My Real Life

September 20, 2009

Real Cautionary Tale

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 2:42 am
Tags: , , ,

You know the saying “The grass is always greener on the other side?” Well, I’ve always wanted curly hair. However, it was not my lot in life.

I was born with pin straight hair.

babyamychair 001 

My Mom would try to curl the ends to make it more…interesting, but to no avail.

amycake 001

Look at my face. I’m thinking of ways to curl my hair, even at the tender age of two.

craftyamy 001

 My friend, Snuffleupagus and I spent many hours together, contemplating how I would look with curls.

snuffamy 001

Eventually, Mom  just looped it up in an effort to contain it’s thick straightness.

buffyamy 001

It got longer and longer. Here I am, four years old at the Bicentennial celebration. Look how colonial. Look how long and straight the hair.

1776amy 001 

It was fairly soon after that picture that I was watching Sesame Street in my basement and decided to make a nest for Big Bird. I had no straw handy, so I used the next best thing. My hair. Only one side of it, though. Lopped a braid right off, right above my ear.

 My Mom…not happy.

Eventually, however, I became a teenager and gained control over my straight locks. I spent the summer after eighth grade at my Grandma’s in Ohio. Grandma, you may remember, was a beautician.

Three bottles of perm solution later, voila! I had the hair I had always wanted.

MichaelaandAmyHS 001

That curly hair made me feel wild.

amyshore 001 

(We can talk about the clothes in this picture later. I loved that yellow shirt with the black paint splatter. And how about those cuffed jeans? Oh, the 80’s…how I miss you.)

However, a perm must be maintained.

I didn’t have the cash to keep reperming, and I also worried that my hair would start to fall out if I kept frying it with perm solution. So, after a fabulous freshman year with my awesome hair, I began to let it grow out.

After four years, I was still growing it out.

GraduationAmy 001 

I still had the curls at the senior prom.

Prom 001 

However, by graduation, it was almost out and Michaela (who also is of the straight hair variety) had more of a wave than I did.

milkamygrad 001 

By freshman year in college, I was back on the straight and narrow.

Church1 001

While we’re at it, how about this fancy pose?

Church2 001

 What do you think I was thinking about? I wish I knew. It’s quite the pensive pose.

So, after all this, you’d think that the lesson I was trying to impart was, be happy with what you have. However, after seeing the perm pictures again, I’m itching for the curls. I’m 37.

I think it’s time to be wild and free again.

At least with my hair.

Gotta go heat up the curlers.

September 18, 2009

Quick Brag About a Friend

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 5:36 pm

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a moderator at the forums at a website called The Frugal Village.  The woman who runs the site, my friend, Sara Noel, is a syndicated columnist, as well as having a few websites which she runs.


Anyway, today, Sara is all over the news.  She’s quoted on MSNBC, Business Week, Yahoo!News, and in a total of 3,690 news outlets, via an article from the AP.

I’m really happy for Sara and all the publicity that she and the Frugal Village are getting today. 

So, that’s it…just wanted to brag about my friend 🙂

Real Memories

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:35 am
Tags: , , , ,

I was feeling a bit down yesterday.  Just that kind of day, you know.

So, I started looking through my old pictures.  Some on the computer, some in albums and boxes.

Little by little, I started feeling better.

This one helped a lot.


 This one made me smile…big.


This one…Lord, help me.


My friend, Sharon has twin boys, Connor and Ryan.  The other day, Sharon said to me, “You know, Amy…I spend a good portion of my day trying not to eat my kids.”

blogs 024

I get it, Sharon.  I totally get it.

September 17, 2009

Update on Real Scary

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 7:12 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

So, today was the day that we went to the neurologist with baby Monkey.  Real Man had a doctor appointment in the morning, so we sent him to nursery school and then picked him up before lunch.

Since we had no idea what he was going to have to endure at the hospital, we decided to treat him with lunch at Wendy’s.  That went over very well. 


Not only was he thrilled to be there, but Real Man actually got the chicken sandwich from the commercial.  You know how your burger/sandwich never looks like it does on the big board over the counter or like it does in the commercials?  Well, for the first time ever, Real Man got the dream sandwich. 


We can never go back, however, because anything after that sandwich will be a let down.

After lunch, we headed to the hospital for the appointment.

We went up to the neurology wing and sat in the waiting room.  Off of the main waiting room was a sign that said “Children’s Playtime Waiting Room.”  How exciting!

We drew Baby Monkey’s attention to it and went in with him. 

