Sunday, February 28, 2010

Keen eyes

025    Is that what I think it is?


Let me get a closer look. 030


It is a Shopportunity! Get your purse Mama—I need more hats.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Warning: Cheese Ahead

When this post goes live, I imagine I'll be ordering a before dinner drink with my fellow escapees. I plan to continue the celebration by ordering a savory, calorie-laden meal and a delectable dessert. I'll follow that with the inhalation of late night munchies as we sit around the hotel room waxing poetic about the kid-free atmosphere. Of course, right now I'm sitting in my family room counting down the minutes until the start of girls' weekend, so I figured why not share a little tip with you to help pass the time?

Now this is a Mellon tip which means that it's just a way to cut corners. If you want real tips, you'd have to visit the blogs of more together Mamas. But if what you're after is ways to make being lazy even easier, then you're at the right place. 

I've mentioned my plethora of scrapbook supplies before. The presence of this collection of papery bits is the direct cause of an on going battle being raged in my psyche. The lazy part of myself just wants to grab a handful of all occasion greeting cards while I'm at the grocery store to have on hand to give as needed. But the frugal side of myself can't justify spending the money on a pre-printed card when I have on hand supplies to create enough greeting cards to fill the neighborhood Hallmark. Guilt makes laziness somewhat less attractive as an option.

Sometimes, I can get the frugal and the lazy to agree on a compromise: mass produce handmade cards. This requires little thought as you just keep repeating the same steps over and over and over. But how to know how many birthday cards  you need to make to last you until your next assemblage? 10? What about thank you cards? 15? It was a conundrum for sure. Until I set my cheese free. 

The answer was bears. Make all the cards with bears on them. Then on the inside you can make it say whatever you want: Thank you Beary much, Have a Beary Happy Bearday, I can't Bear to be apart from you--the cutesiness knows no end. And if you're feeling especially corny like I was when I made the card pictured here: We can Bearly wait for baby's arrival! 


And if you're going to be a cornball, be a great big, cheese-coated one and decorate the envelope to match. It's Beariffic!

Wanted: Fed and Alive

I am a fugitive on the run. After months of painstakingly-detailed planning requiring, among other things, a full body tattoo of the blueprint of my cell, I was finally able to break free from my mommy shackles. The whole plan was almost derailed when the guards proved to be more cunning than I had suspected. At one point, they had me pinned beneath them on the floor. I could feel my hope of escape being squashed beneath those sixty pounds of triumphant two-foot tykes.

But then my desire for the freedom to shop and eat all day with my friends took over. Suddenly, I had the strength of 20 mommies which was just enough to topple those captors of mine to the ground.
I dashed toward the door suitcase in hand. I glanced behind me and caught a full blast of the second guard’s rage.

  But soon she realized that the battle was lost, and before I had passed through the door I saw acceptance wash over her little face. She probably went straight to the warden to pin the escape on the other guard—she seems the type to try to weasel herself out of trouble.  

I imagine that they’re organizing a search party as we speak, so my days of freedom are numbered. I will evade them for as long as I can—hopefully just long enough to watch a chick flick and stuff myself with waffles at brunch. Being captured will go down much easier with powdered sugar and syrup—but then again doesn’t everything?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Today's insanity brought to you by the letter C

For the last month or so, Chase has been fascinated with letters and their sounds. He's continually gathering the pieces to his alphabet puzzle and arranging them in complicated patterns to "spell" words. His favorite conversation begins with "Mama, what does _______ start with?" Being a teacher, rather than just tell him, I say the word with an over-exaggeration on the beginning sound. Then he'll ask about 100 or so more words. Accordingly, meal times now have a sophisticated audio system in place known as a BBBBBBBBroken RRRRRRRecord.

This system works well for the most part, but we've been having trouble with those pesky c's. It's bad enough that you have the hard ‹c› with a [k] sound like car and the soft ‹c› with an /s/ sound like celebrate. But on top of that you throw in all the blends like ‹cr›, which are confusing but can at least be sounded out: CCCC---RRRRR--azy. So it's tangled, but manageable.

