Saturday, July 19, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Send out some very special birthday wishes to Zachary (our Picture of the Weekend)on his 3rd birthday!

Quote of the Weekend

"What silent wonder is waked in the boy by blowing bubbles from soap and water with a pipe." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Picture of the Weekend

"Go on and grow up....but I'm warning you, once you grow up you can never go back!" -Peter Pan

Send your favorite kid pictures to:

Friday, July 18, 2008


Similar to an earlier comment I made, it is a rare occasion that I am without words. "Speechless" is not a common characterization of me and so when I do come across a subject that I have no words to express that might best do it justice, I have been known to say nothing at all.

Very occasionally.

In that same vein, I happen to look upon my nieces and nephews in the same way I do my own children: they are perfection and there is simply no way to truly capture it in any other form.

Until now.

Special thanks to Shirley Magilton for once again using her talent to transform our moments into memories.

To view more pictures, click HERE.

The Week In Review

The Top 7 Things I Learned This Week

7) The sun will come out tomorrow, but if you take on Ms. Hannigan's propensity to imbibe, you may not wake up to see it until noon.

6) The world would be a perfect place if all grocery stores offered children's supervision, free food samples, complimentary gas, nail care and facials, and Dr. Oz as your own personal shopper.

5) Walnuts are very tasty, especially when accompanied with water and extreme hunger.

4) Rodeo clowns are funny. Claiming to be one is even funnier.

3) Funnier looks funny when you write it.

2) If I could figure out a way to blog professionally, my real age would be 25...and my finances would be even less.

1) If the Barenaked Ladies can get caught with some Boog Suge, no musician is safe. I've got my eye on you, Lori Burkner.

My Magic is Spreading

The above image was taken from Keith Urban's blog, now devoted to his new family.

Clearly, as an avid reader of my own blog, Keith was inspired to write one of his own and, as a personal thanks, decided to choose for his next venue our very own city of brotherly love.

You're welcome, Keith.

Some Good News for Our Country

Last year witnessed what experts refer to as a "Baby Boomlet"...a year that experienced a burst in childbirth nationwide, regardless of race or age. In other words, something's in the water.

According to ABC News:

"Americans like children. We are the only people who respond to prosperity by saying, `Let's have another kid,"' said Nan Marie Astone, associate professor of population, family and reproductive health at Johns Hopkins University.

Demographers say it is too soon to know if the sudden increase in
births is the start of a trend."We have to wait and see. For now, I would
call it a noticeable blip," said Brady Hamilton, a statistician with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Demographers often use the word boomlet for a small and brief baby boom.

To many economists and policymakers, the increase in births is good news. The U.S. fertility rate — the number of children a woman is expected to have in her lifetime — reached 2.1. That's the "magic number" required for a population to replace itself.

Countries with much lower rates — such as Japan and Italy, both with a rate of 1.3 — face future labor shortages and eroding tax bases as they fail to reproduce enough to take care of their aging elders.

I'm happy to oblige.

For more on the story, click HERE.

What's Dumber Than Dumb?

Leaving the phone in your son's room while he's napping.

Quote of the Day

"All children wear the sign: 'I want to be important NOW.' Many of our juvenile delinquency problems arise because nobody reads the signs." -Dan Pursuit

Picture of the Day

In these dark, economic times, the importance of bringing home the bacon has never been so literal.
Send your favorite kid pictures to:

Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Food Chain

When you know you are no longer at the top of the food chain.....yikes.

Click HERE.

Test Your Annie Trivia

Click HERE to test your Annie trivia....I scored a 9 out of 10, which means, like my daughter, I have been watching it entirely too much.

My Last Oz Post

At least for today.

So, the healthy eating is starting to feel like a routine and I figured it was time to take the "Real Age" challenge.

If you are not aware of what I am referring to, this is basically a test to determine how old you really are according to your lifestyle choices, as opposed to your actual calendar age. This number is determined by things like food, diet, exercise, vitamins, family history, and other more specific things like whether or not your the child of divorce, you wear you seatbelt, and even how often you floss.

