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Fairly Odd Mother

Frantically waving my magic wand to make wishes come true.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Rolling the Dice

One other thing for your reading pleasure: visit me at New England Mamas.


So Long, Farewell, Auf Wiedersehen, Goodbye. .

While many of my favorite bloggers continue to party it up at Blogher 2007, I am here packing, packing, packing. Tomorrow, we leave for a week up in Vermont with my family and my babysitter, I mean, my mom. Our dining room is full of bags, boxes and random items. We are staying in a condo which means "bring food"; I think I have enough food for a month.

I may get time to write from up north, because I hear they have the internets way up there too. But, just in case they do not, and just in case you are really itching to read something, I will point out three "old" posts that may give you a better idea of who the enigma called "Fairly Odd Mother" really is. ("Old" is in quotes since I just started this blog last October).

This is my first post. I agonized over it for longer than I did the name of my blog (which I didn't agonize over at all seeing as my husband thought of it). I think that it sums up a lot about who I am, even now, minus most of the drunkenness.

This is my second post and the first one where someone I did not know personally commented. Daisy, I can't believe I've let you disappear from my life. You don't know how much your comment meant to me! So, now, you will be added to my Google Reader and stalked by me for life. (j/k about the stalking!). This post is one of the few in which I discuss homeschooling. As September starts to reappear, and I start to panic, expect to see more posts on this subject.

Here is my 'backstory' or whatever you call it. I keep meaning to link it off my front page, so that it can be what people get when you click on "About Me", but that requires a bit more know-how than I know how.

Hope you all have a lovely week and, if I get inspired, I'll pop on to talk about our week up north. Cheers!

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Happy as a (steamed, dripping in butter) Clam

When Jilly was born, we rejoiced at her fat. At 8 pounds & 12 ounces, she wasn't tipping the scales, but was oh so pudgy, pink and soft. Fairly Odd Father called her his "chubby little bug" in the email to family and friends.

Our chubby little bug

Then a strange thing happened. Her newborn weight melted away, and we started to have concerned 'weight checks' at the pediatrician's office--just like with her older sister. Except, unlike her sister, Jilly nursed like a champ, albeit, a champ who could complete a feeding in under five minutes and be perfectly happy.

I remember being told that she was 'barely' on the weight charts. Her older sister, who had weighed less at birth, was always in the 75th percentile; my second child was barely in the 6th.

I convinced myself that nursing wasn't 'working' anymore, what with me pumping four times a day so she'd 'get enough'; her fighting the breast and me fighting the tears. However, formula did nothing to boost her weight either.

My pediatrician repeatedly told me that I should not worry. My family is made up of string beans; my husband's family lacks anyone who could be considered overweight.

Who you calling skinny?

Her annual weight checks always surprised me. At one year, she was 17 1/2 pounds (her sister had been 20); at two years, she was 22 pounds (her sister was 28 pounds); at three, 26 pounds (sister = 34 1/2); and at her fourth birthday, she weighed in at a whopping 29 1/2 pounds (sister = (gulp) 40 pounds!). (One thing to note: her sister also had four inches in height over Jilly by the age of four, so big sis is by no means "BIG" sis!).

A tall drink of water next to a half-pint

I received some pretty interesting advice over the years from those who thought we must be doing something wrong to this peanut of ours. Advice ranged from, "give her formula with rice cereal mixed into it" to "cook everything in oil and butter", to "more cookies!".

Yes! More cookies, pweez!

I hated the idea of feeding her junk, just for the sake of it (wouldn't there inevitably be a point in her life when it was no longer good for her food to be dripping in oil, butter and cookies?). Just for the record, we are by no means 'low fat', 'anti-junk food' fanatics, nor do we 'count calories' or any other such thing.

Count calories? Why darling, I'm too busy dodging paparazzi.

So, now Jilly is all of 4 1/2. The story is long from complete, but there is one promising spin to it all. Unlike some of her peers (and her brother), who exist on nothing but pasta, bread, Cheerios and an occassional yogurt drink, Jilly's diet has become a bit more sophisticated.

To prove my point, in the past few months, she has eaten the following:

Sushi (vegetable and cooked shrimp), dipped in soy sauce, hold the wasabi

Pesto, both the basil kind and one made with arugula

Greek salad made with cucumbers, tomatoes, Feta cheese and Kalamata olives

Spinach Pie

Whopper Jr with Cheese

Half of the largest hot dog you have ever seen

Heaps and heaps of steamed mussels

Tacos piled with salsa, sour cream, lettuce and tomatoes

Green salad with pine nuts and goat cheese

Let's just say that if I'm eating it, she wants it.

