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 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 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 apologies to her future husband.  And she will tell it like it 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, 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!