It is not only very interesting, but with the age result, you also get a list of things you are doing right, as well as a list of things you could be doing to improve your "real age".

My diet, of course, scored me a lot of points as it is rich in fish, vegetables, soy products, whole wheat grains, and nuts. My lifestyle choices also contributed to my resulting age: 29.9 years!

I am actually 32.4....which means I am doing okay, largely do to my new eating habits, I imagine.

Negatives for me came with some of my family's medical history, my inconsistent exercise routines, and failure to take a multi-vitamin.

So, I'll pick up some vitamins on my next errand run, as well as some flaxseed and fish oil (so excited about those) and we'll see about that exercise part.

Does anyone know Susan's number????

If you want to find out your "Real Age", click HERE.

Also, be prepared to fill out some info about yourself as it takes them about 20-30 minutes to calculate your results, which they email to you. If you do not want to give them your personal email address, use mine and I'll pass along your results.

Shout out to Samantha

Yesterday, some of you may have read the comment made by the lovely Samantha, responding to my Grocery Cart posting.

In this comment, Samantha made mention of Wegman's Grocery Store (shout out to my Upstate New Yorkers), which offers a children's center in which the kids may play while you attend to your grocery shopping.

I am making note of this, as a very special thank you to Samantha is in order. I now have a solid Number 10 reason for my list of reasons why my family should relocate to Virginia.

I will be posting that list tomorrow, for anyone who might be interested....including my husband.

Dr. Oz Strikes Again

So, not only am I starting to like the taste of walnuts (really), I have successfully sabotaged my first unsuspecting friend.

I do have two support partners in the Oz Project, the sensational Stacey and the fabulous Nurse Julie...but today, I took advantage of a visit by Amanda in the trenches to use innocent bystanders as my guinea pigs.

On the menu: Boca Meatless Spicy Chicken Patties.

I yummy sounding.

We ate while trying to manage four children, paints, and the blaring lyrics of Annie and, like only a true friend would, she thanked me for the meal.

Though the term "meal" may be used loosely, let this serve as a warning to anyone planning a visit to the D'Alessandro Ranch......No one is safe from the Wizard of Oz.

Guess Who?

This week's Guess Who? was accurately (and quickly) identified by Chris as none other than Annie herself, Aileen Quinn. Though the actress went on to do a number of Broadway shows, she never again captured such an important, worthy of little girl idolatry role.

And yes, I have Annie on the does every other mother, it seems.

As it goes with the big suits, movies are released for short snippets of time so we all rush out to get them before they are quickly taken back off the shelves to make room for the next release of classic films.

For that reason, Annie is currently the object of obsession from Jessica to Lily's house, and yes, my own.

My daughter walks around the house saying, "I love you Mrs. Hannigan", and though we both share the same hair color and tendency toward inappropriate remarks, it has been a while since I took a bath in gin.

It is a great movie, and now, viewing it as an adult, I have a new appreciation for why it is so wonderful. As a little girl I loved the singing and dancing orphans, I loved Sandy "the dumb dog", and I was fascinated by Punjab. I loved Molly and her pronunciation of "bafroom", and I even found fascination in Mrs. Hannigan, though I took obvious offense to her remark about "stepping on freckles" in "Little Girls".

I loved the movie so much, I was Annie for Halloween.


One year I was little orphan Annie, equipped with mop and bucket. The next year I was Daddy Warbuck's Annie, donning the famous red dress. For a red head, Annie and Molly Ringwald were my only role models....and it's a wonder I've survived without therapy thus far.

Now, I love the movie for different reasons. First, Carol Burnett is sheer genius. When trying to think of an excuse as to why Daddy Warbucks shouldn't be able to adopt her for the week, Mrs. Hannigan remarks that, "She's a drunk". She is hysterical and hysterically inappropriate. Like Amanda-in the trenches, I initially squirmed over the adult lyrics and the double entendres, but since I didn't pick up on them at 5 and 6, I'm going to try to relax about them with my 3 year old.

