Thursday, May 27, 2010

The I Am Nots

I find myself saying the weirdest things throughout the day.  Interestingly, most derive from having to explain to my children that while, yes, I am a super hero akin to Inspector Gadget, I am certainly not [insert whatever role they're trying to pin on me at the time] thankyouverymuch.

Heard in the Looney House in the past 24 hours:
  • I am not a chew toy. Please stop gnawing on me.
  • I am not a trampoline. You're not going to bounce very high.
  • I am not made of glue. That paper is not going to stick to my face, I promise.
  • I am not magic.  The pretzels are gone.  Like, really gone.  I can't make them come back.
  • I am not a mind reader.  Please stop shrieking and tell me what you need.
  • I am not a plant.  Pouring water on my head will not make me grow.
  • I am not a Sherpa.  Please, please carry your own shoes.  And walk.
  • I am not blind.  I totally saw you wack your sister in the head with a spoon.
(And these weird things don't even take into account the "Don't lick the dishwasher," "Please get your hair out of your nostrils," and "No, you may not serve yourself cereal in your shoe" comments that roll out daily, too).

Being a Mom is certainly never boring.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I'm Driving Them Home... They're Driving Me Bonkers

I do it to myself, I know.  I wait until the kids have run themselves into tired, cranky, hungry limp noodles then I try to stuff them into the car and make for home as if chaos won't inevitably erupt as soon as we hit the highway.

It always does.

We get into the car.  The temperature is approximately nine thousand degrees.  I know this because my preschooler tells me that it's hot 37 times within the first minute we're in the car.

The baby is crying because he's hot.  And hungry.  And exhausted.

The toddler is crying because she's hot.  And tired.  And opposes car seat restraints.

The preschooler isn't crying, but she's whining.  Because she's hot.  And her hair hurts. And she's hungry, despite having eaten an entire lunch 4 minutes before.

I wrangle the baby into the front seat and nurse him.  He cries periodically because he's still hot, and for some reason, I always manage to park the car so that the sun pours in through the front window, which happens to be directly into his face.

The toddler stops crying.  This is only because she's squeezing the remains of her fruit pouch onto her legs.  I don't know this. 

The preschooler begins to sing "I'm a Little Teapot" on repeat.

The baby finishes nursing and is settling into a relaxed, drowsy state.  Should be an easy transfer to the car seat.

I climb carefully out of the drivers seat and make a move to put him down.

I spot the toddler.  And her fruity legs.  She grins.  I hiss, "NO!" and take the fruit pouch away.

Mistake.  Toddler starts shrieking.

Baby starts shrieking.

Preschooler starts in on redition 87 of "I'm a Little Teapot"

I get in the drivers seat and start moving.  Baby quiets.  Toddler begins to repeatedly ask for her "Night-night" blanket.  It's on the floor.  Way out of my reach.

I pull over.  Baby does not like stopping.  Makes this known.

Toddler is placated momentarily with special blanket.

Preschooler begins to weep-sing "I'm a Little Teapot."  When questioned, she says her hair still hurts.  I tell her not to be a crying teapot.  She laughs.  Crisis averted.  Preschooler decides to hum the "WEEEEE-ooooo-weeee-ooooo-weee-bumbumawee" part of "In the Jungle, the Mighty Jungle" at top volume.

Baby starts fussing.  I am running out of toys, so I start tossing empty cups in his general direction.  He likes this.

Toddler starts begging, "Mama, I want to take a nap!" intermitantly with "I want a farshfellow*!"


I beg her to stop the infernal whining and remind her that we're almost home.

"Farshfellow! Farshfellow! FARSHFELLOW!"

I start chanting inwardly, "Almost naptime, almost naptime, almost naptime..."

2 minutes from home and I'm suddenly jolted from my reverie by the sound of... silence.  We pull into the driveway and I see why.

Everyone's asleep.

Of course. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Linky Link Link Links - Part Erm, 3?

So, I just got back from vacation.  It was wonderful!  And I'm about to wrap up my last week of teaching, Bean's last week of preschool, and summer's about to be in full swing.  So?  Blogging will be as well.  For today, here's the collection of links from my last couple of weeks.  Lots of fun to come the rest of this week!

