Thursday, August 28, 2008

Phone photo(s) of the day

The kids and I are traveling. Again. This time we headed down I-95 into South Carolina and, if you have EVER traveled the I-95 corridor in either direction in Virginia, South Carolina or Georgia (or anywhere else on the Eastern Seaboard, for that matter) you have seen these:

They have proliferated like mosquitos after a hurricane up and down the interstate. They are a persistent and annoying reminder of how far you have to travel to get to what HAS to be the tackiest roadside attraction in the US.

South of the Border.

See the giant sombrero? It's an elevator! You can ride up into the hat and see miles and miles of...interstate. Woohooo!! PLUS there are go-carts! Miniature golf! Fireworks for sale! It's just AWFUL.

These billboards are placed every few miles until you get really close, and then they are just a couple of hundred yards apart. They mostly feature a stereotypical Mexican guy named Pedro and honestly, these things are so politically incorrect that they make my eyeballs hurt. The worst have Pedro snoozing under his sombrero saying "Pedro eez taking a siesta!" I'm not kidding - the words are spelled as though Pedro has a really strong Spanish accent.

As the story goes, the guy who built this monstrosity wanted to build it in North Carolina near his home, but the State wouldn't let him so he went to the middle of nowhere just on the other side of the state line and built it there - South of the Border. Get it? When I was in college there was a rumor that everytime a new billboard was created it was hung on the proprietor's bedroom wall so he could decide if he liked it or not. I would consider that fit punishment rather than careful deliberation.

I am about to admit something that embarrasses me terribly - I have always wanted to stop just to check out the eyesore for myself and that alone is indicative of how this guy has made so much money.

If anyone wants a bumper sticker let me know and I'll pick it up on my way back. That gives me a reasonable excuse to stop in and meet Pedro for myself!

Adios amigos! Back after Labor Day.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

After I wrote this post a few weeks ago, I sat down and had a meeting with myself about my goals for Thomas, how to handle bureaucracy without pissing off the People Who Make The Decisions and what to do about the whole school mess. Then, I made some phone calls and sent an email to the PWMTD. Here is an excerpt:

Dear {PWMTD},

I want to follow up on our conversation yesterday with an email to summarize my concerns with Thomas's school placement.

My main concern about {preschool A} is that Thomas would be the only non-mobile child there. While there may be other kids attending the school that receive physical therapy, Thomas is unable to walk or crawl. Thomas is also unable to defend himself or move away if another child walks up to him and wants his toy, or pulls his hair, or tackles him like his little sister does.

I want him in an environment where he can see other children using equipment to assist mobility so he can learn from them. I don't want him to think of himself as an outsider because he can't walk yet. It also makes me profoundly sad to think of Thomas just sitting while all the other kids are playing.

I think Thomas needs to be in a situation with his peers, children who have difficulties that more closely resemble his own. I am willing to keep Thomas out of preschool until a spot at UCP opens up rather than send him to a school where I worry about his safety.

I'm happy to report that it worked. Thomas starts PRESCHOOL next week at the UCP Center. Oh Happy Day! Except for the Thomas-starting-preschool part. I'm not happy about that at all. I mean, he's just a baby! To me he's still the tiny thing that came home from the hospital weighing under 5 pounds.

I still want to cuddle him and kiss his little head and smoosh his face in my hands, and he still lets me, for the most part. Well, not the smoosh his face part but that's understandable.

I ask myself where the time has gone and then I slap myself upside the head and say Self, remember the last three years? The ones full of pediatrician visits and specialist appointments and hospital stays and surgeries and a bajillion hours of therapy? Remember the sleepless nights and the tube-feeding by syringe because you were NOT by God going to have your child hooked up to another machine? Then remember the feeling of relief when you got that feeding pump and you realized how much better it was for everybody?

Those were all in preparation for this. For Thomas being ready for School and Learning and the Next Step. And I'm really excited for him. So next Wednesday, September 3, I will drive Thomas to preschool and I will *deep breath* leave him there. For three and a half hours. Ok, truth? I'm not really leaving him there - for the first couple of days I will stay and make sure he's ok because C'MON PEOPLE! I can't just DRIVE OFF the first day and pretend like I didn't just abandon my firstborn and then go get a latte at Starbucks!

