P90X – hard won advice (Part 2)

Just a few (more) friendly tips and tricks I’ve uncovered now that I’m wrapping up Week 4 of P90X:

8. If your arms are noodle-y from too many push-ups…do NOT try “just one more” because you WILL crash face-first into the floor!

9. On days where Ab Ripper X is on the menu?  It’s tacked on to the end of the previous dvd.  You don’t have to put in the SEPERATE Ab Ripper X dvd (d’uh, ya moron!)

10. For those of you (me!) who thought yoga was easy?  Try it the way the Tone-ster does it.  It’s really, really hard.

11. Do not.  I repeat NOT.  Feel like you can eat MORE food now that you’re doing P90X.  It does NOT work that way.

12.  Is it possible for the blub (aka belly fat) to become trapped “behind enemy lines?”  I feel like my belly is getting bigger!  Which makes me think I’ve built up this wall of muscle, but now the fat is trapped in front of it and has nowhere to go but out, thus actually INCREASING my waistline.  Stop looking at the tip above.  That has nothing to do with this tip.  I said…stop looking!

Birthday Cake

It’s my belief that living with children is like living with mini drunk people.  In general, they cannot fend for themselves in their inebriated state.  They can barely make it to the bathroom for a variety of bodily functions.  They continually leave behind personal items (or just full-out forget where they put them in the first place).  There seems to be a LOT of wearing shirts backwards.  And the conversations!  That’s the clincher.  The rambling, top-of-mind conversations are so reminiscent of drunk-regulars-in-a-bar-at-3-a.m. (Mom and Dad, not that I’ve BEEN in a bar with drunk regulars at 3 a.m., you understand.  This is all just assumption on my part.)

Anyway, case in point, the breakfast conversation between my children this morning:  [both of my children, sitting on stools at the kitchen island, eating breakfast while discussing birthday cake.  It’s my husband’s birthday, so I suppose there was impetus for the following.  BTW, Hi Honey!  Happy Birthday!!!]

SONNY (my son, age 8):  Sissy!  Mom didn’t even know what kind of cake is Dad’s favorite.  I had to remind her and we had to stop after wrestling practice last night to get the right cake.

SISSY (my daughter, age 10):  Why?  What kind of cake did she think he liked?

SONNY:  She thought he liked WHITE cake with BLACK frosting.  But he likes BLACK cake with WHITE frosting.

SISSY:  Sonny, it’s chocolate and vanilla.  Not “black” and “white.”

SONNY:  And I helped her make the cake last night before you got home from basketball.

SISSY:  Mom, you love Dad.  Why can’t you remember that he likes black cake with white frosting?

ME:  Hey!  It’s got nothing to do with love.  I’ve got too many other things in my head to remember stuff like that.  I can conjugate French verbs which means there’s no room to remember favorite cakes.  I should have just made Dad a vanilla cake with chocolate frosting and given it to him while speaking French and called it good.  What do you think of that?!

SONNY:  Naw.  He would have noticed it was the wrong cake.

ME:  Well – just so you know, I don’t remember your favorite cakes either.  AND?  I bet you two don’t know what MY favorite cake is.

SISSY:  Hmmm…I like all kinds of cake!

SONNY:  Yeah, me too.  My favorite is black cake with black frosting.  Or I could do black cake with white frosting.  My worst is white cake with white frosting.  I don’t actually like white cake.  And when it’s with white frosting, that’s the worst!

SISSY:  Yeah.  Now that I think about it, I don’t really like that kind of cake that much anyway.  I like a big cookie-for-a-cake.  And I don’t like carrot cake because that has walnuts in it.  Hey!  I like cheesecake.

SONNY:  Oh, yeah, Sissy!!  Me too!!

SISSY:  Hey, Sonny.  Don’t forget it’s crazy sock day today.

SONNY:  Yeah, I know.  And I was thinking I was going to tuck my pants INTO my socks so you can really see them.

SISSY:  Yeah.  That’s a good idea.  And I’m gonna wear my boots with my socks since I don’t have gym today.

SONNY:  I don’t have Spanish today.  That’s on Thursdays but……………………….

Anyway…back to me.  For the record, I don’t really like cake either.  But I could eat my mother’s apple pie (or Marie Callender’s Razzleberry pie) all the live-long day.  If you loved me, you’d remember, right?  Or maybe if you guzzled vodka and it was 3 a.m. this would all make sense.  It’s hard to say.

Third grade spelling words

My son and I have learned through (very hard) trial and (tearful) error that it’s important to read through ALL the spelling words on the list the first day we get them.  It makes the homework that follows (as well as the Friday spelling test) a million times easier.

And this way, we can figure out up front if there is any confusion over word pronunciation and/or definition.

