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Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Little More on Def Leppard

Let me start out by saying, I was a huge 80's hair band fan. I loved Def Leppard, Poison, Winger, Skid Row, Warrant and even Bon Jovi could be considered a hair band back in the "She's a Little Runaway" days. I even had the hair to go with it. If I had a scanner, I'd show you the picture to prove it. At my last concert (Tim McGraw and Faith Hill), I vowed I was done with concerts when the couple in front of us wouldn't sit down but instead proceeded to have sex (or close to it) right in front of us. I said the only concert I'd go to was Def Leppard because I love them and had never seen them. If Nickelback was with them all the better. Heart was and that was a good enough. I was so excited.

My friends picked me up and one friend kept looking at me smiling. I asked her what she was looking at and she said, "Your big, beautiful hair in honor of Def Leppard."The thing was my normal hair. I straightened it because I think it looks better straight but with the heat, it was BIG. Tame but since it is really thick, it was big. We went to a great dinner and I wasn't going to let the astronomical prices of what I was drinking or the wet grass deter me from having a good time. We picked a spot, rented chairs and I loaded up on bug spray. Then we sat, drank and waited for the show to start. Immediately, the sweating began. Humidity took over making it stifling and my already big hair was growing by the minute. By the time Def Leppard was coming on, I was going to have hair that rivaled the actual hair in the 80's. I already said that it was like those Walmart emails supersized. I mean, the people watching was unbelievable. There were girls in fishnets, girls in half shirts, older ladies wearing things that older ladies should not be wearing, there were men with no shirts on that should always have shirts on, drunk people that were stumbling and falling down the slippery hills, young kids getting stoned, a group of young kids where it was very unclear which girls were with which guys and three guys with no shirts on that looked like they could be Nico and any two of his friends dancing as if they were putting their workouts to music. I kept thinking, "Do we fit in?" or "Do we stand out?" Apparently Def Leppard only has four friends that don't smoke and unfortunately, it was my three friends and me.

Heart came out and immediately I was hit with the fact that since I loved these two groups in the 80's that I was probably going to be brought back to a lot of events that I would really rather not remember. "These Dreams" and "What About Love" were during my whole falling in love for the first time era. Def Leppard came out and by then my hair looked like Snooki's so up in a goomba it went. Some of Def Leppard was during the falling in love for the first time era like "Pour Some Sugar on Me" and "Photograph" but, "Bringin' on the Heartbreak" and "Foolin'" reminded me of the Rebel. "Hysteria", "Two Steps Behind", and I already said "Love Bites" was playing with Leo and my first kiss, all reminded me of Leo. So while I enjoyed the concert, it was a little like my life or big moments in my life flashed before me all night long. Murphy's Law struck and the sound went out in the middle of Def Leppard. I still enjoyed it but it did lessen the effect of being at the concert. Thank goodness for the big screens because the people in front of us wouldn't sit down at all. One couple in particular was annoying. They were clawing at each other and what was especially disturbing, is that they looked 12.

All in all, I had fun listening to them and laughing with my friends but I really think it was my last concert. At least my last concert sitting on the lawn. Next time, if there is a next time, we are going big time!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Raising a Teen, an Update and Def Leppard

I am going to share with you the craziness of my days and why I need my children to be back in school right now. On Monday, Nico had a football thing to do. He wasn’t thrilled about doing it but if he wants to play football, he had to do it. He came home upset because it wasn’t what he was told it was going to be.  He is a moody teenager these days and I understood why he was upset so when he asked me to go to a friend’s house, I let him. He was gone all day and into the night. He is 13, not 18 and I am tired. I am a night owl but I am in the process of weaning Gia off the bottle so I am TIRED! The next day, he didn’t get up until noon.  He found out he and two of his friends had to go back to the football thing. They were not happy. There were many discussions about the fact that it wasn’t really about football (or baseball or basketball for that matter). It was really about honoring a commitment and giving your all once you do. That is what I want my son to learn through the sports he plays. I want him to learn that when he is part of a team, he has to give his all so that he doesn’t let his teammates down.  I want him to rise to the expectations that coaches have for him. Anyway, I am telling you this because what followed was a complete comedy of errors and chaos that if you don’t laugh, you go crazy. My good friend and the mom of one of Nico’s best friends picked him up and we had one of the boys upset because he didn’t want to wear a sleeveless shirt because the other boys weren’t so he was putting another shirt over it in 100 degree weather. One of the other boys was reading his texts from his dad who really wanted him to have his gloves and asked if our friend would go back and get them which led to a discussion of opportunities and giving 100%. Then you had me, on the phone with Leo who was saying that they didn’t really need gloves but that Nico should be wearing a sleeveless shirt because it was really hot and Nico saying he didn’t know where one was. I was yelling the messages as my friend was driving away, in a hurry to get the gloves  and to the outside eye, it probably looked like she was taking them somewhere fun because we were laughing at the craziness of it all. In reality, all three boys were mad that their day came to a halt because they had to go to this workout. That pretty much sums up how I feel raising a teenager. He looks like he is fine one minute or on the outside but the next minute or underneath the exterior, he is miserable. Who would have thought I'd be hoping school would start?
On another note, Tommy made the baseball team he tried out for and like I said even though he is happy he did and we are happy for him, there is a sadness for his friends that didn’t make it. He’s played baseball with some of them ever since his first year playing and we have become good friends with a lot of the parents. We were hoping to be on this crazy journey together.  I sat where they are sitting and had those discussions that they were sure to have had and my heart goes out to them. I know we are all good enough friends and the boys are good enough friends where it won’t matter but it sucks all the same.
I was without a computer and still am having some trouble. I learned something else: I RELY WAY TOO MUCH ON MY COMPUTER! I had a lot I wanted to blog about. I went to the Def Leppard concert and though it was fun, you know the emails about the people that are at Walmart? Well this concert was Walmart supersized. I don't care how old Joe Elliot is or what he looks like, I love him. Def Leppard was a part of every milestone in my youth so for that, I will always love them and him.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Gifts of CF

I am totally stealing this idea from a friend of mine's blog. It's a great blog about organizing (of which I need all the help I can get) and you should check it out: (LG, I hope you don't mind that I am sharing and I just realized you and Leo have the same initials.)

When I was teaching, I always felt so bad for the kids that had food allergies. It seemed difficult to manage and intrusive to their lives. The parents at the grade I taught (2nd) were still very nervous about the kids being in school all day and my heart went out to them for how much they worried. I remember when introducing Nico to solid foods, I would say a little prayer of thanks that he didn't have a reaction. How stressful to have to worry about everything your child puts in their mouth. With the twins, there was no worry about food allergies because I was too busy worrying about CF.

My friend wrote a wonderful post sharing the gifts of food allergies that she got from a newsletter. I never thought of it that way and I am impressed with her ability to enlighten me and others. While reading it, I realized that a few of them hold true for CF and in that spirit, I am going to list the gifts of CF. This is a true challenge and I thank her for inspiring me.

The Gifts of CF
These are the ones I got from my friend.
  •  You are active in your child's academic life; the administration, nurse, and teachers all know you.
  •  You've become more than you were (stronger, wiser, more assertive) to keep your child healthy and happy.
  • Your child knows what it feels like to be different and has learned to be compassionate to others.
  •  Your family has learned to "look out for each other," allowing children to learn true caring.
  •  Your child has learned that his or her actions can have extreme consequences and has learned to make responsible decisions (we are still working on this one).

These are my own.
  • You don't have to worry about junk food consumption.
  • Your child learns how to take pills by the age of three so there is no messy, ill-tasting liquid to mess with.
  • Your child learns early on how to sit still for long periods of time because they have to for treatments and while doing the vest.
  • When your child goes to a sleep away camp with his baseball team and you are worried because it is his first time away from you for that long, your husband gets to stay in the dorm with the coaches.
  • You know every breath and every cough and have the knowledge sometimes even before the doctors of what your child needs. 
  • You are forced to have hard discussions with your children which opens lines of communication for other issues that come up.
  • There is an immense pride in seeing your child triumph over all he battles. (I know pride is one of the seven deadly sins but I'm pretty sure God didn't have CF in mind when that was written.)
  • One of the biggest gifts is that we can all get caught up in the small, petty B.S. but CF forces you to realize that in the grand scheme of things, the small, petty B.S. doesn't matter. There are bigger issues than travel baseball tryouts or being weaned off the bottle or losing 10lbs.
This was definitely a challenge for me but I am glad I did it. It is proof that you can find the positive in any situation and focusing on that instead of the negatives (which these days have been bogging me down) makes for a much brighter day and a much brighter outlook.

Monday, July 25, 2011

TV Updates

I have finally caught up. I have already admitted that I watch TV as an escape and this week that was especially true.  I was without my TV for a little bit, both because the power was out and then because the DirectTV boxes broke. It was a long 4 days.

