Parking Lot Angels

March 17, 2013 at 7:50 am | Posted in Parenting | 1 Comment
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I started this blog thinking I would write a lot about my horses, my obsession with the Real Housewives franchise, all things beauty-related, and other light-hearted topics. But what I’ve found is that I often write about what is in my mind and heart at the time, and very often that is parenting. I find parenting to be daunting, demanding and unlike anything else I’ve ever experienced. I thought since I could boss a 1,200-pound horse around and keep my business clients in line I could easily handle a couple of kids.

Haha, good one, universe.

As any dedicated parent knows, raising your children will challenge you on every level. And if you are blessed with one who doesn’t fit the “typical” mold – like my Brady – then you need even more patience, love and skill. These things don’t come naturally to me. Ok, well certainly love does, but patience, not so much. And skills have to be learned. I have so much to learn.

But apparently I have lots of help from above. Because just when I think I am the worst parent ever, when I am down in the dumps about my ability to deal, thinking no one could do a worse job… the strangest thing happens. An angel finds me. And this seems to happen most often in the supermarket parking lot. I’m not kidding. Four times now, I have had someone – generally an elderly person – walk up to me out of nowhere in two different Hannaford parking lots and say something like this:

Angel: “Hi! Was that you and your little one laughing just then?”
Me: “Yes ??”
Angel: “I worked in child welfare services for over 30 years, and it is so good to see someone taking care of their child in the right way.”
Me: “Thank you ??”  “Thank you!!”

Or

Angel: “How old is your little boy?”
Me: “3.”
Angel: “I can see you really love being a mother. Just by the way you’re talking to him and laughing with him. I see too many mothers acting like they can’t stand their own kids. You’re doing a great job!”
Me: (thinks: “I guess you didn’t see me losing it 20 minutes ago in the car.”) Says: “Thank you so much! You made my day!”

And the truth is, she really did. Because God knows I am trying! I guess He knows, so He sends me some angels to help me.

Even this blog has become a source of inspiration. A while back I posted an article about my struggle to restart my childrens’ book, which had stalled out creatively and energetically. Out of the blue, an old friend whom I hadn’t heard from in 20 years appeared in my Comments section with the most amazing advice on how to jumpstart my efforts. I took the advice, it worked, and now I am nearing completion on the book. Angel.

Where will you see or hear your angels today?  Will a random stranger approach you, or will someone close to you say just the right thing? Will you simply hear a whisper on the breeze or the muffled rumble of the ice shifting on the lake to tell you that change is coming, however subtle? If you are open to it, somehow you’ll get the message that everything is going to be ok and that life goes on, despite what may feel like small tragedies or giant victories.

Listen. Look. Pay attention. It’s there, it’s powerful, and you don’t want to miss it.

xo

Saffron Gets A Bad Rap

March 8, 2013 at 8:15 am | Posted in Beauty, Honey Pony, Horses, The Real Housewives | 4 Comments
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A dear friend from down south once told me that the following is a very “Yankee” exchange:photo

Friend: “Ooooo, I love those shoes!”
Me (the Yankee): “Thanks!
(hushed whisper) 9-West. Marden’s Factory Closeout Store. $19.99!!”

Apparently we frugal Yankees are extremely proud of a bargain and not only seek them out, but then proceed to tell everyone who will listen what a steal we got. Apparently this does not happen in other parts of the country. I did notice Lisa Vanderpump giving Kyle Richards the business about showing up to an event in identical shoes and insisting that Kyle must have gotten them “off the sale rack”. Kyle looked none too pleased about this accusation. I would have been like, “Yeah, I did, bitch. Are you really stupid enough to pay full price?” Yankee.

And recently, I read an article about spending habits that put forth the following hypothesis: One’s idea of “expensive” is directly related to the first thing they buy that day. So, if you go online and buy a $200 bathing suit (Ahem, Spanx with tummy control and lots of DD boob lift.), then you’ll think that the $180 pair of jeans they try to sell you at check-out (“People who bought this also bought…” The ultimate keeping-up-with-the-Kardashians/Joneses ploy.) is not really all that expensive after all. But if you pop into T.J. Maxx for a quick browse and stop first at the $5.99 tights rack, well, you might not drop $149.99 on that Michael Kors bag, even if you CAN compare it to the MSRP (that’s Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price, for those of you who are not rabid bargain-hunters) of $289.00.

