Sunday, December 30, 2012

My Dearest Target, I Feel So Deceived

Dear @Target,

I love your store. Truly, I do. If you had an opening for a person who shopped and delivered someone's order, I would totally do it. Like Peapod. But better, because it is Target, so, you know.

There is rarely a complaint that I have with you. The store I go to always has sufficient lanes open, is clean and well-stocked, and I never feel as though I'll be shot in the parking lot. Even in the dark.

I do, however have two tiny little complaints. Well, one is minor, the other're messing with my feelings Target. And that's just not cool.

The first is that I wish you had larger carts. Not for everyone, of course, but for those who walk into your store knowing that they'll spend a couple hundred dollars on large paper products and other various household necessities and groceries. Kind of like how the grocery store has those little carts for when you are going to pick up just a few things, but...bigger. Can you get working on that? K thanks.

The second is that you shouldn't try to trick your customers. It's not nice. Let me explain.

Every couple of months, I go to Target and am thrilled to see that several of the things that I buy are on sale. But they just aren't on sale. If you buy two of certain kinds of items, let's say Bounty and Charmin, you get a $5 gift card to use on your next purchase! Yes! Saving me money and bringing me back to spend more! Genius! It makes me feel so warm and fuzzy inside when the cashier says, "And you have earned a $5 gift card, here you go." I tuck it lovingly into my wallet right next to my RedCard. (Oh by the way, thanks for the additional 5% off every time I check out. I have gotten so used to it I almost asked the cashier at the grocery store I sometimes frequent why my total didn't go down once she was finished scanning. Now that would have been awkward.)

I was thrilled today when I went in to get my usual stock of paper towels and toilet paper when I saw that the $5 gift card was ON! Yes! I shoved the 18 pack of Bounty onto the bottom of my cart and headed for my Charmin. I'm a tad particular about my Charmin. You see, I like the blue kind, but I don't like it when the roll is so big it doesn't fit in my little toilet paper holder in my guest bathroom. So I always get the double roll, as opposed to the mega roll. The mega roll is just kind of ridiculous. I always get this particular combination of Bounty and Charmin to get my gift card, and each aisle had the little red and white cards in front of the products telling me that there was a special. Since I do it all the time, I didn't think to look at the little black print on the little red and white card that was in front of the toilet paper. I knew how this worked.

Fast forward to check-out. The lovely cashier scanned the paper towels, and then the toilet paper, and moved on to the next item. Wait, wait a minute...where is my gift card? I want my $5! They always give it to me when the second item is scanned. That's just how it works! When I asked her about it, she told me that the Charmin wasn't one of the qualifying combinations with the Bounty, but instead I could get a free Charmin Freshmates. Um, no. I don't want a Charmin Freshmates. I want my $5 gift card.

Why the change Target? WHY? I've been getting this gift card for as long as you've been doing it, and I always get the exact. same. products.  If you didn't want to include the 24 double rolls of ultra soft toilet paper, then why run another special at the exact. same. time? So people will grab the usual and not find out until the get to the check-out, where there are four very impatient if not-too-bright customers waiting behind me?? (What? It was obvious how much I was buying, why get in line when half of my cart is still full? You have to know it's going to be a while.) I feel tricked, deceived, and kind of dumb. I don't like feeling dumb. It's like you knew I would just grab the same products and be forced to buy them even though they are not on sale once I got to the check-out. And, to top it all off, I didn't even get my free Freshmates!

I know what you are going to say. Read the fine print. Easy enough, but as a mom of two two-leggers and three four-leggers and a husband whose nickname is justifiably Workaholic, you can't expect me to read the fine print on the same special that I have always indulged in! . go to Target alone for a mini-vacation, not to squint my eyes and attempt to do math in my head. That's just no fun.

So can you do me this tiny little favor? Just keep the good old specials the same? Don't make things so difficult. Keep us busy moms in mind. And make some bigger carts. Please and thank you.

Have a good new year,

Friday, December 21, 2012

She Makes Me Proud...Sometimes

Ask any parent, and I bet they can tell you a moment in their child's life where that kid shone brighter than any star in the sky. The parents beamed from pride and there was a choir of angels singing "hallelujah". An aura formed around the child, and s/he was slowly lifted up in the air, set atop their pedestal, from which they would reign until the next big screw up on their part.

