Friday, December 30, 2011

Stop Fighting!

I have sent them to their rooms. I have taken away electronics. I have sat down with them and talked with them. I have screamed. I have made them "rest." I have had them work it out on their own. Nothing is working. Fighting is a sport for my boys and they love to fight about everything. We're talking real punches and arguing. Not just bear cubbing which they do sandwiched between the real fighting.

That's why when the other mothers are writing about how much they love Christmas break, I just want to scream. I am not the biggest fan. Sure, I love not making lunches and hurrying the kids to get dressed. I love no schedule. Well, sort of. I just can't stand the fighting.

My aunt always says that her two boys never fought when they were young. I don't believe it for one minute. I think you forget.

I know other mothers keep their kids busy from morning to night. I am not that ambitious. Plus, with the toddler, we try to get her home for a nap right after lunch. The Terrible Two's get a lot worse with no nap. So, we are stuck at home a lot. So, there is plenty of time for brawls.

So that is why after screaming at Kyle and making Ryan go to my room to rest, I am having a cup of tea, writing this post and on my way to get another piece of Amish Friendship Bread. I am exhaling and trying to savor this time with my children. My next stop is the school website to make sure I have the start date for school. It cannot come a moment too soon.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Where U Been?

Top 10 Reasons I have been away from my blog.

10. I might be losing my mind. Or at least it feels that way. Three kids are making me a bit nuts. A toddler might be the main reason. Either way. I just can't focus and write anything without her pulling on my leg. I can't get anything done. My house is in shambles. Honest.

9. Some private stuff happened to some friends in the fall. It was constantly on my mind and I was dying to write about it. I couldn't. So, I avoided the computer and tried to avoid mentioning their problems online.

8. When you write a blog, it is either super cheery, boring or you are complaining about something. I am tired of other people's blogs so I just thought people were tired of mine. And everyone time I tried to come up with a topic to write about, so many people were giving me advice. I am just writing to write. I wasn't looking for solutions.

7. I started to really pay attention to where our money was going in the fall. I was cutting coupons, learning how to play the coupon game and getting tons of free stuff at CVS. It takes tons of time. I might have gotten a little obsessed with it. (Google Krazy Coupon Lady for tips)

6. I was also working out like a dog. All of the weight I lost this past year takes a lot of maintenance. Before my 40th birthday, I was on the treadmill most school nights and lifting weights after that. Instead of writing, I was running and walking.

5. Three kids are a lot of work. Did I say that? I can't keep up. It is worth mentioning twice.

4. I feel pretty spoiled. When my days are long, tough and boring, I think about women who are struggling to feed their children. Many are the working poor who are working two jobs with no health insurance praying their children stay well. They struggle to heat their houses and feed their children. I have a gorgeous house, two cars, heat and way too much food. What is wrong with me and why do I complain? I have more that I know. Who wants to read about me worrying about this?

3. I wasn't sure why I was writing. In the beginning, I wrote for myself. I found it hard to share my feelings with random people that started talking to me about my blog in the grocery store. It felt too personal. They knew stuff about me that my dad doesn't even know. (No, he isn't a reader my blog). I started to feel uncomfortable. I am pretty honest. Knowing that certain people were reading made me feel weird around them.

2. I can't be as honest as I'd like. For example, there is a person that I sort of know. He is writing some really crazy, crazy stuff on Facebook. I would love to write a funny post about it him but it I can't. He might call me out of Facebook. I don't want that.

1. I don't know. Part of it feels like there is really no point to writing. A friend asked me today why I wasn't writing. I didn't have a good answer. But she had a good point, she said to do it for me. That's the only reason to do it, I guess.

So, if it keeps me sane, I will keep writing. I need some balance in my life (don't we all?) so maybe writing again will help me along in the journey. We'll see. I will keep you posted. But, just don't mention it too much if you see me in the grocery store.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Never Too Late

I never got around to sending an acquaintance a sympathy card when her sister passed away. We don't really know each other well. We're more Facebook friends. But every time she posts on FB, I feel bad. At the time, I knew she'd get a million cards. I didn't think it mattered. But, I have been on the other side of this. It matters. It all matters.

At my mom's funeral, a friend came. She also came to the calling hours. We weren't the closest friends. So, it was a big deal. And it was a long drive to my home town. Every time I see her, I think "Wow. She came to my mom's funeral." Every time I see her I think about it. I have thanked her a gazillion times for coming. Now, it just gets embarrassing. But she will never know how much it meant to me. You don't realize how much it all means until you are are in the midst of a family crisis and are hoping someone can help you along the journey.

Another friend lost her mother-in-law last week. The card sits in the kitchen. I know I must write it out and send it. One thing I learned from losing my mom is that it is never too late to send a sympathy card. People grieve much longer than people think. So a late card is appreciated. It means that someone remembers that they are still struggling to work through their grief.

So if you ever forget to reach out, know that the person grieves every day. Over time, it gets easier. But, a card is always appreciated whether it be days, months or ever a year later. Their loved one is always missed and any chance to hear someone aknowledge that makes the journey a little easier. I am going to send my FB friend a card. It has been months and months since she lost her loved one. But, I know she is still grieving and it is never too late.

If you are wondering why there is a rose on this page, it is for my mom. She loved roses and gardens. When I saw it, I thought of her.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Disney Warm-up

Road trips do not come easy to us. Elle might be the world's worst traveler. For those of you who have kids that travel easy, you might consider yourselves an expert. You might think you have exposed your child to more experiences and so you've won this contest. I am here to tell you, she just isn't a good traveler. Baby has been to Mexico and Canada but she can't stand to drive to Solon.

We set off for PA last weekend in search of a boy band and a chocolate bar. We had the best time! It was tough. We were exhausted but it was a good old fashioned family road trip. Complete with sandwiches on the way to get to Hershey before midnight. We had snacks galore and tons of movies to watch thanks to my friends who lent me some videos for Elle.

