About Me

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Concord, California, United States
I am a sometimes-writer, everyday mama, creative failure and experimental cook. I am interested in living a beautiful life, spending time with my family and making things that I can feel proud of. When I'm by myself I'm usually outside. Don't bother calling because chances are that I didn't bring my cell phone because I couldn't find it. If you see me walking, it's because I lost my keys and if you see me with only one child... I'm probably in big trouble.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hopefully We Don't Get Robbed

There's a guy who knocks on our door every so often asking if we want him to sweep up outside of our house. The first time he came by we gave him a few bucks to do it.

Of course, he took the money and left without doing a thing.

Amazingly, this man has had the nerve to come back repeatedly.

Two nights ago this guy knocked on our door and Jay told him that he didn't have any cash. He was like, I noticed that you have trash bags in your basement (uhhhh... peaking in our basement windows? CREEPY) and I have a dumpster. I can bring it over and take everything away for you.

Here's the thing. Our children's Christmas gifts are hidden in those bags (along with the clothes that we washed and dried at the laundry mat when we found out about the bb's back in September).

Hopefully he won't rob us.

We have an alarm on the house but Jay has been insistent that it can't be used while we're gone because our cats set the motion detector off. This struck me as being completely impossible. I mean, why would you have an alarm that you can't use? I found out that you can put a weight limit on the filter that triggers the motion detector. This stupid alarm has already caused us so much grief. We are living with no smoke alarms because the fire department was going to fine us if they had to come to our house anymore. And they were being called at least once a week because of this stupid alarm.

This makes me want to scream, "I HATE TECHNOLOGY. IT MAKES ME LIFE HARDER" from the top of an apple store. Apple doesn't even make the alarm. I'm just grouchy. And apple makes my iphone... which has been giving me a hard time. So I may have some displaced anger toward electronics.

Wow. I'm in a really bad mood.

I can't handle another bad thing...

Monday, November 29, 2010


My friend Tali gave me the most profound bit of insight via blog comment (in reference to the regrettable envy I have for my pregnant friends). She said something that opened my eyes and connected... while making me feel better too.

"I think it's not so much resentment Anna as grief. Granted I have never had something work it's way out my uterus but see a lot of women go through a grief process after they've drawn the line at how many babies to have. It's grief that you're not going to carry a baby again and that you won't have those experiences again. It feels a lot like jealousy and/or resentment but grief is often only associated with death so we don't always recognize it."

Everything about this comment resonates, but the part about grief being associated with death and therefor going unrecognized rings especially true.

After all... the death of a dream is something to grieve for. Even if you put it to rest knowingly, agreeably and honestly... still, you grieve.

...and that's what I'm doing.

So, be patient.

Everyone Is Pregnant

I don't have that many friends who I see often.

Actually, I have a bestie who I've never met face to face before! The majority of my friendships are with people who live thousands of miles away and who I only get to see once or twice a year.

As far as close, close friends who I get together with and see frequently, I have four. I have four girlfriends who live within a couple of hours and who I will take a night to see here and there. I feel so completely blessed to have these friendships. It took me years to really understand that I don't need to please lots of people or squish myself into the expectations of my friends in order to be liked and accepted. The people in my life love me and I love them too. I don't worry that they'll judge me and I don't judge them. These are good, strong, honest, lifetime friendships.

Two of the four are pregnant and a third will be pregnant soon.

So, there I am. Nearly by myself in the empty womb club.

And I can't help but feel a little left out.

I had always wanted to have a third baby, but my husband had strong feelings against it. A few years ago I resigned myself to being grateful for the two children that I do have and decided to enjoy my family as it is.

And I do.

... but I can't help but feel a little bit envious of the growing families around me.

Isn't that awful? I'm pretty embarrassed by it.

My friends completely deserve to have babies and wonderful husbands and big families. They are great people and fantastic parents... so it's just terrible that other people's pregnancies should make me feel a little bit sad about my own life when I should be experiencing nothing but joy and happiness for the people who I love and care about.

I guess that in reality I still want a third baby. I always will. It's just something that I had to sacrifice in order to be married to the person who I chose to marry.

The resentment comes in waves.

This is one of those things that we've never been on the same page about. It's sort of a big thing.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Solar Queen

Bunny lost a tooth yesterday and all she wanted from the ToothFairy was a solar queen.

She's been admiring the solar queen in the Big Green Earth Store for awhile but I haven't gotten it for her because it seemed like the kind of thing that she wouldn't actually want once she had it. I'm actually not sure why anyone likes these. You'd be shocked (or maybe you wouldn't) by the crowds of people who gather around the solar queen, giggling as she waves. We sell so many of them!!!!

