Monday, May 31, 2010

Happy Memorial Day!

A new kind of holiday: 
In memory of busy mommies everywhere... Happy Memorial Day!

Mother's Day is just NOT enough!

And a big memorial thank you to all the men and women who have served in the military and died while in service.  We appreciate you!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

the tooth fairy

I forgot that the "tooth fairy" needed to visit our home last night.  I inadvertently locked her out.  She had no access to our home.  Therefore, no money!  And the "tooth fairy's helper" was unavailable to aide in the delivery as well.  I am not sure what "his" excuse was!

Victoria lost a tooth... a long-awaited tooth.  The tooth fell out at 7:16 am.  And by the time 8:45 pm rolled around, we had long forgotten about the tooth.  Or at least, I had forgotten about the tooth.  A lot of action had occurred in the thirteen and one-half hours between lost tooth and bed time. 

Victoria placed her tooth fairy doll next to her pillow which held her tooth safe and sound.  All the tooth fairy had to do was replace the tooth with a gold dollar coin.  Easy, right??  Well tooth fairy fell into a deep slumber and never woke up.   Victoria was up by 6:00 am to seek her treasure. 

Only too bad for me and the tooth fairy.

Victoria was elated.  Excited.  Jubilation rang out from her pepto-bismol pink sanctuary:


Because we all know that when the tooth fairy has a momentary memory lapse or a very busy flight night, the toothless child gets double.  It's a rule.  At least it is a rule in this home.  And there are no unhappy tears as a result!

Tooth Fairy holder doll is from North American Bear Company.  Pink, Lavendar, and Yellow.  Girl pirate also available.
Tooth holders for boys from North American Bear Company:  Pirates!  Baseball player!  Super Tooth Hero!
Click on Dolls.
Click on Toothy Treasures.
These tooth holders are ADORABLE KEEPSAKES. 

Friday, May 28, 2010

just like heaven

1001 places to go before you die:

Mackinac Island (pronounced mack-ih-naw) should definitely be at the top of everyone's list.  Or, at the top IF you reside in Michigan and neighboring states of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Minnesota.  Logistically, a trip from Seattle would make it more difficult... although, worth the time travel. 

The island is small enough to run around -- even for an amateur, slow runner like me.  The island is perfect for biking around.  Rent a tandem and a honey and pedal through beautiful scenery... while laughing!!   Ride a horse.  Beware of the SMELL emitted from these island creatures -- it is a small island!

The no motorized vehicle ordinance makes this island very safe... unless you kicked in the head by one of the many horses in town.  And I don't think you can receive a 'ticket' for drunk-walking on the way home from a pub. 

The Grand Hotel ... as seen in the movie "Somewhere in Time"... is a lovely place to stay.  Share a special moment with your daughters, mothers, grandmothers, sisters, or aunts during Afternoon Tea at the Grand Hotel.

I am dreaming of a vacation on Mackinac Island!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

School's out, school's out

It has been one day, and one day only...

Q:  Why is it that teachers are the only people NOT ready for September?

Our summer vacation officially begins.  The classes have ceased.  The classrooms are emptied.  The school doors are locked, I'm sure.  The school has a "one-way" door policy option at this point. 

School is OUT.

The entire school year has come to an end.  I must remember (hourly):  "The days may sometimes be LONG, but the years are SHORT".

What are we going to do for approximately 90 days?

Do you realize how messy my house is going to be?

Do you realize I cannot imbibe at this time?

How many summer camps can I register the children for?

OK, OK, It is NOT OK ... to wish away the days, which turn into weeks, which become months, which become years and that only adds another bloody candle to the cake and soon the bloody smoke alarm will ring.

It is going to be a great summer!  It is going to be a great summer!  Ahhhhh!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

a little more pink decor

I love wall hanging letters. 
I love my girls' names. 
I love my girls' initials.
I love my girls' monogram.
I love embroidering their initials.

My one wish for my little girls is for them to totally LOVE their name!! 

So I inundate the girls with their letters.  Ad nauseum, I am sure.

Since they were born, the bedroom decor trend has been wall hanging letters -- and this trend has continued over the years of my child-bearing.  I could never decide on just one type of letter to spell out their entire name.  Letters are like candy... I did not want to choose just one type.  So, I chose all types of fun letters.  I chose the first initial only.  And, personally, I think this type of candy store is much better!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sneak Peek

Big Sister, Victoria, has created a "Minnie Mouse" Birthday Party for her little sister.  She could not find what she was looking for in the stores or on-line... so she designed the items that she wanted.  So with a little help from mom and the craft junk-drawer... she was able to create prototypes for her imaginative designs.  Little Sister, "P", is one lucky little girl!!

