Balancing Act

Posted by ZenMom Monday, December 21, 2009 20 comments

I've never been what one would call coordinated.

My eye/hand coordination is almost non-existent, as is my ability to pitch a ball without throwing like a girl.

This was apparent at an early age. I still remember those wonderful home movies my mom would whip out -- you know the kind. The ones that make you sink into your seat with embarrassment as everyone around you has a good belly laugh at your expense.

There I was with my best friend, trying to do a flower dance. We started curled up on the ground as buds and, at least in theory, were supposed to open up into beautiful flowers as we danced gracefully around the room.

Theory would be the operative word here. In reality, the two of us made the most graceless, bumbling flowers the world has ever known.

Of all my coordination issues, balance was by far the worst. No tight rope walking for me.  Unless you really want a good laugh.  Then of course I'll oblige.

Unfortunately my issues with this much needed skill seep into all aspects of my life -- including my new found hobby of blogging.

And now, here comes the confession you've all been waiting for --- without further ado --

I'm a tad obsessive.

Phew. There I said it.

I'm am totally and completely addicted to blogging.  Not just writing, mind you.  But to reading.  Leaving witty and wonderful comments (Hey, I try).  I even spent the good part of my Friday night trying to work on the design (considering my computer literacy problems, that was fun).

When I'm not on my computer, I'm preoccupied about being on the computer.  What will I write?  Who will I visit?   Where can I find that widget?

And this, my dear friends, is getting somewhat problematic.  You see, once again, I've lost my balance.

Like any addiction, is starts small.  And then before you know it consumes your very being.

"I just need to check my email for comments."

"I've got to finish the one post."

"I have to catch up on my friends' new stuff."

In the meantime, things like dishes, dinner and laundry have been a smidge neglected.  Unfortunately so have the kids and the hubby.

And this is creating a bit more chaos than I can take.  Have you ever seen a house with four kids running around unsupervised?  I haven't either, because I'm somewhat glued to this stupid laptop.

While it can make for some pretty funny material (see, told you I'm addicted), it doesn't bode well for the whole family bonding thing.

So, in an effort to get myself back up on that tightrope -- without breaking my neck -- I'm going to have to pull back.  The kids are home on break and we have cookies to bake.  Presents to wrap.  Plus a little togetherness time to catch up on.

For the time being, as I get back to my role as wife and mom, I'm gonna be a bad bloggy friend.  But believe me, I haven't forgotten. I can't. I have an addiction, remember?  Besides, all of you are too awesome to miss for too long. So I promise.

I'll be back.

The Sweetest Gift of All

Posted by ZenMom Friday, December 18, 2009 12 comments

Our sweet Little Stinker's been sick the last few days.

Actually sweet is probably not  best choice of adjectives here.  Cranky's more like it.

Hmm, even that can't accurately reflect his mood.  I'd say grumpy.  Uber grumpy.  Yeah, that's it.

But I can't really blame him.

It all started Wednesday night, when his preschool put on THE cutest Christmas program.  OK, I'm a bit biased, I know.  Anyway, he was up there, singing his little heart out for the first half.

Then all of a sudden, he just stopped.  And stared.  Not exactly staring, he put his hands up to his eyes like he had binoculars and was searching the crowd.  Did I mention he was smack dab in the middle for all to see?

And for his encore, he would sneer at anyone who would look his way and smile.  Guess some of my Scrooge-like behavior has rubbed off on the little guy.  Uh oh.

By the time we got home, he had that tell-tale glazed look in his eyes and was running a pretty good fever.

If it were any other week, we would have camped out at home and let him convalesce.  But this is not just any week.  It is THE week for holiday festivities, especially for those of the school aged variety.

So the poor kid was dragged from store to store, party to party.  And I had a grumpy kid?  Go figure.

So by the end of today -- the Mother of all Holiday Party days -- the little guy was pooped.  Still running a fever, I delivered him up to his bed, but he was too miserable to sleep.  I tried to make my exit downstairs, he stuck to me like glue.  When I asked him if he wanted to come downstairs he just shook his head.

And then he said what all women dream of hearing one day.

"Please stay."  Big pause.  Then, wide eyed, he added, "You're Mom  And I need you."

No sweeter words were ever spoken.  So there I stayed, while the other kids were downstairs running with scissors, setting fires or engaging in some other wholesome activity.  Because I'm mom and I said so.

The Deed Is Done

Posted by ZenMom Wednesday, December 16, 2009 10 comments

Today was the day.  The deed is done.  After much anticipation, I had my very first root canal.

And I have to tell you, it wasn't so bad.  Now my opinion may change once the Novocaine wears off, but judging by what transpired, I'm not sure that will be anytime soon.

Unfortunately, I'm not a very good patient.  I've had many a dentist frustrated with me because no matter how much Novocaine they pump into me, I still flinch at EVERYTHING.  I could still hear them, trying to stay calm as they spit the words from between their gritted teeth.  "You still feel that."

Luckily this guy was a pro.  He tried once, no luck.  Twice, the same.  But there was no knashing of teeth, no frustration to be heard.  By the third try he wised up and brought out the big guns.  As a result I felt nothing.

And I mean nothing.

That's a good thing right?  Well...there were a couple of minor side affects.  Like the fact that I am currently numb from my eyeball (yes, my left eye was literally hard to blink) down to my chin.  I kind of look like someone went a little wild with the Botox -- on just one side of my face.

I couldn't smile if I tried.  Or blink.  Or talk.  But, hey, I can still type so all is good.

Now the fun will really begin once the kids get home, which is any minute now.  There will of course be the requisite pointing.  Plus the laughs.  And one must not forget the we're laughing with you jokes that will follow.

I'm getting tired just thinking about it.  And as I type I feel the slightest throb starting to creep into my frozen jaw.  Hmm, maybe its time for those pain killers the dear doc prescribed.  What a nice guy.

 And after that?  There is no after.  Just lots of snoring...and probably some good drooling added in for good measure.

Ain't Misbehavin'

Posted by ZenMom Tuesday, December 15, 2009 3 comments

I am happy to report that our deer have regained their composure and are once again adorning our front light display with a "G", Approved for All Audiences rating.  And, no I didn't get a picture. Maybe next time.

But have you ever noticed how things get a worse before they get better?

Last night, I went to take my daughter out shopping.  Once again, the wind knocked over the happy couple.  Now remember these two are animated.  Yep, we spare no expense around here.  The cheesier the better.

Anyway, their compromising position did not escape the keen eye of my oldest.  How they fell on top of each other.  How they kept moving, even though they were down.

I've got to say, I could really have done without the visual of our forest creatures bumping and grinding.  I'll never look at Bambi the same again.

But, being a bit animated herself (OK, downright dramatic is truly more accurate) she kept going on and on.  And on.  And...that got on Mom's nerves.  So as I reached my limit I heard myself say what no mother should tell her young daughter.

"OK, OK, I know their doing the nasty out there.  I fix it when I get home!"

There you have it folks.  Bad parenting moment number 991.

Get a good chuckle.  Good. Its my Christmas present to you.

A Change of Heart

Posted by ZenMom Monday, December 14, 2009 11 comments

You gotta love those hormonal rages.  The way they take over your very soul can be a tad unnerving.

But what really messes with my head even more is the way I can be a raving loon one second, and Miss Congeniality the next.

After yesterday's holiday bashing fest, I had a change of heart.  Or hormone levels.  Not quite sure which just yet.

But anyway...

I forgot how it goes with the Holiday Spirit.  You just can't force it.  For me at least, it comes upon you when you least expect it.

And that was yesterday.

After officially declaring my good cheer dead, I came downstairs to my family putting lights on the tree.  Cheesy Christmas music was blaring from our crummy stereo.  And everyone was smiling.

Yes, folks you got that right.  We had a miracle in the making, because I can't tell you the last time we had all six members of my family happy at the exact same moment.