Funniest (Most Horrifying?) Parenting Moments in Photos - Some of these are GREAT!  Some of them are ridiculous.  All of them made me feel a bit better about handing my daughter craft scissors to play with when she was 10 months old. 

The Alot - Funniest grammar post I've read in a super long time.  I'm a nerd, I know.  (Via Amy)

Cute Baby Trick Pic - I want to take this little Michelin baby and squeeze those adorable baby legs.  I also want to make Sayer do this.  Unfortunately, his monster cranium makes him too top heavy right now. 

Felt Roses - I want to make these.  I don't know what I'd do with them... hair clips, perhaps? 

Does the Name Make the Man?  Fascinating article about a guy who was nameless until adulthood.

Think Your Toddler is Bad?  This story will not only make you thankful that ALL your kid did was unravel the toilet paper roll and stuff it in the toilet, but also give you hope for the future... see, she turned out quite nicely, as per her mother. 

I Want This Table.  My kids would ruin this table.  Enough said.

Anti-Foodie - This cracked me up and made me think.  Are social media and self-proclaimed "food bloggers" ruining the dining out experience? 

That's it!  My browser can now stop wheezing at having to maintain six thousand tabs. 

Monday, May 17, 2010

I Didn't Get Eaten By Porcupine Turtles, I Promise

I'm around, really.  I'm coming off of what was one of the worst weeks I've had since Sayer's been born, really...   because of how exhausted and overwhelmed I was. 

But now I'm feeling quite a bit less foggy.  It helps that the smallest munchkin is sleeping in slightly longer increments and I'm going to bed at a slightly more decent hour.  (Read 9pm instead of 11... I know, I'm an old fart, leave me alone). 

So alas, here I am! 

And to celebrate?  5 quick thoughts from the mind o' JennyJenJen  (But really, don't ever call me Jenny.  The ONLY person who I ever let do that was my high school soccer coach... and that was mainly because I don't think I could have been the one to break the "EE" endings on our team... Katie, Jackie, Amy, Julie, Becky, etc... )

1.  I make the best guacamole in the world.  An avocado, half of a red pepper - diced, some black beans, a splash of lime juice, a smidge of salsa, (my preferred brand is Trader Joe's Tomatillo and Yellow Chili Salsa), a tiny bit of garlic salt, ample sprinkles of smoked paprika and some cumin.  You're welcome.  (Yes, it's that good). 

2.  I'm mildly obsessed with several things:  Sweet Leaf Mint 'N Honey Tea, (made with spearmint instead of peppermint... holy cow, delicious), Lady Gaga's "Alejandro," (shut up, SHUT UP, I know), the aforementioned guacamole, baby kisses (that don't turn into bites... not so fond of those), and hearing my girls giggle together over the baby monitor. 

3.  I wish someone would come up with an Android app for Blogger as well as a decent feedreader.  If you know of one, let me know.  (For that matter, any app suggestions would be awesome... because I need more things to waste my time). 

4.  How often do you people clean out your kitchen trash can?  I mean, really... because I did it tonight and HOLY GROSSNESS, people. 

5.  I stress clean minutiae.  See above.  Also, the other day, I took every magnet off of the fridge and WASHED them.  (And the refrigerator as well).  I've been known to organize sock and erm, undergarment drawers.  I sort my closet by color and or sleeve length.  Weird, I know.  Today I moved onto slightly bigger things...  cleaning out the refigerator, reorganizing kids toys...  I suppose I'm just avoiding laundry.  I'm good at that. 

Anyway, I'll be back tomorrow with normal posting.  (Isn't this normal?) 

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

I'd Scream If I Saw That on My Car Window, Too!

The kids and I were driving home from the farm this afternoon and all of the sudden Caly started shrieking in the backseat.  Then very quietly,

"Mama!  A bug! A bug!"  (She always says it twice, no idea why).

I glanced back but didn't see any 6 legged creature threatening to crawl on her so I said,

"I think it's a raindrop, Monkey... not a bug..."

Apparently, she didn't agree,

"Mama!  Mama!  A spiderman! A SPIDERMAN!"

You can bet I looked back for that one.  Hey, it's not every day you see Peter Parker crawling down your window.

(And for the record, she thought it was a spider... in reality, it was a gnat.  A very small and almost invisible gnat.  Alas, not Spiderman). 

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Plum Organics Sample Pack Review and Giveaway!

