Thursday, December 29, 2011

WTF Wednesday - The "Hula Hoop Incident of 2011" Edition

It's WTF Wednesday...but my grandmother is hanging out at our house today so I won't have time for a proper WTF post.

Here's a little My Suitcase Full of Tricks math problem for you:

New camera + French toast for breakfast + freak hula hoop accident = THIS

So yes, thanks to my new fancy camera (which I'm still trying to learn) you'll be seeing pictures of my boogered kids with chewed food hanging out of their mouths and hula hoop wounds on their heads for the next few weeks. He looks like the Cro-magnon Man.

By the way, teach your kids never to walk next to another kid when they are hula-hooping. Some day I'll learn how to be a good mother.


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Sucking It Up for Santa

Last Saturday in a moment of holly jolly frenzied insanity we took kids to see Santa. Not all the kids, just the ones with penises because the girl was at a sleepover.

Santalapsitting isn't exactly my bag. And very importantly: Nobody has ever ASKED to go see Santa.

Natalie has never wanted to even go within 10 feet of the guy (she shudders at the sight of anything in a costume), Ryan is just as happy writing a letter and plopping his butt on the couch and poor Justin has no idea that there is even the meet-and-greet option. He's quite a deprived child. Miraculously, presents just show up on Christmas and we move on.

Anyhoo. Sometimes you gotta suck it up and be a mom. Since Nat was out for a girls' night woohoo girls' night! we decided to trek down to Bass Pro Shops - Shut up! Yes, I went into Bass Pro Shops, get over it - for some testosterone-filled Yule Tide action.

And at the risk of this sounding like a sponsored post (which it is NOT) I will only ever go to this place for Santa pictures for the rest of my parenting career. Why, you might ask?  Because you got an actual appointment to see Santa. Yep. Like a fast pass at Disney. Come back in the 30-minute window. Shop and spend money in our store. Fine by me. 

So instead of listening to them complain about waiting in a 2-hour mall Santa line, they got to do all kinds of rugged boy stuff while I got to be in an air-conditioned building. Win/win.

And if all of that along with the free kids' meals weren't worth the 45 minute drive, these two shots definitely were worth having to walk down rows and rows of camouflage clothing.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Cheap Crap and A Cheap Compliment

Today I went to volunteer at the PTA Holiday Shop fundraiser at Ryan's school.

You know, the thing where they sell Dollar Store crap for $5.00? Where parents send their kid with $2.75 and tell them to bring home three presents (true story).

I chose today because it was the day his class was shopping. The kids had to sit in the chairs and go in shifts. Always one to make an example of the good kids, I noticed that Robbie was the only one sitting there quietly with his hand up - the quiet sign, like in summer camp.

"Robbie, you're first!" Robbie jumped up and started shopping. As soon as the other kids caught on, 15 more hands shot up in the air.

Crap, how am I going to choose? Can't pick Ryan because I don't want them to think I'm favoring him. 

I stood there clueless as to how I was going to amicably choose the next shopper when Angelina T. (yes there are two Angelinas in his class) tipped the scales in her favor.

Angelina looked me right in the face, flashed a toothy grin and as sweetly as possible said "You're prettttttyyyyy." 

"OK, Angelina! You're next!"

Yep, I'm that cheap and can be bought. Always wanting to make an example of the smart kids too. Gotta give credit to a 2nd grader who can think on her feet and get herself noticed.  Heck, none of those other little booger-pickers had a plan. 

Merry Christmas to YOU Angelina T.! May your days be merry and bright and may you have much butt-kissing success in the New Year!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

WTF Wednesday - The "#Antler Up, Be Careful What You Wish For" Edition

Anybody recall saying they wanted to see me sing?

OK, crazy Antler Lady (KLZ of Taming Insanity) is having a baby any day now. Twitter folks are taking odds on it. For the Holidays she's having a contest called #AntlerUp. Just have to post a photo of yourself in antlers. Never to be an underachiever, I'm offering this. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

"Eat Me" Is A Sweet Sentiment

I found this little ditty on the floor of the playroom.

Well, isn't that just delightful!

EAT ME with some weirdo little picture under it. What the heck is that? It looks like an embryo. 

My immediate thoughts:

  • I'm sure he learned this from a kid on the school bus. Some jackball 5th grader no doubt.
  • Didn't they say that in Grease? Has he been watching Grease?
  • Pretty certain I didn't say that...did his father JakeRyan say that behind my back TO ME? I'm gonna kick his butt into next week!
  • Why is he drawing an embryo? 

With that, I grabbed the paper off the floor, marched up the stairs and stomped right into Ryan's room all badass like. 

And in my best "I'm not gonna stand for this foul-mouthed crap" tone I asked him: "Um, Ryan? Would you like to explaaaaain to me why you wrote EAT ME on a piece of paper????"

Let's see how quickly this little punk thinks on his feet to get his butt out of this one. He is SOOOO busted.  

Ryan: "I wrote 'eat me' on a sign to put next to Santa's cookies on Christmas Eve. I wanted him to know that they were for him, but then I messed up..."

