The Greatest Hits: Volume I

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I learned a long time ago that I am not a Wiggles soundtrack kind of mom.

Not that I’m knocking The Wiggles, by any means.  I think they’re fantastic.  But there’s only so many times you can hear the same songs played over and over again before your brain starts to turn into cold spaghetti.  Personally, if I hear The Wiggles too many times, I start to want to bang my head into the steering wheel, smashed banana style. 

Or is it ban-AH-na?

Anyway, I digress.

The point is, when my kids and I are in the car, we listen my my music.  But I usually filter the selections so they don’t hear anything that might be picked up by young, curious little ears.

For instance, sometimes we listen to the Dixie Chicks.  But I always fast forward past “Goodbye, Earl.”

Sometimes we listen to 80’s classic rock.  “Eye of the Tiger”?  OK for kidlets under 5.  “Pour Some Sugar on Me”?  Not so much.

Sometimes it’s old-school country.  My son rocks “The Ring of Fire” like nobody’s business.  And, yes, sometimes there are questions asked about why there is a boy named Sue.  We work through those issues as they arise.

And sometimes, when dad’s in the car, we listen to butt-rock.  I don’t worry too much about filtering those songs.  Really, if I can’t understand a word they’re saying in those Def Leppard songs, I’m not worried that my kids will.

But sometimes, when I’m zoning out in the car, I forget my mom filter.  Such was the case the other day when Bobo and I took a short roadtrip.

When Madonna’s Immaculate Collection started blaring in iPod shuffle mode, I was jazzed.  We got Into the Groove.  We rocked out to “Holiday” and “Lucky Star.”  Bobo loved “Material Girl.”  You know, because we live in a material world.

But the tone took a more serious note when the next song started playing.  You know.  That song.

I hadn’t even realized what was on.  But I immediately snapped back into focus when the question piped up from the back seat:

“Mom,” my daughter asked.  “What’s a FURCHIN?”

I have to admit, I froze.  How in the world do you explain “Like a Virgin” to a 5 year-old?  Do you even try?

“It’s a strawberry daquiri made for kids!”

“It’s an undiscovered piece of land.”

“A name of a record label.”

“If your father has anything to say about it, what you will be until the ripe old age of 40.”

Sadly, none of these definitions popped into my head at the time.

Instead, I floundered.  I panicked.

Instead of brilliance or insight, what popped into my head was, “I think she said Like a Merman.”  And I promptly switched over to another song.

I know.  I’m obviously no rhymer.  But it was the best that I could come up with in my flustered state.

Fortunately, though, this satisfied my daughter.  She had seen The Little Mermaid, so maybe this made sense to her.  And, for the rest of the car ride, there were no more questions asked about virgins.  Or Mermen, for that matter.

But when I got home, I realized I need to refine my iPod selections again.  And I immediately started creating a playlist suitable for small ears.

I may have even thrown some Wiggles in there.

Because sadly, I might have to admit.  Maybe The Wiggles aren’t so bad after all.

Fortunately, Unfortunately.

Fortunately, my husband had an opportunity to go to a conference in Orlando.  So we decided it would be the perfect chance to spend some quality time with Bobo, and take her to The Magic Kingdom.

Unfortunately, we couldn’t get on the same flights as Jay.

Fortunately, we had a direct, 5 1/2 hour flight, with no layovers.

Unfortunately, we had a direct, 5 1/2 hour flight, with no layovers.

Fortunately, the trip logistics went relatively smoothly.  Sure, some luggage was temporarily “misplaced” by the airlines, and a few meltdowns occurred here and there… but overall, there were no major snafus.

Unfortunately, our lucky streak came to a halting screech around 10 o’clock Sunday night.  That was when Bobo woke up, sick.

Fortunately, Jay took the late shift, and spent a good part of the night holding our daughter’s hair back… while I was able to get a few hours of sleep.

Unfortunately, she was still ralphing the next morning.  We had an early morning flight back home.

Fortunately, I had plenty of plastic bags I had pilfered from the hotel room garbage can.

Unfortunately, I ended up having to use most of them.  In the hotel room.  In the ticketing line.  In the security line.  And a couple of times on the plane.

Fortunately, we found out the hard way that a quick way to get through security is to be the proud owner of a vomiting child.  It was like a parting of the seas.  People gladly moved aside to let us by.  There was no mention of body cavity searches.

And, fortunately, we ran into some good folk on the way home.  Like the woman who inched my bag through the ticketing line while I held my sick daughter.  Or the grandpa who bought us a bottle of water and some hard candy from the sundry store, and then disappeared before I could offer to pay him.

Unfortunately, we also encountered some Grade-A jerks.  Like the businessman who rolled his eyes and made snide comments about having to sit next to a barfing kid on the plane.  Just count your blessings you’re not the one having to holding the bag, buddy.

