Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Target is the new Walmart

I don't like tattoos. No hearts. No butterflies.  No...No.  And yes, I'm totally aware that I married a military man, but I managed to find the one UN-inked man left in the USMC.  But to me, tats are tacky.  Again...to me.  Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.  I don't really care what you do to your body, but I am kinda tired of seeing your personal doodle pad.

Let's back up...last week in Target (where else would I be?), I quickly realized I might be the only person in the store without a tattoo.  And y'all, I ain't talking cutsie little butterflies and hearts.  I'm talking ALL OVER tattoos.  I started looking around to make sure I was still in Target...not Walmart.  As I'm strolling through the store making my own personal wish list, I passed several different families each with the MOTHERS covered in tattoos.  Yes, go ahead...call me a conservative prude. You'd be very wrong, but on this one...ewww!

I overheard one mom talking on her cell that she and her daughter...not yet 18...got tats together to celebrate something or other.  Is this what we do now?  Cause I can go ahead and break the news to Lola...it ain't happenin'. Lucky for me I grew up where my grandmother, mama, aunts, etc. weren't walking billboards for drunken dumbass nights.  And I respect them for it.  (could one or more have a tattoo that I don't know about...sure.  But see that's the point...I don't have to SEE it.)

Tattoos used to be private.  Something only those intimately connected to you would know about.  Or men who served our country who inked themselves to seal the bond with their brothers of times spent in training, in war, away from their blood family.  It was a badge of honor.  This new lifestyle is stupid.  I get that it's an art form.  I mean, it takes talent, patience, but a little sadomasochistic mentality in my opinion.  (and if I spelled that wrong, bite me, since you'd probably enjoy it.)

Here are my random thoughts:
Chinese characters:  Do you think it's going to make you fast friends when China takes over?   I'm thinking before I permanently write in another language on myself, I'd do some serious research...just to make sure. 
Boobs: Girls, when you have kids...these things grow and shrink...no way to know what that cute little tattoo will look like afterwards. 
Tramp Stamp: Y'all....it really is.  It's already bad enough to see men checking out women's asses, but stretching to catch a glimpse of some "secret" tattoo right about your butt crack...you are advertising exactly what you are.
Quotes:  I love quotes.  I have a whole book of quotes that I've collected over the years...but these deep thoughts tattooed all over you...anything you could possibly say, no matter how DEEP, is cancelled out by your big flashy billboarding of your body.  Live by example.  It is really true that actions speak louder than words.

And honestly, cause I'm insane, I kept thinking of these men or women with pictures and sayings all over them trying to be intimate with their partner.  I don't know about y'all, but when I get undressed, the last thing I want is him READING.  Unless it's in braille.  (sorry, mama).

But let me leave you with this one thought....if you aren't pissed and have logged off....remember how you look back at old photos like middle school or those 80s pictures of the big hair and crazy clothes.  Remember how you laugh at how ridiculous you look and how far you've come.....Now think of having to wear that outfit EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. of your life because that's what a tattoo is.  It's a moment, a passing feeling that you permanently put on your body. 

I wear my tattoos on my heart.  But again...that's just me.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Alright already. I know it's been a while.  What?  I've been busy.  And while I was on hiatus, this amazing and funny chick (that's totally PC, right?) gave me an award.  Me!  I was as shocked as you.  I mean, wow!  And there's no way I could let her down.  So.... you like me, you really like me!!! (well, at least one person besides my mama). 

And then...here come the rules.  It's like the small print on the car commercials or the fast-talking guy on the radio commercials.  There's always fine print.  Here goes.  I have to acknowledge the award giver, answer 7 questions, and give up 10 unknown facts (hardest part, I'm already an open book), and then I win a brand new car!!!!  No, no car.  But in my head, it was very Price Is Right with me jumping screaming and kissing the host, right?

In my imagined award show...the Jemmy's?  Sorry, that's as close to Emmys as I could get.  My amazing award giver, who I imagine coming on stage with some cute jokes to present my award (there's totally a statue right?) and talk about my awesomeness is frugalistablogdotcom.  She is so much fun.  Never afraid to talk about a topic.  I mean, she'll talk family, parenting, sex, her Hubs (McSweetie), even sex with McSweetie.  And her video blogs...vlogs and music videos.  Oh. My. Gawd.  Y'all.  Not only do you have to start reading her blog...you gotta find her on facebook and twitter, if you understand how to use the damn twitter.  If so, you can go twitter-stalk some celebs with her.  James Bond, you've been warned.


What is my favorite song?
That's like choosing a favorite child.  I love music.  It speaks to my soul.  But as much as many would guess it's James Taylor.  It's actually "Have a Little Faith in Me".   Back when I was a single mom, I kept hoping that my kids would always know Mama was taking care of business and doing everything for them.  And I've always been so protective of my students over the years, leading, guiding, mothering them.  I wanted them to always have faith in me to keep going....never give up.

What is my favorite dessert?
Honestly, it's the Vanilla Bean Cheesecake from TGIFridays.  But quite possibly, my friend Kim's pound cake with strawberries.  Well, crap.  Now, I'm hungry.  Awesome.

What do you do when you are upset?
I tend to clean.  It's weird.  Happy=messy.  Pissed=clean.  It's like the water is my tears and the scrubbing is my anger.  Deep right?

Favorite pet?
Bella.  My puppy from college.  She was hilarious.  Refused all dog food, loved cheetos.  Rode in my car like a human.  And when she sat in front of you, she'd slowly slide back to where she was snuggling with you.  It was so funny watching her be sneaky.

White or Whole Wheat?
I guess whole wheat, whole grain, multi-grain.  Even our pasta and "wraps" are.  I blame my husband. I can't even eat regular flour tortillas anymore.  It's so messed up.

What is your biggest fear?
Failure.  Failure as a parent and daughter.  Failing at any task.  This has prevented me from doing lots of things in my life.  Sad but true.

What is your attitude mostly?
Most would say pessimist.  I say realist based on the events of my life.  But I choose to say my attitude is GRATEFUL.  I am grateful for each day, the people in my life, and basically everything that surrounds me.  Seriously, I love the craziest things.  There's a field near my house of just tall grass, but the colors, the movement, the beauty that takes me breath away, and I'm grateful to drive by it each day.  Yep, I'm that nauseating.

1. I used to have this reoccurring dream about a bridge that I'm supposed to cross, but it's out, and I have to jump it in my car or swing across it.  I had this dream weekly until I told my mom once, and she had almost the identical dream...and I haven't had it since.

2. I get these "feelings" out of no where, like hair standing up on the back of neck, sometimes almost painful in my stomach.  It's my sixth sense, my gut telling me things.  But sometimes it's about topics that have nothing to do with me, directly.  It's not often, thankfully, because it's upsetting.  And I spend so much time trying to figure out how my mind got there, as if something surely caused me to have that thought.  The last one was a couple of weeks ago about my husband's grandmother who I haven't seen or spoken to since Thanksgiving...a day later he got the call that she was very ill and going to pass away.  She was gone less than a week later.  And I hate we weren't there to tell her goodbye.  So it's not really a gift in my opinion because I can't tell how it'll play out. 

3. I'm a job snob.  I don't want to work just anywhere.  So when I complain about needing a job, you have to ignore me.  I want a good job.  I have 6 years of college, two degrees, and 8 years of teaching.  So yeah, I don't want to work at the grocery store.  Nothing wrong with it, but I want to do something that makes a difference, something I believe in.  Love me or hate me.  It's who I am.

4. I like plain.  Cookie? Sugar. Ice Cream? Vanilla. Pizza? Cheese.  I don't like to mix and match my stuff.  It's weird and boring. But I like boring.

5.  I'm a jealous person.  JEALOUS.  But I'm also fiercely loyal...so basically, just don't screw with me.

6. I think my birthday is a big deal.  But I'm weird about presents.  I think they should have meaning or don't bother.  And yes, it's a test.  It will tell me whether you really know me and how much you care for me.  But it's not about money.  Case in point...my husband knows flowers make me sad because they die.  Valentine's Day this year, he made me paper flowers, so they would never die.  It was the thought, the time he put into it, and the really GETTING me.  <Swoon>

7. I'm a great liar.

8. I want to go to law school, but I'm too scared. (see above on failure)

9. I can't swim.  Not under the water.  I have to hold my nose.  And then I can't see.  And I'm too scared to learn.  There are some things you need to learn early.

