Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Brother Abroad

I have never been a fan of bumper stickers, but I get while other people are. Much like wearing a political button or snarky tee shirt, I think there is something in each of us that wants to be heard, that wants to cut out an identity among a sea of cars on the Schuykill or the Beltway. The very nature of a blog is in keeping with this sentiment: we want to be heard, feel like we count, even feel recognition.

My husband came home from his horribly long commute the other night with news of a bumper sticker he happened to pass on the Atlantic City Expressway. The man driving the car with the sticker appeared to be in his seventies, maintained a tightly kept buzz cut, and never took his eyes off the road. His bumper sticker read:

"No longer lean, no longer mean, but still a Marine."

This is Day 4.

Quote of the Weekend

"My friend has a baby. I'm recording all the noises he makes so later I can ask him what he meant." -Stephen Wright

Picture of the Weekend

What's wrong with this picture? More specifically, this Santa?
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Friday, January 16, 2009

For Those of You Who Consider This to be the Golden Age of Television

Some guy out of Canada claims to have unearthed the identity of one of life's most precious and long guarded secrets: the identity of this season's winner on The Bachelor.

I know, it's very shocking. Not quite as shocking as the fact that this show is still on the air, but shocking still.

So shocking, it kind of makes me want to watch this trainwreck of a show to see if he's right....I'm such a sucker.

See for yourself:

Guess Who?

I'll offer up a hint tomorrow if no one can ID him.....

He's A Manly Eater

While I am in a constant struggle to get my daughter to eat something other than hot dogs (I buy the Applegate Farms organic, uncured, all beef, nitrate free ones....but they're still hot dogs), my son's insatiable appetite has forced us to consider a special budget just for the grocery store.


What's more, whenever we find ourselves at someone else's home, he actually seeks out their refrigerator and hangs on the door, grunting until we address his demands. It's really unbelievable. He even shouts out me when he finishes his meal first (which he always does) so that I'll surrender some of my own food. Salads, stews, and even quesadillas send him salivating....I fear for the teenage years.

To make matters worse, he seems to have a rather refined palet. For him there will be no easy, convenient, limit mess Chef Boyardee, no Easy Mac, and certainly nothing frozen for the microwave. No, he demands real meatballs in real sauce in real time.

A great example of this came at Christmas when the little pilferer swiped a huge slice of ham from my plate while I was politely passing the green bean caserole. Alerted by his snarfling (yes, it's a word) I turned to find him chomping away on a slice bigger than his own head (which we've already established is considerable....shout out to the 95 percentile!).

Compared to his sister, this is definitely new territory to me. And, no, it's not a growth spurt....the boy just loves to eat.

Want proof?

If you ask most kids to identify the sound a cow makes, they'll offer up some version of a "moo".

My little guy just licks his lips.

Confession Time

If I have to play another round of Pretty Pretty Princess I may have a not so pretty pretty breakdown.

Song of the Day

Yes, that is Debbie Harry.

A Brother Abroad

When my brothers were in high school a little movie entitled Top Gun came out and forever changed the ambitions of millions of young men.

My brothers were among those afflicted with the need for speed.

My mother, more than a little aware of the fact that her sons would want to follow in their father's footsteps, was now confronted with the reality that they might opt for the skies instead of the water.

So, wanting to deter their military endeavors, my mother did what any mother would: she took Paul, the eldest, to see Platoon in hopes of scaring the bejesus out of him.

It didn't work: this is Day 3.

Quote of the Day

"It is admirable for a man to take his son fishing, but there is a special place in heaven for the father who takes his daughter shopping." -John Sinor

Picture of the Day

Hoping to triumph in football glory, the man set his sights on a comparable competitor....

give or take a few feet.

Anyone? Kid pictures?

Thursday, January 15, 2009


148 people have a lot to be thankful for at the moment.

Chief among them would be a certain highly capable

Best News of the Day

I forgot Monday is a holiday!!!!!!!!


There is only one way to properly celerbate this fabulous news: shake what little my mother gave me (we're Irish, after all).

The attached clip was posted once before, and is our family's daily dose of cardio while we make dinner. If you have not introduced your children to it yet, you can thank me later (or curse me).

Sorry Melissa, but it's time for...........

Dear Julie

When days get tough, just think back to that ride home from that watering hole in Yonkers (Dorian's?) in my little Ford Escort.

That wasn't great either, but it's now long passed.

And the Bronx River Expressway has never been the same.