We were greeted with this sign on the wall:



I get it.  I do.  Swine flu.  Sick kids all playing with the same toys.

So, Baby Monkey played with the one toy that was left.  The one toy that every sick kid who goes in there touches, bites, drools on, sneezes on, coughs on, and bleeds on.


Ah, he’s tough.  He’ll survive.

We get to the hospital, they do the routine check-up stuff like height and weight and then load him up with a bunch of stickers.  They send us up to the neurologist.

So, we met with the neurologist and he asked a bunch of questions and then had Baby Monkey do some neuromotor things like play with little toys, run after a ball, catch a ball and throw a ball.

He said that it was probably a seizure, but that it seems like a one-time deal right now.  He wanted us to get an EEG to rule out anything like epilepsy.  He said if the EEG was clear, and it doesn’t happen again, then we should just relax and pretend like it never happened.  If the EEG shows something, we’ll deal with that.  If the EEG shows nothing, but it does happen again, then we’ll need to come back for MRI and further tests to look for abnormalities in the brain, growths, etc.

So, he calls down to the EEG lab and says he’s going to use his charm to get us in right away so we don’t have to come back.  He tells them “I’ve got an adorable 3 year old here who I’d like to get an EEG for immediately.”  He said that he was sure Baby Monkey would be able to withstand the 40 minutes of the EEG and they said, “Okay…send him down.”

So, we head down to the EEG lab.   We sit down and at first, Baby Monkey just sits there, quietly, looking around.


Then, he starts putting the stickers on his head, pulling them off, saying “Ouch” when they pull his hair, then putting them back on his head again.


This continues for about ten minutes. 

Then, the woman who has been watching him the whole time we were there says to us “You know there is a children’s waiting room just around the wall.”

We didn’t know.

We stand up, take three steps, peek around a wall and lo and behold, a beautiful children’s waiting room, complete with actual toys.

Cool toys.

First there was this thing on the wall.


I think I almost had a  seizure watching this thing spin.

Then there was this awesome magnetic table.


There were magnets underneath and you had to move the boats around using the magnets.  That was fun.

There were other toys, as well.  Lots with magnets.  I thought that was interesting in a lab where they did lots of electromagnetic testing.  Interesting choices.

Anyway, then we go in.

Now, let me say this:  Lest any of you think that my child was getting a major neurological exam and all I could think about was taking pictures for my blog, the following pictures were taken at the request of Baby Monkey.  He kept wanting to know what he looked like.

First, with the Sharpie marker on his head.


Then, with all the wires attached.


He did great.  The test was 40 minutes.  Part of it was just him laying there, watching a video.  Then, he had to blow a shiny pinwheel for 5 minutes.  Then, he had to have a strobe light flashing in different intervals for another 5 minutes. 

There were lots of squiggly lines on the screen and neither Real Man nor I have a clue what any of them mean.  The neurologist said we can call on Friday for the results.  Story of our life right now…hurry up and wait.

So, as of today, I have no more answers for anyone than I had yesterday.  But, I can tell you that Baby Monkey is an absolute trooper and a pleasure to be with, under any circumstance.

September 15, 2009

Rainy Day vs. Sunny Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:27 am
Tags: , , , , , ,

In my house, as in every house, the activities are dependent upon the weather.

On sunny days, I know the monkeys will be riding bikes, at the park, in the stream, on the deck, doing whatever.

On a rainy day, I never know what they’ll come up with.

Sunny day.


Rainy day.


Hard to know which one to hope for. Both are awesome.

September 14, 2009

Paring Down

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

In the fall, I always feel the desire to settle in, to nest, to fill my cheeks with nuts in preparation for the long winter ahead.  Okay, perhaps not the last one, but you get the gist.

I’m usually pretty good at fighting the urge, but it’s tough sometimes.  It’s the law of nature to stock up and settle in as the days get shorter and the weather gets colder.

This year, I’ve decided to not only fight the urge, but to take myself in the opposite direction.  Instead of padding my nest, I’m going to purge my home.

Now, I’m a decluttering fanatic, so the truth is, we don’t have a lot of “stuff.”  I don’t really do knick-knacks, and I’m not a collector of things.  I thrive on organization and neatness.  I had toyed, for some time, with becoming a professional organizer.  Obviously, I didn’t.  Still think about it from time to time, however.

So, given this paucity of junk, what am I going to purge?

I’m starting here.