The real kicker in the proverbial keister is that punk of a consonant digraph that goes by the name ‹ch›. That sucker can have three (3!) different sounds: /tʃ/ as in Chase, /ʃ/as in Charlotte and /k/ as in Christopher. It's enough to drive a mother of any Ch-named child ch-nuts. But I think those of us in the first two groups have dibs on the frustration since there is no possible way to sound out the name and hear any kind of ‹c› be it hard, soft, bumpy or smooth. I am not sure that even my devotion to Chase Utley would have allowed me to name my child such a phonetically confusing name had I known the consequences prior to filling out the birth certificate.

Since I wasn't aware of the aggravation that would come with telling my kid that his name starts with a letter he can't hear, I am left stuck in the constant loop of explaining all the different ways that third letter of the alphabet messes with the English language. I am so finely attuned to the objective, that I see learning opportunities everywhere I look. For instance, most (normal) moms see lunch when they look at this picture.

What do I see? I see a plate full of teachable moments. We've got hard /c/'s in carrots and cantaloupe. We've got a soft /c/ in celery. But wait, there's more! /tʃ/ comes out to play in chicken and cheese. It's a veritable smorgasbord of phonetic explorations! My lesson was going so well until Chase wanted to know what quesadilla started with: CCCCCCrap!  Lucky for me, at that very moment the bell rang for recess. Funny how that worked out, eh?

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Card Carrying Member

 CCF02222010_00000 - Copy As most of you know, I’m an elementary school teacher. Even though I haven’t been employed in nearly four years, I don’t say that “I was an elementary school teacher” because being an educator is in my blood. It’s one of the main ways in which I identify myself: wife, mother, teacher, chocoholic.
You’ll notice that wife and mother came first in the list which is why nearly four years ago, I walked away from teaching full time to be a stay at home mother. I don’t regret the decision in the slightest, but I do miss teaching—so much sometimes that it physically hurts. But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about my hoarding tendencies. I’m looking into joining a support group. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Anyway, when I was packing up my room for the last time, I was one month away from having my son. I was so pregnant that I couldn’t bend over to tie my shoes, so I had Velcro ones that the kids in my class would have to help me loosen as the day grew longer and my feet swelled bigger. I was as big as a house with about as much get up and go as one too. So, when I say that I packed up my room, what that really means is that I threw everything into boxes and tubs without looking at it or thinking about what it was in the slightest. This behavior is what landed me with 35 boxes labeled “teaching stuff” in my basement.
After 4 years, something got into me and I suddenly decided that it was time to condense those boxes to a more manageable number. I think that something was the fact that the mound of Rubbermaid was sitting in the exact location of our future home theater. I know I tease Drew about his electronic overload, but I have to admit that I kind of miss being able to go into the basement and watch a movie on the big screen and eat popcorn and throw M&Ms at his head when he talks during the show. So, I figured if I cleared out the area, that might entice Drew to go ahead and have the theater installed. Cross your fingers for me, ok?
I mean, I certainly deserve some kind of reward because after about two weeks of steadily chugging away at the mass in my free time, I have decreased the plastic tub pile by 75%. It really wasn’t that hard when you consider some of the things those boxes contained: pencils that were the size of my thumb, posters dating back to 1984, games with missing pieces, dried up markers, worksheets printed on dot matrix printers, the list goes on and on and on. I have no idea why I thought that these things needed to be boxed up, carried to the car and then moved to the basement of my home, then moved again when we bought a new house. It boggles my mind really.
But one thing that I don’t regret keeping is the file of cards my kids made for me. That’s a pile of paper that just makes me smile. All these years later, and I can still remember their little faces as they handed me their art work. And that’s forever how they’ll remain to me too—as little third graders with wide eyes and just a touch of orneriness.
So I thought I’d share a handful of my favorites with you. That one at the top there was a thank you card that was sent over the summer. At my school, we had teacher time auctions where the staff donated an activity and parents bid on it for their kids. That year I donated a round of mini golf followed by pizza, but when the day came, the weather was uncooperative. So we hit the mall for bear building instead. The reason I like this card so much is that Maddy used the correct form of you’re—which was one of the grammar lessons I drilled into their little heads beginning on day one. So it just goes to show if you repeat yourself 180 times, someone might hear you. Yea for Maddy!

