Monday, 31 December 2012

911…What is your emergency?

There has been a murder. Please send help stat! Lights and sirens. Starting CPR now. Never mind, it’s too late.
The plant is dead.

If you are not familiar of my history with plants, all you need to know is I kill them. I have told you all about my incessant need to take care of things and my need to nurture; and my failures with anything from the plant family.
Well, I have killed the plant that has graced the corner of my kitchen for 10 years. It was time. She was pathetic and I was done trying. I can no longer pretend to be someone I am not. It was all a facade people.
It was a peaceful plantanasia. No it wasn’t, she was suffering for 10 years

I said a few kind words about her as I took her into the garage for her final moments. I thanked her for all her hard work at photosynthesis and her oxygen. I may cremate her and spread her ashes at the mall. That’s what she would have wanted.
Dylan asked me if she had a name. She did, but I couldn’t remember it. Great, I forgot to water her AND I forgot her name. I didn’t deserve her love.

In her spot there is a giant new wooden giraffe. The giraffe does not replace the plant; rather he fills a hole, both in my heart and in the corner of the kitchen. Literarily, there was an empty space in my décor. It was tacky. Ok, maybe the giraffe did replace her after all.

He doesn’t require water or food, so he should fare well here.
I had to tell Dylan it wasn’t my fault, he followed me home. I was shopping and he just kept staring at me with those lonely eyes. I swear they were following me around the store…it was pathetic, creepy and awkward all at once.
Plus, he was on sale. It was like being at the wooden animal shelter and he had a sign on him “24 hours to live”.
I saved him!!

The sales lady asked if I wanted a new one in a box. Umm, no!! I had bonded with THIS giraffe. I stroked his long beautiful neck and saw where others had examined him, left their marks of unwantedness and I chose him. 
Rather he chose me.
Then I thought, what the hell lady? You go let those giraffes out of those boxes in the backroom. They are probably suffocating. Asshole!!

As the sales lady was looking at me all judgy, I stared into his eyes and told him it was ok. He had his forever home and he was safe from the monsters in their deceiving little Pier One aprons.

I felt bad that I had to put a bag over his head to get him in the car. I made the girls hold the plastic open to ensure he had enough air. He had just been through so much already.

He now sits in the kitchen corner where the plant once stood. Life and death represented in one small corner.

Plus he wore a Santa hat for Christmas and that’s fricken awesome.

The giraffes name is Danny.
Most of you know why. For those of you that don’t; The Today Show called my husband Dylan  ‘Danny’ on live TV. I took everything in me not to pee my pants laughing on national television.
Dylan was referred to as ‘Danny’ by a lot of people around here for a while.

As I was chatting with staring at Danny the giraffe last night, I began thinking about New Years Resolutions. Danny makes me want to be a better person.

1)   I will not buy any more plants. I will stop trying and I will accept my plant killing soul as a part of me.
2)   I will drink less red wine.
3)   I will drink more white wine.
4)   I will not rescue anymore large wooden animals. Unless it’s a T-Rex. Then all bets are off.

While chatting about resolutions, Dylan suggested ‘Danny’ and I should have lot more sex in 2013.
I called him a pervert. That’s offside man, what kind of girl do you think I am?
Danny looked traumatized, and I didn’t blame him. I covered his ears and gave him a hug.
I have now created a therapy pot for the giraffe. Way to go Dylan. That smart-ass comment just costs us like 4 bottle of wine a week.
Poor Danny.

Wishing a happy and safe New Year to you and your family, from my family and Danny!!
Danny is gonna own 2013!!! I can feel it!


PS…You should click the Facebook button to your right. It’s what all the cool kids are doing. I’m here to help ensure your ‘coolness’.
Your welcome.

Welcome Home Danny. Welcome Home.

Friday, 28 December 2012


The older two girls are now the proud owners of cellphones.
The shrieking on Christmas morning was deafening. The silence since then has been glorious.