Fortunately, we made it over 2,000 miles across the country without a single drop of vomit spilled outside the plastic bags.

Unfortunately, not more than 5 minutes after we set foot inside our house, she spewed everywhere.

Fortunately, after a hot bath and some popsicles, she was feeling better.  And, fortunately, Bobo was so exhausted last night, she asked to go to bed at 6 pm.  Fortunately, there were no cookies tossed in the middle of the night, and Bobo woke up feeling like herself again this morning.

Unfortunately, she woke up, feeling like herself this morning…  at 5 am, still on east coast time.

Fortunately, we’re home.  And, as I sit here in the wee hours of the morning, my daughter watching Scooby Doo, I’m glad we’re here.

Home.  It feels like the happiest place on earth.

Viva la vacation

I wasn’t ready to come back.

Despite 4 red eye segments, 1 visit from a revengeful Montezuma, 2 sunburned backs, a handful of epic meltdowns, and 8 contiguous days spent with my in-laws (Kidding!  I actually adore my in-laws)… my only regret about our vacation was that it didn’t last longer.  That, and the fact that I forgot to turn down the heat before we left.  (For which I’m thankful that the Christmas tree didn’t spontaneously combust in our absence).

A few of my favorite memories:

Swimming until our feet and fingers turned into wrinkled little prunes.

Searching for treasures on the smooth white beaches… so different from the cold, Oregon sand that we’re used to.

Eating popsicles right before dinner.  Because that’s what you do when you’re on vacation… right?

Discovering that chips are overrated.  And that guacamole is best eaten with a spoon, anyways.

Laying underneath one of these.  And realizing that it just doesn’t get much better than this.

Okay, maybe it does.

And now?  Back to reality.  And the cold.

But I have a boatload of memories to keep me warm until the next time we’re lucky enough to get away.

Viva la vacation.

***

I’d be remiss without saying a huge thanks to Sherri, Big Daddy, KLZ and Liz for guest posting while I was unplugged.  You guys are the best.  Thanks also to those of you who stopped by to say hi.  Once I get grounded back into reality, I’ll try to get by for a visit.

Why Traveling with A Husband is Worse than Traveling with Kids

a belle, a bean & a chicago dogWhen I first read this post a few months back, I literally laughed out loud.  Because my own experiences traveling with my husband are nothing at all like this.

I’m kind of kidding about that last sentence.

Wrapping up the travel guest posts is Liz, from a belle, a bean & a chicago dog.  Liz never ceases to amaze me with her endless support, funny and touching posts, and her apparent ability to be everywhere in bloggyland.  Today, Liz talks about the joys of traveling with kids: the big and the little ones.

Why Traveling with A Husband is Worse than Traveling with Kids

Before I get started, I need to insert my disclaimer: The following list may not apply. If your husband isn’t really anal, with girly tendencies, traveling with him may be an easy-breezy, simple and enjoyable experience for you.

But for me it isn’t. Nope. No way.

Here’s why…

1. My husband implements a strategy for packing our bags. Not just, “What needs to go in the carry-on, honey?” but for every.single.thing we are taking with us. I seem incapable of packing, according to him, because I don’t naturally ball up underpants and jam them inside my shoes in order to save a centimeter of space. I don’t think of clever ways to use the cups of my bras to nestle travel-size bottles of shampoo. It doesn’t cross my mind to shove pantiliners in the pockets of my 4 year old’s shorts.

Silly me, right?

Maybe because he has triple the beauty products that I do, those minuscule amounts of square footage seem vital.

2. My husband asks me 57 times a day, for the week leading up to our departure, what time we’re planning on getting in the car and what time I’m waking the girls up that morning. I’m not sure if it’s for his own OCD needs or if he feels badgering me to the point of ripping my own hair out is the best way to ensure I’m aware of travel times.

3. And that brings me nicely to my next point. How often am I ever late? Doesn’t he know I have gotten myself and two kids ready every single day, on my own, since they were born? And tell me how often I ever forget something they need!

Planning for a vacation is something we moms start doing weeks in advance. We hit the Target Dollar Bins for some new toys, load up on snacks, and grab a few favorite DVDs. We lay out clothes, count diapers and make sure lovies make the cut in the – apparently – highly-coveted suitcase square footage competition. We moms have got it down to a science, so QUIT MESSING WITH US!

4. My husband’s apparently never heard the saying, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” I’ve been telling him for years that it doesn’t do any of us any good if he burns through Mommy’s Bag O’ Tricks in the first 32 seconds of our trip. If the girls are happily scribbling on their Magna Doodles, let them! If they are content watching their current Backyardigans DVD, why turn to them and tell them you’ll start something new?

