Waiting for perfect

I consider myself a ‘Patriots widow’ because my husband has seasons tickets.  This means that at minimum – 8 Sundays a year I am left to fend for myself from about 8 a.m. until well after bedtime with all three kids. As if working full time, three kids, volunteering at the school, doing a half ass job at writing a kick ass blog, etc. isn’t enough – I get to add Single Parent Sundays to the list starting each September. Last year, I was in my third trimester during football season. I remember Sunday afternoons when I would literally stick the kids in the bathtub for two hours straight just to kill time and keep them contained to one place while I sat on the floor, read magazines and stuffed myself with Smartfood.

At least this year I’m not pregnant.  But that means that the baby that was once so nicely contained in my womb is now on the loose as a fully functioning 9 month old. So, as usual I was expecting this past Sunday to be a rough one. For starters, it was drizzling out which automatically killed any hopes for inducing outdoor exhaustion. And, said 9 month old is teething so badly he actually drew blood from gnawing at his fist – poor thing. So there I was –  with all three kids to myself, an empty fridge, a laundry pile that gives my dish rack a run for its money and a bad hair day to top things off. Yep. Bring on Sunday Funday.

First things first, I decided a trip to the grocery store was in order. If I can’t let them tucker themselves out by playing outside then I still have the old faithful,  stuff-their bellies-into-a-food-induced-nap option.  Into the minivan we went. Matthew still in his sleeper, Jake in his favorite Star Wars T-shirt, Addison in her Cozy Pants (anything fleece material automatically bestows the title Cozy)  and rain boots.   We sludge into Market Basket, which on a rainy Sunday Morning is probably about as packed as the parking lot that my carefree, child-less husband is currently tailgating at with a cold beer in hand.  The only difference is that the grocery store is filled with wet frazzled women with crying babies and the parking lot is filled with celebratory child-free, cold beer drinking guys. But I digress…

Naturally I hit the free coffee station in the bakery first to give myself the liquid strength to go on, and grab a few sugary donuts to muzzle the kids for the next few isles.  Next I grab a couple of rotisserie chickens, multiple forms of wheat bread, snack foods, three variations of yogurt, Dinosaur chicken nuggets (a freezer staple) and other such sundries.  And before you know it, one cart is full and I still have half a list to go.  In hindsight, putting a 6 year old in charge of grocery cart navigation was probably not the best option but it was the only option at the time.  And he seemed to really enjoy bumper carts.  Two cart fulls later, we finish our shopping and lo and behold, the line is so long that there is literally a store manager charged with keeping rows of shoppers and their carts in single files.  Struck by a very temporary moment of genius, I grab a bag of party balloons from the isle end cap and let each kid pick which color they want me to blow up for them.  As Jake circles his sister, they burst out giggling at the giant “tail” he creates when he sticks the 12 inch banana shaped balloon between his legs. I proceed to pay, being careful not to make eye contact with any of the onlookers as he and Addison are now doubled over in hysterics at their new found inflatable body parts. Just another day at the grocery store.

Back at home, I kill the next hour letting the kids “help” unload groceries as Matthew crawls amidst a Mount Everest of plastic grocery bags in the middle of my kitchen floor.  As they help unpack bags asking where each item goes, I continue to stuff them further with slices of deli meat, yogurt tubes and juice boxes.

After settling Matthew down for his nap, I declare “It’s Movie Time” and make a big deal of getting them in their seats, dimming the lights and preparing them each a surprise snack tray of goodies. As I queue the movie, I notice eyelids are starting to droop. This is all part of my master plan.

Three sleeping children for three hours straight.  I’ve never hit the lottery but this must be what it feels like.

With a spotless house, an empty hamper and homemade matzo ball soup simmering on the stove they each wake up all sweet smelling and groggy.  We gather at the table over what tastes like home sweet home if it were a food, laugh at each other taking turns at making funny slurpy noises with our soup and eventually make our way to the family room for a game of Sorry together. Later that night when Chris got home, I followed him into the kids’ rooms to tuck them in one last time together, and with Jake still barely awake, Chris said to him,

“Hey buddy! How was your day?”

To which Jake responded,

“Perfect.”

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Wordless Wednesday

Oh how I love this boy

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Live. Laugh. Love.

I’m pretty sick of this expression too.  I feel like every home in America has this saying on a wooden plaque somewhere in their house.  It’s so overused that somewhere along the way it has totally lost its meaning and is now just a trendy expression.  But yet, I can’t think of a better way to describe what this past weekend was for us. We spent the weekend with good friends and their two amazing kids, Sabrina and Noah at our family’s lake house.  And we lived. And we laughed.  And we loved.