This card just cracks me up. It starts off as a typically designed greeting. I am #1 of all the Famous Teacher’s you know…
CCF02222010_00002 - Copy

but then you open it up and it gets all kinds of crazy funky. Which is just how I remember little A. She’s got a real party going on in here for appreciation week—break dancers, cheerleaders, a shocked Mrs. L, one class guinea pig skateboarding and the other class piggy DJ Ethel at her Juice Box scratching her little heart out backwards cap and all. I should have had her sign this piece because I’m sure she’ll have her work showing in a gallery somewhere one day.

This last one made me laugh so hard I nearly fell off my stool. Looking at the perfectly aligned pieces, you might think that this was done by a parent and passed off as the work of the child…but definitely not. This picture is a perfect summation of who this kid was: Mr. Perfect. Every paper C ever completed was written in very precise hand writing with all the directions followed to a T,  his desk was always perfectly ordered, he always knew where his homework was—all of these rare to find in a third grader. I am ashamed to admit that the kid was more organized than I was. So this picture with the buttons lined up perfectly, all the adornments perfectly patterned and symmetrical and the snow so meticulously hand colored pretty much sums up C’s personality. Right down to the stars placed like a bullseye on the foreheads of the two smaller snowmen—sure he was fastidious, but he was still an 8 year old boy after all.
I’m sure that 50 years from now, I’ll still have these little mementos tucked away somewhere—probably right next to my pack rat’s anonymous card.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bacon and Eggs Over Asparagus

I was flipping through my Good Housekeeping magazine the other day when I came across the recipe for this:

Doesn't that look divine?  As soon as I saw the recipe, I tore it out and added it the week's menu. I did have to make a few changes due to circumstances beyond my control. First, the grocery store didn't have any fresh thyme, so I used dried. Second, I used Turkey bacon instead of regular. This would be because I mistakenly bought maple bacon which is--let's face it--nasty, nasty stuff. The turkey bacon worked well but since it doesn't give off as much grease as regular bacon, I ignored the " Drain and discard excess bacon fat in pan" step of the recipe.

Oh, and any time my brain reads the word "chopped" in a list of directions, it automatically replaces it with "cut". So, yea I used those magical kitchen shears to cut my parsley and dill. Oh, and I don't measure things half the time either. I knew they were supposed to be in a 3:1 ratio, so I just eyeballed it. I didn't actually end up using all of this either which worked out well since my bunny was quite happy to gobble up all of the leftovers.

I served my masterpiece with toast because eggs and toast are like peanut butter and jelly--you really just need to have them together. Also, my oven overcooked the eggs as they were supposed to be runny, but weren't. Other than that, I was quite pleased with the results.

So since Bacon and Eggs Over Asparagus passed the test, it goes into my favorite recipe book. This book is really a 4x6 photo album, so I need to format the recipe to fit into those parameters. Now, if I were super techy, I'd type every recipe up into a pre-designed template, resize and drag the photo on the page and then print it out. But I'm not at all techy. Plus, I'm lazy. So I have my own method that works with my limitations. First, I gather my materials: recipe, index card, scissors, pen and packing tape--the tear by hand variety is a must for those like myself who frequently veer toward the inert state. 

 Next, cut the recipe to fit on the card--this may require some creative arranging and/or extra cards. This particular recipe was printed on the front and back of the page, so I had to sacrifice the title to get all of the directions. No worries, I just hand wrote in that information. I always try to fit the picture on there somehow--that way I know what my end product is supposed to look like. But here's a piece of advice: never, ever show that magazine photo to husbands or children as they will surely point out all the ways your creation does not match the original.

On the directions side of the card, I added notes that were particular to my situation. This will remind me that my oven likes to overcook things and turkey bacon isn't down with a lot of grease. Now, pull off a length of packing tape that is slightly longer than the card and stick 'er down. It takes me two strips per side to cover the card--I leave big overlapping margins to help seal the card in the tape--the better to protect it from spills and the small grubby fingers of children trying to help.You could use contact paper for this step, but I find the packing tape easier to work with, easier to store, and if you buy it on sale with a coupon, it's a lot cheaper too.

