“Hey Kids, Where are you?”

Parenting has had a funny way of revealing the external realities of my behavior and likes to continually deliver it to my awareness brutally, honestly, and, most likely, pronounced incorrectly. For instance, before my son turned 2, I had little to no awareness at the frequency or the intensity with which I reacted to a mistake, mishap or mess by use of the exclamation “Damn It!” While I might have to spend a good amount of time with Pavlov’s Dog in a cage of my own before I officially break my reactionary bad habit, at least I’m aware? I’m sorry to James, Josie, Rita, and their future and current teachers, friends, and parents of friends for their frequent use of a word they really should not know, and my inability to break my bad habit and theirs. On a number of occasions, under the maternal wisdom of my big sister, mother to 6 non-swearing boys, my attempts to curtail its usage and convince my kids that what I actually say is “Slam it!” a phrase that just rhymes with the nonsensical “damn it!” has also proved fruitless. Please note that it has been successful in turning “moron” into “linora” (magic, i guess?) and Sh*t into “I quit!” Most of the conversations involving a much more frequently used ‘damn it’ have ended much more dismally for me with a convinced and confident James explaining, “no mom, it is definitely ‘Damn it.’ YOU taught us it.”

During today’s late afternoon, pre dinner hour of desperation appropriately coined “The 4′ O’clock Meltdown,” for all family members, especially Mom, my children began to play house as the parents with their invisible children. I learned a few new things:

1) Though it often feels like my children do not give a “damn it!” as to whether or not they flee the table before they finish their “wreckfist, wunch, or dinner,” bringing to the forefront of my psyche a sense of inferior disciplinary skills and presence, they do in fact experience a very strict tone, inflection, and the sound seems to come mostly from the throat.

2) As the title of the post indicates, I often lose them. And most often, they are found in the bathtub.

3) 10 minutes into their role play, the children received a visit from their grandmother. She brought presents and James and Josie, the parents, had absolutely no control over their contents or whether or not they could have them. Even after a stern warning from Dad, “eat your dinner first, kids” the apparent disobeying left him rolling his eyes in powerlessness and “I guess this is what’s happening.” Kids: this is your mother speaking. Your awareness is duly noted even though I can do nothing about it.

4) I ask the question, “were you playing in my make up again,” much more than I realized.

5) I think, as indicated by what appeared to be lots of refused hugging kissing and back pats from the invisibles, that maybe they find me a bit too affectionate.

6) They want a dog.

7) I have successfully communicated a love and enthusiasm for grocery shopping and bringing them along with me despite my true feelings.

Additionally, when I interrupted their play with “how many children do you have?” both of the capable of semi-coherent verbalization said “7.”

No, Kids, there are 3 of you. 7 is just what it feels like. Looks like I taught them that too. 

5 Favorite Spring Trends and Where You Can Find Them on Sale Today

Each year for Lent I tend to fast from shopping. So for the next to weeks, I plan on binging 🙂

Inspired by the Runway, economically delivered to your Wardrobe! Most of the sales are today and tomorrow only so hurry!

Banana Republic: 35% off

JCrew : 40% off

Anthropologie: Tons of Legit Fresh Cuts

BCBG: additional 30% off

Piperlime: always great deals

First! Here are my favorite of many trends from the Runway according to the Harper’s Bazaar. So what if most of these are from 2013? I googled incorrectly. 2014 to come to you soon!

1. Black and White Geometric

Found at Piperlime

Chevron Stripe Peplum TopNavy Stripe Ponte Flounce Dress

Banana Republic 35% off

Inked Brushstroke Tank

Find it at Anthro. 

And if anyone could find a knock off of last years Oscar de la Renta? Please?

2. Monochromatic Color Theory

Sabine Pleated Maxi SkirtHive & Honey Mixed Stitch Sweater

Wear them together! Found at Piperlime and on sale.

Runway Celine Cascading Silk DressLoading zoom

Runway Celine Cascading Silk Dress

BCBG: majorly on sale and comes in 3 bright single colors

3. Whites and Delicates with a side of Frills 

Snowmeadow DressOrigami Shift

Both found at Anthro

White Collars: Found at JCREW

4. Florals

Found at Piperlime for under $40

Framed Pink Floral TopFloral Sequin Peplum TopPoppy Print BlouseStriped Floral Fluted Skirt

Banana Republic extra 35% off

Go Comfy: Left Anthro, Right Jcrew

Patched Brocade Sweatshirt  

Go Feminine!