  • We dined outside on lobsters and Filet Mignon at sunset overlooking the lake
  • We enjoyed a boat ride while the kids marveled at the sites, like Turtle Rock

  • We belly laughed at Addison’s literal portrayal of Chirades
  • We quietly observed the sweet beginnings of friendship, as Sabrina whispered to Jake, “I think we might be becoming a little bit best friends.”

  • We bounced ourselves dizzy on the trampoline

  • We witnessed an important milestone in Sabrina’s childhood – fishing for the very first time!

  • We enjoyed many cocktails without needing a designated driver
  • We staged an impromptu photo shoot. Because we could
  • We went tubing with our kids off the JetSki and relished in their squeals of delight
  • Not once did we check email, use a cell phone or plug anything in that starts with a lowercase “i”
  • I actually beat my husband at something for the first time in 8 years
  • Matthew cut his two front teeth without so much as a whimper

  • We lasted an entire weekend without ever needing to utter the words “time out”
  • We made a bonfire, roasted marshmallows and enjoyed a starry, starry night
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The Good Wife’s Guide – MTO Edition

By now we’ve probably all seen this.  It was rumored to have originally been published in 1955 in Housekeeping Monthly Magazine as a guide on how to be a good wife.

If you can’t read the fine print – here are the rules:

  1. Have dinner ready. Plan ahead, even the night before, to have a delicious meal ready on time for his return. This is a way of letting him know that you have been thinking about him and are concerned about his needs. Most men are hungry when they get home and the prospect of a good meal is part of the warm welcome needed.
  2. Prepare yourself. Take 15 minutes to rest so you’ll be refreshed when he arrives. Touch up your make-up, put a ribbon in your hair and be fresh-looking. He has just been with a lot of work-weary people.
  3. Be a little gay and a little more interesting for him. His boring day may need a lift and one of your duties is to provide it.
  4. Clear away the clutter. Make one last trip through the main part of the house just before your husband arrives. Run a dustcloth over the tables.
  5. During the cooler months of the year you should prepare and light a fire for him to unwind by. Your husband will feel he has reached a haven of rest and order, and it will give you a lift too. After all, catering to his comfort will provide you with immense personal satisfaction.
  6. Minimize all noise. At the time of his arrival, eliminate all noise of the washer, dryer or vacuum. Encourage the children to be quiet.
  7. Be happy to see him.
  8. Greet him with a warm smile and show sincerity in your desire to please him.
  9. Listen to him. You may have a dozen important things to tell him, but the moment of his arrival is not the time. Let him talk first – remember, his topics of conversation are more important than yours.
  10. Don’t greet him with complaints and problems.
  11. Don’t complain if he’s late for dinner or even if he stays out all night. Count this as minor compared to what he might have gone through at work.
  12. Make him comfortable. Have him lean back in a comfortable chair or lie him down in the bedroom. Have a cool or warm drink ready for him.
  13. Arrange his pillow and offer to take off his shoes. Speak in a low, soothing and pleasant voice.
  14. Don’t ask him questions about his actions or question his judgment or integrity. Remember, he is the master of the house and as such will always exercise his will with fairness and truthfulness. You have no right to question him.
  15. A good wife always knows her place.

 And here is my updated MommiesTimeOut (MTO) Top 10 Version:

  1. Have dinner ready: Make sure you shoot him an email with explicit instructions on where to pick up the food you ordered.
  2. Prepare yourself:   Squeeze in a mani/pedi on the way home from work, then tell him traffic was really bad.  There was a horrible accident.
  3. Be a little gay:  Have a few glasses of wine first.
  4. Clear the clutter: Throw everything in the closet, spray some fabreze and call it a day.
  5. Prepare the children:  Make sure they are plugged in to the electronic babysitter, which goes by the nickname ‘Wii’ in our household.
  6. Minimize the noise:  Be sure to have your earbuds in when he gets home.  Just nod and smile when you think he’s talking to you.
  7. Don’t complain: Then, as always, you can remind him that “you’re the martyr that does everything around here and never complains.”
  8. Make him comfortable:  Slip him a Xanex before you unload the trunk from your mall excursion.  This will really show you care.
  9. Listen to him: Repeat step #6.
  10. A smart wife always gets her way.

Got any to add?

