Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Year's Resolutions

It's that time again...time for me to write the same list every pleasantly plump mother with a superhero complex is currently jotting down. Well, not this year. I thought I would shake things up a bit. Instead I am going to approach this whole resolution rally in a new way.

If I were to write my life story right now, what would I want it to say. Who would I want to be? And what would I want to be doing? Would I want the heroine (yours truly) to be more adventurous? Possibly lead a fascinating life in addition to having a crazy family (time for own interests)? Perhaps I'd throw in a dash of more romance (a regular date night). Maybe I'd add a little mystery (other than where is the other sock)? Perchance some fly by the seat of your pants adventures with little people (that don't involve suspicious tonsils & unexpected doctors visit)? Mix in some exotic locations (excluding a public restroom and a 3 yr. old doing the peepee dance) and I think I'm on to something.

My point is, do books ever make it to the top of the New York Times list with it's lead character writing another to do list? Nope. So on January 1st, instead of sporting my rose colored glasses & gym clothes, my resolution is to live 2008 as if it were a best seller. There will be a smokin' leading lady who might learn to speak Spanish & belly dance; a romance with a tall, dark & handsome man; edge of your seat escapades with my favorite offspring; lots of laughter, tears & more laughter (hormones?!); great escapes to faraway places; gatherings with a smattering of colorful characters aka great family & friends; and many unexpected plot twists and turns. Stay tuned my dear readers, things are about to get crazy up in here!

This is Us

Let's talk family pictures. It's supposed to be this fabulous snapshot in time right? Then why is it that most of the time we are smiling through gritted teeth while biting our tongue and using the death grip on at least one child.

Do you ever find yourself pleading with frustration, "This is supposed to be fun so SMILE!"? Or better yet, "You'll look back one day and really appreciate this." {Ya right! I heard that same statement about the piano and 29 years later I am still content to have 'Pop goes the Weasel' as the only song on my play list.} Sorry, I digress. Do you hear yourself offering bribes of everything short of a pony, just to see their pearly whites? Still we persevere with these less than picture perfect moments. And I would like to thank everyone that sent us a Christmas card or posted on their blog for their dedication to the cause. Thank you for not giving up. Your efforts did not go unappreciated. The finished product in whatever form was worth the fight. I hope.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Holiday Detox

There is no better place for Holiday Detox than a snowy cabin in the middle of nowhere. The holidays are full of a lot of hustle & bustle. With all of that cheer comes late nights, decadent foods and crowds of friendly faces. Don't get me wrong, I like to raise a glass of nog with the best of them, but it can be exhausting. And that is all before the man in the big red suit makes his grand entrance.

R & I loaded up our sleigh on Christmas Eve day with 2 little elves, 1 large Jackie Bear in a festive bandana (Thanks groomers!), mysterious packages, and the kitchen sink. We were off 'over the river and through the woods to Montana we go'. Seven hours and a blizzard later, we made it! The girls were excellent passengers, no doubt because Santa was watching. R & I attempted to sing Christmas songs to them the last stretch and failed miserably. It turns out, we both know the first verse of a song and then do a fine job humming the rest. Note to self: Brush up on caroling skills.

Upon settling into our winter wonderland, we quickly donned our uniform for the week...PJ's! It was so magical having a little person in our midst who believes in all the Christmas mystique. Before tucking our little ones in, G-bean asked us to tell Santa hello and to ring his bells quietly so he didn't wake up 'little sister'. Pure Magic!
Christmas morning we awoke to a bright eyed G-bean excitedly telling us how she had heard the bells on Santa's sleigh last night. Following a candy cane trail upstairs, G-bean confirmed the big man's visit. Santa had not only found us, but he had also left the Hello Kitty she had been dreaming of. Oh Santa, you are good!

A week of leisure and adventure finished off our holiday. Sleeping in, playing in snow, skiing at Big Sky, snacking on our Holiday booty (everyone brought their sugary goods), rowdy card games, playing with Santa's gifts, -3 degree weather, teaching G-bean how to ski, teaching E how to walk, lazy afternoon naps, Sushi night with relatives, visiting the grizzly bears (G-beans favorite), hot-tubbing, reading a good book by the fire... what a week. A highlight was meditating in an upside down yoga pose with Eucalyptus scents while my mother impersonated her Yoga instructor with a metal stool for her makeshift gong. Never a dull moment in the land of crazies aka my family.

