Saturday, May 24, 2008

I Am So Old

I was enjoying my Saturday morning coffee on our family room floor with my husband and children. We were building blocks, rolling a ball, and watching some cartoons.

And that is when I saw this.....clearly a sign that the world is ending.


Quote of the Weekend

“One of life's greatest mysteries is how the boy who wasn't good enough to marry your daughter can be the father of the smartest grandchild in the world.” -Anonymous

Picture of the Weekend


Apparently inspired by a few too many Jimmy Dean commercials,
this year's Halloween costume was decided:
she'd be a cloud.
Send your favorite kid pictures to: dalessandrochristine@gmail.com

Friday, May 23, 2008

Test Your Knowledge

Whether or not you'd admit being a fan of the show in polite company, click on the following link to test your 90210 knowledge:

http://wgntv.trb.com/features/stv-90210-pop-quiz,0,3960793.triviaquiz

I got two wrong...thank goodness.

I'm Not Sure I Am Feeling It...

When I think of my parents's generation, the big question was always, "Where were you when Kennedy was shot?".

For the current generation, ranging from the teens to late 20s, I imagine the defining question for them is: "Where were you on September 11th?".

In no way would I ever make light of either tragic event, but the defining moment for my generation would have to be, "Where were you when Donna Martin found out she'd be allowed to graduate?". It says a lot.....

Anyway, as I previously posted, the Hollywood wells have run dry and, consequently, many movies and television shows are being reworked. Among them: Beverly Hills, 90210

The show will include a new cast of over-priveledged teens (shout out to Gossip Girl...yes, I watch it and no, I'm not embarassed to admit it), who encounter every conceivable teenage drama, only to have it quickly resolved within the neat little hour of an episode. Adding to the show's appeal, Jenny Garth and Tori Spelling (ugh) will also take turns at reprising their original roles on the show.

Based on the extended trailer below, I am doubtful that the reprisal will come close to doing the original justice. So, I thought I'd throw out a few ideas to enhance the show's appeal:

1) Bring back Hillary Swank as a character who has been pregnant for 15 years, much to the bafflement of doctors.

2) Incorporate an episode where Andrea takes on Ken Jennings in Jeopardy, but then loses and blames it on the fact that she did not enjoy the same advantages of Ken.

3) The scar on Luke Perry's eyebrow becomes the newest character, Chaz, who makes fun of Dylan's every move (because every move he make is, in fact, worthy of laughter).

4) Tori Spelling comes back for a special Halloween episode, and she dons her most outrageous costume to date: a person with socially redeeming value.

5) Ian Zering returns as a David Wooderson type who has no actual lines; he just circles the parking lot of "West Bev" in his now run down convertible, prowling for high school girls.

6) Jenny Garth opens another boutique that specializes solely in leggings and baby doll dresses and Brian Austen Green, having never recovered from the loss of Scott Scanlon, is the stock boy who occasionally spins records for the usually empty store.

7) Tiffany Amber Serena Lisa Mary Juanita Thiessen returns as the most successful alum who, having relinguished her nightclub endeavors, now offers her services as a therapist.

8) Nat, never able to reconcile the fact that his only friends were weird teenagers, remains one of Tiffany's most regular clients.

9) Jason Priestly returns to the show in a docu-style role to highlight his run for the actual presidency. Given the current talent pool of potential candidates, he secures the votes of the 26 - 40 female demographic (so long as he promises to bring back the sideburns and deports Emily Valentine). Oh, and Jesse Vasquez will be his running mate (obviously).

10) Shannon Dougherty returns.




Guess Who....


I will dedicate a poem to the first person who can identify this fallen queen in the Comments section.


And, yes, that is a reward.


The Week In Review

The Top 5 Things I Learned This Week:

5) If you spill Oreo cookies, they will come.

4) Home Depot is Graceland for some, the winter of discontent for others.

3) Lucite high heels with "tip slots" in the sole are never a good idea for Mother's Day, unless your name is Trixie, Roxie, or, ahem, Julie.

2) Forget Mama Fashionista, I need a style consultant for my car, a la "Mom My Ride".

1) He could give me a slurpee and he'd still be the best guy in the world.

mmmm......slurpees......

Painting My Cheeks Red


I really don't embarass easily. I have been sticking my foot in my mouth for so many years now, there really isn't much that can cause me to blush, to stammer, or to ever strike me silent.


