My Little Picasso's

My Little Picasso's

Wednesday, December 26, 2012


When your mum tells you to go check out the local bowling alley for the kids, you think sure.

When she tells you to go and sit at the bar and have a drink, you grab your car keys.

Do I need to say anything more about my day?

December 26th, 2012

Monday, December 17, 2012


Everyone grieves.  Everyone grieves in their own way.  My grief has begun.  I am not sure when it will end.  Tears constantly find themselves at the forefront of my pupils, spilling over and down my cheeks.  Max brought me his monkey Friday afternoon because I was crying.

All of us in this country are crying right now.  Crying for 20 precious little boys and girls who were the sparkle in their mother's and father's eyes.  They were innocent.  They were  angels.  They will never try out for the basketball team or the soccer team.  They will not have another dance recital or t-ball game.  Their graduation and college entrance is now just a thought that will never happen.  Marriage?  Children of their own; to be their sparkles.

The six adults who were brutally murdered as well, heroes in their own right, as they tried to protect these little babies are cried over just as much.  They were also someone's sparkle; someone's mother, someone's grandmother, someone's daughter.  They did what anyone in their "right" mind would do; protect the children.

But that leads us into another very relevant question.  I am fully for MUCH MORE EXTENSIVE gun control, SPECIFICALLY the devices themselves, but is it not evident now that we must open the discussion concerning the mental health of our citizens.  Is the care that is needed there?  If it, meaning someone's mental health status, is ever questioned, the help MUST be available.  Without question, it must be available, insurance or not.

I am writing from the standpoint of a mother of two young boys first and foremost.  They are my life, my existence.  I live for my family.  My patience has a million times over grown this past weekend.  They can do no wrong in my eyes.  Extra hugs, stolen kisses, extra Hershey Kisses, and later bed times.

But I also write as a teacher.  I have been a teacher since 2011.  My first true experience as not just a teacher but a counselor, mother, shoulder to cry on, bad word receiver, and so forth began with 9/11.  It has not stopped.  I have taught hundreds of students over the years between the ages of 11 and 15 and I would be lying if I did not say that some of the students have made me nervous.  There are always the ones that will test your patience, make you question your life career, give you grey hair.  But there are also the ones who make you a bit nervous.  Who you make sure to follow as they go down the hall.  Who keep to themselves and want to be left alone.  There are the ones who cling to you for attention, do the wrong thing for attention, do not want your attention, or will not admit it.  I have over 500 students right now.  I teach 57 of them in my classroom, but I am liable and responsible, just as all the other teachers are, for each and every one of them.  Would I push them into a cabinet, behind a closed door, barricade us in?  Ofcourse I would.  Because that is what we do.  First and foremost we take care of children.

The 57 sparkles on my classroom rosters know what I would do for them.  I know what they would do for me.

But we pray that nothing like this will ever happen again.  But mom's and dad's, we will protect your sparkles.  We are teachers.

December 17th, 2012

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

morning wake-up calls

Max still wakes up at night.  Once, always once.  Luckily he goes back to sleep, but it takes me going to the couch with him for him to go back to sleep.  I know I am wrong, but when it is the middle of night and I'm tired, I'll do what is needed to get him to go to sleep.

A friend, who will remain nameless, says I should sedate him.  Hmmm...

My sister says there is some kind of "sleepy time clock" that shows a night theme, when a child is to stay in bed, and a day theme for ... you guessed it, when they can get up.  Clever!

Well, last night, already on the couch with Max, Charlie started.  He screamed.  So off I go and get him, and he is awake.  He is up.  No back to sleep for him.  Atleast I thought he was asleep at one time.  Warm and snuggly with me.  Oh no, wait.  It was only him peeing on me and our couch.

I'm awake.

And this is how my day began.  4:17 am.

December 11th, 2012

Friday, November 30, 2012

The little monster inside ...

has come out.  In both of them.  They hit.  They scream.  They bite.  They pluck.  They pinch.  They kick.  Need I say more? 

It's a jealousy thing right now I think.  They both want me and will push, shove, wedge themselves as close to me as they can get while attempting to get the other as far away from me as they can.  Let me paint you a picture:

4:56am(yes, you read that time right) cries come from back stage left, Charlie's room.

Movement from front stage center, couch, where I have been with Max for I am not sure how many HOURS.  I try to get up without waking him up.  NOT GOING TO HAPPEN. 

"It's okay, Max.  I'm just going to get Charlie.  I'll come right back here."


"Max, it's okay."

"Pick me up," with outstretched arms, whining, stomping up and down on couch ... dog is up, now.  Cries continue.

"Ill take you in, but I have to pick up Charlie too."

"My mommy," he whines while clinging to me like a monkey.

[In Charlie's room ... ]

sobs ...

"Max, I have to put you down to pick Charlie up out of the crib."

"NNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.  My mommiieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, " now whailing.

crying continues from Charlie ...

Max down.  Screams ...

Pick up Charlie.  Max begins hitting Charlie, therefore me.

"Max, NO."


This is where I screamed for Michael, he stumbled from the bedroom in a sleepy haze, and our morning began.

