So, when did my kids become good? I mean, really. We went on vacation for three days, spent a total of 20 hours in the car, purposely left the Focalin and melatonin at home and still I don’t have a single complaint about our vacation. I am wondering when it was that they woke up, had a meeting and decided they no longer needed to do really dumb shit in public. It’s kind of messing with my hobby of making fun of them.

I yanked them out of bed before the sun came up. I forced them to eat an entirely unhealthy breakfast of sugary cereal. I yelled at everyone to get off their asses and hurry up with the brushing of the teeth and packing of the toothbrushes. I hurried Hubby along, complaining that the cat was going to be alone too long. I complained that there wasn’t going to be enough room in the front seat for my camera, purse, book and snack bag (I’ve learned my lesson countless times when I’ve packed the snack bag in the back seat).

When we were finally on the road, they were all too happy to just chill and listen to music. If anything, the worst behaved person on the trip was my oldest child – the hubster. But that’s nothing new. I expected that, so I made sure there was at least one rogue Red Bull in the snack bag, a baggie of mustard flavored pretzels, and a few Slim Jims. The happy hubby trifecta. He still complained, but at least he wasn’t hungry and tired. We ate fast food lunch. We cleaned fast food wrappers from the van. We cleaned fast food chunks from beneath Jack’s butt. We cleaned fast food grease from the windows, seats, headphones and hands. We cleaned fast food crumbs from the van a week later. In case anyone cares about my opinion, I highly suggest a nice healthy picnic lunch to be eaten outside your car on long trips.

And after ten hours, we arrived at Great Wolf Lodge, the funnest indoor water park adventure we’ve been to. We’ve been here three times, I think. And let me note that I am biased as it is the only one we’ve been to.





As per usual, the kids and I wait in the car whilst Hubby checks us in. We wait. And wait. And wait. The kids are bouncing around as if they had been cooped up in seat belts for ten hours and were excited about something. Damn kids. I had a headache and anticipated a frown from Hubby as he walked out to the van (not because I’m a pessimist or because he’s an asshole, mind you. Because every time we go somewhere, something pops up that puts a kink in our plans. And neither one of us are particularly ‘fly by the seat of our pants’ people.) But as it were, he walked out smiling! A home run!

We found the room easily enough, after piling three days’ worth of luggage for six people, a crock pot full of Sloppy Joe’s and three grocery bags of groceries (more Red Bull, some chips, soda, chocolate . . . necessities, people) on top of one of those rolly luggage racks things. Being the ‘you need to work hard to earn this shit’ mom that I am, I did make all the kids carry their own backpacks. Our room had the promised ‘Happy Birthday’ sign on the door and a large bag full of the birthday package treats we paid for in this nifty little add-on appropriately called the birthday package.


Let me go into painful detail here, as this thing was so cool:

At this water park, you pay for your room and you get as many water park passes as people you list staying in your room. So on this particular trip we had 11. Since it was Liam’s birthday, I thought, why the hell would I not add this $125 package to the mix? The Internet claimed that we would get a meal comp, a birthday cake, a poster, a scrapbook and tokens for the arcade for four kids. Let me tell you, at Great Wolf Lodge, they don’t skimp on their packages! I assumed we’d get a meal comp for four people, a crappy paper scrapbook with an ugly, flimsy cover and a tiny birthday cake. Instead, we got a meal comp for nearly all 11 of us (it was pizza, salad, breadsticks and soda. We had to buy one pizza because a. I like my fatty food, b. our three boys can eat an entire box of cereal in one breakfast, so dinner has to be large, and c. my Hubby is excessive in everything he does), a HUGE round birthday cake, decorated and personalized, eight arcade tokens for each kid, a chocolate bar for each kid and a scrapbook that cost $29.99 in the gift shop. I checked. Ooh, and I almost forgot what had me so impressed. The birthday child was to receive a ‘stuff the animal’ and outfit in the gift shop, akin to Build-A-Bear. I checked that out, too. The animal was $24.99 and the outfit was $19.99. So far, just the extras tally to $75, not including dinner, the cake and the arcade tokens. I’d say that the tokens should have been about . . . (ugh, maths) $8. That leaves like $40 for an entire pizza dinner and a birthday cake (don’t you dare refigure my math. That would be embarrassing. I did it all in my head with no paper and pen. I’m impressed, but I haven’t checked my work with a calculator). Regardless of actual birthdays, I’d say it would be a great idea for anyone going to GWL to add this package on. I mean, who doesn’t want to eat cake and pizza in their hotel room?