Oh, by the way, school actually starts THIS week but I forgot to consider that when making our plans to go to the mountains with friends for Labor Day and whoops! He's going to miss the first week of school! Heh. Three years old and already a truant.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Watch out Gene Simmons...

This is my daughter.

Letting you know just exactly HOW SHE FEELS.

Monday, August 25, 2008


"Studies have shown". Heh. Don't you love that phrase? Whatever follows seems a little more boring because suddenly you sound like an NPR announcer. But seriously! Studies have shown! That dads tend to play more roughly with kids than moms do!

Last night post-bath and toothbrushing we had both kids on our bed to start winding them down for bedtime. Emmie considers exploring the bed the most fun of all. She climbs the headboard and checks out the distance she will fall when she actually takes that header off the side that I'm convinced will happen one day. She got too close to the edge at one point last night and Hubs grabbed her by the feet and pulled her back to him, sliding her face on the sheets. I gasped. She giggled and crawled away. He grabbed her and pulled her back. She giggled some more and crawled madly away from him. A new game was born.

One time, instead of crawling away she sat up on her knees and wavered a bit. Hubs gave her a little push on the back and she flopped forward on her face. I gasped again. "You pushed her!"

Emmie laughed out loud.

She sat up again, turned her head to the side and cut her eyes back at Daddy. Smiling. Waiting for him to push her again.


He pushed her and she fell forward on her face. Crawled away and sat up on her knees again.




So much for winding the kids down for the night. By the time I blew the whistle on the games and held the closing ceremony, Emerson's face was red from being dragged on the sheets and her hair was standing up from her forehead. She was breathless from excitement. Thomas was agape at the whole display.

Thomas is a very, VERY cautious child. Pushing him forward on his face, even on a soft mattress, would send him into a crying fit, so this new, physical play with Emmie freaks me out a little. But she LOVES it so I'm adjusting. And I'm glad that this household has someone willing to push the envelope a little so that Emmie remains convinced that she is as fearless as she seems.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday Randomness

Following are a bunch of things that, by themselves, probably don't warrant a full post so I've just thrown them together here.

First, we have a (blurry) photo of the newest member of our household. I've tentatively named him Henry and, since he STILL won't eat, I'm trying not to get too attached. My stupid f&@$ing camera wouldn't focus on the fish so this is what I like to call an artist's representation:

Next up we have Emerson and Thomas, and she is CLEARLY as confused by his oral aversion as everyone else. She's all "Thomas, it's a GOLDFISH. It's GOOD. Just TRY IT." And he's all "No way let me see how small I can make my mouth so she doesn't have much of a target get that goldfish away from me I don't WANT it!" And then he yelled "MOM! She's TOUCHING ME!" Not really, but I totally know that's what he was thinking.

And finally, we have this:

They are called "DenTips", the tips are made of flavored foam and they are often used at hospitals to brush teeth. Thomas's feeding therapist uses them to desensitize his mouth and he brought some over yesterday. After the therapist left I sort of forgot that there was one laying around somewhere, until I found this...

...and realized that Emerson had bitten the tip off. I checked her mouth but didn't see any green stuff, so I resigned myself to the fact that she had, indeed, EATEN it. A few minutes later I offered Emmie some of my ice cream sammich (which I have developed a renewed luuuuurve for this summer) and as she opened wide to take a bite, the green foam fell out of her mouth onto the floor. Either she is learning to hide things in her mouth from me, or she stashed that thing somewhere so she could go back and chew on it some more. Either way, it shows WAY too much reasoning power in such a small creature.

Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, August 21, 2008


Thomas had a doctor's appointment yesterday at the Pediatric Specialties Clinic at the hospital. It was a visit with the GI to discuss ongoing issues with his gagging and retching - something that his feeding therapist suspects is contributing significantly to his oral aversion. But more about that in a minute. Right now I want to talk about the other clinics that shared a waiting area with the Peds clinic.