10. Broken my nose several times. I have deviated septums.  But once I damaged it so badly that it messed up a tube connecting my nose to my ear.  My ear is so messed up that instead of hearing loss I have hearing like a dog.  I can hear so well that you better be careful if you are talking about me and thinking I can't hear you.  News Flash.... I heard that! (But not the worst trait as a teacher, especially in middle school)

NOW, I'm supposed to bestow this award on those that I enjoy.  Sadly, most of my favorites are the Big Dawgs who don't know I exist.  So, for the sake my coughing fit (I really need to go to bed), I'm going to choose one of my faves....

Marvelous Mo' and Me
M3 is FANTASTIC!  She has been supportive in bloggyland and in real life.  We've never met, but we live only 90 minutes from each other.  We both have smartass 6 year olds.  Hers is Mo.  And the best part is M3 is hilarious. This one can make me smile through anything.  Honestly, if you aren't one of her fans, you are missing out. 

Marine Wife, Mom, Work & Life
As a new Marine wife, I love her support and advice.  She and I also have a lot in common with relationships, kids, and now her new job as stay-at-home mommy to her two boys.  She has the funniest pics and ecards on Facebook, but I love following her days of baby, boy, and life on base.  Hurry and catch her while she's still vacationing in Cali.

No seriously....go find these girls, NOW!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Crazy Like A...Cat

I just haven't felt funny lately. Sure, I've spit out a one-liner here and there.  But it's just not like me.  So, I sat. Staring at the screen, where in walks, Lola.  (That's right, buckle up and hold on tight.)

Lola: What are you doing?  Are you on Facebook....again?
Me: No, I'm writing on my blog.  The Jensanity one.
Lola: Oh, about what...me again?
Me: (crap!)  No, just about stuff that makes me insane.
Lola:  Insane?
Me:  You know, Jensanity....Jen + Insanity.
Lola:  Yeah, what's insanity.
Me: It's just that makes me crazy.  I write about, share it.
Lola:  Mom!  I don't think it's a good idea to tell everyone you are crazy.  That's not good.
Me:  (laughing)  Oh honey, I think the cat is out of the bag on that one...
Lola: (looking around, nervously, arms out questioning)  WHAT CAT?
Me: (laughing hysterically)  Nevermind.  Why don't you tell me what makes you crazy?
Lola:  How much time do you have?  It's a big list.

She runs to get her brother.  Together they make a list of a few of the things that make them crazy.


1.  When the dog eats my toys...like that dinosaur I built at Lowe's.  Poor diney...he probably couldn't even fight him off with his little bitty arms.
2. Rain on game days.  It's like it only rains on Wednesdays.  Maybe God doesn't want us to play games on these days.
3. The smell of a stinkbug.  Yuck.
4. Training wheels.  I hate them, but I'm too scared to try without.  I am not good without extra wheels.
5.When my car won't charge.  How am I supposed to learned to drive when it won't charge to let me ride around the yard.  I think you broke it, Mama.
6. Those new happy meals with only a few fries.  Like 5.  What's that about?  I mean, I like apples, but if we were gonna eat healthy, we would go somewhere else.
7. Hairbows.  I'm a girl.  It's not like people say, "Look at that pretty boy over there, oh no, wait, a hairbow, must be a girl"  (Wow, the sarcasm...damn!)
8. Pencils that break during homework when I just went downstairs to sharpen it.  Ugh, makes me so mad.
9. When Braden (step-daddy) says we have to eat Goulash for dinner.  I don't know what it is, but it sounds like garbage.
10.  You, mom.  You make us crazy.  Like everything you do.  CRA-ZY!  So, if we are crazy, it's because you make us this way.  But I mean, we still love you.  Like a lot.  So, I guess we love you like crazy, too, huh?

I'll take that!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Conversations with Lola...

Lola.  One half of my favorite two little people on the planet.  She is a hot mess.  I'm pretty sure that phase was coined just for her.  This same child announced when she was two that she would not be called by her name (it was her middle name), but would be using her first name (by the way, thanks Daddy).  Well, now, she's thinking of changing it again....because "I'm bored with it.  I'm so over it.  So, let's just go to the other one again and see how that feels."  Seriously?  Yep. 
Don't be deceived by the innocence.
Same kid thinking it'd be funny to have a shot of her strangling her brother
If you know me in the real world, then you have been subjected to her funny sayings a while now.  This child came out funny.  I honestly think she cried so much as a baby because she couldn't talk or give her opinion.  Most say she is the spitting image of me.  I don't see it.  She's beautiful.  Strong-willed, tough, big-hearted, truthful, forgetful and fiecely loyal to her twin brother. And the girl has moves...stripper moves, but still.  There was this time in TGIFridays that I and the rest of partrons may never forget.  (think lap dance with no one in the chair.  Hubs almost needed the heimlich).  But the best feature on this kid...her mouth.  Her smart mouth.  If sarcasm is an inherited trait...my apologies to her future husband.  And she will tell it like it is....to anyone, anytime, anywhere.  The number of times me or the Hubs have almost had choked on Dr. Pepper...

For example, this was today...

Lola: Mama, what are you doing?
Me: Trying to figure something out.
Lola: You should Google it.  Google knows everything.  Even more than you, Mom.
Me: Thanks.  I did Google.
Lola:  Why is your face all "frowny"?  I can see those lines on your face that you hate.
Me: Oh, really?
Lola:  You will need shots.
Me: Shots?
Lola: My friend, her Mama gets shots in her face that make her face freeze like this (making a stretched-tight face).
Me: Botox?
Lola:  I don't know what kind of box, but she said it's weird.
Me: Hmmm.
Lola:  And my other friend's mom, she got new boobies.  They are HUGE!  Like this big (stretching her arms out).
Me: How do you know this?
Lola:  We talk about stuff at school.
Me: Oh really....and what do you say about me?
Lola: That you are always kissing my stepdad. And it's a lot.  And it's gross.  And sometimes you lick him.
Me: (my full attention now) WHAT?  I lick him?  What are you talking about?
Lola:  The other night, you were kissing in the kitchen, and you were kissing a lot, and I think I saw your tongue.  Why would you do that?
Me: (stupified) Lo, first of all, I was NOT licking him.  I was just kissing him.  Second, stop sneaking in and staring at us. Third, kissing is special for people who are married.  So, let's don't share that with friends from school....or anyone with school. (Fourth, for me, make sure I'm not "licking" the Hubs in the kitchen anymore, ha!)
Lola:  Sure, Mom, I've got plenty of other stories to share...(as she bounces out of the room)
Me: Lo!  LO!!!  LOOOOO!!!!  <<facepalm>>

Monday, May 21, 2012

1 down, 49+ to go

I never thought I'd get married.  Not again.  No way.  And then this guy came along.

No one makes me laugh as hard.  No one gets me as much.  No one lets me be me without having to apologize.  He lets me rant.  He lets me talk in circles (and follows along).  He thinks I'm enough, not too much, just perfect.  So, for this man, what do you get for an anniversary gift?  We are weird about gifts.  We like to make them or, if buying, it has to mean something.

We all know that there is the traditional wedding anniversary list, right?  1. Paper  2. Cotton. 3. Leather. 10. Tin. 25. Silver. 50. Gold.  Sure, but no one has ever accused me of being traditional.  So, I started researching the Modern List.  1. Plastic/Clock, 2. Cotton/China, 3. Crystal/Glass.  Pick one already.  Because if I'm anything, it's indecisive.  I need things narrowed down, not wide-open.  Close the floodgates already! (by the way, Hubs, if you are reading this, do not, I repeat, DO NOT buy me a clock or plastic tuperware!  Otherwise, you'll end up in the bunks with Bear).

