Friday, December 26, 2008

"I'm Ready to Open Presents."

I was sleeping. I’m pretty sure if I knew what a sugar plum was, it might have been dancing in my head. From somewhere out of the darkness came a distinctive knock knock knock. Given the fact that my baby monitor had just gone belly up that very night, that subtle thudding is all it took to get me sitting straight up, heart thudding, fearing the fact that my baby may have been crying in vain for hours with no result.

Reality sank in and I realized what morning it was. It was THAT morning. The one morning of the year when children rise even earlier than early. That is to say, they wait until the deepest blackest part of the morning from which coffee won’t even offer up a life saver to help a person out of. Then they bounce from bed with enough enthusiasm to leave skid marks on the walls. And then they run for the tree.

That knock knock knock meant Smoochie was out of bed. I pulled my heart back into my chest, un-Velcroed myself from within the warm confines of the blankets and poked my head out of my bedroom door.

“Merry Christmas, Smoochie.”

“Merry Christmas. Mom, I’m ready to open presents.”

“Give us a minute, and we’ll be down.”

I slid my slippers on my feet and paused long enough to fill Bonehead in on the fact that Smoochie was awake and ready for presents. I rushed downstairs, still scared Critter may have been awake for hours crying because I had no working baby monitor. As I came into the living room, I realized it was quiet. Critter was not even awake yet, but since it was 5:45 in the morning, he was due to wake up soon. I let out a deep breath of relief, realizing he had not been awake for hours crying and he was just fine.

Then the condition of the living room began to sink in. As I looked around, I realized that although Critter hadn’t been up for a while, SOMEONE sure had been.

The presents that Santa had left under the tree had all been moved (and I suspect more than once). Not only that, but each and every one had been pulled out from under the tree, looked at, and placed in a pile for the appropriate person. And counted. I have a sneaking suspicion they may also have been categorized and stacked according to size as well.

According to Smooch, all we had to do was sit down and begin opening. Of course, he being the excited 7 year old boy he is, overlooked the fact that Critter was not yet awake, then would need changing, feeding, and so on. But that’s ok, it only prolonged the Christmas morning excitement a little bit longer.

Had my baby monitor not died, I would have heard him wake up. Instead, I will wonder for the rest of my days, what time, exactly, DID he wake up?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Close to Christmas Snippets

1. My blogging has been quite sporadic this month. My Mom has been in town from Florida since December 3rd, and will be staying with us through New Years Eve. She's been an absolute slave driver. She's all, "Chas, do your laundry! Now!" And "Lets organize your entire home! Yesterday!" And when she isn't cracking the whip, she's been complaining about how cold it is here. The woman was born and bred in the Midwest. What did she think she was going to find in the middle of December? I'm just glad she'll be with my Sister when the true cold front hits tonight- I believe I heard talk of temperatures such as "20 below with the windchill." This is February weather, in December, and quite frankly, I'm scared half to death of what February will actually bring.

My mom has actually been a giant help with both the boys and all of the home projects she has helped me accomplish. She's helped me get a giant jump on a good 75% of my eternally expanding house hold project list. I'm ahead on my New Year's Resolutions. I'm not sure which scares me more- that, or the thought of February in the greater Chicagoland area.

2. Just before Thanksgiving, Critter wound up with an ear infection. He weighed in at 13.3 pounds (at 9 months) at the doctor's office. He was 10 pounds when he was born. According to the doctor, in order to be in the (lower) 10th percentile for his age, he should weigh at least 17 pounds. So I received doctor's orders to fatten him up like a Thanksgiving Turkey. Now, don't get me wrong. He eats. When it comes to his food, he has always been a little piggy. For the last few weeks, I have pretty much tripled his food quantity, and feed him until I can see it oozing out his cute little Critter ears. It does appear to be working, however, we may have to file for Bankruptcy next week. That boy is eating us out of house and home for sure.

3. Right about now I am wishing we hadn't changed our plans and had left for Florida today as originally planned. (We brought my mom here instead) That cold front previously mentioned is scheduled to arrive at approximately 6pm this evening. I can GUARANTEE YOU that at approximately 6:01 pm I will be pulling my hair, kicking myself, and screaming like a madwoman (akin to that scene from Liar Liar when he beats the crap out of himself in the bathroom at the courthouse). What were we thinking?

4. I am horribly behind on everything Christmas related. I have a total of 2 presents purchased, and they are only stocking stuffers. My tree did, however, go up yesterday afternoon, so at least I can say I have accomplished SOMETHING. Bonehead and I will begin our Christmas shopping fiasco this afternoon, so I will soon require large doses of Starbucks and maybe a happy pill or two. I try to abide by the phrase, "It's not holiday spirit if you have to slap someone upside the head with it."

5. I have had a very difficult time finding the above mentioned holiday spirit this year. I blogged previously about my permanent grouchiness, and although it is improving it hasn't quite flown the coop yet. I did, however, have a moment with Critter this morning. Mom and Bonehead left to take Smooch to his wrestling tournament this morning, leaving just myself and Critter at home. I popped in a little Christmas music, and Critter blessed me with an early morning snuggle as we danced before our newly erected and fully lit Christmas tree. For a moment alone with my son, my worries and stresses melted away. I kissed his little soft cheek and smelled his sweet little baby smell and for at least one moment on this cold December day, my heart found its joy.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Secret Santa Can Suck It Swap, Round 2

Bee over at BeesMusings is hosting a Secret Santa Can Suck It Swap, and I am the lucky Secret Santa for Meg over at Prefers Her Fantasy Life. The whole purpose of the swap is to treat a fellow blogger to pictures of gifts you would purchase if you had the time, money, inclination, etc.

I have been a bit of a Scrooge this year (with a whopping 2 presents purchased thus far and no tree up to date) so, in true Scrooge fashion, my interpretation is this: What I would give if I gave a crap.

Hmmm... What I would give if I gave a crap...

Oh, no, sorry. That's what I would give if I gave a Carp.

What I would give if I gave a crap...

For the record, although no-bake cookies may LOOK like crap, they are actually most yummy. And no, that is not my gift. But now I want to make some.

So after a couple of days stalking your blog, what has your Secret Santa (a.k.a. your Scrooge-meister) picked for your Christmas pleasure? Three gifts.

1. The first one for your beer blogging pleasure.

"The problem with a drinking from a 40 oz, is that the paper bag you wrapped it in doesn't insulate the malt liquor properly, Now unless you start chugging, you're gonna end up with a warm beverage. Well, you need to hook yourself up with the latest in trendy malt liquor consumption accessories, the cool new 40cozy - 40 oz Beer Cozy . This neoprene insulated sleeve slides over the bottle just like a regular beer can cozy, but it also features a built-in handle and comes in two fly patterns, Royal Crowns or Bandana. Now chill out, you classy gangsta!"

2. The second one for the enjoyment of your electric meter reader (lets hope he's fairly intelligent). It's a Tesla doll. I think he's kind of cute.

"Nikola Tesla: apart from having a cool mustache and a potential love affair with a pigeon, he was a genius in the field of awesomeness. Who else had the nerve to challenge Edison in a literal power struggle (AC vs. DC)? Who else was keen enough to build an earthquake machine and literally rock the world? And who else did all this and more with literally shocking (literal is the word of the day) theatrics? Yeah, that's right. Tesla."

3. And the third for the enjoyment of the family. It's a graffitti wall, so the whole family can partake, like a family game night. My husband hates board games, he'd actually like this a whole lot better. I didn't read the fine print in the swap rules- Is there a penalty for taking a gift back after you've given it?

I think I want to keep the beer cozy too.

So Merry Christmas to you and yours, I've enjoyed my blog stalking excursion and will continue to stalk in the future.

Love, me.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Conversation from The Neurotic Household

Critter is officially 10 months old today. He woke up bright and early in a happy go lucky mood, but soaked through over the night, of course, so the first thing Mom has to do is strip and clean the baby.

Bonehead and Smoochie were already up (Unusual for a Sunday morning) preparing to leave for Smoochie's first wrestling tournament of the season.

