Category Archives: The kids

A picture of insanity

Meet the Schnoodle, our new addition

As IF an English Lab and a Chihuahua were not enough dander producing creatures to abide in our home, we took in a Schnoodle (part Schnauzer, part Poodle).

Why?!?

But I need my very own dog! I LOVE her! She NEEDS me and I NEED her!

Sigh, incase you couldn’t figure it out by now I am a sucker for cute, manipulative kids and animals have always had my heart!  Wish me well as we continue to add to our zoo and the “R”esponsibility that comes with it.  I seem to avoid the “R” word until after the fact.  But not to worry, we are responsible pet owners which is why we haven’t dumped our food scavenging, neighborhood trolling, professional vomiting, massively shedding English Lab yet.

Tell me what works for you and your pet zoo.  How do you guys handle the responsibility of caring for your pets and budgeting the expense (those Vets are making the cash $$$!) Oh my, I just realized that we will now have three dogs to find sitters for when we take those elusive family v-cays!!  Yikes….suggestions?  And offing them is not an option – just sayin’

Bra burning and the start of school…embrace who you are!

After screaming and dragging my feet in imaginary dirt, I am (f i n a l l y) in the back to school spirit given that my three departed from our summer loving  abode this week and boarded the big yellow bus.  I was dreading the start of school because I truly love the chilled days of summer where we throw abandonment to any form of schedule.  We stay up late, sleep in late, eat crap and burn our bras (this actually happened when my mom hurled her ill-fitting bra into the bonfire flames late one hot summer night).

It is the raw stuff that makes life fun and provides for interesting conversation when my second grader answers the first day ‘getting to know you’ question of “What did you do or see this summer?”  Sorry Mom.  If you receive odd looks during Grandparents Day, you now know why!

They have been in school a mere three days and in addition to a quiet house, I am beginning to delight in the return of an organized schedule.  There is something to be said for a routine and for once, my descriptive adjectives are positive.

Maybe it is because I have finally embraced who I am.  I know my weakness (my 5:30am wake-up and addiction to the snooze button) and can prepare for success in spite of them (making sure my offspring are awake, fed, sometimes clean, and on the bus).

I no longer feel inadequate or make excuses for what makes me, me. Ok, maybe I lapse into excuse making inadequacy when I spot a super organized, highly polished, morning loving Mama as I stand there with exercise sweat still on my pants wearing the sports bra that (as my youngest so observantly pointed out) my flat chest does not really require. Or worse (yes there are worse things than clothes bearing exercise sweat and sports bras) when I fail to get dressed and hear the surprised greetings of Mr. Pavlov or the kids “You didn’t even change today?!?”  Yeah?  So what? I like my jammies.  But this lapse is short-lived once I (mentally and occasionally physically) slap myself a few times and picture the highly efficient mama in my state.

I am happy that this “embrace who you are” vibe has taken root in my kids given that I’ve only been spewing this point since their birth!!! My youngest shrugged off the five question limit that his teacher imposed upon him the second day of school with a simple,

 “I like to know information and I have a lot of questions. It’s who I am.”

The two older ones are unmoved by social standards or “norms” when usually, at their age(s), these two factors are most important.  If they don’t like it (whatever it may be), it isn’t happening!  They are confident in their skin and are not willing to compromise who they are [insert a big parental YAY!]

It appears as if my brother and sister-in-law have embraced the same ‘be who you are’ parenting theme.  My nephew not only beats to his own drum but has is own music.  He is one highly successful child and makes no excuses for who he is or what makes him tick.

This was taken when my sister-in-law had to visit his school.  She smiled with immediate recognition.  This picture says it all and sums it up……

In a world of followers be unique, be you and burn a bra or two!

I’m curious.  Who besides my Mom has actually burned their bra? The few bras that I own happen to be Victoria’s Secret.  This flat chested wonder needs all the assistance that I can get and the VS miraculous bra does the job nicely.  Miracles are indeed created in the form of a small cleavage appearing on my chest.  Who cares that a bullet could pass through the bra and never penetrate skin or that one could bruise or wound the unfortunate soul who happens to come in contact with the bra weaponry.  Yes, there is THAT much padding and push of which does not come cheap.  So at $49.95 a bra there’s no way they will be seeing flames anytime soon.