Once the bag of tricks is used up, we’re all screwed, buddy. So keep your trap shut and wait until they ask what else it is we have for them.

5. For some reason, my husband thinks it’s wise to frantically ask me, when we’re ten minutes INTO our trip, if I have everything we need. He goes through a roll call of sorts, even bringing up things that no sane person would ever take along. I assure him we have what we need, and then point out that if he was this concerned I’d thought of everything, it would have been helpful if he had asked, maybe, BEFORE we left the house!

6. Given the past 5 points, you’d think that with all his micro-management, he’d continue be right on top of things for the remainder of our travels. But, in fact, the exact opposite is true. As soon as we hit the airport, it’s like he’s never before met these little people, a.k.a. his children.

Me: Can you hand me the wipes?
Him — Where are they?
Me: In the same pocket of the diaper bag where I’ve kept them for the past 4.5 years.

Me: Grab me that bag of goldfish, please.
Him — Who are you going to give them to?
Me: Kate and Maddie.
Him — Do they even like goldfish?

Him — Is this jacket ours?
Him — Do these shoes belong to us?
Him — What time do they go to nap?

Me: Aaaaaaaaaahhhhhh!!!!


So there you have it. Traveling with my husband is more aggravating, more trying and more exhausting than traveling with my 2 kids. Give me airport tantrums, in-flight diaper changes and lack-of-sleep-induced meltdowns any day.

I’d gladly take them.

Our Little GPS

When I first saw a comment pop up from “Big Daddy” in my inbox, I immediately thought: “Hooray!  My husband is finally reading my blog!”

I did a little happy dance.

And then I realized that the bloggy version of Big Daddy is not, in fact, the same one I had at home.  It made me a little sad.  Until I clicked over to the blog of Big Daddy Autism, and was quickly drawn in by his wit, sarcasm and insights into raising his 13 year-old autistic son, Griffin.

And now?  I relish every time I see a message or blog post from Big Daddy pop up.  Because he’s one funny guy.  Just don’t tell my husband that there’s another Bid Daddy in the house… okay?

Our Little GPS

When Booyah’s Momma asked me to guest post I knew I couldn’t refuse. My guest post assignment – travel related.  Perfect!  I travel a lot – to Burger King, McDonalds, Taco Bell, etc.   However, I figured this guest post needed a more exotic locale, like my parents’ house.

Neither of our vehicles is equipped with a navigation system, and we rarely use MapQuest.  Once we bring Griffin someplace, he remembers precisely how to get there (and home again).  On a recent visit to my parent’s home in one of the typical Florida gated communities – where every home looks exactly like the other – Griffin’s talent came in handy.

Despite the claims of some builders in Florida, naming your home models the Roma, Firenze, and Milano do not make them individual masterpieces in the timeless style of Italy.  Flipping the floor plan, adding a palm tree or moving a half bath does not make a three bedroom split plan, cookie cutter house unique or classic.

Thanks to this overwhelming conformity, when visiting my folks, the only way I determine which driveway to pull into is by the vehicles parked out front.  On this trip my dad’s new car was sitting in the spacious two-car driveway, so I pulled in beside it, careful to only get a few inches of the right tires on the grass.  This was quite a feat since it appears “two-car driveway” must lose something in translation from Italian.   After taking a moment to gloat about my driving prowess, and fix the patch of grass I dug up pulling in, we all piled out of the car and headed towards the house.  Except for Griffin. Griffin refused to get out and was repeatedly muttering,

“This is not right.  This is not right.  This is not right.”

In hindsight, he should have been yelling,

“You idiots!  You idiots!  You idiots!”

It seems that, since our last visit, my parent’s neighbor, two houses up on Torino Terrace (or Sicily Street or Arezzo Avenue – take your pick) admired my father’s new car so much, he bought one just like it.  Same color too.  However, since muttering is one of Griffin’s favorite past times, we didn’t pay much attention to him and just figured he would get over it and follow us in.   As we rounded the corner and approached the front door, my daughter, seeing unfamiliar garden gnomes, lawn jockeys and insect figurines, recognized our folly and stopped just short of the entranceway.  She innocently shrieked,

“This isn’t Grammy and Poppy’s house!”

Like cockroaches avoiding nuclear Armageddon, the three of us scampered back in the car and backed down the street to Grammy and Poppy’s place as if nothing had happened.

I had completely forgotten that my dad’s car was in the body shop for repairs.  A few days earlier he “accidentally” ran over my mom and crashed into their laundry room door a while trying to pull into the garage.  He claims it was a gear shift mix up that caused the incident.  I have my doubts.   If Griffin knew how to gloat, he would have.  If my dad was a better driver, the whole episode could have been avoided.  Why my mom was guiding him into the garage like a runway flag man in the first place is still unclear.

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