Saturday, March 7, 2009

A Brother Abroad

By all accounts, today was a perfect day:

Unseasonably warm weather, a family outing, good naps, and lots of laughter.

As the day came to a close, my husband did what most husbands rush to do at the first taste of warmer weather: he broke out the grill. It is one of his many dad jobs (along with tubby time and weekend morning breakfasts) that he really enjoys doing and I really enjoy watching. Dinner was great, almost no clean-up was greater, and the kids went to bed with full tummies and pleasant memories.

And then I read my sister-in-law's blog about her near perfect day and I remembered what I'd almost forgot.

At 53 days in, truly perfect days will be hard to come by until he's safe at home.

This is Day 53.

Friday, March 6, 2009

A Brother Abroad

As both my brothers embarked on their first experiences in regimented training, my father gave them the same, practical advice:

"Don't do anything to draw attention to yourself."

As was expected, neither one listened.

This is Day 52.

A Retraction

My earlier post about M.I.A.'s baby being named "Ickitt" proved to be one of those silly Internet rumors that was just too much fun to repeat. Appalled by the attention and wide-spread belief the rumor received, M.I.A. took to her own blog to set the record straight:




Glad that's settled. I'm sure the baby's actual name will be nice and normal....just like her outfit.

Hyserical Laughter of the Day

I realize that a lot of people watching this may not find it at all funny.

I couldn't stop laughing.

If you find it funny as well, please save a seat for me in hell.


Celebrity Babies

As if she couldn't alarm us any more (holy Grammy performance), M.I.A. finally chose a name for her month old son.

Drumroll, please.

She and fiance Benjamin Brewer named their son Ickett.
In addition to the first smile and first laugh, I wonder when we'll learn of the first time little Ick punches his parents?

Strange Days

It's official: I need reading glasses.

I spent an hour at Dr. Jean Heisman's office (I picked her for the obvious jokes her name lends) to have my sight tested 1,000 different ways. I also got to shop for cute frames, talk to adults without interruption, and even sit in silence for a bit.

It was heavenly.

And that leads me to another truth about motherhood: As much as I love being a mom, I also don't at all mind the occasional doctor's appointment, oil change, or other once loathed outing that affords me some time to myself.

The doctor keeps you waiting in the lobby because he's running late?

I used to fume, but now, I just continue on to the next chapter of that book I've been meaning to read.

My husband cannot fathom how I could possibly be jealous of his hour commute.

Alone time listening to your favorite music, or nothing at all?

I'm insanely jealous.

Quote of the Day

"Just about the time a woman thinks her work is done, she becomes a grandmother." ~Edward H. Dreschnack

Picture of the Day

He may look innocent enough....

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Brother Abroad

“Senator, they are fighting and, as I mentioned, dying for their country in substantial numbers. Their losses, again, are some three times our losses of late. And I might add that the sons of Iraq losses are between two and a half and three times our losses in addition to that. So they’re very much fighting and they are very much dying for their country.”

-- Gen. Petraeus to Sen. Kennedy, who suggested that Iraqi forces are deserting their units and not willing to fight on their own.

This is Day 51.

Also, to file this one under the "what the ...?", Sen. Kennedy will be awarded an honory knighthood by Britain. I wonder how the Kopechnes feel about that one?

Famous People Wearing Glasses

Which is the look for me???

Seeing is Believing

After two weeks of fuzziness and headaches, I am finally heading to the eye doctor to endure an hour of crazy eye tests (yes, that's the accurate terminology) to see if I need glasses.

Of course, as I am confronting a minor life change, I start to come across all sorts of studies about people who have glasses. These studies include perceptions about heightened intelligence (I need all the credibility I can get) and attractiveness to the opposite sex.

This little piece by ABC News highlighted some of these ideas, but their little experiment was a poor attempt on so many levels. It did, however, establish that 66% of students believe their classmates who wear glasses are smarter.

I'll take it.

I'm not so sure what kind of glasses I would want, or how often I might have to wear them, but I am excited about the potential to look more writer-ly (yes, another accurate term), so I'll be throwing up a few "looks" to get a feel for what glasses would make me look cerebral AND fabulous.

Stay tuned...

They're Here

The the terrible twos refer to the tantrum filled, hair pulling period when your once sweet and cuddly baby turns into a defiant, violent, and nerve testing little tester, I actually believe that period starts closer to 18 months and lasts into the threes.

For that reason, I have been keeping a close eye on my little 20 monther for signs of the burgeoning monster within. And there have been flashes: red faced prostestations, cries of discontent, and even the occasional thrown object.