Spirits were lifted and I found myself joining in on the fun.  Dancing, laughing...all while we put the finishing touches on our poor, Charlie Brown like tree.

And when we were done?  It was beautiful.  It gave our house a whole new look.  And attitude.

So I'm happy to report that today, Christmas is alive and well.

And Now For Something Completely Different....

We've been having some issues with our outside light displays -- especially the deer.  Yesterday we had some high winds and we noticed that some of our decorations had fallen over, including our sweet, animated doe.

No worries, we picked everything up and all was good.  Until I pulled into the driveway last night and noticed her lights were out from the neck up.  The result?  We have a beautiful buck gazing fondly at his headless mate.

The winds continue today.  And once again, as I pulled into my drive, there were the deer.  This time they were one on top of the other, getting frisky on our front lawn for all to see.  It wouldn't be so bad if they were not placed so close to the beautiful Nativity scene.

Whoops.  I'm hoping that's not an accurate depiction of the first Christmas.  So off I go to break up the loving couple and restore order to our home once again.

Holidays Schmolidays

Posted by ZenMom Sunday, December 13, 2009 11 comments

BIG FAT WARNING:  My mood is pretty darn sour today.  Hormones, they are a ragin'.  Why they're so bad, I actually know I'm crazy and I'm OK with it.

When I was younger -- not even a little kid, but a young adult -- I loved Christmas.  I loved going through the stores, humming along with the Christmas musak piping down from the ceilings.  I took great effort picking out just the right gifts for all my loved ones and friends.

I loved the hustle and bustle, the crowds didn't phase me, nor did Uncle Joe's hour-long, drunken rant over Christmas dinner about how Rush Limbaugh should rule the world.

I have distinct memories of my parents during this time.  They had what one might call an attitude problem.

I'd ask them what they wanted.  With a heavy sigh, shoulders slightly slouched, they'd tell me not to bother.  How they really weren't into the whole gift-giving thing.

Not get them anything?  Didn't they know how important it was to ME?  Get with the program, people.

So today, imagine how I feel when I realize I've turned into one of those grumpy, Grinch-like beings.

Its not that I haven't tried.  I always try.  I write myself lists, make deadlines and have all sorts of wonderful creative ideas.  But just like every year, about a week before the big day, I realize I am totally behind with no chance in hell of every catching up.

This year I thought it would be different.  We had most of our decorations up early, I my lists were done.  We were off to a great start.
But life has a funny way of getting in the way of my best-laid plans.  First, my kids are getting older.  All those traditions they loved just a year ago meet with a chorus of Moooommmmms now.  So gone are the hot cocoa parties by the fire, family picture taking and other family love fest activities.

I guess I could beat them into submission, but I'm just too tired to fight.

That leaves me to sit here, shoulders slouched, head hanging low.  The tree is not trimmed, the cookies not baked, and don't get me started on those handmade teacher gifts we were going to do.  And when the kids ask me what I want this year, I have a new appreciation for my world-worn parents.

First, I know whatever they get me, I'll end up paying for.  Second, I'll have to take them to Target or Walmart or some other crazy-making block of concrete.  And that leads me to utter the following statement.

"Don't worry kids.  I'm not really into the whole gift giving thing."

Crap.  Its official.  I've turned into my mother.  Or the Grinch.  Either way, I'm screwed.

Pain, Pain Go Away

Posted by ZenMom Thursday, December 10, 2009 9 comments

Today I overslept.  It was really cold and my covers were so snuggly warm.  When I finally dragged my carcass out of bed, I was greeted by the thermometer in our kitchen.  I had to check it twice.  It couldn't be right.  No way in hell.  Most definitely, it couldn't really be -13.

It was at that very moment that I threw any notions of a good day right out the window.  The foreshadowing was clearly on the wall. 

My first thought was to run and hide.  But I forced myself to continue. To my suprise, I didn't mind the cold once I was in it.  It did wonders for those pesky hot flashes I've been getting lately.  There I was in my car -- window rolled down, head sticking out to the side, all while I peeled away layer upon layer of clothing.

Damn it felt good.

About halfway through the day, I realized things were still running smoothly. Everyone made it to school OK, I was able to put the finishing touches on the new paint in the living room (Very big NOTE TO SELF:  Never, never again take on a painting project two weeks before Christmas!).   I even got a little quality TV time so I could finally catch up on my Heroes episodes.

Could it be?  An actual, bonified good day?  I began losing faith in my own prediction abilities. Why it was downright peaceful.

And. Then. I saw it.

On the refrigerator, written ever so neatly on the calendar was an appointment.  Not just any appointment.  The one that I happen to dread most.

Let's get this straight.  I'm no wimp.  I can handle my fair share of pain.  Why, I've given birth to four children, for God's sake. So how is it that seven letters on the refrigerator could have me breaking out in a cold sweat?


When those seven letters spell D-E-N-T-I-S-T.

There. I admit it.  I hate the dentist.

Maybe I watched Little Shop of Horrors one too many times growing up, but even a routine cleaning can make me cry like a little baby.

Too bad today was no ordinary cleaning.  It involved two cavities.  Oh, and a drill.  And that can never be good.

First, there's the sheer humiliation of being put in that chair.  They lay you back, use some kind of crank to open your mouth wider than you ever thought possible, then stick all sorts of contraptions inside.

If that's not bad enough, they keep talking.  Like that's supposed to make you forget what they're up to.  Nice try.

Why, they just won't shut up.  Laughing. Telling witty jokes. Asking you tons of questions.

Hello?  Do you really expect me to answer that?

Whoops.  Digression rules, yet again.  Back to the story...

The first filling went fine.  Once again, visions of peacefulness danced through my head.

Not so fast, missy.

Time for the second one.  I was sufficiently pumped full of Novocaine.  So I thought.  Too bad I felt every zip of the drill.  So in came more Novocaine.  Then more pain.  A little more Novocaine.  A lot more pain.

Finally the words I hoped to never hear were spoken.  Root canal.

I've never had one.  I was fine with that.  I could have lived a long and useful life without ever have this lovely experience.  But someone up there had other plans for me.

So tomorrow morning I get to call the specialist to make yet another scary appointment.  I'm really thinking of blowing it off.  Maybe if I just ignore it, it will go away on its own.

Ya think?  Me neither. Guess I'll be writing a check for an early Christmas present.  I think I'd rather get coal.  Darn, I feel another Bah Humbug coming on.

Pump Up the Volume

Posted by ZenMom Monday, December 7, 2009 8 comments

In my younger days I was way into music. The more obscure the better, causing me to have more than my fair share of useless 80s and 90s music trivia swimming around in my head.

I also went to way too many concerts -- mostly in smoky, loud dive bars, which in turn caused irreparable harm to my poor, then-innocent eardrums. But it just didn't matter.  I was in my element. 

That was then.

Now, I like my peace.  With a large order of quiet on the side, thank you very much.

Yes, I'm officially an old fart.  Too much noise makes me grumpy. I don't listen to my iPod too loudly, rarely blast my car stereo (the other moms in the carpool lane tend to frown on this  -- believe me, I learned the hard way) and I  have a healthy dislike of booming movie theaters.  Ever since my neurotic, worry wort mom gene kicked in, I also take seriously all the warnings about the adverse affects of noise pollution.

So the other night, as I sat at the kitchen table trying to enjoy a moment of calm, I had yet another scary revelation. 

My precious offspring, whose sweet little ears I've tried so hard to protect, were running around the house like a pack of wild coyotes.  Hooting and howling, the noise level in my humble abode was about to reach something resembling a sonic boom.

Then the light bulb went off.

In my house lies a not-so-silent killer.  One so dangerous, no one speaks its name. One the Press dares not cover.   That research amazingly overlooks.  Why its a conspiracy in the making.  How could I have been so blind?