The Bachelorette: I wasn't really an Ames fan and I always find the hometown dates very telling. Ames' sister knew right away that he didn't have a chance so when he was eliminated, I felt so bad that he looked shocked. I think Constantine has an adorable family and it seemed like she had more chemistry with them than Constantine himself but a part of me is growing to think he is cuter than I originally thought. I like the strong, silent type though so maybe that is why. I think it is going to come down to Ben and JP. Ben was my favorite but I wasn't digging the hair this week. I want JP to be more confident or something but I am sick of the "I could get hurt" theme to all of his conversations. What did he think was going to happen by going on this show? Not only could he get hurt but he ran the risk of being publicly humiliated. It's the nature of the show. With every episode he becomes a smaller and smaller man. Still think he is adorable and I see the chemistry but I just think the insecurity takes away from him. I can't wait to see who shows up and if it is Bentley, what a waste. Could it be Brad? To give advice maybe? And then the fighting with one of the men (JP?) and her's going to be a good episode.

Love in the Wild: Accckkkk!!! My kids were right! I am hooked! Not the most appropriate show for the kids (two of them showering together not the best example) so I DVR it and watch it later. I used to love Paradise Island and this show reminds me of that. I hated that while watching the eliminations, I felt nervous for the two couples that seem to be in it for the romance. I am a sucker for the romance. I thought Ben bringing Brandee breakfast in bed for her birthday was sweet and that he stayed with her instead of Erica. Steele...Steele...Steele...good thing you are cute because you are as dumb as a box of rocks. I didn't like Jessica and Jason came off as desperate so I wasn't sad to see them go. I don't know that I like that they are splitting up the couples but that is what I read they are going to do. Mindless entertainment at its finest.

SYTYCD: I am enjoying this season. Everyone is so good. Still loving Tadd and happy he isn't with Jordan anymore. I love that they bring back dancers from previous seasons. I love Allison and Twitch. I think Caitlynn is a beautiful dancer. I think I have said before that my whole family watches this and that's another reason I love this show.

RHONY and NJ: I dislike Jill so much. She is the biggest know-it-all in the world and has to chime in about everything and knowing everything about everything. Ramona being pregnant? I don't know how I felt about that other than every time I see something like that on TV, I hope the person is. Since I am an older mom of a toddler, I want everyone to join me in the chaos. It was a few episodes ago but I thought Cindy was so rude taking that call during breakfast especially being that her business is what it is. How about declining the invitation to breakfast because you have a meeting? I didn't really enjoy this season of New York. New Jersey: This season has been hard to watch. The contrived drama  that is out for the world to see was a little much and I have to say, I was squirming in my chair when Kim G (the biggest waste of television screen time ever...even more than Joe Gorga)  brought the lawyer that was suing the Guidices. I gained a lot of respect for Melissa and Joe for kicking her out and then when Caroline told Kim G. that she came with the intent to hurt and stir up drama and should leave, I said a quiet, "Yay!" (Yes, I know it is TV.) I have to say, and I never thought I would, I hate that Teresa bad mouths Melissa in her talking head interviews. I want her to take the high road and doing that makes her look like a jerk. I still don't like the Gorgas but after kicking out the two trouble makers, yelling at Melissa's brother-in-law about bringing up money at the party and then trying at Christmas Eve, I am warming up. I still crack up with all the Jesus talk. These women are the biggest backstabbers and yet, they keep mentioning their love for Jesus. So much irony. I will also say that my crush on Chris Laurita grows bigger and bigger.

Toddlers and Tiaras: Isabella insists I watch this show with her and I HATE it. It makes me uncomfortable. Belle says it's "our show" to watch together and really, it is full of lessons of how not to act. Thankfully, she is just as appalled as I am but does love watching to see which girls win. There was a mom on there that had two kids entering in a pagent. A nine year old girl, Alaska and a four year old boy, Braxton (I might have the ages wrong). The mother and father fawned all over their son. "He is beautiful. He is a winner. I hope that Alaska accepts defeat because Braxton is going to beat her." I wanted to reach through the TV and grab Alaska and adopt her. I was thrilled when she beat her brother and then ashamed that this show brought me to that level of hoping someone (a cute little boy) would lose. Alaska was bawling when they called her name and all I could think of was that she was probably so relieved that she was taking home a crown so her mother would be nice to her. Yuck!

For those that think all I do is watch TV, I admit that I do watch a lot but I am also in the middle of two books (Heaven is For Real and 13 Reasons) and I have spent some time outside. I have the mosquito bites to prove it.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Holding State=Time With Family

Just a quick post to say that we are waiting to find out if Tommy is going to play his games today. This means that I have all of my family home at the same time! This almost never happens until about 10:00 at night so I am going to get off the computer and enjoy this moment. I'd love for us all to go to church but that is an issue for another post. I have thoughts of rooms getting cleaned, mail corners being tackled, storage rooms sorted out and closets being organized and then actual meal together, at the table that doesn't come from a fast food I dare dream?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Problems Seem Small

I don't often watch the news. I used to. It made me feel intelligent to know what was going on in the world. I stopped watching it when Nico was little. I manage to find out through the internet and now through Facebook what is going on in the world but to sit and watch a whole newscast, sets my anxiety at an all time high. Sure, there were stories of heroes or good things that people were doing but there were too many stories that put fear in my heart of what kind of a world I was bringing children into. These are just a few examples. It would be too long of a post if I included all of the news that was upsetting.

It started in 1999 when the Columbine shooting happened. School was supposed to be safe and now I had to worry about someone opening fire there? Being a teacher and a mom, that one hit especially close to home and even now, I am a little obsessed with books written about school shootings. We have had several discussions trying to make sure that my kids don't end up being the shooter or being the ones shot at. Endless discussions about bullying (posts on that to come later) and both sides of it.

Then in 2001, the September 11th attacks. I sat and watched the news in horror. All of those people that lost their lives or loved ones. The stories of people trapped in the buildings or on planes that were about to crash calling their loved ones just gutted me. What was the matter with people in this world that we lived in? I was nine months pregnant with the twins. How in the world was I going to protect my family? I was afraid to leave my house and I was afraid for Leo to leave the house. I hated even taking Nico to preschool.

All of the stories of the parents killing their own kids. The one where she drowned her kids one by one in the bathtub...making them wait until it was their turn...or the one that locked her boys in their car seats and then drove the car in the lake...and the more recent one of the mom that shot her two teenage kids for talking back. I won't say their names because it's about the victims not them. These are just the ones that the parents were found guilty. JonBenet Ramsey and Caylee Anthony still don't have justice. I don't understand why these parents thought killing their babies was the answer. Yes, parenting is hard but to look at your child and cause harm, cause them to leave this world, it just makes me sick to my stomach and makes me ask, "What is wrong with these people?"

As natural disasters unfold and I hear about them or watch them, it scares me because no one sees those coming and the devastation is huge. You can't turn on the news without hearing about tornadoes, floods, tsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, and wildfires to name a few. People dying, people losing loved ones, losing their homes, their is all heartbreaking. These people woke up thinking it was going to be a normal day, maybe even a good day and then BAM! They are stripped away of everything. We wonder why people are on anti-anxiety or anti-depressants? It's all too much to take in. Just watching the news on TV is scarier than any horror movie. At least with the movie, it is make believe. There is a want and a need to protect our loved ones and a knowledge that it's too big of a job. That's when anxiety kicks in.

My religious friends and even myself would say that is when we rely on our faith but that is a bitter pill to swallow today after hearing about the tragedy in Norway. My heart is heavy and my stomach is sick at the thought of what that man did. To disguise himself as a police officer, someone that we have taught our children is safe, and then open fire at that camp, killing 80 children. I just don't understand what is wrong with people or what is wrong with our world? And why? Because they didn't share his political beliefs? His religious beliefs? I am shaking my head in disbelief that people think the answer is killing other people, children...who haven't even had a real start at life.

I wasn't going to do a blog post at all today because my problems, though they are mine so they are pretty big to me, seem awfully small in the grand scheme of things. I couldn't even write a funny story about the kids or a grateful post or an update post. It didn't seem right and my heart is heavy so it wouldn't have come off a light post anyway. Today, I will hug my kids tighter and pray for the parents who lost a child in Norway and for the children that saw the tragedy unfold. I just cannot even imagine.

Friday, July 22, 2011

I Have Learned Something About Myself

I have learned that I can't write when I have this much stress going on. You'd think it would be the opposite but it is not. It is ironic because I could probably get 10 posts out of this week alone but when it is all happening, I can't make sense of it to get it down on paper (so to speak). Some random thoughts on each:
Tommy had tryouts for a travel baseball team. I hate tryouts. I want everyone to make it (this is why I am not in charge of anything competitive). Tommy has made some great friends and I just want them all to stay friends no matter what the outcome. If he doesn't make it, we have been down this road before. Nico didn't make this team at this age or the year after. It wasn't fair and it sucked but it was what it was and he moved on and became a better player for it. Tommy tried out for this team last year. He was too young and it was only to get the experience of a tryout but he wanted to make it more than anything so when he didn't, he was crushed. Does anyone ever end up totally happy? If you don't make it, you aren't happy. If you do make it but your friend didn't, you are happy that you did but unhappy because your friend didn't. Even when Nico made it and his friends did too, he was still sad for the kids that didn't make it because he knew how they felt. HATE TRYOUTS!!!

I have a doctor's appointment that I have to go to today that I am going kicking and screaming. Since the whole CF thing, I hate going to the doctor. I hate check-ups, I hate when I have a problem and I know I need medical intervention because I am afraid of what the problem is or what the intervention is. I know it is nothing but I still don't want to go to find out it is nothing. I will write about it tomorrow.

