Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Clay Baboons and My First Guest Blogger!

Can you believe Leap Blog Day is finally here?!  Because I have a hard time making decisions and following directions, I have actually invited 3 awesome bloggers to guest-post here over the next few days.

Up first is the talented Stephanie from Clay Baboons.  Stephanie was an elementary school teacher for eight years until July 2011.  That was when she and her husband, a military guy, relocated to a rural village in Eastern Canada. 

Be sure to have a read and check out Clay Baboons!  I promise you'll laugh. 
----------------------------------------------------------



They were play-wrestling. I thought this one might need an explanation.
 

Thank you so much to Marianne for inviting me to hang out on her fabulous blog! I love We Band of Mothers and am honoured to be a guest here. This post is dedicated to parents and teachers the world over - and, of course, to the bright and funny 5-, 6- and 7-year-olds that I've had the pleasure of teaching over the past decade, in seven different schools and four different cities.


 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

We're Out of Milk. Again.

I'm not good at lists.  This fact is reinforced every time I go to the grocery store to buy milk and come home with clearance breadsticks and liquor.

When I planned my wedding years ago, I forgot to invite several important family members because I addressed envelopes only when names popped into my head. I believe I may have invited Donny Osmond, but forgot Uncle Larry.

So I'm going to start practicing.  Writing lists, that is. To help ease me into things, I've started with something fun, like all my favorite shows from the 1980s.

Here goes: 
  • The A-Team.  Because Murdock was hot.  
  • The Facts of Life.  George Clooney with a mullet was still George Clooney.
  • Manimal. I think I was the only person who ever saw this show. There were these gross pulsating bubbles on the guy's face every time he turned into an animal. 
  • Diff'rent Strokes  The apostrophe in "Diff'rent" never made any sense to me. 
  • Misfits of Science.  Once again, I believe I was the only person to have ever borne witness to this sci-fi drama. Though it did launch the career of Courtney Cox.
  • Growing Pains.  Kirk Cameron, before he got all Jesus-y, was the bad boy every 13 year old girl thought she'd marry. 
  • Little House on the Prarie.  I thought it was really cool when they blew up the town at the end of the series. And what was with all those orphans Ma and Pa Ingalls kept adopting?  They must of had like 20 of them by the finale.  
  • V.  I know this was originally a miniseries, but it entered the television line-up as a real series for about 2 months.  Once again, my viewership doomed it.
  • Fame.  Totally loved the piano-playing Bruno.  My boys' lessons are starting to make sense now, right?
  • 60 Minutes.  Every Sunday.  *tick tick tick tick*  It meant Monday morning was right around the corner and I needed to get cracking on homework.
Do with this what you will, but feel free to comment on your own favorites!  Thanks also to MOV for the inspiration and her devotion to lists.

She would have never forgotten Uncle Larry.

Monday, February 27, 2012

What to Put Next to the Plastic Goose

For those old-time blog followers, you may recall my post concerning the battle of the tricked-out wheelchairs.  Every summer, the best engineering minds of the Chicago Fire Department are pitted against each other in a game of skill and speed.  Click here for full story.

Joe's firehouse reigned supreme this summer thanks in large part to Mike Rowan, a former airline pilot who  "just likes to build sh*t" (Joe's words).

So imagine my delight when I found an interesting picture posted on Facebook courtesy of Mike's wife, Eileen:

I cropped the picture to provide a close-up, but this masterpiece was lovingly placed right between a plastic goose and a backyard birdbath. 

That's right.  The guy built a Picasso.  For the backyard. 

Now being a naturally curious person, I had to get to the bottom of this.  I quickly emailed Eileen to gather the details.  She responded:

It started with a used welder and Mike wanting to learn how to use it.  He took leftover steel from when they made the grill at the firehouse and he just sort of ended up giving this a try. He has always been a fan of early 20th century avant garde Spanish artists and the cubism movement. I mean, who isn't?

That's right.  From a hand-me-down welder came a near-perfect minature Picasso statue.  Awesome.

Eileen added that her role consisted mostly of holding pieces of steel in place and donning a spare welding helmet.

