Saturday, May 27, 2006


My 3 1/2 year old daughter tells me every day that she loves me and thinks I am sooooo pretty. It is very sweet and usually accompanied by a hug.

Today while we were taking a bike ride, me pedalling and pulling both girls in the trailer behind me, she made sure I wasn't getting a big head from all of her usual compliments. She said, "Mom, that's a big butt for that little seat."

Ahhh. To be three and able to say whatever you want. Really adorable.

Listen Up Realtors!

I had two scheduled showings this week, and both times the realtors didn't show up. One of those times my realtor called the other realtor to ask him why. He got some cock and bull story from the guy.

This is at least the fourth time we've had scheduled showings and the realtor has not come. What is up with that? For the realtor and his client, it is simply a showing they never show up for. For me, I have to get my house in order (which means telling my kids not to get anything out and eat over the table and DO NOT make any messes), get my kids and sometimes my husband out the door and go somewhere for the hour time frame the realtor gives me. Then, if it happens to be at the dinner hour, I often have to buy my kids and myself some food because by the time I get home and make dinner it will be so late my kids won't want to eat. I know I don't have to spend money when I'm out. We could just go to a park or some other free entertainement place. But when I don't have time to properly load up the diaper bag with snacks and drinks, and the time of the showing is a meal time, I'm obligated to fill up my children's stomachs, or hear their endless groaning and moaning about how they will just die of they don't get something to eat soon.

I think only one realtor has actually called to cancel, and that after the time frame that they were supposed to be here, so we were gone and didn't get the message until we came home. It's one thing if you come for a showing and don't like my house, that's part of the game. But to disrupt my life without any thought to the effect it has on me or my kids is rude. I appreciate the fact that my realtor wouldn't treat other people that way. A courtesy call to let me know that you cancelled should always accompany a no show. It's just rude and I'm frankly getting quite tired of it.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Eye Doctor

Yesterday Ian had a full work up by his opthalmologist, Dr. Kekish. He's been seeing her since he was 18 months old. After intense patching failed to clear up a lazy left eye, he had surgery to correct the problem at age three. He is now almost seven and the surgery has been an unequivocal success. We go to see the doctor twice a year, once for the full eye exam, and once to make sure things are progressing (or not regressing) as they should be.

Yesterday was the full exam with eye drops for dilation and a prescription check. At the beginning of the appointment, a new nurse or doctor's aide brought us into the office. It was a man named Bobby and I don't think he is used to dealing with verbose six year old boys. Ever since the office brought in a pediatric opthalmologist, Dr. Kekish's staff doesn't see many children. Ian is her only remaining pediatric patient and he has been cooed over by the lady nurses for years. Bobby didn't seem completely comfortable talking to a little boy who says whatever he thinks. Bobby proceeded to do a standard eye check with the alphabet letters and I was horrified to see that Ian could only read two rows of letters with his glasses on using only his left eye. After a recent growth spurt, Dr. Kekish thinks his eyes have changed and his prescription is actually getting weaker. This is the first time in the five years we have been seeing her that the prescription has gotten weaker. It has always been stronger, but she said it is very common for the vision of farsighted children to improve, with some actually outgrowing their need for glasses. She said he has probably stopped using his left eye for reading because the prescription was too strong for his eyes now. His prescription actually dropped by a number of 1.75 - that's huge! I was amazed, because in the van on the way to the doctor's office, we were saying our morning prayers when Ian prayed that his eyes would get better and he wouldn't need his glasses anymore. I thought it was cute and quaint, but naive. I'm glad my adult cynicism was proven wrong.

Some of the funny things that happened at the office were Ian burping and excusing himself, but then describing what the burp tasted and smelled like. After the doctor left I explained that he shoudln't talk about the taste or smell of a burp, at least not in front of people who are responsible for his medical care. Emma let out a sneeze and covered her mouth and nose completely. She was very proud of herself and loudly whispered to me, "I didn't sneeze on her [the doctor]. When I was little I sneezed all over people, but I'm a big girl now and I don't sneeze on people." Then on the way out to the van, Emma asked Ian to hold her hand because I was holding Zoe and a stuffed zebra that had accompanied us to the doctor's office. Ian agreed, but told her they had to act like "cool kids." Then they both proceeded to slink through the parking lot, bobbing their head to one side. I couldn't help but think to myself that a "cool" kid probably wouldn't hold his sister's hand to walk through the parking lot. I'm glad my cool kid did.

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Catholic Education Is Paying Off

Ian joined his sisters today in drawing chalk pictures on our driveway. Zoe made squiggles and masses of lines, Emma made round little people and a rainbow. As you can see from Ian's drawing, he made Jesus on the cross.

