I had a mind once. Now I have small children.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Lament of Stinky Bunny...

Oh, Bunny that Stinks,
We all miss you so.
Your ugly green fur
and your sad little bow.

You helped out Luigi
night after night,
without you in his crib
we were in for a fight.

I grabbed you one night
in an exhausted haze,
I just wanted some sleep
to get through my days.

You came through like a champ
oh green, stinky one,
and from that night on
you were bound to my son.

He chewed on your tag
and chewed on your ears,
you were his best friend
through his earliest years.

Then you met your demise
in such a sorrowful way,
I shudder to think of
what happened that day.

Our sweet lil' Luigi
likes to hide stuff,
and sometimes finding it all
can be really tough.

The night you went missing
we looked and we looked.
We looked high and low
we checked every nook.

We kept up the search
for quite a few days,
I almost gave up
it was making me crazed!

Then I had an idea
I'll just ask the boy,
"Where is Stinky Bunny?
your lovey green toy?"

"In there," he said smiling
pointing to---GASP!!!
His dirty diaper pail
so I ran to it fast!

I ripped the top open
and then held my breath,
I looked through the poop
the pee and the rest.

Alas, Bunny that Stinks,
you were not to be found.
I feared you were already
in the trash mound.

Bowser confirmed it
he changed the pail, yes.
He didn't look for the bunny,
he had to confess.

And so dear Stinky Bunny,
please my apologies accept,
I had no idea
it would end such a mess.

My heart cries to think of you
in the trash heap,
'neath diapers and old food
piled so deep.

We loved you dear bunny,
you brought us much joy.
You were so much more to us all
than just a stuffed toy.

Your matted green fur.
Your scratched up plastic eyes.
Your ratty old bow.
We never had our good-byes.

So farewell little rabbit,
in our hearts you'll always be.
Not just a forgotten toy
But, our Bunny so Stinky.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Oh Really Charlotte?

Recently, I was able to go see the new Sex and the City movie with some great friends. It was a lovely afternoon that included a chick flick, a nice quiet lunch and a strawberry martini. I always jump at the chance for an afternoon to feel like I have a life again, so this was a perfect opportunity.

I was thoroughly enjoying the movie and all the fabulous clothes and grown-up girl talk it had to offer. And who doesn't love Aidan? Oooh, he was my very favorite part of the entire series and I was ticked off when Carrie dumped him. Not that I would turn down some time with Mr. Big, but Aidan was always more my type. That sweet smile... Those eyes with the perfect crinkles around the sides... And his hands. Did you ever look at that man's hands? Beautiful. Wait... Slow down, Daisy. This blog is about Mommy stuff, not handsome movie stars like the charming man that plays Aidan. Now back to the subject at hand...

**Note** This is NOT a spoiler, however, if you really don't want to know anything about the movie before you see it, I would not read any further.

During the movie, the women head to Abu Dhabi on a business trip for Samantha. While there, Charlotte and Miranda have a "bonding moment" over martinis about being a Mom. Charlotte is overwhelmed, Miranda is overwhelmed. They discuss how difficult being a Mommy really is. In this scene (as in almost every scene) they are wearing Manolo Blahniks and drinking expensive liquor. They are also at a resort in Abu Dhabi without kids. And I could not help but think to myself, "Really, Charlotte? Really, Miranda? Really???"

First, let me say that I realize this is a fictional movie about fictional characters. But, I really feel like they put this scene in the movie for all the Moms out there. And I appreciate that. But, really. Couldn't we have made it just a tiny bit more realistic?

Let's start with the fact that both Charlotte and Miranda have LIVE-IN NANNIES. Yes, you read that correctly. Charlotte has 2 children with a live-in nanny. Miranda has 1 child and her mother-in-law lives with them. Basically a live-in nanny. And they complain about how much work being a Mom is. Hmmm... If I had a person that lived in my house whose entire job was to look after my children all day that would be so awe-- Oh wait, we do have that person, and it is ME! And I don't get paid. So, darling Charlotte, although you are my fave SATC friend, I am just a bit PO'd that you say it is so difficult to be with your kids.

