Saturday, December 22, 2012

On the tenth day of Christmas . . .

. . . Mommy’s got to make this quick.  The children are at Nana and Sir’s for the night and there’s lots to do.  But, I couldn’t resist sharing today’s shenanigans (and please note, no children, animals or bystanders were harmed in the making of these shenanigans - I will say a HUGE thank you to the Brodies for their sense of humor and for playing along with us):

Grandparents’ version

. . . ten laws a breaking! 

NOTE - No children or animals were harmed in the making of these photos!

Ten lords a leaping would be an awesome gift,

But they got stuck while jumping through a snowdrift. 

Instead, we caught the children in the act 

Of making mischief, and that's a fact!
Talking while driving



"Stick em up Mister"


Pick Pocket


 Friends’ version

Ten lords a leaping would be an awesome gift,

But they got stuck while jumping through a white snowdrift.

We had to be content, you see, to watch the popcorn fly.

So we've also given you some to try.

Mommy forgot completely to take the picture this time, so you have to settle for the box!  :-)

Friday, December 21, 2012

On the ninth day of Christmas . . .

. . . Mommy is crashing from a sugar high that might have been induced by Skinny Girl Cranberry Cosmos and a Bailey's Hot Chocolate at the girls' cookie exchange party!!!

I didn’t blog last night because I was preparing for the Trifecta’s cookie exchange party where we had TWENTY-SEVEN kids and their parents!  Holy crap, even I didn’t know what that many kids at one time would look like!!!!!!!

Major lesson – Always stock up on the marshmallows when you plan to do a snowman mason jar project.  I am certain those kids were playing a “one for you, one for me” game with those things.  I even bought the JUMBO kind!!!  But, I think a fun time was had by all and now mommy is going to pass out watching Charlie Brown Christmas.

But, first, here are our Christmas shenanigans the last two days.  Mommy was pretty proud of herself for these ones!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

On the seventh day of Christmas . . .

. . . thank a teacher! 

As we prepare for our teachers to have a well-deserved break, and as I reflect of the heroism of those at Sandy Hook Elementary School, I was again reminded about just how amazing teachers are.  The Ego (3rd grade middle child) apparently had homework this week related to doing something nice for mommy and daddy and writing a note about what she likes about Mommy.  I found our bed like this when I went in my room:

The note on the bed said "Surprice Mommy and Daddy".  She had made our bed for us!  Now THAT is some fantastic homework.
As we remember just how heroic and incredible our teachers are every day, I have yet another diversion . . . many of us are still grieving with the families in Connecticut and wondering what we can do.  Below are two projects that you could participate in.  One is for anyone and is done through the National PTA.  The other is through the Girl Scouts.  8 of the 12 girls killed were girl scouts and two girl scout families lost sons.  As sisters across the country, we should reach out.

The Trifecta will participate in both of these ways.

Support through the PTA

Welcome Students to a Winter Wonderland 

When school resumes for Sandy Hook, it will be in a new building. Parent-volunteers are working to ensure that the students are welcomed back by a winter wonderland with the entire school decorated with as many unique snowflakes as possible. We encourage senders to be as creative as possible, remembering that no two snowflakes are alike. Please make and send snowflakes by January 12, 2013 to the Connecticut PTSA address at the end of this email.   

Donating and Organizing Fundraisers for Sandy Hook Elementary School Donations will be accepted indefinitely to the Connecticut PTSA “Sandy Hook Fund” to provide ongoing support to the community. Please send checks to the Connecticut PTSA address listed at the end of this email. Group fundraising projects may include walk-a-thons, spirits days, pajama days, etc., which may be scheduled at your convenience. 

For student-run coin drives, please submit all donations by February 14, 2012. 

The Newtown community has requested only monetary donations at this time. For service or product donation inquiries, please contact To contact Sandy Hook PTA, please email

Support through the Girl Scouts

Here is a Trefoil that can be enlarged if you want to print it out.

From the Girl Scouts of Connecticut website:

Girl Scouts across the nation are encouraged to write down thoughts or prayers or art in the shape of the Girl Scout trefoil and send them to our Hartford Service Center, c/o Trefoil Project, 340 Washington St. Hartford, CT 06106. In mid-January we will present them to the Newtown Service Unit during a memorial service.

