My Real Life

February 26, 2014

Hot Pants

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

So, I’m a little creeped out, at times, by the targeted ads that Facebook shares with me.

I’m a little curious what, in my shopping history, has persuaded Facebook to show me an ad for Handerpants.

However, I’m not the least bit surprised when I see ads for weight loss products.

So, it wasn’t a shock when ads for Zaggora Atomica Hot Pants started showing up on the right side of my screen.

For months and months, when I would log in to Facebook, there it would be.

The ad for Zaggora Hot Pants with Thermofit Technology that would help me burn more calories.

Pants that burn calories.



But one day, I was weak.

I’m not sure exactly what it was that pushed me over the edge, but I finally licked the Cheetos dust from my fingers, moved the mouse, and clicked on the hot pants.

I read what the website had to say and I was intrigued.



But intrigued enough to click around some more.

As it turns out, they were having a huge sale and I had a Visa gift card burning a hole in my pocket.

So, I ordered them.

They feel a lot like a scuba suit.

Kinda like I’m wearing styrofoam pants.

But, if you wear them for 96 hours straight, say, like, during the season of never ending snow days, they become quite comfortable and almost like a second skin.

Okay, I guess anything becomes like a second skin if you wear it for 96 hours straight, but you see what I’m saying.

I started to feel like I was losing inches and then I wondered if I was losing weight, as well.

So, I hopped on the scale.


So, I went back to the website to register my complaint.

And found this:

“Both studies confirm the finding that exercising in Zaggora Hotwear can increase calorie burn.

The UB Study tested 13 subjects in Zaggora HotPants and 13 in standard active wear and found that exercising in HotPants can increase energy expenditure during exercise by an average of 11%.

The ETS Study first tested 30 subjects in Zaggora Hotwear and 30 subjects in standard active wear and found that exercising in Zaggora Hotwear can lead to an increase in energy expenditure as compared to standard active wear of 6% on average.

When testing a group of 10 subjects running at a constant speed, subjects in Zaggora Hotwear burned 9.7% more calories than subjects in standard exercise clothing during 30 minutes of exercise.”


I have to exercise in them?

I can’t just lounge around and feel the burn?

I altered the plan and did some exercise while wearing the hotpants.

I definitely sweated more in the areas the pants were covering.

And afterward, my jeans were a little looser, but I really don’t know if it’s because I lost any inches or if it’s because after being that compressed for that long, it takes awhile for your organs and skin to go back to their original positions.

I guess if I really were serious about losing inches, I’d run a 5k every morning, like Real Man does.


February 23, 2014


Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

This one hits me the hardest.


She’s thirteen today.

She was my first baby.

I learned it all with her.

She calls me her BFF and we snuggle and whisper in her bed after her brothers have gone to sleep and she tells me everything that happened during her day.

I wrap my arms around her and try to hold her like I did when she was little, despite the fact that she is my size.

I want to protect her from anything that will hurt her, but it’s started already.

Broken hearts.

False friends.

Feeling like she isn’t enough.

But, oh, my love.  You are enough.

You are more than enough.

I want her to not make the mistakes I made.

Yet, I know that it’s my mistakes that have made me who I am today, so I bite my tongue and hold her hand and kiss away her tears when she makes them, knowing she’s learned, as I learned before her.

She’s brilliant.

She’s kind.

She’s beautiful.

She’s talented.

She. Is. Everything.

And today, my first baby…my mirror…my heart…

Is thirteen.


February 20, 2014


Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

My baby is three today.

My last baby.

I’ll never have a two year old in my home, again, and for a long time, I thought that fact would kill me.

And, I can’t lie, it does make my heart ache, but this kid makes it all so amazing, that I feel like the journey with him is worth the loss of what we’ll never have again.

He’s a character, this one.

That smile.

That laugh.

He wants, so badly, to do everything his siblings are doing and they let him, and love him and care for him in ways that make me cry silent tears of gratitude.

Because, everyone who meets him wants to love him.

He’s infectious.

It’s amazing to me that, as I scrolled through the pictures in my media library for the blog, to find pictures of Tiny for today, there was a point where there were no pictures of him because the blog came about years before he did.

That’s crazy, because it feels like he’s always been with us.

And today, he’s three.

IMG_4732 SONY DSC IMG_4311 SONY DSC SONY DSC SONY DSC IMG_4028 IMG_4029 SONY DSC IMG_3599 IMG_3162 IMG_1463 Flashdanceboy

February 17, 2014

Bert and the Missing Mop Mix-Up

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

Last year, I had the pleasure of meeting Nicole Leigh Shaw, one of my co-authors of I Just Want to Pee Alone.