Now I feel like I MUST move on to the fact that they are always dressed like supermodels. I am lucky if I get out of the house with a clean t-shirt and jeans that don't make my tush look like 10 pounds of sausage stuffed in a 5 pound sack. And that is on a good day. Imagine what the bad days look like. Actually, don't. I don't want you to have nightmares later. The point is, no wonder you girls are miserable! I would be sad, too, if I were wearing a very expensive, WHITE, designer skirt and my kid put red hand prints on my butt. Give yourself a break, dear! The first lesson in the Mommy Handbook of Life is that you can NEVER wear white again. It's just not gonna happen. Wearing white is like putting a target on your body that says "Please, put your grubby, sticky, sullied hands right HERE!" Wear some regular clothes and maybe you won't find yourself crying in the closet over cupcakes. (Or maybe you will, because you are having a pork chop moment, but at least you won't have a ruined skirt.)

And another thing for the child-bearing half of SATC...since when do Moms get to go away for week-long vacations to Abu Dhabi without the kids??? I am lucky when I get a night away to go swoon over Ashton Kutcher (or Aidan, as in this case) in his latest movie. And on the rare occasion that I get a weekend away for scrapbooking, Bowser makes me feel like I owe him a medal of honor and a month's worth of servitude. I can't imagine what you owe your husbands for an entire week away.

Yes, Ladies, being a Mom is hard, but I am starting to believe that the creator of your characters does not know much about it. Of all the Moms I know, none of us have nannies, none of us wear clothes with designer labels (unless that label is Target or Old Navy), and none of us can escape for a week's worth of pricey drinks in another country.

That being said, I will also say thank you, for talking about the toughness of motherhood in such a popular movie. Not everyone understands that being a SAHM is actually WORK and that we don't always love every single, snot-filled, poopy-diapered, temper-tantruming minute of it. It is nice to see that acknowledged on the big screen. You get an "A" for effort. Plus, I have to admit...I'm a little jealous. You ladies can bring your fancy drinks and shoes to my house for a vent session any time!


Monday, June 14, 2010

To My Darling Luigi

To my Darling Luigi,

Luigi, you light up my life with your mischief and giggles. Your big blue eyes sparkle and your smile can melt my heart, even when I want to put you in time out for the rest of your life. Here are just a few of the reasons I love you so...

1. Every time we get in the car, the first thing you say is, "I want Beautiful!" Which means you want to listen to the song "You're Beautiful," by James Blunt for the 3,465,097th time this week. And I almost always give in because I love to hear you sing it.

2. Now that you wear underpants and use the big potty, you are kind of obsessed with poop. You follow everyone into the bathroom and insist on seeing their poop before they flush it down the toilet. Then you say, "That was so cool," as if it really is the coolest thing in the world. You also do this when I change your sister's diapers and you get very upset with me if I wrap it up and throw it away before you have a chance to check it out.

3. You dip everything in ketchup. EVERYTHING. I have watched you dip french fries, chicken nuggets, celery, macaroni and cheese, cantaloupe and frosting into ketchup. It grosses me out, but apparently you love it, so rock on with the ketchup little man. And to get you to eat pizza, I have to tell you the sauce is actually ketchup.

4. You love the kitties. You love the kitties so much that you actually hurt them a little with your affection. Literally. Koopa Troopa 1 is old and has learned to run and hide when you come running. But, KT 2 is still only a kitten and thinks you are her own personal play mate. You and KT 2 chase each other around and you laugh like crazy. Then you lay on top of her and tell her she is a nice kitty. It is very sweet.

5. You might actually have a worse gag reflex than I do. When I smell your ketchup, it kindof makes me gag. When you see me gag, you start gagging. When you look at the poop that is "so cool," you also gag a little bit. When Peach barfed in the bathtub, I thought you were going to hurl right there with her. For such a tough little guy, it is funny to see you get so grossed out!