Cheshire DressFiamma Pencil Skirt


5. And a Leather bonus!

Mixed Moto Jacket

I own this and I can’t say enough great about it. Go get it way on sale at Anthro. The leather is phenomenal, the fit is fantastic, and its balanced in a way that I don’t actually feel like I need a motorcycle, because let’s be honest, motorcycles terrify me.

Happy Shopping, go see Hallie! and then go see Fountains of Home where the link up is this week.

A Snow Day

As the wife to an employee of a Catholic School, there is absolutely nothing more I look forward to than a 5:36am automated voice call that says “two-hour delay.” It is made better when that call is followed by an even more exciting 7:36am call that says “school is closed,” for seemingly little to no reason on this warmer than the recent average, bright sunny day. And since all boy Catholic schools tend to do mostly whatever they want, anyway, there is little to no threat of him having to make up this day some other day.  With Josephine awake and hall darting since 4:45am, and as a mother who seriously lacks any creativity so early in the morning, or at most times of the day, it was clear that the idea to pack the entire contents of her wardrobe into a suitcase and dream a wonderful adventure would only distract a girl of such rambunction for 2-3 moments or less. With that, it is with great gratitude that I went back to sleep for approximately 7 uninterrupted minutes, claiming his day off for my own. With Jim helping with breakfast duty, and three kids who don’t go to school on Tuesdays yet anyway, it is clear that there is no one in this house that appreciates, or benefits more from, a “snow day” than I do.

By 10 am, the number of times I called my husband’s name must have surely surpassed 10,000. It wasn’t even that I wanted anything, necessarily. Maybe it was a pursuit of some sort of married solidarity on a day I normally forgo alone. Some sort of “just look at what they do!” at 8am on a Tuesday when he is otherwise counseling young men to be better individuals and closer to God, surely an indispensable role of encouragement and wisdom that high school boys most definitely need.  Here I am waging a spiritual battle of patience and pre-coffee fortitude that needs counseling all its own. It’s just that the level of fix involved in a little partner-up is truly the saving grace of a stay at home mom, like me.  As if he has never seen the three-minute begging to end their juice withdrawal, followed by 20 seconds of chugging silence, then the what seems like an intravenous high indicated by barefoot kitchen island laps that inevitably end with someone smashing their face in the come down.  Its all just so much more entertaining when Jim is home, so thanks to the Big Man for the weather and the husband.

And since snow days should be had in the snow, like all other days of this winter, the activity before second breakfast involves 45 minutes of dressing in snow gear for approximately 17 minutes of outdoor play. Rita waddles with two boxing like mittens stretched out, her eyes mostly, but barely visible. James, with his snowpants missing, wears purple and is not happy about it. Josie, free as the snowflakes falling, dresses herself and spends most of her time flying down sledding hills face first and with no fear.

Perhaps the best  part is that on days like today, the kids only want what Grace has coined the “fun parent.” And I, most certainly, am not that parent.

Snowman? Dad’s got it.

Hold me? No mom, put me down.

Zip me? Would you mind if I asked daddy?

Hey, Dad? What’s for lunch? You making it? Yep!

And with that let me be the only one on the internet to say, “carry on with as much fervor as you like, Winter.”

“Vawentines” day

Valentines are what my husband affectionately refers to as “crap.” Though I am not one to ever refuse an opportunity to binge on chocolate, I tend to agree. The one year we did celebrate included a scavenger hunt around the house in which Jim placed several clues far out of the reach of his 5ft tall wife. I was too lazy to get a latter, so maybe the new tenants are enjoying the candy I couldn’t reach.

I did, however, have full intentions on teaching my kids all about the traditions of forced romanticism. As I chugged the cart vehicle around Target with three kids in tow, I explained all the in and outs and what have you’s about cards and candy and affection, James interrupted. “Uh mom, I’m not really interested in this.” His words, consistent with those of his father, did not hold up when he realized that he too would be receiving so much great crap to join the crowded drawers of his bathroom.

So, we’ve drawn hearts and made approximately 4 million cards for people we don’t know but may be in need of a red glittery note signed with a backwards J and scribble. Sugar intake has reached its max. Jim tried stealing the card I got for him by giving it to me first, so i think its a lackadaisical draw. We later got kicked out of my sister’s house when a red piñata party turned wet and wild with an indoor super soaker competition. (I’d like to point out that my children were more the victims of the situation, but Rita did go to town with a heart stamp and hard wood floors, so the welcome was overstayed in a number of ways. And hopefully those 6 boys give their mom something nice because she likes Vday and gave birth to 6 boys, and they just majorly soaked her basement with water guns.)