T-shirts embellished with Minnie Ears and Bows

Handmade Minnie Mouse Invitations
"We got EARS -- It's time for CHEERS"

EARS party hat designed and created by Victoria
Party Favor BAG designed and created by Victoria
Placemats from the "Disney Store"
Tablecloth designed by Victoria

Lots of EARS !!!

Tablecloth in progress ... all EARS need BOWS.

Monday, May 24, 2010

on names and naming

Names, names, names

This is where I am at... and completely STUCK.  I need a name.  I need a girl name.  I am having a rather difficult time with this task.  And, honestly, I am not sure why?!  There are plenty of girl names available... I only have six taken (three first and three middle -- including mine).

Recently, I purchased a new baby-namer book.   Because this one touted "60,000" names!  And surely, I hadn't heard them all yet. There has to be ONE in there that will jump out at me and say "PICK ME". Let's divide gender in half -- leaving me with "30,000" available names.   Minus our home, our siblings, our nieces and nephews, our first cousins, our second cousins, our exes -- 76.  Times two for the middle names = 152.  I now have "29,848" names to peruse.

Possibly, I am making this task way too difficult. 
     1.  Just select a name you LOVE.

My preferences are odd, I admit, but this is a baby's name we are talking about.
     1.  three syllables
     2.  ends in -a
     3.  non-ethnic
     4.  not overused
     5.  does not begin with ch- or d- or v- or p-
     6.  no more than 5000 already named women in the social security database
     7.  not a common name in our state
     8.  no more than 5 already named girls in my girls' school directory
     9.  does not end in -ina (-eena)
    10.  no provoked nicknames as a result
    11.  no shortened agendas
    12.  flowing
    13.  sentimental
    14.  meaningful
    15.  could be a place name, hotel name, church name, cigarette brand, etc...
    16.  a Saint's name is a plus
    17.  a name day in Eastern European culture
    18.  able to pronounce name in many languages, specifically Japanese
    19.  my husband must like the name
    20.  must be able to pronounce the name


Good Luck!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

saturday morning fun

Saturday morning soccer games are better than cartoons and anime!
"Tickled Pink" is the name of the game. 

BUT ....

Why isn't the concession stand selling beer?  Big plastic cups of beer on tap.  I believe there would be a lot more spectators.  And the fields would be really green with all that extra beer income. 

Save Soccer, Drink Beer.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A great place to visit

If you ever get the chance to go to Missouri
Take it from me, go in a hurry

You'll have fun at the top of the arch
Quench your thirst before you parch

at any quaint pub or chain restaurant you desire
go to the "City Museum" for a dire

dose of family fun!

A great place to bring the whole family!
I highly recommend a weekend visit to St. Louis
(unless your in-laws reside there)!

three-story recycled slide at the City Museum

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

based on my erudition...

... there are some things my daughter has learned in first grade this year.  

1.   the definition of b***h
2.   the meaning of "break-up"
3.   the idea of "bullies"
4.   the concept of money
5.   the reality of schooling
6.   the impracticality of cloning
7.   the disliking of uniforms
8.   the disregard for authority
9.   the likelihood of socialness
10. the probability of a good school lunch

However, it is number four that disturbs me.  The word "allowance" has seeped into daily after-school conversations.  It is a word we have avoided for some time.  We like the concept of "helping" without being paid.  Afterall, IT IS WHAT I DO!! 

So, ALLOWANCE, what's that?

Daughter #1 took it upon herself to seek out "something" that needed to be done without asking, begging, or pleading from me.  It did NOT entail the method of cleaning.  She chose:  setting the table with her choice of dishes and flatware. 

And, she even went the extra mile by adding a CENTERPIECE.  I love it!

Her allowance:  the GUMBALLS!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

these boots were made for walking

Daughter #1 has the Southern accent but zero love for all things Cowgirl or Cowboy.  You will not find boots in her closet.  Nor a hat.  Nor western clothing.  However, hubby and I know she will find herself in Cowtown on a Friday night when she turns 18 -- checking out imposter cowboys in tight Wranglers at "Big Balls of Cowtown" or "Electric Cowboy".

Daughter #2 has the Southern accent and a big love for BOOTS.  Cowgirl BOOTS.  And hats.  And western clothing.  She dons her boots to go "shopping" at TARGET.  We get some looks... because she wears them with anything and everything.   She will be asking for a horse soon.  I feel the begging.  And we know she'll be two-steppin' her way around Cowtown. 

