Momaical is a humorous look at trying not to raise a flock of assholes. Cursing & copious coffee involved.

Momaical: [mom-mahy-uh-kuhl] = (Hybrid of Mom and Maniacal.)


Mama's Backpack of Guilt

I didn't know it at the time, but when I left the hospital carrying my new bundle of wonderful, I also gained a new piece of luggage. I'm not sure exactly when I received it - although I suspect it was when I was getting my epidural (which is probably why they kicked my husband out of the room). Maybe in the 50,000 pieces of paper I signed about not shaking my baby, vaccinations and horrible newborn photos - they slipped this in. I don't have a clue.  What I do know is that I can't get rid of it and it keeps getting heavier as Mommyhood morphs. It's my Backpack of Guilt.

It started out light. Oh sure, the bottom was lined with "Did I make all the right choices for my baby when I was pregnant?" and "Did breathing in that fire extinguisher the dumb ass sprayed as a joke compromise my infants immune system?" "Is my baby going to get rejected from Yale because I didn't get the video that promised to make my baby read in the womb?" But, it was manageable.

Through the beginning of motherhood the backpack began to get filled. I left my high paying executive job to be a teacher. Much (much) less money - better hours. But, I had worked so hard to get to that level (and pay grade). And I walked away because it required too much travel and I would be gone from my babies more than I would be home raising them. My husband and I made a decision that we felt was best for raising our children. However, it didn't come without baggage. Guilt because we had half the income. Guilt because I left my career. Guilt because it was costing us more money than I was making so I could teach. But, I shoved that guilt down into that weird front pocket of my backpack because I knew it was the best choice for my family.

The years stretched on and so did my backpack. There were times when the guilt pile lessened. "Oh, God. She just banged her head for the 3,000th time. Is she going to have brain damage?" When it became apparent that she was not, that load lightened. But, it was quickly replaced with "Should I have a second baby? Will she be ok sharing me? Will I be able to handle everything since my first baby was so challenging? Did I remember to put sunscreen on her? Is she going to turn into a serial killer because we let her watch Sponge Bob?"

My second pregnancy was excruciatingly difficult. I was sick and miserable and depressed through all 40 hideous, torturous weeks of hell. I wanted to crawl under a rock and die. I felt guilty because I was a deadbeat mom and a terrible wife. There was too much television, not enough outside adventures, absolutely no cleaning or cooking and no happiness at all. I hid from my friends and family because I was a giant, fat, sick pile of misery and everything coming out of my mouth was toxic. I left teaching midway through the year because I couldn't handle my life. My doctor wanted to put me on anti-depressants but I didn't want to put my burgeoning baby through that chemical dependency, withdrawal and chance for birth defects (I mean, being born is hard enough!). Shove this guilt in the backpack's side drink holder!

Then, I had the mother lode of guilt to store. My OB thought I was having a pulmonary embolism. I was hospitalized and required x-rays. I just sat and cried because this could seriously affect my baby. I couldn't even make the decision; my husband had to because I was sobbing too hard to talk (and extra McHot with hives and hiccups). Thankfully my baby and I survived unscathed and there was no damage from the radiation. But, as crap rolls down hill - so does guilt: Is my oldest child being neglected because my newborn demands so much attention? Is she going to grow up to hate me as a result? Is the youngest getting enough attention because the oldest is jealous? Is the youngest getting enough tummy time, exercise, fresh air? Why is my hair falling out in fistfuls? Am I going to be bald?

Then my world shifted on its axis: my husband accepted a position clear across the country. All of the sudden an extension was added to my backpack. I'm taking the girls to paradise but it's on the opposite side of the world from everyone you know and love. Oh, and I won't be working now. Which brings on a whole NEW set of guilt and challenges and wonderful and atrocious.

I never thought I was the kind of person that can be home full time.  Lena and I get along much better when we’re not together constantly.  And, I have high anxiety and a short fuse.  How the hell was I supposed to handle being on call 24 hours a day with no break EVER?  There are no sick days.  There are no vacation days.  There’s just mommyhood.  But now I get to be home with my pumpkins in paradise and help shape them into being wonderful adults. 

But, there’s a strange stigma with stay at home mom-dom.  There are many people that look down at you for making this choice.  I have actually had people say to me that they can’t believe how smart I am because they assumed I would be too dumb to have a “real job” which is why I am home.  Um, what the fuck?  Being home is by far the hardest job I have ever had!   I end every day mentally, physically and spiritually exhausted.  Because trying not to raise a flock of assholes is really hard work!  When there are highs at home – it’s amazing and makes all the sacrifices you have made 150% worth it.   But, there are a lot of lows no one really talks about.  A lot of crying, whining, fighting – and that’s just me.   And you sometimes feel like “I have a Master’s degree and all I do is clean and wipe boogers and butts and referee!”  And then you feel the guilt of the world weighing down on your shoulders because you should be enjoying this time and instead you want to hide from it. 

