Friday, September 28, 2012

It Never Gets Old & What I Know For Sure (this week)

The fog is finally lifting.  Yeah baby,  I can see clearly now the rain is gone.   Or rather the f#&*ing virus/cold/sinus infection I've had for almost two weeks (which felt like two months).  

I'm always listening to my kids, or at least trying to listen.  But since I've been sick, it's been well foggier.  Some moments, all their voices blended together and they sounded like a bunch of high pitched woh-woh-woh-speaking off-camera grown ups in a Charlie Brown cartoon.

But the fog is finally lifting.  Their little voices are clearer.  And man, if good old Art Linkletter wasn't onto something (that's an incredibly old school TV personality reference, anyone remember Art Linkletter from Kids Say the Darndest Things, anyone?).

Did you know Cinderella has a "Beyonce?"  According to my daughter, Lucy, that is what Cinderella's fiance is called.

"Dude, did you see that?," Wade, my 2-year-old, asked his stuffed Like A Good Neigh-bear he received from our State Farm agent earlier in the week. I'm not really a fan of kids going around saying "dude" but a 2-year-old and a stuffed insurance bear? That's pretty priceless to me.

"Ooh look at the beautiful moon," I pointed out to the kids last night.  It was big and beautiful and almost full.  

"Yeah, I've seen the moon a bunch of times, it's great," my 4-year-old little neighbor Julia informed me as she ran off to play with the other kids.

I stayed a little longer looking at that moon, laughing.  Laughing at the sweet funny things kids say.  Loving all their goofiness and innocence.  I don't care how many times I hear the cute stuff they come up with, it will always be sweet and god damn wonderful, and that I know for sure.

Here's some other stuff I know for sure (this week):

  • I am feeling some backlash from my I hate cats post last week.  Overall the reaction was pretty positive--most cat lovers rolled their eyes and laughed.  My fellow non-cat fans sent messages full of "amens" and "I hear ya sisters."  I got one "don't judge a whole species" tweet that was borderline offended.  My biggest critic?  My daughter Lucy.  She is still miffed that I professed my disdain for felines and hasn't forgiven me for sending an "adorable" kitten out of the house.  She keeps bringing books on cats home from the library and leaving them by the computer.  She is torturing me.
This cat is looking at me like it knows I hate it.

  • Backyard two-hand touch football and flag football are great.  In fact, I could live with this being all there is.  I'd actually encourage my boys to play high school flag football.  Tackle? There will be no encouragement from me, I have a mini panic attack every time the word concussion is mentioned. Ugh.

  • Instagram + Pittsburgh= Hella Good.  We're heading to Pittsburgh, PA for the weekend (to visit family and run in our family 5K tradition).  I love this town. It's a postcard kind of town and I can't wait to Instagram the hell out of it.  Follow me on Instagram--@jumpingwithmyfingerscrossed.

  • Speaking of Hella Good, I love No Doubt.  Here they are performing on Ellen.

  • I've been channeling Mrs. Doubtfire.  We watched the late early 90s classic earlier in the week.  And during times of frustration, I found myself saying "What would Mrs. Doubtfire do?"  So,  I showed a little more patience and kindness just like she would.  And much to my kids' chagrin, I used a British accent and said "Hellloooo" a lot. A lot.

  • My husband, Tim, is just like Ne-Yo.  Okay, he doesn't dance, sing or wear a fedora but he shows me what true love can do.  Ne-Yo's song,Let Me Love You, perfectly describes how Tim pulls me out of some pretty deep funks.  Love these lyrics, love this song and love my husband.

  • Voter turn out is not looking good.  No, I'm not getting political.  Not many people voted on which Real Housewife intro I should send to Bravo.  In case you missed it, watch the video and cast your vote. 

What do you know for sure (this week)? Or did your kid say something cute or something that made you laugh? Share what you know, leave a comment or head on over to my Facebook page and share what you know there.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Make the Best of It

"Who killed Tupac?" my oldest son, Peyton, asked me before school.