I thought myself so lucky that I did not have a jealous little boy when the new baby came home.  The only tough times were nursing to keep Max occupied, but nothing to this calibre.  It confuses me that if they are not in the same room, they want to be with the other.  Yet for my attention it is outright war.  They are somewhat evenly matched in size, yet Max is more forceful and many more cries or screams come from Charlie than Max. 

When I knew I was to have two boys, I saw much tough and rough play in my future, but with each other, not towards each other.  Time outs on a daily basis are at record counts.  But I know they love each other.  I know I am doing what I should in the way of discipline.  However I have started to research local "nut-houses" as my husband so eloquently told the boys one morning that we will be there soon.

I dont know about you, but I need to find my "elf for the shelf." 

November 30th, 2012

Friday, November 23, 2012


I am thankful for Max and Charlie.  I am thankful that they basically sleep through the night.  I am thankful Max is starting to go in the potty on a somewhat regular basis.  I am thankful I have a roof over my head and heat inside.  I am thankful to have the ability to give such necessary items to my family.

I am thankful for a husband who puts up with my moodiness and exasperation.  I am thankful he appreciates my somewhat irrational thoughts at times.  I am thankful he loves me and tells me I'm beautiful all the time.  I am thankful we can love each other even though he favors red and I definitely look better in blue.

I am thankful for Max's laugh, his slyness, his innocent little smile(and I use the innocent term loosely). I am thankful for his health, his willingness to sleep on the couch with me, not so much his new phrase "I can't ..."  I am thankful he has a safe place to go while I work.  I am thankful he loves Charlie even when he is being the jealous brother.

I am thankful for Charlie's smile even when he claps his hands like cymbals and my head is in between them.  I am thankful for his health, his dapper-ness, not so much his hand swatting.  I am thankful he loves Max.  I am thankful he has good care takers.

I am thankful for wine and candy.

Too many occasions come up each year and every day that remind us how bad things really aren't.  So I remain ever so thankful.

November 23rd, 2012

Sunday, November 18, 2012

The Great Bedtime Story Pajama Drive

As a parent of two young toddlers and a friend to many mothers with many young children, WE ALL know how important a good night sleep is for those children, let alone the parents.  Imagine those many children who do not have warm pajamas in these cold months or an exciting bedtime story to send them off to dreamland.  That is why I am writing today of a wonderful charity drive that my son's school and I have chosen to support.

The Scholastic Book Company has begun a drive to supply pajamas and therefore story books for children in need.  My children's day care center, U-Gro Leaning Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania, is collecting new pajamas in all sizes until December 14th.  These will then be sent off and books will be added to our donation.  If you feel moved enough to participate, please message me and I will send you my information to donate a set of pajamas.  If you are in the area, let me know and I can come get them from you!

Follow the link below to learn more and please consider donating a pair of children's pajamas!

Thank you and have a very Happy Holiday season.

November 18th, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

apartment living

I will just start this entry by voicing my overall ever expanding heartfelt RELIEF that we finally sold our townhouse.  It was along time coming ... just over 7 months to be exact.  Michael declares we are free, nothing to tie us down, when we find out special house we can bid without anything tying us down.  YIPPEE.

Michael has been awesome and I have not been.  Guilty feeling starts about right now.  I do have a valid excuse though.  Actually two.  Meet Max and Charlie.  Packing up a house while still trying to survive and live in it with two toddlers is not easy.  Let alone them having pink-eye, colds, croup, and fevers.

While I worked at school all week, Michael packed, moved, phone-called, schlepped, you name it ... he did it.  I did some but only what the little ones allowed me to do on the weekend when they could not be taken to a daycare center.  This is where Grammy comes in!  My mum came all the way from South Carolina for a weekend, yes a weekend, to help me move "stuff" while watching the boys and allowing Michael to work his very long hours as he always does.  Mimi and Papa moved an entire basement with my ever-loving husband.  My thankfulness is unending to our parents.

Now I am going to bitch a little.

HOUSE WITH BASEMENT to apartment with garage that is used as basement ... not easy.  I can say that all of our possessions are within the wall boundaries of said apartment, just not so spread out.  We have a dining room table, sleeper sofa, fridge, past six years of taxes, beautiful pictures, bulk diapers and paper towels, suitcases, Christmas decor, etc. in the garage.  Charlie's room is our new office.  Max has half our living room in his room.  We have ALL our clothes in one closet.  It's all condensed.  I don't like condensed soup, I don't like condensed space.

Kitchen is not child-proofed.  FML.

Moving has put me on permanent PMS status.  I am EXASPERATED with everything dealing with this move, specifically because I knew I was going into an apartment.  I'll get over it.  The joy of selling has taken over that.  Now we are just dealing with adjusting toddlers.

Taking a dog out at 5am with a clingy child down a flight of stairs SUCKS.

The loud radios at 11:23pm on a Saturday night rock ... let me tell you.  Can you sense my sarcasm?

I want a home in a house, not an apartment.  I want my own mailbox and back yard.  I want a master bedroom that is a master bedroom.  I want my boys to have their rooms and room to play.  I want a kitchen table.  I want a house to host friends.  I want to know we will be settled where we want to live and raise our boys.  Right now I am settling for Apartment F in a row of many.