I have been pretty vocal about my boundaries and rules with electronics and social media. So why now Jess you ask? What made you do it? Were you drinking wine before you went Christmas shopping?

NO…it was time. Truth be told, there have been many times with the girls growing independence that I secretly wished to be able to send them a quick text. 
I would NEVER have told them I wanted them to have a phone. Shhhhh. This would make my life a hell of “iTold you so’s”.
This way I come off looking like the worlds Coolest Mother Ever. My award and crown should be in the mail any day now.

Of course there are rules.
•      I can do random phone checks at ANY given time. This may be every five minutes or every five hours…ya just never know. Come on now…who doesn’t love a good surprise?
•      Nothing inappropriate. No texts, pics, songs etc. FYI ladies, that would be my definition of inappropriate, not yours.
•      The phone is mine a bedtime.
•      Deleting makes me suspicious and suspicious mommy makes for disappearing phones.
Olivia’s phone was confiscated for December 26th. Way to go love. She has always been more of a ‘hands on’ type of learner. Did ya enjoy the 12 hours of outside contact? Mommy means business. Now, lets try this again.

It turns out the phone is Peyton’s biggest motivator EVER.
Clean room. Out of bed on the first call. Laundry away.
I say jump, she asks how high. All with a smile.
This parenting thing just gets easier and easier.
I’m just worried they will need a neck brace and thumb cast in about 2 days.

Don’t worry, ‘Meanest Mom Ever’ hovers just below the surface of  ‘Coolest Mom Ever’ and there is still no Facebook. 
I was informed that Facebook is über uncool now anyway. Instagram is where it’s at. Duh!
They continue to point out to me that they have WAY more followers than I do in just three short days. But at least they added me and liked my photos. It makes me feel hip. Yes, I just used the word hip. Shit, that probably strips me of my ‘hip’ness.
Ah, hell. Now as I write this, it just dawned on me that 12 year olds seeking social media might have outwitted me. Hmm, you can post and like pics, add people and comment.
It appears that Instagram rhymes with Facebook.

Last night as I was enjoying a glass of milk (LMAO) by the fire, I called down to the sweet basement trolls via FaceTime and did a room inspection from the comfort of my couch. SWEET!
Show me your bedroom. Clean. Good, you may keep your phone.
Show me your bathroom? Clean. Good, you may keep your phone.
Um…don’t roll your eyes at me...hello, I can see you!!

Usually rides in the car with all three of them make me want to stick a hot poker in my eye. Last night the silence was eerie. I could hear angels singing halleluiah. And those angels didn’t sound anything like One Direction.
I did point out to Peyton that she had barely spoken to me in two days.
She sent me a text saying “It’s ok mom, do you want to FaceTime later?” She even added a smiley face with a heart. Awwwe, how precious.

I am grateful for the silence and a fight-free ride to basketball.
I miss the conversations.

There is a new rule at our house. At dinner, everyone’s phones and devices will be placed in a bowl on the counter. First one to check their device cleans the entire kitchen. Boooya!

Family meal times will still be my real FaceTime.
They can’t escape me that easily.

xo J

PS: Have the magical wine fairy's arrived at your house yet? No? Well,  then LIKE the Facebook link to your right:)

Missing from photo: three iPods and the iPhone taking the pic.

Monday, 24 December 2012

A Christmas Story

It’s Christmas Eve.  Finally. After weeks of shopping, decorating, wrapping, baking, organizing and watching kids concerts it is here!
Did you actually read that? Umm…hello, I don’t bake. But I did do some of the other stuff.
My neighbors and my mom brought me plates of baking that I will try to pass off as my own tonight.

The youngest of the little people that live here is vibrating she is so excited.
Ok, I am too. I love Christmas. It’s even better when we get to see it again through our children’s eyes.

Here is a quick Christmas Tale for you I have been working on. 
Check out what the top Literary Critics are saying:
“Stilwell delivers the full gamut of emotions.”
“You will be filled with anger and sadness, then leave feeling the triumph of the Christmas Spirit”
“A+! Best Seller List for the New Year”

No they aren’t. But you can laugh AT me this time.

