Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The RHONY in the middle east...oh Lord

When did Ramona Singer turn into a legend in her own mind.  Jill was accused once of letting her fame go to her head.  That was nothin', though, compared to Crazy Eyes. 

I've never seen anyone so demanding, yet dismissive all that the same time.  I want this, I want that.  I don't care what you think, it's just how I feel.  It's not a big deal because I say it's not.  And somehow, at the end of it all, she still thinks she's fabulous.  I guess that's what happens when you surround people like yourself.  News flash...those outside of that 1% of the population don't think you look young, find you obnoxious, and aren't envious.  You're so busy spouting off how wonderful your life is and how you have no regrets that you totally overlook how badly you behave sometimes.  Watch and reflect, darling.

Sonya, I need for you to do one of two things.  1) Wear underwear or 2) stop reminding me and everyone else that you don't.  I'm sure you think others would find you more alluring with this nugget of information.  I'm thinking a larger group of people are hoping you don't sit on their sofa. 

I was thinking today, as I watched my DVR'd RHONY and RHONJ that I roll my eyes at the notion of watching soap operas, yet here I am watching my own version of them.  And now that I think about it, soaps have a higher level of editorial integrity because they are fiction.  They don't pretend to be "real". 

I'll keep watching even though they make me nuts.  But Ramona and Sonya, you're making Kelly look quite sane this year.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The diary of a mom with a wimpy kid

Many people would call her "delicate" or "prissy".  I see right through it though.  Sadly, sometimes I think I'm the cause of it.

I went to Field Day at my daughter's school this morning and thirty minutes into our two hours together, she turned into a cling-on.  She was hot.  Her belly hurt.  She didn't want to participate.  The more I assured her she was okay, that everyone was hot, and that she should drink water, the more she turned up the urgency.  She started throwing the v-word (vomit) around.  When we came back inside, she wanted to go to the nurse to get her temperature taken.  She was hinting at me taking her home.

No. Way. Sister.

Now before I come off as totally incompassionate, this is a pattern of behavior.  Oddly, it's behavior that is ONLY associated with me.  I even asked her teacher if she did this when I wasn't there.  She assured me she was very much in the mix of the class without me there.  :-( 

What makes me sad is that I truly enjoy going to my daughters' respective classrooms to help out.  It helps me learn about her teachers, her classmates, her school and how she interacts with it all.  But if every time I do it turns into pouting, isolation, and refusal to participate it looks like we know the solution. 

The kindergarten teacher said, "Part of this may be because she's six."  Let's hope she's right.  Because being the mom at the school event with the velcro kid isn't fun.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What the GaGa?

Did I just see that right.  I just finished watching Lady GaGa performing "Born this Way" at the end of last week's Saturday Night Live.  Let me see if I've got it.  She's wearing a prosthetic pregnant belly under black leather.  At the end of the performance, her dancers lift her into a set of literal stirrups.  They gather around her, rubbing her inner thighs.  From somewhere above a load of glitter and liquid substance is delivered between her legs, as if she's birthed it.  Her dancers then proceed to spread it around the surface she's sitting on, rubbing it like one would spread sunscreen - except this is, I believe, trying to appear as if it's amniotic fluid.  It spills down on the dancers below.  The dancers beside her rub it on themselves.  Ew.  What the GaGa?  Fast forward to 3:37.

How many personal care items do you use before walking out the door in the morning?

Toothpaste, dental floss, mouthwash, bar soap, facial wash, razor with lotion on the blade shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, deodorant, facial moisturizer, mouse, hairspray, concealer, foundation, powder, blush, mascara, lip balm, lipstick, perfume.

In case you lost count, that's 21 products!  Whoa.

Monday, May 23, 2011

How "Extreme Couponing" has ruined my life

So maybe this title is a little dramatic, but the show "Extreme Couponing" does sincerely make me mad.  Sure, sure...it's cool to watch these men and women get $1000 grocery bills down to $0.42.  But let's identify what we're really watching.

1.  People cheating the system.  Just in the past two days I've seen folks print their limit of internet coupons on their five home computers, steal Sunday papers from the fronts of homes being foreclosed upon because she doesn't think someone lives there anymore, and use coupons intended for one item for another, lower priced, item. 

