Friday, December 17, 2010

This Elf Needs A Little Help

I grew up with a traditional Advent Calendar, and by traditional I mean a cardboard calendar with tiny chocolates behind each door. We bought this kind for Monkey Man for the first few years, and then I had a realization. While one could argue that chocolate in any form is good just for the simple fact that it’s chocolate, I have to disagree. The chocolate in cardboard Advent Calendars is gross. And this is coming from a woman who would probably eat chocolate out of a garbage can if my hormones were wired just right that day.

So last year, I decided to use our cute Christmas countdown calendar – it is made from felt, has a jolly Santa, Rudolph, and Frosty on it, and is adorned with pockets for December 1 through December 24. There is a little candy cane tied to a ribbon that we use to mark each day closer to the arrival of Santa, er, Jesus. Last year I put a treat in the pocket each night and we told Monkey Man that the Elf came each night to leave a treat. Treats included a Hershey’s Kiss, Andes Candy, or a little Christmas eraser. He loved it and looked forward to the Elf’s visit each morning.

Well, this year, the Elf sucks. Elf must be overworked by the Head Honcho or he is out partying all night. And I can tell you, since I know Elf pretty well, he is definitely not hitting the party scene. 17 days into this calendar, Elf has forgotten to put a treat in the pocket probably 8 times.

“Mommmmm! There’s nothing in the pocket!” Crap! Run to cabinet, grab Hershey’s Kiss… “Are you sure? Look around…” Mommy Elf walks over to calendar, Kiss cupped in hand, looks in pocket, slips Kiss in… “Hey, that Elf stuck it way down (the pocket is like 1 inch deep, there is no way down)” Monkey Man pulls out Kiss. Crisis averted.

“Mommmmm! There’s nothing in the pocket!” Crap! Repeat above scenario.

“Mommmmm! There’s nothing in the pocket!” Crap! Cabinet, Kiss, Tell Monkey Man to go into another room, this time Mommy Elf puts Kiss on bench. “Hey, Monkey Man! It looks like it fell! It’s right here on the bench!”

“Mommmm! There’s nothing in the pocket!” Mommy Elf almost says out loud, “Why the HELL do I give myself one more thing to stress out about?” Crap. Cabinet. Kiss. Another room. Magically appears in pocket. Big smile on Monkey Man. Yes, this is why I do it. For the simple joy of a 5 year-old at Christmastime. Even if he remembers back on this little tradition and thinks, “What the frig was that Elf ON?”

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Memo From Mom

DATE: December 15, 2010

Dear Santa,
I’m just gonna jump right in and tell you how good I’ve been all year. I go to work each day, take care of Monkey Man, take care of my house, pay my bills on time, eat my fruits and vegetables, take the dog for a walk, curse at people who can’t drive. Oops. Okay, fine, Santa. I’m not perfect but I have 2 excuses. 1.) I’m a stressed out mom. 2.) Some people are just plain stupid.

I have a Christmas List this year, Santa, and I know you don’t like to disappoint. I totally deserve some attention from you and your elves. So Santa, help a mom out.

1. I would like sleep. Preferably on a deserted island. Well, maybe not deserted. Rick Springfield can join me if he'd like. And ONLY because I want to be serenaded to sleep, because I’m not that kind of girl, Santa. I’m a married woman and Rick’s a married man. And I have enough on my plate with one man, who needs 2? Really, Santa. Get your jolly head out of the gutter.

2. I NEED spoons. Yes, an unusual request, you might be thinking, but we have a serious spoon shortage in our small household of 3. I have a problem – I don’t pay attention to the garbage disposal when a utensil, usually a spoon, gets stuck in it. Then, my spoons get all cut up and get turned into lethal weapons. I don’t want the simple act of slurping soup to turn into a horror flick.

3. I would love about 6 extra hours in a day. This doesn’t need much explanation. You know how Christmas is your busy season? Well, I feel like life is my busy season.

4. A protective shield that emits 75 degree temperatures around my body in the winter. You may need to defer to a consultant on this one, maybe a Star Trek geek or some other sci-fi freak that can help you with this? But this is a real necessity. I LOATHE walking out my front door and 20 feet to my car in temperatures below 50. Nowadays, I get to spend 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week outside in the winter for recess duty. Watching children run around like it’s a balmy 80 degrees out. Praying they don’t fall off monkey bars and kick another kid down the slide. So the stress of recess duty is enough. Throw in winter and it just sucks snowballs. Please excuse my French, Santa.

5. Santa, it is perhaps my greatest wish for chocolate chip cookies to have no effect on my body. And Holiday Pop ‘Ems. It’s just not fair that the two greatest foods on the planet are so good, but so bad. But soooo good.

6. This is a big one, and probably a request you get a lot from the grown ups. I know you’ve seen the thing I drive around in. I will loosely refer to it as a car. Well, that car originally started out as hubby’s way back in 1999. It was never my intention to be my primary mode of transportation. It is 12 years old and has more miles on it than a car should have. Hubby takes the “good car” because he has a lot farther to drive and frankly, Santa, the other car might not make it. So here I am, buzzing around town in a car that only plays the radio on one volume – LOUD, only emits heat or air conditioning on one setting – HIGH, squeaks and rattles, and makes me feel like a kid who just got her driver’s license and is running around in her parents rent-a-wreck because, who cares? I just got my license and I’m so cool that it doesn’t matter! But I got my license 19 years ago, don’t really think I’m that cool, and have since worked in jobs paying more than minimum wage. Don’t get me wrong, Santa. I am grateful to have a car, to have a job in which to drive that car, and to have a warm home in which to park my car in front of. However, I am a little concerned that I might be stranded at the side of the road in the very near future. Besides, hubby gets to listen to CDs in his car. Guess what I have the luxury of listening to? A tape. Do you even remember what a cassette tape IS?

Maybe this list comes as a breath of fresh air after all those, “I want a dolly and a truck and a video game” letters. Look at this as a challenge, Santa. Rise to the occasion. And please stop thinking, “Yep, the spoons. Now THOSE are doable.”

Thank you, Santa and Merry Christmas!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

No Joke!

Monkey Man FINALLY told a coherent, intelligible joke tonight. He’s moved past the, “What did the dog say to the cat? You’re a TURTLE!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!” and peeing himself because that was possibly the funniest thing he’s ever heard in his 5 years on this Earth. And Thank God. Because there is only so much, “That’s really funny. I’m really proud of how amazingly hilarious you made that completely nonsensical joke” you can say to your kid. Sometimes self-esteem is overrated and should be crushed. That’s what therapy is for, right?

Tonight, Monkey Man informed us that he learned a joke in his 5s class. Monkey Man goes to Kindergarten in the mornings and in our school district, it’s only half day. So in order to enrich his growing mind (i.e. keep him busy while I’m at work) he goes to his preschool’s 5s class most afternoons. It’s made up of kids who either missed the highly coveted October 1 deadline, or who go to the neighboring districts with half day Kindergartens. But the 5s teacher totally ROCKS so it’s worth the tuition.

In addition to reinforcing Monkey Man’s sight words, giving him the play time that he doesn’t get in Kindergarten, and treating each of her kids with total love and respect, I need to thank Miss P for teaching Monkey Man a REAL LIVE JOKE.

Tonight, Monkey Man sashayed up to the mic and told hubby and I his joke:
What did the boy ghost say to the girl ghost?
You’re BOO-tiful!

Hubby and I laughed. Like a real laugh. Like a “FINALLY. We’ve passed that I-want- to-stab-action-figures-in-my-eardrums joke stage” laugh. Then hubby said to Monkey Man, “YOU are boo-tiful!”

Monkey Man responded, “I’m a boy, I’m handsome-ful!”

Funny AND smart. Complete package, ladies!

Note: My husband informed me that while he was given 0.2 seconds to think of the punch line, he was trying to come up with what a boy ghost would say to a girl ghost. And this is what he came up with. “I like your boo-bs.” This is why my husband writes inappropriate comics and does not teach preschool.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Memo From Mom - It's Just Ludacris!

To: Enrique Iglesias
Re: Get a Little Ludacris
Date: November 17, 2010

This memo is in reference to your newest song, “Tonight.” Seriously, Enrique, you make me want to move my rumpshaker. And yes, that is a throwback to some early 90s music, because that’s exactly what I think of when I hear, “Tonight.” With that cool, record-spinning, retro 90s techno sound you got going on in this song, I am instantly whisked back to when I hit the clubs. In NYC. A long time ago. You were probably like 8 or something.

I do have a few concerns, however. First, while listening to this song in the car, I might get into an accident. I just have to DANCE. My car thrusts back and forth because my foot is on the gas, off the gas, while I attempt to do the Roger Rabbit and Running Man while safely buckled in my completely uncool Mom car. (Side note: I totally KILLED those dances back in the day.)

