Wednesday, April 19, 2006

I'm a leaving . . .

on a jet plane. . .

We are going to San Francisco and Napa for a week.

Just me and Ryan.

Well, just me and Ryan and Meme and Pat and Baby Pat and Bubbles and Poppy.

Carmella and Beau are staying at Lala's and Pop's-- as Ryan deemed a wedding and the wine country inappropriate places for our children. I see his point but I still hate leaving them. Though I will say that he has made it easier on me by working really late and leaving me to care for them 24/7 for the past 3 weeks. I need a break. They need a break.


I am worried that my plane is going to crash (I HATE flying),-- or there will be an earthquake-- and my kids will be orphaned. I know that I will miss them way more than they miss me. Their being sad/missing me really isn't a concern of mine:
"Hip hip hooray! 7 days at Lala's!" cheered Carmella today.
"Lala's house. Woo Hoo!" Beau chimed in.
They are both so excited to go to Lala's. I only told them about the trip this past weekend so I'd only have a week of Beau every morning asking, "Lala's house? Me?"

No, not today buddy, I have to tell him.

I was packing their clothes this afternoon and he kept bringing me things he wants to wear at Lala's. He, apparently, has big plans. You'd think he was going somewhere he has never been. Carmella consoles me and says "Don't worry, we will miss you a little bit but we are going to have so much fun at Lala's." She tells me this as she stuffs every pair of shoes she has into her suitcase.

I don't begrudge them their excitement but I also don't get it. I mean, Igrew up at Lala's house. I know for a fact it ain't all that fun. I guess I could get my feelings hurt that they actually think Lala's house is more fun than my house but I know it is because no is a word rarely spoken over there these days. Also, Lala believes Coke Cola, cookies and cake form the base of the food pyramid.

When I think about it, me going to the wine country is like the equivalent of Lala's house for my kids. I'll get my "candy and cake" fill and they'll get theirs. Sounds fair enough.

So I wish them a fun and gluttonous week at Lala's and I pray Delta brings us back home safely to them. I think their future teeth depend on it.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

The Tale of Carmella Cottontail and Beau Rabbit

Once upon a time there was a sweet little bunny named Carmella Cottontail. She had the cutest white tail, fluffiest green ears and was a very obedient bunny. She was a good bunny. A kind bunny.
Then one afternoon she met the wild Beau Rabbit. He was a cute curly haired bunny; a silly bunny: a naughty bunny. Together they played trickery in the parent's garden; hopping here and there and everywhere. Never listening; always up to their rascally rabbit ways.
Silly bunnies.

Today we celebrated Easter. It was also Baby Pat's Baptism.
So now, unlike my kids, he is assured entrance into heaven.

He'll probably hold it over their heads forever: "I get to go first because, you know Jesus loves me more than you."

This year we did the Church parade at the Methodist Church instead of the Baptist church. The baptism was during the contemporary service and had it not been a congregation of stodgy middle-class white people I definitely would have been dancing in the aisle. It was a refreshing change from the sales pitch we recieve over at the Baptist church. Even my Catholic friends enjoyed it, commenting that they felt less down trodden than usual after the service.

We all headed over to Meme's and Pat's for Easter brunch and festive egg hunt. And as always, we drank lots and lots of champagne.

The kids had a blast and the adults had a blast. Here are some more pictures of our fun, religiously observed day.

The kids after church on the steps.

The six-pack all dressed up.

Me, Ryan and our bunnies.

The Hunt:

Checking out the loot.

Happy Easter!

Fishstick's Wedding

I'm MARRIED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

That is what she cheered as they ran down the aisle husband and wife. In the above picture that is the bride, Fishstick, her brother Peter to the left and Jason, the groom, to the right.

Later, my sister and I reenact the ceremony.

The wedding was Saturday, at the Park Tavern in Midtown Atlanta.
The setting, the ceremony and the bride were all beyond beautiful.
The reception was a blast but keep in mind that when I have an evening without my kids I make it my main objective to have a great time.
This is my mom and Rae, Fishstick's mom. They are old pals.
They use to drink margaritas while my sister and Fishstick colored on Allie, Fishstick's little sister, with magic-marker and gave her fancy haircuts.