2.  People can buy lots of crappy food for really cheap.  Is that the goal?  Who doesn't love 20 boxes of cake mix, but who needs that unless you're planning to open a sham of a bakery.  One can only live on pasta and frozen pizza for so long.  Eventually you'll need milk, a chicken breast, and apple.  I'm not the healthiest of eaters, but this show puts a spotlight on how poorly Americans eat. 

3.  Folks on this show dedicate entire wings of their home to storing their stockpile.  Making up numbers here, we can estimate that a garage adds about $25,000 of value to a house.  A typical storage unit is about $50 a month.  It would take you 500 months, or 41.7 years, to get back the amount of money you spent on this portion of your house to store your 450 bottles of laundry detergent.

4.  And who the heck needs 450 bottles of laundry detergent?  Seriously there was one couple with something like 150 sticks of deodorant.  In my humble opinion, this is just organized hoarding.  Even the narrator said something like, "That's enough to last the average adult 70 years."  Many extreme couponers are diligent about donating and I commend them.  But to those who just hang onto everything and continue buying more, there's therapy for that.

So how did this ruin my life?  I recently emailed my local favorite grocery store, asking them for their most recent coupon policy. Suddenly there is a 20 total coupon limit, a limit on the number of duplicate items you can use a coupon for (you can only buy two cans of tuna with two coupons, for example), a doubling policy only on coupons with up to a $0.50 value, blah, blah, blah.  The reigns have been pulled in.  This woman, who used coupons ethically and relied on them to lower her weekly grocery bill is now seriously limited because of those who abused them.  Gee thanks.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Something Borrowed - Loooooooooooved it!

Something Borrowed, written by Emily Giffin, was, along with the sequel Something Blue, was one of my favorite summer reads last year.  I was elated to learn it was being made into a movie.

This afternoon my mom, mother-in-law, and I took it in during a matinĂ©e and it did not disappoint!  If you've read my blog for more than ten minutes, you'll know I tend to be a smidge critical.  I admit it.  But this movie did not disappoint!  If you read the book, you MUST see it.  If you haven't read the book, you MUST read it.  Then you MUST immediately get the sequel.  Still, a year later, I yearn for more Rachel, Dex, Darcy, and Ethan.  Emily Giffin, please?  Pretty please?

Monday, May 16, 2011

RHONJ - Are they going too far?

Oh brother.  Now we've got Teresa's sister-in-law, brother and cousin on the show.  Danielle is out.  We traded someone who came from an abusive past craving attention so badly that she exploited herself and children to express that to a guy who is crying to his dad and fighting with his brother-in-law at his son's christening.  I have a question.  WTF?  It was painful to watch this season premiere I was looking forward too.  I'm not sure I can stomach another. 

Andy Cohen, I adore you.  Adore!  I live for WWHL games.  But seriously, are you kidding me?  I know these folks are willingly signing the contracts.  But, particularly in the RHONJ, you're dealing with families.  Maybe I'm getting old, but it just feels like you should have a higher standard than knowingly meddling in relationships of families in a way that promotes conflict.  It was tough watching the kids in such close proximity of physical violence.  I remember on the Real World, a hundred years ago, physical altercations between cast members resulted in immediate removal from the show.  Have you considered something similar?  Please do.  Kthnxbye.  XOXO

Friday, May 13, 2011

If you can't get along, don't play together

What do you do when your kid is at odds with another kid?  My older daughter has this oil and water relationship with the little girl next door.  One minute they are besties, the next they're fighting.  They tell on each other.  They laugh.  They make each other cry.  They do gymnastics.  Someone is yelling at someone else.  It's so frustrating.  The interesting thing here is that this child, along with her older sister and younger brother, are ALWAYS at our house.  That's not a big problem because 1) we have a playground, and 2) I can supervise.  However, I can't help but to think, "If it's so bad, then why don't you go home?"  Today it was hubby that sent everyone home after some crappy behavior on everyone's part.  I think the quote was, "I've given you (the whole crowd) three warnings and now I'm done.  The three of you, it's time to go home.  The two of you, it's time to go inside.  Done."   Game over.

So what do you do when your child insists on playing with another with whom they do not get along?  I don't care to be a referee all summer.  Earlier today I told them, "You have two choices.  Work hard at getting along or don't play together.  It's your choice."

Help me!!

Here's your list of manners, ma'am.

I saw this great article on the 25 manners your child should know before age nine.  Is it wrong to print it out, carry it around in my purse and pass it out as needed?  "I'm sorry.  Your child is in violation.  Here's a copy of the list for your reference."  Think that would be a problem? Mwahahahaha!