I Never Would Have Guessed......

This post will be a new segment to the blog focusing on all the ridiculous things new parents do to maintain their sanity while trying not to confront the reality that this is their life now.

Example Number 1: The Art of Keeping A Child Awake in the Car to Make it Home for Nap

Though my daughter has been known to sleep through security alarms, jackhammers, and absurd storms buffeting our house coming off the farm, a lot of people I know have children who will not make the transition from car to bed when travelling coincides with naptime. Ten minutes passed out in the car somehow convinces them that they have sufficiently rested and the long march of the day's remains begins.

For that reason, parents will go to great lengths to keep their kids awake until they are able to tuck them safely in their beds for naptime. Consider these the best/most ridiculous techniques:

5) Sing as loudly as possible, especially songs that are more interactive and stimulating (e.g. "Wheels on the Bus", "Itsy Bitsy Spider", "Oops, I Did it Again", etc.)

4) Stockpile stimulating, noisy toys around the car seat (travel size etch-a-sketch, mini computers, stickers).

3) Sugar, sugar, sugar.

2) Offer up typically taboo objects (cell phones, keys, paper shredder)

1) Play "Which Window?" Using your automatic window controls, challenge the sleepy subject to guess which one will come down next....windy days are a plus.

A Brother Abroad

DAY 2:

As I type this, my brother is somewhere on a plane heading into unfriendly skies, which draws my mind to something he sent me before he left.

HBO films will be airing a movie based on the practice of escorting the fallen home, a tradition derived by the belief that a brother will never be deserted, even in death. The movie "Taking Chance" stars Kevin Bacon as the escorting marine, a job my brother said many of his comrades had undertaken, but he had never had. He also considered the hardest of all possible obligations.

Some more about the movie:

"Taking Chance,'' the HBO film starring Kevin Bacon as Strobl premieres
at 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21.

Along the way, Strobl ept a journal, documenting how Americans from all walks of life honored the fallen Marine they never knew.

"You can read an article that says a certain number of Marines
were killed in this city, or you see a body count coming up. It doesn't really
hit home in the same kind of way as it does if you actually see what happens to
the actual remains,'' Bacon told a group of TV critics. "You see the
preparation, you see the respect and you see the tradition and the honor that is
involved with actually returning them to their final resting place.''

Bacon says little needed to be done to make the journey more
moving or compelling.
"The story is really a very, very simple one,'' Bacon
said. "It's really just the story of this man and this person Chance he's
returning. And it's almost completely unembellished with anything to make it
more cinematic or dramatic or to somehow force us to feel one way or another
based on what our preconceived notions are about Iraq and whether or not we
should have been in there or whatever. It's just the simple telling of what this
process is like and, in its simplicity, I think, becomes an extremely profound
kind of comment on the casualties of war.''

Strobl began noticing the deeply personal responses to his mission
at the Dover Port Mortuary. "During the two days I was at Dover, I think they
had about a dozen departures of remains,'' said Strobl, now retired from the
Marines. "And every time the remains would leave, these construction workers
would stop their work, put their hard hats over their hearts, and stand at their
version of attention. And seeing that, I realized I want to remember this
because there's really some goodness there, these people doing this every time
the remains depart."

"Then the hearse driver on the way to Philadelphia, the
flight attendant who gave me a crucifix, and the only thing she said to me was,
'I want you to have this,' and she left. The baggage handlers, the cargo people,
the pilots, the flight attendants -- all of these people who you can presume
covered the spectrum of political views -- they all had this profound sense of
gratitude and sorrow at Chance's loss. ... People who didn't know Chance, didn't
know the circumstances of his death. All they knew was he was a Marine who died in combat, and they represented, to me, all that's good about America.''

Check out the trailer below, and to Paul (though I doubt you've had time to check email) yes, I did cry.....a little.

Song of the Day

Another great Sesame Street spot for our song of the day, inspired by the DVD my kids are obsessed with at the moment, The All Star Alphabet.


Another Blog is Born

If you do a search of subjects on any blogging site, topics of focus range from motherhood to wine, traveling to bass fishing and thousands of various niches that contribute to the new form of storytelling, the modern journal.

While both narcissistic and cathartic, blogs are as freeing as they are revealing and one of my favorite things to do when I have some downtime. And it seems another member has joined our cult.

Nurse Julie, the very subject of one of my daily posts, has started a blog of her own. The blog is devoted to recounting the daily trials of life while looking after her four children and two dogs as her husband spends a year in the most dangerous of sandboxes. It is a day in the life of a life less travelled.