As I changed and talked to Critter, he cooed and giggled back at me. His hand wandered (as it has started to do lately) down to his anatomy, and he grabbed a big handful. The following conversation took place at approximately 6:47 a.m. in the Neurotic Household:

Mom: "That's attached. It's not going anywhere. It belongs to you. It will be yours for the rest of your life."

Bonehead: "Or until you get married, boy."

Friday, December 12, 2008

I Won Something!!

Thanks to Kelly at The Neurotic Mom who hosted a wonderful Scott Giveaway, I won a year's supply of Scott toilet paper and paper towels. It's the first thing I have won in a very long time. Once (about 10 years ago- anyone remember Venture stores?) I was the 50th customer in line at a department store and won my entire purchase for free. Unfortunately I was finishing off my Christmas Shopping and had spent just under 50 bucks instead of the 200 dollars I'd talked myself out of spending. And on my Birthday when I was in the 3rd grade, I won a cake at the cake walk for my school fun fair. It was the best chocolate cake ever, next to Portillo's chocolate cake.

And yesterday, I found out I won 30 Mega Rolls of Scott Towels, and (10) 12packs of Scott toilet paper. Which happens to be 2 things I grumble about purchasing at least every other time I go to the grocery store. So now my beloved family gets to wipe and swipe for free for a little while. The world is probably a better place for not having seen the lengthy happy dance I did yesterday.

Have you ever won anything?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pillow Talk

I got spoiled. Due to Critter’s sleeping habits and my desperate need to HAVE sleeping habits, Bonehead got bumped to the bed in the spare room upstairs while Critter claimed his Dad’s spot next to me. It wasn’t a long term arrangement and only lasted between 2-3 weeks until I got Critter on more of a ‘sleep through the night (mostly) schedule.’

Last Friday, with the arrival of Bonehead’s friend for the weekend and my own Mother’s visit with us through the holidays, Bonehead and Critter had to both go back to their actual beds. Critter has been doing awesome. He wakes up once a night. I roll him over, give him ‘Woofie” to snuggle with, cover him back up, and that’s the end of Critter for the night.

However, I didn’t realize how spoiled I was with a 13 pound infant next to me as opposed to Bonehead. In the span of 3 nights I have gone from mildly annoyed to wanting to plant my feet on the horizontal figure of my husband and push for all I’m worth. That’s a pretty mean thought to have for the beloved husband I’ve shared a bed with for 14 plus years. What would bring me to such drastic measures?


My husband has a fetish for pillows. To him, they are like shoes on a woman’s mind. He can never have enough. Two body pillows. Three big pillows. A couple of smaller pillows if he can find them. And sometimes my pillows too. Sometimes I think he sits at work and daydreams about pillows. Because when he comes home sometimes, to unwind, he walks straight to our bed, moves my pillows out of their strict formation and mashes them beyond belief, twists them like soft pretzels, and sprawls like a chalk line profile. It takes me days to get my pillows back where they should be- just enough time for him to do it again.

I keep waking up at night and wondering why I’m half off the bed, and my pillows are half off with me. It’s the pillow push. The man has so many pillows he sleeps against the other edge of the bed and then pushes them ALL MY WAY. My pillows are sliding off the bed because his are attacking them. I wake up choking on a stormy sea of fluff.

At one point in our marriage, he was losing his pillows to the space between our headboard and wall. I got an almost nightly wake up from the ‘flump’ my head made as it hit the mattress when MY pillow was yanked out from under it.

There are reasons I call him Bonehead. He threatens to steal them from me, my pillows. I have to keep a tight eye on them or they wind up mooshed beyond belief, sitting sideways and discarded inside their pillowcases. He has turned me into a giant pillow scrooge.

But I am home all day long while he is at work, and I can exact my revenge. Maybe they’ll be held for ransom. Maybe they’ll just be m.i.a. But whatever the case, whatever the revenge, he might find out sooner rather than later if he brings one. More. Pillow. Into our bed.

Evil laugh goes here.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Grump Butt

*Warning: This blog post contains negative vibes and an abundant use of the word ‘freeking’. Read further at your own risk…

It has dawned on me that it has been almost a week since I’ve posted anything. Nary a blog post or a list or a snippet or a picture has come from me in nearly a week. I could weave a tale of uber busy-dom, with a sick Critter leaving me no less than 20 antibiotic filled diapers that smell like a nail salon daily, copious amounts of snot and teeth that still have not come through. I could make up Thanksgiving world travels or Black Friday excursions, but the truth is I did none of those things (Except the diapers and I wish I could say I didn’t change those either, trust me). I drove an hour on Thanksgiving to a relative’s house, and sent my husband to Wal-Mart at 5am on Friday for a birthday present to give our beloved Smoochie this Saturday. So, why exactly have I been absent from the bloggy world?

Guh Rouch Eeee. I have been a bear wearing grumble bunny pants. I am grouchy. And I wish I could tell you why. Because it’s been more than a week, I am led to believe its not PMS related, and I can most definitely assure you every male in my home wishes it was so it could be done and over already. And the thing that kills me and makes it worse? Every single thing I get angry over is so totally little in the grand scheme of things that it’s so not worth it to stew for days.

My mother always preached to me, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Now that I’m all grown, I try hard to live by this philosophy. 3 people in this world actually get to hear me bitch. Bonehead, my Mother, and my Sister. That’s pretty much it. So when my Mother called me last night in the middle of one of my flare ups, I let her have it.

“I’m a hamster in a freeking wheel around here. I clean a horizontal surface and someone immediately walks in behind me and fills it up. I’ve been trying to clean this house for over a week, and I’ve gotten nowhere.” In truth, I was just grouchy and had to vent it out over something- It wasn’t completely about me not being able to get the house clean. Again, little things.

My Mother and I share the same sad desire to walk into a store like Wal-Mart, place our arm as far back as we can on a shelf, and walk the entire length of said shelf, depositing every last nick and nack onto the floor. After offering me advice like, “Do what my father did and empty it all onto the floor.” She just wants to see her little fantasy come to life, I think.

Anyway, half way through the next part of my rant, she pipes up with, “So. How was your day?”

And I lost it and laughed. Rant over. Grouchy bug set aside till later. Later happened to be this morning, which has my grouchiness back in full swing. Seriously, though, I wish I could figure out the cause of my grumbliness because I’m normally a sweet, chipper, perky person.

And I don’t think anyone truly believes me when I answer the question “What’s your problem?” with the phrase, “I have no freeking clue.”
So, to sum things up and answer the question “Where have I been?”

Grouchy. I”ve been grouchy. (Insert grumble, growl, and grimace here) I’ll let you know if I figure out why.

Monday, November 24, 2008

It's Snot Funny

Critter’s latest teething endeavor is quite unpleasant. He is (of course) miserable, but who wouldn’t be when your body is trying to push a piece of bone through layer after layer of your soft tissue?

Teething comes with a variety of symptoms, and, of course, no two children are exactly alike in their teething experience. Loss of sleep, general grumpiness, explosive messes in diapers, and hair trigger crankiness attacks are just a few. And although Critter is indeed miserable, and has told me on more than one occasion with his red rimmed eyes and little Oooooooo’s and Owowowow’s for periods up to 20 minutes straight, it is none of the above listed symptoms I wish to dedicate this blog entry to. The symptom I wish to discuss is so bad, so awful, so fowl that it has sent me running for the tension tamer tea at 10:30 on a Monday morning.

Let’s talk snot. Critter’s nose has turned its self into Mt. Vesuvius. Usually when a child has a runny nose, you grab a tissue and wipe. But with Critter’s nose, that seems to be like taking a single two ply square of toilet paper and attempting to mop up an entire gallon of spilled milk. Between the snot and the gallons of drool, I have had to pull out the big guns- the softest most absorbent towel I can find. Let me explain why.

His eruptions begin with a steady bead of snot, flowing from one nostril or the other. And since the eruptions occur frequently, there seems to be no preference to either side. The boy’s nostrils are an equal opportunity eruptor. Before you can blink, things begin to bubble over, and there’s a river of clear ooze coming from the nose. The drool that accompanies the eruption begins to pool up in the volcano’s crater (Critter’s mouth) and escape with record setting speed over the outer ledge with a gushing waterfall of slightly thinner viscosity.

