Friday, May 30, 2008

Blah Day

Yesterday was not a great day for various reasons. Things are really beginning to pile up on me in just about every aspect of my life and I'm getting that oh-so-familiar feeling I'm not doing any of it well. I really hate that feeling.

I think a lot of it has to do with me putting off the gym the past few weeks. I've been too tired to go, but I forget that when I just go anyway I feel a thousand times better afterward. I start with a few sessions with a personal trainer next week so I will HAVE to go - hopefully just the thing to get me back on the wagon.

Maybe tonight's Girl's Night Out will be a good shot in the ass to jolt me out of this funk.

That and POWs...

Be sure to check out the Week in Review from some of my bloggy buddies over at McMommy's Posts of the Week.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

And the Winner Is...

Thanks for the great comments and captions you left for last week's post! Because I couldn't choose, I enlisted the help of the HH patriarch to pick a blogger out of a hat.

And the Winner of the first Hotwheel Hacienda caption contest is...

... wait for it...

"The Head Butting Phase" - Number 143 on the secret list of "What People DON'T tell you about raising kids..." by McMommy

Big thanks to all our bloggy friends that left us a caption &/or comment!
Taken With a Grain of Salt

A is for Aardvark

The Loony Bin

Motherhood for Dummies

Mommy Pie

Wild & Crazy Guys

Lee Anne & Wren

So - what does McMommy win? She will be the debuting recipient of the Hotwheel Hacienda Book Club! Hooray!!
(I really miss my days of recommending good books to people, so this is just a selfish way I can do that again.)

This contest's selection will be Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs, a favorite and bedtime staple of Finn & Eli.

Look for another HH contest coming up in the near future. I hope you'll come back to play!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Boy Briefs, Holiday Weekend Version

Me: "Finn, did you have a good sleep? Did you do any dreaming?"

Finn: "Yeeeaaaah..." scrunches his face up to think

"I dreamed about talking cats. And talking dogs and talking chicken and talking pig and talking wooster. And talking kitties. And they went in the baaaaaarrrrn.... and they play the ee-ano and guitars and... DRUMS! They play drums! An it was too loud and the man woked up. And the piiiiiigggg... say 'Thank you! Thank you Wesconsin!' An then I wake up."

Me: "Wow. I think we've been reading Punk Farm too much before bed."


We used the holiday weekend to do some yard work in the back.
I think we started a new tradition - Naked Gardening:

You should try it. Just go heavy on the sunscreen.

As a result of Naked Gardening we have:
- heirloom tomatoes
- okra seedlings
- Kentucky Wonder bean seedlings
- peppers: sorrento, banana, jalepeno
- sage: Mexican, garden, pineapple
- basil out the wazoo
- cilantro
- oregano
- verigated lantana
- Spanish lavendar
- rosemary
- mint: peppermint, spearmint, catmint

We also did some work on our compost pile, such as - Caleb started to make it more official and build a confined heap instead of just the big pile of garbage we've been tossing our coffee grounds and egg shells into on the other side of the fence. (Sorry neighbors!) And a bit of advice... if you decide to start a pile yourself, be sure NOT to keep your scrap bucket next to the back door. ESPECIALLY if you have little boys that leave the door wide open for a million gnats to swarm into your kitchen and fly away with the baby.

It is my goal to learn how to can tomatoes this year. I WILL do it. Even if it takes a few third-degree burns.

Howdy pardner. You didn't think I was naked, did you?


Some items of note for the baby book:

This week Finn caught his first fish with Papa in the creek. I think everybody was surprised, most of all all Finn. I wasn't down there, but Papa said Finn could barely contain himself. LB took a picture but I haven't figured out how to download it to the Mac yet.

Another first... both boys went roller skating at Abby's birthday party this weekend. They tried out the tiniest skates you've ever seen and LB took them out of the floor. (Just like over 15 years ago, those places are still blaring booty music and blacklights!) It was surreal, but fun. Finn also played laser tag with Uncle Heath and loved it so much he cried to leave. Afterward we went to see MawMaw in the nursing home and the boys were super sweet to all the old folks there - saying hello and blowing kisses to everyone.