Consider that statement for a moment, won't you?  This couple has 4 kids.  Think of all the work.  Think of the laundry.  Still, Eileen dropped her Tide bottle to support her husband's latest desire to "build sh*t."  And to top things off, he made sure an extra helmet was on hand to keep his lovely bride safe and sound.

I do believe this is a match made in heaven. 

If you are interested in your own backyard Picasso, please feel free to email Mike for details at:

Mikerowan1@comcast.net.

I'm considering one myself.  Besides the funny looks I'd get from my neighbors, it could double as a towel-holder for the boys during the summer when they're running through the sprinklers.

Only in Beverly. 

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Forget the Peanuts and Cracker Jacks

I thought I'd do my part to spread the word about the White Sox upcoming "Peanut-Controlled" zone on April 17. 

In case you're wondering, yes, I am blatantly trying to curry favor with the allergy crowd I pissed off with my blog on the ongoing vilification of candy in the Chicago Public School System. So have a read on the details below:

CHICAGO – The Chicago White Sox will host a “Peanut-Controlled Zone” on Tuesday, April 17, 2012 at 7:10 p.m. against the Baltimore Orioles.

To provide fans who suffer from severe peanut allergies with the safest environment possible, no peanuts, nor anything containing peanuts, will be allowed or sold in three reserved sections of the Club Level at U.S. Cellular Field. The concession stands closest to those special sections will not sell peanuts and the area will be meticulously cleaned and inspected prior to the game.

Photo Credit: Ron Vesely © Chicago White Sox

“This is another example of us responding to fan feedback,” said Brooks Boyer, White Sox senior vice president of sales and marketing. “Hopefully, some of our fans and families who typically could not attend a White Sox home game due to potential allergic reactions will be able to enjoy an evening of White Sox baseball at U.S. Cellular Field.”

The tickets are specially priced at $36.50 and include $10 in “Bonus Bux” that can be used to buy food and beverage at any permanent club level concession stand. There are approximately 200 seats available, so fans are encouraged to order tickets early.

For the least peanut-exposed path to the game, the club suggests entering through the Chicago Sports Depot near Gate 5 on the north side of 35th Street. From the second level exit of the store, escalators lead up to a bridge over the street which ends at the Club Level concourse.

Fans interested in purchasing tickets and seating in the peanut-free section should email or call Dustin Milliken at dmilliken@chisox.com or (312) 674-5186.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Ingredients for a Successful Bash

The southside of Chicago has provided some invaluable tips to me over the years relative to throwing a successful party. In an effort to share my vast experience and wisdom, I have compiled a list for any hostess in need:

1.Do not let Marianne cook.This one is pretty self-explanatory. Instead, consider ordering super giant sandwiches from Mr. Sub:

You're a little hungry now, aren't you?
2.  Always count on really thirsty revelers:

These are the "left-overs." 
3.  Make sure your guests of honor are great people who have brought much joy to your life:

Our newly-engaged couple, Mary & John. 

4.  Most importantly, don't kill yourself trying to make your house look perfect.  Shove every last toy, unfolded bit of clothing, and extra clutter into an upstairs bedroom.  Lock the door:

My mother and sister would disown me if they saw this picture.
That's all!  Now back to "handling" all this extra beer laying around. Nobody happens to have a sliced orange to go with my Blue Moon, do they?

*************IMPORTANT UPDATE**************

If anyone can identify the owner of these fun dishes left at my house, please contact me at mom@webandofmothers.com as soon as possible.  After one month, I write my name on the bottom and pretend they're mine:

Colorful, pretty, and unclaimed.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Ashes to Ashes

In a rushed attempt to be a better Catholic mother this past Ash Wednesday, I dutifully slipped into church between school pick-ups and piano lessons.  I swear to God, I didn't do it for the blog material, but blog material was indeed what I got:

Daniel (inspecting his forehead ashes in the mirror):  "Are these ashes from Uncle Lewis?"  (his recently-cremated uncle)

Jack: (also inspecting his ashes):  "It doesn't look like fairy dust."