This morning, when Bunny fished under her pillow and pulled out her very own, blue solar queen, I was surprised by her delight.

I was also surprised that she accused the ToothFairy of shoplifting when I said that I hadn't seen her buy it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Let the Shopping Take Flight.

I have worked my first retail black Friday and it was great. Business was good, but not overwhelming.

Also, I got my paycheck, which was my biggest yet. On top of the paycheck there were $50 extra in cash.

After work, we went out to the the Percy Street BBQ (which was only so-so) and then Jay ran home with the girls and I did my own Black Friday shopping at Target.

I know that all of the plastic crap is... well, crap. That said, I have a five and six year old and they don't care that it's crap. They just know that they desperately want Santa to bring it. And even though we all know that Santa likely makes all of his toys from non-toxic wood grown on his own farm, bamboo and bpa free recyclable plastic, this doesn't prevent my children from begging for the Monster High dolls, Furr Real puppy or Baby Alive. Whattareyougonnado?

So, here are a few of the most begged for Christmas Items in our home this year. None of them are practical or educationally based.

1.) The Real Construction kit. Which we went all out and got the separate tools, screws and extra "wood," (I have been avoiding trying to find out what this wood is actually made out of because Bunny would seriously be heartbroken if she didn't wake up to this. It's the only thing that she's asked for. Unless you count a turtle. she also keeps asking for a turtle.)

2.) Barbie, I Can Be a Bride, which needs no further introduction. Barbie, Ken, Bridesmaid, flower girl A six year old's dream, basically!

3) The Furreal dog that we are pretty sure no one is ever going to play with but that everyone is dying to have. Only ONE child got this, though. They will have to share.

4.) Blythe's Littlest Petshop, which Lila likely only wants because the commercial makes it sound like they're saying, "Li-la's littlest pet shop."

6.)Disney Princess Dolls (which no one has asked for, but they were on sale for $40 from $60 and I know that EVERYONE will go goo-goo for them.)

7.) The GirlTech Password Protected journal. Bunny will LOVE this gift!

8.) The Moxie Girl Dolls, with snow!

And more...

but I'm tired of making links! Think Olivia and Rapunzel.

So, about half of my shopping for the girls is done. I'll finish when I get paid again on the 10th. I'll also do my teacher and coworker shopping done that day. I'm going to make lots of granola and got cute little Holiday inspired Chinese Food containers to gift it in. Jay adamantly does not want a gift this year. We'll see. On one hand I think that I could get him something great, particularly because my money really stretched at Target last night. But, if I get him something and he doesn't get me anything (like we planned) I'll be the only one without a present. This has happened to me before. Everyone's stockings are stuffed. And everyone else has something to open. But I have nothing. And though realistically we agreed on this and I am springing an unexpected gift on my husband so I should be okay with nothing of my own... it really makes me sad when it happens. Like, it ruins my whole day.

So, we'll see...

Misery deserves company...

But not on Christmas.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving and Black Friday

Our Holiday was a success!

Everything (especially the poppers and the sangria) were delicious. Our company was good. Everyone was happy and laughing...

I meant to take lots of pictures of the food I made as it came out. But, of course, I forgot everything past the jalapeno poppers (which are featured to the left) so here's what was consumed! Poppers, artichoke dip and chips and meat and cheese plate. Turkey, gravy (which wasn't very good. It's always hit or miss with me), stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole, turnips, peas, corn and hot buns with butter. For dessert we had cheesecake (which, much to my pleasure, Jack made a big deal about) with strawberries.

Now, in a few minutes I need to hop into the shower because J will be here to babysit until 1:30. Today is the first black friday that I am working in retail EVER. Last year I shopped it. This year I'll work it. But, it's also a payday for me, so hopefully I'll shop it after five too!

I'll let you know how it goes!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

Okay, so our plans to actually attend the Thanksgiving Day Parade in Philadelphia turned into watching it on tv. It's just... cold... and early.

I'm on track to a great Thanksgiving dinner! My appetizers (other than the chopping that makes the cheese and meat plate) are prepped. I predict that my jalapeno poppers are going to be incredible. Even my cheesecake is made! In a bit, I'll chop the strawberries to serve on top.

By the way, I am not making a pumpkin pie and I feel like I'm robbing my family of some great Thanksgiving tradition. I decided not to do it because no one ever eats the pumpkin pie. Then, last night, I had this awful feeling that something was missing. And I realized it's the pumpkin pie. I might try to pick one up somewhere...

So, now I need to make my sangria, turkey, stuffing, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, peas and turnips. Yum...

I hope that everyone out there is enjoying their feast, friends and family today.

Happy cooking!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Top 10 Thanks of 2010

We're going to the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade on Thursday morning. It's going to be cold and miserable, so it's a miracle that we're all looking so forward to it! I feel like a Thanksgiving Day parade doesn't count unless you can see your own breath.