Those moments are few and far in between. Even the things that your kids do every day that are actually kind of incredible get boring day, after day, after day, after day. And then there are things that your child doesn't do so well, but you know that they'll come around and catch up, so you don't push it.

I've always thought that Charlie was smart. The light in her eyes tells me that there is a spinning brain in her head, full of thoughts of how to make my life hell exhausting. Unfortunately she really never gets to tell us how smart she is because Sam never. stops. talking. Lots of people say that the older child "talks for the younger child." I wouldn't say that is our case. In our case, Sam just talks, and Charlie never gets a chance to input her two cents.

This is especially evident in the car, where Sam will chatter on about the dead squirrel she just saw, and why did it die? When did it die? How did it die? And then she'll tell me how much she misses that squirrel, and she wishes it wasn't dead. For 10 minutes straight. Meanwhile Charlie is sitting quietly in her seat, probably wondering why the hell her mom hasn't changed the conversation to something more enlightening than roadkill.

Our house has had a touch of the flu lately, with fevers and aches and pains and coughs passing between the two kids but thankfully (knock on wood) staying away from me. I just get the midnight, 1am, 4am, 5am wake-up calls and then the 6am vomit. In my bed. On my side. It's been awesome.

When Workaholic got home from work today, he was in dire need of sleep and so was Sam. So they trekked up the stairs and cuddled on the still-sheetless bed for a few hours. Charlie and I were finishing up some holiday baking and then she started pulling things out of cabinets and drawers and bins. I started to see chaos and I could feel the breath being sucked out of my body as I envisioned the mess I'd have to clean up once she was finished. I couldn't take it. I also knew that I needed powdered sugar. And I knew that taking one kid to the store is cake compared to two. So we bundled ourselves up (which took 20 minutes) and drove to Walgreens (which took 3 minutes).

After finding out that Walgreens does indeed NOT carry powdered sugar, I thought we'd spend more quality time together, just the two of us, outside of the house. We headed to the next town to see some Christmas lights. There, I could go to another store to get what I needed and kill enough time so that she would be ready to go to bed when we got home. You know, since she had been up since 4am. 

We arrived at the local butcher shop and she beelined for the suspiciously low table chock full of candy. And I'm not talking M&Ms here. No sirree. I'm talking fresh, locally made gummy worms and chocolate covered anything and even just cubes of pure sugar. All packaged in these convenient clear tubs, spread out on the toddler-eye-level table. She snatched up a container of sour gummy worms and bolted for the nearest aisle. By the time I caught up with her, she had the lid off and was saying, "Look mommy!" as she dangled the worm over her mouth. And then it was gone. Since she had been so good in Walgreens and generally had a pretty good day, I decided that it would be OK for her to have them. They are seriously her favorite candy. She once ate two bags before anyone noticed she even had them.

This particular town has a very old and large congregation of Catholics who just built themselves a brand spanking new, beautiful (so I've heard) church, complete with gift shop. (I kid you not.) Seeing as how the Catholics own a majority of the main strip through town, they are free to put up as many Nativity scenes as they want. So they do, and I think there are five. In about a 3 block stretch. It actually is very nice, a constant reminder of the reason for the season, and they are beautiful sets. Not the plastic light-up ones you see on people's front lawns. Oh no, these are custom built wood mangers, just like where Jesus was born, with life sized figurines and straw and spotlights that illuminate them at night. There is also a star above, in case there are any additional shepherds that need to find their way.

The whole time Charlie and I had been in the car, I had pointed out every house that had good Christmas lights, and asked her, "Charlie, do you see those pretty lights?" And she would respond, "Yeah," in that tone that says she is just humoring her silly old mom. I am sure by the 20th time I asked she was wishing Sam was in the car to ponder about roadkill.

We finally pulled up to a stop sign next to a manger and I was admiring the handiwork of whoever made it. All of the sudden I heard Charlie say, "Look mommy!", in the same excited tone I had tried to use with her when we were looking at Christmas lights. I turned on the interior light and looked back at her. I was so proud that she had finally noticed something, the beautiful lit-up manger on the corner next to our car. I even thought, briefly, that perhaps she would point out the baby Jesus, or the star over display. "How sweet", I thought to myself. The choir was starting to sing and I was preparing her pedestal.

