Monday, December 24, 2007

Merry Christmas!

Bob convinced me to pick three names from the last two posts, so thanks to my good husband, he and Jack drew three names for the book and tea drawing.

He had so much fun with this (and so did I) that look forward to a new Get in the Car launch for 2008 that includes a lot more give-aways. Giving is fun!

Without Further ado, will the following people contact me with their addresses?

Wheels on the Bus

I'm Being Held Hostage


Merry Christmas, all!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Sasquatch Lives

So I was visiting a blog I really enjoy reading yesterday and she extolled the virtues of her new Telly Sevalis 'do.

(and like this blogger I will now take a moment to please ask any male members of my family to go away and not visit my blog. Thank you.)

You know what I'm talking about, no? She got herself a Brazilian in anticipation of reuniting with her husband. A Brazilian renders you completely hairless down there. You must employ someone other than your obgyn to smear hot wax anywhere there may be hair. And you can't just lay there. You have to lift your legs and contort. And stuff.

See, I guess I'm old. And too attached to being a mammal.

For example, we have hair on our heads to protect our brain and keep us warm. The same can be said for men's nether regions. The day I see Bob pour molten wax on his 'nads to be pretty for me is maybe the day I take a lady Schick to the rain forest in my underwear. Maybe.

Maybe I'm intimidated by the task at hand. It is said that your clothes actually fit better. At first I guffawed, because come on. How much hair do you have that your clothes would fit differently if it were suddenly waxed off?


I just can't imagine what kind of power tool would do the job.

So for those of you who are young and smooth and wear thongs as a regular way of life: hat's off. But only for a moment, because aren't you cold?

Does anyone wear Hanes for Her cotton underwear anymore or am I living in the dark ages?

p.s. Don't forget to stop by for your chance to win some books (yes, I have two: one funny and one really good one) and tea. Just come out and say hi by Sunday.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Philanthropy Thursday

This month is such a hectic month. Full of joy, but also full of stress. December marks the holidays, and also the half-way point in school for us moms.

We've been busy.

Driving, planning, shopping, cooking, feeding, cleaning, working, mailing, helping, yelling and just trying to get it all done.

So moms, today's Philanthropy Thursday is for you.

Just drop by the blog and say hi sometime this week and by Sunday I'll draw one of your names and send you a book and some tea so YOU can unwind. I would add a fifth of vodka in there, but the mailing laws get a little sticky (Lawyer Mama am I right?).

Stay sane and enjoy the holiday break.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Coookies and An Announcement

Light posting today.

I'm hosting a neighborhood/book club cookie exchange tonight and I'm still baking. I hope everyone's Wednesday is wonderful.


Even though I probably shouldn't have posted the last post because I wrote in in frustration and after a glass of wine (a big glass) I wanted to THANK all of you for making me feel supported and understood.

Being understood is great.


Announcement time: I have been a contracted writer for these people for a while now, but they kept delaying their site re-launch...but now that the check is on the way I'd like to point you parents over to the Nickelodeon website, Parents Connect. I'm writing for them in their preteen department, under the "spills." It's a great site for parents of kids of all ages...

Monday, December 17, 2007

Misunderstood and Miserable

I HATE being misunderstood. Hell, who doesn't?

But I think I have an actual phobia.

It goes back to fourth grade. This girl, Jamie, (her real name, and if I could remember her last name, I would write it here - I would put the little snot's social security here if I had it) accused me of taking a pair of her earrings from her house during a sleepover.

I didn't take the earrings.

The entire fourth grade, egged on by Jamie, thought I did. She wrote me nasty notes. My parents found the notes in my backpack and although I denied it as vehemently as I could, I was never convinced in my fourth grade head that they believed me. It ate me alive. The same girl, with some of her sycophants, later made prank telephone calls and told the people they were calling that they were me. My parents confronted me, and I remember being too shocked to say much. I remember thinking, why would I tell the person I pranked who I was? What am I, stupid?