But, overall, it's been all quiet on the toddler front.

And then this week presented itself with some alarming, albeit tell-tale, signs:

1) The word "no". Up until now, Joseph has usually just grunted and shook his head; but now, he lets off a long, whiney "nooooooo" at every turn. And I mean every turn. He doesn't just say "no" to decline something, he says with each step he tales down the stairs. He says it as he walks along in play. He sings it in the car. It was cute the first day.

2) He's mastered the art of completely arching his back mid-tantrum.

3) He's been having real, lay down on the floor tantrums.

4) Toys have more consistently taken flight.

5) His face has arrived at new and unprecedented shades of scarlet.

These symptoms are clear and undeniable and lead me to only one conclusion.

We've arrived.

Quote of the Day

"I, who have no sisters or brothers, look with some degree of innocent envy on those who may be said to be born to friends." - James Boswell

Picture of the Day


Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Brother Abroad

I have actually had someone say to me, very recently, that they don't understand how anyone could leave their family for such a long time, how they could never do something like that to their family, etc.

I could have told them that they should give thanks every day that so many people do not share that persepctive.

That being close to your family has nothing to do with geography.

That being in someone's life is more than physically being in it.

Instead, I bit my tongue.

I know so many families that live but miles apart and go days and weeks without speaking. Is that closeness?

This is Day 50.

I Love Americal Idol: Feel Free to Hate on Me

A Disclaimer: I missed the first guy since the Clifford book O picked out ran a little long....but it was totally worth it. That Clifford!

Overview of the Night: Once again, it was a battle of the most boring songs known to man. Perhaps the first week's theme could be, songs that you won't hear in church or in an elevator?

My top three:

Lil Rounds (Brilliant)
Alex Wagner-Trugman (he brought some wacky)
Felicia Barton (how was she ever passed up the first time around?)

Honorable Mention: Jorge Nunez (but that's just because John's mad he cried and my including him will only annoy him more)

The worst:

Arianna Afsar

Taylor Vaifanu

Kristen McNamara

The one to haunt me: Nathaniel Marshall's headbands

The comment of the night: "Give me a high five, Ryan; I've got a stationary target."

What the...?

Actress Rosario Dawson was given unusual punishments when she misbehaved as a child - her mother would lick her.

The Sin City star attempted to remain on her best behavior while growing up in New York City, because she knew her mom Isabel would reprimand her with her tongue if she misbehaved.

She tells The New York Times, "My mom licked me - that was her punishment. If I was a little uppity or if I didn’t listen or if she wanted to get my attention, she’d lick the side of my face or under my armpit.

"My mom’s a six-foot-tall amazon and she’d say, 'You came out of my vagina and I own every part of you,' and she’d lick me like I was her wee pup and she was a lioness. It was humiliating and really intense. Very primal. It’s not spanking, but it definitely works."

Please let me know if someone out there has either experienced or enacts this disciplinary approach. In the meantime, I'll stick to stickers.

And one more thing: Given the language in the quote (both verbs and nouns), I cannot wait to see what advertising pops up on the site.


I finally got Joseph to say "thank you" and someone else taught O to fake cry.

The Sticker Solution

In an attempt to address the daily war that was mealtime with my daughter, I gave up threats, surrendered negotiations, and even stopped begging as nothing proved effective.

I decided, instead, to try stickers.

A mom friend had mentioned downloading a goals chart from a nanny site to help with her own daughter's constant tantrums when bedtime approached. Though my challenge was very differemt, I figured I could also use a chart to address the eating habit problem along with the other regular headache: getting ready in the morning.

Instead of downloading a chart, O and I designed our own, fashioned by markers and a list of seven goals (eating each meal, setting the table, brushing teeth x2, and getting dressed). I threw in the table setting and brushing teeth because I wanted some sure things that would keep it positive and succesful (at least some times).

After a week, we've had lots of stickers, some set-backs, and a little girl driven by recognition and rewards, I can honestly say it's been a success. There are no more arguments at mealtime, and I find myself disbelieving the fact that it's working as well as it is. There are still some hurdles getting dressed, but that only happens when we have divergent views on what is fashionable.

I am shocked that a gimmick is working so well.

Now, I realize that there are those out there who believe reward incentive tactics undermine the lesson...children should do things because they want to or simply because it's the right thing, but I have never been one of those people.

When's the last time someone declined a paycheck just because showing up for work is just what's expected of them?

I'll let you know when the sticker excitement subsides.....