We did have Christmas shenanigans, and I need to catch up.  So, here’s how it went:

Monday, December 17, 2012

On the fifth day of Christmas . . .

. . . Mommy finally hasn’t been diverted!  But, we’ve had a lot of fun with this one.

Grandparents version
On the fifth day of Christmas my grandbabies gave to me . . .

. . . five golden THINGS.

On the fifth day of Christmas being clever took all our might,

But, we think we got it just right.

Silence, shoes, banana, ornament and ring
Are all golden items we thought fit for a King.

Friends version

On the fifth day of Christmas with things rather tight,

It's important to us that we all travel light.

Gold rings are too heavy (and so are gold buckles),

So please be content with sweet rings on your knuckles.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

On the fourth day of Christmas . . .

. . . we all know what that means, mommy’s got another diversion.

This time it’s to the Living Nativity at Horizon Prep Academy.  

Notice the water spots - we were in the rain most of the time, and the kids loved it!
With all the lists and events and presents and food and, . . . and . . . and . . . to remember this holiday season, it’s easy to forget the reason for the season. 

That’s why I wanted to go to the Living Nativity, and let me tell you, this was not your typical living nativity with just the birth of Jesus displayed.  There were 5 separate scenes, too many actors to count, and this story came to life in an extraordinary way. 

The nativity was so moving that the Superego (oldest child) said to me as we were walking out the door “mommy, I’m so sorry for how we acted earlier today.” 

Holy SH*T!!! probably would have been inappropriate to yell at that moment, but “scared the beJesus out of” might have been appropriate!

From a petting zoo to camel rides to games to crafts to Kettle Corn to Ice Skating, this place had it all and with the exception of $7 for Kettle Corn and $5 for Ice Skating, it was all FREE.  They even had some pretty tasty food trucks.

The nativity will still be going on 5:30-8:30pm on December 21, 22 and 23 if you are in San Diego and you’d like to go.  A few recommendations:
      1)   Get there right at 5:30.  We waited in line for an hour, but it was a ½ hour show.
      2)   Plan to spend at least 2 hours there.
      3)   Take at least one other adult.  That person can stand in line while you take the kids to all of the other activities.
      4)   The very last scene of the nativity is dark and can be a little scary for some of the younger kids.
      5)   Prepare to eat there.  They have several very tasty food trucks, and of course, did I mention the Kettle Corn?  Also, and this was a class act, they had FREE water stations.

Highly recommend this as a reminder of why we celebrate. 

And, because it wouldn’t be a Griswold family Christmas, I mean Dugdale family Christmas without Shenanigans:

Saturday, December 15, 2012

On the third day of Christmas . . .

. . . Mommy’s going to take one more quick diversion.  Today the girls and I and their girl scout troop attended a “Wreaths Across America” ceremony.  Across the country 150,000 people laid 400,000+ wreaths on the gravesites of soldiers in National Military cemeteries.  This was such a special thing to participate in, and in light of the events of yesterday was more solemn and meaningful.

This is the girls before we laid the wreaths.

Again, take a moment to continue to remember those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

For our 12 Days of Christmas Shenanigans, here’s what you missed:

Friday, December 14, 2012

Heavy Heart

Today I am not going to do my planned post out of respect for the families in Connecticut who are facing an indescribable loss.  My mommy heart is heavy and I just didn't feel right being irreverent about motherhood and the holidays.

As someone who has faced the loss of a family member to gun violence, I encourage all of us to more than ever appreciate the joy that life can bring us, while keeping families who will lose loved ones this holiday season in our hearts and prayers.

On that note, Matt-Matt I miss you and love you.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

On the first day of Christmas . . .

. . . mommy proved she’s crazier than initially expected.  

Because the holiday season isn’t busy enough, I decided to come up with a little game to play with our friends as well as the grandparents. 

I am writing this post with the caveat to all my friends out there who have kids the Trifecta’s age and who were not included in this ring and run project . . . I’m so sorry that we didn’t include you.  The girls had to pick one friend each and we couldn't do any more than that.   I promise we’ll catch you on the next round (and I also promise you won’t have to wait until next Christmas).