A fun box came to our door the other day.  Ecomom gave me the opportunity to review their Plum Organics line and I totally jumped on the opportunity.  We had tried Plum Organics baby food for the first time a few months ago and LOVED it, so I was really excited to see what else they offered. 

The box contained a variety of foods, geared towards everyone from 6 months to elementary age. 

The box contained two samples of Plum Organics baby food.  Full disclosure:  My 9 month old son HATES baby food purees.  So I gave one of each of these to my 2 year old and to my 4 year old.  Verdict?  Huge grins and pleas for more.  The flavors usually combine fruits and veggies such as Baby Spinach, Peas and Pears.  I love their pouch packaging as it totally gives me a great way to give my kids a healthy snack on the go with little to no messes.  (Also, if you do use it as baby food, it's a great way to eliminate wasted food as you can squeeze what you need and store the rest).

Since they loved the Plum Organics baby food, it totally made sense that they would like the PlumTots Organic Mish Mash pouch and the Revolution Foods Organic Mash-up pouch.  And they totally did.  These are a bit smaller and are designed for a snack or a side in a lunchbox rather than a meal. 

My only request would be that they would add veggies to these as well.  Why not? 

The last things we got to sample were the Revolution Foods Strawberry and Grape Jammy Sammies.  These are also organic, which is great.  My 4 year old looked at me and said, "Um, these are not my favorites."  Then again, she doesn't like PB&J sandwiches, so no surprises.  The 2 year old gobbled them up and then stole her sister's and ate that too.  Without thinking, I pulled a total doofus Mother move and handed one to my 9 month old son.  Apparently, he's not allergic to peanuts.  Good to know.  Oh, and he loves them  too. 

They're very sweet, so I think they'd be best served as a dessert or a treat... but at that, it's nice to know that it's an organic snack without preservatives, artificial colors or flavors, or high fructose corn syrup.  

We're now huge fans of both brands and I'm absolutely going to continue purchasing these in the future. And we'll definitely be purchasing through the EcoMom site.  Specializing in Eco-Friendly Baby Products, EcoMom offers products that run from food, toys, baby care products, clothing and more.  The site is certainly more than just a retail site. 

But on the retail side of things, they have two offers for you.  The first is their new EcoPass program.  For $99, you can purchase an annual membership which gives you 15% off of every order and free shipping with no minimum order requirement.  If you're going to purchase frequently, I can imagine this would pay for itself quickly.

Also, until May 31st, you can use the code SBBL296 to get 15% off of your first purchase from EcoMom. 

And now, the part you've been waiting for... the giveaway!  EcoMom has graciously offered to give away $20 worth of either PlumOrganics or Revolution Foods products to one lucky reader! 

To enter, comment on this post by May 16th at 10pm. 

For additional entries, you can do the following.  Please comment separately for each additional thing you do. 
  • Become a fan of EcoMom on Facebook
  • Follow EcoMom on Twitter
  • Subscribe to their Newsletter.
  • Visit the EcoMom page and pick out one non-food product that you'd be interested in buying.
  • Visit my page on Twitter and retweet this giveaway.  (Post link of your retweet).
Good luck everyone!  This was totally a review and giveaway that I loved doing.  Thanks for the opportunity, EcoMom!

**The Nitty Gritty:  The owner(s) of this blog is not compensated to provide opinion on products, services, websites and various other topics. The views and opinions expressed on this blog are purely the blog owners. If we claim or appear to be experts on a certain topic or product or service area, we will only endorse products or services that we believe, based on our expertise, are worthy of such endorsement. Any product claim, statistic, quote or other representation about a product or service should be verified with the manufacturer or provider.  The sample above was provided by EcoMom.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

1 and 2 and 3

I knew everything about parenting before I had kids. After all, I was once a teenager, muttering under my breath, "When I have kids, I'll NEVER do that."

(Don't pretend you never did that... you so did).

My first born was an easy baby. She fit nicely into my little idealistic idea of how to parent. Dare I say, perfect baby?  She was close. 

And of course, it was all because I was quite obviously super mom.

Then I had my second baby. My dear, sweet, willful, stubborn, freakishly smart C.

And then my third... a ball of cuddly cuteness with a smile that already is getting him out of trouble.

