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

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Best Game EVER!

My family and I have a game that we play occasionally that is truly the best game ever. I can't quite remember exactly where it came from...but, I'm pretty sure that it happened one day after a trip to Costco. This game has brought our family hours, and I do mean HOURS, of entertainment. It's called The Toilet Paper Game.

The premise of the TP Game is simple. Bowser sits at the bottom of the stairs, while Mario and Luigi go to the half-way landing. Then they throw rolls of toilet paper up and down the stairs at each other. Ok. Now that I have written that out, it sounds a little ridiculous. But, really, don't knock it till you try it.

Here is how a typical game goes...

First, we decide to play the TP Game. At least 3 rolls are necessary for a really good game. And not those rolls you buy at the grocery store that come in a 6-pack. You need the Costco brand, where each roll is individually wrapped. The individual wrapping is especially important as you will quickly discover if you ever decide to bring the fun of the TP Game to your home. So, the Goombas run to the bathroom and grab 3-5 rolls and assume the position.

The game usually starts out with Bowser hitting one of them on the tush while they are crawling up the stairs. Hysterical laughing ensues and the TP starts flying. Bowser will throw several rolls up the stairs all at once while the Goombas try to catch them. Usually they don't actually catch them. Someone just gets hit in the head, then while they are laughing the other one gets hit in the head and they laugh even harder. Then they try to get Daddy by throwing them all at once. Peach has only recently joined in the fun. She crawls after the stray rolls and brings them back to Daddy, while he continues to pelt the boys with flying rolls of bathroom tissue.

Different rules have come up of the course of the past few years of TPG playing. First of all, if you hit a Koopa Troopa, you get extra points. Of course. Good thing KT 1 has learned to run and hide. KT 2 still thinks it is funny to try to play. She'll learn, though. Also, if you hit Mommy you get "double" extra points. I am usually a spectator of this fabulously creative sport, but when I have to walk through the playing field, it is on like Donkey Kong. (What the heck does that saying even mean???) I get hit by TP rolls coming from all directions. And they all think this is wildly funny. Then I try to throw them back and I miss everyone, because I throw like a girl, and that makes everything all the more amusing. There are "troll tolls," no-hitting-the-baby rules, no throwing during time-outs, roll exchanges when the wrapper starts to come off, and all kinds of other illogical, but totally necessary rules for play.

The game can last anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours. Things usually come to an end when a) someone's laughter turns into tears (because we all know kids can go from crazed giggles to uncontrollable sobs in less than 2.5 seconds), b) Mommy ruins the fun and decides it's bedtime, or c) all the TP starts to unravel because the wrappers are thoroughly destroyed. **A side note--if you ever come over and find a ratty looking roll of shredded TP by the potty, fear not. It was just a part of the TP Game at one time or another.

So, the next time your family has some free time and the kids are complaining of boredom, just head to your bathroom and make yourself some good, old-fashioned, toilet paper fun. I promise you will all get a few giggles out of it.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Heaven is a Beer Fest

A few nights ago St. Peter gave me a tiny glimpse into what Heaven must look like. And it involves a lot of beer. I have never kept it a secret that I really like beer. I mean, really, really, really like beer. I would have to thank my dear old Dad for that. I still remember being about 3 years old and begging sips from my Dad's can of Schaffer. So, you see, beer and I, we go WAY back. But, I digress...

In a spur of the moment decision, I decided on Thursday to check Craigslist and I scored 4 tickets to the Great American Beer Festival. I called my Dad to brag a bit, and to hopefully entice him and The Zaz to come out for a quick weekend. Which is exactly what they did. Within a couple of hours, they were on the road, and I was making preparations. Little did I know what an awesome night we were all in for.

I met the Craigslist man downtown, got our tickets and then we went to wait in the line that wrapped almost the entire way around the convention center. Oh, Tom Petty, you were so right when you said, "The wai-ai-ting is the hardest part." But, finally, the line did start moving and within 20 minutes we were in the doors.

I want to point out here, that we went into the GABF with the best of intentions. The Zaz and Pop had a notebook, as did Bowser and I, to write down favorites and take notes about all of the beers we tried. We had each picked a "theme" to try...mine was wheat beers. We planned to try from different regions and compare our favorites. However, once we made it through the doors, we heard a chorus of angels singing from Heaven and then complete mayhem ensued.

We traded in our tickets for our tasting cups (you only taste 1 ounce of barley pop at a time) and then we instantly ran in four different directions looking for the closest beverage to try. Within seconds our carefully planned strategy existed no more. You may think that it would be impossible to get tipsy off of one ounce of beer at a time, but I must beg to differ. Think way back to your days of college (or high school, or your early 20s). Remember Power Hour? One ounce of beer every minute for 60 minutes. This was kind of like that, only it was one ounce of beer every minute for 4 full hours.

