Tuesday, July 31, 2007



My name is Roxanna - I blog at Miguelina. which used to be called Diary of a Reluctant Housewife, but is still at www.diary.blogs.com. Confused yet? Yeah, me too.

I'm not a fan of Dunkin' Donuts, crazy drivers or snow - yet I love living here. Must be the clam chowder.

I live in the Boston suburbs with my husband and two boys. My current goal is to meet all of the New England Mamas, in a non-internet-stalker-like fashion. When are we having a meet-up?

Newport or Bust!

I'm heading to a Girls Weekend in Newport, RI on Friday. Yay! 2 days of no kids, no hubbies and plenty of laughs and relaxation!

Any recommendations on where to eat, drink and play?

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Guys, I need sponsors

If you haven't yet heard me shouting that I'm doing blogathon.... hear me now. I need sponsors. I'm not up to my goal yet. I'm exhausted. I've been posting since 9 am yesterday, every 30 minutes. And they aren't filler posts, they're entire stories. Funny stories. VERY funny stories.

So go read them, and then sponsor me.

I need sponsors to help me reach my goal. So please, a comment or two? And please sponsor me. Purty pleeze...


Saturday, July 28, 2007

You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em. . .

Wow. As someone who has family in the immediate area, this casino will make a huge impact on their lives. I truly hope it is for the better, but I doubt it.

I understand that casinos brings jobs to towns; that they pump lots of money into the local economy; and, hopefully, they give money to Native American tribes, money I think they deserve.

But, I walked through Mohegan Sun last weekend and was struck by a few things. First, in a busy hour on a Saturday night, I heard no one yelling out that they had struck it big. Then, it was standing-room only at many of the tables, tables which were commanding $25 and $50 minimums per hand. Finally, as beautiful as the decor is around the gaming rooms, essentially people were just throwing their hard-earned money into machines or on tables, all in the hopes of beating the odds.

So, now we wait to see what will happen next. And hope that this casino doesn't swallow up an entire region full of quiet beauty and open spaces.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I Deserve A Medal

Guess what Sweetie's trying to master?

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

As you can see by the scraps on the table and the shreds littering the floor, Sweetie is learning to use her safety scissors.

And I - the right-handed mama - am learning how to teach a lefty to use those safety scissors.

But I must say that Sweetie, and I, are doing a pretty good job with it.

Keep that elbow out and your thumb up, Sweetie!

She and I are also working on her reading. Even though I love to read and write - Even though I majored in English - Teaching a 4 year old the "rules" (or lack thereof) of the English language is quite the challenge.

That being said, I was mightily impressed with myself when I came up with this little gem:

Vowels are lazy. They usually only like to make their short vowel sounds. If they want to make their long sound, they often need each other to help out.

That's why there's a silent "E". The "E" is working so hard to give the long sound to the other vowel that it doesn't have any energy left to make it's own sound.

Other words like "boat", "tweet" and "wait" need two vowels next to each other to get one long vowel sound.

So, to review:

Elbow out! Thumb up! Lazy vowels!

This Mommy Business sure does take a lot of fast thinking, creativity and patience. And sometimes - just sometimes - I really do feel like I have the Mama Mojo flowing. I deserve a medal.

In fact - we all do. Mom's rule!

Line up behind me, ladies. There's enough bling for all of us.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Making Wishes Come True...

Do you like ice cream? Yeah I like the triple chocolate myself. Do you like sunflowers? Yup there's plenty here. Do you like making wishes come true? Well then I have just the place for you.

Now through July 29th, Buttonwoods Farm Ice Cream Stand is donating all of the proceeds from their sunflowers to the Connecticut Make A Wish foundation. For $5 you can purchase a huge bouquet of sunflowers. The girls and I took the drive today and walked through the fields. Then they sat and enjoyed their Raspberry Sorbet. They each brought a bouquet of sunflowers and then we made the trek home.

So if your in the area this week and want really good ice cream (it's all made right there) and want to help make some wishes come true, stop by!

