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Momo Fali's: December 2008

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

#11 Stop Reading Magazines.

Just like last year, U.S. News and World Report has released their list of ways to improve your life in the new year. Here are a few of their suggestions and what I think of them.

1. Drink screw-topped wines.
Already taken care of. I recently cut my hand when I tried to open a screw-top with a corkscrew. Really. You just have to unscrew them. It's amazing.

2. Try that home before buying.
It's possible the current owners won't appreciate it, but they'll do anything to sell their house that is worth $20,000 less than the price for which it was purchased. Make yourself at home.

3. Get a new toothbrush.
If you only do this yearly, you better make it a good one. Pick up some floss while you're at it.

4. Get paid for good health.
With my asthma, insomnia and migraines, I can probably get a whole quarter.

5. Study philosophy.
Will do. Right after I see the forest for the trees.

6. Start using Twitter.
Now we're talking.

7. Finish a crossword puzzle.
Thank goodness this isn't plural and thank goodness they give you a whole year to get it done.

8. Plant a square-foot garden.
You won't net much fruit, but you can still call yourself a gardener.

9. Add obstacles to your jog.
Just run down the middle of the street. Or, if you prefer a trail you can jump over other joggers.

10. Play a fake musical instrument.
I'm even going to spring for fake piano lessons for my kids. I'm generous like that.


Monday, December 29, 2008

Time Stand Still

At this moment, ten years ago today, I was lying in a hospital room with a monitor around my belly watching pitocin slowly drip into my vein. I had less than five contractions before the doctor made them stop. He then proceeded to tell me that I would be having my baby very soon. Literally. Ten weeks too soon, to be exact.

My firstborn was delivered weighing 2 lbs. 9 oz. and she lost two of those ounces in the first day of her life. Her legs were the diameter of a highlighter, her ears the size of a thumbnail. If you've seen a preemie as small as mine, you know that her skin was so thin you could see her veins, and some parts of her body hadn't even developed yet.

The first time I saw my baby, she had a breathing tube down her throat, an IV in her belly button, and wires covering her tiny frame. She was so, so small and I was absolutely terrified.

But today, on her 10th birthday, she is happy and healthy. She overcame a whole lot of obstacles to get here, but you would never know that her father once held her entire body in one hand. Happy Birthday, sweet girl.

Now I'm faced with the knowledge that in three years I'll have a teenager, and I find myself absolutely terrified all over again.

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Friday, December 26, 2008

How to Make Your Sister Mad

Yesterday morning, with family gathered around, my daughter presented my husband with a homemade present...101 Reasons Why I Love My Dad.

The list included, "You fuss about how old I am and tell me I am too big for being tucked in, but you still tuck me in anyway." And, "You help me with math homework. DON'T TELL MOM I AM WRITING THIS!!!!! You are the only one I can ask for help, because Mom can't do the math." Sad, but oh so true.

As my husband read each line, I held my six year old son on my lap and we listened. It was wonderful and sweet, and the kids' Grandma and I both began to cry.

He read the last item on the list, "You work and try as hard as you can. And you do it just for us."

Grandma, who was clearly touched by the outpouring of love said, "That was really beautiful."

And without missing a beat, my son said, "That was really boring."

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Santa, I'm Outta Here

Christmas, 2004
Merry Christmas from my family to yours! May your day be filled with many blessings, happy memories, good food, and fun. People, it's Christmas. Try not to fight with your brother in front of your mother.

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Monday, December 22, 2008

He Drives a Hard Bargain

My daughter is a master negotiator. It doesn't matter if I'm telling her to get ready for bed, take a shower, do her homework, or clean her room, she will try to find a way to put it off by making a deal with me.

There is no place where her sales technique is more evident than at the dinner table. She hates vegetables, but loves treats, so she will inevitably request a Hershey's Kiss in exchange for eating her asparagus.

Recently her little brother started following in her footsteps. But the other night at dinner, it was clear he still had some learning to do, when he complained, "Mom, I'm full."

I said, "Okay, just take four more bites."

You could see his brain working as he thought for a second, raised his eyebrows, and asked, "How about five?"

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Friday, December 19, 2008

Now I Suppose You Want a Barn

About a month ago, my son and daughter created a makeshift Christmas list by sitting down and circling items in a toy catalog. My daughter hasn't wavered in her request for an iPod, a Nintendo DS and a Bongo Board. My son, however, can't seem to make up his mind.

His first list included Transformers, a marble roller-coaster, and any and all things Little Einstein. I shopped, his grandparent's shopped, and we thought the boy would have a very happy Christmas.

Roughly two weeks later, he decided he wanted a train, books, and some Webkinz. Then shortly after that, he took an interest in Backugan toys and added that to his list as well.

