If I will it, it will happen

I want to go drink margaritas and eat queso with Anna KendrickSara Bareilles, and Jennifer Lawrence

Fuck and yes.

What do you mean why? Because it would be awesome that’s why!


Boxed…and no one cares

The last few years I spent an inordinate amount of time creating elaborate, intricate, ridiculously nifty Valentines for the kids to give to their friends at school.


Photo and idea via Skip to My Lou


Photo and idea via design. wash. rinse. repeat. Original pin lead me to Curbly.

Aren’t they adorable?


They were also time-consuming and not terribly cheap. Two school-aged children = 50ish Valentines for classmates and all the teachers.

Last year I even made a version of this Minute to Win It to play during JP’s class party:


Photo and idea via Stacy Julian.

I spent some time last week cruising Pinterest, adding ideas to my board, scheming the Next Great Valentine all the while wondering where the hell I was supposed to find the time and money for my next crafty project. Does Martha Stewart ever give grants? No? Bummer.

At Target yesterday I had a fleeting moment of sanity and decided, to hell with it. I bought two boxes of Valentines, some bubbles, bouncy balls, and declared them Good Enough. I felt a twinge big fat pinch of guilt. I genuinely felt bad for forcing store-bought cards upon my kids. How disappointing for them!

Today after school I gave the kids their mass-produced, boxed sentiments along with their class rosters. “Sign your name where it says ‘From’, write your friend’s name where it says ‘To’,” I instructed as I carefully tore the perforated seams of cardstock. “There’s enough for you to give to the specials teachers and the student teachers, okay?”

I braced myself for revolt. Surely one of them would cry BULLSHIT! on store-bought cards and demand something creative and homemade, right? RIGHT?


Thirty minutes of near silence passed as they diligently signed their Valentines.

“These are so cute,” declared SG. “I’m going to give Jessica this puppy. I like this kitten for Dane.”

JP wasn’t as methodical about the distribution but he did take the time to draw a little doodle next to his classmate’s name on each card.

Guilt, begone! As far as my children were concerned, good enough was, in fact, enough AND good. Maybe they were even a little better because the kids actually took part in “making” them. HA!

Team parenting

There’s no school for the big kids today. There’s no school for most of the districts around here. All the kid friendly stuff to do around here will be PACKED which means fuck no. Trying to navigate crowds is one thing with the big kids. Trying to navigate crowds with the big kids and a not-quite-4-year old? Hello, Personal Hell. No way. XC will get hurt or lost. I’ll get pissed. No. Just. No.

Mr. G took half the day off (bless him) with the plan to take the kids up to the school to ride their electric scooters and play off their overabundance of energy. Me? I’m going to finish work so I can actually have a weekend and get our house clean.

Now listen up, because this is where my husband scored MAJOR points:

Mr. G: Babe? Do you want to take the kids to school to play and I’ll stay here and clean?
Me: What? No! Why?
Mr. G: Because you usually stay behind to get stuff done and I get to do the fun stuff with them. I thought maybe you’d want to go this time.
Me: No. I love you for offering but no. I need a break. I would rather clean. Truly. Being home alone is what I need, even if I am cleaning.
Mr. G: Okay. We’ll be home around six.

And that, is how you Team Parent.


I’m bored with my blog.

Bored, bored, bored.

It’s boring to look at. I’m not boring right?



I’m not that boring? RIGHT?

I dig hedgehogs. What does that mean? I DON’T KNOW.

I’m playing with the name. Playing with the appearance. I have no clue what I’m doing but am determined to do it anyway.

So? So if you come to my blog expecting A Hot Mess and instead see Vaguely Familiar, it’s still me.



Books that ruin it for everyone else

Does that ever happen to you? You read a book that pulls you in so fully that it leaves other books feeling shrug-worthy? Oh, how nice. A book. Meh.

In 2011, it was the The Night Circus.


In 2012 it was Daughter of Smoke and Bone and Days of Blood and Starlight.