We tried lagers from Louisiana, ales from Arizona, ports from Pennsylvania, and wheats from Wisconsin. All in all there were more than 2,000 beers to sample. We didn't even come close to trying everything there, although we all put in a fairly good effort.

Some highlights from the evening...

~There was a lemon-basil wheat from New Orleans that I was especially partial to, and I'm pretty sure the brewmaster thinks I am nuts now. (I don't think it would be wise for me to go into detail at this point.)

~Someone puked in the middle of the floor and Bowser and my Dad stood there for about 20 minutes watching and laughing hysterically as unsuspecting beer-lovers wiped out in the chunky mess.

~Pretzel necklaces. After doing a bit of research on the GABF, Bowser informed me that everyone wears pretzel necklaces. At first, I thought he was crazy, but we bought pretzels and made ourselves some edible jewelry. And they were AWESOME. They looked great, and once the beer munchies set in, we were glad to have them.

~Bowser was walking behind a man in liederhosen and PBR suspenders. PBR Guy turned around and said, "Hey, I lost my tasting cup." So Bowser replied, "Man that sucks! Can you get another one?" PBR Guy looked at Bowser and slowly said, "Dude, you are not who I wanted to talk to, but I appreciate your genuine concern for my loss." Then he walked away with his arms in the air and shouted "I love this place!"

~I met the fabulous Mom from "Mommy Needs A Cocktail." She was selling some of her completely, unequivocally awesome t-shirts. Of which I bought three because I just couldn't decide which one I liked best. I highly recommend her blog and her store...it's like we are soul mates...we just think alike. Thanks so much, Ms. K!

~This might not be so much of a highlight, as a warning. Don't try the Kriek. It is some kind of Belgium cherry brew. And it tasted like one of the kids threw up in my mouth. In fact, the only thing that actually got written down in my little beer notebook was, "NEVER, EVER DRINK KREIK-VOMIT." That, my friends, was a direct quote.

~At one point in the night we found the Karaoke stage. I took a potty break and when I came back, I couldn't find my parents. I asked Bowswer, "Where are The Zaz and Pop?" He replied, "Up on stage singing Man-Eater." Lord help us all.

I want to thank my lovely, lovely friend, FK for offering to drive downtown and bring our intoxicated tushies home. I can't even imagine how amusing (or maybe annoying?) that drive was, but thank you so much my darling FK!

And now, I am fully convinced there is a Heaven, and that I should try a little bit harder to make it there. Because it must be a full-time Beer Festival. I'm already counting down till next year.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

No More Babies--The Good and the Bad

It dawned on me this weekend, as I was getting ready for Peach's birthday party, that I have no more babies. I mean, yes, all three of the Goombas still ACT like babies a lot of the time, but none of them are still actual babies. I'm not really sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, it is so nice to be almost done with diapers. On the other hand, I'm a little choked up over not having any more tiny little bundles of sleepy sweetness. Of course, when I mentioned this to Bowser, he looked at me as if I just told him I wanted to turn our kitchen into a meth lab. He has been over the baby phase for quite sometime, and while I agree about 99% of the time, there is still that little twinge of baby fever that sets in every now and then.

But, as with all phases of life, there are good and bad things about leaving the baby years behind. Here are some of the positive and negatives.

Positive--No more formula and bottles! Oh, Lordy, how I hated bottles! Yes, I was one of those "terrible" mothers that did not breastfeed. (No Judging Zone!) Since I was of the formula school of thought, that meant hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars a year on the liquid gold supplement. Bowser's wallet is very happy to be over that stage. Also, since my babies were all ravenous little piggies, we went through a lot of bottles every day. That meant I had to hand-wash them most of the time so that there would always be some clean. Let's just say, I have had enough bottle washing to last a lifetime. Good-bye and good riddance, Avent!

Negative--No more sweet slurping sounds, content sighs and sweet milky baby breath. Now it is gulping and belching, crying that the food Mommy cooked is gross, and disgusting pizza breath. It's just not as cute.

Positive--Children sleeping through the night!!! We still, of course, have lots of waking up for nightmares, or sick kiddos, but in general, we are all sleeping. What a relief! I thought I would be up 10 times a night for the rest of my life! I am finally starting to snap out of the sleep deprived stupor I have been in since Mario's arrival 7 1/2 years ago.

Negative--No more precious little baby burritos to snuggle with in the dark, quiet of the night. Because really, I don't think there could possibly be anything more blissful in the world than a sleeping baby's warm breath on your neck as you rock and doze together.

