going with this, right?  I’ve told enough stories about my Medium that you are now picturing the Tazmanian Devil dressed in a Peyton Manning jersey winding up in my kitchen.  And he’s fast.  In fact, last Sunday at church, in the time it took to sing ONE hymn, he had colored with blue crayon on the pew, the back of the pew in front of us, and the floor in our gorgeous, 200-year-old, historical place o’ worship.  (I scrubbed with a baby wipe while giving Medium the stink-eye and silently hoping that the baby Jesus would be so busy listening to everyone else’s prayers that He wouldn’t be able to hear my less-than-Christian thoughts.) 

Lo and behold, he knocked over one of the paper plates of beads.  Beads.  Everywhere. 

Tiny black and white beads jumped across my hardwood floors for what seemed like 10 minutes, and there was Medium, wide-eyed and sad-faced: “sorry.”  

In the interest of having him take responsibility for his actions, I instructed him to get out the mini-broom and the dust pan while MP’s mama looked nervously from MP to me to the kitchen to MP to the kitchen to me, and repeat, trying to decide where her services could best be offered.  Every time Medium and I tried to sweep beads into the dustpan, however, approximately three beads would make it into the dustpan and 20 would begin another jumping journey across the floor. 

Cue MP and her mama: “oh my, look at the time!”  They offered to help, but I think they sensed the quiet before the storm and recognized that they wouldn’t want to have to testify against me at my trial, so it was really just best to make a gracious exit. 

Finally I broke out the vacuum cleaner and reveled in the sound of the beads (**now sold in packs of 500!**) being sucked into the bag.  Medium “helped” by sweeping wayward beads out of every corner and crevice of the kitchen. 

So if you’re wondering about the contents of our vacuum cleaner bag, they are as follows:
  • ornament hooks that I was too lazy to bend over to retrieve and so I vacuumed instead.
  • That powdery stuff that is supposed to take the odor out of your carpet when the dog pees on it, (even though he JUST WENT OUT!) but really doesn’t work and is sold to Type-A consumers who are suckers for marketing which promises a clean, non-urine-stained area on which your baby can crawl.
  • Black and white beads that are no longer destined to be a part of the sassy lanyard Medium is making by hand.  For his teacher.  Out of beads.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Light Bulb Fairy and the Joy that IS Homework

I’m supposed to be stuffing the Holiday cards, but I’m inching my way towards a diabetic coma and feeling VERY sleepy.  I just made a batch of Nestle Toll House cookies, mostly so I could eat raw cookie dough for breakfast.  Epic Weight Watchers FAIL.  (And by “bake,” I mean break the pre-made dough, place it gently on a cookie sheet, and patiently stare into the oven for 10 minutes.)

Having just ingested half of the cookies and some of the dough, I realize that blogging about it consequently puts it out there in the universe.  It is possible, (although not probable since my own spouse is NOT a regular reader of the literary brilliance I post,) that Hubby will now know that I just ate cookies for breakfast.  It’s one of those Stay-at-Home Mommy secrets that I should really keep to myself.  Cookies for breakfast is highly classified information, along with how light bulbs get changed in our house.  When I was on bed rest last winter, I had to break it to him that there is no Light Bulb Fairy.  Don’t worry though; I didn’t tell him about Santa.

How many members of the
BoyMommy Family does it take to
change a lightulb?
According to Hubby, ZERO!

I don’t think Hubby has changed a lightbulb in the 11 blissful years we’ve been married.  He either thinks
a)     that the lighbulbs that were installed in the house when it was built are SUPER efficient and long-lasting, or
b)    the Light Bulb Fairy is responsible.  The LBF purchases the correct bulb and has it handy so that when a bulb blows out, it can immediately be replaced, and no one will ever know it was ever without light.

Also, in the throw-my-husband-under-the-bus category, there’s this little gem.  Yesterday I overheard Medium tell Hubby to “acknowledge Large!”  How many five-year-olds have acknowledge in their vocabulary AND know how to use it correctly?  My little sponge has heard me say it to his daddy a few times – usually when I am so tired of hearing “Daddy!  Daddy!  Guess what?  Dad.  Dad!  Guess what?!  Daddy!!” that I finally break and say, “acknowledge your children!”  (To be fair, the boys have little to no concept that Daddy might be doing something important and that not everyone in their sweet little lives is going to devote 100% of his or her attention to THEM at all times.)

He came home from work early last night to help me out, which is MUCH appreciated.  However . . .

