Thursday, November 30, 2006

My brother is a dork,

but that's okay. So am I.

For the first time ever, I will post a picture of one of my children here. This occurance is a direct result of my brother's dorkiness (and his costume collection which stems from the aforementioned dorkiness).

This is Darth Girl2. She is wearing my brother's mask and cape while playing with one (yes, he has more than one) of his lightsabers. Have I mentioned that my brother is pushing 40? These are not his kids' toys. His son is a baby. These are MY BROTHER'S toys.

Not that I'm faulting him for it. I think it's pretty freaking cool. You see, my brother is not alone in his dorkiness. :-) I'm sitting right beside him on that bench. My kids think my brother is absolutely fantastic. They already thought their uncle was pretty cool, but after busting out all this stuff, they damn near worshipped him. Rightfully so, too. My brother kicks ass!

Here is my brother playing with (and I swear he's not really attacking her no matter how it may appear) one of the girls. Note that he willngly made do with a broom stick. He let the kids have all the lightsabers.

Have I mentioned my brother's a dork? Have I mentioned I adore him for it? Yeah, I thought so, but I just had to do it one more time.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

I survived a 16 hour road trip with three kids...

and all I got are these circles under my exhausted eyes.

We got in last night.

We had a fantastic time.

I'll post a brief recap (complete with pictures which I very rarely post) very soon.

Check back soon.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Not enough hours in the day

We'll be making a trip to visit family out of state on Tuesday. This will be a 15-HOUR drive to visit family out of state. This will be a 15-HOUR drive WITH THREE CHILDREN.

I am insane.

Either that or I'm the world's best sister for being willing to do this to visit my brother and sister. I'm gonna go with the best sister thing. It sounds far less sinister plus it would give me an excuse to wear my crown (not that I need an excuse, but it would be nice to have a reason if someone asks).

That means we have a lot of running around to do tomorrow. Mild panic beginning to set in. There aren't nearly enough hours in the day for this.

I may very well be THE WORLD'S BEST SISTER (such a title should be in all caps), but I am also insane as well.

Fear not, fair readers, we're bringing the laptop to my brother's (who is oh so graciously saving us about a thousand dollars by letting us stay with him. WORLD'S BEST BROTHER award goes out to him), so I should still be able to blog from there. It won't be nearly as frequently, but I should be able to pop on now and then.

After 15 hours of driving (plus all the bathroom breaks), I'm gonna have LOTS to blog about.

Forget the crown. I'm gonna need liquor.

Friday, November 17, 2006

South Park lost its allure for me years ago...

but when Her Bad Mother pointed her readers in the direction of a site where one can find the inner SouthParkian self, I jumped on it.

I don't post pictures of myself, but I'll make an exception just this once:

And yes, I really do insist on wearing a crown IRL. You only think I'm kidding.

If I believed in a hell...

I would SO be going there.

Why? Because I have not only taken to laughing at the poor cat, but I have now nicknamed her Funnel Face. I'm not just revelling in her misfortune, I'm making fun of it as well.

I suck, but hey, at least I'm laughing.

She is awfully funny...pathetic, but funny too.

If the girls are Girl1 and Girl2, then this would be Cat2 (aka Funnel Face). She is forever getting into something. She's not that bright and she's accident prone. Not a fun combo.

Yesterday, she cut her foot. A trip to the vet resulted in 3 hours under anesthesia so they could "stitch" (they really glued) her up, wrap her foot, and send her home with her very own funnel.

Poor, poor Funnel Face. I really do feel sorry for you. Unfortunately, I also feel highly amused by you.

I must not only mock her misfortune, but also record it in photographic form.

Doesn't this picture just scream, "I'm going to kill you in your sleep if you keep laughing at me"?

Jews in green

Pammer had a great question about being Jewish in the military. She asked, "Just curious... are there many jews in the military? Or is it hard to lead a jewish life while enlisted?"

There are more Jews than you might think, but yes, it is difficult to be a Jewish military family.

I had about 4 Jewish friends in college (small school with a very small Jewish community). I've completely lost track of one, but of the other three, 2 of them spent time in the military. One had to leave the Marines fairly early on due to a health issue, but another is in the Army. He's stationed in Iraq now and has been for a while (his wife just had a gorgeous baby girl about 4 months ago. He got to come home for a week to see her and went right back).

The title of this post is actually taken from this website: Jews In Green. Their tagline is "The ultimate source for Jewish service members." So apparently there are enough of us out there to warrant a website on the matter.

