Saturday, December 31, 2011


1. Comment more
I spend lots of time reading but not near enough time commenting. Sometimes I feel like I don't have anything to say that hasn't already been said but I vow to share more comment love.

2. Grow my readership
I think it's time to share this baby with people I know IN REAL LIFE. This will be a big step for me.

3. Host a giveaway 
It will probably involve a monkey since I love monkeys and I am momma to 3 monkeys. I promise not to give my children away thru my blog. That could get a little dicey.

4. Keep blogging
I am hoping the coming year brings about many changes...finally selling our house, moving across country, going back to WOH to name a few. I don't want the chaos of life to keep me from writing about it.

5. Paticipate
I want to take part in more writing prompts, link-ups, twitter parties. I want to be more active.

6. Learn
It is no secret that I am severely technically challenged so this will probably be the most difficult one for me. I want and need to learn more about the technical side of this blogging gig.

So  what blogolutions are you making? What do you wish you knew when you first started out?


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Getting Real: New Year's Resolutions

I googled the top resolutions of the new year and adapted some of them to meet my needs.


1. Lose Weight
Mine: I will gain weight. I don't want to but I will. There's a chance that I might lose some too (I lose everything else-garage door openers, keys, cell phones). I will continue to turn to chips and queso in times of stress. This is one resolution I can't help but meet.

2. Get Organized
MINE: I will become more disorganized. I will continue to lose things at an alarming rate. I will show up on the wrong day for the right thing and on the right day at the wrong place. I am keeping my fingers crossed that a cross country move is in the near future for the monkeys and me. I will misplace immunization records, birth certificates, social security cards and other vital documents. I will however, manage to hold on to my California Driver's License from 1999 (yes the picture is THAT good!) and the Mr. goodcents punch card from the ONE time I ate there in 2006.

3.  Quit Drinking/Drink Less Alcohol
MINE: I will keep drinking. In fact I just might increase it given all the big life changes and stressful events I hope to happen in the near future. Higher threshold is a sign of accomplishment right?

4. Learn something exciting
Mine: It will be exciting if i can learn how to make it thru the day without tears and explosive tantrums (theirs and mine!)

5. Quit Smoking 
Mine: I don't smoke though there are days taking up the crack pipe is quite appealing. I am thinking it might take the edge of this parenting gig.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What's the Rush?

Can someone please explain to me why people are so quick to shut down Christmas?

It seems like everywhere I look people are bragging about taking the tree down and having everything packed up. People posting on BitchSlap FaceBook pictures of storage tubs filled to the brim with ornaments and anything that could possibly be construed as a Christmas artifact. I have even seen pictures of the empty spot where the tree once stood.

I JUST. DON'T. GET. IT. Maybe it's because growing up Christmas was an extended season in our house? We ALWAYS had a live tree. And we ALWAYS had an early family Christmas- just my parents, brother, sister and I.  We spent 17 hours going over the river, through the woods, on interstates and stranded at rest stops to grandparents houses to celebrate. With ALL of our extended family living in New York we averaged 5 Christmas celebrations while there.

Ours was not nearly this fancy. No wood paneling for us. A basic blue model sans a/c or radio was more our speed.

After nearly two action packed weeks of cousins, snowmobiling, snow forts and great memories my family of five would cram into the swagger wagon, crank up our walkmans and hit the road.

When we finally arrived home after 2 days trying to claw our way out of singing Kumbaya in perfect family harmony we raced into the house to see our tree still standing and our beloved presents underneath. Naturally Santa also left us a gift at our ol' Kentucky home. One year a pipe burst while we were away. We had a ultra cool sunken living room and came home to our presents floating..and our tree still standing.

As I type, I gaze at  our eight foot live White Pine in all it's glory -with the colored lights and each ornament with it's own story to tell. Around here we are proud to keep Christmas up until 2012, thankyouverymuch.

What about you? When does Christmas get boxed up at your place?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Then and Now

When I WOH January-May this was my life:

5:00 am Alarm blaring, drag ass outta bed, shower and get ready for the day

6:15 am Warm up car, Wrap Stinkbug in a blanket and take to Ms. L's home child care. Lay him on couch, adjust blanket exactly, kiss on forehead and rush out the door.

7:20-4 Teach 22 at-risk preschool kiddos
            complete developmental screenings, particpate in IEP meetings, make referrals, prepare for and participate in case review meetings, conduct classroom team meetings, collect and assemble work samples for children's portfolios, plan, prepare & implement daily lesson plans aligned to state early childhood standards, plan and conduct monthly parent meeting held in the evening (my own children not allowed to attend) periodically provide childcare during parent meetings..since I have already spent 8 hours with their kids and away from mine...what's a few more? You get the idea.

