Monday, April 18, 2011

Passover For Those Afraid to Ask

Before I got married I converted to Judaism. My friends and family were supportive of my decision but I could tell they felt awkward when it came to asking questions.
The questions I would get were:"So do you go to church every Friday night?"
"How long is Hanukkah, 12 days?"
"What is the holiday where you eat that gross fish in a jar?"

When I was going through my conversion process I found that reading Jewish children's websites was the most helpful way to get the basics of everything Judaism.  When I had more complex questions, and wanted to delve into deeper issues, I would read the Jewish adult websites. 

Tonight at sundown Jewish people across America will be sitting down to a Seder for the holiday of Passover. It's a long dinner but it's not boring. Think Catholic wedding except with food and more wine. Lots of ritual and joyous. This is the bible story that covers the burning bush, parting of the red sea and the freedom of slaves.  Good stuff.

. . And yes, gross fish in a jar. It's called Gefilte Fish and this will offend some people, but I totally agree that it is gross! But there are other Passover delicacies that make up for the gross fish in a jar: 

Matzo Ball Soup

Flourless Chocolate Torte. 

So now you know just enough about Passover to get you through the week if you are not Jewish.  And here is another tidbit you can impress your friends with, Sammy Davis Jr. also converted to Judaism.  I am not going to pretend I am as cool as Sammy Davis Jr. but it is nice to be in such groovy company. And speaking of groovy you have to watch this video below. It's appropriate for Passover because A) Sammy is Jewish and B) Aretha briefly sings her song "Think" which has those great lyrics about freedom.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Not Abusing Your Kids is Good

Last weekend was super fabulous! A weekend alone with a few of my peers and lots of beers. I came home ready to be a super mom and spouse. Emotionally engaged with all 3 of my kids, and darling husband, planning plenty of activities, loads of patience, no yelling, and no excessive t.v. watching.

My plans were foiled by my sick boys. We can't leave the house. Fevers, and a cough that leaves them gasping for breath. I thought Mike was feeling better yesterday and had my sitter, Sarah, take them to the park. But then Mike came home and went to bed at 6:30pm! And slept straight through the night for 13 hours! This is unheard of behavior from my active guy. And he is even taking a nap, willingly, at 12:30pm in the afternoon!! Me and Bekah are bored silly and she is driving me nuts.

I completely lost my patience with her this morning. And then was stricken with guilt. Bekah is 3 and therefore in the throes of the Criminally Insane Threes which make the Terrible Twos look like a walk in the park. She loves to tease and torture me and her brothers. She loves to ask me all day long for things we either don't have or she knows she can't have. Today she has asked for french fries, oranges, and chips. We don't have french fries at all, we do have plums, strawberries, apples, nectarines, watermelon, grapes, bananas and cantaloupe. I gave her some Sun Chips and she threw them on the ground said, "These aren't potato chips.". She got a time-out for that rudeness and we temporarily extinguished that behavior.

So then she moves onto torturing Jake. Who is just generally fussy and cranky and it's just a lot more pleasant around here if we can keep Jake happy. I blew up a beach ball for him to play with and he was thrilled. He runs around the corner and Bekah steals it from him and he starts to shriek. Everyone covers their ears and wine glasses start breaking. And Bekah is laughing. That was the final straw. I told Bekah she is going on another time out and she said, "No!". I really hate it when my kids tell me no. So I walk up to her to escort her to the time-out room. She starts running all over the house and I tell her if she continues to run her time-out gets longer and longer. So finally I have to chase her and once I get her, all my patience has completely dissappeared.

I squeezed her arm way too hard, I yelled way too loud and then said, "You better pull your shit together or this is going to be a long ass day!!!". And then I slammed the door. And I immediately felt like an asshole.

 Ugh, she is only 3 years old and I am yelling and swearing at her, this is not the best summer in the universe that I had envisioned.

I put her on a 5 minute time-out so I could pull my shit together. We then hugged and kissed and I apologized. I then told her what I expected from her for the rest of the day:

-No asking for things we don't have in the house. We have fruit in a fruit bowl on the kitchen table and that is for snacks.
-No teasing her brothers by taking their toys or sticking her hands and feet in their faces.
-I also told her she couldn't have any snack or her chewable vitamin until she gets dressed.