The summer is too long and I need the kids to go back to school. I'm just tired of the constant motion of the children. I'm tired of my door being a revolving door of who's coming and who's going. I am afraid to add up all the money I have shelled out. Nico has worked for all of it but still...I am going broke.

I have a wake to go to tonight. My aunt (well, not really but when you are Italian or at least in my family, everyone is an aunt or an uncle and this was one of my dad's best friend's wife) passed away suddenly. A funny story that I'll always remember about her is that when Nico was about 5, she said, "See this hand? It tickles." Nico responded by holding up his hand, "See this hand? It hits." Proud mommy moment. I told my kids they didn't have to go but that I have to take Gia because it is far. Tommy said in his sweet little boy way, "I'll go with you, Mom. I know you don't like this stuff so I'll go for support." I am sick about her passing away and feel for my uncle and her kids and grandkids. I'll be hugging my mom a little tighter today.

I hate sleepovers. I can't say it enough. Isabella is at my mother-in-law's house because she is going to the ballet. She called last night wanting to come home. Her stomach hurt her. Leo told her to drink tea and call again if she needed him to go get her. She fell asleep so she stayed. This morning there was the storm and I HATE not having all of my kids at home. She is scared of storms and I hated that she was far and I couldn't get to her. I hate them, I hate them, I hate them. And I don't care if that makes me weird.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Some Random Thoughts

It is just too darn hot to think straight. I am just going to do a quick post and head for a shower.

Some positives: I am grateful that my sister wasn't doing anything last night or today and had the three older kids sleep over and then invited us to swim today. It was a great way to spend this scorcher of a day.

I am grateful that Gia goes with the flow most times.

I am grateful that we have power and that our air is working.

I am grateful that Gia is sleeping so I can grab a shower.

I am grateful that Leo coaches Tommy's team so that if it is this hot tomorrow, I won't feel guilty not going to his game because his dad will be there.

I am grateful that Leo knows I need a little break to get some writing done.

I am grateful that Nico is old enough to watch the kids so I got my blood work done yesterday and tonight I'll get to go to Barnes and Noble to work on my book.

Speaking of writing, this is my only negative. They always say, do what you love and the money will follow but they don't really clarify how long that takes. I have to start actively looking for writing jobs. I have worked since I was 15 years old and only stopped when I had Nico. Even then, I did a weekend tutoring class and tutored during the week so I was still bringing money in. I like being able to bring some money in. I don't need to make millions but I would like to write and get paid to do it.

I did send one of my books to a publisher but Murphy's Law struck and it was out of business. I have to get back on that band wagon. Maybe since it is supposed to be another hot one tomorrow and my mind is still cluttered with upcoming doctor's appointments, I'll write short blurbs about the books I am done with or working on. Or maybe magically, I will wake up with my mind clear.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

I Want a Ballerina

When Nico was two years old, we did a Kid Rock class. He loved the drums but really showed no interest. We did a Little Learners class and again, he played with other kids but he would gravitate toward the balls or anything round and throw them or get another kid to play catch with him. He was 2. I wanted him to love to draw and want to read or at least want me to read to him which at home he did but not in that class. When he was three, I signed him up for Little Sportsters. I already told the story of the hockey stick under the "Happy Birthday, Nico" post but what is interesting to me now is how at three, he already knew he wanted to play football, basketball and baseball. He kept picking up the ball and throwing it in soccer and lost interest very quickly. Soccer was the first thing we could sign him up for so at 5, Leo signed him up. He played one year in Bartlett and one year in Winfield and not playing again wasn't a hard decision for him. Nico went to a birthday party that was a home run hitter party. We got a call from the dad of the kid whose birthday it was. He was one of the T-ball coaches and he wanted Nico on his team. That's how Nico's baseball experience started. He has since played in several All Star games, won a championship, had the heartache of not making a team (2 years in a row), winning a skills competition at a camp, and the joy of making 2 different travel teams. He asked me from the time he was four, if he could play basketball and could be found on our deck in front of his Little Tikes basketball hoop most hours of the day. He asked to play football from the time he first played in the Little Sportsters class. I have sat in the stands enduring people yelling, "He's cheating! He's out of the box! He's cheating!" during basketball (He was six! He didn't even know what the box was!) and kids pummeling him in flag football because the no tackle rule was not enforced and he was the quarterback. I'm sure it looked like we were pushing him into tackle football too soon but after getting slammed at a game, I walked over to him to see if he was okay and he said, "Now can I play tackle so I can have the pads on?" He was right and we said yes. My dad was an athlete and loved sports. Leo was an athlete and loved sports. I never assumed Nico would be and I wonder all the time: Is it in his genes? Did he see something or do something when he was little to make him love it? What is it that drives him to play the sports he does?

With Tommy, the mystery will always be, would he have loved baseball, basketball and football if Nico didn't? He was pretty good at soccer but everytime he scored a goal, he'd run over to me and say, "Now can I play football?" I had to explain to him several times that he wasn't old enough yet. He's nine and has so much drive that I hope he attacks everything in life the way he does sports. When he has a game, he asks me from the time he wakes up until an hour before he is leaving, "Is it time for me to get dressed yet?" During football season, he regularly walks around with his helmet on and he can be seen begging Nico to take him outside to practice. With raising twins, I know I didn't have time to foster his love of sports so I wonder, like Nico, where did it come from?

When I had Isabella, it was different. I had dreams of recitals and tutus. I couldn't wait until she was 3 and I could sign her up for her first class. She looked so freaking adorable in her leotard. I watched from the two way mirror and the little girls were so cute. She did ballet for three years and then came to me and said she wanted to do gymnastics instead. I admit I was a little sad. She took a session off, she did gymnastics and cried every single day. She hated the instructor who when she was afraid to go on the big balance beam would tell Belle to go to the "baby beam". Belle innocently said to me, "I want to do gymnastics but I hate the balance beam, the bars and the vault." Hmmmm... That session ended and she said she wanted to do dance again. I signed her up for ballet and after she said she really wanted to do hip hop dancing. Her friends were doing it so she was signed up for both. Those were her last dance classes because we went to a high school basketball game that my dad was coaching. She couldn't tear her eyes away from the cheerleaders and at halftime when they did their flips and back handsprings, she lit up and said, "That's the gymnastics I want to do!" And so a cheerleader was born. Now, if I had my say, I would steer her anywhere else but there. I was a cheerleader and though I loved cheering, cheerleading, like other competitive sports can be ugly with unfairness.

My point is that I never forced the kids to do the activities they do. I don't live vicariously through them because I never aspired to be a baseball, football or basketball player and if I had it to do over again, I would have tried out for poms. If there comes a time when they don't want to do them, I will miss watching them but it is their life and their choice. I say this knowing full well that with Gia, I will sign her up as soon as I can for ballet and from there, I'll watch her shake her tush and encourage her because this time around...I want a ballerina.

Disclaimer: This post is just in fun. I will encourage Gia in whatever she wants to do whether it is writing, reading, drawing, soccer, softball, volleyball, tennis, gymnastics, dance or cheerleading or just being the happiest Gia she can be.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Going Back Under the Rock: Enjoy These For Today

Last week was crazy because of the storm and the power and all of the kids' camps. This week is crazy because of a bunch of doctor's appointments. None of which I am happy about. Since my head is a little muddled with all I have to do this week, enjoy these funny videos: I own none of these or the material in them.

And enjoy this video of my favorite couple:

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Why My Social Life is in the Toilet

Everyone in my house has the expectation that the weekend is about them. Leo wants to meet friends for dinner or a beer, Nico wants to hang out with friends, Isabella wants to sleep at my sister's (could be any of them) and Tommy wants to sleep at his friend's. I think Gia's expectation is to be attached to me every second of the day. Every weekend I have the expectation that I will get a little break and get some help around the house. Why is my expectation the only one not met? Well, in all fairness, this weekend, Nico's and Tommy's were not met either. However, they had backup plans so they still had a good weekend. Leo didn't check with me to see if we had plans (we actually did) that didn't involve Tommy going to a friend's. Not wanting to let him down, Leo let him go. That meant that Nico's plans fell through and was going to end up sitting home alone (not the end of the world) while his friends hung out. I felt bad for him but Leo still wanted to go out. Here's the thing about Leo and the thing about me. He has a million gift cards from coaching to various restaurants so he only wants to go there. I just wanted to grab a quick bite and wanted to go to a restaurant where we didn't have a gift card. I had sushi last Monday night and now the craving for it is bad. If you like sushi and live near Wheaton (I know it is a chain so that isn't the only place), Wok and Fire is sooo good. Anyway, we argued for an hour. He didn't want to let one kid down and I didn't want to let the other down. Do not mistake us as parents who are afraid of telling their kids no or that we are teaching them that the world revolves around them. This was more of a stand still with Leo and me. It was a miscommunication between Leo and me which Nico was going to take the hit for. I wouldn't have enjoyed myself at dinner anyway knowing that happened.

I think everyone here forgets that we have Gia sometimes. I know Leo does. He'll come home and have this big plan of what he wants to do and I just look at him and say, "Did you forget we have a 17 month old and someone has to be home with her?" Most times he'll say, "Well, let's just bring her." It is not fair to her or for anyone in contact with her to have her still awake at 9 or 10:00. Once in awhile is fine but it screws up my whole week when she is off schedule like that. Plus, how much fun am I going to have chasing her around or trying to get her to sit at a restaurant (again, why am I not 90lbs?)? More times than not, I just tell Leo to go without me or take the other kids. Lately, though, I have noticed my social life is in the toilet and his hasn't missed a beat. It would be nice once in awhile for both of us to stay home since we BOTH have a 17 month old. Then again, that might lead to him wanting to play Scrabble so maybe I am better off...

