Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Supper Club

Every third Wednesday for the past 12-13 years, I've had a standing date on my calendar.

It started out as a group of co-workers getting together once a month for dinner. A few dropped out early on and a few were added a little later. But for the past several years it has been the same 9 friends and former co-workers getting together. Only 3 still work at the same company. So now the evening gives us a chance to keep in touch with each other.

The "Club" started out very official. We rotated homes, had a spreadsheet of who was bringing what and when, and exchanged "Ooh, that was SO good" recipes. As friends, we have been together thru marriages and new homes and divorces and remarriages and babies. LOTS of babies.

So many babies it has changed our club over the years. We no longer get together at someone's home - that would mean one of us would have to clean for a month. We no longer bring dishes - that would mean juggling food prep along with school and ball and dance.

We do however, still get together choosing a different restaurant each month. We meet for good food, great fellowship, and most importantly, a night of no picking up sippy cups thrown to the floor, OR taking a pre-schooler to the bathroom just after your meal has arrived, OR asking the waitress for another red crayon because the kids are fighting over the one, OR eating at a particular establishment just because they have chicken nuggets on the menu or arcade games in the waiting area.

Better yet, we get to lose the sweats, play dress-up for an evening, and carry that cute little bag you just bought from TJ Maxx minus the baby wipes, the extra diaper, and the cell phone you purposely left in the car so daddy can't call and ask what time you will be home.

At our latest meeting, we decided to go "family" style. No, that doesn't mean we met at Golden Corral and had huge bowls of mashed potatoes and country style steak. We decided to get together and include husbands AND children! The end result was 16 kids under the age of 7!! (Two girlfriends were not able to attend and one other child was sick.) So it would have been 20!! WOW!!

The kids had a lot of fun playing together and at the end of it all, we moms were so happy that only one band-aid was required. Our next change of venue? A girls weekend AWAY!!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Professional Stuntmen. Do not attempt at home!

Top 10 potential dangers associated with this photo:

10 - No helmets or elbow pads or knee pads.
9 - Bungee cords as tow gear.
8 - A covered swimming pool.
7 - Night-time scene lit only by the occasional flash from the camera.
6 - No brakes on the scooter.
5 - Roller blades a little too close to the grass.
4 - Non-attentive "I'm in my own little world" 4 year old behind the wheel.
3 - Mischievous "what's he gonna do next?" 3 year old riding shotgun.
2 - Imaginative "what's his next bright idea" 8 year old on the scooter.

and the number one potential danger in this scene...

1 - Fearless "hey ya'll, watch this" 10 year old on the roller blades!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Guiding Light

My brother and I were latch-key kids. (It was ok though as our aunts and grandparents lived next door to us.) Once we got off the school bus, we would grab a box of Fruit Loops, plop down on the floor in front of the TV, and wait for 4:00. That's when our shows (all reruns, of course) would come on - Wonder Woman, The Incredible Hulk, Six Million Dollar Man, Charlie's Angels, Eight is Enough, and of course The Andy Griffith Show. The show line-ups would change with the season. And we were only disappointed when the After School Special would pre-empt our 4:00 - 6:00 time slot. We suffered the same disappointment on Saturdays when Wrestling would interrupt our cartoons. Afterall, the only time you got to see cartoons back then was on Saturdays.

The one thing that stayed constant about our afterschool television viewing, was that the Guiding Light was on from 3:00 - 4:00. Because we lived out in the country, had no "cable", and CBS was the only channel we could pick up without fuzz or speckles or wavy lines, we really had no other choice. On most days we could get ABC. NBC, however, was a trickier beast and was dependent on the weather. And just forget about anything on the UHF dial.

Like most people 30 years ago, we had a "console" TV, which was more like a piece of furniture. On top of the TV you would find a lamp, a candy dish, a plant, and this plastic box with a big round dial that resembled a compass in the middle. For those of you who were too young to remember or too city-fied to know (because you had cable), that big round dial helped you get your picture less fuzzy. You would turn the dial to the correct direction - NNW, or maybe SE, or maybe just to E, and wait for the Chi-clunk, chi-clunk, chi-clunk as the lightning rod antenna on top of your house turned to just the right spot. Bringing back memories?