 I realized that when my kids speak, the dial reads at least a 6.  Its like they're projecting for a performance at Carnegie Hall.  When they're excited, it gets even worse -- usually with the added bonus of the high-pitched, crystal-breaking whine thrown in.  And when they're yelling (Yell?  Us?  I know its hard to believe, but just go with me here).  When they yell, to coin a phrase from our friends at Spinal Tap --  they're at eleven all the way!

And that's when it hit.  No wonder why old people are deaf.  Its not just because their old.  Not because they went to too many concerts or listened to too much Lawrence Welk.  Its because they had kids.  It turns out those little bundles of joy not only make us gray, but they'll also have us all sporting hearing aids before all is said and done

So the next time you run into some week old lady shouting, "Heh?" repeated, have some compassion.  After all, this could be you some day.  And if you get the chance, go to a concert.  If you're gonna go deaf, might as well have some fun doing it.

Woe Is Me

Posted by ZenMom Saturday, December 5, 2009 9 comments

OK, I'm really starting to have some unkind thoughts.  No, not about anyone in my family.  Not this time at least.

I'm getting a little peeved with this whole holiday thing.

Yeah, I know, just call me Mr. Scrooge for short.  But all this bonding with the kids, family togetherness and merry making is really cramping my style.

Do you realize in the last two weeks, I've written only three posts?  Not to mention the fact that I'm seriously missing out on a ton of great stuff on all my blogging buddies sites.

Its gotten so bad, I'm actually having withdrawals.  Sure I do my normal stuff -- bringing the kids to school, doing laundry, making dinner -- but all the while I'm obsessed with what I'll write next.  And when I'll be able to steal away for a few minutes of writing time.  And if I can't, that's when the shaking begins.  Then come the cold sweats.  OK, maybe not the cold sweats -- that's the whole menopause thing, I keep forgetting.

But anyway....

Bear with me, my friends.  I promise I'll be back in solid form as soon as these pesky holidays are behind us. In the meantime, if you see some middle-aged lady muttering Bah Humbug to herself in the grocery line, have no fear.  Its just me.

Chances are good I won't hurt anybody.  Just give me my space and a laptop and I'll be fine.

What a Long, Strange Trip Indeed

Posted by ZenMom Wednesday, December 2, 2009 12 comments

Long time, no post.  I know.  Its been a strange few days.

Monday was so serene.  The kids were back at school (Halleluiah!) and I was able to gain my bearings.  I organized closets, did some shopping and even made a great turkey tortilla soup dinner.  I was on a roll.

Then Tuesday came.  I was so excited because my long-awaited new laptop was scheduled to arrive.  Yes, my old one officially bit the big one, so I broke down during all those online Black Friday deals and bought me a brand spanking new one.
The anticipation was almost more than I could handle.  I kept running to the door every time I heard a truck go by.  When the FedEx guy finally did show up, I nearly knocked him down trying to get my hands on my new toy.

Well, its not actually a toy.  More like a necessity if you ask me.   My life as a blogger was being seriously hampered by a series of annoyances.  Holidays, kids and pesky chores like dinner and laundry were constantly getting in the way.  And anytime I did sit down to type a few lines, I had three not-so-subtle kids breathing down my neck.

“Are you done yet? “
“When can I go on?”
“Mom, I have to do my homework!”

Come on kids.  What’s more important?  Your essay on the Constitution or my blogging fix?  This was officially cramping my style.

So as soon as I had the box in my grubby little paws, pieces of cardboard could be seen flying everywhere.  That new laptop was unwrapped and ready to go in record time.  Why I’d be up in a matter of no time.

Yeah, like that happened. You’ve all known me long enough to know better, right?

I knew there was going to be some setup time required.  What I didn’t sign up for was exactly how much time we were talking about.

I read the instructions.  I followed the directions.  It was supposed to be easy.
So they said.

They lied. I ended up with about half my files and none of my programs loading properly.  As for my email?  It was gone.  Out on some joyride, generously taking all my contacts, addresses and phone numbers along for fun.

So if you’ve been wondering where I’ve been, I’ve spent the better part of the last two days trying to figure out how to get all my info from one computer to the next.  And this sent me on a seemingly never ending trip in circles.

First I started by contacting Microsoft.  It was there software after all.  But no.  Since the operating system came loaded on the computer, I was not-so-quickly instructed to talk to Dell.  Not to be outdone, their policy clearly pointed me to a link right back to the software vendor.

Never mind that groceries needed to be bought and bills paid.  I was plastered to my chair (in between breaks cursing this elaborate conspiracy to take my money and run), because I was bound and determined to figure it out.

Round and round I went until finally – I’m still not sure what exactly I did – software and data alike magically appear.  What the $@*#!

All I know is, right now I am pleased to report that all is safe and sound.  Backups are scheduled.  And I am right where I belong – on my bed cranking out yet another mindless, but sanity inducing post.

So at the moment, the planets are aligned.  And all is once again right in the world.  Until tomorrow.

One never knows what kind of trip I’ll end up on then.

Is It Monday Yet?

Posted by ZenMom Sunday, November 29, 2009 10 comments

I love my family.

No, really I do.

There's just something about being cooped up with them for 10 days straight that will send my over the edge. And I'm teetering dangerously close right now.  I sit here writing this post because, if the truth be known, I may cause the next person who whines, yells, complains or messes up my newly organized house serious bodily harm.

The beginning of our marathon week-long Fall Break (I love it, is it now politically incorrect to say Thanksgiving?) started out OK. We organized play dates and enoyed fun activities.  I was even able to do some much needed planning.  Thanksgiving came and went without a hitch.

By the time Friday rolled around things took a nasty turn.  Because I love my sleep even more than a good bargain, no shopping was done, but believe me it was Black Friday through and through.  And then Black Saturday.  And Really, Really Black Sunday.

You see, once again I made a huge error in judgment.

Since everyone was getting along so well, I thought I'd enlist the kids' help in clearing a path, then organizing and putting our Christmas decorations up.  It was going to be a family thing.  Like something you'd see in a Norman Rockwell painting.  Oh how I love Norman Rockwell.

That's when the revolt began.  Me ask my kids to work?  Pitch in to do something that had nothing in it for them?  The resulting bitching, moaning and tantruming could be heard 'round the world.

My idyllic scene suddenly turned into an episode featuring the Bundy or Barr families instead.  Mom and kids snapped alike.  Then followed a whole heap of yelling, pouting and stomping out of the room.  In the end, I cleaned while the kids spent a lot of bonding time with their respective rooms.

But tonight I have to admit there's a little skip in my step.  Tomorrow it's a school day once more.  Then maybe, just maybe, I will steal a few moments of peace and quiet.

Only one question remains.  Is it Monday yet?

Gobble, Gobble

Posted by ZenMom Thursday, November 26, 2009 11 comments

Meet my friend the turkey.  You can call him Mr. Stuffing for short.  Handsome, regal, he instills fear and respect in all he meets. Right?

Not exactly.

I have to admit, he's not really the picture of confidence.  Or majestic grace.   And there's no denying he's quite goofy looking. What was Benjamin Franklin thinking when he nominated this creature for the national bird?

But to tell you the truth, I think he's gotten a bum rap. 

I know, I know.  It's just way too easy to poke fun at him.  After all, he's not known for his smarts.  He certainly doesn't have the looks of his kin the eagle or hawk.  But when you think of it, where would we be without our lowly friend -- the one who supplies the centerpiece at so many of our holidays?

Why our tables would be barren, the stuffing and yams looking lost all by themselves.  And those cute little Thanksgiving crafts the kids bring home.  I'm sorry to say, they just wouldn't be as sweet with a pig or a cow.  Why he's the workhorse of the American feast.

And in a sick, weird way I kind of relate to this fellow.

