Saturday, February 7, 2009

A Brother Abroad

Not to offend anyone, but knowing Paul, this is a joke for him.....

News Anchor Dan Rather, NPR Reporter Cokie Roberts and a U.S. Marine were hiking through the desert one day when they were captured by Iraqis. They were tied up, led to the village and brought before the leader. The leader said, "I am familiar with your western custom of granting the condemned a last wish. Before we kill and dismember you, do you have any last requests?"

Dan Rather said, "Well, I'm a Texan; so I'd like one last bowl full of hot, spicy chili." The leader nodded to an underling who left and returned with the chili. Rather ate it all and said, "Now I can die content."

Cokie Roberts said, "I'm a reporter to the end. I want to take out my tape recorder and describe the scene here and what's about to happen. Maybe someday someone will hear it and know that I was on the job till the end." The leader directed an aide to hand over the tape recorder and Roberts dictated some comments. She then said, "Now I can die happy."

The leader turned and said, "And now, Mr. U.S. Marine, what is your final wish?"

"Kick me in the ass," said the Marine."

"What?" asked the leader. "Will you mock us in your last hour?"

"No, I'm not kidding. I want you to kick me in the ass," insisted the Marine. So the leader shoved him into the open, and kicked him in the ass. The Marine went sprawling, but rolled to his knees, pulled a 9mm pistol from inside his cammies, and shot the leader dead. In the resulting confusion, he leapt to his knapsack, pulled out his M4 carbine, and sprayed the Iraqis with gunfire. In a flash, the Iraqis were dead or fleeing for their lives.

As the Marine was untying Rather and Roberts, they asked him, "Why didn't you just shoot them? Why did you ask them to kick you in the ass?"

"What!?" said the Marine, "And give you the chance to call ME the aggressor?"

This is Day 25.

Friday, February 6, 2009

A Brother Abroad

I recently asked my brother what the best part of his day is. He responded:

"Talking to kids on thewebcam....young servicemen and women don't know this but 15-20 years ago, I would go on deployment and it could be almost a week between phone calls or letters. When the ship pulled in, that was it: mail call and stand in line to get access to the AT&T phones. Of course, that is a double edged sword, servicemen will now expect this level of service all the time. That will not be the norm. But I like it."

This is Day 24.

More on Crazy

She just bothers me on so many does her apparent plastic surgery (and I never go there, but...)

Which Would You Rather?

Would you rather:

(A) have a little girl who is always bending over, declaring, "Hey, Mommy, there's a tush in your face!"


(B) have a little boy who, during a poopy diaper change, always tries to remove the contents himself.

Well, I have both.

Livin' the dream....

Guess Who?

Out of the Mouths of Babes...

Forgive me if I already shared this one....I just can't remember:

A mother and her 3 year old daughter and 11 month old daughter were stuck at home one day awaiting the legendary cable guy. Having had a horrible storm over the weekend, their signal had been somehow affected and the family was running out of reliable DVDs.

Right before naptime, the cable guy arrived ready for inspection, explaining to the mother what needed to be done, including some work on the roof. As he spoke, the precocious 3 year old took in his words and corpulence with wide eyed amazement.

The mother, happy that the cable man actually showed up, returned her children to the living room for some quiet book reading and play. The man, in turn, journeyed to the backyard where he placed his ladder against the house and ascended to the rooftop.

Several minutes went by and the 3 year old had already forgotten about the cable man's presence. As a result, when he slowly decended the ladder, the young girl, having caught sight of the human form outside her window, let out a shout.

Her mother, now equally startled, looked at her daughter for an answer.

She explained, "Oh, Mommy, that man scared my crap out."

Quote of the Day

“One thing kids like is to be tricked. For instance, I was going to take my little nephew to Disneyland, but instead I drove him to an old burned-out warehouse. "Oh, no," I said. "Disneyland burned down." He cried and cried, but I think that deep down, he thought it was a pretty good joke. I started to drive over to the real Disneyland, but it was getting pretty late.” -Jack Handy

Picture of the Day

As with so many major milestones in a child's life, an excited parent stands ready to capture it.
And so,
we give you....
the moonwalk.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Signs of the Season

In case you weren't sure if it was winter.....SNOW GEESE! on a pepper farm.

A New Battleground

As the pounds I dropped thanks to Jenny Craig slowly begin to reclaim their status on my body in new and unlooked for places, I have started to pay better attention to what I am eating. I wouldn't call it a diet, or a Dr. Oz program; just an attempt to eat sensibly.

So, I eat a whole grain cereal, coffee, and fruit for breakfast. I have a mid-morning snack in the form of a banana or cereal bar. I drink tons of water.

