Saturday, January 31, 2009

A Brother Abroad

Just coming out of a violent stomach virus....but it could have been worse.

My husband wasn't in Iraq.

This is DAY 18.

Friday, January 30, 2009

A Brother Abroad

"You cannot exaggerate about the Marines. They are convinced to the point of arrogance, that they are the most ferocious fighters on earth- and the amusing thing about it is that they are."
-Father Kevin Keaney1st Marine Division Chaplain, Korean War

To think these are the same men who orchestrate Toys For Tots....

This is Day 17.

One more thing....

While looking for a video to better allow me to get into the mind of the Octuplet mom, I came across this British news clip that claims the woman intends to breastfeed ALL OF THEM!!!!

It sounds like there's another maid in town and she can have the title.

Other reports are also sharing the news that, just a year ago, the woman had to file for bankruptcy and that is why she was initially living with her parents.

So, now this goes from a funny/absurd story to something more. How does someone who has such limited resources actively seek out another pregnancy when she already has six children she has difficulty supporting?


By the way....she became pregnant via sperm donor and is currently listed as a professional student.


As an update to the original post about the woman who went into the hospital to give birth to septuplets when, surprise!, there was an eighth.

With that news, I think I would have immediately asked for an alcohol drip.

Today, however, reports are coming out with more details about the birth and the mother; all of which makes me more appreciative of my own current status even if it doesn't involve meeting political big wigs and flying stuff.

The details:

The woman who gave birth to octuplets this week already has six children, including 2-year-old twins, according to family members.

The woman, who has not been identified, received fertility treatment and was given the option of reducing the number of embryos but declined, according to her mother, Angela Suleman.

The babies were delivered over five minutes on Monday morning, with the eighth baby a surprise for the mother and the medical team. All eight babies were understood to be breathing unaided, and were expected to stay in hospital for at least two months.

The parents of the 33-year-old mother answered reporters' questions outside their home in a quiet cul-de-sac. The babies' grandfather, who is shortly to return to Iraq where he works as a contractor, said that the other six children were excited to have eight new siblings.

The single mother is understood to live with her parents and her six children, aged 7, 6, 5, 3, and 2-year-old twins.

I just don't know where to begin. If I had six children, I would be hesitant to share soap with a male let alone be seeking fertility treatment for another child. Moreover, if I was flying solo in the parent department, I would also rethink a 7th (or 8th, or 9th, etc) as I would have no one to blame for the finger paint on the walls, the wasted tampons used as missiles, and the poop on the ceiling. A parenting partner is as much about shared responsibility as it is someone to blame when things go wrong. Finally, I would really question her father's recent call to duty in Iraq as a contractor....which sounds more likely to be a convenient flight from infantile insanity.

I'm not sure if this mystery woman has a case of the crazies, or simply a calling that would cause me to cut my ears off.

In any event, it inspired my delayed poll of the week.

And special thanks to Samantha for prompting this one....after a day at Ikea where we got tangled up with a horde in search of some great deal on goose down pillows (hello $9!), I was about to hang up blogging for the day.

Name of the Day

Lilly Ledbetter

Reality Check

My brother Mike is also a military man and all around good guy who is currently enjoying employment in the stress bubble that is the Pentagon. He spends his days working with the big guys, keeping top secret stuff bottled up (he won't even tell me...Christine "The Vault" Maid), and basks in the ability to tell us he's known about a news story for weeks after we've all only just learned about off.

So, yesterday, after my mother and I spent the day entertaining our own troops, we placed a call to Big Mike to see what he was doing. With a day of snow and another day of ice, we were climbing the walls with cabin fever and hoping he might have something to tell us for the purpose of distraction.

After we filled him in on a very exciting and dramatic story about running out of batteries just as we were about to play Ele-fun, he had to curtly end the call....Barak walked into his office.

At moments like this, when I look down at my apple sauce stained shirt (Joseph loves to fling) and I try to remember the last time I was able to go to the bathroom by myself, I have to repeat my brother's favorite refrain:

I'm just livin' the dream....

Guess Who?

Last week's Guess Who award (an award which I'd like to remain a guess), went to the fabulous Stacey who correctly identified the diminutive man as Stiles from Teen Wolf. For this week's, you'll need to go back a little farther.....

