My Real Life

September 30, 2009

Real Sleepyhead

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 7:19 am
Tags: , ,

I know I’ve touched on this before, but as I went through more pictures, I realized Monkey in the Middle’s penchant for falling asleep anytime, anywhere is quite pervasive.

Obviously, he can sleep alone.  Who can’t?


He loves to sleep with (or on) Baby Monkey.



He loves to nap on Real Man on a lazy Saturday afternoon. 


(Note how I’ve gotten a picture of Real Man here.  It was approved. 🙂 )

However, I think my favorite picture of Monkey in the Middle asleep is the following picture, because it shows my sleepyhead, but also, his extremely tolerant sister.


You gotta love a girl who will let that happen, and then will lay there for the next two hours until he wakes up.  That’s what I call a good sister.

September 29, 2009

20 Questions

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 7:00 am

Some of the blogs that I regularly visit are playing twenty questions, and they are encouraging other bloggers to do so, as well.  As I was already in an answering questions frame of mind, I thought it would be fun.

Obviously, I read their blogs because they are smart and witty women.  Thus, their responses were smart and witty. 

Mine?  Well, they’re mine.  Smart and witty?  Eh.  True?  Absolutely.

1.  Show us the inside of something cute.

See, right off the bat I’m at a disadvantage.  I’m snuggling in bed with Baby Monkey and he’s the cutest thing I see at the moment.  Rather than cut him open or scope him, I think I’ll skip this one.

2. What’s the last homecooking you had?

I made spaghetti last night, complete with meat sauce that simmered all day long in the crockpot.  I cooked and cut up sausage and browned ground beef, threw in some spices.  Good Lord, it was delicious.

3. What do you miss?


Haven’t bought a book here since last June.

I miss you, baby.  I miss you.

4. What makes you laugh often?





5. What’s your favorite word?


Not the word itself, but what it does to kids of a certain age.  No one is immune.  Once kids hit the right age, it becomes a right of passage to be able to pronounce this word.  They have absolutely no idea what it means, but they say it for the coolness factor.  I love that, for just one moment in time, pronouncing a word correctly makes you cool.

6. What are you trying to quit?

I’m trying so hard to walk by the Turkey Hill Peanut Butter Chocolate ice cream at ShopRite.  SO HARD.  However, so far, I have been unable to resist.


7. What’s your favorite commercial right now?

I laugh out loud, every time, at the Justin Timberlake/Peyton Manning ping-pong Sony commercial.

 8. Whose style do you dig?

Jennifer Garner.  Without a doubt.  I’ve never seen someone so incredibly comfortable with herself.  She’s just as beautiful in jeans and a t-shirt as she is on the red carpet.  She just strikes me as a beautiful, happy woman who enjoys life.  So, the style I admire isn’t necessarily fashion, but her style of living.


9. Link to a great blog you’ve discovered lately…

I’m enjoying SouleMama’s blog quite a bit.  Beautiful Mess is pretty funky as well.  I just discovered these two over the weekend.

10. What’s the last craft you made?

I’m assuming that I can include the scarf I’m knitting for Monkey Girl.  So, yeah…it’s this:


11. A photo of the last happy mail you got :]

Do you get “happy mail?”  Because, I don’t get “happy mail.”  I get bills and junk mail.  I haven’t gotten “happy mail” since I was 8 and got invitations to birthday parties.  You wanna send me “happy mail?”  I’d love it!  I’d take a picture and post it here!  However, until then, I have to skip this one, also.

12. Something you’ve got lately?

I got rhythm, I got music, I got my man, who could ask for anything more?  (Surely I’m not the only one who knows this song, right?  We’ve all seen Girl Crazy (1943), right?)

13. What are you looking forward to?


Next Sunday, I’m taking Monkey Girl to the American Girl store in NYC.  We are going to take the train in, walk around and check it out, then we have reservations for tea at 4 pm.  Can’t wait.

14. Post a recent snapshot of yourself.


Just don’t ask…because really, I don’t know.

15. Recent Favorite Movie?


16. Something you’re working on right now?

I’ve been working on getting representation for my book  and I’ve been working on finding some freelance writing jobs.  It’s slow going in both arenas, but I’m working on it!

17. If a movie were made about you, who would play you?

Reese Witherspoon.  I’ve been stopped in stores and asked if anyone had ever told me that I looked like her.  Several times.  I think it depends on the day for me, and in which movie you are thinking of her.  So, Reese it is.


18. What gives you goosebumps?

The new American Girl Doll.  She’s homeless and they are only making the outfit she comes with.  No accessories.  Nothing extra to buy.  Just the doll.  I think kids can learn a lot from it.


