My Real Life

October 20, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:04 am
Tags: , ,

I love this picture. 

dichotomy 002

I love this picture for two reasons.

1)      It is a picture of Monkey in the Middle and I love that kid.

2)      It shows the dichotomy that is Monkey in the Middle, and it reminds me that you can’t put people in a neat little box and label them. 

Look again.

dichotomy 003

Here he is.  A five-year old boy.

On the one hand, he is setting up the board after beating one of his grandpas at chess this morning.  He loves chess.  He just loves this game. 

My Dad will tell me that Monkey in the Middle sees moves way before they are made and when he gets my Dad in check he’ll say things like “Didn’t you see that Bishop, Grandpa?”  To which my chagrined father responds, “No, little guy.  I guess I didn’t.”

Because, my Dad plays to win.  As do I.  We aren’t proponents of letting kids win to build their self-esteem.  It’s false esteem at that point.  Let’s be clear, we also aren’t yelling “In your face!” if we win.  We make all kinds of suggestions and help guide them to improve their game play.  The result?  A five year old who beat his seventy five year old Grandpa at chess on Monday morning.

But, I digress.  My point is that this is an intellectual little guy who plays a mean game of chess, which is a pretty intellectual game.  He’s a smart kid.

Now, look again.

dichotomy 003

Right next to that chess board is his football.  He’s set down his one love to play his other.  As soon as the game was over, the football was right back in his hand and he was running around the house, tossing it and chasing it, yelling “Touchdown!” and “Mom!  Watch this play!” as he threw himself after the ball, rolling as he caught it and holding it up in the air.  Let’s face it; he’s a jock.

So, who is he? 

The smart kid?

The jock?

He’s both.  He’s neither.   He’s Monkey in the Middle, and there are many sides to him, as there are to everyone.  Maybe dichotomy is the wrong word here, because we all have way more than two sides to us.  Isn’t it great?

So, again, call it what you will: not judging a book by its cover, don’t label people, you don’t know someone until you’ve walked a day in their shoes, etc.  Just watch yourself and be sure not to fall into those traps.

Because if you do, you could be missing out on some very interesting people.

October 18, 2009


I am sick. Sick, sick, sick. Sick to the point of not wanting to lift my head off the pillow.

It’s a cold that has been fermenting all week, and has finally exploded. I saw the doctor yesterday and she told me to lay low and come back Wednesday.

I tell you this story not to garner sympathy, but to explain my lack of a fascinating post today. I’ve spoiled you with my fascinating life and today, I got nothing.

Okay, maybe I’ve got a little something.

I don’t know about you, but when I’m sick, I don’t want to eat. I can’t breathe through my nose, so it’s hard to eat, so I’d just rather not. Instead, I dream about what I’ll eat when I feel better.

And right now, what I’m focusing on is a Friendly’s Reeses Pieces Sundae.

Not the two scooper that they give you with your dinner.


(This is a picture of the Reeses Peanut Butter Cup sundae…not the Reeses Pieces, but it’s the same idea, except take out the Peanut Butter cup and add Reeses Pieces)

I mean the huge, honkin’ six scooper. Those of you who live in an area with a Friendly’s know what I’m talking about. Those of you who don’t, let me share.

Six scoops of ice cream…three of vanilla and three of chocolate smothered in hot peanut butter sauce, hot fudge, whipped cream, Reeses Pieces and a cherry on top. It is to die for. Seriously. To die for.  It’s so dangerous, I can’t even find a picture of it online.

Sounds enormous, but you can ask Real Man or my friend, Kim, I laugh in the face of a six scoop ice cream sundae.  I’ve eaten plenty in my day.  Not in the past few years, but I think I could totally put my game face on and do some damage.

They used to make a tiny version “to-go.”


However, they don’t seem to make it anymore. Grrr…

Because, really, as icky as I feel, I might have just put on my puppy dog face and seen if I could convince Real Man to run out and pick one up for me.

Oh, and so you don’t feel cheated by not having any “Monkey-talk” today, I thought I’d share a picture with you.

We ran over to my parents house yesterday, as my Dad’s tv has broken and he wanted Real Man to take a look at it.