4:30 Rush to pick up StinkBug & run any errands that can't wait

5:30 Home to cook dinner, play with StinkBug, laundry, keep house meticulously clean for showings, call Einstein & Peanut (who are living out of state w/Big Yankee) to say goodnight, do any work I brought home

10-fall into bed exhausted but unable to sleep, missing my 2 kids and husband and counting the hours until Friday at 8 pm when they will be home.

11:00 take some sleep meds.

 Wake up groggy with an emptiness in my heart

Repeat Monday-Friday

Now (laid off/commuter marriage)

6:50 alarm goes off 7:50 on Mondays (I'm gonna mouth kiss ya late start mondays!)

stretch, yawn, roll-over consider getting up

7/8 am...Rub Einstein's back, ask if he needs a few more minutes
              Stroke Peanut's hair ask is she is ready to get up

Crawl into bottom bunk and chat with a sleepy Einstein for a few minutes. Go into Peanut's room and curl up in bed with her.

Help with breakfast if necessary. Log onto computer. Pack one lunch. Kids are ready early sent them to watch tv.

Sit down on couch and mentally plan my day. Stinkbug is awake now, crawls out into living room pretending to be a dog. He crawls into my lap and talks about Christmas tree and stories behind our various ornaments. We sing Jingle Bells together.

Start car. Consider strapping on over the shoulder bolder holder..decide against. Put hair in clip, grab jacket and carry pj clad StinkBug to cozy car. Drive 5 minutes to school. Hugs, kisses, have a good day. Return home and tackle my to-do list (or not)

8 am Hang out with StinkBug. Call to invite his friend over. Laugh as they drag EVERY SINGLE FISHER PRICE TOY into the living room and stage a tornado. Blog and do other very important things on the internet. Extremely Important Stuff. Fix a snack for kids. Attend to various household chores. Fix lunch. Play playdough. Plan Brownie meeting. Shower & get dressed. Who cares if it's 2 o'clock?

3:30 Pick up Big Monkeys and various other children from school. Transport to various art classes. Host a house full of neighborhood kids. Make dinner. Homework, baths, bed.

Call Big Yankee to say goodnight. Miss him terribly.

9:00 Breathe a HUGE sigh of relief when the monkeys are sleeping soundly.

Watch tv, read, do VERY IMPORTANT THINGS on the computer until I feel like going to bed.

Text Big Yankee. Wonder how long we can keep this up?

Monday, December 26, 2011

Random Activities for Insomniacs

1. Read a book. Remember that all your favorite books are packed up in storage unit. In another state. Wish you had chosen to go to the library last week instead of buying Christmas presents. You would have been so focused on your book you wouldn't have noticed the screams of disappointment when the kids discovered the present-less tree.

2. Creep on  BitchSlap Facebook. Remember why you are becoming more and more disenchanted with it. Realize you were unfriended by someone whose friend request you accepted as a courtesy. Be glad she unfriended you because she has the most pathetic status updates EVER. Remember that friend whose updates you blocked b/c they were braggy Jesus-y & way to0 freaking detailed? (day #2 of vacay, Pioneer Woman's cinammon rolls in the oven, spice rack alphabetized, closets cleaned, freshly bathed adorable well behaved kids playing educational games together without fighting while simultaneously making shoes for kids in Africa.) Spend 2 hours reading those updates. Get more irritated and make a promise to yourself that you will never again be so desperate for something to do that you will read all her updates. Make a mental note to spend New Year's Eve reading all her status updates and looking at her 1109 pictures from the week.

3. Go to Pinterest and decide to be the first person to create a VD board. VALENTINE'S DAY PEOPLE! Be completely underwhelmed by all things VD. Become seriously annoyed by excessive re-pinning of a pathetic pin.

4. Read the local paper online. Look at house porn. Pop on over to Twitter and realize that you really are alone. Wish you were following people on the other side of the world who might be awake and tweeting right now. Even if you didn't speak their native tongue.

5. Get a snack. Be leary of cheeseballs who are past their prime. Briefly wish you hadn't taken a 2 hour nap on Christmas day.

6. Don't even consider climbing back into bed to watch mindless tv, NetFlix and tivo'd shows. You don't want to be the one to blame for a cranky Big Yankee or waking StinkBug the Space Invader who climbed into the big bed just after midnight.

7. Decide to throw caution to the wind...pop open some Albuterol, strap on the fish mask and open up those airways. Wonder wth you still have a persistent smoker's cough after 2 weeks of antibiotics when you are not a smoker.

What do you do when you can't sleep?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Some of My Favorites

Wishing everyone a magical day with family and friends. Cherish them.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Holiday Letter We Won't Be Sending

Excepts from the holiday letter that won't go out this year. I am too lazy to write the letter in it's entirety.

