December 19, 2014

I Got You Covered. Period.

If you are a mother of sons, you can read this and appreciate that you are spared this ultra special bonding experience between you, your precious princess, and Aunt Flo. 

If you are a mother of daughters, you may want to be sure you've got ALL your bases covered in the feminine hygiene department. 

Because "here's the thing: in all of the knowledge you may impart about ovaries and uteri, blood and babies, pads and tampons, no one ever tells you the really IMPORTANT stuff about having your period. Until now...."
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December 7, 2014

Three Cheers for #myChargeCheer

No coincidence that my last post (let's not discuss that it was THREE months ago, shall we?) was for a myCharge giveaway.  For being involved in the giveaway, I was able to get a myCharge Energy Shot portable charger.  The Sarge used it on a recent trip to California and he was impressed.  It charged his phone WAY faster than the airport charging station.  myCharge is no joke  when it comes to portable power and they want to keep you going for the holidays (and all the days)!
This holiday season myCharge is spreading some serious cheer – and portable power – by offering to send one of their awesome portable charging devices to their Twitter followers--FOR FREE--just for RT’ing a tweet for their  #myChargeCheer campaign!  That's it!  Just visit their Twitter page, RT THIS tweet and myCharge will send you a totally free, no strings attached portable charger!  HOW COOL IS THAT?!?

Tell your friends and spread the #myChargeCheer this holiday season!  They'll think you (and myCharge) are totally awesome!  And they'd be right!


myCharge Red RazorPlus
If you're not on twitter, there is another way you can experience the power of myCharge.  I have teamed up with myCharge to offer you a Red RazorPlus.  This is a portable charger worth $49.99 that delivers an additional 13 hours of talk time for your smartphone! 

And if you still haven't found that perfect gift, myCharge is offering 25% off all chargers with the code JOLLY.  Don't be caught dead without a myCharge charger this season!  

myCharge Red RazorPlus Givveaway
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September 16, 2014

Who's in Charge? myCharge!

myCharge Giveaway

The kids are back to school, but Moms know that's only the beginning! Now that the school year is in full swing, there's no slowing down. In fact, things can start getting pretty hectic this time of year between your work and your kid's homework, after-school clubs and sports, music lessons and carpools, birthday parties and play dates...the list goes on and on! Even the most organized Mom will tell you things can change at the last minute, and Moms of all people can't afford to run out of power...we mean for your phone or tablet, of course! myCharge knows how important it is for you to stay charged and connected all day - and all school year - long, so they're giving the gift of portable power so you're never left in the red! To keep you charged and connected myCharge is giving 3 lucky winners each an iPad mini with a myCharge HUB 6000 portable charger! The amazingly compact Hub 6000 features built-in cables and connectors for smartphones, tablets, e-readers and more. Get up to 27 hours of additional talk time for your devices, as well as integrated, quick-charge wall prongs. The Hub series is commonly known as the “Swiss Army Knife of portable power devices.

 myCharge HUB6000

Additionally, 40 winners will each receive an Energy Shot compact portable charger for their smartphones that delivers an additional boost when you need it most. They come in a variety of styles and can give you up to 10 hours of talk time! (Please note, smart phone not included in giveaway).

myCharge Energy Shot

So Moms, stay out of the red this school year! myCharge is here to keep you charged and connected! For more information on products visit the myCharge website or follow them on Facebook. You can find myCharge products available at retailers such as Target and Kohl's. Fill out the entry form below September 15, 2014 - October 15, 2014 for your chance to be one of 40 winners to receive an Energy Shot Charger (10 winners randomly selected each week) and one of 3 grand prize winners randomly selected on October 15, 2014 to receive one iPad Mini with a myCharge HUB 6000 portable charger. Entrants must be at least 18 years of age or older, must live in the United States and have a valid shipping address. See giveaway form for complete list of rules and details. a Rafflecopter giveaway This is a sponsored post from myCharge.
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September 5, 2014

I will write.

I started this blog oh so long ago, just as a place to vent my feelings about a certain little lady coming into our world that I wasn't entirely rolling out the welcome wagon for.  I originally called my blog Confessions of a (Not-so-) Super Mom--because what mom wants to admit (outside of "confession") that they are absolutely NOT wanting to be a mom again?  I felt like the bane of all that is sacred and saintly about Motherhood.

I have been writing ever since I can remember.  I used to think that I would write something cool one day, like Stephen King-ish-freaky-cool stuff, but that never happened. Somewhere along the line I realized that I didn't want or need to make up stories, I just wanted to be able to tell my own.  But even that was tucked away, save several old notebooks chock full of poetic angst and a few scribbly napkins thrown in for most-likely-half-toasted-at-the-bar-spur-of-the-moment good measure.

