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A Refuge for Christmas Trees

During the polar vortex last week, someone’s discarded Christmas tree blew into our yard.

“Another one of those damn trees blew into our yard!” said my husband. “Should I save it?”

It’s not the first time a discarded Christmas tree has ended up in our yard. It’s very windy and flat in this part of Ohio and, for some reason, our trash people tell us to put large trash out on a certain day and then don’t pick it up until many days of wind later. Random stuff gets blown into our yard all too often.

Based on all the trees in other people’s driveways this week, it is tree pick-up week. We wouldn’t know. We’re Jewish. We don’t have or want a Christmas tree, yet Christmas trees keep migrating to our house. It’s as if they KNOW we neglected them in December. The Christmas trees think we are lonely for a Christmas tree.

Don’t worry, Christmas trees, we hang out with MANY of you at many locations other than our house in December. You guys are kind of unavoidable. Especially when you decide to throw yourselves at our house.

Last time a tree landed in our yard, my husband “saved” it by throwing it into our backyard because he didn’t know how to get rid of it. It sat in our yard until spring. It was about as lovely as the hate fence, but whatever, it was my husband’s “project”. It was up to him to finish “saving” that tree.

This time, he was slightly wiser and left the tree near the sidewalk where it might be claimed by whoever lost it.

Nobody rescued the Christmas tree.

A few days later, I moved the tree to where trash pick-up happens since everyone else still has trees hanging out in their driveways. I assume the polar vortex delayed tree pick-up for a week the way it delayed trash pick-up for a week? (And let me tell you how much fun THAT was!!!)

Now all my neighbors probably think I gave in to the temptation of Christmas and put up a tree this year, after I told everyone we would not be decorating.

NOPE! We didn’t have a Christmas tree. Other people’s Christmas trees just feel sorry for us.

Or something.

Gosh, I hope the trash guys pick that tree up soon… and don’t charge us extra for the pick-up. STOP VISITING US, TREES!



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Not an Olympian

Rose is a gymnastics drop out.

A few months ago, I signed the girls up for a kindergarten gymnastics class. It was for ages 4-6, so I just shoved them both in the same class, which also included two of their best friends from the neighborhood. At first, everyone seemed happy, but a few weeks in Rose started having issues with the class. Somehow, she’d end up in the lobby crying about halfway through almost every single class. The problem didn’t happen regularly until I’d signed her up for a second session of classes, so we ended up with her leaving the better part of seven classes to cry in the lobby.

That will be $90 for your child to cry, please.

When we went to pay for Lily to continue the gymnastics class because she loved it, my husband informed the owner that Rose would not be taking class anymore and the owner actually said “Good!”

That’s right, our gymnastics teacher said “Good!” regarding our child quitting gymnastics.

It was THAT bad.

I’m so proud!

Needless to say, Rose won’t be an Olympic gymnast.


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No Cooking

Evidence that my mom did not cook a lot when we were kids: The other day I told my mom I was excited because Lily had liked* the chicken tenders I made.

“You made them from scratch?!” my mom asked, shocked. “Well, I’m impressed.”

My mom thought that chicken tenders were a fancy complicated dish. She wanted to know how you made them because she had no idea. This is a dish that most of my friends make for their kids on a semi-regular basis. My friends were surprised to hear I’d never breaded chicken myself, but given how impressed my mom was by my doing this, you can guess why it hadn’t happened up until this point. If you’ve never made chicken tenders, it’s not complicated. You dip raw chicken in eggs and then in bread crumbs, then bake it.

More evidence Mom was not a frequent flyer in the kitchen: She didn’t know what a garlic press was and was surprised to discover that both my sister and I owned and used garlic presses. She was surprised that we actually cooked with raw garlic and thought this was fancy.

Cooking for my mom revolves around different types of meat (usually chicken) seasoned with Lawry’s Season Salt and garlic salt. No cooked dinner from childhood was ever complete without Lawry’s. Often, our chicken was microwaved. If you’ve never had chicken that went into the microwave raw and came out cooked ON PURPOSE, it’s extremely rubbery. DO NOT TRY THIS. Now that I’m an adult, I refuse to ever eat that again.

There were also a lot of delicious things my mom made, but those things usually appeared on holidays or if we had guests for dinner.

Apparently none of those dishes involved fresh garlic. But why would you need it if you had garlic salt and Lawry’s to season every dish?

But anyway, I’m a master chef because I can make chicken tenders.

*Lily allegedly liked the chicken tenders that first meal, but has hated them ever since. I think she wants to die of malnutrition by eating only Tyson’s chicken nuggets, hot dogs and peanut butter and jelly for every meal. No matter how delicious the meal I make may be, she hates it and refuses to eat more than two bites of it. I GIVE UP.