Dylan won a sales contest at work this summer and was awarded a $500 Best Buy* Gift Card. Woot Woot! Talk about helping us with our Christmas budget right? Dylan handed over the prize to me (well trained boy). I congratulated him…kinda, and quickly put the gift card in my wallet.
Weeee! Shopping.
Being the ever so type 'A' organized mama that I am; I wrote my list, went to the closest Best Buy and filled my cart with Christmas presents that would assure smiles this Christmas morning.
At the cash register I opened my wallet and panicked. The gift card was gone. I dumped my purse on the counter, ransacked every nook and cranny…but it wasn’t there. 
I drove home empty handed and then proceeded to raid every cupboard and ‘I-put-it-away-in-a-special-spot-so-I won’t-lose-it’ place.
Dylan did the same. We took out every gift card, credit card, medical card and points card out of my wallet and laid them on the table. I had it all; from Starbucks to Pier One, Master Card to a Future Shop Points Rewards card.  
NO Best Buy card. It was simply gone. It had been stolen.
I work with some pretty amazing peeps. The only time I had ever left my purse alone was at my desk at work. I emailed the ENTIRE staff team to ask if anyone had it, that they simply return it to my mail box with no questions asked. Everyone was on the hunt for the missing card. Alas, it was gone.
After a week had passed, I went into the Best Buy to see if some Christmas Angel had returned it. Nope, but they did tell me it could be tracked with the credit card it was bought with.
All I could think was people are assholes. Dylan’s perspective was not anger or frustration. He simply said, “I guess someone needed it more than us this Christmas”. Great, now I was the asshole for thinking people are assholes.
He did email head office in one last attempt to have the stolen Best Buy Gift Card tracked.
They emailed him back directly, asking if the card in question was the Future Shop** Gift card he had won.
Ooops. I was wondering all along why I had a Future Shop “Points Rewards” Card in my wallet? Do they even have a points rewards system? No they don’t, it was a $500 gift card.

Cue me sending out apology emails to work.
Cue my children making fun of me.
Cue Dylan pouring me a glass of wine.

From my clearly overworked, crazy brain to yours, I wish you a wonderful holiday season filled with family, friends and many, many blessings.
And a lovely glass of wine.  Or three.
You know, all the stuff that really matters.

Xo J

PS: Did ya see the new Facebook Page link to your right? Click it. I double dog dare you. If you do, magical wine fairies will appear at your house. If you don’t, well don’t say I didn’t warn you.

*Local Electronics Everything Super Store
** The Competition Electronics Everything Super Store

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Cab Savvy Mama

YEAH ME!! I have created a Facebook page.  If you have any sense of my abilities with social media or computers, you will know this was not a simple task for me. In fact, it included me contemplating throwing my computer at Dylan’s face. Add to this me trying to add a fricken ‘blogger gadget’ to make it easy for you to “like’ it right from this blog…not a pretty sight.
Plus I had 4 twelve year olds having a sleep-over here.

It was like trying to read instructions on the internet in Cantonese while the Hormone Circus performed it’s grand finale in my basement.

There is more than one empty wine bottle on the counter this morning and I did it all for you. Your welcome. Now can you please pass me the Tylenol?

What is this page for you ask? Relax; I’m getting to that.

It’s a place for you and me to be more interactive. Nice right?
I will post shorter insights into my crazy mind with pics and videos I find amusing. I will update you to new blog posts and also be asking you to share your own creative parenting strategies and fails.
Of course I will include some ramblings about my love of red wine.
And my fascination with T-Rex’s.
But that’s a story for another day. Stay tuned.

Remember, I do get paid to teach people how to parent (oh the irony) so you may even find a tid-bit or two that’s actually helpful with sound professional advice behind it.
Meh, maybe not. But you sure as hell can ask me for suggestions or resources.
Really, it’s just another spot for you to laugh with me. Or at me. I’m fine with either.