Then life.  First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a job (or two), a kid (or two), a pound (or twenty) and life is just rolling along like a subway train--flashing by stations you didn't even know were coming until your heads whips around and they're gone.  And you're there still trying to read the signs.

Then things slow down and you've found a rhythm--you're swaying a little but holding steady on the strap--and sometimes it's bumpy and sometimes the car swings a bit wildly on the tracks but you recover.  And then when things seem the smoothest, when you think you've got it down--THIS is your life--you step off the train to discover that you're at the wrong station.  Maybe you think you can figure out where to go from here, but that doesn't make you any less pissed or panicked.

So this is the tipping point, now I start the blog. Why I don't want to be pregnant again, why I'm not happy to be a party of five, why I'm a crappy mom to feel all that. The NotsoSuperMom. That's me.
The problem, or so I thought, was that I wasn't writing anything special.  I mean, some women have awesome (and not like: dude, awesome!, but like, awe-inspiring) stories about their lives, their families, their children.  I have felt from time to time, that it never matters that I write because not that many people are reading (i.e. who cares?), but the flip side to that--the freedom--is that that can be exactly why TO write because, WHO CARES?  So I trudge along.

I will admit, as a blogger, the social media can be draining but it's hard (for me, at least) to let it go.  You want to show your stuff, you want to share and be shared, and you want to just BE a part of something so much larger than your teeny tiny Who-speck of the blogosphere.

My blog will be 4 years old next month.  Four years is a long time to do many things.  Some days I feel like I'm getting less "Super" by the minute.  Other days I feel like I hit one out of the park. But the best days of all are the ones where you realize that you are someone that someone out there might care about.

I posted this picture on my blog facebook page tonight and I looked at this gorgeous little girl and thought: "She is someone."  And my second thought was "I look pretty good" (despite the Alfalfa hairs that fought their way out of my barrette, and largely due to some artful cropping of my fat-looking knees and calves but still, I like the shot.)

And when I thought about my little girl, my last baby, being someone, it made me feel bigger (in a good way) and made me feel important. Truthfully I don't need to keep this up.  I might still write (even if I didn't do it here), and I would miss this painfully sometimes, but I would be busy enough without it.  I would regret giving it up but by then it would feel pointless to look back at what wasn't there.

I am someone.  I have a story. Not the most interesting.  Not the funniest.  Not the most popular. Just mine. MINE.  And that's the best thing I will ever have. My own story.  To share.  To tell.  To relate.

I love that word, relate.  It encompasses several different meanings:  I can relate my story, and you can relate to it.  It brings us together.  You will know me a little, and the longer you are here, the more you may learn.  And of course I will never know you--not even a little--but if you stay, you read, you relate; on some level I will know you are there.
And I will write.

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August 29, 2014

If you can't pick your nose, pick Boogie Wipes! (and win $50!)

I've never done a giveaway before, but when given the opportunity to participate in this one, my answer was a resounding ....

"WHAT are Boogie Wipes?"

Since Moo and Slim are older and The Geel is potty trained, I guess I felt that my "wipes" days were over. But Boogie Wipes aren't just any old wipe.

Boogie Wipes are the wipes you WISH you had when you wasted a diaper wipe wiping your kid's snotty face when you were walking through the mall (or the grocery store, or the zoo....) with two whiny kids, an infant with a cold, a stroller lugging a gigantic diaper bag with nary a tissue in sight.

But Boogie Wipes aren't just for babies, and they aren't just for boogers.

In celebration of Great Grape Boogie Wipes being sold at Walmart, I'm teaming up with Boogie Wipes to offer the Great Grape Summer Giveaway! (I know, I know Summer is kinda over, but boogers know no season--except cold season and allergy season--and winning money is timeless!) 

  It's a Great Grape Summer celebration! Enter to Win a $50 Walmart gift card and a Boogie Wipes prize pack. One winner each week for the next 8 weeks. Enter now!

One winner will be drawn each week for the next eight weeks and will receive a $50 Walmart gift card and a Boogie Wipes prize pack.

How to Enter

From following some of our favorite bloggers on social media to instagramming a picture of your Great Grape purchase at Walmart, there are dozens of ways to enter - and a few ways to enter every single day. Check back throughout the next eight weeks to enter again and see if you won! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Want to have more fun this summer?

Visit the Boogie Wipes blog for all sorts of summer fun ideas - including Sidewalk Chalk Recipes, Crafts and Games to Play with Pool Noodles and DIY Board Games (for when it rains). Good luck!