November 12th, 2012

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

So fortunate ...

So, not much happened here.

Don't get me wrong ... two days inside and I'm going crazy but things could have been so so so so much worse.

What do you do when you're stuck inside with a three year old and a one year old while your hubby fights the good fight at work(because hotels never close, even with an impending HURRICANE because those people from New Jersey seek refuge here in the sweetest place on Earth) and you have 10 days and counting until you close on your house to move into an apartment ...

well you do this ...

Hello, my name is Natasha.  And I am a Thomas the Tank Engine train track designer EXTRAORDINAIRE.

"Mummy, mummy, MUMMMM-Y, I want to build a wall," says Max.
Great wall.

This is where stickers go.

Mark this day ... Max took a nap at home.  Mummy took a nap at home.

Charlie got hives.  Awesome.  


Mummy's play-doh fun.  Max chose the blueberries on the waffles and the strawberries on the French toast.  Charlie made the sausage links (doo-doo looking items).

DADDY'S HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You look at lots of pictures of Stone Harbor/Avalon NJ and cry.

Honestly, we are so lucky.  First of all, Michael got home before the harsh rains and wind started.  It got noisy out there.  Our power only flickered off and on once during the day.  WE sat on the edge of our seats for quite some time not just for the wind and rain but how scary close some of the trees got to our house.  Sad to say, all Michael and I thought of was outside damage and our house settlement in 10 days.  

We had some night visitors and their names were Max and Charlie.  Max has been in our bed the past two nights.  I got kicked in the face once and in the stomach once.  We survived.

The devastation is sickening.  People have lost everything.  People are stuck, literally stuck in Manhattan.  That would do me in ... NO WAY OUT.  How do you all do it?  My heart goes out to those who have lost anything, especially my good friends Sylvia and Ryan and their sons Aaron and Adam in New Jersey.  I immediately thought of you all.  Take care and know we are all thinking of you.

And now we pick ourselves up and move on.  This will be much easier for us than so so many others.

October 30th, 2012

Monday, October 29, 2012

Hurricane Sandy ...

and it begins.  I will hopefully be able to get good pictures for as long as I have juice in the cameras.  I am expecting RAIN, WIND, CRYING BABIES, CABIN FEVER, SAVE THE MILK, FLYING DEBRIS, did I mention we close on our house in a week and a half ...

Good times.

2 days ago at Wegman's

2 minutes ago - the pond out back.
October 29th, 2012

Saturday, October 20, 2012

cough cough give give

I know what you're all thinking ...

No, I am not doing that.

But I am coughing, a lot, and it was given to me.  My throat is on fire.  Literally fire.  I am the Norwegian Ridgeback from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.  It burns.  It doesn't help that my chest is heaving, my throat is likely covered in green s*^& and, I will most likely will be diagnosed with something if "this" does not go away by Monday.

Max has had quite a cough for a while ... he gets croup.  Think baby seal barking.  But now I have it, or what he gave me while hacking up all over me while he sleeps on me at night because he won't sleep through the night and MUST climb all over me I soothed him to sleep after he was woken by coughing.      I don't have pink eye, but I feel as though my ears are going to fall off, my head might self-implode, and my body hurts.

Please, feel free to diagnose me.

I have Mucinex DM, ibuprofen, and a bed and I plan on using them all.

October 20th, 2012

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

My 34th ... Brownie Balls and Conjunctivitis for all!

I turned 34.  No big deal.  I woke up on the couch with a Max crawling all over me.  The norm.  Coffee ... on.  Shower ... check.  Hubbie sends me out to the car for my gift because that is where he hid it (teehee).  It is a blue cardigan jacket just like the grey one of his I constantly try to steal, and have stolen once he leaves for work.  How cute!  Perfect.  I also get A SPA DAY ALL TO MYSELF AT THE HOTEL HERSHEY. 

School was school.  I taught a plethora of classes ... French, art, environmental science, language arts.  The kids sang to me at lunch.  Many teachers wished me well.  Fun day.

On my way to get the kids ...

"Hi Natasha, it's Miss T$&(@."

"Hi, how are you?"

"I'm alright.  Just wanted to let you know, Max woke up with pink eye.  His eye was crusted shut."


"I'm on my way."

And my afternoon consisted of ...

Brownie balls - think cake balls but brownies
hot compresses
doctor's phone call
go to doctor's office
get Rx
go to Target
Yellow crusty stuff
squirmy kids
eye drops
delicious take-out from hubby
more wine

October 16th, 2012

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I know you have all been quite worried about me.  Where the hell did she go?  Off the face of the Earth.  Did she succumb to the ways of the 8th grade mind, start wearing snapbacks, matching shoelaces, too tight Hollister t-shirts, listen to Justin Bieber or L'il Wayne, and spend her entire life on Facebook.

No, nothing that drastic.

Some events have happened ... not necessarily in this order ...

sold a house
almost bought a house
had visitors (specifically Grammy, Grandad, and Aunt Esmejane!!!!)
Charlie can walk now
taught some math and language art classes
found an apartment
I'll turn 34 next week
Am I pregnant?
not pregnant
blah blah blah

So, I promise I'll be back soon.  Just give me a few days.