Pizza party

Back to the main attraction – my sweet baby niece made her appearance at her first vacation! At seven weeks old, she was a vision in pink. Her dark skin and hair made everything she wore look custom-colored just for her. I’d also mention the color of her eyes, but that little booger kept them closed for like the entire time she was there. Seriously, if I were a jealous person, I’d be insanely jelly of my sister and her super duper easy, sleepy baby. And the pinkness. Yeah, the pinkness would make me jealous. If I were a jealous person. Which I’m not.


Marley Renee, as pretty as her mommy

I got some great pictures of my mom sleeping in the water park.


I got a few cute pics of my kiddos smiling. I got a great shot of the birthday boy blowing out his candles. I got a few cute pics of that sweet, pink little baby. With her eyes closed, of course.

And that’s it.

See, nothing even remotely funny in three whole days.

Except for when Jamie got pulled over and received a speeding ticket with all four kids as witnesses. I was a great wife and didn’t say a single word, though inside my head I saw myself pumping my arm in the air and screaming, “YESSSSSSSSSS! It’s about time!”

Just kidding. No wife wants her hubby to get a speeding ticket.


And that’s the end of that. I must really be into this blogging thing because as Officer Not So Friendly (actually, he was kind of a dick – is it normal for a cop to ask the driver what color their car is?) was running Hubby’s license and registration, I very seriously contemplated whether I would/could be reprimanded for taking a picture of said cop handing the imminent ticket to my speeding Hubby. I wish I had done it, in hindsight. A reprimand from a crabby cop would have been great fodder for this. As would the resulting photo of shame.

I wonder what else I would do just to be able to write about it.







Wash your mouth out . . . with blueberry sauce

We are a family rife with loud voices, discontent, arguing and lots of moments where I am telling someone (most often the hubby), “That’s inappropriate!” I’d like to think, too, that we are a fun family, but when it all comes down to it the kids rarely have fun that isn’t overbore by Dad or myself.

Case in point – pretty much every single time the boys decide to placate me and put aside their differences and play together inside the house, one of the disembodied parental voices yells, “Knock it off!” or “No wrestling in the house. How many times do I have to tell you?” or “Take it outside.” Or “what are you doing? Pull your pants up!”

It doesn’t make much sense, I know. We tell them to get along and then the second they are, we’re telling them to stop the noise. Sometimes, I swear that the sound that ruffles me the most is the sound of their laughter. Why does it make me so annoyed/vexed/exhausted?

These poor kids can’t catch a break. I’m always thwarting their fun, whether it’s halting the jumping from one couch to the other, pulling out a kid hiding in the dryer or snatching a ten pound steel (steel? Aluminum? Iron?) sword from swordsmen fighting in the basement with Dad’s annoyingly ritzy display swords. Even during playtime, I’m constantly admonishing them for rough play or potty talk. I am annoying my own self with my harpy-ness, so I’ve been sneakily letting my kids get away with stuff. Liam’s been staying up late every night listening to music on his iPod. Connor has studied for his weekly spelling test only once a week for nearly a month (and has probably skipped a worksheet or three). I watched four-year-old Jack hanging out by the fence and discussing life, poop and all things boy with our neighbor kids. I saw him pretend to pull his pants down and pee on a tree, all the while grinning while the other boys hooted and howled with laughter. Should I have stepped in? Maybe, but then what? What would I have said? “Don’t pretend to pee?” I was thrilled that he kept his pants up and only pretended. Should I be suppressing that behavior and potty talk? I can understand putting a limit on it, a la not in public, but your own backyard is fine; but I really can’t see putting the kibosh on it altogether. It’s unreasonable for me, as a mom of three boys, to expect potty-less behavior out of them. Heck, even I indulge in a little bathroom humor every once in a while, especially when cooing to the baby I babysit for (“There! Your witto butt-ski is all clean!” “Lets do the poopy dance! Poo-pee, poo-pee, poo-pee!”). Yeah, I don’t think that’s beneath me, so why would I attempt to hold them up to standards that even I don’t reach (even with platforms)?