We spent a good day at Hershey with a cute little ride that explains how they make chocolate. The ride is free and comes with a little treat at the end. Kids loved this. We also got totally sucked into their gift shop. We spend a gazillion dollars on a t-shirt, candy and even presents for their teachers. We loved it! We also went to the amusement park. It isn't Cedar Point but it is a good old fashioned park with a great water park included in the price.

Sunday was the Allentown fair. Once again, a good old fashioned fair with rides, food and circus freaks. We rode and ate before the concert. Great time for the kiddos and us. Elle enjoyed the farm animals and it was a great summer night. Big Time Rush was also that night and honestly, I might have enjoyed it more than them. I just loved that they got to see a "real" band. Hot Chelle Ray opened and as parents, we loved seeing a real band play a hit song from the radio (song Tonight, Tonight).

Our trip gave us an insight into whether Elle is ready for Disney or not. I am leaning towards waiting another year but I don't think I will win this battle. She loves Princesses but isn't a big fan of rides. A lot can change in a year but we'll see. That would require that we get back into our van for a very long road trip. Wrappers, old Capri Suns and a weird smell all occupy my Chevy Traverse. I won't be putting a deposit down on Disney any time soon.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Sweet Weekend

I am going to give you three clues to where our family is going this weekend. I could give you one sweet clue but you'd guess it too easily.

Here is the first:

"I Want to be Famous."

The second:

It will be my children's first concert.

And third:

Oh yeah. We are driving to Allentown, PA to see my son Kyle's favorite band. Big Time Rush! We bought him tickets for his birthday back in March. He looooooooves them. I can't wait for him see them in person.

Do you remember your first concert? Mine was Whitney Houston. Back before crack was whack. They had a parent tent so my dad let my friend Carrie and I go to the concert alone. Yikes! And he sat and waited for us all night. I bought a navy t-shirt that I kept for years and years until there were holes in it. I loved the whole concert experience.

Since then, I have seen most of my favorite artists. Some over and over again. But as I got older and more spoiled, I can't stand the nose bleeds and have to either get great tickets or stay at home. It has been more home than great seats lately.

Why couldn't he love U2? We could have visited Pittsburgh instead! But instead, we will pile into our car right after school on Friday. We will visit Hershey Park and have a sweet day at the amusement park on Saturday. And then it is off to the Allentown Fairgrounds on Sunday where Big Time Rush will be the headline act. I think I might be more excited than the they are right now. You never forget your first concert. You won't catch me in the parents tent. I will be rocking it out to BTR with my boys. Sweet!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Whatever Her Name Is

We looked from cage to cage searching for the perfect cat. I kept track of our top five. The room was hot and crowded. I needed some water and I was ready to go home. My kids on the other hand were on the search. I wasn't so sure I was ready to replace my dear Indy.

But the search continued until a fight erupted over the perfect cat choice. After a few threats of "We are going home without a cat unless you agree on one," they finally decided on our new sweet kitty. She is a year and a half old but seems so small and young.

She is so talky and friendly. She is getting used to our house that is much larger than the small room she shared with 6 other cats. Right now, she is only hanging out in our bedroom. But she is starting to sit in the open room. I can't wait until she is on my desk here driving me crazy when I type.

When she glides past me and meows, I sometimes miss my old cat. I still can't believe she is gone. I just buried her ashes on the day we brought this new little rascal home. I knew it was time. Time to say goodbye fully to my old cat and time to open my heart to a new little fur ball.

Thank you to the Cleveland APL for running your cat special this weekend. She was only $7 with all of her shots and spayed. It helped push me in the right direction. In time, I know this little cat will be a family member and my kids love her so much. Even Gracie our dog is adapting to her new friend better than I expected.

Welcome sweet no name kitty. I have read online that you are a tuxedo cat. Who knew that's what they are called? We will work hard to find a name for you. If we can ever agree on one.

This cat picture is of Socks, Chelsea Clinton's cat when she was in the White House. My toddler, Elle, must have hidden my camera. I haven't been able to find it since the first day of school photos. Ahhh. The life with a toddler. Our no name cat looks very similar to this cat but her hair is a little longer.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The One and Only Carnation Festival

When I drive home to Alliance, I see many rough looking houses. The people are struggling. Steel factories have shut down and there aren't the jobs to support the working class. It looks like a John Couger Mellencamp video. Many of the working class are now poor. The jobs are not there. So many hurting and struggling. Except for one week a year.

The Carnation Festival. Somehow, the small town comes together and puts on the most amazing hometown festival I have ever seen. There aren't rides for the kids. But, there is a boy scout booth where the kids play simple games to win old fashioned prizes like suckers and the mom-dreaded goldfish. In the background, you will see the Carnation Queen walking around greeting small girls who are giddy to meet a real queen and her court. Bands from the area play oldies for the brave to dance to and provide a fun atmosphere. And the most important part of the festival...the food.

The food is amazing. I am sure some of it is nostalgic for me. I eat the same menu each year. But the best part of it for me is that the prices are EXTREMELY LOW and all of the proceeds go to local service organizations in the city. Churches, Ulster Project, the high school class of 2012, Key Club, Kiwanis, Republican/Democrat clubs, etc. It blows my mind every year I am there. They have it down to a science. No one can sell anything that another vendor sells. All are non-profit. All of it delicious.

I can go to this festival and say yes to every request of my kids. That's how cheap it is. And I do. They play games, eat cotton candy, beg to win goldfish and ask to do it all over again.

Alliance struggles but they put together an amazing week of activities for the Carnation Festival. We'll be taking the family down there on Saturday evening. When you stand over the festival on your way down the hill, you feel a real sense of community. This isn't a suburb. It is a real small town struggling to make it in this new economy. If they can put together such a fantastic festival year after year, there is hope for Alliance. I know there is.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Just call me a rebel

I am going to do it. I am not sure what will happen but I am just going to try. I am a rebel. I am sending in a wooden ruler instead of a plastic one to school on Wednesday. I know it is crazy. Totally going off the deep end here. You thought you knew me.

