Saturday, April 12, 2008

No One Likes A Potty Mouth

According to Parenting magazine, 28% of moms admit to swearing during childbirth.

Now, I am actually surprised that number is so low. Part of me thinks a lot of the women polled may have sincerely forgotten, and another part of me thinks this may be a case of selective memory. I realize a lot of you are C-sections survivors, and so the need to utter an expletive didn't really come until after the baby arrived and the pain medication began to wear off. Others of you may have used your epidural release button like a crazed Jeopardy contest and felt more like singing than cursing. Whatever the reason, I imagine that number would be much higher if the poll was given exclusively to mothers who endured natural childbirth.

As for me, my first experience in labor and delivery involved some challenging back labor, a plentiful baby, and an anestieologist who may or may not have just come from happy hour. Nevertheless, I felt a lot of the labor and, consequently, let a few mild expletives slip. To be clear, I probably would have passed through primetime television, but my PG-13 rating would have been well earned.

However, my second experience was completely different. My son was induced, my anesthiologist was a magician, and, since I went into labor before my husband made it to the hospital, my Ipod had me singing intensely while I waited for the epidural.

The nurses were actually laughing at me. Instead of a litany of expletives, the only sound coming out of my delivery room was:

"Hey, there - ouch- Delilah, we've got -oh no- so much left to say -whoa- if every simple song I wrote -mother of heaven- to you would take -sweet Jesus- your breath away- yikes- I'd write it all- wow."

Though, in the end, I couldn't tell you which was worse...the sounds of my mild swears or my off-key singing.

Did anyone else offend?

Quote of the Weekend

"Watching your daughter being collected by her date feels like handing over a million dollar Stradivarius to a gorilla." -Jim Bishop.

Picture of the Weekend

A daughter's love for her father is eternal...
even if his hairline is not.

Send your best kid pictures to: dalessandrochristine@gmail.com

Friday, April 11, 2008

Intimidating babies

So, I love it when my daughter makes her fish face, her turtle impression, and her chicken dance; however, my most favorite expression she has mastered is the "snotty face". She puckers her lips, squints her eyes, and just glares.

It has been keeping up laughing for months now.

Unfortunately, the snotty face is now starting to surface with no humor intended. More often, it is accompanied with fists on hips and the word, "No!".

I love two year olds.

Not to be outdone, the following clip is hysterical as it shows a youngster giving "the Evil Eye", and then laughing uncontrollably. I just wish I could warn the accompanying father that this face won't seem so funny in the near future.

Enjoy it now.


What's In A Name?

If you enjoy ridunkulous names as much as I do, you must, must, must visit the following link, brought to my attention by the most sensationally cerebral Chris Fernandez. “Name of the Year” is a site dedicated to an annual contest of horrible names. Set up in the form of bracketology, this contest actually relies on its viewers to submit off the wall names (with drivers licenses as proof), and pits them against other bad names to determine the winner.

The 2008 contest is still underway, where the “Final Four” include the names: Spaceman Africa, Phyllis Mangina, and Steeve Ho You Fat.

Visit the site if you’d like to join in the vote, or simply follow it. Also, consider perusing past contest winners where other crazy names can be found. My own favorites?

Tanqueray Beavers
Habibi Zibi
Queena Formica


Check it out at:

http://www.nameoftheyear.blogspot.com/

This Is Why I Did Not Want To Post About Fashion


Okay, since I posted the whole Mama Fashionista thing, I have received two emails, one phone call, and a posted comment, all about the fact that I said capris are no longer fashionable.

I know they are practical. I know they cover a multitude of sins. And I know they come in really nice colors. But cutting edge fashion they are not.

And it seems some of you are having more than a little trouble accepting their demise. I mean, I’ve posted about breast vs. bottle and a pregnant man and I got little reaction.

But capris!? And do we really need to kill the messenger?

In case you are still in denial…..her is an amendment to help you reconcile wearing them.