I saw pregnant children yesterday. Girls (and I do mean girls) walking through the waiting room looking for all the world like tweens - except for the bellies they carried in front of them. There is something wrong when a pregnant girl is wearing a teeny-bopper concert tee.

My first thought was "where are the PARENTS?" Or, more precisely, "where were the parents when this girl-child was deciding to have unprotected sex?"

Some of these girls did have their mothers with them. I was relieved to see that there was some parental support, and I wondered about the ones that were there alone - were they lonely and scared? Excited and determined? Blissfully unaware of what they were getting into?

I also saw an exhausted and frazzled mom, maybe 20 years old, with her two children - a little girl about 3 and a newborn. Her little girl had energy enough for 5 people and pinballed around the room trying to keep herself entertained, while the mom sat listlessly staring into space. The little girl saw me reading to Thomas and Emmie while we waited and came over to hear the story. I obviously didn't mind but I glanced at the mom to see if it was ok. It wasn't. Mom harshly called the child back over and then, to my horror, PINCHED HER ARM and hissed at her to sit down and be still. The little girl grabbed the spot where she'd been pinched and started to cry.

It took all my self-control not to say something. Oh, how I wanted to hug that little girl and make everything alright. I thought about her future - would that mom one day be able to give her the support and love she needed not to end up like the girls waiting for the ob/gyn clinic? Was I witnessing various stages of a sad cycle?

Before I could act on any impulses to steal her and raise her as my own, we were called back to our appointment.

First off, Thomas is now nearly 36 1/2 inches tall! He's actually in the 15th percentile for height. He weighs 26.2 pounds so he's definitely on the thin side, but as I was convinced he was going to weigh 22 pounds for the rest of his life, I'll take it. Mah baybee is growing up!

This was a first visit to this doctor, a lovely lady from UNC Hospitals who travels here once a month. She honestly didn't have a lot of new ideas about how to control Thomas's daily retching, but I've come to realize that GI issues are tough. Oftentimes children will simply outgrow many of the problems and it's just a waiting game, but it is becoming increasingly difficult for me to watch my child gag and vomit each day. There is a medication sometimes used for kids with severe reflux that she wants to try; unfortunately, though, it acts as a sedative and I'm not certain I want to do that to Thomas. So we are back to trying new dosages of his same old meds. Beh.

During her exam the doctor asked me "Is he a happy child?" I smiled broadly when I answered unequivocally "Yes. He is a very happy child." And it is so true. Despite his difficulties, the dozens of doctors he has seen, the therapies he endures each week, the gagging and retching, and the torture inflicted by his little sister on a daily basis, Thomas is one of the happiest children I've ever known. And that's all I've ever wanted for him.

I wonder what the mother of that little girl in the waiting room would have said?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

I can haz doggie noze?

When Hubs and I moved in together, we created a blended family. I had two cats, Alex and Stella, and he had two dogs. Two BIG dogs. The cats had never been around dogs, and vice versa. We knew it was gonna be interesting.

We tried a test run before I actually moved in. I took Stella, the younger and friendlier kitteh, over to Hubs' house to see how everyone would react. I carried her in the house, she got one whiff of DOG and ran straight under the bed. That's where she stayed for the next 24 hours. Every time I went by the bedroom I would see the dogs huddled with their heads under the bedskirt, tails wagging furiously, and I would hear Stella making that weird rraawwrrrrr cat growl that means she is REALLY, REALLY pissed.

Finally I took pity, extricated the oh-so-miserable Stella from the dust bunnies under the bed and took her back to my condo.

Undeterred, I moved in a few weeks later. Now BOTH cats were living under the bed making that rraawwrrrrr noise while the dogs sniffed happily around the edges. I did a little research and found that a good way of acclimating animals to one another was to let them interact through a closed door. Therefore I created a cat home in the office - they had their litter box, their food and water, their scratching post and toys. The carpet at the door just outside the office quickly became discolored and dirty from the dogs parking themselves there.