So today when we got home after dropping the carpool kids off, and after my kids ate their hefty after-school snack (and by hefty I mean a full meal.  Hey!  They’re hungry!!  Why not just feed them a balanced meal instead of them making a meal out of a bunch of snacks?!?  I then follow up with a bowl of cereal before bed if anyone’s hungry at that time), my son and I reviewed his spelling words for the week.

Below are my three favorite from this week’s list that I thought I’d share so you can also join in on the fun (when you’re a stay at home mom, I’m sorry to say that this sort of thing becomes “fun.”  You get your kicks where you can):

  1. Autumn (hard to figure out what this word actually is since my son initially pronounced it oo-too-men-nen)
  2. bawls (bow-wels)
  3. coughing (co-hing)

And there ya have it, Folks!  Good times brought to you courtesy of the 3rd grade spelling list!!  Thank you and goodnight!

P90X – Hard won advice (Part 1)

Just a few friendly tips and tricks I’ve uncovered now that I’m wrapping up Week 3 of P90X:

1. Do NOT burp during Mason Twists because you WILL throw up in your mouth.

2. No one in the real world (well – except for Cirque du Soleil acrobats, that is) can actually do “Dreya Rolls.”

3. Tone-ster – you HAVE to stop shilling your “Recovery Drink.”

4. I love me some Child’s Pose!

5. If you actually have breastesisses, find your own way of lifting weights.  Tony does not cover this!  (side note: Full supination concentration curls are full-on impossible with mammaries.)

6. Do we ALWAYS have to warm up with jumping jacks?!  They make me pee!

7. “Water break” means sipping, not guzzling water.  See pee-ing comment above.

The Case of the Hotdog in the Night

I thought giving this blog post a catchy, Nancy Drew-esque title might pique your interest.  Because – really – who wouldn’t be interested in reading…duhnt, duhnt, DUHHHN…THE CASE OF THE HOTDOG IN THE NIGHT.

It all started with a call from my son’s bedroom – oooooh say about 12:30 a.m. – “Mom!  I need you!!!”

What’s interesting about those calls-in-the-night is that you’re immediately up and running.  No thought needed.  It’s instinctive.  Or fear-driven, because you’re worried that an even bigger mess will result if you don’t get there in record time.

And as a side note, I may be on to something here.  I mean, if a burglar broke in to my house, but as he was doing so he shouted, “Mom!  I need you!!!”  I’d meet him at the door with a bucket, a cool cloth and a flat gingerale and then I’d go back to bed while he robbed us blind.  That initial adrenaline rush makes you really, really sleepy.

Anywhoooo.  Back to duhnt, duhnt, DUHHHN…THE CASE OF THE HOTDOG IN THE NIGHT.  What follows is an actual transcript of events after the initial “I need you” call:

SONNY (not actually named Sonny – just called Sonny for blog purposes so as to protect the innocent):  Mom!  I need a bucket!

ME:  Ok, Sweetheart.  I have a bucket; Here it is.  But really, if you’re feeling sick, let’s move this to the bathroom.

SONNY:  No, I just want to sit down for a second WITH the bucket.

ME:  Ok, I’ll sit down too.  [now dozing, slumped over in the chair in his room]


ME:  [now fully awake again]  Oh.  Baby.  Do you think you can move this to the bathroom?!


ME:  Ok.  It’s ok.  You’re ok.  Just let it come up.  But get it in the bucket!  [now “gently” pressing his head-up-to-his-ears back into the bucket]

SONNY:  Mom!  Don’t push my head into the bucket or you’re gonna make me throw up!  GAAAAACCCCKKKKKK!!!!

ME: [in my head] Buddy, YOU ARE ALREADY THROWING UP!!!!

Rustle, rustle, rustle.  Hubby arrives on the scene.

ME [to Hubby]:  I told you, A HOTDOG AND A BLIZZARD AFTER THE WRESTLING MATCH WAS A BAAAAD IDEA!!!!!!!! [I can’t stress enough how shrill this ended up sounding.  Because it’s really, really hard to take someone to task while you, yourself, are trying not to puke.  Because let’s be honest.  Hotdogs smell slightly like vomit as they’re going DOWN!  When they come back UP?  Quintissential Puke.]

HUBBY:  No, it was that bowl of cereal you gave him right before bed.


ME: Ok, Buddy.  You feel like you can move this to the bathroom now?


ME:  [to husband who somehow is now IN the bathroom watching all of this with big, googly eyes] Don’t just stand there, LIFT UP THE TOILET SEAT!!!

Sonny says a fond farewell to his hotdog a few more times in the toilet and then it’s over.  