If you know me, you know that this is normally the last place I’d purge.  Books are breath to me.  There is nothing like the written word.  Holding a book.  Smelling a book.  Getting lost in a book.  Ahhh…

So, for me to start my purge here is a pretty big deal.

However, I started to think that many of my books are just decorations.  I read them.  I loved them.  But, I’m probably not going to read them again.  At least not many of the books on these bookshelves.

I have a few authors who I have collected over the years.  James Patterson.  John Sandford.  Jeffrey Deaver.  (Hmmm…they all start with the letter “J.”  Maybe there’s something to that.)

Anyway, I have all of their books.  Many of them are signed.  But, truth be told, while I loved them when I read them, I’m not going to read them again.  So, why do I keep them?

Now, these books…

books 004

…these books, I will (and already have) read over and over.  These are books that touched me in one way or another, outside of the story.  So, these I will keep.  I’ll refill the shelves with these.

I’ve already listed the James Pattersons on eBay.  The Sandfords are next and then the Deavers.   I’ve loved all those series because I love the main characters.  Patterson writes about Alex Cross.  Sandford writes about Lucas Davenport and Deaver writes about Lincoln Rhyme.  Great main characters.  Really. 

However, I’ll wait for their next ones to come out and then I’ll borrow them from the library.  Because, again, I’ll read them, I’ll love them, and then I’ll put them on the shelf to never be read again.

Maybe you want to think about an autumn purge yourself.  Take a look around.  Do you love it all?  Do you need it all?  Will you use all of it again?  If not, perhaps it’s time to let some of it go.  After all, you can’t take it with you.

September 13, 2009

Real Sporty

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 7:53 am
Tags: , , , , ,

So, Monkey in the Middle started soccer this weekend.

Our town runs a Kindergarten soccer clinic where they learn the rules and play short scrimmages. Monkey Girl did this clinic when she was in Kindergarten. However, she was never interested in pursuing soccer, or any sport, for that matter. In her words, “I don’t like to sweat.”

Monkey in the Middle, however? Well, I think sometimes we should have named him “Sweat.” Not only does he not mind sweating, he does it just about every second of the day. He is definitely a warm-blooded little creature.

When Baby Monkey was born, Monkey in the Middle switched bedrooms to a lower level bedroom that used to be a garage. (Don’t worry, it’s a nice, finished functional room…don’t want you to think I have my children sleeping in a garage.) The downside of this room was that in the winter, at night, the room would get down to 48 degrees. That is not an exaggeration. Still, we’d come down at night and find him sleeping on top of the covers…sweating.

But, I digress… (as usual)

So, he was very excited to start soccer today. It was a little chillier than I thought it was going to be, so we decided to give him a turtleneck to wear under his soccer t-shirt. He didn’t have any that would look right with the red (according to Real Man…I was off teaching piano lessons) so he wore one of his sisters red turtlenecks.

The sleeves were just a tad too long.


However, they didn’t impede his incredible concentration.

soccer1 (1)

Nor did they impede his incredible skill.

soccer1 (2) 

And, of course, they weren’t able to impede his incredible cuteness.

soccer1 (3)

David Beckham, eat your heart out.  There’s a new soccer cutie in town.

September 12, 2009

Real Karma

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 7:47 am

When you are sitting outside, reading a book, listening to the cheerful sounds of your children playing in the backyard and a mosquito lands on your ecru capri pants, you don’t necessarily have to slap it.  If it’s not biting you at the moment, perhaps you could just let it rest for a moment before it flies off on its merry way.

Because, sometimes, when you slap a mosquito, the cosmos slap you right back.

blogs 029

September 11, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 7:20 am

The biggest lesson I took away from 9/11/01 is that you should never miss an opportunity to tell the people you care about how you feel.  I try to be good about it, but I know that I fail, quite often.

So, every year, on the anniversary of 9/11/01, I try to re-commit to making sure that the people I love and care about know how much they mean to me. 

I think it’s something we should all try to do every day.

September 10, 2009

A Real Day

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 10:58 am

People often ask me, “What does your day look like? What’s the schedule around your house?”

So, I figured, let’s give the people what they want.

Here’s a look at a typical weekday around the Real Home.

5:45 am – Alarm goes off. I start nudging Real Man to turn it off. If he doesn’t respond, I start violently shaking him with all my strength, which barely budges him, until he hits snooze.

5:53 am – Alarm goes off for the second time and I climb over Real Man and slam it off myself. I get out of bed and blindly fumble for the bathroom, as I don’t ever remember to put my glasses on first, despite the fact that I’m legally blind without them.