October 10th, 2012

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Max-ers is 3

Well, I now have a three year old and a one year old.  Not an almost three year old.  A three year old.

(Side note ... when do we stop counting by months and just simply say a year amount.  Is it three?)

My lovable ever squeezable roaring through our loves tornado is three.  And he knew it too.  It started at the beach.

where Uncle Robby went against all protocol
and bought Max drums
And on the day, Michael and I had off work so off we went to the Please Touch museum in Philadelphia, PA. I gotta tell you ... this place was incredible.  "Amaze-balls."  Best museum for the kids we have ever been.  I guess that is why it is voted one of the top ten best museums for children in the country voted by Parents magazine.

Museum food:  3, expensive, not great for kids.  Even worse for parents.

Museum price: 9 - 16 dollars for one year olds and up - well worth it.  Or get a City Pass and get reduced price.

Parking: 10 - 8 dollars in lot, free on street (who wouldn't park on the street)

Gift shop: 2 - go to for your Melissa and Doug products

Museum: 11, sooooooooooo fantastique.

"Daddy, get me the boat."

rock wall

Charlie and the leaf xylophone

Remember this toy?  Loved it.  

bricks in the dump truck

driving the dump truck

Charlie the potato farmer

Max decided the Atkins diet was a load of bull-honky

Charlie picking out some pineapples

trains ... and we've lost him

shooting off rockets with daddy

Such a fun time!

September 27th, 2012

Thursday, September 20, 2012

What you do when you're home alone.

I've been home since just around 6pm on Tuesday night by myself.  Not entirely by myself, Annie is here.  Annie is my first child ...
Here she is in Max's room - she misses them.

 So, you go to work, because this is the only reason you are home ... to go to work.  Believe me, I would much prefer to be here ...
with my babies and hubsters.  Who wouldn't?

You look at your dog a lot and your dog looks at you a lot.  She is wondering where the boys are?  She misses the little boys. 

You cook for yourself.  Your serving size does not make you feel like the fridge is empty. 

You "keep up with the Kardashians."  S*&^, Kourtney's about to pull out baby Penelope.  Yikes!  So, I was never given that option.   

You DVR shows for your hubby and watch reruns of NCIS so you can watch said DVR'd shows with hubby, like X Factor. 

You go straight home after work. No passing GO, no collecting 200, no picking up children, no picking up milk or take-out, straight home.

You do laundry ... just a little.  Got to have bras.

I have control of the remote.

You say you're going to go to bed early because you are sooooooo tired and you can, but you don't.  (see next thing)

You drink this ... 
Nigella approves!

September 20th, 2012

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

All things must come to end.

My few days in Avalon with my in-laws were fun-filled, but over so quickly.  So sad to see them come to an end.  Here are a few ...

Kate, Uncle Robby, and Maddie


pool time

Kate, Maddie, and Max

And the wagon is back ... 

morning walks

so Charlie fell asleep on my ... ass
strategically placed items for sun protection
Michael will be back with the boys in a few days.  I am back to work tomorrow.  Boohoo.  My house is empty and quiet.

September 18th, 2012

Friday, September 14, 2012

Can I get a "woot woot" for vacation!

Remember last year ...

heading back tomorrow!

Stay tuned for pictures of my two adorable little nieces, Kate and Maddie, and tiny little toes in the sand.

September 14th, 2012

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mummy again ...

Before you all go crazy ... it's not me ... that's pregnant.  However, I will soon be overseeing a few small ... somethings.

Photo: Ok ... science people, what would likely be coming out of these?  Lovely fuzzy ducklings?

What are those?  Turtles, ducks, [gasp] snakes?

My little fascination began after my husband found them yesterday.  Now everyone must understand my husband has a tendency to over react sometimes, or at least exaggerate ... a bit.  He thought they were rattle snakes.  Really, babe?!  Because they are so prevalent to this area.  Do you all sense my sarcasm?

Ok, I KNOW they are not rattle snakes, but here is my question?  Where is mummy?  It has started to get a little cold around here at night.  I have never seen a mother of any species in sight or I would know what they are going to be.  Aren't my new little ones getting cold?  Are more buried under these three brave souls on top?  I normally see families of ducklings counting 8 to 10, not 3?

Next fear, whatever will I tell Max?  He'll see them right away.  He cannot touch them.  He cannot go up to them.  Charlie would probably pick up the dirt around them, never mind the baby ducklings.  How far away must I stay?  Don't want to contaminate the area and mummy will never come back.

Moving on, however will they survive?  We have stray cats, big turtles that eat little ducklings, foxes, possums, raccoons, need I go on ...

Just a little nervous about my new brood.  The pressure ...

September 12th, 2012

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Nighttime Visitors

Many times my friends will tell me stories about how their little ones will pad pad pad down a hallway into their rooms, prod and push them until they wake up, beg to get into bed with them, and out of pure exhaustion on their(the parental's) part he or she(the child) is allowed into the "big bed."  Then the night continues with this small child who suddenly becomes a large child by how much room they are able to take up in the bed.

