Overheard This Week

Life After Death

Journey: When people you know, or people in your family die, they live in your heart.

Justice: I know, Michael Jackson lives in my heart

(a brief moment of silence)

Justice: How do I get him out?

Journey: Surgery

During an Epic Battle of Good Vs. Little

Jordan: (yelling in baby babble), STOP!

Justice: Jordan! You can’t talk to me like that. You are 1 years old, and I am 5 years old. That means you won’t be my age until 3, or 4 more days!

(At least he got the 4 part right. I’ll work on the years versus days part later)

Do You Want To Battle?

Journey: Mom, do you want to play Go Fish?

Me: No, I want to relax for a little bit.

Journey: Are you afraid like a frightened cat?

Me: Um, no.

Journey: Run little kitty, RUN!

(What the heck? Was that a threat or a challenge. I opted not to find out and accepted the invitation to play Go Fish)


Justice: Mom, Do you know who thinks Journey is cool, and who is Journey’s biggest fan?

Me: Who?

Justice: JOURNEY!!

(out the sarcastic mouths of babes. I take full credit for his advanced sarcasm)

Bring On The Chores!

Understanding that child labor is frowned upon, I wanted to better understand what chores were considered age appropriate for my sons. Our home has endured the hurricane force messes my boys have made, and it only seems fair that they participate in cleaning it. After searching the internet this is what I found:

2-4 Year Olds

  • help dust
  • put napkins on table
  • help put away toys
  • put laundry in hamper
  • help feed pet
4-7 Year Olds
  • Set the table or help set the table
  • put away toys/things
  • help feed pets
  • water plants
  • help set table
  • help make bed
  • dust
  • put laundry in hamper
  • help put dishes in dishwasher
  • water the garden
  • help wipe up messes
  • help with yard work (rake with child's rake or plant flowers, etc.)
  • help clear table
Not quite what I hoped for. I pictured my oldest boys wearing aprons and carrying feather dusters cleaning the house with the same speed and enthusiasm they mess it up. According to the chart, that would not be happening. Chores would be nothing like free maid service. In fact, it seems as if parental supervision is required.

I decided to see exactly what the boys were capable of, and asked them to clean the Living Room. To my surprise they agreed without much protest. 15 minutes later, a very excited Journey and Justice (my big boys) asked me to look at the living room. Emerging from my upstairs bedroom, I was amazed to find a very clean living room. My Tasmanian Devils managed to make the living room presentable in a very short period of time.

I hugged them both and praised them for a job well done.

I was then asked, “How much money do we get for cleaning the living room?”

I responded, “Nothing. You live here, you’re supposed to clean up”.

My oldest son (a budding capitalist), at the tender age of 6 replied, “Mom, no one works for free!”

So much for free labor.

We Will Miss Michael Jackson

The news of Michael Jackson’s death spread quickly. Within hours of receiving the news, I received multiple Facebook, Twitter and text messages from people who were as shocked as I was. By the time I arrived to pick up the boys from the sitter, their eyes were wide and the first thing they said to me was, “Michael Jackson is Dead”. Even the tiniest of fans (Journey 6, Justice 5), whose knowledge of MJ consisted of two songs (Beat It, and PYT; Which they still believe are new tracks and very hip), were deeply affected by the news.

When an icon as huge as Michael Jackson dies, the world pauses. For us parents, it opens the door for tough conversations with harsh realities. My son asked questions concerning life after death, and most surprising about Michael’s family. They wanted to know if they were Ok, and if they were crying. My boys, who on most occasions are rough, and crass (not to mention stinky, sticky, gross, and generally foul) showed an inert sense of compassion and maturity. Kids truly understand more than we give credit. I’m a lucky mom to have such kind boys.

The conversation ended when Journey asked, “Will we still be able to listen to his music?”.

I answered, “Of Course”.

Justice then chimed in, “Well, that’s one good thing”.

And indeed it is.

