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Fairly Odd Mother

Frantically waving my magic wand to make wishes come true.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Twitter has got my back

I've tried to explain Twitter to people by painting a picture of me sitting in front of the television watching bad reality shows and having others "out there" keeping me company in the quiet of the night.

I've talked about how Twitter is great for breaking news. It's where I first learned of Michael Jackson, Patrick Swayze and Walter Cronkite's deaths. I've read of a far-away earthquake or the near-collision of local trains minutes after they've occurred.

I've seen mothers post frightened notes about their sick children, asking for the support and prayers of friends and strangers alike. I've been heartened when their kids bounce back, and I've cried when they haven't.

So, yes, I think Twitter is more than just some dumb place for people to tell everyone what they ate for lunch or to promote their website.

Tonight, I came home from my daughter's soccer practice feeling sad and unlikable. I had just spent an hour watching her team run back and forth across the field while my other two kids climbed on the playground behind me. But, what I tweeted was something that had affected me most:

I was blown away by the responses:

And there were more:

It's like a group of people just came over and gave me a collective hug when I needed it most. Thanks, guys. You all rock.

Next practice though? I'm bringing my ipod.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

The Next Generation of Shredheads

Hey Jillian, if you ever make a Shred for Kids, I've got your workout partner right here:

And I think he's actually closer to doing a real pushup than I am.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I think he's trying to tell me something. . .



Tuesday, September 22, 2009

I ate a hamburger today

I became a vegetarian because of Billy Crystal.

His movie City Slickers bugged me on many levels, but one thing that drove me crazy was his adoption of that baby calf at the end of the movie. "I bet he sticks that thing in his car and they all stop at McDonalds for burgers and fries on the way home."

I stopped eating meat that night back in 1990, and when I did it, I went whole hog, so to speak.

No meat, no fish, no chicken stock in my soups (yes, I asked at restaurants). I never could give up butter, cheese and eggs, but anything that required an animal to die? No problem.

I joined PETA, listened to Consolidated, stopped wearing leather and volunteered at an animal shelter. I grew to hate, still hate, how animals are raised and killed on factory farms.

But the first thing to creep back into my diet was seafood. God, I missed fish and shrimp and lobster and everything but clams. I rationalized those ocean creatures right onto my plate and into my belly.

I didn't knowingly have any red meat or chicken until 2002, at a Portuguese Festival with friends, when pregnant with Jilly. The craving hit me as soon as I smelled the meat cooking on the outdoor grills. I was overcome and soon found myself inhaling a linguica dog. Heaven.

For the past seven years, I've loosened up a bit more. Unfortunately, the meats I want to eat, the ones I cannot resist, are some of the worst ones for you: bacon and sausages (kielbasa, salami, pepperoni, linguica, bratwurst, sweet italian, hot italian and even liverwurst). I still can't choke down the "healthy meats" like chicken, turkey or even pork.

But, my family eats it all, so I now drive a couple of hours once a month to pick up all grass-fed, natural, living-in-harmony meat from a local farm. I tell people, "this cow had a great life before his throat was slit" with not-a-little irony.

And tonight I ate a hamburger. It was grass-fed, no-hormones-added beef that I grilled myself, but still I know that it was once a living, breathing creature. I paused a couple of times while I chewed and thought about this simple fact.

But, damn, it was good.

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Thursday, September 17, 2009

Last Day


Just over two years ago, I wrote this post about my husband starting a 2-year MBA program.

Today, is his last day.

I know I don't have things as hard as some of my friends. My husband doesn't travel for work; he still made it home for dinner most nights. He wasn't deployed overseas; other than ten days doing a program in Brazil, his travel has been with our family. And, his work and school hours weren't as heinous as someone starting life over as a chef; at least his Executive MBA program was designed to minimize the amount of on-campus time.

But, I've had to get used to him leaving for work before the sun rises so he can squeeze some studying in before his co-workers arrive.

I've had to tell the kids to quiet down after dinner because Daddy is on a call upstairs or signed in to a lecture.

I've learned to keep myself occupied with reality TV and Twitter before creeping into a dark and quiet bedroom.

And, I gained over 10 pounds these past two years. I never thought of his school and my appearance being related, but I wonder. I'm pretty certain that without Kristen, Bill and Jillian, I'd still have those 10 pounds, maybe more.

I haven't been a "school widow" exactly, but there are times I've felt like I'm steering this big ol' ship on my own. It wasn't terrible or impossible, but it hasn't been as much fun either.

When my husband "
graduated" back in May, it was only a ceremony. We knew he still had a few more months of hard work ahead. For some reason, these four months have been the hardest on me mentally.

I remember one of the heads of his department speaking to us "spouses" at a gathering the night before the ceremony. He said that the period after school is one of adjustment for everyone and that it won't always be easy.

He also asked us to hold back a few weeks before handing over the "Honey Do" lists we've shoved in a drawer for the past two years.

Screw the Honey Do list. Who's up for Girls Night Out?

So, here's to two years that, of course, went by in the blink of an eye. Here's to all the hard work, the sacrifice and the compromise.


