Thursday, January 26, 2006

Project Runway

I love this season's Project Runway on Bravo. I watched it last year and instantly liked it. I haven't getten to see every episode this year (we don't have Tivo and the VCR is just too much of a hassle), but I have started to plan my weekly grocery shopping around my Wednesday night viewing of the show. Brendan also clued me in to the Tim Gunn Project Runway podcast, which I am crazy about. I subscribe to three podcasts, and this one by far is my favorite. As soon as I download it, I listen to it. Essentially, it is Tim Gunn's opinions, backstory, and views about each episode. I really like it because he gives a lot of behind the scenes events and gives his honest opinion about each garment and each designer's work methods and attitudes. It is concise and well done, as well as entertaining. If you are a fan of Project Runway, you have to get this podcast. I even listened to the episodes that pertained to the shows I didn't see. It's that good.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Somedays my children just make me want to scream.

I Just Liked This

An inspirational quote for the day:
Happiness doesn't depend on the actual number of blessings we manage to scratch from life, but on the attitude toward them.
-Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Saturday, January 21, 2006


I had to pluck out six (6!!!) gray hairs from my head this morning. I'm not happy about it. Obviously if there are six hairs in the front of my head that I can see are gray, how many are in the back that I can't see?

I began plucking stray grays in my twenties sometime, but never had to remove more than one, maybe two at a time. This morning I found six. This brings me to a difficult dilemma. Do I color my hair to get rid of the gray? I have NEVER colored my hair. No home dye jobs, no professional coloring jobs, not even a highlight. The closest I've come to coloring my hair at all was to use Sun-in. It didn't do much for me. A few brassy streaks that my hairdresser eventually cut off my head before senior pictures.

Now the reason this is a problem for me is that I subscribe to the philosophy that if you are going to color you're hair, you ought to do it right. That means coloring it regularly so that the roots do not come back in and show the gray. I am just not a regular-get-my-hair-done kind of girl. I have long hair that I wear in a pony tail almost every day right now not because I love it that way, but because I just don't call the salon and make an appointment for myself on a regular basis. Last time I got my hair cut was in March or April of 2005, before my sister-in-law's wedding. I don't usually go this long between cuts, but I just don't feel like I have enough time to do it (plus I obviously don't care that much!)

My husband was no help either. When I complained about the state of my hair he offered no support at all. Probably because he started gong gray years ago and if he tried to pluck every gray hair he would have less than 2/3 of his hair left. He looks great with some gray hair. But most guys do. He told me women don't have to worry about going gray. I said that wasn't true. He said HIS woman doesn't have to worry about going gray. I think it was a compliment.

Anyways, I haven't decided for sure, but I'm guessing I won't color it. I hate seeing women who color their hair, but don't commit to it. Either do it right or don't do it all. And since I can't even get to the salon for a haircut every six weeks, I'm pretty sure I wouldn't get there for my required touch ups. I also think I'm too cheap to pay for it. I guess I better learn to like gray.

You Don't Hear About Something Like This Everyday In Illinois

I discovered this truly weird story and had to share it. A 61 year old Ohio woman died in August 2003, and sat in her chair upstairs in front of the TV for 2 1/2 years. When I first saw the story, I thought that no one had discovered her for that long and I thought, "How sad for her. I hope I have enough friends or family members who care about me that when I die they'll come looking for me a little sooner than that."

But much to my surprise and disgust, some people did know she was dead.
Pope died at her home here at age 61 on Aug. 29, 2003. A towel had been placed around her neck to keep her cool on that 87-degree summer day. She wore a white gown while sitting in a chair in an upstairs room, in front of a television that played as family members went about their lives downstairs.

Her daughter, granddaughter, and the woman's caretaker all lived in the house while the woman's dead body was upstairs! Too bizarre!

Read the whole story here.

Thursday, January 19, 2006


Emma and Ian were having their usual morning "let's bug each other until we drive our mother crazy" session when Emma actually complained using this statement: "Ian's looking at me!"

I thought I had at least a few more years before I had to listen to that one.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Creative Anatomy

Ever since I can remember, I've had a raised mole between my left shoulder and neck. I have heard all kinds of advice on it, none of it from a licensed practitioner. One woman I babysat for in college told me that I should have it removed because it could be pre-cancerous. My mom tells me that as long as it doesn't change color or size, then it's fine. I have always had it and it is a part of me. Most people who see it think it's gross, or at the least unsightly. It's not enormous, but it is raised and can be wiggled if someone touches it. All three of my kids have been both intrigued and slightly disgusted with it. If I wear a wider cut shirt, it can be seen easily. I'm not embarrassed by it, never thought to be.