Finally, trim off the extra tape and you're all done.


Here's a link to the recipe if you're interested in adding it to your repertoire. Bacon and Eggs Over Asparagus

Also be sure to check out Try and Tell over at  Mom Tried It for more great tips and tricks from some very talented Mamas.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Why did I try skiing? Because I can’t sing or dance.

I am not athletically inclined. At all. To say I lack grace is being kind. I’m really just an all around klutz. I have no rhythm, no balance, no innate understanding of how the body should move in order to accomplish a set goal. In short, I am the last person who should put herself on skis and attempt to slide herself down a snow covered hill expecting to remain all in one piece. But I did. And what’s more shocking is that I still have all of my limbs firmly attached.
I’d been skiing once before in high school. That time, I thought I would be golden since all of the people I went with knew how to ski thus I would be in good hands. I’d be mastering the slopes in no time. Wrong. It was awful. First the boots hurt my extremely wide feet. From the moment I had put them on, my poor fat dogs were screaming for mercy. Second, I couldn’t get the hang of the rope tow contraption because my skis kept crossing causing me to fall down. Third, I was not dressed appropriately and so all that falling down made me really cold. Finally, I felt awful making my experienced skier friends hang out on the bun2ny slope while I snow plowed every time I began to catch any speed at all. So I went ahead and agreed to go down the easiest trail. It took me an hour. I’m not joking. I’d start to go fast, get scared and fall down. I finally told everyone to go ahead without me and I’d catch them at the bottom. I think I was lapped 3 times. Five year olds laughed and pointed at me as they flew down the mountain. Is it really any surprise that it took me 15 years to give the sport another try?
But when you own a house at Deep Creek, you start to feel like you’re obligated to partake in the festivities at Wisp. Now that I think about it, I believe there was a clause to that effect somewhere in the buyer’s contract.  So after four years, Drew and I finally gave it a shot. But I was adamant that things were going to be different this time. First, we signed up for a private lesson with an instructor. That helped. Second, I wore winter appropriate attire including thermal underoos and goggles. Now I was warm and toasty and at the very least looked like someone who could pass for a skier.  The boots still hurt my feet, but when you have duck feet, you feel odd if a shoe isn’t pinching somewhere or giving you blisters. Finally, the bunny slope now had a magic carpet to the top instead of the pulley mess that they used to have. No more falling down on the way up the hill that I just planned to fall right back down.
After an hour with the instructor, I was starting to get the hang of going down the hill. As long as I didn’t have to turn or go too fast. The hardest part was getting the boots locked into the skis since we took them off before getting on the magic carpet—we’re certainly not skilled enough to fandango ourselves up the thing while having five foot, slippery planks attached to our feet. I’ll probably never want to even try going up it with skis on since I watched at least 7 people fall down trying to do it. Not when they have to stop the ride so everyone can laugh and point at you as you try to stand up again.
Up and down we went. Like last time, I got lapped repeatedly by children. In this case, it was a little girl—maybe five years old. That little bugger had no fear. She’d fly down the hill while her mom tried to keep up. The problem was that she had no more control than I did, she just didn’t care. Once, while I was in the middle of the hill trying to get my boots into the skis, I looked up to find her flying toward me. I had just enough time to do a little half scoot backwards to avoid her slamming into me. She ran over the front of my skis instead and then tumbled 10 feet further down the hill before finally coming to a stop with her legs in the air. I apologized to her mom as she skied past, but she just laughed and told me not to worry—her daughter was clearly at fault and would probably take out a few more people before the day was over. I don’t doubt it because she was right back at it before I had that stupid boot locked back into my ski. Oh to be young and have no fear of broken bones and concussions.
After much practice, I finally conquered the bunny slope. Or at least the bottom 3/4 of it. Jan told me she heard the Rocky theme playing when she saw this picture and well that’s a pretty good description of how I felt. Flying high now…
“Yo Andrew! I did it!”
1    Maybe next time, I’ll learn how to turn? 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

More fun than a barrel of monkeys


On Thursdays, I have training, so the kids come along to the gym with me. In order to get Chase to go willingly, I bribe him with the promise of Wendy’s chicken nuggets after Mama is done exercising. This works well because there’s a Wendy’s right by the gym, so the drive thru people are probably used to seeing sweaty people—I mean what’s the point of all that working out if you can’t get a Junior Bacon Cheeseburger and a Frosty when you’re done.

