Tuesday, October 30, 2012


OMG there's NOTHING going on, y'all. 

SO bored. 

School is closed - ballet / swim / Little Gym classes closed - but - hubby is at work.


I could venture out with the kiddos, but it's still really raining, and I believe the weatherman told me not to leave the house. 

Apparently, this does not apply to office-working folk. They will be magically transported to their place of employment by mystical water-proofing fairies.

On a serious note, we are totally fine, thank goodness. It was very scary not knowing what Hurricane Sandy might bring, and that this was the biggest storm to hit the area since 1903. That's for real-ness. And I'm sure the clean-up and scary stories are still to come.

Kids slept in our room last night, because the hubby was afraid of the trees falling on their side of the house. 

This meant that we played musical beds all night and none of us slept. So that's made for a great morning thus far. 

And here is the extent of our damage: 

I'll take it.

I cannot BELIEVE the pics of the NYC Subway, and Jersey Shore. This was a serious storm and luckily, we still have power.

Come to think of it ... you want me on your Hurricane relief team.
  • I grew up in Florida. Hurricane Andrew hit sometime in my youth, and my house was unscathed. Down the block, however, was on the National News because some of the kids were having to row their boats to each other's houses. I remember walking to that block and seeing it in person - now why they didn't put cute, young, me on the news to report on the situation - is beyond me.
  • The blizzard of 96-97. I was studying abroad in the Netherlands.The entire East Coast was shut down, apparently, but me and the Dutch were excited that this meant the Elfstedentocht (11-city-tour) could take place. It's an ice-skating race that can only take place when the canals have frozen hard enough. It was cool. [ba-dum-bum.]
  • Hurricane Katrina - I was working in admissions at University of Maryland, right at the start of the school year. We were able to help some displaced students get in to school - and get out of harm's way.
  • Hurricane Irene last year - we lost power for 4 days with two milk-hungry-monkeys. I was headed to Atlanta for 2 weeks for rehearsals. So the hubby and my parents were taking care of the kids while I got out of dodge. I mean, if I had known it was going to be 4 days worth, I would have totally left even earlier.
I've had my fair share of power lost and damages sustained - but again - nothing big and a little bit of luck on my side. Thanks, Universe. 

Stay dry everyone!!!  

Monday, October 29, 2012

I heart WD Box

I don't care what you say to the public about your child(ren)'s TV consumption. What I'm about to describe to you is going to cream your mom jeans.

I have a product, one that I'm about to shamelessly promote (and without, unfortunately, being reimbursed to do so), that will make you get on your knees and beg your hubby or nearest geek for one.

It's just a box. It's not unlike what you may use to stream Netflix. It's not unlike an Apple TV box. But it's still different. It's been around longer, and it keeps getting better with age. And if you don't have Apple TV or stream Netflix with another device, then how are you living with children. "On Demand" is soooo Depression-era thinking.

What IS IT, Twynmawrmom. What is this fantastical thingy? TELL ME!!
It's called a Western Digital box. And it streams my sitter entertainment onto my TV from an external hard drive in which my movie-nerd of a husband has 'ripped' said movies. I know he spends a lot of time on this; but his movie collection was so vast that he needed to find a way to store and stroke them. This cache includes: Baby Eintstein's, chic flix, Mary Poppins, Disney-Disney-and-more-Disney, an all-you-can-eat buffet of Star Wars/Harry Potter/Lord of the Rings, my fave TV shows like Dexter, LOST, workout videos like P-90X, Yoga, and so on and so the f on.
as much as you can fit.
that is, as much as you can store onto whatever external hard drive you choose to buy 
(yeah, you gotta buy two things: the streaming thingy and the storage thingy.)

we started with 1GB of storage 7 years ago. 
we upped it to 1Terrabyte since we had children. 
we're going to have to upgrade again. 

Yes, Twynmawrmom, I want my children to voluntarily silence themselves. But how does it work? 
When you go to play a DVD, you might use a different remote to choose a different 'input' on your TV and then load it in. The WD box also uses a remote and requires you to switch to a different input. So you will need to have stopped referring to a remote as a 'clicker' in order to be up to speed enough for WD. 

But once you're in...it gives you a menu of your fave movies--mine includes images of said movies so that my children can literally point on the TV to what movie they want to watch. This was incredibly helpful in the earlier years...