Zoe is very interested in my mole and asks to look at it often. I have to sit down and pull my shirt collar over so she can get a good look at it. Sometimes she touches it and makes an "ewww" kind of face, other times she just looks at it and says, "Mo."

This morning Zoe was running around in just her diaper when she stopped to look at herself in our full length mirror. All of a sudden she turns around with a huge grin on her face pointing to one of her little nipples and proudly exclaims, "Mo!" She then points to her other nipple and says again, "Mo!" Then, pointing to Brendan, who had just gotten out of the shower and only had a pair of pants on repeated, "Mo!"

I had the best laugh I've had in a long time.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Chocolate Pudding

Wednesday nights are karate night at our house, which means Ian has to go to karate class, Brendan won't be home for dinner, and the kids and I have to eat dinner early to get Ian to class on time. This means I make kid friendly fare for dinner. Who wants to force the kids to eat the perfectly good food I usually make by myself. That kind of coercion is better handled by two adults. So last night we had chicken patties, chicken nuggets (child's preference), apple slices and chocolate pudding.

Before Wednesday night, my kids thought pudding came in a six pack of plastic cups from the grocery store. I don't think I have ever "made" it for them. While whisking the pudding mix into the milk I decided to put the pudding into dessert glasses instead of one big bowl. Anything looks prettier in a tall footed dessert glass than in a big bowl, and my kids, having never had pudding made at home, may have needed some enticement to try the thick brown dessert.

As I pulled the pudding from the refrigerator, Ian and Zoe were obviously excited to devour the contents within. Emma, my extremely picky eater, was interested, but was not allowed to partake at this time due to her still working on her single chicken nugget I required her to finish. Ian had his eaten in no time and declared, "This pudding even tastes better than Jello pudding!" (He was playing on the computer when I emptied the contents from the Jello pudding box into the milk.) I graciously thanked him for his compliment.

Zoe, on noticing Ian's happiness with the dessert and the pretty dish it came in scrambled to clear off her high chair tray. She handed me her plate with half a chicken nugget remaining and her sippy cup and demanded a spoon to be immediately brought to her so she could indulge in the chocolatey goodness. I began eating mine about the time Zoe finished hers and she noticed I was putting peanuts in my pudding. She asked for peanuts in her dish and scraped every last bit of chocolate out with the peanuts. Even when she could no longer get any measurable amount of pudding out of her dish, she asked me at least three times to refill it with peanuts, which she ate with her spoon.

Emma, upon completing her chicken nugget and with both visual and oral displays of how wonderful the chocolate pudding was could no longer hold back. She decided to try it. I brought it out to her and with a small amount on the end of her spoon, she tasted the chocolate pudding. She declared the pudding "the best" and continued to take little spoonfuls. I asked her if she really liked it, because she has a habit of saying she likes something if she thinks someone wants her to like it, but in truth may not like it very much at all. Her response was, "I do like it. Do you want to see me say Yum?" She then stuck a spoonful of pudding into her mouth, smiled a big, brown chocolatey grin, and said, "Yum!"

I think it's safe to say I'll be making pudding again.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Emma Writes Her Name

At the ripe old age of 3 years and 5 months, Emma has written her name for the first time. We were playing with the Magna Doodle when I asked if she wanted to write her letter E. She said yes, and we ended up doing her whole name! She was very proud, and quite frankly, so am I. Now we just have to work on counting past eleven.

Monday, January 09, 2006


I am an optimist by nature. As a kid I always looked on the bright side. If things were down, I'd figure out how they were going to look up. I was the teammate in sports who always tried to get the team to forget about all the mistakes and get out there and do it better.

I think I've carried some of this optimism into my adult life. I know it has taken some knocks in the past, junior high was pretty tough for me. Moving to a new state and city took some time to get used to. After having each of my kids I faced some demons and difficulties. But for the most part, my glass is half full.

Where is this going? I have two friends who have gotten or are getting a divorce. One is an old college friend whose husband cheated on her while she was pregnant with their child. They went to counseling, but he wasn't really interested in fixing the marriage. The other is an old neighbor with whom I became friends when we were both pregnant with our first kids together. We both became stay at home moms at that time and really forged a strong friendship. She called me today to tell me she is getting a divorce. I kind of saw it coming. She's been calling me for a year and confiding the many problems she and her husband have had. They have two kids. It makes me so sad.

