Tuesday, November 6, 2012


My friend Jannie has this awesome DIY blog where she tests out different DIY products/techniques, and evaluates them. There are several that I've wanted to try, and one day I opened up her blog to do a workout she recommended. As I was scanning her blog I decided to procrastinate my workout for a few hours  be productive, and get some things done around the house! Here are my results!
Jannie's Post: Microwave Cleaner

Jannie says to put a microwave safe bowl/container of water in your microwave and let it run for 10-20 minutes. Then wipe the crud out.
Verdict: I turned it on for only 10 minutes, I was a little worried about my plastic measuring cup melting in there. The crud wiped off pretty easily from the roof and top half of the walls. I had to use a little more elbow grease to wipe the bottom half of the microwave. I think if I'd let it run for another 5 or 10 minutes, I wouldn't have had this issue. All things considered, super easy, super successful. Except for that part where I thought it would be great to use that hot water to wet my rag, and shoved my whole hand into that measuring cup full of boiling hot water. That is not what I would call super successful. This is my before (Shame on me, I know...)
And this is my after. Voila!! Go look in YOUR microwave... Shame on YOU!
Next up, Jannie's Post: Make up Remover
Read that post for specifics, but you mix water, tear free kids soap, and a teensy bit of olive or coconut oil. Mix it up, and whammo blammo, you got yerself beauty in a mason jar, hot darn!
My verdict: Jannie said to mix it up in the jar, and then pour some in a 3oz squeeze bottle to get it on your cotton square/ball for application. Being the genius that I am, I mixed it up knowing full well that I did NOT have a 3oz squeeze bottle. I wouldn't recommend doing this, because that will mean that you have to stick your arm, nearly up to your elbow, in that big jar to get this makeup remover onto your cotton ball. Which I did. The product itself is quite nice. I need to rinse my face (and hand. and forearm. and elbow. and shirt sleeve.) afterwards because I don't like the suds on my face. But I have been stuck in a rut trying to find a new facewash that works well with my awesome dry/flaky/greasy complexion. This is a good product I'm using to mix it up a little bit. I like it so far.
Moving on, Jannie's Post: Headlight Cleaner
Jannie says wipe some toothpaste on your headlights with a rag to restore and clear your headlights. Rub it around til it looks like its doing something. Then wipe it off with a clean rag.
My verdict: Works like a charm. Fair warning - When you sneak out into the garage, your children WILL notice, and they WILL lock you out of the house, and they WILL turn off the lights so that it takes you several minutes to locate and remove the spare key from its spot, and they WILL stand on the other side of the door laughing at you hysterically as you yell Mother Goose versions of curse words and threats at that them. Don't say I didn't warn you.
And then there was, Jannie's Post: Grips
Here, Jannie talks about three different kinds of grips, one that I really wanted to try. She says that to grip-ify the bottom of your kids' socks, put puff paint on the soles.
My Verdict: Works like a charm. Izzy can now run freely through the kitchen, and we have less incidents where she looks like that puppy from that toilet paper commercial. Anyone? Anyone? However, Izzy has been picking at it a bit, and I don't know how long it will stay on with her picking at it... who knows!!
We're almost done, Jannie's Post: Teeth Whitener
In her post, Jannie describes an epic fail she had with a teeth whitening system she bought. So here, she says to mix together baking soda and a few drops hydrogen peroxide. Let sit until it forms a paste, then spread on toothbrush and apply to teeth without touching gums or lips. Do not swallow, and do not leave on your teeth for more than 1 minute before rinsing mouth completely. Repeat every other day for 10 days.
My Verdict: Jannie warned that this substance would BURN your gums and lips, so I was super cautious when applying, which meant that I got it everywhere. I was expecting it to burn real bad, like you know, make my lips hurt real bad, bad enough that I might have to call Kip for some chapstick. But it didn't burn at all. So, either Jannie is a wussy, or my gums and lips are just really buff. You decide. Anyway, I left it on for about 40 seconds before I started drooling, and almost swallowed some. I think I noticed a difference, but I've only done it once so far. I'll report back later after the 10 days are up (or in 5 months, that's how I blog, yo.).
And last, but not least, Jannie's Post: Miracle Workout
After nearly 3 hours of other projects, I finally banished the children to the basement  buckled down and got to work on creating a new and healthier me. Jannie says she found this awesome workout, it only takes 15 minutes a day. It will make you win competitions, and money, and generally make you awesomer than anyone else, ever. And apparently when you're done, you'll still have enough energy to do five minutes worth of other stuff, too.
My Verdict: I hate you, Jannie. And my hamstrings hate you double.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Right this very minute...

