Friday, November 29, 2013

I Have Issues

Maybe it’s the fact that I haven’t written in a while. Or maybe it’s the fact that I can’t speak at the moment because of my cold. Whatever it is, I take “pen to paper” today. 

I’ve been under the weather for about two or three days. Been limping on my right foot for almost a week. On top of that, it’s Christmas time and I have done no shopping, no crafting, no decorating, and no baking. The baking I’m pretty much ok with because I wouldn’t be able to eat it anyway.

I’m cold and tired constantly and I struggle each morning to get up for work. That four letter w word being the key word in the sentence.

I just… ugh.

And then I really… ugh.

You know?

Anywho, one of these days, one    of    these    days.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Where's Madonna When You Need Her?

Dear Billy, Parent to Parent,

I feel for you. I really do. Nothing's to say we won''t all have to go through some of this one day. When our kiddos branch out there really is no telling what they might feel they need to do for attention, to make their "mark on the world," to make a stance, to feel like their own person. Honest, there is no telling. 

The benefit I have at the moment is that (hopefully) it will be on a quieter scale. See, we're nobodies. I mean, we have our friends and family, in the area and at a distance. But for the most part, we're nobodies. No media, no cameras (well there's photos on FaceBook I worry about), no televised humiliation. I don't envy the position you are in at the moment. 

And which way do you go? The lecture about appropriate and professional behavior? Or about little impressionable minds looking up to her? Or do you go the route of "honey, that was great, but totally at the wrong locale?" I mean, she's a little too old for the whole ignore it and it will go away routine. But she's still so young, oh so very young.

Oh, and less we forget the friends involved. At my kiddos' age I would involve the other parents, peer pressure and all. Is that even an option here? Do you worry about your kid's embarrassment in front of their peers or do you explain using the "honey, you did this to yourself," lecture? Do you make a call to Robin? What to do?

I really am sorry for all that has been said and will be said for quite awhile about your daughter. I mean how many times can we all ad lib the Smith Family Picture? How many times can we stare at the replay in disbelief? And for the next "grown up kiddo" that tries to out do this, how much more shock and awe can one public handle? How far is too far?

I'm sorry, Billy, but you really have your work cut out for you.


This Mom of (for now) Sheltered Kiddos

Monday, July 22, 2013

Here's Why

For the 3rd time today I was asked Why? :)

Here's why...

I was inspired a couple of years ago when my Friend Clint was diagnosed with Testicular Cancer. He went through Hell to get to Heaven. While he struggled he inspired me with his positive approach. Never a woe is me, never a question of why me. He would post about his boys and his wife and getting the most of his time with them. I decided to send them a Care Package (that turned in to many more) to remind them of the little moments. I made sure my kiddos were involved, too. We sent Bubble & Squirt Guns, decks of cards, coloring books, slinkies, sidewalk chalk, legos, anything we could think of that Clint would have the strength for and his boys would remember. Things that he and his wife Angie (now one of my very best friends) might not go out and get themselves but would bring smiles to their faces. They loved it! And it made us smile (and cry) in the process.

Since then we have found that leaving a simple basket/giftbag/beachpail on a doorstep (or we'll mail it) with smiles is not only a gift to the recipient, but to us as well. We try to catch the friend off guard, they never know when it's coming. We all like the element of surprise and to date, we haven't been caught on a doorstep. The kiddos have even asked about doing them and have suggested our next recipient. If I go too long between Care Packages, the kiddos push me to do another.

One of the best parts, I've inspired some friends to do the same. My friend Nina posted a pic one day on FB of her Care Package to a friend, I liked it, and then out loud said "whoa! that's MY desk!" It was a really cool surprise for me. She got me.

I jokingly "complained" to my bestie Sherry a year ago that I was "suckered" into Coaching Madi's Soccer Team. Sherry showed up with a Soccer Care Package, including my own fun water bottle, to let me know it was meant to be and motivate me to do a great job with it. It worked.

And the crazy thing, just like I hope my friends "need" the smile at that moment, we receive Care Packages in return timed perfectly. Another friend of mine, Krissy dropped off a Get Well Package one time when the whole family was sick. She texted me two minutes later: "Ding Dong." I never even heard her on our step.

It's cool, too to find out later that the Care Package brightened a bad day or kicked them out of a funk or reminded them to stop and relax. You never know when someone just needs to be reminded that they're important. One of those was a long distance Care Package to someone I've known over 30 years to be one of the strongest people I know. Even she needed our Care Package that day.