Of all the things that I am thankful for this year, here are my top 10 (in no particular order)!

1.) My family. Our health. Our ability to stick together through the tough times.
2.) My husband, who loves me even when I'm unbearably grouchy, dramatic and disorganized.
3.) Moe, the exterminator, who saw us through to the bitter end!
4.) The neurology department of Jefferson Hospital, who diagnosed Jay's transverse Myelitis, treated him and took care of him for the week- all the while being totally reassuring that he'd live and somewhat reassuring that he'd walk again.
5.) Holistic Family Healthcare, who have completely changed the way I feel about myself, food, my body and my health.
6.) The fact that I never have to torture myself with theories about Lost again.
7.) Our Elementary School. For any complaints I have, I do know that my children are getting a superior education that far exceeds the standards of the Philadelphia public schools and we are fortunate to be a part of the ICS community.
8.) Big Green Earth Store, especially Larry, who was encouraging about giving me a job when no one else was nice about the fact that I'd been a stay at home mom for so long and had practically no work history.
9.) For every stranger who has smiled at me on the street, held a door, given my children a compliment or extended a gesture that made me feel part of a community.
10.) many, many, many, many thanks to all of my friends and family who have been there for Jay and I during our tough times this year. Mostly, thanks to my parents who have been there for us every step of the way, Jay's parents and family, the friends who call and ask how I am and comforted me when I cried or agreed to let my children and I come and live with them if we couldn't get rid of the bb's. Thanks to my friends who sent me pick-me-ups and gifts. My friend Julia, who sent my children toys when they had none. My friend Jack, who brought my children bags of toys one night like he was Santa Claus. My friend Ginger who sent me a gigantic care package that I never expected! She's one heck of a baker, that one. My friend Victoria who forgives me for completely ignoring every wonderful thing that she's feeling during her pregnancy because I've been so self absorbed. And who loves me and my family and cared for my children even though she was probably scared that they'd be contaminated with bed bugs. And showered them with gifts! And for the month that we lived with no furniture but a few new mattresses and a card table... the card table was actually hers! My friend Erika, who made the most beautiful gifts for Lila's birthday and my friend Megan, who sent the girls arts and crafts and helped me replenish my kitchen with loving bake ware! She scarified her crock pot to the US mail system and it died a noble death, returning to her in a million pieces! (and if I'm forgetting anyone here, please forgive me. I'm still on my first cup of coffee)!

Private Post


Thanks for all the outreach and comments today on that last post!

I decided to make it private because it occurred to me that it's probably a terrible idea to complain about work on a public blog. Even though I wasn't complaining as much about my job as I was about myself... I still think that it was reflecting negatively on the company that I work for and I hadn't intended to and wouldn't want to do that. I honestly love the company and today was a much better day in sales for me.

So, I'll keep my future gripes strictly personal. And by personal, I mean about YOU.


Monday, November 22, 2010

Good Morning!

I was sure that I was going to be so sick today!

When I went to bed last night I felt incredibly run down with a sore throat and drippy nose. And so this morning I am shocked by the healing power of 8 hours of sleep and a few glasses of juice! I feel great!

I had a nice, but long weekend. After getting out of work on Friday I had so much to do. When I ran to the school to pick up the girls J was waiting for me. I took her to her house to pick up a warmer coat and then she ran errands with the girls and I. We went to the Wine and Spirits store, tomy shop to pick up my grocery cart, to Whole Foods, to the frozen yogurt place (a promise that I couldn't break even though it's been freezing outside) and finally, to pick all of the Holler pets up from the vet.

As it turns out, Sherbert was a big jerk to the veterinary staff and they weren't able to clip his nails or clean his ears. Actually, they all seemed completely petrified of him. Poor guy. He still has so much feral cat in him. I feel like he was taken out of that environment when he was young enough to have overcome his jagged, rough roots... but no. He's still so much of a wild cat who hates people. The fact that he doesn't really hurt us is a huge testament to how much he actually loves us back. I mean, he's almost three years old and is only now beginning to trust me enough to sit near me and let me pet him for a few seconds. Also, until recently I didn't think that he was physically able to purr. Sherbert is a sad story.

But I digress! After getting our pets, J, the girls and I headed home to order a bunch of greasy take out, watch movies and drink wine. On Saturday I didn't feel so well. Jay went into work and the girls and I did our grocery shopping. I came home, put on jammies, baked cookies and had a lazy Saturday afternoon.

Yesterday I worked. I worked for 10 hours. And when I came home Jay had cooked an actual dinner that was delicious. He had finished the shopping. Our children were bathed. Our house was clean. And he even did some prep work for Monday.