A little old lady saw me at Walmart pulling out my hair while looking at the kids "Back to School" lists. She said "In the old days, we just bought a notebook, a folder and some pencils and sent the kids on their way." We talked about how specific the teachers are and the length of the lists. I think it is a bit ridiculous.

I wonder why it is so specific. Is it because today's parents aren't smart enough to decide what size crayon box to send? Is it because teachers want it to be easier so they can say "Take out your purple folder?" Is it because so many people don't follow directions when they say send in tissues that they have to add "family size" to the description.

I don't really care what the reasons are. I am just annoyed. I can't imagine how really, really busy parents holding down two jobs are getting organized. I have to run out tonight and somehow find the two folders I forgot to buy. It sounds easy but I am sure Target or Walmart will be a zoo. I also have to find a "simple" calculator and two bottles of "Purell" (only) sanitizer.

On Facebook, one of my friends asked where she could find some glitter crayons for her child's list. This is obviously a new teacher or one that does not have children. Glitter crayons. Really? Come on. And my older friends would tell me to stop complaining. Kids will soon need the really expensive scientific calculators or even computers. I know. I have it easy right now. But, when you have three kids under age 8 and you are trying to find items on the list, it feels a little like a scavenger hunt. The reward for this little game is a quiet day when they climb onto the bus on Wednesday. But just to maintain control over this list, I am going to send my pencils "pre-sharpened." The list specifically said unsharpened for one child and sharpened for the other. I bought them pre-sharpened. I am that much of a rebel. Hear me roar.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Give Me Some Sugar!

I am a sugar addict. I can eat an entire white cake in a day. And then drink a Coke. And then some more Coke.

When I decided to lose weight about two years ago, I knew that my love affair with sugar would have to end some day. But, with Weight Watchers, we could casually keep our affair in order. I used to use Splenda all day in my tea and then at night, I would have a Coke with a treat like M & M's. It worked for me and I lost over 60 lbs. doing this.

But then I wondered what would happen if I gave up Splenda. I wanted to really taste real food and get rid of the super sweet hot tea that was getting me through my day. I made the switch to real sugar to get rid of the super sweet Splenda. Calories weren't my issue. A teaspoon of sugar only has 15 calories. A bargain! But I wanted to decrease it over time. Sounds crazy but I measured down to 1/4 tsp. I was hoping that healthy foods would taste better to me. A grape or a strawberry would taste like a thrill! The jury is still out on this one. I love my sweets.

So I hit a milestone in my journey this week. I am now drinking tea with just a splash of milk. This is huge for me. When I worked, I used to put in THREE TEASPOONS in each cup!!!! Yikes! And to have it without sugar is absolutely astonishing to me.

Little changes over time can add up to huge changes in your diet (or your budget). You hear it all the time. Try it. You know how you see the ladies with their marathon stickers on their vans? That's how proud I am. I would love to put a sticker on my car. I just can't believe it. And while this isn't the most thrilling post you have ever read, it is for me. Yahoo!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Now Linkedin

Elle is two. So, my days as a SAHM (Stay-at-Home Mom) are probably numbered. There are braces to pay for, college in less than ten years and prom dresses to buy.

To be honest, I have checked the Sunday job section of the Plain Dealer since I resigned in 2002 to have Ryan. It started by being nosy. I knew everyone in my field at most universities. So, I wanted to stay up to date with who was where. And then it became dreaming. Dreaming of the old days where I got to eat lunch with other people that didn't need me to cut their food. And now I check the help wanted ads to make sure I am not missing a great part-time job.

I never expected to be a SAHM. If you would have bet me a million dollars in college, I would have bet you I'd work. But the reality of a newborn hit me like a ton of bricks. I wasn't sleeping. I couldn't manage. I was not fuctionioning at all so working was just not possible for me. And my husband was at a law firm that required long, long hours. The decision was easy to make but hard to grasp when it actually happened.

So yesterday, I joined Linkedin. A friend asked me if I was diving in. It's more like I am dipping my toes in. Not ready to jump but just thinking about the future. I saw on a friend's refrigerator once a magnet that said "Days with children are long but the years are short." As we creep closer to the start of school, the days are really, REALLY long. It always causes me to start thinking about work and my future. I just hope I can hang on until August 17.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Houseflies: Unwanted Houseguests

I have killed about 30 flies in the last three days. At least. I am going crazy. I have no idea where they came from. But, I know where they are going.

I usually don't kill anything. I will escort a bee out the door or slip a spider in a cup and put her on the porch. And any insect outside of our house is safe. I don't let my kids kill anything. But houseflies are nasty and I can't stand to have them in my house.

So where are they coming from? I have no idea. The weather has been not so great and very hot. So, the kids have not been running in and out. There is no way that this many flies simply flew in. There has to be a source. And if you have seen maggots, you know that source is a nasty source.

I have looked around my window frames. Looked in my basement. Cleaned out my recycling bin and changed all of the garbage bags. There is only one thing to do. Keep my trusty flyswatter with me. And let the kids help.

So now that I have grossed you out, where can I look? Where are they coming from? They are unwelcome in my house and I will win this battle.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Light as a Feather

Life feels so much easier this week. Last week, I watched my sister's three kids so she could go on an anniversary cruise. They are great kids but it was a long week. I can barely keep up with my three so adding three was a lot of work. This week I feel so light and free. My house is a mess but I am less of a mess so I can deal with it.

As I wrote in my last post, we are trying to follow a budget and only spend a certain amount of money each month on groceries. There has been so much talk about coupons and how to get things for free. So, I spent the last week in between making many, many meals researching all of the coupons using sites. They are a gazillion out there. And so much passion.

