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Monday, September 27, 2010

Out of Character



Leo’s daily requests that we call him different names went from cute to crazy. He screams at innocent people—even children—when they call him Leo. A lady at the grocery store called him “sweetie” and he threw a tantrum. I took him down the aisle and tried to give him a pep talk. She came up and said, “Did I say something wrong?”

Plus, sometimes it feels like you can’t win:

“Leo, it’s time for bed.”

“No, I am the goalie!”

“Okay, Goalie. It’s time for bed.”

“No, I am the Big Boy!”

“Big boy, it’s time for bed.”

“No, I am the lion!!”


And he’s not saying this sweetly. He’s screaming while stomping his feet. It’s gotten to the point where I cringe when I hear his name. I think, “Oh, no. Here we go again.” 

I knew it had to stop when I witnessed him throwing a tantrum while playing with his Little People. “What’s wrong?” I asked. “Driver called me Ee-oh so I hussed.”  (The Fisher Price Little Person, the school bus driver, called him Leo so he fussed.)

Here are the new rules: We will call him whatever he wants—basketball player, baby, the conductor, Gordon, goalie, “hoot”ball player—when we’re at home. Once we leave home, he is Leo. I even made up a little spin he can do to go from a character to Leo. He says, “I am basketball player” and then turns around two times and then says, “Now I am Leo.”

He seemed to accept this today when we were out and about. At sports class he let his coach and the other kids call him Leo. In the car he tried to trick me though: “Mama say, ‘Why are you sad, basketball player?’” I said, “Why are you sad, Leo?” He “hussed” a little until I reminded him that he is Leo when we’re not at home.


And here are a few pictures that don’t really have anything to do with his characters; they’re just cute: playing in the leaves after sports class with John, hanging out with Grandpa Ron and playing on an airplane at the PDK airport playground (where he was, of course, “the pilot.”)


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Leo’s rendition of Rock-a-bye Baby. Don’t let him near a real baby!

As “The basketball player”

The Vinegar Blog

I just used vinegar to clean up a pee-pee accident by my two-year-old. Tonight, I will use that same vinegar (well, from the same bottle) in a salad dressing. Last night I cooked with onions and when the house reeked, I put out a bowl of vinegar to help get rid of the odor. My point?

Vinegar is amazing! That's why I'm devoting a whole blog to the wonder of vinegar. First, I'll list out the things I already knew vinegar could be used for.

--The three things I listed above: cleaning up carpet stains, on salads and eliminating odors.
--Cleaning hardwood floors
--As a laundry detergent
--As a dishwashing detergent
--Getting out stains in clothes
--As a baking ingredient

But that's only the beginning, people. I posted my respect for vinegar on Facebook and got a slew of other uses for vinegar:

I use it as fabric softener!

Good for diaper laundry too!

What about Easter eggs?

I love vinegar - been making my own cleaning spray with it and baking soda for awhile now, and have been experimenting with it as a fabric softener too!

It takes out those nasty odors from Darin's (Husband's) gym clothes and cleans poop off of carpets. I run a gallon mixed with water through my bath tub to clean out the goo in the jets and am currently marinating some chicken with vinegar. I love vinegar.

If you are feeling sick, take a shot of Apple Cider Vinegar and it will kill what ales you. You won't get sick if you take some as soon as you start feeling you might be.

AND I use it in my home made bug spray.. awesome:
‎2 Cups Witchazel.
1 1/2 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar and
1 Teaspoon of Citronella oil.
Put that in a spray bottle and it's ready to use

I put a cup in the laundry with my massage sheets and it gets out all the smelly oils.

Nana would put it on our mosquito bites and it stung like hell. But they would stop itching. Thanks Nana!

I mix it with water and dip Bud's (dog's) paws in it so he will not chew on them. You can also spray them on the nose with it when teaching them not to jump. They hate the smell of it.

If that's still not enough uses for you, check out this book called The Vinegar Book

The author spent five years researching vinegar! I thought I was coo-coo for devoting a whole blog to it. He is a SERIOUS vinegar lover.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Update on My Miners

Just read this article with lots of good news for the "Los 33." Once rescued (in early November) the trip up will only take 15-20 minutes, not three hours as previously reported here.

I'm still praying the rosary every day. Okay, I've missed two days but I promise to double up a couple of days.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Typical Man







Dreams Do Come True


Is it just me, or do you also have this recurring nightmare?

I’m in third grade. I miss a day of school due to illness. I go back to school the next day and all of a sudden, everybody in my class stands up on their desks and breaks into a dance. They all learned the moves the day I was out. The moves are complex, much more sophisticated than nine-year-olds should know how to do. Yet they’re all doing them perfectly. All I can do is try to keep up. But I can’t. I dance my best but I’m still the girl who missed that one day of school and didn’t learn the routine.

Then I wake up in a cold sweat, relieved it was all just a dream.

Last week, however, that dream became a reality.

I was stoked about attending a class at Tracy Anderson’s studio in NYC, given by Tracy herself. I got one of the coveted spots in the class because I was covering it for Workout of the Week. Tracy’s people warned me that the cardio portion would be challenging. They said I might just have to stand back and watch.

Me? Stand back and watch? They obviously didn’t know who they were dealing with! I mean, I work out a lot. I even take Zumba.

But here’s how it went down: the other people in the class weren’t following Tracy, they were dancing right along with her. They knew all the moves by heart. There were spins, leaps, jumps and fancy footwork. I was in the back so sometimes they would spin and spin and I would also spin and spin but while I would end up facing the front, they would end up facing me. Hi!!

