Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Feel sad for my feet

I have had no more than three pedicures in my whole life.  I'm going to a big family event this weekend and intend on wearing very cute sandals.  Yesterday afternoon I thought, "What the heck?!" and went into my local nail salon, asking for a spa pedicure.

What was immediately frustrating was that the gal taking care of me did not understand me, nor did she attempt to communicate with me in ways beyond manipulating the tootsies.  I tried to convey, when the pain started, "No need to cut the nails" but was unsuccessful.  The woman next to me told her service provider that she was allergic to latex, so, please. do not use latex gloves.  The woman smiled and nodded and said, "okay", while her client's feet began to swell.  Unacceptable and kind of irresponsible.

There were several moments of pain throughout my relaxing procedure, but sometimes facials hurt too, so I endured in the name of beauty.  When I got home, I realized I had cuts all over my feet.  I immediately applied Neosporin, hoping to ward off infection.  Today, one of my big toes is absolutely killing me because it is now ingrown.  I think I can actually feel the pus being produced.  :-(

I want, desperately, to march in there tomorrow and demand my money back but there was one man running the place and a dozen worker bees.  Call me nuts, but this guy sort of feels like the pimp and I don't want to get this girl in trouble.  But I'm mad!  And I'm in pain!  *sigh*  I will never get a pedicure again.  Ever.

Only 27 days of school left!

As I mentioned, there are a few things I dread about summer, but there are lots of things I'm looking forward too.

1.  Time at the beach and pool.  If I had to choose one, I'd go with the beach every time.  If my kids had to choose, they'd go with the pool every time.  We're pretty good compromisers, though.  I'm shooting for one day a week at each.

2.  I'm a horrible bowler, but we love the Kids Bowl Free program!  It entitles children to two free games per day at participating bowling alley.  There is no catch!  I'm shooting to do that twice a month.

3.  Two local movie theaters host free kids' movies a few days a week.  One of the theaters has, historically, had $1 concessions, so the three of us get to see a fun movie for about $4, total.  Can't beat that!

4.  Our local library does a Summer Reading Program that rewards kids for reading 15 hours during the summer with prizes, a party, a medal, and free tickets to a minor league baseball team.  The kids really get into it and I love to read, so it's win/win!

5.  Minor league baseball games in our area are the best!  And during the summer, they run fantastic deals like "kids eat free", "Webkinz night", and hubby's favorite "$1 draft".  We love it!

Up until February, I worked 35 hours a week, which, in the past, has stressed me out over the summer.  It was tough to work that much while having the girls in my care full-time.  While I'm hopeful more working hours will come my way soon, I admit that I'm sort of looking forward to a lesser schedule, just for the next four months.  :-)

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mom, can I... Mom, can I... Mom, can I...

I'm going through a frustrating phase with my newly turned 8-year-old.  For her birthday, she received a $40 gift card for Build-A-Bear Workshop.  I was really looking forward to going with her!  When she got it on her birthday, almost two weeks ago, we told her we wouldn't get to redeem it until this week due to some travel plans.  I *thought* we were all on the same page.

Since that day, I've been asked approximately 2459213 times when we are going, can we go now, how much longer until we go, can we go sooner and every other variation you can imagine.  It's gotten so bad that I threatened to take away $1 in gift card value for each time she asked.

So today was the big day.  I, intentionally, committed my husband from this trip, knowing he'd be impatient and probably a smidge grumpy.  He's anti-stuffed animal.  Having once been a little girl, I'm only reluctant about stuffed animals. 

We joined some friends who were making bears for their new baby cousins.  My younger daughter brought some holiday money along.  The day was set to be wonderful.  We got her a cat, with an outfit and shoes.  I thought she was over the moon.  That was until 30 minutes later when we got into the car to go home and she asked, "When are we going back to Build-A-Bear?" 