She’s a trip.

Nicole writes a very funny blog, Nicole Leigh Shaw, Tyop Artist.

You see?  See what she did there?

Anyway, one of Nicole’s regular features is the Character Assassination Carousel.


It’s not as bad as it sounds.

Well, actually…

On the CAC, a blogger takes a children’s book and finds all of the ridiculousness that is hiding in the midst of a sweet story for children.

Last week, Nicole featured Miss Spartacus who wrote about Harold and the Purple Crayon, which, while I love the imagery and creativity of the story, always has me wondering, ‘Where the heck are his parents?’

As my turn approached, I struggled to figure out which book I would choose.

I have four children AND I’ve been a teacher for 18 years.

At this point, I feel like I can safely say that I know all the children’s books.

So, I decided to go with one that we know well, but that maybe other people didn’t know so well.

It’s a little book that I picked up at a garage sale about ten years ago.

It’s called Bert and the Missing Mop Mix-Up.



So, let’s talk…

The story starts out plainly enough.

Bert is painting (which is not a surprise, because of the two, Bert is clearly the worker bee) and he’s working so hard, he decides he’s thirsty.

What else would a grown man who has spent the day painting the kitchen want to quench his thirst?

A glass of milk.

Except, as Bert grabs the milk from the fridge, it slips from his grasp and splashes all over the floor.

Bert, not used to a mess, (because you’ll remember, from your childhood, that Bert is also the neat one) starts screaming for Ernie.

Ernie runs into the kitchen and immediately misunderstands what has happened.

“Bert!  Why did you pour milk on the floor?”

And Bert, who is ever frustrated with Ernie, corrects him.

And then, he asks Ernie to leave the apartment and go find a mop.


This puzzles me.

Bert is known for his neatness.

It’s kinda his thing.

And yet, there is not a mop in the house?

I mean,  I can kinda get on board with this, because there’s not a mop in my house, either.

But, what I do have…what I use at least four times a day to clean up spilled milk…is paper towels.

I find it hard to believe that Bert doesn’t have paper towels in the house.

Or napkins.

Or dishtowels.

Or that it doesn’t even cross Bert’s mind to use the drop cloth that is spread on the floor, right next to the spill.

But, no.

Bert needs a mop.

And Ernie, being the dedicated “roommate” that he is, heads right out to Sesame Street to find Bert a mop.

The first person that Ernie sees is Betty Lou (not to be confused with Prairie Dawn).

Betty Lou doesn’t show up on the tv show too much, however, she’s a big player in the Sesame Street books.

I hear she’s more than a little afraid of the camera and it’s ten pounds.

So, Ernie explains the situation to Betty Lou who immediately offers to help, because what else would someone do on Sesame Street?

Then you turn the page.



A map?

Looks like Hooper needs to start stocking Q-tips.

Misunderstanding or not, Betty Lou commits to help and runs off down the street.

She makes a smart choice, here, because she runs directly to Oscar’s trash can.

If anyone has a map (even though no one actually needs a map) it’ll be Oscar, cuz that guy has everything in that can.

So, she bangs the lid, is greeted with Oscar’s usual nastiness, and she asks for a map.

Oscar says he’s sleeping and doesn’t know if he has a map and goes back inside.

When he’s sure Betty Lou is gone, he pokes his head and out decides that if Bert needs a mat, he’ll find one and then everyone on Sesame Street will leave him alone.

It’s at this point, when I’m reading this to the kids, that I do some thinking reading and say things like “Hmmm…I’m beginning to see a pattern here.  Are you seeing a pattern?  What is happening?” and then we discuss the mix-up.

It’s also at this point that, in my head, I start saying to myself, “Aw crap…this is going to be endless.”

Since Oscar’s can doesn’t really move (although I have seen him hop it around on occasion), we need to wait until someone comes to him for the next mix-up to occur.

Who could it be?

It probably won’t be any of the humans on the street because they have actual brains.

So, who’s the biggest dummy on Sesame Street?



This guy.

The first mistake Big Bird makes is asking Oscar how his day is, as if Oscar will respond in any other way than “Rotten.”

Because Oscar knows Big Bird will just stand there, looking stupidly at him until he elaborates, Oscar explains that Bert is looking for a mat and he is trying to find one, despite the obvious fact that he hates helping.

If Big Bird were a true friend, he might take this as an opportunity to help Oscar get to the root of his issues.

“But why,” he might begin, “do you hate helping so much?  Did your mother ask you to do too many chores as a child?”

