Long, Normal Day

Unfortunately, I gave inaccurate information yesterday. I am not, indeed, going to post pictures of my breakfast-making fiasco from the Snow Day. Not that it is impossible, it just expends more energy than I’m willing to spare tonight.

Today was a long, busy but very normal day.

6:20am, alarm wakes me up. I roll over and ask Frank to re-wake me at 7:15

Wake. Reluctantly. Take pill; heat up flat iron.

Prepare coffee maker by grinding coffee, putting in the basket, adding the water – waited to turn it on until I was nearly done with my hair.

Send the kids off on the bus, turned on the coffee, dressed, put some toast in the oven, made a lunch (leftover salad, 2 pieces of hard salami, a small bag of tort-illa chips. Mmm. Sobe low-calorie drink. Quick coffee, peanut butter and honey toast, put make-up on and check email.

Frank drove me to work, was late (traffic and post office stop). Put in a productive day. Frank picks me up from work, to home I go, he drops me off while he runs to Subway to get a sub for Dante, who is wrestling tonight. I prepare some papers for meeting at school at 2pm.

To meeting I go, lasts over an hour. Drop off sub at mom’s house (who lives closer to school and will run it over to Dante once school is out so he has something to eat between the bus ride and his match).

4pm, finally home, quick bite to eat, putting a fire under the twins to get moving since one of them has their first soccer practice at 4:45pm (the one who broke his leg after getting hit by a car back in April, mind you – hallelujah).

Drop off Franny, take Sal to 2 stores to look at shoes. Didn’t buy shoes, but did pick up a boot warmer.

6pm Pick up Franny, hear all about the excitement of being at practice. Stop at mom’s, pick up Lootie (who went there after school), and Sophia (who lives with mom and dad); stop at Taco Bell. Pick up extra burrito and taco for later for the hungry wrestler.

Drop Sophia off at friend’s house.

7pm home.

Eat, homework, catch up on email. Wipe down the dresser mom and dad brought over for his room (we recently took out the carpet, put in new floor, he painted, etc.) Get a text from Dante. Lost his match 6 to 5, but did well. On the bus home.

pm Pick him up, stop off at Wal-mart, arrive home at 10:30. Chat with husband on the phone (he’s working overtime tonight), send off a couple text to my birthmother. Sit down to write this post.

Glass of wine? A little Wii fit? TV? Who knows. Read a bit.


Shopping Cart Disinfectant Wipes

Last year around this time, they were scarce. This year, they are all over, at least in my area. The germaphobic hypochondriac in me has grown semi-dependant on using them and I don’t have children who sit in the cart anymore, which is maybe what they are intended for. I never liked touching the cart handles in the first place, having put my hand in someone’s leftover goo on more than one occasion. Last month I grabbed a cart and as I recoiled my hand to see find the culprit of my discomfort, I saw (and smelled) a sweet, sticky substance covering the handle, the sides, and the back of the seat. Surely it was leftover from a mother trying to satiate an impatient child as she pushed him down the isles.

I was repulsed. As much as I love kids (and I really do enjoy the little buggers), I’ll tell ya, one thing that grouses me out – even more than a dirty diaper – is a sticky-faced little kid. Sticky with candy or sugared treat gives me the feeling of being dressed in all white and having a muddy dog bounding towards me. I can’t explain it. Worse yet, though is a coughing, snotty-nosed toddler. I literally feel like ripping my shirt and running around screaming, “THE SKY IS FALLING, THE SKY IS FALLING!!!” when there’s a wee one with a snot-crusted nose, coughing and touching things. So, as glad as I was for the sweet candy smell (rather than grabbing a cart laced with snot), it was just the lesser of two evils.

Clearly, I traded that cart in for a new one, as that job was bigger than any disinfecting cart wipe in the world. But for the most part, for everyday shopping, I love me some cart wipes. I don’t just use them because they might kill some germs, I use them because I don’t always have my gloves with me. Yes, I do generally have cart gloves that I use. What of it?

Grilling Adventure

I totally meant to expand on my Wordless post from yesterday, but then life and work got in the way. Well. I shouldn’t say they got in the way, like it IS life. Busy is life. This morning I got up, wasted as much time as I could trying to talk myself out of going to work out at the “Y” and finally succumbing to what I already knew: I wasn’t talking myself out of it.

Made it, did it (treadmill and bike), sweat like a pig in heat, took a shower, got my work clothes on and zoomed off to work. Did everything that needed to be done (bulletin done on a Thursday – what?!). Home. Took oldest boy freak to driver’s ED. Home. No clue what I did, then. Picked oldest boy freak up, took him to his friend’s for the night,  dropped the other freaks at “Y” for a bit, picked up Frank, got in a car accident (nobody hurt, not my fault, another entry will explain), picked up kids, got ice cream, went to Walmart. Home.

