Saturday, May 24, 2014

NO PIZZA FOR YOU! A totally "Bizzarro" experience.

My mother-in-law came to visit the last time Alex was out of town for work.

I love having her here; she's great company and very hands-on with the kids -- FREE TIME!!! Even if it's only for 10 minutes at the end of the day while she happily takes over bath time duty. Sometimes, 10 minutes can feel like a freaking eternity in mom life. Daddy had already been gone for a week and we still had another to go, so I was especially grateful for this visit. I believe my response was a very enthusiastic, "YES!!! PLEASE DO!" when she texted me about possibly coming down to see us, depending on her work schedule. Military spouses, single parents, I applaud you.

On Grandma's last day here, we headed to the beach for a little sun and sand before grabbing dinner at Bizzarro's, a popular New York style pizzeria. I've heard tons of good things about Bizzarro's not only from the locals, but from anyone who has ever been in the area -- My husband's half-brother's now ex-girlfriend was raving about it the last time I saw her. We've lived in Melbourne going on two and a half years now (does that make us locals???), so I was eager to finally try this place out. 

THE Original Bizzarro Famous New York Pizza, or TOBFNYP for short? There are several around town, but rumor has it that there was some sort of family feud so they all have slight variations in name now, i.e. "The Original Bizzarro Famous New York Pizza," "Bizzarro's Italian Restaurant and Pizzeria," "Bizzarro Pizza Co," "Bizzarro Pizza Express," and "Bizzarro Pizza". I think that's all of them... What everybody failed to tell us, though, was that this is a straight up "Soup Nazi" kind of experience.

TOBFNYP is located on a busy street corner of the Indiatlantic with lines almost always out the door, hardly enough room for two people abreast upon entry and at the counter (difficult with kids) and very little seating in the "dining room" and out on the patio.

My mother-in-law waited in line while McKenna, Kendall and I looked for a table; there was nothing, so we were going to order a whole pie and get it to go. Mistakes 1 and 2. It is unwritten protocol that you come here to order by the slice from the case, or call ahead. We placed our order for a large half cheese-half black olives pizza and when my mother-in-law pulled out her debit card to pay, Mr. Mustache behind the counter screamed at her, "CASH ONLY! CASH ONLY! ATM IN THE BACK!". Mistake 3. So, she made her way through a few disgruntled, hungry and impatient customers a tap-tap-tapping their toes to the ATM in the back where she paid five dollars to use her own money and then made her way back up to the counter with cash.

"DRINKS!" Or, in other words, "what would you like to drink?" As we stepped out of the way with our $2 bottled waters instead of the cups of ice water that we had asked for, I spotted an open table. My mother-in-law went back to the counter to change our order from carryout to dining in.

Mistake 4. 

"10 minutes," he hissed. We made our way to our table outside with tails tucked between our legs and avoiding eye contact with both employees and patrons alike because it was painfully obvious that we were noobs! It was then that I noticed the "CASH ONL" sign on the exit door to the patio. 

Watching everybody come and go with their little slices of heaven, we finally mustered up enough courage to ask the server about our food, as it had been well over 10 minutes. This seemed to inconvenience him immensely.

"You ordered to go?" Server Guy asked when he came back from checking on our order.

"Yes, but we changed it to dining in since we found a table. We told him that," my mother-in-law explained politely.

Server Guy huffs and puffs away, throws open the door to the restaurant and hollers, "They want to eat here now!" I just laughed; I was actually living the Soup Nazi experience!

"It's on the oven. 10 minutes." Obviously, we were being punished. I imagined our uncooked half cheese-half black olives pizza sitting on top of the oven just inches away from a gross dusty ceiling.

We finally get our food; I wasn't sure if we were supposed to grab our own plates, napkins and utensils from inside or if that was Server Guy's job, but I just wanted to eat our food and get the heck out of there. I bravely made it in and out without being spotted, we quickly ate and then left. Whew!

