Saturday

Consider this a public service announcement folks....I am a giver..and well, I care about your thighs.
As most everyone knows- I am perpetually 'on a diet'...okay 'I watch what I eat'...whatever....and a few months ago Micky D's came out with a whole line of 'fancy coffees to compete with the Starbucks of the world....I am sucker for anything New and I ordered myself a big ol'large vanilla iced coffee. And guess what- Micky D's has managed to take something I get at Starbucks which has about 100 calories and no fat (non-fat milk used at Starbucks and Micky D's is pre-mixed they said)...to something that will destroy any effort to fit into a bathing suit this summer.
Calories: 270!!!!!
Fat grams: 11!!!!!!!!
Are you kidding? No wonder it tasted so darn good..after my first sip I began calculating how I could fit in a Micky D run every single day! Until I checked the nutritional info on-line when I got home......when will I learn that if it tastes good- I CAN'T HAVE IT!!!! Consider yourself warned.
Okay folks- this is becoming a regular feature- more strange ways to entertain yourself when you are 7 and 9.....and you have a skateboard and lots and lots of chalk....watch and learn.

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Friday

Do you know what this is? I do!...this is a question from the OC Register's Cook's Quiz. And to my amazement- my answer was correct! So this just proves it...even though I may not know much about cooking, I seem to have acquired an odd knowledge of cooking TOOLS. I am now in the running to win a cookbook. Which will look great on my bookshelf I suppose... Go ahead and leave your guess here in the comments- or head over to the OC Reg and see if YOU can win the cookbook! Afterall you might actually USE it!
This is my photo for Exposroonie weekly photo challenge. The goal of Exposaroonie and these challenges is to push photogs to take deliberate photos...not to pull from our inventory for one that fits the theme. I have never taken an actual photography class-so I am finding these challenges to be difficult for me! The theme this week was 'rule of thirds'...and I took this photo from Mustard's restaurant in the Orange Circle....this is the Sunkist Building on Glassell, and in case you are wondering the trucks logo is "Bombshell Ink" which I think makes it even more cool no? I had a wait a bit to get the photo while no other cars were passing by! No, it is not the world's greatest photo- certainly not the best I have ever taken...but I still like it! Perhaps because the Orange Circle is my 'happy place'......you can vote for my photo here.

Thursday

Um, Which Jack is yours?

When I named my first son Jack I thought I was so darn clever. It was after one of my husbands favorite golfers, it was easy to spell, it was strong and manly and at the time I truly believed it had not been over used. Boy was I wrong. His given name is actually Edward Jack (yup he is a third) but I never ever planned to use his first name. I grew up with a brother and dad with the same name and it was just confusing. Sure at first my brother was Stevie and my Dad was Steve, but it wasn’t long before my brother in all his pre-teen angst decided HE was to be called STEVE. So phone calls came and we would have to say ‘big Steve or Little Steve?” and the teenage girl on the other end of the phone not understanding I was not referring to his stature but rather the house hierarchy would reply sheepishly ‘why BIG Steve of course!’……eventually I could distinguish from their intermittent giggles who they really wanted to speak with. So from the first moment I instructed all to ignore the name card on his little Tupperware bassinet in the hospital nursery, which read EDWARD. My father actually asked a nurse to bring it to him-and he crossed it out and wrote “BIG JACK” across it. I loved that name and had no doubts about its selection, until…. Until we moved to Chicago 8 weeks later . We lived in a lovely area dotted with numerous churches and schools. And upon one of my first visits to the park- where I met three other mothers with sons with the name Jack, I started to realize the popularity of children's names are not only generational- but they are also geographical. In California the name Jack was kinda retro and hip and FRESH. In Chicago, it was a constantly used family name. And it seemed every other kid I met with had that name or had a sibling with it. I was disappointed. I mean I still loved the name, and still do to this day, but somehow it took its original edge off- and made it seem just a very safe name to choose. After three years we returned to California, where I learned the Jack trend had now spread across America. As I enrolled Jack into his first pre-school I was told I would have to label everything he had with Jack M. so they could differentiate his items form Jack F. and Jack C. in the class. For years when strangers would ask my son his name he would reply with “Jack M”…thinking that was his whole first name with the initial included. When gathered for school functions I would hear myself in conversations saying ‘yes, MY Jack loves that toy’ or ‘My Jack knock that off!’….he was MY Jack. Of course I can not even fathom another name for my Jack. He is so well, Jack-ish…for whatever that means. As I think of it now he is all the things I thought of the name when I chose it so many years ago: retro, hip and most definitely fresh! So I suppose having to share the name with so many of his peers has not affected his name experience. Although he has told me he plans to go by Edward when he becomes a Disneyland Imagineer (his dream)…he thinks the name Edward might fit him better then. It won’t matter to me, because he will always be MY JACK.