Alice In Wonderland 2010

There are certain movies I remember watching as a child that bring back wonderful nostalgic memories. Disney’s Alice In Wonderland is one of them. I remember being captivated by the smoking caterpillar, and fascinated by the Mad Hatter. Hearing that Tim Burton was remaking the classic with Johnny Depp playing the frenzied Hatter (a perfect movie pairing), I was VERY excited. I imagined taking my boys to the movie opening day, and their reaction to what would most definitely be movie history. That was until yesterday when I saw a picture of Mr. Depp as the Mad Hatter.
Does this scare anyone beside me? (Don’t get me wrong, I still plan to see the movie. I just may have nightmares after)

Per Wikipedia, The film will be released March 5, 2010 in Disney Digital 3-D and IMAX 3-D, as well as 2-D.

Sorry, Could You Speak Up?

I wouldn’t exactly call it eavesdropping, more like audio surveillance. Most of the time when I overhear other people’s conversations it is by accident. Like yesterday, when I innocently sat at the counter at a local coffee shop. Next to me sat two young ladies having a conversation about life and love. Technically, I could have moved to another seat; however I heard something that sparked my interest. “I don’t let my husband do that”, Lady 1 said. Lady 2 responded, saying “me neither, then again you and I are strict wives. Not everyone is”. SERIOUSLY! I had no idea there was such a thing as a strict wife, or that it was even an option. Determined to find out more, I slowly slide my chair closer to where they were sitting (I even thought about interjecting with a question, but I have to draw the line somewhere). At the end of the conversation the only thing I learned was that strict wife was a metaphor for insecure and people look at you funny when they figure out you are completely enthralled in their conversation. They will eventually move outside of earshot.

Don’t worry. I was undeterred, and given the opportunity would gladly listen in on someone else’s conversation (it’s like reality T.V only better). In order to successfully ear hustle (as my husband calls it), you have to be shameless. One must accept the fact that they are nosy, and will go through great lengths to find things out (being a good parent many times is predicated by nosiness. How else would little Johnny’s mom find out he was smoking pot if she had not gone through his things? It is our duty). Once you are successfully without shame, you can do all sorts of things (like steal your kid’s candy, and blame it on your husband)! It’s very liberating.

Happy Father"s Day

Parenting boys, I have learned how important it is for young men to have active fathers is their lives. Journey, Justice, and Jordan are lucky enough to have a dad who is not only present, but actively involved.
I recognize my husband has a difficult task. While it is my job to provide hugs and kisses, wipe away tears and lend a compassionate ear. It is his job to keep them out of jail! (According to Chris Rock, if we had girls, it would be his job to keep them off the pole)

Happy Father's Day!

Um, Come Again?

It is the question most feared by parents. It is cringe provoking, nausea inducing, and uncomfortable to talk about. Answering the question "where do babies come from" requires creativity, tact, and for some a great imagination.

There are common non-truths some parents tell about where babies come from. The stork, belly buttons (still not sure how that one is explained; it confuses even me), the cabbage patch, and variations of the aforementioned. I, like my mother opted to tell whole truths as age appropriate. When my son was 3 and asked, "where do babies come from", I already knew what I was going to say. At three he asked questions about everything and I knew that question was just around the corner. I prepared the following statement, "The daddy plants a seed in the mommy's belly and it grows into a baby". I was so proud of my kid friendly interruption that I declared myself the victor in the sex talk battle.
Everything remained peaceful until about a year ago, when my then 5 year old asked me , "where does the daddy get the seed, and HOW does it get into the mommy's belly"? HUH!?! Unprepared this time (and now clearly losing the battle), I lied and said I didn't know (which wasn't a very good lie considering it was 3x obvious I did). Upon further questioning I vowed to tell him later. One year, one book and one DVD later my husband had "the talk" with our oldest son. As I over heard my son say "so the mommy parts and the daddy parts go together to make a baby", I held my breath as I awaited his reaction. To my surprise there was no fireworks, horns, parades or even awkward silence. Just a simple "Oh" as Journey (our son) moved on to the next topic.

Again victorious, we (yes we. even though I did not technically participate in the conversation, my presence was felt in spirit) planted and danced around our parental flag.

It's My Birthday!

