Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mommy and Me: Balance

Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?
Hosted by Krystyn


This was one of those weeks...

The kind of week where a million clients need a million different things done by Monday morning and it's already Sunday night and you've only finished 858,411 of those things but all you want to do is snuggle with your baby girl.   

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So you do.  And you cross your fingers that Monday morning really means Monday afternoon.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

When You Wish Upon a Star Wars

I don't know what came over me this weekend, but I decided I had had it up to *here* with kid tv shows. 

"Enough is enough!" I declared, to no one in particular. "We are going to watch a movie instead!"

What?  Did you expect me to turn it off?

Anyways, back to my story.

The boys started clamoring for their most recent favorite:

And I said "No." 

I was feeling the need to man the boys up a little.  Maybe it was because I'd already put lip gloss on them that morning.  I don't know.  But I said to them "We are not going to watch Tinkerbell.  Again.  We are going to watch..............STAR WARS!"

The kids blinked.

Scott volunteered to put my old VHS copy of classic Star Wars in the VCR.  You know, the good one...the classic 1977 version before George Lucas went back and mucked it all up with digital puppet nonsense. 

We almost lost the kids as we had to rewind the tape, and then fast-forward to the opening, and then rewind again because we fast-forwarded a little too far (man, those DVDs spoil you), but soon enough the familiar words started scrolling across the screen and the music began to blare throughout the room.

The kids were awestruck.  And silent.  And riveted to the tv.  It was awesome.

For about 5 minutes.

And then the boys noticed R2D2:  "Robot, mama!  Robot!"  And C3PO:  "Robot, mama!  Robot!"  And the million other robots in the first 15 minutes of the movie.  "Robot, mama!  Robot!"

Yes boys.  That's a robot.  Yup, that's another robot.  Yes, I see the robot.  For the love of God, stop saying robot!!!!

And then Ashley started asking me hard questions.  "Mommy, are they breaking people?  Why are they breaking people?" 

I said "Oh no, they're not breaking people, honey, they're just...shining lasers on them...and then they're laying down...and...well...hey, did you know that there's a princess in this movie?"  When in doubt, change the subject.  That's a highly underrated parenting technique that I tend to use in situations like these.

Ashley was excited.  "A princess!?  When does she get married?"

And I said "What?  She doesn't get married.  She does lots of cool stuff, like...shine lasers on people.  Just because she's a princess doesn't mean she has to get married."

Ashley looked at me like I was an idiot and said "But mommy, princesses always get married."

And I thought to myself....crikey.  Maybe we're all wearing a little too much lip gloss lately. 

Monday, February 22, 2010

Mommy & Me: The Pile


Mommy and Me Monday at Really, Are You Serious?
Hosted by Krystyn


I'm not really much of a meme person.  Memer. Memer-er.

Or whatever you call it.

But I did like this idea, which I stumbled upon over at Really, Are you Serious?  (which is a fun and fabulous blog, by the way).  Basically, you're supposed to take a picture of you and your child(ren) every Monday so you can prove to them one day that you did in fact participate in their lives. 

So tonight I had Scott take pictures of what I like to call "The Pile."  Basically, this is what the kids and I do every night after I come home from work.  I sit on the couch, and then they sit on me.  It may not be the most exciting activity in the world, but it works for us.  Or I should say it works for them.  As the sat upon, I really have no say in the matter. 

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They totally love me.  How could they not when I snuggle with them and make silly faces all evening?

Either that or they just think I'm really squishy.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Trip Fail

Well, I would love to be regaling you all with road trip and hockey tournament and family feel-good stories, but I can't because of:

1.  Snow; and

2.  Vomiting twins.

Due to the foregoing, we ended up having to cancel our trip to Minnesota for my brother's Cystic Fibrosis Foundation fundraiser this weekend.  The snow forecast to blanket our driving route from Nebraska to Minnesota and back was an act of God.  The vomit was an act of Satan. Or maybe it was just the act of a 24 hour stomach bug, but when you've been cleaning up pukey children all day you're allowed to be a little dramatic.

I am seriously bummed about it.  Granted, I'm glad that we didn't find ourselves spending six hours driving home today with the vomit twins in the backseat, but still.  I'm bummed.