Jay dreams of being a stay at home dad.

Are the Rosemary Pea plant and the rosemary herb the same thing? One of them is poisonous to cats.

Oh, and our last extermination was very thorough. A few days later and the floors are still a bit tacky. He says that we will not need another one. I sort of got the feeling that he couldn't ethically give us another one because the chemicals are so dangerous. No bed bug will be left standing (as if any would dare)!

ps. On a separate but similar note, I think that the mice have evacuated. One death was enough. Sherbert sent his message. We haven't caught one, seen evidence of one, found another one dead or heard any under the floorboards.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rosemary Tree

I'm tired, tired, tired, but before instead of dwelling on it I'm going to get some sleep. Before I do that you should check out the incredible rosemary tree that I bought at work for eight bucks and a few pennies! Oh, and it's local and organic!

This purchase is better than a whole day at the spa.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Mama Mia Sangria!

Sangria is my favorite drink!

On Thanksgiving I'm following this recipe to make a pitcher of the sweet stuff! I'm omitting the sugar and the cherries however and substituting halved grapes and apples!

I've never used Brandy in a Sangria recipe before!

  • 1/2 cup brandy
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup frozen lemonade concentrate
  • 1/3 cup orange juice
  • 1 (750 milliliter) bottle dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup triple sec
  • 1 lemon, sliced into rounds
  • 1 orange, sliced into rounds
  • 1 lime, sliced into rounds
  • 1/4 cup white sugar (optional)
  • 8 maraschino cherries
  • 2 cups carbonated water (optional)


  1. In a large pitcher or bowl, mix together the brandy, lemon juice, lemonade concentrate, orange juice, red wine, triple sec, and sugar. Float slices of lemon, orange and lime, and maraschino cherries in the mixture. Refrigerate overnight for best flavor. For a fizzy sangria, add club soda just before serving.

Adorable Frames/ Another Extermination

I was relocating the BGES recycling (glasses, batteries, cell phones and laptops) from one box to another when I came across these fantastic frames. Who would want to get rid of them? They're so cute and make me look like a movie star! I'm going going to ask T if I can have them. We can recycle them with my head and a local Lens Crafters.

We're having ANOTHER extermination today. Jay is home to help with the girls and the pets while I prepare the house before going to work.

This is good though. No need to freak out. This is the end... I just hate that within a few days of being exterminated we are always bitten really badly. And it's always the girls. I guess if we aren't bitten this time we'll know that everything is dead.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The Things We Learn From Bunny

Bunny's been coming home from school reciting the following "hand games." Watch till the end. Shame, Shame, Shame is my personal favorite. Especially the part that goes, "there's a big, fat police man at the door, door, door..."

Thanksgiving Plans

We're not going anywhere for Thanksgiving this year.

I'll miss seeing the friends and family who we usually feast with on Thanksgiving, but have to admit that staying home is a relief. The following day starts a four week span of total on-the-go insanity for me. I'll be working 6 days a week and the day that I have off (Saturday) Jay will usually work.

I'll be going into work an hour earlier, which means that I'll be opening the store at 9. Jay is going to work the midshift so that he can take the girls to school each morning before going to work. He won't be out until six, but at least we'll still all be able to have an hour or so together before bedtime. While he takes the girls to school, I can tidy up the house and grab a quick shower before leaving.

So, on Thanksgiving this year, we're just hanging out together and maybe putting up our Christmas tree and doing a little winter decorating... and RESTING. I want to watch movies and cuddle up with my girls.

So, my menu is simple and stress free:

Apps: meat and cheese plate, artichoke dip and chips and the jalapeno popper recipe that my friend Kim posted to her blog.

Dinner: Turkey, stuffing, gravy, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, peas, corn and warm rolls.

Dessert: cheesecake and the Turkey shaped cookies that my children keep seeing on Noggin and are dying to make!

And that's it. Simple. Delicious. Uncomplicated.

Also, I think that I"ll make a pitcher of Sangria. I know that it doesn't necessarily meet a Thanksgiving theme, but... Sangria goes with pretty much everything.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Teacher Gifts

We're not going crazy on teacher gifts this holiday season. I'm trying to think of creative, fun gifts that aren't going to break our budget. One thing that I know I'd like to grab is the stapless stapler. They're totally adorable and completely functional, and let's face it... who doesn't need a stapless stapler?!? I feel that this invention is every teachers dream! I think that paired with a Klean Kanteen I could be on to a perfect gift!

Here's how they work:

My Child Does Not Eat

Bunny never eats breakfast. Try as I may, I can't ever get her eat before school.