Anyway, I got a little distracted. Back to the Guiding Light. My brother and I would sit and watch these characters day by day. A lot went on with their stories, but not a lot changed. People loved, they lost, they died and came back, they were born on a Tuesday, went to boarding school three weeks later, then returned in another month to run their daddy's corporation or perform brain surgery at Springfield General. My affection for the show carried over to college when I watched it along with the other soap favorites - The Young & The Restless, The Bold & The Beautiful, and As The World Turns.

So, I was very disappointed to learn that after 72 years of story-telling, the Guiding Light would end this coming Friday. "Ohhh, that's so sad!" I thought, "What a shame." So, for nostalgia purposes, I decided to use modern day technology and DVR this entire week of the show. Last night (after the kids were finally in the bed) I turned it on. I was pleasantly surprised to recognize 75% of the characters. And honestly, the story hasn't changed much. Vanessa and Billy are getting married again. Alan Spaulding is in the hospital - don't worry, I don't think it's anything serious. He didn't have an IV, or an oxygen tube, and was wearing Ralph Lauren navy pajamas. He was also sitting up in bed talking to some lady that I didn't recognize while she introduced her, er, life partner, to Alan. OK, so the story lines have changed a little bit in 20 years.

The character recognition, however, is where my pleasure ended. The show looked as if it was filmed in the producers backyard, and in a local grocery store parking lot, and in front of a run-down country club. All the while being recorded with a hand-held video camera. The actors weren't wearing the glamourous Lillie Rubin costumes from days of old. They all seemed to be sporting their own "duds." And what about the other 25% of the characters that I didn't recognize? I believe they were all high school students that had just been picked up at a nearby bus stop. Seriously. It was that bad.

As bad as it was, I will still be watching on Friday to see how this one ends.

Look everybody. It's Phillip Spaulding. He's still there, looks exactly the same, and I believe Princess is developing a quick crush on him just as her mommy did back in the 80's.

Look closely in this photo. The woman pictured is Jeanne Cooper, aka, Mrs. Chancellor from the Young and the Restless. She is 90+ years old. You should remember her, she (and her character) had an actual face lift on the Y&R. Apparently, she is making a guest appearance for Guiding Light. She's still going strong after all these years! Bless her heart!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Big Little Boys Don't Cry

Unless you put them in a foo-foo outfit with a gigantic itchy collar, clean their nose, and tell them they have to sit still while we take a picture with their new baby sister.

Later (after bribing him with cookies, donuts, and Skittles), he gained his composure and we were able to capture this sweet shot.

These photos were taken a year ago today when Princess was just six weeks old. They grow SO fast!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Time in Lock Up

I just spent the last 40 minutes in lock up, the slammer, the clink, prison, well actually it was just the boys bedroom. You see, sometimes the best laid plans can um, backfire on you. Since we were are still having problems with the boys getting out of their bed and coming to ours in the middle of the night, we decided to switch their door lock around - so it would lock from the outside. Mind you we have never locked the door from the outside. We just haven't been able to do it yet. Call it paranoia, the thought that something may happen in the middle of the night; a fire, a burglar, a monster, a tornado, an earthquake, I dunno, any number of things could happen. Right?

As I said, we have not used the lock. The boys use it all the time. It's so cute how they think they are locking me out of the room so they can secretly jump on their beds. Or how Big Sticky will "lock" Little Sticky out so he can play with the trains all by himself. Tonight, Little Sticky used it on me. I was reading Big Sticky a story before bedtime. Little (who took a late afternoon nap and was not interested in going to sleep) came in, interrupted the story only to announce that he was "going down-tairs to be wif da-ye." On the way out, he locked the door, and then slammed it shut. Just like in prison.