Eli has been using the potty with some regularity, but I'm not pushing it too hard at home just yet. He moves up a classroom next week and they will really focus on it in there. With any luck we'll be diaper-free by his second birthday! Whoo-hoo! (And the landfills breath a sigh of relief - seriously, with all the scientific advancements going on you'd think someone could invent a biodegradable diaper...)

A few more weeks and we find out if the new cousin debuting in November is a boy or girl!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Eli's History of Violence

I've been getting calls about Eli.

His teachers have reported his tendency to munch on his classmates, and I've had to sign not one, not two, but FOUR biting reports this past week. This is no fun and I feel terrible for Eli's victims.

Finn was on the receiving end in his toddler class and got bitten at least twice a week. Naturally, we were pissed, but we knew it was part of the age. I sincerely think it's natural for kids to bite when they haven't mastered their verbal skillz and get frustrated. With Finn, it lasted for about 3 weeks and then the biting stopped. So we're working with Eli and nipping that nasty habit in the bud. It won't do to have a 2 year old daycare drop-out.

Unfortunately, Eli also has a habit of "bonking":

Poor Caleb. He treats the Beasties to a fun-filled day at Lake Winnie and what does he get in return? ABUSE.

So...all you "Creative Cats" get ready!
Leave a caption in the comments and you'll be eligible to receive a cool Hotwheel Hacienda gift! I'll draw for a winner next Tuesday and will email the winner. Contest will be closed at 6:00 PM central time.

Have fun!

We Are the Champions (I Think)

... Pirates!
Originally uploaded by BookMamma
It was the top of the first inning, the Pirates vs. the Orioles. The late afternoon sun was hot and the breeze carried a whiff of sunscreen and bug spray on its breath.

The Pirates had a runner already on first when Kieran got up to bat. He hit a hard line drive all the way to the pitcher's mound and leisurely strolled to first. You could cut the tension in the air with a bowie knife.

But that didn't disuade Finn "The Shark". Another line drive brought Kieran to second and Finn planted firmly on first. Upon arrival, The Shark turns to the bleachers and says "Thank you! Thank you!" and bows repeatedly to the crowd.

I kid you not.

Last night was Finn's very first t-ball game. It was the first time he ever played a game in an official capacity. His first time to make it to home plate. His first "good game" hand slap line with the other team. I cried a little behind my sunglasses.

Check out the whole game in the Flickr album! Just click on the photo.


Be sure to check out the Week in Review from some of my bloggy buddies over at McMommy's Posts of the Week.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Excerpts for Bookworms

Being the good little library advocate that I am, I'm completely capitalizing on the library's parenting collection lately. Three has been kicking my tail and Almost Two is getting increasingly harder to discipline.

So... I come to you, Internets! Share with me your favorite snippets of parenting advice and/or wisdom - be it from a book, a friend, your dad, etc. - and I will share mine.

Confessions of a Slacker Mom by Muffy Mead-Ferro
When I was pregnant with Finn my manager at the time couldn't recommend this book enough. She as smart, witty, and had raised three amazing people herself, so I went right for it. Now it's what I bring to every baby shower I go to... that and a copy of the Black on White books by Tana Hoban.

On toys:
"Have you ever noticed that when a toy does more, the kid playing with it usually does less? Wow, this violin plays music all by itself! Hey, this book reads the words for me! Gosh, this paper magically doesn't let me color outside the lines! I really wonder of this is good. It might be unthinkably bad. It might be turning our children into dimwits, dolts, and dullards. Not geniuses."

On competetive parenting:
"I wonder if we're giving our children the chance to really perform, if we're giving them and ourselves enough credit, as we pore over our parenting magazines and reference manuals. I wonder if we're getting in the way rather than out of the way, as we get sucked into the trap of comepting with other parents to raise the most exceptional child."
Um... irony, no?

The Wonder of Boys by Micheal Gurian

If I could read only one book in preparation for raising sons it would be this one. To summarize Gurian's points: boys need a tribe, boys need to DO, boys need mentorship, and boys need open dialogue about the intrinsic parts of their development.

