My Real Life

July 21, 2012

Things I Miss

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am
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When I went to college, I had a Macintosh Color Classic computer.

I loved that thing.

Anyway, it was basically a word processor, but over time, I was able to get games for it.

One of my favorites was “Scarab of Ra.”

I loved that game.

It wasn’t particularly taxing, but it was a great game when I just wanted to relax and not really think too hard.

I’ve tried to find it, in the years since, but can’t seem to find a version to download.

I found one, and it told me I had to also get this other program to open it, but neither worked, so I deleted both.  Quickly.

I miss Scarab of Ra.


When I was a little, little kid, I had a Halloween album.

I loved this album.

Erin knows.  She listened to it with me.

I listened to this album, even when I wasn’t a little kid anymore.

I listened to this album, when I was a teenager, sometimes.

Reminded me of childhood.

My parents moved when I was in college, and when they did, the movers stole some of our things, including albums, and they also left our belongings in a leaky moving truck, overnight, outside, in a rainstorm.

Many, many things were completely ruined.

I don’t remember if this album was stolen or ruined, as I was in college, but the end result was that it was gone when I came home for Christmas that year.


Almost as devastating as the fact that my Shaun Cassidy album was also gone.

But, that’s another story.

So, I have been looking for a copy of this album ever since.

No luck.

I’d even be happy with getting the songs online, but the most I’ve found is four of the songs.


I miss my Halloween album.


My old roommate, Nita.

I’m not sure why, but I’ve been thinking a lot about her, recently, and I’m wondering how she’s doing.

When I graduated from college, I came home for awhile, and then decided I needed my own place.

I fell into a great deal…renting a house from the county with two roommates.

Large house, mature roommates, Nita and Mike, who both had jobs and responsibilities.

Mike lived downstairs and Nita and I had rooms upstairs.

We spent a lot of time just talking and laughing and just hanging.

I moved out when Real Man and I got married, a few years later, and Nita and Mike came to the wedding, but we lost touch over the years.

Now, I’m trying to find her, but haven’t met with any luck.

However, it appears as though I’ve found her in North Carolina.

Unfortunately, I found her mother’s obituary online, and in the obituary, found Nita and her 7 brothers and sisters listed, along with their cities.

Then, I went to and looked her up, and it appears as though she is living with her sister.

That’s it, though.  I have an address, but no other information.

Not on Facebook, not on Twitter, can’t find an email address online.

So, I’m going to have to reach out to her the old fashioned way.

Write her a letter.

And hope that it’s her.


When I moved home, after college, I brought my Macintosh Color Classic with me.

It was 1994 and it was the early, early stages of social networking.

When I went to college in 1990, there was barely email.  I certainly didn’t know anything about it.

By the last few months of my senior year, in 1994, Real Man and I were emailing each other…me from my dorm room, he from the computer lab at Rutgers.

I believe I had an AOL account, but I wanted something a little more.

So, I signed up for eWorld.

It was a Mac users online community and it was so cool.

It was like a smaller AOL, just for Mac users.

It was so cool.

Visually, it was colorful and pleasing to look at.

It wasn’t overstimulating, it was easy to use, and had everything.

Until it was cancelled in 1996.

And that stunk.


in 2001, there was a TV show called “Mystery in Small Town X.

It was part reality show, part drama, part mystery.

I really, really enjoyed it.

The premise was all a bit complicated, so please feel free to click the Wikipedia link above to read about it.

I think what I liked so much about it was that you could try to solve the mystery as you watched the show.

The sad part was that the winner of the show was a NYC firefighter who was killed in the September 11, 2001 attacks, about a week after the finale of the show aired.

Very, very sad.

Still, it was a great show and I wish they would do something similar again.



July 20, 2012

Five Question Friday

Filed under: Five Question Friday — Amy @ 6:00 am
1. What’s your view on men wearing sandals (yay or nay)?
I’m fine with it.
Sandals with socks…that’s a different story, but sandals in general, no problem.
Men deserve to have cool feet in the summer just as much as women do.

2. What song do you love but are embarrassed to admit?
I’m not embarrassed to admit anything about myself.
Clearly, I write a blog.
So, I can’t really answer this one.
I’ll be-bop with the tweens, waltz with the great-grandparents and do anything in between and hold my head high while doing it.