I am not so passionate but I do love a bargain and the game. I am not ready to get all crazy but I am learning how to use a store coupon at Target and combine it with a coupon from the Sunday paper. I had no idea you could combine them and save big. I was floored! So, if you wanted to buy shampoo for three dollars and had a Target $1.00 coupon and a Dove $1.00 coupon, you could get it for a dollar. How cool is that? Or you could buy Suave like I always do for $1.00 and save yourself the hassle. That's what I am wresting with.

I would love to learn more about this coupon craze from a someone who really does it. Not someone that writes about it but someone that can talk to me about it. I don't want to create a closet of freebies like the ladies on the Extreme Couponing show. I just want to maximize my budget. Or maybe I will just go back to work, hire a cleaner and hopefully a great nanny who will do the grocery shopping for me.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Diets & Budgets

I was just reading another person's blog about her obsession of only wearing a very expensive brand named shoe. Hmmmm. I cannot relate at all unless you call a Target shoe a "brand."

About a month ago after our family vacation, my husband noticed that we were getting a little crazy with our finances. We were eating out weekly, picking up fast food, ordering pizzas, huge trips to Target and traveling quite a bit. We were definitely spending more than we were making. And bam! It hit us. We have to go back to budgeting. If you've done Weight Watchers, it is a lot like tracking. We have a monthly budget and we have to stay under the set amount for each type of spending. It sounds awful but if you've never done it, you'd be shocked to see where you money goes. Until you track it, you might think you know but you really don't. We spent $300 on gifts this month. I wouldn't believe it but we did. We had a wedding, a few birthdays and my baby Elle's collection of Cincerella that we had to buy.

I love to buy groceries. I can buy and buy. So in order to try to stay in our range for food, I am attempting a Thursday night of leftovers and one night we call "Budget Tuesday." The cool thing is that I don't have to cook these nights. Saves us money, hubby is happy that I am following our plan and we eat all of the weird food that gets stuck in the back of our frig.

This month, we've done great with our budget. It is a lot like a diet though. You can be super strict at the beginning. And when you diet, you really want something you can't have. I have to keep reminding myself to make good choices so that we do come in where we are supposed to. I said to my husband yesterday that if can do this, we'll have more money to spend in the end. More vacations, more name brand shoes and even more trips to my favorite grocery store.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


If only I was on the show Real Housewives of Summit County. I am apart of a group of friends that instead of throwing dinner parties, we just throw parties. We all bring something to share (and store bought is A-OK) and we have cocktails. We call it Party Club. It is more fun than parents should be allowed to have. We take turns hosting and I am up to host this Saturday.

As I climbed on a ladder trying to get a vine off of my house on my deck, I started to think how different real lives are compared to the silly Housewives shows on Bravo. While I love the trashy shows, it is such a lie.

"Reality" Show/Real Life

A stylist brought me clothes to try on today. I tried on three dresses at Target.

A stylist sent me clothes to wear on the show. I tried to shop at Marshalls first because I had a gift card.

A gardener has been working on my gardens all season. I had big plans to weed and make our gardens look nice. It is not going to happen. Hope it gets dark before anyone notices.

Our front lawn is beautiful. Our lawn has patches with no grass and looks rough.

A chef caters the meal. If I am lucky, Costco will cater this meal.

Children are taken care of by the live in nanny. Thank goodness my sisters will be watching my kids overnight. Thank you sistas!

The cleaning crew has been working tirelessly to make the house look amazing. We are trying to talk ourselves into cleaning every night once the kids go to bed. Somehow it all comes together. Once again, hope it gets dark before anyone looks around.

A band or DJ gets the women on their feet. We downloaded new songs for our iPod and will dance in our kitchens with kitchen utensils as microphones.

The Housewives fight and every party has a dramatic conclusion. We get along so great and every party has a funny, outrageous story.

The shows look glamorous but in reality, aren't the relationships and connections the most important thing? They buy the clothes, cars and houses to impress others. Is it to win friends? What kind of friends? They don't seem to get along. I love my group of friends. I feel blessed to call them my friends. We may not be on TV but we have some stories that would make for some great episodes of the Real Housewives shows.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

No more teachers, no more books...

I was in Target today looking for a new sprinkler. It is still summer, right? In Ohio, it just started getting warm enough for the pool. Summer it is. On my way to the summer section, I was hit smack in the face with Back to School. Already.

When I cringed last week at the Toys R Us ad for Back to School, my husband said "Aren't you counting the days?" Well, yes. Sort of.

I hate to rush summer. The weather is so awful here most of the year that I hate to rush past all of this sunshine and vitamin D. I also know how busy the school year gets. I am also cringing because I have not been working with my kids to prevent the "Summer Slide" that all of the magazines, newspapers and TV programs have been talking about.

As I complained about it to my sister who is a teacher, she confirmed my worst fears. The children that excel, their parents work with them over the summer. The ones that struggle, their parents don't. I am a parent to each type of child. And one child has worked on his summer packets and one has not.

Mommy guilt has set in. I know better. I will do better. But when the doorbell rings and the little neighbor boy asks my sons to play, I encourage them to go and play. I want my kids outside, riding bikes and yes, playing the Wii with friends. I want them to have lazy, happy summers without me yelling at them to sit and do math facts. I am choosing another Popsicles over the pencil.

The Target trip today was a nudge. I will do it. Maybe we will start with five minutes before we get going in the morning. One math page a day is all I can probably manage with Kyle before I pull my hair out. And Ry will do five on his own after he sits and reads for an hour an a half.