Well, my child cannot pad pad pad down a hallway.  He's gated in his room since he is upstairs, we are downstairs.  Little boy falling down stairs in the dark ... not good.  So, when Max wakes up for whatever reason in the night he will either cry(not likely), slowly bang his door against the door stop(more likely), or violently scream, cry, and bang door ferociously against the door stop(most likely).  Meanwhile I am downstairs in a blissful slumber.  I shoot out of bed as though my hair is on fire.  Within 3.2 seconds I am running up the stairs in the dark to quiet Max down before he, heaven forbid, wakes up the other kid.

I am assuming that Max is starting to become afraid of the dark.  He does not want us to turn the light off.  He talks about the dark.  And if I ask him, "Max, are you afraid of the dark?", he nods.  So, if he wakes up in the night and it is dark, I believe he is afraid of the dark by the resulting attempt at breaking out of his room.  Same thing happens with thunder.

Poor poor boy.

Then it is a game.  Where will WE sleep and I do say WE because heaven forbid I leave him.  Sometimes the couch where he climbs all over me and it really hurts.  Sometimes our bed where he becomes a huge child and I hang off the edge of the bed.  Did I mention this child suddenly snores?  The other night he wanted Daddy's chair, the armchair where he snuggled against a pillow and under a blanket, drank some milk, drifted off pleasantly.  Damn kid, can I get you the remote?

Last night it was both of them.  Let's just say that Max and the dog got the couch, Charlie got the    pack n' play, and Michael found me on THE FLOOR when he came out from our lovely pillow top warm bed in OUR bedroom to tell me it was 5am and I should get my shower.


September 6th, 2012

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Cafeteria Food

Upon arriving for the 1st day of school to many tired disgruntled other teachers, I realized with a sigh that I have been given the lovely duty of lunch duty.  This is my first time being given this duty so all I can say is I am thankful that I eat before watching my 8th graders eat.

Let's separate this into two categories; boys and girls.

Please keep in mind these are 8th grade girls.  They view magazines with perfect 5' 10" models, they see Justin Bieber like Selena Gomez, they most likely see or hear their mothers constantly dieting.  I am not one to knock down a healthy lifestyle.  I consider myself very healthy and in some of the best shape of my life considering I have had two children and I weigh less than I did before I had Max(not to brag, but nursing will do that to you), but when a girl wants some ice cream, she should have it.  My students are varying heights and weights and sad to say some of this is very obvious from their food choices.  I see the athletes take salad.  I see others take pizza.  Many of them will pick, look at their food, study it, simply eat their cookies or "waffle fries"(I'll get back to these quotes later), or devour all in front of them.  It hurts my heart to know these last classified students will likely go home to a place with very little food and they have received that lunch for free.  So many times these days, you hear about healthy food initiatives within school cafeterias, Michelle Obama, Jamie Oliver, "get up and move", and so forth; however this kind of sentiment must not just be said but followed through by all involved.  When I say all, I mean families.  If you pack your child a lunch with fruit or vegetables, healthy meat and cheese sandwiches, a small dessert, water than you are my hero, but those of you who send your child off with processed crap or have them buy lunch, you must understand that they will buy what they want to eat as opposed to what is the healthier choice.  Just remember that is your money.  Can you likely put together something for less than what they might charge for a processed hamburger which is perhaps 72% actual meat, greasy "waffle" fries(because they took away the ones that look like fries), chocolate milk, cookies, etc. YES.  I watched one of my lovely students eat three pieces of an orange and three cookies with strawberry milk for lunch.  Did she pay full price for that lunch?  Yes.  Wait a tick, let me correct myself.  Her parents paid full price.  Lunch is averaging just under four dollars.  Can I tell you what I can put together for four dollars? They're disgusted by the food, but yet choose to buy it.  Those who have barely anything are beyond thankful for it, no matter how healthy or unhealthy it is.

Let's turn to the boys.  Face it, they'll eat anything.  My young basketball and football players will take everything they can for the allotted amount of money, and then take whatever else they can pilfer.  Girls are constantly handing them what is left on their plates and they take it gratefully.  It's better than getting  wasted.  Plus, that is free flirt time.  I saw a previous student the other day, a senior, who even after a full day at school with how many meals and snacks already in him, shake a dozen wings from his mum at the bar we were at.  (Before you go getting all concerned, his mum is a lovely friend who is also an aide in my building, he is a senior, and no he did not partake in any beverage besides Coke.  He simply met us all there so he and his mum could go to his sister's meet.)

Our school must have some new initiative.  During lunch, the students(who buy lunch) must put a vegetable or fruit on their trays, even if they do not eat it, they must take it.  REALLY?  Do you know how much of that good produce is wasted?  Majority of it.  I am going to step out on a whim here and blame a family lifestyle for this one?  And while we're at it, let's blame obesity on it as well.  If you are not raised eating good fruits and vegetables and healthy foods as such, you will continue through your life eating in an unhealthy manner.  I am so fortunate that both my boys are great fruit and vegetable eaters ... for now.  I know I will face some problems in the future.  I can say now, whole heartedly, that I will pack my boys lunches.  Will they always want me to?  NO.  Will they want to buy lunch and act cool?  YES.  Will I hope my good eating habits have been instilled in their ways?  DUH.  Is it easier just to hand each a fiver ... YES.  