Greetings from our damn house that won't sell family to yours.

2011 was a banner f**kin' year at the old S**** family.  While we didn't get a carton of ciagrettes and my old man didn't grab me and say . "Smoke up Johnny" don't think I didn't consider taking up with a crack pipe.

Big Yankee managed to live and work in 3 different states in the span of 10 months. He survived (barely) some pretty sucky jobs and asshat bosses. In August found a fantastic job...1231 miles away. We are hoping to live together in 2012.

In April Big Yankee was given an early birthday present from is employer a lay off notice...effective immediately. One perk was that we all lived under the same roof for nearly 8 weeks of 2011.

After 4 years  at  *(*%^(*  giving her heart and soul to at-risk preschoolers Robbie was given her 6 week lay off notice. She took her toys and went home.  After initial difficulties, she has adjusted quite nicely to "f-unemployment". She drives the kids to school in her hot pink leopard print fleece pj pants and sock monkey slippers. Most days she manages to shower by 3 and change into a relatively clean pair of track pants to pick up the hellions.

StinkBug is nearly five and frequently wears clothes in public now (you can be damn sure he is sporting a pair of Buzz Lightyear shorty pjs under those Gap jeans). He is fluent in Bon Jovi and we are trying to figure out how knowing all the words to "You Give Love a Bad Name" will translate into a school readiness skill. He spends his days guzzling chocolate milk, watching Crazy Frog videos on Youtube, staging Fisher Price tornados and bossing around the boy who lives down the street.

Peanut is 8 going on drama queen. She loses her freaking mind when the seams of her socks are not perfectly aligned, stabs her math homework with a pencil and catapults it across the room. We continue to investigate the Barbie, Ken and friends crack den orgy fest that happen all to frequently in her room. 

Einstein is tolerating his 5th grade year with the idiots that are his classmates. Professionals informed us  he can use his intellectual powers for good or evil. Right now he seems to be leaning toward the latter. He is quite adept at starting fires with vaseline and qtips. He taunts is siblings and won't help his mother with complicated technical issues such as how to make the computer screen larger or how to turn on the Wii.

These Balls Saved Our Life

Some people call these  Oreo Truffles. Me? I call them like I see them.


Because I'm classy like that. And the ball jokes are ENDLESS. Endless I tell you. They amuse me to no end.

Txt to Big Yankee: Getting ready to crush some balls and soften some cream.

Don't you wish you were here to watch me fondle balls?

My balls are famous. People beg for them year after year.

They are going to DEVOUR my creamy balls.

I have the most popular balls in school.

Everyone is jealous of my balls.

Waiting for my balls to harden so I can dip them is chocolatey goodness.

Txt to friend L: It's that time of year...molding some perfect balls & dipping them in sexual chocolate

(Best Band Name EVER...who can name the movie?)

Someday I will tell you the story of Christmas Eve 2009 when these balls saved our life. But for now I will leave you with an easy recipe so you can share your balls of gooey goodness with everyone you know.

  • 1 (16 ounce) package Oreo cookies , crushed
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese , softened
  • 1 (24 ounce) package white chocolate bark
  • 1 (24 ounce) package chocolate bark


  1. 1
    Using a blender or hand held mixer, mix Oreos and cream cheese together.
  2. 2
    Roll into walnut size balls.
  3. 3
    Chill for an hour.
  4. 4
    Melt approximately 3/4 package of white almond bark.
  5. 5
    Stick a toothpick in an Oreo ball and dip it in the melted white almond bark.
  6. 6
    Allow to harden on wax paper.
  7. 7
    Takes about 15 minute.
  8. 8
    While waiting, melt about 1/4 package of chocolate almond bark.
  9. 9
    When Oreo balls are no longer sticky to the touch, decorate with drizzles of chocolate and white almond bark.
  10. 10
    I just use a sandwich bag with a tiny hole cut in one corner to drizzle the almond bark.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Twelve Lists

12 Jobs I Have Had:
-counselor @ city summer arts & games program
-early childhood teacher for at risk preschoolers
-van driver for international students
-family support counselor @ family preservation agency
-editorial assistant
-student worker Dean's office
-social worker County Adult Services Department
-transcriber @ parenting research center
-retail associate college apparel store
-housecleaner for home health agency
-business owner/licensed child care home

11 Places I Have Been
-San Deigo
-Las Vegas
-Los Angeles
-New York City
-Omaha NE
-Providence, RI
-San Antonio TX
-Washington D.C.
-Denver CO
-Winslow AZ

10 TV Shows I Watched Growing Up
-Silver Spoons
-Different Strokes
-The Love Boat
-The Jeffersons
-Brady Bunch
-Bionic Woman
-The Facts of Life
-Mork and Mindy
-Family Ties