Here’s the thing about those books. I read the first in the series and enjoyed it immensely. Six months later, I read the second book. Usually, I don’t like second books. Not this time. I LOVED it. I loved it so much that I went back, re-read the first book, re-read the second book (we’re talking staying up until 3 am because it’s just that good reading). This was at the end of December/ first part of January. According to Goodreads I’ve read exactly one book in 2013. ONE! And it was terrible!

I have Oryx and Crake but have yet to open it.

I tried reading A Visit From the Goon Squad but I disliked the main character so much after the first chapter that I put it down.

Notorious Nineteen was available from my library queue but the last four Stephanie Plum books have irritated me to such a degree that I never picked it up.

The kids’ librarian at at school gave me this to read:


It’s good. Hell, the first three pages knocked my socks off. But now I’m halfway through and out of steam.

I need a palate cleanser. Something light and fluffy and super easy to read. So, tell me, what are your favorite fun reads? I feel so lost without a book. Help!

Update: After The Night Circus, this series was exactly what I needed. In spite of the embarrassing covers (the world needs to think I’m a sophsiticated reader thankyouverymuch) they’re actually engaging, sweet, fun reads. Guess what? There’s a fourth that I haven’t read…yet. It’s waiting for me in my Kindle app as I type. Woo!

Today is not Usually Day

The scene: Target


Cast of characters: Me, a cart, and a not-quite 4-year old who started his day at 4:30 this morning.


Worth noting: Today was Errand Day. Target was the third store in two hours.

See also: Mama was pushing her luck.

Note 1: Usually, XC stays with me when we shop. He doesn’t wander unless I’m feeling harassed and under pressure* due to time constraints.

Note 2: Today is not a Usually Day.


Note 3: He’s very cheerful about his wanderings and thinks it’s a lovely game. The more exasperated I get, the more fun the wandering  (How to Be a Preschooler Handbook,  rule #24).

Me (after his second stop to test out a display chair): Buddy. We need. to. hurry. Stay with me or you’re going in the cart. Got it?

XC (smiles, runs towards me): Gah! Otay, mom.


And he does exactly what I ask…until we get to the display futon…a mere one aisle over. He tests it out, I keep walking. This tactic is usually very effective with XC.

Note 4: Today is not a Usually Day


I get about eight aisles away before turning around and see him standing, grinning. (Oh! Aren’t we having fun!?!) He sprints just as fast as his little red Keds will let him go.

He’s so damn cute…and I was so damn done.

XC (throwing his arms around my legs): Dot you, Mama! Ha ha! I twicked you.

Me (picking him up): Yup. You did. And now you’re going in the cart.

XC: But! But I want to walk!

Me: Sorry buddy. You’re not listening.


Me: That is not nice.

We continue walking. He protests a bit. Gets over it. I grab one last item and head to the check out.

XC: Tan we dit a toy?

Me: Nope. Sorry. Not today.


Me (tersely, in my quiet scary voice): No. thank. you.

XC (very earnestly): Tan we jus yook at da toys?

Me: Nope. Sorry. You haven’t been very nice and we need to go.

XC (stomping his foot): DAMMIT!!!


(That earned me a Look from the middle aged woman perusing clearance t-shirts. Judge away, Lady. JUDGE AWAY.)

XC (huffs): Tan I say, ‘Oh dosh?’

Me: Sure.

XC (points to a bottle of orange soda): Tan I have one of does?

Me: Nope. That’s not a healthy choice.

XC (irritated): Tan I yook wiff my eyes?

Me: Sure.


Final note: How to Be a Preschooler Handbook,  rule #17a stipulates that all curse words uttered by anyone under the age of five must be enunciated and stated perfectly so there’s no question as to what you intended to say. At any other time, however, your speech should be garbled enough that strangers need your mother to translate what you say.



A hollow victory and short lived celebration

I like to share my parenting experiences with my husband while he’s at work. Lucky him, right? Here’s the message he got this afternoon while my 3-year old was losing his mind over meringue cookies.