So, to answer your question, I'm a sap. I like to surprise people and let them know they're on my mind. I like to think that in a tiny way I made a little difference today. And I like to think the Care Package will be paid forward and with it many more smiles.


Monday, May 6, 2013

Cinderella Chores

I tried the floor cleaning solution recipe floating around on FB claiming "Spotless Floors" today. This evening actually, as it wasn't until after dinner (I made it, shocker) I was able to put mop to floor. 

The recipe was super simple. It called for 1/4 cup of Baking Soda, 1/4 Cup of White Vinegar, and 1 TBLS of Dish Soap all to 2 Gallons of Warm Water. 

It amazes me that the recipes circulating for everything from Laundry Detergent to Floor Cleaning Solutions to Toilet Bowl Cleaners to Mosquito Repellant are all going back to our roots. Back to the Baking Soda/Borax/Vinegar world. Back to more natural ingredients. Back to the original ingredients that were perfectly fine eons ago. We've suffered tried for years to come up with the best of the best with new and improved this and that. New fragrances, new oxins, new super powers. And it never seems to be enough. 

I, for one, am interested in (jumping on the band wagon of) the easier, tried and true, more natural, do it yourself recipes for all this housework. Of course, a maid would be nice too. 

Anyway, back to Cinderella on the floor. I did the kitchen floor after sweeping and didn't think much of the spots that needed to come up until after I started. If I had used a good ole sponge mop I'm sure they would have come up with my elbow grease. But the only mop I had was less than satisfactory. I'll have to get the spots with a sponge (or a sponge mop as soon as I find one) tomorrow after work. For now, the overall cleaning is good. 

The foyer and bathroom I learned my lesson. I got down and scrubbed the spots first and then used the crappy mop I have to go over the whole floor. It came out very nice. I wouldn't say sparkly but it does look and smell very clean. 

I was nervous about the vinegar thinking its smell might over power the room but it wasn't nearly enough to do so. I didn't smell it once. I noticed the smell of the dish washing liquid and next time may be more selective in that but it still was a sweet smell.

Now, to plan a dinner party quickly so you all can oohh and aahh over my floor.

Monday, April 29, 2013

"What's So Funny?"

The first step is admitting you have a problem. 

The second step is to shut up and sort.

(The best part is that when I showed Madi what Miss Sherry was laughing at, she replied with "what's so funny?" You see, it's perfectly normal in this house.)

Monday, April 15, 2013

So Much More than You Know

So Much More

I am your punching bag
Your complaint department
Your blame for what irks you. 

But I'm so much more...

I am Pluto's keeper
A checkers game loser
A helmet reminder

I'm the jelly bean giver
The care package guru 

I'm the cupcake baker
The school supplier
The teacher's wish list 

I am the hand holder
And the swing pusher
The driver waving you into traffic

I'm the bathroom escort
The garbage collector
The mail runner

I'm the break room tidier 
I'm the singer in the shower
And on the commute

I'm the laundry folder
The waitress at my own table
I'm still the big tipper

I'm the bed time Prayer starter
The scavenge hunt designer
The Hide n Seeker

I'm a remote control 
I'm a pillow 
And a blanket 
 I'm a comfy bean bag chair

I'm a step stool and a ladder
I'm a party planner
And a celebrator 

I am Santa's elf
The Easter egg hider
And the tooth fairies' glitter 

I'm the play date mom
The minivan chauffeur 
The Lego magnet

I'm the donator
The hand me down lady
The yard saler

I'm a Friend cheerer upper
I'm the pep talker
A boo boo kisser

I'm a lover of animals
And kids
And homemade fun 

I'm a hard worker
A loyal, dedicated employee

I'm a Never giver upper
I'm a positive enforcer 
A motivator

I am a beating heart. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Jerk Soap

Yesterday, as I contemplated life in the shower, I came to a revelation. 

The kiddos have it made with their soaps and shampoos, et all. At what age do the Batman, Princesses, Spiderman, and Madagascar disappear from our self cleaning supplies? 

Could you imagine if we continued with themed products in the shower for us Mommies and Daddies? You may see something like Edward and what's his name for the Vampire Lovers. Or, Beard Face, Duck Calling Guy for the macho man out there. Or, why not Steve Martin for the older generation: "Jerk Soap." I could go for "Magic Martha" if it cleaned my shower stall while I bathed. And "Moscato Shampoo-O" for evening showers.