Quote of the Day

“If there is anything we wish to change in our children, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.” -Carl G. Jung

Picture of the Day

What does roughin' it look like in our house?
A futon mattress, plush pillows, high thread count sheets, a telvision equipped with a DVD player, snacks, and a roof over a comfortable family room floor.
Did I mention there were snacks?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

A Brother Abroad

Knowing my's post demands another clip from yesterday's classic film.

And just for the record, devoting two posts to Red Dawn should affirm once and for all that I am sister of the year.


The Votes Are In....

This week's poll asked which stage of your life you'd return to if you could do so with the knowledge you now have. The results were as definitive as they were expected.

First, no one chose early adolesence and the 'tweens. I'm guessing this has a lot to with the sunshine and rainbows that decorate childhood and the naivete of the pre-teen years...minus the awkwardness. I was actually tempted to go with the early years, just so I could be the playground phenom for a few years.

The Not So Early years and Middle Age also failed to garner any votes, which is also not surprising since most of us are either there, or new better when we were.

This leaves two choices: the teens and young adulthood with the former getting 75% of the votes, and the latter getting the remaining 25%.

I chose the teens simply because I would know not to care about so much of the stuff I was preoccupied with. I wouldn't care about what other people thought, or waste anytime acting a certain way with that in mind. As for my young adulthood, I would just go back to that since it was so much fun and I finally figured out how meaningless my teenage worries were.

So there it is......and on to this week's.

Song of the Day Meets Dear Julie

This is one of my favorite celebrity spots on Sesame Street (a close second to REM). This also always reminds me of Nurse Julie. I can actually see her playing this to the little ones or, more probably, singing it herself as Abbie's eyes roll out of her 13 year old head.

Brava, Guilianna!

People In The News

I don't really have an opinion about Jessica Simpson.

I know a lot of people don't like her for a variety of reasons (e.g. Saying moronic things, making bad career choices, crushing Nick Lachey's heart), but I really don't think the most recent criticisms are at all merited. Actually, I think they're awful and infuriating.
Let's pretend for a second that she did gain 100 is this appropriate? Really, there are so many people out there providing ample fodder for our deprecation that this is as unnecessary as it is mean.

Second, does she really look overweight? I think she looks normal.
Am I wrong on this?

Quote of th Day

"Adorable children are considered to be the general property of the human race. Rude children belong to their mothers." - Judith Martin

Picture of the Day

Nine grandchildren, nine personalities, nine chances someone is going to make a break for it
all while two grandparents hope for the perfect picture
of the most perfect they ever started.
Send your favorite kid pictures to:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Fun For the Whole Country

Though it's completely unfounded, rumors are buzzing all over the Internets that Michelle Obama is with child.

Completely rumor, no confirmation, but so much fun to spread.....

And, for the record, my mother called it...I said it was just the cut of the dress.

Who's right?

A Brother Abroad

Much like the inluence of sports in my life care of my brothers, I was also forced to watch such mind molding shows as "The A-Team", "MacGyver", and, the worst, "Airwolf". I loathed these shows with the exception of Mr. T and his Bedazzler (shout out to Sutty), and I think we actually spent more time fighting over them than watching them.

Movies were also an instrument of confrontation, with gems like Conan: The Barbarian, Rambo, and every war movie ever made (chiefly The Magnificent Seven, The Caine Mutiny, and The Dirty Dozen).

Since then we've matured greatly and rarely argue over such petty things.

Instead we just debate over who mom loves more (isn't it obvious?)

So, because I love them so much...the following clip is dedicated to both my soldier siblings as it reflects the pivotal moment in cinema during our own war movie, airing daily in our family room.

This is Day 15.

"Bob Tuttle Cracks Me Up"...of the day.

At Sherwin Williams: Part II

My husband returned home from work the next day, having stopped off for paint as promised to finish the bedroom. As is typical, he entered the house amidst the clamor of children coloring, banging pots, and creating a human/toy obstacle course in the kitchen for their mother to brave while trying to put something that looks like food on the table.

Chaos, as usual, but always greeted with hugs and kisses and a sigh of relief from one of the older greeters.

Dinner unfolded in its usual fashion as well, with talk turning to the day's events and plans for the next. It was during clean-up when things got interesting.

John: So, I couldn't remember the type of paint we had and so I had the guy look it up.