I kept my cool and finished reading to Big Sticky. Once he fell fast asleep I started thinking how I was going to get out. I didn't want to bang on the door or scream call out to my husband only to wake Big Sticky (and most likely Princess). I recalled predicting this scenario to my next door neighbor. I warned her that if she ever heard me yelling or saw me hanging out from the second floor window that I probably needed assistance in getting loose. But it was dark out. What were the chances that she would actually be out working in her yard? Although she does live so close that I could probably throw a HotWheel (or two) at her windows. I then remembered that I had "hidden" a wire hanger behind one the boy's headboards. Ah Ha! It was still there. I poked and poked, and poked and poked, (and cursed) and poked, and turned the hanger around six different times, and poked (and cursed) and poked a few more times before it finally popped. Whew! That was a close one. I felt a little like Andy Dufrene from Shawshank - minus the digging thru miles of stone walls, and swimming thru sewage, and the weeks in solitary confinement, the clever framing of Warden Norton, and of course the escape to a peaceful, white sand beach somewhere in Mexico.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Just in Time for Potty Time

We were down to the wire, so close to being shut out from pre-school, turned away at the door, or worse, called to come get your child just as you were half way thru your grocery shopping, but we made it. We my friends, are POTTY-TRAINED! Little Sticky has now made it a full week with NO accidents. I put an emphasis on accident, because we did recently have an incident.

While at "The Hill" for the Labor Day weekend, we had a minor episode. After returning to the house from a boat ride up the lake, I went to retrieve the boy's swim trunks from my brother's house - briefly leaving the three stickies with my dad. Just after I left, Little Sticky announced to Pops that he needed to go to the potty. You must know that Little's bathroom routine currently involves getting completely undressed from the waist down. He then climbs onto the potty and sits as far back as he can go, with his back resting against the back of the toilet. Pops stepped out of the basement restroom and told Little to call him when he was finished.

A few minutes later I returned from my brother's house with swim trunks and towels. Just as I came around the lower driveway on the golf cart, I see my dad emerging from the basement wringing out Little's shorts. Apparently, Little needed to go #2 and when you sit all the way back on the seat, there is not many places the #2 can go. So, it seems that "it" rolled down his leg and onto the floor. At least that is what my dad and I can assume by using our best CSI skills. While we didn't taken any pictures, rope off the area, or officially gather any evidence, we pieced together the scene of the crime enough to get a good idea of what actually happened in there. So there you go. A potty incident. One to tell the future girlfriend. One that we can now laugh about. It wasn't very funny on Saturday when we were wiping poo off the floor, the shorts, the mirror, the shoes, the toilet, the door knob, the underwear, the walls, and the boy.

I tried working with him last night to get him to scoot up a little further on the seat. However, it was half way thru his bath, his butt and legs were wet and slippery and so he literally fell into the toilet. He was actually wedged into the seat. All you could see was his head and his legs from the shin down (or I should say from the shin "up" since his feet were up in the air). In true Little Sticky form, he actually thought that falling completely into the toilet was funny. Luckily all this happened before we finished his bath. I am seriously hoping I don't get a call from the school saying that my son has injured himself by falling into the toilet. Now that would be embarassing.

Anyway, I am very excited to be down to one child in diapers. And even more excited that my Target bill has been reduced by 13.63 with each visit. And even most further ecstatic that I am able to take him to pre-school.... starting tomorrow!! Who-hoo! Yipee!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Double the Trouble

For some reason, I am always asked "are they twins?" Given that Big Sticky is almost a FULL head higher than Little Sticky, I can only assume it is because I always dress them alike? Anyway, the next question that may or may not follow but I am sure is often thought "Why then do you dress them alike?" Well, here ya' go.

Reasons I dress them alike.
Safety Reason #1 - It is easier to train my eyes to look for one outfit. With two boys, they will dart off in a milli-second.
Safety Reason #2 - If one were to get away, when asked "what was he wearing?", I can always show the exact outfit.
Timesaver #1 - I only have to choose one outfit in the morning.
Timesaver #2 - I only have to choose one outfit when shopping.
Copycat Rule - Little Sticky will do anything that Big Sticky does. I always dress Big Sticky first, then I do not have to worry about Little deciding he doesn't want to wear something. To keep Big Sticky from not wanting to wear what I pick out for him, I give him a choice, Red Shirt or Blue Shirt. He has yet to respond with Green Shirt.