9 books I Love
- Grapes of Wrath
-Operating Instructions
-The Saving Graces
-She's Come Undone
-Firefly Lane
- Kite Runner
- The Lovely Bones
- My Sister's Keeper
- Summer Sisters

8 Amazing Appetizers I Make
- bruschetta
- roasted red pepper hummus
-BLT dip
- spinach and artichoke dip
-black bean and corn salsa
-sausage balls
-fiesta dip

7 Places I Like to Eat
-In and Out
-Jason's Deli
-Great Wall
-Il Vicino
-Krispy Kreme

6 Things That are ICKY
-root beer
-clipping toenails
- pumpkin flavored anything

5 Tv Shows I Watch Now
-2 Broke Girls
-Modern Family
-Good Wife
-How I Met Your Mother

4 Foods I Can't Make
-grilled cheese
-french toast
-dippin' eggs

3 Candies I Love
-Hershey's Special Dark
-Reese's Peanut Butter Cups

2 Drinks I love
-water with lemon

1 Gift I want for Christmas
- new slippers

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Why I Waited Until the Last Minute

I am always late to the party.

I suffer from hype-aversion. Urban Dictionary defines it as:

Rejection of an insanely popular idea, game, show, place etc. simply because it is so insanely popular.

Remember back in October--waaaay before Halloween when Christmas threw up in the aisles of Helmart? That pissed me off. Really sucked the holiday spirit right outta me. It did exactly opposite what retailers hoped made me NOT. WANT. TO. SHOP.

Black Friday? Why the heck would I get up before the butt crack of dawn (no offense Dawn) to be pushed and shoved by crazy @$$ sleep deprived, heavily caffeinated, roving pack of wolves shoppers. It is JUST STUFF!

Cyber Monday? I was THIS CLOSE to being sucked in. I almost joined their reindeer games. And then I remembered that my first tier of unemployment had expired and I had yet to be approved for the next round. It's hard to get excited about spending money when you aren't sure if you'll have any.

My luck changed last week when I was approved for the next tier. I breathed a huge sigh of relief...I probably even cried. I was READY TO SHOP. I had been makings lists, checking them twice, comparing prices and filling my cyber carts.

A major downside of this commuter marriage gig is that I have no back-up. I am literally with my children every moment of every day and four year olds are not good at keeping secrets. I have no child care. No family in town. I may have been able to rustle up a teenage sitter but that meant less money to spend of gifts. People aren't exactly jumping at the chance to take on three monkeys who don't belong to them. And while I am often the first to jump in and offer to help I am not so good at the asking for help thing.

When my parents announced they were driving up for Einstein's first band concert last week we both jumped for joy. They planned on coming mid-morning to hang with StinkBug and pick up the other 2 monkeys from school so I could shop till I dropped.

And then Dad woke up at 3 am puking. He was going to rest for awhile, drink some ginger ale and then attempt the two hour drive. Then his pulse was going a little nuts and Mom said she'd try to talk him into going to the clinic if it didn't slow down. They had some scary health issues this past year and we aren't taking chances.

I told them to stay home. We were all disappointed. They felt like they were letting us down. Einstein was going to be heart-broken. I wasn't going to be able to buy Christmas presents. I told them I would figure something out.

Dad was feeling better and emailed me that he would come up on Tuesday. I didn't tell the kids this case it didn't work out. I'm not so good with the disappointment tears lately...maybe because I am shedding them myself?

Listening to the five day forecast on Monday I felt a lump rising in my throat...rain, ice, snow. I started freaking the hell out trying to devise a back-up plan. The plan consisted of me freaking the hell out while calmly telling Big Yankee that it would all work out because IT HAD TO. Because I didn't want him to feel guilty being so far away and not being able to do anything about it. Because his plane didn't land until Christmas Eve and there was nothing he could do about it. Late Monday a friend posted on Bitchslap FaceBook that her parents were stranded in New Mexico as roads leading home were closed. I distracted myself on Twitter in an attempt to avoid curling up in the fetal position and crying myself to sleep.

By Tuesday morning the torrential downpour had slowed to a trickle. The temperature gauge in the Quest read 34. After taking the kids to school and setting StinkBug up with his LeapFrog dvd I made beds, started some laundry & unloaded the dishwasher with tears trickling down my face. The guilt of yet another lousy Christmas memory was more than I could handle.

And then the phone rang. Roads were clear, weather warming up more than expected. Dad said he would be here by 11:30.