Today is my birthday. I am now officially enjoying my last year in my twenties. Twenty-nine sounds so grown up, especially for someone who still laughs at fart jokes (What can I say? After several years of being the only girl in a house full of Y chromosomes you eventually turn into an obnoxious 12 year old boy). This year I'm wishing for happiness, strength, and continued SuperMom, Super Hero powers (its the only way I will survive another year).

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, It's SuperMom!

Call it psychic, ESP, or telepathy; regardless of the name, all moms share the same super hero power: Mothers Intuition.

For example, if my house goes quiet all of a sudden, I know that someone somewhere is doing something they're not supposed to do. These situations are handled with a general shout of "STOP!". I then hear an "OK Mom" in return. (A good mom should also make sure that whatever mischief was had did not create a continued danger. However, I am not claiming to be a good mom, simply super human).
Another great example is ANYTIME I drive past a McDonalds. As soon as my kids start to ask, I simply say "No, you cannot have McDonalds". They respond with "OK". (Trans Fat crisis averted)

There are other situations that are less common, but trigger mom senses as well. Over the weekend my husband broke out the boxing gloves. As I watched my son being laced in to his tiny glove, I could not help but wonder how many minutes would it take until someone got hurt. I warned them of the looming danger, but like most days I was out voted. Not to be left out, I put in my bet. 5 minutes until somebody starts crying.

Even before the last glove was laced, Journey successfully punched himself in the face (my baby is smart, he just gets overly excited sometimes). There were no tears, but it was enough to convince me that I did not want to stick around to see how it would end. It's not like I didn't already know.

Growing Pains

Is it just my kid that grows an entire jean size overnight, or is it a common phenomenon. My oldest son is 6 and very tall for his age. I recently bought him size 7 jeans, upgrading from his size 5/6 jeans which were hovering unforgivably above his shoes (think Urkel, minus 2 centimeters). He wore the jeans for approximately 2 months, and they remained a respectable length. Saturday he wore them and they fit great. This morning he puts them on, and Urkel leg all over again. I checked the size convinced that he must have inadvertently put on the wrong pants. Yeah…. No. They were size 7; he miraculously is now a size 8.

Thank god it’s summer. My solution: Cut Off Jean Shorts.

What's The Big Deal?

I came across this quote yesterday.
Gwen Stefani said, "We're just hoping for the best and that he's not going to turn out to be a freak, but we'll see", when asked about son Kingston. That quote has caused some controversy, and I’m not sure why. Moms have several common truths; we want our kids to be healthy, happy, and by all means freak-free.

Disclaimer: Freak is a relative term, to be defined however said mom see’s fit. This mom defines freak as Michael Jackson, Rush Limbaugh, Kim Jeong II, Dennis Rodman, and others (to many to list).

Overheard This Week

My shorts are 100% codden (he means cotton, however I like hearing him say "codden" to much to correct him). Not codden candy, just codden.
I really appreciate the clarification. I now know not to turn to my clothes for a tasty treat.

Dad: You would call the police on me for singing a song your mom didn’t like
Justice: You wouldn’t go to jail, you would just get a ticket
Dad: You would want me to get a ticket for singing a song your mom didn’t like
Justice: Well, I did used to live in her belly!
Don’t talk about Justice’s mama! He will cut you (or at least try). I’m so proud.

Mom is kind of like a human jungle gym
What the [insert expletive here]! This actually frightens me. Proof that parent abuse exists.)

Justice: Mom, would you eat a bulls nuts?
Me: What?
Justice: Yeah, on that show (I’m a Celebrity Get Me Outta Here) the man had to eat a bulls nuts.
Dad: Son, I don’t think they said that. They said bull’s testicles.
Justice: Dad, that’s bull’s nuts!

Two things. 1. Reality TV is the working parents reward for a job well done. Some are kid appropriate (American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance, Fear Factor), others not so much (pretty much anything on MTV or VH1). "I’m a Celebrity Get Me Outta Here" seemed safe. What I didn’t know is that it would also be educational. Thanks to the show my son now knows the word testicle (it’s better than saying nuts). 2. When being taught an important lesson (such as using the word testicles vs nuts) it is important to keep a straight face. However, as a parent it is often times impossible. I was useless for about 5 whole minutes trying to gain my composure after hysterically laughing. I’m laughing now just thinking about.
This is why I keep them around. Kids are hilarious.

