Friday, July 30, 2010

NOOOooooo WAY!

Ugh! So this is what back-to-school shopping is all about? Geez, Madeline will be in Pre-K for three 1/2 days a week this year. Her back-to-school list is a small one so for the most part the supplies are not going to be the issue. I am, however, getting a glimpse into what things might be like when I have to clothes shopping with Madeline as a teenager......NOT looking forward to that one! This year, I was told that Madeline will need a backpack. She was thrilled to pick out and buy this Hello Kitty backpack. I told Madeline that she had to wait until kindergarten to get a new lunch bag, so she'll be toting her Princess lunch bag to pre-school this year too. Same thing with her butterfly ice pack....this one works fine, does she really need a new one?? - No!! I was told that I would also need to pack Madeline both a lunch AND a snack for school. That's more than she eats at home....but, okay. The snack has to be packed separately from the lunch so I did pick up a small container that has an icee pack built into the lid. I figured that would be good to keep fruit cold. Other than that, the majority of Madeline's supplies (crayons, glue, etc, etc, etc) is supplied by the school through her tuition. I did have to pick up the usual tissues, napkins, clean-up wipes.

Where the problem lies is the clothing. A few issues (A) What fits her now might not fit her in November or December. I am trying to figure the best strategy to get the most use out of what we buy now. How big can I get away with buying her clothes? (B) Madeline is no longer in the Toddler sizes but rather in the girls department. Whoever is designing and buying skanky, trashy clothes for their LITTLE GIRLS should be shot. Browsing the girls department, you would think that we were dressing the girls for ladies night at a bar! (C) Why is it that Madeline is drawn to the glittery crap out there??

Prime example, look at this dress Madeline wanted!!! NO, I DID NOT BUY THIS!! But this is something she was admiring. The picture doesn't show the level of raunch in the dress, but aside from the "criss-cross" action at the boobies, all the ruffles and frills had black animal stripes. Really??? Are you serious??

Don't get me wrong...I know Madeline is growing up and I am not trying to continue to dress her like a baby. I am not trying to go the other extreme and dress her too young, but only appropriately. I didn't have much luck today. I don't have any pictures of what we actually did buy but we only purchased a pair of black leggings, a jean skirt, a short-sleeved sweater....with built in cami, (Gotta love that!) and a dress. (The dress was too cute because it came as a two piece set.....the 2nd piece being a matching dress to put on a doll) I must say that I was very disappointed in a normal favorite, Children's Place. I am thinking that I will need to head out again over the course of this month to pick up some items from Carters, Gap Kids and Gymboree. These are more my speed!! What am I going to do when I have less say in what this girl wears???? I guess I will just try to teach her well now.

Despite the clothing frustration and the need for another shopping trip, we got all but one item on Madeline's list. We ended the afternoon on a ride on the mall's merry-go-round. (No, I didn't try to jump onto this one while it was moving! And, since I posted the picture of my bruise, the bruise has gotten even darker and is in fact, such a dark purple that it almost looks black!) Maddie was happy that she was able to snag her favorite spot on the ride, the kitty. But now, can someone please answer the question of the day.....Where on earth does one find an art smock??? (No luck at Target or Walmart!)


Ouch! Bruise & Bump! Here is what happens when a 40-year old tries to do what she did when she was 12! This is the result of the playground's merry-go-round incident from yesterday's post. Knowing my body, I know that in another day or two this will be dark purple. In the meantime, as I watch the color show on my leg, it hurts to touch. This is tough because I am a side sleeper and the bruise is on the side I normally sleep. That'll teach me!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Summer "Nic-Nic"

After yesterday's humidity, a thunderstorm blew through here last night leaving today's weather a bit cooler, much less humid and much more comfortable. David came up with the idea of packing a picnic for dinner tonight. In prior years we would go on several picnics a year; yet, we have yet to go on a picnic this summer.