So all this got me thinking about my own spending habits and what I consider expensive. A little look into my spending psyche:

Beauty Bucks

– Getting talked into spending $60 on foundation that is not the right color or texture for your skin by the adorable and heart-breakingly hip make-up store girl with the perfect cats-eye eyeliner = face-too-dark-from-spray-tan-21396414[1]EXPENSIVE

– $20 self-tanners that leave giant brown stains on the couch in the precise shape of your bodacious booty = EXPENSIVE

– Spending just about any amount of money on anything (short of plastic surgery) that will make you look even 5 minutes younger = NOT EXPENSIVE

 

Travel Tariffs

– Spending $65 to have a car service meet you at the airport when you could easily grab a filthy, smelly cab complete with bullet-proof glass between you and the driver into town for $25 = NOT EXPENSIVE

– Thinking those leopard-print spandex pants the cocktail waitresses at the Jungle Bar in Miami Beach are wearing are super-duper cute and rushing right out the next day to buy yourself a pair = EXPENSIVE (I don’t care what they cost. You don’t look like she did in them and you will never, ever wear them out in public when you get home. Let’s just agree that you got caught up in the moment. And the mojitos.)

– Anything you buy at the hotel gift shop, mountainside ski shop, surfside cabana or in-room amenities bar = EXPENSIVE x2

 

Equine Expenses

– Spending $400 on fancy schmancy full-seat breeches that are just going to get dirty the second you put them on anyway (you know your horse is going to rub his snotty nose on them, right?) and probably won’t keep you in the saddle during your new green show mount’s inevitable spook/swerve/buck at the judge’s booth = EXPENSIVE11235[1]

– Spending $60 on a double-hot-pink halter with your cute-as-a-button pony’s name stitched on the nose when a $19.99 one would do the trick just fine = NOT EXPENSIVE

– $5.00/bag for pine shavings that sawmills otherwise consider trash = EXPENSIVE

– $150 for chiropractic work, $80 for acupuncture and a $50 massage (this is for the horse, not you!) so that Lightning won’t flip over on the crossties the next time you slap a saddle on his back = NOT EXPENSIVE

 

Food Fares

– Paying $45 for the most amazing piece of Kobe beef you’ve ever tasted in a charming and elegant restaurant setting without anyone climbing under the table and squirming into your booth because they “need to snuggle you” or standing on their seat to stare at the poor old lady sitting behind you = NOT EXPENSIVE

– Spending $8 on clearly pre-processed meatloaf in a place that is supposed to be making everything from scratch. At least they have microbrews to get you through the meal. But of course they’re out of the one you really like = EXPENSIVE

Best SaffronSo what is truly expensive, anyway? The first time I heard that saffron is the most expensive spice in the world, I thought it must be really outrageous and who in their right mind would pay for it? Then I went to the Hannaford and there it was: $14.99 for a small jar of saffron threads. I mean, I suppose compared to the Cream of Tartar that’s a little steep, but I’m pretty sure it’s cheaper than an organic cucumber. I guess it’s all relative, especially if you’ve just been to the Dollar Store.

So the next time I’m feeling down and need a little treat, I think I’ll go splurge on some saffron and live like the rich people do. Care to join me?

xo

When Did THAT Happen?

February 27, 2013 at 11:24 am | Posted in Horses, Kids, Uncategorized | 1 Comment
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Lately, I’ve been stumbling across various situations that remind me of my age and stage in life. I wouldn’t call it a mid-life crisis exactly, but I’m definitely in a contemplative mood these days. Here are just a few of the nagging questions that have been on my mind:

When did I go from…

Oh, FX35, how I miss thee...

Oh, FX35, how I miss thee…

Racing around in a hotrod to carting around a carload of kids?

Styling my hair with texturizing mousse to detecting the distinct aroma of Eau de Playdough in it?

Wearing high heels every day to wearing out a pair of sneakers every three months?

Being applauded for increasing clients’ product sales to being reprimanded by a 3-year-old for forgetting to buy applesauce?

MMmmmmm.

MMmmmmm.

Choosing a restaurant for their marvelous martini menu to choosing one based on their mac & cheese magic?

The 5:45 a.m. spin class to the 5:45 a.m. wet-bed-sheet-stripping workout? (The kids’ of course, not mine. I’m not that old yet!)

 

And for that matter, when did I go from…

“I’ll call you when I get there” (from a payphone, which you can’t find anymore) to thinking it’s not ok to leave the house for 10 minutes without a phone? (Remember when phones had cords… and “dialing” actually meant the phone had a dial??)

Being one of that group of girls at the bar (you know, the ones who dance on it) to being one of that group of middle-aged ladies (you know, the ones who are passing around a single pair of

Not actually us (just for the record)

Not actually us (just for the record)

reading glasses because some idiot printed the menu in mouse type and it’s too dimly lit to read anyway. Also, if we don’t get some food to go with these drinks soon there’s going to be some serious heartburn to deal with in the middle of the night. Where are those 12-year-olds who work here, anyway??) Goodbye crazy times…

Sleeping ‘til noon on Sunday to thinking it’s so cool that I can get up at 5:30 before everyone else and get so much done? (Is cleaning the toilets before anyone else is awake really that fulfilling? Maybe it’s the pre-dawn cat-licking [see So Crazy Right Now] that I am attracted to…)

Being a hot mama to having hot flashes?

