Finding the funny in parenthood before somebody loses an eye...



Wednesday, December 29, 2010

10 Resolutions Every Mom Should Make

Here's a little sumpthin' I put together:

10 Resolutions Every Mom Should Make

Do you have any other great ideas for resolutions?  Tell me and I'll put em' all together and post them for New Years Day.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Jewish People make crappy Carolers...

I love Christmas.

I've always loved Christmas.  I love the decorations, the lights and I love to sing christmas songs.

Every year I try to come up with a new tradition to make Christmas special for our family.  My thinking is that even though we don't celebrate the religious aspect, the concept of Peace on Earth and Good Will Towards Man is something I can get behind.

So tonight after dinner we went out for a walk around the neighborhood to look at all the Christmas decorations.  I thought it would be a great way to get into the holiday spirit.

While we were walking, I started to sing..."Sleigh Bells riiiiing...are ya listenin..."  Scott joined in "...In the lane....snow is glistenin'..."

Izzy lagged behind hoping no one she knew would see her with us.

"A beautiful siiight....so happy tonight...."

We sang louder and held hands.

"....Walkin' in a Winter Wonderland..."

As we both took a deep breath ready to start the second verse, we looked at each other like...uh...what comes next?

I said "OH!  In the meadow we can build a snoooowmaaaaaannnnn..."

Scott chimed "And pretend that he's ...la...um...la,la, la, laaaaahhh"

"um...la, la, la OH!....a circus clooooowwwwwwwn."  I said.

"Right..."

"She'll say are you married, I'll say...wait...that's not right.  Forget it....let's try Jingle Bells.

We sang:

"Jingle Bells
Jingle Bells
Jingle all the way...
Oh what fun it is to ride
on a one horse open sleigh. Ooooh..."

And we sang that four times.  Loud.  We couldn't remember the rest of it.  But what we sang we sang loud and clear.  The kids all chimed in.  Except Izzy, who was pulling the hood of her vest further down the front of her face.

Then we got cocky.  "Let's do 12 days of Christmas!"

Yeah.  I was a real caroler.  THIS would be our new tradition. I was imagining all of the festiveness we were bringing to our neighbors.  Maybe someone would invite us in for hot cocoa.  Or at least give us some figgy pudding and tell us to scat.

We started up again as we strolled. "On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to meeeeee....a partridge in a pear treeeeeee"  We all sang festively.

Livi sang her own version "And a partridge in a dead treeeeee."

Ben asked..."What's a partridge?"

"It's a bird.  Keep singing..." I said.

"On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to meeeee......uh...aaaaa....what did he give to me?"  I was stumped.  Scott shrugged.

I thought out loud going through the lyrics really fast (like when you forget where a letter is in the alphabet and you sing the alphabet song really fast.)  "FIIIIIVEgoldenrinnnnnngssss, (I can count down from there...)Fourcallingbirds, threefrenchhens....OH...TWO TURTLE DOVES....and a Parrrrtriiiidge in a pear treeeeeee!"

On the third day of christmas, my true love gave to meeeee...ummmmmmmm....he gave to meeeeee.....I couldn't be lieve it, I had to count back again!  I had JUST done it; "Fivegoldenrinnnnnngssss, Fourcallingbirds...THREE French Hens!(yes!)...Two Turtle Doves....and a partridge...

"in...A DEAD TREE!!!" yelled Livi.

We hit a roll and made it up to the 10th day of christmas before completely forgetting the lyrics again.
I was totally stumped and couldn't count back from the 12th day.  We passed some revelers coming out of a christmas eve party.

"Ooo...let's ask them.  they'll know!"

Scott said, "Forget it."  I think he was done.

"But it's going to drive me crazy!  I need to know what my true love got me on the 11th and 12th day!  I KNOW I know this!  I KNOW THIS!!!  AAARRRGH!

"Google it."  He walked up the front steps and went inside.

Grinch.

So we had a nice Christmas Eve overall and I think we have a new family tradition.  A Christmas Eve stroll and a little Christmas Caroling.  And next year, I'm gonna be ready.

But it would certainly be easier if perhaps for Hanukkah next year, my "True Love" could give me some sheet music.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

If you see someone lurking in the bushes outside my house...it's me.

I hide from my kids and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one.

Tonight my ex was babysitting so Scott and I thought we'd get a night out.  Woo-Hoo!

We scooted out the door the second my ex showed up at 6:15.

"Bye you guys!"  smooch, smooch..."Mommy loves you!" and we tore out the driveway leaving skidmarks.

By 7:45 we were done dinner.

We couldn't go home.  I knew there was NO way the kids were asleep!  I mean, what's the point of getting out for the night if you have to come home to kids who are awake and want your attention?  That's not a night out.  That's a coffee break.

So I suggested getting a Thai massage.  Scott had his kindle so he waited for me and enjoyed the serenity of the Thai massage waiting room.

9:00pm I was done.  Darn.   Kids would still be up.

So we went for ice cream and burned another 20 mins.

It was iffy to go home.  Knowing my Ex, chances were the kids were still up.

So we cased the house.  We parked across the street and we peeped in windows.

It was hard to tell.  Lights were on, but we couldn't see any confirmed movement.  We tried another window (did I mention it was raining?)

Then I went to the kitchen window.  And was spotted..."HEY MOMMY!  WHAT ARE YOU DOING OUT THERE!?"

Dang.

I answered from the bushes.  "Just watching you.  Cuz you're cute."  She bought it...

It was clear our night out was over.  We went inside.

I guess it was a good thing anyway.  If a neighbor had spotted me in the hydrangea, it could have meant trouble.

Friday, December 17, 2010

10 Reasons for a New Yorker to Appreciate Los Angeles this Holiday Season

I am a transplanted New Yorker.  And like all transplanted New Yorkers, we love to kvetch about how LA doesn’t measure up to our gritty, crowded, bagel-laden homeland.

Well, the holiday season is the perfect time for us and our "ilk" (i.e. Chicago natives, Ohio natives and the occasional Philadelphian…) to amp up our complaints; "There's no snow." "There are no seasons..." "the pizza sucks…"(our favorite complaint…)

But maybe it’s not so bad.  I mean, when you look around, there are some really great things to love about Los Angeles over the holiday season.  For example:

1.  Out-of-work actors = A better class of Santa.    When our Santa’s say “Ho, Ho, Ho…” you believe it.

2.  Thanks to the miracle of plastic surgery, whatever gift you give, the recipient always looks happy and surprised.

3.  Mistletoe is more effective when hung over the hot tub.

4. Chihuauas are the new Reindeer.

5. Because permit parking is never suspended, your guests can't overstay their welcome.

6.  No snow days.  The kids are in school…every…single…day.

7.  Rehab Christmas parties rock.

8.  No slush to ruin your Jimmy Choos.

9.  Drunk Driving is "relative." 

10. When you’re a transplanted New Yorker…your family isn’t around.  Finally...a Merry Christmas.☺

I hope you and your family have a very Happy Holidays,

Love,
Sarah @ Mommy Lite



Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Every child could use a gorgeous setee...or at least cute book ends.

I think you guys already know this, but in addition to Mommy Lite (my baby...), HybridMom.com and Momtourage.com, I am now a regular contributor for CBS/Los Angeles' local website!  I am SO proud to be a part of an amazing group of funny, intelligent and knowledgable bloggers who regularly round-up all the "Best of LA," so you don't have to. :)

My most recent story is a round-up of the BEST kid's furniture in Los Angeles (if you don't live in Los Angeles, you can go on-line).  Whether you're completely redecorating your kid's room, or just looking for a GREAT toy box (or some other gorgeous accessory) you HAVE to check out these places.

(My favorite?  Mod Mom furniture).

CLICK HERE TO READ "WHERE TO BUY KID'S FURNITURE IN LOS ANGELES."

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

"Fricka-Fricka...Word."

My 7 year old son is into rap.

I know it's my fault.  We listen to rap and R&B in the car on the way to school, on the way home, on the way to activities.    And now he turns everything into a rap by adding "Fricka-Fricka...word" to the end of it.  

I don't know where he came up with this idea, but I think it's his way "layin' it down."  And, he loves saying it.  So now he "raps" about everything: 

"The turkey is done.  The lurkey is done.  The turkey is lurky.  Fricka-fricka...Word."