“Have you ever thought,” he could prompt, “that if you bought one of these nice apartments on Sesame Street and moved out of the garbage can your outlook on life might improve?”

But, Big Bird is no therapist.

No, what Big Bird is, people, is an enabler.

He doesn’t just offer to help, he runs home yelling “If Bert needs a mitt, he must want to play baseball!  Maybe I can play, too!”

Big Bird, come on, buddy.

You are not going to be picked to play baseball.

You have t-rex arms and that’s just not conducive to hitting it out of the park.

But, he gets back to his nest and starts rooting through the junk he has stored among the twigs and he finds his bat and his hat, but has to keep looking for his mitt (which no one needs).

And along comes Grover.

And I begin to think, “Yes!  Now it’s going to get good,” because Grover is my favorite Sesame Street character.

He sings the best songs, he has the best characters, the best plot lines.

He’s sweet, he’s kind, he’s sensitive.

Ah, Grover.

Grover will certainly get this mess under control.

So, Big Yellow tells Grover that he needs a mitt for Bert and Grover says he’ll be so happy to look for one and runs home to look.

And damn if that Grover doesn’t immediately tell his Mommy that he needs a mitten.

But, I’m kinda not mad at him, because he still lives with his Mommy and he loves her and he said ‘mitten’ and ‘mitten’ is such a cuter thing that ‘glove’ and so it’s all good.

And then I stand corrected from an earlier statement I made when I said Big Bird was the emptiest-headed Muppet,  because Herry shows up, and when Grover tells Herry he needs to find a mitten for Bert, Herry makes a bee-line for the pet store and gets…

Kids…can you guess?  What might Herry be getting at the pet store that rhymes with ‘mitten?’

You got it…a kitten.

And thank goodness he does because he is the first person to actually find what they are looking for so he can actually go to Bert’s apartment and end this nonsense.

Scene shift back to Bert’s apartment where he is STANDING IN THE MIDDLE OF THE KITCHEN LOOKING AT THE MILK ON THE FLOOR and waiting for someone else to clean up the mess.

What…is he one of my kids?

And, suddenly, everyone rushes through his door, Oscar included, because his feet have now, apparently, come through the rusted out bottom of the can, with their items in hand.

The map, the mat, the mitt, the mitten (aw), and the kitten.

And Bert’s all “WTF?” and “Where the hell is Ernie?”

But then Ernie runs in with a mop and Bert tells him he’s too late and they all look lovingly at the kitten that is now lapping up the milk.


And it’s at this point that my kids tell me we should really get a dog (cuz we aren’t cat people), and I look at my kitchen floor and I start to agree.


If you are looking for more of the Character Assassination Carousel, be sure to head to Alice at Wonderland next Monday!

February 15, 2014

Ten (aka Double Digits)

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

There’s a boy I know.

He’s a pretty serious guy, most of the time.

But his dry wit has his Dad and I in stitches, when he lets it out.

He doesn’t do anything half way, and in everything he does, he shines.

Along with not doing anything half way is the way he feels things.

So deeply that he doesn’t always know what to do with them.

And that makes it tough to be him.

But goodness, I love this child.

He’s busy every second.

When we are outside, we are tossing a football, kicking a soccer ball, playing hockey, having a catch.

When we are inside, we can’t just sit and watch tv.

While we watch, we’re still having a catch, playing indoor hockey, because, unlike the Brady’s, if we didn’t play ball in this house, he would explode from the pent up energy.

He’s so handsome, and he has no idea.

It’s quite charming, actually.

He wants to be with me every second.

So, wherever I am, he is. And the result is that I know him better than he knows himself.

I know his moods, can predict his thoughts before he says them, and know when he needs some hugs before he thinks to ask.

He’s a snuggle bug, and he’s my night-time reading partner.  (Not because he wants to read, but because he has to, but I’ll take it.)

And it’s in those moments, at the end of the day, when we’re snuggled up, sharing parts of our books with each other, and I inhale the distinct boy-smell from the top of his closely cropped hair, that I remember that he’s trying…he’s always trying.

I hope he knows…really, deep down knows, how very much I love him.

Because I love him…so ridiculously much.

And today, he’s 10.


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February 11, 2014


Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

He’s awesome.

It’s such an overused word, but it’s the most fitting for my Baby Monkey.

He’s just awesome.

He is laid back, but doesn’t let anyone walk all over him.

He marches to the beat of his own drummer and isn’t too interested in following the beat of others.

He’s kind.

He’s creative.

He’s sweet.

He’s loving.

He’s the kid who would be thrilled to have fruit than ice cream, play an engineering game than football, be alone doing what he enjoys than be with the crowd doing something he doesn’t like.