And last, but not least, Joey's recap of the ritual:

video

Thank you, Lord, for always providing.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Almost Famous

The March edition of Chicago Parent is hot off the presses with yours truly appearing on the cool, yet understated, page 105:



My sons were more impressed that Patrick Sharp was on the cover:


When I turned to my carpool nephew, Drew, and advised him my world dominance had begun, he responded only:

"You're no Ellen."

Whatever.  But be sure to check out my latest Chicago Parent Magazine essay on braces!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Enemy

I may be skipping my Weight Watchers weigh-in this week.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Real Slim Shady?

I love people who notice things.  I don't notice anything, which is why I often find myself stepping in puddles and falling in ditches.

During my sister-in-law's engagement party this past weekend (more on that later), a family member noticed a baby picture cut out from a magazine hanging on my bulletin board.  She zoned in on this one scrap of paper buried under a mountain of school notices, invitations, business cards, and kiddie artwork.  She wondered who the child was.  He looked familiar, but not completely.

That's when my husband explained how I had flipped through a People Magazine a few years ago and nearly suffered a heart attack when I saw a picture of my son Jack in the publication.  But it wasn't Jack.  It was actually a baby photo of rapper Eminem.  At the time, Jack was his spitting image with the same curly blond hair and impish grin.

Joe's cousin marveled at the similarities and posted a picture on Facebook.  I could probably find more pics where the likeness is even more evident, but I'm just too lazy to go through all the photo albums.  Hence, I defer to cousin Peg's original photograph:


Let's just hope my sweet Jack doesn't have the same mommy issues as Eminem.  Perhaps I ought to ease up on all these music lessons after all?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Guest Post (Kinda)

Two consecutive days of cocktails have depleted my brain power.  I stumbled downstairs this morning to try to come up with something for the blog.  I then discovered that my in-laws (and loyal blog readers) had hijacked my computer and left the following message in draft format.  It's not like I had anything good to say this early, so I'm running with it.  They really aren't that off track with their musings....

Hey World! Today was a day I will never forget.  It is the day I realized how lucky I am to have married into such a wonderful family.  I am especially lucky to have a fantastic sister-in-law (Missy Walsh) and cousin-in-law (Kate LaMantia).  Don't be jealous, but these women rock my super snazzy socks.  That's all I have for today.  What more could a woman want?

Now I'm off to drink some Red Bull.  Thanks for covering for me, ladies. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Howling at the Moon

Every year, my husband and I have a standing date with friends of ours for the weekend after Valentine's Day.  The husband is a Chicago policeman and all-around great guy.  The wife is a former (and soon-to-be-returning) flight attendant who looks like a cuter version of Miranda from Sex in the City.  We always wonder why don't try to get together more, but then we remember: kids.

With the big date night looming, I couldn't wait to put on my fancy new JC Penney dress, a pair of Spanx, and the sparkly shoes that normally take up residence next to my Brian Urlacher football in the closet.  I even went to Super Cuts and busted out a box of Miss Clairol to finally get rid of my greys.

I looked hot.

After dinner, we decided to head over to a dueling piano bar (Howl at the Moon) where we sang along to a wide variety of songs at the top of our lungs.  I was very impressed when my husband was one of a handful of people who actually knew the words to the seemingly obscure Unicorn Song - click link, it's as ridiculously fun as it sounds.   

Anyway, the point of this essay is that a gal sometimes needs a night out on the town with great friends and sparkly shoes.  Do with that what you will, and please consider something along this vein next time you're at the department store:

My Singing Shoes
I got like 50 compliments from girls who were fetuses when I was in high school.  Sparkly shoes apparently transcend the generations, much like the band Journey.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Refusing the Script

In reading an assortment of magazines on life and parenting, I have noticed a big trend in people wanting to provide scripts to living.  Over and over, I stumble across articles written by PhDs who wax philosophical about all the proper things to say (and not to say) to people experiencing a host of issues including  death, infertility, disease, pregnancy, autism, and divorce.

For the record, I have said many stupid things in my life. I am usually trying to convey empathy, but I'm sure I fail more often than not. I try to understand the needs of the person who is experiencing pain, and then I say something that I think might help. On the days I've mucked it up, I do sometimes wonder if I should have just memorized one of those sociologist's scripts after all.    