"Izzy is busy.  Izzy is bad. Izzy smells bad.  Fricka-fricka...Word."

"Livi can fly.  Fly through the sky.  Fly oh my.  Fricka-Fricka...Word."

He thinks he's hysterical.  He does the fake gang hand gestures and crosses his arm.   He bounces up and down, he turns his cap around.   He's about as ghetto as my grandmother.  The socks with UGG slip ons don't help.

And now he won't stop.

"I'm going to sleep.  Sleep.  Sleep.  Sleep.  Sleep Meep Peep.  Fricka-fricka-word."

I've had enough and I have a plan.  No more Rap in the car and no more rap on TV.  I'm going to "Soft Listen" the rap right out of him.   I've loaded my iPod with James Taylor, Bread and Bill Withers.

And if that doesn't work, I'm going to put him on YouTube and embarrass the hell out of him.

...Fricka-fricka word.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Romance Re-Kindle-d

Scott and I got each other the same Hanukkah gift.

I suspected this when I saw his box was the same size as mine.  Then I shook them.  He said "DON'T SHAKE THEM!"

"I have to."

"No.  You don't."

I extended my hand and said "Hi.  I'm Sarah. Have we met?"

He was not amused.  "Don't shake them.  They'll break."

So I spent the next 5 minutes weighing the boxes in my hands.

Sure enough, we opened the gifts the other night and we both got each other the Kindle.

Great minds shop alike.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Have Accordion, Will Travel...

I love a good "jam" session.

I love to watch people jam. I love to listen to people play the piano or their guitar and I like to sing along as they spontaneously play classic Billy Joel, James Taylor and Carol King.

Maybe I'm a hippie at heart.

Unfortunately, I never get to do it because I play cello. No one ever whips out a cello. And if they did, certainly nobody knows how to sing along with it.

Well this past week we were invited to a party and bunch of people showed up with their guitars. A Jam was definitely in our future. Yay!

But there was this one guy who brought his accordion.

Now anyone who appreciates a "jam" will tell you the joy of jamming is doing it with other people. Getting people to play together, sing together.   "Come together." (Wow...I am a hippie...Kumbaya!) The point is, you're not an audience during a jam. You're a participant.

But I think it's safe to say that when you show up at a party with an accordion, you're planning on putting on a show.   It's not like you can hand the accordion over to someone else at the party and say "Here...you take a whirl."

Showing up at a party with an accordion is like showing up with a bagpipe - or a set of flaming batons. You pretty much know you're the only one who's going to be using it. This guy obviously had a plan to play for a captive audience.

So we were treated to an accordion concert.

After a song or two he reached into his bag of tricks and pulled out a bunch of other instruments (percussion instruments that wouldn't overshadow him) so we could accompany him.

Maybe you think I’m being too harsh. Maybe an accordion is perfectly acceptable for an after-dinner jam. And you know what? It wasn’t absolutely, horrifically, horrible.

But I can officially say I know why no one ever says "Sing Us a Song, You're the Accordion Guy."

Sunday, December 5, 2010

"Her Story": From Stay at Home Mom To Stand-Up Comic

http://www.parentsask.com/herstory/stay-home-mom-stand-comicMomversation.com did a little documentary using me for their "Her Story" web series this past summer!

I thought I had ended up on the cutting room floor, but TA-DA!  Here it is! "From Stay-at-Home-Mom to Stand-Up Comic."

I  love the intro we filmed of the kids...TOTALLY their idea!

If you get a chance, check out the other "Her Story" webisodes.  There are some really amazing women to be found (why they wanted me, I have no idea!)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Chinese Jump Rope Torture

There's a new form of torture in town and it's called Chinese Jump rope.

My girls play it.  All morning.  All afternoon.  All...day...long.

When I'm lying in bed in the morning, trying eek out that last half hour of sleep,  I hear THUMP, THUMP, thump, thump thump....coming from the other room.  I swear I can feel the floor shake through my bed.

When I'm writing: THUMP, THUMP, thump, thump thump....

When I'm making dinner:  THUMP, THUMP, thump, thump thump....

If they can't convince their brother to play they ask to "borrow my feet."

"You don't have to doooooo anything."  They say (wow...they know me).  "Just stand there."

And I do.  Obligingly pulling the rope up my as they call out "Ankles!" "Knees!" "Under-butts!"  It's practically a reflex now.   I can do anything while they use me.

When I'm writing, they hook the rope around my ankles.

If I'm watching TV, all I have to do is dangle my feet (I refuse to stand for "under-butts" while I"m watching TV...it's just my rules of relaxation).

If I'm standing outside of school talking to a friend, they hog-tie me.  God forbid someone should yell "fire!"

I need them to find a new hobby fast. 

Can't you crochet a Chinese Jumprope into a scarf or something?

Clever Girl

Last night I was reading through some of my old posts from when I started this "joint." 

It took me down memory lane and made me realize how much I love blogging - and how thankful I am to have Mommy Lite.  It helps me document how my kids have grown, archives all those little moments I know my tiny brain can't hold, and reminds me how GRATEFUL I am to not have wipe anyone's butt anymore.

"Clever Girl"

Maaaa! MAAAAAAAA!  Come heeeeeeeeere!

I know Livi's calling me from the bathroom, but I don't feel like getting up.  Even after three calls.

"MOOOOOOOOOOOOM!

I anticipate why she's calling me and yell "Wipe your own butt! (beat)...Honey!" from the kitchen table where I am finally sitting after 10 hours of holiday cooking and cleaning, and enjoying a glass of wine.  I tell myself that this yelled suggestion is more "lovingly helpful" than selfish.  I mean, she needs to know how to wipe her own butt, right?  And, I did add "Honey"...you know, so she knew I cared.

I take a sip of my wine and try to fully absorb this tiny moment of peace.   I think to myself, I just need  5 minutes...

MOOOOOOOOMMMMMM!!!!!

"WIPE YOUR OWN BUTT!"  Okay, that wasn't quite as sweet, but I just sat down. 

"There's something really weeeeeeeeirrrrd!"

Now those are four words you don't want to hear a child saying from behind a bathroom door, so I am compelled by duty...and curiosity...to see what's up.  Grudgingly I leave my comfortable seat and a glass of pinot noir to see what truly qualifies as "weird" to a 6 year old.  This had better be good.

Sure enough...

I open the door of the bathroom to find my youngest tipped all the way over on the toilet, butt firmly planted but head almost touching the ground and she's pointing to a little plastic empty tampon case that must have rolled out of the trash and behind the toilet.

I suppose to her, a tampon is weird.   What's weird to me is that she even found the tampon at all.  Why was she upside down on the toilet in the first place?

"What's that?" she points from her half-upside down position.

"That's trash."  I am relieved that the "weirdness" of which she spoke was not bodily related and I kneel behind the toilet and throw away the curious object, hoping it doesn't lead to a bigger conversation.  I'm just not in the mood.  But nothing gets by Livi.  She's a clever girl who plans, plots and questions everything so I anticipate a barrage of questions about the tampon and it's origins.

"Oh."

Phew...that was easy.  "Anything else?"

"Nope."

"You good here?"

"Yup."

"Okay then.  I'm going to go finish cleaning up."

"Ok.  Oh, Mom?"

"Yes?"

"Before you go, can you wipe my butt?"

Clever girl indeed.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Has the Fat Turkey Sung? I Don't Think So...

It's 15 hours after Thanksgiving dinner and I still feel full.

I ate Turkey, I ate sweet potatoes with marshmallows, I ate winter sqush soup with gruyere croutons, asparagus, I ate TWO different kinds of stuffing (sausage, sage and chestnut - YUHUHUUUMM! And a traditional dried fruit stuffing), cranberry sauce, chocolate cake, pumpkin cheese cake, cookies and a chocolate turkey.

It's not natural for a human being to eat so much.  And yet it felt so right.

I was like an episode of "man vs. food", only it was Mom vs. Turkey. 

I feel like I'll never eat again.  And I need a walk. 

I'll never recover.

...I can't wait to eat the leftovers tonight. :)

(Top Right Picture: I made this centerpiece.  I was very pleased with myself.  Left: my brother-in-law tearing into a turkey leg.   Bottom picture:  Smiling children.  My kids and their cousins.  Had to promise them cookies to get a smiling group shot))

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My FAVORITE Turkey Story EVER

See this turkey? 

