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.


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

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.


(*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.
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.
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?)

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Kandahar: Meet the Boys

The men of Operation Enduring Freedom.

(Well, some of them anyway. I'm honored that they took the time to indulge my request to meet the soldiers we've adopted.)

In case you are wondering where in the hell Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan is.

After reading this, I made sure my "box of home" went out ASAP.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Kandahar: To Sir, With Love

When I was first asked to take part in a Project Kandahar, I was honored.
"Get your kids to draw some pictures for the troops," was all BlondeByDesign asked.
I thought I could do better. Cinderella & Hansel's camp had arts and crafts every week so I decided I would speak to the camp counselors and employ their help in sending a little love to our guys.
They were all too excited to help out.

I have over 50 letters and drawings to send to SGM Danny Allman and Troops currently serving in Lashkar Gah, Afghanistan where they were experiencing facemelting temperatures of 143 degrees last week!
"But it's a dry desert heat," he tells me. "You just get used to it."
(Yeah, right. Ok. Whatever you say Sergeant Major, Dan! Here, have some more Crystal Light to keep you hydrated.)

The kids' camp consists of close to 30 children ranging in age from 5 to 13.
Twice they have been tasked with writing a letter or drawing a picture for the soldiers. No other direction was given.
The kids were left to their own devices. To come up with something from the heart that they would like to say/convey to these 19 men currently serving our country.
Both times they have exceeded our expectations and overwhelmed me by their messages of love, support and pride.
The pictures range from drawings of Army soldiers shooting bad guys, to tanks, to rainbows and self-portraits.
Then there are the flags. Lots of flags...

But there are a common messages conveyed in each and every one.

Messages of Thanks:
"Thank you for fighting for our country... for our freedom."

Messages of concern:
"I know you are having a hard time over there."
"I hope you all have a very nice life when all of you come back."

Messages of admiration:
"...I think you are really brave."

Messages that only a child can relate, so poignant and yet that can't help but make you laugh:
"... when you defeat [them] we won't have to worry about tourists or explosions."

Tourists. Terrorists.
For all that you are doing to to protect us, thanks.
Thanks from me. Thanks from my kids.