Positive--No more having to lug around 400 pounds of baby gear just to go to Grandma's house or the grocery store. Now that Luigi is potty trained, I only have to carry around a couple of diapers for Peach and a sippy cup for each of them. I am finally out of the diaper bag and into a regular old purse again! Yippee!

Negative--Now we have moved on to the gear with all the teeny-tiny pieces and a thousand moving parts. I can't even begin to tell you how many times I have almost broken my neck and cursed the "Gods of Toyland" from stepping on a Lego or a Matchbox car. Also, I used to be able to buy "generic" gear. Now they want specifics. If it isn't Mario, Mario doesn't want it. If it isn't Thomas, Luigi doesn't want it. If it isn't princess or Hello Kitty, Peach doesn't want it. Sometimes I long for the days of Crazy Cow the rattle.

Positive--Mommy is getting some free time back now that (almost) everyone is going to school. And I feel better about asking for baby-sitting trade-offs so that I can do some things alone. After having little humans attached to my body practically every second for the last 7 1/2 years, some freedom is kind of nice.

Negative--I'm not there for every minute little detail of their lives. Sometimes I have to hear an amazing accomplishment from a teacher. Which is a hard privilege to give up after being the one who was always there for so long.

Positive--The Goombas are each becoming their own person with their own personalities and quirks. I love to see the people they are becoming and it is so much fun to be able to interact with them through conversations and games. I also totally love that all three of them have a bonding moment every night at dinner when they sing "Yoshi Loves to Eat Some Poo." (To the tune of London Bridge.)

Negative--This also means that I am not the Most Important Person in their lives anymore. Which is a bummer. It is so nice when those sweet little people look at you like you are the most awesome being ever. Then they grow up and tell you you are the Meanest Mom Ever. But, if they are anything like my mother and me, eventually, in about 20 years, they will realize I am not so bad after all.

Positive--The Goombas are all able to communicate using words at this point. No more trying to figure out if this cry means hungry, poopy, or bored. It really is a wonderful thing.

Negative--They. NEVER. Stop. Talking. EVER! Bowser and I hardly talk anymore in the evenings because the Goombas talk SO VERY much all day long. We consider the silence totally golden. But, I know I should enjoy it now, because soon, they won't want to say a word to us and I will be begging for them to talk to me. And then we will be in a whole other stage.

There was a time when I never thought those long baby days would end. The days of diapers, spit up, crying, bottles... But, now that I look back, they were gone before I knew it. Will I miss those days? Yes. Am I excited about moving on to a new stage in my children's lives? Heck, yes! One good thing is that almost all of my friends are currently expecting new little ones. This means that when the "fever" hits, I can just head over to their houses, snuggle a baby, and then come home to my walking, talking, growing Goombas. And that sounds perfect to me.


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Happy Birthday to my Sweet Baby Peach!

To my dear, sweet Peach,
Happy 2nd Birthday, Little Girl! I cannot believe how fast your 2 first years of life have flown by. You are so much fun to have around. Daddy and I sometimes can’t stop staring at you with your big blue eyes and crazy, curly hair…you are so beautiful! You are such happy little girl, and so good, too, but you sure have already given us a few gray hairs.

My darling daughter, here are some of the things that I love the most about you…

~Your wild, crazy, Shirley-Temple-curly hair. I have to admit, I don’t even know how to begin to style it. It’s not only curly, but it is frizzy, too, because you sleep on it and rub your head around. There are days when your hair actually gives you almost another 6 inches of height and makes you look like a mad scientist. And I love it. I wouldn’t trade your precious curls for anything.

~You are a major flirt. If there is a boy within 100 feet of you, you will bat your thick eyelashes and give a shy little look over your shoulder. When we carpooled last year with a 6th grader from Mario’s school, you would get all doe-eyed when he would get in the car. You would share your Goldfish crackers with him (which you never do with your brothers) and you would keep saying his name to get him to turn around and look at you. And of course, he fell for it hook, line and sinker. Daddy better go buy a gun now, because if you keep this up, you are going to have every man you ever meet wrapped around that pretty little finger of yours.

~You adore your brothers unconditionally. No matter how mean they are to you, you still worship the ground they walk on. Mario loves Wii, so you love all things Wii. Luigi loves Thomas the Tank Engine, so you love all things Thomas. When they decide to give you some attention, you look at them with an expression on your face that I imagine my face would look like if Ashton Kutcher paid any attention to me. You revel in it. Sometimes Mario will get you giggling so hard that I think you are going to burst. Other times, you and Luigi will chase poor Koopa Troopa 2 around the kitchen till you are all dizzy and then you will laugh and laugh. I love that you love them so much. And I love that they are going to be there to protect you forever.

