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

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Sibling Rivalry

I have two younger brothers. They are 4 and 7 years younger than me, respectively. And I remember ALWAYS getting along with them. We loved each other all the time and never fought, never beat each other up, never crimped each other's hands in crimping irons... Basically, we got along splendidly and never gave the Zaz and Pop ANY grief.

Which is why I can't figure out why my Goombas just can't seem to get along. It is a never ending stream of screaming, tattling, and trying to maim each other. I just don't get it. Seems like every time they get to playing a game together, I start to relax and walk away for like a second and a half, and then they are at each other again.

For example... Here is an interaction between Luigi and Peach from the other day...

Luigi: Peach, let's go play school!
Peach: Ok!
Luigi: You come with me, and we will play.
Peach: (ponders for a moment, then reaches out to pinch Luigi for no apparent reason) I crunch you! (followed by maniacal laugh)
Luigi: AAAAHHH!!! You crunched me, Peach! Mommy, Peach crunched me!!! (turns and knocks her down on her tush.)
Peach: AAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!! I crunch you, Luigi!!!! Crunch, crunch, CRUNCH!!! AAAAHHHHHHH!!!!!!
Luigi: (at this point, screaming at more than 8,000 decibels) AAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!! PEACH!!!! NNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!
Peach: (simultaneously) AAAAAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! LUIGIIIIIIII!!!!!!!!! NNNNNNOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mommy: sigh....

It doesn't matter what it is, they will fight about it. She got a bigger package of fruit snacks than me! I wanted to be the first one down the stairs! You didn't yell at him for drawing on the walls! You hugged her for .32 nanoseconds longer than you hugged me! It is enough to make this mother run for the hills screaming.

I feel like a broken record most days. Stop hitting your sister. Stop crunching your brother. If you can't play nicely, you can't play at all! Once, I even pulled one of my mother's old tricks out of the hat. When Mario and Luigi couldn't seem to agree on anything one afternoon, they started screaming that they hated each other. So, I made them sit on the couch for 5 minutes holding hands. I thought the daggers that were shooting out of Mario's eyes would actually kill me. I don't think it made them like each other, but let's just say they didn't bother each other for the next hour or so.

The only thing that is keeping me from selling my fighting little monkeys off to the gypsies at this point, is knowing that it will get better. Ok, fine, I'll admit, my brothers and I did not always love each other as much as we do today. And yes, I crimped one of their hands once. (Not my finest moment, I'll admit.) But, now, we get along really well and I would like to think we would all do anything for each other. And even though Bowser and his brothers and sister had their moments too (Bowser still has a scar near his eye from being hit with a C battery thrown by one of his brothers) they also now love and support each other through it all.

Unfortunately for me, today is not that day for the Goombas. I better get upstairs and make sure everyone still has all their limbs in tact.


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

To My Daddy,

I just wanted to take a minute, on this Father's Day, to tell you thanks so much for being my dad. I would like to get all mushy and gooey here, but we both know that neither one of us is really into that, so instead, I will give you a top 10 list of why I think you are the best.

So, in Random Order...
The Top 10 Things I love about my Daddy...

10. You didn't make fun of me (to my face) when I tried to use a toy cricket to lure a very real and very annoying cricket out of the corner of my room one very, very late night. You just did your duty, came downstairs with a can of bug spray, sprayed the sucker and said, "For the love of God, put the damn toy away and GO TO SLEEP!"

9. When I used to have friends spend the night, you would mash up Tootsie Rolls and put them in my baby brother's diapers and pretend to eat "poop." It grossed us out, but guess what...we LOVED it! Also, broccoli up the nose was always a close second for fun dinner time tricks.

8. When I was in college, I called you at work one day crying because I didn't have enough money in my bank account to go buy tampons. So, my hero Daddy, promptly deposited $20 for me, so that I could buy some feminine hygiene products, and a beer. Thanks, Dad!

7. When my beloved cat, Smudge, died while I was away on a high school journalism trip, my Dad sat me down to gently break the news. Then he drove me out to the spot where he buried him so that we could put a small marker on his grave. And he didn't even care that I cried like a baby the entire time. In fact, truth be told, I think he might have even squeezed a tear out as well.

6. Dad, you put up with a lot of crappy boyfriends that I brought home. I mean, A LOT of crappy boyfriends. Wow. You must have really loved me and wanted me to be happy to allow me to bring some of those guys over for dinner. Yeeeaaahhhh..... Ummm.... Sorry 'bout that.