The experts at Vogue state, “Capris and cropped pants are not as stylish as they once were, but if they are flattering on you, than they are still acceptable. Just try to pair them with a tunic top or minidress to update the look.”


So there you have it.


Quote of the Day

"My husband and I are either going to buy a dog or have a child. We can’t decide whether to ruin our carpet or ruin our lives." ~ Rita Rudner

Picture of the Day




Mirror, mirror, on the wall....
Send your best kid pictures to: dalessandrochristine@gmail.com

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Product Warning


In the event that you have a little girl (or little boy...I'd never judge) who loves the Disney Princesses (shout out to JL...when you can read...any day now, I'm sure), please take my advice and avoid purchasing the new Disney Princess Crispy Treat Bars (made to look like cereal bars), no matter how much your little one begs for them in the grocery store.

My daughter usually has a great breakfast (the only meal of the day I can count on her eating well), but by late morning, she's usually ready for a small snack. As a result, I usually give her a banana, rice cakes, or even a cereal bar for what is typically a car ride to one of our many outings. Having discovered the Crispy Treat Bars and knowing how much my little Smow White would love them, I grabbed up a box and congratulated myself on finding a treat that would not only be healthy, but fun for her.

Until we got in the car.

Though the sugar count was not too high (4 grams), and the box promised them to be a good source of fiber, I should have known something was up when my teeth began to tingle at the meer smell of them.

She shouted with glee at the pink chips that cover them, she squealed with delight over the stickers that accompanied them, and she laughed as she claimed that that they were made of "glue".

What?

After arriving home, my mind racing with possibilities over what a characterization of glue might equate, I unbuckled my little O only to find that she was completely covered in stickiness. These treats completely covered her hands, and then everything else she managed to touch in the meantime. The seat, her clothes, and (gasp!) her hair!!

Really, I may as well have given her a tube of Elmers and let her go crazy.

Disgusting....the stickiness and the fact that, once again, I played the role of obliging puppet for Disney.

Well, I think I have my Halloween costume figured out for next year!

In keeping with the theme of jeans (and yesterday's great SNL clip), I tracked down this classic segment. I'm sure you've all seen the "Mom Jeans" skit from Saturday Night Live, but it's worth another look.



If you've never seen it....prepare for a glimpse into your future (or, your past).









Mom Jeans commercial - kewego
Mom Jeans commercial - kewego

Mom Jeans commercial - kewego
For moms who are not the greatest in shape, this is a commercial showing some different style of jeans that fit them.
Video from idog

The Eternal Search



It would be more than accurate to say that I have spent most of my adult life in search of the perfect jeans. I once owned a pair in high school (vintage levis that I got in the Village circa 1992), and I wore them until they were ripped and threadbare, less than practical apparel for those crisp Albany winters. Needless to say, they were reduced to cut-offs, and then a dust rag.

I haven’t found as good a fit since.

The reality is that after two children, life on a Philly block that housed over 7 restaurants, and a move to the suburbs that reduced my exercise to getting in and out of the car, those old jeans probably wouldn’t quite fit as well today anyway.

After I had my son, I decided to commit to reclaiming my shape and used Jenny Craig, Susan the Fitness Guru, and hours of squats while I tried to get my son to sleep (no east feat at 23 lbs) to do so. My reward? I convinced my husband that an appropriate incentive would be the perfect pair of jeans, no matter the style or price.

He acquiesced (before he realized how pricey good jeans can really be).

So, 9 months post-partum, I am close to where I want to be (minus some interesting stomach skin that now resembles a Sharpe puppy), and I do what any sensible woman would when she’s in need of good clothes and price is no object. You head to Barney’s, Bergdorf’s, Bloomingdales, Neiman Marcus, or, my personal favorite, Nordstrom.

Nordstrom it was, and away I went with credit card in hand and husband crying from the driveway as I sped away.

The great thing about Nordstrom (and Lord & Taylor….RIP), is the sales people. No matter where you are, they always seem ready to offer advice that is always relevant and never condescending. For that reason, it is the best place to shop for shoes, bras, and, of course, jeans.