I was busy rushing around making breakfast, making lunches, yelling at kids to "get dressed" and checking email.  The Tupac Shakur question was something I did not see coming.

"Well, from what I can remember he was shot," I said.
He seemed unsatisfied.  He wanted details.  Fortunately, his little brothers came running into the room screaming and fighting and provided some ample distraction.

As a parent, you have to be on your toes, man.  You have to be at the ready for all kinds of questions.  And you better be ready for the answers to lead to more questions.  Or that the kids won't like your answers.  In the words of Tupac "some things will never change."
Our breakfast bar.
"I don't want to go to school, the substitute teacher we are going to have is sooooo mean," my daughter, Lucy, proclaimed that same morning as she slumped into her seat for breakfast.

"Well, make the best of it," I told her in my best cheery Carol Brady mom voice.

"Why are taking her side?," she said in her most aggravated, entitled Marsha Brady daughter voice.

"Who would want to shoot Tupac?" Peyton asked looking very concerned.  He wasn't letting go.  
Music disclaimer: He knows 2Pac from one song I let him put put on his iTunes play list--Changes.  It's a great song, but I had no idea it would lead to a discussion of  mid-nineties rap wars and gun violence.

"Well there was a bad man that was angry with him and very violent," I thoughtfully told him. 

"We live in a violent world," he concluded looking worried.

"Duh," said Lucy, still pissed about having to go deal with a teacher she didn't like.

"Well, let's make the best of it," I said with a perma-grin.

It seems I've found my go-to answer---"Make the best of it."  You can use it in so many different scenarios.  And it's all plucky optimism and cheery bright side kind of advice.  It's my phrase that pays, theme of the day, when in doubt go-to mantra.  From rap wars to elementary school woes, it works.  

Do you have a parenting go-to phrase?  A mantra?  

Here's a funny scene from The Brady Bunch Movie, "Breakfast with the Bradys."  Just like breakfast at my house, minus the "the world is a violent place" conversation.

On a totally serious note, Changes is a pretty f*^#ing awesome song.  I love it.  


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Voice

When I was a kid my friends and I would tape record ourselves singing or reciting commercials.  It was fun and we laughed, but on playback I was secretly cringing.  I hated the way my voice sounded.  So much like Punky Brewster. Ugh.  

In college I had a literature performance class and we had to watch video of our performances.  Watching myself on video was torture.  My stupid un-matured Punky Brewster voice was one thing, but I hated my over sized teeth and droopy eyes.  I was beyond critical.  Ugh.

But I'm almost over it now.  I've been vlogging for a couple months now and it's helped me get over myself.  Yeah, my voice still resembles little Punky Brewster (especially this week with my cold), but so what.  I'm having fun and learning to not be so critical and self-loathing.

For the past couple of weeks I've been answering the question of the week from MomPulse.  This week's question is How do you keep the romance alive?

Well, here are my answers and yeah, I go there.  I get pretty real about our romantical challenges with four kids, a busy life and limited finances. Ch-ch-check it out.

And if you have any questions you want me to answer in a vlog, please send them my way.

You can subscribe to my MomPulse YouTube channel here:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Housewife Effect

When I was little, I used to play soap opera.  My mother would be folding laundry watching One Life to Live (OLTL).  I would be stuffing unfolded laundry under my shirt pretending I was Karen from OLTL and I was pregnant, but didn't know who the father was.  Yup.

Soap operas and television raised me, right along side a crazy mother.  No wonder I am so f#&*ed up.  

Friday nights as a kid were awesome: Dukes of Hazard, followed by Dallas and then if I could stay awake Falcon's Crest.  

I can remember benchmarks in my life and the world with what was happening on TV or in pop culture.  

The day President Reagan got shot I remember sitting on the bus after school.  "The president has been shot!," a frantic teacher shouted to our driver.  I felt small.  My parents were in Paris.  My grandmother was taking care of us.  I stuck my hands in the pockets of my new green rain coat and clinched my fists.  I wanted to be home.  I wanted my parents.  I was six.  I was scared.