I told Madeline of Papa's idea and told her that we would have to go shopping later in the day to get some things for our picnic. Madeline disappeared and when she reappeared Madeline handed me a grocery list for the store. Madeline's excitement motivated me to head to the store PRONTO! In general, Madeline prefers to get checked into our grocery store's play area while I shop (yes, I always give her the option and she always chooses to play - go figure), but today, Madeline was giddy - giggly and jumping up and down - about the idea of helping prepare for our picnic. I asked Madeline to read to me the items on her list and as she did, we found those items in the grocery store. Her "list" included chicken, watermelon, bread and applesauce however I persuaded Madeline to add some vegetables to the list too. I was impressed at Madeline's menu ideas. Upon coming home from the grocery store, I packed up our items and waited for David to come home from work.

We decided to try a new park that we haven't been to before. Madeline had a blast playing on all the playground equipment. Madeline was definitely having playground ADD as she would play on something for two minutes and jump to the next piece of play equipment. Additionally, Mama-Dirtyfoot and Papa played a little bit too on the swings and the teeter-totters. The park also had a small stage for community performances. Since no one was using the stage, Madeline had fun giving us a show of her own. The only thing that I thought was extremely odd about this park/playground is that it was built on an old cemetery. Scattered here and there throughout the playground area were gravestones. Bizarre!!

After some play, we enjoyed dinner as a family overlooking the small little pond within the park. Since moving from our old house last summer we rarely hear the Canadian Geese that would swarm to a park that was close to our old house. Although we were at a different park tonight, we were within the same town of our old house and able to hear the familiar honking of the geese as they flew home for the evening. Occasionally we were able to watch a flock swoop down for a brief rest in the park's pond.

After dinner, Madeline wanted to play a little more. We headed back to the playground. As if I didn't ALREADY realize that I was no longer 12 years old when I practically fell over from jumping off of a moving swing, I guess I needed to further prove this to myself. You know those playground merry-go-rounds like pictured here? I used to be able to run full speed to push them and at that same speed jump onto the spinning merry-go-round. Yeeeeeaaaaahhhh, I can't do that anymore! The 1st time (yes, I tried more than once - duh!) I mis-stepped and was not able to hop on the merry-go-round. I simply thought that it was a mis-step. Logically (not), I tried again. This time I pretty much ricocheted off the merry-go-round and ended up groaning & rolling around on the grass. No, I am no longer 12! Ummppphh!!! That's gonna leave a mark! Needless to say, we weren't at the playground much longer.

So, to make things all better - (a) for Madeline having old parents that will end up embarrassing the crap out of her as she gets older and (b) to heal my bruised ego, we ended the evening with a trip to Dairy Queen. A perfect ending to a fun day! And, oh, by the way, it hurts to walk.....I can't wait to see what color purple my thigh will be tomorrow!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A Budding Artist

I just have to say that Madeline is becoming a good artist. At the beginning of summer I could pretty much say that Madeline did NOT like coloring, yet alone drawing a picture. She didn't like sitting still long enough to create a piece of art. Over the past few weeks, Madeline has really taken to drawing - and I must say that I think she is pretty darn good for a 4 year old! Madeline is really enjoying drawing now and can spend long periods of time occupying herself with creating a masterpiece. This picture Madeline drew today of Disney's Princess Mulan. Since Mulan isn't one of the better known princesses I have included an image of Mulan so you know who Madeline was drawing. Madeline's artwork was completely from memory as she was not using another picture or toy as a model. Proud Mama is amazed at Madeline's detail in Mulan's dress, the draping in Mulan's sleeves, the fact that Mulan's hair is in a bun and the blue thing that Mulan is holding (in Madeline's drawing) is Mulan's "umbrella" (parasol). Great job, Madeline! Mama is proud of you!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Zoo Time

Monday, David had to be in Cleveland to entertain some business clients in a suite at Progressive Field for an Indians vs Yankees game. A suite.....ahhh, nice! Above is his view from his suite (if he were looking at the outfield) for the evening. Some might say David has nice perks to his job and, yes, I guess he does however, for events like these the pressure is on because he is the host and entertaining business clients. It's not exactly a day at the ballpark for him and I know that he misses being home when he travels (fairly frequently).