But then I discovered those whole other level of crazy:  The Travel Anniversary List.  Have you heard of this?  1. Airline tickets, 2. Beach Towels, 3. Luggage, 4.Lingerie/Hawaii, 5. Cruise, 6. Hershey, PA/Disney, 7. Santa Fe/Canada, 8. Casino, 9. Mexico, 10. South America 11. New York City, 12. Japan, 13. France, 14. Africa, 15. Switzerland, 16. North Carolina.....wait, what? First of all, who are the people using this list?  Maybe they aren't raising small kids on one salary, a small military salary.  And second, what the hell is with number 16?  North Carolina comes after all of those exotic countries?  Like, congratulations on sixteen wonderful years of marriage!  You get an exciting trip to....NORTH CAROLINA!!!  Now, don't get me wrong, I love me some North Carolina, but after trips to Europe and Asia, what is going on?  My favorite was the 75th anniversary, a cruise.  We'd be between 105-110 years old.  Perfect for another cruise!  Honestly, I think I've seen these people on the cruise advertisements, come to think of it.  Couldn't you see us?  The big wraparound dark glasses, yelling at each other because he can't hear me.  Oh and the swimsuits!  Yikes!  Mental picture over!!!

So, in line at the grocery store checkout, we decided there should be a 2012 version of the list.  A combo list. Some old, some new, some travel, some tech.  That's right.  The list should totally include at least 4-5 apple gadgets.

1. Paper-so many ideas, gift certificates, tickets, or a card, if you want to sleep on the couch.
2. iPod-with his/her favorite songs, of course
3. Beach towels-the beach, an island, the California coast, a Maine B&B
4. DSLR-to capture your children's faces or all the places you'll go together
5. Jewelry-sorry, it's about time, but a nice necklace or earrings would be fantastic
6. Take a class together-cooking, pottery, dancing
7. Big city-Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Boston
8. Bronze/copper
9. MacBook-I so wish this was my year, ha!
10. Hawaii-get remarried, take the kids

15. Europe-time to do it right, no kids, nicer hotels, longer trip, lots of wine

20. Jewelry-time to break out the big bucks Visa

25. Cross-country-take a drive, rent an RV, see it all!

50. Big party!

Now, I'm not big on receiving gifts.  But I love to give them.  I like to find something that is special, means something to those who are getting it, whether it is $5 or $5000.  I have no idea what this weekend will hold.  But I do know that no present could ever top what he gives me every single day: his love, his time, his full attention.  Supposedly, there will be dinner.  Possibly, a movie.  Definitely enough kissing to gross out the kids.  And if it all came down to a Redbox and Chinese takeout (which is how it all started on our first real date) that would be perfect, too.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

You Might Live in Jersey If...

I love Jersey.  Best thing I ever did was getting married and move to the big, bad, evil North with my Marine husband to the big Joint Base in Jersey.  No one could believe it when I told them my plans. But...
It really is about location, location, location.  I love the weather.  FOUR whole seasons. Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter!  Living in Tennessee and Missisippi until now, there were only three seasons: Summer, Winter, and Tornado.  The schools are fantastic where we live.  Kids are ALL reading before leaving Kindergarten.  I taught a 5th grade class that was doing the work of my 7th graders in Mississippi. And every child gets music, art, p.e., and library every week.  There is also an enrichment program that offers computers and a health program.  And they've been on 3 field trips, with one more to go.  A library trip where they all get their own card! We don't even pay for school supplies.  Nope.  In preschool in Mississippi, I paid at least 100 each for supplies and fees.  Day trips are unreal.  Philadelphia.  New York.  D.C.  Poconos. My big sis.  And THE BEACH!  (aka, the Shore) Oh y'all, the beach is 45 minutes! 

But I constantly have to explain to people "It Ain't Newark". And yet, I am always surprised by my daily life.  So I decided to have a little fun.  We've learned a lot in 9 months.  Just a few of the funnies that I have laughed at and learned.  Come visit, and I'll show you.


1. Any and all GPS systems will put you on the turnpike no matter where you are headed.  Cha-Ching!  That sucker costs $$$  Stick with 295 and HOLD ON!  But you have also learned every shortcut on the "backroads"  (aka, two lane roads through the small towns)

2. Someone honks at you at least once a day.  And it's usually old granpas and grandmas!  I think they are just afraid they'll die before they make it to their destination.  There are at least 2 developments in my township where you must be 55 to live in.  The next one over has 5!  And we are SMALL towns up here.  Can you imagine?

3. You know what it is and how to use a "Jug Handle". If you want to turn left or missed your turn, heaven help you if you've never used a Jug Handle.  Newcomers...stick in the middle lane and hope for the best.  I firmly believe that Jersey's reputation for bad drivers stems from not knowing where the hell the next will be....a normal turn lane or a jug handle.  And forgot Google Maps.  That shit does not help.  Trying to learn your way around with small kids is like teaching them every 4-letter word that exists.  But after 9 months, I think these would solve traffic problems on Fridays in most big cities.

4.  You are serious about your Hair. Y'all Jerseylicious is a show for a reason.  It's all about the hair in several areas near me. It's big.  It's poofy. It's dark.  (Which takes me to number 5)

5. You can EASILY pick your blond-headed child out of a group of kids.  Only people walking around with blond are mamas paying the big bucks to make that color.  And most should save their money.  Those are colors even Crayola didn't attempt.

6. You go to Wawa at least twice a week and can name the location of at least 10.  I find it hard to explain Wawa to anyone.  My mom still thinks I'm crazy.  But it's like a convenience store, sometimes gas station, deli, coffee shop, and krispy creme stop all in one.  Sure, I grew up with the Dodge Store, Shell stations, etc.  But you won't leave a Wawa smelling like Fried Chicken or a giant biscuit (even if you buy one).

7. People ask "How you doin'?"  (less Joey, more Wendy Williams)

8.  You think the Oompa Loompas are alive in well at the mall on the weekends.  Spray tans, that's all I'm saying.  Honestly, I'm asked some people where they got their tan, so I NEVER go there.

9. Pizza is a food group, and you can tell the difference in Pizza not from Jersey.  I grew up on Pizza Hut.  Wow.  I look back on my childhood with sadness to this.  My kids love to watch the pizza being made up here. All fresh. Hand-tossed. And the cheese.....(crap, now I'm hungry).

10.  You spend twice as much on groceries. I don't know if this is just the prices or the selection of items that make you drool.  There is one store called Wegman's that requires a chaperone.  There is a bread section!  Oh. My. Gawd.  They even have a cafe to eat before you shop.  Take my advice.  Eat beforehand or say goodbye to $200.

11.  If car advertisement tries to sell you a subcompact car by SHOWING you how you can fit a 6 ft 4 in, 240lb man in the trunk.  Seriously, this was a Dr. Pepper in the nose moment yesterday.   And all I could think was Stephanie Plum, which takes me to 12.

12.  If you read a Janet Evanovich/Stephanie Plum book thinking to yourself "I know where that is" or "Yep, she is right about that!"  Though I'm sad to report, there is no Cluck-N-A-Bucket.   I looked.  But the Jersey humidity is real and it's fierce.

13. You kill at least a handful of Stink Bugs every day the temps get above 60.  You even discuss  with your neighbors the different types of traps you could make to catch those sneaky little f*ckers!

14. The sound of snowplow can wake you from a dead sleep. (This is only for Southern transplants like me). And it can invoke fear and worry into a mama who has to drive her kids to school the next morning.  1. My SUV is not AWD. 2. Schools don't close. 3. My neighbor is a giant slip-n-slide.

15. No one dresses their kids in smocked, ruffle, bow, anything.  Ever.

16. You know how to properly negotiate a circle.  Another sign is knowing #16 is about driving.  Even better is doing it without blinkers.  The signs at the one by my house are so cool.  Philadelphia, New York, LBI, Atlantic City.

17. You don't use "New" to tell where you live.  It's just Jersey, peeps.

18. New York City is a day trip...and it's just called "the City"  (Philly can be seen from any big hill)

19.  Acme is a grocery store, not just somewhere Wyle E. Coyote would shop for supplies.

20. You live within 20 minutes to at least 3 Targets and 3 malls.

21. You never pump your own gas.  When I was in Tennessee at Spring Break, I sat in the car for a long time before I remembered that no one was coming to do it for me.  (Head Slap!)