I kind of thought and hoped that none of my friends would have these problems. I know it is very Pollyanna-ish of me to think that way. I know the divorce statistics. There is no way that this life altering event wouldn't have touched my life in some way, but still I harbored the hope that it wouldn't happen, not to my friends, not to people I know. And yet, here it is, right in front of me.

I went to John Carroll University, a Jesuit college, and somehow thought that this insulated me and my friends from the kind of relationships that lead to divorce. I don't think I really believed this completely, but I did know that my friends were good people, people who don't deserve to have that kind of heartache in their life. And even though my husband was touched by his parent's divorce at a young age, I still didn't think it would happen to the people I know. I guess I didn't want it to happen to the people I know, and those are two different things.

I still have hope for enduring relationships. I look at my parents, my husband's grandparents, my good friend Joan and her husband Jim, and see how truly in love they still are after 40, 50, 60 plus years. I look at my other friends and their marriages and hope and pray that they don't meet the pressures and demands that lead to divorce.

I am still a glass is half full kind of girl. I'm just a more realistic one now.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Swimming With The Kids

Took the kids to the newly built Vaughn Athletic Center to go swimming in the leisure pool they have there. It is a great indoor pool with lots of gizmos and gadgets for the kids to play with while splashing in the water to their heart's content. I have never taken them there, and thought a dreary January morning was a good time to go.

The place was practically deserted, four tweens, a grandfather and his three year old grandson, and us. Ian immediately put on a lifejacket and Emma followed suit, even though the areas Emma went in weren't as deep as our Little Tikes pool. There was a great teeter totter that all three enjoyed and a couple of rocking animals that squirted water out of a spout each time you rocked back and forth. Zoe wouldn't have anything to do with the jumping swings that are designed for babies and toddlers just her age. She was fearful at first, not letting me put her down at all. Ian ventured into the four feet deep water and was thrilled with his progress of swimming back and forth in the pool.

We all went over to the splash pad that has water spraying out from all kinds of faucets and pipes, some tipping over from buckets and spraying out of water guns. There is a giant bucket that slowly fills with water and when it gets close to tipping over, a bell begins to ring. Huge amounts of water pour out, and I swear Emma and Zoe screamed at the top of their lungs every time that bucket poured out it's many gallons of water for at least the first half hour we were there. I just let them scream, as it feels like all I've been saying for the last two weeks is that they are inside and can't scream like that in the house. They still screamed later in the visit, but it had dropped a few decibels or so.

Ian wanted to try the water slides, but the blue slide didn't use the inner tubes, and he was afraid to go down without a tube. The orange tube is enclosed and goes outside of the complex walls (so impressive to see when you drive up to the building) and the fact that it was enclosed and going to be dark frightened Ian. I'm sure he would have gone with me on a double tube, but I didn't have anyone to watch the girls. Maybe we'll get a chance another time.

One of my favorite things was when I was pulling Zoe through the water and she just giggled with each glide. As I pulled her through the water she would put her right hand into the water with her thumb up, like she was the Fonz, then she'd plop it into her mouth and laugh like it was the funniest thing in the world. Anytime I stopped pulling her she would hold up one finger and say "More." In the time when I wasn't swimming with Zoe but just sitting and playing with her she thought it was funny to pull my swimsuit top out and look down my suit. Unfortunately I made the mistake of giggling the first time she did it. Consequently I spent a good half hour dodging her little hand and holding my own hand over my suit.

We stayed until the pool closed at 11:00, got changed, had a quick snack and headed home. It was a great morning.

Buckeyes Romp Notre Dame

The Buckeyes did it! They beat the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame and won yet another Fiesta Bowl title. I have to admit, I am very happy they beat my husband's favorite team, not because they are his favorite team, but because OSU is my favorite team. Most other times I root for ND, as long as they aren't playing the Bucks. And seeing as this is only the fifth time the two teams have played, there usually isn't a big rivalry in the house.

Ian ended up rooting for Notre Dame, even though he claimed he didn't know which team to pull for and also claimed he wanted to root for the winning team. Despite his "Boo Buckeyes" throughout the game, I forgive him. I think what really caused the move towards the Irish for him was that I was very vocally cheering on the Buckeyes. I never said anything disparaging about ND, but I did loudly cheer on the Buckeyes when they made a great offensive or defensive play, and moaned pretty loudly too when the Bucks screwed up.

