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

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Happy Birthday, Bowser!

Dearest Bowser,

Happy Birthday, my love! For your "old age" birthday, I thought I would take a few minutes to write to you and tell you all the reasons I love you so...

~You have an uncanny ability to make me laugh. Even when I am throwing pizzas against the wall, you can come up with crazy comment, straight out of left field, that makes me giggle and step back from my anger. That is not easy to do, but somehow you are able to do it.

~You are a wonderful father to the Goombas. You let them crawl all over you, bother you during work in the middle of the day, and leave random toys in your office. You can make them all giggle with glee and scream with delight with your silly faces and games. When you come out of your office at the end of the day, they all jump around and yell, "Daddy! Daddy! It's time for fun!" You read them stories, change their diapers and tell them the monsters are gone. I am lucky to have a partner like you in this insanity-inducing job of parenting.

~You are so super duper smart. Computers? Piece of cake. Construction? Been there, done that. House projects? Eh, too easy. Homework for you and the kids? Done and done. If there is a question, you have an answer. And you don't show it off, which makes it that much more likable about you.

~You still have the same nice tush you had when I met you way back when in college. 'Nuff said.

~You listen to me sing in the car, even though I know I am totally awful and it pierces your eardrums.

~You play Wii with Mario and you let him tell you how to play. It drives me crazy to listen to it, but you have a wealth of patience that I will never understand.

~You let Luigi "help" you with projects even though you know he is going to try to eat the screws, or water himself instead of the plants.

~You always said you wouldn't know what to do with a daughter, but now that you have one, you are wrapped tightly around her little finger. Whatever Peach wants, Peach gets. I love how she is her Daddy's Girl.

~You listen to my Dad's "Ham Sandwich Theory" every time we visit them.

~You love beer with almost the same passion as I do. Which means you put up with having more Keystone Light in our fridge than milk and soda together. And that makes you a worthy man in my book.

~You take care of our family and provide for us. And of course, I only married you for your money, so there is that, too. (**Disclaimer--I did NOT marry Bowser for his money, although in a heated battle, he once told me that he thought I did.)

So, thanks, Bowser for being you. It's been 12+ years together. I have seen you go from young, crazy college guy to responsible husband and father, and I'm glad I have been here for the journey. I'm looking forward to being with you when all your hair really does fall out and you reach your "really old age."

I love you!
your lovely wife,

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

My Favorite Time of Year

Beyond Christmas, or my birthday, or even St. Patrick's day, there are 2 days coming up that are probably my absolute favorite days of the year. It is Back-To-School time!!! Can you hear Moms across the world rejoicing? It's not that we don't love our cherubs. It's not that we haven't had fabulous summers full of fighting over Wii remotes and who used their brother's toothbrush. It's not even that we have been dragging kids around in 100 degree heat to things we thought would entertain them, but they deem boring. It's just that it is back to routine, consistency, and kids at school!

Today is the day that kicks it all off. School Supply Shopping Day! There is just something so exhilarating about buying all new stuff for school. I'm not sure the Goombas share in my joy over this blessed day, but they know that it makes Mommy giddy, and that is good enough for them. New crayons, sharp pencils with no eaten erasers, glue sticks, shiny sharp scissors...it's all so magical!

I just love how my friend, the Amazing Ms. B, describes the thrill of new school supplies:

"I get giddy when I see bins of glue sticks and crayons. I literally cannot pass by a twenty-five cent box of crayons without buying several unneeded boxes, which I did yesterday. What a deal!!! I secretly open the boxes and admire the unmarred crayon tips, and take a deep satisfying sniff of the childhood smell. I buy erasers and rub them between my fingers. I put new colorful pencil tip erasers on all of the pencils that I can find in the house, and send extras for my kids for when their erasers run down. My daughter adds colorful erasers with glee and packs them into her pencil bag carefully. That's my girl.

And oh the pencils!!! Ok, really, this is what it all comes down to for me. The pencils. Between my kids they required 60 pencils for their school year. SHARPENED! I love nothing more than sharpening pencils. I listen happily to the sound of grinding wood as I happily sharpen, sharpen, sharpen. After each pencil I test the lead tip to make sure it won't break and then, and THEN, I smell them. Each newly sharpened pencil is a fresh scent of delight!"

You are so very right, Ms. B. I really think Yankee Candle and Crayola should join forces so we can have fresh Crayola and sharpened pencil smell whenever we want.

The real fun for me comes when we get home, though. I love---I mean, the Goombas love to open the stuff and arrange it all neatly in their art boxes. I get such---oops, THEY get such joy out of labeling folders and large pink erasers. Then I--ha ha, again, I meant WE, pack it all ever so neatly into the backpacks and set them on the counter to await my next favorite day of the year....