So, is it good pizza? Eh, a lot on the greasy side for me, but apparently this is "as close as you're going to get to true New York style pizza around here"... New York style attitude and all, sheesh. Honestly, I'd rather skip the anxiety and grab a 5 dollar Hot-N-Ready around the corner at Little Caesar's! Pizza's pizza, man. 

Saturday, May 17, 2014

A Quote That Stuck

Jealousy is an emotion that I hate. 

Whenever I feel envious of another person, their belongings, their circumstances, I get angry with myself, too, for being ungrateful for all of the wonderful things in my life -- we have a nice house, two cars, a terrific marriage, healthy children and pets, great support through family and friends, and the ability for me to stay at home to raise our kids. That's a huge plus. Sometimes, though, living off of one income just sucks. Sometimes we have to make $100 stretch for two weeks between paydays. Sometimes we have to move what little we have finally been able to put into our savings account back into checking just to get by, and cross our fingers that we don't encounter a serious unexpected expense (ER visit, car trouble, household maintenance needing immediate attention, etc.). While we've never been unable to pay our bills, buy groceries, or put gas in our cars, we just don't have much discretionary income leftover for stuff... that doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things.

A quote from someone that has stuck with you.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Mommy & Me Hand Prints Craft

I had to bust out the mini M&M's for this one.

Kendall wasn't feeling well on Mother's Day, so she was on the couch with Daddy while McKenna and I did our arts and crafts.

Her project has been looking a little lonely on the fridge by itself all week as Kendall has just been plain uninterested in doing hers. 

I would ask, "Kendall, would you like to do your arts and crafts project?"

Kendall, in her cute little pipsqueak voice, "No."

Me, "Let's do it so we can hang it up on the fridge with McKenna's!"

Kendall, "No."

Then she toddles off in her Strawberry Shortcake dress to finish playing "Princess and Beast" with big sister. Same scene Tuesday. And Wednesday. And this morning. Strawberry Shortcake dress and all. I really didn't want to have to resort to bribery, but I also didn't want only one set of Mommy and Me hand prints to make it to the memory box either! Enter leftover mini M&M's from Easter.

Here's what you'll need:
Construction paper
Washable paint
Something to write with

Mini M&M's optional ;-)

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day Lovin'

It was a really great day. McKenna and Kendall slept in an hour later than usual and then Alex got up with them to do the breakfast thing so that I could stay in bed a little longer. Once I moseyed into the kitchen, they had my yoga stuff out on the table with a homemade "Happy Mother's Day!" banner; 5 weeks of yoga classes! Woop! Yoga is one of my favorite things in the whole wide world and while I've been doing it here at home, I really miss the atmosphere of a class in an intimate little yoga studio. I'm pretty excited to finally take the tags off of the matching tote that I got for Christmas a couple of years ago, too.

Kendall has been feeling a little under the weather these past few days with a slight fever and tummy ache that comes and goes, so she and I stayed at home to cuddle on the couch and watch Frozen while Daddy and McKenna went to the beach as planned.

On the way home, McKenna asked Daddy to take her to get some flowers for me for Mother's Day and for Kendall, too, so that she would feel better.

:-) Heart, melted.

My friend Beth biked over to our house on her sweet new Mother's Day ride to give me a bottle of wine that I had mentioned in conversation the previous week. (I was at the grocery store with it in my cart, but put it back on the shelf because while it was on the list of 'wants', it wasn't on the list of 'needs' and we were getting close to hitting our budget for groceries.) She made a mental note of that and picked some up for me the next time she did her grocery shopping! How awesome is that :-D The wine was delicious, and I was so touched by her kindness. I'm really going to miss her when their family moves up to Pennsylvania next year!

I got out of the house for a bit by myself this afternoon while the girls were napping and then came home, did a little arts and crafting with McKenna,

talked to my Father-in-law who so thoughtfully called to wish me a Happy Mother's Day, had pizza for dinner per my request and then it was a smooth and cooperative bath and bedtime for our little hooligans. All in all, a very happy Mother's Day indeed <3

Monday, May 5, 2014

Murphy Baby

First things first: No, I'm not pregnant. Hah! A couple of months ago, a cat showed up on our front porch.

While I have always claimed to not be a cat person, I do have a huge soft spot for animals. Especially super friendly, little baby animals. Especially super friendly, little baby animals loving up on my little baby anim... er, babies.

So, when "Baloo" - so named by McKenna - first showed up on our front porch, the girls and I sat out there playing with him for a good hour after what was supposed to be bedtime. He was rubbing up on us and purring the entire time, and my heart melted watching him and the girls play so sweetly together. After a bit more curious exploring - us and him - Baloo climbed up onto the ledge of our courtyard area and then jumped onto the roof! McKenna and Kendall were worried about how he was going to get down, but I told them very matter-of-factly that "Cats are very good jumpers and they always land on their feet." ...Right? Well, our new little friend just meowed and meowed at us and paced back and forth trying to figure out how the heck he was going to get down. Don't worry, kitty! I'll save you! So, I valiantly climbed up onto the ledge and rescued this poor thing that so desperately needed me ;-) Finally, we went inside for the night.

The girls and I called Alex (he was out of town at the time) to tell him about our new friend and when they (I?) asked if we could keep him, he said, "Absolutely not. We don't need anything else that eats or shits." Woh, woh. But there Baloo was at the back door! Meowing and scratching to come in. Alex caved a little after I sent him the pictures of Baloo playing with the girls and told us that IF he was there in the morning THEN we could bring him in. Yessss! We were so getting a kitty, you guys.

But, alas, our friend was not there in the morning and my heart was broken into a million, bajillion pieces. Oh well, cats are assholes, I told myself. I should have known better than to get too attached too quickly...

Every day for about a week or two after that, McKenna, Kendall and I were still calling out, "Here, kitty-kitty!" as we walked around the neighborhood with Hanley, but to no avail. One morning, though, there he was! We were starting down our driveway for our walk and Baloo came running up to us from across the street. This self-proclaimed cat hater was pretty elated, and the girls were, too; I'll never forget that sweet moment. I scooped him up, brought him inside the garage and dialed Alex at work.

"Damn it. Well, I did say that if he came back we could keep him. You gotta take him to the vet, though, to make sure he's healthy and doesn't already belong to somebody." Woo hoo!!!

I called the vet, scheduled an appointment for 3:30 in the afternoon, and the girls and I went to Walmart to get a litter box, some food and two collars... You see, I wasn't exactly sure if Baloo really was a 'he' or a 'she.' Alex got off of work early, we borrowed a cat carrier from a friend and took "Sophia" - temporarily renamed by McKenna - to the vet.

I was stumped by a few of the questions on the new patient form; What breed? Um, cat? What do you feed him/her? Food? I don't know a single thing about cats other than they really, really like lasagna... ;-) Baloo/Sophia had no fleas, some ear mites that could be easily treated, no microchip, and no balls. Yep, "he" was a he that had already been neutered, and was only about 8 or 9 months old...

We took Baloo home with his new skull and crossbones collar, asked around the neighborhood if anyone was missing a sweet kitty, put Hanley on a leash in the house and kept this secret to ourselves for a while, i.e. did not post anything on Facebook, until a) We knew for sure that Baloo didn't belong to anybody (he was never claimed) and b) Baloo and Hanley could live together in harmony. Hanley is great with the girls - couldn't be better, actually - but he's... quite a handful; super territorial and protective over McKenna and Kendall, and just a big ol' pain the in ass. (But I love him, 'cause he da best.) After closing the door to our bedroom the next night - keeping Hanley in with us to give Baloo some freedom while we slept as he was spending most of his time during the day closed up in Alex's office - I collapsed into bed and thought to myself, "What the hell did I get myself into? I don't know if this is going to work..." I didn't see an end in sight to the leash-thing with Hanley, and he SUUUUCKS at being on a leash. Especially being on a leash inside the house (What the heck, mom!?).

Especially being on a leash inside the house with another animal (a freaking cat, you guys!) all up in his territory and loving up on his girls.

Ugh, I was pooped.