My larger concern, however, is not about my personal safety. It is about your lyrics. And I don’t mean this in a, “I am so offended!” way. I feel like you were reaching a little in this song. When I hear, “Tonight,” it is my time to listen to MY music (read: opposite of a song that Monkey Man barks out orders for from the back seat). I do not want to be reminded of Green Eggs and Ham. I will not eat them, Sam I am. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m fully aware that you are not a poetic genius (my apologies if YOU didn’t know that) but this whole refrain is not only too Cat in the Hat, but also quite reminiscent of Adam Sandler’s Cajun Man from SNL (
Here’s the situation
Been to every nation
Nobody’s ever made me feel the way that you do
You know my motivation
Given my reputation
Please excuse I don’t mean to be rude
Cause tonight I’m lovin’ you…

You do, however, get props for using big words. Your collaborator on the song, Ludacris, now, he is a genius. Again, not poetically, but that boy can throw down some wordplay. He might not use big boy words like you, but he makes the listener think. He’s not interested in Dr. Seuss rhymes. He keeps it real. I want to totally give him a fist pound for this beauty:
Winter and summertime
When I get you on the springs
Imma make you fall

What great usage of all four seasons to tell a woman you want to totally knock boots (thank you again 90s for more awesome references).

Enrique, I encourage you to continue your music. But have a little sit down with Ludacris. He may not spew forth words of Shakespeare or Dickinson, but he sure makes me yell, “Yes, now that was one hell of a metaphor!” Even if he doesn’t know it’s a metaphor. Hmm, maybe Ludacris IS a genius…

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

When Life Hands You Lemons...

You get to eat your kid’s Halloween candy. As you might know from reading this blog, Monkey Man is allergic to peanuts (and pecans and shellfish, but that’s irrelevant to this post). We’ve learned to live with it and our family and closest friends are very aware of this potentially life-threatening allergy. We have Epi-pens in our house, in my purse, at his school, and at each of the grandparents’ homes. Family and friends are label-conscious and keep their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches far away. (Well, most of them do. But that’s another post on people who just don’t get it or don’t care).

But when Halloween rolls around, Hubby and I get to reap the harvest of generous neighbors! When Monkey Man’s plastic pumpkin is half-filled with Snickers, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Peanut M&M’s, Hubby and I become 5 year-old children drooling over the booty our little goblin has collected for us!

“Oh, I’m so sorry Monkey Man, but you can’t have THIS, or THIS, or THIS because, sniff, sniff, it has peanuts in it,” I say feigning sadness, while sneaking a glance at Hubby that says, “Oh, yeah. Score." But guess what Mommy’s bringing to work for a little afternoon pick-me-up? Those peanut M&M’s will be perfect at 1:00 when I’m about to head outside for recess duty, aka Tattle Deflection Duty/Bullying Prevention Duty. And this Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup? That will be waiting for me at 3:20 when I walk out to my car for a little more peanut buttery goodness that’s not allowed to be eaten in my own home. MY OWN HOME! It pains me to no longer eat a Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwich with a big, cold glass of milk. But these are the sacrifices we must make. And my retribution is to thieve from my child.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sunday Funnies...Wait, Today is Thursday!

Because this is pretty much how my life has been the past few months. What's that, I've missed 2 Sundays worth of hubby's comics and haven't written a damn thing in months? I have 2 excuses:
1) I've been doing a lot of work for my husband's comic and soon-to-be released book. You know, that one I promote on this blog? In case you missed it, it's called The Deranged Stalker's Guide of Pop Culture Shock Therapy and it's really freakin' funny.
2) I'm lazy. For instance, last night I had about 3 hours to do whatever I pleased. Hubby is out of town doing a book signing for aforementioned freakin' funny book, and Monkey Man passed out by 8 p.m. What did I do? I watched a DVR'd episode of Grey's and ate ice cream. I vacuumed, because that's what I do to procrastinate. I thought about writing a post, then I put away laundry.

In lieu of a comic, you can skip the gym and laugh until your abs hurt like you've just done 500 crunches after viewing 3 promotional webisodes created for the book. Copy and paste the link - sorry, my technological prowess did not enable me to make the link active so you could just click on it. And by the way, yours truly stars in Webisode #3.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Sunday Funnies

Okay, okay, it's the Monday Funnies today. But, this is pretty huge and extremely funny! The first promotional video for my husband's book, you know that one I'm shamelessly pushing on people, is done! Here's the link - check it out and tell everyone you know to check it out! Oh, and just in case you forgot the name of the book and release date, it's The Deranged Stalker's Journal of Pop Culture Shock Therapy coming November 2!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Sunday Funnies

Hell, if I had a housekeeping robot I'd turn a blind eye to the laser blaster. Sorry, George and Judy, but whatever gets you through the day.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Funnies

Remember - Hubby's book comes out November 2! Want to help us sell millions of books? Yes, you do! Go to your local bookstore and let them know you'd like to buy The Deranged Stalker's Journal of Pop Culture Shock Therapy. If they tell you you can order it online, let them know you'd really like to buy it at the store (this helps make sure that they stock it in the store!) and not have it shipped. Now, don't get me wrong - any sale is a good sale, but we'd like to see lots of books in the stores, giant displays, and tons of customers!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Funnies

It has been a very long time since I've done the Sunday Funnies, i.e. shamelessly promoted my husband's comic. But, the time has come again, and not only because his comics are seriously very funny, but also because he has a book coming out on November 2 published by Andrews McMeel (publisher of Calvin & Hobbes, Dilbert, Doonesbury, The Far Side - READ: It's a BIG DEAL!)

So, in addition to reading his comic here, I ask that you RUN to your nearest bookstore on November 2 and buy The Deranged Stalker's Journal of Pop Culture Shock Therapy. Or pre-order on,, you get my point. Monkey Man would LOVE to continue eating three square meals a day. No pressure.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

What Ever Gave You That Idea?

While spinning Monkey Man in the office on my big rolling chair tonight, he glanced up above my desk. There hangs three awesomely autographed Rick Springfield album and CD covers.

Cover #1: My very own copy of Working Class Dog that I got when I was about 7 that was signed after a sweaty hug from Rick during one of his forays into the audience a few years ago.

Cover #2: My very own copy of Success Hasn’t Spoiled Me Yet that I got when I was about 8. That one was signed after another breathtakingly sweaty hug from Rick during yet another journey into the audience and fabulous job of landing right smack in front of ME.

Cover #3: The Venus in Overdrive CD that I had signed at Virgin Records in New York City. That was the first official time I “met” him – read: walked up to a table, almost ready to pass out because HOLY FREAKING CRAP. Rick Springfield is smiling at me and waiting for me to say something unbelievably witty. Or smart. Or cute. Or sexy. Nervous vomit is not one of those.

After looking at the 3 covers with pictures of Rick, he turned to me and said, with his sly, sarcastic smile that he uses a little too much, “Do you want to break up with Daddy and get Rick Springfield to marry you?”

Oh, sweet, naïve Monkey Man. If only it were that easy.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Keeping the Tooth Fairy Off Welfare

In the past week, the Tooth Fairy has visited Monkey Man 3 times. 1 bottom tooth and his 2 front teeth. So I'm feeling a little sad because 1.) My little boy has become an old man in just 7 days and 2.) I'm broke due to this mass loss of teeth. The Tooth Fairy needs to get herself a job helping Santa in his off season. Here are some pics to enjoy, if you enjoy dangling teeth and huge gummy gaps.

Look away if you, like me, cannot stomach teeth that are hanging on by a thread of gum. He asked me to twist it back straight, and I almost threw up.

It fell out! It's official - 2 big, goofy big boy teeth will be ready for Kindergarten pictures! Oh joy!

Homemade yarn wig. Don't ask.

Rockin' Out in the Yarn Wig. Look at that toothless smile!

Just a coincidence that we were at an amusement park two days ago and there was a huge mural of a Jack O'Lantern. Kindred Spirits.

Bad Boys, Bad Boys...

While flipping through the channels last night, hubby passed over COPS, otherwise known as Educational Viewing for Children Who Don't Want to Grow Up to Be THAT Guy. Monkey Man asked hubby to stop on that channel. I guess he caught a glimpse of a classy white stained tank top (I will not use the other very un-politically correct, or is that very politically incorrect? term) and thought, "Just who are these people with that fantastic fashion sense? I need to see this for myself!"

Hubby told me that he thought for a moment, realizing that COPS is not appropriate viewing material for a 5 year-old. Unless, of course, we want to scare him straight. Like, "Look what happens when you talk back to mommy? You getcho ass cuffed and taken by the po-po!" He put it on quickly to see if it was okay (read: they weren't showing a crack pipe or some guy missing all his teeth in yet ANOTHER classy white stained tank top peeing all over his front lawn) and it was a woman getting a DUI. Oh, just a simple, violence-free offense. Okay, we'll watch for a minute, was hubby's thought, I guess.