And that is why I waited until the last minute to shop.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Making a List & Checking it Twice

Here's the list I wrote yesterday and even I am impressed with how much I accomplished! Check me out:

Things I hope to accomplish in 2011

1. Get a haircut. I haven't had  one since June.

2. Bake at least one item for the holidays
**Made oreo balls for Brownie cookie exchange. I had to melt almond bark so going to consider it baking

3. Mail a few Christmas cards
** Mailed 4 cards that I had already addressed when I dragged StinkBug and his buddy to post office in torrential downpour

4. Put my new license plate on the Quest

5. Remove trash from Quest

6. Find the mail key
**Found Sunday night on the hook..where it belongs (swear it was NOT there when I wrote this)

7. Shave my legs
**One step closer as I purchased razors when I dragged 4 kids to Helmart on Sunday afternoon with 7000 other people

8. Pay it forward anonymously
**Rescued a stranger when her car broke down in the pouring rain on a busy road this afternoon. I happen to glance over and saw her car stalled. She started getting out of her car and I rolled down my window to see if I could help. She hopped in and I drove her to a convenient store around the corner so she could call for help.  

9. Ding Dong Ditch one of my neighbors
**Treats purchased & waiting for rain to let up so ding dongs don't float away

10. Finish my Christmas shopping
**Bought 3 more presents today..not finished but it's a start. BTW, I wore clothes.

Ten Things to Do in 2011

I realize there are 12 days left in the year but I have lofty goals for the time remaining.

Things I hope to accomplish in 2011

1. Get a haircut. I haven't had  one since June.

2. Bake at least one item for the holidays

3. Mail a few Christmas cards

4. Put my new license plate on the Quest

5. Remove trash from Quest

6. Find the mail key

7. Shave my legs

8. Pay it forward anonymously

9. Ding Dong Ditch one of my neighbors

10. Finish my Christmas shopping

Sunday, December 18, 2011

SOC Sunday-Today is the day?

Today is the day I try to be the fun mom. The one who is thrilled to create magical memories and do fun holiday type activities. We are making oreo balls and salt dough ornaments today if it kills me. I had grand plans to do these activities yesterday but I just felt suffocated. It is so much damn work and really not all that fun for me. I was talking with a friend yesterday that neither one of us knows what fun truly is anymore. She works ALL THE DAMN TIME. Seriously she does 12 hour days and then classes for her Master's degree. Me? I parent ALL THE DAMN TIME. I went to the store for about 15 minutes by myself on Saturday to get cookie supplies. That is the first time since Thanksgiving that I have been without children. I NEED A BREAK. Even though WOH could be crazy chaotic and exhausting at least it was a break from my kids...never mind the face that as a pre-k teacher I was still tending to the needs of other people's kids all day long. But I left my house and I interacted with other adults. I desperately want to create magical memories of togtherness and cool activities.

This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…
  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes only.
  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
  • Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
  • Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.
  • Link up your post below.
  • Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.

Friday, December 16, 2011

What Will They Remember?

There is so much talk this time of year about creating magical moments for our children...of gingerbread houses, making homemade ornaments and building snowman. And that has me wondering what will my children remember of this time in their lives? What memories will come to mind.."when I was five, when I was in 3rd grade, the year I was 10?"

As I look adoringly exhaustedly at my demanding, complicated charming, compliant monkeys I think back to what I remember when I was their age.

StinkBug is nearly 5. FIVE. How did that happen? Just a month after Christmas he will be a whole hand. He will go to kindergarten in the fall and in the blink of an eye he will be tying his shoes, getting his driver's license and leaving home.

Although I am forty-something twenty five my 5 year old memories are a bit and white. This is back before HD memories.

My little brother was born when I was 4 1/2. I am DAMN sure that my parents had him to give me the REAL LIVE BABY I had always dreamed of. My Gran was visiting from New York and I remember sneaking up a back staircase with her, my dad, older sister and another grandma and little girl. We had to be really quiet but it was hard not to giggle with excitement. We came to a huge window with rows and rows of babies wrapped up tightly in blankets. We were able to get a quick glimpse of my Bubba before a nurse shooed us away.

That August-about six weeks shy of my 5th birthday I headed to kindy. I was painfully shy. I would excitedly take things for show and tell each week but I wasn't bat shit crazy enough to raise my hand and TALK. IN. FRONT. OF. THE. CLASS.

Somehow mom and Mrs. Chittenden figured out my game. There was this amazing giant shell that use to sit on my parents stereo

Before boom boxes & ipods this is how we listened to music

I was so excited to take it and hide it in my desk for no one to see share it at school. Apparently, Mrs. C and my mom had a conversation and figured out that while I was taking show and tell each week I was cowering at my desk clinging to my prized possessions was not in fact participating in the hooplah. I nearly peed my pants when Mrs. Chittenden called me to the front of the room.

I remember coming home from kindergarten and finding my mom sitting in dad's brown pleather recliner feeding the baby with the tv blaring.

Five was the year my parents gave me a real live baby to play with and that talking in front of others scared the pee outta me.