I swear it’s like being drawn into a natural disaster from which you clearly see coming but can not escape. There begins a low gurgle, an undulation of mucus, a deep breath, then, “Aaaaaaaaa-Choo!”

And I become Pompeii.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

I Declare Myself Queen of the Snippets- A Week in Review

As proud residents of "The Land of Lincoln", Bonehead and I have had to face challenges this week that, quite frankly, we never thought we'd see. It seems we were both accosted (adopted?) by a 3.5 ft tumbleweed this week. It chose to make its presence known to Bonehead at about 5am by blowing its way up onto his windshield just as he turned his headlights on in our driveway. Since he's mentioned it no less than 3 times since, I can safely assume there was almost a small wet mess in the driver's seat of his car. It chose to (accost) greet me in a slightly more friendly fashion by waiting just on the other side of the garage I have to walk around as I was leaving, causing me to scream like a little girl and almost drop Critter, my diaper bag, and my precious Starbucks gift card. Thankfully, I kept a calm head and was able to protect the card. I'm beginning to wonder if I should purchase Christmas gifts for it because it seems to be sticking around for a bit. It's still sitting in our driveway, and has been the cause of our most recent Neurotic Household Discussion: What the heck DO you do with a 3.5 ft tumbleweed?

Critter has begun another round of teething, this time with a cough I might have to break down and take him to the doctor for tomorrow. I know as long as the copious amounts of fluid flowing from his nose are clear he has no infection, but his cough sounds really "congesty", which leads me to believe I may have to take him for his first "my baby is sick" doctor's appointment. 9 months really isn't that bad. I believe Smooch made it just over a year before he had to have his first round of antibiotics. And there I go again. I should really stop comparing the differences in my sons, they are truly night and day anyway.

We have scrapped our plans for a Christmas family road trip to Florida, opting instead to fly my Mom home for the holidays because, well, who really wants to spend 20 hours in a car with a 10 month old? My Mom recently had the unfortunate luck of being another victim of our crappy economy and lost her job, so my sister and I decided that our Christmas present to her should be a plane ticket up north so she can have some holiday cheer in the form of grandchildren. It has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that her daughters miss her. Nothing at all. She'll be with us for darn near a full month, and I'm starting to realize I didn't take into consideration she will no doubt be grumbling about being cold the entire time. Ear plugs are on my grocery list for the week.

Smoochie has his first teacher crush. He's always talking about "Mrs. S." and how he gets to eat lunch with her once a week because he never gets his paw card pulled in class for misbehaving. You can see him light up when he talks about her. It's pretty cute, and it keeps him working hard in school, so really, it's not a bad thing. A teacher crush is nothing like a girlfriend, which I fully intend to scare away all of. Which reminds me, I should get to work channeling Marie Barone.

Bonehead has his last CycloCross race of the season today. I will be more than happy to get his bike out of the back of our minivan so I don't have to load the groceries up on the side of the van anymore. It has become really inconvenient to avoid kneeling on the bread and eggs in order to buckle and unbuckle Critter in his car seat. I am making the family go hours early for this race so I can watch the women race for the first time. I'm actually a little bit excited about that. After 4pm today, I can put the cowbells away until next season.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Real Happily Ever After

I do believe I fell in love with fairy tales at a young age. For me, the allure wasn’t so much the prince charming (although he did play a role), but the happily ever after. I’m not sure I even knew what that meant, really, “happily ever after”, but I had my own idea. Which, too, was….um…actually kind of vague. I knew the beautiful princess would feel butterflies in her tummy, and that there would be happiness every second- the giddy kind that makes you want to giggle. Happily ever after was honeymoon bliss (which at 5, I likened to Halloween) every day for the rest of your life.

I met my prince at 15. How many people are lucky enough to stumble upon their prince charming at such a young age? Immediately I befriended the prince, and soon we were inseparable, and he was my best friend. He knew all my deepest darkest secrets, and I knew I could trust him with my life. He was smart, funny, had a poet’s soul and a rebel’s heart all rolled into one. So when I was 19 (and he 21) and he proposed, I jumped at the chance to marry my sweet, handsome, romantic prince charming.

But earlier this week I was feeling pretty duped. Happily ever after doesn’t leave the toilet seat up. Happily ever after doesn’t give you a 6 year old son with the urinating splatter pattern of a water balloon. And as I traveled about the house trying to make it at least presentably clean (feel free to insert a mental picture of a chubby hamster on a skinny wheel here) I was all kinds of grumpy. Seriously, the middle of the floor (in any room, pick a room) has a magnet for shoes that BELONG BY THE DOOR. How hard is it to throw something away when you walk past the trash can on your way to put it on the counter? My effort around here is futile, I tell you.

By Tuesday night, I was feeling much the same. I’d been totally duped with the whole happily ever after thing. How the hell did Snow White clean that house so cheerfully? It wasn’t even hers!

Hubby and I sat in our living room with our dueling laptops watching TV and Google chatting. Let me tell you, Google chat has been a lifesaver now that our son can actually spell and read. Talk about going out to dinner out loud, and the first time you mention Applebee’s and he’s jumping up and down cheering and the next thing you know you have no other choices. We can talk about all kinds of things while separated by a matter of feet. We can share stories or pictures of topics that are interesting that we stumble on. (Yes, we’re nerdy like that) The ironic thing is we still do it, even after the kiddos are in bed.

So when the link came over through Google chat, I thought it was just another funny lolcat that I hadn’t seen yet. I clicked on it, and I saw what happily ever after really was.

He had sent me a Google map. But it wasn’t JUST a map. It was a map of us. It started with a pinpoint at his parent’s house, for his front yard was the place where we met. It had most of our life laid out for me to look at, complete with an explanation of each dot. Our first apartment. The townhome we loved the best. The apartment we lived in (that I picked out all by myself because we were separated by the navy and half the U.S. at the time) that had train tracks behind it and when a train went by, the whole place shook like there was a 5.9 bringing the place down. The location of the birth place of both our sons. There it was, my whole life with Bonehead, all mapped out. I was looking at my happily ever after right before my eyes, which were, at that time, filled with tears.

Someone should write a book on the “real happily ever after.” The one that actually exists-complete with toilet seats and trippy shoes. Because although happily ever after isn’t Halloween every day, and although it is work and drudgery at times, happily ever after does exist. The moment you are looking at it, it might just be one dot on the map, but after a little while it becomes the history of you, me, and us. And as long as we continue to be lovers, best friends, and sidekicks, it continues to be happily ever after.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Family of Blessings

The time has come again for Thanksgiving. In just under two weeks, millions of Americans will face the dawn of a new morning and at some point during the day most likely take a mental tally of their blessings. I will be one of them. In a time of economic uncertainty, I am thankful for the simple things.

I am thankful for a roof over my head, nourishing food to feed my children, and warm winter clothing for them to wear. I’m thankful for my electricity, gas, and water. I am thankful we have a hot water heater that works, and a furnace as well, for winter life in Chicagoland would be brutal without either of those.

More than that, though, I am thankful for what I would have left if all of that were suddenly taken away from me- my family. My family is by far the greatest blessing, triumph, joy, and challenge of my life. And while most people count their blessings, I nickname mine.

Bonehead: My husband makes me laugh daily. Most people who know him know his dry sense of humor is backed by an intelligence that makes him quick on his feet and an easy target for saying funny things while simultaneously sticking his foot in his mouth by doing so. What they don’t know is that his heart and spirit possess a sense of chivalry and loyalty to his family that can’t be broken. They don’t see how hard he works to support his family, and the sacrifices he makes without asking anything in return. They don’t know that when he loves it is unconditional, that when he plays it is spontaneous and free, and that when he breaks down it echoes in his soul. No matter how much I might grumble about picking up after him, or doing his dishes and laundry, he is a blessing. I am thankful for every day I can look into his eyes and see them sparkle with laughter and mischief.