Unfortunately, yesterday's visit to a local paint store provided a rare opportunity for all of the three to occur.



While haggling with the salesman over a special order, my daughter stood next to me and my diaper bag as I shifted my son from one hip to the other. Caught up in the conversation that was quickly becoming heated, my daughter took the opportunity of Mommy's distraction to rifle through my diaper bag.


Snacks, sippy cups, books, random crayons, and a few other items...nothing of great value or potential harm (except, perhaps, to my pride).


After what must have been only a few moments, a small line of about 5 contractors assembled behind me, all male and all preparing for the day's work ahead.


It was at this point when my daughter, ever the curious cat, posed a very loud question to her distracted mother:


"Mommy, what is this?".


Not realizing what she had been up to, I spun around only to find her standing a la Statue of Liberty raising aloft the one thing from a purse that may cause a woman serious embarassment.


Three men looked away, one man coughed, and the last turned a shade of red that would have worked well in the kitchen I was trying to put together.


I knelt beside her, gave her a big smile as I slowly opened her grip and returned the item to its special place and whispered,


"It's Mommy's magic wand."




A Blast From the Past

This Is Dedicated To The One I Love...


Quote of the Day

"A family is a unit composed not only of children but of men, women, an occasional animal, and the common cold." ~Ogden Nash

Picture of the Day


Apparently, the younger set were the hardest hit by the loss of David Archuleta.



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

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Further Evidence


Not only does he take care of his wife, his children rarely leave his thoughts throughout the day.


Proof in this was evident yesterday, when he surprised his two favorite little people with their very first pair of Chuck Taylors.


Now that is love.


Why He Deserves Better




After three days of pretty unflattering blogging about my favorite man, I thought it was time to make sure the world (or, the four people who read this blog), know how truly wonderful he is 99.9999% of the time.

In addition to the fantastic prints mapping the two places most significant to our coupling, my husband has also had more than a few brushes with gift giving greatness.

One of the more noteable gestures came last Mother's Day when I was 8 months pregnant and heavier than the maximum capacity for most cargo ships. Recognizing my fatigue, my anxiety, and my need for a self-induced time out, my husband arranged for a limo to pick me up and take me to the lovely Borgata, where a prenatal massage, a fabulous lunch, and even some rounds of blackjack awaited.

It was the perfect gift, at the perfect time, from the perfect person.

One More Thing....


Since the theme of this week has clearly been gift giving, I thought now may be a good time to say that the above item is NEVER a good gift idea for your wife, or any other woman, I might add.




Source: dlisted.com

Moron of the Day

In no way do I believe I am a perfect parent; I make 1,000 mistakes ony any given day.

However, I do believe there are some basic rules of parenting that really belong in what I consider the ultimate textbook, Parenting 101.

They include:

1) Fire, knives, electric sockets, guns, and ovens should not be used as toys.

2) You teach your children a lot more by your actions than your words.

3) If you do not supervise your children while they paint, there is a very good chance the paint will not remain in the designated areas.

And....

4) Children do not belong on reality television.

Unfortunately, someone forgot to give this trusty manual to the braintrust that is Denise Richards. Now, Whoopi Goldberg tries to call the Rhodes Scholar on her errors in parental judgement, but Denise's attempt to comprehend reason looks like the equivalent of a fish being given a calculator.

See for yourself...


Mother's Day: An Amendment

After receiving one comment and three emails inquiring about my husband's thoughts on the Mother's Day gift massacre, I invited my husband to offer his own thoughts on the subject via the blog.

He declined to comment.

So, in typical wife fashion, I feel compelled to speak for my husband. Knowing my husband as well as I do, I am certain he would say:

My wife is the most thoughtful, charming, intelligent, beguiling woman on the planet, and my choice in Mother's Day gift was a heinous error in judgement... and she's really hot.


And there you have it.

HE WON!

This is the first season in a long time of watching American Idol that I actually voted for a singer. If you followed the show, you saw each new week feature David Cook, a seemingly smug bartender from Kansas City, bring fresh takes on old songs with his guitar and gift for rock vocals.

As the season progressed, you also saw the progression of his talent, as well as stoicism being challenged by the pressure of the contest and the extreme anxiety and worry brought on by the decline of his terminally ill brother. Despite the appeal of his aw-shucks competition (David Archuleta) who no doubt captured the hearts of tween girls and their mothers, David Cook generated interest and excitment that went beyond simply having a good voice.