So, eat on, my little girl! Thank your good genes and speedy metabolism.

Now, maybe we can work on your table manners.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Lordy, Lordy, Look Who's Forty. . .

We're home and had a fabulous weekend. Fairly Odd Father had me fooled up until we pulled into the parking lot here. I doubt you want a play-by-play of our three days; suffice to say that I was scrubbed, buffed, moisturized and rubbed into pampered-momma bliss. He did good, my fabulous husband.

On Sunday, when we arrived to pick up the kids at my mom's house, I was surprised by a group of close friends and family who had balloons, cake and prizes for me. Much love and warm fuzzies all around.

Now, I'm back to reality. The kids are loud, spastic and demanding. The laundry piles are big. Thankfully, the husband took today off to ease me back into 'real' life, but re-entry is so hard. My newly forty-year-old mind and body is definitely feeling its age today.

And, yet, I am so grateful to have a mom, sister and brother-in-law who were generous enough to forfeit an entire weekend for my enjoyment.

I have a husband who planned every little detail of the weekend, down to my spa treatments and wine-and-rose-petals in our room, all to help me feel special over a decidedly scary birthday milestone.

I have three amazing children who handled their first-ever absence of both mommy and daddy with good cheer and fine manners. And, their welcome-back hugs made every part of me happy.

Thanks to everyone for their kind words, emails, cards, phone calls and telepathic well wishes. You've all made 40 much more fun than I expected.

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Friday, July 20, 2007

An Early Birthday Present

I am supposed to be packing right now, but I had to type a quick post that will hopefully convey my excitement and gratitude over receiving this cute, pink award from Izzy:
Do I deserve it? Well, I'm not sure how 'rockin' I am anymore, and I feel a bit more matronly than 'girl', but I do blog, so I humbly accept. I've really enjoyed this blogging thing since starting in October, and the fact that anyone chooses to read and comment on what I've written is truly an amazing feeling.

I am now supposed to 'tag' five other 'Rockin' Girl Bloggers'; I've seen the award around so many places, I'm not sure who is left, so I'll try to pick a few that I think are deserving:

1. First I nominate The Cleaner Plate Club, a blog described as "one mother's search for real food". This issue is near and dear to my heart right now, and I soak up her suggestions, challenges, recipes. . .she is truly on a mission, and I love that.

2. Next, I'm passing this on to Nuttnbunny, a crafter from the other side of the U.S. Those who know me well will laugh, because I'm about as crafty as my cats. There are times I have no idea what she is talking about, like when she talks about 'casting on' or 'spinning' or posts a photo of yarn. But, I still feel like she is a kindred spirit, and I adore her projects, her stories about her son and the cool sculpture in her backyard.

3. Whirlwind is one of my fellow New England Mamas, but I've been reading her from about the time I started my blog last year. She always has great stories about her three girls, and her photos are gorgeous too.

And, a couple homeschooling folks:

4. I'm certain Chris has received numerous awards for her 'main' blog, but I'd like to give props to this one. With seven, yes 7, children, she is a treasure chest of information; information that I soak up like a sponge. Mainly, I want to come sit in her lovely house and watch her get through a typical day, especially when it comes to homeschooling such a large group.

5. I also really enjoy reading Mom is Teaching because she exposes me to so many homeschooling issues and topics; she is relatively new to me, but I look forward to reading new posts as soon as they come up.

OK, NOW I need to go pack before my husband leaves without me!

Happy Weekend!


Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Omnivore's Dilemma

This conversation took place last night at dinner:

Belly, "Mommy, I LOVE this sausage! Did it grow in a garden?"

Me, "Ahhhhhh, no. . ."

Belly, "Did you make it in the oven?"

Me, "No honey. That is sausage. It can be made out of a chicken, or turkey, or cow or pig. This one is from a pig."

Belly, "A pig???? How?!!?"

Me, "Well. . . the pig is killed, and his meat is used for the sausage".

Belly, "Ewwwww! What part of the pig?"

Me, "Errrrr. . ." (start tap dancing around the table because no one really wants to think about what is in sausage).

Which brings me to this clip (I love Lisa):

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Eight Things about that One Day

Fairly Odd Father and I are celebrating our Eighth Anniversary today!

On July 17, 1999, we were joined in wedded bliss in a ceremony and reception that can best be described as doing it 'our way'.