Anyway, because lunch is earlier on these days, we always have an hour or so to kill after we finish eating before we go up for our nap. Today we really packed a whole lot of fun into those 60 odd minutes.

First, we sat on the slippery stairs and sang songs and shook our booties. 


After that, we played Hide & Seek. That goes like this:

Mama (while the kids run to their preferred hiding spot of the half bath): 7, 8, 9, 10! Ready or not, here I come!

Chase & Amaya: giggles. lots of giggles.

Mama; Now where could they be?

Before I’ve even taken one step in the direction of the door, suddenly it pops open and out storm two little munchkins.

Chase (laughing): Here I am mama.

Amaya: Tee Hee

Chase: Let’s do it again!



After we’d played 10 rounds of Hide for Two Seconds and Come Out Before Mama Has a Chance to Find You, Chase rode around on his scooter wearing his “Diving goggles” while his sister raced after him. Safety first—the living room air is awful salty.


Then it was time for Ring Around the Rosie—minus all that dreadful singing. We just went straight for the all fall down part.

020 023

Whew! We sure wore ourselves out. Good thing there’s this handy bench here where we can plop down and rest for a spell.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Word to the wise

Overheard just now:

Chase: You’re making me soooo grumpy Amaya. Why are you being a pill?


And to think that just the other day they were getting along so well together. Good thing I captured that fleeting moment—might be awhile before it returns.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Lake snapshots

022  A pretty princess, 
025a serious police officer,

037 graffiti Uncle Rob style,

035  icicles as tall as Chase,

038and a frozen lake.

How did this happen?

I worked so hard at being prepared this year that I just can’t figure out how I ended up cobbling together teacher's gifts late the night before the school Valentine party. Maybe if I run through the events leading up to that last minute craft-a-thon I’ll figure out where it all went wrong.

Remember how I handmade all of those Valentines? Yes the classmates' cards were done, but I'd used up all of my fans. So I had to figure out something else to do for the teachers. And I had a plan. No really I did. Amaya hosted a playgroup last Thursday.  So I devised a craft involving glitter and hearts for all of her little friends and their siblings to do in between running around the basement laughing like jackals. My thought was to use the project my kids made as cards for their teachers that could go along with a store bought chocolate treat. Teachers--unlike preschoolers--are old enough to decide when they've had too much candy, so I have no qualms about giving them tempting treats. It was a good plan since it took care of multiple items on my to do list and conserved valuable resources—like my sanity.

The execution required the creation of a tray of wonders that would delight the little artists. I knew I'd been successful in my endeavor when I watched their little eyes light upon spying the glue, the glitter, the stickers, the stamps, and the markers that work on any kind of paper instead of those vision-limiting "wonder" markers that require special paper. It was like the lost treasure of the ancient Mayans had been deposited right in our suburban home. 
Before the words "Have at it" had completely formed on my tongue, a craftpalooza was unleashed in my basement. During the process, I was too busy trying to keep Amaya from eating the glue to take pictures, but I did remember to get a shot of the end result.
  Perfectamundo! Stick a box of chocolates on there and you have a perfectly acceptable Valentine for a preschool teacher. So I walked away from the project feeling like I had everything under control. I think that here is where my plan started to go awry.

What got me off track? Snopocalypse. That's what. The stupid snow came Thursday night and then AGAIN on Tuesday night. So I never made it to the store to get the boxes of chocolate.  Suddenly and without warning,  it was the night before the school's Valentine's celebration and there I was scrambling to put something together .But hey, at least I remembered this year, right?