And now I write a Tell Me Thursday about my Wordless Wednesday, because, I’m just on top of things like that.

So it was just an impromptu grilling adventure. Nothing to do, but wanting – NEEDING – family time. Packed up what we had and set off to have an impromptu picnic with our grill. The main course was turkey burgers, but we also had a bagful of corn. The goal was to find a park with a permanent grill where we could cook the corn, and then we’d make the burgers on our smaller portable grill.

The boys grumbled for the first portion of our “adventure” as we drove around like blind mice looking for a permanent-grill-rendering-park. Finally I turned on the GPS, much to Frank’s disgust (he’s anti-GPS). He remembered a little park tucked away and we plugged it in. By this time, it was pretty much going to be the tucked away park or nothing, and if they didn’t have a permanent grill, we’d trash the corn.

One baseball diamond, a whole bunch of grass, long driveway, a shelter, park, horseshoes (for crimminy sake) – it was just too perfect. Oh, and – a standalone grill. Oh, and a bathroom. With soap pumps. We hadn’t been to the park in years. I was so glad we revisited it. We basically owned the park for the duration of our visit. It was great.

Frank grilled, I watched the boys beat each other up. Dinner was served, and everyone enjoyed the family time despite being initially bent on trying NOT to enjoy it and label it a completely fruity idea.

THE CORN: We put it on the grill, in the husk, over ready coals for about 30 minutes or so. I don’t mind a few darker parts. It adds to the flavor. Seriously, I could have just eaten the corn it was that good.

The boys played, ran, kicked balls, kicked each other, ate, laughed. The food was super simple and fantastically delicious. It was nice to just be alone, as a family, encapsulating some time for us together, even if only for a few hours. A mini-vacation here and there among the regularity of the days, weeks and months, doesn’t always have to be jetting off to another country or even visiting another state (a luxury that right now, we simply can’t afford). An impromptu picnic in the park does just fine.

Weekend Wrap Up

Friday –

Frank’s cousin’s house for some homemade wine and card game of spades. Nice time, home by midnight. Happy but tired.

Saturday –

3v3 soccer tournament, up too early in the morning. Four games sitting in the hot sun. Not complaining, just the facts.


Frank went to his brother’s for a bit (yearly party), I stayed home and made soccer boy some food.

It was decided we’d pay-per-view UFC 100 and Frank’s cousin and her husband would split the cost with us and come watch.

Quick run to the grocery store for snacks, hurricane-like cleaning to the house. Candles lit, snacks set out.

Bed after midnight.

Sunday –

Early rise and back on the field for final 2 games.

Back the road by noon; home. Drop off 2 soccer players.

Lunch/dinner at the Chinese Buffet.


Out to meet a couple guys from Frank’s work (and their wives) to celebrate Frank’s promotion/transfer to new job. So tired, but still enjoyable.

Home. Nachos with cheese. Can’t fight the fatigue. Bed.

Nice weekend. Busy, always. But nice.

Weekend Wrap-up

Weekend Wrap-up

Busy weekend at the Groovy-Mom household. Friday night was a social night, hanging out with friends. Saturday Sal had a soccer game. They won; don’t remember the score. Sal, the self-proclaimed World Class Goalie, played in goal for the first half, and then on the field the second. The team ran over to Franny before the start, at half-time and after the game to rub his head for good luck. It was very cute. (Franny tells me I need to get a new word because I say everything is cute. Cutecutecute!!! — Happy now?)

Carlito had a game to referee at the same time as Sal’s, but my dad took him to it since Frank was working and I can’t be in two places at the same time. Dante had a game later that day, too. They won 8-0. Dante plays on a team with a crew of very talented players that are a lot of fun to watch. Some games are very intense, but the Saturday’s was not (see the score), so the boys had some fun. At one point Dante, a mid-fielder, went for the ball over-zelously (not needing to) and he slid out of bounds, into the spectator section. His friend called from the other side of the field, “Dante, don’t you hurt my mom!!”

Saturday night we ordered pizza and watched the Fifa Qualifier between USA and Honduras. Go USA.

Sunday we went to Dante’s game, another 7-0 win. After the game we hit McDonalds, just me and the boys. I had a $20 limit, so we ordered cheap and split fries. Carlito treated us to brownie melts for dessert with some of his referee earnings. Dante and Franny split a brownie, and Sal and I split one. Carlito took a bite of ours, but didn’t buy one for himself. They were pretty well behaved, save for Dante distracting Carlito so that he could quickly fly in and pull his shorts down. He pantsed Lootie coming in, and he got him at the door before we left. Franny exploded in giggles both times.