Wait. What? Uggg. I'm a horrible mother. 

Me: "Oh...OK...sorry." 

I'm sure he did something else bad. I just need to catch him. 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Third Annual Christmas Non-Card

I stopped doing Christmas cards the year Justin was born.

First off, with a full-time job and three kids I didn't have time to collect updated addresses let alone design and send cards. Second, that was pretty much our worst year financially EVER. Cards and postage get pretty expensive. Third, no cards to go in a landfil.

So I came up with the Christmas Non-Card, posted it to Facebook and sent it to my email distribution list and there you have it - a tradition was born.

This year I started a blog and made lots of new virtual friends. So here it is for all to see...and if you make it to the end you'll see JakeRyan's real name.

Happy Holidays from all of us! 


Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Monster of a Thanksgiving Guest

I haven't done a blog post in like 10 days. Or more.

So who wants to hear about Thanksgiving? Shut up, yes you do.

But just so this isn't another boring mom blogger regurgitating what happened, Pilgrim Mike Wazowski will be my lovely assistant. He was good at it last time.

Here's my favorite one-eyed Pixar character Happy Meal toy Mike Wazowski on my dining room table hours before the guests arrived. 

I may or may not have specially made a tiny little pilgrim hat for him out of foam core from Ryan's Halloween costume... "Nice Pinterest-inspired bean and corn centerpieces Ali!," says Mike. "And might those be the pine cones you foraged for and had to soak in bleach because bugs were crawling all over your counter?" Why yes, they are Mike. Yes they ARE! 

"Mmmm. I love eating food that is the same color as me," says Mike. "Anything I can do to help?" Nope. Thanks anyway Mike. Unless you'd like to go break up the fight in the family room over whether we're going to watch the Macy's Parade or an episode of Wizards of Waverly Place for the 7,000th time. Yeah, get on that.

Awww Mike. Don't cry. "I'm not crying you nitwit, the onions are making my eye water." Doesn't he look like he's going to give that onion a badass Chuck Norris karate chop? You go Mike! You show that onion who's boss! Hi-YA!

Here's Mike digging in to the uncooked baked clams and stuffed mushrooms. Oh Mike, that's gross. They must do things way differently in Monstopolis.

"Go Cowboys!" says Mike Wazowski. "That's one big-ass TV you got there, but it doesn't make watching the Cowboys any less excruciating and I only have to see one eye's worth." 

Oh for the love of all that's holy Mike! Please don't get schnockered at my house on Thanksgiving! That's my husband JakeRyan's job. I will say that I'm very impressed with how you were able to balance on this wine glass with your teeth! You so cray-zeee.

"Yum, I don't care how dry it is. I want to eat this up anyway," says a very hungry Mike Wazowski. Poor Mike. Everyone on twitter told me that the turkey roasting bag was the way to go and the damn turkey fell apart. Lesson learned Mike...lesson learned. 

Mike, what are you DOING? You said you were helping Katie do the dishes, but you really look like you're about to dive bomb into the dishwasher.

Let's see if you can find Mike in this picture. He suffered Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from whatever it was that happened in Natalie's room. One minute we're sitting at the table bullshitting about all the stuff we're thankful for and then WHAMO - this. You shouldn't have to endure this Mike Wazowski. What happens in Natalie's room stays in Natalie's room. 

All that turkey made Mike a sleepy monster so we let him take a little nappy-poo on the couch. I covered him all snuggly with a napkin. 

And what were we doing while Mike was resting his eye? My sister and I were in the playroom making a little movie of us singing our favorite song...Band Aid's Do They Know It's Christmas (Feed the World). I wrote a little post about it. And if I get a sufficient amount of comments below I will post it. I'll be the judge. But it has to be a HUGE number of comments. 

SO, all you people who know us in real life who just read this blog and never comment - now's the time. 

What? You say you love posts with Mike Wazowski? Try this one.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

It's Not About Feeding The World, It's About Beating My Sister

We have a little family Christmas tradition.

And by "we" I mean just me and my sister. Nobody else has ever been invited to participate. And truthfully if somebody else wanted to join we'd laugh in their face.

It's a contest: Whoever is the first to hear the best Christmas song EVER, Band Aid's Feed the World, Wins. That's it.

1. Has to play randomly, like on the radio, satellite or in a store - Proactively obtaining it on YouTube doesn't count.
2. Has to be accompanied by a cell phone call where the other person can HEAR it.
3. Winner gets bragging rights for a year.

Lame? Totally.

But we're children of the '80. In the days prior to the internet, hearing an iconic Christmas song the way it was intended (only at Christmas) was a huge treat. When it would come on the radio each year we'd freak out...for years...and years. Somewhere along the line it became a contest. I don't even remember when.

Satellite radio really screwed up my winning streak. Not to mention that I work from home and spend all of 10 minutes a day in the car. Melissa has been the reigning winner for at least the last 3 years.

So the point of this post: GAME ON LISS! I'm throwing down the gauntlet. I'm not listening to satellite radio until I win. 2011 is the year of Ali.