Another Unprepared Showing

It never fails! I clean and clean and clean, leave almost late to go places, just on the off chance that we might have a new showing. Never happens. Then I let down my guard, and BAM! A showing. We just had a showing a half hour ago and they gave us the requisite one hour notice and everything. Unfortunately, being that it is a nice day, I've been outside with the kids since getting Ian from school. I came in and checked the messages when we got home at 3:05. There was one that mentioned a showing tomorrow. I came in at about 3:40 to get some ice cream for the kids, checked the answering machine and saw nothing new. I came in at 4:10 to get Ian on the computer, and never checked the machine. Had I checked it, I would have seen that there was one new message, left at 3:58. They arrived promptly at 5:00 and rang the doorbell. I heard it through the open door while I was playing on the deck with Emma and Zoe. I went through the house and there they were, a realtor and his clients for a showing! The house was actually in pretty good shape. With the kids playing outside all afternoon, there wasn't a lot to mess up. I am thankful I made the girls clean up the toys outside in front before going to play in the backyard. There were some papers on the counter and a few dishes in the sink (again, the one day I get a little lazy and don't unload the dishwasher in the morning but leave it until later is the day we have a showing that I don't know about!). Hopefully they liked the house, will schedule a second showing, and I can have the house in the condition I like it to be in when someone comes through the house. We'll just have to wait and see.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Stealing Is Bad

I was violated today, and it really pisses me off. It was definitely nothing scary or dangerous, but someone stole a ribbon magnet off of my van, at the public library, no less! What irks me is that I would NEVER take something off of another person's car, even if their bumper sticker or political magnet was completely stupid and offensive, I wouldn't even think to touch it. I might think to myself that the person is a bit of an idiot to think the way they do, but I wouldn't touch their stuff. Why? Because it's rude and illegal. If a person has differing opinions than my own and wants to share them with the world, then go for it. Who am I to stop you? But to then take my pro-life magnet off of my van, purely because you don't agree with it is just wrong. The problem with freedom of expression is that some people only want you to express yourself if you feel the same way they do about a topic. If you don't agree with them, then it's just fine to be rude, condescending, and to steal. I respect life, born and unborn. That's why I wouldn't touch anyone's pro-abortion materials on their cars, because those people deserve respect, too, even if they are misguided. Maybe that's the problem, no respect for life, no respect for other people. Period.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Why You Should Not Teach Your Kids The Correct Name For Their Body Parts

Because if you do, you will hear the words "penis" and "vagina" way more than you ever bargained for.

You might think that having a six, three and two year old wouldn't lend itself to the necessity of saying penis and vagina over and over again. But my kids, especially the six and three year old seem to find a reason to say it almost every day, sometimes several times a day. A big starter for using these words is the fact that we only have 1 1/2 bathrooms in our house. While Ian is taking his bath, Emma will run in and use the bathroom. While Emma is washing her hands, Ian will run in to go. While I'm using the bathroom, all three kids will join me and discuss some scholarly topic like which show is better, the original Scooby Doo or the What's New Scooby Doo series. Consequently, obvious differences in anatomy and peeing methods is up for discussion on a regular basis.

It was the Ian brushing his teeth, Emma use the toilet scenario that sparked the flow of body part words I was subjected to this morning. I overheard Ian saying to Emma, "You have a vagina, Zoe has a vagina, Mom has a vagina, Keara has a vagina, Grace has a vagina." It was at this point that I told him to quit talking about people's body parts.

I think I have heard the words penis and vagina enough times that I could go the rest of my life without hearing them again. Unfortunately, that's not going to happen anytime soon.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Popsicle Needs New Job Position

My kids LOVE popsicles. They eat them year round. No day is too cold for a posicle in my house. So, for at least three years I've been reading the jokes off the popsicle sticks and have come to the conclusion the Popsicle brand company needs to hire a joke writer. There are still jokes about floppy disks and other outdated items that I always have to explain to my 6 1/2 year old son in order for him to understand the joke. Although some of the jokes are timeless (my personal favorite: What did the boy melon say to the girl melon? We're too young. We cantaloupe.), many are just not current enough to appeal to the kids who can read them.

Today's example of outdated joke material:

Ian: Mom, listen to my joke. What has spots and rides on a fire truck?

Mom: A fire dog?

Ian: No. A fireman with measles. What are measles?

This is where I had to explain what measles are, what a person looks like when they get it, and because of immunizations, why Ian has never seen or heard of it. Maybe the Popsicle company could have a contest for new jokes, then they wouldn't have to hire anyone for the job, and all kids eating posicles could understand the jokes they are reading.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy Mother's Day!

