Sunday, November 29, 2009


G and I decided to host Thanksgiving this year to give my parents a break. With my sister and her family living there and now two kittens, it's quite hectic over there....all of the time. So, in the spirit of thanksgiving I give thanks to my wonderful parents who have always given and continue to give us so much...

In preparation for the big day we made thanksgiving crafts.

And I when I meant hosting I meant hosting but apparently my mom (and sister) have a different take on that. See, when I made the call to tell them I would have thanksgiving at my house they immediately asked what they could bring. My first instinct was to say nothing but I'm learning not to do that anymore so I made it simple; Mom brings sweet potato casserole, Sister V brings rolls and a pie and Uncle J is in charge of appetizers.

Simple right....nope. Through many trial and errors, I've learned to double, triple check things with my mom. The day before I was going to go shopping I called my mom to double check on what she was intending to bring. Her sweet potato casserole turned into the green bean casserole, the stuffing and the mashed potatoes. I'm sure she would have bought the turkey had I not already done so. Don't get me wrong, that was totally fine by me but the whole point was to to help her out. Oh, and did I mention the appetizers? Please don't mistake this as a complaint, I really do find this all very humorous. In good old Uncle J fashion he brought enough appetizers to be Thanksgiving Dinner....and was actually a little peeved that he wasn't "allowed" to bring everything he wanted. I love my family :) So, in the end I was just in charge of the turkey. And it came out awesome...thanks to Ms. Martha Stewart.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

And of course I can't forget to mention the surprise my bro showed up with! Growing up we used to stay up all night on Thanksgiving and play video games. It was so much fun. Well, he surprised me with the new Super Mario Brothers game for Wii where two players can play at the same time. It was so much fun and my thumbs were so sore the next was a perfect ending to a perfect day!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Teen's B-day Bash (a week or so later)

I know, I know...I've said it all before...I can't keep up with getting to my blog daily. Between my computer being as slow as the Comcast Turtles, my son waking up at 5:30am every morning again and now that G's laptop crashed, time on this computer (computer that has all of the pictures) is limited. As we speak I have little AJ sitting on my lap feeding me Crunch n' Berries. Oh, wait we're done so we need to go get more.

Alright, I'm back. So, anyhow, here we are recounting Teen's 15 b-day bash. As the big date approached G and I contemplated on what to do. Unfortunately, we found ourselves in the same spot we were last year...jobless and broke. Our original idea was to take Teen and a friend to NYC. The obviously went out the window pretty quickly. Teen didn't want a party so we finally
settled on a very nice steakhouse dinner and shopping. With some major saving and creative financial management we were able to save enough money to do this. We gave Teen a set budget and said this is what we have to spend can either spend it at a fancy dinner and have less for shopping or the vice versa. She chose the fancy dinner. I was surprised I must say.

The evening of her b-day we took her and a friend to a very nice and expensive steakhouse in the city. It was nice for G and I too. We didn't "celebrate" our anniversary this year so we looked
at the evening as our night too. It was also nice to see Teen experience it all. The food was of course excellent. Afterwards, we walked up and down the street looking at all of the shops. Of course, we, G and I, had to walk several steps ahead of the girls. Oh, I remember those days :)

The next day was the big family celebration. Everyone was coming over for Teen's favorite meal, spaghetti pie, and some cake. After looking through several of my cake decorating magazines I settled for what seemed as a simple cake. It was a stack of cupcakes with some decorations. Really not that hard, contrary to what BFF A said, "You always pick the hardest cakes to make".
She was referring to Seena's cake. Which was not hard, elaborate and time consuming, yes, but not hard. I know my limits and I know what I can and cannot do (yet).

The preparations for the cake started well.

I made flowers and dots for the cake

I made the layers or "tiers", which there were suppose to be 4. All in all I used 3 cake mixes.

All seemed to be going well until my 2nd tier. I didn't buy a jumbo size muffin tin so I improvised and used a large mixing bowl. It was a perfect, perfect, perfect fix until a small piece got stuck in the bowl. Ugh! As soon as I put on all of the tiers, I instantly noticed everything leaning...specifically on the side with the damaged tier. I, with the help of my dear friend V, tried to salvage the cake by literally stuffing extra pieces, which there was a ton of, of cake into the side of the 2nd tier that was damaged. At first, it seemed to have worked. We moved on to decorating the cake with the help of Teen and BFF A.