Right this very minute, I'm kneeling at my laptop, which is sitting on my kitchen counter. The girls ran out in the garage and brought their bunny camp chairs in the house, and so they are set up behind me, sitting peacefully (HAHAHAH YEAH RIGHT) eating their snack cheese. Izzy is trying to force feed me her piece of cheese, and I don't particularly appreciate it. And I just had to break from writing for a few minutes to a) get more cheese for Izzy, b) get fishies for both girls, c) clean up fish guts that were smashed all over the floor about 15 seconds after said fishies were dispersed, d) stop Emma and Izzy from killing each other over who got which (completely identical) bowl, and e) clean chewed up cheese out of Emma's hair.  So why am I blogging right this very minute? Because I keep forgetting to do it, and got a subtle reminder to get my act together, and so I picked this very minute to stop and write. Obviously, the girls do not appreciate it. They rarely appreciate it when I have the audacity to be a Person, and not just Mother Servant. Sigh...

But on the good side, they are playing together more these days, instead of just playing in the same space. They don't always place nicely, but even when they're fighting I'll sometimes just let them go so they can figure it out on their own. I do try to minimize injurious/murderous situations, though. And there are  A LOT of them. Shocking, I know... What's even better is that the girls have started to like playing in our basement, more. I try to keep separate sets of toys for the upstairs, middle, and basement floors. So they've figured out that if they want to play with those particular toys, they have to go in the basement to do it. And they've started playing down there by themselves on occassion, for up to 30 minutes. That's 30 WHOLE MINUTES that I can be upstairs just listening to them. I've been able to pay bills, do dishes, fold laundry, and/or SIT ON MY BUTT, uninterrupted (mostly) without having to wait until naptime to do it. It's pretty glorious. Also, we recently rented The Muppet Movie, and Emma has been reenacting the "menomenom" sketch. It's so, so hilarious.

You know what else is glorious? I'm on my fourth week of training for these races I've got coming up. I fell off the bandwagon last week while I was at Chrysta's, but am right back on track this week. I've got a half marathon in Lancaster on Sept 8, and the Hershey Half on October 21. I may or may not continue with the training and do a full marathon in November. Still undecided. I'll probably wait until after the Hershey Half, and see how my knees and hips are feeling. But anyway, my midweek runs are still pretty short at 3-4 miles depending on the day. But two weeks ago I had a 7 mile long run that I finished in 65 minutes. That's pretty fantastic for me. And when I did my three miles on Tuesday, I ran it 3 min 45 sec faster than I ran it three weeks ago. (Insert another break here while I sniffed Izzy's suspicious smelling bum, concluded it was just a toot, and then spent several minutes tickling the bejeezes out of her, until she got mad and smacked me in the face. I deserved it.)  So, I'm feeling kind of pumped for the half coming up next month. If I can do it in 2 hr 15 min, I'll be really, really really happy. So we'll see how that goes!

And now I must go, as I do believe the children are eating something that I didn't give them, which begs the question, which piece of furniture did you find that under? And how old/moldy/petrified is it? And, do I have the number for poison control on hand?

Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Color Run

The Good, the Bad, the Ugly.

Did the Color run in Philly with my friend Molly today, and the whole experience was pretty crazy.