For now, bedtime snack can remain as yogurt.

September 1st, 2012

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Love of My Life

Michael is my love and it was proved yet again tonight.  After three very long, exhausting, rough days of in-service, my husband, Michael, showed up just after 6pm(very early for him) with a dozen roses, my favorite Chardonnay, and made me BBQ chicken for dinner.

I love him.

August 23rd, 2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012

3 days @ daycare

Atleast I don't have the drop-off.  Daddy does.  I am the hero at pick-up.  Because each morning atleast one of them balled and sometimes both of them did.  And poor Michael was the one that had to walk away.

The first day was bad for Charlie, the second for Max, and the third was the best for both of them.  I on the other hand cried a little each day as I made my way to the "big school" to put up posters, clean out my desk, position desks, write lesson plans, try to find things I knew I had left behind before Charlie was born, and poorly cover up my general poor attitude towards the end of summer and the beginning of the school year.

Max and Charlie are the newest attendees at the all new brand-spankin' state of the art U-Gro Center in Hershey, PA.  This place is cool.  Indoor playgrounds, outdoor playgrounds and tricycle tracks, murals on the wall, activity centers, FOOD, need I go on.  I don't know what kid wouldn't love it there.  It's got everything ...

just not Mommy and Daddy.

Sad face.

August 16th, 2012

Monday, August 13, 2012

When I was pregnant ...

I should have eaten more Ben and Jerry's.

I should have taken more naps.

I should have seen how much whining my husband would have taken until he snapped.  I really didn't whine too much.  Atleast I don't think I did!?

I should have kept running because I now have absolutely no desire to start running again.

I should not have got the epidural with Max therefore most likely avoiding the after birth HELP syndrome/preeclampsia.
Charlie = no epidural = out in two hours = us home in less than 2 days!

I should have read more baby books before having my babies.

I should have eaten more potato chips.

I should have got out of doing something, but it escapes me right now what that "thing" should have been.

I should have had belly shots taken - I was HUGE.

I should have asked for more help.  I let myself get too exhausted.  I don't recommend that, especially if you're still working.

August 13th, 2012

Friday, August 10, 2012

Alien like puke ...

When a toddler or a baby gets sick, gets a bug, convulsively pukes all down themselves it really is a site to see.  Collectively within an hour I have watched three episodes of just this ... small child spewing unknown sticky clumpy rotten smelling substance from mouth down themselves.

Charlie twice at the table.  Max IN MY BED(S&%^).

First of all, you have to let them finish.  They're starting to cry because they have no frickin' clue what is happening to them.  It burns their throats and their noses because ofcourse it is coming from both places.  They thrash about.  They make "that facial expression" as though they have tasted something bad or sour, you know the one.  The substance gathers down their fronts in smelly bumpy runny snot consistency.  Meanwhile you are cooing and ahhing in your most sympathetic manner, without puking yourself from the sight and smell.

Second of all, you must gather them up in your arms and get them cleaned up.  So, while still cooing and ahhing, you walk quickly as not to upset them more, most likely with outstretched arms(no reason your clothes should suffer) to the nearest sink or bath tub and strip them down.  Now they're freezing and screaming.  Wash them down and wrap them up in a towel.  Your smartass two year old might be thinking or even telling you it's not bath time.  No s*%& Sherlock.  Dressed again.

Third, they're miraculously fine again and are ready to run around the house.  WTF?  When I got the flu, it was puke, go back to bed, rest.  My children decide this is the time to test their Olympic gymnastic skills on my furniture.  It's like morning sickness.  Get sick ... all better.

And lastly, when a small child gets sick, they're going to be sick WHEREVER THEY ARE AT THAT TIME.  Your normally well-mannered child will not excuse themselves to the bathroom, shut the door, and aim perfectly into the toilet when they must be sick.  They are going to be sick when that unknown said substance is forcing its way up their small little throat; in your bed, down your front, their high chair, living room carpet, or car seat.

We can't expect much from them.  They have no clue what is happening.  This will be Charlie's first bout with a bug, Max's second.  And they're being champs.

Just have a collection of old t-shirts and carpet cleaner and pray you don't get the bug the next day.  But if you do, you will be expected to make it to the toilet.

August 10th, 2012

Friday, August 3, 2012

Conversations with a toddler.

Yesterday, Max said he was cooking the babies.  He also told me he was cooking balls.  Then he proceeded to pull these two items out of my oven.  Good thing it wasn't on.

"Max did you poop."
"Charlie pooped."
"No, it wasn't him.  Did you poop?"
"Just fart."

While getting ready for a walk, he points to the drainage pipe down the side of the house and proclaims, "Water goes down there."  Yes, yes it does my brilliant Harvard bound child.

"Doggie ... doggie poop outside."

"Charlie poop.  Big poop."

(I have a feeling I am going to be dealing with a lot of shit in my life, and unfortunately I think my boys will find it to be fascinating.)

"Mommy.  Mommy make coffee."
(Yes, I have two coffeemakers.  You wanna make something of it?)