I was saved by three things:
  1. A well-stocked scrap room that has enough supplies to make cards for everyone on the planet with paper and ribbon to spare.
  2. A great collection of bookmarked blogs that never fails to inspire me.
  3. A husband who thinks that 9:00pm is the perfect time to go put air in his tires and is also willing to hop into the convenience store and pick up some Hershey Kisses for his perpetually scatterbrained wife.
When those three ingredients are mixed together at 11:00pm, you get this:

 I was so tired when I took the picture that everything looked blurry to me. I didn't realize that the picture itself was blurry until just now. Sorry about that.The adorable zebra valentines printed for free courtesy of Bunny Cakes--a truly great idea blog.Since the sheet printed 6 cards, I went ahead and made six treat bags to pass out. Everyone appreciates a few kisses, right?

So, I guess that's how it happened. Maybe I should go ahead and start on next year's batch now. You know, just in case?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I’ve checked my math four times

and I keep getting the same number.  9 years. NINE years. That’s how long Drew and I will have been married this July. That can't be right. I must somehow still be counting wrong. Seriously, how have we not killed each other at any point in the last 8+ years?
I know this seems like a totally random thing to be thinking of, but it’s really not. You see, Facebook has one of those viral/chain status message things going around for Valentine’s Day. The purpose of which is to change your profile picture to one of you and your significant other. You’re also supposed to tell everyone how long you’ve been together. So that’s why I was counting. I told you there was a reasonable explanation. Anyway,  I don’t usually play along with these things, but something about this one made me want to join in. Maybe because I just got a new scanner, so I’m having a blast uploading all of these old photos and using them to torture my husband. Here’s the picture that I chose:


There are four things that one can deduce form this picture.
  1. I am married to my significant other. Or at least I at one time dressed up in a wedding gown and pretended to marry my significant other. Either way, some kind of wedding happened. 
  2. I was not a bridezilla. This is noted by the farmer’s tan, fake flowers in my hair and wedding dress I got from Ebay that was 2 sizes to big and never altered to fit. I could blame these things on the fact that Drew planned our Vegas wedding two weeks before it happened, but that would be a lie. I just didn’t really care about any of that stuff—still don’t actually. Plus, I’m lazy.
  3. Drew had hair! I did too! Even if you can’t see it behind the fake flowers. Trust me, it’s there. It was going gray then too. Stupid genes.
  4. We were happy even if our cheeks did hurt from smiling so much. All that cheesing was good practice for the last 8+ years. Built up those cheek muscles to allow for a marriage filled with laughs. Which might explain why we haven’t killed each other. Either that, or we have yet to find a way to get around that whole mutually assured destruction thing. It’s one or the other. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I’m Snover It

The snowpocalypse that first dumped 32” on us last weekend is now back for more. The last time I bothered listening to the talking head weather people, I think the expected totals were another 10-20”. This morning, I heard Drew mumbling something about a blizzard warning. Looking out the window I can barely make out the 4 ft high piles of snow through the white out of blowing flakes, so perhaps the mumbler knows what he’s talking about. Well today anyway.

To say I have cabin fever would be equivalent to saying that New Orleans is pleased to have won the Super Bowl. These kids are driving me bananas. Chase with his near constant repetition of the phrase, “What are we going to do now?” and Amaya with her finely-tuned trouble locating SONAR activated. Plus, I’m getting kind of bored ya’ll.
Which is why I went to the trouble of making Amaya’s lunch all pretty the other day. I was trying to entertain my brain a bit instead of just slapping the sandwich down on a paper towel per my usual habit.
I know a lot of moms do bento boxes for their kids because it makes the food more enticing for little finicky eaters. I’m all for exerting the effort if it means you can get a picky kid to consume food without that pesky knock down, drag out fight. Of course when it comes to my daughter, that just isn’t necessary. Child is a bottomless pit. 
And that’s not just opinion, I have facts to back it up. Facts that were acquired at her 18 month well baby visit. The appointment that required I have the harrowing experience of driving on winter roads that varied from bare blacktop to slush field to arctic tundra while Chase was in the backseat endlessly practicing his single sentence monologue. Picture it: “What are we going to do now, Chase? Well we’re going to try to make it home alive, that’s what we’re going to do. And if we do survive, we’re going to put the keys to the cars away where they won’t be seen again until spring. That’s what we’re going to do now.”  White knuckles is just the tip of that unnavigable iceberg.