3. What summer camp should they make for moms? 
Hiking camp.
You bring the kids and they are cared for by competent professionals who will engage them in stimulating, creative and physical activities, and the Moms can hit the trail, sans kids.
Mom can hike at her own pace, without having to slow down, tie a shoe, having to answer “Are we there yet?” or stopping for 13 pees in the woods.
When she comes back, the kids are exhausted from their day, so when they all get home, Mom can get a nice shower and relax with a nice, hot cup of tea and a book, while the kids relax.
Yep…once a week, this would be a great summer camp!

4. What is the most romantic song? (Not necessarily your favorite or your wedding song…)
That’s a tough one, because I’m a sucker for a love song.
However, I’m a huge sucker for “Song for  Winter’s Night” by Sarah McLaughlin.
Beautifully sung, and a song about longing and love.

5. Do you have an embarrassing pregnancy story?
Not really.
At least, I can’t think of any.
I gained about 60 pounds with each pregnancy, so I waddled and looked horrific each time, but I wasn’t embarrassed.
I sneezed and peed a little in my pants when we were at the mall about a week before I was due with Tiny, but hey…it happens when you have an enormous baby playing tether ball with your bladder.
When I still had two months to go, people were asking if I was overdue, every single pregnancy.
I cried like a baby for my last 3 c-sections before they put the spinal in, because I was so terrified, and they all turned out just fine.
I think everything that happens, embarrassingly-wise, is par for the course with pregnancy.  It doesn’t pay to get worked up about it…it happens to everyone.
I’m awful, because I have little sympathy for first-time pregnant people who act like they are the only people who have ever been pregnant.  Take it in stride.  Quit complaining.  Enjoy it.  There are so many people in this world who would give anything, ANYTHING to be where you are right now, so buck up and smile.

July 19, 2012

Pictures You Haven’t Seen

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

The other night, I hooked my phone into my Mac and I was having trouble getting it to sync.

When it finally did, it was stuck on some older photos that I still have on my phone.

I scrolled through and became completely lost in memories.

I decided to share some of them with you.

Not because they are fantastic photos…just because I thought you’d enjoy them.

Not all are terribly old, either.

And, not all are terribly deep or meaningful.

But, they are us.

So, enjoy.


This first shot is from February 7, 2011.

13 days before Tiny was born, but over a month before he was due.

This photo is not for the faint of heart.

I tried to explain my stretch marks to Monkey in the Middle earlier today.

This photo was incredibly helpful.


I love this photo of Tiny and Baby Monkey.

Two peas in a pod, those two, despite the 5 years between them.

Hope that never changes.


This photo was taken in Newark Airport as Real Man and I waited for our flight to Ft. Lauderdale.

We both got blueberry muffins.

We talked as we ate, and all of the sudden we looked at our respective muffins and just started cracking up.

This is what we mean when we say we are very different people, but we complement each other beautifully.

After 5 minutes, this was my muffin:

After 5 minutes, this was his muffin:

It’s why we work so well.


This photo was taken at Mark’s wedding in Ft. Lauderdale.

It was windy.

It made me laugh.


Babies are great for finding all of the hidden dangers in a house.

And, all of the tight spaces.


This is the house in which I grew up.

We moved into this house when I was 8 and my parents moved across town when I was in college.

I loved this house.

I loved this house so much.

I even loved mowing the ridiculously slanted front lawn.

It was old, there were awesome hiding places, a huge basement for me to roller skate in, a garage that still had the iron rings in the wall from where the people used to tie up the horses, a chimney outside my bedroom window with bricks sticking out so you could climb up, and just general fabulousness.

I loved that house.

My parents moved when I was in college because they thought my grandfather was going to have to come live with us and there were only two bedrooms, and the architect said there was no structurally sound place to build a third bedroom.

I cried when they moved.

I still drive by, every now and then.


Babies are not thrilled by Harmon’s Beauty Supply.


Since I have a Nook, in order to control myself in Barnes and Noble, when I go there, I take photos of the books I want to read, and then put them on my list at home, and download them when I get a gift card for my birthday or Christmas.

Here are my latest desires: (if anyone has read any of these, please let me know if they are worth it!)

(looking at the John Sandford on the bottom shelf for this one)


A few weeks ago, we had pizza for dinner.

Baby Monkey burst out laughing after a few bites.

We asked what was so funny.

He said, “Look!  I ate my pizza so it looks like underwear!”