We then danced to a kid's c.d. that doesn't make me crazy. And completed our Father's Day Craft. Those are the pictures listed below. I made cloth books and put velcro on the pages so that my kids could take felt shapes of their father's favorite activities and stick them on the pages.

We played with some Legos, Hotwheels, the water table outside and then ate lunch. Now Jake and maybe Mike are both napping. Bekah is doing quiet time in our rec room watching Dora and eating grapes. And as I sat down to do some blogging I realized my mistake. I made a great plan for summer that involved us LEAVING the house. I had forgotten to make up plans for days where for whatever reason we are stuck inside. I should have known better because last summer there were so many wildfires we were stuck inside for a few days at a time, so I need to plan for that.

So the rest of this post is going to be links for indoor activities for kids and ways for moms to not lose their shit (minds). Print this and put it on the fridge, I am.

-My first link is to the Child Abuse Prevention Council. Don't think you are above that, it can happen. The site is full of resources but the page I sent you to reccommends to just Take A Minute. This morning I took 5 minutes locked in the bathroom taking deep breaths.

-Next is not a link but an email that my friend Danica sent to my N.E.O. Mom's Club. She needed to peel her son away from the t.v. and came across this list of activities. I quickly went scrambling for it this afternoon to share with all of you:

1. Button Sorting ? Buy a bag of buttons at your local craft store andhave your child sort them however s/he wants to, by color, size,number of threading holes, etc. An older child can count the sorted piles. I use little plastic cups from the party store that I think are for condiments or something. But they are shallow and non breakable.

2. Placemat per Night ? Buy a stack of blank paper placemats from theparty supply store. Have your preschooler color a new placemat to eat off of for the evening. S/he can make a new one each night as make on for other family members. Great during dinner prep.

3. Wash Day ? This sounds silly, but kids adore it. Fill a large bucket with some mild soap, like Ivory. Allow your child to wash washcloths or dish towels. Provide another bucket (or rinse the firstout) to rinse, and then hang them with clothes pins and a string inthe bathroom. This helps the child learn that clothes get clean via aprocess, not just "magic" Or have them wash their play dishes, tea party set etc.

.4. Shaving Cream Cars ? Put a mild, unscented shaving cream on a cookie sheet with a lip (sometimes called a brownie sheet or jelly-roll pan). Allow your child to drive cars and trains through the"snow". Those learning to write letters can attempt their letters with an index finger and erase to try again easily.

5. Painting the driveway or deck ? On a sunny day, give your child a container of water and a real painter's brush (wide with a thick handle) and allow h/her to paint away. The sun evaporates the water quickly, and the kids love to see the cause and effect of painting.

6. Big Paper Bag Hats ? Using a large, shopping-sized paper bag, cut alarge shape and staple it closed except for the bottom portion. Invite
your child to decorate however h/she wants, then the child can try iton and you can adjust with staples accordingly.

7. Aromatherapy Play-Dough -- Homemade play-dough is easy to make andwhen you add a couple of tsps. Lavender oil (or eucalyptus if the child has a stuffy nose), children get the benefits of calming scents while they knead and create. A very "downtime" activity. Play Dough Recipe 1 cup flour
cup salt
1 cup water
1 tablespoon oil (of your choosing)
1/8 cup cream of tartar
Mix all ingredients in a sauce pan. Cook and stir over low/medium heat until play dough is completely formed and no longer sticky. Allow to cool slightly before storing in an air tight container or zip lock bag

8. Matching Pasta ? sorting and matching are pre-math activities. Glue a different type of pasta (shape, color, whatever) to the bottomof a plastic cup ? clear works well; then provide the child a bag or cup full of a mixture of all kinds of the pastas to sort. Counting can be added when the child is ready.

9. Cutting Lines ? Preschoolers and scissors = hours of entertainment.To teach fine motor skills, draw lines (all kinds ? dotted, swirly,straight) lengthwise on a piece of plain paper. Ask your child tofollow the line you've drawn with scissors. You can even put a sticker at the end as a goal target. Start easy, build gradually.