22. You keep at least $5 in cash in your car for tolls.

23. The schools celebrate Rosh Hashanah,  Halloween, Christmas and Hannukah. And it's fun, innocent, and so educational and no one feels violated.

24. You know several people with a "Shore House"

25.  Even your kids can hum the Action News song and sing the "Pennsylvania Lottery" jingle.

26.  You know the Olive Garden is not Italian,  but you can name at least 5 really great places that are.  And you also know that you need to carry some mints with you.  Garlic and oregano are serious up here.

27. People asked you if you'd like a glass of  "wood-er"  (Water.)

28.  You know where to find custard, water ice, and ice cream....and know the difference.

29. You drive by at least 3 farms to get to the store.  (This is a south jersey thing.)

30.  You think Northern New Jersey is a different state (and you can pick out the people from that part of the state).

31.....What's your "You might live in Jersey if???"  Or what do you think it might be?  I had all the stereotypes in my mind before moving, and let's face it, they do exist.  Sunday was proof of that.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Big Bows and Rufflebutts

This is the level of crazy I reach when the kids are asleep before 9 and the Hubs is away for training.

I have a tomboy.  In her defense, her mama was a tomboy, she has a twin brother, and I don't have the money to even begin to buy these outrageous smocked, over-the-top outfits.  If I get her in a dress without an eyeroll, I feel a huge accomplishment.  As we cleaned out her closet last night, we found a couple of dresses with the tags still on that she has outgrown (you're welcome, Kel).  But I love this strong-willed, tough little girl.  She's opinionated, smart, funny, honest with her feelings, free with her "I love yous" and an all around great kid.
(notice she's the only one paying attention?  she told them to stop dancing. "This is baseball, not ballet.")

Now, born and bred a Southerner, I love cute little kids dressed up, looking adorable.  Heck, my Facebook feed is flooded with nightly auctions from Smockadot Kids and others.  But when I showed a few to Lola to get her opinion...she rolled her eyes and asked "really? do you know me at all?"  These sites specialize in hairbows as big as footballs, rufflepants that look like pajamas, and even pillowcases turned into dresses. And their are thousands of these sites.  When I googled big hairbows, rufflepants, pillowcase dresses, I got more than 1,000,000 hits.  Cha-Ching!  I think I missed my calling in making a quick buck.  Even the company Rufflebutts has turned into a multi-million dollar corporation from covering up diapers.  (go ahead and look, they are ADORABLE.  I'll wait for ya)

It got me thinking (as I'm alienating most of my FB friends), are y'all training those little babies' necks to hold up future Miss Mississippi crowns with those huge bows?  They are adorable, but a little ridiculous.  I'm not talking about an occasional special day outfit.  I'm talking about Every. Single. Day.  And if you think I'm kidding, go play on Etsy.  All of the addresses of those talented mamas are located well below the Mason-Dixon. Maybe y'all are training your little Southern Belles better than I did.  Mine would shout for days even if I brought something smocked near her.  But the real kicker are the boys' outfits.  I guess it's part of the official training manual for parents sending their sons to Ole Miss (there is a manual right?  how else does everyone end up looking and acting the same?)  But I'm shocked that even in small towns I find the matchy-matchy outfits with bows and ruffles and smocked and appliqued everything for trips to the grocery store or to a park (which they are then told not to get dirty).  (Disclaimer: we do own some things like this...but it's rare)

So as I sat here last night...bored listening to music.  I kept thinking about the fact that one of my XM stations keeps playing Sir Mixalot...CONSTANTLY, which means I have to keep changing the channel on the way to tball.  Now, if you know me, you know I write poetry, love music, and change the lyrics to anything to make my kids laugh.  So to the tune of "Baby Got Back" I wrote this:

I like big bows and I cannot lie
Those Rufflebutts can't deny.
When a baby comes in with a christening gown
And a poofy bow above their face
You get smocked, wanna pull out your wallet
Cause you notice that bow was fluffed
Deep in the South, they're wearing
You're hooked and I can stop staring
Oh baby, they dress you
And take your picture
Those onesies aren't so boring
Oh ruffle pant sets
You say you wanna shop again
Well excuse me, excuse me
Cause you gonna run outta of money.
I seen you charging
To hell with Walmarting
She's sweet, a treat.
Got it going on, can't be beat
Tired of shopping malls
Saying plain pants aren't the thing.
Take the average mama and ask her that.
She ain't gonna take long on that.
So mamas (yeah!)
Mamas (yeah!)
Does your baby wear the bows? (Hell yeah!)
Tell 'em to ditch 'em, ditch 'em
Ditch those stupid clothes
Babies Say No!

My apologies to any mamas who dress their sweet babies like this.  Somewhere between being jealous of you and laughing at you, you'll find me shopping at Target, Kohls, and whoever else is on sale.  The military might have a housing allowance, but they don't have a smocking allowance.  And gas ain't cheap.  Besides, my kids are happy with who they are, and that's what all of us what for our kids, no matter what they are wearing.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

50 Shades of I Can't Believe I'm Gonna Write This Post

Disclaimer:  Ok, fine.  The Hubs says this is my blog, and I can type what I want.  I'm always open to differing viewpoints.  Hell, I welcome the challenge to my thinking.  I love a good debate, an eye-opening dialogue, or personal experience.  But, and this is important, I am just a girl with a laptop...not an expert. So if you don't agree...tell me why.  Share.  Honestly, I just want to hear what y'all think about this book and why.

50 Shades of Grey.  Yep.  That topic.

I've read hilarious ecards on Facebook, emails with some of my blogging friends around the country, radio shows, and even Dr. Oz did a whole show on it today.  And I've discovered these books are not black and white, but their own numerous shades of gray.  Google would do a better synopsis than me, so check that out, if you haven't heard of this.  Apparently, there's a couple of you left.

Let's get this part out of the way.  The abuse/rape conversation.  I don't agree.  First of all, I don't remember any talk of rape anywhere in the series.  But abuse?  Honestly?  Yes.  He is a control freak.  He stalks her, propositions her, controls her relationships, clothing choices, and eating habits.  His mood swings are quick and cold.  He is 50 shades of f*cked up.  But he was honest in his desires; he gave her a damn contract that spelled it out in DETAIL.  She knew exactly what she was getting, and she signed up for it.  The people who are shocked by this relationship obviously skimmed the contract part or have no idea what BDSM stands for. And you can google that, too.  Before I became so invested in the lives of these characters, I almost quit the book.  But I paid for it on my iPad, and I'm cheap.  So if I paid money, I'm going to finish it.  I was offended by his control of her.  We (me and my girlfriends) were raised to be tough, independent, take charge women.  We don't allow anyone to tell us what to do, when, or how.  Yet, I found myself very close to this situation in my first marriage with verbal abuse and control.  So I began to realize the reason I was so appalled is that it was too close to my own experiences in loss of control and power, and I was embarrassed to have allowed it.  I sure didn't agree to it.  (and well, I sure wasn't getting spoiled and cherished).  But the important factor here:  she agreed to it.  But then, did everything to go against it and challenge it and him...CONSTANTLY. 

The writing.  Piss poor.  Hell, even the author said it was crap.  This isn't Faulkner.  You may even need to invest in the Merriam-Webster word of the day app when you are finished just to speak in complete sentences using language written higher than a 4th grade level.

Least favorite part:  the inner goddess.  By the time I was halfway through the first one, I was doing more eye-rolling than Ana.  I honestly didn't get it.  I think it was supposed to be the internal struggle between her thoughts and actions.  But after a few mentions, um, yeah, we got it.  Let's move on.

The sex: (Mom, cover your eyes.  Thanks).  Good sex.  But toned down more than most erotica.  I didn't find it Earth-shattering.  By the third book, I was skimming this section.  Her pyrotechnic orgasms became boring.  I read one review that said, "Ana Steele could sneeze and reach orgasm."  Almost, right?  Or another review of the main character's own naive demeanor in being shocked at her orgasms "what was she in some bizarre Puritan land?"  Yep, giggles.

