Starlight mints don’t get you elected

Be ashamed…..


Took the kids to the Fourth of July parade this morning, and positioned ourselves in the best spot for maximum candy exposure. No other kids right next to us, and close to the start of the parade path, so they don’t run out of the good stuff yet.

Other kids brought plastic bags, but we had our wagon, and even extra space in the secret compartment under the seat.

We saw the police, veterans, the bomb squad!, lots of organizations like churches, schools, and daycares even. And elected officials, plenty of them.

And here is where I see lost opportunity for them to solicit the vote, and also opportunity for me to get to really know those guys before it’s time to cast my ballot.

Sure, sure….  you’re handing me a flyer outlining your greatness that I must take before  you give me the tootsie pop, which is what I really want. I respect that, I do.

But… if you’re throwing starlight mints at me out of the windows of  your sports car as you drive smugly by….you’ve lost me. Even if you splurged and got the green mints. I just don’t feel that you care much about what I like, why MY needs are……

If you decide to throw those white individually wrapped peppermint lifesavers, you know, the ones that burn my mouth??  Well, I don’t think you even like yourself.

Are you a twizzlers thrower? Starburst, skittles, fruity taffy? Ok, I’ll take your candy, and even pay attention to the name on your banner. You are at least making an effort. But come voting day, I remember lots of fruit candy….. you aren’t going to stand out a whole lot.

We got two almond joy bars, and one tiny bite sized snickers. I wish I’d seen who tossed those to the ground in front of us… because obviously, that person has their finger on the pulse of voters everywhere. Clearly, you know what talks to us…. it’s not crappy peppermint or that cheap pink gum that loses flavor before you toss the wrapper.

Mini tootsie rolls…. you play it safe. Conservative. Lots of beige in your house.

And to the nestle crunch bar thrower….. just sad. If you’re going to commit to investing in chocolate, do it right…please. You’re the city representative that’s going to choose the quick fix ’cause it’s cheaper, instead of investing in the best option for your community. First it’s nestle crunch bars, then our basements are all flooding because you didn’t think we needed to worry about the drainage problems.


You’re telling me I’m over analyzing, and this candy is actually for the kids?

You think I’d wake up late, race through the shower, force those kids out of bed and sprint, pulling a wagon holding 75 pounds of offspring like half a mile so I can get the best spot, wave to everyone like an idiot in the hot sun for almost an hour, and then give THEM the candy???


And you’re also out of touch with reality.

Final stash…..not bad. Frisbee, anyone??

Farming in the burbs

Last year I had grand intentions of growing stuff, gardening, feeding my family the vegetables I lovingly tended…. but it just didn’t happen. Thank god for Trader Joe’s, picking up the slack for me in the whole fresh organic produce department…

IMG_2334 (1) - Copy

humble beginnings


This year, I found the ready to plant seed pods I had in the garage, leftover from last years pipe dream…. and for some reason found myself with a smidge more motivation. Well, I told the kids about planting a garden, and then was forced into action by their very effective nagging to get started on it.

I got these big container things as we zoomed through home depot, knowing we don’t have a good area for planting in the yard right now. Wasn’t sure how it would turn out, but we really had nothing to lose. The kids loved filling everything up with dirt, choosing which pods to plant, and watering. Of course we didn’t end up marking what we were planting….but all the more fun when we find out what’s growing.

See it!!! They actually started to grow!!  And Sammy has watered them daily, he takes his job very seriously.


It’s alive!

first casualty….

It’s a daily event, Sammy waters “his” plants. We try to figure out what each one is, and wonder when we will notice actual food growing. IF actual food will truly grow.

Guess what I saw today?

hello zucchini!!

I told the kids we at least know one of our plants is “working” and we will be eating our very own zucchini soon!  They didn’t seem very excited. “But we don’t like zucchini!”

I don’t think it was wrong of me to suggest that home grown veggies taste a lot better than the stuff we buy at the store.

And it’s magical, and might make you fly.

Go figure……

I planted mint, along with some other herbs, maybe 2 years ago.

