Sunday, October 28, 2007

Carving Out My Style

Tonight was pumpkin carving night. My sister dropped by with her two children. 4 mini pizzas... two crappy carving sets... more seeds than you can shake a scarecrow at... stringy gourd insides resembling my brain after a long week of Rex on and business... and 4 lumpy painted pumpkins later.... it was a great evening.

A dear friend of mine stopped by with her baby. I really like her, because we're different in a lot of ways. Sure, our morals and actions are similar, but she has often a contradictory approach to how I do things. She's much less wishy washy. If we were breakfast foods, I'd be a waffle. With syrup. Maybe. Or maybe powdered sugar. Or perhaps a decaf coffee only because I'm giving up on caffeine, even though I know I'll cave a week later. She would order "The eggs. Over easy. That's it."
Her defining style makes me grow. And think. Like Glinda "with a Ga" says to her friend, the green wicked witch, "My world is better because of you." Or something like that. I was too busy crying during that song to remember the exact words. And tonight I'm too exhaused from scraping pumpkin vomit off my ceiling to bother You Tubing the lyrics from Wicked.

My friend and I landed on the subject of parenting. She made a very interesting point about my woes as of late. (See previous post.) In a nutshell, she deducted that there's two kinds of parents that approach play areas: The type that are a bit protective (such as herself) and the type like me (who are more of a 'let the kid figure it out himself unless danger is imminent' type.)
It now makes sense to me. No style is better than the other, but it's going to cause conflict. Always. If I can't deal with the repurcussions of such conflict, I really need to stay away from those environments.

I know it sounds simple, and my apologies for A) The obvious and B) The parenting slant of this post. But I'm just happy to have heard it said. My poor friend puts up with a lot of questioning from me. Sometimes I don't say things graciously. But in the end, I always see her point of view. If she's reading, I hope she knows that.

In closing, I realize I'm a perfectionist, and this is where most of my issues come from. Not "this mom said that" or "this one acted like that..." But I'm prone to, without even being conscious of it always, "Why can't I just make everything perfect so there's never any conflict. Why can't my kid be that way, also?"

Of course, looking at my pumpkin carving, or how I cook, you'd never guess there's a perfectionist the size of Mt. Rushmore living in my soul.

I give off too nutty of a vibe. I'm brilliant that way.

In closing, I'm once again tired of myself. If you're interested in my opinion on the state of parenting, or how Diet Coke makes me fart enough to start a hybrid car, check out my journal on Otherwise, I am using November to write about things I'm grateful for. Can I start with good friends that put up with my stupid blabber mouth, where I can sometimes sound insulting, but really am just trying to navigate my way through this messy world of raising souls - trying not to permanently mess them up? You're all included in the compliment.

Good night!
More of my writing can be found on I write under the name Andrea Frazer and can be found in the Momformation Section.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Go San Diego Go Diego....

Any of you with toddlers will get my little song reference. Any of you without toddlers can live in peace without this OCD inducing theme song rattling your brain like a bad virus.

We're back from San Diego after cutting our week long vacation down to two days. Nothing was open the first day we were there, but we were able to go to the beach and see some family. That was nice. We hit Sea World the second day. No one was there, so Stink enjoyed a few rides with Papa. Pip wasn't big enough, so I took advantage of her sugar free brother being gone by plying her with over priced icecream.

Not a very eventful trip, but pleasant. It's so rare for Rex and I to just be together. We're your classic couple that divides labor to get the jobs done: He is at work and then does all the gardening. I'm at home with the kids and take care of the inside of the house. To be a team for two days straight where our only focus was our family was divine - a reminder to do that more often.

I'm kinda pooped. It was a lot of driving for two days, and a bit less relaxing than I'd hoped. No lounging at the pool - which was closed. No hanging out with college friends - who were housing evacuees. But the people we did see were fantastic. And again, the people I live with, but sometimes don't see, reminded me again why we're a family.

As I type this now, Rex is mowing the lawn. The kids are having squirt gun wars in the bathroom since some tree trimmers have taken over their battle ground outside. I'm preparing for a long week ahead of Halloween festivities, some post office runs, some work related issues, and some local family visits. But am inspired again to take time for the things that matter most.

How do you do it? How do you stay connected to the people that matter most when the world provides so much distraction?

PS: My gig at Babycenter doesn't allow me to be snarky. It's supposed to be a place where friendly neighbors stop by with advice. A "cup of sugar" for the community pie - if you will.

However, since this is my blog, I'd like to say that if the woman who yelled at Stink at Balboa Park is reading this blog, you can kiss. My. Fanny. You're probably not reading, because you're too busy finding your way out of your toddler's butt hole. But for the record, my bully was blocking the damn dinosaur because he was play acting. Can't you tell a sick prehistoric creature when you see one? You can yell at my 4 year old, but I'm thinking that it might be more beneficial to teach your kid to use her words to simply ask him to move, instead of causing World War 3 over something as stupid as your dumb photo op that your kid didn't even want to smile for. Ooooh, my son growled at you. I wish he were a real dinosaur. Then he could eat you and entitled mothers like yourself could be extinct. Now go put some money into karate. And therapy. Your non-smiling, freaked out mama's kid is going to need it.

All done.

More of my writing can be found on I write under the name Andrea Frazer and can be found in the Momformation Section.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Premature Evacuation

I would love to say that I haven't been posting because I'm on my family vacation.

The first family vacation, um, ever.

The one we scheduled over 6 months ago.

But then the fires happened. Not only could we not go to San Diego, but some of my good friends had to leave their home in Topanga Canyon. Someone else I know had a brother who lost his house in Canyon Country.

Does it suck to lose out on a vacation? Sure. But more suckage than staying home is the suckage of those who don't have homes anymore.

We're making the best of the situation. The first couple of days Rex and I got to argue over how best to clean floors, how best to do laundry, and how best to get the kids to sleep without death threats. (Such head bumping occurs when two worlds don't normally collide. It's also what happens when a war is being lead by two generals. Who do you listen to? Fun for all!)

The bright side of this togetherness is that now we're used to each other. Butts have been sniffed, compromises made and peace offerings laid on the table. (He bought me a newspaper out of the blue. I watched a DVD of Erasure with him.) We have had quite a few laughs, and quite a few glasses of beer.
We might leave tomorrow if the fires are subdued. Wish us luck! And to all of you who have relatives or friends displaced by fire, my heart goes out to them. And as soon as I get my first Babycenter check, a donation will go to these people.

PS: Do I regret my Disneyland passes? No. But I had to laugh. I think they had as much fun playing in our neighbor's leaves yesterday as they did riding on Peter Pan.
* More of my writing can be found on I write under the name Andrea Frazer and can be found in the Momformation Section. You can find me daily by scrolling or choose by author. Share the love and leave a comment! Or avoid me. It’s all good.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Mousing Around

I have always wanted to work to be a role model for my kids. To have money to set aside for their college funds. To have a rainy day nest egg. To play the stock market.

I don't want to ever rely solely on Rex for financial support.

I don't want to make emotional decisions with my cash. I don't like using credit or borrowing against money that hasn't arrived yet.

This all said, I took an advance on my first check and bought year round Disneyland passes. Because let's face it, I could get hit by a bus before I even make it to the bank. Life is meant for enjoyment, too. Besides, the kids have it so hard with preschool, organic food and a clean, warm home. Don't they deserve a little fun? A break from the mundane boredom of airconditioning and reading clean library books?

We used the passes today for the first time. Other than the fact that my passport photo endowed me with whiskers and a neck rivaling a Thanksgiving butterball, we had a fabulous time. As evidenced by the photo, Pip might have enjoyed herself a bit too much.

I wish all of you a weekend with so much joy that your loved ones find you slumped over in a padded chair. If you drool, so much the better. You're not lazy, you're passionate!
And finally (yes, truly, finally) I thank you all so much for supporting my new writing space with your lovely comments. Being the new girl in school is always a challenge. To have your kind "faces" in my unfamiliar classroom meant more than you know. Whoever makes it to town gets a dinner at Disneyland on me! (I have to make TV money to buy ya'll passes, but don't put it past me. Like Walt Disney himself, I'm dreaming big.)