Summer is in full swing and I love it. So, we will squeeze in a little of the "half to's" and get to the fun stuff. And we'll get those summer packets done. Somehow.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Don't Get Fat

My maternal grandmother weighed over 300 lbs. When she died, her license said something like 160. She was always so funny. We just laughed and laughed when we saw that. She tried every diet in the world. As a child, I remember my mom driving her to the Cleveland Clinic for some diet appointment. She came home with some crazy, strict diet. I know she also did Weight Watchers. My mom and grandma would make sure to use the bathroom before weighing in so they "lost" weight and then they'd hit a buffet on the way home. No lie. I don't think she ever lost any weight on any diet. She only got larger and larger.

Yesterday, a friend asked me about Weight Watchers and their new program. She wasn't sure if she had it in her. She said she was destined be fat. Since I had lost 63 lbs in the past year and a half. (The picture of me near the ocean is from October 2009 just as I started Weight Watchers). I thought I could help her out. But, it turns out. You really can't. Only she can decide to do it.

You can have the best hospital in the area give you a diet. You can have all of the materials from Weight Watchers. You can be Oprah Winfrey. But, until you DECIDE that you are going to do it, you won't. It is all a mental game. All of it. Each meal, each snack, each workout is a mental choice of either doing it or not. No one else can make you do it. And no one can really hold you accountable. Only you can.

Here's how the game is played. Yesterday, I added a little bit of sugar to my tea. Just a bit. I told myself that it was only a few extra calories or so. Didn't really matter. Then I didn't work out last night but told myself I'd go in the morning. I didn't even set my alarm. Told myself I could workout later in the week. Ate a little extra snack last night. I didn't over eat at dinner. So, I "rewarded" myself. Sounds crazy reading this. I am only hurting myself. Listen to your own voice talk youself into a bigger piece of cake or an extra cookie. We all do it. All of the small choices add up to either weight loss or gain.

It is all choice that we have to work through. When I finally decided that a size 16 in women's was not a size I could live with, I made a list of why I wanted to lose weight. I reread this many times throughout the year. I also watch Dr. Oz regurarly because he remind me of why it is medically necessary to not be overweight. He has scared me thin.

My grandma used to always say to me "Don't get fat." She meant this with every bone in her body and I could hear the pain in her voice. It was a warning. She lived a very long life. She outlived all of the other grandparents and saw me graduate from college. But, she couldn't walk in a mall without sitting down. Her legs hurt and she was always embarrased by her weight. She hated being fat. I want a long, healthy life. I made the choice and I make it at every meal and every snack. It is a constant struggle. I wish my grandma could see me now after three kids (and four pregnancies) and see me at a size 6. She would love it! And she would be shocked to know that I carry her warning with me and use it to keep my head straight.

Here I am dancing the night away in Vegas last October. One year later.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Boa

This hot mama left hot pink feathers at every winery we visited. It was a trail of fun. I wondered what the people finding the feathers would think. Where did these come from?

KpFUN was the sixth or seventh birthday girl to wear the boa. I can't remember who we bought it for first. Each 40th birthday, the bag is passed around and once the party has gotten started, the feather boa is pulled out and later a silly crown is put on her head.

When I was younger, I didn't know that the 40th birthday party was such a big deal. But as my friends have hit the big 4-0, each one has had her unique party. We had one at a country bar with dance music, four at a local dive that plays great music to dance to, one a a very cool bar with a band and this past weekend, we went to the wine country in Geneva with a limo! The parties are planned by their closest friends or sometime the woman plans her own. I have had a great time at them all.

I love the 40th birthday celebrations. When someone groans about getting old or teases me about my age, I honestly tell them that my age doesn't bother me. I lost a friend to cancer a few years ago. We were the same age. Each birthday I get to see is a gift and one that I wish my friend and her family could have. So no, birthdays do not bother me at all. In fact, I am trying to figure out what to do for mine. I have over 4 months to plan this bash. I love to dance so I know there will be a dance floor where ever I end up. And I loathe bad music. I am a serious music fan who drives DJ's and party hosts crazy with requests.

So where will I wear the hot pink feather boa? Might turn my house into a club, might travel to Vegas, might end up at the dive bar in our town, might take a limo downtown with the girls, might include the guys, might have it at a friends house, might be a big bar... who knows?Birthdays are for celebrating. Let's pretend the recession is over and money is plentiful, where would you celebrate yours? Dream big people. And celebrate with a hot pink, feather boa and don't forget the crown.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Are We There Yet?

We were only on the highway when we heard our middle child yell "Are we there yet?" We had only about 13 1/2 more hours to go. We knew it was going to be a long trip.

Every three years, we take a vacation with my in-laws to Myrtle Beach. When my husband was a child, they went every summer. We rotate our vacations so that we can go somewhere with my family and then on the off year, we take one on our own. This year was our Myrtle Beach year. I was impressed with the changes and growth in Myrtle Beach.

If you visit, don't miss the new boardwalk downtown. You can't see it from the main strip downtown. You have to go towards the water and walk. They built a gorgeous wood boardwalk that invites you to walk near the beach or sit and enjoy a margarita at a local restaurant. A good place to start is near the new, amazing ferris wheel, called SkyWheel. We ate lunch and had margaritas at Land Shark after playing in the arcade. My sons loved the Ripley's Believe It or Not and it was fun to be downtown. Great job Myrtle Beach for building this new boardwalk and creating an updated downtown.

When in Myrtle Beach, we always stay at the Dunes. It is perfect for families. It has an indoor water park on the ground floor so when you get too much sun or need a break, your little ones can play in the splash park or zoom down the water slides. There is a great kids program to keep your kids happy and the little ones like my Ellie can play in a new little playground. We had an amazing, huge four bedroom condo that provided room for 13 of us.

Our favorite buffet in Myrtle Beach is Captain George's. It has the highest quality seafood and buffet that we have come across. It is located right across from Broadway at the Beach. We always go early, just as soon as they open to avoid a line. We were there in early June and didn't have to wait at all.