Three years ago, we went to Underwood Family Farms on a class trip.  This turkey was in a big cage there...just gobblin' away.  Minding it's own business. 

Ben (who was 4) had never seen anything like it.   He was mesmerized.

He put his face up to the cage to get a closer look.

The turkey's body was HUGE, but his head fit right between the cage bars.  He pecked him square in the forehead.  No joke.  Gave him little red mark right in the center.  I called it his a turkey bindi.

We didn't freak out, and he laughed instead of cried (I swear, it could have gone either way by the look on his face...)  But he was surprised.  Totally fine...but surprised.

I wet my pants.

We still visit that turkey whenever we go back to the farm.  He's still there, gobblin' away.  Pecking at any kid that gets too close and doesn't yet grasp logistics (small head + wide bars = peck on head).

It's a wonder no one's eaten him yet.

Thanksgiving at My House. Good Idea or Not.

I'm hosting Thanksgiving this year.

My sister's family and one of my best friends and her family will be coming to MY house this year. Anticipating Thanksgiving-y goodness.

So far, I have the chocolate turkeys to put at each place setting (a tradition that goes back to when we were little and my grandmother always put a golden foiled beacon of goodness out for everyone).

I have 1 dozen sweet potatoes to make mashed sweet potatoes with marshmallows on top (and I have 2 bags of marshmallows)

1 large box of cornbread croutons for cornbread, sausage, and chestnut stuffing.

2 large boxes of focaccia croutons for regular stuffing (for people who don't like sausage or chestnuts in their stuffing...but tell me...who doesn't like sausage and chestnuts in their stuffing...)

About 10 pounds of assorted squash to make squash soup.

And a can of pumpkin and 4 bars of cream cheese to Smittin Kitchen's pumpkin boubon cheesecake.

I've even cleaned the card tables and fold-up chairs,  washed all of the dust off the wine glasses (which I know surprises you since I drink so much wine - I use little cafe glasses when it's just me and the man...) and polished the silver.

Yes.  Everything is in place.  I feel so ahead of the curve.

One problem...anyone know how to cook a turkey?

Mommy? Mommy? Mommy? Mum? Mom??

Welcome to my life...

Monday, November 22, 2010

Holiday Pop-Up Stores in Los Angeles

Do you have fabulous style?  Do you love finding gorgeous gifts at reasonable prices?  Do you want to be on the cutting edge of shopping knowledge?? 

If so, check out these Pop-Up Stores I found around LA at CBS/LosAngeles

I am obsessed with this sunbrella parasol that keeps UV rays from ruining your skin.   If you get photo facials you HAVE to check this out!

Monday, November 15, 2010

I LUV comments! Added "CommentLuv" to Mommy Lite

I am a feedback whore.  I can't help myself - I just love comments.  I love to know someone is reading this stuff and I love to talk with other people who suck at this parenting thing as much as I do.

Unfortunately, Blogger (the format of this blog) doesn't let me "reply."  So chances are there are readers who said nice things (or even not-nice things) and thought I didn't give a crap.  Well, I do...give a crap. 

And now, I have just installed COMMENTLUV on this site and EVERY time you leave a comment, I'll know how to reach you (if you want) you can link back to your own site (if you want) or you can leave a blind comment threatening to contact Social Services.  Whatever your fancy.

I spent two days fiddling with this widget trying to make it work, so could you do me a "solid" and give it a whirl?  Leave a comment and let's see if your link shows up.

If I don't respond to your comment, please know it's not because I'm not loving your comment and considering putting it on a t-shirt - it's just that I can't find a link back to you.

xoxo,
Sarah

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Who's Got Their Ducks In A Row?

Me!  I do!  And it only cost me about $20.

This store sold rubber ducks.  Seriously.  Rubber ducks and Excedrin.  (Not sure if you need the Excedrin from staring at so many rubber ducks...).

I stumbled across rubber duck heaven in Cambria during our trip when it when my boyfriend was driving down main street and I saw a window full of rubber ducks.  I yelled "STOOOOOOOPPP!"   I think he thought we were going to hit a cow (lots of cows in Cambria...).  We pulled over.  I think he was pissed we hadn't hit a cow.  (Not that he wanted to hit a cow, he just thought rubber ducks were a really bad reason for screaming "STOOOOOOP!")

I don't know if you know this, but my kids love rubber ducks.

So, I would be remiss to not buy them rubber ducks.  After all, I'd been away for 3 days. 


So I bought rubber ducks.  Lots of them.  I carefully and deliberately picked out the ones I thought would be best received while singing "Rubber Ducky...you're the one..."  My boyfriend examined the Excedrin and pretended not to know me.


Of course, I took the lady's card so I can order more at any time (...you know...in case I should ever need more rubber ducks....).

The kids freaked for the ducks and now I can officially say I have my ducks in a row.

I'm thinking of lining shelves in the kid's bathroom with them.  Wouldn't that be cute?

I smell a collection coming on...



 (Look, Hippie Ducks!)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Loving Paso Robles

We found a candy shop in town last night.  We were full of fresh pasta, drunk on wine and we stumbled in.  Holy crap, this place is heaven.
















And they had gelato!  (Damn, writing is so fattening.)

Are you smarter than a 5th Grader? I'm not.

It's official.  I am not smarter than a 5th grader and I know it because I can't do my daughter's homework.

Seriously, I am at a loss and I wrote a little article about it for Momtourage.com.  

By the way, anyone have the name of a good tutor?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Beyond Pismo Beach

Hi everyone,

I'm away writing a story for CBS/Los Angeles.com's "Best Of..." section about getting away for a romantic weekend to Paso Robles, California.  Can you believe it?  Someone is PAYING me to stay in a gorgeous winery, drink wine and have sex...wait...does that make me a whore?  That's okay...I can live with that.

Anyway, Scott and I are in this GORGEOUS winery and B&B right now, Justin Winery, and the kids are home with their nanny...and my Ex-husband.  I'm a bit uncomfortable about giving my ex-husband such open access to all of my stuff - he LOVES to go through my stuff - but it's the price I pay for getting a break from full custody, right?

So, the kids are taken care of, I am having alone time for the FIRST time in over a year with my wonderful man, and the whole trip is comped.

Just toured the caves of the winery and we're off to a Lavender farm.  WOO HOO!  I am so giddy from happiness right now...or is that from the wine...

Anyway, next stop is the Hotel Cheval in the center of Paso Robles...

I'll post pictures (of the wine stuff...not the sex...)

xoxoxo,
Sarah

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Princess Frank

My nephew is a moron.

This isn't a judgment call.  It's just that he's 11 and he's a boy.  Hence, he's an moron.

This Halloween, he and a few friends thought it would be funny to dress up as girls.  One of them, clearly the Vince Vaughan of the group, suggested they take it a step further and dress up as princesses.

"Yeah!" my nephew and his equally moronic friends agreed.  "That'll be funny!  Heh-heh!  We are so funny!"

And they did.

Well, what they didn't take into account is that they are students at a very exclusive private school here in LA that prides itself on diversity and like 25% of the parents at the school are gay.

So last Friday, for the Halloween parade, my nephew and his three friends brought their princess gowns to school, the girls in the class swarmed around them to do their make-up (maybe they're not such morons after all...) and they fully cross-dressed up like they were attending a royal ball.

Then they joined the school parade.

The next thing my sister knows, she's getting stopped by parent after parent talking about how great it is that her son and his friends feel comfortable expressing themselves.  How proud she must be.  Well, the parents at this school are powerful presences in media and talked to her about wanting to use the pictures of her son and his friends from the parade to help promote gay tolerance and support the anti-bullying movement.   Which obviously would be great...except for the fact that her son's not an activist.  He's a moron.  Next thing she knows, pictures of her son and his friends are being taken specifically for the school yearbook to show future potential students how free the policy is at the school and how children of all races, religions, and sexual orientation (keep in mind...they're 11), are welcome and embraced at their school.

Which is GREAT by the way.  It's FANTASTIC the school is open and encouraging.  That's exactly what I would want for my kids if I could afford it.  Unfortunately, intolerance is all I can afford right now.  I know because my daughter goes by the nickname "Bob" and everytime someone new hears the nickname they ask me if she's experiencing transgender issues.  I answer, "she's 10.  But I'll keep you posted."