6. You follow Mario around and mimic everything he does. When he sits a certain way on the couch, you do too. When he asks me for ice cream, you are right behind him asking in the same way. You are the happiest when he pays attention to you and includes you in his Mario games. You look up to him and practically worship the ground he walks on.

7. You seem to love to torture your baby sister. But, there are times, when you think I am not looking, that I will catch you playing, laughing and sharing with her. And Peach adores you the way you adore Mario. Then, when you realize I am watching, you don't want to lose your reputation, so you snatch her toy and knock her over again. But, I have seen those moments and I hold them in my heart.

8. Sometimes, when I am on my computer writing, you come over, rest your head on my lap and say, "My Mommy..." And it pulls on my heartstrings every time. Then you run off again to cause some mischief. But, in that moment I can see what a sweet little boy you are and what a caring man you will become.

Luigi, I am so proud and happy to be your Mommy. God knew what He was doing when He placed you with us. Whether you are causing trouble or just talking to your trains, you are my Luigi and I will always love you with all my heart. Happy 3rd Birthday, Baby!


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Pork Chop Moment

When Mario was a wee small newborn baby, I had a lot of trouble breast feeding. I mean a LOT of trouble. And of course, as all new moms do, I beat myself with guilt over the fact that I was not able to properly feed my child. It was terrible. I already had the "baby blues," and all of that nonsense with nursing just made everything worse. But, this isn't about breast-feeding...

My very nice and sweet Mother-in-Law came to visit one afternoon when Mario was only a few days old. I had already had a rough day, and I'm sure I looked like hell, but I still tried to put on a happy face and sit with her for a while. That is when she dropped the bomb. My Mom-in-Law said, "Oh Honey, it's ok. Lots of people have trouble with breastfeeding at first."

You would have thought she shook the baby or something. I looked at her and burst into tears. Not just tears, but violent sobs of fury. I had to run into the other room. I threw myself on the bed and just cried and cried and cried. Bowser looked at me like maybe instead of just having a c-section a few days earlier, I had also undergone a lobotomy. Then he went to tell his mother that everything was ok, it's just that since the baby came, Daisy has kind of gone a little tiny bit insane.

My Mom was also with us at that point and she watched the whole crazy scene go down without saying much. While Bowser was downstairs trying to convince his mom that I didn't need to be put in a straight jacket just yet, my Mom came up to my room and told me I was having a "Pork Chop Moment."

Now I was sure that I wasn't the one losing my mind--it was my Mom. At first, I thought I mis-heard her. "Ummm, a what?" "A Pork Chop Moment," she said calmly as she sat on the bed with me. And then I burst into tears again, because I had no friggin' clue what she was talking about and that just made me an even worse mom than I obviously already was.

That is when she explained a Pork Chop Moment. When she was a young mother herself, and I was but a little lamb, she had the first of my two brothers. Her mom (Nana Peach) had come to stay and help her out with things around the house and looking after me. One day, my Mom got up from a much needed nap and went into the kitchen. She asked Nana Peach what she was doing. Nana Peach replied that she was making pork chops for dinner. Apparently pork chops were not what my tired and semi-crazed mother wanted that night, because she instantly burst into tears. Not just tears, but violent sobs of fury. (I think it runs in the family.) How could Nana Peach do this to her??? Of course, it was an absurd thing to cry over, but sometimes, when those post-partum hormones are a-ragin' there is just no controlling the floods. And so, the Pork Chop Moment was born.

After my Mom told me this story, I sniffled, smiled a little bit, washed my face and moved on with my day. In my head, I must admit, I thought she was maybe just a little bit crazy herself, but at least she made me feel better. Little did I know, over the years, the PCMs would keep on coming. And not just in the swing of the post-partum days, but really, they can sneak up on you at any time.