Wednesday

Magaret's Head Cozie

Margret loved knitting. She had learned only recently after her husband Earl ran off with that floozie from his office. Her therapist thought it would be good for Margret to keep her hands busy- and something to keep her from throwing darts at Earls photo in the basement. That was over 8 months ago. She picked up knitting rather quickly- and before long she found herself knitting for hours and hours everyday. After all she didn't have to stop and make gourmet dinner for Earl anymore. She didn't have to chill his beer glasses, empty his ashtrays, do his laundry. She didn't have to watch sports with him and pretend to enjoy it anymore either. She had lots of free time now that Earl was gone. And that suited Marget just fine. So she knitted a few sweaters for her pastor, her neighbors and a mail bag for her mail man. She made toast cozies and toilet cozies- everything in her house was cozied. It was a very cosy house with Earl gone. Then one day Marget got the idea. It came to her as she fitted the cozie she had made over her cookie jar; she needed a cozie for HER. She knitted through the night and put the cozie on in the morning. She wore it all day and all night. Then one day Earl stopped by to pick up a few things....and Margret opened the door wearing her head cozie. Earl didn't say a word. He blinked. Then he asked if she had been saving his subscriptions to Popular Science magazine. She nodded yes and pointed to the basement. He went down the basement stairs. She shut the basement door. No one knows what happened to Earl after that....but I have a feeling he is pretty cosy down there now.

Tuesday

Rant of the Week: Killing personal expression

My sons private school naturally has a dress code. I was excited about this when my boys started attending years ago; yeah! just grab a shirt and pants and go! I won't be locked in to buying the 'cool thing' of the week! Yippee! Uniforms are awesome! and I think I may have been overheard saying 'I think all of us should wear a uniform-wouldn't that be easy and great?'.....well, folks I have changed my tune today.
Yesterday at drop off Jack was told his hair 'did not meet dress code standards' and he needed to cut it 'above his ears' and 'above his collar'. Um, never mind that every other boy in Southern California has hair over their ears and past their collar these days. And that this is 2008 and not 1953. But more importantly- this is a personal expression of Jack's style. The poor kid got braces and glasses this year- for God's sake can't you take pity lady and let him have his cool 'surfer' hair? For months I have been helping Jack slick his hair over his ears with hair gel to fake out the uniform police at school. I am an accomplice- so I am just as disappointed as he is now.
So today my thoughts on uniform policies has changed drastically. The whole goal of the uniform policy to make your kids look like a close match to all the other children at said school. Little robotic drones walking around stiffly in their ironed dress shirts and slacks with creases (yes, they wear SLACKS). No room for personal expression (that would be deviant) and no room for fashion. Who cares if the kid looks like a 50 year old accountant from a by-gone era? By golly at least he complies with the uniform policy! Jack is a straight A student- you would think they would let him come in a purple Mohawk if he wanted....(which um, he does actually want)
We are not returning to this private school next year. For a variety of reasons: militant behavior expectations and inconsistent bizarre discipline being only some of the issues. And the hair policy is definitely a huge factor too.....so we have 23 days until school gets out. I am wondering if I can help him slick it back until then- or perhaps a wig? If only hats were allowed.....
(photo taken back when I was a fan of oppressing my kids personal expression)

Team Mom for hire....