I've never been what one would call pretty.  My style these days could be best described as Modern Frump, given my affinity for comfort over style, sweats and elastic waistbands.  Even my body showing signs of resemblance with the constant growth of my midsection and the unstoppable southward shift of everything else.

But mostly because I feel like he's a kindred spirit.  Like him, I'm overworked, certainly underpaid and definitely unappreciated.  And when it comes down to it, my house would not be a pretty place without me.

So today, I would like to dedicate this post to all the workhorses out there.  The turkeys.  The moms. The dads.  And everyone else that makes this wonderful day possible.  For all of you I give thanks.

Happy Thanksgiving to all and to all a good night.

And next time you see my friend Mr. Stuffing, give him a little respect, will you?

Healthcare Reform, Stinker Style

Posted by ZenMom Sunday, November 22, 2009 7 comments

My little guy ADORES his Daddy. Whenever I go to do something for him he yells, "NO! I want Daddy."

I should be hurt, right? Well, there are some definite benefits to this arrangement. Daddy is the only one allowed to put him to bed, to give him a bath and get him changed.

Not to shabby if you ask me.

One of daddy's duties is the reading of nightly stories. And one of his favorites is Pajama Time.

Seems it left its mark on the little guy. Just last night, as he was getting ready to retire he announced it was time for a Pajama Party. Then he promptly instructed both his dad and I to put our PJs on and join in the fun.

The thing that always amazes me is, we did it. This kid is going to rule the world some day, of this I'm sure.

There we all sat, at the late hour of 7 pm, in our PJs doing all sorts of pajama party type things. We played games, sang songs, and even danced. But then, almost as quickly as it started, the soiree ended.

The Little Stinker was off like a flash, heading downstairs to obviously terrorize his older siblings. Or so we thought.

We really should have known better. When will we ever, ever learn.

You see, a few minutes later the lad reappeared -- this time sporting his doctor's kit in hand.


Seems our party had now morphed into one wicked game of doctor -- the innocent kind of course (shame on you, this is a family blog you know!)

Included in his kit was one stethoscope, one thermometer, a couple of Band-Aids and of course, the requisite Crucifix.


A Crucifix?

Yep. Hubby and I both looked at each other quite concerned with what might be coming next.  Doogie Howser meets the Exorcist?

So, trying my hardest to keep a straight faced, I queried my youngest.

"Dear....what's that for?"

The look he gave me was quintessential Stinker.   One that screamed, "Mom, how could you be so ignorant?" And then -- in the best Revival Preacher impersonation I've heard in a long time -- he proclaimed:

"Jesus has come to save you.  He's come to give you medicine."

So for any of you concerned about current state of health care in this country, have no fear.  Between the Little Stinker and his Friend, we'll all be just fine.

Moms Not Allowed

Posted by ZenMom Friday, November 20, 2009 16 comments

My oldest daughter happens to be totally into the Twilight series.  I know, what warm-blooded teenage girl isn't?

It was about a year ago when she would come home from school, promptly put nose in book and commence swooning over this sordid tale of love and blood. 

So, after much pleading and prodding from my oldest -- and in an effort to bond with my ever-moody child --  I decided to give the book a gander.

The first chapter:  OK, but nothing special by my standards.

The second chapter:  Mildly interesting.

Chapter three:  Getting warmer.

By chapter four I was officially reeled in, hook, line and sinker -- or fang (pun totally intended).

Yes, I know, a forty-something mom has no business crossing over the invisible generational divide to invade TeenageLand territory, but at this point I was still doing it for the kid. And my plan worked.

Mother and daughter enjoyed more frequent conversations -- ones that didn't even involve handing over cash.  She'd bound into my room, jump on my bed and tell me how I wouldn't believe what happened next.  We talk about our favorites, share our thoughts on the plot and generally have a good laugh or two. 

But somewhere along the way, my innocent bonding strategy went south.  Way, way south.

I kind of got into the whole story.  I mean really got into it. The teen that was for so long stuffed way down inside of me was mysteriously unleashed.  And that's when the war began.

"I had it first."

"No I had it first."

"Mom, give me back my book!"

Did I mention I get a little obsessed with a good read?   This went on for months, until in the end all four books were finally completed.

Even though the story ended, I'm happy to report our bond remained.  On some level I was able to enter her world -- even it it took a few vampires to pave the way.  We still argue over who are favorite undead character is.  Or whether werewolves rock or not.

But there are limits to how for a mom can go.  I learned that the hard way.

The new movie just came out.  My daughter's had the release date on her calendar for months.  And as I'd see the previews over the last few weeks, I have to admit, my interest was piqued.

That's when I made my fatal error. I asked my daughter if she wanted to go see the movie.

With me.

The corresponding laughs could be heard for miles around.  Her go see New Moon with her mom?  Was I crazy?  Well yes, but that's another story all together.

So here I sit, getting ready to drive the big girl and her BFF to see the show.  All the while I'm secretly hoping they'll ask me to go along.  Don't worry, I'm not holding my breath.  I guess my vampire fix will just have to wait until it comes out on DVD.

Ain't He Sweet?

Posted by ZenMom Wednesday, November 18, 2009 8 comments

The last few days our Little Stinker has been....well, a stinker. And not a little one either. His mood has been so cranky, so ornery he's been promoted to a Mammoth, Super-Sized Stinker.

Last night he peaked. Yelling, hitting, screaming -- you name it he did it. Figures we had company over at the time. Why is it they always save the best behavior for an audience?

My guest, taking pity on me, took the little guy outside to play. She took him all bundled up to play in the snow.

The quiet was wonderful.  I got all sorts of things done, and no one was hurt in the process.  When the door finally opened and the little guy reappeared a change had occurred.  No more sour puss, just a really cute kid with a grin from ear to ear.  Then before I knew it I was whisked outside myself, for my own private viewing of his new creation.

Seems he had a hankering to build some snowmen.  Not just any snowmen mind you.  He carefully crafted three snowman to take on the likenesses of mom, dad and, of course, the little guy.  In case you can't make them out, let me give you the run-down.

This is his self-portrait.  Don't be alarmed, he does have two arms. One just got mistaken for a fetching toy by our over-exuberant dog.  It was later foun, in tack and all was well again in the world.


This handsome hunk is Dad -- complete with Hitleresque mustache.   You see, until a few days ago, hubby had sported a mustache.  When he shaved it off, the little guy was not happy.  This is his form of protest.


And this looker is me.  Mommy.  Notice how the face just fades into a big lumpy mass for the rest of the body.  The resemblance is uncanny.  Thanks, kid.

  Sorry to bore all of you with this sugary sweet stuff.  But this was just too cute to pass up.  Good thing too.  We were ready to ship the imp off to Siberia.  Instead he has been demoted back down to the Little Stinker.  Yes, at the ripe old age of three he's figured out how to work us.  That's OK, because its moments like this that make me so happy to be Mommy.

Hold Me Back

Posted by ZenMom Monday, November 16, 2009 4 comments

I'm usually a pretty peaceful person.

No, really.

I don't get in fights, am friendly with all my neighbors and generally don't rock the boat.

So why is it that right now, I have this terrible urge to take someone out? And not just anyone, mind you. I want to take out the school crossing guard.

Yeah, he looks innocent enough. Probably in his seventies, with silvery gray hair and the walk of an old man. But don't let that fool you.  This guy is no pushover.

I need to start by telling you that the traffic at my daughter's school makes my house look like the most structured, calm environment around. And for that I'm grateful. At least we compare favorably against something.

They couldn't have done a worse job of planning the traffic flow if they tried.  Then again maybe they did.  After all it is a very popular school and LOTS of families try to get in. Maybe this is just a little extra step to ensure you really want to be there (Whoops.  The conspiracy theorist in me just got out).

Sorry, sidetracked again.   Now back to the story.