Oh, how I love my little boys.


On the left is me.

On the right is my 11 year old.

Lord, help me, she’s gonna be one tall drink of water.


He doesn’t sit in a high chair.

He eats with his own fork.

Might as well get his own place, because he clearly doesn’t need his Mama anymore.

July 18, 2012

Conversations From My House

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

Monkey in the Middle was really into a book he was reading the other day, and I wanted Real Man to know.

So, I texted him.

Here’s how it went:

Me:  “Mom, this book is so good, I can’t stop reading it!” – Monkey in the Middle

Real Man:  50 shades?


He doesn’t remember how it started, but Real Man relayed this conversation to me the other day.

Baby Monkey:  The only one who can kill dinosaurs with a sword is God.  Well, I guess we could use a knife.

Real Man:  Do you think dinosaurs are still alive?

Baby Monkey:  No.  They’re all dead.  And the dragons.  But the horses are still alive.

Real Man:  The horses?

Baby Monkey:  You know.  That the knights rode on?

Real Man:  Well, they’re not alive, but their kids, kids, kids, kids, kids are.

Baby Monkey:  Huh.  I never realized horses had kids.


Baby Monkey:  I don’t want to grow up and get a job.

Me:  Why is that?

Baby Monkey:  Because I’ll miss you so much when I’m at work.

Me:  Aw, I’ll miss you, too, Baby.  But, I can always come and visit you!

Baby Monkey:  No, mom.  You never see Mrs. The Builder at Bob’s job!


This one is not so much a conversation as an experience.

Baby Monkey and I were headed to the library.

I’m waiting at the garage door for him and I hear “squish, squish, squish, squish.”

I turn around and see him and say, “What’s that sound?”

Baby Monkey:  I don’t know.

Me:  Well, it has to be something.  Are you carrying water or something?

Baby Monkey:  No….but…

Me:  Yes?

Baby Monkey:  My sneakers were dirty from camp, so I washed them.

Me:  What?

Baby Monkey:  Yeah, I washed ’em in the sink and they’re real clean now!  See!

At which point I look down at his feet and see gleaming black sneakers, and many little footprint puddles behind him leading back, through the house, to the kitchen sink.


July 17, 2012

It’s Done

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

5 hours of my Saturday.

5 episodes of Downton Abbey (which I am VERY sad is all over now, until next season).

Every stinking piece of laundry in the house.





Put away.

And for the rest of the summer, we wear the same clothes every day.

Or else I’m going to lose my mind.

July 16, 2012

Day Trip

First of all…the winner of our Caption Contest!  Thanks to the Random Number Generator at, the winner is:


Congrats, Carla!  I’ll put your iTunes card in the mail! 🙂

Now, onto today’s post!

One of the things I had hoped to do with the monkeys, this summer, was to take them on some day trips.

Things we can’t do during the school year.

So, on Friday, my friend, Jean, and I packed up our 6 kids, hopped in my truck, and headed to Philadelphia.

On the agenda?

The Please Touch Museum and Eastern State Penitentiary.

We packed a lunch, and followed the GPS directions to the Museum.

We found a parking lot, paid, ate our lunch in the back of the truck, and then headed out.

We walked around for awhile, following the directions from the parking attendant, but there seemed to be no museum anywhere.

So, we finally started asking people, and we were met with blank stares and confusion.

Finally, someone told us that the museum had moved and was a 15 minute drive away.

Jean and I laughed, turned around, headed back to the truck and rerouted the GPS.

Then we arrived.

None of us had ever been to the Please Touch Museum before, and when I posted on Facebook that we were thinking of going there, it got mixed reviews.

It exceeded expectations.

The kids loved it.

Even Monkey Girl, for whom it was probably a little young.

Here are some highlights, but please know these don’t even begin to cover everything at the museum.

At the Pit Stop, Tiny “drove” a race car.

Until, that is, he saw Baby Monkey playing pit crew, with the magnetic tires and car parts.

Then, he had to get in on the action.

In the Space room, Baby Monkey donned an astronaut outfit and headed into space.

Each themed area had a space for kids who were three and under, and as a result, Tiny got to harvest some potatoes,

Almost fell in a laundry basket,

and hung mittens for the three little kittens.

He sailed away with the Owl and the Pussycat,

and spun straw into gold.