Ryan and I rode to the wedding with my parents.

My Dad played designated driver. This allowed for Mom, Ryan and I to get quite toasty. Admittedly it doesn't take much.

Unsurprisingly, I think my sister's boyfriend Wes was a bit mortified by our behavior, probably mostly mine. (see further down pictures)
Everyone else is use to me. But before you feel sorry for Wes know that he has known me for years and has dated my sister for even more years so by this point he has to know what he is in for when he goes out with all of us. I keep thinking that he is going to come out of his shell eventually and break lose. He and Ryan try to huddle close but their shyness is no match for my obnoxiousness and my sister's silliness.

The way I see it, someone has to be that person-- you know the "life of the party," the lampshade on their head person, the fool, etc. About half the time I figure I should be that person.
In this picture I have stolen Wes's tie. I am trying to lure him out onto the dance floor to dance with me. My sister said he doesn't dance but to prove her wrong I sported this look and put on those moves and I thought for sure I would change his mind.

We also had fun with our table napkins. This is a longtime family tradition. My Dad and Ryan don't participate but they also no longer try to put a stop to it.

Cake cutting time!
Yum, at least I think it was yum-- though maybe I didn't actually eat any. There was also a blue Braves helmet cake but I definitely didn't eat that one. I know that for sure because I took my dress to the cleaners and it didn't have blue icing on it.

Congratulations and happiness in your new life together.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Necessary Evils

Some girls love getting their hair done, brows waxed, nails and little piggies painted but not me. Don't get me wrong: I love the results. I love the sparkely blonde highlights, fresh haircut, and neat browline. And, let us not forget, the pristine nails and pretty feet-- I love those too.

But man do I hate, hate, hate that I have to be there for any of it. However, oddly enough, I do actually enjoy that moment in the brow wax when they rip the muslin off your skin. Freak! I know. Little masochistic? Hell yes! Sure, I too briefly experience that same tense moment prior to the ripping during which I think; "am I going to lose all my skin?" But I always find the actual ripping out of little brow hairs bizarrely pleasurable.

Nothing else though in the beauty regime do I take pleasure in-- well, again, except the results. I fidget impatiently through hours of getting my hair foiled for the highlights. Then while I am getting my hair cut I panic that too many inches are falling. I can feel it getting lighter and I get scared. Oh, then there is the mani and pedicure. I know this is suppose to be a relaxing treat but the whole time I am totally anxious and can't relax because I am thinking of a million other things I could be doing. Also, it tickles the hell out of me when they scrub my feet and massage my calves. I pretty much hold my breath until they are done because, honestly, I'm a little afraid of those Asian women.

These little evils though are my necessary rites of spring and segue into my summer months of high maintenance upkeep. Not that I am so low maintenance in the winter but I am lower. I go darker with low lights and NEVER paint my toes or finger nails and I rarely get a brow wax. I pretty much even forget about moisturizing. The only upkeep I manage in the winter is my daily shaving but make no mistake, that is because of my aversion to body hair not for ascetic reasons.

This day of spring cleaning is so that my hair and my body and my feet will live up to the dresses and shoes I bought to wear to the 2 weddings I have been invited to and the yearly Easter parade at church this weekend. Eye roll. And you know it is only because I know people talk about my ugly feet and 3 inch roots if I don't. And there you have it: That is how vain and self-absorbed I really am. Isn't it ridiculous that I actually believe that "people" will be talking about MWAH?

Nah, I'm kidding. I really do it for me. Really.

So, one of these weddings is tomorrow and it is the wedding of a little girl I use to, get this, babysit. BABYSIT. That's right folks, people trusted me with their children and now kids I use to babysit are getting married. None of this sits well with my rising Oh-My-God I am going to be 35 anxiety. Already at the showers people have asked, "How do you know the bride?" And embarrassed, I admit to her late-20's friends: "I use to babysit her." I definitely don't like it that other than the parents at these wedding soirees and the wedding itself I am the oldest friend. Yes, Ryan will be there, but he is my trophy husband and is younger by a month and a half. And, for the record, he still thinks he is 32.