I love him.

I love him so much I can barely even fathom it.

When he was born, they didn’t give him right to me.

There was a silence.

A silence that I recognized, instantly, because he was my third baby, and I knew that in those moments, there was supposed to be the sound of a baby crying.

That morning, there was nothing.

Real Man stood by my head, and I told him, “Go with the baby.  Find out what’s wrong with the baby.”

I lay there feeling no physical pain as they began to close up the c-section, but in the deepest emotional agony I had ever felt.

He wasn’t breathing.

It was the quietest delivery room I had ever experienced.

And then he cried, and there were tears all around.

As a result of them having to put a tube down his throat to get out the fluid that had stopped him from breathing he suffered from laryngomalacia for the first year of his life, which caused him to make…interesting sounds when he breathed.

And then he grew out of it.

The week before his first birthday, he wound up contracting eczema herpeticum and had to be hospitalized for a rash the likes of which I have never seen and never want to see again.

We were in the infectious disease ward for almost a week.

And then he was better.

When he was three, he began to have, what we called, eye seizures, but what was later classified as nystagmus.

The kid went through numerous tests, spent three days in the hospital hooked up to an EEG, and never lost his good spirits.

And then it stopped.

I always say that my theme song is “Tubthumping,” which has the lyrics, “I get knocked down, but I get up again,” but the truth is, it’s this kid that never stays down, that keeps going, and that does it all with an ease and coolness that defies explanation.

And today, he’s eight.

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February 10, 2014


Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

My husband is a patient man.

He’s the kind of man who thinks things through and waits.

It can be frustrating, for some people, to have conversations with him, because he doesn’t answer back immediately.  He pauses, he thinks, he takes a moment.

I appreciate that about him because I think, too often, we waste our words and when he speaks, you know that he’s not just saying something to hear himself speak.  It’s something that he has carefully thought through and it’s meaningful.

I’ll be honest…sometimes his patience is frustrating to me, as well, because I like to make a decision quickly.  Sometimes, you just gotta jump in.

With my husband, the only time he ever acted spontaneously was the morning he woke up and decided he couldn’t live another second without knowing I was going to marry him, and he called in sick (something else my husband never does), bought a ring, and proposed.

I try to remind him of how great that turned out and that spontaneity is often greatly rewarded.

However, his patience runs deep and comes from a childhood of needing to practice that patience.

My husband is the youngest of four children.

I won’t divulge their current ages, but I’ll say that, at one time, they were one, two, three and five years old.

Their poor, poor parents.

Some people say that being the youngest meant that they got everything they wanted.  That they were spoiled and expected things to be handed to them for the rest of their lives.

For my husband, it meant that he learned to be patient.

Over the years, we’ve watched home movies of their family, and in them, you see his brothers and sister aping away for the camera…jumping and yelling and acting and goofing around, and there, in the corner, is my husband…sitting in his high chair, watching it all go down.

If it were me, I’d have been plotting my revenge.

I was an only child with lots of time on my hands to imagine and create and scheme and…

Anyway…he was just patiently watching.

While I feel for the guy…I do…I have to say, I’m damn lucky to have found him.

Because, my friends, patience and an even-temper are two qualities I have not.

Let me give you an example.

When my husband and I were dating, we lived in neighboring towns.

One day, he came over, after work, and we settled in to watch a movie.

Throughout the movie, he began to cough, and it irked me because he’d been coughing for a week and because he’s a male and has that gene…you know the one…the “I don’t DO doctors OR medicine” gene…he hadn’t been doing anything about it.

I was worried about him, sure, but more than that, the coughing was interrupting the movie and we kept having to rewind, and it was the days of VHS and not DVD, so that, in and of itself, was a huge pain in the ass.

“Are you going to see a doctor about that?” I asked.

“Nah…I’m fine.”

“Clearly you aren’t.  You’ve been coughing like that for a week.  You should really see a doctor.”

“Nah…I’m fine.”

We went back and forth like this for some time, with me nagging, him patiently deflecting and us rewinding, until finally, I exploded.

Wiith great flourish, I jumped up, stalked across the room and grabbed the brand new 150 count bottle of Centrum vitamins I had bought that morning.

I spun around, wild-eyed, shook the bottle and him and yelled, “Fine!  If you aren’t going to take care of yourself, then I’m not going to take care of myself!”

I stomped to the bathroom, unscrewed the lid and began to dump out the contents.

I’ll show him, I thought to myself.