While there, I lounged on the couch and Baby Monkey wandered in to see what was up. We all (except for Real Man) got our flu shots this morning (not why I’m sick…I was sick way before, so let’s not get into a flu shot debate, here), and Baby Monkey always gets knocked for a bit of a loop the day he gets a shot. So, he crawled up on my lap and fell fast asleep.

So, you can see that Baby Monkey shares Monkey in the Middle’s penchant for falling asleep anytime, anywhere.


And so, I hope you’ve enjoyed your Monkey Fix for the day.

As for me, I’m going back to bed.

October 17, 2009

Mr. Football

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 9:42 am

I’m not sure when this happened, but Monkey in the Middle has become Mr. Football.  If he’s home, he has a football in his hand 24-7.  He never puts it down.  He even sets it on the floor next to his chair during dinner.

He wants to toss the football with anyone who is available, and if no one is available, he throws it and chases it himself.

He’s pretty good, actually.  I take no credit for that.  As the monkeys grow, any athletic ability they may display in no way, shape or form comes from me.  Athletic, I am not.

Again, I’m not so great with the action setting on Real Man’s camera, (been researching my own camera), but here are some shots of Monkey in the Middle tossing the pigskin (I may not be athletic, but I’ve got the lingo down) with Real Man this morning.

Football 005

This one I love.  He almost caught it, but it sorta got away.

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He’s got his eye on the ball!

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And he caught it!

Football 008

I guess this is really exciting stuff if you’re a guy or a Monkey Boy.  Tossing a ball back and forth gets real boring real fast for me.

While all this male bonding was going on this morning, Monkey in the Middle was sitting on the couch and drawing bugs.

Football 014

Now, that’s more my speed.

October 16, 2009

Under Attack

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 7:07 am
Tags: , , ,

I’m going to start this post with a disclaimer.  I write some of my blogs ahead of time, and this is one of those blogs.  Those of you who live in my area were all shocked and dismayed to find snow falling from the sky yesterday.  A good amount of snow.

Some have even asked if today’s blog will be about the snow.  To that, I say no.

I am ignoring the snow from yesterday.  I don’t believe in snow in October.  It didn’t happen, as far as I am concerned.

And so, I continue with my autumn blogging.


You may think that living in the suburbs allows a certain amount of safety from the dangers of the world.

You may think that fall in the suburbs is just beautiful colors and raking leaves.

And part of that is true.

Here are some pictures of our yard.  It’s still early fall and everything hasn’t really changed as much as it will in a few weeks.






Looks peaceful.  Looks like it will be a heck of a job to rake.  However, looks relatively safe.  Yes?


In the fall, we are constantly under attack.  We have to run from the front door to the car.  When the kids play outside, they need to wear helmets, because you never know when the missles will be flying.

What are these missles of which I speak?


I swept my deck the morning I took these next two photos.  I took these photos at 1:30 pm.



It would be one thing if the acorns were just gently falling from the trees, but I am convinced that the squirrels and chipmunks are actually sitting in the trees, taking their aim and hurling them at us. 

My van has little dents in the roof and hood from being pelted from the acorns.

Monkey Girl was actually awoken the other night by a particularly loud load of acorns being thrust out of the trees at the house.

Look at the lawn!


I don’t actually make them wear helmets, but we’ve all been hit in the head with the acorns and let me tell you, it’s not fun.

So, sure…come and visit us in the suburbs…but be careful.

You may be taking your life into your own hands.


October 15, 2009

My Quest

My adult life has been one long quest.  I am searching for something that is elusive.  Something that I’m not sure I’ll ever find.  Something that I long for.  Something that I need to continue on in this life.

I am on the quest for the scariest movie ever.

I want to see a movie that scares me so much I am actually up at night, afraid to fall asleep.

Yes, that sounds strange and sick, but the truth is, I love to be scared.  I love haunted houses.  Before Baby Monkey started having the seizures, Real Man and I had booked a trip to Salem for our anniversary weekend.  I wanted to stay in one of the haunted inns they have.  I love scary things.

However, I am consistently disappointed.  Sure, some movies are scary, but not scary enough.