I hand the bucket of Quintissential Puke over to Hubby to handle (Hey! Don’t feed the kid rotten hotdogs and icecream at the end of the night or you WILL pay the price)   while Sonny is rinsing his mouth and brushing his teeth.  While this is going on, I head back into Sonny’s bedroom and…IT SMELLS LIKE QUINTISSENTIAL PUKE!  Gaack!!! So I go into bloodhound mode to see where the smell is coming from.  Did I not press Sonny’s head far enough into the bucket and as a result there’s a splatter pattern somewhere?  I sniff all over the bed (what the plan was I don’t know.  To mark the puke splatter with some of my own?!).  Nothing.  I sniff the floor AROUND the bed.  Nothing.  I write it off to the sheer olfactory power of the regurgitated hotdog.  Perhaps it’s just a neumonic smell because doesn’t everyone have a regurgitated hotdog experience somewhere in their youth?!  That puts them “off” of hotdogs for the next 20 years or so??  I’m sure my brother does and I’ll make sure he takes a look at this blog so he can remember the good times.

[Back in the bedroom.  Sonny is feeling FINE and is even “chatty” after some final nose-clearing sneezes.  I don’t want to even THINK about what splatter pattern happened with those.  I have this super power where I block my nose from the inside.  And block my mind from the horror.]

SONNY:  Mom, the thing that was really grossing me out was the CHUNKS of hotdog.

ME:  Yep…………………..yep……………….Mmmffph……….

The one thought that occurred to me as I was going back to bed – the ONE thing – was that if Sonny still wasn’t feeling well in the morning, that would be ok because I didn’t have anywhere else to be in the a.m. and we could both sleep late together.

Ahhhh!!!  The joys of stay at home motherhood!

Baking vs. Cooking

Does anyone know an easy rule-of-thumb for baking at high altitude?  (more flour and more water?  or is it less sugar and less water??)  You’d think I know this by now but it seems to involve math and I’m not good at math.  Point in fact – it came to light over Christmas break when my parents were visiting that I was subjected to something called “new math” during my formative years.  Since I was the middle child, my older sisters escaped the new math debacle.  And since the new math proved to be an epic fail, by the time my younger brother and sister came along, they had moved on to different, awesome, easy, non-scarring-for-the-rest-of-your-life math.

My father – who is a Chemical Engineer (which is a fancy way of saying Math Man Extraordinaire) – tried to explain baking at high altitude once.  It was shortly after my grandmother (a lifelong hot tea drinker) complained to the waiter at the restaurant in the mountain town that her tea wasn’t hot enough.  He (the waiter, not my dad) tried to explain back that water boils at a lower temperature when you’re a mile plus above sea-level.  She wasn’t having any of it (which is your prerogative when you’re 90+, I suppose) and made him bring her a NEW cup of hot tea which turned out to be just as not-hot-enough as the first cup.

But I digress.  My father’s explanation of baking at altitude went something like this…P equals V times R over the sound of your brain imploding.  (please see comment above about how I’m not good at math).

So.  I’m back to looking for EASY rules-of-thumb (or should that be rule-of-thumbs?) for baking at high altitude that don’t involve math??

If so, send them my way.  What with all this TIME I have on my hands, I do quite a bit of baking.  But badly because I can’t adjust the recipes for high altitude.

A batch of brownies all sunken and liquidy in the middle is not a pretty sight!


Cereal overload.  We have no fewer than 12 boxes of cereal in the pantry.  Half of which have a cup or less of cereal in them.  In my youth, when the cereals got to the cup-or-less point, my mother would combine them all into one package.  But I found there was nothing MORE disappointing than thinking you were getting Captain Crunchberries and instead got some combination of cheerios, raisin bran and stale Lucky Charms.  Oh, there might have been three and a half crunchberries at the bottom of the morass which I suppose entitled the dry-as-death mixture to remain in the Captain Crunchberries box, but there wasn’t enough of the crunchberries to make up for all of the non-sugar cereal.  That was for darn sure!!

And there wasn’t enough of ANYTHING when you had to add milk my mother MADE to that horrific mixture!

Yes.  My mother “made” milk when I was little.  She made it out of water and a yellow container.  It tasted like water and yellow container.  And had a weird blue outline to it.

Should I also start doing this?  I’m all about economizing and saving money (please refer to my scintillating insights on how to do this through alphabetical-order spice management), but should I also employ the constantly-running-out-of-fresh-milk-and-being-forced-to-make-pretend-milk ploy??  Granted, my mother did have 5 kids under the age of 10 to feed so maybe that was partially responsible for the milk mis-planning that occurred in my childhood.  In which case maybe I won’t go that far.