Characters: Wasn't he the standard romance novel guy?  Handsome. Smart. Philanthropic. Sexy. Moody.  She was plain.  Not real standout features.  Young. Plain. Average. Clumsy. Waiting to be rescued.  It was to appeal to us all. (and by the way, this was fan fiction, written off of Twilight)

Favorite part: The emails and banter between the characters.  Loved. It.  Maybe that's because I love the all day texts and emails from my Hubs.  It keeps us connected all day.  It's like seducing each other throughout the day.  And minds out of gutter, not sexting...texting.  Just staying connected and involved and laughing.

The Problem:  I worry about the young girls who are reading this.  I'm hoping those Twi-Moms know their daughters are reading and discussing this in high school.  (also warning to the Twi-Moms of boys, heads-up to you, as well).  Are they really mature enough to understand this?  Can they determine between the "abuse" in this book versus real abuse?  Do they honestly understand the difference between the reality and fiction...I mean, it's not like there are vampires running around to signal fiction to them.

What appealed to me: Getting beyond what we are taught, beyond the "vanilla".  Not all relationships, sexual or otherwise, look the same.  There is no normal.  Everyone needs to get what they need, not what our parents or friends or colleagues tell us we need.  The main character was shocked that she was not disgusted by the "red room of pain," but intrigued and even turned on.  She became the instigator.  Most games were at her request.  I like that she explored life outside of the "one size fits all" mentality.  I found myself thinking about the book and the characters even when I wasn't reading.  That's a first.  But the desire to take charge in the bedroom and/or "play" didn't change. It's not like it changed my world after 9pm.  (of course, my world is pretty freaking fantastic, sorry, TMI).

So, if you read it without a red pen for editing and enjoyed it.  I'd love you to speak up and tell me what you loved or hated.  I wanted to know what you think the appeal is.  And why do you think women are standing up and shouting that it changed their lives, especially their sex lives (on national radio and tv shows).  And if you are embarrassed (your own 50 Shades of Blushing, because, hey, some of us are private people in regards to sex, again...no right and wrong here.  Email me or FB message me.  Still love to hear from you!)

And here's hoping this post wasn't so long that you feel exhausted like a few hours in the "playroom"  Ha!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Ayudeme, por favor! (Help me, please!)

I need a drink.  A big one.  But therein lies the problem.

One of my besties and I were having a discussion about the blog, and she was saying she wanted to hear my smartass opinion of "up there" versus "The South".  Don't you love how "The South" with it's capitalization and title makes it sound all fancy?  Well, that's a novel, not a post. There are just too many differences.  And I'm afraid, I wouldn't know how it would turn out.  I mean, I'm southern.  It's takes less than one sentence to know I don't belong up here, but I don't really belong down there, either.  I blame my mama.  She was raised in a combination of the midwest and the south, so I was bound to be screwed up.  So, naturally, I can plant my roots any ole where and have a grand time. 

Except, when no one can fix me a drink.  That's right.  Girl lourves her a margarita.   In Mississippi, we frequented Las Margaritas, well, frequently.  And by frequently, I mean, we had our own table, and Wallace (the big ole teddy bear looking bouncer type) would probably have made people leave if they were in our spot, at least that's our theory.  He took care of us.  I mean, how many people give the guy at the door a hug when you go eat Mexican?  Well, I do! 

Then, transplant me to the North.  Twenty-five miles (though it could be 100, since we rarely venture into it) out of Philly.  I'm near 4 Targets, 3 Five Guys, a Cheesecake Factory, a million Japanese steakhouses, a billion Chinese places, and every other eatery in between. You name it, we have it.  (Except Logan's, poor Baby Bear.)  Every store you have ever dreamed of is located near or in the Cherry Hill Mall.  And the outlets.  Sweet paychecks, the outlets.  There are 4 within an hour of me.  Heck, NYC is only a short train ride.  But wanna grab some chips and salsa and enjoy a nice afternoon? Forgetaboutit. 

Salsa.  It's tomatoes!  And they sell those suckers on the side of road everywhere I live.  But for the life of me, I can't find anyone who understands salsa.  You'd be better served by taking a jar of Tostitos or Chi-Chi's brand to the restaurant tucked in your purse.  And if you know me, I must be disgusted to even make that suggestion...right Sarah? 

We are the adventurous sort, so we've tried several places.  One tasted like right out of the jar.  Another had the strangest flavor.  I swear there were CHUNKS of garlic in it.  It was like eating Italian sauce on my chips.  I almost cried.  But no matter what struggle, we've been through with salsa, nothing compares to the pain and suffering (yes, it's that extreme) of not being able to find a decent margarita.  I've had something that tasted lemon flavored, something that was like an icy water type drink, and even Chili's tasted foul.  I don't understand.  At the least, get some mix, pour in some tequila, and stir.  Cmon!

Yes, I do know how to make a good one myself.  Thank goodness for a ladies tennis league.  Oh, warm and cozy feelings about the south for that one!  But my awesome recipe makes a pitcher.  And I refuse to waste it....or clean it up, let's be honest.  But on beautiful, warm afternoons, I'd love to have one (by the way, this was NOT today.  Cloudy, damp, and cool.  Hey, Jersey, it's spring, get a clue).  And it's true, I'd probably get teary-eyes even having a drink with some C & S without my girls, but I need to find us a spot before any of them come to visit.

And let's face it, Cinco de Mayo is literally days away.  It's go time people!  So, if you need me, I'll be cleaning out my blender and researching salsa recipes. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tell Me Lies, Tell Me Sweet Little Lies

I hate lies.  All lies.  Little white lies.  Big ruin you f*cking life lies. And I hate liars.  Whether you are six or sixty, lies are a part of your life.  You're either telling them, hearing them, or wading through them in search of some smidge of the truth.  And worst case, you're trying to remember who you told what, so you don't get caught.  We lie to the ones we love, the ones we hate, and sadly, even ourselves.  And some times, it's not an actual lie.  See, my definition of a lie somewhat differs from good ole Webster.

Webster says:
lie (verb)- to make an untrue statement with intent to deceive.

 I also believe it is the absence of statements; the absence of information.  But it seems a little extreme to start conversations with a hand on the Bible swearing to "tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth," though, let's face it, it'd be a hell of a lot easier to figure out who to trust and who to toss out. (am I right or am I right?)  I loved the show Lie to Me that used to be on Fox.  At one point in my life, I watched it like a research project for grad school.  I needed to learn ways to discover if someone was trying to get away with murder, or worse...cheating.
As a mom to twins, I have taught them that we live in a "truth house."  As long as you tell the truth, you get in less trouble.  Mostly, I find a face frozen, not wanting to tell a lie, but fearful of what the truth might bring.  And I can understand that.  I am the worst at the sick to my stomach, getting called to the principal's office feeling.  (I was a teacher, and a call from the principal's office is even scarier then!)
As I became an adult, I perfected my skill of lying.  I know my tells, but I sure ain't going to point them out to others, especially those I might one day need to deceive.  And there's no chance of me passing a polygraph.  But then again, I usually operate with everyone else's feelings coming into play before my own.  In one such previous relationship, I had to lie to survive.  Needless to say, that prison term is over.  I got out for really, really bad behavior.  But that left me with only myself. And that can be the most dangerous of lies to tell.  A "yes, you should buy that, and no, this is a good idea, don't worry."  But as I've gotten older, in some ways I've gotten wiser.  I refuse to lie. I figure if I have to lie about it, then I shouldn't be doing it.  That, or I just tell the person to f*** off if they don't like it.