A few days into this, I decided it was time for the dogs and cats to REALLY get to know each other and start getting along together. *snort* This is hilarious. You see, the cats RAN whenever they saw the dogs, and the dogs, being dogs, CHASED. It's instinct. The dogs would chase the cats into the office. The cats would jump onto the sofa. The dogs would bark frantically. The cats, in pure self-defense mode, would start swatting. One or both dogs would end up bleeding.

I can't tell you how many times I heard horrendous battle sounds from the back of the house and then saw one of the dogs casually stroll into the living room, bleeding from scratches on its nose, and look at me like "What?? I wasn't doing anything!"

One day the dogs ran the cats into the office and the horrific sounds of carnage ensued. The hissing, the barking, the yelping...

Moments later, Jake, our English Bulldog, came sauntering back into the living room and I took a quick look to make sure his nose was still attached to his face. Thankfully, it was. I did note that he seemed to have a bit of fuzz on his face. Eh, just doggy mess.

A few minutes later Jake plopped himself at my feet and I saw the bit of fuzz again. "What IS that, Jake?"

I grabbed his face and plucked at the fuzz. It was a cat claw. Embedded in his nose.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Incident

I try to keep my morning routine fairly simple because frankly, until about 8:30am, I'm just not all there. Some would argue that I'm not all there at ANY point, but whatever.

I usually wake up to Thomas talking in his crib. I lie in bed for a while with the pillow over my head trying to get back into whatever dream I was having, then I face up to reality and haul my carcass out of bed. Once I get to his room it's a race to dress him and bring him to the kitchen before his enthusiastic yelling wakes his sister. He wakes up INSTANTLY and LOUDLY. That fact alone makes me wonder if we are actually related.

Once I have his breakfast going I indulge my need for caffeine. I have never been a huge fan of coffee, and thanks to my Nana I am a devoted tea drinker. Innernets, let me tell you I am WEIRD about my tea. Over the years I narrowed my choice to Earl Grey, which is "black tea with bergamot flavoring". Yeah, I have no idea what bergamot is either, but I luuurve it. Eventually through trial and error, I settled upon Twinings as my favorite because it's just floral-y enough and not too strong. And let's be honest here. The tea is merely a vehicle for the half-n-half I put in it. If I run out of half-n-half I won't even boil the water - it's just not worth it.

At any rate, my mornings are simple. Thomas up and dressed, TEA, then Emmie up and dressed.

Yesterday morning I was especially loopy since Hubs and I had a date Saturday night and were out sorta late. Unfortunately, my dear children didn't get the memo. Thomas woke up and started his best foghorn imitation at 6:45 am. Heaven help me what IS this kid thinking?

I staggered out of bed and got him dressed, got his breakfast going and put the water on to boil. Once the kettle was rockin' I lovingly poured the water over the teabag in my travel mug, making sure not to pour too fast and cause it to pull the stringed label into the steeping tea.

Oh yeah, I'm weird about my tea.

I replaced the lid on the mug so the water wouldn't cool off while the tea steeped, and that's when I heard Emerson call out. Hubs loves to rock Emerson in the mornings when she first wakes up, so he went in to get her while I started thinking about her breakfast. I opened the fridge, got out the container of half-n-half and pried the lid off my mug. I then then turned the mug over.

The scalding water hit me, drenched my shirt and went all over the floor.

At this point I could tell you how much it hurt - how I peeled the shirt off to get it away from my skin and how I started digging in the freezer for ice to cool the burn. But what I want to emphasize is how totally freaked out I was by the fact that the water had gone all over the floor where, on a typical day, Emmie would have been hanging out while drinking milk from her sippy cup and waiting for me to feed her.

I lost my ever-lovin' shit about that.

I stood for a moment holding my shirt away from my skin, agape at the steaming puddle on the floor, and I started to cry. When Hubs ran in to see what was going on he thought I was really hurt. Yeah, it definitely hurt and I definitely have burns on my stomach from the water, but I was far too concerned with what COULD HAVE BEEN at that point. What if Em had been right under my feet? What if she had been hit by the scalding water?