The First Day of School! In the words of the great Lewis Carroll, "O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!" My love for the First Day of School started when I was young. I was one of those total nerds that looked forward to and was excited about going back to school every year. I used to wake up early, get dressed in my awesome new clothes and skip out the door. Now the excitement is a little bit different. Instead of new clothes and a hearty breakfast, it is my "nice" sweat pants and a margarita in my coffee mug as I skip out the door.

Although only Mario has been in school so far, this year Luigi will be starting preschool. He is so thrilled! Two first days for us this year. I'll admit, I get a little sentimental when I bring them to their classroom and say good-bye, but that usually goes away once I get home and realize that I have just a tiny bit more freedom to get something done. With only one Goomba hanging on my leg 3 mornings a week, I just might get a project or two accomplished.

And so the countdown is on. Two weeks till school starts. We are going to cram the fun in as much as we can over the next couple of weeks. Since we start school on a Thursday, we will have "practice runs" Monday - Wednesday of that week. I will iron uniforms with glee and gladly take Luigi shopping for a non-Thomas shirt. We will buy lots of delicious (but, of course totally cool) food for packing in lunch boxes. We will go to Family Nights, meet teachers, check out classrooms and then, before we know it...it will be here!!!

So, to all you Moms out there anxiously awaiting that most sacred day of the year...Cheers to you! You made it through another summer! Enjoy your supply shopping and back to school prep. I'll see you mid-August for a breakfast margarita soon!


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Just What I Needed (or...Back to Reality)

Whew...what a weekend! First of all, I must say a HUGE thank you to my fabulous Mom-In-Law for taking care of the Goombas while we were away. I know it couldn't have been a particularly easy 4 days and 3 nights, because as she was leaving our house, MIL said, "I'm going to go have a drink!" I hear ya, MIL, I totally get it. Thank you so very much for allowing Bowser and I to have a weekend away. It was a much needed break and we owe you BIG TIME!

And now, for those of you that have been sitting on the edge of your seats, waiting for details, here is the low-down on Wedding Weekend Extravaganza...

It was a great weekend. I was able to hang out with 2 of my aunts that I haven't seen in far too long. We met lots of awesome new friends. Bowser bought shots for everyone and their mother (including my mother) on Thursday night. The food was amazing. The bride was beautiful. The groom was handsome. The beer flowed like wine. The dancing was loud and fun and, at times, raunchy. My Spanx (girdle for those of you not in the know) came off early in the evening, but my shoes stayed on far too long. We closed down the bar on Thursday and were there when it opened again on Friday...and Saturday, for that matter. We slept late. We said bad words out loud and didn't feel guilty. And we even called to check on the Goombas once or twice.

Some highlights of the weekend:

~To begin with...we parked at one of those airport parking lots. Not the ones at the airport, the one that you have to take a bus to and from. We parked, dragged our bags over to the bus and hopped on. I was still on a high from leaving the kids, when I looked towards the front of the bus and saw, "Your driver today is...Jesus." Ok, ok, I know that it was probably "Hay-soos", but really, when you see that Jesus is your driver, you know it is going to be a good weekend.

~After the wedding on Friday night, we hopped into a cab with my parents to get back to the hotel. The cab smelled like peaches. Not just any peaches, mind you, but that fake, sicky-sweet, sugar peach smell. And it was AWESOME! I have been in many taxi-cabs throughout my life, and none, I repeat, NONE, have ever smelled so amazingly delicious. When I mentioned this to Mr. Taxi-Man, he replied, "Well, of course! It better than smell like fart, right?"

~At the reception, somewhere between belting out the lyrics to "Shot Through the Heart" and my 3rd rum and coke, a lovely lady came over to introduce herself. I said I was the sister of the groom and she said, "Oh! The one with the blog, right?" Aak! A total stranger is reading this! Joy of joys! Darling Ms. G, you made my whole MONTH by telling me that! Thank you, and keep on readin' sistah!

~On Saturday, we decided on seafood for lunch. I love seafood, don't get me wrong (when I "see food" I eat it!) but I'm not sure that I was prepared to have Mr. Lobster staring at me with his beady little black eyes. I must say, though, my red-shelled friend, you were a tasty treat.

By Sunday, we were tired and hungover, but also refreshed and ready to get back to responsibility. I missed Peach's curly hair and sloppy kisses. I missed Luigi saying, "You my best friend, Mommy." And I missed Mario's blow by blow description of the most recently conquered level of Mario Galaxy.

So, now we are back to reality. Back to the old grind. Back to the whining and temper tantrums and the diapers. Back to hugs and messy kisses and sticky hand prints all over my body. And it feels good to be home.

Congrats again to my Bro and his new Mrs! It was a lovely wedding and I'm glad we were able to be a part of it.