But since we are talking about me and things just never seem to go exactly as I envisioned them, we ended up with a leaning tower of cupcakes. Tada....behold the wonder

Nevertheless, Teen liked her was delicious at least :) And perhaps the crookedness added some extra flair to it.

Oh, and because I'm the greatest and most organized mom in the world, I also forgot to buy candles so we used tealights. Yes, you read that correctly, tealights.

Happy Birthday Teen!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday Night Leftovers

Yeah, I got the thingy to work....yes, I really am computer dumb.

Anyway, my week's been blah and no umph to write a full blog so this is perfect!

  • **forgot to mention last week** I find it very interesting that Teen's mom has $$ to buy Teen a laptop for her b-day. She has yet to pay for 1 ortho payment, which she agreed to do prior to Teen getting braces back in November 2008.
  • was starting to think AJ was over me until he got super sick with a stomach virus and has been attached to my hip for the last two days....literally.
  • I'm really sorry to hear of my dear friend Danifred's fall, but do have to agree with her in her belief that all falls are funny :)
  • my implementation of a visual "1.2.3 strike-out = no playtime with friends" has worked excellent for Seena. We've had an incredible week so far...and she is even aware of how well she is doing
  • Seena is doing super good at school now....the letters have clicked. It's soo cute to hear her sound out a word to figure out the first letter....I just love it!
  • Teen had a "what to do to get to college" seminar at school this week where they emphasized how important it was to get good grades even in ninth grade AND that getting involved in extracurricular activities was just as important. I've been telling her this for forever but yet never believed me. So now naturally she is the manager of the freshman and JV basketball teams. I'm really beginning to think the book I'm reading...."Yes, Your Teen is Crazy" has merit.
  • I hold grudges and I hate it. G made a bad decision and has been in the doghouse for most of the week. Now that things seem to be turning for the better I should stop being grumpy but I don't know how to get over that hump. I'm ashamed of this because only a month or so ago I was harping on my sister for this exact thing. Staying angry is a choice but it's really not a choice that's worth it. Get over it, get over it, get over it, get over it.
  • no progress on the science garden.....grrr
  • On a good note...G got offered two jobs....AGAIN! Luckily this time we are in agreement as to which one would be better. Yeah for us!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday Night Leftovers

Okay, I hope I did this right....
  • I am back to playing musical beds.
  • Really considered looking up a child psychologist for Seena this week.
  • AJ has begun a taking off his diaper and then peeing in his pants, but yet he has no interest in peeing in the potty.
  • Teen got an 82% on an Earth Science test that I made her study my way. I again reminded her that I was not crazy.
  • I wear Teen's hand me downs quite proudly. This week it was a like a shopping spree, I think I got 3-4 shirts and some PJs.
  • All week I was looking forward to posting to this and was purposely reminding myself of tidbits to add but now that I'm here, I can't remember
  • I'm not feeling the "love" on this new project from the PTA that I've been assigned to. So far the President has not responded to my e-mails and the treasurer told me that she couldn't quite get a strong feel for it yet. Meanwhile, I've already set up an appointment to take a tour of a very successful discovery school yard next week. This is not a very good start ladies.....

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Giving Tree

I've just returned from a volunteer meeting for my church's Giving Tree. Tonight we had to assemble the tags to be placed on the tree. The list of names are made up of local charities and some of the church's own Samaritan families. Typical giving tree stuff, I assume.

I sat next to a, let's see, how do I put this...a large, Italian, Catholic woman. I think that should be enough, right? Anyways, her task was sticking the labels on the tags and as she did, she read what was on them. And she commented and commented and commented. None were nice comments. Did I forget to mention this was a giving tree through our church???

Her biggest surprise was to see a gift request for an IPod Shuffle or a $50 gift certificate to Best Buy. Maybe, at first, one might think that was a little odd but the request was for a 14 year old boy. I pointed this out but it made no difference.

Soon after she came upon a request for gift certificates for McDonald's. Her comment...."now, this is more like it." Seriously? This is Christmas. This is a Giving Tree. This is a way to help and give someone less fortunate a give kids a Christmas.