Despite trips back and forth to the store, and extra charges on the credit card, I thought we had things under control.

But all of that was before my son sat on Santa's lap and we found he had changed his tune yet again. As he stroked the jolly elf's beard, my boy put a sweet smile on his face, looked into Santa's eyes...and asked him to bring us a horse.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Oprah Cliffs Notes VII

On yesterday's Oprah, ABC's John Quiñones discussed What Would You Do?, which is his latest social experiment airing on Primetime...formerly known as Primetime Live. Also, formerly known as an interesting show. In this experiment, hidden cameras are used to see how people react when put into volatile situations.

In the first segment, we saw a group of female actors in a park. One of the girls was being bullied by the other three. The hidden camera was used to see if anyone would stop and help the victim.

The mean girls used labels like "nerd", "loser", and other niceties. Many women stopped and scolded the girls for their lousy behavior and made sure the victim was okay. Most men did nothing. Though in their defense, when women are talking, men don't really listen. Unless that woman is Erin Andrews.

In the second experiment, an actor behind the counter of a bakery in Texas tells an actor dressed as a Muslim woman to take her business elsewhere. In this case, the cameras are there to see if anyone will criticize the "clerk" for his blatant discrimination.

Most customers ignore the situation, even when the clerk tells the woman to "get back on your camel and go back to where you came from". Which is the point where I would have left the store, driven down the road to a cattle ranch, picked up a longhorn, then gone back to the bakery and kindly asked that bigot to bend over.

This lady with the sideways glance is Kiley. Kiley didn't know there were hidden cameras watching her, as she watched her best friend's boyfriend in a restaurant with another woman. You got that? Read it again. Here, let me help. Kiley's best friend is Mary Ellen, and Mary Ellen's boyfriend, David, was flirting with a woman who was not Mary Ellen. The other woman? You guessed it, she's an actor.

Kiley was set up to see if she would confess what she witnessed. She did. She nervously told Mary Ellen that she saw David holding hands and kissing another woman. And to prove she's the kind of friend every woman should have, Kiley then reached in her purse and offered Mary Ellen a Xanax.

After reading this, I wish I had some to offer you.

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Monday, December 15, 2008

Who Do You Look Like?

The other day someone left me this comment, most likely after seeing this picture of me...

"Hey- I have never spoken with you or heard your voice, but I was watching Jerry McGuire and when Bonnie Hunt was on screen she seemed "familiar"- who does she remind me of? I thought- YOU. From the few small profile pics and your funny stories, I have created you to be like her in my head- please tell me you speak with a Chicago dialect!"

Not Chicago, but I am from the Midwest. Does that count? But, I have heard the Bonnie Hunt thing before. Except she's cuter, funnier, and smarter.

When I was in junior high school I had short, permed hair. At the time, there was a little known actress named Meg Ryan starring on "As the World Turns" and lots of people told me I looked like her. Now, however, she resembles Michael Jackson and I would not take that as a compliment.

In high school, when my hair grew long and straight, I was often compared to Marcia "Oh, my nose!" Brady.

And, in my 20's when "Mad About You" was on television, there were some folks who said I resembled Helen Hunt. Personally, I think it's just because we both have gigantic foreheads.

As for celebrity look-a-likes, if you took that gigantic forehead, and threw in John Mayer's crooked smile...

...and the hairy monsters that are Brooke Shields' eyebrows...

...and Paris Hilton's wonky eye...

...and Jamie Farr's nose...

...then you would have an accurate comparison to me. Tell me boys and girls, who do you resemble?

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Friday, December 12, 2008

That Sounds Like a Personal Problem

My six year old son has always suffered from a pretty nasty case of reflux. When he was an infant, this resulted in constant shifts in medication, a lot of crying by him and me, and more than our fair share of projectile vomiting.

During an endoscopy a few years ago, his gastroenterologist noted that the ring of muscles around his lower esophagus, which is supposed to keep his stomach contents in his stomach, didn’t function properly. Actually, not at all. His ring simply doesn't contract when it should, allowing half-digested food to freely flow up from whence it came.

We refer to these moments as “yucky burps”. We’ve all had them, right? Those bile-flavored, liquid belches. Mmmmmm. Delicious!

At his last GI visit, his doctor suggested that he was old enough for us to try to wean him off some of his medications. Considering one of them costs $261.00 a month, we were all for it.

But, my boy doesn’t like to make things easy. When we discontinued the medicine, the yucky burps increased, and some of them weren’t just burps. He has been throwing up a lot too. Does anyone have $261.00 I could borrow?

Yesterday in school, he was goofing off with a straw in his mouth and it hit him in just the wrong spot. He gagged, and that gag brought up breakfast, snack, and my personal favorite, regurgitated milk.