I get to sit with my Big Brother
AND I get to do homework?  Woohoo!
He “suggested” that maybe the boys should begin their homework earlier so that we’re not all subjected to Medium’s incessant whining during the witching hour, which is actually the three hours between 5-8 pm.  He has a good point.  Waiting until after dinner but before baths to do homework, especially with a child who is clearly overwhelmed by the magnitude of tasks such as writing his name five times and practicing tying his shoes, is probably not the wisest strategy.  I like to let them play for a while when they first get home though.  I figure they’ve got some pent-up energy that needs to be released.  Plus, at the beginning of the school year I was trying to get Medium excited about his work by having the big boys sit at the table together, and I could strap Small into the Bjorn and make dinner while supervising homework.  Yesterday was not a shining example of this strategy, however.  Instead, it was chaos.  In fact, when Hubby walked in from work, I was yelling at kindly encouraging Medium to focus.  When Hubby went to empty his morning coffee mug into the sink, he could not do so because there was a child in it.  (Another diaper blowout necessitated the Biohazard Bath.)  So the new plan is for Medium to do his homework before Large even gets home from school.

Interesting, though, that Hubby’s “suggestion” came on a Monday night.  Monday is easy; it gets worse as the week progresses and you ain’t seen nothin’ until you’ve seen the chaos of Thursday night homework!  It would be easier to get the Hell's Angels to switch to organic natural fibers than it is to get my kids to do homework without complaint by the end of the week.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Full o' Thanks

After we left Great Wolf Lodge of Ugly Feet, Ill-Placed Tattoos, and Skin Conditions, we headed to Granny and Papa’s. 

Let me begin by saying that I LOVE my Mother-in-Law, and I’m not just saying that because she told me that reading my blogs is one of the best parts of her day.  And I’m not just saying that because she’s so cool she actually told me once, (a la Loretta Lynn,) to tell my husband, HER son, when he came home from a night out, “don’t come home adrinkin’ with lovin’ on yer mind.”  Amen, sister.  Seriously, in the Mother-in-Law department, I hit the jackpot.  I know this because I have had many conversations with my girlfriends about their not-so-jackpot mothers-in-law.  I won’t name names in order to protect the innocent, but you know who you are

Okay, so we’ve established that I love my Mother-in-Law.  But good lord is it hot at her house.  When I was pregnant with Medium and we were visiting one winter, I literally went out on the deck for a few minutes to cool down.  At night.  In my pajamas.  In DECEMBER.  Because it was so friggin’ hot in the house.  She says things like, “I don’t know why you’re so hot.  The thermostat says 75.”  Um, we keep our house at 70, and I grew up with parents who froze our a$$es out at 68. 


Mommy.  At midnight.  Except
in cuter pajamas.

Hubby and I have been known to be all stealth-like and crack our window open, turn on the fan, and shut the vents.  Otherwise we are two cranky, fish-out-of-water floppin’ all over the bed, non-sleepers.  Add to that the fact that, during our last visit, all I could hear were strains of Yo Gabba Gabba coming from my brother-in-law’s room.  No one should be subjected to that during the day, and I’m sure I looked like The Joker in Cotton PJ’s as I knocked on his door at midnight with bloodshot eyes and gritted teeth so I could ask him to Please. Make. It. Stop.

Then there’s my Father-in-Law.  

He lives by two rules:
  1. All food is better in Abundance.  This is the logic behind preparing 20 crab cakes for three adults and 2.5 children.  The kids eat nuggets, and when is the last time you ate six crab cakes at one sitting? 
  2. All that Abundant Food is made even better when accompanied by a stick of butter.  It is good Suthun’ cooking, but my Father-in-Law is not a friend to my Weight Watchers plan.  He is a diet saboteur.  I once requested some plain broccoli without butter.  He returned with a bowl of broccoli and “just a little butter.”  Picture broccoli swimming in a pool of buttery goodness.
So the whole family was there and we Thankfully (full o' thanks) stuffed ourselves with the fruits of my Father-in-Law’s labor.  Afterwards, when the kids were all outside and the grown boys were sitting with their hands in their waistbands while watching football, I noticed that my Sister-in-Law, BooBoo, was nowhere to be found.  She's sneaky, that one.  She had left me in the trenches to fend for myself while she snuck away for a nap.  I tiptoed into the guest room with my special napping blanket and my turkey-eating elastic pants.  (Oh yes, there is a very special blanket for napping. And it travels with me.) 

Because my SIL and I are two of the most mature people I know, we texted this to our husbands who were one room away:
"I'm the outer spoon."
Then we giggled like two fifth graders.  Well, fifth graders with cell phones.

BTW - Small says Happy Thanksgiving: