I’m sew done with Halloween

After my little fiasco with the Superman costumes earlier in the week, I was thinking I could put my feet up and relax while drinking pumpkin beer until Halloween rolled around.

I was wrong.

As it turns out, my husband’s office division is doing a theme for Halloween this year.  That theme?  The Addams Family.

I was hoping he’d go with something relatively easy.  Like Fester or Pugsley.  But, wouldn’t you know it… my husband chose to go as Cousin Itt.

Last night, he brought home a little present for me.  A bowler hat, spectacles, and four yards of hideously furry material.  My mission?  To turn a mound of shedding fabric into something that halfway resembled a six-foot Cousin Itt costume.

Begrudgingly, I obliged.  Three beers and two broken sewing machine needles later, we had this:

Not to mention an extremely hairy dining room floor.

And all I can say is… next year, we’re SO going to Target to buy Halloween costumes.

But now that that’s over?  I am happy to say that my motherly and wifely Halloween duties are complete.  I am now committed to actually enjoying the upcoming holiday.  I intend on spending the next few days drinking pumpkin ale.  And gorging myself on Starburst and candy corn.

Maybe I’ll even go carve a jack-o-lantern, just for kicks.  I’ve already picked out my pattern.  Now all I have to do is carve it.

Mama's Losin' It

Superman hired a seamstress, right?

The string of four letter words coming from the other room must have shaken my husband from his football coma.

Timidly, he ventured into the dining room.  “You okay in here?” he asked me.

I looked up from the sewing machine and gave him an exasperated look.  “This is is a pain in the arse,” I said through clenched teeth.

“You know, when we were at Target the other day, I saw some of these on sale for only…” his words trailed off as he met my withering stare.  My nerves of steel were frayed, but my look told him all he needed to know.

The mother of Superman would not back down.  I was intent on completing the mission. 

This isn’t the first time this has happened.  The first year, I started off pretty easy.  Football pants for Peyton Manning seemed simple enough.

The next year, I got a little more crazy.  I have to confess that my sewing skills are remedial (at best), and there was definitely plenty o’ cussing involved.  But lucky for me, my mom came to my rescue, and managed to give me enough pointers to be able to send a little Dorothy merrily down the yellow brick road.

But this year?  As I sat cursing at the sewing machine, I realized I might have bitten off more than I could chew.

It probably would have helped if I would have used a pattern.  But all I had to make was a cape.  And a Supergirl skirt.  And undies for Superman.  And another cape.  Yeah, in retrospect, a pattern would have been a good idea.

Because this year, it’s almost like my sewing machine was made of pure kryptonite.  The yards of crimson satin that seemed so perfect at the fabric store slipped awkwardly through my fingers like melted butter.  It snagged.  It bunched.  Capes are not supposed to bunch.  Undies?  Maybe.  But capes, definitely not.

About the time I finished up Supergirl’s skirt, Bobo woke up from her nap and came bounding downstairs.  “Is it ready, Momma?” she asked excitedly.

I held up the first cape.  It was crooked.  It bulged in a very un-capelike manner.  I have to admit, it looked pretty ghetto.

“All set,” I said, trying to sound more upbeat than I felt.  “Want to try it on?”

We dug out the Supergirl shirt we had found at the mall.  We slipped on the skirt, the crooked cape, and the boots.  I stood back as Supergirl studied her reflection in the mirror.  In the back of my mind, I wondered if those costumes at Target were still on sale.

Suddenly, she beamed.  “I love it, Momma,” she said, as she hugged me with superhero strength.  “Thank you for making this.”

And, for a moment, I felt like Supergirl myself.  Or, at least, like Supergirl’s mom.

It wasn’t perfect.  But Bobo didn’t care.  And as I got busy sewing Chip’s cape, I felt more confident that I could tackle my costume nemesis.  And if it didn’t turn out?  At least I knew there was a Target down the street.

Dad, you’ve got skills.

I knew when I married Jay that he’d be a fantastic husband and, someday, father.  I was right.

But what I couldn’t foresee is the unique skills he’d bring to the table.  For example:

He cooks.  I’m not at all joking when I say he makes the best grilled cheese sandwich I’ve ever tasted.  He also dials a mean Domino’s.  

He grooves.  My children have been raised from birth to have a fine appreciation of Bon Jovi, Johnny Cash, Van Halen and a smattering of 80’s one hit wonders.  While his choice of music sometimes makes me want to pull my hair out, it has an oddly soothing effect on my kids.  To this day, the Footloose soundtrack will calm Chip down in the midst of even the worst screamfest.

He does the laundry.  Almost all of our laundry, since the day we were married.  Early on, I learned to not buy anything that was wool or not colorfast.  I also grew to appreciate tight sweaters and the color pink.  Still, this is one of the best perks of our marriage.

He dances.  He’s taught Bobo all the best moves, including the moonwalk and the robot.  We’re currently working on perfecting the running man.  I’m sure her future prom dates will thank us.  Who knows… maybe “old school” will be back “in” by then.

He cleans Booyah’s litter box.  He shovels crap every week, and has never once complained about it.  Lord knows he gets his fair share from me on a daily basis.

He gives the best horsie rides, piggy backs, and laundry basket train rides in the neighborhood.

He brings home the loot.  I can count on one hand the number of times we’ve come home empty-handed from Chuck E. Cheese, the fair, or anywhere with one of those pick-a-prize machines.  He also owns the baseball toss and the basketball shootout. 

Jay calls this last skill his “useless gift.”  The result of this talent?

To clarify, Booyah was not won at a carnival, but the rest of the animals were.  As I gathered these up in Bobo’s room tonight, I counted 24 stuffed creatures won by Jay.  Make that 25, including the one he won today at Oak’s Park that isn’t pictured here.

I don’t know how he does it.  But I do know that if they gave out money for winning those, we’d be filthy rich

Instead, we are rich in carnival prize loot.  And butt rock.  And funky dance moves. 

And those are the things you just can’t put a price on. 

Happy Father’s Day, Jay.  We love you!

What I’m getting my husband for Father’s Day

Father’s Day is fast approaching, and I’ve been racking my brain trying to come up with the perfect present for my husband.  So, of course, I turned to the internet, and found some really great ideas.

I’m still working on compiling my shopping list, but here are the top six gems I’ve come up with so far:

1.  You just can’t go wrong with bacon.
Mmm, bacon.  Jay loves bacon.  And, he actually needs a new wallet, so I was thinking about getting him this deluxe bacon wallet.  There are a whole pile of accessories I might purchase to go with this, including bacon lip balm, bacon air freshener, and bacon soap.  I have to admit, I am a bit stymied why anyone would want to wear bacon bandaids, but maybe that’s because I’m not a guy.  (I guess so you can lick your own wounds?  That’s just gross.)

2.  The Diaper Dootie Tool Belt.  
This puppy comes pre-stocked with everything you’d need to change the foulest of diapers, including a facemask, goggles and rubber gloves.  The designer tool belt also comes in other fashion colors, including white, but really, how practical is that?  If you’re going to get one, black is definitely the way to go.

3.  Cowboy Hat, ala Brunson
If you’ve never heard of Doyle Brunson, he is one of the great legends poker.  And personally, I think he’s adorable.  There’s something about a man sporting a cowboy hat and a million dollar smile that I can’t resist.  Since Jay’s already got a pretty great smile, I was thinking about buying him this cowboy hat, so he’d look more Doyle-ish.  Who knows, maybe it would bring my husband good luck at the poker tables, too.

4.  Cheat sheet for men
This handy little cheat sheet helps him remember your ring size, favorite colors, favorite flowers and more.  And it’s credit card sized, so it would fit perfectly in that bacon wallet.  It doesn’t have a spot for birthdates or anniversaries; you may want to consider jotting those on there as well.  Truly a thoughtful gift.