I am pretty much consumed by the what-ifs right now, and I'm half-considering putting up a baby gate to keep the kids from ever coming in the kitchen again. This really is neither a logical nor practical solution because honestly? Let's just tell the truth here. I'm trying to protect my kids from ME. From my sleep-deprived, stress-addled, uncaffeinated self.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Swim little fishes, SWIM

It's summer and that means it is HOT and HUMID and SWEATY and therefore there must be water to play in. Either the beach or a pool. Hell, on a really hot day a puddle will do. This spring on the very first day it was warm enough, I pulled out the baby pool.

Wow. Really small. Too small for anything but funny pictures of nekkid baybees. It was fun for about 3 minutes and then Thomas leaned on the edge and all the water poured out. Yay.

Then, my Nana bought the kids this.

Hey! Bigger! Bigger means more fun, right? Woohoo! Splashy-splash! But honestly? Two kids and one mom = not enough pool. And sitting on the deck while everyone ELSE gets to have aquatic fun mean Mommy stays HOT and HUMID and SWEATY.

Then, Daddy-O came home with this ginormous thing:

"Warning: objects in the photo are bigger than they appear"

He handed me the box, which weighed approximately 200 pounds, and said here, blow this up! It'll be fun!

Excuse me? Oh. You have me confused with someone who wants to spend the next 3 months of her life BLOWING UP A POOL. Uh-huh, someone with the lung capacity of MICHAEL PHELPS. So I did what all good suburbanites do in crisis. I went to Walmart and got this:

It still took like 30 minutes but I got the thing inflated, completely burning out my triceps in the process, and filled it up.

I have to say, climbing into that pool and being able to stretch out and sunbathe while the kids splashed around was pretty nice. I was in love with its inflatable bench that works so well as a pillow and the cupholders for my *ahem* iced tea. As an added bonus, the walls are really tall so the kids can't climb or fall out. We splashed and played and Thomas poured water out of cups and poured water out of cups and poured water out of cups, and Emmie did her best to drink the pool dry, but once I started getting all prune-y and Emerson's lips turned blue I knew it was time to get out. Hey, no need to wear it out the first day, we have all summer!

The next day I walked out on the deck to check the water temp and found this:

Blechhh! How did green mold grow OVERNIGHT? Look at all those leaves! I'll have to drain it! Clean it! Bleach it so my kids don't contract cholera!

Suddenly, the pool Oh faaaabulous. It's a beautiful daaaay. The kids are going to want to swiiiimm. Beh.

Every time Emmie spots the pool she points and shrieks. Thomas sees it and kicks and wiggles and gets all wide-eyed. Mommy then makes some lame-ass excuse and rushes everyone into the house. "Pool? What pool?? Oh, that nasty germ-filled mosquito hatchery on the deck? Silly kids. We can't play in that. It's too dirty!" Fortunately neither kid has figured out my game yet.

This experience has taught me a valuable lesson. That in-ground swimmin' hole the hubs and I keep talking about? The cee-ment pond we want in the backyard? Not gonna happen. Unless it comes with a pool boy. THEN we can talk.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Vacuum very much!

My kids are both mortally terrified of the vacuum cleaner. They go into screaming, shaking fits when I turn it on, and then it takes a lifetime to calm them back down.

This morning in the kitchen Emmie grabbed the handle of the little Swiffer vacuum, pulled it over and accidently turned it on. Oh the shrieking! The wailing! The gnashing of teeth! Emmie screamed, scuttled sideways like a crab trying to run from the tide and grabbed my ankles to escape it. Because CLEARLY it was going to turn on her with huge, pointy teeth and eat her alive.

Thomas did his patented open mouth, purple face, I'm screaming so hard nothing is coming out but just you WAIT until I catch my breath act. Because that tiny little 5 pound vacuum is dangerous and noisy and it might just suck him into the 4 ounce canister like Augustus Gloop in the Chocolate River.

I lunged for the damn thing and managed to hit the button to turn it off, but the damage was done.

