Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Scary Beyond Words

I wanted something really scary for Dan's costume this year.  Something so terrifying, that mothers everywhere would scream and tremble.  Can you guess what I came up with?


Honestly, is there anything more horrifying than a school strike?
For the true meaning of Halloween, click here for my article in today's Chicago Parent.

And happy Halloween!!

Note to self: BLOW OUT candles or a real-live version of Chicago Fire will be at your doorstep.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Out of My Gourd

Does anyone else remember that classic Star Trek episode "The Trouble with Tribbles?" It's the one where the U.S.S. Enterprise is nearly overrun with fast-multiplying little fuzzballs called "tribbles." 

I'm not a big Star Trek fan, but that episode always stuck with me.  I fear it was intended to warn me of things to come. 

My first purchase was a few fun little gourds:

Jack couldn't be persuaded to exchange the straw hat guy for a pilgrim man to complete the Thanksgiving theme.  Stubborn.

Next, I received a flyer in the mail about our bank giving away free pumpkins.  When have I ever turned down free crap?  We stopped by immediately:

Jack and Joey were caught with Sharpies.  Danny piped in, "I wanted to tell them to stop, mom, but you're always reminding me that I'm 'not the mother.'"

Factor in a visit to the pumpkin patch and a couple more pumpkins:

I tried sneaking in a high-zoom photo of Daniel from across the farm, and the kid caught me.  Not only does he hate having his picture taken, but he has a sixth sense for cameras.  It's making it very difficult to document his childhood.
...and then there's Joey who would rather have his picture taken than go to Chuck E. Cheese.
Add another school field trip to the patch, some gifts from family, and without warning, I understood the trouble with tribbles:



I can hear them laughing at night.  They are also plotting.  I think they might know what I did to their kin:


Tribbles are delicious.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Joe's Review of "Chicago Fire"

I apologize to all those who have been anxiously awaiting Joe's reaction to the new NBC series Chicago Fire.  I am delayed in reporting back because I wouldn't allow my husband to watch the DVR'ed first episode without me and my trusty pen set to record his every thought.

As a Chicago fireman, Joe refuses to suspend disbelief for purposes of network television (see related blog here).  Joe is also incapable of remaining quiet about his dissatisfaction regarding any and all perceived inaccuracies. 

It was the perfect storm to showcase the glory that is my husband.  I decided to let the man's words speak for themselves:

Scene: Firefighters sit relaxed on the way to a fire, wearing t-shirts and suspenders: 

What the f*ck?  Nobody's wanting to get ready? Put their gear on maybe?  Or are they on their way to a cotillion?

Scene: While arriving at a burning building, firefighters banter even as a person is reported trapped in the building: 

Take your time, fellas. It's not like it's a FIRE or anything.

Scene: Young Firefighter Darden is killed tragically at the blaze:

I guess Darden wasn't to have a big role in this show?

Paramedics and firefighters continue to report for work at all different times of day and night:

Doesn't anybody work a full 24-hour shift at this house? What the hell. I guess it's half-days for everyone!

Scene:  A new firefighter is shown wearing a "CANDIDATE" t-shirt with the words clearly printed across it:

Look at you with your fancy candidate shirt! Yeah. We don't have those.

Scene: Yet another fire:

The smoke on this show is great. You can see everything perfectly. I gotta find out what we're doing wrong, because I've NEVER seen that kind of magic-ass smoke.  

Scene:  The show's "chief" races to leave a charity boxing match he's been participating in while still wearing his boxing gear.  He arrives at the latest SUPER-fire:

Oh, look. He's coming from the boxing ring now. Are there NO OTHER CHIEFS IN THE CITY???

Scene:  Two more firefighters fall through a floor of a burning building:

Man. These are some bad luck firemen.  I'd be looking for a transfer by now.  And eating a whole lotta Lucky Charms.

Scene:  A hospital, where a previously-introduced paramedic stops a doctor to inquire about the health of a little girl she had brought in earlier.  The doctor flips through his clipboard and updates her:

I see. He's got the status of EVERY patient in the ENTIRE hospital right there. That's some clipboard. Better than a Smartphone.




So when it was over, I asked Joe what kind of "official review" I could provide to my readership.  His response?

Tell 'em it didn't suck as much as I thought it would.  But "Rescue Me" was way funnier, and the guys looked like real firemen.  These ones?  They're practically flexing for the camera.  It's ridiculous.

As Joe headed up to bed, I was sure to DVR the rest of the season.  I think I may institute a new drinking game based on every gratuitous shirtless firemen scene.  I'll be smashed before the first commercial break.

Not that I'm complaining. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Standardized Insanity

Click here for my latest in Chicago Parent and my stance on standardized tests. 

Here's a little hint:



Monday, October 22, 2012

Is Gluttony a Mortal or Venial Sin?

I bought this pumpkin pie "for the kids."

My kids don't actually like pumpkin pie.

I, on the other hand, LOVE pumpkin pie.

I tried really hard to not eat the whole thing in one day:


This picture was taken 15 minutes before "the end of the day."

I won't tell you how this shameful tale ended.

Moral of the story:  No more pumpkin pie for the kids.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Fairy or Felon?