On any given morning, it takes me a good fifteen minutes to make it through the line of cars, minivans and SUVs that wends its way through two neighborhoods and several stop signs.  When I finally hit the 4-way stop in front of the school -- like clock work -- it happens.

I swear he sees me coming.  As soon I'm in his sights (you'd think at his age they would be failing, but noooo), that big red sign goes up. No matter that there are no pedestrians anywhere near the crosswalk.  Or the fact that, given his advanced years, it takes him a few minutes just to make it to the middle of the intersection.

There he stands.  Not letting me, or anyone else for that matter, go anywhere until finally -- usually after another 15 minutes have passed -- a pedestrian appears.  All this time, sporting a look that says, "I dare you to get past me."

Believe me, I'm tempted. Just as my foot reaches for the pedal,  I have a vision.  In it, there's a headline that reads:


So in the end I sit there, resigning myself to the fact that it takes 40 minutes to get my offspring to a school that's ten minutes from my house.  All the while cursing under my breath and fantasizing his demise.  Hey a girl can dream, can't she?

Me No Meme

Posted by ZenMom Sunday, November 15, 2009 3 comments

When I first entered the wonderful world of blogging, I really had no idea what I was walking into. Things like followers, SEO and comments confounded me. Badges, buttons, widgets and gadgets made me say, "Huh?" And HTML, CSS, templates and skins simply blew my mind.

I hate to admit that my learning curve is far from over. Every day I have one of those, So-that's-what-that-is moments.  Like yesterday.  I always wondered how so many of you could comment on my new posts so quickly.  I thought that took some pretty fast thinking -- and fingers.

Then I decided to enter my first contest.  Don't worry, I'm no competition to anyone out there.  I never win a thing.  I just like to think I can.  But anyway, in order to enter you had to sign up for this particular blog's RSS feed.

Me, not liking change, resisted at first.  But I really, really wanted that car seat, so sign up I did.

Then a curious thing happened.  I got an email every time a post was added..  AHAH!  That's how its done.  Hmmm.

This kind of thing seems to happen a lot.  I know the drill. After taking a few moments (OK I'll 'fess up -- a few days) berating myself for sheer stupidity -- I pat myself on the back and embrace whatever new concept it is.  Except for one.


Don't get me wrong.  I have nothing against them.  I truly enjoy visiting other blogs and reading all those thematic lists and posts.  I'd even like to do some. But for some odd reason, I just can't.

I know they'd make my life easier.  Like the writing prompts I had in school.  Might even provide me with a little fresh material now and then.  But then I think of who we're talking about here.

And then I just have to say, "Me no do memes."

Why?  Well for starters, deadlines have a way of making me break out in a cold sweat.  Given my ability to create on demand these days, we'd have some pretty odd posts.  Take Thankful Thursday.  Thankful Saturday -- which is when I'd get around to it -- just doesn't have the same ring.

And Wordless Wednesday.  Me?  Wordless?  Now that's an oxymoron of epic proportions.

The list goes on, but you get the point. But you never know -- some day I might just change my tune.  Then you all have permission to say, "I told you so." Until then, I'll just have to stick with writing when the spirit moves me.

Talk Amongst Yourselves

Posted by ZenMom Saturday, November 14, 2009 9 comments


Or click.  Or do whatever one does in the blogsphere. I'm just too choked up to speak. I'm beyond words.

Yeah, don't you wish.

Seriously folks, I'm in awe of all of my friends and followers out there. Especially those who have bestowed some pretty awesome awards on my humble little blog. You rock!

Now please don't be insulted. I don't do rules too well. I'd just mix 'em up, forget some and basically make a mess of the whole thing. So you won't see ten things about me that no one knows.  Seriously, don't I confess enough already?

But have no fear. I would love to express my gratitude and pass these wonderful little tidbits of love on to others. I'm just gonna do the condensed, Reader's Digest version. Otherwise, it may take me until Christmas 2010 for this post to be written.  So, here it goes...

First to Rocky Mountain Memoirs and EcoMeg, here is my extremely belated Thank You for passing on the Lovely Blog Award.

And, in turn, I would like to present this award to....Strawberry Seeds, Coming Clean and Its a Beauty-Filled Life.

A huge thanks also goes to Brittany at MommyWords. You are truly the bestest!  Your posts always make me laugh.

Now its time for me to pass this on to Brilliant Sulk, Stacie's Madness and Hormones, Headaches and Hotflashes.

I'd also like to thank Amy from Confessionals of a Stay at Home Mom.  From me to you, I absolutely LOVE your list of lesser known facts.  I think the pool one is my all time favorite.

And my winners for this are:
Menopausal New MomThe World According to Me and Mean Mom Academy.

To Nancy at If Evolution Really Works,  I love you too.  I also loved your award post.  Way too creative.

I also love Country Fried Mama, MommyLiteOnline and Immoral Matriarch.

Last, but not least, thanks abound for Stina at Woman and Mom for this refreshing award. And to Forever Folding LaundryBloggin2Noggin and Crazy Mom With 4 Boys. Come on down and pick up your very own lemonade award. 

Pheww!  I made it.  This was a hard list to make.  There are so many wonderful sites out there, this was a toughie. 

Right now, the snow is falliing, my eyes are getting heavy and its time to call it a day.  Good night and happy blogging.

That's One Strong Glue

Posted by ZenMom Thursday, November 12, 2009 9 comments

Our little guy is one active kid.  Mind you -- ALL our kids are pretty energetic.  At least that's  the phrase that usually exits the lips of every adult that has spent any time with my broad.  But my youngest, he's decided to take it up a notch or two. 

This is actually quite ironic.  When he was born he was the quietest, sweetest, most content baby in the world.  He would stay in his little bassinet and just watch the commotion around him.  He'd smile and coo and take it all in.  He wasn't colicky, rarely fussed and was an all around pleasure..

With a huge grin and knowing sigh, I would sit rocking him and declare, "Ah, I finally got a calm one."

I really should have known better.  As soon as those six little words entered the universe, the forces that be decided it was yet again time to mess with my head.

The day he became mobile, the honeymoon was officially over.  And the world as we knew it ceased to be.

No gate could contain him and he could pick every safety lock known to man. In no time he was stacking chairs, scaling counter tops and leaving a path of destruction where ever he went.  It was during this time that our once plentiful babysitting offers mysteriously dried up.   They were replaced instead with the whispers of friend and passerby alike.

"He's the PRECOCIOUS one."

That's my boy.  The one I used to joke would be the first one to be taken to the emergency room after pulling some Jackass-like stunt. 

I really should know when to shut up. When will I learn that all those little "sayings" of mine always, always come to fruition.  And today was the day.

Luckily it wasn't so bad.  Especially given my history of hysteria at the sight of blood.  It was, however,  a little unnerving.

I was in the middle of such a nice nap when my oldest bolted into my room.

"MOM!  Mom! Come quick.  He's hurt."

This really is a cruel trick to play on a groggy Mom.  And of course my mind had thought of a hundred and one scenarios, none of them pretty, by the time I made it to the scene of the crime.

Turns out my little monkey was jumping on the bed, fell and bumped his head smack dab on the corner of the nightstand.

It didn't even bleed -- at first.  But when it did start, it wouldn't stop.  No gushing blood or anything, just a steady stream requiring multiple bandaid replacements.

After a few hours (yes, I am very slow in my old age), I realized this wasn't going to resolve on its own.  Luckily our pediatrician was game and no trip to the ER was required.  All the way there, I was dreading the inevitable sewing of the wound.  I knew the screams would not be pretty and lets face it, I'm a wimp when it comes to a crying three year old.

So imagine my surprise when I heard the prognosis was gluing.  Yep. A wonderful invention, they just dab a little on the site, squeezed it together and -- Presto -- it's good to go after a short 60 second wait.  Just like Super Glue.