But what do you do if someone lies to you? What if it's someone you trust?  What if it's the most important person in your life?  I expect everyone to tell the truth and do the right thing, but life has shown, that ain't gonna happen.  And sadly, even those we love, fail miserably sometimes.  Therefore, I am not a very trusting person.  Oh, and I don't forget.  I may forgive, but you can forget about me forgetting.  So, how do you rebuild trust?  Or do you?  Are you constantly watching, stalking, waiting for that other shoe to drop?  And if it has dropped...would you really want to know?  It's easy to say that you want to know the truth, but do you?  You are going to have to make some seriously tough decisions based on this new version of events. Do you keep the friendship, relationship, marriage?  I really don't think most of us want to know the truth.  We just want you to know that we know.  It's a pride thing.  We don't want to look stupid, vulnerable, or weak.  And God help you, if you make us look stupid to others because of your lies.  And don't give me the excuse of not telling me to protect me.  Lies are only to protect the idiots who told them to begin with.

Now, don't get me wrong or read too much into this post, this isn't about me.  I am a liar.  I have done it before, and since I'm still breathing, I'm sure to do it again.  But I want to know if you all have ever told a lie that was found out.  Have you ever had your world rocked because of a lie?  Did you keep that person or did you wash your hands of the whole thing?  And if it's the former...how did you learn to trust again?

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Buns of Steel?

Laundry.  Out of Sight. Out of mind...until someone runs out of underwear.

My laundry room is two floors down from any of our closets. Surely, you can see the predicament already. 

I live in an old house in New Jersey, and by old I mean, young, vibrant, in the best years of her life.  She's 38. I'm 35, so I go easy on that old and falling apart stuff.  For the Northeast, it's a relatively new home. Heck, the first school in our town was built in the 1800s.  But to most of my friends living in their just built, shiny new appliance, new car smelling homes, mine is one wind advisory away from a pile of lumber.

So when the baskets are full of clothes, I throw gently carry them down the stairs.  A steep, treacherous, Mt. Everest moutain of stairs.  Once down to the main floor, I catch my breath and drag slowly walk around to the next set of stairs. 
(yes, blue carpet, just like the walls, carpet, curtains, EVERYTHING! renting is awesome.)

 Again, steep and exhausting, they pose their own hazard...these are the steps leading to the basement and some layer of hell in Dante's Inferno, also known as, the twins' playroom. I never know what challenges await me on these steps. It's like my own version of ABC's show Wipeout. Often boardgames, at least two partially assembled Lego sets, and a sleep buddy from the night before. Oh, did I mention that often the Hubs (and I) will just throw things down the stairs? (random toys, blankets, clothes). Always a fun time on these stairs. Usually, I stop to Tebow and thank God for my safe passage down the stairs without breaking my neck.

(this is what I would call a light day)
It's a full basement, one part finished, one not.  Want to wager where the washer and dryer are?  Oh yeah, in the dungeon.  'Cause isn't that where all the torture goes down in a castle? (And goodness knows I live in a castle with Princess Lola.)
(camera angle to avoid actual piles of laundry)

I start a load of laundry, head back upstairs for some other torture....cooking, cleaning, finding out that no one has read my blog today. But the real kicker is that I am easily distracted, so I sometimes forget that I even started laundry. Mostly, it's because it's so rare that I do it.  And I have been known to forget. FOR. DAYS. That is a smell that Tide can't erase.  Then, I have to start all over.

A few weeks days hours later when all the clothes are washed and dried, I have to carry them all back upstairs to fold and put away.  I'm almost embarrassed to say that I just shove them all into the same laundry basket and begin my ascent into the Alps.  Almost. 

Before you even ask:
1. No I don't fold them downstairs because it's creepy back there.
2. I can't monitor two 6 year olds running around the house with who knows what.
3. Above mentioned 6 year olds sound like the floor is going to cave in on top of me.
4. There is no internet connection to keep up with FB or my blogs in the basement.

Going up the stairs is harder than down. When you are eye level with step 4 or 5, that's steep!  By the time I climb the first set and head around to the second, visions of Mt. Everest and those lucky bastards with the oxygen spring to mind.  If I am lucky enough to make it back to the top without passing out or a trip to the ER for a mild heart attack, I feel that folding and putting away the laundry can wait until I've had a shot of tequila Dr. Pepper and a nap.

If you do the math, that's 1-2 outfits, one pair of socks, one pair of underwear, and at least one towel per day per person, it comes out to roughly WAY TOO MUCH FREAKING LAUNDRY to be two floors down.  I really thought by the time we are stationed at another base, that I would have buns of steel from all the loads of laundry and steps it takes to get it accomplished each week.  But in reality I know, that would require me to actually do the laundry and remember that I even started it.

Disclaimer:  The Hubs would like it noted for the record that I rarely ever carry the clothes up the moutain(s).  (This is true when he is home, and I can convince him with my girlish charm and my best Scarlett O'Hara that "fiddle-dee-dee this basket of clothes is just too heavy for the likes of little  ole me, if only I had some big strong man to help carry this upstairs..." Don't worry, he rolls his eyes, too, but he does carry it up for me anyway.  But I don't think it has anything to do with chivalry.  Most likely he's afraid that I'll fall and break something, and then he'll have to do a lot more than carry up a basket or two. You know, either way, I'll take it.)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

I'm going to jail

One day, I'm going to wind up in TSA Jail.  Is that a thing?

My first trip to see my now husband was life changing.  Well, of course, because he is now my husband.  But I was so sad to leave that I cried most of the way to the airport.  Yes, I am that girl.  By the time I got to security, my eyes are bloodshot, I look a flushed hot mess.  As I was embarrassed, I didn't take off my sunglasses.  So they insisted that I did, and then began a line of questioning about my current state.  Basically, "Ma'am, are you okay? Are you on something?"  I convinced them it was allergies and sadness.  They didn't press the issue. 

On my second trip to see my beloved last March, I set off all the alarms during the routine security check.  I stand there like a good girl, making my triangle with my hands at the screening.  Honestly thinking, I wish they could just screen for cancer or osteoporosis while they are looking for hidden weapons.  When all of a sudden, I am being asked to step aside and let them swab my pants...in the buttocks area.  They did the same to my bags and purse, which again set off all the alarms.  What the hell was on my pants? Finally, the tested my hands, which were clean.  Turns out, I had GSR on me from the Jeep.  Yes, that's right.  The Hubs is a Marine, which means Gun Shot Residue can likely be found in the Jeep, on his clothes, and around his gear after a week at the range.  I thought I was going to kill him, but I knew better than to utter those words during my interrogation.

Last Thanksgiving, I was flying to Tennessee with the twins.  It was November.  In Jersey.  That means...brrrr! Cold.  We each had a suitcase, a backpack, and a coat.  The kids each had a booster seat for the rental car. For those of you bad at math...that's 11 items.  And this was when the kids still had to take off their shoes, coats, hats, gloves, belts, etc.  Basically, our number of items just doubled. After getting dressed for the second time that morning (and I mean MORNING, it was 5am), I picked up all 11 items and started walking.  The kids were still in sleep comas.  As I start to walk off, one TSA guy says, "That's impressive."  Being the only people in the little Terminal F, they all started to notice and gave me round of applause.  I kept thinking I couldn't feel my fingers, but I was resigned to never let 'em see me sweat!  Sadly, I only make it to Gate 3 before I told them to snap out of their haze and carry some of this crap.  What?  I'm not the one who packed all that junk to play with for five minutes on the plane before falling asleep.

Yesterday, after waiting at security for an extremely long amount of time, my kids were losing their patience.  Completely understandable as it was a million degrees.  We all looked like we had just entered some third world country devoid of any air conditioning.  My kids took it upon themselves to be adorable to all of those around us, yet stare daringly at TSA.  So, Lola (of course it would be Lola) starts to ask questions.  Basically, a why the hell do we do this.  I tried to explain about looking in our bags in a way that wouldn't terrify six year olds.  At this point, I notice her face.  She is thinking about the contents of her bag.  I get a case of the giggles.  She's thinking about Bullseye (Toy Story horse) that she stuffed in there this morning. 

Then, she puts her new Build-A-Bear, a dog named, whatelse, Doggie, into the tray.  She walks through the metal detector and right up the TSA guy and asks, "What is that machine?"  I try to answer her, but he interrupts and explains it's an X-ray machine.  She smiles and tell him what an X-ray machine does.  The instant look of shock on her face.  He asks her if she is okay, and then he asks me.  She starts to mumble and then stumble on her words.  She is trying to explain her stuffed animals.