At least I got to see a little blurb about it on the news...gotta love the power of the internet.  It makes me feel as if I was almost there, instead of keeping the boys company in the bathroom all day.  Truth be told, the bathroom floor did feel as cold as an ice rink.  So at least there was that.  ;-)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Putting Cystic Fibrosis in the Penalty Box

So, this weekend my family is jet-setting off to St. Paul, Minnesota to watch my little brother Andy (can I still call him little when he's almost 33?) play in a hockey tournament.  It's going to be bloody awesome!  Oh wait, I'm not British.  It's going to be bloody and awesome!

Apparently that's a good thing?  Because he seems awfully excited about it.

But the violence is all for a good cause, because this is no ordinary hockey tournament.  My amazing little bro has organized this tournament to benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

I don't talk about it very often here on my blog, but my family has been touched deeply by cystic fibrosis.  My darling little niece Ellie was diagnosed with it shortly after her birth.  Ellie is the daughter of my older brother Matt and his wife Jennifer, and is just a few months younger than Ashley.

Savor the cuteness:

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Anyway, I have all these sappy dreams of Ashley and Ellie being best friends, growing up together, having play-dates and sleepovers, graduating together, being in each other's weddings, being godmothers to each other's kids...

(Matt, please don't take out the restraining order just yet.  I have a point that I'm getting to.)

Because I want all the wonderful things in the world for Miss Ellie, I'm on a quest to find a cure for cystic fibrosis!!!  Unfortunately, I went to law school instead of medical school so I'm sometimes at a loss as to what I can actually do to help move things along.

But my little brother Andy, on the other hand, is not at a loss.  Even though he lives up in Minnesota and doesn't get to see Ellie as much as he'd like, he organized this amazing benefit for her called the Checking for Cystic Fibrosis Tournament.  It will be held this Sunday, February 21st at the Blaine National Sports Center Schwanns super rink, and consists of various public safety agencies playing a double elimination hockey tournament.  Did I mention that Andy is a paramedic?  Yeah, he's awesome and he saves lives.

Good lord.  i just realized I left the part about manly firemen and paramedics playing hockey until almost the end of this post.  I would never make it as a cystic fibrosis fundraiser.  

Anyhoo, if any of you are in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area come Sunday and are looking for something to do, stop by the tournament to support the fight against cystic fibrosis!  Or just come to watch manly firemen and paramedics play hockey, whatever floats your boat.  And if any of you have an extra dollar or two that you've been meaning to donate to a worthwhile cause, my family would be absolutely thrilled to have you support Andy's fund-raising efforts by clicking right here to donate to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  Or just send a prayer/good thoughts Ellie's way - we'll take all the good vibes we can get.

Oh, and while you're at it?  Please say a prayer that Scott and I survive the six hour drive up there with the kids. Oof.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Fasten Your Seatbelts...

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My brain is all over the place these days.  There's so much stuff to update on that I've already blogged about.  But then new random things that are semi-related to the original stuff keep popping into my mind.

And I can't decide which of them I should blog about.

So I've decided to just blog about it all.  Prepare yourself to jump from topic to topic.  It will be just like Quantum Leap, except the only place you'll be going is the inner workings of my mind.  It's a convoluted place, so watch your step.

The Black Eye
  • Update:  My black eye is healing quite nicely.  Now I only have a small bruise under my left eyeball, which blends in quite nicely with the dark circles that are ever-present under my eyes.  So really, Aidan's head-butting placement worked out quite well.  
  • Tangent:  This incident reminded me of the time I fell out of bed and landed face-first on my laptop, giving myself a real juicy shiner in the process.  I was having this crazy dream that someone was going to beat up my mom.  Don't ask me where that came from - I swear my mom is a really nice lady.  Anyway, in my dream I started swearing and lunged after this mom-threatener, which frankly, was really kind of bad-ass of me.  At least that's how it went down in my dream.  In real life, Scott says I just squawked like a peacock and then rolled out of bed.  Maybe I need to start wearing a helmet.
Valentine's Day