This made me so upset tonight. Yes, an IPod request may raise an eyebrow but think about it. This is Christmas and this is a teenage boy. Obviously his family is in a position where gifts are not possible. It's not his fault but yet he has to go to school and be with friends that probably get whatever they want. It's not his fault and he should ask for this. This is Christmas. It's his wish, that's what Christmas is for kids.

A few weeks ago the church called me and asked me if I wanted our family to be on the tags. We are a Samaritan family. We've been helped by the church and they periodically check in on us. I declined but that could have been my kid's tag. I know what it's like to be poor at Christmas. It's a horrible, horrible feeling. For two years in a row I had no idea how we were going to buy gifts for the kids. Sure, we could try to explain to them that there was no money but it was heart wrenching enough to have to deal with it internally, there was no way we could have told the kids. Had I known the Giving Tree was an option for us back then I would have totally, 100% jumped all over it. And I wouldn't have felt guilty about it.

By God's miracle, we were able to give our kids a decent Christmas both years. This Giving Tree may be these kids, these families miracle. Shame on this woman for trying to take that away from a kid and from parents that want nothing more than a Christmas morning for their kids.

Shame on her. And she calls herself a Catholic.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Bored No More

Beside the many quick approaching b-days, family events and holidays that are filling up my mind and time, I have finally found the "thing" - the project - I was searching for. Through Seena's PTA I've been put in charge of the Outdoor Science Garden.

I do hope they know what they are getting themselves into. This could not be more perfect for me. From the moment I was able to get the kids down to bed last night, I was ALL over the Internet looking at ideas, other schoolyards - which there are some fantastic ones that I have no problem copying - finding resources, etc. My mind is racing with ideas and I feel like I'm ready to burst and it hasn't even been 24 hours!

So far the plan is to have an Amphitheater, butterfly garden, a pond and raised flower beds. That's what's been budgeted for. If I can get my way....there will be much more :)

Sunday, November 8, 2009


For the past years I've been raising a shy who hides behind mommies legs, barely speaks above a whisper when spoken too by anyone other than family, when she was 3 cried so much in dance class that she was asked to leave...yes, this was my girl. But now that she's 5 she has been coming out of her shell and is apparently on her way to stardom, as per the conversation on the way home yesterday:

Seena - mom, when I grow up I want to sing on stage
Mom - wow, sweetie, that's great. Now that you are in dance, you will be on stage dancing so this will be great practice.
Seena - yes, and if there was a coloring contest, I would win that, because I'm so good at coloring.
Mom - yes, sweetie, you are very good at coloring
Seena - yeah, and I can color in the lines, I can dance, I can sing...and if there was a contest for stooding up for myself I would win that too. Oh my goodness, I am so good at everything. I am going to win and get lots of trophies. I can't wait to tell daddy and my friend A.
Mom - {raised eyebrow} ---thoughts in head---uh-oh, what's this all about?

I then proceed to try to explain that winning isn't everything, just trying your best, it's about the fun...blah, blah, blah....yeah, it went right over head.

The moment we got home she told her daddy how awesome she was and that she was going to win a ton of trophies.

I'm hoping this is really just the building blocks for great self-esteem and confidence :)

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Making Fake Phone Calls

I have given-in to making fake phone calls. This is sort of like telling little white lies to your kids to get them to do what you say. I really tried to avoid this. I wanted Seena to understand that no means no and ultimately want to prove that whining doesn't get you want you want. Unfortunately, for this particular case...I may have lost the battle.

Seena is 5 and for the time we have lived here, she has had no neighborhood friends. It's all boys, older kids or the kids are too young. But as of 2 months ago we now have another 5 year old girl living 1 house down, we'll call her A. When I realized this I was soooo excited. Finally, Seena can have a friend in the neighborhood to play with. We immediately introduced ourselves and invited her over.

As much as this was the best's also been the worst thing. It's none stop now. From the minute Seena wakes up it's "Can A come over? Can I go over to A's house?" This goes on all day, everyday. I was worried that Seena might be smothering her new found friend because it is ALWAYS Seena initiating playtime but her mother has reassured me that A shares the same feelings. If that's the case, why isn't she knocking on our door? I personally think we scare her. See A's family, even with 4 kids, is a quiet family. We are not...not in the least bit.