My mother's boss (who is also Jewish) keeps making insane comments about my husband being in the military. He likes to repeatedly ask, "Who has ever heard of a Jew in the military?" My response is always the same. "Have you never heard of ISRAEL where military service is mandatory?"

We are, however, still greatly outnumbered. Getting off for the high holidays is impossible for dh. He's been able to attend services twice during his entire military career. He's always either out of the country or in training. Once, they just refused to give him off. I love my husband, though, because he still insisted on working Xmas that year even though they offered him the day off. His thinking was that he'd rather work so someone who actually celebrated the day could have off. Oh how I adore my husband!

Keeping kosher was impossible for dh when he was deployed. If you can go into town, it's not so bad because the Muslim dietary laws are very similar to ours. When you're confined to the base or in an area where the towns are hostile, you eat what the military serves you and that's usually nowhere remotely near kosher. Dh just came in the room, so I asked him for his thoughts on keeping kosher while deployed. Here's his response, "Impossible. I'd starve."

One aspect that makes it difficult is the military tends to station you in places you would never consider living otherwise. For us, that means we wind up living in places that have small Jewish communities. We're both originally from an area that had a good-sized Jewish community. In high school, the entire town had the Jewish holidays off. Here, the public school system doesn't even acknowledge them. I actually love where we're living now, but it's not a hotbed of Jewish culture by any stretch of the imagination.

All the parties are Xmas parties. They tried to call it a "holiday" party a few years ago, but that's when Chanukah was very early and so the party was actually held after Chanukah. So it was a Christmas party no matter what they called it.

The kids used to go to a playgroup sponsored by the military. At the party for that playgroup last year, someone walked up to me and asked, "Are you the Jew?" I was more than a little taken aback. Turns out she meant well. She wanted to know because all the other kids got Xmas books, but she had gotten secular toys for my girls. I was thrilled that she had gone out of her way. I was just a little taken aback at being asked if I was "the Jew."

Here's a quasi-related story about Chanukah in the military: Protestant B. Not. I've read it before and I love it. I figure this is a good forum in which to share it.

Some of the difficulties are specific to the military. Some of them have to do with living where we do. Some of them we know we'd have to deal with in the civilian world as well. We're pretty good at adapting, though. If you're a military family and you don't get that adapting thing down quickly, you either won't be military for long or you won't be a family for long.

To be a Jewish family in the military, sometimes we have to march to the beat of our own drum. Other times, we have to bring our own full orchestra. :-)

The glutton for punishment strikes again
and this tme she's headed for Wal-mart
with small children in tow.

We are headed food shopping this morning.

For my long-time readers, you'll know what a fiasco that can be.

It's FAR easier now that the husband is home (let me pause now to bow down in thanks for that), but it's still a hassle with three little ones.

And so, as I embark on this great journey, please keep me in your thoughts. L-rd knows we can use thoughts and prayers while we're at Wal-Mart.

If I should return home alive (and in one piece), upon walking through the front door, I will make the profound statement, "One small step for (a) man. One giant leap for a frazzled mother of twins and a baby (oh yeah and her husband too)."

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Photos for holiday cards
(aka I'm a glutton for punishment)

I came across this blog entry about rules for holiday photo shoots and I must share.

Great stuff. Rule #2 is brilliant. Why oh why did I never think of that? 1 and 2 are pretty useful as well.

A brief jaunt through the old harddrive would produce the 30-some-odd photos my sister took in an insane attempt to get a family photo for the holiday card.

Since we're Jewish and most of our friends are not, we send out New Year cards. I like to pat myself on the back and think it's a brilliant idea for two reasons: #1. No worry about covering all the holidays/trying to find generic winter cards (because while Chanukah photo cards do apparently exist, they are very good at hiding. Chanukah photo cards = The Jewish mom's bigfoot) and #2. It can be done AFTER the chaos of the gift-giving holidays

Ever since the twins were born, I've been a big fan of photo cards. When the twins were toddlers, dh was deployed and I apparently had a death wish. I had an exact vision of the holidy photo I wanted. It involved me wearing my military wife locket in Bubbe's chair (dh's grandmother's wingchair), the girls in their pretty new fancy Chanukah dresses, a picture of dh in uniform next to dh's boots (when you're stationed in the desert, they issue you different boots from your everyday uniform) which would hold a single rose from the boquet he sent me while deployed.

If you have children and/or have tried to photograph children, I assume you're rolling around on the floor right now laughing at my insanity. Feel free to pause here until you can see through the tears that I'm sure your laughter has caused.