Giveaway is live Tuesday, July 8, 2014 until midnight on Tuesday, September 2, 2014. US and Canada residents only. One winner will be chosen each week and will be notified via email. The NotsoSuperMom received no compensation for sponsoring this event, and is not responsible for the delivery of the prize. Prize delivery is the sole responsibility of Boogie Wipes.
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August 22, 2014

Sinking and Swimming

I have often said that I can swim okay for myself, but I couldn't save anyone's life. Contrarily, The Sarge is an excellent swimmer. In fact, I love to watch him swim. It fascinates me, much like watching someone who can play an instrument well. I can do neither, and I am mesmerized when I can watch others do those things with such ease and grace.

Moo seems to take after him in this way. She has always loved the water and took to it fairly well without too much teaching. Slim just last year really got the hang of it. He had always liked the water too, but took a little longer to pick up actual swimming skills. And even though Moo is now 12 and Slim is soon-to-be 10 neither of them are ever in the pool unsupervised.

We were at my in-laws last weekend and they have an in-ground pool. The kids love it because they have always been able sit on the steps with a "floaty" even before they could swim well.  I love it because I have never needed to climb and/or carry anyone up and down a ladder to get in or out.  The Geel just turned three a few months ago and while she has enjoyed being carried around the pool the last few years, this year she has been less interested in getting in the pool than she has been in playing with the plethora of pool noodles, inflatables and boogie boards lying around it. And I am perfectly happy letting her play around the pool (heavily supervised) rather than IN it because I'd prefer not to be IN it. In addition to not being the greatest swimmer, I'm just not a water-sports person in general.  Truthfully, I'm not an any-kind-of-sports-person, but I digress. 

This last visit, The Geel has been obsessed with the pool toys. Obsessed. She takes them out of the storage bin. She gathers them around her all within arm's reach of the pool steps. She puts them in the pool; she takes them out.  They float away; I retrieve them. Until she decides to retrieve them herself. My mother-in-law and I both watched her walk around to the deep end and try and grab a boogie board that had escaped her. Of course she knocked it away from the edge and we watched tensely as she bent over the side, determined to grab it's slippery edge. Never taking our eyes off her we discussed in hushed tones her lack of fear. A few feet away we waited for the inevitable splash. It never came. Success(!) as she grabbed the elusive board and carried it back to her domain on the steps of The Shallow End. Her lack of fear now solidified.

The following day we are again out back at the pool. Same obsession, same toys, same scenario. She gathers, they fall in, they float away. This time the object of her attention is a large inflated alligator. She has seen the big kids climb aboard many times from the side of the pool. She is determined. This time, I know, there will be no success. It is impossible that she will be able to mount this creature like the older kids with their longer limbs and so much experience. She will go in. I watch from about 10 feet away. I am sitting in a chair but I am tensed to spring up and out, never taking my eyes off her, knowing she will slip from my gaze and under the water. Knowing I will likely need to go in after her. This is how fast it happens:

In the fraction--THE NEARLY IMMEASURABLE FRACTION--of a second that I glance down to ensure my path was clear, she disappeared. I shot like an arrow to the pool. I, the not-so-great swimmer. I, fully clothed in my pajamas, rush over. And in the following FRACTION of a second I decide that she is too far from the edge for me to easily grab any part of her, but I am equally afraid that she is too close to leave enough room for my 160+ pound self to jump in the water without dragging her down further in the effort. I jumped in and tried my best not to disturb her, not to push her further under. I wrapped my arm around her torso, grabbed the edge of the pool, and hoisted her upper body out of the water. I spun her around and threw her over my shoulder while she coughed up whatever had made its way into her airways. I pulled and kicked us down to The Shallow End where I could stand. She cried and I felt that fear. Knowing I was going to let her fall didn't make the experience any less scary for me. But the absolute worst thing was that under the water, she was so horribly still. She was face down in the water and words just flew at me from childhood pool games: Dead Man's Float. I wasn't afraid that she had died just falling under, but she made zero effort whatsoever to move under the water. No flailing. No thrashing. Just stillness. A terrifying stillness.

This is us, right after wards.
Note the "WhyTF are you
taking my picture?" face.
In the end she was fine. I was probably more shaken, of course, thinking about the alternative consequences. And although has been seemingly no less afraid of the water since then, she has been asking for more help fetching the pool toys.

I do wonder if I should have let her fall in at all, and I do not pat myself on the back for "saving" her. I am no hero, right?  I mean, I let it happen. But everything was okay in the end. I, the not-so-super-swimmer, did not sink. I swam.