Smoochie: My oldest son gave my heart a home. He has always been a good boy, better than I deserved. He’s never colored on a wall, cut his own hair, or removed his own diaper for exploration purposes. What he has done is lightened my life with laughter, filled my heart with pride and smiled at me with his sweet smile. He has always had an uncanny ability to put others before himself, which made him odd at 3 years old, when he would readily pass up dessert to help someone in need of help. He has shown my heart how full and warm and happy it could truly be.

Critter: My baby boy is 9 months old, and in the space of 9 months has been the single largest challenge of my life. He has turned my life upside down and spit me out the other side, to be perpetually tired and weary. He has the biggest bluest eyes I have ever seen, and when I hold him close and look into them, he fills me. I have grown a second heart to hold my love for him, and although it is different than the love I have for Smoochie, it is no more or no less than that I hold for my firstborn. He has a temper. He will challenge authority. He will question everything and he will have his father’s ability to see things outside the box. I want to hold him close and protect him from the hard life lessons he will have to learn. I want him to stay my baby blue eyed blessing forever.

My nicknames are terms of endearment for my family, and I am thankful every single day for the joys and challenges they bring into my life. My family helps to make me who I am: A cook, nurse, entertainer, housekeeper, and too many more professions to name. Most of all, though, they make me a wife and a mother, which are the two most blessed titles I’ve experienced in my life.

*This post was created as an entry for November's Write Away Contest, which is graciously hosted by Scribbit each month.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Blog Warming Party Day 7 (And The Winner Is...)

It's finally my Birthday!

Woohoo! I'd celebrate, but to be honest my blog party has tired me out. Plus for some reason today, I have been blessed with a raging headache. I'd say I have big plans for this evening, but we are trying to take our first ever "family vacation" next month, which means saving every penny possible during times when we're already penny pinching. So, I'm off to do my "birthday dishes" and my "birthday laundry". I will try very hard not to enjoy it too much.

I did treat myself to Starbucks this morning. I have finally had the courage to try something new, and have completely fallen in love with their salted caramel hot chocolate. It is divine- like caramelly, chocolaty heaven in a cardboard cup. I most definitely recommend it if you haven't tried it yet.

And now for the moment you've all been waiting for...

I asked Smoochie to draw a name for me this morning, and the winner is....

Jafael. Congratulations! I need you to email me your shipping information so I can send your apron and Tupperware goodies out to you. The good news is you should receive it in time for Thanksgiving.

Thanks again, everyone, for visiting and livening up my Blog Warming Party. It has been fun, and I have enjoyed your company.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Blog Warming Party Day 6 (And a Giveaway)

Last Call...
The hour is late. What was once loud boisterous conversation has quieted to a low murmur in the background. The table dancers and lampshade wearers have long ago stumbled their way home, and left the remnants of a fairly fun party. Gift wrapping shreds litter the floor, blowing about here and there from the wind of a person walking by. The party food table is littered with crumbs and dirty paper plates, waiting for their plunge to the garbage. Music continues to play lowly in the background. Stray bottles and cups fill up every available horizontal surface, some half empty, some half full. The door to the basement is securely locked, thank goodness no one asked about the clink of chains rising up to greet them every now and then.
The time has come for last call. One more drink, one last handful of chips or peanuts, and soon it will be time to mozy on home. I would offer up left over ice cream cake, but it disappeared long ago.
I want to thank everyone who stopped by, and everyone who left me a comment as well. You all have made my blog warming party quite fun. Please feel free to leave as many comments as you would like up until 3pm central time today, and I will enter you once for each comment in the drawing to win the apron.
Please stay tuned for my last and final installment of my Blog Warming Day 7, the winning announcement and celebration of my birthday.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Blog Warming Day 5 (And a Giveaway)

Time For The Gifts...

Apparently, I know how to cause a ruckus with my blog party. I’ve managed to get my mom to ground me from another state, but that’s ok, because she’s going to be out of town for a while, so the party can continue for a bit longer (she’ll never know). I’m pretty sure I’ve also got my little sister jumping up and down screaming, “I TOLD you she wasn’t the angel you all thought she was!!! But would anyone listen to me? NoooOOOooo!!!”

To save my family more stress and grief, maybe I should tame things down for a blog entry or two, I wouldn’t want to get too out of hand.

For the answer to the game, I do not have a tattoo. Yet.

My Birthday is in two days, and I could get a tattoo to remedy that fact, but then I’d have to worry about a place that hasn’t been affected by flab or a stretch mark, which leaves my forehead. And I’m not really all that keen on permanently inking up a place that can only be covered by a Richard Simmons inspired sweat band. Besides, wrinkles will eventually set in there and what starts off as a heart could wind up looking like a ship lost in a stormy sea.

I am at a loss what to ask my husband for as a birthday gift. I am a stay at home mom, so whatever I ask for pretty much needs to be cheap due to our budget, the bad economy, you know the routine. I was planning to ask for a full night of sleep, but in the last week I’ve tried something new with Critter. I cut out all night time feedings, and although the first night was pure torture, we are pretty much through the worst of it. I don’t think I’m going to ask for a full night of sleep if I’m already pretty much getting it now (three straight nights and counting, I can’t tell you how good I feel).

So now I’m in a pickle. I have no clue what to ask for. Oh sure, I want the home made card from Smoochie, and I want that snuggle from Critter. But from Bonehead? For free? A personalized fork for scratching my neurotic spot? Maybe I should ask him to do dishes. In a loincloth. I think the steam would shimmer nicely on the jojoba oil, what do you think?

Please feel free to leave me as many comments as you would like for your chance to win the apron. Cut off time is 3pm central time tomorrow, November 12th. I will announce the winner as part of my Birthday post.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Blog Warming Party Day 4 (And a Giveaway)

The time has come for the game portion of my Blog Warming Party. No party is complete without a game or two, so I’ve adapted one for my blog. This game is called I never...I’m going to give you a list (Oh, gee, really Chas, a LIST?) of things that I have done in my wilder, crazier days (and some not so wild and crazy). One of these things is actually not true. The rest are. Can you guess which wild and crazy thing I actually did not do?

I never pierced anything myself.

I never snuck into my house after midnight.

I never snuck out of my house after midnight.

I never ran away.

I never snuck in (or out) through a boy’s window.

I never sailed.

I’ve never been to another country not attached to the United States.

I never shaved a large portion (the bottom half) of my head.

I’ve never been arrested and handcuffed.

I never got a tattoo.

I never…you know...smack dab in the middle of acres and acres of daisies (my favorite flower).

I’ve never been greeted at my door by a very large barking dog that wasn’t mine.

I’ve never been on a nuclear powered submarine.

I never pointed at a place on a map and then just went there.

I’ve never received a speeding ticket.

I never had a cavity until I was 32.

I never watched a meteor shower at 3am.

I’ve never seen a solar eclipse with a shadow box thing.

I’ve never danced around the kitchen with my son instead of doing dishes.

I’ve never gone to the bathroom outside.

I’m running out of wild and crazies here. Can you figure out which one is not true? I’m surprised I came up with as many as I did, since I’m a pretty straight and narrow kind of girl. Tune in tomorrow for the next installment of my Blog Warming Party, and don’t forget to leave comments for your chance to win the apron.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Blog Warming Party Day 3 (And a Giveaway)

It's time for the party food. Here's a recipe for an ice cream cake guaranteed to make you moan. My biggest secret is to (actually I have two) buy a tinfoil pan that can be thrown away, and be sure only to make it when you can take it somewhere and LEAVE THE LEFTOVERS BEHIND. Because this cake isn't figure friendly. At all.

Ice Cream Cake

Here's what you will need: 2 boxes of ice cream sandwiches (trust me, generic will be just fine), 1 large tub of Cool-Whip, 1 jar of caramel ice cream topping, 1 jar of hot fudge, and either 1 bag of Heath Bar miniatures, or 1 bag of Heath baking chips- whichever you prefer. You will also need a 9 x 13 pan of some sort.

Start by layering the ice cream sandwiches on the bottom of the pan. It's OK to leave room between them. In fact, it is actually preferable so the good stuff can ooze down in the spaces later for added yumminess. Notice the sandwiches that have been cut to fit at the bottom of the pan. It doesn't have to look pretty.