People, I'm in a quandary here. With two large dogs and two small children, vacuuming is a necessity. But when do I do it? I can't vacuum when the kids are awake. Obviously. I can't vacuum when they are asleep because that would mean interrupting my nap possibly waking them up and, well, that just is not acceptable.

I guess I should mention here that I'm sort of a vacuum addict. I've had as many as four at one time. At one time I even had a Roomba. I named it George and I used to sit on the sofa and watch it run little circles around my living room. I loved it, partly because it was cute as a bug's ear, mostly because it was doing housework. Without complaining or assuming I would *ahem* return the favor later. And it was a hit at parties. It died a few years ago - I think it choked on dog hair.

Anyhoo, I'm down to only three vacuums right now, and I CAN'T USE ANY OF THEM. So instead I sweep. Do you know what sweeping does to dog hair? It floats up and sparkles in the sunlight coming through the windows, then drifts back down to the floor behind the broom. Seriously. You CANNOT sweep up dog hair.

*sigh* It's probably just as well the Roomba died. Can you imagine what would happen if a vacuum actually CHASED one of the kids around the room? The therapy bills would put us into foreclosure.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

In the Mail

This showed up today addressed to my husband. I'm not sure whether to be concerned or amused:

On the other hand, I was FASCINATED to discover that the Jonas Brothers like to watch movies on their tour bus! And Nick drinks 4 diet cokes a day! OMG they are SOOOO cute!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Don't Look Now

I love my son. I LOOOOOVE him the way I love oxygen - I need it to live. And I breathe him in the way I do oxygen because I love the way he smells. My favorite thing in the world is to sit on the sofa with him and breathe in his breath. Even when he just wakes up and he has a little bit of morning breath it's the most beautiful, wonderful scent in the world.

I know. I'm just weird like that.

Each time Thomas learns something new, picks up a new skill or, like he did just a few weeks ago, learns how to throw kisses, I am completely blown away. Thomas, like many children with global developmental delays, has periods of time where he doesn't learn any new skills. These times, maddening and always way too long, are called plateaus. He'll ride a plateau for a while and I'll start to get frustrated, a little desperate, then suddenly, in a flurry of furious learning, he starts doing something that I had decided, in my faithless way, he would never do.

The poor kid had such a hard time with head control. His head was HUGE and his pink little neck was so small. The picture I took of him on his first birthday shows a little boy exhausted from his party and unable to hold his head up any longer, so he's resting it on the back of his high chair.

I was convinced he would never sit up unassisted. The first time he sat up long enough for me to take a photo was the summer of 2006. He was 15 months old. The effort of sitting up was so great that it made him sweat. Little beads of perspiration would just pour down his face and his arms would shake as he attempted to balance on them. After placing him in the frog position and letting go, I would cheer and sing silly songs until I saw him begin to lose it, then I would grab him up and kiss him all over and tell him what a big boy he was.

I remember the first time he ever pushed himself up to sitting on his own. I was in bed, Hubs had just finished brushing his teeth and we could hear Thomas in his room on the monitor happily talking and laughing. Hubs walked across the hall to say goodnight and then he yelled "Honey, come in here!" Nothin' like hearing that coming from your child's nursery to get your heartrate up.

I ran in and lunged over the side of the crib to see what was wrong with Thomas. The light was still off and as my eyes adjusted to the darkness I realized I couldn't FIND Thomas. Then I saw him. Sitting up at the end of the crib wondering what on earth everybody was doing in his room. Hubs and I did a damn jig and then called everyone we knew to tell them that THOMAS CAN PUSH TO SITTING ON HIS OWN. Then he didn't do it again for 3 weeks.

Now we are working on mobility. His physical therapists are working on both crawling and walking, and I keep shouting at them in my head "let's focus on one or the other, because asking him to do both just doesn't seem FAIR." There I go again. Thinking the worst while urging Thomas on to do his best.

Two weeks ago my mom, Thomas, Emmie and I were playing ball in the living room, rolling the ball back and forth between us. Thomas was all eh, not so interested, and put his head down on the carpet. He does this when he's tired so we played ball with Emmie a little longer and started thinking about bathtime.