As a child, I fell in love with scary movies.  Poltergeist created my fear of clowns.  The original Halloween is, by far, the most suspenseful film I’ve ever seen and I still yell at the screen “Laurie!  He’s sitting up in the closet!  Turn around!  He’s alive!  He’s alive!”

When Real Man and I started dating, we were told that the scariest movie ever made was this movie called “The Last House on the Left.”  Guess what?  It wasn’t.  It wasn’t even a little scary.

Let me clarify…when I say scary, I don’t mean gory.  Gore isn’t scary.  It’s just fake blood and stuff.  That doesn’t scare me, nor does it particularly gross me out.  Gratuitous violence isn’t scary either.  Scary is suspense.  It’s things that could possibly happen.  It’s supernatural.  It’s…scary.

As an adult, there have been a few that have gotten close.  “White Noise” scared the bejesus out of me.  It wasn’t a particularly scary film, but the whole idea of the dead speaking through static…creepy.  And, maybe possible.  That’s what creeped me out.

However, “The Ring” was the closest I’ve ever gotten.  Seriously.  She climbed out of the well and then through the television screen?  That long black hair in her face.  Seriously scared me.  Lights on that night and for the next few nights after that.

I thought that I might have finally found it, tonight.  The movie “Paranormal Activity” has been touted as the scariest film of all time.  There were reports that people were leaving in the middle because they were so scared.  I think they were leaving because they were so bored.  It stunk.

So, tis the season to be scared out of your wits and I’m sitting here quite disappointed.  So, I’m asking you to share with me the scariest movies you know.  I’ve got Netflix.  I’ll rent them all.  But I need you to share the titles with me.

Please…help a girl out!

October 14, 2009


Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 7:16 am
Tags: , , , ,

I have to take a break from our regularly scheduled programming today to share something with you that I found absolutely hysterical but SO disturbing last night.

Do you remember the opening scenes of The Empire Strikes Back, when Han Solo and Luke were on the ice planet Hoth.  Luke had passed out or was frozen or something and Han was trying to get them to the rebel base?  Then, their big animal, the Tauntaun, freezes and dies as well?

What does Han do?  He slices open the animal and shoves Luke and himself inside to keep warm.

I can still remember the sound it made as the tauntaun’s guts spilled out on to the frozen tundra, and even though it was a movie, I was always sure I could smell it…particularly because Han even mentioned how bad it smelled.

Well, last night on Facebook, a friend of mine shared this link:



It is a Taunton sleeping bag so that your child, too, can sleep inside this large animal from the ice planet of Hoth.  Look closely…they’ve even drawn intestines on the inside.

This is absolutely hysterical and yet so disturbing to me on a fundamental level.  My kid sleeping inside an animal, snuggling into the intestines?  Ick.

Great marketing.  Very creative.  Very gross. )

October 13, 2009

I Love Football

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:54 am
Tags: ,

I think anyone who has been reading the blog this month understands how much I love fall.  However, I have failed to mention another reason I love fall.

Football season.

There is just something about fall and football season that make me feel all warm and snuggly inside.

Maybe it’s the memories of going to games with my Dad when I was a kid.  Having no sons, my Dad took me to different games all season long. 

We saw college games, pro games.  It didn’t matter.  If he could get tickets, we’d go.

I love the game of football.  I don’t really care who is playing…I just like watching a good game.  I cheer for everyone and get excited over good plays, despite who makes them.

Real Man is a Giants fan, so we catch the Giants game every week.

That, in and of itself, is a warm snuggly, homey experience.

Because, we always watch in the basement, with some yummy football snacks, which bring out the kids.

Monkey in the Middle always pulls out his Nerf football and tosses it with Real Man during the whole game.  Luckily, we have a dvr so that Real Man can go back and watch everything he misses from Monkey heads getting in front of the screen.

This week, we watched with tortilla chips, hot melted cheese, and pretzels.


I just love football.

October 12, 2009

Baking Fiends

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 7:16 am
Tags: ,

In fall, I love to bake.  I love to bake cookies and brownies and cakes and cupcakes.  Basically, anything I shouldn’t eat, I love to bake.

Today was a definite baking day.  However, I didn’t want to have all that nonsense around that would be tempting me.

