Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Say My Name, Say My Name

Ah, the naming of your baby.  (Cue "The Lion King" music!)  This is such a huge deal.  Think about it.  Your kid is going to have their name their whole life.  Your name is a reflection of who you are.  You don't want to give them some crazy name that they will have to shoulder for all of their existence.  (There are a ton of bizarre names out there but here are some of the worst.  Actual names: Apple.  Blanket. Pilot Inspektor. Audio Science. Seriously?  Seriously?! Ah, so tragic. Poor kids!)

When I was pregnant with J, my sister-in-law, K, was pregnant with her third and we were both having boys.  K told me not to tell her our baby name.  She said if we told her our name then she would want to use it. (However, K did keep trying to guess our baby name each time we talked. Crazy much?! I am chalking it up to pregnancy hormones.)

After thinking about it, it did seem like a great idea to keep the baby's name a secret until he made his debut.  Now, we originally decided to keep it a secret because of K's suggestion.  But, after a while, I was glad that we did not share our choice of name as it would have been seen as a opportunity for everyone to share their opinion.

See, once the baby is here and you tell people the name, people say "That is such a cute name!" or "I just love that name!"  If you tell them your chosen name beforehand, people say "Oh, I knew someone in 3rd grade with that name who picked their nose." or "My ex-husband who is in prison has that name."  (Awesome. Thanks for the input.) So, the more people asked, the more I was glad we kept it a secret.  We liked the idea so much that when I was pregnant with L we kept his name a secret too.

We would call L 'LT' for 'little tiny' while I was pregnant.  Unbeknownst to everyone, his name actually starts with those letters.  (We are tricksy like that!) So, when he was born everyone was marveling at our trickery for using his actual initials the whole time.

Now, I adore L's name.  We thought long and hard over what we wanted to name him.  But, here's the deal.  He has about 50 other names too.  It started with "Sweet Baby L".  "Actual name LT." "Initials LT." Then, "Mr. Big Stuff.", "Mr. Stuff.", and "Mr. So Big."  One day, we added "Sweet LT."  Then, it became "Sweet T." (Yes, I have gone a tad bit overboard with all the nicknames.  See, I admitted it.  The first step is admitting you have a problem.)

I fear he will go to school and will always be marked absent because he will never answer to his name. I imagine the teacher calling out, "Mossey.  Mossey.  Mr. L Mossey?  Are you here L Mossey?"  All the while, L will be sitting there thinking, "I wonder when the teacher will call my name? I haven't heard him call 'Sweet T' yet".

Well then, "Sweet T" it is!  I'll take "Sweet T" over "Pilot Inspektor" or "Blanket" any-day.  

Saturday, February 25, 2012

I Am a Library Stalker

I know a bunch of people who received Kindles or Nooks for Christmas.  Now, these electronic reading tablets seem pretty cool.  I'll admit it.  You can buy books or magazines, download them on your device and go on your merry way. It's also a great way to be green since you don't actually buy a paper book.

But, guess what?  I have a secret.  Psst!  You can go to your public library and you can check out books. For. Free.  I know!  Scandalous!  Incredulous!  (This is also a way to go green as you are not buying the books, just borrowing them.)

I love my local library branch.  I like to get the newest fiction books in my favorite genres immediately.  I frequently check online to see if they have them.  If they don't have them, I submit an online "Book Request" form with my recommendations for them. Sometimes, I drive to the library just to make sure my book hasn't come in and I missed it.  I even like to grab the books off the shelf and smell the pages.  (Okay, I don't really do that last part.  What do you think I am a weirdo?! I wait until I get home to do that.) Ahem.

I imagine when the library personnel gets another "Book Request" form from me they might respond, "Oh great.  That MM lady had submitted another request.  This time is is only 10 books - a short list this time."

So, here is how my consortium with the library works.  I search online to see what new books are coming out this month.  Since I like teen fiction/dystopian society/paranormal romance, I like the Cincinnati Library, Teenreads, and Barnes and Noble Teen Books websites.

I make a list so I don't forget what I wanted to read in the first place.  (Mommy brain, don't you know?  It's like I have short term memory loss. I am hoping that.. Wait, what was I talking about?)  One website I really like is Goodreads. You can create a "To Read" list, as well as "Read" lists divided by genre and you can rate the books you have read.