More of my writing can be found on I write under the name Andrea Frazer and can be found in the Momformation Section.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Bad Morning America

I woke up at 7AM to take my sister to the airport. Mornings for me are like sunlight for bats. We would both rather hang upside down by our toes than deal with the atrocity of pre-dawn activity.

That aside, I am attempting to think positively these days. In order to do so, I find it best to first listen to the negative thoughts, then out-trump them with goodness.

Let's start with the negative thoughts on waking up early, shall we?

* Exhaustion
* Waking up sleeping toddlers (akin to sticking a needle in a sleeping tiger's eye)
* Hitting traffic
* Running out of gas on the freeway
* Filling up the tank just in time to have to use the potty, preventing an explosion worse than the recent L.A. Truck Incident (My kids didn't have to use the bathroom because, in the ten precious minutes I had between sleep and driving, I hoisted them onto the toilet. I know, send the martyr certificate in the mail.)
* Finding out that I hit the one gas station in L.A. that doesn't have a bathroom
* Having to use one at the McDonalds down the street
* Driving the rest of the way to the airport hearing my children interrogate me on why they couldn't have a Happy Meal at 7:30 am
* Talking my sister down from a panic attack that she's not going to miss the flight while I navigate side-streets like a pro. (Translation: smile like a contestant on Dancing with the Stars who has no idea what they're doing, but they're not letting anyone else know.)

Here are my positive thoughts on getting up early.



Anyone? Bueller?

More of my writing can be found on I write under the name Andrea Frazer and can be found in the Momformation Section.

Monday, October 15, 2007

C'mon Babycenter! Err...

Now that my funk is over (AKA whining more than my toddlers after a day at Chuck E. Cheese) it's nothing short of ironic that I got a gig writing for I'm listed under Momformation and my first post, Whine Gets Better with Age, can be found here (I'm the third one down.)

Yes, it's true! I am one of 3 official "Behavior Bloggers". I'm not supposed to be an expert, per se. I'm more of an "observer of manners" for all things baby and toddler related. If I must say, I'm perfect for this job. Here's just a few reasons:

* I talk to at least 3 strangers/day (whether they're interested in chatting with me or not.) What was once only extraneous info from the 99 cent checker on teething infants and the fertility cycle of miniature poodles can now be shared with the universe courtesy of Mama P!

* I now have a place to go (my desk) after dropping off my kids at preschool. No more 3 hours excursions to the thrift store to spend money on the 1993 Fred Flintstone movie action figures I just had to have.

* I now get paid. Which sort of nulls my second point, because this essentially means I can go thrifting even more than I did before. Maybe there's a Barney or a Dino in my future?

If any of you want to check me out, just go to the link above. In the future, you can just go to, find the COMMUNITY link at the top, use the drop down menu and select the first option of NEW BLOGS. You'll then see two links: Celebrity Babies and Momformation. I'm under Momformation. If this seems like a confusing web, it is. Then again, my head is still spinning about how I got this gig in the first place (and another... to come next month!) Let's just not question the good fortune, shall we?
I would love any comments from you just to get me rolling. Your feedback might give me a little more credibility with my editors (as well as get some people to ping back to your blogs. It's all about sharing the linky love, right?) Any following for me is helpful because at some point I'm destined to deviate from my assigned behavior themes and ramble on and on about the benefits of organics, Yuban vs. Starbucks, or the philosophical question of "To Eat Spam or Not to Eat Spam"? (Shhh... don't tell the editors just yet. It's my thrifting money at stake!)
In closing, do any of you feel passionate about any organizations that deal with children? If so, please write me separately or just note it in the comments here. I'd like to give them plugs as I get more established.
In closing, I would like to wish my husband a Happy 37th birthday today. He never reads this blog, which is why I saved this wish for final thought. I mean, it's not like I enjoy going on and on about me, right? Right?
Oh, stoooop with the eye rolls amd leave me some love at Babycenter, will ya?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

List-Less These Days

To be honest with you, I'm in a funk. Not down on my knees, get thee to a Xanax Factory funk, but a "wow my kids are in school and I have all this free time and yet I'm not doing anything that I'm super excited about and yet what do I have to complain about" kind of funk.

