Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Moving Mountains

For a long time, Natalie ate little more than chicken nuggets (which I swore I would never feed her) and pasta. She did this both because I indulged her and because for a while I was a working mom and it was a battle I had neither the time nor the energy to fight. There were some random things that she would eat, outliers if you will. ANY type of cheese, hummus, broccoli, carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, V8, eggs, and berries by the pint. I convinced myself that this made her diet well balanced.

When we were three, making two meals didn't seem like such a big issue, mostly because much of what Dan and I ate was prepared from the freezer section of Trader Joes. But now, my main job is to feed my family and making two meals is just too much. Not to mention the bro eats anything and everything.

At first I bribed Natalie with a Zhu Zhu pet, a little motorized hamster (which she saw an infomercial for). I told her that if she tried at least once bite of everything I made, I would buy her this silly little toy. Game on. For one week, she kept her end of the bargain and I kept mine and Fluffy the Zhu Zhu pet entered the home. Wouldn't you know that the bro is more interested in this hamster than Natalie is.

Once she got her prize, I began bribing her with money-- twenty-five cents for every bite. I think I lost, maybe two dollars because for the past four days she has eaten whatever it is that I made for dinner with no eye rolling, no tongue hanging out in disgust, and no throwing of the body onto the floor. Turkey Picadillo, Teriyaki Chicken Meatballs, Asian Turkey Meatballs, Salmon, Chicken Sloppy Joes, Linguine with Clam Sauce....

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Rock Walls and Baby Crocs

Last weekend we went to REI to invest in some hikers for Natalie. We left with an emerging rock climber.

She liked it so much, we went back today...

And since the bro isn't big enough to climb a rock wall, I bought him these cute little blue shoes, and it makes him very happy to wear them.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

If I Ran the Circus

A long, long time ago, in a lifetime far away, back when I was being questioned my identity as Kristen Dattoli, I was flipping through the pages of People's bachelor edition. I would also like to mention that I was reading this while cycling at the gym. I feel that is an important detail, just so no one thinks I was cozy on the couch reading during the commercials of General Hospital, or anything like that. No, no, I was at the gym.

As I flipped through the pages of attractive single men, my mouth fell open when I read the name Kevin Venardos, complete with picture and a small copy. Why was I stunned? Because this Kevin Venardos, who not only went to my high school, (whatever, I mean so did Shaun Weiss of Mighty Ducks fame and Kerri Green - yes, the Goonie), but because Kevin and I were actually friends in high school, and by friends I mean I had a crush on him. But more importantly, he used to drive me home from school for the better part of my sophomore year. Well, there he was in print and single and the ringmaster for the famous Ringling Bros. Circus. I ripped the page out of the gym's copy of the magazine and brought it home to show Dan.

Per my suggestion earlier this week, Dan purchased tickets to the Big Apple Circus and on the way into Boston, I reminded him of this discovery I had made long, long ago. Low and behold, when the circus began, and the ringmaster came out, my eyes went wide, I turned to Dan and said, "That is Kevin Venardos!" What could a girl do but cyber stalk him on Facebook and wouldn't ya know, there he was and now he is my "friend" once again.

My world keeps getting smaller and smaller.

On a side note, if you enjoy the circus or have small children who will enjoy the circus, I highly recommend. But be prepared for the sweaty palms the trapeze artists may cause you.

Saturday, April 17, 2010


Ah, the birthday has come and gone. As I did last year, I thought long and hard how to make an interesting post out of 32. I thought about how much better 32 is than 31 because at least if I reverse 32 it becomes 23, and that was a pretty good year. 31 becomes 13 and I don't know anyone who wants to go back to that, except for maybe my husband.

But here I am, 32. I'm not going to lie, it makes me feel old. Like, literally, I feeeeeeeel old. I have gray hair, my body is sore, I have to be careful of everything I eat, because apparently the fact that I exercise just isn't enough anymore. But, I also feel quite blessed because at 32 I am very happily married and have two beautiful and healthy children, and they love me so very much, that they bought me a Snuggie.

Life is good and 32 is feeling warm and cozy and, in case you haven't read, I can wear it anywhere.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Portrait of an Artist

A few weeks ago, when I asked Natalie what she did at school, rather than responding with her normal, "Nothing," "I don't know," or "I don't feel like telling you," (just a reminder that she is four and a half, not sixteen), she informed me that she had "drawed" a self-portrait. I was so excited, in part because she gave up this information willingly and because I couldn't wait to see what my burgeoning artist had created. "Will I get to see this portrait? Will it come home in your Friday folder?" I asked. "No," she replied, "it is going to be on display at the art show."

Art show?? Even more exciting. My little girl's work is going to be in an exhibit! I made sure to mark this, rather highlight it on the school calendar, because it was already there. I made sure that Dan would be able to come to see it, and if we had family that lived near by, I probably would have invited them too. I was a full fledged, lame-o, proud mama.