Here's my point.  Tolerance is good.  No wait, tolerance is GREAT!  But I find the general populations willingness to jump on a simple, completely unintentional action as the next big political statement, ridiculously telling of our time and totally hysterical.

I'm sure my wonderful nephew will have a lot to say one day.  And he'll say it beautifully.

But for now, as Freud said, sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.  Or in this case, a tiara is just a tiara.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Doin' the Monster Mash...

This weekend I got all dolled up as Scarlett O'Hara, went to a Halloween party, and danced my ass off with a bunch of underaged kids movin' to the sounds of Lady Gaga and Usher.

Yup.  You guessed it.  I was a chaperone at Izzy's 5th grade Halloween dance.

I had no idea what to expect.  I was of course just a bit flipped out about my oldest daughter going to a boy/girl dance. She is still so young to me.  I had visions of me having to endure watching her awkwardly boogie with a boy who comes up to her shoulders.  As far as I was concerned, she wasn't ready.  I knew I wasn't.

This dance was scary for me.  Izzy's been my baby for 10 years!  An now, she was venturing into the world of boy/girl activities and I, having been a teen myself, know what's waiting for her.  I know that one day, any day, she'll "turn."  She'll be embarrassed by me.  She'll be watching the boys and giggling.   As far as I was concerned, this 5th grade dance was only the beginning.

But it turned out that the boys and girls were one big mosh pit in the center of the room and the MC (a dad of one of the kids) played games with the kids and got them all out on the dance floor one at a time.  Not a whiff of romantic tension and the kids had such a great time!  The girls spent most of the night squealing every time a "good" song came on, and the boys threw themselves onto the floors, sliding, spinning and trying to look "urban."  Which is really funny for a bunch of 5th graders.

The only moment of boy/girl awkwardness was when the MC did a little "Soul Train" action.  The boys lined up on one side - girls on the other.  Then they bolted straight down the dance path arms crossed  - eager to get their turn over with.  Which actually wasn't the awkward part.  The awkward part was when the kids had to watch me in my big hoop dress strut and wobble and roll down the danceway with one of the teachers.  I do love to dance. 

Izzy danced there on the sidelines cheering for me as I strutted.  No embarrassed at all.  In fact, she tried to keep me on the floor dancing all night! Scarlett O'Hara never had such a good time. 

The night ended with all the kids using tickets they earned to pick out prizes.  The parents were relieved, and exhausted.  Grateful nothing happened over the course of the night that indicated our children had in fact turned into teenagers.

Yeah.  We all got our little kids back at the end of the night.  Phew.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Formal Apology to Harlan Margolis...

It appears my bad attitude, inappropriate behavior and general lack of apathy might be getting out of hand.

I flipped my friend, Harlan, the bird. 

In my defense, I didn't know it was him.

I was trying to get into the left turn lane on Overland Avenue.  There was this LOOOOOOONG line of cars ahead of me that were filtering into the one lane that went straight and the lane to turn left was way ahead of me.  Then a car turned in front of me from the right hand lane.

The car was driving slowly.  There seemed to be a lot of boxes in the front seat and the driver seemed distracted.  By "distracted" I mean he was being careful about where he was going, and not thinking about my needs as a driver.   I could have been ONE car closer to that left turn lane if it weren't for this @#$&*!  10 seconds closer to my destination!  ARGH!

So when I FINALLY zipped past the car - indignantly gassing it as I maneuvered into the left turn lane, emphasizing via my gas pedal to all of the other cars in line that they had wasted my personal time - I held up my right hand and flipped him the bird as I passed.

Then I recogized him.  It was Harlan.  My daughter's friend's dad.  My friend.

Oops.

"OH MY GOD@!  I just flipped Sierra's daddy the bird!"

My kids gasped collectively.

Izzy said "You just gave the middle finger to Sierra's DADDY!?"  They were HORRIFIED.  Amused, but mostly horrified.

"Oh my God!  Oh my God!  Oh my God!  I hope he didn't know it was me!  Do you guys think he saw it was me!  Do you think he recognized the car?  Oh boy (sure, now I watch my language)!  I feel SOOOOO BAD!"

"MOMMY!  He totally knew it was you from the dent in our car.  Sierra's daddy is going to hate you!"

"No he won't." I wasn't sure about this. "I'll apologize to him when I see him.  He was driving slow.  Did you see him?  I think he might have been on his phone."  I tried to pin this whole thing on Harlan.

They weren't biting.

"Oooooooooo...Mommy.  You are so bad!"

"I'll see him at pick-up and I'll apologize.  I'm sure he'll laugh about it."  I HATED that I was setting the example that flipping someone the bird was easy to shake off.  But I hated the idea my kids thought I started a fight with a friend's dad even more. 

I was definitely NOT being a good role model.

Maybe it's time to get my road rage under control...or I could just start walking.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

When The Party's Over...

This weekend we had our 10th Annual Potluck Halloween Spooktacular at our house. 


Every year the kids and I host a big potluck halloween shindig and every year we end up with about 80 - 100 people running through the house, playing basketball in our driveway, and crowding around the buffet on our tiny kitchen table eating bagels, frozen pizza, guacamole dip, cheese en croute, cupcakes and candy while we take pictures of our kids and congratulate ourselves for amortizing the cost of those Iron Man and Princess costumes.

There is no denying that a party of this size and scope takes a lot of coordination, a certain amount of creativity (and a fresh prescription of Xanax).  But every year the kids and I manage to pull it off.

I think I have acquired some wisdom over the years that might be useful should you decide to throw your own halloween party.


#1 - NEVER throw a kids party longer than 2 hours. Seriously.  Not a minute longer.   Not unless you're a sucker for punishment.


#2 - DON'T take "drop-offs."  If a parent even smells a drop-off opportunity they'll take it.  Don't let that happen to you.


#2 - Serve alcohol.  5 bottles of wine to every 30 grown-ups works (...or is that 30 bottles to every 5 grown-ups...)

#3 - NEVER let the kids play in the house.  Unless you have a basement or you don't care about broken closet doors, traumatized house pets, and empty juice boxes in your bed.  

#4 - GET HELP!  Get REAL help!  Even if it's just ONE person!  Pay for it!  Besides, if you pay someone to help out, they don't hold a grudge.

#5 - Warn the neighbors.

#6 - Don't invite the mean kids.  Your kids hate them.  You hate them.  Talk about the party in front of them the next day. 

#7 - DRESS Up!  (This year I am Scarlett O'Hara in case you were curious...).  It's fun and the costumes can be used year round.  This year Scott is a Gladiator...."RRRrrooooowwwrrrr."

#8 - GO POT LUCK!  Then you basically only have as much food as you do people and it's SO much easier.  Just coordinate what everyone brings so you don't have 20 dozen bagels and no cream cheese.

#9 -Toilet paper is fun.

#10 - Take pictures.  This way you can prove to your kids later on that they had a fun childhood.

Have a Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ode to Bedtime

Bath time is now over
and it's time to go to bed
it's really very simple
all you do is lay your head...

Just put it on the pillow
snuggle down and snuggle tight
I'm turning on the music now...
and turning out the light.

What's that, you say? You need to pee?
But didn't you just go?
Oy! make it quick and wash your hands
And please don't be so slow.

No, you can't get some water
Yes, I can see you DIE of thirst.
But next time you go off to bed
you'll think of drinking first...

You've been running 'round all day long
I should know because I drive
you can't stay up till midnight
you need sleep so you can thrive.

We haven't sat, not once, all day
you must be so very tired.
next time no cookies for dessert
I see that you are wired.

Just close your eyes and go to sleep
I mean it, now, Good Night!
Don't bug your sister, stay in bed,
you're gonna start a fight.

It's really very easy,
just relax and lay your head
no you cannot do it on the floor
now get back into bed.

Here come the kisses
ready now?  I'll kiss your cheek my pup.
Don't tell me that you're nauseous
and you feel like throwing up.

I've put good dreams inside your head
I've scared away the bad
no monsters in your closet
or hiding underneath your bed

If you go to sleep right now
your lunch will have a tasty snack.
Just close your eyes and think good thoughts
and I'll tickle your back.