So, I have a real achilles heal with things like this.

Today, one of my close friends, P., called me from her art gallery. We were chatting, and she said, "Guess who's here with me today?"

I couldn't guess, and she said it was S., a mutual friend of ours. I shrieked in my non-subtle way and joked about how jealous I was that I couldn't work at her gallery, too, with Jack on my back. I joked that Jack was my "seeing eye toddler" and she laughed. We talked about other things, then hung up.

Later, S. called me. (she doesn't read this website, but I want to be careful regardless)

"Hey, girl! What's up?"

"Why aren't you happy for me that I'm working at P.'s gallery?"

"Ha, hah! Really, what's up?"


"S., are you kidding?"

"Do I sound like I'm laughing?"

To make a story short and less pathetic, she thought that I was unhappy she was working with P. She thought I was angry that she had "my job" and that I wasn't happy for her. She was pissed. She hung up on me.

Oh. My. Gah.

This is so far from reality it is comical. I love P. but I wouldn't ever work for her while I have a baby. I know that this wouldn't work out. I just love my friends' company and want to be around them. P. knows this. We have an honest rapport, and S. is a little newer to our "group." I think she's really sensitive, but this just kills me. I am fiercely loyal to my friends, and the fact that she even thought I was capable of pettiness with my "peeps" indicated to me that she didn't quite know me well enough to be in my inner circle. I was devastated. I am devastated.

I left long stalker messages on both her machines telling her I was thrilled she decided to go back to work, that she must have some how crossed some wires in her interpretation of my dorky comments, that maybe P. didn't explain to her how much I was kidding, what have you. I was pathetic.

Then I called P. who swears she laughed when she hung up with me and joked with S. She said S. seemed a little miffed, but P. assured her I was teasing, that I wasn't actually jealous of her having the job, just that I wished I could be there with the two of them. I believe her.

So eventually S. called me back. She forgave me. Which of course eats me up even more, since there is NOTHING to forgive.

This whole thing stinks.

Wiggy Wiggy Wha?

My girls are members of a dance company. Chloe is a modern/lyrical dancer and Maddie took a liking to hip hop over a year ago and hasn't looked back.

Her team is actually really good and has traveled to other states, won competitions, and even performed at Disneyland. It's not their talent that makes me giggle.

It's that the team is comprised almost entirely of really white over-privileged girls with names like Maddie, Britney, Kelsey, etc.

They are so gangsta.

They come on stage in their baggy hip hop gear, hair in low pigtails, bangs drawn over one eye, heads cocked in a "don't mess with me, yo" way, and they knock it out to songs like Lean Like a Cholo, or Fuego ("you think you're gangsta cuz you did time...") or anything by Kanye West.

And again, they are really, really good. But I can't help but wonder about the kids who all started the hip hop movement, the ones living on the streets, or the projects. I think about the kids for whom "hood" means the place where they live that may have the occasional drive-by rather than the pale pink Ambercrombie and Fitch hoodie they wear over their private school uniform. Even though that's against uniform policy. Badasses.

The parents in this dance company pay ridiculous sums of money to let their baby girls writhe and shake and they even send them to dance conventions where former Emmy winning choreographers turned C listers teach these adolescents how to give authentic 'tude on the stage.

Can you hear the girls back at the hotel whining to their moms that they thought Beyonce's choreographer was going to be there? The same girls who aren't even in high school yet and who have a Starbucks habit and actually know what Juicy Couture is?

My girls recently made the company this month, after a lot of time taking dance lessons and I am so on the fence. I see the enormous pride in their eyes over having beat other kids out for a spot on the teams, and yet I wonder if by crossing over to the "other side" we won't be able to get back again.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Chafing of the Nuts - 16 Years of the Nutcracker

Every Christmas since my sophomore year in college has seen us at the Nutcracker.

Every. Christmas.