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Back to Reality

For the past semester, I have been extremely spoiled. Every morning, while I took a shower, my husband would come down and make breakfast for the kids. He would watch the younger kids in the house while I waited at the bus stop with Lily, and then he would drive Rose to school on his way to work. Every single day.

Basically, my mornings were hassle-free until preschool pick-up. I was so spoiled. I actually probably should have pitched in more, but I hate mornings SO MUCH, especially breakfast prep, and he never complained.

Since I’m married to a college instructor, every semester is a gamble when it comes to what my parenting support schedule will look like. My little idyllic morning ritual is OVER until at least May thanks to this semester’s early morning course load. Starting tomorrow, my husband will have left at least before the bus comes. So I’m in charge of most of the morning stuff. I’m not so sure about breakfast yet, but I’m for sure in charge of getting Lily on the bus (I’m required by the school system to wait outside with her) and dropping Rose off at preschool.

Man, this is going to be a shock to the system. I think I may go into withdrawal if I start having to make breakfast for the kids myself too.

Or maybe the kids will go into withdrawal. Their dad makes them some really elaborate breakfasts, and I hate to cook breakfast more than any other meal. I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep up at his level of morning amazingness. While I will definitely feed the kids, I’m not so sure they’ll be getting THREE hot items plus fruit on their plates when I’m in charge!

Gasp, they may even have cereal some days.


Now, I know I can do this. I can get over being completely spoiled. I can get everyone to the right place by the right time and feed them too. Other moms do it with far less support for far longer periods of time far earlier in the morning.

But man, this first week of adjustment is going to SUCK.

It was fun while it lasted.


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Accomplishment of the Year

Early Tuesday morning, I was awoken by splashing coming from the girls’ bathroom. I stumbled into the hall to discover Rose throwing up in the toilet.

I was shocked.

Not so much about the throw up, though that was a surprise since she JUST had stomach flu a week before, but about the throwing up in the toilet. In the middle of the night. Without assistance from a grown up.

She recognized that she didn’t feel well and made it to the toilet in time all on her own.

I’ve been dreaming of this day ever since my first kid got her first case of stomach flu. I’ve been hoping and hoping for the day my kids would throw up in the toilet.

And Rose did it. At age 4! Her 6 year old sister hasn’t reached this milestone yet (though she has graduated to using a basin instead of the floor)!

There are a great many things this child probably deserves more praise for, but there is nothing I’ve been more enthusiastic about than her being completely miserable over that toilet.

Perhaps I need to rechannel that enthusiasm into some of my other praise of the child (and there is no shortage of praise), but anyone who has ever cleaned up after a kid who has stomach flu can understand my enthusiasm. Right now, this amazing life skill of throwing up in the toilet (without even telling me she didn’t feel well!) is the preschool version of getting into Harvard.


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Hello out there!

Where have I been?

*1 week with the in-laws in another state.

*Recuperating from 1 week with the in-laws in another state and the 11 hours it took to get home. Plus unpacking, cleaning and all that fun stuff.

*Dealing with three bouts of children puking and wondering if I too would puke (not yet).

*Watching my always ill-equipped and poorly-trained-in-snow-management town get buried by an amount of snow they can’t handle. I’m beginning to think it will never be legal to leave our house in a car again. It’s a good thing I went grocery shopping on Friday… but if we can’t get to the store again by Friday there could be issues (the temp will be much higher than. I assume life will resume? It has to resume and be legal to travel at some point, right? Right?!)

*Dealing with my kids being out of school for 3 weeks, two of which we’ve been unable to go anywhere due to puke or snow and one of which where the older one was SUPPOSED to be in school but snow had other plans.

*Watching “Frozen” as many times in the theater as I possibly can. Listening to the “Frozen” soundtrack over and over and over again. Watching youtube clips of “Frozen” over and over and over again. We’re in love.

*Contemplating the validity of “Saving Mr. Banks.”

*Throwing out toys in the basement without anyone noticing.

*Meaning to blog every single day, but spacing out and watching “Star Trek: The Next Generation” or “Frasier” instead. Hopefully I’ll be breaking that pattern soon!


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No One Needs That Stall Anyway

Today we were at a public restroom that had five stalls and a changing station, but the changing station was positioned so that when it was in use no one could access one of the bathroom stalls. Either the person using that stall would become trapped or no one could enter the stall.

I was changing Violet on the station while all the stalls were in use except for the one blocked by the changing station. A woman came in to use the restroom and was looking under all the door. I finished Violet and put the table up and told her the stall was open, sorry to block it but it was someone had poor foresight when designing that bathroom.

I truly am baffled by how seldom the changing table is in a place that makes sense. Maybe when I go back to work, I should become a professional changing table consultant and help stores and restaurants realize where they went wrong– or prevent stupid mistakes like this one from happening.

