Thursday, April 30, 2009

Gifts

April has been a crazy month with birthdays and events. Now we are staring down the barell of May with Mother's Day next week. It has me thinking a lot about gifts. I think that we are rather impractical, as a people, at gift giving. Give mom breakfast in bed, and a mess in the kitchen that everyone is absolutely dumbfounded as to how to clean up. Nope. Not a gift.

We give each other stuff that we don't need. For example: My sis-in-law went to a bridal shower of an 18 yr old, where all of the gifts had a heart theme. Heart shaped ice tray, measuring cups, throw rugs, car mats etc. Heart, heart heart! It will come as no surprise that this girl probably should have graduated High School (at least!) before getting married, and gotten herself an education as she is now divorced with a bunch of heart paraphernalia.

So, here are some ideas of what I think should be gifted for:

Mother's Day:
*Dad should teach himself, and each child a new skill. "Look mom! I have figured out how to put my shoes away when I come home! Tommy can make his bed and Suzy can now scrub the toilet..."
*Dinner out - with no one. Just alone.
*Dad comes home at 10 am, on a Tuesday, and asks, "What can I fix for you around the house? Leave me a list, the kids, and go window shopping - here's a $20. I don't want to see it when you get back..."
*The receipt for the expensive jewelry he bought at the last second. Then mom can return it and get something that she really wants. Like an attachment for the Bosch, or a new 1/4 ton of laundry detergent so it can stop eating into the food budget.

Marriage:
*$250 in counseling. Go on, I dare you to deny it!
*A calendar for the groom that marks off her cycle. He can start planning on being in the dog house well in advance.
*A metal ladder. It will last longer than the hymn book with their name on it.
*Coupon organizer
*Vacuum - which will get more of a workout than the lacy nightie.
*Bulk Laundry Detergent - not very sexy, but it will get used more than the vacuum.
*A case of tp and 72 hr kits - "Love is all you need" until you run out of tp.
*Cooking lessons. Not the kind where you cook a gourmet meal, but rather, "How to feed a family of 5 for 4 weeks on 3 dollars" variety.

New Baby:
*A case of Baby Tylenol and Ibuprofen.
*Carpet Cleaner - industrial strength - one that can remove organic stains and red liquid baby Tylenol.
*A pallet of wipes.
*Stock in Huggies/Pampers and Enfamil; might as well try to get rich while you're in the poor house!
*Gift cards towards car seats. Just when you recover from the new addition's first seat, it's time to buy that little bum a new car seat!
*Something to childproof your computer from little fingers that want to hit the "shut down" button.
*Mega toilet plunger. You will be amazed at what goes down there and then STICKS.

Child's Birthday:
*Something for mom, like a massage, "This is so your parents will keep you!"
*For teens: A week in a 3rd world country.
*For tweens: everything you got on YOUR birthday at their age


I feel a bit scroogish with my suggestions, but in another real way, I know I'm right. No one would "ooooh" and "aaahhhh" when these gifts were opened, especially by the recipients, but everyone who's been there would say, "Wow, that's a smart gift!"

Let me know if I've left anything out...

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Medical Binder 101

Wow - I have always admired the wisdom of those who seek out my opinion, and for Meredith, here is a snapshot of my family's medical binder system. It's easy to do, and oh-so-helpful. You will need:

*A binder - I get the sturdiest 2 - 3" money can buy, Heavy Duty with a clear plastic insert front. Each of my kids have a different color.
*A nylon binder pencil case.
*A binder folder. It's just a binder velcro-closure folder that holds loose information that won't fit in the pencil case. (It's that light green plastic you see in the photo...)
* Plastic sheet protectors. I buy them by the gross from Costco.
* 8x10 picture of my child. I like head shots myself...
* Pretty scrapbook paper - this is just if you're in the mood, or want to color code each child, or just have a "cohesive" look for your binders...


1. Assemble all of your pages. From back to front insert plenty of plastic sheets, binder folder, then the pencil case.
2. Assemble your medical docs in chronological order. If it's an important two-sided page, you can put one page in the clear plastic. But if it's not, I do two faces of documents per page so I can see the pertinent info. If it's a packet, like, "What to do when you're TWO!", I just stick the whole thing in one page protector.

You can try and do sections, but Dr.s usually ask questions that start with "When was the last time you..."