Next you pour THE ENTIRE JAR of Caramel topping over the ice cream sandwiches. Try to spead the wealth evenly-ish.

And I forgot the pictue of the next step, so this one will have to do. If you bought the candy bars, open them and crush in a plastic bag. Once you have crushed pieces, you'll want to sprinkle about 1/2 on top of the caramel topping.

Next add 1/2 the tub of Cool Whip.

Repeat with another layer of ice cream sandwiches. More sandwiches will fit on this layer. I'm not sure why, I just notice stuff like that.

Spread out the remaining Cool Whip.

Now go ahead and sprinkle the rest of the chips on top.

And for the very last step, heat up about 1/2 cup (or more or less depending on your preference) of hot fudge and drizzle on top. Make sure you freeze for about an hour before trying to cover the dish, because otherwise you will loose all your yummy toppings when you remove the lid.

Hubby will be taking this beauty to work for a pot luck day they are having. I meant what I said about shipping it out. Usually, I put it in a tinfoil pan so I can just leave it behind and not worry about the dish.

Be sure to leave a comment or as many as you would like if you are interested in winning THE APRON. For each comment I receive, I will enter your name in the drawing for the winner, which will be announced on November 13th. I hope you are enjoying the party, tune in tomorrow to see what I've got in store next.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Blog Warming Party Day 2 (And a Giveaway)

*No play lists were hurt in the making of this post*

Every good party needs a little music. So I grabbed my trusty MP3 player and charged it up real good. I've thrown it into shuffle play mode, just to mix it up a bit. Music can say alot about a person (or not), so lets see what my little shuffle is saying about me today.

Before I get started, I thought I'd share something most people don't know about me. I'm a lyric queen. I memorize lyrics, and can sing along with just about anything played near me. If I like a song and don't know the lyrics, I actually look them up online in order to remedy that fact. And while Bonehead is the expert on 80's music trivia, I am the lyric queen. Which is why he waits for me to mess a line up when we're in the car together so he can pounce with a triumphant, "Ha! I heard that."

Which never fails to turn me beet red.

Anyway, out of my 4 hour play list, here's what my trusty little machine pulled out for the party:

1. Life in a Northern Town- Sugarland. This song is actually a fairly recent purchase, I have only had it for a few months. I'm pretty nostalgic about the original, and I happened to really like this version when I heard it.

2. Geek in the Pink- Jason Mraz. I discovered the joy that is Jason Mraz on You Tube shortly after my son was born. In one of those late night mommy and me parties. And let me tell you, Jason Mraz can seranade me anytime.

3. Hurricane Party- Cowboy Mouth. I saw Cowboy Mouth perform at a small divebar here in town, and let me tell you, it was one of the funnest small venue experiences I have ever had (second only to our wedding anniversary when we visited the same bar for punk rock night) I keep hoping they will come back, because I would so be there. Before I went, I knew one song. That performance made a fan out of me.

4. Rock and Roll Heaven's Gate- Indigo Girls. The Indigo Girls are my all time favorite band, and have been since I was the tender age of 14. As a matter of principal and devotion, I try to include at least one of their songs on every play list I create. Unless its a workout playlist, then I tend to lean toward more techno-y kind of stuff.

5. Hey Julie- Fountains of Wayne. This song, too, is a recent Itunes purchase, and I haven't had it for too horribly long. It makes me want to tap my toes and I can tell you that in the past few months Smoochie and I have danced around the kitchen together many times while preparing dinner. So now it's not only fun, it's special, too.

6. You Won't Make a Fool Out of Me- Flogging Molly. I married a Freckly, Red Headed Irishman. And although he drinks next to never, he did inherit the Irish metabolism for whiskey. I have a fondness for "Irish American Celtic Punk" that doesn't limit itself to St. Patty's Day.

*upon reading my post, my beloved Bonehead pointed out that others may think he's from Ireland. I married a freckly, red headed American man OF IRISH DESCENT, just in case there may be any confusion*

7. Who I Am- Jessica Andrews. I am the spitting image of my Father, who happened to be the spitting image of my Grandmother, and I am the only one in the family to inherit her green eyes. It's a sentimental song to me, and I try very hard be a music Genre Snob. Although, I do tend to run screaming from anything classical with latin lyics. It's probably all the time I spent in choir in school.

8. Green Fields of France- Dropkick Murphys. I love this song, and we've already established my love for this genre. That's all I've got.

9. Black Horse and The Cherry Tree- K T Tunstall. Even though I've heard this song no less than 1000 times, I still haven't gotten tired of this song.

10. Little Bitty- Alan Jackson. Another recent purchase. I bought this song with the sole purpose of serenading my little Critter. Because he's so little bitty. (Smooch was a tank, I fully expected another tank. What I got was a peanut. So, Little Bitty it is)

11. Bonus Track: Battle of New Orleans- Johnny Horton. Because it's just fun.

I have to confess I cheated just a tad. The actual shuffle mode on my play list pulled up a total of 3 Jason Mraz songs (imagine that), and so in the interest of variety, I hit fast forward once or twice.

Stay tuned for tomorrow, the party food edition of my Blog Warming Party, and please feel free to leave as many comments as you would like. I'll enter your name once for each comment left, and announce the winner of the apron on November 13th.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Blog Warming Party Day 1 (And a Giveaway)

Welcome to my Blog Warming Party Day #1. I thought, as your hostess, I should introduce myself and give you an opportunity to meet me. Unfortunately, when it comes to blowing my own horn, I seriously lack the skills. I am the lousiest job interview patron on earth, because when it comes to singing my praises, I simply stink. So in order to get to know me better, I employed my husband to provide the questions for my first ever interview. And, in true Bonehead fashion, he did not disappoint. Without further ado, lets kick off my first ever interview.

Your husband, in proper fitting jeans, is lust and desire personified. How do you manage to let him out the door to go to work every morning without ravaging him to the point of exhaustion? Most women in your position would have him chained to the wall in a flatteringly lit basement, wearing nothing but loincloth and a thin film of ginseng and jojoba infused body oil.

Silly boy. That spot is already occupied by Dwayne Johnson. And occasionally, the Culligan Man. And I need to keep you handy to reach the items in the top cupboards.

What is the speed of light?

You, the great physics buff that you are, have asked me that question no fewer than 1000 times over the course of our marriage, and have told me the answer just as many. But I can assure you of one thing: If you ask me again tomorrow, I still. Will. Not. Know.

You can take any two people out drinking next Friday, who’s going?

You, of course, because life never fails to be interesting with you around. And for the second person? Oscar the Grouch. I’ll bet he’s a real hoot after a martini or two.

You keep your cards pretty close to your vest, tell us something about you that would make your Mom spit out her teeth.

(Quick explanation for those not in the loop: Years ago, our family dog jumped as my mom was bending over, and knocked out her front teeth. Some sort of partial bridge was then made as a replacement, and she has been forced to laugh with her hand over her mouth ever since, lest she spit them out. Occasionally, she is taken unawares, and they have been known to go flying.)

Can I get back to you on this one?

No really, we want to see your mom spit out her teeth, it is funny as hell.

OK. Let me just say that on occasion, I might use YOUR salad fork to scratch
my neurotic spot. I MIGHT. Hey. I’m just sayin’.

What is the deal with your profile picture? How come we can only see part of your face? Why is it cropped like that?

A partial face image is intriguing. And in the interest of intrigue, I figured I would give you two options and let you choose which one is more accurate. I am either performing unspeakable acts of debauchery in the photo, or I cropped out a bad hair day and a serious PMS blemish.

Favorite book?

The Princess Bride

Who was in that movie, you know, with that one guy, and it had that song in it?

That would be Patrick Dempsey.

You said you knew Bonehead for almost 4 years before you married him, how did you manage to keep your hands off such a fine specimen for so long? Your humorous online persona belies your scheming calculating nature, how did you finally snare him?

I had to wait for the chains in my basement to free up. Then I pounced.

What do want to be when you grow up?

