Category Archives: Parenting

A Cry for Help: Naganator 3.0

Women who have survived their 40th birthday, come hither!  Cheer on with overused and condescending phraseology such as, “life is just beginning”!  You must do something, as a cantankerous cloud of doom has shadowed this house so fiercely that I have been dubbed “The Naganator” by the 3 children I not only birthed, but provide 24-hour maid service.

Your advice is appreciated- is this a midlife crisis or normal behavior for a woman on the eve of 40?

  • Anyone ever try on their wedding dress 14 years after the last time they wore it…when they were YOUNG and FUN and FIRM?  Bad.idea.
  •  Although it may be somewhat common to need distance glasses and READERS by middle age, but in desperation to forego Benjamin Franklin bifocals- is it ok to not only purchase overpriced neon blue readers but Edna E. Mode black framed mens glasses ….to feel edgy?
  • Anyone else have a very specific Plastic Surgery Wish List?
  • Anyone burst into their hair salon and ask their stylist to think “90’s punk rock chic” and cut off all their hair (or what remains of it after all the hormonal shifts) and dye it blonde? (Thank you, Jason, the copper highlights are a much better alternative).
  •  Is it normal that during a routine ultrasound screening to abruptly stop the tech midway through and ask to see how many eggs are left?  To stare longingly at all the black follicular blobs?    To tear up and hear faint cries of the ghosts of Babies Future ?
  • Any of your husbands find you curled in a ball on the couch inconsolably crying because your eldest is going to college….in 6 years??
  • Is it common to progress very quickly from a very PC person to NOT GIVING A RAT’S ASS about what you say and whom you say it to?  For example, freaking out the fellow gymnastics moms by admitting your celebrity crush is Abby Wambach?
  • How about frequent cursing around young, impressionable children?  Anyone of you have a 6 year old who says, “What the ass??”
  • Do you find yourself wearing leather spandex to the grocery store?  Not because it makes you feel 22, but keeps all the jiggly bits in place?  More to the point, is it ok to still wear leather spandex?!?!
  • Anyone else find themselves morphing into Stiffler’s Mom?  How about during your son’s snowboard lesson overtipping the hottie twentysomething instructor, “Josh”, with ice blue eyes who uses phraseology you typically deem irreverent such as “right on” and “my man”?  Further, then seriously contemplating signing up for ski lessons regardless of the fact that you’ve been skiing for 29 years??

Make haste, T minus 10 days until 40 rings of the bell….I need counsel!

Love & Stuff,

Naganator Magee

Dear Mother Nature,

As March commences, we are hit with another 2 hour delay tomorrow.Oh, hell no, (the Bostonians are shouting a string of much more creative expletives…) you didn’t! But of course you did!  The Philadelphia suburbs and apparently all of Washington D.C. would like to graciously thank you for today’s ice storm, which put the lingering 3 inches of dirty grey snow on our yards in ice lock down.  On March 1st. Super.  Can we cry Uncle??

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I guess today begins the unofficial miserable ending to the coldest winter in the northeast in 36 years. Thanks, by the way, not sure how super helpful record breaking cold is, but it sure kept all of our kids housebound for the last 2 months.  Begins the ending, you say? Yes, if we are to look at your track record we can only deduce that this is the dawn of an approximate month-long Springtease. (By the way, you’ve had the Floridians in a frenzy. You gave it to them good- making them endure days in the 40’s.  I hope you were checking your social media to see how upset they were.  Next year, they’d like some snow.  Just for fun.) This has been a doozy. Clearly, the pharmacuetical lobbyists have gotten to you (too!).  Was this the year of record numbers of northeasterners crushing up any seratonin producing pharmaceutical in sight???

At this point, the weather channel has run out of edgy, masculine storm names. They’ve been reduced to envoking ancient battle states. We are onto Sparta, which probably has dads invoking Gerard Butler’s Leonidas shouting to the children, “Spartans, ready your snowshovels!”