So what did Madeline and I do to pass the day? We headed to the Buffalo Zoo. It has been a while since we've been to the zoo so it was almost like a new experience for her again. Here are some pictures.

Kodiak Bear

We decided that Santa's reindeer vacation in Buffalo, NY during the summer time.

The zoo's kiddie train

I had to sneak a picture of this guy who was wearing his pants half-way down his butt. Yes, the plaid that you see is his boxer shorts. At the top of her lungs (complete with pointing), at close range, Madeline wanted to know why this guy had his pants pulled down. It gets better.....this guy's girlfriend (not exactly the thinnest girl) was sportin' a cropped top up to just below her boobs. This of course allowed for her belly to flap in the breeze. Madeline had more points and with the only volume Madeline knows (loud) Maddie exclaims, "She needs to put her shirt down!" I feel grateful to have gotten out of there without a black-eye!


Gorillas! I am always amazed at how human their features!


Ice cream break!


This picture was taken as we left the zoo. Madeline is showing off her souvenir. I tried to encourage Madeline to get a souvenir that portrayed an animal that she saw that day. Madeline insisted that she wanted the stuffed animal that we ended up buying. Yes, Madeline is holding her new stuffed pig that we bought as a souvenir after a day at the zoo. Whatever....

We're Out Of Scotch!

David's best friend, Jon, and Jon's nephew, Geoff, came to town Friday night and stayed here for the weekend. We last saw Jon in May but because of all our flight delays on our trip to Texas, we barely arrived and Jon had to head back to his home in New Orleans. So, I was really looking forward to Jon's visit this past weekend.

Jon and David met when they worked together in the early 1990s. They hit it off and became great friends right away. I came into the picture in late 1994 and the three of us had a lot of spare time (because of our age then) to hang out and build our friendship. I guess you can say that Jon is almost like a brother to us. For a couple of months, I guess you could even say that the 3 of us lived together as Jon was transitioning out of the apartment with David (Jon was moving to New Orleans) and I was transitioning in. Jon was the best man at our wedding. Through this friendship, Jon's family became an extension of our own family. In fact, Saturday night, we had Jon's cousin, Gina, (who also was our neighbor for many years), Gina's husband Chuck and their daughter Michelle over to our house so that they could also visit with Jon while he was in town. We had a good time catching up with Gina & her family, playing Cranium and sharing a ton of laughs.

Yes, we are great friends. The 3 of us have road tripped it, vacationed, and got in bunches of trouble together. Here lies the problem.....David is 44, Jon will soon be 43 and I am 40. Why is this a problem?? Well, because when the three of us get together, we tend to forget the amount of time that has past since our days in the upper flat apartment in North Buffalo above Jon's grandmother. We tend to act as though we we still in our 20's. Proof in the pudding is this picture. I specifically remember Jon shaking his glass at me and telling me, as I took this picture, that we were out of scotch. Sighhhhhhh.....the night should have ended there, but it did not. Gina & her family left at about midnight-ish and the evening continued with a few more cocktails, the hot tub, and cigars. And at 5:30 in the morning, later than any respectable 40-something should be up, the evening ended. After a late night, my mom would often ask, "What did your accomplish?" and to that I can say, we made more memories, celebrated our friendship, concluded that we are not as young as we used to be and vowed to do it all again.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Hairy Girls

The other day, I was trying to get Madeline ready for the day. As you could see from this picture, Madeline was in serious need of a hair combing. I said, "C'mon Madeline, I need to comb your hair". Madeline began to fuss as her morning hair is usually snarly and difficult to comb. Despite Madeline's fussing, I repeated my desire to comb her hair. Madeline responded, "Mammmmmaaaa, it's just FINE! This is the way God made it!" Oh, brother! Too funny!