However, let me be clear.  I would have a lot more goosebumps if they would donate the proceeds from Gwen to homeless charities or offer some free dolls to homeless children.  Kinda pisses me off that they aren’t going that route.

Still, I think it’s a good lesson for kids to learn.

19. Share a new obsession.


20. What’s the meaning of your life?

Dream as if you’ll live forever; live as if you’ll die today.

September 28, 2009

Your Questions Answered

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 7:33 am
Tags: , ,

Diana writes:

“I am the most unorganized person. How do you keep it all together?  I get so lost in my everyday life and I have no kids.”

Diana, let’s be clear.  There are many days that I don’t keep it all together.  We have days where I’m racing out the door at the last minute.  There are days when I’m up way early because I just didn’t get to the laundry the day before.

Most days are good, but that’s because I’m an organization freak.  I have to be.  With three kids, if I’m not on top of things, no one is happy.  I think I mentioned before that I actually was always quite interested in being a professional organizer.  I find a certain kind of calm in organizing things.  (I’m actually very good at organizing other people’s things. 🙂 )

So, I do a lot of pre-work to keep our days running smoothly.  I’m like the man behind my own curtain.

I make the lunches the night before.  Toss in the laundry in the morning, switch it to the dryer when I get home, fold it when the kids go to sleep.  I do a lot of cooking on the weekend so I don’t have to do much during the week, or I do a lot of easy meals that are nutritious, but not time consuming.  The kids have chores and responsibilities that help keep things going, but not so many that they can’t enjoy being kids.

The most important reason I stay organized is so I can really be with the kids when I’m with the kids.  I want to be able to do the housework on my time so that I never have to say “Not now.  Mommy’s busy.”  That is really what’s most important to me.  They will only be little for awhile.  I want to create some lasting, loving memories now, while I can.

So, even someone without kids can get some pre-work done to set the stage for smoother days.  Planning ahead, knowing what needs to be done…that’s the key.

And…that’s the only question I got.  So, maybe we’ll try this again sometime.  Save up those questions. 🙂

September 27, 2009

Afternoon at the Library

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 7:14 am
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The monkeys and I hit the library once a week, every week. 

We take out tons of books and then one dvd for each monkey. 

Baby Monkey likes to start reading his books right there, in the library.  He’s an instant gratification kinda guy.

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He goes from one book to another.

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Monkey Girl likes to look things up on the online card catalog.

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Gotta tell you…online card catalogs rock my world. 

Remember when you used to have to pull out a little wooden drawer and find the index card with the book you were looking for?

Now you can cross reference, check if other libraries have what you want, reserve things, place things on hold.  My favorite is being able to renew items from home by just logging in.  So convenient!  Love the helpfulness of the high-tech library.

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Now, today was the first day that Monkey in the Middle noticed the computers.  He usually spends most of his time pulling out one dvd, then finding another one and putting the first one back, then getting another one and putting that one back, etc. 

However, today he was lured to the computer.

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At our library, there are a few computers that have kids games on them.  So, he found Pajama Sam: Thunder and Lightning Aren’t So Frightening.  Despite the fact that we have this game at home, he was thrilled, so I let him play for awhile while I read to Baby Monkey and Monkey Girl searched for some more books.

We left with 3 dvds and a pile of Halloween books.  I’ve always loved the library and I am so pleased that I’m instilling that love in my children.  It’s such a part of our lives that I know that they’ll grow up to continue to be library users.

Makes a mama proud.

And, on the way home, even though I have a minivan that seats 7 quite comfortably, my monkeys like to all squish together in the back seat.  They’d always rather be together than be apart…even just separated by a seat.

library 001

Makes a mama prouder.

September 26, 2009

Update on Baby Monkey

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 7:27 am
Tags: , , ,

So, while the questions pour in, I figured I’d give you an update on Baby Monkey.

He had another “episode” last Saturday morning.  We took him into the neurologist on Monday and the two that we’ve seen can’t seem to agree on a treatment.  One wants to put him on anti-seizure medication.  The other says he’s too little and that he’s not convinced it’s a seizure.

So…next Monday and Tuesday (5th and 6th), he and I are checking into the hospital.  They will sedate him and do an MRI, then they will hook him up to the machines for 48 hours to do a 48 hour EEG.  We are hopeful that this will give us some answers.  If it happens again before then, they will put him on the medication to cover all the bases.  I’m hopeful that won’t happen.

For now, he’s fine, though, and continues to be my happy-go-lucky little Baby Monkey.  That’s the good news and that’s what keeps me going until we get some answers.

September 25, 2009

Real Questions

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 7:05 am
Tags: , ,

So, we’ve been doing pretty well here at My Real Life.  I’m averaging between 40-70 hits a day with a few days that have gone over 100.  So, although I don’t know who is reading, I know that quite a few of you are!