By the time Bob and I had been married for two years, he had had enough. The last time we saw the Nutcracker as a married couple with no kids (oh, the blessed D.I.N.K. years) he fell asleep before Clara did and was snoring loudly by the time the Sugarplum Fairy made her appearance. I remember being so angry with him, and we had one of those fights that D.I.N.K.s have - you know, stupid fights where you argue in the taxi all the way home to no responsibilities other than your cat and we made up in the morning, after we had slept in and got ready for brunch with friends.

Excuse me while I go sob gently in the corner for a moment and carve out my uterus with a rusty knife. Oh, all the rusty knives are somewhere outside buried 'neath the tree house, you say? Damn kids.

Anyway, when the girls were little, Nutcracker time was really special for me them. I got to pretend they were the type of little girls who regularly donned crinoline and bows and played tea party with me, rather than the Lord of the Flies -esque ruffians who liked to dig shallow graves for neighborhood children who displeased them.

This year, after Christmas shopping for items like night-vision goggles and duct tape, I took the girls out to The Nutcracker as is our custom.

Me: [clapping hands together] Oh, don't you girls look beautiful! Honey, take a picture!

Maddie: I am way overdressed mom. Can I wear jeans?

Chloe: I like wearing my dress mom. In fact, I love it [snarky look at sister].

Later, at the theater...

Me: [attempting to hold their hands, which keep slipping out of mine in between bouts of heavy sighing and hissed whispering of Moooom, not here, okay!] Sniff, this is just so special, girls. I want you to know I treasure these moments, where it's just the three of us, and we're having...

Maddie: Oh my God! It's Hannah and Leah! They will think I am such a dork for wearing this dress! [slinks down in seat and zips up parka over head]

Chloe: Hannah! Leah! Over here!

Me: You look beautiful! No one in this small town dresses up for anything anymore, I say let's set the bar higher, ladies!

Maddie: [muffled, under parka] I am so embarassed. This is so lame.

Chloe: Mom, Maddie has hair in her armpits.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Ask The Wrinkle-Rexic

It's that time again! Time where you can ask me what troubles you with your moisturizer, what ails you with your exfoliation routine, and how are you going to smooth out that cellulite in time for your Christmas party (you can't, really, but I have a great temporary solution if anyone is interested).

I'll be checking in sporadically today, so be patient. You ask a question, it will get answered. I just may be at the post office for a while.

Today I thought I'd focus a lot on natural products for your skin, especially things that may be in your kitchen cupboard already, waiting to be smoothed on under your eyes, or feet, or thighs.

So, let's get started, shall we?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Philanthropy Thursday

Please go over to Bossy's site and send her daughter warm healing prayers. Her beautiful girl had her smile literally ripped off her face by a vicious dog.

I believe in the power of prayer, so let's send the healing vibes back East to Bossy and Daisy.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

These People, They Get Me. They Really Get Me

p.s. My Green Living column is up over at Smart Mama...would you check it out?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Another Snow Day. Yay?

Yeah, the kids are thrilled. I have to be honest here and tell you they are cramping my style. I need the time when the baby naps to sew Christmas bags, pack up Christmas boxes, and go over the list of what is still yet to be done.

I realized yesterday that on a typical day I am never alone. Those moms who have kids in school all day are in a club I won't be eligible for at least three more years. Four if Jack's kindergarten is half-day like Jacob's.

I have started sprinkling Ortho-Novum on my breakfast cereal. If I don't stop breeding I will die with someone velcro-ed to my leg.

I am in a whiny place this morning, so keep moving if you're not wanting some self-pity along with your morning coffee and blog reading.

The problem with having all the kids home all day is that they just don't do anything according to plan. I had the baked gingerbread men all cooled and on the counter yesterday ready for them to decorate and they decided they wanted to bicker and argue over who got the first dog-ride in the toboggan. Or over who breathed louder. Or which kid was my favorite. I am very big on having a favorite kid of the day. It keeps the others in line. You never know when lady luck will shine on you at my house.