Here are eight things about our wedding day that pop into my mind:

1. The weather. It wasn't just a hot July day. It was a friggin' unbelievably, don't-leave-your-air-conditioned-house, hot July day. 101 degrees hot. And we held our service outside, on the banks of my favorite pond. The reception was held in a building next to this same pond. This building had no air conditioning, just two big fans that pushed the air around the room.

Mrs Q hits the fan

Thankfully, we had told people to dress casually. Thankfully, our friends are lushes and just drank themselves cool. Thankfully, it is 10 degrees cooler on the pond (so, yes, it felt like a comfy 91 degrees!).

Water and more water; need to be sober for the vows!

2. The music. The benefit of getting married at the age of 31 is that I had been to umpteenth other weddings and had seen enough Chicken Dances, Electric Slides and Locomotions to last me a lifetime. After meeting with a DJ who promised he was 'different' and yet featured "Old Time Rock and Roll" on his playlist, we decided to take matters into our own hands.

Our wedding music was copied by hand onto cassette tapes and played on a boom box set up on the stage of the hall. There was plenty of swing, rockabilly, fifties hits and disco, with things like "My Sharona" thrown in to liven up the joint.

3. Our dance. When we got married, it seemed like everyone we knew took swing dance lessons. We were no different and attended weekly lessons for a few months.

At the wedding, we actually danced a sort of routine which allowed us to do something other than cling to each other and sway. "Our Song" was "You're the Boss" by The Brian Setzer Orchestra (with Gwen Stefani). I'm sure my inlaws were wondering what happened to "Wind Beneath my Wings".

4. Our Guests. FOF and I wanted a small wedding; I think we called it 'intimate'. Some of this was due to the fact that we were footing the bill for it all and wanted "small but nice" instead of "big but cheap". In creating our guest list, we had a few rules:

*we had to both know the invitee(s) pretty well

*we had to believe that they would be in our lives going forward

*we wanted a fairly even split between 'his friends' and 'my friends'

*no "and guest"; only serious boyfriends/girlfriends or spouses

Since neither of us have large extended families, this meant the painful process of going through our list of friends (ok, my list of friends, since I keep in touch with everyone) and figuring out if they fit the criteria above.

How'd we do? Pretty well. There are a few of our guests who have fallen off the face of the earth, so to speak, but the majority are still in our lives.

The hardest thing to consider is the people who weren't there. And, with a total guest list of 65 (including the bride and groom), there are plenty of old and newer friends who couldn't be included. I'm pretty sure none of these friends hate me now, but it still bums me out.

5. Our Best Man. FOF's brother served as his best man (my maid of honor was, of course, Mrs Q, my sister and bestest confidante in the whole world).

FOF's brother is a sweetheart, but was a bit wild in his younger years. He showed up for the wedding wearing dark black sunglasses which he hardly ever took off. The reason? He had been in an 'altercation' a week or so prior which had given him two black eyes. By the time our ceremony rolled around, his eyes looked much better, but he was mortified.

The best thing about this now is when I tell people that my best man arrived with two black eyes (say it out loud and see if you don't think he arrived with a posse).

He also ended the ceremonial toast by saying, "Let's Party Like It's 1999!". Perfect!

6. Our Exit. As I mentioned, the wedding and reception were held on the banks of a pond. This pond is the same one I grew up on; my grandmother had owned a house on the other side. I lived in this house after she passed away, and then my parents moved into it in '98.

We had planned an after-party at the house, so instead of riding off in a limo at 10pm, we took to the water. Our poor best man was huffing to get the paddle boat away from the shore; as soon as we were out of sight, FOF jumped up front to help him power it to my folks' house.

7. The After Party. Dozens of hot, sweaty and inebriated friends and relatives ended up back at my parents' house once the reception ended. My father sat on shore and watched over the guests who were bobbing in the water, holding onto various floats. Everyone who entered or exited the water stopped to shake his hand or to say hello, as if he were holding court.

My father offers my groom some important advice. Not sure why my dad is making a 'gun' sign with his hand.

We had a skinny dipper with no shame. We had a friend try to 'save' the best man from his life of violence and vice (she largely succeeded). We had a friend's baby who screamed when someone tried to give her a bottle of the wrong breast milk. We do not, however, have a single photo from the after party.

8. Mr. and Mrs. Of course, the most important thing about our wedding was the fact that us two crazy kids were married. And, in eight years since, we have bought one house, birthed three children, lost one parent, cut back one income, and primarily look forward to a future full of promise.

If anyone who was at our wedding is reading this and wants to share your best memory of it, please add a comment. I'm sure you'll remember things I didn't mention here!