My grandmother, Granny is what we called her, made my sister, brother and me dinner, but I don't remember it.  I remember later that week snuggling in the recliner with her.  I remember the feel of her dry hands holding mine.  I remember her rings.  I remember watching Dallas with her.  I remember feeling loved as she laughed at how "rotten" J.R. was.

Happy years were early days of The Cosby Show, reruns and new episodes of Dallas and my parents still being married. Rough years were waiting for my mom to come home from the bar while watching Miami Vice or Hunter after my parents split up.  

The constant for me has always been TV.  Sure sometimes that whole suspension of disbelief has screwed with my sense of realty.  But overall it has provided me comfort, escapism and entertainment.

It just makes perfect sense that a TV/soap opera junkie like me would end up being a Real Housewives fan. And I am. I love Bravo channel's Housewives of New York, New Jersey, Atlanta, etc. 
I watch.  I relate.  I escape.
I'm a legit Bravo fan, the hat is from the Orange County season.  It was a Christmas gift from my real life pal Stephanie last year.  Evil eye!
Here's my amateur/expert opinion of what I call The Housewife Effect.  

  • It is completely appropriate to get drunk once or twice a week.
  • I want to throw a party for every small or big event in my life.
  • Anyone, and I mean anyone, can have a single and sell it on iTunes. 
  • I know what a Step and Repeat is and know how to pose bitch.
  • There always has to be someone you are against. A villain in your storyline.
  • If you want to get more of a storyline, stir it up. It's all about controversy.
  • A girls' trip is a girls' trip, for Christ's sake don't bring your f#&*ing boyfriend or husband.
I've always dreamed of doing a TV show intro.  And well, um, I made a very roughly edited, short (51 seconds) one last night.  I came up with three versions actually of my very own Real Housewife introduction.  Watch here and tell me which one you like best: #1 Crazy, #2 Bitch or #3 Broke. 

No seriously, leave a comment and tell me which Real Housewife Intro you like for me.  Maybe I'll submit it to Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live.

What would your intro be?  Leave a comment with your intro or hell, make a video and leave the link. And don't forget to vote. C'mon, have some fun.

Here's a sneak peek of the new season of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. OMG.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Premiere Week

Busy. Busy. Busy.  Best way to describe our weekend. Baseball, football, birthday parties, church, homework, etc.  And oh yeah, sick.  I'm still sick. I just Googled "how long does a cold last" and Google told me 7-10 days. Ugh.

There was this:
Skipping rocks with my sweet baby boy.  Even though I felt like I might pass out on our walk back home, it was worth it.  How cute is he?

And there was this too:
All of us huddled together to watch JT's football game on a chilly Saturday morning.  Lucy of course reading, not watching.

And then there were the Emmy's, usually one of my favorite nights on TV.  But this year sucked.  I love Jimmy Kimmel, but I like an opening song and dance number more.    I love Modern Family, but I didn't think last season was so Emmy award-worthy.  And sadly, I don't have HBO so I didn't see half the shows/movies/mini-series that won.

One of the funny parts was this Modern Family skit about how the actress who plays little Lily is a monster--cute.

The only moment where I actually laughed out loud at the Emmy's was when Melissa McCarthy did her thang.  And it was funny.

Now that the Emmy's are over and hopefully my sickness is too, I am looking forward to a week of good television premieres.  
In honor of new Fall TV, this week I am devoting some of my posts to my most beloved medium... television.  Including my theory on the Housewife Effect (based on the Real Housewives franchise).  Stay tuned.

Until then, here are a few premieres I am looking forward to this week:

New Girl


The Good Wife

What TV shows are you looking forward to watching? Do you have a show you and your husband watch together?  You and your kids?  A guilty pleasure?

Friday, September 21, 2012

Bubbles and What I Know For Sure (this week)

This quote hangs on my quote wall in the bathroom.  I read it like a little prayer or meditation every morning.  