This morning L had an egg-in- the-boat on multi-grain bread, a very small bowl of mini-wheats and a banana. I made the same exact thing for Bun, but she pushed it away with disgust. She agreed to eat an orange if I cut it up, but it's sitting in front of her and she's not touching it.

Each day I roll into school with a child who doesn't have a drop of food or beverage in her belly and I feel like a neglector.

The following seem to be the foods that Bun will agreeably eat in the morning: leftover pizza and egg drop soup. Clearly, we do not often have these at hand.

Does anyone know how to get my child to want to eat? She about 50 inches tall and barely 50 lbs. I feel like every time she goes to the dr. she's lost more weight.

Oh no! Lila is circling around Bunny's egg-in-the-boat like a little yellow headed vulture.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Worm Farms

I've been thinking about starting a worm compost!

Now that we've got a little backyard to work on I'd like some good compost. And now that we've got a little basement to compost in through the winter, it seems like a good time to start a worm factory.

I've been reading a lot about worm factories online. Also, we carry worm factories at work and I'm getting to know the ins and outs of them. They can produce a half a pound of compost each day. Each worm can (in ideal conditions) produce several times its own body weight in compost each day. I dream of having a little garden and lush lawn in my back yard next year.

My girls really like feeding the worms and they live to eat and love dark places. Everyone wins. My kids get a pet. I get good compost. The worms get a safe home.

My only reservation is the creepy crawly things that lurk within. The little spiders and mites that could potentially take over if everything is not in balance. My shop offers seminars on worm composting in the spring, but I want to start one soon.
Last Friday Jay was able to meet with Bunny's teacher, principal and lower school counselor to talk about her obstacles and the teacher change that we requested.

We've noticed that each time we say something to B's teacher, her attitude towards B changes (temporarily, so hopefully this time will be a permanent change) and B stops fearing school to such a degree. She just wants her teacher's acceptance so badly and fears her disapproval so much. I mean, it's to the point where it gives her serious anxiety.

So, her teacher said that B's been doing much better both socially and academically. The report cards that she submitted were filled out a few weeks previous to our receiving them and Bunny had been struggling. She said that B does not need any sort of tutor and is exactly where she should be academically. She also mentioned Bunny's "husband" (who called her on Friday night after receiving a hand made card that said "this is my fone numbr. Call me now," by the way).

Again, creepy or cute? Neither Jay or I know. And worse, it seems that B is feeling very empowered by this relationship. I'm so desperate to jump-start her self-esteem, but I want her power to come from within. In life, little girls have so much pressure to snag themselves a man... six is too early to start feeling that pressure.

But, getting back to the teacher. She apologized for not responding to my concerned emails. She said that she just hadn't read them well enough to realize that they needed responding to. I don't care for that... but what are you going to do? All that really matters is that Bunny is doing well.

So, she'll stay where she is for the time being and we'll try to make it through the school year. Things seemed okay yesterday and the mornings are getting easier.

I guess that we'll see what happens.

On a different note, I'm totally still sick. :(

Monday, November 15, 2010

I don't have time for this

I'm sick.

Just a little bit sick.

But, still.

My throat is killing and I went to bed last night at 7:30.

I was so pleased because yesterday morning I was supposed to go into work to learn how to process receiving vouchers. I was only supposed to stay for two hours but was able to stay for five hours. This means that it's as if I never missed Veteran's Day!

Also, I made my first Santa 2010 purchase of the season. I got my first paycheck and picked this up for B and L. It's one of two "big gifts." The other being the Barbie Dream House. These will be the presents that Elf Jay and Elf Christian stay up into the wee hours assembling. I'll never forget the Christmas when Bunny was 1 and a half. She barely understood the concept of Christmas. I think that she just regarded the whole thing as a fun story that we kept telling her. On Christmas morning she peaked down stairs at the Christmas tree and let out a little toddler sized gasp. Her tiny footsteps quickened and she yelled, "It HAPPENED!!!!!!"

But, anyway... I can't be sick because I can not miss work. Every penny that I do not earn is another gift that I am not able to buy for my children. And though I realize that Christmas is about lots of thing, not just gifts... I will be damned if my children have to feel our financial strain on Christmas morning. OVER. MY. DEAD. BODY.

So, this morning I've already showered and instead of coming home to do my morning stuff, after dropping the girls off at school, I'm going to get a flu shot (something that I haven't done before and am only doing now because Jay almost died when he got the flu last year). I'm also picking up Dayquill and Nightquill and I'm taking some right away. Tonight I'm going to bed at 7:30 again.