Daughter #3 .... to be determined.  But I feel the western way of life continuing onward in an amplified mode. 

How can children develop a Southern accent with two Northern accentless parents? 

Our future:  Wranglers, Ropers and Boots

Sunday, May 16, 2010

My renewed love

I suppose claiming ABBA to be my renewed love is a bit on the exaggerated end of a statement.  But it's true.  I have always loved ABBA; the 70s, the 80s, the 90s.  And now, I still love ABBAs music.

My daughters selected a Mother's Day gift for me.  Solely based on a title and photo cover of a DVD.  A never-seen-before in our household DVD.  Since Sunday, we have watched "Mamma Mia" approximately 14 times.  I listen to it as a house-cleaning motivational speaker.  I sit down in between dusting and watch my favorite scenes.  I sing along (when nobody is at home).  I dance along with my girls.  I find my oldest daughter singing her favorite ABBA tunes behind closed doors (and I am praying that she does not choose to sing these tunes in her classroom).  I catch my youngest daughter carrying around the DVD case proclaiming "Mamma"

For the love of "Mamma Mia", "Take a Chance on Me" for I'll always be your "Dancing Queen"!

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Snooze Button

I am queen of the snooze button on my fourteen year old clock-radio combo.  Remember those?  Actually, I set three different morning alarms:  5:46am; 6:11am; 6:27am.  And then I quickly slap the snooze button.  Or the sleep button, as it may be called.  The button that lets you continue sleeping for exactly seven more minutes. 

Except for this morning:

I woke up to a mysteriously new radio station.  I am not sure who was playing with the dials, but I am glad they did.

I woke up and I thought I was 21 years old -- all over again.  I have this whole Saturday ahead of me... with no concrete plans... just ME... just 24 hours of no lists, no schedules, no appointments, no work, no classes... just ME. 

I reached over with one hand and instead of slamming the snooze button, I rotated the volume button: UP HIGH!

I jumped out of bed.  Shocked by my flannel pajama donned appearance and baggy sweatshirt.  Not quite what a 21 year old would wear.  But I did jump up and start dancing.  The kind of dancing from the "dance club" stage.  I danced around the room (avoiding mirrors) and danced my way into the shower.  I sang at the top of my lungs.  I sached across the tiled floor and ...

... collided with a strange man holding two children. 

(They are claiming to be my astonished looking husband and equally shocked sleepy-eyed daughters.) 


I'm NOT 21!  I'm NOT alone!  I'm NOT irresponsible!  I'm NOT underscheduled!  It's NOT even SATURDAY! 

Yet, the music continued...

When I'm walkin' I strut my stuff, man I'm so strung out
I'm high as a kite I just might stop to check you out
Let me go on like I blister in the sun
Let me go on big hands I know you're the one

Blister in the Sun by the Violent Femmes

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

more spring awe

a peach tree
(planted in honor of the beloved "momotaro"; a children's story from Japan)

a fig tree
(planted in honor of an incredible trip to Croatia)
I love creating symbolisms from the smallest things that happen in life.   
From a fond memory. 
From an experience. 
From a moment. 
From a feeling. 

When I look upon the green spring backyard, I remember. 
I remember the feeling of happiness...
from Michigan.
from Croatia.
from Tokyo.
from life itself.

My apologies as I post more spring photos. I know you are probably tired of seeing/reading about Spring.
But I just know this spring is a beautiful start to a continued year of blessings, health, and happiness.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Boats and Beans and Barbeque?

or is it "Oats and Beans and Barley Grow?"

In November, my daughter's school had "Pilgrim Day" in honor of Thanksgiving.  The day was filled with fun activities; making butter, donning pilgrim or Native American costumes, weaving baskets, creating drums, eating corn and popcorn, and learning about seeds. 

Corn kernels, sunflower seeds, and bean seeds ... were observed.  I have no idea where the seeds came from -- probably someone's kitchen pantry.  The seeds were placed into a clear plastic bottle and used as a Native American maraca.

Recently, I found the plastic seed maraca stuffed into my daughter's closet.  I pulled it out so that I could dispose of it.  Two weeks ago, we took the seeds to the backyard -- to an area of mulch that nothing grows except weeds.  (AND I have tried sowing in that patch of mulch for three years now.)  We decided to spread the seeds for the visiting squirrels and birds to eat. 