Lastly, I search the library catalog online to see if they have my books.  If they do, I submit a "Hold Request" and they shoot me an email when my book has arrived.  If they don't have it, yep, you guessed it!  I submit a "Book Request" form.

I believe I may have passed on my "library stalker" habits to J.  Once we leave the house, he will say, "Can we go in to the library?  Can I get another truck/motorcycle/tractor book? Can I? Can I? PLEASE?!"

Do you prefer your Kindle or Nook to an actual book?  Do you love your library like I do? What say you?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Love Me Some Zombies

Vampires, Werewolves and Zombies, oh my!  If I am going to read a book or watch a movie, I will usually pick one of these three.  I know lots of people think horror movies are too scary. To me, they are entertaining. They are entertaining to me because I know they are not real. (Sorry to burst your bubble, Team Edward fans. It just ain't gonna happen.)

Now take movies or books about demonic possession, kidnappings or serial killers. N TO THE O.  I will NOT be watching these movies ever.  If these things can happen in real life, there is no way I am going to watch a movie about them. (I still have never watched 'Silence of The Lambs'. No joke.)

In honor of my favorite show, 'The Walking Dead', I thought I would write a post about zombies.  I think I like zombies so much because they remind me of myself.

  • Zombies moan "Brainsss! Brainsss!"  I moan "Coffeeee! Coffeeee!"  Do not try to have a conversation of any substance with me before I have consumed at least five sips of coffee.  (Yes, it is true. It is a well-known fact that it takes at least five sips of coffee to get into your system.)
  • Zombies shuffle around.  I shuffle around.  After getting up several times during the night with the boys, I am feeling extremely tired.  Therefore, there is no 'pep in my step', hence the shuffling.
  • Zombies appear disheveled.  I appear disheveled. Let's face it.  Running around after two kids under the age of 4 does not leave a great deal of time in my beauty regime.  If I leave the house with my teeth clean, hair brushed and deodorant on, I feel like a beauty queen. (Bring on the paparazzi!)
  • Zombies look unkempt.  I look unkempt.  My kids like to give me hugs.  A lot of times they will give me hugs right after they have eaten Oreos or just sneezed the biggest sneeze ever, so I end up with some of these things on me. So, no I am not homeless, I just have small kids that like to wipe things on me.  (Mama, the human Kleenex.)
So, the next time you are walking into Target and you look over and see someone who looks like the walking dead ambling towards you, start screaming, "The apocalypse is here! The apocalypse is here!" Oh wait. False alarm! It's just me running into Target for some paper towels and light bulbs.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Danielle Craig Is My Favorite James Bond

Do you know anyone who is funny without trying to be?  I mean the "oh-my-gosh-my-sides-are-hurting-from-laughing-so-hard" kind of funny.  My friend, S, had me dying over her casual "I called a pet psychic about our cat because she kept peeing everywhere, but Hubby didn't follow the directions so it didn't help the cat".  (This could be a whole other post in and of itself!)  But, the person who cracks me up on a regular basis is my mom, Tino.

My mom is a very optimistic, outgoing, friendly person.  She has lots of friends and loves being around people.  She also calls things by the wrong name - frequently.

Here are a few examples:

  • Close by, there is a store called the 'Shoe Carnival'.  Mom, of course, does not call it this.  Mom can be heard saying, "I went to the 'Shoe Carousel' and saw the cutest pair of shoes." 
  • In town, we have an 'Ulta' make-up store.  My mom is a big fan of this place.  She often says, "I went to 'Ultra' and got the best shade of lipstick yesterday."
But, the creme de la creme, of all of the misnaming is her message about watching Casino Royale.  

One night, per usual, Jeff and I were busy bathing and getting the kids ready for bed.  I heard my phone ring, but since I couldn't get to it, it went to voice mail.  After putting the kids in bed, I check my messages and I see it is from mom.  The message says, "Michelle, there is a great movie on tonight.  Casino Royale with Danielle Craig is on at 9pm.  I just love him!" (Hilarious, no?)

Whenever she says the wrong name, I usually correct her and say, "Oh, you mean ____." Jeff will say to me, "Why are you giving your mom such a hard time?"

Now, the whole irony of the situation is I think I am starting to do this too.