The Good:
The Philly Color Run was the biggest color run ever! 23,000 people, completely sold out, just insane. And it was the 3rd largest 5k in America. There was awesome music, and there was just amazing energy in the air. It wasn't timed and there was no pressure to actually run, it was just all about having as much fun as possible. But even though there was no pressure to run, the adrenaline was pumping, and carried me through the whole thing (on about 2.5 hrs of sleep - I'll explain that later). The city was awesome, the route was awesome. We started and ended at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The finish line was actually at the bottom of the Rocky Stairs. The color stations were kind of hysterical. People were dancing around like crazy, and some of the outfits people wore... well... it took guts! And the color festival at the end of the race was insane. We were just floating the whole time we were there. What was also great was that I ran the race with Molly, one of my former students. She and I have become friends over the years (a common love of volleyball makes for good friends!) and she also loves Emma and Izzy, and is a great babysitter! She's the one who told me about the race and got me to sign up, and it was cool to run with her on her FIRST EVER 5K. She was totally nervous and didn't think she'd be able to run the whole thing, but she killed it. I also ran into 3 other former students - it's a small world!

The Bad:
Purple boogers after the race. Having to scrub the skin off of my body to get the color off. Blue teeth. Color in the eyes. Molly's bleach blond hair being died pink and purple, despite several shampooings.  Also, the packet pick up. The pre-race info was only available 9 days before the race, and that's when we discovered that packet pick up would only be open until 3 pm on Saturday. Every race I've done or heard of, has packet pickup open until the EVENING before the race. So, we had just planned to get to Philly by late afternoon. Because the information was only available last week, we just couldn't make it work to get our packets in time (Molly worked early in the day, and Mike and I were coming back from Inner Harbor - I'll post more about that later!). Which meant that we had to get up at 4am on Sunday morning to get dressed, ready, and get our packets that morning. After the fact we saw that we probably could have come about a half hour later than we did, and still avoided most of the lines. But it was definitely worth it to get up and over there as early as we did, because as I already mentioned, we were fighting a crowd of 23,000 people. So, I guess in general it was just disappointing that we couldn't get the information sooner, and had the hassle of packet pick up in the morning.

The Ugly:
The hotel. We stayed at the Best Western Center City Hotel. Location-wise, it was perfect. We literally only had to walk across  the street and through a baseball field to get to the party. Less than five minutes walking. However, when we walked into the lobby to check in, it was hot. And when we got into the elevator, it was hotter. And when we got to our room on the third floor (the top floor) it was hot, hot, hot. AC was on, but it wasn't able to keep up with the heat. Talking to other people at the hotel, we heard that it was a problem in all the rooms, and so we didn't bother to say anything to the hotel people. We just kind of sucked it up, and decided it was definitely worth the heat for the convenience of the location. So, other than the AC not working, the room was decent. No frills, but clean with comfortable beds. So, knowing that we had to get up at 4am, we were trying to get to sleep early.

Unfortunately the heat made that pretty difficult, so by 11 we were both still tossing and turning. Around 11:15, I happened to toss, and look up to see a pretty large looking bug. I was about 99% sure it was a cockroach, but was trying not to freak out. So I quickly and quietly got out of bed, and walked as far away from that roach as possible, over by Molly's bed. I didn't take my eyes off that sucker, and when it started moving (it was high up on the wall on my side of the room) I said, "Molly, I don't want to alarm you, but there's a bug." Not thinking much, she rolled over and said "what?" So I pointed it out to her, and she spent a couple minutes trying to convince me it was a moth. When it started crawling towards us, we both finally confirmed that yes, it was indeed a massive cockroach (about 3 inches long and fat). At that point, we both screamed like school girls, and Molly immediately called down to the front desk. They said they were sending their security guy. We contemplated trying to trap it under a cup, or smashing it with a shoe, but it was high up on the wall and I wasn't confident I could reach it without knocking it down onto myself. By this time, the cockroach flew (DID YOU KNOW COCKROACHES CAN FLY? I DID NOT KNOW THIS.) over onto my headboard, climbed down underneath it, and disappeared somewhere by the head of my bed after I tried whacking it with my shoe a couple times.