I heart it. When we gave up naps about a year ago, it's our 'quiet time.' We go on the box, and we choose a movie or a few episodes of a show (or as of late, we are back to Baby Einstein in a weird way...but I don't question their listening to classical music and looking at baby crack...I just don't.)

One of my presents for our anniversary this year is that hubby had loaded Dexter: Season 6 on the box so that we could run a marathon if we wanted. We're taking it slow, however. Every weekend we watch an episode or two to have that premiere-channel-anticipatory-glee. Even though season 7 has begun and it's killing me. No pun intended. Showtime got budgeted out this year...

GET IT. If you are a new mommy, it will blow your mind. If you or your hubby don't know how to rip your own DVD's onto the thing, GET HELP. It's worth it. I believe "handbrake" is a program that does it for Macs.

Here's what CNET has to say about it. I think they would just suggest you get an Apple TV.

I don't question how this magic gets made. It's just that...it's magic. And I heart it. 

Sunday, October 28, 2012

sUn-edited: Lucky

Sooooo lucky.

I interrupt this regularly scheduled post about a great experience Friday night at a Women's Self Defense Course run by an organization called Equal Fights Movement here in Philly with a thought. 

Now with the storm impending, and just being in tune with some other troubles friends are having, I'm reminded to feel lucky. 

Lucky I've never been assaulted. 

Lucky my family is healthy and safe. 

Lucky my preemies are no longer preemies. 


Back to the class. 

I've always wanted to get into a fight. You know - see what I'm made of!

Now I know: I'm made of short legs and a winning smile. Not so much bad-ass included.

Seriously, though, I've always been very naive and luckily, I made it through my teens in D.C. and twenties in NYC unscathed. LUCKILY.

So when my friend suggested we do a mommy's night out at Equity Fights, I thought:
But I'm no longer young and cute. My risk of being assaulted is getting lower by the year, no?

I learned some very valuable lessons at this 3 hour course, and it made me leave there thinking, 
How early can I enroll my daughter?

We are ALL at risk. In many situations. In some ways, I'm more distracted now as a mommy than ever. The attackers are not looking for young and cute, they are looking for one thing:

This was probably the best mental challenge of the night for me - to understand how I would mentally respond to an attack. It wasn't pretty! The confidence I exude on a daily basis does not translate to beast-mode. We do not want to engage an attacker. We want to be smart; to escape when we can; but if we can't: as women, our best defense is in using OUR LEGS. 

Without simplifying the complexities of the three-hour course, which frankly, could easily fill a six-week course, women are best to fight back using the strongest parts of the body: thighs and legs. This means: KICKING. And because of the angle, this means you are mostly best suited on the ground, on your back, kicking your assailant directly down the center line of his body. Heel-kick to the chin, the solar plexus, and the family jewels. We all nod and say, "yeah, totally", but when faced with the faux-attacker in the padded jumpsuit - you may surprise yourself. 

It's a really good exercise.

I think it took me the first two hours to really understand that this could really happen and that I could be really bad at this. My instincts may be WAY off, especially if I'm distracted with the kids, in a crowded place, or in an unpopulated corner of a mall parking garage.

It was really well structured:  starting with questions - and - answer ; real-life scenarios; practice with each other, and then practice with full - force (on our part) against an instructor in a padded suit.

And actually, with friends, it was a good time as well. We laughed about how much we surprised ourselves and each other, and then laughed some more over drinks afterwards. 

Did someone say cocktails after? I'm in!
Again, I'm reminded to feel lucky : about the relative safety of our society, the relative safety of my daily environment, and the new knowledge I now carry with me about my own mental ticks that may get in my way in a crisis situation. 

Bad ass?? Not me! But now I know that I'm not such a bad ass - and my fight-or-flight response has some new inner voices steering it the correct way.

Think about organizing a mommy's night out or friends' night out - or getting your college / employer / organization to hold one of these events. It's really a great bonding experience, as well as great learning experience. 

And please, my friends - TAKE CARE OF YOURSELVES! 



Thursday, October 25, 2012


Pin. away. 
[If you don't, I will.]


Curse of the music-loving class

I heart music.

But... it's a curse.

I've had friends tell me I'm lucky that my children may inherit my ear for music, and of course I totally want them to fulfill all my performing dreams for me: Broadway, duet with Sting, guest spot on Glee...but...

On the other hand...

They could be saved from the curse of the music-loving class.