10. Collage Mania ? This also makes a great homemade gift for afriend. Get a small tackle box and fill each compartment with adifferent glue-able item (pom-poms, rickrack, magazine cut outs,pieces, feathers, beans, buttons, pasta, etc.) add a glue bottle or stick and you have the makings of a collage activity at a moment's notice. You can even bring this to a restaurant to ease theboredom/restlessnes s factor there.

11. Lacing ? Lacing cards are easily made. Take some cardboard and cuta shape or animal that your child likes or needs to learn. Punch holesaround the perimeter (less for younger children, more for older), thentie a shoestring to one end and show the child how to lace. Great forsmall motor skills, great for a restaurant.

12. Tweezers ? Give your child a set of blunt tweezers. Fill a smallbowl with items like a tissue, a cotton ball, feathers, pipe cleaners? get creative. Invite your child move the items from one bowl toanother bowl using only the tweezers. Super small motor strengtheningactivity.

13. Musical Drawing ? Invite your child to draw to match the mood ofmusic that you put on ? marching music, classical, rock ? whatever. This can be done with watercolors too.

14. Choose the Mood ? Draw a plain head with no facial features. Makemany copies. Allow your child to draw the face with different moods:happy, sad, disappointed, hurt, etc.; another good restaurantactivity. For kids who have a hard time articulating their feelings,this can be a tool to let them show how they feel.

15. Animal Doctor ? The word veterinarian is a hard one for preschoolers. But Animals doctor works just fine. Provide a small Tupperware container of bandages and other first aid items obtainedfrom the drugstore (or even the dollar store). If your child needs something to do or you need a moment to breath, bring out the box and say something along the lines of "I think I just heard Brown Bear cry,I hope he's okay. Will you check?" This is good for teaching empathyas well as just plain fun, my kids always love trying on the role of sole caregiver

.16. Easy tambourine ? this is an oldie but a goody. Have your childcolor or paint on the underside of 2 paper plates. Staple the sidestogether leaving a small opening. Using a funnel, allow your child topour about ? cup of beans or rice into the pocket, then staple thehole up. Instant fun ? add some music and your child will be loving life.

17. Ladle Fishing ? Using a large bin or wash basin (dollar store isgreat for these) ? drop toys or household items into the bin andinvite your child to "fish" for specific items. Can you get the yellow block? Oops, looks like you got the blue alligator, try again!Helps to teach shapes and colors without the child even knowing it!

18. Tupperware Galore ? Tupperware is of endless fun to this group. Keep you family's supply in a low cabinet that the child can easily access. Ask for your child's help in finding a matching lid to a specific container ? even if you don't really need it. This not only teaches matching and provides tactile stimulation, but lets the childf eel the pride of being helpful.

19. Pace It Out ? How many steps is it from your bedroom to the stairs? How about from the kitchen to the laundry area? How about when I pace it or Daddy does? This is a good one for line-waiting boredom.I wonder how many steps it is over to that water fountain. One of mykids even made a little journal listing the paces to and from various places.

20. Nature Bracelet ? Using very sticky tape like packing tape or ducttape, make a "bracelet" by reversing the tape so the adhesive side is out. Go on a walk and let your child create a bracelet with what h/shefinds along the way. This can also be done at home with feathers

.21. What's in the Bag? Using any bag that isn't transparent, put 5 ors o items in the bag such as a spoon, a cup, whatever you find. Haveyour child close his/her eyes and feel in the bag to guess what is inside. This is a good family activity too as the child can add things to the bag to stump mom or dad.

22. Spin the Bottle ? Not the traditional kind! Spin the bottle, and whomever it lands on has to pay the spinner a compliment, even if the bottle lands back on the spinner! Kids love this and it teaches themt o notice good traits in others, as well as feel good about themselve swhen others compliment them!

23. Hide and Go Find ? Place objects around the house in a fairly obvious way. Then ask your child to go find something red in theliving room, etc. This is fun and can be played with any number of kids.

24. Shoebox Wagon ? The next time you have an empty shoebox, punch a hole in the side, tie a yarn or ribbon line to it and set a teddy bear or stuffed animal in it. Let your child discover it in your home andh/she will adore pulling it around and making up scenarios with it andstuffed animals.

