Friday, December 28, 2007

A Quote to End the Year


While unsuccessfully trying for THIRTY MINUTES to squeeze her freakishly large 11 y/o feet into two different pairs of size 7 1/2 boots...

Cinderella: "OHMYGOD! I fee like one of Cinderella's wicked stepsisters!"

Me: [quietly pee my pants over the hysterical irony of her outburst.]

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Breakfast of Champions


Eating Santa's left-over cookies (gingersnaps)... it's become a tradition in the castle.



Baked french toast and turkey bacon.

Friday, December 21, 2007

PEAple, PEAple Who Need PEAple...


What do frozen peas have to do with a fight against breast cancer?

Read Susan Reynolds story. She is undergoing a mastectomy today after being diagnosed with Invasive Lobular Carcinoma a mere two weeks ago.

Then see how you can join the fight here.

We will not apPEASe cancer.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Parenting Help: What Do You Do...

... when your 11 y/o is caught sneaking treats into her backpack (while under "punishment" of no special treats after blowing through $20 in lunch money) and proceeds to tell you that she does not like being punished and likes special things & treats and will basically ignore you and do whatever she wants to get them when no one is looking?

(She sounded EXACTLY like Maleficent when she proclaimed that. We're scared shitless that she's turning into her Mother.)

Consequences lose their effectiveness if a child refuses to acknowledge or accept them.
What's a parent to do?
Put all sweets under lock and key?
Throw them all away so the entire family suffers?
Watch said child like a hawk and never leave her alone in a room?

Helpful advice is welcome.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Hypocrisy of it All

It's been two years.
Two years since the change in custody. Two years since Prince Charming, Maleficent and I vowed to improve the state of our co-parenting relationship.
Part of that commitment involved attending sessions with Cinderella's therapist.
A therapist that has yet to be found.
After TWO. YEARS.
It took close to a year for Cinderella's Law Guardian to receive lists from Prince Charming and Maleficent of therapists covered by our respective insurance companies.
And an equally ridiculous amount of time for her law guardian to ACT upon those lists.
Now 24 therapists have been called. The search continues because none (NONE!!!!!) of them want to take on a case where the chances of them being called into court are highly probable.
In the meantime, Cinderella's psychological and emotional well-being is suffering because no one has made it more of a priority.
It's so good to know there are respectable and caring metal health professionals out there who are committed to helping CHILDREN and willing to put aside their own SELFISHNESS.
First do no harm - MY ASS.
Watch out for numero uno, is more like it.


(I know that could have been worded better but I'm so angry I could spit.)

Monday, December 3, 2007

Cards for Kandahar: The Final Countdown

With the mailing deadline rapidly approaching, Prince Charming and I kicked things into high gear over the weekend to get the cards for Kandahar ready for shipping.



I had most of the cards stamped and designed, but still needed to fill them out with a personalized to note to each soldier.



Along with the cards, each soldier is getting their own mini-stocking filled with rubber bouncy balls and kazoos with snowflake designs, and some of this...



Snowman Poop!
Which is nothing more than white chocolate chips (mini-marshmallows would have worked nicely too!) I found the idea on this website which is loaded with tons of holidays ideas. It's been one of my favorites go-to spots for years.



This is one of my favorite designs... maybe because of the (accidental) red, white and blue color scheme, maybe because of the simplicity of it's design. I still have a few cards left to fill out and then this box of Holiday Wishes will be ready to be shipped tomorrow.

***

There's still time for you to help. My friend, BlondeByDesign, has a huge shipment of holiday care packages for Kandahar ready to go. Anyone interested in helping to sponsor a box can do so. From her site:

"If you would like to sponsor or be a part of sending the 30 plus care packages I will be sending out on December 4th (or sooner), sponsorship donations may be made through PayPal. The email address donations are sent to is: spriteskandaharproject@yahoo.com"

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Breaking Up Is(n't) Hard to Do

I had my first break up today.

"What do you mean?"*

S. told me she didn't want to be my BFF anymore. So I gave her back her phone number. She gave me back the friendship necklace I gave her.

It's ok though. We still talk to each other. We're still friends, we're just not BFFs.

***

*Yes, I was totally playing it cool because I totally thought she was talking about an ACTUAL break-up like with a BOY.

Middle school is so random.