Then suddenly, we realized Thomas had moved. Like 5 feet. Across the carpet. On his own.


You'd have thought we just won the lottery. I'm pretty sure the neighbors heard us yelling. While we watched and yelled and Emmie looked at us like we were batshit crazy, we witnessed Thomas inchworm across the floor and to the couch, where he tried to pull up.

It ain't the prettiest crawl you ever saw. I'm pretty sure when he really gets going he's going to rub all the hair off his forehead, because he does what PTs call the five-point crawl. He puts his head down and reaches out with his hands then he walks his knees in. Then he slides his head forward, reaches out with his hands again and walks his knees in some more. Naturally he hasn't done it again since that night, but now I know how he is. He tries something once. Ruminates on it for a few weeks days then, just when you think the first time was a mirage, a hope-hallucination, he starts doing it again. And then he owns it.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Yum Yum YUM!

This recipe is from my mom and I'm not sure where she got it, but it's so good that it will make you cry. She makes it for people when they are sick, or when they are well, or when they have family visiting, or when they just need a REALLY GOOD DESSERT to serve.

At one point she was making it so often that the guy at the liquor store knew her by name, and if you know my mom that sentence will make you fall down laughing because a half a margarita gets that woman silly and walking sideways.

So here it is -


1 Yellow Cake Mix
1 6oz box of Instant Chocolate Pudding
1/2 cup sugar
3/4 cup oil
4 eggs
1/4 cup vodka
1/4 kahlua
3/4 cup water

Mix all the ingredients together for 4 minutes. Pour into a greased Bundt pan and bake at 325 for 60 minutes. You might want to check the cake after 50 minutes and cover it with tinfoil so the top doesn't get too brown.

Then, make the glaze: (yeah baby, all that chocolately, alcoholic goodness PLUS A GLAZE!)

1/3 cup Kahlua
1/3 cup powdered sugar

Mix the glaze well with a fork. Punch holes in the top of the cake with a toothpick or bamboo skewer and pour the glaze over the cake sloooowly so it sinks in and makes the whole thing gooey and yummy.

Enjoy. And don't go finishing the vodka and Kahlua before the cake is finished baking. Save some for afterwards.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Playing Hooky

The Hubs took a half-day off work yesterday. We left the kids with a sitter. Bye guys! Mommy and Daddy are going to the Dentist. We would NEVER go to the beach without you.

We went to the beach. It was just us, the sand, the water, the seagulls, the breeze...and about 10,000 other people. Gah! What the hell are you people doing on my beach?

In spite of that it was a lovely day. I swear I don't think we spoke to each other more than 3 times, but not in a bad way. Just in a "we are so content we don't even have to speak" kinda way. We were both relaxing and reading and people-watching. Our conversations went like this.

-check out that dude with the long hair.

-if he doesn't pull his pants up over his crack I'm going to vomit.

A few minutes later:

-If that kid runs by kicking sand on us one more time I'm going to find her mother and kick sand on HER.

-Don't. One day our kids will be annoying someone on the beach and we'll think it's funny.

After we had broiled in the sun to the point of pain, we packed up our things, the one, small bag of things required when you don't take kids to the beach and headed out to cool off with adult beverages.

There's this bar at the pier that has been there for 20 years and is my vision of the perfect beach bar. Grimy, unairconditioned, walls open to the sidewalk outside, dollar bills stapled to the walls and ceilings to provide reading material, its very own population of barflys. I haven't been there in probably 5 years and it was seriously like going home. We sat down on the cracked pleather barstools and I...forgot where I was for a moment and ordered white wine. Hubs looked at me like I was growing a second nose from my forehead. The bartender sighed and opened the cooler to see what she had.

-What? I want a glass of wine! Beer makes me feel bloated!

Hubs just shakes his head.

The bartender starts trying to peel the foil off the neck of the single-serving wine bottle. The little tab snaps and she goes off to look for scissors or something to cut the foil.

Hubs keeps shaking his head.