Oh, and, by the way, for all the boys in the crowd, this is Fishstick's wedding I am talking about. The spinner is, as of tomorrow, officially off the market. Sorry, you had to know it was bound to happen. Nobody that hot stays unavailable forever. Gentlemen, you're gonna have to file Fishstick in your spank banks under unavailable, really never going to happen for me.

Anyway, my spring cleaning is done-- at least for the next week with regards to my nails, toes and brows. I think I can stretch the highlights to 6 weeks and for me that means 8. But hey, the kids, my only fans, noticed that Mommy looks different. Beau noticed my feet. "What's dhat Mommy!" Pointing with crinkled nose to the polish. Carmella made fun of me: "Oh, Mommy's all fancy now," she said in a mocking tone. Ryan, never missing the obvious, said "You're blonder."

Vanity, my friends, is not in vain.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

My Mommy MO

I am not the type of mommy who fawns over her child when they fall on the carpet and then coddles and carries on until their child is subdued with kisses and lollipops for a little ole rug burn.

I am of the wait and see school. If my kid falls I wait until they cry to react. It takes a great deal of effort not to react, and often, not to panic-- especially when you see blood. Sometimes I even wait until they cry and then I ask them nonchalantly, "are you okay?" Generally they say yes and get up and go on playing. I have found that if you panic they panic and get scared. What good is that for anyone? Or worse, they quickly learn that getting hurt is one way to get mommy's attention and are overly dramatic about every little bump and scrape.

It isn't that I am not concerned for my children but I don't want them learning to cry wolf. If they are genuinely hurt I want to know that but if it is that they just want attention then fine, I can and do give that to them. This is life. If you fall down and you're fine then get up and brush yourself off and get on with it. I just don't see it doing anyone any good to carry on over every little spill a child takes.

Certainly there have been times, like the time Carmella fell backwards off the bathroom counter and smacked her head, that I threw up my heart and caught it in my hands. But I have managed, every time, to remain calm while I perform my head and are-your-bones-broken injury assessment tests on them. These tests are not all that different, I imagine, than the field sobriety tests are: Carmella can you touch your nose? Can you move your head this way? Now that way. Beau walk for mommy please. Open and shut your hand. Wiggle your fingers. Let me look at your eyes. Can you follow mommy's finger without moving your head?

Even the time Carmella slammed Beau's fingers in the door and they came out flat and accordion like I remained calm while I called the pediatrician. Yes, he can wiggle them but they are completely flat, I told them while taking deep breaths and keeping my back turned to Carmella and Beau. I was beyond freaked out at the sight of them but I couldn't let Beau know that who had barely even cried. Luckily, his fingers puffed back out and were not even bruised. The kid is a marshmallow.

I just cannot freak out every time they fall. If I did I would have been hospitalized for a break down before Beau was even 8 months old. For awhile there he always had goose eggs on either side of his forehead. I had actually began to suspect he was growing horns instead of knots.

Yesterday when I was dropping Carmella off at her class Beau was lagging behind. He apparently ran into one of the large white columns in the church and fell. I heard his dinosaur flashlight clatter to the ground so I stopped and turned around. He was laying splayed out on the church floor but not crying. I started to ask if he was okay, did he need help. But before I could a woman who saw him fall scooped him up. I asked if his pride was hurt. He started to explain that the column knocked him down when the woman interrupted him and snapped at me "It looks like it hurt, a lot" and gave me this look that said you are an uncaring bitch of a mother.

Obviously, to her, I was not giving the situation the attention she thought it deserved. And obvious to me, she is one of those moms that hugs and kisses her child when they fall on pillows. In response to this blatant judging on my mothering skills I scooped Beau up and started the requisite fawning over and asking him if he wanted me to kiss his boo boo and if he was going to be okay and I hugged him and kissed him and talked to him in that annoying baby talk voice. I was even annoying myself but not as much as I was Beau who all the while struggled desperately to get down because he, of course, was fine and wanted to walk.

I relayed this situation to Tara and I explained that I just can't be the kind of Mom that woman expected me to be. I think those people are ridiculous. I guess I am just an uncaring mother I whined to her, fishing.

Of course you are not, Tara said. You are a sarcastic mom.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Son, is that a panty on your head?

Nope. That's my daughter.