And, Happy Anniversary to my husband, John! I look forward to celebrating our fiftieth together when we are teetery old folks.

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Quivering in Anticipation

Have I mentioned that my birthday is coming up?


Oh, I have?

Well, surely I haven't said yet how old I'm going to be?


I have said that too, have I?

One can say that I'm just a teeny-tiny obsessed about turning 40 this year. This could be because I clearly remember my mother turning 40 (I was 16! Sixteen!!!!). Or, it could be because I am now due for a lovely date with a tube in an uncomfortable place (yup, colonoscopy at 40; part of my father's inheritance).

It may just be that 40 sounds so OLD to me. While I believe that whole spiel about "you are only as old as you feel", let's face it, I'm not a 20-year old. In fact, 20-year olds call me "ma'am" (bastards!). Forty is (sob) middle aged.

Fortunately, Fairly Odd Father is doing his best to keep me from wailing too much. A few days ago, a Fed Ex truck drove up and gave me these:

Wait, there is more:

The card said this:

"Please do not schedule anything for July 20-22. Your time has already been accounted for."

Apparently, I am being taken somewhere for the weekend. A weekend without children. Without children. This will be the first time we have gone away together without the kids.

Who will watch the kids? Oh, just my mom and my sister. Yes, this sister, who is clearly suffering from some sort of post-partum insanity. I am terribly grateful for this insanity. The insanity of my mother will be a bit more interesting. I can just hear her shouting commands in German at my three children: "Nein!" "Schnell!" "Dummkopf!" Oh, it will be an interesting weekend in the Fairly Odd Home.

As for the husband and I, I have no idea where we are going or what we are doing (I do know we are not skiing; I asked). I wish I had time to get into bikini shape, because it seems like a weekend away for the first time in almost seven years would warrant "bikini shape", but it ain't gonna happen. Stay tuned for more info.

On a separate, but still happy, note: I WON! I WON!

I won the Cool Mom Picks' Mother's Day contest (yes, I know that Mother's Day was a while ago, but still jump up and down and squeal with me, ok?); all I did was put their pretty little Mother's Day banner on my site, and I was picked randomly as the winner of such awesome prizes:

First there is a Zutano gift card worth $250 which is more than I spend on any one kid in a year. Then there are these prints and photo album from Mahar Drygoods. I cannot wait to frame the prints and hang them in the kiddos' rooms.

The mommas at Cool Mom Picks really offer some great prizes which is why I'm so jealous I won't be able to play their big scavenger hunt at BlogHer '07. I hope one of you wins!


I'll leave you with one last thing:

Yes, turkey momma and her turklets, or whatever they are called. Eat, momma, eat! No one likes a skinny turkey!

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Oh yeah. . .I KNEW there was something happening before my birthday. . .

Today, I opened the mailbox to see a card addressed to Fairly Odd Father and I. It was an anniversary card from my inlaws.

My anniversary is in three days, and I completely, utterly, positively forgot all about it.

About an hour later, husband and I were alone in the kitchen, and I showed him the card. He looked at me with amazement in his eyes and said, "I completely forgot about our anniversary".

It must be love because we just laughed and continued on with our evening. At least I still have time to buy a card.


Friday, July 13, 2007

What Did You Say?

This week, I brought D in to be evaluated for his speech, or, shall I say, lack of intelligible speech.

While I have no worries about his intelligence or his physical ability (he can ride his sister's Scootch like nobody's business), I just wanted to know if D's speech was in the realm of 'normal' for his age (2 years, 10 months, in case you are wondering). Most of his issues involve pronunciation and sticking to one-two word answers, instead of moving toward more complex sentences.

The speech therapist called us into her office. Immediately, I was struck by something I hadn't expected. It was an accent. A very thick accent.

For the next hour, D was asked questions from a therapist with an obvious Indian accent. She was very smart, used perfect grammar and had an extensive vocabulary. There were also times she would ask D to do something, and he would not respond until I repeated it. There were times I wasn't even sure what she was saying.

Right now, I'm afraid that some of you will think that I am being closed-minded or xenophobic, so let me remind you that my mother is Austrian and has a thick German accent. In no way do I limit her time with my kids for fear that she will 'harm' their grasp of the English language. And, yet, if I were to pick someone to help them learn proper pronunciation, she would not be my first choice, for reasons I've discussed before (oh, the scars from the porcupinis still sting).

What do you think? Do we have any professionals in the hiz-ouse to let me know if I should have cause for concern? Would D's speech be improved in therapy, regardless of the therapist's own speech?