That's when I told Molly to pack her stuff up, because there was no way we were staying in that room. And I was getting pissed, because WHERE WAS THE SECURITY GUY? It had been AT LEAST 3 minutes since we'd called, and I expected him to come running up to our room with his Raid cans blazing, a pistol in his holster just in case things got out of hand.  We finally just turned on the light to get our stuff together, and that's when I saw that little bugger right next to my bed. I froze, and started yelling at Molly to get me a shoe. She gets me the shoe, and after whacking it twice I realize that DUH I'm not gonna kill a cockroach with a shoe, so I just trapped it under the shoe, had Molly get me a cup, and then trapped it under the cup. And then for good measure we put the trash can on top of the cup.

Ew. Finally the security guy came and was pretty nonchalant about our situation, so he clearly did not understand just how dire it was. I mean, there was a cockroach. Under a cup. Under a trash can. IN. OUR. ROOM.  Why wasn't he more concerned about this!?! But when he lifted up that trashcan even HE jumped a little, and was surprised at just how big it was. He lifted up the cup and squished it with his foot (I had knocked it onto its back with the shoe, so it's soft underbelly was showing). Then he grabbed a little toilet paper, picked it up, squished it some more WITH HIS HAND (ew) and threw it in the trash. And then he walked a little further into the room, and asked why we didn't have the AC on. Long story short - he got us a new room on the second floor where SHOCKINGLY the AC was working just fine. By the time we got settled in our new room it was midnight. And we were both wide awake. But the working AC did make it easier to relax, so I did eventually fall asleep. Problem was that I kept having this dream where I woke up in my hotel bed, and the walls were crawling with hundreds of cockroaches. Then I'd jolt awake, spend several minutes scanning the walls and ceiling before I could lay back down, and then wait to drift off to sleep again. So, that's why I only had about 2.5 hours of sleep before having to get up at 4 to get ready for packet pick up.

 Three colors in: Pink, Blue, and Yellow.
 The Color Festival

 Crazy Dirty

This is what I look like when I'm loading up to jump again, and trying not to swallow large amounts of colored cornstarch, and trying to actually breath, all at the same time. Hot, I know. Actually, this is probably the most awkward photo of me, ever. EVER.

But despite all the craziness, the color run was a blast, and I hope I can do it next year!! In fact, this morning Molly and I were even thanking that little (enormous) cockroach, because without we wouldn't have gotten a new room with AC!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

 Enjoying the anticipation of baked goods in the oven
 Bed Head.
My ecstatic Emma, holding Perry the Platycar (which matches her Perry the Platypillow, and Perry the Blankepus)

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A Thought

I have been reading a certain book for quite some time now. I'm taking my time with it, because it's not one of those books that's easily processed. I've read and re-read a few passages, and today one stuck out at me like a sore thumb. This won't be a particularly interesting post, I don't think. But I just keep thinking about this passage and I have a response. I've started and lost dozens of journals, so putting pen to paper on this one just won't do. So forgive me, but I'm using my blog now simply to record some thoughts I don't want to forget.

The passage goes like this:

"When you have a child, you start to dream of how this kid will grow up and make you proud. The only thing you can predict with 100% certainty is that the reality will diverge somehow from that dream. Some of our children will disappoint us by not being the scholars we hoped they would be. Some children will disappoint us by not being the athletes we hoped they would be....... The real question is not, what book can I read, what technique can I use to raise a perfect child? The real question is how will you handle that gap between the child you dreamt of having and the real child growing up in your home?"

I cannot get this passage out of my head. And it's because I don't have dreams for my children. It sounds bad when I say it like that, but it's true. Emma is 3.5 and Izzy is 18 months old, and I would be lying if I told you that I have ever, EVER once thought about what they were going to be like as teens or young adults, what niche they'd fill in middle/high school, what schooling, if any, they'd pursue, what career path they'd follow,  or who they'll spend the rest of their life with. I have spent more time than I can count thinking about those precious little babies of mine. But as far as future planning goes, my vision hasn't ever gone further than things like, "I really can't wait until Emma is done with this phase of tantrums" or "I can't wait until Izzy has all of her teeth!"

That is not to say that we aren't planning for their future. We are. We are trying hard to be responsible financially so that we can provide for them the things they need. We are  trying hard to instill a love of reading, music, physical activity, imagination, and all those other good things that kids need to thrive. But I have never once said, or even thought, "Emma, one day you could be the/a/an _________________".  Is that strange? Is it strange that even as I'm typing this, I just don't have those stars in my eyes about where my kids will end up?