She returns and manages to remove the foil, then twists open the top of the wine bottle. Obviously an impressive vintage, no? She pours it in a plastic cup and hands it to me. To make up for my glaringly poor decisionmaking and to balance our bar karma, Hubs ordered a PBR.

We sat and listened to the juke box for a while and watched the people walk by on the sidewalk. And then I saw him. And he's what makes this the best bar of all time - the mascot. He sits on the counter and barks at people when they walk in. Then he tries to drink out of their beer cups.

I didn't catch his name but I like to think of him as Stanley. Slightly crochety, but deep down a friendly guy and the perfect drinking buddy.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Phone photo of the Day

You know, I really don't have much to say about this pic, only that it cracks me up. I can't put my finger on it though - is it the look on the guy's face? Is it the way they spelled "guyz"? Is it the fact that there is a whole LINE of grooming products for bald men? (That's what the tiny writing says by the red dot - "Grooming Products".)

It must be a combination of all of those because when I saw this display, Lord knows I screeched to a stop and whipped out my camera phone so fast I gave myself tennis elbow.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Betacarotene much?

The girlchild is orange. I took this picture while we were at my parents' house because it was such an AWWWW moment. They were holding hands! No one was crying! For a few, brief seconds, peace reigned and my children were cherubs.

Then I downloaded the photo and realized that Emmie's love of cantaloupe might have reached a dangerous place. A place that might warrant it's own episode of "Intervention".

On the left, ladies and germs, you have the boychild. One with lovely blond hair, beautiful blue eyes and pink and cream skin. On the have my little punkin. Literally.

Monday, August 4, 2008

I'm Back!

Whew! I don't know which was worse - the internet withdrawal or the exhaustion from packing up our stuff...which begs the question: if you've been living without it for 6 months do you REALLY need it?

When we moved back to the coast we rented a house that is considerably smaller than the house we were living in, so we only packed and brought the stuff we really use every day. We figured once we sold the old house we'd get the rest of our things. Left behind were things like serving platters, other dishes and glasses we didn't use much, Christmas decorations, get the idea. My job this past week was to sort the items left into three categories: trash, Goodwill and things-to-put-into-storage. I was pleased with the piles for the first two categories. The last one gave me headaches.

You know how it is - you're all Ooh, I LOVE these chili bowls! These chili bowls are the BEST! But do I really want to PACK and STORE them? Wait a minute, here's a VASE I forgot about! It's beautiful! Here are THREE MORE JUST LIKE IT! Ok, one into storage, three to Goodwill.

And then I found the box of photos and got lost for about three hours.

One bright spot in this chaos was JIMMY. We hired JIMMY to help us pack and move. The reason I put JIMMY'S name in all caps is because he is AWESOME. He packs and moves people for a living and you've never seen anybody work as hard as this guy does. He's like a little tornado only he doesn't break your stuff. He puts it into boxes! He organizes the boxes! He moves them into the storage unit! He does it all in less time than it takes you to shower!

JIMMY also knows what to do when you get stung by a wasp.

I was outside doing some yardwork so our tenants wouldn't think they were moving into a jungle, when I stepped on a wasps' nest. Holy SHIT it hurt. At first I thought maybe it was just a thorn, but the then the pain got worse and worse and ohmigod it hurts and then my whole TOE was on fire and I saw the wasps buzzing around looking for new spots to sting and I RAN LIKE HELL into the house screaming.

Then I sat down on the floor and cried a little.

That's when JIMMY showed up and told me what to do. All it takes, he said, is some chewin' tobacco. Chew it up REAL GOOD and put it on the sting and it just makes the pain go away. Hmm, only one problem with that plan...but WAIT! We have CIGARS!

My hubby wouldn't let me use the contraband Cubans that he has, but the Dominican ones, well, ok, he'll sacrifice one of those for the cause. I soaked the end of the cigar in water and pulled off the wet tobacco and band-aided it to my toe. Check it out:

It totally worked. Within a few minutes the pain was gone and the swelling had subsided, which is a very good thing because we still had two days of moving and storing to finish.

I told my husband to call our landlord and let him know we will be renting this house until we die, because I am NOT moving again. Ever.