Yesterday morning, Lucy started the day with bubbles.  I had a friend who used to bring bubbles in the car with her.  She would get the bubbles out during traffic jams.  "It's hard to be grumpy when you see bubbles," she explained.  

That friend passed away last year and every time I see bubbles, I think of her.  So, sure, yesterday morning Lucy forgot her backpack with her library books in it and I had to run back home and then run back up to school and then hurry to get Wade to school on time.  But with bubbles and sweet memories of a dear friend, it was hard to be grumpy.

Life is about more than happiness, perfect schedules, clean homes, organized lives.  It's also about the mess, the sickness, the hard stuff, the imperfect stuff.  And it takes courage, strength and a sense of humor and some bubbles to get through it all, that is what I know for sure (this week).

Here's what else I know for sure (this week):
  • Last week, I told you about my pop soul sister Pink.  And this week, I've discovered my dancing soul mate--Psy.  You know, the guy from Korea that is a worldwide phenomenon with his Gangnam Style song and dance.  He told Ellen this week that the mindset of this dance is "dress classy and dance cheesy." Um, hell yes soul mate.
So of course, while other moms are helping with homework, I am teaching my kids the Gangnam style moves.  (Remember, I'm not in top form due to the illness and excuse the crazy blinds action in the background. p.s. I hate blinds.)

Here's Psy on Ellen teaching the moves to Ellen and (a not so grateful, possibly over-medicated) Britney Spears.

  • I have iPhone envy.  That's because I am not just one  version behind...I have a f&#*ing 3G people.  It's not right, it's just not right.
  • My first-grader is very tired.  He has come home every day this week with a zoned out, glazed look on his face.  So much learning, so much playing, so much new everything.  

  • Family Guy can be funny, seriously.  I don't watch the show regularly, but my husband does.  Occasionally he'll call me into the living room to watch a funny clip or something that reminds him of me.  Like this clip, I'm Brian, the dog.

  • I'm live Tweeting during the Grammy's!  Come play with me for real--@AngelaYBlood
  • And while you're playing on your iPad/Computer/or fancy new iPhone 5 come follow me on Pinterest.

Tell me what you know for sure (this week).  Share the knowlege.  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Furry Socks/Cats Suck

I hate cats.  There.  I said it.  And I 'll say it again I hate cats.  If you love cats, please don't take this personally.  I'm happy for you.  I don't wish cats ill-will.  I just don't like cats.  I don't like kitten videos on YouTube, big cats, little cats, striped cats, fat cats....nope, don't like them.

A million years ago, my family got a kitten.  A sweet little calico kitty with patches of grey, brown and white.  I was five years old and extremely excited about having a pet.  

I wanted to name the newest member of our family Furry.  Um, I was five, it sounded perfectly fine to me.  My older sister, Dana, thought I was stupid and wanted to name her Socks.  And of course, per usual, my sister's idea was the smart, better one. (The kitty had white paws just like socks.) But per usual, I wouldn't budge and cried about the unfairness of life and how Dana always got her way.  My mother and father had us compromise and name the cat Furry Socks.  But for the next 11 years she would simply be called "Kitty."

I showed nothing but little kid adoration to that damn cat and she never liked me.  In fact she would hide and pounce on me as I walked around the corner.  There were several times my mother would have to get the broom out to swat the cat off my leg.  Sometimes at night I would wake up to find the cat attacking my feet as if Kitty thought they were mice stuck under the covers.

So yeah, I have literal childhood wounds from a mean cat.  That is only part of the reason cats aren't my favorite.  I am way too insecure for how cats walk around the house like you are inferior, even though you clean up their poop.  They only come sauntering around when they want to and if you piss them off they hiss at you.  What the hell?

I'm more of a dog person.  The "hey look at me, love me, look at me, do you love me, can I make you love me, hey want to play?" openness/neediness of a dog appeals to me.  Um, you might say I can relate more to dogs. 

I'm more Odie than Garfield.