I can't take an aerobics class where the teacher announces the step off from the downbeat. I remember amassing quite a few classes per week in prep for my wedding with my musician-friend after work and we would cringe as we walked in the door if we saw a certain substitute from our normal, beat-abiding fitness guru. We learned to stray and take over our own steps when necessary. But it was harrrrrd. 

Don't get me started on a spin teacher who wants me to sprint during the verses and rest during the choruses. No. The choruses are there for me to sing along and SPRINT. That's why the tempo heats up, that's why the notes rise...that's when the production values really give way. It's called music. Give it a listen. Give it some respect. People are not actually listening to you. I know it's hard. That's why it's YOUR JOB.

Symphonies are dying. Most professional musicians are also teaching master classes around the globe and squatting in any university professorial job they can find. Fully intend to encourage the kids to study classical music: but only so far as the it will enhance their mathematical skills. If they actually take up the harp and percussion [my choice for best scholarship potential, instrument aesthetics, solo gig potential and temperaments], I understand I'm basically accepting the fact that they will be living in Europe or Asia in their 20s to actually establish a career.

Who won American Idol in Season 3? 5? 8? See. That wasn't that long ago, y'all.

When I worked at BMI in my early 20's [songwriter royalties company], I was ecstatic to see how much money a one-hit wonder could make...after one..tiny...song....but then when you see all the schmucks coming in and trying to pitch and promote said one-sorry-song, you realize, it's akin to winning the lottery. 

I love the arts in general...I want people to go see live theatre, live music, opera, even...but I totally understand: it's not what you listen to in the car, at a party, dancing with your kids in the living room...

I've always said I want them to know it is there for them to enhance their life, but it shouldn't be their life.

Probably won't make a difference...didn't for me.

I guess it could be worse! I don't heart space shuttles!! 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Attention Producers: Lil Shop of Horrors Re-Do

Hannah Andersson duds are here!!! Aren't you dying to find out which ones we got?!?

 Gotta wait til Christmas. [cards, that is.]

[I know, you're dying. But I don't know what you're wearing either, so hello!?]

Gotta get my hair done. Seeing as the last time was for the cruise, think its due anyways. Everyone's tired of seeing my favorite headband. 

Gotta get the boy a trim, too. I was trying to let it grow out a little so he could sport the "Thor" look for his Halloween costume, but it never reached Thor quality. Oh well. Luckily his haircuts cost $7. Hello! Thank you cutting edge cuts. Why can't women's be that easy and cheap?!?

I love seeing my hair stylist, though. She's one of my fb bff's and we met performing in a show together. 
I became her understudy as the run continued, and I told her this entitles me to always be on contract as her u/s for life. 

I can't wait til she is a Ronnette in Lil' Shop. I believe I was cheated from performing this role in 8th grade. She actually wants Audrey, so I suggest to you fancy theatre producers out there: Lil' Shop Re-Do a la Jersey Shore

Skid Row = Jersey City. 

Audrey sings about a penthouse:  instead of "somewhere that's green", it's "some floor that's high". 

And the trio could be trashy Jersey girls: the Ron-Ronnettes.

We'd be brilliant.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

My closet vomit giveaway

Ok so some of you were curious about those closet non-giveaway-giveaways I mentioned in my disaster day post

[ok one of you]

[that was a very question-productive post]

[glad so much of you enjoyed my misery]

So here's the story. 

Ever have one of those days where you can't find anything to wear or anything that matches and you just start tearing everything out of your drawers and closet and end up weeding through the heap to find something, ANYTHING, that makes you feel like a real person who lives in society? 

That's me every morning. 

I have never really been able to dress myself. In high school I thought I was rocking in the Laura Ashley floor-length dress and doc martins. There may have also been some floral jumpsuits my grandmother made me [at my request, sigh] with a white collared shirt underneath [again, sigh]. There was a Victorian vibe I don't really want to explore further. 

So last year when I got that little gig, I started making some mommy cash and decided I deserved to wear something other than yoga pants and holey shirts on a daily basis. Now that I'm back to wearing yoga pants and holey shirts [it's really my comfort zone, since I'm a spazz and likely to muss up anything else I wear anyways], I'm starting to realize I made a few irrational purchases last year that I probably shouldn't have worn in my *ahem* position in life. Or maybe it's just because my a$$ is always bigger than I thought it was [hubby nods].