We always visit Alligator Adventure, the Ripley's Aquarium and this year added MagiQuest to our visit. The boys LOVED it. My mother-in-law took the kids to the new pirate show called Pirate Voyage and everyone enjoyed the show. It is very pricey but I am sure it will be a memory that the kids will never forget. They loved it.

Myrtle Beach is a great beach vacation for families. It is located about 14 hours (with many stops for the kids- 12 hours for normal people) from Cleveland. We left at 4:30 am so the kids would sleep (did not) and we drove straight. Totally doable (with alcohol as a parental reward at the end of the drive). A vacation we will never forget. And one we will do again when Ellie is about 5. And it will be her turn to yell "Are we there yet, Dad?"

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


I am a big old chicken. I don't like the girl that is cutting my hair. She is a girl, not a woman. I am not sure she is even out of high school yet. You are right. She has to be. But when I am sitting in that chair, I feel older than dirt. It isn't a good feeling. I pay big bucks to sit in that chair for two hours. I should walk away feeling like a million dollars. That was my sign. My other sign was that she was trying to make me a brunette. And that ain't happening. So I am leaving her.

I am in the process. Most woman form tight bonds with their stylists. I have had two really good ones. My last stylist left me for another place too far away. So I am on the hunt. The salon assigned me to this chica and my gut says I must keep looking. I made an appointment in my town with a place down the street. It was almost as pricey but I left feeling like I was overpaying for the experience. (Notice how I am avoiding all use of salon names here! Protecting myself in case I go back!)

So I want to stay with my fancy salon but I don't want "Alice" to know that I am leaving her. I just called and made an appointment with Alice, casually asking what days she works. I will then cancel my appointment and make it was some Jane Doe on her day off. Cross your fingers! I hope I find someone good. We used to tease my Dad that he was never happy with any barber or stylist in town. I am starting to feel like my dad. I wonder if he found someone yet. Or if he is as big as a chicken as I am about leaving them. And if you know someone at a big salon in a nearby city at a shopping complex, let me know who you like. It might just work out. But keep it on the down low. I am a chicken.

Kitty News

We let Indy go in early June. RIP sweet kitty. We love you!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Indy (aka KiKi)

This is Ryan, my oldest back in 2002 with our dog and Indy is on the back of the couch.

My name on this blog has been Indy but my real name is not Indy. It is my cat's formal name. We now call her KiKi. She is about 13 years old and we've had her since we were first married. We lived on-campus because my job at Lake Erie College required that I live in the residence halls. My lucky husband!!! So, we had Indy at LEC and she was our first baby.

My husband brought her home from work. Someone at his law firm had kittens that needed a home. She was so sweet and little. We named her Indy because she was a wild cat, jumping from high places in our apartment and running all over the place like Indiana Jones. Our dear friend (that also unintentionally named this blog) named her Indy. We loved the name.

In the middle of the night when I would get up with each baby, Indy would keep me company. She would purr so loud when I was feeding the baby that I thought she might wake them up. She loved the smell of babies and would always come running to any of our crying children. She never had any of her own babies but she mothered mine.

When I got back from Vegas in April, I was shocked to see how skinny my thin cat had grown. Each week, she has gotten thinner and weaker. And last week, she spent the week in the animal hospital. Everything has been tried short of a neurologist. So a decision must be made.

I have laid down beside her to say goodbye many times this week. She doesn't act like my KiKi anymore. So, it doesn't feel the same. I just keep hoping to hear her purr and make her know how special she was and is to me. My first pet. My first baby. Bye Bye, Sweet Indy, KiKi.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


My kids are already on summer break. Shocking, I know. It is too early for Ohio. Chances are the weather will be freezing cold next week. Just in time for the city pool to open. But we are optimists here. Pool passes are purchased and I bought sunscreen. We are ready for summer.

My kids are running around outside with a little neighbor boy and a friend from school. It is the perfect ending to the school year. They are eating Popsicles, shooting hoops and playing hide and seek. Elle is asleep and I actually cleaned the house for an hour or so.

It is a strange day to be a mom. You say goodbye to the teachers that you really don't know. They have cared so much for your children. You say goodbye to bus drivers and janitors. You bring in a token of thanks for all that they do. But, how do you say thank you for what they have done? You really can't. They care for your children as their own. And somehow when they say goodbye today, my sad little "thank you" wasn't adequate but it will have to do.

The bus brakes squeak as the buses whiz by our house. Bus drivers are eager to start their summer break. And so are the children. Another year is done. Where did it go? Some days are sooooo long but the years seem to pass so quickly.

We stopped by to see Ryan's first grade teacher today. She grabbed Elle's toes and said "How many years until we will see you here?" It hit me like a ton of bricks. I often want to rush to the next stage because I am so tired and drained. But, I know that I will cherish these school age years. I know I will miss this time of screaming children, Popsicles on the back deck and play dates. Another summer break has started. Ready or not.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


This is your warning. If you are a parent of a small child in preschool or a primary school, start practicing the word "No." You may soon be asked by your teacher if you'd like the classroom hermit crabs, hamster or fish. "No."

You could say you already have your hands fun, someone is allergic, your husband will kill you, your kids already have ten pets, you are moving, your cat will eat them or that you had the pet as a child and you are still recovering.

I did not say no. I thought they would be fun and a great learning experience. I am the only one learning. It has been four years since my oldest was in Pre-K. We still have the hermit crabs. All three of them (Bought an extra one the first weekend because I thought one was dying. He was only moulting). The ones that I thought would die by August. They are in my hallway upstairs. Why the hallway? Because they hit the glass with their shells at night (nocturnal!!!) and my kids complain about it and wake me up to tell me. So, I moved them in the hall. They were in my closet for awhile and that seemed dumber than the hall.

I also have a frog that we raised as a tadpole. STILL ALIVE! How is that even possible? More on this another day.

So the moral of this story is to not expect silly little animals to die. They won't. And your kids will move on and you will be left taking care of these pets. It will cost you money and you will hope (and dread) their death.

