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Fairly Odd Mother

Frantically waving my magic wand to make wishes come true.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Isn't She Lovely?

Like the new look? My new banner and bloggy style comes from none other than the marvelous IzzyMom. I feel so grown up now! It seems fitting that I'd do this shortly before my one year anniversary, which falls on October 9th.

Now, if I could only figure out what I'm supposed to do on this site, I'd feel like a 'real' blogger! I was really excited that my Technorati Authority Number was 39, but I think the higher numbers are better---so, in other words, I actually suck.

In other news, it seems sadly ironic that this past week, Belly picked "Meerkats" as the creature she wanted to study (for science she picks a new creature every week). We read Meerkat books, colored Meerkat pictures and even watched Season 1 of Meerkat Manor, a show we had never seen before.

And, now, tonight, I get word that Flower, the feisty and brave leader of the "Whiskers" family, is dead (she actually died in February, but the news just aired). Fairly Odd Father sent me this link to an E! News story about her death.

Yes, of course, I cried.

This week, we're learning about beetles. Ain't no way I'm crying over a beetle.

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Thursday, September 27, 2007

Philanthropy Thursday

I'm babbling over here again; something about moving. . .

Also, this is my first "Philanthropy Thursday!" This mama and this one inspired me to join in on the fun, although I think they've bumped up their philanthropy to every Thursday. I'm sticking with my original promise of the last Thursday of the month, which doesn't make me feel very philanthropic, but, hey, I know my limits (and, ladeez, can we get a button for this to put on our blogs? who is it that makes all those neat buttons?).

First, I looked up the definition of philanthropy: altruistic concern for human welfare and advancement, usually manifested by donations of money, property, or work to needy persons, by endowment of institutions of learning and hospitals, and by generosity to other socially useful purposes.

Then, I thought about what we've done lately. In most cases, it has been to write a check or stuff a couple bills into a can outside the supermarket. This summer, the kids and I walked around the neighborhood wearing gardening gloves, carrying garbage bags and collecting trash. We've also donated food to the food pantry, and given snacks to our church for social hour.

But, all those things are past-tense, and I wanted to force myself to do something new each month. So, here is what we've come up with:

Recently, my cat Zack spent a week at the vet. His life hung in the balance, and the staff there was kind, attentive and reassuring. I will forever be thankful that a 24-hour vet is located a few short miles from my house.

We now go back to the vet every month or so to pick up more medicine or supplies for my two aging cats. When we last went, I noticed they had put out a large plastic toybox in the waiting room. My kids eagerly opened it. . .and saw just a few toys and books scattered along the bottom.

I thought about the kids who come with their parents to the vet and have to sit and wait, sometimes with excitement that Fluffy is getting her first checkup, and sometimes with dread that Smokey may be dying.

So, as my philanthropic deed, I have set aside several of my children's toys and books to donate to the vet's office. I hope that they help time pass faster for the waiting children, especially those who are there late at night with frightened parents and pets. Tomorrow we have to pick up more supplies, and we will bring our donations then.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

How To Make My Day

Belly left me this note last night before going to bed:


Mom is great.
She helps me when I am in trouble.
She runs to me when I fall.
I love my Mom.


Sunday, September 23, 2007

For the Birds

Although today is the first day of fall, I know that summer hasn't given up yet. In fact, we may hit 90 degrees by Wednesday! I'm glad I didn't pack away the bathing suits and shorts yet.

Instead of a date on the calendar, however, it is the birds that tell me fall is coming.

First, the grackles come. Every year, we get hundreds and hundreds of these loud, black birds all over the tops of the trees bordering our yard. It takes a while to see them, but you can hear them easily. And then, WHOOSH!, they will all take flight and fly to another cluster of trees. For several minutes, those birds who didn't take off with the big surge will hastily fly after their group.

It amazes me that these birds always pass by our yard, just this one time a year.

The other thing that always marks the end of summer are the Canadian Geese. Honking loudly, they fly by in their familiar "V" formation. We always wave and yell, "Goodbye Summer!" to them as they fly past.

At least I know I can say, "Hello Summer!" to them in a few long months.

Goodbye Summer! We'll miss you.


Monday, September 17, 2007

Stick a Fork in Me, I'm Done!

Living with a newly 3-year-old son has taught me a few things:

When I change D's diaper, I know to watch out for the penis which could pee on me at any moment;

When I drag him away from his toys to bring him upstairs for bed, I know to watch out for the swinging fists of protest;

When he is angry and leans in with his mouth on my shoulder, I move before teeth clamp down;

When he is zooming on his scooter, I jump back before he (accidentally) runs over any of my toes, or slams into my shins.

But, I didn't expect this:

D was sitting on my lap, sharing a piece of the delicious banana cake my sister had made. He held in his hand a small plastic fork.