Please let me feel better soon. I need a healthy year.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Another Action Packed Saturday Night

I love the X Factor UK and I can't wait until the American version takes off! Last night while I was watching, my girls were on their computers playing the barbie fashion game (which they could likely do for hours without arguing or complaining). Apparently, Paige Richardson is a big hit with my children. Here is what they did during his performance on Elton John night!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Veterans Day/ incredibly boring post about the mundane details of my day to day

I spent the day at home with the girls yesterday. It was my first day back at home since settling in at my new job.

Here is what I have learned:

In my life, being a stay-at-home mom is much harder than being a work-away-from-home mom. I also have a brand-new appreciation for mom's who work from home. This used to seem perfect to me and now it seems like a crazy impossibility that I can't fathom how people manage!

Here's a small breakdown. On days that I work I:

Wake up at 6:15, make breakfasts, get my girls up, check my email, write a blog (exactly where and when I am now), get everyone dressed, do hair, make beds, fill water bottles and get out the door.
Then I drop the kids off, come home I clean up breakfast stuff and sweep the house, unload/reload the dishwasher, prep dinner, put a load of laundry in, prep jammies and clothes for the next day, shower quickly and walk to work.
Get to work and spend five hours relaxing. I mean, everything I do there is very easy. Everyone I work with or around is very pleasant, everything is pretty much fun.
Leave work, walk to pick the girls up, get home, immediately do homework, immediately start dinner, cook, prep snack and Jay's food/girls lunches for the following day, try to keep an eye on my children, eat dinner, flip laundry, do dishes, clean kitchen (Jay is doing bath while I do this), sit down for the first time since I had coffee in the morning!!!!! (usually more than 12 hours later), read stories, put girls to bed, hang out with Jay or just go to sleep.

Yesterday I had the most exhausting day. I woke up at 6:30, made breakfast, stripped the beds, got all of the sheets in the washer, cleaned the bathrooms and swept the whole house. Went around floor boards of the house with the skinny vacuum to suck up any thing gross that might be sitting there waiting to hatch or suck our blood in the night the dust. I got a pot roast started with veggies. I got the girls dressed and made an early lunch. We headed out to the grocery for baking ingredients, picked J up at 3rd and Lombard, headed home to make 60 peanut butter cups and 3 dozen chocolate dipped, orange macaroons for ICS 365. The girls were struggling and board yesterday. I really wanted to do something fun on my day off with them, but unfortunately, there wasn't time to go anywhere so I trusted them to play independently and nicely. I was asking for too much. For whatever reason, everyone was very grouchy all day. I prepped clothes for the next day, got pretzel money ready, did bath, got pj's out, J had prepped mashed potatoes, so I mashed them and made gravy. We had dinner, I cleaned up, Jay to J home and I read stories and got the girls to sleep.

Yesterday was far more exhausting than a typical day at work. Maybe this is because I had company on top of my normal activities and the girls weren't feeling agreeable.

What I'm wondering is how it's possible to be a work-from-home mom? How do people do it. Both my friend LB and LS do this. And LB does it on her own (lots of the time) and with a toddler. How?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

House of Death and Violence

The death tally mounts.

Shortly after moving in we discovered that we had mice. Mostly, we discovered that the landlord had hidden nuggets of rat poison in various nooks and crannies of our home, but the actual mice evaded us. And, of course, we discovered the rat poison when Sidney dug a bar up and tossed it to me with the desire to play a healthy game of fetch.

Anyway, I've been meaning to pop over to Lowes to buy some of those cruelty free, humane mouse traps. I guess that I deluded myself into believing that the mice would sense Sherbert and run for the neighbors kitchen and floorboards. No such luck.

In the past two days I have woken up to one dead mouse and five, yes FIVE, dead bed bugs on the floor of my family room.

The mouse was totally heartbreaking. I have been feeling guilty all day. I can't bring myself to google, "do mice live in families or are they loners?"

Cute or Creepy

When I was at the school a few weeks ago I noticed that Bunny was spending a lot of her time with a little boy called Miles. Normally I wouldn't think anything of this, but her friend Siobahn blew her cover and told me that Bunny and Miles are soon to walk the aisle to the alter and make their mutual love official and bound by law.

Bunny was very embarrassed that this information had been passed to me. She denied it until she started coming home with drawings of vampires that were signed "love Miles."

I'm pretty strict about my children staying young and not pretending to be older than they are. That said, I think that this is probably harmless. Until this point I haven't allowed my children to even pretend that they have boyfriends. Lila would never want to and Bunny was easy to derail in this respect too.

When Jay went on the field trip with Bunny he noticed that Bunny and Miles were holding hands.

Then, Bunny came home with a whole plan.

She says that she and Miles are moving to Miami where her band will be located. She's going to play full time with her band and Miles is going to have a 9-5 job. They will have children, but the kids will go to daycare. She's not sure what kind of dog that they'll have. That's discussion for today.