But I can't shake the notion that quoting from a mental health journal's bulleted list of accepted words is not really genuine.  Many of the directives assume a one-size-fits-all approach. They fly in the face of how many of us handle adversity and sorrow. What might comfort one person might also enrage another. So we use our best judgement, take a deep breath, and make a few mistakes along the way.

In my life, I have experienced death, divorce, risky pregnancies, autism, and disease. When I review articles on acceptable things to say, I can't help but laugh. There is really nothing that resonates with me whatsoever.  What I do remember helping me through times of trouble is the fact that somebody bothered to try to ease my pain.  No matter how awkward.  No matter how clumsy.   

I come from people who say a host of inappropriate things to get through the worst moments of life. We make each other laugh. We tackle the big monster in the room head-on and refuse to offer the usual garden-variety murmurs of sympathy. We don't tip toe around the obvious pain or suffering. We acknowledge it. We offer whatever prescription medications we have in our purses. We volunteer to go beat someone up.

I know this approach doesn't work for everyone, but rarely will you find the use of humor in the Sensitivity Patrol's guide to masterful and appropriate phraseology.  I get that it is not everybody's accepted method, so I don't use it a lot.  But it's mine, and none of the experts will ever tell you, "Just make Marianne laugh...or buy her a big drink."  And just as I appreciate the efforts of my friends to offer comfort to me in all their varying styles, I would hope that others accept my own verbal clumsiness as a misguided token of love and support.

If my own friends and family started reading from a sociology journal, I would recognize it immediately.  Likewise, when my religious friends offer prayer and my irreverent friends offer  liquor, I know that the effort is real and true to who they are.

We don't always get it right.  More often than not, there is nothing we can say that will help. The bigger issue is that we are there, saying stupid things, because we love you.

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Blame Game

Joey came home from preschool yesterday wearing different pants than the ones I dressed him in that morning.

He apparently wanted to make it 100% clear to his mom that he was just an innocent bystander in the Great Wet Pants debacle of 2012:



"Dear Mom - my pants are soaking wet because the puddle did it."

Another likely story.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Foolish Consistency

My own hobgoblins have hijacked my very little mind.  My decision to register Joey for chess was perhaps not the most well-thought out plan.

But it seemed like a really good idea at the time.

Click here for the Chicago Parent Magazine story.  And if you want to leave a comment on that site about how I altered the very course of your life, it really wouldn't hurt my feelings.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

If Kids Ruled the World

The boys' cardboard Christmas house finally met its demise yesterday due to a partial roof-collapse.  Yet I had to take a few final pictures of the clubhouse that best captured the priorities of little boys: 









Geez, my kids really like rules and free things.  I have no idea where they get it.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

True Romance

Like most women, my romantic past is a bit sorted.  There were great guys, middle-of-the-road guys, and guys who were all wrong but looked really cute in leather jackets.  Yet right before I met my husband, I took a vow to never ever fall for "Romantic Guy" again.

Romantic Guy is the man who has perfected the art of making women swoon.  He is poetry and roses.  He is chivalrous.  Gallant even.  He is hard to resist because he feeds into a woman's desire for Hollywood romance and utter adoration.

Of course, Romantic Guy typically has the attention span of a flea.  He tends to leave women sobbing in their lattes once his attention turns to the next best thing.

After one such relationship, I swore to my girlfriends that I didn't want to waste another moment with Romantic Guy. Instead, I longed for "Thick & Thin Guy." 

Thick & Thin Guy stands by his gal in good times and in bad.  He cares as much for her when she's a size 16 as he did when she was an 8.  He is loyal, committed, and has never written a poem because he thinks only sissies do that.

I met and married Thick & Thin Guy.  Life with my husband is not perfect, but it is pretty darn nice.  I never doubt his love for his family, and he is the only man who has figured out that it's better to make me laugh than to do battle when I'm "in a mood."

You girls know what I'm talking about it.

Yet there are occasional moments where I wish he'd appear with flowers for no reason.  Or write more than simply "Love, Joe" on a card.  I mean, would it kill him to throw a girl a compliment now and then?

