Monday, November 30, 2009

Christmas cheer!



Every year, I picture my kids, husband and I putting up the Christmas tree together. We're laughing and hugging and drinking hot cider (mine might have a little rum in it). Outside the window, the snow is falling in big fluffy flakes and we're telling stories about each ornament, recalling where we got them or when we made them. We're smiling and stringing popcorn, (I'm not sure why, I don't really want popcorn on the tree. The dog would eat it. But it just looks like something a happy family should do) as we sing Christmas carols.

You know, like the freakin' Hallmark movie channel would do it.

Somehow, it never turns out that way.

I made the mistake of mentioning Christmas decorations to my son.

"Now!?! Can we put them up now?" he asks, excited.
"No, no, not right now. I said sometime soon."
"Oh," he says, bummed out for about a half a second. "How about now?"
"No! Stop! Go watch tv or something."

5 minutes later.

"Now?"
"No!"

Now imagine having this conversation at least 250 more times the next few hours. I couldn't even make eye contact with the boy, he was like a rabid dog, waiting to pounce, looking for an opening.

"NO!"
"But I didn't say anything!"
"You were going to, I could tell."

Finally, because I am weak, I give in. My husband is not home yet, so I venture into the garage and dig out the Christmas tree. To get to it, I have to move several boxes of junk, a tool box and a greasy seat from a Peterbilt semi. Grunting and groaning, covered in dust, I drag the thing into the house, three small children trailing behind me, talking excitedly about Santa.

"Santa will love our tree!" Delaney says. I wish "Santa" was here, I think, to help put the damn thing together.

"He sure will!" I say sweetly. Because I am. Sweet.

I dust off the spider webs and open the box. Oh Christmas tree, oh Christmas tree, Thy leaves are so unchanging. Because you're plastic. I lug the parts out of the box and put it together. It's the kind with the lights already on it. You know, to make things easier. I plug it in.

They don't light. Of course they don't light. Silly me.

"Why don't they light?" Nick asks.
"Because mommy's out of wine," I say.
"What?"
"Nothing."

Several minutes of switching out bulbs, jiggling wires and turning switches on and off seems to solve most of the problem. I decide that a lot of large ornaments will disguise the remaining dark parts of the tree. So, now the fun part! Ornaments!

We open the ornament box. The baby is hypnotized by the sparkling garland. The other two kids shriek and dive in like they're bobbing for apples.

"No! Slow down! You're going to...CRACK...break them." Ok, shake it off. It's a small fatality. No one's bleeding, there's plenty more ornaments.
"Sorry mom."
"That's ok, we just need to be more careful. Here, I'll hand them to you, ok? And then you can hang them up." Ah, mom, the voice of reason. I hand him and Delaney an ornament.

"AHHHH! NO! I WANT THAT ONE! I HATE THIS ONE!"
"NO! I LIKE THIS ONE! YOU CAN'T HAVE IT."
"OH GOD! Would you please stop screaming at each other? Give me that one, here, take this one. There! Is everyone happy now?"
"Yes."
"Yes."
"Ok! Let's decorate this tree!"
"AHHHH! DELANEY PUT HERS ON FIRST! I WANTED TO BE FIRST!"

Oh, why am I out of wine? I contemplate calling the neighbors to see if they have any wine. You can borrow sugar right? Why not wine? But I don't want you to think that I'm the kind of person that has to have alcohol to deal with stress. Because I don't. I usually use valium, but I'm all out.

"Mom, the baby has that sparkly stuff around his neck."
"Mom, remember when I made this in preschool?" Nick asks, holding up a decorated paper ornament. Yay! Here we go! Just like my little happy family fantasy.
"I sure do, it's a pretty one!" I say.
"WHY DON'T I HAVE AN ORNAMENT LIKE THAT!?" Delaney cries.
"Because you were too little for preschool last year. I bet you'll make one this year!"
"BUT I WANT ONE NOW!"
"MOM!" Nick screams. "THE BABY TORE MY ORNAMENT!" He falls to the floor, crying in distress.