Sparing you the 5 bad Hopper puns that just sprang to mind

This weekend, we were entertaining the Southern grandparents. They haven't always been Southern, they just happen to live down in Dixieland now and venture north on occasion to make disparaging comments about the weather and the manners of complete strangers. Seriously, it's like being with former smokers who now can't stand to be within a quarter mile of cigarette smoke. Only much more annoying.

Whenever they come to New England for any period of time, they have a few rituals- if it's summer, they go to P-town, do the nostalgia tours of their hometowns, walk the beach in Newburyport (where they lived for many years) and scarf down as much Bertuccis pizza as they can without becoming sick. Aside: we may have snowy winters, but at least we have good pizza. Many (not all) Southerners view Dominos and Papa Johns as simply wonderful and live their whole lives in ignorance of places like Ernesto's and Pizzeria Regina and Bertuccis or even (my favorite, I'll admit) Papa Gino's. While Dominos certainly serves a purpose, it's not the pinnacle of pizza by any stretch and should only be turned to in the case of a pizza emergency.

Friday found us all at the Museum of Fine Arts for the Edward Hopper Exhibit. I am a proud art geek. I have a degree in art history and have been known to spend hours gazing at things many consider completely uninteresting. My dad's an artist and Hopper is his muse, so I knew we were going to have a good time, regardless of what went on inside the galleries. I am happy to say that the exhibit exceeded our expectations.

Hopper is the Hemingway of American Modernism. His style is stark, but it does the trick; it's all about what you don't see. The exhibit begins with many of his earliest etchings and oils and follows his style through various media. By the end of his exhibit- and life- you will see the icons for which he's most known and remembered.

Kiddo and I rented audio tours, which for four bucks (for hers, mine was slightly more) was well worth the money. She was able to zero in on paintings with the headphone icon and listen to descriptions of the works. That held her long enough for me to look around, then we did a short "lesson" about the various works, composition, the finer points of curation (she's getting good at telling why certain things are hung together). When she had finally had enough, I handed her my ipod and she sat on the big cushiony thing in the last gallery.

By the time we left the exhibit it was way past her usual dinner time so we hit the cafeteria for a slice of pizza. A man approached us and said "We followed you and your daughter through the exhibit. You're a very good teacher." It was lovely to receive praise from a complete stranger, but it also got me thinking about leading an outing for the Mamas and our assorted cubs this fall. We could pay our own admission and Kiddo and I would love to lead a scavenger hunt for some of the younger kids (that's how I always kept her occupied in the museum when she was younger- a clip board, some paper, and a whole lotta crayons). We also make Art in Bloom a yearly tradition and I'd love to organize an outing for that weekend in the spring as well. Let me know if you have any interest. Until then- get thee to Hopper. The exhibit closes on August 19th and advance tickets are required which include admission to the rest of the exhibits. General admission to the museum is FREE on Wednesday nights.

Just Makes Your Day

I thought I would share two really nice things that fellow New Englanders did for me. A couple of weeks ago, I stopped at a farm stand that my friends had been raving about on the way back from running errands. Yes, I realize that going to a farm stand is an errand in itself! I had my two boys with me. The trip inside was fine. My older son helped me pick out some fruits and vegetables. However, on the way from the farm stand to the car he pitched a fit because he didn't want to hold my hand. That's right at the tender age of 3.5 and a half, his pride was hurt.

I wasn't impressed by his argument so I just picked him up, along with the one year old, and carried him to the car. He was protesting as I strapped him into his booster seat. In the meantime, a car pulled up next me on the grass. The driver walked up to me and asked me if I was coming or going (many times I wonder that myself!) Thinking that she wanted my parking space, I said that I was leaving and she could have my space. It turns out that she was asking because she heard my son crying and wanted to know if I wanted her to get my produce for me. She's a mom herself and said that remembered the days of dragging a crying preschooler into the stores with her. I have to say her offer really made my day.

Also around the same time period, I managed to break the permanent retainer cemented to my bottom teeth by biting into a big chunk of chocolate. I won't even comment on that one. My teeth felt really uncomfortable and there was a loose wire in my mouth. I called an orthodontist practice that I don't even go to (my husband used them years ago) on a Saturday morning. They weren't open. However, the orthodontist and one of her assistants insisted on opening the office for me and fixed my retainer so that it was comfortable until I could come in later in the week to get a new one. Here's the kicker: they refused to charge me. The orthodontist told me not to worry about it. I was there for an hour.