Christine: Uh huh (half listening)

John: And, yeah, so he pulled up our computer file and said, "Oh, yeah, it says you were just in for Lounge Green."

Christine: Uh huh, Joseph stop standing on the kitchen table.

John: So I said to him, "No, that was my wife who bought that paint."

Christine: Yeah, Olivia, did you hide chicken in your napkin???

John: And he says to me, "Oh, that was your wife."

Christine: What? (nervous giggle accompanied by a smirk).

John: You heard me. Why are you smiling?

Christine: Am I smiling? No, it's just, I don't know (I giggle again as I twirl to the trashcan to deposit a chicken filled napkin before sashaying to the table to retrieve my sweet son who was reaching for the light fixture).

John: What's wrong with you? (staring intently)

Christine: Who me? (again, another giggle and a flip of the hair) Nothing.

John: Well, what did the guy who sold you the paint look like?

Christine: Um, he was tall and skinny....kind of like a basketball player....not the usual guy.

John: Yep, that's the guy --expletive, expletive, expletive-- and he better watch his --expletive expletive--- or I'll tell him what to --expletive, expletive. AND why are you still smiling?

Christine: Oh, it's just nice to hear (as I closed the dishwasher and did a cartwheel across the floor).

John: I'll take care of the paint from now on.

Christine: Right, okay (I sang back, as I performed a triple luxe into the family room).

Here's the thing: I couldn't tell you anything about the guy at the paint store, but when you are a full time Mommy and you put yourself last most of the time, this is always true:

"No matter how happily a woman may be married, it always please her to discover there is a nice man who wishes she were not." -H.L. Mencken

An Intervention is Needed

The last time my family performed an intervention, it was all about this.

However, this time my own personal problem needs to be addressed:

The smartest thing my husband ever did was get me into Fantasy Football. As the only girl in a very active, athletic family, I have always appreciated some sports and followed some teams; that's not to say that I spend a lot of time on them, I just cheer for the Yankees, and more recently the Eagles and Phillies (my national league team). So, when my husband and I were married I didn't at all mind his Sunday ceremony of watching football and losing any semblance of the man I'd come to know: his reactions to Phillies' and Eagles' wins are really something I should put up on You Tube.

I would also join in the cheers, but when it comes to basketball, hockey, or anything college, I could not be less interested. The same is true for any football that is not the Eagles. What do I care if Seattle is playing Arizona? I don't know anyone on the teams, or any of their respective histories.

That is, I didn't care. Now, I find myself patting my back for picking up Fitzgerald and screaming at Hightower to get in the endzone because that's all he's good for.

What's happened to me???

I scoff when I hear Marvin Harrison's career is on its way out, I'll be the first to boast of my late season pick up of Thigpin, and I stand true to my belief that the Ravens are always a defensive sure-thing (even if my husband still yells, "Murderer!" every time Ray Lewis' mug is splashed across the screen).

But here's the true sign that my extreme interest has crossed over into obsession.

My parents live on a corner lot that is intersected by a street named "Mendelmore".

Why is that significant?

Every time I catch sight of the street sign, I can't help but wonder what the Steelers will come up with for their running game this Sunday.

Help me.


A woman in LA gave birth to octuplets on Monday and all the babies are doing very well, as is the mother. The babies were obviously delivered naturally (kidding) and the parents are said to be thrilled.

What is even more thrilling is that the mother had been told she was pregnant with septuplets....the eighth was a surprise.


I'm sure there's some really funny comment to make about this, but I'm at a loss. I guess the idea of feeding eight children, laundry for eight children, and a nap schedule for eight children really makes me feel completely inferior.

Quote of the Day

"I am not allowed to sing, dance, laugh or wear short skirts. Having a teenage daughter is like living with the Taliban." -Author Kathy Lette

Picture of the Day

Some of us are more anxious than others for the first signs of spring.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Testing Time

Tonight is the online Jeopardy! test......did anyone sign up?

A Brother Abroad: If you find yourself in Virginia....

And happen to spy a little family with:

1) A little red headed girl who has sandwhich bags secured by rubber bands over her sneakers (the ones unfit for the snow, but will have to do since her mother didn't pack the boots for a Virginia blizzard).