Monday, November 26, 2007

Custody & Visitation: Act A Fool

For the moment, it was unexplainable.
A complete 360 degree change, much like the characteristic ebb of flow of behavior described by the DSMIII-R.
Suddenly, without warning Maleficent was being communicative.
Contrite.
(Apologizing for returning Cinderella late.)
Agreeable.
(Promising to bring her home on time.)
Generous.
(Offering to give up her visitation day so that Cinderella could spend time with Gretel on her birthday.)
(No we didn't ask & Cinderella didn't express any interest. So we planned a party on the weekend when Cinderella would be home.)
Prince Charming was stunned... and dare I say a showed a bit of hope.
Maybe our last email [in which court was threatened] finally got through to her.
He's been fooled by her before.
Fooled into thinking one day ... this day ... she will change and realize the error of her ways.
As is also characterized by her affliction, Maleficent is impulsive and too quickly reveals her motives for being so congenial.
She wants something.
(It's always about her wanting something. )
And that something is extra time with Cinderella.
Time that would result in her having her for three weekends in a row... right up until Christmas.
Time that would eliminate any chance for us to plan any family activity that would include all five of us.
Time that she claims is a "special family event" and one that Cinderella so desperately wants to attend.
(Cinderella hadn't once mentioned it.)
Maleficent is pushing. Playing the guilt card. Trying to make it seem as though it's about Cinderella. And not her.
Maleficent then has her father, Cinderella's grandfather, send a letter to our home asking Prince Charming for permission. "Hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving," is his closing.
She finally prompts Cinderella to ask and "play dumb" by pretending she doesn't know what weekend said event falls upon, and then lie about her mother putting her up to asking Prince Charming.
Cinderella misses out on so much already because of family schedules that don't coincide with her visitation with her Mom.
She should not continue to be put in the middle, acting as her mother's messenger and being forced to lie to her father.
Prince Charming has called Maleficent to discuss this request, as well as several other issues of concern (i.e., her declining health that she has referenced as reason for why C is returned late.)
She of course does not answer his calls.
She continues to refuse to acknowledge him, except in email.
Criticizing HIM for not responding TO HER.

As I re-read this I grow even more weary of the entire situation which explains my silence as of late.
I can't help but wonder, aren't you tired of hearing about our petty plight?
I know I'm tired of writing about it.
(And even more tired of LIVING it.)
I'm sure to any reader, the answer seems so simple - let Cinderella go if it means so much and simply suggest a switching of weekends.
But the reality is, it's not that simple.
It never is.

Because the reality is that if Prince Charming reaches for that dangling carrot of hope and gives in to Maleficent's request, he will once again be made a fool.

Monday, November 19, 2007

In Need Of New Material

You're right. You're right. I *know* you're right.
But it's not every day that your youngest (and LAST child) turns TWO!
And y'all know you only stick around for the pictures of my cakes anyway.
So without further ado, here is...

MUMBLE, Happy Feet!


Prince Charming helped with the decorating this year. We were piping frosting and adding last minute touches right up to the start of her party.


And before you get all "EWW!" on me, you know you would have done the same thing.
(Yes, you would have.)
Prince Charming thought we should have added some red colored jelly as filling that would come pouring out when Mumble was decapitated. I simply suggested red velvet cake.
Yes, our children will need therapy. And we're ok with that.


Her hands and face were still stained the next day.


Toys? I don't need no stinkin' toys. Gimme shoes!
Gretel's Nanny bought her three pair of shoes for her birthday. Unfortunately for Gretel, she only had two feet. It was a touch decision as to which shoes she wanted to model.


She wore these shoes today because it was SNOWING this morning.
(ACK!)



"Ok, Mom. That's enough with the posts about me. Give the people something with a little more substance, mmm k?"

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Monday, November 12, 2007

Cards for Kandahar

Can't think of a better way to spend this Veteran's Day than doing a little holiday card making for soldiers in Kandahar.
Soon, all of this will be turned into unique personal creations for each on the men serving under SGM Danny Allman in Lashkar, Gah.



(I say "unique" because I have quickly learned that card making is NOT my craft, but I am committed to completing this task and they WILL like them dammit!).

Hansel made sure these cards got the perfect snowflake stickers on the inside.