The other night, Liam’s 11th birthday, our family threw caution to the wind and indulged a little in some sweets and some swearing. After Liam blew out his candles on his delicious-looking blueberry cheesecake, we all sat around stuffing our faces and pondering how quickly another year flew by. Out of the blue, Connor solicited a free pass to say a swear word. “No,” I said through my third bite of cake. I didn’t even have to think about it.

“C’mon, please?”

And then I astonished my hubby and myself. “Okay, sure. You guys each get five seconds to say any swear word you want.” I paused for a second and considered imparting a ban on a word or two, but then thought, ‘balls to the walls, let’s do this right.’

Squeals of delight, and perhaps a gasp of disbelief, made me smile. I was going to take a step back and let these boys be boys, even if it meant quite possibly doing the wrong thing and being a less-than-stellar role model.

Connor immediately piped up with three words and when he paused to think, I may have done back handsprings in my mind when I realized he used the three most overused and overlooked swears there are (a$$, $h*t and d@m&). Life could be worse. If Connor used these, and he exhibited self-control, then there is no way any more are going to be said. I know my boys, and –

“A$$! $h*t! D@m&!” Peals of laughter encircled the table. Holy buns! Did my baby just say that? Of course he did. He’s the parrot of the group, always looking to Connor for comic relief and material to be used at a later date.

“Go ahead, Liam,” I sighed, smiling. “Your time is almost up.”

“Mom! I can’t say a swear! I’d be too embarrassed.” His face was already pinking as he grinned crazily through his purple mustache of blueberry sauce.

“Really. It’s okay. Your brothers did and they aren’t in trouble.”

“No! I, I can’t. I’m . . . too . . . embarrassed.”

“Okay then.” I turned to Dad and began to talk about some mundane aspect of my day.

Liam cleared his throat. He coughed. “I mean, it’s not every day a kid can say a bad word like fu^&!”

According to my husband, the sound I made at hearing the holy grail of swear words come out of my innocent birthday boy’s mouth was a little like a foghorn mixed with a squeal . . . and lasted for an entire count of six.


Liam’s face was deep red. He was smiling, but scared. Yes, it was a scared smile. “Mom, you said-”

“I know what I said! I just didn’t think you’d drop the f-bomb like that in front of your brothers! In front of dad! In front of meeeee!” Now my face was red. I shook my head and stared at him in horror/humor. Where did this kid come from? Is this puberty? A new kid every week? My sweet boy resurfaced a few times later that night. Every time he would see me, he’d say, “I’m just so ashamed of myself!” Looks like I may be raising that one right.

The picture of innocence will be shattered in 5, 4, 3 . . .

The picture of innocence will be shattered in 5, 4, 3 . . .

So, I tried my hand at stepping back and letting the kids have a little free fun and it wasn’t too bad. Do I think I’ll do less of it? Maybe. The kids won’t be swearing anytime soon, and pulling down pants and showing off peepees is a definite no-no still, but letting them play chicken on their bikes in the middle of the road sans helmets and spray each other with the Weed-B-Gone will still be allowed. As long as they’re having fun. And not making messes. And quiet. I have to pick my battles.

Feelin’ thirty-two

Yesterday was my birthday.  Thirty-two.  When I was twenty-two, that seemed so old. Not old like granny glasses and a housecoat, but old like granny panties and mom jeans.  I guess I wasn’t so far off with my one hundred percent cotton nude-colored hipsters and Wal-Mart jeggings.  At twenty-two, I thought anyone over the age of twenty-nine must have it all figured out – a house, insurance, fancy car, shiny hair, well-manicured nails, fashionably dressed kids and don’t get me started on responsibility (teachers!  Having to deal on a weekly/daily basis with teachers scared me to death!).  What I didn’t think about was that the process of aging had really begun way back then, and reared its ugly head right around the ripe, responsible age of thirty . . . and kept going.  It never occurred to me that I was going to age at all.  At one point around twenty-five I thought about using eye cream, then laughed at myself.  I’m not laughing anymore.  Shoulda coulda woulda. 