2) A little red haired boy who is trying with difficulty to eat the snow since his socks for mittens are proving to be a bad replacement for his actual pair; of which, one is missing.

3) A mother who is out of breath from pulling the sled up and down the hill while not trying to flip it over....again.

4) A snow man that is really just a head with M&Ms for eyes, a carrot for a nose, and leaves for hair.

5) Two grandparents trying to watch from an upstairs window in between trips to the bathroom....the grip of a stomach virus crippling them both.

6) A red haired husband flying overhead in an airplane on his way to Chicago (because that's a fabulous winter destination) for a weeklong work conference. He's also probably smiling broadly since he's nearly escaped the Virginia home's contagion.

7) A band of thieves making their way to the Beltway to rob a house, in Jersey that they just learned will be vacant for an entire week since some idiot blogger divulged such information.

And the point of this post, aside from a little whining?

It could always be husband's trip could be a year and not a week, to Iraq and not Chicago, and set amid certain danger instead of certain suspect brokers.

I just have to keep reminding myself of that one......

This is DAY 14.

Video of the Day

My brother Mike showed me THIS one....and it is good for a laugh.

Tuesday's Craft


Pink and white tissue paper, cut into 1” squares
White craft glue
Piece of card stock or construction paper
Pencil with an eraser


  • Cut out a heart shape from the construction paper or card stock.

  • Put white craft glue into the center of the heart, shaped like a heart.

  • Using the eraser end of a pencil, place the eraser into the center of a white tissue paper square. Twist the tissue paper square around the eraser and dot it onto the glue. Continue this process until entire middle of the heart is covered with white tissue paper. See photo.
    Repeat the process from step #3 with pink tissue paper for the border of the heart.
    Glue a hanger to the back if you like.

For younger kids who have trouble working the pencil steps, allow them to wad up the tissue paper squares and press them directly onto the glue with their fingers.
Instead of a hanger, try gluing a magnet strip to the back and hang on your fridge!
Always saved the tissue paper from birthday gifts for craft projects like these.

Of Course It Is....

Whenever I travel anywhere south of my home, I expect the weather to be a minimum of twenty degrees warmer; it should be some sort of law or something. A fw years ago (well before children) my husband and I travelled with a goup of friends to Las Vegas to ring in the New Year (when was I ever that wild?....I'll have to check with Bob Tuttle).

Anyway, as the plane landed on a runway amid the barren desert-scape, I was filled with anticipation over fun, a little gambling, dining, dancing, imbibing, and, of course, taking a break from the Philadelphia weather. Unfortunately, one expectation would be unfulfilled.


A quick tutorial from our cabby learned me in the actual, more seasonal climate of Las Vegas and I was not happy about it at all.

So now, when I head south to Florida, the Old Dominion, even the Shop Rite (which is technically 2.3 miles southeast of my home) better be warmer. And, based on this rule I have put upon Mother Nature, I also need to ask:

Why the HELL is it snowing in Virginia!!!!!!!

And of course I didn't bring snowsuits. That's right: cold weather, lots of snow, and children who are dying to get out and play in it.

"Bob Tuttle Cracks Me Up"....of the day

Bob is one of my oldest and best friend's fathers and one of the best Beirut / Beer Pong partners a college girl could ever have.
In this installment of "Bob Tuttle Cracks Me Up", Bob shares another good reason why everyone should have children: slave labor.

Quote of the Day

"Onion rings in the car cushions do not improve with time."-- Erma Bombeck

Picture of the Day

The safety conscious mother always made sure her children were properly dressed, which made more sense when they were actually near the water.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Brother Abroad

We spoke with my brother again today via webcam; actually, O spoke to my brother since my little ham refused to give up the mic or the opportunity to see herself on a screen for an extended period of time.

She loves her Uncle Paul, she loves to chat away, and, of course, she loves herself.

And he loved it a little bit too......and the brief breaks he gets from "fighting the bad guys."

This is Day 13.

At Sherwin Williams...PART I

Before I begin this little blog tale, let me begin by saying that it is a rare day when I get hit on by someone. Maybe it's because I am constantly in a state of untamed hair, stained clothes, and small people hanging from me; or, it may have more to do with the fact that an aged, kerflufled version of Annie isn't the most appealing look to men.

When's the last time you heard a man say, "Whoa, check out the freckles on that one!..."