  • Update:  Well, Valentine's Day wasn't all bad.  Scott got me a dozen roses!  And he made me chicken parmesan a la The Pioneer Woman.  Or at least he tried to.  I'm sure her version is delightfully delicious, but Scott made a few substitutions that probably won't make it into the next version of The Pioneer Woman Cooks.
  • Tangent:  The chicken parmesan totally reminded me of a meal that Scott used to make me back when we first started dating.  It was called "German Spaghetti."  This meal was basically a pile of spaghetti with a can of whole tomatoes poured over it.  With lots and lots of garlic salt.  It was so awful I called it "Concentration Camp Spaghetti."  But only behind his back of course, because I really wanted him to like me back then.  Thank God we've been married almost 8 years and I don't have to eat german spaghetti anymore.  Unless it comes disguised as chicken parmesan.
The Vacation

  • Update:  Well, I tried to book it.  I really did.  But we had some more snafu's with Expedia.  And then, Scott's Grandma Alice got sick so we didn't want his mom to have to come up and take care of our kids instead of her mom.  So, our vacation is indefinitely postponed and prayers for Grandma Alice would be appreciated.
  • Tangent:  Whenever I think of Grandma Alice, I think of the time she took me and Scott to play bingo.  It was my first bingo experience, and I thought it was going to be light-hearted fun.  Well, I was wrong.  Bingo is SERIOUS STUFF, people.  You don't mess around in a bingo parlor.  I could barely keep up with the bingo caller, she was calling numbers so fast.  Everyone was concentrating on their bingo cards.  Bingo dobbers were flying like lightning.  Then all of a sudden, someone in the smoking section across the room yelled "Fire!"  But nobody looked up.  Well, Scott and I did, but nobody else.  The bingo caller kept on calling.  Again the shout was heard - "Fire!"  This time the bingo caller took notice.  She said "You got a fire over there?"  And when it was confirmed, she responded with a helpful "Well, then put it out."  And then she went back to calling.  And by God, I went back to dobbering because apparently that's what you're supposed to do when there's a fire in a Missouri bingo parlor.  So God bless Grandma Alice, because she taught me how to play bingo properly.
The Hair

  • Update: Well, I've gotten comments on my new hairdo that range from "Super cute!" to "Hello, young Ricky Schroder." For now, I've decided to believe the super cute camp because I like to look on the bright side of things. Which is easy to do when your hair is already two shades brighter than the bright side of things.
  • Tangent: Hmm, I guess updating about my hair has not caused my mind to wander anywhere else.  Now that's a shocking development.  I hope you enjoyed your journey through Megan's brain - please make sure your seatbelts are fastened and your seat has been returned to the upright position.  And don't forget to collect your belongings on the way out, because it's already crowded enough in here. 

Monday, February 15, 2010

And All I Got Them Was Candy

For Valentine's Day, I received the following:

1.  A declaration of  "Mommy, you ruined my life!!" said after being sent to her room for using my eyeliner pencils to color on our white master bathroom cabinet drawers. 

Love,
♥Ashley♥

2.  Pee in a pull-up instead of the potty after I sat on the bathroom floor reading him Mickey Mouse Clubhouse books for one and a half hours.  

Love,
♥Owen♥

3.  A black eye after he accidentally head-butted me in the face.

Love,
♥Aidan♥

R u jealous? U totally shld be.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Watch out, Picasso...

THIS is the picture that had the preschool ladies all in a twitter about how smart Aidan is:


So, I'm thinking he should just skip preschool next year.  He clearly doesn't need it.  So what if he uses jazz hands as one of his major forms of communication?  And so what if he won't flush his own pee?  And who cares that he eats green crayons in his spare time?  It's all a part of his creative process.

Seriously, though...pretty good for a kid two weeks into his three's, right?

P.S.  I'm pretty sure that's a drawing of me and my new haircut.

Monday, February 8, 2010

To Book or Not To Book

Hmm.  Now normally I'm not a superstitious person, but I think the gods might be trying to tell me something.

Scott and I haven't gone on a real vacation in years.  More specifically, Scott and I haven't gone on a real vacation since we had kids.  Scratch that - we did go to San Diego with Ashley right before she turned one.  In fact, the day after we got back is the day we found out I was pregnant with twins. 