Today, I got a hair cut. The "big deal" about today's hair cut is that I got full bangs (rather than the side bangs I was sporting). My hair cut was at 10am. Despite my hair being styled almost 12 hours ago and, during that time, hopping in the pool to vacuum it, I decided that I wanted to take a picture to share my new 'do on my blog (the photo TOTALLY does not do it justice.....I should've taken the picture right after my cut). Anyway, I asked David to take the picture.....and then another, and then another. Why so many? Well, they made me look fat, accentuated my huge nose, emphasized the fact that I had zero make-up on, etc, etc, etc. Heck, even this picture makes my new haircut look like a mullet and it is Soooo not. Should I ask David to take *another* picture??? Hmmmm.....maybe I should take a lesson from my 4 year old daughter, throw my arms in the air and say, "This is how God made me".

Wednesday, July 21, 2010


What is MCO? Mazur Campout. And YES, we just came back from the 22nd annual campout, a tradition started in 1989! This year we occupied seven of the modern cabins at Keystone State Park which is located outside of Pittsburgh, PA. This annual outing is an opportunity to gather six siblings and our families. And since all six of us live in different states, this annual get-away is essential for us to keep close. So much happens during the course of a week but I will try to highlight some of the activities below.

Rule number one of MCO - DO NOT be the last to arrive! Although the campout actually began on Friday 7/9, I did not arrive until Saturday (we were home celebrating David's birthday on Friday). Upon arrival, many of my nieces and nephews were quite enthusiastic to greet me (yes, me singular. David & Madeline drove up separately and arrived an hour or so after I did....I'll explain why later) and watch me get settled into my cabin. Come to find out that my nieces and nephews had a blast boobie-trapping my cabin the night before I arrived. Aside from a HUGE plastic fly that was hung from the cabin's rafters and rigged to swing down at me when I opened the cabin door, there were also fake animal droppings (made from softened and molded Tootsie Rolls) in front on my fridge, inside a cupboard drawer and inside my microwave. When I turned on the ceiling fan in my bedroom, shredded tissue flew all over the room. When I turned on the ceiling fan in my living room, fake plastic worms flew all over the place. There was red Kool-Aid powder in my toilet tank so that the toilet water was red for the rest of the day. And finally, a kitchen cupboard was rigged so that when I opened it a champagne party popper "exploded" and popped confetti all over the place. If you are not from a big family, you must realize that this type of mischief is a way of life and comes from a good place. Yep, just another way to show love :-)

Secondly, I can't even begin to describe how hard Madeline was playing the entire week. Although the majority of her cousins are much older than Madeline they are so good with her. Madeline was pretty much on one speed - GO, the entire time! Between, swimming, swimming & more swimming, playing on the playground, sidewalk chalk drawing, running around between cabins, playing hide & seek, etc, etc, etc, I can safely say that Madeline had a blast!

Food is also a major component of any family gathering. For the most part each family fends for themselves for meals however there are 2 pig out fests that we have each year. The first is the Chili Night. I don't have pictures of this but it is an annual masterpiece cooked up by the men (with my brother Marty as head cook). Geez, what a male bonding ritual for the guys. The women steer clear of the cabin as the chili preparations are in process......too much testosterone! A newer food tradition that was started only in the past 5 (or so) years is "Appetizer Night". For dinner on appetizer night each family contributes munchies for a "cocktail party" of sorts. Despite trying to feed approximately 30 people a meal of appetizers, it is insane how much food there is in one cabin......and the picture doesn't even include all the sinful desserts!

My (paternal) Aunt Sue & Uncle Ron have recently joined our campouts. I am so happy that they have joined our gatherings as growing up we spent so much time at their house for holidays & other parties. Aunt Sue was always great at doing something special for us kids. This has not changed! Aunt Sue brought with her TONS of craft activities that the kids dug into. Madeline was most proud of a pair of "fancy flip flops" that she created.