5. Ok, I've been trying to put it off and not actually "go there," but I think we all know it needs to be said. Daddy, you instilled in me a great love and respect for the golden, bubbly beverage that we affectionately like to call the "Nectar of the Gods." I can remember the trailer in good, old West Virginia, taking sips of your Schaeffer on hot afternoons. Wait. That kinda makes us sound trashy, doesn't it? But, look at us now, all big and fancy, going to events like the Great American Beer Fest. Dad, there is no one in the world I would rather Beer Fest with than you.

4. When I left for college, you held out your hand for a firm handshake. I was so devastated. My Daddy didn't even want to hug me good-bye?? I reached out to give a weak handshake, and lo and behold---my Dad's hand was full of cash!!!! Woo hoo! The "handshake" became a tradition that lasted through my college years. Don't worry, there were hugs too.

3. Dad, you taught me how to love good music. Yes, I had my bad years--I thought your head would explode every time I asked you to play the New Kids On the Block cd. But, also, you taught me a very, very important lesson when it comes to listening to great songs... If anyone makes even the slightest "peep" while your song is playing, you must immediately go back to the song's beginning to listen to it in it's entirety without interruption. The Goombas have now learned this important lesson, although, I am still working on Bowser.

2. Do you remember the first time you met Bowser? I could practically hear your heart screaming, "NOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!" as the man that would eventually marry your daughter kept watering down his scotch. In the end, Bowser stopped watering his Dewar's down and asked for my hand in marriage. And since he agrees with your "ham sandwich" theory, you deemed him worthy.

1. At our wedding you gave the best Father-of-the-Bride toast EVER. We still talk about that toast. Even my friends still talk about that toast. And yes, I am very lucky to have married a man just like my Daddy in so many ways.

Dad, there are so many other things that I love, this is just a random sampling. You are a great Papa to the Goombas, you laughed at my "Have you been eating chicken lately" joke, and you have made it clear that I will always be your little girl.

Thanks for everything, Daddy. I love you! And now, I do believe, it is our favorite time of day... Beer:30!


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

New York, New York! Part 3 (with a bonus blog at the end)

And so the end of our trip came. We packed our bags and headed to the airport. Mario and I cried together over leaving awesome family and beloved New York. We were all mentally spent. We were all looking forward to getting back to our home, the Koopa Troopas and our own, cozy beds.

While we waited at the terminal, there was a cool little kids play area off in one corner. Perfect. Kudos to you, Jet Blue, for knowing that kids need to run around a bit before they get strapped into an airplane seat for hours. The Goombas loved it. They climbed, they jumped, they ran, they made Bowser and I feel very tired. When the time came to board, I just knew they would be so worn out that we would all relax on the way home. I. Will. Never. Learn.

They bounded down the aisle to our seats with as much enthusiasm as they did at the very beginning of our trip. Of course, we had to play musical chairs for a while before everyone was happy with who they were sitting next to. Luigi wanted snacks right away. Mario said he NEEDED a Dr. Pepper to help him stay awake for the entire trip. Peach... Well, Peach did NOT want to be on an airplane again.

I won't go into any more detail. I'll just say, it was an incredibly LONG 5 hour flight home. But, we landed safely and breathed a sigh of relief to be back to our familiar place. Luigi and Peach didn't even wake up when we pulled into our garage. We carried them to their beds and they didn't stir a bit when we tucked them in. Mario dragged himself upstairs, not even bothering to take off his shoes, and climbed into his bed. Bowser and I flopped on the couch while the Koopa Troopas attacked us with purring. Home sweet home.

I just want to say once again to everyone in NY... Thank you, thank you, thank you for such a wonderful trip. From the food to the laughter, it was a trip we will never forget! Love and miss you all so very much!


A Small-ish Bonus Blog....

Happy Birthday, my darling Luigi!!! I can hardly believe you are a whopping 4 years old!!! My dear heart, you are an amazing child and my life would be so incredibly BORING without you in it. Without you, our family could never be complete. Thank you for all the smiles and laughter you bring us every single day. Meow, meow, little kitty! I'm so glad I am your "best friend." I love you very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, very, veeerrrrrryyyy much! Have a wonderful day, my love. I can't wait to see all you accomplish in the future! Love, Mommy

Monday, June 13, 2011

We Interrupt Your Regularly Scheduled Blog Post...

I had planned to post Part 3 of New York, New York today. But, when this particular incident came up today, I decided it must be blogged and Part 3 of NY, NY will have to wait.