For the completely clueless who don't know what I'm talking about I've attached it below. You should watch for the following reasons:

1. It's about feeding starving kids in Africa this is not a real reason to watch it, but I felt like I had to say this...
2. John Taylor - my Duran Duran boyfriend and hottest guy ever to walk the earth playing bass very giddily.
3. Sting at his absolute sexiest. No arguments. This was his sexiest.
4. Bono sporting a mullet.
5. You'll probably never hear Paul Young sing again.
6. Boy George sings a mean "ooohh."
7. Random members of Kool & The Gang standing out like sore thumbs among all the Brits.
8. Bananarama!!! Bananarama! Bananarama!

If you want to know who wins I'll post this year's winner on the Blog's Facebook page.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

WTF Wednesday - The "He Learned It From a Book" Edition

My son is 8. I have no idea where he learns things. Case in point:

Chip (yes from Beauty & the Beast)

A dark gray stress ball 


Me: "How do you know what an afro is Ryan?"

Ryan: "It was in one of my books." Last time I checked Hair wasn't his reading level.

Me: "Which book had that in it???"

Ryan: "Ook and Gluk. Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future"

Me: "OK, I can see that."


And another Ryan ditty from this week:

Me: "Ryan, I think you LIKE Julia."
Ryan: "No. Actually, I chase her around on the playground making faces at her. That's how much I DON'T like her."

Thanks for proving my point kid. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Guess Who Got an Award. ME!

Guess who got an award. ME!

I happened across another person's blog recently (darned if I remember how), but I decided to follow her probably because the name is so cute.

So what happens? Last week she commented on MY blog and told me she gave me an award on hers. SOOOOO. I got a Liebster Blog Award from sweet Stacy from Cardigans & CrayonsThat link means go visit her kids. Recently she talked about being thankful for yoga pants. So this is a woman with her priorities straight! (My kinda gal).

What is a Liebster Award you might ask? "Liebster" is the German word for "beloved" or "dearest"...or "favorite." How about that! It's an award for bloggers with 200 or less followers to encourage others to follow them. Might I point out that I still have less than 200 followers. What's up with that? Shameless plug for more followers. 

I think it's only appropriate that I got an award with a German name since I was saddled with a German maiden name for 24 years and 49 weeks of life. You know, the name that rhymes with Vinegar and allowed some very creative people to call me "Whiny Girl." It also starts with one of the last letters of the alphabet (this becomes important later in the post).

Now I get to give it away to 5 other bloggers who have followings under 200. Crap.

I read so many blogs that I love (but not as often as I should).

So I used the very scientific method of awarding the blogs of some people I talk to a bunch on Twitter. Here goes (in reverse alphabetical order so I don't hurt feelings. Why reverse? Because I was saddled with a German name that begins with a W. Payback.)

Rusti of My Life as an Officer's Wife. - She's all knocked up and it was half my fault that it was announced to all of our Twitter friends. I repeat. Only half my fault.

Roxanne of Unintentionally Brilliant.- Just because I like her and she has aspirations of being a "real" writer and we have to give her credit for that.

Leighann, The Multitasking Mumma. - Simply because she understands and appreciates my warped sense of humor. That's all.

Kristi, the Robot Mommy.- Because she's a newer blogger too and is way more "all over it" than I am. She does fun stuff and everything!

Jennifer of Midwest Momments. She writes beautiful posts AND has started her own business which I admire.

Honorable Mention (because she's not on Twitter, but SHOULD BE BECAUSE SHE'S HILARIOUS)
Marianne of We Band of Mothers.

OK Ladies - give away the award if you want to. If not, no pressure since we're all super-busy mom bloggers around here!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

WTF Wednesday - The "If You Look Up Gullible in the Dictionary" Edition

Note: Before you read this post, if you are new here and don't know my sense of humor or are easily offended, stop reading. I don't need any hate mail. If you do read...go to the end. 

All of these facts are related:
  1. I work full-time from home. A 40-hour job for a real big company. 
  2. My daughter has a cough. 
  3. There is a small blue kids' chair in my family room. 
  4. I used duct tape to fix something.
  5. My husband is clueless. 
  6. I am a smartass. 
I kept Natalie home sick last Thursday, she was coughing really badly the night before. Of course she was perfectly fine the second I decided to keep her home. 

So I went about my business in my home office doing the work I'd be doing anyway knowing fully that she wasn't going to interrupt me since I threatened her life if she knocked on my door. She's 5 after all and can understand that I need her to be good. I checked on her several dozen times. 

She didn't even come in once. She pulled a little blue chair from the playroom out to the family room and watched TV all day, colored a bit, played with matches and sharp knives...the usual. We don't need to talk about how she went into my bathroom and relocated all of my makeup to the Barbie vanity in her room, painted her own nails and spayed so much cheap perfume that my upstairs smelled like a Texas whorehouse.

At one point in the same day, I used some duct tape from the garage to cover a piece of metal jutting out from the side of my desk. It's an accident waiting to happen. I've tried to fix it with masking tape, but Justin keeps ripping it off, so I pulled out the big guns. My husband is aware of this issue. We've talked more than once about the masking tape. He might not have listened very well. Yes that is important to the story. 