Also, growing up, many family gatherings ended up to be a musical event. When we were young, we often rolled our eyes at the old folks singing along to Polish songs, the screeching of the violin of my (widowed) grandmother's gentleman friend, the playing of the trumpet (after a couple cocktails) by my Uncle Ron and if my Dad was in a particularly good mood (oh, and I am certain a cocktail was involved too) he would play harmonica. But, what a TREAT (and I am sincere when I say that!) that my Uncle brought along his trumpet. Sitting around the campfire my uncle played his trumpet and the brassy tunes warmed my heart with nostalgia. I wish I was able to enjoy more but Madeline was fighting bedtime despite the fact that she was "crashing" quite hard from a day filled with activity.

The timing of the annual campout generally coincides with my sister, Marysia's July 15th birthday. Each year, my brother-in-law, Mike, gets a cake large enough for the troops to celebrate Marysia's birthday. Of course, aside from a serious gift, my sister was re-gifted the items that we have been passing back and forth (click here for background). However, this year, because I love her so, I decided to add to that collection with a ceramic vase that my mom made many moons ago when Mom and I took ceramics together. Oh yeah....and the balloons that were in Maryland for my 40th birthday "mysteriously" showed up in my shower (by Marysia's children) when they were visiting us before the campout. Marysia got those back too! Before long, Marysia & I are going to have to rent a U-Haul to pass our junk back and forth!

When I was in Maryland at the end of June, Marysia and I found time to go shopping (go figure!) We decided to get a (8/23) birthday gift for our sister, Margaret. Okay, kind of cheesy but we got 4 things to represent the 4 seasons because we love her through all seasons. We presented Margaret with her gift at the campout. She got a raincoat (that folds into a little pouch that could be thrown in the car or even her purse) for Spring. For Summer, she got red, white & blue flip flops & a red, white & blue lawn ornament (Margaret loves her yard & garden). For Fall, she got rusty orange kitchen towels paired with black pot holders (Halloween colors). And for Winter she got slippers and tea. It was fun to shop with Marysia and just as fun to give the gift. I have included pictures of Margaret modeling her raincoat and the lawn ornament.

So why did I drive separately from David? Well, the most simple answer is because we COULD bring two cars since the campout was only about 3 1/2 hours away. Why would we choose to do that? Well, David has been eating up his time off at work. Between the week he took in February due to pneumonia and also multiple trips this year to Indiana (the most recent was a week long), David's vacation time reserved for other occasions is limited this year. We decided that we would take two cars to the campout. Madeline & David drove together on the way there. David left to go home on Wednesday (to reserve the time off he would have had to take if he were to stay Thur & Fri too) and Madeline & I stayed the remainder of the week with she & I driving home together on Friday. So why am I including the picture of the grill? Because I was sooooo proud of myself that I did this by myself AND cooked the hot dogs on the grill too! I might know my way around a kitchen but I leave all the grilling to David. This may be a "no big deal" accomplishment for some but for me, I made myself proud!

Other big news of the week?? My niece, Anna, lost one of her teeth while at the campout. Anna took great pleasure in showing everyone how loose her tooth was and watching us squirm. If it is possible for a tooth the be "hanging on by a string", hers was! She is no dummy! Anna made a killing from that loose tooth. Encouraging Anna to pull the tooth out she was told by her aunt (my sister, Margaret) that she would give Anna extra money (aside from what the tooth fairy gives) if she lost her tooth at the campout. In no time flat, that tooth was out. Not to be out done by Aunt Margaret, Mama-Dirtyfoot added to the tooth money as did Aunt Vicky (and I am not aware but possibly other aunts/uncles too) Anna was so proud and her pockets were so full......what a budding business woman! Good for her!