If my parents had a dream for me about where my life would end up, I never knew it, or have since forgotten it. I have seven siblings, and I often wonder how my parents did it. The biggest miracle, I think, is that despite some bumps along the road, my parents have produced eight children who are smart, responsible, adults who contribute to society in a positive way. But I don't ever remember my parents pushing me, saying "Alyssa, you better hit the books or you'll never be a doctor!" or "Alyssa, you better hit the gym, or you'll never be an Olympic athlete!" What I remember is that I developed a natural love of sports on my own. And when I decided to join a competitive volleyball league, my dad would get up with me sometimes as early as 4am on a Saturday morning to drive me (while I slept) to an all day tournament in another state, and sit for hours on end in over-filled bleachers, and then drive me home while we jammed out to Simon&Garfunkle's 4-disc collectors set. What I remember is that Every. Single. Day. my mom would drive me to school in the morning and say "Go! Fight! Win!" as I got out of the car, because even though she's not a "sports person", she knew that every game (or meet) was a big deal for me. And not once did I ever get the sense from her that she was disappointed in me for giving up on music when I started 9th grade, even though music has been a big part of her life, and something she is very good at. Or that my dad was disappointed I'd picked volleyball, even though HE had played basketball.

It was the same situation in every aspect of my life. I developed my own natural interests, and my parents supported me, and guided me when I needed it. And that's all I want to do for my kids. This is not to say that I'll sit idly by and watch as my children develop a real and intense love for building meth labs in my basement. No, no I'll nip that one in the bud should the time ever come. What I mean is that I don't feel compelled to create my own vision for their future. This notion that my child could disappoint me by "diverging" from MY vision for THEIR future just doesn't sit right with me. Why would I speculate such specifics? The only vision I have for their future is that they are happy, well adjusted, contributing members of society, who can show love and compassion for those around them. I could care less whether they are the President, or a professional dog-walker. What matters is that they are good people, that they are happy people, that they are healthy people.

I know that my children will suffer through trials, hard times, and heartache, much as I have and will in my life. And my heart will ache with, and for them. But I would never want my children to think for one second, that I was disappointed IN them, because they did not get the degree I had hoped they would, or they were not as musically or athletically gifted as I had hoped they would be, or they were not as wealthy or famous as I had hoped they would be. I will support my children, and push them when they need it, and I will do my best to guide them towards a happy and bright future. But for right now, no one knows what that future will be, and I don't feel the need or desire to speculate. I suppose my only dream for my kids is that they will create and achieve their own. I think that's good enough for now.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

But what does it mean?

I rarely have dreams that I remember. For a while I was having this weird recurring dream about the Death Blow Kiss Killer, but I finally was able to kill him in one of those dreams, before I woke up, and haven't had that dream since. But I've had another recurring dream in the last few months that I just can't figure out. It goes like this...

I start in the locker room, getting ready for a volleyball game. I'm trying to get my act together to get out to the gym, but I can't find my shoes. So I go out to the gym, and have a major freak out, because I'm talking with Coach Piscotty, and figuring out that I have eligibility left, but holy crap I'm 29 and I can't jump. And she's expecting me to be in tip-top playing condition. And I'm so not. So she sends me away to find my shoes and then I'm somehow at track practice. And I have this crazy intensity to throw, but when I'm trying to finish my throw it feels like I'm trying to move my arm through wet cement. I want to accelerate but I. Just. Can't.

So I quit doing that and go in the locker room again. But when I come out, there is not a soul to be seen. I start roaming the earth, and literally can't find a soul. I'm so confused, and scared, and then I look up in the pitch black sky to see the sun. And it's shooting off these crazy flames, and looks like it's coming crashing into the earth. So I'm running around like crazy trying to find someone, ANYONE, to find safety in. I finally come upon a large gathering of people watching the sky, but they are all in an area at the top of a big stone wall, and there's a fence on top of the stone wall. So I am trying to scrape and climb up the stone wall, but when I do, I can't find an entrance to the fence. I'm trying to figure out what's going on, and I'm freaking out, and the people inside the fence are completely ignoring me.