And just as the universe has always done, it gently rapped me on the head as Joe surprised me with this Valentine's Day gift over the weekend:


I have been using a stiff old kitchen chair at my computer desk for years.  I have a horrible back and even worse posture, so to finally have a seat with proper support and a comfy cushion is like heaven. 

Apparently, Thick & Thin Guy has a little bit of Romantic Guy in him after all.  It just took me 10 years to figure it out.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Get Thee to a Kohls-ery

Instead of dutifully writing my early morning post yesterday, I found myself en route to the Royal Wedding of baby showers.  Throwing on the only clean dress I could find (aka "my funeral dress"), I frantically got my shabby butt out the door in record time. 

Needless to say, I was a bit disheveled and I'm not entirely sure I remembered to wear deodorant.  To top things off, the mommy-to-be looked fantastic.  With only a few weeks left to go in her pregnancy, she still has chiseled arms, a single chin, and a flat butt.  She reminded me of actresses "playing" pregnant where the only mark of conception is a tiny hint of a stomach.

For me, pregnancy starts in my face and works its way down.  Even my toes get fat.

Thankfully, I have great friends who allow me entry into their swanky events despite my fondness for Super-Cuts and Ding Dongs.

All of the glamorous moms with salon-cuts and salad preferences got me thinking.  I needed to buy a dress that didn't smell like incense or funeral bouquets.  So I called my BFF after the shower wrapped up, and we headed to the nearest suburban mall.

On the way there, we somehow got sidetracked and landed at Kohl's where I had a 20% off coupon. 

That's when things really got interesting.  My pulse started racing when it was discovered that Kohl's was offering 40% off of already marked-down CLEARANCE merchandise.  And I still had the 20% off coupon as well!  I was practically getting sh*t for free. 

There was one item I put in my cart that I cherished above all others.  My palms got sweaty just thinking about it.  Have a look:


It's a tiny little car vacuum that plugs into your cigarette lighter.  Heaven on Earth. The next time the carpool kids spill Nerd candy or Pixie Sticks all over my minivan, I am so ready.

Original price: $24.99.  My out-the-door price with all discounts: $3.59. 



The only thing that even comes to the joy of this purchase is the birth of my children. 

A $3.49 car vacuum. 

It completes me.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

New Member of the Club

I've got a baby shower this weekend that I'm really excited about.  It will be a grateful reprieve from laundry and driving children around the greater Chicagoland area.

It kind of feels like my birthday.

Of course, there will be no time to either dye my hair or pick up a baby gift beforehand.

So I will be attending with grey roots, a check, and a Happy Bar Mitzvah card.

I feel it will help provide a glimpse into my friend's future life of motherhood: ill-prepared, scattered, and poorly groomed.  I'll hold off on the hemorrhoids conversation for another day.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Why McDonald's is Important

First of all, I want to again thank Becky Healy for dropping everything on a dime to take some photographs of the family this weekend.  I needed to turn something over to Chicago Parent Magazine and I was close to panicking.  It is such an honor to live in a neighborhood with so much talent, genuine kindness, and real generosity of spirit. 

The photo shoot was pretty painless.  There was that one awkward moment when Becky asked that I brush away some stray hairs from my face.

My hair is baby fine.  There is no brushing away anything.  In order to sustain any type of style in the great outdoors, I have to refrain from washing my hair days in advance and then completely shellac every last strand.  Total and complete helmet head. 

I was basically a walking carcinogen from the neck up.

Of course Becky has the cutest mop of natural blond curls in the world.  It just makes all of us stick-straight rejects want to drown ourselves in our hairspray.  Not that I'm bitter or anything. 

Anyway, here are a few examples of the great talent that is Becky.  The boys detest having their pictures taken with a passion.  Yet they all reluctantly went along with the program after Shamrock Shakes were promised to any cooperative boy. 

Thank you, Golden Arches!








I had to laugh at my husband's cousin Mary Jo. She commented that nowhere in the history of their entire family has any male member been known to wear a sweater vest.

Just mixing things up, I suppose.

Be sure to check out next month's Chicago Parent Magazine. I will be the one bearing a striking resemblance to Tammy Faye Baker.