I have had a super Mother's Day today. My kids (and husband) let me sleep in until 8:30, then brought me breakfast in bed, which consisted of glazed donut holes, powdered mini donuts, frosted mini wheats cereal, and orange juice. The girls gave me some homemade paper flowers that we made together to give to their Nana for Mother's Day. Ian gave me a beautiful pink painted stone that said "I" a heart shape and "U" for I love you that I can put in my flower garden. He also made me a great card with green paper, my favorite color! The kids picked me out (with a little help from Dad) a converter for my iPod so that I can play it in the van and a tiered spice rack for my very disorganized cupboard.

After enjoying my breakfast, Ian organized the "Mom Olympics" for me. The first activity was for each person to say the nicest thing they could about me. Ian told me he loved me very, very, very, very, very, very much. Emma went on about how beautiful, pretty and nice I was. Zoe just ran around giggling, which is a pretty nice thing, too. Then Ian sent everyone downstairs to start the next event. I got to pick out whatever music I wanted, and then I got to dance with each person. I started with Zoe, moved onto Brendan, then Emma, and finished with Ian. We finished the Olympics with a whole family dance where we all danced as energetically as possible to Riverdance. I enjoyed the Mom Olympics so much I think they might just have to become a yearly tradition.

After our morning frivolities, Kevin, my brother-in-law, arrived first to help us celebrate Mother's Day with my mother-in-law. My sister-in-law, Elizabeth, and her husband Patrick arrived next. Finally, Patti (my mother-in-law and only other Mom at our house today) and her husband John came. Brendan grilled the bratwursts, hamburgers, and hot dogs masterfully, while I handled the side dishes inside the house. I made four new recipes for our lunch today, and all of them were good. That's an accomplishment in itself! My favorite recipe was probably the Tres Leches Cake my friend sent me. It is a Guatemalan celebration cake that is cold and moist, so it's quite different from our standard cake fare. I'll put the recipe up on the site when I get a chance. It's delicious!

After a fun and tasty lunch with the family, I called my mom to wish her a happy mother's day, too. It was a great mother's day. Happy Mother's Day to all the moms out there!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

The Perfect Gift For Emma

I was searching for My Little Pony DVD's today, trying to see what's out there as Emma has requested one for her birthday. I wasn't sure what was out there, but knew that some new DVDs have been coming out and came across this: My Little Pony: The Complete First Season. It's from the 1980's series, but I think Emma would absolutely love it. Then maybe we could stop watching Scooby Doo for a little while.

That's Just Sneaky

I all of a sudden realized that before the neighbor's house went up, we had a preview showing of our house with a realtor. I thought she perhaps had a client in mind, but wanted to check it out herself. I didn't think much of it until the last couple of days. I realized she never returned with a client and initially thought that maybe it just wasn't the right house for her clients. Then it occurred to me today, it wasn't the right house for her clients because she is the realtor selling the house across the street from us, the one that is the exact same model as ours with the same number of bedrooms and bathrooms. We have kept all of the realtor cards from the showings and sure enough, her name matches the one in the yard across the street. Even if it is standard practice of realtors, (and I don't know whether it is or not), I feel like it was rude and sneaky of her to go through our home, then price their's. I'm not happy, again.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Rah! Rah! Sis Boom Bah! We're Number 2!

Again my realtor informed me yesterday that we are someone's "second choice" for buying a house. Unfortunately, most people only need one house and being number two on the list gets us diddly. These were the people who visited the house yesterday when it was not at it's showing finest. So, I guess I should be happy that we are at least number two on their list, half eaten pop-tart on the table and all. This is the fourth time in the six weeks we've had our house listed that we have come up in second place. The real kicker with this particular one is that the other house the buyers like is THE ONE ACROSS THE STREET! They just put up there house last week, listed it for $5000 more than us, and the clients like it better!!! It is the exact same model as ours, with the same number of bathrooms and bedrooms, although they have a fenced yard and a vaulted ceiling in the family room. I am very unhappy, to say the least. Hopefully someone will come along soon and see that we have a great house and will pay us for it accordingly.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Only Three Days Left

There are only three days left to vote for the new Monopoly properties. Hasbro, the maker of the classic Monopoly game, is coming out with a new, updated version. They are giving the public a chance to vote on one of three properties in 22 different cities. The city with the most votes will win the coveted blue property spot on the board traditionally occupied by Boardwalk. You can vote once each day. The voting began April 24, but I just found out about it yesterday. You can vote until May 12. So go ahead, click here and give your favorite city or location in that city a boost. I am pulling for Chicago or Cleveland to get Boardwalk. Go midwest!