The baby is chewing on the ornament. I take the paper out of his mouth. It's not very pretty anymore.
"Um, don't worry Nick. We will fix it!" I discreetly slip it into my pocket, to throw away when he's not looking. "Here, put this one on instead. No, no! Higher! The baby is going to get it!"

Somehow, we decorated the tree. Somehow, I made it through without wine (although we had plenty of "whine").



My husband comes home, very late, after the kids are in bed.

"The tree looks nice," he says. "I wish I could've been here!"

Sigh.

Who will be looking foxy in this tie??


The winners of the Fantastic Mr. Fox Giveway are...

Drum roll please...

Tattytiara and Blueviolet! Yay! Congratulations!

Please email me with your address as soon as you can and I will pass them along to the company that is sponsoring the giveaway! They will get them sent right out to you!

Again, congratulations. You will be the envy of the neighborhood.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Oh so thankful for Axl Rose and ice cream and long naps in the sun

Ahhh...Thanksgiving is a day for food, family and all that jazz.

So, I sent my husband and the kids to the in-laws house for food, family and all that jazz. And I stayed home. Alone. All afternoon. Ahh. Bliss. I had a big bowl of ice cream for lunch and read some blogs. Then like a cat, I curled up in the sun streaming through the window, and took a long nap.

Now, I'm drinking tea and I have my music playing (no Laurie Berkner today, thank you very much), rather loudly. What am I listening to, you ask? Why I'm listening to good 'ol Axl Rose, "...been hiding out and laying low...you can always find a place to go if you can keep your sanity..." Good Thanksgiving music, I thought.

Here's a nice picture of Axl, before he got weird (er). Speaking of him...did anyone out there buy "Chinese Democracy"? I was wondering if it was any good.

Anyway...what were we talking about?

Oh. Thanksgiving.


Before you go thinking, "man, that girl is terrible! Stiffing her family like that on Thanksgiving!" let me clarify. I stayed home as a public service, really. Lately, we've had a bit of a flu problem in the house. Temps of of 104.9 (!), throwing up, coughing, rashes, all that good stuff. When I woke up this morning, I had a sore throat and had a headache. And I'm coughing so hard, I fear I'm going to dislodge my gallbladder. So, I decided I'd stay home and not cough on the turkey or old people.

I was like Typhoid Mary last night, making pumpkin pies.



Want a slice?? Here, you can spray it with a little Lysol. I'm sure it will be fine.

I expect my lovely family to stumble in at anytime with a nice plate of leftovers for me.

I think I might skip the pie though.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thank you, thank you...

Not a day goes by when I don't thank the powers that be, for my amazing children:


Not a day goes by when I don't curse those same amazing children, but I'm also thankful for the ability to curse creatively so as to not teach them too many words that might cause me trips to the principal's office.

I am thankful for my amazing husband.

Of course, like every other (honest) couple, we've had our...um, differences, but we always work it out. When it comes right down to it, as much as I feel I've had to give up to stay at home with my children, he has sacrificed just as much, if not more, to make that possible for me. (I'm also thankful for those boots.)

I'm thankful for my parents:

Without whom I'd be seriously lost.

I'm so thankful for my brother:

Even if he did chase me around the house with a knife when we were little, I adore him. He is seriously one of my best friends.

I'm thankful for antidepressants. I'm also grateful that lobotomies are no longer considered a viable option for mental illness.


Even though money is so tight it is often invisible, I am thankful that we have a roof over our heads, food on the table, clothes on our bodies and shoes on our feet...I am thankful for my real world friends and I'm just as thankful for my friends in the blogosphere. I'm thankful for vanilla flavored coffee and orange juice, gravity, running water and electricity.


And books...oh, so grateful for books. Oh, and Nickelodeon.


To those who are celebrating tomorrow, I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tweet! Tweet!

Ok, I just set up a Twitter account that I actually plan on using. I want to be just like everyone else. Come be my friend.

Please?

I'll buy you a pony.

Wordless Wednesday ~ Farm






Tuesday, November 24, 2009

And the winner is...