I need to climb in with you?
Fine!  I'll show you how to sleep
just put your head down just like this
and you...will.....catch..........some..............Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz's.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

21 Habits of Happy Moms and FREE BOOK!

21 Habits of Happy Moms! by the Hybrid Mom Contributors (that's me) is the TOP story on Shine today!

To celebrate the awesomeness of this group of funny women, if you can guess which ones (that's a hint) I wrote you'll be entered to WIN a copy of "mom*over" by Dana Wood (Foreward by Veronica Webb)!  Just leave your guess as comments.  Enter now!  (Because almost no one ever does so chances are you'll have a good shot - plus you'll love this book.)

What is mom*overmom*over is the New Mom's Guide to Getting It Back Together (even if you never had it in the first place!)



"mom*over reads like a juicy expose that spills a delicious secret: a happy mom equals a happy baby.  Dana Wood redefines the tenets of modern motherhood with wit and a stockpile of indispensable, expert advice."
- Cynthia Rowley

Good luck and BE HAPPY!!!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Hey New York Times - Children's Picture Books ARE Still Staples!

Recently, The New York Times published an article by Julie Bosman titled, “Picture Books: No Longer a Staple for Children” which kicked up a lot of dust – and not from the picture books on the shelves.

For the sake of all those panicking parents out there who now believe that everyone else out there is reading Moby Dick aloud nightly to their progeny, someone needs to set the record straight.  You can relax. It’s not happening.

I spent fifteen years in publishing and worked as a literary agent for some amazing children’s book writers and illustrators including Dav Pilkey, Cynthia Rylant, Paul Zindel and Judy Blume.  In addition to Mommy Lite, I contribute regularly to many parenting websites including HybridMom.com, ParentsAsk.com and Shine.  But most relevantly, I am the mother to three children - a ten year old girl, and seven and a half year old boy/girl twins - AND a volunteer in my children’s public school library.

From my 360 degree perspective, as well as the perspective of almost every parent out there I know, picture books are still very much staples for children.

Articles about the children’s book industry are often so frustrating and inaccurate.   Reporters who aren’t in the trenches every day believe that sales numbers from book stores and publishing houses are indicators of the health of the industry on the whole.  Sales go down and the assumption is that people aren’t reading.   That’s like saying that gourmet food sales are down so people aren’t eating.

Here is the simple fact. Picture books are expensive.   REALLY expensive.  A beautiful hardcover, the kind we all love buying, giving and sharing with our children, costs a small fortune.  $18 is not an impulse purchase. Not the way a $5 paperback is or even a $9 board book.

Many parents see plunking down $18.00 for a picture book as a luxury.   Sure they’ll pay $24.99 for a hardcover for themselves, but for a thirty-two page picture book their child will outgrow in a few years?   Not so fast.  When the money is tight, these sorts of luxuries are the first thing we parents cut. But that doesn’t mean we’re not reading them to our kids.

When times are tight, parents turn to libraries, garage sales, regional on-line parenting groups where members are practically GIVING boxes of these away, and of course, Ebay.  Do you know what the results were for sales of children’s books on Ebay this morning?  878,908.  And some of these were for collections of books.

What surprised me most about this article was the complete brushing off of the fact that this drop in sales coincided directly with the recession.   Sure parents are anxious about their child’s education. More than ever we are fighting to prepare our children to compete in this world. But this “trend” didn’t suddenly pop up a year ago.  This has been going on for over a decade.

And let’s not forget the most obvious point debating this reported “trend.”  Spending significant time in the evening (let’s say even just a half hour per child) reading large chunks of illustration-free, heavy prose is simply something we as parents know is not the norm.   I don’t know about you, but I have laundry to fold.   Plus?  The kids would never stand for it!  Okay.  Some kids stand for it.  But I want to know if Ms. Bosman has ever pinned down a five year old and made them listen to a chapter of “Ol Yeller.”  Has she even met a parent who’s been able to achieve this feat?  I haven’t.   But if she has, I won’t lie…I’d like to know their secret.

I am happy (and proud) to concede that my 2nd grade twins are reading “Henry and Mudge,” “Captain Underpants” and “Magic Tree House” books.  My son even attempted “The Lightning Thief.” (He bailed forty pages in, but still – it was impressive).  Their classmates are all reading chapter books at school during reading time.  But that doesn’t stop any of them from coming home from “library day” with a picture book about crazy guinea pigs, girls who love purple, and monsters in need of haircuts.

Laughter, amusement and imagination never go out of style.  Picture books provide that for children.  A small escape, a fun story, a beautiful world that draws them in and transports them.  And parents want to be there with them.  Holding their hands as they experience these things.

Reading a picture book together is one of the most beautiful experiences of the parent/child relationship.   Whether it’s a story about a child with salt in his shoes, or a dog with bad breath named Hally Tosis.   Picture books are the cornerstone of the childhood experience.   For parents and children. No recession can squelch it, no need to compete can trump it, and nothing - not tv, not movies, not video games - can replace it.

In my opinion, picture books are here to stay.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Christopher "The Situation" Columbus

Today is Columbus Day.

Does your child even know who Christopher Columbus is?  Mine didn't.  Well, the twins didn't.  The older one was a bit sketchy on the details as was her cousin who said "he found America and did something to the Indians."

We don't even get the day off here.  I guess the thinking in Hollywood is that it's more of an "East Coast" holiday.  After all it's not like he landed in Santa Monica.

Granted, "finding the Americas" might not seem like such a big deal to some kids considering the fact he was on a boat headed in this direction and was bound to run up on land anyway.  Plus, the Indians were already here - so didn't THEY  discover America?  I mean, they were already here.  When Christoper Columbus stood on a rock that probably had been used as a washboard for over 1,000 years and proclaimed "I've discovered America!" Don't you wonder if the Indians all looked at each other like "who is this bozo and what's with those pants?"

I know, he was a great man.  He was an explorer.  To our generation, that was exciting.  But has he lost some of his "Sparkle" to our kids' generation?

Maybe he needs to be cooler?  Maybe we could do something for his image to make kids remember him and his exploits better.

What do you say we rewrite the history books to say he landed on the Jersey Shore.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Um...I'll Pass on the Happy Ending...

I got a massage last night and it was not consensual.

Well, at first it was.  I wanted one.  I went looking for one.  So a girlfriend and I went to this cheap reflexology place on Pico boulevard.  We took off our shoes and ordered up a one hour chair massage each.  But my willing participation stopped there.

It all started well enough.  A wooden bucket of warm water was put on the ground in front of me and I was instructed to put my feet in it.  Ahhhh....warmth, and peace.

Then the beating began.

She bent me over my own thighs and savagely attacked every knot in my neck - and a few bones I think I needed.

I yelped "ACK!  OOCH!  OW!"

She said "Too hard?"

"Yes!  Too hard!  A bit lighter please?  Thank you for asking."

She relented a bit as she moved down my lower back and shoved my face into the pillow on my lap, liberally rubbing my carotid arteries to the point of me almost blacking out.  I was grateful for the pillow.

"AH!"

"Too hard?"

"Um.  Yes.  Could you maybe just do my shoulders?"

She moved to my shoulders.  But I assume she felt "thwarted" by my sports bra because she started fighting with it.  Pulling and stretching it out, forcing the straps down over my shoulders, binding my upper arms against my body.   And while she showed my delts who was boss.  I could only swing my little forearms around in protest. 

"Help!  Ack!  It hurts!"

"Too hard?"

"Yes!  A bit too hard.  Thank you."

She moved on, wrestling my shirt off of me.  I was kind of confused.  We weren't in a private massage room.  We were in a large open room with at LEAST 9 other chairs.  And there were men in at least 4 of them.  I didn't think I was supposed to show skin in a place like this and her ripping off my shirt to expose my naked mid-section felt a little wrong. 

But I looked to my left and my friend was serenly laying next to me in her own chair.  Her shirt was lightly pulled down around her shoulders.  She looked fine about it.  I figured, my therapist thought it was okay because I was wearing a sports bra.  So I wasn't really going to be naked.  Just exposed.

Very, very exposed.

So I laid back down so she could continue.  The next thing I know, she's wrestling with my sports bra and widdling it down my midsection - in the middle of this public massage place!  All my stomachy nakedness hanging out - granted, I was lying on the stomachy-nakedness - but STILL - I was HALF-NAKED from the back in a public place!  Now I'm not a shy person.  I'm not even easily embarrassed, I've gone skinny dipping.  I'll walk around my own yard naked, I'll even go sans swimsuit in my gym's ladies jacuzzi.