I have had PCMs over some seriously crazy things. First of all, any time I watch The Notebook, it is like having a 3-hour long PCM. I cry from the minute the movie begins till the very end. Then I sob through the credits. Then I have to go upstairs to my bed and cry into my pillow for a good 30 minutes. You would think I would just stop watching that movie, but I don't. I watch it every darn time it comes on TBS.

Some other PCMs...
~Bowser unloading the dishwasher. Don't ask. Just know that it caused a river of tears that would rival the Nile.

~Those damn coffee commercials at Christmas time when the son shows up unexpectedly on Christmas morning. Seriously, Coffee Ad Execs, what are you trying to do to me here?

~The other day when the Goombas were playing outside, Bowser was pushing them on the swing set and a bunny ran across the yard. It was something about that bunny that just made whole scene look so...so....unrealistically perfect that I lost it.

~After a particularly rough day, Bowser got some delicious fatty, greasy, salty drive-thru food to make me feel better. And the stupid punks that work there put cheese on my hamburger, even though Bowser CLEARLY stated that I wanted NO cheese. When he brought it home and I unwrapped it, saw the cheese, and...you guessed it...total PCM. Blubbering mess of running mascara. I couldn't even eat the French fries because I was so upset. And that is really saying something coming from me.

I have experienced many other PCMs. Some have been in public, which can be pretty embarrassing. Especially when you are trying to maintain your composure and the waitress is looking at you like, "Um, I just want to know what you want to drink, Freaky Lady."

So, worry not, dear friends, when you have one of those moments where the dam simply bursts. You are just having a Pork Chop Moment. And chances are, I am probably having one, too.


Saturday, June 12, 2010

You might need a night out...

As parents, we all like to get away sometimes. In fact, we don't just like to get away, sometimes we NEED to get away. It is essential to our well-being. It is also essential to our relationships. Sometimes it sneaks up on us and before we know it, we are desperate for a night out. So, in "You Might Be A Redneck" fashion, I am here to tell you how you might know it is time for a night away from your little Goombas.

You Might Need a Night Out....

...When you start referring to your spouse as Mommy or Daddy, instead of using their real name. Or even sweet little pet names, like Honey or Pookie Bear. When the Mommy and Daddy set in, it's time to get away.

...When chicken nuggets and generic mac n' cheese have become a gourmet meal for the kids AND YOU.

...When you look in your closet and see clothes that you remember wearing at some point in your life, but that are now collecting dust on the hanger. You know, like that cute mini skirt with the sparkly top and your platform heels. Or the jeans without the holes and stains and frayed ankles. Or the top that is on the border of being too low-cut and looks totally hot on you, but you can't wear it at home because the baby would look at it as an "all you can eat buffet" sign.

...When you realize the last 3 movies you saw at the theater were Shrek, Shrek 2, and Shrek 3. And of course, now you have to go see Shrek 4.

...When your idea of a great night has become having a beer on the couch, timing it just right so that you can watch Glee on the tivo and skip all the commercials, sitting under the blanket that vaguely smells like pee and rotten milk, wearing your old college t-shirt and falling asleep before the show is even over.

...When you think back on your past three weeks and realize the only places you have been are the pediatrician's office (4 times), the grocery store, and the park. With all of your Goombas tagging along. In the mini-van. With a baseball cap on to hide the mop of hair on your head and the bags under your eyes.

...When the highlight of your day is when Sesame Street comes on. For several reasons. First, it is 50 minutes of quiet time, where your kids are learning, but you don't have to be the one teaching. Second, it is darn funny for the grown-ups, too. Who doesn't love when Jake Gyllenhal has an octopus stuck on his head?

...When you find yourself with a red toilet ring impressed into your tush from sitting in the bathroom with the door locked, for longer than you need to, just so you can have 5 seconds of peace to read your magazine on child rearing.

So, fellow Moms, I hope that if you find yourself in any (or all) of these situations, that you will find some time in the near future to put on that sexy mini-skirt and get out to have some real grown-up food and watch a non-animated movie. It just might save your sanity!