Carmella asked me to post this picture of her so everyone would know she is a "super underwear head." As if.

It is genetic, you know. This underwear on the head thing. . .

When I was 4 and my brother was 3 we use to wear our underwear on our head during naptime. Make no mistake, we never napped during naptime.

Instead, we played wonderful games like, astronaut. This highly technical game involved wearing your underwear on your head, of course, and climbing our, what seemed large then, wooden dresser. To climb it we would pull the drawers out. Inevitably this would make the dresser top heavy and it would fall over on us. I say inevitability because it happened more than one time. When it fell on us, we would cry and mom would bust in the room all panicked to find us surrounded by drawers, toppled dresser, clothes and underwear on our heads.

In retrospect, I remember us causing the biggest rukuses during naptime. Had it been me, I would have cut the naps out. And, in case you have any question about it, let my brother and I serve as an example as to why you do not let your children share a room. Trust me on this one.

Anyway, kids these days, they aren't doing anything but wearing panties on their heads. They don't know nothing about super underwear heads, that's fo sho.


I watch my kids pretend to be princesses and superheros and cats and dogs and horses and monsters. Recently I discovered that even my friends, the adult ones, still want to pretend they are something other than they are.

Remember the Seinfeld episode where Elaine meets the Bizarro Jerry, George, Kramer and Newman counterparts?

Well, there is Bizarro 6 pack too. I had dinner with them last Saturday night after the night of potatoes in the in the city of Roz.

Okay, so it was a Japanese restaurant in Roswell after the tornadoes.

I'd like to say that like the Seinfeld counterparts the 6 pack also has nicer, kinder, gentler counterparts but then I wouldn't be being honest. And, like Elaine, I'll be the first to admit that I may not have the tightest grasp on this Bizarro character, me not being a Superman fan and all. So I'll just say that the Bizarro 6 pack are not necessarily better, superior, or inferior-- just different.

Generally, when the 6 pack gets together it is either at my house or Meme's house or we go out to Mexican/pizza/ Taco Mac. Basically it is always a low key, low brow, loser, lame-o event. But we like it that way. We are losers-- that is why we also call ourselves "the losers." Bubbles, my mother in law, thinking we were suffering from low self-esteem, had championed for us to call ourselves the "winner's circle." If nothing else, we are at least realists.

I had lamented to Meme earlier in the day that I was tired of the usual fare and wanted something a bit nicer and a little different and maybe not so kid friendly but, you know, not so unkid friendly that I would ruin other persons' kidless-for-the-night date night. Generally I am of the mind set that anyone foolish to waste date night at Mexican/Pizza/Taco Mac gets what they pay for in regards to post date night booty call. So those are the places we usually go with the kids but we go frequently and I am tired of them.

Meme, I guess mulled it over and called me back later--even after Pat said she couldn't come out and play. She suggested a Japanese Steak House. We agreed to meet around 7:30ish which in loser speak is closer to 8, okay, really it is 8:30. In the past we have had dining success at a Japanese steak house with Max and Carmella They are smart kids though and they seem to instinctively know they run the risk of being tossed into the flames should any behavior issues arise. However now we have Beau and Livi and Baby Pat, so things are a lot riskier when we all go out. And I am not saying that Beau and Livi aren't as smart as Max and Carmella but they are the type of kids that may not believe that fire is hot until they have been burned. For the record, sadly, I am that type too. Hard lessons.

Here are the pictures from our night with the Bizarro 6 pack:

This is Mimi the fabulous singer/actress/song writer/new mother. She had to rush over from the recording studio and that is why her hair is dirty but really, I hear that is still the look out in L.A.
This is me with the martial arts guru/sometimes yogi, Bruce Pat. (I got his autograph)
In the real world, Nat gets on Pat's nerves but in the Bizarro world Bruce Pat and Nat sat next each other and didn't bicker once during dinner.

This is Natasha and Claus Vaughn Pouts. Natasha is a former Olympic ice-skating gold medalist from the former Soviet Union. Her husband Claus was cranky. This is not so different from his real world counterpart.

This is Max and Carmella pretending that they are sophisticated and know what to do with chopsticks. There was A LOT of food I saw go flying at that end of the table.