In the end, I told Leo and Nico to go see a movie. They could spend some time together that wasn't in a car on the way to a baseball game, basketball game or football game. I wouldn't have to hear how I never want to do anything Leo wants to do and I wouldn't have to hear Nico complain that his friends were hanging out without him. Gia was happily asleep after being attached all day, Isabella was sleeping at my sister's and then...what do you know? Tommy got dropped off from a friend's at 10:30 with the dad, the son and Tommy at the front door with Tommy and the friend asking, "Can we have a sleepover?" Well...three out of four kids happy is better than nothing, right?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Friday Night Lights...So Sad to See You Go

Obviously, if you have read more than one post on here, you already know how I feel about Tim Riggins (I love him) but that is not all I am going to write about. This show is simply the best show on TV. That is a bold statement and my opinion but only one other show can make me laugh and cry in the same episode (Parenthood which by the way has the same exec. producer). This show makes me want to live in Texas (That and I have visited it three times and fell in love with everything about it. Someone once said, everything is bigger in Texas so I think with my big hair and big mouth, I'd fit right in.) and raise my kids in Texas and go to football games in Texas.

Coach and Tami: The marriage between Eric and Tami is enviable. The way it is portrayed is so real. Tonight when they were fighting about their Christmas tree being a Texas tree and not a Philadelphia tree and then the doorbell rings and Eric yells for Tami to answer it and she gives him a dirty look and then he says, "I'll help you answer it. I wouldn't want you to strain yourself," I laughed out loud. When he was describing the maturity it takes to be married and Tami was looking on trying to hold it together because Eric wasn't doing any of what he expected Matt and Julie to do, I felt her pain. I am glad he was the one to give in. I love that he let it be her turn. After the way the Panthers treated him, I was happy that he didn't go back. Loved when he told Tami about Julie and he was yelling and she said, "Why are you yelling at me?! I think we agree on this!" Loved the scene with him and Tim and him and Jess and him and Vince. Just love him and wish that he was really a coach and would coach my boys.

Matt and Julie: I am a sap and like things tied up with a neat little bow so I was okay with this storyline. Some of the best scenes for me with this show were between Landry and Matt so I was happy they got one last one. Loved the scene with Grandma.

Becky and Luke and Becky and Mindy: Again, I am a romantic at heart and I loved his apology scene. I think the scenes with Mindy and Becky were real and I love how it played out. You could feel how much Mindy grew to love Becky and once she got over the whole Tim thing, I did too. I don't get how others from previous seasons got scholorships but there were none for Luke. The army is an admirable choice and I could see him being the kind of guy he is doing that but I still wished he got a scholorship.

Vince, Tinker and Hastings: I'll be honest. I didn't allow myself to get too invested in these characters because Vince's storyline seemed pretty predictable and Tinker and Hastings were never really developed. I loved Tinker on the Super team but what about Hastings? In case you don't know who that is, it is the "pretty boy" who I think could have been the less troubled Riggins replacement (not that ANYONE could replace him).

Tim and Tyra: I was not a Tim and Tyra fan. I was a Tim and Lyla fan but because the writers took Tim where they did, I am totally fine with how it ended. I think if Lyla came back, he would have ended up worse off than he was. He had fallen so far from where he was when he dated her that it would have been hard to watch the two of them. I'm still mad that last season when she came back, he didn't go with her and try and get a job as a mechanic or something. If Taylor Kitsch had to be gone for most of the season, why didn't they just say he went with Lyla? I loved how Tim wasn't so brooding in season 3. I loved him brooding in seasons 1 and 2. The poor guy was just looking for someone to not let him down and never found it. Maybe he'll find it with Tyra. I like how they ended their storyline. I cracked up when Tim said, "I'll never do anything illegal again. Guaranteed," and then opened a beer. He's supposed to be Matt Saracen's age and Matt said he was 19. I will watch and pay for movies that Taylor Kitsch is in forever. I didn't enjoy The Bang Bang Club as a movie but I still watched it.

I will miss this show but luckily I have 4 seasons of it on DVDs so I should be good anytime I want to revisit it.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Carpool Annoyances

With all the activities that my kids do, I keep my sanity by carpooling. For the most part, I am pretty lucky. For Nico's basketball camp that ran 4 days a week for 3 weeks, my friends didn't even ask me to drive. They just picked up Nico and dropped him off. That was the greatest gift because it fell during Gia's nap (when she was still taking a morning nap). So a huge thank you to J.W, K.J., K.T., L.K., and P.L. During the school year, they let me have Saturdays so I could leave Gia home (and run to Target alone...I loved it!) and they took the week ones. For football, Leo coached Nico and Tommy's coach lived down the street from us (thank you, M.B.). It was great! Leo coached Tommy in basketball and baseball so he took Tommy. A huge thank you to N.W. for always taking Nico to baseball.

I mention all of that because I want you to know that I know the good side of carpooling. The second part of basketball camps were this past week. I had Tommy in camp at the high school first (no carpool), Nico in the afternoon at the junior high (I took one day for this one) and Isabella had tennis at the high school at the same time (no carpool). I have had my share of driving people and carpool lines and OMG!!! The annoyances are beyond Mr. Mom going the wrong way. I would feel bad for these people if I thought it was their first carpool ever but I know one has a bunch of kids and has done carpools before and the other was picking up his junior high son so this couldn't be his first carpool and the other was just common sense.

There are a ton of kids in Tommy's camp and the car pool line stretches pretty far. The first annoying thing is when the first car doesn't pull all the way up so the line has to stretch around the corner. That is a minor annoyance compared with the next one: the mom that gets out of her car to go in and get her son, leaving the rest of us not to be able to move until she gets back. Uggghhhh....this drives me CRAZY! It's not like there are no parking spots. Park the car and then walk in and it doesn't inconvenience anyone. If it was me, I would see the long line of cars behind me and start sweating that I was holding all of them up. I have seen a few of these with this camp and pickup wouldn't be such a headache if this didn't happen. The next example is when I was picking Nico up from camp. There are five boys in the carpool. Again, you wait in line and several boys pile into one car. Sometimes, and this is a given, you have to wait a minute or two for everyone to come out. So it was my turn to pull up and I did up to the farthest point (plenty of room for someone to go around me) and one by one they started piling in. Maybe the jerk behind me saw four kids and assumed I was done and just sitting there but I wasn't. He started honking and throwing up his hands in exasperation because how dare I take longer than three minutes to pick up the kids? I didn't even know he was honking at me because I wasn't doing anything wrong but this seemed to upset him more. Waving and honking. I am so mad that I didn't get out of my car and ask him what he was honking at because I would have loved to have seen his face. Jerk. The last example was when I was picking up Belle. The carpool line goes in a circle and the car in front of me decided to stop and talk to her friend who's car was just rounding the circle part. I swear they were trying to set up a playdate or catch up or whatever but I was stuck behind one car and two others were stuck behind the other and these two women didn't care. They just kept yapping about how busy they have been and how little Susie would looovvveee...blah, blah, blah.

I am so happy that this week is over and so are two of the camps. Not that it matters. Cheerleading has started and shortly after that, football will start so carpooling chaos will begin again.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Is Chivalry Dead?

Being that I have two sons, this is an important topic for me. I want my boys to grow up holding doors open for people. I want them to see a woman carrying something heavy or trying to balance something and I want them to offer to help. This is a blog topic that a friend of mine asked me to do and lo and behold, I have a few of my own examples as well. I, as well as friends of mine, have encountered less than chivalrous acts and sometimes by men that we know. The first was that two good friends were in charge of concessions for our baseball tournament last weekend. It is a crappy job and the powers that be don't make it something that anyone wants to volunteer to do. Luckily, I have a good friend who has a teenage boy that is always looking for ways to earn money. Anyway, arrived at the field to get several cases of Gatorade. They trucked a ways away to get them and tried carrying several of them back to the parking lot. This field is set up so that the parking lot is FAR from the concession stand. There were a bunch of dads sitting and watching the game while these two women struggled with the cases. Not one of the men offered to help. One of the moms (KN) jumped up to help and another mom (KW) grabbed her son to help. What the Hell? Have we become that desensitized to being kind that we are now sitting by watching others have a hard time?

For my own examples, I have two. While the power was out, many friends and neighbors offered to help or were more than chivalrous and maybe I was just crabby from not having slept in my own house and being out in public in my pajamas but there were at least two high school kids that looked at me and blew me off when I needed help. I had to park far from the mayhem at the drop off door. I had Gia with me as well as my purse just in case there was a problem checking Tommy in.  My purse could rival George Costanza's wallet and Gia is in the stage where everything is interesting to her including receipts and the game of "Dropped my binky." She dropped both, I bent down and got them. I put them in my purse, she found them and did it again...and again. A few high school boys there for football watched it happen, saw me sweating and huffing and puffing and did nothing! They didn't once offer to help or pick up the binky or chase the receipt. They were standing right next to me...not on the other side of the parking lot, not a ways away but well within binky reaching distance. The other was when I was going into Baskin Robbins, again holding Gia, and a rather large man walked through the heavy door and instead of holding it open, it slammed in our faces. When I gasped at his rudeness he gave ME a dirty look. I do have hope that Nico and Tommy see this and see how rude it is and never do that. I once had a neighbor tell me that Nico held the door open for her and her stroller full of young boys so all hope is not lost. I just hope they keep doing that when they are lazy men or self-absorbed teenagers (not that all men are lazy and all teenagers self-absorbed).