We would like to wish you and yours Happy Christmas, Joyous Kwanza & a Merry New Year!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Dog Day Afternoon

Recently G-bean and I read the book, Everybody Needs A Rock. If you haven't read it, you must. It gives 10 rules for selecting the perfect pebble. There truly is an art to this scavenger expedition. The most important rule of all, no one can do it for you! Little Miss Independent, G-bean really took to that rule.

On Saturday, the natives at our house were restless. G-bean & I decided to take our trusty 4 legged friend Jack to the dog park for some good old fashioned rock hunting. I quickly found out there could quite possibly be more than 1 perfect rock. Perhaps there could be 20 perfect rocks. Needless to say, the bag got heavy and the little lady got tired. Note to self, bring a wheelbarrow next time.

Thank goodness I already found my Rock, because he wouldn't fit in the bag.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Misery Loves Company

They say that misery loves company...that would be the case with Miss E's pearly whites. It wasn't enough to want 2 (more) front teeth for Christmas or wait to find a diamond encrusted rapstar grill in her stocking, E decided to take matters into her own hands (or should I say mouth). As a result, she is currently working on 4 top teeth and a new bottom tooth. Yowsers! Drool, teething tablets and gnawing on germ infested surfaces are all the rage at our house. If you happen to drop by, watch out for our little ankle-biter.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Me & My Gang

These are my peeps. We are an unruly group! We jump in unattended leaf piles. We sing at the top of our lungs off key. We ride as fast as we can on princess scooters. We loiter at the local Maverick for ice cream. We throw caution and schedules to the wind. The dirtier our adventures get the better. Our uniform is anything washable. And our code is leave no kid behind.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Halloween Haze

It's Sunday night and I am sifting through candy wrappers, remnants of face paint, costume casualties, and chili. What a week! It was quite spooktacular! Family parties, school parade, dog parade, friend's party, chili cook off, and trick or treating made it quite a festive holiday. I loved every minute of it. My most favorite event of all was the Park City dog parade. They closed off Main Street for the kids and dogs to strut their stuff and trick or treat. It felt like you had stepped into another world! It was wild! For one such as myself that truly appreciates a good costume on man or beast, it was total eye candy. I was inspired!

It's the Halloween hangover that I don't enjoy. I feel like I need a pair of dark glasses and would love it if everyone would please whisper (don't shout BOO one more time). I am finding cob webs in places I never imagined; peeling wax off of random surfaces; G-bean is still missing an ear to her costume; our pumpkins are shrivelling up in the front yard; the fake rat & bat decor suddenly seems out of place; G-bean & E are off kilter with the sugar & time change; and I'm exhausted! WHEW! Thank goodness we have 12 months to recover. Now it's on to Thanksgiving!

The following pictures you are about to see are real people. No photo shop or special effects have been used. Enjoy! As for the costumes, Rocky & I thought we would fast forward time and show the world what we will look like as we grow old gracefully (and tastefully). G-bean was a little pig as a tribute to her favorite story the 3 little pigs and our red brick house. E was a sweet little lamb following the herd. Jack was the cat in the hat. He was embarrassed that we couldn't find a more masculine costume for him to wear, so he
walked through a burr patch and ditched the hat to further disguise himself.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Thank Goodness Hell is Hot {Hopefully 350 degrees}

I am going to hell in a Muu muu. Today is Sunday...the day of rest. Well, rest is what got me into this mess. First I skipped out of church early, there goes my salvation. What was I going to do? E needed, begged, cried, wiggled, devoured countless puffed treats, and rubbed her eyes until we called it a day. That is not the worst of it. I put E to bed and... and... and I baked! Midget wrestling in a skirt and heels is difficult people. Not a paperview moment. I was exhausted, judgement clouded. I needed to reward myself for not thinking ill thoughts about my offspring in a holy place. I couldn't find a gold star, so I baked.
It's been 2 exercise, healthy eating filled weeks and I fell off the wagon... But not before I grabbed a bag of flour, sugar, 2 eggs, butter and chocolate chips!!! There I was at home, no supervision, no one to talk me into it, and no one to talk me out of it. It was an itch that had to be scratched! I scratched it all right with a spatula and beaters! It's okay though, because every Sunday night is practically like New Years Eve. I make all of these resolutions and hope something will stick. So tomorrow is Monday and I will start over again. Maybe I'll wait until midnight and do a few sit ups, just to get a jump on things. We'll see. While I'm waiting, got any healthy baking recipes?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Earl Had To Die