As I turned my head to look at him, his fork rose up swiftly, probably with a plan to then rocket down into another piece of cake.

Instead, the sharp tines jabbed right into my opened eye, scrambling my contact lens and causing me to screech like the Cyclops when stabbed by Odysseus.

My sister, who expected to see me with three little holes in my cornea, couldn't look at me at first. I took the contact out and started to laugh at the ridiculousness of it all.

A plastic fork. In the eye.

Well, I really didn't see that one coming.

(update: other than some major weeping from the eye, all is well now; somehow, even the contact lens appears fine).

And, a major thank you to Oh, The Joys and From the Frontlines (two lovely bloggers) for bestowing this award on me:

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I'll try to be nice, even when being stabbed by forks.


Sunday, September 16, 2007

Are You There God? It's Me, Mama (with all due respect to Ms. Blume).

Is it possible for a six year old to get her period? Because, if not, I really cannot explain the mood swings, crying jags and recent neediness of my daughter.

There is no telling what will set her off. A teeny, tiny scratch? Her grandmother being sweet with her sister? A missed bedtime story?

All of these things qualify as huge, horrible slights against her and require many, many hugs to rectify.

If puberty is harder than this, I may need to rethink this whole "Parenting of Girls" thing. I will have my own mood swings and hot flashes to contend with in a few years.


Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Third is Three

Still loves to hug and kiss his Mama;

Jumps at the chance to ride in Daddy's Jeep and to be Daddy's helper;

Plays cars, trucks and trains, along with loads of scooter riding and ball throwing;

Humors sisters with his version of dress up, playing Barbies and dance contests;

Looks back to see who is watching before plunging forward into some sort of mischievousness with a smile;

The perfect age, the perfect time, my perfect little boy. . .

Happy Third Birthday to my last baby, my little boy. I love you.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Time Warp

When I turned 40 a few weeks ago, my Mom gave me this gem of a book---something she was given 20+ years ago when she turned 40. . .

Ahhhh, yes. . .the wisdom of 1983, when forty-year-old women were assumed to have grown children (if any) and were now out in the work force being liberated from the trials and tribulations of toddlers, infants and (shudder) pregnancy.

While some of the statements inside make sense (who doesn't agree with "I'd rather be 40 than. . .an awkward teenager having to struggle with inept 17-year-old lovers in the back of cars"?), others made this forty-year-old mother of three young children laugh:

"I'd rather be 40 than. . .dependent again on in-laws, babysitters, and play groups for my freedom." (playgroups used to mean freedom???)

"I'd rather be 40 than. . .waiting longingly for "Sesame Street" to begin each day." (remember those days before "On Demand" programming? Seems almost quaint).

"I'd rather be 40 and. . .able to spend weekends shopping or visiting museums rather than sitting through Bambi and Snow White matinee reruns with the kids." (boy, having kids must've sucked back then!)

"I'd rather be 40 than. . .be unable to express my self because of demands of children, husband, or low level bosses."


"I'd rather be 40 than. . .lacking the brains, gumption, and confidence to direct my life in the ways that make me happiest." (yes, 40 will set you F-R-E-E!!! I hit 40 and got oodles of gumption!)

So, look forward to 40! It means cool clothes, mature men, respect in the workplace, confidence, great sex and most definitely NOT diapers, spit-up and baby strollers. . . or so the book says.


Friday, September 07, 2007

My First Colonoscopy, Day Two: Much Ado About Nothing

After last night's post, which was full of poop and woe, I feel kind of silly posting tonight.

I think I get it now. . .prepping for a colonoscopy: kind of yucky; having the actual colonoscopy: as easy as taking a nap.

Seriously, once the sedatives were put into my body, I disappeared into la-la land, waking only to think, "Oh, this must be the beginning", but hearing the doctor say, "All done!"

I had planned to chat throughout the entire procedure, a la Katie Couric. Instead, I probably snored.

Once I had regained consciousness, I was relieved to hear that all looked good---one polyp was removed and will be biopsied, but this is apparently pretty common. I was on my feet and scarfing down an egg-and-cheese bagel sandwich before Fairly Odd Father's car drove us out of the parking lot.

One benefit of the fasting? It allowed me to see what a flat stomach looks like. Either that, or I hallucinated due to lack of food.

I am a bit worried that yesterday's post may have convinced some people never to have a colonoscopy, so I will attempt to reconvince those of you who feel this way.

First, fasting isn't THAT bad. You can eat popsicles, jello and drink soda! You can feel virtuous, like "my body is my temple and I will not eat for a whole day!" Plus, after I got through the night, I was no longer hungry in the morning (that is, until the bagel sandwich appeared in front of me).

