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Just Another Magnetic Monday

Thanks for the memories.

That was my alternate title for this blog, because I am a Magnet Mom.  My refrigerator and freezer are crammed full with the magnets my kids learned their alphabet with, magnets from places we’ve been, magnetic picture frames that hold photos of my girls special moments and the photos of families and friends, and magnets that hold the best tests, art work, and notes from my girls.

In my excitement over getting new appliances, it never actually occurred to me what I would be losing.  We did all the appropriate research, and found appliances that were going to work well with our lifestyle and suit our needs.  But I forgot that magnets ARE a need.  I wanted an ice maker, French doors, no can holder that would be wasted space for our family of bottle users.  No where on my list of “wants” was there “Must be capable of allowing magnets to stick”.

So, we ended up with a brand new, stainless steel, Electrolux, French Door refrigerator that has all the bells, whistles, and lack of a can holder that we were looking for.  And it won’t allow magnets to stick.

While I try to make room on my downstairs freezer for the stories of my life, here is where some of the greatest artists, best spellers, and most photographic children have resided for the past 20 years of this family’s existence.



Surrounded by Strong Women – Thank Goodness!

One week ago today, just around 11 in the morning, my father-in-law called to tell me they had just put my mother-in-law in an ambulance.  They thought she had a stroke, and I could hear the fear and concern in his voice.  I finished my phone call and promptly burst into tears.

After four days in ICU and one in her own regular room, they sent her home.  I should have known with each tear I shed that she’d be okay.  She is one tough woman, who has already survived being hit by a truck, a pacemaker, artificial knees and hips.  Of course she was going to be okay – she is an incredibly strong woman.  She’s raised three sons, left school very young, got married at 17, and she has been a wonderful grandmother.  Of course, she’d be okay.

And then I started to think about my own mom, my sisters, my step-mom – I seem to be surrounded by women who take a lickin’ and keep on tickin’.  These are women that you’d want standing beside you, no matter what you were facing.

My own mom has worked hard for as long as I can remember.  She was the most loved crossing guard in the city of Philadelphia, and I have to admit, I used to get a little jealous when the other kids would run over to her on the corner and give her hugs and kisses!  After years of standing out in the cold, wind, and rain, she went to work as a toll collector – where she worked in a booth in the cold, wind, and rain.  But, even as a toll collector, she had her “regular” customers – people who sought her out on the bridge in the morning.  People love her.  Her grandchildren adore her.

She has spent the last two years fighting for every breath, as she suffers from COPD.  But she remembered every one of my girls’ birthdays – even when she was in the hospital or in rehabilitation for a broken back or a weakened body.  She made sure we had the merriest of Christmases, the happiest of Easters, and the best of all days in between.  She gets knocked down, but, well, you know the rest – she gets right back up again.

My sister Meg is my hero.  She was the first one of us to go to college and finish with a degree, even though she’s the youngest.  She’s always had a strong will and a determination that never quits.  She has devoted friends because she is one.  She is well respected because she gives respect.  And she has come through being blindsided with the vision to see the good that was already in her life.  She’s damn cool, and I’m so proud of her.

Megan and Mommy

My stepmom is a rock.  Coming through her own devastating divorce, she found the ability to open her heart to my dad, a man who was already battling health issues related to his diabetes.  She was a staunch supporter, his healthcare advocate, and the one thing he needed in his life more than air or water.  On top of taking care of my dad until his last breath, she cared for her grandmother, her mother, and now her sister.  She spent more than 40 years working to build a wonderful life, and has become a fabulous stepmother, an awesome grandmom, and a fantastic friend.

For myself, I hope to become half the woman that these amazing women are.  For my daughters, I hope that by surrounding them with women who have the strength to move mountains and the knowledge that being called “bitch” is a compliment, they’ll know they can do anything, be anything, and carry on the mountain moving legacy.  Thank God for these women in my life – for my sake and my girls’.