25. Large Craft Stick People ? Using a handful of large craft sticks,draw faces on each one (perhaps representing family members) and wrapthem up in a pretty bag for your child. Allow him/her to add detailswith crayons and even provide extra sticks for older ones to makehis/her own nation of stick buddies. Another good one for restaurants.

26. What Sifts Through? A messy but fun one, perhaps for outdoortime. Using a colander and a basin, give your child a variety of cupsfilled with various things ? rice, sand, blocks, beans, etc. Invite him/her to explore what can fir through the colander's holes. This is great for pre-math and visual spatial relationships.

27. What floats? Using a basin of water, give your child a cup o rcontainer of items to see which ones float. You can discuss heavy andlight and how size doesn't always indicate weight.

28. Paper Bag Puppets -- Using brown paper bags (an inexpensive necessity!), draw faces of a dog, a cat, etc. and invite your child to do the same, on the bottom of the bag. You can even glue items likeyard and feathers to make fun and funny puppets. These puppets have taught lessons in our house, as I have put on little plays with themto teach the importance of being kind, or manners, or cleaning upafter oneself.

29. Produce Printing ? Using washable tempura paint, fill a paperplate with paint and cut a number of produce items in half in front ofyour child. You take one half and give your child the other. Dip inpaint and print on paper. This makes nice gift wrap!

30. Large Paper Tabletop ? Buy a roll of shipping/packaging recycledpaper. Roll it out onto a table or breakfast bar for the day or week,securing it with tape or clothespins. Provide a cup of crayons, asmall basket of stickers, washable stamps, etc. An instant, easy activity that is great when a buddy is over as well.

31. My Journal ? Buy a journal at the dollar store and a beautifulwriting pencil or interesting crayon and give it to your child todoodle, write, or simply scribble. Let him/her know that it is forhim/her only and that it doesn't need to be shared or shown to anyone.This makes the child feel so grown up.

32. Pasta Necklace ? Another oldie but goody. Using strong string(not yarn) and tube shaped pasta, let the beading begin. Be prepared to be asked to wear these creations, and do so!33. Straws and Cotton Balls ? keep these in a bag together and inviteyour child to make the cotton ball "run" using only his/her breaththrough the straw. H/she can use different colored straws to see ifone makes the cotton ball go further than another color.

34. Volcano World ? This is a production, but whenever I did it, the kids played with it all day long exclusively. In a small jar (babyfood sized is ideal) put in enough baking soda to fill the jarhalfway, add a few drops of red or orange food coloring if desired,build a "mountain" around the jar, leaving an opening to pour vinegari nto the jar later. Using plastic animals or dinosaurs let your childplay with them on the mountain and then, with great drama, add the vinegar. A containable and safe "explosion" will occur. SO fun!

35. Paper Chain ? Using strips of construction paper, let your child make a loop garland using tape or a stapler. Make sure you are near ifa stapler is being used. Older kids can write on the strips ? my kids write what their favorite things are, or colors, etc. And the chain becomes a monument to that list, "My favorite foods chain", etc. ? tohang in a bedroom or playroom.

36. Magnets Galore ? At the craft supply store, purchase a dozen or so painted wooden figures. These are very cheap - .25 cents each, I believe. Super glue a small magnet to each one and purchase a small cookie sheet for magnet play. When you are cooking, you can bring this out to occupy a little "helper". Store this on top of the refrigerator and only pull it out occasionally to keep it fresh. You can add magnets as your child develops new interest. This also makes a lovely homemade gift.

37. Lunch a New Way For a casual lunch, use a 6 count muffin tin and put a different food in each spot. You can use one of the spotsfor the child's drink. This is great on rainy or indoor days whensome excitement is needed.(Hey this chick stole my idea!)

38. Bread and Dough Sculptures ? making a simple pretzel or pizza dough is easy and when kids can make shapes or animals out of itbefore it bakes, all the better. Here's a recipe I use: Pretzel Dough:1 tablespoons quick-acting yeast1 cup water1 teaspoon sugar1 teaspoon salt2 cups flour1 tablespoon oilPreheat over to 400 degrees. Measure the water, sugar and yeast into abowl and mix. Wait two or three minutes for the yeast to soften. Stirin one cup of flour, then add oil, salt and remaining cup of flour.Sprinkle flour onto a wooden breadboard and place the dough on it.Knead dough for about five minutes. Place dough in a bowl and coverit, letting it rise for about 45 minutes in a warm place away from drafts, open windows, etc. Punch the dough down and work it into aball. Next, separate the dough into smaller portions and let thechildren use their hands to roll the dough into ropes or snakes tomold dough into different shapes. After combining ingredients, showchildren how to knead the dough and let them try. There's no need towait for it to rise.Let them brush their pretzel with a beaten egg, sprinkle with sesameseed, and bake at 400 for about 10 minutes, until light brown.