Here’s the deal.  Rita’s Water Ice opened today.  We’d like to start enjoying the real stuff without having the option of chipping it off of our gutters.  This is tremendously torturous … throw us a bone!

Love ‘N Stuff,

The Entire East Coast

Resolutions … Fuhgeddaboudit!

Happy New Year!

Know this, all evidence of our holiday was eviscerated from our living quarters and banished to the arctic chill of the attic as of December 27 th.  This is not shocking when one is wed to a supremely organized human and his order taking minnion, The Firstborn.  The rest of us try to avoid them at all cost during “Christmas clean-up”and can be found hiding in the laundry room snacking on stale mini saltines whilst perusing www.loveandknuckles.com.

Due to this unexpected gift of extra time, what did I accomplish during the last few days of break?  I have been ferociously brainstorming a 2015 New Year’s Resolution List.  The irony of the fact that it is January 4 th is not lost.  In my mind, as New Year’s Day fell on a Thursday, the annexed weekend simply does not count as the new year. A fresh 2015 begins for me Monday morning, January 8 th.  That was 4 BONUS days to imbibe on my bad habits.

If you can’t be bothered to generate one or are simply too busy, I am here for you.  As a courtesy to my readers, I have banged out a few resolutions for you that are guarenteed to ensure a happy 2015.

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8.  Do less housework! Why fold laundry and do dishes when you could be reading a trashy celeb mag or getting your nails done? Rally the children. Why else did you create them?  Pretend it’s 1940’s in rural Idaho where a child’s purpose was do do farm work.  Culturally, we are way too soft on this generation of offspring.  Gather up your toilet brushes and get your kids a’ scrubbin’. 

7.  Be disorganized. Studies show that sloppy people have creative, sparkly minds that shouldn’t be supressed.

6.  Eat very fatty meat.  There are so many toxins in pesticides these days, you are probably doing more harm to yourself eating blackberries and kale.  Organic pig product on the other hand, while full of artery clogging fats, is tasty and full of protein.

5.  Mental Well being!  No complaining about snow, ice and other treacherous weather.  Better living through chemistry- go get a happy pill script and a monthly tanning bed package.   

4.  Stop doing hard excercise classes.  It’s silly, really. Alternatively, because you must take advantage of your gym’s free babysitting, jump on the treadmill for a nice leasurely walk. Don’t go too fast, you need to be able to safely access your social media so you can see pictures of all the parties you weren’t invited to last holiday season.

3. Sleep more! If you just train your oldest child how to use the microwave to make organic pig products for breakfast and leave the milk in the easiest accessable shelf on your fridge, you could sleep in at least an extra 45 minutes every morning.

2.  Be present!  Stop nagging/yelling at kids.  Instead, perfect the pulverizing above rear elbow pinch when they behave badly.  They will be paralyzed and if you are swift, no one else will notice your ninja pinch move.

1.  Stop drinking wine!  It’s much, much too caloric.  But, by all means, don’t stop drinking.  Rum on the rocks or with diet coke is a healthy alternative. Don’t forget gluten free vodka, because we all know if it doesn’t have gluten, it is automatically healthy. 

Godspeed, friends!

Let’s Celebrate Like It’s 1621

Last week, My Husband’s oldest sister sent an email announcing that she and her husband were flying in from Texas for Thanksgiving and would be hosting at my in-laws house. Very kind of her, as my Mother-in-Law will be undergoing surgery 9, yes NINE days prior to Thanksgiving.  For the record, I adore my sister-in-law and her husband.  As an educator and experienced mother, she is a vat of advice when it comes to my own children.  However, I felt it only fair that in turn, I prepare her for what will be expected of her on Thanksgiving day. I have spent the last 12 years hosting and dining with my in-laws, so I feel a little like the family guru here.  Yes, yes, very presumptuous of me to give a woman advice when it comes to her own parents, but it is necessary in this case.  A little back story on my sister-in-law…If there was a trophy for health nut, she’d win it. A vegan who wakes up at 4 am EVERY SINGLE DAY to excercise before heading to school.  She is also perhaps the most perpetually cheerful person I have ever met.  So really, she is unlike any of the rest of us who share in her former last name.