A few weeks ago, we had a chicken-napping. It was a crime of passion and poultry. Earl #1 flew the coop sending Jack into a tailspin. He stopped listening to the Dixie Chicks.

At about 10pm last night, there was a peck at the door. Lo and behold, it was Earl #2. Jack couldn't have been more delighted. It was a joyous reunion for both man and bird. After exchanging pleasantries and giving him a few squeaks, the true story came out. Earl #1 was plucked from our midst and shredded by David Bowie and Samwise Gamgee. I bet you are wondering how an 80's rockstar and a hobbit joined forces to pull off such a caper? They didn't. The true culprits were the neighbors dogs aka 'Bowie' and 'Sam'.
Thank goodness Jack has a short memory. He is so thrilled to see that bird in any way, shape or form, he didn't notice that Earl #2 is a much larger, greasier version with a new tatoo on his right wing. Look who's squeaking now?!

Deep Thoughts by Jack Handy
"I hope if dogs ever take over the world, and they chose a king, they don't just go by size. Because, I bet there are some Chihuahuas with some really good ideas."

Every leaf speaks bliss to me,
Fluttering from the autumn tree. Emily Bronte

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Tough Love

When does unconditional love kick in? Was there a form I was supposed to fill out in the hospital? Is it something I forgot to pick up at the store? Is there a cream I can apply, a pill I can pop or a patch I can stick on? Sometimes I come up a little short in this department and any ideas would be helpful.

Everyone always talks about the terrible two's...let's talk about the tremendous three's (sarcasm included). It's little bodies, big emotions. Not a great combination with big mommy, little patience & sleep. I get it, it's the struggle for independence, self mastery, yada yada. It's just that some days I don't want to give an answer to all the "why's". I want no to just mean "no". No need for an explanation. I don't want to hear a broken record asking me over and over and over again to do something. I don't want to repeat the rules one more time. I don't want to have to outwit the midget with choices that all lead to the same desired result. I don't want to negotiate with the 13 year old diva that occasionally possesses my daughter. And I would rather not deal with the random drama or hysterics. I just want my terrific 2 yr. old back.

So my question is, how do I handle the days that I just want to put my kid's on E-bay? Don't tell me count to 10, because I've gotten to a thousand and nothing! Also, the time out thing. Not so effective...a minute for every year. Problem, G-bean's time-out 3 min., mommy's time-out 29 min. Unfortunately, I never get to finish my time-out. Still working on the Love & Logic concept, but it requires more brain capacity than I have available some days. I would love some ideas, great therapist referrals, perhaps a nanny, a strong drink, anything to remedy this situation? Help me out people.

By the way, I returned my mother of the year trophy.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sit & Be Fit

The best time to start eating healthy and working out is when you have a house full of baked goods. It's like looking the devil square in the eye.

It's Monday, the day that I start my new and improved healthy lifestyle. I have been saying that I will start for several weeks, but today is truly the day. R took the bull by the horns and started last week. Frankly, I think he's trying to become the better looking partner. So first thing this morning while he was out jogging, I suited up. Two can play at this game.