 

And finally, when did I go from…

Galloping the length of the beach on my hotrod horse to thinking a nice easy trot down a

Going sideways is pretty slow.

Going sideways is pretty slow.

familiar trail (without any bucks or bolts) would be just fine?

Hopping up and riding bareback in from the paddock to carefully picking out the best footing for my 26-year-old gelding while I stumble through snow drifts and glide across glare ice?

20-mile trail rides to 20-minute tail brushing sessions?

 

But most importantly, I’m glad I’ve recently gone from…

Caring so much about products, businesspeople and price points to realizing the only truly important things in life are your babies, your buddies and your boyfriend (otherwise known as my husband!). Let’s try to keep it all in perspective, shall we?

xo

Top 10 Reasons Why I Can’t Finish My Books

January 8, 2013 at 2:47 pm | Posted in Honey Pony, The Real Housewives, Uncategorized | 12 Comments
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Last winter, I embarked on a potentially misguided journey to write and illustrate a series of Roundpen Standingchildren’s books about my pony, Honey. Before I adopted her, she had fallen into the wrong hands and suffered severe neglect. My idea was to create books for very young children that introduced the ideas of animal neglect and rescue in hopes that this would plant the seed for future adoptions of abused/shelter animals.

Well, this experience has left me frustrated, flummoxed, and (to quote Lisa Vanderpump) flabbergasted (say it with a British accent: “flah-buh-gahstud”). It’s not that it’s so hard to do, it’s just so hard to find the time to do it. My ideas flow like wine (but really, what doesn’t in this house?) and the words to three books are already written. But actually sitting down, pulling out the paints and creating – now that’s the hard part. It takes not only time, but creative energy. And I just don’t have much of that left after spending each day coming up with ever-more imaginative ways to keep two little boys entertained, enthralled and even-keeled.

So here, I humbly submit the Top 10 Reasons why I just can’t seem to finish illustrating even the first book in the series:

1)      I’m too busy writing this stupid blog.

2)      The pony has chronic diarrhea.  (Just try dealing with this during a freezing-cold New England winter. Frozen tail poopsicles anyone?)

3)      I have to re-heat my cup of tea for the 450th time today.  (No, I don’t know where I left it last, either, so I have to find it first, ok?)

4)      I’m checking my blog stats. Again.

5)      Somebody’s butt needs wiping.

6)      FaceBook.

7)      There’s a Real Housewives of Anywhere-on-Earth-That’s-Better-Than-Where-You-Live-and-Don’t-You-Forget-It marathon on Bravo.  (I cannot help it, I’m addicted.)

8)      That text message from my newly divorced girlfriend about whether or not the guy she thinks is cute thinks she’s cute and if maybe he’ll pass her a note in Algebra today.

9)      I have to blowdry my hair. And you know what that means. It means I actually have to take a shower first.

10)   I’m too busy writing this stupid blog.

Any suggestions on how I can get out of this funk and make these books happen would be greatly appreciated. Also, if anyone wants to come over and wipe the kids’/pony’s butt, that would be great, too. Thank you for your support.

xo

Where Did the Time Go?

November 29, 2012 at 8:56 pm | Posted in Kids | 8 Comments
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I am a stay-at-home Mom. Although “stay at home” is not really the right term for what I do. I’m more like a drive-everyone-everywhere-keep-30-appointments-a-day-put-100,000-miles-on-my-car-per-year Mom. But on the rare days when I actually do stay at home, I have a lot to get done. A LOT. So, I get out my little To Do list, the one I make each week (No, I don’t want to talk about how many weeks “fix my pedicure” has been on this list. You do the math.), and choose a few items to get accomplished. You know, easy stuff, like shave the cat and re-spackle the dining room. I might as well choose these types of things for all that I seem to be able to get done.

Before I was a stay-at-home Mom, I was a work-at-the-office marketing professional. I handled many projects on a daily basis for a number of different clients and managed millions of dollars in marketing budgets. I was well-known for my ability to create successful campaigns, rally the team and get the job done. Now I can barely get the dishes in the dishwasher.

Why is that?

And I’ll admit it: when I was a working woman, I scoffed – actually scoffed – at the stay-at-home Moms, especially the ones who complained about how busy they were. I mean, how much could they possibly have to do in a day?? What was so hard about juggling a couple of kids, their laundry, and a grocery list? Well, karma has a funny way of giving you a good swift kick in the ass, and I guess I’m learning my lesson. The woman who used to be able to do it all now celebrates actually having enough clean underwear to get through the week.