When I feel like this, it's time to pull out the stops. For me, it's a cornucopia of ingredients that, when all is combined in my mixing bowl of life, produces quite a nice bread loaf of contentment. Take one out, and things feel flat. Kinda like matzah. You can eat it, but the lack of rise makes ones mouth feel sort of dry. I call it giving my tounge a yeast infection.
Focusing once again, here's my list for the Joy Joy Life Buzz:

- Exercise
- Talk to people. The requirement is that they must have pubic hair. I don't want to see it, but they must be of age to at least grow it. This does not include ten year olds who are early bloomers.
- Remember to take my Zoloft.
- Cut down on caffeine. My third week of no Diet Coke is commendable. But upping the Yuban to quantities that could start my SUV? Um, not so good.
- Pray and go to church. Or at least get a doughnut on Sundays and pray in the car while jonesing for a Big Gulp.
- Take time for me (journaling, getting hair done, toes... something).
- Write every day.
- Make my own money, even if it's 2.99 on a vintage Smurf toilet brush.
- Chat with a professional either on issues of the spirit, the brain, the body or even a chef. Someone that knows more than I do. (Which, when I'm cranky, is hard to find, which leads me to my last requirement...)
- Keep a gratitude list. I am so lucky in my life, and while I know it, sometimes I don't always feel it.

So far, I've managed one of the above items only. That should tell you where I'm at.

What is your recipe for getting out of funks? If you tell me you're just a naturally happy person who only needs God, pot or St. John's Wart, I will personally come over to your house and bitch slap you while you're diligently doing your Kathy Smith Yoga tape (which will take care of the exercise portion on my list.)

On a bright note, isn't this a cute shot of Pip and me? I adore my in-laws, but if they tell me one more time that she looks like my husband, I'm going to have to assume they are smoking the wacky weed. Which means I should really be hanging out with them more.

Note to self: Add "Call in-laws" to your daily list of ingredients.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Digging It

I am not an outdoors girl. Giving birth has about the same appeal to me as peeing in a hole. As it turns out, I've done both only twice in my life. Giving birth was less messy.

I don't want to be that way. I want to be that mother that leads Girl Scouts down the Grand Canyon. Who celebrates the fourth of July every year off some random beach cove with home made fireworks and smores.

I want tone legs that carry me over mountains in Birkenstocks, the rattle of home made oatmeal in my Eddie Bauer baggy shorts.

Unfortunately, I run about as much risk of becoming Earth Mother as getting Rex to have a reversal.

But while I can't navigate uncharted territories, or look toward having that third baby at 40, I am an excellent scout at relationships. I have friends from first grade cooking class. And high school home ec. And Arco gas station cashiers that took me through my first two post par tum periods by gracing me with more Diet Coke than the Mid East has oil.

Such relationships also include my husband's ex-girlfriend. Quite the opposite of me, she wears Tevas, plans outdoor excursions to Monterrey every year, knows the properties of flax seed and does more mommy and me activities than Jenny McCarthy does talk shows.

Lucky for me, she's willing to take my kids along for the ride. Which meant, this past week, taking Pip to dig for treasures at some remote dusty site outside the city while Stink and I ate pizza admist blessed air conditioning and bad 80's music.

Call me nuts, but I'm thinking Pipsqueak takes after her mama in the out door's department. She quite possibly could be concentrating on the feel of nature's wonder under her skin, but if you look super close, you can see what she's really thinking....

"Bite me."

Thursday, October 04, 2007

another Chinese recall

Looks like it's not only paint we have to be worried about these days.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Pretty as a Picture

One really learns a lot about their moods by their initial reactions to scenery.

Take the photo above, taken in the hotel, Paris, a few weekends ago in Vegas. What was the first thing you thought? "Wow, how beautiful. I could totally relax there." Or, "Man, that is tacky. Check out the elevator. If I had a dollar for every hundred bucks that was spent on that effigy to consumerism..."