Want to help honor our brave men and women serving overseas?
Check out this site for tips on how you can get involved in sending your holiday cards.
My Twitter friend BlondeByDesign is also putting forth a spectacular effort on her own and is accepting PayPal donations to help with her holiday care packages, if you don't have the time of don't know how to get started. If you're looking to be inspired, take the time to read through the archives and see some of what she's sent to Kandahar so far.



Once the card project is complete, I get to work on my next care package - a snowball fight in a box!
Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

These Are The Days...


One 200 year old oak + one leaf blower + 3 exuberant kids = a day to remember.











Friday, November 2, 2007

October, In Reader's Digest Form

*blowing off the layer of dust that has accumulated on my blog*

*cough* *cough*

So, where did I leave off?

Oh, my ankle. It healed up well. Thanks for asking. After two days I was good as new.

Halloween was fantastic. Craftiness ran rampant.





(More pics on Flickr. Ya hafta be a contact to see the kids in costume otherwise you'll have to settle for anonymous random photos.)

I hosted a toddler costume party on Tuesday (8 toddlers and their Moms. I KNOW!), took Gretel to storytime/haunted house event at our local library on Wed and went trick-or-treating with the Pumpkin War neighbors. Cinderella ditched us in favor of going out with her friends. *sigh* We've lost her. ;)

The kids made out like bandits. BUT... I had to throw away ALL of the candy yesterday after eating a suspicious tasting Reese's Peanut Butter Cup! (Tasted like COUGH MEDICINE. WTF?!?!?!?)


And since we pool all the candy into one bucket, there was no way to know where it came from, if it was malicious or not. Raising kids today is scary. And that pisses me off. I had to promise Hansel that we would replace the candy with something safer. He was so sad. And *that* pissed me off more.

Hansel's had three headaches this month. Stayed home from school twice. We're contemplating taking him to a neurologist to rule out anything major and to confirm our suspicions that he's developing migraines.

Prince Charming and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary last weekend. Dinner and a movie. No kids. YAY!

Maleficent is up to her antics again (still) and is violating the terms of her visitation every chance she gets. Cinderella's law guardian, the appointed mediator for when such problems occur, has been MIA and very lax in her duties leaving PrinceCharming between a rock and a hard place. Court seems inevitable, but no progress has been made in that department. Where does that leave us? Helpless. Paralyzed. Forced to accept things on Maleficent's terms, waiting at the door for when she decides to come and get Cinderella (she is late every time) and never knowing when she will bring her home (again, late every time). I'm trying not to let it dominate my days, but it's so hard.

And remember when I posted about this? Yeah, well I'm beginning to think it may be more.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Getting Hurt On The Job

Who knew putting out Halloween decorations could be hazardous to one's health?
While showing the kids our newly decorated yard Sunday night, I rolled my ankle and took a spill while holding Gretel.
She walked away (in her pjs) unharmed.
I, on the other hand...



Left ankle.


Right leg.
Because the yard is covered in shade so no grass grows.
There is nothing but dirt, rocks and some weeds.

But the yard looks awesome!

Friday, October 5, 2007

A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes


Hi, it's Maleficent, can I speak with Cinderella?

"Awww... I'm sorry but she's in giving her brother a bath. Shall I have her call you back at home, on the cell or somewhere *else*?"

Somewhere else? Like where?

"Oh, I dunno - HELL!! - perhaps?!?"

***
(The preceding conversation is not real but rather a vibrant glorious fantastical figment of my imagination.)

Yep, we're back where we started.
He's taking her back to court.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

A is for...

Apple picking!


One half a bushel's worth...




I call this her "Little House on the Prairie" picture.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Whoops I Did it Again!

Volunteered, that is.
This time, NO ONE WAS ASKING!!
I suckered MYSELF into baking for next week's Halloween Costume/Bake Sale at Hansel's school.
Two days. Two sales.
But instead of offering to make only *two* items, I am ponying up SIX.
THREE for EACH day.
"Oh, it won't be a problem! My recipe makes three and I'm soooo used to doubling it for the holidays it won't make a bit of a difference."
(Can you say OVER-ACHIEVER?)
And I offered to bring something to Monday's PTA meeting. The first one - of hundreds, I fear - I will attend.
(Can you say SUCK UP?)
And I offered to bake at the Fall Festival in October.
(Can you say moron?)