What can I say except New Englanders are great! Now I just need to keep my eyes open so that I can make sure that what came around goes around so to speak.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Take Me Out to the Ballgame...

For Father's Day, the boyz and I got Hubby tickets to a PawSox game. Yesterday was the game, so Hubby, me, Eldest and Middle went. Baby (a/k/a Terrible Two With Zero Attention Span) wasn't invited and spent the day at my Sis's.

We went with two other families and their children, so it was 6 adults and 6 kids (3 5-year olds and 3 3-year olds). The best part? It didn't entail trekking into Boston, fighting the crowds, paying an obscene amount for parking, and promising a firstborn child for the opportunity to secure coveted Sox tickets, and THEN being bent over for the outrageous price of said tickets!

[Do I sound bitter? You betcha. It's so frustrating that Hubby has been unable to take Eldest (forget about a family trip!) to a game at Fenway this year for those very reasons. Because we need to pay the mortgage each month... ]

So, a day at McCoy Stadium:

Parking: $2.00
Tickets: $10 each
Glass Cheap plastic cup of wine for Mommy: $7.00
Enjoying time spent with friends at the ballpark while your children actually behave through 9 7 innings: PRICELESS

And aside from the annoying group who sat behind us and proceeded to eat their faces off (did I mention the cheap food?) and then spilled the remainders (soda, popsicles, ice cream) so that the melty/sticky/wet debris ended up underneath our seats...it really was a picture perfect (and cheap!) day!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Happy Birthday Boss!

I can still remember the day when I met the very young Boss. I believe she was only 3 weeks old, a peanut in comparison to my girls (the youngest was 11 months old). We met at a local walking trail, me with a backpack and double stroller, her with a super cool sling which had the tiny Boss inside. She looked amazing. I must have looked crazy.

And I finally had a small little girl to pass on some of Moe's clothes. But then the Boss grew. And Moe stayed the same size. Now I believe they are almost the same size.

Over the last two years, I've watched the Boss grow into the cute little blond haired blue-eyed toddler she is today. I've heard her exclaim "what's that" for the longest time, and "thank you" when she was handed things. Last year, I was there for her first birthday. A party for which the rain threatened, but stayed away. My girls were running barefoot circles around her yard and splashing in the kiddie pool.

Happy Birthday Boss! I hope you are now running barefoot through your new yard!

(Binky, I have a picture I'd like to add if it's okay with you!).

Friday, July 20, 2007

You Are Cordially Uninvited

I'm posting this over here just in case my father happens upon my blog.

My sister is coming home for a visit next week. She lives in California (in a commune, as you do) and will be home for 10 days.

My father emailed me last week to invite me to their house on Thursday, for drinks and snacks (but, it was made clear, NO MEAL, I'd have to provide my own food for the children.) I said sure, we'd be there, because, even though I really don't like my dad and I loathe and despise his wife (fondly known as the psychobitch from hell), my sister would be there and we always try to do these dad things together - solidarity in numbers and all that shit.

Tuesday, I got an email from the Stepmonster PBFH, informing me that she didn't know why my father had invited me, since this party was only for HER side of the family and that they didn't feel I needed to go since they were going to be at my house in another week and a half for the Bug's birthday. I didn't bother to respond to that since the etiquette for responding to an uninvitation is not something I'm familiar with and I thought it best to just leave it alone.

Today I got another email from my dad, confirming the time for next week. And again, stressing that THERE WOULD BE NO MEAL - that I was responsible for feeding my own kids. Whatever. Sorry, but if you're going to have a party that STARTS at 5 p.m., I think it's a bit, oh, I don't know, cheap to not serve something resembling a meal. Fuck's sake, ask people to bring things if you don't want to cook a full feast. I'd have been fine with that.

But I digress. I replied to my father that since Stepmonster PBFH had already uninvited us that we wouldn't be attending his little soiree.