Sunday, July 11, 2010

A Weekend Away

My baby brother is getting married this weekend. I want to start by saying that: 1) It makes me feel old that my BABY brother is taking the plunge and getting hitched. I remember when he was born. How is it possible that he is old enough for this to happen, 2) I am very happy that he has found the love of his life, and 3) I SOOOO can't wait for him to have kids. They are gonna love Auntie Daisy! And I am gonna love watching he and the Mrs. navigate parenthood. Insert Dr. Evil maniacal laugh here--Mwa-ha-ha-ha!

I am very excited for the pending nuptials, but I think, perhaps, what I am the most excited about, is that Bowser and I are getting an ENTIRE child-free weekend. That hasn't happened since...well...since we were actually child-free. The Goombas will be spending four glorious days with Grandma and Grandpa. They are so excited that they are already counting down the seconds till they get their "vacation" at Grandma's house. When I asked Mario if he would miss us while we were gone, he replied, "I will pretend if you want me to." Thanks, honey. Don't worry, the feeling is mutual.

I imagine Thursday morning to go something like this...
7:20 a.m. -- Grandma arrives to pick up Goombas.
7:23 -- Give Grandma list of important info (ie: medication, pediatrician number, false contact info for Mom and Dad).
7:25 -- Say good-bye, kiss Goombas, lots of hugs and snuggles.
7:26 -- Bowser and I jump in car, screaming "FREEDOM!!!!!!!!!!!" Braveheart style, at the top of our lungs, laughing all the way to the airport.

Please, don't get me wrong. I love my children with all my heart and soul. Of course I will miss them. But, they have been in constant contact with my body since, I think, forever. A weekend away is just what the doctor ordered.

Oh, to lie in a hotel bed, with the shades pulled till sometime past 6:30 a.m. To go out for the evening without worrying about getting home too late for the babysitter. To wear a beautiful dress without vomit or snot wiped down the front--unless, of course, it is my own. High heels, champagne, no dirty diapers. Four full days of being Daisy again. Not Mom. Just Daisy. I can hardly contain myself.

I am so giddy with excitement, in fact, that I already have my bags packed. As a self-proclaimed Queen of Procrastination, this is a big deal. My strappy dancing shoes are in the bag, along with a vast assortment of large earrings that I can't wear around the Goombas. (I happen to like my earlobes, the Goombas like to see how far they will stretch when they pull on said large earrings.) Who knows...I might even pack the "fancy panties" for the weekend. Of course, since I haven't worn them since pre-kids, they might not look so "fancy" anymore, so maybe scratch that.

The thing is, I just want to catch that glimpse of the old me again. The irresponsible, fun-loving, party girl. Because, I know that after just a couple of days, I'll be ready to come back and be the me that I am now. Mommy to the Goombas, responsible, still fun-loving Daisy.

So, congrats to you, Lil' Bro and Almost-Mrs. Lil' Bro! I can't wait to see you both this weekend! If you have trouble finding me, I'll be the one planted strategically between the bar and the dance floor the entire night.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Toy Madness

It is official. The toys have taken over my house. They are everywhere. In the living room, littering the bedrooms, trailing into the bathrooms, hanging around the kitchen, sneaking up under my feet, hiding under the couches.... Are you getting the picture? The toys are literally everywhere. I would even venture to say that we have more toys than an actual toy store.

I am not really sure how it got this out of control. I remember a time, long, long ago, when all of Mario's little baby toys fit into one basket in our living room. Then it was 2 baskets. Then a bucket. Then some started going into his room. When we moved into our current house, I had a nice little set up in the living room with some storage bins.

When Luigi came along, I thought our stock of fun items would maybe double. But, as the French would say, "au contraire, mon frère." They do not only double, they actually multiply exponentially. Then, when you add a girl to the mix, it is really like starting all over again, since, obviously, no girl can play with--GASP!--used Matchbox cars! And so you once again multiply the vastness of the toy collection by the next exponent. (**Disclaimer--I do not know, nor do I claim to know anything about math beyond, say, a first grade level. But, I would imagine that multiplying by the next exponent means a helluva lot of stuff.)

In an effort to try to contain the plethora of toys into one space, we gave up our dining room and turned it into a full blown room of fun. The Goombas have their very own Toy Room. I put a carpet over the hardwood floors to make it cozy. We hung brightly colored kid stuff on the walls. We put bins and baskets and a kid size table in the room. It looked so very nice--for about 13 seconds. Then the kids went in to play. Suddenly nothing was in it's well organized space anymore. Toys scattered into the far corners of the room and most have never found their way home again.

Then, slowly, they began migrating out of the Toy Room. Suddenly bins were showing up back in the living room. Some toys, the ones that aren't played with much, were sent to the basement where they are flung far and wide. Other toys, the "special" toys, migrated into bedrooms. And yet, the Toy Room was also still chock full of stuff! It's not like once it left the Toy Room there was an empty space. Oh no, no, no! Once one toy leaves, it is as though another one magically appears to take it's place.