Let's start with the 'jeggings' / leggings and boots style everyone can wear except me. I can't find the right height boots, and I can't seem to find leggings that won't either fall off my a$$ or be stretched so much that you can see whatever type of underwear I attempt to plaster on underneath them. 

All items are either large or one-size-fits-all.

The jeggings were of the too-thin-for-my-wide-a$$-variety and the black ones on the right have leopard-print fuzz on the cuffs. So cute, right? Alas, I'm not a 24-year-old whore anymore. Please let me send them to you if you are. No judgements. 

As for the boots - they were my first - and best - purchase. Not for giveaway! 

So going along with the leggings/boots look, I bought these leg warmers. I wore them quite a few times until my 24-year-old musical director, who happens to moonlight as a model [for real], told me to lose them. I haven't been able to wear them since. There's a little wear on the bottom, because they slipped down off my fat calves quite a bit and would trail on the streets of Philly. There ya go, cowgirls. Authentic Philly dirt for ya. Eat 'em up.

Oh - and then, as I was on my way out of the glamorous life and headed back to mommy-ville, but Disney Cruis-in mommyville, I thought I could sport this sundress. Ha! TOO SHORT. Even for my stumpy legs. So it was packed, but never worn. Not even as a cover-up. The lace trim is like, a peekaboo for my cellulite. 

I think that's enough for now, right? So, seriously : the rules are : first one to comment on each item gets it. Shipping is FREE. What have you to got to lose but your dignity. And as you can see, I've already trumped you on that one. 

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Changing lives, 10 minutes at a time

I like to chat.
Especially with strangers.
I was raised in the South by New Yorkers, which is a deadly combination.

New Yorkers: 
like to talk a lot, and fast.

like to talk with people they don't know- on the street, at the store, in public bathrooms...

 If you see me squinting, it's because I'm trying really hard to listen without butting in.

So when I casually hear someone complain about not having a quarter for the meter out here on the Main Line, I speak up. Maybe they are rushed like me, maybe they are trying to get 556 things done before preschool pick-up like me, maybe they are grabbing some Hope's Cookies for me, a pregnant lady, a sick child, so I want to help them. 

[mmmmm...hope's cookies...]

I let people know what's up: 
 you can just push the button for a free 10 minutes of time on the meter.

What? Why would they do that? 

[why haven't I pushed that button before?]

Seriously, you need to wipe clean your rose-colored glasses.

I believe the municipality wants you to shop, and not be deterred from running in and out of their fine establishments lickity split.

You're welcome.

Oh, and if you don't live in the Philly burbs, keep your eyes open! The world is trying to help you.


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Quick & Dirty DIY Halloween ghosts decoration

A couple of you asked about the highlight of this week's disaster day post: the ghost craft.  

[ok one of you did.]

So here's the tutorial! 

You could really use a square of anything. Last year we did plastic grocery bags, because I was afraid of the weather proofing.

I also did some in h'ween fabric because I just happened to have some lying around [hoarder]...

So I don't know how hardy the ones I made this year are, but I'm not really losing sleep over whether a ghost has fallen on my driveway in a wet soppy mess and the cat has half dragged it through the mud. This is a quick & dirty. I mean, it's not Christmas, for Christ's sake. Halloween is designed to teach our children about cross-dressing and sugar comas.

Gather materials 
[see what you have lying around, seriously]:
  • a string for neck & hanging (I chose black ribbon), 
  • a square of some material (I chose cotton fabrics and tulle), 
  • a stuffing material (I chose tissue paper), 
  • marker for face decorating (I chose permanent), and 
  • scissors.
I let kids:
  • cut black ribbon (length is not that important)
  • ball up tissue paper stuffing
  • decorate ghost faces (after I finished tying ghost) 
I did:
  • cut squares of fabric (12 x 12) 
  • stuffed ball of tissue paper in center 
  • tie ribbon around neck 
  • hang ghosts by tying neck piece tight so the ghosts don't look like hangmen

Make a bunch! I think a key to making a big impact in decorating is repetition and volume!

Here's our outside impact: 
You want them to be stiff enough that they don't look like they are hanging; they are 'flying'. 

Here's our inside impact (white tulle, orange tulle, Halloween fabric ghosts): 

While I had the string out: 

Happy Halloween Crafting!!