And he wonders why I don't enjoy spending time with him.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Shopping? Me? Why yes I occasionally enjoy shopping.

I'm not a shopaholic by any means. I hate malls, for example, and although there are several malls in my little city, I don't go to them unless I am forcibly dragged by my teenagers. They're stronger than I am. It will happen to your kids, too.

However, take me to a crafts fair, or an outdoor market, or even a little shopping center that isn't a strip mall, and I'm all about the shopping experience. I guess I buy into the shop locally thing, but I like to shop in places that aren't selling the same thing in Boston, New York, and Timbuctu. I know, I'm difficult to please, but I like my stuff to be a bit more unique than say, The Gap.

So, today I saw this event and wanted to clue you Boston area women in to the happenings. Now, this doesn't look like the kind of thing I'm into (pole dancing? POLE DANCING. Me? I think not!) But for the more adventurous amoungst you, I say go for it and give us all a full report. I'm serious. Live blog it for me. I live vicariously anyhow.

But while we're on the topic of shopping, let me remind you about the South End Market and get a hint about who wants to attend the first Sunday in August? That would be August 4th. I'm definitely up for it. Who else wants to try it?

Hey, Binky, what happened with that Salon idea of yours? Are you still planning on discussing the state of the universe anytime soon?

Saturday, July 14, 2007

3, 2, 1... Success!

Whenever Hubby and I want to switch things up for Sweetie, it works best for us to do a countdown for her to when the new way of things takes effect.

For instance, a few months ago when I thought she should stop using her sippy cup - at first I told her starting immediately there'd be no more sippies.

She freaked. Totally, completely freaked.

Well... how about we look at the calendar and decide that you can use a sippy cup for 4 more days - and that's it?

When that fateful Friday evening came - the night of her last sippy - she gleefully helped me toss it (and all the others) in the trash. She was truly excited to be a Big Girl now.

And she's been great with her regular cups from there on out.

Likewise with her bed guard rail. About 2 weeks ago we started a short countdown of days leading up to the removal of the rail. It's been about a week or so now without that added protection and she's done well, not falling out of the bed even once.

Now we're in the middle of another countdown. Starting one week from today, Sweetie will no longer require that Hubby or I need to Hold me with two hands! when she drinks her morning milk.

See, Sweetie has always absolutely insisted that she must be held with two hands (that is, our hands clasped together around her waist) while she drinks her morning cup of milk. If we dare to unclasp our hands, she will stop drinking until we return to the proper hold.

Most of the time this isn't so bad. It's a nice parent/child time to spend together each day.

But sometimes - especially on school/work mornings - well... it just gets ridiculous.

Earlier this week, for example, we got up a little later than usual. I really needed to get moving and put my own stuff together. But, oh no, I had to sit with Sweetie and hold her while she drank - slowly.

That was it. The countdown began that very day.

Wish us luck with this. Countdowns have worked for Sweetie in the past. I'm hoping that it results in a smooth transition this time around as well.

What do you do with your kids to make changes in their lives more bearable?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

This thing's not allowing me to enter a title. If it were, the title would be:
Winter, Black Flies, and Construction and props to you if you can guess the quip that belongs to those three (four?) words.

For many of us, childhood in New England meant frequent road trips to an adjoining state. I've never hit all six states in the space of a day, but I can name at least a few occasions when I've hit 5 (sorry, Vermont). That's why, when I think of my favorite summer memories, they're all based in New England but they're all over the place. I remember camping with my dad in the White Mountains and learning to fish there. Every summer from early elementary school up until college was spent in Saco Bay, and I spent many of my college summers crammed in a house in Nantucket with too may people and not enough septic (ugh). While I was living in the Berkshires, I spent many days driving through the bucolic northwestern hills of Connecticut or visiting our close friends in Newport (yeah, still no Vermont. I have been to the Ben and Jerry's stockholders meetings, though. That counts, right?)