And I can't remember the last time anyone made me blush in that regard, unless you count that guy at Ott's who told me I was beautiful during last week's Girls Night Out. His eyes were closed as he barely balanced a glass of whiskey in his palm, and only the wall deterred him from falling to the floor. And I stilled skipped off to tell my friends all about it.

Like I said, it doesn't happen often. Which is why the next little story still has me smiling and my husband fuming:

My husband is a virtuoso painter. Sincerely.

He uses no tape, few expletives, and rarely does anyone believe that someone other than a professional painted our rooms. So, excluding some of the really high ceilinged (yes, it's a word) rooms, he has slowly painted each room in our house.

Good as he is, he is not a paint snob. If it goes on clean and its color appeals to me, then that is just fine. For that reason, our last few rooms have been painted with colors care of a local Sherwin Williams that just opened nearby. They keep all the colors and coating in the computer for a ready reference and the guys that work there are very helpful and considerate. (Remember THIS story??).

So, I recently decided to paint my laundry room in hopes that a cheery color may compel me to spend more time there. I positioned the kiddies with books at a table, and began the process of selecting the perfect color: Lounge Green.

Once again, the guys were helpful, even offering to carry the paint out to my car since my arms were pretty full with a large, well fed toddler. I left feeling enthused by a mission successfully completed and waited to share the next project with my man.

When my man came home, he reminded me that we also need more paint to finish the tray ceiling in our bedroom. No matter, he would swing by the store the next day to pick it up.

The Newest Mom Must Have

I realize this is a little late as far as news goes, but it wasn't until I read the complete list of specs on the new presidential limosuine that I decided this needed to be my next mom mobile.

In case you have not treated yourself to a perusal of the most pimped ride, let me break it down for you.

Considered a rolling tank with windows, the "Cadillac One" (a spin off Air Force One and the car's maker) is the ultimate vehicle for both luxury and security. Also, known as "The Beast", the Obama ride has:
  • Escalade headlights flanked by Caddy's corporate grille and a set of taillights pulled from the STS,

  • 8in thick armor-plated doors (each weighing the same as a cabin door on a Boeing 757)

  • an independent oxygen supply

  • advanced fire-fighting system located in the boot, pump-action shotguns, night-vision cameras and tear-gas cannons,

  • Obama’s own personal storage of blood

  • Kevlar-reinforced tires that are puncture and shred-resistant (in other words, airless)

  • special steel wheels that can drive without the tire attached.

The car cannot go above 60 miles an hour, large in part to the fact that it weighs 22,000 pounds (the average mid-sized sedan weighs around 3,000).

Now, aside from the fact that the limo cost a measley $500,000, I've been campaigning pretty hard to wrangle one of these little machines for myself. My husband has always been concerned with driver safety and I'd be willing to bet he can't find anything quite comparable. Also, to make it more family friendly, we could replace the shot guns, tear gas, and other arms with things like an automatic Purell squirt sanitizer, a bubble blower (to keep them awake), and maybe even circus peanut maker (but that is just a personal preference).

I could also do without the blood supply and would instead replace the liquid storage ammenity with with Motts for Tots or alcohol (depending on how effective the bubble blower was). Yes, I would have my own driver.

SO, feel free to shoot my husband an email in support of my campaign, I know he'd love to hear from you.

Guess Who? A clue, a clue...

I thought last week's Guess Who would be a layup, but perhaps I was wrong.

Which means it's time for a quotable clue (not spoken by the mystery man, but another character in the movie for which he enjoyed minimal noteriety):

There are three rules that I live by: never get less than twelve hours sleep; never play cards with a guy who has the same first name as a city; and never get involved with a woman with a tattoo of a dagger on her body. Now you stick to that, and everything else is cream cheese.

Quote of the Day

"There is no such thing as 'fun for the whole family.'" -- Jerry Seinfeld

Picture of the Day

His aunt foolishly decided against the snowball blaster for her nephew's Christmas present
because it NEVER snows in North Carolina.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A Brother Abroad

I spoke with my brother for the briefest of moments today via webcam, and the technology helps to narrow the distance a bit and then remind you how much time still lies before us.

Having said that, I think a bit of unapologetic, offensive humor is in order to put a smile on his face. This is a classic family favorite....and not at all for the easily offended.

And this is Day 12.