We met Frank at home and decided to take advantage of a beautiful day by heading to the park for a while. Dante was reluctant, concerned that he’d miss the Uriah Faber/Mike Brown UFC fight. Boys. Frank assured him we would not. Frank brought his poles along and the boys brought a soccer ball. Can’t leave home without a soccer ball. Things have changed a bit, with Franny’s injury. He was the one who would usually instigate a game or activity, since he was always a bundle of energy. I’m thankful for his recovery, even though it is slow, but sometimes am caught off guard and get a bit choked up.

Sal, making some casts. OK, tecnically Frank did the casting, the boys reeled in.


On our walk over to the park, we encountered some geese. As we approached I heard what sounded like a cat hissing. It took me a bit before I realized the hissing noise was coming from the goose in our path. What the..? I’ve never encountered a hissing goose before. My eyes and brain needed to make a visual connection to believe it. Mouth open, heeee-heeeesss — yup, it’s the crazy goose!! Freaked me out. As I attempted to snap a picture of the hissing goose, a mother and her children hurredly passed by. “Watch out, kids, they are MEAN. They’ll nip you.” Killer geese.

They boys started messing around with the soccer ball and Franny stood off in the distance, leaning on his crutches watching. I thought we could go to the park nearby to keep his mind off of the things he couldn’t do (like soccer). “Franny, wanna go try the swing?” We made the journey over and sat on the bench for a while, resting his leg and waiting our turn. Franny removed his shoes, and watched as a father pushed his daughter on the tire swing. When they left, we hurried over.

I pushed him cautiously at first, fearful that his cast would hit the ground or that the tire itself would fly off with him riding right on it. Crazy, I know. But as much as Franny is still recovering from being hit (crossing roads are cheap therapy right now), I’m recovering from the blow as well. I am an anxious, freakazoid worrier by nature — the broken leg isn’t helping. I checked my visions of disaster and focused on the cheek-cracking grin splayed across his face.

After the festival of swinging, we parked it at a table and watched the big boys spout testosterone. Franny took the camera and tried to get a shot of me “not noticing” him with the camera. I was forced to feign ignorance of the camera in his hands. My… look at that pretty grass… is that a camera?

Yeah, me and my sexy Fitovers. They aren’t the most attractive sunglasses, but they are convenient and they do the job.

Time to make the trek back. Sal cools off at the water fountain.


My menfolk.

(Don’t ask me why Lootie is saluting.)

On the way home, Frank just had to make a couple casts. No, he’s not drunk. Looks are decieving.


We made it home in time to make chicken tacos and watch hours of cage fighting. I need to get another girl in this house.

(What did YOU do this weekend? Leave me a link!!)

The Second Cast Change

Nine weeks ago Franny was hit by a car while crossing the road after getting dropped off from the school bus. He was fine, save for his broken leg, some fractured foot bones and a bad wound on his foot. Today is he had a check-up.

Initially, he had surgery to clean and repair his injury and started with a fixator for 5 weeks (which was removed an replaced with a blue cast about a month ago). Today the cast was to come off for x-rays and then either a walking boot OR another cast. We’ve been discussing cast color for a couple weeks and the color was green. IF he got a cast. He was hoping for a boot. He was very nervous about the cast removal, but also very interested and excited.

The morning started with a hair washing in the bathroom sink. I meant to do it in the kitchen, but he started wetting his hair in the bathroom.

Getting dressed and ready to go.

I packed the pain meds, just in case, and his brother’s PSP for distraction purposes.

We stopped at McDonald’s (per Franny’s request). He got a McGriddle, while I picked up a chicken biscuit (one for me and one for Frank who was meeting us at the clinic). I was so nervous I couldn’t eat, though. After Franny’s cast wedging experience, and his own anxiety over the saw, I was a wreck. I didn’t want him to know that, though.

We were familiar with the man who removed the cast. He made Franny’s first splint and came to the room once when Franny was in the hospital. Today they were set to have their Child Life Specialist come in and talk to Franny before his cast removal, due to my phone call the day before, but by the time they made it in the room, Franny’s cast was off. The cast guy was aware of Franny’s concerns and reassured him that it would take less than 2 minutes to cut and crack it. Franny had worn headphones and played his game.

Franny loves for me to take pictures. He actually asked the doctor if pictures could be taken during surgery (the 2nd time he had surgery).

The saw is lying across the table. He cut down both sides and is using the tool in his hands to split/separate the cast.