Jack finally lost one of his front teeth.  He was very proud and excited.

He was not as enthused about turning over his prized possession to the Tooth Fairy:


He requested that I "bag up" his little chomper and take a picture while I was doing my standard "lost tooth" photo documentation:


The kid's name is fitting.  He totally looks like a Jack-o'-lantern:


Jack took his baggie to school and promptly lost it and its precious contents.

My son is now out a couple bucks, a tooth, and the ability to eat a Taffy Apple for a few months.

I, on the other hand, am up one blog entry.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Evidence of Ghosts

So I went on one of those scary ghost tours the other day (see full story here in today's Chicago Parent) and the guide said that you can often see spirits on film that are not apparent using the naked eye.

I decided to investigate my front lawn for lost souls:

This ghost emitted a unique aroma of Downey fabric softener.

I think this spirit may have been a little drunk as he kept walking into the tree.
This little fellow seemed to corroborate the notion that ghosts are often quite cold.  He asked for his coat.

Well there you have it.  Indisputable proof that there are spirits among us - ones who  repeatedly demand juice boxes and Pop Tarts.

Monday, October 15, 2012

When Bad Things Happen to Good (Little) People

Joey got a really cool Batman birthday present from his Aunt Mary a few weeks ago:


All three boys have been playing with it daily.

Yet when I looked around for some of my missing vintage Fisher Price Little People, I was stumped.

Then I looked closer:


Forget the Bastille.  Apparently the new prison du jour is the Bat-Cave. 

And where the heck is Jean Valjean when you need him?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Only 73 Days Until Christmas!

I know there are people out there who get really annoyed when Christmas starts stepping all over the toes of Halloween and Thanksgiving. 

Yet when Christmas is your favorite child, you make excuses.

Christmas is so my favorite child.

And LOOK.  Just LOOK what I already glommed onto with my Kohl's 30% off coupon and "Kohl's Cash":


Joey was a good little trooper as I hemmed and hawed, debating whether or not it was wise to continue spending all of our family's expendable income on Christmas decorations.  He was rewarded with an ornament of his own selection:


I thought he picked it out because it had glitter and was shiny.

Nope.

As he marched into the house to show his brothers, he cried out:

LOOK guys!  Mommy got me the Ti-PANIC (Titanic)!

I suppose everyone has their "thing."  I love Christmas.  My boys prefer historical disasters like the Hindenburg where they can recreate the spectacle with leftover birthday balloons and Legos.

Should I be worried?
  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dear Marianne

Somewhere, Ann Landers is rolling over in her grave.

Click here for my first (and probably last) attempt at an advice column in today's Chicago Parent.

I'm the mom who prepares kids for picture day by wiping dried Pop Tarts off their chins and agreeing to stained ties from First Communion.  The sweater, by the way, is six years old and two sizes too small. 

When taking advice, always consider the source. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Stumped

The wonderful world of blogging has gifted me with all kinds of interesting, funny, and thoughtful people from so many different places.  Most bloggers have learned to disguise these relationships when speaking of them to non-bloggers.  We don't want to appear weird when we recap the funny things that happened to our "friends." 

We never admit that we've never actually met our "friends." Yet we can easily recite their kids' names, television viewing habits, and most-treasured hobbies. I rely on my blog buddies quite regularly for a quick pick-me-up on days when I'm feeling a little wiped or in need of laugh.

This morning was one such example. I spent much of the day at a crowded school pool watching my sons' first swim meet. By the time we arrived home from the event, my lungs were on fire. I apparently have more sensitivity to chlorine than your average bear. 

I became a bit depressed, wondering how I could transform my kids into the next Michael Phelps with a chlorine allergy and an inability to attend their meets.  I checked my mail as I walked in the front door and found an extra-padded envelope. And when I opened it? You'll never guess:


It was from Andrea at Maybe It's Just Me (she is one of my favorite bloggers and I get excited every time I see a new post from her). She had read my ramblings about my love for Box Tops and felt compelled to drop her stash in the post to yours truly.

I was touched. As I know Andrea's birthday is coming up, I wanted to do something special in return. I remembered her funny blog about this ugly monkey doll:

Photo courtesy of Andrea who I hope won't sue me
I thought it would be great coup on my part to surprise her with the horribly hairy little  "Leila." 

I assumed something of this...er..."quality" would naturally retail for $19.99 plus S&H. 

Nope.

Ugly monkey doll is $149.99 plus S&H.

Now I know that Andrea doesn't really want this thing.  She is worth every bit of the $149.99, but not for a gag gift that she'd probably hide away from the world, respectful of the likelihood of it frightening small children.

But this whole thing has got me wondering two things:

(A)  Who out there is actually paying $149.99 for ugly monkey doll?

and

(B)  NOW what am I supposed to get Andrea?

Feel free to send suggestions to mostlymarianne@gmail.com.
 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

A Boy Mom

After back-to-back sons, I just knew #3 was going to be a girl.

Miss Cleo I am not.

For that story, check out today's Chicago Parent!

Her name would have been Mary-Margaret Rita (or as we already nicknamed her, "Mary Margarita").