When JakeRyan came home from work he saw the roll of duct tape on the counter and asked what it was for. Common sense would tell him that it was to fix the metal on the desk. Let's just say where he lacks in logic, he makes up for it in boyish good looks.

Here's how this fine dialogue went: 

JakeRyan: "Ali, why is the duct tape out?" Well if you ask a stupid're going to get a bizarre made-up story to help you realize that you should already know the answer. 

Me (with a completely straight face): "I was making customer calls and Natalie wouldn't stop bothering me."  

And here's where I paused for him to laugh at my quick witted joke.

JakeRyan: "WHAT???"  

Oh my gosh, he totally believes I used the duct tape on Natalie. I'm going with this. 

Me: "And I told her like 100 times that I needed her to be quiet. She kept coming in my office, so I duct taped her to the chair."

JakeRyan (with a look of astonishment and a very serious tone): " know you can't DO that."

Me: "What's wrong with that? Look at her! She's fine. I just taped her to the chair so she wouldn't come in while I was on the phone."

JakeRyan (very knowingly): "You can't just duct tape your kid to a chair Ali. You can't DO THAT! You're way too hard on her."

Wait. Way too hard on her? I think that's a little bit of an understatement if I'd really bound her to a piece of plastic furniture...

Me: "Do you seriously think I'd tape her to a chair?"

JakeRyan: "Well I don't know. You have been really hard on her lately."

WTF?!?! My husband thinks I'm capable of something this horrible. I'm very serious about my job and I like to "invent" ways to do things better, but a duct tape child restrainer isn't quite the kind of ingenious creation I want to be remembered for.

OK, yes I am harder on her than the boys. WHY? Because she gives me more crap than they do. Do I let her scream her head off when she's having a tantrum? Yes. Do I let her walk out the door without eating breakfast because I'm too tired to fight anymore? Yes.

But I'd never, EVER duct tape her to a chair. I'd use the masking tape and make sure Justin doesn't pull it off this time.

And before you leave me hate mail: I'M JUST KIDDING.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

WTF Wednesday - The "Is That A Sunburn?" Edition

Yesterday I posted a family photo of us from Halloween to the blog's Facebook page.

I know what you're thinking: "Geez, Ali's husband JakeRyan must have a really nasty sunburn."

No, he doesn't. He just looks like this in the majority of photographs taken of him. In person, he's peach, just like the rest of us. He wasn't doing hand stands right before the picture. He wasn't holding his breath (as far as I know). There was no Halloween marathon that would have resulted in Facial Redness.

But because this red face annoyed me for the entire day yesterday, I will now replace the photo with the following picture so everyone can think it's intentional and he and Ryan are just wearing cute matching costumes.


By the way, if you haven't yet "liked" said Facebook page, go over there on the left and LIKE IT!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Don't Make Mama Bird Angry

OK, I find this hilarious and completely insulting at the same time. You might remember last week I posted about making Ryan an Angry Birds costume. Well, it has been driving droves of traffic to my blog. Not the point. 

Here's a reminder of how cute he looked. 

I was checking my blog stats just now and noticed some traffic from BuyAngryBirdsCostume (dot) com. Won't even type it because I don't want you to click it and give this guy traffic. 

So I clicked the link to find a little write-up about my costume that said the following: "DIY Angry Bird Costume - So Easy Even I Can Do It (My headline). Really, this should be your last resort. Making an Angry Bird from carton and hanging around your neck, we can hardly call it a costume, but desperate situations call for desperate measures. Read more here." 

Wait, WHAT? "This should be your last resort?" I am a lot of things and desperate isn't one of them. 

"Making an Angry Bird from carton and hanging around your neck, we can hardly call it a costume???Oh my gosh. Are you freaking serious? Well, I'm just insulted! It most certainly a costume and not a stupid one I might add. My feathers are ruffled - yes, that is a bird pun, glad you noticed. 

And before you think I'm ignorant...I do understand how web links and search work. He's just got my links on there to drive traffic to his site though search, BUT I'm beyond perturbed at his comments. He's probably some ignorant douche canoe who's name is Dennis (I looked up the domain name, it's really Dennis). 

Let me explain to you Mr. Dennis Just Trying To Sell Costumes: My kid is 8, as I mentioned before he'd look like a complete jackass walking around our neighborhood in one of the store-bought costumes where he had to stick his head through a hole like you're trying to sell. Sticking his head through a hole would make him look like an A-hole. I crack myself up. 

I love my kid and don't need him getting beat up on Halloween because he was wearing a sissy costume. Here's what they look like. 

Secondly, it is 80 degrees here today and cardboard is pretty much all we can do so our kids don't sweat to death walking door-to-door begging for candy, asshole. Yes, was the one with the handy sewing instructions more impressive? Perhaps, but again that costume is pretty babyish and HOT. 

You've got me ranked third of the "Best," but the last resort? Really? A mom that actually makes a costume instead of just buying it? A costume that her kid asked for and is thrilled with. 