So, I looked around and found that, since Baby Monkey had been in the hospital for the better part of the week, we had some way overripe bananas.  He’s the big banana eater in the house.

My decision?  Let’s make banana muffins!

These always go over big with the kids and they are way easy to make.

You need:


1 ¼ cups mashed ripe bananas (3 medium) (I usually use more to make them more banana-y)

3 tblspns vegetable oil

1 large egg

1/3 cup sugar

2 cups Bisquick Original Baking mix

½ cup raisins or chopped nuts (if desired)

Baby Monkey is allergic to peanuts and tree nuts, so we don’t use those.  We also had no raisins in the house today, so our muffins are sans extras.

Also, I don’t buy Bisquick.  I make it.  Here’s how:

 To make 1 cup of Bisquick I use –

1 cup flour (we use whole wheat flour, but either is fine)

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

¼  tsp salt

1 tsp shortening


So, you mix together the bananas, oil, egg and sugar until you get a really lumpy mixture.  Then, add in the “Bisquick” and extras (raisins, etc.) and blend until you just moisten the baking mix.

Pop them in the muffin pan. 


You can see that I use silicone muffin cups.  I love these things.  However, at the moment, I’m dismayed because the boys lost three of my cups while playing “bakery.”  There are nowhere to be found.  So, for today, I only have 9 of my beloved silicone cups.  I’m hoping to get a few silicone baking mats this fall, as well.  Much cheaper than parchment paper.

Bake for about 15 minutes at 400 degrees and cool them for 5 minutes in the pan, then move to a wire cooling rack. 


We eat them warm, with butter.  They don’t last long.



October 11, 2009

Real Sticky

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 9:23 am
Tags: , , , ,

So, I think the stress of the week finally caught up with me and by Friday, I was sick, sick, sick.

However, as those of you with kids know, being sick is not an option when there are little monkeys in the house.  So, I had to figure out what to do that required minimal effort on my part, but maximum time-eating-up on the part of the activity.

My genius idea?  Making caramel apples.

I had picked up this quick and easy package at ShopRite last weekend.

fall 003

We always have apples in the house, so I pulled out the package, washed off the apples, set it all on the counter and let the kids go to work.

First they all picked their apples.  Baby Monkey immediately began to eat his apple.

“But, Baby Monkey, if you eat your apple now, you won’t be able to put caramel on it!”

“I don’t like caramel.  I like apples with no sauce.”


Okay Bubba…whatever you say.

From there, it was easy.

The big monkeys wrapped up their apples and put in the sticks…

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…placed them on the tray…

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…baked for 5 minutes at 200 degrees and Voila!

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Icky, sticky, gooey goodness.

I had a few bites, but it was way too sweet for my tastes, and now, just thinking about it makes me a little sick.  Does that ever happen to you?  You try something when you are sick and then, psychologically, whenever you try it again, it makes you sick since you were sick the first time you tried it?  Anyone?  Yes?  No?  Really?  I’m alone in this?

Let’s just forget that last paragraph.

Anyway, the whole caramel apple thing made the kids feel crafty, so Monkey Girl pulled out her quilt and started working on it…

fall 004

…and the boys went upstairs to the craft table and started making “Get Well Mommy” cards.

And me?  Well, I got to lay down and rest.  I put up my feet, closed my eyes and let myself begin to drift away.

For a full two minutes. 

Because of course, then the boys started yelling that someone got marker on someone else and he took my paper and Monkey Girl needed help taking out a mis-stitch and I realized it was time to get dinner started and there was still laundry to be put away.

So, up I got and started working.  Because really…how can you refuse a face like this?

fall 005

October 10, 2009

Changed My Mind

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 10:02 am
Tags: ,

So, you  may remember that on my Real Annoying page, I have an aversion to the Kindle.

Well, I am woman enough to admit when I was wrong.

In the hospital, I read the book that I brought and found myself bookless. 

So, I whipped out my iPhone, downloaded the “Stanza” app, and the downloaded a book.  Voila!  I had a book to read and the world was right again.

So, while I still prefer a book made from beautiful, wonderful parchment…in a pinch, I’m not going to turn my nose up at a digital reader.

Take note of this.  I’m not often wrong. 🙂

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