Quote of the Day

"Every child comes with the message that God is not yet discouraged of man." -Rabindranath Tagore

Picture of the Day

Well aware that his incomparable talent

may be too discouraging to the other children with lesser athletic abilities,

Zachary agreed to participate with eyes wide shut.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Headline of the Day

"New Zealand Mall Uses Manilow to Drive Away Teens"

Click HERE for the full story.

A Brother Abroad

Since I am still reeling from the image of the snake found in a toilet on my brother's base, I thought the whole fiasco (O's new favorite word thanks to the Fancy Nancy books) deserved another mention, and this one comes care of my darling mother.

The Maid's mother makes a very important point: if you are beginning or recently in the process of potty training, do not show the snake picture to your child.

Words to live by, mom. Words to live by.

Perhaps I should now include a disclaimer on my site since both children and my husband's company may have an aversion to my blog?

Thissssssss is Day 49.

The Votes Are In....

Since last night found me watching the season finale of The Bachelor with eyes firmly affixed to the television and my husband cursing me for ever roping him into the After the Rose program, I can no longer say the show should be off the air.

I had not watched this abomination since Andrew "tire boy" Firestone was in it, having grown weary of the contrived situations and cornball avowals despite the wonderful bevy of crazy characters I loved to make fun of. Unfortunately, The Bachelor sat firmly between two of my favorite shows and so, I ended up watching just to pass some time....and got a little hooked.

Needless to say, what a bunch of bologna that show is. If you happened to watch it, the final night proved many things to me:

1) No wonder his first wife left him
2) He ranks right up there with Octomommy for proper parenting (let's introduce a 3 year old to a revolving door of emotionally questionable women!)
3) Television producers really do think we're all idiots (for both watching and believing that the whole thing was not a set up)
4) That the fact that I allowed myself to watch this show means I need to forget glasses, and just gouge my eyes out already

Having said that, last week's vote earned the show a third place ranking behind Dr. Phil and anything with the Osmonds, which tied for first.

My vote went with the Osmonds since the sheer sound of their voices sends me into uncontrolled fits similar to that old urban legend involving Mary Hart and an unfortunate little girl.

Real Housewives of Everywhere came in fourth validating the age old adage that money cannot buy happiness, or taste, or brain cells, or common sense, or respect, or........

Finally, American Idol only had one hater, which means I will continue with my weekly analysis tonight!!!

On to the next vote.....

Guess Who...Another Clue

Since headshots rarely provide an accurate illustration of the artist, I figured last week's Guess Who? may benefit from a more realistic picture of our mystery girl....

Making Progress

Special thanks to anyone who either donated or at least visited the site for Maxine Cotler's Avon Breast Cancer Walk.

She's halfway to her goal and even closer to making one of the most important contributions to a cause a woman can.

If you didn't get a chance to visit, or you found a $5 stuck to the bottom of your diaper bag (previously masked by squished puffs and leaked juice), please head over to:

Muchas gracias!

There's Always the Olfactory

I think I need glasses.

I have always had perfect vision and so, when it comes to the few things I really rock, seeing was always one of them.

Not so much anymore.

Everytime I am working for more than a few minutes (all my work is on the computer, late night), I feel a fuzziness and then an impending headache. Since my mother didn't have to have glasses until her early thirties, all signs point to an optometrist in my future.

At least I'm still one hell of a smeller.

Happy Square Root Day!

I need Tylenol.


Ray Lamontagne will be the musical guest on SNL this weekend...and, no, he's not the unibomber.

Now, how do I manage to actually stay up for it?

1) Late night coffee
2) A Saturday afternoon nap
3) Mounds and mounds of sugar around 10 pm
4) All of the above

This is a tough one...but opting for approach #4 might still keep me within my "happy weight".


This one's from his more recent album, Gossip in the Grain, and I loves it.....

Quote of the Day

"The father of a daughter is nothing but a high-class hostage. A father turns a stony face to his sons, berates them, shakes his antlers, paws the ground, snorts, runs them off into the underbrush, but when his daughter puts her arm over his shoulder and says, 'Daddy, I need to ask you something,' he is a pat of butter in a hot frying pan."
-- Garrison Keillor

Picture of the Day

The father who would taste the essence of his fatherhood

must turn back from the plane of his experience,

take with him the fruits of his journey

and begin again beside his child,

marching step by step over the same old road.

~Angelo Patri

Monday, March 2, 2009

A Brother Abroad: Mother of All Creatures Big And Small

The following pictures were "reportedly" taken in one of the bathrooms on my brother Paul's base.