(Yeah, I thought so.)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

It Used to Be a Mouse


Now it's just a tail and two little bones.

Oh, yeah and some bloody entrails and organs that I threw out before realizing what they were.

(Sorry for *that* missed photo opp. Bad blogger!)

Monday, September 24, 2007

War of the Gourds

Friday. September 21, 2007.

Hi WSM, I'm calling to gloat. We put our pumpkin out before yours!


The statement that started it all. A declaration of WAR.
I've unknowingly found myself in the midst of a competition with my neighbors. For the last three years I've had my Halloween pumpkin carved and lit before them.
A fact I never took note of.
Apparently they have and on Friday night Mr. Pumpkin decided to let me know that the GAME. IS. ON. and even went so far as to put BOTH of his sons (ages 4 & 5) on the phone to ask
Where's *your* pumpkin? We have a pumpkin. Do *you* have a pumpkin?
No. I did not have a pumpkin.
But all that was about to change.


Sunday. September 23, 2007

Mr. Pumpkin's first mistake was calling to gloat.
His second mistake: giving it EYES.


Eyes with which to see the pumpkin PARTAY! going on in our yard after I paid a visit to the local supermarket that was having a sale. Three GINORMOUS pumpkins for $12?!?!?
Now that's a bargain!


Neighbors' third mistake was leaving their house and their pumpkin unattended for the night.
It looks much happier over here. No?

Monday. September 24, 2007. 8:30am.

Hey give us back our pumpkin!
Their youngest yells from the back seat of their car.
Oh it's on!
Mr. Pumpkin declares as she drives away.

I have two words for my friends.
BRING. IT.

Edited to add:
They did, in fact, BRING IT.
While Mrs. Pumpkin and her kids joined us for a day of apple picking, Mr. Pumpkin upped the ante by spray painting faces on my beautiful VULNERABLE pumpkins.
I figured I would save you the trouble of carving them!
Prince Charming came to the rescue and managed to clean the defaced pumpkins (I take my pumpkin carving very seriously people! and these were practically ruined by this prank!) while I feigned fury instilling terror into the heart of Mr. Pumpkin and didn't speak to him for a week.
I might have even whipped up a special APPLE pie for him too.
Maybe.
;)

Friday, September 21, 2007

It's Only a Matter of Time

One week before the start of school we get a notice in the mail from Hansel's PTA.
We're great! Get involved! Volunteer! The PTA needs YOU!
Ok. I sign up for the "Hospitality Committee" cuz I can like... bake, and stuff.
(I later find out that it's for the WHOLE SCHOOL so I could be baking for THOUSANDS.)
(Well not really thousands but more than 19 which is the average class size and what I thought I would be baking for.)

Earlier this week was Meet The Teacher night at Hansel's school.
Another form.
Volunteer for your child's class! Get involved! It will make your son/daughter H-A-P-P-Y.
Again, I gave them my John Hancock.
Yes! Please do give my name to the class parent! I'm an involved parent and I love to bake! Weeeeeeee!!!

The same day Cinderella comes home after joining the Drama Club.
Guess what she had with her?
Yep.
Another Volunteer Sign-up Sheet!
This time, I offered to design and print the program for their upcoming performance.

I can't seem to stop myself.
Help me.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

In A Single Bound


There used to be a time when he was smaller than our cat.



Now, as if in a single leap, he's in Kindergarten.



Where did five years go?

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Always Remember, Never Forget

"We cannot live for ourselves alone, our lives are connected, by a thousand invisible threads"

~Herman Melville




Friday, September 7, 2007

The Age of Responsibility

The following email from Maleficent appeared in Prince Charming's in-box last night. It has not been edited in any way, other than to change names to maintain anonymity. It's worth noting that Maleficent is an early childhood educator.

I am writing to you out of concern for our daughter. In innocence Cinderella expressed the fact that every other day she will be left to her own means to get on the bus and that you and WS will not be there to put her on the bus (Because WS is driving Hansel to school because she doesn't want him to go on the bus due to the children not wearing their seat belts) Whatever the reason I am extremely uncomfortable with the fact that she is left to her own devices to defend herself if there was any foul play. She told me she was outside the other day when the landscapers (lawn cutters were working on the grass). I am aware, as you are, that there is a child malester who lives right up your road and I am sure you know that there patterns are to scope out a situation and if no one is there he will figure it out.
I remember you were doing a program for the school districts about the local child malesters so I Am sure that you would be more concerned in the one who lives right down the road from our daughter.
Let me know that you have Cinderella covered for the mornings as soon as possible.
Thank you.