And, quite deservedly, he won.

In case you never watched the show, here is a great clip of him covering Lionel Richie's "Hello".



Quote of the Day

"Families are like fudge - mostly sweet with a few nuts." ~Author Unknown

Picture of the Day


After years of diapers, tantrums, and parent-teacher meetings, the true value of having children was quickly becoming "apparent".
Send your favorite kid pictures: dalessandrochristine@gmail.com

Quote of the Day

"It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men." -Frederick Douglas

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Brilliance

The following clip is almost as brilliant as the one devoted to "Mom Jeans". If you've seen and enjoy "Pimp My Ride", you will certainly be entertained by "Mom My Ride".

I'm not sure which aspect I enjoyed more...

1) The fact that is sponsored by Zima (They still make that? More importantly, why?)
or-
2) The mom's name is Christine

Funny stuff....



A Mother's Day Retrospective: Part III


Determined to put the week's emotional roller coaster behind me, I decided I would forget about the floor cleaner, disregard the conflict over the frames, and move forward with the business of being a wife and mother.


Unfortunately, some greater force had decided that would just not be possible.

As my son enjoyed his morning nap and my daughter played quietly in the family room, I took advantage of the household calm by taking the breakfast dishes to task. The day was clear, my thoughts were wandering, and Mother's Day was a distant memory.

Then, I heard a slight commotion coming from the room where my daughter had been playing. I peered around the wall to check on things and was surprised to find the discovery of her newest toy.

The Hoover box.

Bored with the billions of toys that overwhelm our downstairs, my daughter had found the universally enjoyable entertainment of a big carboard box. I sat down on the floor beside her to watch her curiosity at work.

She gleefully tossed the limitless styrofoam, she played peekaboo with the flexible flaps, and she hopped in and out of the deep box. By the time she was asking for a ride, my eyes had fixed on the image of the woman happily mopping her floor with the Hoover craft. Her thrilled expression seemed to suggest that there was no greater enjoyment to be had than cleaning, and her face annoyed the hell out of me.

The boil returned.

I decided I could not stand it anymore. It needed to be returned.

The decision to act felt good and, with a flourish of energy, I searched the box for a return label. Not quite sure how I would disassenble the machine or fit it back in the box, I was having enough trouble even locating a return address.

And that's when I saw it- the point of sale was not some distant retailer. It was Home Depot.

I blanched.

He decided to get me a Mother's Day gift. He decided to get me something he thought I would really like. And he decided that Home Depot was where he would find it????

Lumber for a deck, yes. Shelving for a new custom closet, yes. Decoravtive ceramic tile, sure.

But a floor cleaner.

Forget proper reassembly, I angrily threw the entire cleaner in the box, which meant only half was completely in, while the rest poked out in triumph. I stuck styrofoam, cardboard positioners, and the always helpful grout scrubber attachment wherever I could find an opening and tossed it into the trunk of my car. Since my husband had also filled it with cleaning solution for ready-use, that would be returned right along with it.

My daughter, sensing an adventure, gleefully put on her froggy boots as I waited for my little guy to awake.

Flash forward 30 minutes and I and my two charges are bounding through the Home Depot parking lot. The Hoover, still only partially in the box, is sulking in the cart while my son sits in front squealing with delight and my daughter marches in step with me, pleased to be up to something she will not get in trouble for.

The automatic doors part as the flourescent lights and smell of wood and mulch greet our senses. I do a quick survey to find the designated area for returns, and make my way to the desk.

As we march, styrofoam is beginning to break free as a trail of cleaning fluid leaks from the box, marking our path. I park the cart in all its disaster in front of the desk and smile as I meet the cashier's eyes.

Oksana looks at my cart, at me, and then back at the cart with more than a little apprehension.

"Hi, I need to return this...this." I manage to hold my smile as I hoist the mechanism onto the table for returns, all while pretending not to notice the puddle slowly growing beneath.

"Oh, is there something wrong with it?"

"Yes...it's a Mother's Day gift".

She blinks.

Not sure what to do, she walks over to the table to inspect the box and scan the SKU number. I am still smiling to make sure she knows I think there is nothing wrong with the way in which I am presenting it for return.

"Okay, but is there anything else wrong with it."
"No. You just need to take it back".