I call this: "The Ultimate Constipator"

It was some form of cobra and, at present, everyone is avoiding beans, prunes, and all other diuretics.

This is a nightmarish Day 48.

All the Pregnant Ladies

Put your hands up.....this one comes care of L&D nurse to the stars: Julie.

Pregnancy Q&A:

Q: Should I have a baby after 35?
A: No, 35 children is enough.

Q: I'm two months pregnant now. When will my baby move?
A: With any luck, right after he finishes college.

Q: What is the most reliable method to determine a baby's sex?
A: Childbirth.

Q: My wife is five months pregnant and so moody that sometimes she's borderline irrational.
A: So what's your question?

Q: My childbirth instructor says i t's not pain I'll feel during labor, but pressure. Is she right?
A: Yes, in the same way that a tornado might be called an air current.

Q: When is the best time to get an epidural ?
A: Right after you find out you're pregnant.

Q: Is there any reason I have to be in the delivery room while my wife is in labor?
A: Not unless the word 'alimony' means anything to you.

Q: Is there anything I should avoid while recovering from childbirth?
A: Yes, pregnancy.

Q: Do I have to have a baby shower?
A: Not if you change the baby's diaper very quickly.

Q: Our baby was born last week. When will my wife begin to feel and act normal again?
A: When the kids are in college.

Guess Who? A clue, a clue

I'm guessing the fact that her hair has been blown out in this picture caused some confusion.

A Real Snowstorm!!!!

And OF COURSE it's March 2.

Something New

Aside from all the money I'm rolling in from my blog's advertisements, the second greatest joy to a blogger are the comments. As a writer, you throw your thoughts, feelings, and incessant whining out into the great Internet abyss, having no idea who may actually be reading it aside from the actual number of people who click on the site.

It's a little unsettling as anyone or no one could be evaluating your words at any time.

For this reason, reading a feedback comment is a wonderful highlight. Much like the fruitless effort to correspond through a message in a bottle, a smoke signal, or real mail, there is always a somewhat futile hope you'll hear back....

But, ahhh, the comment!

Validation in Times New Roman.

Whether it's a friend, a parent, or the always curious "anonymous", it is always a joy to receive some feedback and now, thanks to a new feature on Blogger, you can get feedback on your feedback.

If you post a comment and would like to hear if anyone responds, attacks, mocks, or simply salutes your comment, you can now click on the little box under your Username and all subsequent comments will be sent to your email.

Fun, fun, fun!

Kind of makes you want to leave TONS of comments, right?

Not So Happy Weight

Self magazine recently ran a story about women and their unique ideas about what their ideal weight is. It may be what you were in high school, pre-children, or even a dress size you've never had. Regardless of the number, the article contends that most women wanting to lose 5-15 pounds are really at a normal weight for themselves already.

The weight they wish to lose are considered "vanity pounds" and take consistent dieting and exercise to maintain an unnaturally lower weight.

This goal setting sets a lot of women up for both failure, self-image issues, and depression, but even eating disorders and obesity when they become disenchanted with the belief that they can ever achieve an ideal weight.

Self argues that most women should seek to identify their more natural "happy" weight, and then simply work to adapt a healthy, non-stringent lifestyle of good eating, reasonable exercise, and occasional treats.

Sounds good to me.

So, since I wouldn't mind shedding about five pounds (though, I'd really just like to tone up and get some good exercise in for my heart), I decided to see what my happy weight should be.

Remember, I am about five pounds above my vanity number, the number I have always floated around throughout adulthood.

My happy weight?

According to Self, I should be ten pounds heavier.


As happy as the thought of putting on those happy pounds makes me, I really don't think I'd be happy ten pounds heavier. I am short and I have a medium frame, which mean ten pounds equates to one or more clothing sizes up.

No thank you on that, but a very big thank you for putting my expectations in check. I would love to have Jennifer Aniston's physique because she is not ridiculously skinny (a la Kelly Ripa), nor is she overly ripped (ugh....Madonna). To me she is the ideal....but perhaps not ideal for me. That's hard to digest, even if I'd be better off acknowledging it.

I think I'll just try to be happy with my extra five pounds and still work to fit in some healthy least until this Friday's US Weekly comes out and has me beating myself up again.

If you want to find your happy weight, click HERE and let me know if the result makes you, well, happy.

Quote of the Day

"Every Sunday my younger children believe church is the place to test my faith." -Julie Weaver

Picture of the Day

Siena Class of 2027 and 2029.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

A Brother Abroad

I asked my brother what he would consider to be the best part of this day. He said:

Talking to kids on the webcam....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 edge 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 47.