MALEFICENT (yes she always signs her name in ALL CAPS, anyone know handwriting analysis?)



1) Foul play? Hmm... those landscapers are a tricky bunch, for sure!

2) It's spelled M-O-L-E-S-T-E-R. And it's called S-P-E-L-L-C-H-E-C-K. Just look for the little button with "ABC" and/or a "check mark" on it. (I won't even go near the punctuation/capitalization/grammatical errors.)

3) Cinderella is ELEVEN and perfectly capable of waiting IN her home for 15 minutes before her bus picks her up IN FRONT of the house.

4) If this woman spent 1/2 as much time focusing on working with us and not against us, as she has focusing on the details of the HOWs and WHYs of Hansel's transportation, we'd be in much better shape. (I sent her an email to this effect. She replied. Not to me but to Prince Charming, Hey, it's a start.)

***
Now, with all that being said, I remember having way more responsibilities at a younger age than Cinderella. Walking to/from school at SEVEN. Being home alone for several hours. Running to the corner deli to buy milk, bread (and cigarettes).
15 minutes here and there seems like nothing. Or is it?
We struggle with how much is too much responsibility for Cinderella. She eleven, but still very young in so many ways. But she has to grow up some time. And she will never grow up if she continues to be babied and coddled.
The pedophile 5 houses up the road is a constant concern. Cinderella and Hansel have been told about him, know what he looks like (Santa! Of course, he'd have to look like Santa.), where he lives, what kind of car he drives and what to do if he ever comes within 2 feet of our home. I hate that we have to worry about him, but it's better to KNOW than to NOT KNOW.
Keep your friends close, keep your enemies closer, right?
We do not like leaving Cinderella alone. At all. Some mornings, it will be unavoidable. Some mornings. Not EVERY morning. Hansel's school starts at 8:25am. Cinderella's bus picks her up at 8:30. (I could drive her as well but she likes taking the bus; enjoys the time with her friends and playing the role of a middle schooler.)
I'm trying not to dismiss Maleficent concerns simply because they are coming from her. I'm trying to remain objective.
We're doing the right thing, aren't we?

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Growing Up

Two Weeks Ago
"Maybe we should call your cousin and find out what Kindergarten is like. You know, she was just in Kindergarten two years ago so she knows all about it."

Mo-om! I can find out about Kindergarten when I
start Kindergarten, ya know!

*sigh*

This Morning
I SET MY ALARM. For 6am!
Why? To shower so I would look presentable and not like a dead Mommy when I drove my five year old to school for his 1st day of Kindergarten.
AND! I made a frittata!
Not for breakfast but for a baby shower that I had to go to at 8:45 this morning (I know! Don't get me started on THAT!) but WHO CARES! I was cooking AFTER getting showered AND dressed ALL BEFORE 7am!
Hansel awoke at 7am and was like... NO. BIG. DEAL. Oh, except for the fact that he woke up cheerful. And cooperative.
No arguments about getting dressed. Or brushing his teeth. Or making his bed. Or eating breakfast.
(Well, 3 out of 4 ain't so bad.)
The first day of school was going so smoothly and productively!
Yet somehow I managed to zone out at the end resulting in the last minute dash out the door because OHMYGOD we're going to be late on your FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!
But! There's always time for pictures.



And because it's all about the backpack...