Last Minute and Maybe Useless Tips for Mom on Halloween

My friend Amanda posted on her Facebook this morning that she still had to get her son a costume; buy candy; carve pumpkins; and decorate for Halloween.  Realizing that I myself would probably still need to do those things if I hadn’t already done them while trying to avoid doing Math homework, I figured there were probably lots of moms like Amanda out there, clinging on to the last shreds of October, hoping to get the whole Halloween ball rolling before Thanksgiving comes crashing down.  Here are my last minute, save mom’s sanity, tips for Halloween:


Seriously, do you think Martha Stewart’s house is done up all with scary skeletons, spooky spider webs, and disgusting dismembered corpses all over the front lawn?  No, of course not.  The woman is the epitome of elegant style.  Her house has beautiful mums, uncarved pumpkins, and maybe a couple of cornstalks.  And guess what?  Don’t plant the mums, and in front of your house, it will only take about 5 minutes to transform the place into something fall and fabulous!

Carve Pumpkins

This is an easy one to get out of.  Kids love carved pumpkins.  Moms hate carved pumpkin messes; promises of toasted pumpkin seeds that never get made, and then you finally discover around Valentine’s Day that the funky kitchen smell you’ve been smelling was the rotting seeds that fell behind the stove; and the seven hour trip to the emergency room when Dad cuts his finger half way off trying to make gnarly eyes.  Tell your kids you’re getting them a Halloween treat, and run to Dunkin’ Donuts for Munchkins.  On the way home, pick up a pumpkin pie.  Tell the kids you tried to surprise them with a wicked awesome carved pumpkin, but your knife got away from you, and this is what you ended up with.  Their mouths will be too full of doughnut to cry much, and when you serve the pumpkin pie for dessert, they’ll be too full of Halloween candy to eat it, much less lament the life it could have had as a Jack-o-lantern.

Buy Candy

It’s Halloween, and most neighbors will expect you are out trick or treating with your own kids.  If you run out now to buy candy, only the icky stuff is left, and the neighborhood kids don’t want that crap anyway.  So put out an empty bowl on your front porch, with a sign that says “Take One, Please” attached.  Other moms will come by and say, “Awww, she is so thoughtful to leave treats out for the kids, even though she couldn’t be here!”  But when the kids see the empty bowl, they’ll immediately start cursing the kid who got there early and dumped all the treats into his own bag and moved on, leaving nothing for the rest of the trick or treaters.

No harm; no foul.  Kids don’t need all that candy anyway, it’s not good for their teeth; and if you want to embellish, when another mom mentions how sad they were to see some rotten neighborhood kid emptied the candy bowl, tell them how sorry you were, but how fabulous the treats were!  All fresh, homemade, and delicious!

And if you have late arriving kids, just throw out all the non-chocolate items in your own kids’ Halloween candy collection.  Blech.

Last Minute Costumes

Have you got a dad?  Raid his closet.  You can go dressed as a hobo, because you know he’s got those “doing yard work clothes” you can throw on.  You can go dressed as an over zealous sports fan, because he’s probably got 12,495 sports tees, baseball hats, and sweats.  Or, you can wear a shirt and tie, which Dad probably hasn’t worn since he got married, and go dressed as Dad – only how he never looks.

Happy Stress Free Halloween, Moms!

Slipping out of the Mom Jeans and Looking for a Mom Skirt

I am not a skirt/dress person.  My view of the fashion kingdom has always been to keep a supply of easy to put on, no muss, no fuss articles of clothing that I could grab, slide on, and run out in.

Enter the husband.  Thanks to my summer tummy tuck, he seems to think I’m looking pretty good, and women who look pretty good have a whole different level of fashion expectations.  He’s like to see me in some casual skirts or dresses to wear this winter while he thinks I have nothing better to do than sit and have him admire the new figure.  Thats his view on the world.  Now for the reality.