I know you are asking, “How did you come up with the name you clever girl?”
Don’t get your panties in a knot…I’m getting there.

The world knows me as the “Mom on Strike”. But that ended in October remember? I still want to be linked to that because duh, Google is my friend. Try 'Mom on Strike'. Go ahead, I will wait.
Sweet Balls eh?
But I want to be more for you. Sniff, Sniff. (Cue sappy background music)

I love Cabernet Sauvignon. Or what the cool peeps call Cab Sav. This should not be a surprising piece of info to learn about me.
The Strike was a creative hands-on parenting strategy…some may say it was ever so savvy of me.
I’m a mom, A.K.A Mama. I write about my twisted and sometimes not so traditional parenting and perceptions. I write about what you are probably thinking anyway with your inside voice. I just say it out loud.
Cab Savvy Mama.
Voila! See what I did there! Sometimes I impress myself with my freaking brilliance.

It’s Christmas.
Not gonna lie, I am one of those “hard to buy for types” and I know you have probably been racking your brain, scouring the malls and searching endlessly online for the “perfect gift” for me. Let me make this easy for you this year.

See the new little Facebook gadget to your right? Click on it. Do it now! Pretty please. Show me the love. Then share it on your own Facebook page.

Or just get me a bottle of wine. You choose.

Thank you…and your welcome for letting me help you finish your Christmas list.
I’m good people that way.

xo J

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Parenting SOLVED!!

In addition to the three small people that live here, I have a Great Dane. Yup. Just add 175 pounds of extra crazy to my existing crazy.

He is big. His bark is bigger.

Recently, every time he goes in the backyard he is barking all the time…at nothing. Let’s make this clear, it is not a yappy ankle biting bark, it’s a sonic window shaking bark. Wicked. The neighbors should be calling by-law anytime now.

I went to the pet store looking for a solution. It turns out that giant dogs require giant solutions and there was no way in hell I was spending $250 on a barking vibration/citronella collar. So I settled on a $12 solution.
It’s called the ‘Pet Corrector’. 
It's like an air horn, but it hisses. LOUDLY!! Guaranteed results!
Woot Woot! I love me a good deal!

So…it turns out you get what you pay for. The giant barking dog just thinks it’s a game and…freaking barks at it.

Don’t feel sorry for me…turns out it was the best $12 I have ever spent.
Why you ask?
Because it is by far the greatest parenting tool I have in my proverbial “tool box”.

Last night at dinner the kids were fighting. Shocker I know. I went up behind them and laid on that hisser. Fighting over. Pretty sure it scared the shit out of them, but lets focus on the fighting…that stopped! Without a word from me! Voila.

The trolls were complaining about clearing their dishes. One hiss...dishes away. They actually ‘jumped” into action. I admit I may have peed a little I was laughing so hard. 
To be clear, the dishes being cleaned was the magic, not me peeing my pants…that happens all the time.

Bedtime delays? Not a problem here anymore now that mommy’s got the hissing machine. I have never seen anyone run up the stairs so fast in my life. Just as I suspected… you really didn’t need that glass of water after all did ya?
Enough of your bedtime bullshit.

After less than 24 hours, they simply see the red can and comply. Like Pavlov’s dog. Talk about classical conditioning.  Skinner would be so proud of me.

It’s was called “Pet Corrector”.
Not anymore.

Teen Tamer*
The instant solution to all your mommy woes.

I think I need to sew a fanny pack holster for it. That way I could carry it around with me and whip that bad boy out at a seconds notice. Plus, I could still pour wine AND have the Teen Tamer at the ready.

And they said this parenting thing was hard to figure out. Pfft!!
I’m gonna be rich.

*patent pending*...don't steal my ideas! That's just rude manners.

Good idea.

Better idea!
$$$$ Rich I tell ya!! Rich!!

Gratuitous picture of my baby boy! (The dog people, not Dylan)
Thor at 18 months and still growing.