Seriously, it's a great list.  While I think it's imperative that your child should be the center of your world, it does not crush their delicate little ego to learn they are not the center of everyone else's.  You'll never got wrong with teaching manners.

The one that made me laugh was about expressing negative opinions.  I think I need to work on that one personally and I'm waaaaaaaaaaay over nine.  ;-)

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Before redshirting for kindergarten, consider this...

If you're not familiar with the term "redshirting" with regard to kindergarten, it's when a child qualifies to attend, but his or her parents decide to delay his entry by a year.  I'm not aware of the exactly limitations, but in my experience, there are seven-year-olds in kindergarten. 

Let me preface this by saying I haven't had children that made me question their readiness for kindergarten.  So this is a little like a mom of a six-month-old proclaiming to the world that she'll never feed her little one chicken nuggets.  Yeah, report back on that in 18 months.  We'll see how strongly you feel about it then.  But I digress...

I've had a few interactions with kids who fell into the redshirted category and I'm just not a believer.  In talking with their parents, here's what I hear:

"He's just not mature enough."

"He's just so small."

"He isn't solid enough in the basics like letters and numbers."

"He just turned five.  I don't want him to be the youngest in the class."

"Socially, he's struggling."

I don't mean to suggest it's only boys dealing with redshirting.  Weirdly though, my only encounters have been with boys.  We all know this applies to girls as well.

I was talking with parents of a redshirted kindergartener recently and they went on and on about how their son wasn't mature enough last year, had difficulties academically and socially and they just thought holding him back a year at home would be the solution.  Now they have a seven-year-old kindergartener who is no less than 6 inches taller and 10 pounds heavier than the rest of the class.  His maturity, social, and academic issues feel a lot more like a developmental delay or learning disability.  He's a sweet kid who is very loving, but his behaviors mimic a child who is more like three-years-old.  My heart hurts for him because it feels to me like he missed out on a full year's worth of services that may have been offered to him if he had entered the school system at the appropriate age.  True, he may still be in kindergarten this year due to being held back, he at least this go-round would have a higher chance of being successful.  Now, at age seven, how will he feel if he's held back this year?  Think it'll be socially easy for him to be eight and in kindergarten?

Using "he's so small" feels like code to me for "he'll be bigger in high school when athletics are important."  And the flip side of this is that if he has a growth spurt, like most kids do, he'll eventually be the biggest in his class - and how is that more socially acceptable than being among the smallest?

This is purely my opinion, but I believe there should be an evaluation required of all parents who opt to start their child in kindergarten on a delayed schedule.  You don't want her go because you don't think she's mature enough?  Prove it to the administration.  Let them tell you if she's ready or not.  And if not, then she should get help in getting her ready, perhaps even including her in the classroom in the second half of the year.   If she is ready, put her in or show proof of homeschooling.  Have a little faith that everyone is concerned about how well their child will do and we all get choked up when we send our babies through the big front doors of the elementary school. 

So if you're considering redshirting, consider this before making that final decision.  If you're doing so due to maturity, size, academic, or social issues, could this delay ultimately be harmful?  Have you talked to your child's doctor about it?  And have you considered what kindergarten will be like for your seven-year-old when he or she is classmates with young five-year-olds?  The gap between those ages, both in size and development, is pretty big.  I've often wondered how it would work out for schools to construct kindergarten classes based on age. 

If you've redshirted, tell me about your experience.  I don't judge because I fully believe we all do our best to make the best decisions possible for our kids, so no need to feel like you have to defend yourself.  I'd just like to learn more about this growing trend.

Friday, May 6, 2011

I went to DC and I got the cupcakes

I've been dying to write about our Washington DC trip, but time hasn't permitted.  I'm going to have to break it up by attractions, with the first one I'll cover being Georgetown (DC) cupcakes.

To begin with, we almost died making our way through Georgetown.  I badly wanted to attend American University for grad school, and after driving through, I'm pretty sure it would have filled me with anxiety.  It's a lovely town, rich with history.  It's gorgeous!  It's just that the streets seem to get more and more narrow the closer you get to the Potomac.  They also have a varying right lane presence.  The traffic lights are different from any I've ever seen before.  God gave us a freebie when hubby drove through a red one, unknowingly.  Thankfully there was no cross traffic, otherwise our cupcake quest could have turned into an ER visit.  There's also zero parking.  It took quite a bit longer to get where we intended than I thought.  Plus, the stupid GPS brought us to the Georgetown Cupcakes "lab", rather than their main store.  It's just a few blocks away, though, so no biggie.