I planted them close to my front door….. in the middle of a nicely mulched and landscaped section of the front yard. figured it would just add to the foliage…

Of course, the mint took over. It killed the basil, and the cilantro…and whatever else I planted with it. The mint flourished, and then it just kept going. Every time I see it, it’s bigger….and I finally realized the lawn guys aren’t going to fix it for me.


Today, after work…. I decided it was time. I grabbed the 3 and 6 year olds, armed ourselves with gloves and yard tools. We pulled, and hacked, and yanked, and dug. They were having a ball, and thanked me, THANKED me for letting them help me.

As I’m sweating, and slashing away, I think of how silly I am to ever waste money on these kids. Going to movies, which is what I originally intended to do with them today….Taking them on toy runs, walking to get ice cream.

Instead, hard labor. Dirt and sweat, these are the things they are jazzed about. They didn’t want to take out ALL the mint, because they wanted to be able to come back and tear it out again. I promised them it will be back, probably next week….. And I get Jenna, beaming at me, “Oh, Thank You momma! You’re the best!!”

And then, guess what?

We washed the huge gross garbage cans outside and I let them help throw buckets of water into them as I rinsed them out.

We were dirty, hot, sweaty, gross, and I’m sure smelly…and I didn’t spend a dime.

And they LOVED it. Best day ever.


You can’t always blame it on the Chia Seeds

I sweep the floor, and wipe the floor, and wash the floor a lot. It’s important for you to know this so you can really appreciate the breakdown I almost had today.

I had my 1 year old nephew over yesterday, plus the 3 and 6 and 15 year old at home with me. Each kid exponentially increasing the number of times I cleaned the kitchen floor.

messy little buggers…



My nightmare began when I brought the kids upstairs after playing in the basement yesterday. The 15 year old had just left for his dads house, it was just me and the three littles.

Walking into the kitchen, I notice….dirt…..something…..on the floor. First it’s just a few specks that catch my eye, but as I look, more and more becomes visible. It’s near the side door….and the kitchen table. Little black hard specks. Did Jake go outside and track this in before he left?!  But it’s almost too hard…. I looked at the houseplants suspiciously….did someone knock one over??

I sweep. Holy hell, it’s all over the floor!! Even the hallway?! What…… I swear, I just cleaned this floor!

I blamed it on a Kashi bar with chia seeds. The one year old was carrying it around, still in the wrapper, but I figured there must have been a hole or tear, hence these little black “seeds” all over.

I vacuumed… it felt like tiny chia shrapnel shooting into my ankles…a PILE on the carpet, then Sammy pointed out a trail of them on the couch. I spent a lot of time vacuuming. Sweeping. Wiping up. Eventually, the kids went to bed, chia seed bar went in the trash, and I told the husband about it when he got home. Funny. ha ha ha.

This morning. The three little ones are all with me still. WHAT is this stuff I’m stepping on….feels like….more chia seeds?! But how???

More vacuuming… how did I miss so many on the rug? More sweeping….HOW are they BACK?? Now I’m starting to panic. Are these REALLY chia seeds? There is something a little too hard… an almost metallic glint to some of them…. and chia seeds don’t seem so aggressive usually……

                              They LOOK innocent…….

Mind races…. some sort of insect? Pieces of insect? How are they being left on my floor practically under my nose!!? Cicada’s?? I feel like I’m missing something…. maybe I need to Google “suspicious small black specks showing up on my floor whenever I turn my back”…  I realize I just wanted it to be the chia seeds… that stupid Kashi bar was never opened, I checked….

Back and forth. Back and forth. Every time I look, everywhere I look, there are more.

At this point I’m talking to myself, a little panicked. What is going on? Am I crazy? Looking for the video camera…. is this a joke? Aliens? Am I in hell??  Because I can’t stop cleaning, EVER, if I can’t stop these things from appearing after I just cleaned them up!

This is hilarious….

And then I notice Sammy. Sitting at the kitchen table, eating fake Dorito’s, with a pile of those demonic black specks under his chair. Why are they black and not orange!?  I’m convinced this is the twilight zone. This is my eternity….I just cleaned under that chair!! I creep closer, waiting for some horror to make itself known.

And I notice something.

He’s wearing ankle weights.