Selling A House Sucks - Part 2

Last night I found out that one of the houses Brendan and I liked went into contract/ contingency phase over the weekend. While I'm happy for the seller, a friend of mine, I'm somewhat bummed for us. It was a great house. Not the perfect house, but a great house nonetheless. The people who came and saw our house for a second showing were supposedly going to get together with their realtor to make an offer to us. No offer yet. And after two weeks with basically no new showings, I became a little complacent about keeping the house in perfect showing condition. My house is clean - I vacuumed the entire upstairs and stairway and cleaned the full bathroom yesterday, and vacuumed the entire downstairs this morning. I put away all the breakfast dishes and cereal boxes and picked up the toys in the basement, made Ian's and Emma's beds, and put away the clothes that were sitting on my dresser. But, to have the house completely spotless before going anywhere adds on 20 - 30 minutes of time. And all I wanted to do this morning was get to Dominick's and get my grocery shopping done. We have only ever had one other showing before noon, and no new ones for so long, I figured what were the odds that someone would come and see the house while I was out, especially because we are supposed to have one hour notice before a showing.

Well, as I pulled up to my house at 11:15, there was a realtor and his clients, getting the key out of the supra box and getting ready to go in the house. I parked in front of my neighbor's driveway, told Emma and Zoe to stay put, and jumped out to talk to the realtor. I apologized that the house was not in the condition I would like it to be, but told them they were welcome to see it. I jumped back in the van, and drove around for ten or fifteen minutes with a vanload full of milk and bratwursts, among other things, that needed to be refrigerated soon. The entire time I racked my brain trying to remember what I left sitting out, and finally deciding not to worry about it anymore because I couldn't do anything about it. I drove home to see the realtor pulling away in his vehicle, and the clients still sitting in their car in front of my house. I pulled into the garage and immediately began unloading groceries as Emma and Zoe climbed around in the van. I was mortified to see the half eaten pop-tart left on the table, the pile of five or six dirty rags on top of the dryer, the clothes drying rack, complete with drying clothes, left up in the living room, and the roll of toilet paper left on the sink of the upstairs bathroom. I usually leave the house looking great, I keep feeling like I missed an opportunity to sell the house. I hope the clients can look past the minor messes and see what a great house it is. I know I'll keep the house neater before I go places, at least for another week or so.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Parental Bliss

My kids drive me as nuts as anyone else's kids. I'm the first to admit it. I love my kids dearly, but there are times when I could chuck them out the window (not really, of course!). Last night was not one of those nights. Last night was one of those nights when the stars align just perfectly and your experience with your kids turns into one that you dreamed and imagined when you became pregnant with your firstborn and didn't know how much they would turn your life upside down and inside out.

Last night, at 9:21 PM, my two year old, Zoe, cried out from her crib through the monitor down into the family room where I was watching a Food Network Challenge with Brendan. I got up to go get her, as is my usual routine if her crying doesn't stop on its own in a few minutes. Zoe is an excellent sleeper, and rarely cries out in the night, so on the occasions that she does, I go into her room, pick her up out of her crib if she wants me to, wrap a blanket around her and sit in the rocking chair in her room and rock with her. As I was rocking her last night, all snuggled close to me, she peaked up at me, to see what I was doing. I looked down at her and smiled. Zoe then smiled at me, with thumb still in mouth. I about melted into a puddle on the floor. Then I leaned over and kissed her forehead and told her, "I love you." She whispered some incoherent response and stroked my face with her soft baby hand. I then kissed her hand, whereupon she stretched out her fingers for me to kiss each one. After kissing each finger on that hand, she outstretched the fingers on her other hand, still keeping her thumb in her mouth. I of course kissed each tiny finger until she closed her hand back into a fist. I sat there in absolute awe at the perfectness of the moment when Zoe again reached her little hand, with skin softer than anything I've ever felt in my life, and rubbed my arm. She has a beautiful gentleness and sweetness that I want to soak up every chance I get. As she is probably my last, I truly cherish each time I rock her close to me, knowing I won't be able to do it forever, hoping I remember how wonderful and peaceful it feels.

I glance at the clock, see that I've been in her room five minutes, and tell her it is time to go night night. Zoe says, "Nigh, Nigh" back to me, lays down in her crib and sleeps until morning.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Sharing Secrets

Here are my two girls having fun yesterday.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Mocha Frappuccinos at Home

I frequent a blog called Starbuck's Gossip where I keep up with the funny and interesting things happening in the world in regards to Starbuck's coffee and their stores. It is here that I am made aware of the special drinks each season, like the Cinnamon Dolce Latte, which was fabulous by the way.

Recently on the blog, they linked to this article where they include a lowfat, lower calorie recipe for a Starbuck's Grande Mocha Frappuccino. I immediately printed it out and yesterday I tried it. I made it exactly the way the recipe says, except I added one extra teaspoon of sugar and omitted the whipped topping. It is EXCELLENT! If you like mocha frappuccinos, you must try this at home. Really good!