Congratulations, Baby. We did it!

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

All growed up

The crib is long gone. As is the changing table.

You couldn't find a diaper in this house if you tried. Pull-up either.

We don't have a proper sippy cup in our cupboards. The little forks and spoons have been passed on to someone else.

I go to bed without any little bodies in there with me (although I do still usually wake up with one). There are no quiet sounds of a baby or toddler nursing in the dark of night.

It's official: I'm no longer the mom to a baby, or even a toddler. My youngest is five today. Wow.


Happy Birthday D. Number three made our family complete.

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Thursday, September 10, 2009

PBS Kids can babysit my kids any day

I have yet to meet a mom who doesn't puff up with pride at a display of brilliance by their child.

Yeah, I do it, too.

What I've learned NOT to do, though, is ask, "how do you know that, my smart little dumpling?".

Because, often the answer isn't, "I learned it from YOU, Mommy!", but,
"I learned it from Curious George/Cyberchase/SUPER WHY!."

Sigh. There goes my "we-only-watch-a-teeny-bit-of-tv" cover.

OK, so my kids watch television. Like chocolate and vodka, I believe in everything in moderation. Although when it comes to vodka, I'm pretty strict with the kids. And, when it comes to TV, I do have a few rules. These rules were created mainly because I do not want to watch the same shows as a four-year-old.

The Fairly Odd Mother Rules for Unsupervised Television Watching

1. Whenever possible, put the channel on PBS Kids. In our home, the television is used as a babysitter, and I appreciate that PBS' babysitters are among some of the least annoying in the business (as opposed to those channels that rhyme with "Pysney" or "Flickolodeon").

2. Electric Company and Fetch notwithstanding, there are to be no shows with live people starring in them. Child actors tend to fall into two camps: obnoxious and rich, or obnoxious and super cute. Both are obnoxious which is not a trait I want my kids learning any more than they have already. Thankfully, PBS tends to stick with adorable animated creatures.

3. Try to learn something from the show other than the theme song, m'kay? SUPER WHY! will teach them a new version of the ABC song to mix things up a bit. Cyberchase will teach them, um, how to solve math problems to save the universe (remember, I don't actually watch the shows). Curious George teaches them that even a troublesome little monkey is lovable, although I'm pretty sure the Man in the Yellow Hat has never had to pry a biting Curious George off his sister monkey, so cut it out already.

4. Commericals = BLAH. Especially if the commercials start with, "Are you drowning in credit card debt?" I mean, my kids don't even OWN a credit card! What are these advertisers thinking?

I'm not sure if my Rules are what the kind people of PBS Kids wanted to know when they invited my kids and I to a lovely luncheon to discuss the role of media in our family life.

While my kids colored and hid from a costumed Martha the Dog in the next room, I was able to hear from the creators of SUPER WHY! and Martha Speaks. I was so impressed by the lengths PBS Kids goes through to make sure kids actually learn something from watching their shows.

They even sent us home with fun SUPER WHY! activities for the kids to do after they watched the show although D would not wear the Princess Presto mask no matter how I pleaded.It all solidified what I already know: let your kids watch PBS Kids and they will sound super smart when your neighbor asks them a question about the stars, a fairy tale or how many donuts are in a dozen. Just remember to keep your mouth shut and not ask your kids how they learned that tidbit of information, and no one need be the wiser.

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

A step in the wrong direction

Never, ever, ever brag about your kid's sleeping habits. It always comes back to bite you in the ass.

And, by "you", I mean "me".

Case in point: D came downstairs tonight at 9pm to say he wanted someone to sleep with him. I, being in a super-sensitive mommy mode, told him to get back to bed NOW.

Well, he went to sleep, but maybe not to bed.


At least he's smart enough to pick the bottom step.

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Thursday, September 03, 2009

Using the rhythm method

For me, the start of a new "school" year is all about finding a groove, or rhythm, to our day that feels natural. By natural, I mean that we need to all feel awake and ready to work when it's time to work.

So, mornings are good, but not too early. Afternoons aren't good because my brain stops working properly after 3pm.

But, I've hyperventilated more than once this week over the thought of trying to "do it all" this school year. What, pray tell, is "all"?

Two kids homeschooling this year;

An eager preschooler who wants to do some schoolwork too;

Writing for two cool sites; soon, three when this gets relaunched;

Exercising, something I need to do for my well being;

All the activities we have going on: soccer, girl scouts, dance, swimming, coop;

And, of course, fitting in playdates with homeschool and regular school friends.

We used to start doing school at 10am and finish by 1ish. But, with double the number of kids "in school", I need more time. Which means I need to dial back our start time to 9am which eats into my valuable work time, and/or my workout time.

Since I can't write at night (other than little quips on Twitter about whatever reality television show I happen to be watching), I have decided to try exercising after I put the kids to bed. Yes, Shred after Bed, or something like that.

So, tonight was to be Night #1. And instead of working out, I fell asleep on the couch.

I may need to think about this new schedule a little bit more.

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