To: Mr. G
From: Your wife (aka- all the greatest good you’ll ever need)
Subject: This weekend and tonight FYI

I have a PTA meeting tonight. I’m taking the snack so I’ll leave as soon as you get home so I can get stuff set-up. You guys are having soup. I’ll try to feed the children before you get here because they already hate it.

Book club is Friday night. We’re going to [a restaurant] so I won’t be out late.

A____ is spending the night on Friday.

JP has social skills at 10 on Saturday.

J__ A___ wants XC to come to the firehouse tour for his birthday, also at 10 on Saturday. XC is invited to cake and lunch at the A____’s house after.

S____ A____’s birthday party is at 2:30 at the swimming dome. SG is invited to that. JP is too, but he’s been kind of a dick to me and his teacher the last two days so I’m not sure if he gets to go or not.

We can figure out logistics tonight. I can’t think very well right now because XC is standing right next to me screaming bloody effing murder because I had the audacity to let Jack and Sam have some of the meringue cookies.

I just took the cookie container away from him because, holy shit, there’s like a dozen meringues in that little box and I only gave Sam and Jack four meringues apiece. Perspective, you know?
I made him ask nicely for the return of the meringue container.
He’s still pissed about the eight missing meringues.
And, lo, he’s screaming again.
Aw hell. He’s climbed into my lap and is screaming in my ear.
This is not fun.
This is neat. Epic screaming. He has excellent lung capacity and a nice range. I wonder if the London Boys’ Choir needs a mezzo-soprano? Do they take preschoolers?
He’s really wound tight.
Jesus H. Christ.

He stopped screaming and whimpered, “Mommy, may I please have some cookies?” Then he nicely asked to watch Power Rangers Dinosaurs.

I won?
I won.

And then, idiot that I am, I took to Facebook to proclaim my parenting prowess:
for the first time in 10 years of parenting…
I won. I WON. I SUBDUED THE BEAST AND WON!!! [insert raucous applause and confetti here]. It’s close enough to 5. Tequila for everyone! You get a shot! You get a shot! YOU GET A SHOT!

FIve minutes later the tequila invitation was rescinded:
The victory was hollow and short-lived. Gimme back the glasses. Party over.

I will never again underestimate the fragile emotional state of an overtired toddler.


Resolved: 2013

Note to co-workers: do I win again?

I don’t generally do New Year’s resolutions because, frankly, I think doing so is the best way to set yourself up for failure. That said, I have one intention for 2013:

Develop pictures. I haven’t had photos properly printed since SG was six months old. Sometime during the summer of 2005 we switched to digital entirely and rarely had prints made. There are thousands of precious memories stuck on a variety of hard drives and that is just stupid. My goal is to get at least half of our digital pictures into photo books (I’ll either use Shutterfly or iPhoto) and actually have them printed by this time next yearAt the very least I would like to have the photos from XC’s birth to present in albums.

I’m starting with this Christmas- it’s getting a book all to itself- and working backwards. I also hope to pluck uploaded pictures into an album as I put them into iPhoto and print books as they get full.

I’m all kinds of motivated. Let’s hope it sticks.

Cheers to 2013!

Blessings and peace

To those who were lost, their families, friends, and Newtown community:

Charlotte Bacon, 6

Daniel Barden, 7

Rachel Davino, 29

Olivia Engel, 6

Josephine Gay, 7

Ana Marquez-Greene, 6

Dylan Hockley, 6

Dawn Hochsprung, 47

Madeleine Hsu, 6

Catherine Hubbard, 6

Chase Kowalski, 7

Jesse Lewis, 6

James Mattioli, 6

Grace McDonnell, 7

Anne Marie Murphy, 52

Emilie Parker, 6

Jack Pinto, 6

Noah Pozner, 6

Caroline Previdi, 6

Jessica Rekos, 6

Avielle Richman, 6

Lauren Rousseau, 30

Mary Sherlach, 56

Victoria Soto,27

Benjamin Wheeler, 6

Allison Wyatt, 6