The next two hours were a blur because after finding a parking space at the school (because No, You can't park here so get back into your car and move it, lady!) and navigating through herds of clueless children and parents with Hansel in hand and Gretel on hip and finally dropping Hansel off with his teacher I sped off to the aforementioned baby shower for which I was now late.
I don't know what happened after I arrived. I stood in the kitchen in front of the delectable goodies brought by my girlfriends and stuffed my face while Gretel ran amok playing with her tot friends. There was some conversation about due dates (yeah, there are THREE preggos in our group), constipation, saggy belly skin and all the other glamorous topics of conversation that come up when you get a group of 8 Moms together.
Before I knew it, it was time to leave and pick Hansel up for his 11:15am early dismissal.
Once again, I sped off but this time with an empty gas tank and a full bladder from the coffee I drank because did I mention that I was up at 6am??
Parking space: found. Yeah, it was the one I was told to move out of this morning wannamakesumthinofit I'm toting a toddler on my hip!
Hansel: found. Sitting at a huge table in a huge cafeteria. His backpack strapped to his shoulders and his lunch box in hand. Looking bored as ever waiting for me to show up.
"How was your first day of Kindergarten?"
Good!
"What'd you do today?"
Umm... I can't remember.

Can someone tell me why I was worried?

Cinderella started Middle School today. She needed no supervision or intervention AT ALL.
And she had to be left alone to wait for her bus while I drove Hansel to Kindergarten.
Alone.
In the house.
By herself!
We've got another 2 hours to go before she gets home.

Our kids are growing up. I'm just growing old.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Quotes of the Week

[While driving in the car on the way home from a family day trip]

Hansel: "Daddy, I'm going to kick you so hard in the nuts."

As one of my Twitter buds pointed out, it's better than "Are we there yet?"

***

Hansel: "Mommy, why do you have a pirate on your underwear?"

Me: "Because I've got booty."

If I'm going to have an audience while peeing, I might as well offer a little entertainment and practice my stand-up. (Not to be confused with standing up.)

***

Hansel: "Mommy, I want to climb you like a Kinkajou!"

Me: *chuckling* "A wh-ha-at?"

Hansel: "A Kinkajou. It's an animal that climbs trees and has a long tail and is tan."

Me: "Oh. Ok. It is like a monkey? Or a bear? Or a cat?"

(I am totally humoring him at this point and his five year old imagination.)

Hansel: "Well... it's kinda like a monkey and like a cat."

Me: "Oh that's interesting. And where does this animal live?"

Hansel: "In the rainforest."

(It's important to point out that he is climbing across my outstretched legs like some arboreal creature the entire time he is describing his animal to me.)

And you know what? He wasn't making it up.
Go Diego, Go!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Web Masters, Back to School and Wal*Mart

Dear Middle School Web "Master":

It is customary, among internet developers to always check a hyperlink AFTER it has been posted to a LIVE web site. The process of checking a link helps one to verify if the link is actually WORKING.

It's quite simple really. It involves merely CLICKING on the live link and CONFIRMING that it actually takes you to the intended destination. Someone on your staff, and I'm not saying it's you
because ... really ... how could it be what with you being a web MASTER and all -- however someone in your office did NOT check the "School Supplies" link after updating your web site. So instead of taking one to a list of school supplies (you know, pencils, binders, notebooks and the like) the aforementioned link takes one to a listing of all the notices that have been MAILED HOME in the past week.

We did receive all of these notices, so thanks for checking that one over with me.
Isn't it ironic (dontcha think?) that the ONE thing you folks have NOT mailed home is the ONE thing that is NOT on your web site? Yeah, I thought so too.

Oh! The nice lady at the Middle School's Guidance Office ('Cuz where else would one go if they needed help?) showed me that the supply list was, in fact, on the interweb thingy of which you are Master but it was on the school district's web site. So funny! It was there the WHOLE time and I was looking in the WRONG place. Instead of on the SCHOOL'S web site (which, BTW, is where I found the list for my Kindergartener), I should have been looking on the DISTRICT'S web site. Ain't that a kick in the head?!?!?

But really, I wanted to thank you. Thank you for getting me out of the house and visiting your school (it really is lovely). And thank you for making me drag a 5 year old and a toddler to Wal*Mart and it's spacious aisles and neat, well-organized shelves the week before school starts.

It was a BLAST. Really.

Signed,
WS

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Tea for Two? How About Tea for ME!

Sweet Tea, to be exact.
That would be - TEA.
Brewed strong and, well... SWEET.
(Sweet, as in, put-me-into-a-diabetic-coma-and-rot-my-teeth-SWEET)
Need I say more?
Well Hush My Mouth and Pass Me a Glass!