A writer. In a perfect world, I would make us millions with my words.

Bonehead’s friend Steve-why do you blush every time his name comes up these days? Should bonehead be worried?

Uhm...Ahh...I had a dream. And you told him, so now he feels the need to pick on me, too. It's a good thing I'm such a good sport.

And this concludes my first ever interview. Please tune in tomorrow when my Blog Warming Party continues.

Please feel free to leave some comment love in order to enter your name in the drawing for the apron.

Monday, November 3, 2008

100th Post Celebration: A Party and a Giveaway

Post #100!!!! Woohoo! Yeah! Yippee-eye-oh-Kiyeay!

The time has finally come for my 100th post celebration. I started my blog back in May with my very first post, and a few short months later I have a creation which I have lovingly cultivated and shared with friends, family, and strangers who have been kind enough to leave blogging love in my comments.

I have shared many things (some very personal) about myself over these past months, from the reason behind my blog title to some of my most embarrasing moments. Who needs therapists when you can share your biggest fear(so big it has a Part 1 and a Part 2) with the world? I have shared the activities of my children, and clued the world into what life is like with my beloved Bonehead, who from the very beginning has been my hero.

Any good celebration deserves a party, and since I feel at home and have moved in quite nicely into my little blog space, I'd like to celebrate by hosting a Blog Warming Party and a Giveaway.

What am I giving away, you ask?

I'm glad you asked. In time for the holidays, I have unearthed a holiday apron which, although technically considered vintage, has never been used. I dust my stovetop, I don't clean it- if you get my point here. And for fun, I am throwing in some fun little Tupperware trinkets and keychains. And winning this great little holiday apron couldn't be easier.

In any post between now and 3pm Central time on Wednesday, November 12th, leave me a comment or as many as you'd like. I will then take all comments between now and then and put them in a hat (or trick-or-treat bucket most likely) and have my sweet little Smoochie pull one out. In honor of the sprit of my birthday on November 13th, I will announce the winner and wrap up my Blog Warming Party.

I apologize, I can barely sew a pillow so I do not own a dress form to showcase this little beauty on, but here is a close up of the top of the apron.
In the meantime, kick back, grab a drink, relax, leave me a comment or five, and enjoy the celebration.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Horror From Below

Right after Bonehead got out of the Navy, he worked for a local railroad as a breakman. Although this job paid quite well and enabled us to stay within an hour of our parents (who were neighbors for the better part of 15 years), it had its disadvantages. He was on call all the time. He had absolutely no set schedule. And there were weird rules, too. Like if he worked an 8 hour shift, he had to have at least 8 off. But they were calling him after 6 hours off (in order to give sufficient notice) and sometimes he had an hour drive to wherever they needed him to be or back home. More often than not, his 8 hours off turned into 4. It completely sucked. He missed birthdays, holidays, weekends, weekdays, and more. I rarely saw him.

One Saturday evening, my mom had driven out to spend the night at our place. The hour was late, and my mom was long ago tucked into our guest bedroom snoring away. I had stayed up late watching movies with Bonehead in order to spend some time with him. Sure enough, at about 1:30 am, Bonehead got the call that he had to go into work. In order to be there on time, he left our house at about 2am. And I foolishly stayed up; curled up on our couch, wrapped like a burrito in a blanket, watching the remainder of the movie we had been watching.

Then the lights went off and the whole place got dark. After some thought, I realized the light in the upstairs hallway was still on, which led me to believe that a fuse blew. But the fuse box was located in the basement and I couldn’t see my way out of the living room, let alone down a whole flight of stairs. So I began to feel my way to our kitchen junk drawer I knew we kept a flashlight tucked into. On the way, I began to have more thoughts.

‘Wow, the whole house is creepy when it’s pitch black in here. It’s like straight out of a horror movie, with just enough moonlight coming in through the sliding glass doors to create spooky shadows everywhere. Say, what’s the first thing that happens in stalker movies? The lights go off, and the phone lines get cut. The lights go off? You don’t say…You don’t think there’s somebody waiting in the basement to bludgeon you, do you? Oh for crying out loud you big ninny, it’s just a freaking fuse that blew. Put your big girl panties on and go flip the freaking switch you giant scaredy cat.’

And that’s exactly what I did. With the trusted flashlight in hand I made my way to the basement and began to carefully navigate my way down the basement steps. Truly, I am not known for my grace. I once tried on a pair of high heeled shoes, and immediately after my husband told me I was insane for buying them that I would break my neck in them, I fell. In the middle of my kitchen. I had been standing still.

About half way down the stairs, my flashlight lost battery power. It didn’t die, exactly, but it did one of those moves where the beam of light got so dim you could hardly see with it. I started to wait a moment for my eyes to adjust to the new level of darkness, but decided I’d better just hurry up and make my way to the fuse box and flip the switch before I lost all light completely. There were no windows in the basement, and if I lost that little battery power I did have, I would be in total darkness.

We actually lived in a townhome at the time, and the layout was such that our basement had a door that led directly into the garage. So there was the wall the fuse box was on, and about 7 feet directly behind it was the door that opened up into our garage.

More horror movie thoughts followed as I made it to the fuse box and went to open the cover. I was quite busy telling myself I was an idiot for entertaining thoughts like that. Really, though, if there was a slasher in the house, he would have jumped out from behind my refrigerator anyway, long before I ever got downstairs…..

And that’s when I heard it. A bump came from the door behind me. And as I turned the flashlight to the door, I not only heard it, but through the faintest of dim lights, I saw it as well. A loud creak began to come from the door, and IT BEGAN TO OPEN.

At that point I lost all sense of reality, so sure I was trapped in a real life horror movie, and I began screaming at the top of my lungs and ran at full throttle back towards the basement steps and began the ascent at least 4 steps at a time. The entire time I was screaming about there being someone in the house in the best first hill of a roller coaster voice I could summon.

I made it up the stairs to the first floor still screaming. I ran past the front door to the second set of steps and then flew up them 4 at a time. My mom was half way down the hallway already to see what the commotion was about. She calmed me down, and I spit out my story. The only thing I could think was that Bonehead had forgotten to close the garage door on his way out, and someone had entered our home.

My mom then told me I was over reacting and asked me why I didn’t run out the front door (that I ran past) instead of up another flight of steps with no exit to be found upstairs (And WHAT exactly am I always yelling at the blond heroine with one high heel still strapped to he foot as she’s trying to escape? Take your freaking shoe off and go out the door! That one! RIGHT THERE!)

That’s right. I ran sniveling like a baby to where? My mommy.

My mother, being the mom she is, talked some sense into me. Through my shaking I remember scaring up some sort of defense mechanism, kitchen knives most likely, lighting a candle or three, and going back down to the basement together. We flipped the switch, the lights came back on, and then with kitchen knives held high, we opened the door to the garage further. The garage door was closed. It was just a draft that had come through.

Oh. Silly me.

Mom went back to bed, and I sat up WITH EVERY LIGHT IN THE HOUSE ON until 7am. When I drifted off peacefully for a couple of hours of sleep.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

"You Watch Your Phraseology!"

Phrases & expressions often used in our home & their meanings;

Bean dip: What a person is full of at any given moment in time. If you’re pulling my leg (which has been known to happen on occasion) you are full of bean dip. If you’re telling a tall tale you are full of bean dip. If you’re telling the truth and we choose not to believe you, there may be a loudly coughed expression of “Bean dip!”

Wing nut: Bonehead is more often than not a wing nut. Wing nut is good because it often means there is laughter among us. Smoochie has his daddy’s impeccable comedic timing, making him a wing nut. Critter, although he can’t quite spew forth impeccably timed witty & dry sarcasm just yet, has inherited the mischievous sparkle in his eyes from his father as well, and is already showing wing nut traits. Kepler likes to lick the carpet. He’s a wing nut too. I’m surrounded by wing nuts. Which means I spend a good portion of my days crying with laughter.

I’m not thinkin so: Candy Nerds for breakfast? Uh, yeah. I’m not thinkin so. You want to wear shorts to school (In Chicagoland) in February? Uh, yeah. I’m not thinkin so.