So I somehow find my way inside the fence, and ask the people what's happening, and why are they all there, and why are they just watching. And they are all totally chill, and tell me it's just a solar flare, and they're enjoying the view, no biggie. So then I get totally confused, and leave to find my family. But I can't find them.

Then I wake up.

I don't know why, but this dream is really unsettling to me. I don't really remember many dreams, but when I do they're usually way freaky and off the wall. This one just leaves me feeling anxious and tense. Yuck.

Monday, April 23, 2012

This post is for my future grandchildren...

Dear Future Grandchildren,
This was my facebook (does that still exist??) status and ensuing comments from today, regarding how I spent my time with your mother/aunt. Please enjoy, and use it to harrass them as needed.
Love, Grandma.

This morning was nothing but a string of unfortunate events. Both girls were awake entirely too early, which means they were up before daddy left for work. The result is always a tantrum of epic proportions x2. Finally got the girls calmed down, fed, dressed, and we set off for the grocery store followed by a trip to the Curiousity Connection at the State Museum. We got to the museum, I dumped 2 hours worth of quarters into the meter, and headed in. Only the museum is closed on Mondays...

So I had to drag the girls back to the car (in the rain), and they both melted down again because a) we couldn't play at the museum and b) who wants to get buckled in again when you JUST got out. Finally got them in with promises to go to Chocolate World. Headed out when Emma informed me she had to poop. Immediately called Mike, since we were right near his building. He didn't answer, and there was nowhere close to us where I felt safe/comfortable enough to drag the girls out of the car AGAIN, use the bathroom, and then buckle them up again. So, we headed for home after Emma assured me she could hold it that long. Traffic was strangely heavy, and it took 20 minutes to get there. Of course, Emma pooped her pants in the garage. Got her cleaned up (while Izzy was still in the car, raging), then headed out for Chocolate world...

Got to chocolate world, rode the ride once, and headed for a second ride. Except Izzy threw herself on the floor and had a psychotic meltdown, acting like she was terrified of the ride (even though she was fine and happy the first time, and has ridden it at least 20 times in the last 6 months). I finally dragged her off the floor and headed for hot chocolate, when Emma said she needed to potty again. We stopped, found a large stall, Emma went, then I did too. Except as soon as I sat down, Emma opened the door at the exact same moment that Izzy opened the trash bin and reached in. My instinct was to grab them, Izzy first because ew. Got Izzy, but Emma had the door swinging wide open. A nice lady outside (there were lots of them...) tried to shut it for me...
But Emma was blocking her way. I finally grabbed Emma and the lady shut the door and then leaned against it so Emma couldn't open it again. During all of this bouncing, I got pee all over my pants/shoes, because lets be honest I never did my kegels and couldn't stop it midstream, and didn't even think to in the moment, anyway. So I got cleaned up, and we headed home. And of course they melted down because now we weren't having hot chocolate. Decided to stop for nuggets on the way home, because I was about to lose my marbles and the thought of having to make lunch at home made me want to retch. That settled them reasonably enough. Got them home and at the table. Thought they were occupied at the table, so I got everything ready for dinner in the crockpot (since I'm working at 6pm). Except while I was doing that they made an ENORMOUS mess at the table.
After that was all done and cleaned up, I took them upstairs so I could get a shower. That was all fine and good until I was completely covered in soap/shampoo. That's when Emma came in, needing to potty yet again. Except Izzy followed her,... and in the 30 seconds it took me to completely rinse, Izzy managed to unroll and destroy almost an entire roll of toilet paper. I was yelling for them to stop the whole time, and they just looked at me and laughed and unrolled more TP. When i got out, I could tell Izzy had pooped, so I put on my robe and took her downstairs to change her diaper. Except she flipped out, and I got poop all over my leg and my robe (OF COURSE it's immediately after I shower). Then I had to sit on her to do yet another round of eye drops.
I don't think I've ever looked forward to going to work as much as I do right now...