My posts during the next 12 days will be one day behind because I can’t reveal what we are doing each day until AFTER they are done.  But, these were too good and too much fun not to share.  I got this idea from  Loved her poems and suggestions, so we are copying many, but put some of our own twists.  The girls and I really enjoyed coming up with the pictures and gifts.  

By the way, do NOT try to sing these verses.  I took HUGE liberties with that part.

So, here goes –

Grandparents version – Send an e-mail with the subject “On the first day of Christmas, my grandbabies gave to me”:

A picture of them holding pears in trees.

I also included the following poem

The Christmas Season is so full of fun
We're happy to share with our grandparents
Why our mommy is always on the run.

The song that we sing twelve days in a row
Won't get tiresome with the trifecta you know

Each day we'll send something
Please don't worry, it's coming

Today calls for a partridge for your pear tree,
But partridges are too hard to catch,
So we hope you will see
That our funny pictures will become quite a batch!

Friends’ version
Leave a can of pears on the doorstep with the following poem:

This glad Christmas season is so full of fun.

We're happy to share with your family, then run. 

How grateful we are that you're playing our game.

You'll now find that Christmas won't be the same.
 The song that we sing twelve days in a row

Won't get tiresome with treats from friends you know.

But to keep up the mystery and the fun,

You won't know who we are until we're all done!
Each night we'll bring something

Please don't watch for us coming.

If you catch us too soon,

It will spoil the fun that's coming!
Tonight calls for a partridge for your pear tree,

But partridges are tough catches, you see.

Now, how about some canned pears, instead of the bird.

They taste very good, or so we have heard.

Of course, we did get caught by one family, and the others will definitely know by now that it’s us.  I’m also so annoyed with myself that I forgot to take a picture of the pears.  I had to ask one of the recipients to send me a photo.  I’m an idiot!

Now I gotta go find some turtle doves – anyone have a distributor for that?!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mommy’s Christmas list . . .

Everyone else gets one, why shouldn’t I?!

Of course, mine wouldn’t be the same if it wasn’t actually just expanding on my “sh*t no one tells you about”.  So here is my “Mommy Christmas list”:

 1) Skinny Girl margaritas – oh, wait, people do tell you about that, but here’s what they leave out . . . the “skinny” part is because the serving size is a shot glass.  After I drank the whole bottle of White Peach Margarita at our last party, I realized keeping that up was not going to keep me “Skinny”!  But, it’s the holidays, and I have 2 weeks of 24:7 kid time coming up.  If everyone wants to be happy, this MUST be at the top of the list.

2) Peace and Quiet – Husband from Heaven and I are constantly trying to find that “silver bullet” parenting technique that will calm us down before the screaming starts – I mean us, the children are a given.  I have found nothing more powerful than “Parenting with Love and Logic”.  Self help books are not in my comfort zone and I often find them rather “soap boxy” (yep, that’s a word); but, I’m telling you, this book has saved my sanity.  It’s been so effective that today the Ego (middle child) commented on how happy she was when mommy “didn’t start yelling” when the Id (the youngest) started yelling and throwing books in the driveway.  Every time I read that book I feel a more empowered parent.  Best part, the children have no idea I’m messing with their minds!

And guess what, it can be really effective when you hear this from your spouse "what do you know about the red stains in the Superego's (the oldest child) bedroom?"

Pre "PLL" mommy would have taken away the Superego's birthday even though it's 6 months away.  She also would have woken up the entire neighborhood with the yelling.

Among other things, post PLL mommy will be charging the Superego to pay for professional cleaning, and the Superego is now in fear of asking for any playdates or sleepovers because she knows the answer will be no (I didn't take away a playdate she already has scheduled, I'm just not indulging future requests).  Sounds counterintuitive, but that child has had the most incredible behavior the last two days!

You can get Parenting with Love and Logic on Amazon, or their website that is linked above.