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June 19, 2014

Annie Get Yer Gun (or The Night I Almost Shot my Yoga Pants)

We live in a fairly rural area outside what is perceived to be a "sleepy" little college town, and although it is not the innocent small town many people would like it to be, it is definitely not on any list of worse places to live in the United States. However, we have seen our share of incidents--and not terribly far from where we live--in addition to our own brush with vandalism.

The Sarge, being, well, a sarge, is definitely a believer in the Second Amendment. Not card-carrying NRA members, we are gun-owners.  We bought one in particular because it would be easier for me to handle, in the case that I should need to "handle" anything while he is away. 

Annie Get Your Gun

The Sarge went away a few weeks ago for his National Guard Annual Training. Since Spring had finally decided to stay in the Northeast, the weather had been pretty nice. Enjoying my solitude, I decided to sit out on our back deck with a glass of wine, gaze at the stars, troll facebook on my smartphone and successsfully avoid the literal mountain of laundry in my living room.

Laundry? What laundry?
It was kind of chilly, so I donned one of The Sarge's hoodies before heading out to bask in the starlight and the tiny glow of social media. I even brought the dog with me so that she could take care of her nightly before we both turned in. One glass down, some trolling accomplished, I decided to head back in for a refill. As I walked back in the house I see a pair of my yoga pant strewn carelessly across the floor (to the right of the baskets in the picture).

Huh? How did THOSE get THERE? The dog was out with me, so she wasn't rifling through the laundry (not that she ever even does that. Ever.) As far as I knew the kids were all in bed as I am certain they would have called for me had they gotten out of bed and I was not there. All that in about 1.2 seconds and I am now officially FREAKED OUT.  What? The? Fuck?

So I scurry back to our bedroom and free the aforementioned weapon from it's hiding place. I inserted the magazine into the grip and came back down the hall.....

Now might be a good time to mention that I've never actually fired this weapon. I am licensed to carry and I usually get a refresher course from The Sarge before he goes away. This time was no different. In fact, we had taken it with us on a recent trip and I had put it away myself.  It had been a while since I'd held it. Before I locked it up, I inserted the clip (I was ALONE in my home) but forgot how to remove it. We took it out and The Sarge reminded me how to remove it and how to chamber a round and how to release the safety.

So I head out into the kitchen to retrieve my phone. I closed and locked the open back door and decided to walk downstairs to check things out. The downstairs was "clear" and the garage doors were locked. I came back upstairs and just stared at the yoga pants, as if they might just stand up and walk themselves back to wherever they came from. 

What? The? Fuck? I was still freaked out and could not figure out HOW in the hell they came to be in the middle of the floor or why? What kind of message was this would-be intruder trying to send me by carelessly tossing my pants on the floor? "Get off the floor, you lazy bitch!" "Do some housework!" "FOLD ME! FOLD ME!" What could he possibly be saying that the mountain of laundry wasn't already? 

Like any faithful Law and Order junkie, I surveyed the scene. One glass of wine was not enough to make me think that I had thrown down some yoga pants and completely forgot that I had done so, but I was the only person awake in the house, so what HAD I done? Let's retrace my steps......
I poured myself some wine, stepped outside and set it and my phone down so that I could go back in for a jacket. I got The Sarge's hoodie from the hook by the front door, held it in front of me and swung it around to slide both arms in while walking toward the kitchen. THE HOODIE!!  My yoga pants must have been static-ly clinging to the inside of The Sarge's hoodie! When I swung it around they must have fallen out onto the floor! Obviously I didn't notice and I never looked back on my way to the back door.

Mystery solved! And the only thing shot in the process was my nerves. Lenny Briscoe would be proud.

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June 12, 2014

The Sugar: I Am Not an Activist.

One thing I have learned on this journey is that it is a very personal one for each of us on it. Another thing I have learned is that I am not an activist.

This is a statement I've made many times and it has been a source of both pride and shame.  I am proud to say it because I wouldn't have the nerve to turn my daughter or her disease into a cause. Besides (and more pointedly), I am too lazy--which is sometimes the source of my shame over the matter. However I put the question to myself, I have never felt any judgement on the matter from anyone else. But I sometimes wonder if I could or should be doing more. 

There are always opportunities to fund raise, organize walks, participate in walks and I'm sure many ways to donate time. Of course, I can't even find time to donate to my laundry. The thought of even organizing ANYTHING is overwhelming and exhausting before I ever lift a finger--forget about actually DOING anything. I know real moms--ok, one mom--with more kids than I, who works full time, home-schools (I have no idea how that happens), works out regularly and travels quite a bit.