So. Today? I am contemplating just leaving them to their own devices while I sled into town and mail packages to relatives on my husband's side of the family. Which reminds me, I need to let him know what he got everyone.

It also reminds me of my Christmas list. I never make one, only because hello, I'm the Mom. Moms are supposed to be Christmas. Anyway, this year I got selfish. I handed the list to Bob and he visibly blanched.

"I, I don't think I can pull this off, Jen," he stammered. "Don't you want a shiny new car, or a little somethin' somethin' from Tiffanys?"

I stood firm. "No. It is this list, in its entirety or nothing at all."

Here is my list:

Replace the toilet seat on Chloe's toilet. It has needed it for the past 18 months.
Caulk and paint over any holes or divots in the kids' walls.
Ditto for exterior issues.
Fix the hinge on the front coat closet door.
Install lights under the kitchen cabinets.
Finish installing the remainder of the handles/knobs in kitchen
Repair picture frame in stairwell that babysitter broke
Take the garbage out

Monday, December 10, 2007

Snow Day

The kids are ecstatic, gleefully bouncing about the house like carbonation.

Why are they never this eager to wake on a regular day? ;)

Our poor dog is being readied to strap on her harness and skijorr our field. Only they don't have cross-country skis, so they are sitting in the toboggan and being pulled around. I am only moderately okay with this. Too many trees + a very strong German Shepherd = head injury.

Bob was so excited about the snow last night that he made me come outside while I was getting the kids ready for bed and sit in the toboggan and let Ella pull me around to see how much weight she could haul.

That's right. She can pull 95 pounds.

Shut up.
editor's note: I really do not weigh 95 pounds, people. That was a joke. I am adding this because I generally do not like people who starve themselves into pubescence and I want you all to like me.
My real weight is 100 pounds.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Golden Compass Debates: This Christian Woman Can't Wait to Go

Alrighty. I already have something up for today, but I had to write this, as I just received maybe the fourth or fifth email from "concerned" people who want me to teach my children about censorship and fear.

A lot of people have their panties in a bunch over the Golden Compass and it is driving me nuts.

If your belief in your faith and your God is so strong, how is a movie going to shatter your reality? Are you wanting to teach your children that anything different from your small paradigm is to be feared, reviled, and boycotted or censored?

Fear-based hysteria shaped a lot of people's views on the Harry Potter books and movies. Those books are such a wealth of creativity and an impetus for reading with children previously reticent to read that after the broo ha ha has died down, it all seems a bit silly, no?

Teaching your children to think for themselves, to stay strong in their convictions in the face of oppositional forces is certainly healthier than teaching them to be afraid.

I want my children to believe and let others believe what they will. We cannot change others, but we can certainly change ourselves. The sooner my kids learn that one, the happier they are going to be.

Should we waste our time passing judgment, perpetrating fear, loathing, and nonacceptance?

Or should we try to peacefully go about our lives?

We can't wait to see The Golden Compass this weekend, and I suppose if some movie changes my convictions, my beliefs weren't that strong to begin with.

I am so tired of the bashing of other human's beliefs that seems to be still acceptable these days.

Tree Trimming and Snow Prep

We've got a storm coming, and I have a bare pantry. So....I will be preparing the hatches for weather today. For all of you on the coasts who have been suffering through the crazy weather, I hope all is well.

We plan on braving the elements tonight and doing the town's First Friday art activities. There will be a chili feed, which is not only free dinner, kids! but cozy and delightful sounding as long as there are not gale force winds. If there are, we're doing pizza and staying home.

Stay safe, have a great weekend, and enjoy your kids.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Philanthropy Thursday

Even people who don't normally give back to their community tend to change their stripes during December. It's amazing how many bell ringers, volunteer gift wrappers, or soup kitchen helpers are out there this time of year. It's wonderful to see.