Monkey Man: "What happened to that lady? Why is she getting arrested?"

Hubby: "She was drinking alcohol and driving. It is against the law to drink and drive."

Monkey Man: "What is alcohol?"
Hubby explained for like 10 seconds until Monkey Man lost interest and started talking about how cool Spencer from iCarly's hair is. Monkey Man listens to important conversations for his usual 10 seconds then it's on to much more worldly topics. Like, "Can a shark eat me if I'm on the beach? Is my hair longer than Spencer's? Is the tooth fairy always really small?"

Then I called up Monkey Man to brush his teeth, having no prior knowledge of the educational programming in which his father and he were engaged.

Monkey Man: "I just saw a lady get arrested on t.v."
Me: "Uh oh, that's not good."
Monkey Man: "She was drinking and driving."
Me: "Oohh, you're not supposed to do that."
Monkey Man: "Yeah, but YOU do that!"

I started hysterically laughing because he was so adament that I drink and drive. And, yes, in the most literal form of drinking and driving, I do. Because almost everywhere I go, I carry my big blue water bottle. Filled with WATER. That he always drinks from. Now, had Monkey Man listened to his father, he would have known that drinking and driving does not mean any drink.

So guess what his Kindergarten teacher is going to learn about me next week? I'll have to have her over for a drink to explain myself.

Always a Situation for Colgate Wisps

Holy Deal of the Century! I just found (well, my mom found them, because bargains scream her name whereas I pay full price for everything, having no flair for coupon clipping or sales circulars) a 32 pack - yes, you read that correct - a 32 PACK - of the Ridulously Awesome Colgate Wisp Disposable Toothbrushes for $4.99 at Five Below! I'm telling you, people, these things are as handy to have on you as a condom is for J-Wow and The Situation on the Jersey Shore. They are THAT GOOD.
Please Note: I am in no way claiming that Colgate Wisp Disposable Toothbrushes help prevent pregnancy or STDs.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Gotta Bolt!

While driving down the shore the day after we returned from Disney World (because obviously I enjoy inflicting pain on myself), Monkey Man asked hubby a question. This question was prompted by his prime seating arrangement in the backseat.

Monkey Man: "Daddy, in my head, do I have a big, bolt part like you?"

Mommy: (I'm thinking, is something sticking out on hubby's head like Frankenstein? What does he mean?) "Bolt part?" I asked, wondering what he saw.

Monkey Man: "Yeah, a bolt part. Like on Daddy's head."

Mommy & Daddy: Lightbulbs go on over head, hysterial laughing begins (more of MY hysterical laughing than hubby's)I asked, "Do you mean a BALD spot?"

Hubby: To me, "Don't even think of writing a blog post about this," as I reached down to find any available scrap of paper and a pen.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

9 Things I Learned from Disney World Part II

5. I need to have my own laptop with me.
I thought that 4 laptops in one house would be more than plenty for me to get a little computer time to get some work done. I checked in with my niece before we left figuring if she were bringing hers, I could use it. She said it was fine. Then I found out that her 2 friends also had theirs, and my oldest nephew brought his. Okey Dokey, lots of computers for me. However, there were 7 people between the ages of 15-22. READ: 36 year-old that actually has to do a little work (fine, and not lose touch with the social media world) does not get first dibs on computer. That, and we didn't have wireless, which means only ONE laptop could be plugged in to the internet (Yo, Disney, it's 2010 and we pay like a bajillion dollars for this vacation each year, throw us one of Pluto's damn bones!) So there I waited while this one did some internet shopping and that one played poker. With all that spare time, you'd think someone could have made more lemonade. (See #1 from Part I)

6. Colgate's disposable toothbrushes ROCK.
Colgate, if you are reading this, I will happily advertise your fabulously awesome Wisp Disposable Toothbrushes on my blog. For a fee, of course - mama's gotta make the cash money. For those of you not in the know, Colgate makes these small toothbrushes with a dot of toothpaste in the middle neatly prepackaged to carry with you in toothbrushing emergencies. Now, maybe you have never encountered a toothbrushing emergency, but being Monkey Man's mom, a 12 day vacation in Disney World is one giant toothbrushing emergency. Colgate Wisps saved me on several evenings when we were out late and he was going to fall asleep on the ride home. Yes, I looked like a crazy woman brushing Monkey Man's teeth on a bench in Epcot, but my dental OCD was calmed knowing that his awesome dinner of french fries and a Mickey ice cream pop were now thoroughly washed out of his teeth. Colgate - call me. I'll totally be your advertising bitch.

7. I am not an alcoholic.
Now, this is not news to me. I never thought I was an alcoholic. However, with access to alcohol at my fingertips, at every park, the pool bar, or, say, my monogrammed flask - well, if I were to ever succumb to some latent addiction lurking in my body, this trip would have definitely had me detoxing at Betty Ford.

8. Pay more careful attention to "that time of the month" when booking my trip to Disney.
Because for the 2 weeks I spent on what should be a happy and magical vacation, yeah, I had PMS AND a visit from Aunt Flo. Maybe that's too much information. However, I'm pretty confident that the lemonade might not have sent me over the edge had it not been for my special friend. And maybe that explains the inhalation of donuts. (See #4 from Part I)

9. There is nothing like being with a 5 year-old in Disney World.
The way Monkey Man's face lit up EVERY TIME he took his picture with a character. Getting two thumbs up and "That was better than better than awesome" when he got off Space Mountain. Clinging to his dad for dear life on Tower of Terror then announcing how it was the best ride ever when it was over. Well, it makes it all totally worth it.

Monkey Man asks Pluto to show his muscles!

Monkey Man and Hubby watching the parade at the Magic Kingdom

Monkey Man and Hubby locked up with Zurg

Me, Monkey Man and Hubby at Fort Wilderness before the Hoop Dee Doo Revue

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

9 Things I Learned from Disney World 2010

I have been to Walt Disney World 25 times. And during this last trip, I learned a few things. I now present Part I of the 9 Things I Learned from Disney World 2010.

1. I am not fit for group living.
This is not to say I am not a good candidate for the kind of group living associated with a mental institution (which, after this vacation, I might have to check myself into) But, Assisted Living? Totally different. I can't wait to check myself into a place that has a schedule of events each day including Bingo at 3 p.m., a Social Dance at 4 p.m., followed by a dinner that someone else made and a little bowl of ice cream. Totally worth the $4,200 per month. Had I ever been cast (had a I ever auditioned then been cast) for a show such as The Real World or Big Brother or some other group-home based reality show, I would have been THAT girl. THAT girl that loses her sh*t when, say, someone drinks all the lemonade and leaves the empty pitcher on the counter for someone else to refill (this may or may not have happened in Disney). For someone (me) that my husband would describe as almost a hermit but not quite due to my (I think) pretty adept social skills and occasional want to get out of the house, this vacation was like a teacher reading my IEP (Individualized Education Plan) which clearly states, "Doesn't like loud noises and bright flashing lights" then sticking me in the middle of Studio 54 in 1977. Note: There were 14 people in our grand villa at Old Key West (shhh, we're only supposed to have 12). 14 bodies spread throughout 3 bedrooms, 4 baths, a living room, dining room, and kitchen. Everywhere I turned, there was a person. Loud noises, flashing lights, loud noises, flashing lights...

2. Make sure to bring the nail color of my pedicure with me.
A sunny, perky Essie Tangerine pedicure will become a dull, chipped mess after just 4 days in chlorine and sun. If I didn't pay $32 for ice cream the other night, I could have afforded another pedi down at the spa.

3. Central Florida in July is beginning to be a bad idea.
Although I LOATHE the cold of winter, I have become rather bitter towards the "oppressive" ('s word to describe the heat in Orlando this week. Thank you Capt. Obvious) heat of a Florida summer. We have been coming to Disney World every summer since 1993, and although each time it has been very hot, this is the first time I remember nearly passing out in a park. No exaggeration. I stood like a good mom watching Monkey Man become a Padawan (that's a Jedi in training, for those of you who don't know. But why would you know? In fact, you shouldn't know. I'm married to a Star Wars geek) in the Star Wars show at Hollywood Studios, and prayed for him to just friggin' be the next kid to fight Darth Vader already so I could get a picture (it also became apparent on this trip that I pray in Jersey slang). Because when I started to feel a chill in the 96 degree heat with 70% humidity, something told me that just wasn't right. Monkey Man got his turn, whacked Darth in the head with his light saber then I ran off and drank 32 ounces of water in 4 seconds flat while bathing myself in the women's restroom sink. I was fine, but vowed to not step foot into one of those asphalt cauldrons, aka another park, for the remainder of our stay.