Even though Valentine’s Day is not for me, I do very much appreciate the Church’s celebration of World Marriage Week. It conveniently coincides with the legend of St. Valentine and a personal favorite Gospel. We are reminded of our essence as the “salt of the earth, the light of the world” and I am eternally grateful that my marital vocation is the way in which I get to attempt this mission. It was a silly discussion almost 10 years ago between me and JIm and a bunch of others at a Park City, Utah Asian restaurant, in which Jim suddenly became very attractive. His explanation of the meaning and power of salt as flavor and fuel for the earth and his demonstration of a spiritual interest, was the first time after years of knowing him, that the conversation got deeper than Dumb and Dumber. So here’s to World Marriage Week and salty dinners!

And for all you love birds, some rules of fair fighting when the flowers are dead and cherubs are busy:

1. Echo and empathize what the other has said before expressing your own feelings. The acknowledgement of being understood, especially in moments of difficulty, is enormously helpful.

2. If a fight takes place in front of the kids, so should the apology.

3. If its heated, calm down and discuss later.

4. Eliminate the words never and always. BUT! Never, ever, under any circumstances, ever, use the word fat.

5. Insinuating that your wife resembles an elephant in the 9th month of pregnancy is a solid path toward divorce.

May the weekend be good and lovely, and may the chocolate be as delicious as the wine. And if someone serves you a heart shaped steak, don’t eat it.

P.S.: Did you know that St. Valentine protested a bad emperor by marrying couples when marriage was outlawed as a way to promote men from going off to an unjust war? That is cool. Heart shaped steak and overpriced flowers…not so much.

7 Quick Mom Confessions

1) In another case of the younger sister using the qualities of sly and stealth to continually antagonize her older, quick to react and quicker to head flail in tears, brother,  Josie has once again proved herself the victor. Four long days ago, James came running to his momma unable to find, blanky, his infant attachment object. The house was scoured and it was perhaps mom who was the most upset. The determination to find it once and for all returned this morning to a serious level with a stern voice to match. In the 40th minute of search, a sweet, mildly antagonistic, and genuinely entertained voice indicated knowledge of its whereabouts.

“Maybe some little giwrl took it” she popped her hip and flashed her skinny arm.

“Which little girl, Josephine?”

“A little girl who likes to wear pink…a little girl like me” she said with her best version of a wink and a giggle.

“Do you know where his blanky is?” I said on the fourth day of frustration.

“No, but a little girl might.”

Up to her room I went.

Roughly 20 minutes of searching through backpacks full of shoes, most of them stolen from my closet and in the shape of stiletto, with a few mozzarella sticks mixed in, I found his most loved object hidden in her trunk underneath 7 stuffed animals and several blankets of her own.

It was, in fact, a little girl in pink. Purposeful, Impressive, Mean. Isn’t two years too little to know how to pull off such a long-standing prank?

2) Two nights ago I fed my kids broccoli with dinner. We moved on to dessert in record time. I was happy, full of pride and esteem for my children who crave healthy, nutritious vegetables, certain of their brain development, and maturing taste buds. Yesterday, as I began to tackle the dirtiest of the dirty laundry, I noticed some extra bulging  weight in Josephine’s pants. Their contents? Several uneaten broccoli stems successfully hidden and completely undetected from perhaps the most gullible mother of all time.

3) When the grocery store with which I am accustomed rearranges and goes under construction, I apparently take it personally, need two hours to find the applesauce, and somehow find myself searching for lemons in the spaghetti aisle. I thought it would be acceptable for my daughter to still be in pajamas, since we made it there before breakfast at 8:30 am. When we checked out at 10am with little to show and a cart full of chocolate almond milk, new lip liner, and shoplifted pretzels, the experience begins to look much more nutritionally and fashionably irresponsible. To my credit, there were fewer tears than 2 million, and no one jumped out of their cart and into the arms of an old woman wearing a bird hat. Please put the yogurt back where it belongs!!!!

4) While completing a blogging profile, I asked my husband, “how do you think a person would describe my blog in less than 200 words?” “How you deal with your not quiet life of sh** and piss.” When I began to gently berate him for his indifference to my poorly written sentences and posts about mostly nothing, he responded again, “if you were a queen, you would have killed 800 messengers by now.” What do your husbands think of your blogs?

