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Fairly Odd Mother

Frantically waving my magic wand to make wishes come true.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Philanthropy Thursday: Found Treasure

Do you remember that scene in Mommie Dearest when Joan Crawford is seen screaming "NO MORE WIRE HANGERS!" at her terrified daughter? Well, that was me, minus the wire, the screaming and the pasty skin.

I was organizing the girls' closet and decided to get rid of all the plastic hangers that came with the clothes---you know, the ones with "3T" on a tab at the top. Somehow, I thought that by using uniform hangers throughout, I would achieve some sort of closet-organization zen.

But, then I looked down and saw dozens of unworthy plastic hangers. What to do with them?

On the off chance that someone may want/need them, I decided to post an "Offer" on Freecycle (a site I have already written of lovingly here). I then started to receive emails from people who knew something I did not know. There was a local non-profit that wanted and needed my plastic hangers; these kind souls would even pick them up and deliver them for me!

The group is called Keeping Pace with Multiple Miracles, and they offer services to Massachusetts parents of multiples such as support groups, a monthly newsletter and a re-sale children's boutique. My hangers would go to the boutique instead of a landfill.

My point in writing about this is that, with a little searching, you may be surprised to find an organization who wants your extras, who needs your extras. An extra package of diapers? Party plates and decor from your son's first birthday? The Winnie the Pooh room decorations your daughter has outgrown? Unopened baby food? Used sporting equipment? Board books?

It may seem like a lot of work to find homes for these items, but often it takes no more than a Google search and a car ride to turn your piles of stuff into found treasure.


Monday, January 28, 2008

Sticks and Stones and Words

Two nights ago, Belly was angry at me. She had the pouting lips, the crossed arms and the stomping feet. She went into her bedroom and wrote me a note to tell me how she felt:

The note went like this:



Good God, this child goes right for the jugular.

And do you know what my sin was? How I showed my non-love for her?

I told her it was time to get into bed. N...O...W...

Anyone who says being a mom isn't hard work doesn't know anything. There are times I think that nothing could possibly be harder.


Tuesday, January 22, 2008

All Hail the Perfect Mother

The other day, I heard someone say this:

“I have never, ever raised my voice to my children. I have never, ever looked at them with anything but a smile and love in my eyes. . . I let them know every day how much I treasure them. I adore them. They are my reason for being on this earth. I would never raise my voice to them. I would never tell them anything but that they are the precious young men that I’ve had the privilege of being their mother.”

Is she friggin' kidding? Two boys and you've never raised your voice in anger? Never given them the evil eye when they start telling fart jokes in front of company? Never had a bad day and said something you regret?

Attention please! I would like to nominate Dr. Phil's wife for sainthood in mothering! Or, are there more of you out there? I must know how you've found your zen.

When people hear I homeschool my kids, the first thing out of their mouths is often, "Oh, you must be so patient". And, I have to stifle a laugh, because of all the qualities I have, patience is one that I could use in spades.

Lately, my mothering has been less-than-stellar. I'm not sure if it is the 'post holiday' doldrums, but I can't shake that desire to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head. I raise my voice too often (although more in a 'military officer' tone versus the 'crazy-lady screech' heard on the show that prompted Robin---aka Mrs. Dr. Phil---to make the above statement). I say things like, "Hurray Up!", "Stop Playing with Water!", "Give me that!" and "Will you just Listen!".


I know I'm a work in progress. I know I should count to ten a little more often, should lighten up, should go with the flow of mothering.

I also know that one person I would not want to be is the pregnant daughter-in-law to Mother Robin. I couldn't handle trying to live up to that.

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Saturday, January 19, 2008

Walk, Walk, As Fast As You Can, You Can't Catch Me. . .

FINALLY, I got to 10,000 steps! And, it was not even thanks to any "real" exercise (although, "thank you" to Wendy for recommending Leslie Sansone's DVDs which have been fun so far).

Now, how does one get to 10,000 steps in one day? Follow this program:

  • Walk up and down stairs of two-story home at least 50 times to retrieve a sock, answer the phone (which has always been left on the other floor), use the bathroom (our two upstairs toilets were out-of-commission---don't ask), and break up petty arguments.
  • Take kids to gymnastics and, while girls are having their class, run around with three-year-old son playing catch and tag.
  • Shovel front and back walkways and porches of rapidly melting snow.
  • Drop oldest at Brownies and take two younger kids to the giant "SUPER"market in town. Walk from one end to the other picking up ten things.
  • Vacuum first floor while kids have 'movie night'. Stop to eat popcorn in between rooms.
If you, too, follow this plan, you can reach 10,114 steps as I did. Now, how in the world do I do this again without collapsing from exhaustion?

Got more time? I have a post on New England Mamas about trying to protect my kids in this big, bad world of ours.

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Thursday, January 17, 2008

To Save A Buck (or two)

Before the holidays, there was a lot written about the safety of China's exports; namely, toys. Many shoppers were on high-alert, looking for toys that were not manufactured in China, or, at the very least, were not at the top of any recall lists.

And then today I read a story in the Wall Street Journal that began like this:

"Over the holidays, millions of American children received Chinese-made toys powered by cadmium batteries.

Cadmium batteries are safe to use. They are also cheap, saving American parents about $1.50 on the average toy, compared with pricier batteries."

The article then goes on to say that the cheap price of these batteries does not reveal the heavy price the Chinese workers making them must pay for inhaling the toxic red cadmium dust. Problems such as kidney failure, lung cancer and bone disease can be the result of breathing in this toxic metal.

You can read the entire article here. And note this: "In America, five years after Hasbro stopped using nickel-cadmium batteries, Mattel and Toys “R” Us are yet to follow suit, but say they are exploring alternatives. Wal-Mart no longer purchases cadmium batteries from GP but declined to comment on whether it still uses them in its products."