Then we needed another vacation.

Unfortunately, that vacation has yet to happen.  Granted, we've gone places here and there for weddings and the like, but a true, relaxing, leave all your worries (and your children) behind vacation has continued to elude us. 

But this year, we decided enough was enough, and we were GOING on vacation.  We tossed around various ideas:
  • At first Paris was a top contender, but then we decided we needed something less exciting and more relaxing.  And maybe something a little closer to home in case one of the kids exploded or something while we were gone.
  • Then we tossed around Key West, but since I went there for a work retreat a few years back I didn't really have the hots to go back again so soon.  I remember it being very muggy and colorful and swirly - granted, I was drunk or hungover the majority of the time I was there, but I still think that's probably a pretty accurate description.
  • Then I brought up San Francisco, and Scott said "Why would I want to go to San Francisco?"  And I said "Well, why wouldn't you want to go to San Francisco?"  And then we realized we were at an impasse and moved on.
  • Then Scott brought up going down to Jupiter, FL to watch St. Louis Cardinals' spring training.  I looked at him like he was from the planet Jupiter and that put an end to that.
So you can see, we were having trouble deciding where to go.  But finally, we came to an agreement:

Hilton Head, South Carolina

Perfecto!  Close, but not too close.  Warm, but not too warm.  Not San Francisco and not baseball spring training.  It met all of our carefully thought-out criteria.

So then we did all the planning that accompanies a trip out-of-town sans children - we arranged for Scott's mom to watch the kids, worked out some good flying times, cleared it with my work schedule, etc.  Then tonight, I went to trusty expedia.com and double and triple checked all the dates and flight times and fees and passenger names and clicked on BOOK IT.

And then all of a sudden a price change popped up.  No worries, it was a small one.  BOOK IT.

Oops, I need to enter Scott's credit card number again, but he'd gone upstairs to check on Aidan who'd started crying.  Tick tock, tick tock, okay Scott's back. Enter card number again.  BOOK IT.

"We cannot process your card number at this time."  Say what?  That can't be right.  BOOK IT.

"We just told you we cannot process your card number at this time."  Also, Aidan started crying again.  At this point, we decided that Scott would call expedia's customer service line while I went to take care of the boy.  Tick tock, tick tock, okay I'm back.  Scott's still on the phone.

Apparently, the expedia automated customer service lady had informed Scott that there may be "excessive wait times" to speak to a customer service agent due to the blizzard-palooza going on over in the east coast. 

Oh, sweet little expedia.  Let me tell you, I know a thing about excessive wait times.  I've been waiting for this vacation for yearsYears, I tell you.  A little extra wait time on the phone is not going to stop me from planning this vacation tonight.  BOOK IT.

But then after awhile we were still on hold.  And I wanted my laptop back.  And the hold music was really annoying.  And I had started to worry that maybe clicking BOOK IT multiple times had not been my smartest move, as I might have unwittingly charged Scott's card for 3+ simultaneous trips to Hilton Head.  So we hung up, defeated, and decided to check back tomorrow.

But my mind has already started to overthink things.  Was this a sign?  Maybe we're not meant to go on vacation this year.  Maybe the crying babies and expedia malfunctions and blizzard conditions are all trying to tell us that we shouldn't book it.  That our vacation is just not meant to be.  That we're supposed to stay here, in town, for the rest of our lives.

Nah, that can't be.  But just in case, I'll add on the travel insurance tomorrow.  BOOK IT!

Preschool Parent-Teacher Conferences - A Review of a Review

So, last week was Ashley's first ever preschool parent-teacher conference.  Or as I like to call it, the first official review of Scott and mine's parenting skills (with technical scores for scissor-holding ability and name-writing technique).

Let me tell you, I was a bit nervous to find out how we'd been doing. 

Ashley's teacher is Mrs. S., and word around the school-yard is that you don't mess around with Mrs. S.  Even Scott and I were a little afraid of Mrs. S. at the beginning of the year.  She is a no-nonsense elder lady who's been there, done that, and would likely not have much patience for Miss Ashley's shenanigans.  And as anyone who is a regular reader of this blog knows, Ashley is full of shenanigans.