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Kids Are Alright, I Hope

Here is a little update on the kids living at Chez Fairly Odd Family.

First there is Belly, my 6 year old. That girl is a talker. She can talk to anyone about anything. Don't believe me? This is from an email I received from an acquaintance from town:

Did (Belly) tell you we saw her . . .last week? She was so cute -- came up to me to say hello with a big hug, and a big hug goodbye too. She was talking to us about a lot of things (can't remember specifics now, but I remember thinking she sure does enjoy a conversation!).
"She sure does enjoy a conversation!" This line still cracks me up.
Now, on to Jilly, my 4 year old. Lately, she looks like this in all her photos:

Why a monster pose? Not sure exactly. But she totally rocks the monster, dontcha think? However, I'm still a bit miffed over her yelling, "Mommy, you have two boobies and a big butt!" tonight as I was changing.

Finally, last but certainly not least, there is D. Only 2, but learning the ways of man. Case in point: last week, I was reading to the girls when it dawned on me that D. was no longer in the family room with us. It was also V-E-R-Y quiet. I jumped up and ran into the next room, the kitchen. I saw his little legs peeking out from behind the kitchen table; he was flat on his back.

For a moment, I was alarmed---worried that he had electrocuted himself or fallen back and hit his head on the air conditioning unit.

But, no. He was lying on his back, with his shorts pulled down to his knees, his diaper peeled back. . .and his hand on his manhood. Oh yes, let's not forget the shit-eating grin on his face. Pure, unashamed bliss.

I took one look at him, turned away and said, "Yes, you are your father's son".


Monday, July 09, 2007

Where in the World is Fairly Odd Mother?

I am honored to be "guest blogging" (or "blog sitting") for the amazing Mrs. Chicky today. You can read my post here.

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Thursday, July 05, 2007

Scratching My Seven-Year Itch*

I was asked to provide you with a little more info about myself, from both PDX Mama ("Seven Things") and Lucy ("Eight Things About Me")

Since I know I've done something like this before, I thought I would deviate slightly from the original formula and instead tell you "15 Things I Learned During My Weekend of the Triple D's---Drinking, Debauchery and Dopiness".

As you may know, I just spent three days in Boston with my best high school girl friends. To protect the guilty, no names will be used in this expose, but photographic evidence will be admitted.

15 Things I Learned During My Weekend Of the Triple D's

1. Seeing a large black car pull into the driveway to drive us to Boston made me squeal like a little pig.

2. I can get myself around Boston better than a limo driver. Specifically, I had to crawl to the front and practically drive the car from the highway to the hotel. He then asked me how to get back to the highway after he dropped us off.

3. Tapas is the best food to eat before going out since I could eat it without getting too full, leaving plenty of room in my belly for alcohol.

4. Leaving too much room for alcohol, though, was a bad thing when the laughing got so loud that security came to the room at 1:30am (we really are sorry, Room 2317). Plus, I started taking pictures of the girls doing things like this:

5. Even after almost *seven years of "drinking lite" (see title), I could still somehow put away three margaritas, a shot, a beer and some crazy drink that is topped in champagne. . .and then got up at 6:30 am to do some laps in the pool.

6. However, at about 5pm the next day, I fell into an exhausted heap on the bed and begged for a nap.

7. This nap was interrupted dozens of times, since I refused to shut up already.

8. When we walked up to the restaurant for dinner the second night, and saw no one eating inside, we did the smart thing and ran away.

9. However, at the next restaurant, I was told that the first three things I tried to order were "not available because they are changing the menu on Monday"; at that point, I should've just eaten the bread and called it dinner.

10. I also should not have done a shot called a "Red Headed Slut", because then all my pictures started looking like this:

11. Fortunately, while I may have red hair, I kept my wits about me for the evening. I did, however, end up licking a friend.

12. I learned that you cannot photograph yourself in a dark bathroom with a flash camera. I think I was trying to capture how fabulous my hair looked at that one moment. And, no, I am not getting the Heimlich treatment at the same time.

13. I was able to perform a small act of villainy, evidenced by this glass that I smuggled, half-full of beer, out of the bar.

14. I now know for certain that going to sleep at 4:30 in the morning is a very bad thing. Almost-40-year-old bodies do not recover quite as quickly as 20-year-old bodies.
15. Finally, I know that these women will be my BFFTHFO, which makes a 4-day hangover seem pretty inconsequential.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue!

Happy Fourth of July, from my little firecrackers to yours!