39) Frozen Ants -- Ask your preschool child to peel a banana and cut into two or three small pieces with a plastic knife. Spread peanutbutter on each piece then roll each piece in raisins. Wrap loosely inwaxed paper and freeze. Your young child may want to eat right away so have more than one banana available.

40) Teddy Bear Fort ? Kids always make forts for themselves, but whatabout their favorite doll or stuffed animal? Help your child getstarted and h/she will take it from there.

41) Can You Find It? Hide a variety of small objects in a basin ofrice or sand and ask him/her to find specific objects by feeling alone.

42) Which is longer? Cut strips of construction paper to different lengths. Ask your child to find the longest green strip, the shortest red one, etc. Categorizing options are many here and easy for thechild to do without frustration.

43) Pajama Day ? Let your child stay in his/her jammies all day andeat breakfast foods all day. Gather up all of your lullaby music andnighttime books. Let your child use a flashlight all day and make ateddy bear bed out of a shoebox.

44) Animal Search & Find ? Give your child a stack of a few magazines and ask him/her to find as many animals as possible. H/she may chooseto cut them out with safety scissors.

45) Cup Tower -- Have your child stack paper or plastic cups into atower and then knock them down. Watching them all fall around is halfthe fun!

46) Make a rainbow streamer. Take a paper plate, punch 5-6 holes next to one another along one side of the paper plate, cut out the middle,and tie ribbons to each hole. Encourage your child to run and dancewhile trailing his/her creation.

47) Tea and a Tea Tree ? Buy a very fancy tea cup and saucer for yourchild ? Ross or Marshall's works well for this. Buy a collection ofherbal teas and perhaps some stevia, honey or agave nectar to sweeten.Let your child choose from a variety of teas. After you have your hightea together, hang the used tea bag on a tree outside. When it rains,it will "rain" tea!

48) Giving Back ? Every once and awhile, make cookies for the mailcarrier or garbage truck workers. If it's hot, hand them a Gatoradebox or popsicle. When you do this, be sure to talk about how hardthese people are working and how thankful we are that they do whatthey do. This remains one of my kids' favorite activities and memories, and the mail carrier thinks it's pretty great too!

49) Tissue Box Mailbox. When you have an empty tissue box, gather up some junk mail, write your child's name on the side and allow him/herto play with opening mail, putting it through the slot and feelinglike a grown up. H/she can decorate it as well.

50) Weather Chart Make a circular pie chart Party supply stores have cake making supplies that work well for this), punch a hole in the middle and use a brad to secure a sturdy cardboard. Making as manysections as you wish, draw simple weather shapes. Encourage your child to notice the weather and change the chart whenever h/she notices thechanges. How many different types of weather can happen in one day? Hang this low or on the refrigerator so h/she can access.

A Last Couple of Notes:Messiness It is hard to watch your home become a chaotic mess from preschool activities. Try to let that go. These are the years that they need to learn with all of their senses and curtailing that only means stunting learning opportunities. Mess=smart kids.

I think those are great activities for kids but now I am on a quest for stuff for moms to do to take a break without abandoning the kids:

-I am computer oriented and I guess you are too which is why you are reading my blog. How about taking a Facebook break? Re-connect with family and friends and play a stupid game just to take the load off.

-I need to look at funny pictures or read funny stuff to make me happy and relaxed.

-How about prayer? Can't hurt right?

-Stress relievers you can do with your kids.

-Stay Sane.

-Wow this article covers it all!

Hang in there everybody!!

Selling a house with 3 kids under the age of 3

Below is something I wrote a long time ago before I had a blog.  It was an email describing a horrific day I had while trying to sell a house with 3 kids under the age of 3 all in diapers. I wouldn't wish that process on my worst enemy.