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

We Have Power!

The power came back at 3:00 yesterday (or around then). Today, it's my carpool day for basketball and I am making all of my kids stay home and put our house back together again. It looks like the storm actually happened in my house. A busy day of getting stuff done and running around. I don't know what I am more excited about: my house being back to normal (well...better than normal) or my kids all being in one spot and if they don't get along, they are going to spend a lot of time in their rooms. Hopefully, I'll be able to write this afternoon.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Living Out of My Car

Yes, I am one of 400,000 people without power with Com Ed saying it might be days before it comes back on. I used to joke that I live out of my car because I am always in it driving someone somewhere or going to a game somewhere. I was an idiot to have it so good and say that. I now know what it feels like to live out of your car. I have garbage bags full of dirty clothes that I am washing at my sister's or mom's because I really was not ready, after playing baseball all weekend, to not have power. I have bounced from sister to sister and then spent the night at my parents' house last night. I also used to joke with Leo when the house was upside down that we live in a dump and smells like a dump. It is hot and sticky and muggy and one of my lovely children forgot to flush the toilet (or thought that because we didn't have power, they couldn't) so I am not smells bad. This was not a great time to be on the "no carbs" diet because my refrigerator is stocked with meat and produce. We did borrow a generator (thanks, KJ and JJ) but it ran out of gas and so Leo had to walk me through starting it. Nothing makes you feel more inept than when you are not prepared for times like these. I finally did get it started but only after sweating more than I did when I was in labor with Nico. I need the power to come back on soon otherwise I am going to have to lug around the boys treatment because I don't want them going more than two days without it.

I just want the world to stop for a minute so I can get my bearings and feel human again. But the world does not stop. Tommy had camp this morning at 9 and I had to walk him in wearing what I slept in because I had to rush from one place to the next (even better is that the coach is someone I went to junior high with). What is the opposite of the "luck of the Irish"? That's what I have. The opposite. I tried to go to a McDonald's drive-thru but the first one had a line out to the street and I would have been the car blocking traffic. The second one, I entered only to be met with large pieces of the parking lot torn up and a bulldozer looking to tear up the piece that I was on. Nico had camp at 11:00 so I had to drop him off at a friends so that when I picked Tommy back up, I could leave right away for my sister's. On the way there I stopped to get cash but there was a guy there fixing the ATM so I couldn't and now have no cash on me.  Belle has tennis that she is missing because it is at 12:30-1:30 and I don't want to sit in a hot house  waiting for her to be done. She has tumbling tonight which she has already missed so much because we were gone and then she was sick. I wasn't able to check my email and when I finally did, I saw a lot of emails about upcoming baseball practices or games (one from'd think I would know and not be aggravated but no) and I want to scream, "I HAVE NO POWER!!!!" I want to say, "Sorry, I know the world doesn't stop but ours does and we won't start functioning until it comes back on so you'll have to do without us until then."

I could feel that overwhelming feeling after the ATM and instead of letting it get to me, I made the twins tell me all the ways this situation could be worse and why we should be thankful.and you know what? As corny as that is, it worked. I am at my sister's house and the kids are going to swim. There is a pizza in the oven with my name on it (No power and no carbs doesn't work) and if my luck turns around, Gia might nap on the swing again so I can read. Life could definitely be worse.

I want to thank everyone that has offered for us to stay with them or do anything for us. A huge thanks to my sisters for letting me hang with them during the day and my parents for letting me crash there at night. Unfortunately what could be a great bonding moment is lost because they are on vacation but maybe that is good because everyone has a place to sleep. Another huge thank you for all the friends that are sharing custody of Nico so he can still go to camp. Thanks for looking out for him and helping me out! The next post I'll do is when I have power.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Patience and Dieting

I suck at both.  I realize I am a little obsessed right now but I am a little consumed with changing my lifestyle to feel better. I need more energy and let's face it, losing a few or more pounds would be a bonus. I know they say it is not about the number but instead how you feel and I feel crummy looking at the number I am seeing. It's been five days since I started the "No carbs" dieting and after the headaches have stopped, I have to admit, I do feel better. I am not even craving sweets anymore but I am missing fruit. It has been torture not eating my favorites: strawberries and apples and peanut butter. I have found some new favorites: turkey and Swiss cheese wrapped in a lettuce leaf, chicken with Italian seasoning, garlic salt and lemon juice, celery and cheese and almonds. I exercised three times this week so I was all excited to step on the scale and...2 lbs!!! That's it!!!! I know the old song and dance about muscle weighing more than fat or slow and steady is the way to go or how it takes time and to be patient and it's how you feel in your clothes blah, blah, blah. I don't care. I don't like the number that is staring back at me and I was hoping with all the changes, I'd see at least 5 lbs. Obviously I am not very patient. This I know.

So now I am wondering, can I really live without fruit? Is this a realistic way for me to eat? Can I just give up pasta, bread and junk food? I don't know. It's making me afraid to put anything in my mouth because someone mentioned that if/when I start eating carbs again, I will blow up (figuratively speaking). The no carbs or low carbs thing seemed like it was a good thing because I didn't have to count calories or weigh my food or even think about what I was eating. I just knew certain foods were okay and certain ones were not. I like diets and I hate that word because I really do believe it is a lifestyle change that allow "cheat days" not to gorge on everything unhealthy but to enjoy a meal out with friends or a margarita (God knows I love margaritas!) or maybe even chocolate and strawberries or do I even say...a Starbucks hot chocolate? If anyone has an eating plan that works for them, I'd love to hear it. This after 40 stuff really sucks. It should be the opposite. If you make it to 40 with all the crap life throws at you, the reward is to be able to eat whatever you want and not gain weight.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Baseball Fans

I have gone to a gazillion baseball games (or at least it feels that way) and I have noticed that fans come in all different types. This is not a bash on ANYONE that is on any of the boys' teams. This is actually just an observation from the game I went to last night from the opposing teams stands and what I have seen over the years (I included Leo and me in two of them because...well...if the shoe fits...

The fan that talks the whole time: This is me. If you thought I didn't know...I know. This is the mom (I haven't seen many dads that do this) that knows there is a game going on and sees some of it only to ask the people next to her who are actually watching the game, "What just happened?" I can't speak for all of us but I know I talk because of a combination that I am nervous for my kid and bored to death. Baseball just isn't fast moving and there is a lot of waiting around for your kid to do anything. I used to love baseball games.  My dad played and coached and then watched constantly, I dated a baseball player in high school and if I wasn't watching one of his games, I was watching it on TV or listening to him talk about it, Leo has coached it since Nico was 5 and watches it on TV, Nico has played since he was 5, and now Tommy has played for the last 4 years. I am BASEBALLED OUT! Plus...I don't get out much these days so I look forward to seeing the other moms I am friends with. So if you are reading this and you are at a game with me, sorry.

The fan that coaches his kid from the stands: This is the fan that yells constantly at his son to tell him what he is supposed to be doing. I think this fan only watches his son because he doesn't yell anything to anyone else. This fan can also be seen taking his son aside to talk to him after a play. On some level I don't pay attention too much to this fan (unless he embarrasses his kid by yelling at him...these are not the majors and they are only 13 and 9) because he is not yelling at my kid.

The fan that is normally a coach but is not coaching this team: I think Leo falls under this one. It has to be hard to sit on the sides when you are so used to being in the dugout. It's even harder when you know the players so well. This fan yells things to everyone. This fan is not negative...just loud. I'm sure the coaches don't appreciate it but it does help the rest of us know what everyone else is supposed to be doing. The only frustrating thing about this one is when he is yelling for your son to do something when the coach is yelling something else.

The quiet die-hard: This fan never misses a game. He or she just sits in his/her chair and watches the game. This fan never says a word but I bet knows all the stats of all the games. I am betting that the fan that talks through the whole game bugs this fan.

The talkative die-hard: This fan never misses a game either but let's you know when a great play happens or lets you know that an error was made because you can hear them either swearing or yelling. This fan has no problem telling the people around him that the shortstop, second baseman, pitcher...whatever really botched that play. Nevermind that the people around him are the parents of the shortstop, second baseman, or pitcher.

The fan that paces while his/her kid is pitching or up to bat: Again, this is me. I give my boys a lot of credit. It would make me crazy to have everyone watching me. One time, I took Nico to the batting cages and I got in thinking it would be fun. I didn't hit the ball once. I didn't even see it! The kids definitely make it look easier than it is. Pitching just makes me want to throw up. Both the boys love it but's great when they strike someone out but when the other kids hits the ball and there are errors in the field, it is torture. I just feel like there is so much pressure on the pitcher. But I am ruled by emotions so what do I know?