Other things I never picked up on:

-The significance of Daddy "War-bucks"'s name.

-The great way Grace, his personal assistant, passively manages only a woman can.

- The mutual jabs between the democrats and the republicans

- The presence of Bolsheviks (not an easy characterization to work into a musical)

- The touching and endearing song, "Maybe", which, as a mother, makes me so sad.

So, despite not wanting to fall for the marketing machines that control the release of these movies, I simply cannot miss out on these movies....for me, or for them.

**Shout out to Bama, for picking it up for us!

Guess Who?

Last week Margaret accurately identified Rudy Huxtible's friend Kenny...good luck with this one.

Quote of the Day

"Perhaps parents would enjoy their children more if they stopped to realize that the film of childhood can never be run through for a second showing." -Evelyn Nown

Picture of the Day

"One of the best things in the world to be is a boy; it requires no experience, but needs some practice to be a good one." -Charles Dudley Warner

Send your favorite kid pictures to:

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Dr. Oz: I'm Obsessed


Two of my favorite people in one clip....

Also, though this is set in the context of health, I would not recommend this one for the easily offended.

Too funny.

The Grocery Store Parking Lot: The Newest Battlefield

Now that my daughter is of the legal driving age (for grocery cart vehicles, that is), trips to the grocery store have been, dare I say it, pleasant. My son is still of an age that finds him happy to sit and stare at all the people while munching away on some snack, while my daughter steers this way and that, learning how to signal, to honk, and manage other kids' road rage.

The only cloud on these sunny times is the process of ascertaining the most desirable vehicular cart: the police car.

It's the only one she wants.

There are fire trucks and taxi cabs, decorated with stickers and painted a bright red. And there are a lot of the them. There are only two police cars and, for some reason incomprehensible to the adults, every kid seems to want them.

So, we slowly creep into the parking lot to best survey the rows of carts, as well as any stray returns hiding out. Sometimes both are taken, and the result is an audible sigh with shoulders turned down (a response we both share); but more times than not, there is one police car available.

Upon spying its location, I dart into the parking spot closest to it in proximity, trying to avoid other carts, people, and the teenage cart collector, who may or may not be listening to the Barenaked Ladies.

As I jump out of the car and hastily unbuckle my charges from their seats, a faint glimmer of sanity whispers from the depths of my once reasonable mind and says,

"What the hell is wrong with you? It's a grocery cart....and a germy one."

Nevermind that, I must get it before some other little imp gets his paws on it and I am left with a forelorn little girl.

As we head toward the object of our desire, I notice out of the corner of my eye another child, a girl, pointing enthusiastically at what seems to be the police car, which is trapped amid a web of normal carts near the front entrance.

"Not a chance, sister," I whisper to myself as my pace quickens to a trot while my children squeal with delight.

I'm breathless, I'm determined, I'm kind of sweating, and I am inches away from the cart.

Our paths meet, but we are one step ahead of the would-be usurpers. I announce, "Oh, there's that cart you wanted....the police car!"

I do this in the event that the other mom is more dexterous in detangling carts. Now, she would just appear evil if she went after it after my proclamation.

I am so smart. I dive into the grocery cart calamity.

But wait. Where did she go? My opponent has disappeared.

No, actually she didn't. She and her daughter are happily sorting through the rows of potted herbs while I, sweaty and stupid, try to steer the largest, most annoying, most destructive means of food shopping imaginable.

As I begin my shopping, my embarassed bravado is only overshadowed by my desperate attempts not to knock over the complex displays precariously placed at the end of each aisle.

Gender Roles

Since my daughter was very little, she has loved to play with her dolls. Feeding them, changing them, singing to them, rocking them to sleep....she loves her babies.