Not to mention that the one this guy has in 2nd place (and not as a "last resort") is a boy wearing red leggings, red socks and a feather boa with a paper beak. It comes from one of my absolute favorite blogs and I'm not saying anything bad at all. But again, what do you think the odds are of getting my son to wear girls pants or his father letting him go out of the house with a feather boa? 

Hoo boy am I fired up. 

By the way, Ryan's costume is essentially paper and it's pouring rain here. YAY! 

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Science Project - I "Rock"

This post is dedicated to any parent who has ever "helped" their child do a science experiment for school. Read it to the end for the best part. 

Two weeks ago, Ryan came home from 2nd grade with the class "Scientist Bag," a blue tote bag with a lab coat, a pair of goggles and a journal in which to log findings of any science experiment he chooses. Each kid takes a turn.

As any parent knows, no science project will ever be a solo mission no matter how brilliant your kid is. Ryan's idea of "Rot or Raisin" (seeing if the grape would turn into a raisin before it rots) was quickly shot down because of our chilly South Floridian temperatures in the 80's.

After plenty of internet research and a hearty sales pitch, I sold him on making rock candy crystals. And I might have, in a moment of weakness suggested that I'd make a video. YES I KNOW! STUPID! Foreshadowing: not part of the assignment, overkill. 

So I studied the experiment, I made him read about it to learn it, I got the materials together, I measured sugar and water, and I set him up in the kitchen where I told him exactly what to do while I video taped him saying what I helped him articulate while wearing a little white lab coat. Foreshadowing: I used the word "I" in that sentence 8 times.

Oh but wait...we didn't have enough sugar. So I went to the grocery store for more.

I boiled water and explained what we were doing so he could say it on the video. We talked about "solutions" and "seed crystals." He was like a junior Bill Nye the Science Guy. He really "got" what this project was about. The ploy of making the movie was just to get him to get excited about it. Way to go Mom! You just got your kid interested in science! 

I cleaned up the sticky sugary mess we made in the kitchen.

Every night for six nights (except the night when he was puking) I brought him into the dining room where we had jars of sugar syrup with strings hanging in them and dressed him in his lab coat. Six nights of sugar "solution" while we were experiencing a gargantuan ant problem in our house. I held the camera as he gave his awesome spiel for his movie each time (some took a few takes) and then he watched as I measured the sugar's progress with a ruler and wrote it in a notebook.

Last night we did the last taping. He went to bed and I sat for two hours editing the movie so it would be ready when he woke up. He LOVED it. Tomorrow he'll write our findings in the journal which means I'll sit there the whole time (like I did on his large intestines report on Monday) and help him outline his thoughts.

So tonight as I was tucking him in I gave him a hug and said "Ryan, you're doing really well in school and I'm very proud of your hard work on your science project."

His reply (and I swear this is 100% authentic, verbatim): "Thanks Mom, but I can't take all the credit. I couldn't have done it without you. I were the one who held the camera."

I'll take that as a "thank you." I swear I better get an A on this thing. I mean HE better get an A...HE, Ryan better get an A.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

WTF Wednesday - The "Kicking & Blood Curdling Screaming" Edition

These things happened in my house Tuesday morning:
  • Natalie wanted me to put on her necklace, I was already doing her hair, I kindly told her to wait.
  • Natalie violently threw her necklace across the room like a steroid-abusing major league pitcher...because I raise heathens.
  • I calmly told her to pick it up. I'm rather certain that I sounded like Mary Poppins in my delivery. 
  • She started crying and said "no." ...I gave her 3 chances. Several times so it was more like 12 chances. 
  • I picked it up and told her she couldn't wear it at all today. Take that little parenting moment Bratty McBratterson. How'd ya like that? No necklace. Mmmmhmmmm. 
  • She freaked out like Linda Blair in the Exorcist. 
  • I dragged her out of the room. We were done. 
  • She refused to come down stairs. Kicking and screaming. It was awesome. 
  • I dragged her down the stairs by her arm. 
  • She threw a tantrum putting on her shoes. She couldn't put them on. The same shoes she has successfully put on 20 times...same shoes. But today they were a challenge. 
  • She screamingly refused to eat her mini-muffins. Screamingly is a real word says spell check.
  • I counted to 3. 
  • Justin counted to 3. Thanks for your support Justin. Now finish your Cheerios. 
  • I sent her to the bathroom until she could stop crying.
  • She practiced her best "Nightmare on Elm street Freddie is killing me" scream, just in time for Halloween.
  • I walked in and threatened her life. 
  • She said she wanted her necklace. Ya think? 
  • I told her all she would have had to do is PICK IT UP WHEN I TOLD HER TO.
  • I shut the door.
  • She took off her shoe and banged my door (When she puts the shoe back on it will be time #21 of practicing it).
  • I walked in and told her if she broke anything in my bathroom I'd "break every single toy she had." Yes, I did. What of it???
  • She came out and refused the muffins again.
  • I shoved gummy vitamins in her mouth (after all, it was wide open because she was still screaming. I saw and opportunity.)
  • She spit them on the floor. 
  • I ate her muffins. They were delicious. 
  • She decided she wanted muffins after all. But of course she did!!!
  • I ushered both kids into the car where she cried all the way to school muttering the word "necklace."
  • I walked her into her classroom and offered her a big hug. Which she accepted...for a very long time. It was touching and sweet. 
  • Then she said she was hungry. 
  • I offered her carrot sticks...she said no and threw a fit.
  • I left. 
This bugged me all morning. She's my girl and I absolutely hated that we fought. My heart was hurting. We never fight. 