Why am I doing this? Well my whole sit and be fit regimen wasn't working, so WHY NOT? Actually there are several motivating factors. First and foremost, I want to get dressed without having to strategically tuck in loose parts. In a weak moment, I bought a girdle which looks like Bridget Jone's giant underpants. Have you ever seen a uni-roll?! Second, I need to take better care of me in a way that doesn't involve chocolate. Third, I get to surround myself by sweaty musclemen and catch up on dirty magazines (celebrity smut) at the gym. No kids allowed! Fourth, I am truly tempted to purchase a road bike. (Slow down Brooke, don't wait outside of my house on your bike at 6am just yet). I have to find my lungs, legs, and inner Lance Armstrong. Fifth, ski season is upon us and this year I am not pregnant (WOOHOO!). Plus, I am a sucker for moguls. Sixth, I am challenging myself to do the unexpected...I am thinking of doing a triathlon next summer with R, my mom & sisters. It's never too early to learn how to swim, run, ride a bike and grow a competitive spirit, right?

My public plea is this, do not tempt me. Do not drop off baked goods. If you must leave something, let it be broccoli. Do not offer to give me a ride when I am out running, no matter how painful it looks. Slap my hand if I reach for something naughty, but do not slap my butt like fellow athletes. I will be too sore and it will hurt. Feel free to tell me how good I look, even if you see no change. I am one of "those" who look for results the first day. Lastly, I will need you to remind me why I am doing this...

Friday, October 12, 2007

Mothers or Martyrs

It's the end of an era. Today I finished breastfeeding. The milk factory has shut down. The lactation station in no longer. No more indecent exposure in public. I am not a food source. E is officially as they say in the South "off the tit". I must admit that it is bittersweet. Bitter, in that I can no longer burn 2,ooo calories sitting on my keister. Sweet, in that I have a new found sense of freedom!

My body is once again mine or what's left of it. After my last feeding, I proudly strutted to the mirror and gave it my best "Girls Gone Wild" flash. And then with new eyes, I saw what was left of them. The aftermath of pregnancy and breastfeeding was quite apparent. I don't know what I was thinking. Did I think they would plump right back up to pre-baby body? I should have known better. The old grey mare definitely ain't what she used to be! There they were... deflated party balloons, melted ice cream cones, 'Girls Gone South'. The cup was not even half full. ARRRRRRRRGGGGHHH! At this point, you might be thinking this kind of talk is not very lady-like (sorry Mom). Well people, if I looked like a lady I would talk like one.

Alas, all is not lost. Victoria Secret has come a long way. It's just back to ample padding and false advertising. Perhaps I'll invest in those rubber boobs that look like chicken cutlets. Either way, I would sacrifice it all over again for the cause.

Closing thought:

Why is it that celebrities get hotter after babies. They are practically on the runway 6 weeks later (still love ya Heidi Klum). I know where I messed up...I should have found a plastic surgeon to deliver my babies instead of an OBGYN. What was I thinking?! Maybe Dr. Rey will be available next time.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Be Aggressive

"Hey G-bean, do you know what it means to be aggressive?"

"No?!!!" (looking perplexed while fidgeting with her carefully selected hair accessories)

"It means to chase the ball and kick it. Don't be afraid of the other kids. You just have to get in there and kick the ball."

"Okay." (still perplexed)

At this point, we roll up to G-bean's soccer game blasting her theme song. It's a little ditty called "Busta move". You might of heard of it. It's a classic. You better believe we have dance moves to go with it. It always seems to do the trick in pumping up our daughter to run out on the field and and ...that's about it. Don't get me wrong. We are very proud parents. It's just that I have this sports minded husband who was raised with a pack of wolves (3 brothers). Sports are sports. No, he is not one of those psycho fan dads. He is just hoping to stimulate some type of reflex in G-bean. So when the ball rolls in front of her, she might try kicking it. She has great fun running with the other players, but I don't think she knows why they are running. She just giggles and waves back at us as she trots up and down the field. She also makes a delicious grass pie while sitting in the goalie box with her best buddy M. There is more sport in eating half time orange wedges and retrieving the post game treat. (She's truly my daughter).

Game time. As we are walking towards the field, R says "G-bean, do remember what it means to be aggressive?" To which she responds, "Nope".

Montreal Madness

We made the pilgrimage. Ten years ago, R was pounding the pavement and knocking on doors. Was he a traveling salesmen you ask? Why no, he was a missionary with a crew cut and a badge spreading the good word for free. He was merely a boy dressed in an ill fitted suit armed with a message. As the silly lovesick girlfriend (I still can't read the letters without gagging), I could not imagine what his life was like in this faraway destination. A decade later, I got my chance to see it in person.