4. Entenmann's chocolate donuts are not an appropriate breakfast.
Or lunch. Or 11:30 p.m. snack. Damn you, Entenmann's. There is a place in hell waiting for you. It became a tradition sometime around Disney 1994 to hitch an Entenmann's trailer full of their chocolate donuts to my parents' minivan just to make extra sure that we had 39 boxes for a 12 day stay. And every morning, I wake up and eat my Fiber One cereal because I'm also working out every other day to keep up my somewhat healthy eating and exercise lifestyle. 20 minutes after my Fiber One, I not only have to go to the bathroom, I have to have a donut. Because it's there. And it's Entenmann's and they fill their snacks with crack.

The last lonely boxes that were cruelly assaulted before check-out.

To be continued...

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Sprinkle Lovers UNITE!

I eat ice cream with sprinkles (for those of you from other parts of the country, like South Jersey, that's jimmies to you. But make no mistake, they are called sprinkles). Ice cream is worthless without sprinkles. And let me tell you, I have credentials in the field of ice cream. Let me share my resume.

My parents owned an ice cream store when I was in middle school. Which means, when I was 11 and 12, I had unlimited access to ice cream and sprinkles. Thank God those were the days when children actually got off their butts and rode their bikes around the neighborhood, played in the street until dark when the streetlights went on, and orchestrated block-wide hide and seek games. Because had I been sitting in a dark room with my DS while listening to my iPod and texting my friend, I would have been considerably larger as a child.

Fast forward to turning 16. I started working at my brother-in-law's ice cream store - he owned a Baskin Robbins at a local mall. I worked there for 4 years. I can't tell you how many times I've said, "Cup or cone?" (and how many times a brilliant customer answered "Yes.") Again, thanks to dancing and cheerleading, my activity countered the large chunks of Reese's Peanut Butter cup I routinely spooned out of said flavor during every shift. That and Cookie Dough chunks.

But let's get back to the point of sprinkles. In my years working in the ice cream profession, I was a sprinkle lover's dream scooper. You asked for sprinkles? By God, you will get your $.25 extra worth (it was 1992, they were a lot less back then). It's your lucky day because I was taught THE RIGHT WAY in which to apply sprinkles. Let me explain.

The MOST important rule to sprinkle application is to ROLL the ice cream in the sprinkle container. The container should always be long enough to fit a cone with scoops on top. Make sure the scoops are pressed down into the cone, then ROLL the ice cream. This way, the ENTIRE surface area of the ice cream is covered. I cannot stress the rolling enough. If someone wants sprinkles, they want sprinkles all over their ice cream. Not 5 pieces strewn wildly about.

This same practice applies to a cup. Take the cup and roll the ice cream in the sprinkles. Bonus with the cup - some extra sprinkles always fall into the cup!

Having a vast knowledge of ice cream and sprinkles, as well as a deep love for the dairy delicacy and it's sugary decor, I am enraged when I order ice cream with sprinkles and my sprinkle request is taken almost as a joke. And in some places, it's a $1.00 extra joke!

Take last night. We went to Ghirardelli's in Downtown Disney. I ordered a cone with sprinkles and Monkey Man ordered a cup with sprinkles. Guess what we got? Someone obviously did not go to the College of Proper Ice Cream Service which I attended. Monkey Man had about 7 sad rainbow sprinkles laying on his mint chocolate chip scoop in a cup. A CUP! That child should have been loaded up! With all kinds of extra sprinkly goodness at the bottom ready to spoon with the soupy drippings at the end! And me? My chocolate cone had about 8 chocolate sprinkles gazing their lonely eyes at me wishing about 1,346 more of their friends had joined them.

This was no time to sit and accept my inferior sprinkle application. I asked for a cup with extra sprinkles. And the waitress got me a "cup" the size of a paper ketchup container at McDonald's. Which fit about 5 more sprinkles.

Too many people obviously take the name literally. Sprinkles are not for sprinkling. They are for coating. Thick and often. I am currently in the process of drafting a petition in order to get all the ice cream shops (at least in America) to adhere to the same practices and standards of sprinkle application. This disservice to our country, to our world, must stop.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Send Me to a Dental Institution!

Monkey Man had to get a filling. Okay, make that 2 fillings (fine, I’m lying, it was 4. I know – FOUR! What the hell? What kind of mother am I?) For the record, these cavities are NOT a result of lackluster brushing and poor oral health. We brush morning and night, (sometimes during the day), we floss, we swish with water after treats if we can't brush, we drink milk and water with an occasional juice. I brush his teeth with such passion, such gusto for clean teeth, that he probably has no enamel left. I blame it all on his father. Monkey Man has been given a bad hand in the tooth genetics game thanks to his dear old dad. At least he has my good looks and charming personality.

When the dentist showed me the x-rays and gave me the shocking news, I almost cried. Part of me was afraid that Child Protective Services was lurking around the large, colorful mural of The Plaque-inator ready to cuff me for teeth negligence – because, really, 4 cavities? How do I explain this? But mostly I almost cried because Monkey Man will now have to pay for his own college education. You see, in order to simplify my life, I have the dentist’s bank account linked to Monkey Man’s college savings account. It’s just easier to transfer the funds directly to Dr. Ben. He’s a nice guy, and hey, if I can contribute to his kids’ college fund, it’s the least I can do.

With the miracle of dental science, comes happy gas for the preschoolers. Because Monkey Man is not silly enough, let’s jack him up on some nitrous oxide and see how this rides out. Well, let me tell you, he had me nearly peeing in my pants in the corner of the room.

Mommy: “Hey, buddy, how you doing?”
Monkey Man: “Hi, Mommy!” he responded giggling. Then he turned his head towards Dr. Ben and said, “You’re the bestest dentist in the whole wide world. I want to stay here for 356 days!”

Dr. Ben looked at me and smiled. I told Dr. Ben that Monkey Man was probably on to something – a little child labor in exchange for dental work. Dr. Ben and I are working out the details.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Question #1,397

"Mommy, when I wasn't born yet, like when I wasn't even in your belly, was I floating in outer space? Like Super Baby?"

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

New Look, Same Old Blog!

It just looks different, but it's still me! Here we have a clean, uncluttered look - just the way I like my house. I'd love if the inside of my head could be this neat and organized, too, but with the welcoming of a child comes the welcoming of chaos, almost complete disorganization, and a teetering on the edge of insanity. And that's me with one child. Oh, which brings me to a topic that will be explored, dissected and ranted about in the very near future. The "only" child (I very much dislike this phrase, not going to say the H word, we teach Monkey Man not to use that word. Screw it. I HATE that phrase).

Au Natural

I don’t intend to use my blog as a soapbox, but here I am. Standing up on my shiny, silver box. With pretty, sparkly rhinestones. I’m not really a glam and glitter kind of girl, but this seems to be the way I imagine my soapbox to look.

Natural childbirth is the topic. And here we go…

Natural childbirth IS NOT birth without the use of medication. Natural childbirth is a birth that occurs naturally, i.e. unlike a scene from Aliens. That thing coming out of Sigourney Weaver’s stomach was not natural.

Quick bio lesson for those of you that missed Sex Ed your senior year in high school when it was the most effective. You know, teach those kids at 17 just as they are starting to learn that boys have penises and girls have vaginas. There are 2 kinds of natural childbirth – vaginal and cesarean section – to put it simply, all birth is natural. It's just birth. Whether the baby emerges from the cooch or via an incision in momma’s belly, it is birth. If the baby pushed its pretty little watermelon-esque head out of mommy while mommy couldn’t feel her lower extremities because of the sweet, tingly liquid goodness that is the epidural, doesn’t matter. It’s birth, and it's all natural.

Here's a comparison: When visiting the dentist for some work that requires novacaine or a little happy gas, does one tell their friends, "I'm having some natural dental work done today. Gonna try it the old torturous, medieval way. I'd like to see how that feels." Don't be surprised if she yells out in the dentist's chair, "Thank you, ma'am, may I have another?!" while all dolled up in a black latex catsuit.

The next time you are casually chatting with another mom – especially a mom that you really don’t know too well – do not ask her, “So, did you have a natural childbirth?” Because that’s a stupid, dumbass, and let me add the ever-eloquent word jerky question. And if you do ask, be prepared to get whooped with a good ol’ open-handed swing. That's the natural response.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Cookies & Bikinis

Monkey Man has a major crush. On my 19 year-old niece’s best friend. Best Friend came on vacation with us last summer and this boy hasn’t stopped talking about her since. He sent her a valentine. He requested a visit from her during her spring break and she obliged. Much to his delight, she magically appeared (in a bikini, long blonde hair flowing, and I’m pretty sure there was a blinding light glowing behind her and angels were singing) at my niece’s house yesterday while we were swimming. And she brought him presents. Presents that included cookies. The child almost lost his mind.