Hey Everyone,

This might be long sorry. Today was really crazy. Last week we had an inspection report on our house and they found a leak under our kitchen. So today we get a plumber and he finds, gray water and food debris and some fungus. So now they need a clean-up crew to clean up under the house before they can fix the leak and a general contractor to come out and rip up some cabinets and maybe even some kitchen floor.

Here is the clincher to make sure the fungus doesn't spread we need to turn off our a.c. and cover all of the vents and this is all going to take about 5 days. And the guy said that it's not good for small children or the elderly to breathe so we need to leave!!!! So I had to pack up all my monkeys and ship out. Erik came home from work to feed the kids so I could pack everything. I called Sierra Suites and ask them if they have corporate rates for local businesses and since Erik sees paitients at San Ramon Regional I get a $100. knocked off the room rate.

As soon as Erik leaves both Michael and Bekah poo. So I changed them and load everyone in their carseats and blast the van a.c. and gas the light goes on empty. Luckily there is a gas station right next to the hotel. After I fill up I pull right up to the lobby doors and unload and usher all 3 inside the lobby. Three twenty-somethings are loafing behind the counter and tell me the room will be ready in 15 min. Of course Michael and Bekah are starting to explore the whole lobby. Luckily they had a t.v. in the lobby so I turned on cartoons. Jake starts to get mad so now I have to whip out my boob in the lobby and feed him. And then Bekah poos again!

Finally our room is ready. As I am gettting my room key/card Bekah sprints out the door towards parking lot, so I sprint after her. Michael says, "That's funny!" and is cracking up. I yell," That is not funny!", as I drag poopy Bekah back in. The staff behind the counter are trying not to laugh. They give me a room on the second floor as far from the elevator as possible but the girl offers to help once I bring my van around back. So I load them all up again and drive to back door and unload a diaper bag, duffel bag, suitcase, porta crib, my boppy, Jacob in his portable car seat and 1 hyper toddler and 1 poopy toddler who is an hour past her naptime.

I get a luggage cart, load everything but the kids and push that with one hand, while holding Jake with the other hand and screaming at Mike and Bekah to get on the elevator. No staff showed up to help and I couldn't abandon the kids to go get them. When we got to the second floor the nicest guy in the world pushed the cart for me while I herded the monkeys to our room. The guy has a 4.5 month old and informed me they are only having one kid. He probably made that decision right then. When we get to the room I am dripping sweat. I turn on the t.v. for Mike and change Bekah who now has poop soaked shorts, gross! In the worst case of passive-aggressivness I walked all the way back to the elevator and disposed of the diaper in the garbage can for everyone to enjoy.

They did provide a crib so I actually put Bekah in there attempting nap.........that didn't work. But it gave me time to set up the other porta crib and send out some emails and make some phone calls. In that 45 minutes I realized this room even though it has a kitchenette and a seperate bedroom is way too small and is not going to work for 5 nights!! So I load up kids again and take them to P3 Party Place. They love it there so I get no problems from Mike and Bekah. Right next door is the Residence Inn so I go in there and give them my sob story and turns out they have a 2 bedroom place, with free bfast and a pool for only $10 more than the place I am at now! So I signed us up for that for Friday night. Now that I am a little calmer I also remember that my SIL is going camping Sat. morning. So I call her and hook up her house for Sat. and Sun. night. We will figure out Monday when we get there. I go home for some stuff I forgot and to the grocery store for some basic provisions like beer and ice cream.

I go back and get kids and come back to hotel. Repeat process from before but now with groceries. This time another gentleman holds doors for me and the elevator. Mike gets in and pushes all buttons and the man says it's a good thing there isn't 20 floors! Back in the room the kids smear mac and cheese and ice cream everywhere and now the carpet in here looks like my kitchen floor. We did our usual bedtime routine to make life as calm as possible but Mike and Bekah still cried for 30 minutes before passing out. When they finally fell asleep we could put Jake in there with them and now Erik and I are out here in the "living room" watching football and drinking beer. Michael gets this huge cozy king bed to himself and Erik and I get a sofa bed. But I didn't want Mike sleeping out here with a stove! I would rather have him flush things down the toilet than set things on fire.