Because sometimes I don't want to carpe the diem. Sometimes I want to run away from the diem. I want to find one of those moms that hangs a "Sorry for the mess ~ my kids are making memories" signs and leave my kids with her. Because my house is a mess and the only memories they are making are of me screaming "Stop (Insert one of the following: whining, crying, tattling, fighting, hitting, biting)." And my backpack keeps getting more and more stuffed.  I want to seek out Dora the Explorer because that bitch has everything in her mochila and she never falls over like a turtle on its back. Which is what I feel like the weight of the guilt backpack is doing many days.

But, having stood on both sides of the fence I now realize that the grass isn't greener on either side. See, when you work full time you have this guilt that you're away from your kids too much. That they're being raised by someone else. That you're missing all the critical moments in their life. When they're sick you blame the fact that you have to send them to daycare. When they misbehave you are positive others are saying "Well, you know her mother is never around, right? She WORKS which is why that child is a heathen."

However, when you're home all the time you feel guilty that you are "just" a stay at home mom. Your career is over. You are not bringing in any money into the household. What if my husband loses his job or something happens to him or to our marriage? Then where are you? You now have taken time away from the corporate food chain and you're no longer the shark. You're not even a jelly fish. You're more like the salmon now trying to swim upstream against younger and singler (Yes, I know that's not a real word - just go with it for now) and less expensive candidates than you. Most likely they don't have kids to go home to and shoulders that are weighed down by this giant guilt backpack. They are willing to work long hours and crappy assignments because they're paying their dues - which you already paid! And, anytime your husband jokes about you having to get a paper route when you wish to purchase something for yourself it makes another part of you die inside. You are entirely, completely dependent upon another person. And, if you fall on your face, you're screwed. The only thing you're qualified for now is the bald lady at the circus because your hair has never recovered from pregnancy. Your body is stretched out of shape, your eyes look like they've been stomped on by chickens and you'd need a month long coma to really recover from the sleep deprivation and who would really want to hire a train wreck like you anyway????  You’d have to get a job as a stripper at a truck stop so you can support your family and they’d end up getting taken away from you because you turn to crystal meth as a diet plan so you can at least strip at a two star establishment and have enough energy left over to clean your house. 

The grass on the other side of the fence is not really grass at all. It's turf. From afar it looks lush and verdant and so appealing that you would give anything just to run through it with bare feet and reckless abandon. However, when you get up close, you realize that it's not real. It's pretty. It looks nice but it's not real. Either side has benefits. Either side has downfalls. Both sides have guilt and people telling you that your choices are wrong. And, you have people looking at you from the other side of the fence wishing vehemently that they could just be in your Manolo Blahniks for a few hours (unless you’re on the SAHM side and then they want to be in your Havaianas).
So, we moms have to bond together to help shoulder this burden.  Because this backpack can be suffocating.  Share your frustrations with people going through it.  You’ll find that you’re not alone.  Other moms are experiencing the same guilt. And the same struggles.  And the same challenges; some far worse than yours. Oh, and make sure you have a cute backpack.  Because it’s much easier to be weighed down by something trendy than some hand-me-down.  Although, you might want to get one with wheels.


A List Of The Top Things No One Warned Me About Prior To Kids

Any career aspirations as a high flying trampoline artist are gone.  No longer can you jump on a trampoline without dire consequences and a change of clothing waiting in the wings.

Your boobs will inadvertently be flashed to complete strangers as well as family and friends by your children sticking their hands down the front of your shirt while perched on your hip.  Every shirt you own will be covered in snot, drool, chewed up animal crackers and stickers while slowly being converted from a crew to a V-neck.  Or, more like a U neck.

You will give birth to the most embarrassing friends you have.  They will say things that you couldn't imagine in your wildest dreams being said to complete strangers.  They will tell people all the intimate details of your life - true or not.  They will pants you in line at Marshalls and you will be wearing your HAWTEST pair of granny panties and then yell that you are "nakey" in case anyone back in the shoe department missed it.  They will announce very loudly that "Mommy just farted!" when it was really the ketchup bottles fault.  You cannot shake them. 

Your hair will fall out. It will not grow back in places where you want it to be.  It will, however, grow back in places you absolutely DON'T want it to be. You may also lose a tooth (or two and end up needing a horribly painful root canal) because your growing children suck every single nutrient out of you - even if you take all the vitamins and do absolutely everything your OB/GYN recommends for a healthy pregnancy that doesn't usurp your soul and deplete your calcium reserves.