And on the car ride home, this was our conversation:
Monkey Man: Mommy, do you think Best Friend is pretty?
Me: Yes, I do.
Monkey Man: I think she’s really pretty. She’s HOT!
Me: (looking at him in the rearview mirror, jaw agape, horrified at his choice of words)
Where did you learn that phrase?
Monkey Man: From iCarly

EVIL T.V.! Keeping my son entertained and now apparently aware of inappropriate slang while I try to collect my sanity and attempt to cook a nutritious meal! T.V. be damned! I will get rid of the boob tube and we will play for hours while the housework and bills pile up around us!

Pffft. Yeah right. I’ll keep my sanity and set aside 5 minutes a day to explain that what they say on iCarly is not appropriate language for a kindergartener. Because, I'm sorry, Spencer is just too damn funny to be blocked from this house.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Carnivore Conundrum

Monkey Man went to the gym with me tonight. Unwillingly and whining, but I got him in the car and off we went. He sat pretty well through the class, and only complained a few times. I guess he didn’t notice that his mother was the one dripping with sweat, hitting a heavy bag, doing sprints, push-ups, and 9 bazillion squats. What the hell was he complaining about?

How did I squelch the annoying, “Mommmmyyy, how much longer? This is so borrrrring!” Here’s my secret:

“Monkey Man, want to stop at McDonald’s and get chicken nuggets and French fries?” I asked breathlessly, the hypocrisy and contradiction hanging out of my mouth the way my tongue was doing thinking about a thick McDonald’s chocolate milkshake. Mommy works her butt off in the gym, but yes! I will take you to the kingdom of childhood obesity. Let’s go!

We went through the drive-thru and ordered up some good old American junk food. As Monkey Man pulled one of the chicken nuggets out of the bag, he asked me if I wanted a bite. The conversation continued:

“No, thank you. Remember, Mommy and Daddy don’t eat meat?” I said.

“You don’t eat animals, right? What’s this made of?” Monkey Man inquired, although I’m fairly certain that I’ve had this conversation 20 times before. This child really needs to start doing crossword puzzles and taking some gingko biloba.

“Chicken,” I said, trying not be like, “Duh, it’s a CHICKEN nugget!” Sarcasm is really difficult for me to forgo sometimes. “Want me to tell you where other meat comes from? Ham and bacon come from pigs, turkey comes from turkeys, hamburgers and steak come from cows.”

“Is cheese an animal?” Monkey Man asked, and I replied, “No, but it’s made from milk which comes from cows.”

“Girl cows, right?” Monkey Man tried to clarify. “Because they have gutters.”

And I attempted to clarify further, “Um, you mean udders?” And Monkey Man cracked up at himself, “Oh, yeah, gutters are at bowling.”

Back on the vegetarian vs. carnivore track, I tell Monkey Man that there are other animals that people eat but they’re not as common. “Like peacocks?” he said. He’s had a fascination with peacocks lately having just seen them at a farm we visited.

“No, I don’t think people eat peacocks. But some people do eat ducks,” I said, shuddering. And so we continued…

“Ducks? With the feathers?” All this animal-eating talk had me convinced my child was going to turn vegan on me in a second. He seemed a little distraught at the idea of people eating his farm friends. But, alas, I had to inform him, that, no, they take the feathers off before they cook them. Like chickens. I reminded him that the dreaded “chicken” nugget no longer has feathers on it.

And again, Monkey Man’s comment seemed to tell me this was hitting home with him. “Do the chickens and ducks peck the people when they try to take their feathers off? Do they cut off their beaks?”

Here was Monkey Man thinking the chickens are gently plucked of their downy feathers and magically turned into a Ronald McDonald goldmine. But I had to tell him the cold, hard truth. That piece of information that takes all the innocence out of a chicken nugget. The potential turning point for a meat-loving person to consider the ways of vegetarianism.

“They kill them before they take their feathers off and cook them.”

A moment of silence. Monkey Man is thinking. I’m watching him in the rearview mirror. And here it comes…

Monkey Man: “I love meat!”

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Memo From Mom

DATE: JUNE 23, 2010

This memo is to commend you for being so awesomely fabulous. And by awesomely fabulous, I mean FREE.

We forget about you, neglect your aisles of cerebellum-enriching materials, horizon-expanding lectures, and of course, the all important VIDEO GAME.

When I was informed that you, my dear local library that shelves thousands of books – books about people who have influenced lives, books about far away places and exotic cultures, books sparking creativity and imagination – that you, you now have video games, well, I cried. With JOY!

Do I want my son’s mind to grow because of your broad inventory on all things intellectual? Of course. Do I want to avoid continuing to dump money on Wii games that this child plays once and forgets about? Abso-freakin-lutely.

Several years ago I thought you were the bomb when I rented about 4 seasons of Sex and the City after dropping half my salary at Blockbuster on Season 1 Discs 1-18, and Season 2 Discs 1-25. But this gift you’ve given, the gift of the free video game – Monkey Man just might have a shot at college thanks to the money you are saving me.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

New Weekly Feature - Memo from Mom

Check out the first post in my new weekly feature - Memo from Mom! The first one is to Steve Urkel of Family Matters. And it's not pretty.

Memo from Mom

TO: Urkel
FROM: A Tired, Cranky Mom
RE: Family Matters, but not at 6 a.m.
DATE: June 10, 2010

This memo is in reference to your appearances on my bedroom television between the hours of 6-7 a.m. No offense, Steve, but I was never a big fan of yours in the 80s on your sitcom, Family Matters. I always found you somewhat annoying. No, make that painstakingly, jab-myself-in-the-eardrums-with-barbecue-skewers annoying, what with that hideous laugh and your stereotypical nerd attire. Your floods, suspenders, big glasses, and ridiculous cardigans were as bad for my eyes as your fingers-on-chalkboard voice was to my ears.

Even when you became cool with that alter ego you created, Stefan Urquelle, you were still a cackling, snorting geek and as nerve-grating as ever. But, please note: I wikipedia’d that little nugget of information about your alter ego. No way in hell I remembered that. I actually thought you grew up. I have no recollection that you created a serum called “cool juice.” And then later, you created a cloning machine. And then later, I smashed all my New Kids on the Block jumbo buttons into my 15-inch television to make you go away for what I thought was forever.

But now, about 20 years later, as the mother of a child who wakes up at 6 a.m. and graces his mother with his presence at this ungodly hour, I want to hike up those flood pants to give you the world’s worst atomic wedgie ever. I thought Spongebob and his laugh were annoying, but you are what no human should have to hear when one starts their day anew.

Nickelodeon has made the seriously unwise choice of putting your show on from 6-6:30 a.m. and then 6:30-7 a.m. And Monkey Man makes the seriously unwise choice of coming into the den of a sleeping lioness at this time to watch Nick. He’ll watch anything, as long as it’s on Nick. And at this hour, I'll let him watch anything, as long as it's not porn. You might be thinking, “Well, then, take it up with the programming staff at Nick.” No. It is your voice I have to hear every morning so this is your problem.

Perhaps the worst part of all of this is how your show ends every freaking time. In the era of the after-school special – and I am NOT comparing your show to an after-school special, because after-school specials rocked, even if they were about creepy child molesters who lured children into cars with candy. (Geez, kids in the 80s were stupid. Candy? Seriously? Now you need to use an iPod or Nintendo DS for them to even consider for a moment getting in that car. Candy certainly would not make the cut in this over-indulged society).

So, as I was saying, back then, sitcoms had a moral to their 22-minute story. Now, every morning, I have to hear Carl the dad tell Laura his daughter (remember, the one you lusted after?) that she should practice abstinence. Because it’s the responsible thing to do. It’s always about being responsible. So at 6:30 I’m reminded about abstinence. Which I obviously didn’t practice, since the whole reason you’re on my television at 6 a.m. is because of my child.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Ph.D. Bound

Dearest Monkey Man,
It seems like only yesterday you were in preschool. Oh wait. It was only yesterday.

We are so proud of all of your accomplishments, Monkey Man. Your painting evolved from use of fingers to brushes, and you can now say your alphabet without jumbling up that whole "l m n o p" part. It is a sure sign that you are headed for an outstanding academic career.

But if Major League Baseball snatches you up when you're 20, I'm totally there for you. Whatever gets mommy to retirement in Hawaii the quickest.

Love Always,

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Vince Neil, Our New Hero

And the winner of Monkey Man's favorite new song goes to...
"Kickstart My Heart" by Motley Crue!

I swear I'm a good Mom. But the kid will not get off this Metal Band CD obsession. This song really gets him going, too, like put the top down on the car and gun it down some highway. Kind of like how I was driving on our way to Monkey Man's field trip the other day (minus the speeding, but definitely belting it out like my spandex pants were squeezing me a little too tightly). We listened to this song about 12 times, and while rocking out with Monkey Man, I passed my exit.

