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If you are a mother, chances are you have visited Chuck E. Cheese play palace. Perhaps you even had your child’s birthday party there. I have visited the giant play plaza too many times to count in the past few months, enough times to know that Chuck E. as cute as he is and as much as my children love him is no friend to me.
The majority of my visits to Chuck E. Cheese have been to celebrate a birthday. I am very familiar with the long tables filled of children and the two booths behind them that are meant to accommodate ten or more adults, which as you can guess is absolutely impossible.
More often than not I have found myself standing at the head of the children’s table hoping that I look like I belong there. As luck always has it, my children are on the opposite end of the table screaming for me. Off I go, weaving my way between a sea of parents, attempting to reach my child only to be told never mind the second I do.
Despite the fact my teeth are clenched I force a smile and make my way back to the spot I gave up and quickly notice another parent standing there. Inching back toward the adults my body becomes wedged between a side booth and a chair. A train of people standing behind the giant Chuck E. rush toward me encouraging me to hop on the human train. By some luck I manage to break away and find myself standing way too close to a parent I don’t know but can tell by the look in their eyes that they are just as uncomfortable with the sudden closeness.
The cake part of the day ends and the real fun begins. There is nothing like chasing after your child through an arcade, especially if you have more than one child and they are racing in opposite directions. My favorite part is watching helplessly as my three-year old screams for me to come rescue her out of a jungle-gym much too small and intricate for my shape. I do like the picture booth where for a token you can get a sketch of you and your child, but unfortunately when I sat down to take ours I was greeted with an Out of Paper notice.
Chuck E.’s best gift is received a few days after you get home. Long after the tokens have been spent, the cake eaten and the candles blown out something arrives in an unsightly package that you can share with others… the flu.

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Thirteen Things about MARIBETH

Today I stubbed my toe and instantly an expletive that would make my mother wince rushed through my mind. Stubbing your toe like so many other small things can make the best of people scream the worst of things. As I waited for the pain to subside, Thursday Thirteen came to mind. This week I will list thirteen small things that hurt really bad.

1…STUBBING YOUR TOE

2…BITING YOUR TONGUE

3…HITTING YOUR FUNNY BONE

4…PAPER CUTS

5…CRACKED LIPS

6…CANKER SORES

7…GETTING WHACKED IN THE NOSE

8…FALLING ONTO THE MIDDLE BAR OF A TEN SPEED BIKE

9…WHACKING YOUR HIP ON THE CORNER OF SOMETHING

10…THE JUICE OF SOMETHING ACIDIC ON A PAPER CUT, CANKER SORE OR CRACKED LIPS

11…HAVING A SHOPPING CART RUN INTO THE BACK OF YOUR HEEL

12… A RAZOR CUT

13…GETTING POKED IN THE EYE

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

I had a strange dream the other night. I was receiving boxes full of clown noses. I thought the dream was very odd and when I awoke, I wrote down the dream so I could go to my favorite site (dream moods.com) and analyze what the dream could possibly mean. Being the dream occurred Saturday night and Sunday mornings are very hectic  I wasn’t able to get to the computer before walking out the door to go to church. The dream was one of those dreams that haunt you throughout the day. It was not a scary dream just a very odd one. After church, my family and I went for breakfast at Burger King (My dad being the simple man he was, loved breakfast at BK on Sundays and we are keeping the tradition alive.) I was standing at the counter placing my order when I noticed my nephew standing in front of me, his back facing me. He turned around, and I nearly passed out when I saw he was wearing a bright red clown nose. After informing my sister of the dream, she explained that he purchased the clown nose the day before and could not wait to show it off to his cousins. I have always said that I don’t believe in coincidence, but what else could that have been? You would think that I would be creeped out. Instead, I find it very funny and can’t help but laugh when I think of how strange of a coincidence it was.