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

A Woman's Cry for Help

There is something that has been weighing on my mind for about a week now. This is not a funny topic, so I apologize to those who are reading for a laugh, but I just can't get this out of my head. Last week, in a quiet suburb, a mom of a 6-month old baby killed her child. It is such a tragedy for everyone involved. Unfortunately, a very young, little man lost his life. The husband must be devastated, after all, he just lost his entire family. The woman's parents and her in-laws are most likely fraught with grief for numerous reasons. But, it is the mother in particular that I just can't stop thinking about.

You see, in everything that I have been reading, the mother has said she has been severely depressed. She told the detective who was investigating the call that she was depressed. Her husband admitted that she had been talking about committing suicide for quite sometime. Her in-laws even stated that she called them for help at one point, saying she felt suicidal. They dismissed her.

Please, do not get me wrong. What this woman did was wrong. I am not making any excuses for her. But, what is tormenting me, is that this woman reached out to people for help, and NO ONE listened. This poor mother sought her family and told them how she was feeling. In return, they ignored her cries and told her she was just tired.

I strongly feel, that if anyone had listened to this woman, that her child would be alive today. Unfortunately, as a new mom, we are expected to be completely joyous about our new arrival. While all mothers love their children, not every moment is wonderful. And for some of these women, it is an extremely vulnerable time, when the ugly monster called Post-Partum Depression can take up residence in your soul.

I know this, because I suffered from PPD myself. Ecstatic as I was about my newborn son, there were (and still are!) times when it is all too overwhelming. I cried a lot. I would whisper in my baby's ear that he deserved so much better than me as his mother. I would tell my husband that they would be better off without me messing up their lives. I couldn't do any housework. There were mornings I could barely get out of bed. I was paralyzed by this sad and anxious feeling that had taken over my entire being. Luckily, I had a husband and a doctor that listened to me. My husband urged me to get help. My doctor worked with me to find a medication to help me through. And, slowly, I came back.

Reaching out for help, though, was the hardest thing I ever did. No one likes to admit they are "weak." And admitting that you are not happy during what is supposed to be the "happiest" time of your life, is even worse. Not to mention the pressure, ALL the pressure, to be perfect...perfect baby, perfect house, perfect look, perfect attitude... If it isn't all perfect, then aren't you failing? A rational person knows that of course you are not failing, you are just living. For a person struggling with depression, however, it feels like nothing but failure. And admitting failure...well, it just plain old isn't easy.

Yet, the mother in this story DID reach out! Her "village" let her down. Because, the truth is, it does take a village to raise a child. One woman can not do it alone. That is why we have mothers and grandmothers and sisters and aunts and friends that do little things to help us along the way. My heart is shedding tears for this mother who was so alone in her struggle. Her husband told police that she admitted to him, the night before the crime, that she felt he would be better off without her and their son and that she had researched ways to commit suicide and take the baby with her. Sir, I must ask you, why did you not help your wife? Why didn't you turn your car around and take her to the hospital?

And now, this woman sits in a jail cell, wearing a suicide smock. She is being held without bond. She had to be separated from other inmates because of the threat of retaliation against her crime. She is alone with her thoughts. And for those of you seeking death penalty, please, for just a moment, I ask you to put yourself into this woman's thoughts. Do you think that there is any, ANY, worse punishment for her than what she is already putting herself through? Her already tormented mind is only getting worse. She is beating herself up mentally over what she has done. Her mind alone will sentence her in ways that our justice system could never even begin to touch.

A friend of mine lives in this woman's neighborhood. A happy, family neighborhood. Friends have said they were a nice, happy family. I add this point in to make it clear that this can happen to anyone! Depression does not follow any patterns. It can strike anyone...young, old, rich, poor, black, white, man, woman. And Post-Partum Depression can be even sneakier. It can take seemingly happy women, and turn them into something they don't recognize in the mirror anymore. Even worse is when psychosis joins depression. We have heard these stories before. This isn't a new thing.