I do get questions, from time to time, about my family and my life.  People read the blog and then are curious about other aspects of our lives that I haven’t gotten around to writing about yet.  Some people just have general questions about me.

So, this weekend, I’m opening the blog up for questions.  If you have a question about myself or the monkeys (or non-personal questions about Real Man), you can e-mail me at  I’m going to give everyone until Sunday at noon to get their questions in.  Then, I’ll respond on the blog.

I’m excited about this and hopeful that people participate.  No question too big or too small.

So, let’s see whatcha got!

September 24, 2009

Stress Relief

So, you ever have one of those days? 

You know the ones. 

The kind where you can’t shake that grumpy feeling, no matter what?

Well, today was one of those days for me.  However, in my house, those days are catching.  It is rare that just one of us is having one of those days.  When one of us is down, we’re all down.  I guess it’s nice.  Like we’re a big team.  One for all and all for one.  Yeah, nice.

So, today was one of those days.

I had a meeting after work and then picked up Baby Monkey at daycare.  Apparently, I got there right before snack time, and even though I assured him he could have a snack at home, the tears started in the car on the way home. 

We got home around 4:30 and my Dad had been watching the big monkeys.  He couldn’t get out the door fast enough.  He gave me a “I don’t know how you do it,” and headed out.

Turns out Monkey Girl was tired and grumpy and Monkey in the Middle was taking advantage of her grumpiness to push her buttons.  The end result was a lot of drama.  My Dad doesn’t do drama.

So, I checked everyone’s homework and got dinner started.  Baby Monkey was crying that he wanted his dinner “a little hot.”  I don’t even really think he knew what he meant.  Monkey Girl was crying, saying that she was going right to bed after dinner because she couldn’t stay awake, but then the next second saying that she wasn’t tired and wanted to stay up late.  Only Monkey in the Middle was relatively unscathed by the mood, however, he hates the sound of Baby Monkey crying, so he was covering his ears, crying a little himself.

It was quite a scene.

We had Back to School Night for Monkey in the Middle tonight, so the monkeys and I ate early.  After dinner, the four of us were just sitting at the table, looking at each other with grumpy looks on their faces, and I knew I had to do something.

So, I headed to the living room, turned on my iPod, and started dancing.  It took less than a minute for all three monkeys to join me, and it turned the whole evening around.

Here they are dancing to “All The Single Ladies” by Beyonce.

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I apologize for the fuzziness.  I can’t quite figure out the action setting on Real Man’s camera.

Here they are with “Thriller.”

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I don’t let my monkeys dance alone.  I always am in on the action.

Monkey Girl wanted to take a picture of me dancing.  She can’t figure out the action setting either.

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So, after about a half hour of dancing, we collapsed on the couch, snuggled for a bit, and then they all went off to play, happy again.

Dancing.  The answer to the world’s problems. 

We should mandate a dancing break in Congress.  Get those Democrats and Republicans to dance across the aisle to a little Britney Spears and watch those partisan issues disappear.

Works for us.  What works for you?

September 23, 2009

Real Boys

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:48 am
Tags: , , , , ,

So, I used to wonder what it was that little boys did in their free time.  I was a girl (duh!) and my oldest is a girl, and so I always wondered, as Monkey in the Middle grew, what it is that he would enjoy.

Monkey and the Middle and Baby Monkey love, love, LOVE to play with cars.  The more the better, as their favorite car game is:

play 002


You’d think we lived in the city, the way these boys can set up a jam.  Baby Monkey always gets to decide exactly what the cause of the jam is.

Today, it was a stalled bus.

play 001

Now, left on his own, Monkey in the Middle will still play cars, although, lately, chess is making a play for first place in his heart.

However, left on his own, Baby Monkey will…well…

Did you see the movie Parenthood, with Steve Martin?  Remember his youngest boy who had the bucket on his head and kept ramming the wall?

Yeah, I got one of those. (minus the ramming into the wall piece)

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play 007

He frequently comes into the room like this.

Or like this:


But, that’s a post for a different day.

Another game that the boys love when they are together is “Church.”

The boys go to church with Real Man every Sunday.  They are Catholic and I am Presbyterian.  Those boys know that Catholic service, let me tell you.

Here they are, after “processing” down the aisle.

play 008

After this, they go to the piano.  Baby Monkey sits down and waits for Monkey in the Middle.  Monkey in the Middle “reads” from the Bible.  The stories are usually something like this:

“So, God said to Jesus, ‘Hey…you want some ice cream?’ and Jesus said, ‘Yeah, but only if you have mint chocolate chip.’ And God said, ‘Okay…here you go.”