This is Beau and Livi--2 things are different here. First, they behaved themselves and second, they got along. Not sure what that is in Beau's hand but it doesn't look like he has good intentions with it.

When Steve, our server, started throwing food into our mouths I knew this was a kid-friendly place.

Ryan was so far off. Can you see the piece of chicken over Beau's head?

Natasha was closer, or is Claus about to make out with her? If nothing else he looks proud of his wife.
And Bruce Pat, I think, caught it. Must have been all his years of training and his zen like patience.
The kids ham it up and show us their silliest faces. Baby Pat, I think is beginning to be a little bit afraid of just what he was born into.

Ryan and I in the parking lot. Our evening in the Bizarro world has come to an end.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Woo Hoo! I Fixed it!

Well, at least I think I did.

I found extra, unclosed Html tags in the Hell and Potato posts. I guess with all my moving and cutting and pasting of pictures I left some scraps behind. Oops.

My Blog is acting Wonky

And I can't figure out why.

I am thinking maybe I posted too many picturesIn My Time in Hell. It has made Night of the Potato title float in the sidebar and the rest of the recent posts look really strange and too wide. Aesthetically this is bothering me very much.

I keep looking at my template as if I will figure it out but I know next to nothing about Html so I really don't know what exactly I am looking for in the template. I didn't touch my template so it must have something to do with either the Hell post or the Potato post. Help.

Any thoughts/suggestions from the blogoshpere?

Sunday, April 09, 2006

My time in Hell

Here are some pictures from Chase's 3rd birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese.

I do not love Chuck E. Cheese's-- a.k.a., my personal Hell.

It was a fine place to go when I just had one kid and that kid was Carmella. She would never have left my side with there being a giant rat combing the place. She, rightly so, had a phobia of those giant huggable creatures en costume.

Isn't there a fetish where people like to dress up like those things and do stuff? What's it called? Cuddlies or something? Carmella can spot a freak a mile away.

Beau, on the other hand, is a maniac. He loves the flashing lights, constant noise, the giant rat, the terrible pizza, every bit of the chaos that is Chuck E Cheese. I hate it. I spend the whole time chasing after him and he never really plays any of the games anyway. Oh sure, he'll put his little token in there but some other flashing light and zinging sound will distract him and I am left torn between playing the game or chasing after him. I'm like but the tickets Beau! The tickets! And he is gone. I am in constant panic mode. And he does not care where I am, at all. Actually, Carmella at this point doesn't care where I am either. I worry that someone will snatch one of them or drag them into the bathroom and do terrible, unspeakable things to them. My heart races and I run around trying to find my children while they are happily oblivious and go on their merry little ways.

Even though I HATE this place the kids, all kids, seem to love it. Hence why parents keep having their kid's birthday parties there, I guess.

Chase says "Monster truck!"

Annika says "Happy Birthday Chase!"

Max playing the dirt bike game. Carmella riding bitch.

Beau shaking Chuck E.'s hand.

Charla on Bob the Builder ride.

Livi is Carmella at age 2.

Anna dancing.

Happy Birthday Chase! We love you!

Night of the Potato

Okay, so I am the only one still calling them potatoes.

Carmella was mortified by her slip and correctly calls them tornadoes now. She gives me dirty looks every time I call them a potato. 5 year olds, I am quickly finding out, take themselves very seriously and do not like it at all when you make fun of them. 2 year olds, however, do like it and do much to encourage it.

Saturday morning around 4am a tornado hit our neighborhood. I woke at 1 am thinking I heard the sirens and I did but it was a fire engine siren. I turned on the TV and there was nothing. So I went back to sleep. I woke again sometime after 3 am and turned on the TV. This time the weathermen and their SEVERE WEATHER ALERT were on. They stand in front of their weather maps with the real time Doppler radar behind them with sleeves rolled up, as if they have long been at work "getting their hands dirty." Yet their hair pieces are still perfectly placed and those rolled-up shirts, perfectly pressed. You can see the excitement in their eyes that finally they have something to say that people will think is worth listening to. This IS their big moment. I never know what is more enthralling: the danger of imminent disastrous weather or them. It is riveting to say the least.