For those of you who have small children, you know exactly what I’m talking about. For those of you who don’t (or whose kids are so old you’ve forgotten and now you’re scoffing at me and thinking I’m completely incoherent and incapable), here’s a little sneak peek at where the time goes:

Today’s Schedule:

5:30 a.m. – Rise early – an hour before the kids – to fold yesterday’s laundry and put in a new batch, look over some paperwork from Brady’s school, and take a quick shower.
5:45 a.m. – 3-year-old Michael wakes up 45 minutes early, crying because he has wet his bed.
5:50 a.m. – Drop early morning projects to strip both Michael and his bed. Carry Michael out of his room, shushing him the whole time not to wake up his brother.
6:02 a.m. – He woke up his brother.
6:05 a.m. – Put wet bedclothes and jammies in washer. Break up fight between kids over whether or not Snoopy really flies his doghouse in “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”. Commence making school lunch and breakfast.
6:15 a.m. – Fix broken dump truck. Hug crying child who brought it to you. Fill request to “Snuggle with me, Mommy?”. Forget grilled cheese is cooking for lunch.
6:30 a.m. – Leap off the couch to the smell of smoke. Chuck charred cheese sandwich. Check for more cheese – nope, there isn’t any. Make PB&J instead. Remember that the school has banned peanuts. Decide that Lunchables might not be such a bad thing after all.
6:35 a.m. – Fulfill request for juice x2.
6:45 a.m. – Finish making kids’ lunch. Start making breakfast.
6:47 a.m. – Feed whining cats.
6:48 a.m. – Break up physical fight between boys over whether or not the toy crane they are playing with can talk. Remove crane. Argue in circles with 6-year-old about removed crane. Threaten to throw crane out window.
7:00 a.m. – Continue to attempt to make breakfast.
7:05 a.m. – Answer question about how many Quarter Horses can fit on a cruise ship. Discuss.
7:10 a.m. – Call kids to table for breakfast.
7:11 a.m. – Call kids to table for breakfast.
7:12 a.m. – Call kids to table for breakfast.
7:13 a.m. – Threaten to flush breakfast down toilet.
7:14 a.m. – See two little faces appear at the table.
7:20 a.m. – Remind kids to eat.
7:30 a.m. – Remind kids to eat.
7:35 a.m. – Remind kids to eat.
7:40 a.m. – Remove plates from table to cries of, “HEY!!! I was eating that!!”. Shoo kids upstairs to get dressed.
7:42 a.m. – Check the clock and realize there is no time for that shower. Try to make the best of it with extra make-up and deodorant.
7:58 a.m. – Realize you have not made the best of it.
7:59 a.m. – Sigh.
8:00 a.m. – Prod the kids to put on the clothes that are laid out for them.
8:01 a.m. – Break up a pillow fight gone bad. Remove cat from bathtub. Retrieve stray Advil from under vanity.
8:05 a.m. – Scream that if they don’t get dressed RIGHT NOW they will be late for school.
8:08 a.m. – Threaten to send them to school in their pajamas.
8:09 a.m. – Answer the question, “Is it pajama day today?” with your dirtiest look. Explain to befuddled child that no, in fact, it is NOT pajama day, and everyone will laugh at him if he wears his Sleepy Cuddle Bear top and Thomas the Train bottoms to school.
8:12 a.m. – Answer whining cries by helping with shirts, socks and other difficult geometry problems.
8:15 a.m. – Manage to complete the final 15 minutes of morning routine (teeth brushing, shoe tying, backpack packing, coat-finding) only by growling orders through clenched teeth and/or roaring.
8:30 a.m. – Rip out of driveway, only to find you have left your cell phone behind. Back up to the door and run in. Come back out to find anxious 6-year-old on front step because he “missed you”.
8:35 a.m. – Strap 6-year-old back into seat and tear out of driveway again.

Now, at this point, I have been up for over 3 hours, and here is what I have accomplished:

  • 2 kids dressed, fed and teeth brushed
  • 2 cats fed their first can of food; the second can was forgotten, so I will return to find a fresh set of scratch marks on the new dining room table leg
  • 1 bad make-up job and possibly still-stinky underarms
  • 1 bed stripped to the mattress which will be forgotten until bedtime, at which point kids will use the 5 minutes it takes to make the bed as the perfect excuse to jump on the trampoline until they are so wound up it will take an extra hour for them to fall asleep
  • 1 load of laundry in the washer with soap and fabric softener added, but not turned on
  • 8 pillows – decorative, therapeutic and sleeping – on the floor in my bedroom, along with my comforter and top sheet
  • Countless breakfast dishes littering the kitchen
  • Pile of paperwork from Brady’s school that was due today but that I was unable to address due to wet bed emergency
  • 2 freshly poured cups of juice that we forgot to take with us in the last-minute hustle