...using the Random Number Generator at Random.org I plugged in 1-34 and up popped number 16! And the 16th comment was left by The Waylaid Wordsmith! Congratulations!! I'll send you an email in a bit! :)

And as a side note...I loved reading about everyone's favorite kid's books! My favorite book is the Cat in the Hat, but I love anything by Dr. Suess or Silverstein. I am such a fan of Suess that I have to share something with you.

Because you all want to see it...my bathroom:



Monday, November 23, 2009

"Fantastic Mr. Fox" Giveaway!




FANTASTIC MR. FOX is visionary director Wes Anderson’s first animated film, utilizing classic handmade stop-motion techniques to tell the story of the best-selling children’s book by Roald Dahl (author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and the Giant Peach). The film features the voices of George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Jason Schwartzman, Bill Murray, Wally Wolodarsky, Eric Anderson, Michael Gambon, Willem Dafoe, Owen Wilson, and Jarvis Cocker.

Mr. and Mrs. Fox (Clooney and Streep) live an idyllic home life with their son Ash (Schwartzman) and visiting young nephew Kristofferson (Eric Anderson). But after twelve years of quiet domesticity, the bucolic existence proves too much for Mr. Fox’s wild animal instincts. Soon he slips back into his old ways as a sneaky chicken thief and in doing so, endangers not only his beloved family, but the whole animal community. Trapped underground without enough food to go around, the animals band together to fight against the evil Farmers - Boggis, Bunce and Bean - who are determined to capture the audacious, fantastic Mr. Fox at any cost. In the end, he uses his natural instincts to save his family and friends. For more info, check out the official website.

In honor of "Fantastic Mr. Fox" opening, 42 West has graciously offered two of my readers with Fox related goodies.

I could say that this giveaway was for a romantic, candle light dinner with George Clooney, who plays the Fantastic Mr. Fox (which really isn't much of a stretch), but that would be a lie. Would you settle for a cool fox tail tie?



And how about a set of Mario Batali Thanksgiving recipe cards? Yeah, that's what I thought. Really, who needs George Clooney?



Ok, never mind.

Anyway, to enter, all you need to do is comment. And of course, be a follower!

Addtional entries:

1. Tweeting about the giveaway will give you an extra entry.
2. Posting the giveaway as your facebook status is worth another entry.
3. Blog about this giveaway on your own blog and earn two more entries!

Just be sure to leave a seperate comment for each one! Giveaway ends Monday, so get a move on! Come on, hustle, hustle!

And be sure to check out this post for my interview with Jason Schwartzman!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

It's Fantastic!

See this guy?


Jason Schwartzman has starred in several movies, including "Shop Girl", "I Heart Huckabees" and "Funny People". He also played King Louis XVI in "Marie Anntoinette".

Most recently, however, he is the voice of this guy, or, um, animal in the new film adaptation of Roald Dahl's "Fantastic Mr. Fox."



And I had the pleasure of speaking with him (the man, not the fox) last week about the new movie. I even kept my daughter home from her beloved dance class, just so I could participate in this call. I have my priorities...conversation with sexy movie star or my daughter's future as a ballet dancer? Easy choice.

Schwartzman won me over the second he came on the line. He was so enthusiastic and gushed about how excited he was to be talking to us! His passion for this movie was immediately apparent and it further fueled my desire to see it.

"Fantastic Mr. Fox" was over three years in the making. It is a stop motion movie incorporating 125, 000 still images. That amazes me. I pulled up the website after the call and was blown away. Each puppet was hand made, down to the tiny clothes and sets. "It's good for the brain, good for the eye...so much love and care went into making the movie," Schawartman said and after watching the featurettes on the web page, that's apparent. The voices were not recorded seperately, like they are in most animated movies. All the actors lived on a farm while filming, and acted out the scenes with a sound man. Schwarztman said that when the characters in the movie were eating "french toast and biscuits" the actors were also eating french toast and biscuits. If the characters were digging or sitting under a tree, the actors were also sitting under a tree or "running around, growling, hooting and hollering". And since these actors included Schwartzman, George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray and Owen Wilson, that had to be a sight to behold.



Schwartzman said that some of the scenes in the movie are "the funniest things I've ever seen in my life", are "mesmerizingly beautiful" and are "heartwarming and uplifting." He said that first and foremost, the movie was made for kids, with kids in mind, but everyone could enjoy it.