When my mother- and sister-in-law came down to visit for a long weekend, DeeAnna (SIL) really helped to ease my tension with the animals. I was so afraid that I'd let Hanley off the leash and then him and Baloo would get into it and somebody - one of them or the girls - would get hurt. She said, though, that Baloo has been in the house long enough for Hanley to know now that he has to behave (it had been about two weeks at that point since we brought him in) and that I really just have to chill out because they can sense my uneasiness. All went well and a few days later after our company left and I was out and about moseying around town by myself for a few hours, Alex sent me this:

Peace, love and harmony in the Murphy Animal Kingdom! Hallelujah! Since then, Baloo has really made himself at home here.

And him and Hanley are totally best buds.

I never thought I'd fall in love with a cat!

<3 <3 <3

Saturday, May 3, 2014


Last year, Alex and I traveled to Atlanta to see one of our favorite comedians, Louis C.K., perform at the Fox Theater. It was an early Valentine's Day gift to each other and a much-needed weekend getaway for mommy and daddy - our first trip without the kids!

Don't get me wrong, I missed the little boogers, but the freedom... was glorious.

Our first night there, we went to a trendy burger joint called The Vortex. Sooo many delicious gourmet burgers to choose from, an impressive booze menu, and... TATER TOT NACHOS. Like bar food, only better. Much better. *Wipes drool.* Afterwards, we ventured over to the Laughing Skull Lounge for a few giggles from the local comedy scene before heading back to the hotel to hit the sack. We were waking up bright and early the next day to visit the Georgia Aquarium!

It was such a beautiful experience; my first trip ever to an aquarium. The Beluga Whales were my favorite by far (bottom center) - so peaceful and elegant... I bought a Christmas ornament from the gift shop to bring home. We grabbed a quick bite at The [famous] Varsity on our way back to the hotel to relax a little before getting ready for our big night with Louis.

"If you're divorced, or middle-aged, or afraid to talk to women, or overwhelmed by parenthood, or otherwise quietly desperate... he is laughing with you and at you." Joel Lovell described Louis perfectly in an article in GQ that I randomly picked up at a recent trip to the doctor's office. His raw sense of humor has you nodding in agreement and clutching your sides the entire time from laughing so much. The show did not disappoint!

Before heading home the following morning, we stopped by West Egg Cafe for brunch. I had some sort of egg-and-potato-dish that was nothing to write home about, but the coffee... Ohhh, the coffee was the best coffee that a coffee lover could ever dream of.

Lavender. White. Mocha. Mmmmm, I bought another for the road on our way out.

It was a really great weekend. Three whole days of uninterrupted quality time with the Mr., waking up on our own accord, hanging up the diaper bag for a real purse, dressing up, letting my hair down... I think we're overdue for another weekend getaway, Mr. Murphy!

Let's reminisce about the last trip you took... pictures please!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

April Showers Bring May Flowers, That is What They Say

A couple of months ago, I went on an arts and crafts supplies buying spree and came home with these little flower-shaped buttons. For what? I don't know, but they were cute and girly and right up our alley. While I was putzing around on Pinterest the other night, I came across a smiley-faced cotton ball rain cloud and thought,

April showers bring May flowers,
That is what they say.
But if all the showers turned to flowers,
We'd have quite a colorful day!

There'd be bluebells and cockleshells,
Tulips red and green,
Daffodils and Chinese squill,
The brightest you've ever seen.

You'd see tiger lilies and water lilies,
Carnations pink and blue,
Forget-me-not and small sundrop,
Glistening with the dew.

We'd have fireweed and milkweed
And many more different flowers.
Mexican star and shooting star,
Falling in the showers.

And if all the showers turned to flowers
On that rainy April day,
Would all the flowers turn to showers
In the sunny month of May?

Well, okay, maybe just the first stanza and then, "Yes! The buttons!"

Here's what you'll need:

Construction paper

Cotton balls
Googly eyes
Green crayon, for the grass
Flower-shaped buttons (Of course, you could use flower-shaped stickers or more construction paper; whatever works!)

Have fun! :-D