My sister came to take the picture. G-d bless her, she tried and tried and tried and tried some more. We got lots of photos of the kids climbing on me, running away, grabbing for the rose, trying to step into dh's boots, and other random "fun." We did not, however, get anything remotely resembling the picture I had imagined. We didn't even get a shot that could be called acceptable. We did, however, wind up with a funny story to share, a chance to commiserate with other parents (particularly those with more than one child) who also had delusions of grandeur, and lots of pictures I can use when my kids grow up and try to pull that, "It's all your fault," card. I think not. Look at the crap you put me through. Your father was deployed. My life was stressful as hell. All I wanted was one decent photograph, but would you comply? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. You insisted on actively trying to make my life miserable. I shouldn't be blamed for your problems. I should be commended for not selling you on ebay.

Whoops, we took a brief detour into Tangentland. Sorry about that.

Anyway, yeah, taking holiday pictures can be stressful.

Anyone have any stories about taking holiday pictures (or taking pictures in general) of the kids to share? I'm all ears. It's even better if you share the photographic evidence.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Acquaintance vs. Friend

Here's an example from my real life:

When you insist you're going to kill someone, an acquaintance will laugh politely. A friend, however, will ask, "Do you need help hiding the body or do you have that covered?"

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

a collaborative weblog of practical parenting wisdom

aka this site could save your life.

Check this out: parent hacks.

Lots of tips for parents. I particularly like this one. We tried something similar with the bigger kids and it really made a difference.

I also like the tip about using a kitchen cart as a changing table. We went NUTS looking for a dresser the right height so that we could just attach the handy changing pad we bought. Never did find said dresser, so we actually did spend big bucks for a dresser/changing table combo at the You-Must-Buy-All-This-Crap-That-
At the time, we had not one, but TWO kitchen carts including one that was SUPER sturdy. Well, it's too late for us, but maybe someone will find that useful.

The third time around, we just change the baby on the floor. Dirtbag mom or realistic mom? You be the judge.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

The joys of homeschooling

While at dinner the other night, we had a mini-math lesson. The girls traded things back and forth and we asked them to total them up. I commented to dh, "Don't you just love homeschooling? We went out for Chinese and got a math class for free." :-)

When we went out yet again tonight (completely my fault. I got stir crazy and had to get out of the house before I put all the kids up on ebay), we skipped the math lesson, but maybe we shouldn't have.

You see, we got these LOVELY fried jalapenos stuffed with cheese as an appetizer (horrible for the waistline, but magnificent for the taste buds). There were six total. They served them on skewers, 2 to a skewer. Dh and I split them. The bigger kids actually adore spicy foods, but my husband and I are greedy.

There were so many math lessons to be had. What a wasted opportunity!

  • There are 3 skewers. Each has 2. How many is that total?
  • How would you divide them so your parents each have the same amount?
  • How many different ways could you split them up between your parents (you'll get a higher grade on this quiz if you short-change your dad)?
  • Let's count how many times your baby brother reaches for the fattening fried cheesy jalapeno goodness before your parents wise up and move him the heck over.
  • If your mother grabs all the jalapenos, how fast would she have to be traveling to get away quickly enough to eat them before your father catches up?

New addition to the reading list

First and foremost, Crib Chick's blog pointed me in the direction of the Ramblin Educat (which I will be adding to my "read" list in the next few moments. Go check it out (along with my other "reads" because if I take time out of my busy day to read them, you know they've got to be good). While looking through the blogroll there, I noticed quite a few of the blogs I used to read (and still would if there were more hours in the day).

I particularly liked the Veterans' Day entry from that blog: Loving Rome More

I also liked this entry which made me think of a dearly beloved friend who teaches high school English. Oh, the stories she has told me! That entry made me giggle and anything that makes me giggle must be shared. Enjoy.

Veterans Day

I wanted to post about Veterans' Day, but honestly, I just don't have the words. Yes, that's very strange to admit. I always have something to say, including (or maybe especially) those times when I should just shut up and sit down. I just can't find a way to put all my thoughts into a cohesive entry that really lets you inside my mind.

I can't explain my thoughts, so maybe I'll tell you about my actions. I honored the day with my family.

My husband is so many things. There are so very many sides to him and he plays so many roles. It sometimes baffles me that in addition to everything else, he is a veteran. It's been a part of our lives for years, so it shouldn't be a shock, but every once in a while, the reality of it hits me. It's only then when I can fully realize how very blessed I am.

Regardless of my feelings toward this conflict (and administration), I recognize that we celebrate the many freedoms we have thanks to the sacrifice of veterans.