As for me, my thoughts go something like this:

"Wow. I need to get to Paris one day. I know I'd dig all the art work. Though I could do without seeing the Mona Lisa. She just looks cranky.

Which I've been today.

But no one is cranky in Paris! It's the city of love! Of cafes and bread! And lots of wine where I can drink too much and pass out in a tiny overpriced hotel room, my six one frame sticking out over the munchkin sized mattress.

No. Stay positive. You will NOT drink too much or over eat. You will be a beacon of grace. A shining example of American women.

I just hope I don't vomit in the Louvre. Or have a panic attack on the run way. I'm not a great traveler. But I AM a great planner. With lots of intention.

Yes, I will go. Because unlike the staircase in the photo, life is super short. I want my kids to see the world, and it's not going to happen by sitting on my butt my whole life. Speaking of stairs, man, those could really firm up my ass.

Yes. I'll go to Paris, put on my Nike thrift store running pants, and jog up the Eiffel tower each morning. Of course I don't jog now, but that's not the point. When I'm done with my workout, I'll sip coffee at a roadside cafe.

If I haven't given it up by then.

But I HAVE been 6 days without Diet Coke. Hooray for me! Or shall I say, "Hooray for moi!"

Wow, it's amazing how much beauty can be found if I just look for it. It's so clean in the Paris hotel. Clean, clean, clean!

Unlike my house.

And speaking of the French, and getting clean, I need to shave my arm pits.

Wow, was that racist? Or was it a fact? Because the French have been known not to be on intimate terms with razors."

Nothing like a quiet mind, huh?

Monday, October 01, 2007

Oh. God.

As some of you may know, I think a lot about religion. I was raised Catholic, but had Jewish family members and friends as integrated into my life as tightly as Neil Diamond in a pair of blue jeans on a 1975 Christmas Album.

I was raised around a lot of stories, talking and the hustle and bustle of laughter and events. Whether it was Christmas, a birthday party, or a last minute Saturday dinner with friends, our house was always alive with people.

I am not saying that my life was a Saturday Evening Post of Happiness. We had our share of alcoholics, manic depressives, over eaters and perfectionists. But everyone was able to work through their issues with respect and understanding. No one was expected to be anything other than the best they could be.

I have often told my mother that if she did anything wrong in raising me, it was that she gave me a level of acceptance that was very unrealistic in this modern world of cynicism, anger, judgement and pride.

I think my Norman Rockwell tendencies have adjusted quite nicely to the high definition take it up your butt television screen that our world often really reflects.

But every once in a while, I'm racked with an anxiety that, if it were an earthquake, could quite possibly take down the Golden Gate Bridge. I know that worrying about the future is futile. I know that my body can no longer help its pangs of fear anymore than a blind person can help seeing in darkness. It's just a part of my system. But, if a blind person can use a stick, then I can use one also. My stick is my family, my friends, my intentions to eat healthy, my acceptance for the days when nothing but an Apple Fritter and Diet Coke is going to do, and, once again, my religion.

I don't know why bad things happen to good people.

I don't know why marriages fall apart.

I don't know why some people are born brilliant while others have learning disabilities or live two days.

I only know that as I go through post after post, there's a synergy and connection between people that inspires me to keep writing. To keep going. To keep trying to make a difference.

To me, this is God. It dawned on me recently, after a bad week of anxiety, that my innocence of the world does not have to go away simply because I'm no longer a child. If there is a prescence out there that loves me unconditionally, as my family once did (or at least as I naively believed that they did) then I can still find hope. And joy. I don't have to allow the jadedness of our times to kill my love for the small pleasures.

For those of you that have other methods of reaching this same epiphany other than the God route, I think that is fantastic. I am a terrible Christian, because while I couldn't imagine my life without my rock of church, I can't imagine that any God out there could condemn someone for not believing what I do.

I am writing this post because I realize that sometimes I don't share as much of myself as I possibly could.

Or want to.

So, now that you all can label me as a religious nut job, I'd love to hear your thoughts on staying pure in a world that so badly wants us to fail.

Or is that just my anxiety talking again?

Let me know. I'd love to hear from you.