The encouraging fan: This happened during our "in house" season. I was busy walking around with Gia and I heard a parent from the other team yelling encouraging things to her son. Things like, "You can do it! Keep your head in the game! Put your glove on the right way! Stop picking grass! Pay attention!" That poor kid looked like he wanted to be anywhere else but on that baseball field. I'd love to do a poll to see how many kids are playing because they are super competitive and have more than an ounce of talent and have a need to be the best, because they love baseball and are having fun playing or are playing because their parents want them to.

The excited fan: This fan has been known to yell every time something good happens and ignores the errors. This fan has been known to leap out of chairs and yell, "Nice hit!" Funny that this fan has also been known to yell, "Run!" after a ball has been hit even though the kids at this level of baseball pretty much know to run after they hit the ball.

The old men muppets fans: Remember the old men from The Muppets? They sat in the balcony and watched the show and made comments the whole time. Not to anyone but each other. They sat on the sidelines mumbling to each other so no one else would hear. We've had a couple of guys like that on teams the boys have been on. One of my favorites passed away over a year ago and to this day, watching baseball games (even though Nico doesn't play with his son anymore) makes me think of the laughs we shared with me telling him he reminded me of the old men in The Muppets. Leo is usually one of the old men with this type. If you have sat at a baseball game with him, guess what? You are the other old man.

The Ump Negotiator: This is the fan that doesn't mind arguing with the ump. He yells things. He asks things loudly. I don't know if he is trying to make the ump mad or kiss up to him but he has no problem telling the ump how to do his job. This fan is the reason why I never want Nico to be an umpire.

The faraway fan: This is a fan you are not sure was even at the game because they sit so far away. This fan can be seen down the first base line or third base line or in centerfield. They sit far from everyone else so they can say whatever they want without stepping on toes or having anyone hear them.

The concession stand fans: These are usually the siblings of the players and they don't see a minute of the game. They are too busy at the concession stand spending all of their parents' money on ring pops, pixie sticks, and laffy taffy. They can be seen running around like crazy from a sugar high or crying in a corner or to their mothers from the sugar crash.

We once played a team where the coach encouraged his team to yell things and taunt  the pitcher. For instance, the pitcher would wind up and as he released the WHOLE team would scream or yell. Worst sportsmanship ever! This is not really a fan type but an irritation under the baseball umbrella.

Last but not least, The Cowbell Fan: I will start by saying that if you have a cowbell and you use it at games, I hope we never play you. I...hate...the...cowbell! I don't see why we need a cowbell at the game. Isn't yelling good enough? It is jarring to the ears (everyone's ears) and obnoxious! We played a team that didn't ring the thing after something good happened on their team but when our players were pitching or batting. SO ANNOYING!!!

So these are my opinions of the different types of baseball fans and that is all they are. They are not based on anyone in particular, just a conglomeration of fans I have seen over the years. I'm sure there are more but I am writing this in the half hour between baseball games.

Friday, July 8, 2011

At a Stand Still

With the house, that is. I am frustrated to the point where I am on strike. Leo has been really busy and I understand to a point. He is coaching Tommy's baseball team and it is very time consuming but even when he has a spare minute, he chooses to have a beer with friends or watch other baseball games or "scout" as he loves to say. For a long time I would spend spare moments straightening up but that is a lot like shoveling before it stops snowing. I'm sure when Leo comes home and the house is upside down he is thinking, "What the Hell?" I want to say, you should have been here at 2, when the house was clean and orderly. I always tried to never go to bed with the house a mess (once I had kids...I let up on this one) and I am really trying to get back to that but nothing fires me up more than when I am doing laundry or cleaning up the kitchen (yes, if I cook, Leo putting everything in the sink) or Gia's toys and he is either sitting in his Archie Bunker chair or falling asleep in bed. I just want us to both care enough about the house to take care of it but we are at a stand still. And the house is suffering for it. We have lights that don't work, toilets that run, a yard that looks like George of the Jungle lives here, a broken printer, a mail corner that hasn't been touched since 2008, laundry baskets full of clothes that I am not sure are dirty or clean, two corners of the kitchen that have piles of magazines I keep hoping I'll have time to read, a mural waiting to be painted in the kids' bathroom and do not even get me started on the boys' room. I don't even walk by it anymore. It scares me.

I am not blaming this all on Leo. I am at fault, too. The kids help out somewhat but they can't fix things. They straighten up or do light cleaning and Nico mows the lawn. I wish I had a recording that said, "Throw your plates away. Pick up what you just dropped. Don't leave your clothes there. Hang up your towel. Shut off the TV." Once 10:00 hits and the kids go to bed, I just want to go to bed. When I think about it, Leo and I are both hypocrites. He gets on Nico for mowing the lawn but when it was his job, he waited until the lawn was at the top of the TruGreen stake (as if it was his personal indicator that it was time to mow) which was way too long. I get on the kids for cleaning their rooms when mine needs some work.

Weekends used to be a time when we worked on the house but now I barely remember, it was so long ago. The kids got older and their activities have taken over. Then we had Gia and it just added to the chaos (in a very good way but OMG, I am exhausted) so the house has definitely come in last on the priorities. My mom came and helped me clean out my dining room which had become a "catch-all" room and it looks so awesome that I haven't let anyone even go in there but that isn't how I want to live either.

I need to train my brain to hate when something is out of place. We need to be more Felix Unger and less Oscar Madison. I need a little Monica Gellar in me.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Double Standard

After dropping Isabella off at a friend's house, I realized that the double standard is an ongoing theme in my life. I already mentioned before that it is one of my pet peeves (Don't get mad at my kid for not calling your kid when your kid doesn't call my kid) but what I didn't realize is while I hate it being done to me (the whole Leo buys a big screen TV without a discussion but if I want a piece of exercise equipment, it's a no), I do it all the time with the kids. I say all the time that I don't want CF to stop the kids from doing things that other kids do and I think if I am being honest with myself, CF is the reason for the double standard I have with the boys and Isabella.

I know I have mentioned the food issue as a double standard but it bears mentioning again. I have to encourage the boys to eat all the time and it has to be food high in calories. It keeps them healthy. It will not keep Belle healthy. If the boys want to eat at 10:00 at night, they get to eat then. I have a hard time watching her eat a vanilla milkshake, cheeseburger and fries at that time so I offer her apples and peanut butter or something else healthier but she cries that it isn't fair and she is right. I try and explain that what is healthy for the boys isn't healthy for her but she doesn't care. She just sees them getting to eat "fun" foods and feels bad that she can't. I just keep telling her she is beautiful and that if she ate what they were eating when they were eating it, she'd feel sick. Maybe if I say it enough times, she'll start to believe it.

The boys get opportunities to do things that are very fun but all day long and my immediate reaction is to say no. Isabella gets offers and I encourage her to go. I didn't even realize I was doing that but with the boys, I worry that they will have stomach issues, I worry that they will not take their enzymes and I worry that they will dehydrate. I worry that they will ruin the experience for others if they get sick. None of my friends have ever made me feel that way and they are all competent enough to handle issues if they come up. It's my own issue and my own fear. It is why I am fiercely overprotective. It's just not easy for me to pass the baton so to speak. It's funny because Belle has a way more nervous stomach than the boys. When met with something new, her immediate reaction is to say her stomach hurts or her head hurts. She wants to do things but then after thinking about it and going over everything that could possibly go wrong, she talks herself into feeling sick so she can't go. I have allowed her to go to sleepovers and have gotten calls to go and get her. I have even gotten calls from her when she is at her grandma's house and still when an opportunity for her to spread her wings a little and have fun or do something big that is just for her comes up, I pretty much push her out the door.

I am overprotective. I know this but now I am wondering...would I be this way even if CF wasn't in the picture or is it because of CF that I am this way?

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Phone Etiquette

This is more about my kids than it is me. My kids have zero knowledge of how to use the phone. I could blame texting but really, Tommy and Belle are the worst. Nico isn't far behind but the twins take the cake. I'll give you the three scenarios that happen all the time.


The phone rings and I see that it is one of his friends. I tell him I don't care if he hangs out but he has chores to do and his treatment to do before he can and I might not be able to get him anywhere if it is during Gia's nap.

Nico (picking up the phone): Heeelllooo?
He listens intently and says: Hold on. (at this point he lowers the phone) Mom, so and so wants to know if I want to ______(fill in golf, go to the pool, go to downtown Wheaton, any activity).
Me: You have stuff to do before you can.
Nico (sighing and looking confused): Ummm..I have stuff I have to do. I can't. Ummm...hold on. (He lowers the phone again.) Mom, it's not until later.
Me: Fine then.
Nico (to me but with the phone near his mouth, he whispers): I don't really feel like doing that.
Me (looking at him like he isn't the sharpest tack in the drawer when it comes to phone use and whispering): Then don't go but he can hear you.
Nico (realizing he might not be the sharpest tack in the drawer when it comes to phone use): Sorry, I can't. (And then he hangs up).

Why is it so hard for kids to say, "I don't really feel like doing that. Maybe we can hang out another time."? He doesn't expect anyone to change what they are doing and if he ends up sitting home alone, that is on him.


I answer the phone and it is one of Belle's friends. I give her the phone and say she can't play because we are leaving for Nico or Tommy's game.