I have not been feeling super great the past few days. I figured I was still a little off-schedule from the trip, and maybe even a little bit jet-lagged. Plus, I have these nasty bug bites all up and down my arm. The bites are annoying to say the least. They don't really itch so much as they tingle and hurt. I'd given it more than a week, and the pain just keeps increasing, so today I sucked it up, loaded the Goombas into the van, and headed to my doctor's office.

I love my doctor. He is a chubby guy from Australia that likes to talk about the "old days" of medicine. He also believes that a good night sleep is the best medicine, so he is not shy about prescribing stuff to help me rest. (Like cough syrup with codeine when I get my yearly cough/sinus infection. He is awesome.) The downside to him (and the entire office) is that they are not very punctual with their appointments. I usually wait for at least 30 minutes in the waiting room. But, when you find a doctor you like, you gotta go with it, right?

Anyways, back to the story. The Goombas and I waited in the waiting room for 45 minutes. Not kidding. All this for a stupid spider bite, I kept thinking to myself. I was about to leave when they called me in. The nurse checked it out, made a few notes and said he would be in in a minute. 30 minutes later, he came into the room.

I explained to him that I somehow got these horrible bites and they didn't seem to be getting better. Actually, I screamed it to him over the sound of the Goombas "playing" on the exam table. He took one look at my arm, gently tried to touch it and said, "Oh. Well, that's not spider bites. That's Shingles!" He almost seemed delighted to make that announcement. My mouth dropped open and I just stared at him and said, "Wha???"

"Well," he asked, "Did your skin hurt, almost like a burning sensation a few days before?" I thought for a minute and said, "Yes, actually it did. It hurt really badly." "Yup!" he smiled. "Shingles!"

"But...but, isn't shingles for OLD PEOPLE????" In my mind all I could picture was when I lived in West Virginia and my great-grandmother came to stay with us and had shingles. It was not a pretty memory.

He assured me it is not for old people. Anyone who has had Chicken Pox can get Shingles. It is just particularly BAD for those over 65. He actually said I should consider myself lucky to have it now, in my 30s, than when I am older. Oh sure, I thought to myself. Lucky. R-i-i-i-i-i-ight.

He explained to me what it is and said that usually a great amount of stress will cause it. Just then the Goombas started actually jumping OFF the exam table. I just looked at Dr. with a blank stare and he said, "I think I know where that stress might have come from."

I don't know how much any of you know about shingles, but I gotta tell you. This is painful. It feels like someone is stabbing me with a million needles from the inside of my arm. It hurts like a really, really, really, really bad word. Just having my shirt brush against it sends pain shooting through my arm. My fingers are constantly tingling with that feeling like when your limb falls asleep and you try to use it before it "wakes up" all the way. It is not fun.

My darling Dr. said he knows how painful it is and gave me an anti-virus drug along with some Vicodin. (I told you he was a good doctor!) He told me to get some rest and sent me on my merry way. I called Bowser to tell him what was up and that my arm was not actually going to rot off, although it felt like it. Here was his response...

"Shingles??? Did you remember to put your Depends on and take your gout pills today, too?"

Nice, Honey. Thanks for the sympathy.

My dad, the Pop, said, "Hmmm...Shingles sounds kind of bad. Maybe you should find out the technical name for it. It will sound more official and get you more sympathy." To which I replied, "I don't think that is going to help. I would rather tell people I have Shingles than Herpes Zoster." He then laughed so hard that I'm pretty sure he might have fallen out of his chair.

The Goombas have been so sweet this evening, though. They want to take care of me. They told me to put my feet up on the couch and rest. Mario covered me with a blanket. Peach gave me her blanket to snuggle with. And Luigi gave me a pillow so I could close my eyes and feel better. Gotta admit, I am kinda liking this. I might have to milk this for a few days and see if I can get some good behavior out of them. **wink, wink!**

And now it is time for some pain relief and rest... Stay tuned tomorrow for your regularly scheduled programming...


Sunday, June 12, 2011

New York, New York! Part 2

Finally we made it to my Godfather's house. Really, there is no other name for him. He is actually my Godfather, and he will make you sleep with the fishes if you cross him or his family. We were exhausted, but so excited to see everyone. And of course, my awesome Aunt and Cousins had real NY pizza and bagels waiting for us! Aak! I practically drowned myself in that pizza. Even Mario said it was the best pizza he ever ate and he would never like any other pizza again. With that as a kick-off to our 5 days on Long Island, I was a happy, happy camper.