For lunch, I eat a Weight Watchers quesadilla and a huge garden salad and a late afternoon snack of fruit or walnuts. For dinner I just watch my portions and cook for the family at large.

At night, I eat whatever evil thing remains lurking in the pantry because I actually have time to myself and forget all the reasons I should be sensible.

Surprisingly, my new "battleground" isn't that nightly indulgence (that's actually a very old one); but rather, it is my lunch and my voracious little eater who will stop at nothing to get the food on his plate and the plates of others.

He is a table tyrant.

And of course I would give him whatever he wants because he is my baby and I am thrilled he's such a good eater. BUT....when you only afford yourself so much to eat, it is REALLY hard to share it. What's more, that little frozen, high sodium quesadilla is actually yummy and so, in many ways, my looked for treat in the middle of the day.

It doesn't matter. He shouts "MAMA!" repeatedly until I give a piece. He gobbles it up promptly, smiles, and reconvenes his demands.

I've tried to trick him too (how low the mighty fall...) by doing things like disrupt his view of my plate with a fruit bowl, a napkin holder, and even a line of sippy cups.

No luck.

I try to fil his own plate with things he loves like cheese, tomatoes, and a gigantic roasted turkey breats in hopes that he may opt out of my little Mexican magic.


I've even tried to eat on the side, after they are done and playing, banking on the fact that his fulness will keep him at bay.

Not even close.

What am I to do?

A Brother Abroad

"Bravery is being the only one who knows you're afraid." - David Hackworth Links

This is Day 23.

Quote of the Day

"The Rule of Siblings: If your sibling gets something you want, you (1) try to take it; (2) break it; or (3) say it's no good." -Patricia Flemming

Picture of the Day

Amidst historic economic turmoil,
a father must do whatever it takes to provide for his family
(Even if it causes him to get some funny looks at the Please Touch Museum)

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Brother Abroad

This is Day 22.


THIS is the second story of its kind I've come across, and it makes me ill.

Morning in Review

As I should have expected from throwing up a post about my son's great sleep patterns, he decided to put me in check by beginning his day at 4:30 am.

It's been all down hill from there (and, yes, at 11:48, he's already napping). But, like always, there are lessons to be learned:

1) If you serve breakfast at 6:15, don't count on anyone making it until the regular lunch hour. I never thought I'd be making mac and cheese before 10:30 after college.

2) Cheese sticks are great little snacks; they also make for crayon like instruments when rubbed repeatedly across freshly cleaned hardwood floors.

3) It may take an entire hour to get everyone dressed and ready for fun in the snow (at 8am), but you can expect the completion of a ripe diaper within seconds of exiting the house.

4) Before you tell your husband he can take the truck to work, make sure you take O's snow boots out of it.

5) Waterproof snow mittens in all their inflexibility are not friends to 19 month olds.

6) If you're having a bad morning, don't tempt fate by serving peas with your 10:30 lunch....although the color does seem to compliment the cheese on all over the floor.

7) Just when you think things couldn't get worse, the phone will ring and it will be your guardian angel (Joan...the most fabulous neighbor ever), asking if now is a good time to come over. She's made an extra lasagna for dinner and would like to give it to you. She also has some new books for the kids, a salad, and bread.

8) Say "yes" to Joan and do not care for a second what your floor looks like....she had little ones too once.

9) Be thankful Joan did not include a bottle of wine in her this point the grammar on the blog would already be compromised.

10) Pretend the quick floor cleaning you did will suffice for now, turn off the computer, and snuggle up on the couch with O to watch Horton Hears A Who for the 3,000th time.

Confession Time

My son's road to routine, predictable sleep has been a winding one. After many months of trying to structure sleep, he is now down by 8, up at 6, and usually good for a three hour nap right in the middle of the day. It fits our life well, and he's a happy guy.

I also no longer rock him, or do anything else to get him to fall asleep. At this point, I put him in the crib, give him a kiss, and say "Night, night." After this, he dives into his crib with his tush windward...happy as a clam.

As well as this works, there is a part of me that feels the need to sneak in some unnecessary rocking while I still can.

It doesn't happen every day, but as I confront the reality that his days as being little-little are numbered, I can't resist some gentle rocking and singing, even if it may derail all that we've worked for.

The Party

Nothing makes a party like a pinata...even if my daughter was afraid to hit it, my son couldn't reach it, and the guest of honor donned a pillow case that made one wonder about the history of hate crimes against dinosaurs.
All in all....too much fun.

Headline of the Day

"MySpace has removed 90,000 sexual offenders in two years"

Click HERE for the article.

Quote of the Day

"The American Dream is not to own your own home but to get your kids out of it." -- Dick Armey

Picture of the Day

The sign of a perfect day?
Unseasonably warm January day,
lots of mud,
and a cold beverage.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

This is Dedicated to the One I Love.....