"Oh, okay." I watch her eyes scan the proximity, clearing searching for the help of a manager or a security guard as my smile remains frozen.

She starts to ask for the receipt, but I quickly cut her off to let her know that merchandise credit would be just fine and so, she dutifully prints out the return slip along for a certificate of credit.

I walked out of the store, still smiling as I clutch the small red card with only one thought it mind...

It will fit perfectly inside a Father's Day card.








Congratulations!


Special congratulations to the D'Ostilio Family who just learned they will be expecting their second child this December!

Baby #2 will join his older brother, Andrew,

in keeping his parents young, happy, and eternally exhausted.


Our best wishes to the expanding family!

Having A Way With Words

Consider this my newest weekly installment. Each Wednesday I will pick a typical situation in which someone makes a comment about your parenting, your child, or any general, unsolicited advice, accompanied with a desired response and an appropriate response.

For example:

The Comment: Observing that your child is not advanced in his or her verbal skills, the stranger says, "Gee, he's not much of a talker, is he?"

What You Want To Say: "No, we just encourage him not to talk to strangers or morons and you happen to represent both."

What You Could Say: "I know. I guess he's just been too busy finishing his first novel to really work on developing his oral communication."

What You Should Say: "Gee, I hadn't noticed. How long have you been working with children?"

Quote of the Day

"Whatever they grow up to be, they are still our children, and the one most important of all the things we can give to them is unconditional love. Not a love that depends on anything at all except that they are our children." -Rosaleen Dickson

Picture of the Day


In the newest installment of Friday the 13th: Part 24,
Jason returns in his most terrifying role to date:
A 3 year old

Please send your favorite kid pictures to: dalessandrochristine@gmail.com

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Feeding Our Children

In addition to concerns over curtailing childhood obesity, just as many parents worry that their children are not eating enough.

With my own daughter, the battle to get her to eat a full mean occurs every day, despite a million different approaches with no consistent results. I know I am not alone in this, nor am I alone in my worry that she is not getting enough nutritious sustenance to support her growing body.

Thankfully, Babyzone just made the following chart available to parents who want to know exactly how much their child shoud be eating on a daily basis.

Though the chart only goes up to the age of 2, it certainly provides some insight into the daily guidelines. It is also important to keep in mind that a day here or there where these amounts are not met should not result in serious worry; this list represents what should be consumed on an average day.

http://www.babyzone.com/baby/nutrition-chart.pdf

The Votes Are In....

No matter how many times people tell expectant parents how much life changes after children, you can never fully realize the veracity of those "warnings" until you are wallowing in the trenches, wondering who you've become and why you ever complained about anything before this point (especially exhaustion).

Since my husband and I are pretty religious home bodies, the transition to life with very little social interaction with the outside world was not as hard for us as it is for some. Never ones to hop on a plane to Vegas or start up a band and decide to tour, we really didn't mind hunkering down to be still with our new family. What we did not anticipate would be how tired, tired could be and how hard it is to talk to each other about things other than diapers, feedings, and naps. We struggled to find some rhythm, yearned for something resembling normalcy (or at least predicatbility) and though time had made life easier to juggle, the idea that a return to easy living being just around the corner really did not ever happen. With each new age comes new worries, new anxieties, and new obligations to eat up your time.

So, if you could surrender one of the harder parts of parenting, what would it be?

The answer was as close to unanimous as we've come: having limited freedom. Not choosing when to start your day, not being able to decide on a whim where to go and what to do, not being able to ignore a clock, someone else's needs, or a lingering odor all become the realities of parenting.

Though I do not miss the crazy nights out that took longer to recover from than the hours spent enjoying them, I do miss dining out with friends and conversations that never seem or need to end. I miss lazy weekend mornings drinking coffee, reading the paper, and eventually deciding to do something. I miss going to the bathroom when I have to, as opposed to when I can fit it in (you'd think teaching would have prepared me for that) and I miss not having to worry so much.
Unfortunately, there is no way to fully appreciate all those bygone things without completely surrendering them. I guess that is why empty-nesters and new grandparents always seem so happy.

Other constraints included the second place finishers: administering discipline and laundry. I actually don't have a problem with disciplining my children, as my struggle really lies in trying to figure out which method works best for the individual child. And as for the laundry, the pile waiting to be cleaned in my laundry room could swallow a small child...and I really don't mind that unless people stumble upon it while looking for the bathroom.