You lose many brain cells.  They do not return.  Therefore you will have no short term memory. You will remember lyrics from a song you haven't heard since middle school.  You will not remember if you washed your hair when you're in the shower. You will not remember where you put your phone, your keys, your coat. Your brain cells do not return.   Your kids will look flawless as you go in public.  You will look like you have been dragged behind a cart full of donkeys.  You will take "dragging ass" to a whole new level of hideous.  Did I mention the brain cells don't return? 

You will kill with flourish anything that may threaten your child.  This includes venomous animals, things that sting and creepy crawly things. You will get overzealous and also knock off things like ladybugs and dryer lint - just in case they're rabid because they're eyeballing your baby.

All strangers will suddenly become potential predators.  Any unknown person - ESPECIALLY near a park or a mall - is there to steal your child right out from under your nose.  You will try to teach your children about "Stranger Danger" which will inevitably turn into a conversation about when it is appropriate to karate chop people or bite them or call them bad names like "Poop-a-saurus Rex" and "Stinky Bunners".  At the end of every conversation about your children avoiding potential dangerous situations, you will wonder if they are actually looking forward to them so they can try out some high flying kicks and bad words with permission instead of running away and getting help.

You can never again watch a movie in which a child dies, gets kidnapped, gets terminally ill or is abducted by aliens.  You will cry unabashedly for days because you will imagine the character is your child.  This also goes for news stories involving children.  But, the probability of you seeing these types of things is slight, as they generally do not break into the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse to announce headlining stories on MSNBC. 

You will have no idea what is going on with the political world.  Televised debates between candidates will go unwatched because A: You have no idea they are on. B: They can't hold a candle to the debate you are watching between your children over who is the smartest in the house which inevitably ends in jiu jitsu. C: They blab about things that you know are important and you should care about - but you just don't have the energy to think about. Nor the time to feel guilty about not caring about.  However, if they discussed a fool proof way to eradicate whining from your house - they'd have far greater viewers. People would DVR it.  Mom groups would start chanting their names while holding up the flashlight app on their iPhone.  High on the euphoria of a whine-free house many would even tattoo candidates faces on to their stretch marks.  (Nice stomach tattoo! When did Mitt Romney grow whiskers?)  You will however, know how ginormous Jessica Simpson got while pregnant (and freakin' good for her btw) and the fact that Snookie having a baby coincides with the Mayan prophesy of the apocalypse.  You know, the important stuff.

You will have conversations that you cannot believe.  "No, don't drink the bath water. Because it is dirty and you have your bunners in it."  "No, don't drink the pool water.  Because it has chemicals, sunblock and pee-pee in it."  "No thank you.  I do not need your help wiping my butt."  We shouldn't eat things off the floor.  Because it is yucky. Yes, even if it looks clean. Yes, even if you lick it off first." "No, you shouldn't just go up to a stranger and kick them just because they are eating lunch outside on a bench across from the playground."

Potty humor reigns on high.  And everything can be turned into potty humor.  "Girls, do you want more noodles?"  "Does it come with extra toilet?"  "Me want extwa macawoni poo-poo."  Bahahahahahahahahaha! No child is immune to the stand up humor hilarity surrounding the potty.   

You will mourn the end of naps like you have lost a member of the family.  Perhaps more. 

Whenever you are doing something your kids will want you to stop it immediately to tend to something they have deemed as critical. "Mommy!  You need to untangle this necklace right this second because I love it and need to wear it IMMEDIATELY.  Yes, I see that you're up to your elbows in raw chicken.  But I need this necklace now because I haven't worn it since I was two and need to catch up for lost time."

You will share intimate details with complete strangers about child birth.  You will commiserate with horrifying children stories in awesome displays of motherhood camraderie. You will shout out the names of your pediatrician, obstetrician, esthetician to everyone who will listen.   You will not, however, share the name of your amazing babysitter.  Ever.  Even with your BFF.  Just in case she decides that she likes the other family better and then you're stuck at home for date night while your friends who stole your babysitter go out and laugh until they stop while you cry into your Capri Sun juice box watching a Bubble Guppies marathon. 