The weatherman is counting down the time to the estimated time of arrival of said severe weather for our area or whatever area of the moment. Every few minutes he will remind us to take appropriate cover. Ryan has his doubts and doesn't want me to wake the kids. "Look," he says, pointing to the Doppler radar, "it is right above us. It is totally going to miss us." I argue that I see a little pink right where I think our house is. "Just wait" he says and watches for the weather outside our open window. I watch the animated little man on TV. The clock counts down as the weather approaches. I hear the wind pick up and Ryan sees it. I go to Beau's bedroom and Ryan watches as the rain comes down the street. I pull Beau from his bed and simultaneously as I call for Ryan to get Carmella the lights go out and the sirens begin to wail. So does Beau.

We put the kids on the basement stairs and I run about the house getting milk for the kids, blankets, pillows and Ryan searches for flashlights and candles and shuts the windows. By the time we actually get all settled in our safe place the tornado has passed. So we all go back to bed.

A few hours later Ryan leaves for work and I am awakened by a crack and then a crash. I bolt out of bed and look out the window. A pinetree from the neighbor's yard across the street has fallen and landed in my driveway. I go outside to investigate. I am blocked in and thus trapped in this house with no electricity. I call Ryan on the cell and tell him he needs to come home with the chainsaw ASAP if he doesn't want people to keep driving through our yard and to bring coffee before the children wake-up. Hurry, I plead.

My next call is to the electric company to find out when I will have my electricity back. She says she doesn't know and I explain to her that my situation is dire: "I am trapped in my house with my 2 young children with no electricity and no coffee. This is an emergency." She records my outage and the down trees blocking not just me in my house but the entire neighborhood too since the other entrance, I come to find out as I wave those on through my yard needing to get to work, is blocked off by trees and downed power lines.

I then call Tara to find out if she has power and if the Chuck E. Cheese party is going to happen. She does not have power and does not know the fate of the party as it is barely 7 am. She sounds a little annoyed that I am calling her. During our conversation we both begin to realize the ramifications of how our technologically dependent lifestyle is going to be affected: no TV, no internet, no blow dryers and no coffee. Oh.My.God. The humanity! Quickly we form a plan: buy coffee and breakfast at Chic fil a, go to our gyms and shower, use phonebooks, call grandparents to entertain children.

Only the phonebooks proved useful for me as both sets of grandparents were without power. My gym and Chick fil a and all surrounding shops were closed because they were either without power because the stately old oaks took out the power lines when they fell or were damaged by the flying metal roofs that had apparently careened down the road at 4 am.

Lucky for me, while I was out driving my parents power came on so we went to their house. I showered and the kids watched TV and had breakfast.

The Chuck E. Cheese party was on, much to my kids relief. So we went there and enjoyed the electricity, the chaos.

After the party we came home and our electricity was still out. The kids napped and Ryan did some bills, so I went for a run to see if I could find a power crew. My plan was to lure them to my neighborhood to fix the down lines with a promise of girl scout cookies.

As I ran I realized that the tornado hit hardest on the street the back entrance our neighborhood is off. I couldn't even see some of the houses that were there from all the down trees. It was then that I realized how lucky we were that no one was hurt and that our house had no damage. I saw that the power crews were out and of course I didn't bother them.

I turned down another street and saw more down trees and leaped over some power lines. Those lines were still down as of my run this afternoon. As I rounded my way back home I was amazed by the severity of the storm. I turned into the back entrance of the neighborhood and the crews were there fixing the lines and pulling trees off some of my neighbors' houses.

Like most older neighborhoods in the Atlanta burbs we have a lot of hardwoods and pinetrees. The oaks, with their shallow root systems completely uproot and the pinetrees snap like the anorexic toothpicks they are. We have taken out most of the pinetrees in our yard but those hardwoods loom ominously close. It could have easily been us with a tree through our roof.

As it was we just had a few branches big branches down and the roof to the kids' playhouse had blown into the neighbor's yard. I asked Carmella if she had paid her home owner's insurance and she looked like she was about cry. I told her I was kidding, that Daddy, of course, would fix her roof. Relieved she and Beau went out to help him clean up the yard.

Barbie helped too.