You Will Need:

8-10 tea bags or equivalent in loose leaf tea (if you want to keep it real, use Luzianne or Black tea)

2-3 cups of water

1 cup* granulated sugar

Small saucepan with lid

1-gallon sized pitcher

Directions:
Combine sugar and water in saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, thus making a simple syrup.

Remove sauce pan from heat. Add tea. Cover and let the tea steep as little as 10-20 minutes (or up to 2 hours!).

Pour the tea syrup into your pitcher and fill with water to make 1 gallon. (If using tea bags give 'em a squeeze to extract every last drop of tea juice.)

Serve by pouring over ice in individual glasses.

Enjoy!

(*You want about 1 cup of sugar per gallon of tea.)

Disclaimer: I'm a Yank. So if I've got this wrong, set me straight and share your recipe in the comments section!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Too Good Not To Share

And God created Woman, and gave her three breasts.

God spoke, saying to her, " I have created thee as I see fit. Is there anything about thee that thou would prefer differently?"

And Woman spoke, saying "Lord, I am not made to birth whole litters. I need but two breasts."

And God said, "Thou speak wisely, as I have created thee with wisdom."
There was a crack of lightning and a lingering odor of ozone, and it was done, and God stood holding the surplus breast in his hands.

"What are you going to do with that useless boob?" Woman exclaimed.

And so it was, God created Man.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Stepmom Jewelry

I am a StepMom. I am a BioMom.
I am also a Woman cognicscent of the differences between the two and of the sensitive issue of "claiming" someone else's child as your own.
As a Mom, I have a one of these.
It bears Hansel's & Gretel's names and birthstones.
It does not include Cinderella because I did not feel right adding her to a Mommy bracelet.
(Mostly because I was worried about how Maleficent would feel. )
So I've been on a search for a piece of jewelry that was unique and that would allow me to proudly display my role as a Stepmom. Something that reflected my relationship with Cinderella.
I found it here.
Unique. Handstamped. Personalized. Perfect!
I saw this necklace and fell in love.
I contacted the site's owner and designer (Beth Philbin) and asked if I could have "Stepmom" stamped on the charm.
I could! In fact Beth said she could stamp it on any charm that's large enough.
I liked this necklace because I could incorporate my stepdaughter's name and her birthstone. As I did in the bracelet for Hansel & Gretel.
I love it.
It's sparkly. It's simple. It's unique.



Just like Her.
If you're a Stepmom and in the market for a unique piece of jewelry to celebrate your Stepmommyhood, I urge you to visit Beth's site and pick one up for yourself.

(Beth was an absolute delight. Very friendly and quick to respond to my questions. It was a pleasure doing business with her and I am looking for more reasons to buy her pieces because they are just amazing.)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Count to 10

Ten years.
Ten years is a LONG time to keep my mouth shut.
To stifle expressing the opinions (and emotional reactions) to Maleficent about her chosen course of actions over the past 10 years. To stay out of it and let Prince Charming handle all communications with her.
I can keep quiet no longer.
Thursday night. Cinderella calls Maleficent for their nightly phone chat. Maleficent calls back a second time. Leaves a message for Cinderella to call her on her cell.
Cinderella questions the message. Debates the necessity for another call.
"Babe, she's your Mother. And she's left a message for you to call her. So better to be safe than sorry."
Cinderella calls. But clearly does not want to talk.
Maleficent picks up on her tone and ASSumes it has something to do with us.
I hear her yelling on the phone at her daughter.
You know Cinderella, they have to understand that I can call you whenever I want. I'm your mother and I have that right.
Cinderella is visibly upset and uncomfortable after that phone call.
We talked about it. I tell her I heard. She admits to being upset and requests for help standing up to her Mom. And for us to ask her to stop with the bad-mouthing.
If you feel you need to step in and say something to her, I will back you up no matter what.
Prince Charming offers me all the support I need.
He's done trying to be friends. It's proven to be an exercise in futility.
He's been nice. He's been accommodating. He's been forgiving.
For ten years. And it's gotten him no where (with her).
Two days later, I'm still bothered by this latest event. Remembering the tear-filled eyes of my stepdaughter as she reluctantly asked for help and the relief she displayed when I promised her we would back her up.
I decide I can't stand by anymore and watch Cinderella be hurt.
So I did it. I contacted Maleficent.
Via email.
Why?
Because she won't accept or return any phone calls.
The following email was ten years in the making, and took every ounce of fiber in my being to be as civil and straightforward as I was.
"Cinderella was upset after her phone call with you this past Thursday. She's asked for someone to speak to you about that and stick up for her. That someone is me.