The Title of my Email:  “You may decide to have a cocktail after you read this… I know it’s been 30 years, but THANKSGIVING IS UPON US!”

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Dearest Sister-in-Law,

I think it’s best I make a list of your parents’ peccadilloes concerning Thanksgiving. After the first Thanksgiving I hosted (and subsequently cried myself to sleep on the cold tiles of my bathroom floor), I have learned MANY, MANY lessons that will behoove you later this month.

I really look forward to spending Thanksgiving with you all, but know in advance that the thought of being under your Mother’s watch, in her kitchen, 9 days post-op, already has me in hives. I don’t resort to drinking at breakfast often, but know that the Bailey’s will be free flowing into my Dunkin Turbo on the morning of the 27th. This is my official disclaimer.

PLACE SETTINGS

Seeing that I only have Fiestaware and your Grandmother Lily’s unacceptable Franciscan dinnerware, Your Mother will insist on breaking out her VERY fancy china and silver. (Pls note, my children are not allowed to eat off of such finery. She keeps Mickey Mouse plasticware plates in her pantry. They also are only allowed to drink out of sippy cups at her house.  Yes, I know The Oldest is 9.) All napkins and placemats must be linen and pressed.  Starched, really, if you must know.  She prefers the Niagra Spray Starch, which is only sold at the larger Grocery stores. I have placemats and napkins, but they are only from Pier One. I suspect Your Mother will want to use her own. A kid table will have to be set up- far, far away from the grownups. Maybe outside. Yes, I will be at the kid table.

BEVERAGES

Your Mother likes Bogle Petite Syrah, Your Father prefers Reisling or Alsace with his turkey dinner. All must be chilled. She will want to drink out of her Wedgewood etched crystal goblets. I have extras she gave me as a birthday present one year.

MAIN COURSE

The most sensitive part of the meal. As Your Brother and I still consider ourselves Sort-Of-Southern, we love fried turkey. Shockingly, Your Mother does not. We fry a turkey every year, and yet, an additional “normal” turkey must be baked in the oven. Recall that 1st Thanksgiving with your family that I mentioned that almost had me in therapy? I had purchased some fancy turkey spices from Williams-Sonoma. Your Mother almost assaulted me snatching it out of my hands and forbidding me to put it on her turkey. She only seasons turkey  with salt and pepper and Hungarian paprika.  Pure Hungarian paprika, that is.  No paprika extract acceptable. No Giant/Acme/Wegman’s store brand will work.  The turkey MUST be fresh, too. She will know if it is purchased frozen and thawed. Trust me, we tried this in 2004.

SIDES

Mashed Potatoes- They must be NORMAL. Specifically, the potatoes must be Russet! (Remind me to tell you a Thanksgiving story circa 2007 in Tallahassee, Florida where we had YUKON GOLD mashed potatoes. With cream. Cream! Can you imagine?  No, you can’t and you can’t imagine Your Mother’s reaction.  I believe it was her first potato-less Thanksgiving dinner, ever.)  The milk must be whole!  And room temperature! The butter must be plentiful and salted!

Stuffing- It, too, must be NORMAL. Luckily, My Mother’s recipe is nearly identical to Your Mother’s, so she will always eat my stuffing. Addtionally, I use Sunbeam white bread- in all it’s refined flour, gluten glory. I know, I know. Can you believe supermarkets still sell this crap?

Sweet Potatoes- Turns out, only Your Father and I eat sweet potatoes. As I mentioned, I used to spend hours cooking, peeling, mashing these delights to create my own casserole. I found one loophole- your Dad doesn’t know the difference between my homeade sweet potatoes and the ones I order from Fresh Market. I just add my custom crumble topping. Caveat- too much is a no-no, and marshmallows are VERBOTTEN.