3) A personal Banker - provided in the form of the app iAllowance.  I’m telling you, this app has saved me so many of the arguments that start “But moooooooooooooooooooom, I swear, you haven’t paid me my allowance for at least 3 weeks and I neeeeeeeeeeeeeed that phone shaped lipgloss, right now; I’ll DIE without it”.  Before this app my response would have been an embarrassing tantrum in the store and then of course, the children would have been screaming too . . . Now the children can see if they have any money in their “piggy bank”, and the best part, mommy doesn’t have to carry around three piggy banks and the kids don’t have to remember to bring their money with them.  As if THAT’s ever happened!!!!

With this app you always have the “bank” with you and you can deduct money instantly without any actual money ever changing hands.  AND, important to mommy is that you can apportion a part of their allowance to charity and at the end of the year they can discuss how they will give away that money they didn’t even know you were siphoning off!  The best part – the app automatically adds their allowance at the beginning of each week so you don’t have to remember to give it to them.

Best quote from the Ego about the app "Mommy, thank you so much for buying that app.  If we didn't have it we wouldn't be able to eat these Reese's cupcakes that (the Superego) bought with her allowance."  She's right - my answer would have been no before.  Now, the answer is "if that's what you want to spend your money on and you have enough money, yes, you can buy it."  I guess I just outed myself that it's not always about "real food".

To find the app, look up iAllowance in the app store or click the link.  And yes, you will need the $3.99 upgrade.  It has been worth much more than that in saved fights.  The best part . . . this thing is “mommy brain” proof meaning that even I can figure it out.

4) The gift of time – there is not a mommy on the planet who doesn’t constantly think “well that’s ½ hour of my life I’ll never get back”  after having waited for and coaxed, begged, pleaded, bribed and yes, even yelled at your kids to get in the f*&#ing car.  Oh, maybe that last part’s only in my house! 

One thing I found that has been a God send in this area is called the Time Timer.  It shows the kids in a red pie shape just how much time they have left to do something and rings at the end.  When we use this, the kids get chores, etc. done in half the time.  Of course, at the moment, mommy’s going to lose her mind because one of those little boogers has hidden the d@mn thing and no one’s fessing up!  Hence the need for a new one.

The Time Timer can be found at

5) A personal chef.  Not gonna lie.  I have a chef in Husband from Heaven.  But, he always dreads my 4:00 “what’s for dinner honey” phone calls.  The hardest part about cooking dinner (from a non-chef, of course), is planning the week’s menus and then having all the ingredients when you need them. 

I recently learned of a meal planning site that not only provides 5 weekly meals and a shopping list, but it is focused on “real food”.  The site is called Fresh 20.  We’ve only done it for a week and cooked 2 meals (during the holidays was a bad time to assume we’d eat 5 meals at home), but I love it.  It takes the stress out of planning, and we always have what we need.  


6) Sliced Bread – gotta love HfH.  He is on the eternal quest to buy everything from Costco and he was so excited when he could buy “real bread” again because Costco sells Organic Bread.  My bread adventures were a disaster, but I was unwilling to buy bread with all the preservatives.  So, this is the best of all worlds – mommy gets the “real food” and daddy can feel good about it because Costco sells it.  I’m not even sure he actually compared the prices with grocery stores – he just trusts that if Costco sells it, it must be cheaper.  They also have organic jam, so we now have tub o jam too! 

If you know of any cool “mommy savers” that I must try out, let me know!  In the meantime, don’t forget #1 and the holidays will be much merrier for all!!!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

It’s beginning to look a lot like . . .

. . . Santa’s sleigh exploded in my living room.    

I don’t know what my problem is, but I thought it would be a good idea to bring out every single box of Christmas sh*t, lay it out in the living room and that would “inspire” me to figure out how to decorate our house for the holidays.

Here’s what I learned about decorating your new house for the holidays . . .

Monday, November 12, 2012

Honoring those who serve . . .

Over the last 10 months I have had the honor of becoming good friends with two Marine wives whose patience, commitment and dedication are unmatched.  Because of these friendships I have a new appreciation for those who serve and on this Veterans Day, I thank my friends Melinda and Kirsten for helping me gain a new appreciation and reverence for the fact that Veterans Day and Memorial Day were not created just to torture stay at home mommies like me with a day of serving as referee and entertainment for the children!