The Big Candy Fall-Out

I posted yesterday for Chicago Parent online about how kids will never again know the happiness of a giant sugary haul of  Valentine's Day loot.  Instead, all school celebrations will be commemorated with pencils, erasers, and paperclips. Click here for story.

Candy has been officially outlawed in public schools throughout Illinois.



Based on all the feedback, I now understand the importance of becoming more sensitive to the world of dangerous food allergies and diabetes. 

I'm really trying. But I first need to let go of that decorated Kleenex box of my youth. Designed to collect the motherload of cards, licorice, and chocolate, it was once the acme of childhood happiness and indulgence. Sadly, it is now time to readjust my expectations of school parties and the traditional practices I remember so fondly.

Farewell, chalky message hearts. It was fun while it lasted. 

You will live forever in my soul.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Pick Your Prom Date, Bloggers!

The organized Virgo over at Mothers of Brothers Blog has suggested that all of our procrastinating Leap Blog friends select their guest bloggers ASAP.  Like now.

If you wanted to peruse your options a day or two longer, have a look at the list of writers to choose from by clicking over to this page.  There are also a few more over on this site, too.

As a recap of the BIG day (February 29th), the gals over at Just Inappropriate, Southern Fried Children, and Mothers of Brothers Blog and I totally pulled an event out of our collective arses where bloggers are invited to guest post on other people's sites.  It introduces writers to a whole new audience, and it gets the host blogger off the hook for having to write something new that day. 

A total win-win if you ask me. 

People have asked how to contact their desired guest writer, and the best way is to just post a comment on the person's site. 

Also, the nice southern lady who hates for anyone to feel unloved or left out has asked that you email her if you have not been invited to guest-post.  Be careful.  She might adopt you.  Her email is: southernfriedchildren@gmail.com 

In my usual laissez faire style of not actually being required to work for an entire week, please feel free to consider guest-posting on this site.  I'm going rogue and extending Leap Blog Day for an entire week.  I've already selected 2 writers, but I've got 5 spots to fill.  My only caveats:
  • Nothing political
  • Nothing mean 
The first 5 bloggers who are interested in posting here and who can correctly answer this question by emailing me at mom@webandofmothers.com get the spots:

What 1970s variety-show God is my one, true love?

Thank you to everyone who has signed up and here's hoping for an awesomely crazy and  disorganized day!  This is going to be fun!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

By-Line Blues

Professionally, I  have written lots of stuff.  Press releases.  Annual report paragraphs.  Brochures. Training video scripts.  Speeches.

Yet I have never once received an official by-line.  Instead, I was always an anonymous corporate voice.

Nameless. 

Faceless.   

A phantom.     

Do you remember that scene in the movie Rudy where the guys discuss how the only way to be listed as a player for Notre Dame football is to be involved in just one snap of the ball?  It didn't matter how well the practice squad guys performed or how many injuries they sustained - without that one snap, it was as though they never suited up a day in their lives. 

As a writer, I have always felt stuck on the practice squad. 

I know, I know.  Lots of great writers go unpublished.  It's a competitive world out there.  It doesn't make me invisible. 

blah blah blah

Tell that to my ego.

So imagine my excitement when Chicago Parent Magazine notified me that they were going to put one of my essays in their hard copy edition!  I was finally going to get that elusive by-line!  All of those years of diagramming sentences was finally paying off!

Yet being somewhat fatalistic, I am pretty certain that the magazine is going to change its mind or I'm going to be replaced with a sexy story on ergonomic diapers before all this actually transpires. 

In which case, you will still be able to find me here, crying in my Red Bull and depleting my Weight Watchers points by noon each day.

And I will always be so very grateful you showed up.

"I believe that writers, unless they consider themselves terribly exquisite, are at heart people who live by night, a little outside society, moving between delinquency and conformity."

- Guillermo Cabrera Infante

Monday, February 6, 2012

Recovery

Marianne will be on medical leave from the blog today.

Her treatment is shown below:


Yay Giants!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Photo Shoot

To all those who speculated that my good news might be baby #4, nice try.  Unfortunately, I am hermetically sealed.  But given my history of hyperfertility, I fully expect to be on "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant" one day, screaming at the doctor, "but I had a tubal!" 

How funny would that be?