She was telling my mom about it and my mom asked her why she likes him. She said that he makes her laugh and he makes her feel better when she's sad.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The good thing about Jay...

... is that he's so level headed.

As time goes on, it becomes nicer and nicer to be married to someone who doesn't cry or shout all the time. Particularly because I cry pretty much every day over practically nothing.

Something really needs to happen with Bunny. Things are just awful. I mean, not at home. At home Bunny is wonderful. We have settled in from the upheaval of our lives. Our house has settled down, we have a bit of extra money coming in, new furniture, and most importantly, NO BEDBUGS!

As a disclaimer I should write that Jay and I made a huge attempt through all the craziness to keep the lives of our children sound and normal. Obviously, when you live for three weeks with no furniture outside of mattresses and card tables, things are a little weird. But, it can also be an adventure. So, through stress and tears, we tried to present it as an adventure.

I really thought that once our personal lives settled down that Bunny's school issues may resolve themselves. This saddens me because when there is a conflict between an adult and a child people are often very quick to blame the child and say, "it must be something else."

Now we know that it's not something else. Bunny remains terrified of her teacher. The thought of having to speak to her keeps her up at night. She's sick to her stomach and she cries. She strongly fears her teachers reactions to her questions and this fear prevents her growth in school. This, is of course, because her teacher screamed at her on the first day of school and she's never been able to shake the effect that it had on her.

Yesterday we got Bunny's progress report. It was bad. I guess that I really should be surprised. What did surprise me was that she was marked "N" for needs improvement in places that made Jay and my eyebrows raise. She was given comments that shocked us. We work with Bunny on her homework each night and see how well she reads and how she does her math homework so effortlessly. Yet, she was given the comments that she's struggling in both of the areas. I KNOW that this is because she's unable to focus at school. She's so scared of her teacher that she's unable to work around her. It's so sad.

The principal told me that they likely will not change the class... which is heartbreaking. She will need to speak with my levelheaded husband because I cry and make inflammatory statements that I later regret. That said, my daughter's health is being jeopardized because politically it would be hurtful to the teacher or her reputation or her feelings if they moved Bunny. I really resent that. Frankly, this has nothing to do with the teacher. Moving my child isn't a punishment to her. I'm sure that she's a fine person and a good teacher. But she's hurt my child and continuing to have Bunny in the class further hurts her progress and health. So, really, it's about Bunny. I don't need anything but for my daughter to be okay. That's all. And I don't think that's too much to ask for. And it's terrible because I love this school. Even with this happening I'm still recommending it. It just saddens me to see that they don't care about my child at all.

I feel so hopeless and unable to protect my child. How do I send her into a situation that is hurting her?

Suburbs and your good public schools... how I long for you.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

new crafting idea

I noticed that T has a giant bag of old wine corks on his desk and asked if I could have them to make something.

I'm going in with the girls later today so that they can "feed the worms" in the composting worm farms that we keep there (we have four of them and they eat up to a half a pound of food each day). I'm going to pick up the corks while I'm there.

I think that I can grab some straight pins and build a little table to use for displays. A quick google search proved to me that I'm not the first person to contemplate how I could turn my corks into something useful, functional and beautiful. I found both of these articles on the subject. I'm deliriously excited to work on this little project tonight!

Things in the house are moving along. I think that the bb's are finally gone. Considering that some people struggle with this for a year or more before they can solve the problem, we've done really well. Being rid of them was completely worth the loss of all of our possessions. There is no thing that is more precious than our peace of mind. From this we have learned a lot about the nature of our happiness. It was a hard lesson, but one that we are going to embrace.

Last night we hosted our first dinner here. Hill and Pail came over and I made a chicken Parmesan, spaghetti, a chunky pink sauce, Italian sausage and veggies, rolls and yellow squash. It was okay. Not my best creation, but it was fine. I used a lot of extra cheese in the sauce and it made it too greasy. I need to be more careful of the type and quality of the cheese I use to cook with. Hill and Jay relocated our little yellow love seat to B's bedroom (bit excitement) and I'm shocked by how much room remains there! It's interesting how you don't realize how big a room is until you see it furnished. After the girls went to sleep we played the Worst Scenario board game and drank a few beers. All in all it was a fun night!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Big Green Mama

I continue to love my new job!

I really like everything about it. I like the hours. I like that when the store is empty I can sing and dance and beebop around, switching up displays and trying to find ways to show off the merchandise. I like the people I work for and the other people who work there as well. In general, I really like the customers too. I like the products and the concept. I can honestly say that I looked forward to going in every day last week and I had a good, productive time while I was there.