It was such a wonderful and CRAZY busy week, that I will just hit you with some highlights here...

~The food was AWESOME. I mean, a lot of food is good, and you can get good food anywhere. But, there is something about food in NY that is just so much...BETTER than anywhere else. We stuffed our faces with pizza, drank gallons of good coffee, bloated our bellies with fresh seafood and more. I've never seen Mario (my picky little bird) eat so much at one time. I think we all came back a few pounds heavier, but it was soooo worth it.

~We went to the town of my birth to walk around on the docks. Port Jeff is one of my favorite places in the entire world. Luigi liked throwing broken shells off the dock and watching them float down in the water. Peach loved the boats. At one point, Mario looked at me and said, "Mommy, this seems so familiar to me. Are you sure I haven't been here before?" "No," I replied, "you have never been here before. But, this is where Mommy was born. Isn't that cool?" He took my hand, looked me in the eye and said, "I knew our hearts belonged from the same place." And then my heart swelled with joy that my son and I share so much.

~We drove out one day to visit my Aunt Brooklyn (named as such because she is not only from Brooklyn, but she personifies the Brooklyn spirit perfectly), and we took the subway into the city for the afternoon. I thought sweet Luigi's head was going to explode from excitement when the F Train came rushing into the station. His eyes were wide and he was paralyzed with wonder over such an amazing sight. We got on the train and he clutched the Zaz's hand, eyes still wide, ready to take in every last drop of that train ride.

~Once we reached the city, we visited Nintendo World. Mario never wanted to leave. In fact, he even asked one of the store workers if he could have a job there and move in. We had a fast lunch and then the Zaz and Aunt Brooklyn took the Goombas to the giant Toys 'R Us on Times Square, while Bowser and I made a quick side trip to the most beautiful store in all the land--Tiffany's and Co. (More on that in a minute...) The Goombas loved the toy store. They had ice cream at Scoops 'R Us, Luigi had his picture taken with Iron Man and Spiderman, Peach got to dress up as a princess and Mario posed with a huge T-Rex. I'd say a good time was had by all. By the time we met back up with everyone, Zaz and Aunt Brooklyn handed the kids back to us with frazzled looks on their faces. I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that Luigi begged them to go up and down the escalators about 35 times.

~Tiffany's was awesome. I am like a magpie. I will go for anything that sparkles. And there was a LOT of sparkle in that store. On the 2nd Floor, also known as the Diamond floor, Bowser said, "Go ahead! Try something on!" Not wanting to be greedy, I chose a diamond eternity band, less than a carat total weight. It was beautiful! It was also $22,000. That was when I asked to be directed to the Sterling Silver Floor. And I am happy to say that I walked out with my own little blue box that will sit on my dresser forever.

~My Aunt Mets' wedding was beautiful. (Yes, she loves the Mets!) She was a perfect bride. She is my Dad's sister and he walked her down the aisle. I was honored to read a lovely poem during the ceremony. She and her new husband are a perfect match and I wish them many years of happiness. And... The reception was rockin'! My incredibly awesome cousins offered to come get the Goombas early so Bowser and I could party the night away, which is exactly what we did. Thank you so much K and T for taking such good care of my babies!!! It was a great time and for some reason, at the end of the night, Bowser and I managed to walk out with about 15 of the wine bottle guest favors. Hmmm... I have no idea how that happened. **wink!**

Before we knew it, our time in New York had come to an end. Mario and I cried when we left. I already miss my family so very much. We said good-bye to our hotel room and dragged out all of those bags that were now even more stuffed from all the loot we acquired during our stay. I'm sure the hotel was not unhappy to see us go. I'm still waiting to see if they send a bill for the 3 boxes of Cinnamon Toast Crunch that was ground permanently into the carpet in our room.

We made it back to the airport and prepared ourselves for the trip home. It was a 7 p.m. flight. Surely after our long and tiring week, the Goombas will sleep on the plane, right? Stay tuned to find out.....


Thursday, June 9, 2011

New York, New York! Part 1

Wow! What an incredible trip to the Big Apple! It was a whirlwind week, but we all survived and we had a great time. So much happened in such a short amount of time, that I am going to break it up into a 3 part series for you. I want you to be able to soak in every bit of the madness.