Green Things- Your Father requires cole slaw or green beans.  Last year, I made a fun slaw salad with tangy dressing and cranberries and almost got kicked out of my own house.

Corn- I have a lovely corn souffle recipe I aquired during my time as a Georgian.  I don’t recall if anyone eats it but me. I am usually so dejected by this point of the meal, I can’t remember.

CARBOHYDRATES

The family to which I was born has made crescent rolls from the aluminum tube since their inception in the 80’s. This and gelatinized Cranberry sauce from a can are the only requirements my people (the children) will have. Whew.

Your Father really, really likes cornbread. I have a great recipe that I mix in whipped cottage cheese making the muffins moist. He loves this, but CANNOT KNOW ABOUT THE COTTAGE CHEESE. The container must be wrapped in plastic bags and taken to the trash before any unnormal contamination is detected.

DESSERT

Your Father likes Pumpkin Pie. He is the only person who will eat it, but it must be served. He likes it with homeade whipped cream, as well, pls note Reddi Whip is not acceptable.  Don’t even think about Cool Whip.

In 2006, I made a scrumptious apple pie using shredded apples and toasted, finely chopped walnuts. I still dream about it. It was divine. Your Mother hated it.

XOXO!
Can’t wait to see you!

Yesterday and Tomorrow

Yesterday, I went to a particularly heartbreaking funeral.  Yes, most funerals, by definition, usually are.  This one, however, was soul crushing.  And, like most funerals, it was a startling reminder that very little matters in the world besides love, happiness, people.  Simple concepts that the Hobbitses mastered, but most of use mere mortal humans cannot.  It is so simple- be happy, love your family and friends.  Savor your freshly squeezed kale juice, don’t bitch when the Chik-fil-A line is 12 cars deep at 4:49 PM, and remember to tell your kid/spouse/dog/bearded dragon you think he/she/it is Ah-Mazing…EVERY SINGLE DAY.   Radiate gratitude for all the blessings you’ve been bestowed. The answer to life is so simple, yet we make the journey so hard.

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We humans have been given a special gift.  At our core, we are animals (Insert inane Facebook quiz here…what animal are you?  If I could shape shift  I’d aspire to be a jaguar, but I am probably a Bassett Hound…)  put on this planet to perpetuate the species. If you are a student of evolutionary science, you will know that through the vast chasm of time, species die out. We must constantly adapt to change to survive, we must continue to evolve.  We will, WE WILL be the animal species that doesn’t surrender, right?  Dear, sweet humans.  Mankind. We were granted intelligence and free will by INSERT YOUR HIGHER BEING HERE and most of us are unable to figure out the simple magic of humanity.

Including me.  I may be the worst offender.

All of my problems are FWP’s (First World Problems).   On any given day, my brain fritters over the most mundane.  I worry, or worst, complain about things that JUST DON’T MATTER.  I wonder if the pregnancy broken veins on my legs will ever disappear (I haven’t been pregnant in over 4 years…it doesn’t look good), or if …wait for it…I will never reach my full potential.  I mostly worry about my children- my amazing, vibrant, funny children- who laugh too loud and too often- will ever be able to rake a baseball, learn to read music or go to a “tier 1 college”. Guess what, self ?  IT JUST DOESN’T  MATTER.  And, as I  sheepishly type, I must admit, I complain a lot.  I get annoyed about non-life threatening issues  – like cold french fries.  And people who stick 30 activity magnets and stick figure families on the back of their cars.

It.just.doesn’t.matter.

I spent today absorbing every happy aspect of my life, as I will tomorrow.  And the next day.

I think of the people in my life who have recently lost the most important person in theirs.  You are so brave…

Real Reason

by Brian Andreas 

There are things you do because they feel right & they make no sense

& they may make no money

& it may be the Real reason we are here: to love each other & to eat each other’s cooking and say it was good


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