I need skirts and dresses that are casual, comfortable, not frumpy, and give me a more polished look.  I don’t want anything sleeveless, because I freeze.  I’m not a huge fan of stockings, because, again, I freeze, so ideally, I’d like to do tights.  And just what kind of shoes am I supposed to wear?  I don’t like boots with short skirts, and you can’t really do heels well with tights.  What time is my appointment to be on What Not To Wear?

In doing extensive skirt/dress research, I did find a few things.

Don’t wear baggy – No kidding?  Did I lose 150 pounds and go through all this surgery to wear baggy?  I think not.

Pleats Please? – Ummm, no, you big fat arse.  I may have lost all that weight, but I still carry about 30 pounds too much, and pleats and gathers on a skirt just add poundage.  Unless you’ve been on the Lara Flynn Boyle diet lately, skip them entirely.  So now I know what I looked like all summer long – enormous, wearing pencil skirts day after day.

Remember the big fat arse comment? – Yeah, I’m talking to me.  No light colors on the bottom – especially if you are wearing dark on top.  Dark on the bottom in slimming; light on the bottom gives you bubble butt.  Nobody looks good in bubble butt.

The length of your skirt should not be determined by how desperately you want to look like Tina Turner.  Face it, sister, you don’t look like Tina Turner.  The woman is smokin’ in her almost 70 year old skin, and she can rock the mini skirt.  The worse your legs look, the longer your skirt should be.  That means I should only wear skirts with a cathedral train.  At least that’s how I interpret this rule.

So which skirts will look okay on me?

A-Line seems to be the skirt for everyone – even my big old butt.  They are fitted at the top, but then they get a bit wider as they go down, to accommodate those areas of my body that have not had the benefit of the work of the fabulous Dr. Veitia.

Wrap skirts are another style that seems like it would flatter every figure.  Are there winter wrap skirts?  And what shoes do you wear with them?

Straight skirts, now that I don’t have that hanging tummy, seem like they might work as well, but I’ve seen longer straight skirts.  I don’t think it’s a look I can carry, and I always think bag lady when I see them.  Seriously.

I still have kind of wide hips, but I’m not sure I know the difference between a pencil skirt and a straight skirt.  Anyone want to enlighten me?

I like the look of a flared skirt, but for some reason, I just always think they’re either for MUCH younger people or dancers.

So, who wants in on the skirt discussion?  Help a sister out, will you?

Mommy Guilt – Let’s Share, Shall We?

I have pictures of a child in a laundry hamper.  I am so damn proud of that picture.  Not because it shows what an awesome mom I am, but because it shows that at one time, in this very house, all of my laundry was done!

Forget that somehow, my child, who was not even two, climbed her way into the hamper, risking falling head first, developing a concussion, brain swelling, and possible death.  My. Laundry. Was. Done.

My friend Jodi wrote an awesome blog post today – go read it, right now. http://www.multitaskingmommy.com/ It’s phenomenal.

It’s about Mommy guilt, and the things we all feel guilty over.  And you know you do.  You can’t be a mommy and not have guilt.  It’s right there on page one of the as yet to be written book “What to REALLY Expect When You Become A Mom”.  It’s not written yet, because if us Moms really spoke out and told pregnant women what they were in for, they’d be looking to invent a time machine, kick those husbands out of bed to root through the dresser drawer for that last condom he thought he had in there, but that’s okay, he’ll get more tomorrow.

You can’t be a mommy and not feel like you’re doing something wrong, even if everything is turning out alright.  You’re always doing too much, too little, not enough like your mom, too much like your mom.  It’s never going to be perfect.

And that’s why we have guilt.

I love the way Jodi ended her essay.  It wasn’t with “You’ll Get Over It” – because the truth is, you NEVER get over it.  Not when your baby is 9 months old or 19 years old.  You learn to live with it.  You learn to get out of bed every morning in spite of the fact that you’re going to do something wrong.

And it all turns out okay.