I love packing my children’s lunches. I take my time and put lots of love in preparing a sandwich. Lunches include a snack, such as the ever-popular fruit gushers and maybe even a pickle or two. Finally, I add a juice box and a letter from Mommy and send my kids on their way.
Recently I thought all was well and my kids were happy with their lunches. Until, the one day my son came home screaming. “My lunch bag and my book bag smells like pickles, don’t ever pack me a lunch again!” I assured him that I would Lysol both of the bags and he would no longer smell the pickles. The pickle-packing incident caused me many headaches.
Shortly after the incident, my son decided he never wanted me to pack him a lunch again. This was not okay with me because, I only allow my children to eat in the cafeteria twice a week (because of the sodium packed foods). The morning temper tantrums grew unbearable.
“I don’t want a sandwich, I hate your sandwiches and my lunch bag still smells like pickles.”
Once again, I reached for the Lysol to spray out the inside and assured him there was no dill smell lurking anywhere. By the time they left for school, I looked like a train wreck dangling over a cliff and I felt like it to. Tantrums play a toll on a mother. The son who once ate every morsel of food I packed was now leaving everything untouched until, we discovered his love of blueberry muffins.
One morning, while packing lunches I had an idea, instead of packing a sandwich that he would not eat, I would pack him one of the mammoth muffins instead. I asked him what he thought of having a muffin for lunch and was pleasantly surprised when he answered, “Yes, I would love that for my lunch.”
Yay, I was back in business, packing a lunch my son enjoyed. There would be no more pickle-smell discussions, no more wasted food and no more temper tantrums before school. I skipped through the day, ran some errands and came home to discover a missed call from my children’s school. I quickly called back, hoping nothing serious happened while I was out.
The secretary answered the phone and said slowly “Your son…” My heart was in my throat, I anticipated bad news.
“Yes,” I replied trying to hurry her along.
“He was packed a muffin for lunch.” I waited for more, but there was nothing.
“Yes, that’s correct, as well as a few other things,” I answered.
“We just wanted to make sure that was all he was getting for lunch.” My nervousness turned into annoyance. “Yes, that was plenty,” I assured.
We hung up the phone and I began to stew. How dare they question what I gave my son to eat, especially on the day I finally got him to eat something. I called back the school and informed them I was offended by the initial phone call and would like to know why I was being questioned. The secretary advised she would relay my message to the teacher who was questioning my choice.
Soon after, a phone call came and it was the teacher assuring me that she just wanted to make sure the muffin was his lunch and not a snack. She proceeded to ask why I did not just allow him to eat a hot dog in the cafeteria because certainly all kids love hot dogs. What happened the next day? My son refused to eat a packed lunch. He threw a temper tantrum and begged to eat the school lunch. So much for my great idea, if the teacher only knew.


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Thirteen Things about Maribeth

I'm back with a new Thursday Thirteen. The past few weeks have been emotionally draining and I haven't had time to sit down and do a TT. This week while watching a movie that starred Robin Williams I had an idea. He has starred in so many movies I have enjoyed and I knew without a doubt he had to have made at least thirteen well- known flicks. Therefore, this week is thirteen movies Robin Williams starred in.

1.... Happy Feet (Happy Feet made me Happy. I loved watching that little penguin dance his little dance)

2... Night at the Museum (I loved this movie, Can you imagine if the museum really came to life at night?)

3... Jumanji (My kids request to watch this movie lots. It definitely is jammed packed with action)

4... The Night Listener (This was a good movie. It’s based on a real life event, which I thought was a bit creepy.)

5... Death To Smoochy (Loved, Loved, Loved this movie-have not watched it in sometime. I think I will have to rent it soon just to get a good laugh)

6... What Dreams May Come (Fantastic-I really believe that Heaven will be similiar to the way this movie portrays it to be.)

7... Patch Adams (Inspiring)

8... Good Will Hunting (Ben and Matt's breakout movie)

9... Mrs. Doubtfire (He really could play a sweet old woman. I loved her and loved the fact that he did it for the love of his children)

10... Awakenings (Fabulous-another great movie. I could watch over and over again.)

11... RV (Great family movie-loads of laughs guaranteed)

12... August Rush (I love that Robin could play all types of roles and all of them make the movie)

13... Robots (Another must see for families. Fender was hilarious!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

 

Aah the joys of roller-skating, there is nothing like strapping on a pair of shoes with wheels, balancing yourself, then attempting to glide gracefully across a fake wooden floor.  Children look adorable wobbling back and forth while adults doing the very same thing look ridiculous.

My daughter and son surprised me with their skating abilities. Watching them zip around the rink brought a proud smile to my face. I was visualizing them as Olympic speed skaters preparing to take the gold and then reality set in. On the rink, my daughter was graceful. It was off the rink that her clumsiness resurfaced. One-step onto the dated paisley carpet and she was on her butt faster than I could say boo. She quickly pointed out that it was the kid in front of her that caused her to fall, if he didn’t move so slow she would have been okay. I smiled and nodded.

When she accidentally spilled a small amount of soda, she advised it was her younger sister who bumped her arm. Once again, I smiled and nodded.

The children gathered around the birthday boy to sing Happy Birthday, my daughter decided to stand next to me. Soon after the candles were blown out, she attempted to grab a handful of Doritos’s from the table. As everyone laughed and congratulated the birthday boy, they had no clue that within seconds the entire bowl of snacks and all drinks in front of it would fly off the table into their laps and onto the floor, compliments of my daughter.

The poor thing was embarrassed,what did she do out of nervousness? Lick her fingers. It would not be so bad except for the fact that those same fingers seconds ago slammed onto the germ-filled floor as she braced her fall.

As the guest looked in horror I swiped her hands from her mouth, smiled, nodded and prayed that she wouldn’t contact any disease.

A speed skater? Maybe. A balancing act-Never!

 

My five year-old nephew loves to antagonize my three year-old daughter. It usually starts with him telling her there is a ghost. It ends with her running towards me, arms wide opened, tears in her eyes, pleading for help.

I have told him many times to stop scaring her, and I assured her that there was no ghost next to her. I instructed her to say “Whatever,” the next time he mentioned a ghost.

 I forgot about the conversation and my nephew stopped the teasing. As I made my bed, my daughter delicately painted her fingernails with some Barbie nail polish. My nephew walked up to her and whispered in her ear, “There is a ghost next to you.”

I heard the whisper and spun my head around, opened my mouth and prepared to scold him for making her upset. I never had to say a word; my daughter came up with the best reply.