I won’t bore you with the list of occurrences that will come about when I later try to make a few appointments over the phone and check my email, but suffice it to say that this mother, who was “never going to use TV as a babysitter I mean come on how hard can it be to keep things going in a simple 4-person household and my kids will be busy with their creative play and engaging activities anyway” now turns to the DVD player as the ONLY WAY to get dinner made on a daily basis. And even then, I have to stop what I’m doing to skip the scary parts. You know, when Snoopy cries over Schroeder’s sad music or when Lightning McQueen the race car gets chased by a tractor.

And that, my friends, is where the time goes. Gotta run.

xo

Bedazzled

October 24, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Posted in Beauty, Kids, The Real Housewives | 6 Comments
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I wore sparkly, bedazzled jeans to school drop-off, gymnastics, karate, and the grocery store today.

I know they were completely out of place in those venues. I realize they might have been a bit over-the-top. Even 6-year-old Brady, after rubbing my bejeweled butt for a minute, proclaimed them to be “weird”. But I just got them and I love them, so shut UP!

I also love make-up and hairspray (raised in the 80s, anyone?), and those things are hard to love here in Maine. There’s a whole juggernaut of plain-Janes running around. A regulation-sized soccer field full of Sporty Spices. Hey, I’m sporty. I mountain bike. I ride horses, and that is a dirty-ass sporty sport! But I still like spangled jeans and sparkly eye shadow.

This is probably an ongoing surprise to my Mom, who had to fight me into every dress I ever wore as a little girl. They were mostly reserved for Sundays at church, and I can still remember asking her why God cared if we were dressed up or not. Could He even see us? “Of course He can,” she replied, “It’s HIS HOUSE!” And now I’m appalled at what I see in church – spaghetti-strap tank tops that show your titty tattoos and short-shorts that would make Daisy Duke blush (are you even wearing underwear??).

But I digress.

The thing is just that… I love BEAUTY and everything that goes with it! Putting on make-up every day is like my own personal art project. Can I wear green eye shadow with this purple top? Does this shade of lipstick make my skin look grey? Will I ever be brave enough to wear those false eyelashes out in public?

I guess the real question is: How much is too much for a stay-at-home mom?

This is probably very dependent on where you live. Those babes on The Real Housewives of Orange County/Beverly Hills/NYC/New Jersey are always dripping with double-decker glam. Whether it be for a trip to the opera or a quick jaunt to the grocery store (as if they actually EAT), it seems sequins and 5-inch heels are never off limits. How do they tend to their kids in those get-ups? With small children, I have to bend over constantly, and this is no small feat in low-slung jeans (hello, butt-crack), short skirts (um, other crack) or low-cut tops (that’s technically not a crack). And try doing that while maintaining your composure (and dignity and modesty) while wearing platform wedges! Of course, if you’re lucky, your kid will throw a fit in whatever public place you happen to be and you’ll have to pick up all 38 pounds of whirling, writhing, screaming child in your razor-thin stilettos and carry him out. Meanwhile, you were wondering if those shoes could actually hold YOUR post-baby poundage, never mind you plus the butterball that is your 3-year-old. Good luck with that.

It’s tough being a Mom who still wants to look hot. Or at least human. I was recently at a 5-year-old’s birthday party that was held at a gym. I thought I looked cute and somewhat appropriate in my embroidered sleeveless top and white capris. Then in walked a mother ‘from away’ (Mainer talk for ‘you don’t live here’) wearing a tight black top and jeans with carefully placed rips all up and down the front of them. And in the rips were…. wait for it… GOLD BEADS!!! Rows and rows of them!! I scoffed and turned away. Clearly this woman did not know what to wear to a child’s birthday party! But on the inside, I died a little. I wanted to wear jeans like that and get away with it!!

So how to marry the two? Here is what I propose:

– The false eyelashes and red patent-leather handbag make the cut when you’re going out to dinner, not to the soccer field.

– Save the heavy glitter eye make-up and over-the-top lipliner for drinks with the girls, but don’t be afraid to dust on a little shimmer here and there on a daily basis.

– If you’re going to wear high heels of any type with your kids in tow, make sure you have the hubs with you to handle any “Pick me UUUPPPP!!!!”s that come your way.

– Bouffe (I think I made that word up) up your hair like crazy for weddings, evening parties and trips to the big city, but let’s keep it casual for the girls’ softball team, ok?