In case your wondering, the answer is "NO", I would NOT eat a bull's nuts (I mean testicles).

Wow, Who Picked That Out?

I am mom to all boys, so I have never experienced the bathing suit dilemma that moms of girls face. Understanding what is, and is not age appropriate can't be an easy task. I certainly don't envy anyone who has to contemplate tankini vs bikini for their 4 year old daughter.

Today I helped chaperon 100 (yes, one hundred) kindergarten boys and girls at a park with several water features. Boys were in their swim trucks, and the girls in a variety of swim suits. After today there are several things I know for sure, and for those of you who have yet to pick out suits for your daughters please take heed.

1. Low rise bikini bottoms on anyone under that age of 18 is terrible. It is a very slipper slope from low rise bikini to Paris Hilton.

2. One piece bathing suits with cut-outs. Seriously, what's the point? Adult women do it to be sexy. What purpose does it serve for a 5 year old?

3. Two piece bathing suits that are too big. At some point the weight of the water will leave your baby girl exposed. Wardrobe malfunctions at any age are not cute. Crack (and I mean butt crack) is wack.

4. The majority of Americans are overweight, so no surprise that some of our kids are too. If your daughter falls into the chubby category, please buy a one piece. This suggestion shouldn't require further explanation. (I'm already risking the wrath of many girl moms as a type. Wouldn’t want to further exasperate the issue).

Now that we know and understand tot bathing suit violations, I am confident you girl moms will make the right bathing suit choice this summer.

Happy Swimming


5 immunizations, 1 finger prick, and a TB test is a lot for a grown-up to take, let alone a 5 year old. Especially my 5 year old who is quick to react, and avenge any perceived attack accidental or otherwise. That is why I would like to take this moment to thank god that Justice did not kick, bite, sock or tackle the nurse who gave him his shots.

Zoom, Zoom

Have you ever walked into Toys R Us and saw a toy that completely rocked your socks off? (I just realized how that last statement could be taken the wrong way. I swear I am talking about children’s toys) There are some things that never go out of style. Good toys (again, strictly “G” rated) are one of them. On Friday, the boys were surprised with an Electric Race Track and Microscope/Telescope Set. SCORE! I am not sure who was more excited, me or them.

I sent the boys into the living room while I put together the race track. Once completed, I peeked out the boy’s bedroom door. As I suspected the boys were seated on the couch watching cartoons. I made my way back to the track, put my car in position, grabbed the controller and watched my car zoom around the track in a figure eight. About 2 minutes into my race, in come Journey and Justice with a perplexed look on their face. Feeling like I had been caught with my hand in the cookie jar, I stopped racing and immediately tried to explain why I was playing without them.

Neither Journey nor Justice believed that I was simply testing it out for their safety (not sure what gave me away). As Journey pulled the controller out of my hand and Justice grabbed the second, I left the room pouting. That was until I remembered the microscope!

Future Blackmail

These videos cracks me up! It's all fun and games until mom breaks out these videos on their first date! ...and believe me, I'll do it!

Sometimes, The Tooth Fairy Sucks

A very excited Journey ran into my room yesterday with a huge smile, and holding something behind his back. “Guess what’s in my hand”, he exclaimed. I was already aware; his newly toothless grin gave him away. Not to mention he has been wiggling his front tooth non-stop for the past week. However, I played along, claiming ignorance. He then revealed a tiny tooth. I asked if he was going to leave it for the Tooth Fairy, and he replied “I think the Tooth Fairy got fired, because the last time I put my tooth under my pillow nothing happened”. OOOPS! In my defense, we are in a recession and sometimes layoffs are necessary. No one is safe, not even the Tooth Fairy.

The Tooth Fairy was rehired for a one time engagement, and left Journey $2.