Belle: Hello? Hi. Ummm...hold on. Mom, can I play?
Me (looking at her in complete disbelief): Right now?
Belle (asking her friend and then answering): Yes. Can I?
Me (again in disbelief): No
Belle: Why not????
Me: I just said we had Nico's game.
Belle (lowering the phone): I HATE GOING TO THE GAMES!!!!
Me: Hang up with your friend before you throw your fit.
Belle (into the phone and now crying): I can't. I have to go to my stupid brother's game.

I am convinced that she really believes that the answer will change once she is on the phone as if I just can't say no once her friend is on the line.

Tommy's main issue is leaving messages. He'll call a friend and the answering machine comes on and he panics and hangs up. He cries that his friend wasn't home.

Me: Did you leave a message?
Tommy: No. I forgot.
Me: Well if you want them to know you called then you have to leave a message.
Tommy (calling the person back and in an unintelligible voice): Hi, this is Tommy. I was wondering if _____could play. Call me back.
Me (after he hangs up): Tom, when you leave a message, you have to talk so they can understand you. They might not even know that it is you calling.
Tommy (looking like a light bulb switched on): I forgot to say Tommy G! There are two other Tommys! I have to call back!
Me (really feeling bad for the house that he is calling): I think he knows it is you, Tommy. (Too late. He called back.)
Tommy (in a loud voice): Hi, this is Tommy G! I called before. It was Tommy G!

Tommy then proceeds to cry that he always gets answering machines. Tommy is also the one that gets grounded a lot from playing with friends (going to bed early, which during baseball season is near impossible and not being able to play with friends are the two things that hurt him the most).  That conversation goes like this:

He answers the phone knowing he is grounded and can't play: Hold on, I'll ask. Mom, can I play?
Me: No.
Tommy: What should I tell  him?
Me: How about that you are grounded since that is why you can't play.
Tommy: I can't tell him that!
Me (having no idea why he can't say that): Well, I think you should be honest. You'll have to figure something out.
Tommy (putting the other child on hold for longer than is necessary) finally answered: I can't Bye.
Me: Tommy, I have an idea. If you can't tell your friends that you are grounded and can't play, why don't you stop doing what you did to get grounded in the first place?
Tommy: Yeah, that's a good idea.

The other thing that happens is that I tell the kids they can't play. They go off with the phone and then come back and argue with me until I raise my voice yelling that they can't and that's too bad and my world doesn't revolve around their social lives and then...the little lovebugs get back on the phone and tell the person they can't. Meanwhile, the other child just heard me lose my temper.

I've tried teaching them how to be better. I've walked through how they should answer their friends. Just when I think they've got it, the phone rings and it is a telemarketer and I motion to them that I am not here and they promptly hand the phone to me after saying, "She's right here."

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Middle of Summer

I remember, as a teacher, that I was always torn between wanting my students to really get a break and not do anything academic over the summer and wanting them to still work on their math facts and read, read, read because I knew if they didn't, they'd be really rusty once school started up again. As a parent, when Nico was little, I bought the workbooks and made him do a page a day. This lasted until about 3rd grade. I still bought the books but they remained blank. I bought the books for the twins and put it on their list of chores or things to do before they could play but still, they remained blank. I am ashamed to admit that a few times, they would ask for help and I would help them but after the 12th time, I would say, "Just do it later." Later never came and they would go to school rusty with their facts. It's a double-edged sword. On the one hand, when they say they are bored or have nothing to do, I tell them to do some pages in their books but then they won't just sit and do it independently. I want to say that I am one of those moms that sits with their children encouraging them and helping them but I'd be lying. I am that way for the first three questions and then I start getting frustrated that they won't do it by themselves. Or worse, I explain how to do it and they still don't understand and while I have all the patience in the world for other people's kids, for my I've tried to have the twins help each other but then the competition thing comes into play. I've tried having Nico help them but his "big brotherness" gets in the way and at least once I'll hear, "Wow, you are really dumb if you don't know how to do this." He forgets that he is 13 and that the things they have just learned, he has known for years.

I think I'd fall over in shock if I saw Nico pick up a book to do more than kill a bug. He has read a bunch of Sports Illustrated so I guess that is better than nothing but even when we go to Barnes and Noble and he picks out a book, it still only collects dust. Tommy is a little better but will only read Calvin and Hobbs. Isabella is the only one that takes after me in the reading area. It warms my heart to see her read before bed or sometimes I don't know what she is doing and I go looking for her and she is curled up reading a book. I look forward to the two of us bonding at Barnes and Noble. Actually, I should feel lucky that Barnes and Noble is one of all my kids' favorite places to go. Even Nico loves to go except it is more for the Starbucks than the books.

So now it is the middle of summer and my kids have done zilch in the way of academics. True to summers of the past, the last week before school starts, my children will be working in their books much like I used to cram for exams. Hey, maybe I am teaching them a life skill after all!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Fourth of July and Some Random Thoughts

I used to love this holiday. When we were little, we'd have a party at our house and my uncles would come and bring sparklers and firecrackers. Once I read the book about the kid who became blind after holding a firecracker, I steered clear of them. My dad would barbecue and my uncle would bring the best watermelon and cherries. Looking back, whether it was 4th of July or not, it was another reason for our family to get together, eat good food and catch up. After Leo and I started dating, we ended up watching them from a car because by the time everyone we were with was ready to go, they had already started (that should have been a foreshadowing). After Leo and I got married, we went away with my whole family for the holiday weekend. I loved those times. After we had kids, we would either go to a party that our friends would have or we'd go away. We've been to Galena, the Dells and Lake Geneva. Once the kids became as involved as they are in their sports, it became harder to go away so we'd spend the weekend at my sister's. I love how close my kids are to their cousins.

This 4th of July is much different. If you've read previous posts, you know that all of our plans went up in smoke because Tommy had baseball and the girls were sick. What's worse is that my kids got my sister's kids sick so her plans went up in smoke, too.

Some Random Thoughts:
On a positive note, I started the "low carb" eating plan and it's not as hard as I thought it would be. I've only eaten two meals so I'm not sold yet and I am waiting for the sugar withdrawal to set in. I can't wait to start feeling better! Really hoping cutting out carbs will help with the energy that I am lacking. The whole "exercise to have more energy" isn't working for me.

Last night I attempted to play Scrabble with Leo. It's been about 5 years since we've played and I was reminded very quickly why that is. OMG! I could have edited one of my books, written a bunch of blog entries and fed and given Gia a bath in the time it took him to take his turn. He could not just find a word and put it down. He had to find one that had a double word or triple letter or combined with another word. He hates when I am winning and I had a word that I earned 36 points and it sent him into a panic that I was ahead. I finally quit when he argued with me for 20 minutes about whether IP was a word. Even after I challenged him, he still argued because if it was, he'd have gotten 50 points. I told him there was a new rule that if a word was challenged and it was not a word, the other person gets the points. He wouldn't agree, kept arguing and so I threw in the towel. We started playing at 9:00 and I quit at 11 because we had only made about 5 words each. Had we continued, it would have been a long night. Next time we decide to play a game, it is going to be Trivia Pursuit because I have a plethora of useless knowledge!

Sunday, July 3, 2011


I can't really write this morning. I'll try later. Gia is MISERABLE and still a sicky baby and I can only write this because Belle is holding her (and not happy about it).

I will leave you with two ironies. I waited my whole life to hear my children utter the words, "Mom, Mama, Mommy." I just want the older three to stop saying it for 5 minutes. It's actually starting to sound like nails on a chalkboard. When Nico was three and saying it non-stop, I told him my name was not Mommy anymore. It was Cookalookalooloo. He said okay and called me that. I figured if I was going to hear it a thousand times, it might as well make me laugh.

The other irony is that I am going to try and do the Atkins or South Beach Diet and I don't like any meat other than fish (which I have never cooked myself) and chicken (and even that I could do without). Why am I doing these then? Because I really feel like I am a carb addict and it is where my downfall is. I feel sluggish and unhealthy so I am going to try something new. My sister swears by it. Anyone else want to ring in if they had success with low carb/high protein diets?  I tried Weight Watchers and that SparkPeople one but I have a hard time meeting the calories and other numbers I am supposed to. I don't eat a lot of food because I am so picky, I just eat the wrong kinds of food. To be honest, this is the worst part of being 40. Worrying about every piece of food I put in my mouth. I think that is why I loved being pregnant so much (well that and the baby part).

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Half of a Television Recap

I am nowhere near caught up on all the shows I watch but I have watched some.

The Bachelorette: The whole thing with Bentley was a let down. I wanted the producers to show her all the footage of him being a jerk and I wanted her to lay into him. Even if they did, I am not sure she has it in her to. I don't get it. He's not even that cute. He reminds me of the kind of guy that is okay looking and based on his personality could be really hot or could be ugly and based on his, he was ugly. I think it is obvious that JP is the front runner with Ben maybe as the second guy. Both Ben and Constantine have grown on me. Ryan looks like The Joker from Batman and I can see how he would grate on the guys' nerves. I don't live with him and he grates on mine. I think Ashley thought all the guys would react the way JP did when she told them about Bentley but not all of the guys are feeling the same connection or are into her like JP so I understood where they were coming from. Some of the guys hadn't even had a one on one and then Bentley leaves voluntarily and gets to come back and have one? No one wants to be second choice. I love Mickey even more because he left. He's right. If she was so into Bentley, and he is nothing like him, then they aren't right for each other. He could have pulled a Ryan and said everything she wanted to hear to keep him there so he could keep going to exotic places but he didn't and I respect him for that. I hope he is the next bachelor.