My son, on the other hand, plays with her dolls a little differently.

He tries to eat and dismember them.
I hoping it's really just related to teething.

Boys vs. Girls: The study continues....

Quote of the Day

"It is true that you may occasionally overhear a mother say "Children must have their naps, It's mother who knows best." When what she really means by that is that she needs a rest." -Donna Evleth

Picture of the Day

Apparently, Howard Stern does have a son.
Send your favorite kid pictures to:

Tuesday, July 15, 2008


Steven J Page, the lead singer of the quintessential band for the college kids- Barenaked Ladies- was arrested on Friday in the Syracuse area for possession of a controlled substance. Though authorities have yet to reveal which substance it was, sniff, sniff, the band contends that this is all a complete misunderstanding and Steven will be quickly exonerated.

So, that's why he broke into the old apartment.

Dr. Oz Continues

Despite a pretty hectic day and more than a few obstacels, I was able to keep to my daily menu of healthy living.

As the diet dictates, you are encouraged to eat the same breakfast and lunch on a regular basis so you get into a routine of nutrition as opposed to three opportunities for indulgence. If your meal is always determined, you are less likely to choose, or even want something less beneficial. Once again, the day flew by with little hunger and the satisfying sensation of walnuts when I did start to feel the late-day twinge.

And then came dinner: Whole Wheat Vegetable Pizza.

I sounds awful. Whole wheat crust sounds almost as appetizing as the edible clamation that is whole wheat pasta. But, I followed the directions, loaded on the vegetables, the sauce, the sun-dried tomatoes, and the 1/4 cup of skim mozarella and I braced myself for the worst.

And it wasn't....the worst. It was not the best either. It was okay and, even better, I was full before I even finished the recommended serving. How does that happen? I can eat multiple slices of regular pizza with the works, but three of these little wedges had me feeling stuffed.

I love it. I still don't love the crust, but I love the guilt-free eating.

And here is the best part: I survived the meal without sneaking a couple of the chicken cutlets and fries from either child's plate. This is no easy task when the act of breaking up the food for my little guy, leaves the temptation on my finger tips!

Right now I am feeling very proud, and still skeptical about how long I will be able to maintain this level of commitment.

The Votes Are In....

So this week's poll involved just a sprinkling of some common annoyances, and the results are pretty revealing.

Top on the least wanted list with half of the votes is the always humble, bright yellow Hummer. Nothing quite says modesty like this monster of an SUV in the boldest, most obnoxious color known to vehicular fashion. I remember when Hummers first started to appear on the road. Military transport turned road warrior was not only exciting to see, but the object of desire for many since seeing (and affording it) was not something for the commonfolk.

And then people got crazy. Much like the unexplainable need to carry the most obnoxiously branded purse, everyone and their grandmother started driving these things. (I actually saw a grandmother driving one with a soccer ball sticker through the snobby streets of Bronxville, NY circa was then that I decided I hate them). Needless to say, they are awful, environmentally tragic, and completely unnecessary. And, yes, the blog-o-sphere has spoken.

Coming in second with half the votes are the comparably absurd Ugg Boots. I have to say that, if they were meant to be snow boots or really over-the-top winter slippers, I probably would not care at all if people wore them. However, it is the wearing of them with shorts (usually with something awful like "Juicy" emblazoned on the rear) that makes me tear out my hair. Moreover, these ridiculous things cost $130 or more. So unless you are (1) on a mission to prove the existence of a Yeti, (2) landing on Mars, or (3) are planning a trip to Kodiak, please do not wear these...I'm preparing a Public Service Announcement as we speak.

Third place goes to Mario Lopez and I have a confession to make: I voted for him twice. I simply cannot stand him. I'm not sure what it is about him that makes me want to burn every episode of Saved By the Bell, but I am willing to guess it is a combination of his personal history with Z. Cavariccis, his unfounded arrogance, and THIS. Is he kidding? He is not iconic. Please make him go away.......