Lola: Um, my Doggie is going to look weird. He is not real.  He has no bones.
TSA agent (playing along):  He's not real?
Lola: No, I made him at Build-a-Bear.  So he isn't going to have any broken bones.  He isn't going to have ANY bones.
TSA agent: No bones?
Lola: Nope, but he isn't dead or anything.  I didn't kill him. He's just fluff and a heart. Oh, and my brother's dog isn't going to have any either, I don't think.  He was from Build-a-Bear too.

She walks over, grabs her bag and Doggie, and starts to walk off.  She looks at me, as I am stunned, and says, "C'mon Mom, let's get a Sprite or something."

Seriously.  TSA Jail.  Who's coming to bail me out?

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Oh Hell No, Kitty!

I love me some Target.  And my current address affords me access to not one, but 4 of those fantastic establishments.  Can you believe that?  I used to drive at least two hours for the sweet joy that is that bullseye taunting me with its awesomeness.  Yes, two hours.  Totally worth it.

And I have learned there are good targets and then....there is the mother of all Targets.  Over in Mt. Laurel, NJ, sits the mothership calling me home anytime I'm heading down Rt. 38.  It's hidden over there by the Wegman's (or what I like to call Heaven for the Hungry).  Yep, I didn't even know this Target existed.  It's like a well kept secret to those displaced Southerners just trying to not get killed near the Turnpike or those All Turns Right Lane (a later post, I promise).

This Target is great for clothes.  Such good finds, especially with my picky children who have started to develop their own style.  Bear wants anything with a sports team, a couple of polos, and comfy cargos.  Lola, oh Lola.  Depends on her mood.  She loves jeans and sneakers, but fawns over the pretty sundresses there every time.  Makes it impossible to buy for her when she's not there.  So, she's always along for the ride.  And lately, it is a ride.  Like a get-the-cart-and-push-them-both-around-the-store ride. That's a 90lb workout.  I should be thinner at this point.

Now, in case I have failed to mention, we live just 45 minutes to the famous Jersey Shore.  (No worries, I won't be running into Snookie anytime soon; that's a different beach.)  So, we will be in need of swimsuits sooner rather than later.  Lola saw her swimmies first...as she leads me toward them, riding the cart like Jack and Rose on the Titanic.  I'm just praying we don't crash into a rack of clothing from the weight of the cart and her squeals.

Now, my daughter is NOT a girly girl, but her little girlfriends are.  And she has decided that Hello Kitty is tolerable.  (Yay! Secret high five to myself.)  She is picking out different suits, and I'm trying to hide the shock that people would put their little girls in tiny two piece bikinis.  Lola isn't having that.  She is so sad to see that all the Hello Kitty ones are like that.  She asks, "Mama, why are they all so small? I would need a LOT of sunscreen to cover me up.  (and whispers...and some things are private, I think you could see my boobies in this one)."  (another mental high-five).  As I'm rejoicing my sweet baby's innocence and smarts, I stop dead in my tracks when I spot this:

Yes, folks that is a bikini bottom in the CHILDREN'S section.  From sizes XS-L (basically size 4-12 for little girls) they have a swimsuit with the words Hello Kitty written across the butt.  Now, maybe I'm reading too much into this, wouldn't be the first or the fortieth time for that, but this is ridiculous. 

Yes. It is a brand.
Yes. It is on an innocent child's clothing.
Yes. I would like the punch the designer in the face.

For years, women have been wearing words across their derriere.  Juicy. Pink. Sweet. But that's a grown woman.  A consenting adult.  An idiot who wants male attention drawn to her ass.  News flash!!  You don't have to put words on it for men to stare.  And in my experience, I'm constantly trying to downplay the sheer size of mine.  So, I definitely don't want to put an advertisement there.  And now these consenting adults will be dressing their daughters the same way.   WHY???

Why are we asking our children to grow up so fast?  Why are we making them targets for pedophiles or even just order boys?  Why did someone not catch the inappropriateness of this product placement?  Why didn't somebody think someone would make the connection between Kitty and.....Well, that P word. You know, that one.  Now, are you in shock?  Now, are you pissed?  Now, what do we do about it?  Because I'm still in shock, and I'd like heads to roll for this one!

Maybe you think I'm blowing this out of proportion.  Maybe you want to tell me it's all innocent fun.  But it's not cute on my 6 year old daughter.  It's not funny on my soon-to-be 9 year old step-daughter.  And it's downright inappropriate on a 12 year old.  And if you want me to put you over the edge....there are little pictures of the Hello Kitty cat on the two little triangles over the chest right on top of, as Lola would say, "boobies".  (Forgot in my haze of anger to snap that picture).

So, I'd like to cause a shit-storm of trouble because of this.  We have to stand up for our children and say NO!  No, to the sexualizing of our children.  We are their voices, their advocates.  If not now, when?  Who's with me?

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Death of a Spider

I love my husband.  I do.  I'm the luckiest girl in the world.  Mostly, because he humors me.  I'm a hot mess.  I don't deny it.  But also because he plays along with my crazy.  When I first started reading blogs on a regular basis, it was because of The Bloggess.  She is amazing.  I will read them to the Hubs because they are too good not to share.  But his one request is that I read them first and get my laughing hysterically to the point of tears fit out of the way beforehand.  If you don't understand, you need to look up and read Beyonce the Big Metal Chicken.  (And if you know me, and especially if you know my friend Sarah, then you know why I heart this woman and her blog.  It's because this is how we sound.)

And this fascinating woman, The Bloggess, has a husband named Victor, who tolerates her tangents, love of taxidermied animals, and general hilarity.  And after the first time I read a post that was only a conversation between her and Victor, I was hooked.  Not because it's a riot, but because it sounds like me and the Hubs, although we aren't quite up to their level of conversation skills of crazytown.  But in our defense, we've been married less than a year.  Give it time, people.

Case in point. Conversation while we was out of town in Texas, and I was home in Jersey with the twins in our big creepy house. ALL BY TEXT.

Me: Have you seen the floss?

Hubs: In the bathroom, in the floor, beside the closet.

Me: Seriously?  The floor?  Why didn't you pick it up?

Hubs: Because I didn't need it.

(10 minutes later)

Me:  Shut up!  The floss was exactly where you said it was.

Hubs: I know.

(30 minutes later)

Me: I have no idea how to play, but you should download Draw Something.  Everyone is talking about it, and I am an excellent drawer.

Hubs: I love the game

Me: Who do you play with?  Are you App cheating on me? OMG, I hate you.

Hubs: No one I haven't got it yet.

Me: Then, how do you "love it" Don't start with your lies

Hubs: The guy on the plane had it.

Me: Guy on the plane?  Seriously, Alec Baldwin got in trouble for games on the plane.  And why are you stalking the guy next to you.  Guy?  Don't you mean...your lover?

Hubs: Ha! Also Lesley has it.

Me: Download it and let's start playing.

(while I'm waiting and waiting)

Me: Two things. 1. The kids are sleeping in our room.  There are 14 stuffed animals on our headboard.  Yes, I counted.  2.  I just killed the biggest fucking spider I have ever seen.  He was in our bedroom just sitting there watching tv.

Hubs:  So you are with big bugs now, huh?  Maybe you are the one cheating.

Hubs: Did he say anything before you killed him?

Me: He seemed to whisper in his little dying bug voice..."Peanut butter jelly time.  Peanut butter jelly time."

Hubs: He didn't dance?  No, he wasn't dancing because you killed him.  He could have been our ticket to the big time.

Hubs:  Welcome to the singing and dancing big fucking bug show.

Me: Nah, he was just sitting there.  I think he had ADD or was an addict.  A tv addict.  I'm pretty sure he would have gotten famous, but it would just have ended in celebrity scary bug rehab with Dr. Drew.

Hubs:  What if Dr. Drew is afraid of bug, especially spiders. That wouldn't have gone well.  Good thing you killed and saved Dr. Drew's life.