How to fly a kite

Dear Son, 

When flying a kite or living your life, please try and remember a few things: 
  1. Don't get distracted by every pile of leaves you see. You are busy flying a kite. 
  2. Don't just run around in circles. You need to feel the direction of the wind, and fly accordingly.
  3. Don't give up entirely. Your sister will likely pick up right where you left off, just as a huge gust of wind comes along. 
  4. Please note your mama is a dreamer, and may think it's windy enough to fly a kite some days, when it's not. 
That should be enough to get you through college. 

Love you, 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A day in the life of mother of the year

oh my heart.

A day in the life.

Can't breathe.

Calamity ensues...AGAIN.

[insert pic of TV and offending golf club here]

I can't even bring myself to take the pic.

Ok, I did.  

closet vomit

When leaving your children in the other room to have a chill morning while you get distracted with sock-drawer-drama-turned-closet-vomit-purge-fest, silence is usually more scary than banging. Especially if you have a boy. Doubly especially if you have a boy who inspired you at an early age to dress him up as Bam-Bam.

My Pebbles & Bam Bam


<--Did you think I was kidding?

Yes, I made the costume.
Yes, it fell apart after the second event.

Let's review:
Banging: not scary.
Silence: very scary.

Came in the room to check on them during silence. Did not come in the room to check on them during banging, until my son yelled to me:
ha! that's funny. He thinks he...

[insert gutteral scream typically reserved only for Horror Films and encountering a bear in the wild]

He's so sorry. Hubby is going to FLIP. Adrenalin up, then drained. This is, actually, the second time they have broken a TV, but the first time their faces broke its fall [and caused my first coronary], so we're not going to count that one [was a Jersey Shore rental, they were tiny, another story for another day.] This one seemed intentional. He was swinging the golf club at it, like a baseball bat. I know this, because even after he broke the screen, and told me about it, he was still primed with golf club bat to swing again when I entered the room and let out aforementioned Nazgul-worthy scream.

For instance, these legwarmers.

-oh- And I was *so* excited about my little blog post I was going to write about all the things in my closet that were so horribly inappropriate for me to wear and I had only purchased them in the last 12 months. It was going to be the cutest little "non-giveaway-giveaway" as I was going to mail each item to the first person who asked via comment.



FRIED, I head to bring little girl to dance class. Little boy and I stop by Daddy's office for a talking-to, and then, reunited with both twyns, I head to Trader Joe's.

I proceed to lose. little boy. while discussing purchase of case of water to cashier. Bells are ringing, I am delivered the box of my choosing, turn around: "where is he?" I say to little girl.
"oh. let me find him."
Yeah, that makes sense. Send a three-year-old to find another three-year-old.

But clearly, he must just be lingering by the mints on the other side of that register...

No. Not there either. And not at the next line. Ummm??

Apparently he followed the woman who was in front of me in line, out of the store, and when she didn't take his hand to cross the parking lot, he waited at the curb [like a good little boy.] She immediately realized what happened and came and got me while another lady [count now up to 3 people, including the cashier with whom I left little girl while I ran outside in moving-picture-stop-motion, I'm ashamed to look in the face], stopped little boy from crossing the parking lot.
"Mommy I was looking for you everywhere."
Yes, apparently that did not include above-eye-level for him, because the woman he followed out, also had a fantastically voluptuous derriere like myself.

COMPLETELY FRIED AND BURNT TO A CRISP now, with no ounce of dignity left, we drive home. No TV. No candy. No more golf clubs. I'm scared to make a move. I want us to decorate for Halloween; to make ghosts to hang outside like last year. 

But I'm not moving. 

Oh...but then we did...

our Ghost - Halloween - Project! 

Hung it outside... not bad for an hour's work...[goes fast without TV]
Nothing calamitous occurred while we did this:

Pick a few flowers on the way back inside...
And....little girl reaches for the vase to add her flowers annnnnnddd....breaks.the.vase. A little one, mind you, but it was an engagement present. It might have been a tiny name-brand one. I give up. 

My nerves are shot. Throw the girl out of the situation [God bless her, she wants to help clean up the broken glass] and  break down crying while I vacuum. 

Oh, and then the little boy declares he peed his pants. At some point. In the last hour, or so. And chooses this moment to roll around the glassy floor to wiggle out of pants and wet shoes. 
Being at home all day must be fun.
Onto job search engines.

Since I'm clearly not fit to raise the children.  

To finish...

Daddy came home.

Cue nervous breakdown.

He takes over bedtime. 

I head to little girl's room to see why the light is still on, and this:  

And: "scene"!

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