I urge you to watch out for the Moms in your life. Whether she is a friend or a family member. No matter how "with it" she may seem on the outside. Ask how she is doing. Offer help and encouragement. And please, if a new mom ever tells you she is not handling things well, or feels really down, PLEASE help her find help. It is time that we break down the Laws of Society that say Moms have to do it all and do it alone. We need to depend on each other without feeling shame or guilt.

And to the woman I am speaking of...I know that you will never find peace for yourself again. But, know that there is at least one woman out there praying for you. There is at least one person that is crying for you. And there is one woman out there, that will do her damn best to get the word out, so that hopefully another mother can be spared from the same pain you are feeling, and so hopefully no more children have to die this way.

My heart and prayers go out to everyone involved in this tragedy.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Aaah, those lazy days of summer....wait, what?

I don't really know where the term "lazy days of summer" began, but I am thinking that whoever came up with it must have been oblivious to his/her surroundings. First of all, they obviously didn't have kids. And apparently, they also didn't go anywhere or do anything fun. Because, I have been on this earth for more than 30 years now, and I am pretty sure I have never experienced a "lazy" summer.

First let's start with the kids. For some crazy reason, my kids can't decipher between a day we need to wake up early and a day we can sleep in late. And so in their minds, every day is a wake up early day. Six a.m. to be exact. And from the moment my little Goombas wake up, there is nothing lazy about their day. They are either eating, chasing each other, fighting over toys, making a mess, running like mad to the potty, slipping and sliding on the slip n' slide, or one of many other activities. They also don't like to stay home and laze around every day. So, there are zoos, parks, pools, rec centers and trails to visit. Not to mention, we have to remember to throw in the occasional grocery shopping trip so that we don't run out of food. As you can see, with my kids, there is just nothing lazy about summer.

Summer is also BBQ season. Mmmmm, who doesn't love a good BBQ? Beer-soaked brats and beer. My two very favorite things about the three months when school is out. Between family and friend get-togethers, we are always busy going somewhere. And my pantry is always stocked for to whip up a quick pasta salad for any festivity.

The warm months also bring fairs and festivals. Who doesn't love a good festival? Funnel cakes, corn dogs, ice cream cones and rides that make all that goodness swirl around in your tummy. Did you know that there is a festival almost every single weekend of the summer? And that each one of those festivals celebrates different and exciting things? There are festivals to celebrate peaches, strawberries, Renaissance, music, food, the 4th of July, airplanes, people and more. You name it, there is probably a festival for it. I would say that is a LOT of stuff to do.

Then there are the sports. A lot of my friends play softball, which is awesome. **Quick disclaimer here: While I truly feel that it is awesome that they play softball, I choose not to. I loathe any kind of exercise that prevents me from having a beer in one hand at all times.** This tends to keep them pretty busy, what with all the practices and games. If you prefer not to play (like me) there are baseball games galore. I can't think of a better way to spend a summer afternoon than at a baseball park, watching a good old American sport with a cold one. Really. It doesn't get much better.

So, really. Who was this delusional weirdo that decided summer was a time to be lazy? It most certainly is not. Summer is a time of fun and excitement for all! Now if you will excuse me, I need to go lie in the sun on my patio with a cold one.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Yes, I Drive a Mini-Van...and I LOVE It!

There is a lot of debate out there over what kind of vehicle a parent should drive. Most opt for the SUV. Now, I am not going to knock the SUV. It is a wonderful, roomy vehicle, that gets you where you need to go and looks cool to boot. In this family, we opt for the Mini-Van. You may think this is incredibly un-cool, however, I am here to prove to you why the Mini-Van is a miracle invention.