Again - this being a good thing, I now have new ammunition with naughty and no playtime with A. Bad thing, a whole new slew of arguments between her and I. Seena cannot take no for an answer when it comes to A. She won't even accept that A's parents are not home, are saying no, that I say doesn't matter. It's always, "well, can maybe, just maybe, can A come over after....whatever it is" or "can you just call A's mom and ask". I've tried to stand my ground but I finally gave in and made a fake phone call. And just like that it was over. Do I feel guilty? Yeah, a little, but in this trek through motherhood, you've got to pick your battles. As they say, you win some, you lose some. I'm not happy that I "gave in" but at least the argument was over and we were able to salvage the rest of the night and my sanity.

Friday, November 6, 2009


I'm not sure what I expected but I don't think I expected making lunch for Seena would be as difficult as it is. Well, maybe difficult isn't the right word....boring is probably a lot better. See, Seena has inherited Yaya's and G's pickiness. Or maybe it's the age, I don't know, but it's a little annoying. 5 days a week this is Seena's lunch:

Ham sandwich
Fruit -
Something else - fruit roll-up or yogurt.

Every once in awhile we'll mix it up with a PBJ sandwich and some celery. The fruit I'm fine with but the vegetables...I might as well be giving her water. I mean really, cucumber and celery? It's just green water.

I've tried giving her chicken soup. Came back almost full. I've tried pasta, broccoli, cheese - never finishes it. I even tried tricking her and I hid a slice of turkey inside her sandwich. Totally got busted. Apparently, she doesn't like the lunch meats mixed. And forget school lunches. We tried that once - horrible. I wouldn't even eat it and I eat anything.

My sister's kids on the other hand, eat everything. Hard boil eggs, humus, chicken salad, guacamole, burritos - yes, these have all been items in their lunch boxes. I would love to be able to have these choices to make lunch with everyday. The different nutritional values in the variety alone is worth the time it takes to make those lunches. My sister packs the kids lunches the night before...I whip up Seena's 10 minutes before we leave the house.

So this, on top of ABC's, Algebra and keeping the couch pillows on the couch, is my new challenge. I'm trying to add some new flair to Seena's lunch. Last week I introduced spinach and a pomegranate. Spinach no good in a quesadilla but was eaten in eggs and camouflaged in a salad. Thankfully the pomegranate was a hit. But that again is a fruit. Back to the drawing board.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Not in My Nature.

Growing up I did not have issues with school, meaning, my parents rarely had to check on me if I was doing my homework etc. I really only remember one time when I had a book report due and I had not read the book. I remember my parents giving me what I assume was coffee to try to stay up to read the book. They definitely weren't happy but other than that I was on my own. My parents, well, really my mom had high expectations for me and therefore so did I. I wanted and had to get A's. Obviously, some classes were harder than others but I tried to get good grades. I didn't miss homework assignments or any of that stuff. So, with this as my experience I'm struggling with how to cope with Teen's struggles in school. I used to blame it on the fact that I did not raise her but Seena is not progressing as quickly as she should in school. This is a killer for me. She's my flesh and blood and she's already struggling, well, maybe that's a bit exaggerated, she is only in Kindergarten but still. The teacher keeps reassuring me that it will "click" and I know it will. I see an improvement everyday, slow but it's there. I've resorted to labeling things in my house ....M for microwave, F for fireplace, V for vase, etc. I even made letter necklaces for G and I to wear around the house. And everything is letters...any games we play, anywhere we go, I'm constantly pointing out and asking what the letter is and what it sounds like. Volunteering in her class isn't helping me grasp this either. Some of the other kids breeze right through their letters. I know every kid is different but she's mine, I thought she was going to be just like me.

Anyway, this post was intended for Teen so I have to get back on track. After our "incident" I really struggled with getting past my anger and wanting to stay involved in Teen's life. I talked to friends and my family. I cried when I was told that I was fighting a losing battle. If Teen did not want to succeed nothing I did would make a difference. And as much as I believed and understood that, I couldn't accept it. It is not in my nature. My mom and I had a long talk and that's probably where I cried the most. And she asked me an interesting question....why was I trying so hard? Why was I trying to "fix" her? And I realized that's what I do. It's what I've always done. Growing up I was always on top of my sister, making sure she was doing what she was suppose to be doing. If she got herself in a mess, I fixed it. I still do it now. I'm the one that deals with all of legal matters, management issues, I write all of the letters, I still follow up on my sister and sometimes my brother. I most certainly have that same role in my household. Now, I know I can't change anyone but I do everything in my power to try to make sure those around me do not fail, get hurt or get in trouble. I don't do the work for them, at least I try not to, but I'm always there to pick up the pieces if need be. Does this suck sometimes? Sure. Is this taken for granted,\? Sure. But it is what it is. It's my role. I actually get more anxiety when things go wrong when they really shouldn't than with the fact that I feel like I'm the one having to "do" everything. So when Teen forgets to turn HW or fails a test, it's like I failed. I feel like it's my fault. I should have been more on top of her assignments or her study schedule.