I have to admit looking at all the bubbly, (pun, snort) colorful, fruity-licious smelling soaps, body washes, and shampoos made me a little bit jealous. 

I'm stuck with basically the blues of adult shampoo-ige. Heck, even our toothbrushes and his razor are blue! That can't just be my OCD at it's best. 


While staring at the differences in even the shaving mirrors of the parents vs the kiddos, one more thing came to mind of what the kiddos have over me when it comes to the almighty shower....


Saturday, March 2, 2013

How to clean up the kitchen after Friday Pizza Night

By a Man:

Throw leftover pizza in the fridge, in the box
Leave rest of pizza boxes on counter
Leave Pizza plastic do-hickey-thing on counter next to dirty plates, dirty cups, dirty napkins, atop the empty dishwasher


By a Woman:

Place left-over pizza on paper plate
Slide into a large ziplock bag
Place in refrigerator
Empty refrigerator of old left-overs
Rearrange refrigerator shelves and wipe clean
Scrape left-over food into trash can
Notice trash is full, empty and rebag
Rinse left-over containers
Fill dishwasher with left-over containers
First rearrange dishwasher to fit more dishes
Add dishes from sink
Add dishes from living room
Add dishes from computer desk
Run dishwasher
Put dishwasher soap back and tidy cabinet
Walk empty pizza boxes to garage trash
Wipe down counters 
Wipe down sink and faucet
Wipe down trash can lid
Wipe down kitchen door handle and door jam
Wipe down microwave door and handle
Clear remaining seconds from microwave
Wipe down stove
Wipe down refrigerator handle
Sort through school paperwork
Sort through mail
Update Family calendar
Start grocery list
Sort, organize, tidy pantry
Clear off kitchen table
Wipe down kitchen table
Fill dog's water dish
Refill empty paper towel roll 
Take dirty dish towels to laundry room
Fold dryer contents
Empty lint trap
Sweep floor with the dryer sheet
Transfer wash to dryer
Start new wash load
Return clothes to closet
Pick up dirty clothes on the way
Gather empty hangers
Gather dirty bath towels

Wait! What was the original objective?

Airing Our Dirty Laundry

It's no secret the Mack-ly Family has a lot of dirty laundry. We've been dealing with it for years. It's a never ending battle. Sometimes, dare I say, an emotional roller coaster.

But a few months back Hubs and I got a small reprieve at this Wardrobe Mountain we hold behind these four walls of our house. 

Hubs set out to save a little dough and, ironically, in doing so, the Dirty Laundry seems less like that huge mountain we scale every day. It's that satisfaction of knowing we're making progress while saving that gives a little crooked smile with every load.

The Google produces so many recipes for your own homemade laundry detergent your head spins like the spin cycle. Hubs settled on a simple one (that ends up almost all on the same store shelf in the local Wally World) and made a few minor adjustments based on his liking. With each next batch I'll be altering between lavender, tropical, fresh spring, and maybe even a baby scent.

The recipe claims to be a 6 month supply for a "normal family of four." (Let me know if you personally know one, I don't know what that is myself) 

So Hubs bought these...

And mixed it like this...

And then I rationed it like this...

This bottle here is 30 loads. It only takes about two tablespoons per load. In fact, the Oxy scoop is what we use and that's a smidge less than two tablespoons. The rest of the batch is in a sterlite container on the shelf in the laundry room. The batch made holds 7.5 of these! That works out to 225 loads.

Hubs made this batch at the end of December. We're now two months later and have not used a third of the container (which is where we expected to be). The entire container cost us less than 25 buckeroos! ELEVEN CENTS per load! ELEVEN! 

In comparison, those name brands (like Tyd, A&H & Gane, and Awl) come in at 34cents, 28cents, and 20cents. Whoa! Big difference, wouldn't you say? 

I'm a picky laundry gal and had my doubts, but this recipe is great. The clothes don't smell musty, dingy, dirty, or overly perfumy. They come out clean and fresh. And I, for one, am happy at the cost!

Let me know if need us to make YOU a batch.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Christmas 2.0

Two nights ago I asked Hubs for Meatloaf for dinner Friday night. We even invited Sherry's Family and looked forward to the kiddos playing and catching up since we've all been so sick and stuck at home.

Little did I know.

Hubs texted me yesterday and asked what time I'd be leaving work. I guessed 5:30 or so and said we were on for dinner at 6pm.