All in a year

I am amazed at the difference a year can make in the lives of my little human beings.  Sometimes even in mine (if I’m not in an omigosh this phase is dragging funk).

Last summer you may remember this post where my youngest was apprehensive (and bordering the indications for therapeutic intervention) of our little Tiki Man water toy.

365 days later and wa-la…he discovered the pure joy of Mr. Tiki:

He was content with the quality time he and Mr. Tiki were having

Yes, this is safe but thanks for asking Mr. Tiki

Dancing the Tiki

Drinking the Tiki

Constipating the Tiki

Wait, this constipation is fun....let's put him in the grass and see just how much pressure I can create!

Until….he discovered the raw power he held in his hands….

I'm holding a weapon!

Let's kill some grass

But grass killing is boRRRING!

It all began with this look

And there was not a sibling in sight to “bond” with.  Well, not a human sibling anyway.  He did spot a sibling of sorts. And off he went.

C'mere my sibling!

And our fur child entered into some forced bonding time with the Tiki possessed being.

MOMMY HELP ME! I'm TIED down!!!

I know I'm a water loving Lab but this is grounds for animal cruelty!!

See, sometimes I am just too engrossed in my footage that I forget to intervene.  Happens. all. the. time.

Eventually I came to my senses and called off the Tiki weapon wielding child.  It was this intervention that brought the realization of my interactable human status into the equation. Before this, I was just a camera holding prop.

But no longer…

Ready....

AIM...

SATURATE!!!!

I believe you can even see the splatter on my lens with that one. After he was content with the status of my saturation he went on to the enivitable.  In fact, being a boy, I was surprised that this was not the FIRST and possible ONLY activity he engaged in with Mr. Tiki.

Mr. Tiki, the appendage

Then in true boy fashion he turned proudly to face all of creation (who, after watching what happened to our Lab, screamed and hid in horror).

Look out world. Here my appendage and I come!

I can’t wait to see what happens next year.  Or, maybe I can!

Summer, Hippies and Hoes

I was outside today (exactly one week into our summer vacation) and, as I hit my leg on the hoe, I smiled.  Smiled?  Yes, a big toothy smile.  Why?  Because I was reminded of this post that I posted last year at this exact time.  The next time you see a hoe, I bet you will smile too.

The place of my conception???

Our summer is in full swing and I love it!!  I love the carefree schedule that summer brings.  The chill out, peace, love and be happy days of summer.  The more I think about my emotional make-up I become increasingly convinced that my parents were closet hippies and my conception took place in a flower power van during a make love, not war convention.  I am so chill that reefer could be my middle name…but I’ll stick with Ann.

The clouds part, the heavens open, a light shines forth and a majestic voice is heard saying "I can't believe she is fishing!!"

What have we been doing?  Absolutely nothing yet everything!  We take this time to focus on the important things in our lives which are people.  Our days are filled with family, friends, devotions and of course fun! Fun that is, until I hear the expected words sung throughout our home– the aggravating wails of “I’m BORED” — and just one mere week into summer break too!  So this chilled out person kicked everyone outside equipped with hoes, rakes, diggers and whatever I could find in the shed and told them to go show my garden and yard some love.  I felt proud.  I nipped that boredom in the bud. Yes. I. Did.

Buuut, then I realized this single act of forced labor may come back to haunt me.  Why?  Because my youngest could be heard shouting “c’mon hoe let’s go love on mom’s yard.” 

Yep.  Priceless, I know.  And I even laughed…a little, until I visualized the repercussions of being out in a very public place and…you get it.  He loves to repeat new-found adjectives and has done so before (click to read)…quite well!

Of course these words spoken in innocence caused the older two to burst out into convulsions of uncontrollable laughter which encouraged him to shout even louder…aaannnddd a vicious cycle is born.

Sigh, note to self: NEVER give a 5-year-old a hoe and tell him to love on your yard because he’s likely to form a complete sentence.

Happiness is when the tooth fairy takes her dementia meds

This is worth at least $5

Continuing with the dental theme, Tres just lost another tooth (proudly displayed above).  I can’t keep up with this kid.  He laughs out teeth.  He sneezes out teeth.  He coughs out teeth.  Ok, not really but they are dropping faster than my aging skin.  And these baby pearls come with a high price tag.