Arriving in Max's room after a somewhat successful "quiet time" his train table was empty but the water tower and changing guard station.
"Max, where is the track?"
"Clean up."
"Ok, where did you put it all?"
The next day I heard him trying to put it back together.

"Max, are you tired?"
"Max do you want to take a rest?"
"Play more."
"How about play dough at the table?"
(resulting open mouth as in awe and disbelief)

about eight minutes later

He does make me chuckle.

August 3rd, 2012

Friday, July 27, 2012

We are ... State College.

Back when the story broke, I was furious.  I was livid.  I was disgusted.  Now it is even worse.  It is a silent fury that I must swallow and remain focused on what I THINK is the best and what too many think is the worst.  My Penn State University.

Of course I am angry at the events that took place and the cover-up that was designed and articulated and put into effect at the expense of how many we will never know.  The abuse that many suffered to what level they suffered makes me sick.  Sick to a degree that I never want to let my children out of my sight.  Does that mean I can never trust a teacher, a babysitter, a football coach?  Because that is what Jerry Sandusky’s victims’ parents did.  They trusted him.   

I will always be a Penn State University fan, supporter, student, and alum.  

I heard about PSU a lot growing up as any high school student in Pennsylvania would and does.  Everyone basically applied to one of three schools in Pennsylvania; PSU, Pitt, and IUP.  I only applied to PSU as a safety since I did not want to be one of those students that just went to Penn State.  I wanted to branch out.  I wanted to leave Pennsylvania.  My boyfriend in high school was about nothing but Penn State and tried to convince me otherwise … that I would and could be a whole different person at PSU without running into high school classmates.  I ended up at a school in Virginia, yet after two years transferred due to cancellations in my department.  My father immediately perked up and suggested PSU. 

I transferred in the summer of 2008, that’s right, the RIOT.  I should say the first RIOT.  I lived in Center dorms with the summer high school students, I got to know fraternity row, I biked to my classes, and took a job at a coffee shop.  Did I see friends or acquaintances from high school?  Yes.  Was it ok?  Yes. 

The years following I lived on Beaver Ave., passed classes, failed classes, picked up a minor, changed my major (Russian to French), ate pizza from ACME or nachos from Grillers, wrote on the wall of the Darkhorse bathroom, preached with the Willard preacher, travelled with the band “The Collective”, spent hours in Paterno library, made life-long friends, took taxis home at ungodly hours from Sigma Pi or Alpha Tau Omega, studied in France, worked at The Big Easy, acquired a B. A. in French, a minor in Religious Studies, and a graduate certificate in K-12 French Education.  Teas on Friday, JR and Sharon, Corner Room Early Bird Breakfast $1.99, Penn Towers, and parking tickets.  I have many memories but also learned many lessons.  I regret things.  I am very happy about how some things worked out, even though they might have been difficult at first.  I remember things.  I forget things.

But this is not just about what PSU meant to me.  It is devastating what is happening to the university that gave me so much, basically the university that gave me my life.  I met my husband there.  I gained my career that allows me to provide for my family.  I earned respect for so much and lost respect for so much.

I want to talk about the town.  I want to talk about State College, PA.  The town that was there and still is there.  State College thrives by its citizens before its college students.  The town folk are always there.  Every day since these heinous events came to be public knowledge, State College has had to endure scrutiny, reporters, news trucks, a bad reputation, constant questions, and much more.

State College is just trying to survive like every other small American town these days.  Can I tell you about Bill who owns the Cheese Shoppe in Calder Alley where you simply throw your George Washington on the counter and walk out with a steaming cup of the best coffee in town.  What about McClanahan’s where students can get anything they might need.  Family Clothesline where you can find any and all that is the Penn State University.  Long live the CafĂ© 210 West.  Lets go farther out to the Barnes and Noble bookstore where students come to get away from the noise of their apartment.  What about the numerous restaurants that are fueled by student employees, Houserville Elementary where education students can tweak their chosen trade, the streets that are pounded by runners.  Everything is still there.  Students come and go.  Football teams come and go. 

Please imagine what will happen to these businesses and therefore the town of State College after the NCAA’s sanctions this past week.  My husband is from State College, PA.  Part of him will always consider State College his hometown.  His father, my father-in-law, is the State Farm Insurance agent in State College.  He built his business from the bottom up.  He has spent hours making his business a success.  He provided for his family to have a good life.  He raised thousands upon thousands of dollars for the university because he believed in it and the town as do many others.   Already, he and many other small business owners are feeling the repercussions of the acts that occurred for so many years and the resulting outcomes and decisions.  I hope they do not lose the town we all love as well.

State College, PA is Penn State University.

July 27th, 2012

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Calling in for back-up ...

As I am now going to be working outside and inside the home, the overwhelming feelings have set in.  So much to get done.  So much to achieve in a few short weeks.  What kind of state of mind will I be in to teach 8th graders?  I'm slowly ... no quickly ... losing it.

So, as I cried on the phone to my mum one day, she very willingly without thinking said she would drive 12 hours from home to come help me.  This is what family is for.

And I am patiently today waiting her arrival.