But I couldn't help feeling like this had somehow taken a wrong turn.

And then it was clear it had.

She started massaging my legs.  Up and down.  Up and down.  Up, Up, UP...ACK!  SHE TOUCHED MY VAGINA!!  Just a bit on the side as she "got in there" WAY up on my inner thigh, but she was up there - like my bikini waxing lady!  That had to be a mistake.  I've had massages hundreds of times and no one ever came close to massaging my vagina, near my vagina, or anything "en route" to my vagina!

She must have thought there was more thigh up there.  Yes.  That's it.  She thought there was more thigh.  I let it slide.  But THEN she did it on the other side!  Sure I had on yoga pants, but it still felt so wrong.

Just as I was about to tell her to "keep her hands above the belt", she smacked my butt to tell me I was done.  I wanted to grab my shirt and throw it over my exposed body, but my arms were still bound by my sports bra.  I floundered half naked in my massage chair.

I mumbled..."um...could you help me please?"

She man-handled my bra back up into position over my bare boobs and as I sat up in my chair while she went to bring me water.

My friend's massage finished up and she sat up in her chair and looked over at me.   Half-naked.  Hair in crazy bun on my head, my bare mid-section exposed, my sports bra askew, and a confused look on my face.

"What happened to you?"

"I don't know.  I think I was just molested."

My therapist came back.  "Water?"

"Yes.  Please.  Water."  I drank it.  Half-suspecting there to be a ruffie in it.

It was the weirdest massage I'd ever gotten.  I couldn't get out of there fast enough.

I went home and showered.  My boyfriend looked at me as I climbed into bed next to him.

"How was your massage?" He asked me.

"Too hard."

Friday, October 1, 2010

Happy October! (PLUS a discount from my fav place SpoonSisters.com!)


October is my family's favorite month.    Why?  HALLOWEEN!!!!!
My family starts planning for Halloween in August.   As soon as the kids are done with camp, they start thinking about their costumes - planning their outfits, weighing their options - even before they've picked out back-to-school outfits.

This weekend we'll  pull out all the decorations from the garage and start to decorate the whole house - inside and out.

We have a few "staple" decorations; a Barbie tied up in spider webs with a HUGE spider creeping toward her; barfing pumpkins;  and a pen of fake rats and real guinea pigs so that when people walk by they see movement and freak out.  It's awesome.


We don't do the scary, bloody stuff.    I had a traumatic experience in a neighbor's "haunted house" when I was 7 and despite my love of Halloween, to this day I'm a big scaredy cat when it comes to zombies, dead people and blood - real or fake.  (Makes you wonder what happened, doesn't it...)

But despite my fears, I do love the funny, kitchey stuff.  It's our favorite time of year.

AND, for all the other moms out there who love this holiday as much as we do, I got my favorite on-line gift store, Spoon Sisters (www.spoonsisters.com), to offer Mommy Lite readers a 10% discount on ANY orders you make before October 14th.  The code is SPOONLITE.  This is JUST for you guys!  So you can share the halloween spirit with us! 


I've already placed my halloween order and here are a few of the things I got:

1) Finger-Mustache Tattoos - so I'll always have a costume ready:

Fingerstache – Mustache-shaped temporary tattoos for your fingers

2) Some Gnarly Teeth - Party favors for our annual Halloween Party.


3) and Nose Masks - to hand out at the party - for people who don't have costumes...


Return of the Nose Masks - Silly Nasal Disguises


You will seriously have a great time checking out their site even if you don't buy anything.  They're stuff is hilarious!  OH - and just so you know, the coupon code is good on ANYTHING on their site - not just Halloween stuff. 

HAPPY HALLOWEEN shopping and let me know what you bought!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday (okay...almost wordless...)

Yes...this is exactly what you think it is...

A keychain of pregnant woman's body made out of clear plastic with detachable bouncy ball uterus (complete with baby inutero).

Little Mikey can snap out the uterus and play catch with his little brother long before the baby's spine is even fully developed.   Wee!

Brings new meaning to the term "bouncing baby boy."


And How Was Your Weekend?

Ahh...family trips.

You know the kind - those long weekends when you pack up the kids and travel across the country with your ex-husband and sleep in your ex-brother-in-law's room at your ex-in-laws' house to go to a bat mitzvah that is attended by other ex-relatives who hate you.   We've all been there, right??

No?

Okay then, you're probably thinking..."Wait a second.  You WENT AWAY with your ex-husband and STAYED with your ex-in-laws?!  In their house?!  Voluntarily?!"

Yeah.  I'm stupid like that.

But I had a really good reason.  We all traveled across country this weekend to go to our mutual "Niece's" Bat Mitzvah.

I am close with my Ex-husband's older brother and wife and they invited me because we agree it's important for the kids (who are always going to be cousins) to know that I am still and always will be their cousin's mother - their "aunt" in essence - if not by law.

It just made sense (or so I thought...) to go together .  The kids could see their grandparents and relatives.  And why wouldn't we stay in the same place when we're going to the same party anyway?  Good idea, right?

No.  Bad idea.  Very, very bad idea.  After ALL of the parties I've been to with my "Ex" since the separation - it JUST came to my attention this weekend that a good portion of my "Ex's" family hates me.  Like, really hates me.

I know this because I caught them talking about me.   I stood there - 5 feet away - as they ripped me apart, unaware of my existence. 

I don't know exactly what was said - every third word or so was drowned out by Beyonce suggesting all the 13 year old "Single Ladies" come out to the dance floor - but it all started with my shoes.

I wore really high platforms to the bat mitzvah.  Major party shoes.  Admittedly, incredibly insensible shoes.

They wouldn't have been such a bad choice except I'd had worn them them to another party the day before (a bar mitzvah for one of my best friends' sons was the same weekend) and my allotted "comfort" time in them had been used up.  You see, my shoes and I have an arrangement.   I can wear them.  For like a day.  For 5 hours to be precise.  And they will love me back, making me look leggy and elegant and fashionable.   But after those 5 hours are up, they turn on me.  They will no longer tolerate being molested by my sweaty feet.  They cramp my calves, they crush my toes and they make my back arch like I'm Quasi Moto.   As clear as a tired Jewish wife who doesn't want to have sex, they make sure I know they want to go back to my closet and be left alone.

And they did hold up their part of the bargain for the first party and I should have left well-enough alone.  

But I wore them again the next day.

And as I sat at a table unable to move because my feet were revolting, a family friend told me how much he liked my shoes and pointed them out to some other people.  I told him about how my grandmother had taught me "Beauty is Pain" and called her heels her "sitting shoes."  While I worshipped the woman, I was seriously questioning her theory.

A couple of my "ex- relatives" overheard the conversation, gasped at my ridiculously high shoes and called an emergency meeting of the "I hate Sarah" club to discuss my flippancy over foot health.  I sat there watching them as their hand gestures grew increasingly wild, they said mean things about me and made comments about how now that I'm divorcing my "Ex," I don't belong there and that they want nothing to do with me.

Then they saw me sitting there.  Staring at them.  Five feet away.  And they froze.  My whole body language shouted, "Seriously?  I'm right here!"

I couldn't look them in the face for the rest of the bat mitzvah.  They had burnt a hole in me.  I was sick to my stomach.

Just then my "Ex" sister-in-law came up to me,  hugged me and said "Are you having fun?  I'm so glad you're here!"  I just gave her a big hug back and toasted her with my seltzer.  Why drag her into it.  It was such a nice party.  No, it was a GORGEOUS party!  Why did some people have to be so mean.

When she left to say hi to other guests I said to the husband of one of the relatives I caught being mean "Nice to be talked about while I'm standing right here." Then I turned away and avoided eye contact with them all for the rest of the party. 

I suddenly felt so alone.  And I was in pain.  Emotionally and physically.  It was suddenly clear I didn't belong.   I was an outsider.  It didn't matter other parties before had gone well.  That they seemed to like me.  They didn't anymore.  What hurt the most was the surprise at finding all this out.  I had seriously thought we were all fine with each other.   I thought since my "Ex" and I were "okay" that everyone else was okay.  It was obvious now, I was wrong.

But I had a whole night ahead of me, so I took off my shoes so I could enjoy the party.  I sought out the passed hors d'oevres, I danced like a party girl with my 7 year old son - who it turns out is a fabulous dance partner - and ate my meals with my kids who gladly made room for me in the kiddie area.