Won’t see a doctor?  I thought.   Well, then I won’t take these vitamins.  Better yet, I’ll dump the whole bottle out.  The bottle I just spend $35.00 on this morning.  $35.00 that took me a half a day of substitute teaching to earn.  $35.00 that I could have bought three books with.  $35.00 that…

Crap.  I’m an idiot.

But, I’m nothing if not committed, and I had already begun the dumping, and there was nothing that was going to stop me from dumping that whole damn bottle in the toilet.

Even if I was shaking my head at my own stupidity while I did it.

When the last pill had hit the water, I looked at bowl.

I had a moment where I almost reached in and started scooping them out, like the junkies in the movies who toss their stash.

But, the thought of him walking in, seeing me up to my elbows in the bowl, mascara running down my cheeks from the toilet water that splashed my face as I was frantically grabbing the pills, crying “No! No!  I need them!  I need them!” made me straighten up and get back to business.

I gave it a loud flush, tossed the bottle in the garbage can with a (less than) satisfying thunk, and walked back to my room, shoulders back, head held high.

And there he sat…hunched over, shoulders shaking, desperately trying not to let me see him laughing.

I threw myself next to him on the couch and said, quietly, “So there.”

He composed himself, leaned back and put his arm around me.

“You sure told me,” he said.

“Damn straight,” I replied.

I’d like to say that my awesome display of righteousness moved him to call the doctor the next day.

Or, maybe I’d really like to say that he didn’t call the doctor and then developed a case of pneumonia and the doctor, standing by his bedside said “If only you would have listened to Amy and come in sooner…this all could have been avoided.”

I’d like to say lots of things that paint me as the winner in this story; that prove that my righteous indignation was well-placed and that my tantrum was rewarded.

However, as he had done with so many things in his life, he patiently waited it out and the cough eventually passed.

And now, when he sees me about to blow my top, he simply murmurs in my ear, “Centrum in the toilet” and I’m reminded that my nonsense is usually just bluster and his patience generally wins the day.

Damn it.

February 3, 2014

Time to Hang it Up

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

So, I realize I’m a week late with this post, but it’s been marinating in my brain and I decided I’d just go ahead and write it down.

I was fairly good with the Grammy Awards, last week.

I liked the idea of pairing people who normally wouldn’t be together and mashing their music.

It kept things interesting.

So, I was pretty happy.

Until Madonna came on stage during Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Same Love.”

I love that song, and it was a perfect time, if any that night, for Madonna to take the stage.

I caught a glimpse of her and I thought, “Yes!” because I am a huge Madonna fan.

Always have been.

She caught me from her very first song and I have followed her all through the years.

And since I’m such a big fan, I feel like I can say this…she’s not a very good singer.

She never has been.

She’s okay.

A lot of people sing as good as Madonna.

But no one (used to) perform like Madonna.

It’s like the old Britney/Christina rivalry.

Christina Aguilera clearly had the superior vocal cords.

Britney couldn’t (still can’t) sing, but her showmanship was top notch.

Madonna has always been fierce and edgy and a talented, talented performer.

So, I was looking forward to something…fantastic…when she came out during “Same Love.”

But it wasn’t fantastic.

It wasn’t even good.

People said “Oh, I can’t believe how awful she sounded.”

Eh.  It wasn’t great, but then she’s never sounded too great.

Not quite this bad, but never fantastic.

The problem was, we were actually listening to her sing because she wasn’t performing.

She walked out with a cane and just kinda stood there, singing.

It reminded me of how they used to wheel Liz Taylor out in the gowns that just hung on her body and she would meekly lift up her hand and wave.

It felt like Madonna was decades older than her 55 years.

So, I thought, maybe she was sick.  Let me give her a break.

But then I watched the Miley Cyrus/Madonna pairing on MTV’s Unplugged.


That was so bad (on both parts) it wouldn’t even make our middle school talent show.

But, this isn’t a post to bash Madonna.

Quite the opposite.

I write about these two performances because they made me so sad.

Madonna was fierce.  She was force.  She was power.  She was larger than life.

Now, she’s been reduced to cameos that are lackluster at best.

I mentioned LIz Taylor earlier.  I hated when pictures were posted of her in that chair.  The same way I hated when they’d keep bringing Dick Clark out for New Year’s Eve.

And I hate that I feel like Madonna is reaching that stage.

It’s sad to see.

So, Grammy’s…while I appreciate your intentions of having Madonna join in on that powerful song, maybe we don’t bring people out if they aren’t going to impress.

I mean, I love Chicago, but who would have ever thought that someone would utter the words “Chicago rocked it way harder than Madonna?”

It’s a sad way to end a phenomenal career.


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