July 22nd, 2012

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Jeremiah 29:11

Jeremiah 29:11

New International Version (NIV)
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

It has been realized and decided and must happen.  I am going back to work this August ... in literally a month.  By trained trade, many sleepless nights, coffee galore, accents, flashcard making, lesson planning, crayon coloring and powerpoint making ... I am a French teacher.  I have been for 9 years cumulatively since I took two years off a year apart to have my beautiful sons.

I had hoped and wished and prayed and thought and knew I would not go back ... but alas I am.

I am telling myself things happen for a reason.  I wanted to be truckin' around in our SUV, Goldfish littering the seats, diaper bag in the back, off to pre-school or the park or the library.  That is what I wanted.  No high heels.  No make-up.  No 7-3.  But August 27th, my presence will be blessed with hormonal and challenging 8th graders(and whomever else crosses my path) expecting me to be able to answer any question they have concerning the French Language and Culture :)  Settle a teenage girl argument.  Break up a boy fight(maybe not).  Hand out pencils and intellect.  Yikes.

I know I am a good teacher.  A really good teacher.  I spent so much money earning my Master's and writing my thesis.  I have already toiled so much through the system that perhaps it will be good to go back to my chosen career.

I'm just really going to miss my boys.

I'll try not to rant too much on this blog about my work, I promise.

July 18th, 2012

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

This does not bode well with moi!

This was cute the first time ONLY.

Charlie - yesterday morning.
Max - back in the day.

Monday, July 9, 2012

"Max, let me introduce you to sleep."

If you have been following at all, you know that I am struggling with Max sleeping during the day.  As far as I am concerned, one can never outgrow naps, yet he seems to have different feelings on this one.

I have changed its name.  Max now has "quiet time."  When he is supposed to play quietly or take a nap if he wants to, but must allow Charlie to sleep because he LOVES to sleep ... when Max lets him.  Max is loud.  He screeches, he plays, he runs circles around his room, he says things over and over and over again in a raspy breathless voice as he does laps, " ... stop and go, stop and go, stop and go ..."


He takes his trains and cars to the walls that Daddy must paint again ... remember trying to sell the house.  He calls out to me ... "Mom, Mom, Mommy, Mommy, MOOOOOMMMMMYYYYYYY."

Go to sleep.  Puh-lease.

Charlie is sleeping, the dog is sleeping, the turtle is sleeping, I want to sleep ... why don't you?

If it weren't so bloody hot outside, we could go for a walk and he would fall asleep in the stroller, but alas, it's been upwards of 101 around here.  So, you do what you got to do.

Sometimes I can get 20 minutes later in the afternoon when he is falling asleep at the table with goldfish and raisins in front of him.  I then transfer him to the couch.  Inevitably, he is very pissy when I wake him up so he doesn't sleep the evening away.

And then other times you just have to put them in the car.

And go through the Starbucks drive-thru.

July 9th, 2012

Friday, July 6, 2012

These are tough economic times ... Walmart vs. Wegmans

I have always loved Wegmans, ever since I went into the Wegmans in State College, PA with my      in-laws.  You just walk in and hear the foodie gods calling to you.  The aisles of pre-made dinners; chinese, sushi, pizza, soups, hot entrees and sides ... AAAAHHHHHHHH!  The beer aisles are even better; every Sam Adams available each season(this blogger's biere preferee).  The organic groceries, the local farm's produce, the gadgets ... the yogurt.  Did I mention the meat?  Tenderloins ... to die for.  Don't get me started on the British food. 
Many people have such a misconception about Wegmans.  They believe with all the choice and excellent quality they must be expensive.
X.  (Think the Family Feud buzzer)
Of course, wholesale clubs are the best for many household items, produce, and meat, but if Costco is not your weekly shopping place, a grocery market must suffice.
I decided to do a little investigating, so I wrote down some very common weekly items for me at the time, loaded up the kids and hubbie(He was only slightly mortified as I walked around with my pad and paper.  Hey, he should be thanking me!), and off we went to Walmart.  Please see below:

(please assume on most items unless noted that this is the Wegman's brand vs. the Great Value brand)

0.47 lb.
bag o’ baby carrots
4.99 (2 lbs.)
3.49 (2 lbs.)
3.49  (1 lb.)
pasta (spaghetti)
2.89  (Reese’s Puffs)
½ gallon of milk
canned green beans
shredded cheese
1.99  (2 cups)
yogurt (4pack Stonyfield)
can of coffee
Gazebo Room Greek Dressing
1.67  (1 lb.)
7.49  (1 lb.)
Chef Boyardee
baby bella mushrooms 
2.00  (8 oz.)
rice (Steamable packs)

I was quite shocked to say the least.  What happened to the lowest price guaranteed?  Am I ready to haggle with a cashier at Walmart instead of just going to Wegmans?  Hell to the No.  I'll be honest and no offense to any, my local Walmart scares me.  At Wegmans, the managers know who I am.  They have seen me go through two pregnancies, watched my two boys devour their freshly made bagels every Friday morning while I down some coffee.  They know my order by heart at the coffee stand; three bagels, one medium coffee, and a refill $4.07(although it might become four bagels; the boys eat a lot).  I appreciate the care they take when I ask where something is.  The atmosphere is friendly and inviting.

So, I think I'll stick with Wegmans.

July 6th, 2012