Finally, last place went to texting and reality television...two of my favorite guilty pleasures and, given the fact that each only earned one vote, I guess I am not alone in this one.

And now for a new vote.....

It's In The Stars....

If you'd like to know your Mother & Child astrological profile, click HERE.

According to the charts, I am the mom that is widely imaginative and also most likely to forget her diaper bag at a playgroup.

Dr. Oz is in the house...

Though I started off strong yesterday, by 3 o'clock I was starting to feel a little hungry and very tired. As I prepared dinner, a dangerous time for picking at foods, I had my obligatory fist o' walnuts and began to incredulously grate my ginger root.

This was not going to be good.

My husband came home just as everything came together and the smell of Asian marinade and peppers got him excited for our first night of healthy eating. I was not so convinced...though, by this time, the walnuts had done the trick and I was far from feeling famished.

The steamed green beans were fine, the brown rice pilaf was a bit bland, and the Asian Salmon was, well, wonderful.

It was restaurant good. And, despite my skepticism, it all came down to purely fresh ingredients.

Not only that, but the rice helped to fill me up and, as I type this at 8:45, I am having no problem avoiding the nighttime snacking that has become my trademark downfall.

Day 1: A success


Sending out a special congratulations to Eric and Stacey, who welcomed their son, Ryan Christopher Anderson, into the world on July 11th at 6:31 PM, weighing 6 lbs. 4 oz.
Fortunately for Ryan, Mommy's name choice overrode Daddy's, who, given the significance of the day (7/11), want to name him Apu.
Congratulations to both!

Quote of the Day

"Mother Nature is providential. She gives us twelve years to develop a love for our children before turning them into teenagers." ~William Galvin

Picture of the Day

Who needs little boy toys when you live next to a farm?

Harvesters, and tractors, and plows, oh my!

Send your favorite kid pictures to:

Monday, July 14, 2008

And So The Journey Begins....

Like a prisoner headed for the electric chair, I made sure my last meal was a good one, topped off with nothing else but a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Flurrie.

And after that, I really felt gross and ready to get started.

Monday: Day 1
This morning's breakfast was a success that included GoLean Crunch cereal and coffee, as well as the difficult avoidance of picking at my son's unfinished muffin (apparently the oatmeal, sausage, and blueberries were enough for him...).

My first roadblock came care of Mother Nature, whose dose of rain put a crimp in my daily walk fulfillment. Never one to let anything derail my best intentions, I hit the exercise bike in the basement while the kids enjoyed some nice playtime in a place usually reserved for afternoons that never seem to end.

The rest of the early afternoon flew and it wasn't until I was preparing the Boca Spicy, Meatless, Chicken Patty lunch that I realized I forgot the mid-morning snack. The lunch actually filled me, along with the constant water drinking.

Needless to say, I am off to my typically strong and determined start that I only hope lasts longer than the first few weeks.

I have also managed to find the Dr. Oz required support partnet: Shout out to Stacey. Having secured her support, it also occurred to me that there may be others out there that have done Dr. Oz, are starting Dr. Oz, or are considering Dr. Oz.

If that means you....feel free to join in through the comments...I'm so curious to see how well this works for others.

And now for some Green Tea while the kiddies sleep....


Special congratulations to Emalie and Joe, who welcomed Antonia Giselle Schettino last Wednesday, the 9th, at 4:58 pm!
The sweet little peanut weighed in at 6lbs, 5.5 oz and measured 18 3/4 inches long.
Welcome to the world, little one!

It's the ropes and the reins, And the joy and the pain*

If you live in South Jersey..

Nevermind that, if you are alive you must add our family's latest experience to your respective Bucket List:

Cowtown Cowboy Rodeo

As many of you know, New Jersey is the most densely populated state in the country and so the idea of wide open, rural living seems like a sight for travels westward. However, take the Turnpike to Exit 2 and explore what remains of the Garden State.