Peanut is 8 and in the middle of her third grade year. She is eight going on 18 with newly pierced ears and Talyor Swift cd's.

What defined me in 3rd grade is that my best friend's dad died.

I remember the crowded memorial service on what must have been a college campus. We were in an enormous room like the one we had visited on a class field trip months before when her dad had laid on a bed of nails and done all sorts of other mind blowing experiments and demonstrations. He had been a university professor.

I had to go to school the next day and I was pissed because G. & I were partners in the 3 legged race for field day. She wasn't there because she didn't have a daddy anymore and I was partnered with someone else. I was mad that Bobbie Jo refused to practice with me and I don't even think we finished the race.

Looking back her mom must have sunk into a deep depression. G. pretty much lived with us for awhile. She and I quit going to school though I am not sure for how long and I don't even know if we ever went back. We would sit at the round table in the kitchen and do our school work while my mom supervised. We rode our bikes with banana seats (mine was purple) to the corner and met my sister after school.

Third grade was the year I learned that daddies sometimes die and life changes forever.

Einstein is 10 and starting to take over the world. He is extremely literal, analytical and sarcastic. He will likely be the next Chief Justice of the United States or a Pro Bass Fishermen. Or probably both and also a whole lot more.

When I was in fifth grade my best friend's mom married my uncle.

 Do you need to go back and read that one again?

They moved from the Bluegrass state to the Empire State. We went from seeing each other every second of every day to seeing each other twice a year. I gained a step-aunt and step-cousin but lost a best friend in the process. My aunt had died of breast cancer the year before. She left two teenage sons and an eight year old daughter. I am pretty sure they weren't looking for a new mom or for their dad to get married again so soon. It was a weird year. Since first grade our lives had been so intertwined. It was hard to tell where one started and the other began. On her last day of school the teacher invited everyone to share stories and memories of G. All of them included me. I tried to figure out how to navigate 5th grade without my other half. It sucked.

Fifth grade was the year I learned people leave and relationships change...not always for the better.

What do you remember when you were the age your children are now?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Teacher Gifts

A few years ago our PTO started sending out holiday wish lists for the teachers. I thought it was a FANFREAKINGTASTIC idea however many, many people found it to be horribly offensive.

I just didn't get it. Clearly the teachers were sick to death of cheesy apple themed mugs and scented candles. Why not give them things they needed and wanted? Anyone who knows a teacher knows that we spend lots of our own money on classroom supplies. Why not give something useful?

It's not like they were asking for spa certificates and $100 bottles of booze. It was very clear that the items were for classroom use--dry erase markers, card games for indoor recess, highlighters, fun stickers, glue sticks, books for the classroom library, sanitizing wipes, and Sharpie markers were among their extravagant requests.

Peanut was in Kindergarten at the time and had a blast shopping for her teacher. We made an adorable gift bag filled with googly eyes, pipe cleaners, beads, pompoms and glue sticks. All for a lot less than some nasty scented candle and funky looking teddy bear sporting a #1 Teacher shirt.

Thanks to our PE teacher I discovered the world of duct tape. He goes thru a ton of it setting up obstacle courses, teaching positions in sports etc. We had a blast picking out several different colors and patterns and didn't have to struggle with the awkward "what the heck kinda gift do we get for a male teacher?"

What are your thoughts on the teacher wish lists? Love it or deeply offended? Why?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Importance of The Tree

It was December 1998 and I FINALLY graduated with my Bachelors (I was on the several colleges, numerous majors, several at bats, third time is a charm plan. Perhaps you are familiar?) Big Yankee and I loaded up all of my belongings that could be crammed into my red Pontiac Sunbird and I bid a tearful goodbye to my family and friends.

We Grapes of Wrathed it from the plains of Oklahoma to the deserts of California. We arrived a few days before Christmas and I made myself at home in the tiny little studio apartment...not so fondly referred to as the one room shanty. I had a graduation check from my parents, a Texaco card and not a job in site. We decided NOT to get a tree. It just didn't make any sense. We truly didn't have the money for it and we were leaving on the 26th for a road trip to his mom's house eight hours away.

We would make do without this year. We were grown-ups and we had to make the sacrifice.

As I unpacked I came across our ornaments. I'm not really sure how it came about but we always hunted down an ornament on our road trips. We had amassed quite a collection.

One from our first trip together to Las Vegas. We had met 3 months earlier and it was only the 3rd time we had seen each other.

Another from our impromptu 4th of July trip to Branson, Missouri where we watched fireworks over the lake, managed to find a hotel despite having no reservations and made a 2 am run for the border...which i regretted the entire drive home.

Santa Clause holding a Big Yankee gave me to honor my love of pizza.