The husband and I met in Maine (he's a native) and I'm a (Merrimack) Valley Girl. Now we live somewhere in Metrowest, MA in the land I lovingly refer to as Stepford. I'm wondering what your favorite summer in New England destinations and memories are and how many of them involve states other than your own. I'll start by listing mine:
  • There are beaches in Nantucket that, even in the height of summer, are uninhabited. I like to find one and sit there alone.
  • There's a restaurant in Camp Ellis Maine called Huots that has the best onion rings on the planet. They have a take out window so you can grab your food and eat it on the jetty as you watch the sun go down on the bay.
  • Visiting our friends in Rangely, ME and Newport, and Down the Cape
  • The smell of the shower when the water first hits you after a long day at the beach: salt and sweat and sunscreen. Heaven.
  • The Barking Crab at Fort Point Channel
  • Happy's Lemonade at Salisbury Beach
  • Hampton's local color

Now, let's hear yours...

Thursday, July 5, 2007

But we're not Midwestern...

Hi fellow New England Mamas!

This is my first post here. I love that there's a place for us Northeast girls to chat and connect.

So anyway... I've been seeing a lot of this Stop & Shop video lately. And I'm assuming you all have been too, seeing as Stop & Shop is only located in our little corner of the country.

And I was wondering... am I the only one who doesn't really get it?

An Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice bottle talking to an Aquafina water bottle.

With Midwestern accents.

Using words and phrases like, "oh my stars" and "tough turkeys" and "hobnobbing."

Like they're bad, four-letter words.

What does all this have to do with Stop & Shop lowering the prices of juice and water?

Am I missing something?

Who is the marketing genius that came up with this campaign? Is he or she a three-year-old?

All right, enough with the questions. I guess they're just rhetorical anyway.

I guess I should just be happy about the lower prices for my juice and water.

But I'd like to know, is there a supermarket in Ohio running commercials for lower prices on watah and en-ah-gee bahs?

Monday, July 2, 2007

Hi - I'm Old

Hi there! And welcome to my very first post as a New England Mamas contributor.

My name is Amy and I live in So. NH with my husband and 4 year old daughter. I've been posting on my personal blog, Spina Bifida Moms, for over 2 years now. I love writing and I love sharing my journey as a disabled mom with spina bifida raising my healthy and active young daughter. Thank you to Mrs. Chicky and all the other New England Mamas for letting me join in and share the fun.

Anyway, tonight I'm feeling old. I'm only in my early 30's, but tonight I'm feeling just a wee bit... ancient.

See, I had a scheduled MRI to go to this evening. (I know! An MRI! On a Monday night! What the heck?!). I have a history of seizures (perhaps linked to my spina bifida, but not conclusively), so I had to get checked out and retested (yes, I've been through these before). Whatever. No problem. At least it wasn't scheduled for 6:15 in the morning.

So I got there and the technician informed me that I could listen to any type of music I like. "Listen", that is, in the loosest form of the word, given that your ears are primarily busy enjoying the lulling sounds of 1000 jackhammers.

"Here are the radio stations we can get.", she tells me.

"Okay - let's do Pop music."

"Sure! No problem."

So then I'm set up and all caged in. Huge earphones encompass my head and soon the music starts.

Uhhhhhh. This is Pop? Sounds more like Gangsta Rap or some such nonsense to me.

At one point the technician asked me if the music was okay. And, as luck would have it, at that very moment I was listening to a song by Rihanna that my brother had just introduced me to earlier today. It's a decent enough song - once you get past the intro - so I told the tech I was fine with my selection.

But then the other songs played on. "Songs", that is, in the loosest form of the word. More like base-heavy hip hop mumbo jumbo, in my opinion.

Again I thought - this is Pop? It can't be! I like Pop! In high school I listened to the Pop/Top 40 stations all the time. This? This is not that.

Then it occurred to me - oh yeah. I've been out of high school for quite some time now. I suppose it's possible that some things have changed.

Soon (but not soon enough) the tech asked me again if the music was still okay. I jumped at the opportunity to tell her that, no, it really wasn't. Please give me the 80's station instead.

Ahhh. Much better. Give me Boy George and Prince any day of the week over that.... I don't even know what.

Kids! I don't know what's wrong with these kids today. But I do know that I'm old... and very happily so.