"It will do kids so much good to see this movie...it has so many great things in it," he said. "This movie is going to be stuck in their brain and will hopefully be there for a long, long time, if not forever."



"Fantastic Mr. Fox" opens nationwide on Thanksgiving. This looks like such a fun movie! I can't wait to see it!

Fantastic Mr. Fox giveaway post here!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Happy Birthday Nick!

6 years ago I was laying in a hospital bed, sore and tired. Overwhelmed and blissful. Terrified. And so happy.

6 years ago, my firstborn was, well, born. I had checked in at about 8:00am and soon after, my water broke. I had chosen to go unmedicated, so I stood in the shower in my room, the water as hot as I could get it, clenching the handicap rail for dear life, moaning and whimpering. All those things I worried about before I went into labor: pooping on the doctor, my modesty, unwanted in-laws in the delivery room...all those went out the window. I realized quickly that I didn't care if the entire city was in my hospital room and I pooped on all of them, JUST. MAKE. IT. STOP. OH. MY. GOD. AHHHHHHHHH! OW...OW...OW...OW.

Fortunately, after only a few hours and only 3 pushes (I know, I know...I'm sorry) Nick entered the world at 12:51 pm, 6 pounds, 10.9 ounces and 20 inches long.



That was the day my life changed forever. That was the day I met that amazing soul I know as my son. Who makes me laugh with his chicken dance and his old man walk. Who infuriates me with his attitude and stubborness. Who amazes me with the things he says and the insight he has...




I love ya kid. Happy Birthday.

8th grade angst...

For Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop I chose the diary entry of my young self. I didn't have to make one up...I just pulled out my old diary and chose an entry at random. Here we have it:




"April 4, 1989

Dear Diary,

I'm sorry I haven'y wrote in here for awhile but I've forgot about you. Either that or I fall asleep before I remember.

I have a major problem! Troy and I don't talk! We haven't said one thing to each other. We'll look at each other once in awhile but that's it. I even sit next to him in Science and we don't do even so mcuh as mumble a hi! I don't know what to do. I wish I wasn't so shy! Heather keeps telling me to go up and talk to him but I always chicken out. Help! Heather kept pressuring so much that I got mad at her. I told her that and she just sort of glared at me. Why am I so shy? I hate it! What's Troy going to think of a girl who won't talk to him? In gym we're playing softball and me and Troy are on seperate teams. When my team was up to bat I hit and ran to second base. Troy was baseman there. When I landed there he changed places with someone else. It's like he's avoiding me. What am I supposed to do? Chase after him? Go right up to him and start talking? I need help! What a couple we are! I don't talk and Troy runs aways! Sweet! Why can't I be outgoing and talkative? Why won't Troy talk to me? Is he scared of my friends or something? To tell you the truth, I don't want to talk to Troy when he's surrounded by his friends. I wonder if he feels the same? If we were both in the hall alone I'd stop and talk to him but he's always with his friends. I also don't want to talk to him when Heather's around. She drives me nuts! She thinks I should go right up to him no matter who he's with or where he is and start chatting away because that's what she'd do! Augh! I get so sick of her sometimes.(most of the time!) Well now that you know what's gone through my head the last two days I guess I should sign off. Bye Diary.

P.S. I love Troy!"

My, my. The trials and tribulations of being 13.

Glad I don't have to do that again.



Now it's your turn!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Wanted

I have a confession to make...

I'm an action movie girl all the way. I don't like movies about animals. I don't like movies that make me cry. And I hate movies about animals that make me cry. I have never seen "Free Willy" (not counting my husband and I's own private re-enactments), "Lassie", "Seabiscuit" or "The Horse Whisperer." Even having an animal in the title will do it for me, like "Dances with Wolves". Of course, Kevin Costner might have been the deterrent in that movie.

After repeatedly watching "Dora Saves the Snow Princess", sometimes I need a little mindless violence in my movies. The more ridiculous, the better. The movie we watched this weekend fell in that catergory.