Me: Speaking of addicted.....paper toss=hooked.  I'm so lame.

Hubs:  How fast is the fan blowing?

Me:  WTH?  How do you know all these Apps?  App cheater!

Me: Uh.  That little fucking intern in the chair.  I wanna beat him...with a stapler.

Hubs:  If you do enough, you can buy a stapler.

Me: SHUT UP....are you kidding?

Me:  OMG, I just found it.  I must have it.  I must have a virtual stapler!

Hubs:  (where is my stayplur, I need my stayplur)

Me: You know, I'm totally saving the rainforest this way...though I've never sat and tossed paper into a trash can, but it I was going to, this would save the rainforest.

Hubs: There's an app for both of those.

Me: Both what?

Hubs: Saving the rainforest and beating your boss with a stapler.

Me: I don't have a boss...guess I'd just have to beat you, LOL.  Though...."you ain't the boss of me!"

Hubs:Wouldn't attempt it. Wouldn't wanna be responsible.

Me: Wow.  This room stinks.  I think the dog has gas.  It's almost like you are here.  Awww.  Come home soon.  Miss you and your smells.

Hubs: G'night hun.

(If you made it through all of that, then you are either 1. My mother. 2. My best friend, Hey Kel! 3. Married to me, and looking to be quoted correctly.  4. REALLY REALLY bored.  Either way.  Thanks for humoring me as well.)

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Nemo- Rated R?

I love movies.  And not just Rom-Coms or something found on Lifetime...although last week...Wait!  I digress. Everyone in our house loves movies, especially mystery, intrigue, action.  A thriller on the edge of your seat, the who-dun-it?  SIGN. ME. UP. 

Now, don't get the wrong idea.  Television is very limited in our house.  We only watch it together as a family.  I don't use it as a babysitter for my kids  (though I'm not being all high-and-mighty, I use to Nick Jr. the heck out of the twins to score a shower).  It's just I don't want them wasting away in front of the tv when we could be outside practing baseball or riding bikes.  So only on movie nights or lazy pajama weeken days.

Yet, my kids are addicted to one show.  NCIS.  Gibbs. DiNozo, Ziva, Ducky, Abs, McGee, Palmer.  Yep.  It's true.  Now, don't call DCHS.  It's harmless.  In fact, they like Bones, Castle, Body of Proof and a few others.  Seriously, put the phone down.  DCHS is closed at this hour anyway. 

The thing is...my kids think this is fiction.  It is.  But to six year olds, this is a completely made up organization with no chance of being real.  They like it because their step-daddy is a Marine, so they think the people on tv are dressing up like the military just like they do.  No way these are real people doing real things.  They think they are real marines about as much as they are marines themselves.

But here's the kicker....they think cartoons are REAL.  Yes, nonfiction.  Reality, even.  Yep, it's a nail-biter everytime Mickey is faced with a challenge.  Is Dora going to outsmart that Swipper once again? Will Snow White wake up from that apple? (side note: my daughter refused to eat apples for a couple of years because she thought the same thing would happen to her, no lie.  I wish there was a picture of my face the day she explained why she hated apples.)

It's so serious that my kids don't want to go watch a new movie when it comes out.  Hey, no skin off my back.  I can save some serious dough by waiting to Redbox it for $1.21 instead of 4 people at the movies with snacks.  So, I humor them.

Last week, we decided to watch Finding Nemo.  Sweet Nemo with that crazy Dory.  Oh, how I heart me some Dory. (I tend to hug and tickle the kids and call them my "Squishy").  She is just good fun.  As the movie progressed, the kids freaked out at the sharks and the weird fish with the light and the crazy teeth. (Now that I think of it, this would be kick-ass in 3D, except for the piercing screams of my kids).  My kids are hiding under the covers, covering their eyes with their hands, and asking "Is it over, Mom? Is it?  Is it?"  So, we reassured them that it was a cartoon, since fish don't talk or sing, etc.  That seemed to help, but then Dory starting speaking Whale, and the kids were all, "Hey, Mom, maybe fish do talk and sing, but you just don't speak their language.  Can you speak Whale?"  (Oh, you know I did!)  Then they asked if I spoke Clown Fish and Doryfish.  Ugh, mental head slap.  good job Dory, even my kids think I'm full of it now.

After the "fun" was over, Nemo was safe at home with his dad, and all was right in the cartoon world, I had to ask.  How could they watch NCIS and not be scared, but Nemo freaked them out? 

Bear answered: Mom, NCIS is just gross, not scary.  But it's just pretend.  But, Mom.....Nemo?  That's terrible.  Every time I watch it I just worry and panic that he isn't going to make it home.

EVERY. TIME.   Lightbulb!   They don't realize that a DVD doesn't change, that it isn't an episode with a different ending.

Oh my goodness....they are watching NCIS to see how gross and disgusting it can be (and Lola thinks Gibbs is cute.  Don't we all Sweetbaby.)  But when something like Nemo is on...The Shit Just Got Real!

After what felt like talking myself in circles, we decided to take a break from cartoons and stick only with comedies....Zookeeper, Mr. Popper's Penguins, etc.  And until they are ready for something more, I guess we'll just keep swimming.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What the hell, Peter Cottontail?

I ask this question too often... Is it just me?

So, is it just me or have parents lost their minds?  I think the pressure of being the best at everything has officially crossed into new unchartered territory.  It was bound to happen what with Over-Achieving Moms (OAMs) and all.  One of my favorite blogs, PIWTPITT, talks about these OAMs.  They've taken Elf on the Shelf and Leprechaun Traps (making us green with...vomit!) And now....THIS!


What the hell? I get inflation, cost-of-living increases, but really?  The Easter Bunny? When did we go from a little chocolate bunny to $100-$300 per basket, albeit fun looking.  I remember thinking a chocolate bunny was awesome, even now I'd go bananas for one right now (should have gone down that sale aisle.  But I don't see how we as parents can even justify a car payments on jelly beans and a basket of crap.

And no offense to my peeps, but I really think this is a Southern thing. Since moving the Jersey, I have no heard a single person in our community speak of $100s on Easter unless it is for a beautiful Easter outfit.  When I mentioned it, the look of shock on the Kindergarten moms' faces said it all.  This is just another reason they think Southerners are nuts.  And, on this, I couldn't agree more. 

I'm not gonna get all preachy, but...uh...lose sight much?  Bigger picture here!  And I ain't talking about chickens and eggs.  Almost all religions, go amendment 1, have a holiday around this time.  And I don't remember studying one (in my many religion classes in college) about bunny and basket worship.

I once had a friend tell me at lunch that she had spent almost $300 on her daughter's Easter basket (and went on to say how tight her budget was going to be for the month...would she be able to buy groceries...etc.) WHAT?!?!?  And I sat there, open-mouthed with my ABC (already been chewed) food-my apologies to my other colleagues.  I couldn't pick my jaw up off the floor, much less finish chewing that bite.

And though I complain/rant/discuss this distrubing trend, I have no quicl fix.  There will always be parents trying to keep up with the Joneses, put others down, or just showing off to feel better about their own parenting.  I have found in my Facebook stalking that people are so busy trying to give their child everything, they never teach them about hard work and earning anything.

Why are we giving them everything?  And don't give me any crap about a better life that they had.  That was our parents' generation.  You do it to earn favor with your kids, to make your friends jealous and to find satisfaction with yourself.

As the mother of 6 year olds, I know all too well how she can too easily equate gift=love.  And how not getting something she wants can tear you down with one look of disappointed and disgust. There is even the phrase of "My daddy will get it for me."  That one used to rip me apart as a mom struggling to maintain order in a post divorce household. 

But I'm the mama.  I'm 35.  You are 6.  I'll make the rules in this house. (I scream on the inside as I drag her dead-weight-temper-tantrum body out of the store as I smile nervously as the other shoppers.  Heck, we've all been there.)

I'm not worried about failing as a parent, not living up to a six year old's version of the world, or giving in to her desire.  Instead, she gets my full attention and my unconditional love, which is way more valuable than a basket of chocolate or monogrammed crap.  And guess what?  It's free!