~You will eat anything that I put in front of you. No, I am not kidding. Anything. No cooking a separate meal of grilled cheese and apple sauce for you, Girlie! Steak, chili, buffalo wings, pickles, salad, fish, and so much more. At one meal, you can eat more than both of your brothers put together. Maybe someday you will need to worry about that, but for now, my love, eat away and enjoy!

~You were so very good and calm when you were in your spica cast for 3 months. It was me who was the basket case. You just dealt with it and kept on enjoying being you. Oh sure, you cried after each surgery, and I could tell when the cast would be getting too tight, but all in all you handled it like the rock star that you are. Even though you mostly wanted to sleep with me in the rocking chair during those months, I have to admit, snuggling with you while you slept was so very nice. I was so proud of you during those months. And now, I fully expect you to become a gold metal gymnast in the Olympics to make up for that time.

~I love that you are SO very girlie! From very early on, you have loved all things sparkly (just like me!), and all things princess (just like me!). It sure is fun to have some pink around the house. I love that you (almost always) let me fix your hair in piggy tails. I love that you want to wear my jewelry. I love that you are already opinionated about the clothes you want to wear. I love that you want to watch princess movies with me. And Daddy and I both love how snuggly and kissy-faced you are. You love to give kisses and we love to get ‘em.

~When you crawl, you do this adorable little head-bobbing thing, like you are prancing. It is probably the most insanely cute thing I have ever seen. Now that you are learning how to walk, you are bobbing your head and doing a marchy-kicky kind of walk. I love it. I totally see performing in your future.

I remember when I found out I was expecting you...I realized it when I fell asleep in a parking lot and woke up craving pepperoncinis. It was such a surprise that Daddy tried to read the directions on the pregnancy test in Spanish and got angry when he couldn't understand them. You have been the sweetest surprise we ever had.

Little Loaf, I am so happy to be your Mommy. I am looking forward to playing dress-up with you, having tea parties, arguing with you when you are a teenager, watching you walk down the aisle to meet your prince someday, and being there when you hold your own baby for the first time.

I love you so much! Happy Birthday, Curly!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Cinderella Story

I recently had a wonderful evening with my daughter. While all the boys were camping, Peach and I had a girlie weekend all to ourselves. After dinner that evening, I asked if she wanted to watch a princess movie. "Pincess, uh-huh!" Oh what glee!!! She seemed kind of excited, too. This was the moment I had been waiting for since I found out there were no "twig and berries" in the ultrasound. I finally had my little girl and we were going to share the love of Disney fairytales together.

I popped in the DVD and Peach and I snuggled up on the couch and settled in to watch Cinderella, which of course, we all know is by far the BEST of the princess movies. Peach seemed to enjoy the movie, especially the mice and the birds. She laughed hysterically when Lucifer tried to catch Gus Gus and missed him. Then her attention started to fade. Oh sure, she still watched bits and pieces, but she also started chasing Koopa Troopa 2 around the living room. I, on the other hand, was riveted to the television.

I forgot how much I love this movie, but also how stressed out it can make me. Allow me to explain... The movie is great. It is the quintessential dream of every girl to escape their evil upbringing and marry a handsome prince. I love it. But, I gotta tell ya, when Stepmother follows Cinderella up the stairs and locks her in her tower room, I kind of freak out. Ok, I know what is going to happen, but I swear to you, every single time I watch this movie, I am terrified that the mice won't get the key up the stairs in time.

So, here is how it went down when I watched it with Peach the other night. As I said, she lost interest and started chasing KT 2 around. I kept my eyes fixated on the screen. She needed milk. Despite the fact that I have seen this movie about 2,465 times, I still had to pause it in case I missed a critical moment. Then she wanted "uppies" on the couch, then down, then uppies, then down.... Meanwhile, I am biting my fingernails because Lucifer caught Gus Gus under the cup at the top of the stairs just as he was about to slip the key under the door. In an effort to keep Peach quiet and occupied, I painted her toenails. Then, AAAAAAAUUUUGHHHH!!! Stepmother tripped the idiot footman and the glass slipper broke! I realized at this point that I am a 31-year-old woman holding my breath over the fact that Cinderella might not get her prince. Because we all know how movies just spontaneously change if you haven't watched them in a while.

Then, finally, a sigh of relief. Cinderella made it downstairs just before the Duke left and luckily she still had the other slipper in her pocket to prove she was the Prince's true love. Whew! That was close. I looked at Peach and said, "Did you like the princess movie?" She, in turn, looked at me like she suddenly knew she was going to have a lot of crazy to deal with throughout her years at home.

All in all, it was really a lovely evening with my sweet little girl. A mommy, her daughter and a suspenseful movie about a princess. Does life get any better?