I'm ashamed to admit that my child is living in a material world.  'Cause she's a material girl.  You know it, we are living in a material world and she's a material girl.  Lovely Madonna flashback, right?  But seriously, no matter what she gets, or what we do, she's always looking for the next thing.  Not necessary an upgrade.  Just the next thing, totally failing to enjoy the here and now. 

Then when we got home, it was like rapid fire requests.  She wasn't this needy as a baby, for crying out loud!  Can I, can I, can I?  And the second I begin on satisfying one request, 13 more fly my way.  Never did I get, "Thanks for taking me to Build-A-Bear, Mom." or "Thanks for planning a playdate with our friends, Mom."  There's zero appreciation, just anticipation for the next thing.

She wasn't this needy, even as a baby!  God help me during the summer.  I work from home part-time.  This year my hours were dramatically reduced and I'm down to 18 from about 33, a week.  My plan is to work for three hours in the morning and one in the late afternoon, leaving the middle of the day for the pool or beach or library or whatever.  I am under the silly impression that this will keep everyone happy and entertained.  Given how our ten days together during Spring Break have gone, I'm doubting it.  No matter how many things we did on any given day during vacation, we always missed her mark by just a hair because we didn't go to the pool while it was 64 degrees, or wouldn't let her go to the playground by herself.

Seriously, God help me maintain my patience.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

When did Easter turn into Christmas?

My disdain with the onslaught of Easter gifts started several years ago when we'd get together with my in-laws and they seemed to be coming from every direction.  Don't get me wrong.  Presents are nice.  And I'm grateful for them.  Our family is wonderful and incredibly thoughtful.  What stuck in my throat, though, is that I always thought the giving at Easter time was some candy from the bunny in the morning. 

I was just on Facebook reading the status updates of my friends, who are listing things like a hockey net and an American Girl as gifts brought from the Easter Bunny.  WTH?  Did you put up a tree too?

I don't really judge.  I just wish my kids weren't subjected to it.  I'll never give in $100 Easters.  But I suppose it isn't much different when one family gives a child the world on Christmas and another family has a $50 limit.  It just stung a little when my younger daughter was happy with her Easter basket for a full three minutes, then looked up at us and said, "I didn't get anything good.  Is there more?" The new dress, bubbles, and candy didn't cut it.  Guess she was looking to add to her collection of more than 20 Webkinz.  Ya know...cause she needs more junk.  Hmph.

Friday, April 22, 2011

How much does your little girl idolize who/what she sees on TV?

And how much does it bother you?

I just saw a piece on about how updated versions of the cartoon characters we loved as children are getting sexy makeovers.  Here's a link for your viewing pleasure. 

What's humorous to me is the tease on their homepage.  It lured me in on the premise that Tinkerbelle had somehow gotten a significantly shorter skirt and hourglass figure.  I was intrigued because I know the movie Peter Pan pretty well.  I didn't recall her getting that much of a makeover in her recent starring roles. 

[caption id="" align="alignnone" width="304" caption="Tinkerbelle - then"][/caption]


What IS making me nuts, though, are the clothes female teen actress wear on shows like Hannah Montana and Wizards of Waverly Place.  Am I naive to think that my early teens daughter won't be wearing four-inch heals?  Am I loco for thinking not all of her friends will have exposed cleavage up to their chins?  Is there not some middle ground here? 8 and 6, my daughters are obsessed with high-heels, wearing spaghetti strapped tank tops, and lip gloss.  And be assured, they don't get it from me.


It's bugging me.
I'm a worrier.  Not a call-the-doctor-every-thirty-seconds kind of worrier.  But I've got children who are sick with a fair amount of frequency.  Just over a year ago one of them sustained a very serious injury.  I worry.  What kills me, though, is the mixed messages the medical community sends us. 