We rented "Wanted". Is was the first "grown up" movie my husband and I have seen in a really, really long time. And I liked it. It had all the prerequsites to making a really good action movie: Completely unrealistic car chases/tricks? Check. Secret societies/ conspiracies? Check. Angelina Jolie? Check. Hot guy that needed more screen time? Check.

Photobucket

Beef carcasses? Check.




Dorky guy, turned assassin? Of course.

Gun tricks that make my gun enthusiast husband roll his eyes? Gotta have that. There were even exploding rats. Good stuff.

I love James Bond. I love Blade. But let me be clear...I do not love Chuck Norris.




A girl has to have standards.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Tooth Fairy Stomping


The Tooth Fairy crept into Nick's room last night, slipped her hand under his pillow...and he sat up. So, she quickly fixed his blankets and pretended like she was just checking on him. About 20 minutes later, my husband (wearing his wings and throwing glitter)crept into Nick's room and...he woke up. So, again with the bed adjusting and good nights. About 30 minutes later, Mr. Tooth Fairy snuck in again and SUCCESS! Mission accomplished. Four shiny quarters for a teeny-tiny tooth. I took it and hid it so well that I will have no doubt forgotten where I put it next time the TF visits. Just like I did with the last one. It's around here somewhere.

Anyway... early this morning, our toothless son comes into our bedroom carrying his flashlight. My husband is getting dressed and Nick asks him to empty the pockets of his jeans.

"Why?" my husband asks. A reasonable question, I thought.
"I want to see if you have my tooth," came the reply.
"Why would I have your tooth? The Tooth Fairy took it."
"No, I think you have it," he says, rooting through my husband's jean pockets, examining everything with his flashlight.
"Why would you think daddy has it?" I ask.
"Because I heard a lot of stomping around."

Oh.

I have no idea what he's talking about, but I have a feeling the magic is gone. My husband was definitely not stomping and Nick was definitely asleep when the switch was made...

It makes me a little sad. :(

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Tooth Fairy

After losing his second tooth in the middle of Michael's bead aisle, Nick was anxious to get home.

So he could go to bed. At 4:00pm. So the Tooth Fairy could come and bring him money.



I convinced him that the Tooth Fairy wouldn't come until everyone was asleep anyway, so he might as well stay up until bed time. He reluctantly conceded. And now, he's snuggled up in bed, "Cuddly Dino" in his arms and his tooth in a little baggy under his pillow. With one eye open, no doubt.

Delaney is so excited at the thought of A! FAIRY! IN! HER! HOUSE! that she probably will also sleep with one eye open. (I feel a little bad lying to her.)

Tonight, I'm going to have to call on all those sneaking around skills that I perfected in high school. Nick has already stopped kissing me at the bus stop. I don't want to kill the fairy for him as well. He's already growing up too fast. He will be six a week from tomorrow. SIX! Where has the time gone? And where was I?

Where is the Turn Back Time Fairy when I need her?

Calling all knitters!


Yesterday my grandma gave me some knitting needles.

Today I bought some yummy yarn with the help of a nice lady that I cornered and accosted with yarn related questions.

Now, I need to learn how to knit.

I found a tutorial on You Tube, by Thread Bangers, but I'm struggling and...um... swearing. Any tips?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Doctor, doctor give me the news...


I'm not feeling very witty or entertaining today...my head hurts for like the 30th day in a row. Sometimes they develop into full blown migraines (like yesterday, when I was pretty sure I was going to die) but sometimes they just ache enough to remind me that they're there and they hate me and they're doing their damndest to make my life miserable. I take migraine meds that I hate because they make my face and neck feel really, really weird and they make it hard to open my mouth. Strange, no? I think so. It's probably some rare and deadly side effect that I should tell someone about. Any doctors out there?? No? Nurses? No? Has anyone ever played doctor? Taking all advice...



