Separation Anxiety

I got kicked out of the gym yesterday morning.  And no, it was not because of the "spirited discussion" the woman had with me because she was slightly angry I was saving the last spin bike for a friend.  Did you know that is poor "spinning" etiquette?  Well, I do now.  Thank you, angry gym lady.  Anyhoo, back to this week.

Beginning mile 2 of my run jog trot when I notice the girl in the red child care shirt heading towards me with a frown.  Why is she frowning?  A poopy diaper is nothing to be upset about.  I needed a break in my workout anyways.  

Gym Girl:  "Anderson is screaming.  Crying so loudly that the people outside the gym can hear him.  My supervisor wanted me to come get you."

Me:  "Oh my gosh, he NEVER cries!"

Gym Girl:  "I know, but he won't stop."

Me:  "Oh, he must be getting sick.  My husband is home sick today.  I thought he had an ear infection a few days ago.  Or maybe it's teething.  He might be tired, too."  Oh no.  I'm one of "those moms".  Making excuses for why my child is misbehaving.  But seriously.  He's only 10 months old. 

I head in to the daycare to pick up my little monster and he starts laughing, giggling, and smiling when he sees me.  Great.  I guess the whole "sick and tired" excuses are out the window.  What else can I come up with?

Me:  "It must be separation anxiety.  I haven't been to the gym in awhile."

Gym Girl (and the other gym girls):  Nodding, heads down, not making eye contact.

Seriously, though.  I just know it's separation anxiety.   My boys are nothing short of angels.  All the time.  Even when they're sick and tired and hungry.  Aren't yours, too?


St. Patty's Day Frame & Shamrock Pencil Covers

The Chicago River is actually died green every year for St. Patty's Day.  How cool is that?

Here are some ideas for St. Patrick's Day that I'll leave you...better late than never! 

I apologize for my absence lately.  My brain doesn't work correctly during pregnancy and about 4 months postpartum.  Therefore, I will see you consistently in about a year.  

Shamrock Pencil Covers

What you'll need:
  • shamrock template (I just googled "shamrock template" and printed one off)
  • green felt
  • scissors
  • glue
  • gold coins (I used gold ribbon and hole-punched circles because I didn't have gold sequins or anything else that resembled a coin)
Just cut out two shamrock shapes, glue them together, leaving the end open to slide the pencil in.  Then glue your coins on and you're done!

St. Patty's Day Frames

Yes, another frame.  I just like to have a picture of the boys during each of the holidays, and what better way to keep it than having them decorate a frame!  I did one, too...cause it's fun and I still think I'm 4.  Just grab whatever items you have at home or find at your craft store and design how you want.  Here's how ours turned out...

Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 pouch (1 lb 1.5 oz) Betty Crocker sugar cookie mix
1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon mint extract
6 to 8 drops green food color
1 egg
1 cup creme de menthe baking chips
1 cup semisweet chocolate chunks
1. Heat oven to 350°F. In large bowl, stir cookie mix, butter, extract, food color and egg until soft dough forms. Stir in creme de menthe baking chips and chocolate chunks.
2. Using small cookie scoop or teaspoon, drop dough 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.
3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until set. Cool 3 minutes; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Serve warm or cool completely. Store tightly covered at room temperature.



Ms. Post Office Lady

Dear Ms. Post Office Lady,

I would like to thank you for making me look like a fraudulent idiot.  Don't get me wrong, feeling like an idiot is something I do well and often.  But a fraud?  Well, that is new one and I am happy to say I can now add to my list.

If you don't remember, let me help you out.  Tuesday afternoon.  I came in schlepping 3 young boys with my hair in what was supposed to look like a pony tail but unfortunately resembled a lion's mane.  All I wanted to do was mail a hat and magazine to a girlfriend.  You told me I owed you $2.78. 

I grab my credit card. 

"Here you go!"  I say with a chipper smile.  Maybe you don't appreciate chipper.  Maybe misery loves company and you would've preferred that I call you something obscene.  Well, note to self for next time.