– And never, ever, under any circumstances does mascara make your butt look big. So slather it on, girls. Every day, all the time.

xo

The Perfect Follow-Up

October 3, 2012 at 9:59 am | Posted in Horses, Kids, Uncategorized | 2 Comments
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Many thanks to my BFF, Paula, who gave me the inspiration for this entry.

We were chatting about how there is a lot of bragging that goes on in FaceBook posts – about people’s lives, kids, jobs, etc. – and noting that the reality is probably much different from the sunny, Wisteria Lane perfection that many people portray. With that in mind, I decided to grab some recent FaceBook posts and take a guess at what the actual event might have been like.

Hope you enjoy this take on perfection…

What the FaceBook post said: “Meet our new puppy, Snuggles! He is the sweetest!”

What really happened: Mom promised the kids a dog if they did the dishes and scrubbed the toilets every night for a month, assuming it would never happen. The little bastards did it, so now she has to make good on her promise. Enter Snuggles, a “Shitz-a-Doodle-Poo-Huahua” (Shih Tzu/Labradoodle/Chihuahua mix) that the kids fell in love with the minute they saw him. This little darling pooped in the cardboard carry-box on the way home (yup, it soaked through the cardboard onto the car’s upholstery), chased the cat into a permanent under-the-bed existence, and is now in the process of chewing up every shoe and table leg it can get its needly little puppy teeth into. But isn’t he just the cutest thing??????

 

What the FaceBook post said: “Great ride on the beach with the horses today. Diablo was feeling so perky for his age! So many people were out enjoying the beautiful Fall day. Maryann, so glad you love the feel of the sun-warmed sand J . What an adventure!”

What really happened: Three horses headed out for a mid-Saturday-morning ride. Diablo, the “perky” one, spent the entire time bouncing, jigging and cantering sideways unless he was allowed to gallop full-speed without stopping. The “many people” included kite-flyers, wind-surfers, and dog-walkers, resulting in complete chaos and spooking the horses at every turn. Spook #53 (one of those front-legs-splayed-out-and-spin-to-the-right kind of shies) unseated Maryann, who got to experience the sand with her cheek. The outing also included being chased into the marshes by an unruly dog and a confrontation with a Port-a-Potty tanker truck. Quite an “adventure”!

 

What the FaceBook post said: “Thanks to the Allens for a great party last night! Can’t wait to do it again!”

What really happened: Do I really need to go here? The Allens are the most annoying people on the block. They are also the richest. The only reason anyone shows up at their “parties” is to eat their high-end steaks and let their kids jump in the rented bouncehouse. This party was particularly entertaining, as Mrs. Allen (20 years her husband’s junior), had a few too many Cosmos and ended up in the pool, rendering her dress completely see-through. That WAS fun!

 

What the FaceBook post said: “Yay Tiger Cubs! Great win today on the pee wee football field – we’re so proud of you!”

What really happened: The team is currently 1-9 (for those of you who don’t follow sports, that’s 1 win, 9 losses). After countless hours of practice in the rainy, muddy, mosquito-infested field (where, of course, Mom’s iPhone gets no reception so she really is reduced to watching), endless piles of filthy, slimy uniform laundry, and limitless complaining about being dragged to games and practice, this poor little motley crew has finally outscored another team. Who cares if it was only because the opposing team’s entire defensive line was out with strep throat? It was still a win! Go Tiger Cubs!

 

What the FaceBook post said: “Just canned 14 pounds of tomatoes and pickled some beets! Next up, gluten-free macaroni, then I’m going to re-tile the bathroom!”

What really happened: All right, let’s face it. This is exactly what happened. And this person is one of those pain-in-the-ass do-it-yourselfers who makes the rest of us look and feel like lazy-ass idiots. YES, her homemade tomato sauce (from canned tomatoes she grew herself) is astoundingly better than yours (maybe you shouldn’t use Ragu as your “base”), and her death-by-chocolate soufflé is to die for. Even more annoying, she cooks and bakes constantly, eats everything in sight, and is STILL skinnier than you. Get over it – some people really are better than us, and they are going to flaunt it forever on FaceBook! Argh!!!!!

xo

Don’t Be So Sensitive!

May 25, 2012 at 9:25 am | Posted in Kids | 3 Comments
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When I found out I was having boys, I was thrilled. No prancing and nancing around in princess costumes and cluck-cluck shoes (as a child, this is what I called any shoe with a hard heel that made noise) for this family. And FAR fewer hormones and drama to deal with in adolesence. We were going to be a rough and tumble crew!

And when I found out I was having two Pisces (they’re not twins, but born within 3 weeks of each other date-wise, three years apart), I was even happier. Pisces are fun, social, sweet, and just crazy enough to be very entertaining. True to form, every Pisces I have ever known has been like this.