He follows with, “The word of the Lord,” to which Baby Monkey responds, “Thanks be to God.”

Then Baby Monkey plays his version of “Hallelujah” on the piano and they sing at the top of their lungs.  He may not be playing the right notes, but the beat is accurate and they’ve got the words down.

It is quite a scene.

So, are they typical boys?  Sometimes.  Other times, I’d say they were interesting boys.

However, I can’t imagine loving any other boys more.

September 22, 2009

Real Travels

Okay, indulge me one more day in my trip down memory lane.  Tomorrow, back to business as usual here at My Real Life.

So, as I said in an earlier post, I was looking through my photo boxes the other day.  You may also remember me talking about my bestest friends, Kim, Erin and Michaela.



Now we’re all grown up (well, sorta) but it wasn’t always that way.  Once upon a time, we were teenagers.

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Well, as I looked through the gajillion pictures in my picture box, I couldn’t help but be struck by how many were of the girls and I.  I also was struck by how many of the shots of the girls and I were of us in different states or islands.

We were in the youth group at our church, as well as in our handbell choir.  Our youth group would travel every summer to Appalachia and build homes or fix up homes for the extremely poor families that were living there.  I remember one year, we built a bathroom for a woman who had never had one attached to her house before.  Another year, we peeled our way through 13 layers of wallpaper in someone’s kitchen.  We always had a great time, and we met some really cool people along the way.

In our handbell choir, we traveled around in the summer, playing concerts and entertaining the masses.

Here are Erin, Michaela and I in Bermuda with Sara, another ringer.  I loved Bermuda and have always hoped to get back there someday.  It was so beautiful there.  Clear water, hidden coves.  Just a beautiful, beautiful island.

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Here we all are in Michigan, watching the fireworks on the Fourth of July.  (We were always on tour for the Fourth.)  To this day, I cannot be at a firework display without thinking of this firework display in Michigan.

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This one is of us in Michigan, outside of our hotel.  That tour was our senior year and was definitely the most special.

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I could literally overload WordPress with all of the photos I have of the girls and I over the years.  However, I just thought I’d share a nice little trip down memory lane.  I know exactly how lucky I am to have these women in my life, and I like to celebrate it whenever I can.

September 21, 2009

Real Brother

I’m the only child of two only children.  So, family reunions were breakfast every morning.

However, although I was technically alone, I believe I’ve already made clear the relationship I had with my sisters-not-by-blood, Kim, Erin and Michaela.

Yet, I’ve neglected, thus far, to mention my brother-not-by-blood, Mark.

Mark and I were Frick and Frack.  Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum.  Salt and Pepper.  Peas and Carrots.  We were kinda like Jenny and Forrest, however, I’d like to think we were both more Jenny than Forrest.

Here’s Mark on the bus in eighth grade.

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Look at those teeth.  I’ve always been jealous of those perfect teeth.

That pose is inherently Mark.  He’s the most full of life person that I know.  His enthusiasm for life is contagious and being around Mark always makes me happy.

Mark and I went to the eighth grade dance together.


Weren’t my friend, Sari, and I lucky to go with the Miami Vice guys?

However, we went to high school and Mark moved to Texas and left me.  It was a very sad time for me. 

Until, that is, I realized that now I had an excuse to fly to Texas every Spring Break!

And so I did.

The first year, Michaela and I went.  The second year, Erin, Michaela and I went.  The third year, Kim and I went. 

I don’t have a lot of photos of these trips, but what I do have are videos.  Michaela is working on transferring them to dvd as we speak, and when she does, you can be sure I’ll try to figure out a way to get it on the blog.  Oh, and trust me, these tapes are more embarrassing to me than they are to anyone else on them.

During our high school years, recording studios were also the new, big thing.  So, we have many, many songs that we all recorded together.  I’m not so sure I’ll be sharing those, although Michaela has already transferred those to CD for us.

Anyway, remember how I said Mark’s enthusiasm for life was contagious?

Let me share a little bit of my wedding reception with you.  Disclaimer beforehand…lest you think that this was the result of drinking at the wedding, it wasn’t.  This is what happens to us when we are with Mark.  It happened when we were eight and if we could ever all get together again, it would happen again now that we are in our late 30’s…um, I mean late 20’s.

Here are Michaela and Kim with Mark.

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Here is just Kim and Mark, trying to get every last bit of fun out of those bouquets.

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As always, Mark rubbed off and Michaela got in on the action.  Princess Leia, eat your heart out!

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Finally, she almost crossed the line that would have resulted in my mother kicking her butt all over that reception hall.

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Mark…get your butt up here to NJ!

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