Since even I have an appreciation for budgets, I bypassed the uber expensive jeans and actually hit the Juniors / BP department for their collection of Seven jeans, Hudson, Miss Sixty, Theory, and Citizens of Humanity….among others.

I tried on everything.

Most interesting, the salesgirl not only was honest about what looked best, she also directed me to the best jeans for all day wear. Having spoken to a wealth of women about this, I know we all struggle with this.

Case in point: I have an awesome pair of jeans that look amazing for the first 20 minutes I wear them. However; after bending over, walking, and using the bathroom, I need to roll the waistband over like a Catholic school girl who disagrees with the nuns’ view of a good length. The use of Lycra in a lot of jeans to really flatter every form also causes them to lose shape way too quickly.

The Nordstrom salesgirl was most helpful in this respect, She actually told me that, with the pair of Sevens I was leaning towards, should be bought 2-3 sizes smaller because they stretch so much. I couldn’t believe it….nor could I breathe when I tried them on!

So, the winning pair was actually Citizens of Humanity, which are so flattering, comfortable, resilient, and, aside from needing to be hemmed about three inches…perfect.

As for the price? I will never tell….because (1) my husband still breaks out into a rash at the thought of it, and (2) it forces me to face the reality that I could have fed a small village with the price. Yikes.

If you too are in search of the perfect jeans, the best tips I can give are:

1) Expect to have them tailored. With designers making them in record lengths, go with a good fit, and have a tailor adjust their length. If you are willing to dish out the dough for the style and fit, invest in a good seamstress (most dry cleaners offer their services).
2) Go to a good department store. I love boutique shopping for finding unusual tops, shoes, and accessories, but jeans are often more expensive because they are not bought in such high quantities.
3) If you need to rationalize spending more (especially since Target, Kohls, and the like offer pretty close imitations), rationalize by chalking it up to your uniform. Think about how often you’d wear them and ask yourself what other items you’d use as frequently.
4) Avoid overly trendy ones with too much embellishment, fading, and ornate pockets…you don’t want to be forced to torch them after only one season.
5) Go alone or with girlfriends. Bringing the kids will force you to act too quickly, resulting in impulse buys that rarely work out. Go alone, or even better, bring an honest girlfriend.
6) And finally, when in doubt, don’t. If you are in search of the perfect jeans, don’t settle unless you are doing cartwheels in the dressing room (shout out to Sheryl for letting my do the round-off back handspring).

Best of luck and if your husband is having trouble coping with the bill, invite him to my house, where the group HOMAR (Husbands of Mothers Against the Recession) meets weekly.

Quote of the Day

“A characteristic of the normal child is he doesn't act that way very often.” ~Author Unknown

Picture of the Day



It’s official:

Even if you’re Buzz Lightyear,
eventually,
the rhythm is going to get you.
Send your favorite kid pictures to: dalessandrochristine@gmail.com

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Invest in HazMat Gear


Parents magazine is running an article about the importance of having your kids wash their hands to prevent influenza, common colds, and any other communicable disease. In case you didn't hear, this year's flu vaccine was a complete dud, and more people than ever contracted the flu.


Maybe they should have washed their hands....



After playing with a sick friend or sibling
After using the bathroom
Before eating
After recess
After school or daycare
After playing with animals
After high-fiving the opposing team at the end of a sports game
After playing outside
After blowing her nose or coughing into her hands
Before bedtime


Yes, this is an extensive list, but definitely helps to curb unwelcome germs. To be clear, do not use antibacterial soap every time they wash because most doctors will tell you that overuse prevents children from properly developing immunities to common germs and bacteria.


Also, try to make it a casually common practice. If you make your kids paranoid about germs that are out to get them, Ursula, the Wicked Witch of the East, and that horrible fungus-man (that lifts up the cartoon toenail on the Lamisil commercials*) will be the least of their worries.