So what did I do?

Duh, I actually took a lunch break, picked her up at school and took her out to lunch so we could "talk about it." Yep, a deep-and-meaningful with a 5-year-old. 

You know, because in our house WE REWARD REALLY BAD BEHAVIOR. 

I screwed up. I'm a pushover. I totally caved. I set a very bad precedent. 

WTF was I thinking??? 

Friday, October 21, 2011

DIY Angry Bird Costume - So Easy Even I Could Do It

WELCOME - Are you here because that "Buy an Angry Birds Costume Guy" called this a "last resort"? COOL!

It's the moment you've all been waiting for!!!

I'm fully aware you all have NOT been waiting for this moment. Just humor me. 

I said that I'd be making his costume over "the weekend." So now it's Friday...yes, it took a little longer because of numerous distractions, but now Ryan's Angry Birds costume is complete! 

Why, you might ask, did you not just buy it considering you are super-busy you dumbass? Every Angry Birds Costume I found online was very expensive and was big and puffy and made you stick your face through. Lame. Completely weird for an 8-year-old and too hot for Florida Halloweens. The other DIY Angry Birds costumes required a sewing machine. Ummmm...

What you'll need:

  • 2 pieces of red foam core board (or white and you can paint it red -  it's cheaper)
  • 4 sheets of craft foam (2 white, 1 black, 1 yellow)
  • Red ribbon
  • Scissors
  • Marker
  • Pencil
  • Exacto knife
  • Glue Gun

Step 1 - Hit the computer for a picture of your angry bird. Snag the eyes, beak, etc. and blow them up on the computer and print out to make tracers. They'll be grainy, but that doesn't matter. Cut them out. 

Step 2 - Using a pencil, draw your Angry Bird body onto paper that you'll then trace onto the BACK of the foam core board. Make sure you do it backwards because you want the tail to be on your kid's right-hand side. This took A LOT of trial and error because the Red Angry Bird is not a perfect circle so there was nothing we could just trace. Shoulda done yellow. Ours still isn't perfect, but it totally works. Don't forget the feathers that stick up on the top of his head. I made a separate piece with the red foam core for simplicity. I'll glue it later. (If you feel like it, you could probably have a huge Angry Bird blown up at Kinkos and you can trace that)

Step 3 - Cut out bird body using a sharp exacto knife. This is a mess. Foam core is hard to cut. Do your best.  Your edges won't be perfect. I might use some red paint to fix it...later...if I have time. 

Step 4 - Trace the body onto the other piece of foam core to make the back of the costume. Make sure you trace on the opposite side of the board so the tails match up on the correct side of the kid. 

Step 5 - Trace the eyes (white), eyebrows (black), tail (black), eyeballs (black) and beak (yellow) using the tracers you printed from the computer. Cut them out with scissors. Like the actual angry bird, I used a black marker to carefully outline some of the face parts black. (you could probably also just paint these on, but I'd screw that up)

Step 6 - Make the off-white bird belly. Ever notice that the Red Angry Bird has a off-white belly? Me neither until now. Eyeball the correct shape on to the second piece of white craft foam. Again, not a perfect circle so there was nothing to trace. I used some of my own powder foundation and brushed it on with a cosmetics brush to give the white an off-white tint. Yes, I'm a crafting genius. And I'm out of foundation. 

Step 7 - Use a hot glue gun to glue the face pieces, belly and head feathers into place. 

Step 8 - Measure two pieces of red ribbon to go over your kids' shoulders that will hold the front and back in place (like an old-fashioned sandwich board). Make sure you have enough room to slip it on over his head, but not so much that it falls off his shoulders. Glue them to both sides. (I'll probably still try to figure out a way to keep it together on the sides too so it doesn't slip down and the pieces stay lined up.)

Viola! A DIY Angry Birds Costume suitable for a big kid. 

Now go pin all of my costume-making genius to Pinterest! 


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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

WTF Wednesday - The "Thanks For Ruining Christmas" Edition


Warning Parents: Please do not make the same reckless mistake I made - Like the lazy, heathen mom I am, I allowed my son to read a toy catalog. Gasp!

Yes, I know, it sounds harmless enough. I've done it dozens of times. However, this last one might have ruined Christmas forever. Yes, I'm being way overly dramatic, but I'm pissed at a stupid toy company. A toy company with a sloppy marketing team.

And we all know how much I love writing blog posts when I'm fired up. 