There were many ornaments-each with a story behind it.

I knew then that we couldn't skip a tree. It was too important.

Here I was 1313.76 miles from home, no job, no friends, an engagement ring on my finger and a tiny little hovel of our own. Not only would I be away from my family for Christmas but I had NO idea when I might see them again.

We ended up meeting @ Target during his dinner break on Christmas eve to pick out a real tree. As you can imagine the selection was limited but we found a tree and it was on sale.

I don't know if he saw the tears in my eyes as I drove away with the little tree tied tightly on top of my little red sleigh.

 Big Yankee arrived home around 1 am and we put the finishing touches on the tree together.

It was the first of many.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Silent Lunch??

The Quest was overflowing with kids (my 3 monkeys + 2 extras) recounting the minute details of their school day.

Einstein pipes up, "I am so awesome I had "the opportunity"" (yes he did use finger quotes) to eat lunch at a special table today."

His comment oozed sarcasm. I have NO IDEA where he gets that. NONE.

"Oh?" I manage to question between bouts of coughing up my lungs.

"Yep I talked in line so I had to sit at the quiet table where we couldn't talk at all." that heifer by the fence again?

"Were you talking in the hall?" I ask.


Talking in the hall is a colossal violation of school conduct.

They must walk with their hands by their side, eyes looking straight ahead like little militants. They are not to wave or acknowledge their sibling or friends passing through the hallway. Doing so is a punishable offense.

It is however perfectly acceptable for classroom teachers to block traffic and discuss in great detail their plans to see Breaking Dawn in their matching glitter t-shirts.

After further questioning Einstein informs me that they are not permitted to speak while waiting to get their food. If they do they do the power hungry lunch para sentences them to lunch at the QUIET TABLE.

WTH? They can't talk in class. They can't talk in the hallways. They can't talk while waiting for their food.

And we wonder why there are so many behavior problems??

I would love to see the teachers spend 15 minutes waiting in line for coffee and not be able to talk. I would jump at the chance to sentence them to a table in the middle of the teacher's lounge where they are surrounded by others but not permitted to speak or they will lose their planning time.

I told Einstein I would gladly address the issue with the school principal since this is expectation is completely inappropriate and warped. He requested that he be permitted to handle it himself. I can only imagine what that will entail and I look forward to a phone clal from the principal.

Are your children allowed to speak at lunch? What do you think of "silent lunches?"

Monday, December 12, 2011

Sick of sickness

I am so sick I couldn't even do a 5 minute brain dump for Stream of Consciousness Sunday :(

It is 1:45 and I haven't even showered. I managed to sleep 2 hours last night. I woke the monkeys up for school and laid down on the sofa trying to breath and prepared to cough up a lung. They had to make their own breakfasts and pack their own lunches. I managed to get them to school, came home and parked StinkBug in front of the tv. I told him to watch lots and lots of shows while Mommy rested in the other room. He came in a few times asking for some chocolate milk or help finding a show. I think I managed to sleep for about 3 hours. I am able to be upright for a few minutes at a time so I guess things have improved?

After a week or 2 of feeling like crap I finally sucked it up and went to the Walgreens Take Care clinic  last Thursday. I had barely slept the night before and my chest was hurting so bad and I was coughing horrendously for hours on end and I started thinking about what would happen to the kids if something were to happen to me. That freaked me out and I knew I had to go in.

 For the first time in my adult life I don't have any health insurance and it totally sucks! I had to spend $117 on medical care that I had planned on using for Christmas presents for the monkeys. The nurse practitioner was amazing and spent more time with me than some of my doctors did when I did have insurance. We talked about layoffs, difficulty finding work and how horrible it is to be without health insurance. She gave me several samples of the albuterol and called in the generic cough meds, told me to call back in a few days if I wasn't feeling better and they would call in an antibiotic and save me another visit. The pharmacy tech managed to find some discount card for me when she heard I didn't have insurance and she saved me nearly $20 on cough medicine and an inhaler. I am greateful for the kindness of strangers.

I am just not use to feeling this shitty for this long. Not being able to give my kids what they need. Being so worn out by a 15 minute trip to Walmart that I have to lay in bed for the next 2 hours. I have no back-up. No one who can take them for a few hours so I can sleep. Nowhere they can spend the night so I can take care of myself instead of using what little energy I have on everyone else. I have no one to take care of me.

What do you do when you are sick?

This was my 5 minute Stream of Consciousness Sunday post. It’s five minutes of your time and a brain dump. Want to try it? Here are the rules…
  • Set a timer and write for 5 minutes only.
  • Write an intro to the post if you want but don’t edit the post. No proofreading or spellchecking. This is writing in the raw.
  • Publish it somewhere. Anywhere. The back door to your blog if you want. But make it accessible.
  • Add the Stream of Consciousness Sunday badge to your post.
  • Link up your post below.
  • Visit your fellow bloggers and show some love.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Dear Monkeys,

I am sorry for our current situation.