Remember when .25 cents was the going rate and anything above was a massive bonus?  Today kids expect green backs…paper…dollars (plural!)  I learned of this fact by evesdropping listening to a ball field conversation where a few kids were discussing their tooth fairy earnings….earnings that could be claimed on a 1040EZ!!

But this tooth fairy’s kids are happy for whatever they find under their pillow because this tooth fairy is incompetent.  The incompetence grew worse with each child and sadly, Tres didn’t stand a numerical chance.  She often forgets about the tooth and day after day her kids awake to the [now stinkin’] tooth under their pillow.  So when the tooth is finally replaced with whatever she can scrounge up, elation is the emotion in this house.  The dejected “She didn’t come again…my tooth is still here…I think she has dementia!!!” is replaced with “I got a quarter!!!!!!! She came!!!!! She took my tooth!!!!!  Whoo-hoo she must have taken her dementia meds!!!”

We also do other things like attempt to capture the developmental moment…..

Holding a tooth penny and refusing to show the missing teeth

I won't smile.

Not gonna happen...my teeth are "private parts!"

I could claim mad genius.  I could say that it was the tooth anti-inflation master plan all along.  And when they blame me for ruining the reputation of the imaginary characters of their youth I just may.  But for once my disorganized, forgetful ways paid off.

I am not super mom.  I am not the organized, crafty type.  I am not Martha Stewart.  I am imperfectly human.  I dig in dirt without gloves and get dirt under my finger nails.  I make a mess, daily.  I live, laugh and love hard….

…and I forget about the teeth under my kid’s pillows.

From feeder fish to fun

My last post dislodged some thoughts.  I seem to experience mental constipation a little too frequently and memories/thoughts that are not routinely used are tightly compressed.  Blogging is my mental laxative.

And my most recent explosive blow involves trips to the dentist.  Remember those?  Am I the only one who experienced a cardiac standstill at the mere mention of the word?  The dentist struck terror in my heart.  I shook.  I prayed for deliverance.  I grew pale and clammy.  I went into shock (they just didn’t know that it was shock back then).

I didn’t always react like that.  During my first trip to the dentist, I was like a feeder fish in a tank of piranhas.  Back in the day we ate what we wanted.  We brushed our teeth when we wanted.  Dental hygiene wasn’t a big deal to us until the teen years.  Parents weren’t total freaks like we are now.  So it was no surprise that I had my share of cavities.

During my first dental visit, I smiled an innocent smile (bearing the evidence of the chocolate Hershey bar I had moments before ) totally unaware of the horror that awaited.  I climbed into the big, weird-looking chair that reclined sending my spit to conveniently pool in the back of my throat cutting off my air supply.  If the lack of oxygen and bronchospasms didn’t do me in, then the dental machinery (high power cheek and tongue sucker, drills, pic axs, high pressure water hose, mirror too large for my mouth, needles, fluoride inserts, big, ungloved dental fingers) did the trick.  Many times my mouth looked like the Edward Sissor Hands of the dental world.

After the mouth rape I was lead to the receptionist’s desk where a large, red fluffy box filled with cheap bling lived and stood in unbelief as my beloved Mother scheduled another appointment to return to this house of horrors.  The receptionist flashed me her pearly whites and informed me I could pick out a piece of cheap plastic.  Imagine how my poor brother felt.  Because they only offered rings, he either had to man-up and forgo a prize or connect with his inner pretty princess.  I guess that was their attempt to make the dentist’s office seem fun.  We just traumatized you but here….have a ring that will turn your finger green or break within 24hrs!

Today my kids have a very different experience with the Dentist.  He is one of their favorite people.  We brush.  We floss.  We practice excellent oral hygiene and as a result they have had almost no (my sugar loving girl had one) cavities.

But we can’t take all of the credit.  The Dentist office is a very different place today.  It is….more….child friendly.  Gone are the big, scary experiences and machinery.  Today we have “Mr. Thirsty,” a.k.a. the high power sucker, “Mr. Squirts” a.k.a. the jet stream water hose and “Mr. Tickles” a.k.a THE DRILL.  I don’t think that the name “Mr. Tickles” adequately captures the sheer experience of the drill.  But hey, if my kids are under the impression that he tickles then who am I to inform them that his tickle will electrocute their brain, travel down their spine and curl their toes.  Mr. Tickles it is.

They also have cool props to make the visit more fun.  Check out Tres, our youngest “Star.”