Little did I know.

I texted Sherry to make sure we were on for dinner. She had asked earlier if there was anything she should bring. I suggested wine. Mmmmm.

Little did I know.

About 5:10 I got a text from Hubs telling me he was outside to pick me up as he had a surprise for me. Of course I texted back, "what's wrong? what's the matter? what's going on?" of which I got no response. I worry, what can I say? So, of course, I packed up my desk and grabbed my stuff.

Little did I know.

I climbed into the Jeep thinking Hubs was driving me to my van and he had done something to it. Perhaps a Detail, a Car Wash, a new Console? He began to exit the parking lot, without my van.

Little did I know.

I finally threw on my seat belt realizing we were headed somewhere all the while my heart beating faster. I'm not much for surprises. I asked questions, rather accusingly, and Hubs began to get annoyed. Sorry. Again, I worry, what can I say?

Little did I know.

I looked back at the kiddos mesmerized in the movie and asked what they knew. They knew nothing.

Turns out, little did I know, Hubs decided we needed Christmas 2.0. We hadn't enjoyed our Christmas as much as we would have liked so he thought he'd surprise us all with an overnight trip to the beach. He took us to dinner, brought Christmas presents for each of us, booked a jacuzzi kitchenette ocean view suite with an indoor pool, and even brought cinnamon rolls for the morning because I had been so heartbroken Christmas morning not having our annual tradition. He had packed suitcases, toiletries, kids' blankies and Plutos, arranged doggie care from Sherry and had even had her in on the secret faking me out with Meatloaf Dinner.

Hubs had thought of everything. And surprised us well!

What I DO know? He's a keeper. With or without Meatloaf Dinner.

Christmas Flu

Christmas was a blur. Friday the 21st the Flu hit our house like a ton of bricks, through me first. Saturday I spent all day shivering and sweating while the kiddos played nicely and Hubs was at work.
Sunday was poor Miss Madylin’s turn. She woke up vomiting and got sick off and on all day. I was still down for the count. At lunch break, Hubs came on and passed out sitting up on the couch. No turning back now. He returned to work and by the end of the day was in full force Flu mode.
Monday we were all home. Madylin and Mommy got in to see the doctor. I was told Asthmatic Bronchitis and Pneumonia, with four prescriptions. She was told Flu, let it run its course, with no prescriptions, only the infamous Tylenol/Motrin regimen.
Christmas Eve is our annual dinner and present exchange with my Mom and Papi and Uncle Mark and Aunt Suzi. We look forward to it every year as it’s also the night the Fire Department brings Santa through the neighborhoods on the back of the ladder truck for all the kids to see. This year, we weren’t able to do either. I left goodies on the mailbox for the Firemen thanking them for everything and apologizing for not being ourselves (hey, it made me feel better). Dinner had to be cancelled because there was no way a. we were cooking, b. we were up to entertaining, and c. we wanted to share germs with our family.
Luckily, Santa was able to come by on Christmas Eve after the kiddos went to sleep. He wasn’t up to much but he did get done what he had to.
Christmas morning we were up earlier than we ever have been. Usually our kiddos are ones that sleep to regular time even though they’re anticipating presents. This year, we were up at 5am. It was JP’s turn with the Flu. We all woke up to him in the bathroom. After we got JP’s belly temporarily settled he asked why it was still dark and if we thought Santa had come yet. We told him he did and his “oh” was less than enthusiastic. Poor kiddo.
Off we moved to the Family Room with a bucket in hand. JP took his sweet time opening his presents as he had to pause for bucket use here and there. Opening presents took much longer than usual. It wasn’t the thrill we had all looked forward to. We spent the rest of the day on the couches watching movies and occasionally playing with a toy or two.
Christmas Dinner consisted of Wawa Soup and crackers. In fact, over the entire sickness stretch we joked of our daily rationing of soup. We all had so much soup we exhausted what was in our pantry. Chicken Noodle, Cream of Corn, Broccoli Cheddar, Maryland Crab, you name it.
Finally the 27th I was able to return to work. Kiddos were still sick, parents were still sick, I even think the dogs were a little sick. But, life goes on.
We’re now at the two week mark and finally are feeling much better. Except for four lingering coughs I’d say we’re finally on the mend.
What a Christmas Blur it’s been. Thankfully, the four of us got to spend it together.That's all that really matters anyway, right?