We were able to spend 2 1/2 days in Quebec City and 6 days in Montreal. One thing I love about R is that he makes a great travel companion. We love to read maps and navigate every nook and cranny of a new city. We turn into these wide eyed little kids on a grand adventure. When we landed, we hit the ground running. With E in tow, we rented a car and drove up to Quebec City. This was a highlight. It was this incredible walled city that makes you feel like you've traveled to Europe. It was very french, which made me curse my lack of dedication in high school french class. Sorry Madame Durst...R proved to be too much of a distraction (But look at us now!). Note to self, send her an official apology. Walking down cobbled streets, diving into little shops, nibbling on french pastries and gelato, visiting historical landmarks, dining at sidewalk bistros, admiring cathedrals, strolling by the river- OOOH la la it was wonderful. We just needed berets and some very french background music to complete the scene. J'adore Quebec City!

In my estimation, Montreal is a hybrid of San Francisco, Seattle and New York. Translation, FABULOUS!! It was here that we met up with our parents. Don't gasp aloud or cringe...we invited them. Crazy huh? You'll understand in a second. We have the rare privilege of having parents that actually enjoy each other. They were friends long before we were a twinkle in their eyes. No, it was not an arranged marriage. It was by chance that 2 red heads fell in love. Plus, who doesn't dream of traveling with a nanny. We brought 4 doting ones.

We had some other pressing business to conduct. Montreal was hosting the President's Cup which is the U.S. golf team versus an International golf team. Yep, my husband was in heaven! While the men went to the golf events, the women did what we do best, shop & dine. Surprisingly, R was able to pull himself away from Phil Mickelson to show us some of his old apartments and stomping grounds. It was great to visit this chapter of his life that I only knew through letters (extremely sappy letters). We then paid homage to the building where Ghostbusters was filmed. After seeing it, "I still ain't afraid of no ghost." Sorry, I couldn't help myself. I was also able to attend the final round of the golf tournament. For once golf didn't put me to sleep like it does on TV. It was quite, R kept me well fed with snacks. It doesn't take much to keep me happy. I just might turn into a bit of a groupie. Don't tell R, he might get the wrong idea. Did I mention that golfers are like celebrities, they are much shorter in person. It's not all smoke and mirrors, Phil Mickelson still has man boobs.

All in all, it was the grand adventure we had hoped for! Minus, E's somersault off the bed. It's always fun to visit new places and meet new people. It awakens your senses and pulls you out of the humdrum. So, if it ever looks like we're not home or we're late for carpool...check Montreal.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Acrobats and Circus Rats

We have added some new acts to our traveling circus. First , we have E who can now pull herself up to a standing position. (future trapeze artist in training). As for the scab on E's nose, she has made her first attempt to hurl herself through the air without the assistance of a cannon. Hold your applause. She has also mastered the art of crawling backwards. Why backwards? Because crawling forward wouldn't allow her to wedge her body into tight corners and under chairs. Perhaps we have a future contortionist that we can zip into suitcases.
And then there is G-bean. She likes to practice her daredevil bicycle balancing act...picture a tightrope under her and you've truly got a show. Sometimes even R gets into the act. Now if we could only get him into a tutu and tights.

"Ever Lasting Loves"

Now that I have my own family, I only have one wish... I'm quite sure it's one and the same for most parents. I want my family to genuinely love each other. I know it's cheesy, but it's true.

Every family has growing pains. You are constantly stretching, changing, and adapting to each stage of life. You want your kids to like themselves, each other, you...Heck, you want to like yourself, your kids, and even your husband (some days). So how do you survive the noogies, sibling warfare, toddler/teenager drama (Isn't it all the same?), marital disconnect, and everyday life. How do you love each other through it all? There are moments in life when you feel like you are living in a hallmark card and want to freeze time. Five minutes later, you feel like you should call Dr. Phil to put the smack down. It's such a wild ride and you don't have time to make popcorn.