But I can at least combine the cereals and see how it goes.  Now, should I put the resulting jumble in the Cheerios box to truly set expectations?  Or should I leave it in the Booberry box so as to peak interest??

Decisions, decisions.

Martin Luther King Jr Day

It’s been a dozen plus years since I had today off.  Granted, this year I had today “off” just like I have every other day “off,” but since the kids and husband both had it off too, we put it to good use and went ice skating.

It’s been years since I went ice skating.  Just enough years that I forgot how much I hate ice skating.

But my kids love it!

My son, for example, ice skates the way he does everything else…full-on, balls-to-the-wall, no holds barred.  Slamming into walls and wiping out every which way, lathered with sweat and enjoying the heck out of it.

Then there’s my daughter.  Like a colt on skates.  Tentative at first with her long, long legs…but because she is such an inherent athlete, she’s skates as gracefully as a reed sways in the wind.  No wipe-outs for her…well, except for when that kid using a bucket (?) came diagonally across the ice and took her out.  Otherwise she was as lovely as a princess in a pink leopard sweatshirt on the ice can be.

The kids do three times around the rink for every one-time-around for me.  As my calves are seizing up in my hockey skates (no figure skates big enough for my size 10 boats) I decided it was bad timing on Tony Horton’s part to have this morning be “P90X-Legs and Back” workout morning.  Moron.

Anyway – is it possible to be totally jealous of a 10 and 8 year old?  I soooo want to be them when I grow up.  There’s just so much to admire there.

Which brings me to my husband.  I love the man.  But he is not one with the skating rink.  He hates ice skating more than I do (I think that’s proper English.  I was thinking of saying “He hates skating more than me,” but that would imply he hates skating slightly more than he hates me, right?  Which might actually be true in this instance because I’m the one who got him the iceskating outing as a Christmas present).

Lots of grumbling under his breath later and he’s finally out on the ice.  A quarter turn around the rink and….well….here’s how my daugther describes my husband’s Skating Clusterbomb 2013 to my son, “Mommy and I were looking at eachother.  Then we heard this BOOM!!!  You could also feel it through the ice and in your chest.  When we turned around we saw Daddy lying on his back trying to catch his glasses.  He said a lot of bad words.  And when he came to the door he got off the ice.”

Ahhhh……a day off well spent!

Stretchmarks X!

It’s not like I want “ripped” abs.  It’s just that I don’t want my abs to be convex.  So I’m hoping this P90X path I’m headed down will lead me to a nice in-between place where my abs are just plain ‘ol…flat.

But one thing I find puzzling about all of this P90X-ness is that Tony Horton STILL hasn’t mentioned anything about stretch marks.

I mean, he seems seriously committed to giving me a beach body.  And in fact, mentions this commitment several times during his workout dvd’s.  His website (which he also mentions several times in every dvd) is www.beachbody.com.  This all clearly adds up to: Tony Horton is dedicated to giving me a beach body [which I will then place in a bikini when my husband surprises me with a Spring Break trip to the white sand beaches in Mexico!]  I added that last part…but that’s what’s coming next.  It’s so obvious.  But we all know it’s gonna be a low-budget trip, of course, since I don’t have a job and we don’t have any “extra” money to spend on a trip.  So that’s why Tony has probably already contacted my husband to suss out the details of how to transfer his frequent flyer miles to us.

But yet Tony maintains radio silence about stretch marks.

Which is totally confusing because if he’s as dedicated to giving me a beach body as he says he is, then he should have mentioned how to work out the stretch marks by now!  (Or at least have something posted on his website about it…especially something about how to get rid of that weird stretch mark that comes straight out of my belly button and which was soooooo painful when I was pregnant with my children.  Too much information?)

Let’s see.  He’s got Ab Ripper X, Kenpo X, Yoga X and on and on and on.  Aha!  There is a Stretch X.  But don’t be misled!!  It has NOTHING to do with stretchmarks.  I checked.  There really needs to be a StretchMARKS X.

Tone-ster!  You hear me?!?  My rockin’ abs won’t do me any good at the beach if my skin still looks like I’ve been clawed by a tiger from the belly button down.

Send help soonest.  XOXO, Me.

Cooking vs. baking

I will bake all day long.  But I really, truly hate to cook.

Mostly because everything you need to cook (like the baked potato soup I made yesterday) starts with sauteeing onions in a pan and/or boiling them and/or letting them cook for HOURS in a crockpot.

This in turn makes the whole house smell like B.O.

And gets so deep into your clothes (and all of the coats hanging by the door) that when you go out somewhere, you smell like B.O.

Everyone looks at you out of the corner of their eye and you can tell they’re wondering how exactly you’re handling your new stay at home mom role, since – based on the smell alone – it doesn’t seem to be going so well.