5.  Sometimes, it’s OK to drink and drive
When I saw this golf club beer dispenser, I literally oohed.  Jay loves golf, and he loves beer.  What could be more perfect?  This driver holds up to 48 ounces of his favorite brew.  And apparently it does not count as a regulation golf club, so he wouldn’t need to choose between his regular driver and his “beer driver”… he can bring both!

6.  He’s the Boss
I don’t usually buy my husband clothes, but this shirt caught my eye for some reason.  I think he’d look great in it.  And he will wear it.  Because I said so.

So here’s my dilemma.  All of these items are currently sitting in my shopping cart, and I seriously can’t decide which one to actually give him.  Who knows…perhaps I’ll end up buying them all.  I truly think every single one of these would be like the gift that keeps on giving.

What are you giving the dad in your life for Father’s Day?

Can I get a mulligan for Mother’s Day?

Ah, Mother’s Day.

Sleeping in late.  Breakfast in bed served by a doting husband.  Mom greeted by a chorus of “Happy Mother’s Day!!” and showered with flowers and handmade cards from the kids.

This is not how my Mother’s Day went.

The first part is true, at least.  When Bobo came screaming (literally) into our room around 6 am, I pretended not to hear her and tried to roll back over and go to sleep.  J eventually got up to take her downstairs to play, and I was able to sleep a bit more until the banging of Chip’s feet on his crib woke me up.  Begrudgingly, I rousted myself out of bed around 7:15 which, in our house, IS actually considered “sleeping in.”

We went out to breakfast, where my usually sweet little Chip screamed the moment I plopped him into his high chair, and refused to sit still.  In desperation, I took him for a walk around the restaurant, grabbed a dum-dum from the candy basket near the cash register and plopped it in Chip’s mouth.  My makeshift pacifier worked pretty well, even if I did feel like a pretty crappy mom for giving my kid candy before breakfast.  He ended up only throwing half of his breakfast onto the floor.

After Chip’s first nap, we ventured to the park for some playtime and a picnic lunch, during which Bobo threw a massive fit about the fact that I got her a half sandwich, and not a whole one.  Oh, the drama.  The temper tantrum escalated, and culminated with me finally losing it and hissing, “Stop it.  Just STOP IT!!  We do NOT talk to mommy and daddy like that!!  Just chill out!!”

I realized a bit too late that those words came out in a pretty loud shriek (not what I had intended), which drew some glances and raised eyebrows from the more peaceful picnic-goers in the park.  I wanted to explain to them, “I’m really a good mom.  I don’t yell at my kids in public often.  And I only occasionally give them lollipops for breakfast.”  But I didn’t think that would have helped take away my embarrassment any.

On the way home from the park, we had a screamfest in the car.  The afternoon and evening consisted of:  No naps, meltdown after meltdown, more whining, and green boogies galore.  (Chip seems to have picked some sort of bug up at daycare late this past week.)  Oh, and dad announced he was not feeling so well, either.  Sweet.

I spent the evening cleaning up the huge mess in our house, doing dishes, and packing Chip and I for a week-long, cross-country trip.  As if today wasn’t fun enough, Chip and I are leaving at the crack of dawn tomorrow to visit my sick Grandma in the midwest.

That, in a nutshell, was my Mother’s Day.

Not the day where I felt loved and pampered as a mom but, rather, one of those days where I couldn’t help but wonder:  “What exactly did I sign up for?”

In reality, I realize that this is perhaps the whiniest memoir I’ve ever written.  The reality is, today was not entirely different – or worse – than many other days in our lives.  The reality is, my kids and my husband are happy, healthy and I love them with all my heart.  The reality is, on most days I consider myself extremely lucky on so many levels.

But in reality… what probably bothered me most about today is it revealed some of my own shortcomings as a mother and parent.  Today was not the Hallmark, melt-your-heart version of parenting and Mother’s Day.  Today was the plain truth version of what most parents go through, at least to some extent, on a daily basis. 

The illogical side of me still yearns for the Hallmark version.