Without even realizing it, I start to channel my parents. "Be nice to each other. You are family.", "Don't do that to your brother (in our case, sister), one day he will be bigger than you" or "Why can't we all just get along?". If only we would have heeded the words of our elders. My sister was my nemesis until college. We were the kind of enemies that would write "I hate you" on the mirror with wet' n wild lipstick. And now she is my best friend. I hope it doesn't take my girls that long. But I now understand those pearls of wisdom past generations tried to impart. Here I am...attempting to do the same.

There will be a time when family might not be considered friends and friends might become family. I am already preparing myself for the day when I am not "cool". I know, hard to believe isn't it? The mom they invite to a tea party and cry for to apply a princess band-aid will soon be on the D-list. The sister that once made G-bean laugh and dance will copy her every move and steal her clothes. And the wife that was once so put together (HA!) will be a frazzled mess in yesterday's sweats. Oh, the ebb and flow of life.

Last night G-bean granted me my one wish. Dressed from sparkly tiara to sleeping beauty heels, she told me she was going to cast a spell on me. With that, she gracefully waved her magic wand and said "Ever Lasting Loves"! I did not ask how long the spell would last...but I hope forever.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Time Travel

I have officially cornered the market on time travel. I am not referring to the Napoleon Dynamite crotch shocking crowbar. I am talking about going back in time without even leaving your house. Curiosity peaked? It's called cleaning out your closet. Yep, today I walked into my closet and went back in time. I unearthed artifacts dating back to the early 90's. Short of finding Girbaud's, a Unit's ensemble and a neon Bodyglove swimsuit with the zipper, the items I found looked like they belonged on the set of Saved By The Bell. I am pretty sure that 12 years ago, I might have turned Zach Morris' head. But worn now, you might have to report me to the fashion police.

So, why do I hold on to all this stuff? Do I hope it will come back in style? Because some styles were pretty horrendous the first go round. Sentimental value? Future dress ups? (That's always my rationale). Reliving the glory day's- HA!? Even worse, am I still actually wearing it?Whatever the reason, it's time to let go.

Before I entered my time warp of a closet, I set some parameters for purging. Have I worn it in the last year? How shapeless and stained does it need to be for disposal? Do I have a photograph of me wearing it in a yearbook (junior high? high school?)? Does it fit? Does it fit well... or just look okay, but only if I squint, suck in & stand on one leg? Do I feel like a million bucks in it or just sale rack price I paid for it? Am I willing to walk the runway?

You hear about the stages of grief, I think I experienced all of them. SHOCK & DENIAL- I wore this in public? This fit?! I could make this fit. I might need it one day. BARGAINING- It might come back in style? Now that I know this is in my closet, I will totally wear it. G-bean would love this as a dress up. DEPRESSION- How could the fashion gods do this to me? I knew comfort came at a price! ACCEPTANCE- Out with the old, in with the new.

Five bags of clothing later, I am pleased to tell you that I have returned to the year 2007.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Off to Neverland

Today I decided that I didn't want to grow up. So, G-bean & I cleaned house, but not in the conventional sense. We fired the cleaning lady, secretary, chauffeur, gardener, cook, and ball-buster (all fancy names for me). From there, I followed the bliss of my 3 year old. Baking cookies at 9 am, building a fort & reading books, finger painting in our skivvies (they don't make princess panties in my size), nap time, playing dress ups (E is not a fan yet), delivering cookies in capes (no need for a maternity test- she loves capes!) know the usual stuff midgets like to do. It was delightful.

Oh, to be 3 years old again. The world looks so different when you are only 3 1/2 feet off the ground. It was refreshing to go on strike from all of the have to's and probably should do's. Being a grown up can be overrated, especially when we forget what it's like to be a kid. I learned things about G-bean I never knew. For instance, fruit snacks are a food group, Dora the explorer is a religion, preschool politics are cruel ('boys with spiky hair are mean') and when she grows up she 'just wants a computer' and 'wants to plant trees'. Who knew? Which made me wonder, what do I want to be when I grow up? Who knows! For now, it's off to Neverland with G-bean, E, Jack & R. No grown ups allowed!

Favorite Quote & Daily Mantra:

"The most important thing she'd learned over the years was that there was no way to be a perfect mother and a million ways to be a good one." Jill Churchill