I've spent the last hour trying to catch up on reading blogs and commenting and responding to comments. It's really hard to keep up. Blogging could easily be a full time job. If you comment, I always try to respond via email (if your email is listed in your profile-if not, then you're missing out on my terribly witty comment responses) and then I head to your blog to read the latest post and comment there as well. Anyone have a better way of dealing with that? I always feel so bad when I can't respond or I fall behind. I want everyone to know that I do try and READ even if I can't respond or if I don't comment. And if you follow me, I try to follow you. If there is anyone out there that I'm not following, please let me know. Because I have three kids. I'm not as bright as I once was...the wheel is spinning, but the hamster is dead... if I had another brain, it would be lonely...sharp as a marble...give me a penny for my thoughts and you'd get change...not the quickest bunny in the forest...

You get the idea.

It seems like I had a point when I started this post, but I sure can't remember what it was. Hmmm. Pity. It was probably very important. Maybe I'll remember in the morning.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Where a kid can be a kid

We get our milk from the milk man, whom, I might add, is rather attractive. He gave me a free bottle of lemonade once.



But anyway, the milk comes in nice fragile glass bottles and is delivered weekly. This week, I asked my son to get the milk out of the box for me. He's done it a million (well, several) times. No problem. He got a bit distracted by the neighbor girls (he's already developed a reputation as a "preschool Casanova") and he managed to smash one of the milk bottles on the cement outside the door. Ever had to pick up milk and shattered glass off cement stairs and rotting jack-o-laterns while wearing slippers? Uh huh. It's fun.

The baby was in his high chair, screaming his head off, crying and gasping because I was out of sight. I kept yelling at the kids to stop walking through the glass then stomping through the living room. The girls next door came over to watch the river of milk rushing down the stairs.

"What happened?" they ask. Since they're sweet kids, I refrain from making some smart-ass comment.

Then the phone rings and the shop vac won't work, so I switch it from suck to blow and it blows out a giant wad of hair/dust/nastiness into my face and the baby is still screaming and then I remember the spaghetti on the stove...



And oh, oh, oh! I scrap the edible part of dinner out of the pan, run outside to finish the glass clean up, pat the baby on the head in a nice reassuring manner as I run by him, getting outside just in time to stop Delaney from picking up a piece of glass. I search the garage for the freaking hose that we surely put away before the first freeze so I can wash the milk into the grass (it does a body good) but can't find it. Turns out it's still outside. Sigh. I break the little plastic do-dad that attaches the hose to the spicket, so I get sprayed with nice cold water as I turn it on. I have to vaccuum the living room and pick glass shards out of little shoes. The baby is still screaming. He's a nice shade of red at this point, tears and snot all over his cute little face.

Finally, finally I've got things cleaned up and Baby and I are both panting with exertion. I serve the burned spaghetti to the kids just as my husband gets home. He sits down and joins us. He takes a few bites, then pauses.

"Um..." hesitates, because he knows if he insults my dinner he will find himself enrolled in a cooking class. "Um...this tastes...well, um, did you use a different sauce?"

Nope. It's just blackened. It's gourmet. Hush up and eat it.

But that's nothing compared to what I have to do in a few hours...I have a party to go to with my son. Where a kid can be a kid.



Oh, God. Someone break a bottle of milk, would ya please??

Flashback Friday! Toys!

For today's Flashback, I decided to pull out a few of the old toys that I have. They are all things I used to play with and still have. I have many, many more but I didn't feel like crawling through the spider-infested storage closet to dig through boxes. So, these were a few of the more accessible ones...Anyone remember these?


Rainbow Brite, Strawberry Shortcake (before she got all sexy), Baby Beth and KERMIE! I remember leaving SS outside in the driveway and it started to rain. My mom wouldn't go out and get her because she had told me to bring her in and I hadn't. I sat at the window and watched her lay there, getting soaked. She never smelled quite the same again.


Ms PacMan


The Littles! I still have the house and all the furniture. The furniture is metal and it's all so well made. Unlike the plastic stuff everything is today. There is even a little toilet and the drawers open on the dresser. In kindergarten we moved and I lost the Baby Little (which was the size of a fingernail). I was crushed. But somehow I managed to hang onto the little cups, plates and the little lamp. And the bedspread!


The cute little stove and the bowl/pot.


The sink. The little shelves are removable and look how tiny the cups are! How I managed to not lose them in nearly 30 years surely counts as a miracle.

See the little lamp? Why don't they make toys this awesome anymore??



Herself the Elf!


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