It is bone-chilling to think about how many people may be now suffering or even dead so that we can save $1.50 on the 'average toy'.


Tuesday, January 15, 2008

My Hot, Steamy Vice

Wanna know the secret to my 'get up and go' in the morning? Read all about it at "My Ultimate" at New England Mamas. . .

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Why We Need a Puppy, Or Why My Children Will Need Therapy

Last winter, we became caretakers to a spider living on our porch.

This winter, I have captured--I mean, rescued--a dozen ladybugs and put them into a screened-in butterfly habitat.

To say I am obsessed with the ladybugs may be a tad understated. Every morning, I mist their leafy world and wet a piece of paper towel. Daily, I replace their hunks of apple or pear or pieces of raisins. I even move them to sit on the stove under the warm lights so I can watch them run around in the heat.

(the giant ladybug on top is not real; I thought it would make them feel at home)

For a few weeks, all was fine with our new pets. And then, a couple of nights ago, we settled down to a dinner of Dirty Rice, a name which seems pretty apt given what happened next: my oldest, Belly, was about to take a big mouthful when she screamed, "There is a ladybug in my rice!". We all gasped and looked and, sure enough, there was a ladybug nestled there in the brown-colored rice.

I grabbed her plate and apologized to the poor ladybug. I cooked a pet! But, as I carefully removed it from her dinner, the little critter started running on my hand. Not cooked! Just enjoying a little Cajun cooking!

I returned the ladybug to her (his) home and decided to keep them away from dinner prep in the future.

Do you think they are planning a jailbreak?

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Remote Possibility

In this age of rampant consumerism, it is no surprise that some people have pledged to stop the madness. . .or the buying. I first heard about this concept from a group in San Francisco whose members pledge to only buy secondhand items. Then I read about this New York City man who has sworn off everything from toilet paper to taxicabs for himself, his wife and his little girl.

Recently, one of my favorite mommy-bloggers started an experiment called "A Year Off". This mom of seven is going to attempt to spend a year without making any unnecessary purchases.

I spent a couple of days thinking about this. How could I pare back on my buying of things? What is the difference between a "need" and a "want"? Why did a brand new Target have to move a mile from my home? I was becoming all a-flutter over the idea of joining the army of low consumers.

And, then Fairly Odd Father came home from work and said, "Look what I got! Only $10!" And I screamed and then fainted.

(just kidding about the fainting part)

Can you tell what this is? It is a G-I-A-N-T universal remote control for the television/cable box/VCR/DVD. I sputtered something about not buying "wants" this year. FOF explained that this was NOT a "want" but a "need" because he could never find the right remote control when he needed it.

But, the joke is on him, because little man D thinks it is a toy and hides it in the back of his Tonka truck and then moves it all over the house. I have a feeling we may "need" a tracking system for the remote next.


Saturday, January 05, 2008

Getting Political

I am talking about the Presidential candidates and their views on homeschooling over at New England Mamas today.


Thursday, January 03, 2008

Sing Along

Karaoke is a bad, bad thing. Never mind that while on vacation this summer, Fairly Odd Father and I got on stage (separately! twice!) and sang ridiculous songs like Hollaback Girl (me) and Tainted Love (him). The most sobering thing was seeing kids sing lyrics that were way too old for them.

The girls all loved the High School Musical songs, especially the slow ones about love (or should I say, LUV). The boys either stayed off the stage or sang backup in groups. There was one notable exception: a teenage boy who sang a song about a shotgun, too much liquor and the wasted life.

And then. . .a group of giggly 11-year-old girls, wearing flip-flops, tank tops and braces got up and sang
this to the crowd of frozen adults and lip-syncing kids:

Right now he's probably slow dancing with a bleach blond tramp,

and she's probably getting frisky...

right now, he's probably buying her some fruity little drink
cause she can't shoot whiskey...

Right now, he's probably up behind her with a pool-stick, showing her how to shoot a combo...

And he don't know...

That I dug my key into the side
of his pretty little souped up 4 wheel drive,

carved my name into his leather seats...

I took a Louisville slugger to both headlights,

slashed a hole in all 4 tires...

Maybe next time he'll think before he cheats.

Yes, no one knows revenge, name-calling and bitterness like your typical 11-year-old girl.

Singing lyrics that are too "big" for the one singing isn't anything new, though. I remember loving the song, Afternoon Delight, and having no idea they were singing about a mid-day quickie. I thought that ZZ Top's Pearl Necklace was about jewelry. Songs like Rod Stewart's Hot Legs or Billy Squier's The Stroke were just fun to sing, and I didn't really ponder their meaning.

So, now I'm a mom. And, of course all of this is going to bite me in the ass. I just expected it to come out of the mouth of my 6 year old. Instead, I heard my 4-year old singing an Avril Lavigne song called "Girlfriend" the other day (as it was playing on the 'Kids' digital music station on our TV). The chorus
goes like this:

Hey! Hey! You! You!
I don’t like your girlfriend!
No way! No way!
I think you need a new one
Hey! Hey! You! You!
I could be your girlfriend

(amazingly profound lyrics, aren't they?)

I think it would've been enough for me to hear Jilly singing these words, but alas, that wasn't the case. Instead, she was jumping around the room singing, at the top of her lungs:

Hey! Hey! You! You!
I'm your naked girlfriend!

Yes, should be an interesting adolescence in this household.

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Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Stepping and Diets

UPDATE: I broke 5,000 steps yesterday! (you may need to see here if you have no idea what I'm doing "breaking steps").

And, on this day of New Year's Resolutions, I'm talking about how I refuse to diet over at New England Mamas.

Happy New Year to all of you! Hope 2008 is your best year ever.

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