When I turned to see what she was pointing at, I saw a truly wondrous site. Instead of pointing at the manger, she was holding up one of the sour gummy worms as high as her little arm could stretch. Looking in the exact opposite direction of the manger. I can only assume she was amazed that the light from a nearby streetlamp was illuminating each bump on the worm and highlighting the color change from head to tail. The worm actually shimmered in the glow of the nightlights. And while it was pretty, it was at that moment that I knew that we needed to talk about baby Jesus more often. And perhaps put the angels on standby. And keep the pedestal in storage. While kids are fantastic at making you proud, they are even better at giving you a reality check. Mine for the day is to not expect a two year old to notice anything but the candy in her hand. I'm sure I can call on the choir of angels tomorrow. 

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Vacation is Great

You know how I told you we went to Florida in November? Oh, I didn't?? Well, we did.

The thing about going on vacation when you have a blog is that there is so much fantastic shit that happens that you want to blog about, and then you forget it by the end of that day, much less remember it a month. However, when you do stupid shit, you usually don't forget.

When we go to Florida, as we do every couple of years, there usually isn't much of a game plan. Yes, we are going to the beach. Yes, we'll go to Disney or Sea World or the zoo or Busch Gardens. Once we get there, we decide what day we are going to go where for the big stuff, and for the rest we just wing it. Winging it isn't very smart sometimes.

On Tuesday, we got up and decided just to get in the car and drive. Workaholic asked me if we would wind up at the beach, and I said, "Yeah, maybe, but we won't swim or anything. We'll just walk and shop." Am I NOT the parents to two young children??

We wound up driving straight to the beach. Passing, sadly without stopping, the NEW original Hooters. (Yep, they tore down the first Hooters ever and re-built it on the exact same spot and call it the New Original Hooters. I think that is cheating.) Once we got to the beach, I suggested we go straight to the awesome playground they have there and let the kids run off their energy. Which worked out great. Until us adults got bored. So we convinced the children to "take a walk" along the beach. And to "go see" the ocean up close. How could I forget I have Charlie for a daughter?

This is what happened approximately 5 minutes of getting close to the water.

Here is the thing. Since we weren't exactly planning on going to the beach, much less swimming in the ocean, we didn't exactly have the appopriate swimwear.

Shortly after, this happened.

It was decided after a couple more minutes of this that Workaholic would take the girls back to the car to get out of their wet clothes and I would go buy us all bathing suits. So I did, which was stupid, because it took just as long to go buy bathing suits as it would have to drive to the condo and back and get our already paid for bathing suits. For the rest of the week we kept a bag in the car with suits and towels that we didn't have to use once. Lesson learned.
The rest of the week was filled with smiles like this...
A few  precious, peaceful moments where this happened...

And lots and lots of sisterly love.

Vacation is great.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012




I don't have to tell anyone in the United States what happened last Friday, December 14th, 2012 in Newtown, CT.

Sometimes it takes me a while to process things. I try to make sense, figure things out, when really there are no answers.

After 9/11, it took me two days to come to grips with the reality of what happened. To allow myself to feel grief, sadness, shock, fear, and anger.  After 9/11, I felt that life was so short. Live it up! Make the most of it! Love those around you. You never know when they will be taken away.

Last night the reality of what happened on Friday really set in. I stopped moving, stopped talking, stopped thinking of the next couple of weeks and allowed the sadness to settle in. (Well, it really moved in on its own, but whatever.) And an old feeling crept into my chest. The feeling I had for a long time after 9/11. Grief. Sadness. Shock. Fear. Anger.

There is so much information out there. On facebook, there is a page devoted to the victims, and they are respectful in honoring them. They have asked the families to post pictures and stories, so everyone in the world will know their children for who they were when they were alive. Not for what happened Friday morning.

Everyone immediately started asking the question WHY? And HOW? And then tried to answer those questions. I guess it is human nature. I did it too. And I found out that what I thought was completely wrong. Not that it mattered, but it was poignant to the fact that there are no answers. I tried my hardest not to engage in any type of discussion on facebook where politics would be involved. I didn't think it respectful to the victims, to argue about such things before a funeral can even be held. I kind of failed, but at least it wasn't a spectacular failure.

I tried to share what I could when I found information on the children and teachers who died.
Emilie Parker was the first picture I saw. The bright blue eyes took my breath away. According to her father, she was caring and loved art, always making cards and pictures for anyone who she felt needed a lift. Her father also told the world that his family was grieving not only for all the families affected, but also the shooter's family. Which is a very kind thing to say.