For example, out running errands the other day, we stop by a fast food place to pick up some lunch.  Jeff says, "What do you want to eat?"  I say, "A hamwich."  He says, "A hamwich?" I say, "I meant a sandwich." Jeff looks at me quizzically.  I say, "You know what I mean!" (In my defense, I was thinking I might like a hamburger and a hamburger IS a sandwich.  So, 'hamwich'.  Get it?  Ahh, I tried.)

Oh that Karma!  She's a nasty wench.

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies Ever

So yesterday, I made these cookies for the second time in seven days.  They are so frakking yummy!  As in, "I think I might be dependent on these cookies to function" good.  Yes, I realize I may have a problem.  (What's that? I mentioned I have a problem with reading. Well, touche. I have lots of problems.  Let's try to stay on topic. Shall we?)

Anyway, I know what you are thinking.  You are thinking, "Yeah, yeah. If I had a dollar for everytime someone told me they had the 'best chocolate chip cookies', I'd have five dollars."  But, no seriously, they are the best chocolate chip cookies ever!

Skeptical?  Here are some comments from those who have experienced the awesomeness:

  • "These are freaking amazing!" - My cousin, A
  • "Mama, I want some more cookies! Mama, can I have some more cookies? Mama, mama!!!!" - J
  • "Dee di doh gee ga." - L as he points to the cookie container

Still not convinced?  Let me plead my case.

  • This recipe is Jeff's Grandma's recipe.  She used to be a Home Economics teacher. (Oh yeah!  This stuff just got REAL.)
  • This recipe has chocolate chips AND peanut butter AND oatmeal.

That's what I thought.  But, I am not here to gloat.  I am here to share this fantastic recipe with you.  You will fall in love with these cookies.  You will want to make them twice a week, or everyday.  (Disclaimer: Not liable for your addiction to these cookies. You have been warned.)

Outrageous Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1 stick of butter (I did not say it was healthy, people.)
1/2 tsp vanilla (Posted this initally as 1 tsp. Sorry! Did it from memory.)
1 egg
1 cup flour
1/2 cup instant oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 oz chocolate chips

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix first six ingredients together.  Then, mix in flour, oats, baking powder and salt.  Finally, fold in chocolate chips.
  3. Drop by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet.  Bake 10 to 12 minutes. (I find 11 minutes to be the perfect time.)  Remove from oven and let stand on baking sheet for one minute before removing. Makes about two dozen.
  4. Eat the cookies.
Try not to eat them all at once. Share them with others. You will become their new favorite person.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Are Your In-Laws Out-Laws?

When Jeff and I first got married, I remember one of my uncles telling Jeff that he was now an "out-law".  Is this a Kentucky thing that I was unaware of?  Does this mean my husband is now wanted in the tri-states? Did he mean he would break both his legs if he ever broke my heart?  No, my uncle is a really funny guy and was just making a joke.  (At least, I think it was a joke.  Note to Jeff: Uncle(s) may be keeping tabs on you.)

I have heard of some real horror stories about in-laws from some of my friends.  One friend had her mother-in-law curse her out when she was pregnant.  Another friend has her sister-in-law constantly talk to her husband about her while she is in the same room.  Not cool folks.  Not cool at all.

Now, if you came here looking for some dirt and scathing stories about my in-laws, sorry to disappoint. Lucky me, I have some ridiculously, wonderful in-laws.  My father-in-law is hilarious and his childhood stories will make you laugh until your sides hurt.  My mother-in-law is a saint.  I mean, let's face it.  She raised my husband. (Oh snap!)  Seriously, my mother-in-law is such a kind person and would give you the shirt off her back if you needed it.  Jeff's older sister, L, is the most organized mom I know and she would put Emily Post to shame.  Jeff's younger sister, K, well, she is one-of-a-kind.  (I mean this in a good way, K!)

For those of you who know K, you know she will shoot from the hip.  What I mean is, she is a straight shooter.  (Going with the out-law theme, you know.)  K will tell you like it is and she will not hold anything back.  Sometimes I tease her and tell her she should filter her thoughts before she speaks.

Now, when we first got married, I didn't know how to take K.  At first I thought, "Is it me?  Is that why she talks to me that way?"  Then I realized, no, that's just K.  She is brutally honest.

For example, several years ago when I was diagnosed with Graves' Disease (i.e. overactive thyroid), she says, "I thought that was a disease for skinny people." Oh. No. She. Didn't.  (I bet she is laughing right now as she reads this because I will never let her live it down.)  She went on to explain that is not what she meant and she was not trying to hurt my feelings which was indeed true.