But I forgot how sensitive Pisces are!

My kids are so sensitive, they can hardly watch PBS! Just now, Michael came running to me from an episode of Thomas the Train Thomas the TRAIN!! – upset because “Sir Topham Hatt is going to yell at Thomas”! Now any of you parents who have ever watched Thomas the Train know that nothing scary happens, and no one actually gets yelled at. And yet, there are episodes on our DVDs that my kids refuse to watch – Toby goes into the “Whistling Woods”; Patrick the mixer goes over a (very low) cliff and lands in wet cement, splashing Thomas’s shiny blue paint; Percy gets caught in a snowstorm and strange-looking icicles form on his face – because they are “too scary”. Even my 6-year-old takes part in this sensitivity-fest!

Sometimes I think I need to toughen these boys up. Maybe I need to stage a viewing of Word Girl or The PowerPuffs (remember that one?). That just might be enough to put them right over the edge. Imagine if I put on Scooby Doo!

Perhaps they get it from my husband, who was bawling at the end of Pride and Prejudice the other night. (I actually love this about him.) And I’ll admit, I might be a tad sensitive myself, crying over Hallmark commercials and obviously staged scenes between The Real Housewives and their kids. But come on – Thomas the Train?? Oh, and Sesame Street is too scary for them, too. Weird things happen: Super Grover screams and falls down a lot, the Fairies make a roaring dinosaur out of macaroni, Big Bird – well, let’s just say Big Bird is weird and scary all on his own. The only part of Sesame Street they can both tolerate is Elmo’s World, which I believe is targeted at 18-month-olds.

What am I going to do with these two sweet fish?

I suppose being sensitive and caring is not a bad trait in a man. My husband is very much both, after all. And also very much a big, strong, brave man. Perhaps I need to turn this one over to him. Have him take them to a Monster Truck rally. Teach them to play football in the rain. Or maybe we’ll just start with riding their bikes without training wheels. Either way, they’re going to be awesome guys. I just hope they don’t cry in front of their teenage friends at re-runs of The Golden Girls.

xo

Bed, Bed, Bed

May 6, 2012 at 9:02 am | Posted in Kids | 4 Comments
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A word about sleeping and beds in our house…

First of all, why does my bed seem so much more appealing in the morning than at night? The sheets are softer, the covers are warmer, and it’s so easy to just re-drift off to sleep even after being woken up 3 or 4 times by the boys. Why is that? At night, there are so many things that interest me more than my bed, but in the morning, aaaahhhhh.

Of course, my children see this in the opposite light. They are perfectly happy to go to bed and quickly fall asleep, but they are up like clockwork by 5:45 every morning. It doesn’t matter if they go to bed at 7:00 p.m. or at 9:00p.m., they are still up and rarin’ to go no later than 6:00. So why can’t Mommy get to bed early, too?

It must be that I simply can’t “turn off”. My brain is always going a million miles a minute. I just want to finish one more task, read one more page, or think about tomorrow’s plans one more time before going to sleep. (Having two franchises of The Real Housewives going at once doesn’t help either. I always seem to be either catching up with a marathon or voraciously viewing the latest episode – and staying up WAY past my bedtime to do so.) I have even been known to get back up OUT of bed and go to my computer if an idea or inspiration hits. Don’t get me wrong – I’m certainly not one of those people who doesn’t need 8 hours/night. In fact, I probably need 9. But I never get it.

And then there’s my husband. He’s got the power. That man can turn it off in an instant. He literally turns off the light, lies down, and is snoring within seconds. What IS that? Is there anything going on inside that brain at all?? I know – I’m just jealous. I would like to be taught this trick, but you know, the whole “old dog” thing.

Lately, my kids have developed the funniest bedtime habit. They share a room – nice big comfy beds on opposite sides of a large room. Simple, right? Not in my house. First of all, when Michael came along, Brady decided that the baby made too much noise and he couldn’t fall asleep, so we got a little floor-level pull-out “couch bed” for Brady in the loft. Every night, he starts out there, and Matt later carries him to his bed. Ok, fine. Over time, this progressed to Michael and Brady actually talking to each other from loft to bedroom before falling asleep at night. Still, Brady did not want to go back into his own room to fall asleep.

FINE.

Last week, Michael “heard something scary” in his room, and Brady, king-of-understanding-all-that-is-scary, invited Michael to join him in his couch bed. I came upstairs to find them snuggled under the covers together, giggling and looking at a Highlights magazine. Very cute, yes, but they need to get some sleep. We’ve tried to put the kibosh on this, but every night, Michael sneaks out of his bed and joins Brady in the couch bed! And they are actually learning to fall asleep together! Now, one would think that if Brady just WENT TO BED IN HIS OWN BED IN HIS OWN ROOM that they could then be together and no one would be scared or lonely. But that’s just too much to ask. Brady still refuses. And who am I to fight them? Nothing like a little brotherly love to get you through the night.