We hear, "No question is too small.  Call if you're concerned.  That's what we're here for."  But when you do, sometimes you wait more than a day for a return call.  Then there's this whole attitude of "if something is wrong, you'll know it" method of thought some doctors subscribe too.  And I've often heard stories of doctors seeming quite dismissive.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

I'm sick of sh*tty food

I’m sick of sh*tty food.  Sorry for the profanity, especially in the title, but it’s true.  Is it me or is the quality of the food at low-end table service restaurants rapidly declining?  I’m talking about places like Ruby Tuesdays, Applebees, Red Lobster, Olive Garden, and Buffalo Wild Wings.  With tip, you can’t get out of there for under $40 and I end up feeling like I ate at my kids elementary school cafeteria, which is a whole ‘nother topic.

I feel bad because I’m kind of picking on Buffalo Wild Wings, but let me talk about my dinner tonight.  I’m traveling, so the menu was a smidge different than my own local BWW, so perhaps some of the disappointment was based on my familiar expectations being met.  My husband ordered an ultimate nachos with chicken and six Asian Zing wings.  I had a Buffalo Ranch Wrap.  My girls each had a kids’ chicken tenders meal with fries.

The chips in the “ultimate” nachos had the same texture of Old El Paso taco shells directly from the package, before you heat them in the oven.  The chicken was some chicken-flavored mealy substance.  Calling it “processed” was kind.  For the love of God, this is, basically a chicken joint.  How is it unable to provide me with good quality chicken in the nachos?

The cheese was this watery and salty queso-style cheese.  Also on there was lettuce, tomato, and jalapenos.  Maybe this is just a preference, but when I think of nachos, I think of some kind of melted quality.  Melted cheese.  A warm plate.  Something.  There was nothing warm or melty about this dish and it was pretty gross.

My entrĂ©e was accompanied with more of these hard and stale-tasting chips and super-sweet salsa.  No thank you.  My wrap was okay.

The girls’ food, though ordered with ranch, didn’t come with any.  They won’t really touch it without the dressing, so we waited ten minutes for our waitress to come check on us, then another five before she returned with the ranch.  Mmmmm…cold fries and chicken tenders.  And the fries were coated in so much salt that you crunched on it.  The majority of their meal was inedible and they let us know.

Sadly, I feel like we’re pretty much having similar experiences in all of these low-end table service chains.  Low-quality food coupled with “eh” service.  Thanks, but no thanks.  I’m out.  I’ve declared May to be a no-eating-out month, including fast food.

Last night I walked around Washington, DC smelling the scents of amazing outdoor cafes, dying for some really good food.  Tonight I ate crap about BWW.  No joke, my focus is to go home from vacation tomorrow and work on a month of mouth-watering meals.  I’m ditching the rotation of hamburgers, hot dogs, spaghetti, tacos, and fajitas.  Who knows…maybe this will turn into a food blog of good, kid-approved, meals.  Stay tuned…

Friday, April 15, 2011

Random musings for a Friday...

Random musings for a Friday...

1. I typically like it when cashiers chat me up about the products I'm buying until the gal at the grocery store asked me about a face lotion in my cart.  "Does it work?" she asked.  I replied that I was really happy with it.  And she said, "I am thinking about buying it for my mom."  This cashier was probably about 20.  Do I look like I'm the same age as your mother?

2. We walked outside the other morning, getting in the car to go to school.  My older daughter said, "Oooh!  It feels like a camping-at-the-state-park morning!  It's cool out.  The birds are singing and I think I hear the ocean."  The "ocean" she was hearing was traffic, but whatev.  It was sweet.

3.  Why is the word "impeccably" always paired with "dressed" or "groomed?"

4.  Remember when you were a kid and you'd have an Easter Egg hunt in the yard on Easter?  It was special, right?  So why does every damn organization host one now?  No joke, there are no less than 20 in our area.  They cheapen it.

5. I loved, loved, loved the Twilight Saga and a) Taylor Lautner, without his shirt, is so hot even though he's an infant, b) I saw him on a re-run of SNL last night and he, very much, looked like an infant *almost* ruining his werewolfiness for me, and c) despite my deep desire, I just can't seem to get into "The Host."