Last week, a catalog came in the mail from a toy catalog company that I'm not naming (although this post has already published, I'm now thinking better of it). Now, I've never even heard of this company, but after flipping through the catalog for a few seconds, I noticed that it had some really wonderful, unique and educational toys. Note: I did not read it cover-to-cover. Awesome! I'm always looking for non-crap gifts to get the kids because they have way too much stuff as it is.

This thought literally went through my mind: "I love this catalog. I plan to buy every single present from it." No joke.

So what did I do? I tossed the catalog over to Ryan, an 8-year-old who believes in ALL the magic of Christmas. But recently, he's been asking some logical questions thanks to the jackball 5th graders on the bus.

"Here Ryan! Look at this. Start thinking about what you want to ask Santa for." Remember when we were kids how exciting it was when the Sears catalog with all the toys in it came before Christmas? How we'd sit there with a marker circling all of the stuff we wanted? Why wouldn't I give a toy catalog to him?

Two minutes later my husband walks in and says "I had to throw away that catalog that you gave Ryan."

What??? The coolest toy catalog ever? The one with science toys in it? You damn Grinch.

"Yes, he was reading about how the Elf on the Shelf is $39. I took it from him, but I'm pretty sure he saw it."

I grabbed it out of the recycle bin, sure enough, there on page 20 was the white version of our ethnic Elf (a story for another time) with the low, low price of $39. I tore out the offending page, but kept the I can write this blog post (and still get gift ideas.)

OK Catalog Company - WTF is wrong with you??? Did it not occur to you that your TOY CATALOG might fall into the hands of a child? Perhaps one of the millions of children who already have an Elf on the Shelf?

Just so you know, Catalog Company, the Elf that has visited our family for the last two years is named Phineas. He looks exactly like the one you are selling in your catalog, but in our case, Santa sent him here to look over our kids during the Christmas season. He was not purchased from a catalog. Phineas decorates our children's rooms while they are at school. Our Elf is a REAL Elf from the North Pole. We all know the rules about how we don't touch Phineas - just like it says in the book that SANTA sent with him the first time. He certainly does not come in a box, like yours and if he did come in a box it would be hidden deep in the garage and not even stored with the other Christmas items so nobody would ever see this non-existent box.

Yes, I have also avoided certain book stores at Christmas because I know they sell elves that look similar to our very real Elf sent from Santa.

And I know what you're thinking: You have to sell these things somehow, right? Well, that certainly is a bit of a dilemma with you and me on polar opposite ends of the opinion spectrum on this one.

It does not sit well with me, Catalog Company, that my son has now seen your suggestion of "Starting a Family Tradition" by purchasing a $39 stuffed elf in a box that comes with the same book our family has - an elf that clearly the parents have to buy. An elf that is in a catalog in which (as far as I can tell) every single other item is a TOY. Sure, you can blame me for not noticing the one non-toy, Christmas deal-breaker if you want. It would have been like finding a needle in a haystack.

My son saw this. My son found the needle in your catalog of a haystack. My son is not stupid. You are. And thanks for putting yet another doubt into the mind of a smart kid. Yes, I had already considered this might be our last year with this him still enjoying all the magic of Christmas like he has since he was little. Add this to his list of proof points.

You're just as bad as a 5th grader on the bus.

I hope you sell a lot of Elves.


Saturday, October 15, 2011

Our Annual Halloween Dilemma


2011 - the first year all three of my kids have had opinions on what they are going to be for Halloween.

My mother used to just stick us in whatever SHE wanted literally every single Halloween I can remember. One year, I think I was about 9, she made me wear a Court Jester "costume" (note I had no idea what a Court Jester even was). She put pantyhose on my head as the jester hat and handed me a baby rattle. Child abuse.

Long gone are the days of just telling them what they were going to be and them not being smart enough to argue. In fact, for their first Halloweens they all wore the same pair of Target pumpkin PJs. And I'm realizing 8 years later that I don't have a picture of Ryan in them.

So getting to my point - Ryan. The coolest kid on the planet. NOT the easiest kid to dress for Halloween.

Like his mother, he has opinions. And once an opinion is formed, it's pretty hard to change it.

I should have known this was going to be a problem the year he was 3 and decided he wanted to be a kangaroo. And as you can imagine, they don't sell cheap kangaroo costumes at Walmart so I was given no choice but to buy a ridiculously expensive one online. And it was yellow?

We walked around our neighborhood in South Florida October heat all sweaty and nasty with a kid in a flannel costume. And despite the fact that the costume came complete with a pouch and joey, numerous people commented how cute "she" was in her "kitty cat costume." Idiots.

In his fourth year, we realized that we were dealing with a bigger issue that would effect Halloween forever - he's not "in to" things that other boys are. He never got into Star Wars, Transformers, Super Heroes. He just never acquired a taste for them.

Now think about this - what do you dress a kid up as when get older and there are no readily-available costumes that they like? Store costumes for older kids are pretty much all 'characters' or scary. You have to get creative.  