At the end of the day you will be so happy to be blessed with tiny people that make you laugh, cry, scream, and feel a dichotomy of emotions you didn't even know existed.  You will count the seconds until you can have a few moments to yourself - and you will think about them the entire time you are gone.  They will destroy your clothes, furniture, make up and anything shiny or sort of interesting that you have in your possession.  And they will fill your heart with so much love that you think it may burst.  Until you walk into your bedroom see your girls each wearing one of your nice Victoria's Secret thongs like an eye patch.  Then you notice that they have used your one splurge you have had on yourself in years - a coveted Creme de la Mer that you hid in the top back corner of your closet - to finger paint a mural on your wall.  And, then you want to pull out the three remaining hairs on your head and scream obscenities at the top of your lungs.  But, that may bring a visit from social services. So instead you hear the words your mother use to scream at you coming out of your mouth.  "You kids ruin all my nice things!" And then you know it's all over.  The good news is since your brain cells are gone you won't remember it in a little while anyway.


Please Stop Looking At My Asana

There's a personal trainer at the gym who has a body to die for.  She's perfectly tone. We are talking negative 47% body fat.   She's not bulky muscular nor super skinny.  She clearly works out religiously and she's someone that I would actually listen to as a personal trainer because she looks that amazing.  She'd be like "Now squat lift this John Deere tractor" and I'd be all - "I'll lift two if I look like you at the end of all this!"  I first saw her while watching the super advanced crazy insane step class that happens right before my yoga class.  She's got the steps stacked up to one flight below heaven.  She flawlessly completes the choreography with unbelievable grace all the while looking like - only 25 platforms today under my step - it's a light day for me. 

A while ago I had asked my doctor how I could get my post-baby-stretched-out stomach like to look closer to this demi-goddesses butcher block abs.  My MD explained a complex procedure that involves an industrial sized paper cutter and super glue. As I am allergic to super glue, I have not yet undergone this procedure. Yet. As soon as they find a process that involves Elmer's or double sided tape - I am so in.

Anyway, for the first time today I saw this woman outside of the classroom.  She was in the locker room apparently dabbing off a bit of glitter from her brow (because when you're this fabulous you don't sweat - you glisten).  I boldly walked over to her and told her that she looked fantastic.  I feel like when you work that hard you should get compliments.  There are a lot of haters out there that don't realize how much effort goes into a great physique. It's much easier on your self-esteem to be all "yeah, whatever, she probably has ugly feet and doesn't know the difference between their, they're and there." She kind of blushed and I walked away to chat with my husband for a few minutes before class started.  

I told him that I had complimented the woman. He knows who I am talking about as I gawk at her taking this class every Tuesday.  I have pointed her out because her shape is really what I would like to look like (in a perfect world where I didn't like food and survived only on goldfish flakes and sunshine).   He then says "She probably thinks you were hitting on her. We are in San Francisco now, don't forget."  

Walking into my class, I settle into my spot and get ready to get all up into Downward Facing Dog's mix.  The regular yoga instructor is out today.  And, of course, who walks in to sub but Personal Trainer Glistening Goddess in Lululemon.  She even has perfect teeny tiny feet with a perfect teeny tiny pedicure which makes you balance even better than those of us with chipped, outgrown, month-old-sparkly nail polish applied by a 5-year-old.

I want to relax into my yoga state of mind but I can't stop thinking about how this woman probably thinks I was hitting on her in the locker room.  Dammit!  Why do I even speak to my husband????  Did she just say stop checking out my asana?  Oh. No. Phew. She wants us to practice asana. Whatever the hell that is.

I somehow manage to survive the class without making eye contact with her in fear that she thinks I may try to suggest a private AcroYoga lesson or ask if she could help wash my back after class.  I run away as quickly as I could without stepping on the stomachs of people still milling around in their corpse positions.  I tell my husband total embarrassment about the substitute instructor.  He barely remembered our conversation an hour prior that screwed with my zen.  His reaction:  Oh, I was just messing with you.  She probably didn't think a thing of it.  Stop being weird, Tracy."  Sighing deeply, I whacked him with my yoga mat followed by a swift kick in the asana with a mangled sparkly pedicure.  Ahhh - peace at last...Om....


Is Yoga Really Enough?

I'm standing next to the door waiting for the class to begin.  I'm starting to feel comfortable with my beginner yoga basics and even toying with the idea of taking a more challenging Vinyasa class.  I have a headache from my ponytail being too tight. Or, maybe it's from the toddler meltdown that I have just enjoyed for the last two hours.  Either way, I relax, comfortable in the knowledge that I'm heading closer to my space where I can have an hour to myself without having to wipe anything gross off another human.  I have my yoga mat in hand and am waiting for the class before's savasana to come to an end to begin my calm.

Suddenly I feel someone come up too close behind me.  My husband whispers in my ear "What the hell are they doing? Taking a nap?  Is that what you do in there?  Just lie around and sleep? They need to rename this from Yoga to Milling Around."