Do we push Monkey Man to listen to this music? No. If you read my blog, you know I love Rick Springfield, Contemporary Christian music, Chicago, and 90s dance but he wants none of that. Every time he gets in the "good" car (i.e. the one with the CD player) he behaves as if he's ordering from a drive-thru, only this drive-thru allows its customers to enjoy a bevy of hard rock cuisine. "I'd like to start with Number 2 (Kickstart My Heart). Add a side of Number 17 (Seventeen) and Number 14 (Livin' On a Prayer) to make it a Super Meal." And then he always goes back to the old standbys, the band that started his rocker obsession - Def Leppard. "And for dessert I'll have the Number 1 (Animal) and Number 10 (Let's Get Rocked)!"

I feel like I need to redeem myself in some way, prove to my readers that I am not some lunatic mom who lets her kid listen to all kinds of garbage. Here's my proof: when Vince croons, "I'd say we've kicked some ass," and the other lyrical gem, "I'd say we're still kicking ass," I lower the volume all the way down. Oh, that, and I have NEVER let him listen to Barney songs. That childish nonsense can seriously screw up a kid's brain.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

The Hulk, Vocabulary, and Superman

While driving to my parents' house today, Monkey Man chattered on about the childhood obesity epidemic in America, Governor Christie's destruction of the education of every child in New Jersey, and the great debate: Just WHO is stronger - Superman or The Hulk?

Monkey Man: "Mommy, who do you think is stronger, Superman or The Hulk? The Hulk has GINORMOUS muscles."

Me: "Yeah, he does have ginormous muscles. (And here comes my "He's going to kindergarten next year. I have to teach him about that word ginormous" moment). Hey, Monkey Man, I know we use the word ginormous, but I want to let you know it's not a real word. It's a silly word for huge. It's gigantic and enormous put together. It's from the movie Elf. Remember that movie? Elf liked to use the word ginormous. (And then I keep going on my SAT vocabulary prep tangent...) You know what's another word for gigantic and enormous? Gargantuan!

Monkey Man: "GARGANTUAN! Whoa! Like The Hulk's muscles are gargantuan! But, who do you think is stronger?"

Me: in all my obvious, did not grow up on Superheroes (or sports, or bugs, or any other "boy" thing - I'm at a serious disadvantage sometimes with this kid!) "The Hulk, of course! Just look at him!"

Monkey Man: "But The Hulk can't pick up the Earth. Superman can."

Me: actually thinking about this concept and agreeing, "Yeah, you're right. Superman can fly around the Earth and pick it up. The Hulk can't do that. So I guess Superman is stronger than the Hulk."

Monkey Man: "But The Hulk does have ginormous muscles. Even bigger than Superman's. So that might make him stronger because of his muscles."

Me: "And I have a gargantuan headache from debating with a 5 year-old who has a ginormous love of driving his mother nutty with arguments that go around in circles."

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Dinner Conversation Gone Bananas!

While sitting at dinner tonight with Monkey Man and his friend, conversation turned to the bananas sitting in the fruit bowl in the middle of the table.

Monkey Man's Friend: "I can't eat bananas."

Me: "Why? Are you allergic?" I asked, even though I was pretty sure he didn't have any food allergies.

Friend: "I have a pooping issue."

This was said so matter-of-factly, so just regular conversation, that the 3 of us continued to sit, straight-faced as if Monkey Man's friend was commenting on the unusually chilly May weather. I wasn't sure if I was sitting with two 5 year-olds, or at the 4 p.m. dinner seating at a nursing home, what with all the talk of intestinal matters and whatnot.

Monkey Man's friend continued:

Friend: "I take medicine. It gets hard, well, sometimes it's not too hard, but it's really big."

How I stifled the laughter that was causing the cacophony in my brain and did not choke on my whole wheat spiral pasta is beyond comprehension. I didn't need to ask any questions, just interjected the polite "Oh" because Monkey Man's friend was very willing to offer information on the inner workings of his bowels.

Friend: "One time it took me 2 hours to poop."

This is why 5 year-olds are so awesome. Wondering what's going on in their minds? Wonder no more, for they will tell you, in all their descriptive language, what's pumping through that brain of theirs.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

It is a Happy Mother's Day

I am writing this post in a great coffee/dessert shop in the next town. The cupcakes are TO DIE FOR. The chocolate peanut butter silk pie is a PMSing woman's dream. This little getaway is a part of my mother's day gift - a few hours of uninterrupted time to write. I chose to leave the house because if I stayed home and sent the boys away, I would have rearranged the furniture, pulled weeds, felt bad for not playing with the dog while he sits and stares me down, and a myriad of other distractions that would have pulled me away from one of the gifts I wanted today - to write.

So I sit here, with my cup of tea and chocolate chip scone crumbs, and I am happy. I am happy that I slept in today and woke up to Monkey Man asking me to take him to Target to buy him a Wizards of Waverly Place magic wand: "It's Alex's, so it's for a girl, but I don't care. I want to do magic spells and turn you into a frog or a cow." Direct quote.

I am happy that I ate a delicious, homecooked breakfast of cheesy scrambled eggs adorned with orange slices served with a cup of black tea in bed. And I ate this before I went to my Sunday morning worship service - kickboxing. Exercise centers me, clears my head, and always makes me feel good. Of course, on the way to and from, I listened to my Christian rock music.

I am happy because a little later today, we are going to my parent's house for dinner. As our lives get busier and Monkey Man gets more involved in school and activities and my sister's kids grow up more and more and have work, and college, and sports and band, I really enjoy having dinner at my parent's. My parent's house has been a gathering place all my life, and it is my home just as much as the place I sleep in each night, the one with the mortgage and horrifying taxes.

I am happy because even though it's Mother's Day, I appreciate my husband, the father of my child. Everyday, he understands my need for quiet time, my need for time with friends, my need to snuggle on the couch and watch "our shows" (The Office, Modern Family, Glee), my need to spend time with him and Monkey Man just the three of us. He doesn't quite understand my need (obsession, compulsion) for neatness, but that's 12+ years in the works and he's getting better.

He is the reason I am a mom (okay, people, Biology 101). I couldn't think of a better baby daddy for this mommy to have. Oh, yeah, and that wizard wand that Monkey Man wanted me to buy him today? Daddy took him to Target while I was in my happy place at the gym and provided our little man with the tool to turn his mother into a cow. Great. Thanks.

And Monkey Man, I couldn't think of a better reason to be a mommy. You make me smile, laugh, sing, dance, and drop in bed with exhaustion every day. And I thank you for that.

Happy Mother's Day Eve

Each night, Monkey Man asks either hubby or me to lay with him for a few minutes in bed. Hubby is much more patient with this than I am, probably because I start thinking of the 9 bajillion things I need/want to do while my Energizer Bunny is recharging his battery: iron the next day's clothes, laundry, make lunches, pack backpack, clean this or that, do a little work for hubby's comic, watch a favorite dvr'd show (Glee, Modern Family, The Office)...the list goes on. And many times, I fall asleep, so I wake up 20 minutes or more later, cranky that I lost time and feeling out of it and ready to really go to bed.

Last night, both hubby and I laid with Monkey Man. I guess it was the quiet and relaxation of a Saturday night at home that kept me feeling calm. Monkey Man kept looking from me to hubby and smiling, simply overjoyed that both mommy and daddy were a part of this nightly ritual.

Walt, our great protector, likes to start the nights off in Monkey Man's room. Fortunately, he is very territorial and likes to make sure anyone that comes witin 100 yards of our house knows he's there. Unfortunately, he barks at every little noise and this usually jolts Monkey Man and causes him to cover his ears (big dog, very big bark).

While we all laid in bed, Walt must've heard a fly buzz because he let out one of his booming barks. But this time, Monkey Man just looked at me and said, "I'm not scared because we're a family."

It was so sweet, but seriously, laying it on a little thick with the guilt Monkey Man, for all those times Mommy's rushing out to check Facebook. Um, I mean, to make lunch.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ask and Ye Shall Receive!

Two days after I wrote the helpful letter to the Entenmann's CEO requesting a Holiday Pop'em to fill the gap between Easter and the 4th of July, I passed by the Entenmann's display at the local grocery store.

Something caught my eye. Well, not so much caught my eye, because I do stare down the display whenever I pass it in the hopes that maybe an expired box from the holiday before is sitting there. It was the sprinkles that captured me. I thought, "Wait, it's May 1. How can this be?" My mind raced through the calendar. No, no, there is definitly not a holiday coming up. The box read, "Rainbow" and, indeed, rainbow sprinkles adorned these Spring Pop'ems. The box was decorated in a sports theme, but really, who cares about the box. There were sprinkled Pop'ems inside.