And I recently realized, my supermom pattern had crumbled quite a bit since my pre-child days.

Exhibit A:  Starting Solids

Kid 1 - Only homemade organic purees, vegetables first.
Kid 2 - Mashed up bananas, avocados and the like, interspersed with jarred food. Attempts at vegetables first foiled by angry shrieks from the hungry baby. Fruits and grains ruled.
Kid 3 - Random pieces of whatever we're having for dinner are tossed onto his tray to quell the squawking. I'm not quite sure he knows what a vegetable is.

Exhibit B:  Clothing

Kid 1 - Impeccable, perfectly matched ensembles, complete with adorable hats. 
Kid 2 - Quickly surveyed hand-me-downs.  If it's not stained, it works quite well.
Kid 3 - Who says pajamas aren't clothing? 

Exhibit C:  Television

Kid 1 - No television for as long as possible.  First program is a carefully screened educational piece that I watch and talk about with her.  TV is NEVER a babysitter.
Kid 2 - Begins to see TV shows earlier due to her sister's viewing.  Likes TV.  Learns how to say words from TV.  I only feel slightly guilty. 
Kid 3 - He is enamored by TV.  I feel no guilt at turning it on so I can do the dishes/pee/eat candy in piece. 

Exhibit D:  Naps

Kid 1 - All activities are planned carefully around a perfectly timed nap schedule. 
Kid 2 - Most naps are at home or at least in the car.
Kid 3 - Naps on me for the first 5 months of his life.  When you're tired enough, you can sleep anywhere. 

Exhibit E:  Toys

Kid 1 - Toys are generally chosen on educational merit or their ability to inspire imaginative play. 
Kid 2 - Plays with the cast offs of her older sister.  Perpetually finding new uses for old toys.
Kid 3 - Plays happily with a water bottle, a rock, and a box of tissues.  Why did we buy toys again?

Exhibit F:  Treats

Kid 1 - Treats are a rare occasion, reserved for special events or holidays. 
Kid 2 - Occassionally gets treats thrown in her general direction to buy Mama a moment of peace. 
Kid 3 - I gave him his medicine today in between bites of chocolate frosting and a marshmallow. 

Enough said.

(And I know I'm not the only one who let go of hard and fast parenting "rules" after the kids were actually born... c'mon, fess up.)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010


In other news, I'm absolutely, positively, crazy excited to see this:

(My kids are pretty enthralled with the preview, too).

A Disappointing Experience

I'm publishing a letter I wrote to the owner/chef of a new restaurant in Baltimore, Miguel's Cocina.  Shaun and I had a less than stellar experience there, (to put it VERY mildly), and I initially sent this letter to them directly.  But it's been over a week and I've yet to receive a response, so I'm posting here to hopefully save others the disappointment of poor customer service.  (And for the record, we ended up at Blue Agave instead and were very pleased with both the food and the service).  Originally letter is as follows:

Dear Mr. Marx,

This past Friday evening, April 23rd, my husband and I were deciding where to venture for a nice dinner out.  A fan of Mexican food, he suggested Blue Agave, having heard great things about the food there.  We mentioned our plans to a friend and she told us that you, (former chef at Blue Agave), had moved on to open a new place named Miguel’s.   

We were excited to try it and arrived at Miguel’s shortly after 5:30pm.  The bar was crowded and merry and the drinks looked great as we were led to our table by the sweet hostess. 

A few short minutes after we were seated, the server arrived.  He didn’t look either one of us in the eye and greeted us with a gruff, “What can I get you?”  My husband asked the server, “I was wondering if we could get the drink specials for Happy Hour or is that just at the bar?”  The server sighed audibly, rolled his eyes and said, “They’re just at the bar.”  Shaun, (my husband), smiled and said, “Oh, that’s ok!  For future reference, what is the discount?”The server’s negative attitude continued, “It’s just at the bar.” He stated abruptly while staring over our heads.

Shaun replied, “Right, but we were just wondering what the discount  was so we can head to the bar next time if we’d like.”

“A dollar off.”  No eye contact, no further conversation.  He crossed his arms and looked around.

“OK, thanks”

We glanced back down to the menus and the server sighed heavily and said, “So what do you want?”

My husband deferred to me and I asked politely for a water to start.