I gabbed with whomever would talk to me (thank GOD for the few "Ex" relatives I'm still close with!  I would have been crouching in a bathroom stall if it weren't for them...), I celebrated my incredible niece, and I painted a big smile on the outside of my face.

Then I went back home (to my in-law's house), barefoot and pretty shoes in hand, and cried.

Here's what I learned.  Spending time with ex-relatives after a divorce is a bad idea (Not as bad as staying at the ex-in-laws with your soon-to-be-ex-husband and your boyfriend at the same time....don't ask) but a bad idea nonetheless.   Even if you loved them.  Even if you thought everything would be okay after the divorce.  That they still cared about you.  But the truth is no matter HOW much they liked you BEFORE the divorce, they'll hate you that much after it.  And the hate is relative to the amount of love they used to have.  Apparently, it's exponential.

And, like wearing insensible shoes you love - spending time with your "Ex's" family can feel good for a while.   But by the end of the day you're crippled by the pain.

And if you're stupid (like me), you might try to wear the shoes again - some day. 

But I can't help but wonder if I might be better off just leaving them in the closet.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

"Normal? Not My Izzy..." Los Angeles Magazine

If you didn't get a chance to pick up this month's copy of Los Angeles Magazine, "Normal, Not Her Izzy!" is now a FEATURE on LA Mag's website.  Just CLICK HERE to read it.

Whether you have a child on the autism spectrum or not, I hope you'll enjoy this REALLY SHORT article I wrote for LA Magazine about my daughter (and maybe even leave a comment for the editor that it's the BEST article you've ever read and is there any more by this incredibly talented writer!?)

I hope you guys enjoy it.  I'm really proud of it.  And so is Izzy...I mean "Bob."

Photograph by Sarah Maizes

Saturday, September 18, 2010

A Formal Apology to Evan Handler (or How NOT to approach a Celebrity)

I accosted Evan Handler today.  You know, Charlotte's undefinablly sexy, menchy husband from "Sex in the City."

The poor guy never stood a chance.

He was sitting with his wife (who's really hot, by the way...) watching his kid from the "holding cell" at gymnastics.

I thought "Wow! Evan Handler!   I'd LOVE a quote from him for my book, "Got Milf?"  He'd be PERFECT!"  It took me 45 minutes to decide between respecting his personal space and just biting the bullet for the sake of the book and going over to him.  Then it took me another 45 minutes to plan my strategy and work up the nerve to approach him.  I told myself "You're a published writerAn author!  Not some person off the street.  Maybe he'd even like the idea of being quoted in a book.  Look he's reading a book.  He likes books, see?  You're halfway there!..."

Finally, I gripped a business card (unfortunately, I only had one of the crappy "back-up" business cards I had to make for BlogHer - not one of my good cards...) and I performed a surgical strike.  I went straight up to him and said:   "Hi, Mr. Handler.  I love your work I don't want to bug you even for a minute so I'll make this super quick I have a book coming out next spring and it's a pretty big book for the publisher who is Berkley they're a really big publisher and it's called Got Milf? and it's about being a hot mom but it's NOT porn it's a humor book so it's funny but anyway it's a big book for them for the spring and I know if my editor knew I saw you and didn't ask you for a quote she would kill me and I would love a quote from and you're totally perfect for a quote I have a quote already from the Executive Producer of "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart" so you see I'm the "real deal" and here is my card so if you're interested at all please feel free to check me out yourself and I promise if I see you here again I won't ever mention this again and I'm going to go and disappear right now so I don't bug you anymore.  I just had to ask because it would be so great to have a quote from you and I promise not to bother you again you have my card."

I didn't use a single comma.  Or breathe.  It just all spilled out.  Before he could tell me to f*ck off.

He smiled and said "It's nice to meet you."

"Nice to meet you too."

Then I turned and bolted.   My face and entire upper body burning up from embarrassment.  Did I just use the words "Real Deal?"  Yeah.  I'm an idiot.

I think I can kiss that quote good-bye.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Formal Apology to Simple Human...

Dear SimpleHuman,

Thank you for the stuff you sent me.  I'm sorry I haven't written about it even though it's been a year.  It's not personal.  It's just that I usually write up the reviews about the stuff I either really love or really hate.  It just makes for a much more "Mommy Lite-ish" story.

Your stuff is good.  Don't get me wrong.  I like it.  Not all of it.  Some of it. 

However, last night a blogger (let's call her Blogger chick) set me straight for getting a free dishrack and not writing about it.  She yelled across the table at me "You took free stuff and you didn't write about it??!!!  Did you tell them you weren't going to write about the stuff?! 

I tried to casually explain that I liked the stuff they sent.  That I e-mailed them to say I had planned to talk about it, but that I wanted to wait for the right story to work it into.  I tried to explain that Mommy Lite is a humor site - not a review site - and I try to have a consistent thread throughout my content.  I tried to explain that I'll do a review if I love or hate the stuff and I can work it into a story that's funny, or weird, or disconcerting so that it's consistent with my site content.

And while I was casually explaining my position to this woman I hardly knew she delivered a line that turned this review into a story.  "CAN YOU JUST FOCUS ON WHAT I'M SAYING TO YOU!!!!!  CAN YOU FOCUS???!!!!  ARE YOU FOCUSING??!!!  DID YOU TELL THEM OR NOT!?"

I was beside myself.  And a little afraid.  "Er...no."  I don't think I actually did anything wrong.  After all, Mommy Lite is my site.  I am in charge of my content and have a right to say what works and what doesn't.  I also don't think mediocre reviews of anything do anyone any good.   But, I said "no" to end the conversation.  Fast.

"WELL THAT'S JUST WRONG!"  She shouted across the table and group of people who all looked like they had just stumbled across a naked married couple fighting.  Awkward...

Honestly, I'm not greedy, and I was so grateful to be invited to the event.  Again...I like your stuff.  I just had no idea that a follow-up review (whether or not the blogger liked it) was such a touchpoint. 

So anyway, SimpleHuman, I've posted a review of the fabulous stuff (and the not-so-fabulous stuff thanks to this blogger chick) under my REVIEW section.

Yo, self-righteous Blogger Chick, focused enough for ya?

Co-Sleeping with the Enemy

The "family bed."

Do you know what this is? It's how psychologists refer to your bed when your children sleep with you. It's the pillow-y haven where the family nestles down together for the night, arms and legs draped across each other in a trusting, completely unprotected fashion. Soft breathing whooshes in and out of your little angels' puckering, lightly parted lips while their dry warm bodies cuddle into your scooping frame and together you recreate the feel of your womb.

Well, I don't like it.

And I confirmed this to myself last night when I let my son sleep in my bed.

I'm not big on co-sleeping. I've never been big on it. I know it works for some people. I however can't have anyone else in my bed. Ever. Even when my boyfriend sleeps over, he is relegated to one side of the bed. If he crosses the line there are consequences. Consequences that usually involve sex being withheld. Or a lot of scowling.

And here's something they don't tell you. Kids are pointy. They have elbows, knees, heels, chins and cheek bones. And all these parts move. A lot. Especially when they're sleeping. I needed shin guards and a face mask to protect myself from the onslaught of kicking, smacking, stretching.

And then there was the grinding. Somewhere around 2AM I woke to a sound like nails on a chalkboard...Grrrriiitttttt.....gggrrrrraaaaaatttttt....griitt....gggrrrrrrriiiiittttttttttt. My son was grinding his teeth in his sleep. Who knew such tiny teeth could make so much noise?

Shortly thereafter came the snoring. Loud snoring. Like, old man snoring...

And kids are much bigger than they look.

I've also let my oldest daughter sleep in my bed on occasion and I am always surprised to see how she unfolds to five times her natural size. I call her "Origami Girl" because it's like her body is a folded paper design and at night the whole paper unfolds all over my bed. My son is a smaller origami form, but he takes up more room than my boyfriend. And he’s only 7. It's unreal.

And let me introduce you to my son’s favorite stuffed animal, Funky Chicken, who spent the night staring at me with his wide chicken eyes. I'd wake up and there was funky chicken. Watching. Waiting. I'm not sure for what. Maybe for me to hit REM so he could prod Ben to shift positions. Why would I think this? Well, at 4AM I was jolted awake by a kick to my thigh. My son was now sleeping sideways. Across my bed. Across me. There is no doubt in my mind this was Funky Chicken's idea of retribution for putting him in a washing machine a few weeks earlier.