What would our world be like if that level of community spirit were carried through all year? If we planned on sponsoring hungry families in April, or held swimsuit drives in July so all children could have a nice suit to swim in during the heat?

One way we can affect a sea change is through our kids. When I was growing up, holidays were all about yours truly. How many presents were under the tree for me? Did Santa get my revised list? I didn't really start to change until my own child was born, which is when I was snapped out of my own little world and forced to be a lot of things I hadn't been growing up.

When my kids were younger, Christmas was for them much the same it was for me: all about the stuff. Now, with the oldest three, it can be so much more than that. They've always been taught the religious reason for the season, and Christmas Eve sees our family in church advertising the many reasons why four kids isn't always the smartest idea (Jacob melts, literally starts to dissipate when forced to wear "handsome" clothes. Dress shirts have been known to sear his skin on contact and his behavior usually reflects this). But the lesson of giving in December has been somewhat downplayed, only because I wanted them to think about it all year, too. And because they were babies.

I think if I can get my kids to see that Christmas is about giving, during the most kid-centric time of year, then it may just seep into them year-round.

This year, we've taken a play on the 12 Days of Christmas and cut out 12 trees. On each tree, we wrote something we wanted to do as opposed to buy for Christmas. At least four of the trees had to make other people feel special, and this has replaced the laundry list of presents they want for themselves. They're aware that Santa will still make the rounds at Casa Get in the Car, but what surprised me was their willingness, even excitement, to do this.

Some of the activities:

make fudge (see pic)
collect all spare change in house (we have those big crayon banks everywhere) and cash in to buy canned food for food bank.
Go caroling
make cookies and drive around giving them away to friends and family
Volunteer at food bank
Go to the movies as a family

You all probably do this stuff anyway - what is neat to realize (sometimes putting things to paper is all we need) is that all we really need at the holidays is to be happy, which rarely involves things. The togetherness and pulling together as a family and community are what make December extra special.
I would love to know what you all do during the holidays - we would love more ideas, and I think it becomes contagious!
ps If you're looking for a learning activity for your k-2 child, I just reviewed a wonderful tool....

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

We have the stomach flu making its rounds over here through the kids.

You say you don't want a photo of that?

Okay, then.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Jack still isn't walking.

He is making huge strides (heh) with his "cruising", and even scoots around on the floor now and again. You should also know that he's never crawled. Common enough, I've learned, for kids who were intubated and on oxygen as long as he was.

Most importantly though, he is now totally just "one of the kids" and interacts with everyone like any other 16 month old. He even antagonizes his siblings whenever possible, which shows that he really is one of our kids. He pulls hair, grabs, and shrieks with the best of them. In fact, I am certain I suffer from a shattered eardrum, courtesy of me not getting to the sippy cup quickly enough.

Well-behaved children make me think "hospital switch." My kids are all definitely from the same gene pool. A little shallow, yeah, but with the good toys.

Monday, December 03, 2007

November Recovering

What a month.

Writing most of a novel (I am still going strong, with maybe a week left of writing before the editing process), a trip back East to visit my friend, Thanksgiving, and all the school/kid/family stuff sandwiched in between.

I have learned something about myself - I am only able to do one "big" thing at a time. The blogging? Pretty big thing. I spend a lot of time at other people's sites, reading, commenting, linking. It's fun, but a part-time job. Then when I ditched it last month to write something else, I was left feeling a lot more fulfilled, but missing my bloggy friends.

As I look ahead to this month, full of parties and appointments and obligations (see pic from first holiday part-ay of the month), I am wondering how some of you manage to do it all and still maintain your blogging ties. Because I am selfish, I know I'll find the time to write. Because I'm a mom, I'll be spray-painting walnut ornaments, volunteering in class, and clapping at dance recitals. But everything else? Hmmmm.

Have a great Monday, the first in the craziest month of the year. As for me, I'm buckling in and getting ready to white knuckle it until January...