We parked in a paid lot for a $10 bargain.  (insert sarcastic snicker here)  The line for the cupcakery was a full block long.  I expected that, but I had no idea how long that actually equated too in time.

Those around us in line were fun.  Everyone was chatting about the show and the cupcakes.  As anticipated, we were all tourists.  The folks in front of us were from NY.  The other cool this is that there was this gal who worked for the cupcakery who handled the line, so to speak.  She walked up and down it, encouraging people to step away from the curb, as to not be plowed down by a car on this narrow street.  She handed out menus and answered questions about the cupcakes.  She handed out water, and subsequently collected garbage.  I don't know her name, but she was nice. 

I believe we were in line for about an hour and a half.  During our time, I swear I saw Katherine from the show pass in a white/pearl Mercedes SUV.  I may have been delirious, though.  The family had a few moments of whining, but I promptly reminded them that I have waited longer than this for the Dumbo ride in Disney World on many occasions. 

When it was our turn to enter the cupcakery, I was surprised at how small the counter area was.  It looks so much bigger on TV.  I haven't gotten the chance to catch an episode since we got back, so I can't compare.  Still, it seemed tiny.  We ordered one dozen cupcakes and three adult small shirts.  Our total was $114.  Yeee-ikes!

Sophie and Katherine were no where to be seen.  To be honest, I was secretly hoping they would be around.  I didn't care about an autograph or anything.  I just really wanted to thank them for being part of a fun show I could watch with my girls.  It's PG-rated, at the very worst.  And who doesn't love the concept of sisters and cupcakes combined?

When all was said and done, our dozen included Chocolate2, Chocolate3, Vanilla2, Vanilla Birthday Cake, Chocolate Birthday Cake, Lemon Berry, Chocolate Coconut, Red Velvet, Girl Scout Thin Mint, Cherry Blossom, Hummingbird, and Cookies-n-Cream.  They were all really good with the exception of Cherry Blossom and Lemon Berry.  The Cherry Blossom cherry/vanilla icing combo tasted a little like vomit to me.  The berry icing on the Lemon Berry had that same effect, just a different strain of vomit.  Red Velvet wasn't my favorite, but the rest were awesome.  It seemed like the chocolate and vanilla variations were the best.  Each time we'd try a new flavor, we'd split it in four so everyone got a taste.  It worked out well!

If we find ourselves in Georgetown again, I'd definitely get more.  The trick, though, is to place your order 24 hours in advance.  That way you can prance on it and pick up your order without waiting in line.  How I missed that detail, I'm not sure.  It would have been useful.  :-)

My one request for Mother's Day

My wish for Mother's Day is simple.  I want my family to plan, shop for, cook, and clean up dinner and dessert.  It doesn't have to be fancy in the slightest.  I'm fine with hamburgers and ice cream.  My only exception was sausage.  No hot dogs, Italian sausage, kielbasa, or bratwurst, please.

When I presented my request to my husband you would have thought I asked for him to climb Everest.  There was some resistance and whining, but I think they'll pull through for me.  It's kind of funny because I *thought* this was letting everyone off easy.  I don't need anything (other than a coffee pot, but a cheap $25 one will do), and don't particularly want anything.  I've deemed this "No Merch(andise) May" in honor of our very pricey April.  I thought I was saving hubby the process of coming up with something and purchasing it.  Who knew dinner would throw the poor guy over the edge.  LOL  Welcome to my every damn day, big guy.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What about pregnancy turns women into a Playmate?

My job requires me to look at photos of pregnant women all of the time and they're beautiful!  I loved being pregnant and I loved showing off my new figure.  There's a weird, in my humble opinion, trend emerging though.  I can't flip through ten pregnant photos without seeing something that belongs on the pages of Playboy. 

We're not talking about full-frontal or anything, but I'm talking about elaborately staged bedroom scenes, literally, with a scantily clad mom-to-be.  In 99% of the cases, she's gorgeous.  Obviously she's celebrating her pregnant body.  But when I look at the rest of the pictures on her profile, there's nothing that suggests that her inner sex kitten was so close to the surface until her belly popped out.  So what gives? 