"Ma'am, I cannot accept this, it's not signed." 

No problem.  I hand her another card.  She swipes.

"Ma'am, this card is declined."  What?  It can't be!  I have at least $20 in there!  Whatever.  I hand her the original card.

"Ma'am, you will need to sign the card."  Okay, okay.  I'll sign it.  Lay off, lady.

"Ma'am, I will need to see your ID."  I hand her my driver's license with a picture of my head slightly turned to the right to make my face appear thinner.  I wish she would stop calling me ma'am.  It makes me feel old.

"Ma'am, the names don't match up."  This is exactly where my face turns bright red and I want to crawl into my diaper bag and cry myself to sleep.  I scurry out, bumping into the long line of people taking note of my face because they're confident they will see me on America's Most Wanted.  MOTHER, LIVING DOUBLE LIFE AND DOUBLE IDENTITIES. 

Disclaimer:  I did have money in my bank account.  I was using a temporary debit card that expires in 30 days and it happened to be day 31.  And the reason for my dual identities?  My credit card has my married name and my driver's license still has my maiden name.  You don't believe me, do you?



What he says:  Wow!  The house looks so clean!
What he means:  I wonder how many nicks you made in the baseboards with the vacuum.

What he says:  Honey, you don't need to take all the boys to the grocery store.
What he means:  You buy expensive food.  And you always forget my Little Debbie cinnamon rolls.

What he says:  I know it gets crazy in the evening...you don't need to cook.
What he means:  I would rather eat canned soup and turkey sandwiches for the rest of my life than come home and eat your crap food.

What he says:  Why don't you go shopping today?
What he means:  Abercrombie & Fitch is not for 30 somethings, you've been wearing that headband everyday for the past 5 years, and white clothes that are now yellow are just not attractive.

What he says:  Why don't you wait until I get home to give all 3 boys a bath at the same time?  I am more than happy to help.
What he means:  There is water on the walls, ceiling and mirror.  This is not a splash park, this is our home.

What he says:  Lisa, you look tired.  Why don't you go on up to bed?
What he means:  I don't want to watch HGTV for one more second.  And there's a hockey game on.  You are going to be replaced with a bag of popcorn.


Annoying Cartoon Characters

1.  CAILLOU.  You need to stop your whining.  You're not 2 anymore.  You're 4.  Get it together, buddy.

2.  TINKY WINKY.  You need to come out of the closet.  It's 2011.  We're all okay with it.  Red handbag anyone?

3.  BARNEY.  So does this jolly purple dinosaur for that matter.

Speaking of Barney, those kids desperately need to go clothes shopping.

4.  MICKEY MOUSE.  You need a new theme song, you happy little mouse...if "hot dog, hot dog, hot diggity dog" gets stuck in my head for one more day, I swear... And no, Mickey, I don't want to come inside your clubhouse.

5.  SPECIAL AGENT OSO.  Find a dentist.  You need braces.  And you're kind of a know-it-all.

Not annoying, but worthy of mentioning their phenomenol dance moves:

The Backyardigans needs to sign up for "So You Think You Can Dance?".   Seriously.


Organic Book Club

I went to book club Wednesday night.  I know, I know.  My husband thought it was pretty hilarious, too.  It's not that I don't read...I actually love to read.  I'm just more of a Twilight kinda girl...you know, the books aimed at preteens.

6:30 pm:  Philosophical game face on.  One last check in the mirror.  Well, I certainly "looked" the part.  J Crew headband, turtleneck, straight-legged jeans...now if only I could find those glasses I wore in college for my "astigmatism".  Which, by the way, whatever happened to that astigmatism?  Either way, those glasses sure did make me look smarter.

Let me just interrupt myself by saying this....the girl who chose the book this month is a professor in creative writing (enough said).  That's not even fair.  Give me a book club with Dr. Seuss books and I'll run circles around you.  But she obviously didn't choose The Cat In The Hat.  The book she chose was this:

It's deep.  Like really deep.  Like over my head, I have no idea what they're talking about and how am I going to hide my confused face deep

6:50pm: I arrive at book club...fashionably early.  I warn myself that less is more and to think before I speak if I must speak at all.  This is not a pajamajammyjam.  This is book club.  I'm in the big leagues now, people.  I am.  A grownup.