Sorry Miss C. from Pioneer. You'll have to find someone that doesn't read this blog to adopt "Sammy and Timmy" from your Pre-K class. Parents, you have been warned. Just say "No"!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Not a Fan of Skinnygirl

I am addicted to bad TV. I know it is awful but I just love it. I never met a Housewife show that I didn't love. Well, maybe Jersey.

I have heard Bethenny Frankel's Skinnygirl Margaritas for a couple of years. We had some friends over months ago and someone brought me one as a gift. I am always in search of a drink that doesn't have a lot of calories but still tastes good. I cracked open the Skinnygirl on Friday and gave it a try. And....not so good. I was really disappointed. It doesn't taste like a margarita and it isn't good. Sorry Bethenny.

Bethenny was on Watch What Happens Live (LOVE THIS SHOW) last Thursday and they brought up the sale of SkinnyGirl. Guess how much she is being paid for it by Beam Global? 110 million! That is the rumor.

I should march right into my kitchen and create a scrumptious drink. If Bethenny was offered $110 mill for a nasty drink in a cute bottle, can you imagine how much I could get for the Twinsburg Tankini, The Cleveland Cutie or the Ohio Hottie? I am on it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Call Me Nasty

If you are a mom of a child under three and you had a shower today, you are one lucky lady! Elle is not a patient child and getting two boys on two different buses in the morning puts me at the bottom of the "to do" list. If I can get a shower, I love the bonus day of the day where I don't wash my hair. For men out there, this may gross you out. But, most women wash their hair one day and skip a day. People that color their hair are told to do this so their hair is a bit healthier and less likely to look like a Brillo pad.

I have read time and time again about the new Suave dry shampoo. People were raving about it in magazines. I didn't think it would work for me because I have super oily hair and I work out a lot. So, in my attempt to not be gross, I thought it was worth the $2 to give it a shot. Guess what? I LOVE IT! I think my hair looks better with it in it even on the second day without washing my hair. You don't see the powder at all. It gives my hair body and it smells great.

I am in love. And I just want to shout it from the roof top that I found a product that does what it says it is supposed to do. It does more! So girls, add it to your list. You may have to search a little bit for it. I found it near the other Suave products after two attempts. It is a new product so not all stores may have it yet. You will love it. You really will.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Leprechauns' Magic

A month ago, Ryan was saying that there was no way a bunny could bring Easter baskets to our house. "It can't be real" he told his little brother. With Easter about a month away, I figured we would soon have to have the talk.

Yesterday, Ry flies into the house screaming something that he has to go upstairs and check his room to see what the leprechauns brought him. I caught him before he ran up the stairs because Elle was napping. "Sorry honey. Leprechauns do not come to this house." He said he didn't understand. I was just in Ireland and we decorate for St. Patrick's Day so they must come. They came to school.

I exhaled and put down my tea. Since when was St. Patrick's Day a kids holiday? I know this sounds horrible. I think of it as a party day. Maybe some West siders really go downtown sober to watch the parade but most of us either party or wish we were. Teachers have really gotten into stories about leprechauns and each classroom has a story about their desks being turned over, gold coins being left and little tricks being played. When did this all start? And isn't Ryan done with the Easter Bunny, Leprechauns and Santa? If he wasn't, I better get in the game.

I exhaled again and grabbed our big tub of old candy. Sorted out the gold and green ones and hurried up the stairs. Messed up their messy room unsure if they would even notice and left the chocolates on their pillows. I left Irish flags in their rooms and green things on their beds.

As Elle woke from her nap, Ryan ran as fast as he could up the stairs. I felt relieved that I made the right choice. I knew I was holding onto these special days where he and Kyle still believed in magic. He loved telling me I was wrong that the leprechauns had come after all. I was completely wrong Ryan. Thank goodness I was.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Bad TV Did Some Good

I turn 40 this year. Gulp. I am not really upset by it. More excited about the party I will throw to celebrate hitting a big one. I had a friend pass away a couple of years ago from cancer at a young age, so birthdays do not bother me anymore. Each one is a gift. The wrinkles on another hand...I could live without them.

I watch a lot of crummy TV. The kind most people don't fess up to in public. In my defense, usually I am on the treadmill watching it closed caption while blaring the Black Eyed Peas. So, as long as I am working out, I think it cancels out the negative effects to my brain. As I watched the Housewives of Orange County on Sunday night, I realized that the Housewives have saved me tons of money. I know without a doubt, I will not be getting any Botox, lip injections or a face-lift. These women go to the best of the best. And they look HORRIBLE! They are trying to look younger but they look like freaks.

Here is Tamara from Orange County getting Botox.

If you know me, you are probably thinking that I am not the type to get any work done. I am pretty sure that I never would have wanted a face-lift in my future. But, I might have been talked into Botox in the next decade. But, now I am cured! I see how it turns out and I think I will stick with my lines. They show how happy I have been and all of the laughing I do. And that is fine with me.

So thank you Housewives of Whatever County. Continue to get your plastic surgeries. Would you also start showing a downside to fabulous make-up, hair and shoes? Thank you.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


When I was little, I drove my dad crazy by waiting until the last minute to tell him I needed money for a school trip or to buy something extra. It wasn't that he didn't have it. I am guessing that I forgot once until last minute and then he yelled at me for forgetting to tell him earlier. I then hated to ask him because I was afraid he'd yell again. But I would ask late and of course, he would yell. Vicious cycle. I still hate to ask anyone for anything. Would rather figure it out on my own or suffer. It is just who I am.

Yesterday I was driving through Hudson on my way to a doctor's appointment. It is a quaint little town with a cupcake shop, a private boarding school and above average income levels. The McDonalds even blends into the community. So as I drove passed the McDonalds, I saw a man with a sign asking for money. Not even sure what it said, I was too surprised to read it. I just couldn't believe it in Hudson.