Meanwhile I can't even figure out how to get Moo and Slim each to one weekly Scouts meeting, write some semblance of a blog post at least once a month and take less than three months to do our taxes every year. This is above and beyond all the regular day-to-day stuff.  Obviously my friend must not sleep. Clearly, the almost-six, frequently-interrupted  hours I'm getting is way too much.

The other day I had to call our new pharmacy company because Moo received two incorrect prescriptions--for both types of insulin. Thankfully we are not at a point where this is an emergency situation, but while I was on hold with the pharmacy my mind wandered and wondered about what I would do if it was. Would I bust down the doors of the local CVS demanding this necessary drug, lest my daughter's life be at stake? (I totally would.) And THAT I wouldn't even consider "activism." I mean, life-threatening situations are not something negotiated over meetings and facebook events.

So then what exactly is my threshold of activism? Do I even have one? Even after giving this some measure of thought, sadly, I have no clear answer. I would never judge anyone for the tremendous effort they put in to help any cause. Everyone's time is valuable, and many of us have limited resources.  It is no small thing to generate a money for and interest in something that can affect our lives and the lives of so many others in significant ways. Obviously, I would never let a life or death matter idle on while I was busy folding clothes or loading the dishwasher. I would bust down those doors and I would do whatever necessary to keep my daughter alive and/or safe.

On the other hand, I really don't see myself organizing a walk or a bake sale or doing much to raise money or awareness. It feels and it probably is pathetic to even say as much, but I can't even figure out how to activate my kids to do a couple chores every week, how could I possibly motivate a number of folks to donate their hard earned cash and valuable time for my cause? My lack of enthusiasm for the idea is obviously not motivational. I just hope it doesn't come across as apathy to my daughter. I could not love her any more than I could love this disease less.
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June 2, 2014

Know Thy Enemy

I sat down to write about something completely NOT this post, but after a quick trip to the bathroom this post has been hijacked by your friendly neighborhood domestic centipede.

know thy enemy
(Nothing makes my skin crawl likes these fuckers.)

I HATE THEM. Like, a lot. 

So I took a potty break,and what do I see out of the corner of my eye? The biggest domestic centipede that has every traipsed it's long hairy legs through my house, scurrying along the inside of the bathtub.

I wish wish wish I had run to get my phone and taken a picture, but you have to act fast when you see one of these bitches on the run. It's body was at least an inch and a half long. Just the body!!--that's not including the length of the antenna and those whip-like legs propelling it forward.

Usually when faced with such a fast opponent, my go-to method of extermination is a spray bottle of whatever deadly (at least to an insect) chemical cleaner I can grab first. I spray the enemy liberally (or sometimes even spray the projected path of my adversary, if they are too fast for a direct hit) and wait for the poison to exact is toxic affects, incapacitating the beast so that I can run for approximately 8 paper towels with which to dispose of the vile (sometimes still-twitching) remains.

Knowing that I had no such weapon in the limited storage space under my bathroom sink, my only choice was hand-to-hand combat with a mere wad of toilet paper for protection. In the brief time it took me to grab my "weapon" it was heading behind the shower curtain. While pulling back the shower curtain I lunged toward it and squashed it with my soft but powerful toilet paper wrecking ball.

It was so large that even Scott's Extra Soft couldn't contain the carnage. There was a disgusting smear of brown-black gunk on my tub that, in the nanosecond that it took me to wipe up, I briefly considered photographing. But I like you people, so I have spared you the gory photographic evidence of my crime. My apologies to those of you who would have preferred confirmation, but I really just wanted to clean that shit up as fast as I could.  Maybe next time I'll grab my phone on the way to the paper towels.
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May 30, 2014

This Stall is Taken.....

Today I am BEYOND thrilled to join the women in the stalls at In The Powder Room.

I never thought I'd be so thrilled to be allowed into a stall for any reason, especially since most of the time it's by my toddler so I can wipe her ass.

Toilet humor aside, you definitely want to check this throne room out.  And definitely get on their list.  You won't be disappointed.  There are some hysterical ladies relieving themselves of some funny.  You'll laugh so hard, you'll pee. (Or is that just me?)

Please, please head on over to In The Powder Room today to see if I can help you determine the answer to an age-old question:  Is the pen mightier than the sword?  You be the judge.......

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May 8, 2014

I Am Mom, Hear Me Snore

I am tired.