I am always impressed by the stories my boys come up with to avoid bedtime. I have been confronted with mysterious illness and ailments, as well as conspiracies that put the grassy knoll to shame. Although I would much rather my boys go straight to sleep when asked, I must admit that I’m always entertained at the things they come up with. Here are some of my favorites:

“My toenail hurts” (Not his toe, but a single toenail. I put Vaseline on it, and declared it cured)

“There are booby traps in my bed” (My now 6 year old came up with this one when he was 3. It is my all time favorite)

“It hurts when I close my eyes” (Creative! I suggested he turn off the TV as the light from the TV was most likely causing the pain. Miraculously he made an instant and full recovery)

“Criminals will come get me if I go to sleep” (note to self, America’s Most Wanted is NOT a family show)

“Your bed is much more comfortable than my bed” (this is actually true, however that’s because I don’t spend hours jumping on mine)

“My brother always farts when he’s asleep, now my room smells” (upon further investigation I allowed my 5 year old to stay up 10 minutes longer to let the air clear. He was right; the smell in there was cruel and unusual punishment)

One of the best perks about being a parent is that kids are hilarious (the hugs and the kisses aren’t bad either).

Oh, Snap!

Last night my husband and I watched Prime Time News. There, tucked between Sotomayor’s supreme court nomination, and California’s budget crisis was a story that seemed out of place. Octomom vs. Jon and Kate. Priorities people! When will the media learn the difference between a lead story, and pop culture ramblings. Clearly Octomom vs. Jon and Kate should have been the top story. Sure, Sotomayor and Budget deficits are important to our everyday lives, however does it really compare to the fueds of the almost famous? I think not my friends (and apparently niether does TMZ).

I also found it interesting how I was the only one who thought that “Octomom vs. Jon and Kate” implied a cage match of some sort. I was very disappointed. (My husband thought I should add that I am being sarcastic, even though I felt it was implied).

S is for Seriously?

Over the weekend I took my two oldest boys to see "Up" (my youngest is still enemy no.1 to any movie theater. He is a threat to peaceful movie watching ever where). Considering that Disney is such a huge franchise and wildly popular, I originally opted not to review the film. Disney + Pixar + 3D is a magical equation. How many times could anyone want to read about how good it is. I wanted to spare you the monotony.

That was until I wondered across this review. According to this mom, "UP" was so frightening to her children (4, and 6) that she had to leave the movie theater. SERIOUSLY? True, there is a chase scene. Also true, there are dogs with menacing teeth. However, it's a cartoon! Since when have cartoons been villain-less? "Finding Nemo" had villain sharks with sharp teeth. "Bolt" had the evil cat with sharp claws. Even Tom & Jerry, a cartoon classic (that I still watch and enjoy today) features chase scenes and animals with sharp teeth. What's the big deal?

To the moms credit, "UP" is rated PG, and deals with some adult themes (however, tastefully done, completely not scary, and for the most part went over my kids heads). Also, I am the same mom who told her kids that the Easter Bunny grows razor sharp teeth when children misbehave (don't judge me, I was desperate and it's better than scaring kids with eternal hell fire). So my opinion may be a bit skewed.

I thought the movie was great and my boys loved it. If you go see, it is SO worth the extra money to see it in 3D.

By the way, my kids were completely un-phased by my take on the Easter Bunny, and my lie was outed by my Mother In Law (moral of that story, don't try this at home).

Yup, That's Gross

A couple of days ago I wrote about my pee perils. I established how small boys are pee bandits, rarely peeing in the actual commode, rather in the surrounding area's. That has to be the most disgusting part of parenting boys, right? Um, yeah, NO!
There is something even more sinister threatening freshly sanitized bathtubs everywhere. Sadly, this threat is not limited to parents of boys. Parents of girls are at risk too.
It all began Saturday morning, while getting ready for the Oakland Zoo. My oldest sons were dressed, and the only thing left to do was bathe and dress my youngest. At one, Jordan spends his entire bath time splashing water all over me and the bathroom floor. It is always a noisy adventure, filled with excited squeals and giggles.
Sitting down, watching Jordan enjoy the final minutes of his bath I noticed that it suddenly got quiet. No splashing, no squeals, no giggles. I did hear a familiar grunt, and looked up in time to see Jordan's wide eyes and furrowed brows. I knew the look, and quickly lifted him up out the tub, but it was too late. There, stuck to the bottom of the tub was poop.
The pee bandits once again were outwitted (out-grossed) by their younger brother.