You see then how important these numbers are to me, right?
Height: 33.5”, 90%
Weight: 30.1lbs, 96%
I kid you not—she weighs the same as her brother who is two years older. Which isn’t surprising when you consider that no amount of food fandangoing I do will convince Chase to eat anything other than waffles, fruit snacks and chocolate milk. Then factor in the calories he burns questioning me about the day’s agenda and you get a kid destined to be on the scrawny side. The plus to this is that our snowed-in food rations will last longer. How’s that for a silver lining?

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Would You Be My Valentine?

I'm about to share with you one of my deepest, darkest secrets. Are you ready? First we must travel back to a specific moment in time when I was pregnant with Amaya and Chase was going to school a couple of days a week. Perhaps you remember how I was when I was pregnant? The term basket case would seem appropriate here. I can't really be blamed for my insanity as it was directly caused by the alien that was growing inside of me. I maintain the theory that the little gremlin was spiking my blood with some sort of elixir that turned me into a scatterbrained, energy-less droid. I think she did it via reverse osmosis or something.

Did you catch my attempts at building up an excuse there? Preemptive strike, that's my preferred MO. I hope it worked because what happened two years ago is this: I completely forgot to send Valentines to school with Chase. No wait, forgot would imply that I actually had thought to do it at one time, when in truth the red holiday was nowhere on my radar. What’s really sad in all that is that I was an elementary school teacher for heaven’s sake. It’s not like I was unaware of the protocol. So there you have it--my deep, dark secret. I am that mother.

So last year, I overcompensated by stuffing treat bags so full of chocolates that the seams were near bursting. Then I felt another wave of guilt as I looked at all of the junk that came home with Chase February 14 and nearly hyperventilated. No kid needs to eat that much candy especially on the heels of Halloween, Thanksgiving, & Christmas.

So this year, well I just nearly lost my mind is what I did. I scoured the Oriental Trading catalog looking for something not food related to give as Valentines. Sure, there were lots of really cute stuffed bears and whirly gigs, but since I had a list of 60 students between Chase & Amaya, that wasn’t really what you could call cost effective. What to do, what to do?


This is what I came up with. I just printed out the circle labels, made enough copies of each, cut them out, backed them with the scallop circle and then adhered them with glue dots to the fan frame. I was a bit bummed that the red background copied as that washed-out color, but hey the kids are 3 & 1—will they really care or even notice? Of course not, it’s only my perfectionist inner demon that is screaming its displeasure. So I put in earplugs and ignored that sucker.


I made the tags so that the fans can still open and close because I wasn’t sure if the boxes would be big enough to accommodate an opened fan. The fans were a fairly frugal find from Oriental Trading, but if you’re super industrious, you could always make those yourself too.


I’m beginning to feel a little less guilty about my slacking two years ago. It would be awesome if I’ve completely forgiven myself by the time the cherubs are in elementary school. If not, I’ll settle for being guilt-free enough to just smile and hand over boxes of conversation hearts.

And now that you know my awful secret, do you think you'd still consider being my Valentine? I have no qualms about bribing adults with chocolate if that makes your answer any different.

This post is linked up with Cop Mama’s Mama Guilt Mondays. Check it out to add your own post or read other guilty tales.

Friday, February 05, 2010

I might not live to post again.

I came across an envelope full of pictures of the Drew that Gran had given us awhile ago. Why not post a few of those pictures here for you to see and giggle over?  I mean I haven’t made fun of my husband on the internet for quite some time, so how can I be asked to resist such good material? Of course, if you don’t hear from me for a couple of days you might want to check in on me, just to make sure Drew hasn’t locked me in the basement or fed me to the poopis. The man can be so touchy about public humiliation.



All I see when I look at the first picture is Chase. Crazy, right? It isn’t enough that Amaya is the spitting image of her father, but now I have to see my son there too? Not fair.

CCI02052010_00000 (2)Holy eyebrows! 



CCF02052010_00000I think this one was probably taken in middle school or early high school—a time in a young man’s life that is supposed to be awkward, but look at that perfect skin. Again, not fair. I do hope my children got his skin. They’d better not get that hair though.Oh my. 




I think Gran may have gotten her

envelopes mixed up on this one.


                                                I think I found Waldo.