The ONLY REASON I did not buy that box of sin is because I was fresh out of my kickboxing class, feeling very good about my workout and not wanting to replace the calories I'd burned plus add an extra 500 calories. And I haven't been back to that grocery store, although I need to get a photo of that precious box. I'm very afraid that this newbie to the Entenmann's line will tackle me near the frozen foods and gag me with their frosted, chocolately deliciousness.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Memo to Mr. Pop'em

TO: Entenmann's CEO
FROM: A concerned consumer
RE: Holiday Pop'ems production calendar
DATE: April 30, 2010

I am a lover of your Holiday Pop'ems line. Your regular Pop'ems are fine, I've indulged in those basic donut holes just a few times in my life, and they are quite easy to pass by in the grocery store without drool dripping down my chin. But the Holiday Pop'em, the chocolate variety layered in sprinkles, beckon to me like a choir of angels. A choir of sadistic angels that know very well that I workout hard and nearly kill myself in kickboxing. Yet they sing to me, shout to me, practically bounce their way out of the box right into my mouth.

As ridiculously addicting and bad for every part of my body as these delectable balls are, they just aren't around enough throughout the year. As you know, these Holiday Pop'ems only come out a few times a year: Christmas, Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, 4th of July, and Halloween. Let me tell you, CEO, there is entirely TOO MUCH TIME between Easter and the 4th of July AND THEN between the celebration of our nation's independence to Halloween.

And this is where my complaint letter becomes a helpful letter with a solution. Let me introduce to you the Mother’s Day Pop’em. Every mother on this planet wants little else but to indulge in some evil, sugary treat (or indulge in alcohol, but one can still function and raise children under the influence of the Pop’em. Although I have eaten myself into a sugar coma on occasion from the inhaling of one too many. It hasn’t caused me to miss school pick up, but I did have to wipe my chin extra good from the multi-colored sprinkle goatee I gave myself).

The Mother’s Day Pop’em could have pretty multi-colored sprinkles to represent the beautiful mommies out there, all quite different but yet all the same in their love of chocolate and sugar and heaven (oh, yes, and our love for our children).

I'm still working on the filler for that 4th of July to Halloween gap. In addition to the Holiday Pop’em, I do love Italian food, so maybe Columbus Day to thank the Italians for some kickass cuisine. And MTV's Jersey Shore. Yes, there you have it. We definitely need a Pop'em to thank our fine Italian friends for producing such outstanding people as Snooki and Pauly D.

Someone who would really just like sprinkled Pop'ems 365 days a year

Friday, April 16, 2010

Monkey Man Springs Into Action!

Monkey Man DOES. NOT. STOP. moving, making us laugh, making me beg for bedtime, making me wonder as soon as I wake up, "What will today bring me?", making me smile.

We welcomed spring with lots of activities and to officially kickoff spring and lots of days outside playing and enjoying the sunshine, here are some pics of Monkey being...well, Monkey Man!

Here comes Peter Cotton...wait! Since when did Peter Cottontail start using an iPod? Oh, it's just Monkey Man! He announced as he walked into the office, "I wanted to make you laugh!" Mission Accomplished!

We welcomed the Easter Bunny with some sidewalk chalk art on one of our unusually not-crappy spring days in NJ!

Monkey Man dons his designer tie for the preschool Easter parade. Fabulous tie design by Mommy, Inc.

Now you can all see where Monkey Man inherited his wackiness!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Shhh…I Have a Secret!

I have a secret that I just need to get out there in the open. It’s one that few would expect of me, even my closest friends. So, I figured this is the perfect forum to let it out. Because with a secret THIS BIG, why not do it big?

Okay, deep breath, here it goes.

When I’m in my car, I listen to Christian rock radio. (GASP! Jaws agape. The crowd roars, “NO! YOU?”) I know, I know. You are thinking, “But you have raised your child on Def Leppard and Winger! Monkey Man rocks out and YOU! - YOU listen to Christian music?” Yes, blasphemous. I know. But please, rest assured, the Christian Rock will never squelch the raging 80s rocker and 90s dancer that lives inside me.

So my retreat, my respite upon getting in my car is tuning the dial to Star 99.1. I can’t help myself. I am not a particularly religious person. (Okay, brief rundown on my religious beliefs - I do believe in Jesus but I also believe that everyone has the right to their own beliefs. I don’t think my way is the only way. I am very open to all walks of life. Okay, there you have it.) But I love getting in my car and listening to inspiring music, music that restores my faith, reminds me to hope, and tugs at my heart to remember the truly important things in life. But I can also totally get down with Timbaland and Justin Timberlake’s “Carry Out.” That’s just how I roll.

My husband thinks this little quirk about me is funny (the Christian rock thing, not so much the “Carry Out.” He’s known for a long time my love of bad pop music). He KNOWS me, and knows I am so not the girl that walks around praising the Lord and throwing around Hallellujahs (Please Note: There is absolutely nothing wrong with this. I am just not one to do it). So he thinks it’s hysterically funny when I walk around the house dropping the F-bomb when I walk into the wall for the 3rd time that day (but NOT when Monkey Man is around!), then he gets in the car that I was last driving and he’s reminded about how much Jesus loves him. But I tell him, “Jesus loves me so much that he understands how freaking annoying it is that I have no depth perception!”

So, my perfect concert? Let’s start it off with a few Def Leppard songs. Throw in some Christian rock to remind us that life is not all about spandex and mullets. Then top it off with Rick Springfield. Because what would a great concert be without attempting to grab Rick’s butt?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Thank you, Jesus!

Monkey Man was having some trouble buckling his seat belt today. It kept locking when he pulled on it, so he asked me for help. I twisted my body to face the backseat, pulled on it a few times, broke a sweat, but finally got it to stretch out so that I could buckle it. When it clicked, Monkey Man, said, "Thank you, Jesus!"

"What are you thanking Jesus for?" I laughed, thinking he was in the middle of some sort of silent prayer and getting all charismatic on me.

"I thanked Jesus for helping me with the seat belt."

Okay, fine. I guess I'll let Jesus take the credit. This is his big week. Next week, though, it's all mommy.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Past 4 1/2 But Not 5

Monkey Man turned 4 1/2 on September 11. Over the summer, he asked over and over again when he would turn 4 1/2. So once the day came, the day when he officially got over that hump and was cruising on his way to 5, he made sure EVERYONE knew precisely, exactly, how old he was.

Stranger, Family member, Friend, Anyone on the street: "How old are you?"
Monkey Man: "I'm past 4 1/2 but not 5."

Now I miss that phrase. Monkey Man turned 5 yesterday. And I might as well have turned 40 because that's how I'm reacting. His turning 5 is more upsetting than me rocketing into my, (gasp, choke, puke) last year of my mid-thirties in 2 weeks. Total aside: 36 is still mid, right? Just because mathematically we round up once we get to the 5s, I'm still in my mid-thirties, right? RIGHT?

So Monkey Man turning 5 is like a smack in the face that he is a big boy. I am a bright girl. Bright enough, anyway, to understand that he is not a baby. He is a very independent child, and I actually love and appreciate this independence. I love that he can open the door for me when I'm carrying all 50 things I didn't need from Target. I love that he can dress himself and demand that he wear the same sweatshirt that he rolled in the dirt in just the day before. I love that he can put that dirty sweatshirt in the laundry basket and understand when I tell him it needs to be washed and he can wear it tomorrow when it's clean. And he DOESN'T throw a fit.

But this turning 5 thing, it is making me sad and nostalgic. He's not a baby, a toddler, a preschooler. He's IN preschool, but when someone asks, "How old are you?" and he says 5, they might think he's in kindergarten. And being in kindergarten is fine, and when the time comes and I've cried away that first week, I'll be ready to accept it. But for now, he's still home, having fun a few days a week in his small preschool.

There are times when I can really feel that peach fuzz atop his newborn, almost-bald head rubbing against my cheek. Or when I can see clearly, like it happened yesterday, Monkey Man standing in his crib doing the sign for banana because that is what he wanted first thing in the morning when we stopped the bottle. And I can play back, almost by the minute, everything that happened on March 11, 2005 that led up to his birth and turned my world upside down.

But I'm a little crazy. And an upside down world is a lot of fun. Especially when looked at through the eyes of a 5 year-old.

Monkey Man - you are truly one of a kind, a piece of work, something else. I tell you this all the time - Even when you are a big man, you will always be my little boy. I love you to the moon and back, bunches and bunches. Freddy Spaghetti, Goofy Goofenheimer, Bud.

Now Appearing: Kip Winger & Miley Cyrus!

One of my New Year’s Resolutions (which I totally forgot to put in my New Year’s Resolutions post, but that’s nothing new. I forget everything. My head should just be a giant, yellow, sticky post-it. If it’s not written down, the thought is lost and gone forever.)