My husband is a good man. My husband is a veteran. My husband is safe. My husband is home.

Baruch Atah Adonai Elohaynu Melech Ha'olam Sheheyanu Vikeeyamanu v'heegeyanu lazman hazeh
Blessed are You O L-rd Our G-d Ruler of the Universe who has enabled us to see this joyous day.

We went to an event yesterday where I read a mother's account of losing her son to the Iraqi conflict. Her story was accompanied by a picture of the man smiling in his desert BDUs, the same uniform my husband wore every day until one week ago.

I felt my eyes tear up, but for the first time in a long time, I didn't have to fight the tears back. I didn't have to worry about being the strong single parent while dh was away. I didn't have to run to the computer in the evening and type up a short e-mail telling dh I loved him (in which I couldn't possibly explain what lead to the blubbering love e-mail because you just don't write about death to those who are deployed).

Instead, I walked over to my husband, I hugged him, I cried, I kissed him and then I told him I loved him.

That is how I spent my Veterans' Day.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Sorry for the silence

Lots has happened here.

Dh is home. The kids are thrilled, but are very good at testing boundaries. The Boy has learned to use "Dada" in reference to his daddy rather than to signify the telephone and/or pictures. The Boy has even started asking for the daddy in the morning, even before the child starts demanding the cats. That's a big deal because that child does so love to torture his fuzzy sisters. I'm very very happy to have my husband home. Life has been a bit of a whirlwind while we try to find a ballance between what needs to be done, what we want to do, and all the adjustments we must fit into place.

While I've been ecstatic about dh's homecoming, I'm also heartbroken for a friend. When she told me she was pregnant a few weeks ago, I was literally in tears I was so excited for her. If anyone in the world deserves more children, it's this friend of mine. She's a fantastic mom. She has always been one of my idols of motherhood. She's fun. She's creative. She's brilliant. She's gentle. She's loving.

Earlier this week, she lost her baby. You'll understand why I haven't felt much like updating. I'm just SO saddened for her. I'm also a little mad at the world right now. Not only did this friend truly deserve another baby, that baby deserved a chance to have such wonderful parents.

My posts will probably be sporadic for a while. I hope you understand.

I promise I'll be back with more of my eccentric insight in the near future.

Until then, here's a chihuahua in a clown costume. Enjoy:

Friday, November 03, 2006

To do list

I'm quite proud of what I've checked off the to do list thus far.

  • Clean out the storage boxes at the foot of our bed. CHECK.
  • Put boxes back in some semblance of order. CHECK
  • Vacuum bedroom rug. CHECK
  • Clear out the van. CHECK (although I need to remember to take the stroller out of the trunk so there's room for dh's luggage)
  • Empty random bags lying around. CHECK
  • Take out the garbage (on Tuesday night. Seems like the small things are the only things I fight. Sorry, I had a Liz Phair moment). CHECK
  • Regrout the bath tub. CHECK And no, I'm not kidding. I started regrouting it when I was pregnant. My water broke while I was in the process
  • Gather the Halloween decorations CHECK, but I still need to get them in the attic.
  • Buy new underwear. CHECK. Of course Fredericks of Hollywood doesn't have a link to the corset set I got or I'd share it with ya. I try on damn near everything in the store and of course the one thing I settle on is something they don't have on the website. Figures.
  • Straighten up the kitchen. CHECK
  • Get manicures for self and bigger kids. CHECK

So hey, not too shabby of a day. I still have more work to do, but it shouldn't be too bad, plus I have friends coming to help.

The oddest thing happened yesterday. I opened up all the Winter clothes boxes and took out the clothes--mine and dh's. It was so strange, but very exciting to put his clothes back. I also moved towels around and hung up one for him. I busted out his pillow and put a case on it. I didn't realize how the evidence of his existance faded in his absence. We think about him all the time and there are pictures everywhere, so it didn't hit me until I was in the process of putting his things back.

Tomorrow is the big anniversary party at the gym and I'm really looking forward to that. There will be free food and prizes. My sister's coming with me. It should help break up the day and keep me from going completely insane (some would argue that I went there years ago and have been selling commemorative t-shirts by the side of the road ever since, but I digress). I'm gonna wear some tiny jeans. Everyone there always sees me in my dumpy workout clothes. They've never seen me madeup, so I'm going to show off a bit. :-) I've made some great friends at the gym, so I'm really looking forward to this party.

And now, I bid thee fare well. I should have been in bed a while ago, but I needed a brief distraction. My posting will be a bit sporatic for a while. I'm sure you'll all understand, though.