Last weekend, my husband entered our home and asked, "What did you do?" 

What an open-ended question... HUH!

How shall I answer??  I have many automatic answers to fire off, but I need to know to what is he referring, so that I can save the good responses for a more serious crisis mode.

The question should have been stated as:  "What did you plant in the undesirable plot of mulch where nothing ever grows?" 

Answer:  "We decided to feed the squirrels and birds some new (or perhaps, old) seeds." 

Apparently the neighboring critters were not fond of our choice of disposed seeds because we now have 30 bean plants or more growing in an unusual space of mulch.  We have no idea what type of beans. 
My daughter is amazed at how the beans happened.  We did not plant them.  We just threw them.  Out.  Rid.  Dispose.  My daughter took her photo of beans and bean story into share with her class. 

The Moral of the Story:
Amazing things can happen when you least expect it!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

to all of the wonderful Mothers, Grandmothers, Aunts, Friends, and Women who are just like Mothers!

I hope you all have a fabulous day created just for you.

And may you all get something equally fantastic from your spouses/partners/significant others.

And, if you need any help...

Allow your toddler to handle your existing but slightly outdated digital camera and have her play "cheese" with it.  She is bound to break it so that you may receive a new and improved model camera on your special Mother's Day!!

Or give whatever your heart's desire new to your toddler and she will ensure you receive a new one!

And if you are lacking in the available toddler department:

My toddler is available... for a short time only.  Ten mini sessions of fifteen minute increments available.  Sign up now and may all your Mother's Day wishes come true.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Big cities

come with big crime.  I am in a city that reminds me of a big, small town.  Although there is a population of 700,073 -- it just doesn't feel that big.  People who live here are all connected somehow.  Somebody you meet always knows someone you know.  Ironic.  Coincidence.  No, it's just a big, small town.  We sit 40 miles to the west of another large city with 1.2 million people.  Therefore, do the math, in a 60-mile radius there are 2 million people.

Crime seems to be striking -- close to home.  The economy can be blamed.  The life of hard-knocks can be given as an excuse.  But with a President who is giving everything and more to the "entitled legal and illegal residents with no working chips on their shoulders" ... why commit crimes? 

Because they CAN.  And they CAN walk away without a single punishment. 

I sit in my house, in this room...
I sit ONE-HALF mile equidistant away from TWO recent, unrelated, but very similar murders. 

2,640 feet
880 yards
804.67 meters

February 19
To the west, an eighteen year old boy came home from work at lunchtime.  He walked in on three boys robbing his home.  They shot him, dead.  This was a 'black on black' crime.  It did not receive a lot of media attention.  I am curious as to why it did not.  The rumor on the street was that it was a 'drug deal gone bad'.  But that is not the truth.  The only drug deal gone bad was for the three murderers, they did not steal enough stuff to sell in order to have their own personal drug money. 

March 23
I hear the helicopter circling overhead.  It is 2:00 pm.  I call my husband at work, "check the internet or news -- something is going on".  He finds nothing. 
To the east, a seventeen year old boy comes home from school at lunchtime.  He was with his older sister.  They walked in on two boys robbing their home.  The sister fled.  The boy was shot.  Dead.  Three laptops were stolen.  Two fifteen year old boys caught and released to their mothers.  No bail.  No punishment.  Just an arranged upcoming hearing.  Another boy, possibly the driver/mentor, was held on bail because he was 24.  He is out.  He is now suing the city and police department because they have ruined his reputation.  Who cares if he was in juvenile jail for five years already because he tried to poison his parents?  Who cares if he was the fifteen year old murderers' mentor?  Who cares if he supplied the ride?  And the weapon?  Who cares?  He gets to settle for thousands of dollars out of court.  They all walk! 

Where is the justice?
Where is the honor?
Why are kids killing for a few bucks?
How much can you possibly get for three HOT laptops?
Kids are carrying guns.
The kids are not running.  They will shoot you first.

A friend of mine, last year, her dad was shot and killed for the $5 dollar bill in his pocket.

Will I move?

Thursday, May 6, 2010


Messes tend to make me and my type A personality a bit Mad.  Not as in fury, Mad.  But, Mad, as in Crazy.  My blood pressure rises slightly to 136/87.  My heart beats a little bit faster - as if I am racing the clock on a procrastinated approaching deadline.  My eyes squint.  My forehead produces little beads of sweat which is just speeding up the process of needing BOTOX.  My palms become slippery and my prosthetic slides off into the dinner I am preparing. 