5) Recently, I sat tired on the couch as all three kids jumped from the ottoman onto my head, and I really didn’t mind the neck jolting, because it was the most still I had been in hours. After jump #4,476,895, a feather flew in the air, because hand-me-down couches aren’t actually made to be used as gymnastics equipment. As it was spotted fluttering, James, in a moment of pure childhood magic, caught it in his hand. His eyes widened and his jaw dropped. “MOM! We have to find the bird that lost this feather!” Before I began to correct him and explain the feather’s origins, I realized and seized the precious opportunity and for the next 25 minutes, I scored myself 5 emails returned in stillness and to the sounds of “here birwdie, birwdie, birwdie..”

6) We seriously interrupted some lady’s chance to work quietly, and some other large book club meeting, at Panera when I met two other moms and their kids for lunch. At the 37th dirty look, I decided, its Panera bread at noon on a Friday. Trying to work quietly and participate in a conference call or discuss a short story printed on a paper brochure while seated next to 7 kids under 4 is just as, if not more of a fruitless pursuit to my kids and their friends’ effort to pretend the recycling whole on the garbage can is a voice portal while Rita licks cookie off the floor. Our macaroni and cheese was delicious.

7) You know those days when you forgo the bra and embrace the sweatpants for early school drop off?  That is the exact day my sister runs out of gas in the fire lane and has to request assistance from the same maintenance man who once prevented the same car from exploding when she tried to jump her car incorrectly and also the same man who was called by several neighbors when her husband tried to host a kid friendly bonfire with a 9 month old Christmas tree. She will forever be the mother I most look up to in this life.

Go to Jen for bunches more. Happy Friday, folks.


The Day that Crosby came to visit.

The title of this post may in fact be misleading if a reader is hoping to hear about a visit from a superstar hockey player. This story is about a two-pound Yorkie named after said hockey player in perhaps the worst, most gender confused, and most glaringly disappointing pursuit of namesake anthropomorphism. If it’s any consolation for readers hoping for my husband’s Doppelganger, I am writing while watching hockey and The Mighty Ducks in between periods. 

Dogs: I have nothing against their dignity as dogs but I begin to grow annoyed when they are treated as people. Crosby, my parents two-pound female dog whose only similarity to the game of hockey is her approximately equal size to a puck, believes itself to be human, and is treated mostly like an incarnate deity. In the car, she sits only in the passenger seat. For dinner, there is a seat at the table and a plate of pasta prepared, ice cream for dessert. In the master bed it sleeps and also poops whenever it wants. It growls and it bites but insults against its nature are handled similar to a new mother hearing “your baby is ugly,” or something else equally absurd. But with my nest full and growing its hard to say what I won’t do when its empty, so carry on parents and enjoy your 6th baby.

Children: they challenge each and every characteristic about their parents, not by calculated intention, but by their nature and love anything contrary to their parents desires, mostly for their parent’s good and definitely for the salvation of their souls, most especially their mother’s particular distaste of a yipper dog.

Crosby was desperate for food and shelter and my sister got out of it because her kids are allergic.

The first notice of her four paw pitter patter, ears flopping, appearing extra  weighed down and floppy due to a few too many gourmet cheeseburgers, sent shrieking excited squeals through each of my children’s bodies and out through their mouths at a pitch that Crosby probably heard better than me. Before either parent could explain the terms of agreement of Crosby’s one and only overnight visit, each child spoke.

“OH MOMMY I AM SO HAPPY, I HAVE ALWAYS WANTED TO HAVE A DOG FOREVER!” screamed a very ill-informed James.

“Wow, it is just so nice to have a yoggy, woofy woof woof woof, you are mine, all mine” Josie spoke in terms she hoped Crosby would understand.

“Squeal, ahhhh, squeal, yippee” Rita scampered and chased until she could finally grasp the dog’s excess neck skin just begging a one year old to clamp as accidentally aggressively as possible.

They fed her juice from their cups, eggs straight from their plates. Chocolate was stolen from the pantry’s top shelf and generously shared with the probably allergic dog. Petting was attempted, but grabbing and throwing was much more effective and seemingly fun. The dog had a lot to worry about being away from home, much more than just Pepsi withdrawal.

Though I will most likely never allow anyone in this family to own a dog, I’ll admit, kids and animals are pretty cute, and yesterday mine taught me that caring for an animal whose preferred pastime is biting my ankle.  I’m super sure Crosby is happy to be home, though.