The last place votes went to doctor's visits, which usually serves as a great test of patience and immunities, as well as diapers. I actually am so used to diapers at this point, they really don't even bother me or my olfactory senses much....and I still love watching my husband hack and gag everytime he gets to do a doozy.

I guess it comes down to this: parenting is the hardest, best job in the world. It has to be if enduring all of the above is well worth all that you get out of it.

My hardest days are still the best days I've ever known.

On Honor of the Birthday Girl...

Another one of my favorite 3 year olds made her small screen debut.....


And the Saga Continues...


A Mother's Day Retrospective: Part II


Somehow I was able to conceal my initial surprise over my Mother's Day gift, and, of course, disappointment soon gave way to guilt over acting ungratefully. It wasn't that I had harbored any great expectations for a gift, as I woud have been happy with flowers and a card. I think I was just confused over why this particular gift was inspired by me.


As the days passed, so too did the memory of the gift. Stowed away from sight in the closet, only the box remained to remind me of its presence. And I ignored that too by finding a temporary home for it in the corner of the office.


As we fell into the rhythm of the week, my mind settled on my Valentine's gift, which was not only sentimental, but also one of the more thoughtful gifts I have ever received. Having enjoyed our courtship while in college in Albany (I know, nothing says romance like Albany), as well as a memorable trip to Lake George, my husband had tracked down two antique maps of both locations, along with gift certificates to have them framed for our home.


If you've been to my house, you know that our walls are a virtual gallery of our children and, in keeping with keeping our space personal, the prints were the perfect present to help furnish some of our more barren walls.


I decided to be proactive and finally get these prints framed. On Tuesday, I headed to a nearby framer with kids in tow. The salesman was meticulous, informative, and slightly pricey. The end result was two gorgeous frames and a bill on top of the already generous gift certificates. In my mind, it was well worth it. Unfortunately, I was the only one who felt that way.


As my husband headed home from work, he made his usual call home to inquire about the day and report on his own. I casually reported on the day's events, with a brief mention of the trip to get frames. He asked about the price and I answered honestly.


He asked again.


I responded again.


Silence.


Apparently, despite knowing each other better than anyone, we quickly learned that we differed on what constitutes a reasonable price for custom framing. In truth, I usually head to Kohls for matted frames that are always on sale (why bother advertising a sale?...they're always 70% off), but these were not only special, but also a unique size.


After our heated "conversation" ended, my thoughts returned to the enemy lurking in the nearby closet. It was taunting me. Gift ideas were colliding in my head as I was having a hard time reconciling my feelings.


Again, days passed.
I shared my concealed thoughts about the gift with my usually reasonable mother. I make it a point never to bring outside parties into our disagreements, but I felt the need to share my thoughts with someone who may give me honest feedback.
She did:
"Oh, don't be upset. Men look at things very differently than women. If it makes you feel any better, your father once gave me quite a gift for my birthday."
Not believing that anything could outdo the Hoover, I pressed her to share.
"Well, I had just had your brother Paul and we were still struggling quite a bit as most young families do when they are first starting out. So, I never expected much; but when your father left a single envelope with the promise of a surprise inside, I let myself get excited... and that was my mistake."
"Why, what was it?"
"A check....for twenty-five dollars." (shout out to Rob Panasci)
I was struck into a rare silence.
"Yes, and it took me three days before I could control my anger enough to let him hear what I thought of his gift."
"Wow" was all I could muster.
"And just remember the gift your grandfather gave to Grandma for their first Christmas together".
Grandpa? That wonderful, cuddly Santa-of-a-guy Grandpa? Surely he could do no wrong.
"Yep, he gave her an ironing board and she cried for a week....and he couldn't figure out why. So, you see, you are far from alone."
I hung up the phone more disillusioned than ever. But I had blogged about this!

And then it was Thursday and Olivia discovered the box.

To be continued....




Happy Birthday, Jessica Marie!




Happy Birthday to Cinderella's most devoted protege!


May your "once upon a times" always end with a happily ever after...






Tuesday's Craft


With Father's Day only weeks away, the following craft is a great gift idea for your kids to do in honor of dear old dad. It must be said, however, that by no means is this a good gift for a mother to give to her husband. In fact, if I handed this over to my husband, he would absolutely have just cause to start up his own blog and complain about me.


For kids, however, this absolutely rocks.