Staying clean= good

Making them neurotic = not good


** And maybe the Lamisil thing is just a nightmare for me, but is it really necessary??? And, no, I cannot bring myself to even look at the image above for any extended period of time without getting nauseous.



If You Want to Feel Old

Though I usually reserve Wednesday for my “Then Vs. Now” posting, I can’t think of a better clip to illustrate how far the former rock star in all of us has come. Special thanks to the ever fabulous Susan for passing this along to me; fortunately, the only mark I’d need Turlington’s for is a few thousand freckles.

Warning: This clip is little edgier than my usual material, so I would not recommend it for the easily offended. As for the rest of you hooligans, enjoy (I sure did)!!




video

Toothwatch '08

Sleeping through the night …………… ..√ (once)
Saying “mama” and “dada”……………....√
Pulling himself up……………………........√
Standing………………………..........√ (8 seconds is the current record)
Rolling a ball………………………….........√
Adding and subtracting…………..……...√
Speaking Mandarin………………...….....√
Analyzing the String Theory……….…..√
Differentiating between the Triassic,
Jurassic, and Cretaceous periods….…√
Completing his first novel…….……....√

Getting his first tooth………………………..nope

Quote of the Day

"A mother is not a person to lean on, but a person to make leaning unnecessary." -- Dorothy Canfield Fisher

Picture of the Day




After the food had been taken away, and the business of cleaning up dinner began, little Joseph was pleased to find his secret stash from lunch.
Send your best kid pictures to: dalessandrochristine@gmail.com

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Because People Need to Be Stopped

The following clip is one of the funnier ones I've seen in awhile. This video is a spoof in which people are fined on the streets for giving their children horrible names.

Starting with knucklehead celebrities, the egregious naming of children to somehow make them "unique" needs to be addressed.

It's an epidemic. Enjoy!




A Great Excuse Not To Do Laundry

If you have a front loading washer and dryer and lots of little kid clothes, consider investing in a laundry wash bag (usually intended for delicates) as little socks and things can cause big problems.

For the last week or so, we had been having trouble with our washer stopping mid-cycle, and large amounts of water was just collecting inside. Finally, after the washer ceased to work all together and a very distinct and unpleasant odor developed, we called in for service.

In ten minutes the serviceman, unearthed the very "common" problem. One of my son's very small socks had managed to get into the drainage hose, causing major clogging problems which resulted in the collection of too much water (and the stagnant water created the smell). Given that the socks were especially tiny, they had probably been in there a while, causing the now broken pump to work overtime and, consequently, shut down.

So, a lot of money I would have rather spent on a little white dress is now lost on a laundry mishap that could have been avoided had we been told to regularly check the internal drain.

At least I got a good week off from laundry.

And guess how I'll be spending the rest of this week?

Very Crafty...


Egg Carton Tulip Bouquet

Make a bouquet of delicate eggshell tulips for spring, using foam egg cartons sections and pipe cleaners.


Supplies needed:

Foam egg cartons sections
Green pipe cleaners
Tempera paint and markers
Hot glue or white glue

Instructions:


1) Cut the cartons sections to look like a tulip.

2) Using tempera paint, decorate the shells to look like tulips. Let the paint dry overnight. When the paint is completely dry, add details to the tulips using markers.

3) Twirl one end of a green pipe cleaner into a spiral shape (this will be glued onto the base of the tulip).


4) Glue the spiral to the tulip (if using white glue, let it set for a few hours).

The Votes Are In...

For the first time in a long time, my vote was with the majority...and it seems we're all pretty
embarassed to admit that our children watch more television than we'd like.

I remember (before I had children of my own) swearing that the'd never sit in front of the television like a bunch of drones. Instead, I'd stimulate their curiosities and imaginations with crafts, interactive games, trips to the park, museum, and everywhere else. With so much to do and give our children, how could anyone in good conscience be content plopping their little ones in front of a TV to watch a purple dinosaur sing and dance with kids who will certainly look forward to years of therapy after overdoing on cornballs?