And one has a leak. This kid has been spilling that gritty black filler since yesterday, All. Over. My. House.


He looks startled….then sheepish as I remove them from his ankles, black evil specks spilling out as I do it.

Now clearly, these are not chia seeds…..but I had to find a way to rationalize what was happening…… so, sorry chia seeds, my bad.




Embarrassing moments with my kids

We all have those moments you can’t prep the kids for, until they happen… THEN you can say “And remember not to tell Uncle Frank that his breath stinks”, or “remember not to poke the big pimples on Sally’s face”…. things you wouldn’t think to coach them about until it’s already been too late once….

So this week I’ve had a few moments like that.

First moment…. there is a mom on Sammy’s T-ball team. We’ve seen her several times in the last few days, and every time I see her she wears a purple T shirt. I noticed it as I pulled up to the game last week, I see her sitting there, in a purple shirt. I notice this to myself, in my head… and I hear Sammy in the back seat “Why does Billy’s mom always wear a purple shirt?”

After silently congratulating him for being so aware, I offer an explanation. “Probably she has a lot of purple shirts…..that seem to look exactly the same…..and just wears a lot of purple shirts. Because she likes purple.” Both kids seemed to understand. I even told Sammy, “but don’t say anything about her purple shirt because it might make her feel bad if you think she wears purple too much.”

So JENNA walks up to her…. “Why are you wearing a purple shirt?”

As I die over to the side…. the poor lady calmly answers that it was there, clean, so she just wore it. And Jenna looks very speculative…. “I have ONE purple shirt”. Then goes to play. And I am left….shaking my head and kind of laughing… don’t know what THAT was all about….kids these days….he he he……

Most recently, it was Sammy’s turn to embarrass me. We are driving with a woman who is about 20 years older than me….. she’s very skinny, definitely skinnier than me.

For some reason, the kids start to debate who is bigger, me or this lady. Sammy says I’m bigger, Jenna says the lady is bigger. I try to say they are both right. “Well, she’s big because she’s a grown up, but she’s a small grown up.”

And Sammy turns to Jenna and feels the need to educate her, “I’ve noticed that when people get old, they get smaller….for some reason…..”


accidental profanity

Took the kids to the playground the other day, it was packed.

As I follow the 3 year old, she continues her nonstop commentary about anything and everything, which I can usually just half-listen to…. but sometimes certain words will trigger my full and panicked attention.

“Mom! I SAID, can I play with that dick thing?”


“That DICK thing…. can I play with it??”

I tried to do many things simultaneously…  ask her WHAT is she trying to say, while telling her NOT to say that word, and frantically looking around at all of the innocent children playing with parents nearby, hoping my daughter hasn’t corrupted anyone, or prompted a call to child services.

I had no idea what she was talking about, only sure about the fact that she was making a grave mispronunciation….

Event eventually forgotten, until yesterday. Sammy has this kit with fake dinosaur bones buried in this egg shaped concrete stuff, and you have to use the chisel and other tools to dig them out. DIG them out.

“Hey mommy, That’s the thing….. can I play with that digging thing??”

It all made sense. YES… you can play with that. The digging thing. Absolutely.

And she continues, with her 3 year old know it all smile…..

“See mom, I didn’t say Dick”.

“Jenna…. you just did say it… please, that’s not a nice word…. don’t say it again.”

“Ok…but I was just telling you that I won’t say Dick anymore….”

And then, the 6 year old comes in, as he is innocently rhyming random words….

As I walk out of the room I realize he caught the end of our conversation as I hear his sing song words now include:


Startling him from his unknown use of offensive language. The 19 year old can’t stop laughing. Sammy looks confused. And I just give up.

It’s almost over

School, the school year, making lunches, early bed times, dropping off and picking up.

It’s almost over….two more days left of activities, not even real school.

Kindergarten graduation, face painting, celebrating… we come.

Then, staying up late, walks for ice cream, swimming and T-ball. The splash pad, lazy mornings, as time keeps creeping by….

Soon enough, we’re ignoring the school supplies, the racks of polo shirts and khaki pants, but still stocking up on lunch baggies and juice boxes.

Because it’s almost over again.