And then, of course,...there was the "accident." (Don't tell my boyfriend though because he doesn't know - and it was on his side of the bed...).

I won’t go into details, but let me just say that upon waking the bed was immediately stripped and cleaned.

I know there are moms out there who love this experience. I totally "get" the love you feel when you look at their tiny sleeping faces smushed up on the pillow. I totally "get" the feeling of protectiveness you experience by having them so close and I completely "get" why kids sleep so well in their parents beds. Yeah, yeah. All very sweet and cute.

But unfortunately the one thing about the "Family Bed" I didn't "get" at all is one of the things I cherish most.

Sleep.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Independence Day...

Today is Independence Day!

After three months of sleeping late, weekday sleepovers, all day tv, video games galore and asking me every five seconds "What are we doing today?" finally the kids are back in school.

The summer seemed to last forever.  We did TWO sessions of sleepaway camp, one mini sleepaway camp, life in another state, a whole month back home swimming, hiking, cooking, anything and everything we could do to keep the kids busy.

But now they're at school and I'm FREEEEEEEE!!!!!!

This morning, I got home after dropping the kids off and the house was empty.  Blissfully empty.

I almost didn't know what to do with myself.   Then I remembered...grocery shopping, hanging shelves, organizing clothes, cleaning, cooking, writing two articles by 5 pm and bathing the guinea pigs, running carpools, and filling out back-to-school paperwork.

Yup.  I can feel the freedom.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Shana Tova!

Some of you might be wondering if Shana Tova is the name of some hot new Rap star.

It's not.  (But wouldn't that be a great name?)

"Shana Tova" means "Happy New Year" in Hebrew.  (don't ask me to say anything else in hebrew, I can't...)

So, you might have guessed by now,  I'm Jewish.  In the "cultural" sense, as I like to say.  What that means is I'm not religious or anything, but I really like diamonds.

I don't like to talk about religion because, personally, I think organized religion divides people.  And as a mom myself, I just don't believe that if there is a God, she wants to sit around all day listening to us fight.  But I do like the rituals, traditions, and the feeling you get by being a part of something bigger than yourself, and since I was raised Jewish, well, I'm raising my kids Jewish.

Or so I thought.

This morning we woke up early and got ready to spend the day doing what Jews do when they celebrate a holiday;  feel guilty, apologize a lot, then eat.

I got all of my kids dressed in their nicest outfits, brushed their teeth and I even managed to get Livi to do something with her hair.

As we got into the car to go to synagogue, Livi asked, "Are we going to Church?"

Obviously, we don't go very often.  And perhaps the Christmas lights we hang just confuse them.

Anyway, Jewish or not, I want to wish YOU - ALL of my awesome, amazing, and hilarious readers for whom I am SO GRATEFUL - health, happiness and a lifetime of laughter.

xo,
Sarah

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Lost lost tooth: Oxymoron? Or just moronic?

My son JUST lost his front tooth.

Five minutes later he lost it again.  Somewhere on the kitchen floor.

After wiggling it, twisting it, and biting heartily into a grilled cheese and bacon sandwich he finally lost the tooth that's been loose for more than a month.

He was so excited he put it on a napkin right next to him.  So he could watch it and admire the bloody,  gleaming, "Chicklety" nature of it while he ate his lunch.

Then as he swiped his hand across the table to show all of us at the table how a "sandwich rocket" flies, he sent his tooth sailing.

You may recall, my son is a bit clumsy and somewhat "unaware" of his body as it moves through space, but this was a record "accident"... even for him.

If I were a better housekeeper this wouldn't have been a problem at all.  But unfortunately, it's been a couple days since I've swept (yes...ew...I know, I know...I just forgot).

Unfortunately, we'd had Matzoh Ball soup and these teeny tiny square crackers for dinner last night and I think there may have been tortilla chips involved in the lunch prior to that because the ENTIRE floor was covered in beige and white, tooth-sized crumbs.  It was like finding a needle in a crumbstack.  EVERYTHING looked like it could be the tooth.

I offered the kids a quarter to whomever found the tooth and we all ducked below and began searching.

I spotted something red and a little meaty looking.

"I FOUND IT!"

"YAY, MOMMY!" Ben shouted.

I triumphantly picked up the small red chunk to examine it. 

"Oh.  It's pizza.  Never mind."

I forgot.  We'd had pizza two nights ago.  I put the bit of pizza into a napkin so I wouldn't confuse it for the tooth again.

20 minutes later, we were all still scouring the floor examining small pieces of dried chicken, crackers, tortilla chips and more pizza hoping to find the tooth in this haystack of crumbs.  It was hopeless.  And a little disgusting.

I waved the white flag.

"You know what Ben?  I hear the tooth fairy is really nice and you can just right her a note to say you accidentally lost the tooth and can't find it."

"Can you write the note for me?"

"No.  That's part of the deal.  She'll recognize the tooth loss, but you have to write the note yourself."

Yup.  He bought it.

"Don't get excited, sometimes she doesn't come."  Said Livi - having learned from her own experience with the tooth fairy (see "One Flakey Fairy").

"No, no.  She'll come.  She just gets really busy sometimes." I said sweeping up the remnants of our last few meals. If the tooth was there, it was now going bye-bye with all the crumbs.  I was a little sad about it.  It was such a cute tooth.

Anyway, he was satisfied with the resolution and is now writing his letter to the tooth fairy.  I'm cleaning my floor.

I would love for one of my kids to lose a tooth without any drama.  Of course, I realize my part in this.  I should be cleaner.  I need to be cleaner.  I WILL be cleaner - starting right now!  New rule - NO teeth on the table.


SIX HOURS LATER...

We found the tooth!  We sat down to dinner and it was on his chair.  Obviously, in cleaning the floor it didn't dawn on me to clean the chairs.  I'm really not good at this "cleaning" business. 

YAY!  Isn't it cute?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Crabby Fish Man

I like mussels.  (I think that may be from an 80's song...) 

So when I went to the farmers market this past Sunday and saw a fish man there selling fresh mussels, I was excited.

I asked the guy.  Are they debearded?  I only knew to ask this because I always see "make sure the mussels are debearded" in my recipes.  I've never actually had to debeard a mussel so I assumed his answer would be yes.  I just like to be thorough.

"No" he said.

"Oh...Can you show me how to do it?"

Exasperated by my lack of seafood preparation knowledge the annoyed fish man held up a sole mussel, pointed to the beard on it (a bunch of stringy weird seaweedy-like threads) and gave it a yank.

"Like that!"

He was the crabbiest fish man I'd ever met.  I commented on this to another mom standing next to me.  She agreed.  

"Does that hurt?  Them I mean?"

He looked at me like I was the stupidest person in the world, said "I don't know" and tossed the mussel back into the bucket.

"Mom!  Don't buy fish!  Fish are being extinct!"  Said Izzy.

"They're not being extinct - they're becoming extinct.  And they're not.  At least not these."  I didn't need one more ecologically motivated restrictions on my life.

I turned to the crabby fish man.  "The Pacific Salmon are being over-fished though, right?"  I hoped he would nod and let me buy my mussels without my daughter chastising me.

"They're ALL being overfished!  Soon we won't have any!"  That didn't seem like a very savvy thing to say saleswise.  Wow.  Crabby AND poor judgement.

I decided to buy the mussels anyway.  Like I said.  I likes me some mussels.

"I'll take 2 lbs."  As if I was unworthy of his bearded mussels, he tossed them in a bag and took my money.
When I got home and poured them into a colander and started to clean them.

Livi and Ben noticed I was doing something unusual and descended on me like fruit flies on a ripe peach.  "Whatcha doin?"

Making mussels.

What's a mussel?

It's a kind of fish.

What are you doing to them?

Washing them.

Are you keeping them?

No.  I'm going to cook them.

Are they alive?

Yes.

"Can we keep them?  As pets?"  I should have seen that coming. 

No.  I'm going to eat them.

WHAT?!

I'm going to eat them.

NOoooooo!

Yeessssssss!

"Awwwww.  That's so sad."

"No it's not.  They don't mind."  

They watched me lift each one and grab the little beard and yank it off.

"Does that hurt them?"

That's when it dawned on me...stupid questions make a fish man crabby.

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