My husband, Tim, knows how I feel.  We've been together for over 14 years and you know I've told my cat story a couple times.  That cursed Furry Socks.  That's why it was all the more shocking when my husband showed up at the front door yesterday with a kitten.  That mother f#*&er brought home a cat.
My kids ran out to greet their dad and the fuzzy ball of wonder he was gleefully holding.  I slammed the front door locking them all outside.  I might have said a lot of few very bad words.  I might have overreacted a bit.  But there was no way I was going to adopt a cat/kitten/kitty.

Tim looked amused, confused.  "How can you not love this cute little kitten?," he asked through the glass door.  "Is your heart made of stone? C'mooooooon."

"No way! How could you do this?," I dramatically screamed.  "You know I don't like cats."

After a little more hysterical screaming, a few tears from my disappointed kids, it was over.  

"Mommy you need to get over your past fears," Lucy sobbed.  Yeah, I've told my kids my cat story too, they know all about Furry Socks.  

Even with the kids' tears and the animal loving husband's goofy smile, I was not swayed.  I only let them in the house for five minutes and then sent the cat back.  Tim and the kids took the kitten back to the owner to find another home.  Because I hate cats.

"When I grow up I'm going to have 10 cats," JT said this morning.

"Well, then I won't come visit you," I informed him.

Here's a video (I didn't make it) that shows that cats can be jerks.  I laughed at some of this, but it also haunted me.  There is one shot of a cat pouncing on a toddler that brought back a lot of painful memories.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mama Martyr


--a person who undergoes severe or constant suffering: amartyr to severe headaches.
--a person who seeks sympathy or attention by feigning orexaggerating pain, deprivation, etc.

Moms called martyrs? What? Really?  Is this new?   Of course it's not new or news.  

Oh much has been made about moms complaining on Facebook about being well, um moms.  People either love it or they love to complain about how those moms should be "grateful" or "quit complaining."  

I usually side with the moms that tell people to lighten up and if a mom needs to complain a little, let her (er, me) do it.  Here's a great post from a great blog The Bearded Iris (for In the Powder Room) about "Facebitches" and mommy wars.

But I see how easy it is to get from mom complainer to mom martyr. When your kids are babies you feel like a milk machine and so much of the time you are over-exhausted and overlooked. Well I thought that feeling went away as babies and kids got older. But it doesn't.  No, I'm not nursing anyone (thank god), but I am prepping meals and schedules and I am indeed still over-exhausted and overlooked.  Waaaaah.

I love my children, I love my life.  Just yesterday, I wrote a post about how blessed I feel and how much I like my children.  But every now and again I embrace my mama martyr and have a pity party.  It's not a big party, I'm too tired for that anyway.

Here's the rest of the story over at MomPulse:

Monday, September 17, 2012


My husband planned a date night.  He texted me that he got a sitter and we were going to tear up the town on Saturday night (which meant using a recently found gift card to Chili's and going to a movie).
Date night even made the chalkboard schedule.
Sure I may sound like the inspiration for shows like The Middle, but I was really looking forward to a date night.  It got me through some not so fabulous, exhausting moments toward the end of the week. That's why when Tim, my husband, came home coughing on Wednesday evening, I ignored it.  On Thursday morning when he began sniffling and complaining I told him he probably had allergies.  But by Friday, it was incredibly apparent that he was sick.  He muddled through coaching a flag football game Saturday morning, but then spent the rest of the weekend in bed.  (Except for one more appearance at church on Sunday morning where he valiantly taught second and third grade Sunday school.)

Normally, I must confess, I would not be very sympathetic.  I would be annoyed and bitter. I won't pretend that I'm better than that behavior.  I wish I was, but usually I am not.  Usually, but I'm happy to say this past weekend was different. 
It may not look pretty but this is how I end up watching my kid's game (sick husband or not).