I am sorry that you have to settle for a good night phone call from Daddy every night rather than a good night hug.

I am sorry that Daddy won't be able to see you in your first band concert.

I am sorry that I am the only parent here for you right now and I know I am not enough.

I am sorry that I am sick and can't take care of you the way you need right now.

I am sorry that I fed you cereal and ramen noodles for dinner last night because it is all I had the energy to make.

I am sorry if  I am nagging you about cleaning up the rocks on the front walk when I should be sharing in the excitement of your discoveries. It's just that I want our house to have curb appeal, so it will sell so we can all live together again.

I'm sorry if I forgot the tooth fairy 2 nights in a row. I am sorry I am the reason for your disappointment and cause you to question your belief.

I'm sorry I parked you in front of the tv to watch Barnyard for the 100th time so I could climb into bed and try to sleep.

I'm sorry the breathing treatment gave me the shakes so bad that I had to keep telling you "not right now" when you wanted to teach me how to make an oragami boat.

I'm sorry I expect too much sometimes and give too little.

I love you the purplest and am doing the best I can with what I have right now. Please be patient.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Whatever Wednesday

I have come to the conclusion that I am NOT a fan of seasonal flavors. When the entire world was whipped into a frenzy about pumpkin flavored latte/beer/blizzards/steak I was trying NOT to throw up in my mouth.

Why would anyone want to ruin perfectly good alcohol by making it pumpkin flavored?

This morning trying to control my long ass drive thru line rage while waiting patiently at McDondald's I noticed a sign for this

which makes my skin  crawl and activates my gag reflex.

I can barely tolerate peppermint flavored candy canes and now they come up with this? ICK!

and then I started thinking about this vile concoction which it just around the corner

Why can't we all just agree there is only one beverage...the real thing.

I'd like to buy the world a coke.....

How do you feel about seasonal flavored beverages?

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

If you have kids you probably know this book

which pretty much sums up my Monday.

 It started off with great promise and who wouldn't love late start Mondays? Monkeys didn't want to participate in Breakfast with Santa at school so we went out for donuts. We made it to school with 30 seconds to spare but no one was screaming or crying so I'll count that as a win. Stinkbug had his friend over for about 3 hours in the morning and I managed to strike a balance between productivity and slacking.

Then I got the bright idea to go to Helmart for snacks for our Brownie meeting and some craft supplies. Gotta strap on the feedbag and get our craft AWN! Big Yankee called en route and since I  don't give a crap can never remember if it is legal to talk on a handheld phone while driving I put it on speaker as I noticed 2 police cars behind me. One of the patrol cars eventually turned and the other followed me for at least 10 blocks.

You may recall last week I attempted to renew my drivers license. You know how this is going to end don't you? The officer was very nice and didn't seem at all annoyed when I had to call in a search and rescue team to locate my expired driver's license. Fortunately he didn't seem to notice that initially. This is probably due to the fact that he was concerned with my expired out of state car tags. I produced 4 proof of insurance cards...none of which were current. He said he wasn't even going to worry about that.

I acted shocked that my driver's license was expired and started explaining how we had lived in 2 states in the last 13 months and that Big Yankee was actually living in the 3rd state and we were just trying to figure out WTH to do. I ended up with a ticket for 2 violations and instructions to go to Walmart and go home. He told me to get it taken care of ASAP and the courts will be more likely to be lenient. Lucky me I get to kick off the new year with a municipal court appearance.

The likelihood of having to fork over a boat load of money led me to start freaking out about my unemployment--which ended last week. Because everyone knows the BEST time to lose your only source of income is less than 3 weeks before Christmas. I have completed all the paperwork for the next tier of benefits and now it's a waiting game.

Oh and Peanut and StinkBug's beloved betta fish, Rocko is trying to up and die on us. Every time she walks into her room she bursts into tears or just sits there with tears rolling down her face as she watches Rocko struggle to swim right side up.

I just don't think I can do this.

Monday, December 5, 2011

All I Want For Christmas

This is my first time I’m linking up with Stasha over at The Good Life .

All I Want For Christmas
(in no particular order)

1. slippers
2. a new garage door opener as mine has been MIA since October

3. A sold sign in my front yard

4. A winning lottery ticket so we can be debt free

5. A day off-an entire 24 hours where I am only responsible for myself

6. A haircut-6 months is too long to go between hair cuts

7. For my husband, children and I to live in the same house again

8. Clean bills of health for my family and friends who are struggling with illnesses and pain

9. interior detail cleaning for the Quest

10. Peace, love and joy for the coming year