Of course, in the spirit of maximizing the amount of time the children are strapped in their seats, and minimizing the amount of time they can mess up the house I've decided to attend a Veterans Day parade that is at least 1/2 hour from home . . . each way.  This ensures the event is at least 1/2 day long, and most importantly shows the children the amazing people who make sacrifices for our safety and freedom everyday!

Information about our local San Diego parade can be found on the Veterans Day parade website.

I also thought this would be an appropriate time to share the lesson I learned about attending an official military event:

When you are invited to a Medal of Honor Flight ceremony where the Commandant of the Marine Corps is present and you are sitting in the front row, DO NOT bring papers to the outdoor ceremony; otherwise, you may find that as they land and taxi the jet, your papers (FROM THE FRONT ROW) will fly around and it won't be until 10 minutes later that you realize the soldier 3 rows back has your papers and as you are frantically trying to find them he holds them up and says "I got you covered".
This F-18 was painted to recognize the sacrifices of Medal of Honor recipients.  You can't see it too well, but some of the coolest features are a Medal of Honor on the back flap (I know Kirsten will tell me what that is as some point, but right now "flap" will have to do).  The plane also has the names of two Navy service members - Master-At-Arms Second Class, Michael Monsoor and Lieutenant Michael Murphy as well as two Marines - Sergeant Dakota Meyer and Corporal Jason Dunham.  In addition, on the sides of the plane are the Medal of Honor citations explaining the sacrifices of these extraordinary men.  Witnessing this ceremony and sitting with members of one of the families was truly humbling.

You can see a video clip about the jet and the ceremony here, but I want to share what Lt. Col Bob Brodie (Kirsten's husband) said about the plane -

“My hope is that folks can be inspired by men that have given it all and really have asked for no thank you at all,” said Commanding Officer of VMFAT 101 Lt. Col. Bob Brodie.  “They really have just dedicated their whole life to something that’s much bigger than they are as any individual.”

Got to meet the Commandant of the Marine Corps.  How cool is that?!
And finally, below is a random photo that I think is so cute.  This is Lt. Col. Brodie with our girls as well as his at the recent Air Show.  And yes, that is a plane that he actually flies often!

Enjoy a safe and happy holiday, and don't forget to remember and pay tribute to those who make our enjoyment of this day possible!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Some Tricks, some Treats and one BIG Rutabaga wakening

Here’s something no one ever tells you at the grocery store . . . rutabagas should actually be called “rotting licorice”.  We are still continuing our real food journey and mommy decided that she would branch out and try some of those foods that you only find in the Martha Stewart magazines.  And, they had them at the farmers market, so they must be good, right?!

Let’s just say that there’s a reason those foods have a season span of 2 ½ months and that no one really laments when they leave.  I actually tried to make a rutabaga stew because I couldn’t find anything better to do with them.  I found out that the really great smell of the stew was only masking the nastiness underneath.  I threw the entire dinner away and wouldn’t even let the children try it for fear that they might actually spit it at me . . . and I really couldn’t blame them. 

Of course, Husband from Heaven (or as we like to call him, "the human garbage disposal") ate the stew and said “it tastes fine”.  I’m not sure whether it actually tasted fine to him, or he just couldn’t bear the thought of throwing out an entire crockpot of food.  Probably both!

Because I like to continue my food torture, I moved on to Halloween treats.  Here’s what I learned about THAT:

Sunday, October 21, 2012

She Rocks . . . but not today!

For the first time in 5 races, I got up at 3:45am, got ready, drove down to the SheRox race site, sat in the rain for an hour and pulled the plug.

Now, of course, the guilt is killing me, even though I probably would have botulism from the nasty Bay water and more than likely a broken leg from falling off my bike due to slick road conditions.  Everything in me was hoping they would turn it into a 5k run, but when that was unlikely I pulled the plug myself.

So, here are the top 3 indications that you should pull out of a Triathlon:

Number 3: It's raining, dumb@$&!  This is a hobby, not your profession and there is no reason to be soaking wet and freeze your @$& off just so that your family and friends can't give you sh*t!