This is the constant debate in my home. My husband believes that yoga is just an hour of wasting time by relaxing. Naysayers say that it's just aggressive stretching - especially those crazy Crossfit kick-your-own-ass-ers.  Yoga aficionados say yoga is a complete workout that will get every muscle in your body in shape if practiced correctly and with regularity.  Stars like Madonna, Christy Turlington and Jennifer Aniston swear by it to keep their bodies in pristine physical condition. (And, yes, of course they have personal trainers, nutritionists, stylists, great DNA - all these things that I don't working in their favor).   Many dietitians say maintaining your weight is 70% diet and 30% exercise.  Can that exercise only be yoga instead of cardio and weightlifting?  Or, do you have to be super-crazy-yogaholic-put-my-head-up-my-own-ass-while-floating-three-feet-in-the-air yogi to get any results?

In the last month of 4-5 hours weekly of classes, I have noticed beginning muscle definition and strength in my core and upper body.  I can go into plank position for more than 3 seconds now - maybe even 5 entire seconds - without shaking so badly the person next to me wonders if it's an earthquake.  My balance has improved (which for me is pretty awesome because there's a reason my mom didn't name me Grace).  I am down 4 lbs (although I credit that entirely to curbing the carbs after 2 pm and increasing protein intake). I am not bikini ready - but much less embarrassed to hang out at the kiddie pool in my tankini. 

I am aware that you need cardio to aggressively lose weight.  But, I loathe cardio. I get on the treadmill and am like "Woo Hoo!  Marathon of Storage Wars!"  I walk for an hour and burn only 150 calories because I will trip and fall if I'm going too fast watching Dave "YUUUUUP" everyone out of the unit they have their heart set on.  Though sometimes I watch old episodes of Las Vegas and see how gorgeous Vanessa Marcil is - so I kick up the walking a notch because she clearly uses her elliptical machine for more than laundry storage.

As for weight lifting - ew.  It makes me tired, whiny and give mean looks to all the people in the area.  Plus, it's supposed to bend my engagement ring and wedding band from all the massive amounts of weight I would totally be bench pressing. So, that's obviously out - don't want to destroy good platinum.

I'm more of a class person.  I need someone to tell me what to do, when and how to do it.  But, I also need it to be told to me calmly and nicely.  I tried Boot Camp and all that screaming at me just made me want to punch the teacher in the throat instead of doing my 1,000th burpee.  I can barely stay on the bike in spinning.  Plus, it makes my butt hurt.  I like step, but my gym only offers Step III which is WAAAAAAAAAY out of my workout grade as I spent more time tripping over the step than actually doing the beautiful choreography.  Barre workouts is really just a reason for people to look at my crotch in several mirrors while I try to fling my leg up there and tear my hamstring off.

So, I guess my pursuit for fitness via yoga will remain a point of contention in my house.   I will continue with regularity to go to my class. My husband will continue to tell me how wussy I am and that I need to get cardio and weight lifting to see any difference.  At least until I'm flexible enough to kick him in the face. Then I bet he thinks twice about insulting my awesome Karate Kid tendencies.


How Can Something So Wrong Be SO Freakin Funny?

Ahhhh, summer!  The time of the year when people shed their layers and make gloriously bad choices in attire.  The season when you may ask yourself "Do they own any mirrors?" or perhaps "Hmmm, do you think it was wise to wear your 7 year old's suit to the pool today?"  But then, where would we get such delicious fodder?   

Here are some of the questionable decisions observed poolside at our club yesterday:

1. The rubinesque woman wearing a teeny tiny bikini. It was a lovely plaid number topped off by a giant scarf.  Because nothing screams IT'S 103 DEGREES OUTSIDE! like a scarf around the neck.  You certainly wouldn't want to get a cold clavicle at the pool.  Good thinking Frosty!

2. Copious amounts of jewelry.  I'm talking the Mr. T starter kit.  Doesn't it get hot?  Don't you get weird tan lines?  Don't you get annoyed with everyone mistaking you for the female Flava Flav?

3. The woman wearing the monokini with the buckle straining to connect the top of the suit to the bottom. Aren't you afraid it may spring loose?  The small buckle over your belly button does not hide your muffin top runneth over. And over.  And over.  And again, awkward tan lines? 

4. The woman wearing the hat with a hole in the top of it - to perhaps tan her cowlick?  The gigantic rubbery cover up that may also double as a burqa/wet suit.  Or maybe it's a new fashion yet to catch on - the burkini! Guaranteed to give you no tan lines whatsoever and doubles as a life raft in the event of being capsized!

5. This suit was actually seen donned by a woman lounging poolside.  The owner did NOT look like Jenny McCarthy in it however. In fact, she looked more like Jim Carrey.   Just because you can buy the same suits as the celebrities does not actually mean you should people...

5. The woman yelling very loudly to her friend in the cell phone.  The conversation started like this: "Oh yeah!  Let me tell you about my vagina!"  I feel extra close to this stranger now that I am all kinds of knowledgeable about her inner workings. 

6. Pleather? Really? At the pool? And no chafing?


Grocery Shopping with the Stars!

It was time to go grocery shopping because dinner last night was "Hooray!  Baby corn and pancakes!  Does anyone want a side of Laughing Cow?"  I created my list (which was very long because it had been a while since I did a big shopping trip) packed the girls into the car and headed off.  My husband suggested I try a grocery store chain that is located near us but we have never gone to.  They always send out a beautiful circular that advertises great sales.  Typically I shop at Trader Joe's - they have fun, healthy food and it's really reasonably priced.  Plus, they don't have all the extra crap that I don't really need but throw in the cart nonetheless.  I end up saving at least 50% from when I go shopping at the large chain supermarkets or Target. 

We went at 10 am, when it's generally less populated.  My girls are pretty decently behaved as long as their mouths are stuffed full of some kind of grocery store "tweat".  We snag the cart that has the giant plastic seat that holds both kids.  The buckles are broken - but I don't have to worry about one filling the cart while I'm not looking and the other whining "It not faiw" that the other gets to walk and she has to be in the carriage.  I shove an Odwalla smoothie (now in juice box form!) in their hands and take off to lovingly choose nutritious foods for our house.

The girls are trying to sweet talk me into cookies, cupcakes and any delicious dessert that crosses their line of vision.  However, I am a vehicle of restraint.  I am here on a healthy mission and I will not be swayed!  Emmeline is warming up her vocal cords with some humming the theme to Super Why.  I crack a little and give them powdered donuts - but it's just a tiny sleeve of them and on sale for $1.00.  That should suffice! 

I continue down the aisles, crossing things off the list and adding a few items here and there.  The girls are starting to get ancy.  But, we are only half way through the store.  I toss a box of Scooby Snacks their way and push on.  Oooh!  An apple corer!  I need one of these for the apple/peanut butter sandwiches that the girls like.  Yes, we can bake muffins instead of buying them!  Fun Mommy and girls project!   Toss that in.  Ok, we can get some of these.  Dinosaur egg oatmeal?  Yep, oatmeal is a good source of fiber for you.  Hello! Who's got two thumbs and is healthy?  This girl here!

Emmeline starts her musical set with a killer version of the ABC's. She skips right from Q-R-S to Y and Z! - but who really uses those annoying last few letters anyway?  She then segues from "Next time won't you sin wif me!" right into "I kissed a girl and I yiked it!"  Quite the train wreck of songs, but somehow she pulls it off.

Oh my goodness! Is that the biggest box of Lucky Charms ever???  I mean, the girls only eat the marshmallows - but with a box this size they can be in marshmallow nirvana for an entire week!  Man - I love this store!  My husband was right! 

"I Sim Shady, Yes I da weal Shady so pwease stand up! Pwease stand up!  Pwease stand up!"

Sale on a giant bottle of chocolate syrup! Score!  My husband is going to be psyched about all these things being on sale!  What a great deal!   No, Emmeline, get back into the cart, please.  Fine.  You can pick out one thing of crescent rolls and use it as your microphone.  Emmeline what did you throw into the cart?  Ok, that's enough!  No, we don't need 24 gallons of chocolate pudding. 

Darting off, I follow the sound of  "Now I ain't sayin' I a gowd digga" yelling her way down the frozen food aisle.   It's like shopping with a Top 40 play list of singers - while getting a workout!  Way better than the Celine Dion being piped through the stores speakers.  I am now running through the aisles. I have to circle back a few times for items that I missed because I am unfamiliar with the layout of the store. Crap - Lena, grab some vitamins!

The carriage is full of healthy, yummy food and we are ready to go! Freakin' finally. 

There are two cashiers available.  And, inevitably I NEVER choose the right register to hit - so I of course get behind the woman trying to save $0.03 cents on a can of soup. She's got people running all around the store trying to find the price she thinks this one can is. 

10 grueling minutes later they find the price.  Or make it up to get her out.  Either way - it's our turn.   The girls are "hewping" and trying to talk me into buying them candy and disposable razors and cold sore lipstick while I unload the carriage.  I somehow herd them into their seats, hand them whatever their snack of the minute was and get ready to pay.  But, it's going to all be worth it because of the savings we are experiencing. 

"Because your yuv, your yuv, your yuv is my dug."