I say this way too frequently for someone who is in half-decent shape and still climbing the climb this side of "over the hill."  (Which, incidentally, as a child I used to think was 40, but now that I'm 40 I'm not sure where the hill crests, but I'm pretty sure I haven't reached it yet.)

And I'm not saying that it's not entirely true. Sometimes (okay, a lot of the time) I am actually tired in whatever varying degree. The best illustration of that point is that I should be in bed right now. I feel like there just isn't enough time in the day, so if something needs to be done (after work and family time and dinner and whatever extracurricular activity we have scheduled on any given night and laying with the toddler for an hour waiting for her to fall asleep and paying bills or whatever is on my agenda after said toddler actually falls asleep) what gets sacrificed is MY sleep.

But at what point can I reasonably expect my kids not feel like it is at their expense? It's not a choice I am making--to use this as an intentional excuse--but it's something that has been weighing on me lately.  It is such an easy fallback that it is definitely overused. And it's a terrible catch-all for everything:  I'm upset. I'm frustrated. I'm scared. I'm overwhelmed. I'm angry. I'm miserable.
It hides a multitude of "sins."

I don't think any of us have it easy. We've all seen the World's Toughest Job interviews, but if I'm acting like The Geel without a nap and throw in a serious yawn, it can handily mask the next few minutes of yelling at the kids for whatever minor thing that got my hackles up.

And when it is even just a little bit true, it exacerbates anything else that is gnawing at you. Angry at your boss? Stressed about that late car payment? Frustrated over your kid's messy room? Upset about a falling out with a friend? Sprinkle a little "tired" on any of that and your molehill just turned into a mountain. And it's all too easy to throw a blanket of tired over it all and call it okay.

We tell toddlers to use their words when they are frustrated, screaming, and having trouble communicating what it is they want.  As a writer, I have no excuse for not mining my brain for the right word. As a mom, I have an obligation to my kids to mine my heart for the right feeling. I don't want them to feel like they are what is being sacrificed in my exhaustion/frustration/anger/misery.

What I need to be is more self-aware and less inclined to fall into the "tired-trap."
So right now what I'm feeling is guilty. And just a little tired.
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April 1, 2014

Slim's cup runneth over......

Despite today's date, this is no joke. Slim tells me yesterday that he got an O+ in cup stacking. Yes, you read that right: cup stacking.

Apparently, cup stacking is now something that my children participate in as a component of their physical education. Now I'm no gym rat, but I'm pretty sure that cup stacking is neither physical nor educational. I guess if you're somewhere in the 7-10 year old range you might consider it fun, but maybe I'm too old to understand that kind of fun.

Red Solo Cup
Now THIS is educational.

When I was that age, fun stuff usually involved ACTUAL physical activity, like riding a bike or playing tag or jailbreak. Our parents told us to "go play." And we did. We went outside for hours and ran around. We played games and picked blueberries in the woods. When the kids say they're bored am I supposed to tell them to go stack some cups?

And whose idea was this? What meeting of the minds came up with cup stacking as a Phys Ed activity? Oh, I'm sure it's budget friendly. Those red plastic cups are surely cheaper than playground equipment (although you wouldn't know it by the way I wash and hoard them after a party.) And I'm sure the teachers were grateful for an alternate indoor activity after the crappy winter we've had. Red Light, Green Light and Duck, Duck, Goose probably got old way back in November. Bring out those cups, Bob!

Now, lest you think I honed in too quickly on the cup stacking itself and neglected the part about the O+, wait no more. Let me rephrase my opening sentence:  My son was given an actual freakin' GRADE on his CUP. STACKING. So not only did someone think this was worthy of the curricula, it was elevated to the level of a graded activity.  So they're not just passing time, or keeping the kids occupied, teachers are evaluating cup stacking skills! Is this for real? Yup. Our taxpayer dollars at work. 'Merica.

I mean, we live in a college town, so my kids' exposure to Red Solo cups is already far greater then the average kid in East Bumblestick, America. It really isn't necessary to introduce them in the fourth grade. Obviously my biggest concern here is really that this cup stacking stuff is just a gateway activity to something far worse. We all know that once your kid handles some Red Solo cups the stacking is just the beginning. It's just a matter of time before they're playing beer pong and tailgating with Toby Keith.
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March 10, 2014

The Day I First Met You (and You, and You)

This week I have so graciously been given space over at The Day We First Met sharing all three of my birth stories.  I recently published Moo's on her birthday last month and they are starting with that one there tonight.

Moo, Slim, The Geel and I are all honored to be featured there and hope you will check out our stories. Definitely head on over to the site and check out all of the ways in which they celebrate different families. You can also find them on facebook or follow them on twitter.