Monday, April 11, 2011

Here's a gift for your new boobs

I think I'm growing out of The Real Housewives of Anywhere.  I'm watching it via DVR right now and this new gal, Peggy, from Orange County is ridiculous.  I know it's a little early, but I'm putting her in the same category as Danielle from NJ. 

Let me list a few things I know about her...

1. On the first episode we talked about her Bentley and followed her to a shooting range.

2. She's in this weird Mommy competition with Alexis.

3. On vacation her daughter cut her finger, didn't cry a bit, and Peggy insisted she be taken to be seen by a doctor.  God help this child when she gets a zit.

4. She was featured on some other television show about postpartum depression.  During the interview, there were tears and lots of talk about good and bad days.  I don't judge about the depression.  I only ask this.  If you know you're struggling with a mental disorder, why would you put yourself on national television?  When my dad died and I was dealing with "good and bad days" the very last thing I would have wanted was a television crew following me around.  I had to take care of ME and my family, and not worry about entertaining the nation.

5. On today's episode, she's having new breast implants put in.  She's hoping they help her move to the next step in getting over her PPD.  While being prepped for surgery, she starts to cry because she's concerned that if something happened to her during surgery, she'd be leaving behind two children.  When I was being wheeled into surgery to have my gallbladder removed, I started to cry for the same reason.  The difference is that one surgery was necessary, the other wasn't.  She mentioned something about trying to get over feelings of being selfish and she knows she's not.  That's laughable.  What's more laughable is how her husband was invited into the surgical room to approve of the size, and then presented her with massively, chunky diamond earrings before the anesthesia had worn off yet.

I certainly don't know the details, but surely the women featured on The Real Housewives are handsomely compensated for their participation on the shows.  Beyond that, though, I don't get the motivation of some.  Bethenny Frankel turned her role into a platform to highlight her businesses.  Good for her!  Other women have don't similar on a smaller scale or have brought attention to their charities.  Good for them too.  Others baffle me.  If you're struggling - like Peggy...and Danielle - why? 

If you have to work so hard to play a role of bad ass, princess, mom-of-the-year, supermodel then it's not natural and that's how it, sadly, comes across.  This show has become another lesson in the "Just be yourself" genre.

Friday, April 8, 2011

I have a small passion for baby names.  I can't keep from reading the Social Security Administration's 100 most popular list each year.  And I delight in baby naming discussions in online communities.  Yesterday I was reading this blog post on BabyCenter and the debate about "unique names" rages on.

You don't want to have one of four Jacob's in kindergarten class, but there's a balance to strike between that situation and naming your child something with entirely too many "y's" or that no one can spell or pronounce.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Everyone has a hand out

They're all good causes, but in the past two months we've sold Girl Scout cookies and been asked to participate or donate to the American Heart Association, March of Dimes, the American Cancer Society, the Avon Breast Cancer Walk, a charity for a friend who recently lost her husband, and charities for the tragic earthquake in Japan.  I am tapped out and I'm done asking family members to contribute.  Yet, my older daughter just mentioned how she feels badly that her class doesn't have any March of Dimes babies on her classroom door.  The class who has the most gets a pizza party. 

How about this.  If it's the kids' project to support these charities, give them an opportunity to earn it.  Have bake sales.  I'll bake you cookies before I give you $5.  Have them sell plants at the local grocery store.  I don't know.  Something.  Anything.  Maybe it's my recent lay-off from one of my jobs that has me mildly obsessed with money (even though, thankfully, it's not a serious issue), or maybe I'm just tired of the overload of requests.  Either way, I'm out.  If my daughter wants her class to have more March of Dimes donations, she's welcome to donate some of her allowance.  Hmph.

White flags

For some unexplained reason, when my older daughter's fingers wrap around a pencil intended for homework, her sweet demeanor transforms into a snarky, defensive attitude.  Needlessly today it escalated to her screaming, "I hate you!" "I wish you weren't part of our family!" and "You're the meanest mom EVER!"  I sent her to her room for the rest of her life (kidding - until dinner) and must have said 100 times, "go to your room" every time she cried, shouted, and whined.  At some point I ended up going in my bedroom and closing the door just to get away from her.  Trust me, it was best for everyone.