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The precious generation

I’ve always snickered at those moms who wait in their cars with their kids at the bus stop just because it’s sprinkling out.  My husband and I are firm believers that umbrellas were made for a reason.  Then there’s those moms that coat their children in Purell before letting them play at the playground.  It’s usually my kid that is the one sitting in the sandbox dumping sand in her hair while other moms whisper about her and her horrible mother. 

Yes, I have three children – and we all know that by the third, you tend to fret and fuss less over things and things that you  might have done with the first, like actually boil binkies in water before their first use, you laugh at by the third.  For example, in my house all food now has an automatic 15-second rule .  With each kid, I’ve added 5 seconds. My kids. My rules. 

But truthfully even with my first I was pretty laid back. I remember registering when I was pregnant with my first and thinking WHO actually buys a wipee warmer??? You mean to tell me a child’s ass is too precious to be wiped with – dare I suggest –  a room temperature wippee?  I’m not going on another rant about the ridiculous items that have come on the market recently for babies.  I already did that once.  I’m talking about those ‘precious’ kids that if it were up to their parents, would be bubble wrapped before leaving the house each morning.  The ones who at age 3 are still sitting in a shopping carriage with a giant fabric shield to prevent them from having any contact with germs. The ones that are allergic to everything so they bring their own special snacks to playdates because they’re “deathly” allergic to peanuts.  

Except, with a cruel twist of irony, mine is now one of them.

Yep.  Allergy testing confirmed it this week, following an episode where his eyes blew up to the size of lemons, he was covered in itchy hives and his mouth “felt funny” after eating cheese crackers that “may contain trace amounts of peanut.”  Thinking back, Jake never liked the smell of peanut butter so he never ate it.  And on the one or two occasions he had chocolate with peanut butter in the past year or so he did get itchy.  So I’d give him a little Benadryl and off he went. But with this last reaction we realized it’s time to get serious and have him tested.  Sure enough – he’s highly allergic. 

And not just to peanuts, but also to walnuts pistachios, almonds, cashews, dogs, cats, dust mites, oak, mold, mildew and pollen. 

Awesome.

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Wordless Wednesday

Pure. Summer. Joy.

A stunning photo taken by my friend, Jill of her sweet daughter Sabrina.  Check out more of Jill’s work here.

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I hit a girl and I liked it.

A lady actually. With my car.

On my way to work yesterday, I oh so gently tapped the rear bumper of a beautiful navy Mercedes convertible.  The woman was lovely and could not have been nicer about the whole thing. The damage was minimal and nothing that can’t easily just be buffed out (no dents or cracks) but it’s still a really crummy way to start the morning.

As I stared into the imprint of my license plate in her automotive ass, I was already rehearsing the call to my husband about how I would spin this so I could offset the blow with something positive.  Maybe it could go something like this,

“Guess what honey! I saved us $27 a month and got free HBO for 90 days by switching us to Verizon… (oh and BTW I sort of hit a car on my way to work) So, what free movie do you want to watch tonight?”

Free Movie channels always seem to make him happy.  Or how about,

“I just found that $100 gift card you lost to Home Depot. (Oh and BTW I sort of hit a car on my way to work)  So, wanna go tool shopping tonight?

New tools always seem to make him happy. But that version would require a trip to Home Depot and $100 bucks on a new gift card.

There is yet another direction the conversation could go, and that too would make him happy, but I’ll refrain from detailing it here since my mom is probably reading this.  Seriously mom. Don’t even ask me about it later. We’ll both just get uncomfortable.

So when the woman offered to keep it “off the books” to spare my insurance, I of course eagerly nodded and promised to send payment privately.   I even emailed her right away and gave her my cell and work numbers so that she would be sure to contact me directly and not go through my insurance.  And that was when the thought occurred to me.

I could just not tell him.

Clearly this is one way to find out if he actually reads my blog or just tells me he does to shut me up at night. Because as I write this I still haven’t told him. Who knew a little fender bender could feel so liberating?

The thing is, he’s not even really the yell-y type and he would never do anything unreasonable.  It would more likely be used as a piece of ammunition he’ll leverage strategically like a covert operation that I never saw coming.  Like when I start to nag him this winter about how much he spends at Patriots games.  Out will come, “Well what I spend on football games is still less that what you cost us in insurance premiums.” Game. Set. Match.

So,  if he reads this he’ll obviously find out.  But if he doesn’t… is it terribly wrong that I keep this intsy weensy teeny tiny little secret?

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