Dad Rocks Paperweight


Materials:

1 rock heavy enough to weight down paper, about a palm size

Acrylic paint (Paint it with his favorite color or to match his office d├ęcor)

Gold glitter glue

Paintbrush

Acrylic sealer spray

Black marker


Directions:
1) Choose a rock that is about the size of your palm. It should be heavy enough to weight down a few papers and not be blown away.
2) Wash the rock with warm, soapy water and a scrub brush; be sure to get into all the crevices. Wipe off water with a towel.3) After rock has completely dried, paint the entire rock with acrylic paint. Let the paint dry and then paint on a second coat.
4) Paint the entire rock with a thin layer of glitter glue and then let dry.
5) Use a squeezable glitter glue bottle to carefully write “DAD ROCKS” on the rock. Let dry overnight.

6) The next day, use a black marker to outline the letters to make them stand out better.
7) Spray the entire surface of rock with acrylic sealer spray.


Tips:


  • Instead of writing the words with glitter glue, try a paint pen. They write like a pen but go on like paint. You can find them at your local craft supply store.

  • Some glitter glues dry puffy and some dry flat. Experiment with yours first if you like to see how it will turn out.

  • Instead of just one rock, paint two and put “DAD” on one and “ROCKS” on the other for a matching set.

Quote of the Day

"The school will teach children how to read, but the environment of the home must teach them what to read. The school can teach them how to think, but the home must teach them what to believe." -Charles A. Wells

Picture of the Day

Ironing a dress shirt: Easy
Coping with a girl who insists on dressing herself: Challenging
Explaining that "Take Your Child To Work" is only a yearly event: IMPOSSIBLE


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




Monday, May 19, 2008

Out of the Mouths of Babes...

In keeping with the latest trends in Parent/Child communication theories, I try not to use the word "no" more than a thousand times a day. Though requests for chocolate treats, trips to the zoo, and gluing things to her brother's head usually require a negative response, I have been trying to make a better go of positively declining her varied petitions.

Examples include:

"May I have some Italian Ice?"
"Yes, as soon as you finish your dinner"

"May I watch a show"
"Of course you can, when it's time for Mommy to start dinner."

"May I put a boogie on Daddy's pillow"
"As often as you like."

But, there are some occasions when nothing works better than a direct, no nonsense, "no".

Examples include:

"No, you may not paint the refrigerator"

"No, you are not allowed to go get Bama*" (Bama lives in Virginia)

"No, you may not put Joseph in the washer or dryer."

Unfortunately, my inventiveness in using and not using the word "no" may have rubbed off on my daughter. Yesterday, I asked her is she would "please stop climbing on the coffee table".

She responded:

"No. With a no, no, here; and a no, no there. Here a no, there a no, everywhere a no, no...".

I think my mother's long standing wish that I have a daughter just like me is now starting to materialize....

A Star is Born

In case you missed our newest South Jersey starlet on the Sprout Sharing Show, take a look at one of my favorite 3 years olds make her small screen debut.

Great things surely await such a talented miss.....



I Couldn't Make This Up

Mother's Day: A Retrospective- Part I



Two weeks ago I devoted two lengthy posts to the discussion of Mother's Day gift giving for the fathers who were either at a loss, or were in need of some direction. In those posts I included lovely gift ideas such as a cleaning service, jewelry, gift certificates, and a host of pampering ideas. In contrast, I also devoted some time to a list of gifts to avoid. These included household appliances, awful home decor, and the like.



Ironically, my own Mother's Day was....memorable; and that is the story I have been meaning to tell. Some of you will see me as ungrateful, while others will see me as merciful. But no matter what your reaction, "the people, the event, and the drama are real..."



Before I begin what may be my most memorable Mother's Day so far, let me begin by issuing this disclaimer: my husband is a pretty amazing man. He is a great father, a wonderful husband, and an all-around nice guy. He also has a history of extending some very thoughtful gifts to me in the past. These gifts include the camera of my dreams, spa gift certificates, and other surprises that simply took my breath away. Unfortunately, this post is not about those gifts.



My third Mother's Day was a natural disaster from the beginning. Tornadoes buffeting the southeastern United States kept me stuck in the Jacksonville airport for hours as I desperately awaited my return home to my husband and children. I was in Florida for the First Communion of my niece, the beautiful Grace, and this trip also marked the first time I would be away from my little man overnight....all the more reason I was anxious to get home.