Now, where was I? Oh, yes, New Year’s Resolutions. I have declared Family Fun Nights in this house. Because, dammit, we are going to have fun, whether you people like it or not. No, really, it was born out of the extreme busy-ness that my husband and I have been immersed in these past few months. We both work, and on top of work, my husband has been contracted to write a book, which is beyond exciting, thrilling, stressful, and just about one of the most wonderful things that has happened to him (us). He has been working long and hard toward this, and it’s been difficult to find time to spend together as a family. Weekends together are practically non-existent, as he is working while I take Monkey Man on some adventure to get out of the house to give hubby some peace to work. And by adventure I mean a trip to the grandparents. So I can take a nap.

I know it’s not a novel idea these Family Fun Nights. And although together we do have fun as a family, this is a structured, one night per week, get-over-here-and-have-fun-with-us-or-be-banished-from-the-clan kind of fun night.

My first idea was breakfast in bed for dinner. I am a huge fan of making breakfast for dinner. So on this night a few weeks ago, I decided to get a little crazy and have our breakfast in bed. Pancakes and fake sausage (we don’t eat meat – well, hubby and I don’t eat meat, Monkey Man eats chicken nuggets, which again, as I stated in my New Year’s post, doesn’t really qualify as meat because who knows what the hell those things are made of). Of course, when one eats pancakes, syrup is the proper condiment choice. Please note: Syrup eaten on the bed, on your nice, clean comforter, is not smart. Waking up the next morning smelling like Cracker Barrel because, hey, look at that! Syrup was on the pillow, too! That just makes your co-workers follow you around salivating.

When dinner ended, we took the family in all its fun-ness downstairs and kicked this party up a notch. Dance Party! I plugged in the disco ball, turned off the lights, turned on the iPod, and here you have our super fun, super eclectic, playlist:

Song #1: Seventeen, by the 80s hair band Winger, has become Monkey Man’s new favorite song. This kid has a raging metal band member living inside him. One day when I figure out how to download a video (like one day when I swim with sharks, or one day when I jump out of an airplane – i.e. these things will never happen), I will post him singing, in all his naïve almost 5 year-old-ness, “She’s only seventeen (seventeen) Daddy says she’s too young, but she’s old enough for me!” He belts it out with such passion, such gusto. I fully expect him to emerge from his room one day with eyeliner, a curly, teased wig, and a pair of leopard skin pink spandex. Kip Winger would be proud. I know I am.

Song #2: Party in the USA, by Miley Cyrus just because it’s fun and kid friendly. As if kid friendly has any bearing on our musical choices. Hey, I try.

Song #3: Surfin’ USA by the Beach Boys has become a favorite to dance around and play “at the beach.” We build sandcastles in the family room and pretend we are surfing and jumping waves.

Song #4: The Indiana Jones theme song is played almost everyday as Monkey Man runs around pretending he is his new favorite hero.

Song #5: Cotton Eyed Joe gives us the excuse to dance around like we’re at some kind of crazy Square Dance while kicking up our heels and letting out a few, “Yee Haws!”

Song #6: I Got a Feeling by the Black Eyed Peas is another Monkey Man favorite. This is one that he sings to himself while he’s playing, just like an adult would sing a song that’s stuck in their head. He likes to rephrase it to, “I got a feeling, that tonight’s gonna be an awesome night.” I’m not sure why it’s going to be so awesome, and I just hope the awesomeness does not involve a 17 year-old girl.

Song #7: Pour Some Sugar on Me by the legendary Def Leppard, is Monkey Man’s new favorite Def Leppard song. We went through the Let’s Get Rocked phase, the Animal Phase, and now this. Although Seventeen is his favorite song, I have to say Def Leppard is his favorite band. And yes, I’m talking about an almost 5 year-old boy. Not a 35 year-old. Perhaps the best part of him singing this rock classic are the following lines that leave his little mouth:
“Love me like a mom…” (the beginning intro which is actually, “Love is like a bomb” and the one that makes us crack up everytime:
“You got the beat and I got the feet” (You got the peaches, I got the cream)

Family Fun Nights will continue. I have lots of ideas and we’ve already had another one that was a smashing success, however lower key in that we put our pj’s on at 4 p.m. and camped out in the living room to have a pajama party and watch a movie. But I have a sneaking suspicion that the dance party is going to be a staple. I’m just waiting to see what the new Def Leppard hit of the week will be!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

It’s in Writing…Crap.

I made a few simple New Year’s Resolutions. Nothing to get crazy about. Not a long list, because really, who needs that kind of stress and depression if the resolution is not resolved?

Go to bed by 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday (work nights)
In an attempt to read more and sleep more, I am trying this one. 25 days into the new year, I’ve been somewhat successful. It’s at least lurking at the back of my brain when it’s 10:15 and I still need to fold the laundry. It’s kind of liberating to let the laundry sit for another day because I need my beauty sleep.

I have been reading a lot more and there have been a few mornings that I haven’t felt like I’ve been hit by a truck. I’ve never gone to bed really late, 11-11:30 was the latest, but if I don’t get 8 hours of sleep, I am a miserable human being. And since Monkey Man still has not received the memo that waking before 7 a.m. is simply unacceptable, I’m really doing this for him. What 4 year-old wants to wake in the morning, all chipper and ready to start a new day, a day that he feels has endless possibilities with mommy barking, “It’s too early! Go back to bed! Okay, fine, get in our bed and I’ll put on that annoying little yellow sponge that sucks every brain cell out of your head but will buy me 30 more minutes.” So really Monkey Man, this resolution was born out of my love for you.

Stop the addiction to Facebook
As Spongebob sucks the brain cells from Monkey Man’s head, so does Facebook do to mine. I’ll get on the computer, check email, get ready to write a post, then “just check Facebook.”
Translation: I’ll get my world news from the Live Feed, find out HGTV and Food Network are back on Cablevision, get pissed at some person’s status because they are voicing their opposing political opinions a little too loudly for my taste. Then I’ll get lost on someone’s page looking at photos of my friend’s cousin’s friend’s mother’s nephew’s birthday party. Two hours later, the laundry sits, I need to iron and make lunches for the next day, I haven’t emptied the dishwasher, and I STILL haven’t written that blog post. So, on January 25, a new resolution was born: to only check Facebook on weekends.

Stop eating meat
My husband has been a vegetarian for almost 4 years. When he started, I did it for 6 months. Then I just kind of stopped, eating it (it being chicken or turkey, I haven’t had a real hamburger in probably 4-5 years) here and there if we went out to dinner. I never cook meat at home. I’ll eat it out, but I cannot stand to touch any kind of raw meat. I became very used to “fake meat” – veggie burgers, soy crumbles, fake meatballs, fake chicken – and that’s what Monkey Man eats, too (well, that and occasionally real chicken nuggets. If you can call chicken nuggets real. But he also eats the fake chicken nuggets). There really isn’t a reason for me to eat meat. I’m perfectly happy with all the meat substitutes and I know of plenty of other sources of protein and vitamins (more so now than 4 years ago). So on January 2nd I decided to go meatless again.

Maybe next year I’ll decide to give up chocolate chip cookies. Or Pop Ems. Yeah right.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Drag Queens & Preschoolers

The 'tude on this kid rivals that of a drag queen having a bad hair day. I’m finding it hard these days to come up with a funny, sweet, or witty story about Monkey Man. Because let me tell you LOUD AND CLEAR, shouting from the rooftop of my suburban home, that these days, Monkey Man’s behaviors haven’t erred on the side of funny or sweet. But witty? Well, I am most certainly at my wit’s end.

So now, I give you…
The Top 5 Things I’d Rather Be Doing Other Than Raising a 4 Year-Old:

5. Shop naked in a Beverly Hills boutique while bloated with PMS. I would rather have wealthy, snobby, nipped, tucked, carved, starving size 0 women see my body in all its water retentiveness than say one more time, “If you don’t stop whining I’m locking you in the broom closet until they do a documentary on what exactly happened in your life to turn you into the Michael Myers of our neighborhood.”

4. Relive my entire 6th grade year. At least now if my BFF passed me a note stating she is no longer my BFF because, and I quote, “You know what you did,” I would have the nerve to say to her, “F**k off bi**h.” Sometimes I think, if I survived 6th grade, there is a good chance of me making it through this stage of Monkey Man’s life.

3. Be puking drunk because at least during some part of the night I was having a good time dancing on a bar. I always had (notice past tense) a good time dancing on bars. And not for money, I’m not that kind of girl.

2. Give up any kind of product that contains chocolate for an entire year. I’m sure the shakes and sweats wouldn’t last too long, and by the end of the year, my body might be worthy of shopping naked in that Beverly Hills boutique.

1. Relive Monkey Man’s first 8 weeks. You know, that time when the newborns lay there like parasitic blobs, just taking all your sleep, your smiles, your boobs, your SELF formerly known as YOU. Because this 4 year-old thing, it’s JUST. THAT. BAD.