Moo's Story:  Unto Me, a Moo Was Born
Slim's Story:  Not-so-slim baby Slim
The Geel's Story: That's What Little Geels Are Made Of....

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February 13, 2014

That Lovin' Feelin'

The Sarge and I are not big romantics.  We met at a club about 16 years ago and it was not love at first sight.  In fact, I was not really sure I liked him at all and ended our conversation with empty promises to try and catch him at his landscaping job in the South Jersey shore town where I would be vacationing with some girlfriends at some point during the following weeks.  I never did.

It was at the same club about six or seven months later that we met up again and this time made more of a connection.  We talked all night and made plans to see each other again at the club.  A few weeks later we had our first date NOT at the club, but the place was a favorite of ours and our respective groups of friends and so we continued to frequent the place.

Because we lived nearly an hour apart, when we first began dating we would mostly plan to meet at the club. Maybe it was because we each went with our friends, or maybe it was just because neither of us was particularly needy individuals, but even as a couple we would go to the club and kind of do our own thing.

Part of this was the nature of the beast.  Sanctuary was (for lack of better descriptives) a Gothic/Industrial place filled with an "Alternative" crowd.  Windmilling around the dance floor is not especially conducive to dancing with a partner.  And although I've seen couples moshing, stomping and even skanking together, none are likely to be considered typically romantic.  

Of course we spoke and had drinks and hung out, but we never danced "together" and we didn't wander around holding hands or falling all over each other. Even after we were spending a lot of time together and actually travelling there with each other we could spend most of the night hardly seeing each other. I'm sure a good many people didn't even know we were a couple.

But aside from the environment, we were just not touchy-feely people. I come from a large Italian family on my mom's side, and we can hug you like nobody's business (seriously, it can take me over 45 minutes to say goodbye to everyone at a family gathering) but the whole PDA thing has never been my bag. I will hug my friends upon seeing them; I have ZERO qualms about smooching my kids whenever and wherever; but I have never been a big lovey-dovey, hand-holding, kissy-kissy foo-foo face, arms-around-each-other-walking-around-town-because-I-NEED-to-touch-you kind of person. And neither has Sarge.  

We're okay with it.  But people think it's weird. And perhaps weirder is we're not especially affectionate talkers either. We don't often say "I love you" after phone calls and such, or even face to face a whole lot. We say it when we need to, or maybe when we think it needs to be heard. Of course, I would never knock anyone that says it all the time, but for sure I can say for us:  it's not automatic, rote, or expected.  

Of course, Valentine's Day is upon us, (not to mention that our 10 year wedding anniversary just passed--uncelebrated) and although I don't hate on this romantic "holiday" I am largely apathetic about it. I find the whole thing to be grossly commercialized--like SO MANY holidays these days--and, well, cluttered.  

Maybe I'm just too practical for Valentine's Day. Everything just seems to be a waste. Flowers? Dead in 3 days. Chocolate? A moment on the lips...and you know the rest. (I don't need that extra work, ya feel me?) And stuffed animals? Seriously, it might be simpler to give your loved one a bag of dust mites and some allergy medicine. Who needs another stuffed monkey holding a chocolate rose and a balloon on a stick?,27s_day.jpg
Honestly, this wasn't meant to be a hatin-on-V-Day-post. It just seemed the right time to put it out there that it takes all kinds--and their significant others. Some of us are just a little (or a lot) less public about it and totally okay with it. You keep your sloppy kisses on the sidewalk, I'll take my grabass in the kitchen doing the dishes. It may not be ideal, or even normal to some, but it's all we need.
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February 10, 2014

Unto me, a Moo was born.

My Moo turned twelve today. Not the most momentous of birthdays, but her last as a PRE-teen. Next year it begins: I shall know the torture of life with a teenager.  But I'm getting way ahead of things.

I started this blog when I found out I was unexpectedly (and not entirely welcome-ly) pregnant with The Geel, but truthfully none of my babies were planned. And although they were all unexpected, none were unwanted. Moo was, of course, our first surprise....

The Sarge and I were not married and had been together for almost four years. I found out I was pregnant the week preceding Father's Day. I bought him his first Father's Day card and that's pretty much how I told him I was pregnant.

After the initial 13 weeks of "morning" sickness--which was "all the time" sickness for me--everything went well until a late ultrasound showed that Moo had an enlarged kidney. I don't want to make light of this because at the time we were pretty upset and very worried about it, but it is apparently not terribly uncommon and a lot of infants "grow into it" and that is what eventually happened with Moo.