Second, here is a tip for drinking down glass after glass of HalfLytely (the stuff that will 'cleanse' your system): pretend you are in college, at a bar. Grab your glass like a shot and drink it all---yes, all 8 ounces at once (you know you could do this at one time). As soon as the glass is empty, grab a piece of lime and suck it. The lime wipes away all the nasty taste from your mouth, plus you can almost pretend you just drank a tequila shot. If the fasting is going well, you'll be a bit dizzy anyway, so the illusion of drinking is there. If you repeat this every ten minutes, you will be finished with the solution in less than an hour and a half.

Third, make sure you have NO responsibilities after 6pm. Lock yourself in your bedroom and keep the path to the bathroom open. Watch tv, read, play on the computer, whatever. Light lots of candles in the bathroom for odor control. When you feel the rumbling, run for the bathroom. Repeat this until the rumbling quiets down. I was still able to get a decent night's sleep, with minimal interruption.

Finally, schedule your appointment for first-thing in the morning. My appointment was at 8am, and I was out of the hospital by 9:30. Just get it over with before you have too much time to wake up and worry about it.

All joking aside, do me one favor: ask your parents when they had their last colonoscopy, and if you are 50 or older (or 40 with family history), ask yourself. The procedure is so easy, mostly painless (even the cleansing was pain-free) and quick. Colorectal cancer is a horrible, terribly painful disease, and yet preventable with regular screenings. I lost my dad to it when he was only 62 years old and that was because he let too much time pass between his appointments. Don't let too much time pass for you.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

My First Colonoscopy, Day One: Holy Crap!

I've had a few disgusting things happen to me in my life:

I've had two non-wiggly baby teeth knocked out of my mouth by a sadistic dentist who didn't use novocaine;

I've broken my arm and watched as the doctor squeezed the two bones back together;

I've had my bladder partially fall out of me;

I've given birth three times. While these were beautiful events, what comes out after the babies arrive is NOT pretty;

I've also had, like most people, the common stomach bugs, morning sicknesses and snot-filled, allergy-ridden springs.

But, nothing could quite prepare me for tonight.

I'm preparing for my first-ever colonoscopy, and thought that the worst part of it would be the procedure in the morning.

But, after fasting all day long and then drinking 80 ounces of somewhat thick, salty-sweet liquid, I've changed my mind.

I am dreaming of food and, inexplicably, unable to watch anything on TV but Top Chef and The Food Network. I almost licked the television screen when they made a muffaletta, despite the fact that I rarely eat any meat.

I'm dreaming of food even during the "cleansing", which is pretty remarkable.

Oh, the cleansing. If you've ever told anyone they are full of shit, well, think again, because you are too. Yes, you are full of more shit than you think is possible.

I am astounded by this, and hungry. And probably 10 pounds lighter. Wait, let me go check that one. . .

Nope, dammit, exactly the same weight. How is that possible???

OK, all appears to be quiet in the belly region. I'm off to bed to dream about muffaletta and bagels and goat cheese and french fries and ice cream.

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Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Waxing Sentimental about Wax Beans

Food, food, glorious food! Can you tell I have to fast tomorrow? (more on that later). Read my latest food-related post here.


Monday, September 03, 2007

Oh Meme, Oh My. ..

I've been a bad, bad girl.

I haven't been keeping up with my memes, which are sort of like mini-homework assignments in the blogging world. So, since I made my daughter begin school on Labor Day (on a holiday?!? why, yes; she must labor!), I will tackle two memes that have been gathering dust in the blogger folder.

This first one is called "The Five Things Meme" (thank you for the tag, Whirlwind).

Name 5 things in your refrigerator:
1. Insulin for Zack, the 15-year-old cat with diabetes;
2. Thyroid medicine for Cally, the 16-year-old cat with hyperthyroidism;
3. Silk Chocolate Soy Milk for Belly, the 6-year-old with a milk allergy;
4. Ticket's Tapioca Pudding by Echo Farm for me, the 40-year-old with an obsession;
5. Two dozen eggs purchased weekly from a family we know that raises chickens.

Name 5 things in your closet (I'm assuming this means literally):
1. Several non-leather shoes and boots;
This coat I found at Target for under forty bucks. I thought it was tres cute, but worry it may be too "young". Thoughts?
3. Exercise clothes, silk teddies and ski wear---three things that don't see much light of day anymore;

4. My engagement ring: a plastic yellow rose that Fairly Odd Father gave to me when he proposed. He actually wasn't being cheap; I had told him I did not want an engagement ring (and, this was not some head game; I meant it). The ring broke within 24 hours, but he glued it back together and it was eventually woven into my bouquet for our wedding;
5. A piece of driftwood we found while camping at Meat Cove, Nova Scotia. FOF wrote this on it: "Love is not just looking at each other, it's looking in the same direction."