 As I sit here typing away with my semi-arthritic hands and dual carpal-tunnel syndrome (and the heating pad at my lower back), I glance at my brittle nails (one of which broke last night at this same keyboard) and admonish myself for not doing a better job keeping up with even the most minute beauty routines; after all, the more work you put in, the more you get out of a job well done.  I keep my toenails painted and wear makeup every day, but neither of these is done well.  As a matter of fact, I only recently found out that I was doing all my makeup backwards and incorrectly.  How do I get to be thirty-two without knowing that concealer goes on after the foundation?  Or that I should be wearing a primer before foundation as opposed to not at all?  Or that they (being the beauty powers that be) make something called eyebrow powder that one can brush into and on top of eyebrows to make sparse, fine brows look well kept?  Or that bronzer is a product that women use to look healthy and not just tanned.  And here I was thinking only Teresa from RHONJ used bronzer (and we all know she uses every other product out there, all at the same time and mostly on her eyes.  Will we ever get to see her sans makeup?).  

 As I blow dry my hair stick straight solely to make it look like I am at least attempting some semblance of “getting ready” and use hairspray only to tame my flyaways at my forehead to keep me from looking like Alfalfa, I am reminded that I am light years away from twenty-two (I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling thirty-two oooh-oooh ooh-ooh.).  No teasing, no braiding, no texturizing and no awesome products in this hair.  Not even a decorative barrette, unless you, like me, think a plain bobby pin is accessorizing.  And jewelry?  Only on rare occasions will I change my earrings from my small studs that exist to cover up the pierce holes to something a little more fancy, like the Meijer $3-on-clearance dangly rock-looking ones I seem to favor. 

 Don’t get me started on the difference in clothing, either.  I’ve never been a fashion horse, but I think there was a time in my mid-twenties when I had a little more self-respect.  Cute jeans, tighter shirts, heels.  Now?  The aforementioned jeggings are as fashionable as I get.  Sometimes I’ll wear a pushup bra.  And boots.  That’s hot. But not just a pushup bra and boots.  That’s not.  Shudder.  I recently caught sight of my not twenty-two-year-old body in the Kohl’s fitting room while I tried on cute dresses (no, I wasn’t having fun.  I was looking for a nice interview outfit in the hopes that I find a job).  Lo and behold, I must not have seen myself in a full-length mirror in years because guess what I was surprised with?  My thighs were folding over my knees (just there I originally typed knewws.  See the eww, as in, gross?  Subconsious disgust).  How did I go all summer wearing shorts and feeling semi-decent about myself with fat folds on my knees? (Jeez, did it again.  Knewws.  That’s what I’ll call ‘em from now on.)

 I’m old now.  Time for wrinkle creams, gloppy moisturizers and wearing a scarf on my head while I sleep to keep my fine, dry, elderly strands from breaking while I toss and turn with aches and pains.  No more time in the sun for me.  The last two summers have given me four wrinkles on my upper chest and a great many dirty birdy feet near my eyes.  I have melasma on my forehead and upper lip.  I can’t jump on the trampoline without feeling every ounce of my body jiggling around like pudding beneath my skin and without my back aching for hours.  I can wear only sensible shoes now – flats, flip-flops, clogs and slippers (and all in wides).  I tried wearing heels the other day for an important appointment and found myself carrying them while I walked through three levels of a parking garage in my pantyhosed feet (that dates me, too, doesn’t it?  Does anyone besides the Duchess of Cambridge wear pantyhose anymore?).

 Enter my cousin-in-law Mariah – a gorgeous gal and creator of the popular YouTube vlog, The Gal’s Guide ( – a guide for fashion, beauty and all things in between, it seems.  Picture a beautiful Barbie doll with brains, personality and all the beauty knowledge a single person could possibly have . . . and then some.  Just what a thirty-two-year-old mama needs to freshen her look when she needs it most.  My favorite tutorial of hers is her ‘no-makeup’ makeup look.  This is where I learned I am a four-year-old when it comes to beauty (watching her curl her eyelashes was a real eye-opener for me.  Pun intended).  Mariah is the epitome of fashionable.  Every video finds her looking flawless and effortlessly put together.  She is what I aspire to be in my down time (you know, when Hubby and I get to go on a date for about four hours every six months or so and pretend we are stylish and modern and young) and luckily for me, she gives lessons on how I can be just like her.  Her vlog is my new obsession.  Maybe she can add a little something about how she stays so thin, or how her skin is so perfect in the Florida sun and dry AC, or how a mama can do it all/have it all without missing a beat, or how . . . never mind, now I just sound jealous of her youth.

 The point, if there has to be one, is that one cannot turn back the hands of time. Luckily there are plenty of young women out there willing to help the elderly cross the road or apply foundation with a brush.