With each new flight delay, I became more and more sick at heart for my family and my fleeting Mother's Day. When I did eventually board the plane, I was seated in front of a mother and child who read books and sang songs the entire flight. I was definitely wallowing in some Mother's Day melancholy.



My travel weary self finally found its way home at 5:30 PM, where I was greeted with hugs and kisses before making it into the door. I breathed a sigh of relief as it seemed my emotional day was coming to an end; I listened as my little girl jabbered on about all she had done in the 36 hours I was gone; and I held my little guy as he just stared at me in happy contentment. I passed out souvenirs and described the exciting airplane and the beach. All was as it should be...for now.



As the greetings came to a close, my beaming husband scooped up both children and with barely contained excitement said,



"Should we show Mommy her special gift??"



"Yes!" Olivia shouted, while Joseph smiled and drooled an assent.



They began jumping around in joyous anticipation as my husband cheered: "Follow us!".



I can honestly say that, given my day and my demeanor, I had completely dismissed the occurrence of any kind of Mother's Day celebration and so, when a gift was mentioned (and boy do I love them), my soul felt a momentary lift.



I followed the party parade into the kitchen where the great reveal would take place. I sucked in a deep breath as I turned the corner and let go an audible gasp as I took in my present in all of its shining grandeur.



There it was....positioned atop our island to enhance the effect of its glory and assembled and polished for immediate impact:



The Mother of all Mother's Day Gifts: The Hoover Floormate SpinScrub Widepath Hardwood Floor Cleaner



I turned to see their eager faces trying to read my reaction, a reaction I was trying so desperately to conceal.

"What is this?" I smiled as I my attempt at a giggle sounded more like a gurgle.




"I know! Isn't great!? It cleans hardwood floors, and also vacuums, and even picks up wet spills!!!!"



I am dreaming. I am dreaming. I am dreaming. I am dreaming.



"Not only that...it comes with a special attachment for cleaning grout! It got the best consumer reports...but wait, let me just show you!!!"



Where are the cameras? Ashton, I know you cancelled the show and all, but I am being punked? Right? Someone? Anyone?



"Now don't worry, I already assembled it completely and even put in the cleaning fluid that is made especially for hardwood floors. See...".



My head is spinning as I watch him wrestle it down from the island (no easy task....this cleaning contraption appears to weigh a great deal) and he turns it on using the "control finger" feature he also feels compelled to expound on.


"Wow!" I manage to sputter, "What made you think of this?".



"Oh, your mom!"



Why, Barbara, why? Was I that horrible of a teenager? I swear it was Paul who broke the lamp.



"My...mom???"



"No, I mean, you said you'd like an electric broom like your mom's since you are always sweeping up after Joseph's meals" (my son is a one man Old Country Buffet) "so I figured I'd just get something that did it all!!!"



Reeling. My mind is reeling. I thought I did have something that "does it all"....her name is Diana and she comes ever other Thursday.....



"Let's check it out! Plug it in! Plug it in!"



I contemplate making a quick job of wrapping the chord around my neck, but decided against scaring the children and found a close socket.



With a magical "whoosh" the floor cleaning phenom came to life, shaking the house and my last few grasps of sanity.



My husband danced about with handle in one grip and the baby in the other...no doubt to show how I would use it. He swivelled under chairs, pirouetted around the table, and shimmied under my desk.



As the show began to wind down I made a mental check of everything he had ever done for me, how I must not reveal my surprise / horror / surprise, how he loves me, really, deep down, he must have looked at this and said, "yes, that really shows my love."



I must focus.



He flips the switch and spins to face me. The baby had clearly enjoyed the ride, and Olivia is now dancing around on the newly slicked floor, made perfect for spinning.



"So, what do you think? Great, right?"



Don't cry, don't cry, don't cry.......





To be continued......















Everyday Miracles


A truck carrying 28,000 pounds of Oreo cookies overturned on I-80 outside of Chicago this morning. As a result most of the packages of smooshed cookie goodness spilled out onto the road, to the delight and wonderment of passing motorists.

According to the Star Tribune:

Illinois State Police Sgt. Brian Mahoney says the truck's driver was traveling from Chicago to Morris on Interstate 80 around 4
a.m. Monday when he fell asleep at the wheel and slammed into the median.