I was pleasantly surprised to learn that only The Professor really knew what the heck this book was about.  So I'm not an idiot.  I knew it.  I'm smarter than I look.  Even without my glasses.

Book club was going better than I anticipated.  Until the topic turned organic

Setting the scene....discussing food....

Book Club goer #1:  You know, you're not even safe at Whole Foods anymore!
Book Club goer #2:  I know!  It's scary!
Book Club goer #3:  Well, have you been to that local farm near such and such?  That's where I'm doing most of my shopping these days.

Holy processed food, Batman.  Should I tell them now or later I had a Velveeta cheese sandwich for lunch yesterday?  It was quite tasty, by the way.  And they would be pretty appalled to see all the Splenda and creamer I put in my coffee, too. 

Oh wait.  I buy organic eggs and milk.  I might still have a chance... 

P.S.  I had three bowls of Tootie Fruities for lunch today. 


Lazy Lasagna

If I share a recipe you can bet your bottom dollar it's going to be either really good or super easy.  This happens to be both.  And who doesn't like a crock pot recipe?  Can I get a whoop whoop?  This is Sandra Lee's recipe....

2 pounds fully cooked meatballs, thawed and sliced.  We love Foster Farms turkey meatballs from Costco.
1 large egg
1 container (15-ounce) ricotta cheese
1 tbsp Italian seasoning
2 jars roasted garlic pasta sauce (or whatever you have at home)
1 box no-boil lasagna noodles
1 pound thinly sliced provolone cheese
Pam cooking spray

1.  Beat egg with a fork and stir in ricotta cheese and italian seasoning.  Set aside.

2.  Coat your slow cooker with cooking spray.  Add 1/2 cup of pasta sauce to slow cooker.  Add a layer of lasagna noodles, breaking them to fit.  Layer with one-third of the meatballs, one-third of the ricotta cheese mixture, and one-third of the provolone cheese.  Add 1/2 cups of the pasta sauce.  Repeat layers twice more.  End with noodles and remaining pasta sauce.  Cover and cook on low heat setting for 3 to 4 hours. 

Enjoy.  Thank me later.  And if you don't like it, I don't want to know.


What's Your Love Story?

It was just me and Brenden. He was 1 ½ and I was single. Not looking, content with our twosome. And then we met him. He became the man in both of our lives. He didn’t have to be that man, but he was.

…never making me feel bad about the situation I was in…
…always patient, kind, and caring…

We both ended up in Chicago by a flook. His job, after many moves, landed him here. I, a young single mom, needed help with the baby and my parents had just moved to the Midwest from Seattle. A friend set us up. Blind date. I almost cancelled because it was snowing. I needed any excuse because I was terribly nervous.

We married when Brenden turned 3, shortly after had two more boys and just found out we’re expecting #4...probably another boy!

I am reminded daily of the sacrifice he made for us. He is reminded of what life was like before his family of 5 (almost 6!). We make each other laugh, make each other roll our eyes, and best of all…can’t imagine what life was like before all this perfect chaos.

He’s the icing on my cupcake.
I am the cheese to his macaroni.

Below is his Valentine's Day gift...


Car Wash for Dummies

I hate the car wash. 

3 months prior...
Pit stop to Thunder Wash to spruce up my kid mobile.  I opted for the $12 deluxe option because I was making up for lost time.  Swipe the credit card and off we go.  My husband is going to be so proud of me!  I'm getting something done today...besides sitting on the couch, watching Days of Our Lives and eating Bon Bons like I normally do.  Kidding, of course...I watch All My Children.

Anyhoo, here is what incompetence looks like...

Green light...I hate it when my wheels don't go where they're supposed to.  Back up, pull forward, back up, move to the right, now to the left, even it out.  Okay.  I got it.  They're in.  Clean car here we come!