Just a few weeks ago, I decided to tackle the monstrous mass of toys. I threw away everything that was broken. I made a donate pile for things the Goombas don't play with anymore. And I found a spot for everything else. I moved everything that had migrated into the living room, back into the Toy Room. My house was mine again for an entire 23 minutes, and then naptime was over and, well... I'm sure you can guess what has happened since.

I try to get the Goombas to help pick up every night. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Frankly, at the end of every day, I am so exhausted that I usually just kick the toys around to make a path up to my bed. It's not like they won't all be out again tomorrow, so really, why even bother?

The way I see it, someday my living room will be completely toy-free. I will have fancy knick-knacks on my coffee table and no fingerprints on the television. I won't step on trains and legos anymore. I won't wake up to strange voices because the cat knocked a "talking" dolly off the bookshelf. I won't sit on the couch and feel a pile of stuffed animals "camping" under the cushions. And I have a strange feeling that I will miss those things.

So, maybe my house looks a little untidy. Maybe the toys take up more living space than our actual family does. But, that is ok with me. And now, I must sign off. I have to make a path from my bed to my bathroom so that I don't slip on one of our hundreds of Matchbox cars in the middle of the night.


Friday, July 2, 2010

A Visit from the Parents

Aaaahhh...I am breathing a sigh of relief right now. At this very moment, my Mom is sitting at our kitchen table, drinking coffee and entertaining the Goombas. Words cannot even begin to describe how happy I am that Zazzy and Papa are here.

When they arrived last night, the house filled with shrieks of joy. And the kids were pretty excited, too. Peach clamored over Zazzy, while Mario and Luigi glued themselves to Papa's sides. At dawn this morning, all three Goombas were standing at their door trying to decide if it would be ok to go wake them up. I, myself, was thinking the same thing.

I love when Zazzy and Papa are here for so very many reasons. The first and foremost is that I miss them so much. When I was young, I couldn't wait to get out of my parents house. College couldn't come fast enough. Then I got married and, sure, I missed them, but there was always the phone and email. Then, the Goombas came. I decided then that, given the chance, I would just move back in with them. I call them three times a day, and I count days in between visits.

A close second, in my favorite things about a visit from the 'rents, is that they LOVE to play with and spend time with the Goombas. Which, in turn, means free time for Mommy! Not that I go out and do anything by myself. But, I actually have my hands free to do things like unload the dishwasher in one fell swoop, rather than having to sneak in a dish here and there throughout the morning. The Goombas love the undivided attention and the fact that Zaz and Pap don't yell as much as their crazy mother.

Some more things that make their visits the happiest of times...
~Zazzy always tackles and destroys Mt. Washmore for me. When she leaves there is not a spot of dirty laundry left in the house. Of course, by the next day, the mountain is piled high again, but for that short, glorious time, there is no laundry to do.

~Papa always does a project for me. You know how you can ask your husband over and over again to hang up that picture in the hallway? And there just never seems to be time to get it done? I save all those projects for my Daddy and he does them with glee. Well, maybe not glee, but he does them and it makes me all warm and fuzzy inside to finally see our family portrait from 3 years ago hanging outside my bedroom.

~When my parents are here there is an endless supply of beer and food. I don't have to count points, or cut myself off. The kids also thoroughly enjoy this because in addition to beer and food, this also means there is an endless supply of sugary treats. Which is fine with me. (*See above, RE: they watch the kids)

~We play lots of card games and laugh a LOT. I feel I must tell a story here...
One evening, Bowser, Zazzy, Papa and I were playing a heated game of Phase 10 (if you have never played this game, I highly recommend it) when we started discussing song lyrics. I said, "You know that song, Muskrat Love? How dumb is that? Nibbling on bacon, chewing on cheese? They must have been on crack!" Now, I will preface what is about to happen with the fact that I am notorious for mis-interpreting song lyrics. So, Papa said, "Yeah, right. That is not what they say. It was a really popular song." A friendly argument ensued and so I went to my iPod and played "Muskrat Love," by The Captain and Tenille. (Please, don't ask why I have The Captain and Tenille on my iPod. Maybe it is me that is on crack.) Sure enough, the lyrics belted out, "Nibbling on bacon, Chewin' on cheese..." Papa laughed so hard that he actually fell out of his chair. We laughed so hard at Papa falling out of his chair that Zazzy and I might have pee'd in our pants just a tiny bit. Now it has become tradition, every time we get out the card game, we also have to put "Muskrat Love" on the iPod.

And now, as I am relaxing with my coffee, writing my humble little blog, my Mommy is sweeping my floor and making plans with the Goombas. Papa is holding Peach and letting her pet his beard. Oh happy, happy day! I can tell this is going to be a GREAT weekend! Oooh, look! Beer and donuts for breakfast...I just LOVE when my parents are here!