So tonight I'm feeling pretty smug.  The experience wasn't half as bad as I thought.  But that's all I'm saying. I've learned my lesson and if asked I'm pleading the fifth.

This Has Got to Stop

Posted by ZenMom Wednesday, November 11, 2009 8 comments

I woke up this morning to yet another bug -- this time the common cold. I've been getting sick almost continuously since school started. So much so that I was wondering if I had some terrible illness that was wrecking havoc with my poor, abused immune system. I even went to the doctor, who promptly put half of my blood supply into little tubes to see what was the matter.

Turns out I'm fine. Well not exactly fine, but close enough. So then I started wondering if I was just a hypochondriac and that my various ailments were all just figments of my sometimes overactive imagination.

I kept up with this line of thought until a couple of days ago. That's when I made a discovery that blew me away. One that sent millions of tiny shivers up and down my spine.

I've always taught my kids to share. Actually, I've hammered it into their little brains from when they were knee high to a grasshopper. Well it looks like I might have overdone it a bit.

Two days ago, when I asked my soccer girl where her toothbrush was, I got the infamous shoulder shrug and almost incomprehensible I dunno.  She's a teen, what can I say.

Then I started to get suspicious.  With a little prodding (OK, threats of bodily harm might have been involved) I found out that because she lost track of which one was her's, she's been using any toothbrush that was in sight. Yuk!

But wait, it gets better.

Turns out all my kids have gotten in on the action.  They have all been partaking in a game of toothbrush round robin for a while now.  The best part was when I found out I was an unknowing participant.  All those times I saw them lingering in my bathroom, I thought they were just using my hairbrush or make up. How could I be so blind?

Is nothing sacred?

Nope.  There are no boundaries in this house.  My kids walk in on me getting dressed on a somewhat regular basis -- there's usually an eeeww involved (Thanks kids, I needed that.).  They will hold entire conversations with me while I'm on the phone and usually want me to help them with their homework while I'm in the bathroom.

So now, I'm turning over a new leaf.  I bought new toothbrushes for everyone and spent the evening labeling each one with their respective names -- its more like wallpaper, but I want no more questions as to who's is who's.

Then, I'm going to start with the lessons.  There will be no more sharing in this house!  And anyone who even thinks about using my toothbrush again might just see these pearly whites staring them in the face.

Membership Has Its Privileges

Posted by ZenMom Tuesday, November 10, 2009 7 comments

I've been thinking a lot about getting older these days. Usually when I'm looking in the mirror. That's when I see those new lines and all those new gray hairs cropping up.

It also crosses my mind when I go to put on my pants and realize I've outgrown them yet again. Or during those times I try to get up from a sitting position only to be stuck in some yoga-like pose, sans the yoga.  Not before I let out a few good old lady noises of course.

Come to think of it, this whole aging thing is pretty much on my mind 24/7.  Getting older is really a downer.

I went on a hike with an old (no pun intended) friend of mine a while back.  The whole time we talked about how different we are now than in our younger days.  How appearances don't seem to matter half as much as they used to. We talked about our growing disdain for small talk and anything superficial.  And how we just don't have time to make nice-nice with people who are just pains in the ass.

As we made our way up the mountain, the theme for the day became clear.

It just doesn't matter anymore.

I'm no longer bound by what others think of me.  My idea of fashion consists largely of what is comfortable. And, as many of you can attest to, I feel a certain freedom to speak my mind.

The biggest revelation? I feel more free to be my own person than I have in years.  So along with all the bad, I'm coming to realize aging most definitely has its privileges -- and I must confess -- I'm kinda liking them.

So it looks like I'm a proud, card-carrying member of the Old Geezer's Club. Wanna come join me? 


Posted by ZenMom Sunday, November 8, 2009 6 comments

DISCLAIMER:  We interrupt this normally light-hearted, satirical blog to talk about something seriousI have a sneaking suspicion I may ruffle some feathers out there, so I formally apologize in advance. If you're offended, all I have to say is -- the hormones made me do it.

We all know the economy sucks.  There is so much need, so much hurt. With the holidays coming up, many are wondering how they will get through.  The reasons are as numerous as the stories...lost jobs, medical expenses, dwindling (if any) savings accounts.  This is serious stuff folks.

I know.  We've been there.  In our case, some big medical issues reared their ugly heads, putting us into a tailspin trying to figure out how to keep our heads above water.

Now I don't say this for sympathy.  We have been blessed more than I could ever imagine.  God has provided for us and I have faith that however hard, we will make it through.

But because I've had a taste of this, I'm a tad sensitive to things that others seem clueless about.

While I've always been on the cheap thrifty side, I find it funny that being frugal is now in fashion. I see so many otherwise loaded individuals now rambling on about how they need to tighten their belts.  That's OK.  We could never have enough fiscal responsibility. But what really irks me are those, many whom I know are quite comfortable, complaining about how hard they have it.  If they only knew...

Being the old advertising type that I am, I figure this is nothing that a good ole awareness campaign can't cure.  So I've taken it upon myself to educate those of the more fortunate out there.  Its not that I want to make fun of them, I sincerely want to help them stop making total fools out of themselves.

And now for my Jeff Foxworthy impersonation.
NOTE:  The following is based on true events, I couldn't make some of this stuff up.  No worries, all the names have been changed to protect the innocent oblivious. 


  • ...cutting your two week trip to Disney World to a mere seven day jaunt.  As a last resort, you may just go up to the mountains for a ski trip instead. Get over it.  If this is you're biggest problem, you are so not struggling.  If you're able to go on vacation, any vacation, thank your lucky stars. People with REAL problems can't even do that.

  • ...the fact that you can't put enough money in the kids' college funds.  Whoopie.  Be thankful you have a college account or retirement account or savings account for that matter. REAL problems mean your savings consists of a bunch of pennies in the jar in the basement or whatever change you can find under the couch.

  • ...the fact that you have to cut out little Buffy's gymnastics camp because you're just too tapped out with her dance, riding and French lessons.  Hate to break it to you, but  I think she'll live.  REAL problems include not having enough money to pay for your child's school supplies, lunch or field trip fees.

  • ...not being able to get your nails done because you have to cut back.  Hold me back. I really want to hurt you.  If this is your biggest worry, please, please shut up.

  • ...poor people, saying "So many of these people create their own problems. Why should I pay for them?" Do I really need to explain this one?
  • ...the fact that you'd like to help out, BUT {insert any of the above here}.  Pleeeeaase.  My only advise is...wake up and look around you.  Then give. Or do.  Whatever you choose, do it like your life depends upon it.  Tides have a way of turning. You never know when it actually will.

The ironic part of this is that the people who need it the most are the ones that rarely complain.  Why is that?  Is it that they have learned to appreciate the smaller things in life? I don't know for sure, but we can all learn a lesson or two from those "less fortunate" then ourselves.

My World's Been Rocked

Posted by ZenMom Friday, November 6, 2009 6 comments

This has been one long week. First, the phone incident. Yeah, you know about that one already.

Then dearest hubby had a run-in with John Law. No, he wasn't speeding (not this time) but he had expired plates. A fix it ticket's not a big deal, right?

As our luck has it, this was not a fix it, but a Hand-Over-95-Smackaroos-and-Be-On-Your-Way ticket. Highway robbery if you ask me. To top it off, our old, shoddily built banister lost a post.  So now we're left with a gaping hole between the kitchen and family room.  As I went to call the handyman, I swore I saw visions of dollar signs swirling above my head.

Then, on Wednesday, the unthinkable happened. The Word Which Must Not Be Spoken was uttered. It was awful.  Traumatic.  I think I'm scarred for life.

Why so glum?

My laptop died. There, I said it.

I wasn't in the room when it happened. I did however hear the screams.  I made it down the stairs just in time to see two of my dear children, both looking so, so guilty.  And then I saw it -- the dreaded blue screen.  You know the one. The lovely That's All Folks shade that tells you all is definitely not well in computerland. .