Somehow that situation got resolved and she's gone to bed on a better note.  Thirty seconds before that happened the younger daughter came into the living room asking to get her hair dried.  No problem.  I just required that she brush her teeth first, because it seems lately that she gets lost between my bathroom getting her hair dried and her bathroom to brush her teeth.  Fifteen minutes later, she's still not in bed.  The schedule rework wasn't that big of a deal, or so I thought.  Refusal ensued.  I told her to either follow my direction or go to bed with wet hair.  I'm a fan of natural consequences.

Twenty minutes later, she's still in her room, screaming her head off.  The point is lost.  She's just delirious now, keeping her sister awake.

Why?  I kid you not, I'm marking this on the calendar and looking for a cycle.  *sigh*  I need a drink.

The logical reason to buy a teeny, tiny garbage can

We needed a new garbage can, which is a bit of a bummer because the one we had was pretty much new.  It was rendered useless, though, when the lid disappeared on our last trash day.  After an inspection of our neighbors' yards, the only conclusion we could make, but not prove, was that it somehow landed in the garbage truck and is not sitting in a landfill.

Flash forward to yesterday afternoon.  "We need a new garbage can.  It's supposed to rain tomorrow."  Hubby agreed to buy one.  "Make sure you get one with a permanently attached lid so that doesn't happen again."  He agreed.

This morning, as I backed out of the garage to take the cherubs to school, I saw, what I can only describe as, a slightly larger than a kitchen trash bin sized garbage can at our curb.  The old cherub asked, "Whose tiny garbage can is that?"  The younger one chimed in, "Did he get two?"

Later this afternoon my darling hubby called.  "What's up with the garbage can mini you got?  And was the lid permanently attached, because it's not now."  Round and round we went in a discussion where he denied ever having known about the "permanently attached lid" requirement and seeing no issue whatsoever about the size.  We talked about holidays, parties, family gatherings, yard work, the occasional negligence to take out the garbage thus causing overflow...what will we do then?  "It won't be a problem," the big guy said.

What's hilarious in a sort-of-angry way here is that he talked all about how he got mulch too, since he had a $10 off $50 coupon.  He tried desperately to lead me into believing he had been cost-conscious.  Then, when his exhaustion over this conversation set in, the truth came out.  The bigger cans with the attached lids were $50 and he didn't want to spend that much.  Aha - but you had the coupon, so it would have been $40, right?  He argued that we should just go with a garbage company that provides cans.  The next cheapest one is $10 more a month, and doesn't include recycling.  Any other arguments, counselor?

So you see ladies,  I have a teeny, tiny garbage can with a separate lid because my husband was trying to save money and buy mulch all at the same time.  Makes perfect sense, right?  Not to me either.  And the cherry on this sundae?  Now his Saturday is filled with a yard project instead of helping me prepare for our daughter's birthday party.  Not. Happy.

Friday, April 1, 2011

I love Gymboree, but...

In the world of children's clothing, I'll admit that even though my girls are 7 and 6, I still love Gymboree above all.  No less than 98% of what I buy for my older daughter gets passed down to the younger one with very little signs of wear.  When she's done it all gets consigned or donated - still with only minor evidence of wear. 

My problem with them this morning comes in the forms of socks.  Dear Gymboree, please please please please stop making your awesome socks in slightly different colors.  I would be ever so thankful if you would stick to a few standard colors.  White, off-white, light pink, dark pink, light purple, dark purple, black, and red.  Carry that handful of colors through all of your collections.  Because when you don't, I get leftover socks in my laundry loads that leave me with situations like this one...

When I line up the full collection, it's like looking at rows of paint samples at Lowe's, each of them two drops of white lighter than the previous.  Grrr!