Number 2: By 45 minutes before race time at least 2/3 of the people haven't shown up yet - either because they had the same idea you did, or the road conditions are so bad that they had trouble getting into the race site.

AND Number 1: The announcer who is trying to make you feel confident and comfortable says for the 10th time in an hour "ladies, the water temp is a balmy 68 degrees and right now it looks like glass".  It is at that point that you realize the water "looks like glass" because it is right off a boat ramp and it's been raining for the last 2 days, therefore all the oil and other pollutants have drifted to the surface.

Moral for today, if you ever "quit" - own it, embrace it and toast to it!  At least you worked your @$& off enough to be there in the first place!

Now I'm off to get that drink that I haven't been able to in the last 3 weeks while I was training.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

SHHHHHHHH. . . . . .

. . . . . IT happens!

We all have those days, but it seems that this has just been one of those WEEKS for mommy.

Before I go on, I want to mention family fun.  We visited the San Diego Children’s DiscoveryMuseum in Escondido and they had a pumpkin patch, music, face painting, etc.  The kids had a great time, but did spend most of it inside because it was so bloody hot.  For the next several weeks the museum will be having gardening lessons and live music on Saturdays.  They also have Kids Free October for kids under 12.  I highly recommend checking it out!

The Id is waaaay out there, the Ego is hiding and the Superego is acting crazy!  What else is new?!

No, those two additional blonde children are not mine.  They are my friend's, but they're cute, aren't they?!  :-)
So, rather than pontificate about how insane my life is, I just figured I’d entertain you with all the sh*t that’s happened in the last 72 hours and how you might avoid these problems yourself – also, at the very end I give an update on our real food journey!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Get real . . .

. . . Food!

Before I tell you of my latest adventure into insanity, here’s something that Stay at Home Mommies won’t tell you – they all have a fetish, and they spend hours pursuing whatever that is.  For some, it might be a “Fifty Shades” type fetish (which I admit I went through too – Ok, maybe not to that extreme, but we all know that HfH just dropped his jaw and found an attorney to put a gag order on me); for most mommies (including myself) it’s much more boring than that. 

Here’s what I’ve realized . . . we have approximately 6 hours a day to “do whatever we want”.  But, here’s the kicker, 75% of that time is spent doing sh*t for SOMEONE ELSE.  Whether it’s volunteering in the classroom, cleaning the house, grocery shopping, making endless dentist, dr., and orthodontist appointments, or making the third trip to the school that day because someone forgot their lunch.

That leaves 25% of my time to workout, blog, work for my part-time job, or research and implement my latest obsession (that was definitely created because I spent too much time on the stationary bike reading magazines or watching the Today show).

Which brings us to my “fetish” – real food, and while I’m at it, limiting the amount of plastic that we use in our house.  And by the way, I would not have developed this obsession were it not for the hours I spent at double header softball games, so technically the Superego (oldest child) has no one but herself to blame for this.

Miraculously, the whole family has agreed to a 30 day “trial” of this real food game and mommy will track a few items including: 1) did we save money; 2) did we throw away less food than before; 3) do they sell it at Costco; 4) How much plastic did we save; 5) unexpected favorites; and 6) complete bombs!!

In a nutshell, we have to eat foods that are either fresh or have less than 5 ingredients.  We just finished week 1, and here’s what we all learned:

Friday, September 21, 2012

Stepped off the hamster wheel . . .

. . . and into the looney bin!  So every mommy knows about those mundane tasks that consume every free moment – laundry, dishes, grocery shopping, blahhhhhhh, blahhhhhhh, blahhhh.  Just thinking about it makes me tired.

I’m certain that if I actually calculated the amount of time I spend cleaning up after my children, (or chasing them to clean up after themselves), it would eventually equal months, if not years of my life!

After a particularly trying day of chasing after the children to clean their rooms, I finally broke down.  Lets just say that an outsider would not have been able to tell who the children were and who the mommy was by my behavior.  It got so bad I actually send HfH to take the children to school for fear I just might pull the car over, leave them on the side of the road, and tell them to walk the 6 miles to school.

So, here’s what I learned about getting worked up over the mundane: