My Real Life

June 30, 2011

Conversation with my Baby

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 8:39 am

June 29, 2011

The Power of Ownership

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 12:11 am

For Easter, my parents gave each of the monkeys a $10 gift card to a local dollar-type store, $5 Below.

My kids love this store.

It’s full of crappy stuff that kids love.

If you look carefully, you can sometimes find a gem or two, but for the most part, you can guarantee that what you leave with will be broken in a week’s time.

Anyway, the forecast called for thunderstorms today, and the kids decided they didn’t want to risk the pool.

So, we decided to head to $5 Below so the kids could use their gift cards.

They got their wallets in order before we left.

Monkey Girl had a few extra dollars in her wallet, plus her $10 gift card, plus a $5 gift card she had received from her Girl Scout leaders at their pool party.

Monkey in the Middle had his $10 gift card, plus $2 cash that he (amazingly) hadn’t already spent from money he had earned doing his chores.

Baby Monkey had his $10 gift card from Easter.

Monkey in the Middle immediately said “Hey, Baby Monkey…I’ll give you one of my dollars so we both have $11.”

Baby Monkey was appropriately grateful and I was a proud Mama.

Off to the store we went, and after 45 minutes, we finally walked out.

What took so long was that they were really very thoughtful about what they wanted to buy.

Monkey in the Middle, in particular.

We got in and out of the checkout line at least four times as he changed his mind about what to get.

After the third time, I began to realize that the reason he was changing his mind so often was because the money was his.

We’ve stopped in to that store a few times, here and there, and I’ve offered to get everyone one thing, and they pick quickly and leave with garbage.

Yet, today, the monkeys were spending their own money and they wanted to make good choices and get the best items for their cash.

So, when we finally left, Monkey Girl had 2 hot pink hair extensions for her hair (she’s been eyeing these for quite some time), an electronic pet called a Meeba, and a Super Secret Spy kit.  I haven’t seen her since we got home, as she’s been in her room fingerprinting things.

Baby Monkey had a robot –arm-grabber-thingy that he’s been coveting, a Batman movie, and 3 SpiderMan action figures.

And, Monkey in the Middle left with a Giants toy truck that has doors that open and close, a foam bat extension for the Wii remote for the baseball game, and a fancy race car.

With the exception of the hair extensions and the robot-arm-grabber-thingy, I’d hesitate to call any of it crap, and I was proud to see them really agonize over choosing just the right thing.

There is power in ownership, even when it’s just the ownership of the money that is being used to buy something.

Good lesson for my family and me.

June 28, 2011


Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 7:27 am

So, I believe you may have gleaned from many of my posts, here, over the past two years, the fact that Monkey Girl is a good kid.

A seriously good kid.

So, you can imagine the amount of inside giggles I got from the following story.

Monday afternoon, the kids and I took the donations from Monkey Girl’s birthday party to the Interfaith Food Pantry.

The Food Pantry happens to be right next to the county Juvenile Detention Center.


I’m not sure how my kids know about Juvie, but they do.

In fact, Monkey in the Middle was talking about Juvie just the other day.

Anyway, as we drive by, Monkey Girl kind of slumps in her seat and gets quiet.

I say, “What’s the matter, sweetie?”

She says, “I think I’m going to wind up in Juvie.”

I almost swerved right off the road.

“Excuse me?”

“I think I’m going to wind up in Juvie.”

“What would you ever do to end up in Juvie?”

Then, she went on to list the things she’s done to begin the long road to Juvie.

You know, things like rolling her eyes when I’ve asked her to do something, wishing I had made something else for dinner, waiting until her brother falls asleep, on sleepover nights, and then moving him over so she can have more space.

Sarcastic Amy had to bite her tongue to stop myself from saying “Yep…totally Juvie-worthy.”

It was hard.  Really hard, but I could see that she was serious.

So, I was able to control myself and respond with a “Sweetheart, you will never, ever go to Juvie.”

And from the back seat, Monkey in the Middle called out, “Yeah…I’m TOTALLY going to Juvie before you are!”

June 27, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 7:21 am

Once upon a time, there was a little girl.

She asked her Mama if she could get her hair cut for the summer.

Her Mama said, “Are you sure?  You love your long hair!”

The little girl said, ‘Yep!”

And so, she did.

And the little girl was happy.

The End.

June 26, 2011

6512 and Growing

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 8:36 am

Thanks to Google Reader, I read many, many blogs.

I say it is thanks to GR, because without being able to have the blog updates sent to one, central location, I’d never be able to stay on top of them all.

Seriously…it’s a great thing.

You should try it.

Anyway, one of my favorite blogs is 6512 and Growing

Rachel, her husband Dan and children Col and Rose lead a completely different life than I do.

And while I am more than happy and satisfied in my life, every now and then, I’d like for my family to switch places for hers, so that my children could have some of the life experiences hers are exposed to every day.

While I could definitely forgo the hunting and skinning of the animals (works beautifully for them, I’ll take the deli case at ShopRite) it just seems to be such a peaceful and “authentic” life.

Today’s post had me longing for the switch, again.

Visit her blog, if you get a chance, and read about her 3 day camping trip, an experience the likes of which they have often, and I challenge you not to wish that you, too, were spending your days as they do.

June 25, 2011

Five Question Friday…on Saturday!

Filed under: Five Question Friday — Amy @ 7:42 am
1. What is your current favorite tv show?
Hard to pick!

For comedy, I love Modern Family.

For drama, I love Bones.

However, there are about 30 other shows in my line-up that I love almost equally.  These two just get a little edge over the others.

2. What’s the worst haircut you ever got?
That would be the do-it-yourself haircut I created when I was 4.
It wasn’t supposed to be a haircut.
I was watching Sesame Street and Big Bird was making a nest for himself, and I thought, “What fun!”
My hair was almost to my behind, it was yellow and straw-like.  Wouldn’t THAT make a great nest?
So, I cut all my hair off to above my ear on one side of my head and tried to fashion it into a nest.
Needless to say, my Mother was NOT happy, and there was much screaming and yelling and crying for the rest of the day.
Lesson to parents…Sesame Street is a bad influence.
3. What was something that you did as a child that you thought you were so cool for doing?
I’ve always been pretty self-aware, so I have always known that ‘coolness’ wasn’t something I was ever going to achieve.
I was more Jan Brady to the Marcia’s who were my friends.
The Ugly Betty to the Vanessa Williams that surrounded me.
So, coolness and I have never really been on speaking terms.
However, when my friends all got braces and retainers and I was blessed with perfectly straight teeth, I was jealous.
So, I took a paper clip, uncurled it and tried to wear it on my top teeth, like a homemade retainer.
Looked like a retainer to me, and I felt like one of the cool kids with the metal mouth.
I believe this story is further evidence of my complete lack of “cool.”
I have many, many stories like this.
4. Do you have any GREAT frugal family fun tips?
The library.
There is so much to do at the library.
We can spend hours at the library, reading books, playing on the computers, selecting books to take home then putting them back because we couldn’t wait to read them until we left the library, getting other books, taking out movies.
In the summer they have kids book clubs, lunch with the librarian, Friday movie showings, craft sessions, etc.
It’s the best, free place  you can go.
5. Would you drive across country if you had the money to fly?
I love to fly.
Seriously, love to fly.
I actually wanted to be a pilot.  It was my dream.
Until we found out that my eyesight was too bad to ever get behind the controls of an aircraft.
Crushed dream #1.
Anyway, I love to fly, so you would think my answer would be to fly.
However, I’ve recently been thinking about how much I’d love to rent an RV and drive with the family cross-country.
I would just love the family-togetherness and opportunity to see the country.
I’d want to take the Blue Highways (fantastic novel if you’ve never read it) and see the pieces of America that don’t show up on the travel websites.
Can’t do that from a plane.

June 24, 2011

Friday Five – Wonder

Filed under: Five Question Friday — Amy @ 8:08 am

(The Friday Five taken from The Gypsy Mama)

The end of the week – a good time for few words.

Want to take five minutes with me and see which ones bubble to the surface?

Let’s just write and not worry if it’s just right or not.

Today’s prompt – Wonder


Last night I was full of wonder as I lay on my bed.

Every summer I rewatch the Little House on the Prairie series.  Head to the library and rent them all, one disc at a time.

For someone as tech involved as I am, it may seem strange that I am so drawn to stories about a much, much simpler time, but I am.  I love it.  It reinvigorates me to center on the home and I really enjoy it.

So, Real Man and I were on the bed, me watching the show while playing with the baby, he playing on his Xoom tablet.  One by one, the monkeys made their way into the room.  First, Monkey Girl, then Baby Monkey, then, finally, Monkey in the Middle.  Soon, all 6 of us were snuggled on our bed, bodies crisscrossed, entangled, resting on each other, chatting and watching and enjoying.

And that’s where the wonder entered the mix.  I looked around and couldn’t believe that this was my family.  This baby with impossibly tiny toes and fingers that grab things and push him forward as he begins the process of trying to crawl.  This girl who loves with her whole heart, making me smile as she managed to read a book AND watch the show AND talk to the rest of us about her day.  This 7-year old boy who never, ever stops, just resting and watching and asking questions as he views them completing tasks that are completely foreign to him, like washing clothes on a washboard and in a bucket.  That little boy, who fell fast asleep at the foot of the bed, completely safe and secure in the love and comfort of his family.  And, that Real Man, sitting next to me, watching over all of us, smiling to himself knowing that we all belong to him, just as much as he belongs to all of us.

Every inch of this bed covered with the people that make me complete and I was filled with wonder.  Wonder that, not only had we created life, but that we had nurtured it and help it to grow into these little, amazing beings.  Wonder at the unlimited potential inside each of them.  Wonder at the science of how they form and grow, and wonder


Well, there it is.  Take it for what it’s worth.

I think my favorite thing about the Friday Five is that everyone’s interpretation of the prompt is so wonderfully different.  If you visit The Gypsy Mama you can see that her thoughts on “wonder” vary greatly from mine, but are wonderful to read.

Hope you’ve enjoyed today’s offering.

June 19, 2011

Why I Love Her

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 9:50 pm

Monkey Girl had her long-awaited (4 months overdue) birthday party this weekend.

It was a roller-skating party and it was fun.

A lot of fun.

Monkey Girl asked her friends to forgo bringing her a gift, and to instead, please bring a donation to the local food pantry.

This wasn’t an original idea of hers; a friend of hers did this with a party earlier in the year and she really liked the sentiment behind it.

She toyed with it for months.

Then, when it was time to send the invitations, she decided she definitely wanted to do it.

And so, when we wrote the invitations, we asked that, in lieu of a gift for her, to please bring a donation for the food pantry.

Wow, did her friends comply.

She had 8 friends come to the party and look at everything they donated:

When she saw the pile put on the coffee table like that, she felt good.

Looking at the picture, I realize it doesn’t do it justice.  It goes back to cover about half of the coffee table.

When we bring it to the food pantry this week, she’ll feel even better.

Man, am I proud of her and impressed by the generosity of her friends.

It was a good day.

June 17, 2011

Five Question Friday

Filed under: Five Question Friday — Amy @ 10:19 pm
1. What is your favorite summer time activity?
Early morning walks on the beach.  Hands down.
When we go to the beach, each summer, Monkey in the Middle is always the first up and he comes and gets me right away.
We get up before anyone else is stirring and we walk along the boardwalk.
We pass early morning joggers and get the first fruits and veggies as the farmers market stand opens for the day.
It’s quiet and still and it’s rare time alone with my guy.
Hands down…favorite summer activity.

2. Do you have one laundry soap you stick to, or do you buy whatever’s on sale?
I like Tide.
My kids are worse than the kids in commercials with the messes they make.
I can’t even identify all of the stains on their clothes.
I use Tide.

3. What is your favorite dinner to make in the summer?
Hahahaha…anyone else remember that commercial where the woman answers the question, “What’s for dinner” with her heavy Brooklyn accent saying “Reservations!”
Burgers and dogs on the grill are my favorite summer meal to make.
Because I don’t enjoy cooking.  That’s why.

4. Do you have any talents?
Everyone has talents.
It’s just a matter of finding them.

5. If you could instantly be an expert in something, what would it be? Why?
I’m always worried that I’m messing it all up.

June 14, 2011

Best Bobblehead Ever!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 7:33 pm

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