Hey Bebbe (pronounced beh-beh): Comes with its very own NC17 rating. Somebody’s feeling a bit playful.

Up your butt eating a ham sammich: This phrase also has a NC17 rating. Honey, have you seen my keys? -If they were up your butt eating a ham sammich, you’d know where they are. This phrase can be used in many forms, for example: Where’s my belt? - Sitting next to your ham sammich.

Keplercino (Pronounced Kepler-Cheeno): The dog when he’s spazzing, like he’s had too much coffee.

I’ll get right on it: Yeah, right. I’ll be snoring in 5. The likelihood of “it” happing in the next hour is less than the likelihood of an army of genetically engineered pigs showing up at our back door to recruit our household pets for their cause.

Dropper: Borrowed from an episode of Friends, and is more often than not me. I’m known for my sweetness and charm, not my grace and agility.

Jackass: (NC17) Saved for moments when our 110 pound German shepherd (and OCCASIONALLY Bonehead) is acting like a stubborn mule. And if that doesn’t work, he gets called a Poodle. The dog, not the hubby.

Walk & Talk: Smoochie stories are notoriously slow. And he has the inability to do anything else while telling one of them. Even if we’re horribly late. Thus the phrase, “Walk & Talk, Smooch” came into being.

Choppin the liver: According to Smooch at 3, someone was not “chopped liver”, they were Choppin the liver. It stuck.

Quit your BeBoppin’: Smoochie never just walks anywhere. He’s like a popcorn kernel right before popping. Things break, or get knocked over. But mostly, it’s ineffective, like trying to bottle sunshine.

And last but not least,

Uh-oh: The phrase uttered approx. 5 seconds before somebody “toots”.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Sleep Interruptus

It is common knowledge that babies don’t sleep well. If you are lucky enough to have a baby who sleeps through the night, blessings should be tallied and wood should be knocked upon. So when I (with an 8 month old son at the home front) state that I have had all of 2 full nights of sleep in the past 8 months, it should really be no surprise to anyone. And from my viewpoint, because I’ve already been through the baby stage with one child, it’s expected.

What I didn’t expect, however, was the severe sleep apnea I developed while just a few months pregnant with Critter. It left me sitting straight up in bed and gasping for air on at least an hourly basis throughout much of my pregnancy. Coupled by the fact that I was horribly uncomfortable, and the many trips to the bathroom each night, I was already severely sleep deprived when Critter actually joined our odd but happy little family. So that brings my tally up to about 2 good nights of sleep in over a year.

Contrary to popular belief, stay at home motherhood is not all naps and sitting on the couch while wearing short skirts, high heals and eating chocolate truffles. I think my weekly nap average is about 1. I would take more naps, but generally that is the time I try to get at least something accomplished with things like dishes. Sometimes on Sundays when Bonehead is busy hogging our only TV that can be watched without the pain of a workout attached with his football marathon, I will call forfeit and take a nap with Critter.

Which is exactly what I attempted to do Sunday because I had a little time before we had to pack the family up and head out to support Bonehead at his second official CycloCross race. Critter had other things in mind as he played in bed next to me, fighting sleep with every ounce of his little critterly body. And as I lay there next to him reading (impatiently waiting for his crossover to dreamland) I took occasional glimpses at my watch and started to feel the time for a real nap sliding away. I could hear the time loudly in my ears- the tics and tocks crescendoing to deafening decimals in my imagination, and frustration building below my surface of calm, cool (which others may perceive as snippety snarkiness although I have ABSOLUTELY no clue why) collectedness.

I wanted that nap so bad I was ready to make all kinds of crazy promises to Bonehead so that I could obtain one. To me, a good chunk of sleep is more valuable than spun gold because, well, I could actually use it.

Fortunately for me, I didn’t have to barter favors with the hubby because Critter’s eyes began the slow decent to sleepy time. I threw a quick dog ear in my book, a fleeting desperate glance at my watch (by this point I was down to about 40 minutes of sleep available before I had to get moving again) and hunkered down for my own trip to dreamland.

I did wake up once and check my watch to see how much longer I had. I had a whole 20 more minutes before whirlwind time, so I rolled over, fluffed my pillows, and drifted back into oblivion.

The next thing I know there is a giant yell from the living room (which is right next to the bedroom due to the fact we live in a bungalow with no hallway) that leaves me levitating 6 inches off the bed and shaking like a 5.9 on the Richter scale. So next I do the most obvious thing in the world- I yell in utter desperation and with absolute urgency, “John! What!”

Which in turn wakes up critter from his nap, leaving me shaking, levitating, and with a crying baby at my side. I looked at my watch at that point, and I still had 10 minutes left to sleep. My nap had been violently interrupted, so I got out of bed to see what the great emergency was.

Bonehead was watching the Bears game on TV. And amid the death ray glare I gave him, he tried to justify his actions. I really don’t follow football all that closely, so what I heard sounded much like, “something something something, ball, something something, touch down.” And at that point they were replaying the play on the screen, so my visual was enforced as well. Something happened and there was a touchdown.

Yeah. Whoopee. I love my hubby and I try to be understanding of the football thing- I even try to watch occasionally and ask questions in an attempt at interest. But COME ON! I had 10 whole minutes more to sleep.

Because I love my hubby so much, (almost as much as I love making lists) I thought I might include a list of reasons for which he should scream at the top of his lungs on a Sunday Afternoon while his wife is sleeping:

1. There is phalange loss on one of our spawn.

2. There is a 75% off sale in the home goods department at TJ Maxx.

3. A bomb has just exploded at our local Portillo’s.

4. We currently have a camel invasion in our living room.

5. Aliens have landed and are poking and prodding at him in order to discover the chemical make-up of his anarchy tattoo.

6. He has been so overcome by the need to massage my shoulders and back he simply can not contain himself.

I fully intend to shrink the list for him and tape it to the back of our remote control, so that in the future, should he feel the need to yell during a Sunday afternoon nap, he can check the valid reasons first. Hopefully this course of action will insure at least a few extra moments of sleep for his wife.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Our Good Morning Ritual

Before I had Critter, I worried the boys would not be close because of the age difference between them. I worried needlessly because the boys both adore each other.

At least until Critter is walking and able to steal toys and sneak into sombody's bedroom and chant things like k-i-s-s-i-n-g and report every move his big brother is making to Mom & Dad. Then things might change a bit.

But in the meantime, Critter likes to wake his brother up for school. It always includes a snuggle, which is loved by both parties involved.

And it ALWAYS includes three smiles. You can't see the third one here, that one's in my heart.

Monday, October 13, 2008

My Biggest Fear Part 3

Back before my pregnancy with Critter, I was busy discovering the joys of bicycling. I worked a 38 hour work week, and the scheduling of my hours actually gave me every Friday afternoon off. With Smooch in already paid for daycare and Critter barely a thought on the horizon, I could be a bit selfish and use Friday afternoons for me time. Naps, shopping, the occasional mid afternoon rendezvous with the hubby, time was mine to waste as my whimsy saw fit. Occasionally, Bonehead would take the afternoon off with me and we would venture out for bike rides together.

This was an opportune time for a bike date with Bonehead because the child sitting was already taken care of. One Friday morning I rode my bike to work, and he met me there on his bike when I was able to leave. We set off for our ride together, pedaling along and enjoying a beautiful summer day.

I love riding with Bonehead. He’s always sweet and lets me take the lead at my pace and never complains about the fact that my pace is usually 5-10mph slower than his. He’s never impatient with me, even though he could leave me behind in a nanosecond. And he is usually the event moderator, making wise crack comments every now and then, just enough to help me forget that my ass is killing me, my legs are screaming with burn, or my lungs are about to seize up from the last mole hill I had to climb.

We set off for the trail head of a trail I had not ridden before. The trail its self is nestled under a canopy of trees with breaks periodically, leading you through the perimeter of farmer’s fields here and there. As we rode further and further down the trail I took in the beauty of the quiet forest around us, noticing the occasional furry creature or two scamper or hop across the trail in front of me. It was beautiful, and breathing in the freshly tree filtered air filled me to the brim with a love of summer rides.