3. Immunization card and pens go in the pencil case.
[ Note: When getting shots for kids I have the nurse fill out the information FIRST and give the shot SECOND so that I can take my wailing kid out post haste. If Matthew is there with me (...it happened with the first two kids), I'll send him out to make the next appointment while the nurse is filling out the Immunization card.] Slick as snot.
4. Put the oldest documents and information at the back.
5. Copy of Birth Certificate on top.
6. Picture of child on front cover with all pertinent Dr.s information taped to the picture.
7. Map of the directions to your pediatrician. This is for those who move a lot, or have a terrible memory, or have their husband take the kids to their appointments, or all of the above.

You see a picture of Benjamin's folder with the business cards of heart specialists, eye specialist, every pediatrician he's ever seen, pharmacies where Rx are sent, dentist info, nurse-on-call numbers, and school info (so you can call the school when you are doing a Drs appt). He was a preemie, and his medical record has been copied AT LEAST eight times. Now, it's a one stop shop. Since all information is on the cover, you can glance at the info you need without searching all over the place for numbers, faxes or addresses.

Now, some would disagree with my method for "identity theft" information purposes, and I acknowledge their wisdom, and yet still do it my own way. I have yet to hear that, "They robbed us and took the medical binders!" So, I keep an original birth certificate in the velcro binder folder as well as the kids SS card. Usually when I need one, I also need the other. I also keep their Congratulations from the White House, and collectible stamps there as well. You could also store finger print information, locks of hair, whatever your heart desires. It's all in one place.

For "worst case scenario" purposes, there is an additional copy of their birth certificate in our "House-Burning-Down-Grab-It-Case." All of our "sensitive" information is in an accessible Suze Orman brief case. It will be moved over to a safety deposit box... some day. Just not today. I have to trust that you won't rob me...

So, there you have it! It doesn't take much time to set up if you have all of your materials ready, and it is just as easy to do all of your kids at once than to get stuff ready separately. Any time you go to the Drs office, grab the Dr.s business card and tape it RIGHT THERE to your kids pic.

If you are taking your binder with you to their appointments, there is no reason not to take 5 seconds and ask, "Do you have a piece of tape?" If you can say it faster than that, then it takes even less time! I have never been turned down yet for tape, and the appointment people are usually impressed that you have "so together." Just don't forget to bring the binder home with you. ;D

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Happy Birthday Samlet!

video
Happy Birthday to my darling Baby Sam. It has been such a wonderful and adventurous year. At one year old Sam can:
Scream when he wants action from someone
Click his tongue
Laugh
Call out for "Maaahm"
Call out for "Dada"
Slide independently off the bed and couch, sometimes landing on his feet, sometimes on his butt.
Blow Raspberries
Smile
Walk
Find something hidden under the covers (if he sees you put it there...)
Pull my hair
Pull Benjamin's hair
Operate the remote control. He can turn it off RIGHT when you are in the middle of something interesting.
Dial China
Put in the mysterious key combination that will reprogram your computer, boot you off your page and send the whole system into shut down.
Clap
Read facial cues
Understand routine
Sleep through the night.
Hold his own bottle
Request a shower
Play in a toilet
Pull things out of a small drawer
Eat just about anything
Resist getting buckled in his car seat
Identify chocolate, find it, eat it, smear it all over...
Anticipate tickling
Play
Understand "no" and completely ignores it





Can you identify this look alike?

I love this darling boy. He truly is a joy, and I love to cuddle him. For his first birthday, we are putting him in shoes. We'll have to see how that goes. Party tonight at Aunt Reagan's! Love you Samlet.

And the pic? That's my mom. ;D

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Overcompensating....

Did you know that they have been mislabeling bras? I am so annoyed, especially after my latest bra adventure. For those of you struggling with your size and self-esteem, let me show it to you from the "too big" girls end. Yes, yes, it's true. Could anything exist - yes, and could my "C and greater" girlfriends, please give me an "amen," and feel free to chime in here.

I muster up the courage to go bra shopping at Lane Bryant, which is for chubby girls, and I get myself a lovely "sugar" colored bra. It's my waist size with some D's after it. I hate buying a bra. In younger years, it was a delight to see all of the cute prints with mickey mouse, plaid, and sweet colored lacy things. Front hook, back hook, whatever suits you. A few kids later and I have now moved into the Industrial Strength, over-the-shoulder-boulder-holder genre.

If you're not sure which category you are in, just check the hooks. If you have more than three, and your bra is named after an ugly Russian woman, (I.E. THE HELGA, or THE UBER-MAGDA), and if you have double row stitching, and rivets; OR the thread used to stitch it could also sew a button on your couch, ~ then yes, you have left "adorable land," and are fighting now to keep those "girls" off your waist... or knee caps. Your color choices are WHITE, BLACK and BEIGE. Though I understand that you can get hot pink and purple in certain areas of South Harlem...

So, imagine my dismay when, after only ONE washing, the seam ruptures under the cup. NO NO NO NONONOOOOOOOO! I do NOT want to go bra shopping again! No, I think I'll slink back in to the Lane Bryant and toss the defective product in a paper bag on the counter and just swap it out. Which I did. They showed me (held high so EVERYONE in the store could see) two of what seemed like similar bras, and I just pointed to the one that looked closest so they could pop it in the bag and I could get the heck out of there.

Would you believe that it was a plunge PADDED bra!!! The first time I tried it on at home, I had muffin top. My bussies popping up OVER the top of my bra! I took the darn thing off and realized that there were these air pockety plastic things concealed inside the bra. IN A DD BRA! WHO IN THE HECK IS SUPPLEMENTING A DD BRA! I took out the pockets and tried to get used to the plunge effect. It was so bad, so awful, I just knew that I would be trekking back to take back my "take back" bra. Which I did out of panic and mortification, not courage.

The overly cheery sales lady looked at my receipt and proceeded to help me out. "Yah, these run a little small...." Well, that explains the seam popping. I thought that first bra was a little tight, but like a new pair of shoes it needed to be broken in... So she measures me -in the middle of the store with onlooking shoppers - and advised me that in THIS brand, I could get a "G" for good coverage ( I LIE NOT ) or go up in waist size to compensate for a smaller cup. WHAT THE WHAT! Come to find out, this is all a marketing ploy to help smaller busted women salvage their self-esteem while simultaneously making the rest of us feel like circus freaks! I tried on a bra, shook my head at the size I was trekking home, and resolved to find a place that would see me for my true bra size.

So, if you are somewhere in the "B" range, wanting to be a luscious DD, and want it padded with air pockets so that you can sneeze in your cleavage, why not try out Lane Bryant? Apparently, it's not just for chubby "girls" anymore. Then we'll do lunch. Me in my DD, and you in yours. :D Perfect!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Out of Small and Simple Things...

The world is a harsh place for some of us. Especially the unemployed older woman from a small, nowhere town, who lives with her cat "Pebbles" and admits that she's never been married, or kissed.

But if ever song and situation came together, it is here. "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Miserables. A song of a girl who's life has not turned out the way she'd hoped. And Susan Boyle singing it makes me want to cry, and stand up and cheer.

It is what I imagine heaven to be; where the love and approval that has been wanting comes with thunderous applause and standing ovation. She hoped to rock an audience, and she is currently rocking the world. You go girl! May your brass ring be grasped and rattled. A privilege to hear and see.

Susan Boyle Rocks "Britain's Got Talent"

Sorry to make you follow a link - my skills are low this morning. But I'm feeling so much better about my day. :D

Friday, April 3, 2009

My Girl Scout

Well, Abigail has survived her first cookie season as an official Brownie scout. Not only did she sell cookies door-to-door, but she also went outside the local Smith's grocery store to vend her wares. There are 12 boxes to a case, and after 5 hours, she and her fellow scouts sold over 15 cases. Here is some of the things they said,
"Girl Scout Cookies! Last Chance of the Season!"
"Come and Get 'em! 3 Flavors left!"
"Here today, gone tomorrow!"

It was fun - except for the awkward situation where someone bought the last box of Thin Mints while another customer was coming up breathlessly with the cash, "Here! My mom wants all the Thin Mints you have!" I hope that guy really relished the last box of Troop 1063 for the season!

April Snows...

If April Showers bring May flowers, what do April snows bring? These pics were taken outside our place just moments ago. It is overcast and blowing snow. I feel like I'm in a "7 Brides for 7 Brothers" set. Still sweeping snow off the porch in April. I mean, come ON! It's even on the calendar that it's supposed to be spring. So, hopefully you're a little sunnier than we are here.