Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I'm so thankful for all of the amazing experiences my parents gave me growing up.

Road trips are not included on this list.

I remember when I was little, I would be wedged in the back seat of an Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser, where the "vista" consisted of a rectangular magnifying glass above the back seat, which I'm convinced was created to scorch children when they were in the back, and melt the vinyl seats when they weren't. There were no ipods, or dvds, or walkmen, heck, I'm forgetting if we even had a radio. I do remember reading, doing Madlibs and puzzle books with invisible ink. Wooo hoooo. Those were the good ol'days...... NEVER AGAIN.

As soon as I cranked out the second kid I got the kickin' minivan (used of course, I'm still cheap) with the DVD Player in the back. Got my kids carseats with their own cupholders. None child of mine will be forced to, god forbid, hold their cup in their hands if they stop drinking.

Oh, and the DVD player, yeah, the kids have there own headphones so I don't have to listen to whatever it is that I let them watch. Cause really? For a 7 hour car ride, Disney can fill their brains with whatever snot nosed character Owen Wilson has decided to voice that month. Heck, they can watch "Throw Mamma From the Train" for all I care. The videos go on and I don't hear a peep from the wee ones for the whole trip. It's absolutely fabulous.

I also make stops every couple hours, let the kids out to let them play. Unlike my folks, who once refused to pull over because we were making great time so I had to, um "refill" a McDonald's cup while remaing in the back seat. I'm sorry, I love my parents, but where on earth did we actually need to be that couldn't have waited 10 minutes for to hit a gas station rest room.

So as you travel for this holiday dedicated to giving thanks, give your kids a break, give in to whatever makes the long haul go by a little faster, and give up. Your kids will thank you later.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Salvation via Safeway

So, unsure if I've shared this with all 4 of you reading this blog, but Eliza's birthday hovers around Thanksgiving. So much so that we usually do a family party at Thanksgiving dinner and a friend party well after the date, so her school friends will be less likely to still be traveling....

(You see where this is going, don't you?)

So today, at dinner, Eliza tell us that she's like a pink cake for her birthday. Okay, my husband agrees, when we get back from uncle Andy and aunt Kathy's, we'll have your party and he'll make her a pink cake.

No, she says. For my party at school.

Okay, my husband says, he'll make one for her party at school....when we get back from Uncle Andy and Aunt Kathy's......after Thanksgiving.....

Eliza starts to do the lip tremble...

Trying soooooo hard not to cry.....

And then we realize.

Her actual birthday is tomorrow.

Her teachers, who are amazingly wonderful women, knew this, and had assured Eliza that she would be having party at school........ tomorrow. I have FORGOTTEN that 5 years ago I was sitting in the hospital waiting to meet her. I have FORGOTTEN that 5 years ago, I didn't know if I was going to have a boy or a girl and I was sooooo excited that she was a girl, because the only name my husband and I had liked had been a girl's name. I have FORGOTTEN that for exactly 1,825 days, my daughter has thrilled, delighted, amazed and frustrated the h.e.doublehockeysticks out of me.

Thirty minutes and $21.95 worth of sheetcake later, my daughter will have a birthday party at school, tomorrow.

And I will not burn in bad mommy hell for all eternity. (Well I might, but not because of this...)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

C is for cookie

So, Christmas is coming and I have no earthly idea what to get my children. That said, I know what not to get them.

1) Things with small, impossibly sharp parts. -- My husband and I play a game when we walk across the floor barefoot. When you step on something and scream, the other person has to listen to the sound you make and guess what it is that got left out. You'd be amazed. The sound you make when stepping on LEGO is completely different from the sound you make when stepping on Polly Pocket teapot.

2) Things that move on their own accord. My son was presented with a TMX Cookie Monster last year. He opened the box and said, in no uncertain terms "I don't like it." "No, no no", said my sister-in-law, who'd given him the gift, and she proceeded to poke Cookie Monster to show him how it worked. Cookie Monster began to laugh, triggering a fight or flight reflex in my son the likes of which I've never see. He punted Cookie Monster across the room and then ran for his life. Cookie Monster hit the wall and then fell on the floor, while still in spasms. I don't know if he was laughing, but I sure as heck was.

3) Things that make noise for no apparent reason. My folks got my son a dumptruck. Not just any dumptruck. A dumptruck with lots of buttons that make it beep and dump and do all manner of trucky things. All of which are annoying, but really quite cool for a toy. And then there's one button, that plays a cheap Metallica rip-off riff. My son LOOOOOOVE that button. And I can't accidently leave it "out in the rain", he'd be heartbroken. My parents think this is as funny as I found TMX Cookie Monster.

This list goes on, but I've got to get to bed. I'll tell all two of you the rest of the list later.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Give it away now...

I may, at some point, have mentioned that I'm the cheapest human being alive. This quality has served me pretty well in life, and kept me out of a lot of trouble. But I've come to realize that I'm probably not giving like I should be. I have friends who give of themselves seemingly without limit. On mission work in impoverished countries, to homes where families of sick children stay, to hospice care centers, to children with nowhere to go. They give every day, pushing themselves to give more of their time, money and energy to make the world a better place.

I'm pretty sure I'm not one of those people, but that doesn't mean I can't do something, perhaps a small thing to try and make a difference.

Two things in particular have caught my eye this year. One is Kiva.org, a micro-lending site that empowers individuals in cash-strapped countries to make a better life for themselves. Not only do you have the power to radically change someone's life, but the return on investment is currently around 98%, practically unheard of in lending. So, it's entirely likely that after your money is used to buy a pig in Peru, it will be returned to you, so then you can send it to help someone build a home for their family in Cambodia, and then again and again and again. It's like the cash version of karma. I'm going to sit down with the kids and pick out a couple of folks. Unsure if they'll understand the true power of money when they're this young, but this seems like a good way to start that journey.

Another thing that appeals for a completely different reason is Operation Christmas Child, where you fill a shoebox with nice little Christmas presents and for $7, it goes to "the neediest children regardless of nationality, political background or religious beliefs." The organization is very religious, and I'm not, but anybody who does something that fantastic for children in need will get my support. We learned about this program from Chic-fil-a, and have two shoeboxes sitting here, waiting to be filled and sent off. It makes me cry just thinking about it.

So, here's to creating a better world. One cheapskate at a time.

I'm cheap with time, with money, I'm the cheapest human being alive, I'm all for