Cankles, according to, are calves that become feet-without taking an ankle break.

This word has a negative connotation, right?  Imagine my distress when I see my little 16 month old nephew toddle across the kitchen today, supported by his own little set of cankles….


although these images from illustrate a movement to not only accept the cankle in our  young ones, but to support and embrace it….. the word cankle still sounds kind of harsh and judgy.

It doesn’t inspire the mental image we want to take away when thinking of our sweet, dimply, jolly little guy. You may call him Rubenesque…but you may never call him fat.

We tossed around some variations of the word…. baby + cankles = bankles????  No…….

Then the sister came up with a brilliant compromise to describe the transient phenomenon of baby cankles…


Doesn’t it sound adorable and kind of delicious?

One day, when the nephew is a strapping young man, complete with toned calves and visible ankles, we will remind him of his sweet little baby cupcankles. Until then, we will enjoy them 🙂

I’m a sucker

Sometimes the three year old gets in trouble. Hard to believe, I know.

Recently, I’m lecturing her on, say, the best way to clean the windows. (Hint, NOT with her tongue…) She interrupts me, and says “But do you still love me?” In a completely pitiful and forlorn voice.

And so it began. She asks if I love her. I tell her of course I love her. I never STOP loving her. We do this several times a day sometimes.

And somehow it’s developed into…. “Jenna! stop *insert behavior*!  She looks over at me, and says “but mom, I still love you!” And continues what she was doing. Sometimes she actually puts her hand on my cheek, and turns my face towards her. Then she tells me, very seriously, “I still love you…. I’ll NEVER stop loving you!” And then does what she wants…

What she means is, OK, you caught me, but look….I’m saying the right words, so I get a free pass, right?? Right???

Um… yep. Pretty much.

free spirit ?? Yea, that’s it….

Babysitter secrets

I was having a conversation with my sister the other day, about a mutual friend who seems to have such conflicted feelings toward her babysitter.

Seems like the sitter is very nice, happy, friendly, responsible, and loving toward her child. He loves going over there. He is treated like family. Yet….. the friend was reluctant to leave him with her. Found fault with the way she did things, and seemed very suspicious of her.

My sister doesn’t understand how in the world this is possible. Especially since the babysitter is also a close friend of hers…and she can vouch that the girl is in fact NOT torturing or neglecting this child during the time she is watching him.

I decided to fill her in on the whole mom/babysitter relationship. At least how it sometimes goes.

For example, if you look on any babysitting site, there are ads from parents looking for that perfect person to watch their baby. But what they are asking for and what they really want aren’t always the same. In these cases, you need to read between the lines and understand that we don’t REALLY want you to love our kids. Maybe just a little, but not enough to make them love you BACK. Because then you’re competition. And that makes us hate you.

This might be a more honest look into the heart of a mom who has to work, and needs a sitter, but also hates the idea of needing a sitter, and worries about being replaced emotionally.

“In search of a dependable, efficient, no-nonsense sitter for my kids. Please be very kind to them, but also sometimes indifferent so they don’t start to love you, but instead always remember to love me more. No more than 3 hugs per day, which must be initiated by the child and tolerated by you. Absolutely no cute nicknames for them. Please do make them healthy and yummy lunches, but don’t cut the sandwich the special way that I cut it… and no pancakes made to spell their names. Just circles for you. If you witness a “first” moment, ignore it. Pretend it didn’t happen… save it for me. If they tell you they love you, pretend you just stubbed your toe and jump around yelling to distract them from those dangerous thoughts. Must be kind of irritable at the end of the day so they run to me with smiles when I come home.”

Or if you need visuals:




I may have experienced this myself…. so it’s possible that I know what I’m talking about just a tiny bit. It doesn’t make sense, but nothing makes sense after having kids anyway… In my own experience, I did finally come to really appreciate that the kids and the sitter DID love each other, and time made me realize that nothing-so far-has been able to replace me in their affections.

I think our friend is going through the same issue. Which sucks, but I guess I’d rather hate my sitter for loving my kids and making me jealous, than for actually being a shitty sitter. Ha, try saying that five times fast, shitty sitter, shitty sitter, shitty sitter….. can’t do it can you??