In each of the children, I see someone I know. My 6 year old niece's eyes, the impish smile of a friend's son, the startling resemblance of one of the girls to Charlie. There have been many random shootings in the past 13 years. Each one was tragic and sad. This one hit a little too close to home for me, and most everyone I know. Innocent children. In a place where they are supposed to be safe. Why would someone want to kill innocent children? Why?

Unfortunately, we live in a world where people kill innocent children. People have problems. With the fast pace of today's society, and often intense competition to be better than the next guy, oftentimes things slip through the cracks. In our country, it is extremely difficult to get help for mental illness. Especially if you have no insurance or anything but the best of insurance. No one is perfect, but the slipping seems to be happening more and more and is causing greater and greater damage.

A lot of people want to blame guns. Well, obviously guns are to blame. But getting rid of all the guns in the U.S. isn't feasible even if it wasn't against our Constitution. In my humble opinion, getting rid of the semi-automatic weapons, the ones that do the most damage, that might make a dent. No one, except the military and law enforcement, should have their hands on those weapons. You can learn plenty about gun safety and responsibility with a handgun, and you can shoot a duck perfectly fine with a shotgun. 

I wish the answer was as simple as ban on semi-automatic weapons. I don't believe it is. I suffer from depression. I don't get violent, and often roll my eyes when I get the questions from the doctor about hurting myself or others, because that just isn't me. Many MANY people in the United States suffer from some sort of mental disorder. No one is perfect. No one has the perfect DNA or the perfect parents and the perfect life. It just doesn't exist. As much as we strive to attain the American Dream, we just can't.

Over the past couple of days, I have read a couple of very enlightening blogs. One is titled, "I Am The Shooter's* Mother". (*I won't put his name on my page.) It opens your eyes to the life his mom probably lived prior to him killing her in cold blood. Then there is another called "I Am The Shooter's* Psychiatrist."  It spells out exactly what is wrong in our society and country. It explains how these people get to the point of losing their minds and killing random, innocent strangers before they get the help they so desperately need. I encourage you to read them, think about them, and then contact your representation in Congress to let our leaders know that people who need mental health in this country are in dire need, and the country is failing them. Violently failing them. Us.

If you want to honor those who died on Friday, learn as much as you can. Try to remember their names. Their faces. Their stories. While, sadly, they weren't the only ones to lose their lives to gun violence on Friday, hopefully they will be the ones that make the difference. The difference needed to make this world, this great country we live in, a better place.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


I'm going to start this by saying, I love my children more than anything, and I would do anything for them. They come first, no matter what.

That being said, they are about to drive me insane. They have already driven me to drink, which, let's admit, wasn't much of a stretch. But my little angels are full blown GIRLS.

I asked facebook last night if girls truly are more emotional than boys, even as toddlers, or if it was something I did to cause this. This...daily battle of meltdown after meltdown because YES YOU HAVE TO GO TO PRE-SCHOOL TODAY. The tantrums that are thrown when you tell a child that they cannot stand on a chair on top of the fireplace hearth to reach up and grab the ornament on the top of the tree that just happens to be made of glass. (Why oh WHY did I not put up only plastic or cloth ornaments this year?) (Like it would have really made that much of a difference, Charlie breaks everything.)

The general consensus was summed up best by my sister, the saint who is a mother of three darling little humans of the female variety, two of whom are twins. Her response was, and I quote, "Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes. Yes."  I presume one Yes for each of our girls.

One of my facebook friends said that it greatly depended on the child and parental reaction. Which, apparently I have two more emotional than less emotional girls. And as far as parental reaction? I have tried everything. From ignoring to calmly responding to screaming, to mimicking the tantrum at a lesser level, to putting them in their room or timeout. I've tried to sympathize with them, let them know that I DO feel their pain (which sometimes calms them down), there is just nothing I am going to do about it.(which gets them fired back up again) The only thing that consistently works is to give in and let them have their way. Does not work for me. At least all the time. Life isn't fair, and I guess my kids are learning that young.