After some requisite screaming and threats of groundings for life, we tried to resuscitate my old friend.  No such luck.  Today, as tears streamed down my cheek, I watched my hubby packed it up to bring it into the shop.  At this point, the best I can hope for is retrieving at least some of the stuff I had on it.  And, no, smart me did not back it up.  I thought about it.  But that's as far as it got.

Now that the shock is finally worn off, reality has hit. And boy does it bite.

My laptop. My life. It's all over now, plain and simple.

I never realized how dependent I have grown on the little sucker until I tried to do without it.  Yeah, we have another computer in the house, but its not the same. No more writing posts from bed?  Or declaring "Mommy's taking a time out" only to steal way and shop while watching Monk in the peacefulness of my room?  How's a Mom supposed to get any peace around here?

Instead I'm left to share a computer, sitting in the middle of our family room, with three kids -- two of which don't know how close they came to biting the big one.

So if this post seems a little rushed, that's because it is.  Right now, I have about two more minutes before the door opens and the circus begins.  Ahh, there's nothing like a deadline looming to get those creative juices flowing. 

Uh-oh, the knob is turning.  Let the games begin. Until next time...

Please Press $@#%!

Posted by ZenMom Tuesday, November 3, 2009 5 comments

Here goes another confession. Yeah, I know, what else is new?

Call me old fashioned, but I'm horrible with cell phones. I'm notorious for my uncanny ability to lose mine. When I do find it, the battery's usually dead. And on that off chance that its in place AND has power, its probably stashed at the bottom of my purse so I never hear the stupid thing go off.

Today was no exception. A couple of days ago it wouldn't charge so I neatly (not!) put it away. I admit, with kids screaming, dogs running off and dinner burning, it just wasn't at the top of my proverbial pile.

Too bad for me, when I went to find it, it was nowhere.  Kaput!

And right now I could really use that normally insignificant hunk of metal. You see, our home phone (yeah, I know a lot of you in the younger crowd may consider this in of itself archaic) is having issues.

Every time I pick up the phone, it shouts back a static sound at a decibel level way too high for human ears. At first I thought it would go away on its own, but after a day of causing irreparable damage to my eardrums, I decided to take drastic measures.

I called the phone company.

I was greeted by a lovely voice (automated of course), then prompted to several other equally automated voices. Then the real fun began. I got to the part where I was supposed to give my computerized friend some simple answers.

Simple? Right. Between the static and the three year old screaming in the background I guess I wasn't making myself very clear. I kept getting the Hal of automated systems saying, "I'm sorry, I didn't get that. Could you say it again?"

Well after the fifth time around, I began to get a little testy. That's when I found myself screaming at the top of my lungs. The neighbors stared, the little guy cried, wondering why mommy was acting so crazy. (Don't worry kid, in time you'll get used to it.)

When I finally did get a live person, they kept asking me for my alternate number.

"No, I don't have another number."


I don't have an alternate number."

"Are you kidding me?


The chuckles could be heard, right through the static. And then, "Well...I'm sorry, but if you don't have another number, I can't help you."  Chuckle. Chuckle.

Two hours, three more calls and a probably a small fortune later, I have a tech coming out tomorrow to assess (and hopefully fix) the damage.

This could have been so simple.  If I just had that wee little phone.

So right now I have just one thing to say:  Please, please come back, cell phone.  I promise not to take you for granted anymore.  Just make the noise go away and I'll be your bestest pal ever.

It's the Most Wonderful Day of the Year

Posted by ZenMom Monday, November 2, 2009 2 comments

Yesterday just happened to be my absolute favorite day of the whole entire year.

Nope, not Halloween.  Not All Saints Day. Not even Christmas.

It was  Daylight Savings Day!

Now I forget if its the beginning or the end of this funky little arrangement, but whatever it is -- all I know is its the day when the impossible happens.  For just one single day out of the entire year I get what I begged for the other 364 -- more hours in the day.  Well, at least one more. 

I know its only sixty minutes, but around my neck of the woods, I need all I can get.  And that single hour has a way of recharging me and making me feel -- dare I say -- downright serene.

It was an added bonus that this year it fell on the day after Halloween.  This put all the kiddos in an extra special relaxed mood.  Coming down from that sugar rush can do that to the system, I guess.  Or maybe it was the euphoria of knowing they had that much candy.  Whatever the cause, the result was wondrous.

With the kids happy and contained, I was able to do what I do most days.  I got things done.  I just didn't do them at my usual frantic pace.  It was like I was floating through the day in this surreal slo-mo state.  Why the feeling was so foreign, I couldn't put my finger on it.

At least not until tonight.  Now I know what it was.  I remember feeling it long ago, I think sometime in a former life.  The name?  Its on the tip of my tongue.  Ah, yes, it's called R-E-L-A-X-A-T-I-O-N.  All the way down to my bones.  There was no rushing, no hurrying along.  No worries about being behind.  Because I knew that -- at least for one day -- I actually had enough hours in the day to keep up with my crazy life.

Now I know that with this change comes shorter days, longer nights and the inevitable cold, but right now I'm too comfortable to care.  But like all good things, this too came to an end.  So now its time to go.  Unlike yesterday, we're back to our measly 24 hour stretch, so time to get myself in gear to face another way-too-short day.


Halloweens Gone By

Posted by ZenMom Saturday, October 31, 2009 2 comments

Its Halloween night and as far as we can tell, a good time was had by all. Two out of four kids are happily in bed, still clutching their pumpkins. The other two are on their way home, no doubt in good spirits.

This Halloween was downright peaceful. Unlike the days of old, there was no mad rush to find costume pieces or arguments over who got what pumpkin. The older kids were self motivated and calm. That, I have to say, was kinda spooky.

Then in a flash, they were gone -- at parties or friends houses. They were all in such a hurry to get to their respective destinations we forgot the annual ritual of pictures, amidst the usual chorus of moans and groans, followed by hamming it up in front of the camera

We were left with uncharacteristic quiet. And the Little Stinker.  The scene was totally surreal.  Two parents, one child, tranquility.  It was just plain wrong.

So us two parents headed out with the little guy and went door to door in the neighborhood.  While it was great spending two-on-one time with our youngest, I kept flashing back to when the older kids were little.  The neighborhood was different then.  Mostly young parents like ourselves and tons of  kids.  We would head out in packs -- including the requisite scary monsters, pretty princesses and those adorable little kid giggles.

That was then.  Now, we're no longer young parents.  And most of the little kids are growing up, leaving an eerie silence to the streets.  So tonight -- while very cute and utterly enjoyable -- something was missing.  I mourned those days gone by, not to mention my younger ones.  I couldn't shake the feeling of being old and out of place.

That's not to say the evening was without its moments.  The Little Stinker was dressed up as James, his very favorite Thomas the Tank engine.  That in itself was priceless.  So were his feeble attempts at saying Trick or Treat instead of just taking the candy and running.

At first he was pretty shy, not yet clear on the whole concept.  But being the quick study that his is, he soon was bounding down the street, dashing ahead of us screaming, "Coming through!" on his way to the next house.  Once there, he'd methodically described a scene from some Island of Sodor adventure to the poor soul handing out the goods. Classic Little Stinker.

By the end of the evening, his pumpkin was so full, he enlisted his dad to carry it for him.  As for me, I carried James, eyes at half mast, all the while pleading, "One more house Mommy,  I LIKE CANDY!"

Halloween Wonderland

Posted by ZenMom Thursday, October 29, 2009 3 comments

The snow continues to fall.  And fall.  And fall.  I think right now we have about 20 inches on the ground and by the end of the day we should have more. So here starts our second snow day.  Even the hubby is home.

This is pretty freaky.  Its like Mother Nature is playing her own Halloween trick on us.  I knew I shouldn't have gone cheap on the candy.