Wish me luck,


Sunday, April 3, 2011

To be a fly on the wall in Livermore

This evening is a mom's night out for a mom's club I was never a member of and never had to quit because of my big mouth. If I didn't have such a big mouth I would be there right now, enjoying fondue, but now I am at home writhing on my couch dying of curiousity.

Is anyone talking shit about me? Which one of my friends will be the first one to stick up for me? Will there be a catfight where someone's shirt gets ripped off and their boob flops out of their bra? And if that happens will somebody be smart enough to film it on their iPhone and upload it on Youtube? This is fucking killing me.

Most of the chicks at this restaurant in Livermore this evening are my friends, a handfull are not. And a couple of them need to have their fondue pot pissed in by me. Dip your bread chunk in that bitch.

Sigh............ok I feel a little better. Somebody better send me an email tommorrow with an update. Even if it's all civil and boring I want to know about it.

Conversations with a 4 year old Michael

"Mom where are we going after we take Bekah to preschool?"

"The bank, Target and then home."



"I have an idea, let's go the Kid's Discovery Museum!"

"Honey that's in San Jose and too far to go today because you have school later."

"But mooooom...."

"Mike stop whining!"

"Ok but we should go to the museum because it's not foggy."

Pause while I think what the hell fog has anything to do with going to the Children's Discovery Museum.

"You are right, it's not foggy but we aren't going today."

"Where are we going?"

"I just told you!"

"Can we go to the bank with lollypops?"


We go to bank, get lollypops, deposit check and drive to Target.

"Why are we going to Target?"

"To get medicine"


"Because mommy and daddy are old and old people take medicine."

Once we get to the pharmacy Mike runs to the counter and yells "Hey is anybody here?"

"Michael! We have to wait our turn in line."



"Can I have a toy?"



"Mike stop whining!"

"I am good why can't I have a toy?"

"Auntie Merrill just bought you a toy and Hanukkah is coming and you will get a ton of toys."



"Can I have a treat?"

"You just had a lollypop!"

"They have a Starbucks here"

Damn he's got me on that one, I need coffee bad.

"Ok if you are really good and don't run off, you and Jake can have a vanilla milk."

So we go look at Xmas trees while waiting for my prescription.

Very loudly, "We don't do Christmas because we are Jews!"

"That's right, but the trees are pretty."

We get our beverages and then go look at toys.

"Mom I want this for Hanukkah!" Repeats this 100 times at top of his lungs.

"Mom I haven't played with one of these in ages!"

"In ages? You are only 4"

"Mom I don't have a fishing pole."

"That's because we don't go fishing."

"We could go fishing."

"Yes someday we might go fishing and then you would need a pole, but not today."

We leave Target.



"I have an idea, let's go to the park."

"Actually that's a really good idea, let's go. "

One hour later.

"Michael it's time to go honey you have to eat lunch and then go to school."


"Mike stop whining!"

"Ok 40 more minutes"

"How about 2 more minutes?"

"Mom I am having fun here"

"Me too but we have to go."

We get in van.

"Can we get Happy Meals?"



"Mike stop whining!"

"I love Happy Meals"

"You never eat your Happy Meal! You just play with the toy!"

"Where are we going after preschool?"


"Who is coming over tonight?"


"But I love Auntie Merrill, I miss her!"

"You just saw her last night honey, she is busy today."

"Where is Oliver?"

"I don't know."

"But I miss Oliver and I want to have a sleepover tonight".

"You can't have a sleepover on a school night"

"I want to go out to dinner tonight with Daddy."

"Mike stop whining! We are not going out to lunch or dinner or having a sleepover. Not every day is a party honey. We had a long weekend and had fun and we need to relax tonight."



"I love you"

"I love you too buddy. You are a very sweet boy and you make me laugh."

Daddy Vs. Mommy, removing splinters

Husband's Method of Removing Splinter:

Assemble nitrous spray, hypodermic needle filled with sterile water, sterile surgical tweezers and gauze. Grab toddler with one splinter in hand. Have toddler sit on toilet and spray hand with freezing cold nitrous spray. Yell at wife to find escaped toddler and bring him back to the bathroom and restrain him while husband pokes gently at splinter with tweezers. Think happy thoughts while toddler's screams shatter eardrums. Finally remove splinter, flush wound with fluid from hypodermic needle, dress wound, and then treat toddler with candy.