SYTYCD: It's still pretty early for me to have one standout favorite but so far I like, Melanie and Marko (love the dances to Leona Lewis' music), Jordan and Thadd, and Caitlyn and Mitchell. Maybe I am not watching close enough  (I am usually doing a hundred other things while it is on) but I am missing the burly, big, sexy male dancers like Dmitry, Musa, Joshua (not that I found him sexy but he was good) and Twitch. Either Cat is wearing super high heels or these dancers are all really tiny. Does anyone else crack up when Lil' C talks?

The Voice: I don't think I could love Blake Shelton anymore than I do. OMG! He's hot and he's sensitive and he is funny. I LOVE him! I loved Vicci Martinez and thought Beverly was good but they both did weird things when they sang that distracted me. Vicci's leg thing and Bev's head shake...I couldn't get past it though I loved the flashback to Love is a Battlefield even if CeeLo was wearing that strange get-up. Was anyone surprised that Javier won? I am happy that he did. His songs were the ones that made me race to iTunes to download. I LOVED his version of the song Fix You and was so happy he got rid of that darn hat that I nearly jumped off my chair. I was happy for Dia, too. She was so shy but when she sang, she really came alive.

Friday Night Lights: I watched two episodes in a row so this might be a blend of both. The return of Tim! The scene where Coach, Billy and Buddy were speaking about him at the parole hearing gutted me. God, how I love that character and I how I absolutely hate the storyline they went with. When Tim came home, I just wanted to reach through the TV and give him a hug. When he told Mindy that she and Billy did it, that they were a family, my heart broke for him. That is all he ever wanted and it always escapes him. I love the interaction between Coach and Tami. I think it is somewhat realistic that Coach wouldn't give Tami's dream a second thought as long as it didn't interfere with what he was doing. There was a time when I was going to go back to school for my counseling degree. I made it all the way to the tour and Leo was supportive until his boss went to him and told him he had to get his MBA in order to get a promotion. Both of us couldn't go back to school so I had to put my dream on the back burner. It turned out he got the promotion anyway but by then there were other things in our lives that prevented me from pursuing it. I think Becky and Luke are cute together. I still can't get on board with the Billy and Mindy train. I fast forward through Vince's storyline because I feel like it is somewhat predictable. I can't help it...I love Buddy. I enjoy his scenes with Eric. I really hate that this show is ending and I hate that there are not more episodes than just one or two. I would have liked to see them do more with the Hastings character. He could have developed a big following with a storyline. Best show on television in my opinion.

I know I am going to get sucked into Love in the Wild.

I watched Supernanny just to make me feel like my kids are well behaved and we are not that bad off. :)

I forgot to mention in the earlier posts that the worst part of vacation is that I lost my ring that Leo gave me for Mother's Day. I took it off when I went to the pool because it is big and I didn't want to lose it. How ironic that I did anyway! I am sick about it.

Friday, July 1, 2011

To Counteract the "Debbie Downer" Posts

I reread the last three posts and realized I need to start focusing on the good parts of vacation. Taking Gia to the pool with some of the other moms that promised their younger kids they'd take them to the waterparks really was very nice. We scored a great table which was no small feat. Having Gia sleep on me was heart-warming and made me hopeful that there will be a few more times that she'll do that before she doesn't anymore. Having two Pina Coladas was a bonus. I love Pina Coladas. People watching with friends was a fun way to pass the time. Nico might have been tired from the waterparks but it was a nice change from him just being tired. He was as healthy as a horse on this trip and though I didn't like the envelope he was pushing, it is a good reminder that he is a normal teenager and I guess I'd rather have him asking to stay out late than having him stay in because he is sick. I thank God that CF doesn't or didn't stop him from playing baseball or having fun. Tommy wasn't feeling well but he battled through on two of the days in order to enjoy the waterparks (for the first part, he was fine...he battled through for the second one). It might have slowed him down but it didn't stop him.

My sister made her delicious seven layer bars and it became a joke that every time something went wrong, she would say, "How about a seven layer bar?" And they really did make things more bearable. The downside of that is that I gained back the little weight I lost. I mentioned before that one of the highlights was going into town with my dad to get Tommy's meds and I felt like I was 10 years old again and my dad was letting me get whatever I wanted. Plus, it felt good to have someone to share the worry a little bit. This isn't a big thing for most but I was so proud of myself for finding the Walgreens and finding our way back. I am totally dependent on Leo when it comes to that because I don't pay any attention when he is driving (usually I am dealing with the kids or trying to grab a quick or not so quick nap). Yes, I am a June Cleaver wife in the year 2011 in more ways than one (just not the apron and pearls way). One of the mornings it was overcast and drizzling but my sister and I went with our kids and played sand volleyball. It was hilarious! I kept saying that it was going to be a memory we'd never forget--volleyball in the rain. Now that I think about it, it was just the older girls that played with us and it was nice to see Belle laugh and not take herself so seriously. I think part of it was so nice because the men weren't around to make it competitive (read: Leo and Nico). I hate doing laundry on vacation but doing it with my sister was actually fun and she made me laugh because she is the funniest person I know. Having her tell everyone that we HAD to go together because we'd get lost made us laugh the whole way up and what is funnier is no one even thought twice about it.

I said I wasn't going to blog about my family because I didn't want them to worry about doing or saying something and have it end up on here so I'll stand by that but I have to say one thing. My mom is one of the most "glass half full " people I know. Even at the height of my worry or stress, she would just rub my arm and say, "It's going to be okay." I know she spent the three days praying and thank God she did because it could have been worse. The kids could  have been throwing up. That would definitely be worse or it could have been Leo that was sick and then Lord help us all.

Anyway, two days out from the whole thing I can feel the anxiety dull and though I still have sick kids over here, they have a that millions of healthy, normal (I hate that word) kids get and they will be fine in a few days. Gia is back down for a nap and the twins are on the couch watching tv (Tommy's fever is gone and he has asked me 20 times if he can go to practice) so I am going to go do Zumba and try and work off some of the seven layer bars that are no doubt sticking around.

Wisconsin Dells: Chula Vista With the Family

When we were younger, we always went to Chula Vista with my family. With five kids and a stay at home mom, it was like our Disney World. We used to go with my grandparents and my aunt and her family. Some of the best memories were made there. I wish I could say the same for this trip. I'm sure my family thinks I am on the brink of a nervous breakdown and they aren't that far off. Tommy was miserable. He slept all of Sunday and Monday morning. I've seen most 90 year old men walk faster than Tommy could walk. It seemed like it was more than just soreness from the waterpark. I called the doctor and God love our nurse. She called in an antibiotic and after a two doses, he was fine. Just as Tommy was feeling fine, Gia decided to wake up at 2am and stay awake. She cried off and on from 2 until about 6. She finally fell asleep and suddenly my sister burst in the room and said, "We can't find Belle!" Panicked I ran to my room and saw Belle sleeping in the bed. They thought it was Tommy and didn't know that he went golfing with all the guys. Gia was up then and Belle left for breakfast. I gave Gia a bottle (never going to be weaned) and put her back down and fell asleep myself. I woke up to Isabella with a fever and a visitor that came a week early, not really prepared for either. So back to Walgreens I went. Leo promised I'd get a break (I just wanted to listen to my iPod, lay out in the sun and write in my book) when he got back from golf but Gia was making it really difficult. She wouldn't stay with him so I ended up taking her to the pool.  Belle cried for me to stay with her so we compromised and I only went out for an hour to lay out. I tried to write but was too stressed.  Am I a bad mom that I was bummed to not get more time out at the pool?

The whole vacation was stressful and I was very afraid that my family was ruining it for the others. No one made me feel that way. They were very understanding about the whole thing but I had two sick kids and a baby that was not really fun to be around.  How could it not be one huge buzz kill? I just wanted to go home but there was just as much drama going on at home. I have enough drama within the walls of my own house, I don't need anymore or anyone else's. It's not a good feeling to have people mad at me and no matter how hard I try, someone is not happy. Either my kids aren't happy, family isn't happy, or friends aren't happy. Everyone else gets to shut down, not answer their phones, or not be found but I never seem to be able to. Well, I am crawling under a rock for awhile because it is all too much. Maybe I'll be like those writers that become hermits and never leave their houses. Maybe I'll finally finish editing my one book and I'll finally finish writing the other one. Maybe I'll be like that one guy that wanted to prove he could survive without leaving the house as long as he had his computer. Hmmm...avoid all drama....spend days things online...sounds pretty good to me.

On a side note: I took Tommy and Belle to the doctor and he thinks that Belle has a combination of 5th's disease and hand, foot and mouth. He looked in my mouth and thinks I might have the same virus which was actually good news for me since my dentist wanted to send me to an oral surgeon for a biopsy. I made a joke that maybe that is why I have been in such a funk lately (it was a joke because I have four kids who have been sick on and off for months now, two have CF, one is a toddler, Leo has dropped the ball on a few important things and vacation was a bust...those are reason enough for the funk) and he asked me a few more questions and then said he thinks something else might be going on so he is sending me for blood work (see what I mean about drama). Last night Gia went to bed with the beginnings of the same kind of rash that Belle has and today she woke up on fire. She went right back to bed which isn't a good sign of what lies ahead for the rest of the day or weekend.