Every Tuesday and Saturday night from May to September, Cowtown Rodeo puts on one heck of a show for a packed arena of devoted rodeo fans and rookies alike. I had never been and I have to admit, I was just as shocked by the enormous turnout as I was by the great show put on for us. My daughter was already having a fantastic weekend spending time with her visiting cousins (shout out to the Florida 3), and this just made the time that much more memorable.

The highlights:

1) The first event is bull riding and though there was no appearance of a mechanical bull or John Travolta, the cowboys were unbelievable. Much like my parade experince on the 4th of July, I again felt like I was a part of some postcard.

2) I can actually wear a cute cowgirl hat and fit in just fine.

3) The entire production lasts about 2 hours and my daughter never took her eyes off the show....the events kept coming and she was never not interested or excited.

4) You cannot help but recognize the beauty in a different lifestyle, devoid of materialism and the whole rat race of life. In truth, these guys may get pretty banged up....but it's never their forehead on a steering wheel while stuck in bumper to bumper work traffic.

5) "Rodeo clown" is an actual occupation.

6) My daughter got to see real cowgirls race their horses with no regard to the mud they were slinging or the sweat they were dripping... a far cry from Cinderella.

And as for the "Picture of the Day", it was completely staged for the caption in my mind. My cowgirl never stopped smiling, except for one instance when, while watching the steer roping, she proclaimed to the wrangler, "Hey, that's not nice".

She cheered for the ones that got away....and so did I.

*****Name that song.

A Note on Tantrums

And if you are still amidst the storm of regular tantrums....

A child psychologist did an interview in Cookie magazine this month, and made a great point about dealing with the inconsolable child: "When a person's drowning, it's not the time to teach him to swim."

Sure, this sounds easy enough: do not use this time to punish, lecture, negotiate, or attempt to reason. The first priority seems to be the need to difuse. Do whatever is takes to calm your child and save the "teachable moment" for the time after, when they actually can hear what you are saying.

If they occur at home, I usually give her space instead of attention (attention seems to prolong or encourage it). If we are in public, I just abort whatever mission I am on (at least for the moment), to get her to a secure place where she can calm herself down.

In real moments of disaster, I have just held her and reassured her. This usually starts off with some resistance, but as long as I am firm and soothing, it almost always works.

And then we talk.

Having said that, I have also had to walk out of places with her flailing in my arms and there have been more than a few times when I screamed in a pillow....but, in the words of my brother Mike, it is all a part of living the dream.

And it gets better....until the next phase.

The Threes....

I have been the mother of a 3 year old for a little more than a month now and I am already prepared to share some observations.

1) The number of tantrums and meltdowns, at home or in public, have decreased significantly.

2) The reason for #1 is directly realted to the fact that 3 year olds discover a far better tool in which to incite their parents' ire: backtalk.

I don't know if I am alone in this, but as far as I can see, my 3 year old realized at some point (probably on the floor in an aisle of any one of our favorite stores) that the art of sass is not only more effective, but more fun.

Yes, oneriness is an art form that my daughter is already well on her way to mastering.

"The answer is no," is her favorite line, followed by the ever faithful, "I said yes", "No, no, no", and "I will not!". She has also feigned deafness and a host of other tricks, all resulting in more gray hairs than my hairdresser can keep up with.

And what is the most interesting part about these evaluations? Almost all of these lovely responses are taken directly from her Mommy Dearest.

Of all the things I've taught her....

Needless to say, I just keep repeating one thing to make myself feel better for the short-term...."I still have a decade until she's 13, I still have a decade until she's 13...".

Monday's Question

As my Dr. Oz project begins....

If you could magically look like one celebrity (while maintaining your own natural wit and charm...of course), who would you pick?

Quote of the Day

"Anyone who thinks the art of conversation is dead ought to tell a child to go to bed." ~Robert Gallagher

Picture of the Day

Even cowgirls get the blues.
Send your favorite kid pictures to:
It's all must have tons!