She shrugged her shoulders, looked at him and said, “I know, I am painting its nails.”

He hasn’t mentioned seeing a ghost since. That’s my girl.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

     Birthdays in my family are reason to celebrate. Another excuse to hang with the family, eat some good food, share a lot of laughs and make some silent wishes when blowing out the candles. It is always a given, a birthday does not go past without singing, applause and well wishes. However, for my brother it is a bit different. His birthday is at the tail end of a ton of birthdays so he inadvertently gets the shaft. It might be his unassuming personality that leads others to believe that he wouldn’t mind so much if we didn’t have a big hoorah for him.  Men really could care a less about that stuff right? 

     So, last week when his birthday came, no one thought it was a big deal that there was no cake, no eats and no candles to blow out. A few pecks on the cheek and some lottery tickets thrown into a card seemed appropriate enough. As he walked out of my yard, I saw the light. Maybe, for once he would like to be celebrated, he did do time growing up with four sisters who would have walked out in a storm if their birthdays were not acknowledged.

     “We should have got him a cake,” I said to his wife. Within minutes, we planned an impromptu birthday party that was held at my parents’ kitchen table to honor my brother. We ordered pizza and his wife ran for a cake. After we inhaled the food, it was time for the cake and candles. When the cake was placed in front of him, his celebration turned comical. His birthday cake had a giant leprechaun sitting upon the icing with the words Happy St. Patrick’s Day written underneath. The only candles we could find were a pack of Hanukah candles my mother purchased from a yard sale. It wouldn’t be half as funny except we are an Italian catholic family. Placing Jewish holiday candles upon a cake with a saint’s name on it seemed a bit out there.

     There was something on the kitchen table for every holiday except a birthday; we had the St. Patrick’s Day cake, The Hanukah candles, a Halloween dishcloth (we used to wipe up a spill) and some bunny decorations. It took us a minute to regain our composure and catch our breath from laughing so hard, but somehow we all managed to belt out a great rendition of Happy Birthday.

     We are not the Joneses, no one needs to try and keep up with this family but there is no other family I would want to be a part of. My brother did not get a fancy cake or hundreds of guests, but his birthday will forever remain one of my favorite memories. I don’t know what he wished for that night when blowing out his Hanukah/Birthday candles but I know I wished for many more of those happy birthday’s to come, I’ll even take a cake with a leprechaun, after all leprechauns symbolize good luck.

In the last two days I have been reflecting. Stepping outside of my comfort zone and peeking in at myself from an outsider’s point of view. I have had a few good laughs at my own expense. I saw myself dancing around a circle, with toddlers and their mothers, banging a tambourine while having no clue my zipper was down. I watched as I  approached  parents of my children’s friends, embarrassed by the white dish detergent splashed against my thighs and knees. It wasn’t until the other day in the dollar store that I realized I have a problem. I am oblivious to the obvious and only become aware when it’s too late to correct the way I look. We took a family trip to the dollar store to purchase some Halloween decorations and see if there were any items that would help perfect the kids’ costumes. Standing in the hair accessory aisle I was beginning to become frazzled. My two year old was begging to be taken out of the cart while my six years old was pleading for ten different toys he had piled into the cart. I attempted to have two separate conversations at the same time. “Sweetie, you cannot get out of the cart until Daddy gets back. And for you little man I said only five things.” I turned to see if my husband was coming and I saw a woman staring at me. At first I just thought we caught each other’s eye at the exact moment and she wasn’t actually staring it just seemed that way. But then I saw her go to say something then stopped. Now I was curious and my facial expressions showed it. She put her hand to her mouth. I could tell she was uncomfortable and a bit apprehensive. “Do you know your sweater is on inside out?” she asked. 

I’m worried, because I think I’m passing along my unawareness to my children. My kids have played for hours with shoes on the wrong feet before I realized they put them on the wrong feet. My two oldest are at the point that they want to do everything by themselves. No help from mommy is needed or wanted. My son got his first taste in how it feels to be me. Sunday mornings are always hectic. We wake up early for church, usually twenty minutes before we are supposed to be there. We have learned to get ready quickly. I wake up get myself dressed, run a comb through my hair, and throw on a pair of shoes. I wake up both of my daughters and get them presentable as speedily as possible while my husband helps my son get dressed. This past week we were running very late, so there wasn’t time for a fast check over before running out the door. It wasn’t until after mass at breakfast that I noticed my son’s pants. He was standing in front of me leaning on the counter. I looked at his little tush in his brand new pants and knew something looked amiss. There were no pockets and I was sure they had them in the back. I gasped when I realized it was because they were on backwards. The zipper was outlining his cheeks and the button poked into his back. I tried to tell him through tears and laughter that he accidentally put his pants on wrong. He could care a less and thought it was funny. Watching him laugh at himself made me proud. Yes, maybe I unintentionally passed along an unfortunate trait but I also passed along something else. A sense of humor is a wonderful thing to have. When you possess the ability to laugh at yourself you come to the realization that life is much funnier than a lot of people believe it to be. And sometimes your shortcomings provide the best comedic relief.