Why is only the front half of the car getting sudsy?
Nice.  It only washed half my car.

I immediately called the owner, who after careful consideration, reviewed the tape and responded with this...
"Ma'am, let me explain how to use a carwash."

Needless to say, I didn't get my money back and now I'm boycotting Thunder Wash...oh, and if I was unsure before...I know now.  I am an idiot.

Fast forward to Saturday night.  Girls night out = I need to make it look like I don't live in filth = car wash.

Heartrate increasing. 

"Suck it up," I say to myself, "it's a car wash for goodness sake."

Because I don't back down from challenges, I head in.  Oh great....the owner of the car wash is there.  I immediately put the car in reverse.  I can't handle this kind of pressure.  A clean car can wait. 
The guy flags me down.  I roll down my window.  "Oh, I didn't realize you were open."  I am, in fact, a big fat liar.  There were 3 other cars in line.

He quickly realizes he's dealing with a bonehead.  And then I realize he might have been a flight attendant in another life.  The hand signals were a bit overkill.  He ended with a smile and a "thumbs up." 

My hubby is now taking over all car wash duties.


Valentine Pops

Let me start by saying this....the recipe includes:
Oreo Cakesters, chocolate and sprinkles.  Need I say more?  Oh, and takes only 10 minutes to make.

Oreo Cakesters, lollipop stickes, parchment or wax paper, sprinkles and white (or dark) chocolate

Push your stick in the Oreo.  I know.  It's crazy difficult.

Next, melt your chocolate in the microwave, making sure you stir every 30 seconds.
Dip, dip away.  I gave the boys a spoon with the melted chocolate so they could pour it on.  Then I let them sprinkle! 
Add a clear treat bag and ribbon and you're good to go!  If you want to get all crazy, you can always put a little food coloring to make the chocolate pink.  I didn't have a small heart cutter, but that would be cute, too.  But let's be honest, that just takes more time. 

I am loving my $5 footies from Target.  And my feet are desperate for a spray tan.



Valentine Mailbox

Disclaimer:  If you do not like Valentine's Day or holidays in general, please do not read my blog during this time.  You will find it utterly annoying. 

Now, somebody give me "V"?!  8 days left and counting...spirit fingers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Where do your kids put all their valentines from school and friends?  Obviously, they need a "home".  Or a mailbox, or an empty Kleenex box...here's what you'll need.

  • empty Kleenex box (or a shoebox would work, too)
  • paper or wrapping paper to cover box
  • sponge cut into a heart shape
  • pink, purple or red paint
  • buttons, ribbons, stickers, anything you've got stuffed  organized in your cupboards
  • tacky glue or a hot glue gun (obviously parental supervision with the hot glue gun...unless you are me and then your child might have more luck)

Start wrapping!

Sponge paint the hearts and add ribbon, buttons and anything else cute.
There you have it...now they can "mail" or "carry" their valentines!


Conversation Heart Frames

Valentine's Day....10 days left.  Here's a fun idea to make and send to grandparents or for yourself!

What you'll need....
  • wooden frame (they sell them @ Michael's for a $1)
  • large conversation hearts
  • pink acrylic paint (or purple or red)
  • paint brushes
  • glue (I like Tacky, but school glue will work, too)
Get out the paint and let them go to town!

Once dry, put a generous amount of glue on frame and let them place the conversation hearts where you've put the glue.  And of course, buy a big bag because they will obviously want to make sure the candy tastes good, too.

Finished product!  Now it just needs a pic of the boys and it's ready to send!

Happy Hearts!


Sharp as a Nail

I like clipping my boys' nails.  I get giddy every time I begin to see white.  I've even contemplated giving them prenatals just to make them grow faster.  Do you loathe bath time with multiple young children?  Well, I'm just gonna pin a rose on my nose...I revel in the excitement.  Do you  know what this means?  Soft nails.  Easy to clip, soft nails. 