We hit a clearing and I happened to notice a bird or two swooping down toward us. But before I could get too worked up over it, we hit another canopy of trees and it was all too soon forgotten.

On the way back through, Bonehead, who knows my fear of birds, warned me.

“Chas, we’re coming up on where the birds swooped at us before, so you might want to pick up your pace a bit.”

I completely agreed, so I picked the pace up from about 7mph to around 10mph and felt I was doing a pretty good clip when I hit that clearing. And I saw it, a black bird with red wings, and it looked like it just might be chasing me. So I picked up the pace a little more. And I wasn’t sure, but I thought it was just maybe chasing me faster, so I picked up the pace even more.

From out of nowhere, the bird swooped down and pecked my helmet. I didn’t see it, but I felt the whack as it hit the plastic at the back of the helmet. I let out a scream and from that point on, I only had room in my head for visions of Alfred Hitchcock’s Birds followed immediately by vivid images of Crows eating carrion, followed by the image of this particular black bird missing my helmet and pecking through my neck and coming back out with a piece or two of brainstem.

That clicking sound of beak against my bike helmet was all I needed to locate the rocket propulsion in my legs. They moved at a speed I was not previously aware I was capable of, and I couldn’t stop even once I reached the next crop of trees. I was deathly afraid the bird was still chasing me, and I wasn’t sure where hubby was because I just knew if I turned around I would give it all inclusive access to my eyeballs.

My rush of adrenaline finally left and I stopped and collapsed like a bowl of warm Jell-o. And found Bonehead laughing himself silly at my trail side shenanigans. It was then I noticed the sign “Beware of Redwing Blackbirds protecting their nests”.

Fine time to notice the darned sign.

But at least Bonehead got a good laugh, because I’m pretty sure I resembled a clown on a tricycle- knees and elbows at 100mph must be a sight to see. And I learned I could exceed 18mph without going downhill.

However, I haven’t been back on that trail since.

Disclaimer: The picture above was in no way, shape or form taken by me.

To learn more about my fear of birds, check out My Biggest Fear Part 1 and Part 2.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Sour Grapes

Bonehead and I try very hard to be good parents. We try to keep the fast food to a minimum, and do our best to try to make sure meal times are as healthy as possible. We make sure homework is done, and our children are clean- unless you catch Smoochie immediately after a meal. In which case you will be able to recreate the meal by looking at his sleeve because he always uses it as a napkin.

We also try to ensure there is physical activity beyond the thumb maneuvering of the Nintendo DS and the watching of the “Sim-Sims”. Bonehead and I encourage Smoochie to play soccer and participate in wrestling, and will genuinely support any sport he should choose to participate in. Right now, he is in soccer, with the season set to end at the end of this month.

As the parent of a soccer kid- wait, I think that makes me the dreaded “soccer mom”. As a soccer mom, at the beginning of the season you are supposed to sign up for your snack day. One game a season, you provide the snacks for your child’s soccer team. Last Saturday happened to be our turn.

We also had to drive to the In-Laws last Saturday, and decided to save time by leaving directly after the game, which was scheduled for 10am. It is not easy to prepare for a trip to Grandma’s. Given the later game time, I was impressed with our ability to get everything ready for the day at Grandma’s, have the snacks prepared and ready to go for the soccer game, and actually make it to the field on time as well. I was slamming some awesome mom love on myself for rocking and rolling that morning, let me tell you.

We showed up at the soccer fields toting 5 pounds of grapes (all plucked off the vine and washed and in 3 different giant zip locks for the ease of grabbing by the boys), a king size box of chocolate chip granola bars, and ample juice boxes. I even had time to stop at McDonalds for that cup of coffee I didn’t have time to get at home. We were pushing Critter in his jogging stroller, walking with a cute happy Smoochie, on time, and anticipating the day at Grandma’s (I had visions of a naptime dancing in my head). Life was good.

Right up until we couldn’t seem to find Smoochie’s team. We were looking and looking at the fields, trying to find the matching black white and red uniforms, and totally didn’t find a match. And then we saw one of Smoochie’s teammates walking past us with some friends.

Bonehead asked him if he knew where the team was playing.


I’m sorry, what was that?

The team already played.

The game was at 8, not 10.

Not only had we missed the game entirely, it was Smoochie’s snack week as well. The kids had had to play without a snack or water OR their coveted after game granola bars. My head suddenly had visions of the other parents on the team muttering things like “cheap bastards” and “how irresponsible CAN you be?” I completely wanted to go home and crawl under the blankets and call it a day.

Not only do I feel bad, but I foresee yet another therapy appointment in our son’s future. I used to think the warping of a young mind took effort. Apparently it is not that hard to do at all.

As an after note, we do get to redeem ourselves tomorrow. Unless they’re going to stone us when we get there.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Race

After losing 67ish pounds since April, and working very hard to get back in shape, Bonehead participated in his first Cyclocross race yesterday. It was fun to watch, and while the boys and I parked ourselves outside the "slip and slide" area of the race, I missed most of the action because I was trying to take photos of Bonehead en route. The irony of it is that most of the pictures I took turned out very fuzzy. And since I am sure he will be blogging about the experience on his blog later tonight after things settle down and using the couple of good pics I did get, I will only include the before picture he had me take. I left the experience with two insights.

1. If you ever get a chance to go watch a Cyclocross race, take it. I had a blast.

2. I am very proud of Bonehead for all of his hard work and accomplishments in the past few months.

As a side note, It has not escaped my notice that my 100th blog post is quickly approaching. This post is #92. I wanted to take a moment to hint that big things are in the works for the celebration. I'll make an in depth celebration announcement on post #100.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Experiencing Technical Difficulties

In an attempt to update the look of my blog, I have encountered a few snags, followed by a little Critter guy who seems to think he needs lunch. Please bear with me, and I will iron out the goofy kinks as soon as I can.

Neurotic Spot Management,
The currently frazzled mom.


As part of our morning routine, I have to make sure Smoochie gets to the bus stop. The stop is 4 houses down from us, so I give him a little freedom. I wait out in front of our house with Critter, and he walks down to the bus stop on his own. I stand and wait until he’s on the bus, and Critter and I wave as the bus drives by, smiling at Smoochie’s hyper-enthused expression.

And then one morning this week, Wednesday I believe, Smooch wasn’t there to wave at me. He’d chosen to sit on the other side of the bus, ignoring the fact that mom is standing in front of her own home waving at absolutely nobody like a doofus, and I caught myself grinning and giggling madly to boot. My smile fizzled when I realized what he’d done. I was feeling the Smoochie love.

Thursday arrived. Once again, we’re standing in front of our house, and I’m giving goodbye kisses to Smooch, about to send him off to the bus stop without me. He looked at me and said, “Wave at me, Mom.”

To which my response was, “You have to sit on the right side of the bus in order for me to wave.”

I knew his OK came way too quick. Once again, I became the Crazy Mom, standing outside her home waving at absolutely nobody. He got me twice.

Bring on the Friday morning bus departure. He actually looked at me and said, “Mom, make sure you and Critter wave at me.”

I said specifically, “You HAVE TO SIT ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BUS FOR ME TO WAVE AT YOU. If you sit on the OTHER SIDE I look like an idiot waving at absolutely nobody. Listen carefully child. If I wave at you and you are not there again, I am coming to get you, AND I KNOW WHERE YOU LIVE.”

There were some giggles, an agreement, and off he went to wait at the bus stop.


That little punk did it to me again! Only this time I KNOW he was crouched down on the other side of the bus snickering. “Watch this. Tee hee. She’s ACTUALLY WAVING! Hee hee, haa haa. I can’t believe she actually fell for it again! What a chump!”

I walked Critter into the house giggling. “Your brother got me again. I’m such a dork.”

Yeah. It’s Halloween time. Monday morning, I think I might walk that boy all the way down to the bus stop with nerd teeth in my mouth, my hair in pig tails, and toting pom poms. If I’m going to look like the neighborhood crazy, I might as well drag the boy down with me.

Seriously, I can not believe I fell for it more than once. I’m kicking myself over here.