In honor of his birthday, the Song of the Day is Pearl Jam's "Alive", which also happens to be one of my husband's favorite songs.

Though I can't stand Eddie Vedder in most instances, I'll acknowledge that Pearl Jam's songs appeal to me and leave it at that. (I hate it when obnoxious artists get me to love their songs).

Anyway, like a lot of Gen Xers, I began listening to the Seattle sound in high school (shout out to Chris Ogle and Gabrielle Langholtz), but it wasn't until I met my husband in our college years that I developed an appreciation for them.

He taught me that:

1) This song, "Alive", is actually based on Vedder's own life experience of believing his stepfather was his biological father. When his mother eventually broke the news to him, his real father had just died of Cancer. She reassured him by saying, "Well, at least you still have me." (Listen to the first line of the song). Pearl Jam's "Better Man" is based on the stepfather.

2) I learned that Kurt Cobain had no idea there was a deoderant sharing the name of his most famous song, that the motto of his hometown of Aberdeen, Washington is "Come As You Are", and that the FBI is considering reopenning the case in his death; pursuing it as a potential homicide. Think a long held secret is starting to crack Courtney? Click HERE for the crazy story.

3) The movie Singles was actually made before the Grunge thing exploded, and Pearl Jam's appearance in it was actually before they were Pearl Jam. At the time of their involvement, Pearl Jam was still called Mookie Blaylock and Ten hadn’t even been recorded yet. Hollywood didn't know what to do with it until Grunge became big and then they released it.

4) Francis Bean, the child of Courtney Love and Kurt Cobain has some interesting godparents: Drew Barrymore and Michael Stipe. Hard to believe Kurt was on foodstamps just a year before they made it big....

If you're into this stuff, feel free to pick my husband's brain....he loves to talk about it while I just wish one of these had been a question on the Jeopardy! test.

Oh, and I never got a call.....shocker.

Happy Birthday!

Just ship me off to another planet already.....

The crazy lady who just gave birth to octuplets care of a sperm donor,

who already has six kids,

who is financially bankrupt,

who is bankrupt of sanity,

who lives with her struggling parents in a three bedroom house,

who does not have any current means of income.....

has just hired two LA based publicists.

Birthdays as a Thirty-something....

When we were little birthdays were anticipated as epic events; as teenagers and young adults, a welcome chance to be the center of a party; and as parents (when they do not involve your own children) they are often met with surprise as the excitement is filed away between daily grind and the aging process.

So, what does a birthday party look like in our house for the 33 year old patriarch?

-Party hats
-Cookie Puss Ice Cream Cake from Carvel
-Presents irregularly wrapped by the children (characterized by extravagant use of scotch tape and some revealing holes)
- A triceratops shaped pinata
- And balloons, lots and lots of balloons.

And, yes, I will post a ton of pictures tomorrow as nothing would please my husband more (he's getting grouchy in his old age).

A Brother Abroad.....

I just got a message from my brother in Iraq, thanking me for the February care package (we've resolved to send one a month), and it seems the Dunkin' Donuts coffee and the Sweedish fish were a big hit.

The coffee is communal over there, and consequently treated like gold.

Despite the tough exterior of the typical marine, everyone has a sweet spot for those gummy maritime delights.

Now what should I send for March....?

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, I'd love to send a few pints, but, as I mentioned before, that is not allowed. Perhaps I'll have to get creative in that department.....


This is Day 21.

The Old Days

A friend on Facebook (what does that really mean anyway?) recently put up a post about taking part in a 12 hour film extravaganza at the local theatre, which will be showing every Oscar nominated film in one sitting.

His wife is due in May.

Should I break it to him now or let him find out for himself how immensely his life will change?


Another Broken Promise.....

Just when I swore off personal birthday wishes, I'm about to go and do another.

Happy Birthday to my favorite 33 year old,

who will officially be robbing the cradle for the next 23 days.

Love, love, love that older man of mine.

Quote of the Day

"I know enough to know that when you're in a pickle… call Mom." -Jennifer Garner in InStyle

Picture of the Day

Most Envied Occupation: Hershey Park Chocolatier
(at least, in training)

Monday, February 2, 2009


My favorite Super Bowl commercial.....


This was my husband's favorite commercial (though, we both had a tough time choosing...).

My Own Version of Cleansing....

As I had mentioned last week, my family relocated to Norther Virginia for the week while my husband headed to balmy Chicago for a conference. Unfortunately, that week also corresponded to the week my parents shared a nasty stomach virus (together, so cute) and an ice storm.

Concerned that their infection may feast on us, my parents kept their distance and I watched the clock. According to everyone, if we made it three days without symptoms, we were in the clear. By Friday (the 4th day) by husband returned home to find two healthy kids and one relieved wife. All was well.