You can see a little blood/drainage. Does it ook you out? We’ve seen way worse (like the day of the accident), so it didn’t shock us. When the rods were removed from his leg, they blue cast was put right on, so any blood or drainage was going to be inside the cast. Don’t worry, I won’t show you the inside pictures.

His leg, to us, looked great. Last we had seen it, there were 4 rods, dozens of gooky, pussy stitches, swelling and an ugly blister. Most of the scabs from where the  stitches were was gone, blister was removed in surgery. The holes from the rods were closed. His leg was not really visibly much different from his “good” leg, size-wise. It was a beautiful thing to be able to feel and touch his leg, his foot.

As he sat in the waiting room for x-rays, he wanted me to touch his leg. After the x-rays, while we waited, he just stared at his leg, at my hand moving across his skin, his shin,  foot, his ankle. The things we simply take for granted… I miss the simple act of washing his foot while I did his pin care. It was as if it was a sacred moment for us. Just as it was sitting in the examination room, quietly running my fingers over his scars, his healing bones, his traumatized foot. Priceless.

The news of having to have another cast put on was disappointing. Franny was SO much hoping for a walking boot, and he told the doctor just that. “But Francesco. You can walk with this cast. You’ll get a cast boot so you can. We want you to walk on it now, as much as possible and without crutches. This will help your bone heal and grow.”

This changed his perspective. He went over his color choices again, deciding on orange with some green striping thrown in for good measure.

As the cast technician prepared his leg, Franny asked a million and one questions. What are you doing? When will you put the color on? Do you like doing this? Do you get paid good? You DO?! How much do you get paid to do this? (pause) I might want to do this… cast tech. might be my job. I don’t know, but I know I want to work in a hospital. After an assault of questions that came too fast to answer, the technician smiled and asked him to be patient and just watch. And watch he did.

Watch, and ask more questions.

He’s slowly getting accustomed to putting a bit of weight on his foot. Two crutches, one crutch… standing with no crutches. It will take a bit of time for him to be comfortable with the boot and simply walking. As disappointed as he was with getting a cast, it was a good experience for him go through the process of having a cast being put on. Last time he was in surgery, going to sleep with a fixator and waking up with a cast. This time he got to witness everything from start to finish, and since he’s interested in orthopedics, he’s got a front row seat. I think everyone in our family has been learning and growing through the struggles of the past couple months. It is good to see Franny take something traumatic and make good of it, as much as he is able.

Make Your Own Kid’s Detangling Spray

loreal-kids-conditionerI’ve got five kids and they’ve all got temperamental hair. One’s got a ‘fro, one’s got straight thick hair, another curly lion’s mane… so I’m always needing to wet their hair down before I comb it. When my daughter was young (she’s got the nappiest hair of them all), I would stock spray detangler like it was a main food source for our family. Needless to say, that gets expensive.

So I started mixing my own detaingler for my kid’s hair. Got a squirt bottle and did a 5:1 (5 part water, 1 part conditioner). Works fabulous and is cheaper than buying detangler by the case. I’ve used all kinds of conditioners, but through trial and error, I figured out that the L’Oreal Kid’s Conditioner (or Suave Kid’s Conditioner — basically a kid-specific conditioner) works best, and it smells good.
Now watch them come out with a “concentrated detangling solution” that you mix with water. Don’t act like you didn’t see it here first!! And they best be sending me a case of conditioner, since I’m talking them up like that. And they best not discontinue this conditioner or I’m going to be shaving my kid’s heads.

(c. 2005)

Contest Toy Tips

Right in time for Christmas, a giveaway featuring toys tested by The Independent Toy Tips Research Institute. The winner of this giveaway will receive a full-color copy of Toy Tips Holiday 2007 Issue. You can view this issue online, OR leave a comment below to enter to win a hot copy you can hold in your hands.

Sample of Article Features:
Taking Candy From a Baby (p. 32)
Too Many Toys? (p. 48)
The Truth About Toys Made In China (p. 42)
Nature-Based Education (p. 60)
Financial Gifts: The Gifts That Keep Giving (p. 66)

Here’s a snippet from the Financial Gifts article:

It’s necessary for parents to explain to children the purpose of chores, whether tied to allowance or not… Children learn most things by parental modeling. However, if parents do everything for their kids, children do not learn to give back… they learn to take. Children must be taught to give to others and to become independent. One way to accomplish this is through chores.

To enter to win this giveaway, leave a comment below. One entry per person, US only. Contest ends 12am CST on December 1st. Winner notified with 24 hours to respond before a subsequent winner is chosen.