Up until the conference, Scott and I hadn't really gotten much feedback on how things were going.  Since Ashley had been coming home with glittery paintings instead of cranky notes from the preschool administration (i.e., Mrs. C.), we were operating under the assumption of "no news is good news."  And like typical members of Generation X, we were content to just fly under the radar.  We didn't need any happy status reports on the awesomeness of our parenting skills child!  Feedback schmeedback.

Yet, still...you get a little nervous before those parent-teacher conferences. 

Don't get me wrong, we think Ashley's a great kid.  But really, she's never been away from us except for a short stint in daycare the first year of her life.  It's weird to send her off to this little school all by herself three days a week where we have no idea what she does.  I mean, we know she paints and sings songs and learns her letters, but we're not there - we don't know for sure how she interacts with the other kids, how she carries herself, how she reacts to something new, etc., when we're not around.  She's just off living the independent little life of a four-year old, while we sit at home hoping that we've appropriately prepared her for what life might throw at her.  Granted, life's probably not going to throw her too many humdingers at this age, but worrying is a motherly instinct that cannot be tamed.      

Anyhoo, there was nothing for us to worry about.  Apparently Mrs. S. gets a kick out of Miss Ashley, shenanigans included.  She told us that Ashley was bright and fun and a friend to everyone, which made me smile.  Although truth be told, I smiled more when Mrs. S. told us that every time she tells the kids it's time to clean up, Ashley announces that she all of a sudden needs to use the bathroom.  Ha!  She's such a smart little cookie, albeit a touch lazy.  And no, I have no idea where she gets that from, why would you ask me that? 

We also had nice reassuring news with respect to the boys - while we were talking with Mrs. S., all three of our kids went to hang out in the "play area", which was supervised by a couple other teachers.  We walked in after the conference to pick them up, and these ladies were going nutzoid over Aidan and Owen - they exclaimed that they were super smart and I think I replied "Really??"  Because really, I found that quite surprising.  No offense, Aidan and Owen, if you read this someday - love you bunches.

Anyways, the fact that they know their colors and their numbers and their letters, and that Aidan is drawing faces that include ears and eyebrows is a BIG DEAL.  I thought the eyebrow thing was a little creepy, but apparently it's not creepy - in fact, it's smart.  So phew on that.  They reassured me about their speech too, and didn't seem to think they were out of the norm for their age group, particularly considering that they're boys and twins - so that was quite reassuring, too.

So yay!  Ashley, Aidan and Owen are all little smarties.  I thought this meant maybe Scott and I could start to slack off a little, but apparently they do these reviews conferences every year from here on out.  Dang, they really know how to keep parents on their toes. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

State of the Hair

So, since I lamented the state of my hair last week and got such nice feedback, I thought it was only fair to post an update now that I've been to the salon. 

As described in my previous post, I was suffering from a little-known malady referred to as "Flippy Bang Syndrome."  It can be triggered when a hair salon fails to make a reminder call to a forgetful, non-calendar using person the day before her appointment.  The syndrome then worsens, as the victim inevitably forgets to reschedule the missed appointment for month after month after month while her bangs grow longer and longer and longer.  If left untreated, one can end up looking like Hermey, the flippy-banged dental-student wannabe from the stop motion animated classic "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer."

It's serious and scary stuff, people.

Well, after I had diagnosed myself with Flippy Bang Syndrome, I called my hair lady and she squeezed me in for a cut and color on Monday night.  Hooray!  I walked in the door of the salon and was greeted by my hair lady with an enthusiastic "Oh my God, how ARE you???"  Which she immediately followed up with a quiet and worried "Oh my God, your bangs are sooooo long."  (See, I told you this was serious stuff).

Now, seeing as how my bangs were jutting out from the side of my head and my roots had seen much brighter days, you would think my hair lady wouldn't trust my judgment with how best to proceed on correcting the mess I had on my head.  Yet for some inexplicable reason, she kept asking me what I wanted to do.  And since I was high from all the hair chemical fumes wafting around in the place, I felt confident turning down her suggestions and throwing ideas out on how to make myself look fabulous.  