We left town last Monday night. I think I have already mentioned that Bowser got it in his head the the red-eye flight would be a good idea. Let's just say we won't be doing that again. In all honesty, the Goombas were great. I'm sure it had nothing to do with the fact that I made them fear for their lives at the first sign of misbehavior. Our flight left at 1 a.m. So, we kept the regular schedule the day before and just put the Goombas to bed a little early, thinking they would at least get 4-5 hours of sleep before we left for the airport. Sometimes I amaze myself with my wrongness.

The Goombas did not fall asleep til after 8 p.m. We had to wake them up to leave for the airport at 10 p.m. Of course, they were all very excited, so they jumped out of their beds ready to go. We got to the airport and somehow managed to drag in our 4 suitcases, 5 backpacks, 1 double stroller, 2 purses (one for me, one for Peach, of course), and 2 carseats. I can only imagine what the other travelers were thinking. I'm sure it was something along the lines of, "Please, God, do not let this family be on MY flight!"

We checked in, took the train to the terminal and prepared to wait. Thankfully, the flight was on time, so we weren't sitting around for too long. Also thankfully, the moving walkways were on. I'll give you one guess as to what the Goombas entertained themselves with for the hour we were waiting. Let's just say that if Bowser ever sees another moving walkway, he will probably run for the hills screaming in terror.

As we boarded the plane, we started getting "the Look." You could practically hear people rolling their eyes when they saw the kids trotting down the aisle to find our row. Luigi watched in awe as our flight attendant went through the safety procedures. When it was time to take off, Peach giggled and clapped, and oohed and aahed as she looked out the window.

One of the nice things about Jet Blue airlines is that they have tv's in the back of each seat. So, we set the Goombas up with headphones and a movie. I settled back into my seat and prepared for everyone to doze off. Again with my wrongness. Within 30 seconds Luigi wanted candy. Peach wanted her headphones off. Then on. Then off and on again. Mario sat quietly next to Bowser and played his DS.

The movie was over in about 90 minutes, so I turned the tv's off and made it dark. Now they will fall asleep and we will all get some rest. Nope! Luigi had to go to the bathroom. Not wanting to be left out, Peach decided she needed a diaper change. Mario got thirsty and had a brief argument with Bowser over the fact that we wouldn't let him have a Dr. Pepper at 3 in the morning.

Once everyone settled back in, I knew for sure this time that everyone would fall asleep. Just as I closed my eyes, Peach threw down her pacifier. (Sidenote: Yes, I realize she is too old for a paci, but I didn't think getting rid of it right before a 5 hour plane ride would be a good idea.) Then Luigi threw down Puppy. Then they made it a game and started throwing things at each other. Poor Mario was trying to rest, but the nasty lady next to him kept making snide comments and pushing him out of the way. Then they all wanted to switch seats. So, Bowser and I switched places and he got Peach out of her carseat to give her a break. Which of course, meant that she was supposed to go running like a wild banshee up and down the aisle, right?

Before long, I looked out the window and realized I was watching the sun rise. Oh dear Lord. It was a beautiful sunrise, but I knew that meant sleep was not going to happen AT ALL. Until, that is, the pilot announced that we were preparing to land, which prompted Luigi and peach to pass out cold in their seats.

We landed, trudged our tired bodies through the airport and found our way to baggage claim. Once again, we loaded up all of our belongings. Thank goodness for those handy smart carts! We got the kids each a donut to keep them happy, and we trekked what seemed like 10 miles through the airport to get to the train that would take us to the car rental place.

I have to say, at this point, we were all holding up pretty well. We managed to go with the flow. Even the Goombas mustered up a bit of patience and were well-behaved through the airport. When we got to the rental car place, however, things began to unravel quickly.

The Goombas started running in circles shrieking at each other. I realize that they were only doing this because if they paused even for a moment, they would have passed out on the floor. I tried to keep them entertained while Bowser waited in line while the cashier helped a nice man that had flown in from Japan. It only took him about 30 minutes to get his car. Aaak! Just when Bowser finally got to the front of the line and relief was in sight, Mr. Japan came back in and interrupted. "My lucky color is red," he said. "I do not want a blue car. I want a red car!" SERIOUSLY?????? At that point I was about to head into nervous breakdown stage. I just shook my head and laughed to stop myself from jumping up and wringing his neck!

After a few more minutes, we were finally loading up into our rental van. Once the Goombas were seat-belted in, they all crashed hard. Luigi was snoring before we even pulled out of the parking space. Bowser and I just looked at each other. "Well," I said, "welcome to New York!" Then I promptly joined the children in dreamland while poor Bowser was left to navigate the Long Island Expressway on his own...

To be continued....