I picked up the Daily Herald today and read all four articles they wrote about the game. I don't usually read the sports section, and especially don't read multiple articles about a game I watched. But as I read the first article, I just wanted to read more and more of what the writer's had to say, especially since they have a true slant towards Notre Dame. One of my favorite quotes was written by Adam Rittenberg and was this:
With a chance to authenticate its return to college football's elite club, No. 5 Notre Dame lost to a team that owns a lifetime membership.

I think that quote pretty much sums it up. It was great game to watch if you were a Buckeye fan.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Fiesta Bowl Battle

Today is the big game between Ohio State and Notre Dame. As an OSU fan, I am outnumbered here in Illinois, so I dressed all three of my kids in scarlet and gray, before my Irish loving husband was out of bed and could complain about it. I just want to say that the Buckeyes are going to wipe the field with the Irish. And even though I am Catholic, I agree with the sign I found online and am posting here for everyone's reading enjoyment!


GO BUCKS!!!!!!

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Some Of My Favorite Things - 2005

In no particular order, here is a list of some of my favorite things about 2005.

1. How Zoe says "oh oh oh" in a low voice whenever she sees a Santa Claus

2. Ian's first grade teacher, Miss Bennett

3. Emma dancing in her princess leotard in ballet class on Tuesdays

4. Brendan and my tenth anniversary

5. My pink ipod mini

6. Podcasts of Guiding Light

7. My ten year John Carroll University college reunion

8. Not getting pregnant!

9. Ian loving going down the water slide by himself at the pool

10. Discovering other blogs besides my husband's

11. Beginning my own blog

12. my Small Faith Group through Our Lady of Mercy

13. Pilates (Mari Winsor Pilates to be exact)

14. Maroon 5 and Barenaked Ladies music

15. Primary Christmas concert at Our Lady of Good Counsel School

16. Everyone in the family being in Elizabeth's wedding

17. Elizabeth and Patrick babysitting our kids for the weekend so we could go to our reunion

18. Having coffee with Adrian, my former fourth grader and now senior in high school

19. Getting to see my best friend, Aimee, a lot more this year

20. Laura and Jenny

21. Ian going to Granma and Papa camp and loving it

22. Emma sleeping downstairs with all of her cousins at my mom and dad's house

23. Buckeye Football

24. The White Sox winning the World Series

25. Zoe learning to walk and say "mommy"

26. Phone calls with my sister

27. Brendan getting a new job

28. Trying new recipes and making old favorites

29. The Easter egg hunt at my parent's house

30. Kringle from O&H Danish Bakery in Racine, WI

31. "Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith" movie

32. The Ohio State jersey I got for Christmas from Brendan

33. The Ultimate 3-in-1 Christmas Tree

34. eBay

35. Digital cameras

36. Bailey's Irish Cream

37. The daffodils that bloom in my front yard in the spring

38. Watching the birds in Ian's birdfeeder

39. Starbuck's drinks

40. iTunes music store

41. Getting in touch with Tracey, an old friend

42. Dr. Janda, who helped make my crown look just like any other tooth

43. Checking books out of the library

44. Watching the Real World/ Road Rules Challenges on MTV

45. Watching the Amazing Race on ABC

46. Discovering "Some Kind of Wonderful" by Joss Stone

47. Discovering "My Love is Real" by Buddy Guy

48. Having Brendan's family here for Christmas

49. Getting a pumpkin pedicure at Mario Tricoci's

50. Ian learning to read

51. Zoe calling any of the Disney princesses "Rella"

52. Emma calling her Uncle Patrick "Packwick"

53. Emma's imaginary friend, Casey

54. Stash Double Spice Chai Black Tea

55. Emma being potty trained in two days flat

56. My husband and my kids

Gift Ideas For Emma

Emma received a calendar this morning so that she can prepare for 2006. As we marked her birthday with a balloon sticker, she started to think about what gifts she might like for her birthday. She told me, "I want a kitty for my birthday. A live one. In a box, so I can pet it. And I'll call her TV Kitty. That's what I want. Can you get me that?"

Since Bumper is still around, and by the looks of it not going anywhere, I don't think Emma's dream of her own kitty will become a reality anytime soon. But a girl can dream.