For the record, Prince Charming and I *do* know that you have the right to call Cinderella as many times as you want on any given day. (Same holds true for Him, too, RIGHT? LOL!) It is in knowing that fact that I had Cinderella call you back on Thursday night, despite her protesting to me that "I already spoke to Mommy, why does she need me to call her again?" In spite of this, I pointed out that you left a message so it wouldn't hurt for her to call you again.

So she did.

Because I insisted.

She was upset by your misinterpreting her tone of voice or "attitude" and assuming it was because Prince Charming or I had a problem w/ you calling her a second time that night. Not true. Don't care. Really! Cinderella did not like you accusing us of such a thing - and she really doesn't like it when you make similar comments whenever she doesn't feel like talking to you on the phone. (Yes, she told me you've done it before. And that she's asked you not to. And that you do it anyway. And I'm not AT ALL surprised.) And in spite of her fear that you will only become more enraged and subject her to more of your diarrhea of the mouth when it comes to her Dad and me, she spoke to me about your conversation and her hurt feelings and asked if we would speak to you about this. Because she needs someone to back her up.

So here I am. Sending you an email because that's the kind of communication you've asked for. Cinderella wants you to STOP making negative remarks about Prince Charming and I to her. Your opinion of us (be it right or wrong) is your opinion. Not Cinderella's. And she doesn't want to know or hear about it any more.

And in case there is any question in your mind. The same holds true for us. Our opinion of you is ours and ours alone. We do not express this opinion to any of the kids.

Thanks for listening. I hope you'll take this into consideration, for Cinderella's sake."
I sent this Saturday night.
There's yet to be a response.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Put Your Best Foot Forward

Or, in Hansel's case, your grossest toe.



This is what happens a week after a 5 year olds toe meets a standard hydrolic powered public restroom door.
First, lots of blood and crying and bandaging.
Then a day later you note the whiteness of the toe and prepare yourself for the inevitable but don't DARE mention it to your 5 year old because OMG the panic and apeshitness that will ensue with the knowledge that my toenail WILL FALL OFF?
So you nonchalantly ask every morning How is your toe?
And you bandage it to protect his fellow campers from enduring the grossness that is his toe and the chances of it falling off in front of them.
And you pick him up from camp every evening to find his bandaid has fallen off again and the toenail remains.
No, it won't fall off quickly.
It will torment and taunt you for a week.
Then one day is will start to lift ... while swimming wading in a lake.
And you will pick up your 5 year old from camp and he will come hobbling over to show you Look at my toenail Mommy!
And you will note how it now resembles a clam.


Oh. Hello there.



Take a peek at my soft and squishy meaty flesh.
And He will freak out when you try to touch it.
And you will poke at it every chance you can when he is not looking.
And you will employ your husband to distract him by playing video games so you can try to dislodge it without him knowing.
And you feel your skin crawl when you do poke it and you see the skin beneath the cuticle area of his toe MOVE AND RISE.
And you will bathe him more than you have ever bathed him before hoping that the hot bath water with soften the nail and surrounding skin enough so that it will fall off by itself.
But it doesn't.
So you endure another week of the clam toe and do your best to secure it down with bandaids every morning before camp only to have it exposed and open-mouthed laughing at you when you pick him up until one day you declare THIS IS THE DAY THE NAIL COMES OFF.
So you put 5 year old in the bath again this time arming him with a pair of tweezers.
It'll be like performing surgery on yourself!
See if you can take it off yourself and if you can't Mommy & Daddy will take care of it for you.
(cue foreboding music: Dun-Dun-Dun!)
30 minutes later your son is turning into a shriveled prune. His toenail remains.
Bathtime over. The nail must come off.
NOW.
I want Daddy to do it!
Recruit chicken shit husband who is hiding in the basement to come and help.
Son sits on your lap. Husband removes dangling toenail from the tiny sliver of skin that it holding it in place.
It bleeds.
Son goes ape shit.
And now we wait for the toenail to grow back.


(And wonder while looking at this picture WTF is up with the fallen over pinky toe? Is it taking a nap?)