It was kind of like if you randomly followed a pro basketball dance team out onto the court at halftime and were expected to perform with them. Imagine what that would look like:

Sexy, rhythmically-gifted women are doing fast-paced, complex choreography and you’re there in the back, trying to look like you belong. They turn, then you turn the other way. They leap across the room. You leap across two seconds later. They bend down in unison. You bend down one beat after.

That’s what I looked like!! It was totally like “which of these kids is doing her own thing” from Sesame Street.

One girl told me, “It’s okay. We’ve all been there.”

Then why isn’t anyone there with me now? I expected there to be some, even one, dance-dork with me! I mean, I can always count on a few uncoordinated goofs in Zumba class (having the time of their lives, by the way).

But this time, I was the only goof. And actually, I had a great time too. I mean, I was getting an awesome workout from an amazing instructor and I would probably never see these people again.

And unlike my nightmare about third grade, the people in this class didn’t make fun of me or laugh at me. At least not to my face.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

All Fired Up

Leo attended a fire-man themed 3rd birthday party for his friend Tucker last weekend. It was the coolest kid party that he (or I ) had ever seen! Ever since, he’s been obsessed with all things fireman-related. He made us call him “the fireman” all weekend and wanted to sleep with the hat, vest and Dalmatian he received there.

Three things to point out about the pictures:

1. I’m so sorry I don’t have any of Tucker, the guest of honor! He was busy working the crowd.

2. Look at the amazing cake that Tucker’s mom made herself!

3. Notice the last picture: it’s the next morning and he’s in his pajama top, a diaper and his fireman gear.


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Friday, September 10, 2010

It’s gonna take more than pickles

I’m not writing this post to say, “Oh, I’m so great. I’m doing something really nice.” I just wanted to:

1. Bring more awareness to a troubling situation

2. Reflect on a sweet little memory

You may recall that I’m responsible for saving the life of "Baby Jessica" who once fell into a well in Texas back in the 80s. I wasn’t there but I made a deal with God. I told him that I would eat the pickles on my cheeseburger at Wendy’s if he would just get Jessica out of that well. And I HATE pickles. Not so much now, but I really despised them then. It was a HUGE sacrifice for ten-year-old me. But ya know what? Baby Jessica got out of the well and it was totally worth it. She still hasn’t sent me a thank-you note.

So now some other people are trapped underground—the miners in Chile. When I first heard it was going to take months to get them out, I really had trouble sleeping. I was totally freaked out that 33 men were stuck in a cave, 2,500 feet below ground. But then I saw that video and realized they could stand up, walk around and even smile.




While the conditions weren’t as horrific as I first imagined, it’s still awful: it’s hot, confining and they’re gonna be down there for who knows how much longer? And when the rescuers do finally reach them, each miner will have to travel up in a small capsule; the trip could take three hours. I know they won’t care at that point but it sounds scary.

Just like when Jessica was trapped, I felt the urge to DO something. But this time there are more people involved and they’re trapped further down.

Those miners need prayers, not pickles.

So I dusted off my rosary beads and I’ve been praying the rosary every day for the last two weeks. One day I missed praying it so I did it twice the next day. I’m hard core.

Embarrassingly, I’ve been Catholic for eight years and I can count on one hand how many times I’ve prayed the rosary (and I still would only need my thumb and pointer finger).

I found this great little guide that explains how to pray the rosary. It takes about twenty minutes. Sometimes I do it in the morning, sometimes right before bed. Now I barely need the guide anymore. Praying the rosary is sort of like meditating—it’s calming and you feel like you’ve done something purposeful. And since it’s divided up into five sections, I use two sections to think about the miners and the other three for other prayers—missing children, victims of natural disasters, sick people, even some of you reading this blog.

I’m not asking everyone to pray the rosary. But just remember the miners in your prayers. Thinking about them really helps to put things in perspective. For instance, is my two-year-old throwing a tantrum really that big of a deal compared to being trapped underground for months?

Until they’re rescued, I plan to pray the rosary every day; I pray for their sanity, their comfort, for the rescuers and for their families. And maybe even when they’re above ground, I’ll try not to let my rosary beads gather dust again.



Monday, September 06, 2010

Labor-Free Weekend


Leo lives by the rule, “Work None, Play Hard.” This weekend he spent time with Tia Kristin, watched the horns at a bar (where he was the ONLY kid but still fit in just fine), played some basketball, wore matching Star Wars shirts with daddy, went to a festival, hung out on third base, danced with Tia, got a football painted on his face, ate a cookie, had a picnic, hiked to some waterfalls, went swimming with John and friends in the pool and finally, rode in a wagon with John to go get Fro Yo.


Wooh, being his mommy sure is work!!


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Accidentally Antique


We were happy that Frank’s parents gave us their old kitchen table when we got married. But that was seven years ago. And the table has to be at least 30 years old. We talk about getting a new one. I mean, the wood is fading; the chairs are wobbly but apparently…


People keep commenting on it, saying things like:

“Hey, where did you get this table?”

“Is it an antique?”

"Ooh, that is a great table.”

“Did you get it at Crate and Barrel?”

And this one is my favorite:

“Did the chairs come distressed?”

So the wood that we thought was faded is actually “distressed?” That sounds so much better! Next people will call it “vintage.” I guess, technically, it IS vintage.

I had no idea we were so hip with our vintage, distressed, antique table. Now I should answer their questions with, “It’s a table that’s been in Frank’s family for years.”

That’s sure to impress people, as long as they don’t sit in the chairs. Then we might just have a lawsuit on our hands.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Back to School

IMG_2488Leo starts “school” on Friday (which is really just one day of Creative Play and he did it this summer already). But he calls it school and he likes me to pretend that his little people are going to school.

But the real excitement around here is that real school is back in session and that means we get to watch the school bus come pick up the kid across the street every day! (I hope that kid doesn’t give us a restraining order.)