She said "Let's add some lowlights this time," and I said "No, let's skip the lowlights.  This winter's been so dull I want to brighten things up a bit!"  She then asked me how short I wanted it and I said "Oh, I'm feeling brave...let's trim it up to a bob."  Then she asked me about my bangs...did I want them swoopy again?  And I said "Oh, let's mix it up this time...do straight bangs instead of swoopy!"

There is a reason I did not go to beauty school. 

Because I have now gone from looking like this:


To this:


And the worst part is, I can't even blame her...she did exactly as I asked:  bright blonde, bob, straight bangs.  If only I had realized I was asking her to make me look like Little Lord Fauntleroy!

But really, I think I can work with this.  Maybe with a little product and a little TLC on the bangs, things will be okay.  And if nothing else, at least I'm staying consistent with the classic Christmas movie theme. First it was Rudolph the Red Nosed Reinder, now it's Little Lord Fauntleroy....I wonder what will be next?  Stay tuned until my next appointment in April to find out.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Maybe I Can Use it as a Pizza Topping

So the boys have always been picky eaters.  Rather than combat it head on, Scott and I have just gotten used to feeding them things that we know they will eat.  Then we usually make a separate dinner for just the two of us, because sometimes as an adult, you need a little more variety in your diet than just pasta and chicken nuggets. 

It's not a perfect system, making separate dinners, but it's fine.  We're used to it.  But then a few weeks ago, the twins did the unthinkable.

They boycotted CHEESE PIZZA.

Wait...what??!!  What American kid in their right mind doesn't like cheese pizza?????  It's always a fail-proof meal choice!  It's on every kids' menu in the known universe of chain restaurants!  It's friggin' cheese, carbs and sauce cut into a fun triangle shape, for God's sake!  What could be better?

Compounding my frustration was the fact that up until the night of the Great Cheese Pizza Boycott, the boys loved cheese pizza.  They couldn't get enough of it.  I'd barely have it out of the box oven before the chorus of "Mmmmmmmms!" would start echoing throughout the kitchen.  "Mo' pizza, mama!" they'd yell as they put away piece after piece, and I'd sit there satisfied with myself thinking "Job well ordered done, mama." 

And then *poof* - just like that it was all gone.

Which meant that I had one less item on my list of meals that all three children would eat.  Which meant that my total number of meals on said list was now down to ZERO.

So, something snapped in me that night.  I had had it.  How dare my kids turn down cheese pizza - didn't they know how lucky they were??  It's not like I was trying to feed them liver or brussel sprouts or even green beans for pete's sake.  It was cheese pizza!  Pizza with cheese!  And sauce!  I raised my fist to the heavens and shouted "Enough!  You will eat what we make for dinner!  And if you don't like it, that's tough!  You can all go to bed hungry!"

And I've stuck to my guns.  I didn't back down the night that Owen only ate two pieces of lettuce.  And I didn't panic the night that Aidan started crying when I put some lovely baked chicken on his plate. And I didn't even cave on the night we made them tuna casserole, even though I secretly agreed that it looked kind of barfy.  I was impervious to whines, cries, and pleas for items not on the menu - as God is my witness, they were going to learn to eat what we put before them!!

But man, those boys are tough.  I was sure their food strike would only last a few days, but they kept on holding out.  Granted, they started stuffing themselves full of waffles and bagels in the morning and PB&J's and cheese sticks at lunch, but you'd think their tiny stomachs would be ready for some substantive grub come dinner time.

Yeah, you'd think.  And Scott would think.  And I'd think too, until I opened up Aidan's diaper the other night and found a blindingly bright green solid substance looking back at me.  At first I panicked, because "OMG, green poop!" and then I investigated.  What could have made my son's poop green?  Did he get into some kind of chemical?  Oh my God, was it due to malnutrition???  Was I starving him slowly??

And then I saw the basket of crayons over in the corner.  And the green crayon stub lying beside it.  Covered in teeth marks.

Yes, my son ate a green crayon on the sly.  Perhaps because he was hungry.  Perhaps because he is a weirdo.

All I know for sure is, my son will eat crayons.  But he will not eat CHEESE PIZZA. Lord help me.