I have a part time job. I do not get paid. It is seasonal work- but still it seems to go year-round. I am a team mom. I have performed my duties for numerous baseball teams, soccer teams and basketball teams over the past 5 years of my boys early sport careers. And even when I have squashed the urge to raise my hand and volunteer at the opening season team meeting- somehow, someway I find myself volunteering for a variety of tasks. Don’t get me wrong- I actually enjoy all this. But I never realized it until this Little League season. Until now I thought I hated it. I complained. I whined. But now I understand why I just can’t seem to stay away…. You see, I had plans this season to be the slacker mom. The mom who just shows up looking fabulous, cheers her little guy on to victory, takes a few pics and then whisks the little slugger out to lunch after the game. I was NOT going to organize the boys in the dugout, I was not going to photograph numerous games with the fervor of Major League paparazzi, I wasnot going to help warm them up before they hit, I was not going to worry who forgot their bat and who was late to practice and I most certainly was not going to start cheers from the dugout for the boy up at bat. This season I wasn’t even going to learn their names! No way- that was a commitment…and I was not going to get attached. I knew, as in all seasons before this- in 3-4 months we all would go our separate ways…so I wasn’t gonna get all involved this time. No.No.No……I thought I was pretty firm in this decision and yet…. Within 2 practices I had already volunteered to help our official Team mom since this was her first season in the position, and well I took pity-I know how much work it is. I remember kicking myself for opening my ‘big mouth’ on the car ride home. But secretly- inside I was excited; A whole new team of adorable little boys learning to play an all American pastime. So wholesome-so old fashioned and so fun for them-I knew I wanted to be a part of that experience. After the second game I was in the dugout reading the roster, lining up batting helmets and making sure they all drank their water on hot days. I applied band-aides to boo boos and resisted hugging each and everyone when they got tagged out. I came early to practices and games to pick up trash on the field. I ran other parents little guys to the potty on more than one occasion. So despite my intentions I had become totally and completely-INVOLVED. But today as I watched from the bleachers during one of our last games of the season….not actually handling much since the official team Mom was doing a really great job without me, I realized I didn’t want to be slacker mom. I guess I never did. I want to be gung-ho mom. I wanted to be team spirit mom. I wanted to be right in the middle of all of it……I want to soak it all up. I want it all.... The baseball season ends next week. But football starts in August. And this time I am raising my hand first to get my part time job back. I might be insane but I actually WANT to be team mom.

Monday

2 boys, 1 box...no shame

Coming down stairs I say..."Hey honey where are the boys?"

"They are just out front- I don't know what they are up to."

Well, folks- this is what they were up to....no reason. Just cuz......

I think this might have adverse effect on their gifted and talented status...but they might have promising careers playing a non convincing horse in a Renaissance Fair someday. You really gotta watch it for any of this to make sense!

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Sunday

Love in a box.

Tucker: Here Mom. This is for you! Me: It better not be a lizard, or rolly-pollys...on second thought...what is it? Tucker: Mom just open it...it is for you...trust me for once! Me: I am afraid...should I go outside? Tucker: OPEN IT! Very cautiously I lift the lid because I am wise and I know what my boys are capable of putting a box. But this is what I see...

LOVE in a BOX.
Sometimes they can really surprise you huh?

My Choice....

Mother’s Day is the most important day of the year for ME (emphasis on the ME)…I like my birthday and Christmas- heck I even like Arbor day………….but Mother’s Day represents something so special and important to me. It represents MY CHOICE. I chose motherhood and the glamorous life and all that goes with it. I very deliberately DECIDED to become a wife and mother. And that is something I love to celebrate. So one day a year I adore gliding through my day reading cards from my children, eating breakfast made by my husband and maybe getting a small gift. It is the way they say very tangibly “thank you for choosing to be a mom”….and well I drink it all in. This year- hubby surprised me early with a new (and quite fabulously indulgent) gift …my new and very very apple green purse. I have coveted this purse for months-even going to ‘visit’ it while shopping at the mall. And now it belongs to me…and I am reminded that my family appreciates me everytime I look at it. Not that I wouldn’t know that otherwise…but still..isn’t it a lovely purse?
Happy Mother’s Day. Best decision of my life.

Happy Mother's Day.....to ME!
Okay Happy Mother's Day to you too.......I really hope you get touching cards, your kids behave over a scrumpcious brunch somewhere fabulous and you have a good hair day too. Enjoy the day ladies! God knows we earned it!