Her blog has also been added to the roll.....

Quote of the Day

"Kids can be a pain in th neck when they're not a lump in your throat." - Barbara Johnson

Picture(s) of the Day

When it comes to a woman and her mound o' cheese,

certain tools are more effective than others.

Please send your favorite kid pictures to:

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Coming Soon

This Friday's Guess Who? is fantastic and completely inspired by my husband.

I'll give only one hint and the winner will receive spoils untold ...... (though, not exceeding $79).

In Case You Were Curious...

After almost a year of blogging, I have made $79.23 from my Google ads.

One more year and I can buy another pair of Seven jeans.

Reason enough.

Dear Julie

Think of it this way:

No one in the world would dare complain about a tough day to you.

(except maybe four little people who share your residence).

Song of the Day

Today's song of the day reflects my absolute favorite Sesame Street cameo of all time. REM does "Shiny Happy People", which successfully redeemed its worst, what were they thinking song.

I love it because of:

1) The muppet version of Kate Peirson

2) Monsters having breakdowns amidst a sea of fur

3) REM, a band I worshipped throughout my formative years, is now back in my life on any given , PBS morning.

Enjoy (and stay with it until the 1:20 mark)

Confession Time

I watch American Idol.

Babies in the News

During my blog-atus, an irreverent group of celebrities decided to go ahead and bear children and name them egregious names without giving any consideration to my self-appointed sabotical.


But not as horrible as the names they chose.

The Highlights:

5) Buster Timothy Miller (child of Jonny Lee Miller nee Jolie) - Pass the courvoisier

4) Viggo Moriah (child of Taylor Hanson)

3) Dolly Rebecca Rose and Charlie Tamara Tulip (twin daughters of Rebecca Romjin and Jerry O'Connell)

2) Seraphina Rose Elizabeth (daughter of Jennifer Garner and Ben Afflek)

1) Nakoa-Wolf Manakauapo Namakaeha Momoa (son of Lisa Bonet and some guy)

***This is just a temporary list until Jason Lee (father of Pilot Inspektor) reveals the name of his daughter....which is sure to be a gem.

That New Perspective

Just when you're prepared to throw yourself the pity party of the season, take a cue from Atticus and consider a day's walk in someone else's shoes.

My brother, for instance.

A seasoned marine, my brother is the father of four unbelievable kids ranging in age from 13 years to eighteen months. He also happened to marry one of the most unbelievable people I know (a sister of the heart, if not the blood) in Nurse Julie. He is my older brother and, having barely survived two cross country trips in a cramped car as kids, I consider him one of the most important people in my life.

And yet, today, he is returning to Iraq.

I actually just got off the phone with him, needing to talk to him one more time before his feet found themselves standing on sandy soil and my heart is broken all over again. The first deployment was tough (baby Charlotte was but a few months old at the time), but this one seems tougher.

So here is my new perspective, my new reason for getting over my own self-indugence. Paul will be gone from his wife and children for an entire year. Four little birthdays, a dance recital or two, countless soccer and baseball games, the first day of school, their anniversary, fireworks on the 4th, Halloween costumes on the 31st, Christmas morning, and every morning in between.

365 days begins today.

And every day I will include a post about this deployment; it may be an anecdote, a diatribe, or just a sentence. Whatever it is, a year is a long time and consider this Day 1.

Semper Fi.

A New Year, A New Perspective

So, I'll admit I got a little indulgent as the dreariness that was 2008 trodded along with each month unfolding another disappointment, another reason to wallow. As my blog intimitated along the way, the year was tough and I decided to whine my way through it.

But here's the thing....I got it all wrong. All the energy I put into moping, eye rolling, and the occasional tantrum would have been better served working on removing the rather large chip that had found itself residing on my precarious shoulders.

Of course, these little epiphanies don't usually come to pass while you're standing in line at the grocery store (shout out to James Joyce); instead, they often come when you confront someone else's reality which thereby puts your own into perspective.
Enough of's a new year, with a new blog, and a new perspective.


Quote of the Day

"It kills you to see them grow up. But I guess it would kill you quicker if they didn't." -- Barbara Kingsolver

Picture of the Day

In addition to lessons in loyalty, integrity, and tenacity, a godfather is always good for lessons in self-defense.
Ahh....the old thumb-to-the-eye trick never fails....
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