It talks about how important it is to have a Village, how never before in history or culture it has been the parent's only responsibility to raise a child. How the I-can-do-it-all-by-myself parenting approach is completely retroactive to the well-being of children. How the education system and media and society as a whole needs to - "become more communal, more supportive of parents, more personally responsible..."

Now - this passage is taken out of context and is talking about societal support for single parents. Read it before you start trolling. I'm not one to think that Media is responsible for raising my sons, but I DO find it curious that we seem to hear "Why is this happening? Why is crime going up? Why do kids seem to be getting older beyond their years?" - and the most logical thing is to look at what kids are exposed to. Parents can't shelter them from media - it's everywhere now. It has infiltered every part of our lives. It's fun! But Media also needs to stop asking the questions and really look at its own influence. Some AWARENESS is in order if you're going to feel compelled to feature "Looking Back On Columbine" every anniversary of the tragedy.

But what do I know? My kids are Three and Almost Two. Come back to me in 20 years and then I'll recommend something on raising boys, like a labotomy. Unless I'm camped out in the psych ward by that time.

MY Favorite Book Of All Time? Why, I'm SO glad you asked!

(You are SUCH good friends Internets...)

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith
When I was a bookseller, I alked by this title countless times, never reading it. It wasn't until it was mentioned in my bookclub after reading Angela's Ashes that I thought twice about it. Now I've read it multiple times, each in a different stage of my life.

ATGIB is one of the reasons why I work in a public library:
The library was a little old shabby place. Francie thought it was beautiful. The feeling she had about it was as good as the feeling she had about church. She pushed open the door and went in. She liked the combined smell of worn leather bindings, library paste, and freshly inked stamping pads better than she liked the smell of burning incense at high mass.

"Yes?" The librarian did not bother to look up.
"Could you recommend a good book for a girl?"
"How old?"
"She is eleven."
Each week Francie made the same request and each week the librarian asked the same question. A name on a card meant nothing to her and since she never looked up into a child's face, she never did get to know the little girl who took a book out every day and two on Saturday. A smile would have meant a lot to Francie and a friendly comment would have made her so happy. She loved the library and was anxious to worship the lady in charge. But the librarian had other things on her mind. She hated children anyhow."

This passage broke. My. Heart. When I worked in youth services, NOT becoming this woman became my Muse.

Still need convincing? Listen to this little NPR review:
'Brooklyn Renders an Imperfect World, Perfectly
Now - go get it from your library. Or your bookstores - they'll all have it now for the school summer reading lists. When you do, make sure to read pages 81-86 very carefully. Those are the pages that tell you how to raise a child. Perfectly.

So. Feel free to toss me some recommendations in the comments. I'm always up for a good book.
It may be read in the bathroom or on the rare occasion I get to lunch alone, and it may be worked in between book club selections, but if you recommend it, I'll read it.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

POW! You're It.

So the fabulous McMommy has come up with a great idea. POW! - or Posts of the Week are now up over at the McHouse. If you're looking to discover some new blogs, that's a great place to find them.

The best thing about McMommy? She's hot, she's smart, AND she's loves for everybody to play. How cool is that?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Empire Strikes Barack

Love it. If you haven't seen the latest on my Secret Boyfriend, here it is for your viewing pleasure!
(Another contribution from the Hotwheels Papa... thanks Dad!)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Eat Your Heart Out JK Rowling

Edited for grammar. Because I can't type in Finn-speak.

Once upon a time there was a Mommy alien, a Daddy alien, and a Baby alien. And a Boy alien. And his name was Finn and he was a big big alien. And the Daddy alien had a rocketship, and the Mommy alien had a rocketship, and the Boy alien had a rocketship. The Baby alien didn't have a rocketship. And the Daddy alien wanted to go up, up, UP! And he said, "9! 8! 5! 4! 3! 2! 1! BLAST OFF! And his rocketship flew high in the sky and went by the moon and the stars and the clouds. And then he CRASH into the house. The Daddy alien was so sad and he said (in a muffled deep voice), "Oh no! What am I going to do now?" And a purple dragon said "Don't worry, I'll fix that rocketship!" (high voice) And the Daddy alien flew back to his Boy alien and the Boy alien said "Oh Daddy, I so happy to see you. I so proud of you!"