Cool shades to prevent the blinding from the oral interrogation light

Counting and checking:

No Edward Scissor Mouth here!

And lastly “polishing” a.k.a brushing!!

Polishing sounds so much more fun

Here is older bro, Dos getting ready for his turn.  Check out the face:

I'm next! Yay!

That face sums it up.

Prizes even a boy can enjoy!

Trips to the dentist have come a long way and so have the prizes!  Good-bye feeder fish, hello fun!!

Teetering the crazy line

I love to eat.  Eating is my passion and favorite pastime.  When I am in consumption mode (especially with foods that I particularly love) everything else becomes a blur which is why I was not on my A game this particular Friday night.

Late Friday (early Saturday AM) Mr. Pavlov and I took the kids to Eat-n-Park after attending a meeting.  They were claiming starvation and muscle wasting and it would be inhumane to deprive them of a meal – i.e. MY stomach was rumbling. 

Tres, who was barely awake to begin with but didn’t want to miss out on anything, fell asleep promptly after placing his cheeseburger and fries order.  He conveniently sprawled out across the oversized booth and utilized my lap as his personal pillow.

Our order arrived just in time because we were all about to join Tres and go horizontal.  The deep-fried onion rings were serenading me and I entered my food induced state of oblivion.  It was only me and the onion rings and maybe my garden burger from the moment they landed on our table.  My head was in the trough and I was happy.

I didn’t notice the group of young males stalking our table.  I was blissfully unaware of the frequent pass bys and testosterone filled grunts.  I had my onion rings. I was complete.

My beautiful daughter jolted me to her reality with this statement,

“Mom, that table of guys over there keeps staring this way and pointing.”

Then Mr. Pavlov, who was seated right next to her (we had a LARGE booth and he was in the middle of Uno and Dos) replied,

“The one keeps walking by like he stole something!”

Dos, also in awareness mode added,

“Yea, he seems twitchy!”

With fried onion ring crumbs hanging from my mouth I replied,

“Are they staring at you and walking by to see you?”  

Smiling, she glanced over her right shoulder to where an ancient couple was sitting dutifully cutting each other’s blueberry pancakes and replied “W e l l……” 

Wow.  How did I miss this?  I am always on it and my guydar remains in a constant and finely tuned state.  My daughter is a cutie and boys know it!  But before I could wipe away the onion ring crumbs from my mouth and ponder my failure we received visitors….

Two “scruffies” as Dos called them interrupted my our feeding frenzy. Clearing their throats they ventured:

“Excuse me….uh, er, well my friend over there…the one in the corner…well, ah, he wants us to give you this (handing my beautiful baby a folded piece of white paper).  He thinks you’re, um, cute.  It’s his…ah, number and um, well, he wants you to call him.”

The beauty, Uno, smiled and said one simple word…O K A Y.  Mr. Pavlov glared and echoed Uno’s OKAY only in a much more menacing tone.  I finally wiped away my crumb residue and entered the here and now as I watched them walk away giving each other high fives and fist pumping the air.  The “Corner Guy” remained standing in the corner stalking observing Uno and her response.  I believed it was the intimidating glares and peacock posturing of Mr. Pavlov that drove him from the corner and sent him back to his seat with his friends until…..

….we were getting ready to leave when the brazen little punk decided to approach our table himself!   With Mr. Pavlov standing and peacock posturing beside him, he apologized for the behavior of his friends and in front of her entire family, asked our beauty to call him.  Mr. Pavlov gave a nod, the type of nod that says “Boy, you better move while you have the chance” and said,

“Let’s go!”

Corner guy finally retreated without the committment from Uno he wanted.  I guess I was somewhat high on my recent ingestion and wasn’t thinking clearly.  Feeling all warm and fuzzy from the fried food I heard myself call after him,

“You have good taste!”

He smiled.

Uno chuckled and replied,

“Good one Mom, but at least you didn’t threaten him with statutory rape this time!

Now that I am clear in the head and have given the scenario some thought I must ask, can you believe the boldness?  Maybe I am old school but boys would never approach a young girl in the presence of her family especially with her father seated right beside her.  Am I old school?  Is this the progressive style of the youth today?  I don’t like it.  Do you?

The youth of today are bold and daring.  I think the genetically altered, steroid laced food we consume has pumped them up and left them…

…teetering the crazy line!