I was clipping Goozer's nails yesterday evening.  And if you know Goozer you know that this includes singing "If You're Happy And You Know It" and "Itsy Bitsy Spider" in an extremely overly enthusiastic preschool voice just to get him to sit still for one measly little minute.  Happy happy joy joy.  Let me throw in a tap dance, Gooz, strictly for entertainment purposes, of course. 

Mission accomplished.  Nails clipped.  Very short, cause that's how I roll.

Just when I thought my motherly work was done, I glance over at The Gooz.  He's tapping his foot, pointing at it, yelling something in toddler-ese and shaking around like a lunatic.  I either cut his nails too short or he's trying to imitate my tap dance routine  Either way, I unzip his pj's and realize the clippers were zipped up in them.

Poor Goozer, mean mommy.  And now it's time for my hubby to make a "comment."
"Seriously, how do you make it through the day, Lisa?"  He's sweet.  I love his honesty.


Shut The Front Door!

Shut the front door.  No.  Literally.  Shut the front door.  I cannot risk the future state of my marriage if you do not. 

Wednesday evening.  Husband arrives home.

Me:  "Hi Honey!!!!"  (I just love it when he gives me an eyeroll for being overly enthusiastic when he strolls through the door.)
Travis:  "Man it feels warm in here."

Without passing go, he heads straight for the thermostat.  No, "Hi honey, how was your day?  Did B eat his carrots?  Did Goozer have a poopy?  How did Teeny nap?"

Hubby:  "I knew it. 71 degrees."  He walks back into the room with a smug look on his face.

Me:  "We usually set it at 70, babe." (I don't really call him babe.  It just sounded cuter than Trav.)

Hubby:  "Well, every little bit helps, Lisa."

I think I married my dad.


Angelina Jolie and Happiness

WARNING:  When using a hot glue gun do not, I repeat do not, put glue on a piece of fabric and then put it in your mouth to "hold" it for a quick second.

The upper left side of my lip is swollen and singed.  Although it hurts like a snickerdoodle, I am slightly excited about the fact that my lip currently resembles Angelina Jolie.  Just the top one, though.  On the left side. 


This morning I needed to be at the gym at 9:03.  Any minute prior and the aerobics instructor would guilt me into taking one of her classes.  But today I had a different agenda.  I desperately wanted to watch Oprah.  Hey, if TV motivates me to get my buns to the gym, so be it.

Her show today was "ARE YOU HAPPY?"

It turns out I am...happy, that is (currently doing the "happy dance" at the moment accompanied with a few heel clicks which are always fun to do with socks on the hardwoods because you risk the chance of falling on your face which will give you a good laugh and make you even happier as long as you don't do permanent damage to any part of your body).

Goldie was on the show, who I absolutely adore and they discussed all sorts of important things people do (or can do) to make them happy.  It made me think about what makes me chipper.  Anyhoo, here's a few things that make me happy (not listed in any particular order):

FAMILY ~ okay, that one was in particular order and should be ranked 1st on the list.  Not just my boys and hubby, but my sisters, parents, in-laws, aunts, uncles, nephews, etc. etc.

FRIENDS ~ I'm a huge believer in making new friends while keeping the old.  I adore the friends I've had for years and even though they don't live close I cherish having them in my life.  I also love, love, love making new friends.  Sometimes I get a little carried away, though.  I'm like a guy with a bad pick-up line meeting new friends at Target, Michaels, wherever...

HOLIDAYS ~ the music, dress-up, crafts, decorating, baking...everything that encompasses the joy of a holiday.

COFFEE ~ with loads of vanilla creamer, of course.

CANDLES ~ you can't help but feel relaxed and happy when your home smells yummy.

RELAXATION MUSIC ~ my personal favorite is anything Celtic.

QUIET TIME (& sleep) ~ during nap time when I could be cooking, cleaning, organizing, etc. I don't.  This is my time.  Phones are turned off, relaxation music is on and even if it only works out that it's for a very short time, it's my short time...to regroup, nap, or just sit and stare at the ceiling, feeling totally not guilty in relishing in the quiet.  Everything else can wait.  Everything.


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