Then I had children.

I spend everyday trying to do everything I imagined I would and so we do crafts, take walks, bake, go to the park and engage ourselves in a host of activities that give them the opportunity to play, explore, and socialize (which, for the 9 month old, extends to clapping and laughing). But at the end of the day, I just need some time to get dinner ready. And so the television goes on. Likewise, morning cartoons provide some time for me to clean up the breakfast dishes, pack our bags, get myself together, and start the day feeling somewhat prepared.

And so, yes, my children's television watching exceeds the AAP's recommended time of one hour a day by a bit, but I also get some time to recharge, give them time to themselves, and, with the great strides in childrens programming, my kids now know some things I might never have thought to teach them (what a chinchilla is, how to say hello in Chinese, and the various stages of the moon).

A distant second, was bribing your children (I will not apologize for this...M&Ms had my daughter potty trained in record time), and quoting your mother (I not only do it all the time, I now appreciate what she has done for me so much more--- like letting me survive the terrible twos-- shout out to Barbara).

And, of course, one vote went to each of the remaining guilty actions, (1) comparing your child to others and (2) allowing them to ingest fast food (my daughter, to my great chagrin, asks for french fries everytime she sees a big yellow "M"--- so upsetting).

Though we all do things we swore we wouldn't, we must remember to focus on all the tings we do that are so wonderful for our children. Every time we pick up a book, every time we stop what we're doing to focus just on them, and every time we hold them tight, we are giving them gifts that so many other children are denied.

So, do not worry...no one is coming to take your Mommy license (though, a certain pop tragedy seems perfectly content operating without one), the big gifts are so much bigger than the little things we do, that we wish we didn't.

Thanks for voting ...and be sure to check out this week's poll.

Quote of the Day

"When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child." -Sophia Loren

Picture of the Day


Though too much time in his wallet may have caused it to fade,

The corners may have bent from all the times he needed to take it out and look,

And though she'll be thirty-two this month, and she's a mother of two,


She'll always be his baby.


Special thanks to Bob, for sending this picture and for being such a wondeful dad to one of my best friends.


Send your best kid pictures to: dalessandrochristine@gmail.com



Monday, April 7, 2008

So THAT Explains It


Jennifer Lopez has asked Tom Cruise to be the godfather to both of her dragon tales.


According to a source from dlisted.com, “Tom is delighted. Marc wasn’t sure if it was a good idea to have a Scientologist as the kids’ godfather, especially as he and Jennifer are both Catholic. But in the end Jennifer managed to convince him to agree.”


I finally have an answer for all my wondering about her inability to show even the slightest touch of altruism towards her most loyal fans.


She is crazy.


Maybe He Knows Something I Don't


A few years ago I made one of many visits to my dear friend Margaret's home in Connecticut. As we spent Saturday morning enjoying breakfast, coffee, the paper, and great conversation, I was suddenly startled after hearing what seemed to be a loud "thump". Given that Margaret and her husband never even flinched, I was more than a little curious over the source of the noise.


Upon inquiry, Margaret and Co. informed me that it was, in fact, a bird. It seems that every morning, rain or shine, at around 8 am, a bird flies right into their front window.


I was fascinated.


Was the bird blinded by the morning sun? Did it confuse their large window for some place it could fly through? Was it lost? Blind? Had it skipped its serving of caffeine before the morning commute?


No answers, and I am pretty sure the bird is still at it.


Flash forward to today and it seems that the bird either made the long trip down to Jersey from Connecticut (hopefully avoiding the GW), or another bird has found itself in the same predicament.


For the last week, every morning my family has consistently listened to the tap, tap, tapping of a blue bird determined to come in through our sliding glass doors. The doors face the backyard, and, among other things, looks out to the birdhouse given by my parents as a present. The birdhouse is actually meant to attract these vibrant blue birds, and it has...only, it seems, one of the birds is looking to trade up.