5:54 am – Shower. If I’ve been quick enough in turning off the alarm, then I have 15 minutes, all to myself. I can think about what I’ll be doing that day, figure out what I’ll wear, and just enjoy the quiet. If I was a second too late in turning off the alarm, I can very easily have three monkeys in the bathroom, just outside the shower door saying “Mom??? What can we have for breakfast?” Two very different ways to get acclimated to the day.

6:09 am – I’m out of the shower. I get dressed and as I walk to the kitchen, I give Real Man a big shake, by grabbing his foot as I pass the bed. “You gotta get up!” I say as I stumble by, grabbing my glasses as I go and the world comes into focus.

6:20 am – The monkeys and I have eaten our breakfast and I’ve updated the blog. I then start getting the monkeys dressed one by one. Baby Monkey is first. Monkey in the Middle can dress himself but needs help finding what to wear. Monkey Girl certainly chooses her clothes and dresses herself but I do her hair.

7:00 am – I’m out the door and headed to work. Real Man takes Baby Monkey to daycare and either my Dad or Real Man’s Dad takes the big monkeys to school.

7:05 am (yes, it only takes me 5 minutes to get to work…I’m VERY lucky) –4:00-ish pm – Work (see how quickly 9 hours just went by?

4:00-ish – I’m usually out by 4. Some days I’m out a little earlier, some days a little later. It depends on what the teachers need from me and what project I happen to be working on. Also, it depends on whether or not I have a meeting which I usually do.

But, I digress.

4:00-ish – I come home. Two days a week the big monkeys are in after care and I pick them up after getting Baby Monkey at daycare. The other 3 days, my Dad or Real Man’s Dad is here when they get home. When the monkeys get home, they get a snack and then do homework.

Here’s Monkey Girl, hard at work.

Day 003

After that, it’s outside if the weather permits. They love to ride bikes and scooters.

Day 002

If it is raining or snowing, they’ll play a game or something. Right now, Monkey Girl and Monkey in the Middle are completely into chess. Who’s gonna argue that???

Sometimes we also do things like bake during this time. The monkeys LOVE to bake. This was yesterdays project.

Day 001

Monkey Girl and Baby Monkey are not big chocolate fans. Monkey in the Middle is not a vanilla fan. If I want a cupcake, the diabetes prevents the icing from crossing the threshold of my lips. Real Man likes cupcakes. So, we cater to everyone.

5:00 – I usually start dinner around now. If the monkeys are outside, they keep playing outside, however, if they were riding bikes, they need to put them away and come into the yard. It’s a quiet neighborhood, but I don’t want them in the road with me inside. We have a stream in our yard. There is MUCH adventure to be found in the stream and the woods.

While dinner is cooking, I make the lunches for the next day. Doing it now makes it possible for me to hit snooze in the morning. I put the lunches in the fridge and then in the morning, just take them out and pop them in the lunchboxes and backpacks.

6:00 – Dinner. Yum.


Real Man is usually home by now. If not, we try to wait because eating as a family is something that Real Man and I have always agreed is incredibly important. Studies show that kids who eat dinner with their parents, as a family, do better in school, have better self-esteem, are better equipped to fight peer pressure, and grow up to be happier adults. So, yeah…it’s important to us. Besides, we all kinda like each other.

6:45 – Bath and shower time. The Monkey Boys get a bath and Monkey Girl takes her shower.

7:15 – Book time. Everyone picks one book and we all sit on the couch and read the books, one at a time. We hit the library weekly, so there are always plenty to choose from. Also, my partner at work, Susan, taught elementary school for many years and is now a literacy coach and instructional leader for language arts. There are a LOT of children’s books in my office and we borrow and bring back frequently. Plus, we have bookcases full of children’s books in the house. Books. Books. Books. Love them.

7:30-ish pm – The boys go to bed. We sing songs with them and then they go to sleep. Monkey Girl gets to read in bed until 8:15. Then, we put her to bed, as well. We’ve always been very lucky with bed time. With a few exceptions when the boys first started sharing a room, they pretty much go right to sleep.

8:15 pm – I hop on the computer and write my blog post for the next day. After that, if there is laundry or ironing to be done, I do it now, as well.

After that, Real Man and I hang out and get to chat and spend time together.

So, that’s it. That’s what we do around here on a typical day. Some days are a bit different than others, but this would be the average day. Take it for what it is. It works for us.

We’re happy. What more could we want?

« Previous PageNext Page »

Theme: Rubric. Get a free blog at