Instead of resenting the fact that he was sick or that our date night was cancelled or that I know I will come down with the killer cold in the middle of the week when he has to work late--I let it go.  As corny as it sounds, I embraced the whole caretaker role.  Okay, that might be going a bit far.  But I did let go of any bitterness or expectations and enjoyed my kids.  

Lucy was not very interested in her brother's football game going on BEHIND her. 

Maybe it's because the first couple weeks of school have gone well.  Maybe it's because having a routine feels good.  Maybe my kids are just plain adorable, albeit rough and kind of wild, but still cute.  

Or maybe it's the fact that I feel lucky/blessed.  My husband will get better and we'll have another date night (Chili's here we come!); I spent a weekend pretty much alone with my kids and I really like them, not just love them with all my heart, I like them.  
Yes, I am lucky/blessed in deed.  

The amazing Jill Scott singing Blessed live. Love it.

Blessed by Martina McBride: I remember listening to this song years ago and wanting to have this life.  And now, I do. Amazing.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Less Paperwork and What I Know For Sure (this week)

The piles of paper have begun stacking up on the counter top. Picture forms, back to school newsletters, class T-shirt information slips, book orders and more.  We've already lost one child's homework, but luckily it was found before we left for school.

"I need to get organized.  I need a system," I told my husband last night.  "Or I need more drawers to stuff all this stuff in."

"Yup," he nodded.  "I've heard you say that for 14 years."

Piles, junk drawers...that's how I roll.  And that's why I am so much better at being a summer time parent.  Less paperwork.  I know that for sure.

Here's what else I know for sure (this week):

  • Moms, and really everyone, should lose the guilt about watching realty TV.  It's one of my tips on how to take care of yourself in my MomPulse video.  Check it out:

  • Okay, wait, I take that should lose the reality TV guilt unless you are watching HoneyBooBoo.  Sorry, I can't do that.
  • Haircuts make kids look older.  I am a fan of the floppy long hair, or as my pal (and hair stylist extraordinaire) Gloria calls it, Wade's "signature shaggy look."  But when your 2 year old who doesn't know too many words is asking for a hair cut, it's time.  But now that 2 year old looks older, more like 3 or 4. Sigh.  But still such a cutie-patootie.
The before and after of little Wade.

  • ZZ Ward singing + clips from TV shows from the 1970s= Brilliance.  Enjoy this video, I think it's so fun.

  • The Today show sucks now. Even though I felt like I was cheating on someone, I switched my morning news shows.  The Today show just feels like Entertainment Tonight, sometimes more like Extra.  So, after 20+ years of watching Today before classes in college, work or my stay at home work with babies and kids, I switched to Good Morning America.

  • I am more in love with Instagram than ever.  

  • Pink is my pop music sister soul mate.  Not to sound too stalker-y, but I think, no I know, that I love her. Almost every song feels like it could be my song.  Too creepy? Maybe.  I uploaded seven of her songs here that I think help tell my story, but then realized that was a bit much.  Here is an awesome Lyric video of a song from her new CD and one of my all time FAVORITE songs that sums up divorce so well from a child's perspective, Family Portrait.  

Are We All We Are Lyric Video

Pink-Family Portrait

  • I love having a daughter. The end.

Here's my Lulu--all freckles, blue eyes and mischief.  She is undoubtedly about to say something very funny.

What do you know for sure (this week)?  Share what you know in the comments here or on Facebook.  Don't be shy, I want to know what you know.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Remember A Million Lovely Things

I love summer.  I am sad to see summer on its way out.  But there is something special about September.  The crossover of seasons is pretty great too.

There's a special light in September.  

The light coming through the window, 

following us as we take the kids to school, 

shining on our everyday moments like spotlights.  

The September sunlight illuminates, glows and reminds us to savor every moment.  Reminding us that it's going to get cold soon, days will be shorter soon. Reminding us that life is always moving faster and faster.  Reminding us to soak up this light, soak up these moments and remember.  Remember.  
Remember a million lovely things.

Here's the full poem that the above quote is from, Thoughts by Jacqueline Bouvier.