The last night of the campout, my brother Paul, his daughter Becky & Becky's boyfriend Zac disappeared into their cabin at dusk. When they returned they came launching water balloons at us! SNEAKY!!! They had returned with bags filled with water balloons! It took us by surprise! The nieces and nephews jumped right into the action. But as the older siblings started joining in it was (at least for me) like a time machine making me a kid again, enjoying that carefree play we used to in our youth. This mischievous play was a tiny vacation from the reality of grown-up responsibilities. What an adult may have looked at as an obnoxious annoyance, I enjoyed as a quick vacation to childhood. FUN! Although it took Paul & his family a good part of the day to fill the balloons, the water balloon war was over in about 10 minutes. But thanks for the effort! Once the balloon war was over, Paul, Becky & Zac went back to their cabin only to return with cans of silly string - ROUND TWO! All the "weapons" were now gone. Some of my nephews took it upon themselves to try to get Paul back. When Paul had gone back to his cabin, the nephews climbed on the roof of another one of our cabins (thank God a park ranger didn't come by) with a couple dishpans/pots full of water, awaiting Paul's return. Yes, they surprised him.....but they missed! HA!

I am sure I could go on and on and on....MCO is filled with fun, food, drink, mischief, storytelling, nostalgia, etc, etc, etc. After so much fun, it is a downer for the week to end. We try to stretch out the fun by gathering for breakfast at a local restaurant before we all head in different directions on our way home. Madeline LOVED sitting at the end of the table with her big cousins. After so much fun, activity and attention, Madeline is going through some serious cousin withdrawal! Yes, I had a 3 1/2 hour drive filled with Madeline half-whining, "I miss camping! I wanna go camping!" Sigh.....if only we could do this more than once a year! Until next year's MCO.......

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Slow Down July, I Need To Post!

My last blog post was July 2nd and, if I am not mistaken, I was trying to catch-up from such a whirlwind June. Well, things haven't changed much here - July has continued at the same speed! We have been so busy this month that I think I may have to make two separate blog posts to get everyone up to speed.

Since getting home from Maryland (June 30th), we've had a check-up on Madeline's ear tubes (all is fine), a playdate with a high school friend (Maureen) who was in town with her 3 children, a lunch date with a friend (Polka-Mike) to pass off tons of stuff I no longer needed to his daughter (Andrea) that was moving into her first apartment, a belated celebration of Madeline's Gotcha Day, a car appointment to get a recall item taken care of, getting stuck in our garage because a spring on our garage door broke, an appointment to have our garage door replaced, unpacking and laundry from our return from Maryland, house cleaning, yard work, a swim lesson for Madeline (yep, that is her jumping off the diving board and into 8 feet of water!), pool party/dinner for my sister Marysia & her family as well as Marysia's in-laws (who live locally. Marysia was visiting them before my family's annual campout), re-cleaning the house post-party, a mid-day pool party/lunch at my house with my friend Tammy and her daughters, a dentist appointment for Mama-Dirtyfoot (MDF), a meet for a drink with an old friend (Gary), a doctor's appointment for MDF (all is fine), celebrating David's 44th birthday, collect/organize/review my mom's old VHS home movies and take them to get transferred to DVDs with copies made for each of my siblings, and repack all our clothing and camping gear for my family's annual campout. Whhhhheeeeeeewww.......did I mention that all that is mentioned above occurred before July 10th?

I have included some pictures of the beginning of July below:

This picture (below) is of nothing particular except that I thought it was humorous the way that Madeline dressed herself. Check out the red shoes with her shorts. This photo was taken at a car lot (not in the market...just looking). For whatever reason Madeline thought that her tall shadow was hysterical. For what ever reason Madeline decided she wanted to see her shadow's butt and pulled down her pants in the middle of the car lot and started wiggling her butt!!! Holy cow! Do you ever wonder about your kid, "WHAT is he/she thinking?!". This was one of these moments for me. Luckily, this occurred late on a Sunday afternoon and no one was around. What WAS she thinking?!

David and Madeline waiting for the fireworks to start on July 4th

Looking north on the Niagara River (towards Niagara Falls). This was our view for the fireworks.....okay, our fireworks were south of this view yet still over the river. However, from a distance you could also see the fireworks in Niagara Falls and I am guessing Lewiston (?) too.

David and Madeline celebrating David's birthday.