The cashier very cheerfully tells me "$350.00 exactly".  I stare at her.  Open mouthed. And say "How much?"  She responds "Can you believe it?  $350.00 on the nose!  You never see that!"  You're right.  I never see that. Ever.

My response was "Yeah. My husband is going to kill me.  What the hell did we buy?"

$350?  $350!  I have NEVER spent even close to that at the grocery store.  Ever. In my entire life.  My heart is racing like I have just run 37 feet.  (Does this mean I'm all set for cardio today?).  I am contemplating grabbing the girls and running away.  But that would mean I still have to go shopping because for some reason there is never a food fairy that shows up and wands my cupboards full of yummy treats.  Dammit. 

I am trying not to puke. I am weaving a tapestry of obscenity via text messages to my husband because I am freaking out. Why the f#@& did you want me to go here???????????

The cotton heads are staring at me. Lena refuses to get out of the carriage because I wouldn't buy her a disposable cell phone.  Emmeline is singing "I pwetty good at dwinkin' beew!"  I'd like to be "dwinkin' beew" but it's only 11 am.  Plus, now that I have spent $350 at the grocery store, I will be probably forced to make "beew" out of left over barley and some of that weird grassy stuff on the side of the house. 

In case you're wondering what $350 of groceries looks like - here it is:

Note to self: Stop trying new things.  You suck at it.  That is all.


An Ode to Magic Eraser

My kid has written on the wall
Stickers on her favorite doll
Somehow you can remove them all
An Ode to Magic Eraser

Marker on the kitchen table
To get it out you're more than able
Ignore the warnings on the label
An Ode to Magic Eraser

Scuffs all along the stairs
Sharpie when the paper tears
The only other thing that works is flares
An Ode to Magic Eraser

My kids turn the house into a disaster
What the hell is on the plaster?
Dear God, make this day go faster
An Ode to Magic Eraser

And now I have to run to the store
They super glued something to the door
Today alone I have gone through four
An Ode to Magic Eraser

What are you made of - will it make me glow?
A second head, might I grow?
Forget it.  I don't want to know.
An Ode to Magic Eraser

Wait. Just. One. Second. 
Stop everything...
I feel a sequel coming on!


You Want Me To Do WHAT With That Belt?

I decided that I have had enough of feeling fat and gross.  I had fluffed up during the winter.  It was time to take action!  We belong to an amazing health club - so I really have no excuse.  I could blame kids, moving, lack of time...but really I just fell into a rut.  It was time to climb out and take responsibility for my weight loss instead of lamenting my 5 (ok 10) pounds of self-esteem crusher.  I have set the goal of my wedding weight (120 lbs) and am giving myself 3 months to achieve this.  So, Monday began the Summer of Tracy! 

I decided to start with yoga for a few days.  I have a tendency to go all crazy in the beginning and then grow tired of it in a few weeks.  So, to combat that I am easing my way into the gym.  The first class went well. I remembered the poses and wasn't embarrassingly out of shape.  I left feeling invigorated and ready to do this!

Day two - yoga again.  This time with a different instructor as they switch daily, but still a beginners class.   I grab my mat, my water and am ready to get my namaste on.   We arrive and the instructor tells us to grab a belt, block and a roller.  They also always want us to get a blanket (Ew! I find the blankets creepy!).  But, always the eager student (or lemming) I follow suit and then place it away from me in case there are any bugs or sweaty yogi yuck on it.

The instructor then begins to explain what we are going to do with all these props.   I guess I didn't read the fine print of the class closely enough.  Apparently I was taking the 50 Shades of Grey Yoga class.  Holy cow. 

She started off by having us tie the belt into a loop which we hooked first under our feet - the soles of our feet were pressed together.  Next, we tied the belt around our lower backs - making us look like a group of awkward frogs.  Then we had to place the roller under our shoulder blades while lying down on the mat.  We had the block under our heads like hard pillows.  We are supposed to be opening ourselves up, relaxing and finding our center.  I can't stop laughing at how completely inappropriate I feel. I mean, I'm all tied up, curled over a roller with my head on a block.  The class looks like a B (or C or D) grade porn.  Bom chicka wah wah!

"Take a deep breath in and release all that is binding you."  Binding you? Bahahahahaha!  All these people are taking these deep breaths and gravelly exhalations.  A few moans even escape.   And here I am, giggling like a teenager at this whole experience. I cannot wait for this S&M, I mean yoga class to end.  Are people standing outside Studio 1 (apparently aka the Mirrored Room of Pain) watching this?!?  Probably because it was the 5:30 pm class and the gym is packed! 

Did it stretch out my back?  Absolutely.  It worked beautifully on my upper back and realigned my spine in my lower back.  So, clearly it was a good stretch.  