As the parents of four girls, I sincerely do not know how mine survived. One definite side effect is that my dad no longer attempts to talk if there are female relatives in the room. Sometimes he will raise his hand at dinner, but no one ever calls on him, so he doesn't get his turn to speak. Poor, poor man. My mom made us dinner every.single.night of our childhood. And she always kicked us out of the kitchen, saying it was too small for more than one person. Which, OK, maybe it was. But I see now that making dinner was the only alone time she really ever got. If there had been a door, I am quite sure she would have shut it. And put in ear buds if those existed back then. Poor, poor woman.

Another thing I remember from my childhood involved our parents getting mad at us for fighting. And the thing is, I am not even really there yet with my girls. What gets me is the attitude I get my teenager preschooler. She takes longer than anyone in the house to get ready. And when you tell her it is time to go, she responds with, "Ugh! I'm coming!" When I am trying to help her clean her room and all she is doing is talking about Baby Panda Bear and I am doing all the cleaning and so I start scolding her, I get, "Ugh! Mom! Why are you so mean? Just calm down!" She'll make a clicking sound with her tongue, "Well mom, (click) I know that we are going to get ready for bed now, but how 'bout I just watch the iPad for a little while until I get tired?" It is more of a statement than a question. And when I respond with a, "Yeah, that's not going to happen," the meltdown begins.

When the girls make a mess, they know that they must clean it up. And then we tell them to clean it up. Five times. Eventually, Workaholic gets mad and tells them he is going throw out everything that is on the floor. Which creates an instant and very loud negative reaction from Sam, and Charlie usually just wanders away. I supposed she figures she'll let Sam get the attention for this, and Sam is more than happy to be dramatic enough for both of them. Last night, I came home to two screaming, sobbing, clearly traumatized children. Daddy had "thrown out" all their toys. Workaholic said that when he got out one trash bag, Sam immediately ran over to the cabinet where they are kept and tied the handles together with a string, and then ran back to him to try to rip the bottom out of the bag. He was pretty impressed with her problem solving skills. I was less impressed with that than the endurance of my kids.  

I know that kids thrive on routine and positive reinforcement and all that jazz, but sometimes that shit just And what do you do then? Besides tear your heart out and chug a bottle of wine. I actually totally get why Brittany shaved her head, being the parents of two kids, especially that close in age, will make anyone want to do something drastic.

I know that in 20 years me and my girls will have an awesome
mother/daughter relationship. At least I hope.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Giraffes and Tigers and Goats, OH MY!

So, hi! Whatcha guys been up to?

I went to Florida. With my husband. And my kids. And we drove. WE DROVE. Have you ever been in your car for 20+ hours with your kids and each other? Yeah, it. was. awesome.

And then we got there. And the weather was beautiful. And I got to eat cold stone crab claws with mustard. And we went to the Lowry Park Zoo, which is great for people with small children. We fed a giraffe. Well, we tried to feed a giraffe.
Can you see the lettuce gently falling to the ground?
Instead of being snatched up by that disgustingly long tongue?
The girls both LOVE turtles. They are obsessed with them. Do you have any idea how many different kinds of turtles there are in this world? A LOT. They are everywhere. And I am fairly certain that this zoo had every. single. species of turtle that exists. It seemed around every corner was another turtle, to which Charlie would scream TURTLE! and run away from us, with Sam yelling after her, "Charlie, you can't just run away!"
These particular fellas gave us some education on reproduction...
Then there was the carousel. Charlie would not sit still long enough for us to get a good shot. I think she liked it.
Ever since Sam was born, Workaholic has asked her if she is a squirrel or a monkey. Did you know there is such a thing as a Squirrel Monkey??
There is an actual, real Squirrel Monkey sitting on that branch behind them.
Maybe if I get a poster made, you'll be able to see him. Or her. Whatever.
A few short steps later, Sam took the opportunity while we chased Charlie around a tree to teach Baby Panda Bear all about orangutans.
She is actually pointing out the orangutan to him. Or her. Whatever.
Sam also wanted to take pictures, so we obliged.
It's a sleeping white tiger. She was perfectly happy that he stayed sleeping.
While Charlie fed a goat...

Sam did more important things, like read the map to see exactly where we were and where we would go next.

Which, as it turns out, was to see the wallabies.

After we visited the wallabies in their completely gated yet completely open habitat, it was decided that it would be best for all involved if we went home. So we did, and were happy with we survived another adventure to live to see another day. Specifically, the day we went to the beach.