I tried to follow the advice of letting go. I really did. I told her that I was no longer going to get involved and if she did not want to succeed than that was on her. I reassured her that I believed in her, as I always have, but that I was not going to try so hard when she didn't care. Yeah, that lasted less than a day. I couldn't do it. I felt like I was giving up on her. G tried to help. He wrote up a schedule and pushed the studying but I couldn't keep myself out of it. It's not in my nature. After several talks, many arguments of schedules and studying, many times to be told to "chill out" and a parent/teacher conference, we all seem to be on the same page. I think Teen is understanding that high school is not like middle school and she needs to study everyday. And I'm understanding to let Teen think she's managing her own schedule :)

The outcome of all my pushing and nagging .... we got a call from Teen's math teacher last week. Teen passed her retake test with a 78 and is receiving a passing grade for the semester! I'm sure I embarrassed the hell out of her in front of her friend. I jumped up and down with joy and covered her head in kisses. I knew she could do it. I've always known she could do it. There's no way I can let her fail knowing this. It's not in my nature.

Monday, November 2, 2009


Halloween is my favorite, favorite holiday...followed closely by Christmas of course. Christmas is a given...I almost don't even count that as a choice. But's so fun. All of the spooky decorations, the costumes, once upon a time the parties, the fun food things you can do, etc. It's just fun. Once a year you get to be silly...I love it. I've ALWAYS wanted to be the house that totally gets decked out for Halloween...I'm getting there....very slowly...but I'll get there :) Teen's best friend's mom decked her house out and had a bunch of teens over to kick-off the evening. I'm glad Teen got to go but I was jealous. I was suppose to be that mom. I know it's crazy wanting to have a bunch of teens in the house but I can't help it. I'll get there....

But for now, we'll just recant our day.

Crazy me decided to do a marathon festivities day. Maybe it was cabin fever, I don't know but I was all over the place. We started with a trip to Michael's for a Halloween craft project. Seena, of course, did great. I don't know what possessed me to think that AJ would sit through and do a project.

Because I'm a fabulous procrastinator, I waited too long for an oil change so that had to get squeezed in. Luckily there was a McD's to hang out at during the 45 minute wait.

Next we moved on to a Dog Costume Contest at the local Garden center. We didn't enter a dog but I thought the kids would get a kick out of seeing the costumes. They did, and some were so cute. Plus there was free popcorn there and we all loved that :)

Next it was the neighborhood Halloween party. Not quite the Halloween party I was expecting but still, there was candy there and a magician. For Seena it was great. For AJ, he was more interested in having me chase him around everywhere.

In between all of the festivities we made a few pit stops at home. Once while we there, G asked how I had the energy. The answer is simple...making my kids happy. I know the day was not some monumental experience or event but minus the McD's lunch, my entire day was free and my kids got to get a craft, candy, Halloween pails, balloons, popcorn, moon bounce, super slide and a magic show. Not to bad I don't think. Definitely beats sitting at home watching it kept the house clean...much to G's delight :)

Finally, after all of the running around it was trick or treating time. When Seena was younger she was scared to go. It wasn't until last year that she really got into it. It's a totally different thing for AJ. Maybe it's because he's got Seena to look up to but he had no fear, well minus one werewolf costume. We walked up and down two full streets and he never sat in the stroller. My favorite was when it was time to say trick or treat...I prompted AJ "what do you say" he looked at the candy givers with his hand out and said "pees". So stinkin' cute!
Yes, Halloween is my favorite holiday.

As for my kids, Seena has moved on, been there done that. She's already cutting out pictures of toys she wants and gluing them into the Christmas Wish Book....