I guess I'm still too immature to take yoga.  Sigh.  Back to the treadmill...


The Graduate

The moment had finally arrived.  Much anticipation, preparation, angst and excitement shroud today's celebration.  It's Lena's graduation from preschool.  I am so proud of my munchkin!  She is one of the youngest to be involved in this program.  She survived her first year of being in school every day, her first exposure to girl drama and a classroom dominated by double the amount of boys. 

The "perfect" graduation outfit was chosen; we were all directed to dress accordingly.  Every moment of the morning was dictated by our future kindergartner.  It was time to head off to the final hurrah.  I wanted to take a picture of the girls on the last day of school and couple it with the one from the first day of school to show how much the girls have grown in one year. 

Here's the Norman Rockwell version of this Annie Leibovitz moment:
Lena, stand there for a minute.  Smile!  Perfect!  Now, how about over here.  Ok, and one with your sister.  Wonderful!  Let's get in the car and head to school.

And, my reality:
Lena, stand next to the door.  No, not in the rocks.  Over there. Left, left.  Ok. Stop jumping.  Put your arms down.  Smile. Don't make that face - it's not a smile. NO, it is not cute.  You look weird.  Why are you doing that with your head?  Stand still for a minute!  Please just smile nicely.  No, not like that.  Smile.  Seriously!  What is that?  This is the picture you want for your last day of school???  Fine.  Go stand over there with your sister.  Emmeline, stop kicking the rocks and stand next to your sister.  Stop running away. Please guys!  Just one picture.  Damn.  Got the back of Emmeline's head. Stupid iPhone.  Perfect stand! No Emmeline!  Just.  Stay.  Still.  Sigh.  Ok, forget it.  Just get in the car.  We're late for school now. 

After we drop Lena off, we run a few errands and pick out some flowers for the special girl.  We head back for the graduation program.  All the parents have dressed up for the occasion.  It was cute to see the mommies dressed up instead of in work out clothes or rockin' the "fresh out of bed" look that I usually don. 

The 18 graduates parade in and serenade us with many songs and demonstrations of all they have learned.  My little chanteuse (who has been known to get reprimanded for singing at inappropriate times) is NOT singing along with the rest of them.  She is swinging her arms around and looking at shiny objects and dreaming of the Queen's Jubilee. I want to yell at her and tell her to pay attention and pretend for a few minutes like you can follow directions!!!   I somehow manage to bite my tongue.  She is ignoring my mommy death looks. 

The performance ends and diplomas are handed out.  Hugs, tears and pictures abound.  It is time for the last day of school picnic.  This will be the second time that there is a picnic of this magnitude at the school.  It's wonderful, in theory; all the families of the students coming together to bond over peanut butter and jelly.  However, the giant amoeba of children attacking the tiny play structures throws my mom-induced-panic into hyper drive. It's hard to discern my children amongst the thrall of arms, legs, crying and dirt. I want to be that relaxed person that just knows the kids will be alright.     I want to chat with the fantastic group of mommies that I have met through this year - but instead have to be the crazy lady on the periphery scanning the melee in case I have to intervene.  I commandeer my friends beautiful 5 week old baby to calm my nerves. 

It's time for the picnic craziness to end.  Play dates have been arranged.  Numbers exchanged.  The conclusion of an era had arrived and not a moment too soon.  Now it's time for Lena to get a job.  She has been freeloading for five years now.  When I told her it was time for her to start paying rent, she informed me she was getting a job as a lifeguard.  Which is wonderful!  If only she knew how to swim....but let's not let that minuscule detail get in the way of gainful employment.


Guns and Buns

It is amazing my husband and I get along as well as we do.  We are so different from each other about so many things. This morning he is telling me about the dream he had last night. The majority of his dreams are about guns, fighting, dirt bikes, motorcycles and boy stuff.  Last night's was no different:

"So, then these guys break into our house.  I grab my Glock and head downstairs... I head them off  (blah blah violence, fight scene, victorious husband)."

My response:  "Sounds a lot like mine.  Except in my dream I put my hair into a sock bun.  And it worked on the first try!  I had a beautiful, thick looking bun instead of my usual white trash, scraggly hair."
He says: "You had a dream about putting a sock in your hair?"
Me: "Yup. To make a bun."
Him: "Like a sweat sock?"

Me: "No, a dark one that  matches my hair."

Him:  "That's what you dream about? Putting a sock in your hair?  Man.  Even your dreams are wussy."

As a side note - I tried out a sock bun this morning and it WORKED!  At least only one of our dreams are coming true....

As a second post script - my Hallmark-Moment husband informed me that my sock bun looks like a "cornhole on the back of my head." 

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