5 things in your purse or backpack
1. An epi pen, just in case Belly has an allergic reaction to milk;
2. A tiny lucky pendant called "Green Man"; his face has almost worn away after years of banging against my coins;
3. Urban Decay's XXX Shine Gloss in "Love Junkie", a color I adore;
4. Dark Chocolate-covered Altoids;
5. This photo of the family, taken 2 years ago:

5 things in your car (it is all about being prepared)
1. Diapers and wipes;
2. Portable Potty (best $20 I've ever spent);
3. Changes of clothes for the kids, extra items for Jilly who can't be 'wet';
4. Band aids;
5. Eastern MA street map.

5 things in the world you want to see before you die (I started to get really philosophical about the things I want to see before I die, but I think I'm just supposed to list some cool places I want to visit):

1. The Hawaiian Islands;
2. Iceland;
3. Europe: the whole shebang;
4. The Israel described by Robin here;
5. Australia.


Then, Robin tagged me for a new meme about eight things that drive me crazy.

"Doncha Just Hate It When":

* . . . a car pulls out in front of you, then go v---e---r---y----v---e---r---y-----s---l---o---w---l---y;

* . . .a request is met with eye rolls and sighs;

* . . .someone walk outs of the room while you're talking, but still insists, "I'm Listening!";

* . . .a neighbor's house or car alarm goes off while they are on vacation;

*. . .a friend blames everything that happens to their child on someone or something else, without even considering that their child could be in the wrong;

*. . .that nice, new, white shirt already has a stain on it---usually front & center;

*. . .a child thinks it is important to wake up several times a night to give you a hug and a kiss, to ask the time, and to tell you her finger hurts;

*. . .after all the kids are finally snapped into their car seats, the car keys disappear. . .again.

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Saturday, September 01, 2007

How We've Become "That" Family

Kristen over at Motherhood Uncensored posted a funny and honest column on how they've become "that" family----you know, the one that gets the glances, the frowns, the whispers. She asked for people to comment on how they've become "that" family.

I've decided to tell a story here:

It was early 2005, one weekend afternoon. I decided that the girls needed dress shoes for Easter. Fairly Odd Father also needed to go to the store, so we decided to take the entire family (that would include a newborn son, a two-year old daughter and a four-year old daughter).

We went to a local mall which is a little crappy, but has a good, cheap shoe store inside; perfect for those dressy Easter shoes they wear once. Once inside the store, though, I knew we had made a mistake.

A mistake because it was too late in the day, too close to dinner. The selection at the store was poor, probably because everyone else had done their Easter-shoe shopping weeks earlier.

Our oldest daughter was looking at shoes, not really understanding that just because a shoe is in the rack doesn't mean that shoe is in her size. She pulled down a pair of tiny, glittery heels and announced, "I want these".

"I'm sorry, honey, those aren't your size. They only have these", (point to a few lame shoes, none meeting her expectations).

"I want THESE". Her face got set into that look that made Fairly Odd Father and I glance at each other with an "Oh Shit" message in our eyes.

We started to strap our 2-year-old daughter back into the stroller, and gather the winter coats and shoes that were strewn across the floor. Our son was sleeping peacefully in a separate stroller.

For a few minutes there was much negotiation. With that going nowhere fast, Fairly Odd Father scooped up our now-crying daughter and brought her to one of the benches outside of the store to try to calm her down.

I was left with two strollers which I somehow got out of the store. Seeing and hearing that my husband was getting nowhere with our oldest, I decided to try to steer the two strollers toward the exit.

By now, her screams were echoing off the walls of the mall. When I say she was having a full-blown fit, I mean to say that this was a FULL-BLOWN FIT.

I turned a corner by the exit and waited for the screams to get closer. FOF had daughter slung over his shoulder as he tried to keep from getting kicked in the face.

I noticed a security guard walking next to him.

At the exit, FOF quickly laid our daughter's coat on the floor and plopped her on top of it. Somehow, he was able to get her into her coat. At this point, I saw the security guard squat down next to us and look from FOF's face, to mine, to our daughter's, to the other two kids in the stroller.

I figured he was waiting to see if we'd lose our temper and start slugging her. However, FOF realized that the security guard was actually trying to figure out if we were together, or if FOF was actually stealing some child from the mall. I almost laughed, because, if there was one child to steal from the mall, this was most certainly NOT the one anyone would want.

Fortunately, in this case, our kids are all little "mini-me's" of FOF and I. Security let us go without comment. I'm sure we had quite a few people watching us at this point.

The cold air hit our daughter's face like a slap. She quieted down almost immediately and was chatting calmly by the time we drove out of the parking lot.

FOF and I, on the other hand, were wrecks. Nothing like a simple family outing to age you 10 years.


Sometimes Irony Just Isn't Funny. . .

Oh dear.

I received an email alert from The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network. It read, in part,

"Bella Cucina is recalling “Death by Chocolate” cookies due to undeclared walnut."

Let's hope the email got to everyone in time.

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