The server turned on his heel and walked off to get a water, (presumably).  He didn’t even ask my husband what he’d like to drink or acknowledge our completely puzzled expressions and questions.

The server returned with the water, and without another word, set it in front of me and stalked off again.  He didn’t glance at either one of us and despite my husband’s trying to make eye contact, he again did not acknowledge him or attempt to collect his drink order. 

At this point, the server’s horrible attitude had considerably spoiled our appetites and we decided to leave.  Neither one of us wanted to be subjected to this server’s hostility for our entire meal. And truly, a written recount of his words do not do justice in showing how incredibly hostile he was. For the record, this is the first time we’d ever, ever left a restaurant before completing a meal.  

On the way out, my husband was explaining our reasoning for leaving to the hostess.  She was gracious and expressed her apologies.   The server walked over and kept repeating, “What’s the problem?  I don’t see what the problem is.”  We didn’t even mention his attitude at this point, but merely mentioned that he neglected to serve  or even ask my husband about his drink. The server responded huffily, “You were looking at the menu.”  Forgive me for assuming, but as far as I know, people generally look at the menu before ordering.  And if the patron is taking an inordinately long time to decide, general practice assumes that the server politely asks if the patrons would need a few more minutes before heading off to take care of other tables, etc.   

He was combative and rude the entire time my husband was explaining our reasons for leaving.  Shaun decided it wasn’t worth it to try to explain to him anymore and we left.  

As we were walking to the car, my husband decided that this situation warranted a conversation with a manager.  He walked in and asked the hostess if he could talk with the manager about our experience and to our disbelief, she sheepishly pointed to the very man who had given us such terrible service.  The server/manager walked over and said again, “What’s the problem? I don’t see what is wrong.  I didn’t do anything wrong. What’s the problem?”

My husband expressed his incredulity at this horribly rude man being the manager for a restaurant and knowing that we weren’t going to get any further trying to get him to understand our displeasure, we left.  

We were sorely disappointed, as the menu looked delicious and inventive.  We have heard good things about your restaurant so we’re assuming that this is an anomaly rather than the norm.  

However, being as how this man was a staff member in charge of taking care of the patrons, we are fiercely reluctant to return.  

We love to eat out and are absolutely in support of patronizing local businesses.  It saddens us both to have had such a negative experience in a place that was highly touted.  

We do hope this letter serves to help you improve your customer service in the area of this man so that no one else is subjected to the same negativity as we were.  

Jennifer Smithson

Monday, May 3, 2010

Linky Link Link Links - Again!

I apologize for the lack of posting.  I was on a roll.  Then, the weather became lovely and we moved outside for our waking hours.

All the same, I did end up accumulating more tabs... and more... and more...

So here?  Here you go.  Enjoy.  (And if you do enjoy, tell me!  I like comments.  I'm a comment junkie.  True).

Electron Boy - Awesome, inspiring story of a boy for whom the wish of many boys came true.  He got to be a superhero for the day.

Non-Toxic Cleaning Recipes - Hate using harsh chemicals to clean?  Don't want to pay an arm and a leg for organic/natural cleaners?  Make your own!

Yogurt Recipes - My kids love yogurt, but sometimes balk at plain yogurt.  And I get rather tired of the same old fruit smoothie recipes.  So here's a pile of recipes where you can use plain yogurt.  Looking forward to trying some of these. 

The Dog Wagon - One of the coolest things I've ever seen.  (Amy, think your mom would be up for rigging one together for Brooklyn?)  Be sure to read part 2.  And read the rest of his blog.  Well worth the time. 

Natural Playground - and here too.  While the rubber grounded plastic playgrounds make my mom heart beat a bit slower, I do have a desire for my kids to visit places like this... get dirty, skin a knee or two, and have fun.  (via FreeRangeKids)

Reusable Lunch Bag - I want one of these so badly.  But I think my husband would take my cash and cards if I bought another bag.  *sigh*  Hey, if YOU buy one, I can look at yours!  (via babygadget).

Edible Teacups - We are SO doing these sometime soon.  Cute, no?  Tea party, anyone? (via Parenthacks)

Caly's Ideal Birthday Present - I just saw this...  a big version of her beloved monkey "night-night."  I think she would flat out keel over from the joy.  Cute!   (Seriously, Shaun won't let me buy it...  for now ;)
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