Some close friends of mine once had a bed they loved so much they called it “bed, bed, bed”. Apparently saying “bed” one time just didn’t capture the sleeping-on-air-fabulousness that this bed provided. As for me, if only my sheets could be pre-warmed before I get in them, and a personal assistant could take notes on all the things I’m thinking about and don’t want to forget for tomorrow, and a house staff would take care of all the things around the house that need to be done before I go to bed. Then I think I might, just might, be able to lie down early and get some sleep, too. But for now, I guess I’ll just keep dreaming about getting more.

Nighty-night.

xo

What is Wrong with My Mirrors?

April 23, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Posted in Beauty, The Real Housewives | 4 Comments
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Is it just me, or does everyone get dressed, look in the mirror and think they look pretty good leaving the house, only to be shocked by their later reflection in a door or window that gets them thinking, “Do I really look that fat today?” or “My pants are too short!” or “These shoes totally don’t go with this outfit!” or “Why does my hair look frizzy?”

What is wrong with my mirrors?? Why don’t I see that before I leave the house? Is there some “thin magic” in my mirror that prevents me from seeing that those pants paired with that top make me look like a kumquat? Do I think that just because I can see the bottoms of my pants that this means they are actually falling below my ankles? And does it really take just a whisper of wind to completely destroy my carefully coiffed hair? I just don’t get it.

I suppose trying to keep up with the looks of the ladies of the Real Housewives of You-Name-the-Place isn’t helping my self-image, either. Those chicks must spend 40 hours a week in the salon/spa/dentist/plastic surgeon’s office. It must be a full-time job to maintain it all. I think I’m high-maintenance, but I can’t hold a candle to those girls. I even got some veins done in my legs last year (I just couldn’t stand the look of a large varicose vein on my right leg – thank you pregnancy – so I had it removed along with a few smaller ones) and the damn things are coming back!! Those ladies must either slather their legs in make-up (spray-tans appear to be mandatory in California) or they are seeing their vascular surgeons on a weekly basis.

It’s disheartening. We’re all supposed to keep up with the Kardashians but really, who has the time? Besides, those girls give new meaning to the term “falsies”. Fake eyelashes, lips, hair, boobies and both sets of cheeks. How are the rest of us supposed to ‘keep up’?

All that said, I’d like to share a few of my favorite beauty products – some new finds, some old stand-bys. Not that I’m so fabulous, but I do work hard at this stuff and hey, I’m always looking for new ideas and recommendations, so perhaps you are, too. Feel free to add your own tips in the Comments section 🙂 .

  • I always love a good Spanx foundation garment. They are the savior of many a dress and pair of pants in my closet. But let’s face it, you can’t wear those puppies every day, and sometimes not even all day. But I have finally found a Spanx product I can wear all day and love. It’s called “Bra-llelujah”. And it is. A wonderful, stretchy, yet supportive full-coverage bra that actually holds the girls up while feelin’ fine and lookin’ good. Love it. Getting some more.
  • Bare Minerals Make-up. My love affair with this mineral foundation and eye shadow began 6 years ago when I was up in the middle of the night nursing my first-born and watching infomercials. By the way, that’s also when my love affair with the Real Housewives started, as the OC was in its first season and there were midnight and early a.m. re-runs. But I digress… It takes a little time to learn how to apply this foundation, but once you get it right it is flawless. And GOOD for your skin! So many make-up products have so much artificial and harmful junk in them, but not Bare Minerals. I am also in love with their eye-brightening eyelid foundation product called “Well-Rested”. Makes you look wide awake and alert, even when you’re not. And we all know that those of us with small children and/or high-octane careers more often than not, are not.
  • Vitamins, fish oil, and other healthy stuff you put in your body. Ok, I’m a junk-food junkie, I admit it. It is a daily battle for me not to live on Double Dutch chocolate muffins and pizza washed down with diet soda. I try to put the good things in as often as possible, but I still eat way too much sugar, salt and melted cheese. SO, I try to balance this out by taking excellent vitamins and other supplements, among them MSM (joint health and inflammation – too many falls of my horses over the years!), Coenzyme Q10 (heart & cell rejuvenation), fish oil (Omega 3’s, etc.), and spirulina (a blue-green algae with TONS of health benefits).
  • While it is important to work on beauty from the inside out, don’t skip the sunscreen and moisturizer, ok?

    This looks good, right?

Try a few of these things and I promise you’ll look even better than you already do. Or at least my magic mirrors say so.

xo

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