The End

Sunday, May 11, 2008

This is One Happy Mother

Happy Mother's Day to all my friends and family!
For posterity's sake I am recording my third year as a mom:

Today I got to sleep in - literally the ONLY thing I wanted. I was awakened by the excited whooping of Finn and Eli as they presented me with an awesome Star Wars musical card. Then the shrieking as they fought over it. (These boys love them some Hallmark musical cards. We still have some from when Eli was born and his first birthday... "Push It" by Salt-N-Peppa and "Macho Man" by the Village People respectively.) It was followed by a certificate to my favorite store ever, DSW, and all is well in the world.

We got to visit Caleb's mom for lunch and mine for dinner - the boys were surprisingly well-behaved despite sporadic naps and an action-packed itinerary.

Somewhere in it all I noted how lucky we are to be able to see them both. Just the fact that both moms live close only scratches the surface; I think of a few friends who lost theirs recently. I think of my Grandmother who I miss every day, and whom I know is sorely missed by my dad and family. I think of my friends and my sisters who have shared this wild Motherhood Thing with me, and how much I have learned with them and from them.

And I vow, as I do every year, not to limit myself to one day a year to tell them all how much they mean to me.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


I puffy heart Ira Glass and "This American Life" on NPR. I never miss a podcast. This episode, Mistakes Were Made was especially good because of its weird first half on cryogenics and its ode to the unapolegetic apology by William Carlos Williams in the second half.

This is Just to Say

I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
for breakfast

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold

-- William Carlos Williams

Does he sound sorry to you? Did he even say sorry? He asks for forgivness when he's still fantasizing about those plums, and if you ask me, he would do it again in a heartbeat.

Apparently it is one of the most spoofed poems ever, and the segment included some of NPR's best contributors reading their own apology/unapology spoofs. Most of them were cruelly hilarious:

I chopped down the house that you had been saving to live in next summer.
I am sorry, but it was morning, and I had nothing to do
and its wooden beams were so inviting.

I have pulled the
Pin from that grenade
On the desk.

Forgive me.
I thought it was
My keyring,

Aren't those just AWESOME??
Since I heard that episode, I've been wanting to write one of my own...

I was lying
when I said
there was no
more ice cream

I know it's
your favorite

Forgive me, but
I have been
chasing you all day

and there was
no way in hell
I am wasting
on a three year old.

Try it. It's addictive.
If you get really inspired, leave some in the comments!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Schnitzel with Noodles

Time for another of my Favorite Things posts! This one's very visual...

My mother in law picked us a whole gallon of these jewels herself. We made a chocolate strawberry pie with a shortbread crust. Mmmmmm.

Cookbooks and Barbara Kingsolver and dried wild sage from the garden. I know I'm supposed to hack it back but it's so pretty when it flowers!
My Favorite Things

Eli's latest obsession with hats has brought us to this point.

My most favorite shoes. Ever.
Calvin Kleins

And last but certainly not least, one of my favorite blogs to read is The McMommy Chronicles. McMommy is battling a significant birthday AND an unspeakable condition so send her some love!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Mighty Finn at Bat

Mighty Finn at Bat
Originally uploaded by BookMamma
Finn & Keran's first T-Ball practice was this week and it couldn't have gone better! Amy's post says it all, and is a great "play by play" (HA! Get it? Get my pun??)

Finn keeps asking when he can go play baseball again. I'm praying it doesn't rain Saturday.

Click the photo for the whole album.


in other news, my phone contract is almost up and I'm debating if I should get a Blackberry. I need something I can sync up tp my Outlook and open emails for work. I can't get ANYBODY at the Verizon store to wait on me. And no, I didn't have the kids with me so that's not it.

So I turn to you. Anyone have a recommendation?

I'm trying to decide between this Treo or this Crackberry.
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