So what to do? Part of me wants to give him every dollar I have. The other part of me says that his sign looks old and he begs for a career. But what if he doesn't? What if his family needs food or medicine. I have more than I need. I should give more to others. But then what if it goes to alcohol and drugs? But what if it doesn't?

We all are faced with this downtown. We look the other way. We say we donate more to the Cleveland Food Bank. We throw a few dollars into the saxophone players case. We feel good if we give a few away. But to see it in the suburbs, it is a shocker.

I still feel torn up a little today. I guess all I can do is say a little prayer for the man, bring more food into our church collection and send off a check to the Cleveland Food Bank. Times are tough for so many and even in the suburbs, people are in need. I hate to ask anyone for money. But I will ask you to do a little more. Whatever you do. Let's all give a few extra cans to the pantries. Donate a little more at the grocery store when they collect for the Food Bank. And remember those that are struggling around us. Yes, even in Hudson.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Armadillos, John Glenn & Tiger Woods

My boys are 8 and almost 7. Both have been assigned reports in the past few weeks. They are pretty simple projects. At least they look simple when I read the information sheet.

For the armadillo report, we had to create as a family (code word: parent) an armadillo. Can you imagine what this would look like if I let Kyle create it on his own? I should have. I Googled armadillo art projects (yes, you can find everything on the web) and found one that I could get started and he could make his own. I definitely let him do the work once we had the bare creature created.

The John Glenn report will be done this weekend. I am not sure if there is enough strength in my body to get to it on a snow day. But, the baby is asleep, the boys keep fighting and I need to keep Kyle busy. He has trouble staying focused so I am sure the five sentences we need to write will take at least an hour and some chocolate for mommy.

Tiger Woods was done last week. Ryan did an excellent job on it. He didn't read the book I bought him, he went straight to the internet. I was a little worried about what he'd find out about Tiger so I warned him ahead of time. Ry didn't really care, he just needed to find the answers to write his simple report.

Kids this age are not ready to really write reports. I have to keep reminding me that it is the PROCESS not the actual report they are doing. I get super frustrated that most of the school projects feel like parent projects. I completed my Masters. I will not be doing extra credit in primary school for my children. I feel that the teachers really expect too much out of children on these reports. If you walk down the hall and look at the animal report exhibits, they are amazing. Children are not completing the assignment. Their parents are.

I think a better requirement for the reports would be to keep them simple and let the children draw a picture. If a child has trouble reading about a subject, how is it possible for them to internalize and communicate about the subject on paper. It is impossible at this age. But, it is required. My children are bright and are good readers. So, it will get done.

As I work on these projects, or I should say, work with my children on these projects, I often wonder about the parents who are barely getting by. I often feel that I am barely getting by but what about the parents that are working two jobs, grandma is raising Johnny or dad is drinking? Is it fair to these children? I guess it isn't in all respects.

So, now I will shut down my computer and look up some info on John Glenn for Kyle. We will sit at the kitchen table. I will make a cup of tea and find a snack to keep me busy. And I will help Kyle figure out what he can share with the class about Mr. Glenn. And I will be grateful that I am not the one that had to create the pinewood derby cars for Boy Scouts. My poor husband! Another family project that took every bone in our bodies this week.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


We went away last weekend to visit friends in Cincinnati. I find it difficult on the best of days to pack up the kids and myself for any sort of trip or night away. Lots of pieces to put together and I always over pack but yet forget something. Don't we all?
So, as we drove away from our fair city, I realized that I left my glasses. I was wearing contacts so I didn't turn around even though my husband nearly begged me. I should have listened. It was my first sign that I was going to be in trouble.

Once we got ready for bed, I realized that not only did I leave my glasses, I left my entire bag of toiletries. Ugh. No, not the worst thing in the world. At least I remembered diapers and extra binkies for the toddler but still a pain in the neck.

I borrowed what I could from my husband and host. Felt pretty icky and ugly. So, after suffering through lunch with a greasy face from my host's make-up for dry skin (I am as oily as a teenager) I snuck off to CVS and spent a fortune on my bare essentials.
So why I am I telling this pretty lame story? I found a great, cheap buy at CVS. Wet & Wild lipstick! It was only $1 and it is fantastic. Yes, fantastic! It has a nice feel to it and I really like the color. And once the main color wears off, it leaves a nice tint. I am was in shock. I am almost embarrassed to say I own something from Wet & Wild. But I will try out their other colors and see what I can find. Shocker. So go ahead and pamper yourself. At only $1, you can try them all.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Don't Call it a Comeback

A few weeks ago, I tried to think of what made me happy and satisfied. The real stuff that makes me happy. Not the superficial stuff that makes me happy for a hour like a new lipstick. But, what makes my life feel more complete. So I made a list of stuff I needed to do. On this list was to make more of an effort to get together with friends. So, I called together my girlfriends for a wine night. And then I said yes to another girl friend that wanted us to all get together for dinner. My calendar started to fill up, I was getting out and I am feeling very happy.

Last night at dinner with friends, my old blog came up. I was encouraged to keep writing. When you write, you assume no one really is reading or caring if you do. So instead, I have exercised at night instead of writing and have been completely obsessed by Bejeweled. (A Facebook game or an app that you can download. Beware: You will be unable to function if you download it and get even a tiny bit good at it. If you are competitive, you will spend hours trying to beat your friends and relatives.)

So, I am attempting a come back here. No major promises. I will just see how it goes. With Elle, I am still finding it extremely difficult to keep up. As I write, two basket full of clothes sit in my hallway and I have a sink full of dishes (and a broken dishwasher). But, one of my friends says you make time for things that are important to you. I guess I can squeeze a few minutes in on my main computer to write and put the iPad down for Bejeweled. And if you start playing, I will see you on main score page and I hope to beat you.

I'm Not Talking About It, I'm Just Saying...