Friday night was less than well.

I got it bad and was almost as mad as I was beleagured. I thought I had made it! What happened?

I think I know. When I was a teacher, I would almost always survive the school day germs and then get sick just in time for vacation, when my body had time to relax.

And that is what happened. My husband returned, the burden of absolute parenting was lifted, and my steel curtain of mommyhood lifted....allowing the bug to get me.


A Brother Abroad

Though I put an end to personal birthday wishes (I have a terrible memory and simply cannot handle the guilt of potentially missing someone), I am sending a very special 4th birthday wish to one of my very favorite little guys......
Happy Birthday, Drew!!!!
I cannot believe you are FOUR today!!!!
And, yes, his dad is wishing him all the love in the world too...from a far away land.
This is Day 20.

Groundhog Day

Though I can't ever remember a year when Spring came early, I know a lot of people get very excited in the fun of the tradition.

I do not.

However, if that little guy comes out and tells me that in six weeks I will:

1) Be able to release the hounds from the home in which they are cooped and enjoy some fresh air.

2) Not have to hide in remote locations so that I may pounce on my children and wrestle them to the ground with winter coats, gloves, and hats.

3) Not to have to buckle my children in car seats with winter coats, gloves, and hats.

4) Not have to drive to the mailbox (I'm not kidding....though I usually get the mail when I'm going out or coming in...and my driveway is evil).

5) Set up the kiddie pools....there is nothing like water play to keep the little ones happy.

6) Start powerwalking with the stroller...the hoolah hooping a la Wii Fit isn't quite doing the job.

7) Send the kids outside after dinner to roll around with their dad while I peacefully clean the kitchen.

8) Eat ice cream when it's seasonally acceptable (and not in the dark confines of my living room where it feels illegal, while still satisfying).

9) Wear flip flops

10) Chase the butterflies, draw with chalk, have picnics, pick flowers, swing on the sings, and spend an entire day not at all thinking about the toys or television inside.

....Then I will be a very happy mommy. Come on, Phil....
BTW: If Phil looks anything like the corpulent fellow pictured above, how couldn't he see his shadow?

Quote of the Day

"Being a dad is the greatest, except for assembling things." -- Conan O'Brien in People

Picture of the Day

When aren't Irish eyes smiling?

Send your favorite kid pictures to:

Sunday, February 1, 2009

And for my other brother.....

As military brats, there was never any home grown football team for which we'd all cheer. With parents as native New Yorkers (my mom was born and bred Bronx), the only family team was the Yanks, but that ended with baseball.

So, I'm guessing our unique tastes in teams may have something to do with the influences that might abound while we came of football appreciation age. My brother Paul, the eldest, was a Cowboys fan for a long time before a family intervention forced him to forego his lonestar state allegiance and settle with the Giants. My father has always been a Patriots fan, but most of that has to do with which Michigan players go where (M go Blue). My own introduction came around when we were stationed in the DC area and my 5th teacher threatened failure to any kid who didn't cheer for the 'skins. Unfortunately, that was also the season Joe Theisman suffered a stomach turning injury that would be replayed on our nightly news for an entire week.

That successfully turned me off football. It would take marriage, the spirit of the downtrodden, and a relocation to Philadelphia to reaquaint me with the sport.

My mom? She makes a mean dip.

So, since the only one with any interest in tonight's game is Mike...I might have to pull for the Steelers.

But what would an annoying little sister do?

More Super Bowl Stuff

Nicely done.

A Brother Abroad: The Superbowl Addition I

I'll admit that yesterday's countdown post lacked a bit, but it took a lot just to string it together...the keyboard looked fuzzy. Now, that's not meant as a whine....just an apologetic explanation.

However, now that I am officially back on my feet and two pounds lighter, I'll make today's post a more robust one, which is fitting given the sports fanatic that is my older brother.

The apropos Super Bowl subtopic?


For most people, a complete Super Bowl picture includes a large television, betting boards, lots of artery clogging snacks, and beer. It can be a keg or a can, fancy microbrew or the High Life, but it's part of the package (my non-alcohol drinking Grandpa even enjoys a few O'Douls...).

If you happen to be waging war in an Islamic country, alcohol is banned. That's right...after a long day in the hot desert sun, putting yourself in clear and present danger, there is no happy hour, no cold brew with which to unwind.

Except Super Bowl Sunday. On this hallowed, holiest of Americana holidays, every soldier is granted two beers in honor of the big game....and they wait all year for it.

We just got word via Nurse Julie that my brother has already imbibed his and, since his team is not one in the final championship game (he's a Giants fan....poor guy), he will not be waking at 2 am for the televised broadcast.

But he did enjoy the beers.

This is Day 19.