First, let's discuss the size. My darling Mini is roomy enough for my family of 5 and then some. The Goombas each have their own seat with their own space. No squishing carseats together for us. When we go on our long drives across the mid-west, we have plenty of room for our suitcases, 2 coolers with food and drinks, an air mattress (just in case), toys for all, dvd players and dvds, diapers, pillows, blankies, and the kitchen sink. And we are all still comfy. My double stroller and my umbrella stroller both fit nicely in the trunk space. And I can carry all kinds of unnecessary extras in my stow and go areas.

I would like, now, to move on to the doors. First, they are automatic. When you are wrestling two toddlers, carrying a diaper bag, and an armload of library books, it is a relief to be able to just hit a button and throw them all in the van at once without having to put anyone/anything on the ground. Hands full of groceries? Hit the button. Chasing your 2-year old through the Target parking lot? Hit the button and chase him in. It's really quite amazing. Whoever thought of the automatic door button is a pure genius and obviously the parent of small children. (By the way, SUV owners, I know your trunk might open automatically, but do your doors? I didn't think so.)

We are going to stick with the doors for a moment. This might be the very, very, very best feature in all the world. The doors slide open. Oh, sliding doors, how I love you so! Think back to when your little ones were in the "bucket." You know, the carseat that is like a little baby bucket that you take in and out of the automobile. The bucket is supposed to make your life easier. Apparently the inventor of the bucket never had to lug a 10 pound infant around in it. And if you are not He-Man, that hunk of plastic can be really hard to get in and out of a car! When Mario was a baby, we drove a compact car. And of course he had to sit in the middle. It was a struggle for me every single time to get him in and out in that thing. Not with my Mini, though! Once Luigi and Peach came along, we had sliding doors that open nice and wide and seats that aren't as low to the ground as one of these cars from Bedrock. Mini, my back would like to thank you!

Still not done with the awesomeness of sliding doors. Think back to the last time you were in a parking lot and some whack-job parked over the line, into your space. Were you able to get your kids in and out with your "regular" doors? The answer is probably no, unless you are a family of either super duper skinny people, or contortionists. But, with my sliding doors, I can easily have room to get the Goombas in and buckle them up, without sucking in my mommy belly and having the door hit my in my tush.

Still not convinced? Can your SUV or sedan move the seats around into any number of combinations? No? Ninny-ninny, boo-boo! My Mini can! Right now we have a unique set up. Mario and Luigi are in the back row. The middle passenger side seat is folded into it's stow and go and Peach sits in the middle row behind the driver. It's awesome. I can help Luigi buckle in without climbing over seats. I can store pretty much every stroller I own in the back and use the space where the middle seat usually is to put my groceries. On a long trip, we flip that seat up so I can sit with the kids. When we get our Christmas tree, we can fold down the entire passenger side for the tree to fit. Do you see where I am going with this? We can haul anything from kids to groceries to trees.

Most Daddies I know hate the thought of a Mini-Van. But Bowser? He loves it. Here is his Two Cents on the matter:
Does your SUV average 25 MPG on road trips? Maintenance is also a piece of cake for those of us that are car savvy. All the back seats fold into the floor. If I need to get a few sheets of plywood and a dozen 2x4's for a project, yep they all fit.

Also, the stow and go provides excellent space for beer---er, um, I mean soda, for those long days at the park or soccer practice. Is one of your kids' friends coming over after school? Just pop the seat out of stow and go and you are on your way.

Who cares if the wife hits the minivan with a shopping cart or if Luigi barfs in the back, yet again. After all - it is a minivan we are talking about, that is what it is meant for.

Thank you, dear Bowser! That is one Daddy that knows what he is talkin' about!

I really could go on and on about how and why I love my Mini so very much. I never pictured myself being one of "those" moms with a van full of kids, goldfish crackers squished everywhere, milk dried into each cup holder, wrappers and old magazines all over, and a strange smell emanating from the vehicle. But, you know what? It turns out I am one of those moms. And for all the naysayers that think that makes me uncool, well, they can kiss my mini-van lovin' tush!