Finally, he watched over while Monkey Girl napped, at the end of the rainbow, to the tune of some nursery rhyme lullabies.

They loved playing on the big piano, and as he was enchanted with the keys lighting up under his feet, Tiny needed to get down for some closer inspection.

At the end of our time there, we took a ride on the carousel.

Aside from the activities, one of my favorite parts of the museum were the displays of older toys.

Two, in particular, caught my attention because I owned both, as a kid, and played with them until they were completely worn out.

I play hard.

The first was the Family Tree House:

I loved that Tree House.  It went side-by-side with my Weeble tree house.

The other was the Smurf village:

Oh, how I loved my Smurfs.

So, when we finished with the museum, we headed to the penitentiary.

We were all starving, so despite the fact we had already had lunch, we decided all that exercise and movement at the museum had earned us “second lunch.”

Because, you know…we’re Hobbits.

Right down the street from the penitentiary is a phenomenal pizza place.  Seriously some of the best pizza I’ve ever had, and that’s saying a lot, because I’m from Jersey.

At the penitentiary, we took the audio tour, which was self-guided, and I definitely suggest people take audio tours.  The kids listened, were quiet, and were fascinated.

Al Capone’s cell was fascinating to all of us.  Crazy that the guards would allow him to have such luxuries when he was such a bad guy.

Not everyone was thrilled with the prison, but it’s understandable, because while he had been allowed to run and play at the museum, he had to stay contained in the stroller at the penitentiary.

It was a great day of adventuring.

The boys all slept on the way home (I have been asked by Monkey in the Middle NOT to share the photo of them sleeping, and so I will not) and Jean and I got to relax and chat while we drove.

Good friends, good food, good entertainment, good day.

July 15, 2012

Guest Post by Monkey Girl!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

Hi!  This is Monkey Girl, and today I want to talk about one of me and mom’s many walks.  This particular walk was on Patriots Path.

This is a map of the Morris County park system.

We saw lots of nature!  One of my favorites were these two interesting trees.I love the way the vines look all fuzzy!  Mommy thinks that it looks like the long neck of an ostrich.  I think it looks like a snake when it curls around sticks and branches.We both love seeing giant uprooted trees.  They look so big and majestic.  If it was closer to the path I would probably want to stand on it and look down at the path.  Because the tree wasn’t by the path, instead I got to pose on sewer tops.  We also had some evidence that the park ranger came by on his/her horse.Yuck!

There were lots of rivers to see.

We’ve had a bit of a dry spell, so some were a little dry and waterless.It was a long, beautiful walk, and we all had a lot of fun.Some of us, however, were worn out, by the end.We had a great walk and before I say goodbye,  Tiny wanted to blow you a quick kiss.Goodbye! (But just for now 🙂 )

July 14, 2012

The Vocal Stylings of Monkey Girl!

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

Today, I’m sharing with you an audio clip of Monkey Girl’s first voice recital.

She sang “If I Ruled The World” from the musical Pickwick.

She had only been in voice for a few months and was the youngest in the group and was quite nervous.

However, she went and did her best and we were so proud!

I thought she did great, and even though I am admittedly biased, I think you will too!


02 If I Ruled the World

July 13, 2012

Five Question Friday

Filed under: Five Question Friday — Amy @ 6:00 am

1. Is love at 1st sight possible?

I absolutely think so.

I don’t think love can be defined, and I think it happens for everyone in different ways, and I 100% believe that for some people, it can happen instantly.

2. How did you choose your pet’s name?

My very first dog was named Nellie.

I named her after Nellie Bly, the first female investigative journalist.

I SO wanted to be an investigative reporter.

Anyway, we had Nellie for one day and one night.

My Dad and I sat there with blood pouring out of our noses and realized that Nellie and our allergies weren’t going to mix.

So, back she went.

My next dog, Keebler, lived a long, happy life with our family.

My friend, Gail, and I named him while sitting in the back seat of my Dad’s car, on the way home from the pound.

He was in a cardboard box, and there were newspapers on the bottom of the box.

One on of the papers was an ad for Keebler Fudge cookies.

Keebler, it was.

I got Scooby Doo while I was in college.

I loved Scooby Doo when I was a kid, and decided that if I ever had another dog, after Keebler, his name would be Scooby Doo.

So, my roommate, DeeDee, and I went with Scooby Doo.

When Real Man and I got married, we also got a dog.

We named him Linus, as that was our favorite Peanuts character, but after one day, we decided he’d get beat up by the other neighborhood dogs with a name like Linus.

So, we changed it to Ben, because I had always loved the name.

So, Ben, or Bennie, it was.

Loved that guy.

3. What are you considering giving up (cable, home phone)?

I go back and forth about giving up our land line and just living off our cell phones, but I like having a central number for the family.



4. How much do you pay your babysitter?

Um, with hugs and kisses?

Right now, our only babysitters are our parents.

We don’t go out much, so we don’t use them much at night, but they are huge helps to us in the morning, getting the kids on the bus, and after school, if I have meetings, getting the kids off the bus.

One of these days, soon, we know we’ll need to get an actual babysitter (of course, Monkey Girl is getting older) but right now, it’s grandparent-nation around here.

And believe me, we are SO grateful.

5. How “young” is old enough to babysit?

It really depends on the child.

I think I started when I was 11 or 12.

Monkey Girl would like to start and is going to take the Red Cross babysitting course so she can get going on it.

She’ll be a great babysitter, and would probably be fine now, but I think she can wait until she was 12.


Don’t forget to enter our Caption Contest!

July 12, 2012

Random Thoughts

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

1.  I couldn’t help, but wonder, as I took a walk, if anyone else would see this on the ground and immediately think “I should pick that up, because it would be excellent for staking vampires,” or if it was just me.

2.  Darkness falls across the land / The midnight hour is close at hand / Creatures crawl in search of blood / To terrorize y’all’s neighbourhood / And whosoever shall be found / Without the soul for getting down / Must stand and face the hounds of hell / And rot inside a corpse’s shell. / The foulest stench is in the air / The funk of 40,000 years / And grizzy ghouls from every tomb / Are closing in to seal your doom / And though you fight to stay alive / Your body starts to shiver / For no mere mortal can resist / The evil of the thriller.

Once you realized what that was, you read it in Vincent Price’s voice, didn’t you?

3.  I love music, and I love how most music is associated with a memory in my life.

When I hear “No One is to Blame” by Howard Jones or “In the Air Tonight” by Phil Collins, I am immediately at Michaela’s shore house and in 8th grade.  Sitting on a boat, eating fudge sticks and drinking iced tea.

“Ghetto Bastard” by Naughty by Nature takes me right to college, in a frat rec room, where I watched many, many midwestern boys trying very hard to be ghetto while rapping it out.  I still know all the words and love that song.

The flip side is that “I Got Friends in Low Places” by Garth Brooks brings me to the same frat rec room, and always seemed a much more appropriate song for those boys, and to this day, I cringe when I hear that one.

4.  I think it’s weird that babies are born with excellent posture.

I mean, once they can sit up…not when they are new and all slumpy.

Tiny puts me to shame on a daily basis.

When we read or if we’re watching something or just sitting outside, watching the world, he sits so straight and I realize how slouched I am.

You’d think posture would be a learned behavior, but then you see him and you realize, “No…I’m just really, really stupid when it comes to sitting up straight.”

5.  This e-card (with which I have already documented my love/hate relationship) tickled my fancy this week:

6.  This picture reminded me of the time we went to a restaurant and the bathrooms were labeled “Espresso” and “Cappuccino.”


7.  Still decluttering.

High chair is gone and (not so) Tiny is sitting with us at the table in a booster seat.

The high chair was freecycled and the person who took it emailed and said it was perfect and was so grateful.

Love freecycle.

I’ve listed some other baby things, that we purchased, on eBay.  (We only sell what we bought…if it was given to us, we pass along the love.)

Getting ready to take a hard look at my closet, next week, and see what can go.

Because, I’m sure there are things that can go.

I tend to wear the same things over and over and over.

My students can tell you.

8.  I’m slowly realizing that if anyone were to peruse my Pinterest posts, they’d realize I have a serious addiction.

To showers and bookshelves.

Find me a stone shower with bookshelves installed.


9.  I have to believe I’m not the only person who turns over the magazines in the bathrooms so the people on the cover aren’t watching me go.

10.  Layla

There is just something about the original, fast, rock version of that song.

Such passion.  Such desire.  Such longing.

I’ve always loved it, but then after I read the Clapton biography, I loved it more.

Don’t forget to enter our Caption Contest!

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