It took me a while but I came to understand that K is completely honest with you because she cares about you.  She feels comfortable enough to really tell you how she feels even if she doesn't agree with you.

Over the years, K and I have shared lots of experiences and I can now say that I consider K to be my best friend.  She is fiercely loyal to those she cares about, she is a great mom/wife/nurse and she is really stinkin' hilarious.  There is not a day that goes by that we do not talk on the phone.  If I have a problem or I want someone else's opinion, she is one of the first people I call.

For those people reading this post who have horrible in-laws, my heart goes out to you.  Just think that it could always be worse.  I mean at least they don't live right beside you like on 'Everybody Loves Raymond'. Oh, they do?  Well, get yourself some chocolate, a nice glass of wine and a good therapist ASAP.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Synchronized Pooping

When I was in college, I lived in all girls' dorms for my freshman and sophomore years.  Now, with all of us crammed together like fish in a barrel and massive amounts of estrogen running amok, we all ended up getting our visits from Aunt Flo at the same time.  (Guys, stay with me!  I promise no more icky girl talk.) Sound familiar ladies?  You did NOT want to be around the dorm at this time unless you were armed with chocolate, Stridex and Advil.

Now, in my professional non-scientist opinion, I think it had to do with hormones, lunar cycles, the changing of the guard, annual re-release of the McRib, and the season premiere of Beverly Hills, 90210.  I know.  It is all very technical.

Anyway, I thought only menstrual cycles could be linked to occur during the same time.  Now that I have kids, I have found out that bowels can also be synchronized.

Here is an everyday example.  After breakfast, we are hanging out downstairs in our great room.  J and I are building train tracks together making the most wicked train tracks ever made with lots of tunnels and bridges.  L is busy taking apart said awesome train tracks and trying to eat the train cars.

Since his attention span is no longer than two minutes, L wonders off to play with the fire truck in the corner. When I glance over at him 30 seconds later, he is hunkered down and all red faced.  Uh-oh.  I know this look.  This is the "I-went-in-the-corner-to-poop-by-myself-because-I-need-some-privacy" look.  Here it is!  The first poop of the day.

I try and keep it cool.  I look at J and he is playing trains, oblivious to the fact that L has pooped.  I think to myself  'Should I change L's diaper now or wait a few minutes to see if J has to go?'  I hedge my bets and decide to wait a few minutes before I change his diaper because I don't want to get caught with both boys pooping at the same time.  So, I play trains with J for a few more minutes then decide to change L's diaper.

When I nonchalantly get up and go over to the closet, J asks, "What are you doing, mama?"  I respond, "L has pooped and I need to change his diaper."  (This must be the point where the subliminal message is sent to J's brain to 'relieve bowels'.)  I grab diaper changing supplies in one arm and scoop up L in the other arm, then head to the carpet to change the baby's diaper.

Just as I start cleaning L, I hear the pitter patter of little feet, then 15 seconds later, J yells, "Mama, I need your help!  I pooped!"  Mid-wipe, I yell back "Okay, J! I am finishing up with L! Stay on the potty! Do not get off the potty!"

Inevitably, I try to hurry up and finish with L so I can get to J but before I am done J is yelling again. "Mama, quick!  I need your help!"  So as I am scooping up L to put him in the pack -n-play, I am yelling, "Be right there! Stay there!  Do not get off the potty!"

I rush into the bathroom like a mad person frantic that there will be some sort of horrible, gory scene but J is just waiting patiently on the potty, waiting for me to wipe his little bum.  He proceeds to tell me, "Look, mama!  There is a mommy one and a baby one."  J always imagines his poop as a family.  He is such a sweet kid.  Anyway, I wipe his butt, we all wash our hands, all is right with the world.  Whew!  Another crisis averted!

You think that I would learn that after 6+ months with this happening every single day that it is a pattern, synchronized pooping if you will.  I am hopeful that one day they will mix it up.  You may think I am naive but I prefer to think of it as optimistic.

I mean the only other option would be that J is pooping the exact same time everyday because I am spending time with L and J is trying to get my attention. Ahh.....Oh, I see.  Well, I think I will go with synchronized pooping.  It sounds funnier.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Only Good Bird Is A Dead Bird

There are things that I do not like.  I do not care for peas.  I don't like clowns.  I dislike mice.  And I really, really, really, REALLY hate birds.  They carry all sorts of diseases, they poop everywhere and they have sharp beaks that could poke your eyes out.  (Come on, you know it's true!  Didn't you ever see the Hitchcock movie, 'The Birds' ?!)