Instead, that year we learned that he is completely obsessed with Disney like his father. But by age 4 you don't just buy your kid in a Mickey Mouse costume any more. They only make those for babies. So we picked up a "Sorcerer Mickey" hat at Disney World and elicited the help of his grandmother to make him a robe. Walmart costumes never looked so good. I dropped about $60 by the time we were done with this little ditty.

Luckily, he wore it the next year for the Story Book Character - non Halloween parade held on October 31 at his school. Yes I'm still bitter about the birthday.

I actually went online and bought a book to match the costume so we could get some more use out of it.

He's 8 and was wearing it last week...

So far though, my claim to fame was 2009's scuba diver costume with soda bottle scuba tanks, straps made out of a dollar store dog leash and "mouth breathey thing" made out of wire tubing. Let's not forget the head piece with foam sea life.

He wanted so badly to walk around with the mask over his eyes, but he kept fogging it up.

Again like me, he's a stickler for authenticity.

So this year, I came up with the idea and he jumped right on it. I'm going to make you wait in suspense until my next blog post.

As a teaser, I'll let you know that it required two pieces of foam core and several pieces of craft foam from Michaels.

Any guesses?

And today is the LAST DAY to vote in the Parents Magazine funniest mom blog contest. Please give us your vote. Click this pretty pink box.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

This Is Why I Could Never Go Into Politics

Those of you who have ever gotten their butt kicked by me in Trivial Pursuit know I'm a weeeee bit competitive. Yes, I'm talking to you Dad.

I like to think of myself as an butt-kicker. I want to win at everything. Operative term: "want." I'm not an butt kicker 100% of the time.

That said, I've got a World Famous Blog that's less than a year old. I entered it myself in the Parents Magazine Funniest Mom Blog contest. Yes, I entered it myself, as did most people. And I'm fully aware that I'm not going to win.

A few weeks ago I set out to lobby my friends for votes... I got a lot. And I have friends who shared the link. AWESOME. I know who you are...and I don't forget stuff. I'm actually in the top several blogs (top 6 last I checked) and I'm really happy. But kids, I'm in sales. I have a goal. My goal here is to hit 200 votes. I'm not anywhere near 200 votes. The pretty pink box you have to click is this:

So like the sales person I am, I'm going to ask a "discovery question."

Pretty much "what do I need to do to get those last non-voters to vote for me?" This is getting ridiculous.

Because I'll tell ya...It takes all of two minutes. Yes a whopping two whole minutes out of your very busy day.

I know you big babies, it asks you to "join." It's the damn Parents Magazine website, not the KKK. Join! Who cares?

And I know you don't want to put in your email address. Let's call a Waaaambulance. It asks you a few questions about yourself, your kids. But seriously?  "I like Ali, I like her blog, but I'm way too busy to type for 90 seconds."

And for those of you who are scared or just complete whiners, I've made up this little diagram to help you.

So I mean this in the nicest way possible. I'd do a favor for you. I'd ask my friends to vote for YOU. Do you have 90 seconds so I can quit bitching about this?

Friday, October 7, 2011

I'm Not a Math Jeenyus, But You Have a Few Pounds to Lose

Mathematically, I think I probably hit my plateau in 3rd grade. So I have this year and next before I am completely incapable of helping my kid with math homework...and that might be me being generous...

Yesterday after checking his mistake-ridden homework, I sat down with him to try to explain how he needed to fix the following problem (the answer below is the fixed one...I think...I could be wrong):

As you can see, there is a scale and the items on each side are equal. For those of you who are also not impressionist artists, those are staplers and tape holders.

Why could they not have simply used something that is decipherable in a workbook illustration like, oh say...squares and circles, apples and oranges, cats and dogs? Nope we'll stick with staplers and tape dispensers, things that he'll really have to place on a scale at some point in his life. 

And let's not talk about what the middle of the scale kinda looks like...

His original answer of "neither" was wrong: two tape holders, three staplers, yada yada. It's asking which one item weighs more.

"But Mom," he said frustrated. "Staplers are really heavy!" Not the point Ryan. 

Now, I like to think that I have a way with words, but articulating this for Ryan was near impossible for my tiny brain. It made sense in my head, I just couldn't get it out in English words. So I came up with the following analogy.

"Let's say you, Justin and Natalie were on one side of the scale and Mommy and Daddy were on the other and it was equal. If Natalie and Justin stepped off and I stepped off, there would still just be one guy on each end, but Daddy is heavier than you. It took three kids to equal the weight of two adults." He just kinda looked at me. It didn't make much sense to me either. I suck at math.

Then I restated: "Actually, all four of us could stand on one side of the scale and still weigh about the same as Daddy."

Daddy, currently devouring a rotisserie chicken with his greasy bare hands, glares at me from the kitchen while trying to calculate in his head whether I did in fact have a point.

"OH  I GET IT," Ryan said.

Thank God I wasn't going to have to explain any more math tonight. He GETS IT!!!. 

"You're trying to tell Daddy that he's fat AND teach me math at the same time."

And he was absolutely right. That's precisely what I was doing. In real life, he'll probably never have to weigh office supplies, but this kid can pick up on a subtlety from a female, a lesson that's invaluable if I do say so myself.