To be clear, the bird does not just fly into the glass doors once a morning as Margaret's avian genius did. It actually spends a good 3-4 hours tapping the glass, flying around it, and even backing up to ram itself right into it. The result? My door is absolutely peppered with marks, I've been having Edgar Allan Poe-like nightmares of things "tap, tap, tapping at my door", and my children are endlessly amused while enjoying their breakfast.


But I can't stop wondering why he** does it. Is he blind? Stupid? Lost? Confused? Or, just really, really tenacious? I can claim every one of these on any given day, but every day?


And, of course, the English teacher in me cannot resist embracing the metaphor: the most passionate pursuit is not easily derailed by the seemingly insurrmountable. The impossible can be possible with hope and determination. And sometimes, if you bang your head against the wall enough times, you're going to make your mark.


Which leaves me with my only real question: what do I do about all the presents he's left on the stairs leading out to the backyard?


Gross.


*** And by choosing the pronoun "he", I am in no way suggesting that only a man would be so misguided. Or, am I?
And a special shout out to my husband, for giving me the most awesome camera ever for my birthday. Yes, the image above is the actual culprit.

Monday's Meal

The following dish was given to me by my favorite “southern belle by way of Jersey”, Ms. Julianne. Though not recommended for the weight watching set, I have dreams about this casserole and it’s just one of those dishes you use when you want to impress.

Shout out to Bogota, NJ.

Sweet Potato Casserole


3 lbs sweet potatoes, cooked, mashed *(you can use canned...NOT in heavy syrup)
1 cup white sugar
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 TBS vanilla
1 TBS orange zest
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup orange juice Topping
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup shredded coconut (optional)

Preheat oven to 350. Butter 2 qt. baking dish. In large bowl, mix all ingredients beat with hand mixer and spread into prepared dish. *If using fresh potatoes, cool slightly before adding eggs.In a separate bowl, mix topping ingredients and sprinkle on top of potatoes. Bake 350 30-40 minutes. YUM!

Funny Faces to Start Your Week

Whenever we give my daughter something to eat she does not like, her typical reaction is to laugh. Really laugh...out loud. She seems to think we are playing some sort of joke on her, and that we don't really expect her to eat. It is pretty funny, and pretty unusual.

Anyway, here is a clip of children reacting to lemons. Pretty funny, too.


Quote of the Day

"A suburban mother's role is to deliver children obstetrically once, and by car forever after." ~Peter De Vries

Picture of the Day


Happy "Some Day My Prince Will Come" was now available on iTunes, Snow White enjoys her first download.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

A Sign of the Times- The State of the Housing Market

It seems like only yesterday people were running to open houses, caught in the middle of a bidding wars, and everyone, everyone was suddenly interested in flipping a house. Making money in real estate just seemed to easy. And it was.

Then, just like the stock market of the late 90s, everything stopped. The proverbial bandwagon everyone had happily hopped on was now overloaded and going nowhere.

Now, what would have taken a few days to sell, takes months. New construction, in particular, has hit an all time low and sellers are pulling out all the stops to unload property. Extra incentives (in addition to dirt bottom prices) include finished basements, free golf memberships (shout out to Dominion Valley), covered closing costs, and so much more. These deals are astonishing, and a remarkable measure of how bad it has really gotten out there.

As a military brat that considers relocation an art form, I've lived in more houses than I can count and I still, despite being married to a civilian, get the itch to go every few years. In all that moving experience, however, I have never seen anything as far as incentives go, than what I happened upon in the Sunday Inquirer.

Much like other cities, Atlantic City hopped on the wave of condo living and constructed an extravagant, luxury condo building known as the Bella. With units listed in the millions, there is certainly a particular buyer targeted for this kind of living. And what incentives are being offered to the small population who could afford to buy into the Bella?

Now, with your purchase of a condo...

you get a BMW.

Sign me up.

If only I liked Beamers...perhaps they'll negotiate?

Check it out: www.bellacondos.com

Redunkulous!