The next question I get is, "But can't Little Sticky just wear his brother's hand me downs? It seems like you are wasting money."
Defense #1 - By the time Big goes thru a season of clothing, everything is too worn or too stained for public viewing. Little does wear Big's hand me down play clothes and PJs. But these are almost always worn around the house or in situations where we don't have to worry about any of the other issues listed above.
Defense #2 - I buy almost all of their clothes at Target, KMart, & Wal-Mart. I also hit the sale and clearance racks at Old Navy, Children's Place, and Gap. I can buy CUTE stuff at these stores for sometimes less than consignment prices.

The final reason I do it is, because for now, I can. I am sure in the not too distant future, the boys will NOT want to dress alike. More than likely they will want to dress like their favorite super-hero or cartoon character or the like. And when that time comes, I will embrace it. But for now, I do it because I can!

Riding the neighbor's Hummer.

At a local park. This shade of green is easy to spot in a crowd.

Admiring the horses in Colonial Williamsburg (after they had run thru the horse's poop in the middle of the street - thank goodness for crocs!).

Even at the beach. Dressed just alike.
One difference here - Big is wearing SPF 50, Little SPF 70.

I hope everyone has a Great Labor Day weekend.
I am offline for the Holiday.
I hope to see you back here next week!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Housework (times three)

Except for laundry, having three children does not triple my housework by three. However, it does take me three times as long to do any house "work." Take for instance - unloading the dishwasher. Under normal circumstances (i.e., no distractions), this task would take me no more than 12 minutes to complete. With three young children it is considerably longer.

As soon as I opened the dishwasher, Princess toddled over in her walker. Miss Curious needed to see what was going on. She immediately started pulling out all the colorful plastic forks and spoons. Before I could get them out of her hands, she started putting them in her mouth. When I finally pried them from her tiny little fingers, she began wailing her head off started crying. I closed the dishwasher and set off to find her an appropriate "chew toy." After searching thru the playroom, I finally found a gi-normous plastic spoon that came in an egg & spoon race game. That should keep her busy for a few (and its big enough she can't gag herself or poke her eyes out.)

Back to my task. I slide out the upper basket and start pulling out the tons of sippy cups and lids and bottles and nipples and tiny plastic bowls. While the three blue Lightning McQueen sippy cups with twist on lids look identical, they are actually ever so slightly different. If you don't get the right top with the right bottom, they will leak - everywhere. Keep this in mind the next time you are out purchasing sippy cups. Either buy enough at the same time and better your chances of them all being made from the same lot - OR - risk it and buy more later only to find out they were made in three different plants somewhere in China and have the slightest difference in the groves around the lids. While screwing and unscrewing, I am distracted by Big Sticky who has found an old Lightning McQueen push button night lite (do we have enough Lightning McQueen stuff?) that he insists needs new batteries. I reluctantly replace the 4 AA batteries. I say reluctantly only because I am sure that after running off with the night lite, he will turn it on, immediately put it down (with it still on), and forget about it. I will then find it (with the batteries now burned out), hide it, only for him, or them, to find it again later.

Back to dishes. I finally get the upper drawer unloaded and move on to the bottom when Little Sticky announces that he needs to go pee-pee on the potty. I am ecstactic to assist him as this gets me ever so closer to having only one baby in diapers. He asks for privacy on this trip (which sometimes indicates a #2) so I linger around the hallway waiting for him to finish. When I return to the bathroom, I find half the roll of unused tissue all over the floor. I guess since he can't read magazines he needs another way to occupy his time in there. So, after getting him cleaned up and the floor cleaned up, I return to... oh yeah, the dishwasher. It's been so long now I forgot what I was doing.

Forty-five minutes later, I finally get the dishwasher unloaded and all the dishes put away in their rightful spot.

Now, to reload with all the stuff that has piled up in the sink. Get your stopwatches ready...