Seriously, I have had traumatic experiences involving birds.  Growing up, we had birds fly out of our fireplace on a weekly basis because they would get stuck in there.  When J was a newborn, a family of black birds made a nest in our exhaust vent where I would hear them tweeting in there all-day.  And, the creme de la creme, I once stuck my hand in our mailbox and got my hand pecked by a bird in there.  I. Cannot. Make. This. Stuff. Up.

So you see, I have a very valid reason for hating birds.  But, as much as I loathe those that are fowl, I do not necessarily want J and L to hate birds.  I want to keep my dislikes to myself so my kids can make up their own mind as to what they like and what they don't like without being influenced by me.  I don't want them to be biased towards something just because I am not a fan.

So when J points out with childlike wonder, "Mama, look at that bird!  Do you see him, mama?!"  I just swallow my nausea, smile and say, "Wow!  I see it, sweetie!"

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Oh, How the Mighty Have Fallen

"Once upon a time, there lived a princess named Mich - er Rachelle. Princess Rachelle lived in a small kingdom in a modest castle with Prince Charming.  Now, even though Princess Rachelle's castle was small, she still took great pride in her home and spent lots of time cleaning.  Some might even go as far as to say Princess Rachelle was obsessive compulsive when it came to cleaning her house.  No matter, she loved her home and didn't mind taking the time to clean every nook and cranny.  Then one day, the Princess discovered that she was pregnant with a little baby boy.  Soon the baby boy, Prince J, arrived and he filled their small castle with great joy and happiness.  And their small castle was now a messy castle that really resembled more of a dungeon than a castle with all of the cobwebs and clutter.  The end."

Does this story sound familiar to anyone?  Can you recall a time when you went to bed and your kitchen was clean?  Do you remember what the bottom of a clothes hamper looks like?  Do you recollect the days when you would do things like dust the furniture or mop the floor?

Once you have kids, many of these things go out the window.  You tell yourself that after the baby gets here it will be busy but you will not be like those other mothers whose houses look like a blown-up toy factory. You tell yourself that you will be able to take care of a baby, keep your house clean,  cook a five-course dinner every night, look like a supermodel everyday and continue to rid the world of crime!

Then, the baby arrives.  You are entranced!  You are enraptured!  How could anything be so perfect?!  You fall into love instantly with that sweet little baby who fills your heart with so much love and joy. You would do anything for this little one.  You change their diapers, comfort them when they are upset, hold them just to snuggle, wake up for middle of the night feedings, hold them with one arm and eat/pay bills/brush your teeth/tie other kids shoes/do the dishes with the other arm.  You are exhausted!

Now, at one point or another, you look around your house and see the clutter.  You think to yourself 'Wow, this place is really messy'.  You also think to yourself 'I am so stinking tired'.  You debate with yourself for about 30 seconds as to what to do.  Screw it!  Sleep wins out and the house remains as it was.  A complete and total disaster zone.  

You make yourself feel better by saying to yourself 'This will only last for a little while. When the kids get bigger and I have had more sleep, I will be able to bring my house back to the glory days.'  Only, once the kids get bigger, they can walk now, therefore they are like tiny tornadoes, leaving a path of destruction in their wake.

So, yes, you are sleeping through the night, but now you have to make sure they don't climb up the stairs, eat the rocks out of the fireplace, chew on the markers or stab themselves in the eye with brother's drum sticks.  In other words, you are even busier than you were before.

Now, maybe you are one of those moms who are in the 1% who spend lots of time with their kids AND have an impeccable house.  Good for you!  If I had a hat on, I'd take it off to you.  For those other moms in the 99%, who are like me, you can't have both.  Or you can, but you will have to let something go, like sleeping.

I once read somewhere that kids will remember the time you spent with them, not that their house was dirty. I sure hope this is true.  I am not perfect but I do try to put my kids and my husband first and to cuddle with them as much as I can.  I also try to keep the house clean but that seems very low on my priority list these days.  Like say, it's at number 132 on the list.

I think I should amend the the story above.  Let's add: "They all lived happily ever after in their modest castle, playing among the dust bunnies and sharing in their love for one another."