I'll give you another hint.  I'm having a photo shoot today!  This is being done mostly because the only pictures I have of me from the last 2 years involve me either (1) wearing pajamas or (2) drunk at an airport bar.  Not really the look I'd be going for relative to my "good news."

Special thanks to photographer extraordinaire and bus stop mom Becky from Early Bird Photo who is going to find all sorts of "kind" angles today to hide my chins and stomach issues.  I think she may have to shoot me from space.

In the meantime, here is the only family photo I have to prove that I actually birthed three children:



Hubby is in there somewhere, looking all cute and firefighty.  Men in uniform are dreamy.

I'm so dead for calling him"dreamy."  Again.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Big News Coming Soon!

I got the best news yesterday!

I am so ridiculously excited!

And I want to share it all with you!

But I've got to get Joey to skating, Danny to piano, and Jack to violin all within the next hour.

These kids really muck up my Saturday mornings.

So consider this a teaser.*  Or another example of how children keep you from doing what you want. 

And, they make you fat.

To Be Continued.....

*Feel free to guess on the comments section...I love to see what other people define as "good news."

Friday, February 3, 2012

My Super Bowl Pick

With Super Bowl Sunday looming, I spent much of the week trying to decide on my horse.  Which team did I want to claim as my own?

Being a Chicago Bears' Superfan in possession of one Brian Urlacher signed football, I am still somewhat annoyed that my team hasn't delivered since 1985. 

It lives right in my closet, next to my favorite pair of sparkly heels.
Chicagoans are pretty accustomed to one-hundred year waits in between championships. When the city is on the cusp of one, everybody reacts as though Halley's Comet is making another round. The local news media digs up the sole nursing home resident alive at the last pinnacle of sweet victory.  

It has been 103 years since the Cubs last won a World Series, yet they always manage to plaster some unsuspecting great-great-grandma on the front page.  She might not know her own name, but still smiles dizzily for the cameras.  She desperately clutches a blue pennant placed in her hand, obviously confusing it with her latest IV fluid drip.

Which leads me back to this Sunday. In lieu of having a Chicago team to root for, I'm torn between the New York Giants and the New England Patriots.  Great...East Coast Teams.  Like we don't already have a complex about them here in the Midwest.  Second City indeed. 

Always a freaking bridesmaid.

While my husband chose his Super Bowl team based on skill, existing Fantasy Football loyalties, and coaches, I have a far more subjective approach:
  • That rotten Tom Brady (smoking hot as he may be), dumped his aging, pregnant actress girlfriend for a supermodel.  In the world of saggy-stomached middle-aged women, that kind of transgression is unforgivable.  Advantage: Giants
  • My husband's baby brother is a high school buddy of a Giants' pro-bowler.  When I signed the boys up for Brother Rice's sports camp last summer, I met the player's mom who works in the office.  She was super nice and gave my kids suckers.  I can be bought with suckers.  Advantage: Giants
  • Two words: New York.  I lived there for a bit.  I still have friends all over the boroughs.  A Giants' victory would make my pals happy, and perhaps they'd even plan a visit to see their old pal here in Chicago to celebrate.  Advantage: Giants
  • You just know that poor Eli Manning has suffered his whole life from little brother complex.  I relate.  Marcia, Marcia, Marcia (click for reminder).  I was so Jan. Go Eli!  Advantage: Giants
It may not be scientific or remotely sports-related, but that's how I picked my team.  Giants all the way, baby.

Now if I could just talk my husband into letting me wear my Snuggie for the big event, all would be perfect.  That, and my fuzzy pink princess slippers.  Talk about living.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Celebrating the Arts

I asked Jack to play a tune for creative blog inspiration today:

video

It didn't work.  But I did decide on a name for the boys' future Irish brothers band: Marianne is the Best Mom EVER

Rolls right off the tongue. 

Of course they are certainly welcome to go another route with a name if they so choose.  As long as they put "mom" in the title.

It's not like I ask for much.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Blog to Book

I was able to talk fellow blogger Julie Harrison (Mothers of Brothers Blog) into sharing the details of just how she went about getting her first book published. Be sure to check out the Chicago Parent Magazine online story here!