I'm going to do a lot of my holiday shopping there. If you're interested in doing the same, this is the website! Also, I'm in charge to wrapping and sending out the packages this season, so it'll all come directly through me! Some of my thoughts are the Klean Kanteens, the mighty wallets, starlights (the picture really doesn't do them justice! ) And then lots and lots of stocking stuffers. There are these adorable kid friendly staplers that I'd like to put in B and L's stockings! Also, there are rainbow makers that use a prism and solar power to rotate and create a rainbow throughout the room. So cute!

Also, I'm going to make a huge effort to purchase a good amount of my gifts from local small businesses. There will be some Target toy purchases, of course. But, I'd like to support the community.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

New Jammies

I'm usually not too big a fan of Carter's, but my mom picked these adorable pj's up for the girls! I love them. She sent a bunch of them. They're all incredibly warm and soft, bright and fun!

The pj's in this picture are on sale from $32 down to $16. They are well worth the $16... especially if you have more than one child. I'm impressed with how well they wash and how nicely made they are.

I might buy all of my kiddie jammies from Carters now!
I've been a little bit of a monster lately.

But I'm not sorry.

Things have been very stressful lately and it all comes down on me. I have to take Bunny crying to school every day. I have to pull her from the car. I have to force her to walk in. EVERY DAY. On Wednesdays I will have to leave the girls in aftercare at the school from 2:30-3:15 (Wed. is their early day out). Yesterday both of my children sat there sobbing hysterically, petrified that I wasn't coming for them. I don't know why this happened being that we talked about it every day for a week before it happened. But, I had to deal with it. Then, I had to to walk my screaming child a mile home, immediately work on homework, immediately scramble to make dinner, clean dinner up and do dishes, get jays food ready for the next day (which he didn't bring), prep breakfasts, do laundry, stories and clean up the little disasters that happen as I'm making dinner.

It's too much. And I resent Jay when I see him sitting there with his socks and shoes off, feet propped up, relaxing on his computer just the way he always would.

So, last night, after a conversation with Bunny about school I totally exploded.

And I have no guilt or remorse for my explosion. I feel that it was well deserved.

Also, we've got to do something about Bunny. I have been waiting for Jay to tell me what therapists will accept our insurance, but I think I'll have to just open the yellow pages and start calling around. I'll bet that our pediatrician could refer us to someone. I hadn't thought of that previously.

Bunny is falling apart. She tells us daily that she hates herself. She writes "Kaitlyn is a Loser" over and over on paper. It's the most heartbreaking thing ever. She's so petrified of her teacher that she can't function in class... and her teacher has been entirely uncommunicative with me. So far as I can tell, she's a giant stone wall. I have emailed and received no response and then I have followed up in person and gotten attitude. I have sent notes in Bunny's folder and gotten promised to email later (which she didn't do). Soooooooo...

I'm sure that she's a nice lady and everything... but it's time to switch teachers.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Lila, the song writer

Lila's been writing songs since she could speak. She seriously prides herself on her ability to sing and write music. Recently she told me that EVERYONE tells her that she sounds JUST LIKE Taylor Swift when she sings.

Her first song happened when she could only say phrases and went like this,

"All Nekkid. All Nekkid. All Nekkid.

Then she moved onto,

"A tru-hew-hew friend
won't kill you in the night.
A tru-hew friend
everything gonna be alright."

And now we have a keyboard and she busts out many (MANY) ditties like the one she's singing here.
I opened the store all by myself yesterday.

I did not have to turn off the alarm, which after setting it off on Friday has been the sole source of my anxiety. My fear, of course, is of my technology busting superpower. I am petrified that I will never be able to turn off the alarm and the police will always come until the business is fined and I am eventually fired.

But T was in early in the morning and the alarm had already been turned off.

He left me a note with a list of things to do in order to stay busy. I got to remerchandise the store. It's nice being able to work by myself and rearrange and tidy things. I put on my favorite cd's. When the store is empty I sing and I dance. I made a little window display with brown paper and plants.

Oh, and I got my first paycheck!

So far, so good. I am finding it a little bit taxing to be on my feet all the time. But nothing I'm doing is hard. My home-mama things are all squished into a new time frame which makes me tired and while I'm out of the house I'm on my feet and hurrying somewhere. The half an hour I have while the girls are eating breakfast and I'm drinking coffee has become my most cherished time.

We have a bakery opening up three door down. My friend J mentioned that I should work there because I love to bake so much and the convenience of a business so close to home is unbeatable. Here's the thing, I can't take two jobs and I will never quit my BGES job. I have to be miserable to walk away from something. I'm just not a person who always wants more. Contentment is my objective. I don't need THE BEST JOB EVER and I don't need to make tons of money. I just need to feel safe and happy. I'm proud of myself for getting to this place. Some people never do and are always unhappy where they are because they are sure that there is something better out there.