I mean, really, if someone had been in that stall when I started changing Violet, they would have been trapped! Who are these bathroom design idiots? Whoever they are, they clearly have never changed a diaper.


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New Way to Princess

We had two full years of nothing but blue dresses in Rose’s world. I thought we’d finally moved past the wardrobe crisis when on her fourth birthday she agreed with my assessment that 4 year olds wear all the colors. Since then, blue has definitely still been a prominent color but other colors are tolerated. In fact, on a recent shopping trip she actually CHOSE a pink shirt and JEANS. JEANS! Pants used to be strictly protested! My mind was blown.

I was happy Rose’s blue period was over, and then we went to see “Frozen,” which is perhaps the best Disney movie of all time. Rose was really into it and started acting like the ice queen everywhere and saying she needed to wear a crown. Quickly the crown became an all-the-time thing. It took a few painful tangles for me to convince her not to wear the crown to bed.
(Oddly, this is the only recent picture I have of her in this crown.)

She started wearing crowns to school everyday and insisting on wearing them in public.

“I’m pretending to be a princess all the time! I’m Cinderella AND Elsa the Snow Queen AND a kitty princess right now.”


The crowns were in such heavy use that we were plowing through our latest dollar store supply of plastic crowns. Every year only at Halloween, the dollar store has plastic crowns for, of course $1. These crowns usually run at $3-5 at other stores, so I stock up on at least 10 $1 crowns at Halloween and we slowly go through them. Well, this year, thanks to “Frozen,” we’re already down to our last plastic dollar store crown. Those things break if you look at them funny. Since dollar store crowns are out of stock, our crown budget was going to put us in the poorhouse if I didn’t take some serious action.

My choices:
A) Be super tough. Once the crowns are broken, no more crowns until next October! You need to learn some more responsibility with your highly breakable crowns, 4 year old.
B) Set a crown limit. “You can only have ONE crown a month and if you break it, TOO BAD!”
C) Switch to metal tiaras and see if they hold up better.

I chose C.


I was willing to spend up to $15 on a metal tiara, which seemed to be what they were going for online. I figured I’d come out ahead at that price if the tiara could manage to last even 3 months. To my delight, I discovered the child-sized ones at Claires are only about $6! Assuming it makes it 6 weeks, I’m definitely coming out ahead here. We should have switched to metal tiaras ages ago! Plus, it fits her better and actually holds her hair back.

Now she can wear a tiara everyday and live out her princess fantasies even more obnoxiously than ever before.

And why not? She’s 4.

At least she’s wearing all the colors now?


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Tonight I read the girls “Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed.” Almost every time Junie B. mentioned the possibility of a monster being under the bed, I reassured the girls there was no such thing as monsters. Every single time her parents or teachers reassured Junie B. that there was no such thing as monsters, I told the girls that the parents and teachers were correct. Every single time Junie B. doubted them, I told them Junie B. was wrong and had a big imagination.

I repeatedly asked the girls if they understood about how there were no monsters. They repeatedly told me they knew monsters were pretend and they weren’t scared of them or the book.

So, even though I was a little worried about it, I thought we were safe to keep reading.

I should have known better!

Within 10 minutes of putting the girls to bed, Rose came downstairs.

“I’m scared of the monster under my bed!”

In other news, Violet is on Reasons My Son is Crying right now. I was an idiot and did not ask for a link because I admire that blog so much that I was just happy to get a picture up on it! So, there is my 15 minutes of fame: Violet was once on the extremely popular Reasons My Son is Crying.


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Too Tall

At a recent trip to the mall, we were shocked to discover our kindergartner is apparently too ungainly and mature of a kid to use the mall play area.
That’s right, she’s above the height limit for the mall play area.

She’s 6 years old!

Apparently being 6 means you are too big and dangerous to play at the mall. Admittedly, that area is usually full of toddlers, but a small kindergartner is too big for it? Really?

What exactly am I supposed to tell her when she accompanies me to the mall with her two appropriately-sized-for-the-mall-play-area sisters?

Is the 6 year old supposed to sit on the sidelines instead of climb and play? Are we just not supposed to use the mall play area when she’s with us?

I’m usually a stickler for the rules, but here’s one thing I’m not listening to. What are they going to do if she does play on it? Kick us out of the play area? Are the security guards at the mall going to come yell at me for allowing a child to play in a child’s play area?

Somehow I doubt that.

But seriously? A kindergartner is too tall for the mall play area? Really? She may be an older kindergartner thanks to her fall birthday, but she’s still one of the shorter ones!

Next they’ll put a sign on the playground at the city park that says 6 year olds shouldn’t be playing on THAT.



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