Friday, February 8, 2002 rolls around and I am getting ready to make spaghetti and clams for dinner. One thing I hate is waste--especially when it comes to food.  I will eat leftovers that the dog would pass on, just so I don't have to throw them away. So of course, as soon as I crack open the clams, my water breaks.  We had a 45 minute drive to the hospital, so we didn't wait around.

I got there and they basically told me that it wasn't my water that broke and that I just peed my pants, but since by then I was having some contractions they would be nice enough to let me hang around and walk some laps around the ward in the hopes that my labor would progress and they wouldn't have to send me on a 45-minute drive home. It did.  We stayed.

My contractions became pretty regular but not earth-shattering and I did my best to rest through the night, as much as anyone can with the automatic blood pressure cuff reminding you that you are alive--yet not asleep.

In the morning my labor was going well and my epidural was going even better. I basically sat around doing crossword puzzles while my contractions got stronger and stronger. When it came time to push, the epidural was working a little too well, and I had no idea what I was doing.  The nurses were telling me to push harder, breathe, good job, whatever; I was just doing my best not to look like I had no idea what I was doing.

At some point someone told me to wait before pushing one last time--which I didn't hear in all the hubbub--so I kept bearing down and out came 9 pounds 2 ounces of Moo, breaking her collarbone (audibly!) and shredding my undercarriage on the way.  Two-plus hours of putting Humpty Dumpty back together and I was finally able to hold my little pink bundle of sugar and spice and everything nice.

She was a big baby, a solid little toddler and is now, at 12, nearly as tall as I am. She will always be my first baby and I will always remember the time we had together just Mommy and Moo until Slim came along. She has grown into an awesome girl and I could not be more proud of her. I can't and probably don't tell her enough. She is beautiful in so many ways and I hope she knows it and feels it about herself.
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January 6, 2014

Just Say No. (or If The Drugs Don't Kill You, I Will.)

Today I had to help Slim with a Cub Scouts project.  Among other tasks he had to tell me why smoking and drinking are bad for one's health.  Then he had to tell me why drugs were bad.  Slim was a bit stumped and admittedly, I was kind of proud. I'm no expert, but my first place poster in the "Say No to Drugs" poster contest in the third grade kind of gives me a leg up, I think. However it dawned on me that his naivete and book-smarts may be no match for an on-the-spot "Psst-do-you-want-to-try-this-it'll-make-you-feel-good" scenario.

I will be the first to admit that I watch too much I am a big fan of Dr. Phil, but one of the scariest things I see on his show is those kids who are addicted to one drug or another and who he is shipping off to some rehab ranch out in the middle of nowhere. I watch those episodes with equal amounts of terror, it-couldn't-possibly-happen-to-me/my kids/my family and maternal guilt (that I am not preparing my kids enough for the inevitable invitation).

Although the Sarge and I have never had a specific conversation regarding our kids and drugs, I am 110% certain that his entire argument is "Don't do drugs or I will kill you." Period.  And although I agree 110% with the sentiment, I feel like an actual conversation needs to be had.

Slim is nine, and he's very intelligent, but I wanted to keep this as simple yet thorough as possible. I explained the difference between OTC drugs, prescription drugs and street/illegal drugs.  I explained that OTC drugs can be harmful when used incorrectly and that even prescription drugs can become illegal when put in the wrong hands.

We talked about the body and the mind--how drugs can effect you physically AND mentally.  Thoughts, feelings and actions are all altered. How you can quickly become addicted and how that vicious cycle can spiral out of control. How they can take over your life and ruin everything. Physical and figurative poison.

I didn't want sound like a naive third grader making a poster.  I have had up close and personal daily contact with people on drugs. My sister's high school boyfriend died from an overdose.  My old roommate and best friend smoked pot quite frequently and a former (relatively recent) coworker was an addict.  I have also tried them myself--something I did choose to tell Slim. I smoked pot when I was 20. It was never something I did with much regularity and it was a choice I made as an adult (albeit a young one with few responsibilities). Thankfully it was not something I was ever pressured to do when I as younger.

Although I was fortunate never to have encountered drugs at his age, I told him that there was a very real possibility that he might. I told him there are three reasons that someone might try drugs:  they feel pressured by friends, they are trying to escape reality or they are curious. I want my children to have the confidence in themselves to not feel that pressure, enough happiness to not ever want to escape their reality and enough pride in their accomplishments to not want to satisfy that curiosity.

I feel that the worst thing, the absolute worst thing about drugs is that they change who you are--in every conceivable way--and I want them to love themselves enough to not ever risk changing that.
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