There is something about faux matting (red stock paper) and a Avery label with her name printed on it, that just makes me gush with pride.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Journals - Revisted

Oh, how I wish I could just throw them away. But Dan has convinced me that I will regret it, and I haven't fully committed to disagreeing with him, so I am slowly reading pages from the girl that I was. Not so much the journals, but I have a special book that that I collected all of my original "poetry" in-- poetry a la Alanis Morrissette. I think I am actually attached more to the book, than what is in it. It has a natural cork cover, and my father gave it to me as a gift. All the other books were the ugliest, special sale books from Barnes and Noble or that which someone received as an unwanted gift and I was willing to take. But this one...this one I don't think that I can't get rid of.

So I sifted through some of the pages. Turning them as they dried allowing the next few to have their chance at survival. And while many of these very sad (both literally and figuratively) poems have the same tone, there was one that I thought (after a few margaritas at dinner) I might just be willing to share. If I thought blogging about my father was wearing my heart on my sleeve (which I JUST admitted to someone today that I do not do), this is really laying it all out there. Ah, the blessing and curse of tequila.

So here goes:

How can you look at my like that,
With emotionless baby blues ?
Your beauty fails me right now in my mild state of hysteria,
which is slowly increasing.
I've wasted ink on you.
I've wasted energy and anger.
I've wasted tears, these tears
knowing you don't deserve them.
How can you ignore this?
How can you avoid my bloodshot eyes?
Waste a tear on me, a word, anything
in exchange
for the time I've wasted here with you.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Dear Journal

We have a cupboard under our stairs, ya know, just in case Harry Potter wants to visit or if those Oompa Loompahs need a magic little door to come out of to finally roll me away.

A couple of years ago, in an effort to clean/organize our ever growing toy emporium, I packed up a few boxes of books, cds, et al and placed them in the cupboard under the stairs-- out of sight, out of mind. Since the recent house boat simulation, Dan had to empty out that secret storage space and found a box of water drenched journals. Journals that I had started in high school. My heart raced as I quickly asked, "Did you read them?" I haven't read them in a loooooooong time, but I know that they are filled with irrational rage as a result of much unrequited love. My second comment was, "Just throw them away." I didn't even want to read them. If I thought it was tough tapping into that inner Kristen who can socialize in a pink sweater, I didn't even want to try to tap back into angst ridden, Ani DiFranco listening, barely eating Kristen. Yuck. Good riddance to her!

But he wouldn't let me throw them away, so they lay open on top of the dryer, attempting to dry out. And I couldn't help but read a few of the pages, which led me to read a few more of the pages. There are letters that were never sent, letters that were written with no intention to ever be sent, quotes, quips, "poems," and a whole load of emotionally charged run on sentences.

Most of pages are matted together and on many of them the writing has been smeared, becoming illegible, from a combination of time and water, and I kind of like the fact that that phase of my life is quite literally being washed away.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

So What Happened Was...

Ugh. Our house has taken in water...fortunately nothing that devastated us, although our neighbor has a canoe, just in case. We still had power, beds, warm clothes, food and most importantly each other, but enough it was enough water to inconvenience us and with a house that is split quite definitively into a top and bottom, all the contents of our bottom came into a top. The most inconvenient (for me, I am sure Dan would disagree) is that we lost our "playroom" which is really our family room. Natalie thought it was great that ALL of the toys were in our living room, me, not so much.

I was embarrassed to have my neighbor, who sees my house regularly, come into this mess. Her comment was, "Kristen, some people live like this all the time." I can check "not applicable" for hoarding off my list, definitely one less thing for me to worry about, but this clutter is AW-FUL! Things are stacked up on top of other things and for the past week I have felt so terribly for people whose houses were ruined and from which they were evacuated AND I now feel so terribly for people who must collect things within their houses, because this is no way to live.

On the up side, we have a new carpet in the office and will be purchasing some new sectionals for our family/playroom that has been rearranged to make two separate placed. HGTV would be so proud.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Missed Calling

There are a lot of random jobs that I would like to have. Top of my list, and anyone who really knows me can confirm this to be true, is to be a color namer. Crayons, paint chips, markers, car finishes. I may have mentioned this is a post before. I really, really wish I knew how to get this job. I used to like to play name the color while Dan and I were driving from MA to NJ. As cars would pass I would have to come up with some creative name for the color of the passing cars. Doesn't that sound like a fun way to spend a three hour drive?

Lately, Dan and I have been watching a lot of Holmes on Homes on HGTV. This guy is awesome regardless of the Carthart overalls and white, beefy tank or the fabulous Canadian accent that makes me want to start a drinking game for every time I hear, "eh?", "hoose" or "aboot". If you haven't seen it, he goes into people's houses who have, for lack of a better word, been screwed by their previous contractor. So far, 98% of the episodes I have seen, he goes in to fix a wall and ends up gutting three rooms. Dan and I often find ourselves staring around at our sadly "finished" basement, which will have to be gutted thanks to this last rainstorm, wondering what dirty secrets are hidden behind our walls.

However, demo and gutting are not the callings I have missed. Masonry. Yes, I should have been a brick layer or cement pourer. I know the cement broom smoother thing has a real name, and perhaps I should learn it, but for now I find my Zen just watching these talented men make it all neat and uniform and clean.

And think of the fun I would have coming up with names for gray cement!