Elapsed time= 15 minutes

Mother's Method of Removing Splinters:

Move Revlon tweezers back and forth over flame from cigarette lighter to sterilize. Turn on toddler's favorite cartoon, grab toddler and put in basket hold (learned from working in pysch hospital), tweeze and stab 5 splinters with tweezers and acrylic fingernails, think happy thoughts while toddler's screams shatter eardrums. Remove all 5 splinters, stick lollypop in toddler's mouth and wash hands in bathroom sink with soap and water. Release toddler.

Elapsed time= 5 minutes

There is a Jumpy House in my Laundry Room

Ok so there really isn't a jumpy house in my laundry room anymore but that sentence has been running in my mind like the words on the bottom of your t.v. on a cable news channel. The reason there was a jumpy house in my living room was because Katie gifted one to my children before her sad departure, and I tried to deflate it but the hissing sound the air made as it left the valves was putting me to sleep in the middle of the day. So I stuffed it half deflated into my laundry and pulled the door shut. The reason I was compelled to hide the jumpy house was because I was interviewing a new babysitter because the one I hired to "replace" Katie only lasted one day. That is officially a record.

The record before that was a day and a half. That particular girl quit in the middle of the day because Mike hit her in the face with a dump truck. I was pregnant with Jake and on partial bed rest and after Mike hit her in the face she said she just couldn't do this so I paid her for a full day, gave her some Advil and prayed she wouldn't sue us. The new record was not so spectacular; she worked 1 day, had a weekend off and was supposed to come in on Monday and called on Super Bowl Sunday and said she couldn't work Mondays at all in the future and she wouldn't blame me if I fired her. Of course she knew full well that Mike goes to school on Mon. and WEd. and I have to work there 2 days a month so it was an easy out for her. So part of cleaning the house before an interview is to hide the jumpy house and mop the kitchen floor.

The new baby-sitter is named Sarah and I liked her because in her interview she said, " I am very flexible and I don't get irritated easily.". Perfect! So far she has lasted 2 days. She let Mike get away with too much t.v. watching but besides that she was very sweet, playful and clean. She informed me that Jake had a poopy diaper when I went to pick Mike up from school so when she left I checked him out and his butt was clean enough to eat my lunch off of. I know what he is capable of, he practically does back-flips when you try to change him so she is talented and probably used half a box of wipes.

So Valentine's Day when you have 3 kids is certainly not as fun as when you don't have 3 kids. Erik got me chocolates and I got him champagne and neither lasted long enough. The most festive part of Valentine's day was that all 3 monkeys got pink-eye. So Feb. 15th the weather was gorgeous and we couldn't hang out with our friends cause the monkeys were goopy eyed. So I took them to one of my fave spots, Natural Bridges in Santa Cruz. The natural bridge was a rock formation that I am old enough to remember but in the '80's was reclaimed by the sea. There is still a beautiful stone arch, a fresh water stream and tide pools. The tide was too high to check out the pools, with 2 toddlers and a baby on my back there was no way I was going to traverse those slippery rocks. But Bekah and Mike had a blast in the stream and Jake ate his first handfull of sand. Bekah treaded lightly in the stream but Mike forged ahead until he was soaked to the waist and then started begging to go into the ocean. He is truly a crab.

Going to the beach with all 3 of my babies was very challenging but very rewarding. My mom used to take us to the beach but we were all 3 years apart. A 9 yr. old, 6 yr. old and a 3 yr. old is alot different than a 3, 2 and almost one year old. This was President's Day weekend and Erik and I survived being quarantined with our gunky eyed beasts.

Today my Dad and Cherie came to visit. It was a yucky rainy day so it was great to have them here to help with the monkeys. Cherie was wonderful chasing the beasts around and they were so exhausted they went to bed without a fight. My dad and I were able to get a Scrabble game in and he beat me by 2 points in an over 300 point game. Katie called tonight, she sounded very homesick even though she is home now in Seattle. The kids talked to her and Mike told her he missed her and Bekah that she loved her. When we hung up I had tears in my eyes. She is going to try to make Jake's first birthday, yay!