It is pretty, I have to admit. Too bad the beauty is being drowned out by the screaming.  And the whining.  Oh we can't forget the whining.   Six people cooped up in my humble home for two days has a way of rattling one's nerves.

I had this idealistic picture in my mind of how yesterday should have gone.  Hot cocoa, fresh baked cookies, harmonious dealings with the kids.  Yeah, that happened.

Instead we had kids camped out in front of the TV for hours.  Worse yet I let them.  The grayness of the day left me in drowsy and slow.  I don't think I got anything on my list checked off.  When my husband got home I was caught face down on our bed napping.  What can I say, laziness ruled.

I admit, yesterday caught me off guard. But today I'm ready. I'm hunkering down, resolved to survive another housebound day.  Besides, the kids are already gearing up for sledding and I think I see the makings of a snowman in progress.  Time to enjoy our little taste of Christmas in October.

If the weather forecasters are anywhere close to accurate (its a big IF, I know) then tomorrow fall will return, so all will be well in the world again -- until Halloween and the annual sugar rush hits.  Ahh, but that's another post all together.

Snow, Snow Go Away

Posted by ZenMom Wednesday, October 28, 2009 4 comments

No way!  I woke up this morning to six inches of snow on the ground.  How pretty.  How peaceful.  How Zen.

Not exactly.  Along with those delicate white flakes came the news I dread most.  A snow day.

IT"S ONLY OCTOBER.  This can't be happening. Not yet.

Then again, this is my life we're talking about. Why am I surprised?

At the moment I have two three four kids and one big dog on the bed with me watching the news. This is not a dream.  I repeat, this is not a dream.

You may think my reaction is a little extreme.  And you're probably right.

I usually LOVE snow days.  Everything comes to a screeching halt.  For just one day, we have to slow down and relax. We bake cookies, sip hot cocoa and head to the sledding hill. But did I mention its only October?  The time of year we jump in crunchy leaf piles, enjoy the changing colors and some wonderful Indian Summer.  Oh, what happened to my beautiful Indian Summer? 

I shouldn't be surprised.  After all, this is Colorado we're talking about.  I've lived here long enough to realize anything is possible.  Like white stuff all over the ground three days before Halloween.

The worst thing about it?  Today was my day.  You know, the day when not only the older kids were in school, but the Little Stinker had Lunch Bunch.  Its the day I look forward to all week long.

I had plans.  Grand plans.  Bills to pay, projects to be done.  And rest.  Wonderful, glorious rest.

Instead I'm looking at my entire clan confined within these four walls.  All day.  All night. I think I feel a panic attack coming on.

Ahh, the best laid plans.  Guess I'd better get the hot cocoa going and pull out the old cookie recipes. After I head down to the basement to dust off all that winter wear.  Ready or not, its time to get out there and enjoy the snow.

Of Mommies and Menopause

Posted by ZenMom Sunday, October 25, 2009 4 comments

Life can be funny. Seems it likes to play some pretty cruel jokes on me in particular. Its like being repeatedly Punk'd without having Ashton Kutcher come out from behind a wall or curtain or whatever it is he does. Darn the luck.

What could be so bad, you might ask? Just when I finally had all my kids in school, I got surprise number one. As my twins (come to think of it, they were surprise number one) were finishing up first grade, I found out I was pregnant with child number four.

Now, don't get me wrong. I love the little guy. He touches our lives in ways we never thought possible.  I couldn't imagine life without him. But getting him into the world was a tad problematic.

First of all, it was a big jolt to the system. You see, in my mind I was done. I gave away all the baby things, was thinking of going back to work and had just gotten used to my time alone. Silly me.

Second, I was not spring chicken. This all came to be at the ripe old age of 42. Do you know what its like walking into a maternity store where all the other customers are 20 years your junior? It was quite a trip, let me tell you. So was re-entering the wonderful world of diapers, strollers and bouncy seats.

Third is the fact that pregnancy most definitely does not become me. I know so many people who loved being pregnant. Who actually glowed. Me? I took on a funky green hue. I drooled.  Yep, you got that right, I actually freaking drooled.  I also had morning sickness from hell not only in the first trimester, but the second and third too. It got so bad, I ended up sporting a lovely combination of tubes and IVs before all was said and done.

Once the little guy was born, things improved.  Although I'm convinced an old geezer like me is just not meant to run after a highly-active, super-precocious child.  Or wake up twenty times a night with a newborn. This little engine ran out of steam just looking at the mountain.

Then the cruelest trick of all was played on my poor, abused body.  About a year after the Little Stinker made his arrival, my hormones decided to go on strike. Seems they had enough of this whole child-bearing thing.

When I was pregnant, I used to joke(the operative word being joke) that since I was such an old pregnant person, I was gonna go straight from pregnancy to menopause.

IT WAS A JOKE, PEOPLE!  Come on, I didn't MEAN it.

Too late to take it back, I'm left to suffer the natural consequences.  Damn, I hate natural consequences.  Like the fact that instead of being able to loose my baby weight, I added another 20 on for good measure.  I could feel the pounds packing on every time I just looked at something yummy.

Oh, I can't forget the hot flashes.  Those pesky things always hit right in the middle of a meeting, a party or some other public venue. And the looks?  You'd think I'd grown two heads.  The gray hair isn't too pleasant either.  But that's nothing a little box every month or so can't take care of.  There's no way in hell I'm going to get the grandma question in the kindergarten pick up line.

But I have to say, the very worst of the worst is the mood swings. You don't think you're crazy when they start.  You're being perfectly reasonable.  Then, right in the middle of your hour-long rant about the price of eggs it hits you.  Holy crap!  Just get me my straight jacket, hon...I'll go ahead and make the call.

So if you find me ranting from time to time, have no fear.  I'm really not that scary.  Not all the time at least.  And if you want to keep your distance I understand.  I'm not hard to miss.  I'm the one pushing a stroller with one hand, holding a cane in the other with a constant stream of sweat running down my face.  Ain't getting old grand?

Monsters Inc.

Posted by ZenMom Thursday, October 22, 2009 3 comments

Today was another crazy day. A house that would make junk yards look good, a to-do list a mile long. So being the woman of action that I am, what did I do? Took the little guy and went to the park.

What's the big deal with that?

The following bad parenting confession should clear that up: As you may know, our little guy is the youngest of four. I'm an older parent. And that's not the best combination for doing fun, kid-oriented stuff on a regular basis.

Unlike his siblings before him, we don't do playdates, he has no friends his own age, and his usual outing consists of driving his older siblings to and from THEIR activities. And the time we do have alone together is usually the only time I can run errands, go grocery shopping or clean house.

That said, I don't know what got into me today. After leaving SuperCuts I just didn't want to go home to my growing mound of work. It's a beautiful day (compared to the snow two days ago) and the sun was shining. So to the park we went.

The little guy's reaction kinda surprised me. Suspicious and unbelieving, he kept asking, over and over again, "Why?"

That's when the mommy guilt really hit. Note to self: I've got to get out with him more often.

Now this wasn't the normal, sit-on-the-bench-exhausted-while-the-little-guy-runs-around-like-a-banshee type outing. Contrary to my usual MO, I was right out there with him, sliding on slides, swinging on swings and yes, I even did the monkey bars. Some of the teens ditching class at the local high school looked at me as if I was certifiable, but today, nothing could stop us.

The best part was the game. My highly imaginative little man wanted to play Monsters. Tickle monsters, scary monsters, Frankenstein, mommy monsters --  you name it, I played it. And the corresponding giggles could be heard 'round the world.  His were pretty loud too.

To sum it up, a good time was had by all.  This is one of those days I want to hold onto for a long, long time.

The moral of the story? Get out with your kids more. Not only does it do wonders for their disposition, but it might just make your day.

Zen and the Art of Motherhood

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