Our soon-to-be Two-Year-Old has found the PLAY-DOH!

Now, you have witnessed her messes... surely, I should be well adjusted to her interest in creativity and self-expression.  But each indulgence that she delves into, leaves me pining for something stronger than iced water with lemon. 

I am proud to announce that "little T" did an awesome job with the PLAY-DOH!  Even after she repetitively questioned, "I bite?" 

It has been a good day for "little T" refrained from eating the PLAY-DOH!  WHEW!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

got milk?

Drink milk!

Eat cheese, yogurt, tums and ice cream before you place uncontrollable rolling shoes on your children for an afternoon of skating.  Build up their calcium storage.  Especially IF your children are accident prone {like mine}.

We went to a skating birthday party.  And I had an overwhelming fear of attending a party on wheels; especially for my littlest daughter's sake.

Miraculously, my children and all the party children managed to remain on their feet.  Gliding across the wheel scuffed hardwood floors.  The disco ball emitting flashes of silver light.  The fake smoke hovering the ceiling tiles.  A toilet seat hanging from the ceiling (whatever for?)  The Black-Eyed Peas were blaring.

Flashback to the 70s:  I kept waiting to hear the Bay City Rollers, Donna Summer, the Bee Gees, Andy Gibb, Supertramp, 10CC, Sister Sledge's "We Are Family", and Yvonne Elliman's "If I Can't Have You".  The rollerskating boogie songs never came... but I played them in my mind!

Ahhh, Thankfully, only one of the party dads broke a wrist!  WHEW!  (Sorry, AnnaClaire's Dad ... )

Sunday, May 2, 2010

A perfect climate

even IF it is only for one day.  or one afternoon.  or one hour.

70 degrees
25% humidity
spring time

The days are busy.  I am not sure if they are "as busy as a beavers" kind of day... because that beaver has quite a bit of manual labor ahead of him/her.  Nonetheless, they are busy.  I have to remind myself to take time to enjoy one small thing everyday with the children. 

Specifically, I enjoy this time of year.  The temperature is perfect.  I wish it could stay this way forever.  Everyone appears happy, too.  In the school parking lot, mothers and fathers are waving instead of finger gesturing.  At the supermarket, shoppers smile and say, "you first" instead of ramming their cart into your cart.  Wives stroke their husbands' egos instead of 'giving them the evil eye which suggests nothing for you tonight'.  Children nicely play instead of throwing tantrums on the ground.  Mommies drink wine after dinner instead of in lieu of the first morning coffee.  The climate is perfect. 

May your climate be perfect wherever you are, too!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

shopping update ... 20 weeks

Rough Day of Shopping

Well, the shopping -- or rather, the no shopping -- is not going so well.  The first sixteen weeks were positive.  I really made an effort; and the effort was good and rewarded with genuine happy smiles from darling husband.  However, the last four weeks -- combined with pregnancy depression -- have sucked.  There is no better word.  Or rather, I have sucked at "no shopping". 

When I was diagnosed with placenta previa, I panicked.  That is my excuse and I am sticking to it. 

The first couple of ultrasounds and their memento photographs are so charming and exciting... when you see tiny baby in a sac with little limbs, a head, a rump, and a beating heart.  Then the next few ultrasounds and their photographs (in 2D or 3D) are horrifying, in my opinion.  The head is quite skeletal with eye sockets and a mouth and nose.  The gender:  either lines or turtle-ish.  The photographs are NOT flattering. 

So, with each pregnancy, I choose to SHOP.  Unattractive baby in ultrasound photographs NEEDS some very BEAUTIFUL clothes.  And shop, I do.  (I suppose I could just hand-me-down since I keep producing baby girls... but each year, the girls clothing becomes more beautiful.  Damn you baby designers!)

The stores and their cute names suck me in like a windtunnel.   I walk by the store front and a gigantic Hoover Vac has its hose pointed at me and off I go.  I have no choice because I cannot fight the suction.  I suppose it would help IF I chose not to drive to the sites in the first place!

Anavini (one of my favorite smocked dress designers)
Janie and Jack (
Bunnies By The Bay (
Lily Pullitzer
Hanna Andersson
Gymboree ( and don't forget the Gymbucks
... going on NOW, so you can come back later!!
Zoe and Jack
Babies on the Boulevard
Snug as a Bug
Strasbourg (more smocked dresses)
Kelly's Kids (
Victoria's Kid
Kissy Kissy
Windmill Kids (

And the list could go on and on...

But baby girl #3 will have pretty clothing despite her appearance!