His quick-thinking teacher, who is fully aware of the reflux situation, jumped in and cleaned up the mess, then told all the kids in the kindergarten class about my boy’s esophageal “flap”. She told them that their flaps stay closed and keep food where it should be, but that his flap doesn’t work and sometimes that means his food comes back up.

But I didn’t know the extent of her conversation. Which would explain why I was at a complete loss last night when my son exclaimed, “Mom! My flap hurts!”

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008


The other day, I was snuggling with my little boy when I asked, "Who's your favorite person?"

He hugged me and said, "You and Daddy both."

I tickled him a little and teased, "Both? But I'm the one who feeds you, cleans up after you, does your laundry, drives you to therapy and school, reads with you, helps you with homework, and tucks you in bed."

He replied, "Yeah, but Daddy throws me in the air."

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Well...What Kind of Benefits Do They Have?

I have not kept it secret that our family is struggling financially. My husband and I have both been in the mortgage business since college. It's all we've ever known professionally. Maybe you haven't heard, but the mortgage industry isn't doing so hot. Oh, you already knew that? My bad.

When the market took a turn for the worse, I left my role as stay-at-home-mom and jumped in to help out. I took a part-time job as a teacher's aide, I sell stuff on e-bay, and I have this here blog. Altogether, that brings in about $2.56 a month.

So, I have spent the past few days looking at employment boards, though I must admit...the last time I had to send out a resume there was no internet. I know the system of applying for jobs online is supposed to be efficient, which is why I have no idea why it takes me forever.

But today, my third day at it, I managed to get through the process more effectively and I was feeling pretty proud of myself when I smiled at my daughter and said, "I did a good job today! I sent in resumes for eight different positions!"

She said, "Oh, I forgot to tell you! There's a place across from my school that's hiring!"

I asked, "Really? How do you know that?"

She replied, "Because there was a guy standing out front, dressed like a hot dog, holding up a sign."

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

Santa Scared the Crap Out of Him

Yesterday morning we attended an annual Santa Breakfast at our church. The cafeteria hall is decked and filled with loud music, games, face-painting, greasy food, ugly sweaters and a visit from a very large man in a red suit.

A couple of years ago, this was a terrifying experience for my son. When Santa arrived, my boy grabbed onto his Dad and wouldn't let go. Literally. I have a picture of my husband holding his arms straight out to either side, with my son dangling from his neck like a Flavor Flav necklace.

Yesterday wasn't much different. Because when the DJ said that Santa had arrived and he was parking his sleigh outside, my son suddenly looked very nervous.

But, instead of grabbing Daddy's neck, he grabbed his own rear end and then turned to the folks sitting at our table and announced, "I need to go poop!"

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Thursday, December 4, 2008

He Gets an A+ in Art

My son has his annual appointment with his cardiologist this afternoon. Yesterday, when I told him we would be seeing his heart doctor he got a little nervous.

I reassured him, "There won't be any needles. They're just going to put some stickers on your belly (an EKG) and then they'll put some goo on your chest and use a wand to take some pictures (an echocardiogram). It won't hurt at all."

Of course, because he's a boy he then asked, "What kind of goo?"

"Well, it's kind of like clear jelly, but it's not sticky. You'll be able to see your heart on TV and sometimes they add color and you can see your red and blue blood mixing because of the hole in your heart. It's pretty cool, buddy."

He asked, "My red blood mixes with my blue blood?"

"Yes, it does."

He scrunched up his face and said, "Maybe that makes my blood purple."

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Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Funny With a Side of Foot

My six year old son has been known to say things without thinking them through first. He gets that from me. Poor kid. I can just hear him talking about me when I'm long gone..."My Mother? Well, she gave me the knack for sticking my foot in my mouth. Oh, and my unibrow comes from her too."

The two of us really do mean well. In his case, the blunders stem from his pure innocence, whereas mine come from my desire to be quick-witted. I may think fast, but I don't think smart. I want to be funny, but am still learning how to do that quickly and without offending people.

I am a typical parent. I want my kids to be better, more intelligent (my nine year old daughter already has this one covered), kinder, and funnier than I am. I know my son makes me laugh, but most of the time it's because he has unknowingly hurled an insult at someone. I have always assumed that as he got older and realized what he was saying, I would laugh at him a whole lot less.

But today I sat in on a meeting at his school and listened as his speech therapist told the group how funny he is.

Then his teacher said, "Oh yes, he has a great sense of humor."

And words like "unbelievable" were thrown around as they all nodded in agreement about his hilarious skills.

Apparently my kid has been making the folks at school laugh without being mean-spirited, and that made me swell with pride.

And, because I frequently have the taste of foot on my tongue, I was also just a little bit jealous.


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