Though the state troopers have most of the mess cleaned up, the effects on traffic are still pretty disastrous. As expected, the usual occurrence of rubbernecking has resulted in serious clogging, as has the spontaneous parade of people marching along the road's shoulder, clutching what appears to be gallon containers of milk.


In other news, Brian Mahoney has apparently decided to part with Mahopac and head westward with his family.

****And feel free to thank me for my decision not to include any lame expressions (he sure tossed his cookies, and that's the way the cookie crumbles)typically used of those witty anchor cads who simply cannot resist quintessential cornball banter.




Profile of a Parent



Name: Mommy, Mama, Momda, Margaret, Marg


Mother of: Connor (31 mo), Caitlin (11 mo)


What You Did Before You Were Someone’s Mommy: Worked in the insurance industry and couldn't wait to get pregnant so I could quit. Worked out all the time. Read profusely. Hungout with my girlfriends on a regular basis. Enjoyed some quiet time with my husband.


What You Do For Yourself Now: I don't really get the chance to do much by myself, but I do enjoy taking the kids for long walks. I know this is insane, but I find cleaning theraputic.


What is your favorite thing about being a mother? Everything is new to Connor and Caitlin. I love seeing things through their eyes as if I'm seeing them for the first time myself. Being loved unconditionally.


What is the one thing you wish you’d known before you had children? How difficult it is to take care of two young children while trying to maintain your sanity.


What would you do with an extra free hour in your day? Work out.


Who are your go-to people when you have a parenting question? My Mom.


What is the one thing your child(ren) do that always makes you smile? Getting Caitlin up in the morning, she welcomes me with a huge smile every day. Listening to Connor explain something he did or something someone else did. Watching Connor give Caitlin kisses or pat her head when he thinks no one is watching.


Who is your favorite fictional mother? Claire Huxtable.


If you could be someone you know for a day, who would it be? I don't think I'd trade places with anyone. The grass isn't always greener.


If you could ban people from doing something, what would it be? Putting other people down just to make themselves (or their children) look better.


If you could make one mixed CD that would be the only music you could listen to for the rest of your life, what songs would you put on it? "No Woman No Cry" Bob Marley, "Blood of Eden" Peter Gabriel", "Black" Pearl Jam, "Watershed" Indigo Girls, "Long Black Veil" Dave Matthews Band, "No One" Alicia Keys, "Take my hand" Dido, "Solsbury Hill" Peter Gabriel, "All through the night" Cyndi Lauper, "Return to Innocence" Enigma, "1979" Smashing Pumpkins, "Suddenly I See" KT Tunstall, "Crazy Love" Van Morrison, "Crush" Dave Matthews Band, "Summertime" DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince. (I could go on forever).


**Join our parents by sending your answers to the above questions, along with a picture to: dalessandrochristine@gmail.com

Monday Meal

If you are always looking for a better way to incorporate vegetables into your nightly meals and your children love the animated movie, Ratatouille, consider this recipe a great solution.

This versatile Mediterranean dish is easier than most people might think because it can be prepared in one skillet and works best when served over rice.

RATATOUILLE - Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

½ cup yellow or white onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups eggplant, peeled and cubed
1 small zucchini (or yellow summer squash in season), halved lengthwise and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices (1 cup)
1 cup tomatoes, chopped
½ cup green bell pepper, chopped
2 tablespoons vegetable broth or water
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped (or ½ teaspoon dried basil, crushed)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Directions-

1) Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
2) Add onion and garlic to hot oil and cook until tender.
3) Stir in vegetables, broth, and basil.
4) Reduce heat to simmer. Add salt and pepper.
5) Cover and let simmer for 20 minutes or until tender.
6) Remove cover and cook 5 additional minutes or until thickened, stirring occasionally. (Sometimes just letting it sit will help it to thicken).


Source: Art Smith, Yahoo!

Because There is No Better Way To Start Your Monday....

Acknowledging that no band has been more covered than the Beatles, I think it is safe to say that no Beatles song has ever been covered quite like this.

The trouble comes in determining what I enjoyed more: (1) the kid's ability to stay on the beat, or (2) the fantastic staging.

Enjoy----


Quote of the Day

"I don't care how poor a man is; if he has family, he's rich." ~M*A*S*H, Colonel Potter

Picture of the Day


In the event that a parent chooses not to take advantage of the annual flu shot,
there still remain many options available for protecting children from harmful germs.
Send your favorite kid pictures to: dalessandrochristine@gmail.com