Does being pregnant release inhibitions about body issues since there is supposed to be extra weight and curves?  I'd love to know the age of these sexy moms-to-be.  Are their photo shoots motivated by a younger generation's provocative style?  I mean seriously - if I see one more butt-crack/cleavage combo on a 15-year-old at the mall, I might barf.  You've got a great body, but no need for me to see it almost nude.  Where are your parents, young lady?

My last question is what drives these women to post their photos in such public forums?  The photos I used were on a photographer's site, so they're slightly less racy and a smidge more artsy than others I've seen, but still.  Maybe I'm getting old.  I don't see these things as inappropriate, just private.  When I show my kids my pregnancy photos - particularly ones I share with the world - I'd be fine with nudity in the "pregnant body is beautiful and nothing to be ashamed of" sense, but the trend is hedging more towards, "the pregnant body is beautiful and Daddy couldn't wait to be done taking pictures so we could practice making your little sister."   Imagine your own mom in lingerie, sprawled out on a bed, covering only her nipples with her fingertips giving the camera bedroom eyes.  Are you cool with that?  Imagine that picture on Facebook for all of her friends and family to comment on.  Now imagine you are your child in 20 years and the mom in the picture is you.  Just sayin'...

Monday, May 2, 2011

The major world events trend when I travel

There's a weird trend associated when I travel - major world events transpire.  I was visiting family with my mom from Friday to Monday.  On Friday, Wills and Kate took the plunged and made it for reals.  Kate looked gorgeous.  On Sunday night, Osama Bin Laden was pronounced dead.

I woke at 5:00 AM for my flight this morning and drank coffee to video footage of 20somethings celebrating in front of the White House and at Ground Zero.  My stomach turned.  It was a victory, no doubt.  Lives were risked for this accomplishment, and lost in the effort.  I'm prayers, truly, go out to all.  But isn't anyone else concerned about retaliation?  I mean, one guy is only so powerful.  His commands are executed by others, who are still breathing.  I'm just not cool with running nude through the streets about this.  It's inappropriate and sickening.  I've read horrid things on Facebook like "let's hang him in front of the White House, hitting him with a stick like a pinata."  Literally my stomach turned.  I'm shaking my head in disgust.

I met someone who is in the armed forces this weekend.  I told him I loved him.  He looked so handsome and we're all proud to have him as a new part of our family.  I think about people like him who are heading over into the war zone who may have to pay the price for those so publicly celebrating.  Sure, sure...we're free to do so.  God bless the USA and the rights we have.  I value them as much as anyone.  But because we CAN do something, doesn't mean we should.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

My gestational ship has sailed

I have the extreme pleasure of spending time with my new great-nephew this weekend.  Yep.  Great-nephew.  Like, I'm not saying he's a "great" nephew.  He's my niece's baby boy.  I, at 36, am a great-aunt.  As luck has it, this little guy is also quite great.

He's four-months-old and super sweet. It's been awhile since I've been around a little baby that I could, unashamedly, snuggle, cuddle, and kiss on without the mom wondering if I make off with her little one when she uses the bathroom.  "No, go ahead.  Take as much time as your need."  *evil grin*

I've enjoyed, more than I can put into words, the time I've had with my family, even though they're nuts.  Who isn't, right?  And every time I get asked, "How about you have another?" I've responded, "Talk to you brother-in-law/son-in-law/uncle/my hubby." because he's been to blame for us ending our gestational journey.  He's done.  No more.  Two is the max.

For the longest time, I wasn't into more babies.  Then, just in the past six months or so, the baby bug has been nibbling at me.  Yet, when given the opportunity to change diapers, I declined.  When talked to my niece, who was up with him several times during the night, I felt sympathetic.  When there was ample amounts of spit-up, I mildly panicked.  "His shirt is wet.  Like really wet.  You should change it."

So as this weekend visiting family, sans my children I should add, ends, I'm wondering if maybe I needed a little reminder of what life is like with an infant.  It's filled with smiles and babbles and sweet little baby toes.  It's also filled with poop, sleep deprivation, and fussy times.  I'm probably good.  But before I leave bright and early tomorrow morning, I'm going to soak up every last minute of babyness they let me.  I'll get to see him again in December and my girls, who will be meeting him for the first time then, will be out of their minds with love!